Bill Maher Tells Poor People: Stop Thinking the Rich are On Your Side

From this week’s “New Rules” section of the Bill Maher show. The relevant part starts at 2:10 (hat tip Helaine Olen via Gawker). It is gratifyingly brutal.

Another sign of the MSM’s descent into Pravda-like irrelevance is that the only mass audience venues that regularly provide commentary within hailing distance of reality are comedy shows.

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  1. A. Comment

    Love that Bill Maher. He really knows to get a lol where otherwise there would be something else.

    Just for the catty fun of… The 1980’s called on a payphone. They want back Dana’s fuscia multi-layered body-suit. Sheesh. Get a stylist stat. You can write it off if you are going on tv. Please. She said next-to-nothing but her fuscia body suit spoke volumes… not the good kind. No offense.

  2. MichaelC

    Very droll.

    How rich is the unexpected irony of finding Begala trapped in such a deliciously awkward spot? Priceless.

    Maher is genius.

  3. Paul Tioxon

    The wealthy have a program that goes like this, if we can send one man to the moon, why can’t we send all of the poor there? Of course, they already are on another planet, outside of the cash for wages economy, they set up their economy organized around the resources that they have at hand. Needless to say, it is frowned upon, and the traumatizing consequences of a criminogenic sub culture is beyond command and control features of the managerial class. There will be less and less invested in the poorest strata, due to falling rates of return and profits being invested heavily in China and elsewhere, we will import unemployment, corruption for our former working and middle class, forming a toxic mixture of uneducated miserable people with nothing but desperation and anxiety to show for their best efforts to make a place for themselves in this world while they are alive. The actual immigrants that we attract have already formed an anvil with which the hammer of workforce discipline hammers against. By allowing 10’s of million of illegal immigrants to stay in this country, with no path to citizenship, and no socializing institutions like the great urban public school systems of the past to bring them into first class, legal status with the vote. A power draining threat to low wage earning citizens is met with the factory site mass arrests of people for showing up for work while being Mexican will continue; the pressure to not rent, hire, educate or provide medical care for anyone that can’t prove they are here legally, will institutionalize a second class citizenry who will never dial 911, register to vote, report themselves during a census canvas or complain about anything in the work place, as long as they get to stay here and have a better life than where they came from. This labor pool will destabilize the any efforts to create power sharing demands on the part of the poor, like ACORN. The simpleton techniques to de-legitimize and then use as pretext for formal attacks by the overwhelming power of the state in the form of right wing extremists elected officials, is the neo con brown shirt tactics of the republican party, in lieu of lynchings, rapes and bombings. What little investment was diverted to the entire citizenry, in the form of the welfare state, and now, middle class institutions of college and public education in general,is being being re appropriated by the wealthy, who no longer want to pay any taxes at all. The poor and the illegal labor force are completely cast out side of the cash economy and the job market of any consequence while the middle class is truly in the middle between the expendable impoverished and the galactically wealthy. Any money left, will be defended by the better organized and better educated and better connected first class citizenry. The poor will join lotteries to hope that their children will escaped death trap public schools and get coveted slots in charter schools that will provide them with educations that will lead them into the meritocracy, the only people worth investing in. If you do not possess the IQ of a Bill Clinton or PhD mom with an iron will like Barack Obama, your talent will be un needed, un developed and un necessary, except for your personal survival.

    1. Mark P.

      @ Paul T. – dude, punctuation and paragraphs are your friends.

      As for Maher, I’m getting to like him, like I liked Carlin (who I’ve been missing lately).

  4. eric anderson

    1. My ass is not fat.

    2. I have no illusion that the interests of the super-rich are congruent with my own. Neither do I imagine that the interests of government in general are congruent with my own. And the bigger government gets, the more capture of that government by the rich seems to occur. If Maher thinks the super rich will not find a means of avoiding higher taxes (give a piece of pizza back), I want some of what he’s smoking. Google paid 2.4% tax on foreign profits last year, moving them through Ireland and Bermuda.

    3. Some liberals are funny. Bill Maher is not one of them.

    1. jimmy jones

      Derpy derp!

      I love this line of thinking. We aren’t presently getting the rich to pay their share, so why even try?

      1. attempter

        It’s true that you can’t empower such wealth concentrations and then expect to regulate the behavior of those who hold them.

        We also know that there’s no moral, rational, or practical reason to allow such wealth concentrations in the first place. Wealth should never be doing anything but circulating, be productively invested by those who created it, or be consumed by those who created it. And trickle down is a proven lie so there’s no reason for it to ever enter the hands of “elites”, or for such elites to exist in the first place.

        So it follows that a reform like “better taxation” doesn’t work and isn’t necessary toward any worthwhile goal anyway.

        We need to abolish wealth concentrations as such.

        And the worst enemy of non-rich people isn’t the rich but the delusion that they themselves are someday going to be rich (and the pathology of ever wanting that rather than a fair, prosperous society for all productive people). Like Biko said, “the worst enemy in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

        1. psychohistorian

          I agree.

          Wealth concentrations are anti-democratic and they stifle innovation as well

          It comes back to the fact that Maher is comedy spoofing reality. This is brought to you by the same folk that spew propaganda at you the rest of the time. I wonder who is laughing at who. Its all real sick to me and why I stopped watching tv 20 years ago. I wish more would.

    2. Praise the Lard

      1. Maher’s “fat” comment really refers to the blubber between the ears of Teabaggers.

      2. The rich abuse government because the people don’t stop them. I like the suggestion of baseball bats. There’s nothing like a good old American-made piece of lumber up the side of those over-stuffed piñatas.

      3. Perhaps Maher would be funnier if he wasn’t speaking so close to the truth, for so many.

      1. eric anderson

        I just love the New Tone from the left. Baseball bats now, is it? Mobocracy.

        Yes, Tea Partiers are violent, racist, blah blah. The best one is “constitution fetishists.” Boy that’s one I will proudly cop to.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          Your perspective is so twisted and so one-sided, it leaves you with nothing relevant to say. Now “liberals” are violent mobs? Sometimes I think people will think and say anything to maintain their ignorance of reality.

          Also, deriding a comedian as “not funny” and thinking you are actually making an interesting or relevant point is truly staggering in its idiocy.

          Comedy and porn are two things that no one can argue about. They work or they don’t. Think about it.

          1. Slade Smith

            Partially agree. However when folks start invoking the word “truth” in reference to comedy, as was done above, it then becomes arguable to someone who does not perceive any truth, no? When folks aren’t looking at the comedy from the perspective of whether it makes them laugh or not and instead start assigning factual merit to the comedy, there seems to be some room for legitimate dispute.

            1. Praise The Lard

              “However when folks start invoking the word “truth” in reference to comedy, as was done above, it then becomes arguable to someone who does not perceive any truth, no?”

              Note, I said Maher was speaking “close to the truth for so many.” While each of us has our own truth, it is not arguable that many truths are shared – such as the economic and political impact of the ruling class upon the rest. If you’re comment is an attempt to invalidate this, it does not. It is a fact that the wealthy are getting wealthier, and at the expense of the many. One can argue the merits of this trend, it cannot be argued that it is not happening. Truth is based on fact, not opinion. Also not to be confused with belief.

              @Eric Anderson – don’t be such a twit. Who told you that I’m the Left? One has to be pretty damned stupid not to see that the wealthy are ripping off this country and destroying our democracy. The latter being something that TeaNutbaggers care nothing about. Their mantra is pure unadulterated ignorant hate. Constitutionalists? LMFAO.

        2. Anonymous Jones

          Sorry, one more thing. Your point #2 way above seems to imply (I hope I’m not reading too much into this) that you think this higher tax rate on the rich is a plot to enlarge the government so that the rich have more power. I can assure you that this is not my intention. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’d be skeptical if that were a widespread conspiracy. I’m all for decreasing the size of the government. Let’s wipe out all taxes (not just income taxes) for those who make $35,000 and below.

          It’s truly staggering the paranoia that is born out of trying to reorder the world into what one wishes it were rather than what it is. Your mind seems to literally disassociate in front of us.

    3. DownSouth

      Anytime I hear people like you, I’m always reminded of this saying by Eric Hoffer:

      People who bite the hand that feeds them usually kiss the boot that kicks them.

  5. jbmoore

    Funny, insightful, and angry. Too bad, he, Stewart, and Colbert can not be the Three Political Stooges in a show together.

    1. gs_runsthiscountry

      The irony of Stewars shtick is comedy central stole writers from THE ONION to write for his show, hence, the threads of satire and cynicism.

      The Onion was originally started in Madison on the University of Wisconsin campus. Interesting, considering recent events in Madison, aka Berkley of the Midwest.

      1. Dirk77

        I don’t read The Onion much anymore. They still treat Obama with kid gloves. This sours reading the rest of the “articles” because after 2+ years of this—come on—how dense can they be?

      1. Cedric Regula

        I heard Comedy Central gave Chappelle a $50M multi year contract, so I’m always suspicious when any of them do their “we…the poor[or regular] people” stuff. But maybe that’s why they use writers.

        But just imagine if Comedy Central hired Lord Blankfein or Dick Fuld to do comedy shows. Or Donald Trump even. The alternative to rich entertainers is just too disgusting to imagine. So we are stuck with the system.

        1. goodrich4bk

          So between two rich guys doing comedy, Maher and Limbaugh, who has more integrity? The guy who makes fun of his own class, or the guy who makes fun of everybody but his own class?

          1. Cedric Regula

            First of all, I didn’t know Limbaugh was funny. I always thought of him as a pompous airbag. So I guess my answer would be Maher.

            Tho I don’t know if the premise is really valid because restricting oneself to making fun of one’s own class is not really the definitive test of integrity. For instance, Chappelle does a lot of stuff spoofing the stereotypical poor, mentally challenged, not so honest, and possibly even “brown” person and doesn’t come across like Limbaugh. It just seems to work.

          2. DownSouth

            Cedric Regula,

            Well actually these guys like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly are funny, because everything that issues from their mouths is so outrageously disconnected from reality.

            You just have to have someone like Lewis Black to put it in its proper perspective to see how hilarious it is, as he does with Glenn Beck in this skit:


        2. Lidia

          Conservatives are intrinsically un-funny.

          To be funny, you have to be willing to point out hypocrisies and poke fun at authority..

          Some people consider South Park “conservative humor”, but that’s kind of a stretch. I do notice that what passes for conservative humor usually relies on violence, cruelty or vulgarity. I don’t really find someone’s hand being hacked off as funny, even if it’s in a cartoon.

          Conservatives can’t do irony. They don’t recognize it.
          They can’t make fun of hypocrites; they don’t recognize hypocrisy, either. Trust me, I have RWNJs in my family, and I know whereof I speak.

          Historically, true humor has always been subversive, from Greek theatre to Shakespeare’s fools to the Smothers Brothers.

      2. Rabid Cranky Troll

        Yes, good call.

        And why is it that most Democratic politicians end up being rich?

        And why is it that most folks with advanced degrees who end up doing relatively well compared to blue collar folks (i.e. the technocratic professional urban yuppie crowd) tend to be liberals?

    1. Dirk77

      Make sure you read some of the viewer comments. If a lot of those are not plants they greatly underscore what Maher is talking about.

  6. lambert strether

    Q: What’s the difference between Limbaugh and The Hindenberg?

    A: Simple. One’s a Nazi gasbag and the other is a flaming dirigible.

    * * *

    Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal!

  7. John Merryman

    The tension is building. The earthquake is coming. Many people will get washed out to sea. Some good, some bad, but mostly those who believed what they were told.

  8. toxymoron

    The video is no longer available after an HBO complaint :( (at least, that’s what is popping up right now).
    Bill must have said something right…

  9. DP

    Bill Maher is supposed to be a comedian? Sorry, I can’t watch that smirking, preening, sanctimonious unfunny gasbag any more than I can Glenn Beck.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Well I can’t forgive Maher for some brutally pro-Israel comments during the Gaza situation, or was it the Marmara, or both?

      Still, even a stopped clock is right twice a day and he is spot-on here.

  10. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    It’s no laughing matter!

    It testifies to the ideological hegemony of the ruling class in this country. Many of the “poor” want to be rich… and then how quickly the oppressed become the oppressor. Isn’t that the American Dream? A poor, penniless immigrant who makes it big time?

    This is not to say that all wealthy people are evil or that all poor people are virtuous, but rather, that the very desire to be rich is the problem because those who aren’t wealthy are willing to “adapt”, to play the game to succeed – to become rich! In the course of doing so whatever loyalties one might have to his/her roots end at the country club, boardroom, or chamber of commerce door. Witness Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. That is how the game is played. And there is a limit to how far one can push the issue of poverty in this country. Just ask Martin Luther King.

    That Maher or Chappelle address the issue of poverty via comedy is reminiscent of Moliere’s play, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme [1670]. Comedy and sarcasm were the only means with which to criticize the ancien regime back then, testifying to the Sun King’s [Louis XIV] grip on France who “tolerated” it because he could control it. It took another 119 years before it all came crashing down in 1789.

    To what extent does such “comedy” reinforce the hegemony of the ruling class or function to undermine it? Short-term versus long-term?

    1. ScottS

      Of course, in times of great repression only “the fool” can speak the truth inside the court.

      I think Jon Stewart ably played “the fool” during the W years, asking questions no one was allowed to ask except under the guise of satire.

      When does the fool become an enabler? Tough to say. As for Stewart, I can say he’s become notably less foolish. The Zadroga show was fantastic, and 100% sincere and serious and effective. Much more serious and important than any 24-hour news coverage has been in recent memory.

      He could easily cross the line from satire to spectacle, as it’s a very fine line. It depends on his greed and the attention of the corporate overlords at Viacom.

  11. Rabid Cranky Troll

    People here hardly need to be reminded that the rich are not on the side of poor people. Or of “us”, society as a whole.

    People here (and on most liberal/progressive leaning sites) need to be reminded that government, the state, etc. are all institutions that were created by the rich, for their own ends.

    And that there are deep-seated structural reasons why governments and states will always be on the side of the rich, prone to being influenced or controlled by the rich.

    Remember that next time some politician or party tells you he believes “we” ought to do something to rein back the rich. That he will, in fact, do something.

    If you forget these things, you will end up like the Obots. With egg on your face.

  12. streetman

    So, I’m not sure what the point of Maher’s comments is, the rich are not on our side? What a news alert! I give up, who’s on our side? Our elected officials? MSM commentators? Maybe we should just get rid of all the rich people, raise their tax rates to 100%. Equal outcomes for everyone!

    1. Lidia

      Maher is not all that much of a liberal… more of a libertarian, is the impression I’ve always gotten.

      Streetman, maybe you live on Wall Street, but here on Main Street there are still a lot of people who worship at the altar of capitalism and the free market, even as the invisible hand grinds their face into the sidewalk.

      Whereas the RWNJs in my family may draw the line at saying that the rich are on their side, I know for a fact that they are on the side of the rich… a distinction without much of a difference.

      They buy into Glenn Beck’s obscene appropriation, “first they came for the banks, then they came for the insurance companies…” They FEEL for the banksters. They HURT to know that people making over $250k a year might be taxed as much as they are, because “they are the job creators”!! Forget that the richer the rich become, the fewer jobs are created (what a surprise!). Many RWNJs can’t figure that out: it must be because “conservative principles” haven’t been applied ENOUGH. Market liberalism can never fail, it can only be failed.

      My sister (graduate of an “elite” college) argues that taxes should be zero. But at the same time she wants war, prisons, torture, Guantanamo… She won’t say who’s supposed to pay for all those hilarious slapstick frat-boy antics (according to Rush, torture is just high-spirited conservative hijinks), but she sure as hell doesn’t think it should be “the rich”.

  13. Antipodeus

    Video “is no longer available due to a copyright claim by HOME BOX OFFICE, INC.”

    Sigh … I love how before Obama’s election both Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” AND Bill Maher’s”Real Time” (both of which I love!) were both freely available internationally in complete episode form, when both were banging the drum for a Democrat victory. Since then? More & more regional restrictions & ‘You Tube’ copyright ‘challenges’.

    I guess now that the Dems won, they no longer need our support.

  14. bobinsherwood

    If all rich people are liars and Bill Maher is obviously rich and he says “Rich people are liars” then that means rich people tell the truth but if rich people tell the truth…I think I just blew a circuit.

  15. Lidia

    Prime example of conservative “humor”:

    Haley Barbour Press Secretary Dan Turner Resigns After Japan Joke

    About Otis Redding’s posthumous gold record for “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” Turner wrote (“Not a big hit in Japan right now.”)

  16. Lidia

    Oh, and here’s a “joke” that accompanied that one:

    In 1993: Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the first female attorney general. (It took longer to confirm her gender than to confirm her law license.)


    I really think these people are another species entirely…

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