Don’t know much about the rest of the guests—John Avlon is either barely tolerable or painfully contorts himself to be centrist—I’m just all-in this week for Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s the host of Seth MacFarlane‘s Cosmos on Fox and is, to be sure, awesomeness incarnate.
Anyways, on to the SausageFest show.
“Are you clapping or just trying to kill the Zika mosquitoes? We don’t need a wall on the border, we need a giant bug zapper.” good opening line.
“I have not seen this kind of bad blood between a blonde lady and weirdo in clown make-up since I double-dated with Johnny Depp.”
Donald Trump had a super-shitty week. “He had a press conference where he told the press to go fuck themselves and threw a whole hissy fit. To be fair, he had just learned that a zookeeper in Cincinnati had shot his father.”
“Not taking responsibility doesn’t sound very presidential. That to me sounds like a Whiny Little Bitch.”
He named the mascot for Trump U as the “fighting Orangemen.” that’s big time LOL.
Trump U “is all about preying on desperate people and taking their money—just like a regular university. You give Trump money to learn the secrets of business. Please. It’s Scientology without the volcanoes.” sah-nap.
He’s 100% right, too:
“Everybody said ‘Who the fuck is David French?'”
Bill dips in and gave props to Hillary. “The person who did have a good week this week is Hillary Clinton. Blistering foreign policy speech saying Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue.”
When he mentions Trump feverishly tweeting during Hillary’s speech: “I think we’re at the part of the movie where we figure out how to defeat the monster.”
“Hillary’s nickname for Trump is Donald, like the cartoon character.”
Sit-down Interview: Nick Hanauer, the Godfather of the minimum wage
“The minimum wage is a way to litigate the idea” of trickle-down economics.”
“The minimum wage is at historically low level. Keeping it low is the most awful form of corporate welfare.”
So glad we’re talking about the Evil Empire of Wal-Mart. I have a boycott against it and Sam’s Club because they’re so shitty to their employees. “They have 1.4 million workers and 1 million of them are in poverty.” They get paid like shit and then depend on government programs to survive, which we’re paying for.
“If capitalism is well-formed it’s works quite well. I don’t see why big corporations don’t pay their employees enough so they don’t live in poverty.”
“When Paul Ryan or one of these Trickle Down Clowns claim that wages go up and employment goes down—it’s an intimidation tactic masquerading as an economic theory. It’s a way for powerful people to bully people without power. It is them saying, in effect, ‘We matter and you don’t.'”
Bill gave him crap about sounding like a politician, which is bullcrap because a) he’s telling the truth and 2) he’s too good for politics. Sounded almost dismissive after a really persuasive argument for raising the minimum wage.
Panel Discussion—An unexpected turn to the craft of journalism
“I thought it was an encouraging week for fans of sanity.” man you got that right Bill. “If Hillary or Bernie had been found to be exploiting veterans red handed, promising them money, and caught in a lie—their campaign would be over.
“I’m so tired of there being two rules for this campaign,” Bill said. “One rule for the GOP and another rule for everybody else.” Ay-freakin-men to that.
“It’s our job in the press to call bullshit on Donald Trump.” John Avlon does his first twist to the center: “It’s not about the GOP, it’s specifically about Trump.” Yeah, right, ok.
“Excuse me if I don’t hold my breath for that to happen,” Bill said to Avlon after he declared that the press should call out Trump. This conversation has officially taken an unexpected turn to analyzing the craft of journalism.
This is the crux of the problem: people in the media created the platform that Trump enjoys; they don’t want to risk ending access to him because he’s ratings bait. Shorter: “We don’t dare touch the monster we helped mastermind.”
— Will Wants Qualified Journalists Running Newsrooms (@bywillpollock) June 4, 2016
Matt Welch is full of shit saying “there are only a handful of journalists who can fact check on the fly.” As journalists, our fact-check and bullshit meter should always be running. And including Megyn Kelly in that “esteemed” group is even bigger, stinkier bullcrap.
On anointing Megyn Kelly the second coming: “You know who’s out of bounds? journalism.” Thank you. “Kelly didn’t ask one tough question. It was a profile in cowardice.”
“Who covers Trump more than anyone MSNBC? The people who are supposedly the liberal network, yet they cover every word he says like it’s a Papal visit to America.” Bill is speaking up against the craven media greed I’ve written extensively about in previous CrankyYank editions.
“The media isn’t liberal, they’re just biased toward money.” Just ask Les Moonves, who openly bragged about what an epic year The Donald had brought them. The TV journalists covering the Trumpster are “vapid ratings whores. they’re traitors to journalism.” Yes, Bill Maher, yes.
Trump uses his distaste and scorn of the media “for deflection,” says a centrist-minded Avlon. “Don’t forget that the Constitution doesn’t mention political parties but it does mention journalists. ” This is the best of Avlon so far; there are journalists doing great work. Unless it’s an independent outfit—like, say, CrankyYank—journalists are beholden to their greedy-pig shitbird ratings craving honchos.
But Avlon starts getting a bit defensive. “We’re doing our job trying to hold public figures to account especially if they think they’re gonna be president and they’re con men demagogues like Donald Trump.”
Bill wasn’t having it. “But you don’t hold them to account. There’s a reason why none of them do this show. The only one who has the balls to do it is Bernie Sanders.
Hate to be a party pooper, but Bill is being hypocritical when he says “he won’t make the deal” of being nice to political figures. Have a look at this interview and tell me where the challenging questions are hidden because I don’t see them:
Bill treated Bernie with kid gloves, and the only rationale I can find is that he’s an underdog in a race with two other hugely known personalities and characters. But that’s not an excuse to go soft right when you need to go direct, hard and challenging.
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I like that Avlon and Maher are arguing over this point, but I’m pissed off because Bill didn’t hold up his end of the bargain last week in his interview. As it turns out, Ivory Towers are almost always rickety and close to collapse.
On to Maher’s “Red Flag” ongoing bit, which always reminds me of this epic SNL skit starring Kristen Wiig.
Bill says Donald Trump doesn’t need a sugar-daddy billionaire because “the media is his corporate backer. $2.5 billion of free advertising.”
“I feel like Hillary is like Stella Got Her Groove Back,” Bill said. “He’s a fraud, he’s a scam artist. This could stick.”
Welch nails it: “Trump University is a metaphor for his campaign. He’s a con artist using his brand name for people who are gullible trying to shake as much money as possible.”
“Supporting Donald Trump is not a political decision it’s a moral decision. And folks will be accountable if they back a demagogue as president.” Avlon makes the point of the night so far. Kudos for eschewing the center for a hot minute.
The transition bit “Amazon Primer” was dumb and I ain’t covering it.
Second interview guest: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Thus is the power of the universe on the soul.” Three sentences in and he’s already knocking my socks off—and he’s the perfect foil for Bill, who was mocking his affection for the planet Saturn.
Tell me if this doesn’t cream your pants:
Tyson is a walking meme quoter: “The universe has boundless heavenly bodies.”
“You don’t have to believe in science, it’s always true.”
“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. Human senses are not the measure of what is or is not true in the universe. Most of matter is empty space.”
“You keep using ‘nerd’ as an insult, but today it’s a compliment.”
“Bugs evolve really effectively,” said Tyson, which definitely explains Ted Cruz.
— Will Wants Qualified Journalists Running Newsrooms (@bywillpollock) June 4, 2016
I had a thought that Zika was compounded by Climate Change and I’m glad that Bill mentioned it directly.
“It can move north to D.C., with the rest of the bloodsuckers.”
The panel slips in to a discussion about false equivalence and Climate Change, and Bill nails it: “Republicans are worse. They deny global warming. Climate Change is the biggest issue of our time—one party denies it, the other doesn’t. We have to start from there. The left is better at holding their side accountable.”
“The biggest question: why did Noah bring mosquitos on the ark? what an asshole.”
— Will Wants Qualified Journalists Running Newsrooms (@bywillpollock) September 1, 2015
Dr. Tyson has the comment of the night—which jibes nicely with my above tweet.
“As an educator I care about the population and the electorate. And all this attention going to complain about Donald Trump—you’re complaining that there’s a major portion of the electorate who likes him. So if they’re the object of your ire, then shouldn’t you be looking at the education system that allows people to think about what’s not true in the world.
“You can knock Trump out of the contest and you can wait for the next one to rise up and you have to hit the next one over the head.”
Donald Trump slamming Stephen Hawkings really takes the fucking cake. Then again, Trump would insult a nun if she didn’t look pious enough.
— NTA by Mic (@NavigatingTrump) May 31, 2016
“If you deliver 15 lbs. of anything you’re not a birth mother you’re a UPS truck.”
Final thought: socialism
“Socialism is Capitalism’s lap band—society’s way of preventing it from eating everything.”
Really National Parks? Naming national treasures is just as greedy as Trump.
That’s a wrap guys. Next week I’ll be looking forward to Ana Marie Cox and the very hunky Tom Morello.
Will Pollock is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
Will covers “Real Time with Bill Maher” on a semi-regular basis as a self-deputized RT Reporter, until Bill comes to his senses and has him on to talk about Pizza for Good. For more on Will’s Real Time and twitter philosophy, click here.
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