Space-Based Defense

LtGen James Abrahamson, USAF (Ret) and Ambassador Henry Cooper, who were directors on President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, had some thoughts on this in their recent Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor.

Brilliant Pebbles, the space-based interceptor we advocated, promised a high probability of kill (over 90%) of all of a “limited” strike of up to 200 attacking re-entry vehicles—the number then controlled by a Russian submarine commander. It’s better than anything we have today. It became the SDI era’s first formally approved ballistic-missile defense system, with a validated cost estimate of $10 billion in 1988 dollars (now $20 billion) for concept definition and validation, development, deployment and 20 years operation of that constellation of 1,000 Brilliant Pebbles. This isn’t expensive….

What Happens

China’s already formidable internet censors have demonstrated a new strength—the ability to delete images in one-on-one chats as they are being transmitted, making them disappear before receivers see them.

What happens when the People’s Republic of China starts reaching inside other nations to do this?

Brexit Works

It’s already paying dividends for the EU in the form of potentially extensive free market reforms as the continent begins to compete with a freed Great Britain for commerce.  Here are some doings in the competition for the financial industry currently centered in Great Britain.

France has promised changes to cut labor costs and Italy is changing its tax regime to make it less burdensome for bankers and other professionals. Spain’s markets regulator is trying to make Madrid more international by hiring native English speakers to revise and edit all communication the agency sends out in English.

International Censorship

France wants to enforce a “right to be forgotten” law (recently enacted by the EU that allows persons to demand publicly available information about them to be erased from links in search engine results) inside other nations than the EU membership—inside the United States, for instance.  Google, et al., is demurring, and France has taken the matter to the EU’s highest administrative court, the Court of Justice.

The case will help determine how far EU regulators can go in enforcing the bloc’s strict new privacy law….

Investigation or Witch Hunt?

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Donald Trump’s business dealings in the course of his investigation into Russian involvement with our election and the Trump campaign.

The US special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

Minimum Wage and Automation

Is technology—automation—really going to kill jobs?  No.  As many, including me, have written before, automation is only going to shift the nature of jobs.  Minimum wage laws are killing jobs, and will continue to and at increasing rates, by making robots cost effective despite their high up-front costs.

Wal-Mart, for instance, used to employ humans to track individual stores’ cash and manage their books.  Now at roughly 4,700 Wal-Marts, roughly 4,700 of those employees have been replaced by a machine that can track the books and while counting bills and coins at rates of 480 and 3,000 per minute, respectively.  Because it’s Wal-Mart, those folks, where they’ve wanted to, have taken jobs elsewhere in their store at the same pay, but those jobs are at risk, too.  Cashiers are being replaced by automated check-out stands, for instance.

The Fruits of Timidity

Rebel forces in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday announced that they plan to hold a referendum calling for the creation of a new state known as Malorossiya, which translates as “Little Russia.”

In a statement published on the rebel-aligned Donetsk News Agency, rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that the new state would aspire to include not only the areas under insurgent control, but also the rest of Ukraine.

This wouldn’t be occurring now, had our government and those of Europe hadn’t been so meek in the face of Russian aggression in the two eastern oblasts and then without a whimper accepting Russian partition of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea.

EPA Jobs?

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent out more than 1,000 buy-out notices to its employees….

The positions are being eliminated, and the incumbents aren’t being offered positions elsewhere on the government’s teat payroll.  The horror.  The union-demanded, if not God-given, sinecures are not sinecures, after all.  American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 President Michael Mikulka is quite vocal with his dismay.

EPA wants over 1,200 of us to leave, purportedly to save money going forward and claiming that they no longer need the positions occupied by staff that in some cases worked at EPA for over 30 years[.]

It’s Time

…to sweep the ones we can’t trust from the Republican Party of Castrati and from Congress.

When Republicans voted on the repeal-only bill in 2015, they knew Mr Obama would veto it, making their vote largely symbolic. Of the GOP senators currently in the chamber, 49 voted for it at the time.  …

Moreover, many GOP lawmakers have already acknowledged that they would vote differently now that the stakes are far higher….

Now that these persons have to take action more concrete than virtue signaling, they’re exposing themselves as porch dogs.  They’re betraying their country, and more specifically, they’re betraying their constituents, to whom they promised for the last seven years, they’d repeal Obamacare and replace it.

A Union

doesn’t like Amazon buying Whole Foods.

[United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President, Marc] Perrone plans to file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that letting Amazon buy Whole Foods would trigger a wave of store closures and eventually quash customer choice.

With a straight face, he argued in his complaint (which somehow fell into The Washington Post‘s hands before the filing) that

Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.