John Oliver

John Oliver and Helen Mirren debunk U.S. torture practices: “The reason so many of us believe that torture works is that it does—on TV”

John Oliver and Helen Mirren debunk U.S. torture practices: "The reason so many of us believe that torture works is that it does—on TV"

John Oliver (Credit: HBO)


Oliver enlisted the help of Dame Helen Mirren to read some excerpts from the SIC’s public torture report

“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver says that Americans have been “dangerously misinformed” about the U.S.’ torture practices and encouraged everyone to read the “condensed” 500-page report the Senate Intelligence Committee made available to the public at the tail-end of last year.

Oliver said on Sunday’s program that a large majority of Americans still believe that torture is an effective method of combating terrorism. What’s worse, the practices are currently only being restrained by executive powers and could be disregarded in 2016 with a new president at the helm.

The “Last Week Tonight” host went on to compare U.S. torture to the show “24″ and enlisted the help of Dame Helen Mirren to read some excerpts — including one about forced rectal feeding — from the public report: “Majid Khan’s ‘lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.”

“Torture is one of those things that is advertised as something that works, but doesn’t—like a Ford truck or those weird bottles of Horny Goat Weed available at your local bodega,” Oliver said. “But maybe the reason that so many of us innately believe that torture works is that it does—on TV, all the time. Look at ’24.’ Jack Bauer repeatedly saved American lives while behaving like this.”

Watch the clip below courtesy of HBO below:

Rachel Maddow says what we’re all thinking about John Oliver

Rachel Maddow says what we're all thinking about John Oliver

Rachel Maddow (Credit: MSNBC)


The MSNBC pundit says she’d love to “use dogs with fake paws to reenact Supreme Court oral arguments

Rachel Maddow addressed two very important issues surrounding the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday night. The first of which, Maddow explains, took place on HBO.

Yes, Maddow discussed John Oliver and his use of “Real Animals Fake Paws” to reenact Supreme Court arguments. “I am not allowed to speak for the news division here,” Maddow states. “Part of the reason why is because if I were in charge of the news devision here, I would totally do this. I would totally use dogs with fake paws to reenact Supreme Court oral arguments.”

“That said,” Maddow continues, “this now exists as an asset in our nation’s arsenal in how to cover civics and understand important decisions made by one of our three branches of government.”

Maddow then covers Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “blistering dissent” on the Texas Voter ID ruling, which she stayed up until 5:00 AM writing. Watch below:

John Oliver presents: The enduring influence of Ayn Rand, ‘selfish *sshole’

Ayn Rand via Last Week Tonight (YouTube)

The Raw Story

On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver presented an informational segment on the enduring influence of libertarian writer Ayn Rand on politicians and captains of industry, asking, ‘Ayn Rand: How is she still a thing?”

Noting that Rand is popular with conservatives, despite the inability by many of them to pronounce her name correctly, the narrator explains that Rand became famous for her philosophy of objectivism, “which is a nice way of saying, ‘being a selfish asshole’.”

Rand is shown in interview saying, “Why is it good to want others to be happy? You can make others happy and when and if those others mean something to you selfishly.”

Rand is noted for her two novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Foutainhead, “Stories about rapey heroes complaining about how no one appreciates their true genius.”

“Ayn Rand has always been popular with teenagers,” we are informed. “But she is supposed to be something you grow out of, like ska music or handjobs.”

The segment notes that Rand is still popular with “a certain type of adult,” using tech billionaire Mark Cuban as an example, pointing out Cuban’s “287-foot yacht is named ‘Fountainhead,’ because sometimes having a 287-foot yacht just isn’t enough to warn people you’re a douchebag.”

Partucular attention is paid to Rand’s popularity with conservative politicians and commentators such as former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and TV host Glenn Beck, noting that her views on subjects near and dear to conservative hearts — such as abortion, atheism, and love of Ronald Reagan — are in direct conflict with mainstream conservative thinking.

The segment concludes by wondering why people still love Rand when there are so many “other advocates for selfishness they could choose, like Donald Trump, or Drake, and basically anyone on Bravo.”

Watch the video below, via Crooks & Liars:

Must-see morning clip: John Oliver’s amazing takedown of the Miss America pageant

John Oliver Screenshot | HBO


How is Miss America “still a thing?” wonders John Oliver

In just 15 minutes, John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” has taken down the sexist tradition of beauty pageants, challenged the credibility of the entire Miss America organization, and brilliantly parodied the ridiculous production that is the pageant. The segment also illustrated how, increasingly, Oliver’s program seems to be a journalism-driven show with aggressively researched, truth-seeking stories told with a sense of self-awareness and lots of wit.

After revealing Miss America’s dubious and troubling relationship with its so-called scholarships (arguably the only thing that keeps the pageant relevant in 2014), Oliver hosted a beauty contest of his own. Comedian Kathy Griffin participated as a contestant, flipped the script and then judged the beauty of pageant host Oliver next to a model. The model, who is a model, won the contest because it favors people who look like models. Oliver then declares, “Pageants are horrible! I feel bad about myself.”

John Oliver: US prisons are full because ‘our drug laws are a little draconian, and a lot racist’


The Raw Story

On an extended segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver tackled the subject of America’s prison system — from high incarceration rates due to “draconian” drug laws to prison rape and privatization.

Oliver began by pointing out that America has more prisoners than any other country in the world, with nearly one in every 100 adults in America incarcerated.

“That’s true. We have over 2 million behind bars right now,” Oliver explained. “We have more prisoners at the moment than China. Than China. We don’t have more anything than China other than, of course, debt to China.”

Pointing out that America’s prison population has expanded eight-fold since 1970, Oliver stated, “The only other thing that has grown at that rate, since the seventies, is varieties of Cheerios. F*ck you, Fruity Cheerios, you’re trumped up Froot Loops, and you know it!”

Noting that over 50 percent of America’s prison population is incarcerated on drug charges, Oliver said “Our drug laws are a little draconian, and a lot racist.”

“While white people and African-Americans use drugs at about the same amount, a study has shown that African-Americans have been sent to prison for drug offenses at up to ten times the rate for some utterly known reason,” Olver said, drawing laughter from the audience.

“It reminds me of a joke. Black people who commit drug offenses, they go to jail like this,” Oliver said, miming hand held together with handcuffs. “Whereas white people … don’t go to jail at all.”

Oliver pointed out that so many people are incarcerated in America that Sesame Street is forced to to explain prison to children.

“Just think about that,” Oliver asked. “We now need adorable singing puppets to explain prison to children in the same way they explain the number seven or what the moon is.”

Addressing prison rape, calling it the “most horrifying things that can potentially happen,” Oliver shared a collection of clips from popular TV shows and movies — including children’s cartoon Spongebob Squarepants — making light of rape.

Oliver continued on, discussing the privatization of prisons leading to inadequate medical care, increased prison deaths, maggots in food served by outside vendors, and for-profit publicly-traded companies that run prisons pitching investors on growth opportunities due to the lure of high recidivism rates.

Watch the video from Last Week Tonight HERE…

John Oliver shows why Hobby Lobby’s arguments were so irrational (Not censored)

Daily Kos

Two weeks ago, before the decision was handed down, John Oliver showed why the Hobby Lobby case was so mind-numbingly irrational on so many fronts.

What these companies are arguing is that the sincerity of their beliefs should allow them a line item veto over federal law. But government is not an à la carte system where you can pick and choose based on your beliefs. Taxation is more of an all you can eat salad bar. […]If you really want to be treated like a person, corporations, then guess what? Paying for things you don’t like is what it feels like to be one. In fact, if corporations want to be people, they should have to take the rough with the smooth. For a start, companies should only get to have the average lifespan of a person, 79 years. 75 if they’re based in Mississippi. […]

And for GM, who’ve admitted some responsibility for the deaths of a minimum of 13 people, I’ve got some bad news for you. People who do that generally don’t get off with a fucking fine.


John Oliver pits Bill Nye and 96 scientists against 3 climate change-denying ‘dudes’


I really like John Oliver’s HBO show…

The Raw Story

Addressing a recently released report on climate change, John Oliver invited the ubiquitous Bill Nye the Science Guy on to Last Week Tonight to debate a generic climate change denier before adding more panel members to mathematically represent scientific consensus.

Following clips of news anchors and President Barack Obama pointing out that climate change is happening now, Oliver called it a “key shift in how to talk about climate change.”

“We’ve been repeatedly asked ‘Don’t you want to leave a better Earth for your grandchildren?” Oliver asked. “And we’ve all collectively responded “Eh, fuck ‘em.’”

Alluding to a Gallup poll showing 1 in 4 Americans are skeptical of climate change, Oliver said, “Who gives a shit?”

“That doesn’t matter. You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact,” he explained. “You might as well have a poll asking,’Which number is bigger? 15 or 5? Or, do owls exist? Or, are there hats?’”

Pointing out that every debate on climate change on cable TV includes Bill Nye and “some dude,” Oliver invited Nye on the show to debate a climate change denier, but then added two more climate deniers and 96 more scientists representing the 97% of the scientific community who believe that climate change is a fact.

Watch the video below courtesy of HBO:

Stewart Praises Budget Deal: Hallelujah! A Break From All the ‘Congressional F*ckery!


It’s been so long since Congress actually compromised on something, Jon Stewart seemed almost giddy Wednesday night that there’s a budget deal that could very well pass. Stewart even played “Hallelujah” in celebration, though quite frankly, absolutely no one on either side is really happy about this.

Stewart fully expected to do another cursory look at “today’s congressional f*ckery” but was legitimately surprised at the “witchcraft” that must have led to this deal. He mocked all the piling on the deal prior to reading what was actually in it, and John Oliver stridently declares the deal is so good, it “ranks up there with the Civil Rights Act.”

But let’s face it, this isn’t a sexy story, so in the second segment of the show, Jason Jones tried to make it more like Die Hard, but buzzkills like NBC’s Chuck Todd ruined all the fun for him.

Watch the first segment below, via Comedy Central:

Jon Stewart Apologizes To Republicans… For Being Too Easy On Them (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post

Jon Stewart is very sorry. In recent days he’s called Republicans responsible for the government shutdown everything from “morons” to “taint-sniff McGillicuddys.” And that’s just wrong… because he’s clearly been too easy on them.

Now that House GOP members are trying to sell the idea that it was the Democrats who wanted a government shutdown all along, Jon Stewart has realized he has far more verbal arrows in his quiver: like “self-righteous Orwellian zebra-queefs.”

Watch part one of Stewart’s shutdown segment above where he reviews some of the names he’s called Republicans over the last few days, and part two below where he asks John Oliver if Republicans are dumb or if they simply think we are.

Part 1

Part 2

WATCH: John Oliver slams the Supreme Court over affirmative action

The Week

The Daily Show host rips the high court’s conservative majority for gutting minority voting rights, unless Congress steps in. Sigh.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act — thus punching, says John Oliver on Tuesday night’s Daily Show, a hole through the landmark civil rights law “in the exact shape of John Roberts’ middle finger.”

If the law were as obsolete and archaic as Chief Justice Roberts suggests, says Oliver, then the Justice Department probably wouldn’t have found it necessary to invoke it 74 times since 2000. And Texas, Oliver points out, waited less than two hours before announcing it would put its own contentious voting laws into place immediately following the ruling.

The good news, Oliver says, is that the Supreme Court opened the door to fixing the problem; the bad news is that the hopeless Congress would have to pass the fix. This sets him off on an extended riff about how Congress — and mostly the House — can’t pass anything big, wastes time focusing on hopeless legislation, and only excels at passing “borderline meaningless legislation.” There’s a musical montage.

See video here