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"What was remarkable was that this was the point where the enemy — forces that want to lock down culture and knowledge at the cost of total surveillance — realized they were under a serious attack... for the first time, we saw everything they could bring to the battle. And it was... nothing. Not even a fizzle."
"If that showdown comes to pass, residents of non-complying states could not use a driver's license to enter a federal courthouse or a Social Security Administration building nor could board a plane without undergoing a pat-down search, possibly creating massive backlogs at the nation's airports and almost certainly leading to a flurry of federal lawsuits."
"[T]he active liberty principle of the Second Amendment's opening clause teaches us about more than just formal militias. It looks to the role of citizens in helping to carry out the government functions of a free state — particularly the essential governmental function of suppressing predatory violence."
"OpenCongress is a free, open-source, not-for-profit, and non-partisan public resource with a mission to encourage civic engagement and enable people to track what's really happening in Congress. OpenCongress is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation."
"In January 2007, a 13-member, appointed commission—including a police chief, a couple of prosecutors and a father who lost his daughter to a violent crime in 2000—recommended abolishing the death penalty. In addition to citing concerns about the risk of executing an innocent person, the commission found that the death penalty was a poor deterrent to crime, increasingly 'inconsistent with evolving standards of decency,' and not worth the financial and emotional costs."
"What the upcoming recession 'will look like' has been the topic of a fierce debate on the Internet. Everyone seems to agree that this is not a typical economic downturn resulting from overproduction, under-consumption or malinvestment. Rather, it is the crashing of humongous equity bubbles that were generated by the Fed’s abusive expansion of credit and the unprecedented proliferation of opaque structured-debt instruments. Many believe that the unwinding of these bubbles will trigger a round of hyperinflation which is already evident in soaring food, energy and health care costs. These prices are bound to increase substantially as the Fed continues to cut rates and further undermine the dollar."
"The moment either spouse files for divorce, even if the other is legally unimpeachable, the government takes control of the children, who become effectively wards of the state. Unauthorized contact by a parent becomes a crime, and the excluded parent can be arrested and incarcerated without trial through a variety of other means that by-pass constitutional due process protections: domestic violence accusations, child abuse accusations, inability to pay 'child support,' even inability to pay attorneys’ fees."
"How broad are the powers needed to keep our servers safe? According to the article, in order for cyberspace to be policed, Internet activity will have to be closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer, or Web search."
"Consistent advocates of individual liberty often point out that government restrictions on free immigration violate the rights of people not born in the United States. Not only are they denied their freedom to move and improve their lot in life, but if they make it into the United States, they are subjected to police-state raids and exploitation because their illegal status denies them access to justice."
"Police in San Mateo County, California apparently first spent months investigating the small-stakes poker game. From this firsthand account, it looks like a couple of the officers were playing regularly for several weeks before sending in the SWAT team, guns drawn, last week. If California is like most states (and I believe it is), a poker game is only illegal if the house is taking a rake off the top. In this case, it looks like that 'rake' was the $5[,] the extra the hosts asked from each buy-in to pay for pizza and beer."
"Anarchy is not just a desire to eliminate the State: it is a moral commitment to voluntary interactions and non-violent principles. The Anarchist is a person committed to helping his fellow man, not hurting him through either political means or more mundane criminal means."
"I refuse to fall prey to exceptionalism, sacrifice my principles to fear or follow others who did. Still I can use the campaign as a useful tool to educate diehard mega-statists on the evils of the state and move ministatists toward a better understanding of self-government with a clear conscience. That is, I am not required to personally commit an immoral act in order to educate the masses. "
"I don’t sign on to the 'government doesn’t work' mantra. It works, or can work in the hands of competent governors. It’s just that it doesn’t usually work to accomplish what it is generally supposed to accomplish. "
"A politician is someone who performs his work and implements his policies at the expense of innocent individuals who are coerced, through force or threat thereof, to surrender their property in exchange for services that they either do not need or want, or which can be supplied in a voluntary manner by the free market. I will not vicariously rob my neighbor by voting to continue a coercive entity by which everyone is victimized. I refuse to participate in selecting the person who will rob my neighbor in order to supply my needs or wants."
"Perhaps the real problem is that history is almost invariably written as the story of government, which explains why it’s often boring and seemingly irrelevant to the average person and why it can frequently be downright depressing. Perhaps it will always be thus, but wouldn’t it be nice for historians to start treating human history as the story of individuals and private institutions instead of the state collective?"
"I endorse dissolving the U.S.A. This does not mean that I endorse the 50 states or whatever political combinations of states result as a final ideal political system. I simply view that outcome, which ends the national (usually called the federal) government as greatly preferable to what we now have. Individual states could profitably break up too, but that is another matter."
"The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism, [explains] why it's often better to compete with pirates in the market place rather than fight them in the courts, and why we as a society need to reevaluate the ways we think about sharing information." [watch the slideshow]
"In what can only be described as a huge victory for the OpenID foundation, Yahoo has announced it will become an OpenID provider at the end of January. Once the new Yahoo ID service is live, Yahoo’s 248 million users worldwide will have a way to login to any site that supports OpenID using their Yahoo account. To give some perspective on the scale of Yahoo’s announcement, consider that right now there are roughly 120 million OpenID accounts. When Yahoo launches its beta program on January 30 that number will more than triple to 386 million OpenID users."
"Even though we knew this was coming, it is still big news. We are so close to the large-scale broadband video revolution, I can almost taste it. With download speeds increasing and the promise of Netflix-enabled set-top boxes, we are almost there. I can't envision many better scenarios than having Netflix's entire catalog available for watching on my TV instantly."
"IDS has plans to make use of the seagoing nature of their data centers for more than just Homer Simpson-esque parties in international waters. The ships will use sea water for cooling the servers, which IDS says will will eliminate the need for external cooling solutions and shave 30 percent from their total energy consumption."
"Every country in the world, except America, knows by now that the US is the world's leading state sponsor of terror and that the neoconservative drive for US hegemony over the world threatens the security of nations everywhere. ... Hezbollah and Hamas are two organizations that exist because of Israeli aggression against Palestine and Lebanon. ... It is dishonest to damn the terrorist response but not the policies that provoke the response."
"So what was on those videotapes destroyed by the CIA? Let's put a face to it. Abu Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and, after being shot in the groin while trying to escape, was sent to recover in a CIA secret prison. He would be the first of the CIA's many 'ghost prisoners'...."
"Around the world, Guantánamo is viewed as a stain on the honor and reputation of the United States. It stands as visual evidence of a decision by the United States to repudiate its human rights commitments and the human rights standards that every modern American administration up to the arrival of George W. Bush had championed."
"The goal of the workshop was to teach diplomats who visit Canadians in foreign jails how to tell if they've been tortured. It also listed countries and places with greater risks of torture. The list includes Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. But surprisingly, it also included the United States, Guantanamo Bay, and Israel. It notes specific 'U.S. interrogation techniques,' which include 'forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.' The U.S. has repeatedly denied allegations by international groups that it tortures prisoners captured in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, U.S. officials have refused to comment on the Canadian list. "
"[C]onsidering that Gates and his partner in crime Ballmer are two of the most odious Copyright Nazis in the world, and that Microsoft's entire business model depends on state measures like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to protect them from market competition, it's fair to say Gates was being generous with stolen money."
"Iraq didn't have a trace of al-Qaeda's presence prior to the U.S. invasion; today, it is ensconced in that unhappy land. Fifty, one hundred, a thousand years of American occupation will not eliminate that kind of resistance: it's as natural as the reaction of antibodies to the invasion of a foreign virus."
"Look, our elections are being run by corporations that have an obvious stake in the outcomes. There's a heap of money involved and nothing is left to chance. The media's job is to make us feel like we have a choice. We don't. The only reason the farce continues is because the ruling elite believe that perception management is the cheapest way to control the bewildered herd. And, of course, they're right. "
"Our goal ought to be to keep as much of America as possible within the realm of civil society, and allow as little as possible to be tainted by political society. This makes elections less important. It makes politics less important. Less is at stake when we go to the polls. And less of our lives are then subject to whoever is ambitious, underhanded, or corrupt enough to emerge from the absurdities of a political campaign least scathed by the process."
"Sen. Clinton and her feminist backers appealed to women to get behind one of their own; Clinton operatives insinuated that Barack Obama’s youthful drug use would make him unelectable; and former President Bill Clinton pulled a page from Karl Rove’s playbook in attacking Obama on a perceived strength, his early opposition to the Iraq War."
"American politics, like the empire itself, suffers from some wasting disease. But even from its hospital bed, it still puts on a good show. The whole baroque fandango is one part Dada theatre, one part religious revival…and one part low-budget circus. Nothing that is said is reliable; most is absurd or incomprehensible…and there are clowns everywhere. The important thing from the spectator's point of view is to suspend disbelief…and enjoy it."
"As with living organisms and ecosystems, the economy looks designed—so just as humans naturally deduce the existence of a top-down intelligent designer, humans also (understandably) infer that a top-down government designer is needed in nearly every aspect of the economy. But just as living organisms are shaped from the bottom up by natural selection, the economy is molded from the bottom up by the invisible hand."
"For those who believe the only way to make money is by locking up IP and metering access to it, Benchmark's success with a very different business mindset and model is instructive. Successful companies are those that discover scarcity in abundance. "
"California is an expensive state for anyone, and it's a particularly challenging place for cattle ranchers. But Rickert and his wife have deep local roots. So rather than move to a cheaper state, the Rickerts built a diversified business that would remain sustainable through fluctuations in the price of meat. And it turns out that the rules for raising cows appropriate for medical use dovetail nicely with organics and a sustainable farming model. "
"Why would gold sell for 5% more in Shanghai than elsewhere in the world? It is because the Chinese are worried about inflation, and thus far the amount of gold imported into China to fill the need does not meet the demand. So gold will flow from the rest of the world into China, which will push world prices up and Chinese prices down until they meet. It is our belief they will meet above $920 per ounce soon and above $1500 per ounce in the next couple of years."
"Trolltech CEO Haavard Nord announced today at the KDE developer conference that the company's cross-platform open source Qt application development toolkit will be released under the GPL 3. This move, which comes shortly after the release of KDE 4.0 ... will allow the open source desktop environment to adopt the new version of the GPL."
"You don't have to believe the tort approach to pollution is perfect to conclude that central planning is not a better alternative. Here Kinsley gives a pass to the political process, which in the real world is characterized by the iron triangle of corporate and other special interests, 'inexpert' politicians with an eye on the next election, and self-justifying regulatory bureaucracies. This is the unsavory realm he tries to disinfect with the word 'democracy.' Kinsley commits the fallacy that market critics always commit: they compare an unflattering caricature of civil society with a flattering caricature of the state."
"In the Arizona desert, Drew Carey discovers a modern-day 'Footloose' story. A few years ago, Dale and Spencer Bell built a family oriented steak house with outdoor seating, fire pits, lots of old western style, and live music. But beware if you get the urge to scoot your boots--county officials have invoked an anachronistic ordinance that bans dancing outside."
"The Bush 'Stimulus Package' is the biggest and most obscene hyper-inflationary swindle ever perpetrated on the American people. It’s a $100 billion taxpayer-funded bailout that is being slapped together at breakneck speed to forestall a collapse in consumer spending, an exodus of foreign capital, and a painful slide into recession. And, guess what? Both political parties are on board. It is an act of utter desperation designed to address the catastrophe that was created by the Federal Reserve: the housing meltdown."
"It appears that this administration wants to develop a huge, imposing database on those American families who raise animals, with very little evidence of an actual threat or of the policy's effectiveness. And isn't it nice that the huge agrobusinesses get exemptions from the program. What constitutes a greater risk, the dozen llamas on Mary Smith's farm or the ten thousand cooped-up chickens in the poultry processing center?"
"So long as we have a central bank, government will be tempted to take the easy path of easy money. There do not need to be any secret phone calls from the White House to the Fed. The culture of policymaking itself is capable of broadcasting the right signals to all important players."
"Whether a U.S. withdrawal serves my interest, or yours, or that of 95 percent of the American people is not necessarily important, because government leaders do not act to serve other people’s interests. Anyone who has advanced beyond infancy in his understanding of political affairs knows that despite all the dutiful claptrap that political leaders and their functionaries spout in public, they invariably pursue their own interests. Those interests may be material, political, institutional, or ideological, but in any event they are their own interests, not yours or mine."
"In an age where Hitlerian wars of aggression are considered standard practice for 'healthy' democracies (with only the 'competence' of their execution being a fit subject for debate), it is difficult, if not impossible, to single out a single element of the grotesque carnival as the most macabre. But surely the warmongers' game-playing with the death toll of slaughtered Iraqis is a prime candidate."
"In San Francisco on Thursday ... Howard Schmidt, a former Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) executive and government cybersecurity adviser, mentioned ongoing concerns about the vulnerabilities of SCADA systems and noted that 85% of the U.S. critical infrastructure is controlled by the private sector. 'No one should be minimizing this issue,' he said."
"Really, if God forbid al Qaeda manages to bring down an American building again, are we going to find yet another country to invade? Schultz may have found a politically palatable way to argue against continuing the Iraq adventure, but only by reinforcing the official line that maintaining a massive, free American military capacity is our only protection against nebulous but innumerable 'contingencies'."
"In addition to the federal government’s being a monstrous bureaucracy that inherently moves slowly, the one thing that separates government from other organizations is its ability to legally initiate force. While private individuals and organizations generally solve problems through peaceful interaction and cooperation, government forces its solutions on everyone. When its solutions fail, government simply applies more force."
"Nobody 'forced' Americans to begin to build a navy in the 1790s. Government officials and seafaring merchants decided to do so and to deploy this force against (among others) the pirates to whom the government had been paying protection money. They might instead have continued to pay off the Barbary raiders. Or they might have rested content to let the merchants of other nations, perhaps Great Britain, which already had a large navy, handle the shipping of American goods in the Mediterranean. The fact that U.S. leaders resorted to force does not demonstrate that they chose the best option. This option did, however, socialize the costs of engaging in the Mediterranean trade, spreading it across all American taxpayers largely for the sake of the traders who had an immediate interest in the matter."
"In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday this weekend, treat yourself and listen again to civil rights hero's inspiring 'I have a dream' speech."
"11 January marked the sixth year anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo detention camp. Mere months after the start of the 2001 United States invasion of Afghanistan, a large cargo plane landed in a US military base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, bringing in a group of hunchbacked, orange-clad, blindfolded, 'terrorist' suspects, apparently representing the worst of the worst. They included children and aged men, charity workers, journalists and people who were sold to the US military in exchange for a large bounty."
"Founded as a mail-order slingshot business in 1948 by childhood buddies Rich Knerr and Arthur 'Spud' Melin, Wham-O didn’t really take off until 1957, after the partners spotted a man on the beach throwing a plastic flying saucer. They bought the idea for $1 million, changed its name from the Pluto Platter to the Frisbee and had an instant hit on their hands. A year later, inspired by a friend’s account of seeing Australian children twirling wooden hoops around their waists, Knerr and Melin made a plastic version, dubbed it the Hula Hoop, and sold 100 million in 16 months."
"At his peak, Fischer was a figure of mystery and glamour who drew millions of new fans to chess. Russian former world chess champion Garry Kasparov said Fischer's ascent of the chess world in the 1960s was 'a revolutionary breakthrough' for the game."
"As we observe the slow and increasingly certain disintegration of Pakistan, we should force ourselves to confront an uncomfortable fact: events in Pakistan are to a large degree side effects of our war in Afghanistan. ... Our attempt to contain the damage in Pakistan instead set the wreckage on fire. We forced our friendly local dictator, General/President Musharraf, to line up publicly with George Bush, to the point where his local nickname is 'Busharraf.' It is not intended as a compliment."
"[H]owever novel it may have been in the 1940s, the Nuremberg principle that aggression is a 'war crime' is not novel today, perforce of the results of the Nuremberg Trials themselves; and ... having been applied by the United States in those trials, to the point of hanging various defendants on the strength of such charges, the principle remains applicable in equity to wayward public officials in the United States today."
"That so many politicians, pundits, and media icons led the charge for invading Iraq after the experience of Vietnam, and that most Americans followed, is not surprising. For the question of the illegality and immorality of American policy in Vietnam was soon lost in the resentment and recriminations about losing a war many felt should have been won. The rush to invade Iraq might have been avoided had Americans confronted their recent history of legal and moral failure in Vietnam."
"Did you miss this? It should have been the lead story in every newspaper and radio and TV program in America. In the Washington Post it was on page 14. In virtually all of the rest of the media it was on page zero, channel zero, 0000 AM or 00.0 FM."
"Currently Bush is in the Middle East attempting to whip up anti-Iranian hysteria in his unceasing efforts to get another war going for Israel’s benefit."
"Montesquieu was one of the great political philosophers of the Enlightenment. Insatiably curious and mordantly funny, he constructed a naturalistic account of the various forms of government, and of the causes that made them what they were and that advanced or constrained their development."
"Already known for his exceptional abilities to communicate science and philosophy both in books and in broadcasting, he received many invitations to lecture. He had presented a series for BBC television in the early 1960s called Insight in which he had looked at mathematical ideas such as probability, scientific ideas such as entropy and also the extent of human intelligence. His last major project was to write and narrate the BBC television series The Ascent of Man which was filmed between July 1971 and December 1972. The thirteen part series was broadcast in 1973 and also published in book form in that year."
"Gene has often been considered to be the first drum 'soloist.' Drummers usually had been strictly time-keepers or noisemakers, but Krupa interacted with the other musicians and introduced the extended drum solo into jazz. His goal was to support the other musicians while creating his own role within the group. Gene is also considered the father of the modern drumset since he convinced H.H. Slingerland, of Slingerland Drums, to make tuneable tom-toms. ... Gene's classic performance on 'Sing Sing Sing' [or much earlier with Benny Goodman] has been heralded as the first extended drum solo in jazz. "
"She rose to international fame in 1948 after starring as Victoria Page in the ballet-themed film The Red Shoes, directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. With hair that matched the titular footwear, the role and film were so powerful that even though she went on to star in other films and worked as a dancer for many decades, she is primarily known only for playing 'Vicky'."
"In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail', a manifesto of the Negro revolution...."
"Mexicans, the lower classes anyway, are on the superstitious side and began keeping their dogs away from the lake as best they could. Whether they really believed that something untoward was happening along the shore, I don’t know. They enjoy believing in the garish and frightening, as for example the Chupacabras, the Goat Sucker, that was supposed to be draining the blood from goats in Puerto Rico."
"I suspect political fiction is at its best precisely when it doesn't preach, but restricts itself to showing the reader a different way of life or thought, and merely makes it clear that this is an end-point or outcome for some kind of political creed. Leave the readers to either enjoy it as a work of fiction, or to join up the dots and apprehend the shape of the monster lurking in the background: but don't beat them over the head with it."
"In fact, the central strength of the overall movie is its naturalism, at least once the creature attacks; early scenes depicting the party feel slightly less real, if only because the filmmakers work too hard to define the relationships and build sympathies, but once the characters are navigating the monster- or military-filled streets of New York, there are few moments in which the characters' behavior seems unlikely or unbelievable."
"Story centers on a man who embarks on a nightmarish road trip after a nuclear explosion in an attempt to transport his son to safety while fending off cannibals. Aussie helmer John Hillcoat ('The Proposition') is directing from a screenplay by Joe Penhall."
"The seven, originally eight, people charged with the crimes were eventually acquitted, or had their convictions reversed because of the alleged racism, or cultural bias shown during the trial. It’s not a nice story, but it’s certainly ripe for a film to be made around the events. And that is exactly what Steven Spielberg, along with fellow producers Walter F. Parkes, and Laurie MacDonald intend to do."
"Mitt Romney's candidacy took a major hit following the discovery of statements he made a decade ago that imply he isn’t sickened by gays."
"The Republican debates in South Carolina turn into a Reagan-off."
"Stephen has a helpful suggestion for Rudy Giuliani’s Florida campaign."
"To allay the fears of the audience at home, watching all of this on their TVs, I will soothingly say, 'Not Regis, of course, because he is smart and witty, and he can always get another job. And Kelly is not only smart and witty, but really hot, too, and I think I can turn her into a terrific porn star! We'll make millions!' The worst part is that nobody will ever believe me when I say that I was on the Live with Regis and Kelly TV show because the episode will not be aired, and Kelly will never even return my calls about any of my great ideas for a whole series of terrific adult-themed films we could make in her backyard."
"You can vote as an act of aggression. You can also vote in self-defense. If you are assaulted, you can flee the person. If cornered, you can choose to dodge the blow. If unable to dodge the blow, you might choose to block or deflect the attack. A proportional defensive counter-attack may even be of order. And while it’s perfectly laudable that a person can choose fleeing or dodging as their personal range of moral choices, the choice is exactly that -- personal instead of universal. Aggression requires intent."
"In September 2000, two months after McKinstry launched Mindpixel, Singh posted a message on the rec.arts.books newsgroup to announce Open Mind Common Sense. ... McKinstry's mind turned often to Singh. They had so much in common: Two young researchers obsessed with simulating common sense. Both Canadian. Both Net-savvy."
"Ron Paul is actually the candidate most likely to cut corporate welfare and open all industries to greater competition by easing taxes and harmful regulations on small businesses. Indeed, Paul would take us on the road that would abolish the corporation as a State entity. Corporate America understands this. That's why it never supported the Libertarian Party. That's why corporations are not raising money or skewing media attention in favor of Ron Paul - if anything, they're suppressing the coverage Paul would normally get."
"Ron Paul doesn't seem to know much about his own newsletters. The libertarian-leaning presidential candidate says he was unaware, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, of the bigoted rhetoric about African Americans and gays that was appearing under his name. ... Yet in interviews with reason, a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists—including some still close to Paul—all named the same man as Paul's chief ghostwriter: Ludwig von Mises Institute founder Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr."
"[T]he power elite itself was not about to give up booze, so, despite the lovely police-state powers created by prohibition, the war on alcohol had to go. But addiction to Power is stronger than addiction to crack cocaine, and predictably, the one lesson learned by the power elite from prohibition was not that prohibition was an unworkable, violent, corrupt, and immoral sham, but instead to be more careful about what substances were prohibited. "
"Democratic politicians are well aware that (as Bill Clinton himself says) Congressional Democrats’ anti-gun efforts caused the 1994 voter revolt which—for the first time in 50 years—gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress. Democrats regained Congress in 2006 because of the unpopularity of the Iraq war. But generally the Democratic victors either said nothing about guns or openly declared their support for gun rights."
“In 2007 Oklahoma passed some of the harshest immigration laws in the land. It's like they're trying to make illegal immigration illegal. It became a felony for anyone to transport or harbor an illegal immigrant. That means any bus or taxi driver, car-pooler, drivers of pickup trucks full of yard workers, teachers, doctors, landlords, and church pastors could go to jail for the felonies of transporting and harboring.”
"There is a difference between money and currency. Money is an intangible idea; currency is a physical object. Metaphorically speaking, currency is a jar and money is the jelly, boiled down from the fruits of human labor. In this metaphor, the jelly is the important thing. People make the jelly. People eat the jelly. The jars are only there to keep hands from getting too sticky. They are supposed to be for your convenience."
"For its first 280 pages, [this] new exposé ... [looks] at how the superrich consistently—and outrageously—rely on public handouts while preaching about free markets and wasteful entitlement programs all the way to the bank. The villains in David Cay Johnston's tales run the gamut from railroad executives to sports-franchise owners to hedge-fund managers, all joined by a willingness to take enormous sums from public coffers while providing little or nothing in return."
"In those five years many new 'enabling acts' have been enacted."
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