Tag Archives: private property

Court rules fossils belong to landowners

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that any fossils found on private land belong to exclusively to the landowners, and that no rights accrue to any owners of the land’s mineral rights.

The Montana Supreme Court this week ruled that fossils are not legally the same as minerals such as gold or copper. Therefore, Montana fossils, including a dramatic specimen of two dinosaurs buried together, belong to people who own the land where they are found, rather than to the owners of the minerals underneath that land.

The 4-3 decision upholds the way U.S. scientists have long approached questions of fossil ownership. It appears to defuse a potentially explosive 2018 ruling by the federal 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that fossils went to the owners of mineral rights.

The outcome is a win for scientists who had warned that tying fossils to mineral rights could make it harder to get permission to excavate and could throw into doubt who owns fossils already on display, says David Polly, an Indiana University paleontologist and past president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Because the earlier 2018 federal court decision was later appealed and the court then referred the case to Montana’s Supreme Court, this decision settles the dispute nationally as well.

That absurd 2018 9th Court of Appeals decision illustrates how insane that specific federal court had become, packed with many radical leftist and partisan Democratic judges. In the past three years however the balance of that court has been significantly changed, so expect fewer such crazy rulings.

Trump administration drafting new space agreement to supersede Outer Space Treaty

The new colonial movement: According to this Reuters article, the Trump administration is presently drafting a new space agreement, which they have dubbed the “Artemis Accords,” that would allow private property ownership in space and thus supersede Outer Space Treaty’s restrictions on sovereignty.

The Artemis Accords, named after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s new Artemis moon program, propose “safety zones” that would surround future moon bases to prevent damage or interference from rival countries or companies operating in close proximity.

The pact also aims to provide a framework under international law for companies to own the resources they mine, the sources said.

In the coming weeks, U.S. officials plan to formally negotiate the accords with space partners such as Canada, Japan, and European countries, as well as the United Arab Emirates, opening talks with countries the Trump administration sees as having “like-minded” interests in lunar mining.

They at the moment are not including Russia or China in the discussions, since those countries have little interest in promoting private enterprise and ownership in space.

Back in 2017 I proposed in an op-ed for The Federalist that Trump do almost exactly this:

Trump should propose a new Outer Space Treaty, superseding the old, that would let nations plant their flags in space. This new treaty should establish the rules by which individual nations can claim territory and establish their law and sovereignty on other worlds or asteroids.

The American homesteading acts of the 1800s could work as a good guide. Under those laws, if an American citizen staked a claim and maintained and developed it for five years, that claim and an accompanying amount of acreage would then become theirs.

In space, Trump could propose that in order for a nation to make a territorial claim, a nation or its citizens must establish a facility. If they occupy and use it for a minimum of five years, that nation can claim it, plus a reasonable amount of territory around it, and place it under that nation’s sovereignty.

Now consider this quote from the Reuters article:

The safety zones – whose size would vary depending on the operation – would allow for coordination between space actors without technically claiming territory as sovereign, he said. “The idea is if you are going to be coming near someone’s operations, and they’ve declared safety zones around it, then you need to reach out to them in advance, consult and figure out how you can do that safely for everyone.”

In other words, the safety zones would essentially be the claimed property of the colonizers, a completely reasonable position.

It is hard to say at this moment whether the Trump administration will succeed in this tactic, of side-stepping a renegotiation of the Outer Space Treaty by working out a new agreement with other interested players. Canada for example has expressed reservations about the Trump administration’s recent public announcement encouraging private ownership of resources in space.

Regardless, that the administration now appears to be addressing the limitations of the Outer Space Treaty is very heartening news. Let us hope they can make it happen.

Houston trying to steal land from two churches

Fascists: Having failed to intimidate religious leaders when the city of Houston tried to subpoena their sermons, the city is now trying to use eminent domain procedures to shut down two churches.

The fifth ward is located just outside of downtown. Property values in the area have skyrocketed and continue to climb. The City of Houston offered to purchase the churches. When the churches refused, the city came back with threats of using eminent domain to acquire the property as part of an urban development plan.

More here. Texas state law, written and passed after the Supreme Court decision in Kelo v New London, expressly forbids this kind of eminent domain taking. Moreover, the taking appears to specifically violate the first amendment rights of these two churches.

Quick! Guess what to which political party the Houston mayor belongs!

Government celebrates ten years of stealing private land

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision permitting the town of New London, Connecticut to take land from one private owner so that they can sell it to another private owner.

And what do we have in New London ten years later? An empty field. The town essentially stole the homes of local residences, supposedly a “blighted” neighborhood, so they could tear the homes down and replace them with an empty abandoned lot.

Government marches on!

The state of Illinois illegally enters a beekeepers’ property, confiscates his bees, and destroys them.

The state of Illinois illegally enters a beekeepers’ property, confiscates his bees, and destroys them.

The story is very complicated, as the state believed the bees were infected with a disease that could spread to other bees. Nonetheless, they entered private property without permission or warrant, and took private property without permission.

Read the whole thing. It illustrates the complexity of freedom and law, while also showing the risks inherent with giving up our rights, even when it appears to be a good idea.

A federal judge has approved the installation of surveillance cameras by the police — on private property without a warrant.

Big Brother arrives: A federal judge has approved the installation of surveillance cameras by the police — on private property without a warrant.

Let me repeat that: The judge said that the police have the right to enter private property, without a warrant, in order to secretly install surveillance cameras so that they can record whatever happens on that property.

Doesn’t that make you feel safe?

A new federal law has now confirmed the ownership by astronauts of their souvenirs.

A new federal law has now confirmed the ownership by 1960s astronauts of the equipment they saved as souvenirs from their missions.

Sadly, the law excludes moon rocks given as gifts by NASA to astronauts and NASA employees, as well as any material given to astronauts in the post Apollo era, which means we should continue to see midnight raids by NASA bureaucrats of the homes of retired NASA employees to confiscate objects they thought they owned.

A county government in California, rather than buy private property through eminent domain, is using zoning regulations to force owners out so the county doesn’t have to pay any compensation.

Theft by government: A county government in California, rather than buy private property through eminent domain, is using zoning regulations to force owners out so the county doesn’t have to pay any compensation.

Gingrich’s speech on space

In the days ahead there is going to be a lot of talk about Newt Gingrich’s proposals for space exploration. I think it important that people actually see and listen to the entire speech before discussing it. Here is the longest clip I can find on youtube, covering the first seven and a half minutes. I think it is complete, but unfortunately, I can’t be sure. It doesn’t appear to include his remarks about awarding space prizes, and when it ends Gingrich does not appear to be finished. When I find a longer clip I will post it.

Several points immediately come to mind:
» Read more

FBI sees drop in violent and property crimes in every region of the U.S.

Some good news: The FBI is reporting a drop in violent and property crimes in every region of the U.S for the first half of 2011.

As the report above notes, this drop has occurred during “tough economic times,” illustrating once again that the leftwing claim that “tough economic times” causes violence and crime is dead wrong. If a society knows the difference between right and wrong while respecting property rights, poverty by itself will not lead to crime. What will lead to crime is a rejection of these values, which not only promotes bad behavior (stealing and violence) but also leads to more poverty and the collapse of society.

With this in mind it is therefore interesting to reflect on many of the actions and ideas of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Is this what we really want for America?

Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor?

Why are Indian reservations so poor? (Link fixed. Sorry.)

The vast majority of land on reservations is held communally. That means residents can’t get clear title to the land where their home sits, one reason for the abundance of mobile homes on reservations. This makes it hard for Native Americans to establish credit and borrow money to improve their homes because they can’t use the land as collateral–and investing in something you don’t own makes little sense, anyway.

“Markets haven’t been allowed to operate in reserve lands,” says [Manny Jules, a former chief of the Kamloops Indian band in British Columbia]. “We’ve been legislated out of the economy. When you don’t have individual property rights, you can’t build, you can’t be bonded, you can’t pass on wealth. A lot of small businesses never get started because people can’t leverage property [to raise funds].

Hat tip Ace of Spades.