Posted by R. Neal

Here's a great speech given by Al Gore yesterday on the threat corporate controlled media poses to democracy. In his opening he says "American democracy is in grave danger" and that "it's almost as if America has entered an alternate universe."

Sometimes you wish you could roll back the time machine to 2000 for a different outcome...

(Click "there's more" for a look at what might have been...)

2004: The Year in Review

It's that time of year when we take a look back at the events that shaped our lives during 2004...

  • President Al Gore's "Brooklyn Project" to achieve American energy independence bears fruit as the first solar/hydrogen hybrid car, the Ford Sunburst, rolled off the assembly line. The car runs primarily on power generated by its super efficient-solar panels with supplemental power from light-weight hydrogen fuel cells. The fuel cells run on hydrogen produced at the Pacific Solar Farm, which extracts storable hydrogen fuel from seawater using power generated by a mammoth array of solar panels floating off the coast of California.
  • In other Brooklyn Project related news, the experimental 100 megawatt Fusion One mini-reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory marked its first anniversary of safe, sustained fusion reaction since startup. In a joint project with ORNL, TVA plans to replace its eleven coal-fired power plants with a network of F1 mini-reactors over the next ten years.
  • The third tier of the Brooklyn Project entered its second year of successful operation. More than one hundred thousand homes in Arizona have been outfitted with the new Solaris Residential Power systems. The SRP system, which was developed at the new JFK National Energy Research Laboratory facility at Los Alamos, is comprised of roof mounted super efficient solar panels and light-weight heavy-duty storage batteries. The system provides from thirty up to fifty percent of the average home's energy needs. Nationwide rollout is expected to begin next year. Financing for installation is provided by the Federal Power Utility Trust, a non-profit cooperative of U.S. utility companies which manufactures the Solaris system units for sale by local utilities. The system pays for itself in the first two years of operation.
  • National Health Services Secretary Hillary Clinton announced yet another reduction in AmeriCare premiums. With this latest reduction, premiums are on the average 50% lower than traditional private insurance premiums. AmeriCare premiums are paid primarily through payroll deductions or Schedule HS-1 payments for self-employed individuals. The unemployed, families making less than the Department of Labor's new Living Wage standard, children, and seniors pay no premiums. The AmeriCare program, which replaced Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance programs, now covers 100% of the U.S. population.
  • NHS Secretary Clinton also announced that medical research programs funded by new federal taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis products and reinvestment of savings from AmeriCare are starting to pay off. A new class of pancreas medications has virtually cured diabetes. New gene therapy treatments developed at the state and federally funded Reagan National Health Laboratory in California are showing promise in fighting malignant cancer cells and HIV. The RNHL stem-cell research program is also very close to achieving a cure for spinal cord injuries and Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Secretary of State Bill Clinton addressed the Iraqi National Congress in recognition of the third anniversary of its formation following Saddam Hussein's removal from power by the U.N. backed Iraqi Revolutionary Council.
  • The State Department also announced that negotiations on United Korea are nearing completion. The historic merger of North and South Korea is expected to occur early next year once the U.N. Security Council certifies North Korea's compliance with the International Non-Proliferation Treaty initiated by President Gore and ratified by 190 U.N. member nations in 2001. Secretary Clinton also praised Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Wesley Clark for his role in the negotiations and for his role in sponsoring Russia's membership in NATO.
  • Osama bin-Laden, leader of the now defunct al-Qaeda terrorist network, was executed at an undisclosed Federal prison. The execution followed a lengthy trial and conviction for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and for conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack in the fall of 2001, which was thwarted when alert FBI agents in Phoenix questioned why Saudi nationals were training to fly commercial jetliners. Testimony of the thirty-four potential hijackers, who were arrested as they attempted to board flights in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston in September 2001, eventually led to the capture and arrest of bin-Laden by U.S. led multi-national forces in Pakistan.
  • President Gore announced that the Teachers and Public Education Trust initiative will expand its National Scholarship Program and provide an additional $10 billion in funding for state and local education. Under the Teachers/PET program, ACT and SAT test scores have risen 10% on the average and college enrollment is at an all time high. The Parental Responsibility Act is credited with reducing high school dropout rates by more than 50%. Increased teacher salaries and benefits prompted record enrollment in education degree programs, which are producing an abundance of highly qualified teachers nationwide.
  • In economic news, eighty-three Fortune 100 companies have now adopted voluntary compliance with President Gore's America First jobs and economic development initiative, with Wal*Mart leading the way as their board of directors voted unanimously to participate. America First provides tax and other incentives for companies that "buy American" and adopt improved standard wage and benefit programs.
  • America First "insourcing" provisions, which offer incentives for companies who buy and sell "made in the U.S.A." products and services, resulted in record low unemployment and record high family income this year. America First and AmeriCare are credited with reducing the number of families living in poverty by another 30% in 2004. America First tariffs on imports from countries that have not adopted the U.S. and E.U. sponsored International Worker's Rights Treaty have spurred investment in the U.S. economy and improved working conditions for millions of workers world wide.
  • The Dow Jones Industrials Average broke 20,000 for the first time. Wall Street analysts credited President Gore's America First program and massive federal investments in energy, biotech, and education which continue to transform the US. economy and attract record foreign investment.
  • President Gore won reelection in a landslide victory, receiving 81% of the popular vote and a record 534 electoral votes, winning every state except Idaho. The GOP offered only token opposition. Republican presidential candidate Sen. Bill Frist admitted that even he voted for Gore, a fellow Tennessean.

    (Reposted from the archives of the blog formerly known as SKB, circa Dec. 2004)