Trade and the Rule of Law

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked for President Donald Trump’s help, at the G-20 meeting in Japan, to get the People’s Republic of China to release the Canadian hostages that the PRC kidnapped in retaliation for Canada’s detaining a PRC company executive for criminal investigation.  Trump has agreed.

Gerard Gayou suggested in his piece at the link,

Mr Trump may worry that challenging Mr Xi on political prisoners would jeopardize a trade deal, but pressing China on the rule of law should be a priority.

In Which I Agree with the ACLU

The National Security Agency illegally spied on American citizens, again.  This time occurred, last October, when the NSA

collected records about U.S. calls and text messages that it wasn’t authorized to obtain last year….

This

occurred several months after the NSA said it had purged hundreds of millions of metadata records it had amassed since 2015 due to a separate overcollection episode.

This flouting of law and of its instructions was no accident, not the second time.  It was deliberate.

An ACLU staff attorney, Patrick Toomey, said in part,

Censorship

James O’Keefe’s Veritas did some undercover work, produced a video of that work, and ran it on YouTube.  However, the exposé was of…Alphabet’s Google (which in turn owns YouTube), so YouTube took it down—Alphabet’s censors couldn’t stand the criticism.

The video seems to be back up a few hours later as I write this on the late afternoon of Tuesday.

However.

Alphabet’s attempt to censor, regardless of its (temporary?) failure, is wholly unacceptable, and it demonstrates Alphabet’s (as the owner of Google and YouTube) dishonesty and cowardice.

Trump and the New York Times

In one of a series of Letters to the Editor in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, one letter writer decried both President Donald Trump’s and the NYT‘s words.  It’s a false comparison, though.  The letter writer wrote in the Trump part of his comparison

President Trump’s use of the word “treason” to characterize the Times, and his attempts to misuse government authority to retaliate against journalists must end, full stop.

This is a cynically misleading claim. Trump did not use the word “treason” to characterize the NYT; he used the phrase “virtual treason” to characterize the NYT‘s behavior.

In Which the Court Gets One Right

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Bladensburg Peace Cross is not an unconstitutional favoring by government of a particular religion, reversing the 4th Circuit. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

This is the privately done monument that was

built in 1925 and paid for by local families, businesses, and the American Legion to honor 49 World War I veterans from Prince George’s County [in Maryland]. But the 40-foot cross sits on a now-busy highway median owned since 1961 by a state commission that pays for its maintenance and upkeep.

Appeals to Courts Vice Voters Vice….

Wisconsin’s Progressive-Democrats failed at the polls, for all that they won the Governor’s and Attorney General’s chairs in 2018, so they tried to get the courts to impose their policies by judicial fiat.  That failed, too, so now what?  How can these Know Betters get their plans imposed on the unwashed citizenry?

It seems that the duly elected State legislature and duly elected State governor had passed a number of laws that limited the power of the Governor and the State Attorney General.  The fact that these laws were enacted after those 2018 elections and before the new Governor and Attorney General took office was somehow supposed to delegitimize those laws.  Or so the Progressive-Democrat Governor and AG insisted.  The people were still speaking, but they should not be listened to.

Foolishness

In response to a Wall Street Journal editorial on Scot Peterson, the cop who stood outside and listened to the butchery going on inside a Florida school, a Letter to the Editor writer had this to say:

Your editorial leaves out of the discussion how outgunned Scot Peterson and his fellow sheriff’s deputies were against shooter Nikolas Cruz with his AR-15 rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I wonder how many Journal readers (and writers) would have confronted the shooter while bringing a metaphorical knife to a gunfight.

Regulatory Capture

…and campaign finance hypocrisy.  Regulatory capture is where companies subject to this or that regulatory body are large enough and financially successful enough to…influence…their regulators and guide the nature and scope of the regulations to which they, and their competitors, are subject.

The most recent presidential campaign filings show that [Senator Elizabeth, D, MA] Warren and [Senator, I, VT (or D, depending on which spin is current] Bernie Sanders—who has called for ramping up antitrust enforcement and taking on the big tech companies—have each attracted large amounts of contributions from people connected to Google and other tech companies.

Flip Flops

The Wall Street Journal concerned itself with Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s flip flop surrender on the question of abortion rights and the Hyde Amendment.  I have some thoughts on that.

Joe Biden’s best claim to the Democratic presidential nomination is that he’s a moderate liberal who can pull centrist votes from Donald Trump.

?? Biden himself has never made this claim during the present campaign. He led off his campaign by saying he was the most Progressive of all his fellow candidates.

That’s a non sequitur [the premise abortion rights are dependent on zip code]. The existence of a right doesn’t assume the government’s obligation to pay for it.

Alphabet Censorship

They’re at it again.  This time, it’s Alphabet’s YouTube, owned through Alphabet’s subsidiary Google that’s inflicting censorship.

YouTube has blocked some British history teachers from its service for uploading archive material related to Adolf Hitler, saying they are breaching new guidelines banning the promotion of hate speech.

Alphabet restored the censored data, but only after it had gotten caught in its censorship and the ensuing uproar got too uncomfortable.

Alphabet’s censorship was because the material consisted of

content that promotes hatred or violence against members of a protected group.

Yeah—the protected group here was Alphabet’s censors.