Thursday, February 25, 2016
APPLE, BREXIT & TRUMP
Unlock the damn phone.
The phone's user was a terrorist. Undisputed. The owner of the phone, the terrorist's unwitting employer, has given permission for the phone to be unlocked. There's a court order that is specific to that one phone and does not require that phone-hacking software be provided to the FBI for their future use.
With a court order, the Feds can get into my bank account. With a court order, they can paw through my underwear drawer. And I'm this side of certain that, with or without a court order, there are a bunch of coders at Apple who already know how to unlock a phone.
Apple's argument seems to be that a search warrant should apply to all the rooms in a house except the loo because what goes on in the loo should remain private forever.
That dog won't hunt.
Unlock the damn phone.
Some time ago, the nervousness over the possibility that the Greeks would be forced out of the EU led to a 20% devaluation of the Euro against the US Dollar. The cost of one Euro went from 1.35 USD to 1.10 USD and has stayed in that neighborhood ever since. Oh, I know that there are other influences and that the devaluation probably cannot be ascribed solely to the problems with Greece...and Italy and Spain and Portugal. But Greece was certainly a convenient place on which to hang a commentator's hat.
Recently, the Euro enjoyed a bit of a comeback, reaching 1.13 USD or better. That may not seem like very much, but 2% or 3% is not an insignificant amount when applied to a fixed pension. No worries, though. We apparently had nothing to fear. The possibility of a Brexit continues in the news. And a big Thank You to Boris for coming down on the side of the Brexiters. We're back at 1.10 USD again.
At this point in time, European uncertainty is an American expat's best friend.
There is a misconception that American electoral politics have been governed by rules of engagement that are relatively benign until just recently. We think of the American Founding Fathers (and Mothers, to be fair) such as Thomas Jefferson as persons of intellect whose Declaration of Independence and Constitution created the framework for a new, progressive style of governance.
Well, they were persons of intellect. But the Founders were also rebels. Traitors to Mother England. It should come as no surprise that they were, in fact, the architects of partisanship. Some believed in a strong federal government. Some abhorred the idea of federalism. Thus were two political parties born. And thus, partisanship.
Broadsheets, the news outlets of the times, were often owned by partisan politicians and were used unashamedly to denigrate their rivals. Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, all were savaged with venom that today only appears on the very fringes of the internet. Washington's Farewell Address, generally considered to be one of the most important speeches ever given by an American politician, was described at the time in the organ of a rival as the "loathings of a sick mind." Washington himself, Thomas Paine implied, was a traitor and perhaps a double agent in the pay of the British. The elder Adams was "old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled and toothless."
Enter Trump. There is no regard for truth. There is only hate combined with lust for power.
An American tradition...