The strongest force behind the drive to criminalize abortion was the attempt by doctors to establish for themselves exclusive rights to practice medicine. They wanted to prevent “untrained” practitioners, including midwives, apothecaries, and homeopaths, from competing with them for patients and for patient fees.
The best way to accomplish their goal was to eliminate one of the principle procedures that kept these competitors in business. Rather than openly admitting to such motivations, the newly formed American Medical Association (AMA) argued that abortion was both immoral and dangerous. By 1910 all but one state had criminalized abortion except where necessary, in a doctor’s judgment, to save the woman’s life. In this way, legal abortion was successfully transformed into a “physicians-only” practice.
Found this while trying to find out how many women were killed due to back alley abortions. Yet another example of a powerful special interest (in this case, the doctor’s union) using the power of the state to crush their competitors, under the guise of “protecting the public safety”.
Earlier this month, police in Oakland County, Michigan raided a medical marijuana dispensary in the town of Oak Park. The deputies came in with guns drawn and bulletproof vests, with at least one wearing a mask.
They made no arrests, but they did clean the place out. The confiscated all of the dispensary’s cash on hand and—in a particularly thuggish touch—also took all of the cash from the wallets and purses of employees and patients. In this update, police officials say the raid was the result of street dealers telling police they were buying marijuana from the dispensary. I suppose we’ll see in time if that’s true, and if it is, if the dispensary was actually aware that it was selling to dealers. But at first blush, the claim sounds like a pretty good way for street dealers to put a legitimate competitor out of business.
Under Michigan’s asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor. Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law but is of course still illegal under federal law. And apparently there’s some debate about the legality of dispensaries. All of which means this particular dispensary will have a hard time proving it earned the seized cash legitimately. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either. The cost of challenging the seizure is likely several times more than the amount of money most people carry on their person.
Then there’s my experience this past week as I drove home from the airport in Syracuse, New York. The Border Patrol and the State Police had set up a roadblock on the county line about 30 miles from my house and at least 20 miles as the crow flies from the border with Canada. This is not uncommon, but this time two things were different. First, both groups of officers were fully armed. Second, they were asking questions. Normally they just peer into your car and let you go. This time, I was asked, “Where are you coming from?”; “Were you out of the state?”; and “Do you have luggage in your trunk?” They did not search the car, nor did they ask for ID (the latter probably because I’m white), but it does not matter. When American citizens are stopped while traveling within their own state and asked to account for their whereabouts, we live in a police state.
A combination of the Senate’s arcane rules and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) insistence on voting on several controversial amendments may cause the Patriot Act to lapse at the end of the week.
The expiration of the law before the passage of an extension would create an upheaval in the law enforcement community which relies on its authority to track suspected terrorists.
Go Rand Paul! C’mon Democrats on my friend’s list! You may hate everything else Rand Paul stands for, but surely you can support the expiration of the Patriot Act. Call your Senator and tell them you don’t want this odious Act extended.
Under President Bush, liberals would never have been as silent as they are now. There would have been rancorous opposition especially in the blogosphere to extending PATRIOT Act provisions. Liberal talk radio and MSNBC would be talking about the government’s push to maintain extraordinary powers. But, for liberal activists, bloggers, pundits, and politicians, Obama cannot be hampered by any campaigns to defend democratic society, which might make it difficult for him to run for re-election.
In San Francisco, one of the toughest places in the country to find a place to live, more than 31,000 housing units — one of every 12 — now sit vacant, according to recently released census data. That’s the highest vacancy rate in the region, and a 70 percent increase from a decade ago.
There’s a lot I like about the SF Bay area. But idiotic zoning and rent control laws are not among them. If only more people understood basic economics.
Let’s just assume the worst about Paul: that he’s a corporate libertarian in the Reason magazine/Cato Institute mold that would grant Big Business and the financial industry license to do whatever the hell it wants with little in the way of accountability (I call this scenario the “status quo”). Let’s say he dines on Labradoodle puppies while using their blood to scribble notes in the margins of his dog-eared, gold-encrusted copy of Atlas Shrugged.
So. Fucking. What.
Barack Obama isn’t exactly Eugene Debs, after all. Hell, he’s not even Jimmy Carter. The facts are: he’s pushed for the largest military budget in world history, given trillions of dollars to Wall Street in bailouts and near-zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve, protected oil companies like BP from legal liability for environmental damages they cause – from poisoning the Gulf to climate change – and mandated that all Americans purchase the U.S. health insurance industry’s product. You might argue Paul’s a corporatist, but there’s no denying Obama’s one.