Ireland, Luxembourg, UK, and EU Commitments

In a letter to the Irish government published Tuesday, the European Commission, the 28-member bloc’s central antitrust authority, said it had reached the “preliminary view” that tax deals struck in Ireland in 1991 and 2007 in favor of Apple constituted state aid.

1991! No statute of limitations here. That’s a small matter, though. The larger matter is the degree of freedom that sovereign nations have to govern their internal affairs while remaining a part of the European Union.

A Thought on Birth Control

Dr Manny Alvarez, one of the house doctors for Fox News, had a useful piece the other day on teen birth control, in particular IUDs. He’s basically spring-loaded against them for teenage girls, for a number of reasons.

Very common side effects of placing this foreign object inside the womb include cramping, spotting, heavy menstrual flow and possibly even an infection that could lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, ultimately rendering the individual infertile.

Not to mention, uterine perforation—although extremely rare….

Rather than IUDs, Alvarez pushed for more sexual education information from (and for, say I) parents and physicians.

Some Thoughts on Immigration

Started 24 years ago, the EB-5 program allots 10,000 visas annually to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in US development projects, from dairy farms and ski resorts to hotels and bridges. In return, the investor and family members become eligible for green cards, or permanent residency, typically within two years.

There are similar quotas, if not monetary requirements, on the other visas we issue.

But why? Immigrants are good for the United States: they bring with them ideas, problem solving techniques, entrepreneurship, a demonstrated view of the importance of family, and so on.

Arms Control and the Terrorists

The Iranian government appears to be steadily leveraging the Islamic State crisis by dangling the possibility of cooperation against the terror group in exchange for a favorable deal on its nuclear program….

And

Iranian negotiators wanted to see more flexibility on the nuclear issue, in exchange for working with the US and its allies to tackle the Islamic State threat.

And

[Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani, in his U.N. address on Thursday, made clear Iran’s cooperation in addressing terror threats hinges on the outcome of ongoing nuclear talks – as he once again urged other nations to drop what he described as “excessive demands.”

Arrogance and Encryption

I wrote a bit ago about liberty and encryption. Here’s an example of the arrogance of the government’s attitude toward an American citizen encrypting his communications against government snooping.

Regarding Google and Apple plans to market encryption capabilities for their smart phones, FBI Director James Comey had this to say:

What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law[.]

This comes in the context of Brent Kendall’s paraphrase of Comey’s concern in Kendall’s WSJ article, also summarized in the link just above

A Geopolitical Misunderstanding

…if The Wall Street Journal‘s interpretation is accurate, and a lack of political courage [emphasis added].

A solution to the Ukraine crisis is still far off, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned on Saturday, as his Russian counterpart accused the West of seeking to create chaos in the Kremlin’s geographic sphere.

And

Steinmeier said that a few weeks ago “we were on the brink of direct confrontation” between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces but that diplomacy had “prevented the worst.” However, he said, “I am under no illusion. A political solution is still a long way off.”

A Little Bit About Fighting

This came up a while ago from Bing West’s book, The Wrong War.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm Michael Mullen, was fond of saying, “we can’t kill our way to victory.” That was political drivel. If the Taliban weren’t killing people, there wouldn’t be 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan. It was comparable to a police chief saying, “Arrests are not the solution to crime”—a vacuity sure to result in fewer arrests. War is centered on killing. The grunts knew that, even if their own generals did not. Killing was not the solution, but it was the means to the solution.

An Example of the Immorality of Moral Equivalence

In President Barack Obama’s speech before the UN earlier this week, he had this to say:

This group [ISIL, Obama's term for ISIS] has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.

Then he said this in juxtaposition:

Liberty, Security, and Encryption

Moves by Apple Inc and Google Inc to put some smartphone data out of the reach of police and the courts are raising alarms inside US law-enforcement agencies, current and former officials say.

Of course the government is upset. Heaven forfend anything should interfere with its convenience in fishing for wrong-doing in our private correspondence. Privacy, though, is a necessary component of individual liberty and responsibility.