Good, and Bad

The 6th Circuit, in a case involving an assault on an Amish man by various members of his community because he didn’t conform to their standards, came to the right answer, but then it did the wrong thing with its answer.

The assaulters were convicted of their assault, with the crime and the conviction treated by the prosecutor and the trial court as a hate crime. The Circuit Court ruled, though,

Personal conflict, not religion, was the driving motive behind beard- and hair-cutting attacks targeting Amish, an appeals court panel ruled Wednesday in overturning the hate-crime convictions of 16 men and women.

Obamacare and ObamaMart Strike Again

In the continuing story of ObamaMart’s still incomplete (!) backend, the part of the Web site that takes the citizen’s input and sorts it, collates it with other government information, and then passes it on to other relevant parties—the health plan providers, for instance, and the IRS—there’s this:

Because of complicated connections between the new health care law and income taxes, the Department of Health and Human Services must send out millions of new tax forms next year.

The forms are called 1095-As, and list who in each household has health coverage, and how much the government paid each month to subsidize those insurance premiums. Nearly 5 million people have gotten subsidies through HealthCare.gov.

The PRC’s Aggressiveness

…extends to reaching inside sovereign nations and trying to influence internal matters. And the People’s Republic of China is using its manufactured grudge (based on events of 70 years—three generations—ago) to manufacture justification for this…intrusion.

China’s government on Thursday called on Japan to “break clean with militarism” after Tokyo confirmed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a note earlier this year to a ceremony honoring more than a thousand World War II-era war criminals praising their contributions.

Will the PRC also “break clean with militarism” and cease their grabs for the East and South China Seas?

Democracy People’s Republic of China Style

And democracy Hong Kong style.

The PRC’s view of elections in its satrapy is that only candidates acceptable to the Communist Party of China can stand for office in Hong Kong. Indeed, the Deputy Secretary General of the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee, Li Fei, has said out loud that openly nominating candidates would create a “chaotic society.” He went further:

[R]ights come from laws, they don’t come from the sky. Many Hong Kong people have wasted a lot of time discussing things that are not appropriate and aren’t discussing things that are appropriate.

Qatar’s Role

There seems to be quite a bit of…dissembling?…here, and it’s not all Qatar’s.

On the matter of whether Qatar supports terrorism while hosting our military base, there’s this from Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen:

Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria. To say the least, this threatens to aggravate….

Wait. What? The US’ State Department gets its intel from the press? Well, that would be consistent with President Barack Obama only knowing what’s going on in the world from newspaper articles.

There’s more.

“We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet”

President Barack Obama reiterated, in his speech Thursday, his reluctance to strike Syria, whether to support good-guy rebels or to attack ISIS forces there.

He also reiterated his reluctance to go beyond “humanitarian” air strike potshots in northern Iraq, whether to support the Kurds or to attack ISIS forces there.

He also ruled out any sort of military help for Ukraine by the US in the face of the now open Russian invasion of that country.

He also reiterated his reluctance to provide arms and ammunition to the Ukrainian forces so they could defend themselves, even if by themselves.

More Federal Arrogance

…EPA style.

Congressman Lamar Smith (R, TX) is highlighting [follow the links there for his letter to EPA Director Gina “Joe” McCarthy and for the EPA’s maps) a new example of this: EPA rule-making regarding waterways, particularly those on private land and how those private property owners must handle water on their property. In support of this new rule-making effort (although the EPA denies it’s in support), the EPA has generated highly detailed maps of every waterway in the US—down to what it classifies as “ephemeral streams,” or streams that only have water in them as a result of rain falling. Such “streams” include ditches on private property, runoff through a depression in someone’s yard, and so on.

Civics in Education

A great part of what ails our country is ignorance of our history and so of who we are—how the US came to be, how we got where we are today, the nature of our culture and ethnicity. This hasn’t been taught with any seriousness since the middle of the last century, beyond a couple of semesters of civics-like courses in high school and a once-over lightly few units of American and European history in grade school and junior high. Throughout the current century, civics, American history, the form and style of American governance, and the like almost are not taught at all. Symptomatic of this is the growing emphasis on identity politics and the differences among those who live in the US, rather than our share culture. Too often, we African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Chinese- or Japanese-Americans, etc. There’s too little thought given to the concept that we’re all Americans, full stop. American, albeit some of us might have African heritage, some of us might have Hispanic heritage, some of us might have Chinese or Japanese heritage, etc.

More Regulatory…Foolishness

Gordon Crovitz identified some.

The Obama administration’s standard reaction to technological innovation has been to block change via regulation….

Federal regulators are also putting the brakes on self-driving cars, which are closely related to the Uber innovation—enabling riders to order a car service using their smartphone app. If fast-moving technology hadn’t collided with slow-moving regulators, this might have been the last summer you’d have to drive your own car.

And

US regulators won’t let car manufacturers go much beyond what Mercedes now offers [active cruise control, automatic braking and lane-keeping technologies]. That means car makers can’t roll out technologies they already have, and auto makers in Europe, which has fewer regulations limiting technology, have surpassed their US competitors.

Federal Strings

…and Federal arrogance.

No police department should get federal funds unless they put cameras on officers, Senator Claire McCaskill (D, MO) said today.

“It seems to me that before we give federal funds to police departments, we ought to mandate that they have body cams,” McCaskill said.

Body cameras on cops may, in fact, be a good idea. However, that’s a thing to be determined by the locals for themselves. This is another example of how the Federal government seeks to control State and local governments in the place of the State’s citizens and the local community members.