The country is in crisis, and real time host Bill Maher predicts that things could turn even more chaotic by 2024, when a potential electoral state could spark street violence and an all-out constitutional crisis.
Maher outlined the steps he saw leading up to that horrific moment in his closing monologue “New Rules.” At the end, he made his point: “I hope I scared the hell out of you.”
But it’s still a long way to that point, and the HBO show started with an investigation into why things spiral into a potential crisis, to the point where talk of civil war and politicians being chased into bathrooms are part of the mainstream news cycle.
Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard and author of the book Rationality: what it is, why it seems scarce, why it matters, pointed out that the current situation seems so bleak because we don’t really notice the good news.
Why? There is no specific day it is announced. “Good things are things that don’t happen,” Pinker said, “and many improvements are incremental.” He noted that there is never a day when the headlines scream, “137,000 escapes extreme poverty.”
The nostalgia for a “golden age” of the left and right in this country is largely an illusion, Pinker argued. “The best explanation for the good old days is a bad memory,” he applauded.
The national divide on so many issues stems from having to rely on institutions. For example, Pinker said, “None of us know enough about atmospheric chemistry to track human climate change” and get to the truth.
Things continued in a similar vein when Maher brought out the Washington Post reporter and… Danger co-author Robert Costa, along with Michael Render (aka Killer Mike), an activist and musician who is half of the group Run the Jewels.
Costa argued that we are at a critical juncture, claiming that the interviews in his book show that President Donald Trump played a key role in the January 6 Uprising in the Capitol.
Maher objected that the current hearings on that matter will not yield much, as no one will be arrested for failing to appear at a hearing, with both sides well aware of the unspoken rule that arrests would open a can of worms when the other side is at the power, boomerang back on them.
Render made some strong points in the discussion. He quoted comedian George Carlin as making the point that “we have to admit that this country that started out as a republic is now run by oligarchs.” Render said, “They’re sharing jets and laughing behind our backs.” Until the working class unites and realizes that, the bad things will continue, he argued.
Maher then brought up the “F**k Joe Biden” chants that erupted at football games and other public events, asking where the pushback is from decent people, noting that “a lot of people don’t want to hear that as a chant .”
Render defended the chants under the First Amendment. Biden “parades himself as a tough guy,” Render said. “According to the rap rules, you can get a ‘f**k you’ for that behavior.” He added; “You play tough, you get tough talk.”
The talk also touched on broken campaign promises, then touched on a surprising news report recently released showing that police killings can be double the official statistics, while the actual cause of death is hidden by medical investigators.
Costa and Render both have police officers as family. Costa wanted more sunlight on the murders, noting how police names involved in these incidents often go undetected. “You can’t hide it from the sunlight,” he said.
Render was more blunt, saying he didn’t want the rogue states to have a card to get out of jail, calling for life sentences and pension cuts on convictions, as well as longer training. All that would avoid a “hunter and prey” situation, he argued.