Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 16, 2006

Gore Speaks Out

A good but long one. Some highlights:

This effort to rework America's carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all powerful Executive Branch with a subservient Congress and judiciary is-ironically-accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America's foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish dominance in the world.

[W]e have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a global environment of nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. As Justice Frankfurter wrote in the Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority."
Moreover, if the pattern of practice begun by this Administration is not challenged, it may well become a permanent part of the American system. Many conservatives have pointed out that granting unchecked power to this President means that the next President will have unchecked power as well. And the next President may be someone whose values and belief you do not trust. And this is why Republicans as well as Democrats should be concerned with what this President has done. If this President's attempt to dramatically expand executive power goes unquestioned, our constitutional design of checks and balances will be lost. And the next President or some future President will be able, in the name of national security, to restrict our liberties in a way the framers never would have thought possible.Text of Gore speech, January 16, 2006

Posted by b on January 16, 2006 at 19:55 UTC | Permalink


"I endorse the words of [Republican] Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will."

emphasis mine. Is there hope?

Posted by: beq | Jan 16 2006 20:06 utc | 1

Hope? I dunno. Although Gore did stress at times that this push to check executive power must come from all parts of the political spectrum, from the comments I've seen around so far, it is being processed partially. That is left of centre largely support it (except the ones who don't like gore) and right of centre see it as a piece of limp wristed liberal propaganda.

The US system of everyone in positions of authority having to belong to one faction or the other of the one party is likely to make engendering change from within difficult.

Surely there must be some people out there who have a reasonable amount of respect from and moral authority over a wide range of other citizens, who aren't tied to the dem or repug factions?

I'm not twisting this to further the agenda of what I 'think' should happen but because of who Al Gore is, what he says is going to be written off by supporters of the other faction as an attempt to build a base to run for the presidency in '08.

The relationship between politicians and the public has become so untrusting that even if Gore were to say that he was never going to run for office again, that his remaining years were instead going to be devoted to saving the constitution, nobody would believe him.

All that would happen is that political players would make the judgement that he was probably keeping his powder dry for '12 and therefore wasn't going to be the next big cheese and could be disregarded.
Mind you he'd be getting on then by then wouldn't he? It's so hard to tell with the wigs and dyes and facelifts these Ken dolls use.

I hope it does work but I would have a lot more faith in the likelihood of that outcome if a person could be found to articulate this P.O.V. other than a longstanding player in the crooked game.

Maybe I'm just being negative. How bad is the gerrymander anyway? Can many seats actually change hands? In the 'democracies' I know of which have been gerrymandered, it takes a long, long time to change. The whole 'that's my team there I'm gonna stick with them through thick and thin' attitude means that the change usually only comes about generationally.

That is that the die-hards refuse to recognise the rampant corruption that gerrymandering encourages.

Change can occur when their children, so put off by the corruption that they didn't ever buy into 'the team', finally take their chances with 'the other side'.

It doesn't feel to me that the US can wait that long.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 16 2006 21:41 utc | 2

I'm not twisting this to further the agenda of what I 'think' should happen but because of who Al Gore is, what he says is going to be written off by supporters of the other faction as an attempt to build a base to run for the presidency in '08.

i don't know if gore is going to run, i think not but i could be wrong. for many of us gore represents first and foremost the president we elected. for me when he speaks it is like listening to our 'real' president. that is why the rnc reaction of 'why does gore keep inserting himself?' seem so rediculous. they know damn well why he keeps inserting himself. we elected him.

Posted by: annie | Jan 16 2006 22:08 utc | 3

annie, yes. Our last elected President.

Posted by: beq | Jan 16 2006 22:26 utc | 4

The Republicans have no intention whatsoever of working within the existing Constitution or political system. Why would they? Our system of checks and balances is deadly to their kind.

They seek first to break the nation, to shatter the tried and tested means of self-government, and pick up only the pieces that are of benefit to them.

They are dismantling America.

Only when Americans realize that these right-wing ideologues are conducting a revolution will they decide to fight back.

At this point I see the coming year as a race between Americans waking up, and BushCo quietly arranging another 9/11 "Pearl Harbor-type event" to further solidify their death grip on power.

Bush has declared he has the right to ignore laws when and as he chooses. If that is not fought, all he need do is will declare that he can simply issue laws, as Hitler's Enabling Act allowed him to do.

After that, Congress will be called into session only to rubber stamp what Bush has issued.

The Fourth Reich is near.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 16 2006 22:37 utc | 5

bush is probably green w/envy. no way he could sell tickets to the american public and get a room full of people cheering at his words. bush knows he is passionately hated .

Posted by: annie | Jan 16 2006 22:50 utc | 6

I agree with annie Debs. I don't care if Gore is running or that he was or is part of the establishment. He said today what every US citizen with any common sense is thinking. And, Al Gore has the right to say it. He was our last truly elected preznet.

As I posted on another thread, I've been waiting for this speech. If Gore takes the progressive populist route, he would surely be elected in 2008. I really think after eights years of Bushie the public will have big time buyer remorse. I know I have a great weight on my back right now about which way this country is headed. Until Gore's speech today, I felt we were twisting in the wind. We need a national leader of Gore's stature to help ease the burden of the average person. I think he did it today at least for the moment.

Posted by: jdp | Jan 16 2006 22:56 utc | 7

Al Gore is an American citizen. Why shouldn't he insert himself?

Do you think the RNC will support unchecked wire tapping when Mrs Clinton is President?

Posted by: Mr Avid | Jan 17 2006 0:06 utc | 8

Whatever Gore's perceived limitations, his recent speeches are unrivaled among the political class for perspective and vision.
His near statesmen-like tone (where did all the statesmen go?) transcends the petty, destructive personal brand of politics that BushCo has perfected as he succinctly cuts to the fundamental issues at stake. (He would probably make a pretty good SC justice himself.) Unfortunately, he is speaking over the heads of our dumbed-down general populace and blow-dried media personalities who will trivialize his remarks with insinuations about ulterior personal motives. Some may stop for a while and wonder what those strange high notes represent, but his appeals to principle are so foreign to our current reality that they will be blown away by the first loud fart from the right wing noise machine. Future historians may quote him, though, as they chronicle the unheeded warnings the American public received about the upcoming tragedy.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jan 17 2006 0:12 utc | 9

there was an article from the new yorker prior to the 2000 election called "Gore without a Script." by Nicholas Leman.

i can't find it online but if anyone has the ability to find it for me i would appreciate reading it again

Posted by: annie | Jan 17 2006 0:49 utc | 10

Only one Democratic member of Congress attended Gore's speech, although it was in Washington.

Must all have been calibrating their political positioning devices(PPDs).

The Democratic party has become damned near worthless.

Posted by: Groucho | Jan 17 2006 1:52 utc | 11

I don't disagree with what any of you have posted, but my question is, how many from the other side of the spectrum will share your view?

It will be very hard to move the 'political establishment' which is what must be done if the restoration of the rule of law is completed within the rule of law itself, unless the opposition to this tyranny comes from across the political spectrum.

I'll try and explain. it seems to me there are two potential pools of voters one, the other or both which need to be energized to this p.o.v. if this Fascism is to be rolled back quickly.

Assume the dem voters are already onside, then no matter what the truth is whether it be gerrymandering, simple ballot box stuffing or ignoring the votes of dems in certain key districts, a lot more people are going to have to vote against the repugs this year and in '08 to effect change within the system.

The two groups are those who vote regularly but didn't vote dem last time, and those who have given up on the voting bizzo because of whatever, politicians always win, my vote can't make a difference, it's not possible to tell who is sincere and who isn't. There are a myriad of reasons why people don't vote in 2006 and a lot of them have a kernel of validity.

I'm not trying to be negative here but I am trying to be practical.

At the moment Al Gore has articulated a problem that most dem voters can unite around. That isn't going to be enough to force change on it's own. Either former repug voters are going to have to get onboard or voters who for whatever reason feel ripped off over their experience and have given up.

In most societies, the 'given up' would be the obvious ones to go for. In most countries a sad but true fact of life is that 'left leaning' citizens are more likely to refuse to express their view through the ballot box than conservative. The reasons are myriad although socio-economics has a lot to do with why people can feel dis-connected.

eg In Australia voting is compulsory. Everyone must vote or they get fined. It is possible to vote 'invalid' ie for 'none of the bastards' and in theory if 50% or more of an electorate did that then the race would have to be rerun with new horses if necessary.

Whenever the numbers drop that is a higher percentage of people don't vote, the better the numbers are for the conservative candidates.

Traditionally the tories don't police the rolls or the voter turnout which makes their chances greater and the left encourages enrolment and gently suggests that people do vote. Howard may try to abolish compulsory voting now he has a majority in both houses.

Anyway back to the US where the situation doesn't seem nearly so clear cut. Unfortunately years of indoctrination in the form of fantasy dramas, unreal reality TV, twisted values etc, has resulted in a situation where a substantial number of non-voters would vote repug if they did vote.

So energizing the non-voters carries with it the inherent danger that voters who will vote in support of BushCo will also be energized. That makes two hurdles. The first is getting people to vote and the second is getting them to vote for democracy.

On the other hand people who voted last time, but who voted for BushCo don't have to be persuaded to vote they just have to be persuaded to vote the other way this time.

Now presumably since they vote they are reasonably politically aware which is good because it means that some will at least listen to what is being said and if convinced will express that conviction next chance they get.

It's the 'if convinced' that is the stumbling block. I have no firm views on Al Gore because I am too far away to be able discern the truth about him from the lies that were expressed in 2000.

However that is not the way that many people who voted for Bush will feel. You can point out until you're blue in the face that "I invented the internet' was the same sort of 'swift boating' as Howard's screech, but it won't be a simple job to convince former rethug voters of that.

Firstly they have to admit they got it wrong in 2000 and secondly every time they summon up the courage to talk about this amongst their friends, and that is the way that voting allegiances are formed, they will get laughed down with lines like "Was it Mao or Al who invented toothpaste?"

This stuff does matter which is why that the leadership of this dialogue would be better placed with a non-partisan.

If change is to be effected through the ballot box in preference to direct civic action, it is essential that someone other than dem pundits take a good look at who the potential swing voters are. Instinct says women (women are generally less likely than men to vote a particular way out of 'team loyalty'), however is this an issue which women feel strongly enough about in significant enough numbers to swing this? If not what will make them swing?

And now we are starting to move into treacherous waters. Is it permissible to twist, spin and prevaricate in order to defeat larger twists, spins and prevarications?

If it is what will happen if the twisting and spinning springs a leak?

It's great that at least one of the senior dems is attempting to confront this issue as it will energize the dem base. But that is insufficient on it's own to change Dubya's shorts.

It may be sufficient in some eyes to make the issue them Vs us instead of liberty Vs oppression.

While the next step needs to be considered it also has to happen quite quickly before BushCo grab complete control of the agenda, twist it until the concern about unilateral executive power becomes identified amongst the voters as nothing more than a dem spiel.

Do you see what I'm saying? The issue is not about whether Gore is correct or honest or the last legitimate prez, but whether the voting public perceives the BushCo grab for power as a real concern, or just an opposition strategy.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 17 2006 2:18 utc | 12

Sadly, I'm with Debs here. This administration has proved its genius at turning real questions into partisan battles, knowing full well that the media will play along and try to force a 50/50 split on things which are absolutely absurd.

Posted by: Rowan | Jan 17 2006 3:09 utc | 13

Debs, your points are well taken. I just watched Gore's speech on C-Span a while ago and man he lit it up. It was great.

But one thing you forget Debs, eights years out is five lifetimes in US politics. First, Gore needs to get out into the hustings and beat the streets. This is exactly what Nixon did in his "southern strategy" in the 1960's. He lost the 1960 election, lost for governor of Califonia and that when Nixon said you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore. But over the next few years he started visiting places across the country, and playing to the civil rights backlash of course, but he managed to win in 1968. I don't like the example, but, it somewhat fits.

Gore is much smarter and has been very observant and is speaking more powerfull than I've ever seen him. If he keeps going, his type of populist appeal with an anti free trade agenda, could well win. The only problem is, he would still need to suck up to the establishment for campaign money and that could ruin it all. They will agree to tax increases but they will not be denied the neo-economic agenda for the world.

Posted by: jdp | Jan 17 2006 3:14 utc | 14

i too am with debs

yes it is a stirring speech - yes it is full of fury but it is also full of silence - of complicity

& what are speeches finally, in the face of criminal deeds tht have already surpassed even the darkest of our imaginings

he is the first politician to speak of the darkness but he is already talking from within it

& it is unparallleled darkness - so much what berlin or frankfurt or munich must have been like in 1938 - with the massacres of thye spanish people behind them & the complicity & assistance of a world prepared to go along for the profit

abramoff & his dog delay epitomise what the american political process has become - it is now a nightmare which scars the skins of so many

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 17 2006 3:25 utc | 15

this veers slightly off-topic, however hearing/reading gore talking 'bout wiretaps brings to mind something i read last week while i was laid up in the hospital. one of the books i consumed was gus russo's the outfit: the role of chicago's underworld in the shaping of modern america, released right at the beginning of the current regime in 2000, and there's a bit in there that struck a familiar chord in this vein. the setup: upperworld hoodlum joe kennedy had managed to use his underworld contacts to fix the 1960 election to get jack into the presidency & bobby gets to head the justice dept to head off any official probes of the fix. still gung-ho on rooting out organized crime after his role in the mcclelland committee from the previous decade, he announces right off the bat that the top priority of the justice dept was organized crime.

Bobby Kennedy had soon drawn up a list of forty underworld "targets," ranked in order of priority.

Under Bobby Kennedy's watch, the number of attorneys in the Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section balloned from seventeen to sixty-three; illegal bugs and wiretaps grew from only a handful to more than eight hundred nationwide; the IRS in another questionably legal Kennedy move, saw its man-days of investigative field work increase tenfold, from 8,836 to
96,182 in just two years; and within three months, New Orleans boss Carlos Marcello was grabbed off the street, under orders from Bobby Kennedy, and flown to Guatemala, a move Marcello's biographer John Davis called "arguably illegal," and Marcello's attorneys tersely labeld "kidnapping." Lastly, the list of "targets" expanded from an initial forty to a bloated twenty-three hundred...
. . .
Bobby Kennedy's obsession with destroying the underworld provoked him to trample the civil rights of his targets, the very laws he had sworn to defend. In 2000, attorney and syndicated columnist Sidney Zion wrote of his experience as a foot soldier in the Kennedy Justice Department:

I worked under Bobby Kennedy as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. I can tell you true that there never was and hopefully never will be an attorney general who more violated the Bill of Rights. It was Bobby who took this country into eavesdropping, into every violation of privacy ever feared by the Founders. He used his office as if he were the Godfather getting even with the enemies of the Family. Liberals cheered as he went after Jimmy Hoffa and Roy Cohn, but libertarians understood that what he did went far beyond these guys, that there was nothing more un-American than the decision that the ends justify the means.

the wiretapping that kennedy put into place were (assumedly) closed down by the courts after four years. the odds on a similar, contemporary ending ain't lookin' so good, boss.

Posted by: b real | Jan 17 2006 6:26 utc | 16

Yah b, Bobby Kennedy was ruthless. He was when a senate investigative lawyer and AG. And he came to believe his actions got his brother killed. he had two problems, first, Joe K had bought the mob in the 1960 election and they felt betrayed after Bobby started after them as AG. The other problem was, the wingers felt JFK and Bobby were soft on the Commies including many inside the government. These two were on their own inside the WH and they didn't do anything to endear themselves to many.

Bobby was also busy covering up JFKs affairs and it was well known inside DC and the press. Actually, JFK was no hero. he was a small gov Dem and the Kennedy's believed they deserved to be in power due to influence and money. It's a shame they were both killed because the country would surely have been on adifferent and likely better track, but never think the Kennedy's were anything but ruthless and would weld power to it's fullest extent.

Posted by: jdp | Jan 17 2006 13:06 utc | 17

Speaking of the Kennedy's you can find out more than you ever wanted to know in a book published in 1976 called
"Yankee and Cowboy War" by Carl Oglesby

Word to all you wiseguys caution should you choose to read it:

this book should be chewed, swallowed, digested, and reconstituted as enlightened poly-sci, or mad poetry, or a pithy op-ed piece, or as informing a new metahistory; a bunch of known and unknown greyfaced Business Criminals vs Cooked intel revolts spooks - Spooks revolt : elements of the US intelligence community are between outrage and open revolt, and Veterans for Intelligence Sanity, a group of ex - CIA professionals. This book is potent, and can tend to confirm any and all of your most cherished notions about What's Really Behind What.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 17 2006 14:02 utc | 18

From Gore’s speech:

The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real. There is simply no question that we continue to face new challenges in the wake of the attack on September 11th and that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting our citizens from harm.

Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable.

These were the obligatory obeisance code-words in that speech. Gore, just like the Clintons, Kerry, Wes Clark and others support the ‘war on terra’ 100%. The possible disagreements concern method, means, no more. Gore states it rather plainly in the quote. So I’ll give him that. (Other things he said were laudable, but they are all ‘follow ons’.)

What he says is carefully crafted but contradictory. Ever-vigilant sounds good but is pretty empty - viligance is maybe wire tapping, right? The bold breaking the law (what laws? they have all been re-written with the agreement of the Democrats) and the populist sacrifice our system of Gvmt (What system? Countless people are working on upholding it? Why not “the Constitution” - hah) are empty discourse.

Americans are supposed to have their cake and eat it too: be afraid of terrorist plots, suspect terrorist cells are everywhere, know that evil people are ready to pounce, which permits them to support the endless killing of islamo-facists (or whomever), but they shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything at all.

Everything is supposed to stay the same, in the confort zone. Americans ! shoudn’t be imprisoned. The executive branch shoud have no new powers, and so on. Huh? If America is filled with supporters for terrorism or ‘suspect people’ or is still unwittingly harboring 9/11 terrorists ..then...then.. everything is changed. How does breaking the law make Americans more vulnerable? That is just BS.

I’m afraid Bush’s arguments are at least consistent and most of the electorate can see that quite plainly. Gore may be quite sincere, that I would not know. But I doubt it. He’s a clever man.

Posted by: Noisette | Jan 17 2006 17:22 utc | 19

The main story on the four 24-hour cable news stations yesterday was a gas tanker accident on the BQE in Queens. A big local story, yes, but not national news. The 5 minutes I could stand of CNN this morning was about 2 kids who beat a homeless man to death with baseball bats; a national story only if it's tied into the violence and intolerance that has broken out into a full boil in American society - fat chance that's the angle any news organization is going to take.

Coverage of Gore's speech? Something very close to none. So really, what good does it do? God knows nobody's going out of their way to get info on the speech except those who already agree with what was said. The other side knows about it only from Drudge and maybe Rush, and the middle doesn't care. Nor, apparently, by the way, does the New York Times, where I couldn't find mention of it on their homepage this morning, but there was an above-the-fold headline and picture of a guy trying to make money with a web site centered around pictures of himself as a corpse in various poses around his house.

Posted by: mats | Jan 17 2006 17:37 utc | 20

The "I" word was conspicuously absent from the speech, although an investigation by an independent counsel is the first step in the process of impeachment.

And "Mr Impeachment" Bob Barr was conspicuously absent too; techno glitch or not, that minimized for the press the bipartisan nature of the event.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 17 2006 17:45 utc | 21


If change is to be effected through the ballot box in preference to direct civic action, it is essential that someone other than dem pundits take a good look at who the potential swing voters are. Instinct says women (women are generally less likely than men to vote a particular way out of 'team loyalty'), however is this an issue which women feel strongly enough about in significant enough numbers to swing this? If not what will make them swing?

I agree that Dem pundits have no clue what women voters want or need, which is why women are not firmly in the Dem political camp. Dems know how to attract votes from gays, blacks, latinos, and the poor: they put items into the Dem agenda that improve the economic status of those groups. But they don't care to improve the economic status of women. Instead, they listen to the "leaders" of the feminist movement, who offer more tidbits only for women among the gays, blacks, latinos and the poor.

They ignore the biggest reason why women end up poor: the legal status of marriage as a method of economic oppression of women, especially mothers. In the U.S., motherhood is the number one risk factor for poverty! Why? The law uses marriage as an excuse to short-change women when it comes to calculating dual earner income taxes ["secondary earners" pay higher marginal taxes and are thus induced to exit the paid workforce], and calculating spousal social security benefits [spouses are counted as only half a worker], and legal acceptance of employers rewarding male-pattern work. [An example is use of the gender-loaded criteria of "seniority" for establishing pay scales.]

The law does not recognize the right of a wife/family to the wage-earner's income. At divorce, she had to fight for it in court, often when she cannot afford the legal costs of doing so. The law does not recognize the subsidization of the economy by mothers as they raise of the future workforce, care for the sick and the elderly. That's a lot of free labor which is not even counted in the GNP.

The politician who can recognize how women are systematically marginalized in these ways, and who can propose legislation to address these inequities, and campaign on those proposals, will attract the votes of women of all classes.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 17 2006 18:21 utc | 22

@gylangirl Unfortunately it's a chicken and egg thing. That is until women are in the political establishment, developing policies for themselves, rather than men deciding what's good for them which is what happens now, nothing will change.

Of course it is really tough for women to push past the hacks while the boys all stick together.

Interestingly enough this is where the Condi Rice's become vital. The nature of amerikan debate means that most people are absorbed by the fact that the NSA and now secretary of state is an african american and the discussion of her gender is secondary to that.

But really what do you think the reaction of the repugs would have been if either of those roles had been delegated to a woman in a democratic administration. All the media talk would have been about what she wore and what her husband did, then in no time the right would be suggesting she was going to put petunias down gun barrels.

Ms Rice, who I have no time for at all as a politician, has negated that argument for some time. just as Margaret Thatcher did in England.

In NZ the first woman PM was a tory. She was a shocker a real heartless kick the poor in the guts piece of work, however that meant that when Helen Clark ran against her, the biggest preoblem she was likely to have during the election was negated. A woman running against a woman means that gender becomes a non-issue.

If Condi wasn't made a scapegoat for the ordure currently hitting the ventilator, which she probably will be, she must be a candidate for the repugs in '08. That would make it very easy for a dem woman except that the hacks in the dems would see it as a chance to good to miss and they will try and pick some sorta show boating macho man and put the clock back a decade.

There is only one solution to this and it is tough and frustrating if the work is done within the established parties.

Last time I looked well over 50% of the activists in political parties were women. I don't know what the US % is but if it's not as high as that it will be high nevertheless.

All those activists and yet no positions of power? The only way to fix that is for the activists to insist on a equality of genders in all positions within the party up to and including the candidature. The primary system in the US makes that a bit tougher but not impossible.

The activists have to get tough, but whichever way you look at it the party can never survive without them so they have to put the whole thing on the line. This can be difficult for some of the old school activists who have been indoctrinated into putting the party ahead of anything else. Those women along with the few 'groupies' which is too harsh but I mean the women that hang around political parties and invest all their emotional energy in some useless toothsome creep, have frequently suffered humilitation at the hands of the boys club and they will come onside.

That program worked in NZ and not in Australia where the middle aged white men resisted at the final fence, the Federal candidature one. They wanted to stick with tokenism.

Consequently the australian labor party hasn't been able to win a chook raffle for a decade. On the other hand at a state level where the gender allocation is more balanced and there have already been a number of women state premiers, labour holds all states.

You'd think those aged, combed-over ken dolls would get the picture wouldn't you?

I'm sure they do but as far as they are concerned on a personal level it is better to be in the senate in the minority party than not in the senate at all.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 17 2006 19:27 utc | 23

Why did Bobby go after the Mob since they nabbed the election for Jack?

Ahhhh Carl Olglesby...that book was impt. at the time. He taught @MIT in its better days. His "classes" were great acid fests - everyone dropped. He played guitar & rapped politics.

My prob. w/Gore speech is that he didn't connect danger of this lawless regime, to its scotus nominee. Had he ended w/iron-clad case for Filibuster it would have been great. Rather than Barr, he should have shared platform w/Paul Craig Roberts. Let Roberts then speak about impeachment, Police State & Destruction of American Economy. Otherwise I think it'll amount to so much hot air.

Further, the Support for the Republic is bi-partisan, so it should have been a direct challenge to everyone not on the exteme fringe of Congress to join in. Major Figures should be speaking out all over the country in the next week before the vote.

Posted by: jj | Jan 17 2006 19:53 utc | 24

re chicken and egg: it's not as bad as that.

1. start with male-dominated everything: church, synagogue, mosque, workforce, legislature, executive, judicial, military, media, etc etc

2. rules of moving up thus are skewed to reinforce male-dominance

3. some rules were none-the-less eliminated. [ie only white males could vote; need hubbie's written permission to open a credit or bank account; etc]

4. but these overturned rules have not resulted in a more balanced world: still have male-dominated everything.

The key is to find the rule that still holds the male-dominance in place. Why are there not enough women in positions of power yet?

The key is to look for a problem among the elites. Why aren't elite women, who have college educations and careers, represented in greater numbers among the powerful positions in industry and government? Of those who obtain a degree and stay on a career path, how many apply for those top positions?

There are not enough women candidates to break the glass ceiling. Women exit the workforce to raise kids AND THEN DON'T RETURN EVEN WHEN THE KIDS ARE GROWN.

Why? Why don't they continue their careers?

If you ask them, some will say, I prefer to stay home. But many will say it didn't pay to go back. In the time they were out of the workforce, they helped their husband's career by providing all the home services that enable him to be available 24-7 to an employer who rewards that reliability. The husband's earning power skyrockets in comparison to the interrupted earning potential of the wife.

She may wish to return part time to a career while the kids are in school. But because of tax rules favoring male-dominance, she must pay his high tax rate on her small income. This is an inducement to drop out of the paid workforce PERMANENTLY. This is precisely the social engineering intention of the secondary earner tax law, enacted in 1948 when American men became alarmed at the increasing numbers of post WW2 women in the workforce.

If you eliminate this one rule of male-dominance, then more women will return to/stay in the paid workforce, move up to positions of power in all fields, and start changing the other discriminatory rules and change the public face of the country to be more gender balanced.

One consequence of this will be a higher recognized unemployment rate which is defined s the number of people SEEKING paid work. Another consequence will be increased power of labor unions. And increased public demand for progressive public policies will result as well. So it is in the best interest of the progressive parties to adopt this position and it is not in the best interest of the GOP to adopt this position. The campaign contrast would be a PR bonanza for the left.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 17 2006 20:22 utc | 25

@gylangirl Although I should take this discussion to the new thread I don't wanna blow the fluency of the debate, but I'll try to be concise.

The dems aren't going to acknowledge that it is in their interests to have a more pro woman tax policy until more players in the political establishment are women. That is what makes it chicken and egg.

The old farts are confused. They don't understand this supposed 'lack of team loyalty' thing at all. Consequently when some of the more pro-women policies got criticised by men as being 'too PC', an attitude covertly shared by many of the old farts, when the women didn't stick with the dems in the next election, probably because there was nothing in particular in it for them that time, the old style dems decided it was all too hard.

There are huge generalisations in the statements above. Numbers of people will be able to quote exceptions.

But I don't believe that men's and women's actions across a wide spectrum of the population are the same in the same circumstances. Whether it is nuture or nature there are significant differences in the way that men and women tend to express themselves.

Some women resort to physical violence when angry or confused yet vastly more men do. By the same token some men tend to prefer to use subtle duplicity rather than outright confrontation when in a tough spot, yet many more women do that.

This stuff just is. Neither way is intrinsically 'better' than the other, because IMHO people of whatever gender who use these methods to deal with confrontational situations are not making a good choice.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 17 2006 22:45 utc | 26

Here's some good coverage of the Gore speech and the issues:


Posted by: Groucho | Jan 17 2006 23:28 utc | 27

@ debbs, the topic of attracting the women's swing vote has been lifted to the next thread.

But re the differnce between men and women's methods: I have observed that many women learn to be duplicitous/manipulative because they are forbidden to be direct. It always is the way the less powerful attempt to get what they need/want.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 1:05 utc | 28

Back to Gore's speech and his failure to link Alito to the COnsitutional crisis. Many conservatives also fail to recognize Alito's [and Thomas' and Scalia's ] authoritarian bent.

When one clicks on the links from the event sponsors to the conservative websites, one sees that, along with their suspicions of Bush's power grab, they post simultaneous pleas for subscribers to write COngress in favor of ALito. Cognitive dissonance or something.

SInce the speech was co-sponsored by some conservative groups, perhaps Gore agreed to steer clear of the Alito issue so as not to poison the message to conservatives and so as not to offend Bob Barr.

Stil wish the congressman had introduced Gore. It would have played better in the press; instead the right wingers and the corporate/authoritarian-owned media succeeded in painting [for their base] the speech as partisan.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jan 18 2006 1:17 utc | 29

@ gylandgirl

I'm off to the other thread, however there is a point that I don't want to drag over there and that is this issue about women having to be duplicitous because they aren't 'allowed' to be direct. While I confess I may have dropped that in with a view to getting a response, I don't hold your argument to be valid. Firstly I could just as easily argue that men had to become direct because being duplicitous required a type of eyhics many men don't possess.

I won't bother to expand on that though because whichever correct, if one is, doesn't matter. That is, the fact this is happening matters but the reasons why are not really very important at all.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 18 2006 2:35 utc | 30

Paul Craig Roberts continues to be a Must Read on the Issues Essential to the Republic. Well written short piece today on importance of Gore's speech. He ties it to my points - essential to not allow Scalito on court, and bipartisan nature of issue:

A Challenge That Cannot Be Ignored

By Paul Craig Roberts

Former vice president Al Gore gave what I believe to be the most important political speech in my lifetime, and the New York Times, “the newspaper of record,” did not report it.  Not even excerpts. 

For the New York Times, it was a nonevent that a former vice president and presidential candidate, denied the presidency by one vote of the Supreme Court,  challenged the Bush administration for its illegalities, rending of the Constitution and disrespect for the separation of powers. 

So much for “the liberal press” that right-wingers rant about. If a “liberal press” exists, the New York Times is certainly no longer a member.

Gore’s address is the first sign of leadership from the Democratic party in six years.  This alone makes it a major news event.  But not even his own party took notice. ...


Once Bush places Sam Alito on the Supreme Court, he will have a high court majority friendly to his claims that his executive powers are not constrained by congressional statutes or judicial rulings.  Once a president is held to be above the law, whether for reasons of his role as commander-in-chief or any other, he can no longer be held accountable.

Conservatives should fear this more than anyone....


Posted by: jj | Jan 18 2006 5:26 utc | 31

Just following on from jj's post, is there any reason at all to think that even though Alito, Scalia and judge Wasp corporation (sorry his name escapes me at the moment) are going to go with the old unilateral executive powers bizzo that many/all of the rest of the spotty assed black gowned no hopers will also?

the reason I ask is that it isn't that unusual on a supreme court for a judge once he realises his formerly 'radical' p.o.v. is now in the majority, to change his/her p.o.v. to a more reasonable one.

I mean do they really have 5 justices who don't support the constitution and who will willingly abrogate their powers to a numbskull like Bush?

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 18 2006 5:43 utc | 32

Precisely because the media is already owned by the right, the real political organizing is not happening on big stages. Precisely because the Congress has given up nearly all its powers of oversight, and even the ability to actually debate issues, the real progressive political changes are not happening in D.C.

They are happening in churches, because these are the only place left that really draws people together in new kinds of coalitions. And this is precisely why the administration is attempting to tax any congregation that speaks directly to neo-con issues without knuckling under.

Unfortunately, for women, the churches I know of that are doing good work to raise consciousness, are also, in a very old fashioned kind of courtesy, looking partway through the women organizers, and calling the men the people who make it happen. Near as I can figure it is just as much small society politics (gender politics) as it is prejudice (also gender politics). That is, people seem to thank the man for work both he and his wife did together, not only because they fear to offend or even drive off both partners, but also because they think men should be the leaders. But also vice versa.

So our churches give me a lot of hope. But our future gender history promises to be complex and loong.

I'm deciding to be happy that so many churches actually still care about what is true and meaningful in human relations. I've heard from a lot of people about fantastic sermons preached in different congregations - people really hearing MLK as a man who speaks to our politics, right now.

Posted by: citizen | Jan 18 2006 5:47 utc | 33

It seems clear that Gore lost because the big money corporate power got scared by his populism.It is far less clear why, and to whom, he speaks. I am inclined to be charitable with him and believe that he speaks because he feels strongly about these issues, not for political aggrandizement.

He seems to speak fairly regularly, on a wide range of progressive topics, and he has become quite a powerful speaker. In a speech like this, I felt he was speaking to the elite.

Last year, he was touring the country speaking very powerfully about climate change, which of course the business media ignored. I believe it can be found at, if anyone would like to hear it.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 18 2006 6:05 utc | 34

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