Saturday Links

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

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38 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  j00bz | 

    Serious question, and if there’s a case to be cited, I’d appreciate having it.

    How has asset forfeiture not been challenged and defeated under the 5th amendment’s “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”?

  2. #2 |  Lefty | 

    The Bonds thing pisses me off. Don’t they have anything else to do besides bread and circus regulation?

  3. #3 |  Jim Wetzel | 

    “DOJ report finds that Seattle cops violate the Constitution one out of every five times they use force.”

    And if one department of our Supervisors says that another supervisory outfit violates the constitution one time in five, you can be confident that it’s really more like 4.9 times in five. Anyway, “violating” the constitution is like violating a well-decayed corpse: extremely distasteful, but without great significance. The deed is long since done.

  4. #4 |  Jonathan Foreman | 

    Regarding the Perry pension double-dip, I think that everyone on this website should regard this as great news. Given the horrific optics of taking a state pension while remaining a state employee, I think that this is a tacit admission by Perry that he will be withdrawing shortly after the Iowa caucus.

  5. #5 |  treed | 

    This news today: Thousands of Marines and sailors will participate in Bold Agitator 2012, the largest amphibious military exercise to be conducted by the U.S. in more than a decade.

  6. #6 |  Stephen | 

    I wonder if drug dealers could start signing away the rights to other properties that don’t belong to them? The mayor’s house maybe? Some local congress-critter’s property?

  7. #7 |  Kevin | 

    “Feds spend tens of millions of dollars to put Barry Bonds on probation for lying to a roomful of professional liars.”

    Pro-Edit: Feds spend tens of millions of dollars to put Barry Bonds on probation for undercutting the credibility of a room of professional liars.

  8. #8 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Why is the government collecting your tax money for retirement and health care programs? That’s not a stated constitutional role.”- Rick Perry

    Perry then added, “the government really should be collecting your tax money to pad my sweet fucking pension. Fuck the poor. I gots tah get mine! You got a problem with that, bitches? And oh yeah, don’t mess with Texas!”

  9. #9 |  Johnny Clamboat | 


    The constitution is a dead letter. The invisible ink at the end of each amendment reads “unless convenient for the State.”

    “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” – Lysander Spooner

  10. #10 |  Mike | 

    re: Dog disguise kits
    Spent a lot of money, use it once, for a quick laugh at the dog’s expense.

    re: Police meet man at airport baggage claim
    It is okay because the guy is a republican, and they are meanies so he deserves it.

    re: the gay mayor
    I didn’t know there were separate adult stores for gays and straights, I really live a sheltered life. The quote “conservative, progressive individual”, this just confuses me.

  11. #11 |  Episiarch | 

    Regarding Johnny Clamboat’s use of Spooner: you can download Spooner works to your Kindle for free on Amazon. I suggest to all that you do so immediately, and if you don’t have a Kindle…go buy one, because they rule.

  12. #12 |  EH | 

    Yeah, the Perry thing is just par for the course. Why did anybody ever take him seriously? Because “people” did? Srs q.

    That expired tags story just made my eyes glaze over, though. What exactly was the police excuse? I think I was into the second paragraph out of a four paragraph explanation before I had to look away, still none the wiser.

  13. #13 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Regarding the Constitution and the State; At all times and in all places, the Law means what those in power say it means, or think they can get away with saying it means. On that front the shift in society’s position on Gun Control that has taken place in my lifetime is significant and encouraging. While smug Liberal Intellectuals tend to treat people who say so as deranged, it is a matter of confirmable fact that there are more armed citizens than there are agents of the State, and they tend to be better shots. Should push come to shove the Military is by no means certainly in the State’s corner. The various state and federal Lawn Forcement organizations, for all their militarization, are seriously overmatched against all ex-military, much less the citizenry as a whole.

    This is a lesson from the Tea Party/Occupy dichotomy that seems to have been missed. Yes, the Tea Party got permits and mostly obeyed the authorities, but at the same time the authorities should be (and probably were) aware that the Tea Party includes large numbers of people who own effective weapons and know how to use them. On the other hand, the Occupy protests come from a segment of society that is famously anti-war, anti-gun, and whose violence (when they commit any) is notoriously incompetent. Yet another reason the Cops clobbered the Occupy protesters, but not the Tea Party.

  14. #14 |  CyniCAl | 

    #1 | j00bz — “How has asset forfeiture not been challenged and defeated under the 5th amendment’s “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”?”

    The quick answer is that the government sues the property itself, not the owner of the property. It leads to interesting case law, such as “The People of the United States vs. $100,000 in cash.”

    I’m serious and absolutely not joking, please do the research on your own.

  15. #15 |  CyniCAl | 

    #4 | Jonathan Foreman — “Regarding the Perry pension double-dip, I think that everyone on this website should regard this as great news.”

    But someone will still be elected, right? Sorry, I don’t look at this as good news.

  16. #16 |  Jim | 

    The Bonds conviction is not even for lying though which makes it worse. His only conviction was for giving a long winded side track to a question asked and when asked immediately after his answer the question again gave the answer the feds were looking for. It is believed to be the first time someone was convicted for this. The lesson of course in all this is never talk to the feds without blanket immunity because you never know what other crime you might open yourself up too.

  17. #17 |  Mark Z. | 

    Yes, the Tea Party got permits and mostly obeyed the authorities, but at the same time the authorities should be (and probably were) aware that the Tea Party includes large numbers of people who own effective weapons and know how to use them.

    “If a couchant lion postpone his spring too long, people will begin wondering whether he is not a stuffed specimen after all.”
    — Abraham Lincoln, on Gen. McClellan

  18. #18 |  BamBam | 

    @9 for The Win. Lysander Spooner was ahead of his time.

  19. #19 |  JOR | 

    Yeah, the Tea Party is a horrible example of a successful protest movement. They basically got absorbed into the politics-as-usual Viral Center, on the same side of the GOP hacks they originally started up to complain about, no less.

  20. #20 |  Jncc | 

    “Feds spend tens of millions of dollars to put Barry Bonds on probation for lying to a roomful of professional liars.”

    He lied to citizens on a grand jury.

    You’re confusing your cynical dishonesty with wit.

  21. #21 |  jdb79 | 

    20 – do you know any other songs? We’ve heard this one already, and it’s a little weepy for this crowd.

    “‘The defendant basically lived a double life for decades before this,’ Parrella said. ‘He had mistresses throughout his marriages.'”

    I wonder how Parrella feels about the high point of his career as a federal prosecutor.

  22. #22 |  Brandon | 

    Jncc, do you have a point? The federal government spent tens of millions of dollars on a grandstanding, pointless prosecution of someone who they could not prove committed any actual crimes, so they stuck him with what amounts to a procedural violation out of spite. The best part is that the U.S. Attorney basically admits that it was just for spite, or maybe jealousy if that makes you feel better about this tremendous abuse of power.

    “Parrella had sought 15 months in prison and argued that home confinement wasn’t punishment enough “for a man with a 15,000-square-foot house with all the advantages.” Bonds lives in a six-bedroom, 10-bath house with a gym and swimming pool.”

    Translation: Depriving a man of his liberty on a technicality isn’t enough because that man is more successful than me!

    “”The defendant basically lived a double life for decades before this,” Parrella said. He ripped Bonds not only over performance-enhancing drugs but over his personal life: “He had mistresses throughout his marriages.”

    Parrella said Bonds made lots of money due in part to his use of performance enhancers and that he has been “unrepentant” and “unapologetic” about it.”

    Look very closely at that, Jncc. Go over it slowly, in detail. Notice that absolutely nothing he mentions there is a crime.

  23. #23 |  delurking | 

    I don’t understand why this pension “double-dipping” thing upsets people. I don’t have a gov’t-funded pension, but I do have a 401k and a retirement account. If I work past 65 and start withdrawing from them while I’m still working, that wouldn’t be a problem, would it? Why is a pension any different? OK, it is funded from taxes, but so is his salary. If he had been payed more each year and had put the excess money into a private retirement account, it would be the same thing.

  24. #24 |  Windy | 

    @ #13, the Constitution has had little effect on government excesses because the People basically stopped enforcing it sometime around Lincoln’s presidency. Hopefully the People are realizing this and starting to come to the conclusion they need to enforce it if we want to return to what is supposed to be a country full of people who are free to live their lives without government interference. I, for one, have been trying to spread that information around. If we want a Constitutional Republic that serves the needs government is supposed to serve, the majority of citizens must exercise our Constitutional responsibility to disobey unconstitutional laws, remove politicians who propose unconstitutional laws and actions from government and stand up for ourselves against the unlawful actions of the courts which are prosecuting unconstitutional laws, by going to trial and arguing the Constitutional limits on what government is authorized to do and what individuals ARE allowed to do, instead of plea bargaining to avoid trial.

    “The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and any statue, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
    The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
    An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
    Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it . . .
    A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one.
    An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law.
    Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby.
    No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
    – Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177. (late 2nd Ed. Section 256)”

  25. #25 |  Windy | 

    Oops that was supposed to be “statute”. I usually remember to correct it but this time I forgot.

  26. #26 |  nigmalg | 

    “The quick answer is that the government sues the property itself, not the owner of the property. It leads to interesting case law, such as “The People of the United States vs. $100,000 in cash.”

    I’m sufficiently confused as to how a person’s property isn’t “property” under the 5th amendment, regardless of “who” is the defendant. I read a lot of the case law, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the robed tyrants wanted to excuse it.

  27. #27 |  David | 

    The idea is that by suing the property, they still achieve due process of law because they’re using a court proceeding and not just grabbing it with no form of recourse. But as it’s a civil suit, the burden of proof in a forfeiture case is a lot lower than in the underlying criminal charges.

  28. #28 |  Marty | 

    at least the people commenting on the asset forfeiture article are appropriately outraged. we need to be buying tar and feathers in bulk for this one…

  29. #29 |  Name Nomad | 

    NH considers deregulating cosmetology and other jobs

    Absolute best quote from a (licensed) hairdresser in the article:

    But licensees like Nashua cosmetologist Pam New say that their training protects the public which trusts the state to regulate the industry. New says hairdressers use powerful, caustic chemicals like bleach that can cause scars from burns if used incorrectly. Consumers assume cosmetologists are trained and licensed now, she said.

    “God forbid if anything happens,” she said. “Literally, we could make bombs with these chemicals.”

    Good thing they’re not using hyperbole to protect their government-based barriers to entry or anything.

  30. #30 |  derfel cadarn | 

    If lying to congress is a crime we are going to have to hold special elections asap because a whole lotta people will be going to jail.

  31. #31 |  c andrew | 

    The idea of property forfeiture goes back to the Inquisition where property of confessed or burned heretics was considered “attainted” with their guilt and can only be cleansed by the loving grasp of Mother Church. Secular authorities (Read as Kings and Despots) liked the idea so much that they then used them against people “attainted” with treason with their assets forfeited to the crown.

    The US supposedly did away with this notion except in the case of Treason and even there, there is an anti-government joker in the deck.

    Punishment for treason may not “work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person” so convicted. The descendants of someone convicted for treason could not, as they were under English law, be considered “tainted” by the treason of their ancestor. Furthermore, Congress may confiscate the property of traitors, but that property must be inheritable at the death of the person convicted.

    I find it of great interest that those willing to prosecute the drug war take their most significant tactics – asset forfeiture and the display of the confessed – from those sterling protectors of liberty, the Church’s Inquisition and the Monarchs and Despots of the past. It appears that Newt Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism is timely – in an historical sense. Wasn’t he the one that advocated public executions for drug dealers by beheading? Wow, the Statist Trifecta bringing together the bloody traditions of the Spanish Inquisition, the Tudor Monarchy, and the 1793 Reign of Terror. You have to give Newt credit. The bastard doesn’t do anything by half-measures.

  32. #32 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    New “public health” fad: Texting while driving is addictive, “like smoking.”

  33. #33 |  Brian V. | 

    Reference C. S. P. Schofield in #13:

    Your second paragraph is quite a stretch!

  34. #34 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: C. S. P. Schofield, #13:

    You made some valid points in the second paragraph, but I’d add that the Tea Party was quickly co-opted by moneyed interests, neutralizing its threat to the powers-that-be (early on, it was strongly anti-bank), while OWS has consistently and directly threatened the power of major corporations, which are also major donors to things like mayoral campaigns. Corporate political patrons are probably happy to have an such an easily co-opted rabble of libertarians-turned-bog-standard-dittoheads at their beck and call, making their own gussied-up robbery schemes look like legitimate mainstream policy.

    That said, I assume that some, if not all, of the police responsible for keeping the peace at Tea Party protests were familiar enough with recent history to take care not to provoke another Oklahoma City or Ruby Ridge. Cops tend to come from working-class and military backgrounds, so they’re pretty familiar with right-wing cultural fault lines that police beat reporters usually miss.

  35. #35 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Come to think of it, more than a few cops are probably learning a belated lesson about pepper spray now that Lt. Pike is an internet meme. If they aren’t learning it on their own, they’re probably being force-fed that piece of humble pie by their commanders. Police commanders are a media-savvy breed, and they don’t like having to explain sworn knuckleheads who get caught on video and become overnight celebrities on the evening news. That’s true even of cops who make honest mistakes or have minor temper problems during very heady situations: Johannes Mehserle, John Hatfield, Jeremy Morse, etc. Many commanders throw cops like these under the bus regardless of their actual culpability or the actual severity of their misconduct, if it can even be called that, for the sole reason that they’d like the reporters to shut up for a while. I have to guess that a regular theme at roll-call meetings these days is a ranking officer holding up a picture of Lt. Pike with his can of burning love and barking, “See this guy? Don’t do that!”

    Lt. Pike is looking like the Bull Connor of civil rights for hippies.

  36. #36 |  JOR | 

    #35, In other words, as I’ve said before, civil disobedience functions best by provoking violent responses and then making a fuss over it. In other words, doing the exact opposite of what smug authoritarian hecklers always insist they should do.

  37. #37 |  JOR | 

    Property forfeiture goes back much, much further than the Inquisition.

  38. #38 |  Sheldon Hofstader | 


    I’m pretty sure our government has tons of more pressing things to worry about, like the deficit, the sagging economy, violent crime, and… I could go on, but I’d be wasting as much time as the government has on the whole Bonds saga. They’d be much better off figuring out how to dismiss ridiculous lawsuits like this one from our congested courts: