Rated: TV-MA for Adult Content (AC) and Adult Language (AL) Tonight's episode is Live from L.A. This week's Real Time with Bill Maher opened with a "Bush-Cheney '04" campaign ad featuring world leaders singing the praises of George Bush. From Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland: "Weapons-shmeapons, he's good people." And from former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide: "I couldn't have been overthrown by a nicer guy." Bill kicked off the evening's discussions with former governor of Vermont Howard Dean. The former candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee focused on what's become of the democratic process. "We have a Supreme Court that's results-oriented, not law-oriented. We have the guy who makes voting machines saying he's going to do everything he can to get George Bush elected. I think our democracy is in a lot of trouble, and it's because this president believes the means is justified by the ends. And I think you cannot go down that road." Asked what Dean planned for his supporter's list, he said, "We've got a great grassroots organization... And what we built was a community in this country who really wanted some politicians who would tell the truth." As to whether he might run for president again, he said his primary interest was "sending George Bush back to Crawford, Texas, permanently, because we can't afford another four years." Bill then moved on to the one-year anniversary of the war in Iraq and his Round Table guests stating that the Iraqi people all say the same thing: "Thank you. Don't go. Oh, and one other thing...FUCK YOU!" "So," he asked, "how do we, as Americans, make sense of that?" Author, and former speechwriter for President Bush, David Frum responded "People are complicated... Gratitude is a hard thing for human beings to bear." Then Bill asked if despite how bad the United States might be, if there was anyone better to be in charge of the world? Emmy Award-winning and Tony-nominated cross-Atlantic comedian, Eddie Izzard countered, "We never voted on that in Europe. We get no vote -we in R.O.W - which is Rest of the World." Adding "And if you want to be policeman for the world, that's great, but take them all out. Not just one that your dad had unfinished business with." On the administration's response to the Madrid bombings Bill's guest "living legend and literary lion" Gore Vidal quipped, "I enjoyed the Bush Administration attacking for cowardice the Spanish people for turning out a government that 90% of them opposed the government's joining us in the conquest of Iraq. And proving that Spain has something that we do not have: a democracy -- they voted it out." Moving to the renewal of the Patriot Act of which Frum lauded as "American democracy at its best." He also positioned lawmakers as "saying this is an emotional moment and we could make mistakes, so if we - we are going to make sure that we are not stuck with this, and if no one does anything, it just expires." Bill then welcomed Russell Simmons hip-hop pioneer of HBO's "Def Comedy Jam," and chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. To Bill's question on whether Simmons efforts dedicated toward registering young voters might be: "pushing a lot of people into the voting booth who are not informed?" Simmons responded, "Some are educated. Some are not as educated about the process or about the candidates. But the first step, of course, is to register, get a card and feel like you're part of the team." And on his group's effort to repeal the state of New York's Rockefeller drug laws "After 30 years of unjust and unfair laws... there'll be a dramatic change in those laws. It's going to happen now." Bill offered a Hollywood solution to encouraging people to participate in the elections - goody bags for voters coming to the polls. The "red state" swag will include: pork rinds, Bullets, an audio version of the Holy Bible, read by Mel Gibson's dad, and "my favorite: an actual vial of Sean Hannity's bile." For the "blue state" voter: The Joy of Gay Sex. A dildo. Clean needles and heroin. A certificate for Botox, and one for a "visit for one abortion at a Planned Parenthood." Bill than brought to his Round Table guests the problematic use of electronic voting machines. "It looks like it would be easy to fix an election that way, but they wouldn't dare. No, they would dare, wouldn't they?" "They are daring as we speak," concurred Vidal. Bill brought up Walden O'Dell, president of the voting machines company Diebold and a fundraiser for Bush: "if you're the guy who makes the voting machines, you stay out of partisan politics" Frum threw out, "if the machines don't work, get rid of them. If they do work, fix them." Izzard asked "Well, the difficulty is how do you prove it?" "Well, you need a way of tracing whether the vote was ever recorded," said Vidal. He concluded with the opinion: "What we have done is privatize our electoral system. Our democracy is privatized." Bill then passed on his last "New Rules" before his hiatus ends in July.moreless
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