Saturday, December 31, 2005

John Yoo supports crushing testicles of children!

But, of course, only if the President feels the need to do it.

Audio--MP3 format.

This has apparently been around for some time, but I just now listened to the clip. I don't know whether I'd rather vomit or hit the computer screen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Those liberal FISA judges rejected .1% of our requests!!!

Streiff at RedState just proved he can't do math.

Take this wonderful passage:

But since 2001, the judges have modified 179 of the 5,645 requests for court-ordered surveillance by the Bush administration. A total of 173 of those court-ordered "substantive modifications" took place in 2003 and 2004, the most recent years for which public records are available.

That’s right. Since we’ve been at war this court has modified 179 of the 181 requests for warrants presented to it.

Uh...where did that "181" number come from? To me, it looks like it's what the source said: 179 of 5,645.

Or this gem:

Yes. That’s right. Since we’ve been at war the court has rejected or deferred six requests.

Six requests! Out of nearly 6,000! Damn those liberal obstructionist FISA court judges for blocking a little over .1% of warrant requests made to them! They must want the terrorists to win. Or maybe they're just following the rule of law.

Streiff also proves without a doubt that he is a Gestapo brownshirt:

Wars are not waged by warrants, writs, and depositions. They are waged by hard men, kicking down doors in the night. Wars are not waged by arrests and indictments. They are waged by whisking suspected enemy combatants and sympathizers off the street and spiriting them away to parts unknown. Wars are not waged by wiretaps justified by probable cause. They are waged by intelligence operations directed against anyone in communications with our enemies, and these operations may include intercepting their communications, and rifling their papers and possessions, before kicking down their door and whisking them away to some Third World hellhole.

Apparently, if you slap the word "war" on something, then any action is justified, regardless of any sort of rule of law. I wonder who the next "enemy combatants" are going to be. It's funny: when we had a "war on drugs" I didn't notice this sort of thing happening. Apparently, one terrorist attack is enough to make people want to turn this country into a Stasi-style "desaparecidos"-generating police state. I guess that if it works for South America, it works for us too.

Streiff also doesn't believe in separation of powers:

From the beginning of this pseudo-scandal I’ve held the opinion that it is ridiculous for any Administration, Democrat or American, to ask permission of a freakin court – a court, mind you, not Congress - to carry out actions it has the authority to do. This analysis of recent FISA warrants shows the Administration was not only justified in principle but required to do so by the actions of the FISA court itself.

Streiff apparently favors monarchical executive powers with no judicial review. Note also the phrase "Democrat or American." Apparently, Streiff does not believe I am an American patriot, when in fact I am the staunchest supporter of America and its foundation upon the rule of law. But a phrase like that should tell you something. Streiff might want to break down the doors of suspected terrorists in the middle of the night and whisk them away to third-world hellholes--and people might think that's okay. But the next type of person Streiff might want to go after? People like me. People whom he considers "un-American" and "terrorist sympathizers."

Who's next, Streiff? And why should I trust you?

On Spying: RedState just doesn't understand.

Reading this post by Leon H at RedState nearly made me throw up. Seriously. They simply don't understand what is at issue.

What is at issue is not whether or not the NSA has the right to intercept communications to help defend this country. That's what the NSA is there for. The issue is whether the President has the right to ignore laws he finds inconvenient and bypass the well-recognized process of judicial approval. What is at issue is respect for the process of government and the rule of law, and it is this that Bush has violated. We do not disapprove of efforts to keep this country safe. We disapprove of extralegal efforts that force us, the public, to rely merely on our trust in the judgment of the executive to do what is right, as opposed to clearly defined legal constraints--because once the rule of law and legal constraints have been abandoned for the sake of expediency, a line has been crossed, and it is hard to go back. This comment illustrates this perfectly--Bush didn't wiretap the DNC or Howard Dean. This is true. The problem is that the argument here is that there is no legal difference between warrantless wiretapping of Al-Qaeda and warrantless wiretapping of the DNC--we just have to trust that Bush would never wiretap the DNC, despite a constant stream of vitriol from Republicans calling us supporters of Osama bin Laden. Our freedom is based on the structural differences between the two as founded in the rule of law, not the judgment of the executive.

The reason we "America-hating liberals" have extreme issues with what Bush has done is that his failure to go through the proper channels--especially given the widespread latitude that Congress and the public has given him to handle issues relating to terrorism. Bush has not explained why, if he really did feel that the process of FISA court approval was not fast-paced enough to keep us safe, he bypassed the legislature and took it upon himself to ignore a law he just didn't like.

The other complete misunderstanding is that the spying that went on falls under the foreign intelligence-gathering aspects of the FISA act. It doesn't. The statute as I remember it states that if one person is within the United States, regardless of whether they are citizens or foreign nationals, then a proper warrant or court order from a court of competent jurisdiction must be obtained. They love to bring up the "Clinton did it too" argument, but every president since 1978 has engaged in foreign intelligence-gathering in accordance with the stipulations of the FISA act.

Every time the RedStaters write a new diary on this subject, all they do is expose their own ignorance, as well as their preference for monarchy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Goodbye petrodollar?

This Daily Kos diary by Soj is worthy of attention. Is the market hegemony of the Petrodollar about to end? And will Bush and the neocons invade Iran on the pretext of nuclear weapons and terrorism to prevent a major oil supplier from trying Petroeuros? (Remember that Saddam Hussein converted to Petroeuros even despite needing to finance the conversion costs--and look where he is now.)

By my reading, we're at the eve of destruction. Though Jerome a Paris' comments on this diary are noteworthy. It's hard to know which way China is going to go. Regardless, should Iran do this, the value of the dollar will cave on volatility concerns alone, with speculators wondering whether China will take an economic hit to destabilize petrodollar hegemony, or whether China views itself as profiting from the fact that the current petrodollar system returns its central banks a profit on financing U.S. debt.

After all--if China and other nations switch to a bourse with Petroeuros, the artificial international demand for the U.S. dollar will cease. If that happens, the value of foreign-held T-Bonds decreases dramatically. China will take a huge hit, but even more significantly, the shockwave from the collapse will send the U.S. economy into a massive recession.

The only hope for stability is the formation of a compromise system so the transition from petrodollar monopoly to mixed-currency oil trading is gradual and the economic hit can be gradually absorbed via the falling oil prices that will result from a portion of market-share being evaluated in stronger Euros. Or, the administration can do what it just might be planning: invade Iran to stop the bourse, lose thousands of American lives, send the economy into a complete tailspin, have massive civil unrest, and impose martial law to ensure the stability and continuing security. Regardless, a paradigm shift is coming.