The warm and fuzzy Department of Homeland Security began life with a far scarier name.

From deep in our archives, originally posted in December, 2002:

The United States of Brazil: Total Information Awareness

Terry Gilliam’s brilliant 1985 film “Brazil”, an Orwellian black comedy set in a decidedly backwards future, has never seemed more prescient.

The United States Department of Defense has proposed a new “Total Information Awareness” (TIA) initiative and corresponding “Information Awareness Office,” whose motto, “Scientia Est Potentia,” translates into the King’s English as “Knowledge is Power.” A Cato Institute analysis of what this means reads like a manual in how not to brand a new homeland security initiative if you want buy-in from a public already wary of the government trampling on its basic constitutional rights, including a great deconstruction of the Office’s new logo:

The TIA’s logo…features an edited version of the Great Seal of the United States: the 13-block pyramid (think 13 original colonies) topped by the Eye of God. The original carries the phrase (translated from Latin) “A New Order of the Ages,” reflecting a principled view of individual freedom quite alien to that of the Orwellian TIA office. The TIA’s version perverts the proud seal that originally symbolized our freedom. The “eye” is no longer God’s, but the federal government’s, surveying the entire globe in a single glance. TIA’s new slogan? “Knowledge is Power.” But whose knowledge? And power to do what?

To make this plan even scarier, the Feds have hired John Poindexter to run it. He was President Reagan’s former National Security Advisor who during the Iran-Contra scandal was convicted on several counts of lying to Congress.

In Brazil, the protagonist works in the “Information Retrieval Office,” where government lackeys can pull up any and all information on every citizen. Sound familiar? And compare our Office of Information Awareness’ slogan–“Knowledge is Power”–to these like-minded gems scattered throughout Brazil:

“Information–The Key To Prosperity”

“Help The Ministry Of Information Help You”

“Be Safe: Be Suspicious”

“Loose Talk Is Noose Talk”

“Suspicion Breeds Confidence”

“Happiness: We’re all in it together”

“Trust in haste, Regret at leisure”

“Don’t suspect a friend, report him”

“Who can you trust?”

“Power today. Pleasure tomorrow.”

Total Information Awareness: It’s so real it’s like being in a movie.

The Other Pink Meat

Via today’s The Western Farm Press:

A Senate hearing placed a spotlight on the regulatory tangle surrounding the approval process for genetically-engineered salmon. Potentially the country’s first GE animal for human consumption, the salmon have raised a host of worries among critics including the impact on the environment should they escape fish farms.

(Read More)

If only the GE Salmon project had a viral, catchy tagline….