Free Speech, PRC Style

During visits to more than 20 schools, the regional paper [Liaoning Daily] wrote last week, it found exactly what it said it was looking for: some professors compared Chinese Communist Party co-founder Mao Zedong to ancient emperors, a blasphemy to party ideology upholding Mao as a break from the country’s feudal past. Other scholars were caught pointing out the party’s failures after taking power in 1949. Some repeatedly praised “Western” ideas such as a separation of powers in government.

“Dear teachers, because your profession demands something higher of you, and because of the solemnity and particularity of the university classroom, please do not speak this way about China!” implored the article….

Privacy and Government

…and government shoe-squeezing.

The No. 2 official at the Justice Department [Deputy Attorney General James Cole] delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc executives: new encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.

The naked panic-mongering is something we’d expect to get out of the press, but for a high-ranking government official to spout such nonsense is…unseemly. For Cole to masquerade his extreme outlier as the trend that must result, though, is dishonest. But it’s all good—DoJ must be able to snoop into Americans’ communications on DoJ’s own recognizance. Because, of course, no American administration would abuse its discretion.

Another Cyber Threat

…and an empty solution.

[NSA Director and Commander, US Cyber Command Admiral Michael] Rogers said he believed China along with “one or two” other countries had the capability to successfully launch a cyber-attack that could shut down the electric grid in parts of the United States.

And

US adversaries are performing electronic “reconnaissance” on a regular basis so that they can be in a position to attack the industrial control systems that run everything from chemical facilities to water treatment plants.

Wrong Answer

At this week’s G-20 meeting in Australia, British Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his proposed restrictions on speech as a mechanism for combatting terrorism and youth radicalization at home.

Cameron told the Parliament the root cause of extremism was not poverty, social isolation from the mainstream or foreign policy.

“The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. So we must confront this extremism in all its forms,” Cameron said.

“We must ban extremist preachers from our country. We must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons[.]”

This is the wrong answer.

Intelligence Fusion

Intel fusion is the process of putting together disparate—often widely disparate—bits of information, from a wide variety of sources, to achieve a larger, coherent picture of various goings-on (and to rule out as truly unrelated some of those bits).

We’ve had in our recent past (as far as is being discovered by the public) a number of not too disparate, but seemingly relatively trivial on an individual basis, hacks by the People’s Republic of China of lower level US government agencies. They’ve hacked, for instance, our weather systems and satellite network, corporate email networks, the Federal government’s OPM computers, the White House’s computer networks, state and Federal level DMV databases, and on and on.

A Bureaucratic State

The Hong Kong protestors have called for Hong Kong’s legislators to resign, which would trigger elections right there in Hong Kong and which would also serve as a popular referendum on Hong Kong’s—and the PRC’s—government policies.

Hong Kong’s response? From Chief Secretary Carrie Lam:

There are no arrangements in place for a so-called referendum in Hong Kong’s electoral and political system….

The bureaucrat is incapable of imagining doing anything non-standard, the bureaucracy cannot find a way to accommodate the people when there’s nothing in their written-down procedures to show them the way. The bureaucracy, any bureaucracy, is incapable of dealing with the noise of democracy, whether popular or republican or any other form. Bureaucracies simply have no flexibility.

Vote!

Today’s the day. It’s not only your right, it’s your duty, to vote for your choices to represent you in Congress (and in 2016 for your choice for President, too) and for your choices in any other question on your particular ballot. Keep in mind, too, that if you don’t vote, you give increased weight to another’s vote—and he may not be voting for your interests.

As our Declaration of Independence says,

[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

No Voter Fraud?

From Hans von Spakovsky, of the Heritage Foundation, via The Wall Street Journal, comes this.

In the past few months, a former police chief in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to voter fraud in a town-council election. That fraud had flipped the outcome of a primary election. Former Connecticut legislator Christina Ayala has been indicted on 19 charges of voter fraud, including voting in districts where she didn’t reside. (She hasn’t entered a plea.) A Mississippi grand jury indicted seven individuals for voter fraud in the 2013 Hattiesburg mayoral contest, which featured voting by ineligible felons and impersonation fraud. A woman in Polk County, Tenn., was indicted on a charge of vote-buying—a practice that the local district attorney said had too long “been accepted as part of life” there.

Should NATO Cooperate with Russia?

Can it, even? NATO’s new head, Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, thinks so. After all, “Russia [is] NATO’s biggest neighbor and both [are] here to stay.”

Sure. Enemies must cooperate, because they’re both big. Makes sense. Yeah.

“We simply can’t ignore each other. One way or another, we will have a relationship. The question is what kind of relationship,” he said.

NATO continues to aspire to a cooperative relationship with Russia but to get there Russia would need to want it and to take clear steps to make it possible.

Why the Left is so Anxious to Govern

Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer have a book out describing how the Left got control of the State of Colorado as recently as 2008, titled The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado.

Early in this book, Rob Stein, who is among other things the founder of the Democracy Alliance, laid out why the Left wanted control of Colorado and why especially they want control of our Federal government.