Continued Intransigence

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker makes it clear.

Britain has still not proposed any workable alternatives to the Northern Ireland “backstop” within the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the EU said on Monday.

And

President Juncker underlined the commission’s continued willingness and openness to examine whether such proposals meet the objectives of the backstop. Such proposals have not yet been made[.]

Juncker knows full well that the “backstop” is not just a deal-breaker, it’s a non-starter for the British. It demands that a core feature of the Brexit vote three years ago was so that Great Britain gets control of its own borders back, yet the “backstop” requires Great Britain to surrender its Irish border to the EU.  That can only be taken as a first step to dismantling Great Britain.

Oil Strikes and our Economy

“Economists” cited by The Wall Street Journal say that the Iranian/Houthi strikes against a couple of major Saudi Arabian oil production facilities are unlikely to do much to our economy. Despite their anonymity, those…sources’…assessment is accurate.

Among other things, we’ve made ourselves essentially self-sufficient in oil and natural gas production, have become the world’s leading producer, and we’re a net exporter of oil and natural gas.  That last, especially, means we’ll easily be able fill any shortfall from the Saudis’ damage.  (Production cuts from that damage are likely to be short-lived in any event.)

In addition,

Regulatory Capture

America’s automotive companies want ever stricter emissions standards.  Or so says Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund.

This, of course, is nonsense.

If car companies truly want stricter emission standards, they can do so without the cover of a government mandate.  Nothing is stopping them from setting and meeting their own stricter standards.  This is, after all, a (largely) free market economy, and it’s at the heart of a (largely) free nation.  Car companies can make their own decisions without Big Brother’s instruction.

Surrendering to the Extorter

This is what Europe is getting ready, meekly, to do.

European diplomats are getting behind a French initiative to provide Iran economic relief from US sanctions in return for its full compliance with a multinational nuclear accord….

The “initiative” centers on these articles of surrender:

preliminary agreement aimed at allowing Iran to be able to sell at least 700,000 barrels of oil a day—more than double its current exports.
It also envisions a credit line of some $15 billion so Iran could draw on hard currency….

Tactically Sound?

Perhaps, but perhaps strategically disastrous.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the queen to prorogue the current parliament, and the queen agreed, in order to block it from blocking him from taking Great Britain out of the European Union on schedule 31 October without a deal in the likely event that the EU continues its intransigence in negotiating.  Prorogation is the formal end of an existing session of Parliament, and normally it’s done just prior to the beginning of the next session, to clear the decks for that session.

Pro-EU

Too many Brits in Parliament plainly favor the European Union over their own nation.  That’s what opposition MPs seem to do, as they look to block a no-deal departure from the EU by Great Britain, even expressing a willingness to bring down the government to achieve that end.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a (new) deal, for all that he’s willing to take Great Britain out of the EU on schedule if Brussels continues to refuse to negotiate at all, much less in good faith. The MPs’ obstruction serves only to undercut such leverage as Johnson might have in these post-May efforts.

Brazilian Forest Fires

Deutsche Welle‘s Loveday Wright wondered about the Amazon forest fires in northern Brazil:  Can international pressure help put them out?

Not when the Brazilian government, for good or ill, exposes them to fire by allowing clear-cutting in favor of agriculture.

But more importantly, not when climatistas openly lie about the extent and level of destruction of the fires.

Several of the most widely shared images aren’t actually from this month’s fires.
Some are old photographs of the Amazon, and some aren’t even from the area at all.

For instance:

Red Flag Laws, Again

Now The Wall Street Journal is beating the drum for red flag laws that would authorize seizure of weapons from anyone, and anyone associated with that one, that Government, or a Government-appointed/approved body deems a threat.

Consider one of the three cute anecdotes the WSJ cited via its drumbeat.

Police were tipped off by school officials that a 14-year-old boy had praised mass shootings. He used campus computers to search firearms and terms like “white power.” Taken to a psychiatrist, the student said he was joking.
The boy’s father owned a rifle and a pistol. A short-term red-flag order was obtained, and the two firearms were relinquished. After a hearing a one-year order was issued. [In all three anecdotes cited, the outcome was a “one-year order.”]

Value

Wretchard (@wretchardthecat) asked an interesting question on Twitter Wednesday, and the implications from the question are being carefully ignored by the Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidates who want to forgive all—or most—student debt.

Forgiving student debt sends the signal that educational investment is worthless because it cannot return the rate of the money borrowed to finance it. That may actually be true but then what is the value of the credential?

Read the whole thread, it’s pithy and concise, as are the comments ensuing.

In Which the 9th Gets One Right

Facebook’s use of the output of its facial recognition software—imagery of individuals’ faces—without those individuals’ prior permission can be contested in court, according to the Ninth Circuit.  Facebook had demurred when the case was brought.

On Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Facebook’s efforts to dismiss the ongoing class-action lawsuit, which could potentially require the company to pay billions in compensation.
The lawsuit dates back to 2015 when three Facebook users living in the state [Illinois] claimed the tech giant had violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to obtain consent when collecting their biometric information.