The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mel Brooks - Sage of Property Rights?

I've updated my profile with two additional movies (and a couple of books). Empire of the Sun is one of Steven Spielberg's more underrated films - a tremendously moving story about a young boy's survival in a Japanese prison camp in China during the Second World War. And Chariots of Fire is a film I've loved since I was a boy - I used to watch it every track season, where I was a 400-yard runner.

But I had the opportunity to watch Blazing Saddles again recently (alright, I was at Target, and the 30th Anniversary DVD was on sale for $7.50!), and I guess I hadn't been thinking about it all the times I've watched it before (call me distracted by the Campfire scene), but at it's core, the film is about private property rights.

In fact, it is entirely relevant to today, because it is about the taking of private property by government officials for private gain, the quintessence of the problem of abuse of eminent domain, as seen in Kelo.

Think about it - all the people of Rock Ridge want to do is keep their land. But state attorney general, Hedley Lamarr, wants to run the railroad through the town and grab the land for himself.

Brooks recognizes that this is wrong - showing just how despicable Lamarr and his brood are, and how good and heroic the people of Rock Ridge (and their saviors, personified by Bart and the Waco Kid) are. They defend themselves, even when the government pulls out all the stops and attempts its final drive to run the people off of their land, and are ultimately victorious.

He captures the realities, albeit in a simplified form, of the lengths to which government is willing to go to take land: subtle threats, subterfuge, naked force. But what makes the film so prescient is one scene in particular: early on, Lamarr realizes that he's going to have this opportunity to take all this valuable land. So he turns to legal precedent - and just as it is today, Lamarr finds what he needs, in the form of Supreme Court caselaw (Haley v. United States: Haley - 7, United States - 0). Yes, of course, Haley is fictional.

The point is, when I speak on the issue of eminent domain, I talk about the historical underpinnings. How we got from there to here, how the Supreme Court was relying on 130 years of precedent and what had happened to make it so. And in reaching way back in the mists of history, we are left with the actions of men like Hedley Lamarr. The condenmation of private property for railroad lines was the meager start of a line of takings that leads to the abuse of today.

So, as funny as Blazings Saddles is (and it is still funny, even after 30 years). I am nevertheless poignantly reminded that for all the possible examples of situations in which townspeople were able to battle with the help of the Barts and Waco Kids of the west, there were a lot of people irreparably harmed.

Moreover, as funnily foul as Harvey Corman's Lamarr was, there all far too many of them still in the world today - even more foul, but not funny in the slightest.

- Andrew Langer


Blogger The leftist southpaw said...

oh, my word!

Empire of the Sun is my favorite Spielberg movie, without exception.


February 05, 2006 10:49 PM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

An interesting side note is that JG Ballard,the author whose story the film is based upon, also wrote the book/screenplay for the film "Crash", starring James Spader - a rather bizarre film directed by bizarre director David Cronenberg. In it, Spader plays "James Ballard", a character presumably based on the author, as the character "Jamie" was in "Empire of the Sun".

February 06, 2006 7:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Hedley Lamarr were alive today, his name would be Barry Landew!

SRA International is perhaps to me the biggest cover up corporate welfare case the CIA ever involved itself with and somehow has received untold hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. government contracts while even having it shares promoted offshore in Kuala Lumpur and over their world wide internet website by a boiler operation called Bellador Goup with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai ! Should Americans not be informed about CIA activities over the internet when even stock market fraud may now be involved ? Or should the CIA and the NSA cooperate with the SEC to find out exactly how Mr.Taylor of Bellador Group (or ask his Arizona attorney Ron Logan) came to promote SRA International shares offshore in terrorist suspect money laundering havens such as Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, etc.,in the first place. And why has the SEC itself that also contracts its IT work to SRA International,not investigated Bellador boiler room ops offshore and possible onshore(through internet,telephone,etc.) activities in various U.S. penny stocks.Endovasc was a James Dale Davidson(of Agora Inc,National Taxpayers Union,etc.),pump and dump scam that Bellador Group was also involved in offshore boiler room and share sales promotions of the worthless shell company coincidentally.

When SRA International created Mantas Inc,the supposed AML or Anti-Money Laundering software company and spun it off or sold it to that penny stock company SafeGuard Scientifics(its shares that once soared to near $100 per share are now rarely above $2).So it has been little more than a share pump an dump in its own right.Yet even when Mantas changed corporate hands SRA International and or Mantas bigwig Barry Landew bragged of Mantas retaining all or most of its old employees.Meaning that a CIA connected and invested company has been the founder on Mantas Inc and thus is the software used by Charles Schwab,UBS,....,to snoop into your or my banking or stock tranactions.At the same time the CIA,with its new In-Q-Tel investment corporation and possible offshore accounts, may be betting against you or me in the very same stock market our brokerage accounts buy and sell in ! They may be able to access Mantas Inc.'s records of companies, (bankers,brokers,etc.), they do business with would come in very handy for betting in or against the market for an information elite.

February 07, 2006 10:02 AM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

Anonymous SRA poster -

Are you Tony Ryals?

February 13, 2006 5:31 PM

Blogger Tony Ryals said...

No he ain't Tony Ryals.But he's a pretty good stand in you'd have to admit.hee hee do a 'star ledger valinoti' google search or 'pope's misconceptions phosphates orbit' google search or'james dale
davidson ryals' google search or 'amit yoran in-q-tel ryals' google search or 'cia gilman louie less than honest' google search or a 'terrorbaggers'
google search or porter goss ryals' google search or 'terrorbaggers' google search or 'bush petroleum trafficker' google search or 'james angel georgetown university' google search or an 'attorney john o'quinn' google search or a
'bellador group' google search or
'cia tenet new orleans ryals' google search or 'utah senator
bennett cheetah club' google search or 'moshe katzav michael zwebner' google search or 'ncans senator bennett patrick byrne' google search,anyway that's me and i like your blog.
Anyways who else would be crazy enough to write that kind of stuff ? sort of got my psyco-neural signature or prints all over it but,hey,still they guy or galas the case may be is a good stand in.

February 28, 2006 12:36 AM


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