Sunday, June 16, 2013

Josh Fox Eats Niall Ferguson’s Lunch on Bill Maher's Real Time

GaslandScene from the Josh Fox documentary ‘Gasland’ in which a homeowner lights his tap water on fire. Fox had the last laugh on terminal bore Niall Ferguson, appearing on Bill Maher last night.

Gasland and Gasland II film maker Josh Fox didn’t hold back Friday night when confronted by the Harvard conservative prof and Über Troll, Niall Ferguson. The fur flew, diatribes were unleashed and Ferguson howled “Cheap Shot!” after Fox suggested he might be one of the beneficiaries of fracking which is why he so avidly defends it. Ferguson resorted to just about every tawdry ruse and cheap tactic in the pseudo-armory of the entitled, aristocrat class, including denigrating Fox’s credentials, asking at one point: “What qualifies you to do this apart from being a film maker?” Fox responded: “I’m an American CITIZEN!” To which the audience cheered. Bravo! And to be sure, the citizen has paramountcy when federal, state and local governments try to undermine our voices.

Ferguson, twisting his face up to emulate a spoiled brat, then deplored the absence of any “science” in Fox's film efforts. But Fox held his own, especially on the issue of the water contamination- challenging Ferguson on whether he’s actually examined the data.

Most pleasing to the audience was Fox calling out Ferguson for his constant interruptions: “You haven’t let me complete a single sentence yet without interruption!” But this is common for the entitled likes of a twerp Harvard history professor. One can only feel sorry for his students who must resort to extreme distractions when they’re caught up in one of his classes.

Ferguson harped on an “MIT study” but that study MIT: The Facts On Fracking Methane Emissions,   was more concerned with the level of methane emissions relative to ordinary gas drilling – it didn’t address the water contamination issues at all. What we DO know is that Theo Colborn and researchers at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange here in Colorado pored through industry and government documents to assemble a list of generic chemicals used in hydraulic fracking, with the findings published in the journal, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment(2011).

The results are scary to say the least. Of  353 fracking chemicals for which they could find health information, nearly half affected the brain and nervous system. Meanwhile, a quarter were likely carcinogens and forty percent had the potential to adversely impact the endocrine system which regulates sexual development, pregnancy and critical aspects of child development.

Oil and gas industry PR meisters and hacks insist the levels of their chemicals are so low that there’s no need for concern, but scientists like Colborn aren’t assured. They know the existing data show that fetal and early childhood exposures to even very low levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals can have lasting effects over a lifetime. These effects include infertility and early puberty in girls.

Another worrisome aspect that twits like Ferguson overlook, is the debris – including radioactive- hurled up to form pools of produced water. These pools contain not only the chemicals originally injected into the ground, but heavy metals as well as radioactive material – which can drift into nearby homes, school yards. This finding has been published in ‘New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy’ by Alisa Rich who has studied such ponds, pools in Texas.

At the end of the Maher Real Time show it was a double TKO for Josh Fox, taking out both the troll Niall Ferguson as well as Neoliberal hack Jonathan Alter who at one point came to Ferguson's aid. (Neoliberals of the same political class stick together like rats.....errrrr.....birds of a feather.)

Of course, make no mistake the oil and gas industry will squeal like stuck pigs, just as much as the intelligence community is for having its own excesses exposed. We citizens will always have to expect those who would keep us deaf, dumb and blind to react this way. They want us to remain sheep, and when others help us to break out of the sheep mold, the arrogant corporate-war-spy state goes ape shit, along with all their whore lackeys. This is what the real citizen comes to expect, and we ignore it in our pursuit of truth and transparency pertaining to issues affecting our lives. We also continue to try to wake up our slumbering, semi-comatose fellow citizens who, for some reason, seem to think none of this matters, at least in their self-contained, egocentric social media universe.


Aaron Fox from Sober Down said...

Loved your take on this. I was outraged as well at the whole pannel other than Bill Maher coming to Fox's aid once or twice. I would have liked to see the whole show dedicated to that segment. I noticed the arrogant attitude, and the hypocrisy of Ferguson who asked what credentials Fox had to speak on the fracking issue, all the while having no credentials to speak on such matters himself. Fox also spent 5 years doing research, so obviously he is deserved some respect for knowledge he attained while making his film. When Ferguson attempted to trample all over Fox for "just being a documentary film maker" I thought it was smug,elitist, and uncalled for. At least Fox, who is a concerned citizen and talented film maker, is being active in the political system instead of sitting back and watching paint dry. I commend him for going up against the powers that be, and taking on Goliath.
Aaron Fox

Copernicus said...

Thank you, for your very apt comment!

Unknown said...

Niall Ferguson is exactly what's wrong with the higher education system in this country. His exalted professorship at Harvard allows him the right to look down his nose at people like Fox. Maybe if Fox flashed an Ivy diploma or it was his doctoral dissertation instead of just a lowly 'documentary filmmaker', he'd get Ferguson's respect.

Alter and that poll taker woman who proudly claims 'mother of four for fracking' made me sick, as well. She and her four kids should move to a town with contaminated water. Or be forced to live next to a new well if they're so certain of the safety of these things.

I felt bad that Fox wasn't even able to put to bed the myth that this fracking is going to free us from foreign oil.

Torbin Wilcocks said...

Yes - higher education only gives forth people who can think! What about people like Aaron Fox! What about the little people with no education! We have the right to be heard too! All this smarty talk about scientists saying "yea Ill build a better battery in 5 years" who needs that!? We need non educated people like Copernicus, and Unknown! We need them to help us build computers - we don't need the smarty smart arrogance of Einstein, of Nate Silver (typical smartist elite who "claimed" to predict the 2012 election with his faux science!). I'm with all of you! Self education between football games made this country great!!

Copernicus said...

Actually, I have a Master of Philosophy degree in Physics. But your essential point remains that one should not have to be a specialist in a field (or hold a degree therein) to explore it, write about it or render critiques of aspects - especially those which affect fellow citizens.

Unknown said...

As a woman with a BS in molecular biology with a boyfriend with a BS in chemistry who both work for NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Group), I was thoroughly disgusted with entire episode. The entire panel attacked him and NONE OF THEM ARE SCIENTISTS! They all quoted studies which they clearly didn't understand (at one point Ferguson misquoted a study and portrayed the results inaccurately) and then snidely asked Fox what his qualifications were??? I was also a little upset on the very limited knowledge that Bill Maher apparently had on the topic as he is usually very well informed and makes very clear and concise conclusions. I have seen both Gasland I and II as well as numerous other documentaries, and I have also delved into research myself and remain constantly informed on the situation. AS A SCIENTIST, I know what is actually happening and can understand what is reported in all of these studies as well as the implications. I am so sick and tired of people who pick up a study, that I hope to God if they are quoting is at the very least a peer reviewed article, read said article, and with any background in the world think they are then qualified to speak to others and sway public perception based on their alleged comprehension of the topic. I speak to people every day about this and the problem is threefold; 1. The greed of large multi-national corporations; 2. The corruption of the American government; 3. The complete self-induced apathy of the American people. Guess what….if you want your children and grandchildren to be safe, take action before it is too late. When you sit on the fence on issues such as fracking and your neighbors lease their land to a huge oil and gas company who then set up huge frack pads next door to you, don't be surprised six months later when you have toluene in every tissue in your body because by then its too late. Maybe you should listen to the degree holding scientists next time instead of being a bleach blond bimbo CEO of a freshman level pole taking company screaming proud mother of four who supports fracking on cable TV.

Copernicus said...

Very well put and spot on! Thanks for your insights!