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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Choose Your Battle

I know my excuse.I have too much time on my hands, but it seems like everyday we have to pick a side to support. For example, the racist theme being discussed on our on-line forum, overshadows the real issue of a possible “Open Meetings “violation. Another is the current NSA issue. Do I want the government snooping into my life or am I OK with what they are doing?

I think Bob Nance’s letter took it to another level by clouding the so-called racist issue with irrelevant information about history and his martial status. On the other side, who died and left Clara Ramos the decider of a true Hispanic. City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz could put a quick end to the nonsense by doing the routine “ I’m sorry if I offended anyone because that was not my intention”and then allow the mayor to bring another council meeting to order. For those who are offended because the election results have to be translated into Spanish, need to take their complaints to the election board. All the stupid remarks are intensifying the discussion. This discussion has gone on far too long.

It is my opinion that racism cannot easily be defined because it boils down to the level of intolerance. Some people carry around a chip on their shoulder.Others are insensitive and then there are those who consider the source. I am the latter because I’ve made some pretty crude statements myself, not in the public venue but crude nevertheless. I believe we all know obvious racism, and I’m willing to admit that I have laughed and told a  few racist jokes, and that includes a lot of ethnicities. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least offensive) Gwosdz’s comment barely makes the scale at 1 and that’s only because three people were offended.

After digesting the NSA issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m somewhere in the middle at being not totally agreeing with Ron Paul or Diane Feinstein. I’ve come to realize that I am revolving on this issue because the world I live in has eroded my privacy concerns. I’m used to Google having all my digital information.Anyone can go down to the county courthouse and see if I owe back property taxes, and my doctor’s nurse has my Social Security number and can peek at all my medical information. I would be lying if I said that I am concerned that the government collects my phone transactions along with 3 billion other customers. However, I still think that Congress ought to rewrite the Patriot Act to reflect the post 9/11 world we live in. I do have a concern that 5 million people have a security clearance.1.4 million have a top-secret one and 1/3 of them are private contractors. The USA Today’s May 11,2006 issue reveled the abuses some analysts took in listening in to the troop’s conservation with their wives while  they were stationed in Iraq.

Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor? I don’t think he’s either because he didn’t have to take the steps he took. Sure,I’ve heard of cases where whistleblowers were not given a fair hearing after coming forward but that option is still there. He could have taken his complaint to Senator Rand Paul. He knew what he was doing was illegal but I don’t think what he divulged  endangered our security. The only service Snowden provided was that he showed how easily a contract employee could get his hands on sensitive material and post it on line with being detected.NSA better get their act together.Oh,he is not a whistleblower either because he reported on systems that are legal.

If one wanted to,they could could avoid the NSA surveillance by encrypting everything; in fact that’s how Snowden and Greenwald communicated. The New Yorker magazine is installing software that will allow whistleblowers to encrypt their message and hide their identities at the same time. This is going to become an ongoing battle.

After a while, you can be dubbed an angry old man letting off some steam, a conspiracy buff, or the “boy who cried wolf” if that’s all you ever do, so it’s wise to choose your battles.

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