"War, Fascism, concentration camps, rubber truncheons, atomic bombs, etc., are what we daily think about, and therefore to a great extent what we write about, even when we do not name them openly. We cannot help this. When you are on a sinking ship, your thoughts will be about sinking ships." --George Orwell (1903-1950)[Thanks to Alex Constantine @ http://aconstantineblacklist.blogspot.com/]
Wednesday, June 25
Lou Dobbs: Mainstream Media "Refuse to Acknowledge the Reality" of NAFTA Super Highway
The federal fix is in to allow private developers to steal the homes of Middle America, while work by local lawyers indicate suing city and county governments' low-balled eminent domain takings may be the best most of us will do in challenging more Beltway banditry.
Two weeks ago, the very mainstream CNN correspondent Lou Dobbs filed the 4:29-minute report below on the burgeoning NAFTA super highway taking shape in select venues across the United States, particularly Texas.
Without question, mainstream media, particularly television, regularly censored Texas congressman Ron Paul during his GOP presidential campaign last year and in 2008; he has written and spoken at length on how the NAFTA super highway threatens American independence and sovereignty.
Similarly, Paul's House colleague Mary Kaptur representing Ohio's 9th district also has been one of congress's vocal opponents of the NAFTA highway Trojan horse. In April she, regrettablly, misrepresented to CNN's Lou Dobbs that Democrat congressional leadership--particularly House leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Harry Reid--were too busy with other pressing legislation to take notice of what was happening to Middle America.
Eminent Domain: Giving US to Commercial Developers, Foreign and Domestic
In the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial 2005 Kelo v. New London decision, a majority of justices broke with historical legal precedence that ensured private property would be taken only for public development projects. Now private property of average citizens--like that along the waterfront in New London, Connecticut--could be taken by commerical developers and converted into for-profit projects.
George Mason University property law professor Illya Somin (right) would need bodyguards to ensure his safety if major TV news markets afforded his ideas and writing recent eminent domain "checks-and-balance" actions by the US government any serious consideration; Somin, at minimum, indicates the White House and US Congress's subsequent nonactions in the wake of the Kelo ruling effecitvely leaves the door open for commercial developers to subvert Middle America's entrenched cultural value of "my home is my castle."
On Monday (23 June), Professor Somin offered one of his regular updates on post-Kelo eminent domain developments, characterizing the US Congress's 2005 Kit Bond amendment and Bush's 2006 executive order, both ostensibly enacted to rectify the high court's ruling, as "futile gesture[s]" in protecting American private property rights.
Here's how Somin characterizes bipartisan congressional efforts to protect US property rights:
The Property Rights Protection Act (discussed on pp. 38-41 of my forthcoming article on post-Kelo reform), which would have taken a step in that direction, passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in 2005. It would have denied federal "economic development" funds to local governments that undertake economic development takings similar to that upheld in Kelo. But the PRPA was bottled up in the Senate under the Republican Congress. Efforts to resuscitate it in the new Democratic Congress have so far been even less successful. Recently, a new and somewhat better version of the PRPA has been introduced by Republican Representative John Sullivan. Whether Sullivan's effort meets with greater success than previous attempts remains to be seen. As a general rule, it's rare for any important measure to pass the House if it is introduced by a member of the minority party.
So, my crude translation of Somin's assessment of both a GOP- and Democrat-controlled congress is reasonable: The collective Beltway reticence reported by Lou Dobbs indicates elected officials know exactly what the NAFTA super highway is all about. But for fear--or willing complicity in the White House's post-9/11 nonstop looting of Middle America--they pretend with the Bush White House they haven't one clue as to what what Lou and Jim Tucker are talking about.
Local Opposition to Eminent Domain?
With protection of Middle American property rights effectively locked down in Washington, D.C. on behalf of commercial development--interests that Wayne Madsen's Report said the Bush clan had aligned themselves as land purchasers for Chinese and Saudi developers--what's happening locally?
According to Professor Somin, 21 of the 35 state legislatures passing post-Kelo protective measures are "subterfuges," measures that
only pretend to limit takings and don't impose any real restrictions [on] Kelo-like condemnations. The same is true of four of the 11 reforms enacted by referendum. The most common subterfuge is to ban takings for "economic development" but allow them to continue under another name as "blight" condemnations, utilizing a definition of "blight" broad enough to cover virtually any property.
Grassroots opposition is where most opposition to private land takings occurs, though hardly encouraging.
For one, along I-69's numerous "commerce corridors" extending out of Texas eastward into the U.S. Mid-South and northward into Indiana and Michigan is rather quiet. When I personally contacted the local press-- along with the Indianapolis Start--about looming land takings in central Indiana, all my requests to write a guest column or letter to press editors were refused.
Since this is America, litigation still remains an option, no thanks to the Bush White House. One Michigan law firm--Ackerman, Ackerman and Dynkowski--exclusively represents property owners in eminent domain disputes. But rather than challenge the new legal parameters Kelo v. New London established, they see more profitability in challenging local government's low-balled bids for takings.
Here is a partial listing of case studies indicating the firm's success in challenging overt theft of private property (and, no, I'm not involved with this firm in any way) :
GoldenPineCenter, Atlanta, MI Government Valuation: $6,000 Negotiated Settlement: $55,000 Ackerman Ackerman & Dynkowski delivers: $49,000
Detroit Marina Terminal Government Valuation: $4,000,000 Negotiated Settlement: $20,000,000 Ackerman Ackerman & Dynkowski delivers: $16,000,000
Eddie's Food on the Run Government Valuation: $0.0 Negotiated Settlement: $123,000 Ackerman Ackerman & Dynkowski delivers: $123,000
Frank's Bar & Restaurant Government Valuation: $11,500 Negotiated Settlement: $200,000 Ackerman Ackerman & Dynkowski delivers: $188,500
This list is not an all-inclusive list of the results achieved by Ackerman Ackerman & Dynkowski. The previously listed case studies represent a small percentage of the results achieved for property owners across the Nation.
UK News, Los Angeles Filmmaker Nuke McCain's Presidential "Character"
Here's some sordid British coverage of the US's presidential dog-and-pony popularity contest coming this fall to one of George Bush's devastated American communities near you. That's followed by more substantive yet brief bash-up of a 1990s bipartisan U.S. Senate scandal involving McCain. Count of Post-9/11 America mainstream media to ignore it all.
Dishing up a delicious helping of sordid marital gossip all American news media will forgo on behalf of the GOP's "family values" 2008 presidential candidate, London Daily Mail's 8 June issue offered British readers some Bill Clint0nesque sexual vetting of John McCain's lauded "character."
... Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam [where Navy pilot John McCain was downed, captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese for five years] and is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is – deceit.
‘When he came home [after his release in 1973] and saw that [his wife] Carol [now severely injured and crippled from an auto accident during his absence] was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.
‘Eventually he met [current wife] Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better.
‘This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.’
One old friend of the McCains said: ‘Carol always insists she is not bitter, but I think that’s a defence mechanism. She also feels deeply in his debt because in return for her agreement to a divorce, he promised to pay for her medical care for the rest of her life.’
Carol remained resolutely loyal as McCain’s political star rose. She says she agreed to talk to The Mail on Sunday only because she wanted to publicise her support for the man who abandoned her.
Indeed, the old Mercedes that she uses to run errands displays both a disabled badge and a sticker encouraging people to vote for her ex-husband. ‘He’s a good guy,’ she assured us. ‘We are still good friends. He is the best man for president.’
But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.
‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said.
‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’
Could there be any truth to the lingering rumor McCain jealously harbors a residual fantasy of trying out one of reprobate Bill Clinton's Oval Orifice Cuban cigar trick the then-teflon president reserved for ticklish tastes of young and wealthy female interns?
Since sexapades rather than contrived Middle East oil wars make for presidential impeachment since December 2000, inquiring minds want--nay, need--to know.
Ah, yes.... But aside from the tawdry and salacious, paltry little else of Washington, D.C.'s Post-9/11 merry-go-round is considered "newsworthy" these days.
Though some eager cub reporter might excavate McCain's Keating Five savings and loan bank scandal as dutiful public recycling, you certainly won't hear anything of McCain's treasonous sell-out in the early 1990s of fellow Vietnam War POWs.
May I direct your attention to Los Angeles filmmaker Bill Dumas's riveting but shamefully marginalized 2004 documentary Missing, Presumed Dead, a love offering to his Uncle Bob's 50-year search for Bob's brother Roger.
On her death bed, Bob's mother made him promise to find Roger, for years counted among the 10,000 soldiers missing in action in Korea after the Communists failed to repatriate him to the U.S. after the war.
In 1992, Uncle Bob's insistence--along with revelations by Vietnam War-era Green Beret Colonel Bo Gritiz following his MIA/POW mission funded by then-presidential candidate and millionaire H. Ross Perot--forced the U.S. Senate to hold hearings on American soldiers abandoned on the battlefields of Vietnam and Korea.
Testifying before Senators John McCain and Democrat committee chair John Kerry, Bob appears first in this 4-minute clip; at the end of the segment Tracy Ursy, Kerry's principal investigator during those hearings (with glasses and white goatee), casually informs viewers what his boss received as compensation for keeping the congressional door closed on our remaining MIAs and POWs in Asia.
Related: For a even finer--and more startling--assessment (with slight repetition) of McCain and John Kerry's obstructionism in the U.S. Senate--though House Republicans unanimously voted with their Democrat colleagues to declassify key Vietnam War-era documents--watch this 8-minute clip sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against McCain.