Monday Reads (with SCOTUS updates)Posted: June 25, 2012
The last abortion clinic in Mississippi may be the latest victim of the christofascist republican war on women. It may become the first state in the union where women have no access to this constitutional right. Take a look at the pictures at the link and tell me its not a christofascist movement akin to the religious fundamental crazies that plague underdeveloped nations. Why can’t we just export these creeps to Afghanistan instead of soldiers and money?
Beginning July 1, all abortion-clinic physicians must have admitting privileges at a local hospital under a law passed by the Republican-led Legislature and signed by Republican Governor Phil Bryant in April. At the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s sole remaining clinic providing elective abortions, none of the three physicians who perform the procedure has been granted those privileges.
Mississippi may become the first U.S. state without a dedicated abortion clinic if the Jackson facility fails to come into compliance. That would mark the most visible victory for the anti-abortion movement, which has fought to abolish the procedure in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to have one.
“Roe v. Wade said that women have a right to an abortion in the sense that a state can’t deny or criminalize it, but there was no guarantee of access,” said Wendy Parmet, associate dean at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. “States can’t create legal barriers or penalties, but they can make it practically really, really difficult.”
Betty Thompson, a spokeswoman for the clinic in the state capital, said the doctors have applied to seven area hospitals for admitting privileges. All three are already board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as the new law also requires, she said.
I’ve long argued that Rupert Murdoch should be deprived of access to the public airwaves. He’s a threat to the Public Interest.Here’s some more opinion on that via the UK Guardian. Can the Brits get rid of this menace? Can any democracy afford a corporate monopoly on information that functions as a propaganda tool for the personal interests of its owner?
In the UK, there is currently more choice, but the economics of news are undergoing a fundamental revolution, so nothing should be taken for granted. There are other powerful media organisations in the UK, including the BBC. In order to gauge the potential threat, try asking seven critical questions:
a) Does it have strong internal governance?
b) Is it effectively externally regulated?
c) Is it subject to, and does it comply with, the law?
d) Is it subjected to normal scrutiny by press and parliament?
e) Does it overtly try to exert public political influence?
f) Does it privately lobby over regulation or competition issues?
g) Does it actively work to expose the private lives of politicians or other public figures?
On such a scorecard, the BBC would score one out of seven – in the sense that only one of the issues, f), is engaged. News Corp would score seven.
Richard Pomfret–a Professor of Economics at Adelaide University–has written a new book on a widely accepted compromise between aggregate prosperity and distributional equality. He discusses his thesis at VOXEU.
It is in this spirit that my new book, The Age of Equality, argues that we are still experiencing the long-term consequences of the industrial revolution of the 1700s, and that the current state of that process involves a widely accepted compromise between aggregate prosperity and distributional equality.
Unlike political revolutions that can be dated to 1789 or 1917, the industrial revolution does not have a precise date. However, by the early 1800s it had clearly taken hold in parts of northwest Europe. The new industrial production involved factories with division of labour (exemplified by Adam Smith’s pin factory on the UK’s £20 banknotes) which employed increasingly capital-intensive techniques and applied the results of scientific, or at least casual empirical, observation. It was associated with risk-taking entrepreneurs and mobile workers, who responded to price incentives and were rewarded if they made the right decisions. The process was opposed by those enjoying privileges in the pre-industrial economy, e.g. inherited monarchs with absolute power, landowners with serfs or guild members.
Countries adopting the new system enjoyed unprecedented long-term economic growth. They sought and won global markets for their products so that they could expand the division of labour and capital-intensity of their factories, and they established global empires. Success was no secret. The new system spread across Europe, regions settled by Europeans, and a few other places (notably Japan).
Change was resisted by the ancien régime or by imperial rulers. The 1800s were an Age of Liberty because successful economies were those in which people enjoyed sufficient freedom to respond to economic incentives. The pressure to allow such freedom culminated in the 1910s, with the collapse of the great dynastic empires centred in Saint Petersburg, Vienna, Berlin, Constantinople and Peking.
Yet, even as living standards increased, opposition to unbridled capitalism strengthened. In all of the high-income countries there is evidence of income inequality peaking around the first decade of the twentieth century.
- In the US, progressives pushed to reduce the power of the rich by antitrust legislation and to protect the poor by social policies.
- In Europe, socialists’ challenge to capitalism was more fundamental.
The great experiment of the twentieth century was a competition between economic systems over which could best balance prosperity and equality.
That was the case until 1989. Then, unbridled capitalism began to take root in Europe and North America. This is not the case, however, in other parts of the world. Here’s a reminder of more folks that are adopting a different approach.
The era of free-market triumphalism has come to a juddering halt, and the crisis that destroyed Lehman Brothers in 2008 is now engulfing much of the rich world. The weakest countries, such as Greece, have already been plunged into chaos. Even the mighty United States has seen the income of the average worker contract every year for the past three years. The Fraser Institute, a Canadian think-tank, which has been measuring the progress of economic freedom for the past four decades, saw its worldwide “freedom index” rise relentlessly from 5.5 (out of 10) in 1980 to 6.7 in 2007. But then it started to move backwards.
The crisis of liberal capitalism has been rendered more serious by the rise of a potent alternative: state capitalism, which tries to meld the powers of the state with the powers of capitalism. It depends on government to pick winners and promote economic growth. But it also uses capitalist tools such as listing state-owned companies on the stockmarket and embracing globalisation. Elements of state capitalism have been seen in the past, for example in the rise of Japan in the 1950s and even of Germany in the 1870s, but never before has it operated on such a scale and with such sophisticated tools.
State capitalism can claim the world’s most successful big economy for its camp. Over the past 30 years China’s GDP has grown at an average rate of 9.5% a year and its international trade by 18% in volume terms. Over the past ten years its GDP has more than trebled to $11 trillion. China has taken over from Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy, and from America as the world’s biggest market for many consumer goods. The Chinese state is the biggest shareholder in the country’s 150 biggest companies and guides and goads thousands more. It shapes the overall market by managing its currency, directing money to favoured industries and working closely with Chinese companies abroad.
State capitalism can also claim some of the world’s most powerful companies. The 13 biggest oil firms, which between them have a grip on more than three-quarters of the world’s oil reserves, are all state-backed. So is the world’s biggest natural-gas company, Russia’s Gazprom. But successful state firms can be found in almost any industry. China Mobile is a mobile-phone goliath with 600m customers. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation is one of the world’s most profitable chemical companies. Russia’s Sberbank is Europe’s third-largest bank by market capitalisation. Dubai Ports is the world’s third-largest ports operator. The airline Emirates is growing at 20% a year.
So, you can see my read suggestions are a little esoteric today. There’s not much going on. Folks are waiting to see if SCOTUS announces its decision on the Affordable Health Care Act and Arizona’s immigration law. Folks are also waiting for congress to act on the doubling of student loan rates and the highway bill. Drama is coming this week.
I just have to add one more. Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed today in the NYT about America’s Shameful Human Rights Record. Wasn’t he part of the hoopla over the lightbringer about 8 years ago? Is this Nobel Peace Laureate lecturing another? Wow. How times change. He names no names but the implications seem pretty clear to me.
THE United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.
Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.
While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
The Supreme Court Announces Arizona Immigration Decision Today.
From the SCOTUS AZ decision: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States.”
note: the link to Scotusblog above goes to a live discussion on the decisions being released today …
The MT campaign finance case, 11-1179, is summarily reversed. The vote is 5-4, the majority opinion (one page long) is per curiam, Justice Breyer writes for the dissenters. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-1179h9j3.pdf
SCOTUS: “There can be no serious doubt” that Citizens United ruling applies to Montana state law. http://njour.nl/MKLeXI
Miller and Jackson, juvenile life without parole cases, have been decided. Life w/o parole sentences for juveniles who commit murder are unconstitutional. Justice Kagan wrote the opinion. Vote is 5-4. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-9646g2i8.pdf