Classic quote from Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
The source of harm is the forfeiture law.
With such laws in place, even a single bad actor can do enormous damage. We need to repeal the civil forfeiture laws.
There is no rule that says they have to do asset forfeiture. It's a choice. One of the biggest problems in the US is that laws are not very clear and clarification is left up to the courts.
Wrong. It is a system that explicitly filters out the good elements.
"US Court Ruling: You Can Be “Too Smart” to Be a Cop. Police department disqualifies anyone whose IQ is “too high" (https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-court-ruled-you-can-be-too-...)
"Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops"(https://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/st...)
That's why many Bay Area LEOs focus their recruiting on recent graduates from other Bay Area forces.
This feels to me like the end result of "govt should be run like a business!" thinking. Every election cycle we hear about govt should be run like a family budget, and getting out of debt, etc. And govt should run like a business, because that's efficient, etc.
It's one of those situations where IIRC the Supreme Court's relevant ruling from long ago was just plain wrong.
I think just about every sane adult agrees that this violates the Bill of Rights, regardless of any SCOTUS opinions to the contrary.
I haven't read any specific cases, but I wonder if 5th (and 4th) Amendment issues were raised at trial in the first place; perhaps those protections weren't even put in play properly.
[Update] an example of this concern is raised elsewhere in this thread.
The government is all powerful. They can destroy any business, destroy any life, and seize all assets and livelihood if they desire to, even in America. But at least in America it is possible to sue the government and maybe rectify the situation, but you have to be wealthy or get a powerful ally like the Washington Post on your side.
If it upsets you that the US government is able to hurt an immigrant like is discussed in this article, then you should take a very skeptical view of government actions and also people who advocate giving the government more power. After all, many people who loved Obama's expansion of executive authority now recoil as the enemy party's control of the government reverses his non-congressional approved decisions.
The more power you give to the government, the less power the citizenry has.
Americans act like their government is representative of governments. It isn't. They act like everything needs to be invented there. It doesn't. They believe that America is the greatest country in the world. It isn't.
If people in America just stopped to look around at how other countries do things they'd be doubly as well run. Most parts of Europe, Japan, Canada, and many other places are well run and have a great deal of governmental involvement. America is hobbled by its own broken political system that nobody would replicate if they were starting from scratch today.
It's essentially the PHP of government systems. Dominant, but broken.
For example you have to comply with the spirit of a law, not the exact text. Also our QC's are pretty level headed and the same goes for our police force. Nobody is overly nitpicky about things, and when they are it's sensible. At least in my experience, YMMV.
US could learn a lot if they looked outward, but I don't think that's in their nature.
If I were harassed and bullied I'd not feel very free, but rather anxious, threatened, depressed. I'm quite happy my government takes measures to assure a certain level of personal safety, both physical and psychological.
Who is deciding what is edgy but still funny, vs what’s over the line?
What is valid criticism of people who happen to be part of a minority group, vs what is hateful and racist?
The only reason you are ok with this, is because all of your beliefs fall within the boundaries of acceptability set by the censors. And you want to be protected from the speech of people who might think or believe differently.
There is a world of difference between these two things. To my knowledge death threats are illegal in every American state. Insulting people is generally legal, just like it should be.
1) the US government attacks people for their opinions, and so does the UK government. Same with civil asset forfeiture. And it doesn't stop there. Treatment of immigrants/asylum seekers, military actions outside of the country, protection of corrupt officials, ...
2) People who defend the US government actions, whether related to freedom of speech or forfeiture, are described as unfairly naive or pro-state by Europeans.
3) People who criticize the UK government actions, essentially the same, except much lesser known, are unfairly criticizing their "trustworthy state". Forfeiture without recourse, check. Speech attacks. And let's just not investigate what the UK government has done to immigrants, because ...
To just take one particularly vile action taken by the UK government, which I challenge defenders to defend as "just" here's one:
Or how about having cops deceive members of environmental groups into sex, going so far as to father children with them, then (of course) walking away. To make matters worse, the UK government decided (again, obviously) to protect the officers from normal legal responsibility requirements.
Yeah, I can see why this organization doesn't want to be criticized publicly ... that's, as they say, going to go down poorly.
I don't understand this attitude in people. The US people criticize their government. This seems like a very, very good thing. Europeans, in my experience, largely have worse governments with better reputations ... They're different in various ways, although much less so in the case of the UK.
For instance, the royal house of the Netherlands has an insanely good reputation ... as long as you don't speak to people who so much as live close to them. Then they're moral abominations who constantly abuse their position in the state for utterly banal reasons (they've -literally- ordered people arrested because their children did better on a test in school than their children). And yet, fantastic reputation. But look up articles actually about them, and you will quickly realize what monsters these people are.
To judge the quality and trustworthiness of the UK police force, I encourage you to check out the exams they have officers take before entering, and realize that many officers actually fail these tests once or twice before joining. Let's just not pretend that half these people are even smart enough to know the difference between acting trustworthy and not, because that actually requires a very, very, very basic level of intelligence that clearly is not required and in many cases not present for those joining the police force.
Sometimes you can explain this through politics. For instance, US people often have a good opinion of the NHS. The NHS ! Yes, really, that NHS. WTF ? Ok, they don't charge much, true. They do seem to get accused constantly of not doing much else either and in cases ... they deserve that criticism. But OK, the US has a problem the NHS does not impose on UK'ers. So sure let's focus on the good. (Although what baffles me a bit about UK people is that they still think that something like 20 pounds or so is a lot for complex medical procedures, enough to convince many of them not to do them)
But many, many things in Europe are incredibly bad. Very little criticism, leading to good reputations which are, in quite a few cases, rather less accurate.
The only difference is they've chosen to draw the line somewhere just offset from what you're used to. There's still a line in these here United States. And it's really not that different, is it?
>...The only difference is they've chosen to draw the line somewhere just offset from what you're used to. There's still a line in these here United States.
It looks like the US probably has the strongest free speech protections of any country in the world - that isn't a bad thing.
(IANAL, but there exists such a thing as depraved indifference murder: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depraved-heart_murder)
Well, the article discusses the origin of the idea that "shouting fire in a crowded theater" is illegal. It also points out that Brandenburg v. Ohio is the actual relevant decision.
For more context on the Brandenberg decision:
>...Charles Brandenburg, a Ku Klux Klan leader, had spoken to group members at a televised Ohio rally. He’d used inflammatory language and racial slurs. He’d called for "revengeance," which Ohio prosecutors interpreted as a call to violence. This meant, said the prosecutors, that Charles Brandenburg had broken the law.
>...Advocacy, even when it encourages law-breaking, helps the marketplace of ideas, ruled the Court. Had Brandenburg instructed followers to commit a specific crime, he’d have committed a number of offenses himself. But the First Amendment protects speech that merely advocates general, indefinite illegal action.
>With that ruling, the Court overturned the Schenck decision that had introduced "shouting fire in a crowded theater." No longer was "clear and present danger" a sufficient standard for criminalizing speech. To break the law, speech now had to incite "imminent lawless action."
>So if a court can prove that you incite imminent lawlessness by falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, it can convict you. If you incite an unlawful riot, your speech is "brigaded" with illegal action, and you will have broken the law. But merely falsely shouting "fire" does not break the law, even if it risks others’ safety.
Literally shouting fire in a crowded theater in an attempt to cause a panic and perhaps kill people, would not be protected speech, but pretty much anything less would be protected speech.
> Almost 100 people were murdered over the last five years by registered users of Stormfront, the largest racist Web forum in the world, according to a report released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
How did free speech carry out terrorist murders?
You can shout grammatically correct, sensible and lawful speech from the public street corner ("eat right! exercise! wash behind your ears!"), but if a cop simply tells you to move along and you refuse, you're still looking at being jailed.
I mean, extending on that statement, you probably also think sexual harassment, as long as it stays verbal, is OK to have in the name of freedom. As a guy you probably don't have to worry there anyways. People are driven into suicide through harassment.
And why don't you feel the same about the right to just shoot anyone at will? Clearly your government is strongly restricting your freedom there, but we probably don't Need to argue why this is a good thing.
But doesn't, unless you say something reprehensible that the society you live in agrees that you stepped way over the line.
All except for terrorist attacks, which are considered part and parcel of living in a big city like London (but strangely not Tokyo which has 4-5m more citizens!).
> Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job. We must never accept terrorists being successful, we must never accept that terrorists can destroy our life or destroy the way we lead our lives.
Seems sensible to me.
Living in a city, you must be prepared for terror.
This is not how things should be.
Being prepared for these things is not the same as saying these things are unavoidable certainties. There is quite a big distinction, along the lines of having a gun for self defense Vs having a gun to shoot someone.
He is basically saying support the police in their counter terrorism work, and report anything suspicious if you see it. Pretty much what you hear over the airport tannoys every time you fly.
>but it's [terrorist attacks] what decades of incredibly poor middle Eastern foreign policy gets you.
You believe terrorist attacks are deserved as a result of what your government has done in the past?
>I'm quite happy my government takes measures to assure a certain level of personal safety, both physical and psychological.
Which is it? Your government is taking measures to assure your protection, or is actively provoking foreigners to kill you on your own soil?
Nobody deserves to get hit by a car, but if you're running across a highway then what do you expect.
> Which is it? Your government is taking measures to assure your protection, or is actively provoking foreigners to kill you on your own soil?
Why are those mutually exclusive?
I would also tack on that it's mostly the USA's foreign policy that got us here (which our government decided to jump in bed with to be fair, but yours nonetheless). It's just you have a nice Atlantic ocean to buffer you from many of the concequences.
So you support the disarming of all US citizens, because living in fear of crime isn't how things should be?
That's quite the argument!
"It's part and parcel of living in a great global city..."
>Seems sensible to me.
You keep using that word...
The occasional terrorist attack seems better than starting a world war that invited retaliatory firebombing and nuclear bombing.
USA is taking its turn at feeling the consequences of colonial imperialism.
Wasn't London bombed too? What's your point? Terrorist attacks are better than world wars?
We've reached peak Poe's law.
Not everyone values free speech quite as highly as the USA. It's important, sure, but it's not live or die. There are limits and spreading vile hate speech is one of them.
I also like the complete focus on the free speech aspect, completely ignoring the "we actually deal with racists here" aspect. How narrow minded.
 “As we have seen, during the days of slavery and later segregation, laws suppressing free speech were often aimed at abolitionists and civil rights advocates, not at slave owners or Jim Crow advocates. This reflected social and political power in local states and communities where attitudes towards race were very different than today.“ https://www.hoover.org/research/harm-hate-speech-laws
The government cannot just arbitrarily expand hate speech to include something which is patently not hate speech. The courts would not uphold it, neither would the judiciary or the public at large.
As someone who values free speech, even one fine is abhorrent.
Everyone values speech they like. Valuing Free Speech means valuing the speech you don't like, too.
> It’s illegal in Britain to report the details of some trials before they conclude
> Robinson was convicted of breaking that law last year
> He showed up with his cameraman again Friday — this time outside a restricted child-sex-abuse trial at Leeds Crown Court, for what he inaccurately announced was the verdict.
So not only was he not arrested for broadcasting generally (rather for breaking a law forbidding reporting on of trials before they conclude) but this trial was also not "public".
The other day, I saw a bizarre talk on Youtube about this case by a UK and Canadian activist sitting together in the same room. At one point, the UK citizen stops talking and the Canadian takes over to tell some information. Then the UK person continues. Why? Because he could be arrested if he said it himself so he needed someone who wasn't going to the UK to say it for him.
He had a previous suspended sentence for filming inside a court a couple of months earlier. He then thought "hey, you know what's a good idea? Disobeying a judge's direct no-reporting order (to maintain the integrity of the trial) literally right outside the freaking courthouse.
I consider not giving him a slap on the wrist pretty sensible.
Restrictions on what can be reported while a trial is happening are common, and not unusual in England. It should be obvious that you cannot, before someone has been convicted, call them a Muslim Paedophiles or Muslim child rapists, and you can't threaten to go round their house.
After being convicted for contempt of court, and given a very clear warning not to do the samething again he does exactly the same thing again.
For a good summary of the Yaxley Lennon situation there's this from a barrister: https://thesecretbarrister.com/2018/05/25/what-has-happened-...
Here's what the judge says (but please do read the entire document):
The sentence, therefore, that I pass upon you, taking
into account all of those matters that have been
placed before me and your admissions entered via Mr.
Kovalevsky, is one of three months' imprisonment which
will be suspended for a period of 18 months. That
will be suspended. There will be no conditions that
need to be attached to that suspended sentence, but
you should be under no illusions that if you commit
any further offence of any kind, and that would
include, I would have thought a further contempt of
court by similar actions, then that sentence of three
months would be activated, and that would be on top of
anything else that you were given by any other court.
In short, Mr. Yaxley-Lennon, turn up at another court,
refer to people as "Muslim paedophiles, Muslim
rapists" and so on and so forth while trials are
ongoing and before there has been a finding by a jury
that that is what they are, and you will find yourself
inside. Do you understand? Thank you very much.
MR. KOVALEVSKY: Your Honour, may we extend our thanks for
the patience with which you have heard us this
JUDGE NORTON: I am very sorry that we have gone on so
late. Thank you very much for bearing with this
rather lengthy case. Thank you both very much indeed
for your help. Finally, can I just say this to Mr. --
I don't know whether it is Robertson or Robson who has
just left the court, or indeed to anybody in the
public gallery: I hope they have heard what I have
said. There are real risks in publication and there
are real risks in what is put online, and I hope that
everybody will respect the judgment of this court and
will not be tempted to do anything which might
frankly, unwittingly or otherwise, either impede this
trial or might land Mr. Yaxley-Lennon, or indeed
themselves, in even more trouble.
I would check where you are getting your facts from.
Did I mention that his entire video is still on Youtube? Still sitting their "jeopardizing" the case and it hasn't been taken down. Not only that, but anybody else outside the UK could repeat the same things and publish them anywhere on the internet without a problem. The UK no-talking-about-the-trial-in-public law completely fails without draconian China-scale internet censorship.
He threatened witnesses; he called defendants before they were convicted "muslim child rapists"; his actions nearly caused the collapse of the trial.
He used "alleged" as all media does for people who haven't been convicted.
Here are public details of the trials already published in the UK. It includes the names, charges, and effectively the description "child rapists". How does this not risk collapsing the trial but when Tommy Robinson said it, it did? Is it simply because he said they were Muslim while the newspaper only listed their obviously Muslim-sounding names?
Furthermore, he had already received a suspended sentence for doing the same thing. He wasn't immediately jailed without warning.
Also a chunk of those 13 months was from the previous suspended sentence for doing pretty much the same thing.
So yeah, I would definitely check where you get your facts from.
The judge quite sensibly didn't want that case, sure to get lots of attention, to rub off on his ongoing court case which has existing reporting restrictions.
I'm also sure America could teach us a lot about gag orders though. Stick national security infront of it and then all freedom goes out the window?
After he was sentenced and in jail.
Love the coarse metric of British "sensibility"! Sounds like we need a "sensibility spectrum" to measure this all against. Would really love to stack my freedom and property against that sturdy and immutable post of justice!
... As he should be, for breaking a court order in the most ridiculous manner. Twice.
> Would really love to stack my freedom and property against that sturdy and immutable post of justice!
You are aware that you're commenting on a post about how a citizens freedom and property where taken without any due process? And how that happens a lot? And how it's legal?
I feel like you're just looking to be triggered by something, and this man breaking two court orders gets you going, so we might as well end it here.
Your government currently arrests people for criticizing the government online, covers up child-rape gangs, arrests people for reporting on those cover ups, and mandates whether citizens should receive health care or die, regardless of whether they have the money to pay for it in a foreign country.
Your government took 1984 and used it as a blueprint. Your government see you as an actual human, they see you as their property.
Citation needed - I have _never_ heard of this happening.
> covers up child-rape gangs
Mostly local government and the police, not central government (who organised an inquiry into it).
> mandates whether citizens should receive health care or die
For the NHS, _maybe_, and even then it is only limiting care on the very fringes. Nothing is stopping you going private.
> regardless of whether they have the money to pay for it in a foreign country
I assume you are referring to Ashya King, a child whom was moved from the country against medical advice (which is completely different to _you_ deciding to decline treatment--the decision is being made by the parents on behalf on the child). Furthermore, when the case was decided by the high court, it was ruled that the parents _did_ have the right to pursue that line of treatment:
> Having considered the evidence, I concluded that there was no reason to stand in the way of the parents’ proposal. In some cases, this court is faced with a dispute between medical authorities and parents who are insisting on a wholly unreasonable course of treatment, or withholding consent to an essential therapy for their child – for example, a blood transfusion. This is manifestly not such a case. The course of treatment proposed by Mr and Mrs King is entirely reasonable. [...] Both courses are reasonable and it is the parents who bear the heavy responsibility of making the decision. It is no business of this court, or any other public authority, to interfere with their decision.
I don't see how that supports the notion that the government can mandate your treatment.
> Citation needed - I have _never_ heard of this happening.
A British teenager was arrested and charged for posting on Facebook that UK soldiers should go to hell.
Furthermore, his final sentence is "Azhar Ahmed must do 240 hours of community service". Whilst I disagree with him being charged at all, that doesn't seem _grossly_ disproportionate.
Is it? It just seems redundant to me. Redundancy may be offensive, but it shouldn't be illegal!
I suggest you visit sometime and expand your world view.
No, this is incorrect.
Alfie Evans was going to die. There was no treatment available for him. No-one, not even foreign doctors, were offering treatment other than end of life care.
Alfie is a human, and has human rights, and the paramountcy principle used in English courts mean that his rights are more important to the courts than the parents' rights. Everything has to be done in his best interest, and it wasn't in his best interest to take him abroad to die.
The parents had excellent top tier legal advice provided for free. They went through seven legal firms because they weren't being told what they wanted. They eventually got sucked into the Christian Legal Center - an organisation whose advice was so piss-poor they face regulation.
Here's a useful blog post about what actually happened: http://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/alfie-evans-best-inter...
(This is written by a mix of people, some of them represent children and families against the state.)
Note that an important difference between the US and UK law is that in the UK the doctors propose a plan, and if the parents disagree the doctors need to go to court to get permission. This is reversed in the US. The doctors propose a plan, and if the parents disagree it is they who need to go to court to stop the doctors.
It sparked 5+ inquiries, including a parliamentary one, numerous reforms and national outrage. I hope we learn from those mistakes.
I never said England was perfect, and I'm not sure why this invalidates any of the points I've made.
I could pick a few things that have happened in America that have not triggered universal outrage and a senate hearing. Like weekly school shootings.
Get a clue, man. Denying this kind of thing doesn't help anyone, even minority groups you might fear getting tarred by association. If you can ignore the rape of thousands of children because the political ramifications of it make you uncomfortable, you're part of the problem.
You have a very funny definition of "ignore".
> If you can ignore the rape of thousands of children because the political ramifications of it make you uncomfortable, you're part of the problem.
If everyone who disagrees with your framing "ignores child rape", you're part of the problem.
One big problem with this approach is that it basically pretends that the American citizenry is interchangeable with those of the countries you mentioned. It's not. Identity politics problems, legacies of slavery and of the colonial / revolutionary mindset are still big issues.
The people of Detroit and of Baltimore and of other ruined American cities are not the same as the people of Norway or of Japan. The solutions that work in high-intelligence, high-trust, coherent communities with strong traditions of work ethic won't work in every environment.
You want to use PHP as a metaphor? I'll use NFSv3/NIS. They're simple to run and work great on a small network where you trust everyone completely. The moment there's a malicious party at work they become hopeless and you need to either put in incredible amounts of work to try to lock them down, or switch to a much more restrictive, secure-by-default option.
The population of the EU is 741.4 million, the area is 1,707,642 sq miles. There are quite a few things that are prevalent in the EU, and are nonexistent in the US (public healthcare and higher education, for starters; throw public transportation into the mix, and have a party).
Don't pretend the EU is Norway.
I also remember online lots of grandstanding about the US's questionable policies around imigrants as compared to Europe. I haven't really heard them in a bit.
But what are you talking about? What could the US learn from Canada on asset forfeiture? Canada does it too! How to do it better?
And as a Canadian, saying the gov't run their is better is purely laughable.
So does the UK, Australia, NZ, and many other countries. But somehow only the US has wannabe-military police rambo types doing it, to stock up their SWAT vans, machine guns and other gizmos. That does not exactly inspire confidence.
Hey look, Aussie SWAT.
I'm in the bay area, maybe it's just a special kind of broken that you don't see in other places in the USA, but things like flint, michigan also exist in the USA.
Of course, the US government has a role in the other attractive attributes the US has, but I personally think that role is exaggerated. I think the US would still be an economically dominant world power if it had the government of, say, Germany.
You are very first-world centric, then. While I am no interventionist, you are discounting the role the US Military has worldwide on trade, peacekeeping, and other vital roles it actually does a good job at when it's not fucking things up (which is often).
>> I think the US would still be an economically dominant world power if it had the government of, say, Germany.
Including the racial makeup of Germany and the immigration policies?
Germany has a population 25% as large as America, and a GDP 18% of America's. So maybe if you ignored history, geography, a potential nonlinear relationship between population and economic domination¹ you could claim this discrepancy is solely due to racial differences between the populations of America and Germany. But I'm pretty damn skeptical of that.
1: for instance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winner-take-all_market
Uh, no. Just that it is vastly different and that it is a relevant data point.
There are about ~700,000 Americans living in Canada, and also about ~700,000 Canadians living in the U.S. (see links below)
However, the U.S. population is more than 8x that of Canada. That means that on a proportional basis, Canadians are about 8x more likely to move to the U.S. than Americans are to move to Canada.
There are about 700,000 U.K. citizens living in the U.S., and only about 160,000 U.S. citizens living in the U.K. The populations are about 63 million and 320 million, respectively. On a proportional basis, one would expect to see 5x more Americans living in the U.K., but in fact, there are 4x more U.K. citizens living in the U.S.
Similar ratios apply for other countries. Germany has 1/4 the population of the U.S., but there are 5 times as many Germans living in the U.S. as there are Americans living in Germany.
Voting with your feet never lies.
Granted, that doesn't say anything positive about the immigration policy of Germany when 30 year old children can get in and I don't stand a chance. Oh well.
Most people killed by a government are killed not by police forces, but rather by armies, navies and air forces. And if you live in or near the US you have a lower chance of being killed in a war than if you live in or near Europe because although the US starts more small wars, it starts fewer big wars, and most people killed in war are killed in big wars.
Europe has started fewer wars and killed fewer people since 1945 than the US has, and this is a sign that Europe is safer for the average resident or neighbor than the US is, but that sign is more than cancelled out by Europe's record (and Japan's record) before 1945.
Over the centuries, most prolonged rivalries and most expensive arms races between European nations ended in a war. In contrast, the intense prolonged rivalry and extremely expensive arms race between the US and the USSR did not end in a war -- at least not a war in which the most lethal available weapons were used or in which civilians were targeted to the extent that civilians were targeted by European and Japanese governments during WW II. Surely, the USSR's government deserves some of the credit for that surprisingly good outcome, but so does the US government.
And if you want to claim that the US did not have to participate in the intense prolonged rivalry and extremely expensive arms race -- if you want to argue that the fact that it did is a sign that the US is badly governed, you have to face the fact that if it had not participated, all of Europe would've been overrun by the USSR. There was far less political will in Western Europe to prepare for yet another war than would've been necessary to resist an invasion from the USSR if the US hadn't paid for most of the preparations.
I do not conclude from this analysis that the US government is better than most governments -- only that it is not clear to me that it is definitely worse. And I think it is a mistake to draw a boundary at 1945 and claim that anything that happened before then was too long ago to have any bearing on the question of which of today's governments are better.
Maybe Americans just aren’t very good at government. This is not so crazy a concept. When I was in Tokyo I marveled at how people would walk several blocks to get to a cross walk. Here in DC, people jay walk like it’s going out of style. That’s when it hit me that it’s no surprise Metro is a disaster while Tokyo’s trains work great.
What this does show is that we shouldn't expect government approaches which at least somewhat function in other countries to work well in the U.S.
The Tube is mostly great, but there are issues; the public generally doesn't see them (but I guess you've never been in London at rush hour?). The UK rail network however is a disaster. Privatization has made things worse - organizational chaos because of too many overlapping responsibilities between all the companies / not enough coordination. And the profit motive of course screws up things for what ought to be treated as a public utility. The latest disaster (the re-timetabling of GTR's services) was badly planned, managed, and executed. It's not "government" in general - my opinion is Americans in general are a lot more organized than the British in a fundamental sense.
Europe is one a model of exactly how to run things - but at a certain cost to passengers. There is enough buffer space left in the timetable to deal with possible delays or problems, and so services are relatively infrequent, but on the whole punctual. Thus passengers have to adjust their lives for that. The UK however does not do that - buffer space is eaten up to stick freight trains in whenever possible and any issues with them (plus issues with passenger trains) cascade. And UK passengers have always had train services available at the drop of a hat (metaphorically) - the social cost to move over to the EU style of doing things would make a lot of people very unhappy. The GTR disaster is an example of how socially disruptive changes are, especially when badly managed.
Japan is of course super organized, so they have train services down to the very second. The UK only labels trains as 'late' if they arrive more than 3 minutes late...
As for NYC, yeah, they have a lot of issues. Old tracks, underfunded, but mostly bad management decisions in trying to solve one problem and it snowballs - the NY Times have had some good articles on exactly what is going wrong. It is like no one has been paying attention to all the OR research in this area, but that seems to be normal - the gap between theory and what's actually is done in industry is quite large.
In Maryland it’s 5 minutes for commuter trains. For Amtrak it’s 15 minutes for an inter-city train, and up to hours for long haul trains.
It takes a great country for that to happen.
People in America are not generally ready to accept the immigration policies of Western Europe, nor do we have the luxury of a military power that we can free-ride off of. Your comparison is simplistic and wrong.
Sure. So what's the solution in this particular case? Should we go full corporate and privatize border control and customs? The government has a monopoly on violence and law enforcement. Do you think privatizing this outside of government is a good idea? Do you really think this power would be less abused?
Don't pick a bad example to dismiss the whole idea of government. At least in theory people can vote out the government, or specific laws/regulations* but they can't vote out money.
*) Before dismissing my point, that only works in democracy, not oligarchy, which we have in the US. And if you're wondering how we've reached oligarchy, I may be simplifying things but it has a lot to do with the 'big government is bad' idea which has been floated around within the last century by the people hoarding most money.
Reasonable limitations in this case might include a requirement that property seized temporarily be the subject of a criminal investigation, with a short, strict time limit for either filing charges or seeking an extension from a judge, who should be expected not to grant it without exceptional circumstances. Forfeiture of property could require a felony conviction, and if the felon isn't the owner of the property, additional proof that the owner knew it was being used illegally.
I have no illusions here: these restrictions would sometimes prevent the government from taking the assets of real criminals. That seems like a reasonable trade. The sort of criminal behaviors that civil asset forfeiture might be effective against are not such a significant threat to the stability of the USA as to justify taking the property of innocents with less legal protection than they would have in the criminal justice system.
If you agree this is a bad result, and the situation has affected lots of people, then you agree that the government is capable of doing wrong.
So you should agree that expansions of government power should be treated extremely skeptically and with serious concern.
I do not “dismiss the idea of government” and I opened my post by saying so. I’m saying that we should try and limit the government’s power by default and try not to elect and empower lawmakers who believe otherwise.
No, actually it comes from English common law, and has been around a long, long time.
It has been abused in recent decades (using the drug war as an excuse), but it's far from a new thing.
Even what you describe, limiting the power of government, is a governmental solution. You simply have to elect people who want to make the system better rather than those who want to tear it down. It's easy to say government doesn't work and do nothing.
I've seen far too much unethical and down right illegal behavior by management from inside companies, especially when dealing with privatized government functions, to ever trust them to do anything that they arent forced to (essentially at gun point). While, as an immigrant, I have an extreme distrust of American law enforcement, I would rather them than any private corporation.
I say this as someone who has been on the receiving end of civil asset forfeiture. My grandparents refused to take a bunch of cash that I had brought them in case the economic situation in Russia got worse and was taken for $20k and some priceless family heirlooms on the way back through LAX. It took a year and more money in legal fees than was confiscated just so I could get back some sentimental artefacts.
Nearly everyone I speak with about civil forfeiture thinks it's a bad idea with terrible incentives, so let's just enact some common sense and fix this one little thing, eh?
The government indeed is authoritarian and people should recognise it - but at least due to historical factors the citizenry have some control over it and how it functions. For a private corporation the general public has no voice at all. You can vote in presidents and senators, you can't vote in CEOs or executives.
The more power you give to private corporations, the less power the citizenry has.
A good analogy would be prisons: government run prisons and the penal system in the US are horrific, designed to be racist and exploit the poor. But then you look at how private prisons are run and realise that they are even worse: they have a profit motive to lock up citizens.
You are advocating a Laissez-faire approach. This is not the only view on government intervention. There are various other approaches such as developmental state.
I recall reading an posted to HN that discussed the success of the developmental state In the east. Cannot seem to find it now.
"People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people"
How about we work to improve it instead?
Well, unless the citizenry controls the government. This is the case in some political systems, e.g. democracy.
I'd be okay with freezing assets for up to say 3 months while formal charges are filed, but just taking them forever is fucking bullshit.
> Under federal forfeiture law, the government was required to initiate a forfeiture case within 90 days after the Kazazis responded to the seizure notice. If it failed to initiate a forfeiture case within that window, it would be required to promptly return the money to the claimants.
> That deadline passed over a month ago, on April 17. CBP has not filed a forfeiture complaint; nor has it returned the money.
This kind of behavior should be severely penalized. The Kazazis should be awarded a minimum of 10x the market value of the asset, or about $570,000, and NOT to be paid out of some magic bottomless government account funded by tax dollars, but directly from whomever the head of the offending department is.
Then the horrible life experiences they're afflicting on innocent individuals might actually be bumped up from "P4 - Low priority" to "P0 - Get this shit fixed now"
Whether it would make the Feds more cooperative or not, is the question.
Just like with a toxic CEO in a company, firing some employees isn't a long term solution to fixing the culture. The leaders, the heads of the departments, is where the accountability should be.
I have a great deal of trouble even understanding what has gone so catastrophically wrong to even have this practice be a thing. Due process MUST be honored. No excuses are acceptable that "convictions are to hard, we NEED this".
Law enforcement and policing with this kind of discretion, ceases to be policing, protection of, or service to society. I will back the men and women who truly try to execute their duty with due respect and honor to those they are protecting, but institutional mechanisms like this only undermine and weaken the trust the public can have in the government.
I'll come out and say it. I'll accept a drug dealer on every corner before I'll accept the legality and morality of confiscation of assets without due process or with shortcutted due process. Our country survived just fine before the explosion in law enforcement's capability to waltz over civil rights, and it can survive without it now. If you can't get the job done with typical investigative techniques that don't include stomping on or cleverly redefining the scope of the 4th Amendment, then maybe, just maybe you're doing it wrong.
Depriving a citizen of life, liberty, and the fruits of their pursuit of happiness is SUPPOSED to be a long, ardorous task.
Vigilia pretium libertatis est.
Last time there was a potentially suitable case the victim's lawyer made a mistake of not raising the constitutional grounds (4th amendment) during the initial trial, and this formality made it impossible to mount a good appeal.
A lot of Second Amendment advocates say we need the right to bear arms to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. Well...here's your tyranny. Now where's that armed uprising?
Emphasis on Please use in that order. I can't believe this needs to be emphasized, but killing people should be a last resort. I'm glad these "2nd Amendment advocates" aren't as trigger happy as you seem to suggest they be. I don't think it's hyperbolic to say that shooting people before nonviolent options are exhausted is depraved.
Our remaining hope is a newfound fifth - the personal computation box.
(And as for the ammo box, guerilla fighters have proven resourceful. Modern guerilla warfare and its relationship to technology is an interesting subject you can dive deep into. One must also keep in mind modern 'win' conditions for guerilla fighters, many of which don't look much like win conditions in traditional warfare. But I don't think our present situation will come to this.)
I expressly do not mean the computation box as a new version of soap box (ie general means for swaying opinion), but as a type of private meeting place where individuals may freely associate for their own mutually-beneficial purposes.
Guerilla warfare can only exist when there's a local consensus against an (outside) imposing military. This possibility is obviated by democracy, which guarantees that the non-military majority opinion will carry without having to shoot. It's a last defense against outside conquerors, but not domestically-grown totalitarianism.
Our modern conundrum is that opinion is being defined by mass media, and now interactive-personalized mass media (the Inception effect is powerful). The same process that has anointed this succession of hopechange-actor presidents also assures those ammo boxen are mutedly waiting for the bogeyman.
I guess the problem is that not enough people know that civil forfeiture is a thing yet.
I'm just blown away that such a thing could ever be written into law. I think it's a pretty clear-as-day violation of our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
...or that not enough people have experienced it yet, and probably never will. There's a lot of "it won't happen to me" thinking around this, and to be honest, how many people do take large amounts of cash with them while traveling? The fact that this item is newsworthy is enough to show that it happens rarely.
I'm almost willing to bet that if the number of people affected goes high enough, there will be armed revolts; but the government is smart enough to not do that, instead preferring to strip liberties in tiny bits at a time.
And probably thinking "They had a reason to do it", which I don't think has shown to be the case.
you're talking about our government?
Additional info for anyone interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_boxes_of_liberty
He's factually correct though. I don't see how you can disagree with the fact that the supreme court already ruled these practices legal (jury), neither republicans nor democrats managed to fix the matter (ballot), and the average american showers once a day...
Stories like these have been all over the news under both republican and democratic presidents and congress - nothing changed.
Don't give people a four-step program and then act aghast they're considering to go through with it. Find a better four-step program/quote instead.
It's not a fact that soap box options have been exhausted. It's merely your opinion that the soap box has been tried enough, to the point that giving up on trying to inform and persuade people is rational and/or ethical.
But... is that actually your opinion? You're here arguing online using your soap box, instead of waging a guerilla war against the system. So I think in actual fact you haven't given up on the soap box. Or at least you still see value in the soap box for purposes of inciting a rebellion?
The ballot box has already been used. Both sides either take no action or work to extend the practise. People still don't care.
The jury box has already been used, the supreme court has ruled this legal. People still don't care.
If you think it's too soon to resort to the ammo box, you need to reevaluate your perspective on the government in the USA. Remember, "all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing."
Ironically, right now, you are using the soap box and not the ammo box. You're arguing your viewpoint online instead of killing people. That's a good thing, keep at it.
He explicitly didn't want people to be able to defend themselves! "Requiring the Federal Government to provide a free attorney to anyone who wants to contest a forfeiture action would overwhelm the judicial system with frivolous claims."
"Raise the standard of proof in forfeiture cases to clear and convincing evidence." He didn't want that.
Really, why is any democrat voter complaining about this? It's their own fault.
It's been 21.5 years since anyone voted for Bill Clinton. Those democrats who are 39.5 years or younger have no consequent blame.
And by the way, Clinton's administration posted that opinion about 3 years after anyone had voted for Bill Clinton. The voters no longer had any input.
If you want to see it in action in another scenario, go look up The Bundy Ranch Standoff.
Has much changed since then?
The supreme court basically decided you have no rights at the border.
> “He's not going to let the actions of some employees that made a mistake in their duties change his opinion of the country,” he said.
I wish people wouldn’t put the USA on high pedestals and realize this (among other things) are very serious issues that will ultimately be our downfall if not addressed. Do people think the countries they fled from got bad overnight? No, it’s a pattern of ambivalence to corruption that led to the ultimately shitty state they are in now and we will be there faster than we think.
A few lose their jobs or get fined, but fewer go to jail or have to account for their excesses. I really question the motives of anyone who wants to be a cop in this environment.
No, that's a "fake news" myth.
> If you add up all the property stolen in 2014, from burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and other means, you arrive at roughly $12.3 billion,
> The total value of asset forfeitures was more than one-third of the total value of property stolen by criminals in 2014.
And that isn't counting the wages of people working there yet...
I realize this comparison isn't fair at all - the problem appears to be that it comes to mind at all.
I first saw it in The Shield (still one of my favorite shows) and remember thinking that it looks more like some army controlled region in Africa or something than a civilized country. But yeah, so does privatising prisons.
Like many well-meaning laws that were hastily passed, they never thought it would be used against retirees and people buying cars with cash.
I do have to say, it's a well known fact trying to make it across any border with a sum of cash is a risky business. I would hope America would be an exception to that fact due to "Due Process", but even I wouldn't place a bet on that. It says very clearly on the us travel website carrying more than $10k of cash is going to get you in trouble though.
Transferring money internationally is a huge pita. I just came back from China. Good luck every trying to fund a wechat or alipay account as a Westerner.
You can use wechat to pay for things as a foreigner if you have a resident permit, or so I here.
Carrying more than $10k of cash is actually ok as long as you report it.
No, it's not, you cannot wire it unless the recipient is a Chinese national.
> If you have a resident permit
The only requirement is a Chinese phone number which requires hours in line, a visa, facial recognition scan, and passport, and the same requirements for the bank account. Once you have a Chinese bank account, you can hook it up to wechat. The only ways to fund it are via cash however.
This was not a communication issue, I had a native speaker with me at Bank of China and China mobile.
I’ve wired money from my Chinese account to my overseas account plenty of times. I’m most definitely not a Chinese National. I’ve also had money wired to my Chinese account before. Still, if you don’t want to wait in line, don’t go to BOC (or ICBC).
I still have a Chinese phone number also. Passport + resident permit was good enough in my case for both account and phone number. But it could have changed since I got those a few years ago.
BOC and China mobile see the worst companies to deal with. CMB (China merchant bank) isn’t an SOE so their customer service is better. Also, Unicom is better than China Mobile for foreigners.
Since your property will not and cannot legally defend itself, it loses by default.
so, is anyone taking a long hard look and asking themselves, first individually and then collectively - "this situation , this and all the stuff going on in our world today, is this or is this not totally out of control?"
would be great to be able to do this without looking to some other country and saying "but that happens over there and that is way worse than this"
some of this stuff should be absolute (see intent of constitutions and similar )
It can only be held to the highest standards by the active, ongoing participation of the citizens. There is no nation on this beautiful planet that is held to the highest standards because there is no agreement what the highest standards are.
As citizens, we are only interested in our specific interests and cares and whoopee-do for anyone else. As citizens, we don't care what happens elsewhere. That is someone else's problem.
It doesn't matter what kid of politics you adhere to, what philosophies or religions, most (the vast, vast majority) are only interested in what they get out of things. If the consequences of some policy, legislation, etc. will come and bite them, they don't care as long as it hasn't happened right now.
So with the lowest standards, we have corrupt or useless politicians, law enforcement, national security, commercial enterprises, government enterprises, medical treatment, education, etc. The problems continue to grow and the citizens continue to fight over the decreasing scraps left over for them. Every system on this planet is failing rapidly and will continue to go downhill.
Until people are willing to take responsibility for their choices and accept responsibility for their choices, they will be unable to do anything that is effective in making changes for the better. If you are not willing to hold yourself to a higher standard, then you cannot expect those who have responsibilities in government, business, social areas to have a higher standard.
If you are part of any organisation that has "bad apples" and you do nothing, then you are one of those "bad apples". There are no excuses, no extenuating circumstances, as long as any "bad apples" are not dealt with, the entirety of the organisation is corrupt.
So on that note, it should not be at all surprising when corrupt activities are undertaken by any government organisation and law enforcement such as the legal theft of any goods and chattels of any citizen or non-citizen. The citizens have been complicit and now the citizens have to live with that corruption and the consequences for themselves.
If we aren't doing something active to improve things then we are in full agreement with what does happen to others and then to ourselves.
It says in Terms & Conditions "if you don't register BLAH BLAH BLAH"
Choose a country that promotes freedom - Liberland, Blue Frontiers anyone?
Hottot said Kazazi was well aware of those requirements and planned to file his disclosure form during his four-hour layover in Newark. The form instructs travelers to file the paperwork “at the time of departure from the United States with the Customs officer in charge at any Customs port of entry or departure.”
Also in the article: CBP had 90 days to respond after Kazazi decided to take the matter to federal court, but over a month after their deadline passed are still holding the money, and are refusing to comment.
(2) It was a domestic flight; he says he was going to declare it when boarding the international flight.
This was all in the article.
At this rate the various LEAs are going to make muggers, bankers and other professional thieves jealous.
But, practically speaking, was it a good idea to blatantly take that much cash in a bag across a border? That's highly questionable.
I don't care who it is, government agent or not, I would just not risk it. At the end of the day, that "civil servant" is just another person - and they are liable to act in their own self-interest just like some other random individual. With such high stakes as putting your life savings on the line, it would make sense to be skeptical of anyone you make eye contact with. It's just my opinion, but I would sooner take my chances trying to smuggle the money across the border than just plainly walk through security with a bag full of cash. Unless there are specific legal/authoritative documents proving the legality of the money that's being taken across and a lawyer is traveling with me. As soon as the government seizes the money, it's an uphill battle from there.
Failing to see an honest use case for moving that much cash by hand.
That aside, the reasons are quite clear from the article:
"In an interview translated by his son, Kazazi said safety concerns prompted him to take cash on his trip, rather than wire the funds to a local bank.
“The crime [in Albania] is much worse than it is here,” he said. “Other people that have made large withdrawals [from Albanian banks] have had people intercept them and take their money. The exchange rates and fees are [also] excessive.”
Albanian contractors often prefer dollars and euros over the local currency, Kazazi said. For those reasons, he said, many expatriates who return to visit Albania bring large amounts of cash with them."
Folks from nations with fully functional banking and money systems don't understand this argument because they cannot envision what it means.
One potential way to think about this is to just replace cash in this situation with your favorite payment system - payment, debit & credit card and Apple / Samsung payment watch - whatever and imagine that you are in a world where i) cash does ALL the things that these systems do for you ii) these systems can, for some reason, easily have your money withdrawn from them and iii) for some reason, you get a huge discount for using cash instead of other payment systems (think the way you get cashback or purchase points from some cards)...
in this world, hard cash, especially US currency that comes with even more discount and flexibility benefits is worth the effort
but, all that aside, "because I want to" should be enough reason
Source: Wrote myself a check for a similar reason (not wanting to carry more than 10k across the border). Funds were held by the receiving bank for 15 business days.
Sounds like an organized crime problem, where bank tellers are tipping off criminals about good targets.
His solution was to take it out here, where it's safe...or so he thought.
Mistrust of banking institutions. Several countries have, at some point in history, frozen and/or confiscated the money deposited in bank accounts (my country, for instance, had one of these in the 90s).
> Or just writing yourself a cheque?
As mentioned on many other discussions here on HN, several countries don't use checks anymore. And even when that's not the case, it's probable that they won't accept checks from another country.
Good luck cashing in a cheque underwritten by a US Bank in Albania.
For this guy, that would be a year of savings, which is not insignificant.
Also banks will not commit to any specific total fee amount. If you read their terms and conditions, they say that money could go via unspecified number of intermediaries, where any one of them can take a part of the money up to 5% each or some such.