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Over-The-Counter Birth Control? Bring It On

June 13, 2019 in Economics

By Jeffrey A. Singer

Jeffrey A. Singer

Last week Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat,
tweeted that oral contraceptives should be made
available over-the-counter. A few days later, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas
Republican, tweeted he agrees and offered to team up with Ocasio-Cortez on legislation to
make it happen. The American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists has called for making birth control pills available
without a prescription for years; The American Academy of Family
Physicians agrees.

Now that two prominent legislators of such divergent political
persuasions have expressed their concurrence with the medical
experts, perhaps the time is nearing when the U.S. will join
102 other countries throughout the world and
allow women to obtain birth control pills without a
prescription.

Defenders of the status quo fear women may forgo necessary
preventive care visits if birth control pills are available over
the counter. But the ACOG states that “cervical cancer
screening or sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening is not
required for initiating OC [oral contraceptive] use and should not
be used as barriers to access.” In fact, there is currently a
debate among gynecologists regarding the need
and benefits of annual pap exams.

The confluence of views
among women of child-bearing age, medical experts, and now
legislators from both ends of the political spectrum provides a
great opportunity to liberate women from the paternalistic policy
that makes them pay a toll – a doctor’s office visit – to obtain
contraception.

Others paternalistically worry that women may misuse oral
contraceptives if they are able to obtain them without a permission
slip (prescription) from another equally autonomous adult. Yet
experience shows that when adults self-medicate, they
conscientiously perform due diligence, whereas they otherwise defer
to the judgment of authority figures if medications are prescribed.
For example, a 2006 report from Seattle found women’s
self-evaluation regarding whether or not they should take the pill
matched those of doctors about 90% of the time — and the 10%
of the time they didn’t match was mostly because the women were
more cautious.

Ten states have tried to work around the
FDA’s prescription classification by allowing pharmaciststo prescribe birth control
pills. While that’s an improvement over the status quo, it
still negatively affects women’s comfort and
privacy. As shown in a 2015 report in the journal “Sexual and
Reproductive Healthcare,” many women who seek emergency
contraception (the so-called morning after pill, which has been
available over-the-counter since 2006) prefer to purchase this kind of
medication discreetly and avoid unwanted discussion or counseling,
even if offered by a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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What Happened at the Stonewall Riots? A Timeline of the 1969 Uprising

June 13, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

The June 1969 riots at New York City’s Stonewall Inn marked a raucous turning point in the fight for LGBT rights.

On a hot summer night in 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar located in New York City’s Greenwich Village that served as a haven for the city’s gay, lesbian and transgender community.

At the time, homosexual acts remained illegal in every state except Illinois, and bars and restaurants could get shut down for having gay employees or serving gay patrons. Most gay bars and clubs in New York at the time (including the Stonewall) were , the “hierarchy of resistance” in the riots began with the homeless or “street” kids, those young gay men who viewed the Stonewall as the only safe place in their lives.

View of a damaged jukebox and cigarette machine, along with a broken chair, inside the Stonewall Inn after riots over the weekend of June 27, 1969.

Two transgender women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, were said to have resisted arrest and thrown the first bottle at the cops, respectively. Although Johnson later said in a podcast interview with historian Eric Marcus that she had not arrived until the uprising was well underway.

The exact breakdown of who did what first remains unclear—in part because this was long before the smartphone era and there was minimal documentation of the night’s events.

Close to 4 a.m. June 28, 1969: Police retreat and barricade themselves inside Stonewall.

As the paddy wagon and squad cars left to drop the prisoners off at the nearby Sixth Precinct, the growing mob forced the original NYPD raiding party to retreat into the Stonewall itself and barricade themselves inside.

Some rioters used a parking meter as a battering ram to break through the door; others threw beer bottles, trash and other objects, or made impromptu firebombs with bottles, matches and lighter fluid.


Hand-painted text on a boarded-up window of the Stonewall Inn reading ‘We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village – Mattachine.’ The Mattachine Society was a early American gay rights organization.

Sirens announced the arrival of more police officers, as well as squadrons of the Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), the city’s riot police. As the helmeted officers marched in formation down Christopher Street, protesters outsmarted them by …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Inside the Harrowing Journey of the First Nonstop Transatlantic Flight

June 13, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

When it was all over, Captain John Alcock, an English pilot, telegraphed his story to newspaper reporters around the world. He was exhausted by a recent in-air ordeal that had culminated in a risky plane crash in Ireland along with his navigator and flying partner, Arthur Whitten Brown. “We have had a terrible journey,” wrote Alcock. “The wonder is that we are here at all. We scarcely saw the sun or the moon or the stars. For hours we saw none of them.”

If you’d have stopped reading there, you might think that Alcock and Brown’s journey had ended in failure. For 16 fraught hours, they’d been trapped in a rudimentary airplane in abysmal weather, their only means of navigation a sextant, an instrument that measured celestial objects in relation to the horizon. Their journey had been beset with blunders, and more often than not, fog and clouds had covered the stars, making it nearly impossible for Brown to determine their location.

John Alcock (center) holds a model of their biplane alongside Arthur Whitten Brown (center right), who is holding a mailbag after completing the first nonstop transatlantic flight. They carried several items of mail with them and in doing so, effectively transported the first transatlantic airmail to Britain.

Yet their journey was a triumph. Despite their graceless landing in a bog on June 15, 1919, Alcock and Brown were the first people ever to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly a decade before Charles Lindbergh caught the world’s attention with his own transatlantic flight, the flying duo made history. Their adventure paid off: The pair not only became pioneering aviators, but beat out a group of other pilots vying for a huge cash prize in a cut-throat competition to be the first transatlantic aviators.

The prize was the brainchild of Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, a British newspaper tycoon who owned The Daily Mail, one of England’s most influential newspapers. Like many magnates of his day, Lord Northcliffe was fascinated by new modes of transportation. Air flight was still a novelty, and a group of pioneering aviators, funded by rich patrons like Northcliffe, wanted to know just how far the technology could be pushed.

Northcliffe was a founding member of England’s Aero Club, a group of aviation enthusiasts interested in expanding and popularizing air flight. In 1906, he offered a 10,000-pound purse …read more

Source: HISTORY

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How Charles Manson Took Sick Inspiration From the Beatles' 'Helter Skelter'

June 13, 2019 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

Paul McCartney said the song was about a playground slide, but Manson claimed the music incited a race war and murder.

Innocent song using the symbol of a playground slide as a metaphor, or subliminal lyrics inciting a race war and murder? Ask Paul McCartney what he was thinking when he wrote the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” and it’s the former. But, according to Charles Manson, the “White Album” single helped serve as inspiration for a spree that ended in nine murders in the summer of 1969.

“I was using the symbol of a helter skelter (a playground slide) as a ride from the top to the bottom—the rise and fall of the Roman Empire,” McCartney says in , says Manson’s primary way of preaching to his followers was by playing his guitar and singing lyrics—by both himself and the Beatles. He convinced his cult members that Beatles’ music, and particularly the song, “Helter Skelter” contained subliminal messaging to commit violence.

“In the Beatles, I think Manson saw things he desperately wanted: worldwide respect, stardom and, of course, money,” she says. “Manson, a struggling artist, to put it nicely, had none of the above and was desperate to make a name for himself in the music industry in L.A. in the late ’60s.“

The ‘White Album’ Inspires Manson’s Dark Fantasy

But, Wiehl adds, as his musical aspirations continued to be dashed in Hollywood, Manson’s anger grew and he turned to the lyrics in the “White Album” to bolster “the scheme that was forming inside his warped mind, a scheme that would involve the entire L.A. area involved in a race war.”

“The race war would end with L.A. in shambles and only he, Charles Manson, and his followers, who would be waiting in the desert for the exact right time to appear, would come in and save the city,” she says. “Manson would be the leader of L.A. after the ‘blacks’ had ‘risen up’—Helter Skelter—and all would be nirvana.”

Bryanna Fox, assistant criminology professor at the University of South Florida and associate editor of the Journal of Criminal Psychology, says Manson quickly became fascinated with the “White Album” following its late-1968 release. Specifically, Fox notes, the written and (in his mind) unwritten lyrics of “Helter Skelter.”

“While he previously was most interested in his own music career—and engaging in group sex with his ‘Family’ members—his attention now turned to the lyrics of Beatles’ songs …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Making Sense of the State Department's New Commission on Unalienable Rights

June 13, 2019 in Economics

By Roger Pilon

Roger Pilon

When Thomas Jefferson declared that we’re all born with
unalienable natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness, little could he have known that more than 200 years
hence, another secretary of state (Jefferson later became our
first) would create a Commission on Unalienable Rights to provide the
secretary with “fresh thinking about human rights” and
propose “reforms of human rights discourse where it has
departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law
and natural rights.”

The reaction to Secretary Pompeo’s
announcement late last month was swift, especially on the left. Was
this move a response to the U.N.’s obsession with so-called
economic and social rights—rights to jobs, housing, health
care and the like—which dominate international human-rights
discourse and practice today? Or was this talk of our
nation’s founding principles, natural law, and natural rights
actually code, signaling that in future the State Department would
focus less on protecting women’s and LGBT rights? Or was
it both? Let’s take those concerns in order, after a little
theory.

This endeavor to seat
human rights discourse in America’s founding principles is
important, but it must be done right, failing which it will
undermine those principles.

Although the secretary speaks indifferently of natural law and
natural rights, they’re not the same. True, natural rights
emerged historically from natural law. And consistent with a
prominent religious strain of natural law still evident, Jefferson
spoke in the Declaration of “the Laws of Nature and of
Nature’s God” and also of our rights as “endowed
by [our] Creator.” But those theological invocations were
exceedingly general, suited properly for the varied beliefs of his
day. In truth, a product of the Enlightenment—English,
Scottish, and continental—America stands basically in the
natural rights tradition.

Properly understood, our natural rights are grounded not in
prescriptive natural law, handed down by a lawgiver, much less in
any religious beliefs, but in universal human reason, as John Locke
and most of the Founders repeatedly held. And they held too that
liberty—the right to pursue happiness by our own subjective
lights, consistent with the equal rights of others—was the
very essence of our natural rights, as the Declaration’s
famous second paragraph makes clear. Rights come first: the equal
rights of all, no one bound to another; politics and law second, to
secure those rights.

That brings us to our first concern: Might this commission
question the modern social and economic rights? It might, for
they’re not natural rights. They’re created through
legislation, requiring redistributive schemes that bind some to
others. Unlike natural rights to freedom, they’re not
universalizable.

Were that to happen, it would be good. Found in the U.N.’s
Universal Declaration of Human …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Britain's Unexplained Wealth Orders Give the State Too Much Power

June 13, 2019 in Economics

By Walter Olson

Walter Olson

Authorities in Britain have begun trying out a new police power
called unexplained wealth orders under a law that took effect last
year. The police go to a court and say you’re living way above any
known legitimate income. The judge then signs an order compelling
you to show that your possessions (whether a house, fancy car, or
jewelry) have been obtained honestly and not with dirty money. In
the meantime, the boat or artwork or other assets get frozen, and
you can’t sell them until you’ve shown you obtained them
innocently.

The kicker: The burden of proof falls on you, not the
government. If you don’t prove the funds were clean, Her Majesty
may be presumed entitled to keep the goodies.

It’s like, “Your papers,
please,” but for things you own.

The asset must be worth at least £50,000, but it doesn’t
have to be located in Britain so long as you yourself fall under
its laws. The law was a response to London’s popularity as the
favorite place for overseas oligarchs (nicknamed “McMafia” in a
popular TV series) to stow ill-gotten funds, with convenient
flights, luxury shopping, and a hot property market.

The first person named as a target of the law was Zamira
Hajiyeva, whose story could make even an oligarch blush, assisted
by a small fortune in purchases from Harrods cosmetics and perfume
counters. Hajiyeva’s husband is serving time after being convicted
of extracting at least $100 million from Azerbaijan’s
state-controlled bank, of which he was chairman. She’s fighting
extradition to that country herself.

In the meantime, her possessions include a £12 million
London house and a golf course on the outskirts. Details of
Hajiyeva’s wild Harrods spending sprees were neatly captured for
authorities and readers by the store’s loyalty card program. They
included a £1,190,000 Cartier diamond ring and tens of
thousands at a Godiva chocolate shop, adding up to $20 million over
a decade. The high-end London store reserved two bespoke parking
spots for her. She used at least 54 credit cards, many issued by
the state-controlled bank her husband ran.

By the way, don’t stories like these make the idea of a
state-controlled bank, as has been floating in New Jersey and
elsewhere, sound just swell?

The new British law doesn’t allow the police to seize just
anyone’s assets. The target has to fall into one of two categories.
The first is those a judge finds to be reasonably suspected of
involvement in serious crime, or connected to such a person. That
doesn’t sound so bad, but remember that “serious crime” can mean
lots of things, not just being the next Bernie …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Joe Biden: A 'Good Guy' Without Principle or Backbone

June 13, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Joe Biden, the crazy uncle that many people try to hide in the
attic, so to speak, is a “good guy,” even if he
didn’t have enough backbone to defend his use of that phrase
to describe Vice President Mike Pence. When the left-wing mobs came
calling, Uncle Joe scurried for the exit.

Of course, the former senator already had run from his record in
the Anita Hill hearings, during which he apparently privately
acknowledged the inconsistencies of her story. Now, seeking the
Democratic presidential nomination in an era when truth and
consequences are of no account, he apologized for not arming the
anti-Clarence Thomas mob with pitchforks and torches.

His latest craven surrender is on abortion funding.

Uncle Joe’s principle strength is his longevity. He comes
from an era before the Democratic Party had turned into a left-wing
hothouse. The party always included a lot of big spenders, but on
culture and foreign policy many Democrats were to the right of many
Republicans. Across America’s heartland many Democrats
supported gun rights and opposed abortion.

In the short-term his
reversal on abortion might help insulate him from his opponents’
attacks. In the long-term it is likely to sap support from those
who no longer see anything that sets him apart from his younger,
brighter, tougher, and more vigorous opponents.

Indeed, the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits public funding of
abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger and in
cases of rape and incest, was first passed in 1976 by a
Democratic House and Senate
. Democratic President Jimmy
Carter, elected in that year, defending the prohibition. Belief in
the eternal value of the human person was not limited to the
right.

In 1980 Democrats purported to be the party of diversity and
tolerance when they attacked the Reagan campaign for creating an
abortion “litmus test” for judicial nominees. To be
sure, most Dems backed the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, but
they said they would never, ever impose that belief on judicial
nominees.

By the late 1980s and 1990s fealty to the principle of unlimited
abortion was becoming a requirement for Democratic presidential
nominees — which was a problem because so many leading
Democrats had unclean hands, from the Left’s perspective. As
a result, Richard Gephardt, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton all tossed
aside measured records on the issue in their campaign for the top
political prize. Still, the latter felt the need to claim he wanted
the procedure to be “rare” as well as safe and legal.
Scores of congressional Democrats continued to vote pro-life.

However, over the years the two parties increasingly divided
along abortion. Ironically, as the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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End America's Illegal Occupation of Syria Now

June 13, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Washingtonians pretend to be shocked by what President Trump
does, but it’s Americans who should be shocked by what
Washington does—such as illegally intervening in
Syria’s civil war and occupying a third of that country.
It’s time for Donald Trump to do the right thing and bring
our troops home.

The fabled “Arab Spring” hit Syria in 2011. And as
the Middle East’s autocracies wobbled, the Obama
administration initially tagged President Bashar al-Assad as a
reformer. But he refused to yield political power in the face of
popular demonstrations.

Not everyone saw the protesters as harbingers of democracy. One
Alawite with whom I spoke while visiting Syria last year said
Assad’s opponents chanted, “Christians to Lebanon,
Alawites to the grave.” The demonstrators’ desire to
oust Assad evidently didn’t mean they desired a liberal
Western-oriented democracy. Earlier in Beirut, I’d spoken
with an anguished Christian aid worker from Syria who exclaimed,
“You Americans have no idea what you are doing!”

Our presence there is a
violation of domestic and international law that’s made a horrible
civil war even worse.

Nevertheless, Washington decided that Assad had to go. And his
regime, beset from every direction, tottered on the brink.
Insurgents gained control of Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta
suburbs, from which they bombarded Syria’s capital.

Despite pressure to actively intervene against Assad, the Obama
administration focused on aiding supposedly moderate insurgents,
with little success. One program spent a half billion dollars to
train fewer than threescore fighters. Radicals hid their views in
order to receive arms from America; supposedly democratic forces
fought with and sometimes surrendered to Islamists, along with
their equipment.

Moreover, reported the New York Times: “Most of
the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply
Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are
going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular
opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to
American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.”

One of the indirect beneficiaries of U.S. aid was Jabhat
al-Nusra, Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. Noted National
Review
’s Michael Brendan Dougherty: “We also
funded a group called Nour al-Din al-Zenki, until its members
showed up on YouTube beheading a child, at which point the
‘moderate’ label no longer quite fit.”

With the war largely over and the much-weakened Assad government
mostly in control, roughly 2,000 U.S. personnel occupy about a
third of the country, mostly in the north working with Kurdish
forces. At first, President Trump ordered the Americans home, but
now hundreds or more will stay, according to his aides.

But for what? The goal of shielding civilians was undercut all
along by fomenting civil war and the underwriting of insurgents.
The …read more

Source: OP-EDS