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.

A UAW Strike

The United Autoworkers Union sent 49,000 members and employees of GM out the door and on strike Sunday night.  The strike will hammer GM plants in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, New York, and Texas among other areas.

Here is another case of a union saying it won’t let a business operate at all, unless and until that business’ managers surrender completely and give the union everything it wants.

Strikes are legalized extortion and a refusal to negotiate in good faith.  It’s impossible to reach an honest deal with a gun in management’s ear.

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,

Interest Rate Foolishness

Mario Draghi, in his last act as European Central Bank MFWIC, has lowered ECB benchmark interest rates and set the central bank on a long-term campaign of bond-buying.  His…idea…is to stimulate inflation and push the inflation rate to more normal levels.

Couple things about this.  The Wall Street Journal thinks this commits Draghi’s successor to this foolishness for the long term.  Of course, it does not.  His successor can undo this business when he takes office.  The difficulty will be solely within that successor’s political courage.

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.

Unions for Socialism

That’s the situation in Oregon, the new front-runner for socialism in the US, surpassing even California.

[T]he Oregon AFL-CIO wants voters to limit self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores.

The State’s Attorney General still has to sign off on the union’s ballot measure, ironically titled the Grocery Store Service and Community Protection Act, but that’s a formality in a State that favors Antifa violence over law and order and actual protection of communities.

The union claims—and it’s serious—that

self-service checkouts add “to social isolation and related negative health consequences” for shoppers.

And

…contribute to retail workers feeling devalued….

A Different Sort of National Security Threat

This one demographic; it’s the potential for population collapse in the People’s Republic of China.  Most of the nations of the world outside Africa face population declines, but none seem as severe as the PRC’s is looking to be.

In 2016, after the one-child policy was abandoned, there were 17.86 million births. This dropped to 17.2 million in 2017 and 15.2 million in 2018—the third-lowest rate since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

That might be an accelerating drop, although three data points don’t make for a strongly measured trend.

Another Reason

…not to live in New York.  Aside from there being no place for folks who disagree with the Progressive-Democrats in charge, there’s this travesty.

A New Jersey resident—resident in every sense of the term—owns a vacation home in New York where he spends a few days each year…vacationing.

A state administrative law judge ruled last month that [the resident] owed $527,000 in back New York state income tax because of his upstate home. With interest and penalties, that is more than twice the $290,000 he paid for the house in 2011.

Brexit and Sovereignty

This is amazing.  And an utter betrayal.

Senior MPs opposing a no-deal Brexit sought assurances from the EU that their bid for a three-month delay would be granted, it has emerged.
European leaders were sounded out before MPs, including the “rebel alliance,” passed a bill…forcing Boris Johnson to ask for an extension.

For the EU to participate in such scruffy deal would seem to be a naked interference in sovereign British domestic politics.

Except that….

On the one hand, this is those MPs selling out British sovereignty.

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….