“Freedom” in Hong Kong

Natasha Khan had a piece in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal concerning the implications of the People’s Republic of China’s 30 years ago Tiananmen Square bloody crackdown on today’s Hong Kong, especially in light of the PRC’s increasing and increasingly direct control over Hong Kong.  In the course of that piece, Khan asked about the implications of tightening freedoms on Hong Kong’s position as an international finance center.

To which I answer:

The implications of the PRC’s “tightening” of freedoms in Hong Kong are obvious and universal. The “tightening” is not that, it’s a direct attack on those freedoms with a view to converting them from actual freedoms to freedom to do as the PRC and its ruling Communist Party of China require.

Trump Commentary

There is much commentary, generally negative, over President Donald Trump’s statements, among others, that he likes the idea of Boris Johnson succeeding outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May.  It’s unbecoming. It’s unpresidential. Mostly, though, it’s simply not supposed to be done for one foreign dignitary to comment on the doings of another nation’s political debate.

I’ll ignore the foolishness of “unbecoming” and “unpresidential;” those objecting on these grounds routinely shy away from saying what they mean by “unbecoming” or “unpresidential.”  We’re simply supposed to accept their august pronouncements without question.

There’re a couple of larger issues in play here, though.

A Nutshell

On the matter of the House voting up the US Mexico Canada Agreement, the trade agreement agreed among the US, Canada, and Mexico to replace NAFTA, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D, VA) had this to say:

Given his behavior, I don’t see some great groundswell of support for this on our side of our aisle. I’m a free trader and I’m in no rush to approve this agreement.

That is the Progressive-Democratic Party’s hysterical anti-Trumpism in a nutshell. Party opposes the USMCA over Trump’s behavior; its opposition does not consider the merits or lack of merits in the agreement.

Gun Rights vs Gun Controls

In a Sunday Wall Street Journal piece about red flag laws as a means of gun control, Zusha Elinson asked whether there are any (other) measures that could unify gun rights and gun control supporters.

I say there are none.  Full stop.

Gun rights supporters want the 2nd Amendment honored as it’s written. That’s it, and it’s that simple.

Gun control supporters, though, don’t care about the 2nd Amendment, except to the extent they’re willing to go to the trouble of repealing it rather than simply ignoring it. This is demonstrated by a couple of things central to their position.

More Censorship Demands

There’s a doctored video on Facebook that purports to show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) drunk—or in the aftermath of a mild stroke, or…—, it’s been up for several days, and it’s well-known to have been doctored.

Of course, Progressive-Democrats are in an uproar over it and over Facebook’s refusal to remove the video altogether, even though the company has flagged it and downgraded, based on evidence of the video’s faked nature, its rate of appearance in user news feeds.  I disapprove of the video, also, but only because there are plenty of things over which to criticize Pelosi and her fellows without making stuff up, too, and the fakery reduces the overall credibility of those with legitimate criticisms.  However, I don’t want it taken down; that would be rank censorship.

Blowing Up Settlements

The one being sabotaged here is between Facebook and the FTC over the FTC’s proposed settlement of Facebook’s “mishandling” of consumer privacy data, including surrendering millions of consumers’ personal information to Cambridge Analytica.

FTC Chairman Joseph Simons has the (Republican) votes he need to impose the settlement, from the FTC’s perspective, on a 3-2 partisan vote.  He’s quite rightly trying to get at least one of the Progressive-Democrats on the board to vote with him, but they’re bleating that a $5 billion fine and other controls don’t go far enough.

This is naked obstruction, though, based on a cynically manufactured beef.

In Which Adam Schiff Demurs

Last Thursday, President Donald Trump authorized Attorney General William Barr to declassify any documents concerning surveillance of Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign.  Trump also instructed the Intelligence agencies and “the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community” to cooperate with Barr in that declassification.  This exposure of underlying data is something Republicans have been calling for since that surveillance itself was exposed.

Congressman Adam Schiff (D, CA) is up in arms over this move.  The

chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, blasted the move as an attempt to “weaponize law enforcement and classified information.”

Charging Assange

Julian Assange, of Manning and Wikileaks infamy, has been indicted on violations of the Espionage Act in addition to the existing charges pending against him.

Naturally, the NLMSM is in an uproar over this putative attack on a free press.

…reignited debate over whether pursuing Mr. Assange for publishing classified information could lead to other cases against journalists who receive government secrets.

Union “Dues”

Now the taxpayer looks to be on the hook.  At least in New York.

[O]n May 1, New York’s state Senate voted to let strikers get benefits one week after walking off the job—essentially putting them on equal footing with those who are laid off.
If Governor Andrew Cuomo signs this bill, he’ll effectively be using New York’s unemployment-insurance program to subsidize union strikes, upending the balance of power between workers and management.

Union strikes are little indistinguishable from extortion, except that they’re legal. They’re used to threaten a company’s ability to function—to survive—unless they surrender to union demands.  “Nice little business you got here. Be too bad if something was to happen to it.”