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02/13/2003 Archived Entry: "Countdown to Valentine's -- only one more day!"

On the Political Front:

TIA -- Total Information Awareness -- continues to be developed for speedy implementation. The most expensive, extensive surveillance program in the world would allow the US government to sift through the personal and hitherto private records of all citizens and residents for evidence of terrorism and other illegal activity.

Of course, the information will never be misused. We know that because the government tells us. Charley Reese has a nice piece on how "the toughest thing for most Americans to do is to recognize that their own government is deliberately deceiving them." And, yet, it is difficult to put a benign face on the Domestic Security Enhancement Act which would give the government "even more power to snoop on the Internet, spy on private conversations and install secret microphones, spyware and keystroke loggers." Read Declan McCullagh's excellent analysis.

And the economy continues to tank. You don't hear or read about it in the major media except, of course, if you watch the business news and follow the US dollar's decline, the stock market's slide, the climbing price of oil... You see the economic misery being inflicted by spending-drunk warmakers on the average person in the "small picture" -- for example, in the following story from the Indianapolis Star: "[State] House Democrats are eyeing the use of several hundred million dollars in pension assets to help the state ride out the recession without another tax increase. The Public Employees' Retirement Fund and the Teachers' Retirement Fund would be asked to invest some of their money in the state's debt, just as they do in stocks, eliminating the need for teacher layoffs or deeper budget cuts." People are being asked to spend their pensions on paying their own salaries. Meanwhile, I just heard Bush on CNN, urging people to show patriotism by investing in America -- translation, he wants you to buy bonds to buoy up the economy so that he doesn't have to face the consequences of his own fiscal madness. Take care of your family instead.

So...we are poorer and we have less freedom. And not one whit more secure. Michael Powers article, "Every Passenger A Terrorist", offers another glimpse at the "small picture" by describing a plane trip. He begins, *“Welcome to Insolvent Airlines! How may I help you?” inquired Pollyanna, the ebullient ticket agent, as I approached the counter. “I’m flying to Chicago today,” I replied, handing her my government-issued photo identification card.*

On the Personal Front:

I was pleased to receive a "Valentine" from Jennifer Roback Morse -- more specifically, a copy of her article "What's Love Got To Do With It?"

BTW, the Future of Freedom Foundation headed by AASG (All Around Spiffy-Sorta Guy) Jacob Hornberger is now offering a free e-newsletter which is quite good. The latest one is a collection of articles on the Drug War, nicely broken down into categories of Foreign impact, Corruption, Racism, U.S. Military, and Alternate Solutions.

Click here for other free online books and 'zines of interest to ifeminists or libertarians.

Best to all,

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