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Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal is an internationally acclaimed novelist, essayist, playwright and screenwriter whose historical fiction and collected criticisms have garnered him the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, among others. An outspoken political activist, he ran for the U.S. House...


President Jonah, Meet Oliver Cromwell!

(Page 2)

Berman does a brief tour of the American horizon, revealing a cultural death valley. In secondary schools where evolution can still be taught too many teachers are afraid to bring up the subject to their so often un-evolved students. “Add to this the pervasive hostility toward science on the part of the current administration (e.g. stem-cell research) and we get a clear picture of the Enlightenment being steadily rolled back. Religion is used to explain terror attacks as part of a cosmic conflict between Good and Evil rather than in terms of political processes…. Manichaeanism rules across the United States. According to a poll taken by Time magazine fifty-nine percent of Americans believe that John’s apocalyptic prophecies in the Book of Revelation will be fulfilled, and nearly all of these believe that the faithful will be taken up into heaven in the ‘Rapture.’

“Finally, we shouldn’t be surprised at the antipathy toward democracy displayed by the Bush administration. ... As already noted, fundamentalism and democracy are completely antithetical. The opposite of the Enlightenment, of course, is tribalism, groupthink; and more and more, this is the direction in which the United States is going. ... Anthony Lewis who worked as a columnist for the New York Times for thirty-two years, observes that what has happened in the wake of 9/11 is not just the threatening of the rights of a few detainees, but the undermining of the very foundation of democracy. Detention without trial, denial of access to attorneys, years of interrogation in isolation—these are now standard American practice, and most Americans don’t care. Nor did they care about the revelation in July 2004 (reported in Newsweek), that for several months the White House and the Department of Justice had been discussing the feasibility of canceling the upcoming presidential election in the event of a possible terrorist attack.” I suspect that the technologically inclined prevailed against that extreme measure on the ground that the newly installed electronic ballot machines could be so calibrated that Bush’s heirs would win handily no matter what (read Rep. Conyers’ report (.pdf file) on the rigging of Ohio’s vote).

Meanwhile, the indoctrination of the people merrily continues. “In a ‘State of the First Amendment Survey’ conducted by the University of Connecticut in 2003, 34 percent of Americans polled said the First Amendment ‘goes too far’; 46 percent said there was too much freedom of the press; 28 percent felt that newspapers should not be able to publish articles without prior approval of the government; 31 percent wanted public protest of a war to be outlawed during that war; and 50 percent thought the government should have the right to infringe on the religious freedom of ‘certain religious groups’ in the name of the war on terror.”

It is usual in sad reports like Professor Berman’s to stop abruptly the litany of what has gone wrong and then declare, hand on heart, that once the people have been informed of what is happening, the truth will set them free and a quarter-billion candles will be lit and the darkness will flee in the presence of so much spontaneous light. But Berman is much too serious for the easy platitude. Instead he tells us that those who might have struck at least a match can no longer do so because shared information about our situation is meager to nonexistent. Would better schools help? Of course, but, according to that joyous bearer of ill tidings, the New York Times, many school districts are now making sobriety tests a regular feature of the school day: apparently opium derivatives, not gin, are the opiate of our stoned youth. Meanwhile, millions of adult Americans, presumably undrugged, have no idea who our enemies were in World War II. Many college graduates don’t know the difference between an argument and an assertion (did their teachers also fail to solve this knotty question?). A travel agent in Arizona is often asked whether or not it is cheaper to take the train rather than fly to Hawaii. Only 12% of Americans own a passport. At the time of the 2004 presidential election 42% of voters believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. One high school boy, when asked who won the Civil War, replied wearily, “I don’t know and I don’t care,” echoing a busy neocon who confessed proudly: “The American Civil War is as remote to me as the War of the Roses.” He should have added the US Constitution, as well.

We are assured daily by advertisers and/or politicians that we are the richest, most envied people on Earth and, apparently, that is why so many awful, ill-groomed people want to blow us up. We live in an impermeable bubble without the sort of information that people living in real countries have access to when it comes to their own reality. But we are not actually people in the eyes of the national ownership: we are simply unreliable consumers comprising an overworked, underpaid labor force not in the best of health: The World Health Organization rates our healthcare system (sic—or sick?) as 37th-best in the world, far behind even Saudi Arabia, role model for the Texans. Our infant mortality rate is satisfyingly high, precluding a First World educational system. Also, it has not gone unremarked even in our usually information-free media that despite the boost to the profits of such companies as Halliburton, Bush’s wars of aggression against small countries of no danger to us have left us well and truly broke. Our annual trade deficit is a half-trillion dollars, which means that we don’t produce much of anything the world wants except those wan reports on how popular our Entertainment is overseas. Unfortunately the foreign gross of “King Kong,” the Edsel of that assembly line, is not yet known. It is rumored that Bollywood—the Indian film business—may soon surpass us! Berman writes, “We have lost our edge in science to Europe…The US economy is being kept afloat by huge foreign loans ($4 billion a day during 2003). What do you think will happen when America’s creditors decide to pull the plug, or when OPEC members begin selling oil for euros instead of dollars?...An International Monetary Fund report of 2004 concluded that the United States was ‘careening toward insolvency.’ ” Meanwhile, China, our favorite big-time future enemy, is the number one for worldwide foreign investments, with France, the bete noire of our apish neocons, in second place.

Well, we still have Kraft cheese as of today and, of course, the death penalty.

Dig last updated on Feb. 7, 2006

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By prole, February 12, 2006 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
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Excellent comments as usual from Mr. Vidal. Unfortunately “W” is too stupid to take offense. Too many words of more than one syllable. Unlike Wm. Buckley who once threatened Mr. Vidal with physical harm, Georgie was proven to be a coward during the Vietnam war. There will be no duel challenge.

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By perfidius, February 12, 2006 at 12:27 am Link to this comment
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The Dems have been playing tennis against people with mortars.

We have to take a page from their book and repeat phrases until people get it: “corrupt Republicans,” “compassionless conservatives,” “spying on us.” Simple, easily grasped statements that evoke the truth without all the footnotes.

Yes, people are dumbed down, but they’re now pollably sick of this sick group. They need to be pushed out of their comfort zone. They may wish to be led, ‘cause thinking is so difficult. Then breathe a little fire, stir some passions. “Folks” always like to watch a good fight.

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By elaine green, February 11, 2006 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment
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Retire!!He needs to be tried and jailed just like any other ganster.

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By alan gray, February 11, 2006 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
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Bitching, bitching, bitching….who’s got a plan?

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By Jeff Browitt, February 10, 2006 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment
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No point commenting on the bleeding obvious - the parlous state of US politics (‘many tics’). My own ‘nation’, Australia, now is becoming lured into the cesspool of Christian militarism and market totalitarianism.

Let it be noted in passing: Gore Vidal is one of the great stylists of the English language (I am downright envious).

Jeff Browitt

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By JN Reynolds, February 10, 2006 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Vidal is truly one of the great minds of the world. If only more citizens of our ill-fated nation would read or listen to his comments!
  If only we could, indeed, recall the elected (supposedly) president. My state of Virginia has wisely, I think, not allowed its chief executive more than one consecutive term. Can anyone think of the second term of any presidency in recent memory that was of benefit to the nation or to the officeholder? Of course, in the case of the current occupant, even one term was one too many.

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By james denning, February 10, 2006 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Vidal, please continue to use your words and status to help all of us out here with families who do not have a voice any longer.  We need all the help we can get, if for no other reason, but our childrens future.

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By Jim Hanley, February 9, 2006 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment
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Fact Or Fiction? 
at any cost?
  It all started when ‘he’:
and included his (conversion to ISLAM?) affiliation with OSAMA’S
oldest brother Salem the HEIR to the bin Laden ‘TRILLIONS’, who;
after providing ‘W’ a KEY to the bin Laden BANK, was killed in a
never solved mysterious plane crash in Texas!
This provided ‘W’ his means of heavy influence in; possibly
even CONTROL? of, OPEC?
  Now, all he needed do, to MULTIPLY his millions, or billions of
dollars profit each year, was to eliminate the one ‘undermining’
Did ‘he’ arrange it?

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By Risa, February 9, 2006 at 4:47 pm Link to this comment
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In 1776 it was George the Third—-today it’s George the Turd!  God help us!

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By surelygreen, February 9, 2006 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment
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I’m surprised that the emphasis is only on the extreme turn to the right without connecting all of the attacks on our freedoms, the environment, and international goodwill to the fact that oil and gas will be peaking worldwide soon.

It’s no accident that oil people seized power. Who better to understand the perils that lie ahead? This does not justify their brutalities, however.

I’m sure Rummy’s favorite word “irrelevant” is being used a great deal in many or most of their decision-making, because they know that a great deal will indeed become irrelevant once we are firmly on the downslope of declining oil.

The far right is a strange mixture of small cultish gangs. So Bush has to hold them together with his dog and pony shows. And Fox Muse keeps the gullible pliable.

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By Frank Desmond, February 9, 2006 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
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Richard Nixon is no longer the worse president in history.That does not make me feel good. Along with all his crimes and misdeeds Nixon did create the EPA. Our current lunatic has done nothing right unless you are Bib Laden and his crew or Americas super millionaires. The similarity between Jonah and George is an excellent one .Another similarity would be between Bush and the character in Lil Abner who always had a black cloud over his head .Death and destruction followed him everyware he went,similarily to Bush.If there is anything at all valid to Dante there will be a special level in the inferno reserved for George W Bush.

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By ideogentic, February 9, 2006 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
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Thank you, Gore Vidal, for chopping down some of President Bush’s deadwood and opening a wider vista to our historic forest; past, present and future!

The tyranny of deceit must end with the removal of this American despot.

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By roger muldavin, February 9, 2006 at 7:28 am Link to this comment
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Jo Naugh, rather George the Fifth, bottled, packaged, pathetic, dangerous, professed messager from GOD (gold on demand) pretending to feel the death and suffering they fanned with unearned privileges and unrecognized binges of ego greedy minds and soldout sole crusades over the bodies, lives of so many.

When will they ever learn, earn their rightfull place in a world of over six billion humans?

Gore Vidal, your words deserve the distain they show for powers of the Seizors of the Past and Present, more power to you and this form.

Best, rmuldavin

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By Mike Baker, February 9, 2006 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
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I would disagree on only one point: since when do we simply retire thieves and murderers? Equal justice for all!

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By David Rockwell, February 7, 2006 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
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Ms. Brown - you may be thinking of Mt. Fuji, rather than Kilimanjaro in Africa.

More important - I hope your admiration for Vidal doesn’t cross the line into adulation, which would vitiate the free and keen exercise of your own intellect.  I am pretty sure Mr. Vidal would be the last one to want his opinions regarded as gospel, trenchant though they are.

Many serious criticisms of the atomic bombing have been made, and some have merit, to be sure; however, what we are left with, now and forever, is an object lesson of undeniable power in our own terrible potential. History will always be divided by that one bright line, and honest discussion of these issues must never stop.

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By Christine Smith, February 5, 2006 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
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As I do not see a link from this page’s discussion to Vidal’s State of the Union (and since the State of the Union is beginning to be discussed on this page) I recommend those interested visit TruthDig’s page in which Vidal’s State of the Union is being discussed:

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By Alice C brown, February 4, 2006 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
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Every time I see a historian comment on Adams or the Nurenberg Trials, or Harry Truman’s decision to bring on the big one, I think: “What would GV think of this opinion, or version of history?”
Today, I got a double dose: Did we HAVE to drop TWO A-bombs on a populated area?  Couldn’t we have just dropped the 2nd one on Mt. Kiliminjaro?  PBS emphasizes how adamantly the emperor and the Army head believed in a partial surrender, and how far from reality they were operating.  Still wonder.

And the Nuremberg trials: So many got away, were NOT hung, used by us to explore space (good) and build weapons of mass destruction (bad).  And how about this lesson?  “You must resist and disobey immoral orders” (e.g., “Bull-doze those Jews into that ditch” or “Torture those prisoners who have just been taken in off the streets in a sweep, obviously terrorists.” or “Record the Internet sites visited by this bunch of people.”)  All a matter of degree, and we’re getting closer to the bulldozer work daily. So, what do you think, dear GV?

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By ALice C Brown, February 4, 2006 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
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WEll, this is great: so many folks entering the conversation with the great one, our foremost historian, Gore Vidal.  We welcome you to our Gore Vidal site at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Guess to you need to join first though: At, look for Groups and search for Gore_Vidal.
voila!!! you’ll find us, all discussing his ideas and books/essays/movies/talks.
And letting one another know where he is speaking.

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By Bruce Boyle, February 4, 2006 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
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Plattsburg NY:  One reaction to Bush’s “State of the Union” address:

Let me venture this bit of speculation—Councilman William Provost read Gore Vidal’s essay President Jonah .


Large turn out at City Council Meeting in response to “Impeach Bush” proposal. (Most of the citizens attending spoke in favor of the proposed resolution).

Thu 02-FEB-2006 11 P.M. News Script


Plattsburgh city councilors were thinking nationally and acting locally tonight—when they took a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush. The issue brought an unusually large crowd to city hall. Residents lined up to speak for and against the proposal from Councilman William Provost. ((Rob Roy / Supports Resolution: the resolution makes a firm case for impeachment. Mr bush has not only made enemies in the united states but all over the world. Because of his action he has mortgaged our future horrendously.)) ((Rod Wright / Opposes Resolution: there’s a lot of unhappy people with president bush and his administration but you are sending the wrong message to our troops over there to impeach the president of the united states.)) Opponents on the council said city government is not the proper forum for such an issue. The resolution was voted down by a 3 to 2 margin. Another councilor who was absent from the meeting sent a letter indicating he too opposed the resolution.

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By R. A. Earl, February 3, 2006 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
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Re Irene’s comment #158

“I know it is a bit off topic, but in the same arena: just in time, one hopes… a truly remarkable book by a truly decent, and realistic as well as religious, man:

Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis
by Jimmy Carter”

I’m in the middle of this book but I have already gained a deep respect for President Carter. Oh, not because he’s a BIG “believer” in Christianity… in fact, IN SPITE of the fact that he’s a “self-confessed” born again fundamentalist Christian.

You see, President Carter realizes something that President Bush likely will never comprehend… that the USA is NOT a “Christian” country… never was intended to be and is not now. That means that perhaps a MAJORITY of the American people are NOT Christians. Therefore to impose a Christian-based government on them, without their express permission, is an IMMORAL, to say nothing about an ILLEGAL, act.

President Carter and I couldn’t be further apart in our personal philosophies of life, but, boy are we on the same page when we firmly advocate a return to a complete separation of CHURCH and STATE… and keep it that way. President Carter knew that it was his avowed responsibility to be president for ALL the people… not just those who shared his personal religious views. Now, how do we pound that basic tenet into the concrete block that is the brain of GWB?

Those who want, need, require a religion/God in their life are fully entitled to have it without any interference by any individual, organization, government or law.

By the same token, those of us who want nothing to do with religion MUST have the same right to be FREE of interference by any religious individuals or organizations. This includes having our governing authorities intimidated and threatened by religious zealots such as Falwell and Robertson and the Pope.

As soon as the “religious” go “political” all bets are off. They should be taxed as any other profit-making organization or business on all monies collected and properties owned and the favoritism shown traditionally in a myriad of other ways be abolished. And don’t be fooled, folks. Many, if not most, in the religion business, despite “vows of poverty” in some cases, LIVE BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE SCHMUK.

It doesn’t matter a damn if you have little “personal” money when you have free access to the “company credit card” and everything you could possibly want or need and more is provided. You don’t think any minister or priest in the USA is going hungry or is without shelter or shoes or the best medical care do you?

Wake up folks… one of the best known of “American Traditions” is the SNAKE OIL SALESMAN. Just because he happens to have his collar on backwards doesn’t make him any less of a charlatan and con artist. Hang onto your wallet!

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By der_Alte, February 3, 2006 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
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just about every day, I’m unhappily reminded of a remark I posted on Slate, way back when Skippy entered the W.H. ‘We picked a damn poor time to put a moron in the white House.’

I wish I hadn’t been so omniscient.

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By narciso, February 2, 2006 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment
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Where to begin; Katrina was unfortunate, but it was nowhere as bad as what was expected. The
entire city underwater for 6 monthes; the port
out of commission for at least that long; tens
of thousands dead; you know like the 1900
Galveston storm; Most what did occur ws due to
the Long,Edwards,& Landrieu machines , and there recent retainer; Mr. Nagin I know, If Gore was
alive then; he’d blame it Hanna and the McKinley/
Roosevelt administration. or as punishment for our intervention in the Phillipines If they’d had
only had Bryan/Watson; then everything would have been fine. In one respect, Bryan at least
is emblematic of the Democratic dilemma; he voted
for the Phillipine annexation after voting against it. Under both Roosevelts and Wilson, Gore
would faced the fate of real dissenters like Debs,
Goldman et al; imprisoned and/or deported; it happened with the Nisei and even Joe Dimaggio’s father; so it could happen to anyone. Who’s being
administratively detained; a former explosives expert, Muslim convert attorney, tied to at least
one terror cell, a Southern La born Saudi fighting
for the Taliban/Al Queda, another convert of Caribbean extraction, who kept a lively dialogue
with the likes of KSM and Abu Zubeydah; or are they innocent too. All except the last have been
released. Considering that Vidal has entertained the notion that Pearl Harbor, was intentionally allowed to happen by FDR; that’not idle speculation. The comparison to the Roman
republic’s circumstances are imperfect at best; in
the Metellus/Marius phase against Jugurtha, the closest analogue to this period. fair Hackett of
Ohio, is auditioning for the role of Tiberius
Gracchi, with the. Social War, Pompey and Caesar,
not to mention Anthony and Augustus far in the future. Then again, we
invaded Afghanistan for their oil and natural gas
pipeline, (where is it now, by the way) the Taliban were innocent, Why Osama’s talking points cribbed from Chomsky and Blum (or is it the other way around) are identical. although I find the idea of a Saudi industrial scion taking up the cause of the disadvantaged Palestiniansa little ironic. but give it to them, they picked
the Nazi’s, the Russians, and most recently the
Al Azhar trained mullahs of Hamas; as their partners.

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By R. A. Earl, February 2, 2006 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re Orin Zack, #155…

Is Mr. Zack advocating an “underground” resistance movement? How appropriate on Groundhog Day.

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By John Henderson, February 2, 2006 at 7:57 am Link to this comment
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I apologize, but you people all seem crazy to me.  I don’t agree with most of what Bush says or does, but you all HATE him with such vitriol, that it really makes me wonder. We’re supposed to be the people who remind the world to avoid hate, yet conservatives just think liberals are crazy and out of touch, and it’s mostly because of websites like this.  Hijacking elections, lying? Come on…. find arguments that are based on reason, and not just your hate of the man.  Maybe then we will convince other people that our position has merit.

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By P. Orin Zack, February 1, 2006 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
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Realizing that we’ve been had is the basis for corrective action, but under the circumstances, how can that action be taken?

With rigged voting machines (see and the spectre of more judicial intervention from a just-stacked Supreme Court, ‘We the People” will not be able to correct the problem by voting the offending officials from office.

Furthermore, the problem we’re faced with goes beyond the elected officials, because regardless who they are, their actions are heavily influenced by corporate ‘persons’ who never die, and the shadowy lobbyists who do their bidding.

And with our out-of-control government using Economic Hit Men to then strong-arm other national governments into submission to the will of the controlling corporate ‘persons’, not even the UN can be counted upon to restrain the marauding actions of the US.

I have stopped taking ownership of what the US government does. “We’ did not invade Iraq; the US government did. It is the enemy of the citizens of the United States, and according to the document which launched the revolution which gave rise to that government, it is the duty of The People to discard it.

We cannot expect this to be done for us. We cannot assume that electing a Democrat will change anything, either, because the only difference between the two entrenched parties is which corporate ‘persons’ they are beholden to.

Rather, I think, we need to take a long look at the tactic of collective but individual action which was pioneered by the Wobblies. With no central leadership to negotiate with, the government is powerless to stop it. That was why the US government encouraged the growth of the centralized AFL and CIO: if people are within a power structure, they can be controlled.

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By Barbara (Ontario), February 1, 2006 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
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I’ve devoted much energy to attempts to persuade friends that many many Americans despise Bush as much as plenty of us in Canada do. I know that you must hate to feel that the Bush regime speaks for you. Spare a second now to feel for those of us who are greatly embarrassed to have a neo-con of the religious right as our newly minted Prime Minister. They will feel very cosy together, I am sure.

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By David Rockwell, January 31, 2006 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment
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Analysis of our national decay based on moral argument and frustrated vituperation will not produce any useful results.  Similarly, the personification of this decay in our ‘leaders’ merely obscures the historical context we seek to understand. Bush and all the rest are merely manifestations of the zeitgeist - there are no leaders, just as there is no moral entity called ‘America’ that we can chide or send back to school. It does no harm to loudly complain, and to attempt to make the enraged elephant change his course; but neither does it do any good.  He just keeps going.

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By Howard J. Wilk, January 31, 2006 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment
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Some have called Gore Vidal an anti-semite.  But whether or not he or you is an anti-semite, a philo-semite, or a don’t-give-a-shit about semites, there’s one thing all reasonable people can agree on: George W. Bush is an idiot.

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By Howard J. Wilk, January 31, 2006 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment
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George W. Bush has the ethics of a radish and the intellect of a turnip.

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By Alex Greenwood, January 31, 2006 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
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Vidal is one of the last of the great thinkers. He may also be sounding the trumpets for the last days of the American Empire.

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By Irena Buczilowski, January 31, 2006 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment
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I know it is a bit off topic, but in the same arena:

just in time, one hopes…  a truly remarkable book by a truly decent,  and realistic as well as religious,  man:

Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis
by Jimmy Carter

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By William Young, January 31, 2006 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Were it not so painfully true, Vidal’s commentary would be a hoot!

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By Don Canard, January 31, 2006 at 11:10 am Link to this comment
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200 years ago, a government like this would have been tarred and feathered.  In later years, they would have been run out of town on a rail.  Or maybe both.

We don’t need a divorce, since that suggests that Government is not Of, By, and For the People.  We need a Court of Inquisition followed by a pillorying.  Trousers dropped and cans of spray paint nearby with which the public might decorate the perpetrators’ posteriors.  I find the thought of the likes of Ken Lay (it is a business thing after all) as well as his accomplices in government, as the centers of attention in such a scenario quite amusing.

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By Jives Miguel-UK, January 31, 2006 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
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Yet again Gore impales the hapless,sinister PNAC freaks and the Evangelical Far Right,with precision,substance and style.

Have just re-read his 1987 essay “Armageddon” and his polemic here is a timely extension of that excellent essay.

These are worrying times for anyone who cares about our cherished and long-held Freedoms as they run serious risk of disappearing into the sunset; GV has offered a sobering analysis of the issues.A broad examination of the career exegesis of GV should clarify that he is not a casual reactionary-or anti-Semite(as an ealrier post claims),rather an author who cares passionately and deeply about the Human Condition when so obviously threatened by modern day Elmer Gantry styled politicos.GV’s targets are always Those Most Deserving of opprobrium-irrespective of race,creed and colour.
This is integrity; such charges are lazy and ill-considered.

Also Susan Block:Spot On re frat boy torture freaks etc….almost as good as GV’s essay itself.

So where do go from here?

Well….passing this essay onto your friends and/or enemies is as good a place to start as any.

Thanks Gore,again,for having the courage to take aim and skewer these dangerous lying idiots.

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By Bruce Stinson, January 31, 2006 at 4:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From the Outside:

As an Australian, living in Hong Kong for over ten years, I have many American friends and I find that we can discuss real issues less and less.

Your over-the-top “patriotism”, imbued at an early age with much “hand on the heart” fervour, is totally debilitating.

You have a nation where far too many believe that the president is infallible and that to criticise him, policy, the army etc. is “un-Amercian”.

Bill O’Reilly - surely your second-greatest embarrassment after Bush - uses the tactic of calling opponents “America haters”. (I am ashamed that Fox is actually owned by an Australian - we have our mercenaries too.)   

Michel Moore - one so labelled by OReilly - has a touch of buffoonery about him and his work might be excessive, but he was trying to achieve something with his pre-election movie. I feel it probably ended up costing the Democrats votes by showing the president to be an idiot.

In the same way, the efforts of England’s Guardian readers - to write to voters in Ohio urging them to vote against Bush - also back-fired. (Although friendly voting technology no doubt played a part there.)

Yet Osama Bin Laden’s late message had exactly the effect he wented - to keep Bush in the White House. (Who is smarter - Bin Laden or the Bush/neocon axis? No contest.)   

You can’t tell the average American there is anything wrong with his president or his country. He - the average American - is a mile away from reality…. and probably booking a train to Hawaii.

That’s your challenge - not preaching to the converted - along with the absolute disarray and lack of backbone of the Democrats.

Do your best!

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By ouzian, January 30, 2006 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I suport Bush…

even tho I am not an American…

and I am a Muslim…

Saddam was a madman, I cant believe he attacked Kuwait. Having ANY weapon in this idiot’s hand would have blown MANY nations away. It looks like Hitler was his God-father.

If you think Bush has killed some in Iraq, which is bad, however, he saved many out of saddam’s cage, and that can be many nations who would have fallen victim to saddam’s ferociously insensitive ambitions….

please support him.

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By dominic, January 30, 2006 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
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Pinter’s speech is a damning indictment and trumps pretty much anything you’re likely to read,it was broadcast live on British tv.

America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.
William S. Burroughs

This quote by Burroughs seems apt.Was there ever an “American Dream”?A standard that needs to met,a grade that must be made seems ruthless and uncompromising.It seems that the dream is a controlling,deceiving and empty vision-a collective lie…..did I hear someone say “sounds like Communism”...

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By Peter Angelo, January 30, 2006 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment
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Until that is acknowledged and fixed we will continue to watch America slide into the dustbin of history as a failed experiment.


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By Michael, January 30, 2006 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment
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I came to this article from Harry Kloman’s website, which I visit from time to time. Gore elevated my perspective a few years ago, along with Charles Beard (An Economic Interpretation of The Constitution of the United States—, Noam Chomsky (Understanding Power—par-excellent) and Howard Zinn (People’s History of the United States). I would recommend each of these books, Chomsky’s book the most, if there was any one book to read.

Gore is a thorough critic who wrote awhile ago that American democracy is finished and that it will take an invasion from without, such as China, to change the system. Perhaps there is sanity in that defeatism. Best wishes to everyone and glad to read the above comments.

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By Dave Hookes, January 30, 2006 at 5:01 am Link to this comment
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I suggest people should read Harold Pinter’s Nobel lecture for the clearest account of the nature and crimes of US imperialism: Here is a sample:

“I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’

It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it’s very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.”

Complete text is available at:

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By ywhgwb, January 29, 2006 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Vidal draws on biblical allegory to effect a powerful image of the American people’s disgust.

Biblical allegories are just right for this administration.  Nothing can tell the stories of lies, treacheries, entitlements, and the whoring for war for as well as the politics of religion can. 

This site ( all about drawing connections between the Religion of Male Superiority and the Politics of Might.

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By ywhgwb, January 29, 2006 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Vidal,

Your analogy to Jonah is delightful.  The image of the American people vomiting gwb out just as ywh’s whale vomited Jonah offers just the right proportion to the argument of disgust.

You will enjoy the arguments about ywh and gwb in

Wouldn’t it be great if gwb was ywh as ywh was in the story of Jonah?  Ywh, after all, “repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them, and he did it not.”  You’ll never see gwb do that.

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By Pierce R. Butler, January 29, 2006 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
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The regime is persisting through sheer momentum: Bush’s little red wagon will break to pieces the first time it hits a rock.

The system works: we do have a rock handy; maybe even two.

Quit reading this damn blog and call all the Senators you can stand about Alito. Call the other Congressthings about impeachment.

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By Howard J. Wilk, January 29, 2006 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment
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Clueless George, the Cowardly Liar, our Peacock President prancing around in his flight suit.

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By Social Democracy Now, January 29, 2006 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment
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‘I fail to understand why there is no indictment of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in Vidal’s excellent piece. In fact, PNAC is the elephant in ever so many rooms, never mentioned, never discussed.’

Well, you can’t discuss everything in a piece of this length. Vidal cannot be accused of ignoring PNAC - I’ve heard him talk about it, quite explicitly, in several interviews.

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By Richard Fidler, January 29, 2006 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
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What’s left out in this discussion is the environmental degradation that will turn the world into a place where political freedom will be much less important than survival.  China and India are tottering on the environmental brink; massive starvation will occur within fifty years as water resources disappear.  Our country will be somewhat better off (though I can’t wait until the sunny state of Florida disappears beneath the waves).  Pockets of freethinking will continue in this country and elsewhere: New England and California, perhaps.  The rest of the country will degrade and break apart, a common end to empires that lose touch with their diverse peoples.  Relax, people.  Put on the sunblock and watch it happen.  It will be an future that will generate an end to this poisonous capitalist culture that overspreads the world.  Without the pain, how else could it end?

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By Morgan-LynnLamberth, January 29, 2006 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
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PRES. Clinton could n’t please the far-left.Great!

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By Bob, January 29, 2006 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment
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I am 65 years old and will not be around when this country completely falls apart. But my grandson is three years old and another one is due in June. I am terrified as to what the world will be like when they are adults, if there is still a world at that time. I would pray to God to watch over them but it has been amny years since I have stopped believing that God cares one bit for us if there is a god.

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By JOE, January 29, 2006 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
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By Gary Amstutz, January 29, 2006 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
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I appreciate how you have placed the current crises into historical perspective. A plan for the future written with the same level of eloquence would also be most appreciated.  Where do we go from here?  What is the solution?

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By Sissy, January 29, 2006 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
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Re #81:

I have often thought bin Laden is Massa’s best and most accommodating friend—delivering up a fresh supply of “war on terism” fodder as needed for the docile herd.

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By mike, January 29, 2006 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
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Vidal’s friends need to pay a little more attention to the facts about him. It’s bad enough to be misrepresented by your enemies.

His grandfather was not a ‘blind air secretary.’

His father, Eugene Vidal, was an instructor at West Point (where Gore was born in 1925), an aviation expert, and director of air commerce under FDR.

Gore’s birth name was Eugene Luther Vidal and took the first name Gore in his teens, which was his mother Nina’s maiden name.

His grandfather was in fact blind. He was also Senator Thomas Pryor Gore of Oklahoma, a Democratic Populist.

Regardless of Gore Vidal’s views about the politics of WWII there is no question he was a patriot. He enlisted in the Army in July 1943, before he turned 18 years old, following his graduation from Philips Exeter Academy. This was the height of the fighting and the outcome was by no means certain. Gore joined the Army Special Training Program which was for enlistees too young for regular Army programs. He never saw combat but he served until the war ended, when he went to work at Dutton and published his first novel.

If you’re truly an admirer of the man, read Fred Kaplan’s excellent bio alongside Gore’s own partial memoir, “Palimpsest.”

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By Richard E. Carroll, January 29, 2006 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
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Folks look this one up in your search engines
This week is the anniversary of the “illuminati” (search) subgroup “skull & crossbones Bush & Kerry” (search)

Herein lies much history and you decide your own opinion for yourself about the ultrarich that are manipulating the right wing today (and the extreme left)to take away the freedoms of the first and seventh 4th & 5th & 6th Amendments and the people are following like lemmings the ones that have been known for thousands of years and are now coming into the light “Reptilian Humanoids” (search also see Wikipedia) BEWARE FRIENDS

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By Chip, January 29, 2006 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment
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Comment on R. A. Earl (109) and I. M. daMan (84):

As a firearms owner and hunter (and conservationist and member of the Sierra Club), I am concerned about firearms safety and crime.

But I am also convinced that without all the liberal hysteria over firearms and “gun control” back when the Dems controlled Congress and thought they would forever, GWB would not now be in office.

We lost lots of blue collar union votes in states like Pennyslvania, Michigan, Indiana, and OHIO (does that state ring a bell?) over gun-control.

Dems need to understand that when one slices and dices one’s party over such issues, sooner or later one hacks off enough votes to put one’s enemies into power.

I don’t know enough about him to say this with great assurance (and I will soon find out as I read all his work), but I believe that Gore Vidal is probably enough of a Constitutionalist and a civil libertarian to support our right to own firearms responsibly.

We must begin to dissolve the myth that all liberals oppose firearms ownership.  This single effort, all else remaining the same, would put the Repugs out of business.

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By Bob in PF, January 29, 2006 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
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The term “tribalism” has caught me eye recently.  I never thought of that term as anything other than a cultural group’s desire to protect each and all of its members—an over-romanticized view of pre-Columbian Native Americans. When Gore Vidal presented the term in quoting the work of Morris Berman, it was equated with “groupthink”; in opposition to “Enlightenment”.  A Tribune op-ed writer, Jon Margolis, suggested tribalism was the “deliberate decision to embrace ignorance rather than agree with people they find obnoxious”. 

I suspect attacks on “tribalism” will be taken up by political conservatives and presented as the wicked abstraction—not quite as evil as terrorism or drugs, but almost—behind liberal attempts to revise current trade policies with pushes for the globalization of health care, leisure, and wages above poverty.  The congruence between the idea of competition and those of rationality, ethics, or the advance of knowledge—ideas of enlightenment—is no greater than that between tribalism and the same.  Further, how can conservatives label progressive attempts to globalize healthcare, leisure, and decent compensation as tribalism, when the ethos of competition can be more easily presented as the antithesis to Enlightenment—or at least to ethics and aesthetics—with all its arguments that advances in our education systems and technologies are necessary to compete in the global market so that America can maintain its position of dominance?

From a handful of believers dominated by an empire, Christianity spread over a thousand years to become a major world religion.  Between 1492 and 2492, I imagine that tribalism—not that based on competition, but the romanticized view of Native Americans or even the Garden of Eden with the ability to somehow accept the science of Eve—may become the prevailing ethos: one tribe dedicated to its members welfare through the seeking of further enlightenment.

Is there no enlightenment without an acceptance of eternal competition?

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By robert m puglia, January 29, 2006 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
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in beholding the current american regime one can’t but wonder if perhaps there is reason to doubt the evolution of the species. while vice fearless leader appears to have evolved beyond the obligatory red-headed orphan companion (or she is interned for re-education) he and fearless leader seem otherwise untouched by the ravages of enlightenment. the picture indicates they are wearing the same tie. lock(and goose)step aquascutum.

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By Lefty, January 29, 2006 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
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The one point on which I disagree with Mr. Vidal is that, in his mind, the absence of enlightenment leads to, inter alia, tribalism.  It is my opinion that “tribalism” is a primative, genetic, vestigial, survival instinct within all of us.  It manifests in numerous aspects of modern human behavior: nationalism, fraternalism, racism, sports fanaticism, etc. etc. etc. 

It is becauase of this inescapable, genetic survival instinct, within us all that, regardless of our state of enlightenment, in a time of uncertainty, enough of us can be manipulated into forgetting the lessons of history and repeating the same mistakes, over and over and over again.

Bush and his advisors are well aware of this and have taken full, Machiavellian, advantage of those whose ability to reason is outweighed by their penchant for tribalism.

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By Erin Reynolds, January 29, 2006 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
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As ever you are one of the most brlliant and erudte and as a result among the marginalized of our writers. Let me direct you to someone equally brilliant even if less erudite. I think you will find his work in his several fields very entertaining.

Please do not stop and please up the withering contempt and outrage. As this author might say, “don’t want to wind up like Kingsley.”

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By David Smith, January 29, 2006 at 2:12 am Link to this comment
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As I have said for several years now, nothing short of armed revolution will save us.

Interestingly, my 7 year-old AOL account was terminated this week because of my anti-Bush photos and links.  Fascism has found a new home, and it is in the US of A.

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By Uranus, January 28, 2006 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
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Republicans attain goal of communist America

Take my quick, junior high civics quiz: what do you call a form of government with rule by one party where elections are a sham, or nonexistent? You call it communism. The GOP has had as its goal more than winning elections—it has sought to exterminate opposition. Read Bob Fitrakis’ and Harvey Wasserman’s excellent article about Ohio House Bill 3 at

A common theme in blogs today is, “sure, I know the government’s bad, but what can I do?” Call them what they are: communists. GOP politicians are communists, and those who support them are communists. Awareness is won one heart and mind at a time.

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By Jon, January 28, 2006 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment
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RE: 105 Comment by David McKinney ” Let me address the tongue in cheek comments by jon.” from post 97.

A kindly response David and I appreciate your civil tone.  My reference to the McVeigh friendship, and you must admit Larry King doesn’t usually correspond over a 3 year period with his guests, is found in this Vanity Fair essay of Sept 2001. (  It is quite revealing as to the why of the “tongue in cheek” comments by Jon.  This man, Gore Vidal perplexes me, plain and simple.

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By Ken Daves, January 28, 2006 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment
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Please Mr. Vidal, live forever.

That is all we ask of you.  We are in danger of losing your king of discerning, inquisitive nature. 

I have only recently awoken from the slumber that is always attendant upon a life lulled by reassuring propaganda.  It’s always been there, but now the internet is helping. 

We need the internet, and we need your insights.

I look forward to seeing you on DemocracyNow again. 

Sir, you are a rare pleasure.

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By Jim Sorrells, January 28, 2006 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
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I fail to understand why there is no indictment of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in Vidal’s excellent piece. In fact, PNAC is the elephant in ever so many rooms, never mentioned, never discussed. Isn’t it clear that Bush’s actions against Iraq was a game-plan waiting for an excuse?

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By dominic, January 28, 2006 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
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When the world has been secured by our elected representatives,the questions will be not “who will be made accountable for the dead?” (because we don’t do body counts) or “what have we acheived?” (because it will be self evident) but “and now?”....“now what?”...Nietzsche spoke of the war like man making war against himself in times of peace,in this instance perhaps he was wrong,the war like man adopts another Nietzschian tactic in times of peace,he “creates a need”,creates an enemy,a war,a fantasy.In so doing creates an industry both pro and anti war…but the childs screams remain unheard because he doesn’t have a website.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, January 28, 2006 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
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“George W Bush, I want a divorce”

You can’t divorce someone you were never married to—Bush was not elected he was anointed by the Supreme Court in 2000; and then Diebold anointed him again in 2004.

If the marriage license is fraudulent—the marriage never existed. 

So we don’t need a divorce attorney we need a Democratic Party with politicians who are vertebrates; and not spineless wonders!

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By Patrick, January 28, 2006 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment
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Asswholes and their Shit

One previous comment referred to our anointed felon in Chief as an Asshole. This seems to be a person who is focusing on the “Hole,” rather than the “Whole” of the person.

As to the Asswholes’ this is the group that is certain that we do not even know that we are being fooled. The time of the Asswholes is finished, their time has ended along with their misrule and general bad behavior, and that is certain. The reason that they all are finished is because of their continuous attempts to turn us all into nuclear waste. We have figured it out.

Gore Vidal speaks of how simple and idiotic are the bunch that is referred to as the “Faith based community.” These folks are created by our State, that is we give a tax supplement to these religious groups so that they may continue to teach people to engage in varieties of “Mindless behavior.” Politically, religion makes the slobs easier to jerk around.

We would all be nuclear waste if not for the intervention into our world of this group that we call “ET,” thats why the presence of “ET” is still classified “Above Top Secret.”

As to our political leadership from both the Democratic party and the Republican party, though more Republicans than Democrats, they are a bunch of “Blood Sucking Shit Spouting Zionist stooge Asswholes.”

Remember the words of Professor Irwin Corey; “Shit is Shit!”

PS; The word Shit is a Jewish word. “Shittum” is the word for acacia word, this is the wood that was used to build the Ark of the Covenant.

The definition of the word “Shittuf” is; “The good things God will do for you.”

The mighty Sons of Zion who carry forward with their Zionist plots against us have built their world upon “Shit.” The word of a Zionist, or one of their hired clown prince stooges, to us, is merely more “Shit.”

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By Todd Millions, January 28, 2006 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
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I greatly admire Gore Vidal and his work-from the flawed in detail Julian to my well thumbed copy of Creation(more well thumbed than G.D.W. Bushs copy of “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” I’d wager).I was hoping he would come out with a bio of his grandfather the blind air secretary-this is a time and place in aviation that still facinates me,so an insiders account of it from FDRs washington would be great from such a mage vantage and fount.

However in the needs of the time,his commentary has being invaluble in other ways and matters-
Thus am I puzzled by his understatment in this piece.

Surely retirment is not enough-granted this latest bozzo is just the latest in a long line,but certianly an international trial,followed immediatly by hanging all involved is the minimum requirment.I can’t see anyway around this,and I’m not a supporter of the death penalty excepting fraud in supply-Hallaburtion(say) supplies a 800$ claw hammer,take the ceo,board and major share holders out and shot em in the lobby,no trial-just an audit.I know it sounds draconian,but consider how many accountants are prepared to die for the bosses cut-I doubt this would have to be done more than a dozen times.
It seems to me however that simple george and his cabinet are of a different order than this,and I have had my nose rubbed in the consequenses of stupid greedy more than most.

One last point I have being hoping to discuss with Mr Vidal for some time-The moronic contention that the world changed on 911-I see a clear line from the pile of ammo makers profits that had the inevitable spark hit it in the summer of 1914.The sept attacks (whether a sequel to the ‘mysterious’ explosion of the Maine in 1898,or no)are just a smaller dump going up from that one.

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By Ron, January 28, 2006 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment
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I read each of the inspiring stories about our Country and the POSSIBILITIES of restoring it to it’s former granduer and honesty.  For a few seconds, I feel relieved and enlightened.  Then, reality sets in and I realize the Fascists OWN the ballot box.  Literally.  ES&S and Diebold.  Two brothers own each; Bush Rangers, etc.  Election or none, the results will be the same.  More of the same.  The only question is: will they continue the charade of having elections, or, just declare them not needed?  Nothing is going to change without physical challenge.

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By R. A. Earl, January 28, 2006 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment
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Do you think bin Laden’s crowd has dumped some sort of anesthetic into America’s water works?

Where are all the outraged activists who went berzerk enough to waste months and millions of dollars sanctioning Clinton when we need them?

Bush & Co have all but gutted individual rights and clearly broken laws in the process. They’ve built mindless and useless virtual fences which serve only to keep us IN and no one OUT. They’ve drained the treasury and are well on the way to dumping the entire country into Chapter 11. All this and more and not an EFFECTIVE peep from the populace.

But drop your shorts in America and watch out! I saw a shot on TV the other day of a mother bathing her baby… AND THEY PIXILATED THE PICTURE OVER THE BABY’S GENITALS. Not only does this say volumes about where the minds of the producers are but it demonstrates TO THE ENTIRE WORLD how IMMATURE our society really is.

OK to show in full color and stereo sound someone being murdered, drawn and quartered, but the roof falls in if a pop singer shows a split second of her boob on TV. Unbelievable!

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By R. A. Earl, January 28, 2006 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
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Further to this from I. M. DaMan in #84,

“My friends have always laughed at me when I have expressed my considered opinion that the right to bear arms is to assure that the control of the government remains in the hands of the people.”

As much as I fear a society where every (Terrorist)Tom, (Deranged) Dick, and (Hate-filled) Harry has a six-gun in his hand, I think I fear more the USA military firepower under the control of the present administration.

We’ll be damned fortunate if these fanatical outlaws don’t start WWIII in the next 47 months.

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By Gina N., January 28, 2006 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
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I’m blogging Susan Block’s comment on my journal!

George W Bush, I want a divorce.


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By Lee Driver, January 28, 2006 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
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Gore says it well, as he often has before.

It is a pleasant respite to sit by the virtual wayside with Mr. Vidal and sip a glass of red, while observing that, yes indeed, the lemmings are on the move. Forgive me, but could we possibly, once we get the boy king to withdraw, get the lemmings to stampede through Crawford on their way to sea?

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By Chip, January 28, 2006 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
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It is time for a new Boston Tea Party, my friends!  Call and email your liberal senators and reps and demand that they walk out of the State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.

I called Ed on the Ed Schultz Show the other day and suggested this, and Ed went a little weak kneed on me and sputtered for a few seconds before cutting me off.  Yesterday he called people who support the walk-out “wackos.” That was right after he played John Kerry’s speech calling for a filibuster of Alito, in which Kerry, for once, said we must act now and not concern ourselves with “political calculus,” in which he said, “If not now, when?”  Then Ed had that milque toast Kent Conrad, senator from South Dakota, who said something to the effect, in his whiny weak way, “Well, it is a political system, and we have to think about getting re-elected.”

I may be wrong, but I’ll risk it.  It’s time to grow a spine and become a REAL opposition party!  We must stand up to King George and throw all his Texas Tea into the the Potomac and make this once again a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”!

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By David McKinney, January 28, 2006 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
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Let me address the tongue in cheek comments by jon.

To say that Vidal was a friend of McVeigh is like saying Larry King is friends with everyone he interviews.

If you read the actual essay, Vidal never blamed Bush for 9-11. He was writing about a book by Stan Goff who examined the 9-11 tragedy. Goff believes that Bush stood down and let the attack happen.

As to Pearl Harbor, I will let you read Vidal’s defense of his writing.

It is easy to listen to the disparaging attack points of his critics and repeat them but difficult to actually discover the truth for yourself and nod in understanding.


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By Christine Smith, January 28, 2006 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
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Note:  Since yesterday, the numbering on the messages has changed…making everyone’s references to other’s messages off by 2.

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By Kangaroo Jock, Australia, January 28, 2006 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
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At least one American can read the writing on the wall correctly. The donkeys in Australia are equally ignorant of their imminent demise; ditto, the EU donkey - none of whom understand how their understanding of what money is for, is the reason for their terminal cancer! And it is pointless trying to tell them either so, war it is; after which, the survivors will certainly know where Iran is located.

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By Ron Ranft, January 28, 2006 at 12:34 am Link to this comment
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The person who pointed out that this all began with Ronnie Raygun is accurate. I can not think of a President from him forward that has done much for the People. Clinton was a momentary lull and pretty much nothing more than Republican lite!

At the heart of what Mr. Vidal says is education. I was taught critical thinking skills in high school. Twenty years later when I go to a University to get a BA I breeze through the program without buying more than maybe a quarter of the textbooks because what they are teaching was stuff that I had already learned in high school. As a high school sports official I constantly meet students who play great sports but can barely read or write much less think for themselves. When a society allows it’s government to spend its money for spreading democracy rather than to educate their children without raising their voices and their ire deserves what it gets.

I sat in a university biology class and listened to more than one student get testy with the professor over subject matter because it doesn’t conform to what the Bible says. These are the morons that we are supposed to not only be tolerant of but that we allow to make decisions about our own lives. How ridiculous is that that we don’t say to them that because of their belief in that which is absurd they cannot participate with the adults?

I expect Alito to be confirmed no matter how much the Democrats piss and moan because they will not filibuster. I think that they like what is going on and hope that in the next Presidential election they will win and then they will get a Unitary President. What is good for the goose is good for the next wannabe Emperor of America. Ralph said there was no difference between the parties and there isn’t. As much as the Democrats bemoan the Patriot act and the invasion of Iraq, remember, they all voted for it. They are all tainted by what we have become. Bush is just the worst that we have experienced so far. I think there is more to come. And as much as I wish that these insightful articles would make a difference, I think I’m pissing in the rotor wash of the helicopter!

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By jon, January 27, 2006 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment
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Any friend of Timothy McVeigh is worth paying attention to, especially when it is Gore Vidal who has made a life’s work loathing the United States and everything it stands for.  Some folks probably admire him most for his never ending bashing of Reagan, or better yet, the Bush crime family.  I especially relish his charge that King George and his court possessed the onerous ability to engineer the 9/11 plot on the twin towers with 19 Saudi fundamentalists at his beck and call.  Some of your own icons have not escaped his wrath.  He accuses FDR of knowing about pearl Harbor, in advance, and inciting the Japanese to attack so the USA could enter WWII, which Vidal says we should never have done.  Clinton does not escape his ire over the handling of The Branch Dividians in Waco, which of course, made his friend Timothy McVeigh mad.  But not mad enough to blow half of Oklahoma City federal building and it’s daycare center off the face of the earth because, actually, the FBI did it and framed Mcveigh in order to pass stronger anti-terrorist laws.  Hey, it all makes sense, doesn’t it?

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By Ken in NYC, January 27, 2006 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment
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Thank you GV for another masterpiece which exposes the sheer folly of this insane Administration.

If there is a G-d sitting someplace in the Etherial regions, may he have mercy upon our great folly as a Nation in re-electing this utter fool and village ididt we call our President.

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By Christine Smith, January 27, 2006 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment
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After reading Vidal’s essay twice (and listening to the audio), it is also heartening to read all the messages here from people who grasp and who do care about what is happening to our nation because of Bush and his gang…and to read the expressions of appreciation for the remarkable Gore Vidal.

However, in regards to message 73 stating “...thank God for Gore Vidal,”  and message 81 stating “...Gore Vidal is a godsend,” I must share my own feelings on the matter: Thank GORE for Gore Vidal.

Christine Smith

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By Gerald Anderson, January 27, 2006 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadly Curious George is not intelligent enough, nor is he literate enough to understand what Mr. Vidal has said.

That may explain why Mr. Bush has no shame and being unconsious,why it’s easy for him to act as if history does not exist,and also for him to believe in his own delusions.

America has been shot, by a robber in the middle of the night. She now lays on the operating table, while the family awaits the outcome of the surgery.

Will she live or will she die?

Will she be murdered by a fool man who snuck in while the lights were out, believing that the consitituion was only a “God Dam” piece of paper? Or will the surgeon manage to save her in time?

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By Jeffrey Morris, January 27, 2006 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
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I actually saw NBC’s Today Show present a “news” segment this morning in which the only “story” was a blatant promotional piece for a new book in which long-time neocon shill Fred Barnes claims that Bush is actually a “revolutionary.” They allowed Barnes to speak glowingly about how Bush “bucks the Washington establishment.” The corporate powers just keep shoveling this crap out, and there is no one to stop them. I want to believe we can make a difference, but does anyone honestly believe that no matter how many people rattle their pots during the State of the Union or march on the White House calling on Bush to “step down”, it will get more than a 10-second mention on the Nightly News?

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By C.M. Ramakrishna, January 27, 2006 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
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Why are Americans so incapable of throwing GW Bush from the White House?  Why don’t Americans clamour to change our outmoded and outdated Constitution into a Parliamentary one?  Why don’t people recognize that while talking freedom and democracy, GW Bush is laying the foundation for a religious dictatorship in our own country?

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By Tony, January 27, 2006 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment
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What a powerful, on-point article!

I wanted to invite Mr. Vidal’s readers to come hear him speak on Tuesday, Jan. 31st in Los Angeles. He will be participating in a rally as part of World Can’t Wait’s nationwide protests to “drown out” Bush’s State of the Union message with the people’s message and demand that BUSH STEP DOWN!

5:00pm gather at Hollywood & Highland
6:00pm Bring the Noise & march to CNN (Sunset & Cahuenga)
7:00pm Rally at CNN with speakers/performers

Then, the following Saturday, Feb. 4th, we will converge by the thousands to take our demand that BUSH STEP DOWN right to the White House.

Visit to learn more and give generously of your time, money and efforts to bring about a Bush-free world! Don’t keep this a secret—spread the word to everyone you can! If not now, when? If not us, who?


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By Irena Buczilowski, January 27, 2006 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment
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For the past 40 odd years, Mr. Vidal (MY HERO!!!) has been the lone voice of reason in this country.  Well, along with Roger Ebert, who can come out way in left field as well, once provoked.

Thank you, dear Mr. Vidal, for continuing to spout your vitriolic but shiny pearls before the swine of Washington.

I thought I’d escaped “decadent Europe” when I migrated to the shores of the hope of the future…. in 1967.

Well the future is NOW and it appears to be practically hopeless.  No one can spell anymore, “poofreading is dead”...  (misspelling NOT accidental).

If we can start impeachment procedures because of one tired old blue dress… WHERE ARE THE CRITICS OF THE LIARS AND CHEATS who are doing much worse now,  to start the same procedures?

Oh wait, they have to get through this election year first…  And put more fundamental kristians at the head of all the energy companies.

After that, only two more years of “the little emperor who could not” is a small price to pay for our total demise, eh?

RIP, all of us.  Except if you are lucky enough to be included in the max of 500 million which the chimp et al think can be supported by the current natural energy reserves.

China?  Are you listening?

‘course you are.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, January 27, 2006 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
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Gore Vidal—-Bravo—-excellent essay!

“Well, we still have Kraft cheese and, of course, the death penalty.” 

The damage was done by two fraudulent elections, and now our country is in grave danger.    It pains me to see how deftly Bush and his cronies diminished our civil liberties, using the Patriot Act which is anything except patriotic.

He appointed “those two” puppets to the Supreme Court.  And persists in a war, which will never conclude while captives stay indefinitely incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.  Two thousand three hundred American lives could have been spared and 120,000 Iraqi women and children would now be alive.

Instead we have tax cuts for the most wealthiest in our country, at the expense of the poor and working-class.  As well as an attempt to steal worker’s social security, and use these same tax dollars to further subsidize Bush’s corporate friends.

We have the folly of NAFTA, and jobs lost from outsourced labor.  An environment in danger, with no serious alternate forms of energy—an addiction to oil that interminably persists.

Although we can’t prevent natural disasters—our reaction to the victims of Katrina and Rita was phlegmatic at best.  And are concern for global warming is disingenuous doublespeak, talking about a “Clean Water Act” And “Clear Skies Act,” which is nothing more than a carte blanche program to further demolish our fragile environment.

So is it too late; can we still salvage the remains of our democracy?

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By M Henri Day, January 27, 2006 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
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Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur….

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By RFM JD, January 27, 2006 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: #78
Nathan Hale: “I only regret I have but one life to lose for my country.” cf.Patrick Henry

Ignore law
Bomb Iran
Another 911 inside job
Martial law
More bu$h

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By clifford j. wile, January 27, 2006 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
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one time at a dinner party in the great Pacific Northwest,our hostess asked “What in the world do you believe in Cliff?”  After some thought the answer I gave was—Gore Vidal. There is no reason to change that reply. The man is a true American.

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By Laura Carter, January 27, 2006 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment
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God bless Gore Vidal.

I’m sure someone else has already written that but I’d sell my soul for one thing on this earth:  If it would give Mr. Vidal immortality, so that he could be around forever dispensing sanity and good, precise and heartfelt reason in the midst of this polical morass in which this country currently finds itself, I would do it in a heartbeat.

I recently felt I needed a dose of Mr. Vidal (this was before I read this essay today 1/27/06) so I popped in the tape I’d made of his “American Masters” program (from ... ‘04, if memory serves correctly.)  At once, his voice, that comforting leonine growl that thrills me with its intonation and its brilliance all at the same time, made me feel so much better as I lay on the couch, absoring the truths once more.

He’s not perfect, he’s not God, and I *do* disagree w/some things about him (though, admittedly, few), such as his position as a supporter of “America First” during WWII.  However, I worry because, when we no longer have him, who is capable of filling those gigantic shoes?

His comments on the Roman Emperor Tiberius I found particularly agreeable in this “President Jonah” essay.  His comment “How eager you are to be slaves” sent a chill through me, as I mentally appropriated it to our current time.

If the people of this country were half as able to look at our political situation, and that buffoon in the White House, as frankly and honestly as Mr. Vidal does, George W. Bush would never have even GOTTEN to Election Day, 2004.

As I saw recently on a bumpersticker in Greensboro NC:  “2009 ... Hang in there, America.” - Laura Carter

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By I.M. DaMan, January 27, 2006 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Earl in comment #48:
“I hope it’s a bloodless coup when the time comes, but even if not, it is imperative it occurs. The world awaits.”

My friends have always laughed at me when I have expressed my considered opinion that the right to bear arms is to assure that the control of the government remains in the hands of the people. Never before have I felt so strongly in my conviction that this case is surely the truth. The tolerance of freedom expressed is the price of freedom enjoyed, and the public had better wake up to that fact or there will be no freedom left.

Live free or die.

I.M. DaMan

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By Jack, January 27, 2006 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
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Patrick Henry rendered those words about give me liberty and such.  Nathan Hale regretted having ‘but one life to give for my country.’

Gore Vidal’s good words here make him heir to those proud patriots.

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By Wildbill, January 27, 2006 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
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I don’t know of anyone who could have said it better than Mr. Vidal.  Former Senator Eugene McCarthy said a while back, “given the conglomeration of the news media into fewer and fewer hands, I see no way out of the hole we’re in.”  Given the appalling lack of statesmanship in either political party only adds to one’s sense of despair.

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By Gerald Nelson, January 27, 2006 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
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Comment #38 says:
“....lead me to speculate that Bush’s actions are exactly in line with bin Laden’s goals…..”

I would say it is the opposite: that bin Laden’s actions are in line with Bush’s goals. Bush probably got word to bin Laden in Tora Bora—“we will let you escape as long as you keep on doin’ what you’re doin’. That gives me time and excuse to set up a dictatorship, Osama, and I will make it worth your while in the long run.

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By Jim Payette, January 27, 2006 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
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I agree with Vidal. The problem -  is - What to do?.
Armed insurrection would just play into their hands.  The last 20 years I just raised my children and worked on myself and - it’s all just gotten worse. So making the world around you a better place - while always the right thing to do - isn’t going to work. There is the problem of non accountable electronic voting machines. Which is worse? That the voting public in the US actually elected the creep a 2nd time or we let him steal another election by thinking the Demcrats were an opposition party as opposed to a more socially liberal wing of the Corporate World Emmpire. Yes I felt safer when Clinton was President but…now we are in 1939 Germany except there aren’t any democracies out ther to oppose us. YOU can keep believing in the fantasy of the next election. I am sorry.We have to start thinking out of the box of our belief in liberal democracy. The present situation is beyond that. Face it. Start thinking now before we become Argentina in the 80’s.I see some signs that parts of the CIA are fightnig back against the Bushites. But they just want a more rational Empire. A better run one. I don’t have any answers yet.

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By Greenback, January 27, 2006 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I forgot one thing, Gore Vidal is a godsend.

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By Greenback, January 27, 2006 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
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Here’s looking at the bright side, as the world progresses with ups and downs we can assume this administration is a crashing lull which should result in a swell large enough to get all of us over the wall to the next level of evolution of the human consciousness. A level where it is common knowledge that war is archaic and pretty much useless, and true power unquestionably resides with the masses.

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By cosmosis, January 27, 2006 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
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While that buffoon William F. Buckley wasted his life describing the wave that washed ashore,Gore Vidal has been describing the storm that created the wave.  As usual he is brilliant and correct.

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By the mean green guy from the sixties, January 27, 2006 at 11:37 am Link to this comment
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As a former employee of NSA I have been embarrassed and mortified by the use of our facilities to watch our own citizens regardless of the intelligence product potential.  I agree with Mr. Vidal ...... and Ben Franklin who said “Those who choose security over liberty deserve neither”.  I don’t remember Nathan Hale being quoted as saying “Give me liberty ..... but only part of the time.”

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