Where does the time go? I can't believe it's been five months since I - or more properly, Baxter - last posted. I miss reading everyone's blogs, but for some reason keep getting sucked into Facebook and end up in long conversations over there. One of the things I always liked about blogging was the conversations we have in the comments section, which Facebook seems to so easily supplant. However, I miss the effort it takes to actually think about a subject and write coherently about it, and even more so, read the excellent posts on other blogs. I must come over to the Blog World more frequently again.
So, for those who only know me from here, I apologize for being out of touch for so long.
I never did write a post on gun control as planned - as you can figure out, I am in favor of it - but did have some great discussions over on Facebook about it - so much so that one of my former FB friends unfriended me. She is a libertarian I had known from having worked together years ago, who had such strong feelings about the Second Amendment that she couldn't even bring herself to deal with me anymore.
We used to have what I thought were civil discussions about the issues we disagree on (which is most of them with the exception of some social issues), but apparently she just couldn't address the issue further and unfriended me! I was sorry, as I do value being able to discuss issues with people who don't agree with me so as to understand their perspective and also to know what the opposition is up to!
Now I have discovered a Facebook friend who friended me at some point is apparently an Islamist extremist, which I had no idea about until a post he made yesterday. I am thinking I should unfriend him before I find myself getting a visit from the FBI or CIA or something after they monitor my Facebook friends list!
Speaking of which, what are your thoughts about the U.S. surveillance program that Edward Snowden recently revealed to the world?
Personally, I was not shocked. It's not as if we didn't know the Patriot Act had plenty of questionable things in it that gave the government broad powers when it came to tracking terrorism.
But this does seem like a slippery slope, and I am disappointed that President Obama has supported these practices as well as other policies initiated under President Bush.
That said, I am very suspicious about this Snowden guy and how he happened to have access to the information he subsequently revealed. Here's a high-school dropout who suddenly got a $122,000 a year job at a major government contractor, and immediately apparently had secret clearance (which usually takes a lot of time to get) - and then leaves after only 3 months to spill the beans to the world about what the government is doing to monitor American citizens' communications. Who is this guy? Who placed him where he had access to all this sensitive information, and why? I am not convinced he acted alone.
Now he's saying that we've been hacking into China's computer systems and the U.S. is afraid he may defect to China along with all the secrets he has compiled. While I understand some may applaud the revelation of the U.S. government surveillance program, this man has ultimately endangered the security of the United States and to me is more of a traitor than a hero. I'll be interested to hear others' thoughts about this.
In the next post, Baxter will tell you about his Great Escape on our recent trip to Cape Cod. More to come.