Freedomwat.ch Staff

“NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden is among the backers of a new surveillance app that helps guard against computer hijackings. Haven is an open source app that will run on any Android phone, particularly inexpensive and older devices. It operates like a surveillance system, using the device’s camera, audio recording capability and even accelerometer to detect movement and notify a user. The idea is that, even with the best encryption in the world, a device is vulnerability to physical, in-person tampering — also known as ‘evil maid’ because literally a hotel maid could access it.”

“Smartphones and other personal electronics contain vastly more private information than suitcases. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed a lawsuit in Boston arguing that a warrant should be required to search such devices at the border. Last week, the Trump administration asked a judge to dismiss the case. The lawsuit comes amid a surge in agents looking through — and sometimes copying data from — cellphones and laptops. Midway through fiscal year 2017, Customs and Border Protection was on pace to search 30,000 travelers’ electronics — more than tripling the annual number by that agency since 2015.”

“Youth unemployment in the eurozone has been stuck between 19% to 25% for the past eight years. In Spain and Greece, it’s north of 40%. The bleak numbers underscore the uphill battle many young Europeans face in finding jobs that match their aspirations and education. Legions of young people have grown frustrated. Many are still living at home, while others have left their families and moved to new countries in search of work.”

“Twenty-five of the EU’s current 28 members have signed up — Britain, Malta and Denmark are not involved. Key EU member states including France and Germany have long-campaigned for greater defence and security integration. And plans for an EU army were fleshed out further by EU President Jean-Claude Juncker when he unveiled his grand vision for the future of the bloc earlier this year.”

“Not only would a US blockade be an act of war, but it is one that would be responded to with retaliation from Pyongyang. Assuming even a single North Korea missile is able to penetrate America’s missile defence shield which according to recently consulted experts, only has a success rate of about 50%, millions of Americans would die as a result. If more people in the United States were exposed to this vital information about the provocative antics of their own government, it is highly likely that millions more Americans would join Russia and China in calling for an immediate de-escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.”

“The Trump administration’s foray into linguistic decrees is not a new phenomenon among the American Right. One recent comparable instance of state-decreed censorship: John Ashcroft, a Christian fundamentalist and the first attorney general under George W. Bush, insisted on covering the breasts of a marble statue of the ‘Spirit of Justice’ that stood in the main Justice building. This act of modesty reportedly cost $8,000 of taxpayer money.”

“The Trump administration put new requirements in place on Friday for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, including that they use U.S. counterterrorism data to screen travelers, officials said. The United States will also start assessing VWP countries on their safeguards against ‘insider threats’ at their airports, especially those with direct flights to the United States, officials said.”

“Sessions noted that more fatal accidents are now caused by drugs than by alcohol, and he said the American Medical Association ‘is crystal clear’ that ‘marijuana is not a healthy substance.’ But when the intern challenged that assertion, Sessions seemed dismissive, addressing the intern as ‘Dr. Whatever Your Name Is.’ ‘I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if marijuana’s sold in every corner grocery store,’ Sessions said.”

“While U.S. trade policy under the Trump administration has become a confusing mix of bluster, posturing, threats, and uncertainty, China has gone in the other direction, at least incrementally by lowering some of its tariffs unilaterally. On November 24, China’s Ministry of Finance announced that it would cut tariffs on 187 consumer products. The lower duty rate took effect on December 1, so Chinese consumers are now benefitting from more competition and lower prices. This is the fourth tariff cut since 2015.”

“An American visiting the Communist Bloc in the 1980s would be aghast to find most women still doing laundry the way they had in the United States 50 years prior, without washing machines. The communist system didn’t produce machines to make women’s lives easier for the same reason it neglected their other needs and wants. For all the complaints about the profit motive, markets incentivize people to satisfy each other’s preferences through voluntary exchange, while state-run economies provide no such incentive. There is no shortage of soaring communist rhetoric on gender equality, but that cannot make up for the pervasive and sexist shortages under central planning.”

“The protectionist move against LG and Samsung comes, perversely, just as those companies are set to employ thousands of Americans in Tennessee and South Carolina. It may also inadvertently put the final nail in the coffin of one of the longest-standing bastions of the American service industry, Sears Holdings Corp. Trump should reject the remedy proposal put forth by the International Trade Commission. Making it more expensive for LG to import the washers it produces for Kenmore, one of Sears’ most popular product lines, will jeopardize the retailer’s efforts to revitalize its brand.”

“The new study adds to the already substantial evidence indicating that licensing laws are a major obstacle to geographic mobility, particularly for poor and lower-middle class people seeking to move to areas with greater opportunity. We have gotten to the point where some 30 percent of Americans have to have licenses to legally work in their respective fields, including even some states that license florists and tour guides. The evidence also suggests that most of these laws do far more to suppress competition than protect consumers.”

“23 percent of Americans say that the government is America’s biggest problem. ‘That’s about exactly what is was before Nixon resigned,’ Jones said, referring to the Watergate era. One might be tempted to view this result as solely caused by disgust with President Donald Trump or his policies. But that’s not really the case, or not entirely. The commentators point out that the poll is similar to findings from 2014-2015 when Barack Obama was president.”

“Appointing an Opioid Czar and strictly restricting access to said drugs is not the way to stop the ‘opioid epidemic,’ if I may use the term. People, good people, people with families and jobs and homes, people who just want to be able to do something that approximates functioning, are having serious issues getting medicine that they need. Because they’re having trouble getting medicine their doctor deemed they needed, more and more are finding themselves in pain crises and heading to their local emergency rooms for relief, clogging up an already-congested system and causing delays in care for people who are dealing with other critical emergencies.”

“Ramos remained in jail for 158 days until he was found not guilty in Lehigh County Court after blood tests showed no illegal substances or alcohol in his system. While Ramos was jailed, he was fired from his job and lost his home. He lost his car, too: The tow truck operator notified Ramos by mail about a deadline to retrieve his vehicle, but because Ramos was in jail, no one was at his residence to receive the letter. Ramos’ lawsuit charged that Troopers Summa and Vanfleet conspired to falsely arrest him despite finding no evidence that he was impaired or had drugs in his car.”