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March 2017

Trump Should Be Appalled by Police Asset Forfeiture Cops can seize cash, cars and real estate without its owner ever being charged or convicted of a crime. By Lee McGrath and Nick Sibilla

America’s sheriffs have given President Trump a woefully inaccurate view of civil asset forfeiture—the process through which police seize, and prosecutors literally sue, cash, cars and real estate that they suspect may be connected to a crime. “People want to say we’re taking money and without due process. That’s not true,” a Kentucky sheriff told the president last month at a White House meeting. Critics of forfeiture, the sheriff added, simply “make up stories.”

In fact, thousands of Americans have had their assets taken without ever being charged with a crime, let alone convicted. Russ Caswell almost lost his Massachusetts motel, which had been run by his family for more than 50 years, because of 15 “drug-related incidents” there from 1994-2008, a period through which he rented out nearly 200,000 rooms.

Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers had his entire bank account—roughly $60,000—seized by the IRS, which accused him of running afoul of reporting requirements for cash deposits. Mandrel Stuart had $17,550 in receipts from his Virginia barbecue restaurant confiscated during a routine traffic stop. A manager of a Christian rock band had $53,000 in cash—profits from concerts and donations intended for an orphanage in Thailand—seized in Oklahoma after being stopped for a broken taillight. All of the property in these outrageous cases was eventually returned, but only after an arduous process.

Photo: istock getty

This kind of abuse has united reformers on all sides of the political debate: progressives, conservatives, independents, even a few former drug warriors. Since 2014 nearly 20 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws limiting asset forfeiture or increasing transparency. Nearly 20 other states are considering similar legislation. Last week a reform bill passed the Indiana Senate 40-10. It would require a criminal conviction before a court can declare a person’s assets forfeited.

Another good step for state and federal legislators would be to bar agencies from keeping the money they seize. Today more than 40 states and the federal government permit law-enforcement agencies to retain anywhere from 45% to 100% of forfeiture proceeds. As a result, forfeiture has practically become an industry.

The Institute for Justice, where we work, has obtained data on asset forfeiture across 14 states, including California, Texas and New York. Between 2002 and 2013, the revenue from forfeiture more than doubled, from $107 million to $250 million. Federal confiscations have risen even faster. In 1986 the Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund collected $93.7 million. In 2014 the number was $4.5 billion.

Allowing police and prosecutors to keep part of what they confiscate gives them an incentive to target cash instead of criminals. In 2011 a Nashville TV news station investigated seizures on nearby interstate highways. Drugs usually came in on the eastbound lanes, while the money would flow out on the westbound lanes. The reporters found that police made “10 times as many stops on the money side.” They were less focused on stopping the drugs than on grabbing the cash.

Where Does FISAgate End Up? Probably Nowhere. Our political passions and partisanship overwhelm our ability to uncover the truth. By Andrew C. McCarthy

On Capitol Hill last week, lawmakers began rolling up their sleeves to investigate the two components of the controversy that has embroiled Washington since Donald Trump was elected president on November 8: Russian interference in the election and what is now called FISAgate. The two components are interwoven . . . and antagonistic.

If, as Democrats suggest, the Russian interference was significant and there was evidence of Trump-campaign collusion in it, it would have been irresponsible for the Justice Department and the FBI not to investigate, including by monitoring communications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But if, as Republicans counter, Russian interference was immaterial (some say nonexistent), and there was no real proof of Trump-campaign collusion in anything nefarious, then the “hacking conspiracy” was just a pretext for the incumbent administration to investigate the opposition party’s political campaign, a stunning abuse of power.

Where does this all end up? I suspect it goes nowhere.

There is simply too much gray area of disagreement about what happened and what would have been an appropriate response to it. And our thinking is clouded by politics and its inevitable hypocrisy.

For example, during a campaign debate, Donald Trump vowed that if he were to win, he would have Hillary Clinton investigated. At the time, I thought (and said at NRO) that the torrent of condemnation — from the right as well as the left — was ridiculous. This was not, as overwrought critics said, tin-pot dictator stuff; nothing Trump said signaled an intention to use the executive’s awesome police powers to persecute political opponents. The critical fact was that there was patent evidence of felony misconduct on Clinton’s part — criminality that materially damaged national security and that had nothing to do with opposing Trump politically.

Now comes FISAgate, with its indications that while Trump was merely (and apparently emptily) threatening to investigate his Democratic rival, the incumbent Democratic president was actually investigating Trump, the Republican nominee.

Since some are now backpeddling from the assertions — matter-of-factly made over the last four months — that there really was an investigation, let’s be clear. This is not speculation. We know an investigation happened (and may still be ongoing). The only real questions concern the scope and the investigative tactics that have been used: Was there FISA wiretapping or, significantly, its functional equivalent in other forms of monitoring?

Going Red for International Women’s Day… and Its Useful Idiots The perfect color for a better “gender world.” Paul Kengor

The ability of the communist left to consistently dupe an ever-wider group of suckers never ceases to amaze. It’s practically another constant of the universe.

I wrote here a few weeks ago about the now-infamous Women’s March, a parade of perversity and vulgarity that erupted after the Trump inaugural in January, where none other than Angela Davis — America’s longtime leading female Marxist revolutionary — was honorary co-chair and featured speaker. Comrade Angela fired up the female faithful as they donned ridiculous pink hats and cheered her revolution. Now, this week, the female front was enlisted again, this time going not pink but red — figuratively and literally.

Last week we had International Women’s Day. If you know little to nothing of the history of this event, then you probably know more than the vast majority of young ladies and oblivious corporate sponsors tapped as dutiful foot soldiers.

The fact is that the origins of International Women’s Day are communist-socialist. That reality is so unavoidably obvious that the “About” section at the official International Women’s Day website candidly lays out the origins in touting this glorious “collective day of global celebration” and “calls on the masses” to “help forge a better working world.” Take a look at this surprisingly honest historical timeline provided at the website:

International Women’s Day timeline journey

In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. […]

In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day — a Women’s Day — to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs — and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament — greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result. […]

On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. […]

On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Opposed by political leaders, the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.

I must concede kudos to the International Women’s Day website developers for sharing this accurate history. This is spot on.

Readers will, of course, recognize many of these dates and names, especially the Russian ones. They may not identify names like Clara Zetkin. Old Clara was a big-time German commie — or, as leftists will prefer to call her, a socialist or “social democrat.” In fact, Lenin and Trotsky and pioneering cultural Marxists like Herbert Marcuse were also social democrats. Clara was a cheerleader for Lenin. I have clips from Working Woman magazine, the January 30, 1934 edition, which I copied from the Soviet Comintern files on Communist Party USA. This particular edition included a preview of the coming International Women’s Day of March 8, 1934. It featured a glowing review of Clara’s lovely book Reminiscences of Lenin, including praise for the late despot’s “warm smile,” “keen joy” for workers, “clear thinking,” and “masterly eloquence.” This was Clara’s valentine to Vladimir the killer in January 1924, at his death, amid her “hour of grief” and “deepest personal sorrow” at the “irreparable loss” of this “great man.”

The North Korea Syndrome Recalling a left-wing hero’s reversal of history. Lloyd Billingsley

When not assassinating relatives such his estranged half-brother Kim Jong-Nam, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has been launching missiles that fly perilously closer to U.S. allies such as Japan, and few doubt that the ultimate target is the American mainland. In response, as the Washington Times reported, the Trump administration seeks to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in South Korea by the end of 2017.

This move has “angered not only North Korea but also China and Russia, which see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat.” THAAD is purely defensive but its deployment is described as “controversial.” So is the history of conflict in the region, too important to be left to an American KGB collaborator the establishment media still passes off as an independent journalist.

With aid from American Stalinist spies such as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Stalin gained the technology to build nuclear weapons. The USSR exploded its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949 and the blast encouraged Stalin to mount a surge in his expansionist plans. He urged his North Korean ally Kim Il-Sung to attack South Korea, an ally of the United States, and on July 25, 1950, the Communist forces invaded.

According to The Hidden History of the Korean War, it was South Korea that invaded North Korea. That was the official Soviet position, and no surprise from author I.F. Stone. As John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev explain in Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, Stone was in fact a Soviet agent who took money from the KGB. He made a career of recycling Communist propaganda but “by the time he died in 1989, I.F. Stone had been installed in the pantheon of left-wing heroes as a symbol of rectitude and a teller of truth to power.” At no time did Stone fit that description, least of all on Korea.

As the National Interest recalled, “In November 1950, China and the United States went to war. Thirty-six thousand Americans died, along with upwards of a quarter million Chinese, and half a million or more Koreans. If the United States was deeply surprised to find itself at war with the People’s Republic of China, a country that hadn’t even existed the year before, it was even more surprised to find itself losing that war. The opening Chinese offensive, launched from deep within North Korea, took U.S. forces by complete operational surprise.”

U.S. forces fought bravely in battles such as Pork Chop Hill. As U.S. Army private Angelo Palermo of the 17th Infantry recalled “The Chinese were on their loudspeakers telling us to surrender. If we did not, they said we were all going to die.”

Another Axe on Islam’s Crazy Train Our governments are lying and out of their mind. Daniel Greenfield

In a Dusseldorf train station, Fatmir, a Muslim refugee from Kosovo, went on the attack with an axe. His victims included several adults and a 13-year-old girl.

The authorities are blaming his attack on that familiar standby; drug and psychological problems.

There have been quite a few Muslims in Germany boarding the crazy train and trying to ride it all the way to the 72 virgins, dazzling white camels and musk mountains of Islamic paradise.

In July, a Muslim refugee took an axe and assaulted passengers on a train in Würzburg while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”.

Muhammad Riyad, the unaccompanied Afghan minor, had come seeking asylum. He concluded his stay in Germany by slashing and stabbing a family from Hong Kong. His motive was hotly debated.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann insisted that he wasn’t an ISIS Jihadist. He denied that ISIS had ordered the attack. Then an ISIS flag was found in his room.

The Interior Minister vowed to follow every lead to determine his motive. To help him out, ISIS released a video of Muhammad brandishing a knife while vowing to “slaughter infidels”.

“They will slaughter you in your own back yard and they will live in your houses and break your rules and take your land. We will target you in every village, every city and every airport Allah Willing,” he ranted.

That was a strongly worded hint. But German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere argued that the attack occupied “a grey area between a crazed rampage and a terrorist act.”

Poor Muhammad. He had done everything he could. He had the flag. The made a video. He shouted, “Allahu Akbar”. And German authorities remained skeptical that he was really an Islamic terrorist.

What did he have to do? Get a notarized letter to Angela Merkel from the Caliph of ISIS?

The Dirty Little Secret of Palestinian Journalism – with Agence France-Presse Collusion by Bassam Tawil

Nasser Abu Baker, Chairman of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), who also works as a correspondent for Agence France-Press (AFP), also lashed out at Al-Quds for publishing the Israeli advertisement. “We are determined to combat normalization and those who promote it,” he vowed.

Abu Baker, who recently ran in the election for the Fatah Revolutionary Council, is the architect of the PJS campaign to boycott Israeli journalists and media outlets. His political activism constitutes a flagrant violation of the regulations and principles of AFP, and a conflict of interest. However, this does not seem to bother his employers at the French news agency, who apparently do not see a problem with one of their employees running in the election for Fatah’s Revolutionary Council.

Abu Baker and his colleagues have one mission: to “combat normalization” with Israel. For them, this task far exceeds in importance exposing financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority (PA) or reporting about assaults on freedom of expression. It is also evidently more important than protesting the arbitrary arrest and torture of their colleagues at the hands of the PA and Hamas.

One can only imagine the response of the Western mainstream media if the chairman of the Israeli Journalists Union or the Government Press Office called for a boycott of Palestinian journalists.

Palestinian journalists are up in arms. The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip are arresting and torturing them, and imposing severe restrictions on their work and freedom of expression. But that is not what is upsetting them.

No, the journalists are angry because a Palestinian daily newspaper dared to publish a paid advertisement by the Israeli authorities. The journalists are now demanding that the newspaper, Al-Quds, apologize for running the advertisement by the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank.

From Execution to Medieval Torture: “Iran’s Mandela”, Ayatollah Boroujerdi by Majid Rafizadeh

Ayatollah Boroujerdi has long advocated for the abolishing of “execution, and cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishments; such as torture, stoning and whipping. He rejected anti-Semitism and advocated religious freedom. He established charities and welfare centers to help the poor and assist victims of natural disasters. He condemned personal financial gain from religious activities.

His prison sentence was recently completed. It is critical to point out that Boroujerdi is still nowhere near free.

“He is said to have been beaten, thrown against a wall, and had cold water thrown on him when he was sleeping. He suffers from a heart condition, pulmonary issues, diabetes, severe problems with his eyes including untreated cataracts, and kidney stones. His legs are swollen which makes it very difficult for him to walk. His hands also shake as a result of his Parkinson’s disease. While in detention, he has not been receiving necessary medical treatment…” – Amnesty International.

Ayatollah Seyed Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi is a high-ranking prominent dissident clergyman in Iran. He has strongly called for separation of religion and state, and he condemns Islamic radicalism, fundamentalism, and terrorism. He is opposed to political Islam and the rule of Velayet-e-Faqih (Islamic custodianship over people), the theocratic system that governs Iran. Boroujerdi has many supporters and is known as Iran’s Mandela.

“He has long advocated for the abolishment of execution, and cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishments; such as torture, stoning and whipping. He rejected anti-Semitism and advocated religious freedom. He established charities and welfare centers to help the poor and assist victims of natural disasters. He condemned personal financial gain from religious activities. His call has been welcomed by an increasing number of followers to the point that, until his arrest, his gatherings surpassed the theocracy’s organized ceremonies, by their sheer size and numbers.”

For these humanitarian endeavors, he was sentenced to execution by the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, due to international pressure, in 2006, the Iranian regime changed the judgment to 11 years in Iran’s most notorious prison, Evin.

The Golden Age of Jewish Baseball Next foe for the Israeli nine is Cuba. Lee Smith

After going 3-0 in the first round of the World Baseball Classic, Israel moves on to the second round of pool play this weekend in Tokyo when it squares off against international powerhouse Cuba Saturday (10 p.m. EST). The other two teams in Pool E are the Netherlands, whom Israel defeated Wednesday night 4-2 in the preliminary round, and Japan, the 2006 and 2009 WBC champions. The pool winner and the runner-up will move on to Los Angeles for the semi-final round starting March 20. If the Israeli nine makes it through, it might be the first time a Chavez Ravine crowd gets to the park early and stays till the end.

The club’s success, Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer told me, “is a real home run for the Jewish state.” Some credit the team’s undefeated run to mascot “Mensch on the Bench,” while more seasoned baseball observers note that the lowest-ranked club in the 16-team tournament is stacked with current or former major leaguers, like pitcher Jason Marquis, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, first baseman Nate Freiman, designated hitter Ike Davis, third baseman Ty Kelly, and centerfielder Sam Fuld, while the rest of the roster has plenty of minor league experience.

It’s not a star-studded lineup, like the Dominican Republic’s, for instance, but they play good baseball. They’re also playing role of lovable underdog. One broadcaster read aloud from the promotional material concerning Israel’s slick-fielding shortstop during Wednesday night’s game like a mother boasting about her son. In high school, “Scott Burcham was selected top defensive shortstop in the Southland by the Los Angeles Times prior to his senior season.” We are all very proud of Scotty.

Yes, even people who aren’t normally baseball fans are pulling for Israel. Even before the U.S. team has taken the field (the Americans open Friday night against Colombia), the Israeli squad has generated an unusually high level of interest in the WBC. Initiated in 2006, followed by the 2009 and 2013 tournaments, the WBC is roughly modeled after the FIFA World Cup, held every four years. Previously, the WBC seemed to get lost in that strange gre -zone of spring training, somewhere between catchers and pitchers first reporting the second week of February and opening day. For scouts and baseball executives, it’s an opportunity to get a closer look at foreign talent, especially Asian players and the Cubans. In past WBCs, Cuban stars who eventually signed major league contracts after fleeing the island, like Aroldis Chapman and Jose Abreu, showed they could more than match up with big leaguers.

But for most casual fans, the WBC is essentially a string of exhibition games. Sure, you’re watching some of the game’s greats go against each other, but it’s not clear why Robinson Cano working Daisuke Matsuzaka to a 3-2 count is super exciting just because they’re in the uniforms of their national teams. It’s still March.

It’s different for fanatics with immigrant backgrounds from the Caribbean baseball powers, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the 2013 WBC championDominican Republic. Here some of the Dominican players celebrate “plátano pride,” and Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado explains why he’s playing for the D.R. rather than the United States. The U.S. third baseman and star of the Colorado Rockies Nolan Arenado, whose mother’s family is Puerto Rican and father’s family comes from Cuba, remembers that his family made it “clear that I should be proud to live in this country because so many of the freedoms we have here do not exist in Cuba. But despite the negative views of the Cuban government, my family members still root like crazy for the Cuban national baseball team.”

I suspect there’s something similar going on with the Israeli club. American Jews are thrilled to see Jewish ballplayers take their place among the nations of baseball. Most of the Israel roster is made up of American ballplayers whose family history qualifies them for Israeli citizenship, but only two active players are Israelis. There’s veteran pitcher Shlomo Lipetz, and Dean Kremer, a right-handed pitcher the Los Angeles Dodgers selected out of the University of Nevada Las Vegas last year in the fourteenth round. He’s the first Israeli drafted by a big league club.

From Horned Helmets to Pussy Hats

If you thought Sweden’s men have become mice think again.
They are yet worthy of their warrior ancestors! They are still a fighting breed whom Sweden’s great seventeenth century soldier-king Gustavus Adolphus would recognise with pride!

Be not deceived! Those horned helmets we associate with the Vikings, those fearsome raiders who struck terror into all hearts, have not been abandoned.
They have merely been given a makeover, in keeping with the Wallstrom/Soros era.


These stalwarts, members of the Construction Workers’ Union in Sweden, have been marking International Women’s Day.

You could read the original here On the other hand, you may wish to read a translation: the Vlad Tepes blog has one here

Too bad these guys couldn’t do something really constructive (no pun intended!) for the cause of Swedish women by breaking ranks with the rape capital of Europe’s crazy leftist-feminista-Islamophile government and identifying exactly where the clear and present danger to women’s rights and women’s safety really lies in the country Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist so rightly terms Absurdistan!

Turkish Riots in Rotterdam Threaten Dutch Political Stability Ahead of Elections This Week By Patrick Poole

The Reuters picture above of supporters of Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan are not from Istanbul or Ankara, but from riots overnight in Rotterdam that threaten the stability of the Netherlands ahead of Dutch parliamentary elections later this week.

The Rotterdam riots, which required a state of emergency to be declared by the Dutch government, are part of a larger unfolding drama involving provocations by the Turkish government inciting millions of Turkish citizens living in European countries.

The current crisis began when the Dutch government prevented the Turkish foreign minister from landing in the Netherlands to hold a political rally in Rotterdam in support of dictator Erdogan and an upcoming referendum in Turkey intended to give Erdogan more power. The foreign minister then landed in Metz, France.

Reuters reports:

Several hundred demonstrators waving Turkish flags gathered outside the Turkish consulate in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Saturday, demanding to see the Turkish minister for family affairs as a dispute between the two countries escalated.

Police erected metal barriers and patrolled on horseback to keep the demonstrators away from the consulate as the crowd grew with more pro-Turkish protesters arriving from Germany.

Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya traveled by road to the Netherlands from neighboring Germany after the Dutch government revoked landing rights for a plane carrying Turkey’s foreign minister earlier on Saturday.

Dutch TV footage showed police stopping the minister’s convoy near the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam and preventing her from entering the building.

The Dutch government said it did not want Turkish politicians campaigning among Turkish emigres in the Netherlands, leading President Tayyip Erdogan to brand the fellow NATO member a “Nazi remnant”. CONTINUE AT SITE