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This Bill Maher and Ben Affleck Exchange Is Incredibly Important For Liberals and Conservatives

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Let me first just say that I’m not sure if keeping score on something like this is good for anyone… But Bill had a strong point to make, but so did Ben actually.

Wow… I love a good debate, and this really was a huge debate to watch. On one side you have the liberal force of “tolerance” so that we don’t lump groups in a distortion of their true character (represented by Mr. Affleck), and on the other side we have the liberal cornerstone of an activism that has zero tolerance for any social and economic oppression subjugated by any ideology (represented by Mr. Maher). This article sums up a good portion of how I feel, but I think there is more to it. I think that what Bill was saying is incredibly important, and I think that what Ben was saying is crucial to actually solving the problem. Bill was pointing out that renouncing your faith should not be cause for being put to death, which it is perceived to be for many people. He quoted that something like 90% of Egyptians felt that leaving Islam should result in capital punishment, and I thought I’d heard the same about Saudi Arabia. That is astounding to me, and assuming that the polling is correct I am left terrified of how we might bridge the divide in our cultures.

Ben however, was taking a firm stance that you can’t just throw entire regions and cultures out like this – which I find admirable in terms of how we may ever have to address this problem. Where I find myself frustrated on this front is the double standard between the Middle East and the Heartland of America. Liberals like Ben (and maybe not him more specifically) almost predictably take this stance of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater on people and their cultures, until it comes to the Christian coalition (not the necessarily the actual organization with that name) of people across this country who are reamed constantly by the media for having faith. Some groups and individuals who call themselves Christians probably deserve some harsh feedback, but we don’t usually hear this same kind of nuanced approach with Christianity in America.

If someone wants to go after religion they don’t necessarily hurt my feelings – society needs people like that so you don’t end up with a population that thinks we should kill people who don’t believe in what we believe in and can’t prove. BUT, if you are going to do it you should remain consistent, and nuanced in your value judgements of these differing groups and their ideas. I wish Bill wouldn’t be so willing to throw people out like he does, and I wish Ben would clarify his standard, as well as recognize that what Bill was saying is scary. If those poll numbers don’t scare you then you must not be paying attention…

I will actually be taking a trip in November with my good buddy Gavin to Egypt, and I just want to say that I can’t wait to meet these people who are often villainized by the media – and who like me don’t have the world figured out yet. I’m sure we could come up with some astounding polling from the United States over the last century, so to side with Ben for a second I hope that we can work on finding our common ground so that maybe we can work on exchanging our best ideas, and not just harp on our differences.

So, here is the exchange, and below is a very interesting article about the whole thing. Please feel free to give me your feedback:

And due to neither of these men being representatives of Islam I figured we’d throw in this Reza Aslan interview that would most support Ben’s thinking for before you read an article about why Bill is right:

The Daily Beast
 

Bill Maher 1, Ben Affleck 0

The Real Time host’s spat with the Gone Girl star gets to the heart of a major and longtime problem within contemporary Western liberalism

Every once in a great while, something happens on television that you know while you’re watching it: Well, this is unusual. Those old enough to know what I’m talking about when I say “Al Campanis”  will remember that that was one of your more extreme cases. The exchange between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck on last Friday’s Real Time wasn’t a Campanis moment, but I knew instantly—watching it in, well, real time, as it were—that this was going to spark discussion,  as indeed it has.

In case you missed it, the two—both committed and thoughtful liberals—got into it on the question of whether Western liberals can or should criticize Islam. Mentioning freedom of speech and equal rights, Maher said: “These are liberal principles that liberals applaud for, but then when you say in the Muslim world, this is what’s lacking, then they get upset.” Sam Harris, the atheist author, agreed with Maher and said, “The crucial point of confusion is that we have been sold this meme of Islamophobia where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people. That is intellectually ridiculous.” Affleck, as if on cue, challenged Harris: “Are you the person who understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam?” And then: “So you’re saying that Islamophobia is not a real thing?” Right after, Affleck said that such criticisms of Islam were “gross” and “racist” and “like saying [to Maher] ‘you’re a shifty Jew.’”

It was cracking good TV, but it was more—it hit home because they were describing one of the most important debates within liberalism of the last…10 years certainly, as pertains to Islam, but 40 or 50 years as relates to arguments between the developed and the developing world, and close to a century when it comes to discussions of how culture should affect our understanding of universal, or as some would have it “universal,” principles. Reluctance to criticize the failures of other cultures has been a problem within contemporary liberalism, with negative consequences I’ll go into below. So this liberal is firmly on Maher’s side, even as I recognize that his rendering is something of a caricature.

Here’s some quick history for you. First, the Enlightenment happened, and humankind developed the idea of universal rights. ’Round about the 1920s, some scholars in the then-newish field of cultural anthropology started to argue that all rights, or at least values, were not universal, and that we (the West) should be careful about imposing our values on societies with traditions and customs so removed from our own.

A big moment here came with the debate over the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserted the universalist position without apology and which was pushed mostly by mainstream political liberals (Eleanor Roosevelt most notably). There were many critiques of the declaration from what we would today call “the left,” but those voices had little juice in those days, and when the UN adopted the declaration, it was a great victory for liberalism.

Fade in, fade out. Then came the anti-colonialist uprisings of the 1950s, Frantz Fanon, postmodern political theory, Vietnam, the Israeli occupation, the intifada, et cetera et cetera. All of these and many other kindred events seeped into the liberal bloodstream, still rich in universalist cells but now also coursing with the competing cells of cultural relativism (invariably a pejorative these days, although it wasn’t always).

And so, yes, we have seen in recent years from liberalism, or at least from some liberals (a crucial distinction, in fact), an unwillingness to criticize the reactionary aspects or expressions of other cultures, expressions that these liberals would have no hesitation whatsover in criticizing if they were exhibited by, say, Southern white Christians.

The most obvious example that comes to mind is that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim-African-Dutch-and-finally-American feminist intellectual. She of course is famous, now mostly for some of her more incendiary comments, but recall how she first became so: She and her collaborator, Theo van Gogh, had made a film critical of the oppression of women in the Muslim world. He was murdered, and she received death threats. She fled to the United States.

Now, here was a key moment: When she came to America in 2006, where was Hirsi Ali going to plant her flag? As she tells the story in her book Nomad, she met with liberal and conservative outfits. She says the liberal ones were “tentative” in their support for her and her ideas, but the conservative American Enterprise Institute embraced her totally, even though on certain issues (like abortion rights) she’s no conservative.

Hirsi Ali, of course, has subsequently gone on to say, quite controversially, that not just radical Islam but “Islam, period” must be “defeated.” But here’s the question: Before she started talking like that, why was she unable to find a home within American liberalism? It should be, and should have been, a core part of the mission of liberalism to support secular humanists and small-d democrats from all over the world, but from the Muslim world in particular. Most of these people are themselves liberals by Western standards, and they are desperate for the United States to do what it can to oppose the theocracies and autocracies under which they’re forced to live.

Maher, and certainly conservative critics, overstate the extent to which liberals fail to make common cause with such folks. Christian evangelicals who do work on, say, genital mutilation (which Hirsi Ali suffered) get a lot more attention in the media, because it’s more “interesting” that white conservatives give a crap about something happening to nonwhite women halfway across the world. But as the writer Michelle Goldberg pointed out in a review of Hirsi Ali’s Nomad for the journal I edit, Democracy, numerous women’s organizations and feminist groups do work to advance women’s rights in the Muslim world.

Goldberg wrote: “A few years ago, I visited Tasaru Ntomonok, which is the kind of place Hirsi Ali would probably love—it’s a Kenyan shelter that houses and educates girls fleeing female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Among its supporters are the high profile feminist Eve Ensler, the feminist NGO Equality Now, and the United Nations Population Fund, a bête noire of many conservatives. There are similar grassroots organizations working toward women’s liberation all over the world.”

Even so, Maher has identified a problem within Western liberalism today. Debates about multiculturalism are appropriate to a later stage of development of the infrastructure of rights and liberties than one finds in some other parts of the world. That infrastructure has existed in Western countries for a century, and it is the very fact that it was so solidly entrenched that opened up the space for us to start having debates about multiculturalism in the 1970s and ’80s.

But in much of the Arab and Muslim world, that infrastructure barely exists. So—and how’s this for a paradox?—to insist that our Western standards that call for multiculturalist values should be applied to countries that haven’t yet fully developed the basic rights infrastructure constitutes its own kind of imposition of our values onto them. A liberated woman or a gay man who lives in a country where being either of those things is at best unaccepted and at worst illegal doesn’t need multiculturalism. They’re desperate for a little universalism, and we Western liberals need to pay more attention to this.

via Bill Maher 1, Ben Affleck 0 – The Daily Beast.

“Killing Them Softly” – Bill Maher on how we kill people

I thought that this was worth a share. A lot of times more controversial, and carnal issues get the black and white treatment, but they are actually the issues that most need a nuanced approach. If we are going to kill people as a society how should we kill them?

-Grady

Killing Them Softly

January 30, 2014 

By Bill Maher

Hey, remember the Bill of Rights? Sock hops? Hot rods? Flat tops? A warm hand job and a frosty malted at Pop’s? Those were the days. Remember when we used to debate whether the death penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment” – back before drones and torture? Well, there’s still one problem with the death penalty: We do it in public – unlike torture, natch – and it gives people the creeps when it goes wrong or takes a long time, like recently, when a guy who’d raped and stabbed a pregnant newlywed was executed in Ohio, and he took longer to die than Ariel Sharon.

America tends to execute people by lethal injection. We’ve killed about 1,300 people since 1970; 1,200 of those by needle. But drug companies don’t like making lethal drugs. It looks bad for the brand. So Missouri state Representative Rick Brattin has a solution: He introduced a bill to add “firing squad” as an option in his state. Right now, Utah is the only state that uses firing squads, but they’ve only shot three people since 1977, which is more than I can say for Aaron Hernandez.

Why is shooting creepier than injection? It’s not like we’re one of those countries that doesn’t like bang-bang. Is it because we have an affection boarding on worship for the idea of solving problems with drugs?

If We Weren’t Laughing We’d Be Crying – The Night I Met Bill Maher

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That’s me on the right, and Bill Maher on the left. He shook my hand, and I thanked him for being the King of Nuance, to which he laughed.

Last night (April 14th, 2013), I got to shake hands with one of the people who has been on my bucket list to meet for a long time, Bill Maher. I ended up getting to sit on the second row in the middle of the stage, and it felt like he was looking at me several times. As a kid I was scared of Bill, and I thought that he was the absolute epitome of all that was wrong in the world, I’d never heard anyone talk or act as he did on national television, several times a week. Skipping a few steps in my story, I decided in my early adult life that there really was no such thing as a bad question, so started listening to videos and clips of people who I adamantly disagreed with, so that I could figure out how others could possibly believe things so different from what I believed. This list of people who I’ve listened to due to my disagreements on politics, religion, philosophy, and the weather has grown and changed several times, but Bill remains a part of that list. The funny thing is that I’ve found myself agreeing with much of his sentiment, but not always the snark. I have truly grown to appreciate his honesty, even when it hurts. I could talk about Bill Maher for a long time because of what it has meant to me to listen to his standup routines and panels and challenge myself to never stop asking questions, and to not get my feelings hurt so easily when someone disagrees with me or even calls me a name. Bill is guilty of the name calling, and he could tone that down – but I will also say that if he hadn’t called me names I wouldn’t have been challenged enough to ask the tough questions that I’ve needed to ask myself on several occasions.

I’ve decided in this post to include a couple more pictures and a few of his standup routines, but mostly I want to include the first episode of his new show (of which he is the head producer), that follows his show on Friday nights now. It’s called VICE, and it is Very challenging to watch… I must warn you it is very graphic, and you should not watch it at work, unless if you work at home, or actually want to get any work done for the rest of today. As I understand it they decided to start this show because of the disappointing lack of journalism in the Middle East being broadcasted in the United States, and as HBO and Bill are both tips of the spear for progression this show is incredibly well done.

So, thank you Bill for your candor and sincerity. If we weren’t laughing about some of the absurdity in the world we would be crying. However, if you watch this premiere of VICE it is likely that you’ll cry regardless.

I don’t agree with Bill on everything, especially his approach to faith (although I appreciate him forcing people to ask questions that they might not otherwise), and If you would like to know about my faith feel free to click on this recent post “And Then the Conference Uninvited Me To Speak”.

I’m sorry if your feelings are hurt by me saying anything warm about Bill Maher, but he has challenged me, and for that I’m grateful. When I shook his hand last night I thanked him for being the king of nuance, to which he laughed. Playing the “devil’s advocate” (poor term in my opinion) / asking questions even when it is unpopular or personally challenging is something that I intend to do for the rest of my life, so if I stop friends, family and strangers please remind me to start again.

-Grady

VICE Series Premiere

Thanks for reading, please feel free to give me some feedback.

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Here are just a couple of his standup routines, and I would like to remind you that posting this does not mean I approve of everything that he says, in particular about religion. But I do appreciate him making space for me to ask questions, which has been very liberating in my spiritual journey believe it or not…:

I’m Swiss (2005):

Crazy Stupid Politics (2012):

Bill Maher Says “Taxes Are Too High” – Washington Times

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By Cheryl K. Chumley

Liberal HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher says he may leave California, due to the state’s high tax rate.

“Liberals,” he said, during a recent broadcast,” you could actually lose me.”

He made the comments during a panel discussion of current Capitol Hill budget policy that included the participation of MSNBC Rachel Maddow, who blasted Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal as beneficial to the rich.

“The Ryan budget is a document that says the big problems in American right now are that rich people do not have enough money. They need relief from confiscatory tax rate,” she said, Newsbusters reports.

Mr. Maher answered: “You know what? Rich people — I’m sure you’d agree with this — actually do pay the freight in this country.”

Mr. Maher then cited statistics that California millionaires pay nearly 40 percent to the federal government and another near 15 percent to the state.

“I just want to say liberals — you could actually lose me. It’s outrageous what we’re paying — over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous,” he said, Newsbusters reports.

via Bill Maher threatens to leave California — due to high taxes – Washington Times.

 

Grady’s Comments:

Taxes are tragically one of the most divisive topics in our nations political hemisphere,  and there is more that the populist portion of this nation would agree on than there is for them to disagree on, if there is an honest discussion. Paying taxes is no fun, but investing in society can do great things! Unless of course if you don’t like the internet, interstate highways, etc… I mean, most people take advantage of, and seem to enjoy a lot that public investment has wrought. There is plenty of disagreement to be had, but there is a disconcertingly dishonest narrative, for the most part, that Democrats want TONS of taxes, and Republicans want 0% (ZERO) taxes… People in either party want a government that has basic functionality, and that isn’t free. Due to a toxic environment for debate and discussion I sadly think that people’s understanding of what it takes to have a government that works is very skewed. In polling people repeatedly show that they don’t know what is most expensive, and they don’t know what benefits they receive from paying taxes. And when people don’t realize they they are a part of the problem things can get ugly… It’s like dating someone who thinks that they are low maintenance  but they very clearly to everyone else are high maintenance… Why won’t their friends just say something?!!

Now, with all of that said – there is little disagreement from as far as I can tell that people almost across the board want a simpler, more flat tax code. And if rates are to be staggered the majority of people in polling that I’ve seen have said that they think that those with more should pay higher rates (Adam Smith himself thought this was best) – but there is a limit to this approach, and I think that popular opinion on this is also changing. I think that we are going to find our selves in the near future with a voting populous that wants an even flatter tax code, and they might call for more people to pay. This however will be increasingly hard to achieve with growing income disparity breaking barriers at increasing speeds.

At the end of the day I agree with Bill’s comments. I think that there are a lot of people with a lot of money who pay too much in taxes. However, there are a number of people who don’t pay near as much in taxes, in terms of their rate especially, and it’s a real problem not just because of simple fairness, but because of the side-affects of having such an imbalanced society. Our convoluted tax code allows for those who don’t work to pay half of the rate of those who do work (ie: capitol gains, and the carried interest), and that’s before they add in deductions which could dwindle those rates into oblivion with the right tax lawyers/ninjas.

As this is somewhat of a confusing conversation with so many contrasting stories about people who do and don’t pay taxes we simply need to recognize that our tax system is broken, and from there move towards a system where work should be incentivized. If you hear people talk about the “1%” take note of what they’re saying, and then consider that the real problem in having that stereotype continually repeated is that we are lumping together some people who do pay taxes, and some people who don’t. I want to talk about it, but I want to Really talk about it – it’s just not simple. Most of the people who don’t “pay their fair share” (pay a normalish rate) have so much money that they don’t look like the other 99% of the top 1%… We are talking about very few people, but a LOT of money. When a millionaire like Bill Maher (who is quite liberal) talks about paying too much in taxes he is getting at a very real problem that is very confusing to the public, because when it comes to paying taxes it’s a game, and if you’re reading this you are probably losing…

“Retaking the Initiative” – Bill Maher on State’s Rights / Special Interest Groups

I thought this was pretty well put, especially considering that idea that he is arguing for a preservation of the 10th Amendment (state autonomy), and a large number of his harshest critiques have to respect that, as it is one of their great causes. What do you think?

 

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Retaking the Initiative

March 14, 2013

By Bill Maher

Recently on Real Time we talked about Prop 37, a California ballot measure that would have required labeling of genetically modified foods. Monsanto, Coke, Pepsi, Kraft, General Mills and others formed a nutritional axis of evil and spent 45 million dollars to successfully defeat the initiative. And this is not the first time large outside interests have butted their noses — and wallets — into the state of California’s affairs. The same thing happened with Proposition 8, the initiative to ban gay marriage, which was on the ballot in California in 2008. Backers and opponents of the bill donated 83 million dollars in total. Donations rolled in from all 50 states and, ironically, the US Virgin Islands.

Those supporting the bill to ban gave 39 million dollars. Those against the bill gave 44.1 million dollars. Of the 39 million spent to pass the measure, 27.7 came from California; 11.3 million came from out of state. Of the 44.1 million spent to defeat the bill, 30.9 came from California; 13.2 million came from out of state. Prop 8 passed and gay marriage — which had been legal in the state for the previous five months, thanks to a California Supreme Court equal protection ruling — was no longer legal.

It’s time someone put an initiative on the ballot banning donations to state ballot initiatives from people who don’t live in that state.

Obama is hoping for a Democratically-controlled House in 2014, but it doesn’t really matter; special interest groups have figured out how to bypass the federal system and enact their agendas into law through state ballot initiatives. It’s also why Congress can get away with not working anymore.

Why should powerful wealthy groups and individuals be allowed to interfere with the way of life in an area where they don’t live? Isn’t that how America got started in the first place — to put an end to that sort of thing?

When are we going to stop allowing corporate interests or the Mormons or the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson to get all “King George” on us every election year?

Bill O’Reilly on The Late Show with David Letterman. – YouTube

Bill O’Reilly on The Late Show with David Letterman. – YouTube.

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I love watching interviews of my favorite shows when Bill O’Reilly is on, because even though Mr. O’Reilly can be a bully on his own show he is usually much better behaved and the best version of his TV self on other people’s shows. I always watch for him to appear on The Daily Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Gerry-Rigged: Real Time with Bill Maher Blog – HBO

Gerry – Rigged

Here is my standard Bill Maher disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything that he says and does, but I really appreciate his candor, and his perspective as a skeptic of the powers that be. I think that Gerrymandering really is a shameful problem in our politics, and I am glad that it’s being discussed more and more. Also, if you don’t know what Gerrymandering is there will be a video at the bottom to help you out.

Real Time Billboard

BILL’S BLOG

Gerry-Rigged

January 29, 2013

By Bill Maher

In the last election, Democrats got a million more votes for their House candidates than Republicans did. In a fair world, Nancy Pelosi would be Speaker again, but Republicans still have a 33-seat majority because of gerrymandering.

Let’s call gerrymandering what it really is: segregation. It carves up district lines so “urban” voters — aka African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics — are bunched up in Democratic districts, while suburban and rural districts are carefully kept just white enough to go Republican.

Short-term, gerrymandering is the only thing that keeps the GOP in power. Long-term, it just might kill them. They can’t compete for Hispanic votes because they don’t have to. Using redistricting as a crutch only allows them to stay in denial about demographic reality, which is that the fastest growing groups in the country are racing to the polls to vote for Democrats while the Republican base is racing to the morgue. Moreover, it only encourages them to continue insulting voters they need to take back the White House, or even hold onto Congress over the next few cycles.

You know who I think would back me up on this? George W. Bush. Remember, he was for immigration reform, but his own party killed him over it. If you’re a Republican, isn’t it a serious problem when George W. Bush is a couple steps ahead of the rest of your party? And even though the tide seems to have turned on immigration reform, most Republicans are still from districts whose voters are very uncomfortable doing the salsa.

Most Republican politicians are smart enough to know they’ve got an existential problem here, but their voters aren’t. They see a pathway to citizenship as “amnesty,” and won’t soon forgive their congressman if he votes for it. So if you’re a Republican House member, what the hell do you do?

via HBO – Real Time with Bill Maher Blog – Gerry-Rigged.

 

I hope that you enjoyed the article, but even if you know what Gerrymandering is I recommend watching this video. I learned about the history of Gerrymandering from the TV show “How the States Got Their Shapes” (amazing show…). And I recently got to talk to somewhat of a political hero mine about Gerrymandering in Oklahoma, former congressman Mickey Edwards (R-OK), who was a moderate Republican, at the No Labels meeting in New York (Jan. 13 & 14, 2013) entitled The Meeting to Make America Work. Well anyway, Here is a video about Gerrymandering.

New Rule – The New Neighbors

New Rule: The New Neighbors

Bill Maher each week on his show has a segment called “New Rules”, where he gives comedically scathing reviews of things or people that he doesn’t approve of. Sometimes he can make very poignant points during this segment, and sometimes it is basically about whatever he seems to find worth joking about in his last few minutes on air each week. Today I’d like to make a new rule of my own.

New Rule:

Corrupt Members of society , whether they be involved in government or in business (or some kind of freaky hybrid), who have hurt people with corrupt practices should have to register as “offenders”. Every time they try to make a legal transaction of a certain level of significance or price with you, they have to warn you that they are an “offender”, and if they don’t they’ll face punishments… In some states (ie: Oklahoma, my beloved home state) somebody could pee in public and have to register with the state as a “sex offender”. They have to tell all of their neighbors each time that they move that they are a sex offender… I’m not saying that this would be wrong for actual sex offenders, but when you become so willing to lie to Your Self justice almost surely will not be served… Peeing in public is not sex offending. I won’t pretend that I have all of the answers on moral issues, I can’t simply make everything black and white, but I know that calling this

sexual offense takes cognitive dissonance… I would prefer that over this however…

Billy was pretending to have peed in his pants to help a friend, but even if it were not pretend I would prefer that he find a bush… Peeing in your pants is not cool to people. I would prefer that you just act as this man in China did while I was visiting the Shanghai equivalent to Central Park while I was traveling in China

This man looked at me as if I was completely out of line, and I returned the favor. But after reflecting on this event, I would prefer he not wet his pants (although, he was about 50 yards from a free public restroom…).

So I’m kind of joking in that I’m not actually advocating for indecent exposure, or public urination so much, but I am saying that peeing in public does not make you a sex offender. And on the flip side, just as I do actually want to know if I’m living by an actual sex offender (not a public urinator), I want to know if I’m doing business with a crook… The lack of any kind of a crack down on Wall Street after the 2008 collapse has spurred doubt about justice in our system, and when an “offender” wants to do business with me I want to be the one to decide whether or not I’m willing to a risk working with a cheater…

Ok, I’m done with my New Rule, but if you feel the same way about the lack of a crackdown on Wall Street you should watch, if you haven’t already, the Academy Award winning Documentary Inside Job (Best Documentary 2011). Here’s the trailer from the movie:

John Steinbeck on American Socialism

John Steinbeck on American Socialism

The great

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” -John Steinbeck

I think that there is a lot of foresight and truth to this statement, but part of the problem with American Socialism is that it is a mixed bag. We have experienced a very real rise in entitlement spending in this nation, but this entitlement has been mostly paid into by the people who would be helped by the system. Socialism is usually designed so that the people with pay for the people without. Programs like Social Security and Medicare are financed by the people who benefit from them for the most part, and they are a huge piece of the spending pie. Of course these programs seem to need some major reform, and a lot of people would say that this includes means testing. But as for programs that actually help people who need a leg up to have a chance at the “American Dream”, there doesn’t seem to be the model of socialism that a socialist might hope for, despite the enormous spending. Saying something like this goes counter to what I believed much of my life, but I have since learned that the social mobility in this country is not what many have come to expect.

I don’t consider myself to be a “Socialist”, but I do believe in our nation having a safety net, which is a form of socialism – and I’m tired of hearing people say that they believe in a safety net, and turing around to accuse others of being socialists. We need to start having conversations about degrees of styles of government, since a lot of the political debates we see in this country are merely bastardized versions of the same systems. What do you think?

Bill Maher – “I Need Them To Admit The Historical Existence of George W. Bush”

“Republicans Don’t Have to Accept Evolution, Economics, Climatology, or Human Sexuality, But I Just Watched A Week of Their National Convention, And I Need Them To Admit The Historical Existence of George W. Bush.” -Bill Maher

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This is pretty funny, because it’s simply the truth… How in the world have they done such a good job of erasing W. not only from his connection to policies and ideology that has made impacts in our nation and world, but they seem to have made him disappear from the historical perspective of voters.

I found this at http://polentical.com/2012/09/04/quote-of-the-day-bill-maher-on-the-republicans-trying-to-shove-george-w-bush-down-the-memory-hole/

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