Mores and the Patent and Trademark Office

The Supreme Court has taken up the case of Iancu v Brunetti and heard oral arguments Monday.  Erik Brunetti wanted a copyright on the label for a clothing line of his that he’d named FUCT, an acronym for Friends U Can’t Trust.  Iancu is Andrei Iancu, who is duel-hatted as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Wearing that second hat, Iancu and his fellow USPTO bureaucrats said they were scandalized and morally offended, and they denied Brunetti’s copyright application.  The Wall Street Journal, at the link, said

Lost Brexit?

Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, went begging to the EU for a delay on Great Britain’s date of departure from the EU, and she got it—31 October, with a caveat that if the Brits can get their act together sooner, they can leave sooner.

European Council President Donald Tusk:

…the call for action will be entirely in the UK’s hands.
… But he added that the UK can also use the time to “reconsider the whole Brexit strategy.”
Tusk…warned the UK: “Please do not waste this time.”

EU-PRC Trade Relations

There’s a new tone in the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the European Union. The two have agreed the following:

  • A commitment toward “broader” and “non-discriminatory” market access
  • On surrendering intellectual property to gain access to China’s market, both sides agreed “there should not be a forced transfer of technology”
  • Increase efforts to strengthen international rules against state subsidies for industries

A commitment. We’ve seen in US-PRC trade discussions over the years, in the PRC’s responses to WTO rulings—indeed its own commitments made as conditions to its accession to the WTO—in its treatment of those with whom it deals along its Belt and Road efforts, in its treatment of South China Sea rim nations the value of PRC commitments.

Regulating State Tax Incentives

There Ought to be a Law was the title of an old Reader’s Digest humor column: every little pet peeve came in for a jokingly recommended law barring it.  Because More Government is always the solution.

Barton Swaim, in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, actually takes that seriously, and he wants to apply it to the idea of States and cities offering businesses tax incentives to get them to build in those jurisdictions.  He wants the Federal government to…regulate…what those State and local jurisdictions can do to entice businesses.

He’s even holding up the European Union as a paragon in this venue.

Tax that Rich Man Behind the Tree

Now the Progressive-Democrats, in their fever pitch to increase taxes, want to tax phantom profits.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) [is] reviving plans to make capital gains taxes due annually….

Another Progressive-Democrat, Jon Summers (ex-Communications Director for ex-Senator Harry Reid (D, NV)) rationalized this chimera tax this way:

We’re spending way more money, billions of dollars more, a year than what we are actually bringing in in revenue. We’ve got a debt of $22 trillion, a record debt that has only skyrocketed under this administration. So, Democrats are trying to come up with a solution to bring some sanity back[.]

Take It or Leave Us

Here is one of the final steps in Brussels’ studied refusal to deal in good faith with Great Britain’s leaving the EU in all the long “negotiations.”  With the Brits’ departure now set for 12 April, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union, Michel Barnier, has issued the EU’s ultimatum:

  • The possibility of a successful “meaningful vote” on the withdrawal agreement in the next few days. “The only way to avoid a no-deal Brexit is and will be through a positive majority. We should continue to make this point in the public debate,” Barnier said.

Yet Another Veterans Administration Failure

Here is another failure of the VA to take care of our veterans as they are charged to do, and as the VA’s motto promises they’ll do.  Here is another casual dishonor of that promise [emphasis added].

More than 1,000 Department of Veterans Affairs patients in Kansas didn’t get proper follow-up care after initial colonoscopies last year, a problem that was addressed only after a whistleblower repeatedly reported it, according to a government watchdog.
The watchdog found patients didn’t get follow-up screenings on time and when they did, often didn’t get the results in a timely manner because of [a string of excuses].

A Thought on Medicare for All

University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economics Professor and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute, Robert Pollin, had a thought on this.

Of course, so do I.

Pollin opened his tract with this:

All Americans would be able to get care from their chosen providers without having to pay premiums, deductibles or copayments.

No, we’ve already seen the lie in this. We experienced the broken, falsely presented promise with the sales job on Obamacare and the oft-repeated lie that if we liked our doctor, we could keep him and the associated lie of lower premiums.

Pied-à-Terre Tax

New York City wants one, and The Wall Street Journal, among a host of other folks, think it’s a terrible idea.

The idea is what the politicians are calling a pied-à-terre tax—which is French for “give me your money, fat cat.”

I’m not sure I agree with the WSJ.  I see the pied-à-terre tax as a vast boon to New Yorkers, and to others.

a Journal analysis this week suggested it could crash New York’s luxury property market.


The Senate voted on the Green New Deal, but the proposal, first offered in the House (and yet to be voted on there), failed a cloture vote to let it come to the floor for discussion, debate, and subsequent vote up or down.

The Senate on Tuesday failed to advance the Green New Deal, the ambitious plan to combat climate change proposed by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after what Democrats said was a politically-motivated show vote.
The measure, which needed 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle, failed in a 0-57 vote, with 43 Democrats voting present.