Disappointing

Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) is defending his vote to convict President Donald Trump during the impeachment and trial fiasco of the last several weeks. In the course of that defense, Manchin says he wanted to see more information from Trump and his defenders. In the course of that, he tweeted [emphasis added]:

I’ve read the transcripts thoroughly & listened to the witnesses under oath. Where I come from a person accused defends themselves with witnesses and evidence. Where I come from a person accused defends themselves with witnesses and evidence.

Markets in Internet Domains

ISOC, which owns the .org Internet domain, wants to sell the address to a company called Ethos, which wants to go into a for-profit business managing Internet domains or Internet addresses. ICANN has to approve the sale before it can go through.

The free market competition that would result from the sale and others like it is supposed to knell the end of the Internet. The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board likes the idea.

They’re both wrong, and they’re both being hysterical about it.

In Which Illinois Got It Right

Back in 2008, Illinois passed a law barring companies from collecting customers’ personal biometric information without their prior permission. Companies in Illinois also were required to develop a policy, and make it readily available, that laid out how those biometric data would be stored and when they would be destroyed.

Facebook was accused of violating that law when it decided to use its facial recognition technology to analyze users’ photos in order to create and store “face templates.” Users’ faces are plainly biometric data in this context, the data were taken by Facebook without the owners’/users’ permission, and in 2015, folks sued Facebook over its misbehavior.

Protections through Cuts

That’s how President Donald Trump’s budget proposal represents support for his campaign commitment to protect programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

[The proposal] targets $2 trillion in savings from mandatory spending programs, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts—such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps—and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to federal disability benefits.

Medicare is threatened with bankruptcy nearly as badly as is Social Security, but that doesn’t mean Medicare would disappear—only that benefit payouts would be reduced to what payroll tax revenues could support, rather than what’s currently available from those tax revenues plus earnings and principle from its trust funds.

Government Knows Better Than Owners

That’s what the SEC is claiming with its latest shenanigan.

[T]he Securities and Exchange Commission wants to make it harder for small shareholders to get resolutions onto company ballots, known as proxies.

After all, the SEC says, with some accuracy,

responding to resolutions can pose an undue burden on companies, costing tens of thousands of dollars apiece for research, and printing and mailing of ballots.

However.

Corporate by-laws are set by the owners of the company, and the owners can, via their by-laws, set the parameters surrounding shareholder resolutions and thereby manage their own costs just fine, thank you.

Leave alone, Jobs, Respect

Ex-Chicago Mayor and ex-President Barack Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (D) cried out in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month that Progressive-Democrats are “blowing their chance,” the central theme of which was that the current crop of Progressive-Democrat Presidential candidates seemed to be running against ex-Progressive-Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama, rather than the current President, Donald Trump.

A Letter to the Editor writer in Friday’s WSJ took issue with Emanuel’s piece; this part in particular drew my attention.

Donald Trump is on the edge of doing more for black Americans than Mr Emanuel’s party has done for decades. He’s leaving them alone, giving them jobs, showing them respect.

Upset

Republicans have run a video montage that pairs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D, CA) SOTU speech rip-up with individual quotes from President Donald Trump’s speech.  The Progressive-Democrats have their panties thoroughly twisted over that. Here’s the offending video.

Here’s Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff with a canonical example of the angst:

The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests[.]

A Party Platform

Kimberly Strassel had an interesting column (when has she ever not?) in her Thursday Wall Street Journal, centered on the divisions within the Progressive-Democratic Party. What especially drew my attention, though, was the question with which she closed her piece.

Does the common Democratic desire to beat Mr Trump overcome all that [all those venues of division]?

The very existence of the question illuminates another Progressive-Democratic Party problem: it has no serious policy on which to run (another attempt to take over the private economy—Medicare for All? Really?); all it has is a platform of “Beat Trump.” Shouting about beating an opponent rather than proposing new, restorative policies or touting existing, successful policies is, I suggest, no path to gaining a position from which to expand on existing, successful policies or enact new, restorative policies.

“I Have Seen Dictatorships”

Ex-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, says so. And she insisted, in her op-ed, that she and her colleagues had no obligations to her bosses:

When civil servants in the current administration saw senior officials taking actions they considered deeply wrong in regard to the nation of Ukraine, they refused to take part.

They, and she, also refused to resign. All of them simply presumed to disobedience and to a veto authority over their bosses’ instructions.

She went on:

We need to stand up for our values, defend our institutions, participate in civil society and support a free press.

The Snub

Much is being made (still!) about President Donald Trump’s seeming snub of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D, CA) offered handshake as Trump handed up copies of his SOTU speech to the Vice President of the United States/President of the Senate Mike Pence and to Pelosi. Ample video shows Pelosi accepting the copy of his speech with her right hand, then switching hands in order to offer her right hand to shake and Trump turning away to begin his speech without taking the handshake.

There are three possibilities for this.

One is that Trump did, indeed, snub Pelosi.