Civil Forfeiture – Arresting Your Money (or House Or Car Or …)

Civil forfeiture, or civil asset forfeiture, is a legal action where your property is arrested and seized even if you aren’t. Get stopped on your way to buying a used car and having a couple of thousand dollars in cash on you? The cop can take the money, saying he thinks you’re really on your way to buy drugs and keep it, no proof needed.

It can cost thousands of dollars and years of work to get your property back if you even can. Most people wind up walking away. One airplane owner in Arizona had his plane confiscated because they said it was being used to transport drugs. He was never even arrested, much less convicted, of anything. Over $50,000 and years later he finally got his plane back … in the pieces they’d taken it apart into to search it.

Originally conceived as a way to cripple organized crime bosses so they couldn’t buy their way out of trouble when being prosecuted, it has morphed into the biggest crime ring of all, run by the police themselves. You see, they often get to keep that money or the proceeds from the sale of property to spend pretty much however they want. It’s off budget and un-accountable.

What brought all this to mind is a video I ran across on Cafe Hayek. Longish and hilarious, but well worth watching:

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The Morning After The Night Before In Ferguson

A Grand Jury is created to decide if there are grounds for criminal charges to be pressed against a person, if they are criminally liable for what happened. It’s a more formal procedure than a common court based indictment, but it also goes into more depth and can last much longer.

As with any court proceedings, the question is solely about whether one specific person in one specific case acted with criminal intent or willful negligence. “Society” is not on trial, nor is any subgroup such as police officers or members of a given race.

Justice is blind. Justice for one is justice for the other. It’s not an emotional plea for “fairness.” Justice does not take into account any matters of race, creed, sex or any of a number of other irrelevant pieces of information.

A Grand Jury is to decide if the physical evidence and testimony of witnesses is sufficient to recommend going forward with an actual trial. Has a crime, according to the law, been committed?

The pertinent law in Missouri:

563.046. A law enforcement officer in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody is justified in using deadly force:

(2) When he reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested

(a) Has committed or attempted to commit a felony; or

(b) Is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon; or

(c) May otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.

In other words, an  officer can use deadly force when it’s necessary to prevent bodily injury or death to himself or others.

I’m working my way through the evidence right now, so more later.

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Things Worth Checking Out, 7-5-14

Hilarious column from Reason taking a very tongue-in-cheek approach to outlawing volunteerism.

And another on the ExIm (Export-Import Bank) authorization. It’s about as Crony Capitalistic an organization as you can get.
I’ve run across this video once before, but forgot to get the code for it. What is the scientific method as described by Dr. Richard Feynman, a Nobel prize (and many others) winning physicist? Then compare that definition to the Global Warming/Climate Change/Alarmist crowd. Hint: None of the theories and models have come close to accurately predicting the facts on the ground (or in the air or water).
It’s getting late, so this will have to do me for tonight.

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Rights And The Declaration Of Independence

Sorry for not being here lately. Sometimes earning money to pay the bills has to take precedence. This is an expanded version of a comment I made on PBS at (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/finding-empowerment-words-founding-fathers/). Fascinating discussion of how one little change in punctuation makes the Declaration of Independence even stronger.

As normally written:

Declaration of Independence“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

With the one little change:

Declaration of Independence“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Changing the period to a comma makes the preface “We hold these truths to be self evident” apply to all five following phrases. It’s not really clear on the original text and punctuation rules weren’t as strict then as now. Read it a few times.
On to my comment:

The setting for the word “equal” here is in a political document. Political equality is equality under the law and legislation (not always the same thing).

Natural rights are concepts arising from the nature of members of our species, regardless of race, sex, religion or any other division you care to make except one: That you are capable of understanding that the rights you claim are equal to the rights of every other person and that you refrain from actions that infringe on the equal rights of others.

Natural rights are completely and solely negatives on the actions of others. They do not require anyone else to take any actions, only that they refrain from infringing on your rights.

Procedural rights, such as voting or trial by jury aren’t strictly necessary by nature, but have been found to be good methods within our general societal structure for handling how those rights are defined in general and protected in specific cases.

Children, the insane or those disabled in any other way that prevents them from being capable of understanding the concept of rights are not regarded as fully equal under the law. There are actions that they may not be free to take and there are consequences they would normally face as a result of their actions that they may be shielded from.

Almost every other political use of the word “rights” is actually an infringement on the natural rights of some people for the benefit of other people. Jefferson and the other Founders seem to have been very aware of those differences and were careful where they used the word “rights.”

Liberty and freedom are liberty and freedom to act without government permission, or indeed without anyone’s permission, as long as those actions do not infringe on the equal rights of others. There are no guarantees of outcome, only the freedom to “pursue” what you consider to be what is needed for your happiness. There is no guarantee that other individuals will treat you justly, whatever you consider that justice to consist of. Only the government must be restrained because only the government is authorised to use force and only in response, aside from the immediate self defense right of individuals.

Those shackles on government have been rusting away for a long time and they’re getting pretty loose.

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Things Worth Checking Out 6-22-14

Let’s take a look inside those unemployment numbers. We’re still a LONG way from a healthy job market. Our Decimated Labor Force at The Weekly Standard shows that it’s not “just the baby boomers retiring” that are drawing down the participation rate as is usually claimed when you point out the worrying numbers.

Peer to Peer isn’t just for files. Interesting Daily Beast article on the progress of Uber (one of the ride sharing via mobile companies) and what’s come up against it. As Europe Now Sees, Resisting Uber is Useless. At least the Euro cabbies didn’t try to pretend their protest was against anything but maintaining their government protected monopolies like the ones in San Francisco and Boston have done. I wish we had one set up here, but no luck yet. We’re just a bit too small.

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BLM Has More Problems Than Just Cattle

Here’s the story. Wild horses run free on Federal land. Nobody owns them, they’re just another species on the land. But, being horses, they like to eat grasses and do other things that “hurt” the environment. Complaints that there weren’t enough taken were met with the explanation that BLM didn’t have enough money to do more.

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek found a way around that little money problem. Give it a read and see if you like his suggestion.

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Socialized Health Care Candy

Excellent post today at the Mises Institute making an excellent analogy between “free” sweets in socialized Yugoslavia, when he was there as a boy, and “free” emergency care in socialized heath care in other countries.

Here’s the link: Health Care and the Candy Store Called Socialism

 

In the US, if you wake up with a sore throat and call the doctor, they will usually be able to get you in to see him today. So you go in, pay your co-pay, see the doctor, and maybe get a prescription and told to call back if it isn’t cleared up in a few days. You’re happy, the doctor’s made money, the pharmacy’s made money and you get better in a few days. Problem solved.

If you call your doctor in most of the socialized health care countries, you might be able to get in sometime in the next month. So you don’t bother calling the doctor and the sore throat usually goes away in a few days anyway. No money spent, but you still get better.

US health care costs more with the same outcome. But since we’re not paying much directly out of our own pocket, we way overuse it. Sounds more like an over-insured problem to me, not the lack of available care. Insurance is for risk management, not every day or expected maintenance.

Let’s take a more serious example now. Say you’re in a friendly game of basketball and overextend an arm and get hit at the same time. Your shoulder hurts like hell and you can’t hardly move it. Either place, you go to the ER and get a cold pack and prescription for pain meds with instructions to call the doctor if it’s not better in a few days.

A few days go by and it’s not any better.

Here, we call the doctor and either get in that day or the next. The doctor sets you up for a CT scan that afternoon and finds a nasty rotator cuff tear. Two days later you’re in surgery and get it fixed. It costs you a good $500 or so all told, but you’re not hurting any more, the doctor’s happy, the hospital’s happy, big smiles all around.

Elsewhere, you call the doctor and get in a month or so down the road. Then you get scheduled for the CT scan, but the next opening isn’t for another 6 weeks. You get the scan and they find the same rotator cuff tear and put you on the waiting list for the surgery. That’s another few months. But hey, it didn’t cost you a penny and, long term, you have the same health outcome. The tear is fixed.

How much is all those months waiting in pain worth to you? You have to decide that for yourself. If you find yourself on Medicaid or one of the new “narrow” providers pool, you might be finding yourself in effectively socialized health care waiting lines already.

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Welcome

For all the uber intellectualism of the next two paragraphs, my political philosophy can be boiled down to the following in plain English: I want the government out of my bedroom and out of my billfold. If I’m not hurting someone else, then leave me the &$&!%* alone (and hurt feelings don’t count).

As knights of old threw down their gauntlets to challenge another, so do I now throw my virtual gauntlet down to challenge the mindset of those who think people are merely interchangeable biological units to be lead and controlled and otherwise shepherded from cradle to grave. I reject the notion that we are but children, to be taken care of by our anointed guardians, those who think they know better than we do what is good for us and what we should or should not want or do.

As a free human being I reclaim the right to make my own decisions and accept that I must also abide by the consequences thereof, for better or worse. I renounce the use of force or fraud in motivating the actions of others.

I’m socially liberal and economically conservative. I’m a champion for the smallest minority of all … the individual. I really don’t care if you’re black, white, red, yellow, blue or green with pink polka dots, whether rich or poor, straight or gay, an Atheist, a Buddhist or a fundamentalist Christian, male or female, you have the same rights I do; no more and no less.

I don’t want a bunch of flame wars here and I may delete comments for that reason alone. Political correctness pisses me off almost as much. If all you’re doing is repeating the talking points of the day, don’t waste our time. If you disagree with something, please say so but then say why. I’ve been known to change my mind on more than one occasion if given good enough reasons for doing so. I hope you have too.

If you have more to say than what a comment allows, submit a post of your own and if it’s well written and well thought out I may publish it here. If you have your own blog and are looking for more links, guest posting is a good method.

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