Archive for Bill Maher

Glenn Greenwald: Debating Assassinations on Bill Maher’s “Real Time”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Greenwald was on Real Time discussing the dangerous implications of Obama’s “assassination” program:

Debating assassinations on “Real Time”

by Glenn Greenwald (Salon.com)

I was on Real Time with Bill Maher last night and the most contentious debate occurred over the claimed power of the Obama administration to target American citizens for assassination without due process, as it did with Anwar Awlaki. Below is the clip of that discussion. One irony is that it was preceded by a discussion of hate crimes prosecutions (in the context of the Trayvon Martin and Tyler Clementi cases) in which both Maher and Andrew Sullivan insisted that Americans have the inviolable right to express even the most hateful and repellent opinions without being punished for it by the state, yet were both supportive of the Awlaki killing, an act grounded overwhelmingly if not exclusively in the U.S. government’s hatred and fear of his political speech. The discussion also included Brown University’s Wendy Schiller:

[The video can be seen here, at the bottom of the page]

Rampant Sexual Harassment of Women…in the West

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by loonwatch

Anti-Muslim bigots such as Robert SpencerPamela GellerGeert Wilders and co. love to trot out the talking point that Muslims (due to Islam of course) are unique in harassing and oppressing women. According to them, anytime a Muslim man harasses or otherwise assaults a woman it is considered a result of Islam or somehow encouraged by “Islamic behavior.”

This belief, however, is not limited to anti-Muslim bigots but has also crept into the popular imagination and perception of the mainstream. This was evident during the Egyptian Revolution when reporters, pundits and opinion-makers latched onto the Lara Logan incident as a marker for Arab and Muslim societies, viewed as monoliths that are separately “unique” when it comes to the treatment of women.

Take for example Bill Maher, who took the incident as an opportunity to explain why “our culture” is better than “theirs” (Arabs, Muslims). We reported on Maher’s comments at the time:

On his last show Bill Maher went on a speel undermining the Democratic character of Revolutions sweeping across the Arab world. Amongst his ludicrous statements he claimed “women can’t vote in 19 of 22 Arab countries,” that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good,” that “Arab men have a sense of “entitlement,” etc. He also went onto forward the argument that “we are better than them,” justifying it by implying he is not a “cultural relativist.”

Such statements not only defy facts and logic, not only are they racist but they serve to undermine the truth about the status of women in the world today. Maher’s all too typical tirade covers up the fact that what is at the heart of the problem is not a clash of cultures or civilizations (the familiar “us vs. them” paradigm), or a simple difference in the degree of harassment.

Reality asserts that at the end of the day, women are mistreated across the globe, across cultures, races, and religions at unfortunately high and gross levels.

The website Stopthestreetharassment.com deals with the issue of harassment, and in its category on statistics does away with the myth that somehow “harassment” and “assault” are unique to men from the Middle East or Muslim countries. The report indicates that this is a world-wide pandemic ranging from such divergent places as India, Europe, Egypt, Latin America and of course…the USA.

In its report on Statistics, stop the street harassment informs us:

In one of the first street harassment studies ever conducted, Carol Brooks Gardner, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis, interviewed 293 women in Indianapolis, Indiana, over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The women were from every race, age, class, and sexual orientation category of the general population in Indiana and the United States. She oversampled women of color to better represent their experiences. Gardner found that every single woman (100 percent) could cite several examples of being harassed by unknown men in public and all but nine of the women classified those experiences as “troublesome.”

Using a national sample of 12,300 Canadian women ages 18 and older from 1994, sociology professors Ross Macmillan, Annette Nierobisz, and Sandy Welsh studied the impact of street harassment on women’s perceived sense of safety in 2000. During their research, they found that over 80 percent of the women surveyed had experienced male stranger harassment in public and that those experiences had a large and detrimental impact on their perceived safety in public.

Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology and the law at Northwestern University conducted a study of 100 women’s and men’s experiences with offensive speech in the California San Francisco Bay Area in the early 2000s. She found that 100 percent of the 54 women she asked had been the target of offensive or sexually-suggestive remarks at least occasionally: 19 percent said every day, 43 percent said often, and 28 percent said sometimes. Notably, they were the target of such speech significantly more often than they were of “polite” remarks about their appearance.

During the summer of 2003, members of the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team in Chicago surveyed 168 neighborhood girls and young women (most of whom were African American or Latina) ages 10 to 19 about street harassment and interviewed 34 more in focus groups. They published their findings in a report titled “Hey Cutie, Can I Get Your Digits?” Of their respondents, 86 percent had been catcalled on the street, 36 percent said men harassed them daily, and 60 percent said they felt unsafe walking in their neighborhoods.

In 2007, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office conducted an online questionnaire about sexual harassment on the New York City subway system with a total of 1,790 participants. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents identified as women. Of the respondents, 63 percent reported being sexually harassed and one-tenth had been sexually assaulted on the subway or at a subway station. Due to collection methods used, the report “Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Assault in the New York City Subway System” is not statistically significant, but it suggests that a large number of women experience problems on the subway system.

The author’s own studies support the pervasive and widespread nature of the problem of harassment that exists in the USA,

Nearly every woman I have talked to about this issue has been harassed by men in public. Further, every woman can cite strategies, such as avoiding going in public alone at night, which she uses to avoid harassment and assault. To learn more about women’s harassment experiences I conducted two informal, anonymous online surveys about street harassment: one in 2007 for my master’s thesis at George Washington University and one in 2008 as preliminary research for a book. Between both surveys, there were 1,141 respondents. Similar to the other studies conducted on street harassment, nearly every female respondent had experienced street harassment at least once.

In my first online survey, conducted during the spring of 2007, I asked the 225 respondents: “Have you ever been harassed (such as verbal comments, honking, whistling, kissing noises, leering/staring, groping, stalking, attempted or achieved assault, etc) while in a public place like the street, on public transportation, or in a store?” Ninety-nine percent of the respondents, which included some men, said they had been harassed at least a few times. Over 65 percent said they were harassed on at least a monthly basis.

Over 99 percent of the 811 female respondents (916 respondents total) of the second informal survey I conducted in 2008 said they had experienced some form of street harassment (only three women said they had not). In one question they could indicate the types of interactions they have had with strangers in public, here is a sampling of their responses.

  • Leering
    Ninety-five percent of female respondents were the target of leering or excessive staring at least once, and more than 68 percent reported being a target 26 times or more in their life.
  • Honking and whistling 
    Nearly 95 percent of female respondents were honked at one or more times and 40 percent said they are honked at as frequently as monthly. Nearly 94 percent of female respondents were the target of whistling at least once and nearly 38 percent said it occurred at least monthly.
  • Kissing noises
    Just over 77 percent of women said they were the target of kissing noises from men and 48 percent said they’ve been the target at least 25 times in their life.
  • Making vulgar gestures
    Nearly 82 percent of female respondents were the target of a vulgar gesture at least once. About twenty percent said they had been a target at least 51 times.
  • Sexist comment
    Over 87 percent of women said they were the target of a sexist comment, and about 45 percent said they’ve been a target of a sexist comment in public at least 25 times in their life.
  • Saying sexually explicit comments
    Nearly 81 percent of female respondents were the target of sexually explicit comments from an unknown man at least once. More than 41 percent have been the target at least 26 times in their lives.
  • Blocking path
    About 62 percent of women say a man has purposely blocked their path at least once and 23 percent said this has happened at least six times.
  • Following
    Seventy-five percent of female respondents have been followed by an unknown stranger in public. More than 27 percent have been followed at least six times.
  • Masturbating
    More than 37 percent of female respondents have had a stranger masturbate at or in front of them at least once in public.
  • Sexual touching or grabbing
    Nearly 57 percent of women reported being touched or grabbed in a sexual way by a stranger in public. About 18 percent said they have been touched sexually at least six times.
  • Assaulting
    About 27 percent of women report being assaulted at least once in public by a stranger.

These jarring statistics of abuse, harassment and assault upon women in the “enlightened, culturally superior” West should give us pause and a heavy dose of perspective on the meaning of that age old adage, men are pigs.

Once and for all let us quit the holier-than-thou hypocritical obfuscation of the facts and realities on the ground when it comes to women and harassment. Women do not feel safe on Western streets, not because of the “evil Mooslims” but because too many men are unable or unwilling to control themselves.

To rectify this pandemic we must not divert the truth but face it head on. Instead of resorting to racist diatribes, innuendo, hate speech and efforts to destroy a race, religion and culture, organize to stop the harassment and aid in creating a safe space for women in our societies as opposed to the present status quo on our streets.

I encourage everyone to visit StoptheHarassment.com and check out how to End It.

Bill Maher and Keith Ellison Spar Over the Qur’an and Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by loonwatch

Bill Maher is anti-Religion, everyone knows that, well at least anyone who know who Bill Maher is, but as we have documented on our site Maher has a special bias against Islam, Muslims and Arabs. For Maher the Qur’an is a “hate filled Holy book,” and Islam presents a “unique” threat to us all as opposed to other religions which he says are merely “superstitious” nonsense but essentially not violent. He even had the temerity to say that the Bible has less violent passages than the Qur’an. A ridiculous claim that we have utterly debunked.

In this encounter, Bill flings these charges at Rep. Keith Ellison, who in my opinion did a pretty decent job in pushing back against Bill’s claims even though he could have done better:

For instance Rep. Ellison could have attacked the statement that the Qur’an is a “hate filled Holy Book” with more than just verses about peace and justice. But I understand that such a short time is really only good for soundbites and that real intellectual and thorough discussion requires a lot more time. He should have at the very least addressed the idea that Islam was somehow a “unique” threat because that is patently false.

It’s Official: Bill Maher is a Racist

Posted in Feature, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2011 by loonwatch

How long will Bill Maher get a pass on his racism and anti-Muslim Islamophobia? Is it acceptable because the targets are Arabs and Muslims and because Maher is a comedian from whom outrageous things are expected?

On his last show Bill Maher went on a speel undermining the Democratic character of Revolutions sweeping across the Arab world. Amongst his ludicrous statements he claimed “women can’t vote in 19 of 22 Arab countries,” that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good,” that “Arab men have a sense of “entitlement,” etc. He also went onto forward the argument that “we are better than them,” justifying it by implying he is not a “cultural relativist.”

No, Bill might not be a “cultural relativist” but he sure sounds like a “cultural supremacist.” His factual accuracy about the Islamic and Arab world is akin to Robert Spencer’s. It is patently false that “19 of 22″ Arab states don’t allow for women to vote, a brief trip to Wikipidea would have disabused him of that false fact:

Women were granted the right to vote on a universal and equal basis in Lebanon in 1952[46]Syria (to vote) in 1949 [47] (Restrictions or conditions lifted) in 1953 [48]Egypt in 1956[49]Tunisia in 1959 [50]Mauritania in 1961[51]Algeria in 1962 [52]Morocco in 1963 [53]Libya [54] and Sudan in 1964 [55],Yemen (Partly)in 1967 [47] (full right) in 1970 [56]Bahrain in 1973 [57]Jordan in 1974 [58]Iraq (Full right) 1980 [57] Oman (Partly) in 1994 and (Fully granted) 2003 [59], and Kuwait in 2005 [57].

The reality, (what is lost on Maher) is that even though nearly all Arab states allow for voting for men and women, their votes didn’t matter in the autocratic kleptocracies that littered the Middle East, and this is what Arabs — men and women — have been fighting against these past few months. It seems Maher just can’t handle all the myths he’s been pushing being shattered.

Bill Maher goes onto talk about how Arab men are bad spouses and boyfriends, to buttress his points he brings up “anecdotal” evidence and his opinion that Arabs have a “sense of entitlement.” How does Bill know? Has he dated Arab men? This is one of those things that is so ridiculous and patently unsubstantiated that it is beyond being laughable, you almost cringe with embarrassment for how stupid it makes Maher look.

Maher also seemed to use “Arab” and “Muslim” interchangeably, perhaps not knowing that a significant number of Arabs are not Muslims. While there are certainly problems in the Middle East and the Muslim world regarding the treatment of women, Maher judges Arabs and Muslims by their lowest common denominator. Ignoring countries such as Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and others that have progressive legislation regarding women and which have had women presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians, business leaders, sports icons, journalists, etc.

At the end of the day Maher needs to have someone on his show who can push back against the myths that he indulges in and propagates. Someone of the caliber of As’ad Abu Khalil or Juan Cole might be a good start.

You can watch the segment at Mediaite:

Bill Maher Slams Muslim Men’s Treatment Of Women, Gets Heckled By Audience Member

(Mediaite)

Maher was having it out with Smiley over relative treatment of women in Muslim countries and American society – Smiley didn’t argue that Muslim countries often exhibit poor attitudes toward women, but argued treatment of women in America has a long way to go, too. Maher called it a “false equivalency,” and it went on from there. Maher read off a list of the ways women are oppressed in Arab countries – in 19 of 22, they can’t vote; in Saudi Arabia they aren’t allowed to drive; etc.

Then, he got into slightly weirder territory. He asserted that “civilization begins with civilizing the men,” and then, after saying, “I know this is anecdotal” (not an auspicious way to start when you’re trying to make a convincing argument), unleashed this line:

“Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.”

Maher added they have a “sense of entitlement,” indeed quite the anecdotal piece of “evidence,” and one to which guest Michelle Caruso-Cabrera shot back, “Every man I’ve ever dated has a sense of entitlement.” And Maher kept on having none of Smiley’s argument that Americans shouldn’t act superior about treatment of women and rejected the notion he was “demonizing” anyone by saying Americans’ treatment of women is better:

“They’re worse. What’s wrong with just saying that?”

And it continued on like that until a guy in the crowd started yelling about Hellfire missiles…and yelling, and yelling. He rattled off so much so quickly (though most of it was tough to hear) that Maher guessed it was a prepared speech…a guess buoyed by the fact that the rant, as Maher also pointed out, indeed didn’t have a whole lot to do with what the panel was talking about. Video of the segment below – the interruption begins at the 5:32 mark.

 

Tell Bill Maher About a Mohammed You Know

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , on November 4, 2010 by loonwatch

Religious Freedom USA has a campaign in response to Bill Maher’s bigoted comments on Muslims.

Tell Bill Maher About a Muhammad

 

Last Friday, HBO’s Bill Maher expressed his fear that the Western world could be taken over by Islam in 300 years. Why? Because “Muhammad” was the most popular baby name this year in the United Kingdom.  “Am I a racist to be alarmed by that?” he asked.  “Because I am, and it’s not because of the race, it’s because of the religion.”

Not only does Bill Maher wrongfully assume that all Muhammads are religious Muslims, but he goes on to assume that as a Muslim, you are incapable of being a productive member of Western society. We find this to be horribly misinformed—but we don’t want to tell him that, we want you to!

Since he already made it clear that he isn’t interested in apologizing for his statements, I think we can one up him. Introduce Bill Maher to a Muhammad you know.  Tell him about your friend, or coworker, or family member who goes by the name Muhammad.  Tell him how this person, Muslim or not, is a hardworking, good-natured, and patriotic American, and how in spite of Mr. Maher’s prejudiced labeling, Muhammads are no more of a threat to Western society than Johns, Mikes, and even Bills.

Islamophobia is becoming increasingly rampant in America, and the time to stand up against it is now.  This poses an opportunity to repaint the discussion of Islam in America with the human faces of our Muslim friends and neighbors.

Check out what Bill Maher said below, and find the link to email himabove the clip.  Let’s tell him about some great Muhammads, and help him realize that Muslim Americans, named Muhammad or otherwise, are an integral part of the American community.  If he gets a thousand emails from all of us, perhaps Bill Maher will rethink his sloppy analysis of Islam in America.

Email the show:

http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/index.html#/about/contact.html

Bill Maher: A Loon Among Liberals

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by loonwatch

(Loonwatch welcomes new blogger Pterois to the Loonwatch team)

It is not easy being a progressive in America these days. Perhaps yesterday’s elections are evidence of that. Or maybe the heat NPR is facing for firing Juan Williams is another indicator. But one so-called progressive remains relatively untouched by the conservative rage sweeping the nation: Bill Maher. How does he do it? How does this pseudo-intellectual continue to espouse progressive causes for the most part, yet remain on the good side of the Neo-Con Bully Machine? By willfully bashing Muslims, that’s how!

In spite of Maher’s hostility towards everything conservative: He hates religion, hates Republicans, hates Sarah Palin, he nonetheless blatantly espouses the notion that culturally speaking “we are white, therefore right” and thus remains the little darling of The Right.

Fox News columnists make guest appearances on his show, as does Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who doctored a video of African-American Shirley Sherrod earlier this year. The video was edited to make the former government official appear racist.

The entire video was eventually released exonerating Sherrod and implicating Breitbart as a professional scheister who clearly and undisputedly lied about Sherrod being a racist in order to further his agenda. Yet Maher still welcomes Breitbart on his show.

This week, the self-proclaimed progressive was at it again. A current survey in the UK concluded the name Mohammed is currently the most popular name for newborns in the country. To this statistic Maher replied:

Am I a racist to feel alarmed by that? Because I am. And it’s not because of the race, it’s because of the religion. I don’t have to apologize, do I, for not wanting the Western world to be taken over by Islam in 300 years?

First of all Bill, if you have to ask your panel whether you are being a racist then your probably are being a racist. But, then again, the Fox News guest on his show, Margret Hoover joined in and took it a step further by saying: “I think England has far bigger problems with Islam than they do with the names of their children.” Of course that “problem” is the Shaira law bogey man the Right so often likes to use to scare us into war…as they have for the last ten years. Maher’s response? … “then Ishould be alarmed, and I don’t need to apologize for it.”

Wow, way-to-go Maher, it’s nice seeing your views on Muslims are indistinguishable from yet another Fox chicken-hawk who has been using this kind of trash logic for a decade, only to profit the military-industrial complex and waste our precious resources at the expense of a truly progressive agenda—especially the weekend before the election. Maybe we should elect Republicans to protect us from those scary moooslims.

Newsflash Maher: Racism has no place in a truly progressive philosophy.

Progressives believe that socio-economic justice defines politics, not culture. But then again, Maher is a fake progressive anyway, who lacks the intellectual substance to resist the temptation of racism. It makes him feel sooo good.

“At least we are not the Taliban” he said a couple of weeks ago in his pathetic defense of ourselves. What kind of progressive compares a thoroughly industrialized and diverse country like ours to a war torn, devastated and underdeveloped country like Afghanistan? Racists do. Racists who consider themselves better than non-Europeans who are less well off due to war and disaster. Neo-Cons do. Neo-Cons who consider themselves better than non-Europeans who they want to make less well off through war and disaster. Well Maher, true Progressives have higher standards and more noble aims. So, “New Rule:” Stop calling yourself a progressive.

 

Helen Thomas Resigned, will Chuck Schumer?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2010 by loonwatch
Chuck Schumer

Helen Thomas made an indefensible and impulsive comment that she subsequently apologized for, and now is being branded an “anti-Semite” and the “scum of the earth.” Not only has she apologized but she has essentially been forced to retire.

It is sad that her whole career will be overshadowed by one statement made by a questionable guysticking a camera in her face. She let her emotions get the best of her, something we can all relate to, but I don’t agree with those who are impugning from her comment that she implied Jews should be ethnically cleansed.

However, insert Chuck Schumer into the equation, a life long advocate of the belief, “Israel is right no matter what,” who was speaking at an Orthodox Union dinner in which he said ‘we should strangle the Gazans economically until they moderate.’

Think Progress:

This past Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered a wide-ranging speech at an Orthodox Union event in Washington, D.C. The senator’s lecture touched on areas such as Iran’s nuclear program, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and several domestic policy issues.

During one point of his speech, Schumer turned his attention to the situation in Gaza. He told the audience that the “Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution,” and also that “they don’t believe in the Torah, in David.” He went on to say “you have to force them to say Israel is here to stay.”

New York’s senior senator explained that the current Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip — which is causing a humanitarian crisis there — is not only justified because it keeps weapons out of the Palestinian territory, but also because it shows the Palestinians living there that “when there’s some moderation and cooperation, they can have an economic advancement.” Summing up his feelings, Schumer emphasized the need to “to strangle them economically until they see that’s not the way to go, makes sense”

Read the whole story: Think Progress

Outrageous isn’t it? But do you think Chuck Schumer will apologize let alone be forced into retirement? The truth is that anti-Palestinian remarks will not get you into trouble, in fact they might boost your votes depending on where you live.

An interesting aside here is that Schumer got something else wrong as well. He stated that Palestinians don’t believe in “David or the Torah.” This statement was obviously directed at Palestinian Muslims who make up the majority of Palestinians (he can’t be referring to Christian Palestinians who obviously believe in the Old Testament).

Unfortunately the ignorance of our elected officials know no bounds. Schumer doesn’t know much about Islam, and probably hasn’t read the Quran, because if he did he would realize that David, or in Arabic Dawood, is one of the most revered prophets of Islam. The Quran also calls on Muslims to affirm belief in the Torah and all Heavenly revealed books from God, to do otherwise is contrary to basic Islamic creed and puts one outside the pale of Islam.

If he was following recent news he would also have noted that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas quite controversially stated his belief in the legitimacy of Jewish claims to Israel deriving from the Quran,

Reports of Abbas’s remarks were met with seeming disbelief in the Arab media and led an Al Jazeera reporter later that day to ask him if the reports were correct. Abbas replied, “Jews are there, and when you read the Holy Koran you have it there. That’s what I said.”

Cenk Uygur had some excellent commentary on the hypocritical double standards that this situation highlights,

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/user/TheYoungTurks#p/u/11/-Vr3zCy8V2U 350 300]

Bill Maher on the other hand seems to think that Israel is besieged in the press. Here he goes toe to toe with Oliver Stone.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdaNCjp1ni0&feature=player_embedded 350 300]

What do you think?