A Stolen Laptop

Senator Jeff Merkley (D, OR), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Appropriations committees, has reported that his laptop was stolen from his office, ostensibly by the rioters who assaulted the Capital Building last Wednesday afternoon. (Ostensibly: frankly, I have no reason to doubt the fact of the theft or which member(s) of which crowd did the theft. However, the deed as theft and who did it remain unproven at this early stage of the investigation.)

Merkley also said he’d left his office unlocked while he went to the Senate floor for the Electoral College vote counting and debates. The importance of that will become clear below.

Sound Money and the PRC

In a Letter to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, one writer had this on the idea of the People’s Republic of China being a competitor with its renminbi as global reserve currency and its bond market as debt safe haven:

Credible money paired with reduced government spending have long been pillars of conservative rhetoric stateside, and with good reason.

Indeed. However, what the writer elided are the capital risk the PRC poses with its history of limiting or barring repatriation of profit, the economic risk from the PRC’s requirement that foreign companies give up their technologies and intellectual properties to domestic companies as a condition of doing business in the PRC, and the political risk of the PRC’s requirement that companies supply its intelligence community with any information that community “requests.”

Communications Security

Now it appears that DoJ also was compromised—at least a little bit—by the SolarWinds hack. DoJ says its classified systems weren’t affected, but some unclassified email systems were.

There’s this bit, though, that doesn’t appear to be getting sufficient attention.

Even unclassified email accounts, though, can contain sensitive information about investigations and potentially national security related issues, said Chris Painter, a former senior official at the Justice and State departments who worked on cybersecurity issues. “A lot of DOJ work happens on unclassified systems.”

A Government “Medical Camp”

Via Dr David Samadi, a bill proposed in all seriousness in the New York Assembly. It authorizes the Governor, on his declaration of a health emergency, to “remove” and/or “detain” anyone or any group he decides is a threat to the public’s health. The money paragraph comes early on:

Campus Speech

Under some pressure and an appellate court ruling in a Speech First suit, the University of Texas has agreed to stop limiting freedom of speech on campus.

…administrators agree to dismantle the bias-response team and amend policies that chill speech. Gone is a ban on “uncivil behaviors and language that interfere” with the “welfare, individuality or safety of other persons.” Also stricken is a definition of “verbal harassment” that prohibited “ridicule” or “personal attacks.”
Under the settlement, UT reserves the right “to devise an alternative” to its bias-response team, but “Speech First is free to challenge that alternative.”

Panic

This is what the Left and their Progressive-Democrat governors are panicking over—actual data that give the lie to their claimed need to exercise control over the doings and businesses of their States’ citizens for those citizens’ own good. An exercise that’s actually for the power of that exercise.

The data don’t support their panic-mongering, though. Via a tweet from Carrie Sheffield, a Just the News anchor:

Getting sick is never fun. However, the mortality rate from the Wuhan Virus has always been very low—and getting very lower—for all ages under 70 years. We’ve learned a lot since the virus outbreak last spring, and the mortality rate for that last age group has gotten quite low, also.

Legal in LA

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has decided to pick and choose the laws he’ll work to enforce and the crimes he’ll explicitly excuse. Here’s the Directive Gascon issued to the County Prosecutors. This is the opening of his Section I, Declination of Policy Directive [emphasis in the original]:

The misdemeanor charges specified below shall be declined or dismissed before arraignment and without conditions unless “exceptions” or “factors for consideration” exist.
These charges do not constitute an exhaustive list

Here are the high points of Gascón’s non-exhaustive list:

  • Trespass
  • Disturbing The Peace
  • Driving Without A Valid License

Wrong Resolution

Recall that Huawei Technologies Co’s Deputy Chair and CFO Meng Wanzhou is facing US criminal wire and bank fraud charges related to her alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran, which she did on Huawei’s behalf. She’s in the middle of extradition proceedings in Canada en route to getting her here.

Now there’s a resolution in the works: DoJ officials are talking about a “deferred prosecution agreement,” in which Meng would admit her wrongdoing in those cases and then be allowed to return to the People’s Republic of China directly from Canada.

More EU Bad Faith

Finance operations, a key industry for Great Britain but not so much for the European Union, is being excluded from existing Brexit transition negotiations. That much is on the Brits as well as the EU, but the EU is abusing the mutual error.

In anticipation,

European regulators have demanded banks base certain operations currently conducted in London in the EU post-Brexit. … The EU last week committed to rules governing derivatives that will prevent London-based traders at EU banks from continuing business seamlessly after Brexit is completed on New Year’s Eve.

Legalizing Drugs

The citizens of Oregon have voted to legalize “small amounts” of a variety of drugs—including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and the like.

Others demur from that decision.

I have a larger concern.

For those advocating the legalization of “small amounts” of drugs–whether cocaine, heroine, marijuana, or anything else—a question: what’s your limiting principle? What natural limit–not your well-intentioned promise, or the behavior of those who succeed you—prevents you from increasing the upper limit of “small?”