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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

The dog that did not bark


“But there is, somewhere out there, a watchdog that never seems to bark in the night. Yet the dog that doesn’t bark is the one that should be guarding the house from burglars, in this case the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower so generously warned against.”

Gore Vidal


In November 2000, the 43rd presidential campaign of the United States had reached its climax, culminating in the closest American presidential election ever. Shortly before, the Clinton administration had been riding high on a period of unprecedented economical growth fueled by widespread consumer optimism during eight years of which the United States was the hub of relatively peaceful international coexistence.

The democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, destined to coast towards victory, led a campaign marred by the effects of a scandal-tainted Clinton presidency; as well as his own lack of personal appeal and directive. These traits would constitute a major obstacle for his quest of the presidency, even with an awkward and blundering George W.Bush leading the opposing camp. Al Gore would eventually steer towards what would become a much disputed defeat on November 7th 2000.

Gore’s cousin; novelist, playwright, and controversial critic of the American democratic system; Gore Vidal, wrote an open letter to the “President-Elect” in an opinion published in Vanity Fair, December 2000, addressing the impending agenda of economical affairs, geopolitics, and the urgency for a rekindled political conscience vying for Bush’ attention as soon as the newly elected President would start his first term in the White House.

The last part of Gore Vidal’s piece in Vanity Fair is testimony to his signature style of caustic rationale, which was stepped up considerably in a recent polemic “The Enemy Within” featured in The Observer of 27th October 2002. Vidal explores the premise of a White House coordinated labyrinth of lies and fabrications that exploited the 9/11 disaster for its own aims; an ominous take on “The Grand Chessboard,” a book written in 1997 by Zbigniew Brezezinski, former National Security Advisor to the Carter administration.

“The United States had to establish a foothold in Eurasia, in order to exert control over that region, the 9/11 attack gave the US the imperative to secure that gateway, and invade Afghanistan, since “Eurasia accounts for 60-per cent of the world's GNP and three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.”


Conclusion from Gore Vidal’s article: “Washington, we have a problem”

“Our Congress has been hijacked by corporate America and its enforcer, the imperial military machine. We the unrepresented people of the United States are as much victims of this militarized government as the Panamanians, Iraqis, or Somalians. We have allowed our institutions to be taken over in the name of a globalized American empire that is totally alien in concept to anything our founders had in mind. I suspect that it is far too late in the day for us to restore the republic that we lost a half century ago. Also, as Pericles reminded the Athenians, empires, no matter how villainously acquired, are dangerous to let go.
Even so, Mr. President-Elect, there is an off chance that you might actually make some difference if you start now to rein in the warlords. Reduce military spending, which will make you popular because you can then legitimately reduce our taxes instead of doing what you have been financed to do, freeing corporate America of its small tax burden. The 1950 taxes on corporate profits accounted for 25 percent of federal revenue; in 1999 only 10,1 percent. Finally, as sure as you were not elected by We the People but by the vast sums of unaccountable corporate money, the day of judgement is approaching. Use your first term to break the Pentagon. Forget about a second term. After all, if you succeed on the other side of the Potomac, you will be a hero to We the People. Should you fail or, worse, do nothing, you may be the last president by which time history will have ceased to notice the United States and all our proud rhetoric will have been reduced to an ever diminishing echo. Also, brood upon an odd remark made by your canny, ill-fated, predecessor Clinton. When Gingrich and his Contract on (rather than with) America took control of Congress, Clinton said, “The president is not irrelevant.” This was a startling admission that he could become so. Well, sir, be relevant. Preserve, protect, and defend what is left of our ancient liberties, not to mention our heavily mortgaged fortune.”

Gore Vidal, Vanity Fair 2000-


Excerpt from Gore Vidal’s “The Enemy Within”

Many commentators of a certain age have noted how Hitlerian our junta (Bush/Cheney) sounds as it threatens first one country for harbouring terrorists and then another. It is true that Hitler liked to pretend to be the injured - or threatened - party before he struck. But he had many great predecessors not least Imperial Rome. Stephen Gowan's War in Afghanistan: A $28 Billion Racket quotes Joseph Schumpeter who, 'in 1919, described ancient Rome in a way that sounds eerily like the United States in 2001: "There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented ... The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours."' We have only outdone the Romans in turning metaphors such as the war on terrorism, or poverty, or Aids into actual wars on targets we appear, often, to pick at random in order to maintain turbulence in foreign lands.


For a complete reading of “The Enemy Within”

The Grand Chessboard – American primacy and its geostratic imperatives – By Zbigniew Brezezinski – Basic Books 1997


posted by Walter at 1/22/2003

Monday, January 20, 2003

R E M E M B E R ?

On “The Blacklisted Journalist”, Column Thirty-four, June 1 1998 By Al Aronowitz- I located this funny caricature of past and present confusions contributed by Marvin Cohan.



A computer was something on TV
From a science fiction show
A window was something you hated to clean
And RAM was the cousin of a goat...

Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And GIG was your middle finger upright
Now they all mean different things
And that really Mega-Bytes

An application was for employment
A program was a TV show
A cursor used profanity
A keyboard was a piano

Memory was something that you lost with age
A CD was a bank account
And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy
You hoped that nobody found out

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You'd be in jail for awhile

Log on was adding wood to the fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode

Cut you did with a pocket-knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spider's home
And a virus was the flu

I guess I'll stick to my pen and paper
And the memory in my head
I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash
But when it happens they wish they were dead

© Marvin Cohan - 1998


posted by Walter at 1/20/2003