Promise

The People’s Republic of China has been rolling out its system for spying on surveilling its citizens for a while now.  This is the system that develops social scores for every PRC citizen, and the system has bennies for achieving high scores:

…waived deposits on hotels and rental cars, VIP treatment at airports, discounted loans, priority job applications, and fast-tracking to the most prestigious universities.

Things that can detract from those high scores include

[j]aywalking, late payments on bills or taxes, buying too much alcohol, or speaking out against the government….
Other mooted punishable offences include spending too long playing video games, wasting money on frivolous purchases, and posting on social media….

Whose Side?

On whose side is the current Pope?  What is his purpose, his goal?

First, the Pope condones covering up—even delaying a “conference” for chit-chat about the abuse for as long as possible—massive child abuse by Catholicism’s priests and bishops.

Now we have the Pope saying the Catholic Church—the Vatican—doesn’t even need to be the authority that selects the Church’s bishops.

…Catholic concession in a far-reaching deal between Rome and the Vatican announced Friday. The Vatican has agreed to recognize as legitimate seven Chinese priests who had been excommunicated by Rome for accepting their bishop hats without Vatican approval. Two bishops who had remained faithful to Rome will retire to make room for bishops more to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s liking.

Mao and Xi

Deutsche Welle reported on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s visit last Friday with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in the PRC.  A couple of things jumped out at me that are separate from the emphasis the article put on the visit and the aid the PRC has promised Maduro.  Maduro tweeted

We began our state visit to the People’s Republic of China, paying tribute to its founder, the Great Helmsman, Mao Tse Tung.  His example and revolutionary struggle marked the twentieth century.

That was in connection with this:

Government Diktat

California style.  That state has passed a law.

The law requires a company to appoint one woman to its board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 a five-member board would need to have two women, while boards with six or more directors would need three. The Legislature, always alert to possible micro-aggressions, defines female as “an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

(One wonders whether the law would be satisfied by a male Board member self-identifying as a woman for the purpose of Board-related activities.  [/snark])

“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.”

Connections

One in particular stands out for me: that between Senator Amy Klobuchar (D, MN) and the truth.  Charles Hurt, in the Washington Times, has the sordid story.

[Klobuchar] claims to have read 148,000 documents that reveal Judge Kavanaugh to be so heinous as to be unfit for the high court.

OK, let’s say Ms. Klobuchar spent two minutes reading each document. That would be 296,000 minutes—or 205 days—reading these documents. Which is pretty remarkable considering Judge Kavanaugh was nominated 55 days ago.

On Keeping the Senate Informed

…to the level Senators deem appropriate.  In a Wall Street Journal article about the fate of the newly negotiated trade agreement between the US and Mexico, there was this plaint from one Senator among others:

Lawmakers from both parties have complained that the Trump administration has broken with precedent by not regularly briefing with Capitol Hill and leaving them largely in the dark about crucial details of the negotiations. “Who knows what’s happening,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R, TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a shrug.

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.

Flipping Witnesses

President Donald Trump decries it.  So have I in writing about the Manafort case and the credibility of Mueller’s prosecutors’ witnesses.

What’s interesting to me and saddening, and what’s dangerous to our system of justice—which includes justice for the accused as well as the victim—is prosecutors’ response to Trump’s decrial.

Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor, said that Mr Trump’s comments amount to “an absolutely outrageous statement and to any prosecutor would just be shocking to hear.”

“It’s hard to overstate how fundamental” to prosecutions cooperating witnesses are, Mr Zeidenberg said.

And Stephen Gillers, a New York University School of Law professor:

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.