Government Convenience

The Federal government’s Securities and Exchange Commission is vacuuming every scrap of data—including personally identifiable—on every single stock trade done by every single American, and it’s collecting these data from every single broker, exchange, clearing agency, and alternative trading system in the US.

It’s also doing this without any Congressional authorization to do so. The New Civil Liberties Alliance has filed suit to attempt to block the SEC from continuing and to get the SEC’s Consolidated Audit Trail, the mechanism by which the SEC collects and stores these ill-gotten data, completely eliminated. Peggy Little, the NCLA’s Senior Litigation Counsel:

Government Influence over the Means of Production

The Biden administration wants to control—put a leash on—the development of artificial intelligence software, in contrast with the Clinton administration’s hands-off approach to the development of the Internet. That’s the thrust of a Wall Street Journal Monday article.

The matter is far deeper and far broader than that. Biden’s move regarding AI is of a piece with his moves regarding ICE vs battery cars, solar and wind energy vs oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy, and on and on.

A No-Filibuster Senate

The Wall Street Journal editors worry about Arizona’s Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s decision not to run for reelection, coupled with West Virginia Progressive-Democratic Party Senator Joe Manchin’s retirement, and how those decisions will affect the Senate filibuster. The editors correctly predict the end of the filibuster if the Progressive-Democrats maintain their Senate majority after the coming elections, and they suggest the ravages of the resulting one-party rule:

  • doubling the national minimum wage
  • mandating a British NIH-style national health care program—Medicare for All—and damn the cost or reduction in quality of health care
  • enacting national “right” to abortion

Not All It Can Do

Progressive-Democrat Mayor Eric Adams’ New York City government has a new way to spy on American citizens resident in that city, or even just visiting.

New York City drivers buckle up because Big Brother (aka the MTA) is keeping a watchful eye on you by installing cameras along New York City streets to track you. But why? Well, it all boils down to money, of course. The MTA is rolling out a controversial $15 per day congestion fee for all drivers venturing south of 60th Street. They’ve even given this area of Manhattan a snazzy name: the toll congestion zone.

A Letter Writer Asks

In Thursday’s Letters section of The Wall Street Journal, a correspondent asked What Does Democracy Mean to the Lincoln Project?

He then offered three examples of the Lincoln Project‘s apparent ideology that underlie his question:

  1. It has been acceptable throughout American history for advocates outside the two-party system to obtain qualifying voter signatures to get on the ballot. But for No Labels to employ that method now should offend our sense of fairness.
  2. Even though the two parties have arcane rules for candidate selection that restrict voter autonomy, adding qualified competitors to the general-election ballot will limit voter choice.

A Critical Item

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the right track. In his Christmas Wall Street Journal op-ed, he laid out Israel’s three criteria for achieving real peace in the Gaza Strip:

Hamas must be destroyed, Gaza must be demilitarized, and Palestinian society must be deradicalized. These are the three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza.

Netanyahu is well down the right track, but I disagree with him to a slight extent.

Search Warrants and Sect 702

The Wall Street Journal editors are worried about a House Judiciary Committee proposal to reform Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s Section 702 (the proposal has subsequently been withdrawn for unrelated reasons). Their plaint centers on the Committee’s proposal to require search warrants to look at emails already lawfully collected.

The House Judiciary Committee…bill would require a warrant for queries of US persons, even though the information was already lawfully collected.

Dangerous Settlement

Bob Updegrove, a Virginia-based photographer, has settled his case against the State of Virginia and its Virginia Values Act, which barred “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public and private employment, public accommodations, and access to credit. The Act includes denying folks their right to demur on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Citing the recent 303 Creative LLC v Elenis Supreme Court case, Updegrove’s case was ultimately dismissed by both parties in appeals court on the agreement that he would not be forced to take part in same-sex weddings.

Private Citizens and Firearms Licensing in Israel

Israel has some firearms licensing requirements that would greatly please the Leftists in our nation. The particular requirement of interest to me is this one:

Firearm licenses for private citizens in Israel are typically only granted to individuals who can prove a need for extra security in their line of work or daily life.

And those who do succeed in getting licenses are limited to 100 rounds of ammunition at any one time.

Israeli citizens live in a small nation surrounded by terrorists that routinely and frequently attack that nation, particularly targeting civilians and civilian gathering spots. That’s their need for extra security.

It Doesn’t Get any Clearer than This

The citizens of California want to have a State referendum on taxes, specifically a vote on the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, in November 2024. The Act would limit the State government’s ability to raise taxes on those good citizens.

Progressive-Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom has joined John Burton, ex-State Progressive-Democratic Party Chairman, in an emergency(!) petition to the State’s Supreme Court to get the initiative removed from that election. The measure if passed, Newsom and Burton worry, would gut the administrative state and shift the longstanding balance of powers in California back toward the State’s legislative branch.