Friday, October 12, 2007

Inconvenient Untruth:
Does Al Gore deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

I give Al Gore credit for bringing a looming environmental catastrophe to the public's attention. For a nation populated by lazy, fat, celebrity-obsessed wasters of time, energy and air, it took a familiar face to raise the issue to cocktail conversation. Despite his political petulance and past imprecisions ("I invented the Internet" CORRECTION: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet"), I applaud Gore's leadership on this globally crucial issue.

But the Nobel Peace Prize? Pffft.

While he deserves applause for bringing global warming somewhere nearer the forefront of our American conversation (global warming still doesn't get as much discussion as Britney Spears), Gore's a documented hypocrite. He talks the talk, but doesn't quite walk the walk. A carnivorous, global-jetting, mansion-heating guy isn't exactly practicing what he preaches.

And now his documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth" is officially flawed. A British judge has said that while the film is generally true, it contains 9 significant "untruths" that make it unsuitable for showing to schoolchildren unless "balancing" information is also taught.

Gore's Tennessee mansion consumes more than 20 times more natural gas and electricity than an average home, according to recent analyses. And while he globe-trots in a private jet to promote himself, he is one of America's leading consumers of greenhouse-gas-producing jet fuel. And the chubby ex-VP obviously keeps meat close by, even though the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported in 2006 that the livestock industry emits more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined.

I have believed Gore's form of environmentalism served mainly to keep him in the public eye while he plotted a new political future. When he was in the White House, he had plenty of time and opportunity to accomplish his stated goals, so why didn't he? One might recall that he had billions of gallons of water released from a dam so he could have a canoeing photo op ... but what significant impact did he have on the American or world environment when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Is this really the kind of leadership we call "great" today? Say it, but don't do it?

But the bigger question is: What the hell does all this have to do with world peace? Is it possible that the Nobel Committee has caved in to America's celebrity obsession?

UPDATE @ 4:35 p.m.: Several international sources are now answering my question about what Gore's activities have to do with world peace (because a lot of people are apparently asking), and they actually connect the dots nicely. To summarize, if we cannot curb greenhouse gases, the global climate shifts will cause some areas to dry up, coastal areas to be flooded and agricultural lands to change. If/when that happens, people will begin to fight over the areas that are most productive for whatever future needs we have, including food. Thus, to avert the worst effects of global warming is to ultimately avert wars.

That's an awfully simplistic rendering of some heavier thinking, but it makes the point: An environmental crusade can have peace implications.

But I still wonder of Al Gore was the right choice ... or merely the most Hollywood of choices.




20 comments:

Luke said...

Thanks for regurgitating Fox News talking points all over our blog. We appreciate it. Did you know that Al pays more than $400 monthly for green power? And that his actions to organize governments and others to address global climate change collectively (rather than as isolated consumers) offset his personal carbon footprint many times over? And that he’s advocating a carbon tax that would cost him, personally, a pretty big chunk of change?

And since you’re one of those people who is, you know, not a hypocrite, I’m glad to hear that you’ll be joining me in jail on November 16. And be sure to bring your Nobel Prize.

Will said...

Give me a break. This talk radio line has been debunked repeatedly.
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/02/26/gore-responds-to-drudge/

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/2/21/113953/985

Ron Franscell said...

Excellent! Perhaps Al's Nobel Peace Prize cash will help pay for YOUR carbon footprint (and bail) too!

But don't count on it. He needs the money for his next politcial foray.

WARNING TO READERS: Beware political bloggers like Will who use other blogs to "prove" their points.

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how people like Luke think that people are hypocrites if they don't share their viewpoint. Because clearly, all non-hypocrites will be with him on Nov. 16, and anyone who isn't is a hypocrite.

Isn't it hypocritical to be critical of others simply because they don't think the way you do? Wow, whatever happened to simple disagreement? We can't disagree without being nasty anymore. That's such a shame.

(And for the record, so what if he pays more than $400 monthly for green power? How much is $400 to someone who makes as much money as he does? $4 to the rest of us? Big deal.)

Gerald said...

Al Gore is a politician, pure and simple. He does nothing that doesn't elevate himself. If he really wanted the selflessly help the American people he would have blown the whistle on the horndog Clinton, but he kept mum. Talk about an inconvenient truth. Al Gore wants to tell only HIS truth and everything else be damned. He only wants to keep being adulated and enriched by the public. Maybe $400 a month sounds like a lot of money to a kiddie blogger, but it's a drop in the bucket and probably doesn't come close to offsetting Gore's impacts.

You kiddie bloggers probably don't remember that Al Gore endorsed nut-bag howler-monkey Howard Dean.

Congratulations, Al, on fooling the Nobel prize-givers. I sincereky hope you'll run for president again so that you can be reduced again to the whiney loser you are.

Thinking Person said...

Beware? Ok Ron, in the future I'll beware of people like Will who provide links to back up their statements.
We should all listen to "authors" like you instead who use discredited talking points without any link to provide backing and don't give credit to the original source.

Do you have any response to the links Will provided that disprove your lies about Gore, or are you just going to dodge the issue with your "warning?"

Ron Franscell said...

Will's links to blogs prove nothing. Blogs are, by definition, somebody's opinion without any obligation to truth or other facts -- like this one. But at least I don't lie. The original reporting by the Wall Street Journal has not been disproven, only dissed by Gore's most rabid supporters who (like the radicals on the Right) will say anything, even lie, to make their points.

Welcome to the radical political merry-go-round, folks. We cannot debate whether Gore's acts match his words ... we must debate the authenticity of one blog or another. That's how these freakish radicals on the Right and the Left hijacked the American conversation.

But hey, if you want facts, check this out: Protesting Gore's electric bill

Chancelucky said...

Over the years the Peace Prize criteria have changed. Long ago, it generally went to some world leader who helped to negotiate a peace treaty after a bloody war. I think the first one may have been given to Teddy Roosevelt for his role in the end of the Russo-Japanese war. The last really noteable one of those that remember went to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. My guess is that the committee got a bit embarrassed by that one and broadened its criteria.

Since then, Mother Theresa, Shirin Abaadi (human rights in IRan), Wangari Matthai (human rights in Kenya), and Mohammad Yunus (investment banker to the poor) have won the prize for promoting conditions that lead to peace.

The idea behind awarding it to Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Council on Climate Change is rooted in notions argued in Jared Diamond's book "Collapse". The general idea is that when ecological conditions slip, it almost always leads to war, unrest, etc. There are nominal reasons for war, but the geopolitical ones around control of resources generally play a much more significant role.
I think the committee believes that if we try to minimize the impact of global warming, it will indeed lead to conditions that are more likely to promote peace.

I actually tend to agree with the committee's current approach.

So Ron what next, are you going to be attacking Graeme Frost for getting government supplied health insurance when his parents have the nerve to own their own house in a decent neighborhood?

Ron Franscell said...

Chance: As a new update at the post suggests, I'm adjusting my position on environmentalism-and-peace. I see where the case can be made for Gore ... I simply don't think Gore is much more than the visible face of the movement (and not a perfect poster-child for it, either.) To me, it's like giving the Medal of Honor to John Wayne just because he played heroes in the movies. Gore is a questionable practitioner of what he preaches.

As for little Graeme, I feel terribly sorry for him. I cannot find it in my heart to deny him aid. But for every Graeme, we can find someone who is getting the benefits of S-CHIP (and similar programs) innappropriately. I'm pretty sure you don't favor unbridled benefits under the current system, so it merely becomes a question of where you draw the line. I think everyone wants the truly needy to have benefits, and everyone wants to be sure their tax money is being spent wisely.

I personally think it's abhorrent that two working parents don't get workplace health insurance coverage. If there is a law that should be passed, that's it: Full-time workers must be offered health insurance benefits of some kind. If they elect against it, so be it, but then the taxpayers cannot be required to make them whole after an accident.

Ron Franscell said...

Oh, and about Graeme Frost and the sliming that has erupted on the Right: How dare the Left and his parents push this little kid into the limelight where he would be the subject of such intense scrutiny and sliming! They used the poor kid.

You know full well, if the tables were turned and the Right had shoved this little kid forward, the Left would be equally slimy at asserting its own agenda. The kid is a casualty of their war, plugged in the crossfire.

Can you tell I have little patience for these rabid clowns, regardless of which hand they use to wipe their asses?

Love, Rita said...

"Inconvenient Untruth: Does Al Gore deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?"

Short answer: No.

Of all the Nobel Prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize to me has always exemplified the higher standard of the human condition to which we should all aspire. I was so disappointed that the honor this year was bestowed on a man who has been described as an imperfect "poster child" for raising awareness of a phenomenon that may in fact have natural causes!

There have been global periods of ice and thaw for many millenia, but it is so critical today, because we have populated every square mile of habitable land on the planet and ANY climate shift at all will have devastating consequences. It's going to happen--you can take that to the bank!!

Al Gore is just a politician. That's it. No more, no less. The Nobel Committee has, without a doubt, compromised their own high standards. I believe that their poorly considered actions will cheapen the meaning of the award for future Nobel Peace Prize recipients.

Balancing Act said...

Well Ron - you sure pushed a few buttons on this one didn't you? I don't agree that he deserved to win. As mentioned by another commenter the requirements have changed over the years. It is too bad they have seemed to lower their standards. I also agree with the first anonymous said that it is too bad that people can't agree to disagree. People can be just plain nasty if you don't share their views. So what that Al Gore used $400 of green power. I am sure he does it to be able to put on his resume.

thinking person said...

I thought so. You simply dodged Will's post that proved your assertions about Gore are untrue. No, blogs are not all opinion by definition. One of the links provided by Will had quotes from Al Gore's spokesman that you haven't addressed or been able to contradict in any way. Why don't you address the comment from Al Gore himself about his lifestyle instead of dodging the issue with generic insults against "radical" bloggers?

Some blogs cite legitimate sources of factual information. Your blog obviously does not. Gore does live by his principles regardless of your uninformed "opinion."

Ron Franscell said...

Thinking: We're even. You think I'm uninformed and I think you're brainwashed. That's a typical argument from the infinitely superior Left, by the way: "If you disagree with me, then you simply don't know the facts."

I know the facts pretty well, and my opinion is that Gore doesn't practice what he preaches, and by virtue of that, is a questionable winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

ALL blogs are opinion-based, by definition. Their perspective is as narrow as the single person who posts. Yes, some attempt to present balanced perspectives, but so does the MSM, which is widely reviled by ... bloggers!! Anyway, 99% of the time, one cannot prove an argument by citing a blog, as Will did. I saw the links and I simply don't give them the weight that you do. (Ah, another time-tested American process.)

For the record, I am entertained by bloggers and blogging, but like Wikipedia, the blogosphere is no place to go looking for unquestionable truth. For all the whining bloggers do about the MSM, they are infinitely worse for fairness, factuality and accuracy!!

Nope, we come here to engage in pseudonymous debates like this over "facts" of our own choosing. Predictably, this one will like end up with somebody calling somebody else a Nazi, because that's The Unerring Rule of Blogo-discussion. It even has a name: Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies. You can look it up ... on Wikipedia!

Chancelucky said...

Ron,
I imagine there are instances where the Republicans used a kid in a political spot in which the Democrats went after the kid, but I can't think of one off hand. I do remember that during Bush 2004, he used a spot that included his hugging a girl re: 9/11. I don't remember anything quite as strange as the bit with Graeme Frost.

I do think there are individuals who stretch the limits of any program. That's a different proposition though from the idea that children should receive high quality medical care regardless of who their parents are.

I have no idea what Al Gore's personal carbon foot print is, but if you look at the list of winners of the prize over the last century...there are a number of cases of individuals with very mixed legacies. Ferdinand De Klerk, Yasser Arafat, the developers of the Kellog Briand pact. The prize itself has always been highly political and it's largely given for an "achievement" of some kind rather than to the individual who is the most "saintly" or who has never been guilty (not saying he is) of inconsistent behavior at some time. In this case, he's sharing it with hundreds of scientists who've worked on climate change. Gore's end of it is that more than any public person, he's the one who's brought their work to the world.

Anyway, here's a quote from a high-ranking US official about the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1964

"He's the last one in the world who should ever have received" the Nobel Peace Prize."

It's J. Edgar Hoover talking about Martin Luther King. Hoover was convinced that King was a communist who slept with white women. The latter happened to be true.

crensta said...

Ron Franscell is not a very good journalist. Quotation marks mean that the person in question said exactly that. When you say

Despite his political petulance and past imprecisions ("I invented the Internet"),

you are actually lying unless you are quoting the spinmeisters. I think you think you are quoting Gore. Gore never said that. Go to the CNN transcript. Since you don't believe in links I won't give one.

Look it up yourself.

Anonymous said...

Crensta --

Ron Franscell is "not a very good journalist?" Wow -- what are YOUR credentials that give you the right to make this call? Ever been nominated for a Pulitzer? Been published in newspapers not only across the U.S. but also around the world? Written any books yourself? Don't criticize him on his own blog -- and note that he's let the comment stand -- until you know of what you speak.

It's funny -- rather than refuting an argument by providing facts, people these days "refute" arguments by making assertions that the person who disagrees must be a "liar," uneducated, or ill-informed. Don't say what's wrong with Mr. Franscell to prove that you're right -- prove you're right by providing facts about Gore.

And by the way, Mr. Franscell has said that Gore has done some good things; he just doesn't think Gore should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize. And I must say -- I happen to agree with that. Gee, does that mean there is something wrong with me, too?

Ron Franscell said...

Crensta is absolutely correct. Al Gore did NOT say "I invented the Internet" in his infamous interview with Wolf Blitzer. His actual words were:

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

I apologize for the misquote. Al obviously never, ever said anything remotely like "I invented the Internet." He clearly didn't associate himself with its creation whatsoever. The ex-Veep was crystal clear in distancing himself from the Internet's genesis. He did not have sexual relations with the Internet's mother (finger waggle optional.)

Crensta, I made a mistake. I didn't lie. I KNOW that Leftists think that errors and lies are the same when anyone other than a Leftist is involved, but -- with all the respect that's due to you -- you're full of shit.

AminoAcid said...

That's how Democrats argue. Whole philosophies can pivot on the meaning of "is." I agree that Al Gore never said the excat words "I invented the Internet," but what he DID SAY was pretty damned close!! Now suck-ups like Crensta blindly argue the exact wording but cannot dispute Gore's meaning. He tried to puff himself up by making exaggerated claims about his importance.

Ron, maybe you misquoted Gore, but you got the gist of the story exactly right. Gore is an egomaniacal hypocrite who exaggerates wildly!!

Chancelucky said...

This is a quote from Cerf and Kahn who helped develop the TCP IP protocol....

"As the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective. As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept"

Al Gore has never claimed that he conceived the Internet or developed the technical bits that made it possible, he does have a very reasonable claim to being the politician who made it politically possible. It's more or less similar to saying that Eisenhower was the father of the Interstate Highway system.