Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rented Thugs

What stuck in the minds of these men who had become murderers was simply the notion of being involved in something historic, grandiose, unique ("a great task that occurs once in two thousand years"), which must therefore be difficult to bear. This was important, because the murderers were not sadists or killers by nature; on the contrary, a systematic effort was made to weed out all those who derived physical pleasure from what they did.... Hence the problem was how to overcome not so much their conscience as the animal pity by which all normal men are affected in the presence of physical
suffering. The trick used by Himmler — who apparently was rather strongly afflicted by these instinctive reactions himself — was very simple and probably very effective; it consisted in turning these instincts around, as it were, in directing them toward the self. So that instead of saying: What horrible things I did to people!, the murderers would be able to say: What horrible things I had to watch in the pursuance of my duties, how heavily the task weighed upon my shoulders!

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

If you have tears to shed, let them fall like rain for Lt. Ackley of the New London (Connecticut) Police Department. This noble paladin of public order was victimized during the September 22nd arrest of protester Lauren Canario, whose supposed crime was to sit placidly reading a book on the front porch of a home that had been seized by the New London Development Corporation (NLDC).

Canario, who has twice been forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation, is currently being held at York Correctional Institution on $5000 bail. She was arrested last year and held in irons for the supposed crime of trying to participate in a City Council meeting held to discuss eminent domain seizures of property in New London.

According to Caleb Johnson, who called Lt. Ackley, the officer “told me he has been victimized by her, as he has been forced to carry her where they want her to be, resulting in him hurting his back.”

Hey, butch it up, hero. Ditch the donuts and do some deadlifts and good mornings. If you're serious about working as a rented thug for the local affiliate of the corporatist state, chances are you'll occasionally have to do some hands-on heavy lifting – heavier, in any case, than lifting a pen to scribble an extortion note (sometimes called a “traffic ticket”) when you're shaking down local motorists on behalf of the folks who slop your trough.

As it happens, Lt. Ackley had some help lifting and carrying the non-cooperative, non-resisting protester. It really shouldn't take two burly gendarmes to lift one small-boned, middle-aged woman.

The NDLC is, in a specific sense, a fascist entity: A public-private partnership (with both the local government and the federal Department of Commerce) that employs state power on behalf of a private cartel.

As the Institute for Justice recounts, in 1998 the City of New London “handed over its power of eminent domain—the ability to take private property for public use—to the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), a private body, to take the entire neighborhood for private development. As the Fort Trumbull neighbors found out, when private entities wield government’s awesome power of eminent domain and can justify taking property with the nebulous claim of `economic development,' all homeowners are in trouble.”

The beneficiary of this seizure was the politically connected pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which insisted that by using the power of eminent domain to raze the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, it could expand the city's tax base – thereby serving the “public good,” which in this case is defined as “evicting law-abiding home owners in order to keep the local political parasites knee-deep in donuts and whores.”

The Supreme Court placed its imprimatur on this doctrine in its notorious Kelo decision. In its origins, the NLDC is the type of “improper or wicked project” Madison referred to near the end of Federalist essay number 10 – meaning that the seizure of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, unjust and abominable as it is, would have been a matter to be dealt with at the state level, rather than the federal level.

Or so I thought – until I discovered that the NLDC is a “partner” with the U.S. Department of Commerce. That which the federal government subsidizes, it controls. I pointed this out earlier regarding the Bush regime's claim that any local law enforcement agency receiving a “homeland security” subsidy – however modest – is effectively federalized.

The same principle should apply when citizens seek redress for government abuses, such as those committed by the federally supported NLDC. The problem, of course, is that it's almost impossible to imagine any federal court siding with the people against the political class, including favored corporate entities like Pfizer. State and local authorities, including the police, aren't going to abandon this racket, especially when they have the Feds at their back.

This is why Lauren Canario and her husband moved from Las Vegas to New London to join in a peaceful protest movement against the expropriation of Fort Trumbull residents. Are they “outside agitators”? That's a question to ask their new neighbors.

Is “civil disobedience” of this sort necessary and proper? It makes a good counterpoint to ballot measures in several states intended to pre-empt similar fascist applications of eminent domain elsewhere.

Should those measures pass, they will immediately be challenged in court by agents of the corporatist state, and the war of attrition on property rights will continue – and most likely escalate. Which will mean more work for the likes of Lt. Ackley.

It may seem uncharitable at best, and demented at worst, to compare the self-pitying Lt. Ackley to similarly self-absorbed officers who carried out the murderous decrees of the Third Reich. But bear in mind that the Lt. Ackleys of today are also enforcing fascist policies, albeit with more deference to their victims (for now, at least) than was displayed by their German and Italian forebears. The key distinction here is one of degree, not of kind.


Captain Kirk said...


I’m going to have a chance next month to vote on California Proposition 90, an Eminent Domain reform law that if passed will be part of California’s constitution. To hear the opposition tell it, Prop 90 is a horribly written law that will raise taxes, erode environmental protections, reduce funding for public safety/health/education, slow project approval and infrastructure development, and hurt our neighborhoods and quality of life. Frankly, if they could make the claim, they’d contend that in addition to all of the above, Prop 90 would cause all of us here in the People’s Democratic Republic of California to suffer curved spines, hairy palms and failing eyesight in addition to causing our country losing the war.

When I looked to see which groups opposed the measure, the ones that caught my attention were a veritable who’s-who of left-wing unions and organizations that dine rather copiously and regularly at the public trough or are supported by the left-leaners in L.A., S.F and Sacramento, i.e., the Sierra Club, the California Teacher’s Association, the California Professional Firefighter’s, the California Police Chiefs, the California Nurse’s Association, the California Labor Association and the League of Women Voters.

I read through the proposition and it seems like the kind of legislation that would prevent the kind of situation from developing here that has afflicted New London, CT. I plan on voting yes on the mutha’. I can only hope that the similar drives that you mentioned in other States pass. As you stated, these matters should remain in the hands of the States and not involve the Feds. Keep on spreading the word Will.

Captain Kirk

James Leroy Wilson said...

I had believed the Right was misguided on the Kelo decision, because horrible as it was, the affair was a local matter. Federal judges have no more right to intervene here than they do with nativiity scenes on public property.

But now that I've found out that the NDLC was federally funded, I reverse my position. Kelo was a disaster.

rick said...


great piece. i don't think though that measures at the state level will do any good. why would a state limit it's power to grab your prooperty. perhaps most states "omitted themselves" in that they can still grab property? the real solution would have been to ban this kind of crap at the constitutional level. whoover wrote that in there ought to have their graves exhumed, defiled, and their bodies hauled away and dumped into the atlantic.

Bantam said...

It doesn't matter, rick, if it's a state issue, it's a state issue, period. The Constitution does not exist to tell the states what to do, even if it's for the supposed good of the people.

Will is right about this being a federal issue, in THIS instance, because of the fed connections. I wrote a piece about Kelo some time ago and said that, while what the state did was horrible, the Supreme Court should never have heard it. I see now that I was wrong on that point, but the Kelo issue is still a giant mess.

rick said...


i think you misunderstood me. i agree that this should have stayed at the state level. my point was that changing the laws at the state level will do no good because the states still retain the power to snatch and grab your property. the solution i was proposing was to remove the ability to snatch property at the constitutional level--an amendment that strikes down eminent domain AND prevents anyone or anything from taking property without the owners consent except for the payment of a debt. the bottom line is no more confiscation of property unless you owe someone money.

dixiedog said...

i think you misunderstood me. i agree that this should have stayed at the state level. my point was that changing the laws at the state level will do no good because the states still retain the power to snatch and grab your property.

So if changing a state law (or constitution) will have little effect on said state, how would changing or enacting a federal law (or U.S. Constitution) be any different at the federal level? The feds are certifiably not any more inclined than the states to abide by their own laws and statutes unless, of course, the issue in question is amiable to their position.

Nevermind, that's another entire thread's worth. Don't allow your neurons to become entangled in that thought ;).

the solution i was proposing was to remove the ability to snatch property at the constitutional level--an amendment that strikes down eminent domain AND prevents anyone or anything from taking property without the owners consent except for the payment of a debt.

Keep in mind that the U.S. constitution is intended as a written chain limiting the federal leviathan's power, not the states, as they have their own constitutions. So a national constitutional amendment is pointless in that context. Besides, the fifth amendment already makes it monkey simple clear that private land can ONLY be seized for a public use (not transfer to another private entity for any reason) and ONLY after just compensation (i.e. market price) is paid to the current private owner for it. By being for strictly a public use and the just compensation requirement is what, in fact, is supposed to act as a major deterrent to governments even considering eminent domain in the first place, unless absolutely necessary. Most of the state constitutions mirror the federal constitution in essence, BTW.

Nevertheless, the bottom line here is that most commoners had no idea or clue that any time a state or local government fascist cooperative (NLDC in this particular instance) receives even ONE CENT's worth of federal aid or subsidy, it becomes a FEDERAL issue by default and subject to the federal judiciary as well as any other branch of leviathan, regardless.

Any entity that even so much as sips a droplet from the federal trough is fair game for regulation and control.

Folk need to pick up their cluesticks. But, as I've said in past threads in so many words already, we're already past the point of returning to a genuine constitutional republic. The reason? The commoners of today have conveniently forgotten John Adams' quintessential statements about what provides the key vitality for the continued existence of our constitutional republican form of government. Am I surprised? Not really, although ironically sometimes I hate seein' forests when I'd rather see the purdy trees instead, like many others do ;).

dixiedog said...

Keep in mind that the U.S. constitution is intended as a written chain limiting the federal leviathan's power, not the states, as they have their own constitutions.

Sorry, I forgot about the 14th amendment ratified in 1868. Arguably, the 13th amendment ratified in 1865 was also a slam on individual state rights. Interestingly, MS didn't itself ratify the 13th until 1995.

Anyhow, Grigg and others probably don't agree, but I say that the dawn of the end of the republic, as it was constructed by the Founders, really began in 1865 and has progressed ever so slooooooowly over the decades since and in recent years is accelerating toward total burnout.