“Normalize Relations”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif travelled to the People’s Republic of China in an effort to get its help in saving the nuclear weapons deal with Iran that the US walked away from and that Great Britain, Germany, and France, along with Russia and the PRC, remain in.  Zarif insisted that

the world must normalize economic relations with Tehran and take “practical steps” to save the nuclear accord….

No, we don’t.  There’s nothing to save: all the accord did and does is create a brief delay in Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons so it can use them against Israel and, through its proxies and affiliates, others.

Modern Monetary Theory, Taxes, and Inflation

Japan is examining MMT in its debate over its upcoming sales tax increase [emphasis added].

Some members of Parliament, led by ruling conservative-party lawmakers, argue Japan doesn’t need higher taxes because the country’s inflation is less than 1%. The theory suggests tax increases are needed only when inflation is out of control.

Notice that: MMT says increasing taxes is a means of controlling inflation.  The idea is that taking money away from the citizens reduces demand and so inflationary pressure.  There are a couple of problems with this concept.  One is that government revenue gets spent so Keynes’ aggregate demand goes unchanged, except for a bit of Government-as-middle-man friction.

Great Britain’s Retreat from Liberty

Or, perhaps they’ve been routed by the forces of Government Knows Better.

This incident occurred last January, but there’s no evidence since that the Brits—their government, anyway; there are pockets of concern, as this incident also indicates—have regained their spine.

A man has been fined after refusing to be scanned by controversial facial recognition cameras being trialled by the Metropolitan Police.
The force had put out a statement saying “anyone who declines to be scanned will not necessarily be viewed as suspicious”. However, witnesses said several people were stopped after covering their faces or pulling up hoods.

Much Ado About Another Nothing

The claim, now, is that atmospheric CO2 has reached 415 parts per million (ppm), according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

That is, as the panicky scream goes, the highest level ever in human history.

And

Earth science analyses show that the atmosphere last contained this much CO2 some three million years ago, when global sea levels were higher and parts of Antarctica were blanketed in forest.

There’s a hint there regarding the lushness of life on Earth.

A Ban on Facial Recognition

San Francisco is about to ban the use of facial recognition by city agencies.

I agree with the sentiment.

However, good luck enforcing this sort of ban. There’s also a general ban on lying under oath, but in the end, all perjury laws can do is attach liability to the lie; they can’t prevent the lying. The primary difference is that lying under oath is easier to detect than is using facial recognition, and so the ban on lying under oath is easier to enforce.

A Textualist Justice Makes Folks Uncomfortable

Apple v Pepper is an antitrust case in which the plaintiffs argue that Apple’s requirement that all iPhone apps must be sold through Apple’s app store is a monopoly that Apple abuses by charging excessive commissions on app sales.

The Wall Street Journal has its editorial knickers in a twist because Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, rejected Apple’s plaint that the case be dismissed. The result is that the case continues in trial court.  Yet the editors are upset that Kavanaugh’s ruling “gutted four decades of precedent,” as though precedent cannot be erroneous and so must be unchanging for the ages.

A Shift May Be Beginning

As the tariff volleys in the People’s Republic of China’s years-old economic war (of which trade is just one component) against us begin to grow, some potential changes in international trade and production for trade are becoming visible.  If these apparent changes represent the beginning of a solid trend, the changes and the trend will not be to the PRC’s benefit.

It’s true that consumer prices might start to rise in both our nation and in the PRC, but as a population—and as a people—we’re better able to absorb those increases than is the population of the PRC.  Our per capita GDP is $62,500, more than three times the PRC’s $19,520.

Much Ado about Nothing

Oxford Economics is worried about the costs of President Donald Trump’s tariffs as he fights back against the People’s Republic of China’s long economic war (trade, intellectual property theft, technology transfer extortions and thefts, etc) against us.

The move to 25% tariffs on imports from the PRC, coupled with the PRC’s answer of tariffs on its imports from us would cost our economy $29 billion and the global economy some $105 billion by 2020, Oxford Economics claims.  The CBO estimates our GDP to be $22.77 trillion; the projected tariff costs work out to 0.1% of our economy.  Taking the global economy as the OECD’s, the 2017 global GDP was some $49.6 trillion; the projected costs work out to roughly 0.2% of the world’s economy.

Consternation Among Investors

The English Channel island of Guernsey has long been a haven for low tax rates and lower regulation.  Now the island is serving as a bypass of EU regulations mandating transparency in bond transactions.

On Guernsey, those rules don’t apply. A key flashpoint for investors is the use of password-protected websites to restrict access to company financial information. Unlike in the rest of the EU, where companies with publicly listed shares or bonds must make financial reporting readily available to the public, bond issuers in Guernsey can keep such information under virtual lock and key and can restrict who has access.

Christianity is a Threat

The Chinese Communist Party, through its provincial organ in Henan Province, says so.

The Hebi Municipal Radio Administrative Bureau [hosted] a presentation titled “Christianity’s Enormous Harm on China’s Security,” to party members in the city of Hebi….

Instructive title, that.  The seminarists insisted that the “correct view” is that Christianity (and, I suppose, religion generally), are bent on undermining the Communists’ rule.  Never mind that “render unto Caesar” bit.