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New World Odor
by Bridget Gibson

The master's finest tool was never the weapon that kept his slaves in submission. Nor was it the one that he provided to the slaves to do his bidding. It is, and has always been, one that will convince slaves they are free in a system of suppression.--Patrick Barry

Futuristic fiction writers have long tried to envision a world in which no one can make even ordinary motions that are not tracked and watched and catalogued by some shadowy "Big Brother" government. What those writers could not have known is how or why such an intrusive monster would manifest itself into our American society without so much as a blink from most of the citizenry.

The Bush administration now brings the second half of its tenure to a thunderous applause of flag waving patriotism with the unveiling of the "Total Information Awareness" program. This wonderful new product line will undoubtedly become a household name in a very short while with its astounding powers to snoop and pry into the most mundane of corners. Santa's list merely consisted of whether you were naughty or nice, but John Poindexter wants his list to have all of the details.

Details from all of your communications (telephone calls, emails and internet web searches), banking, credit card purchases, prescriptions, gun purchases, fertilizer purchases, fuel purchases, school records, medical records, travel history and driver�?�¢??s license applications will be catalogued and available to government officials and be placed in a supercomputer data bank for analysis and threat assessment purposes.

Will Act II be for the Internal Revenue Service to be placed in the loop for "investigative" purposes also? Will Act III be for the continued privatization of our government and the placement of well-positioned corporations into the loop to better "market" and put their "new" products into your homes?

Even those of you that read these words and believe that our government has the right to remove your privacy and open your curtains and peer into your home and personal activities should take heed. I was raised with the words of my parents ringing in my ears: "You should live your life as though any moment of it could be printed on the front page of newspaper." Well, thus far my life has not drawn that type of attention, but why would I want anyone knowing all of my habits?

Gone are the carefree days when a search warrant was a necessary invitation for the police to come into your home. I have bid farewell to the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights! With a longing look over my shoulder at the past and future as we knew it, I must bravely understand that all my words of dissent may become fodder for the "data analysts" that will then piece together my grocery habits and attempt to discern my allegiance to the new Fuhrer, George Bush.

I am certain that many of you reading my words today will think that I have gone over the top. I could only wish that were so. Our new "Big Brother" comes complete with one of the spookiest of the Iran-Contra spooks at its head: John Poindexter.

For those with short memories, I can only say that our nation�?�¢??s inability to learn from its own history has doomed us to repeat our worst mistakes. The Reagan Era White House e-mail problems began with the Iran Contra scandal and the fact that shortly before hearings on the scandal were to begin, two figures at the center of the scandal, North and Admiral John Poindexter, secretly deleted thousands of e-mail messages related to the scandal. A backup taping system saved the messages and more than seven million others created during the Reagan presidency. John Poindexter was tried and found guilty of lying to Congress and was subsequently released from prison on a legal technicality.

I cannot trust the current administration to safeguard our Constitution and am witnessing the savaging of our Bill of Rights. I can only ask that you, my fellow citizens, take heed and bear witness, to speak out through all of our differences and help stop the madness.