Morning Report – 40% of modded mortgages are still underwater 6/3/14

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1917.9 -3.9 -0.20%
Eurostoxx Index 3240.1 -7.7 -0.24%
Oil (WTI) 102.5 0.1 0.06%
LIBOR 0.227 0.000 0.11%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.49 -0.150 -0.19%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.55% 0.02%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 106.5 -0.1
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 105.5 -0.2
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.18

 

Markets are lower this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are down. The automakers will be releasing May auto sales throughout the day – so far GM and Ford have both reported strong numbers.
In other economic data, ISM New York increased from 50.6 to 55.3. April factory orders increased .7% (and March was revised upward from 1.1% to 1.5%). Finally, the IBD / TIPP Economic Optimism Index came in better than expected to 47.7 from 47.
Yesterday, bond traders were given a quite the headfake with two incorrect reports for the ISM Manufacturing Index (a rather important economic indicator). The initial report had the index missing expectations significantly – a reading of 53.2 versus expectations of 55.5. This was a bond bullish number. However, later that morning they corrected the number to 56. Stronger number, so bond bearish. Finally, they got it right and reported the true number 55.4 – more or less in line with expectations. The market was probably more sensitive to this number than it should have been, but April’s economic data has been all over the place, and Friday’s jobs report looms large.
Home Prices increased 10.5% nationwide in April, according to CoreLogic. They are forecasting home price appreciation to moderate over the next year, with a prices expected to increase 6.3%. Excluding distressed sales, prices increased 8.3%. Overall, prices remain 14.3% below their April 2006 peak. Note that the FHFA Home Price Index has us within about 6% of the peak, but FHFA is a subset of the market in that it only looks at homes with conforming mortgages on them. 95% of the MSAs reported price increases.
The latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor is out, with data through April 2014. Roughly 40% of the homes who received mortgage modifications are still underwater. We are finally seeing the judicial foreclosure states work through their pipelines, which is why we are starting to see more home price appreciation there. New York and New Jersey are making progress, while Massachusetts is not (and in fact is suing Fannie and Freddie over resisting their foreclosure prevention program). Sadly, it never seems to occur to politicians that policies designed to prevent foreclosures prevent price appreciation. They have this view that home prices are simply too important to be determined by a mere market.

 

74 Responses

  1. Jesus, you guys are slow to move to a new thread.

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  2. Brent we’re getting a quote tonight from the company we preferred for solar here at this house. If I have any questions re financing or lease vs own would you have any answers?

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  3. Sure, LMS – I’ll do my best

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  4. That thread is epic… Should be renamed the EYSPC – Epic Yello Scott Pissing Contest

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    • Should be renamed the EYSPC – Epic Yello Scott Pissing Contest

      Poor McWing…always a bridesmaid.

      BTW, I think my pissing at yello was actually pretty limited. Maybe 3 or 4 comments.

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  5. Uh…

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  6. Yello called out McWing for being the sexist bagger that he is…

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  7. Oh, and if you hadn’t seen the SOLAR! FREAKIN! ROADWAYS! video that has been going around, here is the response to it: http://digg.com/video/solar-roadways-wont-work

    Good way to raise 1.7 million though…

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  8. Re: the solar roadways. i had not heard of it before. that said:

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  9. Lawrence Tribe reminisces on the lengths Supreme Court justices went to in order rule wisely on important First Amendment issues.

    Throughout the late 1960s, the justices of the Supreme Court spent at least one day each year in the basement watching porn together. By all accounts, it was fantastically awkward. Unable to define “obscenity,” but convinced that the First Amendment couldn’t protect unduly dangerous and morally corrupting expression, the Court was forced to create constitutional law one sex-scene at a time.

    These films ranged from scientific documentaries to the improbable escapades of lesbian nymphomaniacs. Justice Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights hero, took merciless pleasure in narrating the clips for the special benefit of Justice John Marshall Harlan Jr., an elegant former Wall Street lawyer who was by then losing his eyesight. Mocking Justice Potter Stewart’s insistence that “I know it when I see it,” clerks would call out in the dark, “I see it, I see it!” In 1968, some 20 years after serving in the U.S. Navy, a still-youthful Stewart reflected on more adventurous times and confided in a particularly curious clerk that he had indeed seen it, “Just once, off the coast of Algiers.” (I assume you can guess who that curious law clerk was.)

    And this was long before Clarence Thomas was on the bench.

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  10. What that got to do with anything?

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  11. Ohhhh, long dong silver and Thomas is dumb.

    Really? That’s fresh?

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  12. Thomas is dumb.

    Hey, if you say so.

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    • yello:

      Hey, if you say so.

      Actually I think this was a notion that you introduced quite some time ago.

      If we are going to get all sarcastic about great minds on the bench, we really need to invoke the brilliance that is Clarence “What Nino Said” Thomas.

      And:

      Thomas’s sphinx-like demeanor during oral arguments would be merely idiosyncratic if it didn’t feed into the pre-existing impression that he is a judicial lightweight. The collected written opinions of Justice Thomas would also be a fairly unimpressive tome to future historians.

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  13. Why the racism yello? Why do you hate African Americans and believe they’re inferior because of skin pigment?

    There’s help available for your illness. I just hope you haven’t already poisoned your children’s minds.

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  14. Society made him this way.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/mad-at-obama-blame-republicans-20140603

    But yello thinks that blacks are just prone to criminality because of skin color.

    Sick isn’t it?

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  15. “but convinced that the First Amendment couldn’t protect unduly dangerous and morally corrupting expression”

    where did they get that idea?

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  16. Heh. Perfect pitch.

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  17. Notice how yello’s excerpt focused on Thurgood Marshal?

    Yello, why do African Americans scare you to the point of emphasizing the racist slander of being over-sexed?

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  18. Or this.

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  19. “Brent Nyitray, on June 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm said:

    That thread is epic… Should be renamed the EYSPC – Epic Yello Scott Pissing Contest”

    Little did Mark realize what he was starting over the weekend.

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  20. “Unable to define “obscenity,” but convinced that the First Amendment couldn’t protect unduly dangerous and morally corrupting expression, the Court was forced to create constitutional law one sex-scene at a time.”

    Perfect example of the Justices being guided not by any sort of Constitutional principle, but rather just their own personal preferences.

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  21. This should prove interesting. Can you overturn Wickard v Filburn on religious grounds?

    “When Global Warming Kills Your God

    Twenty-three Alaskan tribesmen broke the law when they overfished king salmon, but they claim their faith gave them no other choice.

    Adam Weymouth
    June 3, 2014”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/06/when-global-warming-kills-your-god/372015/

    The FSM requires me to plant illegal wheat as part of my faith.

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  22. i misread “wheat” as “weed”

    either way.

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  23. Actually I think this was a notion that you introduced quite some time ago

    Good pull. You do have a mastery of the archive search. If you parse that, I’m not saying that Thomas is a lightweight but that he gives that impression. Here are some items from a far more recent article by Jeffrey Toobin titled Clarence Thomas’s Disgraceful Silence:

    As for Thomas, he is physically transformed from his infamous confirmation hearings, in 1991—a great deal grayer and heavier today, at the age of sixty-five. He also projects a different kind of silence than he did earlier in his tenure. In his first years on the Court, Thomas would rock forward, whisper comments about the lawyers to his neighbors Breyer and Kennedy, and generally look like he was acknowledging where he was. These days, Thomas only reclines; his leather chair is pitched so that he can stare at the ceiling, which he does at length. He strokes his chin. His eyelids look heavy. Every schoolteacher knows this look. It’s called “not paying attention.”
    {snip}
    No one, however, has been more outspoken about this conflict, at least on paper, than Thomas, the most extreme originalist on the Court. Scalia believes that the Court owes some deference to its own precedents, even if they differ from the original meaning of the text. Thomas is happy to lay waste to decades, even centuries, of constitutional law. Clearly, then, Thomas could have contributed to this spirited, important debate. Instead, on this day he was, as usual, checked out.
    {snip}
    By refusing to acknowledge the advocates or his fellow-Justices, Thomas treats them all with disrespect. It would be one thing if Thomas’s petulance reflected badly only on himself, which it did for the first few years of his ludicrous behavior. But at this point, eight years on, Thomas is demeaning the Court. Imagine, for a moment, if all nine Justices behaved as Thomas does on the bench. The public would rightly, and immediately, lose all faith in the Supreme Court. Instead, the public has lost, and should lose, any confidence it might have in Clarence Thomas.

    Other recent articles I’ve read about him have noted that many of the other justices are coming around to his radically originalist ideas suggesting that by playing the long game, Thomas is actually a far more influential justice than his bored looking reticence would indicate.

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    • yello:

      Good pull.

      Thanks.

      You do have a mastery of the archive search.

      It’s pretty easy. Remembering what people said and being able to come up with a keyword that will limit results to a manageable amount is the crucial thing. Not a lot of returns for “lightweight”.

      If you parse that, I’m not saying that Thomas is a lightweight but that he gives that impression.

      True. One of the interesting aspects of sarcasm and insinuation is that it conveys a different meaning than that of the literal words said/written. It gives the writer some wiggle room to pretend he wasn’t saying what he was indeed saying, if he is so inclined. 😉

      Here are some items from a far more recent article by Jeffrey Toobin

      Yeah, that article was pretty well fleshed out and handled here some time ago.

      Other recent articles I’ve read about him have noted that many of the other justices are coming around to his radically originalist ideas suggesting that by playing the long game, Thomas is actually a far more influential justice than his bored looking reticence would indicate.

      Maybe he’s smarter than you think.

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      • Yeah, that article was pretty well fleshed out and handled here some time ago.

        Wow. It sure was. I guess I was sleeping in class that day.

        Maybe he’s smarter than you think.

        He does have a law degree from Yale. They don’t give those out to just anybody. Harvard, on the other hand…

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  24. Wow.

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  25. Let’s have the run healthcare! What could go wrong with judgement like this?

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/chuck-todd-white-house-anticipated-euphoria-over-bergdahl-release/

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  26. LMS, fyi, we had a terrific lunch today at Plouf, a French restaurant in a restaurant/sidewalk-cafe collection on Belden, a little alley off of Pine. It was fantastic.

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    • George, Brent, and ‘Goose are all familiar with the concept of desertion. I successfully defended one at a CM more than 40 years ago. We know that desertion is not easy to prove because it requires evidence of intent to never return to military control. The tongue-in-cheek rule of thumb for circumstantial evidence to prove this used to be “what direction was the guy facing when the MPs found him?”. But there was some truth in that.

      We know that there should be an active investigation of whether this guy was merely AWOL or whether he actually deserted. There probably will be, in due course.

      Like QB, I dunno the legal nicety of what “consulting with Congress” entails. Apparently there was a consultation @18 months ago. Seems a bit remote on its face, but legally?

      As to returning the Taliban, without regard to the unknown legal nicety of consulting with Congress, I note that the Israelis regularly return captured terrorists in trades for IDF detainees. Seems de rigeur, to me.

      An interesting article about Bergdahl: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/04/world/middleeast/can-gi-be-tied-to-6-lost-lives-facts-are-murky.html?emc=edit_th_20140604&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=55859017&_r=0

      If I were in his company I would have been pissed.

      One more question I have for everyone – what was his rank when he left his duty post? His exact rank? Just curious.

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      • Mark:

        what was his rank when he left his duty post?

        Private. He was promoted twice while in captivity, to Sergeant. Apparently he is due for another promotion in June.

        http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/06/02/Bowe-Bergdahl-Scheduled-For-Promotion-to-Staff-Sergeant-in-June

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      • Mark:

        Like QB, I dunno the legal nicety of what “consulting with Congress” entails. Apparently there was a consultation @18 months ago. Seems a bit remote on its face, but legally?

        I think the White House rejected (in a signing statement?) the constitutionality of requiring the executive to consult with congress. And that is probably right. Seems to me that type of decision, to release war-time detainees, is a war power properly belonging to the executive. Ironically, if the detainees were held here in the US under criminal law (as Obama wanted), doing what he did would have been more legally complicated. He probably couldn’t have done it without issuing an official pardon or officially commuting their sentence, no?

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        • I like the war power argument, at first blush.

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        • Mark:

          I like the war power argument, at first blush.

          Of course, one has to believe we are actually in a war for the argument to make sense. And I am pretty sure Obama doesn’t think we are in war.

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  27. This is hilarious. John Oliver may have crashed the FCC’s web site with his rant about net neutrality.

    “At this point, and I cannot believe I am about to do this, I would like to address the Internet commenters out there directly,” Oliver said. “Good evening, monsters. This may be the moment you’ve spent your whole lives training for … for once in your life, we need you to channel that anger, that badly-spelled bile that you normally reserve for unforgivable attacks on actresses you seem to think have put on weight, or politicians that you disagree with, or photos of your ex-girlfriend getting on with her life or non-white actors being cast as fictional characters … We need you to get out there and for once in your life, focus your indiscriminate rage in a useful direction. Seize your moment, my lovely trolls, turn on caps lock, and fly my pretties! Fly! Fly!”

    By Monday, the FCC’s commenting system had stopped working, thanks to more than 45,000 new comments on net neutrality likely sparked by Oliver.

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  28. Supposedly there is a note that Bergdahl left proclaiming his intent to join the Taliban.

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    • McWing:

      Supposedly there is a note that Bergdahl left proclaiming his intent to join the Taliban.

      I think I read that it was to “talk” to the Taliban, not necessarily to join. Maybe he was on acting as a secret Obama peace envoy.

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  29. Like

  30. The war power argument works, but unfortunately for President Obama it relies on using GWB policy as the precedent and also gives rise to inconvenient citations of his own outraged remarks on it at the time:

    “During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama railed against the practice used liberally by President George W. Bush on any number of laws. “We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress,” he said then.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/06/02/the-complicated-release-of-sgt-bowe-bergdahl/

    As a general thesis, if the President has the power to unilaterally detain the inmates at Guantanamo for national security reasons, then it also follows that he has the unilateral power to release them for national security reasons.

    In any event, it’s known where they are and if they try to leave Qatar or rejoin the Taliban, they will probably just be hit with a drone strike.

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    • jnc:

      …and also gives rise to inconvenient citations of his own outraged remarks on it at the time:

      Unfortunately he probably won’t be inconvenienced by them at all. I question whether he is even capable of experiencing shame.

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    • Did BHO ever oppose the AFG war? I don’t think so. Not that it matters to a sitting POTUS; e.g., this Admin’s adoption of internal spying would have been grist for BHO the nominee.

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      • Mark:

        Did BHO ever oppose the AFG war?

        No, but I think he did/does oppose the War on Terror, of which the action in Afghanistan was but a part. Also, if I am not mistaken, it was his position, at least rhetorically, that the prisoners in Gitmo were not in fact being detained as enemy combatants pursuant to the prosecution of a war, but were instead being detained as criminals. Hence his repeated criticism that they were being held “without trial”. If they were criminals, and not enemy combatants being held pursuant to the prosecution of a war, then I am not sure how he can claim to release them under his war powers.

        As I have said in the past, I don’t think that combating international terrorism, which is what the action in Afghanistan and the detention of the Gitmo prisoners was about, fits neatly into either our traditional concept of war nor into our concept of criminal justice. And so whatever constitutional ambiguities may arise as a result, I think the detention of the Gitmo prisoners is close enough to holding prisoners during a war that the executive retains the power to release those detainees under his war powers. Still, that doesn’t mean that Obama isn’t a shameless hypocrite in light of his previous rhetoric on the issue of Gitmo detainees as well as on signing statements attached to legislation he signs. He obviously is.

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  31. “Unfortunately he probably won’t be inconvenienced by them at all.”

    I disagree. The press narrative on this hasn’t been particularly good for the administration.

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  32. “As I have said in the past, I don’t think that combating international terrorism, which is what the action in Afghanistan and the detention of the Gitmo prisoners was about, fits neatly into either our traditional concept of war nor into our concept of criminal justice.”

    The historical analogy that I always thought worked best was piracy on the high seas.

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    • Yes, JNC – I made that case here during our first year as a group. In fact, much of Islamic terrorism has been piracy as defined in current law. 9-11 events were four air piracies. And as I recall when we [the west] tried to explicitly include political terrorism in the nearly global piracy treaties in the 70s we were opposed by most of Islam. Most western international law experts are clear that non-state paramilitary crimes against civilians should be included, not just commercial ones.

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    • jnc:

      The historical analogy that I always thought worked best was piracy on the high seas.

      Agreed. But the nature of terrorism has a political element that piracy does not have, and that, I think, necessitates a somewhat different approach, both legally and philosophically.

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      • Scott, it doesn’t require a different approach because motive does not determine the destructiveness of the act. Separating commercial piracy from political piracy is like defining some crimes as “hate” crimes – an exercise in angels dancing on a needle. Thus, as I have cited to before, albeit more than a year ago, western lawyers pushed to specifically include non-commercial acts as piracy as early as the 70s but have been stymied in international organizations [mainly] by Islamic countries.

        Addendum: Please recall that in the nineteenth century that form of purely politically inspired piracy called “privateering” was included, finally, in the Atlantic definition of piracy.

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        • Mark:

          Scott, it doesn’t require a different approach because motive does not determine the destructiveness of the act.

          If one is concerned only with punishing the offender after the fact in proportion to “the destructiveness of the act”, then you might be right. But the point of both anti-terror and anti-piracy efforts is more than just punishment. It is to eliminate the practice. That requires different approaches in each case. What motivates pirates is not what motivates terrorists.

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        • But the point of both anti-terror and anti-piracy efforts is more than just punishment. It is to eliminate the practice. That requires different approaches in each case. What motivates pirates is not what motivates terrorists.

          I’m not sure what level of retaliation and/or pre-emptive action is needed to be an effective deterrent to religiously or politically zealous extremists. The death penalty has no effect against suicide bombers.

          It took thousands of nuclear weapons to keep the presumably rational Soviet Union in check. In the asymmetric warfare of stateless terrorism, the effort is much more complicated.

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        • yello:

          In the asymmetric warfare of stateless terrorism, the effort is much more complicated.

          Indeed. Hence the inadequacy of simply treating it like piracy.

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        • Treating it like piracy permits three avenues at once: intelligence gathering/investigation/infiltration, open warfare, and the authority to chase down the pirates/terrorists wherever they may be hiding under the no sanctuary rules. Placing terrorists under the rubric of the piracy laws legitimizes processes we already use. There is no downside. The plain truth that many Islamic groups in power view terror tactics as useful is all that has kept us from well defined treaties.

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        • Mark:

          There is no downside.

          Do piracy laws/treaties provide for indefinite detention in places like Gitmo?

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        • Do piracy laws/treaties provide for indefinite detention in places like Gitmo?

          The International Law of the Sea does not, but we have some reservations on the penalty provisions. The OAS definition of air and sea piracy includes political piracy. ILOS explicitly excludes it. OAS 1972 [or so] said the contracting parties should extradite to each other. But Cuba, for example, is not a contracting party. So whatever our domestic law permits us to do to a Cuban political pirate we can do.

          Now, as for George’s complaint – captured pirates can be subject to summary military procedures, if they exist, under some treaties, as I recall, but not under the ILOS. I haven’t read this stuff in six years. Sorry.

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        • Mark:

          The OAS definition of air and sea piracy includes political piracy. ILOS explicitly excludes it. OAS 1972 [or so] said the contracting parties should extradite to each other.

          So if I understand correctly…if, during the Afghan campaign we captured a terrorist from, say, Sudan, and Sudan had signed the treaty, we would be obligated to extradite that terrorist back to Sudan?

          But Cuba, for example, is not a contracting party. So whatever our domestic law permits us to do to a Cuban political pirate we can do.

          And does our domestic law permit us to detain him indefinitely at Gitmo?

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  33. Why not a bullet in the back of the head? Seriously? These are stateless, lawless actors. Why this concern over due process?

    Really. I seriously do not understand it. It seems like a suicide by process rather then defeat the enemy. If terrorism is to be defeated as a tactic then the “punishment” needs to be swift, severe and final. The more moronic process required the less likely you are to defeat the tactic. This pride over Justice is utterly misplaced and obviously counter-productive.

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  34. Summary execution. Mistake will be made. They are now.

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  35. This is from Wikipedia, but I’ll let Mark state if it’s accurate or not:

    “Title 18 U.S.C. § 1651 states:

    Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy#Uniformity_in_Maritime_Piracy_Law

    As a general concept, putting non-state terrorists in the category of hostis humani generis with pirates works quite well as a precedent for establishing universal jurisdiction for the US military to be involved in eliminating them.

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    • jnc:

      Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.

      Presumably, though, determining whether or not the crime of piracy has been committed will take place in a domestic court of law with all of its procedural protections for the accused, as was the most recent and notable act of piracy against a US vessel. If so, that is a real problem I think. Not to mention the possibility that we would be obligated to extradite the terrorist back to another country (presuming I am correct about that.)

      Like

  36. “I’m Now Kevin’s Biatch, on June 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm said:

    Why not a bullet in the back of the head? Seriously? These are stateless, lawless actors. Why this concern over due process?”

    Well, making sure you have the right person to start with if it’s going to be done via drone signature strikes where you don’t even know the identity of the target before killing them, especially since they can be targeted away from the battlefield.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. When you capture them, kill them. I assure mistake will be made. They already have. Due process delays the effect of summary execution.

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  38. Scott & Troll, One reason why it’s valuable to ground the authority to go after terrorists in statutes like the anti-piracy one is that it’s not dependent on the AUMF that was passed after 9/11 and thus is more sustainable in the long run.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Terrorists

    With the operations in Afghanistan winding down and since a conventional war frame was always a bad fit anyway to what’s been known as the “War on Terrror”, it’s long past time to update the institutions and legal structures to make permanent what’s necessary to combat the ongoing threat while at the same time taking the US off of a war footing in terms of what the executive is allowed to do unilaterally under what’s historically been considered a temporary state of affairs.

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  39. They aren’t being captured at all. Random people are being killed based on the fact that they fit a demographic and are in a specific area.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/08/the-case-against-drone-strikes-on-people-who-only-act-like-terrorists/278744/

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  40. J, true and all the more reason to use AUMF. Congress needs a say. It cannot be Executive branch only.

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  41. Assuming they are taken alive, then yes they get trials. But it does provide a sustainable basis for the law enforcement agencies, the intelligence agencies and the military to continue after them once the AUMF authorization ends.

    Edit: I’d argue that the primary problem with trials isn’t the idea of a trial itself but rather the exclusionary rule for evidence which I would get rid of altogether.

    Like

    • jnc:

      But it does provide a sustainable basis for the law enforcement agencies, the intelligence agencies and the military to continue after them once the AUMF authorization ends.

      Sure, it is certainly better than nothing. I just don’t think it is sufficient, and could easily be too restrictive itself. Say we go into a training camp in Afghanistan and round up a bunch of guys training to commit terrorist acts. They haven’t actually committed any act against US interests yet. Now we bring them back to the US for trial. Are they really going to get convicted? Of what? Based on what evidence?

      Don’t get me wrong….I don’t have an answer. I just don’t think it is right to think modern terrorism easily fits into existing notions of law (domestic or international) and/or war. I agree that piracy is the closest analogy, but terrorists >< pirates, and it is not reasonable to think that the methods we have developed for dealing with piracy are adequate for dealing with international terrorism.

      Like

  42. Troll, the AUMF doesn’t give Congress a say. It just hands the whole thing off to the executive. It’s also tied to those who planned 9/11. Eventually they will all be gone, but there’s still a long term issue to deal with.

    Like

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