Harms in Public Spaces

The Brits are working out a new way to intervene in private lives and in private businesses, this time in an attempt to control “harms” done via (not by, mind you) “online platforms”—social media.

Under the [British] government’s proposal, a new regulator would have the power to require companies to protect users from a number of identified online harms—such as pornography, extremist content, and cyber bullying.

And

[T]he pair talked through the different terms that had been used to describe social media in a legal context, looking for the right analogy. They tried “platform,” “pipe” and “intermediary.” Nothing seemed to fit. Then “we thought of a ‘public space,'” says Ms Woods. “People do different things online. It was just like ‘how do we regulate spaces?'”

Meetings and Talk

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is in Beijing this week, her first meeting with her boss, People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping, since pro-democracy parties rebuked and rejected Xi’s politicians in last month’s local Hong Kong elections.  It’s likely a Come to Jesus meeting, and Lam’s job may be on the line.

What’s truly cynical, though, is Lam’s Facebook postings.  (Use Bing Translator; it does a much better job than Facebook’s translation facility.) Deutsche Welle, at the first link above, has a sound summary of Lam’s words.

Congressional Supremacy

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D, MI) was asked by Bill Hemmer on his Fox News show Friday morning after the Nadler Committee voted to send Articles of Impeachment to the House how she would vote on those Articles.

Slotkin led off by making a big deal about her CIA training (in objective analysis), then assuring us all that she would not vote based on polls, she would not be pushed one way or another, she would not vote based on newspaper articles.  No, she would vote on her gut and on what she thought was right.

Further Personnel Replacements

I wrote yesterday about the need for replacement of senior FBI personnel in order to minimize the accumulation of incumbency power of bureaucrats in the FBI, a power increasingly abused in order to obstruct constitutional authority and authorities over them.

The same is needed in State, the Intelligence Community, and Defense.  Walter Russell Mead wrote in Monday’s Wall Street Journal of a foreign-policy showdown of historic proportions. His showdown is that between Progressive-Democrats (my term, not Mead’s) and Republicans over how to interpret administration handling of Ukraine within the framework of the former’s internationalist/Atlanticist perspective that also sees Russia as our main adversary and the latter’s view of not so much internationalist/Atlanticist, more domestic concerns, and maybe more attention to Latin American and across the Pacific.

Presidential Obstruction

…by the President of the Congress, according to The Babylon Bee:

The suggestion that Trump obstructed Congress turned out to be a far more popular idea than Democrats had predicted.

But they closed with this:

At publishing time, Trump was looking for ways to obstruct both the judicial and executive branches, further increasing his popularity.

However, Trump already is obstructing the Judicial Branch. Look at all those evil, dysfunctional textualists he’s getting appointed to the district courts, appellate circuits, and Supreme Court. And it’s appearing increasingly possible that he’ll get one more obstructive Justice, too, to set back Roberts.

The FBI and Surveillance

DoJ’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, has produced a report that’s pretty damning of the FBI and its surveillance practices.  This has raised concerns about how far the FBI goes, and whether it exceeds the spirit, even the letter, of our laws governing FBI surveillance.

Monday’s report…also faulted the bureau for its “failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing applications” to conduct electronic surveillance on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign staffer, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Privacy advocates said the report’s findings validated their belief that surveillance practices under the FISA law…lacked adequate oversight and transparency.

Impeachment

The House Progressive-Democrats have settled on two Articles of Impeachment.

The first article is on abuse of power. Democrats allege that Mr Trump took advantage of his position as president to pressure Kyiv to investigate a political rival. The second article is on obstruction of Congress, related to the president’s moves to block aides from participating in the impeachment investigation.

In conjunction with this, The Wall Street Journal asked a question:

Do you think President Trump will be impeached in the House under these two articles?

Short and Sweet

I watched the Nadler burlesque show that’s masquerading as the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing yesterday so you didn’t have to.  Here is the short and sweet of it.

The three Progressive-Democrat law professor witnesses each opened their opening statements by saying President Donald Trump was guilty and should be impeached even before they knew the impeachment charges being preferred.  They couldn’t know the charges because the Judiciary Committee has not written the articles of impeachment. Indeed, the committee chairman, Jerry Nadler (D, NY) has refused—and he refused repeatedly during yesterday’s show—even to say when the next hearing would be held or what witnesses would be called.

Surveillance

It turns out the People’s Republic of China government is a collection of pikers compared to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a pair of bills Monday, one of which will require all consumer electronic devices sold in the country to be pre-installed with Russian software, while the other will register individual journalists as foreign agents.

Government spyware pre-installed on Russian citizens’ devices, so Russia’s modern-day KGB successor can track where Russian citizens are, with whom they’re communicating, what they’re doing, down to the last detail.

Expanding Surveillance State

Want a new phone in the People’s Republic of China? You have to give up an image of your face to the government.

The requirement, which came into effect Sunday, is aimed at minimizing telephone fraud and preventing the reselling and illegal transfer of mobile phone cards, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a notice in September.

Right. That’s believable.  Never mind that

…facial recognition becomes more and more prevalent in [the PRC], with authorities applying artificial intelligence to sift through reams of data collected in a bid to boost the economy and centralize oversight of the population.