The U.S. is now an oligarchy instead of a democracy, study finds.
The U.S. is now an oligarchy instead of a democracy, study finds.
In California, prison doctors have sterilized at least 148 women, mainly Mexicans, from 2006 to 2010. Why? They don’t want to have to provide welfare funding for any children they may have in the future and to eliminate ‘defectives’ from the gene pool.
The sterilization procedures cost California taxpayers $147,460 between 1997 and 2010. The doctors at the prison argue it is money well-spent.
Dr. James Heinrich, an OB-GYN at Valley State Prison for Women, said, “Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”
In 1909, California passed the country’s third sterilization law, authorizing reproductive surgeries of patients committed to state institutions for the “feebleminded” and “insane” that were deemed suffering from a “mental disease which may have been inherited and is likely to be transmitted to descendants.” Based on this eugenic logic, 20,000 patients in more than ten institutions were sterilized in California from 1909 to 1979. Worried about charges of “cruel and unusual punishment,” legislators attached significant provisions to sterilization in state prisons. Despite these restrictions, about 600 men received vasectomies at San Quentin in the 1930s when the superintendent flaunted the law.
Moreover, there was a discernible racial bias in the state’s sterilization and eugenics programs. Preliminary research on a subset of 15,000 sterilization orders in institutions (conducted by Stern and Natalie Lira) suggests that Spanish-surnamed patients, predominantly of Mexican origin, were sterilized at rates ranging from 20 to 30 percent from 1922 to 1952, far surpassing their proportion of the general population.
In her recent book, Miroslava Chávez-García shows, through exhaustively researched stories of youth of color who were institutionalized in state reformatories, and sometimes subsequently sterilized, how eugenic racism harmed California’s youngest generation in patterns all too reminiscent of detention and incarceration today.
California was the most zealous sterilizer, carrying out one-third of the approximately 60,000 operations performed in the 32 states that passed eugenic sterilization laws from 1907 to 1937.
Although such procedures may seem harsh, they are not illegal. The Supreme Court ruled in 1927 that women can be forcibly sterilized in jail in Buck vs Bell. Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
This is fucked. Why are there people excusing fucking eugenics in the year 2014?
Here is one certain parallel to be drawn to the holocaust.
The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars - it hurts their ‘quality of life’
April 16, 2014
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don’t protect the quality of life of the poor.
To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.
Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.
Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former homeowners who lost their homes in the Great Recession.
The paths from eviction to homelessness follow familiar patterns. For the completely destitute without family or friends able to help, that path leads more or less directly to the streets. For those slightly better off, unemployment and the exhaustion of meager savings – along with the good graces of family and friends – eventually leaves people with only two alternatives: a shelter cot or their old automobile.
However, in places like Los Angeles, the shelters are pretty much always full. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of unsheltered homeless people increased by 67%. In Palo Alto last year, there were 12 shelter beds for 157 homeless individuals. Homeless people in these cities do have choices: they can choose to sleep in a doorway, on a sidewalk, in a park, under a bridge or overpass, or – if they are relatively lucky – in a car. But these cities have ordinances that make all of those choices a criminal offense. The car is the best of bad options, now common enough that local bureaucrats have devised a new, if oxymoronic, term – the “vehicularly housed”.
People sleeping in cars try to find legal, nighttime parking places, where they will be less apparent and arouse the least hostility. But cities like Palo Alto and Los Angeles often forbid parking between 2am and 5am in commercial areas, where police write expensive tickets and arrest and impound the vehicles of repeat offenders. That leaves residential areas, where overnight street parking cannot, as a practical matter, be prohibited.
One finds the “vehicularly housed” in virtually every neighborhood, including my own. But the animus that drives anti-homeless laws seems to be greatest in the wealthiest cities, like Palo Alto, which has probably spawned more per-capita fortunes than any city on Earth, and in the more recently gentrified areas like Los Angeles’ Venice. These places are ruled by majorities of “liberals” who decry, with increasing fervor, the rapid rise in economic inequality. Nationally, 90% of Democrats (and 45% of Republicans) believe the government should act to reduce the rich-poor gap.
It is easy to be opposed to inequality in the abstract. So why are Los Angeles and Palo Alto spending virtually none of their budgets on efforts to provide housing for the very poor and homeless? When the most obvious evidence of inequality parks on their street, it appears, even liberals would rather just call the police. The word from the car: if you’re not going to do anything to help, please don’t make things worse.
“Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere…”
HOW? WITH WHAT FUNDS? FOR WHOSE BENEFIT? TO WHERE?
Our society’s approach to its most vulnerable members: I don’t want to see them suffer—so get them out of my sight!
I live in Los Angeles. Unlike most places, our housing economy bounced back, and fast - home prices are up 20 percent just in the past year. Renting is only marginally less expensive than buying a house. I know people whose rent went up by more than $200/month in a single year.
Homeless shelters are like telephone poles: We need them, but no one wants to live near one. It’s cruel and inhumane.
This is a really bad idea.
- Noam Chomsky (via bourgeoisentimentality)
A human rights group is urging Britain’s Foreign office to “come clean” over claims that a British-administered island in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia, was used as a secret “black site” detention center by the CIA.
“We need to know immediately whether ministers misled parliament over CIA torture on British soil,” Cori Crider, strategic director at Reprieve, a legal action charity group, said in a letter to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.
“If the CIA operated a black site on Diego Garcia, then a string of official statements, from both this and the last government, were totally false,” Crider said.
The letter followed a report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee that Britain had allowed the US to run a “black site” prison on Diego Garcia to secretly hold suspects without accountability. The Diego Garcia prison held some “high-value” detainees and was operated with the “full cooperation” of the British government, US officials familiar with the Senate report said.
“Were ministers asleep at the wheel? Or, as the report suggests, have we been lied to for years?” Crider wrote.
Reprieve is also representing Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, a rebel military commander and opponent of the late Libyan leader, Mohamed Gaddafi, who was arrested in Malaysia and rendered to Libya, allegedly via Diego Garcia, in a joint US-UK intelligence operation.
“The Foreign Secretary must urgently clarify whether the CIA ran a secret prison on Diego Garcia, and whether our clients Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar were among its victims,” Crider said.
Belhaj became Tripoli’s military commander in 2011, after the rebels took over the capital and ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In 2004 Belhaj – the then-leader of the anti-Gaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – and his wife were detained by US intelligence officers at Bangkok airport, Thailand, when they were to fly to London to claim asylum.
Belhaj was then returned to Libya, allegedly due to a British tip-off, where he was tortured and jailed for almost six years, until Gaddafi was ousted.
Belhaj claims the UK helped the US to arrange his rendition. He launched legal action against the UK government, the former head of counter-terrorism at intelligence agency MI6, Mark Allen, and then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
"The first time I heard that I had gone through a place called Diego Garcia was when I was told by the head of the Libyan intelligence, Moussa Koussa, during my first interrogation session in a prison outside Tripoli," Belhaj said. “[Moussa Koussa] told me that he knew, and that the plane had landed on an island in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia.”
However, the UK court ruled that Belhaj could not sue MI6 as it would harm “national interests,” though the High Court judge concluded that Belhaj had a "well-founded claim" against intelligence officers.
The case could "jeopardize this country’s international relations and national security interests," said Peregrine Simon, a British High Court judge.
"The government must come clean about the UK’s role in this dirty affair," Polly Rossdale, deputy director at Reprieve, told The Observer on Sunday.
For years, the British government consistently denied that any detainees were held at Diego Garcia or that a secret CIA prison ever existed there. They only admitted in 2008 that two rendition flights carrying detainees stopped for refueling on Diego Garcia in 2002. “The US government confirmed that there have been no other instances in which US intelligence flights landed in the UK, our Overseas Territories, or the Crown Dependencies, with a detainee, on board since 11 September 2001,” UK Foreign Office minister David Liddington told the UK parliament in 2011.
The recent revelations about “the secret prison” are hugely troubling for the UK government as they spark questions about the UK’s relationship with the US.
Apart from the news about the CIA secret black site, the US Senate also found that the CIA purposely deceived the US Justice Department to attain legal justification for use of torture techniques. It also found that the CIA distorted how many detainees it held in “black site” prisons throughout the world and how many were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” many amount to torture.
The Committee and the CIA have in recent weeks gone back and forth with accusations of spying, meddling, and misrepresentation, highlighting an on-going feud between the agency and the Committee since the Senate probe began in 2009.