MUST READ! (transcript of speech here)
MUST HEAR! (audio of speech here)
MUST SEE! (video of speech here)Al Gore delivered the speech of his life on CSPAN. I hope they rebroadcast it -- often -- like every hour on the hour for the next month -- at least. Below, I've posted just the end of the speech. It's wonderful.
But, please, if you read NOTHING else for the rest of the year, please read the entire speech.
Better yet, watch the video of Gore delivering the speech here. After clicking on the link, look in the second column, mid-page, under the dark blue "VIDEO/AUDIO" bar, and under that, "Recent Programs"--click on "Fmr. Vice Pres. Gore Speech on Executive Powers (1/16/2006)".
Al Gore and his words literally brought tears to my eyes. Gore passionately said what so desperately needed to be said, in a non-partisan way. (He was introduced by Republican Bob Barr). He bulls-eyed the concerns so many Americans have about about this administration. He was brilliant.
I'm convinced that those who saw and heard the speech are as-I-blog jumping on the Al Gore in 2008 bandwagon. I'm going to contact him and strongly encourage him to run. Hope you will do the same.
Read the entire speech here. Or watch the entire speech here.
GORE: ...We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law.
I endorse the words of 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."
A special counsel should immediately be 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. We have had a fresh demonstration of how an independent investigation by a special counsel with integrity can rebuild confidence in our system of justice. Patrick Fitzgerald has, by all accounts, shown neither fear nor favor in pursuing allegations that the Executive Branch has violated other laws.
Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress should support the bipartisan call of the Liberty Coalition for the appointment of a special counsel to pursue the criminal issues raised by warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the President.
Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing -- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.
Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.
Fourth, the extensive new powers requested by the Executive Branch in its proposal to extend and enlarge the Patriot Act should, under no circumstances be granted, unless and until there are adequate and enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and the rights of the American people against the kinds of abuses that have so recently been revealed.
Fifth, any telecommunications company that has provided the government with access to private information concerning the communications of Americans without a proper warrant should immediately cease and desist their complicity in this apparently illegal invasion of the privacy of American citizens.
Freedom of communication is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the health of our democracy.
It is particularly important that the freedom of the Internet be protected against either the encroachment of government or the efforts at control by large media conglomerates. The future of our democracy depends on it.
I mentioned that along with cause for concern, there is reason for hope. As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age in which the vitality of our democracy will be re-established and will flourish more vibrantly than ever. Indeed I can feel it in this hall.
As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us." Read the whole speech here.