Friday, December 07, 2012

The nice thing about having a Democrat in the White House is that there is never any bad news.

Jim Treacher writes about the irony of the Washington Post lauding the fact that in the Obama economy people are losing hope about things getting better:

It’s odd… You only read stories about how great it is to be poor, how empowering it is to settle for less, when a Democrat is president. If a Republican was in charge, would WaPo be doing stories about how awesome it is to live in a breadbox?

They’re just trying to prepare you for the inevitable crash. Their ideas don’t work and they know it, so now all they can do is try to make you think their failure is somehow a statement of principle. The dystopian post-Obama future depicted in Dan Simmons’ Flashback gets a little more plausible every minute.

Get ready for many more reminders from our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the media that we don’t know how good we’ve got it. And if we want to hang onto what little we have left, we’d better keep electing Democrats.

They think you’re stupid, America. And look how stunningly you just proved them right.

After checking out the Washington Post story, it's worse than Treacher says.

Compare the breathless prose of the article about "tiny houses" with the actual product, which resembles nothing so much as the kind of homes that seasonal agricultural workers live in during harvest season in the Central Valley.

Worse, the WaPo completely glides over the fact that the plan is to build these "Obama houses" in "vacant lots," i.e. property owned by other people.  So, the plan is for people to become "squatters," which has created all kinds of dysfunctions in the other European-style Socialist poverty paradises.The BBC reports:

Now there are far fewer forgotten and abandoned buildings in our cities, so some squatters have resorted to taking over private homes, temporarily left vacant while the owners are away. This rightly enrages our sense of fair play and provoked the government into action to outlaw squatting in residential buildings.
 That's right, in England, you could head out for your summer vacation and return home to find people had "occupied" your home in the brief time you were gone and you would be forced to go through a cumbersome process to regain your home that would take days to put into effect.  This blog post describes the process:

 have just one home, and obviously I am sometimes away for a few days, on holiday or staying with other people. If someone gets into it while I am away, and squats in it, I can get an order as a “displaced residential occupier”, and I can obtain, within a few days, an interim possession order (IPO) which will enable me to enter the premises at will. Any unlawful occupiers who refuse to leave within 24 hours of the granting of an IPO is committing a criminal offense. 
To me, that is insufficient. There doesn’t appear to be a deterrent against squatting in my house in the first place, (as long as I can’t prove they broke in themselves), just against staying there after I get an IPO. That is too late. Having had my house broken into and robbed in the past, I know that I don’t want anyone potentially defiling and contaminating my house for a minute, let alone the few days it would take to force them to leave. Who knows what damage and invasion of privacy they would do, especially in the 24 hours after they know they are being forced to leave?
There are arguments both ways about whether squatting should be criminalised (as it already is in Scotland):
I can understand arguments for making sensible use of long-term-empty property. But my position here is much simpler in scope: I want it to be a criminal offense for anyone to squat in my home. That may be sufficient to deter anyone from trying it, and so avoid all the problems that I would otherwise face until the squatters leave. It is roughly equivalent to saying (in some hypothetical country): “instead of it just being an offense not to hand goods back within a day of taking them, we are making it a criminal offense to take goods in the first place”. I suggest the latter deters theft, while the former wouldn’t.

“Entering” is far worse than “breaking”. Indeed, having someone squatting in my home for a day or so, with access to personal and private correspondence and other important things of little monetary value, would be far worse to me than having my most resell-able (and insured!) goods stolen. So the offense of “entering” (necessary for squatting), whether or not it can be proved to involve “breaking”, needs to be at least as serious as the crime of “breaking and entering”, at least for my home and others like it.
It is argued that it is rare for squatters to use a domestic property unless it has been empty for a significant time, implying that it is unlikely that squatters will use my house. But if it is so rare, then few squatters would ever be affected by a change to the law to make it a criminal offense, so there should be no objection to such a change from people representing squatters.
 How about just protecting property rights?

It probably isn't surprising to find that in the age of Obama and the "Occupy Movement," the WaPo can be so cavalier about the historic basis of American civilization.

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