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U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Eminent Extortion Case for Review
Institute for Justice ^ | December 18, 2006

Posted on 12/20/2006 6:59:54 PM PST by JTN

Developer Demanded $800,000 or Village Would Take Property; Property Owners Refused, Village Condemned Land Next Day

Arlington, Va—A federal court has now approved an extortion scheme using eminent domain under last year’s Kelo decision. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the rulings, developers may threaten property owners, “Your money or your land.”

Think this is an overstatement?

Consider what is happening right now in Port Chester, N.Y., to entrepreneur Bart Didden and his business partner, whose case will be considered for review by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 5, 2007.

With the blessing of officials from the Village of Port Chester, the Village’s chosen developer approached Didden and his partner with an offer they couldn’t refuse. Because Didden planned to build a CVS on his property—land the developer coveted for a Walgreens—the developer demanded $800,000 from Didden to make him “go away” or ordered Didden to give him an unearned 50 percent stake in the CVS development. If Didden refused, the developer would have the Village of Port Chester condemn the land for his private use. Didden rejected the bold-faced extortion. The very next day the Village of Port Chester condemned Didden’s property through eminent domain so it could hand it over to the developer who made the threat.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this extortion under last year’s Kelo eminent domain decision. The court ruled that because this is taking place in a “redevelopment zone” they couldn’t stop what the Village is doing.

“Essentially, the courts have ruled Kelo turns any redevelopment zone into a Constitution-free zone for property owners confronted by politically connected developers,” said Dana Berliner, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents Didden and argued on behalf of the Kelo property owners. “We want the Supreme Court to rule that the Constitution does not permit governments or citizens acting on their behalf to demand money in exchange for allowing property owners to keep what is rightfully theirs. The very fact that we have to ask the highest court in the land for such a ruling underscores how precarious and threatening things are getting for ordinary American landowners.”

“My case is about extortion through the abuse of eminent domain; it is about payoffs and government run amok,” said Didden. “It took me years of hard work to buy that property, pay off my mortgages and really feel like I own it. How dare the Village of Port Chester and this developer threaten me in this way. I want to see integrity restored to the governmental process of exercising eminent domain. There is no integrity here. Unless the Supreme Court takes up my case, I fear for anyone else who owns a piece of property not just in Port Chester, but anywhere a politically connected developer is eyeing it.”

For now, the property remains vacant.

Didden expressed universal disappointment with the government officials who are charged with the duty of protecting his rights. “What really surprised me about this whole ordeal was the total lack of concern my situation earned from the Village politicians, to the County District Attorney’s office, all the way into the federal courts. A private citizen using the government’s power is extorting me. And the government that was supposed to protect my rights is nowhere to be found. If anything, it is making this extortion possible. It is an outrage.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial
KEYWORDS: eminentdomain; kelo; scotus; tyranny
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Holy smokes. Kelo on steroids.
1 posted on 12/20/2006 6:59:55 PM PST by JTN
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To: traviskicks

Ping


2 posted on 12/20/2006 7:00:16 PM PST by JTN ("I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of bubble gum.")
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To: JTN

Hmmmm. The love of money is the root of all evil. I think that applies here.


3 posted on 12/20/2006 7:04:36 PM PST by BipolarBob (Scarfe diem - sneeze the day)
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If anyone knows of an eminent domain ping list, would you please alert the holder of that list?


4 posted on 12/20/2006 7:05:40 PM PST by JTN ("I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of bubble gum.")
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To: JTN

We are now well beyond the level of tyranny that drove our forefathers to rebel against the colonial authority. Will the American people wake up, or simply shrug and watch more reality TV?


5 posted on 12/20/2006 7:05:59 PM PST by oblomov (Progress is precisely that which the rules and regulations did not foresee. - von Mises)
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To: JTN
"...the developer demanded $800,000 from Didden to make him “go away” or ordered Didden to give him an unearned 50 percent stake in the CVS development."

So now the courts are working for the Tony Sopranos of the world?

6 posted on 12/20/2006 7:06:18 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: JTN

This is an outrage. A fair price is whatever someone is willing to pay, not what someone is forced to sell for. It stands to reason that it would come to this because the courts have been so wrong concerning the matter (just as they have been concerning abortion, privacy, and any number of things). Now they have to reconcile their absurd opinions with reality. It will be interesting to see their reaction, then compare it with that of abortion and "privacy", as it were.


7 posted on 12/20/2006 7:06:45 PM PST by Jaysun (I've never paid for sex in my life. And that's really pissed off a lot of prostitutes.)
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To: JTN

The fact there was blatent extortion shocks the conscience. The cold fact is that much of this type of extortion has been going on for years it is just nobody has paid attention.

I wish there would be CRIMINAL investigations for these extortion efforts.


8 posted on 12/20/2006 7:06:56 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: JTN
Actually, I just want to see that hotel group attempt to retake Judge Souter's house.

I'd pay to sleep on his eminent domained property.
9 posted on 12/20/2006 7:07:43 PM PST by ConservativeMind
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To: Jaysun

The shocking part is this was PAY US TO GO AWAY!

It was literally protection money in the worst mobster format.


10 posted on 12/20/2006 7:12:15 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: JTN
With the blessing of officials from the Village of Port Chester, the Village’s chosen developer approached Didden and his partner with an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Don't people often end up in dumpsters over stuff like this?
11 posted on 12/20/2006 7:12:33 PM PST by aruanan
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To: JTN
I remember when the SCOTUS ruling came out regarding Kelo, all I could say was, "My God, and I am from New Jersey."
12 posted on 12/20/2006 7:13:23 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: JTN

It is a logical progression. From here a logical next step is the government paying nothing for expropriated land because with the government's interest becoming known the land cannot be sold and therefore has no market value and the government pays market value (as determined by the government).


13 posted on 12/20/2006 7:13:30 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE)
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To: longtermmemmory

The fact that an Appeals Court doesn't seem to know the definition of extortion is well,troubling.


14 posted on 12/20/2006 7:14:01 PM PST by Farmer Dean (Every time a toilet flushes,another liberal gets his brains.)
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To: JTN

Kelo, a travesty of the pinciples of our Constitution !!!


15 posted on 12/20/2006 7:14:12 PM PST by Obie Wan
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To: longtermmemmory
The shocking part is this was PAY US TO GO AWAY!

It was literally protection money in the worst mobster format.


Let this straw be of the camel back breaking kind.
16 posted on 12/20/2006 7:14:34 PM PST by Jaysun (I've never paid for sex in my life. And that's really pissed off a lot of prostitutes.)
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To: JTN
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this extortion

The constitution's been dead for some time now. What's the big surprise?

17 posted on 12/20/2006 7:14:50 PM PST by sionnsar (?trad-anglican.faithweb.com?|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: LibFreeOrDie
So now the courts are working for the Tony Sopranos of the world?

I've sometimes thought in the past that the libertarian rhetoric you sometimes hear about the government basically being the legalized mafia was over the top. Now, not so much. This is friggin' outrageous.

18 posted on 12/20/2006 7:15:02 PM PST by JTN ("I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of bubble gum.")
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To: Farmer Dean
The fact that an Appeals Court doesn't seem to know the definition of extortion is well,troubling.

I haven't read the ruling, but apparently the court ruled that Kelo is the relevant case law. The sad thing is, the are probably right.

19 posted on 12/20/2006 7:16:59 PM PST by JTN ("I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all out of bubble gum.")
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To: JTN

The very fact that we have to ask the highest court in the land for such a ruling underscores how precarious and threatening things are getting for ordinary American landowners.”


Our forefathers won their freedoms by telling the judges where the boundaries were. As long as we are asking, the boundaries will keep getting smaller.


20 posted on 12/20/2006 7:17:16 PM PST by freedomfiter2
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To: JTN
While it's not going to happen in this case, someday, the Kelo decision is going to cost lives. There's going to be someone who refuses to abandon their homes, and decides to defend it.

Mark

21 posted on 12/20/2006 7:19:13 PM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: JTN

I've sometimes thought in the past that the libertarian rhetoric you sometimes hear about the government basically being the legalized mafia was over the top. Now, not so much. This is friggin' outrageous.


It's not that the government is a legalized mafia, it's that the line between the illegal mafia and the government is so blurred.


22 posted on 12/20/2006 7:22:27 PM PST by freedomfiter2
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To: aruanan

" Don't people often end up in dumpsters over stuff like this?"

Yes, and that may be the ultimate answer... Anytime you back someone into a corner and deny them justice, you take that risk.


23 posted on 12/20/2006 7:22:35 PM PST by babygene (Never look into the laser with your last good eye...)
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To: Obie Wan
Kelo, a travesty of the pinciples of our Constitution !!!

Kelo will go down in history as being one of the all-time worst SCOTUS decisions, on scale with "Dread-Scott."

Mark

24 posted on 12/20/2006 7:23:16 PM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: MarkL

Amen !!!


25 posted on 12/20/2006 7:27:22 PM PST by Obie Wan
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To: JTN

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Eminent Extortion Case for Review..

Old Honest Abe's Legacy?


26 posted on 12/20/2006 7:27:29 PM PST by silentreignofheroes (When the Last Two Prophets are taken there will be no Tommorrow!)
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To: JTN
Because of the Kelo decision, Mr. Didden is now screwed...or will be screwed come Jan. 5, 2007.

The USSC will not rule for him in this case...no matter how distasteful it may be. To do so would be to admit they were wrong on Kelo and that won't happen.

27 posted on 12/20/2006 7:29:38 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (This is my tagline. There are many like it but this one is mine.)
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To: silentreignofheroes
Hey we got a shot at correcting the most despictable law since Row Wade, Alito and Roberts may be enough to get a change in this law.

Good Lord, even the nuts at DU thought it was an outrage.

28 posted on 12/20/2006 7:30:07 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: CaptainAmiigaf
Another ping for you.

Yer gonna love this. It'll make your blood boil.

29 posted on 12/20/2006 7:30:28 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (This is my tagline. There are many like it but this one is mine.)
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To: aruanan

"don't people often end up in dumpsters over stuff like this?"<p.Not to mention in the trunks of old Caddies too.


30 posted on 12/20/2006 7:31:16 PM PST by Cheapskate ( You got your pitchfork and I got my gun, somthin's got to give !)
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To: babygene

Looks like the mob will be making a comeback...

...as there are going to be a lot of small people out there needing justice - or in other words, a 'favor'.

Kinda how the Italian mob started in the first place, come to think about it.


31 posted on 12/20/2006 7:31:19 PM PST by gogogodzilla (Republicans only win if they are conservative. Woe befalls any who forget that.)
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To: sionnsar
The constitution's been dead for some time now.

Dead!? It's "living and breathing"! /s
32 posted on 12/20/2006 7:31:25 PM PST by marsh_of_mists
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

It is not the same court that ruled on Kelo, and they have had a chance to see how governments have abused their ruling. I think this will not stand.


33 posted on 12/20/2006 7:32:05 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: mware

Hey we got a shot at correcting the most despictable law since Row Wade, Good Lord, even the nuts at DU thought it was an outrage.

1. Don't hold your breath..
2. Sometimes my wife agrees with me..


34 posted on 12/20/2006 7:33:43 PM PST by silentreignofheroes (When the Last Two Prophets are taken there will be no Tommorrow!)
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To: mware
even the nuts at DU thought it was an outrage

It so blatantly and obviously goes against all that liberalism claims to stand for that they just couldn't not see it. What I'd like to know is how they managed to square it with the fact that it was all the "progressive" judges who voted for that filth and all the "facists" who voted against it. I'll bet it required quite a bit of doublethink to sweep that under the rug.
35 posted on 12/20/2006 7:34:38 PM PST by marsh_of_mists
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To: mware
city of chester:Blackmail is such an UGLY term,just consider this a special assessment."
36 posted on 12/20/2006 7:34:59 PM PST by Cheapskate ( You got your pitchfork and I got my gun, somthin's got to give !)
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To: marsh_of_mists
"The constitution's been dead for some time now."
Dead!? It's "living and breathing"! /s

Rather like a zombie under remote control.

37 posted on 12/20/2006 7:37:20 PM PST by sionnsar (?trad-anglican.faithweb.com?|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: silentreignofheroes

I suspect Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, will want to overturn at least this aspect of Kelo. Not sure about Kennedy. Soder and Ginsburg are hopeless cases.


38 posted on 12/20/2006 7:38:20 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: marsh_of_mists

Marsh I remember going over to DU, after the ruling and a few of them were blaming the conservatives until they were informed that it was Ginsburg and crew who got this thing through.


39 posted on 12/20/2006 7:40:13 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear... on this good earth... I bid you stand! Men of the West!)
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To: mware

Yep. But then they just popped an extra Paxil and passed out on the couch.


40 posted on 12/20/2006 7:47:06 PM PST by marsh_of_mists
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To: mware

I hope you're right..America needs Americans,not US CITIZENS,,,there is a difference!


41 posted on 12/20/2006 7:47:45 PM PST by silentreignofheroes (When the Last Two Prophets are taken there will be no Tommorrow!)
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To: JTN

I'm as outraged, maybe more, as y'all.

But there's a couple of questions I wish the article had answered:

1. How much has the Village offered Didden for the land.

2. What's the name of the evil developer?

It's too late for this case, but y'all in Virginia need to get a state constitution amendment in place to stop this.

I'm sure glad we have something like this in South Carolina.


42 posted on 12/20/2006 8:27:13 PM PST by upchuck (How to win the WOT? Simple: set our rules of engagement to at least match those of our enemy.)
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To: longtermmemmory
[The cold fact is that much of this type of extortion has been going on for years it is just nobody has paid attention.]

You're right, it has been going on for years, just under the radar. In a perverse sort of way, the Kelo decision is shining the spotlight on the cockroaches.
43 posted on 12/20/2006 8:33:24 PM PST by khnyny (For today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.)
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To: oblomov

"We are now well beyond the level of tyranny that drove our forefathers to rebel against the colonial authority. Will the American people wake up, or simply shrug and watch more reality TV?"

Americans will never do what our forefathers did. "Rebellion against colonial authority" meant going out and murdering the police. That's what it meant then. That's what it would mean today. Americans will never do it again. The population has changed, and Americans have bought completely into the idea that if an elected government does it under the duly constituted laws of the land, that for anybody to break the law is wrong. Because there is now a very thick standing army in America (it is called the police force, but that's what standing armies WERE in the past; today we call it something different, and pretend that a standing army means the US Army, but NOT the police force, because the police are controlled by "state government" and "State's rights" is what America is all about.

Remember that Kelo was the ultimate state's rights decision. States have the right to take property, it said. It's not a federal constitutional issue, it said. So, it's up to the voters of the states.

Trouble is, American government at all levels is so large, and the populace so diffuse, that getting real democratic action moving in the case of an INDIVIDUAL outrage, like this case in Port Chester, is practically impossible.

So, the only real recourse would be the sort of rebellion you mentioned, what our forefathers did. The problem with that, of course, is that "rebellion" is a noble-sounding word, but what rebellion then and now really MEANS is shooting the cops, often by surprise, and killing the authorities who run government. That is what the American colonists DID: shot down soldiers from behind walls, etc. Would Americans really shoot down the cops today?
Or would they recall from such lawlessness as "terrorism"?

The latter.
America will never rebel again. There won't even be mass movements like the ones in Europe. Americans really disdain European mass protests for their "lawlessness". I note that when the French go into the streets, the government actually caves in. Americans consider this an inferior form of government. Of course, land takings like this one in Port Chester, or the ones in Connecticut, do not happen in France, not like that. The law is very clear there, and the people have a nasty habit of rebelling over there when government does something that pisses them off.

Americans like to think that we are superior to those anarchic frogs, et al. But the truth is that Americans simply idolize the whole concept of law. That's it, at the end of the day. The courts will rule, and whatever they rule, Americans will do. If the Second Amendment is pared away, all these folks who talk about the 2nd Amendment being "The reset button of the Constitution" will not, in fact, press that button.

The frog's already been boiled here. Anglo Saxons will never rebel again. Instead, they will continue to be the dying race that we are - not reproducing at replacement rate, and being replaced in the land by more fertile people.

I'm not writing to be upsetting. I am telling you the truth. Americans will not "rebel", because rebellion MEANS murder. It means murdering police officers and government officials. Americans will never do that again. They respect the law too much. That game is over here, at least among Anglo-Saxons. Latinos are a different kettle of fish, of course, but we will have to wait and see what they do as the dominant majority running America in the future. Whites are never going to do anything other than slowly boil in the pot and gradually diminish in numbers.

It's said, but that is how great civilizations die: from within.


44 posted on 12/20/2006 8:34:14 PM PST by Vicomte13 (Aure entuluva.)
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To: Obie Wan

"Kelo, a travesty of the pinciples of our Constitution !!!"

No.
Kelo: the undiluted victory of states' rights.
There is no federal power that limits states' rights to set eminent domain law.


45 posted on 12/20/2006 8:36:03 PM PST by Vicomte13 (Aure entuluva.)
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To: JTN
“What really surprised me about this whole ordeal was the total lack of concern my situation earned from the Village politicians, to the County District Attorney’s office, all the way into the federal courts. A private citizen using the government’s power is extorting me. And the government that was supposed to protect my rights is nowhere to be found. If anything, it is making this extortion possible. It is an outrage.”

Surprised? Please.... Welcome to America 2006.

46 posted on 12/20/2006 8:39:40 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Vicomte13

Sadly, you are probably correct.


47 posted on 12/20/2006 8:41:43 PM PST by rmlew (Having slit their throats may the conservatives who voted for Casey choke slowly on their blood.)
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To: freedomfiter2
[It's not that the government is a legalized mafia, it's that the line between the illegal mafia and the government is so blurred.]

Yep. Just look at William "Freezer Cash King" Jefferson, Louisiana's answer to Marion Barry.
Lest we forget:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/05/21/jefferson.search/

"But the affidavit states that investigators have collected evidence linking Jefferson to at least seven other cases in which he "sought things of value in return for his performance of official acts."
48 posted on 12/20/2006 8:46:40 PM PST by khnyny (For today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.)
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To: Vicomte13
THAT was a great post, and I largely agree with you, except for one thing: Even back during the revolutionary war (the war for independence) it was only a small percentage of Americans who had the guts to stand up and take matters into their own hands. The question today is whether there are enough Americans who feel their feet getting warmer who will jump out of the pot and gather up their rifles and scopes and organize.

Organizing effectively, however, could be problematic what with the Patriot Act and all.... Plus, there's a much larger, fat and lazy 'Caligula' syndrome going on in America these days than could ever have been imagined in the 18th century.

49 posted on 12/20/2006 8:50:24 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: JTN
So what? An owner always has the right to evict, and as long as you must pay annual "rent" to the government, you can also be "evicted" at any time.

Only the taxing government authority owns "your" property.

Get used to it, or get the barricades set up. Those are the only real choices.

50 posted on 12/20/2006 8:59:29 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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