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A Chilling Letter

We picked up the premiere issue of Talk Magazine, primarily to read the
interviews with Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush for ourselves.  What
stunned us was a letter from former White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. He wrote
in to say that he had been misquoted (and we're not sure how he got his letter
in before the magazine got out, but there it is), that he hadn't said that
"by the time we get through with [Kathleen Willey], she'll look like a 14
dollar hooker on 20th Street," but rather that she'd look like a "20
dollar hooker on 14th Street. "

Thanks for the clarification. This is from the same group of people, ostensibly
defending the little people, who said "drag a 50 dollar bill through a
trailer park and you never know what you find." That was James Carville,
who earlier in his life and career was similarly dismissed as White Trash. He should know
better, but apparently forgot where he came from, which wasn't much better than
a trailer park.

These are also the people who constantly decry the politics of personal destruction,
even while they gleefully destroy and discredit not just their political
enemies, but people who have absolutely no reason to be attacked, like former
White House travel director Billy Dale, who faced trumped-up charges of
corruption when the administration wanted to bring their people into the travel
office, charges which were dismissed in less than 45 minutes by the jury. And these are
the people who managed to get large sums of money from Asian nuns who had taken
vows of poverty and who bullied Indian Nations into donating. The President has been found in contempt of court for lying
under oath. Blumenthal's letter fits the administration's character to a T:
sadly, that's where we are now.  Regardless of your political affiliation,
the way these people take out their enemies, real, perceived or imagined, is
damned frightening.

Now they want the right to
sneak into your home, break into your PC and disable any encryption you might
have
in what is being called
The Cyberspace Electronic Security Act.
.   Their security, not
yours.

This is after the
escrow key plan was shot down, and after, you may remember, a digital cell phone
security algorhythm was mysteriously weakened.

Most of this is being done in the name of the War on Drugs, but the guy who
is directing that, President Clinton, was on the other side of the barricades as
a young man and, according to journalist Christopher Hitchens, the reason he
didn't inhale at Oxford was because he baked his THC into brownies. The apparent
Republican frontrunner, George W. Bush, is talking euphemistically about
"mistakes in his  youth" but refusing to answer questions. 
He, too, is a law and order guy.

The obvious hypocrisy of do as I say not as I did we can dispense with:
having done stupid things qualifies one to counsel against stupidity.  If
you drove your car through town at 100 mph and crippled yourself, you are an
expert on stupidity and thus entitled to counsel others not to repeat your
mistakes.

What's more important here is individual freedom, the Constitution, and how
much we should trust our elected representatives with power. The Constitution,
and your personal freedom, have been terribly undermined by The so-called War On
Drugs. What it really is is the War on Civil Liberties.

  • You are required to provide proof of your innocence, via your urine or
    hair, rather than the government providing irrefutable evidence that you are
    guilty of drug use.
  • You can have your life stripped away from you for holding a miniscule
    amount of marijuana or cocaine: the state can confiscate your property if
    they so desire. 
  • On a recent trip to a bank, we were told our withdrawal would have to
    logged because it was over a certain limit. When we asked what the limit
    was, we were told that that was a secret. Trust us, many of you make
    more in a week than we took out; nonetheless, the government is tracking our
    cash movements on a relatively trivial level. Please bear in mind that the
    Freedom Of Information Act is supposed to make all documents available to
    the public, with the exception of national secrets. This no doubt is a
    national secret.
  • There is a plan afoot to track virtually all cash movement, again in order
    to supposedly monitor drug money. 
  • There is also a plan for a national database to monitor all income,
    supposedly to track deadbeat parents.

Again, we have no particular beef with the current administration
politically. We don't agree with all their policies, just as we didn't agree
with all of Bush's or Reagan's or whoever comes next, for that matter.  But
we have a profound and serious disagreement with their cavalier attitude towards
civil liberties. They have shown on numerous occasions that they are not to be
trusted with power.  Even the head of the FBI has had issues with how this
administration has exercised power.  Power, as you know, tends to corrupt
and has made quick work of this Administration.  You give them more at your very considerable
peril.  

We would suggest everyone write
their representatives
and senators and
tell them that you are opposed to The Cyberspace Electronic Security Act.  
It would be better to call it what it is - The Cyberspace Electronic Coercion
and Intimidation Act.  You would be horrified if they did this to your
postal mail. Why would you let them do this to your e-mail?