"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.