Russian Acquisitiveness

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is insisting that Japan accept the outcome of WWII as a necessary pre-condition to a peace agreement between Japan and Russia and “improved relations,” including trade, between the two.

That outcome includes Russian occupation of Japan’s Northern Territories, islands in the Kurile chain immediately north of the main body of Japan.  Russia, which joined the war against Japan only in the waning months after Japan’s war effort was in full collapse, seized those islands and now claims them as “rightful spoils.”

A Magistrate Judge Gets One Right

Of course, the Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore’s ruling can be overturned on appeal by a District judge in the Northern District of California in which she operates, or on appeal on the ruling’s way up the appellate chain.  Nevertheless, her ruling stands, for now.

In its essence Westmore ruled that, even with an otherwise valid search warrant, a person cannot be compelled to unlock a digital device like a cell phone with that person’s biometrics—a fingerprint, a face, or an iris, for example.

A Judge’s Error

The Trump administration had expanded rules allowing employers to opt out of being required to provide birth control coverage to their employees at no cost to the employees, so long as the opting out was convincingly based on religious or moral grounds.  Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the expansion while an underlying lawsuit against the expansion is underway.

Ordinarily, blocking an enforcement while the underlying case proceeds is no big deal, but this one is just plain wrong.  Gilliam based his ruling in significant part on the premise that

Religious Bigotry?

North Dakota wants to let its high schools teach a Bible studies class, and the ACLU (among others) has gotten its institutional panties in a twist over it. State Congressman Aaron McWilliams (R) has a bill moving through the State’s legislature that would achieve that.  He said

The intention of this bill is to provide an option to schools to teach a class on the bible from a historical perspective.  My position is that no religious text should be excluded from being taught as it relates to the historical or philosophical influences in our history or on our society today.

Of Course They Can

President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China increased pressure on the Republic of China to surrender and be “unified” with the PRC.

Mr Xi said differences in political systems can’t be used as an excuse to resist unification.

Of course they can. Those differences are what makes the two nations separate from each other.  Never mind that the two have been independent of each other ever since the mainland under Mao Tse-tung won then-China’s civil war and drove the Kuomintang off the mainland onto the island of Taiwan, with Mao then creating the PRC.  The reason for the civil war was precisely those differences, differences over which the Communists were willing to kill those who opposed them.

Too Much Retrenchment

Christian Whiton, in an op-ed for Fox News‘ online outlet, espoused a large retrenchment and withdrawal of the US (he couched it in terms of withdrawal of our troops only) from Europe and the Middle East.  In one region, though, he’s badly mistaken and goes much too far (he’s mistaken in the other areas, too, but this really stands out).

Faith in the PRC

The People’s Republic of China is broadening the reach of its religion.

Officials have threatened to close the Early Rain Covenant Church in the central city of Chengdu by the end of the year in keeping with new religious-management regulations, according to several congregants who said they had been waiting for the net to fall. In coordinated raids starting Sunday night, police detained Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 of the church’s 500 members, said Li Yingqiang, a church leader.

Ukraine and Russia, Again

The Wall Street Journal had an editorial on this earlier, but they’re selling the Ukraine situation short along with several others.

The [Russian] attack violated a 2003 treaty that designated the Azov Sea as shared territory between Russia and Ukraine.

Sadly, this accepts as fait accompli the existing invasion, partition, and occupation of Ukraine by Russia.

The attack, and that invasion, partition, and occupation, also violated, and violate, the Budapest Memorandum, which the Western signers (the US and UK) appear too timid to enforce—even though we’d be confronting a country whose economy is roughly akin to that of the Black P-Stone Nation, and whose morals are those of MS-13.

Another Betrayal

Recall Russia’s latest provocation (which amounts to an act of war), consisting of ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ramming a Ukrainian tugboat and firing on and seizing the Ukrainian three-ship flotilla of which that tug was a part along with the “detention” of the crews of the three ships.

Germany—Chancellor Angela Merkel—has magnanimously offered to mediate the matter.

Guns and Killings

This, from no less a Liberal outlet than the Chicago Tribune.  John Lott, Jr, Crime Prevention Research Center President, provided some gun-related killings statistics for the Tribune.  He began by defining what constitutes mass killings, a term too often bandied about without definition.  The FBI’s definition is what he used.

  • shootings must claim four or more lives in a public place
  • shootings must be carried out simply with the intention of killing
    • excluded are gang fight killings because they tend to be motivated by battles for drug turf
    • excluded are murders incidental to other crimes