LP:Civil asset forfeiture is legalized theft by government

February 8, 2017

Yesterday, at a meeting with sheriffs, President Trump commented about ruining the career of a Texas legislator that proposed a bill to reform civil asset forfeiture.

“We’ll destroy his career,” the President said.

The legislator was unnamed and there are several Texas legislators currently proposing bills to reform civil asset forfeiture laws.

Such laws vary by state but in many states it is legal for law enforcement officials to seize property from someone before they are convicted of any crime and then even keep that property even if the person is found innocent.

There have been many cases documented that show how this practice can be abused and, for every case documented, there are countless others that are not.

The Libertarian Party thinks that the current practice of civil asset forfeiture is completely unfair and un-American.

Libertarian National Committee Chair, Nicholas Sarwark, says, “Civil asset forfeiture is nothing more than legalized theft by the government. Basic fairness and justice requires that there be a criminal conviction before someone’s assets can be taken for being proceeds of a crime.”

Sarwark continues, “This legalized theft has been a driver of the failed war on drugs. Thank you to the Texas legislators reforming our system to protect the property of innocent people from being stolen by the government. Our President and his nominee for Attorney General should be ashamed of continuing this immoral policy of legalized theft and bullying legislators who stand up for their constituents.”

He concludes, “When bullies don’t have an argument, they use threats to try to get their way. Such pathetic behavior from the President is sad, but not surprising.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, has been an outspoken advocate for civil asset forfeiture

Source:Post by Lauren Daugherty @ lp.org https://www.lp.org/civil-asset-forfeiture-is-legalized-theft-by-government/

California: Vote No on Debt and Taxes!

On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on whether to issue 9 billion dollars in bonds to pay for school facilities, and whether to extend temporary tax hikes on high earners.

Proposition 51 authorizes the state to issue 9 billion dollars in bonds to pay for construction and repair of facilities for public schools, charters schools and community colleges. The bonds will cost the taxpayers 8.6 billion dollars in interest, for a total cost of $17.6 billion dollars. The state will have to collect a half billion dollars a year in taxes for 35 years to pay back these bonds.

Governor Jerry Brown opposes this new bond issue, because the state has too much debt already. Libertarians favor a system of private schools for all, with scholarships for those who need help paying tuition. This will guarantee access to education for all, while transferring the capital cost of school construction from the taxpayers to private and corporate educational businesses. Governor Jerry Brown and The Libertarian Party urge you to vote No on more debt, Vote No on Proposition 51.

Proposition 55 will extend for 12 years income tax hikes on residents earning $250,000 a year or more. Governor Jerry Brown promoted temporary tax hikes in 2012, and he favors letting the tax increases expire. California already puts a high cost on success, making the state less welcoming to successful individuals and successful companies. We must create a business climate that promotes economic growth in order to keep Californians working and productive. We need tax cuts for economic growth, not tax hikes. Governor Jerry Brown and The Libertarian Party urge you to vote against high taxes, Vote No on Proposition 55.

Proposition 53 is an amendment to the California Constitution that will require voter approval of revenue bonds if the issue exceeds 2 billion dollars. The Constitution now requires approval by the voters for bonds dedicated to funding specific projects, but does not require voter approval for general purpose revenue bonds. Proposition 53 will make it harder for the state to go more into debt. The Libertarian Party urges you to Vote Yes on Proposition 53.

Charles Koch: Bernie Sanders Right that Economy is Rigged

As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he’s running as much against me as he is the other candidates. I have never met the senator, but I know from listening to him that we disagree on plenty when it comes to public policy.

Even so, I see benefits in searching for common ground and greater civility during this overly negative campaign season. That’s why, in spite of the fact that he often misrepresents where I stand on issues, the senator should know that we do agree on at least one — an issue that resonates with people who feel that hard work and making a contribution will no longer enable them to succeed.

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.

Full Commentary by Charles Koch @ The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-koch-this-is-the-one-issue-where-bernie-sanders-is-right/2016/02/18/cdd2c228-d5c1-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html

William Anderson on “The Economics of Bernie Sanders”

As the political campaign of Hillary Clinton continues to run aground, Democrats are flocking to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the self-described “socialist” US senator from Vermont, who has been a fixture in that state for more than three decades. Not unlike the presidential campaign of Ron Paul, Sanders is drawing large, enthusiastic crowds who are very receptive to his message of increased state control of the US economy.

Obviously, when a person running a campaign based upon socialist principles is drawing attention and big crowds, we might ask just what does Sanders mean by “socialist,” and what would he do if he were elected president of the United States? To better answer that question, I am taking a closer look at what we would call the “economics” of Bernie Sanders.

What Do We Mean by “Socialism”?

Before looking at Sanders’s platform, however, I believe it is important to note that when socialists speak of “victories” in the economy, they are not talking about actual results, but rather political achievements in the forms of laws being passed that mandate certain policies. Whether or not these policies actually achieve what socialists claim will be accomplished is another story altogether, but results are irrelevant to socialists.

This should surprise no one because, after all, socialism is based upon political control of the economy.

Full post by William Anderson @ The Mises Institute https://mises.org/library/economics-bernie-sanders

de Rugy:”Overseas Private Investment Corporation is ripe for termination”

Now that the Export-Import Bank’s charter has expired, it’s time to examine other programs that should follow in Ex-Im’s footsteps. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a federal agency that subsidizes U.S.-owned overseas businesses with taxpayer-backed financing, is ripe for termination when its charter expires on September 30.

Immediately focusing on a new target on the heels of Ex-Im’s expiration is important. As Heritage Foundation’s analyst Diane Katz expressed to me in an email, “We should certainly celebrate the success of blocking Ex-Im from doling out yet more subsidies, but the victory may be temporary and is certainly incomplete. Ex-Im is only one of dozens of corporate welfare programs, such as OPIC, that must be ended.”

In the Washington Examiner, Timothy Carney explains what OPIC does and why it should go. “Want to set up a factory in a different country? OPIC can make it cheaper for you. For instance, a Brazilian granite business gets an OPIC subsidy, even though that hurts its U.S. competitors.”

The parallels between OPIC and Ex-Im are chilling: two government agencies that focus on artificially propping up U.S. companies in the name of economic growth and job creation by providing cheap financing to companies that could find capital on their own. In the process, both agencies transfer large risk to taxpayers.

Full post by Veronique de Rugy @ Reason http://reason.com/archives/2015/07/02/beyond-the-export-import-bank-more-crony#.flnehs:UOTr

Libertarian Party:”Secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill lets foreign governments and foreign special interests control American medical care, banking, the Internet, and even civil liberties”

Republicans howled when Nancy Pelosi famously said, “We have to pass [Obamacare] so that you can find out what is in it.” Now GOP lawmakers, who control the U.S. House, are following suit in their passage of a new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill.

After rejecting an earlier version of the bill last week, the House passed a new TPP bill on June 18 which gives President Obama carte blanche to negotiate and sign a massive anti-American trade treaty with eleven other Pacific nations without public oversight or news coverage. They’ll have a short period of time, after the hundreds-of-pages-long treaty is finally published, to cast an up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it vote.

Although Congress will get to see the text of the final treaty before the final vote, they and the American public will have insufficient time to review it. Congress will be under intense pressure to pass it, and serious objections will likely be given short shrift. This appears to be their plan, allowing them to avoid public scrutiny of TPP’s provisions until after it is passed and the heat is off.

“The two old parties will happily work together to get special favors for particular industries and interests, even if they have to hide the specifics from the American people to do so,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

While the current version of the treaty remains hidden from public view, portions of it have been released by WikiLeaks. They already show that it betrays and trumps the U.S. Constitution, sells out American freedoms, and grants foreign governments vast control over American medicine, the Internet, banking services, intellectual property, and civil liberties. It also grants multi-national corporations the right to sue the U.S. government where domestic companies are forbidden to do so.

“The Libertarian Party opposes TPP and other secretive pacts being negotiated between the U.S. and countries worldwide, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA),” said Sarwark. “The Libertarian Party supports free trade with all people and countries around the world. Real free trade is the reduction of barriers and the de-escalation of trade wars — not secret negotiations over winners and losers.”

“The vast majority of job losses in America did not result from trade agreements,” he continued. “The real culprits are the politicians and special interests who push for onerous government regulations, high taxes, and trade barriers that weaken American companies and which also prohibit American families from openly and freely shopping for the best buys for their families.”

“To actually help the American economy, we should simply repeal laws and withdraw from trade agreements that violate the Constitution or restrict free and open trade. This will stimulate the American economy, preserve and expand our diminishing freedoms, and maintain our sovereignty as a nation,” said Sarwark.
Source: The Libertarian Party @ http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/secretive-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-bill-lets-foreign-governments-and

Drug Policy Alliance releases report on Asset Forfeiture Abuse in California

Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses in California is a multi-year, comprehensive look at asset forfeiture abuses in California that reveals the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law. Civil asset forfeiture law allows the government to seize and keep cash, cars, real estate, and any other property – even from citizens never charged with or convicted of a crime. Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have led to a perversion of police priorities, such as increasing personnel on the forfeiture unit while reducing the number of officers on patrol and in investigation units.

What emerges in the new report is a picture of a handful of relatively small cities clustered in Los Angeles County that lead the state in per capita seizures (Baldwin Park, Beverly Hills, Gardena, Irwindale, La Verne, Pomona, South Gate, Vernon and West Covina). The report’s analysis of fiscal records finds that many of these cities were providing false or inconsistent reports to the Justice Department, while some other cities appeared to be engaged in budgeting future forfeiture revenue, despite this being explicitly illegal under federal law.
Full Report by Drug Policy Alliance @ http://www.drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Drug_Policy_Alliance_Above_the_Law_Civil_Asset_Forfeiture_in_California.pdf