'We are facing a massive assault on our liberties'

Stephanie

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Since losing to George Bush in 2000, Al Gore, the former Vice-President, has reinvented himself as America's voice of reasoned opposition,:rotflmao: particularly on global warming, the subject of his internationally acclaimed film An Inconvenient Truth. In this interview, he tells Henry Porter of a crisis of democracy in America.

Sunday November 5, 2006
The Observer


HP: I wonder if you feel that a constitution like the American one makes people more aware of their rights.
AG: I think it does. Those who wrote the constitution were very steeped in the culture of the printed word and the essays that were written to define the theory of representative democracy. The debates and the Constitutional Convention were all re-capitulated in elaborate written accounts. The debates over each precise word actually did focus public attention then, and continue to influence public attention now, to individual rights.

HP: Is a constitution a way of putting certain rights beyond the reach of ambitious men?

AG: If I felt that was the principal effect of having a written constitution, I would say yes. If I were a citizen in your country, I would be in favour of it. But being a citizen of the US and seeing the shocking ease with which these principles have been violated in the US, I'm worried that the causes of this invasion of rights may be deeper.

HP: The public here and in America have been prepared to put these rights on hold to a degree.

AG: Well, they have, but [in America] these rights have been weakened since the Bush-Cheney administration chose to use the war against terror as a basis for both political argument in a partisan context and for an assault on the individual rights, including the right to be free of government eavesdropping. The conversation of democracy has been degraded, emotions and appeals to fear have been given a priority over reasoned debate.

HP: Has there been a pumping up of this climate of fear?

AG: Yes, sure.

HP: What was the purpose? To extend executive powers or to get people to back the war in Iraq?

AG: A combination of motives. The Bush-Cheney administration was declining in popularity rapidly prior to the 9/11 attacks. In the initial aftermath, Bush responded quite well in rallying public opinion and going after the perpetrators. But then, for whatever reason, he began to make a lot of mistakes in my view; by not pursuing Osama bin Laden until he was captured; by invading a country that hadn't attacked us; by launching this assault on the protections written into the constitution against invasions of liberties. They conflated the threat from al-Qaeda and the purported threat from Saddam which, of course, didn't exist.

HP: In the days after 9/11, did you imagine that we would see this kind of attack on civil liberties?

AG: No, and it should be seen as shocking, in America at least, that so many individual rights have been lost so quickly. I believe that there has been a diminishing of the role played by reasoned debate. And when logic and reason are withdrawn from the public sphere, it creates a vacuum into which ideology and religious extremism rush in.

HP: In the Middle East, America and Britain are trying to persuade countries to become more democratic, yet in our own societies rights are being reduced and power centralised. How does that play in the Middle East?

AG: America's power in the world has always been based primarily on moral authority, and if we undermine our moral authority then any exercise of raw military power produces its own resistance. We're seeing that in Iraq.

HP: Do you think things can be restored? Say you become President, could this happen?

AG: Well, first of all I'm not planning to be a candidate, but a new President committed to restoring these rights could do so. The greater vulnerability we have now involves a rather radical change. Democracy is ultimately a conversation. If people are routinely excluded from that conversation or absent of their own choice, then it will be dominated by those who are primarily interested in political and economic power. Individual rights will be honoured and protected when individuals are full and vigorous participants in the public conversation.

· This is an extract from a televised interview with Al Gore for the More4 channel. The full interview will be run on Suspect Nation on 20 November at 9pm.
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1939773,00.html
 

1549

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A combination of motives. The Bush-Cheney administration was declining in popularity rapidly prior to the 9/11 attacks. In the initial aftermath, Bush responded quite well in rallying public opinion and going after the perpetrators. But then, for whatever reason, he began to make a lot of mistakes in my view; by not pursuing Osama bin Laden until he was captured; by invading a country that hadn't attacked us; by launching this assault on the protections written into the constitution against invasions of liberties. They conflated the threat from al-Qaeda and the purported threat from Saddam which, of course, didn't exist.
:clap:
 

T-Bor

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No..Dillo...It has to do with going after the people who actually had a hand in commiting the crime... Thats what its about.. No one ever said Kill Osama and stop Terrorism, and you know that. Your just using the typical Repbulican reply which is to dismiss it as typical Democrat Loonieness. Thats what Republicans do when they dont want to address something. You dont attack a country because a group of Islamic Militants outside of the govt planned an attak. Fact is Osama had much more to do with 9/11 then Saddam and you know it. Bush saw an opportunity, and he took it. He is scum. I dont like other Presidents, but Bush I think is absolutle Scum and I would never ever ever let him in my own house.
 

dilloduck

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No..Dillo...It has to do with going after the people who actually had a hand in commiting the crime... Thats what its about.. No one ever said Kill Osama and stop Terrorism, and you know that. Your just using the typical Repbulican reply which is to dismiss it as typical Democrat Loonieness. Thats what Republicans do when they dont want to address something. You dont attack a country because a group of Islamic Militants outside of the govt planned an attak. Fact is Osama had much more to do with 9/11 then Saddam and you know it. Bush saw an opportunity, and he took it. He is scum. I dont like other Presidents, but Bush I think is absolutle Scum and I would never ever ever let him in my own house.
I'm sure the President will be broken hearted to hear that he is banned from your house but he may be too busy to drop by anyway.
So tell me--how do you deal with an ideology that hates you enough to hijack planes to cause as much death and destruction that they can? They yell "Death to America" and strap bombs on thier children. I really think they mean it too. What is your plan?
 

trobinett

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I'm sure the President will be broken hearted to hear that he is banned from your house but he may be too busy to drop by anyway.
So tell me--how do you deal with an ideology that hates you enough to hijack planes to cause as much death and destruction that they can? They yell "Death to America" and strap bombs on thier children. I really think they mean it too. What is your plan?
Come on dilloduck, liberals don't NEED a plan, they have "cut, and run", well, that, and appeasement. Course, when all else fails, they start crying for help from the United Nations. None of which has ever helped, but ya can't convince them of that.:sleepy1:
 

dilloduck

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Come on dilloduck, liberals don't NEED a plan, they have "cut, and run", well, that, and appeasement. Course, when all else fails, they start crying for help from the United Nations. None of which has ever helped, but ya can't convince them of that.:sleepy1:
I'm giving them every chance I can to come up with one that we can all discuss. You know--to look at the pros and cons and try to make educated decisions regarding a very complicated situation in which lives and our future are at stake ? If they can come up with one that appears to be a better plan than we already have, I would be glad to support it and face our enemy as a team instead of a two-headed idiot.
 

Gunny

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I'm giving them every chance I can to come up with one that we can all discuss. You know--to look at the pros and cons and try to make educated decisions regarding a very complicated situation in which lives and our future are at stake ? If they can come up with one that appears to be a better plan than we already have, I would be glad to support it and face our enemy as a team instead of a two-headed idiot.
I think you might have to actually concede this one, dillo. It's been almost a week and you have repeatedly asked for the liberal/Democrat "plan" and I have yet to see even one response.

The latest appears to be "we want change." I'm all for change. I'm just not for tossing out who is giving me half of what I want for the ones who'll give me NONE of what I want for the sake of "change."
 

T-Bor

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What is my plan ? My plan is to do a major crackdown on security. Profile the hell out of Muslims...Crap like that..but Im not going to go into every country that has radical muslims there and try to wipe them out...Because it just doesnt work like that. There are too many repercussions from doing that.


I'm sure the President will be broken hearted to hear that he is banned from your house but he may be too busy to drop by anyway.
So tell me--how do you deal with an ideology that hates you enough to hijack planes to cause as much death and destruction that they can? They yell "Death to America" and strap bombs on thier children. I really think they mean it too. What is your plan?
 

dilloduck

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I think you might have to actually concede this one, dillo. It's been almost a week and you have repeatedly asked for the liberal/Democrat "plan" and I have yet to see even one response.

The latest appears to be "we want change." I'm all for change. I'm just not for tossing out who is giving me half of what I want for the ones who'll give me NONE of what I want for the sake of "change."
It seemed worth a shot. If the Dems win control of Congress maybe we can see why people voted for them. I'm afraid it's for no other reason than to be a pain in the ass and try to undo everything that has been done. That or start impeachment procedings. :sleep:
 

dilloduck

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What is my plan ? My plan is to do a major crackdown on security. Profile the hell out of Muslims...Crap like that..but Im not going to go into every country that has radical muslims there and try to wipe them out...Because it just doesnt work like that. There are too many repercussions from doing that.
That will go over like a lead balloon--good luck ! I'll be waiting for Pelosi to propose it.
 

Gunny

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It seemed worth a shot. If the Dems win control of Congress maybe we can see why people voted for them. I'm afraid it's for no other reason than to be a pain in the ass and try to undo everything that has been done. That or start impeachment procedings. :sleep:
What exactly do they think they can accomplish attempting to impeach the President? And on what grounds?

Even IF they gain a majority in the House, it isn't going to be by a large enough margin to attempt impeachment.

I'm not really sure what to think. Remember, they were going to win the last Presidential election too.
 

Annie

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What is my plan ? My plan is to do a major crackdown on security. Profile the hell out of Muslims...Crap like that..but Im not going to go into every country that has radical muslims there and try to wipe them out...Because it just doesnt work like that. There are too many repercussions from doing that.
How about getting out in front of the Islamic push that has been happening since the 600's AD? Explaining that the Crusades were not a war of aggression by Christians, but a response to a plea from the Byzantines for aggressive actions, unprovoked against them? In a struggle that has ebbed and flowed, but on the decisions of the Islamics, to this very day?
 

trobinett

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How about getting out in front of the Islamic push that has been happening since the 600's AD? Explaining that the Crusades were not a war of aggression by Christians, but a response to a plea from the Byzantines for aggressive actions, unprovoked against them? In a struggle that has ebbed and flowed, but on the decisions of the Islamics, to this very day?
Now there you go again Kathianne, trying to be RESONABLE.

Shame on you.:rolleyes:
 

T-Bor

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Yeah, thats right, lets get in front of them and EXPLAIN it to them. Yeah, that will work great. Education, our education, is all they need right ? Sheesh. These arent Children Kathy, their beliefs are set. Now maybe for muslim children that will be ok. Otherwise, NEXT...


How about getting out in front of the Islamic push that has been happening since the 600's AD? Explaining that the Crusades were not a war of aggression by Christians, but a response to a plea from the Byzantines for aggressive actions, unprovoked against them? In a struggle that has ebbed and flowed, but on the decisions of the Islamics, to this very day?
 

theHawk

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What is my plan ? My plan is to do a major crackdown on security. Profile the hell out of Muslims...Crap like that..but Im not going to go into every country that has radical muslims there and try to wipe them out...Because it just doesnt work like that. There are too many repercussions from doing that.


"Profile the hell out of Muslims...Crap like that.."

Yea, I'm sure that the same party fighting to give constitutional rights to foreign born terrorists will start profiling Muslims. What the fuck are you smoking?

And since when have we gone into "every country that has radical muslims there and try to wipe them out"?
 

T-Bor

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Hey - Im sorry, but once white people start strapping bombs to themselves and blowing shit up at the same alarming rate radical muslims do then perhaps I will profile white people as well, till then, its just arabic looking mofos. Obviously not the politically correct choice, but every one knows that the chance of someone hijacking a plane would be a hell of allot less if we were doing it. Shit, you all are sounding like a bunch of sissy democrats.

"Profile the hell out of Muslims...Crap like that.."

Yea, I'm sure that the same party fighting to give constitutional rights to foreign born terrorists will start profiling Muslims. What the fuck are you smoking?
[/I]
 

Annie

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Hey - Im sorry, but once white people start strapping bombs to themselves and blowing shit up at the same alarming rate radical muslims do then perhaps I will profile white people as well, till then, its just arabic looking mofos. Obviously not the politically correct choice, but every one knows that the chance of someone hijacking a plane would be a hell of allot less if we were doing it. Shit, you all are sounding like a bunch of sissy democrats.
and you say what to the Islamics in the US that are not terrorists, indeed say blowing oneself up is wrong?
 

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