This week’s Bill Maher show, featuring Bari Weiss

September 14, 2019 • 9:30 am

Bari Weiss was on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show last night, and I have two clips (and, temporarily, the full show). The first clip was part of “Overtime” discussion, including, along with Maher, Michael Moore, Weiss, Krystal Ball, Michael Steele, and Fernand Amandi. Ball goes after MSNBC for damaging the Left through its slanted coverage, the candidates discuss how the Democrats should take Florida, and people muse about what a “never-Trumper” Republican should do were Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders to become a Presidential candidate. Moore asserts, at the end, that the Democrats need to put up a “street-fightin’ woman or a street-fightin’ man” if they want to defeat Trump.

And here’s Bari Weiss in an 8-minute discussion about her new book on anti-Semitism. There’s not much new compared to her longer discussion I posted a week ago, but if you didn’t watch that hour-long conversation, this is a decent summary. Weiss makes the point that although she doesn’t support Netanyahu, and thinks Israel needs to return much of the West Bank, that’s no rationale for demanding the elimination of Israel—an implicit goal of the BDS movement. She says, “You would never make that argument that because we have a terrible President right now [Trump], you should dismantle America.”

She also explains why if every journalist in America got off Twitter (i.e., stopped watching it) for six months, journalism in America would “wildly improve.” This is because journalists have gotten lazy, and simply go to Twitter for the story, and on Twitter it’s largely the enraged who weigh in. Truly, HuffPo would disappear if it could base nearly all its stories on Twitter.

Finally, someone put up the whole show, and reader Michael called it to my attention, adding: “A ‘pirate’ has put up the full episode, which will no doubt disappear in a day or two. Not that high a resolution, but sufficient for a table convo. Covers the Houston 3rd Democratic Debate. A couple of interesting points, but overall not enjoyable due to people cutting across each other.” I haven’t watched it, but if you’re having a lazy Caturday Sabbath, you might do so.

74 thoughts on “This week’s Bill Maher show, featuring Bari Weiss

  1. Maher has a way of cutting through and getting to the nub of an issue that is appealing to me. And as unreliable a metric as it is, the fact that he pisses off both extremes is, in this case, a good sign.

    I’d like it if he laid off the lazy anti-millennial stuff he sometimes trots out, especially since he complains about ageism on a regular basis, and he’s lacking in subtlety when he discusses certain issues, but overall he’s one of the good guys.

    1. I generally agree but have to mention that he does seem to go off on some ridiculous things sometimes. The end of last night’s show is a good example. He ranted about the ubiquity of ratings on websites. While they often aren’t reliable, and giving a rating is kind of a pain, they are very useful. In this age of Trump, ranting about ratings seemed a bit Andy Rooney-ish, as someone pointed out.

      1. He’s developed a bit of a get off my lawn thing recently. He just relaxes into it too easily, it’s there below the surface when he’s talking about pretty much any modern phenomenon, and it’s annoying.
        The constant digs at ‘millennials’, as though we’re all whimpering, porcelain demagogues…it’s so lazy. And like everyone with very definite ideas, he’s not great with nuance.

        And yet, I still like him. With some people you just instinctively know that if it came down to it they’d be on your side and you’d be on theirs.

        I don’t know who Andy Rooney is btw. Was he in the Monkees? A little guy? Or was he in The Little Rascals? If it didn’t come up on the Simpsons or Seinfeld I probably won’t know about it.

        1. Andy Rooney ended each episode of “60 Minutes” for years and would do a sort of slow rant on some aspect of everyday society. It was sometimes funny but often tedious, IMHO. It was also often the case where it simply reflected the fact that he was old and out of touch. Bill Maher very definitely was channeling him on last night’s ratings rant.

          Here’s a good Rooney rant on bottled water that I remember watching at its first release. It’s only 3 minutes long and worth watching.

          1. That was sweet. I don’t mind that, because he’s got his tongue in his cheek.
            I like the picture on his Rooney Water bottles too.

            (I think I was thinking of Mickey Rooney initially)

            1. (I think I was thinking of Mickey Rooney initially)

              Nah, Mickey Rooney was Andy Hardy.

              It can be a spot of bother, but do try to keep up with your Yank trivia, old boy. 🙂

              1. Wiki-Ken FTW, as usual…

                “It can be a spot of bother, but do try to keep up with your Yank trivia, old boy. 🙂”

                I am rewatching old Simpsons and Seinfeld episodes as I speak.

  2. Weiss is very good with the Israel discussing and all of that. Notice she pretty much stayed out of the louder discussion with the panel when they were all giving their advice on what the democrats should be doing. Reminds me of Generals fighting the last war always. They then will usually lose the next one.

  3. A side question: Whatever happened to “people”? Everybody is “folks” now. Steele keeps saying “folks” but never says “people.” (He’s hardly the only person who does this.)

    1. I think Obama started that, it was a way to counter his educated elite side. It sounds “folksy”, i.e., common, everyday people.

  4. As part of the “overtime” segment there was but another discussion regarding the merits of doing away with private insurance in a universal health care program. There seems to be two major objections to doing away with private insurance. The first is that the government cannot be trusted to run such a program. Bill Maher, presumably liberal, holds this position. The second is that people want “choice” in their health insurance.

    Roger Moore demolished the first argument, pointing out that government runs the military and public schools among other things. And, of course, Medicare is a government program. I can’t understand why Maher has such an abiding faith in the health insurance companies when corruption in all segments of the private section is in the news daily. Those who say they want choice in their health insurance provider are a priori saying that private insurance is better or should co-exist with government insurance. This is the question each person should ask: what kind of insurance will provide me with the best coverage for the best price? This question cannot be answered now. In fact, it may not be answerable for years until if and when a serious plan is debated by Congress. In other words, keep an open mind. It is much too early to state flatly that private insurance, perhaps in combination with a government program, is necessarily better than a program that essentially eliminates private insurance.

    1. “Roger Moore demolished the first argument, pointing out that government runs the military and public schools among other things. And, of course, Medicare is a government program.”

      Well, James Bond does have a way of demolishing things 😛

      Seriously though, I didn’t see that as a good argument. Does anyone think the government does a good job running our public schools? As Democrats, how long have we been complaining about the state of the public education system? And how long have we been complaining about the bloat and inefficiency of the military budget, to say nothing of how poorly veterans’ services are run? To me, Moore’s arguments are against the government taking over healthcare for 320,000,000 people.

      It’s not that Maher has some abiding faith in health insurance companies; it’s just that, like many people, he doesn’t have faith in government either.

      1. It’s not that Maher has some abiding faith in health insurance companies; it’s just that, like many people, he doesn’t have faith in government either

        I get this – but while I do I remember that government has avenues of accountability in ways that private companies do not. We could better the public education system by paying attention to who we elect, who sits on the school boards and what curriculum we choose. Our current health insurance system is ridiculous, could the government really do worse? (Somewhat of a rhetorical, I suppose they could).

        1. “We could better the public education system by paying attention to who we elect, who sits on the school boards and what curriculum we choose.”

          Unfortunately, these are local issues in which the government can’t intervene (not that I’m necessarily sure I’d want that, since the textbooks and curriculum would change from government to government). But I think the state of things on the Federal level is a disaster and nobody seems to have any coherent plan and/or desire to do anything about it.

          I agree our current health insurance system is ridiculous, but someone brought up a good point in one of the clips above: it’s really about the costs imposed by hospitals, treatment centers, drug companies, etc. They charge outrageous amounts of money, leaving insurers no choice but to be very expensive. Last I checked, healthcare costs in the US were 5.5 times what they were in the next most expensive country, and those costs were going up about 1/3 every year. If we don’t solve that issue, we can’t really solve insurance. We need laws and regulations regarding hospital and treatment costs, negotiate and enact laws and regulations to deal with drug companies (there’s a reason the same exact drug in Canada costs a ton less there than here), and address several other things in the healthcare market to bring the cost of insurance down. It seems nobody wants to address the real issues.

            1. I know it’s probably a generational thing — my dad is a Connery man — but I think Craig is the best Bond by a mile. I grew up with Pierce Brosnan.

              1. And now Pierce is an old fart — my age, to be exact. I chanced upon his turn as a Tony Blair-manqué character in Polanski’s The Ghost Writer just the other day.

              2. That was a fun little thriller! I enjoyed it.

                I’ve always liked Brosnan as bond. He was suave and looked the part. Unfortunately, he was dragged down by the script and the late-90’s style of Bond movies.

              3. As a child I thought the Bond movies were serious stuff, for grownups. Later, when I actually saw them, I discovered what unrealistic, ridiculous fantasies they were.
                I agree that Craig is the least ridiculous Bond, pretty good, in fact, and that the later Bond movies are slightly less unrealistic.

  5. While I am sure there are some journalists using Twitter out of laziness, my take is that most are using it as a quick and easy way to see how people react to certain ideas and people. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the Twitterverse is not representative. Using Twitter this way would be lazy if it were possible for journalists to take statistically rigorous polls whenever they needed to but that’s just not practical.

    Of course, the other reason journalists use Twitter is that important people are using it to communicate their thoughts directly. Before Twitter, we had to wait for an official press release that was vetted by a team of lawyers and PR people. And, of course, this is both good and bad.

    1. One of my favorite things about Twitter (and the primary way I use it) is my ability to follow journalists that I like. I don’t have to go skimming MSNBC or whatever to see the news, it shows up in my feed chronologically.

      1. Yes. I also use Twitter to follow scientists and organizations in fields that interest me. To name just one example familiar to all who read this website, Steven Pinker tweets quite often (though not nearly as often as Trump, of course). Since these messages come directly from him (I assume), they tell us what interests him personally and, short of knowing the man personally, give us insight into his world and character.

        Pinker’s Twitter feed also shows us Twitter’s dark side. Virtually every one of his tweets now has at least one reply making a joke about Pinker’s supposed relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. I’ve started blocking them. I am not interested in the opinions of those who traffic in that sort of junk.

  6. Maher cut weiss off just as she was trying to explain antisemitism from the left, a very important chapter in her book that gets to the bds issues, particularly on campus. That was a shame. Also i was surprised that she did not call him on his under the breath trope about not paying retail to which one of the guys on the panel piled on. In her book, Weiss makes a point that one cannot allow snide or cute antisemitic comments to go unremarked upon. Except that i am sure her mind was consumed with getting her larger points across in the chaotic environment that is the bill maher show. In any case, as a seventy something non practicing jew…i grew up in hebrew school just ten years after the holocaust…i found her new book, though just 200 pages, to be extremely informative and i highly recommend it.

    1. I noticed the same things you did. Imagine if Maher made a joke about black people instead. The outrage would be everywhere. And I also noticed how he cut her off just as she got to antisemitism specific to the Left.

      1. I believe he cut her off due to the time constraints of his show, not because she was getting into territory that Bill didn’t want to go, as you seem to be implying. Weiss appeared to be launching into a lecture, which Maher sensed. However interesting that would have been, his show’s format and length don’t allow for it. Besides, she has a new book out on the very same subject, which her appearance on Maher’s show did a good job of promoting. Anyone interested in hearing the lecture she was about to deliver merely has to buy her book.

        1. Maher has a habit of constantly interrupting and talking over his guests. I find him too annoying to watch very much.

          1. Yes but his format (his choice also, presumably) demands he interrupt sometimes. He has a certain set of issues he plans to talk about and sometimes his guests go a bit long on one of them. This one with Bari Weiss was a good example. Everyone started talking at once and Bari seemed to be interested in telling a longish story.

      1. I don’t know whether it is true or not but Corbyn’s anti-semitism is certainly a commonly held belief. These things tend to be a matter of opinion and yours just differs from hers.

            1. Same failure to rebut a single fact? Literal facts? This is honestly pathetic. Got to the post below and rebut the facts I listed. Go ahead.

              You can’t. That’s why you and other Corbyn supporters act like this when the subject is brought up.

      2. If you’re going to comment at least stand by your comments.

        And you can quibble about whether he’s himself anti-Semitic, in the same way that you can quibble about whether Trump is himself racist, but we both know that’s bullshit.

        If he ever took the issue even half-seriously it would have been stamped out as soon as he became leader of Labour. But he hasn’t. He either doesn’t care about the issue or he’s extraordinarily incompetent.

        And that’s before we even get to his utter dereliction of duty re. Brexit and his beyond-pathetic performance as opposition leader.

        If you’re a left-winger or a liberal you should be calling for Corbyn to resign. He is the biggest gift the conservatives and their ‘Tory rag’ media supporters have. They barely attack him because he’s such a fabulous asset to them.

        I mean…do you think in twenty years time history will look kindly on this useless berk? Or apologists like you?

    2. Maher is half-Jewish (the good half, you know, on his mom’s side). I took that comment not as snide, but as a bit of in-tribe wisecracking. I’ve heard similar self-deprecating humor playing off the “not buying retail” stereotype from Jewish friends and comedians.

  7. She embarrassed herself on the Joe Rogan show when she reacted negatively to Tulsi Gabbard (she’s Putin’s puppet! She loves dictators!)but couldn’t back any of it up.

    1. I watched the entire 3 hour Rogan podcast when our host when our host posted it here. That is not what happened. If you want to check then go to timestamp 2:32:20 and watch.

      She did react very negatively when Joe mentioned Gabbard, but Putin wasn’t mentioned at all and there was no “She loves dictators” line. What happened was she called Tulsi Gabbard an “Assad Toady”. On the podcast, they then looked up this article from the Guardian which describes Gabbard’s controversial trip to meet Assad and her support for Assad.

      Weiss also brought up Gabbard’s positions from 15-20 years ago when she was anti-gay marriage activist and supporter of gay conversion therapy. This could be seen as less fair because she has since disavowed and apologized for her previous activism. Her father was a state legislator and anti-gay activist and she was teenager to early 20s at the time (though surprisingly she was elected to the Hawaii state legislature in her early 20s). It is understandable that some of her activism was following her father’s footsteps and also that she could evolve her position as she became an adult.

      A while after her appearance on Joe Rogan, Jimmy Dore made a hit piece/rant video about Bari Weiss’s appearance on Rogan. A lot of the things I’ve seen criticizing Weiss are really Dore’s commentary about how he imagined Weiss and not things she herself actually said.

      1. I watched the video in question, and in this case Jimmy Dore was right. Weiss admitted that she didn’t know much about Gabbard’s positions and couldn’t explain what exactly made her an Assad toady. The Guardian article did not give any evidence of Gabbard’s “support” of Assad. She (Gabbard) had previously referred to him as a brutal dictator. The point about the conversion therapy was that Weiss was moving the goalposts. She couldn’t back up the “Assad toady” assertion, so she changed the subject. I generally agree that most Weiss-bashing is ridiculous and over-the-top, but this was a rare exception.

  8. I am appalled by Ms Weiss’ slur against Corbyn – propagating the myth of anti-semitism

    NO ONE has done more about equality

    She should keep out of British politics – plainly she knows nothing

      1. It’s exactly the same as Trump saying no one is less racist than he is. As long as you exclude all the racist things he has said and done and all the racist opinions he holds, it’s true. Otherwise it’s empty propaganda. Each time he opens his mouth to try to mitigate it he unwittingly makes it worse, because he doesn’t really know what antisemitism is.

        1. “As long as you exclude all the racist things he has said and done and all the racist opinions he holds, it’s true.”

          That made me guffaw 😛

    1. Wait, I just noticed that you said, “the myth of anti-semitism,” not even “the myth that Corbyn is antisemitic.” Are you suggesting that antisemitism itself is a myth?

      1. Nothing like taking a comment out of context…

        The ‘spectator is the Tory house-rag – you might as well link to Breitbart…

        1. They literally have alternate links to each and every one of the 50 points. You didn’t even read it, did you? If you did, I’d love to see you try and rebut the things it lists about Corbyn.

    2. Jezza has brushed off his reference to Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” by saying he just wanted to use inclusive language, but he also said about Hamas
      “The idea that an organisation that is dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region should be labelled as a terrorist organisation by the British government is really a big, big historical mistake”. This is a strange thing to say about an organisation whose stated aim is to drive Israelis into the sea, indoctrinates children to hate Jews, diverts money to it’s terror activities at the expense of civil services, murders opponents and is about as anti-SocJus as you can get.

      1. Here are some other “strange” things for a non-antisemite to do:

        Corbyn came to the defence of Sheikh Raed Salah, who revived the medieval anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’ slur that Jews cook with children’s blood. Salah was arrested by British police in 2011 when he was due to speak at an event in the House of Commons – alongside Corbyn. In 2012 Corbyn called Salah ‘a very honoured citizen’.

        Jeremy Corbyn was an active member of an ‘anti-Semitic’ Facebook group, ‘Palestine Live’. The group included Holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs. He said he did not see the offensive posts and left in 2015.

        Jeremy Corbyn had a ten-year association with a group which denied the Holocaust. Mr Corbyn was a ‘stalwart’ supporter of Deir Yassin Remembered, attending events in 2013, with the group’s founder, Paul Eisen, a self-professed Holocaust denier.

        Jackie Walker, formerly vice-chair of Momentum, said Jews were the ‘chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade’, criticised security for Jewish schools, and said Holocaust Memorial Day was not ‘inclusive’ enough. After the comments were made and widely condemned, Corbyn shared a platform and campaigned alongside Walker.

        Jeremy Corbyn hosted an Islamic cleric in Parliament in 2009, who in 2006 wrote that ‘Europe has made political correctness, the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshipping its alternative religion’.

        Bethany Barker, a student activist who introduced Jeremy Corbyn at a 2017 local elections campaign event, described a Kippah as a ‘Jew cap’ and said Andres Breivik, the Norwegian far-right terrorist, should ‘get forced to live in a synagogue’.

        Josh Simons, formerly a policy adviser in Corbyn’s office, said one member of Corbyn’s team referred to a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ in office discussions. Simons claimed Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s chief spokesperson, subjected him to an ‘inquisition’ about being Jewish, his family and his attitude to Israel.

        In December 2016, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the book launch of – and posed for pictures with – Hatem Bazian, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (the IHRC). Bazian later apologised for anti-Semitic tweets where he shared a picture of an ultra-orthodox Jewish man with the message: ‘Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians ‘Yay’ #Ashke-Nazi.’

        Jeremy Corbyn wrote a letter of support for Stephen Sizer, a vicar disciplined by the Church of England for sharing an article on social media entitled ‘9/11: Israel Did It’.

        1. And Corbyn is such a bigoted fool that he doesn’t know what antisemitism is. He thinks it’s when people say nasty things about Jews when their anger about how the Jewish global conspiracy gets the better of them.

          He should have been expelled from the Labour Party long ago, and would be now if he said and did the things he has done previously in the current context.

          As I’ve said before here, and it applies to “Jack Jones”, Corbyn’s supporters fall into two categories: those who deny he’s antisemite, and those who follow him exactly because he is one.

    1. Good for Mick. But we will be watching for personal jet activities. If you’re flying about on private jets…just be quiet about global warming.

      1. I get that attitude but I feel it is an unfair one. Flying on a private jet should be possible at the right price, reflecting its carbon footprint and other costs. It is possible for Mick to be willing to pay that price and still argue that the price should be higher in order to combat global warming.

        I have the same reaction when it is revealed that some rich person doesn’t pay much in taxes. As long as they take advantage of legal means to avoid paying taxes, they are simply doing what every other citizen does: paying as little tax as they can legally get away with. It isn’t their fault but the government’s.

        1. Yeah, I get aljones909’s point, too, though it reminds me of when what passed for the rightwing’s refutation of Al Gore’s climate-change argument was, “Hey, he got chunky and has a big carbon footprint himself.”

        2. Re the wealthy and taxes, it is a little bit their fault, as they made the donations to the campaigns of the politicians who dutifully steered the legislation to include the various mechanisms that are available to the wealthy for legally paying less tax.

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