I’ve been trying some new things with artwork. Click if you’d like to see.
Yeah, I didn’t believe it, either, when I read the news on Friday.
Eric Holder — that Eric Holder — delivering a major kneecapping to America’s government-approved highway robbers?
But Radley Balko believes it. So I believe it.
Well, more or less.
No question about it, federal “ownership” of local asset forfeiture cases has enabled forfeiture abuse like nothing else and has done more for police corruption since anything but … well, the drug war itself. (You’ve got to wonder; was there every anyone associated with this scam who truly believed it wouldn’t lead to corruption and injustice?)
Having the feds standing by with open arms to “adopt” local seizures (thus allowing local cop-ops to keep most of their stolen goods for whatever purpose they wished) made state asset forfeiture reforms virtually moot. States would try to divert seized funds to schools or some other purpose, and cops would just make their cases federal and say “&^%$# you!” to their state governments. Then they’d go on grabbing whatever cash or assets they could without ever charging anybody with a crime.
Nice racket if you can pull it off! And for years, cops have.
So if Holder really means it and if it sticks, Friday’s announcement is a very big deal. But sadly not the end of non-criminal asset forfeiture.
In addition to the concerns Balko raises, I can think of a bunch more.
If one AG, on his own say-so, can end such a colossally abusive policy, there’s nothing to stop a future ‘crat from instituting another just like it — or worse. (Ah, the joys of “democracy”!)
It’s possible that those freedom-loving (and property-rights respecting) R’s newly in control of Congress will — in a fit of support-your-local-policeism — re-institute the worst aspects of asset forfeiture, and make it law, not just bureaucratic policy.
Even if the way is now open for meaningful state-level reform, it’s a good bet that not a lot of states will institute real reform (like banning asset forfeiture outside of limited criminal cases). Too often, “reform” has just meant states want to put the stolen cash into state coffers, rather than cop coffers. And while that would take away a lot of the incentive for stealing it in the first place, it’s not enough.
So yeah. There’s a lot that could go wrong here. And where government’s involved, you can bet that what can go wrong will go wrong.
Still … what happened on Friday might be the only good thing Eric Holder has ever done for freedom. So for the moment let’s be of good cheer.
- I’ve been watching the Elio with lots of anticipation though I still can’t decide whether it’s all hype or something gonna-be cool. Might be time to start watching the Local Motors Strati, too. 3D printed car.
- “The Myth of Washington Gun Rights Groups.” a monster take-down of Gottlieb’s newest
sock puppetproxy, the “honorable” Adina Hicks.* (Via Mike V. who asks “where’s her bow tie?”)
- One year after: Colorado and pot are doing well.
- The Obama administration’s idea of cool-and-groovy solidarity: Sweet Baby James Taylor.
- The nanny state picked the wrong family to hassle this time.
- 10 reasons the Mafia is better than the state.” :-) (Via Wendy McElroy)
*The article gets JPFO’s name slightly wrong and says I was an employee when I was always an independent contractor. Minor details, but I couldn’t find a way to contact the author to give him a non-public heads-up. Very good article nevertheless.
- Seems that Joel and the rest of the gunblogosphere aren’t the only ones who think Liam Neeson is even worse than the usual Hollywood anti-gun hypocrite. A company that supplied weapons for his films has a thing or three to say about it.
- Ding-dong, Google Glass is dead. Well deadish, anyhow.
- A simple explanation of what Swiss bankers just did. And a slightly more complicated one. I’m sure some of our resident money gurus will have views of their own. If you haven’t been watching, Switzerland threw the entire world into a financial tizzy yesterday. (Though IMHO, their real screwup was when they pegged their franc to the euro, not when they suddenly pulled the peg.)
- “That Tree.” To help himself recover after an injury and to meet a friend’s challenge, professional photographer Mark Hirsh found 365 different ways to shoot photos of a single tree — with an iPhone — over the course of a year.
- Finally, your awwwwww story for the day: cat saves abandoned baby from freezing to death.
Dunno whether to laugh or cry.
Alan Gottlieb and other mainstreamers sponsored a rally this morning in Olympia, Washington, to plead with legislators to undo the ghastly billionaire-driven I-594.
Although a bill to do that is in the works, WA law doesn’t allow a voter-passed initiative to be easily altered or overturned in its first two years. So that’s interesting in itself. (And never forget: Gottlieb wants background checks; he just wants to be at the table to make the deals.)
What’s more interesting is that today’s Gottliebian beg-your-legislators rally drew only about 1/10th — one tenth — the number that Gavin Seim’s “I Will Not Comply” rally brought to the Capitol last month. That was the rally that Gottlieb tried to undermine.
But here’s the really interesting part. Despite organizers’ requests that everybody leave their guns at home (because, you know, guns are nasty, scary things) … most of the crowd showed up armed. So they weren’t there for Gottliebian purposes.
Yep. In state after state where new anti-freedom outrages have become law, angry, rebellious gun owners are doing the leading while “leaders” stagger along after them, protesting, “Bu-bu-but!”
Via Mike Vanderboegh, who notes that one of the speakers at the rally gave Gottlieb yet one more thing to sweat over.
… has the Commentariat been a tad testy lately?
Maybe it’s just that we began the year with the hot-button subjects of religion and terrorism. But it seems as if people are more-than-usually ready to take offense, air grievances, pick at details, and generally carp about things.
Oh, it’s all civilized and a lot of interesting information has emerged, so I’m not complaining. Just … noticing. And asking.
I’ve been sitting on one more controversial topic (a book that’s likely to offend the other side of the room than the side that took umbrage over Vin’s new novel). I’d planned to review it a week ago, but given the current mood, I’m not ready to stir things up again. OTOH, I guess you could say at least it hasn’t been boring.
And speaking of non-boring, you may (or decidedly may not) be gratified to know that your friendly corporate marketer, and no doubt a world full of governments wants to know how you feel about things.
Just catching up on a few overdue things …
Santa has been extremely, extremely good to me. Yeah, I know it seems sorta late to mention that, but not really. Apparently Santa hasn’t even finished with me yet.
- What is time? It rules our lives, but who can define it? Here are 10 mind-blowing attempts at explaining time. (H/T ML)
- Dear Boston: Please say hell no to hosting the Olympics.
- Oh my. Such a problem to have! Washington state pot growers and retailers face a glut of legal product. (Tip o’ hat to jed.)
- Albuquerque cops finally facing murder charges for one of their most horrible caught-on-camera moments.
- In the rage over Islamist attacks on the west and western values, let us not forget that the worst and most helpless victims are Muslims and those who live in Muslim countries.
- Lovely, starkly designed cabins from around the world But who lives in these things and how do they get by without bathrooms?
- Thanks, terrorists. From now on no more Mr. Wiseguy. :-)
- Three more hopeful looks at Western-Islamic relations: An imam says Muslims must reject violence and governments must change course; Glenn Harlan Reynolds points out that Muslim leaders are finally realizing that their “brand” is tarnished by the acceptance of intolerance; author Irshad Manji is optimistic about the future between Islam and the West.
Again, this is the opinion of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. The following is not by me.
—–begin anon message, part II—–
I am not Charlie Hebdo, because I know that free speech is a lie. The Constitution is a dead letter, and I am a coward.
Charlie Hebdo published offensive speech that was found by a court of law to be worthy of protection. The speakers were killed.
Anwar al-Awlaki published offensive speech, and was killed. He was denied a day in court, and simply murdered.
I don’t want to be killed. I want to work for peace, but I’m not going to stick my head up and invite extremely well-armed people to shoot at me, no matter what costume they wear.
I did not write the following. It was sent to me by a friend who has concluded that free speech is now such a myth that anonymity is the only protection. These are my friend’s opinions. Because they’re long, I’ll split this into two parts and run them on successive days.
—–begin anon text—–
For your reading “pleasure.” How a gang of borderland narco cops just loooooved their jobs so much they became major narcotics thieves. And of course used their cop power, cop equipment, and cop cover to do it all.
You kinda get the impression they’d happily do it all again, too.
Vice wars. They corrupt everybody they touch. Always have, always will. Long, but interesting article.