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The Environmental Insane Asylum

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

This is article 341 of 341 in the topic Global Warming

By Alan Caruba

Earth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

Around the globe, the worst part of this is that we are being victimized by people we are told to respect from the President of the United States to the Pope of the Catholic Church. Their environmentalism is pure socialism.

Organizations whom we expect to tell the truth keep telling us that “climate change is one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century.”  This was a recent statement by “world leaders” like the G7, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies, the International Monetary Fund, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. On April 17 they adopted a report about the “threat” put together by think tanks that included the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

When I speak of “climate” I am referring to data gathered not just about decades, but centuries of the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling. When I speak of “weather”, the closest any of us get to it other than today’s, are local predictions no longer than a few days’ time at best. The weather is in a constant state of flux.

Climate change is not a threat and most certainly there is no global warming. As Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook College in Queensland, Australia, has written, “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.”

The fact that the Earth is now into the nineteenth year of a natural planetary cooling cycle seems to never be acknowledged or reported. “The problem here,” says Prof. Carter, “is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike.”

In a book I recommend to everyone, “Climate for the Layman” by Anthony Bright-Paul, he draws on the best well-known science about the Earth noting that “Since there is no such thing as a temperature of the whole Earth all talk of global warming is simply illogical, ill thought out, and needs to be discarded for the sake of clarity. The globe is warming and cooling in different locations concurrently every minute of the day and night.”

“Since it is abundantly clear that there is no one temperature of the atmosphere all talk of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is simply an exercise in futility.” A look at the globe from either of its two poles to its equator and everything in between tells us with simple logic that being able to determine its “temperature” is impossible.

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The Prison Called Cuba

by Alan Caruba on Monday, April 20th, 2015

This is article 70 of 70 in the topic Communism

By Alan Caruba

We are told we need to feel sympathy for the Cuban people who have suffered from a U.S. embargo and lack of diplomatic recognition. That ignores a long history of oppression in Cuba no matter who was in charge.

Prior to Fidel Castro, Cubans were in the grip of Flugencio Batista who overthrew the existing government in September 1933 and then dominated Cuban politics for the next 25 years until Castro’s revolutionary movement took control of the capitol in January 1959.

Fifty-six years ago in 1959, I was about to graduate from the University of Miami and among my friends were young Cubans sent there to get a degree. I have often wondered which among them returned to Cuba and which, like those who could afford it, were joined by their family who fled Cuba.

The U.S. had been involved with Cuba from the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898 when Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam for $20 million. We stayed in Cuba until it was granted independence in 1902 as the Republic of Cuba. Its first president faced an armed revolt in 1906 so we returned to briefly occupy Cuba to restore some stability, but they never really got the hand of being a democratic self-governing nation.

How much better it would have been for the Cubans if the U.S. had decided to make the island a territory like Puerto Rico. Then we could have let the island prosper without having to end up with becoming a Communist nation closely allied, first with the Soviet Union and after its collapse in 1991, with others like China and Venezuela.

The lesson we might be expected to draw from this is that Communism does not work. It is an utterly failed economic and social system that can only stay in power by jailing or executing anyone who resists. That is exactly what the brothers, Fidel and Raul Castro, have done since seizing power. One consistency of the past five decades has been the anti-America policies they have pursued.

The reason given by Obama was that U.S. policies toward Cuba “have not worked” and that it is time for a change. There is some truth in this and it should be noted that Canada has long had good relations with Cuba as have European and, of course, Latin and South American nations.

Even so, what are we to conclude from the report that Russia plans to join military drills with Cuba and North Korea that may also include Vietnam and Brazil? Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has left it sanctioned and isolated, so the military drills send a message that it still has nations friendly to it, but what nations!

Cuba was caught not long ago when it attempted to ship weapons to North Korea, so we are talking about two dedicated Communist nations. Over the years, it has more than demonstrated its anti-American hostility.

Generally, there is little to be gained by exchanging embassies or relieving Cuba. Lifting our embargo and other sanctions leaves the U.S. with even less leverage, if any.

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Why Moral Values Matter

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

This is article 42 of 42 in the topic Moral Values

By Alan Caruba

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”
– John Adams (1735 – 1826), second President of the U.S.A.
It’s hard to consider the success of the book and film “Fifty Shades of Gray” without thinking that America has become morally bankrupt in terms of its views toward sexuality and, of course, in other ways as well.
At about the same time I was thinking this, a recent issue of The Wall Street Journal had an article titled “Unmarried…With Children.”
Let me say up front that, having spent the bulk of my life in the last century, I have been a witness to the changes that have occurred and they portend a society that in many ways is in deep trouble. It is not one in which I would want today’s generation of children to grow up. That said, today’s children are drenched in all manner of information for good or ill that was simply not accessible to earlier generations. Since it reflects the views of popular culture, it often conveys the wrong lessons.
In my youth and up to around the 1960s, some thirty years, the America in which I grew up disapproved of casual sex, abortions, unmarried people living together, pornography, and comparable issues. That has changed.
The article cited the fact that “More than a quarter of births to women of childbearing age—defined here as 15 to 44 years old—in the past five years were cohabiting couples, the highest on record and nearly double the rate from a decade earlier, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2011 to 2013.”
And here’s a statistic that really caught my attention: “Cohabiting parents now account for a clear majority—59%–of all births outside marriage, according to estimates by Sally Curtin, a CDC demographer. In all, 40% of the 3.93 million births in 2013 were to unmarried women.” Moreover, “It is mostly white and Hispanic couples who are driving the trend, not black couples, experts say.”
“Affluent, highly educated Americans still largely marry before starting families, and single mothers remain more common among the poor.”  There was a time when the vast majority of Americans regarded marriage as the bond that had to first exist before a family was started.
There was a time when single motherhood was considered shameful from a moral point of view and understood to be harmful to society in general. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, a third of single mothers aren’t working, meaning they are likely to depend on government welfare. Feminists may call this “liberation”, but for those experiencing it, it is called poverty.

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A Pox on Politicians

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

This is article 147 of 147 in the topic History
By Alan Caruba
Nobody likes politicians, but everybody votes for them.
Perhaps the most quintessential American theme throughout its history has been the role politicians have played in creating it—we call them our Founding Fathers—and the endless role of those who have wanted to take us in the wrong direction or at least tried to.
I have known a few politicians and some were very good men and others reflected the very human goal of gaining wealth and power. The fact that voters have often made some very good choices says much about democracy and we need to be a bit more optimistic about it.
What differs today from the past is the enormous, indeed obscene, amount of money required to get elected and reelected. In general, it has always helped to have a bankroll to serve in public office and our first President was not only the most highly regarded man of his times, but a very wealthy plantation owner from Virginia.
I love reading history because, as the Chinese philosopher Confucius advised, “Study the past if you would define the future.”  One of America’s finest historians, Thomas Fleming, has had a new book published, “The Great Divide: The Conflict Between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation.” It is very entertaining and, over all, very astonishing. Most of the things we learned in school about them and their era are, generally speaking, wrong.
These two great figures of our Revolution, the creation of the Constitution, and their terms in office ended their lives disliking one another. As Fleming notes, “Most Americans are unaware that such discord ever existed.”
“A series of political clashes had gradually destroyed their friendship and mutual respect the two men had enjoyed at the start of Washington’s presidency. Ultimately, they became enemies. Small, slight James Madison, whose brilliant political theorizing won the admiration of both men, was forced to choose between these two tall antagonists.”  America owes Madison an eternal debt of gratitude, but it was Washington and Jefferson who tend to dominate the teaching of our early history.
How different are history would have been had there not been a George Washington. Eleven years older than Jefferson, he had no formal education but read voluminously to prepare himself for the leadership that was a natural part of his character. He relentlessly pursued the Revolutionary War for seven years against the greatest power of his time and he won it.
Jefferson, by contrast, never put his life on the line. He studied law and became a passionate revolutionist most famed for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence. As Governor of Virginia, he was a failure.
“Washington,” says Fleming was “first, last, and always a realist…but he combined this realism with a surprisingly strong faith that America was destined to become a beacon of freedom for men and women everywhere.” By contrast, “Jefferson tended to see men and events through the lens of a pervasive idealism.”
It may be an over-simplification to say that Washington was politically conservative while Jefferson was a liberal.

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Is John Kerry a Moron?

by Alan Caruba on Monday, March 16th, 2015

This is article 340 of 341 in the topic Global Warming
By Alan Caruba
I can recall John Kerry, Obama’s Secretary of State, from the days he testified to a congressional committee and slandered his fellow soldiers as the spokesman for Veterans Against the Vietnam War in 1971. I was appalled then and my opinion of the man has not changed since those days. I opposed the war, too, but I did not blame it on the men who were conscripted to fight it, nor did I believe the charges he leveled against some of them.
These days Kerry is engaged in securing an agreement with the Iranians, if not to stop their program to make their own nuclear weapons than to slow it to a later date. Never mind that the Iranian government is listed by our own government as a leading sponsor of terrorism worldwide or that they have signed such agreements in the past and then tossed out the inspectors.
Kerry is convinced that the Obama administration can get an agreement that is, in his own words, “not legally binding”, nor is it a treaty that the U.S. Senate would have to vote for or against. In point of fact, President Obama can make the deal—sign the agreement—just as Presidents have done for over two hundred years. It can then be abrogated by whoever the next President will be.
Why Obama and Kerry are doing this defies my understanding. It gives the Iranians more time to reach nuclear capability. It is opposed by every nation in the Middle East. It puts every nation within reach of Iran’s missiles at risk and it virtually guarantees the destruction of Israel, a goal of Iran’s Islamic Revolution from the day it was born. Kerry is negotiating with people who took our diplomats hostage in 1979 and have played a role in the deaths of many Americans since then.
Is John Kerry a moron? I think so.
I asked myself this question in regard to another area of U.S. policy which the Secretary of State is also championing even if millions around the world have concluded otherwise.
On March 2nd, Kerry addressed the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C, telling them what he has been saying in many forums. Let us understand that “climate change” is the name being used to replace “global warming”, because the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for the past 18 years or so. And let us understand that “climate change” has been happening for 4.5 billion years.
Kerry said, “So when science tells us that our climate is changing and human beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and just say, ‘Well, I dispute that’ or ‘I deny that elementary truth’?”
The problem with this is that human beings are not causing the planet’s climate change. Forces far greater than humans are involved, not the least of which is the Sun.
As for science, its most fundamental methodology is to constantly challenge the various ‘truths’ put forward as theories until they can be proved to be true by being independently reproduced. Nothing about the “global warming” theories has been true. All of the computer models on which it was based have been proven inaccurate.

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Ferguson is NOT America

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, March 15th, 2015

This is article 47 of 47 in the topic Equal Rights/Civil Rights
By Alan Caruba
The wounding of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and earlier in New York City the assassination of two police officers are disturbing events for all Americans as they represent a hostility that threatens a safe, secure society wherever one lives.
Shooting police is an invitation to anarchy. That there have been protests and parades of late advocating this should be a matter of deep concern to all of us, no matter our race.
Ferguson, however, is NOT America if one looks at its population and the incredibly poor governance they have endured. You get the government for which you vote or when you neglect to vote.
Ferguson is atypical of the nation. As James Langston notes in his book, “America in Crisis”, in Ferguson “the growth of the black population relative to whites is a recent occurrence. In 1990, blacks comprised 25 percent of the city’s population but that percentage grew to 52 percent in 2000 and 67 percent in 2010.”
“The demographic transition was not followed by a corresponding transition in black access to political positions, the police force, union representation, and the like. The recency of the demographic transition likely has altered the city in ways that do not characterize other contemporary major cities in the United States, especially those that are majority black like Detroit or Atlanta.”
As noted in the Department of Justice report of an investigation occasioned by the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer, local governance was a factor in the lives of its black citizens that has invoked protest and resentment.
“Ferguson,” notes Langston, “is unusual in the degree that the city uses the municipal court system and the revenue it generates as a way to raise city funds. This created a financial incentive to issue tickets and then impose excessive fees on people who did not pay.” For the record, this occurs in other comparable communities.
“Data bears this out. Ferguson issued more than 1,500 warrants per 1,000 people in 2013 and this rate exceeds all other Missouri cities with a population larger than 10,000 people. Ferguson has a population of just over 21,000 people but issued 24,000 warrants which add up to three warrants per Ferguson household.”
This, however, is not that unusual in Missouri. An article by Joseph Miller, published in the March edition of The Heartland Institute’s Budget & Tax News noted that excessive use of traffic fines is not that uncommon in Missouri. “Of the 20 cities in the county with fine collections exceeding 20% of total revenue, 13 are contiguous with one another in a 25-square-mile section” and described this as “a daily burden for local residents.”
What the media has reported regarding the number of blacks killed in police shootings is a bit deceptive. There is no question that “the disproportional number of blacks that are killed in police shootings”, says Langston. “Blacks comprise 13 percent of the U.S.

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It’s an Ice Age for Sure

by Alan Caruba on Monday, February 23rd, 2015

This is article 3 of 3 in the topic Ice Age

By Alan Caruba

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire.
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate.
To say that for destruction ice Is also great.
And would suffice.

– Robert Frost, American poet.
Robert W. Felix borrowed from the poet Robert Frost for the title of his book, “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, first published in 1997 and devoted to the science of magnetic reversals and the Earth’s ice ages. I read it first in 2010 and was absolutely floored because Felix makes a very strong case for a reversal that would lead to a widespread extinction of life at some point in the future. In the near, more predictable future, he said the Earth was heading into a new ice age.
“What would happen if a magnetic reversal occurred right here?” asked Felix. “The same things that happened in the past. Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, giant snowstorms, rising land, plummeting sea levels—you name it—tectonic activity would go bonkers.” Don’t believe him? Think about the disappearance of the dinosaurs some 65.5 million years ago.
The Earth had been in a cooling cycle that began in 1996 when the sun entered a cycle of reduced radiation. Such cycles were well known and most dramatically tied to the mini-ice age that occurred between 1300 and 1850. Solar observers had noticed many centuries ago that when there were few sunspots—magnetic storms—on the surface of the Sun, the Earth got colder.
This has become especially dramatic because, on February 17 a post on http://thesiweather.com/category/climate-info/ called for a discussion of the fact that “The Sun has gone quiet again during the weakest solar cycle in more than a century.” The post says, “If history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a negative impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere—and where we all live.”
“There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first is known as the ‘Maunder Minimum’, named after solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the ‘Dalton Minimum’, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton and it lasted from 1780 to 1830.” Together they are referred to as the “Little Ice Age.”
There are quite a few scientists forecasting a new ice age. The last ice age began approximately 1.6 million years ago in the Pleistocene epoch. We are currently in the Holocene epoch that began about 11,000 years ago and is regarded as an interglacial period of general warmth.
In his book, “Dark Winter: How the Sun is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell”, John L. Casey, a former White House national space policy advisor, says that whatever warming has occurred has ended as the result of “solar hibernation”, a term he applies to the reduction of energy output of the Sun.

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President Christie?

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

This is article 29 of 30 in the topic 2016 Elections
By Alan Caruba
I was born, raised and have lived in New Jersey most of my life. That does not, however, make me an expert on Chris Christie, our Governor and currently one of the contenders for the Republican nomination to run for President in 2016.
His major claim to fame is that he has been twice elected in a very Democratic state and has had to deal with a very Democratic legislature. What is rarely mentioned is that the way he has done this is to issue several hundred vetoes to a point where, if the Democrats want anything passed, they have to make sure he likes it. This is also not to say that they haven’t worked with him to rein in the public service unions and address pension reform. To his credit he has vetoed countless liberal measures from gay marriage to a ban on hog gestation crates.
That said, New Jersey still has lots of taxes, lots of regulations, and lots of people who retire and move to Florida. It also, so I am told, has an “attitude.” Texans may say “Don’t mess with Texas”, but in New Jersey we don’t even have to issue such a warning. It is, after all, the home of the fictional Tony Soprano of HBO fame. In truth, it is a place filled with friendly, happy people, so long as you mind your manners.
In a curious fashion, Chris Christie embodies that attitude. He is a skilled orator when he wants to be. As a former U.S. Attorney he “made his bones” by putting a lot of Mafia guys in jail and doing the same for some high ranked Garden State politicians. That was so refreshing the voters decided to elect him Governor. In 2013 he was re-elected with 60% of the vote.
In the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, Christie’s embrace of President Obama when he came to New Jersey for a photo op caused a lot of Republicans to criticize him, but Christie was being a political pragmatist, knowing that the state was going to need a lot of federal funding to help rebuild from the devastation that had incurred. Even so, he has not been forgiven for it.
The Democrats have been desperate to find something that would reduce his popularity and “Bridgegate” became the vehicle when one of his staff stupidly messed with the traffic to the George Washington Bridge, presumably for political reasons. He called a press conference and for more than an hour answered every question he was asked, denying any personal knowledge and participation. The staffer was fired.
Despite that, the non-event was engineered to fester through lengthy legislative investigations that proved he was telling the truth. In addition, Christie has faced a largely hostile state press, led by the largest daily, the Star-Ledger that pathetically derides him in some fashion in every issue, usually on page one.
Beyond New Jersey I suspect that few voters really have any idea who he is despite his efforts to fashion the national recognition he will need to have a shot at the GOP nomination.

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It’s Not Just Brian Williams

by Alan Caruba on Monday, February 9th, 2015

This is article 339 of 341 in the topic Global Warming

 

By Alan Caruba
“When reporters forfeit their credibility by making up stories, sources, or quotes, we are right to mock them. When their violations are significant or repeated, they should be fired,” says Charles Lipson, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “Demanding honest reporting has nothing to do with the reporter’s politics, personality, or personal life. It is about professional standards and our reasonable expectations.”
Writing at Real Clear Politics.com, Prof. Lipson concluded by saying, “It’s essential for our news organizations, and it matters for our democracy.”

Are we seeing a trend here? Dan Rather at CBS and now Brian Williams at NBC? Well, two news anchors are not a trend, but biased and bad reporting is. It’s not new, but it does seem to be gathering momentum and nowhere has it been more apparent than the millions of words written and spoken about “global warming” and now “climate change.”

It would be easy and convenient to lay the blame on America’s Liar-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, but the “global warming” hoax began well before he came on the scene. It was the invention of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dating back to its creation in 1988 when it was established by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.

The IPCC came to world attention with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that committed the nations that signed it to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” based on the premise that global warming—a dramatic increase—was real and that it was man-made. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997. The United States Senate rejected it and our neighbor, Canada, later withdrew from it. Both China and India were exempted, free to continue building numerous coal-fired plants to generate the energy they need for development.

Today, though, the President is an unrelenting voice about the dangers of “climate change” which he and John Kerry, our Secretary of State, have rated the “greatest threat” to the world. Obama’s national security strategy document was released just a day before he equated the history of Christianity with the barbarism of today’s Islamic State.

The national security document included terrorism to which it devoted one out of its 29 pages.  Essentially Obama sees all the problems of the world, real and imagined, as challenges that require “strategic patience and persistence.” This is his way of justifying doing nothing or as little as possible.

Still, according to Obama, the climate is such a threat, his new budget would allocate $4 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to bribe more states to close even more power plants around the nation. He wants to increase the EPA’s overall budget by 6% to $8.6 billion. The Republican Congress is not likely to allocate such funding.

As for the environment, there have been so many lies put forth by the government and by a panoply of environmental organizations of every description, buoyed by legions of “scientists” and academics lining their pockets with billions in grants, that it is understandable that many Americans still think that “global warming” is real despite the fact that the Earth is now 19 years into a well-documented cooling cycle.

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Will New AG Support Civil Forfeiture Reform?

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, February 1st, 2015

This is article 118 of 118 in the topic Obama Appointments
By Alan Caruba
The  Wednesday hearings on the confirmation of a new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, lasted hours because members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were often called away to vote. In the wake of the scandals surrounding the manner in which Eric Holder’s Department of Justice has functioned, the hearing, led now by Republicans, could have been harsh, but it was not. The Wall Street Journal characterized the mood in the hearing room as “cordial.”  Watching it on CSPAN, I can confirm that.
In early November the Wall Street Journal, in an opinion titled “The Next Attorney General: One area to question Loretta Lynch is civil asset forfeiture”, it noted that “As a prosecutor Ms. Lynch had also been aggressive in pursuing civil asset forfeiture, which has become a form of politicking for profit.”
“She recently announced that her office had collected more than $904 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal 2013, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Liberals and conservatives have begun to question forfeiture as an abuse of due process that can punish the innocent.”
That caught my eye because the last thing America needs is an Attorney General who wants to use this abuse of the right to be judged innocent until proven guilty. Civil forfeiture puts no limits on the seizure of anyone’s private property and financial holdings. It is a law that permits this to occur even if based on little more than conjecture. It struck me then and now as a bizarre and distinctly un-American law.
Writing in the Huffington Post in late 2014, Bob Barr, a former Congressman and the principal in Liberty Strategies, told of the passage of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) in 2000 “as a milestone in the difficult—almost impossible—task of protecting individual rights against constant incursions by law-and-order officials.” The problem is that civil forfeiture was and is being used to seize millions.
“The staggering dollar amounts reflected in these statistics, however,” wrote Barr, “does not pinpoint the real problem of how law enforcement agencies at all levels of government employ the power of asset forfeiture as a means of harming, and in many instances, destroying the livelihood of individuals and small businesses.”
“In pursuing civil assets, the government need never charge the individuals with violations of criminal laws; therefore never having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty of having committed any crimes.”
As noted above, as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ms. Lynch’s office had raked in millions from civil forfeiture. Forbes magazine reports that she has used it in more than 120 cases and, prior to the hearing to confirm her as the next Attorney General US News & World Report noted on January 26 that Ms. Lynch’s office had quietly dropped a $450,000 civil forfeiture case a week before the hearings. She clearly did not want to answer questions on this or any other comparable case.
Just one example tells you why there is legitimate concern regarding this issue and it appeared in a January 3rd edition of Townhall.com.

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