s skippy the bush kangaroo

skippy the bush kangaroo

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

if right is left, what's left? what's right? - a skippy musing

while trying madly to
reach a million hits for our third blogiversary (yes! talkleft coined that phrase!) we stumbled upon a truly conservative blog called cynical nation .

now, by "truly" conservative, we don't mean way more conservative than lgf (that would be nigh impossible). no, we mean "conservative" in the literal, old school definition of the term: wanting to conserve (budget, environment, values); a real-life libertarian, not a wannabe who likes shouting for the sake of shouting.

cynical nation, when we visited, was still reeling over the kelo v. big corporate greed (sup.ct. 2005) decision, a ruling which, to be quite honest, we ourselves found to be both reprehensible and unsurprising.

reprehensible because, of course, it sets precedents for governments and corporations to steal take private property from land owners under the guise of "eminent domain." unsurprising, because, well, in our minds, who wouldn't expect something from a political environment in which corporations and government are fusing all too much.

cynical nation points out that appointing administrations had little to do with the justices' individual views:

contrary to what many readers have suggested in comments and e-mail, i do not assume that a bush nominee to the court will automatically improve the situation. granted, all four dissenters were appointed by republican presidents, but so were three of the five in the majority (ford, reagan and bush.) to get an originalist or a strict constructionalist on the high court, being a republican nominee may be a necessary condition, but is by no means a sufficient one.

that's one reason i want to jettison this unofficial moratorium on "litmus tests." the next judicial nominee to appear before the senate needs to be grilled on the kelo case and grilled hard. if that comprises a litmus test, then so be it.

that's encouraging. we at skippy, while unabashed liberal, are even more in favor of everybody in the world making up their own minds on a case by case basis, ie, just because the guy in charge says he's from your party, don't expect him to operate in your favor. sometimes the left is right. sometimes the right is left.

we surfed through the right side of blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase!) to find more folks stunned that the supreme court would favor money and politics over individual rights.

our good friend
vodka pundit :

this is a dreadful decision. if politicians have the right to take your private property and give it to somebody else just because the other guy claims that he can generate more taxes from it, then property rights have ceased to exist in the us.

the localities are still required to pay "a just price" when one of these takings occurs, but the price even a willing seller would be able to get from his property just took a huge hit. all a developer has to do now is make a lowball offer and threaten to involve a bought-and-paid-for politician to take the property away if the owner doesn't acquiesce.


it certainly is. redstate gives a thoughtful point-by-point dissection of justice's decisions and how they pretty much throw private property rights out the window by being incredibly vague (redstate's analysis, while right on the money, is detailed, precise, and boring. forgive us for not quoting it).

whizbang comes to much the same conclusion about the court as cynical nation...ie, just 'cuz they're registered as a republicans don't mean they likes the constitution:

for years, i've listened to the liberals screaming and wailing and howling about how big business really runs things around here, about how the corporate interests will end up totally running everything and screwing the little guy, and the republicans will be right there helping them. for years, i've found that laughable and signs of the raving paranoia among the left. but let's look at those five justices:

john paul stevens, appointed in 1975 by gerald ford. anthony m. kennedy, appointed in 1988 by ronald reagan. david h. souter, appointed in 1990 by george h. w. bush. ruth bader ginsburg, appointed in 1993 by william jefferson clinton. stephen g. breyer, appointed in 1994 by william jefferson clinton.

three of the five, appointed by republicans. it's slight consolation that the other four were put on the court by nixon, reagan, and bush.

and lest we forget daily pundit , who coined the phrase "blogosphere" (which is, of course, incorrect, because there is no shape to cyberspace; but, we digress), who thinks the supremes are simply out of touch:

a lot of the decisions made by those folks are - of course - based on their view of reality. since most of them are utterly insulated from true reality and live in cocoons manufactured specifically to keep them insulated, quite often they make horrid decisions with the best of intentions. the notion that raising taxes is a legitimate "public use" that justifies eminent domain takings - as souter voted for in kelo - is one such notion.

but what is the left side of blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase, and it's geometrically more correct!) saying?

well, le'ts let skippy start:

it sucks. big time. now any developer with a politician for a friend can take your home away (anyone remember how the ranger stadium got built ?)

but oddly enough, we had trouble finding lefties even talking about it, let alone disagreeing with the supremes. but over on
dkos , though armando supports the decision, many, many commentors were abhorred:

so the petro-chemical corps should have every right to mine any land, especially in these times of war and shortage, because, as you know, cheap gas is no doubt in the public good…anyone hear that "windfall"??

asymmetrical distribution of power is the key... ...to why this decision is profoundly wrong. if you go down the posts in the response to this, you will see that those who are against the decision recognize that it is a decision in favor of the corporate state over the individual.

well said! i'd comment further but i'm too darned tired. gotta go to wal-mart (that they put on the site of a historic farm) and buy a shotgun to protect my house (isn't that pretty much the only approach left?) just in case they want to put a cvs or starbucks here. i'm pretty sure the surrounding neighborhoods would get more use from a starbucks than they ever will from my house and they'd pay more taxes. so everyone wins...except me, the wife and the cats.

government representatives depend on corporate money to finance their campaigns and incumbency. without it, they lose, with precious few exceptions. so, under current campaign finance law, power belongs to the company, big "c". the constitutionality of these laws has the court's imprimatur.

and how much do you want to bet that, soon after pfizer moves in, they threaten to leave unless they get "tax breaks" to stay? or do union-busting or refuse to provide employee benefits or whatever they need to do in order to profit? this happens all the time (cf. the book "going local" by michael shuman). so the ultimate trickle-down benefit to "the public" becomes basically nothing. i'm not arguing the jurisprudence here. from a purely constitutional standpoint, armando may be right. but from a moral, social, and public policy standpoint, this really sucks.

sandra o'conner hit the nail on the head when she said that this decision will benefit those who can afford the better lawyers. and reading the 5th amendment, i don't think that the dissenting view would have represented a wholesale new interpretation of the words.

much the same thing happened at poltical animal ...kevin drum thought the decision was no biggie, but his commentors were aghast, not only at the supremes, but kevin's attitude.

but when it comes to all things law, we go to our good friend
talkleft , who quotes john wesley hall in a piece that pretty much sums up reality:

the label "judicial activism" always applies to the judges aligned with the other guy. when it's their guys doing it furthering their agenda, "well, that's just the way it goes, citizen, suck it up."

well, what can we say? corporate/government power is something we've been fighting since we were little 'roos in our mama's pouch. you can twist and spin the ins and outs of the decision all you want, but it comes down to the golden rule...whoever has the most gold makes the rules.

and nobody, regarding of whatever party they align themselves with, should be surprised when the fatcats use them as a litter box.
posted by skippy at 4:06 PM |


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