Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stinging Press Release for Senators Rockefeller and Snow

Hat tip: Dave of the MVCA

Press Release Source: Center for Science and Public Policy

British Lord Stings Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: 'Uphold Free Speech or Resign' Monday December 18, 9:58 am ET

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists.

Lord Monckton, former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, writes: "You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to 'senior elected and appointed government officials' who disagree with your opinion."

In what The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail has called "an intemperate attempt to squelch debate with a hint of political consequences," Senators Rockefeller and Snowe released an open letter dated October 30 to ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, insisting he end Exxon's funding of a "climate change denial campaign." The Senators labeled scientists with whom they disagree as "deniers," a term usually directed at "Holocaust deniers." Some voices on the political left have called for the arrest and prosecution of skeptical scientists. The British Foreign Secretary has said skeptics should be treated like advocates of Islamic terror and must be denied access to the media.

Responds Lord Monckton, "Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, 'obfuscate' the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the 'consensus' argument and they compel necessary corrections ... "

Lord Monckton's Churchillian reproof continues, "You acknowledge the effectiveness of the climate sceptics. In so doing, you pay a compliment to the courage of those free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken preconceived positions; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretence to uphold or cherish academic freedom."

Of Britain's Royal Society, a State-funded scientific body which, like the Senators, has publicly leaned on ExxonMobil, Lord Monckton said, "The Society's long-standing funding by taxpayers does not ensure any greater purity of motive or rigour of thought than industrial funding of scientists who dare to question whether 'climate change' will do any harm."

To the Senators' comparison of ExxonMobil's funding of climate sceptics with tobacco-industry funding of research denying the link between smoking and lung cancer, Lord Monckton counters, "Your comparison of Exxon's funding of sceptical scientists and groups with the former antics of the tobacco industry is unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives. Either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold."

Concludes Lord Monckton, "I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer- reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call 'disastrous' and 'calamitous' consequences."

Source: Center for Science and Public Policy

Comment: This demonstrates the nonpartisan nature of the 17th Amendment issue: it does not matter what party a senator belongs to, most all have strong ties to special interest groups.

One of the consequences of the 17th Amendment has been that the length of tenure among senators has increased significantly.[1] As a result the number of special interest contacts of each has grown. And as we have witnessed repeatedly, special interest manipulate our Government and the Constitution. This global warming business represents the same.

The evidence is clearly overwhelming that the idea of humans causing global warming is ludicrous, yet with a significant amount of data available refuting this claim, these two senators would stoop to new depths by attempting to strong arm Exxon. This is beneath the dignity of the office. Yet who are they beholding to; their state or special interests? Well I would affirm definitively they are beholding to the special interests. Jay Rockefeller has been in office for 21 years (1985-2006); and Olympia Snow has been in the Senate for 11 years (1995-2006), plus in the House for 16 years (1979-1995) prior to being in the Senate. Could representatives remain that long in Washington and not be fused to special interest groups? My belief is they can’t.

Many would say that this clearly demonstrates the need for term limits. I would disagree. We have found in Ohio that term limits doing nothing to limit special interest influence or for that matter career politicians. Besides, if a person is of value to the citizenry, then they should remain in office.

Nevertheless the Senate is different. The Senate, as designed by the founding fathers, was to be the body in government that represented the States, not the people. This was to ensure authority was divided equally between the state and national governments. Unfortunately because the 17th Amendment, more power resides in Washington, on K Street, than it does in the States. If we were to place term limits on Senators, the unbalance nature would remain because the State would still not be represented.

However, if the 17th Amendment was repealed then the balance of power would equalize, and special interests would be reduced significantly. When you look at the issue from this point of view, this issue should be nonpartisan because the unbridled power of the Senate affects all Americans, not just democrats or republicans. Its time we restored the balance of power in our government and remove it from the hands of special interest groups.

[1] Todd J Zywicki; Senators and Special Interests: A Public Choice Analysis of the Seventh Amendment; Oregon Law Review; Vol. 73; 1994.

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