When I first traveled the Soviet Union, and two guys we didn’t know got out of a car and escorted me and some American friends past the long line waiting to get into a night club in Tallinn, seated us at a prime location table which magically was open, and proceeded to try to get us to change rubles for dollars, which would have been very illegal but completely commonplace in the then Soviet Union. Which we did not do.

Because even then I was paranoid, and figured we were being set up to be put in a compromising position of having committed a crime, and I didn’t want that government to have one over on me.

Video h/t long-time correspondent, photographer, reporter, bumper sticker aficionado, and music impresario Danelle via Small Dead Animals:

Danelle further writes:

You don’t have to think that Snowden is a hero, but he is most likely a flawed person who is scared of how much power the government has amassed. It might be a public service if Americans wake up and understand the broader implications and potential misuse of all this data.

The moral of the story wasn’t that Snowden had that kind of access, but that there are a large number of people who have that access and would be more than willing to pedal that data to the highest bidder. We’ve already watched a sophisticated data mining operation be used to win an unwinnable election.

The NSA conversation has got to move beyond the Security Issues and put it into context of how this information can be abused and misused by anyone who would like to cause you headaches including identity thieves.

This is the same Obama who tried to pass “Extended Background Checks” without explaining exactly what was “fair game” in your background.

Or other leverage Lois Lerner could have used while at the FEC trying to convince a citizen to foreswear his rights to run for political office for the rest of his life. HHS is in the process of bypassing HIPPA protections in order to use our medical records for their own purposes.

Frankly, the talking points keep mentioning “terrorists”, but we forget that DHS has already identified who they believe are terrorists…. Christians, Conservatives, limited government and States Rights advocates, Pro Life advocates, Veterans…. this is an administration that has alliances with the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR.

I actually sat down and thought about “What Would I Prefer” to keep confidential…. well, I love junk fiction -the good, the bad and the horrible – it’s cotton candy for the brain. Occasionally, a book has taken an unpredictable turn into “darker” topics; I don’t care for those subjects, but once you’ve bought the book, it’s on your “permanent record” no matter if you finished reading it or not…. is that something I’d like to see show up in a Background Check for my other job mentoring young people?

[Note -- I messed up the year in the original title, it was January 1979 not 1978. Title corrected now.]