Collins's Comments

Its mid-September do you know where your children are going next summer? If the following bill passes they could be vacationing in sunny sandy Iraq at government expense.

H.R.163

Title: To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] (introduced 1/7/2003)

The whole bill chills me. If this passes the president has the power to draft Every American between the ages of 18 and 26.

The fact that women are being drafted doesn't bother me as much as it should. I never understood the Equal Rights Act in full. Yes equal pay for equal work is good. But, why would women want to step down in the mire with men?

What bothers me is the president will be able to draft people for the Homeland Security Agency. A hand picked goon squad. I have a real problem with that. Hitler and his hand-picked Gestapo comes to mind. These things really bother me. What has the HSA done to keep domestic terrorism down? What is their budget and how is it being spent?

Thirty-six, point two billion dollars is the budget for 2004 which is about over. I have been unable to find a proposal for the agency's budget for next year.

Information is available on line from several sources. From the OMB Watch organization for one. This I got from them.

“Administration Gains New Power to Withhold ‘Sensitive' Information

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration moved to broadly restrict public access to information in the name of security. Federal agencies began summarily removing tens of thousands of documents from their web sites, purportedly because they might be useful in preparing another attack.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card affirmed this action in a March 2002 memo ordering agencies to “safeguard” information that is “sensitive but unclassified.” This new category broadly includes, in each agency's judgment, “information that could be misused to harm the security of our nation and the safety of our people” — a virtual catchall since most information (even the phone book, for instance) at least carries the potential to be used for harm.”

I got the following from the DHS pages on line that explains their budget.

“FY2004 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS:

Improving Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection

This budget will support the Department's ability to analyze and identify potential threats, assess vulnerabilities, map those threats to vulnerabilities and provide the information from which to organize protective measures. Eight hundred twenty-nine million dollars is requested for this initiative - an increase of $652 million (370 percent) over the FY2003 level.”

This money is in part going to identify what information can be denied to the American public. The President can authorize individuals to access any information that is covered in this area but he also can dictate what this information is used for and how it is handled. The Freedom of Information Act is if not dead certainly on the critical list.

Having the Selective Service back in action but with the addition of the Department of Homeland Security being an acceptable alternative to military service is not a pleasant prospect. Especially when the selection of personnel is under the direct control of the President.

Enough said.

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