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.

A Party of Bigots?

This article is “triggered” by a segment last Thursday on Fox News Overtime. A panel including otherwise respected Democratic (note: not Progressive-Democratic) pollster Doug Schoen, the show’s host Harris Faulkner and another lady (sorry, her name escapes me). The panel was discussing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D, NY) despicable, and repeated, equation of the detention centers along our border wherein we house illegal aliens pending their disposition with the World War II concentration camps used explicitly for rounding up Jews, Romani, and others—seizing them from their own homes for the purpose—and exterminating them (with a view to carrying out genocide of the Jews in particular).  Mind another distinction: the folks housed in those detention centers are free, given some associated paperwork, to leave at any time, provided they leave to go home. The folks “housed” in the Holocaust concentration camps were not free to go anywhere except to die.

“Radical-Right” and the Left

The Washington Post ran a panic-mongering op-ed about the Supreme Court last week.

Last month, the new conservative majority—being driven by Justices Neil M Gorsuch and Brett M Kavanaugh—signaled that this change is coming. In overruling a 40-year-old precedent governing how state governments can be sued, the new court majority, all of whom pledged reverence for precedent during their Senate confirmation hearings—sang a different song: “stare decisis is ‘not an inexorable command,’ … and is ‘at its weakest’ when interpreting the Constitution.” This was the second time in less than a year that the conservative majority has tossed aside decades-old precedent.

Socialism

It seems Amazon has teamed with another company to create and issue a credit card that would be issuable to Amazon’s Prime members. It doesn’t matter what the purpose and parameters of the card are—they’re legal under existing law.

But none of that matters.  Senator and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I, VT) and his trophy BFF, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY), object to the card because it doesn’t suit their requirements.  And since they object, they’ve vowed to destroy the card, should Sanders be elected President.

The PRC and Facial Recognition

The People’s Republic of China is moving “beyond” the use of smart phones for making on-the-spot retail payments, starting to supplant that with facial recognition—with personal images tied to personal financial accounts.

Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd, rivals that operate, respectively, Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s two largest mobile-payments networks, are competing for dominance in the next stage of China’s cashless society. Each is racing to install its own branded facial-recognition screens at retail points-of-sale all over the country, marketing the screens as a way to speed up sales and improve efficiency.

Another Reason

…to not have these things in our homes.

According to internal documents seen Wednesday by local media, German interior ministers are considering a proposal that would allow data from speech assistants to be legally permissible as evidence for the prosecution of crimes.

“Speech assistants”—is that what the kids are calling these things?  The speech assistants to which those German interior ministers refer are “smart” home devices like Alexa, Siri, smart TVs, presumably Cortana, and on and on—any device we allow in our naivete into our homes—that listen to our every word, every sound we sigh, and records the most current of them.

“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.

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.

Yewbetcha

Justice Clarence Thomas, on the matter of judicial precedent, as quoted by Myron Magnet in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal:

“Stare decisis is not an inexorable command,” Justice Thomas observes in [Franchise Tax Board v] Hyatt. He has said elsewhere: “I think that the Constitution itself, the written document, is the ultimate stare decisis.”

What he said.