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"Hi, I like your view, so I'm taking your house"

By circletimessquare in Op-Ed
Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:37:44 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

On Thursday, June 23, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling which didn't move the United States leftward, or rightward, but simply away from individual rights, as both conservatives and liberals would define them, and towards a rather noxious form of authoritarianism: plutocracy. It was a decision that was remarkable in the uniformity of outrage at it from across the ideological spectrum. Greens, Libertarians, Democrats, and Republicans were all equally baffled and angry. Archconservatives like George Will and Archliberals like Ralph Nader were suddenly of one voice.

Simply put, the ruling on Kelo versus the City Of New London allows for governmental policy that combines the worst aspects of communism with the worst aspects of capitalism. According to the Supreme Court, the government can now seize your land not just in the name of the common good, but in actuality just because someone with more money than you wants it.


Eminent domain is a long established and sound legal principle that resolves situations where the individual rights of an unlucky few are pitted against the rights of society at large. Society sees the need for a highway, for example, that benefits everyone. Unfortunately, highways cannot be built in the air, so someone's house has to be destroyed.

Since with the principle of eminent domain you are depriving an individual mightily, in specific terms, so that all may benefit somewhat, in abstract terms, then the rules governing what is acceptable and unacceptable forms of eminent domain must be very constrained so that abuse is not encouraged. That is, emininent domain should only be invoked when the benefits to society at large can be demonstrated as concretely as possible, and/ or the costs to the unlucky few individuals can be demonstrated to be as minor as posssible.

Not anymore.

Kelo says that economic speculation alone, in which the benefit to all is rather dubious, but the benefit to a moneyed few is obvious, is all that is required for the principle of eminent domain to be invoked. In the specific Kelo v. New London site, New London does not wish to tear down a blighted area, nor does it not want to build a school. It wants to expand a corporate office for a pharmaceutical conglomerate. And it wants to tear down well-maintained, well-loved historic buildings. Because there might be more taxes. Because the people live on waterfront property. Incredible.

New London is losing a submarine base. It is facing economic ruin. Except to save itself, it is willing to sacrifice something far greater than economic ruin. It is willing to sacrifice it's soul: the heart of a charming old New England whaling town to placate a corporate interest. Dumbfounding. Writes Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in dissent (large pdf):

Even if there were a practical way to isolate the motives behind a given taking, the gesture toward a purpose test is theoretically flawed. If it is true that incidental public benefits from new private use are enough to ensure the "public purpose" in a taking, why should it matter, as far as the Fifth Amendment is concerned, what inspired the taking in the first place? How much the government does or does not desire to benefit a favored private party has no bearing on whether an economic development taking will or will not generate secondary benefit for the public. And whatever the reason for a given condemnation, the effect is the same from the constitutional perspective-- private property is forcibly relinquished to new private ownership. A second proposed limitation is implicit in the Court's opinion. The logic of today's decision is that eminent domain may only be used to upgrade-- not downgrade-- property. At best this makes the Public Use Clause redundant with the Due Process Clause, which already prohibits irrational government action. See Lingle, 544 U. S. __. The Court rightfully admits, however, that the judiciary cannot get bogged down in predictive judgments about whether the public will actually be better off after a property transfer. In any event, this constraint has no realistic import. For who among us can say she already makes the most productive or attractive possible use of her property? The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.

Says George Will:

During oral arguments in February, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled the essence of New London's brazen claim: "You can take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?" On Thursday the court said that the modifier "public" in the phrase "public use" does not modify government power at all. That is the logic of the opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

In a tart dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, noted that the consequences of this decision "will not be random." She says it is "likely" -- a considerable understatement -- that the beneficiaries of the decision will be people "with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

Those on the receiving end of the life-shattering power that the court has validated will almost always be individuals of modest means. So this liberal decision -- it augments government power to aggrandize itself by bulldozing individuals' interests -- favors muscular economic battalions at the expense of society's little platoons.

...

Conservatives should be reminded to be careful what they wish for. Their often-reflexive rhetoric praises "judicial restraint" and deference to -- it sometimes seems -- almost unleashable powers of the elected branches of governments. However, in the debate about the proper role of the judiciary in American democracy, conservatives who dogmatically preach a populist creed of deference to majoritarianism will thereby abandon, or at least radically restrict, the judiciary's indispensable role in limiting government.

Says Ralph Nader:

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v City of New London mocks common sense, tarnishes constitutional law and is an affront to fundamental fairness.

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution permits government to seize private property for a "public use," such as a highway, railroad, or military facility, provided it gives the owner "just compensation." Many state constitutions have similar provisions. But in modern times it has become common for the government, usually at the state or local level, to seize property and transfer it to another private party rather than maintaining it for public use.

Hundreds of abuses of eminent domain have occurred during the last few decades, with municipalities playing reverse Robin Hood, taking from ordinary citizens and giving to powerful individual developers or corporations. In many cases, the alleged public benefit is a transparent cover for what amounts to legalized theft.

With today's decision, the Court has abdicated its role as guardian of the Constitution and individual rights. This decision authorizes courts across the country to allow self- defining misuses of "public use" and "public benefit" requirements. State courts, however, remain free to impose more reasonable restraints on government taking of individual property.

And here are the words of a local community activist in California, who sees the winds coming from this decision (for there are many other examples of eminent domain abuse across the country):

Students Against Corruption, President Dawn Crawford

It's been decided that property can be taken by the government. That makes it a very sad day here in San Bernardino County. Because people like Maggie Pacheco and other officials with the full support of the Sun newspaper have decided to cleanse our County of the poor,ill and people of color. They decided that the County was in need of a face lift and complexion change. Therefore, they decided to change the complexion of the people in the County through government abuse and ethnic cleansing.

Maggie Pacheco and others feel that the poor and those of color need to be replaced by the rich, White and the wealthy. They feel White people and those with money are more superior and more desirable than the current residents are. In other words, Maggie Pacheco and others feel it's too much color in the County so the face of the County needs to change. This is a scary vision that they have..........

When it comes to the recent ruling regarding property rights Maggie Pacheco said," "We're as happy as the biggest clam in the ocean,'. I bet she is...........How much money will she make when she lays out plans to help get rid of those darker faces she doesn't seem to have much concern or compassion for?

In a little over 200 years, a group of colonial settlements has grown to become the most dominant military and economic power in the world, more powerful than societies many centuries older. The reasons for this are many, but not least amongst them is the incredible stability of the US government. Despite romantic notions to the contrary by those born in a stable democracy and who have never tasted real societal upheaval, anarchy and revolution is not in any way a good thing. It is bloody and injust, and in a few short months or years, it destroys decades of progress.

The US government achieves its stability with its commitment to democracy and individual rights. Since he is respected, the common man is allowed to govern himself, except where societal questions are clearly involved. But even then, for problems that cannot be solved individually, democratic processes are invoked so that the individual still has a say in things.

This respect for the common man is no small thing. Not just those born into a certain family, or a moneyed few, or those with the most weapons, or an ideological posse: you are born, and these rights are agreed to be yours. The legitimacy that respect for the individual lends to government and the stability it lends to society cannot be understated in any way.

Other societies, where democracy and individual rights are not respected, do not grow, and in fact stagnate and fall into revolution and anarchy. This is because revolution and anarchy are the only means by which the grievances of the common man can be expressed when they cannot find any other outlet.

Therefore, when a society begins to whittle away at any form of respect for individual rights so that some other group may benefit: a certain ideology, a group with a lot of money, a violent group, etc., then society is betting on anarchy and revolution to decide justice, instead of democracy.

And with Kelo, such a step has been made.

It is already obvious to many that corporate and financial special interests hold too much power over the American government. Efforts to removed those special interests are difficult because they are so deeply entrenched and money is so corrupting an influence. Cynics might say it is impossible to remove the influence. On June 23, 2005, the cynics have been proven correct: the United States is heading towards plutocracy. Cynicism is a lack of faith and confidence. When cynics are right, something is very wrong.

That worry is reflected from thinkers across the ideological spectrum. So what now? Are the American people so far removed from truly atrocious societal injustices that other societies have known? So far removed from the raping of the common man at the behest of the violent, or the rich, or the priveleged, or the ideologically "correct," that other societies have known, that they will freely allow the dismantling of those rights? Have their rights made them so placated and fat and rich and content and clueless? Well, it can hardly be said that sedation leads to sedition.

With Kelo will there be no outcry? There is such a thing as false comfort, and there is also such a thing as false alarmism. With Kelo, false comfort seems to be the greater worry: local, easily corruptible politicians are now entrusted to protect the less moneyed. If there is any positive to come out of Kelo, it will be renewed interest in local politics. Because now, if you don't become involved, you might lose your house simply because somebody got chummy with somebody else on the golf course. Truly grassroots action takes on a greater and more ominous tone after Kelo: the stakes are much greater. NIMBYs everywhere take note: the acronym should now be Not In My LivingRoom.

And so the USA takes a step towards deciding justice the way other societies have when the rights of the priveleged and moneyed few are decided to be more meaningful than the rights of the many: anarchy and revolution. Except, unlike other bad court decisions, the effects of Kelo are too abstract to be immediately felt or draw visceral attention, and so will result in a slow boil of injustice, for which future abstract remedies might be too late.

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Related Links
o Kelo versus the City Of New London
o Kelo v. New London site
o a corporate office for a pharmaceutical conglomerate
o well-maint ained, well-loved historic buildings
o losing a submarine base
o charming old New England whaling town
o Writes Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in dissent (large pdf)
o George Will
o Ralph Nader
o local community activist in California
o many other examples of eminent domain abuse across the country
o unlike other bad court decisions
o Also by circletimessquare


Display: Sort:
"Hi, I like your view, so I'm taking your house" | 223 comments (166 topical, 57 editorial, 0 hidden)
The majority is logically correct, morally wrong. (2.80 / 5) (#5)
by waxmop on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:16:23 PM EST

The fifth amendment allows property to be siezed for public use. Once you accept that, the only remaining debate is whether a plan to promote economic development which will bring in more tax revenue qualifies as public use.

Nobody that accepts eminent domain would deny the city's right to sieze the homes in order to build a school on the property. In this case, the city is going to sieze the land, sell it to developers, then use the resulting tax revenue to build that same school (maybe better) somewhere else.

The real debate should be about whether the government should have the power of eminent domain at all. "Public use" is just too damn vague.
--
...if [outer-space trolls] did exist, SETI would be up to its arsehole in goatse jpegs. --

what if (none / 1) (#6)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:18:16 PM EST

private use trumps public use, such as with pfizer in new london?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
You tell me. [nt] (none / 0) (#11)
by waxmop on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:59:02 PM EST


--
...if [outer-space trolls] did exist, SETI would be up to its arsehole in goatse jpegs. --Parent ]
um... (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:04:01 PM EST

 that well-monied private use shouldn't trump less-monied private use?

dude: we're talking about perfectly good homes that people love and take good care of and don't want to leave, being torn down because pfizer wants waterfront views

that doesn't bother you?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Supposing (1.00 / 4) (#72)
by rpresser on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:55:22 PM EST

that SCOTUS had gone the other way. Pfizer, now properly pissed off, hires hitmen to bump off all the homeowners who won't be intimidated. The heirs, properly intimidated, sell to Pfizer.

Before construction is begun, the plot is outed. Those responsible at Pfizer are properly put in jail for conspiracy to murder ... but the intimidated heirs don't change their mind. Is Pfizer still allowed to go forward with construction or do we force them to sell back the property?
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

we don't live in a hollywood movie (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:41:57 PM EST

such things went on in the days of unionizing labor, and you still hear about landlords killing little old ladies to sell their apartments at higher rent

but pfizer wouldn't hire thugs

pfizer would just stop shipping viagra to the address, and the couple's relationship would fall apart, and they would sell and leave


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

we can all imagine (none / 1) (#23)
by forgotten on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:30:54 PM EST

examples where this law could be used in the public interest. But as it stands, it doesn't have to be. As far as I can see, the legal decision specifically excludes local government from having to demonstrate public benefit.

Would you still be in favor of it if half the time, appropriated land was used for schools, and the other half it was used for condos?

--

[ Parent ]

The key word is "use" (3.00 / 3) (#51)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:19:27 AM EST

In Justice Thomas's decent he does an interesting analysis of the word "use" at the time of the writing of the constitution and finds that its meaning was more narrow than the way we might use it today.  It meant something closer to actual phsyical use.  I usually hate Thomas but he makes some good points in this case.  His opinion is worth reading.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
two items of contention (none / 1) (#84)
by CAIMLAS on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:32:07 PM EST

First, if the land is being used for government gain - not public gain, such as a "common good" improvement like a road or power lines which are municipal in use, it is not a "public use". It is a government use, and fascist to the core.

Second, "just compensation" is not the same as market value. A facility or property can have much more value than the appraised value if it is improved, and this should reflect upon "just compensation. Additionally, people will often pay above and beyond market value for a site when it is a private property transfer between individuals or companies; the government gets to set its buy price. Not only that, but a family home or other facility can have a very high personal value, one which is above and beyond money itself.

This is not just compensation in practice. The system in practice is one of placebic effect, to distract people from the fact that they're being ripped off by their government. In a free society, the government could not do this.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

You are confused (none / 1) (#152)
by Mousky on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:26:00 PM EST

If a facility or property has a higher value (I assume this would be market value) than the appraised value, then either the appraised value is out-of-date or the assumptions are incorrect. A recent appraisal will typically reflect the market value of the facility or property. Market value is whatever the market (be it one person or thousands) will pay for something. There is no paying "above and beyond market value". That final value may be more than you were willing to pay, but it is the final value. not your value, that matters. Personal or sentimental value is irrelevant. You don't add $50,000 to the price of your house just because you have 30 years of memories in it.

[ Parent ]
Selling (none / 1) (#168)
by Xptic on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 05:14:58 AM EST

So let's say I have a house.  This is a house my kids grew up in.  The taxable value may be $100k, but the market value would be $0.

Why $0?

Because no matter how muck someone offers, I'd refuse to sell it.  If it can't be purchaced, the market value is irrelevant.

Let's say the government wants to cut off your penis.  They say that the country is overpopulated and that cutting off your penis would be "in the puplic's best interest."  They calculate the value of your penis as the value that your 1.8 children would have paid in taxes over their 40 years in the workforce.

They tell you to pick up your check for $150k at the door of the clinic on your way out.

Is it worth it?

[ Parent ]

Another Confused Soul (none / 1) (#172)
by Mousky on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 07:23:08 AM EST

Market value is different from market price. The market value of your house is at least equal to the assessed or taxable value of your house. Market value does not always represent the highest amount paid for something. In some cases, it represents the highest bid or offer, even if it is rejected.

[ Parent ]
nonsense (none / 0) (#189)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 03:56:58 PM EST

Bullshit. A market appraisal is merely an estimate as to what it's worth. Something is worth whatever someone will pay for it, not what some board says it's worth.

Let's say I buy a piece of real estate with run-down facilities in town. I buy it for as little as $100,000, because that is the current market value for a piece of property - with the given improvements - at that place in town. It's a small, sleepy town, but I've got plans to make money off the land, either by improving it myself or by selling it to someone else who will for a larger sum than I bought it. This is the same idea behind house ownership, except in a situation like the one I'm describing, I'm taking a much more active role in increasing value for myself. Maybe I decide to run a machine shop on this property; the use is inconsequential, the fact is I would own it.

Say there's been talk in town, and there's going to be a new convention center that wants to come to this town, and they're looking for property.

Now, if the convention center were to come to this town, it would likely result in quite the economic boom for the city, and would be very profitable for the center due to recently-legalized gambling. Commercial values would go up relatively rapidly after the center comes to town, either directly or indirectly, due to increased demand.

Situation 1:

The convention center decides to come to town. They look for property, and decide that in order to capitalize upon local features such as transit facilities, roads, eating establishments, they're going to need to buy my property - whether it's for a parking lot, or simply one of many different properites they'll need to purchase in order to build the facility. Because of this need, my bargaining power would increase.

They offer me $90,000, as I'd just purchased the property and that's what it was appraised at no less than a month previously. The previous owner wanted more than $90,000, and I, seeing the advantage to myself, met in the middle with the previous owner at $100,000. I certainly was not going to lose money on a 'deal', so I refuse the offer and said htey'd have to do better. I would need at least $150,000 to make me part with the property, due to the propective earning potential for the center.

They come back with an offer for $130k. I refuse it, and say I could settle on $140k. An agreement is struck, the paperwork is signed, and I am now roughly $40,000 richer after all the associated state and city taxes and fees are out of the way. The convention center received a piece of prime real estate - which was only made prime due to their decision to move there - which they will develop to great prosperity.

Situation 2:

The convention center decides to come to town. They look for property, and decide that in order to capitalize upon local features such as transit facilities, roads, eating establishments, they're going to need to buy my property - whether it's for a parking lot, or simply one of many different properites they'll need to purchase in order to build the facility. Because of this need, my bargaining power would increase.

They offer me $90,000, as I'd just purchased the property and that's what it was appraised at no less than a month previously. The previous owner wanted more than $90,000, and I, seeing the advantage to myself, met in the middle with the previous owner at $100,000. I certainly was not going to lose money on a 'deal', so I refuse the offer and said htey'd have to do better. I would need at least $150,000 to make me part with the property, due to the propective earning potential for the center.

Instead of offering me another price, they go to the city and ask for the property. The city decides it would be in their best interests to do so due to the increased tax revenue, and takes my property - paying me the $90,000 that my property was appraised for because property appraisals do not consider elements which do not exist yet! The convention center gets a real steal on the property for much less than going market price, and will go on to make quite a lot of money. Meanwhile, I am forced to take a $15,000 (after process fees) loss from my initial investment due to a decision our federal government made to protect the interests of corporations and governments at the cost of citizens. I have no recourse, as that is the law, and any court would uphold it.

It's called prospective real estate, and it is the livlyhood of many people. If the local governments decide they can simply take properties and pay the 'current market value' (the $100k I would've paid for this property - which I'd have paid taxes on, with the investment savvy to know it would improve due to this convention center coming to town). I would not only lose my investment, but the time I put into researching the investment. Investment real estate would all but disappear, as the government would be able to monopolize upon it: partially due to their 'legal right', and partially due to their foreknowledge of economic developments which would outpace any non-connected individual.

By removing the rights of a citizen to reach a private contract for their own property, you are essentially saying the citizen never owned the property to begin with. It's called fascism.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Who is talking bullshit? (none / 0) (#221)
by Mousky on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:23:40 PM EST

You are talking bullshit. Your second situation relies on the assumption that when government takes land, that it only pays the appraised value of the land. Most takings or expropriations are rarely based on the appraised value of a piece of land. The appraised value is the starting point. Usually, a premium is added to the appraised value, representing a return on your investment and any improvements you have made. Also, any legal, moving, and other costs are also included.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (none / 0) (#151)
by Mousky on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:06:00 PM EST

... the fifth amendment says that private property shall NOT be taken for public use without just compensation.

[ Parent ]
Both right, in a way. (none / 0) (#200)
by tyrithe on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 09:40:48 AM EST

Another way it can be worded is that IF just compensation is provided, then the land can be sieze d for public use. As opposed to "private use" which is not mentioned at all, and therefore meant to not be allowed at all. The abuses have all come down to how can someone frame a private use as a public use.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#223)
by Mousky on Wed Jul 13, 2005 at 10:19:31 AM EST

The "frame" is "economic development". SCOTUS equates the notion of economic development with public use. SCOTUS believes that economic development is a responsibility of government since it creates jobs, creates wealth, creates assets and so on - the government is doing something for the greater good of the public - hence economic development becomes a public use. Therefore, taking land from one private owner to sell it to another private owner under the pretense of economic development is fine and dandy, according to SCOTUS. By no means am I saying this is right - I strongly disagree with government taking private land and selling it to another private owner.

[ Parent ]
Who are you.... (3.00 / 10) (#9)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:48:15 PM EST

to meddle with a venerable American tradition?

Kicking the economically disempowered off their land is why New England exists in the first place.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.

that's true of every society (none / 0) (#10)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:52:09 PM EST

the idea is to scope your historical lessons meaningfully

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Surprisingly enough... (3.00 / 6) (#24)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:40:02 PM EST

This is not exactly one of those lesson safely confined to the pages of history books...

Black Mesa, Arizona & Bechtel and Hanson's Ltd:

Today, thirty years after the strip mining for coal began, the cities have the energy they were promised, but the Hopi and Navajo nations are not rich--that part of the plan proved ephemeral. Instead, Black Mesa has suffered human rights abuses and ecological devastation; the Hopi water supply is drying up; thousands of archeological sites have been destroyed; and, unbeknownst to most Americans, twelve thousand Navajos have been removed from their lands--the largest removal of Indians in the United States since the 1880s.

Niger Delta, Nigeria & Chevron-Texaco:

Severe environmental destruction is the legacy of 40-plus years of oil drilling by Shell Oil in an area of Nigeria known as the Niger Delta, home to over 14 indigenous ethnic nationalities, including the Ogoni people... The CIA reports that the Niger Delta has suffered the equivalent of 10 Exxon Valdez oil spills, without ever being cleaned up.

Oriente region, Ecuador & Chevron-Texaco:

The Oriente region of Ecuador comprises 32 million acres of tropical rainforest--a region rich in biodiversity, including many endangered species. It is also home to 95,000 indigenous people from 8 different ethnic groups. The people and their environment face certain extinction due to oil exploration in the region. Texaco, one of several oil companies venturing in the Amazon rainforest, dumped 4.3 million gallons of toxic oil waste a day into the western hemisphere's main lung during the two decades that it was in operation in Ecuador, and left over 600 open-pit toxic waste sites, according to a lawsuit filed in 1993 by 30,000 Ecuadorian indigenous people who live in the Amazon...On August 16, 2002, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed the case against Chevron/Texaco stating that the cases should be tried in Ecuador, despite a federal law that allows citizens of other countries to bring claims of international law violations in U.S. courts. If the case was tried in the U.S., it wouldl be the first ever filed by foreign plaintiffs in a U.S. court. The plaintiffs are asking Chevron-Texaco to clean up the damage, estimated at close to $1 billion.

Burma & Unocal:

Despite international condemnation of Burma's ruling military government, a repressive regime known for its human rights abuses, Unocal together with its French partner, Total, is constructing a billion-dollar pipeline to carry natural gas from offshore fields through southern Burma to Thailand. In their efforts to ensure the pipeline's construction, the Burmese and Thai armies have committed countless atrocities, including extra-judicial executions, the use of slave labor, ethnic cleansing and environmental despoliation. Total and Unocal have refused to meet with the groups whose land is being expropriated to make way for the pipeline.

For the kicker, theyrule.net gives us 1 degree of separation between the boards of Pfizer and Chevron-Texaco, 2 degrees of separation between the boards of Pfizer and Unocal. The same guy that sits on the board of Pfizer to kick your grandma out of her New London waterfront townhouse schmoozes with the guy on the board of Chevron-Texaco to despoil the ancestral homelands of tens of thousands of Ecuadorian indigenous people living in the Amazon rainforest, for billions of dollars in cheap oil... that your New London grandma will use to fill her moving van. I sense the deeper story here is the overwhelming dominance that corporate collossi wield over the everyday lives of the inhabitants of this planet. Kudos on your story, hopefully it will lead us to scratch a little deeper below the surface.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

very good, let's fight those (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:49:56 PM EST

my personal concern

specifically

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

So what do we do ? (2.25 / 4) (#25)
by minerboy on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:44:52 PM EST

It would be great if a large portion of the populus came to the aid of Kelos, et. al. Boycott all the businesses, vote the bums in new london out. But they won't. They're too busy thinking globally, worried about the aruban justice system, and how to help Bono save Africans. The best thing we can do to help Corporate Globalist is to abandon our neighbors.



false dichotomy (nt) (none / 1) (#27)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:50:52 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
is it ? (none / 1) (#29)
by minerboy on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:28:21 PM EST

I was commenting on the reasons that people these days generally do not get involved in local politics. These days supporting your neighbor seems to only occur during disasters. Its rare when local politics receives much attention. You'd think that they could at least get a bunch of nude bicyclists or something to come protest.

It's true that concern for Africans, and The People of New London is not mutually exclusive. But if we compare the observed public response, we can only conclude that more people are willing to support the African cause, than the people of New London.



[ Parent ]
if you took the time to read what i wrote (none / 0) (#31)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:38:39 PM EST

i already addressed that

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
You could do very well towards (none / 1) (#67)
by guidoreichstadter on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:33:00 AM EST

helping your neighbors nearby and around the world if you can articulate a viable alternative to "Corporate Globalization."


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
100% dead on (none / 0) (#80)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:38:03 PM EST

it is one thing to criticize

it is another thing to start building something better

the first doesn't work

the second destroys ideas you hate more effectively than anything else you can imagine

so if you can't articulate a positive alternative, that immediately tells you something about your true value to the debate, and perhaps even the soundness of your antipathy

so many people in the world don't understand this principle, and so much is lost for that

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

As in the medical marijuana case, (none / 0) (#105)
by trane on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:58:12 PM EST

the only recourse left seems to be to change the law. We need to vote in new bums who will do that for us.

[ Parent ]
Or fight the law [nt] (none / 0) (#111)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:37:51 PM EST


-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#117)
by trane on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:08:30 PM EST

civil disobedience is still an option.

[ Parent ]
nu-1lo (1.00 / 21) (#34)
by Pat Chalmers on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:21:10 PM EST

8==========D O-:

a nullo is a new account (2.25 / 4) (#36)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:30:41 PM EST

created usually for the purposes of posting and astroturfing or avoiding having to buy an ad

now that you are reeducated, insult me stupidly less moronically next time, thanks

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! (1.03 / 29) (#35)
by Lanes Inexplicably Closed to Traffic on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:28:10 PM EST

FUCK PISS CUNT SHIT! DICK FAGGOT NIGGER! BALLS!

i would never say (none / 0) (#37)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:32:29 PM EST

the n or f word

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Hah (2.75 / 4) (#38)
by trhurler on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:41:58 PM EST

If Republicans and Democrats are against it, clearly they can do something about it. OTOH, if they're NOT against it, it would still make sense to pretend so, since most of the voters are the people who get fucked in the ass by this. The logical conclusion is that there are crocodile tears involved in this one.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

republican != democrat != plutocrat (nt) (none / 0) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:45:31 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Addtionally (2.87 / 8) (#40)
by Armada on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:14:02 AM EST

I don't mean to hijack this story, but there's been a number of things that would seem to indicate a rush to statism suddenly.

First off, you've got the courts eliminating states rights in medical marijuana cases.

Then, you've got the cases like this one:
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-censor22.html

So a government-paid official requiring "verification" of a paper funded by government money is bad now?

What happened to these student papers supposedly being the bastion of free press? See, to me this signals two things:

  1. Government money is being used as bribe.
  2. I need to get the fsck out of this country.
The more I look at other countries the more appealing they become.

BOO FUCKING HOO (2.75 / 28) (#43)
by Peahippo on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:38:18 AM EST

By hell, this chaps my britches! Oh, look, America finally notices ... when some Northeasterner has been inconvenienced by something that the Midwesterners have encountered for years. Did everyone fucking forget that Ohio and Michigan were in the top 5 states for abuses of Eminent Domain? (Note: These practices cannot be called "abuses" any longer, since the SCOTUS gave such things the green light.)

The reason that America didn't care two shakes of a fuckwit's tail is that being a blue-collar Midwesterner is the next best thing to being a nigger in the coaster viewpoint. "Get a job." "Buy an SUV and be happy." "Re-train." "Buy a bigger house while the interest rates are LOW-LOW-LOW." "Learn to say 'do you want fries with that?'." These elitist insults were all we fucking heard from the yuppie class that didn't give a cuntfuck when in response to economic collapse, rafts of private property were seized in Ohio and Michigan for this "economic development" BULLSHIT. Nader's been all over this issue like a Jimmy hat. But what do we hear from the coasters about Nader? "Waaaah! Nader cost Gore the election!! Nader's an egotistical maniac!!! WAAAAAAAAH!!!!"

But bother a Connecticuttian, and -- oh dear! -- NOW it's some sort of issue.

Well, too late, you fuckers. Too late by DECADES! If they could confiscate our property here in the Midwest, they will eventually get around to taking your blueblood property on the coasts. Injustice anywhere in a nation is a threat to justice everywhere else in the nation (to steal a bit of MLK's quote).

So eat it like hot death, you pukes. Fascism is coming in America like the world has never seen before. The government will function to support corporate profits pretty much on a 24x7 basis, and the rest of the working class will just have to learn to like licking executive ballsweat for their daily watering.

(Note that Ohio and Michigan are still prototyping American Fascism. If you don't realize that, you really don't know anything about American culture.)


i've always enjoyed your posts (none / 1) (#44)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:41:12 AM EST

mainly because they make me feel sane


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
"Feeling" sane ... (2.81 / 11) (#50)
by Peahippo on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:18:58 AM EST

... is about as close as you're going to get to "being" sane, Conquistador. Isn't it time for you to return to cheering on the troops? Domestic events are just a distraction for the real purpose in your life, aren't they?: selling the American Empire. Well, the Empire requires blood and guts at home as well as abroad, so this Eminent Domain thing should be right up your alley. All the gub'mint would have to do to please you is say a property is being confiscated and given to a corporation that "donates to fight violence against women in Afghanistan" -- then with your Neo-Liberal agenda, you'd be all for it.

From hundreds of other of your postings, it's quite obvious that you're not interested in Liberty, since that just means people are at liberty to do things you don't like. So I find it mystifying that you have taken an adversarial tone with the Eminent Domain "rape case". The expansion of the power of ED means more highly educated Liberals taking shit away from redneck fuckers who had the temerity to understand the US Constitution (hence thinking that their private property was protected from confiscation by people with more money). That's right up your fucking alley, Conquistador: using the force of the nation-state to take things from individuals.

Like you ironically said to Baldrson recently: KEEP TALKING. You dig a deeper hole with that Imperial cake-hole you call a mouth with each word you utter.

{gasps and points} OH NO! Quick, quick, Conquistador! Look over there! There's a private home, and on the steps is its owner, yelling "nigger get off my property"! We need to take that house away and safely tuck it into a corporation property, where there are properly civilized rules against offensive speech. It's the only way, Conquistador! It's the Brave New World! Don't you recognize it?


[ Parent ]
i love you (1.00 / 3) (#75)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:24:10 PM EST

i really do

you don't know how much i enjoy your posts

you had me laughing out loud on that one

you make me feel like i am in a saturday morning cartoon

so hysterically and comically stereotyped

just cut to the chase and call me gargamel

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

WTF? (none / 1) (#148)
by Peahippo on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:53:13 PM EST

so hysterically and comically stereotyped

But that's just the sad point of it: It's not a false observation. This hysterical and comical stereotype is EXACTLY descriptive of how you are. You ARE the truth that's stranger than fiction.

{dismissive hand wave} Like I said before, you're late for your latest round of selling the American Empire, Conquistador.


[ Parent ]
you just called me a conquistador (none / 0) (#162)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 01:12:16 AM EST

But just the sad point of it: It's not a false observation. This hysterical and comical stereotype is EXACTLY descriptive of how you are.

ok, then where's my pretty helm?

i believe conquistadors get to wear this really cool spanish helm with a wicked ridge in the middle, right?

that would be sweet, i could sell it on ebay for a fortune!

;-P

are you ok dude?

why are you so hysterical?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yowsa.. (none / 1) (#174)
by The Amazing Idiot on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:17:58 AM EST

Peahippo's trippin again..

Gargamelerr umm, CTS, go get him his meds, please?

Really, his last post had me laughing too.. Crazy shit he says.

[ Parent ]

You Morion. (none / 0) (#176)
by guidoreichstadter on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:35:10 AM EST

n/t


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
Poletown was overturned (none / 1) (#55)
by Blarney on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:36:41 AM EST

In Michigan, the recent Wayne v. Hathcock Supreme Court case gave the court an opportunity to overturn their earlier Poletown ruling that had allowed eminent domain to be used to turn property over to private corporations in the first place.

Poletown was the case which gave every other state this bad idea that it was okay to condemn property and turn it over to a big corporation, reasoning that the increased tax revenue would be a public use. Now the original court which enacted this bad law has revisited it's decision, and changed it's mind. It's like sorry about that, other 49, it really was stupid and we were wrong.

So Michigan probably won't be seeing this crap again anytime soon. But people elsewhere had better look out.

[ Parent ]

You miss the point (none / 1) (#66)
by bml on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:29:29 AM EST

(Note: These practices cannot be called "abuses" any longer, since the SCOTUS gave such things the green light.)

That is precisely the point, and it hadn't happened before anywhere. So relax.

The Internet is vast, and contains many people. This is the way of things. -- Russell Dovey
[ Parent ]

Squandered opportunity (2.50 / 4) (#88)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:01:54 PM EST

I find disturbing your attitude of "Enjoy it fuckers and die." It is fatalist, vengeful, and counterproductive.

It would be much better to say "Only now do you understand what we were talking about." Look at it this way, you now have an opportunity to reverse the trend in your own state and perhaps even help spearhead a movement that will not only set things right but perhaps compensate for past indiscretions.

We could, for example, make a law so that not only must fair market value be paid, but it must be adjusted over time to reflect improvements in the property--to be paid for by those who develop it. As a result, they may take my house, but if the property doubles in value, I would receive a check from the current owner for the value of the improvement. If this makes developing the property twice as expensive, this is the cost for doing business this way. Alternatively, we could make it so that the former property owners receive a share in the revenue or taxes derived from the property.

Now, you may argue that the government should never have this right at all and I agree. So, after we pass these laws and apply them retroactively, we then proceed to draft an amendment so that it doesn't happen again.

But, no, you'd rather say: "Too late, you fuckers. Too late."

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Determining Market Value (none / 0) (#121)
by Arkaein on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:35:10 PM EST

I've been thinking about a good way to determine fair value for eminent domain, and while I think you're on the right track with your idea of changing property value, I think it's a bit too complex. After all, why should the money I get be dependent on the bastards who took my home to run a good business. This would be like a compulsive lottery.

I think best approach, both simple and effective, would be to pay everyone fair market value times X for taken property, where fair market value is determined by recent property tax evaluations, and X > 1.0. This reflects the fact that the only people willing to accept normal market value for property are people actually willing to move/sell. If you like your home it's worth a lot more to you than if you want to unload it. I would say X should probably be between 1.5 and 2.0.

I also thought about a method where the government would be required to actually negotiate for property like any other buyer, but this would allow a single property owner to block eminent domain in cases where a public good would be created, and would also likely lead to corruption where public officials setup sweet deals for friend property owners.

----
The ultimate plays for Madden 2005
[ Parent ]

fair market value (none / 1) (#134)
by speek on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:56:17 PM EST

Shouldn't that be however much the land owners are willing to sell it for, voluntarily?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Simple Solution (none / 1) (#169)
by Xptic on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 05:26:54 AM EST

Let the property owner set the value of the property.

Do you have 100 acres in the middle of swampland that you couldn't sell to anyone?  Value it at $1/acre.  The city is then required to tax you for $100 of property.  If they decide to take it, they have to pay you $100.

Have .25 acre on the riverfront with a dock and a nice house?  Value it at $1m per acre.  You pay $250k worth of taxes and if the government takes it, they give you $250k.

Have an acre on the edge of the city where your kids grew up?  Then value it at $10m and get ready to pay a shit-load of taxes.

At least you'll know no one would ever take it.

[ Parent ]

fair markert value (none / 0) (#178)
by Arkaein on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:48:52 AM EST

that's what I suggested in my final paragraph, however I stated that I believe that there are a few potential problems with it that will not occur with a simple "flat rate" system based on property taxes. To recap:
  1. One person could block a huge project, even if dozens or hundreds of others are willing to sell. This could be a problem, as roads, etc. do have to be built somewhere.
  2. Corruption. Businessman with lots of government contacts sets a huge price for his property, the government buys it and he makes out like a bandit. The governent officials receive lots of donations to fuel their reelection campaigns. The taxpayers get screwed. This is also a potential problem with the set your own price solution propsed by Xptic directly above this reply.
These reasons are why I believe a property tax based pricing system is about as fair as we can get. Everyone gets reasonable compensation, government can't as easily throw huge amounts of money to already wealthy property owners for unjust reasons (well technically this depends on the factor X that is paid above and beyond assessed value, but I believe a reasonable compromise is around 1.5 times actual value). Not any more thatn they can under the current system, at any rate.

----
The ultimate plays for Madden 2005
[ Parent ]

Just compensation (none / 0) (#222)
by Mousky on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 04:35:16 PM EST

What people are forgetting is that fair market value is usually one component of the offer to a property owner. A return on investment, various legal costs, moving costs, property taxes and so on are also included in the offer. That is where the "just compensation" part is supposed to kick in. It's not just about fair market value.

[ Parent ]
I found it disturbing ... (none / 1) (#149)
by Peahippo on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:03:22 PM EST

... that before some Northeasterner was bothered with this bullshit, that it really wasn't an issue. After all, the grabbing of private property for other private use was just something happening in the "flyover".

THAT is what you should be disturbed about, chump.

So stick it right up your fucking ass. Squawk all you like, but it IS TOO LATE. The highest court in the land has interpreted the US Constitution too broadly, and decided that money overrides property rights, and that will likely set the tone for the next 75 years.

Be disturbed by THAT instead. You know, the message, not the messenger; the words, not the tone? Fuckweed.

P.S. American Fascism is STILL being prototyped in the Midwest. If I were you, I'd keep a sharp eye out for abuses of rights in America's heartland. The politicians here certainly don't listen to the citizens, so perhaps they'll listen when the yuppie coasters start squealing ... kind of like the 1960s civil rights thing, when Northerners were showing up in the South and making their OWN noise about racial injustice.


[ Parent ]
I don't know why the hell... (2.00 / 2) (#154)
by DavidTC on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:31:19 PM EST

...you think it's other people's job to be upset what is happening where you are.

Of course, now it's every American's job, because the Supreme Court okayed it.

Before that, however, it was you letting your elected officals get away with whatever they wanted, and you were not even bothering to take them to court over it. It's not like other people could do that for you.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Look, chump (2.00 / 2) (#160)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:49:12 AM EST

I was less concerned with your tone than that part of your message which says "it is too late." On this, I call bullshit. It's not too late. We can provide relief for those already affected and we can change the constitution to make certain that it cannot be reinterpreted this way again.

That is what I'm talking about since apparently this wasn't clear enough for you.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
W00t! (none / 0) (#211)
by Peahippo on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 09:06:46 PM EST

Look, chump, the Congress is far more likely to push through the amendment proposal to make flag-burning illegal, than actually looking after the rights of the common man at all. THAT is why it's TOO LATE.

I stand by my statements 110%. It's too late. America now wants Fascism so bad that it can culturally TASTE IT. I can well give you points for wanting otherwise, but with every day your class of person shops at Wal*Mart, we lose more of the common wealth and must sink into the mire of wage --- then chattel -- slavery.

And slaves really aren't allowed to own property.

See you in the funny papers. America turns more and more into a horror novel every year. *I* don't intend to stick around for the Final Chapter.


[ Parent ]
Become a lawyer and fight (none / 0) (#213)
by nymia_g on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 11:13:19 PM EST

I find the theme of your arguments a bit defeatist, accepting it as if it will be the final outcome. No way, dude. As long as you keep singing the blues, you're just helping the system sink a little lower. You can effect a change, though, only if you become a lawyer and fight.

[ Parent ]
BOO HOO! (2.00 / 2) (#109)
by Mr.Surly on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:26:21 PM EST

I've been a leech on the average American tax payer with my farm subsidies, now I want to whine like a little girl about how I was too much of a pussy to take the issue to the Supreme Court "decades ago"!

Oh well, I guess I'll roll over and get fucked in the ass right after I cash my check.

[See?  I can be a dipshit, too.  Next time, try to contribute.]


[ Parent ]

Encourage (3)! (none / 0) (#131)
by gr3y on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:22:24 PM EST

Righteous.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Not just Midwesterners (none / 0) (#193)
by jmc on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 08:00:46 PM EST

Eminent domain has been used for decades to take private property for corporate development in "blighted areas." For example, Bush made millions graciously eradicating blight in Texas.

You might ask what else could be done with an area so overrun by Phytophthora infestans that we'll never grow a potato or tomato there for centuries. But in previous cases, the blight did not refer to toxic fungi, but rather to its social equivalent: black, brown, or poor Homo sapiens. Only in more recent years was it discovered that blue-collar Midwesterners also belong to this unfortunate species.

Welcome to the club, middle-class, white Yankees! Enjoy the potatoes.

[ Parent ]

Your erudition ... (none / 0) (#209)
by Peahippo on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 08:09:39 PM EST

... essentially makes my point without resorting to using "fuck", "cunt" or "bastard" once.

How do you do it? If *I* had written "Letter from Birmingham Jail", I would have come up with new and interesting ways of telling the clergy to go "fuck themselves with barbed crosses". I can't seem to express anger or disgust these days without resorting to the strongest epithets.

Kudos, Sirrah. Kudos. (K5udos?)


[ Parent ]
What this comes down to: (3.00 / 9) (#58)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:51:16 AM EST

There's two ways (at least) to read the Constitution: the original intent of the people who penned the wording or as a living, breathing document that changes with the times. Modern jurisprudence revels in the second approach but decisions such as this are the result.

It was clear to the founding fathers what "public use" meant, just as it was clear for them what were the notions behind the establishment clause, the patent provisions, etc. Once you allow for reinterpretation based on modern sensibilities rather than those who originally wrote the document, the law immediately loses its tangibility, comprehensiveness and ultimately the public trust. This is why activists prefer to pursue their minority voices through the courts. If they make enough appeals, eventually they hope to find a court sympathetic to their position and they don't have to go through the effort of actually putting together the votes for their cause (that is, to convince you and me). For them, the legislative process is too expensive and that makes it not worthwhile. The living breathing constitution becomes the target for propaganda by the passionate and not the blind scales of justice. Even if we were charitable and say that the living breathing constitution reflects public opinion, the constitution cannot be reinterpreted to current understanding of certain phrases, but merely the reinterpretation of nine old men and women in D.C., which is hardly a representative sample of public opinion. Besides, this is the role of Congress, not the courts.

The advantage of the originalist's position is that it permits a universally exact understanding of the constitution that is permanent until it is amended. We all know what the wording means at every given point in time: it means what the people who enacted it meant by it and we can open up the history books to re-discover their intent behind a particular phrase. This requires greater activism by the voting public, however, since it means that if we don't like a law, we'll have to get off our fat asses and actually vote to change the constitution which we know isn't an easy feat (getting off our asses, that is; changing the constitution is relatively easier). But still, under this view the ideas behind the Constitution are certain and we end up with the government that we deserve and not simply trust that some unelected lawyers in Washington reinterpret it on our behalf.

George Will is wrong. This is judicial activism, pure and simple. It is purposeful misconstrual of the intent of the constitutional language in order to apply to circumstances in which it was never intended to apply. The role of the courts isn't to limit government but to simply apply the law as it is presented. In this case, SCOTUS said "To hell with what they think they were saying when they enacted the constitution, this is what we 5 people want it to say."

Similarly, one of my favorite decisions was US vs. Lopez which at long last put an end to the constant expansion of the interstate commerce clause to apply to economic circumstances that had nothing to do with interstate commerce (Congress passed a law barring guns from school zones. SCOTUS declared the law unconstitutional in that Congress's ability to regulate commerce among the several states could not be applied to what happens only inside that state.) We should find no surprise that the people who were against Lopez were for Kelo with Kennedy being the deciding factor between these decisions. Their flawed reasoning was best stated by Stevens: "Whether or not the national interest in eliminating that market would have justified federal legislation in 1789, it surely does today." Maybe so, but this neglects the more fundamental question: would the Constitution have permitted it in 1789 and if not, what has changed to permit it?

Anyway, I haven't really read the Kelo decision carefully, but this is a set back for a Supreme Court that has already found itself on the receiving end of Congressional and Presidential wariness and public weariness. And while liberals may not like it, it may be the reason why we may now have both a Chief Justice Scalia and a new arch-conservative justice once Chief Justice Rehnquist retires.

-Soc
I drank what?


well (none / 0) (#87)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:01:41 PM EST

the "ideal" activism of the supreme court is to serve simply as editor: cutting and snipping at what the legislature does, destroying bad laws

the "ideal" scotus is one which simply smacks down the legislative branch now and then: "uh, no, that's a bad law, try again"... and that is ALL it does

when scotus does the opposite, that is, make rulings which proactively suggests new policy, rather than simply negating bad policy the legislature creates, than scotus is really the "activist judge" bogeyman conservatives and liberals hate (depending upon the issue at hand)

of course, smacking down a conservative's bad laws, or smacking down a liberal's bad laws, also gets them the "activist judge" label as well... but that's just sour milk, not a real and accurate criticism of scotus

likewise, the legislature shouldn't write laws which encroach upon scotus's turf either

the legislature should act like the legislature, and scotus should act like scotus

when scotus acts like the legislature, or when the legislature acts like scotus, that's when we get problems


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Judicial activism? (none / 0) (#165)
by roystgnr on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 02:26:23 AM EST

Just the opposite.  Judicial "activism" is when the courts act to change something: a legislature tries to pass a law and the courts overturn it.  This is "judicial inactivism" at its finest - a legislative action which should be invalidated by the fifth and fourteenth amendments gets a free pass instead.

[ Parent ]
Not really... (none / 0) (#220)
by Elendale on Sat Jul 09, 2005 at 05:46:10 PM EST

The advantage of the originalist's position is that it permits a universally exact understanding of the constitution that is permanent until it is amended. We all know what the wording means at every given point in time: it means what the people who enacted it meant by it and we can open up the history books to re-discover their intent behind a particular phrase.

Quick, give me the universally exact understanding of the Ninth Amendment, specifically a listing of the unenumerated rights.

What's that, you say? You can't list them because they're not enumerated? How, then, will i know which ones i have?

Fundamentalist literalism is a bad approach to the Bible. It's worse for something like the Constitution.

(And Scalia only adheres to "original intent" when it suits his purposes--he has more than once claimed unenumerated rights, explicitly asserted by the Ninth Amendment, do not exist just for starters.)


---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Agreed with a But... (3.00 / 4) (#61)
by bobej on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:48:01 AM EST

I'm similarly outraged by this decision, but let's not forget there is still a line of defense in your local government.

Quick, name your city councilman and county commissioner...

Very true, but (none / 1) (#64)
by minerboy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:40:03 AM EST

The problem is that local politics is very much a game of who you know. Generally, council decisions are made at thee counttry club, or the local diner, or in a closed smoke filled room. There are "sunshine laws" meant to prevent this, but they are rarely followed. The first thing you have to do is to somehow get a committee member willing to stir up trouble, and who understands the law. We had one that finally forced decision making in to the open meeting for a while. A councilman actually said that the closed door sessions were for him to call someone an SOB if he wanted to (actually, they are to discuss things like personnel decisions, things that would fall under privacy laws). Our school board still debates in private, and only votes in public. The problem is that the level of effort required to sort this out, and make it right is significant. Add to that that since this is an old boy network, being right will not keep you from earning a significant number of enemies. Still from time to time, if you can generate enough people, you can get the councilmen to take notice. Then again, it also helps to get to know one or two on a personal level.



[ Parent ]
i agree (none / 0) (#78)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:31:21 PM EST

that renewed interest in local government is a positive effect of this ruling

except a positive effect of more minor import

local governments are not as transparent and much more easily corruptible, regardless of the local activism involved


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Old news (none / 1) (#65)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:48:58 AM EST

Years ago, the city stole the house my GF's family had lived in for 35 years, and gave it to a Big Evil Business. This was no surprise to me.
Information wants to be beer.
Missing the Big Picture (2.66 / 3) (#70)
by thelizman on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:54:04 AM EST

The job of a judiciary - and this even applies to the 'Highest Court in the Land' - is to rule in terms of what the body of law allows. There is nothing in the Constitution, or any lower body of law, which specificially forbids the Government from taking property from an individual. It's simply a natural right we've taken for granted, particularly in this day and age where people have come to the notion that a right not expressly delegated is merely a privilege. The fifth amendment to the bill or rights gives governments the right to take property 'for public use' after 'just compensation'. If the government deems that a public use is to reallocate property from private residential purposes to a commercial purpose (and thus providing jobs), then so far its within its rights. What people need to do is, instead of getting all pissed off and stockpiling weapons, go to their elected officials in their respective States and in the US Congress and demand legislation which specifically protects their property rights against marauding governments doing the bidding of mindless developers. As for the people of New London, I would say this: Be not so proud and noble as to think yourself above dragging your elected City Officials into the street and hanging them from the tallest lampposts in front of City Hall. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots." Preferrably the tyrants.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
except that (none / 0) (#76)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:27:28 PM EST

protections for the less moneyed assumed to flow from the very top is now explicitly expected to be provided by more easily corruptible local officials

if you have less recourse, that means something, the effect is palpable, local developers are now emboldened, no?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Emboldened? No. Empowered. (none / 0) (#95)
by thelizman on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:10:35 PM EST

Trust me, I don't know anyone - aside from New London city officials and a particular starry-eyed developer in Connecticut - that is happy with the Supreme Court's rulings. But it is technically correct. Everyone complains about Judicial Activism when it doesn't work in their favor, and the same people complain when judges fail to 'excercise common sense' and rule in their favor.

And this act is nothing new. This is just the most visible, high profile scandal in a long line of abuses by government with respect to individual property rights. The mere fact that governments collect taxes on property is evil, and poorly justified. But now we have a case where taxation coupled with graft is exploited by a greedy pig to undermine the basic human rights of individuals.

It's completely undemocratic. Things like this is why those militia nuts are starting to look less nuts to everyday people.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
#9, #9, #9, #9 (none / 1) (#86)
by minerboy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:41:12 PM EST

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people



[ Parent ]
Selective Reading (none / 0) (#94)
by thelizman on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:52:33 PM EST

Go back to the fifth amendment. Read towards the end. Thank you for your pedantic participation.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Not quite (none / 1) (#101)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:47:18 PM EST

First of all, it is the job of the courts to interpret the constitution, as applied to actual situations.  The question in this case is whether or not the constitution allowed the city of New London to take the petitioners land for the purpose of economic development.  It is therefore up to the courts to decide whether economic development is a public use.

I would also bring up the point that if you read the 5th amendment, it doesn't really give the government the right to do anything with regard to eminent domain.  It is a restrictive clause which grants rights to the people.  The real source of eminent domain is the Necessary and Propper clause, which says that the government can do what is necessary and propper to excersize its enumerated powers.  The 5th amendent assumes this, clerifies that the power which already existed was to take land for "public USE" and then procedes to require that the government pay just compensation.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]

What people need to do (none / 0) (#125)
by starX on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:00:32 PM EST

What people need to do is, instead of getting all pissed off and stockpiling weapons, go to their elected officials in their respective States and in the US Congress and demand legislation which specifically protects their property rights against marauding governments doing the bidding of mindless developers

What people need to do is

  1. Get pissed off.
  2. Bring this case to the attention of their local officials, and put said politicians or hopefuls in a position where they have to make on the record comments.  Make sure these comments are publicized
  3. Apply step 2 to state and federal officials, press them for legislation that will make this sort of thing illegal.
  4. Consider whether they are willing to kill construction workers and/or police officers, and/or innocent bystanders, and get themselves and their families killed in the process, then proceed to stockpile weapons or not
I somehow think no one will expend any of the energy required for these steps without first completing step 1.

"I like you starX, you disagree without sounding like a fanatic from a rock-solid point of view. Highfive." --WonderJoust
[ Parent ]
The problem with eminent domain (3.00 / 3) (#90)
by xC0000005 on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:06:02 PM EST

is that it offers something to the public at large, and any time you offer a large group of people something in return for stepping on a smaller group, they'll take it.  Argue if you will that the things offered are insubstantial or unproven, but do so elsewhere, as America has a long love affair with the "potential of gain".  

That's why things like the lottery do so well - sure it hurts the poor, but every person buying a ticket sees that this just might be the winner, and it could be him.  The same thing drives tax cuts that help the wealthy more than any other - the poor often favor them because "Hey, *I* could be rich some day".

Limiting Eminent domain is a hard sell to many, because of the delusion that "it won't happen to me" combined with the possibility that some personal good might come of it.

"The new Shop-o-Rama 3000 will generate tax revenues that will be earmarked for schools", says the spin.
"If that tax money goes to schools, they won't raise my taxes this year to pay for schools.  Everyone wins!" says John Q public.

You point at the rich person feasting at the table of eminent domain, the average public points to the crumbs they slurp from the floor.  

Fix that, and you can get public support for limiting eminent domain.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't

yeah but (none / 0) (#91)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:21:30 PM EST

this ruling moves towards the world your painting, not away from it

on the basis of your words, you would be angrier than i am at the ruling, not cynically content


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yes. (none / 0) (#98)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:41:18 PM EST

The problem is the constitution doesn't say government can't sieze land, only that it has to pay for it.

What we need now is a campaign to get laws passed in each state prohibiting this bullshit.

It has to be the states - the fed doesn't have authority on these subjects.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

It has to be both [nt] (none / 0) (#104)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:55:18 PM EST


-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#114)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:48:03 PM EST

The feds aren't usually in the habit of seizing property; just making it hard to use the property you have.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#102)
by vhold on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:52:32 PM EST

Why do you point out here that the ruling makes it worse?  Did you somehow end up thinking he agreed with it?

Also, he might be angrier then you.  What makes you think he is content?  Heck, what makes you even think he is cynical here?

He's only trying to say what makes it difficult to argue against eminent domain and it's a great point.

It's hard to just argue simply against it on the grounds of few that either prosper greatly or lose greatly without also being able to argue against the promises that it makes to the many.

It's half the story, you allude to the other half with "in which the benefit to all is rather dubious"

I totally agree it is a gap that needs to be filled.  Are these broken promises to the public?  

[ Parent ]

You are the straw that broke the camel's back! (none / 1) (#96)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:38:56 PM EST

You're the straw that broke the camel's back!
Your vote put this story over the threshold, and it should now appear on the front page. Enjoy!

I just pushed a c2s story to the front page.

I feel.... odd.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?

when i establish my new world order (3.00 / 3) (#100)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:42:38 PM EST

you're life will be spared


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I wished I could've voted this up... (none / 1) (#120)
by Skywise on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:24:42 PM EST

I ...

I need a shower...

Clean... must be... clean...

[ Parent ]

I... (none / 1) (#124)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:56:29 PM EST

did not know... william shatner posted... on kuro5hin ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand the fuss being made (2.80 / 5) (#103)
by the on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:54:41 PM EST

The Constitution doesn't endow people with property rights because it's nice for people to have property rights. They were endowed because of the realization that strong property rights lead to a strong government, something that could be observed by the Founding Fathers by looking at the economies of Europe and other places two centuries ago. And why did they want a strong economy? Because people in government benefit financially and otherwise from their countries having strong economies. (An alternative strategy, popular in many African states say, is simply to frame laws that enable you to carve a big piece of the pie. The American strategy works much better, it creates a bigger pie.) So the fundamental point to realise is that although there is a pretense that property rights are fundamental, the truth is that property rights exist only to serve one end, making those in government more powerful or financially better off. So it's no surprise that when there is an immediate short term gain from violating those rights, in the service of increasing government power, that those rights will be violated. Only those who confusedly believe that they have been granted property rights for their own benefit are confused by these moves.

--
The Definite Article
um (none / 0) (#106)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:00:00 PM EST

you either respect the individual or you don't

you're obfuscating the obvious: the scotus ruling moves away from respecting the individual

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Well really they're just making... (none / 0) (#107)
by the on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:04:06 PM EST

...it more obvious that they never respected the individual in the first place. The individual will be respected for as long as it's expedient and for as long as individuals and governments have common interests (which they sometimes, in fact, do).

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
what are you saying? (none / 0) (#108)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:11:57 PM EST

the us govt has been stable and strong becuase it respects the individual

this moves away from that

that's bad

what do you mean "Well really they're just making it more obvious that they never respected the individual in the first place."

they dug up the founding fathers reanimated their corpses and they said "haha! we never respected individual rights! we just wrote that we did!"

are you ok?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

What I'm saying is that... (none / 0) (#113)
by the on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:44:04 PM EST

Respect for the individual has never been an end in itself in any political system, but a means to an end - a powerful government. Occasionally that means will be sacrificed if another means of achieving the same end can be found, especially in the short term.

I'm certainly not claiming that anyone in government is trying to make it clear they never respected the individual in the first place, that's what I'm trying to make clear.

I don't get all that stuff about corpses, but as it seems peripheral to the issue at hand I'll ignore it for now.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

you got problems (none / 0) (#115)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:53:40 PM EST

"Respect for the individual has never been an end in itself in any political system, but a means to an end - a powerful government. Occasionally that means will be sacrificed if another means of achieving the same end can be found, especially in the short term.

so... if the us is founded on a document that clearly states individual rights are respected, you, and no one else in the world, can see that when it is says "individual rights are to be respected" that they scribbled in the margins in invisible ink "haha! just kidding! as long as we get all the marbles!"

who is this magical group of people who is disrespecting individual rights while everyone else seems to understand that we respect them? the illuminati?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Curious response (none / 1) (#119)
by the on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:13:48 PM EST

who is this magical group of people who is disrespecting individual rights
Governments who perform acts that don't respect individual rights, eg. governments that forcibly take homes away from people.

haha! just kidding! as long as we get all the marbles!
Not all the marbles, just a large percentage of them. In the US we fill in a form called a 1040 every year that is used to work out exactly how many marbles we have to hand over. But property rights themselves are a way for people in government to control the allocation of marbles. There's no conspiracy here, it's there in black and white.
you, and no one else in the world
I'd be very surprised if I was the only one. In fact, there's a long tradition in radical American circles of interpreting the Constitution in economic terms as a scheme to keep the marbles in one particular group. The seminal book is probably Beard, Charles A. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1948) and much of Howard Zinn's writing can be understood from this point of view. I don't really subscribe to their point of view except as far as claiming that the Constitution is at least as much about generating and allocating marbles as about rights.
who is this magical group of people who is disrespecting individual rights
Anyone in government who can get away with it.

I'm really not claiming anything mysterious though I'm sure what I say would seem more serious if I didn't use the word 'marbles'. I blame that on you.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

your terms don't match (none / 0) (#122)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:52:47 PM EST

who is this magical group of people who is disrespecting individual rights

Anyone in government who can get away with it.

your concerns about government really are concerns about human nature

the point is to lay down laws and terms that allow for society to fight those who break them

strong respect for individual rights is one such legal framework, which the government can be punished for if it breaks those terms

unless the terms themselves are changed, and then it's time for alarm

the government isn't some sort of bogeyman

it's just people: good bad and ugly

get it?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

See, we agree after all (none / 0) (#127)
by the on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:05:45 PM EST

the government isn't some sort of bogeyman. it's just people: good bad and ugly
I completely agree. The thing that's different about people in government is that when they're bad it affects many people. When I'm bad it only affects a handful of people. So there is more reason for us to be wary of people in government. I might fantasize all day about evil money making schemes I could try out (I don't, but I might). People in government get the opportunity to carry them out. And they do.

your concerns about government really are concerns about human nature
Yes. And just as I don't expect random people in the street to act altruistically towards me, neither do I expect people in government to. So if a legal principle seems to be in my favor my first question is "how did the person who instigated this benefit?". And I never completely rule out the possibility that someone was being altruistic, it's always possible, even if it's usually unlikely. When I look at Constitutional rights my first question is "how did the Framers benefit?". I'm not at all surprised that I see things like a right to property (because many of the Framers had lots of it and didn't want to give it away, and because nations with strong property rights were generally more powerful and so anyone in government would get a piece of that power), but not a right to food even when starving to death (because the Framers generally didn't have a shortage).

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Where? (none / 0) (#132)
by Pseudonym on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:51:59 PM EST

if the us is founded on a document that clearly states individual rights are respected [...]

Where does it say that?

Other than the fifth amendment, of course, since the SCOTUS has decided that it clearly doesn't mean what you think it means.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
I am grateful (none / 0) (#112)
by fhotg on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:39:19 PM EST

as a developer and an as an individual,to have my right to make profit extended, secured and confirmed in this way.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
yepp (none / 0) (#110)
by fhotg on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:31:47 PM EST

and if you cry and kick for justice and for the land to be given back to its rightful owners - you should make a case for the Pequot or however that Algonquin tribe is called.

This of course is nobodys idea. We sympathise with the victims of injustice as long as that could happen to us, treating backward Indians like shit is ok.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

Nicely put. (none / 0) (#123)
by the on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:52:51 PM EST

We sympathise with the victims of injustice as long as that could happen to us
Nicely put. We protest about other people suffering from hardships we identify with because those very same protestations my benefit us in the future. This is of course entirely rational, even if some people might complain that it is selfish.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 0) (#128)
by petersky on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:07:41 PM EST

The Constitution doesn't endow people with rights at all. Let's consider another document, the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." The Constitution merely delineates the powers of the government with respect to the rights of the people.

[ Parent ]
OMG! (3.00 / 4) (#116)
by jd on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:54:45 PM EST

Another issue I agree with circletimessquare! Maybe the world really is coming to an end!

Seriously, I do agree with the points made. I also believe that there are other reasons why this was a bad decision, and I will concentrate on those in this post.

Firstly, businesses are based on capitalism, free trade and market forces. Those are the reasons for having the concept of business entities, rather than having everything run by a central authority.

Capitalism is based on the theory of private ownership and personal gain as a means of improving society as a whole. On that basis, if someone owns some property, that betters them and therefore betters society. Depriving them of that land worsens them and therefore worsens society. We're not talking here about what I agree with or believe in, but rather about a cornerstone on which business is built.

Free trade requires that things be bought and sold without a-priori constraint. This cuts both ways - it is not only a violation of free trade to prohibit the sale of something, it is ALSO a violation of free trade to demand it.

The theory of market forces is that economic systems are self-regulating - that, provided monopolies aren't achieved, things will balance themselves out in the long-run.

Again, I don't completely buy into the free trade or market forces beliefs. My point is that businesses do. And yet, the same businesses that (supposedly) buy into all of these rights and self-balancing systems now want the Government to intervene on their behalf so that they can get cheap land.

Sorry, but if all of these beliefs worked as they are supposed to, then corporations and businesses wouldn't NEED Government interference to get what they need. It would all "just happen", because that is how the system is supposed to work.

Now, if the system does NOT work that way, and Government interference in the economy IS required for stability, then businesses should stop complaining whenever the Government makes decisions not in their favour. You can't have it both ways - either they should let the economy run itself, or they should intervene when EITHER side of the fence oversteps the bounds.

But, no, they don't like that. Microsoft argued that the courts should stay out of technological decisions, during the Windows 98 browser lawsuit. Companies have managed to stifle municipal wireless networks in many States. Many corporations complained vigorously after the Enron fiasco - not over an amazing lack of monitoring, but because businesses were being investigated at all.

Now consider another aspect to all this. What if some of those people evicted were running their own cottage industry? Who gets the protection, as these are then both businesses? Well, that's obvious. The cottage industry doesn't count, as only the Big Players "matter" to the economy.

HP started in a garage. Microsoft started in a college room. Apple started in a kitchen. Many of the "Big Players" who were around when these started are now nothing more than a footnote in history. True, this doesn't always happen, but the point is that it happens at all. These companies that promise huge revenues for the towns, cities and States can't guarantee they'll even be in business next year. It may be likely, but it's not guaranteed.

The practical upshot of all this is that there is no provable benefit to having the corporations there, and no provable lack of benefit for leaving the people there. It is not based on a demonstrable benefit, it is purely an act of speculation.

The US Government isn't allowed to play the stock markets, where all they can lose is money, so why should it be allowed to speculate on property, where the potential losses are much higher?

I also find it fascinating that Americans are so aware they don't have much history. Err, the houses being demolished are Victorian. If you don't have much history, it's because it has been reduced to piles of rubble. You can't have something you never keep.

Not quite (none / 1) (#135)
by Shajenko on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:56:24 PM EST

Firstly, businesses are based on capitalism, free trade and market forces.
Really businesses are based on making money, period. The things you mention are really just means to an end. Which is why they're perfectly willing to discard them and endorse the opposite when it interferes with their primary purpose.

[ Parent ]
Government is a commodity (none / 0) (#167)
by svampa on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 04:44:50 AM EST

Government shouldn't control what corporations can or can't do, government should control that corporations don't get too big.

If corporations get too big, no matter what laws allow or forbide. Laws, even constitution, can be changed for the better buyer. If you leave capitalism go free, so corporations get really big, then government becomes a weapon that can be bought or at least rented, you only need to have money enought.

I think it's too late. That is where we are now



[ Parent ]
I'm with Kelo (none / 0) (#126)
by FreeNSK on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:05:39 PM EST

I have covered this issue on my blog and I support Kelo. I have read the most of the US Supreme Court ruling 04-108.

Dissenting Justice O’Connor, J., says “Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result” (I quoted from Supreme Court of United States case 04-108, O’Connor, J., dissenting, 13, in page 39).


=== NSK ===


careful with your terms (none / 0) (#130)
by circletimessquare on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:14:09 PM EST

i thought by "i'm with kelo" and "I support Kelo" that you meant you agreed with how kelo v new london was settled

if you look at most media, when people say "kelo" they mean the case, not the woman in the case

yes, i know, confusing

what you should say is "i'm with susan kelo" or "i'm against new london" or even better "i disagree with how kelo was decided"

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

What a silly thing to nitpick about (none / 0) (#137)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:59:12 PM EST

When you could see what he meant was obvious from the body of his post.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
It's never silly to be clear. (3.00 / 2) (#143)
by Spendocrat on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:12:23 PM EST

That you see it as obvious does not mean that others will. Being as clear as possible is always a good idea.

[ Parent ]
Well, yes its better be clear (none / 0) (#145)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:22:41 PM EST

My only point was that it probobly wasn't worth posting about. Of course, ironically, my comment and yours and now this one are all even more ridiculous.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
Horrible rubbish (1.00 / 3) (#129)
by tweetsygalore on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:12:24 PM EST


It's too bad, I think, that the Supreme Court Justices and many,
if not most, federal, state and local judges lead such rarefied
lives and are so far removed and insulated from the consequences
and ravages of their decisions.

We need more judges that TRULY speak for the people and not
just the ones who rule simply because THEY HAVE THE GOLD!

Best
C

After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan

I disagree (none / 0) (#138)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:02:29 PM EST

I think this was a stupid decision but it is very important that Judges be somewhat insulated from the public.  The judiciary's role is to indepenently interpret the law, in such a manner that it protects the rights of all those that it applies to, not just the majority.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
Immediate action (3.00 / 3) (#139)
by doormat on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:03:23 PM EST

Dateline: Freeport, TX: Freeport moves to seize 3 properties

With Thursday's Supreme Court decision, Freeport officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.

|\
|/oormat

A republic, mam, if you can keep it. (none / 1) (#140)
by nuclear war is a motherfucker on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:15:51 PM EST

Thats exacctly it.  ALwyas thought in the past like the government was some sort of...isntitution...that institutions were somehow...solid
but reallly they are just the law of man, in the true locke sense.
A republc, mam, if you can keep it, means that the will of the majority could at any time alter the wisdom of the few in setting up a republic which resisted the tyranny of the majority over the minority.
It is this tyrany which governments prvent, this is their purpose
Therefore, courts should be indepentend of the politicians, so that the republic can remain somewhat solid.
The house is the least firm of hte parts of government, the presidency somewhat more firm than that
The cenate is then the most firm of the politicaisn.
But the courts, the courts are the judges of what is right and constitutional.
But for something to be constitutional is only that, not right.
Therefore the republic is only as good as its people let it be, as constitutional amendments can destroy it
but it is also only as strong as its judges, who protect the status quo

A republic is an active thing (none / 0) (#142)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:57:15 PM EST

In a way, more active than a democracy.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
Tsk, tsk, Circletimessquare (none / 0) (#141)
by hershmire on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:32:53 PM EST

Fearmongering at a time like this? There's more important stuff to worry about than the ever-constant erosion of personal freedoms in America. Don't you know there's been a murder in Aruba? That shit is the scary stuff, man.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
The scary thing about that is... (none / 0) (#175)
by beergut on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:29:41 AM EST

... that the American people are getting a look at Dutch/Aruban rules of evidence.

For instance, they habeas no corpus, but they've kept these guys in jail for weeks now, without charging them.

My biggest fear is that the girl will be found, dead (maybe because of something one of these guys let slip, and maybe not, but we'll never know,) and the American sheeple will say, "Yeah, we need a system like THAT!"

Gone will be any vague semblence of Constitutional protections and guarantees of speedy trial, of being charged with a crime, and the habeas corpus protections. I realize that these protections have already been gutted in the name of the War on Some Drugs, and the War on Ter and Terrace, anyway, but why do more damage?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#144)
by codejack on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:18:51 PM EST

Does this make you anti-american?


Please read before posting.

Just to note (none / 1) (#146)
by godix on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:40:15 PM EST

It's been said several times that to fight this people need to look to local politics. Not necessarily, this can be fought on the state level. States can, and many do, put limits on government power that are not there at the federal level. All it would require is passing a law specifying that any property seized by eminent domain can be not be transfered to a private owner for X years (where X is a lengthy time, 40 or 50 years would be good). If need be your states constitution could be amended (a difficult task but not nearly as difficult as amending the US Constitution). If you truly care about this issue put pressure at the state level rather than the local level.

Similarly, Congress could pass a law limiting eminent domain but given the courts decision that law might be overturned. Of course, there's a very good chance that the makeup of SCOTUS will change soon and Bush has promised strict constitutionalist nominees. If he keeps that promise (big if) a challenge to a federal law limiting eminent domain powers might end up being a chance for SCOTUS to reverse itself.

Battling this would be a lengthy fight that would frequently be lost at the local level. It'd be easier to fight on a state and federal level and fall back to local level if you lose there.

Long story made short: if you care about this and want to stop eminent domain abuse then contact your state legislator and congresscritter to demand a limit on eminent domain. If you have access to news media use it since political reality is that if the public at large isn't ticked off by something then the big business money machines will roll right over you.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

National level (none / 1) (#147)
by benna on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:51:10 PM EST

The federal government could pass a such a limit (without the threat of being struck down) but the problem would be that it would only apply to federal eminent domain.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#155)
by DavidTC on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:34:54 PM EST

...Bush has promised strict constitutionalist nominees...

Bush is lying. Or at least have a different opinion about what 'strict constitutionalist' means than anyone else.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Indeed. (none / 0) (#177)
by beergut on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:43:17 AM EST

Look for him to appoint our new AG, Gonzales to the bench. He's already made it through one Senate confirmation, so he's likely to make it through another. This is the guy who'll be the Chief Justice.

I'm a little shaky about a Chief Justice Scalia, though I agree with most of Scalia's positions, as he has some sort of personal War-on-Some-Drugs bug up his ass. A Chief Justice Thomas would help to soothe my nerves, though the Chief-Justiceship doesn't do a lot for the decisions of the court, but provides someone to provide over Presidential Impeachment trials in the Senate.

He had a reasonably good Constitutional Originalist in one of his attempts to nominate to the Circuit, though I forget the name now. I'd like to see that guy hauled up to the Supreme Court bench.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Congress doesn't have that authority. (none / 0) (#202)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 09:48:34 AM EST

Congress simply doesn't have the authority to regulate property siezures.

It would take a constitutional ammendment or, alternately, laws at teh state level.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

For the most part true (none / 0) (#206)
by godix on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 04:28:45 PM EST

The federal government just isn't involved in eminent domain cases but my idea for going for a law of the federal level was meant more for the publicity value than actually helping the problem. The ways politics work is that if a problem is swept under the rug by the media then it disappears from most people radar. In order to get actual change done at the state level would require public pressure. In order to get the public to put pressure on requires media to keep this issue in the publics face. I figure if Congress takes on this issue with a law it will help keep medias attention focused on the issue. Just look at the  Schivo (sp?) case for example. Congress and Bush were pretty ineffective from a legal standpoint but from a press standpoint their actions were very significant.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
No more pretending (3.00 / 9) (#150)
by pms101 on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:05:04 PM EST

Today, officially, there is no such thing as private property in the US (or most other "civilized" countries.) In fact, there hasn't been for years.

What does owning land get you?

  • Property tax is rent, in every meaningful sense of the word. Until recently you couldn't be tossed off at your landlord's whim, but the "lease terms" could be arbitrarily changed at any time. As an exercise: how is the money paid for land different from a regular security deposit?

  • In many US states, cities can involuntarily annex outlying areas, with no pretense that they are interested in anything but extra slaves to extort taxes from. Your property is suddenly worth less because it costs more to "own", and you're stuck with it just like a serf.

  • You can't use your property for whatever you want: even painting your house takes a permit in many areas of the totalitarian north, and cutting the grass is required by law. I once lived in a place where renting a house required periodic inspections by the city: they showed up and checked for work done without a building permit. Forcing landlords to request these "inspections" got them around the need for search warrants, just like regular Building Code inspections.

  • Even in the relatively free south, it's not unusual for zoning laws to be imposed that completely destroy the value / usefulness of land - more common, in fact, than the absence of zoning causing a problem. The Wetlands and Endangered Species laws can have the same effect (removing all right to use land one has paid for, with no recourse and no escape.)

If this story has any importance, it's that the government is no longer bothering to pretend otherwise. Apparently the money to be made by seizing property outweighs the need to preserve the illusion that we're not serfs. Maybe they see the end in sight?

Actually, if every single one of the bastards that voted for this lost their next election, and so did anyone else who tried it, it would slow things down for a while (or hasten the day that elections become "not required under the Constitution.") I understand the Framers' reasons for putting the Supreme Court beyond any sort of accountability to anyone... I bet they never dreamed just how bad things would get in only 200 years. I expect most of them would have preferred staying British!

difference (none / 0) (#153)
by forgotten on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:26:19 PM EST

you can sell your land to someone else, and you can buy any land for sale (that you can afford).

--

[ Parent ]

Sure... (none / 1) (#158)
by fyngyrz on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:17:24 AM EST

You can buy more property.

And the government can arbitrarily tax, invade at will, and take for any purpose (and this decision does mean "any purpose", believe it) , your new purchase as well.

I submit that "buying" loses its meaning when "keeping" is entirely at the whim of those with influence and power, rather than a citizen's rights and society's honoring those rights.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

whilst not in favor of the new ruling (none / 0) (#159)
by forgotten on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:42:23 AM EST

arguments about tax, zoning, etc., have nothing to do with this issue.

It is analagous to saying that paying tax on your salary means you are a slave.

--

[ Parent ]

Yes, it is. You're exactly right. (3.00 / 6) (#161)
by fyngyrz on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:55:55 AM EST

When I am forced -- by threat of loss of freedom, property, income, family -- to pay taxes which I know are going to be used to pay for things that are morally repugnant to me -- ranging from the war on Iraq, government printing religious vomit on money, government making drug war on its citizens, government decreeing what sex acts are ok, and what are not, who can marry and who cannot, and now paying the salaries of people who will steal the land from other citizens -- then yes, slavery is precisely the situation at hand.

Glad you pointed it out. Precisely the appropriate word.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Better? (none / 0) (#183)
by artis on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:57:12 PM EST

I'm sure you have a better, working idea of how society should function...
--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter if I do or not... (none / 0) (#184)
by fyngyrz on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 01:25:25 PM EST

...that is the nature of slavery. Lack of control, Lack of self-determination.

Certainly there are better ideas than throwing people in jail for drugs. Certainly there are better ideas than attacking a sovereign country on contrived "evidence." And yes, certainly there are better ideas than letting any two idiots outvote a genius or even given equal mental capacity, letting two uninformed nincompoops outvote an informed, rational expert.

It is not an issue as to whether I have ideas (though I certainly do), or whether smarter, more rational people than I have better ones than I -- the issue is that those ideas have no chance of being tried.

Because of this, it appears to me that your concern over whether such ideas would work is truly putting the cart before the horse.

The two concerns that I have are that no idea, regardless of its merits, can be tried in the face of the idiot "my country, right or wrong" mired system we're enslaved by, and that the majority can't think their way out of a paper bag when it comes to the membrane-thin, sophist rationales put forth by society's figureheads to justify such things as mommy laws, outright military invasions, and the radical and corrosive erosion of the rights of the system's citizens.

And before you (or someone else) says it, while I recognize the opportunity for armed revolt as a correcting force, I am appalled by the potential human cost.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

That is the nature of self awareness (none / 0) (#185)
by artis on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 01:36:17 PM EST

There may be better solutions to specific problems, but I see no cure to the overall 'might makes right' problem and that can't be solved by an armed revolt for obvious reasons.
--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
The human condition... (none / 0) (#188)
by fyngyrz on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 03:26:55 PM EST

...is (from time to time) defined by curing specific instances using might. Which indeed does make right.

For instance, when the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor, we solved the problem with might -- a lot of might, applied until they capitulated. Now they're pretty good world citizens (as long as you're not a whale, that is.) That's the very definition of "armed revolt" and it was, in my view, a very good thing. The revolution against England that America undertook was also a good thing in my view. England was a very poor parent, and emancipation -- even if by force -- was called for.

Applying force is not always the wrong answer.

Acting stupidly, on the other hand, is almost always the wrong answer, and when it isn't, it is only the luck of the draw.

Again pointing to the American war of independence, we were lucky enough to have some deep thinkers on our side, and further, we had deep thinkers to form, well, cheesy as it sounds, a more perfect union.

I take all this as evidence that striving for better answers is worthwhile.

But when the system fails to function well and in the process locks out better answers, the system needs attention. America, in my view as an American citizen, is in some fairly deep trouble as far as lawmaking and underlying principles go.

There are better answers.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

"Which indeed does make right." (none / 0) (#195)
by artis on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:08:34 PM EST

If that's so the only better answers are better weapons.
--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
Better weapons have a lot to recommend them. (none / 1) (#196)
by fyngyrz on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 10:30:15 PM EST

See if you think peace is the answer if some reprobate swings a club down on your child's head, splattering his or her brains all over the sidewalk. See if you think peace is the answer if some drunk driver runs over your 14-year old daughter. See if you think peace is the answer if some deadbeat country invades yours on a made-up pretext (and I include Japan in the WWII timeframe and the USA in Iraq right now in that image.) See if you think peace is the answer when some warlord comes and burns your home and kills all the males in your family.

Anyone who truly thinks that peace is the answer to these and other similar immoral attacks has a lot of growing up to do. There are many evil people in this world. Other people are nothing but a side of meat to them. The day innocents truly understand that is the day they leave the sophomoric, happy-assed, drool of "peace at any price" behind. It usually happens when they come face to face with the reality of violence and the reality of violent, immoral people. And it usually happens fast.

Until it does, though, those of us who have faced the matter have to put up with some pretty pathetic bleating from people who have no idea what they are talking about. I don't hold it against them, any more than I hold a child's belief in Santa against the child, but I don't spend any time coddling such foolishness, either.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

No anwers still. (none / 0) (#197)
by artis on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:18:18 AM EST

I'm not suggesting pacifism or militarism or anything at all! Just waiting for you to present your "better" answers. I'm not the one with the absurd belief that the "good" side is always stronger. I'm not the one who cherry-picks when might is right and when it isn't (swinging the club against a child is an act of greater might you surely realize).

Tell me what is the right solution to an invasion you can't repell because they are too mighty? Tell me what is the answer to taxes whithout going back to self imposed leaders who will tax you anyway? Tell me if you have any answers at all.


--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 1) (#203)
by fyngyrz on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 11:30:39 AM EST

I looked through the entire thread; at no point did you ask for an example of what alternatives I might have in mind (nor was that a subject I wandered off into, though I did point out that others have ideas as well.)

With regard to your recent post, I do not think that the "good" side is always stronger, nor did I say anything that implied that, I think, correct me if you think I did, of course. Nor did I say that might was always right.

Tell me what is the right solution to an invasion you can't repell because they are too mighty?

A strong underground resistance. As the French and other nations did in WWII; as the Iraqis are doing right now. When there are invaders, there is no onus upon a population to suffer that invasion peacefully other than what they decide for themselves based upon acceptable risk. That will vary by culture; most people realize that death is inevitable, and there are always those who will risk an early demise for cultural and patriotic motivations, not to mention outrage at certain acts of occupiers that seem to be inevitable -- for instance (but by no means limited to) rape, pillage, and murder.

Tell me what is the answer to taxes whithout going back to self imposed leaders who will tax you anyway?

I believe you have mis-stated the problem here. Government needs funds to do work; the problem isn't the taxes, the problem is what they are used for. One answer is, is to remove authority from government to (for instance) invade other countries, enact mommy laws, steal property, regulate commerce, endorse mythology, and so on. There are very few legitimate government functions, in my view.

I would like to see government consisting of mechanisms for (a) protecting borders against military incursion, (b) maintaining communications and transport infrastructure, (c) educating the populace, (d) maintaining the health of the populace, (e) arbitrating disputes between the citizens.

(b) and (d) are huge jobs with many sub-specialties; (a) is a huge job for the US, as we have a great deal of border to protect, and powerful nations to protect it from; (c) is relatively easy, or it would be, if teaching was a results-oriented and rewarded task rather than a tenure-seeking task; and (e) should be quite easy to manage.

The vast majority of government, as constituted in the US, is superfluous and counterproductive on its best day, and flat-out evil on its worst.

The more power you give to government, the more screwed up your life will become. History shows this over and over; there have been no exceptions. Furthermore, the more power government has, the more things it will do that you will find immoral, making you complicit in those acts by virtue of using the sweat of your brow as represented by your money to accomplish evil. The only bright side is that eventually, they'll piss off the citizens just a bit too much and the government will fail.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Backtrack. (none / 0) (#212)
by artis on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 09:39:32 PM EST

I'm sure you have a better, working idea of how society should function...
Was intended as a query for ideas how a modern taxless society would run (but seems it was based on a misunderstanding).
[..] curing specific instances using might. Which indeed does make right.
This was what got me sidetracked, I guess I must have misread it. I was actually talking about might in the context of property. You were talking about lack of self-determination and my response was intended to be something along the lines of: "what self-determination can there be when most physical resources are distributed more or less haphazardly and said distribution is backed by force?" Short of some technological breakthrough enabling individuals to be completely shielded from other and/or having infinite resources I just don't see having a significant degree of control over ones life.

Please don't mind (too much) my jumping around, that is just the way I think; I can't stay on a topic well and mostly write what I think at the moment. :-/
--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
OK (none / 0) (#186)
by Sgt York on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 01:43:49 PM EST

As an exercise: how is the money paid for land different from a regular security deposit?

My security deposit will not change in value. It will certainly not gain value. OTOH, the money I pay for property has a very good chance of increasing in value. In fact, I could sell my home today for a substantial profit, much better than I would expect from any other investment. (yes, this may or may not be a bubble, but that's another discussion)

Forcing landlords to request these "inspections" got them around the need for search warrants, just like regular Building Code inspections.

This seems like a pretty good argument for owning your own property. If you own the property, they can't inspect without just cause, at least not where I live.

I have to agree with you on the wetlands issue, that has been a problem in some neighboring areas. Annexation, ditto. Houston and it's sprawl are notorious for englufing nearby areas.

However, zoning laws are applied quite rationally here, but that's mostly because landowners are quite active in local politics. I am required by common sense to mow my yard; if I don't, all the mosquitos, fire ants, and other bugs move into my yard. My neighbors would be very happy if I didn't mow.

And I don't think the brits are much better off.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

My thoughts on future of this (3.00 / 2) (#157)
by cataclysmx on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:17:13 AM EST

I have been watching for some time now the ideals take shape of the U.S.A. It would seem as if they are planning to take away the very land that got them there in the first place. These actions could be considered treason against the populace, however the views of the populace are often shaped by the views of those that impose rule. There is always those who always believe what they are told. If they plan on taking the land of the people of the US, perhaps they should understand eventually all the people that work for corporations will have no land and will be living on their corporations land. Thus effectively ending private life all together. It is the disgusting thought of a cold concrete jungle that keeps the nightmares alive. What can be done to prevent money and the need for war and power? Nothing. Man is susceptible to everything that can empower him, their own defence is their level of power. Again the majority loses. I will think more.

I'm probably not the first but (none / 0) (#164)
by Kurosawa Nagaya on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 01:55:37 AM EST

I'd just like to say.... ROR

Bill Maher: You know it always amazes how you coloured folks manage to use the word fuck as a verb, an adverb and a pronoun all in the same sentence.

front page? (1.20 / 5) (#166)
by dimaq on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 02:58:07 AM EST

this made it there? omg! where k5 is coming to!

I'm not an authority on the subject (none / 0) (#170)
by nebbish on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 05:32:56 AM EST

but this seems like a codified version of what happened in the South Bronx in the 1970s, when the City cut off utility supplies to entire blocks and colluded with private landlords who burned down their property, in order to get rent-controlled tenements demolished and clear land for redevelopment.

Haven't really got a point to make here, I'm just saying.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

Actually you are right (none / 1) (#180)
by minerboy on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 10:39:22 AM EST

For the wrong reason. Both cases are examples of government not respecting property rights. In the case of the Bronx, the Renters voted in representatives that refused to remove draconian price controlls on rentals. The owners wanted to sell to developers, but were not allowed to do what they wanted with their own property. In this case, government is again deciding what should be doine with someone else's property. Why do you think the Sociualist leaning Justices were in Favor. A few other interesting cases - Philadelphia (the Move Organization was burned out accidentally after refusing to vacate property,) and in Birmingham, which Bulldozed some Slums for development based on the issue of Urban blight



[ Parent ]
Yeah, rent control is bad enough. (none / 0) (#215)
by DavidTC on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 08:34:33 AM EST

But the idea you can't stop renting to people is idiotic.

Although it is the logical conclusion to rent controls...eventually, other, actually profitable uses for that land will be found, and the owner will leap at the chance.

So what do you do? Well, you could fix the system, or you could just ban them from doing that!

So I don't see how the government colluding with people burning down their own buildings is any worse than the government requiring those people to rent space to others in the first place.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

There's no Privacy left either... (none / 0) (#171)
by mikelieman on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 07:00:52 AM EST

I posted a little ditty to my diary, ( http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/6/24/141251/552 ) about this move to train kids to respond to "Show Me Your Papers".

What's interesting is the tone of the responses to my post.

It seems that a LOT of the responders believe that some legal entity has actual RIGHTS, and that they're more important than a person's ACTUAL right to privacy.

The Nazis are already here, and have won, and their apologists are out in force, folks.
-- I Miss Jerry

Hey, (none / 0) (#179)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 10:25:42 AM EST

I'm coming over to your house later.  You got some beer?  What's on TV?

What? What do you mean I can't come over?

OMG ARE YOU A FUKKEN NAZI?  HOW DARE YOU DENY ME ACCESS TO YOUR HOUSE YOU FUKKEN COMMUNIST! FASCIST PIG!

Idiot.

[ Parent ]

Malls aren't Purely Private Property (none / 0) (#181)
by hardburn on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 11:12:29 AM EST

Malls are, at least partially, funded from public money. Further, their entire business model would be impossible without public roads and widespread use of automobiles. Therefore, they are not subject to normal libertarian thought on strong property rights.

Of course, if we lived in a purely libertarian government, malls wouldn't be funded out of public dollars in the first place. But we don't, and they are.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
Cite, please? (none / 0) (#182)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 11:49:46 AM EST

Can you cite a reference about malls being publicly funded?  I honestly have never heard of that.  Can you specifically show that that particular mall was publicly funded?

And I agree there is a concept of "public private property," that doesn't necessarily prelude the property owner from discriminating arbitrarily.

The part about public roads isn't really relevant; everyone enjoys the public roads.  Just because there's a public road to my house, which is paid for by tax dollars, that doesn't entitle anyone to trespass.

Finally, the gist of his argument is that corporate property owners somehow have less say over the control of their property than real persons (in real estate parlance).  His reasons and citations have no relation to the matter, despite his claims that they do.

[ Parent ]

Citations (none / 0) (#187)
by hardburn on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 02:36:18 PM EST

I haven't been able to find information on this specific mall's funding. I suspect that Pyramid (the company that owns the mall) is a completely privately-traded company, and thus its financial records are not required to be released (like a company on a public stock exchange would be). If there is a specific reference to public funding, it's probably noted in a document at Albany city hall, but that's a bit of a drive for me . . .

Interestingly, according to a court document, the mall has a police station inside it, which covers enforcement in the mall, but also offers the same city services that any other police station offers. This means it pretty much has to let people in during open hours, regardless of age.

I can cite that at least some malls are publically funded. Mall of America was, according to this: http://www.icsc.org/srch/sct/current/sct9806/04.htm. (Some of the statements in this article would also invalidate some of the points the parent is making, though the court case mentioned was in Minnesota, not New York).

About two years ago, the same mall was a subject of a K5 story about a man wearing a "Give Peace a Chance" shirt and being kicked out (not only that, but apparently he had bought the shirt in the same mall that day). The links in that article have gone dead, but some of the comments point to specific legislation and court cases on shops/malls/etc. being at least quasi-public places, and therefore can't discriminate (particularly in view of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

The part about public roads isn't really relevant . . .

I agree it's one of the weaker arguments here. Note that public roads aren't just a nice thing for malls. It's a completely unsustainable business without them. You can't concentrate a large shopping area without a way to get a significant percentage of the population to go there.

In any case, argueing that property owners should have the right to do anything they want with their property is different from argueing that they do. We don't live in a libertarian government, and this little argument isn't going to change that. The fact is, the mall may not have the right to kick out anyone they want on such broad terms as "less than 18 years old", even if they are totally private-funded.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
Cool, thanks (none / 0) (#191)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 05:48:00 PM EST

The fact is, the mall may not have the right to kick out anyone they want on such broad terms as "less than 18 years old", even if they are totally private-funded.

Other businesses have done this legally, and I suspect a Mall could, too. Hell, the Gubmint often restricts the under 18 crowd with curfews and the like.

My issue with the parent poster is that if he thinks he has such a shit-hot case, then do something about it.  If he's right, why not get the ACLU all over it?

I suspect he's full of shit and just wants to whine.

[ Parent ]

Is this it? (none / 0) (#173)
by slaida1 on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 08:56:24 AM EST

Is this the time when you must take your guns, go there and put out big banner saying "All workers and officials aiming to destroy this property or drive people living here away will be shot."?

And yet all you k5 libs... (none / 0) (#198)
by eeg on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 06:31:46 AM EST

...thought that the right to bare arms wasn't necessary.

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
The problem is (none / 0) (#207)
by benna on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 05:48:57 PM EST

They'd just go waco on you.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
This Just In (3.00 / 8) (#190)
by thelizman on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 04:47:41 PM EST

I heard this and nearly laughed-out-loud. A resident of Weare, New Hampshire by the name of Logan Darrow Clements has filed a petition with the City of Weare to condemn the property at 34 Cilley Hill Road so that he can build a hotel on the property. That address is the personal home of Justice David Souter, one of the SCOTUS Justices who ruled in favor of the City of New London's in the infamous decision this article refers to.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
I love their name (none / 0) (#204)
by godix on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:07:23 PM EST

The 'Lost Liberty Hotel' and the 'Just Desserts Café'. I have to admire someone willing to try this on Souter and how quick it was. Unfortunately odds are it'll fail but still.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Having Examined the Issue (none / 0) (#208)
by thelizman on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 06:05:38 PM EST

It actually has a better chance in absolute terms. For one thing, this guy has a clear profit model and development strategy. If he can get sufficient investment capital, he has a far better justification than the New London developer. On the other hand, this assumes that the City of Weare is as corrupt and prone to shenanigans as the City of new London.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I appreciate the unspoken sarcasm. (none / 0) (#210)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 09:06:08 PM EST

But one of the first rules of the powermongers is, you don't get to use their rules against them. Whether or not this goes through (it won't), the scotus-scrotoid won't even stop to think for a fraction of a second "hey when I made that judgement, I was wrong". That's the way the world works.

If someone takes your property under this ruling, you have my permission to murder them and their family*. Even their little children. I can't promise to be on your jury, but if I do end up on it, you get a free pass.

* This includes the developer(s) and any local politicians that OK'd it.


--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Well, that's the thing (none / 0) (#214)
by DavidTC on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 08:23:22 AM EST

It's not like this taking would go to the supreme court. Fighting it on the grounds it was unconstitutional would get nowhere. Even by a Supreme Court 'Justice'.

And their city government is apparently a council of five, which means this needs the approval of three people. (Which would make people stop and think. Private property can be stolen by a vote of three people.)

Anyway, convincing three people is easy.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Unless you're rich and powerful. (none / 0) (#216)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 10:35:05 AM EST

Say, a Supreme Court justice. Then a vote of 3 little wannabes can't take your property. Duh.

It won't make Souter stop and think.

It won't make the council stop and think (and even if it does, they are one of how many thousands across the country?)

It won't make you and I stop and think, we already did before the stunt.

It won't make Joe Sixpack stop and think, unless it preempts Survivor: Tsunami Island.

What's the point? I'm not usually a fatalist that asks this sort of thing, but he couldn't have picked a cause more losing than this one. Hell, not even sure you qualify as a martyr....

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Conspiracy Theories (none / 0) (#217)
by thelizman on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 06:07:00 PM EST

Rarely survive examination by rational people. Put Marx back in his grave now, along with the whole class warfare tripe.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
It's not a conspiracy. (none / 0) (#218)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 09:05:35 PM EST

This sort of behavior doesn't require any sort of conspiratorial action on anyone's part. The councilman will see who it is, and you damn well know they know who the important people are in their community, and toss it in the wastebasket. That's the way it works.

Duh.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

New constitutional amendment needed? (none / 0) (#192)
by Arthur Vandelay on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 07:21:03 PM EST

This is a good example why a supreme court congressional veto amendment might be a good idea. Perhaps 75% of both houses and the president to veto the SC. The founding fathers may have been a little too optimistic regrarding the wisdom and finality of the SC. It seems evident the SC has gotten lost in the legal arguments and forgotten the spirit in which this country was created. To extend the potential of possibility for the individual.

That is a terrible idea (none / 0) (#194)
by benna on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 08:48:42 PM EST

The framers didn't think the supreme court would be perfect, but they had the wisdom to understand that the politicization of the interpretation of the constitution would defeat the purpose of having a constitution in the first place. Better that they get one wrong once in a while than congress get involved. All that said, I think this is a stupid stupid decision.
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
[ Parent ]
Err... (none / 0) (#201)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 09:43:38 AM EST

If you can get an ammendment passed to veto the SC, you can get an ammendment passed to solve the problem you're actually facing.

Nothing's stopping people from passing a constitutional ammendment prohibiting all government displays of religion or, conversely, passing one that says government displays of religion are A-OK.

Except, of course, neither side in that argument has a clear majority, which is why this crap keeps ending up in court.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

Manipulation (none / 1) (#205)
by paranoid on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 03:40:18 PM EST

It's interesting how easily the manipulative "elites" of today can push for the legislation that they want with little or no opposition. This happens all the time, but the whole system (media, government, corporations) is built in such a way that dissent is unlikely to emerge. People are not given a chance to think about this, not given a chance to react and as long as the problem isn't as huge as a large-scale war, people simply ignore it.

When the elite wants to change the rules of the game, today they usually can do it easily. In early 1990s they pushed for anti-socialist and anti-communist in Soviet Union/Russia and people ignored much worse things then this new US law. They went and voted yes on laws that effectively abandoned all workers' control of the companies, that dissolved the Union, while thinking that it doesn't really matter and nothing bad will come out of this.

Don't look at such cases as isolated problems arising from stupidity or outrageous acts of some particular corporations. More often than not it's a carefully orchestrated powergrab, executed in the enviornment of guaranteed compliance of the public.

Old news - and redundant comment (none / 1) (#219)
by sudogeek on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:12:50 PM EST

<p>Even when the use of eminent domain was ostensibly for building a highway and, certainly, in the recent past, such takings were always for the benefit of the rich, powerful, and politically-connected.

Here in Martin County FL, condemnation of houses along 36th St. to allow the building of the Indian Street Bridge is all about opening easier access to properties in the western county which are to be developed.  Just to the north, the same is true of the condemnation of homes along West Virginia Ave. in PSL.  The developers buy property out west where it is cheaper, bribe or buy county commissioners to approve zoning and land use changes, then build new homes.  In Norfolk VA in the 80's, East Ghent was razed, moving the blacks out, then left vacant for years.  Adjoining areas were "gentrified" and experienced increases in values.  Much later, the medical school came in, using only a fraction of the property.  The rest went to new private buildings.  Examples like this are the rule - the golden rule.  He who has the gold ...

And the public benefit? The existing residents get more traffic and taxes.  With new residents, there is demand for more schools, polices, roads, libraries, etc.  No city ever grew itself to lower taxes.  The net result is a transfer of public funds to developers' pockets.

If a developer wants to take over private property to put up some project, let him pay for the land from the owners.  If they wont sell, offer them more.

You're an arrogant, condescending, ignorant dipshit. - trhurler

"Hi, I like your view, so I'm taking your house" | 223 comments (166 topical, 57 editorial, 0 hidden)
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