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Vox Sentences: ISIS loses its chief propagandist

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The EU orders Apple to pay Ireland $14.5 billion (that Ireland doesn't want); ISIS just keeps losing; America's worst governor embarrasses himself again.


Ireland to Apple: No, really, keep that $14.5B!

AFP/ Paul Faith via Getty
  • The European Union announced Tuesday that it's forcing Apple to pay the Irish government €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in what it claims are unpaid taxes. [Vox / Matt Yglesias]
  • Here's the twist: The EU wants Apple to pay Ireland because of a sweetheart corporate tax deal Apple apparently brokered with the Irish government, which the EU says was illegal. [Quartz / Tim Fernholz]
  • This deal went over and above Ireland's typically low taxes, which make it a typical European tax haven, and tax policy schemes to get the profits from goods sold elsewhere in the EU taxed at Irish rates (like the "double Irish," which tech companies including Apple have taken advantage of and which is helpfully illustrated here). [CreditLoan / Daniel Wesley]
  • But the EU is working to crack down on sweetheart taxation like this. The "double Irish" is being phased out, and the Apple judgment could represent a turning point. [Bloomberg / Alex Webb and Adam Satariano]
  • For Ireland — which is a fairly poor country whose economy is boosted by its tax haven corporate visitors — this is worrisome. So it's not surprising Ireland is appealing the EU's ruling — trying to prevent Apple from having to pay it the $14.5 billion. [WSJ / Paul Hannon]
  • Ultimately, this is just one piece of a larger shell game. The top 50 US companies are estimated to hold $1.4 trillion in offshore cash. But to the economies of the countries holding them, a small piece of that $1.4 trillion means a lot. [CNN Money / Alabnna Petroff]

No good way to spin it: ISIS is losing

Anadolu Agency/ Cem Ozdel via Getty
  • An apparent US airstrike has killed Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, ISIS's chief propaganda officer, in northern Syria. [Reuters / Angus McDowall and Phil Stewart]
  • The death is just another blow in a series of defeats ISIS has suffered recently. It's losing territory in Iraq and Syria. [BBC]
  • Its leaders might be losing control of their fighters: One US official claimed that in a recent battle ISIS forces had retreated, disobeying an order from founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to "fight to the death." [CNN / Ryan Browne]
  • ISIS has reacted to losses in Iraq and Syria by encouraging more lone-wolf efforts in Europe and abroad. This is where Adnani's death could really hurt them: He was involved in inspiring (and, to a certain extent, coordinating) attacks overseas. [NYT / Rukmini Callimachi]
  • Not that this means everything's peachy in Syria. Last week, Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria (which ended today) called "Euphrates Shield" — ostensibly targeted at ISIS, but really targeted at Kurdish fighters who'd been working with the US. [Long War Journal / Merve Tahiroglu]

Maine Gov. Paul LePage should be ashamed of himself (generally, but this week especially)

Getty / Sarah Rice
  • Maine Gov. Paul LePage is dealing with the fallout from a voicemail he left for a state legislator last week, in which he said, "I am after you," and a follow-up interview in which he told reporters he would point a gun "right between" the state legislator's "eyes." [Portland Press Herald / Scott Thistle]
  • The outburst was sparked by comments LePage made about the racial makeup of drug dealers in Maine, a state reeling from the heroin epidemic. (Back in January, LePage blamed the drug problem on "out-of-state guys" with names like "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty.") [Vox / German Lopez]
  • More recently, LePage has started saying he has a binder of all the mug shots of drug dealers that proves that 90 percent of them are nonwhite, in a 90 percent white state. (The ACLU would like to see receipts.) [ACLU of Maine]
  • When the state legislator called LePage's comments racist, LePage challenged him to "prove I'm a racist." Then he proceeded to hold a press conference in which he said that blacks and Latinos were the enemy, and in war you shoot the enemy. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • LePage floated the idea of resigning Tuesday morning — and then, Tuesday afternoon, tried to quash the rumor he himself had started. [Portland Press Herald / Eric Russell]
  • He's apologized to the state legislator and his family. But he's also defended his actions by saying being called a "racist" offended him as much as being called the n-word would offend a black man, which is not exactly going to dig him out of the hole he's in.
  • Paul LePage is not just a racist with an anger problem. He is also a terrible governor who has abused his power egregiously. [Christian Science Monitor / Molly Jackson]
  • And yet the people of Maine reelected him in 2014 — largely due to the salutary turnout effects of a referendum on bear baiting. (I am not kidding.) [Bangor Daily News / Mike Tipping]

Miscellaneous


Verbatim

  • "The media decided what millennial culture and values would be decades ago, before some of us were even born." [New Republic / Laura Marsh]
  • "In my field, we all get them: the emails from amateur physicists who are convinced that they have solved a big problem, normally without understanding the problem in the first place." [Aeon / Sabine Hossenfelder]
  • "Winston Shrout spoke of 'commercial redemption,' a philosophy that promises each American citizen access to giant piles of secret money." [Popular Mechanics / Bronwen Dickey]
  • "When the locals take their guns out and fire into the woods, it's not that different from people going with their pitchforks into the woods after Frankenstein's monster, he said, adding: 'It never ends well.'" [NYT / Katie Rogers]
  • "It is extremely difficult to figure out what to do to adapt to something we have never experienced as a species before." [High Country News / Elizabeth Shogren]

Watch this: Vikings never wore horned helmets. Here's why people thought they did.

[YouTube / Phil Edwards and Christophe Haubursin]

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