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DEA delivers the latest hit to the Constitution

Last week, in an I wrote an article about the assault on the Fourth Amendment by local law enforcement, I noted the intensity of various attacks on our constitutional rights from politicians, the media, and even the Pope. I also showed how a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans favored surrendering the right to privacy to the government in order to be safe from terrorism. Since the November elections, I’ve documented how the Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation giving power to Obama to usurp the 4th Amendments‘ right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure. In addition: I covered the Alabama state senator who wants to license the media, the federal judge who said the right to privacy was “overvalued” when he favored the NSA’s right to spy on Americans without a warrant, and how judicial tyranny has become the new normal. Now the latest attack on the Constitution, this time from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the government has created a huge database of the license plates and driving habits of Americans using a system originally formed to combat drugs, but has grown in size and scope. Now it’s being used […]

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Police Snatching Property: A Conflict of Interest While American Federalism Sleeps

The U.S. Justice Department halted its adopted-forfeitures program in early 2015 out of a sense that state and local law-enforcement agencies had been using the federal program to retain a greater portion of seized property, including cash, than state laws permit. Asset forfeiture had grown since the 1980s largely as a strategy in combatting drug traffickers, yet the agencies themselves benefited in being able to spend the cash. Besides this conflict of interest, the federal-state dynamic here demonstrates federalism in action, though perhaps not as strongly as the system of government allows.


The full essay is at “Police Snatching Property.”

Continue reading Police Snatching Property: A Conflict of Interest While American Federalism Sleeps

Police Snatching Property: A Conflict of Interest While American Federalism Sleeps

The U.S. Justice Department halted its adopted-forfeitures program in early 2015 out of a sense that state and local law-enforcement agencies had been using the federal program to retain a greater portion of seized property, including cash, than state laws permit. Asset forfeiture had grown since the 1980s largely as a strategy in combatting drug traffickers, yet the agencies themselves benefited in being able to spend the cash. Besides this conflict of interest, the federal-state dynamic here demonstrates federalism in action, though perhaps not as strongly as the system of government allows.


The full essay is at “Police Snatching Property.”

Continue reading Police Snatching Property: A Conflict of Interest While American Federalism Sleeps

GOP-controlled Congress dismantles the 4th Amendment

While John Boehner’s budget disaster made all of the headlines last week, he and his Washington-insider buddies were busy dismantling the Constitution–specifically that pesky part that deals with the right of Americans to be free from unreasonable search and seizure (the Fourth Amendment)–granting the National Security Agency broad new powers to collect phone and email communications from anyone they feel like without a warrant. They can share the data with the FBI and foreign governments. They can also keep these records indefinitely. According to Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), the bill “grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American.” Let’s see… the man who has already used the IRS and the Justice Department to take out his political enemies has been given even more power to abuse. Gee! What could possibly go wrong with that one? The bill, which passed 325-100 and is headed to the White House for Obama to sign, contains a provision that appears to expand warrant-less data collection using a Reagan-era directive — despite the fact that electronic communications of the type the NSA targets today didn’t exist in 1981. Under the legislation, any “non-public telephone or electronic communication” that intelligence agencies happen to collect from Americans […]

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Alabama senator calls for government-licensed press

Adelbert C. “Del” Marsh, a Republican who refers to himself as a “conservative champion,” is a member of Alabama’s state Senate. He’s also an individual who apparently feels that the constitutional protections of our freedom of speech and freedom of the press should no longer apply if you are someone who covers Alabama politics. In a recent editorial to the Montgomery Advertiser, Mr. Marsh called for government bureaucrats to be given the authority to “license” journalists who cover local politics in order to protect citizens—read politicians—from “shady, fly-by-night websites offering purposely skewed and inaccurate interpretations of hard news.” “I recently asked the Secretary of the Senate to put together a definition of what qualifies as a legitimate journalist,” the Republican said. “Every organization and profession has standards that must be met. Because the Legislature does not have a definition of what constitutes a ‘journalist,’ anyone with a smart phone or a Facebook page could demand press credentials.” Yeah, except for that last part, you can definitely see that Marsh is totally in favor of freedom of the press. Unfortunately, this attitude about the freedom of speech and press isn’t unique to this idiot. There are politicians in Washington, D.C. that feel […]

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Judge chooses NSA over the Constitution

On the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I took a lot of flak from many of my readers for an article I wrote stating the following: As we approach another anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, we are reminded of many things. We remember the thousands of innocent lives that were lost and the billions of dollars lost in economic damage. As great and tragic as these losses were, there was another loss that is proving to be the greatest loss of all. Because it was on that dreadful day that liberty died in America. I went on to say how the death of liberty came, not at the hands of the terrorists, but at the hands of our own government. Recently, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit proved my point when he told a conference on privacy and cyber crime in Washington, D.C. that the National Security Agency (NSA) should have unlimited ability to collect digital information in order to protect the nation against terrorism. While it can be debated about how far we let the government go in […]

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