The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stop Voting

by David Ker Thomson

Just drop the vote and step quietly away from the vehicle.

We hope you’ll join us. We are a multitude, and we have been on the increase for forty years. Forty years, and now our time is at hand.

You looked for us when you sought an object for your ill-conceived charity, but we quietly sent you away. We who will not vote, who will not gratify you with an opinion of your foolish and indistinguishable pretenders to this or that throne, we infuriated you. You called us apathetic for refusing to play the game. Refusing even to register. You said it was the only game in town.

But if we’re so apathetic, why have you sought us so desperately, coveting even our style, asking our barbers if you are real, begging us to hold the mirror for you while you compose yourself? You have courted our swingers, but we have seen your anxious eyes in the rear-view of your Volvo.

You like statistics, go see if it isn’t true: voter turnout has been decreasing in the established democracies since the 1960’s. You’re desperate for a mandate, but it’s flowing away from you.

Your empire flunkies are banging at our doors, telling us we’re red or blue, or striped with white bars, and we should go to our color-coded stations. Greens, now there’s a hue for you. Use ’em for a side salad while you get on with dinner. Or get them to do the washing up. Greens are excellent for washing things. And you know how they just love to be included.

What’s driving you nuts is, we’re not even refusing. We’re not saying anything. And we know you’re nuts. We’ve seen your conventions. Also, your good wars, and your bad ones. Your Motor Voter legislation so you can register to kill twice at one convenient location.

You are a computer virus. You thrive on attention. Say no to you, and you preen because someone noticed. We say nothing.

You probably think this song is about you. Don’t you?

You have immense standing armies, and they wish to march left, right, left, right. We are more than forty percent of the adults in America, fifty percent in Europe. If we would just say something, anything, left, right, left, right, you could get a stronger mandate, get these armies working efficiently, instead of going around losing wars to tiny countries. But like you say, it’s hard to fight a war if we don’t all stick together.

David Ker Thomson is taking a year out from the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto to write a book on American radicalism since 1637 entitled "A."

Copyright © 2008

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Police Shouldn't Profit From Drug Raids


by Ronald Fraser, Sunday, September 14, 2008

On the streets, where illegal drugs are still easy to get at affordable prices, Alabama's police chiefs are losing the decades-long drug war. Ironically, back in their precinct headquarters, many of these officers depend on drug raids to fatten their operating budgets.

While the drug trade still enriches the bad guys, police chiefs now get a piece of the action.

Many states, wary of overzealous police departments, require that the proceeds from seized assets be used for education or other nonpolice purposes. But the 1984 federal Comprehensive Crime Control Act, a turning point in America's war on drugs, is a way to get around these state laws.

State and local police departments, working with U.S. agents, "federalize" money and property seized during local drug raids. The federal government gets at least 20 percent of the seized assets, but the feds give back up to 80 percent of the seizure - now exempt from state law - to state and local police agencies.

According to federal statistics, the share going to Alabama law enforcement agencies went from $1.8 million in 2000 to $8.5 million in 2007. Nationally, state and local agencies collected $416 million in 2007, up from $212 million in 2000.

Not all police departments ride this drug raid gravy train. But those that do profit handsomely. While the Huntsville Police Department's seized asset income dropped from $49,000 to $16,000 from 2000 to 2007, the Birmingham Police Department's share more than quadrupled from $161,000 in 2000 to $885,000 in 2007. Jefferson County Sheriff's Department did even better, going from $97,000 to $3.6 million. The Mobile Police Department's share went from $88,000 to $201,000, and the Montgomery Police Department's slice went up from $179,000 in 2000 to $458,000 in 2007.

At the state level, top honors go to the Alabama Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Investigation with a tally of $733,000 in 2007, up from $305,000 in 2000.

Surprisingly, property owners need not be charged with a crime for their property to be taken. The property itself, however remotely associated with the drug trade, has, under civil forfeiture laws, "committed" a crime and can be seized. For example, a motel is seized because drugs were traded on the premises despite the owners' extensive efforts to prevent such activity; boats and airplanes damaged beyond repair during fruitless searches for drugs, go uncompensated by the government; and cash is seized only to be returned years later after the owner is forced into a long and costly legal battle.

One study reports that 40 percent of the nation's local police agencies are dependent on seized assets as a necessary budgetary supplement. Why is this bad news?

First, years ago the primary reason police seized assets was to break up the illegal drug supply lines. Today, however, that original goal has been largely replaced by self-serving budgetary considerations. Citizens can now legitimately ask why their local police force conducts drug raids. Is it to rid the town of drugs - or are the raids an easy source of extra income that harms innocent people along the way?

Second, as a department's use of this independent source of funding grows, its dependence on, and accountability to, the town's taxpayers goes down.

Third, if a department's prestige and the reputation of its officers are dependent on how many assets are seized each year, this gives police chiefs an incentive to push their officers to become more aggressive during raids, make unnecessary raids and cut legal corners.

Here is how greed can pervert law enforcement:

Donald Scott owned a valuable, 200-acre ranch in Malibu, Calif. One October morning in 1992, 30 agents, led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, conducted a raid based on faulty rumors that Scott was growing marijuana plants. During the raid, Scott was shot and killed by sheriff deputies.

A Ventura County district attorney's report on the raid concluded: "The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to seize and forfeit the ranch for the government ... Based in part upon the possibility of forfeiture, the sheriff's deputy obtained a search warrant that was not supported by probable cause. The search warrant became Donald Scott's death warrant."

It is time for federal and state legislators to shut down the conflict-of-interest loophole that allows police departments to profit from their official duties at the expense of the very citizens they are hired to protect. Ronald Fraser, Ph.D., writes on public policy issues for the DKT Liberty Project, a Washington-based civil liberties organization. E-mail:

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

What Our Representatives Spend All Their Time Doing

This is the most amazingly candid interview I've ever heard about what's really going on in our Congress and what our so-called representatives are really doing with all their time. GET READY FOR SOME TRUTH FOLKS. And get ready to help us put an end to this insanity by helping us convince enough voters to hold them accountable by VOTING THEM ALL OUT NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THEY RAISE FOR REELECTION. We can disrupt this dysfunctional cycle by simply making it impossible for anyone to run for office more than once. We do this regularly, mercilessly and we can prevent anyone from becoming an entrenched politician, prevent anyone from building their own private power bases. We must end the notion that politics is a path to wealth and power.

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