Limit FISA Surveillance?

Certainly, the process is beset with vast, and serious, problems.

Mr [DoJ Inspector General] Horowitz’s staff reviewed a sample from a recent five-year period, October 2014 to September 2019, during which the eight FBI field offices applied for more than 700 surveillance warrants on US persons. Each of the reviewed files contained errors, inconsistencies and omissions. After reviewing the report, the FISA court’s Chief Judge James E Boasberg issued a rare public order. He told the government to undertake steps to ensure the accuracy of FISA applications. Yet inaccuracy isn’t the only problem. The use of FISA against a US citizen presents a fundamental threat to civil liberties. It essentially suspends the Constitution.

An Expansionist Germany

Not military expansion, but a more insidious one: legal expansion.

The German government must come up with a new law regulating its secret services, after the country’s highest court [Federal Constitutional Court] ruled that the current practice of monitoring telecommunications of foreign citizens at will violates constitutionally-enshrined press freedoms and the privacy of communications.

And:

The key legal question was whether foreign nationals in other countries were covered by Germany’s constitution….

Why, yes, yes they are. Because German sovereignty reaches deep inside other nations’ borders, other nations’ legal and political jurisdictions, overrides those nations’ own sovereignty. Germany’s laws not only apply outside German borders, they apply inside other nations’ borders.

“The US Doesn’t Need a New Cold War”

So says Robert Zoellick in his Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed.

We truly do not need another Cold War. But this one is being forced on us, anyway, by the People’s Republic of China and the economic war it’s prosecuting against us. The environment for this one also was facilitated by the multi-polar world so enthusiastically built by ex-President Barack Obama (D).

Baker also is operating from a defeatist proposition.

The New Cold Warriors can’t contain China given its ties throughout the world; other countries won’t join us. Nor can the US break the regime, though the Communist Party’s flaws could open cracks within its own society. The US can impose costs on China, but to what end, and at what price to Americans?

Solidarity with Whom?

President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently cut off US funding for the World Health Organization unless it enacts—not just chit-chats about—real reforms about the way it does business and the degree of independence from particular nations it chooses to exercise in the conduct of that business.

The European Union demurred from Trump’s position. EU’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson:

This is the time for solidarity, not the time for finger-pointing or for undermining multilateral cooperation[.]

A Retaliation and Response

The Trump administration is musing about ways to stop Iran from trading its sanctioned oil to sanctioned Venezuela.

Some US officials have advocated restraint, arguing that the US should only intervene if the Iranian shipments become a permanent fixture, according to people familiar with the matter.

Never mind that restraint will guarantee that Iranian shipments become a permanent fixture, since if these officials become ascendant, they will infect all of the administration with their timidity.

Trade Needs

In an article about, among other things, the People’s Republic of China’s attempt to extort Australia into sitting down and shutting up about the PRC’s role in the Wuhan Virus’ spread across Earth, David Thomas, a consultant who for several decades has advised Australian businesses on investing in the PRC, said this:

The world is going to need China’s capital, manufacturing, and consumption power when this is all over.

That’s so wrong it’s foolish. We’re discovering that now, and after the Wuhan Virus situation has been dealt with from medical and economic perspectives, that we can’t afford to be very economically involved in the PRC.

Expanding Its Economic War

The People’s Republic of China is expanding the economic war it’s been waging against the US to include an important American ally and friend in the Pacific: Australia.

China has blacklisted four red-meat-processing plants in Australia, suspending beef imports from them.

According to one analyst interviewed by national broadcaster ABC, the three plants [in Queensland] combined produce some 35% of beef exports to China, Australia’s largest trading partner.

People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye, in April:

Maybe the ordinary people will say “Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?”

Reducing Investments

The Federal government is leading by example in withdrawing taxpayer dollars from People’s Republic of China businesses.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien have sent a letter (which was up on Scribd, but which has since been removed) to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia instructing him to not allow Federal retirement funds—taxpayer dollars—to be invested in shares of stock in PRC businesses.

Scalia then relayed those instructions to Michael Kennedy, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Chairman. Scalia instructed Kennedy to reverse the board’s decision to move the TSP’s International Stock Index Investment Fund investments to match an international index that would explicitly include PRC companies in the mix.

Control of the Internet

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the American manager of Internet domains and Domain Name Service under contract to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the globally agreed agency responsible for the global Internet. It had been about to sell the Internet domain .org to a private enterprise.

The .org registry is a database of more than ten million websites managed since 2003 by the nonprofit Internet Society. The group decided .org could be better served by a company that could invest returns back into the service.

The sale would have been for $1.1 billion, which ICANN could have put to good use, too.

Biden is Tough on the PRC

Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Joe Biden says so. And he’s actually going to run on that thesis.

However.

Leaving aside Hunter’s profiteering on Daddy’s coattails in the People’s Republic of China—that’s just the scummy topping on the gruel—Biden’s track record in dealing with the PRC as Senator and as Vice President is one of failure after failure to get, even to try to get, balanced trade deals and even-handed treatment of American companies wanting to do business inside the PRC.