If you were on Twitter or just read the political news after noon on Thursday, you’re probably familiar with “Jewish Space Lasers,” the nickname for an absolutely insane conspiracy theory Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green seems to believe in. But apparently, Bill Maher went off the grid all day because he learned about it for the first time during the most recent episode of “Real Time” and could hardly believe what he was hearing.
You can read more about it here, but in short: Greene, who is already well-known for espousing myriad racist and antidemocratic conspiracy theories, proposed in 2018 that California’s wildfires were an intentional disaster caused by a wealthy Jewish family collaborating with PG&E and the governor of California, using a laser fired from space. No, seriously.
So skip to Friday’s “Real Time.” The topic at the beginning of the panel discussion portion of the show was the increasingly unhinged median of the Republican party and the unsettling way the party is tolerating extremist views. During this chat, Maher noted with pretty compelling evidence a double standard, where Democrats face harsher consequences for mild things than Republicans do for literal extremism.
“The world knows about Van Jones,” Maher said, referring to Jones who was a panelist on Friday’s episode, “because you were the Green Czar and got fired… I don’t remember what it was. But I know it was nothing. And then watching this, Marjorie Taylor Green, OK, who is talking about killing her coworkers.” Maher referred to Greene’s repeated statements calling for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s death.
“Who is responsible for this double standard we have of what you can get away with?” Maher asked. “You know, the things that the Democrats have apologized for the slightest little things, and then [Republicans] get away with everything. Who is responsible for allowing this?”
Panelist and contributing editor at Vice James Pogue noted that some of the crazier behavior seen recently from congressional Republicans is a reflection of where the party actually is.
“If you look at the way Republican retail politics works, right, like this kind of stuff is fueling the energy. This kind of stuff is what gets people all across the country elected,” Pogue said. “And then you get into Congress and they refuse to work together. They refuse to even countenance the idea that a lot of Democrats are not socialists, treasonous, crazy people. And then you get the Republican constituencies that are fed this idea that, ‘Hey, we don’t work together. Everybody on the other side is evil.’ And you’re going to have this stuff fester up.”
After more back and forth and discussion of the double standard that Maher pointed to earlier, Jones reminded Maher what got him fired — “I was caught on tape saying that Republicans were being a–holes.” And that led directly to the discussion of Jewish Space Lasers.
“There was a false thing around the signing of a 9/11 truth petition, stuff like that,” Jones said, accurately describing some of Greene’s beliefs. “Now you have somebody new saying there are Jewish space lasers starting fires in California?”
“What are you talking about? Jewish, Jewish space lasers?” Maher asked.
“Jewish space lasers. That’s the most recent thing that the madame Marjorie has been caught saying,” Jones replied.
“What is it… Jewish… Jewish?” Maher asked.
“You know, don’t you know? Jewish space lasers,” Jones said.
“She’s an anti-Semite. You mean thinks that this is a plot by Jews? To start fires?” Maher asked.
“Yes, yes. Even Bill Maher is shocked,” Jones replied.
“I think aliens probed her ass and her brains fell out,” Maher said.