Don't Be Fooled by the Latest Coverup of Legalized Governmental Theft

The government is absolutely brilliant when it comes to making dramatic and life-altering laws sound so boring you'd rather get a root canal than figure out what they really mean. So it's no surprise people's eyes glaze over at the mention of "civil asset forfeiture." Call it something else --- legalized governmental theft --- and they just might perk up.

Don't think it exists? Just ask Lyndon McClellan, whose bank account of more than $107,000 was seized by the IRS in 2014. As the owner of a convenience store in Fairmont, North Carolina for over a decade, the IRS deemed McClellan's frequent cash deposits evidence of criminal activity, and a good enough reason to take his money --- even though he was never charged with a crime.

If it could happen to McClellan, it could happen to anyone.

Here are some facts you should know about how the government lawfully takes property from innocent citizens.

What Is It?

According to the Institute for Justice, civil asset forfeiture is the process by which the government takes and sells someone's property without ever convicting them with a crime, and "one of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today."

They go on to describe how these cases proceed under the "legal fiction" that cash, cars or homes can be "guilty," leading to some bizarre case names such as, "United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Mass." Because these cases are technically civil actions, property owners are not considered eligible to receive standard protections merited to criminal defendants, such as an attorney and a trial.

How Did It Start?

The roots of civil asset forfeiture laws date back to the 1600s in England, eventually making their way into colonial law, which earns them one of the longest running legal legacies on record. Popularized during the prohibition era and used sparingly in the 20's and 30's, these laws temporarily fell out of favor until the drug wars of the 1980s.

What's the Argument for Keeping It?

Some people --- particularly in law enforcement --- love the program and will fight tooth and nail to not only keep it but expand its use even further. Those in favor see it as a way to stop drug cartels and limit the ability of drug dealers and "bad hombres" to engage in illicit business.

The Federalist Society makes these points in favor of the law:

The government also uses forfeiture to take the profit out of crime, and to return property to victims. No one has the right to retain the money gained from bribery, extortion, illegal gambling, or drug dealing. With the forfeiture laws, we can separate the criminal from his profits --- and any property traceable to it --- thus removing the incentive others may have to commit similar crimes tomorrow. And if the crime is one that has victims --- like carjacking or fraud --- we can use the forfeiture laws to recover the property and restore it to the owners far more effectively than the restitution statutes permit.

Does the President Support It?

While addressing a group of sheriffs earlier this month, President Donald Trump appeared to fully endorse civil asset forfeiture. After one sheriff opined about a troublesome bill seeking to abolish the practice in Texas, Trump demanded the name of the person introducing the bill and said, "We'll destroy his career."

In all fairness to President Trump, he did not appear to have prior knowledge about the program. If you watch this video, Trump seemed to ask plenty of questions with the intent gaining a greater understanding, but he only got the law enforcement's version.

What's the Argument for Abolishing It?

This argument seems simple --- the government should have to prove wrongdoing before being able to seize someone's money, car, home or any other asset. The Foundation for Economic Education made this point:

In poor nations, a corrupt cop will stop motorists to shake them down for pocket change. In the United States, we’ve legalized a bigger version of that sleazy behavior.

Who Is Opposing It?

Some politicians, including Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), have taken a strong stance against civil asset forfeiture. After Trump's statements, Amash came out with the following response:

President Trump today endorsed stealing property from law-abiding Americans who haven't been charged with --- let alone convicted of --- any crime. He also said, "We'll destroy his career," about a conservative Texas state senator who opposes this unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture.

My staff and I will work to introduce a bill to end civil asset forfeiture. I always will stand up for limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. And I always will keep my oath to support and defend the Constitution.

What Is Glenn's Point of View?

Glenn shared his thoughts on the civil asset forfeiture on his February 13, 2017 radio program, in light of news coverage of President Trump's meeting with sheriffs. Below are excerpts from his monologue:

Civil asset forfeiture --- we talked about that last week. But we didn't talk about what that was about. We've been very concerned. And if you are a conservative and you're suddenly not concerned about this, ask yourself why.

Because we were all very concerned when this was happening under Barack Obama. And no matter what anybody tells you, it is not good. If we don't put a fence around this and make sure that it is only used for what it was meant to be used for.

And, quite honestly, I have a problem with it, even the way it was meant to be used.

It means that you don't even have to be charged with a crime, let alone found guilty. Charged with a crime. And the police can come in and take your stuff, seize it, claim it to be theirs, sell it, use the money any way they want, and you have no recourse.

Unfortunately, it's happening to regular people.

If it happens to one person, it needs to be guarded against. And it's happened to several people. I'm going to give you some examples coming up in a second. But it's happened to several people. And it has to be guarded against and stopped.

Listen to more from Glenn's radio program here.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.