German Democracy

Germany’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose position is less than that of the Chancellor’s (the current incumbent is Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union) but currently has a critical role, has let the cat out of the bag regarding the attitude of that nation’s political elite toward democracy and the people of the nation.

Mao is Dead

Long live Mao.

People’s Republic of China’s newly crowned Emperor and President-for-Life Xi Jinping has mounted his throne and is starting to exercise his power.

Under Mr Xi’s orders, mandatory political-study sessions emphasizing his speeches and policies were revived for all party members.

And

So was the Mao-era practice of members criticizing others and themselves.

Can we look forward to reeducation camps, too?  Maybe.  Here’s Xi on necessary fervor and “right thinking:”

We must continue to rid ourselves of any virus that erodes the party’s fabric[.]

And

Centralizing Power

China’s Communist Party granted President Xi Jinping authority on a par with Chairman Mao, revising its constitution to inscribe a political theory bearing Mr Xi’s name and endorse policies to make the nation a world power.

A weeklong party congress that ended Tuesday appeared to give Mr Xi unassailable power as he begins a second five-year term.

The move was unanimous, with not a single Party member out of 2,336 willing to vote no—an indication of Xi’s already present overweening power.

Mobile Encryption is a Huge Problem

That’s the position of FBI Director Christopher Wray.

To put it mildly, this [mobile device encryption] is a huge, huge problem.  It impacts investigations across the board.

Certainly, consumer-done encryption of our communications devices can temporarily hinder investigations of the criminals who also use this encryption.  But as the FBI demonstrated regarding an encrypted cell phone involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, its initial claims notwithstanding, the encryption can be broken without the cooperation of the device’s owner.

Rajoy vs Catalonia

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had and has an obligation to uphold the Spanish Constitution which, among other things, made the recent Catalan independence referendum illegal even to hold.  I’ve written elsewhere about what I think of his tactics in his enforcement campaign.

Whether Rajoy ordered his Policia Nacional and his Guardia Civil to engage in the violence they inflicted in Catalonia (nearly 900 Catalan casualties) or they acted on their own initiative, it’s hard to believe Rajoy was so stupid as to not know the violence would ensue when he ordered them in.

A Mistake

Would a partitioned Iraq be a better pawn for Iran?  Or would a freed-up, independent Iraqi Kurdistan serve as a buffer to mitigate Iranian influence in the area—and an impediment to an Iranian road to Damascus and on to Latakia and Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea?  And an impediment to that road, passing as it would, right by Israel via Hezbollah?

An Iraq weakened by the partition would be easy prey for Iran?  No, that’s a wash for the weakened Iraq that’s already in Iranian sway, via all those Shiite “militias” that are funded and armed by Iran’s terror support organ, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps.

“New Commitment To, and Connection With, Each Other”

That’s what Ana Palacio, Spanish Foreign Minister at the turn of the century, disingenuously claims is needed in Spain following the recent Catalan separation referendum.

Spaniards need to work toward a new commitment to, and connection with, each other and the constitutional system.

But apparently Catalans are not Spaniards according to Palacio, since she also insists

“Dialogue”…is pointless given that Catalan secessionist authorities refuse to live up to or even recognize their responsibilities under the law.

Not a Good Sign

The EU thinks not enough progress has been made on the Brexit talks for there to be any discussion of a post-departure relationship between Great Britain and the rump EU.  You can understand that to mean the Brits haven’t surrendered enough of their nationhood over their effrontery to suit the Poohbahs of Brussels.

Leading lawmakers also slammed continued divisions within the British government over Brexit.

The WSJ piece centered on the Poohbahs’ demands, but the sentence just quoted gives the EU game away.

The “divisions” within the British government are just the noise of liberty and democracy.

What’s Their Limiting Principle?

Progressives, as The Wall Street Journal puts it,

believe that every human problem can be solved with a policy tweak. A ban here, a background check there, and, voila, no more mass shootings.

But what’s their limiting principle?  What level of gun control would satisfy them?  What fundamental concept would make them believe they’ve gone far enough with their tweaks, checks, bans on an American citizen’s access to the means of defending himself and his family?  Besides their empty rhetoric of “I wouldn’t do that, I wouldn’t take all your guns away…,” I mean.

Gerrymandering and Voting Districts

Further on the Supreme Court’s considering a Wisconsin gerrymandering case, and that dredges up some thoughts in my pea brain.

Taking the Federal government as my canonical example, I suggest the following to saucer and blow the whole gerrymandering question.  Each State should be divided into squares having substantially equal numbers of citizens resident.  Then, starting with four squares sharing a common corner that is at the geographic center of the State, add squares around the four, building outward in that fashion to the State’s borders, deviating from the square and the square’s straight-line sides only at those borders.