Saturday, October 15, 2005

"We'll All Be Dead" - Finding Love in a Nihilistic Time

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - When asked what he thought his legacy might be, George W. Bush awkwardly replied: "The future...well...we'll all be dead." Or, so says Bush biographer, Bob Woodward.

It's true.

All our toil, yours and mine, will come to an end. We will, like the billions before us, come to dust; our efforts, for good or ill, largely forgotten and, in the final analysis, deemed to have made as much impact on the greater world as the proverbial pebble's wake in a pond. So, why bother?

"We'll All Be Dead"
Finding Love in a Nihilistic Time
C. L. Cook

October 15, 2005

George's unintentional insight cuts to the core of the dilemma "human earth" now faces. We homo sapiens have evolved to the point where our continuance depends on the diminishment of our home. With every purchase we make, the planet is a little less able to survive in the form we know it. And, while we may indeed be dead down the road, the legacy we leave will, necessarily, be carried by those that follow.

Love Is All You Need!

It is miraculous, given the state of affairs on our sad and beautiful orb, humans yet get together and love each other. Through the ultimate expression of optimism, the human heart still yearns for the fulfilment only available to those willing to open their hearts.

But, there you go: Life is irrepressible.

Today, talking to a dear friend, we mutually mourned the world and its apparent destiny. Stalwarts both, we confessed of suicidal thoughts. Whether for that "great world's" sad estate, or the more trivial concerns that vex, haunting us individually, we spoke of denying irrepressible existence and having an end to it.

As is our Prerogative.

Hope is, as a friend once said, a razor sharp implement whose cut can both cure and kill. Today, the sun is breaking the cloud, and an improbable October day is hitting the 80 Fahrenheit mark.

Moving into the future's murk we will remember the meaning of humanity.

With a smile, a friend admitted to a blossoming love affair.

Life Is irrepressible!

Chris Cook
hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor to PEJ Newsw. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Reflecting Empire


The routine assault and looting of Iraqi civilians caught up in searches and random detentions in Iraq are not anomalous as we are told solemnly by imperial apologists but the export of racist home-grown brutality endemic in our law enforcement. Abu Ghraib is the return of this repressed, this violent underbelly of America's "liberal" state.

The Public Torture of Robert Davis

October 11, 2005

Less than two weeks ago, on September 29, US District Judge, Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the government to release fresh evidence 87 photos and 4 video tapes of detainee torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, which the ACLU had sought in a lawsuit brought against General Myers in 2003.

But for anyone looking for confirmation that brutality and abuse is not a war-time aberration but a home-grown reality in American law enforcement., no need to wait. An Associated Press Television News tape from New Orleans provides a sneak preview.

64 year old Robert Davis was hit at least 4 times in the head last Saturday night as he stood outside a New Orleans bar near Bourbon Street. As he seemed to resist, flailing at his attackers, 4 officers 3 white and 1 light skinned dragged him to the ground and then kneed and punched him twice, leaving him with blood flowing from his arm into the gutter. Another white officer, Stuart Smith, an 8 yr veteran of the department, then ordered the APTN producer, Rich Matthews, and the cameraman to stop shooting. When Matthews held up his press credentials, the officer grabbed him, pushed him backward over the car, and punched him in the stomach while letting loose a stream of profane invective. A mug shot shows Davis, who was booked for public intoxication and resisting arrest, with his right eye swollen shut, an abrasion on the left side of the neck, and a cut on his right temple.

None of the officers were newbies and though it was claimed that they were severely stressed by conditions in New Orleans, the truth is the department has had more than ten years of repeated charges of racism, brutality and corruption. During the hurricane, police were apparently involved in looting as well apparently making off with nearly 200 cars from a dealership. Davis is the latest proof that drinking while black or even just watching others drink - is an offense punishable by severe beating and even death in America.

Remember the dreadful torture in August 1997 of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant? Louima was simply unlucky enough to be standing outside the Rendez Vous Club in Flatbrush, Brooklyn, NY, when the police came to break up a fight. He was repeatedly beaten and tortured in the anus with a plunger. Six officers were involved and many others witnessed the barbarity but not one of them or the many witnesses intervened or decried it. Louima was delivered to emergency care at Coney Island Hospital where the officers fabricated a flimsy cover story that blamed his intestinal injuries on consensual homosexual sex. When Magali Laurent, a nurse at the hospital, blew the whistle, there was an uproar of outrage. This was supposed to be business as usual. That,s the same business that showed up on our newspapers last year when the imperial military and the court press proclaimed itself shocked, shocked at the sexual torture of Iraq civilians in prison.

Only two years ago, in November 2003, another black man, 41 year old Nathaniel West who had passed out drunk outside a fast food restaurant in Cincinnati, was beaten to death by 5 white and 1 black policemen wielding metal night-sticks. Tapes showed that the unarmed West resisted. But who wouldn,t if they were being clubbed in the head by six men? Jones was beaten at least a dozen times for several minutes even after he had fallen to the ground and been subdued. Only when he ceased breathing did the assault stop. He died minutes after he was taken to emergency care.

The routine assault and looting of Iraqi civilians caught up in searches and random detentions in Iraq are not anomalous as we are told solemnly by imperial apologists but the export of racist home-grown brutality endemic in our law enforcement. Abu Ghraib is the return of this repressed, this violent underbelly of America's "liberal" state.

Lila Rajiva is a free-lance journalist and author of "The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American media," (Monthly Review Press). She can be reached at:

Beaten New Orleans Man Revisits Scene
Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 11, 5:58 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS - Robert Davis stood at the corner of Bourbon and Conti streets in the French Quarter and stared in disbelief at the brown stain on the sidewalk.

"Is that my blood? It must be," said the 64-year-old retired elementary schoolteacher, who was arrested and repeatedly punched by police over the weekend. "I didn't know I was bleeding that bad."

The confrontation, captured on videotape and broadcast across the country, has put another unwanted spotlight on the beleaguered, exhausted police force in this storm-struck city.

Three officers pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the incident and the U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation.

Davis disputed contentions by police that he had been drinking.

"I haven't had a drink in 25 years," Davis said Monday. "I didn't do anything. I was going to get a pack of cigarettes and taking my evening constitutional."

The two city police officers accused in the beating, and a third accused of grabbing and shoving an Associated Press Television News producer who helped capture the encounter on tape, pleaded not guilty to battery charges and were released Monday.

After a hearing, at which trial was set for Jan. 11, officers Lance Schilling, Robert Evangelist and S.M. Smith were released on bond. They left without commenting. They were suspended without pay Sunday.

Police Superintendent Warren Riley said any misconduct found in an investigation would be dealt with swiftly. He noted the video showed "a portion of that incident."

"The actions that were observed on this video are certainly unacceptable by this department," Riley said.

Davis is black; the three city police officers seen on the tape are white. But Davis and police officials have said they don't believe race was a factor.

Two other officials in the video appeared to be federal officers, according to police. Numerous agencies have sent officers to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and police spokesman Marlon Defillo said it would be up to their commanders to decide if they would face charges.

Davis had stitches under his swollen left eye, a bandage around a finger and complained of aches in his left shoulder and soreness in his back. His lawyer said he suffered fractures to his cheek and eye socket.

The confrontation came as the New Orleans Police Department — long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption — struggles with the aftermath of Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

Davis said the confrontation began after he had approached a mounted police officer Saturday to ask about curfews in the city when another officer interrupted.

"This other guy interfered and I said he shouldn't," Davis said. "I started to cross the street and — bam — I got it. ... All I know is this guy attacked me and said, 'I will kick your ass,' and they proceeded to do it."

The APTN tape shows an officer hitting Davis at least four times in the head. Davis appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. Davis' lawyer, Joseph Bruno, said his client did not resist police.

Another officer also kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was pushed to the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter. The officers accused of striking Davis were identified as Schilling and Evangelist.

During the arrest, another officer, identified as Smith, ordered an APTN producer and cameraman to stop recording. When producer Rich Matthews held up his credentials, the officer grabbed him, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

Davis had returned to New Orleans over the weekend from Atlanta to inspect six properties owned by members of his family, intending to clean them up or figure out how to rebuild them. He's no longer sure he'll return permanently to the city he's called home for 28 years.

"That's up in the air. The chaos that's here — I don't know," he said.


Associated Press writer Rachel LaCorte contributed to this report.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Striking B.C. Teachers Found 'In Contempt'

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Striking B.C. teachers vowed to continue their "wildcat" strike Tuesday, despite a B.C. Supreme Court decision ruling the walk-out illegal and holding the B.C. Teachers Federation in contempt of court.

Striking B.C. Teachers Found 'In Contempt'
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
October 11, 2005

Citing "anarchy" and the end of society as we know it, B.C. Justice Nancy Brown Sunday ruled in favour of a B.C. Public School Employers Association application to the court to rule the teacher's walkout illegal under the terms of a B.C. Labour Relations Board finding.

"No citizen or group of citizens may choose which orders they may obey," said Justice Brown. The Justice continued, expressing concern for the foundation of the law and western society, saying if the teacher strike was allowed to go unchallenged, "anarchy cannot be far behind."

BCTF predisent, Jinny Sims is so far unbowed by the bench order, saying: "The actions we're taking do not signal any disrespect for the law. Rather, we are engaging in a political protest against the provincial government and its unjust legislation." Sims says she's tried to set up a meeting with Labour Minister, Mike De Jong to continue serious talks, but promises without resolution of issues on the table, the strike will continue.

"It is going to take a resolution to our three issues for the schools to be open on Tuesday," Sims says.

Justice Brown has ordered BCTF representatives appear in court Thursday when she will decide penalties. This could mean fines levied against the union, and possibly jail time for its executive members.

Friday's walkout came following provincial legislation rammed through the legislature over the protestations of the opposition New Democrats. The NDP staged an all-night filibuster against enactment of the Bill that freezes teacher's wages until mid-2006.

The BCTF is seeking smaller class sizes, wage increases, and recognition of their right to collective bargaining.

B.C. teachers have suffered imposed contracts four times since 1993. The Liberal government passed legislation in 2001 making education an essential service and banning strikes.

The union represents approximately 42,000 members. Friday's walkout was endorsed by more than 90% of the membership.

The dispute effects about 600,000 students in B.C. and their families.

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Gorilla Radio for Monday, October 10, 2005

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - This week on GR: Chris Genovali of the Raincoast Conservation Society and taking the bears out of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Angelika Hanko and a European perspective on British Columbia wilderness heritage.

Janine Bandcroft bringing us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site:

You can check out the GR blog at:

Gorilla Radio for Monday, October 10th, 2005
C.L. Cook

PEJ News

Some of British Columbia’s highest profile Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGO’s) have spent thousands of hours in tripartite negotiations with the provincial government and major timber interests here in efforts to create protected zones within the Great Bear Rainforest. Last week, Premier Gordon Campbell refused to endorse the deal, effectively nullifying the initiative.

But, that may not be as bad a development for environmentalists as it at first appears.

Chris Genovali is Executive Director for the Raincoast Conservation Society, a long-time environmental campaigner, and founding member of both the Clayoquot Rainforest Coalition, and the Taiga Rescue Network. His past work with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee helped establish the Sooke Hills Wilderness Park and earned him Monday Magazine’s “Person who made a Difference Award” in 1998.

A recent study by Raincoast is highly critical of the unendorsed deal for its failure to adequately protect species’ habitat in the Great Bear. Chris Genovali and taking the bear out of the Great Bear Rainforest in the first half.

And; we who daily live amidst the awesome natural beauty of B.C. can be forgiven for sometimes taking that splendour for granted, but for millions around the world who have studied the vast and unique biological and cultural diversity encompassing our neighbourhood, British Columbia represents a rare opportunity to experience a natural world long extinct in their home countries.

Angelika Hanko is a German schoolteacher who’s connection to Canada’s west coast began with a visit to her school by Bella Coola Nuxalk Chief Qwatsinas. On that occasion, Angelika and her students were stunned to learn of First Nation’s struggles to stand up to Big Timber and their ally, the B.C. provincial government.

Angelika Hanko in the second half.

And, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week. But first, Chris Genovali and seeing a forest for the bears.

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Luciana Bohne, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Chris Floyd, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Jennifer Loewenstein, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Sheldon Rampton, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Paul Watson, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., Dave Zirin, and many others.

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Germany's "Margaret Thatcher" to be Named Chancellor

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Germany selected it's first woman Chancellor today following weeks of coalition government deal-making and sometime bitter denunciations between Germany's two largest parties. The selection of conservative, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader, Angela Merkel is seen as a move away from outgoing Chancellor Gehardt Shroeder's attempts to revitalize Germany's economy and social safety net.

Germany's "Margaret Thatcher"
to be Named Chancellor

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
October 10, 2005

Though yet to be officially announced, it seems Germany's "Chancellor Wars" have reached a cease-fire today with Germany's ruling Social Democrats' declaration of an agreement to share power with the Christian Democratic Union and the naming of CDU leader, Angela Merkel as Chancellor. Gehardt Shroeder left doubt he will remain a part of the new coalition government, saying: "I have a different plan for my life."

Merkel, as well as becoming the first woman to hold the post, will be the first German born in the former communist to do so. The former physicist says: "We have set our aim to create a coalition that stands for new policies," adding, "We want to work together for the people of this country."

Part of that work is believed to be a strengthening of relations with the United States of America, damaged over the Iraq war and occupation. Though refusing to go into foreign policy specifics, Merkel cited Iraq, saying "That doesn't mean we [Germany and the U.S.]have to agree on every issue, but there needs to be a good trustful relationship."

Germany has been in political flux since September's general election that failed to grant a majority mandate to either of the country's two largest political parties.

At a press conference today, Merkel said: "We have achieved something big," Through lengthy negotiations, in addition to the chancellery, her party has secured six ministries, including justice, labour and social affairs, and the foreign office. This could be bad news for the 11+% of unemployed Germans who, after seeing a reduction in social benefits under Shroeder, are expecting worse to come from the conservative Merkel's government.

Among the CDU's ambitions for economic reform is a flat-tax, and a greater embracing of international trade.

Commenting on her new responsibilities, Merkel said: "This new start and new coalition offers us new opportunities. We are obligated to achieve success. We must succeed."

Angela Merkel assumed the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union in 2000.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Santiago Under the Volcano

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - For the fortunate, there are moments in life that utterly destroy the comfortable precepts of reality we cling to, revealing the naked injustice of life on this planet and laying bare one's heart and soul to the immense tragedy that is the existence many of our fellow humans endure. My moment of aweful clarity came as I watched two dogs locked in comical coitus, unable to extricate themselves from their passion.

Santiago Under the Volcano
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
October 9, 2005

Last week, Hurricane Stan made landfall in Central America. Not a large hurricane by recent standards, Stan arrived in Guatemala as a measly Category 1, nothing like the Cat. 4 behemoth Katrina, but the devastating effects on life, limb and property in Guatemala is by magnitudes larger than even the terrible destruction wrought by that monster.

Deep in the interior, far from the coast, entire villages have been erased, buried by massive mudslides triggered by Stan's heavy rains. Homes that survived the wind and rain, and the people living in them, had no chance when the volcano shrugged sending down its rocks and mud. Authorities in the small nation are today reporting more than 1400 villagers, Mayan peasants, killed in just one of the many stricken towns. The storm has displaced as many as 100,000 throughout the country.

Santiago Atitlan sits on the shore of Lake Atitlan, one of the planet's most beautiful locations. The deep, blue lake is actually a volcano crater, surrounded by several live volcanoes. Tourists have endured long "Segundo" bus journeys through Guatemala's western mountains to visit the highland lake for decades.

The indigenous Maya live there today much as they have for centuries. Though coffee has replaced corn as the mainstay crop, peasants still eke a hard-scrabbled living from milpas (small gardens), and farms, while the women and children spend most of their time in their small villages weaving intricately designed, beautifully coloured fabrics for sale to tourists in the biggest town on the lake, Panajachel (Gringotanango in local parlance).

Panajachel is a curious place, populated by a cosmopolitan mix of Sixties era hippies, European ex-patriots, and a surprisingly vibrant Hare Krishna community. The streets are clean and contain dozens of restaurants and boutiques, businesses in most cases built by the northern immigrants. It was, in late 1986, a prosperous, if nervous place. (During those years, a particularly ruthless administration, at the bequest of the United States, was conducting a massive murder and disappearing campaign against the majority Maya, in the name of fighting communism. Military check points and soldiers, armed and equipped with the latest American gear, were a common and menacing sight throughout Guatemala, but it was in the western highlands along Mexico's border, where a small resistance operated, that the atmosphere was most tense). Tourists, wanting to get a taste of the "real" life of the Mayan peasants, would take day trips from tony Panajachel across the impossibly blue Lake, to the little villages that provided the town's food, goods, and labour.

And so it was your reporter, a largely clueless kid at the time, chanced to shore up in the village of Santiago. 'Santiago Under the Volcano,' as Brian Eno once sang, There among the crudely constructed shacks and corrugated shelters, clinging improbably to the unpromising earth, the diminutive Maya went about the difficult business of survival on the fringes of a society seemingly intent on their destruction. We white travellers, towered over them, wandering through their home asking for food and drink.

Sitting on a miserable patio, drinking beer and eating tough chicken sandwiches, we represented a world these people could barely conceive; a world of leisure, where one just snaps a finger to receive whatever desired; no toiling in the fields, climbing steep slopes to tend meagre corn fields; no endless hours straining eyes and fingers over a loom for the pittance it promises; no fear of soldiers in the night, spiriting away fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons to be never again seen. We contented sat watching and being watched, a surreal illustration of social dissonance; we whose expectations and life experience was as entirely alien to them as theirs was to our own.

An ancient woman approached. She held a small basket, filled with little clay whistles, formed to resemble the Quetzal, the rarely seen long-tailed bird figuring so large in Mayan myth and magic. While the dogs, comically inextricably entwined struggled, we laughed and drank. The old woman neither laughed, nor drank, but stood dignified holding forth her little basket of birds. And there, in the little town of Santiago, while the dogs fucked my heart cracked open. Raw to their despair, unguarded against the hopeless future, naked to the pain of life and the misery it exacts, I took from the basket the least of her treasures, a circular clay talisman, hollowed and adorned with little scratched rings around the edges.

Adios Santiago, under the volcano.

Chris Cook is Senior Editor for PEJ News. He also host the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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Down in the Bush Bunker

Torture's Final Stand
Bunker Days with George
Weekend Edition
October 8 / 9, 2005

Bush's speech to the National Endowment for Democracy was a long and tedious journey through the shadowy world of terrorism. It was loaded with the same wearisome phantoms and dreary evil-doers that have appeared in every Bush speech since September 2001. Bush is beginning to sound like the three wheeled ox-cart trundling down the road emitting the same shrill screech with every rotation. The man needs some new material.

His dismal performance on Thursday further demonstrated his inability to grasp reality or to deal with the mess he's created. He dredged up the lackluster imagery of 9-11 to cobble together a 40 minute monologue that excluded every topic of national interest except terrorism. Even his audience, which was chock-full of flag-waving jingoes and "democracy-spreading" zealots, appeared dumbstruck.

"Recently our country observed the fourth anniversary of a great evil, and looked back on a great turning point in our history," Bush said. "We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won."

9-11; 9-11; 9-11, ad infinitum ...

Bush's penchant for repetition would leave Joseph Geobbels wincing. It's simply impossible to reiterate the same mantra for 4 years without producing a jaw-dropping silence among one's audience. That's especially true given the latest polls that show that only 7% of Americans think that terrorism is the most important topic on the national docket. For Bush, however, terrorism is the last flimsy bit of straw that holds his presidency together.

"Our nation stood guard on tense borders; we spoke for the rights of dissidents and the hopes of exile; we aided the rise of new democracies on the ruins of tyranny," Bush boomed ... "In this new century, freedom is once again assaulted by enemies determined to roll back generations of democratic progress."

Bush's delusional ravings are increasingly reminiscent of his German forebears in the waning "bunker-days" of the Reich.

Is there someone in the crowd who hasn't heard of Bush's threat to veto a Defense Dept spending bill to preserve his inalienable right to torture prisoners? And yet, even while the bombs are falling on far off Tal Afar, or thousands of America's poor and huddled masses have been shunted off to relocation centers, or hundreds of skeletal prisoners in Guantanamo waste away under Bush's approving glare; the imposter-in-chief still rattles on about "freedom and democracy".

It's extraordinary.

Bush's soliloquy contained all the shrill invective and empty-headed rhetoric we've heard a thousand times before; the same bedraggled metaphors the same fusty platitudes, the same scripted delivery.

"While the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane. Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism ... .This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom."

Bush has joined fellow-travelers Hitchens, Friedman, and Blair in pushing the errant theory that terrorism arises from an "evil ideology". The assumption has been discredited by experts like Robert Pape, who have proved beyond a doubt that more than 90% of all terrorist attacks are a response to occupation not ideology. They hate our soldiers garrisoned in their countries not "our freedoms".

"Figures show that Al Qaida today is less a product of Islamic fundamentalism than of a simple strategic goal: to compel the US and Western allies to withdraw combat forces from the Arabian Peninsula and other Muslim counties." (Robert Pape; NY Times 7-9-05)

Still, we can't expect Bush or his dissembling cadres to abandon their last frail shred of legitimacy.

No way.

If Bush was serious about "evil ideologies" he'd direct his attention to the neocon dogma that has already killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, with millions more entering the imperial crosshairs every day.

Who are the real terrorists?

"We know the vision of the radicals because they've openly stated it," Bush averred. "The militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country ... ..The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror."

Blah, blah, blah. There's nothing here but pure, unalloyed fear-mongering; 5 years of blather neatly wrapped in one fatuous paragraph.

What a pathetic creature Bush is; a tattered coat-on-a-stick waving his finger in the air in false bravado with head bobbing like it's on a spring. What a poseur, a flimsy, cardboard cut-out of a man, slapped on a TV screen in a blue suit, or with sleeves rolled up for a Crawford photo-op. If you could get close enough you could pass your hand through this pasty-gray hologram; this vacuous political light-show that appears like an apparition and then vanishes into thin air; its 100% fakery from stem to stern.

How apropos that Bush would proffer his terror-fantasies to the NED, that amalgam of global warriors who are under contract to spread the neoliberal message to the four corners of the earth; the modern-day Trostkyites who siphon money from the public till to topple regimes and bring in the corporate parasites from Halliburton, Bechtel and Blackwater. How convenient to have the forces of empire assembled under one blood-stained banner to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to pilfering the world's oil and grinding the great mass of humanity into endless, crushing poverty.

Bush's terror-speech will do nothing to boost his popularity. The latest polls all show Bush and Co. headed for the bottom of the political fish-tank. Don't expect a change in tactics though, Bush will ride bin Laden's coattails to the bitter end. Terrorism is the grand deception; the "Big Lie" that animates the war machine and breathes life into the crusade of wanton destruction.

"The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century ... .. It's like the ideology of communism ... and explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent ... .. Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future".

Yup; 4 years later and they still "hate our freedoms". They're not seeking relief from the American soldier who has a boot on their neck, or who shoots them at check-points, or who humiliates them in their own home in front of their children, or who tortures them in Saddam's prisons, or who bombs their wedding parties, or who poisons their land, or who steals their resources, or who savagely kills over 100,000 of their brothers and sisters.

Nope; it's "our freedoms" they hate.

The people who tuned in to Bush's speech thinking they'd hear something different, some willingness to change direction and put the ship-of-state aright, must have been sorely disappointed. The Bush loyalists are radicals to the core, unable to accept responsibility for their actions and incapable of reason. The speech was the culmination of 5 years of unrelenting deception and demagoguery. Nothing has changed. It's futile to hope that fanaticism can be tempered or mitigated. It's either rooted out or it spreads.

Mike Whitney
lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: