Edward Snowden, v 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney on Government Spying

“Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state.
You’ve got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of
its citizens – that’s what the S.S., the Gestapo, the Stasi, the
KGB, and the MVD did,” says 
William
Binney
 referencing the National Security
Agency’s
 (NSA) collection of personal data on
American citizens.

Binney talks about his experience trying to bring about
accountability to the NSA.

For the full 50 minute interview, click here

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/11/edward-snowden-v-nsa-whistleblower-wi
via IFTTT

Baylen Linnekin on Virginia Efforts To Expand Farm and Food Freedom

Farmer's marketA
bill introduced by Virginia Delegate Robert Bell that would
dramatically expand the state’s Cottage Food and Right-to-Farm laws
is now before the Virginia House agriculture committee. The bill
would expand the list of covered foods that can be sold from the
home or the farm and permit the direct-to-consumer sale of foods
like meat that have been viewed by regulators to be potentially
hazardous. Critics may moan about food safety risks, but, writes
Baylen Linnekin, anyone who’s read Joel Salatin’s Everything I
Want To Do Is Illegal
knows that the link between inspection
and food safety is tenuous at best.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/11/baylen-linnekin-on-virginia-efforts-to-e
via IFTTT

California Sushi Chefs Can No Longer Use Bare Hands

Nor can any other handler of food in the great state of
California.

Sushi chefs who take their art and craft seriously aren’t
pleased, reports L.A.
Weekly
:

A great sushi chef in another state once complained to me about
a health code violation he’d received for making sushi without
gloves. “Making sushi with gloves is like making love with a
condom,” he said. “It just isn’t the same.” Well, as of Jan. 1,
California’s law has changed so that there can no longer be any
bare-handed contact with foods that won’t be cooked. That means
baked goods, salads – and yes, even sushi….

It’s hard to imagine the sushi masters at our finest Japanese
restaurants adhering to this rule. So much of sushi preparation is
about feel and tactile sense memory. 

There is a way for restaurants to seek an exemption for specific
situations, but it’s unlikely that the exemption covers “thousands
of years of tradition.” 

If you are washing fruits and vegetables, you
are in the clear. However, if you are a bartender adding an olive
to a martini or some celery to a bloody mary in the state of
California, if you don’t don gloves or use tongs, you are now
breaking the law, according to this
report from the California Restaurant Association
:

Foodservice workers must wear disposable gloves or use utensils
to handle ready-to-eat foods…..A ready-to-eat is food is in a
form that is edible without requiring additional preparation to be
safe to eat. These foods include, but are not limited to:

  • any food that will not be thoroughly cooked or reheated (165F)
    before it is served
  • any food item that has already been cooked
  • prepared fresh fruits and vegetables served raw or cooked
  • salads and salad ingredients
  • fruit or vegetables for mixed drinks
  • garnishes, such as lettuce, parsley, lemon wedges, pickles
  • cold meats and sandwiches
  • raw sushi fish and sushi rice
  • bread, toast, rolls, baked goods.

For what it’s worth, reports the Centers
for Disease Control in 2012
:

  • The overall incidence of infection with six key foodborne
    pathogens (Campylobacter, Listeria,Salmonella, STEC
    O157, Vibrio, and Yersinia) was 22% lower [than a
    three-year control period in late ’90s].

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/california-sushi-chefs-can-no-longer-use
via IFTTT

Overstock.com’s First Day Accepting Bitcoin Brings in Bucks

I do need a new area rug ...Wait, can we refer to bitcoins as “bucks”?
Are those only used in reference to American dollars?

Anyway, popular consumer retail site Overstock.com just started
accepting bitcoins to purchase all sorts of home and electronic
goods. How did they do in their first day? Wired
took a look
:

In its first 22 hours accepting the digital currency, Overstock
tells us, it accepted 800 orders in bitcoin, and they were worth a
total of about $126,000. The company nabbed $5,000 in bitcoin
orders in the first 30 minutes alone, and about $10,000 in the
first two hours. That’s not an enormous haul, but judging from the
company’s yearly revenue, it could be as much as 4 percent of its
average daily sales, and it shows there’s a vibrant bitcoin
community that’s interested not only in using the digital currency
as an investment, but in actually spending it. That will be crucial
to the future of this still very young technology.

Certainly, some just wanted to try out the new Overstock system.
Others wanted to show the company how pleased they were that it had
made the move. But all were uploading real funds, and many are
interested in regularly spending their bitcoins, not just hoarding
them in the hopes that their value with continue to rise.

Ben Doernberg, a 24-year from New York City, bought a screen
projector for his cell phone just after Overstock flipped the
bitcoin switch. “I wanted to express my appreciation to them for
stepping up,” he says. “[And] I thought I might be the first one to
buy from them, which would be cool.” But he aims to spend his
bitcoin more often, having invested in the digital currency since
May of last year.

Read the full story here.

Wired reports that one customer even used bitcoins to
purchase a $2,700 13-piece set of patio furniture. I wonder who
will be the first to furnish an entire home with goods purchased
with bitcoins, assuming that hasn’t already happened.

Follow this story and more at Reason
24/7
.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and
Reason articles. You can get the
widgets
here
. If you have a story that would be of
interest to Reason’s readers please let us know by emailing the
24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories
at 
@reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/overstocks-first-day-accepting-bitcoin-b
via IFTTT

Mein Kampf, E-Readers, and the Power of Nazi Propaganda

Mein
Kampf
 is the
sleeper e-book hit of 2013
, with a number of competing digital
versions of Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto surging at online
retailers.
According to journalist Chris Faraone
, the trend may have much
to do with the anonymity digital editions afford readers. 

People might not have wanted to buy Mein Kampf
at Borders or have it delivered to their home or displayed on their
living room bookshelf, let alone get spotted reading it on a
subway, but judging by hundreds of customer comments online,
readers like that digital copies can be quietly perused then
dropped into a folder or deleted.

Mein Kampf survives as one of the most effective pieces
of propaganda created by the Nazis, who knew a lot about using mass
media to instill fear and loyalty. In a 2010 Reason TV
video, Steve Luckert of the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum’s highlighted some of the artifacts displayed
in”
State of
Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda
.” Among them: a
braille copy of
Mein Kampf.

The original text from the Dec. 2, 2010 video, which was
produced by Jim Epstein, is below. 

From radio and film to newspapers and publishing, the
Nazi regime controlled every aspect of German culture from
1933-1945. Through Josef Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment
and Propaganda, the German state tightly controlled political
messaging, promoting deification of the leader—the
Führerprinzip—and the demonization of the ubiquitous and
duplicitous “racial enemy.” A new exhibit at the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., examines “how the
Nazi Party used modern techniques as well as new technologies and
carefully crafted messages to sway millions with its vision for a
new Germany.” Reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan visited with museum
historian and curator Steve Luckert to discuss the role and
effectiveness of propaganda in the rise of fascism and what lessons
can be drawn from the Nazi experiment in mass
manipulation

Approximately 6 minutes.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/the-power-of-nazi-propaganda
via IFTTT

4 Facts About Chris Christie and Bridgeghazigate!

Our
story thus far
: Back in September, lanes on the George
Washington Bridge, which links New York City with New Jersey, were
closed for no apparent reason. It turns out that the lanes were
closed on the orders of staffers for Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.),
who did it to punish the mayor of Ft. Lee for not supporting their
boss in his easy bid for re-election.

The mind boggles for all sorts of reasons, none more obvious
than this: How in the hell does freezing traffic for hours and
miles for schoolchildren, truckers, and commuters punish a
mayor
? Among many other things, this revenge plan makes no
fucking sense at all. As a proud New Jersey native, I’ve gotta say
that this is something you’d expect from idiot Long Islanders, not
whip-smart Garden Staters.

Here are four things to remember about Bridgeghazigate.

1. This is a big frickin’ deal, but ultimately only for
the NYC metro crowd.
If you’re familiar with the greater
NYC metro area, you know what chronic traffic fatigue does to a
person. It makes them ornery, annoyed, and one missed light away
from snapping into a rage worthy of Tony Soprano. The idea that
anyone anywhere would do anything to make traffic worse is
virtually inconceivable. Having said that, even for most of New
Jersey, much less the rest of the country, could give a rat’s ass.
I mean, everyone hates New Yorkers and the Jersey folk dependent
for work and meaning on the Big Apple. I guarantee you that people
below, say, Interstate 195, which bisects the state between Trenton
and Belmar, mostly laughed at the traffic jam. Whadda they
expect, living near NY?

2. It shows that Gov. Christie is surrounded by total
idiots.
As of this moment, there’s no evidence showing
that Chris Christie had direct or even subsequent knowledge of what
the hell was going on. Still, that he would be working with people
capable of such ill-conceived plans reflects extremely poorly on
him. Given his press conference yesterday – itself a deeply
depressing spectacle that showed the governor to be a self-absorbed
baby – there’s no wiggle room going forward: If it comes out that
he knew about Bridgeghazigate and/or signed off on it, he might be
moving into a bachelor pad with reviled former New Jersey Gov. Jim
McGreevey.

3. This will have next to no effect on Christie’s
run for the GOP nomination.
 

Assuming that nothing more surfaces about Christie’s
involvement, this episode will have absolutely zero impact on
whether Christie ultimately wins the Republican nomination for
president in 2016. This is the classic case of a mountain being
made out of a molehill and no one will give a good goddamn about
this by the end of the month, much less 2016. It may weaken
Christie’s hand as governor a bit, but that’s about it. And for
god’s sake, it did drown out much of the fallout of former Defense
Secretary Bob Gate’s scathing indictment of Barack Obama and
Hillary Clinton. That’s a far more important story, both now and in
terms of the future.

4. Christie’s record in New Jersey will be the real
issue – and the real problem – in his run for the GOP
nomination.
 Christie has proposed and signed off on
budgets that have increased spending every year he’s been in office
(his
budgets start FY2011
; see page 71). He is a classic
big-spending Republican who absolutely loves to
shower tax breaks
on favored corporate citizens, even when the
projects they are pursuing have
failed any sort of market test
. If he’s ultimately weak on the
sort of fiscal rectitude that the GOP faithful will be looking for
in a president, he’s also weak-kneed on social issues in a way that
will frustrate both social cons and moderates. He refused to come
out in favor of (or against!) marriage equality, instead pushing
for a statewide vote on the matter. He’s bad on medical marijuana
(see video below) and, as a former prosecutor, he’s even worse on
recreational pot. When it comes to foreign policy, he’s essentially
a cipher who seems willing to play along with a hawkish status quo.
Again, that may win him some primary votes among GOP voters but
that will also cost him dearly among the growing
non-interventionists in the party of Lincoln and not go over
terribly well with a general electorate that will be even more
war-weary two years from now.

Watch “‘Don’t Let My Daughter Die, Governor!’: Chris
Christie vs. Medical Marijuana”:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/4-facts-about-chris-christie-and-bridgeg
via IFTTT

Anyone Can Be an Interventionist if They Think it Helps Them Hold on to Power

back to iraq?In an interview with the Washington
Times
earlier this week, Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S. had
some
complaints
about President Obama’s lack of engagement on Iraq,
especially compared to George W. Bush, who the ambassador says took
“ownership” of the issue. (Shouldn’t be surprising; it was his
war).  The Times
reports
:

“The administration has to have a better understanding
of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to
Iraq,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told The Washington Times in an
interview Wednesday. “It cannot afford a whole town or province of
Iraq falling to al Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against
the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national
security to do that.”

It may be against Nouri al-Maliki and his party’s interest if
more Iraqi territory falls to Al Qaeda, it may even be against
Syrian national security interests, given the role of Al
Qaeda-linked fighters in the rebellion there. But in regards to
U.S. national security, it’s far more more plausible that U.S.
military intervention in Iraq would work against U.S. interests,
not for them. The last American intervention in Iraq, after all,

helped bring Al Qaeda
into the country in the first place.

The Times hits on how al-Maliki’s government helped
foment the problem it’s
now facing
:

Human rights groups have accused the
al-Maliki government of strategically and politically
alienating Iraq’s Sunnis. Some leading foreign policy analysts
in Washington have gone so far as to suggest that
the government’s posture has prompted residents in
Sunni-dominated areas to tolerate the presence of al
Qaeda-linked groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and
the Levant, which seized control of Fallujah last week.

“The resurgence of al Qaeda and other extremist
movements, and the growing depth of its sectarian and ethnic
divisions, is the fault of its political leaders, not outside
states or a lack of Iraqi nationalism and inherent forces within
Iraqi society,” stated a report released Monday by Anthony
Cordesman and Sam Khazai, who are analysts with the Center for
Strategic and International Studies.

Recall that the “defeat” of Al Qaeda in Iraq toward the end of
the American war was
credited
in part, even by the military leaders behind the U.S.
surge , on the “Anbar Awakening,” when Sunni Muslims in Iraq began
to resist Al Qaeda’s influence in an organized fashion. Al-Maliki’s
work on antagonizing Sunnis in Iraq began immediately after the
withdrawal of U.S. troops; his government issued an arrest warrant
against Iraq’s Sunni vice president just a day later, eventually

sentencing
him to death in abstentia. Were U.S. troops to
re-enter Iraq, their mission would not be in support of expelling
Al Qaeda from the country, but in helping a developing strongman
consolidate his power.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/anyone-can-be-an-interventionist-if-they
via IFTTT

Fewest Americans in Forty Years Interested in Work, Fort Lee Residents Suing Chris Christie Over Lane Closures, Book Claims Hollywood Actor Offered CIA Services in Exchange for Cocaine: P.M. Links

  • lolwork?Fewer Americans are
    looking
    for work than at any time since the 1970s, as the job
    growth slows and the official unemployment rate drops to 6.7
    percent. Harry Reid is
    blocking
    Republicans from offering amendments to a bill
    extending unemployment benefits, jeopardizing the bill’s chance at
    passage.
  • The NSA is still
    lobbying
    to keep as much of its power as possible ahead of an
    expected announcement by President Obama on reforms.
  • Sixty-seven Democrats in the House
    voted
    for a bill requiring the feds to inform users whose data
    is breached under Obamacare, despite opposition from Congressional
    Democratic leadership and the White House.
  • Six Fort Lee residents are
    filing
    a class action lawsuit against Governor Christ Christie
    over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Democrats,
    eager to exploit a good scandal, are
    releasing
    1,000 pages of documents related to the lane
    closures.
  • A documentary filmmaker in Chicago
    claims
    in a lawsuit that police sodomized him with a gun in
    order to coerce him into being a drug informant
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales
    wants
    to use his time as the chair of the Group of 77 countries
    to push for the legalization of the coca leaf.
  • A book by acting general counsel of the CIA John Rizzo
    claims
    one Hollywood actor offered his services to the agency
    in exchange for $50k’s worth of good cocaine.

Follow Reason and Reason 24/7 on
Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
  You
can also get the top stories mailed to
you—
sign
up here.
 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/fewest-americans-in-forty-years-interest
via IFTTT

Court Rules Against Yelp and Free Anonymous Speech

The Virginia Court
of Appeals yesterday ruled that Yelp must reveal the identities of
seven anonymous individuals who wrote negative reviews of a
carpet-cleaning business.

Hadeed Carpet Cleaning claims they could not match seven posts
on the business review site to actual customers. Courthouse News
explains,
“The business sued the John Doe authors of seven critical reviews
and subpoenaed Yelp to learn the identities of the anonymous
reviewers. Yelp repeatedly refused to respond to it, however,
leading the trial court to hold Yelp in contempt.”

The case reached the state appeals court, which ruled 2-1 that
Yelp cannot conceal the users’ identities. Judge William Petty
wrote the majority opinion, explaining
that “ the freedom of speech—and within this, the freedom to speak
with anonymity—is not absolute.” He believes that “the review is
based on a false statement of fact… and ‘there is no
constitutional value in false statements of fact.’”

Techdirt
suggests
that “the Virginia court had no jurisdiction over
Yelp, a California company,” and that the court ignored the
precedents set by
Dendrite International, Inc. v. Doe No. 3
and other cases,
which “require giving the anonymous users a chance to respond and
(more importantly) require the plaintiff to present enough evidence
to prove there’s an actual case.”

Paul Levy of Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group,
represented Yelp in the case. He
told
the Washington Times that this was the first time
he’s “seen an appellate court order the identification, the first
case in which I’ve represented a party in which we thought the Doe
was clearly protected and the court said
they were not.” Levy also
expressed
a skeptical view of the merits of Hadeed’s claims and
how they were used in court:

They don’t say that the substance is false… They say, well, we
can’t be sure this person is a customer. No one with this pseudonym
from this city is in our customer database. Well, of course! It’s a
pseudonym. They haven’t shown anything that really would lead any
person to believe that this isn’t a customer.

[…]

If you’ve been defamed, you ought to be able to [show evidence
of your claim of defamation]… And that’s both what Hadeed didn’t
do here—they just refused—they didn’t do that here and the court
didn’t require them to do that.

The dissenting judge on the appellate court expressed a
similar sentiment, adding that “Anonymous speech is protected by
the Constitution of the United States and by Article 1, Section 12
of the Constitution of Virginia.”

The review website has previously
exercised
robust enforcement of its terms and conditions by
removing falsified write-ups and taking action against their
authors. Yelp plans to take its case to the Virginia Supreme
Court. 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/court-rules-against-yelp-and-free-anonym
via IFTTT

David Harsanyi Celebrates Libertarian Judgmentalism

JointMarijuana is, for
the most part, an innocuous habit. But there can be detrimental
psychological and physiological effects on the human body after
prolonged use. The problem is that Americans use the state as a
moral compass. For libertarians, it is often frustrating to explain
that advocating the decriminalization of x is not synonymous with
endorsing x. The state’s decriminalizing of an activity or
substance doesn’t transform that activity or substance into a
moral, healthy or admirable one. And, writes David Harsanyi,
libertarians don’t have to act as if it does. You can celebrate the
fact that people are free without celebrating all the dumb things
those people do with their freedoms.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/david-harsanyi-celebrates-libertarian-ju
via IFTTT