They Do

Hong Kong closed its airport for several hours Monday because protesters were thronging the terminals in protest of the People’s Republic of China’s Hong Kong—Carrie Lam—government’s attack on the “semi-autonomy” of the city, and of the police’s growing violence against what have been fundamentally peaceful protests over the last several weeks.  The movement into the airport is a recent development of these peaceful protests.

Then Lam’s Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said this regarding the protests at the airport:

[P]eople should cherish the future of Hong Kong, which is the collective hard work of everyone over many years.

“I am afraid of the police, not the protesters”

That’s it, in a nutshell.  That’s the worry of a resident of Mong Kok, a major shopping and residential neighborhood on the mainland side of Hong Kong, as she prepared to join a protest last weekend.

That worry comes against the backdrop of Hong Kong police using tear gas and truncheons in attempts to break up peaceful protests throughout Hong Kong as those protests have grown over the last several weeks, with those police using isolated incidents of protestor violence as their excuse.  Keep in mind, too, that these protests originated as a response to the Hong Kong government’s attempt to pass a law demanded by People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party of China, a law that would have allowed any accused Hong Kong citizen or visitor to be seized and shipped into the PRC proper for trial.

Warrant-Proof Encryption

Attorney General William Barr, in front of the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University, said that

“warrant-proof” encryption was “enabling dangerous criminals to cloak their communications and activities behind an essentially impenetrable digital shield.”

Of course.  And the FBI, in the aftermath of a mass-shooting in California a while back, (in)famously said that it needed Apple to crack the lock on one of the murderer’s smartphone so they could read it, insisting they were helpless without Apple’s cracking (and they demanded then, too, that Apple install encryption backdoors on its commercial cell phones).  Then the FBI hired a third party, which cracked the encryption forthwith.

Gun Registration (Control)

The New Zealand government, enthusiastically led in this by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, intends to create a law requiring New Zealanders to register with the government the gun licenses they have and the guns they have.  This new…law…also is intended to make it harder to get, and keep, a gun license.

Other provisions of the thing include

  • establishment of new licensing for around 260 shooting clubs and ranges
  • expansion police authority to confiscate weapons if an individual shows (government defined) warning signs
  • require a separate license to purchase ammunition

PRC, “Armored Weapons,” and Hong Kong

Recall the People’s Republic of China’s use of tanks to suppress the Tiananmen Square protests that resulted in some 2,000 civilian deaths.

Here’s the PRC’s new anti-protest armor: truncheons.  With the official police standing around, watching:

Media in Hong Kong have released footage of masked men in white shirts beating black-clad protesters with steel pipes and wooden poles in a subway station and on public transit. The protesters attempted to defend themselves with umbrellas.
Passengers said police did not intervene in Sunday’s attacks by the men, which left 45 people injured.

Hypocrisy of the British Left

Yes, ex-Prime Minister John Major claims himself a Conservative, but he’s acting more and more Left.  Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister wannabe and front-runner to replace the resigned Theresa May, has said that if needs be, he’ll prorogue Parliament to block an anti-no-deal Brexit vote, if a no-deal departure is necessary.

Prorogue: a temporary suspension of Parliament following petition of the Queen by her first minister—the Prime Minister—for permission to suspend Parliament and her granting that permission.  This use is unusual; prorogation is normally used for normal terminations of Parliamentary sessions; the term also describes the interval between that termination and the normal opening of the next session.

“Diverse Community”

The City Council of St Louis Park, MN, a Minneapolis suburb and in Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s (D, MN) district, has objected to our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance to the point of voting to stop their practice of reciting it prior to Council meetings.

The mayor objected, and so did 100 protestors present for the vote—when was the last time 100 protestors assembled for a city council meeting?  Despite that, the Council’s vote was unanimous: 5-0.

The amendment to the council’s rules was characterized as an effort to serve a more “diverse community….”

Cynicism

Hong Kong Chief Executive and People’s Republic of China Senior Employee Carrie Lam claims that her Extradition to the PRC Bill is “dead.”

However, the subheadline says it all:

We hope people will not read a different meaning just because we are using a different word

She continues, after all, to refuse to explicitly withdraw her bill.  “Trust me.”

The people of Hong Kong are right to be…skeptical.  Lam really does need to go, as do most of her subordinates down through several layers of her hierarchy, but PRC President Xi Jinping is unlikely to permit it.

Is Renault a Useful Business Partner?

When Fiat-Chrysler offered a merger deal with Renault, Renault’s subordinated partner, Nissan, expressed reluctance unless its subordination to Renault could be revised upward at least somewhat so that it could have a greater voice in the resultant combined company.

Note, though, that the French government is a major shareholder of Renault, and the government has a virtually controlling number of seats on the Renault board: Nissan was—and is, given subsequent events—subordinate to the French government as much as it is to its nominal business…senior partner.

The French government interfered with the offer, and it dithered and stalled, and finally Fiat-Chrysler lost patience and withdrew its offer.

“Radical-Right” and the Left

The Washington Post ran a panic-mongering op-ed about the Supreme Court last week.

Last month, the new conservative majority—being driven by Justices Neil M Gorsuch and Brett M Kavanaugh—signaled that this change is coming. In overruling a 40-year-old precedent governing how state governments can be sued, the new court majority, all of whom pledged reverence for precedent during their Senate confirmation hearings—sang a different song: “stare decisis is ‘not an inexorable command,’ … and is ‘at its weakest’ when interpreting the Constitution.” This was the second time in less than a year that the conservative majority has tossed aside decades-old precedent.