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Did you know?

Thomas Hohn, Vail

Did you know that the Total Information Awareness database will gather data regarding credit card purchases, telephone calls made,property purchased, financial records, magazine subscriptions, medical procedures, shopping habits, a general lifestyle profile including pets owned and religious preferences? And it is to be headed by John Poindexter, a convicted felon, which is pretty ironic as he was formerly better known for shredding data rather than collecting it. Poindexter, by the way, even though a felon, voted in the last two elections, but hundreds of ex-felons in Florida were not allowed to.Did you know that the Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Corporation developed and sold a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines of several childhood diseases, and these vaccines have been linked to the development of autism in children exposed to it, and that under Homeland Security legislation has been granted immunity from any lawsuit because they are under contract to produce bioweapons vaccines for the federal government?Did you know that the Freedom of Information Act has been severely truncated by the Homeland Security legislation because public data on the behavior of federal agencies is now to be considered a potential security weakness?Did you know that because of these restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act, any cases brought forward concerning these restrictions will be decided by the same department that will manage the Total Information Awareness database, making any investigation into the events leading up to 11 September a practical impossibility?Forget the Kissinger appointment, which is the administration’s way of saying “Screw Your Investigation.”Did you know that the previous House decision to forbid companies from using overseas’ addresses to avoid paying taxes has now been reversed by the Homeland Securities legislation? Now that the nation is distracted by one “important” thing, this is slipped through.Did you know that any company that makes faulty anti-terrorism devices, even if they engage in intentional wrongdoing, cannot be sued, or pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines are not liable if a recipient falls ill or dies?Did you know that Tom Delay, in a prime example of the Republican love for pork barrel politics, put in a provision granting Texas A&M a research center on homeland security?This administration has developed an elaborate and insidious system to keep files on the activities of all Americans, and yet this administration wants to keep everything that it does from the public. And now, in the most recent scandalous court ruling to maintain Cheney’s right to secrecy in the name of national security, we can’t even learn the identity of the energy lobbyists who had asked for special favors in the White House energy plan. The judge who ruled in Cheney’s favor, by the way, is a Bush appointee.The above were not part of the original Homeland Security Bill. They were cynically and surreptitiously slipped through at the very last possible moment around an unsuspecting and distracted public, and an impotent Democratic Party. This is the typical method used by the Bush administration in all suspect and unpopular legislation.Defying the fundamental and traditional American values of open government seems to be this administration’s style.


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