Friday, July 23, 2004


[An update of Edgar Allen Poe.]

At New York City, just after dark one gusty evening in the summer of 20--, I was enjoying the company of my friend C. Auguste Duspin, in his little back library, No. 43, Rue Dubyuh. I was mentally discussing certain topics which had formed matter for conversation between us at an earlier period of the evening; I mean the affair of The Clenis, and the mystery attending the murder of Vince Foster. I looked upon it, therefore, as something of a coincidence, when the door of our apartment was thrown open and admitted our old acquaintance, Karl R---, the Guru of Our Noble Leader's campaign.

We had been sitting in the dark, and Duspin now arose for the purpose of lighting a lamp, but sat down again, without doing so, upon R.'s saying that he had called to consult us, or rather to ask the opinion of my friend, about some official business which had occasioned a great deal of trouble.

"If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Duspin, "we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark."

"That is another of your odd notions," said the Guru, who had a fashion of calling every thing "odd" that was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of "oddities."

"Before I begin," R. prefaced himself, "let me caution you that this is an affair demanding the greatest secrecy, and that I should most probably lose the position I now hold, were it known that I confided it to any one. A certain draft of a document of the last importance, has been purloined from the President's office. The individual who purloined it is known; this beyond a doubt. He is a former advisor to The Clenis himself, Sandy B-----, who is now in the hire of our arch-enemy, the French master spy, John K----."

"How is this known?" asked Duspin.

"It is clearly inferred," replied the Guru, "from the nature of the document, and from the appearance of certain results which arose from his employing it as he must. I may venture so far as to say that the paper gives its holder a certain proposal in a certain quarter where such power is immensely valuable. Frankly, it is a politically feasible plan to reinstitute the military draft, to provide sufficient troops for the next stage of the Forever Crusade. Under the cover of a call for 'national service', it requires every high school student to become a federal serf as a requirement for graduation."

"And you are worried that K. will steal this idea?" suggested Duspin.

"Au contraire, we contrived at length to see that he did just that. Following B.'s advice, he promulgated the whole thing as part of his campaign, just as we wished. Our problem is that he has now backed off from that, and buried any references to it."

"Be a little more explicit," I said.

"We dare not rely only on Diebold or on the Florida Secretary of State," elucidated R. "Our intention is also to split the opposition as before. K.'s support of this tool of empire endangered his support from anti-war and anti-draft remnants of the sixties, not all of whom so besotted their brains with drugs as to be unable to remember to vote. Many of them could be driven to a protest ballot for Nader, the Greens, or the Libertarians, by a little prodding by us on that issue. But now he has hidden his stance away, perhaps luring them to an 'anybody but Bush' vote."

"Why, this support of his, and the delightful effect which you forecast, is known," I promoted. "Indeed, I myself have praised its benefits in vote splitting on my own web site in February, and in comments at The American Street in April. The very strategy you describe was working, since the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft had then denounced K.'s support of conscription in their May-June issue."

"True," R. regretted, "but you acted too soon. Technically, K. still had an opponent for his party's nomination, some infiltrator from the Vegetarians, who sought to make up for his long and only recently repented advocacy of compulsory pregnancy, by a militant opposition to compulsory militarism. His followers raised sufficient stench that K. had to cover his tracks. If you visit the links to the K. site mentioned by you or COMD, you get only 404 messages saying 'You have requested a page that has a broken link or is not on the site...' We have no way to prove to the splinter draft denouncers that K. is following our lead on this issue."

"You might have spared yourself this trouble," said Duspin. "K., I presume, is not altogether a fool, and, if not, must have anticipated these denunciations, as a matter of course."

"Not altogether a fool," said R., "but then he's a liberal, which I take to be only one remove from a fool. And now, Duspin, what would you advise me to do?"

"You have, of course, an accurate description of the URL of the deleted web page?"

"Oh yes!" -- And here the Guru, producing a memorandum-book, proceeded to read aloud an address.

"Why, nothing could be simpler!" Duspin exclaimed. Grabbing a wireless-ready laptop from the nearby table, he entered http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/100days/communityservice_high.html as a Google search, then clicked on "Show Google's cache of" that same address. Voila! On the screen appeared a copy of K.'s deleted page "Plan to Require Service for High School Students".

"This is wonderful!" cheered R. "If he denies he is for this, we show this page to the peaceniks."

"Contrariwise," I schemed, "if he says he changed his mind, we attack him to the moderates, for more flip-flopping . Any way you look at it, he loses."

The Guru grasped it in a perfect agony of joy, and then, scrambling and struggling to the door, rushed at length unceremoniously from the room and from the house, to fire the next shots in his war. In his wake, Duspin suggested we should all make early reservations for Our Noble Leader's victory party on election night.

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