Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 21:37

Housing is a human right? Really?

Recently, the Associated Press (AP) published an article the Reno paper ran with the headline, “Judge orders women to leave house.”

Last year, real estate investment group Wedgewood, Inc., bought an Oakland three-bedroom house in foreclosure for $501,000.  In November, before Wedgewood could take legal possession, three homeless women and their children, calling themselves Moms 4 Housing, illegally moved in.

The squatters refuse to leave, so Wedgewood asked a California court to direct the local sheriff to evict them.  The judge did so, giving them five days to leave.

An attorney helping them said, “We understand that the court’s hands are tied because in this country property fights are valued over human rights.”

One of the women, Dominque Walker, 34 and the mother of 1- and 5-year-old daughters, added, “Housing is a human right.  I pay bills there.  I pay water, PG&E, internet.  We live there.”

So, if they claim housing is a human right, they have a right to seize someone’s property.  And their lawyer posits a false distinction between sacred human rights and grubby property rights, and then falsely claims the courts value property rights over human rights.

Walker also said, “We want to purchase the home … it needs to belong back in the hands of the community.”  And, “It was stolen through the foreclosure crisis.”

AP adds, the women say they moved into the house partly to protest the methods of speculators who snap up distressed homes and leave them empty despite the housing crisis.  While Walker says “we” are the community and want to purchase the house, AP clarifies that they want Wedgewood to sell the property to a nonprofit land trust (that presumably would let them continue to live there).

But they moved in before Wedgewood could even take possession of the house.  So, obviously Wedgewood isn’t the party that left the house empty.  Lest one think perhaps the women merely chose the wrong house for their protest, Walker adds the ignorant and malicious lie that Wedgewood stole it.

Moving beyond technicalities, the real points here are the false distinction between human and property rights and the claim that property rights are wrongly favored.  Plus the implication that wrapping oneself in the flag of human rights permits one to do anything and wrong anybody, especially corporations, to secure those human rights.

In this case, all one needs to do to justify seizures or other aggressive actions is claim to be a victim, even of mere misfortune, and allege the other party is culpable, even for doing reasonable and socially beneficial things like buying a house in foreclosure.

Asserting a “human right” to housing confers on someone an obligation to provide housing at that someone’s expense.  That’s so obviously wrong and predatory that the kleptos and their ideologue supporters always demonize the real victims to make the theft or other aggressive action seem justified.  Ergo, the lie that Wedgewood stole the house.

Perhaps the women come from a culture that taught them nothing of how the world really works: via invention, innovation, work, savings and investment, productivity, disruption and competition to get income by delivering value to employers, consumers and the public interest.  And taught them nothing of the essential role of property rights in providing all human wellbeing.

Maybe in their experience things work via the kleptocracy of politics: asserted rights, demands, demonstrations, coercion, legislation, regulation, litigation, etc.

Thus, they wouldn’t know that the real causes of unaffordable housing and so many other California problems are the entitlements, land-use and related regulations, high taxes and transfer payments, green dogma, etc. fostered by the politics of them and their advocates.

But what’s the excuse for AP writers and editors and mainstream media generally?

They should recognize the slimy ethical and vacuous intellectual basis of these claims do not merit coverage.  They should be researching and producing stories that educate more people on how the world really works and the problems caused by progressive policies.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." His views and opinions are his own. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

 

Published in Opinion

One of our best friends, Mike Brown, passed from this earth last December 23rd.

 

We didn’t know because he was visiting his kids in Oregon.

 

Mike masqueraded as a Brooklyn tough guy who had a barely hidden heart of gold under that New York attitude.  He was the lead mechanic at the Reno-Tahoe Airport for many years and that was his persona…he fixed things.  He bought and sold old cars, he built houses and, for me, he helped build an AM transmitter site which is the hardest thing in broadcasting to get right.  He got it right.  One of his favorite times was Reno’s annual Hot August Nights classic car festival.

 

The highest praise I ever got from him was when we did a four hour remote broadcast from one of Adam Laxalt’s Basque Frys.  He helped us set up, declined an invitation to stay and then called me when I was on my way home afterwards to tell me he had listened to the whole event and enjoyed every minute of it.

 

The pancreatic cancer started to get to him a few years ago.

 

At first—in his Brooklyn persona—he wouldn’t say the word cancer.

 

Recently, he mostly went to lunch with us as part of the ritual because he couldn’t taste much.  Our favorite place was Red’s 395 Grill in Carson City.

 

As Christmas approached this year, I told him that I was assuming his normal gift—a bottle of Jack Daniels—was out of the question on his doctor’s orders.  He agreed. But not willingly…

 

At the time, he was in a rehab hospital.

 

I called him up one day to see if he wanted lunch and he answered from his daughter’s house in Oregon.  The story I got was that he just checked himself out and drove to Oregon.

 

We never saw him or talked to him again.

 

But we have thousands of memories of a life well lived.  Like all of us, he was an imperfect human being but also a great friend and a whole lot of fun, when he wasn’t busy helping me or someone else.

 

If he could read this and talk with me today, he’s ask me why I was wasting this space on him when I could be going after (expletive deleted) Nancy Pelosi.  We’ll get back to that next week.

 

Mike was a big supporter of the President and a big supporter of his agenda.

 

Rest easy, big guy.  We’ve got it from here.

 

Mike would probably have gotten a good laugh from another drama going on in my life which he didn’t know about.

 

While he wasn’t a serious dog guy, he made exceptions for the two in my family—as long as they didn’t lick him or jump on him.

 

Our 13-year-old cowdog, Major, developed an osteosarcoma on his right front leg.  Our vet suggested we amputate the leg, since a chest x-ray showed that the cancer had not spread and Major is a pretty active dog.

 

So, we got it done last week.

 

Our dog puts the stub in stubborn.  Yes, he knows how to walk on three legs.  We learned that at 5 one morning when we put him outside the back door and he stood up, walked down two stairs into the back yard.  But, no, he’d rather be pulled around the house on a rug and waited on hand and foot.  If I had to make odds, I’d bet on my wife winning that battle of wills.  She’s much tougher than I am.

 

We don’t know how much time we have added to Major’s life but we hope that he’ll finish the third period and maybe get into an overtime shootout.

 

We just can’t bring ourselves to kill a dog for our convenience.

 

If, somehow, Mike’s reading this…please stop laughing.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a guest columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission. 

 

                                                                                                                                 

Afterword...

As this was being put together, Major stood up, haltingly walked from the living room to the back door, was let out, walked out into the back yard and did his business.  Then, he turned around and walked back, went in the house and took a nap.  Thank you Dr. Kathleen Fisher and your staff at the Washoe Valley Veterinary Clinic.  You all are the best.

Published in News & Information