Re: [OPE-L] Listen Gore: Some Inconvenient Truths About the Politics of Environmental Crisis

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Wed Feb 07 2007 - 18:10:02 EST

Members might like to know that the British Govt has decided to provide a
copy of Gore's film /DVD to every school in the country to be watched by the
pupils. A nice compact place to govern is Britland.

paul b.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <glevy@PRATT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 3:24 AM
Subject: [OPE-L] Listen Gore: Some Inconvenient Truths About the Politics of
Environmental Crisis

> Listen Gore: Some Inconvenient Truths About the
> Politics of Environmental Crisis
> A Pamphlet by Mitchel Cohen
> Brooklyn Greens / Green Party
> Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," raises
> the issue of global warming in a way that scares
> the bejeezus out of viewers, as it should since
> the consequences of global climate change are
> truly earth-shaking. The former Vice-President
> does a good job of presenting the graphic
> evidence, exquisite and terrifying pictures that
> document the melting of the polar ice caps and
> the effects on other species, new diseases, and rising ocean levels.
> But, typically, the solutions Gore offers are
> standard Democratic Party fare. You'd never know
> by watching this film that Gore and Clinton ran
> this country for 8 years and that their policies
> -- as much as those of the Bush regime -- helped
> pave the way for the crisis we face today.
> Gore never critiques the system causing the
> global ecological crisis. At one point, he even
> mourns the negative impact of global warming on
> U.S. oil pipelines. Oh, the horror! What it all
> comes down to, for Gore and the Democrats, is
> that we need to shift away from reliance on
> fossil fuels and tweak existing consumption patterns.
> Even there, Gore and Clinton did nothing to
> improve fuel efficiency in the U.S. -- a topic
> which Gore talks about in the movie without any
> hint that he'd once actually been in a position
> to do something about it. The question Gore poses
> is, Who can best manage the relatively minor
> solutions he recommends, the Democrats or
> Republicans? For Gore, it's sort of "trust US,
> not THEM, to deal with this situation because
> they are liars and we're not." Well, should we trust him?
> As Joshua Frank writes, during the campaign for
> president in 1992 Gore promised a group of
> supporters that the Clinton-Gore 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," Frank writes, "the EPA
> issued an operating permit for the toxic burner.
> Gore raised no qualms. Not surprisingly, most of
> the money behind WTI came from the bulging
> pockets of Jackson Stephens, who just happened to
> be one of the Clinton-Gore's top campaign contributors."(1)
> But failing to shut down toxic incinerators is
> just the tip of their great betrayal. In the
> film, Gore references the Kyoto Accords and
> states that he personally went to Kyoto during
> the negotiations, giving the impression that he
> was a key figure in fighting to reduce air
> pollution emissions that destroy the ozone layer.
> What he omits is that his mission in going to
> Kyoto was to scuttle the Accords, to block them
> from moving forward. And he succeeded.
> The Clinton-Gore years were anything but
> environment-friendly. Under Clinton-Gore, more
> old growth forests were cut down than under any
> other recent U.S. administration. "Wise Use"
> committees -- set up by the lumber industry --
> were permitted to clearcut whole mountain ranges,
> while Clinton-Gore helped to "greenwash" their
> activities for public consumption.
> Under Clinton-Gore, the biotech industry was
> given carte blanche to write the US government's
> regulations (paltry as they are) on genetic
> engineering of agriculture, and to move full
> speed ahead with implementing the private
> patenting of genetic sequences with nary a qualm passing Gore's lips.
> You'd think watching this film that Gore is just
> some concerned professor who never had access to
> power or held hundreds of thousands of dollars of
> stock in Occidental Petroleum (driving the U'wa
> off their lands in Colombia), let alone was the
> Number Two man actually running the U.S.  government!
> "Gore, like Clinton who quipped that 'the
> invisible hand has a green thumb,' extolled a
> free-market attitude toward environmental
> issues," writes Frank, who goes on to quote
> Jeffrey St. Clair: "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. He is a passionate
> disciple of the gospel of efficiency, suffused
> with an inchoate technophilia."(2)
> Before Kyoto, before the Clinton-Gore massive
> depleted uranium bombings of Yugoslavia and Iraq,
> before their missile "deconstruction" of the only
> existing pharmaceutical production facility in
> northern Africa in the Sudan (which exacerbated
> the very serious problems there, as we're seeing
> in Darfur today), there was NAFÂTA, the North
> American Free Trade Agreement. The task of
> Clinton-Gore was to push through this legislation
> which not even strong Republican administrations
> under Reagan or Bush Sr. had been able to do.
> Since its inception, NAFTA has undermined U.S.
> environmental laws, chased production facilities
> out of the U.S. and across the borders, vastly
> increased pollution from Maquilladoras
> (enterprise zones) along the U.S./Mexico border
> and helped to undermine the indigenous
> sustainable agrarian-based communities in
> southern Mexico -- as predicted by leftists in
> both countries, leading to the Zapatista uprising
> from those communities on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA went into effect.
> Clinton-Gore also approved the destructive deal
> with the sugar barons of South Florida arranged
> by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, which doomed
> the Everglades. (In fact, Clinton was on the
> phone with Alfonso Fanjul, Jr., the chief of the
> sugar barons, while Monica Lewinsky was busy
> doing her thing in her famous blue dress under Clinton's desk.)
> Early in Clinton-Gore's first administration,
> they pledged they would stop the plunder of the
> Northwest forests, writes former Village Voice
> columnist James Ridgeway. "They then
> double-crossed their environmental backers. Under
> Bush Sr., the courts had enjoined logging in the
> Northwest habitats of the spotted owl.
> Clinton-Gore persuaded environmentalists to join
> them in axing the injunction. The Clinton
> administration went before a Reagan-appointed
> judge who had a record as a stalwart
> environmentalist and with the eco toadies in tow,
> got him to remove the injunction, and with it the
> moratorium on existing timber sales."(3) 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."(4)
> Gore and Clinton sent to Congress the infamous
> Salvage Rider, known to radical environmentalists
> as the "Logging without Laws" bill, "perhaps the
> most gruesome legislation ever enacted under the
> pretext of preserving ecosystem health." Like
> Bush's "Healthy Forests" plan, the Clinton-Gore
> act "was chock full of deception and special
> interest pandering. 'When [the Salvage Rider]
> bill was given to me, I was told that the timber
> industry was circulating this language among the
> Northwest Congressional delegation and others to
> try to get it attached as a rider to the fiscal
> year Interior Spending Bill,' environmental
> lawyer Kevin Kirchner says. 'There is no question
> that representatives of the timber industry had a
> role in promoting this rider. That is no
> secret.'"(5) What the Salvage Rider did was to
> "temporarily exempt ... salvage timber sales on
> federal forest lands from environmental and
> wildlife laws, administrative appeals, and
> judicial review," according to the Wilderness
> Society -- long enough for multinational lumber
> and paper corporations to clear-cut all but a
> sliver of the U.S.'s remaining old growth forests.
> "Thousands of acres of healthy forestland across
> the West were rampaged. Washington's Colville
> National Forest saw the clear cutting of over
> 4,000 acres. Thousands more in Montana's Yak
> River Basin, hundreds of acres of pristine forest
> land in Idaho, while the endangered Mexican
> Spotted Owl habitat in Arizona fell victim to
> corporate interests. Old growth trees in
> Washington's majestic Olympic Peninsula -- home
> to wild Steelhead, endangered Sockeye salmon, and
> threatened Marbled Murrieta -- were chopped with
> unremitting provocation by the US Forest Service."(6)
> The assault on nature continued with Gore's blessing.
> Around the same time, Clinton-Gore appointee
> Carol Browner, head of the EPA, was quoted in the
> NY Times as having said that the administration
> would be "relaxing" the Delaney Clause (named
> after its author, Congressman James Delaney,
> D-NY). Congress had inserted this clause into
> section 409 of the federal Food, Drug and
> Cosmetic Act in 1958. It prohibited FDA approval
> of any food additive found to cause cancer in
> humans or animals. Alone among all food-related
> directives, this legislation put the onus on the
> manufacturers to demonstrate that their products
> were safe before they were allowed to become
> commercially available. (7) A federal appeals
> court in July 1992 expanded the jurisdiction of
> the Delaney Clause, ruling that it was applicable
> to cancer-causing pesticides in processed food.
> Browner retracted her comment, claiming she'd
> never said it, but the proof was in the pudding.
> The ban on cancer-causing additives (the
> "Precautionary Principle") that had held through
> the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford,
> Reagan and Bush, Sr. administrations was finally
> removed, not by the Republicans but by the
> Clinton-Gore administration. Instead of expanding
> the Delaney clause to protect produce and other
> unprocessed foods, the new Food Quality
> Protection Act legislation permitted "safe"
> amounts of carcinogenic chemicals (as designated
> by the Environmental Protection Agency) to be
> added to all food. (According to Peter Montague,
> editor of Rachel's Weekly, "no one knows how
> 'safe amounts' of carcinogens can be established,
> especially when several carcinogens and other
> poisons are added simultaneously to the food of
> tens of millions of people.) Nevertheless, the
> Clinton-Gore administration spun this as "progress."
> The Clinton administration, with guidance from
> Gore's office, also cut numerous deals over the
> pesticide Methyl Bromide despite its reported
> effects of contributing to Ozone depletion and
> its devastating health consequences on farm workers picking strawberries.
> Much is being made these days about the need to
> save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. But Clinton-Gore
> opened the National Petroleum Reserve - 24
> mmillion untouched acres adjacent to the refuge,
> home to a large caribou herd and numerous arctic
> species - to oil drilling. The chief beneficiaary
> of this was Arco, a major ($1.4 million)
> contributor to the Democratic Party. At the same
> time, writes James Ridgeway, "Clinton dropped the
> ban on selling Alaskan oil abroad. This also
> benefits Arco, which is opening refineries in
> China. So although the oil companies won the
> right to exploit Alaskan oil on grounds that to
> do so would benefit national development,
> Clinton-Gore unilaterally changed the agreement
> so that it benefits China's industrial growth."(8)
> Not once in the entire film does Gore criticize
> this awful environmental record or raise the
> critical questions we need to answer if we are to
> effectively reverse global warming: Is it really
> the case that the vast destruction of our
> environment that went on under his watch and,
> continuing today, is simply a result of poor
> consumer choices and ineffective government
> policies? Is the global environmental devastation
> we are facing today rectifiable with some simple tuning-up, as Gore
> Neither he -- as point man for the Clinton
> administration on environmental issues -- nor
> Clinton-Gore's Energy Secretary Bill Richardson
> (with major ties to Occidental Petroleum), nor
> the Democratic Party in general offer anything
> more than putting a tiny Band-Aid on the earth's
> gaping wounds, which they themselves helped to gash open.
> Clearly, the vast destruction of the global
> ecology is a consequence not just of poor
> governmental policies but of the capitalist
> system's fundamental drive towards Growth and
> what passes for Development -- Grow or Die.
> Environmental activists won't find in Gore the
> kind of systemic analysis that is needed to stop
> global warming. Instead, we need to look
> elsewhere for that sort of deep systemic critique.
> 1. Joshua Frank, Counterpunch, May 31, 2006,
> Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals
> Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and edits
> 2. Jeffrey St. Clair, Been Brown So Long It
> Looked Like Green to Me: The Politics of Nature, Common Courage Press,
> 3. James Ridgeway, "Eco Spaniel Kennedy: Nipping
> at Nader's Heels," Village Voice, Aug. 16-22,
> 2000.,ridgeway,17335,6.html
> 4,5,6 Joshua Frank.
> 7. The battle over the Delaney Clause has been
> ably documented by Rachel's Weekly, at
> 8. Ridgeway, op cit.

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