Official: American Military Aircraft To Be Used in CAR Intervention

An unnamed American official
has told CNN that U.S. military planes will be used to transport
French and African peacekeepers to the Central African
Republic.

From
CNN
:

Troops will be flown from Burundi to the Central African
Republic capital of Bangui, which has been wracked with
violence.

The American military also expects to fly in some French troops,
which are working to secure the airport and disarm some militia
members.

The United States will provide security for its planes, but
there is no indication on the number of troops involved. The
operations is expected to be relatively small.

Violence on the ground, which has included machetes, knives,
rifles and grenades, will be a “big factor” in any U.S. operation,
the official said.

Last week, the French began their intervention in CAR after the
United Nations Security Council
unanimously approved
the use of military force in the former
French colony.

The British are already assisting the French, having
sent military equipment on a C-17
to help with the peacekeeping
mission.

Since the intervention began French troops have begun
patrolling the streets of Bangui
, CAR’s capital, and have come

under fire
while trying to disarm rebels in an incident French
officials described as “insignificant.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/official-american-military-aircraft-to
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The NSA and Other Government Snoops Have Been Spying on Online Gamers

For the last several years,
American and British intelligence agencies have been conducting
surveillance operations inside of online video game worlds
Second Life and World of Warcraft, as well as
Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming service, according to a report in
The New York Times, ProPublica, and The Guardian.
The operations, which neither British spies nor the NSA would
confirm, stemmed from fears amongst the spy agencies that the games
would be used by terrorists for communications and financial
transactions. 

The whole project appears to have been a bust, however, with
millions of dollars spent for little if any meaningful success in
stopping terrorists. A few lowlights
from the report
:

There were so many government snoops running around
Second Life that they had to set up a management team to make sure
they didn’t all run into each other.
“So many C.I.A.,
F.B.I. and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the
document noted, that a ‘deconfliction’ group was needed to avoid
collisions.”

The spies didn’t ask for permission from World of
Warcraft
’s creators.
“One American company, the maker
of World of Warcraft, said that neither the N.S.A. nor its British
counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, had gotten
permission to gather intelligence in its game.”

They didn’t have any actual evidence that terrorists
relied on the games in their plots.
  “In the 2008
N.S.A. document, titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games &
Virtual Environments,” the agency said that “terrorist target
selectors” — which could be a computer’s Internet Protocol address
or an email account — “have been found associated with Xbox Live,
Second Life, World of Warcraft” and other games. But that document
does not present evidence that terrorists were participating in the
games.”

There’s no indication that the spying stopped any
terrorist attacks.
“The documents, obtained
by The
Guardian
 and shared with The New York Times and
ProPublica
, do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the
effort.”

In-game communications were subject to mass
collection.
“One document says that while GCHQ was testing
its ability to spy on Second Life in real time, British
intelligence officers vacuumed up three days’ worth of Second Life
chat, instant message and financial transaction data, totaling
176,677 lines of data, which included the content of the
communications.”

U.S. defense forces created mobile video games designed
to spy on users.
“The Pentagon’s Special Operations
Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies —
including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to
build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones, according to
people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not
identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles
for intelligence agencies to collect information about the
users.”

The government spent millions of dollars on video game
behavior research to reach really, really obvious
conclusions.
“A group at the Palo Alto Research Center,
for example, produced a government-funded study of World of
Warcraft that found ‘younger players and male players preferring
competitive, hack-and-slash activities, and older and female
players preferring noncombat activities,’ such as exploring the
virtual world. A group from the nonprofit SRI International,
meanwhile, found that players under age 18 often used all capital
letters both in chat messages and in their avatar names.”

No word yet, however, on how many government agents hit the
level cap, or what they really thought about all
the business with the magic pandas
.   

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/the-nsa-and-other-government-snoops-have
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Judge Upholds Firing of NJ Middle School Teacher for Sexual Harassment, Was Suspended Without Pay Almost Two Years Ago, Complaints Dates Back to 2003

it's a middle school not a dance clubA middle school teacher in
Woodbridge was
suspended
(without pay!) for the last 20 months over a series
of sexual harassment complaints made by students and at least one
fellow teacher. The teacher, James Lang, was tenured and under a
union contract that meant the school’s decision to terminate him
could be reviewed by a state judge. The administrative judge ruled
last week that Lang should be fired, that he was “not fit to lead
in an educational institution,” that he “violated all standards of
decency,” and that the middle school teacher’s “grotesque and
sexual behavior” helped create “a sexually demeaning environment.”
 Lang was accused of calling his female students hos, whores,
and prostitutes, and making sexual advances toward them as well as
at least one female teacher.

Amazingly, the judge’s decision is still not final. Lang’s
attorney, who denies the charges, says he is planning to appeal the
decision; it can be overturned by the state education commissioner.
These are the benefits of tenure, a concept originally formulated
to protect college-level educators from reprisals for teaching
unpopular subjects or opinions, not to protect perverts who manage
to land jobs at middle schools. How did Lang get to tenure in the
first place? The accusations date back to 2003, the year Lang
started with the Woodbridge Public Schools, but he received
“consistently satisfactory” performance evaluations,
according
to MyCentralJersey.com, which also reports he worked
at three schools in the district. Among the accusations against
Lang related to his interaction with middle school students
were:

• Calling a student “Jo-Jo the Ho-Ho” and a “dirty ho,”
slang terms for a prostitute.
• Calling a student a whore and suggesting that she wear less
clothing on dress-down day.
• Telling a female student who bent over to pick up a paper that he
would “tap that.”
• Asking students during class whether they would be afraid if his
“snake were in their bed.”
• Saying that a female student’s “mouth was fast and on the
weekends it runs extra fast.”
• Telling his class that he used to watch students shower at a
former job at a community center.

Despite public sector unions insisting their employees have the
right to “due process” in employment, not being terminated
immediately for these kinds of accusations, at the discretion of
administration, is not a right, nor a privilege that ought to be
extended to them.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/judge-upholds-firing-of-nj-middle-school
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Law Enforcement Cell Phone Spying Still Rampant – Senator Markey To Propose Legislation To Protect Privacy

Cell phone trackingBack in 2012, Sen. Edward
Markey (D-Mass.) asked the telephone companies to supply records of
the number of times law enforcement asked for their customers cell
phone data. It turns out that the wireless surveillance of
Americans is quite extensive. The telcos revealed that they had
received 1.3 million requests for wireless data from federal,
state, and local law enforcement in 2011.

This year, the telcos reported to Markey that they received 1.1
million requests for cell phone data from law enforcement in 2012.
The New York Times notes that this figure is not
comparable to the 2011 numbers because
Sprint declined to answer
all of the senator’s queries. In a
press
release
from his office, Sen. Markey declared:

“As law enforcement uses new technology to protect the public
from harm, we also must protect the information of innocent
Americans from misuse. We need a 4th amendment for the 21st
century. Disclosure of personal information from wireless devices
raises significant legal and privacy concerns, particularly for
innocent consumers.”

The senator further noted: 

“If the police want to know where you are, we should know why.
When law enforcement access location information, it as sensitive
and personal as searching an individual’s home and should be
treated commensurately.”

The Senator plans to introduce legislation that would curb law
enforcement cell phone surveillance: The legislation would…

  • Require regular disclosures from law enforcement on the nature
    and volume of requests.
  • Curb bulk data information requests such as cell tower dumps
    that capture information on a large group of mobile phone users at
    a particular period of time, and require that any request be more
    narrowly tailored, when possible.  
  • Require, in the case of emergency circumstances, a signed,
    sworn statement from law enforcement authorities after receipt of
    information from a carrier that justifies the need for the
    emergency access. 
  • Mandate creation of rules by the Federal Communications
    Commission to limit how long wireless carriers can retain
    consumers’ personal information.  Right now, no such standards
    exist.
  • Require location tracking authorization only with a warrant
    when there is probable cause to believe it will uncover evidence of
    a crime. This is the traditional standard for police to search
    individual homes.

In my January 2013 article,”Your
Cell Phone is Spying on You
,” I argued:

Cultivating and maintaining a society of free and responsible
individuals is impossible under the permanent Panoptic gaze of the
government. Ubiquitous surveillance becomes indistinguishable from
totalitarianism. “The ultimate check on government as a whole is
its inability to know everything about those it governs,” Keizer
writes in Privacy. In other words, state ignorance is the
citizenry’s bliss. 

Probable cause warrants should be the least requirement for
giving the police the power to spy on individual citizens.

Go
here
for the telco reports sent to Markey.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/law-enforcement-cell-phone-spying-still
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Vid: Federal Reserve, Not Free Market, Caused Crisis says "Money for Nothing" Filmmaker Jim Bruce

“I view one of the big myths of the [2007-08 financial] crisis
as that it was purely the effect of free markets, that this is what
happens when you have free markets,” says Jim Bruce, filmmaker
behind the new documentary “Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal
Reserve.”

Bruce
predicted the meltdown
, invested accordingly, and used the
money he made from the collapse to fund his movie, which features
interviews with economists who predicted the crisis, as well as
former and current Federal Reserve officials such as Paul Volcker
and future Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Bruce sat down with Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller to discuss the
film and his thoughts on current Fed policy, incoming Fed Chair
Janet Yellen, the legacy of alleged free marketeer Alan Greenspan,
and the future of the U.S. economy and monetary system.

Approximately 9 minutes. Shot by Tracy Oppenheimer, Alex
Manning, and Alexis Garcia. Edited by Zach Weissmueller.

Watch the video above, or click the link below for downloadable
versions and subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube
Channel
to receive automatic updates when new material goes
live.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/vid-federal-reserve-not-free-market-caus
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Vid: Federal Reserve, Not Free Market, Caused Crisis says “Money for Nothing” Filmmaker Jim Bruce

“I view one of the big myths of the [2007-08 financial] crisis
as that it was purely the effect of free markets, that this is what
happens when you have free markets,” says Jim Bruce, filmmaker
behind the new documentary “Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal
Reserve.”

Bruce
predicted the meltdown
, invested accordingly, and used the
money he made from the collapse to fund his movie, which features
interviews with economists who predicted the crisis, as well as
former and current Federal Reserve officials such as Paul Volcker
and future Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Bruce sat down with Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller to discuss the
film and his thoughts on current Fed policy, incoming Fed Chair
Janet Yellen, the legacy of alleged free marketeer Alan Greenspan,
and the future of the U.S. economy and monetary system.

Approximately 9 minutes. Shot by Tracy Oppenheimer, Alex
Manning, and Alexis Garcia. Edited by Zach Weissmueller.

Watch the video above, or click the link below for downloadable
versions and subscribe to Reason TV’s YouTube
Channel
to receive automatic updates when new material goes
live.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/vid-federal-reserve-not-free-market-caus
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Rand Paul Says He is "Seriously Thinking About" Running For President

Sen. Rand Paul
(R-Ky.) said yesterday that he is “seriously thinking about”
running for president in 2016, but added that “I’m also very
serious about the family considerations.”

The news comes a few days after Paul said that
his wife opposes
 him running.

From
Reuters
:

(Reuters) – Republican Senator Rand Paul said on Sunday he is
giving serious thought to a run for the presidency in 2016 but
might decide against it because of the burden a campaign would
cause for his family.

“Well, you know, the thought has crossed my mind,” the Kentucky
senator said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I am seriously thinking
about it.

“But I’m also very serious about the family considerations.”

Paul, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, said
politics had become “uncivil” and that sometimes “you have a good
week” and other times “the haters and the hacks go after you.”

More from Reason.com on Rand Paul here

Follow these stories and more at Reason 24/7 and don’t forget you
can e-mail stories to us at 24_7@reason.com and tweet us
at @reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/rand-paul-says-he-is-seriously-thinkin
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Rand Paul Says He is “Seriously Thinking About” Running For President

Sen. Rand Paul
(R-Ky.) said yesterday that he is “seriously thinking about”
running for president in 2016, but added that “I’m also very
serious about the family considerations.”

The news comes a few days after Paul said that
his wife opposes
 him running.

From
Reuters
:

(Reuters) – Republican Senator Rand Paul said on Sunday he is
giving serious thought to a run for the presidency in 2016 but
might decide against it because of the burden a campaign would
cause for his family.

“Well, you know, the thought has crossed my mind,” the Kentucky
senator said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And I am seriously thinking
about it.

“But I’m also very serious about the family considerations.”

Paul, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, said
politics had become “uncivil” and that sometimes “you have a good
week” and other times “the haters and the hacks go after you.”

More from Reason.com on Rand Paul here

Follow these stories and more at Reason 24/7 and don’t forget you
can e-mail stories to us at 24_7@reason.com and tweet us
at @reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/rand-paul-says-he-is-seriously-thinkin
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Anti-Surveillance Hero Edward Snowden May Testify Before European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs


Snowden ObamaThe Guardian
today is reporting
that various members of the European Parliament are working to
arrange for video testimony from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
before that body’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home
affairs. From The Guardian:

The LIBE committee would most likely want questions on what role
other European information services played in data gathering for
the NSA, and whether servers and data networks in the EU were used
as part of the process…

European parliament sources considered it likely committee
members would vote in favour of a Snowden hearing, with the only
vocal opposition from British Tory MEPs…

Sarah Ludford, the Lib Dem MEP, said: “Edward Snowden’s
revelations merit serious debate on whether the intelligence
services are out of control. But if Snowden’s video appearance is
to be more than a high-profile stunt, it is essential that he is
asked the right questions, including whether he had any other
motivation than the public interest.

“We also need to get testimony from the intelligence chiefs
responsible if we are to give European citizens the answers they
deserve.”

After President Obama
pardons Snowden
, perhaps he could testify about the constitutional
abuses
of national security surveillance in the U.S. before the
judiciary and intelligence committees in both Houses of
Congress.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/anti-surveillance-hero-edward-snowden-ma
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Anti-Surveillance Hero Edward Snowden May Testify Before European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs


Snowden ObamaThe Guardian
today is reporting
that various members of the European Parliament are working to
arrange for video testimony from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
before that body’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home
affairs. From The Guardian:

The LIBE committee would most likely want questions on what role
other European information services played in data gathering for
the NSA, and whether servers and data networks in the EU were used
as part of the process…

European parliament sources considered it likely committee
members would vote in favour of a Snowden hearing, with the only
vocal opposition from British Tory MEPs…

Sarah Ludford, the Lib Dem MEP, said: “Edward Snowden’s
revelations merit serious debate on whether the intelligence
services are out of control. But if Snowden’s video appearance is
to be more than a high-profile stunt, it is essential that he is
asked the right questions, including whether he had any other
motivation than the public interest.

“We also need to get testimony from the intelligence chiefs
responsible if we are to give European citizens the answers they
deserve.”

After President Obama
pardons Snowden
, perhaps he could testify about the constitutional
abuses
of national security surveillance in the U.S. before the
judiciary and intelligence committees in both Houses of
Congress.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/anti-surveillance-hero-edward-snowden-ma
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