Sunday, February 25, 2007

AVAST! Ye Matey's!

Pirates seize UN ship off Somalia
Map of Somalia showing Puntland
Pirates are reported to have hijacked a UN-chartered cargo ship delivering food aid to north-eastern Somalia.

The ship, the MV Rozen, had just delivered a cargo to Somalia's Puntland region when the pirates struck, a World Food Programme official said.

There have been no reports of demands from the pirates and it is not known if any of the 12 crew have been injured.

Piracy has become rampant off the coast of Somalia, which has had no stable central government for years.

A World Food Programme spokeswoman, Stephanie Savariaud, said there were deep concerns for the safety of the crew.

"We know it has been hijacked by pirates but we do not know how many pirates there are," she said.

Ms Savariaud said the Rozen had delivered 1,800 tonnes of food aid to the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia and was returning to its home port of Mombasa in Kenya.

From BBC News


DEN said...

Jimmie Carter on Stephanopolis today.

Suggesting the co-operation among countries in the region to help Iraq.

Gee! what a novel idea!

Jeanne said...

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack

I think we're all a little fed up.

DEN said...

Jeanne what would those generals do if we lost 5000 troops if an aircraft carrier sank.

Do you think they would be investigating the cause?

Or do you think we would start bombing?

These questions haunt the hell out of me.

Jeanne said...

I think it haunts the hell out of the generals too.

Saladin said...

The queen of cryptic commentary strikes again! Bravo.

DEN, we just finished watching the National Geographic documentary Guns, Germs And Steel, based on Jared Diamonds excellent book. Very interesting theories about the inequality evident between various cultures, and why there is such a chasm between the rich and poor groups. The first part examined the extreme climate changes people had to adapt to, forcing them to move in order to survive. The second and third parts looked at how cultures with access to a wide range of domestic farm animals and geographic advantages propelled them to expand into new territory and how the diseases they brought with them, particularly Smallpox, wreaked havoc on the indigenous populations. All in all a great series with a lot of interesting human history, especially regarding the people of the Middle East. I highly recommend it.

Micki said...

That word ZEITGEIST is the reason that Al Gore has the world at his back -- thinking people have caught up with Al Gore. Al Gore was a man ahead of the times and thinking people know it, and will admit it. The zeitgeist, the climate of the era -- scientifically, intellectually, morally, and culturally -- is that Al Gore was right about climate change, the first Gulf War, about the Iraq War, and he was right about the importance of the Internet.

I, for one, am glad to see that most people are willing to give the guy a chance -- progress, compassion, willingnesss to embrace new ideas, acceptance of rational change.

Micki said...

If that was intended for me, your accolade should have been Brava!

Micki said...

Often wrong, but never in doubt. -- Sam Nunn

DEN said...

Al Gore is OK with me too.

Anyone beats the idiot-in-chief and his vicious gang of nazi-esqe thugs.

Saladin said...

Al Gore is a hypocrite. He is a "do as I say, not as I do" politician, which is nothing new under the sun. "Thinking people" would do well to engage in some research regarding Mr. Gores environmental record to date. It is not exactly a shining example of doing the right thing. In the end, the money/power brokers win. Just like they always do.

Saladin said...

DEN, comparing ANYONE to bush isn't saying much! Daffy duck would be preferable!

Micki said...

Al Gore is an honest man.

Gore's Other Global Warning: Iraq War

By Robert Parry
February 25, 2007

As Al Gore steps into the national spotlight because of the Academy Awards and his global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” it’s worth remembering that in fall 2002 Gore sought to warn the American people about another “inconvenient truth,” the folly of invading Iraq.

The former Vice President did so at a time when it was considered madness or almost treason to object to George W. Bush’s war plans. But Gore was one of a small number of national political figures who took that risk and paid a price, subjected to widespread ridicule and disdain from the Washington news media.

On Sept, 23, 2002, in a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Gore laid out a series of concerns and differences that he had with Bush’s policy of “preemptive war” and specifically Bush’s decision to refashion the “war on terror” into an imminent invasion of Iraq.

Gore, who had supported the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, criticized Bush’s failure to enlist the international community as his father had. Gore also warned about the negative impact that alienating other nations was having on the broader war against terrorists.

“I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century,” Gore said. “To put first things first, I believe that we ought to be focusing our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on Sept. 11. …

“Great nations persevere and then prevail. They do not jump from one unfinished task to another. We should remain focused on the war against terrorism.”

Instead of keeping after al-Qaeda and stabilizing Afghanistan, Bush had chosen to start a new war against Iraq as the first example of his policy of preemption, Gore said.

“He is telling us that our most urgent task right now is to shift our focus and concentrate on immediately launching a new war against Saddam Hussein,” Gore said. “And the President is proclaiming a new uniquely American right to preemptively attack whomsoever he may deem represents a potential future threat.”

Gore also objected to the timing of the vote on war with Iraq.

“President Bush is demanding, in this high political season, that Congress speedily affirm that he has the necessary authority to proceed immediately against Iraq and, for that matter, under the language of his resolution, against any other nation in the region regardless of subsequent developments or emerging circumstances,” Gore said.

The former Vice President staked out a position with subtle but important differences from Bush’s broad assertion that the United States has the right to override international law on the President’s command. Gore argued that U.S. unilateral power should be used sparingly, only in extreme situations.

“There’s no international law that can prevent the United States from taking action to protect our vital interests when it is manifestly clear that there’s a choice to be made between law and our survival,” Gore said. “Indeed, international law itself recognizes that such choices stay within the purview of all nations. I believe, however, that such a choice is not presented in the case of Iraq.”

Lost Good Will

Gore bemoaned, too, that Bush’s actions had dissipated the international good will that surrounded the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

“That has been squandered in a year’s time and replaced with great anxiety all around the world, not primarily about what the terrorist networks are going to do, but about what we’re going to do,” Gore said. “Now, my point is not that they’re right to feel that way, but that they do feel that way.”

Gore also took aim at Bush’s unilateral assertion of his right to imprison American citizens without trial or legal representation simply by labeling them “enemy combatants.”

“The very idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedy, and that this can be done on the sole say-so of the President of the United States or those acting in his name, is beyond the pale and un-American, and ought to be stopped,” Gore said.

Gore raised, too, practical concerns about the dangers that might follow the overthrow of Hussein, if chaos in Iraq followed. Gore cited the deteriorating political condition in Afghanistan where the new central government exerted real control only in parts of Kabul while ceding effective power to warlords in the countryside.

“What if, in the aftermath of a war against Iraq, we faced a situation like that, because we’ve washed our hands of it?” Gore asked. “What if the al-Qaeda members infiltrated across the borders of Iraq the way they are in Afghanistan? …

“Now, I just think that if we end the war in Iraq the way we ended the war in Afghanistan, we could very well be much worse off than we are today.”

Angry Bush Backers

While it may have been understandable why Bush’s supporters would be upset over Gore’s address – radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said he was unable to get to sleep after listening to it – their subsequent reaction was more attuned to obscuring Gore’s arguments than addressing what he actually said.

Rather than welcome a vigorous debate on the merits and shortcomings of the so-called “Bush Doctrine,” right-wing and mainstream commentators treated Gore as dishonest, unpatriotic and even unhinged. Gore was slapped around by Beltway political analysts, hit from all angles, variously portrayed as seeking cheap political gain and committing political suicide.

Helped by the fact that Gore’s speech received spotty television coverage – MSNBC carried excerpts live and C-SPAN replayed the speech later that night – pro-Bush commentators were free to distort Gore’s words and then dismiss his arguments as “lies” largely because few Americans actually heard what he had said.

Some epithets came directly from Bush partisans. Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke called Gore a “political hack.”

An administration source told The Washington Post that Gore was simply “irrelevant,” a theme that would be repeated often in the days after Gore’s speech. [Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2002]

Other barrages came from right-wing opinion-makers from leading editorial pages, on talk radio and on television chat shows.

“Gore’s speech was one no decent politician could have delivered,” wrote Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly. “It was dishonest, cheap, low. It was hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts – bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible.” [Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2002]

“A pudding with no theme but much poison,” declared another Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer. “It was a disgrace – a series of cheap shots strung together without logic or coherence.” [Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2002]

At, Andrew Sullivan entitled his piece about Gore’s speech “The Opportunist” and characterized Gore as “bitter.”

While some depicted Gore’s motivation as political “opportunism,” columnist William Bennett mocked Gore for sealing his political doom and banishing himself “from the mainstream of public opinion.”

In an Op-Ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, entitled “Al Gore’s Political Suicide,” Bennett said Gore had “made himself irrelevant by his inconsistency” and had engaged in “an act of self-immolation” by daring to criticize Bush’s policy. “Now we have reason to be grateful once again that Al Gore is not the man in the White House, and never will be,” Bennett wrote. [Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26, 2002]

Lyin’ Al

When the conservative pundits addressed Gore’s actual speech, his words were bizarrely parsed or selectively edited to allow reprising of the news media’s favorite “Lyin’ Al” canard from the presidential campaign.

Kelly, for instance, resumed his editorial harangue with the argument that Gore was lying when the former Vice President said “the vast majority of those who sponsored, planned and implemented the cold-blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans are still at large, still neither located nor apprehended, much less punished and neutralized.”

To Kelly, this comment was “reprehensible” and “a lie.” Kelly continued, “The men who ‘implemented’ the ‘cold-blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans’ are dead; they died in the act of murder on Sept. 11. Gore can look this up.”

Kelly added that most of the rest were in prison or on the run. Yet, Kelly’s remarks were obtuse even by his standards. Gore clearly was talking about the likes of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who indeed had not been located or captured – and still remain at large.

Plus, the Bush administration itself had expressed frustration at the failure of Afghan and Pakistani forces to cut off escape routes for al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders during the military offensive at Tora Bora in December 2001.

But when Gore made similar points, he was dismissed as a liar. That then opened the door for smirking TV pundits to reprise other bogus examples of Gore’s “lies,” including the invented quote about Gore supposedly saying he “invented the Internet.”

Still, the underlying theme running through the attacks against Gore and other critics of Bush’s “preemptive war” policy was that a thorough debate would not be tolerated. Rather than confront arguments on their merits, Bush’s supporters simply drummed Gore and fellow skeptics out of Washington’s respectable political society.

More than four years later, Gore’s Iraq War warnings sound both prescient and obvious. What might be more remarkable is how few major political figures dared to speak out, as Gore did, when their cautionary advice might have saved many thousands of lives and spared the United States possibly the worst national security disaster in its history.

DEN said...

Yup, sounds like a BS'er to me??

Straight stuff, NOT devious or evil at all.

Why think he is dishonest?

Saladin said...

Thinking people already knew that invading Iraq was immoral and illegal, they didn't need Mr. Gore or anyone else to inform them of what was already obvious. Preaching to the choir does not make him a hero, and the rest won't listen anyway, and that includes the traitorous members of his own party.

Saladin said...

DEN, who said ANYTHING about being dishonest?? Certainly not me.

Micki said...

Raising awareness about and developing cooperation on addressing global warming has been a work in progress for Al Gore for years and years. He hasn't done it alone, he knows the importance of building partnerships, teamwork.

It is with thanks to Al Gore -- and all the teamwork that he and others have encouraged -- that the world is closer to doing something substantial about global warming. Some may take personal comfort in pushing the lie that he is a fraud, but most of us see his work as a positive commitment -- for all of us, not just the ones who agree with him.

Micki said...

Saladin, why don't you post his environmental record since you are so convinced he's a hypocrite.

But, if you do, please cite your sources.

Alan said...

Micki, great article by Parry. Thanks for that post.

I bet our misguided friend in California thinks Carter is a hypocrite too, for helping build simple housing because he once lived in a real big one. haha

Micki said...

If one calls a person a hypocrite, there is the implied suggestion that the so-called hypocrite is feigning to be what one is not, which means that the so-called hyprocritical person is presenting a false appearance, which is construed to mean that the person is not honest.

Alan said...

On the TXU thing... I had seen an article somewhere, where TXU was saying how it's planned new coal-fired plants "weren't your grandfather's plants" and were thus cleaner than existing plants (true). But... the author responded with "yeah, but they are your father's plants" (still a generation behind in the new technology) and that they could build the 'capture CO2' kind instead. Let's hope that any new ones that come out of this are the newest/cleanest possible.

Alan said...

Man, if Gore wins an Oscar, the right side of the aisle will be soiling their pants, what with the Dixie Chicks already winning big in their venue. Their sky is falling!!

Alan said...

Haven't watched the clip yet, but I'm fissin' to. Here's the description, at "Crooks..."

Sy Hersh tells us that the echos of Iran Contra weighed heavily in Negroponte's decision to resign his post and is claiming that Bush is funneling money without authorization or oversight that has ended up in the hands of Sunni jihadist groups.

DEN said...

Sal, name one person that has done more to promote global warming as a major planetary issue more than Al has.

Saladin said...

This is just a drop in the bucket. One of my favorite writers, Mr. Jim Hightower also has some very interesting observations regarding that environmental hero Al Gore.

October 20, 2000

To whom the earth concerns:

In the 2000 Presidential election, the environmental movement faces a special challenge to its integrity and its future impact on American politics. This challenge does not primarily emerge from George Bush. His archaic vision of environmental rape and pillage, of denial and delusion, is pathetically out of touch with the vision of most Americans. When Bush used Alaska Senator Frank Murkowski as his surrogate in a speech before the National Press Club to promote oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he underscored a blatant disregard for Alaska’s special contribution to our ecosystem and fundamental American priorities. Bush’s “old school” allegiance to plunder and extermination as humanity’s appropriate relationship to our world speaks a language effectively discounted by the great tradition of naturalists from John Muir to David Brower. Bush’s blatant anti-environmentalism will lose corporate favor as it loses popular support. It is a language of politics fading rapidly, and without a future.

A political language more sophisticated in its seductive impact on pragmatic environmentalists and environmental policy has replaced the threat to our planet articulated by Bush and his ilk. A carefully crafted alliance of multinational corporations is now fully conversant in the language of environmentalism. Politicians cognizant of this alliance are not overtly dismissive of constituencies concerned with dangers to the planet. To the contrary, these politicians wrap themselves in the mantle of environmental concern. They seize on serious threats to global survival as valuable political currency. Soon they will replace overt apologists for global exploitation on the political landscape. These new environmental poseurs are the natural product of two forces in modern politics. The first are organized voters with a developed conservation agenda, prepared to support or oppose candidates with their votes and vocal endorsements. The second is multinational corporations who view environmental issues as yet another barrier to profit making that can be deflected or compromised with the appropriate political proxies. For these corporations, environmental agenda must be manipulated to corporate advantage. Big corporations are prepared to offer vast sums of money for seduction of environmentalists and systematic compromise of their ideals.

Vice President Albert Gore is preeminent among the politicians who have seized on this new corporate prerequisite for investment as an avenue for career advancement. He has best defined the role of politicians deemed attractive by corporations that appreciate the dangers and opportunities of environmentalism in politics. Corporations now reward politicians who can deliver environmental votes and opinion without seriously deterring their goals with burdensome environmental constraints. Albert Gore is the politician who has best understood that his ability to attract and deliver the environmental constituency would make him attractive to corporate backers. Earth in the Balance, Gore’s script for his re-emergence as a national politician was an advertisement for his calculated strategy and availability as an environmental poseur, prepared to attract, barter and mollify environmental support for corporate cash. As a broker of environmental voters on corporate terms, Gore is the prototype for the bankable, Green corporate politician. He has literally written the book.

We can document Gore’s commitment to his role as broker of environmental voters for corporate cash. Gore’s agenda explains his apparent broken promises as, more than betrayal, proof of his calculated role as corporate double agent within the ranks of conservationists. Some examples:

* Despite his vaunted last minute trip to save the Kyoto treaty, Gore’s compromise committed the US to very small reductions in greenhouse gases, and has worked since to include nuclear power among the renewable energy source eligible for Clean Fuel credits under the treaty. These would allow the US to claim reductions supposedly made for the global good, while actually benefiting only the huge corporations that build nuclear power plants. It may sabotage the treaty in the eyes of Europe and small island nations (who will disappear if global warming isn’t stopped), but Al Gore only seems to care about how global climate change affects big corporate contributors.

* Meanwhile, when the presidential debate touched on oil exploration, Gore “bravely” defends the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that focus groups have shown him he cannot give up. Under cover of that stand, though, he has opened up the Arctic National Petroleum Reserve, 2000 miles of southeastern Alaska coastline, and parts of the California coastline, not to mention selling off the Elk Hills Petroleum reserve to Occidental Oil, his family’s patron company, in the largest privatization in American government history. Now Gore seems poised to break another promise and allow drilling along the Florida coastline, which he has promised never to do. As long as it’s not ANWR, it’s likely at risk under a Gore administration.

* The Clinton-Gore Administration did not even propose any across the board fuel CAFE standard increases during its 8-year administration. Thanks to that freeze and the effect of the exemptions given to SUVs, average fuel efficiency is now down to 24.5 mpg, the lowest level seen since 1980. Clinton-Gore in their 1992 campaign, promised that in 2000 A.D., the average would reach 40 mpg.

* Gore’s support for truly clean alternative fuels has never matched his promises. Instead of fighting for expanded solar energy and conservation budgets, he and Clinton have wasted over one billion dollars in a giveaway to GM, Ford and Chrysler for a clean energy project that never produced even a single prototype. Taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuel and atomic power companies continue unabated. He cannot even make solar energy a major forward vision of his campaign.

* Finally on the energy issue, Gore agreed with George W. Bush to extend and further fund the “Clean Coal” subsidy, which wastes millions of dollars finding ways to clean up the burning of domestic coal, such as “sequestering” the resultant CO2 in sea beds or oil wells. Meanwhile it totally ignores all the environmental harm that comes from mining—including mountaintop removal in West Virginia and in his home state of Tennessee—and its resultant waste disposal. With all these fossils getting their way, it seems the Kyoto treaty is doomed.

* For other resource extraction issues, the public good has been sold to highest bidders under the guise of conservation. The Administration set aside lands, not in National Parks, but rather in National Monuments that often can allow grazing, helicopter logging, and even hard rock mining. Logging has continued under this “earth-friendly” administration: Clinton-Gore signed the “salvage rider” that suspended the Endangered Species Act despite claiming they opposed it. Logging subsidies in the Tongass (Alaska) and White River (Colorado) have gone to corporate friends, and one in six old-growth trees that existed when they took office has been cut and sold for below cost. “Roadless areas” still have roads built with federal money, sometimes showing up in budgets as “stream enhancements.” The hands-off attitude toward corporate crooks reached its pinnacle in the backroom deal to protect Headwaters old-growth forest, which will lose 53,000 of its 60,000 acres, yet forces taxpayers to give $1.2 billion in cash and logging rights to Charles Hurwitz’s company, the S&L escapee which still owes Americans millions of dollars.

* On toxics, Gore’s position has been to wait years for risk assessments, then never release them if they look bad. Both administration terms have passed without the Clinton-Gore EPA’s dioxin reassessment being formally released, despite dioxin (the most potent carcinogen ever) being found in eggs, meat, and being dumped into the ocean. The administration signed away the Delaney Clause prohibited any cancer-causing pesticides or ingredients in food, a clause hated by the food industry.

* The dangerous WTI hazardous waste incinerator was permitted by the Gore EPA, despite his promise in 1992 that it would not be granted. This endangers that community, including its elementary school 1100 feet away at the same altitude as the smokestack. Gore claimed the Bush administration allowed the first permit there, but Bush EPA head William Reilly has said he was advised by the Gore staff during the transition to go ahead with the trash burn permit. In any case, the owners of the plant gave thousands of dollars to the Democratic campaign fund—which obviously counts more to Gore than promises to the locals. That may be why, despite Gore having held the first hearing on Love Canal, the true hero of that fight, Lois Gibbs, has spurned Gore and is supporting the Green candidacy.

* The Clinton-Gore administration also backtracked on its promise to implement “chlorine-free paper,” which would stop dioxin production in papermaking, when the chemical industry made the slightest squeal. Despite trumpeting the role of the US government as the biggest purchaser of paper in the country, the administration settled for “chlorine-dioxide” paper, thereby committing the government to continuing buying into the dioxin lifecycle. For two and a half years, Clinton-Gore have not responded to a coalition petition to the DEA to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp that could be used for paper that’s both chlorine-free and tree-free.

* On genetic engineering, the Democratic administration allowed the release of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone with faulty science provided by Monsanto, the company that made it. That science has not passed muster in countries where the government is not on this corporate payroll, such as Canada. As other governments in Europe and Asia demanded at least minimal testing and labeling requirements, the US administration insisted that the genetically engineered foods were “substantially equivalent” to bred crops, and even tried to get them included into national Organic food standards (along with food that was irradiated or treated with sewage sludge). Any efforts to segregate these experimental foods has been met with Clinton-Gore Administration threats under GATT and WTO to treat such precautionary actions as “obstacles to free trade.” In fact, any local standard is imperiled by the “free trade” bureaucracy that both major party candidates endorse, including Al Gore at his most enthusiastic.

* Wetlands destruction is no longer properly tracked, and the administration blocked the protection for functioning wetlands that are currently farmed. The Administration refused to have the Army Corps of Engineers implement section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which would protect wetlands. Again, the rhetoric is there, but when the follow-through is needed, the budgets approved, the political will expended, Gore never challenges the despoilers, developers, and polluters if there is an easier back door exit—especially one out of public view.

* The Administration refused to impose sanctions against countries that break international law by engaging in commercial whaling, such as Norway and Japan. On fishing issues, they continue to attempt to set commercial licenses (ITQs: individual transferable quotas) for how much fish can be taken by large industrial concerns, at the risk to family fishermen, despite the fragility (and in some places collapse) of entire fisheries.

* On ozone depletion, currently in its worst year with the biggest holes ever, including some over urban areas, the Administration made deals over ozone-depleting chemicals such as the pesticide Methyl Bromide, used as a pesticide by strawberry growers and others. This had the effect of stopping the phase-out of this nerve gas, to the benefit of large agri-business, to the detriment of workers, consumers, and anyone who goes outside without sunblockers.

* On the Everglades, currently a key issue in a hotly contested state, Gore has worked with the Florida government (including Jeb Bush) to cut deals for the “recovery plan” that allows for major development around this national treasure. Gore has not opposed a proposed commercial airport on the site of the former Homestead Air Force Base, despite the protests of local people working for conservation and his own EPA. There are no airports situated on the border of national parks in America; the Everglades is the last place to consider changing that fact. In general, work to restore the Everglades should be done for the public, and for future generations, not on the basis of debts called in by the sugar industry and local power brokers.

* Finally, any of these and other environmental interests cannot be protected by laws that are superseded by global corporate interests which can see nothing beyond the next quarterly profit statement. Dangerous PCBs are imported into this country because waste incinerators must be kept profitable. Dolphins are killed catching tuna, turtles are killed catching shrimp because the countries that allow these practices can challenge restrictions on practices at a closed-door, non-democratic WTO process that values only money. Any environmentalists worth their salt know that local communities must be allowed to make more stringent rules for their own protection, yet the workings of global business can’t allow that. This is why corporate environmentalism must be stopped.

The Nader candidacy offers environmental groups and voters committed to protection of our planet through the political process an opportunity to disengage from this con game as defined and played by Gore. As an achieving environmentalist for nearly four decades, I offer the environmental community an opportunity to reassert its independence as a potent and uncompromised political force. Environmentalists who stand with this candidacy can assert their own agenda and priorities without fear of contradiction. If environmentalists ally with Gore because he is positioned as distinctly different from a self-proclaimed plunderer of the old school, they must acknowledge that any and all environmental positions taken by the candidate will be subject to mutation and subjugation to his corporate agenda. They thus allow corporations to define environmental results. They tell future political leaders that the environmental community is for sale, because its constituency values “access” to the process over any demonstrable and permanent results.

Even as this letter is being written, we watch Gore turn his back on perhaps the worst political disaster to hit the conservation front this Congressional session, a range of riders to the EPA appropriations bill that would:

1. Delay safe drinking water standards by telling the EPA to get new costs data before proceeding.
2. Substitute federal taxpayer dollars for increased fees that pesticide manufacturers were supposed to pay to fund EPA’s pesticide programs.
3. Prohibit the EPA from listing localities with unhealthy smog levels until June 15, 2001 or a date set by the court in current litigation.
4. Delay EPA’s effort to set new arsenic standards of five parts per billion to protect millions of American s from cancer and other health risks.
5. Weaken the EPA’s effort to clean up rivers, lakes and bays contaminated with toxic waste by demanding further study.
6. Block implementation of 1998 environmental justice guidelines to expedite civil rights claims against the EPA alleging discrimination in permitting.

Where is Al Gore when the chips are down? Does it take courage to make these cruel riders a major vocal difference between him and George W. Bush? Clinton-Gore opposed these riders in the House but signed off on them in the Senate, despite vocal opposition from health and conservation groups. They apparently assumed that campaign rhetoric would conceal riders that blocked the EPA from designating non-attainment areas under the new smog rule, clean ups of PCBs in river, or blocked EPA from investigating environmental racism in the permitting process, among others. Who among their allies in the environmental community would dare speak out? The same friends of the earth who condemned the Clinton-Gore regime of “anything goes with the coddled biotech industry” now proceed to endorse Gore, who will outrage them even more should he become President.

In the meantime these same environmental groups urge their members to vote for Gore either because he writes and speaks their language or because he is the lesser of two evils when compared with George Bush. In environmental terms, they fight the last war instead of confronting the new politics of their new adversaries and the new advocacy at their disposal. They have adopted the servile mentality of the lesser of two evils (see Michael Lerner, Tikkun).

Saladin said...

"name one person that has done more to promote global warming as a major planetary issue more than Al has."

DEN, I am not disputing that. What I am challenging are his actions. Rhetoric is empty if actions don't follow, and he is a big money man, even if he is sincere, the powers that be have the final say, as I can easily prove, as could anyone who engages in some honest research.

DEN said...

A Ralph Nader supporter?

Thank Ralph for screwing up the election, by the way.

Al still beats doofus!

Are you better off today?
Is the world?

Saladin said...

DEN, I was asked to produce Gore's environmental record, and name the sources. That is what I am doing. I am not a Nadar supporter, and, he didn't screw up the election, evoting and the SCOTUS did! I don't know what that has to do with the fact that Gore is all hot air and no action. My question is the same, how can he improve the situation if he is the same corporate sell-out as bushco?

Here's more fun factoids about Mr. "Green."

Jim Hightower

* On October 21, 1999, gearing up his presidential campaign, Al made a flat-out, scouts-honor, 100%-guaranteed, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die pledge to end oil drilling off the California coast: "I will take the most sweeping steps in our history to protect our oceans and coastal waters from offshore oil drilling. I will make sure that there is no new oil leasing off the coasts of California and Florida."

The very next month, the Clinton-Gore administration granted oil company requests to extend 36 drilling leases in California coastal waters. Oil companies were $2 million donors to Gore and the Democratic Party for the 2000 election.

* In 1992, Candidate Gore pledged that the new administration would be a ferocious defender of America's vanishing wetlands. Yet with direct subsidies and lax EPA enforcement, the administration has encouraged the sugar industry to continue destroying the Everglades. Among the sugar daddies, Alfonso Fanjul and his Flo-Sun sugar empire in the Everglades have sweetened Clinton and Gore's various money pockets with more than $300,000 in contributions.

Also, despite Al's pledge, another 500 acres of sensitive New Jersey wetlands are set to be destroyed by an upscale shopping center and entertainment complex being built by the Mills Corp. Various federal agencies OPPOSED the construction, but the Council on Environmental Quality, which was closely affiliated with Vice President Gore, brokered the dirty deal for Mills Corp. Less than a week later, contributions totalling $43,000 came to the Gore 2000 campaign fund from the grateful folks at Mills.

* In 1996, as part of his "reinventing government" flim-flam, Gore achieved what Nixon and Reagan could not get Congress to sit still for: privatizing the Navy's strategic oil reserve, known as Elk Hills. This huge oil field near Bakersfield, California, is big-time black gold, and the industry has drooled over it for decades, just as environmentalists had fought to prevent its development. It was the largest privatization of federal property in U.S. history.

The winning bidder in the sell-off was Occidental Petroleum Corp. Just coincidentally, Al and Occidental go waaaay back. Indeed, the major source of the wealth amassed by Gore's father came from his long relationship with Occidental and its legendary chairman, Armand Hammer. Gore has extended the familial ties to the company; Gore currently owns about a $million dollars worth of Occidental stock, and he also enjoys a unique neighborly relationship to the corporation.

Adjacent to the Gore's bucolic old family farm back home in Tennessee, right along the Caney Fork River that Al talks of so wistfully, Gore owns another farm -- less bucolic but far more profitable -- that he prefers not to talk of at all. This chunk of farmland is rich in zinc, and it was sold to Al in 1973 in a sweetheart transaction by Armand Hammer. "Mr. Green" turns out to be a zinc miner! As a buy-product, he also turns out to be a polluter -- some environmentalists say that run-off from the mine is getting into his beloved Caney Fork.

Gore draws annual zinc royalties that have totalled some $400,000 since he acquired the land from Occidental, and Gore has also mined more than half a $million dollars in campaign funds from Occidental since he became vice president -- including $50,000 that came after one of Al's infamous telephone solicitations from the White House, and another $100,000 wad that rolled in after Occidental's CEO had enjoyed two nights in the Lincoln Bedroom.

These cozy connections caused industry eyes to roll when it was announced that Occidental had won the bidding on Elk Hills. Writing in "The Nation," Alexander Cockburn reports that Occidental was viewed as a bankruptcy waiting to happen until it got its hands on this sensationally profitable oil reserve.

Normally, the Dept. of Energy would decide whether a national asset like Elk Hills, the military's largest strategic fuel reserve, should be sold off. Instead, Gore arranged for a private consulting firm named ICF Kaiser International to make this assessment.

Guess who was chairman of ICF Kaiser? Al's old pal, Tony Coelho. "Oh, ye cynics," wail Gore staffers, asserting that Occidential's good fortune on EIk Hills was all on the up-and-up. Nevertheless, the Energy Dept has refused to release documents pertaining to the deal.

Again and again on environmental issues, Gore has deferred to money -- to Appalachian coal companies, to Florida developers, to oil drillers in Alaska, to timber giants in national forests, to Occidental Petroleum (yet again) in Colombia (see the Lowdown, July 2000).

Gore also deferred to money in his campaign, relegating pollution issues to the back burner. Here's a cause [ defending the environment ] that has Gore's name on it, that the broad public actually cares about. Never mind that Gore doesn't really walk the walk, he could still talk the talk and hammer Bush, who is as defenseless on environmental issues as an armadillo wandering out on the Interstate.

But Gore won't even be a rhetorical advocate, fearing that he might give a case of those bad ol' jitters to his contributors.

Gore means well, but that by itself DOESN'T MEAN SQUAT [ emphasis added ]. Whenever his good intentions clash with the moneyed interests, as they must at a presidential level, Gore's a money man.

Remember, the opposite of courage is not cowardice -- it's conformity.
I stand by my accusation, he is a hypocrite. He can rant about climate change and saving the earth all he wants, he obviously isn't willing to do more than write or talk about it.

Alan said...

Well, I like fellow Texan Hightower, but his Nader support is showing through that long article from back in 2000. ALOT of what he said was CLINTON'S administration policies, which Gore wasn't in charge of. ALOT more were things decided in COURTS of law, which he has nothing to do with. Still, I can see where in order to get elected president where he can REALLY DO SOME GOOD, he had to pander to some big money ppl, which ALL presidential hopefuls HAVE to do. Gore lost because Doofus was selected, and Gore has ducked out of 'politics' and been on an enivironmental tear every since. That's over six years he's been out front on this issue and my hat is off to him. Go Gore!

Micki said...

Oh, Ralph Nader! The one-trick pony or useless gelding or -- better known as a horse's ass.

Alan said...

Again, it was CLINTON's admininistration, NOT GORE'S.

Micki said...

My question is the same, how can he improve the situation if he is the same corporate sell-out as bushco?

That is an unsubstantiated accusation that is also illogical and, most likely, based on emotion and political bias, rather than on facts.

Micki said...


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite militia complained Sunday that bombs ''continue to explode'' in Baghdad and that U.S.-led security crackdown is doomed to fail, issuing a statement the same day a suicide attacker struck outside a college campus, killing at least 41 people.

Micki said...

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty

Saladin said...

Unsubstantiated? Illogical? Who's the one with the political bias that tends to ignore known facts? That is pretty funny. So much for proof. Whatever. You know it all, everyone else is an idiot. Carry on.

Alan said...


A conservative encyclopedia you can trust.
Conservapedia is a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American.

DEN said...

If Gore feels the info from his stint with Clinton might affect his being elected, IF Hightower is right, maybe that is why he is staying away.

Guilt does funny things to people.

Any ideas?

Alan said...

Gore Prepares to Walk Red Carpet at Oscars

Documentary on Global Warming Nominated for Two Academy Awards

Feb. 23, 2007 — Waiting to walk the red carpet at this Sunday's Academy Awards, his global warming documentary favored to win an Academy Award, former Vice President Al Gore has been quick to remind the Oscar goes to the film's director and producers, not him.

But not unlike a nominee, he's still a little superstitious.

"I don't want to jinx that whole deal by talking about it," Gore said last week, "I just hope the best for them."

The documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" about Gore's slideshow lecture on global warming has been nominated for awards in two categories: best documentary and best song. The third highest-grossing documentary in history, it has been credited with putting the issue of global warming before a global audience.

The film's director, David Guggenheim, says he hopes he can convince Gore to take the stage with him in the event of a Sunday win.

"When we started, we thought we were just making a film about a slideshow with a former politician," Guggenheim told the Associated Press, "Then we took it to Sundance and showed it and suddenly realized we made a film with a rock star."

And considering Gore's recent unveiling of the 'Live Earth' concert series "rock star" — or at the very least "concert promoter" — the description isn't that far off.

Modeled after 2005's Live 8 concerts highlighting African debt relief, 'Live Earth' is scheduled for July 7 with seven concerts on seven continents designed to put climate change before an international audience.

The Oscar buzz and concert series — combined with Nobel Prize nomination  could make February a stellar month for Gore, putting him in the official mix for just about everything but the one prize he once coveted most. And so it begs the question: what about the White House?

A Gore Candidacy?

Last June, Gore told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, "I can't imagine any circumstances in which I would become a candidate again."

It's a position Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider confirmed, adding that the Gore camp views 2008 as a "campaign on the issue to help change and educate the minds of the American public."

The Gore camp might be playing coy, but the Associated Press reported earlier this month that supporters of his campaigns past met in Boston earlier this month to mull a potential Gore run in 2008.

Though the tone of the meeting was described as informal by one of the attendees, Chris Mackin, a Boston consultant and Gore supporter, told the A.P. it was "an early stage conversation" and added: "We're very serious about exploring this."

Gore himself is finishing his book, The Assault on Reason, scheduled to be published in May. The former Vice President is also scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill in March on global warming.

Kreider says as far as supporters of a 2008 presidential bid are concerned, Gore "appreciates the sentiment of where that comes from but feels that there are many ways to serve in what he's doing right now."

Gore: International Man of Environmental Awareness

And what he's doing right now is serving as an international crusader for the environment.. Al Gore's record during 30 years in Congress and the White House proves he's always been one of its biggest champions — even if subjects like global warming and alternative energy have, in a relative sense, only recently become the trendy political issues of the day.

"Al Gore, like no other, has put climate change on the agenda," Boerge Brende, one of the Norwegian members of parliament who nominated Gore for the Nobel Prize, told the Associated Press.

The Former Vice President's Resume

Add to that experience the former Vice President's early opposition to the war in Iraq, an Oscar-nominated documentary, and pop-culture stature that's replaced his once wooden persona, and what Al Gore could be is Democratic dynamite.

Alan said...

I'd be interested to hear what Jim Hightower thinks about Gore NOW, as in 7 years after he wrote that other article when he was supporting Gore's rival in a campaign.

Alan said...

Den, you're a broadbander... check out CBS's profile of Olbermann at "Crooks...".

Alan said...

In the 'truth is stranger than fiction' catagory...

Slavery Ties Sharpton to Thurmond

NEW YORK (Feb. 25) - Genealogists have revealed that the Rev. Al Sharpton is a descendent of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond - a discovery the civil rights activist on Sunday called "shocking."

Jeanne said...

Alan that sy hersh interview on C&L was pretty scary. You guys wondered where all that money that was wasted in Iraq went? It's been funding Al Quada in the middle east with US help. And the remark about Negroponte...holy....!!! Sy Hersh said Negroponde was not siding with the bush administration because his ethics wouldn't let him. Mr. Death squads is too ethical to work with Cheney. We're in trouble.

ÂșCÂșarol said...

Micki, I read the article on poverty that you posted here earlier today. Don't remember where I read it but it was edited down. I read your link for the whole story.

I think I read it in the Lansing State Journal on-line. Probably, since MI is #8 in the severe poverty list.

Alan said...

Yeah Jeanne, it's all fk'd up in the ME. We support Sunni 'insurgents' to combat Hezbollah in Lebanon, but it also supports the very people killing our soldiers in Iraq. That's Cheney shooting all of us in the face, not just one lawyer. That Negroponte can't even stomach Cheney is indeed a scary thought.

Alan said...

Lawrence Bender, producer of "An Inconvenient Truth," on Gore announcing if he wins...

"He was right on Iraq. He was right on global warming. He has an issue that is so formidable and has attacked it, tackled it," Bender said. "So I would love to see him run, sure, but I don't see that in the cards."

Alan said...

FOX will air a pilot this weekend titled It's Out There, hosted by Michelle Malkin and Kirsten Powers, that focuses on issues that are hot in the blogosphere.

Micki said...

Who's the one with the political bias that tends to ignore known facts?

I could give you an answer, but it would be terribly impolite, so I'll remain silent.

Micki said...

Ohmigod, Alan! Michelle Malkin? I need Gerald's bucket!

Alan said...

Yeah, but it described that other chik as a former Clinton administration operative, so I guess it's gonna be 'fair and balanced'. haha yeah right

DEN said...

Yup, the Olbermann clip rocks!

Cheney- "scares the hell out of me"

Me too K

Micki said...

THE REDIRECTION by SEYMOUR M. HERSH ---Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

Alan said...

ugh! I missed the first segment of "60 Minutes" while watching the NASCAR race. Lara Logan had a good piece with active duty soldiers against the war. The last segment is 'sposed to be about bill o-lie-lee.
Race is red-flagged with only 7 laps left because of a bad wreck. I've watched the whole thing here in the computer room on a small TV.

DEN said...

Alan, left turn........left turn.......left turn........left turn.......CRASH!!!!........left turn.......left turn.

DEN said...

Road courses! F1, Moto GP, they turn both ways.

David B. Benson said...

Democracy is the worst possible form of government! Except, of course, for all the others...

Micki said...

I just ran into some BS about "Gulfstream Liberals" -- you know, kind of like the reichwing's blathering about "Limousine Liberals" only with charges of more carbon output!!! Well, according to Think Progress, Sean Hannity was one of the "investigative" instigators of the Al Gore Hypocrisy Hyperbole about not practicing what he preaches.

Hannity solicted his followers to scour the Internet, photo files, etc. and send him pictures of Al Gore getting into private jets so he could use them in his "investigative reports." Investigative reports! How funny!

So....that's how this crap gets started. Wow. You can have THAT crowd!

DEN said...


DEN said...

Any way a person looks at it, we the people are screwed by the few.

What a racket!

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Unfortunately we all have that crowd...

DEN said...

Well the Acadamy awards just hit bottom with Will Ferrel and Jack Black and some other dilrod doing a singing number,

Major stinko production!

Disservice to winners to be so lame.

Micki said...

Dr. B -- you do have a way of cutting to the chase in a very incisive way.

Micki --- Unfortunately we all have that crowd...

But, don't let it go to your pointy head, you intellectual you! ;-))

Micki said...

Yeah, but Den, if there weren't so many people who fell for it -- and passed it on! I can think of some names! -- it wouldn't be so easy to screw us, now would it?

Micki said...


"An Inconvenient Truth" wins!

Thank you Al Gore! As he said, it is not a political issue, it is a MORAL issue!

Micki said...

His avoirdupois is a dead giveway in this shallow world in which we live.

He's not running.

Micki said...

The other reality....

Roundup of Iraq Violence - Feb. 25, 2007
By Dalia Hassan
McClatchy Newspapers


- At least 41 civilians were killed and 55 were injured when, winesses said, a woman wearing an explosive belt packed with ball bearings detonated herself in the entry of Mustansiriyah University in the al-Talibiya neighborhood in southwest Baghdad. The majority of the dead and wounded were students at the university, which is in a mostly Shiite neighborhood and houses a business school. Police are investigating.

- At 8:30 p.m., a parked car bomb exploded near the Iranian Embassy in the center of Baghdad, killing one civilian and winjuring four.

- At 10:00 p.m., two men were injured when mortar rounds fell near the Abu-Disheer neighborhood of south Baghdad.

- At 12 a.m., four civilians were injured when a car bomb parked in a parking lot exploded in the Karada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad. The explosion damaged about eight cars.

- At around 3 p.m., three men were injured when mortar rounds fell near the Abu-Karada neighborhood of south Baghdad.

- At about 4 p.m., a parked car bomb exploded in the town of Al Rasheed southwest of Baghdad. The blast killed one civilian and injured another.

- Police found 11 dead bodies around Baghdad, four in the Jamiaa neighborhood, two in Kadhimiya and one each in Amel, Shuala, Mansour, Dora and Adhamiya.


- Gunmen killed a policeman and injured another in the Jurf al Milah area east of Baqubah.

- An attack in the Al Mustafa neighborhood west of Baqubah killed one policeman, and police defused a car bomb in the area.

- Five civilians were injured when mortar shells fell on the town of Al Abara north of Baqubah.

Salah al Din

- Police found two headless bodies on the main road near the town of Enjana Sunday morning.

- Gunmen killed a woman and wounded her brother near the town of Balad Sunday morning, police said.

Alan said...

When Melissa Ethridge (sp ck) won for her song on "Inconvenient Truth", she thanked among others, her WIFE and her 4 kids! haha I bet that PISSED off some conservatives!
Hell, I didn't know that 3 of the 5 songs was from that "Dreamgirls" movie... and Melissa's still won. YAY

Alan said...

I never watch those shows, but for Gore, I did. I just did some reading while it was on, and only hit the mute button once... during that 3-song screaming session for the dreamgirls. yuk