A Number of Misunderstandings

Los Angeles passed an ordinance requiring hotel operators to give up data in their guest registers to the police, even when they don’t have a warrant.

The ordinance, approved by the city in 2006, requires hotels to collect and maintain guest information such as name and address, the number of people in the guest’s party, vehicle information, arrival and checkout dates, room number, and method of payment. Hotel operators who fail to comply with it face as many as six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

A motel operator demurred, and at this point, the 9th Circuit agrees: they struck the ordinance as unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment.

Trust

I’m going to poke my nose into European affairs, again.

The backdrop is the French budget crisis. The backdrop to that is this. In one of the EU’s responses to their part in the global economic crisis of 2008-2009, the EU passed the Stability and Growth Pact, which authorized the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (though the Commission has its own president, the body acts like a President-by-Committee) to require EU member nations to submit their national budgets to Commission approval. If the Commission disapproved the budget and the nation in question refused to make Commission-directed corrections, the Commission could levy very serious fines on that nation.

Federal Subsidies and Block Grants

I’ve written elsewhere about converting Medicaid subsidy transfers to the states to block grants on a declining schedule that eliminates the Medicaid subsidy altogether over a 10 year period.

In an era of excessive Federal government spending, ongoing Federal budget deficits as the normal state of affairs, and the resulting burgeoning Federal debt, it’s time to look at converting all Federal transfers to the states on a declining schedule that eliminates the subsidies altogether over a 10 year period.

It’s time to restore the Federalism to the Federalism concept of our Constitution.

Disappointing

An understatement. These indicators of the failure of our education system are via Three Percenter; the list of all 50 is here.

  • only 36% of all Americans can name the three branches of government
  • only 25% of all Americans know how long US Senators are elected for (6 years), and only 20% of all Americans know how many US senators there are
  • 1% of American young adults in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket are currently living with their parents
  • 25% of all employees that have Internet access in the United States visit sex websites while they are at work

Evil Foreigners

That’s the claim of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, regarding the current protests against Beijing’s usurpation of Hong Kong’s right to elect their own Chief Executive from a ballot of their own choosing. All of the kerfuffle is coming at the instigation of Evil Foreigners. Carefully unnamed ones, too.

Because it couldn’t possibly be the result of misbehavior (or simple error) by the government of the People’s Republic of China. It couldn’t possibly be that the PRC government has lost the consent of the people of Hong Kong to govern them (if that government ever had that consent).

Even the Brits

This is an amazing development for the authors of the Magna Carta. That charter, recall, codified for the first time in Anglo-American history, limits to government’s (king’s at the time) right to intrude into a man’s private affairs and possessions except under some severely constrained conditions: due process of law.

This is that amazement:

Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant.

The new policy from the British Home Office went into effect Oct 15, permitting police and constabularies to conduct surprise home visits to legitimate gun owners.

Politicizing Ebola

And right before a major election, too.

On Oct 12, the Agenda Project Action Fund released a political ad called “Republican Cuts Kill,” which according to the group, has been scheduled to air in Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, and South Dakota—all states with high-stakes Senate elections in November. The ad juxtaposes pictures of dead bodies and body bags in West Africa with Republican lawmakers like Sens Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul.

“Like rabid dogs in a butcher shop, Republicans have indiscriminately shredded everything in their path, including critical programs that could have dealt with the Ebola crisis before it reached our country,” said ad producer [Agenda Project Action Fund] Erica Payne[.]

A Tidbit

…of a concept that’s lost on one of the main groups of central planners of the world, those of Russia.

This one comes from an article in Pravda, which plays a role for the Russian government similar to that of The New York Times for the Democratic Party’s administrations. Interestingly, in addition to being missed by the Pravda author, it’s also missed by Tom Friedman, who cited the article in his NYT article.

The Government and Privacy

The government is continuing to misunderstand the import of the 4th Amendment’s stricture regarding searches, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects and especially Warrants…particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, and of the major purpose of our Constitution generally.

Even accepting things like Edward Snowden’s leaks and the NSA’s overbroad and non-particular descriptions of things for which to be “searched” in our cell phone metadata as being aberrations, the existence of the aberration demonstrates the fragility of government handling of that much searching capacity.

Privacy and the Government

This time, as represented by the FBI.

The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation urged Silicon Valley Thursday to reverse course on encrypting phone data, suggesting the pendulum on privacy issues “has swung too far” against the government in the wake of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

No. It hasn’t swung far enough, as too many judges’ attitudes illustrate.

FBI Director James Comey added,

We also need a legislative and regulatory fix.