Eminent Domain

Well hello my faithful readers, its time to once again enter just another chapter on the corporate domination of our country. Before I begin, please let me go over something that is apparent in today’s American society, apathy. Since I began writing this blog, I have uncovered numerous things that average American people do not hear about, or read about, but trump our civil liberties and endanger our communities. My first complaint is that people have gotten out of touch with those people they live around. How many of us know our neighbors? We are so concerned with our own lives that we don’t see the real problem. The way that we live will affect the way everyone else lives, and we are being duped into so many things as a result. For instance, if our communities were closer, if our local governments actually thought that they would loose an election if they did not do what we wanted, then we as citizens would have the control the Constitution gives us. However, due to our lack of concern for the next person, we are getting screwed. We listen to what ever they want us to hear from corporate owned media that slants all its stories and fails to report on important issues, to outright lies from our politicians. We all need to pay more attention.

That being said, allow me to educate you on a Supreme Court decision that is changing the face of America. The case is Kelo V. The City of New London 125 S. Ct. 2655; 162 L. where the court found that a local municipality or local government can declare an area condemned under eminent domain if the land taken is to be used for economic development.

The problem is, the Constitution says that eminent domain can be used if the land is “for public use” and then the taking must be accompanied by some just compensation to the owner of the taken land. In Strickley v. Highland Boy Gold Mining Co., 200 U.S. 527, 531 (1906) the court rejected the “public use” criteria as being use by the public, and broadened the criteria to taking for a “public purpose” so as to allow more things to declared under eminent domain. While the “public purpose” is not a strict interpretation of the Constitution, it still involved making the public the sole benefactor. Then in the case Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26 (1954) it was decided that eminent domain could be declared on blighted areas to clean them up in the name of economic development. So, according to the law at this point, the state’s answer to the poverty problem is to uproot all the residents from the area and kick them out of their community so it can be redeveloped into something more profitable. But this case was decided in 1954, so why is it now that the issue comes up? Because now the people have become so unconcerned with local issues, so preoccupied with price of gas, getting themselves ahead and looking like movie stars, that they fail to see the exploitation that is imposed on them every day by corporate America. So corporate leaders have become more and more confident in trumping the rights of American citizens, hell, we voted for more of it out of our fear of terror and other bullshit espoused through the media machine. We don’t do anything and if we do, it never gets broadcasted or written. So Kelo V. City of New London has set a new precedent for the taking clause of eminent domain. It allowed the City of New London to take 115 homes in a nice waterfront, well kept neighborhood to make way for a new 300 million dollar Pfizer facility. It took this land and built mainly private businesses, new homes and office buildings. The only thing for the actual public is a small park that connects the residential and commercial areas together. The project was all paid for by public money and then transferred to private entities for their sole benefit and profit. According to Kelo the taking was justified by the tax base and revenue that these new businesses would bring.

What about the people though? What does this mean for the average American? Well let’s begin with those that were kicked out of their nice homes, how much did they get for their property? Where did they move to? These are questions that I have no answer for, but given the way the government has shafted the residents up to this point, their benefit from the sale of their home is marginal compared to the revenue that the corporations will make off of the taken land. What does this mean for you and me? It means that no matter where you live or what kind of business you have, the local government can condemn your home or business for the sole purpose of making room for a business or community that is more profitable. You and I will have no say in the matter because it’s Constitutional according to the court, and you’ll be forced to hit the road. Still think real estate is a safe investment?

Now I know what you’re thinking “that’s not going to happen to me, I’m fine”, right? Well take a look at the City of Rivera Beach Florida. Here is a fine example of what’s in store for your home if the rich folk want your property. In this case over 4000 homes are being condemned to erect a new billion dollar yacht club and marina for the rich, oh, look it up, click on the above link. You’ll see the beginning of what is to become commonplace in America unless we Americans do something about it.

Another case is in Washington DC where another 27 homes will be destroyed for parking lots and businesses to support a new stadium. I believe it will be to host the new Washington DC Nationals.

In sum, there is no end in sight for how far the few rich will go to exploit those of us who make less than $1,000,000 a year. Please stop taking our rights for granted and support your independent media sources, community action groups, and national citizen campaigns. It’s up to us to change the course of America from becoming a poor country with the largest gap between the top and bottom 20% of the population. Maintaining democracy takes constant vigilance, and its worth fighting for.

Till next time - Knockemdown

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