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NEW ORLEANS - 21 February, 2003: I should have started writing you yesterday or earlier today, my love, but I was surfing like crazy and answering all my e-mails. My phone will be shut off tomorrow, more than likely, so I was trying to enjoy the luxury of having access at home. I'm not really certain when I'll be able to get the phone reconnected again. Maybe after Mardi Gras if I can put the ducats together. It was fun while it lasted ...
There is so much I wish to say to you this week, as I'm uncertain when I shall have the time to write again. Tonight, though, I find it difficult to organize my thoughts. There are so many things I have to do this weekend in addition to tending bar, that I feel a sense of overwhelm again. I have new writers in queue and that's always a special pressure. I promised Scott I'd run some files across town to Kinko's for him in the morning. I haven't done my laundry yet. The landlord, the electric company, the phone company all need money from me. It's just not a pretty time in my life.
But it's also not a pretty time in the life of the world, is it?
I'd be asleep right now, as it's late, but there is a rock band that practices in our neighborhood, just doors away, every Friday night of late. I sleep when they stop rehearsing.
26 February, 2003: I have paid the phone bill now (they should turn it back on by Friday, I'm told.) I have given my landlord his penalty fee; the Rod Show is over until Mardi Gras weekend. Now it is time again to get back to the serious business of publishing this magazine.
William Rivers Pitt, who writes for Truthout begins one of his recent essays with this quote from Tacitus:"To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace."It seems very appropriate in reference to the people currently "leading" the United States and the plans they are implementing against a growing tide of dissent. Most troubling about His Fraudulency and his coterie is their continued arrogant disregard for opinions other than their own.
Most of the informed people I know are troubled and beginning to study with concern documents prepared by the Project for the New American century. You can find the PNAC Web site here. Note the among the founding members are the Weekly Standard's William Kristol, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. According to this group, who formed a think-tank during the Clinton years, the United States of America should have the following goals:
These moves are necessary because, in PNAC's view, the American Century they so desire can only be achieved if the American military can "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars," and "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions."
- Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East;
- Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft, submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
- Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space;
- Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
- Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.
Notice as you cruise their Web site that very little mention is made of working with or even cooperating with allies. This is the language of empire, my love, pure and simple. In order to realize that empire, it is almost inevitable that any dissent at home will be squelched. Which brings us to the leaked draft of what's being called "Patriot Act II". Someone in the Justice Department was apparently so chilled by what Mr. Ashcroft has planned for the citizens of this country that they leaked the draft to the press.
What would chill an attorney? Well, this proposed "Enhanced" homeland security bill would, among other things, give the Justice Department the right to revoke citizenship from certain Americans. I'll repeat that last, "revoke citizenship". Habeas corpus, your passport, et cetera, would all be invalid. You could be effectively "disappeared". That clause alone of the bill Mr. Ashcroft wants to put before the U.S. Congress effectively nullifies the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
For a more in-depth discussion of "Patriot Act II", you should review this transcript of a Bill Moyers interview over at the Public Broadcasting System Web site.
The point I'm trying to bring home to you, my love, is that the enemy is not just "rogue states" abroad, the enemy is also you and me if we don't go along with the empire. That's un-American.
The ship of state is being driven into fearful and dangerous waters, my dear. If we don't resist this effort we will learn a lesson which with the German people - who are now vigorously resisting our global efforts - are all-too familiar. That is now clear.
THIS JUST IN from JOE O'NEILL, a G21 alum who inaugurated our IRISH EYES column and interviewed Bernadette Devlin McAliskey (among others) for same: Mrs. McAliskey was detained at O'Hare airport in Chicago upon her last visit to the United States and put on a plane back to Ireland because her presence in this country, she was told, "constitutes a threat to the security of the United States."
Anyone who knows Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and her years of devotion to the cause of human rights knows this a load of paranoid, abusive bullcrap. (You can read the full story here.)
I am ashamed for the government of the United States if it has already begun to blindly crack down on voices of dissent.
AND on Thursday, I received this item from Darryl C. , of Hershey, PA., USA:SUBJECT: Brace Yourself
Bank One offered University of Louisville students a tee shirt which listed '10 reasons a beer is better than a black man' as a free gift for applying or their credit card.
The site below takes you to the article:
Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal
Long-time readers of this magazine will recall my expose some years back on the Goodyear tire "Strong as a Black man's lips" advertisers in South America. I was outraged and put that company and others' feet to the fire about supporting those adverts, made here in America but only broadcast abroad, to the fire. We received a number of official apologies.
This one is not my story, but it's one you need to be aware of ...
HERE'S A PROFILE IN COURAGE: My e-mail box also includes a dispatch entitled "The Road to Bhagdad" from a gentlemen named John Ross. Mr. Ross is one of the riders on a caravan of buses carrying international peace operators into Iraq. He personally crossed the border into Iraq on 15 February, while the world was hitting the streets to protest Mr. Bush's war.
He is part of an international network of peace activists from organizations like Voices in the Wilderness. This group of Americans has been carrying medicines and other needed medical supplies to Iraq, despite the sanctions imposed on that country's people, for years. Now they are supporting "foreigners" going to Iraq to protect hospitals and other needed disaster infrastructure by acting as human shields. Mr. Ross is putting his very life on the line in order to ameliorate the suffering of the impoverished Iraqi citizenry during the upcoming war. According to his dispatch, so are hundreds of other people from not only the United States, but also Great Britain, Slovenia, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Germany, Italy, Syria, Estonia, and Russia.
I've contact Mr. Ross's office in order to get permission to print his dispatches here in The World's Magazine for your perusal. Much as we did in the 1999 Kosovo war and during the second stages of the war in Chechnya, we are working again to bring you reporting from actual people on the ground during this conflict.
This week, my darling, I shall leave you with a quote from Jonathan Schell, who published a lengthy article in The Nation, making a cogent case against the war and why the Bush Leaguers are so dead-wrong:From the beginning of the nuclear age--indeed, even before the beginning, when the atomic bomb was only a gleam in Roosevelt's eye--deterrence and proliferation have in fact been inextricable. Just as the United States made the bomb because it feared Hitler would get it, the Soviet Union built the bomb because the United States already had it. Stalin's instructions to his scientists shortly after Hiroshima were, "A single demand of you, comrades: Provide us with atomic weapons in the shortest possible time. You know that Hiroshima has shaken the whole world. The equilibrium has been destroyed. Provide the bomb--it will remove a great danger from us." England and France, like the United States, were responding to the Soviet threat; China was responding to the threat from all of the above; India was responding to China; Pakistan was responding to India; and North Korea (with Pakistan's help) was responding to the United States. Nations proliferate in order to deter. We can state: Deterrence equals proliferation, for deterrence both causes proliferation and is the fruit of it. This has been the lesson, indeed, that the United States has taught the world in every major statement, tactic, strategy and action it has taken in the nuclear age. And the world--if it even needed the lesson--has learned well. It is therefore hardly surprising that the call to nonproliferation falls on deaf ears when it is preached by possessors--all of whom were of course proliferators at one time or another.And this, ibid:Hitherto, the nuclear double standard lacked a context--it was a sort of anomaly of the international order, a seeming leftover from the cold war, perhaps soon to be liquidated. America's imperial ambition gives it a context. In a multilateral, democratic vision of international affairs, it is impossible to explain why one small group of nations should be entitled to protect itself with weapons of mass destruction while all others must do without them. But in an imperial order, the reason is perfectly obvious. If the imperium is to pacify the world, it must possess overwhelming force, the currency of imperial power. Equally obviously, the nations to be pacified must not. Double standards--regarding not only nuclear weapons but conventional weapons, economic advantage, use of natural resources--are indeed the very stuff of which empires are made. For empire is to the world what dictatorship is to a country. That's why the suppression of proliferation--a new imperial vocation--must be the first order of business for a nation aspiring to this exalted role.
I know this is dense stuff, but consider the argument. I think it's valid and explains why we, the United States, have become the new authors of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That is the failure of the Bush foreign policy -- much to the regret of humanity.
AS YOU SEE, THERE'S A LOT ON MY MIND THIS WEEK, my love. I go into Mardi Gras weekend as I send this to you. Pray I make a lot of money.
I tried to quit my bartending job, but my bosses told me "Forget about it!" So The Rod Show goes on. Elusive and I seem to be getting closer suddenly. I have restless dreams.
I am wondering whether I should leave New Orleans and return to the East Coast before leaving this county before Mr. Ashcroft can "disappear" me.
Somewhere civilized, I hope.
Things I NEED This Week1. A profitable Mardi Gras for this New Orleans bartender.
2. A girlfriend.
Thanks for coming back this week.
"Work like you don't need the money,
"Love like you've never been hurt,
"Dance like no one is watching..."
Rod was a columnist for the Andover News Network, where he wrote over two hundred articles on web design and development issues. He was also principal writer and Editor for IT Manager's Journal, where he reviewed technology issues weekly, producing 383 editorials. He became the Managing Editor for Electronic Mail/Newsletter Publications at Andover.net at the end of February, 2000, and left in September of the same year. He was a contributing writer for ACCESS magazine, which appeared both on- and offline for 10 million readers in 100 newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post, Boston Herald, Austin American-Statesman, Denver Post and Orlando Sentinel, among others. Rod was the US reporter for Silicon.com, a division of Network Multimedia Television in London, UK, reaching 3.5 million European readers, until May, 2001.
Last year he worked as Assistant to the General Manager of a Big Easy company that does restaurants and nightclubs. (Think: The Boy.) Oh yeah, Rod's had Day Jobs working construction. Mostly renovations of old New Orleans structures, houses and a bar. Sometimes he designs Web sites for other people so that he can get his creative juices flowing the way he can't at a staid publication like this one. And he's been the instructor in Editing for Internet Publications at the Novi Sad School of Journalism in Yugoslavia. Right now our Resident Philosopher has joined the pantheon of New Orleans bartenders and still doesn't know when he'll have a "permanent residence" that he likes.. In his spare time, he chases women in the manner that a fly pursues a spider.
Rod lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. This town is eroding his normal sense of driven purpose. He wants to live somewhere civilized when he grows up. Wish him Luck.
He continues to be committed to integrity,
chastity and a dose of humility.
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