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Comedian and political satirist Bill Maher discusses topical events with guests from various backgrounds.
George Carlin: Jim, Jim, calm down, calm down. You began a sentence a little while ago with 'It shouldn't be a surprise'. It shouldn't be a surprise that rich, white men don't care about poor, black people, period. So they're not high on the list. Jim Glassman: George, I love you, George, but that's nonsense. George Carlin: I don't care if you love me or not. They're not high on the conscious or the subconscious list of those people how are in charge of things in this country, the owners. Forget these foolish elections. The owners of this country don't care about the poor, in general. Jim Glassman: The owners of this country? What is this, Karl Marx talking to me? The owners of this country are the voters of this country. George Carlin: No, you're wrong about that, my friend. You're absolutely wrong. Jim Glassman: Aren't the owners of this country are the voters of this country who elected George Bush? George Carlin: No, no, they're not. Listen, these elections are a charade, they're a charade... Jim Glassman: [sarcastically] Oh, okay. George Carlin: I'll tell you, listen, just listen for a minute and learn a little something! Elections and politicians are in place in order to give Americans the ILLUSION that they have freedom of choice. You don't really have choice in this country.
Bill Maher: Saddam Hussein is Hitler like Oasis was The Beatles.
George Carlin: [about the Bush-Kerry Debate] Finally someone stood up to the little oil pimp. This guy who somehow has managed to combine Yale intellectualism with the American cowboy myth and be completely inauthentic in both roles. That's what I see in Bush. He's an empty suit.
Bill Maher: New rule: Canadian bacon isn't bacon. It's ham.
Bill Maher: New Rule: You can't run on a mistake. Franklin Roosevelt didn't run for re-election claiming Pearl Harbor was his finest hour. Abe Lincoln was a great president, but the high point of his second term wasn't theater security. 9/11 wasn't a triumph of the human spirit. It was a fuck-up by a guy on vacation.
Bill Maher: White people have always shown their superiority over blacks with their feet, moving out of black neighborhoods with the fear that their kids will turn into one of them. And now, through the magic of MTV, damned if it didn't turn out that way!
Michael Moore: Well, I've received over 3,000 letters from soldiers in Iraq, emails mostly. And they're very powerful letters. We haven't heard from our soldiers about how they feel about this war. And they very clearly and very powerfully, in these letters, tell me the truth about what's going on over there... They're saying, number one, that they've been lied to; that they are being forced to re-enlist. If they don't, they're being told that they're going to be kept there indefinitely unless they re-enlist for another two or three years. They have told me in these letters that the Iraqis are not happy with the American presence there, and they believe that Bush has simply lied to the American people about the real threat - or actually the "no threat" that Iraq has posed to this country. So it's great to hear from them in their own words about this.
[about Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry during the 2012 Republican candidate election] Bill Maher: Meanwhile, three of the Republican candidates have said God *called* them to be president. But, seriously, if God really did call all three to run for president, isn't he just fucking with two of them?
Bill Maher: If I just sit here every Friday night and spout Bush administration talking points, that's not information or entertainment, it's Fox News!
Bill Maher: You know, if there's one thing I've hated since 9/11, it's that thing I hear all the time, that everything changed. When obviously nothing changed. The best example from the hurricane was the firefighters who came from I forget where, but they were sent down there to help, and they were given - before they could get to the disaster area - eight hours of sexual harassment sensitivity training. Forgetting that most women want to be harassed by firefighters. Bill Maher: [audience cheers] And I'm glad you cheered because Ann Coulter gave me that joke.
Aaron McGruder: [about the then-newly released "Reagan Letters", which had many re-examining the 40th President's perceived intelligence] Let's say, y'know, ten years from now we discover all these really intelligent things that "Dubya" has written. Does it somehow make it better if he was actually a genius and masterminded the dumb thing in order to manipulate people? Does that make you go back and go "Oh, that's better. He was an evil genius instead of an evil idiot."
Kurt Vonnegut: I am not only from the richest country in the world, but the dumbest country in the world
Bill Maher: New Rule: Stop whining about the French. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to the Bush administration and that's more than I can say about the Democrats!
Bill Maher: New rule: Cornbread isn't bread. It's cake.
Bill Maher: New rule: After the plane lands, airlines must stop saying, "Thank you for choosing us." There is no choosing anymore. I took the only flight that left within eight hours of when I wanted to go by the only other airline that went there. Choosing! Nobody chooses Southwest. Southwest chooses you! If I need to be in Spokane, Washington, by tomorrow morning, I either take the flight I'm given or I mail myself in a FedEx box!
Bill Maher: New rule: Anyone who is elected mayor of a place called "Sin City" is allowed to be a drunk.
Mario Cuomo: When President Lincoln prayed, he talked to God. When President Bush prayed, God talked to Bush.
Bill Maher: All right, speaking of brave women, I have Ann Coulter waiting for me via satellite. Richard Belzer: I'm going to leave. [starts to walk off] Bill Maher: Don't! No, no, you're not! Sit right there! You know what? This is what's wrong with America. People don't even want to listen to each other. She is a friend of mine, and you will listen. Richard Belzer: She's a Fascist Party doll! Go ahead, just show her, baby. I think she's had some work done. But go ahead. Bill Maher: No. SHUT UP, BELZER! [to Ann] Bill Maher: Boy, I'm trying to defend you, baby, but it ain't easy over here. Ann Coulter: Hey, is that Richard - is that Richard Belzer on the panel? Bill Maher: Boy, is he. Ann Coulter: I thought it was Osama bin Laden. I can only hear. Bill Maher: [after the interview with Ann] Ann Coulter, ladies and gentlemen! Jesus Christ, this is what is wrong with this - and I want to get to this. You know, this is a friend of mine, and this is - I think you guys - you - this is why... Richard Belzer: What are you talking about? Bill Maher: No, I'm saying that people... Richard Belzer: I've seen her hundreds of times. Bill Maher: I know, but... Richard Belzer: She's a repugnant person who says the most vile things. She lies. She's a liar and you know that. You just confronted her on ten different things. I mean, come on, man! Some people, you have to call them for what they are.
Willie Nelson: We have two cars, my wife and I, that run on vegetable oil. She has a Volkswagen. I have a Mercedes. They've never had anything in them expect 100% vegetable oil. Our bus is run on 100% soybeans. So there's no reason for us to be so dependent on foreign energy.
Kevin Costner: You know, the great thing about Vietnam, if you can find one great thing about Vietnam, was that we have Vietnam to look back on. Vietnam serves a purpose. We have this gigantic window into our past history and why we find ourselves where we're at. That's the only good I can see that that war ever did for us. And we've ignored the lesson. Bill Maher: The key lesson to me of Vietnam is that you cannot outlast insurgents in their own country. This idea that when Bush says, "Well, we can't say we're going to pull out in six months because they'll only have to wait six months and a day." They'll wait a hundred years if they have to! Gen. Wesley Clark: Bill, the key lesson - the key lesson of Vietnam is that you've got to have a strategy that has a chance of success before you commit the lives of the men and women in uniform.
Tucker Carlson: Maybe in fact it was better to have Saddam in there. Maybe Saddam, as bad as he was - was not the worst we could get. Maybe chaos was the worst we could get. That's the truth.
Andrew Sullivan: The "culture of life," I might say, is a phrase invented by the last Pope. And what it meant was, you're opposed to death, in the death penalty, in war, in euthanasia and abortion. The Republicans decide, "Oh, we're a cafeteria. We'll take the abortion and euthanasia but we will launch wars" and we will - I mean, George Bush has signed more death warrants than any other human being in this country.
George Galloway: Christians believe in the Prophets, peace be upon them. Bush believes in the profits and how to get a piece of them
Gore Vidal: We have to move out, not on. We have no business there. We didn't care before what Iraq became and we don't care now.
Howard Dean: I think the problem with the country is that we operate on a sickness model, not a wellness model. Basically, we treat people who become ill. What we don't do is do a very good job in keeping them healthy in the first place.
Sen. Alan Simpson: [Sen. Simpson becomes angry at Bill's jokes] You're making fun of Americans who have some religious bent or a faith. Keep doing that and your people will never win an election. Because whether you and I like it or not, this is the only country on the face of the earth that was founded because of religious persecution and a belief in God. That's why they left Europe. So keep making fun of them. Keep making fun of the gays and the lesbians, pulling people in, tearing people up, thinking that Hollywood has all the brains in America, from people who are making millions of bucks on one movie and telling the rest of the people, and making fun of them, and you'll never make it, never make it. Bill Maher: You know, to quote the president, "I'm getting a mixed message from you, Senator." I mean, either I'm making fun of the religious people or I'm making fun of the gay people. I can't be doing both, can I? Sen. Alan Simpson: Well, you just made a little crack. You know, it was funny-funny, you know. Party-party. You know, those are little cracks. Those are smart, little cracks about the gay and lesbian people. You keep telling them. I think they're offensive. And I don't have to come on this program. So put that one in your pipe! Bill Maher: Okay, there's only one way to solve this - I challenge you to a duel!
Bill Maher: [to Richard Perle] I think you guys might have been right about the big picture, and I'm not above saying, you know what, maybe I was wrong. Okay. But on the other half of it, why the incompetence? Why was this war conducted so badly from the beginning? And you have to admit that cost lives. And my theory is because Republicans are sentimentalists. Because you guys have such rose-colored glasses about America that you thought as soon as we showed up in Iraq, they'd be going, 'Freedom! Americans!' And that's why we didn't need armor on the tanks because they'd be giving us flowers and chocolates and nylons.
Bill Maher: New Rule: You can't send the National Guard to Iraq and then claim it's still here. The helicopters, the humvees, the men... like Dorothy and Toto, they're not in Kansas anymore. Sorry, Mr. President, but the last documented case of a National Guardsman able to be in two places at one time... was you.
Bill Maher: New rule: Time Magazine has to change its name to God Weekly. This week, Mary is on the cover again. In the last two years, Time has put out: "The Secrets of the Nativity", "The God Gene", "Faith, God and the Oval Office", "The Bible and the Apocalypse", "Who Was Moses?", "What Jesus Saw", "Why Did Jesus Have to Die?", "Jesus in 2000." If Jesus gets any more free press, he's going to start thinking he's Paris Hilton. Look, I understand we have a lot of Christians in this nation, but how about a little equal time? "Vishnu to Ganesh: Drop Dead". And "Is There No Pleasing Zeus?"
Dana Carvey: [imitating Al Gore] This planet is getting hot. And the only way to solve Global Warming is to elect Hillary Clinton... because that is one cold bitch!
Bill Maher: New Rule: Jesus is not a candle. A company in South Dakota is selling candles with the scent of Jesus. You light one and your friends says, "Christ, what's that smell?"
Bill Maher: We're not running our country down when we criticize it. We're trying to make it better.
Bill Maher: I want to see riots! I want to see the kind of riots where cab drivers are afraid to pick up white people! I want to see this guy! [he gives the finger] Bill Maher: You stayed up all night making that papier mache mask of Dick Cheney! Good! Now light it on fire and torch the nearest Gap! You're not going to make the evening news with candle light vigils. Pick up a trash can and throw it through the window of a Starbucks!
Tucker Carlson: I mean, look, no matter how you feel about Bush, watching him speak is difficult. It's like - it's like watching a drunk man cross an icy street.
Al Franken: I love this "culture of life" stuff that comes out of the Christian right. But do you hear anything about the genocide that's going on in Darfur?
Bill Maher: You can find me on Facebook, on Twitter... and all that shit.
[opening theme] Male voice: Start the clock. Female speaking clock: Good afternoon. At the tone the time will be... Distorted male voice: Real time. Male voice: Real time. Real time. Do you know what time it is? Time it is? Distorted male voice: R-E-A-L T-I-M-E, 1 2 3 4 5 6... Child's voice: Seven, eight...
Bill Maher: New Rule: The next time Steve Fossett tries to fly something around the world, shoot him down.
Don Cheadle: [on the genocide in Darfur] I think that our government has to take some responsibility, too, in the fact that, right now, one of the main impediments to the process is the international criminal court, and that America is very reticent to allow any American citizen to come under that adjudication, which - okay, fine, come up with a secondary system. Which can be done. It was done in Rwanda. It can be done very quickly. It just - there's just no more time to be talking about it and be arguing about it. If nations really are about building democracy and growing and spreading the message of freedom then start there and start now.