We've moved away from a society where the police were there to truly protect and serve the community (think 1950's/60's beat cop walking the blocks during his shift) to a totalitarian police state (constant erosion of the 4th amendment, nexus centers, sweeping overreaches of the third party doctrine, stingrays, and mass deployment of license plate scanners). Big Brother would be proud.
HB 560, introduced by New Mexico Rep. Zachary Cook and passed unanimously in the legislature, replaces civil asset forfeiture with criminal forfeiture, which requires a conviction of a person as a prerequisite to losing property tied to a crime. The new law means that New Mexico now has the strongest protections against wrongful asset seizures in the country.
Link to the bill:
"But New Mexico's law only affects state law enforcement officials. As a result, in New Mexico — and everywhere else, for that matter — DEA agents will be able to board your train, ask you where you're going and take all your cash if they don't like your story, all without ever charging you with a crime."
While I'm sure that they wouldn't hesitate to seize those assets if any of us were charged with some sort of drug offense, it doesn't come close to the way cash is treated. In this case and in others, the mere possession of a large sum of cash can be grounds for suspicion and seizure. It's like you don't really have a right to keep your money unless it's accessed via some plastic card or routing number.
They have an apparatus in place to track all of your money, as long as it's in electronic form. That way they can control your spending and make sure you don't spend it on things they don't like (drugs, prostitution, insert illegal behavior/good here). When you use cash, a method they have limited control over, the very act of using it becomes subversive.
Why would you use cash unless you wanted to do something illegal with it?
That's the question ringing in their minds. The very act of using cash becomes ground for suspicion.
There are supposed to be other protections for this. The sixth amendment, for instance, says: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial...", which means that they can't just "let you rot in jail."
In practice, though, sometimes you do rot in jail. :/
That varies from state to state. In my state, the District Attorney just has to get you to trial within a year of your arrest.
Not showing up to work for a year because you couldn't afford bail can have a negative impact on one's finances, to say the least.
That's a long time to spend in jail - a location where you have no real freedoms.
If the original authors could define a speedy trial in terms of days and a couple weeks, there is no rational justification for why in this day and age a speedy trial can't be a matter of minutes or hours, or at worst days.
The most dangerous enemy is the one within and the traitor in your midst.
Which you will then start to sell off so you can afford the legal defense required to fight the false charges. A person can be found innocent of all charges but still be wiped out financially from defending themselves. That's called "justice".
And say the false charge was one with a social stigma, say child molestation. Now not only are you financially wiped out, not only have you lost your job, but your name is now tied with a crime which people will often not care if you were found not guilty (or even found innocent). And the only thing you can do to stop it is to say a prayer that you aren't going to be the next one wrongly charged.
We've moved away from a society where the police were
there to truly protect and serve the community (think
1950's/60's beat cop walking the blocks during his
shift) to a totalitarian police state (constant erosion
of the 4th amendment, nexus centers, sweeping
overreaches of the third party doctrine, stingrays, and
mass deployment of license plate scanners). Big Brother
would be proud.
You do realize that Martin Luther King Jr. was under watch by FBI Plants his entire public life, and warrantlessly spied upon under COINTELPRO?
You do realize that Fred Hampton was drugged by an FBI Plant, before 40+ Police raided his home and shot him dead with automatic weapons as he slept? (also part of COINTELPRO program)
The problems of policing are the same problems that have occurred for years. There were _always_ good cops who did their business correctly, there have _always_ been bad cops who have abused the system. As for the system... obviously it is constantly under flux, but I do think we're making improvements over the long run.
I argue that today's system is superior to the 1950s. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to offer the first blow in a debate here and now. But mind you, good luck beating out COINTELPRO... which was not only warrantless spying on innocent Americans... but also was involved in direct assassinations in broad daylight.
Its as if people have _completely_ forgotten about 1950s history. Red Scare? COINTELPRO? Civil Rights? Black Panthers getting assassinated by police? Lynching in the streets? McCarthyism? House Un-American Activities Committee? The Office of Censorship?
These American institutions were shut down as the civil rights movement gained steam in the 1960s.
Good gosh people. Life is better today. Not perfect... but better by all measurements. Learn some history, and stop pretending that the 1950s were a peaceful time. In the 1950s, you'd lose your job if
lol maybe if you're white
welcome to the logic that everyone has had to operate under
But I'm being pedantic. I do agree with the spirit of your comment - it is vital that we immediately divide along race lines, lest any actual change take place.
Civil forfeiture is a major problem but the abuse of using administrative law judges (ALJs) is becoming a big one as well.
Is this all jaw-jaw and no action?
Shame on you.
Edit: downvotes deserved. I read it several times and still interpreted the first paragraph to be in support of taking money because it denied full legal access. My brain flipped a word into "good". Despite being a public defender no less! Leaving comment anyways because that seems like the honest thing to do. Sorry.
What was described in this article is called stealing or theft. To call it anything else is to mask and downplay what was done to this man. It is to enable the very act that was committed.
George Carlin observed this as a dangerous trend in our language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuEQixrBKCc
Call it "civil forfeiture" once if you have to (perhaps as a footnote). But to repeatedly use such "soft language" is to delay an end to such injustice.
I hope we continue to see a relentless stream of articles highlighting these cases one after another until finally the outcry builds loud enough for something substantive to be done at the federal level. It's to the point where we need an 'Audit the Fed' level response to scrutinize every dollar seized, and victims should be compensated in full, with interest.
I wonder how the story would have gone differently if the man had refused to consent to the search. Probably not much better, heck, that would probably be considered 'evidence' against his money.
I also wonder what the burden of proof is for showing the source of the funds. If you walk into court with bank statements and W-2s, why is it so hard to get the money back? Judges are obstructing this for some reason, and I think that's an angle to the story we haven't seen much reported.
So. At this point you're not a party to the proceeding, so you can't do any of the normal things you'd do if the DEA was suing you, and you certainly don't have the presumption of innocence you'd have in criminal court. You have to petition the court to be involved in your own case. Because your money is just sitting there not doing much to defend itself. Once you're officially involved, the burden of proof is on you to show you came by the cash honestly.
I used to play a lot of relatively high stakes poker. Guys I played with would be carrying a fair amount of cash (more than the subject of this story), and it was common knowledge if you got robbed it would most likely be by the cops.
The gallows humor around the table was "So when their investigation turns up nothing you ask if they'll be returning your money. 'No,' they explain."
I've seen it written many times that it often costs more to get the asset back than they're worth. That cost to the lawyer is also cost to the state and judicial system, and typically the justices don't take kindly to anyone wasting their time. I'm not reading about the massive backlog of forfeiture cases, mostly it seems like people don't even try.
On the one hand I hear that JDs are dropping like flies because there's no work, and on the other hand I hear there's tens of billions of dollars in money sitting in a big pot waiting for lawyers to try to get some of that back on contingency?
I found one blog after a bit of searching which has an interesting summary (criminal and civil forfeiture considered) I'm guessing that most people targeted, as usual, simply don't know their rights, and don't bother fighting for them, even when there's thousands of dollars on the line. 
The narrative that you can't get the money back I think is damaging to the cause of clamping down on forfeiture abuse. In fact you can get the money back , and particularly in cases like TFA, when the prosecutors office starts having to allocate a larger part of their workweek defending this bile they will start pushing back on it as well.
 - http://brendagrantland.com/truthjustice/how-to-defend-5th-am...
 - http://fear.org
For two reasons. One, you can't afford a lawyer because the government took your money. And two, there's not a lot of point in spending $300k to get $12.5k back from the government. The DEA is using tax dollars - they can stretch out the proceedings until you run out of money.
Don't injured parties receive costs from the perpetrators in USA courts? The risk may not be worth it but provided you have reasonable legal costs they get paid, surely? Also if the action is without due process or is malicious then you'd get punitive damages as well wouldn't you [which would have to be high to discourage the behaviour in the future]? At least in a democracy you'd have these things ...
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/2465 -- See (b)(1)
Personally I think the American Rule is terrible in general, now I understand more why USA has [an appearance of having] so much litigation.
If this happened under the English legal system, you can be pretty sure the courts would make the DEA pay both sides' legal costs for meritless seizures like this one.
So if you were prepared to take the risk of going to court you'd at least stand a good chance of getting all your money back.
(IANAL, But My Wife Is).
There are plenty of cases where it's worthwhile for a malicious actor to antagonize someone, safe in the knowledge that the most they can lose is the legal costs. That is, if the victim is able to offer the significant effort and cash enough to seek legal recourse.
Since the money is not a legal person, legal responsibility would probably fall to the owner at the time of the crime (just like it falls to the "owner" of a child, their parents) and you would get punished along with your money. On top of this the money is automatically guilty and must pay reparations and punitives, which means you need to pay more of it as legal guardian of the now-bankrupt money.
And on and on down the rabbit hole it goes...
Right, but at least now you've managed to get yourself involved in the case, meaning that you can now invoke things like "right to counsel", no?
(Which, granted, may or may not be a positive depending on one's opinions of lawyers)
Are you sure you're not mixing up civil and criminal proceedings?
Probably taze the guy, then shoot him 7 times in the back as he runs off
Then again we know that won't happen since the cop would most likely get in trouble so it's just a law to steal money from the common people who can't defend themselves.
They just took it.
>In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.
I respectfully disagree that it's indefensible. It was either 100,000 Japanese civilians in those 2 cities OR million or more American casualties. AND if the invasion had taken place, millions and millions of Japanese civilians would've died also.
I agree, with proper PR language, anything can be made look half decent and therefore tolerable.
Also that it didn't need to be dropped on a populated city first, and that previous bombing of cities in the war proved that the tactic was relatively ineffective. And that the US had a conflict of interest; they wanted to end the war before the Russians were involved. As well as demonstrate the capability of the bomb to them.
Everything I said is debatable, and I don't blame Truman for making the decision he did. But Orwell's comment, that the arguments involved are "too brutal to bear" is definitely true. Most people can't answer the trolley problem, a hypothetical situation where you have to kill one innocent person to save 5.
Now imagine instead of 1 person it's thousands, and they aren't all just killed instantly but some horribly maimed or irradiated. And that whether it will work wasn't certain, or that the horrible alternative wasn't certain, and that there are all sorts of possible third options, etc. And so whatever you think the best choice is, the arguments involved are extremely brutal.
I respectfully disagree that it's indefensible. It was either 100,000 Japanese
civilians in those 2 cities OR million or more American casualties.
AND if the invasion had taken place, millions and millions of Japanese
civilians would've died also.
I don't mean to be dismissive but anyone with even remote knowledge of what went on to recapture all the Japanese held islands in the Pacific during the WW2 will say the nukes were needed.
On all the islands that US Marines/soldiers fought on to recapture from Japan, Japanese units were usually wiped to the last man. And this kind of resistance to the last man was repeated on every single island.
Example, Saipan island.
Out of 31,000 Japanese soldiers, only 921 were captured. 24000 were killed and 5000 committed suicide. 22000 Japanese civilians died, mostly from suicides.
US suffered 3426 killed and 10364 wounded.
For an island of 44 square miles.
## end EDIT
That is not the same thing as saying that they are indefensible.
As in death of millions of Japanese civilians. A million or so US casualty was projected.
Please check out: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8908197
And a great book on the topic: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674022416/ref=oh_aui_detai...
Do you know how hard it was for US marines to retake the Japanese held islands?
And what if it was going to take half a million American casualties? And it still would've killed lots and lots of Japanese civilians and soldiers. Far more than 100,000 Japanese would've died.
Have you read anything about any of the campaigns by US Marines? Not accusing you of ignorance or anything. Just wondering if you know some history.
<!-- BO sarcasm -->
Good to see, that the US are capable of learning from history by importing great achievements and ideas of former times from the old world.
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"nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.""
"Civil asset forfeiture" precisely resembles the worst caricature of the behavior we were attempting to defend against when we wrote that. And it's affecting everybody going through police jurisdictions that rely on that revenue, not just the minorities that the drug war was designed to persecute in order to get Reagan & Bush Sr re-elected.
I understand some of the politics of why the executive and the legislature ramped this up - perceptions that a generation of children was being lost to a class of sinister urban drug-pushers, and a desire for vigilante justice even when we couldn't convict them of anything. I don't understand how any judge anywhere could approve any of it. They're supposed to be above that. If you accept these legal fictions into your worldview, what's the point of having a justice system at all?
This should have been ended decades ago, when hysteria about the 'crack epidemic' wore down. As far as I'm concerned, when a local cop steals money from you and claims he has a form that says that's okay, that's a reason for the FBI or Internal Affairs to come in and prosecute that person. Because they stopped being a legitimate representative of the people in any capacity: they stopped shepherding law-abiding citizens and started feeding on them. We used to have a word for that, 'dirty cops', and we used to believe, or at least hope, they were aberrations.
Have you not noticed the names they put on bills to get them through Congress (state or federal)? Right to Work? No Child Left Behind? DOMA, Internet Freedom Act. Hell, the Affordable Care Act (I SAID IT, sue me!)
These guys have it figured out, and when we figure it out they just change tactics. If they're that brazenly Orwellian on the title page how can they not be spending time softening the text in the middle?
It is called "Neusprech.org" (newspeak.org translated). Really a great resource.
I would say that calling civil forfeiture as theft makes more sense then comparing civil forfeiture to taxation. Unless you live in an area where "taxation" means armed men come to your house and demand all your cash on April 15th.
Honestly, I don't really buy the argument that in cases like this, its wrong to call the action theft. I don't find the terms mutually exclusive depending on the context.
They don't bother with armed men. If I refuse to pay long enough, they just take it straight out of my paycheck (wage garnishment). No need to intimidate someone when you own their bank.
It's the threat of armed men being sent for them that compels most people to pay their taxes and file the return.
Both taxation and civil forfeiture have much in common with theft.
Under some legal systems you can own a sex slave, but don't you dare call it rape.
Under some legal systems the government can take what they want because the law allows them, but don't you dare call it theft.
It is both.
> calling it theft is no different from a libertarian doing the same with taxation.
Taxation today is theft.
Taxation is you paying the bill you've incurred for living in this country. You've lived here, gotten some benefit from the services the government provides, and when the bill comes you start saying "theft!! theft!!!"?
The anti-tax crowd is the biggest bunch of moochers and freeloaders this side of Wall Street. They're just out for a free ride, leaving the rest of us to pay for it.
For example, a one time tax of 30% of all bank accounts would be considered theft. Paying a gas tax to care for the road you use would not.
Also, some of the corrupt dealings of Congress would be theft from the government, and since that raises taxes on the individuals, I think it would be reasonable to consider it theft.
I am not "anti-tax". I think taxation is a good idea as it helps a community re-invest in itself. I am anti-theft.
Saying today's taxation is not theft won't change the reality that it is. Nor will downvoting this post change that reality. In fact, barring a change in the definition of the word, there is not a single action in this universe that can change the reality that taking something that belongs to someone else without their permission is theft.
Taxes aren't theft any more than the check at the end of a restaurant meal is theft.
In both cases, you agree to pay something in exchange for something (a meal, a functioning government, etc).
Does one agree to civil forfeiture by continuing to live where it is legal?
If we were free to move to a country where we agreed with the laws you might be right. That's not reality though.
We are not (currently) free to choose how we pay taxes in any country and our freedom to move from one country to another is restricted.
So, sorry, I never agreed to pay these taxes, I have little say in how they're used, and I have no alternatives except to go to prison. That's not freedom. That's simply coercion and theft.
If no automobile maker will sell you the exact car you want, that does not grant you the right to take a car without paying for it.
So, yes, you do agree to pay these taxes by continuing to live here.
Please explain how I can do that. I would actually like to move to Switzerland, could you explain how I can freely do that as everything I've researched indicates it's neither free nor possible in any reasonable amount of time. If not Switzerland I'll settle for some other country where I can live freely and be safe from coercion.
> If no automobile maker will sell you the exact car you want...
Nobody is forcing me to buy the car with the threat of prison if I don't, and I do not need a car to survive. I do need to live someplace however.
For some reason, most anti-taxers consider this not to be "coercion" but to be an efficient way of allocating resources and will defend to the death the landlord's right to demand that I compensate him for occupying a particular location he has a prior claim over. The rationale behind treating private territorial claims on my wealth more favourably than public ones continues to elude me...
Someone born in a particular house with a third party claiming ownership rights faces exactly the same keep paying up or vacate dilemma as someone born in a particular country. In both cases, they might find it difficult to find a piece of territory that is both appealing to live and doesn't involve paying someone else for their right to occupy it.
The relationship governments have with their citizens is unique.
It goes like this: give us a chunk of your entire income forever or else we'll throw you in prison. Don't like it? Say good-bye to all your friends and family and enjoy surviving in a country where you don't understand anything anyone is saying, which will probably just give you the same ultimatum.
That's simply mafia-style protection-money robbery.
There is another option: voluntary association and voluntary taxation. This is just one possible form it can take: http://groupcurrency.org
Finding a jurisdiction in which English is widely spoken and there's no income tax is actually surprisingly easy...
When you're a child, and your parents have custody of you, they make that choice for you--you're a citizen here, here's where you'll live, be politically involved, and pay taxes.
When you're old enough to make that choice for yourself, that's when you can stay--with all that entails--or go.
It's therefore impossible for any US citizen to legally avoid paying tax at least once, assuming sufficient income to have to pay tax in the first place.
Do note that this law also applies to foreign born US citizens, who are citizens by blood but who have never even visited the US. For obvious reasons, many of these citizens either don't know about their obligations under US law, or deliberately ignore it.
Or, don't work until you decide to leave, and then leave.
That it requires very quick timing or unusual planning to end your obligation does not mean that you don't need to pay it when you are obliged to.
In any case, the current cost to renounce your citizenship is $2,350. You might say it's a "fee" and not a "tax". That label is irrelevant in the overarching context of financial obligations imposed upon a person. Otherwise the US should just charge everyone a fee for having US citizenship and forget about the whole "tax" issue.
Moving just within the United States can end up being an expensive endeavor as is. Moving out of it isn't any more affordable, meaning that your argument basically amounts to "tough luck, poor people".
Not that I believe taxes are inherently bad, but the implication that "you can always leave if you don't like it" is misleading at best (and realistically outright false for a rather large segment of the American population).
If the country of your choice doesn't permit you to emigrate, that doesn't mean that you're suddenly free from your obligations to whatever country will host you.
Wouldn't that be convenient? "Sir, I don't have to pay taxes. I want to move to Switzerland, but they're full right now, so I can't."
(And the "threat of prison" is some of the dumbest hyperbole out of the antitax crowd--for nearly all cases, they'll simply garnish your wages, or something equally non-freedom-constraining.)
Oh they regularly send people to prison for failing to pay taxes. Does the name Wesley Snipes ring a bell? They sent him to prison for three years on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns, even after he brought a check to court for the outstanding balance.
On a basic level, that's what all laws are. They are a series of escalating punishments and threats that end soon after "then, we'll send guys with guns to take you to prison".
You have to renounce citizenship, pay a fine for renouncing said citizenship to avoid paying taxes and possibly be audited. And you might argue that's fine, because they should be able to collect back taxes but you'll generally have to pay taxes for the next 10 years.
So, putting aside the immigration issues, and assuming you could move to wherever you wanted it's still not possible.
> And the "threat of prison" is some of the dumbest hyperbole...
It's not hyperbole. If you willfully fail to file that's grounds for imprisonment:
You're probably thinking of cases when people "forget" or make "mistakes" in their filing.
> ...out of the antitax crowd
I mentioned this already, I am not anti-tax. Please cut it with the labeling. It's late. We're going in circles. Have a good night, I won't be replying to whatever you post next.
And again, whether all other countries do not meet your preference or requirement does not free you from your obligations to this one, as long as you live here.
Whether other countries don't allow you in, don't allow you to stay, don't govern the way you like, or whatever other complaint you may have about other countries, that does not change your present-day relationship to this one: that you live here, and as such are obligated to pay taxes as long as you do.
And of course there are, right now, many other countries that you could emigrate to if you liked. Even if your A-list countries aren't open, you still have lots of options.
Sorry, itistoday2, I'm sure you're a nice person in person, but the argument you're making is obnoxious. Have you noticed how people get really annoyed when you make it? It's not because it's a good argument!
People also used to get annoyed when people said the Earth wasn't the center of the solar system.
Of the most "livable" countries:
- United Arab Emirates: don't want to live in the middle east, no thanks. I disagree with many of the laws there and have no close family or friends anywhere nearby.
- Bahamas: gotta buy land there or pay an annual fee. This is probably the most reasonable of all options, but my work precludes me from living there.
- Bermuda: One of the world's most expensive places to live. Possible if I could afford it (can't at the moment).
- Andorra: would be awesome. Not sure what the situation is with living there as a non-citizen (it takes 20 years to become one). Since one has to be a citizen of some country one wouldn't be able to renounce their US citizenship for 20 years (at least) and therefore would still have to pay income taxes to the United States.
- Monaco: "Getting a residence permit practically requires millionaire status."
I think ebrenes framed the situation well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9540888
While you can theoretically leave the U.S. whenever you want, you cannot stop paying taxes whenever you want.
10 years, 20 years, whatever.
None of this changes the fact that what is being done in the United States is theft, plain and simple. The government never came to me and asked if I agreed to any of these income taxes, they just say pay up or we'll ruin your life. No negotiation, no agreed upon exchange for goods or services, just extortion.
You listed several countries you could move to. The fact that you don't want to move to any of them, for whatever reason, does not turn US taxation into "theft".
And again, you agree to pay them by continuing to live here.
Just like, when you sit down at a restaurant and order a meal, you're agreeing to pay for it without negotiation, without a specific contract outlining specifications for the food, etc. Don't like it? Go to another restaurant.
There is a verbal agreement (contract) outlining the specifications of the food. It says "pancakes" in the menu, it shows me the price, and I choose to order the pancakes for that stated price.
That is completely different from how taxes work in the United States. An appropriate analogy would be being born in a restaurant and being forced to pay money for what you have no idea and no say in. There is no menu. What's given to you is chosen by people you don't know and who you've never had a single conversation with. And btw, you can't just "get up and leave" the restaurant either.
When the analogy is this incompatible, you can compare anything to anything else and declare that bananas are just like soap.
If you can't see the difference, you are deluding yourself.
As an adult, you can revoke your consent and leave.
You keep telling me how:
1) Other countries don't offer what you want,
2) It's expensive to move to another country,
3) Many countries won't grant you citizenship,
And so on.
None of those mean that you can't leave and go somewhere else. They just mean that wherever you go, you'll have to make a compromise.
Being forced to make a compromise elsewhere does not mean that taxation here is theft.
None of your claims support the false assertion that "taxation is theft".
I really don't understand what part of this you're missing. I really don't get what part of this plain language is in dispute.
To revoke consent I would have had to have been of a mind to have given it in the first place.
My parents payed taxes when I was a child. I did not. I then grew into a situation where I had to make money to stay off the streets and was forced to pay this government.
Maybe this isn't so black and white. I would be willing to agree that your point of view carries more weight the longer I stay here in a capacity where I am capable of moving to another country.
However, it starts out as theft and remains so until I have no excuse remaining for not leaving, and then it's only if there is a fair alternative available.
If there's some country out there that doesn't have an income tax but rapes its citizens 12 hours out of the day, that can't be counted as a fair alternative. It would still be extortion then ("pay us or get raped!").
The government provides you services, and you consent to paying for them by continuing to live here.
Before you were old enough to give consent, your parents made that decision for you. As an infant, you weren't capable of making such decisions, and as your guardians, your folks made it for you.
Now that you're (presumably) old enough to give consent, you are doing so by remaining here.
The government isn't forcing you to stay, even if you can't afford to leave right now. If your finances don't permit it, then I would suggest you save up until you can afford a bus ticket to Canada or Mexico, and then emigrate. Our government won't stop you at the border. (Canada or Mexico might, but that's them, not us.)
That you don't like the other countries out there (they aren't "fair alternatives") does not mean that, suddenly, taxation here is actually theft. It means you're picky, or you don't want to compromise, or whatever.
It doesn't change the fact that, as long as you're here, you're obligated to pay for a small share of the government's cost of doing business.
You may not like that obligation--it's still not theft. You may disagree with how tax dollars are spent--it's still not theft. You may dislike how you never signed an "I agree to pay taxes" contract--it's still not theft.
> That you don't like the other countries out there (they aren't "fair alternatives") does not mean that, suddenly, taxation here is actually theft.
Yes, it does. The word for it is extortion.
1. No consent existed to begin with and money was taken forcibly. Theft. By definition. Go argue with a dictionary.
2. An alternative presents itself but the alternative is rape and so the choice is between theft or rape. This is called extortion. By definition. Go argue with a dictionary.
You also keep ignoring the facts that:
1) You consent to taxation by living here,
2) And your parents consented for you when you were too young to do on your own.
You keep saying "no consent existed" but it has existed all your life, first by your legal guardians, and now by you.
Why this is wrong was addressed previously so not gonna repeat myself.
> And your parents consented for you when you were too young to do on your own.
Your parents cannot give this consent for you. Can they consent for you to be raped? Would their approval of you being raped suddenly make it not rape?
No. You're arguments are nonsensical. Go home. I'm done here.
You say "theft" like it's the typical "take" act that the word normally implies. It's more like someone stealing $200 and giving you a bicycle you didn't ask for, but you're likely still going to use it anyhow. ie. it's complicated, so it gets a new word :)
Several million dollars later, the initiative is scrapped and all bicycles are replaced at taxpayer expense with Enduros, in a move completely unrelated to the opening of the new Enduro factory and recent election of extremely popular Mayor Nathan Enduro, who ran on a platform of smaller government and the freedom to spend your money on as much gasoline and Enduro parts as you want.
Sounds like we're in agreement then. :)
> and giving you a bicycle you didn't ask for
s/bicycle/war. No worries, I make that typo all the time. ;)
And bring healthcare up to French standards.
The anti-tax crowd is just like the anti-vax crowd. They both want a free ride on the rest of our backs; the anti-vaxers want the benefit of herd immunity, and the anti-taxers want others to pay the cost of living in the modern world.
(*edited to a missing word)
In a world where everyone gets hit on the head with a baseball bat once a week, some people are saying "what's with this? Can't we figure out some way of not getting hit by baseball bats every week?" And you're turning that into "I don't want to get hit by a baseball bat, someone else should get hit instead of me".
I don't think those features are particularly relevant to the mistake Frondo was making.
Frondo claimed that "anti-taxers" were free riders, which models well with the modified analogy as those who opt-out of being hit in the head, at the expense of everyone else, yet still likely benefit, even if only indirectly, from living in a world where others take the hits to achieve the benefits.
Note that I'm not saying Frondo is correct, I was just showing that the analogy given didn't refute his claim in any way I could see.
Personally, I expect most people against taxes fall under my last category of people trying to find another way to get the needed benefits without being hit in the head, or at least want to get more bang for their buck or a more fair distribution of cost/benefit.
Sure it is. It's good for the people being employed to operate the baseball bats. It's also good for the people being employed to make the baseball bats.
I don't know anyone like that, and I suspect they're in a tiny minority.
For my part, I'd consider those taxes to be theft when they are used for purposes other than a strict list of constitutionally mandated purposes. The other things are services I want to neither pay for nor receive.
Some examples: unemployment (ahem, now "Reemployment") tax, social security tax, welfare, domestic spying operations, Medicare/Medicaid, public education, the Affordable Care Act, much of our military spending, corporate bailouts, lots of alphabet agencies' budgets, etc.
Note that it's not freeloading; I don't want anyone to have them paid and/or provided for by government, including myself.
As for not wanting something, but still being obligated to pay for it, there many transactions in the world where you have to pay for more than you want; no automaker will sell you a brand-new car with all of the seats missing, and very often when you go to a restaurant, even if you ask for some ingredient to be left out, you still pay full price for the meal.
That some of your taxes go to things you don't like does not mean you are free from paying for them.
The route to changing what your taxes go to is the political arena, not merely claiming that, because you don't like it, they're "theft".
10th amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This simply isn't true. Anti-taxers want to choose where their dollars go - each and every one.
In none of these cases--paying for a car where you'll take out the seats, paying for a meal where you don't get the mushrooms, paying taxes for government services you don't agree with--is the payment suddenly "theft".
The difference is consent. People consent to paying for those meals or the car. But nobody ever consented to taxation. That's all part of the "social contract" we're born into.
You're right that initial decision of consent was made for you by someone else--it was made for you by your parents, when you were a child and they had custody of you.
As an adult, you are free to revoke your consent by leaving the country and ceasing to enjoy the benefits its government provides.
(And as for "nobody consented to taxation," I consented, and continue to do so, because I like contributing to the country where I live and where I'm a citizen.)
Even then, it would be basically impossible to avoid benefiting in some way without leaving the country altogether. There will always have to be at least some "core" services that everyone has to pay into, but that doesn't mean techlibertarian's idea totally lacks merit. Maybe some things should be partially opt-outable. Maybe people would start to question whether America really needs to spend half of its tax revenue on the military; maybe there would be more pressure to get some of the presently useless (and very expensive) 2.3 million prisoners back into the workforce.
We are unable to give consent (consent implies choice), so it is theft through coercion (prison).
See "group fund" for a voluntary form of taxation: http://groupcurrency.org
As far as Proudhon (first time hearing this), it seems he was referring to land only, and that "property did not extend to exclusive possession of labor-made wealth."
It's unclear to me how someone can "own" a piece of land which they did not create but stumbled upon. To me it just seems like a situation where the person with the biggest gun wins, and has nothing to do with "property". So in that sense, perhaps, yes, claiming ownership over something you did not create (Earth) might very well be interpreted as theft.
However, the notion of "land property" is a potentially convoluted rabbit hole that is very different from a straightforward discussion about taking money people earned with their own labor under the threat of force.
A compelling argument. In that case this appears to be a non-story, and I'm not sure what the fuss is about.
The circumstances under which your property can be taken are incredibly overreaching and unfair. There have been situations where people have had their homes taken away for ridiculous situations like this one: http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/08/26/p...
We need to get rid of these laws entirely or at the very least, make it a more fair playing field. The authorities should be expected to bring some evidence to the table, not assume guilty until proven innocence.
The DEA is looking out for our safety by implementing this well-intentioned protocol... If the government didn't, who would hold our money accountable for the criminal behavior it's been involved in? Just look at the facts... almost 80% of bills have touched drugs! Appalling!
And they're transparent about the process--they put that filthy money on trial even though it keeps refusing to talk. Enough 'shock and awe' from our DA's and I know we'll get there eventually... We need harsher sentencing guidelines!!
[United States vs. $1,058.00 of U.S. Currency](https://casetext.com/case/united-states-v-105800-in-us-curre...)
I certainly sleep better at night knowing that the currency loitering in my pocket doesn't get a pass on its delinquent past just because it's an inanimate object...
Criminals have a large body of very smart people working for them to develop new creative ways or hiding money flows across different legal entities and different jurisdictions. These people don't travel with cash. You won't even find out their names.
These laws don't help with serious offenders just catch some small fish on occasion and also terrorize ordinary innocent people.
In the case of black markets, yes, there is a great deal of obfuscation, however on a civil level and in business with the tax code it essentially creates an "arms race of precedent" in the courts, wherein those with capital exploit loopholes in the legal system to establish new precedents that can circumvent any spirit of the law for decades to come. In most cases I see this as a positive thing, but when state and federal prosecutors use this against civilians, it can have some truly ridiculous outcomes.
Speaking to your comment about the black market specifically, though, I raised this concern when Obama signed that executive notice last month pertaining to individuals on the SDN list--as a hypothetical, if someone on that list were to have a criminal enterprise, and if that criminal enterprise was using a legitimate merchant processing account to obfuscate funds (as per your "ways of hiding money"), then ANYONE who had ever processed a credit-card transaction with that account would be liable to have their assets frozen indefinitely and with impunity by the US government.
Dangerous precedent indeed.
Certainly putting all of their assets into escrow and only allowing access for approved uses (like say legal fees) would achieve the same results without pissing all over the sixth amendment.
Where do we draw the line?
Yes, actually. It's a standard tactic that was used in, eg, the prosecution of Michael Milken.
It's also nice if you can get some kind of tax angle going so you can threaten the target's wife as well.
Steve Jackson Games? Delorean?
You have a major problem with your presumption of guilt.
Whatever happened to "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"? I know that has origins in English Law but the Founding Fathers considered it to be so important it figures heavily in the Bill of Rights.
> Once property has been seized, the burden of proof falls on the defendant to get it back -- even if the cops ultimately never charge them with a crime. "We don’t have to prove that the person is guilty," an Albuquerque DEA agent told the Journal. "It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty."
Things in the US are not nearly as bad as in third world countries. They're bad, they're serious, but third world (or whatever you want to call Russia and China) problems are really in a league of their own. Dubai is in a different league than NYC / SF.
In the US, you can talk about it, you can get a lawyer, you can have newspaper articles written. Many third world countries - nope. There may be a couple of bloggers but they tend to get arrested.
Again, I'm not saying these things in the US are OK. I'm just saying it's unrealistic to say Manhattan is like Dubai, or NSA is like Chinese internet monitors/hackers. Really - not even close.
And is this helping Joseph Rivers, a victim of shameless organised theft and institutional racism?
The "most people are unaffected" argument, which gets trotted out a lot, has a strong reek of the Martin Niemøller idea: ( http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392 )
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Speak out, god damn it, if you have an ounce of freedom left in your blood! How can you sit idly by and make excuses and diminish the problem while your fellow man is being trampled by a ruling class of armoured thugs and liars? Is this what America was built on? That's not what you claim in your movies.
If you're making excuses for how this sort of despicable crap is "not that big a problem", you need to take a good, long look in the mirror and realise that you're currently part of the problem.
Every time an innocent has his rights trampled in this way, it is all of humanity that suffers. I am incensed on this person's behalf, and shocked and disappointed that this person's compatriots take it so lightly.
I'm pretty sure it was.
- Calling my local representative (Someone on the other end of the line thanks me and then politely dismisses me saying they'll pass it along).
- Trying to inform friends and family (They don't really care for many of the reasons stated above)
I think apathetic is a good descriptor for my current state of mind around things like this. Any effort I've put into large scale change in the past has felt like spinning my wheels and generally decreased my overall happiness due to general frustration. Letting go of caring about politics was a major happiness/satisfaction increase in my generall well-being.
Yes, it seems like giving up. But then over time the more smart, educated, likely wealthy people leave the US and take residence somewhere less objectionable, the less economically competitive the US will be. Eventually it will decline.
At the very least, you'll know that you weren't one of the people contributing to sustaining this system. It might seem like a drop in the ocean, but, as the conclusion of Cloud Atlas puts it, what is the ocean but a multitude of drops?
There are lawyers in this thread that claim cases where civil forfeiture is done to prevent the individual getting a lawyer.
Of course this probably doesn't happen in reality...
The problem is, you must be able to afford a lawyer. If the legal process of defending oneself is only available to the rich, then it largely does no exist for the general population.
America admits to torture and does nothing.
America has a kill list that only the executive presides over and keeps secret.
We've killed hundreds of thousands of civilians over the last decade and displaced millions.
And yet here is a presumptuous America ready to claim moral superiority over Russians and Chinese. A horrific display of Orwellian doublethink.
You can't see online news articles negative of Chinese leadership, in China, they're taken down or blocked for the entire country.
This is not "doublethink", this is just being realistic. China and Russian are, objectively, way way worse. If you don't see that, you've lost touch with reality.
You simply state China and Russia are far worse but present no evidence.
America has killed hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians over the last 12 years.
America holds people in indefinite prison without trial and even admits that they are innocent but continues to lock them away.
We torture people. We have secret kill lists. Our police rob citizens without punishment. Our politicians openly flaunt the law and go unpunished, as do bankers and large corporations.
Anything to support your view beyond mere assertion and blind allegiance?
"in 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Dui Hua Foundation estimated that 5,000 people were executed each year in China – far more than all other nations combined.   However, the estimated number of executions fell to 2,400 in 2013. The precise number of executions is regarded as a state secret."
The US executed 40 - 50 people per year in those years. The US information is publicly available, of course.
This does not include the hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians the US has killed in the 21st century.
The civil forfeitures problem is non-trivial, but you're drastically exaggerating. The whole of the US has a very highly functional, low-corruption judiciary system, and a mostly still intact and strong property rights system.
Most of America is low crime, low corruption, the opposite of what you're implying. In fact it's because of that, that most Americans are unaware of what organizations like the DEA are doing.
The US is less corrupt than France for example:
Careful there. The Transparency International page you link to is the perception index.
It measures what a set of people perceives corruption to be like in each country, and composits results from a number of different surveys in a way that as far as I know is not benchmarked against other data to verify if survey results actually matches reality.
You can not use it as a measure of how corrupt a country actually is. It's likely that it's an indicator when the numbers are very far apart, or that it can be used to spot trends in a country over time, but the relatively small difference between France and the US seems unlikely to be sufficient to draw any conclusions.
7% of people who interacted with the police report paying a bribe to them? 11% for education I could believe, but 15% to the judiciary, 17% to "land services"?
Maybe I just need to step my bribe game up, but that seems significantly higher than I would have expected.
Yes, because corruption has been legalized through corruption.
You can, as a rich person, or an enterprise, legally bride politicians so that they can pass laws for your own profit.
"low crime, low corruption".
Also remember that "no crime" has been committed in the 2008 financial crisis.
What has changed in that time, is now the government has vast economic controls at its disposal. If the government doesn't control the economy, you can't buy economic favors from them. When the US was still a very Capitalist nation at the start of the 20th century, in which the government had little control over the economy, political bribery would not get you very far when it comes to passing laws for your own profit.
To sum it up: political bribery is far more difficult today than it was 100 years ago, but now it can buy you a lot of things whereas before it could not, because of the substantial expansion of government control over the economy.
When it comes to the financial crisis, Western Europe committed many of the same financial 'crimes' you're referring to that, that the US did. The financial, banking and real estate boom and bust hit countries from Britain to France to Germany to Spain. What happened in the US was not unique to the US, the same things were going on in a lot of 'first world' nations.
The Fed stepped in and bailed out tons of European banks for example, the same as they did US banks.
It may not be legal to give politicians money, but it's totally legal to donate to their old expired campaign, and for them to then have the campaign repay the loan they gave it.
But the quid pro quo inherent in election financing ("If I make choice A, PAC #1234 will fund $5m of ads in my next campaign ... if I make choice B, I'll get a couple hundred checks from constituents at $50 each and PAC #1234 will run those $5m of ads against me") is much more insidious.
The practice of civil forfeiture on people who can't defend legally, like this guy, sure doesn't indicate that.
Maybe for the HSBC guys who laundered $378.4 billion over several years there will be a small fine, their profit for a few months. But no bank was forfeited. No board members were sent to jail for it. It seems property rights are solid, if you are rich.
The reason the US still ranks high on the low corruption index, is because you have to take the value of the whole, not just one small problem such as this.
It impacts an extraordinarily small percentage of Americans today, and the dollar sums are extraordinarily small in such a large economy. Put another way, on that 100 point corruption scale, the DEA program would represent a negative deduction of 2 or 3 points.
What's actually important here, is stopping it before it gets larger. If they don't stop it, it will get much bigger, and graduate from being a small problem to being a serious threat to the average citizen.
If we're talking about rights violations, civil forfeitures are a joke compared to the war on drugs for example and the incarceration that has been going on since the 1970s.
The title system is weak and outdated, and the mass fraud of "robosigning" (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/false-affidavits-fore...) has not been adequately addressed.
When you have a country of 330 million people as large geographically as the US, it's very difficult as a citizen in one state, to be aware of what a national agency (the DEA) is doing across the entire nation, unless the national news outlets are writing about it.
While a typical American is going about their day to day life, living a local life (some town, in some county, in some state), the world's largest, most powerful federal / national government is aggressively attempting to undermine them in hundreds of ways large and small.
The US has a federal government that is financially the size of the entire economy of Germany, doing nothing but passing more laws, economic regulations, taxes, et al. to strangle liberty as much as they can and increase their power. There is very little else they do, or need to do. What does a beast that large do? Protect itself, entrench its own interests, grab more money, write more laws - there is nothing else for it to do most of the time.
Try doing something about that, or even thinking about how you can stop it, if you're an average citizen. It boggles the mind. Oh yeah, while you're at it, deal with the fact that the US military (which the NSA belongs to) is now increasingly taking aim at the US domestic population, you know, the world's most powerful military with a $600 billion budget.
Now compare this situation to the complexity faced by, say, Finland (5.4 million people) in trying to reign in or adjust its government system. The US has something like 200,000 pages of federal regulations; try fixing that, while the vast dedicated law passing machine is busy passing thousands of new regulations.
It isn't going to stop expanding and over-reaching until it crashes, choking itself to death.
In this case I'm confident we're going to see the forfeiture racket neutered in the next few years. It seems to have finally gotten large enough to draw serious Congressional and White House scrutiny to stop it.
It's similar to why the patent trolls are increasingly getting so much attention from D.C. 20 years ago when they were vastly smaller in their impact and scale, they simply didn't garner the attention of most pundits, journalists, politicians, etc. They didn't impact most businesses at all. Now they've become a vast parasite, and when the dollar drain on the US economy gets into the tens of billions, people start noticing.
The UK seems especially bad to me at the moment. The level of open surveillance that they practice on their citizens is astonishing.
People are only just starting to cotton on to this, but the Five Eyes are getting around the restrictions of not openly monitoring all their citizens by giving access to their surveillance systems to another member of the five and then just getting it handed straight back.
"Oh no, your honour, we don't monitor all our citizens."
The practice of civil forfeiture is being "allowed" by not doing anything about it or by giving it legitimacy by accepting it as something that should be reformed politically rather than treating it as a criminal violation of constitutional rights. Just because you get worked up about it for 15 minutes when reading an article about the injustice it causes doesn't mean that you aren't allowing it. Most people will unfortunately not even have a strong opinion about it until it happens to them or someone close to them.
Two things come to mind. We can compensate Joseph for his loss through his gofundme campaign. But we can also start naming the thieves. One of the accomplices is reportedly "Sean [R.] Waite, agent-in-charge of the DEA’s Albuquerque office". Who are the rest?
However, if you carry large amounts of cash, you're subject to warrantless seizure because of some sort of bizarre assumption that the only reason to opt out of the banking system is if you are a criminal.
It is analogous to the point a judge made in a case here:
"The submission of prescription information to the PDMP is required by law. The only way to avoid submission of prescription information to the PDMP is to forgo medical treatment or to leave the state. This is not a meaningful choice."
Yes, money in politics is a corrupting influence, yes, neither major party gets it right on some big issues (like the size of our military and how ready we are to use it, how much wall street gets away with ripping us off, etc), but are they the same?
No, of course not. Had McCain won in 2008, think we'd be looking at something like McCainCare now? As imperfect as Obamacare is, it's a vast improvement over the old status quo, and not an issue the republicans were going to tackle in our lifetimes.
If your state's signed on, great, you're done.
If your state hasn't yet signed on, call up your legislators, write to them, get your pals to do the same.
Make noise, make it clear this is an issue they should start caring about.
And aside from that, numbers build legitimacy. If a third party is obviously not going to win, but gets 10% of the vote, we start taking it seriously, and it can build on that success over multiple elections, just like individual candidates do.
The 'wasted vote' trope assumes that the sole point of a vote is to elect a candidate. Your vote is also an act of free speech - it can send a message to your fellow citizens and your government. Even in our stupid two-party system, politicians watch which way the wind is blowing.
An economic contraction and a tax cut then combined to eliminate the surplus, but it still shows that third-party votes can have power.
Also, Federal elections aren't the only kind: third party candidates win elections with some frequency at lower levels, because at those levels the person can matter more than the party.
How is voting for a Rep or Dem not a wasted vote, considering what they're doing to us?
3rd parties aren't fucking us (yet). Vote for whoever isn't fucking us, not because they might win (they won't), but to register the protest.
> The position is sometimes summed up, in an extreme form, as "All votes for anyone other than the second place are votes for the winner", because by voting for other candidates, they have denied those votes to the second place candidate who could have won had they received them.
With rare exceptions, chances are negligible that anyone but a Democrat or Republican are going to win. I know this. I'm not voting 3rd party because I think there's any chance at all that a 3rd party could win.
I vote 3rd party because I prefer to vote instead of not voting (exercising my right and civic duty), and because it's repugnant to me to give my vote to the Dem or Rep party. I really don't want to choose the lesser of two evils, I prefer to oppose them both, however feeble my voice may be.
> I prefer to oppose them both, however feeble my voice may be.
This little act of ego is helping ruin the country; thanks.
Don't vote for the winner, it's a potentially wasted vote (according to the article).