Thursday, July 5, 2012

Still The Land of the Free?

Government Extortion Scams...
Russ Caswell, 68, is bewildered: “What country are we in?” He and his wife, Pat, are ensnared in a Kafkaesque nightmare unfolding in Orwellian language.
This town’s police department is conniving with the federal government to circumvent Massachusetts law — which is less permissive than federal law — to seize his livelihood and retirement asset. In the lawsuit titled United States of America v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, the government is suing an inanimate object, the motel Caswell’s father built in 1955. 
The U.S. Department of Justice intends to seize it, sell it for perhaps $1.5 million and give up to 80 percent of that to the Tewksbury Police Department, whose budget is just $5.5 million. The Caswells have not been charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. They are being persecuted by two governments eager to profit from what is antiseptically called the “equitable sharing” of the fruits of civil forfeiture, a process of government enrichment that often is indistinguishable from robbery.  (When Government is the Looter)
Such government confiscations violate the natural property rights of law-abiding citizens. More insidious, the only way these hotel owners could have protected themselves was to violate the civil liberties of its customers, by either spying on them or profiling them.

Our governments at all levels are out of control.

Lowell Sun - Trial Date Set for November
Institute for Justice
Setting the Record Straight


FreeThinke said...

How cheering and encouraging it is to learn of yet-another atrocious provision written into "the law" that enables a power structure –– becoming more intrusive, more coercive, more threatening and less "protective" of our natural, God-given rights every day –– to effectively get away with murder!

Well, I've always maintained that those attracted to police work are really thugs at heart –– no better than the criminals from which they are hired to protect us. Police work and the kind of power to tell other people what they can and cannot do that comes with holding elective office is most often sought by sadistic types looking for a "respectable" outlet for their deviant, inhumane proclivities.

That's why more often than not "THE LAW IS A ASS."

There should be no provision whatsoever in law at any level –– from municipal to county to state on up to federal –– that permits Authority to push innocent people around for anyone else's "greater good" –– especially for the benefit of government entities.

The time is rapidly approaching for another American Revolution. The problem is that it's so much harder to fight against What We Have Allowed Ourselves to Become than it was to focus hostility on a Quasi-Mythical Tyrant Sitting on a Foreign Throne.

We're in the absurd position of needing to REBEL AGAINST OURSELVES. How crazy is that?

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

The stinking cops are involved. What a freaking surprise.

It would be a great benefit to the culture if we started attacking the meme that these freaking ass nuggets (along with the military) are there to protect us.
Better to remember that the stinking cops are there to steal anything not nailed down.

LD Jackson said...

I know from experience how the federal government seizes property. I work for a company that stores said seized property, mainly automobiles and recreational vehicles. They perform the auctions on our parking lot.

Admittedly, there are times when the vehicles were clearly involved in drug related activities. We have had to disable more than one hidden compartment that was used to hide and transport drugs.

However, it does make one wonder just how far they are willing to go. I just finished reading some of the links you provided about the Caswell situation and the government is clearly going beyond the boundaries that should be set.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

This is an outrage! Seizing and selling private property so they can hand over the proceeds to local government? Who says Obama, Holder, and gang aren't in bed with MA's governor Patrick?

FreeThinke said...

It isn't the stinkin' COPS, Canardo, it's the stinking LAWS and the venal creeps who MAKE 'em.

And ultimately it's OUR fault for electing SWINE to public office in the first place.

Right now we live in a tospy turvy society where criminals are seen a "victims" and legitimate citizens who've done no wring are looked as "oppressors."

With such a perverse mentality holding sway how could we expect anything better from those to whom we grant suzerainty over our business and personal affairs?

We live in an INSANE society thanks o the machinations of Marxist intellectuals whose evil, demented ideas have permeated -- and now dominate -- every nook and cranny of the culture.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

It is robbery and it happens more often than you might think. The feds and the police should have tp prove in a court of law that the owners are involved in an illicit activity before they can confiscate their property. what happened to due process?

Z said...

I read the link about the case looking for WHY the gov't felt they could do this and I'm speechless...*but I can still TYPE :-)

Does that mean hotels will now have to do background checks on every guest to make sure they never committed a crime and a promise that they won't while living at the hotel?

Is there a Civil Right NOT being trampled in this ridiculous lawsuit? It's mortgage free, their that yet more proof that success will get you punished? Does it seem principled to only be able to steal properties which have no mortgages? it the CRIMES that the gov't's upset about or the $$$$$.
The answer's clear.

One of the comments at the Will article blames Republicans :-) You can't make this stuff up.
If anything, the silver lining is that this rankles, more than any other party, the Republican sensibility of freedom. It reeks of eminent domain, too, doesn't it? I hope this case gets well publicized.

But it won't.

Ducky's here said...

z, let me assure you that in this particular area the term "hotel" takes a different meaning.

Were these guys knowingly encouraging drug dealers and meth cookers? It needs to be adjudicated but the probability that they are degrading an already marginal neighborhood is high.

So "Bow Tie Daddy" Will is pumping it up a bit.
Again, the critical point here is that the stinking cops found a way to work the statutes so they can continue theft.

Why, when we rant (sometimes quite reasonably) about public employees unions are these useless nose picking poltroons always exempted?

Z said...

Ducky, is Tewksbury a really rough neighborhood?

The link says "And the arrests the government complains of represent less than .05 percent of the 125,000 rooms the Caswells have rented over that period of time. Indeed, the government’s lawsuit identifies only five incidents leading to approximately 10 arrests between 2001-2009 as the basis of the forfeiture."

Whatever the situation, this confiscation doesn't bother you at all?
I don't know why the cops are exempted and I've seen too much good that they d, under really hideous conditions for people who don't appreciate them, to get too much against them, I have to admit.

FreeThinke said...

"It all depends on whose ox is being gored," as the saying goes.

Most of us just ADORE coercion when it works to rid us, personally, of something we regard as undesirable. But it never works the other way 'round.

Let's face it, human beings have a deep-seated belief that "Some animals [really are] more equal than others."

We see it every day right here in the blogosphere.

~ FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

I think this is a little more complicated than Silver is depicting here, and certainly there is a lot of history involved.

For centuries, and here in America as well, communities and governments have confiscated properties that were deemed to be used for criminal activities, like bordellos, illegal casinos, opium dens, organized crime fronts, etc.

So there's nothing new here.

But then where's the investigation of the owner? Can he resolve the problem? Is this establishment redeemable?

We, thanks to the Right Wing, have a very heavy handed police state in America today. Seizing property involved in illegal activities has been going on for a long time now, and there are certainly conflicts of interest, tangible or at least perceived, that have emerged because of this. Heck, there was a black community in Texas some years ago in which a huge portion of the population was arrested en masse for alleged drug activities, and a huge portion of the town's private property was under threat of confiscation. Media pressure mitigated that situation, but it is a clear example of Police State abuse.

Personally, I believe these matters should be handled very differently. If this hotel was a criminal haven, then perhaps the police could have worked with the owner to make it trap instead of a haven. It's like Willie Sutton said about banks and money but instead about criminals and this hotel - because that's where they are!


Z said...

"We, thanks to the Right Wing, have a very heavy handed police state in America today."

:-) Really!? Is it those right wingers doing crack and murdering who necessitate a "heavy handed police state"

Reading the first link SF shows in red helps.."And the arrests the government complains of represent less than .05 percent of the 125,000 rooms the Caswells have rented over that period of time."

They're not compensating them a DIME for their family business..think that's the right thing to do?

Ducky's here said...

Yes, z, the taking does trouble me. I doubt we are dealing with innocents but this bears no relation to my concept of due process.

But I'll say it again. We should make it clear who is behind this -- the cops.
They know the day is coming when their ride on the gravy train, stealing from everyone else is over so they are looking for creative ways to steal.

Ducky's here said...

You might add Jersey that a lot of police departments have gotten used to living fat and happy thanks to asinine War on Terror (LMAO) funding.

But teachers are the threat.

Ducky's here said...

z, are you familiar with the area and the general arrest rates? These "owners" were no choir boys.

They were quite likely "funding" their retirement alright.

Ducky's here said...

Of course, you can book a stay

Ducky's here said...

Busy night at the Caswell Motel

Bunkerville said...

I was the victim of eminent domain years ago. With the green light given by the supremes, we are now at the mercy of thieves.

Z said...

Ducky, I asked you above if it was in a rough neighborhood because the first link in SF's piece infers that.
Yes, I can't disagree with your take on what the cops are doing but it should be ILLEGAL to do can't look at a hotel and judge that the owners were in there with the perps or closing blind eyes to them when the facts in one of the links show they had totally complied as best they could with the cops.
Yes, it's the cops who seem to be the guilty ones but the opportunity shouldn't even be available. Can they shut the place down? I suppose...if they can prove crime's coming out of there but how do they prove that? And the stats show differently.

SO, the question is what DO cities do with old places which, by no fault of their own, are suddenly in really terrible neighborhoods which have sprung up around them and in which crime is so bad?
You can't tell people whose livelihood is a hotel (they also let transients and the needy stay there, by the way) to just shut it down and lose your million bucks.

Ducky's here said...

Good question, z.

I don't know what they'll gain by closing this place down because there are already other locations in Tewksbury that are on the edge and this closing would just tip them over the edge.

Yeah, why take the property. Maybe the city can sell it, tear it down and build a strip mall. The perps move on and the cops do it all again until there aren't any hotels left and it all gets pushed into Billerica.

Rational Nation USA said...

From the reviews I certainly don't plan on booking a stay there. Either alone or with Mrs. Rational.

beamish said...

It's a shame the government is so lenient on this guy, considering he's a Baby Boomer and thus responsible for one seventy-eight millionth of the national debt.

The Debonair Dudes World said...

Is this STILL the land of the Free?

This raises some troubling questions, about President Obama’s assertion of executive power... maybe what Obama needs is someone to read and interpret the Constitution to him...

Z said...

But, Ducky, the owners who've had that place in the family nearly fifty years don't deserve this, particularly after all they've done to keep their place clean, etc. You can't take a million dollar property and say "move on...Obama Care will take care ofyou!"

Jersey McJones said...

Z, you quoted then wrote,

"We, thanks to the Right Wing, have a very heavy handed police state in America today."

:-) Really!? Is it those right wingers doing crack and murdering who necessitate a "heavy handed police state"

No. But they've built up quite the unnecessary governmental industry around dealing with that.

You're a conservative, right?


"You might add Jersey that a lot of police departments have gotten used to living fat and happy thanks to asinine War on Terror (LMAO) funding.

But teachers are the threat."

I know. It sucks.


Silverfiddle said...

Good discussion, but the fact still remains that under existing federal law (national law for you progressives), a public establishment may not discriminate. So if somebody plunks down money, you've got to sell them the room for the night. You may not profile and you may not spy on them.

So what are the owners to do?

This is government overreach.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, in the real world, where everyday people live, we find ways to accommodate civilization, even in the face of barbarism, or just nuts demanding the right to be nuts. That's what civilization is all about. Accommodation if possible at all.


Silverfiddle said...

You dodged the question Jersey.

How could the motel owners legally kept themselves out of trouble?

Z said...

Yes, I am a conservative, a very proud one, JM.
I don't think the Republicans built the 'industry' around trying to keep drug abuse in check. And I don't think it's 'unnecessary'....could laws be better and enforcement be better? Of course. Change the laws, don't have laws and then slam the cops for following them.

Nobody wants to answer what happens to a family who've got a million dollar property about to be taken away from them....for nothing.