How do you deal with a world where finger-pointing, bureaucracy, mob actions and a lack of initiative stall progress? That was the running theme of Friday’s Real Time on HBO, as a downbeat Bill Maher took on a world that was clearly vexing him greatly.
The show started out with an appearance by former Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo and his former Chief of Staff, Melissa DeRosa, author of What’s Left Unsaid: My Life at the Center of Power, Politics and Crisis.
Cuomo was forced to resign his post because of sexual harassment allegations. But there’s apparently more to the story than the accusations, and DeRosa and Cuomo blamed the New York Times and the lemming-like approach of the media in sloppily telling the story for Cuomo’s fall from grace.
Maher – who said he didn’t want to carry water for the two – did go over some of the more absurd accusations that brought down the former Governor, but did chastise Cuomo for his touching habits, accusing him of not getting the memo that “kids don’t want to be touched.”
Cuomo acknowledged that he did get the mem, “but it can be carried to an absurd length,” and blamed politics for escalating things. “It’s cancel culture on steriods at the highest level,” he said.
Maher agreed that some of the accusations were excessive. “I don’t want to live in the Soviet Union,” he declared.
Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business and host of The Prof G Pod with Scott Galloway, and Jessica Tarlov, cohost of Fox News’ The Five and head of research at Bustle, had a handwringing session during the panel portion of the show.
They talked of new House Speaker Mike Johnson. “He’s David Duke light,” Galloway claimed, until Maher pointed out Johnson has an adopted Black son.
Tarlov also was disapproving of Johnson, but said it was easier for Democrats to run against what Johnson represents than the slicker Kevin McCarthy, the ousted Speaker.
Switching gears, Maher pointed out that colleges are not backing down from protests against Israel.
Tarlov called on Rep. Rashida Tlaib to create a moment “to educate about the difference between terrorists and the Palestinian people.”
Galloway gave a meandering statement that Maher noted didn’t address the question. Finally, Galloway said that how “we’ve normalized the industrial food complex” will change, as the drugs inhibit various behaviors. “This will have a bigge impact on the real economy than AI.”
Maher then brought up a prior statement from Galloway, who claimed weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy potentially would have a greater impact than AI.
In his New Rules editorial, Maher took on the reality of the Deep State – the bureaucrats, administrators, regulators, project managers and others who stifle progress and justify their existence by making up new rules. “That’s my job,” Maher said.
These bureaucrats have jobs that seem to make sure nothing ever happens and then charge you for it, he opined.
Some 15% of U.S. workers are government employees, Maher noted. He brought up a wind farm in Arizona that took 18 years to get through the approval process. “Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend wasn’t even born yet,” he said of the long delay.
“It’s not that America can’t get it done,” he said. “It’s that it’s not allowed to.” America is becoming Gulliver, he said, “tied down with a thousand tiny ropes.”
Maher concluded by talking about how the cost of building a public toilet in San Francisco wound up with an initial cost of $1.7 million for one toilet. He imagined if the same bureacracy that created situations like that were tasked with building Mt. Rushmore today.
“Finally, after 50 years, we’d have half a nostril – and it wouldn’t be Lincoln, it would be Che Guevara.”