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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Al Gore: "It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored."

If the United States were a real democracy, Al Gore would be President and George Bush would be busy working for some evil mega-corporation like Halliburton. Gore got more votes in 2000 nationwide and would have gotten more votes in Florida if the Supreme Court hadn't prevented the counting of the votes. To be fair, Gore ran a poor campaign in 2000 and turned a landslide into a squeaker. Instead of embracing the remarkable record of the Clinton administration, Gore ran away from Clinton. Gore turned to Corporate Tool Joe Lieberman as his running mate, a horrible move that added nothing to the ticket. Gore tried not to be himself, i.e. a stiff, but he came off as awkward and strange.

After having his job stolen from him by the corrupt Rehnquist court, Gore changed. He started to do everything he could to help America. He came alive as himself, free of the constraints imposed by the corporate spotlight. Today, Al Gore is a bold hero who is not afraid to speak truth to those in power. He's my favorite Democrat and I believe he should be our Presidential nominee in 2008. He's got the experience, the clear message and the southern accent needed for election.

Yesterday, Al Gore gave a stunning speech in which he called out Bush for his crimes and provided a refreshing dose of straight talk. Here's a portion of Gore's speech; click here to view it in its entirety. If you would like to view the video instead, click here.

It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored.

So, many of us have come here to Constitution Hall to sound an alarm and call upon our
fellow citizens to put aside partisan differences and join with us in demanding that our Constitution be defended and preserved. It is appropriate that we make this appeal on the day our nation has set aside to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged America to breathe new life into our oldest values by extending its promise to all our people.

On this particular Martin Luther King Day, it is especially important to recall that for the
last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped—one of hundreds of thousands of Americans whose private communications were intercepted by the U.S. government during this period. The FBI privately called King the “most dangerous and effective negro leader in the country” and vowed to “take him off his pedestal.” The government even attempted to destroy his marriage and blackmail him into committing suicide. This campaign continued until Dr. King’s murder.

The discovery that the FBI conducted
a long-running and extensive campaign of secret electronic surveillance designed to infiltrate the inner workings of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and to learn the most intimate details of Dr. King’s life, helped to convince Congress to enact restrictions on wiretapping. The result was the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted expressly to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance would be presented to an impartial judge to verify that there is a sufficient cause for the surveillance. I voted for that law during my first term in Congress and for almost thirty years the system has proven a workable and valued means of according a level of protection for private citizens, while permitting foreign surveillance to continue.

Yet, just one month ago, Americans awoke to the shocking news that in spite of this long
settled law, the Executive Branch has been secretly spying on large numbers of Americans for the last four years and eavesdropping on “large volumes of telephone calls, e-mail messages, and other Internet traffic inside the United States.” The New York Times reported that the President decided to launch this massive eavesdropping program “without search warrants or any new laws that would permit such domestic intelligence collection.”

During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President went out of his
way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place. But surprisingly, the President’s soothing statements turned out to be false. Moreover, as soon as this massive domestic spying program was uncovered by the press, the President not only confirmed that the story was true, but also declared that he has no intention of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end.

At present, 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 persistently. A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government.

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