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Letters: At length

The sinister sabotage of American freedom

Given that Smirk and Sneer daily continue to destroy the once-sovereign nation of Iraq, in an illegal war; given that they continue to murder its citizens, and commit a large variety of documented war crimes against them, whether in "detention" or at large; given that since day one they have brazenly stolen all of Iraq's oil, and that all this is done in your name and mine: given that Congress' pusillanimous pussyfooting has proven it impotent to correct any of this &

it would then not be surprising if most U.S. citizens have lost track of what is going on right here at home.

Most of the following can be found in an essay by Barbara Bowley appearing in the collection "Impeach The President" edited by D. Loo P. Phillips (2006).

From its inception, this administration has adopted a policy of secrecy under the guise of "executive privilege," while at the same time relentlessly expanding a variety of surveillance programs. The "Patriot Act" has actually been the least of these. In actions reminiscent of the Stalinist USSR, a number of programs have been initiated, some in collaboration with branches of the military, encouraging citizens to rat each other out for any activities they themselves deem to be "suspicious." Did you know this?

Ever hear of "Operation Eagle Eyes"? How about "TIPS"?

These sources of information are hardly necessary however, given the increasingly sophisticated intelligence gathering programs, integrating information from phone conversations, e-mail, and other Internet use. Databases such as TIA, and MATRIX, provide information on tens of millions of Americans correlating data on their medical records, educational transcripts, library activity, financial and credit histories, and more. It is possible to also include photos of them, their families, and neighbors.

It goes without saying that all this is highly illegal. And much of it continues to get shut down either by Congress, or lawsuits from the private sector.For example, the ACLU and others brought down MATRIX in 2005.

But you know what? It doesn'tmatter. In the simplest ploy,a given program is shut down in name only, and then reopened elsewhere, perhaps under a different aegis and a new name. In a more sinister maneuver, most of this is now getting regrouped under various intelligence agencies, which continue to proliferate, and of course are themselves immune from any sort of accounting.

Aaron Corbet

In defense of the homeless people of

After reading some of the negative and ignorant comments online concerning the story the Daily Tidings respectfully ran about the homeless man found burned to death in the Ashland watershed, I was appalled to learn how much prejudice and bigotry exists in our friendly, accepting, and enlightened town of Ashland, Oregon.

The people who are now spouting off their venom against their own downfallen American citizens are no better than the racist of old, who were brainwashed and pathetic in their way of thinking at best!

If this man was Bennett, he was a far better person than thee who hated him for being homeless. I also read things like who do I think I am? Why did the police allow me to bring the Tidings to his campsite? And the homeless shouldn't be allow to camp in the watershed because they might burn down people's beautiful houses down the hill.

First of all, the police didn't contact me until I came down the mountain. They asked we not go to his particular campsite and we agreed. Second, if Ashland's homeless had a safe, legal place to sleep, they wouldn't have to hide in the watershed just to get some sleep, which is already, guaranteed them by the highest law of the land, the constitution of the United States of America!

Sleeping is not a luxury, it's a necessity. As for who I think I am, I'm Bennett's friend, when I learned he was missing, I went looking for him weeks before the body was found. If someone doesn't like it, then sue me! I hope your cheese is better than your whine!

Daniel H. Rueff