Justin’s note: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to steal your property.
Since taking office in February, he’s done all sorts of idiotic things. He’s threatened to crack down on the legal marijuana market. He’s attacked gay rights. And he even wants to amp up asset seizures. This is when the government takes money and property from people. You don’t even need to be convicted of a crime.
In this installment of our special holiday series, Doug Casey shares his thoughts on the subject…
Doug Casey on Asset Seizures
Justin: Doug, what do you think of Sessions’ latest “bright” idea?
Doug: Well, let me preface this by saying Sessions was a disastrous choice for Attorney General. He’s done nothing in his life but be a lawyer, a prosecutor, and a politician. He has no experience—and therefore probably no inclination or even ability—to produce things of tangible value.
But we almost always get undesirables as the AG. They’re hatchet men, meant to prosecute “the enemy,” taking their pick of the hundreds of thousands of laws and regulations on the books to do so. Look at some of the recent AGs—Loretta Lynch, Eric Holder, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Janet Reno. All of them would have been willing and obedient lapdogs to Stalin or Beria. A certain personality type is suited for the job.
Sessions is a rabid drug warrior, even against something as useful and benign as hemp, or marijuana. He’s a busybody who feels no guilt or remorse at enforcing laws that have destroyed the lives of tens of millions. I don't know if he's stupid, bent, thoughtless, paranoid or what his problem might be. Maybe he’s afraid that if pot wasn’t illegal he’d become a dope fiend himself. But the proper direction, the objective, is to legalize all drugs. Not amp the drug war up another notch, as he wants to do.
And not only does he want to amp up the drug war, but he wants to increase the State’s ability to confiscate citizens’ property—especially cash—on even suspicion of breaking a law.
In the meantime he's not doing anything to investigate the people in Hillary’s camp for all kinds of apparent illegality. In fact, now that Trump's in office, what ever happened to his promise of a real investigation of what really happened to things like Building 7 on 9/11? Or the strange deaths that seem to have surrounded the Clinton clan for decades?
So far the man seems all negatives no positives. He’s just another Deep State actor who’s climbed the political ladder a little higher. These guys all protect each other.
But increasingly many of Trump’s choices are disastrous, like his National Security Advisor McMaster and White House Chief of Staff Kelly. And wormtongues Ivanka and Jared Kushner. This is perhaps an inevitable problem when a President is just a pragmatist with no philosophical core. Although, I hasten to add, having no core may be better than having a rotten core, like Obama and others in the recent past.
Justin: Not to mention, asset seizures don’t work. Over the past decade, the federal government has seized more than $28 billion. But that’s done absolutely nothing to deter crime.
So, why would Sessions double down on this failed policy? Is he clueless? Or is the government just that desperate?
Doug: Good question. Well, I’ve already speculated on some possible aspects of Sessions’ character that might partially explain this. But all the repressive aspects of government—civil forfeitures are just one—have been growing and compounding for years. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s the natural progression of all living organisms. They all want to grow, exert more control on their environments, and become more powerful. The problem is that government has unusual powers, and no longer seems to have many limits. So you can expect this trend to accelerate.
I saw the other day the government steals more from the American people through confiscations than is lost outright to robberies and muggings. It’s been reported that in 2015 civil forfeitures exceeded the amount stolen by all robbers. It’s quite amazing and disturbing. There are at least two reasons things are deteriorating.
Number one, as a general rule, police are no longer trained as “peace officers.” They’re trained to be, and view themselves, as “law enforcement officers.” This is a very different thing. The police are a bigger threat to your property and your liberty, not to mention your life, than actual criminals. Number two, these governments are all bankrupt. They're looking for revenue wherever they can get it. Predators are most dangerous when they’re hungry.
The police are the ones that actually make it happen, and they have a vested interest in doing the wrong thing. Whenever a police department confiscates things under these laws, they get to keep some percentage. It varies, but can be 10, 20, 30, 50 percent of what's confiscated, and they love it because the money goes to the local police department in question. They can use it for buying fun cop toys, or for buying further educational benefits, or whatever, for themselves. So, they're profiting from this stuff as directly as the criminals do that steal things from citizens. It's a total disaster.
And remember, the Attorney General is the country’s top law enforcement officer.
Justin: Yeah, it’s scary.
Unfortunately, the government is sinking deeper in debt by the day. So, I’m afraid this is going to get worse before it gets better. Do you agree?
Doug: It's inevitable.
These governments are digging themselves into deep financial holes. They're going to need more and more revenue. The populace has been trained to see the government as a cornucopia. As the economy goes into the trailing edge of the current financial hurricane, they’re going to demand even more freebies from all levels of government. So, the trend will continue until there's some type of a crisis. At which point anything can happen.
The downtrend is in motion. And trends in motion tend to continue and accelerate until they change. I like to draw attention to France in 1789, a horrible situation with its highly authoritarian and totally bankrupt government. A revolution was necessary and welcome. But then things got worse under Robespierre. And worse again under Napoleon. The exact same thing with Russia in 1917—but then they got Lenin, and then Stalin.
Justin: Absolutely. So, asset seizures won’t even put a dent in the government’s debt problem.
With that said, how else might the government steal money and property from people?
Doug: Well, they're now talking about making you declare your cryptocurrencies whenever you cross a border. If you don't, and they find out, they're eligible for confiscation. As cryptocurrencies get bigger—and they will—this will constitute both a gigantic invasion of privacy and an attack on your wealth.
All governments already ask whether you have more than $10,000 when you cross their borders, and reserve the right to search you. If this becomes law, it means that you, your computer, and your smartphone will always be liable to a full forensic audit.
It's another major step towards the world of 1984. Every new law they pass has Kafka-esque possibilities. That’s what legislatures around the world do every day they’re in session. All of these laws have severe penalties. The trend in this direction—which started in earnest just over 100 years ago—is going hyperbolic. And the average human—miseducated, propagandized, and besotted by food and drugs—wants more laws. Why? I think fear is today’s dominant emotional tone. People want to be protected and cared for, like farm animals. They see the State as their benevolent shepherd.
There are no positive political trends in today’s world. They aren’t cutting back on regulations, reducing taxes, or eliminating laws anywhere. They're doing just the opposite.
Justin: So, how can people protect themselves from this?
Doug: It’s increasingly hard because the statists, collectivists, socialists, fascists, globalists, and the like have won the war for the hearts and minds of the masses all over the world. And the world’s governments—notwithstanding their inevitable wars and such—are cooperating with each other far, far more than ever before.
In a nutshell, there are three things to keep in mind.
First, become as wealthy as possible. Although they can steal anything and everything from you, the more you have the more damage you can sustain, and the more influence you can exert.
Second, diversify politically and geographically. You want to have some convenient options if your government starts looking like Russia in the ‘20s, or Germany in the ‘30s, China in the ‘50s, Cuba in the ‘60s, etc., etc. It’s a very long list.
Third, keep your head down. The tall poppy is the one selected for cutting. I observe my first two rules, but not so much this one. That’s because sometimes we have to make a choice between what’s smart and what’s right. In my case, almost nothing is worth feeling like a whipped dog.
Justin: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Doug.
Doug: My pleasure.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Over the past decade, the federal government has seized more than $28 billion. But that’s done absolutely nothing to deter crime. The government steals more from the American people through confiscations than is lost outright to robberies and muggings. It’s been reported that in 2015 civil forfeitures exceeded the amount stolen by all robbers.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Paul Craig Roberts states that "Russiagate is an orchestrated hoax. That has now become so aparent that even insouciant Americans are catching on, even those low IQ ones who sit in front of TV news. I often disparage Congress, but here is a member who is admirable, Republican Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio." Be sure to play the videos two and eight paragraphs below. In the second one Republican Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio tells it like it is!!!
De Facto Travel Restrictions Now Exist For Americans
Dear Friends, I apologize for dumping this on you at Christmas, a time for peace and joy. But these are the facts. We can ignore them only at our peril.
De Facto Travel Restrictions Now Exist For Americans
Paul Craig Roberts
Green Party presidential Candidate Jill Stein is being investigated by the Senate Intelligence (sic) Committee for “Russian connections.”
What has brought Russiagate to Jill Stein? The answer is that she attended the 10th Anniversary RT dinner in Moscow as did the notorious “Russian collaborator” US General Michael Flynn. RT is a news organization, a far better one than exists in the West, but if you were one of the many accomplished people who attended the anniversary dinner, you are regarded by Republican Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina as a possible Kremlin agent. http://russia-insider.com/en/anti-russian-witch-hunt-comes-jill-stein-because-she-once-sat-next-putin-and-flynn/ri21998
What is going on here? Stein sums it up: “we must guard against the potential for these
investigations to be used to intimidate and silence principled opposition to the political establishment.”
Here I sit considering two interesting invitations. One is to speak at the main Plenary Session of the Moscow Economic Forum in April. The other is to speak at the Summit for Global Challenges in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan in May. The very minute I accept, the NSA will notify its mouthpieces, the New York Times, PropOrNot’s promoter the Washington Post, Senator Burr, and Special Russiagate Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Would I be renditioned to Israel or Eqypt or Saudi Arabia and tortured until I confessed that I was a member of the Trump-Flynn-Jill Stein Kremlin spy network?
As the United States is no longer a free country governed by a Constitution that protects civil liberty, that possibility cannot be discounted. What is for sure is that if I accept these invitations, the US Establishment will discredit my voice when I write about US/Russia relations. Indeed, that was the intention of the PropOrNot Washington Post story that attacked 200 truth-tellers as “Russian agents/dupes.” Many of those so attacked have experienced slower growth in their readership. After all, Americans and Europeans are insouciant. They are actually sufficiently stupid to believe what governments and print and TV media tell them.
I, too, was invited to RT’s 10th Anniversary celebration in Moscow. Imagining the celebration would be grand balls in palaces and myself, decked out in white tie with my French Legion of Honor dancing with those beautiful RT women, I almost accepted. But I learned in time that the event was conferences and speeches and decided to forego a Moscow winter.
Otherwise I would be in the dock with Trump, Flynn, and Jill Stein and whomever the Washington Gestapo settles on next.
Russiagate is an orchestrated hoax. That has now become so aparent that even insouciant Americans are catching on, even those low IQ ones who sit in front of TV news. I often disparage Congress, but here is a member who is admirable, Republican Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/12/boom-rep-jim-jordan-goes-nuclear-rod-rosenstein-trump-hating-fbi-agent-peter-strzok-video/
Watch the short video and delight in the power and force with which Rep. Jordan goes after the piece of crap US deputy attorney general the Twitter President has in office. When the President of the United States has to rely on a congressman to call out the Justice Department and the FBI for its criminal actions and for its treason to overthrow both democracy and the elected government of the United States, you know we have elected a president who is too scared to defend himself. Roger Stone is correct, if Trump were a real man, Mueller, Comey, Hillary, Obama, and the rest of the criminal scum would be arrested, prosecuted and sentenced for their vast crimes, crimes that exceed those of anyone in prison today.
But Trump is nothing but talk. No action.
How much longer can I give interviews to Russian and Iranian media before the Washington Gestapo gives me a midnight knock on my door.
Whatever America is, it is not a free country.
If Trump wants to make America great again, he must shatter the CIA, FBI, NSA, and media into a thousand pieces. The concentrated power that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in 1961 is far too great for liberty to survive.
Instead, the weakest president in American history actually read the speech handed to him by the ruling neocon military/security complex and declared Russia and China inimical to Washington’s interests.
Americans are too insouciant to understand it, but this was a declaration of war against two countries, which when combined are more than a match for Washington.
Neither Russia nor China, much less an alliance between them, will accept Washington’s hegemony.
If the hubris-crazed fools in Washington persist, we are all going to die.
Monday, December 11, 2017
We’ve all been there before.
You’re driving along and you see a pair of flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror. Whether or not you’ve done anything wrong, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach.
You’ve read enough news stories, seen enough headlines, and lived in the American police state long enough to be anxious about any encounter with a cop that takes place on the side of the road.
For better or worse, from the moment you’re pulled over, you’re at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”
This is what I call “blank check policing,” in which the police get to call all of the shots.
So if you’re nervous about traffic stops, you have every reason to be.
Trying to predict the outcome of any encounter with the police is a bit like playing Russian roulette: most of the time you will emerge relatively unscathed, although decidedly poorer and less secure about your rights, but there’s always the chance that an encounter will turn deadly.
For instance, it was just a year ago, in the early morning hours of Dec. 1, 2016, when Gregory Tucker, a young African-American man, was pulled over by Louisiana police for a broken taillight.
What should have been a routine traffic stop became yet another example of police brutality in America.
According to the lawsuit that was filed in federal court by The Rutherford Institute, Tucker was thrown to the ground by police, beaten, arrested and hospitalized for severe injuries to his face and arm, allegedly in retaliation for “resisting arrest” by driving to a safe, well-lit area before submitting to a traffic stop for a broken tail light.
Mind you, this young man complied with police. He just didn’t do it fast enough to suit their purposes.
If this young man is “guilty” of anything, he’s guilty of ticking off the cops by being cautious, concerned for his safety, and all too aware of the dangers faced by young black men during encounters with the police.
Frankly, you don’t even have to be young or black or a man to fear for your life during an encounter with the police.
Just consider the growing numbers of unarmed people are who being shot and killed just for standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.
At a time when police can do no wrong—at least in the eyes of the courts, police unions and politicians dependent on their votes—and a “fear” for officer safety is used to justify all manner of police misconduct, “we the people” are at a severe disadvantage.
Add a traffic stop to the mix, and that disadvantage increases dramatically.
According to the Justice Department, the most common reason for a citizen to come into contact with the police is being a driver in a traffic stop.
On average, one in 10 Americans gets pulled over by police.
Indeed, police officers have been given free range to pull anyone over for a variety of reasons.
This free-handed approach to traffic stops has resulted in drivers being stopped for windows that are too heavily tinted, for driving too fast, driving too slow, failing to maintain speed, following too closely, improper lane changes, distracted driving, screeching a car’s tires, and leaving a parked car door open for too long.
Motorists can also be stopped by police for driving near a bar or on a road that has large amounts of drunk driving, driving a certain make of car (Mercedes, Grand Prix and Hummers are among the most ticketed vehicles), having anything dangling from the rearview mirror (air fresheners, handicap parking permits, troll transponders or rosaries), displaying pro-police bumper stickers, having acne, appearing nervous or driving with a stiff posture.
In other words, drivers beware.
Traffic stops aren’t just dangerous. They can be downright deadly.
From the moment those lights start flashing and that siren goes off, we’re all in the same boat.
Survival is the key.
Technically, you have the right to remain silent (beyond the basic requirement to identify yourself and show your registration). You have the right to refuse to have your vehicle searched. You have the right to film your interaction with police. You have the right to ask to leave. You also have the right to resist an unlawful order such as a police officer directing you to extinguish your cigarette, put away your phone or stop recording them.
However, there is a price for asserting one’s rights. That price grows more costly with every passing day.
If you ask cops and their enablers what Americans should do to stay alive during encounters with police, they will tell you to comply, cooperate, obey, not resist, not argue, not make threatening gestures or statements, avoid sudden movements, and submit to a search of their person and belongings.
The problem, of course, is what to do when compliance is not enough.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, every day we hear about situations in which unarmed Americans complied and still died during an encounter with police simply because they appeared to be standing in a “shooting stance” or held a cell phone or a garden hose or carried around a baseball bat or answered the front door or held a spoon in a threatening manner or ran in an aggressive manner holding a tree branch or wandered around naked or hunched over in a defensive posture or made the mistake of wearing the same clothes as a carjacking suspect (dark pants and a basketball jersey) or dared to leave an area at the same time that a police officer showed up or had a car break down by the side of the road or were deaf or homeless or old.
Frankly, the only truly compliant, submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one.
If you’re starting to feel somewhat overwhelmed, intimidated and fearful for your life and the lives of your loved ones, you should be.
You should be very afraid.