You are browsing the archive for 2018 January 22.

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No Choice: An Air Force Member Learned of Her Pregnancy Right Before Deployment

January 22, 2018 in Blogs

By BillMoyers.com

Holly Alvarado faced plenty of obstacles to her abortion.


A new video series published on BillMoyers.com titled “No Choice” highlights the abortion stories of eight women through their emotional testimonies. The videos highlight the history of abortion rights in the United States, the impact of this struggle on the lives of women, especially those holding marginalized identities, and contextualize these stories in light of our volatile political climate, which threatens reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade.

In 2009 as Holly Alvarado was getting ready to leave for a tour of duty in Iraq, she learned she was pregnant. “I kept thinking I was letting my team down,” she says. She wanted to end the pregnancy and deploy with her team, but a federal law restricting abortions prevented her from getting an abortion from a military doctor. With little money or resources, she ended up driving four hours and living out of her car just to get the procedure.

Watch the video below.

No Choice: Holly Alvarado from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

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Source: ALTERNET

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The Criminalization of Abortion Began as a Business Tactic

January 22, 2018 in History

By Erin Blakemore

(Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

If you opened up the Leavenworth Times, a Kansas newspaper, in the 1850s, you’d see an ad for Sir James Clarke’s Female Pills. These pills, the advertiser bragged, were ideal for bringing on women’s periods—and were “particularly suited to married ladies.”

Then there was Madame Costello, a “female physician” who took out an ad in the New York Herald in the 1840s. She advertised to women “who wish to be treated for obstruction of the monthly period.”

Both ads ran in plain sight, among advertisements for real estate and hair tonics. Both advertised abortions. And for a reader of the time, neither would have raised an eyebrow. Pregnancy was dangerous, and the consequences faced by unwed mothers were severe.

Though the 19th century is seen as a time of more restrictive sexual mores, abortion was actually common: according to at least one estimate, one in every five women at the time had had an abortion. Abortifacients were hawked in store fronts and even door to door. Vendors openly advertised their willingness to end women’s pregnancies. And in private, women shared information about how to prevent conception and induce miscarriages.

Then things changed—thanks in part to doctors determined to make abortions their realm. During the second half of the 19th century, American physicians intent on overseeing women’s reproductive health campaigned to criminalize abortion, sending a common practice underground.

(Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

One of the reasons abortion was accepted at the time had to do with how Americans back then thought about the human body. Folk and medical wisdom held that the body was a place of equilibrium. If something occurred to throw the body out of balance—like the cessation of a woman’s menstrual period due to pregnancy—it was seen as a problem that needed to be remedied. Doctors encouraged women to act swiftly if their periods were delayed, and women commonly took so-called “emmenagogues,” drugs designed to stimulate menstrual flow, or used herbal remedies and folk practices like laying in bed with hot bricks to bring on their periods.

If this didn’t work, a woman could buy patent medicines like Sir James Clarke’s Female Pills, which contained oil …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Workplace Bullying Affects Nearly Half of U.S. Workers

January 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Michael Arria, Truthout

It's time to do something about it.


Many are hoping that 2017 represented a turning point in the fight against workplace harassment, as the #MeToo moment put a spotlight on sexual misconduct. Now some labor advocates are hoping that the momentum of #MeToo helps to fuel an additional campaign against a different and overlapping type of harassment: workplace bullying.

While there's been increased attention paid to the bullying of children in recent years, there hasn't been the same kind of focus on bullying among adults, but statistics indicate that it's a major problem. According to one 2008 study, nearly 75 percent of participants have witnessed workplace bullying at their job and 47 percent have been bullied at some point in their career. Another 27 percent said they had been bullied within the last 12 months. In a 2014 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 72 percent of the respondents said that their employer either condones or encourages the behavior.

There's no universal definition of it, but the WBI defines it as repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is:

• Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or

• Work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from getting done, or

• Verbal abuse.

WBI sprang from a campaign that was started by Ruth and Gary Namie, a husband-and-wife team of psychologists. In the late 1990s, Ruth worked in a psychiatric clinic and was bullied by her supervisor. To their surprise, the Namies discovered there was very little Ruth could do about the situation. Employment discrimination laws existed, but they didn't cover things like your boss screaming at you daily or a co-worker trying to sabotage your imminent promotion. If you hadn't been targeted for abuse because of your race, sex or national origin, or because you blew the whistle on something related to the company, there wasn't a legal avenue for you to pursue.

The Namies also discovered that there were no organizations working on the issue in the United States, so they started the Work Doctor at the WBI website, where they wrote about the issue, drawing heavily on …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Is Ivanka Trump Searching for John Kelly's Replacement?

January 22, 2018 in Blogs

By David Edwards, Raw Story

The White House chief of staff may be on borrowed time.


John Kelly’s time as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff may be coming to an end.

On Monday, author Gabriel Sherman reported that Ivanka Trump had been put in charge of finding a replacement for Kelly. 

“Ivanka is the most worried about it. She’s trying to figure who replaces Kelly,” someone who has spoken with the president’s daughter told Sherman. 

According to Sherman, Kelly’s days as Trump’s chief of staff “may finally have gone past the point of no return.” 

“He wants to stay longer than Reince [Priebus],” an outside adviser explained to Sherman. 

Kelly recently came under fire by the president’s defenders after he told lawmakers that Trump had “evolved” on the issue of a border wall. 

“The more Kelly plays up that he’s being the adult in the room—that it’s basically combat duty and he’s serving the country—that kind of thing drives Trump nuts,” one Republican close to the White House explained. 

Trump recently suggested to a friend that Kelly had overstayed his welcome. 

“I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things,” Trump reportedly said.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Social Media May Be Messing With Your Perception of Time

January 22, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

Does your daily Twitter binge feel like minutes or hours?


Have you ever spiraled so deep into a Facebook debate or Instagram feed that you suddenly find yourself, an hour later, wondering where the time has gone? It’s an unsettling feeling that can leave social media users existentially questioning how they make use of their leisure time. If it’s happened to you, you’re not alone. A new study shows that people addicted to social media may have a distorted sense of time.

Psychologists have just begun to explore the ways in which our addiction to technology negatively impacts our society and our health, hurts our social skills and weakens our democracy, not to mention its impact on our eyesight and attention spans. But a distorted sense of time, as presented in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, is a new one.

Researchers tested nearly 300 university students, who were given a half hour to complete a survey. During that time, they were prevented from using social media. The individuals who reported spending more time using social media per day said the survey and their short-term separation from Facebook felt longer. Those who use social media less said the survey and social media hiatus felt short. Creepy, no?

As study author Ofir Turel of the University of Southern California and California State University at Fullerton says, distorted time is a common feature of addiction in general. “Distortion of time perception is a hallmark feature of many addictive and problematic behaviors. For example, ‘addicted’ video gamers perceive their sessions to be shorter than they actually are; heavy smokers think that the between-cigarettes time interval is longer than it actually is; and obese people perceive that the between-meals time intervals are longer than they actually are.”

The study could help therapists working with patients who suffer from such addictions.

“The takeaway for therapists is that time distortion tests may be added to the battery of techniques they use for trying to diagnose individuals as needing therapy, and perhaps even as part of the solution.”

The study doesn’t …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Equilibrium, Profit and Loss, and Entrepreneurship

January 22, 2018 in Economics

By Jörg Guido Hülsmann

car dealership

By: Jörg Guido Hülsmann

(Excerpt from chapter 17 of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 770–73.)

It was through the writings of Carl Menger and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk that Mises had come to understand the market economy as a rational social order in which all factors of production are geared toward the satisfaction of consumer wants. Not only the allocation of the production factors, but also the incomes of the owners of these factors ultimately depended exclusively on their relative contribution to the satisfaction of human wants. All values, all prices, as Frank Fetter had put it, depend on a daily referendum in the market democracy.24

But in none of his predecessors did Mises find a satisfactory account of the process through which the structure of production was brought in line with consumer preferences. His fellow Böhm-Bawerk seminar member, Joseph Schumpeter, had brilliantly shown how entrepreneurs drive the market. According to Schumpeter’s Theory of Economic Development,25 entrepreneurs are innovators who constantly interrupt the smooth operation of an inert economy.

Schumpeter had a point. Innovation does play a central role in the market economy. But how does this fit with the Mengerian picture of the market economy as a rational social order? Was there a contradiction between the Schumpeterian notion that entrepreneurs reap profits for innovation and the Mengerian insight that all incomes depend on consumer wishes? In Nationalökonomie, Mises reconciles Schumpeter with Menger. From Schumpeter, he adopted the idea that entrepreneurs are the motor of the market process. But they cannot earn a profit for innovation per se — only for innovations that improve the satisfaction of consumer wants.

Entrepreneurs constantly adjust the structure of production to what they expect will be the future preferences of consumers. The different entrepreneurs act in effect as advocates for different consumer needs. Based on their estimates of what they expect to obtain for an imagined product in the future, they go to the factor markets where they compete with other …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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More Private School Choice Helps Students Worldwide

January 22, 2018 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

National School
Choice Week
celebrates the idea that educational freedom itself
is a benefit to families. But liberty is not the only argument
supporting programs that increase educational options for children.
The scientific evidence is also heavily in favor of private school
choice.

Make every week school
choice week.


Nineteen out of 21
experimental evaluations find that private
school choice programs lead to student achievement levels that are
on par with or higher than they would have been in government
schools.

The Cato Policy Analysis that I just released —
The Public Benefit of Private Schooling: Test Scores Rise When
There Is More of It
— provides more causal scientific
evidence supporting the expansion of private school choice
policies.

In the study, I examine how fluctuations in the private share of
schooling within 52 countries from 2000 to 2012 influence Programme
for International Student Assessment scores while controlling for
any country-level changes in factors such as GDP, population,
schooling enrollment, and government expenditures. As shown in
figure 2 from the analysis, the preferred model indicates that a
1-percentage point increase in the private share of schooling
enrollment within a country increases student math achievement by
1.4 points and reading achievement by 1 point.

The detected effects are moderate in size, but they could lead
to substantial long-term benefits for students and the rest of
society. According to these results, combined with
research by Stanford economist Eric Hanushek
and assuming a
constant return to education, a 1-percentage point increase in the
share of students enrolled in private schools would result in about
a 1.3 percent gain in lifetime earnings for the average student in
a given nation, or about $15,000 per student in the United
States.

To further put this in perspective, consider that the United
States ranked 40th in math and 24th in reading on the 2015 PISA exam. If the United
States had experienced a 10 percentage point increase in private
school enrollment at that time (an increase that would be out of
the ordinary for the United States), I estimate that the nation
would have achieved a 14-point increase in math and a 10-point
increase in reading, resulting in the country being ranked around
34th in math and around 13th in reading. However, private school
enrollment in the United States is currently going in the opposite
direction, declining from almost 12 percent in 2000 to around 8
percent in 2012.

This report, alongside the existing robust scientific evidence
of improved short- and long-term outcomes for students and
societies, further indicates that decision-makers ought to increase
access to private school choice …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Shutdown: The Last Thing We Need is a Government Where Everyone Works Together

January 22, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

3horse.PNG

By: Ryan McMaken

The Chinese state's “news” service Xinhua on Sunday mocked the United States for the current federal-government non-shutdown, called a “shutdown.” The Chinese agency claimed the current legislative stalemate — which has hardly “shut down” the federal government — demonstrates “chronic flaws” in the US federal political system.

Even worse — from Xinua's point of view — is that ” the spirit of non-cooperation across party lines” is the only aspect of the previous administration that has survived into the current one. A lack of continuity, it seems, is a problem for the Chinese ruling-party hack writing the piece, as he or she notes the current administration has “backtracked” on policies implemented by the previous one.

In the mind of a Chinese propagandist, it seems, once the US government adopts a policy, that policy ought never to be rescinded. To undo previously-supported policies, it seems, would be “chaos.”

Unfortunately, this attitude reflects the ideas of many Americans themselves who like to condemn “gridlock” in Washington — which is greatly overstated, by the way — because it prevents the federal government from doing “the people's business.”

What exactly is “the people's business,” of course, is never quite clear. Usually when people complain Congress isn't doing the people's business what they mean is “Congress isn't implementing the policies I like in the way I like.” The people's business, then, is really just code for “what I want.”

Such an attitude assumes that any failure to come to an agreement in Washington must be due to bad people opposing the good people who only want good “common sense” government.

Ignored is the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there are many people out there who honestly disagree over what constitutes “the people's business” and that this is the source of the impasse. The legislator's themselves have their own agenda's of course, but many of them truly do fear facing a primary challenger or being voted out, and thus attempt to appease their constituents — at least the constituents who actually vote and express their views.

Constituents in Biloxi, Mississippi, are quite different from the constituents in Brunswick, Maine, so that may have a little to do with a failure of all members of Congress to join hands and sing Kumbaya together.

Nevertheless, anything short of everyone agreeing to proceeding full speed ahead with spending the taxpayers money ASAP is …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How Rigid Alliances Have Locked Us into Unwanted Conflicts

January 22, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Wise leaders seek to maintain the maximum degree of flexibility
in foreign policy. Commitments and strategies that make sense under
one set of conditions can become problematic when circumstances
change. It is imprudent and potentially dangerous to lock
one’s country into rigid, long-term obligations.
Unfortunately, U.S. leaders since World War II have repeatedly
violated that principle. Often they have limited America’s
policy options to “reassure” allies in Europe and Asia
that the United States will incur any risk and pay any price to
protect its security partners. That policy is not sustainable.

Such commitments have bedeviled great powers throughout history.
Perhaps the most tragic example occurred during the years leading
up to World War I. Europe’s major countries divided
themselves into rival security blocs, the Triple Entente and the
Triple Alliance. When tensions soared in 1914 following the
assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the
Austro-Hungarian throne, those alliances transformed an emotional
but limited dispute between Austria and tiny Serbia into a
continental crisis. Germany felt it must back its shaky Austrian
ally’s attempt to coerce Belgrade. When Russia moved to
protect its Serbian client, Germany sent warnings to Moscow. France
then felt pressured to back its Russian ally, and when Germany
attacked France by marching through Belgium, Britain felt obligated
to enter the fray by its commitment to that tiny country. Thus was
the die cast for war between the Triple Entente and the Triple
Alliance.

The process illustrated Georgetown University Professor Earl C.
Ravenal’s later observation that alliances are
“transmission belts for war.” A bilateral quarrel
became a monstrous conflict that would consume millions of
lives.

America’s founders opposed “entangling
alliances” in part because they feared being locked into
dangerous security commitments. In his Farewell Address, George
Washington made an important distinction between permanent and
temporary alliances. The United States, he said, should
“steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the
foreign world…” Such obligations would tie the republic to
partners for unforeseen contingencies far into the future. But
Washington acknowledged that “temporary alliances for
extraordinary emergencies.” It was an astute distinction and
a shrewd note of caution.

It’s not just NATO.
Plenty of treaties over the decades have limited America’s options
and made war more likely

Leaving aside Woodrow Wilson’s quixotic foray into World
War I, the United States followed Washington’s advice
throughout the first century and a half of its existence. U.S.
leaders avoided political or security commitments to other nations
and involvement in conflicts unrelated to America’s own
security. After the second massive disruption of the international
system in little more than a generation, though, America’s
perspective changed. World War II convinced policymakers that
ongoing American involvement—indeed, leadership—in
global …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The War on Cops: Where's the Evidence?

January 22, 2018 in Economics

By Tate Fegley

police_4.PNG

By: Tate Fegley

In a previous post, I argued that there is little evidence for the existence of a “war on cops,” at least when measured in terms of the number of police officers feloniously killed. Some readers suggested that such a measure is too simplistic and does not capture precisely what is meant by commentators when they call it a war. In response to this, I consulted one of foremost proponents of the war on cops narrative, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute. According to her book, The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, the war does not consist primarily of violence against police officers, but rather lack of proper fealty to what Will Grigg so appropriately dubbed “the punitive priesthood.” That is, the main artillery in this war is criticism of the police, with premeditated violence against the police only being a manifestation of that criticism.

Mac Donald argues that such criticism has created a “Ferguson Effect” by which police officers are now hesitant to engage in the type of proactive policing (e.g. stop-and-frisk, zero tolerance, enforcement of low-level misdemeanors) she claims was so effective in helping to reduce crime in New York City in the 1990s; consequently, crime rates have gone up in cities where cops have “de-policed.”

However, the only evidence she provides is a small handful of cities where the number of stop-and-frisks or arrests went down and crime went up, with the time periods in each city selected in order to be as favorable as possible to her case. She provides no examples to support her argument in the other direction, i.e. cities that did not de-police and thus did not experience an increase in crime. Interestingly, even if the Ferguson Effect hypothesis were accurate, it is ironic that it is primarily advanced by those who so often tell us how heroic police are, as it puts officers in a very poor light. Essentially, the Ferguson Effect states that police officers know what to do to prevent crime but let it happen because they are too afraid of being criticized.

Mac Donald’s argument may have made more sense if it had relied more on actual constraints on cops’ ability to engage in aggressive policing, such as federal consent decrees or civil rights litigation. She does mention these things, but they play so …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE