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S12.E20: Glenn Greenwald, Mike Shinoda, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Paul Rieckhoff, Kristen Soltis

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"No Place to Hide" Author Glenn Greenwald, Linkin Park's Michael Shinoda, Atlantic Journalist Ta-Nehisa Coates, I.A.V.A. Founder Paul Rieckhoff, and Conservative Pollster Kristen Soltis.

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I thought this was a pretty good show. As always, the biggest flaw is in the program design. There was a very spirited argument going on between Rieckhoff and Greenwald and Bill had to shut it down to do a dumb bit, then bring out a guest I could not possibly have cared less about. I wish Bill would just drop the format when he's got a good debate going.

 

I can honestly see both sides of the Snowden issue, but the problem with Rieckhoff is that he's so Rah-Rah Military he can't see the forest for the trees. Blaming Snowden for the death of Americans is like blaming the messenger. Snowden didn't send troops into battle. And saying the VA scandal would bring down Obama is short sighted as well. The crappy way we treat our vets goes all the way back to the Civil War. This isn't an Obama legacy.

 

Gotta love the way Kristen Soltis Anderson pivoted, all Sarah  Palin-like, when Bill asked her whether the Republicans would finally shut up about Benghazi, now that the ringleader has confirmed what the Obama administration claimed in the first place, which is that the attacks were the result of the video they were all so angry about. Instead of addressing that she asked why it took Obama so long to catch this guy. She's well trained. That's a completely different issue, so way to avoid the question there.

 

When Bill mentioned in his monologue the guy in Georgia who shot his dick off I was kind of hoping he'd bring up a much more relevant story that happened this week, which is that some lunatic broke into a church and the priest ran and got his gun and when he came back out the lunatic wrestled the gun away from him and shot him dead. Sort of contradicts the NRA's mantra that having more guns makes you safer.

 

Speaking of which, why isn't the NRA and their gun obsessed constituents in full support of what's happening in Iraq right now? Isn't that why our Constitution guarantees our right to bear arms? In case the government comes and tries to take our stuff away? Isn't ISIS or ISIL or whatever the hell they're calling it doing exactly what the gun nuts in this country think they're going to have to do eventually? Rise up against their oppressive government with their private arsenals?

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While I agree that whistleblowers are important in an attempt to keep our government in check, I have a feeling that there is a reason besides the threat of prosecution that's keeping Snowden underground and Greenwald vehemently defending his actions. They're not the heroes they think they are. Greenwald is a smug bastard and untrustworthy. I don't give a shit about either of them.

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Man, I wanted to kiss TNC's head when he responded to 'does the arc of the moral universe bend toward justice' with a sad 'Nah.' Because I want to disagree with him, but I...don't.

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There was a very spirited argument going on between Rieckhoff and Greenwald and Bill had to shut it down to do a dumb bit

 

 

I enjoyed their debate up to a point, but I was actually glad when Bill shut it down because it had devolved into crosstalk, and Kristen fruitlessly trying to get a word in edgewise. The crosstalk on this show is my least favorite thing about Maher's panels. I can understand why it happens -- emotions were running high -- but it's frustrating for me as a viewer.

 

I think I would like Glenn Greenwald more if we ever got a cut to him during one of Maher's comedy bits cracking up at some goofy "New Rule." We never see him on camera during those bits, so I imagine he just sits there stone-faced.

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I can appreciate that returning veterans need all the help and protection they can get physically, mentally, getting back on their feet and back into society, and there's really no debate about it, so it's good that the guy has an organization in place for that. But, man, no one likes a blowhard. You've got tons of real facts on your side, there's no need to yell and bloviate. 

 

The crappy way we treat our vets goes all the way back to the Civil War. This isn't an Obama legacy.

It goes back to the revolutionary war. Prior to all this VA fubar, there were some improvements, so Obama was following through to an extent. It wasn't enough, but it's also not his fault that the VA is run on Tandy computers from the 80s and congress would rather spend money on military material that the Pentagon says they don't want or need.

 

whether the Republicans would finally shut up about Benghazi,

I actually want the hearings now. Let it come out and get written into the congressional record that the administration was right all along. They fucked up and people died, but they also didn't get the resources from congress to protect these people either. 

 

Sort of contradicts the NRA's mantra that having more guns makes you safer.

A bunch of women went into Target with there guns like the men did earlier in the month. I was hoping Bill would say something about that. I think it may have been too recent. I think it happened yesterday? So maybe too soon to work into the show. 

 

Man, I wanted to kiss TNC's head when he responded to 'does the arc of the moral universe bend toward justice' with a sad 'Nah.' Because I want to disagree with him, but I...don't.

 

I'm not really sure how exactly reparations would work though. Wouldn't only the former confederate states be liable? Wouldn't you have to prove that you are descended from slaves to quality? Not that he was wrong in saying that equal rights are a problem. I just didn't know what to make of it.

 

Of course Clinton is going to say the bible

 

McCain was on PBSNews ranting about Iraq, and that's not exaggerating. He was ranting. The news anchor was put off, she wasn't able to ask questions and couldn't get him to articulate clearly. He insisted that it wasn't a civil war and that since the USA has bases in Korea, Japan, Germany, then why not in Iraq. You got people like that basically saying the USA has to have a presence everywhere in the world that anything is happening. That's just not sustainable. Not that the USA shouldn't intervene, but Bill is right, not everything is directly related to or in response of USA action. Neither was Crimea, as much McCain has said Putin acted because Obama was weak in Syria, that was all about Putin. With the USA being involved, it's hard for the sides involved over there not to see the USA as taking a side. 

 

But I don't see how this isn't at the least, partially a religious civil war. It's horrible to say, but Bill is kind of right, they need to kill each other and burn it out. That of course threatens to really destabilize the region, but there's no magic USA fix here. 

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I am finding the format hard to deal with too, especially when they get a good discussion going and Bill has to stop them for flip a district followed by a comedy bit and and another special guest. Maybe have only one special guest segment per show instead of two?

I do enjoy new rules and I liked how Bill brought in Dr Phil's famous question - how's that working out for ya? We need to get away from our delusion that we can do anything helpful with Iraq and let them figure things out on their own. And please, everyone just ignore McCain and Graham from now on!

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The thing that has been difficult about listening to the Iraq discussions is that people keep trying to simplify it down to one reason, or point, or another, and it's just not that easy.  I covered Iraq for four years and still couldn't articulate the problem in one easy sentence.  It's sectarian to a degree, but it's more about Iran and Saudi Arabia using their money and power to take advantage of Iraq's instability and loose borders.  But they've also gotten in through political means, as well.  And because Iraq's own government is a mess, it hasn't been that hard for them to gain ground.

 

There is just so much more going on than a quick soundbite can cover, but it's hard to find coverage that will acknowledge that.  And Bill's show isn't really the venue for it, either. 

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Most politicians are still operating under a cold war methodology too. If we do *this* in Iraq, then *that* will happen. And, what's going on isn't really about the USA. 

 

Unless Iraq is going to be turned into an American colony with a permanent presence, I don't know that there's anything to do.

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I'm not really sure how exactly reparations would work though. Wouldn't only the former confederate states be liable? Wouldn't you have to prove that you are descended from slaves to quality?

 

That was my big question too. I loved the guy's reply about who has to pay. If you're an American and reap the rewards, you need to pay for the bad things too (and I say that as a 1st generation American). But I wanted Bill to ask about who exactly receives the reparations. Is it any African American who can prove they had ancestors here prior to the Civil War?  I have no idea how that would work.  And what about descendants of American slaves who no longer live in the US? They should still be eligible.

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If you're an American and reap the rewards, you need to pay for the bad things too (and I say that as a 1st generation American).

Why? My family came over in the 1910s and settled down where there weren't Jim Crow laws. I don't see how one can prove liability, in the legal sense. 

 

I don't think the guy is wrong for saying that there is a problem with race in America, because there still is, but I don't see how claiming reparations really helps, practically in 2014. People are more talking about him than what can be done to fix the current problem. I would think a discussion of affirmative action within the context of reparations would be more constructive. Wasn't there a recent court case in Michigan about this?

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But I wanted Bill to ask about who exactly receives the reparations

 

This is explicitly excluded in the Atlantic piece. TNC doesn't have a position about the logistics or the qualifications. His wish is to see the Conyers bill (that begins the study process) pass, so that could all be hashed out in a democratic debate. There are a couple of instances that could be used for exemplars (the German reparations to Israel, the US ones to interned Japanese Americans, South Africa's to apartheid victims, as well as some smaller-scale cases), but the point is we shouldn't use our present 'how the hell would that work?!?' confusion -- which is wholly reasonable --  to avoid digging in.

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...but the point is we shouldn't use our present 'how the hell would that work?!?' confusion -- which is wholly reasonable --  to avoid digging in.

I didn't read the article and only went on what I watched on the show. Bill did a bad job of presenting the topic since, 'how would that work' is pretty much question 1, and leading in with this explaining this Conyers bill would work would have been more informative. 

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I agree, Ganesh.  It's all sort of hypothetical magical thinking unless we discuss how it will work.

 

Why? My family came over in the 1910s and settled down where there weren't Jim Crow laws. I don't see how one can prove liability, in the legal sense.

 

I think it's more about society as a whole taking responsibility, regardless of whether your ancestors were personally involved. Much the same way that I pay taxes for programs and wars of which I may not approve, and support schools even if I don't have children, etc. 

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We pay taxes to support the soldiers with what they need when they are at war, even if we don't agree with the war. We pay taxes for schools because a better educated public will help advance our society. 

 

I'm all for taking responsibility when the affected party is actually responsible. But if, like Massachusetts has been a free state since the late 1700s, I don't get how they should be sued. It seems that this would be more successful if the States were sued individually. If a given state had a constitution supporting slavery for example.

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I can't help but think that "reparations" is another way of saying "white guilt shakedown". And I feel like my honest sympathy for those who suffered a century and a half ago is cynically being taken advantage of, for the lure of a big fat payout.

 

"The sins of the father the son will not bother" - why should people who have never owned slaves, pay "I'm sorry I owned you as a slave" money, to people they've never owned as slaves?

 

I think it's more about society as a whole taking responsibility, regardless of whether your ancestors were personally involved

 

And I think our society has taken responsibility for the errors of the past. There's a whole 13th amendment to the Constitution as proof. So we've already taken responsibility, we've done what we can to prevent it from ever happening again, and we do what we can to make sure future generations know this as well.

 

It's when money comes into the picture that I get suspicious!

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We also have the Civil Rights Act too and the use of the 14th Amendment to (try) to provide equal protection under the law for everyone. There's lots of scholarship opportunities, etc., for minorities as well. So, the 'taking responsibility' should be ongoing, ok, but it is happening to an extent. 

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All the instances of reparations they gave had the money paid within the same era as the crime occurred.  One hundred and fifty years have passed and every slave and slave holder is dead.  The politicians who voted for and against it are dead.  I think reparations should have been paid in the 19th century.  Money is not going to heal the wounds now.  

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TNC makes the point that for minorities who have been excluded from wealth building throughout the 20th Century and even in present-day finance (predatory subprime mortgages, e.g.), a bit of redistribution is not only fair, its effect will be economic stimulus for everybody. It's not meant to be an apology for slavery, it's meant to reset the board for now. 

 

Which isn't to say that the involvement of money isn't bait for the unscrupulous, but we haven't even gotten out of the 'hmmm, let's look' box yet. We haven't even gotten in to that box yet.

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