Michael Snyder, Contributor
Property rights are being absolutely shredded all over America. Buying a piece of land and enjoying it with your family has always been a big part of the American Dream. Unfortunately, in the United States today you don’t actually own your own home. If you don’t pay your rent (property taxes) your home will be taken away from you, and you are only allowed to use your property in very narrowly defined ways.
The control freaks that run things tell us what we can build on our own property, what we can grow on our own property, what types of gatherings we can have on our own property, how many visitors we can have on our own property and they have imposed very strict rules about how our property must be maintained. If we get “out of line”, they will use “zoning ordinances” and “code violations” to make our lives a living hell. All over America today, brutal Gestapo tactics are being used against homeowners that just want to be left alone. Anyone that has ever dealt with a “compliance officer” or a “nuisance abatement team” knows what I am talking about.
But if we have so very little “freedom” on our own properties, then how in the world can we continue to call this country “the land of the free”?
Down in Georgia recently, a huge male “compliance officer” let himself into a woman’s home, marched into her bedroom and started yelling at her for letting her grass grow too long while she was still in bed….
A woman got the shock of her life when she woke up to find a stranger in her bedroom, yelling at her to wake up because her grass was too long.
Erica Masters was asleep when Columbia County Code Compliance Officer Jimmy Vowell entered her Martinez, Georgia, home without permission to serve a violation notice for her overgrown lawn.
After knocking on the woman’s door a few times, Vowell let himself and made his way into her bedroom, which was captured on surveillance video.
How would you respond if a strange man barged into your bedroom and started berating you about the length of your grass?
Elderly Americans Being Evicted For Not Paying Property Taxes
All over America, homeowners are being evicted from their family homes because of unpaid property taxes. In some cases, the amount that is owed is only a few hundred dollars.
Big banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have been buying up tax liens all over the country because they are extremely profitable….
Tax liens can yield an incredible rate of return, as high as up to 50%. Many state laws permit tax lien purchasers to charge homeowners extremely high interest rates and fees to redeem their property in order avoid foreclosure. (For example, redemption penalties in Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Texas all exceed 20%.) For these reasons, tax lien sales are often marketed as “get-rich quick” schemes on websites. Investors take advantage of the fact that the tax sale process is arcane and rarely understood by homeowners. And states do little to inform homeowners about steps they can take to avoid foreclosure. Very few states have enacted procedures to protect owners’ equity interests or to avoid windfalls to purchasers, and almost no states have updated tax lien laws to reflect current economic conditions or to ensure that proper safeguards exist to avoid unnecessary loss of homeownership.
In many cases, elderly Americans that don’t even understand what is happening are being forced from their homes just so that the “investors” can make some quick money. Just check out what one recent report said happened to an 81 year old woman living in Rhode Island….
The report cited a case of an 81-year-old Rhode Island woman who fell behind on a $474 sewer bill. A corporation bought the home in a tax sale for $836.39. The woman was evicted from the home she had lived in for more than 40 years and the corporation resold the place for $85,000, the report said.
Most investors, however, buy tax liens for the interest. That’s because many states allow investors to charge rates of 18% or more on the outstanding debts. And, in some cases, as much as 20% to 50%, the report said.
Here is another example of an elderly woman being evicted from her home over unpaid taxes….
One elderly Montana woman, who lived alone and had no close family to help her, fell more than $5,000 behind on taxes, the report said. After she failed to respond to letters from the company that bought her home in a tax sale, she was evicted from her Missoula home. As a result, she lost about $150,000 in equity in the property, according to the report.
Could you do that to an elderly woman?
Shame on those that are pulling these scams, and shame on the states for not changing their laws to prevent this from happening.
40 Years Of Home Improvements Gone
All over the country, control freak bureaucrats are using “code violations” to force homeowners to tear down beautiful home improvements.
This is especially true for homeowners that have gone “off the grid”.
For example, a 67 year old man in California has spent 40 years transforming his property into an amazing “off the grid” self-sustaining habitat….
Four decades ago, Hoffman started some home improvements on his house in the wooded hills of the Marin County town of Lagunitas. He harbored ideas and theories of how people could live more sustainably. He started building.
He dug a massive valley near the slope of his home and installed a pond. In the middle of it he built a concrete boat to house a 15-foot well. The groundwater would refill the pond, through a sun-powered pump.
As the owner of a tea distribution business, Hoffman also built a tea-house with ornate metal carvings of dragons and a sloped tile roof.
He carved elaborate caves to dry his rare tea leaves. He constructed a tower bearing a solar shower that hovers over a moat carrying recycled water from the house.
‘Most people come here, they see the visual, they see the structures,’ said Hoffman. ‘For me what’s important is the systems behind it.’
But now authorities are making him tear everything down because of “code violations”. Hoffman has been charged fines that total over $200,000, and he is being forced to tear down “all 30 of his illegal structures” by the beginning of August.
I have used the following story before, but it is another perfect example of the kind of Gestapo tactics that are being used against homeowners all over the United States.
Just recently, one unemployed woman down in Tulsa, Oklahoma had her survival garden brutally ripped out and carted away by government thugs…
A Tulsa woman is suing the city’s code enforcement officers after she said they cut down her garden with no cause.
Denise Morrison said she has more than 100 plant varieties in her front and back yards and all of them are edible and have a purpose.
She knows which ones will treat arthritis, which will make your food spicy, which ones keep mosquitoes away and treat bug bites, but she said none of that matter to city inspectors.
Last August, Morrison’s front and back yards were filled with flowers in bloom, lemon, stevia, garlic chives, grapes, strawberries, apple mint, spearmint, peppermint, an apple tree, walnut tree, pecan trees and much more.
And for this woman, it really was a “survival garden”. She relied on those plants and trees for her food and for her medicine.
But the government thugs left her with nothing.
Now she will have to do the best that she can to survive on government handouts.
Sadly, there are so many other examples that could be discussed of brutal Gestapo tactics being used against homeowners all over America.
The other day, I wrote about how one man down in Arizona has been sentenced to 60 days in prison and has been fined $12,180 for hosting a Bible study in his own home.
Most of the time the gatherings were only of about 15 or 20 people. They were not unruly and did not make an unreasonable amount of noise.
If we can’t invite a few friends over to our own homes, then how much “freedom” do we really have left?
In the state of California, armed “nuisance abatement teams” roam around looking for someone to hit with a “code violation”. Preppers and those that prefer an “off the grid” lifestyle appear to be some of their favorite targets.
You can view a video about these “nuisance abatement teams” in California right here. But please be warned that the video is likely to make you quite angry.
Is This Still America?
We don’t get to do what we want with our own properties, but the government feels that it can do just about anything it wants to us in the name of “national security”.
In a previous article I detailed 14 cutting edge technologies that the government will be using to watch, monitor and control us.
The following are a few more ways that the “Big Brother control grid” is expanding….
-A new laser scanner that the Department of Homeland Security will soon be using at U.S. airports can search you from 160 feet away….
Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you.
– One TSA insider is actually claiming that the TSA is hiring criminals that have just been released from prison to do security checks on travelers at U.S. airports. Perhaps this explains why one TSA agent recently sifted her finger through the ashes of someone’s dead grandfather and then laughed about it after she spilled some of the ashes on the floor of the airport. Another TSA agent recently referred to a deaf man as “deafie” and stole his candy.
But how many of these stories do you hear about on the evening news?
Perhaps this is why a recent Gallup poll found that faith in television news is at an all-time low in the United States.
Instead of reporting on the destruction of our liberties and freedoms, the mainstream news is obsessed with Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise and the Kardashians.
It is truly disgusting.
The ability to own a piece of land and establish a home on it is absolutely foundational to the functioning of a free society. Even the most ancient societies understood this.
Sadly, our most basic freedoms are being steadily eroded with each passing day.
Once our freedoms are gone, they will be incredibly difficult to get back.
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This article first appeared here at the American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.