Tonawanda News


July 31, 2013

DUVALL: A second look at national security debate

Tonawanda News — Among the big news in what’s been an uncharacteristically newsie week for the dog days of summer was the conviction of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the source of the WikiLeaks ordeal.

It’s one of two stories in the news that should have Americans questioning just how much they trust their government — the other being the increasingly bizarre saga of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who went public with the agency’s massive wire tapping and eavesdropping program.

To be sure privacy has always been a point of friction in the federal government’s attempts to keep Americans safe. How much intelligence-gathering is enough to do the job and how much is too invasive to justify the point of keeping us free and safe?

I generally find myself outside the mainstream on the issue, though probably not in the way most people might guess. 

If there’s one thing I have in common with Tea Party conservatives it’s a general distrust of what the government does in the name of preserving my freedom. 

Does the NSA need to peek in on my personal email? I promise my Gmail account doesn’t have much more than some Groupon offers and a few Facebook and Twitter notifications. My work email? Well I’m not reporting on anything reaching the level of state secrets but it’s a disturbing thought nonetheless that a government agency is hacking into reporters’ email accounts.

There’s a reason they made freedom of speech, expression, religion and the press the First Amendment — because it’s the most important in establishing a truly free and democratic society.

Our government prosecuted Manning, a troubled soldier who was disillusioned with American military affairs on several levels. He had a front row seat and access to classified information that belied the public’s understanding of our conduct in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. He was also an outcast who struggled for acceptance as a closeted gay soldier back in the days of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which bears some consideration on a personal psychological level if not a larger policy one.

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014