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I don't know about you, but I feel safer already. Those pesky terrorists don't stand a chance now.

a weekly column about what's what

Week of November 24, 2002

Maximum Homeland Security: Prison or Paradise?

Well it appears that we have all been sentenced to a life term, without the possibility of parole, to the Maximum Homeland Security Prison of America, Inc. This is in line with America's penchant for no muss, no fuss solutions to sticky situations. You've heard of the three-strike sentencing law? Well this is the no-strike sentencing law. No strikes and you're out. Wow!

I don't know about you, but I feel safer already. Those pesky terrorists don't stand a chance now.

Seriously, what is there to worry about? I've got nothing to hide. Almost nothing anyway. I do prefer Coke to Pepsi. I have been to the Stile Project before. (Do not click the Stile link if you are at work.) I do drink a little beer, wine, tequila, vodka and Red Bull from time to time. I do own the JFK video. I do subscribe to the Nation magazine. I do get occasional email from other known subversives. I do publish a weekly rant that is a tiny bit left-of-center. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, I guess I've got plenty to hide. That's what privacy is all about isn't it? Privacy is about shielding your personal proclivities from the prying eyes of your neighbors, your in-laws, your employer and the State.

Oh well. Easy come easy go, as they say. Render unto Caesar, as they say. We've all got to do our part in the war against evil.

The government is now allowed to follow you around anywhere, anytime and for any reason that they want to. Your mail, email, phone calls, web surfing, retail transactions, medical records, library book selections, private conversations, TV show preferences, friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances and garbage cans are now all part of the official database of the Homeland Security Department.

No one is above suspicion or below the radar. This is a great thing though. For the first time in America's history there is real equality. Everyone is guilty of being a citizen of the United Sates of America. The great thing is that discretion has been taken out of the equation. No more racial profiling. No more political persecution. No more religious discrimination. No more rich versus poor, man versus woman or Republican versus Democrat. Everyone has a record. Everyone has his or her file. Well you don't have it exactly. You're not even allowed to look at it. But, hell if you can't trust the government, then whom can you trust?

And, really, we all know what hot headed terrorists Americans are. We've had the KKK, the SLA, the CIA, the Michigan Militia and fans of the Oakland Raiders.

And privacy is vastly over rated isn't it? Who needs privacy? Do you think that they had privacy in the USSR? Do you think they have privacy in China? The Russians and Chinese are some of the happy-go-luckiest folks on the planet, aren't they? Well sure they are. Privacy is for spoiled, pampered wimps who think that they are better than anyone else, like Canadians for instance. Canadians are so sure of their privacy that they don't even lock their front doors, those cocky little Canuck bastards. (See Bowling for Columbine.)

Canadians have been against our righteous war against terrorism since the very beginning. I suppose they'll demand due process, habeas corpus and posse comitatus next. Hah!

No, we Americans don't need no stinking privacy. Who cares if Admiral Poindexter knows your brand of personal lubricant? Who cares if John Ashcroft knows that you practice birth control? What difference does it make if Tom Ridge knows you read Rolling Stone every other week? And nobody is going to take notice of all of the subversive web sites that you visit. They are looking for real terrorists not soccer moms. Just because you've been given a life sentence to the Maximum Homeland Security Prison doesn't mean that you're really a prisoner.

No sir, just lead your life as you would normally do. You're free to assemble, protest and march against terror. You're free to speak out against liberals. You can still own all the guns you want. Just because you are a suspected terrorist doesn't mean you're going to blow up a Safeway. At least not yet. But you might someday. We have all kinds of single-celled, human time-bombs in America just waiting to go off. If enough of us lose our jobs or catch our spouses cheating or get tired of the home-team losing or get sick of slow cars in the fast lane or start glowing from irradiated food or drink too much polluted water or breathe too much polluted air: well any one of us stressed out, sleep deprived, pissed off Americans might be the next bomb to explode. Using the Total Information Awareness database, the professional terror psychologists of the Homeland Security department are sure to head off lots of potential disasters. Remember it doesn't have to be al Qaeda to be terror it just has to be scary.

And who cares if John Ashcroft knows that you don't go to church? We have separation of Church and State, remember? What, do you think they are going to throw out the entire Constitution? Americans won't stand for that. There is a big difference between giving up your Fourth Amendment rights and your First Amendment rights. Right? Well sure there is.

Here is your First Amendment right:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

You can certainly understand why you would never want to give that up. Imagine not being able to say the "F" word.

And here was your Fourth Amendment protection:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The Fourth Amendment is gone now thanks to Congress, but what's the big deal? How can we demand that we be secure in our persons and homes when our country is not secure? Obviously we have to sacrifice our personal security for the sake of national security. Even someone as simple-minded as the President can understand that.

And hey, quite frankly thinking about it now, what is so special about that silly First Amendment? What is so good about free speech if it encourages terrorism, under-age drinking and pre-marital sex? And why would we want to assemble with potential terrorists, probable pedophiles and fellow inmates of the Maximum Homeland Security Prison anyway? Only Jesus was pure enough to consort with criminals, prostitutes and tax resisters.

No, you just keep your peaceable assembly to yourself thank you very much.

And as far as religion is concerned, well you either believe in Jesus or Moses or get the hell out. This is a Judeo/Christian country. Everyone knows that godless heathens have practically destroyed America with voodoo music, recreational drugs, forced busing and homosexuality.

If giving up our privacy leads to the end of sex, drugs, rock 'n roll and other forms of terror then it's all well worth it.

You see how easy it is to get into the spirit of things? Maximum Homeland Security is something to really sink our teeth into. We're all in this together. It's going to be a blast spying on our neighbors. Maybe we'll have a point system or get gold stars or something for each fellow inmate that we rat out. And it's not like we're snitches if someone is acting suspicious is it? No way. It's patriotic to spy and inform. Who knows, maybe we'll eventually have public executions. Maybe we'll have a game-show type of thing where we get to compete to see who gets to throw the first stone. How cool would that be?

At first I was sort of on the knee-jerk, bleeding heart liberal bandwagon against maximum homeland security, but now I see how much fun there is to be had. I mean how sweet will it be to take down the license number of some dude who cuts you off on the highway and then tell Tom Ridge that you saw him reading the Socialist Worker's Daily? You could even follow the guy and plant a copy (that you've bought on the black market with cash) in his back seat. His life would never be the same. Ha!

No, I think this whole Homeland Security thing is way cool. And I'm sure the government boys will pay good money for people to pretend to be subversive and ensnare others in wild and crazy schemes of resistance. Think of it. We all get to be secret agents. We'll get to spy on each other spying on each other and may the best spy win. Imagine the fun we'll have double crossing each other for fun and profit.

America has always been cutting edge. Who else but Americans can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, as it were? What else but American ingenuity can turn prison into paradise?

But, hey, if you don't like it, then you can always move to Canada.

Everything Else

subversive talk-back

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Can I pick my own spy name? 25.Nov.2002 19:25

Sean Henderson lohan1@msn.com

Increased paranoia and fun and games for the subversive crowd, nothing to worry about for us good Amerikans? - I don't think so...

This is brought to you by a government that actively works to undermine every country in the world that doesn't practice capitalistic democracy or market politics. These are the same people who are notorious for letting their self-interests govern their policies. This is the same government that consults with ruthless advertising agencies to help form it's international persona. This is the same fucking government that is selling democracy down the river and this is just one more step towards clinching the deal.

Yet some are excited by the prospect like a teenager with their first credit card. It's time to get scared and to become effective agents for progressive reform - don't let the American apathy get hold of you.

The homeland department is not 'the price of freedom' - it isn't even necessary, the only reason that we've had terrorist attacks in this country is because of our foreign policy and 'culture problems' in our intelligence agencies.

The Israelis knew about 9-11 - and they are our bed buddies right? No, this is no time for jokes (unless they are about Bush) - this is a time for focus and collaboration. The longer we wait - the harder it will be to take our democracy from the furnace of capitalism.

so who took our Freedom to Listen? 25.Nov.2002 19:35


even if we're (or were, as the case is be) not free to run our mouths--as people seem to pointlessly do around me every single second of the day--at least we all still have the Freedom to Listen...even if it is to "controlled" speech anyway.

wow, maybe it is really easy to program a mass of people. oh well, that's life.

supposedly 170,000 "paid" employees and however many pro bono state tit sucklers (will the computer software render this OHS less bureaucratic, or will technology even play into it? ;)

maybe human ignorance is all you need (as opposed to Love).

539,897 hunters 25.Nov.2002 19:36

above the smoke

On November 7, 2000, 105.4 million American citizens voted for President of the United States.
George W. Bush lost by 539,897 votes. Hunting age humans, concerned enough to go and vote may as well have gone hunting. 530,897 is a sizeable number.

all about the mulah 25.Nov.2002 21:54


man, I really hate this bill, it really pisses me off that now a cop or FBI agent can just yank me off the street and arrest me for going to a peace rally, or even before this bill, how I could get suspended for wearing a coat, or for wearing an anarchy symbol from school. All it boils down to, is that the real amerikans, the everyday shrub believer does not care... I care of course, but the majority wouldnt even raise a finger if you pointed a gun in their face asking them if they got the money to buy their new car from a terrorist organization. But boy, you better not mess with their cash! Once you start fucking with their bankroll, they get pissed. I have seen entire campaigns being based on taxes, nothing else. I asked a student at my school if he had a choice between politicians only getting money from the federal government and nowhere else, which would raise taxes, or if he would leave them corrupt... his aswer was "what? I'd have to give away more money?" This kind of legislation is just another way of making us paranoid and afraid. It is built to show you that you can trust no-one. That even your neighbor could be against you. And once you are paranoid. you will start believing anything. The people of this country will never realize, until it is too late, that they will be under constant scrutiny, and that they will no longer have any rights at all. Everyone in this country is afraid, because this whole country is based on fear! The people are afraid of higher taxes, of getting killed by some a-rab guy, the higher class is afraid of losing their cash, the lower class, property, by some a-rab guy, and most of all, the government is afraid, of us, of themselves. These politicians cannot truly believe that this bill will help anything! they must have been frightened from being labeled again as a body not concerned with security. This new move by the government is just another step towards its undoing. Because no government based on fear and lies will ever survive. The russians saw it, the germans saw it, the romans saw it, and we will definetly see it.

Get in line and don't complain 25.Nov.2002 22:33

Orwell's long lost cousin

My cousin George Orwell was so ahead of his time. In his tome, 1984, he predicted all of this and everybody of his day called him unAmerican and out of his mind.

But now it has come to be.

So hurry and get in line to get photographed, fingerprinted, voice printed, have some DNA extracted, a microchip implanted and don't complain. Americans deserve it. It is for our own good. After all, National Insecurity is at stake.

Remember what Bush said after 9/11, "Just start shopping again." Shopping will make us all feel better! So get your ass down to KMart and save them from bankruptcy and help preserve our National Insecurity.

orwell 26.Nov.2002 01:28


except he was english, but I see your point