Monday, October 10, 2005

Commentary on News week of 1 OCT 05

Libertarian Commentary on the News 3-7 OCT 2005 as normally published in ThePriceofLiberty.org. With Mama Liberty in the middle of moving, this will be the location! (For my comments and response on "Smartest and Dumbest States" go down to the next posting!)

Our fourth week as a weekly newsletter and commentary. The views expressed herein are those of the author and don’t necessarily reflect anyone else’s opinion, whether affiliated with one of the news sources, the news digests, The Price of Liberty, the Libertarian Party or its affiliates. My purpose is to reflect a libertarian and christian point of view in all these matters, and to encourage you to think, plan, and react to the key events which are taking place in our world and nation today. If I step on your toes, it is because they are in the way!

This week, we’ll concentrate on some overseas matters, our right to defend ourselves, and follow-up to Katrina and Rita. Overall, the major news story this week has been the nomination of a White House aide to President Bush to replace Mrs. Justice O’Connor – and the firestorm of betrayal being produced by the conservatives who still thought that President Bush would do something to redeem his “conservative” credentials. None of us knew much about Miss Meirs last weekend, and we don’t know much more today: she may be more conservative than Janice Rogers Brown and Clarence Thomas and Barry Goldwater all combined, but somehow, I doubt it: the hope of the Supreme Court changing for the next two decades is probably gone.


Our Right to Defend Ourselves

Virginia: Judge rules defendant acted in self-defense
http://tinyurl.com/dj2nl
Richmond Times Dispatch
"A charge of murder against Donald Arman Terrien, who shot and killed Richard Jason Gooding on Aug. 14, was thrown out of court Thursday when the judge ruled Terrien acted in self-defense. Gooding, 31, was the ex-boyfriend of Terrien's girlfriend, Bess McAteer, 24. McAteer testified in Henrico County General District Court Thursday that she started to leave Terrien's house about 9 p.m. that Sunday evening. She had walked to her car parked in the street when Gooding drove up and confronted her, yelling. ... Terrien came out the front door with his pistol in hand, held at his side, and called out to her, asking what was going on. He stepped down to the bottom of the steps from the small porch. She said she remembers Gooding saying: 'A gun? You've got to be kidding me,' and that he would 'kick his ass,' referring to Terrien. She said she called to Terrien to go back inside and call 911. She said Gooding ran to the house's front steps and attacked Terrien, who had turned to go inside, from behind. The exact sequence of events was not clear from testimony, but during the struggle with Gooding, Terrien fired two shots from his Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun. The first was into the air, holding the gun at arm's length, McAteer said. The second shot was the one that killed Gooding. It was fired 'dead center in his chest.'" (10/01/05)
A domestic dispute turned bad, but apparently a clear case of self-defense. There may have been enough questions to justify it taking 6 weeks to resolve this, but that is still a bad idea.

Airport hassles spur rise of private flights
http://tinyurl.com/8tc5o
Boston Globe
"Lionel Andre recently found a new way to deal with the hassle of big airports and big airlines, namely, avoid them altogether. Andre, 30, a business analyst with Siebel Systems Inc., lives in South Boston, barely 3 miles from Logan International Airport, but since June he's been heading almost every week to Hanscom Field in Bedford to fly to New Jersey. Andre takes Linear Air LLC, a new private-plane service that flies four days a week to Teterboro, N.J., across the river from New York City. Flying takes longer in the 10-seat Cessna Caravan turboprop than in a commercial jet, but the overall trip can be shorter when factoring in security lines and other traffic at Logan. At $438 round trip, it can cost roughly the same as a commercial flight. Pretzels and cookies are served, Andre can spread out to work on his laptop, and valet parking at Hanscom can make it a 10-foot walk from the plane to his car. 'It's superconvenient, and it's really first-class treatment,' Andre said." (10/02/05)
In many parts of the country, private aircraft have been cheaper than the ridiculous airline rate structure, and avoids most of the garbage that passes for “security” for the commercial airports and airlines. It also allows for greater security for the individual, who does not turn his luggage or laptop or weapons over to a TSA goon.

Supreme court okays frivolous gun suit
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9584450/
MSNBC
"The Supreme Court refused Monday to block a lawsuit against gun manufacturers accused of negligence for firearms violence in the nation's capital. An appeals court had said the District of Columbia government and individual gun victims -- including a man who was left a quadriplegic after being shot in 1997 -- could sue under a D.C. law that says gun manufacturers can be held accountable for violence from assault weapons [sic]." (10/03/05)
This is another “Imperial Court” decision – despite the fact that dozens of state courts have determined this sort of harassment is illegal. But of course, this is DC we are talking about.

Alaska: Anchorage expands recognition of RKBA
http://www.ktuu.com/cms/templates/master.asp?articleid=151&zoneid=1
KTUU News
"If you go to the mall, stop to get gas, have an after-work drink out with friends, be aware -- the people around you may be packing heat. The list of places you can carry a weapon in Anchorage is about to expand. In just a few weeks you can add city buildings to that list. So KTUU-TV is taking a look at just where you can and cannot carry a firearm. 'The vast majority of Alaskans think they ought to be able to carry a firearm wherever they wish,' said Wayne Anthony Ross, National Rifle Association board member. ... It may surprise you to learn that in addition to being allowed to carry a concealed weapon, you can also carry one in plain sight. But realize it may raise some eyebrows." (09/30/05)
The TV anchor sounds shocked, doesn’t she? Well, too bad. Open carry should be as common as concealed carry – or even more so. Especially in the West and Alaska.

Nevada: Elderly man fights back
http://www.kvvutv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3935198
KVVU TV
"Police say an 82-year-old man was washing his car near E. Sahara and Bruce around 10 p.m. last night when two men approached him with weapons and demanded money. The elderly man told the suspects that he had left his money at home. According to police, one of the suspects got into the back seat of the victim's car, demanding to be taken to the victim's home. The victim had a pistol hidden inside of his car, and he shot the suspect. The suspect in turn fired at the victim, striking him in the chest.The victim was transported to the hospital where he is in serious condition. The suspect died from his gunshot wounds." (10/04/05)
Our prayers that the elderly victim survives. At least in Nevada he won’t have to face murder charges or charges of carrying a loaded pistol in his car.

Washington: Man justifies shooting as self-defense
http://heraldnet.com/stories/05/10/04/100loc_trial001.cfm
Herald Net
"Stanley Douglas Nyberg was pushed off a river bank and was injured moments before he scrambled back up, pulled a pistol, and shot and killed his neighbor, Dina Camp, 44, with whom he had a longstanding property line dispute, Nyberg testified Monday. After he climbed up from the bank, he said that Camp took one or two steps toward him, and that's when he fired, Nyberg told a Snohomish County Superior Court jury." (10/04/05)
I covered this when it first happened, and months later it is finally being tried. It is a shame, as I frequently point out, that a full fledged jury trial is necessary for this: a coroner’s inquest should be adequate.

California: Wounded store owner shoots robber
http://tinyurl.com/a94qt
Record Net
"A wounded liquor-store owner shot a would-be robber around 9:30 p.m. Monday after being shot in the buttocks. Steven Groce of Stockton was shot while closing his El Dorado Liquor store, on El Dorado Street near Churchill Street, Stockton police said. He and the man he shot were taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center and San Joaquin General Hospital, authorities said. ... Police said men with bandannas pulled over their faces entered the store armed with handguns, one of them a long-barreled revolver." (10/04/05)
Hmmm – are long-barreled revolvers more evil than short-barreled ones? But I’m glad he was able to fight back.

California: Victim fights back
http://tinyurl.com/dugmt
Redondo Beach News
"On Sept. 29 at about 11:50 a.m. a subject entered the Hollywood Riviera Car Wash in the 1500 block of South PCH and brought an item to the counter with money to purchase it. When the cashier opened the register, the suspect allegedly threatened him with a gun. He was pointing the gun at the cashier and taking money out of the cash drawer when the cashier grabbed the gun. The suspect ran out of the business. The victim, armed with the suspect's .22 caliber revolver, chased him through the parking lot to Avenue H. As a white pickup truck slowed for the suspect to jump into it, a passenger in the truck allegedly pointed another handgun at the victim. The victim fired four to five shots at the suspects." (10/04/05)
Whew! A brave man, and hopefully these thugs won’t come back.

Cayman Islands: Draconian new victim disarmament laws
http://caymannetnews.com/2005/10/939/law.shtml
Cayman News
"With the Government's continuing focus on crime part of a new bill to strengthen the judiciary and sentencing could see some offenders incarcerated for considerably longer periods than in the past. At a recent Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Wharf Restaurant, the Leader of Government Business Hon Kurt Tibbetts announced a number of new measures to address crime including changes to laws to help in the process of capturing and convicting criminals. Bullet Proof vests are soon to be outlawed in the Cayman Islands and firearms offences will land perpetrators behind bars for a minimum of 10, and up to 20 years." (10/06/05)
This makes even less sense than the normal hoploclast/hoplophobe legislation: outlawing bullet-proof vests? They would do better to encourage them, as well as encouraging peaceful citizens to carry weapons regardless of location.



The Fall of Europe
Britain in the dock for human rights failures
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article316691.ece
Independent [UK]
"Britain has one of the worst human rights records in Europe and faces investigation over its failure to comply with a series of European court rulings. More than 100 findings have been lodged against Britain to which the Government has not adequately responded, five years after Tony Blair said he had fulfilled his promise to 'bring rights home' by implementing the Human Rights Act. These range findings from violations of the rights of mental health patients to the failure to protect children from unlawful corporal punishment in the home." (10/02/05)
It is only in the eyes of the Brussels bureaucrats that these are “human rights” – virtually all of these are procedural violations, or common sense actions now made illegal in Europe together with pure beer, milk chocolate, and preaching the Bible.

British tolerance of forced marriages wanes
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1005/p06s02-woeu.html
Christian Science Monitor
"In a drafty railway station cafe in England's Midlands, Ayesha, a young Muslim girl whose family is from Pakistan, is trying not to cry as she talks about her wedding day. 'When I was young I always expected to have an arranged marriage,' she says. 'But I also thought that I'd get a chance to know the man first.' Instead, at 17, her family forced her to marry a man she had never met. When Ayesha, not her real name, tried to have the marriage annulled, she was disowned by her family, and forced to flee her hometown of Birmingham. Although every year hundreds of Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu women in Britain, according to figures from the government and aid agencies, are forced into marriage to fulfill traditional ideas of family honor or parental prestige, Britain's government has so far been reluctant to interfere in the private lives of immigrants." (10/05/05)
This is an example of how the British are “ignoring human rights” – by taking away the power of Muslim families to force their children into marriages and by refusing to recognize polygamous marriages. IF the Blair government has the guts to protect the rights of these young people, expect more condemnation from Brussels.

UK: NHS doctors back private hospitals plan
http://society.guardian.co.uk/health/news/0,8363,1583350,00.html
Guardian [UK]
"A healthcare entrepreneur has raised more than £100m from the City to kickstart plans to build a chain of private hospitals across England in partnership with hundreds of frustrated NHS consultants. The venture, probably the biggest private investment in hospital construction since the NHS was founded in 1948, has been triggered by the government's plans for patient choice, identified by Tony Blair in his speech to the Labour conference as the big theme of his third term. From 2008 people needing an operation will be entitled to select any hospital - public or private - that can work within NHS cost limits. The treatment will remain free for the patient and the hospital will be reimbursed by the taxpayer." (10/02/05)
Hopefully we are seeing the beginning of the end of the socialized health care system in the UK.

Germany: Schroeder signals willingness to bow out
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1180141
ABC News
"Gerhard Schroeder signaled on Monday he might be ready to drop his demand to remain chancellor after Germany's inconclusive election, by saying he would not stand in the way of the creation of a stable new government. Schroeder, who has led Germany since 1998, said in a brief interview with RTL television that his fight to stay in the chancellery was for the good of his Social Democrats (SPD) and their center-left policies -- and not for personal gain. His refusal to step aside since his party finished a close second to Angela Merkel's conservatives in the September 18 vote, has been one of the chief hurdles to the formation of a coalition government." (10/03/05)
He should have quit some time ago, but he hadn’t finished ruining Germany.

EU opens talks to admit Turkey into bloc
http://tinyurl.com/9abgx
Tampa Tribune
"The European Union opened membership talks with Turkey early Tuesday -- a historic first step that would transform the bloc by taking in a predominantly Muslim nation and expanding its borders to Asia and the Middle East. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul flew late Monday night to Luxembourg for a late-night ceremony to formally open entry talks, following an agreement reached after two dramatic days of diplomacy that included strong U.S. lobbying for Turkey's candidacy." (10/03/05)
As I’ve pointed out before, this would be the worst thing the EU could do: the continent is already flooded with Muslims, both the “normal” kind and the radical Islamistic kind, and with guest-workers from Turkey and elsewhere. This will flood Europe with both. I don’t know WHY the US is lobbying for it, unless we are playing real-politick and hoping it will trash the EU.



Gulf War Three
News from the aftermath of Katrina and Rita was much less prominent this week, for the first time in a month.

Louisiana: $40 billion protection plan sparks debate
http://tinyurl.com/al2hs
USA Today
"A $40 billion plan to hurricane-proof the Louisiana coast has ignited a battle over how best to prevent a repeat of this year's double flooding of New Orleans. Endorsed by the state's congressional delegation, the proposal would create a nine-member independent commission that would give Louisiana a large say in how the federal money is spent." (10/02/05)
It would appear to me that LA should have NO sayso in how to spend other people’s money: if they want a say, they need to pay their share. Many folks like my idea: if we MUST recreate New Orleans (and it appears that economics demands it, mostly for transportation purposes), then lets use it as a landfill for the millions of tons of rubble created by the hurricanes, create a mound and cap about 50 feet high (30 feet above sealevel) and build a new city (Newer Orleans, or perhaps New Gulfport might be better) on top, safe from flooding. And at a fraction of the cost.

Parish president: FEMA still fumbling
http://tinyurl.com/86q6w
CNN
"The president of St. Tammany Parish accused the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday of continuing to mismanage the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a charge denied by an agency spokeswoman. 'I met the president personally,' Kevin Davis told CNN's 'Late Edition.' 'I actually drafted a note, and he signed it. It said, 'We are going to help you,'' the parish president said. 'I think he was sincere. He hugged me, and I believe in him. There is a disconnect apparently from that point down through the FEMA program.'" (10/02/05)
He expected something different? He’s one of the problems – he and his Parish failed to prepare adequately, but now it is the Feds fault he’s in a mess? As the story explains, it appears that the usual LA and NO corruption (on the part of Davis) is part of the mix: he wants them to use HIS construction company and HIS land for the temporary housing, so he can make sure his own house is rebuilt.

Louisiana: Search ends with 964 dead
http://tinyurl.com/7vm2g
Indianapolis Star
"The search for Hurricane Katrina victims has ended in Louisiana with a death toll at 964, but more searches will be conducted if someone reports seeing a body, a state official said Monday. State and federal agencies have finished their sweeps through the city, but Kenyon International Emergency Services, the private company hired by the state to remove the bodies, is on call if any other body is found, said Bob Johannessen, a spokesman with the state Department of Health and Hospitals." (10/03/05)
Far, far below the 10,000. Panicked exaggeration is typical in such situations, and this was made worse by the incompetence, not of government agencies (which we have to take for granted) but of the individual people who would not deal with dead bodies and other facts of life.

Post-Katrina easing of labor laws stirs debate
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1004/p01s01-woam.html
Christian Science Monitor
"Mario Pérez, muscular and 16 years old, is a budding carpenter. Next to him is Samuel Sánchez, 32, an experienced roofer. Fed up with earning $4 a day in Mexico, they recently arrived at this tiny town on the Mexican-New Mexican border to start the two-day walk to the US. They talked about where they would go. 'Probably Texas,' said Sánchez. 'What about New Orleans?' suggested Pérez. In the wake of hurricane Katrina, recent moves by the US government may help would-be migrants like Sánchez and Pérez decide where to go. And decisions in Washington are reigniting the immigration debate." (10/03/05)
Here we see an example of mainstream media playing switch and bait: the “easing” of laws concern things like Davis-Bacon wage rates and “child” labor laws which prevent people under 18 from virtually any job except babysitting – but they use this to make readers assume that the “easing” will yet further increase immigation: an effort that is separate on the part of Bush and his officials.

Arizona: Sedona Buddhists save dogs left after hurricane
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/1005buddhistsdogs05.html
Arizona Republic
"Tibetan Buddhists see reincarnation as more of a circle than a straight line. One past life can lead to any other life, which means a person could come back as a lost dog. That is why Buddhists based in Sedona are now caring for more than 100 dogs at an Arizona ranch. The dogs had been abandoned in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 'The traditional teaching from the Buddha is that any animal could be somebody you love,' said Alana Elgin, a Buddhist nun with the Kunzang Palyul Chöling in Sedona. This particular group of animals has survived the horror of the hurricane, the danger of the flood and being abandoned by their families." (10/05/05)
Have they considered that they are interfering with Karma by not allowing the supposedly reincarnated souls in these dogs to migrate to their next body – which they would have done if the dogs had been killed in the hurricane? Still, whatever cockeyed excuse they use, it is a good work that they are doing – if not as good as taking care of people. But then, we are talking about Sedona here.

New Orleans: Mayor lays off half of city staff
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051004-104447-4800r.htm
Washington Times
"Mayor Ray Nagin said yesterday the city is laying off as many as 3,000 employees -- or about half its workforce -- because of the financial damage inflicted on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Nagin said only nonessential workers will be laid off and that no firefighters or police will be among those let go. 'I wish I didn't have to do this. I wish we had the money, the resources to keep these people,' he said. 'The problem we have is we have no revenue streams.' Nagin described the layoffs as 'pretty permanent' and said that the city will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to notify municipal employees who fled the city in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck about a month ago. The mayor said the move will save from $5 million to $8 million of the city's monthly payroll of $20 million. The layoffs will take place over the next two weeks." [RRND editor's note: Only half? I thought NOLA was still almost uninhabitable, and likely to remain so for a year? What "city services" are these "essential" ones providing ... for people who are no longer there? - SAT] (10/05/05)
If 3000 people only account for 25-40 percent of the payroll, then one thing is for sure: New Orleans (which had a half-million population) had WAY too many employees, and way too many are getting VERY high pay. Steve has the right of it: I would expect that New Orleans might not even need a full-time mayor (not that it has one) for a year or more.

Nine face Katrina aid fraud charges
http://tinyurl.com/azjfg
CNN
"Nine Californians have been charged with fraud for allegedly participating in a scheme to pocket Red Cross hurricane relief funds from a call center in Bakersfield, Justice Department officials announced Tuesday. None were Red Cross employees. 'So far we've documented a loss of at least $25,000, but we expect that amount to go up,' said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott, of Sacramento, speaking in Washington." (10/04/05)
These scams will crop up more and more in coming months as the con-men rake in their share of the cost of Katrina and Rita. But why is this a federal investigation? California can’t handle this sort of crime? Sigh. Where is Joe Friday when you need him?

Survey foresees $34.4 billion in Katrina claims
http://tinyurl.com/8odhg
Cincinnati Enquirer
"Hurricane Katrina is likely to result in at least $34.4 billion in personal and commercial property loss claims, according to the first publicly released survey of the nation's insurers. ISO's Property Claim Services Unit said Tuesday that the preliminary estimate of damages to homes and businesses in six states would make Katrina the most costly U.S. natural disaster ever, surpassing the inflation-adjusted $20.8 billion in losses from Hurricane Andrew in 1992." (10/04/05)
At the same time, the estimates of the $250 BILLION that supposedly need to be spent in the region have started to drop greatly, just as the body count has: Sadly, with 62 billion already spent, a similar 1/10 ratio won’t happen.

Hotel chains ask Katrina evacuees to leave
http://tinyurl.com/axvx5
Yahoo! News
"At least one hotel chain has asked some Hurricane Katrina evacuees to check out so it can honor the reservations of incoming guests. Hilton Hotels, the parent company of Hampton Inn and other brands, is trying to find other rooms for the evacuees but said they were warned when they checked in that their stays would be limited by room availability, said Hilton spokeswoman Kathy Shepard. 'We're doing our very best to accommodate these people,' she said. It's an uncomfortable situation for the hotel industry: risk bad publicity for kicking out hurricane evacuees, or anger big-spending repeat customers who travel for business. ... A Hampton Inn in Brookhaven, about two hours north of where Katrina struck, asked Barbara Perry of Folsom, La., to move out last week. She was living in the hotel with her parents and her three young children, and she was driving almost 90 miles a day to work. ... Had Perry found shelter in Louisiana, she would have been protected by a Sept. 1 executive order issued by Gov. Kathleen Blanco that bars hotels from displacing a refugee who guarantees payment. In Mississippi, no such protection exists." (10/06/05)
I fail to see how Blanco has the authority to write and enforce such an act: as we all know, there is no martial law, and this is certainly on the same order as boarding troops in homes. It is best left to the hotels to work out arrangements with their customers: both voluntary and involuntary.



Stupid Government Tricks

Demoted DeLay vows to stay active in House
http://tinyurl.com/7dqlb
Cincinnati Enquirer
"A defiant Tom DeLay, removed as House majority leader because of a criminal indictment, said Sunday he can do his job even without the title and pledged to continue his close partnership with House Speaker Dennis Hastert in pushing the GOP's agenda. The Texas Republican known for keeping colleagues in line and raising prodigious amounts of cash to help elect GOP candidates said he is only guilty of working to defeat Democrats. 'But that's not illegal,' he said." (10/02/05)
Not for lack of trying, of course.

Critics file suit against Georgia voter ID law
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,170958,00.html
Fox News
"Advocacy groups including the NAACP, AARP and League of Women Voters have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new voter identification requirements. 'Georgia passed an absolutely obnoxious law,' said former President Jimmy Carter, who lives in the Peach State. 'It was specifically designed to prevent old people, poor people and African-Americans from voting,' he said. Carter co-chairs a private, bipartisan commission that last week recommended that every eligible voter in the United States receive a free, government photo ID card by 2010. He says Georgia's law is too restrictive. The new policy in Georgia eliminates utility bills and employee badges as valid identification at the polls. Voters must now present a government-issued ID card such as a driver's license or passport." [RRND editor's note: Libertarians might see something even more sinister here, as as pilot program for a required national ID - SAT] (10/02/05)
Carter’s stupidity is amazing: and his objections to the current law (which requires some kind of ID with a picture – not just an address and name) smell suspicious. As Steve points out, this strikes me as bad.

Canada: Ruling strikes blow to tobacco firms
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1003/p07s01-woam.html
Christian Science Monitor
"Canada is now the first country outside the US where governments can sue tobacco manufacturers to recover billions of dollars in smoking-related health costs, thanks to a unanimous Canadian Supreme Court ruling last week. Tobacco foes hope other countries will follow Canada's litigious lead. 'Canada is a pioneer in this,' says Richard Daynard, president of the Tobacco Control Resource Center. 'The legislation would obviously be available as a model for legislation in any other country.'" [FND editor's note: I just bet his Momma's proud of her ambulance-chasing little boy ... - SAT] (10/03/05)
For once, I’d like to see a national or state government stop its hypocrisy and just attempt to plain BAN tobacco products – and watch the sparks fly! Seriously, we are seeing a new prohibition developing, but using “modern” techniques which allow the state to profit more and more.

New law would exempt spies from Privacy Act
http://about.upi.com/products/perspectives/UPI-20051006-105238-8736R
United Press International
"An intelligence bill currently before the Senate would authorize a four-year experiment, during which intelligence and other federal agencies would be exempted from some Privacy Act provisions and able to freely share information about Americans -- if it is relevant to a foreign intelligence, counter-terrorism or anti-proliferation activity. Privacy and civil liberties advocates immediately condemned the legislation. ... Others were more sanguine. Angeline Chen, who teaches national security law at George Mason University, said she felt the authors of the provision were 'Trying to strike a balance' between privacy and the need to share information identified by several inquiries into the failure to interdict the Sept. 11 plot." (10/06/05)
The only balance this will achieve is the same sort of balance you get on a see-saw (teeter-totter) when one child gets off: keep an eye on this one, folks, and fight it!



Theft By Government


Florida: City considers land theft
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051003-122623-2136r.htm
Washington Times
"Florida's Riviera Beach is a poor, predominantly black, coastal community that intends to revitalize its economy by using eminent domain, if necessary, to displace about 6,000 local residents and build a billion-dollar waterfront yachting and housing complex. 'This is a community that's in dire need of jobs, which has a median income of less than $19,000 a year,' said Riviera Beach Mayor Michael Brown. He defends the use of eminent domain by saying the city is 'using tools that have been available to governments for years to bring communities like ours out of the economic doldrums and the trauma centers.' Brown said Riviera Beach is doing what the city of New London, Conn., is trying to do and what the U.S. Supreme Court said is proper in its ruling June 23 in Kelo v. City of New London." (10/03/05)
Funny, I thought the “common wisdom” was that Kelo wouldn’t amount to much – that no one would follow its example and that Congress and legislatures would quickly close the abusive loophole. Guess the common wisdom (once again) was wrong: isn’t it time to get rid of this pernicious practice?

New Jersey: Legislator calls for referenda on land thefts
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051006/NEWS/51006016
Asbury Park Press
"A state lawmaker wants to forbid municipalities from condemning property for private economic redevelopment without first having a public referendum on the matter. Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., D-Middlesex, announced Thursday he will introduce a measure this fall requiring public votes on eminent domain. He also wants the state to have to approve all municipal resolutions designating redevelopment areas, some of which can now take effect if the Department of Community Affairs fails to issue an opinion." (10/06/05)
As expected, the opposition to this bill is something fierce, with claims that it will “destroy” local government and eliminate all hope of economic development. New Jersey is already infamous for its abuse of small business and homeowners, and while this would be only a small improvement, anything would help – but I don’t expect it to pass.

DC: Thieves move in on ballpark land
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20051006-120902-5838r.htm
Washington Times
"The District will begin using eminent domain to acquire parcels of land at the site of the Washington Nationals' ballpark by the end of this month, after unsuccessful negotiations with nearly half of the landowners. City officials said they expect to file court documents to take over at least some of the 21-acre site in the coming weeks and have $97 million set aside to buy the properties and help landowners relocate. The city made offers to all 23 landowners on the site last month but received no response from 10. ... Many property owners on the site said the city's offers are inadequate. Others are suing the city on the grounds that it has no right to use eminent domain to acquire land at the site. ... In April, the city notified property owners on the site that they would be required to move out by Dec. 31." (10/06/05)
“Unsuccessful negotiations” with eminent domain powers generally mean “We made them an offer that was too low, and they refused it, like we knew they would, so it is time to send in the lawyers and cops and dogs.” Watch the abuse: will it resemble New London or Zimbabwe more? I’m betting on Zimbabwe, given DC’s common roots in the Third World.



World Wars (Terrorists, etc.)

Chilling video shows Bali bombing suspect
http://tinyurl.com/93ujh
Indianapolis Star
"Police raised the alert level for Indonesia's capital and the president warned of more attacks Sunday as a chilling video shot the day before showed a suspected bomber clutching a backpack and strolling past diners moments before one of three suicide bombings killed 26 people on Bali. The near-simultaneous bombings on the resort island also injured 101 people, including six Americans." (10/02/05)
Biggest news on the war front this week was the new attack in Indonesia, which shows that even talking to the US is bad for you, if you are an Islamic country.

US: Colombia should fumigate coca
http://tinyurl.com/7f5pq
Detroit Free Press
"The U.S. ambassador urged Colombia Sunday to spray weed killer inside the country's spectacular nature parks to destroy cocaine-producing crops, insisting the chemicals will not cause widespread damage to the reserves' ecosystems. Harried by eradication campaigns elsewhere, drug traffickers have in recent years streamed into the parks, where spraying is banned. In the parks, they have torn down thousands of acres of virgin rain forest to plant coca, the raw ingredient in cocaine. In response, Colombia's government is debating whether to lift a ban on aerial fumigation in the reserves." (10/02/05)
It would appear that the parks have already had their ecosystem destroyed, but that does not mean that the chemicals will not cause more damage. Again, we have to ask, who is to blame for this? American consumers continue to buy the stuff, and desperate for a living, these people grow the stuff.

Nathan Barton is a libertarian writing from the Black Hills. Your comments are appreciated!
We hope to resume our daily commentary next week.

1 comment:

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