A Thought on Brexit

Supposedly, Great Britain and the EU are close to agreement on a deal governing the former’s departure from the latter. Absent a deal, Great Britain will leave the EU on its own terms.  That last is, I maintain, the best way out.


There remain, as of Wednesday morning, three sticking points to any sort of deal, according to EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

  • Customs arrangements for the island of Ireland
  • The issue of giving Northern Irish authorities a greater say over regulatory arrangements, and the ability to veto them

Lack of Understanding

This is demonstrated in the lead paragraph of a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Chief executives are taking vocal stands on issues like gun control, climate change, and immigration, but global affairs bring a different complexity and calculation, especially for companies doing business in China*.

After all,

In the aftermath of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s now-deleted tweet, the National Basketball Association has found the consequences of even implicitly criticizing Chinese policy can be swift and sizable.

In Which Zuckerberg is Right

Attorney General William Barr has taken up ex-FBI Director James Comey’s battle for government backdoors into private citizens’ encrypted private messages.  Apple MFWIC Tim Cook won a similar fight regarding iPhone passwords and a demand that government should be allowed backdoors into those, and Comey’s FBI was shown to have been dissembling about that difficulty by the speed with which a contractor the FBI hired successfully broke into an iPhone the FBI had confiscated.

Now Barr has broadened the fight, demanding Facebook give Government backdoors into Facebook’s planned rollout of encryption for its messaging services.  He wants Facebook, too, to hold off on its rollout until Government is satisfied it has such backdoors.  Barr’s cynically misleading plaint includes this tearjerker:

“Stand for Something”

Howard Silver, commissioner of the National Basketball Association, in the aftermath of a tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey,said in a CNN interview cited by The Wall Street Journal‘s Notable & Quotable,

I think in this day and age, you really do have to stand for something[.]

This is after Rockets players apologized to the PRC for their GM’s tweet, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta ran away from his GM’s tweet,

Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets.

and the NBA as a whole affirmed their preference for PRC money over honor.

WTO, Tariffs, and the EU

The WTO ruled in favor of the US regarding a 15-yr-old dispute over French subsidies of Airbus that directly harmed The Boeing Company, to the tune of $7.5 billion.  The ruling allows the US to impose those $7.5 billion as tariffs, and the Office of the US Trade Representative says that we’ll apply

a 10% tariff on aircraft imported from Europe and apply a 25% import tax on other agricultural and industrial items on October 18….

France says they’ll respond with retaliatory tariffs if we go through with this.  French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire:

Raise the Price

…of a product, and with that, lower demand for it.  This is the sort of thing taught in high school introductory economics courses.  One way to raise the price is to raise taxes related to it, and to reduce tax deductions related to it.

The Manhattan real estate market [a generally hgh-end market] stumbled in the third quarter of 2019, new reports show, as prices plunged and fewer buyers were willing to purchase higher-priced properties in the wake of two recent tax increases.
The median sales price for properties fell 17% from the same quarter last year…. The average sales price dropped 12%….
Condo sales fell 8%….

More on Free Speech

Here’s another example of Progressive-Democrats and Party’s Presidential candidates objecting to free speech.

Senator [and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate] Kamala Harris said on Monday night that President Trump should have his Twitter account suspended over his tweets about the whistleblower whose complaint has helped launch an official House inquiry into his potential impeachment.

Trump’s terrible crime here? He expressed his desire to meet his accuser, a right all Americans have when accused of wrong-doing.

She went on, paraphrased by Fox News:

Free Speech

We’re beginning to see more of the value system that the most progressive candidate of them all, Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate and ex-Vice President Joe Biden, wants to impose on all of us.  His campaign team, led by Anita Dunn (one of ex-President Barack Obama’s early White House Communications Directors) and Kate Bedingfield (Biden’s 2015 Communications Director) of Biden for President, have written to

executives and top political anchors at ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, including star interviewers like Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd, and Chris Wallace

In Which Alphabet may be Getting One Thing Right

Alphabet’s Google subsidiary is developing a new Internet protocol, and competitors are worried that the protocol would mak[e] it harder for others to access consumer data. Some thoughts on that below.  Congress is concerned, too, and its “antitrust investigators” are looking into the matter.

EU Version of Brexit

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says that the risk of a no-deal Brexit is very real.  He also says he told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

…I have no emotional attachment to the backstop.  But I made clear that I do have an intimate connection to its commitments. I have asked the prime minister to make, in writing, alternatives.

The commitment of the backstop, the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which violates a central premise of the vote to leave the EU—British control of British borders—still amounts to a backdoor to partitioning Great Britain. Keep in mind that one of the EU’s early offers on this backstop was that Great Britain could put its hard border on the Irish Sea coast—an offer quickly deleted when its purpose was recognized as too obviously presented.