Timidity

Sadanand Dhume had an opinion piece in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal decrying Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ decision to cancel a contest through which ” participants were invited to lampoon the prophet Muhammad.”  Wilders pleaded “security concerns” because of some protests in Pakistan.

On the whole, I agree with Dhume.  However, I’m less concerned with Pakistani whinings than I am with the cowardice displayed by Wilders and his cronies in canceling their contest.

A few short years ago, a similar “Draw Muhammad” contest was held in Dallas. The terrorists who tried to disrupt that contest were stopped in their tracks by ordinary American citizens.  The Dutch are not Danes, but I wouldn’t have thought them this timid.

“Value-Charged”

A panel, the Texas Education Agency, that is “advising” the Texas State Board of Education wants to deprecate matters related to the Alamo and its defense by a band of heroic Americans (yes, I used those two terms.  Both of them).

The 7th grade social studies curriculum used to teach the defense of the Alamo currently uses the phrase siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there.  This panel told the SBOE to use only siege of the Alamo.  “Heroic,” they insist, is “value-charged.”

Trust and the FBI

Thomas Baker, a retired FBI agent, had some thoughts in the The Wall Street Journal about how to restore trust in the FBI. Naturally, I have some thoughts on those thoughts.

The centralization of case management at FBI headquarters. According to Florida Rep Matt Gaetz [R], an email from Mr McCabe said that Hillary Clinton would receive an “HQ special”—lenient treatment in the investigation into her handling of classified materials. Mr Wray has tasked Associate Deputy Director Paul Abbate to review how the bureau manages sensitive investigations.

Democracy

The Progressive-Democratic Party and the Left in general no longer believe in democracy, whether republican or popular.  Here’s Robert Reich, Labor Secretary in the Clinton administration:

The title of his piece is the gist of the position: Don’t Impeach Trump, Annul His Presidency.  Read past the irrational hysteria in his first several paragraphs, hysteria like this:

Even if he loses in 2020, we’ll be fortunate if he concedes without being literally carried out of the Oval Office amid the stirrings of civil insurgency.
Oh, and let me remind you that even if he’s impeached, we’d still have his loathsome administration—Pence on down.

Voting and Respect

I received a text message from a representative of Beto O’Rourke, Texas’ Progressive-Democratic Party US Senate candidate:

Hi Edward, this is [the rep] volunteering w/ Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for US Senate. We’re texting Texas voters today about the upcoming November election. Will you be voting for Beto O’Rourke or Ted Cruz for Senate?

I texted her back:

I’ll be voting for the one who respects our flag, our national anthem, and generations of veterans who have fought, been maimed, and killed to defend the rights of others, in the words of John Kerry, to be stupid.

The Will of the People

The West Virginia House of Delegates has returned articles of impeachment against every one of the sitting Justices of the State’s Supreme Court.  One Justice, Robin Davis, has resigned her post, doing so before any of the impeachment cases proceed to the West Virginia Senate for trial.  In her resignation press conference, Davis complained

The majority members have ignored the will of the people who elected the justices of this court.  They have erased the lines of separation between the branches of government.

There’s Help, and There’s Help

Recall that Alphabet Inc, through its Google arm, has refused to help the US defend itself by refusing to work with DoD on the application of artificial intelligence to military projects.  After the resignations described at the link, Alphabet pulled its Google arm out of the project altogether, with effect in 2019 when its current contract expires.

On the other hand, Alphabet is enthusiastic about its Google working within the People’s Republic of China.  Mobvoi Inc, headquartered outside Beijing, makes smart watches and smart speakers for sale within—and outside—the surveillance state.

Its engineers build apps using TensorFlow, Google’s free set of development tools for artificial intelligence.

Free Speech

Christopher Mims had a piece up in his Thursday Tech column concerning the “usefulness” of good-guy bots to help combat filter bubbles, hate speech and harassment, and state-sponsored disinformation, along with other troll-ish speech.

Mims, unfortunately, is operating from the false premise that speech should be censored. Apart from obvious attempts to incite criminal violence, of course it should not be. Free speech must be free, bad speech—whatever that is; the definition varies from person to person and time to time—can only be answered with more speech.

As one commenter on Mims’ piece noted further,

NLMSM

They’ve completely thrown in the towel on their job and on their highly self-touted role as the Fourth Estate.  Even Fox News‘ Jon Scott, on his Sunday 1700CST/1800EST program, made the conscious decision to make pressmen’s hurt feelings from President Trump’s picking on them the lede and centerpiece of his “reporting.”

Our economy is going gangbusters after years of doldrums, our immigration situation is in flux, there’s a tariff conflict in progress, there’s an election later this week in a key Congressional district, the Russians are doing things, the PRC is doing things, northern Korea is doing things, Iran is doing things, the EU is doing things, and the Trump administration is doing things about all of those.

Some Thoughts on NATO

Stephen Walt, writing in Foreign Policy, had some, and as a result, so do I.

Walt’s first thought concerns the actual content of NATO’s Article V: it’s not a tripwire for war.  On this, he quoted the salient part of that Article [emphasis his]:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence … will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area….