Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Al Gore, corporate whore!

Wherein it's funny because it rhymes


Here's some interesting articles. I think we can lay to rest the brain-damaged claim that not being impressed with Al Gore is a partisan issue.

Daniel Drezner asks "This is a serious question -- for those non-American readers out there, was Al Gore the reason you began to think about global warming?" In the comments a Joe M. writes:
  • His movie was more self-aggrandizement than it was a serious discussion of climate change. Gore is a propagandist, plain and simple. And I am someone who deeply believes in the need to address climate change, i just think Gore is full of it.

    So when the Nobel Committee gives Gore the prize, it is obviously for publicity, not for accomplishments. There are thousands of people and NGOs who have been working on the ground for decades to make this issue a priority. People who have serious accomplishments to their credit. Even Tony Blair did more in England to lower their carbon emmissions and to set the UK on a green path than Gore's stupid slide show. Or how about Joschka Fischer of the German greens, who forced windmills and environmental policy on the biggest European economy? Or green groups like Friends of the Earth and/or Greenpeace... There are thousands of people who have serious accomplishments. That they gave the award to Gore (I agree with the IPCC part) is a sign that either 1) they did it as a publicity stunt, 2) they are pandering to the USA, or 3) they are complete idiots. I lean toward a hybrid of all three though. It is quite sad indeed.

From Counterpunch (March 3/4, 2007), it's Jeffrey St. Clair with Al Gore, the Origins of a Hypocrite. I love articles like this. Tries to brand Gore as a hypocrite and I leave thinking he's been remarkabley consistent (for a politician). Basically ignores anything he's done since 1993, so calling him a hypocrite for things he voted on 20-25 years ago doesn't impress me.

Just a few highlights:
  • The young congressman picked out safe issues on which to cut a posture. He'd fully digested the lessons of his own masters' thesis, that television had shifted the balance of power from the Congress to the Executive branch. He became a zealous promoter of TV cameras in Congress and contrived matters so that he was the first to speak to those cameras from the House floor.
  • The legislative venue for Gore's grandstanding was the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigation. Gore had lobbied strongly to be appointed to this subcommittee, correctly assaying its screen-time potential. In short order he developed an inquisitorial style, matched off the floor by his mercilessly abusive treatment of his staff.
  • The AFL-CIO felt confident of victory, but it missed the fact that newly arrived Democrats like Gore felt no loyalty to labor and were intent on advertising that disposition to their business contributors. Gore provided one of the crucial votes that turned back labor's bill.
  • As a House member Gore was virtually a poster boy for the National Rifle Association.
  • He was a relentless supporter of the Hyde amendment, which banned federal funding for abortions for poor women. In one early version of Hyde's bill there was language allowing exceptions to the ban in the case of rape. Gore voted against that.
  • Likewise, in Gore's supposed devotion to the environment there has always been a vast rift between stirring proclamation and legislative reality.
  • Gore was a fanatic defender of the [Clinch River Breeder Reactor], the most ardent of all in the Tennessee House delegation.
  • In 1984, Al Gore took Baker's Senate seat and over the next eight years voted for the nuclear lobby 55 percent of the time. As vice president and author of Earth in the Balance (which stays fairly mute on the topic of nuclear power) Gore, along with HIS FORMER STAFFER Energy Department Assistant Secretary Thomas Grumbly, tried to bring the Clinch River scheme to life again as the Fast Flux Test Facility in the Hanford nuclear reservation in the State of Washington.
  • In fact, the only purposes of the [Tellico Dam] were to line the pockets of the cement producers and construction nabobs of Tennessee and to afford an amenity for the "Timberlake" community being planned by Boeing.
  • Gore was among the leaders in the effort to get this waiver, and in the end Congress exempted the dam from compliance and overturned the Supreme Court's injunction. As the defenders of the snail darter predicted, the path to destruction of the Endangered Species Act now lay open, and first down that path had been none other than Al Gore.
  • After the snail darter came other species and other waivers, the most notorious of them engineered under the auspices of Vice President Gore.
  • But when Watt was gone and Reagan was gone and Bush was gone, the Democratic "greens" came back to power, and they accomplished triumphs that the Republicans had never dared dream possible.
  • Gore's lifetime rating from the League is 64 percent, meaning he was in sync with the [League of Conservation Voters] positions two-thirds of the time. The League's rating of Gore in his House years ran at an average of about 55 percent, with one year seeing him down to 30 percent, putting him in harness with such world-class predators as Don Young of Alaska.
  • Gore didn't make many friends in the House, but his propensity to techno-flatulence (e.g., "The government is just a big software program") soon prompted him to sniff out a kindred soul in the form of a pudgy young Congressman from suburban Atlanta with a marvelous facility for rotund phrase-making on any issue to hand. This might be my favorite sentence in the piece.
  • No, that would be this sentence: "Poor Tipper, hoping for a romantic candle-lit evening with her spouse, would open the door to see the beaming, porcine features of the rising Republican star from Georgia on the doorstep."
  • Gore picked up the lingo quickly enough: "I think it is important to realize that we do have interests in the world that are important enough to defend, to stand up for. And we should not be so burned by the tragedy of Vietnam that we fail to recognize an interest that requires the assertion of force."
  • Gore backed Reagan's disastrous deployment of the US Marines in Lebanon in 1983. He supported the invasion of that puissant Caribbean threat to the United States (population 240 million) by Grenada (population 80,000). He later chided his 1988 Democratic opponents for their failure to embrace this noble enterprise. At a time when many Democrats wanted to restrict the CIA's ability to undertake covert actions, Gore said he wouldn't "hesitate to overthrow a government with covert actions", a posture he ratified with his approval of the CIA's secret war in Afghanistan.

This next one is from Sierra Magazine, July-August, 1997, The great green hope - Vice-President Al Gore's environmental record. This one is more about how either Gore was ineffectual or thrown under the bus by Clinton.
  • He's the most knowledgeable environmentalist ever to reach such a high office. But is that enough? You haven't spoken with Jeffrey St. Clair (above), have you?
  • Vice Presidents Albert Gore may be the first national leader for whom Saturday Night Live was a significant influence. In his book, Earth in the Balance, Gore supplements references to Aristotle and chaos theory with mentions of the comedy show's "Yard-a-pull," a device for launching garbage into the neighbor's yard.
  • Another topic of vice presidential humor is Gore's well-known desire to be president. He likes to dwell on the brief delay in Bill Clinton's second inauguration. "For five minutes I was president of the United States," Gore declares. "It was an important time for me and my family, and, if I may be so bold, for the country . . . " Ok, that's funny
  • The young Gore's legislative record was slight; he was better at raising issues than seeing them through the process. In the Reagan era, he became an expert on nuclear disarmament, mastering the minutiae of throw weight and megatonnage, but never transforming his expertise into legislation.
  • Yet his courage failed when it came to confronting two environmentally disastrous projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the quasi-governmental public-power and development agency championed by his father.
  • By Gore's own account, his interest in the environment was focused by tragedy in 1989 after his son, Albert III, was struck by a car and nearly killed; Gore says he started writing Earth in the Balance in the hospital room. The accident, he wrote, "caused me to be increasingly impatient with the status quo, with conventional wisdom, with the lazy assumption that we can always muddle through."
  • In the early days of the [1988 Presidential] campaign, he often spoke out on environmental matters--to the general ridicule of the pundits and his opponents, one of whom famously suggested that he sounded as though he were running for "first scientist."
  • The book is Gore's attempt at a passionate polemic. At times he succeeds, as when he talks about his family or the role of religious faith in shaping a new environmental consciousness. More often, however, in his eagerness to establish his scholarly bona fides ("This phenomenon of interdependency is probably best illustrated by what scientists call positive feedback loops . . ."), his message is obscured.
  • Early on, when Clinton caved in to western governors and senators and backtracked on grazing and mining reform, Gore took the heat from his environmentalist allies. "Remember," he told the troops, "I'm just the vice president."
  • A classic example of Gore at work is the new environmental-diplomacy program at the State Department, unveiled this past Earth Day, which seeks to incorporate environmental health into the country's definition of national security.
  • It would be nice to think that the administration ranked green concerns up there with trade, the economy, and defense, but the White House has thus far rarely expended much political capital on the environment.
  • Even for Gore, says the congressional staffer, "When it comes to a choice between jobs and the environment, or trade and the environment, the environment gets in a lot of trouble real fast."
  • The most troublesome conflict for Gore is, ironically, global warming...."Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin," he wrote in Earth in the Balance. "How much more evidence is needed by the body politic to justify taking vigorous action?"
  • Environmentalists might well ask that question of the Clinton/Gore administration, whose efforts to slow global climate change have been anything but vigorous.
  • "Gore's vivid language in describing environmental problems is almost never matched by equally passionate advocacy for a solution," writes reporter Timothy Noah in U.S. News and World Report, "particularly when powerful economic interests are at stake. Conservative critics who brand Gore an 'ozone man' have it wrong. On the environment, Gore favors extreme rhetoric but only incremental solutions."
  • Then it was on to China and his famous half toast with Li Peng....the cause for the toasting: a $1.5 billion deal between China and General Motors to produce 100,000 Buick Centurys and Regals for the burgeoning Chinese auto market. One difference between these and American Buicks: the Chinese versions will not have pollution controls.


PBS, On the Record, August 21, 2000. Highlights:
  • Discussing turning a 51 mile section of the Columbia River into a protected preserve; McDaniel and McHugh are upset at the lack of local input
    TOM BEARDEN: Gore's well-established environmental record makes it easy for people to grade his performance.
    RICK LAMONT, Audubon Society: A-plus.
    CARL POPE, Sierra Club: Al Gore, I'd give a B+.
    BRENT BLACKWELDER, Friends of the Earth: I would say probably a C.
    SHANNON McDANIEL (manages the South Columbia irrigation district: I'm going to give him a D.
    AMY McHUGH (listed as a farmer): Probably a D-.
    ANGELA ANTONELLI, Heritage Foundation: An F.
  • I think that the Vice President had an agenda and he came to do it and he did it and left. I don't think that it had anything to do with how complex our irrigation project is, or how it impacts people around our county. It's my opinion that he came in to put on a show. He did his show and left.
  • CHRIS WEST (Northwest Forestry Association): In the last seven years, we've seen a major shift in where consumers are getting their wood products here in the United States. When Clinton and Gore took office, 20 percent of our lumber products came from foreign countries. Today it's well over 40 percent.
  • PROTESTERS: Al Gore, corporate whore! I'm guessing there was an audio-visual clip used here
  • TOM BEARDEN: Even some environmentalists are disappointed with Gore's clean air record. Brent Blackwelder is executive director of Friends of the Earth, a national environmental organization which endorsed Bill Bradley instead of Gore in the presidential primaries.

    BRENT BLACKWELDER: One of the reasons the Friends of the Earth Political Action Committee endorsed Bradley was we thought Bradley got far more legislative results than Gore did when he was in office. And one of our major critiques of Gore was that he knew the issues, but he did not legislate and get results.

    TOM BEARDEN: But Blackwelder does applaud Gore for going to Kyoto.

    BRENT BLACKWELDER: I think Gore gets credit for having been there and gotten that started. And so I think that is a high point for what they did. I think the low point on climate is the failing to actually practice what you preach by not keeping US greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels, instead letting them grow to be 13 percent more by the time we ended the decade.

From Counterpunch, May 31, 2006, it's Joshua Frank with Inconvenient Truths About the Ozone Man:
  • Perhaps Al Gore's greatest blunder during his years as vice president was his allegiance to the conservative Democratic Leadership Council and their erroneous approach to environmental policy. Gore, like Clinton who quipped that "the invisible hand has a green thumb", extolled a free-market attitude toward environmental issues.
  • Then came the first of the Clinton administration's neoliberal wet dreams: NAFTA. After the passage of NAFTA, pollution along the US/Mexico border dramatically increased. And Gore should have known better; NAFTA allowed existing environmental laws in the United States to be undermined.
  • Gore, again, said nothing.
  • Forests under Clinton and Gore's watch didn't fare all that well.
  • And the assault on nature continued with Gore's blessing.
  • So while Al Gore flies a polluting jet around the country and overseas to preach to the masses about the dangerous effects of global warming and its inherent threat to life on Earth -- you may want to ask yourself whether the hypocritical Gores of the world are more a part of the problem than a solution to the dire climate that surrounds us all.

Showing up in Guerrilla News Network, June 5, 2006, it's Joshua Frank with More Inconvenient Truths About Al Gore. Which is the same as the Counterpunch article and was adapted from his book Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush.

Back to Counterpunch, it's Joshua Frank writing about Gore winning the Nobel in A Prime Time Hypocrite. Mostly repeats last year's piece, but he now gives us a conspiracy:
  • As the Center for Public Integrity writes in their book The Buying Of The President 2000, "Personally and professionally the vice president has profited from Occidental largess. To this day he still draws $20,000 a year from a land deal in Tennessee brokered between his father and [former Occidental chairman Armand] Hammer. The total amount is more than $300,000."

    This relationship between Hammer, who was close with Al Gore Sr. as well, matured greatly during the late 1980s while Gore served in the Senate, including Kenneth Lay style trips on Hammer's private plane and monster campaign contributions.

    Oil companies during the 20th Century, reports the Center for Public Integrity, "have tried unsuccessfully to obtain control of two oil fields owned and operated by the federal government: the Teapot Dome field in Casper, Wyoming, and the Elk Hillsfield in Bakersfield, California."

    When Clinton and Gore took office in 1992, that was about to change. Perhaps only outdone by George W. Bush's connections to Big Oil, Al Gore pressed President Clinton to approve handing over these public lands to the oil companies. The land, managed by the Navy, had held emergency oil reserves since 1912.

    It took five years of lobbying on behalf of Big Oil, but Gore and Occidental were victories. In the fall of 1997 the Energy Department sold 47,000 acres of the Elk Hill reserve to Occidental.
  • "The very same day the Elk Hills sale was announced, Gore delivered a speech to the White House Conference on Climate Change on the
    "terrifying prospect" of global warming, a problem he blamed on the unchecked use of fossil fuels such as oil."

This article is also repeated in Dissident Voice and Oil Sands Truth. Looks like a bit of an echo chamber there. Just keep repeating it and hope someone will hear you?

8 Comments:

Blogger Icepick said...

So, are you also a defender of corporate whores?

10/17/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Hey, whores got a right to make a livin' just like everyone else.

10/17/2007 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger XWL said...

Your excessive use of bullet points is killing our planet !!!

(when commenting on someone's less greener than thou behavior, one must always use at least three exclamation points)

10/17/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

OT, and in fact appropos of nothing ...

"That Bill. Subversive. Sharp. Watch out for him. Misses nothing. A dots-connector." ...

is still one of my "mostest, very favoritest" of my own comments ever, anywhere, any time.

Only sayin'.

10/18/2007 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

(Keep it up. And thanks.)

10/18/2007 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger XWL said...

For Earth's Sake !!!

Vote Gore '08.

Or at least, Vote Hillary '08.

Or at least drive around in a sanctimonious smog of smugness in your Prius festooned with this bumpersticker upon it.

10/18/2007 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Guns don't kill people, unordered lists kill people.

10/18/2007 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Later this evening there might be "Newt Gingrich, corporate wench!"

And there's a possibility that Al Gore will be Fame-Whore Defended.

Bonus: Don't miss me hating on pandas

10/18/2007 08:21:00 AM  

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