Reason: “What the Hell is ‘Miltary Version of Eminent Domain’?”

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

It is a good question Reason ponders. Just what is a ‘military version of eminent domain’?

Hopefully, “it doesn’t look anything like this”:

With the loss of the majority of the House of Representatives to the Democrat Party for the first time in Trump’s presidency and his “Trump’s Party Now”(TM) one-party rule, both are now facing their failures and incompetence possibly being checked, Trump threatens to declare a state of emergency and rule by decree.

After a year of employing inflammatory incendiary and hyperbolic language as a means to target people’s inborn “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” (FUD) and to instill a false fear of “invasion,” on Friday, Trump stood in the Rose Garden of the American people’s White House once again claiming a non-crisis is a crisis, complete with debunked statements of 4000 “arrested terrorists” and citing data from a 2017 incorrect DOJ report he requested, and said he would declare a “national emergency” and floated the idea of the use of a “military version of eminent domain” to seize private property if Congress refused to hand over $5 billion dollars for The Wall.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that he can do that, he’d run into another problem right away: The federal government owns less than one-third of the land on the southern border. The rest belongs to other entities, including states, Native American tribes, and private individuals. Most of the border land in Texas is private property.

Not a problem, said Trump: “You have to use eminent domain,” he declared. That’s when the government forces a property owner to sell, at a price set by the government. “If we had one person that wouldn’t sell us…then we wouldn’t be able to build proper border security because we’d have that big opening.”

“I think it’s a fair process,” he added.

And what happens if Trump can’t seize people’s land with normal eminent domain? That’s where the “military version” comes in.

As explained, “[Lawsuits are] not going to hold [the wall] up because under the military version of eminent domain and under, actually, homeland security we can do it before we even start.”


The one question that is never asked of Trump’s, or his administration’s, version of such a dire threat to America and Americans, if this is such an imminent crisis and “national emergency” why would anyone consider, let alone be convinced, a project that would take years upon years to complete as an acceptable answer?

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA), amended in 1956 to include both the Army and Air Force, is the federal statue, to be coupled with the Insurrection Act of 1807, that prohibits and limits using US military forces as a civilian law enforcement and “greatly limits, but does not eliminate the power” of a POTUS to declare “martial law.”

It was passed primarily in response to what many, at the time, considered Lincoln’s overreach in exceeding his authority and the federal government’s use of the federal military force to enact their US federal laws during the Civil War when he suspended habeas corpus and created military courts with jurisdiction over civilians.

The Navy Department has established regulations for the US Navy and Marine Corps that apply the Posse Comitatus Act.

Are we in a Civil War? Of course not. Yet.

But where exactly are we? What is “military eminent domain”?

Trump declares, “We can call a national emergency. I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” adding, “Under the military version of eminent domain and under homeland security, we can do it.”

Technically, Trump is not wrong as far as eminent domain is concerned. The government does use eminent domain for roads and highways and public utilities. It is being floated that the “military version of eminent domain” Trump is spouting, as he referred to the “Secretaries are talking about it,” refers to U.S. Code § 2663 that provides for the “acquisition of land for military purposes including “construction, or operation of fortifications, coast defenses, or military training camps.” but that, technically, applies to a “time of war or when war is imminent.” A trumped up FUD of a non-invasion now comes into play.

Here is another technicality, according to executive order Proclamation 7463 signed by George W. Bush the United States has been under a “state of emergency” since three days after 9/11. It was extended by both Obama and Trump. But what is not clear is if Trump would have to issue a new “state of emergency” proclamation if he were to attempt to cite U.S. Code § 2663 for his seizing of private properties.

It was established under George W. Bush in 2006 the ability to deviate from normal to deploy the US military onto the southern border in his “Operation Jumpstart” when he “ordered up to 6,000 National Guards troops to the states along the Mexican border to support the Border Patrol in controlling illegal immigration and related criminal activities on U.S. soils.”

Once that happened, it was nothing for Obama to add to that deployment and order up an additional 1,200 troops to the southern border in July of 2010. There was no need to even suspend the Posse Comitatus Act. The deviation now had precedence.

Now that the deviation of normalization was established, the loop is set in everyone’s mind this new lower standard is acceptable, and here is Trump in October saying he had about 5,000 deployed and will “go up to anywhere between 10,00-15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE, and everybody else at the border.”

On January 4th, NBC reported (video) that now Trump, “after getting a solid no over the border wall, the Department of Homeland Security is requesting more US troops at the border. The idea is for them to add 160 miles of razor wire on top of border fencing that already exists.”

There current deployment of 5,600 has already added wire at ports of entry in Arizona, Texas and California and was set to end on January 31st. If the Pentagon grant’s Trump’s end run around Congress for more troops for this new request it would also extend the current deployment until September.

In the meantime, Trump doubles down on his threats to invade border states and use our military to seize private lands.

At least one Republican lawmaker seems to get what Trump is doing:

Stay tuned. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this one.

On A Side Note (Opinion)

What ever happened to Don’t Tread on Me?

What is more bizarre, Trump goes full on “JADE HELM” for real, that crazy conspiracy theory cooked up by alt-right media, read: Alex Jones, et al, and now known was pushed by Russian bots, as former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden informed people, and the usual suspects are now silent when Trump claims he is may ‘declare a national emergency’ and he would use the military to seize private property?

That is some heavy intellectual dissonance going on with so-called ‘conservative’ voters as they go batshit crazy over a “woman” using bad language and one who had the audacity to dance. Oh! The horror of it all!

Or maybe it’s not heavy dissonance. After all, there is no difference between the hard core leftist Socialists and hard core rightist Communists. It is all authoritarianism and feudalism. That’s right, Trumpbots, I said it. I am straight up calling you all hard core wannabe authoritarian commies. Deal with it.

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