Friday, February 13, 2015

Real Time with Bill Maher #343 02/13/15 "Unholy BS"

for Merchants of Doubt
by Catherine Giordano 

The unholy aroma of BS hung heavy in the hair throughout episode 343 of Real Time with Bill Maher which aired on February 13, 2015.  

The Merchants of Doubt
Did you know that you can earn a living being a professional bs-er? Robert Kennar, producer, director, and screenwriter for a new documentary, Merchants of Doubt which will be released on March 5, 2015. (It is based on the book, Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway. His previous documentary, Food Inc., was nominated for an Academy award.) 

The professional bs-er is in the business of deceiving people. Let's call them "the merchants of unholy bs."  Kennar explained that it began with tobacco. Not only did these bs-ers maintain that tobacco did not cause cancer long after there was no longer any doubt about the connection, they claimed that cigarettes didn’t cause fires-- couches caused fires. Their bs was so convincing that laws were passed to add fire retardant chemicals to couches. Guess what—the chemicals caused cancer. How many cancer deaths did these people cause? 

After tobacco the bs-ers moved to pesticides, ozone, climate-change, drugs, sugar, and even cloned meat. They turn common sense on its head. How do you save the forests—more logging!

Maher said that they and the politicians they have bought put it this way, “If we protect you, it will infringe on your freedom." (I guess they are referring to your freedom to die an early painful death.) 

Read more about this and see video clips at Professional Liars: he Merchants of Doubt

Marriage Equality
Baratunde Thurston
Baratunde Thurston
Some counties in Alabama are refusing to issue marriage licenses to anybody in order to get around an order from the federal court to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Panel member, Baratunde Thurston (writer, comedian and entrepreneur, author of How to Be Black), said, “They are fighting a war that has already been lost. It is like they are auditioning for the part of Governor Wallace in the movie Selma.”
Republicans BS in London
Panel member, Zanny Milton Bedoes, is Editor in Chief of The Economist magazine. She’s from England and she called out Republicans on the bs they speak when they visit her country. Chris Christie got in trouble for bs-ing about vaccinations and Scott Walker got in trouble for bs-ing about evolution. Bedoes said, “If you are a Republican candidate for president, don’t go to London.” The English press is fierce. They will take you down if you bs.

While in London, Walker said that he would not answer a question about whether or not he believed in evolution. He later tried to walk it back by saying science and faith are completely compatible. Maher called out that bit of bs. He said, “No. Stupidity is not another form of knowledge.”

Racism and Cops
Cop with gun
Do cops have an 007 mentality?
I learned about another wanton murder by cops “in the line of duty” on Maher’s show. He showed a shocking video clip. A Hispanic man, this time, threw some rocks at some cops and ran away. Three cops chased him and shut him dead, firing multiple times, as he ran away. He ran away—he was no longer a threat to them. Beside there were three of them.

This 007-License- to-Kill mentality has to be stopped. The rules are that deadly force (guns) can only be used as a last resort to protect human life. But too many cops are shooting just because they are pissed off.  

Maher said, “Something is wrong in the culture. They know they can get away with it.”

Panelist Tom Davis, former Representative (R, VA) and author of Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis (with Martin Frost and Richard E. Cohen) said “The police have to call out their own.” 

Jeff Comey, the director of the FBI, is the top cop. He is starting to speak out. He said, “We are all a little bit racist.” Yes, that is true. We all have prejudices, but we don’t all go out and shoot people based on those prejudices. (We cross the street.)  

Maher said, it was better for a white person (like Comey) to say these things. I agree, a white person is more likely to get racist people to listen and I agree they are more likely to listen if he approaches the subject gingerly, but he is just bs-ing if he doesn’t get tough. It won’t stop until these cops get prosecuted.

Maher cited a New York Times article that reported that ObamaCare is working. More people have insurance and costs are coming down. Thurston said that he has personally benefitted from it because he did not have insurance before.  

Davis said that it has helped some and hurt others. It was a badly written bill. (Question to Davis: What did you do to make it better? Trying to kill it completely does not count as making it better.) 

Maher said, “We should have a single payer system. Insurance companies are sharks.” Later, he added, “We shouldn’t have the profit motive in sickness and death.” (No bs there.) 

Bedoes said, ”England has a single payer system. You want a hybrid system.” I wish she had explained what a hybrid system would look like. Maybe we would have had time for that if Maher had not gone on a rant about vaccines. (See below) 

Mid-Show Comedy Segment: Celebrity Perfume

It seems like every celebrity, male and female, in the world of fashion, music, and film ahs their own perfume label. Maher suggested a few new ones. 

  • Kanye West                         Interruption  
  • Renee Zellweger                 Incognito
  • Bruce Jenner                      Transition for Men
  • Brian Williams                     Conflation    
  • Hillary Clinton                      Inevitable
  • John McCain                       Old Spite
  • Chris Christie                      Enormity for Men 

David Duchovney
David Duchovney Holy Cow book cover
for Holy Cow

The mid-show guest was David Duchovney, actor, director, and author of a new novel Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale

 Maher teased Duchovney because he has always called himself a writer, but has never published a book until now. Duchovney joked, “Delusional is my perfume.

The book is a about a cow that goes to India. It is written as a satire (like Animal Farm by George Orwell) to address the issue of animal rights. Duchovney said, “The abuse of animals comes from humans thinking they are separate from animals.” 

Maher said that raising animals for meat causes more global warming than cars. (It’s the methane gas they emit from their butts.) 

Maher mentioned that livestock animals have to be given antibiotics because of the unhealthy conditions in which they are raised. From there he segued to antibiotic-resistant “bugs” and from there, he was on vaccines.  

Maher has had plenty of time to educate himself on vaccines, but he evidently wants to just keep on spewing out the same old bs. Children need to give their immune system a workout. I don’t get sick because I eat healthy. The flu shot is bogus.  

Maher then began yelling that having six kids is worse than not getting vaccinated. (Maher is unmarried and has no children.) The panel was a dissimulated. They didn’t know how to respond to this non-sequitur. Yes, having six kids is probably not a good idea, but what does that have to do with vaccines? 

Measles is highly contagious and can be deadly. Yes, exposure to a few common bacteria that don’t usually cause illness in humans can give the immune system “a workout,” but best not to do that with a serious illness. Yes, the flu shot is not 100% effective, but it does save some lives. Not everyone is as healthy at Maher—some of us need the protection of vaccines. And by the way, I don’t care if Maher thinks his immune system is like “The Hulk”, if Maher is exposed to measles and has not been vaccinated, he is going to be one sick puppy. Why risk it? 

Vaccines give the immune system a workout. When people are vaccinated, they get a weakened form of the virus. The immune system produces antibodies, and then they won’t get the disease if they are exposed to it. The flu mutates every year so immunologists have to try to guess which variant will prevail, and that is why the flu vaccine is not 100% effective.   

One of the definitions of bs in the Urban Dictionary is talking when you don't know what you are talking about. Stop bs-ing about vaccines!

New Rules: Anchor Sore
Maher began, "Brian Williams should not have to go away because he lied. He should have to go away because the news sucks.” 

He berated news shows as a race to the bottom. They feature trivia like YouTube videos and reports about snow (“It snows. They plow it. It melts. The end.”) He ended with a complaint about heart-warming stories. He said, “There’s a place for them. It’s called Reader’s Digest.”  

Fat Bellies
Fat bellies
On his way to his snappy conclusion, Maher did the very thing he was complaining about. He faulted the networks for doing an endless number of segments that pretend to be about obesity and are just an excuse to show jiggling bellies, boobs and butt. (The alliteration is mine, Maher’s.) Then Maher gave us fat jiggling bellies, boobs, and butts.  

I’m with Maher on the viciousness of the broadcast news shows, but I have to call bs on this part of his diatribe. Maher delights in showing us this kind of thing. Maher is thin and athletic. (Remember the season opener last year when he was filmed running from one theater to the other.) Fat is one of Maher’s pet peeves and it gives him a chance to be superior. As previously mentioned, Maher avoids sugar--he has said in the past that he prefers to get his calories from alcohol.  

Stop the BS
I watch Bill Maher because it is a no bs zone for his guests. Lately, I’m feeling like the bs is coming from Maher. I’d like Maher to give his guests more time to talk on their area of expertise and stop interjecting when his opinions are uninformed. 

Bill Maher’s Guests for February 13, 2015, episode #343
Robert Kennar: Screenwriter, director, producer, His newest movie is Merchants of Doubt, a documentary, based on the book by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway

David Duchovney: Actor, director, author of Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale

Tom Davis: Former Representative (R, VA), author of Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis (with Martin Frost and Richard E. Cohen)

Zanny Milton Bedoes: Editor in Chief of The Economist magazine

Baratunde Thurston: writer, comedian and entrepreneur, author of How to Be Black