The Will of the People

The West Virginia House of Delegates has returned articles of impeachment against every one of the sitting Justices of the State’s Supreme Court.  One Justice, Robin Davis, has resigned her post, doing so before any of the impeachment cases proceed to the West Virginia Senate for trial.  In her resignation press conference, Davis complained

The majority members have ignored the will of the people who elected the justices of this court.  They have erased the lines of separation between the branches of government.

There’s Help, and There’s Help

Recall that Alphabet Inc, through its Google arm, has refused to help the US defend itself by refusing to work with DoD on the application of artificial intelligence to military projects.  After the resignations described at the link, Alphabet pulled its Google arm out of the project altogether, with effect in 2019 when its current contract expires.

On the other hand, Alphabet is enthusiastic about its Google working within the People’s Republic of China.  Mobvoi Inc, headquartered outside Beijing, makes smart watches and smart speakers for sale within—and outside—the surveillance state.

Its engineers build apps using TensorFlow, Google’s free set of development tools for artificial intelligence.

Free Speech

Christopher Mims had a piece up in his Thursday Tech column concerning the “usefulness” of good-guy bots to help combat filter bubbles, hate speech and harassment, and state-sponsored disinformation, along with other troll-ish speech.

Mims, unfortunately, is operating from the false premise that speech should be censored. Apart from obvious attempts to incite criminal violence, of course it should not be. Free speech must be free, bad speech—whatever that is; the definition varies from person to person and time to time—can only be answered with more speech.

As one commenter on Mims’ piece noted further,

NLMSM

They’ve completely thrown in the towel on their job and on their highly self-touted role as the Fourth Estate.  Even Fox News‘ Jon Scott, on his Sunday 1700CST/1800EST program, made the conscious decision to make pressmen’s hurt feelings from President Trump’s picking on them the lede and centerpiece of his “reporting.”

Our economy is going gangbusters after years of doldrums, our immigration situation is in flux, there’s a tariff conflict in progress, there’s an election later this week in a key Congressional district, the Russians are doing things, the PRC is doing things, northern Korea is doing things, Iran is doing things, the EU is doing things, and the Trump administration is doing things about all of those.

Some Thoughts on NATO

Stephen Walt, writing in Foreign Policy, had some, and as a result, so do I.

Walt’s first thought concerns the actual content of NATO’s Article V: it’s not a tripwire for war.  On this, he quoted the salient part of that Article [emphasis his]:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence … will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area….

Based on What Law?

Federal District Judge Robert Lasnik of the Western District of Washington has blocked, temporarily, the online distribution of blueprints for printing 3-D guns.  Lasnik’s temporary restraining order is subsequent to a settlement reached between Defense Distributed and State (which previously had blocked the posting of the plans) that functionally set aside State’s security objections to the posting.  The State of Washington, et al., then sued to reinstate the prior block.

In decrying the settlement that’s the subject of his TRO, Lasik wrote

College Admissions and Diversity

Harvard is claiming that it needs to select preferentially for race in its admissions in order to achieve its student body diversity goals.

…it has tried alternatives to race-conscious affirmative action to diversify its undergraduate student body, but such efforts would harm both the diversity and academic strength of the class.

This is nonsense.

“Affirmative action” programs, giving preferential treatment as they do (however small the preference is claimed to be) to persons based on their race (and/or sex in most other such programs), are fundamentally racist. More broadly, when there are limited classroom seats (let’s say) discriminating in favor of one group—whether by race or by merit—necessarily discriminates against other groups: those not preferred.

There Are Votes

…and there are votes.  In a Letter to the Editor in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, a writer notes that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got only about 16,000 votes out of a population of around 700,000—let’s say, with a naïve guess, 175,000 voters and out of a skosh under 28,000 votes actually cast in her primary.

That’s true as far as it goes. However, now she’s getting much more important votes—and lots of them—in the Progressive-Democratic Party as more and more Party members enthusiastically embrace her ideas.  She’s well and truly succeeding in moving the Party toward an outright socialist platform.

Another Role for UNRWA

A writer of a Letter to the Editor of The Wall Street Journal wondered why the UNWRA still was involved in handling Palestinian refugees instead of the UNHCR, which handles all other refugees worldwide.  This includes Palestinian refugees in the Gulf states, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, but not those in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza, and other geography close to or abutting Israel.

Here’s what the UNWRA did in support of its “refugees,” in particular Hamas’ 2014 terrorist war against Israel in furtherance of their own Gaza “refugees.”

  • warehoused the terrorists’ rockets for them
  • allowed the terrorists to dig their tunnels under UNRWA facilities

Tolerance

According to the Left.  It seems that liberal actor Mark Duplass had tweeted some praise for the Conservative Ben Shapiro.  Duplass committed the unpardonable sin of saying Shapiro was a “genuine person,” and he

encouraged “fellow liberals” to follow Shapiro if they are interested in hearing perspective from the other side of the political aisle.

Oh so tolerant (and loudly and proudly tolerant) Left got on Duplass about that.  Rather than going on about his business, ignoring that wind in the trees, though, Duplass cowered under his desk and apologized for his offense.