Tag Archives: property rights

Holder bars use of federal law to seize private property

Good news: Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday barred state and local police from using federal law to seize any private property unless an actual crime is being committed.

Holder’s decision allows some limited exceptions, including illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child pornography, a small fraction of the total. This would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the program. While police can continue to make seizures under their own state laws, the federal program was easy to use and required most of the proceeds from the seizures to go to local and state police departments. Many states require seized proceeds to go into the general fund.

A Justice official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the attorney general’s motivation, said Holder “also believes that the new policy will eliminate any possibility that the adoption process might unintentionally incentivize unnecessary stops and seizures.”

As much as I think Holder has been a dishonest and corrupt attorney general who has used his power to attack his political opponents, this decision by him should be lauded highly. It was the right thing to do.

Two Republican senators propose limiting ability of government to confiscate property

Theft by government: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) are both proposing limits to the federal government’s ability to confiscate private property.

Since these confiscations are essentially unconstitutional and illegal, “limiting” the government’s ability here to me seems to be a weak response. These confiscations should cease entirely, now. Still, at least these Republicans are making sounds they want to do something about this fascist behavior.

Philadelphia’s District Attorney likes to steal homes

Theft by government: Having broken no law, a Philadelphia husband and wife were evicted from their home and the house taken from them by the DA’s office, which stood to personally profit from the confiscation.

The nightmare began when police showed up at the house and arrested their 22-year-old son, Yianni, on drug charges — $40 worth of heroin. Authorities say he was selling drugs out of the home. The Sourvelises say they had no knowledge of any involvement their son might have had with drugs.

A month-and-a-half later police came back — this time to seize their house, forcing the Sourvelises and their children out on the street that day. Authorities came with the electric company in tow to turn off the power and even began locking the doors with screws, the Sourvelises say. Authorities won’t comment on the exact circumstances because of pending litigation regarding the case.

Police and prosecutors came armed with a lawsuit against the house itself. It was being forfeited and transferred to the custody of the Philadelphia District Attorney. Authorities said the house was tied to illegal drugs and therefore subject to civil forfeiture. In two years, nearly 500 families in Philadelphia had their homes or cars taken away by city officials, according to records from Pennsylvania’s attorney general.

This quote from later in the article is also key: “The very authorities taking the property appear to be profiting from it, according to Pennsylvania state records.”

“If the government says you can’t use your property for anything, they’ve essentially taken your property from you.”

“If the government says you can’t use your property for anything, they’ve essentially taken your property from you.”

It’s just another government land grab, but this time in California, not Nevada.

Facebook’s Instagram has updated its terms and conditions so that it now claims “perpetual” ownership to all photographs posted by users.

Facebook’s Instagram has updated its terms and conditions in order to claim “perpetual” ownership to all photographs posted by users.

“You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such,” the new terms say. That may let advertisers use teenagers’ photos for marketing, raising privacy and security concerns, Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, told Bloomberg.

And people wonder why I am not on Facebook.

The Obama administration has extended the power of the ATF to “seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.”

Theft by government: The Obama administration has extended the power of the ATF to “seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.”

In other words, if the ATF thinks a drug crime has occurred, it now has the right to seize any property involved, without due process. The article gives a particularly pointed example:
» Read more

A Texas woman did not want a smart meter installed in her home, and when the power company employee would not take no for an answer she stopped him — by showing him her legal gun.

A Texas woman did not want a smart meter installed in her home, and when the power company employee would not take no for an answer she stopped him — by showing him her legal gun.

She placed herself between the installer and her old meter but, “He just kept pushing me away.” That’s when she showed him her handgun. “He saw it, and went back the other way.”

The response of the power company is also interesting.

“We are deeply troubled by anyone who would pull a gun on another person performing their job,” reads a statement from the company. “CenterPoint will be taking additional steps – including court actions – because what happened is dangerous, illegal and unwarranted.”

First, the employee was on this woman’s property. Second, it appears the employee pushed the woman. Since when is it illegal to protect both your property and your person from assault?

The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of the landowners whose property was essentially stolen by the EPA because the agency had declared it contained a wetland.

A small victory against the EPA: The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously in favor of the landowners whose property was essentially stolen by the EPA because the agency had unilaterally declared it contained a wetland.

A new bill in Congress would clarify the rights of 1960s astronauts to the space-flown artifacts they took home after their flight.

A new bill in Congress would clarify the rights of 1960s astronauts to the space-flown artifacts they took home after their flight.

What I don’t like about this is that it is so specific, only protecting the rights of the astronauts from the 1960s. Why not extend these rights to all those who fly on NASA missions?

Occupy Wall Street Thugs Confiscate Man’s Home

Thugs: Occupy Wall Street has stolen a man’s home.

The real property owner is livid because he could be raising his two little girls, Imani, 3, and Kwazha, 10, in the two-story home instead of in a meager, two-bedroom rental in Brownsville while he tries to sort out his mortgage nightmare. … “[OWS] told me not to talk to them [reporters] because they [OWS] had an offer for me,” he said.

At a second meeting after the press conference, however, organizers said they would not pay him for the house. At that point, he told them to leave. Inside the house the walls are knocked down and all of his belongings, including a stove, refrigerator and bedroom furniture, have been moved to the basement.

NASA administrator Bolden met with former Apollo astronauts today to smooth over his agency’s attempt to prevent their ability to sell artifacts from their missions.

NASA administrator Bolden met with former Apollo astronauts today to smooth over his agency’s attempt to prevent their ability to sell artifacts from their missions.

A NASA inquiry into the ownership of a variety of space artifacts, including Jim Lovell’s Apollo 13 checklist, has halted their sale at auction.

Power grab: A NASA inquiry into the ownership of a variety of space artifacts, including Jim Lovell’s Apollo 13 checklist, has halted their sale at auction.

In other words, it appears that NASA management has decided that everything ever built by NASA belongs to NASA, forever, even if NASA would have thrown it away at some point.

FBI sees drop in violent and property crimes in every region of the U.S.

Some good news: The FBI is reporting a drop in violent and property crimes in every region of the U.S for the first half of 2011.

As the report above notes, this drop has occurred during “tough economic times,” illustrating once again that the leftwing claim that “tough economic times” causes violence and crime is dead wrong. If a society knows the difference between right and wrong while respecting property rights, poverty by itself will not lead to crime. What will lead to crime is a rejection of these values, which not only promotes bad behavior (stealing and violence) but also leads to more poverty and the collapse of society.

With this in mind it is therefore interesting to reflect on many of the actions and ideas of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Is this what we really want for America?

Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor?

Why are Indian reservations so poor? (Link fixed. Sorry.)

The vast majority of land on reservations is held communally. That means residents can’t get clear title to the land where their home sits, one reason for the abundance of mobile homes on reservations. This makes it hard for Native Americans to establish credit and borrow money to improve their homes because they can’t use the land as collateral–and investing in something you don’t own makes little sense, anyway.

“Markets haven’t been allowed to operate in reserve lands,” says [Manny Jules, a former chief of the Kamloops Indian band in British Columbia]. “We’ve been legislated out of the economy. When you don’t have individual property rights, you can’t build, you can’t be bonded, you can’t pass on wealth. A lot of small businesses never get started because people can’t leverage property [to raise funds].

Hat tip Ace of Spades.

Virginia residents oppose preparations for climate-related sea-level rise

Ain’t democracy a bitch? Virginia residents loudly oppose their local government’s preparations for climate-related sea-level rise, and neither the bureaucrats or this Washington Post journalist like it!

Family reluctantly gives up its hold on Santa Rosa Island

Theft by government: The family that once owned Santa Rosa Island off California finally and reluctantly gives up its property.

Fearing condemnation, Vail & Vickers sold Santa Rosa Island to the government for $30 million in 1986. . . . [Then, a] 1997 lawsuit by the National Park and Conservation Assn. hastened the end of both ranching and hunting.

India pushes for a sharing of intellectual property rights at Durban climate talks

India pushes for a sharing of intellectual property rights at Durban climate talks.

If you ever had any doubts about the political goals behind the global warming movement, this headline and story should put those forever to rest. The advocates of climate change really don’t care about climate change. What they really want is to get their hands on other people’s success. Failing to get a deal that would limit the activities of the developed countries so that the developing countries would have an advantage in the free market, the effort is now aimed at attacking and even eliminating the property rights of private technology companies. What this has to do with climate change is beyond me.

That India is leading the way here is puzzling, however, as that country’s economic success in the past decade is solely due to its abandonment of communist ideals in favor of capitalism and the free market. You would think, with that experience, that India’s government would thus understand the importance of protecting property rights, not violating them.

Apollo astronaut has been forced to return camera to NASA

Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell has been forced to return to NASA the camera he used on the Moon.

[He had been allowed to keep the camera after his return in accordance with] a practice within the 1970’s astronaut office that allowed the Apollo astronauts to keep equipment that hadn’t been intended to return from the moon so long as the items did not exceed weight limitations and were approved by management.

NASA steals moon rock given to widow of NASA engineer

In a sting operation, NASA steals a moon rock from the widow of an retired NASA engineer.

Five months after NASA investigators and local agents swooped into the restaurant and hailed their operation as a cautionary tale for anyone trying to sell national treasure, no charges have been filed, NASA isn’t talking and the case appears stalled. The target, Joann Davis, a grandmother who says she was trying to raise money for her sick son, asserts the lunar material was rightfully hers, having been given to her space-engineer husband by Neil Armstrong in the 1970s.

Police confiscate a woman’s legal guns, refuse to return them

Fire them! Police confiscate a woman’s legal guns, then refuse to return them despite admitting they are legally owned.

Her cache [of weapons] somehow caught the attention of Lakewood Police, who paid a visit last September. When they found Rice wasn’t home, they asked an obliging employee of the complex to open up the apartment without her consent. Once inside, they raided the gun rack, making off with 13 firearms worth around $15,000. The only problem: They had no apparent reason to. [emphasis mine]

Not only did the police essentially steal her property, they entered her apartment illegally.