Taking Your Stuff

Police-might-shoot-you-during-a-traffic-stopBelow is an abridged transcript of the Fifth Amendment. Not too bad, is it? The government is not allowed to take your stuff, much less kill or imprison you without due process. Plus, we have habeas corpus – the right to our day in court, with a jury of our peers.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury … 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.

It’s just as well that you never learned this in public school, because it’s obsolete. Not only can the government take your stuff – and they are constantly dreaming up new ways to do it – but they can outright kill you with no “due process” at all.

We have covered extrajudicial killing previously. That’s the doctrine that if you are merely accused of being a terrorist – by a properly anointed government official, of course – your own government can murder you, and never present evidence to anyone. If that sounds paranoid to you, there is plenty of backup on the ACLU web site.

The U.S. targeted killing program operates without meaningful oversight outside the executive branch, and essential details about the program still remain secret

Short of taking your life, the government can absolutely take your property. This used to be called eminent domain, as in the famous Norwalk case. True story – the city turfed these people out of their homes so that they could build a mixed-use retail block.

Eminent domain is passé now, because city governments are getting desperate. Now the police can rob you in broad daylight, like some banana republic. It’s not true that Loretta Lynch invented civil asset forfeiture but, as New York’s D.A., she was a big proponent. Lynch is now America’s “top cop,” the Attorney General of the United States.

… civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Perhaps you have heard of deposit structuring. This is a truly Kafkaesque money grab, as if the IRS were not already omnipotent. If you deposit more than $10,000 cash into your bank, you might be a terrorist, or laundering drug money. You might also be depositing the week’s take from your hair salon, but never mind – you have to fill out Form 8300.

Here’s the Kafkaesque part. If you deposit less than $10,000, you do not have to fill out Form 8300 … and now the IRS seizes your entire bank account! That’s because you are apparently dodging Form 8300. Good luck suing the IRS. You are guilty until proven innocent, plus you’re broke.

The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent.

The list goes on and on – the DEA, IRS, ATF, the Patriot Act (or whatever), RICO, FINCEN, and the DHS. Government agencies have more power to deprive you of life, liberty, and property than was ever dreamed of in 1791.


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