Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why Does Los Angeles County Hate the Poor?

A short drive from the offices of the Moorfield Storey Institute is the region of California known as the Antelope Valley. When we go to Los Angeles we drive through the area. It is one of the least densely populated areas of the greater LA region, with around 5,000 people spread out over 442 square miles. About a third of the residents are black or Latino. The population is older than average, less educated than average, and less wealthy.

Many of these people live miles from their nearest neighbors. Like us, these are people who enjoy life in the high desert. But the Los Angeles Country is doing its best to drive these people off their land and make their lives miserable. The county insists it has nothing to do with confiscating property later for a boondoggle of a transportation project that is being planned.

These are people who live in isolated happiness. They are not problems to anyone. But government is sending armed "Nuisance Abatement Teams" to order people off their land and ordering them to destroy their homes. The government says they can own the land, just not live on it. (That would certainly lower the value when they pay for property stolen through eminent domain later on.) The county makes repeated demands on people to "fix" their property with expensive changes that most simply can't afford.

Now, let us assume the worst, and let us assume that these people have substandard homes that need repairs. If they don't have the fucking money, they don't have the fucking money! But the politicians, like Mike Antonovich, are used to spending other people's money and simply can't relate to what they are doing to poor people. Forcing these people off their land will ONLY make their lives worse, not better. If these people could better their lives by moving they are likely to have done so already. They aren't out to hurt themselves. They are out trying to make the most with what they have. And unrealistic demands by uncaring politicians and armed bureaucrats will NOT improve their lives. It is government run amok. I should note that the politician behind these attacks on property rights are "small government" Republicans.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Can't They Tell the Truth?

One of the most disheartening aspects about the debate regarding marriage equality, other than the fact that there is a debate, is the dishonesty of opponents. In particular, the Christian Right simply seems unable or unwilling to tell the public the facts. They always seem to twist or distort facts in order to try to panic people into supporting their agenda. 
Recently, Baptist Press published a series of falsehoods by Dale Schowengerdt, who works for the far right Alliance Defense Fund. The article is entitled Religious liberty & the case against gay ‘marriage.’” Even in headlines,, they can’t resist the urge to put “scare” quotes around marriage when it refers to gay couples. I guess it is like the Klan saying, “Blacks want their ‘human’ rights.”