Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Abortion and LIFE: What Life was Like Before Roe v. Wade

by Nomad

On Feb 27 1970, LIFE magazine featured an article on the subject of abortion. What's interesting about the article is that it gives us a snapshot of what life was like for women before abortion became legal. 

The Revolution in Paradise
In 1970, after a little over ten years as a state, Hawaii started a revolution. It became the first state to legalize abortions at the request of the woman. A short time later, New York soon followed, allowing abortions up to the 24th week of the pregnancy. 
Prior to that time, Colorado, California, Oregon and North Carolina had abortion laws that allowed for the procedure only in cases of rape, incest "or in which the pregnancy would lead to permanent physical disability of the woman." (Presumably that would include a lethal risk to the mother.)

At a time when, as a LIFE magazine article in that year points out, 20 out of every 100,000 American women died of complications. One of those women, Geraldine "Gerri" Santoro, became a symbol for the pro-choice movement. (A graphic police photo of her body "naked, kneeling, collapsed upon the floor, with a bloody towel between her legs" after a self-administered abortion was published in 1973 and outraged a nation against the abortion laws.)

LIFE magazine article also gives other interesting information about abortion before the reforms. For example, most women who sought abortions were, contrary to conventional wisdom, married. Although the Catholic Church strictly forbade the procedure, more than 20% of the women who had abortions were Roman Catholic. Religious prohibitions did not seem to discourage the procedure. It only made it a shameful and more dangerous act.

Compared to today, the Church back then apparently had a different take on the abortion law. Boston's Archbishop Richard Cushing, was quoted as saying: 
Catholics do not need the support of civil law to be faithful to there religious convictions and they do not seek to impose their moral views on other members of society."
Given the controversy that followed, led by Christians and anti-abortion groups, that's a breathtaking statement. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bust: How Republicans Lost the War on Drugs 3/5

by Nomad

In past installments in this series on America's war on drugs, we examined Nixon and Ford. Now we turn to the Democratic president Jimmy Carter.
Deeply entrenched distrust for the president within the CIA would prove to be an insurmountable obstacle.

Part 3. Where the Rational Met Reality

Carter's Way
The 70s were a time of reformation after the hectic and often frightening social shakeups of the 60s. Watergate and the subsequent Church Senate Committee Investigations had opened up the heart of the political system and most Americans were appalled at the grimy business of running the country and managing the world.

What was needed was a complete overhaul starting at the top. Jimmy Carter, a born-again Christian, peanut farmer with the down-home Georgian accent seemed to be the style of leadership the country demanded.
And so in 1976, against all expectations, The Waltons moved into the White House.

The white middle class conservative values of "dominant social order" were being re-evaluated, questioned and challenged in a variety of ways.
The extreme conservative opinion, typified by white frustration, tainted with bigotry and, simplistic, backward views of the world,  was being mocked weekly on television shows like All in the Family and other programs. It is no surprise then that the failed drug policy should once again come under greater scrutiny.

In some ways, President Carter did, in fact, pick up where President Ford had left off. And as we mentioned in the previous post, that new direction had already been sabotaged. While marijuana was now being considered harmless and non-addictive, cocaine was added to the same category. (We should take a closer look at the possible reason for this.) In any case, this coupling, for whatever reasons, proved to be a major blunder.

Both, under President Ford's directive, were now to receive far less attention from law enforcement. Meanwhile the focus was concentrated on the heroin trade. 

Progress combating the illegal import of heroin too was hampered. That had much to do with the CIA and its antagonism toward Carter and all he represented. 
It was common knowledge that high level intelligence officials in the agency had no great love for Carter. Perhaps it was to be expected since President Carter had campaigned as an outsider who was coming to Washington to clean the mess that the Church Committee had revealed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

When Capitalism meets Cruelty

by Nomad

I don't think this photo needs too much explanation or comment. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Shocking: Utah Republicans Discover the Existence of Poverty and Social Inequality

by Nomad

Republican discover poor
According to a Salt Lake City article, Utah Republicans have made an astounding discovery. The poor! Furthermore, the conservatives say, with a few relatively cheap government programs, the cycle of poverty could be stopped in its tracks.

Unfortunately this is the same message that liberal Democrats have been saying for more than 50 years.

An op-ed piece in the Salt Lake City Tribune entitled "Utah Republicans Starting to Take on Poverty" should have a lot of voters scratching their heads in disbelief.

A Conservative  Epiphany on Poverty?
The article regales Utah Republicans for suddenly discovering the poor. Those sharp eyed conservatives never miss a trick, do they? 
The Republican legislators are, according to the article, 
"starting to realize that the poor have always been with us. And that that’s not a good thing. And that the rich and powerful should be doing something about it."
No kidding? Well, I declare.

This remarkable discovery was announced by Republican state Sen. Stuart Reid, who has been representing District 18 since January 1, 2011 .Reid has also detected something called intergenerational poverty.
Poverty, the Republicans have learned, can be passed down like an unfortunate inheritance. Who could have imagined it?

Monday, October 13, 2014

News from Iran: Suspicious Explosions and Unexplained Plane Crashes

by Nomad

Blast explosion
Here are two news stories from inside the Iranian Republic that didn't get much attention in the mainstream press last week.

According to a report from Iran’s state news agency, two workers were killed by an explosion and fire at a top secret Iranian military facility. One of those killed was reportedly an unnamed "nuclear expert."

The semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) also reported that the initial explosive shattered windows 12 kilometers away (about 15 miles) and the glare from the explosion lit up the night sky.

The Parchin site, located east of Tehran, has been off-limits to UN nuclear inspectors since 2005. Countries opposed to Iranian nuclear weapon ambitions have presumed that the site has some special importance to the program.

If the cause of the explosion was sabotage, it would certainly be a matter of grave concern for security. As of this time, it is too early to determine the reasons for the blast and if sabotage were involved, it is unlikely Iranian officials would publicly announce it. There was, not surprisingly, very little coverage inside Iran even though the blast and fireball could be seen by the public.