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We need open debate of Patriot Act

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Your editorial July 11 “Free to talk, leave” is a glaring example of the difference between constructive dialog and dialog filled with distain, disinformation and uses the ultimate Republican trump card, the Patriot Card, as in, “If you don’t agree with me, then you are unpatriotic.”

I don’t begrudge the R-E having its political bias; we all do. I do object to the manner in which this publication communicates those biases. Falling into the “you’re unpatriotic” name-calling category does not spark productive dialog, only more division.

I do not condone, endorse or in any way approve of Edward Snowden’s actions. As a Marine veteran, I believe his actions have put some Americans, both military and civilian, in jeopardy. This is unacceptable.

What is also unacceptable and needs more scrutiny is the scope of the contracting our federal government does regarding defense. I would say it is appalling that our government has contracted for so much of our intelligence gathering, but I really don’t know what or who is doing it or how much or too whom … it’s a secret.

If this is the first you are learning of the government listening to your phone conversations, reading your email and basically snooping into your personal life, then you need to turn-off “Honey Boo-Boo” and the other stupidity of TV and tune-in to the nightly news, maybe pick-up a newspaper or listen to public radio.

When the government tells you they are not prying into the lives of honest hard-working Americans, do not believe them.

It is human nature to be inquisitive. Sooner or later, just as we have seen here in Minnesota with revelations of government employees illegally running the driver’s license information of certain individuals, it will happen at the federal level. And, when it does, it will be affect millions of Americans.

Does that mean we stop all surveillance? Absolutely not! But to do it through a secret court of law where the outcomes are never explained is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

We need to have an honest, public discussion on the Patriot Act — its small print, those secret laws and executive orders that have been put into place since 9/11. Not to only means we willingly succumb to the wishes of the king.

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