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Friday, July 01, 2005

The Revolution Proceeds Apace.

With the announcement by Sandra Day O'Conner, today, that she will retire from the Supreme Court, my most recent article, at The Catalyzer Journal, seems particularly to the point. There promises to be quite the battle over President Bush's upcoming Supreme Court nominee. Much much more lies in the balance than just the issue of abortion law.

Those numerous Republicans who have quipped, over the years, that deficits aren't so bad because they will force the country to reduce the size of government, make clear that the present difficulties are neither unexpected nor unwelcome. The needs of the country's citizens are better supplied by the dynamics of the marketplace. It is the mantra of the Republican Revolution.

Strapped for cash, cities and states have taken the privatization of government a step further. In dozens of places, such as New London, Connecticut, Lakewood, Ohio, and Port Chester, New York, [link] desparate officials have handed along their powers of eminent domain to private developers.

"Eminent Domian" [link] refers to the right of governments to force private citizens to sell their property in order to facilitate the accomplishment of projects for the public good. Until recently, it has been understood that the projects must be government projects for the public good.

How else, local officials reason, than by increasing tax-base, through private development, can roads be repaired, trash picked up, police officers paid, in the present environment? Such development is, from their perspective, an undeniable "public good". The private developers even supply the legal expertise, the private studies, and, at times, create quasi-governmental "development corporations," necessary in order nominally to meet the requirements for eminent domain seizure of private property.

Once again, provision of services by the private sector is shown to be superior to those provided by wasteful, self-perpetuating bureaucracies. Rules and regulations are at an absolute minimum. Legally mandated studies, privately purchased, can be expected to provide the necessary findings to serve the purposes of those who pay for them. The profit motive pushes these projects through in record time.

In the meantime, the shock troops of the Republican Revolution spearhead the effort to push Bush Administration judges through the Senate. Abortion rights are widely understood to be the issue. The heavily middle class and working poor Religious Right hardly seems to realize that the far-right "Right-to-Life" judges they seek to force through the Senate are, all too conveniently, also profoundly pro-big-business.

On June 23rd, the Federal Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that Eminent Domain could lawfully provide for seizures of private property for private projects. In the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, speaking for the dissent:

Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded - i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public - in the process.

It is reasonable to assume that there will be many more such "privatization of government power" and "guaranteed retirement" cases that will come before the courts of this land in the coming years. The installation of large numbers of profoundly pro-big-business, anti-government judges - the clear focus (together with the privatization of Social Security) of the present phase of the Republican Revolution - promises court decisions to gratify the wishes of the marketplace. [Read entire article.]

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