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Aug 25 2010

Fear of Debate

C.M. Phippen

Just this week James Cameron backed out of a debate with Ann McElhinney, producer of the movie Not Evil, Just Wrong, which counters the error-riddled An Inconvenient Truth. Cameron is that Hollywood producer and environmentalist who is so committed to the sustainable lifestyle that he lives it when he can and only lives an energy-devouring lifestyle “because of Jim’s job” according to his wife.

Cameron had recently expressed a desire to “call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads.” In a move that appears to have been unexpected, his offer was accepted and a debate scheduled; Cameron and two scientists v. McElhinney, Marc Morano, and Andrew Breitbart. According to McElhinney:

But then as the debate approached James Cameron’s side started changing the rules.

They wanted to change their team. We agreed.

They wanted to change the format to less of a debate—to “a roundtable”. We agreed.

Then they wanted to ban our cameras from the debate. We could have access to their footage. We agreed.

Bizarrely, for a brief while, the worlds most successful film maker suggested that no cameras should be allowed-that sound only should be recorded. We agreed

Then finally James Cameron . . . decided to ban the media from the shoot out.

He even wanted to ban the public. . . .

No media would be allowed and there would be no streaming on the internet. No one would be allowed to record it in any way.

We all agreed to that.

And then, yesterday, just one day before the debate, his representatives sent an email that Mr. “shoot it out ” Cameron no longer wanted to take part.

At the American Renewable Energy Day summit where the debate was to take place, “Cameron and a host of other climate-change activists said there needs to be a broad educational campaign, one aimed at convincing voters and politicians that not being able to prove that fossil fuel-produced carbon is changing the temperature of Earth is not a license for inaction” (italics added).

Could that be the reason the debate was cancelled? Could it be that the “consensus” which has been so often used to end all debate might not be quite what we’ve been told? (Remember this consensus I wrote about recently where Jared Bernstein defended the Obama administration and their claim that unemployment wouldn’t exceed 8% with the stimulus by claiming that the consensus estimated top rate of unemployment was 8%, ostensibly even without the stimulus? Consensus was apparently enough to give them cover for being wrong.)

Add to that the controversy last year when Al Gore and Lord Monckton were both to appear and jointly testify before Congress about the Waxman-Markey climate legislation. This legislation would have the grand effect, according to the computer modeling used by consensus scientists, of pushing off the inevitable climate catastrophe by 2-5 years; it would decrease our estimated temperature by 0.05°C over the next 50 years while destroying our economy. Gore, friend of the Democrats controlling Congress, was allowed to testify, but Monckton was told he couldn’t. Gore allegedly wasn’t interested in appearing in a forum where his ideas could be challenged.

Christopher Monckton has asked that Gore debate him on the climate change issue for many years, without any response from the former vice president.

This is all starting to make sense: our President thinks we all have access to “too much information” in our search for truth – he recommends we stick to The Huffington Post; Nancy Pelosi wants to investigate funding of groups that actually believe they have the right to vocalize disagreement with issues supported by her (after the firestorm that statement created, she agreed that maybe we should be investigating both sides); and those who want to decimate our way of life based on unsubstantiated claims (over 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for a 0.05 C decrease, really?) are unwilling to put their ideas out there side by side with those who disagree with them.

Am I the only one seeing a pattern here?


Jan 28 2010

Obama and Debate

C.M. Phippen

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama echoed earlier statements he’s made regarding the failure of a health care reform bill thus far in his administration. He reiterated his belief that the reason Congress has been unsuccessful in garnering more public support for the bill is that the administration hasn’t done an adequate job of explaining it to the American people.

Congress and this administration have done everything they possibly can to keep the details of the legislation from the American people, including burying them in a 1,000 – 2,000 page bill (House, Senate). According to David Axelrod, “And people will never know what’s in that bill until we pass it, the president signs it, and they have a whole range of new protections they never had before.”

The American people want the information up front and they want discussion and debate. Let’s be real – the beauty of 60 votes in the Senate was that the Democrats could avoid all debate.

According to our president, “[Disagreements] are the very essence of our democracy.” If he firmly believes this then it’s time to have a discussion based on the disagreements the majority of Americans have with his health care reform policies.

Stop treating us like children (“we know what’s best for you,” “you’ll appreciate it once you have it”) and start acting like the servants of the American people we’ve elected you to be.