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Free Liberal: Coordinating towards higher values

Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

Shilling For Billionaires

by Paul Jacob

Ever since the Supreme Court endorsed radically expanded use of eminent domain, in 2005's Kelo v. New London, we have witnessed pitched battles between governments eager to trample property rights and citizens fighting to protect those rights.

Among recent efforts is a Missouri initiative to reform the eminent domain process, led by Ron Calzone with Missourians for Property Rights.

Alas, it's all too easy to ignore the suffering of human beings whose property rights are violated by “legal” means when you neither see these human beings nor hear their stories. This is why critics of flipping property from the hands of rightful owners to the claws of rapacious opportunists with political pull must be grateful to the producers of Begging for Billionaires: The Attack on Property Rights in America.

The film exposes how city governments “brazenly seize property after property from the powerless” to turn over to well-connected players “for the pettiest of non-essential ‘economic development' projects,” many subsidized by taxpayers. Neighborhoods flattened, lives uprooted.

Among other stories, we learn that of James Roos, property owner of an area called “blighted” who created a controversial mural to oppose eminent domain abuse.

Friends of liberty and property can defeat the enemies of these rights. Begging for Billionaires dramatizes why we must do so.

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Citizens in Charge Foundation. Their website can be visited at

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Speaking as someone who has fought seizure of property rights in Pennsylvania for two years with Houston-based Spectra Energy, backed by the power of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), we have turned over several rocks that the energy industry would prefer to keep quiet.

Folks who have actually fought eminent domain know that there is a lot of play in the “just” of “just compensation.”

For example, the quiet secret of the energy industry is that “just compensation” for its lease agreements with the state government is very different from the same company’s “just compensation” for private property owners. It has nothing to do with the size of state lands and everything to do with industry politics.

These are sweetheart lease deals between big business and big government.

Few are aware of this unequal treatment under law, but it will become a legal and political Achilles heel for the energy industry as more people become aware.

We are property owners who are sharing what we have learned with fellow property owners in North America who may be dealing with energy companies and property rights issues.

For those who have never been threatened with the seizure of their property rights, listen to property owners talk about the experience.

You’ll find a landowner video and blog postings on our website:

# posted at by MikeB

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