Technology Theft

In a piece on American CEOs’ (and Apple’s in particular) cowardice in their dealings with the People’s Republic of China’s government—censor your stuff or you can’t operate in the PRC, give up your technology to or you can’t operate in the PRC, and these worthies meekly comply—comes this reminder on the latter bit:

Just about everybody in the US capital is complaining about how China forces foreign companies to give up technology in return for market access.

In truth, the PRC isn’t alone in this: willing participants are those American CEOs who acquiesce in the name of short-term profit rather than long-term gain.

Brexit Fee

Daniel Hannan, Great Britain’s Conservative MEP, had a tweet concerning why the EU wants such an outlandish ransom exit fee from Great Britain as a condition of its release from the EU.  The tweet and thread are worth reading in their own right, but  Richard‏ (@richardm680923) made his own virtually dispositive point in that thread with this image:

Way to Go, Google

Recall the now ex-employee who wrote a lengthy and thought-out memo for internal distribution via one of what Google is pleased to call its open communication channels. A summary of the ex-employee’s case is in the Sunday Wall Street Journal; my comments on the situation, based on that summary, are below.

…critics saying the company squelched free speech by firing a male employee who wrote a divisive memo denouncing its diversity push, while others said his views showed that the company’s diversity policies were needed.

“Mueller Can Avoid an Iran-Contra Repeat”

That’s the title of a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, and it indicates an unwarranted optimism about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “investigation.”

The problem is that Mueller’s investigation is expected to run at least into the end of 2018—packing a 6-month investigation (which already has run for nearly a year under other auspices) into 18 months, or seven years, like the Iran-Contra investigation, depending on the election cycle. And that’s the point—to poison election cycles that might go the wrong way.

This is substantiated by the appalling leak rate Mueller is allowing his team to have.  He has no intention of running this thing quickly and efficiently.

Jeff Flake Misunderstands

Senator Jeff Flake (R, AZ) thinks the Republican Party should have put the kibosh on then-citizen Donald Trump’s birtherism regarding then-candidate and later then-President Barack Obama, and he’s right about that.  The birtherism bit was just a bit of trolling and head gamesmanship, but it spread and became a distraction for Republicans.

But on the matter of Hillary Clinton and Trump-supported and occasionally -led chants of “lock her up,” Flake misunderstands.

We shouldn’t be the party for jailing your political opponents[.]

Labor Law

Recall the 2015 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that said, via Browning-Ferris Industries v NLRB, that a joint employer was not an employer that shared direct control over a temp agency’s employees with that temp agency, as the long-established 1984 standard held, but that such a joint employer is one that exercises merely tenuous control.

The case is before the DC Circuit on appeal from the ruling.  The Wall Street Journal is properly skeptical of the permanence of a favorable court outcome, as it is with the possibility of a reversing ruling by an NLRB populated with President Donald Trump appointees.

Tax Reform and Charities

Charities stand to lose billions in donations if Republicans advance their tax overhaul, prompting the nonprofits to carefully attempt to persuade lawmakers to reshape their plan.

As a result of a proposal to double the standard deduction and prevent people from deducting state and local taxes from federal taxable income, fewer taxpayers—5% instead of 30%—would have a financial incentive to itemize their deductions, including their charitable gifts, according to several estimates.

Gun Control

A bill is making progress in Congress that would allow concealed carry license holders, whose license was issued in one State (their State of residence) to concealed carry their weapons in all States: the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.  The bill also would require such a carrier to abide by the laws of the State they’re visiting, including all of that State’s gun-free zone designations.  In this way, the reciprocity law is similar to drivers license reciprocity, under which it’s legal to drive in any State so long as the driver both is licensed in his home State and obeys the driving laws of the State he’s visiting.

Mueller’s Grand Jury

Judge Andrew Napolitano thinks the reason Special Counsel Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury as part of his “investigation” into alleged Russia collusion by members of President Donald Trump’s campaign staff is so Mueller can use the jury’s subpoena power to compel testimony and the delivery of documents.  Napolitano also said, in FoxNews insider‘s paraphrase, that the jury’s convening is

a sign that Mueller has found something from some source….

Works for Me

The US has imposed additional sanctions on Iran, vindicated by Iran’s launch of a new ballistic missile, a test of a rocket capable of delivering satellites into orbit.

Iran now is objecting, saying the additional sanctions violate the nuclear “deal” signed by ex-President Barack Obama (D).  Iran claims

new US sanctions against the Muslim country constitute a “breach” of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers.

That’s fine.  It’s good that Iran seems to agree with this administration that the thing is a terrible accord and ought to be gotten rid of.  We should tear it up and impose complete sanctions on Iran.