Unlawful Delay?

The Hong Kong Bar Association says the People’s Republic of China government’s move to delay Hong Kong’s legislature elections by a year “may be unlawful.”

They are mistaken; the delay is not unlawful. Unlawfulness presumes that there are laws to be broken. In a nation that rules by law—as opposed nations that operate under the principle of rule of law—any law is what the men of the People’s Republic of China government say it is. And they’ll adjust the text of a law, or rescind one or write a new one, at whim to suit their whims.

Flynn, Mandamus, and the DC Circuit

The DC Circuit has decided to rehear General Michael Flynn’s request for a mandamus ruling ordering the DC District Court to accept Flynn’s motion—agreed and proffered by DoJ—to drop entirely the case against Flynn. The Circuit plainly does not trust the original Circuit ruling to issue the mandamus and so to order the lower court.

The Wall Street Journal has opined on the matter. While I disagree with the DC Circuit’s decision to retry the Flynn mandamus appeal en banc, I more strongly disagree with the WSJ‘s rationale for not rehearing it.

Hong Kong’s Elections

They were scheduled for 6 September. Now they’re delayed by the People’s Republic of China for a year; although it was Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam who delivered the news.

Officially, the delay is due to the Wuhan Virus. However, the virus situation has been known for some months, but just before the decision to delay,

12 pro-democracy candidates were disqualified from running in the poll, for reasons including perceived subversive intentions, opposition to the new security law, and campaigning to win a legislation-blocking majority.

It Doesn’t Get Any Clearer

The good citizens of Hong Kong held massive, if informal, primary elections preliminary to the general elections that are coming up. These are pro-democracy candidates who have been selected, again informally, to stand for election.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam had this to say about that:

if the pro-democracy camp seeks enough seats to resist government policy, “then it may fall into the category of subverting the state power, which is now one of the four types of offenses under the new national security law.”

Even in the unlikely event that that…camp…were the majority party in the Hong Kong legislature, they can’t be the makers of government policy.

Some Thoughts on TikTok

TikTok is a video messaging app that was developed in the People’s Republic of China and is owned by ByteDance, another PRC company. The Wall Street Journal published a Q&A on the app last Tuesday.

I have some thoughts, too.

For background, here are some of the data that TikTok collects just because you’re using it.

…location data and your internet address, according to its privacy policy, and it tracks the type of device you are using to access its platform. It stores your browsing and search history as well as the content of messages you exchange with others on the app.

Free Speech, Free Assembly

Here is how two clauses of our Constitution’s First Amendment will be enforced under a Progressive-Democrat administration.

Officials in the city of Houston, Texas have cancelled the state’s Republican convention. On Wednesday, Democrat Mayor Sylvester Turner announced he has instructed the city’s convention center to cancel the event.

Today I instructed the Houston First Corporation to exercise its right contractually in cancelling the State’s Republican Convention that was set to take place next week at GRB. #COVID19
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) July 8, 2020

It was supposed to be held there next week, but Turner claimed it would’ve posed a “clear and present” danger.

More Disingenuosity

The Supreme Court has ruled—7-2—in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other organizations. The Court upheld the Trump administration’s rule exempting these employers from an Obamacare requirement to provide insurance coverage that includes contraception.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the Court:

We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

Distractions

Much is being made of the cybersecurity threat, the national security threat, that the People’s Republic of China’s Huawei represents. For instance, Senator Ben Sasse (R, NE) has said it’s good for the British government to be removing Huawei from the core of the British Internet.

Senator Mark Warner (D, VA):

Huawei has been and will continue to be a national security threat….

Senator Tom Cotton (R, AR) on the Brits’ initial decision to allow Huawei into their Internet infrastructure:

[t]he Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will now have a foothold to conduct pervasive espionage on British society.

It’s Been Going On for a Year

This is what Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, in a series of tweets, said so weakly about antifa on 2 July 2019 after that gang assaulted journalist Andy Ngo and others, putting them in the hospital:

Portland has always been a beacon of free speech. We are proud of that history.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 1, 2019

But in the last couple of years, some have increasingly used their opportunity to exercise their 1st amendment rights, as an opportunity to incite violence.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 1, 2019

New Case Rates and Death Rates

Current data indicate a reduction in new (read: confirmed) cases of Wuhan Virus—45,000 cases on Independence Day vs 50,000 cases the day prior.  Fun with statistics: that’s a 10% drop—wow.

It is promising, but a single datum isn’t very dispositive.

What really interested me, though, is this, also presented in the article at the link:

In contrast to the surge in positive diagnoses, the death rate has slowed mostly to the hundreds a day in recent weeks, from a peak of more than 2,000 daily during several weeks in April.

And: