Posts Tagged: the state

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"The UN’s stated mission is to prevent aggression; yet it does absolutely nothing to restrain the one country whose aggression far outweighs all others in the postwar period — perhaps in all of history. In the past seventy years the United States has invaded more countries, overthrown more governments and backed more dictators and terrorist death squads than any other country on Earth. There isn’t even a close second."

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"Everyday consumer financial security, ensured with the military-grade secrecy used in cryptocurrency, is already technically feasible. Only the government-business alliance prevents market competition from making it economically inevitable."

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Student Suspended for Selling Illicit Full-Sugar Pepsi Out of His Locker

Alberta high school student Keenan Shaw was suspended for two days after he got caught selling an illicit substance from his locker at Winston Churchill his school. Weed? Nope. Booze? Nope. Acid? Nope. 

Shaw says all those treats (and more) are on offer in the school’s corridors:

"I’m not going to name any names, but I know a couple of people selling marijuana, there’s kids selling smokes, there was a kid last year selling meth, as well as a kid selling acid," said Shaw. 

But his drug of choice is full-sugar Pepsi. Commerce in the sweet, sweet drink is banned at his school, which allows only diet sodas to be sold on premises.  …

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"Market anarchists believe that individuals should make the decisions about their own lives—not politicians, election results, or arbitrary laws. Elections are one way that the State legitimizes its usurpations and brutalities. Want to make a real statement? Stay home this November."

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The Maker of Vuse E-Cigs Is Lobbying to Ban Vaping (Updated)

The biggest of the big tobacco companies, RJ Reynolds, which also owns the fast-growing e-cig brand Vuse, is trying real hard to convince lawmakers to ban vaping. That might sound ass-backwards, but it isn’t. The firm is almost certainly hoping to stymie the competition by making sure its disposable “cigalikes” pass regulations but the refillable mods you find at your local vape shop don’t.

Reynolds submitted a 119-document to the Food and Drug Administration arguing to ban “open system” vaporizers and flavored products, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. Those are the DIY mods that come with tanks you fill yourself with the e-liquid of your choice. Reynolds is in the process of acquiring Lorillard, the tobacco company that owns the top-selling e-cig brand, Blu eCigs, though as of now doesn’t plan to keep Blu as part of the deal.

The firm argues that there’s no way to safely regulate the liquid people are vaping or ban flavors that arguably appeal to kids. Disposable e-cigs, on the other hand, come pre-loaded so it’s easy for a company to control ingredients and limit flavors.

That’s certainly true, but it’s not the whole story. Outright banning refillable vaporizers would effectively wipe out (or drive underground) an entire booming industry of flavored juices and personalized mods in favor of big tobacco’s inferior products. (Seriously, those nic sticks are gross.) …

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'So Little Compassion': Foley Parents on Gov't 'Threats'

The mother of slain American journalist James Foley said she wasn’t necessarily surprised that the U.S. government threatened her family with prosecution should they raise money to pay her son’s ransom, but she was astounded by how such a devastating message was delivered.

“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley told ABC News today of the three separate warnings she said U.S. officials gave the family about the illegality of paying ransom to the terror group ISIS. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure [the U.S. official] didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”

Earlier this week five current and former officials with direct knowledge of the Foley case confirmed the alleged threats were made.

"It was an utterly idiotic thing to do that came across as if [the U.S. official] had the compassion of an anvil," said a former official who has advised the family. …

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U.S. Crisis Springs From Structural, Not Personal Failure

… Obviously, the problem with America does not derive from personality at all. We’ve had experience with too many different types to seriously believe that. Our trouble is more basic.

The American crisis is one of structure and scale. Our great leaders have not failed, but our great – and huge – institutions are failing, at this very moment. New characters in the same old roles will not solve our problem, for the roles themselves, not the players, are at fault.

Whether one approved or abhorred the war in Indochina, it is clear that the federal establishment, manned by “the best and the brightest” miserably misled the citizenry in conducting that war.

Everybody knows that the federal government promises a lot and delivers damn little, and pays for most of what it does deliver out of the earnings of individuals rather than the profits of great corporations.

Scale is not just a problem of the federal government. Indeed, a classic example of structural failure with which we are all familiar is the contemporary American city. In fact there is no major U.S. city which can point to an increase in governmental scale as ushering in a better life for its citizens. …

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"We need less spaces of power to oppress women and individual autonomy so that they can control their own bodies and make important moral decisions by themselves. If not, Brazilian women will never be safe from state aggression and social stigma. Abortion must be legal. Now."

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Isis 'ice bucket challenge': Lebanese activists burning flag sparks anti-Islamic State hashtag campaign

Pictures of Lebanese activists burning flags in Beruit in protest against Islamic State militants have sparked a hashtag campaign against Isis.

The hashtags #BurnISISFlagChallenge or #BurnISIS have been circulating across social media after pictures of three boys burning a flag in Beruit’s Sassine Square emerged on Saturday.

One example was a video of person burning a picture of the flag, captioned: “I nominate the whole world to the #BurnISISFlagChallenge. You have 24 hours. GO!!”

The burning is understood to be in response to the beheading of a Lebanese officer by Islamic militants. …

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""Privatizations" in Brazil did not involve any transference or pulverization of power and economic control; they were effectively corporate restructurings that changed very little the distribution of economic control and altered their legal regimes only as little as necessary to make them economically viable again."