February 1, 2012

Feds Give Power of Eminent Domain to Pipeline Co. in Pa.'s Marcellus Shale Gas Field

Landowners Fight Eminent Domain in Pa. Gas Field

The Associated Press
January 31, 2012

A pipeline operator assured federal regulators it would minimize using eminent domain against private landowners if given approval to lay a 39-mile natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania's pristine Endless Mountains. 

Yet the company was readying condemnation papers against dozens of landowners even as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was considering its application for the $250 million MARC 1 pipeline. Within two days of winning approval, Central New York Oil & Gas Co., LLC went to court to condemn nearly half the properties along the pipeline's route — undercutting part of the regulatory commission's approval rationale and angering landowners who are now fighting the company in court.

Eminent domain would give the company the right to excavate and lay the 30-inch diameter pipeline on private property. Landowners would not lose their properties and would be compensated. 

The dispute could foreshadow eminent domain battles to come as more pipelines are approved and built to carry shale gas to market in states like Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. 

Some of the complaining landowners say the company steamrolled them by refusing to negotiate in good faith on either monetary compensation or the pipeline's route. Their attorneys say the company has skirted Pennsylvania's eminent domain rules governing compensation. 

Residents are fighting the pipeline on two fronts: challenging the eminent domain proceedings in court and appealing the approval by FERC. Because those challenges are pending, commission spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen declined Tuesday to comment on whether the agency was misled.

The pipeline operator, a subsidiary of Inergy LP of Kansas City, Mo., insists it's trying to reach a "fair settlement" with all residents and wants to be a good neighbor.

The company promotes the MARC 1 pipeline as key infrastructure in developing the Marcellus Shale, a vast rock formation underneath Pennsylvania and surrounding states that experts believe holds the nation's largest reservoir of gas. The high-pressure steel pipeline will connect to major interstate pipelines and the company's own natural gas storage facility in southern New York state.

Central New York Oil & Gas hopes to start construction soon and finish by July, but awaits permits from Pennsylvania environmental regulators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
It also faces the residents' legal challenge. 

Many of them say they favor natural gas drilling and some have leased land to gas drillers. What rankles them is that the federal government has invested the company with the power of eminent domain, taking away their bargaining power.
"Once the government becomes involved, this is what happens. Because you lose that leverage," said Amy Gardner, who, with her husband, faces condemnation of part of their 175-acre parcel in Sullivan County.
The Gardners say the company offered them less than a third of the amount they got from another pipeline company that installed a gathering line on their land. The difference? Gathering lines — smaller pipelines that take gas from the wellhead to a transmission line or processing facility — are not federally regulated and companies that operate them don't have condemnation power. 

Amy Gardner said a CNYOG company representative who made them the lowball offer told them to "take it or leave it." She would not publicly disclose what the company had offered.

"There's no negotiating with this company. They come and they tell you what they're going to do. They're telling you what they're going to pay. And they're counting on the government to enforce it," Gardner said in a recent interview at the Sullivan County Courthouse, where a judge has scheduled a mid-February hearing on the landowners' concerns.
The company insists it has met its obligation to negotiate and has reached private agreement with more than 80 percent of the landowners. Its attorney, Michael Wright, said there were several "meet-in-the-middle cases" involving compromise.
"It's not like we were sitting silently until the FERC order and rushed to the courthouse," said Wright, who is based in Vestal, N.Y. "To say we did not attempt to negotiate in good faith is incorrect."
Amounts offered by the pipeline company range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of property taken. Court papers it filed in late December valued damages at 37 condemned properties in Sullivan County at $310,900 — from a low of $120 to a high of $39,570 for land owned by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 

The pipeline has been controversial since it was first proposed two years ago. 

The regulatory commission considers all applications for new interstate pipelines. It received 22,000 comments on the MARC 1 project, many concerned about environmental and safety impacts. The Environmental Protection Agency also worried about potential damage to the forest ecosystem, noting the pipeline will cross dozens of pristine waterways in an area popular with hikers, hunters and fishermen.
The commission ultimately determined the pipeline would not significantly impact the environment and allowed it to proceed.

The regulators were also supposed to consider whether there would be an "unneeded exercise" of eminent domain — the often-contentious legal process by which the government, or a party such as a public utility, takes private property for public benefit. 

The power of eminent domain has traditionally been invoked for highways, railroads, schools and other public buildings. Property owners are supposed to receive fair-market value for their land, and can appeal in court if they're unhappy with the amount they've been offered. 

The regulators said last year that they relied on the company's assertion it was acquiring land "through negotiated agreements with landowners, thus minimizing the need" to condemn people's land. 

In reality, Central New York Oil & Gas had already prepared to take dozens of landowners to court. Within two days of getting the commission's approval on Nov. 14, it began eminent domain proceedings in court against 74 of 152 property owners along the pipeline's route through the mountains of Bradford, Lycoming and Sullivan counties.

The company isn't taking homes or booting people off their land. Rather, it needs easements for the part of each property through which the pipeline will run. 

Deborah Goldberg, an attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice, said the large number of condemnations suggests that the pipeline company "never made a serious effort to get negotiated agreements with the landowners that the landowners thought were fair." Earthjustice has intervened in the pipeline challenge.
Goldberg suggests the pace of settlements quickened because condemnation takes leverage away from the property owner. 

Wright, the company attorney, acknowledged that Central New York Oil & Gas told landowners that if they challenged the company in court, forcing it to incur legal expenses, then any deal on the table would be withdrawn. 

Some landowners aren't interested in the money. They're more concerned about the pipeline's route. 

The company told Bob Swartz that it plans to cut a 50-foot-wide, 400-foot-long gash through an ancient stand of trees across the front of his property. When Swartz proposed an alternate route through an open field that would preserve his trees and views, the company said it wasn't interested and offered instead to pay him for the wood.
"That's not negotiation. It was their way or no way, and 'we'll see you in court.' It's the little guys against Goliath," said Swartz, who has challenged the company in court.
Another landowner, Lisa Richlin, has appealed to federal regulators to force Central New York Oil & Gas to abandon plans for an access road along her property. Richlin said the road is at the bottom of a long hill and around a sharp bend where there have been many accidents, at least one of them fatal.
When Richlin pressed the company to use an alternate route a short distance away, she said, the company told her that would cause a six-month delay.
"I want them to go elsewhere. I don't want somebody to die because of stupidity," she said.
In a statement, the company said it has accommodated dozens of landowner requests for route changes, but can't do more because of "environmental, cultural and biological restrictions as well as other land use constraints."

August 21, 2009

Americans Fight to Protect Their Property

Will the Government Take Your Home?

By Sean Flynn, Parade.com
Originally Published on August 6, 2006

Joy and Carl Gamble bought an English stucco house in Norwood, Ohio, in 1969. They raised two children there and worked seven days a week in their small grocery store to pay off the mortgage.
“ We had the house fixed up just the way we liked it,” Carl says. “When we retired, we planned to sit down and enjoy it.”
But now the Gambles live in their daughter’s basement. Their house stands vacant in the weedy field that was their neighborhood—seized by the city and transferred to a developer who wants to build shops, offices and condominiums.

In Long Branch, N.J., Denise Hoagland, 39, has an endless view of the Atlantic Ocean from the cottage she and her husband, Lee, bought 13 years ago. Their garden blooms with so many flowers that their three daughters call home “the place where the butterflies fly.” But Long Branch wants to take their home and about 35 other properties so a developer can build luxury condos.
“It’s theft,” Denise says. “It’s legalized theft.”
Technically, it is a forced sale, because the government has to pay for the property. And it is legal: In June 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state and local governments can seize homes to make way for private development. The decision in Kelo v. City of New London triggered a sort of government land-grab.

In the one year since Kelo, more than 5,700 homes, businesses and even churches were threatened with seizure for private development, according to the nonprofit Institute for Justice (IJ), and at least 350 were condemned or authorized for condemnation. By comparison, about 10,000 were similarly threatened or taken over from 1998 through 2002.

Government always has had the power to force the sale of private property for public use—a process known as eminent domain. But what is “public use”?
Historically, it meant highways, railroads, schools and sweeping urban-renewal projects, such as the redevelopment of the Baltimore waterfront. But Kelo made clear that middle-class homes could be replaced with malls, offices, luxury homes—anything that might increase tax revenue.

“It’s a blatant example of reverse Robin Hood—taking homes from the poor and the middle-income and giving them to the rich,” says Scott Bullock, the IJ attorney who argued (and lost) Kelo.

“The fact is, a shopping mall does usually produce more taxes than a house,” says IJ attorney Dana Berliner. “An office building does produce more taxes than a church. But if that’s the rule—that anyone’s home can be taken away from them because something else will produce more taxes—then no one’s home is safe.”
In Norwood, the Gambles and two other property owners represented by IJ brought their case to the Ohio Supreme Court. In Long Branch, two dozen residents, also working with IJ, are suing to stop their neighborhood from being replaced with 185 condominiums. And in Lakewood, Ohio, my hometown, the people of Scenic Park waged such a successful public campaign three years ago that voters spared their homes from being taken.

In each city, the process unfolded almost identically: A private developer, with the government’s backing, wanted a big piece of property—cliff-side homes with valley views in Lakewood, ocean-front cottages in Long Branch—and tried to negotiate deals with each owner. When some refused to sell, the cities threatened to invoke eminent domain to clear the holdouts.

In order to do that, however, city officials first needed to declare the neighborhoods “blighted.” But the legal designation of “blight” bears little resemblance to a commonsense definition. In Lakewood, for example, Scenic Park is a charming neighborhood of older, well-kept homes. But because they lack such modern touches as attached two-car garages and central air-conditioning, the city deemed them blighted—a standard by which more than 80 percent of Lakewood, even the former mayor’s home, would likewise be blighted.
“We always bit on the word ‘blight,’” says Julie Wiltse, 63, who helped neighbors distribute 20,000 fliers and sponsor a series of blight events: a Blighted Block Party, a Blighted Chili Cook-off, even a Blighted Groundhog Day (which predicted four more months of blight). TV cameras and newspaper reporters loved that stuff.

“We were very successful in explaining to the community, ‘If we’re blighted, you’re blighted,’” Wiltse says.
Likewise, the Hoaglands’ neighborhood in Long Branch isn’t “blighted” in any meaningful way. With one or two exceptions, it’s a few blocks of low-key bungalows where families have lived side-by-side for decades, even generations. The shabbiest touches, ironically, are the posters in nearly every home’s windows with the words “eminent domain abuse” inside a red-slashed circle and the several homes that have been bought by the developer and boarded up. What the area doesn’t have, however, are the $500,000 condos or the restaurants with $12 hamburgers that were built immediately south of the neighborhood.
“When they want to revitalize,” says William Giordano, 41, whose great-grandfather built his house, “suddenly we’re not good enough to live here.”
The city has put prices on the houses it wants to take: $400,000 for the Hoaglands’ house, $374,000 for Lori Ann Vendetti’s, $410,000 for the home her parents built across the street and $325,000 for Anna DeFaria’s tiny gray cottage. Those might sound like hefty sums, but not on the Jersey shore.
“ I can’t get anything in Long Branch for three and a quarter,” DeFaria says, “let alone an ocean view.”
But what’s money?
“The memories are here,” says Lori Ann Vendetti. “They can come in with a million dollars, two million—we won’t take it. A lot of people think we’re bluffing, that everyone has a price. The Vendettis don’t have a price.”
Neither do the Gambles. Most of the properties that the Gambles and their Norwood neighbors owned—69 out of 75—were sold to the developer, who was required by the city to pay at least 25 percent above market value. Three others later settled with the developer. Then the city used eminent domain to claim the last three, concluding that the neighborhood was deteriorating, based on a study that was paid for by the developer.

Tim Burke, a lawyer for the city, argues that the government had to clear the holdouts, especially because there were so many other property owners who had agreed to sell. “Would Norwood have used eminent domain if it had to acquire 69 of the properties? Clearly not,” he says.

As Burke explains it, Norwood is an old industrial town that lost its industry and a third of its population. The city needs to redevelop to generate new revenues, and clearly most of the Gambles’ neighbors weren’t opposed.
“When you’re a community like Norwood, you’ve got to be concerned with the entire citizenry,” Burke says. “And, yeah, there are going to be instances where, in order to better the lives of the many, the property of the few will have to be taken.”
But what if you’re one of those few?
“That this is happening here,” says Joy Gamble, “in the land ‘ of the people, for the people, by the people…’” The thought trails off, and she just shakes her head.

August 20, 2009

Private Property Ownership is the Foundation of America's Prosperity

Why the Government is Grabbing Our Land

By Henry Lamb, Sovereignty International, Inc.
Originally Published in June 2003

Most of the world's people have no concept of private property, as it has evolved in the United States.
Most of the world evolved under a system of governance in which the state (king, czar, crown prince, or whatever) owned all the land and all the resources. Individuals are granted (or denied) the privilege of using the land and its resources only as it may please the state.

This underlying philosophy of land use continues to permeate public policy throughout most of the world, and especially in the United Nations.

This philosophy was rejected by the people who created the government of the United States, choosing instead, the philosophy of John Locke, who championed individual ownership.
This principle of private property ownership is the foundation from which America's prosperity was launched.
The principle of private property ownership was challenged in the United States during the 1930's enthusiasm for socialism, through organizations such as the Wilderness Society, whose founder, Robert Marshall, advocated "nationalization" of the nation's forests. The post-war anti-communism campaign quieted this enthusiasm in America, but did not end it.

Advocates of government ownership and control of land use saw more opportunity in a global approach than was offered by the cumbersome American legislative system. Proponents of this philosophy flocked to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a non-government organization founded by Julian Huxley, who also was the founder of UNESCO - the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

A Frenchman, Francois Bourliere, was president of the IUCN from 1963 to 1966. He, personally, and the IUCN were instrumental in the development of the first U.N. Treaty on Wetlands, adopted in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. Bourliere was named to chair the first MAB International Coordinating Council in November 1971. From this meeting grew the current U.N. Man and the Biosphere Program.

In 1973, in Washington, the IUCN was successful in getting the U.N. to adopt its treaty on Endangered Species. The IUCN was responsible for drafting, and bringing into force through the United Nations, a global policy on governing wetlands, endangered species, and biosphere reserves.
By 1976, the United Nations was ready to articulate a general policy on land use. This policy is stated in the final report of the first U.N. Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT I), held in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1976.

The preamble to the section on Land, says:
"Land... cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable ..."
The land use philosophy of the non-American world was fully incorporated into international law and norms, with the support of the United States government. At the direction of President Carter, the U.S. State Department entered into an agreement with UNESCO in 1979 to launch a U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program. Congress was not consulted, nor was any state legislature consulted, as 47 U.N. Biosphere Reserves were quietly designated in the United States.
In the late 1990s, the 48th U.N. Biosphere Reserve was proposed for the Ozarks. The U.S. MAB office, working through other federal and state agencies and The Nature Conservancy, began the initiative. It failed because local citizens informed themselves about the possible implications and insisted to their elected officials that the designation be stopped.

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced the American Land Sovereignty Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives in two sessions of Congress, but died in the Senate. His bill would have required that Congress approve each of the existing Biosphere Reserves and all future designations.
Proponents of government control of land use shifted their tactics from the expansion of Biosphere reserves to other land use control measures. The Clinton administration adopted an Ecosystem Management Policy, and used the Antiquities Act to designate "Monuments" so expansive as to give government control of land well beyond the so-called monument. The "Roadless Initiative" had the effect of removing people from wilderness areas by denying access. This was much easier that getting a wilderness designation through Congress.

The "Clean Water Initiative" gave the federal government jurisdiction over private lands adjacent to streams, broadening the scope of the earlier "wetland" policy. Heritage designations, conservation easements, and "open space" are now favorite tools used to expand government control of land use.

"Critical Habitat" authorized under the Endangered Species Act, has become a favorite device for government control of private property. Nearly 2,000 species have been listed as endangered or threatened; government has only to declare an area to be "critical" to the species, then the government can dictate how the land may be used.

All of these measures work together to achieve the original goal of the Man and the Biosphere Program: "to conserve most of the planet for wildlife, forcing people into "sustainable communities." This objective has now been codified into international law in the form of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The IUCN, author of this concept, also devised Agenda 21, adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 at the U.N. conference on Environment and Development. Agenda 21 is a laundry list of recommendations designed to reorganize society around the central principle of protecting the environment.

Even though the U.S. Senate chose not to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Congress has never voted to approve Agenda 21, the federal government has been implementing both. The Forest Service is actively developing "corridors" to connect wilderness areas. Bill Clinton created the President's Council on Sustainable Development to translate Agenda 21 into domestic policy.

Why is the government using every excuse it can muster to grab the land of private individuals? The government cannot implement the international agenda if individuals are allowed to do what they please with their own land.

The European socialist philosophy on land use has overwhelmed the philosophy of John Locke and America's founders. It is no longer called socialism. It is called by many names, all associated with "sustainable development."

In most communities, neither the victims, nor the proponents of sustainable development are aware that their plight is a part of a global agenda. Indeed, most would scoff at the idea. Nevertheless, the transformation of America is well underway, without public debate, or Congressional approval.

From watershed, to ecosystem, to village, to city, to multi-county regions, to transboundary biospheres - the U.N. agenda is being systematically implemented - with the help of elected officials, paid for with the taxes of American citizens.

August 19, 2009

Replacing Farmland and Pastures with Forests

Cap and Trade Calls for Productive U.S. Farmland to be Converted to Forests

The cap and trade or climate bill is an extension of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 — the globalist plan to “manage, count, and control all of the world’s assets. Included are the forests, fresh water, agricultural lands, deserts, pastures, rangelands, farmers’ fields, oceans and inland waterways, marine environment, marine life, cities, housing, sewer and solid wastes, methods of production, air, pollution, biotechnology — every aspect of living and farming, production and manufacturing, research and medicine, etc., along with you and I.” - Joan Veon.

August 19, 2009

USA TODAY - New forests would spread across the American landscape, replacing both pasture and farm fields, under a congressional plan to confront climate change, an Environmental Protection Agency analysis shows.

About 18 million acres of new trees — roughly the size of West Virginia — would be planted by 2020, according to an EPA analysis of a climate bill passed by the House of Representatives in June.

That's because the House bill gives financial incentives to farmers and ranchers to plant trees, which suck in large amounts of the key global-warming gas: carbon dioxide.

The forestation effort would be even larger than one carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, says the U.S. Forest Service's Ralph Alig. The CCC, which lasted from 1933 to 1942, planted 3 billion trees, says the Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy, an alumni group for workers and family members.

The environmental benefits are clear. More trees would not only lower carbon dioxide levels, but they would improve water quality, because they need lower levels of pesticides and fertilizers, says agricultural economist Bruce McCarl of Texas A&M University, who contributed to the EPA analysis.

The plan would, however, be hard on ranchers and farmers and potentially food prices, says American Farm Bureau chief economist Bob Young.

In the Senate, which is likely to consider a similar bill this fall, there are some who worry the loss of farmland would lead to increases in food prices worse than those seen in mid-2007, when costs spiked 7% to 8% above 2006 levels.
If those food prices seemed high, "wait till you start moving agricultural acres into climate-change areas," warns Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., Agriculture secretary for President George W. Bush.
McCarl says food costs would stay roughly the same.

The latest EPA analysis does not say where the farmland would be lost. However, an EPA study done in 2005 that analyzed climate-change policies similar to the House bill found that trees would overgrow farms primarily in three areas:

•Great Lake states: Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

•The Southeast: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

•The Corn Belt: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio.

Forests once grew there, says study author Brian Murray of Duke University, so trees would sprout quickly in those areas if farmers got financial incentives. The House climate bill would allow landowners who reduce carbon dioxide to sell carbon permits to polluters, such as power plants.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week hailed the possibility that climate-change action could help forests.
"We have our own deforestation problem right here in the U.S. of A," he said. "Just keeping forest as forest is a significant challenge."
Roughly 1 million acres of forests every year were flattened to make way for homes and other development in the 1990s, Alig says. Without a climate bill, a net total 26 million acres of forest will be lost to development by 2050, he says.

August 15, 2009

Liberty v. Tyranny

Connecting the Dots to Tyranny

By Tom Deweese, American Policy Center
Originally Published on March 25, 2008

Which do you choose? A way of life where you are the master of your destiny, or one where virtually all decisions are made for you by one ruling body or another? It’s the classic struggle facing every human on earth. Freedom or control.

Truth be known, there are many who actually choose control. It makes for a well-ordered society with few surprises.
In a controlled society, one doesn’t have to make complicated career choices, health care is provided.

Community planners decide where housing will be placed. Committees decide what industries are to be allowed and how they will operate. Self-appointed watchdogs decide the foods that you shall be permitted to eat, to protect our health, of course.

Family planners decide the number of children allowed and how they will be raised. Those children, of course, will be well taken care of every day in public education centers that not only provide a centrally planned curriculum, but also provide for all physical and mental health needs.

Crime can be eliminated in the coming Utopia because there will be no real possessions or personal property to steal and no personally-owned weapons to threaten the authority of the State. Economic security is promised in a better world as everyone equally sacrifices their earned wealth to the State so all may live in harmony, free of greed and the stress of daily living. Everything is well organized, peaceful and controlled. Everyone is secure in the knowledge that tomorrow will be just like today.
On the other hand, there is the chaos of what some call freedom. In such a society, people are fully responsible for their own actions.
Untethered individuals throw a monkey wrench into a well-ordered society by inventing new gadgets that make life easier and more productive, but threaten old ways.

“Selfish” people pursue their own dreams and ideals without ever worrying about how they fit into the order created by the State. They want to benefit from the fruits of their labor, own property, and raise families without controls established from the wisdom of the community.

Imagine such a society in which parents get to decide how best to educate their children. And think of the irresponsibility of individuals actually being able to choose if and how they want to invest their money to prepare for retirement.

In the so-called free society, people eat what they want without benefit of government approval. Children are part of the family that bore them, not overseen by the State. People start enterprises without asking permission. Nothing stays the same, except that individuals are secure in their homes and have the ability to live their lives as they choose.
Control today has a name: “Agenda 21.” This is the name of a policy document first unveiled at the United Nations’ Earth Summit in 1992. Implementation of the treaty is through a policy called Sustainable Development.

This program is now the official policy of the United States and is being systematically imposed in every single state of the Union and in every city and town. There are very few exceptions.

Sustainable Development is no less than a ruling principle through which decisions for all aspects of our lives are determined through public/private partnerships between government (at all levels) and private institutions in our communities.
They provide guidelines to determine business decisions, property use, medical care, education curriculum, foreign policy, economics, taxes, labor policy, career decisions, housing, building material, farming policy, and much more.
Agenda 21 is based on the principle that government is the maker of rights.

If you choose freedom, then there is a counter to Agenda 21 and its Sustainable Development program. It’s called Freedom 21, and it’s quickly growing into a “freedom movement.” Freedom 21 is not an organization. It is a loose coalition of groups and individuals who believe that our nation’s Founding Fathers had it right when they established this nation as one with tightly controlled reins on government.

The Founding Fathers believed that all individuals were born with their rights of individual liberty, and that government’s job is to protect those rights as individuals pursue their own dreams and goals.

That’s the basis for the Freedom 21 agenda.

Green Global Dictatorship: Regional Governance, UN Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, and the Wildlands Project

The Communist Manifesto

Marxism and American Society

"[Communism] is, in fact, man's second oldest faith. Its promise was whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: 'Ye shall be as gods.' It is the great alternative faith of mankind. Like all great faiths, its force derives from a simple vision. Other ages have had great visions. They have always been different versions of the same vision: the vision of God and man's relationship to God. The Communists vision is the vision of man without God. It is the vision of man's mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world." [Whittaker Chambers, "Witness," p.9.]

The Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto

These Ten Planks are the hallmark of a Communist Government. You will see that ALL but ONE have been completely implemented in the U.S. Government. And that ONE remaining “plank” is soon to be completed.
  1. Graduated Income Tax - Established in America in 1913.

  2. Rights of inheritance government controlled – the U.S. government Inheritance Tax

  3. Central Bank – the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank

  4. Government ownership or control of communications and transportation - FCC and Department of Transportation

  5. Government ownership or control of factories and agriculture – through the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture

  6. Government control of labor – U.S. Department of Labor

  7. Corporate farms and regional planning/U.S. control of factory farming – three large corporations own virtually ALL the farmland and production facilities in the U.S.

    Regional governments are being appointed (NOT elected) and have significant power and control, but are not beholden to the voters.

  8. Federal Government control of education – U.S. Department of Education (with National achievement tests and Federal government control of curriculum). This was NEVER to be the case in the U.S.A. It is unconstitutional.

  9. Confiscation of property of rebels – the local police departments are confiscating property if marijuana is found being grown on the property, they are confiscating and selling cars of those stopped for highway infractions, they are confiscating the property of those who disagree with the government on the war or income tax.

  10. Abolition of private property – For years, the government has had the doctrine of eminent domain through which they can condemn your property for a freeway or other public road. Now they have extended this eminent domain to include the confiscation of your property if your city wants to build a hotel or other building on your property to increase their tax revenue.

    They can also abolish private property just by raising your taxes higher than you can pay. They then confiscate your property for non-payment of property tax.

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution

Property Rights and the U.S. Constitution

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution limits the federal power of eminent domain solely to the purchase of private property with just compensation for public use, such as military reservations and government office buildings - not for public ownership, such as urban renewal, environmental protection, or historic preservation. Under no circumstances may the federal government take private property, by means of rules and regulations which preclude or substantially reduce the productive use of the property, even with just compensation.

Our Founding Fathers knew that to preserve this land of liberty, the individual citizen had to have rights even the government could not take away. Most precious of those rights is the ability to own and use private property. From that right, all others are secured.

Citizens for a Constitutional Republic call for a return to the states and to the people all lands which are held by the federal government without authorization by the Constitution.

We also call for repeal of federal wetlands legislation and the federal Endangered Species Act. Moreover, we oppose any attempt to designate private or public property as United Nations World Heritage sites or Biosphere reserves. We call for an end to United States participation in UN programs such as UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere, and the UN Council on Sustainable Development. We oppose environmental treaties and conventions such as the Biodiversity Treaty, the Convention on Climate Control, and Agenda 21, which destroy our sovereignty and right to private property.

Eminent Domain Abuse

They’re Taking Away Your Property for What?

Nicole Gelinas
Autumn 2005

Pundits both Left and Right condemned the Supreme Court’s Kelo v. City of New London ruling last June as an unjust, even un-American, abuse of state power. And surely it’s hard to defend a decision that lets government take well-kept property away from one private individual or business to give it to another who might make it more upscale.

But what critics haven’t noticed is that the decision simply expands the Court’s approval of a practice that state and local governments have long used to bring about urban renewal or economic development. More important, they have also failed to notice that, over its long history, this practice has almost never worked. The Court’s decision fails not just on moral but also on utilitarian grounds.

The crux of Kelo’s injustice is its further enlargement of the power of eminent domain granted by the Fifth Amendment, which recognizes that “private property” can “be taken for public use.”

“Public use” once meant the obvious: the state could seize private land to build a road, for example, or it could allow a railway or a utility company to build track or power lines across private farmland, since they’d be available to everybody. But 50 years ago the Court replaced the “public use” rationale for eminent domain with a more nebulous concept of “public purpose,” in order to allow cities to condemn slums to remove urban blight.

In Kelo, the 5-4 majority went a step further, ruling that governments don’t need to show that property they condemn is even nominally blighted; the vague promise of higher tax revenues and the hope of private-sector jobs through planned development are no less public goods than a road or a water-treatment plant. And so the Court allowed New London, Connecticut, to condemn a middle-class waterfront neighborhood and to parcel it out to private developers who would make more lucrative use of the property, including building luxury condos.

Americans are serious about the sanctity of private property because they understand that it is not only inseparable from liberty but also the foundation of prosperity.

If Soviet-style central planning actually worked, America’s vast urban renewal projects that used eminent domain to bulldoze slums would have produced flourishing communities rather than high-rise housing projects awash in social pathology. And the megaprojects of today — the stadiums, convention centers, Renaissance Centers, and so on, for which urban planners have condemned acres of private property — would actually have produced the economic development that their sponsors promised.

Like so many who have believed those promises, Justice John Paul Stevens, in his majority opinion in Kelo, puts much stock in the fact that New London “has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community.” More than 50 years of experience say it won’t.
Urban planners like to dream big dreams, though in the U.S. until the mid–twentieth century they mostly remained dreams. From at least the 1920s, planning orthodoxy held that the slum neighborhoods whose conditions Jacob Riis had documented as the century began were too diseased to heal themselves — they had to be eradicated wholesale, and even run-down neighborhoods should be knocked down before they turned into slums.

Urban “experts” and government-sponsored developers would then plan new residential districts in concert with political leaders, with government itself providing housing for many of the poor. Of course, officials would need the right to use eminent domain freely to plan new districts; as University of Pennsylvania law prof Wendell Pritchett puts it, the experts believed that “only major changes”—that is, erosions—“in property law could prevent urban decline.”

New York planners began making the dream a reality in a relatively modest way in the early 1940s, when they cleared 18 square blocks of Manhattan’s East Side above 14th Street so that MetLife could build Stuyvesant Town, a high-rise suburb-within-a-city for middle-class whites whose rich cultural capital made the architecturally sterile project succeed socially.

The full scale of the planners’ ambitions soon emerged, however, as they pondered what to do with the unskilled minorities who were migrating north and destabilizing urban neighborhoods as the whites moved out. Their decision: raze those overcrowded neighborhoods to build “modern” housing complexes.
So in New York, as elsewhere, acres of shabby but functional neighborhoods—from the Lower East Side to Harlem in Manhattan, and all over Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx—disappeared under the bulldozer to make room for the boxes of high-rise housing projects that still sap vitality from Gotham today.
As Robert Caro writes in The Power Broker: “The eastern edge of Manhattan Island . . . was completely altered between 1945 and 1958. Northward from the bulge of Corlears Hook looms a long line of apartment houses . . . hulking buildings, utilitarian, drab, unadorned, not block after block . . . but mile after mile.”

Hundreds of millions of dollars in “modern” housing investments proved no solution, however; the housing projects instead turned economic and social assets—whole swaths of the city—into economic and social liabilities. In fact, in New York and elsewhere, the construction of housing projects only exacerbated middle-class flight to the suburbs, as people fled the fringe neighborhoods that survived these new and efficient crime factories. Instead of being uplifted by their new housing, as the planners intended, the poor became increasingly dysfunctional and dependent on the government.

Projects like these were soon under way all over urban America, and Congress gave them its blessing, and its money, in 1949, when it funded a massive urban-renewal program for housing, Title I, which cities would carry out using local contractors.

In 1954, Congress cemented the new orthodoxy—central planning of whole neighborhoods after leveling them through eminent domain to remove “blight”—by amending the law to require that municipalities submit comprehensive community development plans in order to get urban-renewal grants. Mayors had to destroy their cities in order to save them—so they did.

The Supreme Court first ratified using eminent domain for this purpose that same year, affirming the right of the Washington, D.C., government to condemn much of the city’s depressed southwest region, including a thriving, privately owned department store, and to transfer the land to a private construction company for redevelopment. The district government had argued that the area was too decayed ever to repair itself; it had to be razed, department store and all, and rebuilt all at once in order to succeed.
“The area must be planned as a whole [in order to overcome its blight],” the Court ruled in Berman v. Parker. “The concept of the public welfare is broad and inclusive. . . . If those who govern the District of Columbia decide that the nation’s capital should be beautiful as well as sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth Amendment that stands in the way.”
But as the cities began to lose middle-class residents and manufacturing jobs to the suburbs, and as the urban poor multiplied and became increasingly demoralized, such central-planning schemes proved no solution to what was starting to be seen as urban decline.
Consider the fate of New Haven, Connecticut, the most willing victim of the urban-renewal era. Mayor Richard Lee, a Democrat who took office in 1953, had pledged to create “a slumless city, the first in the nation.” During his 16-year tenure, as Yale University’s “Model City” history project relates, Lee procured more urban-renewal funds per capita than any other American mayor—more than $1 billion in today’s dollars, and nearly four times as much as runner-up Newark. In 1958, the Saturday Evening Post hailed Lee for embarking upon “saving a dead city.”

New Haven officials used eminent domain to raze block after block of immigrant and working-class communities to build “Modernist” office complexes, industrial buildings, and housing projects, as well as a strip mall, a parking garage, and connections to highways. Going beyond earlier planners’ ambitions, limited merely to solving housing problems, the New Haven planners would revitalize an entire economy.

But bulldozers and central planning didn’t save New Haven. Between 1950 and 1980, the city’s population declined by 30 percent—and poverty increased. “In 1970, as urban renewal ended, the census ranked New Haven as the 38th-poorest city in America,” local journalist Paul Bass and Yale prof Douglas Rae wrote in a New York Times op-ed in July. “Ten years later, it was ranked seventh, with 23.2 percent of its population living below the poverty line.

Today, more than a quarter of its families live in subsidized housing.” Rae thinks that without urban renewal, New Haven’s poverty rate would be lower today: “They destroyed a lot of economic and social vitality,” he told me. Even Mayor Lee saw that top-down planning had failed; by the end of his final term, he observed: “If New Haven is a model city, God help America’s cities.” Unfortunately, cities all over the country had replicated New Haven’s experience.
As planners recognized that they couldn’t solve the problem of housing (and uplifting) the poor, and certainly couldn’t remake entire cities, they scaled back, rather than relinquished, their ambitions.

By the seventies and eighties, cities focused on using eminent domain to build sterile business districts and industrial centers to trap disappearing well-paying jobs in inner cities, or to build convention centers, stadiums, and subsidized hotels to lure free-spending out-of-towners. Eminent domain for urban renewal morphed into eminent domain for economic development—with similarly dismal results.
Detroit, for instance, spent some $200 million to destroy the “blighted” Poletown neighborhood in 1981 so that General Motors could build a factory there. But this investment never paid off. Poletown’s destruction was supposed to create 6,000 jobs but created less than half that. And that’s not the worst of it. “If we assume that the 600 eliminated businesses employed a modest average of slightly more than four workers, their total lost work force turns out to be greater than the 2,500 jobs created at the GM plant,” wrote famed urbanist Jane Jacobs in her amicus brief supporting the Kelo homeowners. “Even if we consider its impact in purely economic terms, it is likely that the Poletown condemnation caused more harm to the people of Detroit than good.” Moreover, Detroit’s condemnation of Poletown certainly didn’t stop the decline of the auto industry—or of Detroit.
In New York, politicians’ efforts to trap corporate jobs through government planning resulted in a similar centrally planned boondoggle: downtown Brooklyn’s Metrotech. For decades, New York pols had fretted that the city was losing its white-collar jobs to New Jersey, Connecticut, and other lower-cost regions, even as skyrocketing crime and taxes sent middle-class residents fleeing from the outer boroughs.
The solution? Nearly two decades ago, Gotham decided to build a walled camp in the middle of a lower-class area of Brooklyn to lock white-collar jobs in. This project would accomplish two goals, pols thought. In addition to keeping jobs in New York, Metrotech would spark further development in a slummy neighborhood that never had grown on its own, despite its proximity to lower Manhattan. City and state officials used eminent domain to displace 250 owners and tenants so that developer Bruce Ratner could build the suburban-style office campus.

Metrotech tenants have received about $270 million in state and city subsidies (of which more than $200 million went to JPMorgan Chase). But Metrotech hasn’t “kept” the nation’s financial-services jobs in New York: Gotham’s share of U.S. securities-industry jobs has fallen from one in three to one in five since 1980. Metrotech, despite its Class A office space and its quiet campus lush with greenery, can’t even attract enough private-sector tenants to remain fully occupied; its tenants include an array of government agencies.

Nor has Metrotech, completely cut off from the surrounding streetscape, encouraged the growth of an unsubsidized business community in its neighborhood. Metrotech is what it was when it opened: a suburban-style office campus carved out of inner-city downtown Brooklyn. The two worlds don’t meet. The government’s newest solution for “underdeveloped” Brooklyn is another top-down project by eminent domain planned by the same developer nearby. It seems that the distortion of the free market via eminent domain for economic development just begets more of the same.

True, Ratner’s new proposal for remaking Brooklyn, the massive Atlantic Yards development project, glitters with modern urban-planning language, but it is a perfect illustration—only one out of many recent eminent-domain projects like it—of how little today’s central planners have learned from half a century of failure.

Ratner’s sweeping master plan for the Prospect Heights neighborhood envisions a basketball arena over some uncovered railyards he’ll buy at a below-market price from New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and he’s petitioning the state and city to condemn the adjoining blocks so that he can build nearly 6,000 high-rise apartments there. Ratner’s supporters, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, dismiss the entire Brooklyn neighborhood as “the railyards” to denote a region in economic distress.

But the properties Ratner wants the government to condemn, like the houses in Kelo, are hardly distressed. They include two historic warehouses converted into fancy condos and sold at high prices just two years ago, a neighborhood bar that dates to pre-Prohibition days, and a flourishing arts-supply factory that employs two dozen legal immigrants and has recently opened a modest art gallery as well. The owners and tenants on the soon-to-be-condemned properties pay their sales, income, and property taxes. They create jobs. And they do all this without government subsidy. Ratner’s plans, by contrast, require huge investments of state- and city-taxpayer money.

The taxpayers sure won’t get much in return. They will pour about $200 million in public subsidies into the stadium portion of Ratner’s project up front. In return, the city and state could receive an annual net surplus from that part of the project of about $7.8 million over 30 years. (And that’s if everything goes perfectly according to plan, and if the city and state don’t have to pony up more millions up front to pay for unspecified infrastructure improvements, as is hinted at in early project documents; as Steven Malanga has reported in these pages, nearly a dozen economists have studied stadium projects across the country for decades and have found that they almost always fail to deliver their promised benefits.)

But if New York simply deposited that $200 million in a savings account and left Prospect Heights alone, it could receive about $8 million a year in interest—and at no risk, as it could withdraw the $200 million at any time. For Ratner, of course, the arena provides a signal advantage; since politicians never fail to fall in love with the idea of urban stadiums, they are willing to condemn the land that Ratner needs to make his project viable and to allow him to build his apartment buildings higher and denser, and thus more profitable, than current zoning permits.

Ratner knows the criticism of the failed centrally planned projects of the past, of course: that big, single-use, housing developments, no matter for low-, middle-, or high-income residents, don’t create lively streetscapes with urban vitality. “Look what we have built,” Jane Jacobs wrote of the 1950s version of the “model city” in her seminal 1961 classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. “[L]ow-income projects that become worse centers of delinquency. Middle-income housing projects which are truly marvels of dullness and regimentation, sealed against any buoyancy or vitality of city life . . . . Commercial centers that are lackluster imitations of standardized suburban chain-store shopping.”
Today’s sophisticated megaproject developers like Ratner and his supporters speak the language of Jane Jacobs. Ratner and co. talk of building a “mixed-use urban complex” of residential, commercial, and retail “space,” as opposed to the failed purely residential and purely commercial districts planned by past renewers. And they’ve brought in one of the trendiest celebrity architects, the overrated Frank Gehry, who enthuses about building a neighborhood from scratch.

But even with a fashionable architect, one cannot decree a healthy mixed-use urban complex that will serve as the anchor of a new neighborhood and make it so. Just look at New York’s sterile Roosevelt Island. Is the risk at Prospect Heights really worth the economic and social cost of bulldozing an existing “mixed-use urban complex”—that is, an actual neighborhood—that doesn’t require taxpayer subsidies?

Remember, nobody set out to create the urban-renewal failures of past decades—and such projects didn’t fail because politicians are inherently dumber than businessmen; many smart developers have built failed urban-renewal projects. They failed because neighborhoods, and economies, are built not by government and developer fiat but through individual initiative in pursuit of profit.
Jacobs wrote more than 40 years ago that neighborhoods built all at once by one developer, even those designed for affluent residents, “offer no economic possibilities to city diversity. The practical penalties of dullness . . . stamp the neighborhood early. . . . The neighborhood shows a strange inability to update itself . . . by a new generation. It is dead. Actually, it was dead from birth.”

“They say they’re not doing what they did 30 years ago,” John Norquist, the former mayor of Milwaukee, remarks of today’s urban planners. “But they’re taking out the urban fabric of neighborhoods. Sometimes you get it right, but it’s not likely. If the person isn’t brilliant, you end up withCeauƧescu’s Bucharest. It’s much better to go with multiple-owner development over a long period of time.”
Just consider the difference between Boston’s North End and its West End, says Norquist. Modest immigrant communities before the 1950s, both appeared slums to planners. Boston used urban-renewal funds and eminent domain to develop the West End as a self-contained modern high-rise apartment district, but it left alone parts of the North End. Despite the Central Artery highway that bisects it, the North End is now a vibrant mixed-income community of old and new construction, where people want to live, work, and visit. The West End, while benefiting from the heated real-estate market, is stagnant and boring by comparison. “The West End has some value, but nowhere near the value of the North End,” Norquist concludes.

Similarly, in New York, the old slums of Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper West Side, relatively untouched by urban renewal, now house an economically diverse collection of small firms, restaurants, and apartment dwellers, while on the Lower East Side, the dead weight of the central planners’ housing projects serves as a thick boundary to natural residential and commercial growth in nearby neighborhoods that were once America’s worst tenement slums and now bustle with hip and trendy vitality.

Like these former slum areas, Ratner’s Prospect Heights prize used to be distressed—longtime neighborhood residents remember the days of drugs and hookers all too well. But wedged in between three prosperous areas of Brooklyn, including Park Slope, it has benefited from natural growth over the past decade, like Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper West Side before it. (That’s part of the reason Ratner wants it—he isn’t asking the government to use eminent domain to help him put luxury apartment towers among the projects of East New York to bring “economic development” to that stagnant, centrally planned community.)

Without government intervention, prosperous people have chosen to move in, and one Prospect Heights property owner, Henry Weinstein, had tentative plans to develop his land to its full potential, including, possibly, more luxury condos. In order to win the bid for the state-owned railyards, Ratner also had to stymie rival developer Gary Barnett’s competing bid to build apartment towers over the railyards’ footprint, which did not require eminent domain and massive stadium subsidies. So taxpayers will end up subsidizing economic growth that would have happened naturally, and far more rationally, anyway.

There’s another danger here. In the free market, a poorly designed project will fail and be replaced by a well-designed project—or just won’t find private financing to get built. With government central planning, ill designed projects last forever—and they retard natural growth around them.
Take Mayor Bloomberg’s recently scuttled plan to subsidize a football stadium on Manhattan’s West Side. Like Ratner in Prospect Heights, Bloomberg pitched the deal as a necessary stimulant for a long-dormant neighborhood.

In truth, developers have been moving midtown Manhattan steadily westward for two decades, beginning with the Worldwide Plaza office and condo tower on Eighth Avenue in the early 1980s and now extending westward and southward with new apartment towers along Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Avenues throughout the West 40s and 50s. A stadium would only serve as a wall against the continuance of that natural growth. We can see the effects of 1950s-style urban renewal—the housing projects still stand. It’s harder to see missed opportunities.
But pols and planners insist that they can’t simply watch decayed neighborhoods (real and perceived) fester while they wait for the possibility that economic growth, and tax revenues, will develop on their own. That’s why the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors filed briefs supporting New London in Kelo. After the case was decided, D.C. mayor Anthony Williams, the head of the NLC, breathed a sigh of relief:
“Local officials [need] the continued use of eminent domain to bolster depressed neighborhoods,” he said. Eminent domain “has been indispensable for revitalizing local economies, creating much-needed jobs and generating revenue that enables cities to provide essential resources. . . . [W]e need all the help we can get to redevelop our neighborhood and provide jobs for our citizens.”
One of the most oft-cited examples in support of this argument is the revitalization of Times Square. Without government’s power to condemn the blighted blocks at Manhattan’s heart, the story goes, New York would never have been able to bring tourists back to the Crossroads of the World.
This is nonsense, as William J. Stern, who headed New York State’s Urban Development Corporation when it cooked up the 42nd Street Development Plan, has written in these pages (“The Unexpected Lessons of Times Square’s Comeback,” Autumn 1999).

Times Square reemerged in the 1990s as a corporate and tourist mecca thanks to the skillful and aggressive policing that began in the mid-1980s and became pervasive under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and thanks also to tax benefits for selected developers, in a city where overall tax cuts seemed politically too hard to accomplish.

Sure, the state government chose developers to build new office towers to anchor the new Times Square. But nothing happened. As government-sponsored developers dithered for years and didn’t build, private activity filled the vacuum. In the early nineties, Stern recounts, Viacom, Bertelsmann, and Morgan Stanley moved in on their own. The boom was on—because Times Square was safe again.

The state’s $300 million worth of eminent-domain condemnations, mostly along 42nd Street, did have one important effect: they drove Times Square’s critical mass of sex shops, and the lowlifes they attracted, out of the heart of the square. But Stern argues that government could have achieved the same effect through effective, and aggressive, zoning. “You don’t have a sex shop in Times Square for the same reason you don’t have a pig farm,” Stern told me. “The sleaze business poisons other businesses.” Tourists don’t want to visit streets teeming with pimps, prostitutes, and perverts.
It’s not just Times Square that has prospered from more than a decade of outstanding police work and falling crime in New York. Harlem, too, has revitalized; newly safe streets there have unlocked millions of dollars of value along the rows of brownstones that were spared the housing-project wrecking ball 50 years ago.

In light of the resurgence of so many once-blighted neighborhoods after crime was cut down, it’s hard not to wonder if unsubsidized residential and commercial investment from Brooklyn Heights and lower Manhattan might not eventually have spilled into an unbulldozed downtown Brooklyn as the city repaired itself, too—without a subsidized Metrotech.

If megaprojects built through eminent domain fail over and over, why do state and city governments continue to take private property away from rightful owners for taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, convention centers, and office parks that, in the best-case scenarios, will only suck economic activity away from other sectors, not generate new economic activity? The truth is, eminent domain is a gold mine for the political racket—the pols and interest groups who benefit when private assets are forced into the public sphere for political redistribution.

Politicians line up behind megaprojects like Ratner’s Prospect Heights scheme because they can boast that their sponsorship will create jobs and economic growth, whereas no politician can take credit for gradual and organic free-market economic development.

The big, politically connected, unionized construction companies love such projects, too, because subsidized construction mandates unionized contractors, and the politically active construction unions love them no less. The Wall Street firms that underwrite the bonds for the public subsidy are also big supporters, as are the industry associations whose members stand to gain, even while other taxpaying businesses stand to lose.

Such highly politicized enterprises require finely honed political skills, and Ratner honed his as a commissioner in former New York City mayor Ed Koch’s administration. For backup, he has hired a former assistant to the project district’s state assemblyman to work on “community relations.” Ratner himself gave a revealing glimpse into how the system often works, in former New York mayoral candidate Mark Green’s book on campaign finance reform.
“When you do business with the city, you get solicited by everyone from U.S. Senators down to members of the City Council,” he told Green. “You knew your competitors were doing it, and so when someone would call, it was hard to say no. For businesses that do a lot of business with the city, it was expected. . . . I didn’t want to be a person on the outs, nor could my business afford to be a person on the outs given how much business we do with government.” So when Ratner announced in 1997 that he would contribute no longer, he recounts, “[P]eople said I was crazy: ‘You’re going to get yourself killed.’ ”
In fact, Ratner had only found an even smarter way to play the political game. His new Prospect Heights project comes complete with a 51-page “Community Benefits Agreement,” which could serve as a textbook for politicized economic development. In it, he offers sweeteners to “community” activists, among them at least 2,000 units of below-market “affordable” housing and a generous percentage of jobs for minority contractors and employees.

The sweeteners attracted some powerful, if unsavory, political support.
Unsurprisingly, Al Sharpton climbed on board, leading a march around Brooklyn in support of Ratner’s master plan and winning political credit, because he can claim that he helped push Ratner to lavish those benefits on minority contractors and employees.

But, more crucially, Ratner’s chief “community” cheerleader is Bertha Lewis, head of the New York chapter of Acorn, the nation’s biggest left-wing activist group. Acorn has perfected the art of turning community activism to its own profit, as evidenced above all in its manipulation of the federal Community Reinvestment Act, which requires banks to show that they’ve lent sufficiently in poor neighborhoods if they want government approval of prospective mergers.

Since complaints from “community” organizations are a sign of possible noncompliance with the act, banks had ample incentive during the era of industry consolidation through mergers to keep such organizations happy by paying them fees to market their loans in poor communities. Acorn has mastered this game, receiving $760 million from the Bank of New York to distribute as loans to low-income homebuyers, and receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in “donations” from J. P. Morgan and Chase when the two banks sought to merge in 2000.

Ratner’s ransom payment to Acorn isn’t so direct, but it’s the same principle; he must provide “community benefits,” brokered by Acorn, in order to get “community” approval for his plan. Acorn’s Lewis, as “enforcing member” (the literal term the agreement uses) of the plan’s affordable-housing component, will have a huge say in deciding who will get the project’s subsidized apartments—a rich patronage plum indeed. Lewis thus has a big voice in shaping the long-term voting pattern of Ratner’s brand-new community. In return, Acorn will take “reasonable steps to publicly support the project by . . . appearing with the developer before the public parties, community organizations and the media as part of a coordinated effort to realize and advance the project.”

This is no trivial matter, since Lewis is not only a “community” leader but also co-head of the powerful Working Families Party, the political face of Gotham’s public-sector unions. Some 30 members of New York’s 51-member city council won election with Lewis’s endorsement; it would be hard for Ratner to find more a powerful political ally, even if he made the head of the Democratic Party his “enforcer.”

Ratner’s benefits are attracting newcomers to New York’s political follies, such as James Caldwell, a small-change Brooklyn activist who now heads a new coalition called Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (Build). Caldwell started Build just two months after Ratner announced his Prospect Heights project—but despite its total lack of a track record, Build will help execute the Community Benefits Agreement. Earlier this year Caldwell told a public meeting: “If this thing doesn’t come out in favor of Ratner, it would be a conspiracy against blacks.” Build’s small-business director, Michael West, added: “When you reject the Ratner project . . . you’re saying you don’t care about the 55 percent unemployment rate in the black community.”

Build has filed documents with the IRS that show that Caldwell and his partners in the group expect to get nearly all of their funding, which they estimate at $5 million over the next two years, from . . . Bruce Ratner. Of that money, Caldwell expects to draw a $125,000 salary for himself and six-figure salaries for two partners. (For his part, Ratner claims that his company will indeed pay for some of the community programs Build plans to execute under the benefits agreement, but that he has not agreed to a specific amount.) As Jane Jacobs wrote in her Kelo brief: “Economic takings serve as a virtual license for exploitation of the eminent-domain power on behalf of powerful interest groups”—including pols, developers, and “community” beneficiaries.
Kelo has generated a backlash. Even Justice Stevens said in an August speech that he would oppose the use of eminent domain if he were a state or local legislator. “My own view is that the free play of market forces is more likely to produce acceptable results in the long run than the best-intentioned plans of public officials,” he said.

In response, more than half of the states, and hundreds of cities and towns, have introduced legislation to rein in eminent domain. The governors of Alabama and Texas have already signed such legislation. Even in seizure-prone New York, bills are pending: New York City councilwoman Letitia James (of the Working Families Party, yes, but also of the Prospect Heights neighborhood that Ratner would bulldoze) has introduced a bill to outlaw using city funds for Kelo-style eminent domain, and state assemblyman Richard Brodsky has introduced a bill to require closer review of condemnations and to increase the mandated payments to displaced property owners and renters.

Congress has several bills pending: one in the House would prohibit federal assistance to a state for economic development if that state did not expressly outlaw Kelo-type economic development.

Though these efforts have attracted supporters across the political spectrum, from the NAACP and the AARP on the left to the Claremont, Rutherford, and Goldwater Institutes on the right, such unanimity doesn’t guarantee success.

The political class is likely to view those who care about property rights and sound economic principles in the same way it increasingly views individual property owners and the free market: as stubborn, or stupid, obstacles in the way of “economic development”—and in the way, of course, of political profit.

Government Seizure of Private Assets

Why Do We FEAR Asset Forfeiture?

"Civil asset forfeiture has allowed police to view all of America as some giant national K-Mart, where prices are not just lower, but non-existent — a sort of law enforcement 'pick-and-don't-pay.'" —U.S. Representative Henry Hyde, Forfeiting Our Property Rights: Is Your Property Safe from Seizure?

"Findings suggest asset forfeiture is a dysfunctional policy. Forfeiture programs, while serving to generate income, prompt drug enforcement to serve functions that are inherently contradictory and often at odds with the demands of justice." —Mitchell Miller & Lance H. Selva, Drug Enforcement's Double Edged Sword: An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs (Twelve month empirical examination of the implementation of laws from within the forfeiture program)

By FEAR (Forfeiture Endangers American Rights Foundation)

Incredible as it sounds, civil asset forfeiture laws allow the government to seize property without charging anyone with a crime.

Until FEAR (Forfeiture Endangers American Rights Foundation) achieved the nation's first major federal forfeiture law reform at the turn of the millenium, the government was allowed to keep whatever property it seized without ever having to prove a case. Seized property was presumed guilty and could be forfeited based upon mere hearsay—even a tip supplied by by an informant who stood to gain up to 25% of the forfeited assets. Owners were forced into the untenable situation of trying to prove a negative—that something never happened, even though no proof of any illegal act had been offered at trial.

Newspapers and television stories across the nation documented hundreds of cases of innocent citizens wrongfully deprived of their homes, businesses and livlihoods.

Eighty percent of property forfeited to the U.S. during the previous decade was seized from owners who were never even charged with a crime! Over $7 billion has been forfeited to the federal government since 1985.

Until the advent of FEAR law enforcement officials promoting expanded forfeiture laws comprised the overwhelming majority of lobbyists at hearings on forfeiture litigation. Meanwhile, prosecutors complained that police were less available to investigate crimes that did not involve forfeiture.

Over 200 federal forfeiture laws are attached to non-drug related crimes. Even a false statement on a loan application can trigger forfeiture. Physicians are subject to forfeiture of their entire assets based on a clerical errors in medicare billing. The government even tried to forfeit a farmer's tractor for allegedly running over an endangered rat.

The federal government obtained a judgment of forfeiture against the prized sailboat "Flash II," once owned by the late John F. Kennedy, without bothering to provide notice to the principle owner of the forfeiture proceeding against the sloop. It took several years of expensive litigation before the district court in Massachusetts ruled the historic sailboat had never been legally subject to forfeiture; that the government had no right to seize and then sell the sloop; and that the proceeds of that sale rightfully belong to the innocent owner.

In April, 2000, FEAR achieved the nation's first major federal forfeiture law reform, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA). The sponsor of the act, Rep. Henry Hyde, thanked FEAR in the April 11, 2000, congressional record "for their long and dedicated work on behalf of forfeiture reform." Though the final compromised version was stripped of many of the reforms for which we lobbied, for the first time since civil asset forfeiture laws were passed, under CAFRA the government:
  • must prove its case;

  • is liable for damages to seized property;

  • must return property to owners pending trial when possession would cause substantial hardship;

  • may no longer require an owner to pay 10%-cost bond just to contest the forfeiture in court;

  • can no longer forfeit property from owners who prove their innocence; and

  • must appoint counsel to some indigent claimants.
Further changes are still urgently needed at both federal and state levels. Many innocent owners still face the untenable situation of having to prove a negative—that their property was not involved in a crime, or that they had no knowledge of criminal activity.

Most owners of seized property still lack the financial resources to even bring their cases to court. A final hour amendment to CAFRA won by the Dept. of Justice allows appointed counsel only for property owners who have court appointed attorneys in related criminal charges, and for some owners of seized homes.

Innocent owners who are never charged with a crime still must prove their innocence in complex proceedings, where many cases are lost before even coming to trial. Most forfeiture cases are never contested, in part because contesting the proceedings can cost more than the value of what's been confiscated.
"The average vehicle siezed is worth about $4,000," states FEAR president Brenda Grantland, Esq. "To defend a case, especially when you're out of state, they've pretty much made it cost prohibitive." Under civil asset forfeiture laws, the simple possessoin of cash, with no drugs or other contraband, can be considered evidence of criminal activity.
FEAR is a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping the drift into tyranny that unfair forfeiture laws encourage. FEAR membership is $35 per year. Because our focus is on legal reform, membership dues are not tax deductible. However, donations made to FEAR Foundation will be used to educate the public about forfeiture law, and are fully tax deductible.

Civil asset forfeiture laws pervert law enforcement priorities at your expense:
"Even if you're a law-abiding citizen who's never been convicted of a crime, local police are allowed to confiscate your property and money and keep up to 80 percent of it for themselves, with the legal stipulation that this windfall be spent only on programs likely to result in additional confiscations where the police can keep up to 80 percent of the booty for themselves," wrote Jennifer Abel in an October, 2007, article published by the Hartford Advocate.
The Spring 2007 edition of Justice Policy Journal features a 31 page treatise, Civil Asset Forfeiture: Why Law Enforcement Has Changed its Motto from "To Serve and Protect" to "Show Me the Money," in which Jared Shoemaker examines the negative impact on law enforcement goals and practices when police agencies aggressively pursue civil asset forfeitures as a means of supplementing their budgets, as well as how police agencies' addiction to forfeiture revenue leads to disregard for individual due process rights, sometimes with tragic and life-altering consequences for innocent individuals.

The perversion of law enforcement priorities was also the subject of an empirical study published thirteen years ago. Sociologists Mitchell Miller (University of Tennessee) and Lance H. Selva (Middle Tennessee State University) received the 1994 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Award for their undercover study and critical analysis of asset forfeiture's impact on police procedure. Based on twelve months of covert observation from within narcotics enforcement agencies, Drug Enforcement's Double-Edged Sword: An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs described forfeiture as a "dysfunctional policy" that forces law enforcement agencies to subordinate justice to profit.

The Double-Edged Sword undercover researcher observed agencies abandon investigations of suspects they knew were trafficking large amounts of contraband simply because the case was not profitable. Agents routinely targeted low level dealers rather than big traffickers, who are better able to insulate themselves and their assets from reverse sting operations. The report states: "Efficiency is measured by the amount of money seized rather than impact on drug trafficking."

A reverse sting operation, where the officer becomes the seller who encourages the suspect to commit a crime, "was the preferred strategy of every agency and department with which the researcher was associated because it allowed agents to gauge potential profit prior to investing a great deal of time and effort."

More importantly, the narcotics units studied preferred seizing cash intended for purchase of drugs supplied by the police, rather than confiscating drugs already on the street. When asked why a search warrant would not be served on a suspect known to have resale quantities of contraband, one officer responded:
"Because that would just give us a bunch of dope and the hassle of having to book him (the suspect). We've got all the dope we need in the property room, just stick to rounding up cases with big money and stay away from warrants."
In one case an agency instructed the researcher to observe the suspect's daily transactions reselling a large shipment of cocaine so that officers could postpone making the bust until after the majority of the drug shipment was converted to cash. This case was only one of many in which the goal was profit rather than reducing the supply of drugs reaching the street.

Thirteen additional years of policing for profit have now entrenched agencies in a dependency on forfeiture revenue that continues to subordinate the pursuit ot justice to the pursuit of profit:
"A conflict of interest between effective crime control and creative fiscal management will persist so long as law enforcement agencies remain dependent on civil asset forfeiture." —John L. Worrall, Department of Criminal Justice, California State University, San Bernardino, Addicted to the drug war: The role of civil asset forfeiture as a budgetary necessity in contemporary law enforcement, Journal of Criminal Justice Volume 29, Issue 3, May-June 2001, Pages 171-187.
Now is the time to:
  • Establish the right to trial by jury with assistance of counsel in all forfeiture cases;

  • Require criminal conviction of the owner before property may be forfeited;

  • Limit excessive forfeitures for minor crimes;

  • Eliminate the fiscal incentives that corrupt law enforcement priorities; and

  • Reform state laws that were modeled after the old draconian federal laws.
To volunteer send an Email to FEAR at volunteers@fear.org. We also encourage forfeiture victims to send us Email at victims@fear.org.

They Call Us 'Useless Eaters'

Liberty Lost

By F. Gregory Anderson
Circa 1992 - 1994

There are powerful men seeking to destroy the basic foundations of our liberty. They have been quite successful in their plans so far.

They are disrupting the family, corrupting our governments, destroying morality, and attacking religious faith and religious freedom.

Their objective is to "eliminate liberty - economic, political and religious - and establish in its place the most widespread and complete totalitarian system ever to oppress mankind.

These men have been working under such perfect disguise that many Americans have not been able to recognize them or their methods" ["Freeman Digest," May 1978, p.53]. They scheme and plan, manipulate and destroy. They use crime and murder, lies and fear. They are not bound by law, for they control most of the judgment seats.

With enough study, it is possible to learn the goals of these power brokers from their own documents.

Their goal is worldwide control with themselves in charge. They fully intend to control all governments, control the money, control the military, control the courts, destroy all religions except those that actually teach evil rather than good, and control access to food and medicine.

They have a large measure of control over many of these things now. If they gain full control, we will have little recourse except to do what they say, unless we have prepared well in advance.

How can a group of individuals so dictate the events of the world? Many times a government creates a crisis, then offers the "solution" - a solution that exchanges one or more of our freedoms for some version of government-enforced safety and security. Our response to these crises has become conditioned. We turn to government to take care of us, and they do - at the price of our liberty. When the crisis appears to be worldwide, we turn to a worldwide government, thus playing right into their hands.

The Prophet Hosea declared "my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" [Hosea 4:6]. This summary has been prepared to offer a basic knowledge of the methods being used to obtain control of people and nations. It is hoped that this knowledge will assist us to better uphold correct principles that support the inalienable rights given to all people by God, and oppose programs and proposals that violate these principles. It is recognized that the U.S. Constitution was divinely inspired by God for the very purpose of protecting these inalienable rights.

There are several areas that these powerful men seek to control. They are listed below, and a brief explanation is given of each.

Government: The objective is to create a single government with power to rule the people of the world, sometimes referred to as a new world order. All People will be ruled by the same laws, judicial system, monetary system, religious worship, and armed forces.

Every President and Secretary of State since Woodrow Wilson has been a member of a group which is actively pursuing the goal of obliterating national boundaries and establishing a single world government. Known as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), this group is the American branch of a society which originated in England. David Rockefeller serves as its Chairman; George Bush is a past chairman and Bill Clinton was also a member ["The Shadows of Power," James Perloff, 1988]. The effort to achieve this goal is aided by the media, since every major media (newspaper, radio, television) and communications network is owned by a member or associate ["FREE" 'The CFR/Trilateral Connection,' 1991] .

At a cost of $10 million to the U.S. taxpayers, the Rockefeller Foundation has developed a "New States Constitution" that is intended to replace the constitution that we now have. This document does not have a Bill of Rights, does not include the right to own firearms, and does not protect freedom of religion. It uses the term "national emergency" 134 times ["A Review & Commentary on Rexford E. Tugwells' book 'The Emerging Constitution,'" by Col. Curtis B. Dall & E. Stanley Rittenhouse].

Listed here are a series of Executive Orders, already approved, which authorize the President to call a national emergency and, thereafter, authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to mobilize other agencies to implement rationing and/or confiscation of public and private property – including food, guns, precious metals, businesses, homes, etc.:
EO 10995 provides for the takeover of the communications media.
EO 10997 provides for the takeover of all electric power, petroleum, gas and other fuels and minerals.
EO 10998 provides for the takeover of all food resources and the nation's farms.
EO 10999 provides for the takeover of all modes of transportation, control of highways, seaports etc.
EO 11000 provides for mobilization of all civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
EO 11001 provides for government takeover of all health and welfare functions.
EO 11002 designates the postmaster general to operate national registration of all persons.
EO 11003 provides for the government to takeover airports and aircraft.
EO 11004 provides for the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
EO 11005 provides for the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.
All these Executive Orders were combined into one Executive Order, #11490, which was signed by President Richard Nixon on October 28, 1969.

On Sept. 26, 1961, Congress passed Public Law 87-297, which calls for arms control and the disarmament of the American people at the determination of the President. Legislation which has recently been signed into law and legislation now pending in Congress is moving toward the completion of this goal.

On April 2, 1992 the U.S. Senate voted unanimously for SB 1425, which ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This placed the human rights clause of the United Nations Charter in a superior position to our constitutional Bill of Rights, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Missouri v. Holland that a treaty supersedes the constitution. The acceptance of this treaty places judgment of American citizens under the umbrella of the United Nations and the world courts, where trials are not by a jury of our peers, and judgments are not based on inalienable rights given to us by God and protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Monetary: "A single currency, a single monetary policy, and a single authority issuing the currency and directing the monetary policy" ["Foreign Affairs," Fall 1984, Richard Cooper].

In 1913 the U.S. Congress, in violation of the Constitution, turned control of the monetary system of the United States over to a privately owned organization of 12 individuals, 11 of whom are not citizens of the United States. Misleadingly called the Federal Reserve, this group manipulates the money supply and controls the debt of nations. This gives them the wealth and power to dictate the economic conditions of the world ["Secrets of the Federal Reserve," Eustice Mullins].

A plan has been advanced by these men and their international partners to bring all nations under a single rule, with themselves in charge. By creating economic crises and the collapse of a nation's economy, they force those nations indebted to them to trade their assets - gold, natural resources, and land - for the backing of the International Monetary Fund, which they created and control. Once they own a nation's land and resources, they own and control that nation ["Ambushed, 'Insider Report,'" Larry Abraham, p.12].

They have made much progress toward this goal. Already every nation in the world is backed by the International Monetary Fund except the United States. Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, and other countries have been forced to trade assets and land to exonerate their debt. The specific plan to bring the U.S. under this monolithic control includes economic disruption, the collapse of more banks, and national bankruptcy. They believe that under these conditions most Americans will clamor for the "help" they offer, willingly trading our nation's land and resources for the backing of the International Monetary Fund to bail us out of our predicament. Their stated deadline to accomplish this goal is the year 2000 [Ambushed, "Insider Report," Larry Abraham p.12].

Another method of obtaining control of a nation and its lands is being accomplished in the United States with the help of the environmentalists. Wilderness areas are set aside, transferred to the Nature Conservancy and then to the Federal Reserve, placing those lands under the direct control of these same individuals ["Ambushed, Insider Report,'" Larry Abraham, p.15-16].

It is worth noting that the European countries recently met in the Netherlands and agreed to a single currency for all of Europe.

Military: The plan is to control the armed forces of the world. The world has been divided into 10 regions. A country may do whatever it chooses within the confines of that region, but if it oversteps its bounds it will be disciplined by the United Nations armed forces, economic forces, and judicial forces.

Prior to the conflict in Kuwait, a meeting was held to discuss the possibilities of a country in which the combined forces of the United Nations could seize, upon the name of humanity, to stamp out oppression and to show the strength of a world army. In early 1990 the American Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, "had assured Saddam Hussein directly that the United States would take no action if he decided to invade Kuwait."

It was agreed that another war similar in scale to the Iraqi war would be caused to occur within five years, in order to keep the armed forces in focus and to remind the countries of the world of the power of the coalition forces [Minutes of Bilderberger meeting, Baden-Baden Germany, August 1991, reported by James P. Tucker Jr.].

As preparation for war was being made, Congress signed a treaty with the United Nations making George Bush the commander and chief of the coalition forces. Because the Supreme Court has ruled that a treaty takes precedence over the constitution, this treaty gave the President the power to declare war without meeting the Constitutional requirement of approval by Congress. This allows the President to unilaterally commit U.S. Armed Forces to United Nations' wars all over the world.

Judicial: The purpose is to place the world under a single judicial review to administer "justice" to the world. The World Court has no juries and is not bound by the individual rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. It will judge for "atrocities" against the world.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court has (erroneously) ruled in Missouri v. Holland that treaties supersede the Constitution, every treaty that the U.S. signs with the United Nations places interpretation and judgment in the jurisdiction of the World Court. The Covenant on Political and Civil Rights, numerous environmental treaties, trade agreements, and other treaties have expanded jurisdiction to include economic, political and environmental "crimes." Proposed treaties such as the "UN Covenant on the Rights of the Child" would expand the scope of that control to the very core of our society, the family ["Global Tyranny...Step by Step," William Jasper].

Religion: The plan is to establish a single humanistic religion for all the world. "Christianity will be outlawed and believers will face discrimination, persecution, and possibly elimination or imprisonment; there will be a new religion, first the worship of man, humanism, and then Satanism; and everyone will either accept the new religion or depart from that society" ["The New World Order," Ralph A. Epperson, 1990].

"Cults" have been so discredited by the actions of some that few people question when a "cult" is verbally or even physically attacked by government. It is notable that those who are seeking to take control have redefined it to suit their purposes. Their definition is "anyone or any group [which] believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that Christ came back alive from the grave" ["A New Look at the New World Order," Kimber, audio tape]. This definition will justify the ostracism of Christians while encouraging the growth of humanistic, occult, Satanistic religions.

The core of the leaders of the secret society belong to an occult religion called the Illuminati. All organized witchcraft and all occult brotherhoods belong to it. The occult is the religion of the organization, not the organization itself. It is Luciferian in nature ["The Illuminati," Myron C. Fagan]. The Illuminati uses a variety of tools. A few are discussed below.
Sorcery: In the New Testament, John uses the word sorcery in describing modern-day Babylon and the tools of the Beast. "The Greek word he uses is Pharmakeia, from which the word pharmacy is derived. Pharmakeia indicates the use of drugs, elixirs and contraceptive potions associated with the occult. When freely accepted, these narcotics addict, desensitize, and deceive the nations, resulting in blindness and the inability to change. The use of drugs, simple and potent, is the same means by which the Mother of Abominations is able to deceive the nations" ["Opening the Seven Seals," Richard D. Draper. p.109].

Immorality: Whether it be intimate relationships outside of the bonds of marriage, or pornography, abortion, prostitution, homosexuality, or any other form, immorality breaks down the character and fiber of an individual and destroys the foundation upon which freedom is based.

Idolatry: The new world order is seeking to establish a unified religion with generic beliefs, devoid of morals. This leads to idolatry, or the worship of something other than God.

Physical: The objective, as stated by one of their main spokesmen, Henry Kissinger, is to take control of food and oil. By controlling oil, they control the militaries of the nations of the world. By controlling food, they can control individuals ["Christ vs. Satan," Oliver Demille, p.12].

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has promoted monopoly of medicines by certain very wealthy men. The recent proposals to require vitamins to be sold only with a prescription would extend that reach.

Current popular proposals to restrict access to health care without government control would go to achieve this goal. Stiff penalties, including jail terms, for anyone who seeks or provides health care outside the government system are an integral part of the plan.

The Global 2000 Report written by former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance declares that the world needs to be depopulated "...by means of limited wars in the advanced countries, and by means of starvation and disease in the Third World Countries, the death of three billion people (described as 'useless eaters') by the year 2000."

This report was accepted and approved for action by President Carter for and on behalf of the United States Government, and accepted by Edwin Muskie, then Secretary of State. Under the terms of the Global 2000 Report, the population of the United States is to be reduced by 100 million by the year 2050 ["Conspirator's Hierarchy," Dr. J. Coleman, p.22].
These matters are serious. We can only prepare for them if we know about them. And once we know about them, we are obligated to act. "A man must not only stand for the right principles, he must also fight for them. Those who fight for principles can be proud of the friends they've gained and the enemies they've earned. We face days ahead that will test the moral and physical sinews of all of us. Those who hesitate to get into this fight because it is controversial fail to realize that life's decisions should be based on principles, not on polls" [Kzra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, Eisenhower Administration].

We all need to learn the truth; it is truth that makes us free. May God grant us the wisdom and desire to search deeper and learn more, and the foresight to prepare without fear.

This article is distributed by permission from the original distributor. Re-distributed by:
TvF OUTREACH, P.O. Box 42002, Las Vegas, Nevada 89116 Email: TvFoutreach@webtv.net

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