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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Stupid Rules Are Made Lo Be Broquen 

CATO INSTITUTE 

Why Would School Staff Force a Student to Freeze?

http://www.cato.org/blog/why-would-school-staff-force-student-freeze

By JASON BEDRICK   –   MARCH 4, 2014 2:58PMSHARE

It seems mind-boggling. Minnesota public school staff forced a barefoot teenage girl in a wet bathing suit to stand outside in sub-zero weather until she developed frostbite.

It happened around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Como Park High School in St. Paul. Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Tietz says she was in the school’s pool when the fire alarm went off.

While other students had gotten out earlier and were able to put on dry clothes, Hagen-Tietz said she was rushed out with just her towel.

On Wednesday morning, the temperature was 5 below, and the wind chill was 25 below.

A teacher prevented her from getting her clothes from her locker because the rules stipulate that everyone must immediately leave the building in the event of a fire alarm. Shivering, the student pleaded to be allowed to go inside a car or another building but her request was denied.

Hagen-Tietz asked to wait inside an employee’s car, or at the elementary school across the street. But administrators believed that this would violate official policy, and could get the school in trouble, so they opted to simply let the girl freeze.

Students huddled around her and a teacher gave her a coat, but she stood barefoot for ten minutes before obtaining permission to sit in a vehicle. By that point, she had already developed frostbite.

Read the rest of this post »

MARCH 3, 2014 1:22 PM

Minnesota School Freezes Live Student
Frostbitten Teen Forced to Stand Outside in Swimsuit

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A St. Paul high school left a student standing outside for ten minutes last week, in sub-freezing Minnesota February temperatures, wet and wearing only a swimsuit.

Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Tietz reports that she now has frostbite. Her sacrifice enabled Como Park High School to conduct an unplanned fire drill without violating a school fraternization rule.

Wednesday morning, as Twin City temperatures ranged from a low of negative 8 degrees to a high of 12 degrees Fahrenheit, the Como Park High freshman, along with a classmate, were in the school’s pool when the fire alarm went off. The classmate’s clothes were poolside; but Hagen-Tietz’s clothes were in her locker and she was blocked from retrieving them by a teacher who rushed her out of the building.

Wearing nothing but a towel and her bathing suit, Hagen-Tietz stood outside with her fellow students as administrators determined what triggered the alarm. Gopher State schools generally do not conduct fire drills during the winter months. WCCOreports that smoke from a “science experiment” set off the alarm.

In the meantime, teachers feared to violate openly a school policy that prohibits students from sitting in a faculty member’s car.

Hagen-Tietz fellow students, however, demonstrated a grasp of civilized behavior. Students huddled around her and and some frigid classmates, giving her a sweatshirt to put around her feet. A teacher coughed up a jacket.

After Hagen-Tietz had suffered for ten minutes in sub-zero weather, a teacher finally received administrative permission to let her sit inside her car until students were allowed back inside.

Eva Tietz, the shivering student’s mother, told WCCO that a doctor discovered frostbite on Hagen-Tietz’s feet. The freshman will need to take pain medications.

“Immediately, when they had seen that, they should have had some kind of protocol,” Tietz tells National Review Online, adding that while she understands the need to evacuate students as a precaution, she objects to the follow-up. Tietz notes that her daughter could have also been allowed to go in to an elementary school across the street to get out of the cold. Had she let her own daughter stand outside in the cold weather, Tietz points out, she would probably have faced stiff legal charges.

St. Paul Public Schools released a statement saying the district will continue to “regularly review its procedures” with the city’s fire marshal, and will make changes where they see fit. Tietz wants an apology from the school and recommends Como Park High revisit its policies to prevent similar lapses in judgment.

— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

Topics:

Education and Child Policy

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MARCH 20, 2014 6:08PM

Litt on Warrants for Searching American Communications: Either Misleading or Terrifying

CATO @ LIBERTY LOGOBy JULIAN SANCHEZ  (CATO@LIBERTY)

At a hearing Wednesday, members of the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board asked intelligence official Robert Litt a crucial question: If the sweeping general warrants authorized by the FISA Amendments Act are only supposed to be used for “targeting” foreigners for surveillance, shouldn’t a judicial warrant be necessary before NSA can intentionally dig through its massive database of intercepts for Americans’ communications? Otherwise, after all, such “backdoor searches”—currently allowed under NSA guidelines—seem a dangerous loophole that enables an end-run around the rules that would require court approval to directly target an American’s communications for interception.

Litt’s answer was either extremely misleading or extremely disturbing. He told the oversight board that the number of annual queries to the intercept database was “considerably larger” than the few hundred analysts currently run against NSA’s vast archive of telephony metadata records.  That would make the “operational burden” of a warrant requirement utterly impractical, Litt asserted, and that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court  “would be extremely unhappy if they were required to approve every such query.”

Now, it’s possible that Litt was talking about the total number of queries analysts run against the database of intercepted communications as they sift through it for nuggets of foreign intelligence.  No doubt that number is very large indeed. But it’s also utterly irrelevant to the question PCLOB was asking. Nobody, after all, is suggesting that a warrant be required for every query of NSA’s databases—including queries for topical keywords or “selectors” associated with known foreign intelligence targets.  The question, rather, was whether a warrant should be required for the subset of those queries involving the name or e-mail address of a particular U.S. person—the very query terms that the government would be forbidden from using as selectors to task interception without first obtaining a particularized, probable cause warrant.  If Litt was answering that question by alluding to the total number of queries, then his answer had little bearing on what the PCLOB was trying to discover, and would vastly overstate the practical burden of such a requirement—seriously misleading overseers about the feasibility of a proposed civil liberties safeguard. Litt ought to correct the record if that is what he meant.

What would be hugely more disturbing, however, is if Litt really was giving an answer pertinent to the question he was asked.  In that case, he would be representing that NSA runs “considerably more” than a few hundred annual queries for the names and e-mail addresses of specific U.S. persons, against a database of private communications gathered via general warrants—an authority justified on the premise that it is “targeted” exclusively at non-Americans located outside the United States. That would suggest that the blanket surveillance authority created by §702 of the FISA Amendments Act is precisely what civil libertarians feared: A Trojan Horse mechanism for spying on Americans using the pretext of “foreign targeting.”

In short, either added safeguards on NSA’s use of the §702 database are far more feasible than Litt led the PCLOB to believe, or the authority is being used in a way that circumvents constitutional and statutory protections for Americans’ communications on a chilling scale. Litt should clarify which it is—and then Congress should hasten to reform §702 accordingly.

http://mashable.com/2014/03/20/how-ted-got-snowden-nsa/

What Did the War In Libya Accomplish?

CATO Institut Answerd:  Posted: 18 Mar 2014 07:41 AM PDT

Benjamin H. Friedman

Three years ago tomorrow, U.S. and allied states began bombing Libya’s military in support of rebels. Today, Libya is back in the news. An eastern militia’s seizure of an oil tanker prompted the U.S. military to seize it back on behalf of Libya’s fledging government, which just fired its Prime Minister over the matter. Meanwhile, the political chaos that caused Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder in Bhenghazi in 2012 continues. The New York Times recently reported that “Political Killings Still Plaguing Post-Qaddafi Libya.”

So Cato’s forum tomorrow on whether the intervention in Libya succeeded is well-timed. We will answer the question using the criteria set out by intervention’s advocates. President Obama, and the leaders of other intervening states, offered three major goals. First, it would avert a humanitarian disaster: the mass murder of civilians in Bhenghazi, which the Libyan state forces were poised to capture. Second, intervention would help Libya become a democracy. Third, defending Libya’s rebels would deter other authoritarian rulers in the region from cracking down on uprisings in their own countries.

As Gene Healy notes today in the Washington Examiner, it’s doubtful that we achieved any of those goals. The one thing that the war unequivocally accomplished, the overthrow of Muammar el-Qaddafi, was never an explicit goal of the outsiders. That’s because forming a military alliance against Qaddafi required the pretension, manifest in the U.N. Security Council Resolution authorizing war, that intervention could defend civilians without taking sides.

Christopher Chivvis, who served in the Pentagon at the war’s start, will likely make the argument from his recent book: the action was a moderate success, given its tiny cost. Alan Kuperman, pioneer of the moral hazard critique of humanitarian intervention, will argue that, rather than saving civilians, the intervention backfired, increasing the humanitarian toll and exacerbating the region’s instability.

I’ll say that the war probably did nothing to discourage crackdowns in other nations and might have encouraged them, and the current circumstance in Libya argues against aiding the overthrow of the Mideast’s rulers, even despotic ones. I’ll also criticize Congressional Republicans for obsessing over Bhenghazi without heeding, let alone opposing, the broader U.S. project in Libya. Register here. The event will also stream live on Cato.org.

      
Photo by Ron Haviv/VII/Corbis

WORLD NEWS        03.11.14

Serbia and Croatia’s Competing Genocide Claims

Serbia and Croatia have opened their competing genocide cases against each other at The Hague—and lawyers in Russia and Ukraine will surely be taking note.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely end not with a bang but a lawsuit.If so, the venue will be the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague. The ICJ—not to be confused with other courts and tribunals dealing with war crimes, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) —is the foremost judicial arm of the United Nations. The ICJ adjudicates on disputes between states and its rulings are binding.Government lawyers in both Kiev and Moscow are doubtless watching the court’s latest high-profile case: the suit and counter-suit by Croatia and Serbia. Both countries accuse each other of genocide during the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s. Croatia opened its case on March 3 by showing a video of the Serb attack on the city of Vukovar. After Vukovar fell in the winter of 1991, Serb forces killed 260 prisoners and buried them in a mass grave. Serbia began its case on Monday, focusing on Operation Storm in August 1995, when Croatian troops recaptured territory occupied by the Serbs. More than 200,000 Serbs fled their homes and a still disputed number of civilians were killed.This is the second time that Serbia has faced accusations of genocide at the ICJ. The court cleared Serbia in 2007 of committing genocide after the fall of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia. Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by the Bosnian Serb army. However, the court ruled that Serbia was in breach of the genocide convention by failing to prevent the massacre. (General Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander, and Radovan Karadzic, the political leader, are both on trial for genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), also in The Hague.)Beyond the yah-boo of suit and countersuit, both cases could prove embarrassing for the United States. Before Operation Storm, the Croatian army received substantial assistance from the United States, much of it channelled through private military contractors. Most analysts believe that the rapid collapse of the Serb army was due to the vastly improved training and reorganization of the Croatian military—which makes the United States complicit in the largest single refugee movement in Europe since 1945.The hearings are set to end on April 1 and the ruling is expected by the end of 2014 or in early 2015. It seems unlikely that either country will gain the recognition it seeks as a victim of genocide. General Ante Gotovina, the commander of Operation Storm, was cleared on appeal by the ICTY in 2012, thus confirming Operation Storm as a legitimate military operation. The massacre at Vukovar and the mass killings at other sites during the Croatian war, while horrific, are unlikely to meet the standard for genocide: the deliberate extermination of a sizeable, distinct group, as happened at Srebrenica. Yet Croatia and Serbia are seeking not so much punishment for their opponents as a kind of national vindication. Twenty years on from the Yugoslav wars, the wounds and memories are still raw.

Croatia and Serbia are seeking not so much punishment for their opponents as a kind of national vindication.

In any case, while the court’s rulings are legally binding, the ICJ has no power to enforce them, especially when national or local authorities ignore the court’s decisions.There is no ICJ police force or prison. A plaintiff who does not receive resolution must take the case to the UN Security Council. The ICJ ruled in 2004 that the separation barrier between Israel and the occupied West Bank was illegal, but it is still standing. That same year the ICJ ruled that the United States was in violation of its obligations under the Vienna Convention, which guarantees diplomats access to their nationals arrested in foreign countries. The ICJ said 51 Mexican nationals had had their rights violated, including Edgar Tamayo Amias, and their case should be reviewed.

The Texas authorities ignored the request. Arias, who was convicted of the 1994 murder of a Houston police officer, was executed in January 2014. Both the Bush and Obama administrations requested that such executions be stayed and reviewed, because of the potential consequences for Americans arrested in other countries.

The ICJ has also taken on the spooks. On March 3 the court issued a significant ruling that will be welcomed by small states with large and powerful neighbours. The court ordered Australia to stop spying on East Timor. One of the world’s newest countries, East Timor achieved independence from Indonesia in 2002. East Timor’s legal wrangles with Australia continue over the boundaries of a $36.2 billion maritime natural gas deposit in the Timor Sea. The case is being heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, also located in The Hague.

Three months before the ICJ ruling, on December 3, 2103, agents of the ASIO, the Australian secret service, raided the offices of Bernard Collaery, the Australian lawyer acting for East Timor. A dozen agents seized legal documents, electronic files, correspondence between East Timor and its lawyers, and a statement by a former ASIO agent which alleged that the ASIO bugged East Timor’s offices during negotiations over the gas deposit. The agentalso had his passport seized.

In a setback to Canberra, the ICJ ruled that Australia must not “interfere in any way in communications” between East Timor and its lawyers. Australia must keep all the seized documents and data sealed until further decisions by the court and must ensure that the seized material cannot be used in any way to the disadvantage of East Timor until the maritime arbitration case is concluded, which is not likely to be for another year. However, the judges did not order the material to be returned to the country’s lawyers.

As Tom Allard notes in the Sydney Morning Herald, the ruling, which comes in the wake of the Snowden revelations about the reach of Western intelligence agencies, is the first time that the ICJ has imposed restrictions on the ‘Five Eyes’: the intelligence services of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The ICJ may be little known, but it is becoming an increasingly important international forum.

The Geneva OptionAdam LeBor’s thriller set in the United Nations, is published by HarperCollins.

Maduro and Raul Castro are killing civilians in VENEZUELA, at this very moment.

Follow the link 

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Desde Argentina nos envian esta informacion del boletin Numero 1237 del correo@labotellaalmar.com; y lo publicamos desde Chicago. Al final se incluye la copia del informe del TESTIGO OCULAR VENEZOLANO  y siguiendo el link de abajo puede ver un VIDEO DE LO QUE EN ESTOS MOMENTOS ESTA OCURRIENDO EN VENEZUELA

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Buenos Aires

07 de marzo del año 2013 – 1237


NOTICIAS DE HOY DESDE CARACAS DIRECTAMENTE

INTRODUCCIÓN: Estaba preocupado por el largo silencio de mi “Testigo Ocular” en Caracas. Ahora ha reaparecido con un informe muy interesante porque es de primera mano.

Destaco en todo su relato tres menciones que vale la pena tener en cuenta, dos malas y una buena. Las dos malas son que Raúl Castro ha tomado el gobierno de Venezuela en sus manos y ha ordenado “masacrar” a los manifestantes y anoche (la del 6 al 7 de Marzo) hubo una masacre que no salió en los diarios que sólo dieron la noticia de dos muertos chavistas. Hubo muchos más y desde luego del lado de los opositores que no tienen armas comparables a la de las fuerzas irregulares de Maduro.

La buena es que Castro no se anima a meter al ejército en la represión porque teme que se le dé vuelta.

Con respecto a las noticias malas, creo que por algún lado son buenas, aunque tristes por la cantidad de muertos que implican, y es que el Testigo Ocular considera que “se han metido en un callejón sin salida” y eso quiere decir que ahora, los valientes venezolanos están jugados hasta la muerte y como ellos mismos dicen “nos han quitado todo, hasta el miedo nos han quitado”.

Es todo un pueblo contra una banda de asesinos extranjeros servidos de mala gana por el ejército y con maldad cobarde por las fuerzas irregulares, los “colectivos” y la “guardia nacional”. Pero como cobardes que son, no tardarán en darse cuenta de que no pueden contra los héroes que los enfrentan.

La lucha dura ya casi un mes. Las barricadas (“guarimbas” las llaman allí) deben ser cada vez mejor armadas y mejor defendidas y no son sólo están en los barrios de “clase media”, como dicen esos mentirosos comunistas de Maduro y toda la prensa servil de nuestro país, sino en casi todas las ciudades de Venezuela y en varios barrios de Caracas.

Además, han surgido jefes como el “Enconchado”, como le llaman a un jefe de las barricadas de San Cristóbal, capital del Estado de Táchira, Estado que se encuentra en abierta desobediencia al tirano nacional, que le dan forma a la resistencia y que no se rendirán jamás.

El “Enconchado” hasta ha dejado una especie de testamento grabado para su familia para que sepan que si muere es por la Patria de manera que no deben estar tristes sino orgullosos de él.

Y la Virgen de Coromoto, Patrona de Venezuela, está sin duda ayudando desde el Cielo con su Omnipotencia suplicante ante Dios Todopoderoso.

Porque en la lucha que está trabada en Venezuela se juega también el futuro de Cuba, de la Argentina y del resto de Iberoamérica. Y esos miserables comunistas los saben, los de allí y los de aquí…

Una vez más, ¡viva el valiente pueblo venezolano y abajo la tiranía comunista!

Agradezco al Testigo Ocular su informe y las grandes esperanzas que de él se desprenden.

Cosme Beccar Varela

NOTA: He recibido un nuevo video de la lucha heroica que está teniendo lugar en Venezuela y que se puede ver poniendo en la barra superior de Internet la siguiente clave. Haga “copiar” y “pegar” porque no sé ponerlo como “link”.

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* * *

Caracas, 7/3/2014

Sr. Cosme Beccar Varela

Estimado Cosme:

No le he escrito antes porque aqui los acontecimientos varían por minuto.

Además, por la censura total o confiscación de casi todos los medios, para saber lo que pasa aquí tenemos que esperar a CNN que informe algo (esta noche entrevistan a Maduro, vamos a ver a cual grado de cinismo ha llegado)o a algun amigo que llame del exterior.

Por otra parte, el gobierno está desde hace días bajo la tutela directa del asesino en serie Raul Castro, quien ha ordenado masacrar a los estudiantes y a todo el que proteste.

Esto ha llegado a partir de anoche a un punto que considero de no retorno porque la masacre fue terrible.

El asesino les ha aconsejado que no metan al ejercito y que lo mantengan aislado , porque como acaba de decir a CNN el Gral. Peñaloza (el unico que descubrió, siendo Ministro de Defensa , el complot en marcha de Chavez, pero el super ego de Perez le prohibió detenerlo “porque a mí no me tumba nadie”) sigo, el Gral. Peñaloza  acaba de decir que “los ejércitos son fieles hasta que dejan de serlo”.

Creo que los militares, mas por supervivencia que por responsabilidad, no van a actuar si se lo piden y pueden devolverse en contra, como ya pasó una vez, porque los delitos de lesa humanidad no prescriben.

Por eso sueltan a asesinos en motos muy bien armados y respaldados por tanquetas de la Guardia Nacional para que repriman, pero en mi opinión se han metido en un callejón sin salida.

Por otra parte no hay nada que esperar de la OEA, a partir de su tarifado secretario general, que con la sola excepción  de USA,  Canadá, Chile, Panamá y otro país, todavía están discutiendo si la reunión se hace a puertas cerradas o abiertas.

Lo que más me impresiona es que cuando esos “comunistas de salón ” se retiran, después de haber robado lo suficiente, no lo hacen ni en Cuba ni en Corea del Norte, sino que en USA (aquí prefieren Miami) o en Europa occidental.
Paris con su “gauche caviar” es uno de los destinos elegidos, y por supuesto España, por su general desconocimiento de idiomas.

Será interesante ver quién se le acerca a este animal de Maduro en la asunción de la Bachelet, porque una cosa es apoyarlo tácitamente a cambio de petróleo barato o regalado y otra es abrazarlo en público.

Por lo menos ya estos animales han recibido una señal: al aniversario de la muerte del simio (Chavez) vinieron sólo los tarifados Ortega y el boliviano, pero tanto la kirchner como la rouseff como correa se abstuvieron. En el caso de correa me imagino que sus asesores le dijeron que después de la paliza en las elecciones municipales se separe de estos asaltantes de caminos.

Como Internet debido a motivos obvios está excepcionalmente lento, no pude abrir sus anexos.

Siempre tiene todo mi apoyo para difundir estas noticias del “testigo ocular”

Un abrazo, gracias por ser uno de los pocos que se ocupan de este vapuleado país, y buena suerte con los ladrones que gobiernan allí

El Testigo Ocular

FEBRUARY 26, 2014 2:25PM

Is the Grand Jury System a Joke?

By TIM LYNCH

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An excerpt from the Charlotte Observer:

During a single four-hour workday last week, a Mecklenburg County grand jury heard 276 cases and handed down 276 indictments.

That means the 18 jurors heard evidence, asked questions, weighed whether the charges merit a trial, then voted on the indictments – all at the average rate of one case every 52 seconds….

“The entire system is a joke,” said Joe Cheshire, a Raleigh attorney who handles high-profile criminal cases across the state. “There is absolutely no living, breathing person with any kind of intellect who believes that a grand jury could consider and vote on 10 complex issues in the period of time that they use to deliberate on hundreds.”

Charlotte attorney Jim Cooney agrees. Rather than check the power of government, grand juries have become a prosecutor’s ally, he said, “that hands out indictments like they’re boxes of popcorn.”

The article notes that the one recent case where a grand jury declined to issue an indictment involved a police officer.  Hmm.

For Cato scholarship on the problems with the grand jury system, go here.