Yoo Just Don’t Get It

July 27, 2009

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Friend of all things waterfall hat-related, Stein Time contributed the following.

John Yoo recently wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, titled Why We Endorsed Warrantless Wiretapping, defending the decision to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and allow the NSA to intercept the communications of U.S. citizens, regardless of whether there was probable cause.  He employs the same trusted rhetorical devices: doomsday scenarios, fear-mongering, straw-men arguments, selective disclosure of facts, an appeal to patriotism, and quotes from past patriots, like Alexander Hamilton and John Locke.  But something struck me as worthy of pointing out.  The editorial is not a denial of wrongdoing.  Instead, it is a tacit admission that he and others knowingly broke a law they deemed to be “outdated” or, more precisely, inconvenient and prohibitive.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Trouble With Representative Democracy

July 13, 2009

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This is the first of, hopefully many, posts by a guest writer.  Appropriately, my main man Stein Time gets the honors.

The criticism that politicians lack the testicular fortitude to back unpopular or broadly-impacting reforms because they must maintain relations with a local constituency is misdirected. Representative democracy is ill-equipped to deal with long-term issues- like climate change, healthcare, and social security- or acute problems that require a fundamental overhaul, like our financial regulatory system. But the reality of creating a majority coalition among 435 congressmen and 100 senators in a two-party system crippled by partisanship (see stimulus package) is that issues prone to negative-spin, like prison and drug reform, are consciously ignored.
Read the rest of this entry »