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How much is a life, a family, a community worth? Not much nowadays.

Dick Nixon had big plans, but democracy in America did not really start to die until the Reagan era. Case in point, Poletown, Michigan, 1981. A century old ethnic community centered around a church was razed in order to make way for a Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac plant. The Michigan Supreme Court sided with the developers who used eminent domain to seize the land, claiming that the factory would provide "jobs and taxes" and that these met the criteria of “public use” which allowed governments to take private property for things like roads. Thirteen years later, in 2004, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed itself, but next year, in Kelo v. City of New London the US Supreme Court upheld the "jobs and taxes" argument for the nation.

What does it mean when we tear down neighborhoods to generate “jobs and taxes”? It means that communities, schools, churches, families are less important than money. For taxes indicate profit. Jobs, for the capitalist, also indicate profit, since the businessman profits from the labor of the worker---otherwise, he does not hire him. In the New United States of America, the person who can turn the biggest profit from land is clearly the one the Founders intended to own it.

George W. Bush made his million when his buddies in the city of Arlington government used the power of eminent domain to seize land so that Bush could build a Ballpark that he later sold back to the city. In the same North Texas community, homes were razed so that a shopping mall could have a bigger parking lot. Taxes and jobs. Taxes and jobs. Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed a Texas law that would have prevented businesses in his state from taking private land for their own profit. Here is a Houston Chronicle article that was reprinted in (of all places) the Free Republic. Be sure to check out the comments below the article, too, such as

Anyone know if Texas state law allows for a recall election?
I swear, it’s like the Manchurian Candidate. Both Rick and W..They seem to be up to anything but going against THE SYSTEM.
 Whatever happened to limited government?
 Where to go now? Damn.
Perry and his buddy Jorge are birds of a feather, once bought they stay bought.

http://www.freerepublic.com/...

Funny thing. The right now loves Rick Perry. Yes, indeed. He is a Tea Party kind of conservative, nothing at all like W.

Ha! Those of us who remember things that happened before last week will recall that when W. was governor of Texas, he vetoed a Patient Protection Act that would have outlawed the worst abuses of HMOs in that state. The result? Health insurers felt empowered to do whatever the hell they wanted, secure in the knowledge that they owned the governor’s mansion. What did Bush’s veto mean for the residents of the state? It meant that Juan kept getting bills for the neurosurgery to remove the brain tumor that was causing seizures. His HMO declined to pay, because they said pre-authorization had not been obtained. Try to imagine what it must have been like for Juan, slowly recuperating from brain surgery, worrying that the tumor might come back---and then getting hospital bills for tens of thousands of dollars along with threats of collection agencies and bad credit reports.

William did not even know what his HMO tried to do to him, because his family doctor ran interference. William had lung cancer. It had not spread yet, but it was the kind of tumor that would cause fluid to accumulate around his lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Because of other health problems, he was not a candidate for surgery. Imagine being completely alert and functional, free of pain---and being forced to endure slow drowning. That’s what was happening to William. His lung specialist helped a lot by using a needle to draw off the fluid every few weeks. But William’s HMO did not want to pay for these procedures, so their medical director called the family doc and insisted that William be sent to a different lung specialist---and placed on hospice. Unbelievable, right? William’s story is absolutely true. I am the family physician who slammed down the phone.

The abuses by the insurance industry were so bad that the same bill was introduced again two years later. This time, W. let the law go into effect without signing it. Then, in 2000, while running for president, he claimed credit for the Patient Protection Act that he had vetoed once and then refused to sign the second time. A lot of folks were fooled---including the Texas Medical Association, which endorsed him. They must have been unpleasantly surprised when W. had John Ashcroft go to court to have that very same Patient Protection Act overturned. The result? W. brought Texas style “health care” to the rest of the nation. Did W. kill Nataline Sarkisyan, the 17 year old patient that Cigna denied a liver transplant? He did not pull the plug on her. But he enabled her health insurer to do so.

Health insurance abuses and eminent domain atrocities are part of the same nasty trend. Right now, in America, we are no longer citizens. We are cattle, to be bought and sold and branded with the name of a Fortune 500 company---and finally slaughtered. Under W., the money we spent buying private health insurance was not ours. It belonged to Cigna, and Cigna got to decide if it would honor its contract and use it to pay for life saving procedures. The Social Security that we have all paid into—that money is not our own. No, indeed. That money belongs to China, because W. gave it to them. He used the power of eminent domain to seize our self funded pension, on the grounds that it could be put to better use funding a war for oil in Iraq that would make profits for petrochemical companies. Never mind that old folks all across the country will be homeless, starving when stripped of their retirement income. They don’t count. They are too old to work and make some businessman a profit from their labors. Even our private pensions are not our own. They belong to Chase and Enron, to be used to prop up their ponzi schemes. Our tax dollars are not our own. W. seized them, too, using his very own form of eminent domain, and gave them to the nation’s wealthiest individuals in the form of tax cuts which they neither needed nor deserved. Now that we are up to our eyeballs in debt, the GOP House wants to raise working class taxes so the rich can keep their tax cuts. Because once our property disappears into the greedy maw on the uber-rich, it is just about impossible to get it back. Medicare, the system that we created for ourselves to provide health care for those who need it most----Medicare is guilty of "stealing" profit from private health insurers. If not for Medicare, United Health and Cigna could charge seniors huge premiums---and then kill them with big deductibles and denials of care. Our schools are not our own. They are a playground where Big Business is the bully that steals the lunch money and leaves a whole bunch of kids starving for knowledge---

The way things are going now, we will soon see our government abuse the power of eminent domain for "jobs and taxes" to give land to businessmen who will then be given a tax abatement and visas to bring in foreign workers.

If you think it can't happen here, I encourage you to read the history of Northern Georgia. Land owned by the Cherokees was stolen and given to white Americans when gold was discovered. The displaced Native Americans walked a Trail of Tears. Many died. All lost their homes and property. The courts said it was wrong, but the government did it anyway. And though America has since mourned the tragedy, it has never once considered giving back that which was stolen.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (180+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    kevinpdx, SweetLittleOkie, ontheleftcoast, wizardkitten, One Pissed Off Liberal, tonyahky, swampyankee, Ckntfld, belinda ridgewood, blueoasis, SethRightmer, concernedamerican, Mislead, claude, yawnimawke, farmerchuck, dewley notid, wayoutinthestix, Bill Roberts, wxorknot, Isara, banger, yet another liberal, mcc777c2, Kamakhya, Marie, esquimaux, houyhnhnm, grannysally, carpunder, Cedwyn, Louisiana 1976, fumie, cskendrick, zett, irate, NoMoreLies, bakeneko, shopkeeper, petulans, vacantlook, detroitmechworks, RJDixon74135, LivesInAShoe, greenomanic, Tonedevil, lineatus, Voodoo, revsue, Einsteinia, tacet, Ice Blue, clutch1, blonde moment, Dvalkure, Got a Grip, TexDemAtty, WheninRome, Wino, cybersaur, athenap, Ken in MN, temptxan, Delta Overdue, TracieLynn, Chi, dark daze, penguins4peace, allergywoman, LillithMc, Joieau, vigilant meerkat, Catte Nappe, Alumbrados, luckydog, eztempo, hubcap, muddy boots, copymark, ClickerMel, Nulwee, CA coastsider, Son of a Cat, mjfgates, peptabysmal, ramara, markthshark, Preston S, BigOkie, millwood, rage, tapestry, frisco, Seamus D, dirtfarmer, banjolele, Ruh Roh, xylonjay, futureliveshere, No one gets out alive, pengiep, terabytes, Anne was here, Creosote, Tommymac, bronte17, marina, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, yuriwho, BusyinCA, Cronesense, costello7, CharlieHipHop, Boreal Ecologist, zedaker, meg, science nerd, Pinko Elephant, maybeeso in michigan, thomask, zerelda, libnewsie, ozsea1, bnasley, marleycat, Simplify, Unitary Moonbat, roses, yoduuuh do or do not, marykk, oldpotsmuggler, Clytemnestra, David54, joeschmeaux, DixieDishrag, Sandino, Johnnythebandit, BlackSheep1, good grief, Rogneid, zaka1, Lujane, vahana, wildlife advocate, adrianrf, OleHippieChick, chimene, HiKa, Bluefin, brentbent, letsgetreal, Actbriniel, Prospect Park, monkeybrainpolitics, GAladybug, MadRuth, DiegoUK, Hopeful Monster, emmasnacker, DerAmi, vidanto, Florene, Pluto, northsylvania, parse this, JimWilson, ThirstyGator, whenwego, Geriw, bluesheep, Debs2, Eric Blair, OldGrammy, kamarvt, MusicFarmer, GDbot, Cassandra77, FarWestGirl, Jonny Cache, debedb
    Hidden by:
    SuWho

    "A dog starved at his master's gate/Predicts the ruin of the state" Blake

    by McCamy Taylor on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 03:14:48 PM PDT

      •  Did you know (19+ / 0-)

        that a guillotine only needs to be about 12 feet or so tall from the neck?

        Any ideas of some really tall three-storey thing that can't be set up and broken down like a ride at a traveling carnival are just not true. Especially if using modern materials.

        "I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool." - Republican Congressman Allen West (FL-22) Rawstory Source

        by JayFromPA on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 05:11:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  i'm going to go out on a limb here (7+ / 0-)

        and respond.

        predictions of our dire future don't seem to move people to do much...

        in fact, it makes them feel more helpless, heavier, more crapped on and less able to see a way out.

        that's what i've come to believe. what we don't do is try to come up with viable plans to offset the mess we've allowed (yes allowed) ourselves to be dragged into.

        unless you count voting for democrats, writing/e-mailing/phoning Congress as viable. i don't. not anymore.

        we need to figure out how to talk to each other and establish local/regional platforms of power. we need to use the internet better and more cleverly.

        it isn't that i disagree with the potential reality you describe. it's just that i know it's fucking bad. and going to get worse.

        how do we get others doing things to benefit our world view of "common good" rather than the silliness that erupts on a site like this one over Obama and Democrats. really. that's getting us nowhere. how do we get people back into the real world and onto school boards/town boards/zoning boards?

        how do we get people staging picnics to get to know their neighbors and armed with some better way of honing in on issues that make for commonality and not splinter us further.

        how do we get a dog in this fight?

        •  Government by "we the people" is just at (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pfiore8, semiot, GAladybug

          the beginning.  It wasn't until 1947 that the actions of public officials could be challenged on the ground of neglect of duty.  The Federal Tort Claims Act made it possible to sue them in civil court.  After that, by my reckoning, it took until the civil rights acts of the '60s and the Freedom of Information Act, along with open government requirements, before it even became possible for the people to know what was going on in their name. But, of course, public officials weren't keen to become public servants, so they started shedding their duties and obligations via "privatization."  
          Yes, the official story is that private corporations were keen to latch on to the public teat and take on government functions (never designed to generate a profit) under contract. But, the initiative came from the public servants who didn't want to be bothered by inquisitive citizens holding them accountable come election day (universal suffrage arrived in 1971 with the 26th Amendment). The civil rights agenda also "helped" in this regard.  Racist citizens were not particularly inclined to object when recreational facilities and transportation facilities (buses, streetcars, taxi cabs) were discontinued, rather than having to be shared with the whole community.  Not to mention that the demise of public transportation and public swimming pools proved a boon to the automotive industry and the builders of private pools, which now dot the landscape, chlorinated and unused.

          Anyway, forty years is not that long ago and we have come a goodly distance.  Moreover, we have an advantage.  While the transformation of our economy into a system where all transactions are mediated by money has made it possible to engineer deprivation under the cover of law and finance, so to speak, with relatively little notice until the deprivation was almost complete, money makes it possible to count and keep accounts and hold those who accumulate it accountable.  Money tells us who and where the thieves are.  And, since money is a figment of the imagination, what we are confronting are virtual thefts.  Between $5 and $8 trillion of housing value has been "lost" in the mortgage crisis.  But, the houses are still here.  The streets and sewers and water systems and the electric lines are still here.  Which means that we can redistribute those assets to people who need them, if we are so inclined.

          There's a lot of potential in them thar paper dollars.  And that's why the banksters are up in arms and the hucksters are touting gold.  China would rather have dollars than rubles.  That should tell us something.  If you don't know, it's that we the people, Americans, have more credibility than Putin or the Euro clan. Now all we have to do is prove we're worth it.

          How?  By throwing the clowns in Congress out.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

          by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 02:35:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  are you replying to my comment? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GAladybug, flowerfarmer, SuWho

            I guess i can reply to yours, however.

            We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
            A. Einstein

            China would rather own the Grand Canyon, imo. Dollars or rubles are only as good as the commerce backing them paper notes.

            Here's the problem as I perceive: nobody is in charge. we humans just don't have the ability to operate this global system we've designed. NOTHING is buttoned up, not even the pillaging and looting by the might-is-right crowd.

            Just look at Cheney or Perry. Consider that Obama can't even figure out how to address Congress without it being mangled.

            Back to the money. We have siphoned off so much "profit" from companies and stolen so much treasury via war and other profiteering that the things of real value, ie infrastructure and the ability to produce goods or provide services, have been wholly and systemically damaged. Those dollars of which you speak have very little value. And it doesn't matter if it's the euro or ruble or yen. It's all fucked.

            we've got non-state actors running amok (all types of organized crime we arrogantly thought we could control)... we've blown up the oceans and talk about health care, which is ridiculous in the face of being unable to protect our water and food sources.

            so, while your comment sounds good and like there's some way to wrest control, i think our thinking has to take leaps and bounds beyond what you posit.

            Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.
            A. Einstein
            •  I was responding to your pessimism. (0+ / 0-)

              I think it's unwarranted, but you seem to prefer it.

              There is an advantage to pessimism about the future.  If it turns out wrong, most everyone is pleased and, if it turns out right, the pessimist is satisfied.

              So, enjoy !

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

              by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:47:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it is not pessimism. not at all. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                flowerfarmer, Pluto, SuWho

                just because I think we are out-of-control, lack the ability to manage the world as we've created it, and that our paper money has very little value doesn't at all mean i am a pessimist.

                on the contrary. i am so optimistic that I believe we can evolve our thought, mature our emotions in order to deal with the challenges that are ahead of us.

                but i wonder if we really need more and better diarists posting about how bad things are...

                like the very good ones writing about the horrible economy. but really, if you read them, as fact-laden as they appear and as linked as they are, it's recycled news. BECAUSE WE KEEP MAKING THE SAME EPICALLY BAD DECISIONS. and we keep electing those who do.

                this is so much more than marriage equality. or electing dems to protect the right to an abortion (hard to come by these days due to lack of providers).

                it's finding common ground and working from there to insure civil rights, secular governance, and environmental sanity.

                it's changing the fundamental idea of an ever expanding economy and GROWTH on a planet of finite resources. we need an economic model of stability and sustainability, not growth.

                it is NOT enforcement of doctrine or ideas, even our own. but education, developing thinking skills and thereby the ability of our brains to look at the self in a sequence of events beyond our neighborhood, city, state, and country.

                we need a change of scale and we need to become smarter and wiser. yes. we. do.

                •  Some people do not have a sense of time, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SuWho

                  do not recognize or remember the sequence of events, and have no awareness of themselves.  And, since there's no basis for comparison, no awareness of the other either.
                  Such people are instinct-driven and directed by their superficial optics, which are often misleading.  And, being mislead or mistaken makes them naturally suspicious and insecure.  So, they resort to bluster, imitation and the more or less faithful repetition of what they hear.  That is, they are almost totally reflexive and do not think. Perhaps because they don't think and evaluate, they are able to regurgitate a script without blinking.  Thus, they make ideal candidates for a political system that's run with campaigns akin to the programs that sell soap flakes.

                  Whether the cognitive deficits I allude to are the consequence of pre-natal, peri-natal or post-natal insults I do not know.  However, it seems increasingly obvious that they cannot be corrected. We already know that nutritional deficiencies have life-long consequences.  One of the most telling symptoms of a deficient sense of time is that the person is not able to relate cause and effect.

                  The error lies not in the size of the human population but in the determination that the sustenance people need to survive is appropriately manipulated to insure a compliant population.  That, after all, is what is meant by political economy -- the use of food as a lever of power. While the current food supply globally is sufficient to sustain double the current human population, people are starving and the surplus goes to waste so starving people can continue to provide an example of what happens to people when they don't obey.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

                  by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 07:15:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Much of Alabama, given to War of 1812 vets... (12+ / 0-)

      ...many US military veterans of the War of 1812 were awarded land warrants following their service, after the war ended in 1815. The land warrants entitled the veterans to claim land open for settlement. Problem was, land wasn't immediately designated for redemption of the warrants.

      In the 1840's & into the 1850's, as the Cherokee nations were driven out of the Southeast, land was made available by acts in Congress, for redemption via the 1815 warrants.

      Redemption, if the veterans still had the warrants or could prove their service, that is.

      Nice, huh?

      •  Nothing compared to Kentucky a few decades (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        semiot, GAladybug, DerAmi, luckydog

        ...later.  There were something like 10 claimants for every acre of land.  Many of them ended up in Missouri...hence our woes during the Civil War as well as the war with Kansas that preceded it (my ancestors were abolitionist on both sides of the border.)  Kentucky slaveholders formed the vast majority of Missouri's elected polictical class and were not in sync with the mixed populace of the time.

        Of course this sort of thing (selling the same piece of property from under the natives several times) had been going on since the previous century--see George Washington's Virginia.

        My stepfather's ancestors (Seminole...and to me he is "Dad" much more than my father) got screwed by the displacements you mention though.  His father was an Alabama reservation adoptee/orphan.

        If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

        by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:25:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'd for analogy (36+ / 0-)

    of eminent domain as an analogy for neo-fascism in America today, well-illustrated with detailed examples.

    It is not all books that are as dull as their readers. Thoreau

    by blueoasis on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 03:56:14 PM PDT

  •  Freepers don't like Perry for the most part (7+ / 0-)

    He's considered a "RINO with a twang".

  •  Do you have a flag? (42+ / 0-)

    I love this Eddie Izzard quote on the subject:

    We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail around the world and stick a flag in. "I claim India for Britain!" They're going "You can't claim us, we live here! Five hundred million of us!" "Do you have a flag …? "What? We don't need a flag, this is our home, you bastards" "No flag, No Country, You can't have one! Those are the rules... that I just made up!...and I'm backing it up with this gun, that was lent to me from the National Rifle Association."
  •  The State is the servant of Capital. (33+ / 0-)

    Thanks for yet another fine diary, and providing some powerful examples of how the State, in a Capitalist system, is the servant of money.

    And in Late Stage Capitalism, the economic system needs all the help it can get in the form of mandated consumption (health insurance), government enforced monopolies (endless drug company patents), crony eminent domain deals and massive bailouts.  That's how the State, i.e. government at the federal and state level, is being used even though it is completely contrary to the wishes of the citizens.

    Remember TARP?  Remember the polling data and the flood of communications to Congresspersons to vote against it?  And yet what happened?  The same with the insurance mandate.  The same with importing drugs from Canada, even though it would have saved billions for Medicare and private citizens.

    Who wrote the health insurance "reform" bill?  Who wrote the finance "reform" bill?  Why are all the bills written on K Street these days?

    The State is the servant of Capital in a Capitalist system.

    •  So shouldn't we be supporting libertarians (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace, Nulwee, pfiore8

      who want to crush the state? I don't believe any kind of decent society is possible under the current regime which is completely gamed by the corporate sector as anybody with eyes to see can see. So what next? I can't support politics as usual and nobody seems much interested in building alternative structures--what do we do? I'm asking you--I have my own answer but it may not be applicable to others.

      •  We should be supporting Progressives who (18+ / 0-)

        want to restore balance between the private sector (capital) and the state.

        Unfortunately, we don't seem to have enough of them around...

        •  The "progressive" solution won't work. (6+ / 0-)

          How many times has some "progressive" solution been sidetracked by lobbyists or co-opted government officials so that it was perverted to serve Capital and screw citizens?  The health care bill is an excellent recent example.  We'll see how Dodd-Frank turns out, but I'm happy to place my bet already.

          "Progressives" are living in a mythical past that relies on a very incomplete understanding of what happened in the New Deal.  Progressives cling to the idea that Capitalism is a beast that can be tamed when in fact, it's all the liberals'/progressives' favorite institutions, from government to unions to academia, that have been tamed by Capital.

          •  What is your solution? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            costello7, ozsea1, flowerfarmer

            And what examples do you have that it can work?

            Will work for food
            Will die for oil
            Will fight for power and to the rich go the spoils
            The millionaires get to pay less tax
            The working poor get to fall through the cracks
            -James McMurtry
            -9.75/-8.26

            by SwedishJewfish on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 06:20:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some have been mentioned in the thread. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              An Affirming Flame, VClib

              johnnythebandit suggested treating the cause rather than symptoms, i.e. democratize the workplace using coops and collectives.

              Obviously, GE is not going to turn over management to its workers voluntarily.  What we do now is form our own coops and collectives to accomplish things we need done.  We try to set up coops and collectives in plants that would otherwise close as workers in Argentina did (see Naomi Klein's "The Take").  We build alternatives structures in the gaps that are forming in our rural areas and in our cities.

              It's less a situation of pointing to existing or earlier examples, though I always like to point people to Catalonia in the 30s, than it is recognizing that we're on a collision course with disaster unless we make major changes in our economic and political systems as well as our dominant culture.  This should be an exciting time of experimentation and testing of new paradigms that can be ready for the time when things are truly ripe.

              •  goinsouth - I think this is a good idea (0+ / 0-)

                Tens of thousands of small and medium sized businesses are sold each year. Employees should organize and get in the competition to buy them. We should also support coops and collectives as you suggest. There could be a new body of law that assists workers in these pursuits with loans and tax incentives.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:28:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is already being done in some states. (0+ / 0-)

                  And it's good as far as it goes.

                  When plants are being closed, the employees should have an option to take the plant, equipment, materials and in some cases, the trade name.  The "owners" who are shutting down the plant should get nothing.  That way, the new employee-managed enterprise is not burdened with a lot of debt and the fleeing owners get exactly what they should--nothing.

                  •  goinsouth - not just plant closures (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    goinsouth

                    While I support the use of closed facilities and equipment by employees (although I wonder how that works if there are loans secured by the plant and equipment) I think employees should also be involved when successful businesses change hands, often when family members are the last generation who want to run a family business.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 06:47:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  A 40 hour work week never happend? (5+ / 0-)

            Direct election of Senators never happened?
            Child labor laws never got passed?

            Progressive ideas, when they get implemented, work.  Yeah, there's a dirty pro-capitalist maze in the way and that maze has to be navigated somehow...but that's not the doing of Progressives, that has come about by pragmatists giving way and weakening everything over the years and they get by with it because they take the side of the big money people enough to bolster the power of big money.

            •  To paraphrase Ben Franklin (0+ / 0-)

              A progressive democracy, if you can keep it.

              Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."

              Can we stop losing the New Deal, and then keep it?

              If the road to social transformation can be paved only by saints who never make mistakes, the road will NEVER be built. ~ Van Jones

              by ozsea1 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:06:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Let's fix the root of the problem (4+ / 0-)

              Bad politicians are a symptom not a disease. The real issue is the undemocratic political structure of corporations. Corporations are governed by the owners and managers for their own selfish benefit, but their orders are imposed on the workers.

              If corporations were owned and democratically run by workers people would value democracy more and we would no longer have dictatorial institutions trying to corrupt our government.

              Democratic companies are possible and there are many in existence today such as Mondragon. So long as dictatorial corporations exist they will use their considerable resources to make people stupid, desperate, and bending to their will.

              "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of overcoming it" Helen Keller

              by Johnnythebandit on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 10:35:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Any future progressive legislation or true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              goinsouth

              oversight of business is unlikely for some time given current political trends--partly because those that consider themselves progressives aren't putting strong political pressure on politicians or organizing people, including independents to see that most progressive social-democratic ideas are very pragmatic and history has shown that. This should be obvious to everyone.

              Yet, people are running away from that sort of politics and will continue to do so -- why that is so should be a focus of study here. Personally, I just think it's over and we have to make other arrangements by decentralizing our ambitions and working with small communities and creating alternative institutions at the same time as keeping up what little pressure there is on the pols.

          •  In response to the Radical Rite (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GAladybug, goinsouth

            maybe we should have a loving Left. Get the people of faith that really follow their founding documents on board. Get atheists and agnostics and pagans on board. Create a rallying point that we can coalesce around, and we would be unstoppable. Human rights should become one word, and never split rights from the human.

            It is not certain that everything is uncertain. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

            by BusyinCA on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 08:06:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Don't support but leverage. (7+ / 0-)

        As an anarchist, I see the Randians/Propertarians (anarchists are the real Libertarians) as halfway there.  They see the State's faults, but are blind to the effects of Capital's power.  They prattle on about the income tax amendment and the gold standard and "real" Capitalism the way that Fundies talk about "good old days" that never did exist.

        But their arguments against the State can be useful in breaking people free of their hope that the State can be a solution to our problems.  If you ever read Zero Hedge, it's amusing to watch anarchists and Marxists play the dissatisfaction with the current Capitalist and political system.

        But that's not the important project, is it?  Sure, people are becoming more and more disillusioned with the status quo, but what's the alternative?  That seems to me to be the most important project(s) for anarchists now, and I think the arguments you often make for forming communities, emphasizing different cultural values, etc. are the way to go.

        My only quibble with you occasionally is your view that something has somehow been lost and must be regained.  I wouldn't go there.  Why not just be up front about it?  Yes, humanity has demonstrated some decent qualities at various times and places in the past.  Our own personal experiences with other people contain such positive examples.  But we have never managed to put it all together.  The problem is, with ecological, economic, cultural and political crises reaching the Code Red point, we had better get cracking on doing things in ways that can avert disaster, and those ways are likely to be exploring some new frontiers.

        •  If I gave the impression that something was lost (8+ / 0-)

          then it was a mistake on my part. In a sense we have "lost" a lot of what Ivan Illich would call "conviviality," e.g. his famous comment about watching globalization change the Mexican villages by substituting radios for local musicians playing in the town square (as a musician I wish live music was more common rather than earphones).

          Having said that I view the historical necessity of old forms breaking down since I am firmly in the modernist tradition in thinking and in the arts. I'm actually optimistic about the events and flow of history as it's unfolding because it will force us to wake the fuck up or perish--and I kind of like the edge--I've lived near it most of my life and it works for me.

          The anarchist view, is essential, because (in some of its strains) it's optimistic view of human beings. I've been a social-democrat because I believe that was the best course to follow as a utilitarian matter in part because I have some roots in Europe. But I'm changing back to my old anarchist stance now (I'm an old sixties radical).

          The death of the Obama dream means that if you are a progressive or even a liberal you have to be a fool to support him at this point--sadly I know plenty of fools who say "you're right, but what about the Supreme Court?" I would kind of keep quiet--but now, I think that argument doesn't hold water anymore.

      •  We should rememeber that WE are the gov't (8+ / 0-)

        It is our vote, our tax ,money, our law. But somehow, people have forgotten that they have a right to self destiny. They have been fooled into thinking that everything they own can be auctioned off to the highest bidder by a few public servants who have gamed the election system so that they can not be voted out of power.

        Lot's place you can start. Election reform. Empowerment of the people. Improved news media.

        "A dog starved at his master's gate/Predicts the ruin of the state" Blake

        by McCamy Taylor on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 05:03:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, hell no (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirtfarmer, ozsea1, NoMoreLies

        Or at least not any libertarians I know. They aren't dumb, but they have amazing blinders on. They don't read history, they have difficulty envisioning cause and effect, and they support corporatist priorities in opposition to any state control that already exists. It's bad enough that we have a very poor balance between public and corporate interests - libertarians would just remove any remaining obstacles that might be keeping our "owning class" from just doing whatever the hell they want to the rest of us. (or maybe they misunderstand the difference between shareholder and employee? Beats me.)

        Libertarians also seem to hold the popular illusion that people still have spending power to leverage effectively against corporate power. (the democracy by consumerism instead of by citizenship thing)

        •  Maybe but progressives need to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          goinsouth

          enagage in dialogue and cooperate with libertarians because progressives are, for whatever reason, few in number and weak of will and definitely allergic to creating real community, i.e., giving their all for real change. Libertarians are plentiful and vigorous and, like Ron Paul, many are against imperial wars (many progressives support at least some of those wars), for civil liberties (this is more important than many here think--the right to demonstrate has been severely constrained since 9/11), and oppose these ridiculous drug laws made, from the beginning, to victimize the poor.

          •  Sadly true. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            An Affirming Flame
            weak of will and definitely allergic to creating real community, i.e., giving their all for real change

            There is no better way to inspire silence and polite avoidance on DK than to write a diary arguing that two minutes in a voting booth and blogging are inadequate to make real change, and that what might be required is real sacrifice and risk.  General strikes instead of recalls (But I might get fired! or even better, If the buses shut down, I'll be late for work!).  Quitting jobs working for the big banks or MIC.  Putting your body between our kids and military recruiters.  There's a reason people wear red on May Day.  It's a remembrance of the blood that's been shed.  And that makes many people uncomfortable here.

            That's understandable if you're still a beneficiary of the status quo, or if you still hold out some hope that politicians care about what you want or need.

            As more people depart one or both of those categories, we may see some change in attitudes.

            •  Yes, we need to recognize that many (0+ / 0-)

              progressives are intellectually on the left but their class interest is to support the right or center. I think it may be important to challenge that here. I think Obama actually lives out that split. He appears to be mildly on the left but he is really, in terms of policy, solidly center-right in part because he knows that the class interests of progressives lie precisely in that direction.

              I see no hope for a revivified left in this country until we deconstruct the progressives fantasies we see on this site.

      •  The state is a public corporation, so it has (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goinsouth

        a common interest with private corporations.  The operatives are in them for the same reason, to distribute the risk of taking unfamiliar action.
        If private corporations are not properly restricted and structured, it's because the public officials who authorize them prefer it that way.  Private corporations are not inhibited by the strictures of the Constitution that our public officials find so confining.
        When conservatives yammer about limited government, it's not a feature, it's a bug from their perspective.  As long as they enjoyed "sovereign immunity," having a rotating dictatorship, independent of DNA or military force, was a grand innovation.  It provided an opportunity for many more men to be king for a day, or a year, or a term, or a decade.  Now that there can also be queens and moorish kings, it's best that they be figure-heads or air-heads, if you will.  Good hair takes the place of a crown.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

        by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 02:55:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't blame the money. The money is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GAladybug

      a tool.  We need to wrest it out of the hands of hoarders and use it for our own purposes.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

      by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 02:47:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't you remember? (4+ / 0-)

    All land ultimately belongs to the king.

    He ALLOWS you to administrate it for a promise of service.  

    You may demand the same from your serfs for protection.

    Oh wait, is this the 21st century or the 12th?

    http: detroitmechworks.blip.tv My little wiseass review show.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 04:48:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm as worried about Social Security's (0+ / 0-)

    future as any other 62 year old about to get their first check. But you might want to take a look at this diary before you continue to believe that W gave the Social Security money to China. Facts are best, and that isn't a fact.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 05:02:09 PM PDT

  •  Wow. Well put McCamy Taylor. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    temptxan, blueoasis, Tommymac, GAladybug

    If we continue in this direction, at some point we will reach a tipping point when Americans will rise up and drown this capitalist government in a bathtub.  Will Grover Norquist be happy then?

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 05:15:24 PM PDT

  •  Cattle? Now "We are cattle"? (7+ / 0-)
    Health insurance abuses and eminent domain atrocities are part of the same nasty trend. Right now, in America, we are no longer citizens. We are cattle, to be bought and sold and branded with the name of a Fortune 500 company---and finally slaughtered.
    To be "slaughtered"? I'm not cattle, maybe a little rabid-lamb'ish... But can't eminent domain be used for good as well as bad?
    BAD USE
    The Battle of Chavez Ravinerefers to approximately ten years of racist violence (1951–1961) over the Mexican American community of Los Angeles' Chavez Ravine. The eventual result was the forced removal of the entire population of Mexican Americans, living in the community to make way for Dodger Stadium. The first proposal for the newly bought Chavez Ravine was to make way for public housing but later that public housing plan was then abandoned and ultimately followed by the dedication of Chavez Ravine as the future site of what is now Dodger Stadium.
    GOOD USE
    I propose eminent domain be used as a tool for cities to retrieve the vast inventory of vacant foreclosed homes anguishing in disrepair and redistribute them to residents, the homeless, etc.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

    •  You mean Solyent Green. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck

      This night wounds time..

      by Alumbrados on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 06:19:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's some jiujitsu! (5+ / 0-)

      I love that idea.  Let's run with it!

      Taking blighted property from irresponsible owners (the banks) and re-developing for the community is a legitimate use of ED.

      When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

      by CharlieHipHop on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 08:16:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Better to retrieve the brownfields (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck

      and the abandoned commercial properties along the highways.

      If property is abandoned, it should revert automatically to the community after a given period of time.  There's no good reason, for example, for buying back abandoned railroad rights of way that they got for free in the first place.

      Just as citizenship is a bundle of obligations, ownership of property comes with a bundle of obligations which, to our detriment, haven't been properly spelled out.
      Does it not seem fair to assert that in exchange for a grant of exclusive use, protected by law from vandalism and theft, the owner of private property has an obligation to insure that his enjoyment of the fruits thereof does not deprive other people?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

      by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:07:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, there's a thing called "pride of ownership" (0+ / 0-)

        ...and there's the opposite, where at some point the blight creates a civil issue that should indeed impact property rights.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 06:42:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Were Republicans always this awful, just less (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    willing to show it?

    I don't know. My parents and I couldn't figure it out, either.

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 05:59:12 PM PDT

  •  It was only a matter of time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, NoMoreLies

    After a human life became commoditized to the current degree  -  "Eminent 'domaining'" was to be expected.

    If the aristocracy can't send excess serfs to war like they did in the "good old days" perhaps Logan's Run will be next.

    Try new Slurm - It's even more addictive!

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 07:51:07 PM PDT

    •  Property has always trumped the person, (0+ / 0-)

      ever since some persons were declared to be property that could be owned.  Indeed, that principle continues to hold sway in the present day when children are still considered to be the property of their parents in the law.
      It's a principle that would be violated, if the U.S. ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  So, we haven't, along with Somalia.

      And then, of course, there's the military draft which all emancipated males must "voluntarily" sign up for, under penalty of being incarcerated. You see, the only thing wrong with involuntary servitude was that it was involuntary.  If you can get people to consent to being deprived of their rights, it's not a deprivation.  Similarly, if an arrestee can be tricked into answering questions, then it's not a coerced interrogation and "information" can be extorted for days or weeks or years.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

      by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:15:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am in an eminent domain battle right now (6+ / 0-)

    I am working to stop a new highway through our best farmland. Sad thing is, the conservatives are on my side. I will be very conflicted come voting time this fall.

    You could be listening to Netroots Radio. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 07:54:50 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zaka1, GAladybug
  •   BREWER in AZ is a murderer! She has a body count (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GAladybug

    of poor innocents, organ transplant patients that she denied access to care in order to enrich his privatized prison buddies. W was just ignorant, CHENEY is responsible for the thousands who died while W fiddled and Rick Perry has the title of killingest gov in the country. He loves those punishing executions, of course he has no time to spare for innocents. And now, he has added insult to injury: to the women of TX "UP YOUR UTERUS", YOU ARE HIS and the property of the state until you reach menapause. there is no way these guys believe in a GOD, certainly not a just one!! They could not do what they do and live with their conscience. So, there is evil in the world and now we are seeing it personified in the likes of Perry (TX), SCOTT-FL, Snyder (MI) Kasich (OH). It is their actions that reflect the emptiness of their souls.

    An EGG is not a person, A corporation is not a person!

    by CarmanK on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 12:28:02 AM PDT

    •  They have created God in their own image (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GAladybug

      of themselves.  It makes them feel important to be god-like.  It made Dubya feel important to be doing the will of his Father in heaven, instead of carrying out his Constitutional obligations.

      But, don't blame them.  The reason they give orders is because they are incompetent to do anything on their own. So, all their lives, people have been giving them orders (which they can't carry out) and they just give them back.  Do they expect their orders to be carried out?  Likely not.  Their memories are so poor, it doesn't even occur to them to check.  Why do they make contradictory statements?  Because they don't remember what they said and whoever's writing their scripts has had a change of mind or reread the polls.

      If you know you're dealing with parrots, it makes no sense to expect them to think.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

      by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:22:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wasn't private-to-private eminent domain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper

    ...one of the really awful/unpopular decisions by the Supreme Court?  Wasn't it a "liberal" justice position?  I never did understand this one as I thought it was idiotic and sounded more like a conservative position than a liberal one...leaving me scratching my head.  But maybe I never understood the nuance.  Maybe someone here can explain it to me in progressive terms, but I doubt it.  

    If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:30:41 AM PDT

    •  It was exactly this. Our "liberal" justices (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      were the ones who decided that nothing in the Constitution prevents government (state or otherwise) from seizing your property and giving it to someone else to make money with, and that it was up to the states to decide what constituted appropriate cause for eminent domain.

      There was a brief movement to petition the states to seize their homes and turn them into personal property rights museums.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 02:48:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scalia and Thomas favor "original intent," (0+ / 0-)

        which liberal justices oppose.  But that doesn't mean "intent" doesn't hold sway.  Indeed, because there's a presumption that law enforcement officers following established procedure "intend" to uphold the law, the shooting of citizens who don't immediately comply with their demands for obedience is routinely excused under the rubric of their "intent" to protect.

        And then, of course, the whole national security apparatus has been put in place with the intent to protect the nation (an ephemeral figment of the imagination) to the detriment of respect for individual human rights.

        There's a basic conflict between individual human rights and the lust for power.  Both cannot be satisfied, either at the same time or sequentially.  Some things really are mutually exclusive. Conservatives would argue that there's a right to protect oneself and offer resistance.  That's true.  However, people with a poor or missing sense of time are convinced that defense occurs prior to the offense--a perspective that's actually captured in the saying, "the best defense is a good offense."  In fact, defending oneself against an offense that may never happen is a real waste of energy and time.  Which doesn't much matter, if it's someone else's energy and time (see "fungible troops).

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuzZQ8LTE2c

        by hannah on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:37:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Strong property rights sounds like a liberal (0+ / 0-)

      position?  Nah.  

  •  This is one area where conservatives had it right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    I think.

    It was the liberal wing of the Supreme Court that held that a taking for economic development (i.e., so another private entity could use the property to develop a private business and thus -- the government hoped -- ultimately generate more tax revenue) was a "public purpose" taking and this did not violate the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against the taking of private property without due process of law.  

  •  eminent domain is not the problem (0+ / 0-)

    Abuse of it is. There are very strong protections built in for those that have their property taken, including for the value given for their properties and the months of work going into relocation in addition to payments for being forced to relocate. People working in these fields take their responsibilities seriously.

    The problem is not the taking, which is required for proper development of infrastructure and public uses without extreme payments to a few hold out landowners. This is not the "good old days" where altruistic property owners would donate their land or use of their land for the public good.

    If we don't want our communities to condemn property for private profit, such as tar sands pipelines or car dealerships, then we need to make that clear in our local communities by speaking out at meetings related to those purposes and by voting in local elections.

    It still all comes back to the basic premise that we need campaign finance reform and less corporate control of our elections so that the people can vote for those that truly serve us.

  •  Sorry McCamey - I hiderated your tip jar (0+ / 0-)

    by mistake.  I just fixed it.

    We're the Honey Badger wing of the Donner Party. We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore. Have you seen our videos?

    by Cassandra77 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 03:19:57 PM PDT

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