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Thursday, November 14, 2002

Why are these men smiling?

They have just sold us down the river by helping "President" Bush create a Department of Homeland Security, our very own Gestapo. The bill has already passed the House, and is expected to pass the Senate by tomorrow. Here are some of the lowlights, from CNN:
  • Creates a Cabinet-level department out of all or parts of 22 agencies -- including Customs, INS and the Transportation Security Administration -- with about 170,000 workers and a $37 billion budget.
  • Grants the president flexibility to hire and fire workers, but gives unions a chance to challenge new rules.
  • Approves a plan to allow pilots to carry guns in cockpits.
  • Drops a provision to create an independent commission to investigate intelligence surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

And read what William Safire has to say about the worst part of the bill:

Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S. citizen.

And this from Richard Nixon's old speechwriter. Imagine what Paul Wellstone would say. Basically, the bill says that we'll never really know what went wrong that allowed 9/11 to happen, since that would make most of the other fascist provisions of the bill unnecessary. Perhaps an independent investigation would have discovered that the Bush administration knew what was coming and ignored it since it would give them the green light they needed to grab Afghanistan, Iraq, and who knows where else. The recommendation might have been that impeachment was the only step needed to improve our security. To amend an old saying: Truth is the first casualty of Bush. And the next time you fly across the country, the government may be reviewing your travel plans and everything else you've ever done and decide to arrest you at the arrival gate. That is if your pilot hasn't shot you first.