Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that property rights are so trivial and unimportant that it's okay for any politician with a bribe in his pocket and a wild hair up his ass to take your home at gunpoint, bulldoze it and build a parking lot where it used to be.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that property rights are of such paramount importance that anyone who creates a tool which might conceivably be used to violate them can be held liable if anyone does violate them.
Apparently the importance of property rights depends on just whose rights we're talking about -- your real ones, or the imagined ones of governments and corporations.
Some animals are more equal than others.
Kind of makes you wonder what world the liberal blogosphere lives in. Do you think it's ever the McMansions or the gated communities that get bulldozed for "economic development projects," or to build a new freeway? And it's funny how those "blighted areas" are always inhabited by poor people--and how the "revitalization" projects always result in a net loss of housing units, with the new ones priced out of their range. Not to mention how downtown gentrification, in the process of making Main Street attractive to a bunch of yuppie bastards, also prices it out of the range of family businesses operating on a shoestring budget. And at every step of the process, the real estate interests get rich. But Daily Kos and fellow travellers are so hypnotized by all the Art Schlesinger rhetoric about government as a "progressive" force, and Clinton's hoodoo that government's just "all of us working together," that they refuse to see the hand in their pocket.
P.S. There's some great stuff at Counterpunch on the same theme.
Alexander Cockburn: ....the Court’s liberals, plus Souter and Kennedy decreed that between private property rights on the one side, and big-time developers with the city council in their pockets on the other, the latter wins every time.....
The case on which the Court ruled was known as Kelo v. City of New London. In the decorous prose of Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times, it concerned “a large-scale plan to replace a faded residential neighborhood with office space for research and development, a conference hotel, new residences and a pedestrian "riverwalk" along the Thames River. The project, to be leased and built by private developers, is designed to derive maximum benefit for the city from a $350 million research center built nearby by Pfizer Inc., the big pharmaceutical company.”
I assume every CounterPuncher can figure out what this really means. God help all “faded residential neighborhoods”. Well, if the poor folks work really hard maybe they’ll be able to go live in the Grand Hyatt or Towne Plaza raised on the rubble of their homes.
George Corsetti [producer of Poletown Lives!]: Justice Stevens talks about how the New London plan was “carefully formulated” and how the local legislatures and courts were best at “discerning local public needs.” Nonsense. Many of these local politicians have the values of used car salesmen and the not-so-subtle exchange of votes for campaign contributions is commonplace....
The difficulty with this case and with this issue is that it does not address the fact that there is simply too much money to be made by politically connected developers and too many corrupt, self-serving local politicians and legislators willing to do their bidding.
And the media, our watch dog on government, is as profit-driven as the developers and is certainly more closely aligned in interest with the banks and chamber of commerce types than with the working class. If anything, the corporate media can be depended upon to cast the issue in a way that makes voting against some development project akin to burning the flag. How could anyone be “opposed to progress” or opposed to a development that will “produce jobs” or “clear slums” or “increase the tax base?”