Five days ago, I posted a blog that referenced the Supreme Court’s 2005 “Kelo” decision about eminent domain.
Four days ago, I read in the Savannah Morning News about the latest example of government creep by eminent domain. At issue is the request by oil-and-gas pipeline corporation Kinder Morgan for eminent domain privileges through 210 miles of coastal Georgia. The so-called “Palmetto Pipeline” is intended to transport oil, gas, possibly natural gas and ethanol (although this is not clear) to ports at Savannah, Brunswick, and Jacksonville for export.
Now Richard Kinder, head of Kinder Morgan, was one of the principals at Enron, when it collapsed in bankruptcy, following an internal scandal revealed in October, 2001. Enron’s was the largest corporate bankruptcy in US history, at $63.4 billion in assets, until WorldCom surpassed it a year later. (Wikipedia, 100415)
More recently, in 2014, one of Kinder Morgan’s existing pipelines spilled 370,000 gallons of gasoline in Belton, SC.
In 2015, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal did something right, for a change, and denied Kinder Morgan’s bid for eminent domain. Kinder Morgan appealed the decision, but a Fulton County judge (Atlanta) upheld it, and Kinder Morgan officially withdrew its application.
Now comes the Georgia Legislature to help Kinder Morgan out. The SMN’s article “Pipeline study group forming,” by Mary Landers, says House Bill 1036, signed into law May 3, 2016, has created a “study commission” tasked with recommending changes to the way Georgia evaluates gasoline and diesel pipelines. This “State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines” has until December 31 to “conduct a detailed study to ensure the exercise of eminent domain powers by petroleum pipelines is carried out in a prudent and responsible manner consistent with the estate’s essential public interests.” (Quoted from the Savannah Morning News’ quote of the press release). (KO Translation: “We are trying to find a way to grant eminent domain privileges to Kinder Morgan.”)
Yours truly, here, has been keeping her finger on the pulse of the planet for forty years, and she has been right too often to doubt her assessment now. This is how government works to benefit asset plunderers and money churners, at the expense of the taxpayers who pay the costs of the industry as well as the environmental costs on land they thought they owned.
Before Governor Deal denied the original application, I wrote letters to him and to Richard Kinder, threatening to look into stock investments of everyone involved in the decision, including judges. I sent copies to everyone I could think of, because this is cheaper than filing lawsuits and dealing with the perpetrators in their own lair and on their terms.
As a tactical move, it also shows how legislators and bureaucrats at every level of government have an inherent conflict of interest as long as they have or control pension plans invested on Wall Street. As long as they are making decisions that affect us all, we have a right to know where their taxpayer-funded investments are going. After all, the biggest eco-rapists, like the energy companies, pay the highest dividends, and corporate and pension fund managers want to show high rates of return.
I posted the following satirical article about the Kelo decision on my now-defunct website in October, 2007. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
–news from the event horizon–
A RETROSPECTIVE: October 28, 2007
by Katharine C. Otto
VIAGRA BLINDS US SUPREME COURT
United States Government Implodes Following Eminent Domain Decision
Homeowners quit buying homes and paying property taxes after the United States Supreme Court sold them out to a higher bidder. On June 23, 2005, the High Court sided 5-4 with the New London, Connecticut City Council, allowing the city to take Susette Kelo’s and her neighbors’ homes by eminent domain. When Kelo, et al. lost their property rights, homeowners everywhere realized US law no longer guarantees ownership, so property taxes are invalid.
Multibillion-dollar international drug manufacturer, distributor, university and medical education grantor, researcher, lobbyist, political donor, NYSE high roller, and advertizing giant Pfizer, Inc. denied a role in the Supreme Court decision. A spokesman for Pfizer, who refused to be identified, claimed the mega-corporation has not leased or purchased any part of the conference and convention center planned atop Kelo’s neighborhood and next door to Pfizer’s new, $270 million, global research facility.
Pfizer also says its popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra does not cause blindness–despite litigation to the contrary–but a source close to the labs hints this is how Viagra works. (“FDA Was Told of Viagra-Blindness Link Months Ago: Senator Criticizes Delay in Alerting Consumers After Safety Officer Warned Agency About Drug,” washingtonpost.com, by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, July 1, 2005.)
Viagra blinded local governments, though. Running with the Supreme Court’s balls, city and county governments drove thousands of people from their homes, offering zoning changes and tax incentives to commercial developers. Sadly, no one could pay the price.
This caused a general collapse of US currency. “The dollar no longer makes sense,” said a famous economist who asked for anonymity. “This means there’s no difference between rich and poor. And, since we have no property rights, tu casa es mi casa, as any illegal alien can tell you.”
Hoards of homeless men, women, and children hailed the news. They swarmed the White House, governors’ mansions, and other public housing, where they spread blankets and took up residence.
Government officials and bureaucrats, fearing angry mobs, barricaded themselves in government buildings, but no one tried to get in. When they attempted to leave with their hands up, they found doors locked from outside.
Ex-taxpayers gathered outside and questioned whether public servants serve the public. One woman insisted they could be taught. She recommended re-writing their job descriptions, but others doubted they could learn anything new. A janitor claimed it’s theoretically possible to rehabilitate federal employees with short job titles, but it would be taxing. They could start by cleaning out their own offices.
A former property owner, who still lives at home, said quarantining public servants taxes no one but the government. It protects neighborhoods and keeps cities safe from democracy.
“We discovered the blockhead period of architecture—so popular with the feds since the 1950s—is perfectly suited for housing our surplus supervisors until we figure out what to do with them.” When asked how they would feed the thousands of incarcerated deciders, she replied, “Let them eat paper, since that’s all they produce.”
Junk food corporations broadcast outrage at this cold-hearted attitude. They have responded by donating millions in food and drink for the trapped victims. Now, inside sources say the prisoners are far from starving, and many can finally stay on their diets.
But angry environmentalists are threatening to torch the burgers with the packaging, if McDonald’s and others don’t pack out their own trash. In a furious back-lash, the fast food and packaging industries are lobbying Congress to require more trash cans outside government buildings.
But Congress has more urgent problems. Legislators are locked in the Capitol and strapped for bathrooms and toilet paper. They are working on bi-partisan emergency legislation for men’s room rationing and other limitations on dumping. Already, government waste has backed up the sewage system and flooded the nation’s capitol, creating the most blighted neighborhood the world has ever smelled. The President has declared a national emergency and is pumping trillions of electronic dollars into the sewer system.
Sadly, nationwide polls show little sympathy for Washington’s plight. “Let ‘em eat shit,” said a Kansas farmer who was paid not to farm. “Nobody owns this land now. Money has no value, but my family still has to eat. People around town are helping out.”
He laughed when offered federal assistance. “Pay them to stay away,” he said. “I’ll distill corn ethanol, stay home, and party. Can we tighten that Beltway some more?”
He suggested selling or leasing government employees to third world countries. When reminded money was worthless, he suggested giving the public servants away, but admitted this may not be feasible, either.
An Alaskan book dealer said the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seems safe, for now. People who worked only for the money have quit their jobs and no longer drive so much.
A Montana rancher didn’t know the government had collapsed, because he had no TV. He asked if that explained why road projects through nearby National Forest lands were abandoned.
A Georgia shrimper wondered about the sudden disappearance of the DNR, EPA, DEA, FBI, CIA, Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, city and county police, and military aircraft from the coastline.
Large retailers, who expected mass looting when the dollar collapsed, discovered nobody wanted anything they had. The stores have been abandoned. When asked why she no longer visits Wal-Mart, one former shopper said she just enjoyed spending money. Now, she uses what she has.
The packaging industry is in crisis, because like the government, fast food, and Wal-Mart, it provides nothing of lasting value. Similarly, bankers, accountants, and lawyers have found their skills obsolete in a cashless, lawless society.
The rest of the world has questioned why the US stopped bombing Iraq.
“Economics,” everyone says. “When no one gets paid, the relative value of life goes up.”
The collapse of the US economy has surprised no one except the economists, who claim the dollar really does have value, despite appearances.
Overall, the implosion of the United States government has not been the disaster everyone feared. Of course, creditors with liens against the country want to collect what they can, but they are finding little worth taking. Some have even resorted to accepting government employees. It is hoped that outsourcing the largest worker force in the nation will spread democracy around the globe and provide the balance of trade so crucial to world peace.
Katharine, thanks for bringing this issue to our attention and for your continued struggle. The movers in the fossil fuel industry creep up on us from all sides.
Thank you for your ongoing support. People like you give me courage to proceed.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the fossil fuel industry. I’m having a separate discussion with members of my senior citizens’ group about GM food. The Bayer/Monsanto/Dow/Dupont/Syngenta contingent, along with Archer Daniels Midland, are doing everything they can to poison and degrade the food supply. Are you familiar with “the ecologist” magazine? theecologist.com? It has done some powerful investigative reporting on many of these issues.
Oops. My mistake. the ecologist is at theecologist.org
Thanks for the link. I’ve checked it out and saved to my Favorites.
Yes, we’re fighting the corporations on all fronts. There’s our freshwater supplies, too. Perhaps the answer lies in rethinking and restructuring the corporation.
Money is the only thing they understand. That’s why the advice to sell stocks and invest locally is so powerful. Much of corporate “profit” comes from stock churning, mergers and acquisitions, cutting staff, offices, corners. The P/E ratios are out of control, if you’ve noticed. Notice how many IPOs lead off to great acclaim, only to go bankrupt a couple of years later. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement may have failed, but “Abandon Wall Street” is becoming a more popular concept every day.