TIME TO START HOUNDING YOUR SENATORS: THE REPLY

Some of our elected officials will at least take the trouble to send back an automated response.  One such is Senator Jim Webb.  Thus when I sent him my last email (see here), I got the following in reply.

Senator Jim Webb’s Response to Your Message.

November 25, 2009

Dear Citizen Tom:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding health care reform.  I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.

As you may know, the Senate voted in favor of a motion to begin debate on the merged health care bill, and will begin to consider this legislation on the Senate floor after the Thanksgiving recess.  I supported this motion because I believe it is important that the full Senate have the opportunity to debate this bill and offer changes through the amendment process.  I will not, however, vote in favor of final passage of this legislation unless I am satisfied that it is in the best interest of our nation and its people.

Last month, I called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to post the text and complete budget scores of the health care bill on a public website for Congress and the American people to review at least 72 hours prior to both the first vote and final passage.  I am pleased to inform you that the bill was posted online 72 hours before the cloture vote occurred, and remains available for public viewing.  The bill is also available on my website (http://webb.senate.gov/issuesandlegislation/healthcare_debate.cfm).

As the Senate continues to debate health care reform, please be assured that your views will be very helpful to me and my staff.  I hope that you will continue to share your views with us in the years ahead.

Thank you once again for contacting my office.

Sincerely,

Jim Webb

United States Senator

JW:kw

Will Senator Webb vote for this rabidly dangerous, socialist health care bill?  There is no way of knowing.  Undoubtedly, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Reid are happy to have Congress considering this gift of soft, smelly, polluting coal to the nation during the Christmas Season — when we are not inclined to pay attention.  If socialized medicine  — poor quality, costly, rationed medical care — is what you want to pass on to your children, then you do not need to pay attention.  However, if you want something better for your children, you must get involved and stay involved.  Just as our soldiers must fight for us regardless of the season, we must work for our children’s future whenever that work is required.

If you oppose socialist medicine, taxpayer-funded abortions, and reams of Federal Government red tape, then please ask your congress men or woman to oppose this legislation.  See www.house.gov.

In particular, please contact your senators at www.senate.gov.  When the Senate voted to initiate debate, the vote of one more senator would have stopped the bill in its tracks.  Fortunately, there will be one more opportunity to kill the bill. That vote will be to end debate.  This vote will again require a majority of 60 votes.  If we can rally sufficient complaints from the citizenry, then it is almost inevitable that at least 41 senators will vote against ending debate.

Do not be fooled.  We must kill the bill now!  Even if the Senate votes to take out the most onerous provisions prior to the vote to end debate, the Senate-House conference committee can put them back in during the reconciliation process.  After that, only 51 votes will be needed in the Senate to pass the bill.

Here is the contact information for Virginia’s senators.

Warner, Mark R. – (D – VA) Class II
459A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2023
Web Form: warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact
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Webb, Jim – (D – VA) Class I
248 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4024
Web Form: webb.senate.gov/contact.cfm

THE STRANGE BUSINESS OF “CLIMATEGATE”

Because news stories can proceed rather strangely from dubious “facts,” it is often better to set back and watch awhile before offering an opinion.  Since the emails related to ClimateGate were stolen, I reserved judgement — waiting for confirmation.   However, at this point I have also begun wondering how long I will have to wait.  For example, what is the news story at the top of the Google stack for “climategate“?  This story is Data-leak lessons learned from the ‘Climategate’ hack.  This author’s main concern is computer security.  Supposedly, the researchers were considering destroying their data rather than respond to a legal FOIA request, but they never really did.  That is, we are suppose to take comfort from the lack of confirmation in the emails.   😕

Unfortunately, we do have confirmation, Britain’s Climate Research Unit to release data in wake of Climategate.  Here is how the article begins.

In an about face brought about as a result of more than a thousand leaked emails last week, Britain’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) announced it would make its data publically available, something which it had refused to do previously. The unit however has admitted that it did not have access to much of the raw data required to reconstruct climate records because it had been deleted.

Oops!  We have emails indicating the intention to delete data, and that data is gone.  Nothing suspicious there. 🙄

Scientists are just like anyone else.  Scientists can be tempted by fame and fortune.  That is why proper peer review is so important.  When we know a disinterested party is looking over our shoulder, we tend to be more honest.  When the issue of Global Warming has become highly politicized, proper peer review is critical, but here we have good reason to suspect that process has been corrupted.

Other Views

Some Virginia blogs regard ClimateGate as a smoking gun, proof of scientific dishonesty.

From On High, The right-wing liberal, YankeePhilSkepticalObservor, The Contemporary Conservative, SWAC Girl, Old Virginia Blog, Virginia Virtuconnovatownhall blog, The Journey, The Roanoke Slant, ShaunKenney.com, Bacon’s Rebellion, and Tidewater Liberty  have run posts, some quite scathing, starting November 20. 

Liberal bloggers have largely ignored the issue.  Only Blue Virginia has actully mentioned the affair by name,  Overhyped Nonsense by “Powerhouse” Panelists: Yes, It’s “This Week” Time Again!  However, X Curmudgeon offered this “timely” post, Manufacturing Doubt on Global Climate Change

How has America’s corporate news media reacted?  Virginia Virtucon offered up this post on the 24th,  American MSM’s split decision on ClimateGate.   The Virginian produced something similiar, Climategate: MSM Writers Try to Ignore Scandal in Global Warming Stories But Readers Bring Them Back to Reality and Why the MSM Cannot Possibly Report on ClimateGate.  So has SWAC Girl, MSM ignoring Climate-Gate?  According to Tidewater Liberty, the Brits are covering the affair, Beating Trees into Hockey Sticks.

HATE CRIME

I expect it has been done, and I have just never heard it. Surely someone has mentioned it. When they write, some journalists commit hate crimes. Nonetheless, I fear this is just one of those things we have to put up with.   In Democracy in America, Alexis De Tocqueville  sort of put it this way.   😀

I confess that I do not entertain that firm and complete attachment to the liberty of the press freedom of the mind which things that are supremely good in their very nature are wont to excite in the mind; and I approve of it more from a recollection of the evils it prevents than from a consideration of the advantages it ensures

If any one could point out an intermediate and yet a tenable position between the complete independence and the entire subjection of the public expression of opinion hateful thought, I should perhaps be inclined to adopt it; but the difficulty is to discover this position. If it is your intention to correct the abuses of unlicensed printing thinking and to restore the use of orderly language good thought, you may in the first instance try the offender by a jury; but if the jury acquits him, the opinion which was that of a single individual becomes the opinion of the country at large. Too much and too little has therefore hitherto been done. If you proceed, you must bring the delinquent before a court of permanent judges. But even here the cause must be heard before it can be decided; and the very principles example which no book person would have ventured to avow are blazoned forth in the pleadings, and what was obscurely hinted at in a single composition act is then repeated demonstrated in a for the multitude of other publications. The language action in which a hateful thought is embodied is the mere carcass of the thought, and not the idea itself; tribunals may condemn the form, but the sense and spirit of the work deed is too subtle for their authority. Too much has still been done to recede, too little to attain your end; you must therefore proceed. If you establish a censorship of the press hate crime laws, the tongue of the public speaker will still make itself heard, and you have only increased the mischief. The powers of thought do not rely, like the powers of physical strength, upon the number of their mechanical agents, nor can a host of authors rebels be reckoned like the troops which compose an army; on the contrary, the authority of a principle an example is often increased by the smallness of the number of men by whom it is expressed. The words of a strong-minded man, which penetrate amidst the passions of a listening assembly, have more power than the vociferations of a thousand orators; and if it be allowed to speak freely in any public place, the consequence is the same as if free speaking was allowed in every village. The liberty of discourse must therefore be destroyed as well as the liberty of the press hateful thoughts; this is the necessary term of your efforts; but if your object was to repress the abuses of liberty thinking, they have brought you to the feet of a despot. You have been led from the extreme of independence to the extreme of subjection without meeting with a single tenable position for shelter or repose.

The above was “excerpted” from the contents of Chapter 11, Volume 1 (of 2).

AMERICA’S ARISTOCRACY


When Alexis De Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, he observed  the class distinctions between Americans during the years of 1831 and 1832 .  He was particularly interested in these distinctions as they related to the governance of our society.

What follows are a portion of the contents of Chapter 10, Volume 1 (of 2).

Remains Of The Aristocratic Party In The United States

It sometimes happens in a people amongst which various opinions prevail that the balance of the several parties is lost, and one of them obtains an irresistible preponderance, overpowers all obstacles, harasses its opponents, and appropriates all the resources of society to its own purposes. The vanquished citizens despair of success and they conceal their dissatisfaction in silence and in general apathy. The nation seems to be governed by a single principle, and the prevailing party assumes the credit of having restored peace and unanimity to the country. But this apparent unanimity is merely a cloak to alarming dissensions and perpetual opposition.

This is precisely what occurred in America; when the democratic party got the upper hand, it took exclusive possession of the conduct of affairs, and from that time the laws and the customs of society have been adapted to its caprices. At the present day the more affluent classes of society are so entirely removed from the direction of political affairs in the United States that wealth, far from conferring a right to the exercise of power, is rather an obstacle than a means of attaining to it. The wealthy members of the community abandon the lists, through unwillingness to contend, and frequently to contend in vain, against the poorest classes of their fellow citizens. They concentrate all their enjoyments in the privacy of their homes, where they occupy a rank which cannot be assumed in public; and they constitute a private society in the State, which has its own tastes and its own pleasures. They submit to this state of things as an irremediable evil, but they are careful not to show that they are galled by its continuance; it is even not uncommon to hear them laud the delights of a republican government, and the advantages of democratic institutions when they are in public. Next to hating their enemies, men are most inclined to flatter them.

Mark, for instance, that opulent citizen, who is as anxious as a Jew of the Middle Ages to conceal his wealth. His dress is plain, his demeanor unassuming; but the interior of his dwelling glitters with luxury, and none but a few chosen guests whom he haughtily styles his equals are allowed to penetrate into this sanctuary. No European noble is more exclusive in his pleasures, or more jealous of the smallest advantages which his privileged station confers upon him. But the very same individual crosses the city to reach a dark counting-house in the centre of traffic, where every one may accost him who pleases. If he meets his cobbler upon the way, they stop and converse; the two citizens discuss the affairs of the State in which they have an equal interest, and they shake hands before they part.

But beneath this artificial enthusiasm, and these obsequious attentions to the preponderating power, it is easy to perceive that the wealthy members of the community entertain a hearty distaste to the democratic institutions of their country. The populace is at once the object of their scorn and of their fears. If the maladministration of the democracy ever brings about a revolutionary crisis, and if monarchical institutions ever become practicable in the United States, the truth of what I advance will become obvious.

The two chief weapons which parties use in order to ensure success are the public press and the formation of associations.

When Tocqueville visited America, the Federal Government largely existed for only one purpose, to protect the rights of the people.  That made for a Federal Government far less complex to manage.  Moreover, most of the activities of government were conducted at the local level.  Even state governments, though at that time they had much greater power, did not intrude nearly as much into the life of ordinary citizens as they do today.

The small size of government made government easier to manage and thus more subject to the ordinary citizen.   As a result, the aristocratic elements of society then exercised far less control.