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JULY 2007


ABC NEWS - The young Gore has a history of driving violations. In December 2003, Gore III was arrested on a marijuana possession charge after police in Montgomery County, Md., stopped the Cadillac he was driving for not having its headlights on. Officers found a partial marijuana cigarette and a baggie containing suspected marijuana, according to police.

Gore and two male passengers were arrested and Gore later entered a substance-abuse program that included 12 weeks of urine testing, community service and substance-abuse counseling.

He was also ticketed for reckless driving by North Carolina police in August 2000 when he was clocked going 94 mph, and military police arrested him for drunken driving near a military base in Virginia in September 2002.

Other politician's offspring have had their own brushes with the law.

President George Bush's twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, have both been charged with alcohol-related offenses.

In April 2001, Jenna, who was only 19 at the time, pleaded no contest to charges of underage drinking, and she was slapped with alcohol counseling, community service and a $600 fine. Her driver's license was also suspended.

Just one month later, both the twins were involved in an altercation in Austin, Texas, where Jenna was attending college.

Police cited the twins for violating state alcoholic beverage laws: Barbara was accused of possession of alcohol and Jenna for using a fake ID to try to buy a drink.

These charges were dropped, but the girls had to take alcohol awareness classes and pay a $100 fine.


[And earlier. . . ]

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 1996 - Talk Magazine has reported that Karenna Schiff, the oldest daughter and closest adviser of Al Gore, used pot, drank heavily and, when drunk, once encouraged a friend to drive her father's car without a license . . . British papers have previously reported that Al Gore's son smoked marijuana with several friends in the Bishop's Garden of the National Cathedral. While Gore's friends were reportedly expelled from St. Alban's School as a result of the incident, young Gore was allowed to stay. Our information is that his parents switched Gore to Sidwell Friends after being angered by teachers who made it clear they did not approve of the double standard involved.

WIKIPEDIA - As a child, Gore attended St. Albans school. In April 1989, Gore was the victim of a near-fatal car accident while attending a Baltimore Orioles baseball game in Baltimore, Maryland. As a result of the accident, doctors were forced to remove approximately 60% of his spleen. He also sustained a concussion and fractures to a leg and a rib, as well as bruises to the lung, kidney, and pancreas. His father chose to stay near him during the recovery, bypassing a possible presidential run in 1992 after an unsuccessful primary run in 1988. This was discussed in his father's 2006 book, An Inconvenient Truth and in the 2006 documentary of the same name. . . Gore graduated from Harvard University in 2005. . .

Bill Turque, in his book Inventing Al Gore, says that Gore was suspended from St. Albans School for smoking marijuana at a school dance in 1996, and that Gore's father called leading news outlets and convinced them not to publish the story. Turque also says that Gore III then transferred to the Sidwell Friends School where he graduated in 2001.




[This from White House intelligence advisor Richard Clarke's book]

RICHARD CLARKE - Snatches, or more properly "extraordinary renditions," were operations to apprehend terrorists abroad, usually without the knowledge of and almost always without public acknowledgement of the host government. . . The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, "That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass."

JANE MAYER, NEW YORKER - In 1995, American agents proposed the rendition program to Egypt, making clear that it had the resources to track, capture, and transport terrorist suspects globally - including access to a small fleet of aircraft. Egypt embraced the idea. "What was clever was that some of the senior people in Al Qaeda were Egyptian," [CIA veteran Michael Scheuer] said. "It served American purposes to get these people arrested, and Egyptian purposes to get these people back, where they could be interrogated." Technically, U.S. law requires the CIA to seek "assurances" from foreign governments that rendered suspects won't be tortured. Scheuer told me that this was done, but he was "not sure" if any documents confirming the arrangement were signed."

WIKIPEDIA - Thereafter, with the approval of President Clinton and a presidential directive (PDD 39), the CIA instead elected to send suspects to Egypt, where they were turned over to the Egyptian mukhabarat. This arrangement suited the Egyptians, who were trying to crack down on domestic Islamic extremists, and a number of the senior members of Al Qaeda were Egyptian. The arrangement also suited the US by enabling the interrogation of suspects without the intercession of the domestic legal process, using Egyptian methods.



TIM DICKINSON, ROLLING STONE - If the Democrats were going to sit down and construct the perfect candidate for 2008, they'd be hard-pressed to improve on Gore. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no controversial vote on Iraq to defend. Unlike Barack Obama and John Edwards, he has extensive experience in both the Senate and the White House. He has put aside his wooden, policy-wonk demeanor to emerge as the Bush administration's most eloquent critic. And thanks to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore is not only the most impassioned leader on the most urgent crisis facing the planet, he's also a Hollywood celebrity, the star of the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time. . .

Indeed, Gore is unique among the increasingly crowded field of Democratic contenders. He has the buzz to beat Obama, the substance to supplant Hillary, and enough stature to enter the race late in the game and still raise the millions needed to mount a successful campaign. . .

JUNE 2006


JOSHUA FRANK - During Clinton's campaign for president in 1992 Gore promised a group of supporters that Clinton's EPA would never approve a hazardous waste incinerator located near an elementary school in Liverpool, Ohio, which was operated by WTI. Only three months into Clinton's tenure the EPA issued an operating permit for the toxic burner. Gore raised no qualms. . .

Gore, like Clinton who quipped that "the invisible hand has a green thumb," extolled a free-market attitude toward environmental issues. "Since the mid-1980s Gore has argued with increasing stridency that the bracing forces of market capitalism are potent curatives for the ecological entropy now bearing down on the global environment," writes Jeffrey St. Clair in Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature. "He is a passionate disciple of the gospel of efficiency, suffused with an inchoate technopilia."

Then came the first of the Clinton administration's neo-liberal 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. Corporations looking to turn a profit by skating around enviro statutes at home moved down to Mexico where environmental standards and regulatory enforcement were scarce.

These follies were followed by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's destructive deal with the sugar barons of South Florida, which doomed vast acreages of the Everglades. Then Gore and Clinton capitulated to the demands of Western Democrats and yanked from its initial budget proposals a call to reform grazing, mining, and timber practices on federal lands. When Clinton convened a timber summit in Portland, Oregon, in April 1994, the conference was, as one might expect, dominated by logging interests. Predictably, the summit gave way to a plan to restart clear-cutting in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest for the first time in three years, giving the timber industry its get rich wish. Gore, again, said nothing. . .

Clinton and Gore, after great pressure from the food industry, signed away the Delaney Clause, which prohibited cancer-causing pesticides and ingredients to be placed in our food products. And after pressure from big corporations like chemical giant DuPont, the Clinton administration, with guidance from Gore's office, cut numerous deals over the pesticide Methyl Bromide despite its reported effects of contributing to Ozone depletion.

As for Gore's pet project, global warming, he did little to help curb its dramatic effects while handling Clinton's enviro policies. In fact, Gore and Clinton made it easy for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to back out of the Kyoto Protocol by undermining the agreement in the late 1990s. "Signing the Protocol, while an important step forward, imposes no obligations on the United States. The protocol becomes binding only with the advice and consent of the US Senate," Gore said at the time. "As we have said before, we will not submit the protocol for ratification without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change." Sadly, Gore stood by his promise. . .

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.



STEPHEN MARSHALL, GUERILLA NEWS NETWORK - While his "cousin Albert" has effortlessly inhabited the vestments of a liberal politician, to hear Gore Vidal tell it, the former Vice President's liberalism is merely a prop developed to bring him to the head of the Democratic Party.

"Well, although we are cousins, and I was a friend of his father's, I've always thought he was absolutely pointless as a politician. He's just another conservative southerner."

In fact, Al Gore's voting record as a senator was surprisingly conservative until he rolled his eye toward the White House. Throughout most of his career, he was pro-life and had an 84% anti-abortion rating from the National Right to Life Committee. From 1979 ­ 81, he voted five times on the side of a Republican sponsored rider that granted a tax exemption for schools like Bob Jones University that discriminate on the basis of race. He was openly anti-gay, calling homosexuality "abnormal" and "wrong," and telling the Tennessean in 1984 that he did "not believe it is simply an acceptable alternative that society should affirm." Gore was such a strong supporter of the gun lobby ­ ultimately voting against the critical 1985 legislation for a mandatory 14-day waiting period for handgun purchases ­ that National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre once said, "We could have made Al Gore NRA Man of the Year ­ every single vote." Finally, when it came time to vote on conservative Supreme Court nominees, Gore publicly praised but voted against the scandal-ridden Clarence Thomas. He voted in Antonin Scalia. If the wider public had been more aware of his legacy, few would have recognized the Al Gore of 1988 who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Pulling his hat down so that his eyes are shadowed from the sun, Vidal continues his effortless assault on Al Gore: "Another border-state, southern lover of the Pentagon…there was never anything the Pentagon asked for that Cousin Albert wasn't down there giving it to them; he voted for the first war in the Gulf."

Indeed, Al Gore was one of only ten Democrats to break with the party and vote for President Bush Sr.'s Gulf War in 1991. . .

"He is of above average intelligence, on issues that people didn't really care about, like the environment. But if there's a hot issue, he runs the mile," Vidal concludes firmly . . .


MAY 2006


BRICK BURNER - Al Gore's reputation as the Democratic standard bearer of environmentalism dates back to the early 1990's when his book Earth in Balance outlined the perilous threats to the natural world. Gore also showboated his green credentials at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which garnered the newly minted Senator great respect among Beltway greens who praised him for his willingness to take sides on controversial issues. While serving as vice president under Bill Clinton, Gore was put in charge of the administration's environmental portfolio, but had little to show for it.

Other than his alleged environmental convictions, Gore was politically timid when push came to shove in Washington. During Clinton's campaign for president in 1992 Gore promised a group of supporters that Clinton's EPA would never approve a hazardous waste incinerator located near an elementary school in Liverpool, Ohio, which was operated by WTI. Only three months into Clinton's tenure the EPA issued an operating permit for the toxic burner. . .

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. "Since the mid-1980s Gore has argued with increasing stridency that the bracing forces of market capitalism are potent curatives for the ecological entropy now bearing down on the global environment," writes Jeffrey St. Clair in Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature. "He is a passionate disciple of the gospel of efficiency, suffused with an inchoate technopilia."

Then came the first of the Clinton administration's neo-liberal 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. Corporations looking to turn a profit by skating around enviro statutes at home moved down to Mexico where environmental standards and regulatory enforcement were scarce. . .

As for Gore's pet project, global warming, he did little to help curb its dramatic effects while handling Clinton's enviro policies. In fact, Gore and Clinton made it easy for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to back out of the Kyoto Protocol by undermining the agreement in the late 1990s. . .

Although the Kyoto Accord was a gigantic step forward in addressing global warming, Gore opposed the watered down version of the Protocol despite its numerous loopholes that would have allowed US corporations to continue their business as usual. But Gore backed off in hopes of not alienating the Democrat's labor base who worried that new environmental standards would shift jobs to developing nations with weaker regulations. Hence Kyoto's derailment and the Democrats set up for Bush's misdeeds.

And the list goes on.

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.



JACKIE CALMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL - For former Vice President Al Gore, a rash of favorable publicity surrounding this month's opening of his movie "An Inconvenient Truth," and the growing political resonance of its subject - global warming - are stoking the most serious speculation about a Gore political comeback since his loss in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

In 2008, that could mean a once-unimaginable battle for Democrats' nomination between Bill Clinton's former vice president and his wife, Hillary Clinton. To some pro-Gore Democrats, worried about Mrs. Clinton's electability, that is part of the appeal. . . Among those said to be pushing Mr. Gore are billionaire venture capitalist and high-tech entrepreneur John Doerr and Laurie David, a global-warming activist and producer of the film, and wife of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator Larry David. "When people see this movie, I know they're going to see the real Al Gore, and they're going to demand that he run," Ms. David says. But, she adds, he changes the subject whenever it comes up, and had to be talked into making the movie when she pitched it.


APRIL 2006


KAREN BRESLAU, WIRED - Five and a half years after leaving the political stage, only the fourth man in US history to win the popular vote for president without being inaugurated, Gore has deftly remade himself from an object of pity into a fearless environmental crusader. The new Gore is bent on fixing what he calls the "climate crisis" through a combination of public awareness, federal action, and good old-fashioned capitalism. He's traveling the globe, delivering a slide show that, by his own estimate, he's given more than a thousand times over the years. His one-man campaign is chronicled in a new documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which made Gore the unlikely darling of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and will be released on May 26 by Paramount Classics. He has also written a forthcoming companion volume of the same name, his first book on the subject since the 1992 campaign tome Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit.

Along the way, Gore has become a neo-green entrepreneur, taking his messianic faith in the power of technology to stop global warming and applying it to an ecofriendly investment firm. . . For Gore, the private-sector ventures are all pieces of the same puzzle. He's challenging the power of the investment and media industries to decide what information matters most and how it ought to be distributed. . .



TABASSUM ZAKARIA REUTERS - Former Vice President Al Gore called on Monday for an independent counsel to investigate whether President George W. Bush broke the law in authorizing domestic eavesdropping without court approval. . . "A special counsel should be immediately appointed by the attorney general to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the president," Gore said in a speech to The American Constitution Society and The Liberty Coalition. . .

"We still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently," Gore said.
"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government," he said. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act makes it illegal to spy on U.S. citizens in the United States without the approval of a special, secret court.

LLOYD GROVE - I hear that Al Gore and Ralph Nader - whose third-party candidacy is still blamed by some Democrats for Gore's 2000 defeat by George W. Bush - are actually quite cordial these days. The two former antagonists are apt to run into each other this weekend while accumulating bags of swag at the Sundance Film Festival, where they'll be attending the premieres of documentaries about themselves. "I think Gore is much better out of office," Nader told me yesterday, adding that he's a big fan of the ex-veep's speeches about the Bush administration (which he believes should be collected in a book), including yesterday's barn burner attacking President Bush's surveillance of American citizens. "That's the speech the Democratic leadership in Congress should have given weeks ago," Nader said, adding puckishly: "I bear him no ill will. He took more votes from me than I did from him."



CHARLES SMITH, NEWSMAX - In 1993 Al Gore was charged by then President Bill Clinton to run the "Clipper" project. Clipper was a special chip designed by the National Security Agency to be built into all phones, computers and fax machines. Not only would Clipper provide scrambled security, it also contained a special "exploitable feature" enabling the NSA to monitor all phone calls without a court order. . .

In 1994, federal officials were keenly aware that the Clipper chip design did not have safeguards against unauthorized surveillance. In fact, NASA turned down the Clipper project because the space agency knew of the flawed design. In 1993, Benita A. Cooper, NASA Associate Administrator for Management Systems and Facilities, wrote: "There is no way to prevent the NSA from routinely monitoring all [Clipper] encrypted traffic. . .



SAM SMITH - Al Gore's remarkable speech on Bush's illegal wiretapping - combined with his earlier criticisms of the Iraq war and his longstanding attention to the dangers of climate change - make him the only major Democratic figure, save Russ Feingold, worth the attention of the decent and democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

Once you give him that attention, however, you are left with the problem that Al Gore isn't always your friend, hasn't always taken the positions he takes today, and can't be relied upon to do right in the future. In other words, traits of your average politician.

From a literary standpoint, however, Gore is about the only interesting major Democratic politician around, in part because his compromises and failures in judgment seem not - as with the Clintons - based simply on cold, cruel calculation but are the errant result of the clash between clear perception and the miasma of ambition, honest assessment and easier articulations, a moral heart and amoral muscles.

Al Gore could have grabbed a piece of greatness, but often took what seemed the easy and clever way out. . . which repeatedly turned out to be no such thing, perhaps because the conflicts within himself could produce neither efficient cynicism nor charismatic nobility.

The causes may have included being the son of a senator, living like Eloise in a Washington hotel as a young man, going to St. Alban's prep school where the future capital elite was trained in pompous and sometimes pathological certainty, and periodically visiting the strikingly different ecology of Tennessee.

No matter. He's back. He's says he's not running, but such statements don't count until the year in question. He's only done a couple of things right lately, but that easily puts him at the head of the Democratic pack.

For progressives, Gore presents an interesting problem because regardless of whether one would choose to vote for him, his success at this time will have an effect on the success of all of us. Certainly, as the following suggests, there is plenty to concern one about Gore. You may find things that alternately please or annoy you or that you just shrug off. But if Gore becomes the prophetic voice of a revived America - failed and flawed as the sound may be - we will all be better off. For the moment, we should enjoy the resonance of anyone with that many microphones in front of him saying the right thing for a change.


YOUR EDITOR gets into some of his worst trouble when he breaks his pattern and says something nice about a politician. Hence the outpouring of angry mail over a few kind words about Al Gore. You can read it all online, but as you do so, it may help to keep in mind what I actually said:

"I remain agnostic long-term on the subject of Gore but feel for this month anyway - and maybe next - he's the best chance we have of knocking a little sense into this country gone crazy."

A two month pass is not an endorsement.

Besides, this journal is based in part on the Huey Long principle:

"Corrupted by wealth & power, your government is like a restaurant with only one dish. They've got a set of Republican waiters on one side & a set of Democratic waiters on the other side. But no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen."

I also agree with Walt Whitman, who once described a Democratic convention this way:

"The members who comprised it were seven-eighths of them, ...the meanest kind of bawling and blowing officeholders, office-seekers, pimps, malignants, conspirators, murderers, fancy-men, custom-house clerks, contracts, kept-editors, spaniels well train'd to carry and fetch, jobbers, infidels, disunionists, terrorists, mail riflers, slave-catchers, pushers of slavery, creatures of the President, creatures of would-be Presidents, spies, bribers, compromisers, lobbyists, spongers, ruin'd sports, expell'd gamblers, policy-backers, monte-dealers, duellists, carriers of conceal'd weapons, deaf men, pimpled men, scarred inside with vile disease, gaudy outside with gold chains made from the people's money and harlots' money twisted together; crawling, serpentine men, the lousy combinings and born freedom-sellers of the earth."

But I also know there are times when even those such as the foregoing can make things either significantly better or worse.

Lyndon Johnson, for example, did both. The Vietnam War was a disaster but, at the same time, he and fellow scoundrel Adam Clayton Powell got more good legislation passed in less time than ever in American history.

Too many confuse politics with canonization. It is not, however, a matter of picking saints unless you accept that wonderful definition of a saint, namely a sinner who tries harder. Neither is it just an act of personal morality although that can certainly have an effect. And it is not a matter of standing in the middle of the highway and crying "Stop the War" until everyone agrees with you. Or runs over you.

Politics is a communal act that by its very nature is at least partly amoral and should thus be avoided by the truly sanctified. And if your views are really the only right ones, then why bother giving your opponents a vote at all?

The reason is not because you share beliefs but because you share a space called America. Politics is the compromise we all make so we can live here together.

Once you recognize that politics is not an act of personal salvation but mutual accommodation, morality starts to play a dramatically different role. And at the top of its agenda is not our personal righteousness but the salvation of the community or nation involved.

At times, albeit highly subject to debate, this means using imperfect forces for good ends as the civil right movement did with LBJ and as progressives did with the New Deal. To take advantage of a part of the establishment that is momentarily headed in the right moment is not immoral, it is merely common sense. At this moment, Al Gore is extremely important leverage that good Americans have to move the country in the right direction. This power should not be ignored.

If Al Gore announces his support for invading Darfur it will be another story. If Russ Feingold develops a movement that will be another story. Primary day and election day are different stories. But at this moment, Al Gore is the best act in town. A sad commentary on show business to be sure, but a true fact nonetheless.


PAUL LIPPE, SILICON VALLEY EXEC - Gore is a Vietnam vet; he could have avoided service like many others did, but he went willingly. A decade ago, Gore led the effort to draw attention to global warming, even though it was politically risky. He has taken pro-business positions that were unpopular with the left wing of the Democratic party, and pro-environment positions that were unpopular with business.


PATRICK SULLIVAN, METRO ACTIVE - [Daniel] Ellsberg has had two very educational one-on-one meetings with Gore: one to urge him to vote against Reagan's MX missile proposal, and another many years later to urge then-Senator Gore to vote against President Bush's actions in the [first] Gulf War. Ellsberg came away from both meetings with the same dismaying impression. "He respected my opinion enough that he wanted to convince me that he understood my arguments," he recalls. "And I was very impressed. He was very, very smart. I haven't met a smarter member of Congress."

But toward the end of Ellsberg's meeting with Gore about the Gulf War, a curious thing happened. "He suddenly started putting up arguments that were so pitiful and so laughable for going ahead in the face of the dangers that it was clear to me that no one would have given any attention at all unless they were searching for any rationale to vote for the war," Ellsberg recalls. "So I went out and told the people who were counting votes, 'Don't count him in the undecided column anymore. He's certainly going to vote for the war.'" And he did: Gore was one of a small group of Democrats who crossed party lines to support Bush. Not long after, Clinton picked him as a running mate.

"As long as I've known of Gore's positions, he has sacrificed what I'm sure he understands are important considerations for political expediency," Ellsberg says. "I have to say that I don't think he has any measurable passion for or commitment to anything other than gaining high office."

But that just means Ellsberg will be pinching his nose all the more tightly when he enters the ballot box in November. "Gore's position [on nuclear issues] is in fact terrible, really terrible," Ellsberg says. "And yet less terrible than the Republican's stance, which is absolutely catastrophic."



ALTHOUGH Democrats love to blame Ralph Nader for their 2000 election loss, the facts point in quite another direction: to Clinton and Gore. If, for example, you check the changes in Bush's and Nader's poll figures in the last month of the campaign, it is clear that Gore lost far more votes to Bush than to Nader.

It is also apparent that if Gore had disassociated himself from Clinton, he would have done far batter in the campaign. According to the 2000 exit polls:

- 60% of voters disapproved of Clinton as a person

- 59% - including some who approved of him - disliked him

- 68% said he would go down in the history books for his scandals rather than for his leadership

- 44% thought the Clinton scandals were important or somewhat important. In contrast, only 28% thought Bush's drunk driving arrest was important or somewhat important.

- 15% of those who had voted for Clinton in 1996 voted for Bush in 2000.


DOUG BANDOW, NATIONAL REVIEW - Clinton "essentially sought to eliminate the requirement of a warrant for searches from the Fourth Amendment. The president claimed to possess 'inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes.' The administration required public-housing residents to sign away their constitutional right that authorities procure a warrant to search their dwellings and personal property. The Justice Department backed warrantless (indeed, suspicionless) drug tests for high-school athletes. The administration requested greater FBI authority to conduct "roving wiretaps," without a court order.

- "The administration was tougher than its predecessor on drugs. Marijuana arrests were up 50 percent over Bush-41 . . . When asked about the criticism that sellers of crack were being punished far more severely than those who peddled cocaine, the president responded that penalties for the latter - which already ensured that minor drug dealers spend more time in jail than do many armed robbers, rapists, and murderers - should be raised. . .

- "The Clinton-Gore administration advanced additional thuggish policies and proposals - curfews for kids, random drug tests for welfare recipients and kids seeking drivers licenses, attacks on the requirement of a jury trial,. . . attempts to gain court sanction for uncompensated property takings, prosecutions implicating the double-jeopardy clause, pretentious claims of federal criminal jurisdiction, infringements of the Second Amendment right to possess a firearm, et al."


PBS - Gore did not have a typical childhood. At times he was down the hall from the powerful and privileged in the old Fairfax Hotel in Washington, D.C. and then suddenly back amongst the rolling countryside and herds of cattle that his family raised in Carthage, Tennessee. His double life exposed him to the life of a politician, a life that he himself would later lead.

Al Gore was born on March 31, 1948 to United States Senator Albert Gore, Sr. and Pauline LaFon Gore. He had one older sister, Nancy, and as children, the little Gores were exposed to many powerful people, at the dinner table, in the hallways of the hotel they called home, and even when picking up the telephone.

Pranks and games, however, were not absent from Gore's unique childhood. As a young boy, Gore climbed to the roof of the Fairfax Hotel, lay on his stomach and lowered a toy duck, suspended on a string, down below to where pedestrians were walking on the side walk in front of the hotel. He tried to bop them in the head with the duck while they walked past. He also took advantage of the height of the roof to throw water balloons at cars passing by.

Despite his somewhat fancy surroundings while living in DC, Gore's father did not want his son to be a "Capitol Hill brat." Every morning, little Gore was expected to do 50 push-ups and, when the family went back to their Carthage farm, he had his share of farm chores to do, including cutting tobacco, cleaning hog pens and baling hay.

Gore attended St. Albans preparatory school in DC and was involved in the student government there: he was a prefect and oversaw the lunchroom. But, when he went back to Carthage for the summer, he refused to wear the many t-shirts that had the school's name emblazoned on them.

It was during his days at St. Albans that he first met the woman who would later become his wife, a girl named Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Aitcheson.

In the fall of 1965, Gore was a freshman at Harvard, the only college that he had applied to. On his second-day on campus, he began what would be a successful campaign for president of the freshman council. He won this campaign by knocking on doors in every freshman dormitory and imploring his fellow students, including that of his opponent, Paul Zofnass, to vote for him.

Gore's time in office lasted only one year as his interest in school politics waned.

In college, Gore's roommate was future actor Tommy Lee Jones and the two became great friends. At the end of their freshman year, Gore, Jones and several of their other friends put together a traveling musical show where Gore was the standup comedian. They called themselves Tommy Lee Jones and the Ben Hill County Boys and had one performance at Wellesley College.

Gore was a government major at Harvard and wrote his senior thesis on the impact of television on the conduct of the presidency between 1947 and 1969. He graduated in 1969 with honors.

After graduation, Gore grappled with one of the key question of his era: should he go to Vietnam? This question was uniquely difficult for him, as his decision would have a great affect on his father's political career. In the end, he decided to enlist in the Army with his friends from Carthage. From 1969-1971, he served as a journalist for the Army and spent five months of that time in Vietnam.

When Gore arrived home from the war, he became a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean. But, his career in journalism did not last long as the lure of politics brought him back to the life that he had experienced since he was a kid. In 1974, he enrolled in Vanderbilt Law School and in 1976, he decided to run for Congress and won a seat in the House of Representatives. In 1985, he became a U.S. Senator, just like his father.



JERRY SEPER, WASHINGTON TIMES - Enron Corp. donated $420,000 to Democrats over a three-year period while heavily lobbying the Clinton administration to expedite passage of a 1997 global warming treaty that would have dramatically increased the firm's sales of natural gas. . . Enron received easy access to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. In one meeting, Enron Chairman Kenneth L. Lay met Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore in the Oval Office, during which the Enron boss was asked for input on a pending international energy conference in Kyoto, Japan. During the July 1997 White House meeting, Mr. Lay personally lobbied Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore to support a "market-based" approach to what he described as the problem of global warming, an Enron economic strategy that a December 1997 private internal memo said would be "good for Enron stock!!" The memo, written by Enron executive John Palmisano, said the Kyoto treaty - later signed by Mr. Clinton and leaders of 166 other countries, but never ratified by the Senate - "would do more to promote Enron's business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural gas industries in Europe and the United States." In an August 1997 memo by Mr. Lay to all Enron employees, the chairman said Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore had "solicited" his view on how to address the issue of global warning "in advance of a climate treaty to be negotiated at an international conference." That memo said Mr. Clinton agreed a market-based solution, such as emissions trading, was the answer to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Kyoto treaty calls for industrial nations to reduce emissions by 2012 to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels. Inc.


JOHN BRESNAHAN, ROLL CALL - In the spring of 2000, as the presidential battle between George W. Bush and then Vice President Al Gore heated up, Enron Corp. lobbyists in Washington quietly launched an effort to reach out to the Gore campaign and his allies on Capitol Hill . . . Enron's Washington office came up with a "Gore 2000 Strategy," a copy of which was obtained by Roll Call. This document outlines a "six-month action plan "designed to help Enron officials build ties with Gore at the same time the Houston-based firm and its employees were on their way to becoming the top donors to Bush's White House campaign, kicking in more than $113,000 in direct contributions . . . Enron donated just $13,750 to the Gore campaign, according to federal election records


PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - Talk Magazine has reported that Karenna Schiff, the oldest daughter and closest adviser of Al Gore, used pot, drank heavily and, when drunk, once encouraged a friend to drive her father's car without a license . . . British papers have previously reported that Al Gore's son smoked marijuana with several friends in the Bishop's Garden of the National Cathedral. While Gore's friends were reportedly expelled from St. Alban's School as a result of the incident, young Gore was allowed to stay. Our information is that his parents switched Gore to Sidwell Friends after being angered by teachers who made it clear they did not approve of the double standard involved. While who smokes what is not important, it does matter mightily when presidents and presidential candidates or children of politicians use drugs and nothing happens while hundreds of thousands of unpowerful Americans lose their jobs, get kicked out of schools, or go to prison for the same thing. Nothing so well illustrate the contempt of America's elite have for the very laws they make others follow.


US NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 2000 - Vice President Al Gore has a secret---lots of them. Insiders tell Whispers that Gore, far more the President Clinton, has an insatiable thirst for foreign intelligence collected by the Pentagon and CIA. It's won him friends in the spy world and even the Republican-controlled congressional Intelligence Committee. He is a very engaged consumer, as much as anyone in this administration. He gives very good feedback and asks good questions. He has long knowledge, deep knowledge, going back to his days on the Intelligence Committee, says John Millis, staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Ditto among the Joint Chiefs of Staffs who cater to Gore more than Clinton, who has deferred to the veep on key issues.


AL GORE, 1996 - I think the ethical standards established in this White House have been the highest in the history of the White House.

AL GORE, 1998 - A short time ago, I spoke to the President and told him that Tipper and I have him and his family in our hearts and in our prayers. Along with the rest of the country, I watched the President's televised address in which he took full responsibility for his actions and apologized to the nation. I am proud of him -- not only because he is a friend -- but because he is a person who has had the courage to acknowledge mistakes. I am honored to work with this great President on his agenda for the nation

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - According to John Haris' book on Clinton, Tipper Gore was so disgusted in 2000 with Bill and Hillary that she stayed cloistered in a holding room instead of going to a New York reception with major Democratic fund-raisers where the Clintons would be. "No, I'm not doing it," she snapped to an aide. "I'm not going out there with that man."

TPR - The Gore-Clinton love fest was probably a phony from the start, but definitely by 1996 the two had a falling out. Wrote Sarah McLendon at the time, a rift is "escalating between President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Albert Gore. . . This has proceeded to the point where the Clintons are talking about who should succeed Gore if the Vice President should be scandalized extensively enough to cause him to resign . . . Gore is the object of distrust because it is believed he would be too independent if he became President and would initiate certain reforms especially in connection with the Central Intelligence Agency, whose officials wish to avoid any change in their covert operations." The Review added: " Meanwhile, some see ominous signs in Bob Woodward's targeting of Gore for special attention. The Washington Post's Woodward has rarely had a scoop that wasn't based on material provided by that part of the capital quaintly known as the intelligence community."

TPR, OCT 1996 Al Gore appears to have gained curiously strong influence in the White House. It was startling enough last fall when Clinton named Jack Quinn, Gore's chief of staff, as White House counsel, giving the VP a highly unusual direct link into the Clinton inner circle. Then in May, Gore's former administrative assistant, Peter Knight, became Clinton's campaign manager. Is this just good old boys bonding in high office? Not very likely. Presidents rarely give such gratuitous access to those salivating over the prospect of replacing them. Far more likely is that Gore demanded Quinn and Knight be appointed as part of a damage control arrangement with, and power play against, the president, the latter based on information about the Clintons in the vice president's possession that has yet to be revealed.

TPR, DEC 1996 Yet another White House counsel has precipitously jumped ship. When Clinton named Vice President Gore's top aide, Jack Quinn, a year ago, it suggested unusual WH influence on the part of Gore, perhaps related in some baroque fashion to Whitewater. Was the appointment some sort of Quinn pro quo with the veep? Gore's man took over from a rapidly departing Abner Mikva. Now, even more speedily, Quinn is himself departing. Curiouser and curiouser.

TPR, 1997: Prior to the 1996 campaign there were hints that Gore or his staff was orchestrating efforts to edge Clinton out of the race. Certainly some of Gore's people were known to be unusually interested in anti-Clinton material. The unprecedented selection of one Gore man, Jack Quinn as White House counsel and another, Peter Knight, for a key campaign role suggested that some sort of truce had been struck between Gore and Clinton. Then came Gore's campaign finance scandal and the inelegant manner in which he and his aides have handled it -- including the disingenuous argument that a fund-raiser was actually a "donor maintenance" event. Now, according to Sarah McLendon, the shoe is on the other foot and the Clintons spent much of their vacation discussing the future of Gore.


COUNTERPUNCH, 2000: Al Gore has grudgingly conceded use of marijuana in the 1970s. The prime source for the drug habits both of Gore and his wife Tipper is John Warnecke, their supplier at the time, who has stated that at that time in Nashville Gore smoked as much marijuana as anyone he knew, including opium-coated Thai sticks . . . Today Gore reiterates his support for the war on drugs and declares that imprisoned offenders should not be released until they test clean.


JOHN C. WARNECKE: I have first hand knowledge that he has not told the truth about his drug use. Al Gore and I smoked regularly, as buddies. Marijuana, hash. I was his regular supplier. I didn't deal dope, I just gave it to him. We smoked more than once, more than a few times, we smoked a lot. We smoked in his car, in his house, we smoked in his parents' house, in my house we smoked on weekends. We smoked a lot. Al Gore and I were smoking marijuana together right up to the time that he ran for Congress in 1976. Right up through the week he declared for that race, in fact . .

TPR - The White House hosts a major drug dealer at its Christmas party. Jorge Cabrera -- who gave $20,000 to the DNC -- is also photographed with Al Gore at a Miami fund-raiser, a fact the Clinton administration initially attempts to conceal by arguing that a publicity shot with the Veep is covered by the Privacy Act. Cabrera was indicted in 1983 by a federal grand jury -- on racketing and drug charges -- and again in 1988, when he was accused of managing a continuing narcotics operation. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and served 54 months on prison. After his visit to the White House he will be sentenced to 19 years on prison for transporting 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the US. The Secret Service says letting him come to the WH was okay because he posed no threat to the president.

TPR, 2000 - Both Bush and Gore are, by reliable accounts, former drug users who never had to face any of the draconian punishments now being meted out to hundreds of thousands of less powerful druggies. While the candidates may not have the courage to admit their past acts, they should at least have enough honor not to promote policies that would have, if applied to themselves, put them in prison rather than on the road to the White House. The hypocrisy of America's powerful on the drug issue is one of the most egregious symbols of the current culture of impunity. Here, for example, is a cute item from the elite-coddling Washingtonian Magazine a few years ago concerning Al Gore III's problems at St. Alban's School:

"The most conspicuous absentees among the parents were Vice President Gore and his wife, Tipper. The previous semester their 13-year-old son, Albert Gore III, had been caught with some other boys from St. Alban's and some girls from National Cathedral School in possession of substances popular among teenagers but banned by the school's honor code."

The story was major news in England but suppressed here after phone calls to key media by daddy Gore.


DAVID SAFAVIAN, WASHINGTON TIMES, 2000: When presidential candidate George W. Bush denounced the concept of racial profiling during the second debate, and the vice president chimed in with his own "me too" denunciation, I sat up and took notice . . . The concept of singling out people based on their ethnicity, race or religion has been around as long as discrimination has existed. However, in the aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 crash in 1996, racial profiling gained a new supporter: the vice president of the United States. After Flight 800 went down, President Clinton created the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security to address in-flight terrorism, among other issues. Mr. Gore chaired this commission. The "Gore Commission" announced its findings in a 70-page report in 1997. As one solution to terrorism, the Gore Commission recommended on page 29 that "passengers could be separated into a very large majority who present little or no risk, and a small minority who merit additional attention." On page 30, the Gore Commission lauded and supported the "development and implementation of automated and manual profiling systems" by Northwest Airlines . . . The initial guidelines implemented as a result of the Gore Commission provided for stops and searches of all individuals traveling to "suspect" destinations. Unfortunately, almost all of these suspect destinations turned out to be Arab or Islamic countries. More important, however, Arab-Americans and Muslims were being stopped on domestic flights as well - demonstrating that this was less about terrorism and more about racial stereotypes and discrimination. Today, people of Middle Eastern heritage are still being stopped, searched and harassed by airline security agents, merely because they have an Arabic-sounding name.



JAKE WERNER, INDEPENDENT MEDIA, 2000 : The media keep telling us that there are "sharp differences" between the policies of Al Gore and George W. Bush. Let's take a look at some of the issues on which the divide doesn't seem to be that large:

- Neither candidate supports a fair trade approach to foreign trade policy encouraging or mandating respect for labor rights and the environment.
- Neither candidate has proposed true health care reform, which would create a universal service-on-demand system.
- Neither candidate will push for meaningful campaign finance reform: full public funding for all stages of all campaigns.
- Neither candidate supports a minimum wage to match the cost of living or a mandatory living wage.
- Neither candidate has a serious solution to the endemic poverty and hopelessness of the inner cities.
- Neither candidate will contemplate drug law reform . . .
- Neither candidate is committed to a massive reduction (or even a small reduction!) in military spending.
- Neither candidate has a plan to make a high-end college education affordable for children from lower-class families.
- Neither candidate is willing to commit sufficient resources to fighting the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa . . .
- Neither candidate has proposed measures to address the skyrocketing inequality of wealth in the United States.
- Neither candidate would work to end the corporate takeover of rural America
- Neither candidate has committed himself to a positive change on Iraq policy.
- Neither candidate has a legitimate plan to eliminate, or even substantially reduce, the incredibly high child poverty rate in the United States.
- Neither candidate opposes the destructive and pointless embargo against Cuba . . . - Neither candidate plans to eliminate the massive government subsidies to business (corporate welfare), which cost much more than government aid to the poor ever did.
- Neither candidate supports the right of gay or lesbian couples to marry . . .
- Neither candidate will stop Clinton's massive aid package to Colombia . . .
- Neither candidate supports a considerable reduction in the debts owed by most poor countries . . .
- Both candidates support standardized tests as a way to measure student achievement. This ensures that instructors will "teach to the test" and measures ability to perform on multiple choice questions rather than ability to think critically or understand general concepts.
- Both candidates support the death penalty . . .
- Both candidates enthusiastically support Israel . . .
- Both candidates support the corporate media system, which excludes diverse programming and slants news coverage in favor of the powerful.


TPR, 2000 - Fred Harris, in his short-lived populist presidential campaign back in the 1970s complained that he was feeling like a ventriloquist. He would say something and the next thing he knew, the mainstream candidates were repeating it. The most dramatic use of puppet politics came in the 1990s when a group of right-wing Democrats formed an organization absurdly called the "Progressive Policy Institute" that helped boost a corrupt conservative into the White House on the wings of liberal-sounding words.

Now the problem has arisen again. Albert Gore is playing Charlie McCarthy to Ralph Nader's Edgar Bergen and the mass media, with its usual perceptive abilities, can't figure out which one is the puppet.

Under the rules of postmodernism, words are just part of the ambiance, like turning on a soft rock CD or lighting a candle. And under the rules of postmodern agitprop, the first refuge of the scoundrel is to use words that diminish the opposition by stealing its vocabulary. After all, if we're both using the same words, there isn't that much to fight about, is there?


The one line items listed below are from the invaluable website, On the Issues


ROBERT KUTTNER, BOSTON GLOBE 2002 - Al Gore, remarkably, has stepped into a leadership vacuum and said several things that most congressional Democrats may well believe but have been too fearful to utter. Gore, speaking Monday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, warned that unilateral action against Saddam Hussein would ''severely damage'' the more urgent war on terrorism and ''weaken our ability to lead the world.'' Gore declared that the president has turned the broad reservoir of good will for America ''into a deep sense of misgiving and even hostility.'' In a pointed dig at President George W. Bush's go-it-alone cowboy rhetoric, he added, ''If you're going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first.''

Now this is extremely interesting. For starters, it is out of character for the cautious and generally hawkish former vice president. Gore has lately returned to politics, sort of, but until now he has avoided frontally attacking Bush. He has at last chosen to do so, at a moment when the president, swaddled in the flag, is widely seen as beyond criticism. . . The party's standard bearer for 2000 - who got more votes than George W. Bush - has now made it safe for Democrats to express serious doubts about this reckless war. Gore, perhaps in spite of himself, has actually exercised that rarest of qualities in contemporary politics - leadership.

One can accuse Gore of many things, but being soft on defense is not one of them. He was one of a handful of Senate Democrats to support George Bush senior on the Gulf War in 1991. The fact is, public opinion is still fluid on Iraq. And if other Democrats follow Gore's lead, this could be a turning point.



JENNY PIZER, LA DAILY - Vice President Al Gore has supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for years and pledges to maintain President Bill Clintons 1998 executive order banning sexual-orientation discrimination in federal civilian jobs. Gore strongly approves the plan to add sexual orientation - as well as disability and gender - to the federal hate-crimes statute. . . Gore supports teaching youth about risk reduction, while Bush favors abstinence programs. Regarding Medicaid, Gore has voiced support for allowing those who can return to work due to drug therapy to remain eligible for the benefits that cover their medications. . . These candidates disagree on the militarys dont ask, dont tell policy. Gore says he would abolish that rule and permit gay people to serve openly



Ban partial-birth abortions, except for maternal health. (Oct 2000)
Opposes partial birth abortion, but opposes banning it. (Sep 2000)
Voted against Medicare-funded abortions; but now supports it. (Jan 2000)


Mass violations of civil liberties in the war on terror. (Nov 2003)
Repeal the USA Patriot Act. (Nov 2003)


Death penalty for deterrence, but carefully. (Oct 2000)
Supports death penalty; no moratorium for new DNA techniques. (Feb 2000)
Three Strikes should apply only to truly violent crimes. (Feb 2000)
Loosen restrictions on medical marijuana. (Mar 2000)
Tougher drug policies; fight drugs in Colombia. (Mar 2000)
Drug Control Strategy: More $, more enforcement, more TV ads. (Feb 1999)


TPR 2000 - Both Al Gore and George Bush have hijacked public education as a major campaign issue, despite the fact that public education has been traditionally, and is constitutionally, a state and local matter. Journalists, accepting whatever propaganda the GOP and Democratic cult leaders give them, treat the issue as though the only question was what the federal government should be doing and not whether it should be involved at all. Thus, once again, a huge mutation in our political system is occurring without serious debate. As we have pointed out, the federal record in public education has been pretty dismal -- starting with the misbegotten 1950s plan to keep up with the Russians by making our schools larger and larger until finally they needed wardens rather than principals. In recent years, politicians without the slightest skill in education have leaped to support such fads as vouchers, charter schools, and various forms of standardized testing. Now we face the absurd situation of Al Gore and Dubya arguing over which assault on the public schools is the best, when, in fact, any sane parent would try to keep their children as far away as possible from either candidate and their advisors.

AL GORE, 2000 - Every state and every school district should be required to identify failing schools, and work to turn them around--with strict accountability for results, and strong incentives for success. And if these failing schools don't improve quickly, they should be shut down fairly and fast, and when needed, reopened under a new principal.

STACY MITCHELL, INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL SELF-RELIANCE: In May 1999, prompted largely by the shootings at Columbine High, a school with 2,000 students, Vice President Al Gore criticized the practice of "herding all students into overcrowded, factory-style high schools" A panel of school security experts was convened by Education Secretary Richard Riley. Their top recommendation had nothing to do with gun control, metal detectors or police on the premises. Rather, they said, reduce the size of the nation's schools. Small schools are a powerful antidote to the sense of alienation that can lead to violence. In September, Riley told the National Press Club that the nation needs to "create small, supportive learning environments that give students a sense of connection. That's hard to do when we are building high schools the size of shopping malls. Size matters."


Bush voucher plan would result in a huge new federal program. (Oct 2000)
Make $10,000 of college tuition tax deductible annually. (Oct 2000)
Agrees with unions against vouchers; disagrees on testing. (Jun 2000)
Stress early learning, small classes, & classroom technology. (Apr 2000)
Revolutionary plan": 50% more for public schools. (Jan 2000)
Connect every school to the Internet. (May 1999)
Supports Goals 2000 & standards-based movement. (Feb 2000)
For-profit schools OK within public system. (May 2000)
Says Bush's "choice" sends kids to bad public schools. (Apr 2000)
More choice, more local control, within public schools. (May 1999)
After-school care for 10 million kids. (May 2000)


JOHN STAUBER, CENTER FOR MEDIA & DEMOCRACY: Democratic big business lobbyist Toby Moffett, a Monsanto vice president until recently and now a consultant, is one of the so-called progressives coordinating the effort to attack Nader and his supporters. Moffett and the rest of Monsanto's lobbyists love Al Gore because, while Gore did not invent the Internet, he is the techno-pol responsible for shoving Monsanto's inadequately tested, possibly dangerous and definitely unlabeled genetically engineered foods down the throats of American eaters. Now Toby is trying to shove Al Gore down voters' throats but that's going over about as well as milk from Monsanto's hormone-injected cows

GORE, 2000 - There is overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to global warming ... which can lead to serious public health consequences ... and extreme weather.


Major commitment to build high-speed Amtrak rail systems. (Sep 2000)
Both gas & public transit should be affordable & available. (Jun 2000)
Clean up and improve existing bus & rail systems. (Jun 2000)
Tax credits for buying homes and vehicles that save energy and pollute less


Damage done at Abu Ghraib was serious. (May 2004)
Supported force in Mideast, Balkans, Haiti, not Somalia. (Oct 2000)
Cuba: Hard-liner on Castro; keep sanctions. (Oct 2000)
Link trade to environment and labor. (Sep 2000)
Agrees with unions on 90% of issues, but not on free trade. (Mar 2000)


In 1996 Al Gore raises an illegal $100,000 at a fund-raiser at a Buddhist temple in California, less than ten percent of the amount Hillary Clinton would later raise in California without reporting it.

$7B public campaign finance fund. (Apr 2000)
Decentralization builds faith in government. (Jan 1999)


Physicians, not HMO should make medical decisions. (Oct 2000)
Opposes Medical Savings Accounts; they segment out the sick. (Oct 2000)
Against assisted suicide; but leave it to the states. (May 2000)
Wants some form of non-government universal health care. (Oct 2000)
All children should have health care by 2004. (Apr 2000)
Senior prescription drug benefit with $4,000 cap. (Sep 2000)
Allow 55-65 year olds to buy into Medicare. (Sep 2000)


STEVE EMBER, VOA, 2000 - There has been much debate this year about the Social Security program for older Americans. Al Gore opposes reducing government control. He says this could lead to cuts in payments and an increase in the retirement age.. . .



CC - I reviewed your notes on the re-birth of Al Gore. I agree with your analysis and remember all too well the major sell-outs of the Clinton-Gore team. However, you omitted what I consider to be the biggest - the NAFTA vote.

NAFTA cleared the Senate by one vote. Al Gore was called in to perform his constitutional role as Senate President to cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the treaty. Clinton and Gore, through Gore's tie-breaking vote, delivered what Bush I could only dream of. Thus began the precipitous hollowing-out of American manufacturing. The Clinton-Gore passion for "free" trade agreements such as NAFTA, the WTO, and GATT greatly accelerated the pace of exporting the American manufacturing base in ways that backers of their Republican predecessors could only dream of. The massive negative impact of these agreements on American workers was immediate, but was largely masked by the growth (both real and speculative) in the IT sector. It also took a few years for the full for the full intensity of the changes to be felt as the transition phased-in.

Democrats and progressives often complain that the transformation of the American economy to a third-world service economy has accelerated under Bush II. While it is true that the Bush White House has been disinterested in taking any action that will preserve American jobs in a way that will cause even minor inconvenience to corporate elites, it is also true that most of the major structural damage was already done before Clinton-Gore left office.

This massive betrayal of labor by the Clinton-Gore team also had far reaching political consequences. It created a wide-spread (and well justified) feeling among the working and middle classes that Democrats had taken them for granted and that Republicans could be no worse. Disaffection among US labor groups and working Americans helped to usher in the Republican congress in 1994. Some labor groups, notably the Teamsters, went so far as to support Bush (not Nader) in 2000. As the effects of "free" trade undercut and disempowered American workers, the Democrats lost one of their most powerful and reliable traditional allies.

In short, Al Gore's tie-breaking NAFTA vote was a suicide pill for the Democrats. Firstly because it caused a huge rift within the party that helped to usher the right-wing extremists into power. More importantly, however, because there is no longer an organized "base" with whom the Democrats can kiss and make-up.

I'm glad Mr. Gore seems to have found his voice but I wish he'd found it before he sold his soul.