The New Assistant

Greg Palast

What about Jack Nicholson’s point?
Screw rights, we want safety. Well, Jack, we’re both old farts who can remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1962, the Russians were going to drop The Big One on us. But we didn’t have to worry, Mr. Gordon told us, if we just got under the desk, covered our necks and, “Don’t look at the flash!”

TIA, ChoicePoint’s DNA info for the FBI’s ‘CODIS’ files, Genoa, data mining, the Third Ring, it’s the new ‘Duck and Cover.’ Does this really make America safer?

ChoicePoint’s Smith admonishes that, if we’d only had his databases humming at the airports on September 11, the hijackers, who used their own names, would have been barred from boarding. However, experts inform me that Osama no longer checks in as ‘Mr. bin Laden,’ even at the cost of losing his frequent flyer miles.

Nevertheless, our president suggests that, if we can get semen samples from every American and Venezuelan, take off our shoes at the airport, don’t ask the names of the seized and imprisoned or the price of contracts, we’ll be safe from the Saudi hijacker and baby snatchers and from them — whoever ‘them’ are.