Saturday, May 31, 2014


Catholic Ireland

Huge shame was attached to unmarried mothers in a Catholic controlled Ireland that denied citizens reproduction rights. Young mothers, deprived of financial support from their families and the state, were often forced to leave their children in the hands of the Roman Catholics. This is how well such children were cared for:
"Statistics show a quarter of all babies born outside marriage in the 1930’s in Ireland died before their first birthdays. As observers have remarked elsewhere, these were infant death rates from the 17th century.
In one year alone in the mid 1940’s in the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in County Cork, out of the 180 babies born 100 died.
Given the shockingly high mortality rates, it is hard not to conclude that the destabilizing threat these children represented to Irish society and its conservative religious ethos may have contributed to their untimely demise. "
Irish Central: Mass grave of up to 800 dead babies exposed in County Galway 

Media Nonsense

The Immigrant Council is attempting to justify it's funding again, this time by prompting a recent study which asserts Ireland's sex trafficking trade worth an estimated 250m per year. Of course the claim is unsupported any actual facts and the actual study is nonsense:
There’s been much in the Irish media this week about a new report on sex workers’ clients, based on research conducted in five European countries (Ireland, Finland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Lithuania). Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, the media coverage has ranged from bad to abysmal. For a prime example of the latter, see this piece in the Irish Examiner, which starts off with the claim that “Ireland’s sex trafficking trade is worth an estimated €250m a year, a new study shows” – despite the fact that no such claim is made anywhere in the report. The journalist appears to have mistaken a made-up stat cited by a speaker at the report’s launch for an actual research finding, which I suppose is an easy enough error to make when you just repeat things NGOs tell you without ever cracking open a report yourself.
Feminist Ire: What the “sex buyers” survey found. And what it didn’t.

Wider World

The road to serfdom is a lot shorter than Hayek believed:
Alexander Lukashenko is living up to his reputation as Europe’s last remaining dictator. The president of Belarus has decided to bring back serfdom on farms in a bid to stop urban migration. Lukashenko has announced plans to introduce legislation prohibiting farm labourers from quitting their jobs and moving to the cities. “Yesterday, a decree was put on my table concerning – we are speaking bluntly – serfdom,” the Belarus leader told a meeting on Tuesday to discuss improvements to livestock farming, reported.
The serfdom decree would beef up the power of regional governors and “teach the peasants to work more efficiently,” Lukashenko said. Governors who failed to ensure timely and efficient harvests in their regions would get the sack, he added.
Financial Times: Belarus to reintroduce serfdom

The modern religious right formed, practically overnight, as a rapid response to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade. Or, at least, that's how the story goes. The reality, Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth professor writing for Politico Magazine, says, is actually a little less savory to 21st century Americans: The religious right, who liked to call themselves the "moral majority" at the time, actually organized around fighting to protect Christian schools from being desegregated. 

It Wasn’t Abortion That Formed the Religious Right. It Was Support for Segregation.

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