Friday, January 25, 2013

An Insult to "Corrupt"

Calling U.S. drug enforcement "corrupt" is an insult.  To the word "corrupt."  Corruption is old, and sort of honorable, a way of smoothing out bad government.  But U.S. drug enforcement is bizarrely hypocritical, with lots of sharp edges.

HSBC settlement:  Appalling.

Outright theft of a family-owned hotel, because some tenants used drugs.

Outright theft of money, for ...well, for no actual reason at all.  Some people thought the guy might, possibly, maybe buy drugs.  Later.

So, to review:  if you are a large corporation, and can pay off the government, you are free to participate in the wholesale distribution of drugs.  If you try to run a legitimate business, however, that entire business can be taken from you.  And if the cops find any sort of asset they can steal, they will just take the money, like Mexcan Federales in some bad movie.  You have to sue to get the money back, and the burden of proof is on YOU to show you were NOT going to spend the money on drugs.

Here's the interesting thing:  in the late stages of Prohibition, corruption took the form of payoffs to crooked cops.  With the civil forfeiture rules now in place, corruption takes the form of simple, direct theft:  the authorities simply take anything of value that that they want, unless you are a large corporation and can afford lots of lawyers.

I keep calling it "corrupt."  But I don't think that word means what I think it means.  I need a knew word.

Nod to MK


markm said...

HSBC is a British bank. The Justice Dept charges are for accepting cash deposits at it's Mexican branch. I'd say getting a fine at all is pretty damned good for a case that is completely outside US jurisdiction - and Justice accepted a slap on the wrist because it sets a precedent for future excursions into foreign jurisdictions.

Justin Bieber said...

Great post
All about Justin Bieber