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Jewish World Review Dec. 20, 2002 / 15 Teves, 5763

Art Buchwald

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Snooping for America | Call it what you will, "Big Brother," "George Orwell," "Super Anti-Terrorism" - the Pentagon still wants to spy on you. The program called "Total Information Awareness" is being conducted to find out how much personal information the government can find out about every American citizen.

The head of the program is Rear Admiral John Poindexter, who was found guilty during the Reagan Administration of lying to Congress, destroying official documents and obstructing justice in the Iran-Contra scandal. He was found guilty but his sentence was overturned and so the Pentagon decided he was the best man for the TIA job.

How will this affect you, dear reader? If the data retrieval bureau succeeds, the government will know everything about you.

I can see next Christmas when the TIA has collected all its information.

The scene is Santa Claus Land in the Halldale Department Store in Minneapolis. The action is being monitored in the basement of the Pentagon by Gen. Sleuth, Col. Ripper and Navy Cmdr. Ruth, the highest-ranking woman in the TIA program.

"What have we got on Santa Claus?" Gen. Sleuth asks.

Col. Ripper goes to his computer. "He was married three times and his last wife recently left him. He likes bourbon, which he keeps in his sack next him. This is the only job he could get because he's over 50. When he has money, he spends it on a steak and French fries."

Gen. Sleuth asks, "But is he a terrorist or not?"

Ripper hits a button. "Let's see what happens when he talks to a kid."

Santa says, "Ho, ho, ho. And what is your name?"

"Butch. What is your name?" the kid asks.

Santa's blood pressure goes up and he looks as if he wants to throttle the kid.

"Now what do you want for Christmas?"

"A video game called 'Blowing Up the World.'"

Cmdr. Ruth says, "Butch isn't kidding. For his birthday he asked for 'Weapons of Mass Destruction, Upgraded.'"

Santa asks, "Have you been a good boy or a bad boy?"

"I can go either way."

Cmdr. Ruth says, "The computer says he locked his sister in the closet for two hours last week and tried to put her cat in the microwave oven."

The general says, "Have the Minnesota National Guard check him out. We're making progress. By next year we will have data on everyone in America."

Col. Ripper says, "I have a suggestion. Why don't we sell our database to the department stores, mail order houses and magazine subscription departments? They'll pay anything to know what goes on in the minds of their potential customers. In that way, not only can we find terrorists, but we can also make a profit."

Gen. Sleuth agrees, "Good idea. Let's run it up the privacy flagpole and see who salutes."

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12/13/02: Give 'til it hurts
12/06/02: Pre-nursery is rough
11/20/02: The Princess and the butler
11/15/02: Preaching democracy
11/04/02: The blame game
10/30/02: The threat of golf
10/11/02: The wives of Hidden Valley
10/04/02: Will the real Saddam stand up?
10/01/02: To shred or not to shred
09/20/02: Plea-bargaining crime
09/17/02: Jack and Jane
09/12/02: Signing books is half the fun
09/10/02: To lose one's center
09/05/02: Moot court
08/29/02: I spy-you-spy
08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
08/14/02: Wall Street good news
08/09/02: Things in my attic
08/01/02: Damage control
08/01/02: Another icon
07/30/02: Draft all the lawyers
07/25/02: House for rent
07/23/02: Doin' time
07/19/02: The loophole game
07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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