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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Biden’

This Should Really Scare You About Joe Biden Domestic Policy

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2020

As a wise man once said-Deja vu all over again.

Fast and Furious

On Thursday, the Biden campaign revealed the members of six “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces” that will develop his policy platform for the general election run, according to a press release.

The six groups will focus on immigration, climate change, criminal justice, the economy, education, and health care. There does not appear to be a sound advisor among them.

Democratic Socialist  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will co-chair the working group on climate change.

House Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., will co-chair the health care group.  He campaigned for Sanders in early primary states and supports “Medicare for All.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who was part of the Obama administration, will be part of the criminal justice reform group.

And, most concerning, the eonomics task force includes Stephanie Kelton, who promotes modern monetary theory–the idea that you can just print and print and print money out of thin air to solve all the country’s problems.

Let’s hope that these groups won’t actually have any influence over the platform that Biden and the DNC adopt and that it is just a reach out to these mad people.

If Biden’s team actually supports any of the stuff coming out of these groups and he is elected, we will be in worse trouble than we are now.


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How Long Can Biden Stay in His Basement? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2020

With that flat denial, Biden put his credibility on the line — in defense of his character. For one cannot equate what Reade claims Biden did with the reputation he has built over half a century as a decent and honorable man. Biden now has to persuade the nation this woman is deluded, wildly exaggerating, misremembering — or is deliberately lying.


Where Barack Obama achieved notoriety for “leading from behind,” Joe Biden, these last two months, has been leading from the basement.

And, one must add, doing so quite successfully.

Since his rout of Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, Biden has led President Donald Trump in every national poll and, lately, opened up a lead in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida. One poll has him tied with Trump in Texas.

Last week, however, reality intruded. Biden was forced to defend himself against the lurid charge of ex-aide Tara Reade that, as a senator in 1993, he had groped and assaulted her inside the Capitol complex.

Why did Biden go public? 

Because witnesses were coming forward to say Reade told them of Biden’s misconduct years ago, and major media outlets began to give the charge credibility by moving the allegation onto Page One.

Media allies were signaling that they could not forever give Biden a pass on this, and he had to speak to the charges. Which is what Biden did Friday as he told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski:

“This never happened … and it’s as simple as that.”

With that flat denial, Biden put his credibility on the line — in defense of his character. For one cannot equate what Reade claims Biden did with the reputation he has built over half a century as a decent and honorable man. Biden now has to persuade the nation this woman is deluded, wildly exaggerating, misremembering — or is deliberately lying.

If “nothing happened,” Biden must explain how well he knew Reade and why she left a plum job in the office of a U.S. senator after only nine months.

This is not a matter any presidential candidate wants to discuss while conducting his campaign. But this is only the beginning of Biden’s problems — and of his party’s problems with Biden.

With four months left before his nomination in Milwaukee, and six months before the November election, there are still among Democrats gnawing concerns based on Biden’s performance in the debates and primaries, and since, that he has lost the ability to articulate issues clearly and cogently, or to complete complex thoughts.

The worry is that he is suffering from mental decline and could be destroyed by Trump in a presidential debate. Biden forgets, mumbles, misspeaks, loses his train of thought and appears, at times, confused.

Moreover, Biden is no spring chicken. He would take office at 78, one year older than Ronald Reagan, our oldest president, was when he left office.

Biden has also signaled, by his references to being a “bridge” president, that he will be serving only the single term that would end in 2025 with him having celebrated his 82nd birthday.

“I view myself as a transition candidate,” Biden conceded last week.

This makes his vice presidential choice crucial. For that individual would not only become president instantly should something happen to a President Biden, but he or she would also become the leader of the Democratic Party, the probable presidential nominee in 2024, and possibly president.

Who will Biden select as America’s future leader, after him?

First rule: No white men need apply. Biden has ruled them out.

Indeed, no male candidate of any race or ethnicity need apply. The vice presidential nomination has been set aside for a woman.

A woman of color? Not necessarily. 

But here Biden has another problem. It was a huge turnout among African Americans in South Carolina that rescued Biden’s failing candidacy and propelled him to his Super Tuesday triumph three days later.

Should Biden choose Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate in a party that celebrates diversity above all, that all-white ticket would dismay and conceivably enrage the political elites of the black and Hispanic communities in the Democratic coalition.

If he chooses Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that ticket would also be all white. Moreover, it would point to a Democratic Party future far to the left of the constituencies that turned out in panic for Joe Biden because he was the last man standing athwart the forced march to the left of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

If Biden chooses an African American like Stacey Abrams, who lost the Georgia governor’s race in 2018, or Sen. Kamala Harris, who did poorly in the primaries and savaged Biden for his opposing forced busing to integrate public schools in the 1970s, would Democrats welcome either as the party’s designated future leader?

Michelle Obama, as Biden wistfully says, would fit the bill perfectly.

But the former first lady is unavailable. And while Biden is mulling over his choice in his basement, Republicans will be attacking his character, credibility and mental competence. Before the fall campaign begins, they will have soiled his candidacy good.

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried,” said Winston Churchill, after the British gave him “The Order of the Boot” in 1945.

Campaign 2020 may show us our own democracy at its worst.

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Since When Is Joe Biden a ‘Moderate’? – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on March 16, 2020

By Paul Gottfried

In an exultant commentary on Joe Biden’s victory on Super Tuesday, New York Post-syndicated columnist Salena Zito tells us: “The Dems’ silent majority, which doesn’t tweet, is finally crying out for moderation from the party.” Zito also quotes Dave Saunders, “a legendary Democratic strategist in Virginia,” who “finds it ‘ironic’ that southern voters are often criticized by the national party for being too moderate, but they’re the ones who saved the party from a left-wing candidate like Sanders.” Presumably Biden is the personification of “moderation,” as I’m reminded whenever I hear the Fox News All-stars praise him, while attacking the evil Bernie as a commie-loving radical. It’s been Joe’s accomplishment to rescue his party and nation from the “leftist demagogue” who is running against him. He is helping to return the country to “moderate” government, which presumably is not something that Trump has been doing because of his divisive personality.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that Biden will be practicing any kind of “moderation” if elected. For one thing, depictions of him as a moderate overlook the inconvenient fact that he is running well to the left of former president Obama, who was our most leftist chief executive up until his election in 2008. Candidate Obama publicly opposed gay marriage, favored strict border controls, and would never have announced, in contrast to Biden, that he wished to provide medical assistance and public benefits to those who were here illegally. On just about every social issue, Biden the “moderate” has positioned himself well to the left of Obama. On immigration and advancing the LGBT, feminist, and Black Lives Matter agendas, I don’t find any distance between Joe and Bernie.  Certainly not enough to justify the exaggerated contrasts between the “moderate” Biden and the “radical” Sanders.

Second, in assessing how Biden would govern this country, we should consider his continuing gaffes on the stump. Why are we supposed to think that Biden’s stumbling for words, incoherent outbursts, and inability to recognize what day of the week it is or what state he is in tell us nothing about how he would govern? Biden may well be in mental decline, and if that is the case, there are lots of people out there waiting to take advantage of his presidency. We might start the list with the Secret Service officials who have been in trouble because of their felonious misdeeds and rank partisanship. But perhaps we should look for Biden’s beneficiaries in public administration more generally. Federal employees are overwhelmingly Democrats and would be delighted with a presidency that allowed them to have their way. However ineptly Trump has called out his bureaucratically entrenched enemies, he has correctly observed where they are. Biden is also indebted to the media for methodically covering up his ridiculous statements and his fits of anger when encountering unwanted questions. He also owes the media big time for their steady recent attacks on Sanders, which helped cleared the way for Biden’s nomination. Such unfailing support may come at a high price, if Biden is elected. And let’s not forget those black leaders like Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who have vigorously campaigned for Joe. What exactly will a President Biden owe such leaders for gaining him the overwhelming support of black Democrats? One can only imagine. Of course, Biden’s helpers were right to pick him over the principled socialist Sanders. Joe is not likely to refuse favors and he does have a proven record of corruption, and very corrupt relatives whose corruption he’s facilitated.

There are also neocons and #NeverTrumpers ready to pile on to the gravy train. Bill Kristol has talked up  Biden on his website The Bulwark as the candidate for “normal Americans, who don’t care to choose between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.” From Bill’s standpoint, Joe is “the simple answer” for those who wish to avoid extremism.  According to this endorsement: “if you’re inclined toward American constitutional democracy, the rule of law, and a free economic order — as well as a liberal world order anchored by the United States — it’s Joe Biden. And if you’re not, then it’s Bernie Sanders.”  Allow me to place the emphasis here exactly where Kristol and his anti-Trump friends would want it to go, namely on “a liberal world order anchored by the United States.” That signifies continuing confrontation with those countries that Bill and his friends don’t like; and this happy dream might become reality under President Biden, who would be aided in his protection of our democracy by neocon advisers.

We have not yet reached, however, the ultimate beneficiary of a Biden presidency, the person whom he chooses to be his running mate. Since “I’m an old guy,” as Joe recently admitted, he will need a “vice-president capable of being president.” In December he mentioned as possible picks certain left-leaning women, including the “woman who should have been governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams.” Assuming Joe wins in November but his mental acuity continues to decline, a leftist woman possibly of color may be our next de facto president.

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You Can't Un-See Joe Biden Rambling About His Leg Hairs ...


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Gaffelighting: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on March 10, 2020

Gaffelighting¹, noun.
Meaning: When narrative managers insist that obvious signs of serious mental deterioration are just innocuous “gaffes”.
E.g. “I know what dementia symptoms look like, stop gaffelighting me.”


“God that was so awful.”

“I know! I never want to think about 2016 again!”

“Well the good news is the 2020 election can’t possibly go any worse.”


“I mean, the Democrats would have to literally run an actual, clinically diagnosable dementia victim to do any worse in 2020.”


Dismissing Biden’s neurological misfires as “gaffes” is so gross. “Oh, he’s always had gaffes.” Yes, he’s often said dumb/gross things. He’s never previously been incapable of remembering elementary facts and stringing words into coherent thoughts, as we are seeing now. Those aren’t “gaffes”.

If Biden had been exhibiting these neurological misfirings his entire life, some Media Matters hack would long ago have published a compilation video of the most egregious highlights from his long career. The footage doesn’t exist. There’s footage of Biden saying things that are politically embarrassing in retrospect, there’s footage of him saying things he should have thought through more, and there’s some slight, occasional stuttering that never stood out as abnormal. Nothing like the mess we see today.


The entire 2020 US election may have come down to a race between time and the progression of Joe Biden’s dementia.


I don’t think anyone who is sincere and honest with themselves can truly believe that Biden beats Trump. I know the Democratic establishment doesn’t believe it, and I’m pretty sure rank-and-file Democrats don’t actually believe it deep down in their guts either.


It’s fascinating how much mainstream argumentation amounts to nothing more than screaming DON’T TALK ABOUT THAT at people.

I am going to keep saying Joe Biden has dementia, thank you very much. I don’t care how much you tell me I’m an ableist ageist monster. I don’t care how much you tell me I’m not seeing what I’m seeing. I am going to keep saying Joe Biden has dementia. Because he has dementia.

You don’t get to run for the most powerful elected office in the world while exhibiting clear and undeniable symptoms of dementia and just have people not talk about it. That is not a thing. Everyone should be talking about this.

It’s so dumb how many lefties are reluctant to push this. This isn’t mocking some elderly celebrity for developing Alzheimer’s symptoms, this is footage of someone being pushed toward the most powerful elected office in the world while clearly losing his mental faculties. Take control of this story now, or Trump will later.

It’s not wrong to point out that the man the DNC are pushing into a train wreck campaign against Trump has undeniable dementia symptoms. It’s not ableist to say someone running to command the most powerful military in the history of civilization exhibits cognitive decline. Seize control of this narrative before it’s too late.

Rank-and-file Democrats have exactly two choices:

1 – Break the mainstream silence on Biden’s obvious neurological decline and start an honest, open conversation about it on mainstream platforms,


2 – Wait for Trump to do it. And you know damn well he’ll make it dominate news headlines.

Keep making noise about Biden’s dementia until he either disappears or takes an Alzheimer’s test on live television.


By 2020 we should have been debating which US politician gets the most credit for implementing universal healthcare and which of the green energy systems they implemented have been the most successful. Instead we’re arguing about which politician has the worse dementia symptoms. That’s kinda fucked.


My husband did nursing care for dementia patients for 15 years. He’s followed Biden’s career (he’s American) and his jaw keeps dropping at the ridiculous, gaslighting comments I’ve been getting from Dems saying I’m crazy and Joe is perfectly fine. Joe is not fine. Stop lying.



Liberals: The “deep state” is a crazy right wing Alex Jones conspiracy theory.

Also liberals: Oh just quit your fussing and vote for Joe. So what if he’s a bit forgetful? You know it’s not like presidents really make the decisions anyway.


Democrats: All that matters is defeating Trump, because he’s a horrifying unprecedented dangerous threat and he’s going to get us all killed.

Those exact same Democrats: Don’t worry about Biden’s cognitive decline, it’s not like it actually matters who the president is anyway.


I actually like Dementia Joe a lot more than I liked Aggressive, Racist, Jingoistic Joe.

His befuddlement gives him a softness that wasn’t there before.

I imagine Dementia Joe would be much more pleasant to spend time with.

At the assisted living facility.

Where he belongs.


It’s not fine or normal for one of a nation’s only two political parties to pretend it lets the people choose their candidate and then turn around and coordinate to deliberately undermine the candidate with the most public support. Anyone who tells you this is okay is lying.

Coordinating to undermine the campaign with the most support is coordinating to undermine the will of the people. That’s never okay, under any circumstances. Ignore all attempts to spin this to the contrary.


The only people who hate the media are Trumpsters, Bernie Bros, and people who research facts.



Progressives: Okay, we’ve found a compromise candidate in Bernie Sanders. He’s still too establishment for many of us given our dire circumstances, but we understand it’s important to be pragmatic and–

Establishment: Here’s Joe Biden and a dick pic.

Progressives: …compromise.


I’ve been harshly critical of Biden, and as a result I’ve received aggressive online pushback from his supporters, but I’m not going to cry and claim this invalidates Biden’s campaign because that would be manipulative, intellectually dishonest, and breathtakingly stupid.


“And then they ran an actual, literal dementia victim against Trump, losing in a landslide. And that’s why there’s an ice-free Arctic this summer.”

“Why did you let them do that, mommy?”

“Well darling they kept saying we were being very rude, and we didn’t want to offend anyone.”


Calls for civility and politeness are always anti-populist in nature and always arise from the the fear of the ruling class that the commoners can wake up at any moment to their strength of numbers and overthrow them.


The sane response to a large faction of your party’s base becoming angry is to get curious about what’s angering them, come up with a plan of action, and fix it. It’s not to give them a derisive nickname, declare their grievances imaginary, and say their anger is the problem.


Elizabeth Warren is waiting to see which way the wind blows so she can endorse whichever candidate will give her the biggest career boost. She’s just waiting there, biding her time, tasting the wind to see where it’s blowing, with her forked tongue.


Most adults are aware that their government has lied about things. It’s only propaganda, and the human tendency to compartmentalize away from uncomfortable facts, which keeps them from connecting that dot to the possibility that their government is lying to them currently.


Activists, alternative media, and oppositional journalists have a duty to be interesting. If you want to wake people up, you’ve got to get them looking at you. It’s not enough to be smart, informative, and correct. You’ve also got to be catchy, funny, entertaining, and enjoyable.



Not everything the US establishment does is a considered strategic maneuver; often it’s just the frantic, confused flailings of a dying empire. The neocons sold the idea of a last-ditch gambit to shore up unipolarity, and it failed. And now it’s all unraveling in some crazy ways.


If an individual has been caught using a weapon to harm members of society, then society is justified in forcibly disarming that individual in self-defense. This is true whether the individual’s weapon is a knife, a gun, or billions of dollars.




Russian, adjective
Meaning: Accurate, in accordance with known facts about reality.
E.g. “Saying the US armed terrorists in Syria is a Russian talking point.”
“There’s Russian online chatter saying the Democratic primary is rigged.”
“WikiLeaks is a Russian asset.”
Synonyms: true, factual, correct


¹ “gaffelighting” courtesy of @kellanimcnally on Twitter.

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Joe Biden: Father of the Drug War’s Asset Forfeiture Program | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 10, 2020

Legally, the police could seize any property connected to the marijuana plant from 1987. They had resurrected the Lopes case during a department-wide search through old cases looking for property they could legally confiscate.

Biden’s bill was passed as part of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act . In addition to a slew of new powers for prosecutors, the burden of proof for asset seizure was lowered once again (agents had to onlybelieve that what they were seizing was equal in value to money believed to have been purchased from drug sales). More significantly, the bill started the “equitable sharing” program that allowed local and state law enforcement to retain up to 80 percent of the spoils.

In 1991, Maui police officers showed up at the home of Frances and Joseph Lopes. One officer showed his badge and said, “Let’s go into the house, and we will explain things to you.” Once he was inside, the explanation was simple: “We’re taking the house.”

The Lopses were far from wealthy. They worked on a sugar plantation for nearly fifty years, living in camp housing, to save up enough money to buy a modest, middle-class home. But in 1987, their son Thomas was caught with marijuana. He was twenty-eight, and he suffered from mental health issues. He grew the marijuana in the backyard of his parents’ home, but every time they tried to cut it down, Thomas threatened suicide. When he was arrested, he pled guilty, was given probation since it was his first offense, and he was ordered to see a psychologist once a week. Frances and Joseph were elated. Their son got better, he stopped smoking marijuana, and the episode was behind them.

But when the police showed up and told them that their house was being seized, they learned that the episode was not behind them. That statute of limitations for civil asset forfeiture was five years. It had only been four. Legally, the police could seize any property connected to the marijuana plant from 1987. They had resurrected the Lopes case during a department-wide search through old cases looking for property they could legally confiscate.

Asset forfeiture laws once applied only to goods that could be considered a danger to society—illegal alcohol, weapons, etc. But with the birth of the modern war on drugs, lawmakers pushed for something with more teeth, which they achieved with the 1970 passage of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Although many are familiar with the story of the steady expansion of civil asset forfeiture laws, many overlook the fact that presidential candidate Joe Biden helped put these laws on previously apathetic law enforcement agents’ radar and, worse, played a significant role in broadening their application. Biden has effectively aided and abetted the police state’s sustained assault on American subjects’ property rights.

Expanding Asset Forfeiture, Phase I: The RICO Act of 1970

In 1970, the targets of asset forfeiture were wealthy crime bosses. It was prosecutor G. Robert Blakey, who had worked under Attorney General Robert Kennedy and various congressmen, who set about broadening its scope. He helped draft a bill for a new legal concept, “criminal forfeiture,” which would allow police to seize the illegally acquired profits of a convicted criminal.

The assets that could be seized would now consist of anything that was funded with money connected to criminal activity. To appease those who were worried about abuses of power, Blakey assured them that prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal was guilty of a crime before the assets could be seized. There was nothing to worry about; only legitimate bad guys would suffer.

The new policy was passed as part of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in 1970. Blakey was a fan of the 1931 movie Little Caesar, and the acronym was crafted to honor Blakey’s favorite character from the movie, the gangster Rico Bandello.

The RICO Act wasn’t designed to be part of the war on drugs; it was just meant to target criminals. But when Richard Nixon took office, the RICO Act was one of a number of new tools that the members of his newly created Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (precursor to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)) could use to fight his drug war. Combined with other legal innovations, such as no-knock raids and mandatory minimum sentences, Nixon and his administration would cure America of the drug menace.

Still, the pesky “conviction” requirement stood in the way of law enforcement’s ability to seize criminal assets. In 1978, Jimmy Carter’s director of the Office of Drug Abuse (the title “drug czar” is often retroactively applied), Peter Bourne, decided that the law needed to be changed. Bourne learned of an incident at the Miami International Airport in which a suitcase had been left on the baggage carousel for three hours before police picked it up and found $3 million inside. If drug kingpins could afford to abandon so much money, they must be flush with enough cash to hardly worry about criminal forfeiture laws.

So, at Bourne’s urging, Congress modified the RICO Act to allow the DEA to confiscate assets without a conviction. The burden of proof wasn’t entirely gone (yet), but the government only needed an indictment, rather than a full conviction, to justify asset seizure. After all, the government knew who a lot of these kingpins were, but the criminals continued to get rich while the DEA struggled to build cases against them.

Even then, though, real estate was off limits. Asset forfeiture had evolved from the seizure of dangerous items into criminal profit following a conviction, and now into criminal profit (and its “derivative proceeds”) without the conviction requirement. But real estate—such as the Lopes house—still couldn’t be touched.

But through the 1970s, the RICO Act was still largely ignored by prosecutors. Blakey was holding seminars out of Cornell University, which were attended by federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors, urging them to take advantage of the RICO Act in the war on drugs. He made few inroads. The law was unwieldy, and prosecutors were overworked. More often than not, it wasn’t worth their time. While Blakey was proselytizing the virtues of his law to little effect, he was unwittingly gaining an ally in Congress: Senator Joe Biden.

Expanding Asset Seizure, Phase 2: Biden and the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984

Biden, a young Senator from Delaware, had to do something to show that despite his “liberal” reputation, he could be just as tough on crime as his Republican colleagues. He took notice of the RICO Act, and he realized that law enforcement agencies were not taking advantage of it, particularly in waging the drug war. He turned to the General Accounting Office and asked them to produce a study on the potential uses of RICO for drug enforcement.

The report showed that the RICO Act granted enormous powers to police to confiscate drug-related assets but that these powers were not being taken advantage of: “The government has simply not exercised the kind of leadership and management necessary to make asset forfeiture a widely used law enforcement technique,” the report stated. By the time the report came in, Ronald Reagan was settling into office and getting ready to renew the war on drugs.

Reagan brought the FBI into the drug war, and he gave the director, William Webster, a mission. His agents would use the powers of the RICO Act to find drug rings and take away their assets. Drug cartels must be rendered unprofitable. As the 1980s progressed, the war on drugs would be the country’s biggest political issue. Politicians from both parties would work to show that they could out–drug warrior their opponents. One Democratic representative from Florida, Earl Hutto, said, “In the war on narcotics, we have met the enemy, and he is the U.S. Code.”

Biden brought the RICO law to the attention of the federal government, Reagan enlisted the FBI to use it against drug traffickers, and both parties would now work to dismantle any limitations that the law might still impose.

The drug war became a contest of political one-upmanship. Reagan’s Justice Department fought for all kinds of new powers. Attorney General Edwin Meese and Assistant Attorney General William Weld (yes, that Bill Weld) railed against the limitations on their legal prerogative. Weld went so far as to argue in favor of the legality of using the Air Force to shoot suspected drug-smuggling planes out of the sky, a policy that even his boss was unwilling to endorse.

But Meese, Weld, and everyone else seemed to agree that forfeiture laws didn’t go nearly far enough. By requiring an indictment, the government still had to meet some standard of reasonable guilt before seizing property, which allowed far too many criminals that law enforcement knew to be guilty (but couldn’t build a case against) to keep their ill-gotten gains. To take things further, the Justice Department argued that law enforcement should be allowed to take “substitute” property: they knew that they wouldn’t be able to take everything that had been paid for with drug money, so it stood to reason that they should be able to take legally acquired assets of equal value (however that might be determined). And finally, with real estate off limits, the government was unable to seize marijuana farms, drug warehouses, and criminal homes.

The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act fixed all of these problems. Biden introduced the new bill in 1983, and its provisions became law the next year. Under this law federal agents had nearly unlimited powers to seize assets from private citizens. Now the government only needed to find a way to let local and state police join the party.

Biden’s bill was passed as part of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act . In addition to a slew of new powers for prosecutors, the burden of proof for asset seizure was lowered once again (agents had to onlybelieve that what they were seizing was equal in value to money believed to have been purchased from drug sales). More significantly, the bill started the “equitable sharing” program that allowed local and state law enforcement to retain up to 80 percent of the spoils.

The law took effect in 1986, the year before Thomas Lopes pled guilty to charges of growing a marijuana plant in his parents’ backyard. In 1987, when Thomas faced the judge, the government had just made it so that his local police had an enormous incentive and unchecked authority to seize property from private citizens, so long as they could show any flimsy connection to drugs. By 1991, the Maui police were running out of easily seized property, so they started combing through case files within the five-year limit to find new sources of enrichment for their precinct using the expanded RICO powers. One such file brought the Lopes home to their attention.

But the Lopeses are only one example out of millions. In the year their home was confiscated by police for a minor, four-year-old drug charge, $644 million in assets were seized. In 2018 alone, the Treasury Department’s Forfeiture Fund saw nearly $1.4 billion in deposits . The Lopes story merely illustrates that criminals (regardless of how one might feel about drug laws) are hardly the only people falling victim to this policy.

The decades-long abuse of this policy has reached such extreme proportions that people on all sides of the political aisle have been turning against it. At this writing (February 20, 2019 for the original version of this article), the Supreme Court has unanimously voted in favor of Tyson Timbs , whose $42,000 Land Rover was seized in 2015 following a conviction for selling $400 in heroin. The court is asserting that asset forfeiture constitutes a fine and that the Eighth Amendment—which protects citizens from excessive fines—applies to both state and local governments. The consequences of the ruling remain to be seen, but it seems nearly certain that the unanimous decision was motivated by the increasing outrage against the civil asset forfeiture policies.

In the fight against the egregious violation of property rights that is asset forfeiture, Americans must not forget who those who promulgated these laws and birthed a new paradigm of government aggression against private persons that is proving difficult to overturn.


Baum, Dan. 1996. Smoke and Mirrors: The War On Drugs and the Politics of Failure. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.


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Joe Biden’s plan to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, explained

Posted by M. C. on March 8, 2020

If your favorite snowflake gets a job Zir will see that free stuff isn’t free.

Business taxes are costs of business and have to be paid for by raising prices, lowering your 401K value, reducing work forces or any combination thereof.

Cut tax loads in half and feel the joy. Cut government by 90% and feel more joy.

The sheeple won’t get it until, in the government’s effort to extract even more blood, they find out the definition of “rich” is redefined to include them.

Joe Biden wants to see higher taxes on the rich, especially those who derive most of their income from stock ownership and other investments, according to a detailed revenue plan first reported this week by Bloomberg.

The former vice president’s overall vision for increasing social spending in the United States is ambitious — headlined by a $1.7 trillion climate plan, a $750 billion health plan, and a $750 billion education plan — but significantly less so than the ideas that left-wing rivals Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have put on the table.

His tax ideas, meanwhile, are less dramatic than the new wealth tax proposal Warren made famous — to say nothing of the even bigger wealth tax Sanders has proposed — often sounding more like tedious accounting details than visionary plans. They would roughly equal his $3.2 trillion in spending proposals over a decade, an order of magnitude less than what the left-wingers need to finance their Medicare-for-all plans.

But strikingly, even though Biden’s proposals on this front are much more moderate, they are almost identical in their orientation — raising money from a similar group of people for mostly similar reasons. Despite the disagreement about how far to go, all Democrats these days are basically reading from the same playbook, one that says Reagan-era conventional wisdom about the relationship between taxes and growth is wrong.

Consequently, if Biden’s plans were enacted, taxes on capital owners would end up substantially higher than they were at the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure, even as taxes on the working and middle classes are lower.

Joe Biden’s 10 tax increases

The Biden plan raises revenue in 10 ways, not really united by much of a conceptual theme other than a desire to primarily hit wealthy investors.

The most important of these, widely discussed by many Democrats in recent years, is ending the tax code’s practice of taxing capital gains and dividend income at a lower rate than ordinary labor income. Biden also wants to raise the corporate income tax rate from its current 21 percent to 28 percent — still lower than the 35 percent rate that existed pre-Trump, but Biden is keeping (and in some ways enhancing) many of the revenue-raising and loophole-closing measures that partially offset the cost of the Trump tax cut.

The third source of revenue is on the obscure topic of inheriting stocks and other investments. Capital gains taxes are levied on the profits realized at the time you sell a share of stock, so to the extent that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gets rich because Amazon stock gets more and more valuable, he doesn’t pay any tax on that as long as he holds the shares. The taxes come when he sells the shares and reaps the profits.

But if he passes shares on to his heirs as a gift, or when he dies and they sell the shares, the “cost basis” of the stock is “stepped-up” to the price at the time the shares were transferred. In other words, if you inherit stock and then immediately sell it, there are no taxable capital gains at all.

Biden would do away with this rule. He also wants to implement a version of what Warren has called a “real corporate profits tax” — preventing companies from reporting profits to investors while telling the IRS they have no taxable income. Biden’s version of this would levy a minimum tax of 15 percent on reported profits, even if deductions and credits push taxable profits down to zero.

Biden would also increase what is, essentially, the minimum tax rate on foreign income. The Trump tax bill created a rule known as the Global Intangible Low Tax Income (GILTI) provision to try to discourage companies from shifting their profits to subsidiaries located in low-tax foreign jurisdictions. The current GILTI rate is a mild 10.5 percent, which Biden would double to 21 percent in the context of raising the corporate rate overall.

Biden is also reviving an Obama-era proposal to cap the value of all tax deductions at 28 percent, essentially eroding their value for rich people in the top tax bracket. He also wants to raise that top tax bracket rate back to its Obama-era level.

One of his campaign’s more interesting ideas — though not spelled out in detail — is that the United States should sanction foreign tax havens to get them to tighten up compliance, a measure they say could “conservatively” raise $200 billion over 10 years. In principle, it could raise a lot more than that, though of course the devil would be in the details in terms of what you actually did and how much change it generated.

Last are two small items: the perennial Democratic favorite of eliminating some tax deductions used by fossil fuel extraction companies, and a proposal to repeal a couple of tax provisions that are favorable to real estate investors like President Donald Trump.

Democrats are all heading in the same direction

This is all very different from the Sanders or Warren message in that it’s much less sweeping. At a fundraising event earlier in the cycle, Biden told donors that in his presidency rich people would need to pay more in taxes, but “no one’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change.”

This plan more or less delivers on that promise. Rich people would pay higher taxes and, in the case of some very rich people, a lot more in taxes. And of course there are lots of millionaires and billionaires who would very much resist that kind of change.

But the vast majority of people would see no change at all, a huge difference from any Medicare-for-all plan which would involve broad taxes on employers at a minimum, and unlike in the Warren or Sanders plans, there’s no hint of the currently fashionable desire to liquidate billionaires as a class.

On another level, though, the various Democrats’ plans are striking in their similarity. The animating principle of most US tax policy since Ronald Reagan’s election has been the idea that taxes on investment income are very harmful to the economy. The idea is that you want to encourage financial investment because doing so leads to real investment in tangible things — office buildings, factories, business equipment, new inventions — that raise productivity, wages, and living standards.

The Obama administration backed off that consensus by including a “Medicare surtax” on investment income as part of paying for the Affordable Care Act. But later in his administration, Obama also proposed a number of other tax changes that would violate this consensus, including several that Biden is now touting, based on a range of newer work in economics that calls into question the link between investment taxation and growth.

Sanders and Warren go much further down this road than Biden or Obama. But really, whether you talk about a “wealth tax” or Biden’s 10-part plan or Sen. Ron Wyden’s idea to tax unrealized capital gains, everyone is positing that one can soak the ownership class without risking any broader harms to the economy.

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I am from the IRS and am here to help.

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Things Get Interesting – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2020

Pay close attention to democratic vice president nominee.

James Howard Kunstler

They’re kidding, right? Joe Biden? The former vice-president and US champeen influence grifter came back from the dead this Super Tuesday to save the Democratic Party from Bernie Sanders Venezuelizing what’s left of America (after you subtract our awesome debt loads). Things that come back from the dead, of course, are generally not high-functioning, for instance: zombies. Isn’t that exactly what the party has got now in the person of front-runner Zombie Joe?

They are kidding, for sure — kidding themselves — for which they’ve practiced tirelessly the past three-plus years with RussiaGate, MuellerGate, ImpeachmentGate, and sundry extra delusional hustles, including sanctuary cities, cancel culture, the Green New Deal, free everything, and the transsexual reading hour. So, now they’re pretending that Joe Biden is capable when his every utterance suggests that he is gone in the head. That will work for about a week, I reckon. You know something hilariously idiotic will come out every time he mounts a podium unless his handlers duct-tape his pie-hole. And now that the spotlight is off that distracting crowd of also-rans, the cameras and iPhone recorders will catch his every gaucherie — as, for instance, when he declared in New Hampshire recently to a rally audience of ordinary (non-millionaire) voters, “Guess what, if you elect me, your taxes are gonna be raised, not cut.” It’s on video. Smooth move, there, Joe.

And then, there is that giant anvil hanging over Joe B’s head in the form of an investigation into, and possible prosecution for, his shenanigans with son, Hunter, in Ukraine, including a money-laundering trail featuring millions of dollars from Ukraine routed through obscure banks in Estonia and Cyprus to Hunter’s own bank accounts. The Ukies have opened an inquiry, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee under Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) is ready to subpoena Biden father-and-son. That is, if Sen. Mitt Romney doesn’t stand in the way of a vote for that, as he threatens to do — and he has an interesting motive to do that since his former foreign policy advisor, ex-CIA agent Joseph Cofer Black, was on the board of the same Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, that employed Hunter Biden at $83,000-a-month for years.

Of course, if Zombie Joe is so obviously non compos mentis before he’s even been nominated, what are the chances that he’ll be able to serve in office a year from now? Somewhere between zilch and nada, I’d say. So, the latest scheme launched this week in chatter from Progressive Hopesterdom has Zombie Joe picking either Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama as his running mate, and then resigning soon after inauguration day, giving this Republic-of-Firsts its first woman president at long, long last.

This is what it’s come to in our new politics of hustles and scams. Though every person over seven-years-old would see through this dodge, what else have they got? Well, a brokered convention, anyway, if Zombie Joe flops spectacularly in the weeks ahead just by showing up and running his mouth, leaving Bernie the Last Man Standing — and the party appears dead set on thwarting Bernie by any means necessary. It’s not impossible that the Dems could rustle up some dark horse candidate in a back room of the Milwaukee Convention Center. I can’t think of anyone just now from, say, the governors’ mansions across the land. And just imagine if they tapped someone from Congress, such as that lying caitiff Adam Schiff (D-CA), what opportunity for sport he would present. More likely, they’d draft some Hollywood celebrity: George Clooney… Oprah… Morgan Freeman (hasn’t he already been president, or did he just play one on TV?).

There’s not a small chance, at this juncture in the Corona Virus story, that the convention may not even be held. And then what? Gawd knows…. But a disruption so severe implies that a lot of damage would be done to the Potemkin economy that is the centerpiece of President Trump’s reelection quest. That damage is being done in real time as I write, with the S & P futures index down another three percent at the open today, Friday. The trend is not Mr. Trump’s friend. And an awful lot of other things are breaking up in the financialized fiasco that enfronts what’s left of the US economy. The bond market is cracking up, especially at the junk-grade margins. And one can only guess at the havoc being wreaked in derivatives by repeated 1000-point swings in the Dow Jones and other symptoms of extreme disequilibrium in indexed things, from securitized car loans to currency swaps.

All of which leaves the Golden Golem of Greatness, Mr. Trump, in not such a bulletproof position for a second term, after all. There’s a possibility that Corona Virus might interfere with the election itself. Viral contagions are known to work in waves. If this is the first wave now, then a second wave would arrive just about in time for election day, November 3. Second wave viral diseases can be more virulent than the first wave, which was the case with the so-called Spanish flu of 1918. And what if a substantial portion of voters don’t dare venture into public places full of their possibly infectious fellow citizens? Would Mr. Trump be forced to postpone the election, fulfilling his enemies’ fantasy that he seeks to become the American Caesar? It’s not a pretty picture from here as things get interesting.

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Joe Biden Inadvertently Schools Conservatives and Libertarians on Tax Deductions – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 3, 2020

The millennial, X, Y, Z…whatever sheeple continue to believe free stuff will be free.


Like the other Democratic presidential candidates, former senator and vice-president Joe Biden has a tax plan—a plan to raise taxes.

To raise an additional $3.4 trillion government revenue over the next decade to address climate change, infrastructure, health care, and higher education, Biden has put forth ten specific proposals.

Eliminate stepped-up basis. Appreciated assets transferred by a decedent can no longer be “stepped up” to fair market value at the time of death.

Raise the top rate on ordinary income. Increase the top income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent.

Tax capital gains and dividends at ordinary rates. Increase the top capital gains and dividends tax rate from 23.8 percent to 39.6 percent.

Limit itemized deductions. The reduction in tax liability per dollar of deductions cannot exceed 28 percent.

Raise the corporate tax rate. Increase the corporate income tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.

Impose a minimum tax on corporate book income. C corporations with more than $100 million in book income would be required to pay the greater of normal corporate tax liability and 15 percent of book income.

Raise the tax rate on foreign profits. Decrease the global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI) deduction thereby increasing the effective tax rate on corporate income earned by foreign affiliates from 10.5 to 21 percent.

Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Eliminate certain tax credits for oil, gas, and coal production, including expensing of exploration costs and percentage depletion cost recovery rules.

Eliminate real estate loopholes. Eliminate the ability of owners of appreciated real estate assets used in a trade or business to defer capital gains taxes when exchanging the asset for property of “like kind.”

Impose sanctions on tax havens. Impose sanctions on countries that facilitate corporate tax avoidance.

Additionally, concerning tariffs, which are merely taxes under another name, Biden has said that some of Trump’s tariffs should come off, but others should go on. Biden has also said that he supports a financial transactions tax. And regarding the 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax, which is currently levied on the first $137,700 of employee wages, Biden would also apply it to wages above $400,000.

The Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) projects that Biden’s tax plan would raise between $2.3 trillion (including macroeconomic effects) and $2.6 trillion (not including macroeconomic effects) over the next ten years—not the $3.4 trillion that the Biden presidential campaign estimates. I suppose this can be considered a good thing.

About the only real good thing about Biden’s tax plan is that he is not proposing a wealth tax like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

What I want to focus on is Biden’s attempt to limit how much taxpayers can use deductions to reduce their tax liability. As pointed out above, he is calling for capping the value of tax deductions for the wealthy at 28 percent. Biden’s campaign claims that this would raise $310 billion over the next ten years.

Joe Biden understands a principle that some conservatives and libertarians have yet to grasp: decreasing tax deductions increases taxes.

Tax deductions reduce one’s income subject to tax. One will pay less in taxes the greater the number, and the greater the amount, of deductions that he qualifies for. Eliminating or reducing the value of tax deductions has the same effect as raising tax rates: less money in the pockets of Americans and more money in the pockets of greedy, profligate Uncle Sam. Any support for eliminating or reducing tax deductions should be seen as a call to raise taxes—even if the supporters are conservatives and libertarians whining about how much “complexity” deductions add to the tax code, how much deductions “distort” the tax code, how much deductions “subsidize” high-income taxpayers, and how much deductions encourage people to make “economically unwise decisions.” All tax deductions are good; it doesn’t matter whom they benefit or why Congress enacts them.

Tax deductions—and their cousins tax exemptions, tax breaks, tax loopholes, tax shelters, tax incentives, and tax credits (as long as they are not refundable)—are not subsidies that have to be paid for. Since there is no chance that the income tax will be eliminated or the tax rates substantially reduced, the importance of tax deductions cannot be overstated. As long as Americans have an income tax, the more deductions they can take to lower their tax liability the better.

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free lunch

Free lunch.



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Is 2020 Going To Be the New 1860? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 21, 2020

Fortunately, this won’t end in war, but I do think that no matter who wins, decentralization will get a boost in 2021.

It really doesn’t matter who wins the 2020 election. Nearly fifty percent of the American population, if not more, loses. But not if we had real federalism.


If you watched the debate last night, I pity you. I watched it for you so you wouldn’t have to, but [spoiler alert] you didn’t miss anything by tuning out.

Regardless, I think some things became clear in the two hour snooze fest.

1. Joe Biden still looks like he is too old to be president. He stumbles, stutters, drools, and loses his train of thought in two seconds. Not a good showing for Uncle Joe.

2. Elena Klobuchar isn’t ready to be president, and probably never will be. She is in over her head and needs to quickly exit the race. Foreign policy is the most important role for the president, and Elena lost any momentum with her debate performance.

3. Mayor Mister Bean is attempting to appeal to centrist Democrats that do not exist while banking on LGBTQ support to increase his “woke” credentials. That, coupled with his Frederick Douglass initiative, is bad optics in that Party that is made up of various factions defined by Victim status.

4. Elizabeth Warren delivered the tomahawk chop to Bloomberg’s chances for the Democratic nomination, but she’s still too awkward and weird to win the nomination, even in a Party full of awkward and weird people. No one feels comfortable watching her. It’s like watching every boomer on social media trying to appeal to the kids with a meme about medical marijuana.

5. Comrade Sanders is the most authentic candidate in the the Party and appeals to its real base, the neo-Stalinists who comprise a good portion of the online Bernie Bros. He has never shied away from being a communist, and that means he has the inside shot at winning the nomination, unless the Party steals it from him again.

6. Mike Bloomberg isn’t going to get the nomination, but I think he will run as an independent candidate on a Never Trump/Never Sanders ticket, potentially with Hillary Clinton as his running mate. He is too many of the things the modern Victim Democrats can’t stand: racist, womanizer, billionaire, etc. That was clear as every candidate took shots at his character, money, and influence.

So what does this mean? 2020 looks a lot like 1860 or perhaps 1912.

Substitute Trump, Bloomberg, and Sanders for Douglas, Lincoln, and Bell or Taft, Wilson, and Debs and you have the 2020 presidential election.

The only real modern comparison could be 1992 with Perot, Clinton, and Bush, but Trump represents everything Perot advocated in 1992 while Bloomberg is the establishment. Sanders will be the socialist side show.

And Trump will win.

Fortunately, this won’t end in war, but I do think that no matter who wins, decentralization will get a boost in 2021.

Think locally, act locally. We are already seeing more Americans sign on to the idea of secession and nullification than at any point since 1860. And this time it will be peaceful. There are secession movements in Oregon and Virginia in addition to California, Illinois, New York, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, and Vermont. Self-determination is the American tradition.

It really doesn’t matter who wins the 2020 election. Nearly fifty percent of the American population, if not more, loses. But not if we had real federalism.

Every president before Lincoln knew it, as did nearly the entire founding generation.

The States, and perhaps even the counties, are the key to breaking apart the monstrosity that is Washington D.C.

I discuss the debates and the future of American politics in Episode 292 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

You can watch it here.


You can listen to it here.

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Joe Biden & Gun Rights: He Doesn’t Understand Second Amendment | National Review

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2020

By arguing that legal guns are no match for an F-15, Biden is making a powerful case that citizens should be able to more easily own powerful military-grade weapons.

While offering lots of the usual misinformation — Biden stands firmly against “20, 30, 40, 50 clips in a weapon,” for instance — things really fell apart when he started quoting Thomas Jefferson.

Perhaps he was thinking more about getting those leg hairs stroked in the pool.

The Democrats first choice candidate. Progressive America’s best.


Let us count the ways in which Joe Biden misunderstands gun rights.

Struggling Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unleashed another incoherent rant about gun rights in front of a group of New Hampshire residents this weekend. While offering lots of the usual misinformation — Biden stands firmly against “20, 30, 40, 50 clips in a weapon,” for instance — things really fell apart when he started quoting Thomas Jefferson.

This has to be the first time in history that a serious presidential contender has publicly gamed-out how a modern American military — armed with F-15s and air-to-surface missiles — would crush an imaginary citizen-led insurgency. (Sorry, Eric Swalwell — even though you once mocked Second Amendment supporters as being unable to defeat a government armed with nukes, you were never a serious presidential contender, so you don’t count.)

For one thing, it’s a weird way to appeal to a broad swath of voters. It’s also an ignorant way to talk about millions of law-abiding and peaceful American gun owners — many of them in contested states such as Wisconsin and Michigan — who are far less inclined to violence than the average WTO protester.

It’s also a really bad strawman, for a number of reasons:

Watch: 0:19
Biden Gets Another Major Endorsement

1) It’s highly improbable that members of the American military would start murdering their countrymen simply because some bloodthirsty president ordered them to do it. One imagines that a large-scale insurgency would only be sparked by cataclysmic national events that would likely cause a fissure in the military as well. The notion that the Air Force is going to carpet-bomb Iowa revolutionaries simply because it has capacity to do so is dubious. This is the United States. One suspects that the military would be on the side of the patriots.

2) Biden should be aware that modern armies, historically speaking, have had quite a tough time crushing insurgencies equipped with small arms. There have been hundreds of such deadly, drawn-out uprisings around the world over the past 70 years, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

3) Biden could not have used a worse example to make his point than the AK-47. Americans, of course, mostly own semi-automatic versions of the famous Russian rifle, but the real Kalashnikov is one of, if not the most, durable and successful in history. During the Cold War — and beyond — it was the weapon of choice for revolutionaries, gangs, guerrilla fighters, and terrorists around the world. It has been an extraordinarily pliant weapon, used in virtually every modern insurrection since the mid-1960s.

4) By arguing that legal guns are no match for an F-15, Biden is making a powerful case that citizens should be able to more easily own powerful military-grade weapons. That’s why the Second Amendment exists, as a bulwark against tyranny, should it ever appear here again. So his position makes no sense. Why does Biden believe that Americans have a right to own shotguns when an Auto-5 has no real chance against a Hellfire missile?

5) Biden cuts off Jefferson’s hyperbole about revolutions at a very convenient spot. The quote, which was given in the context of a centuries-long fight for liberty, is: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. (My italics.) One suspects that Jefferson — granted, far too animated by the violence of the French Revolution for my taste — was more interested in spilling the latter’s blood. Lots of it. But Biden skips that part and stakes out an authoritarian position, not only because he doesn’t believe in the core rationale for the Second Amendment but also because he doesn’t believe in the core rationale for the Founding. The American citizenry is conferred rights by God, not by the power of a missile. What Biden said is tantamount to claiming that we don’t need to protect our First Amendment rights because they can always be crushed by the power of an M-1 tank.

There’s a good case to be made that we no longer have to take Biden seriously. But this risible argument seems to be increasingly popular among Second Amendment antagonists. I’ll give them this: “You don’t need your guns because we can annihilate you with advanced military weaponry” is a hell of an electoral sales pitch.

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