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Early in Clinton-Gore's first administration, they pledged they would stop the plunder of the Northwest forests. They then double-crossed their environmental backers. Under Bush Sr., the courts had enjoined logging in the Northwest habitats of the spotted owl. Clinton-Gore persuaded environmentalists to join them in axing the injunction. The Clinton administration went before a Reagan-appointed judge who had a record as a stalwart environmentalist and with the eco toadies in tow, got him to remove the injunction, and with it the moratorium on existing timber sales.

Then there is the Delaney Clause. In the 1960s, largely in reaction to the book Silent Spring by the late Rachel Carson (to whose home Gore repaired to pay campaign homage over the weekend), the government made an effort to get off the dime on regulating pesticides. The Delaney Clause, which became part of the agricultural law, sought to set zero-tolerance guidelines for dangerous chemicals in processed foods and put the onus on the manufacturers to demonstrate that their products were safe before they were allowed to become commercially available. Although the Delaney Clause was imperfectly enforced, the corporations hated it with a passion. Enter Clinton-Gore, and exit Delaney. The administration replaced it with the modish, if inexact, concept of "risk assessment," in which experts try to guess the effects a chemical might have on segments of the population.

Beyond that, Clinton-Gore were the prime sponsors of NAFTA, arguing, in conjunction with some of the big environmental groups, that various side agreements would protect the environment. Several years later, many of the environmental organizations have changed their tack and now are openly critical of the trade agreement.

It's sad to see a Kennedy acting as a spaniel, let alone nipping at Nader's heels on the leash of the miserable figure of Gore.


Web Guns for Hire
Corporate E-Spooks

Before the national government can start to police the Internet, private industry is jumping in with its own spook force, provided by www.ewatch.com, an arm of the old PR Newswire, to track down and silence those who cast aspersions on companies, their products, and services. "It is unfortunate that companies are being targeted by entities whose motives are fraudulent, deceptive, or criminal," says a blurb for the new service. "eWatch CyberSleuth will attempt to identify the entity or entities behind the screen names which have targeted your organization."

Key to CyberSleuth's work is ferreting out the motivation behind "On-Line Anti-Corporate Activism," be it a "legitimate complaint" or "behavior influencing" (e.g., an "environmental group targeting an oil company, stock manipulation, revenge, mis or disinformation, fraud, [or] extortion"). Once eWatch figures out what's going on, it launches a "containment" by "neutralizing the information appearing online, [and] then neutralizing" the offending agent. "This may mean something as simple as removing a posting from a Web message board on Yahoo! or shuttering a terrorist Web site," says eWatch. "The objective is to not only stop the spread of incorrect information, but ensure that what has already spread is also eliminated."

The service boasts that it can tell companies what consumers and professionals are saying and reading about their services, products, industry, and competitors. "You'll hear rumors before they start to spread." WebWatch, a part of the service, "enables you to keep an eye on every Web site that affects your business"—whether it is the competition, an activist group, a nosy government agency, plaintiffs, defendants, "or even your own site." For a big company, eWatch is cheap, starting at $16,200 a year.


Forgive us our Passes

With the major candidates embarked on a nonstop pray-a-thon, fundamentalists are chomping at the bit to have the Lord's Prayer offered in some way at football games. Although the Supreme Court ruled against allowing students to lead crowds in prayer before games, a North Carolina outfit called We Still Pray hopes to encourage "spontaneous" prayer.

"We are encouraging everyone that attends football games to join in the Lord's Prayer immediately and spontaneously as soon as the national anthem is complete," said Reverend Wendell Runion.


Additional reporting: Kate Cortesi

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