Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.
The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize. The Washington Post obtained 43,000 of the reports dating from 2008 through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The documents offer a sweeping look at how police departments and drug task forces across the country are benefiting from laws that allow them to take cash and property without proving a crime has occurred. The law was meant to decimate drug organizations, but The Post found that it has been used as a routine source of funding for law enforcement at every level.
“In tight budget periods, and even in times of budget surpluses, using asset forfeiture dollars to purchase equipment and training to stay current with the ever-changing trends in crime fighting helps serve and protect the citizens,” said Prince George’s County, Md., police spokeswoman Julie Parker.
Brad Cates, a former director of asset forfeiture programs at the Justice Department, said the spending identified by The Post suggests police are using Equitable Sharing as “a free floating slush fund.” Cates, who oversaw the program while at Justice from 1985 to 1989, said it has enabled police to sidestep the traditional budget process, in which elected leaders create law enforcement spending priorities.
“All of this is fundamentally at odds with the U.S. Constitution,” said Cates, who recently co-wrote an article calling for the program’s abolition on The Post’s editorial page. “All of this is at odds with the rights that Americans have.”
Of the nearly $2.5 billion in spending reported in the forms, 81 percent came from cash and property seizures in which no indictment was filed, according to an analysis by The Post. Owners must prove that their money or property was acquired legally in order to get it back.
New American Dark Ages
[W]here gun laws are concerned, the United States of America is — individual dissenting voices duly noted and exempted from the following descriptive — dumber than a bag of bullets. This, after all, is the country where you can take a gun into a bar. Where you can erect a shooting range in your own backyard. Where a blind person can get a gun permit. You think it’s insane that Arizona allows a 9-year-old to shoot at a firing range? ABC News reports that one in Texas allows them to do so at age 6. Six.
God bless America. We legislate against Sharia law in places where there are no Muslims, much less an inclination toward Sharia. We pass laws to curtail election fraud despite the fact that election fraud, as a practical matter, does not exist. Yet we endure a yearly toll of gun carnage that makes civilized people in civilized places shake their heads in wonder and our only action is inaction.
#11: No subject is more sacred or more important. Not health, not education, not economics.
#12: No opinions matter except those that are pro-gun.
Doris Tamai / Shutterstock.com
1. “Owning our product may be hazardous to your health.”
2. “Fear is good for our bottom line.”
3. “Guns get special treatment under the law.”
4. “We want your kids to play with guns.”
5. “Gun control may work. We still think it’s a bad idea.”
6. “Politically, we’re
7. “Under ‘Gun Ban Obama,’ we’re doing just fine.” [see #3]
8. “Sometimes we aren’t ‘pro-gun’ enough.”
9. “We sell guns to people you might not want us to.”
10. “Ammo is our secret (business) weapon.”
Americans’ optimism is dying – The Washington Post By Dana Milbank Opinion writer
the gloom goes beyond wealth, gender, race, region, age and ideology. This fractious nation is united by one thing: lost faith in the United States. …
[T]he problem is the result of two decades of scorched-earth politics. That’s bad news for the rest of us, though, because the problem is larger than any leader’s ability to bring hope and change. …
“To me, this is less about economic reality than about our political system — our lack of confidence that our political leaders, regardless of party, are equipped to deal with the future.” –Fred Yang, the Democratic pollster who conducted the survey along with Republican Bill McInturff.
Take it back before Idiot DUHbya and Dark Lord Cheney, back to Raygun, or further to Tricky Dick and thug Agnew, or further to Goldwater.
I look forward to Senate investigations into the Scopes trial and bills requiring prayer in public schools — and hand guns for all! Let the lunatics rule the asylum. That would guarantee impeachment for Obama, which would likely raise his standing with everyone else and assure another Democratic president in 2016. Bring it on, fools.
A new CBS News/New York Times Battleground Tracker estimate finds the Republicans positioned to take the Senate this year, with a likely 51-49 seat edge if the November election were held right now. The margin of error on that current seat estimate, at plus or minus 2 seats, means Democrats still have a real possibility to keep the chamber and that we head into campaign season with control up for grabs — with a closely-divided Senate surely coming in 2015 in either case.
Conservatives’ gloating over Halbig reveals why the right’s insular, fact-resistant world is so dangerous
The unseemly side to all this celebrating is the fact that these conservatives are, in effect, throwing a party over a judicial ruling that would strip millions of people of their health coverage. “The next time Republicans are wondering why so many people think their party is cruel and uncaring and will gladly crush the lives of ordinary people if it means gaining some momentary partisan advantage, they might think back to this case,” wrote Paul Waldman in the American Prospect.
Conservatives, obviously, wouldn’t see it that way, even though the policy ramifications are clear. In that way, Halbig has offered a stark reminder of just how vast the differences between the two sides in the Obamacare fight are. It’s not just a simple matter of policy disagreement – conservatives and Republicans have constructed a separate and impenetrable reality in which the Affordable Care Act is a catastrophic failure that has not provided a single measurable benefit.
Americans are evenly divided between those who think DUHbya, the guy who pissed away a fortune in war and tanked the economy — not that it hurt the profits of his friends one bit — or Obama is best/worst for the economy. Get real, people. Something is horribly wrong with the ability of a frightening large number of Americans to think clearly.
In a new Quinnipiac University Poll, 33% named Barack Obama the worst president since World War II. Only 8% named Obama as the best president. How the 12 post-war presidents fared:
“Clearly, if you had the guts to invest during the depths of the crisis, your returns would have looked just spectacular,” he said, noting annualized returns of 21 percent and a total return of 175 percent from March 2009 to the market’s peak.
Browne said it was stressful, of course, including watching the Dow drop 50 percent from its highs, but again the takeaway is pick an “appropriate asset allocation and stick to it.”
- DUHBya is the worst, may no one ever approach his crapulence.
- Nixon was a dirty rat and dreadful. (I never thought I’d hate a president more, but I was so wrong.)
- Raygun was the turning point in the destruction of America by blind conservatism.
- Ford was pointless.