Sunday, December 22, 2019

Two by Andy

Andrew McCarthy: The costs of trivializing impeachment
Excerpt: Think about the Sunday political talk shows. It has become standard for pundit panels to divide into two segments. In the first, journos ponder the tactical maneuvering toward impeachment and such concerns as the potential effect on Democrats holding seats in Trump-friendly districts. Then, after a commercial break, that panel returns to analyze the state of the 2020 race — which Democrat will emerge to challenge President Trump? That is, everyone takes for granted that the impeachment machinations they just discussed are irrelevant. Trump is not going to be removed, he is going to be the GOP nominee. No one thinks impeachment will render him less formidable; in fact, the main attribute most Democrats look for in a candidate is electability against Trump, not issue consistency or ideological purity.

Ball of Collusion and FISA Reform
Excerpt: A little background on surveillance. Non-Americans situated outside our country do not have Fourth Amendment privacy protections. Consequently, the overseas collection of intelligence about them, including their communications, occurs with no judicial supervision. It is carried out under Executive Order 12333, which has been amended several times since being issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Other foreign intelligence collection implicates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. At its inception over forty years ago, FISA was chiefly designed to shield Americans inside the United States from such surveillance unless a court could be shown probable cause to believe they were complicit in clandestine activities on behalf of a foreign power. With congressional expansion of FISA over the last decade, the law is now also geared to mitigate the invasive consequences of sweeping global surveillance, made possible by the revolution in telecommunications technology. This latter protection is not very effective. [McCarthy gives a brief history of “what happened and why” that made the FISA process what it has become now. It is unsettling reading. Ron P.]

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