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Gore Vidal on Campaign ‘08 and America’s Future

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Posted on Apr 27, 2007
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Robert Scheer sits down with Gore Vidal to hear his take on the upcoming presidential campaign, religion and the future of the American empire in this first installment from Truthdig’s series of interviews with the iconic author and historian.

Watch and listen:

Transcript:

Robert Scheer: What’s going to happen now with our politics?  How do you look at this crop of Democrats?  What do you think is ... ?

Gore Vidal: Oh, chaos.

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Scheer: Chaos.  Who do you like in this horse race?

Vidal: Nobody.

Scheer: No one?

Vidal: Well, Cousin Albert [Al Gore] I like.

Scheer: I like Cousin Albert also. ... First of all, what’s with this guy?  I mean, why doesn’t he get in fighting trim? ...  Why is he holding back ... ?

Vidal: Well, I think, you know, his psyche was probably damaged. ... I don’t know him at all, personally, and always rather avoided him, but ... he’s got the only program that you can sell to the people, and he can be relied upon to keep us out of a war.  That’s enough for me.  The environment and no war.

Scheer: That’s enough for me also—this could be the boomlet right here, you know? ... Hillary scares you?

Vidal: No, I like her.  If she were suddenly president, I wouldn’t mind at all.  I worry about her character; I mean, she’s showing Bush-itis.  She won’t admit to a fault, won’t admit to anything, as though it were all-important to defend her vote?  Come off it, you know.  That’s ... dumb.  And whatever she is, I never thought she was in any sense stupid.

Scheer: Edwards, you don’t ....

Vidal: I like him.  At least he believes there’s a class basis for a political party.  Alone, I think, because everybody else thinks it’s just corporate America—that those are the two parties, and that’s where the money comes from.  He acts as though it has nothing to do with money.

Scheer: So who else is there—what about Kucinich—is it useful to have him ... ?

Vidal: I like him; he’s a nice kid.

Scheer: Who have I left out?  Oh, Obama—my goodness!  What about Obama?

Vidal: He’s a mystery.

Scheer: Maybe that’s why I left him out.

Vidal: Well, if we don’t have a clear idea who he is at this moment, when he’s spending a lot of money—because with all that money he’s spending, he could put out a program, and we would at least have some idea. ... It’s too soon for him.  He’s not been president-ized yet.

Scheer: Well, I’ve thought from the beginning that he’s going to be an excellent choice for vice president, that anyone who gets the nomination who doesn’t pick him would be an idiot.

Vidal: Yeah, and I think they probably won’t.

Scheer: And I assumed that that’s what he was running for, but then the thing took off.  And I’m afraid it’s taking off ... there are some good reasons—he’s a bit better on the war than Hillary, you know, and it would be good to have a nonwhite in the White House.

Vidal: It’s about time, certainly.

Scheer: ... You make a very good point:  with all of the momentum he has; with all the money and everything, maybe he’s falling into that—to get more money, to get more momentum, you have to become even more poorly defined. ...

Scheer: O Great One, give us some advice—how do you handle it?

Vidal: Ommm. 

Scheer: What’s it all about?

Vidal: It’s all about nothing.  That’s what it is.  That’s why people became existential, so they could say it was about something that they had just thought up.

Scheer: You don’t feel any inclination to embrace one of the standard religions?

Vidal: I like them, because, you know, they’re so absurd.  And they’re monuments to human vanity.  “I can’t just die and be nothing,” says everyone to himself, “it makes no sense.”  It also makes no sense that he’s somebody.  How do you get to be somebody?  He was just a bunch of molecules at one point.  Now he thinks he’s something that should last for all eternity.  That, to me, is madness—and his reward when he is duly surprised:  that there was nothing; that maybe, if there is irony up there with the Sky God, it might well be that the Sky God has enough irony to say, “Well, see, you weren’t anything were you?  Go away.” 

Scheer: Well, does this fill you with any fear or apprehension? 

Vidal: I was quite happy before I was born, so why should I complain about being nothing afterwards?

Scheer: You’re not nothing; you’re leaving behind a great treasure.

Vidal: Yeah, except there won’t be any people to read it.

Scheer: Why is that?

Vidal: Shall we begin with the educational system, and then we move systematically on through all the other reasons against it, including ... Tucker Carlson?  On television—I mean, that’s the end of civilization when that goes on.

Scheer: What is your view on what’s going to happen in this country in the next 50 years?

Vidal: We could still be saved by our own incompetence.  I think that the coming depression is going to ... see, I’m old enough to remember the ... depression of the ‘20s and ‘30s.  That was a moment of greatness for the American people, and indeed for politicians like Roosevelt.  I remember Gene McCarthy and I were talking about it once, and he said, “You know, the Depression was the only time when anything worked!”  He said, “I’ve got a lawyer now who wants to be a songwriter.  I’ve got somebody else who’s supposedly fixing the roof, but he wants to be a painter.”  He said, “Nobody does what they should be doing in this society.”  This is a guy who’d just run for president, and a very good one, too.  Antiwar.  And he said, “You know, this is ridiculous.  I mean, in those days, you had a carpenter, and he was a real carpenter.”  He said, “The post office worked.  They weren’t dreaming about being rock stars; they were dreaming about getting the mail out!”  And he said, “To watch all the services crumble, and everybody fantasizing about the future, because they’d seen people in the movies who fantasized about the future, and the future came true.”  I thought that was wise.  And ... I think the fantasies will stop when there’s no longer the leisure, and people will actually get back to work doing whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing, or even what it is they would really like to do.  An awful lot of people who want to be painters rather than doing roofs—well, be a painter.  Nothing’s difficult anymore; you can get the means for everything rather cheaply.  With the Internet and all this kind of interchange all around the world so rapidly, you can make a reputation, I think, rather quickly, and present yourself as a writer, as a poet, as this and that.  So, that, I think, the bankruptcy of the United States, which we’re looking at the edges of now, is going to be very useful to [bring] us to our senses. 

 


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By Bill Blackolive, May 19, 2007 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Quickest way to end the balderdash is taking Mr. Alan Miller’s growing site, INTELLECTUALAS QUESTION911.COM/MEDIA, and make it a book. It would be a best seller and all these hundreds in it with photos and comments, like Scheer and Vidal, would be talking amongst themselves, out in the open.

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By David Macaray, May 18, 2007 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Lots of good points raised by Messrs Scheer and Vidal, and lots of smart observations made by various posters.  But I’m still puzzled by the high esteem in which Dennis Kucinich is held by so many. 

While likeable and goofy in a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” sort of way, Kucinich is a political kook, a loose cannon.  Yes, he makes a lot of populist sense in his speeches, but making populist sense in a stump speech is one of the few luxuries you have when you have zero chance of winning.

As a life-long Catholic in a staunchly Polish Catholic congressional district, Kucinich was a vehement opponent of abortion.  One day after declaring his candidacy for prez, he announced himself as a vehement pro-choice advocate.  Hey, I’m also pro-choice, so I liked his move.  But he’s a loose cannon and an opportunist.  I wouldn’t elect him shop steward.

And let’s not forget that Kucinich is also the same Democrat who voted to impeach President Clinton, who crossed party lines to do Kenneth Starr’s unholy bidding.  If you don’t believe it, look it up.  And the reason ol’ Denny gave for voting such was that “it would give Clinton an opportunity to clear his name.”

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By ---, May 13, 2007 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

As someone who has read (and has an extensive library) of nearly every book Vidal has written, I have always regarded Gore Vidal as one of our greatest historians, a clear rational thinker, a truth teller, a true patriot, an iconoclast, a man unafraid to challenge the corrupt status quo of our government and its politicians regardless of their political party.  He has always said it like it is, and it is that I’ve always most respected about him.

Thus, I am most surprised and perplexed by his unusual supportive remarks of Democratic candidates who are, in my opinion, more examples of what Vidal has previously written about, critiqued objectively, and boldly criticized.  To say he “likes” any of them is to essentially say he likes weakness, hypocrisy, and imperialism.  Does he think for one moment any of them would put an immediate end to the Iraq War and withdraw all U.S. troops and personnel?  Does he think any of them would order an end to the U.S. government meddling in the affairs and conflicts of other nations?  Does he think any would truly fight for and use their power as president to end all federal discriminatory practices?  The list could go on…they are just more of the same.

As for “cousin Albert,” it Vidal’s remarks seem more favorable now than in previous interviews…I recommend readers visit a few previous Gore Vidal interviews in which he shared what he thought of Al Gore:

http://www.guerrillanews.com/articles/2301/Some_Inconvenient_Truths_About_Al_Gore

http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/09/20/vidal/index2.html

It is most sad and disappointing to see Gore Vidal essentially become a cheerleader for the Democratic Party.  How strange to find something positive to say about every Democratic candidate he is now asked about in this interview.  I miss that Gore Vidal of years past…and am disappointed in the mere Democratic Party mouthpiece he appears to have now become. 

Christine Smith, Colorado

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By Marshall, May 12, 2007 at 12:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ahhh - two old grumbling curmudgeons interviewing one another, followed by a chorus of liberal pessimists all dooming and glooming as is their genetic mandate.  As I recall, Bush’s horrific economic policies were to sink our great nation by term #2.  Instead, all you complainers got was good news (well, you found some solace in a softening real estate market no doubt).  Best you stick to your corporate/capitalist/fascist/Bush conspiracies whilst you lick M. Moore’s earlobes and whinny in recognition of one another’s prescience even as the gap between you and reality continues to grow.

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By Dawn, April 30, 2007 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

I couldn’t believe Vidal said he likes the idea of his cousin Albert in the White House. I voted for Al Gore in 2000 and the Supreme Court stole his rightful win. I was devastated at the time. But since then I have become aware of the true colors of Al Gore which are racist and fascist. I had no idea in 2000, but Gore Vidal should have known all along. Or maybe I should take Vidal at his word when he says he doesn’t really know him (Albert) at all.

The inconvenient truth is that Al Gore has been deployed by royal elements within the British government to do a propaganda job. Gore has been assigned the job of duping and high-jacking the “green movement” for the hoax of global warming. This bunch of bankers and millionaire hedge fund managers actually think the world is over populated by about 5 billion people and would like to do their share to reduce that number. The global warming scare is rallying people to their cause. Greenies are inadvertently assisting this genocidal quest.

Google the phrase, “environmentalists in Nazi Germany”. Click on the first reference titled, Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience. It provides a carefully documented account of the interrelationship of the environmental movement in Germany with the rise of the Third Reich, richly footnoted with many sources. This article notes ...“the Nazi movement’s incorporation of enviromentalist themes was a crucial factor in its rise to popularity and state power.”

Hitler and Himmler were both strict vegetarians and animal lovers. They mandated organic farming practices and grew homeopathic herbs for medicinal purposes. They were taught by ecologists and romanticists who railed against urban development and espoused a return to natural order, where man is just a link in the living chain of nature just as any other organism. This denigration of humanity to a place in nature equal to an animal would allow Hitler to become the mass murderer we all know.

Darre, the Minister of Agriculture and Reich Peasant Leader, spoke of Jews as weeds that needed to be exterminated so that the unity of blood (blond blue-eyed German blood) and soil could be restored. The literature of the environmental movement always included the idea of the German soul entwined with nature. “The “green wing” of the National Socialist German Workers Party was not a group of innocents, confused and manipulated idealists or reformers; they were conscious promoters and executors of a vile program explicitly dedicated to inhuman racist violence, massive political repression and worldwide, military domination.”(Peter Staudenmaier)

Al Gore’s movie is based on a false premise (that man’s contribution to CO2 levels affect climate) and he is just trying to get people scared so that they will stop thinking rationally. He has been deployed by the fascist bankers who want to dominate and subjugate the world’s natural resources (including human beings). The Emperor has no clothes but the media once again is complicit in this perpetuation of untruth.

They want to put caps on CO2 emissions. This sounds like a good idea but it actually is not. As much as I would like to have a clean, green world the carbon caps are designed to keep 3rd world countries underdeveloped and keep the multi-national corporations supplied with cheap labor (guest worker program here in the USA , out sourcing in other countries is very close to slavery).

CO2 emissions will be used to control our lives. Man’s opportunity for development on so many levels will be stifled.

“This is the true legacy of ecofascism in power: genocide developed into a necessity under the cloak of environment protection.” (Peter Staudenmaier)

Al Gore is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is not a Democrat. And he is definitely not someone we want in the White House. Gore Vidal needs to have a nice long chat with his cousin before he endorses this fascist so nonchalantly.

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By steve, April 29, 2007 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I like Vidal.
And I like Dodd quite a bit.
We are in a real pickle.
Overcoming the challenges will be that more satisfying.

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By American Slave, April 29, 2007 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

No wonder the interview is lifeless: Vidal is being asked to comment on a corpse.  America is dead.  Shall we count the ways?—political system, economic system, moral vision, religion, art, culture ...  Bury the thing and move on!  Get free of it! 

It’s time to start over from scatch, time to give ourselves a future.  What will the NEW America look like? 

In the new America, we will have the right of secession: We will not be prisoners in our own country. 

In the new America, political association will be VOLUNTARY.  This means that “we the people” will have LEVERAGE, INFLUENCE, the ability to WITHDRAW support.

In the new America, selection from a pool of qualified volunteers will supplement or take the place of elections: The cyncical corrupt debilitating demoralizing pointless election circus will be no more.  Aleatory democracy (random selection) will ensure proportional representation and will make it possible for HONEST and INTELLIGENT people to serve. 

In the new America, there will be no (un)Federal (un)Reserve and no debt-based currency.  We will own and manage our own money.  Instead of investing in international banks and the war machine, we will invest in ourselves.

In the new America, there will be no “income tax” and no intrusive totaltarian tax bureaucracy.  A simple national sales tax will encourage productivity, and a fixed universal rebate will make the tax progressive.

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By RAE, April 29, 2007 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

GV’s disheartened performance mirrors my own feelings and attitude these days. To listen and watch those potential leaders chewing on the same old bones is a frustrating exercise.

While ill-educated, fundamentalist Americans are fully engaged in such earth-shatteringly important issues as same-sex marriage, corporate America is honing their practise of deception and corruption into a fine art.

I wish it weren’t so… but from my viewpoint it is. While there are a FEW who are standing up to point out that the Emperor Has No Clothes, far too FEW are hearing the message over the clamor and din of the madding crowd.

It’s all about the money and the competition to get it. America’s new motto: He who has the most toys when he dies… WINS!

Nobody asks… wins WHAT.

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By Verne Arnold, April 29, 2007 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

After re-reading the transcript(more than once), I agree.  I agree with his closing paragraph, and anxiously await it’s fruition.

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By John Lowell, April 29, 2007 at 1:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

St. Just,

You say:

“John Lowell of the sanctimonious center, use your superior intellect to help us out of our ill-advised extremism NOW!  Also, writesome novels, plays, and esaays so we can savor the richness and breadth of your mind. Or, barring any of that, could we possibly hear from you the things that in your opinion should be said, but which are getting ingnored or all muddled up by the prominent fools of whom you speak with ‘fear’and contempt? Barring any of that, could you just go around with your tongue stuck out all the time, to show how disdainful you are of other people in general, let alone GV and others of accomplishment whose views don’t match whatever yours must be. The answer—John…John?”

I understand that its exciting to read my opinions on things, St. Just, but this once we really must ask that you kindly restrain your enthusiasm. Today’s offering is but a trifle, actually grin

And as to your positioning me in the “center”, I must object most energetically. While you are quite right to regard me as contemptuous - I am that - I’d prefer rather that you characterize me as utterly disengaged than centerist. I really want no connection whatsoever with Republicans or Democrats, left, right or middle. The view from outside suits me just fine, thank you. But are you really up to the answer I might propose on the many questions that are raised here? Only very special people are, you know, and there’s the membership fee, of course. grin

John Lowell

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By Ernie, April 29, 2007 at 1:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vidal knows more about American history than any other living soul, and has lived a life in full, unafraid of truthtelling (he was the first in print to question the governement’s story about 9/11).  I heard him in New York a few years ago, and he queried whether the Junta would allow another election…. quite seriously.  I hope we can reach 2008 without martial law and the death of everything a true patriot like Vidal has lived for.

Ernie

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By Christopher Robin, April 28, 2007 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, thank you Mr.Scheer and Mr. Vidal!

A week ago I was tickled to read Vidal’s latest essay on the Bush inc. I hoped, as always, to read more, but I understand both of you are busy, and to read of Mr. Vidal’s travels in just the last few months amazes me alone. Now a interview? I’m becoming spoiled!

I appreciate that at over 80, and with his bad knees Mr. Vidal still makes a effort to speak to the public and write. His wit and overview of the present & history is keenly perceptive, a real treasure. 

In the sprit of shorthand, I’ll respond by number.

1) Al Gore, if he can drop the wooden facade and patronizing attitude, be a fire in the belly populist, which I saw some brief moments of post White House, (even the moment of candidness of his concession speech ) I might get excited by him. I fear he maybe DLC type democrat?

2) This quote struck me, I think it’s at the crux of what the Democratic Party is facing.

Vidal: “At least he believes there’s a class basis for a political party.  Alone, I think, because everybody else thinks it’s just corporate America—that those are the two parties, and that’s where the money comes from.  He acts as though it has nothing to do with money.”

3) Obama? Yes he’s a mystery in details, but less so in character, which is compelling so far. You have to concede he has charisma, that is a potent as a politician. He’s intelligent, quick witted. It’s more than his appearance of being tall & skinny with a winning smile that harkens back to some guy Mr. Vidal knew first hand. Keep an eye on him, he’s clever and playing his hand even better than we might think now.

Obama speaking on the Iraq in 2002.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXzmXy226po Youtube 2:47 mins

4)Kucinich? He’s my “Mr. Smith goes to Washington”. The big money and media won’t give him a fair chance, he can be a bit of a loose cannon. I thought he did excellent in the debate, even with brief answer time allowed. Maybe more people will get behind him? I hope so.

5) Depression?... economist Dr. Ravi Batra, seems to see a silver lining after the darkness. He is not a doctrinaire free trader by any means. He views economics through a historical view of social cycles. He’s sounding upbeat, if his analysis is correct, were heading into a better period of society. But there will be economic turmoil hardship in the nearer future. Batra is a idea type economist, not seen since maybe Keynes?

6)Tradesmen? I hope it won’t require a depression to bring competence back to the professional world, as for daydreaming and hobbies, such is the pleasure life is made of. Do you think standing at a machine sorting mail all day at breakneck speed for eight hours, would be fullfilling in it’s self? No never will, depression or not.

I can’t say first hand, but life in pre WW2 United States seems slower and simpler. I think you might find a competent roofer in 20’s for example. Not requiring the economic collapse to archive that, I hope? 

Post WW2 is more the cause, I think productivity became the sole mantra, and it’s effects filtered through to today, on the job training is given short shrift, quality in craftsmanship and materials fell away too mass consumption and speed. It’s all about what society places a value on. Running twice as fast to stay in the same place.

From the conditions of imported labor,child and poverty, loss of standard of living here, and the 47 mil. without health care, labor is not valued & respected. We’re now reaping what we’ve sown.

Speaking of post war? Political scientist Harold D. Lasswell Ph.D.-Yale I always take a opportunity to post a link to this film, because it’s enlightening to where we find ourselves, serves as a warning to what can occur.

Despotism & Democracy
Encyclopedia Britannica films 1946 Youtube 9:56 mins
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfrQalpmdqk

Thanks ,
Your humble reader, and hobbyist electrician.

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By Hammo, April 28, 2007 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

In his closing remarks, Vidal indicates that American psychology or consciousness will be changing in the future.

I think he is right and this is already underway, yet possibly in ways he did not directly address in his comments.

Valid research is indicating some things quite interesting are happening and emerging that will affect social, cultural, political and other aspects of American life, and human culture internationally.

Thoughts on this in:

“Amazing enhanced human perception abilities are emerging, say researchers”

American Chronicle

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=20423

-  -  -

“Navy SEAL officer’s report on ‘remote viewing’ urges ‘transcendent’ intelligence”

American Chronicle

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=18354

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By Bill Blackolive, April 28, 2007 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, Mr. 911truthoutdotorg.  Gravel-Kucinich would be a ticket to save the US of A.  But, how to get these guys to acknowledge there is a 9/11 coverup?  In this area, they are crippled, and likely do not have the courage to speak out even as they learn they cannot win the Presidency.  And, my, what a glamorous wife Kucinich has, whom he considers worldly and cognizant - could she possibly be a real woman and talk out loud?...

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By St.Just, April 28, 2007 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Lowell of the sanctimonious center, use your superior intellect to help us out of our ill-advised extremism NOW!  Also, writesome novels, plays, and esaays so we can savor the richness and breadth of your mind. Or, barring any of that, could we possibly hear from you the things that in your opinion should be said, but which are getting ingnored or all muddled up by the prominent fools of whom you speak with ‘fear’and contempt? Barring any of that, could you just go around with your tongue stuck out all the time, to show how disdainful you are of other people in general, let alone GV and others of accomplishment whose views don’t match whatever yours must be. The answer—John…John?

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By bibisad, April 28, 2007 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is perplexing is Vidal in a sense desparages Kuncinich, who it appears dicusses all the points of Vidal himself. Perhaps he is jaded so much that he can’t see the forest through the trees. And I know how he feels! But if someone is standing up and fighting for truth, then don’t merely pass him off by saying he’s a good kid. That doesn’t accomplish much.

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By Anthony Martin Dambrosi, April 28, 2007 at 1:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t believe in God but I thank who or what ever it might be for Gore Vidal and after all of these years I think Norman Mailer thanks whomever for Gore Vidal too

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By oldgeezerpilot, April 27, 2007 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are now consumers. That is our job. We produce very little. BushCo invaded Iraq to keep the price of oil SKY HIGH and only purchased with US DOLLARS.

Dollars used to be real money,useful for buying American manufactured goods. Now, they are only good for buying OIL. There are 11 TRILLION of them floating around in the world. They get parked on Wall Street (Dow hit a new high yesterday - - -ever wonder why?)

There will ALWAYS be troops in Iraq. It will take 130,000 people to staff the 14 enduring bases.

They are needed to keep control of the oil in the hands of Exxon/Mobil, Chev/Tex, BP/Amoco, and Shell.

All US Companies. All committed to using the US Dollar. All committed to NO EUROS.

Sadly, the USA has globalized itself into a corner. If the EURO replaces the Dollar, we face an Argentine-style devaluation.

Great.

Or we can stay in Iraq. Forever. Keeping the sinking Dollar afloat.

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By writeon, April 27, 2007 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gore Vidal again, gosh, it’s forty years ago since I saw him for the first time on television. He was cutting like a newly sharpened rapier through the “justifications” for the Vietnam War. Sadly, forty years later he’s still fighting the stupidity and waste that is war, another Ameircan war, another lost war, another genocidal war.

Only the really big difference now with dear old Gore is how sad he sounds. He’s really a moralist and a believer in the idea of a Republic. Given his family background, it must be heartbreaking to see what’s happened to that particular dream.

Still, all is not lost, though time is running out. Maybe staying in Iraq is a good idea after all! Stay longer until the military is so compromised and reduced, it’ll be broken for a generation, and stay home for a generation and lick it’s wounds and re-build. Then maybe, just maybe, this’ll give us time to wrench the Republic back from the military/industrial complex, before we slide into a totalitarian dictatatorship of some sort.

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By 911truthdotorg, April 27, 2007 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

I vote for a Gravel-Kucinich ticket!

I believe they would be tough to beat because people are completely fed up with the same old sh*t going on in this country!

We need REAL change, not just a different name substituted for bush. They’re ALL the same. All corporate whores.

Demand a new, true 9/11 investigation! It is a lie!

Google video: 9/11 Press for Truth

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By John Lowell, April 27, 2007 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So this is what passes for the way of the intellect these days? My, you don’t have to read very much of this exchange to sense the damage the shiboleths of leftish liberalism have done to modern thinking. I mean the atrocious substitution of the sociological category for what is clearly and most profoundly personal. Scheer’s language is just chock full of these banalities. Barak Obama isn’t a man, he a “non-white”. These are the kind of sensibilities that walk you into an abortion clinic or a “marriage” with someone of your own sex? I don’t know who frightens me more, Scheer/Vidal or Jerry Falwell.

John Lowell

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By RobertBennett, April 27, 2007 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

“Nobody does what they should be doing in this society.”

Exactly! We only care about money and power.

I hope future installments of this conversation discuss possible solutions.

Attacking Conservatives will not work.  Conservatism is the Politics of Fear.  They want to destroy everything that even slightly threatens them.  They rule with Fear, and they attack dissent.

Unfortunately, Truthdig and The Washington Post are doing the same.  I agree with most of your observations about the problems with America.  But while Caustic Progressives may well slaughter their way into power, it won’t help; it will only make things worse. Generating Fear of Conservatives will not work for a Progressive Movement; we will simply become the lesser of two evils.  We need to be harbingers of Hope.  We need to guide with Hope; not rule with Power.

Conservative tactics will not work for a Progressive Movement. 

Conservatives want to make us fearful because it gives them control.  Progressives need to give Americans reasons NOT to be afraid. 

There are lots of reasons for Hope.  I’m dismayed the Progressive Movement is ignoring them.

Peace,
Bob Bennett
Lick Skillet, AL

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By Lily Maskew, April 27, 2007 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found Mr. Vidal just a little too pessimistic this time around.  That’s not to say that things aren’t totally a mess right now.  However, I feel that people have learned from this awful administration to stand on their own feet to improve the envirobmenbt, etc.  Those funny-shaped light bulbs are available to local grocery stores.  I’m buying one a week until all my lights will be enery-saving (they’re more expensive).  Each little incremental step that individuals accomplish can make a huge difference when all our efforts are combined.  I still have hope for the future, but then, I don’t want to be a rock star.

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By Bill Blackolive, April 27, 2007 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
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Gore.  There is a 9/11 coverup.  Please, say so again.  Are you feeling alright?  No?

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By dale Headley, April 27, 2007 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has anyone ever noticed that the most articulate liberals rarely get exposure on the mainstream media?  Principled, eloquent, liberals like Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Mario Cuomo, and others, are relegated to the internet, PBS, and CSPAN because the mainstream media is controlled by corporations who are determined to suppress their persuasive, populist, message which they see as anti-capitalist.

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By SamSnedegar, April 27, 2007 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Listen to Vidal. The oil war isn’t particularly important to him: what must happen to America, oil war or no, IS the important subject. It’s not so much what happens if we do not steal oil, but what has to happen even if we do, because the stolen oil only delays the denouement, there isn’t enough to prevent the bankruptcy and the depression. Hitler tried to pull Germany out of depression with wars of acquisition, and it didn’t work then either; there was only a temporary surge, and then auf Wiedersehen.

Vidal has cut to the chase; maybe I should too. Forget about the oil; it’s all temporary anyway in light of the impending bankruptcy and depression.

In ‘29 it wasn’t so bad because we still had wealth; today we have squandered our wealth and given it up to third world countries so we can have a lifestyle that includes paying athletes, noise-makers, and actors unconscionable amounts of money to entertain us, far more than we pay our doctors to heal us, and far, far more than we pay our teachers to educate us.

We also pay our journalists unconscionable amounts of money to lie to us and keep us from worrying about things like the impending depression.

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By Max Shields, April 27, 2007 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
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Well, I’m disappointed that GV couldn’t stick to his opening remarks and felt the need to pick around the “top tier” MSM annointed, so unlike GV’s iconoclastic image.

While I think of all these candidates - Kucinich, excepted - as war mongers with no clue about the foreign and domestic re-alignment demanded in our cultural and foreign policy quagmire - I do think that the President can do much harm (witness our current one), but since the state is inherently central to the problem, I do agree with GV that if we can find a “do no harm” candidate/president, to keep us out of war and attend to the environment - than the world and Americans will have the breathing room to correct the situation that is beyond the WH palace to grasp and the DC bubble to view.

In that case, I’d say Dodd may just be the remedy.

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By felicity, April 27, 2007 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Talked to my brother last weekend who informed me that his good friend Bill, a very rich venture-capitalist, a good soul and famously, eternally optimistic predicts - in fact says it’s a slam dunk - that the US is headed straight for the 2nd or 3rd world.

So, Mr. Vidal, with Depression right around the corner the American people may just be forced to shape up, in more ways than one - nobody was fat during the Depression, as I remember it.  (Time to sell your stock in the multi-trillion dollar diet industry.)

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By Herk, April 27, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

I always enjoy Mr. Vidal’s insights. When the future of the country is so full of doubts, the only certainty is that things are getting worse, why not say so? Of course it’s chaos. The polarized segments of the U.S. are not going to come to an understanding in this election. The impotent Dems are not suddenly going to be shooting lightnings from their fingertips. We cannot even be assured that there will be an election. Lincoln’s biggest mistake, from this non-historian’s point of view, was in setting a precedent for martial law during wartime. Even this contrived war leaves us vulnerable to the machinations of Mr. Arbusto. Were the cruel Jehovah of the Hebrew Testament real, it would certainly be entertained now.

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By G. Anderson, April 27, 2007 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can one pass on Gore Vidal’s comments easily. They offer a telling insight into why we are, what we are.

As he pointed out so aptly, the curse of our age is that everyone wants to be extraordinary, and that no one finds themselves good enough as they are.

Quite frankly, this is a result of our slavery to the corporations, who must first get their consumers to reject themselves, before they can succeed in selling them an idendity. How else can they make there buyers happy, by selling them an identity conected to the products they consume. An age where nothing makes one happier with oneself than a brand new car.

I wonder what the presidential candidates would rather be?

Our current leader, couldn’t be anything at all before he became president. I wonder when he looks in a mirror, who or what he sees?

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By Verne Arnold, April 27, 2007 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

God I hate commenting 1st or 2nd.  I always end up at the bottom of the pile.  Hmm, maybe that’s where this belongs.

Albert?  The Albert that just rolled over and played dead in 2002?  The Albert that made the sophomoric movie about global warming?

The Hillary who wants to keep troops in Iraq forever?
The Obama who wants to keep troops in Iraq forever?
The impotent Democrats who can’t even bust the most corrupt administration in U.S. history?

We are truly in deep, deep do-do and you sit in your arm chair pontificating about what?...Crap! Thats what.  Mr. Vidal, we’re going down!  Why?  Because the American people have lost any clue about what it takes to maintain a Democracy!  Democracy does not grow itself, it must be guarded jealously and diligently…it is not free of cost.

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