Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 1, Episode 10 - Episode #1.10 - full transcript

John revisits news of a change in Japan's foreign policy, the love letters of Warren G. Harding and CIA's social media activity, and discusses the issues of income inequality in America.

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Welcome to "Last Week Tonight."

I'm John Oliver.

Thank you for being with us.

Let's start this evening with a quick recap of the week,

beginning with Japan, Earth's pervert uncle, which this week

announced a major policy shift.

And in Japan, the government has changed its

pacifist military policy for the first time in more

than 70 years.

It will now be able to use military force to defend

other nations.



Wow. That is a major shift, but I think the bigger news

here is that apparently Japan
has had a policy of pacifism

for nearly 70 years.

Certainly all the repressed
anger in their cartoons makes

a lot more sense.

"Oh, OK. We still
can't fight any wars?

"Fine. Here's another
cartoon of a schoolgirl

covered in blood."

In fact, many Japanese
citizens were extremely angry

about this policy shift,
taking to the streets

in protest, waving signs
depicting their

prime minister as Hitler.

And I'll tell you who I
feel sorry for there--Tojo.

He must have been going,
"Oh, come on!



"You needed a mustachioed
World War II war criminal

"at a Japanese protest,
and you go with Adolf?

"I attacked Pearl Harbor!

"What do I have to do to be
a shorthand for evil?

It's not fair!
I earned it!"

In this atmosphere, the
Japanese military may struggle

to attract recruits, were
it not for a secret weapon:

a recruitment video featuring
one of the members

of the Japanese
pop group AKB48.

And by the way, a fun fact
about AKB48: they have over

100 members.

There is the cute one,
the quiet one, the funny one,

the smart one, the 16 giggly
ones, the 2 comatose ones,

the glass-eye one, the one no
one likes, the 23 sassy ones,

and the 62-year-old man posing
as a 19-year-old girl one.

He's my favorite.
He's my favorite.

And before you make fun
of this probably not being

effective, just wait
until you see how catchy

their songs are.

Catchy.
That's a catchy song.

Whoo!

That is a catchy song.

In domestic news, there was
big news from American history

this week, specifically about
Warren G. Harding, America's

29th president, whose greatest
achievement was dying

two years
into his first term.

Let's be honest.

No one knows much about
Warren G. Harding,

but this week, that may
have permanently changed.

We're getting a first look at

some of the love letters that

President Warren G. Harding

wrote to his mistress

a century ago.

DIFFERENT NEWSMAN: Page after
page of Harding's handwriting

describe in detail what he
described as his

"eager, passion-wild, jealous
reverent, wistful love"

for his neighbor's wife.

OK, OK, that's actually
a little misleading

because believe me, these
are not eager, jealous,

and wistful love letters.

This are smutty fucknotes so
raunchy a 40-year-old mother

of two should be reading them
on her Kindle because this is

an actual passage from
his actual letters.

Ahem.

"I feel that there will never
be any relief until I take

"a long, deep, wild draught on your lips and then bury my

face on your
pillowing breasts."

"Wouldn't you like to
get sopping wet out

"on Superior--not the lake--

"for the joy
of fevered fondling

and melting kisses?"

I've got to say, "Damn,
Warren, you nasty!"

No one--no one is gonna
be able to look at you

in the same way, Harding.

Before, all I could see
when I looked at you were your

eyebrows like mozzarella
sticks covered in pubic hair

and jowls like sour cream
funneled into a condom,

but now history will only
remember you and your

lake-based erotic poetry.

Well, actually, they will
remember one more thing.

NEWSMAN: We're also told that
just as Anthony Weiner goes by

Carlos Danger, Warren Harding
had a nickname for a certain

part of his anatomy.

He called it Jerry.

Yes.

Warren G. Harding, America's
29th president,

called his dick "Jerry,"

which is actually
funny because Gerald Ford

called his dick
Warren G. Harding,

but that's not the point.

I actually believe we have
an artist's rendering of Jerry.

That's what he
looked like back then.

It was a different time.

Harding actually writes about
Jerry in his letters, saying,

and again, I quote,
"You recall Jerry...

"He told me to say that you are
the best and the darlingest

"in the world, and if he could
have but one wish, it would be

"to be held in your darling
embrace and be thrilled by

your pink lips..."

I will say this--I will say
this for Warren Harding:

as a president, he was terrible,
but as an R&B lyricist, he was

way ahead of his time.

He really puts the Warren G.
into Warren G. Harding.

But finally this week, news
of our current president, who

previously announced that this
summer, he was gonna be going

on a bit of a tour.

President Obama's breaking out
of the Washington bubble is

all part of what
the White House is calling

A Day in the Life Tour, where
the president will spend part

of the summer getting to, as
I was saying, know regular

Americans across the country.

OK, getting to know us
is overstating it.

He's not gonna sit down with
us with a tub of ice cream

and two spoons going,
"Well, I don't know, Deborah.

"Maybe you should go back to
school, but remember, what you

do isn't who you are, Debs."

But OK, sure, sure.

He wants to meet
us regular folks.

Fine. First stop in
the Day of the Life Tour

this week was Denver.

NEWSWOMAN: He shook hands with
dozens lining the sidewalk.

He even ran into someone who
for some unknown reason was

wearing a horse head mask.

How did he get in?

I think my favorite thing
in that photo is the face

of the Secret Service guy.

That is a man who knows he
has got a tough conversation

with the president
in 5 minutes.

"Hey, Tony, how do you think
that meet-and-greet went?

"Because I'll tell you what I remember.

"That time the guy in
the horse's head lunged out

at me, and you stood there
admiring his fucking snout."

Look, let's be honest.

There is absolutely nothing
natural about politicians

meeting people in these
kind of circumstances.

Listen to a woman who met
him in Texas the next day.

Security was everywhere, so
we had to make sure our hands

were out of our pockets,
and we had to be, like, very

sincere and, like, use our
correct grammar and niceness.

Oh, nice work, Secret Service.

So you can't protect
the president from a guy

in a horse's head, but you
can protect him from any

split infinitives.

But that's the key
problem with this whole

stupid exercise.

Nobody is having
an average day when

the president is there.

They're too busy keeping their
hands where people can see

them and using their
correct grammar and niceness.

Mr. President, if you really
want to know what a regular

day in the life of an average
American is, stay

in the White House
and watch this.

ANNOUNCER: Mr. President,
America is thrilled you want

to know what
our average days are like.

Here's the problem:
you're never going to see

an average day because
you're the president,

and when you turn up,
things get weird.

So let me show you what we're
up to when you're not around.

On our average days, Americans
are sitting on our couches,

dipping cheese sticks into
jars of marinara sauce,

even though we're
not really hungry.

We're looking for our toenail
clippers and, when we can't

find them, making do
with what's on hand.

We're at work staring at a bug
crawling across the window.

Where's he going?

What's his name?

Do bugs have names?

We're giving our children
a toy they want, as soon as we

can get it out of
the fucking box.

And we're masturbating.

So much masturbating.

And when we're not
masturbating, we're thinking

about masturbating.

Mr. President, you have
no idea how much

we're masturbating.

Seriously, you would be
genuinely angry if you knew

how much we were masturbating.

And the problem is, we
can't do any of this

when you show up.

So take a good
look, Mr. President.

These are the faces of Americans
when you're not around.

This is an average day
in our lives.

This is America, and you
don't want to know what we're

actually doing.

Moving on, moving on.

Our main story tonight
is income inequality.

A good way to figure out
which side of it you're on is

whether you're currently
paying for HBO or stealing it.

Last December--some of
you laughed a little too

hard at that.

Last December, the president
made it clear that income

inequality was going to
be a big priority.

The combined trends of
increased inequality

and decreasing mobility pose
a fundamental threat to

the American dream, our way
of life, and what we stand

for around the globe.

I believe this is the defining
challenge of our time.

Yes--the defining
challenge of our time.

Well, one of the two defining
challenges of our time,

the other being
Candy Crush level 97.

That is hard.

I've got a lollipop hammer,
and I still can't.

The point is that
the president said the word

"inequality" 26 times in that
speech, which everyone took to

mean one thing...

Income inequality is going
to be the thrust, one

of the major themes in 2016.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Members of the
Senate Democratic leadership

team--that's Harry Reid
on down--are clearly going

after this income
inequality issue.

For Democrats, it's
an all-out assault

on the issue
of income inequality.

An all-out assault!

You better watch your
ass, income inequality,

because you're about to
get violently ameliorated.

Or you would have been
if they hadn't almost

immediately backed down.

NEWSWOMAN: A new article says
President Obama appears to be

shifting strategy on
tackling income inequality.

The "Washington Post"
reveals Democrats are split

on the issue, leaving
President Obama to shift talk

away from the subject.

So basically income inequality
has become just another topic

of conversation we prefer
to avoid in America, like

Japanese internment camps
or that time that we gave

Roberto Benigni
an Academy Award.

You know, national
tragedies, equally wrong.

There is a key reason why
no politician wants to talk

about it, and that's because
every time someone tries to,

this happens.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN:
Is President Obama

engaging class warfare?

Class warfare.

Class warfare.

The politics
of class warfare.

Trying to drive
a class warfare argument.

Use that hashtag
#classwarfare.

OK, OK, that all sounds silly,

but the phrase
"class warfare" is

so toxic, the president
actually had to stop talking

about the thing he describes
as "a fundamental threat to

the American dream,"
and this was so predictable

that 3 years ago, he actually
gathered a group of historians

and told them, "What you could
do for me is to help find

"a way to discuss the issue
of inequality in our society

without being accused of
class warfare," to which they

presumably said, "Yeah,
we can't really help you

"with that, although
we can tell you what

"Warren G. Harding
named his penis.

It's not what
you're thinking!"

But just because politicians
can't talk about

income inequality doesn't mean
we shouldn't, and before we do,

let me just say no one
is arguing for complete,

perfect equality.

We are not going to live in
a world where we pretend that

all Baldwins are
equally talented.

I mean, look.

There's Billy,
and there's everyone else.

That's a fact.

Inequality is
a bit like cinnamon.

You definitely want to have
a little of it to spice life up

a bit, but too much of it
can be very dangerous.

And make no mistake--we are
at cinnamon-dangerous levels

right now.

The wealth gap
is getting worse.

A new analysis shows the
richest Americans, the top 1%,

made nearly 20% of all the available income

in America last year.

That's the widest income gap
since the Roaring Twenties.

Ho ho ho!

OK. Nothing
ominous there, then.

The Roaring Twenties were
famously the party that

never ended.

That's what made the thirties
so great--just more twenties.

And the thing is,
income inequality

affects everyone.

It can actually
hinder overall growth.

And just to be clear,
income inequality is by no means

just an American problem.

Globalization and technology
means that the gap is rising

all over the developed world.

It's just rising faster here.

In fact, in the United States,
the income ratio between our

richest and poorest
10% is now 16:1.

At this point, the rich are
just running up the score.

If our economy was
a Little League game,

someone would have
called it by now.

But what sets America apart
is that in this time, we have

actively introduced policies
disproportionately benefiting

the wealthy, like cutting
income tax and capital gains

tax rates for the richest in
half, as well as that weird

tax rebate for orgies with
fancy "Eyes Wide Shut" masks.

"The password is Fidelio."

You would think--you would
think, in a democracy,

policies that benefit very few
people at the expense of very

many would not be able to
succeed, but they have, and I

think the reason for that may
lie somewhere in America's

greatest quality: optimism.

It's basically
in how susceptible

Americans are to this.

We have never been a nation
of haves and have-nots.

We are a nation of haves
and soon-to-haves,

of people who have made it
and people who will make it.

Yes! I mean no!
No. Hold on.

That sounds great.

The problem is, it makes
no sense economically,

mathematically,
or even grammatically.

And yet we believe him.

We believe him.

And there's a poll that
I think explains why.

A few months ago, Pew Research
revealed that 65% of Americans

believe the wealth gap is
increasing, and 60% believe

our system unfairly favors
the wealthy, but--and here's

the key--60% also believe
that most people who work hard

enough can make it,
or in other words,

"Yeah, I can clearly see
this game is rigged,

"which is what's gonna
make it so sweet

"when I win this thing!

Whoo!"

Tha--and it's good.

That's a good thing.

That optimism is one of
the things I love the most

about this country.

I love that you line up around
the block for TV talent shows

for talents you
objectively don't have,

and everyone feels bad
when a person who is

inevitably and revealingly
British does this to you.

It sounded like
2 3-year-olds

who have got flu
trying to sing.

I didn't find it funny,
and I like to laugh,

and that
wasn't funny to me.

I don't know what
that style was.

It started off like
bad food poisoning.

Without any doubt the worst act I've
probably ever seen.

You may want to

and start acting like an arrogant

Your mashed
potatoes are bland.

Wow. Wow. Hold on.

A British person just
told you that your

mashed potatoes were bland.

That has got to hurt.

The reason a British person
has to do that is that we're

raised in a rigid class system
where we have all hope beaten

out of us, and your optimism
is overwhelmingly positive,

except--except when it leads
you to act against your own

best interests.

Look at
the federal estate tax.

That's the tax that gets
paid on inherited wealth.

It helps to limit the terrible
possibility of a permanent

landed gentry--the idea that
a house can be passed down

through the generations until
some dipshit blows the fortune

on a Canadian railway
company, you fucking moron!

How could you do
that, Lord Grantham?

The family was
counting on you!

How could you!

And yet the estate tax here
is routinely on the verge

of being abolished.

Politicians call it
the death tax and get applause

for saying things like this.

My own view is we ought
to kill the death tax.

You paid for that farm once.

You shouldn't have to
pay for it again.

Except it's almost impossible
that a farmer would ever have

to do that.

The federal estate tax does
not apply to 99.4%

of all farm estates.

It also doesn't apply to
99.86% of anyone's estates.

Basically if you're not
comfortable calling your

accumulation of shit an
"estate," the estate tax

probably doesn't
fucking apply to you.

And yet the thing is,
a man worth

a quarter of a billion
dollars gets applause

for saying,
"Let's get rid of it."

Under current federal law,
heirs don't have to pay taxes

on the first 5.3 million that
you leave them, meaning that

you and your wife can leave
your kid more than $10 million

tax-free, and relax.

That is more than enough to
turn Chauncey into the world's

biggest piece of shit.

Fuck you, Chauncey!

No 16-year-old has
a destination birthday party.

The tax on estates over
$5 million applies to almost

nobody, but one reason it's
constantly threatened is that

people assume that it will
one day apply to them.

I don't have
a 5-million-dollar estate.

I would like to someday.

But if I work all my life
and I pay my taxes

on my income
and then I die

and I want to pass on
what would be great if

it were a 5-million-dollar
estate to my kids,

why should I pay
the government again?

But you won't
be paying it!

You'll be gone!

In fact, this is
the practical embodiment

of everything you want.

This is the government
literally taking your money

over your dead body.

And also--also...

let's be clear.

Let's be clear.
The existence of an estate tax

has not prevented Americans

from passing on
a fuckload of wealth.

Of the billionaires on
the "Forbes" 400, 71 inherited

their fortune, and another
56 inherited at least

a portion of it.

That's nearly 1/3 of the list.

And our habit of handing
money down from generation to

generation perpetuates another
disparity, perhaps explaining

why, of the "Forbes" 400, only
.25% are African American,

and to answer your question,
yes, it's Oprah.

Oprah is the person.

You were right.
Good guess. Good guess.

America now has a system
where wealth is essentially

dispersed as a lottery of birth,
and maybe the reason we

seem to accept that is that
even though we know the odds

are stacked against us,
we all think we're going

to win the lottery.

Experts even appear on TV
advising us how to handle

our future winnings.

I think the first thing should be to
create a plan.

DIFFERENT MAN:
Set up a trust.

Probably hire a couple
of security guards.

FIRST MAN: Do you take the lump-sum
payment or

the 29-year annuity
payment over time?

I would take
the one-time cash chunk

because it allows you to
do a whole bunch of things

that you might want to do
in your life.

If you win that kind of money
and you still have young

children, make sure you
put it in a trust.

Oh, absolutely, because it
is never too early to start

protecting your imaginary
lottery winnings from

crippling estate taxes.

That's crazy.

You...

you might as well do
an 8-minute segment on how to

handle being attacked by
a shark while scoring

the winning touchdown
at the Super Bowl

or things to say on your
third date with Beyonc.

And watch how--
it would be great.

That would be great.

There's a chance.

Technically, there's a chance.

And watch how depressed we get
by useful, practical advice.

Would you tell people,
maybe take your $5.00

you're gonna spend on the jackpot
and put it elsewhere?

If you can invest
that money,

20, 30 years down
the road,

that is gonna be
a much better--

there would be much
better odds

of having a secure
retirement

than hoping
on the lottery.

It's not nearly
as fantasy, though.

No, it's not.

So much more practical.

Please, please don't mess
up this financial segment

with practical advice.

We're dream weavers
here at News Team 12.

Take that shit over
to News Team 5.

Look, look.

The whole point is,
if American wealth is a lottery,

we are increasingly
playing two different games.

In fact, I'll show you.

Who wants to play Americaball?

OK, as always, we
have two drawings.

First up, the draw for people with
inherited wealth.

You should all have a ticket at home
with a number

between 1 and 3 on it,
so let's pick 2 balls.

Let's pick 2 balls.

Fire it up. Here we go.

3!

The first number is 3.

Let's pick another ball.

1!

Congratulations to
almost everyone at home!

OK, that was fun.
That was fun.

OK, so now the lottery

for those who
were born poor.

OK.

Tank.

Uh, hello to all of you
watching at home

or through
a Best Buy window.

You should all have
a card with a number

between 1 and
3.5 million on it,

and you've probably
noticed that

a disproportionate percentage of
these balls

are black and brown.

Ignore that. It's illustrative
of nothing.

I can't stress
that enough.

Isn't that right, Tank?

Yeah, that's right.
Yeah.

Now, as you can see, for the third
consecutive week,

this machine
is still broken,

so I can't currently
get a ball out

of there for you, but let's all agree
that technically,

you did all have the hypothetical
chance to win!

So this is depressing.

Hey, remember how much fun we were
having over there?

Let's go back over.

There's still
a ball in there.

Let's get that last
ball out of there.

Just one more.

Oh, number 2!

You're all winners!
All of you!

You can't lose!
The system works!

And don't worry,
poor people.

If you're getting sad,
you're just thinking

of this the wrong way.

Remember, when it comes
to the wealth lottery,

America is a nation
of winners

and soon-to winners.

Yes! And now this.

ANNOUNCER: And now,
"Last Week Tonight" presents

"Fuck that guy."

This week, Jerome Valcke,
the Secretary General of FIFA.

As you may have seen earlier
today, Germany won

the World Cup, capping off
a thrilling tournament

filled with joy, tears,
and the occasional

act of cannibalism.

There was only one thing
that marred

the month-long tournament.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke says

he's amazed and
surprised by the amount

of alcohol that's
being consumed

at the World Cup.

ANNOUNCER: In an interview
with Brazilian TV,

Valcke said, "I was amazed by
the number of people who were

drunken and the level
of alcohol."

And "When you drink too much,
the level of violence

may increase."

Here's the thing--
Brazil knew that.

In 2003, the Brazilian
government banned alcohol

from stadiums because
of the enormously high

death rate amongst fans.

ANNOUNCER: As you may recall
from our show a month ago,

the country was pressured to
suspend the laws by one

Jerome Valcke, who presumably
acted on behalf of one

of FIFA's key sponsors.

ANNOUNCER: And to be fair
to Jerome Valcke,

how could he possibly have known
that selling beer to people

might lead to them
drinking it?

So when the man who helped
remove safety-based controls

on beer sales has
the balls to say,

"We will always take
safety into account.

"If we believe beer sales
should be controlled,

it will be controlled,"
it leads us to say,

FIFA Secretary General
Jerome Valcke?

Fuck that guy.

And that's a good point.
It's a good point.

And finally tonight,
big news in the world

of international espionage.

The German government has
ordered the CIA's station chief

in Germany to get out of
the country--the kind of thing

we almost never see with
a close ally, but Germany is

outraged by what it
considers U.S. spy games.

Yeah. I'd say that this is
just sour German grapes,

but I know that they
use all of those

for their shitty Rieslings.

Yes! Yes!

That's why I came to HBO--

premium high-end wine jokes.

Yes.

The CIA has been caught spying on Germany again.

It's just the latest black eye
for the CIA, who in recent

years have been accused
of torture, abuse,

and illegal surveillance
around the globe.

Perhaps that's why they've
recently taken some steps

to change
their public image.

This is the CIA,
and they've just

officially
joined Twitter.

The CIA also
officially has

a sense of humor.

Check out the first
tweet from the Agency:

"We can neither
confirm nor deny

that this is
our first tweet. "

Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha! Oh, yeah.

Hey. I get it.

You're a dangerously
secretive operation who work

in the shadows with little
accountability or oversight.

Ha ha ha!

Look, I'm not gonna say that
this is a completely unfunny

tweet, but
the context is wrong.

It's like if a doctor
interrupted Wolf Blitzer's

colonoscopy by
shouting, "Oh, my God!

Wolf, I think I've just
found the missing plane!"

I'm not saying that
wouldn't be funny.

It's just it's neither
the time nor the place

for a comment like that.

That's the point.

And since then, the CIA's
questionable taste in jokes

has only gotten worse.

The CIA also tweeted out, "No,
we don't know your password,

"so we can't send it to you.

#sorrynotsorry."

The CIA says, "No, we
don't know where Tupac is."

What are you doing?

Tupac was famously murdered.

He didn't vanish.

The mystery isn't where he is;
it's who killed him, which,

incidentally, you
probably do know.

In fact, the more you poke
around on the CIA's website,

the more you find things
that make you question

their social media team.

This is a real video
from the CIA K-9 unit.

GIRLISH VOICE:
My name is Bradley.

I'm an explosive-detection
K-9 officer at the CIA.

Have you ever wondered how
an ordinary dog becomes a K-9?

Hi, Chessie.

How do you like being
a K-9 so far?

MALE VOICE:
It's great.

I'm learning a lot.

How would you like to tell these
folks about what

it takes to become
a CIA K-9?

I would love to.

Great.

What the--

what the hell
did we just watch there?

And by the way, CIA, you have
a secret budget with virtually

no oversight,
and you can't even make

their fucking mouths move?

Even the dogs probably know
that this video is weird.

In fact, if we could hear what
the dogs were really thinking,

I'd bet you it would sound
a lot more like this.

Hey, Chessie.

How do you like being
in a video for the CIA?

Seems kind of weird.

I mean, who is this for?

Kids, I guess.

Sure, but why?

I don't know.

The CIA has
an image problem?

Well, then maybe they
should stop operating

secret prisons
from Poland to Djibouti

and needlessly spying on our closest allies
during peacetime.

Hey, that
might work.

Yay!
Hooray!

Woof!

That's good. See?

It's good.
People liked it.

That could be viral.

Look.

Look, CIA.

I get that you want to be
the fun one, but, "A," you

shouldn't be, and "B,"

you're not even
very good at it.

Don't waste your time writing
jokes when we can all help

you with that.

Here's one right now.

Hey, "Two and a Half Men" got
renewed for a 12th season.

That show is harder
to kill than Fidel Castro,

#murderfail.

Or perhaps you'd like
your old-school jokes.

Here's one.

3 Arab guys walk into a bar.

Two of them are never
heard from again.

#wheredidtheygo?
#secretprison #Uzbekistan.

In fact--in fact, I would
invite everyone at home to

help the CIA write jokes
more suitable to their

actual history.

Simply use the hashtag
#BETTERCIATWEETS.

Because you can't spell
"colossal privacy violation"

without LOL.

That's our show
for this evening.

Thank you so much
for watching.

We will be back next Sunday.

Have a great week!