The Stealing Of America By The Cops, The Courts, The Corporations And Congress

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy

Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft.

We’re operating in a topsy-turvy Sherwood Forest where instead of Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves stealing from the rich to feed the poor, you’ve got the government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich. In this way, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. All the while, the American Dream of peace, prosperity, and liberty has turned into a nightmare of endless wars, debilitating debt, and outright tyranny.

What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.

In this way, the police state with all of its trappings—from surveillance cameras, militarized police, SWAT team raids, truancy and zero tolerance policies, asset forfeiture laws, privatized prisons and red light cameras to Sting Ray guns, fusion centers, drones, black boxes, hollow-point bullets, detention centers, speed traps and abundance of laws criminalizing otherwise legitimate conduct—is little more than a front for a high-dollar covert operation aimed at laundering as much money as possible through government agencies and into the bank accounts of corporations.

The rationalizations for the American police state are many. There’s the so-called threat of terrorism, the ongoing Drug War, the influx of illegal immigrants, the threat of civil unrest in the face of economic collapse, etc. However, these rationalizations are merely excuses for the growth of a government behemoth, one which works hand in hand with corporations to profit from a society kept under lockdown and in fear at all times.

Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the real motivating factor behind erecting a police state is not to protect the people, but to further enrich the powerful. Consider the following costly line items, all part of the government’s so-called quest to keep us safe and fight terrorism while entrenching the police state, enriching the elite, and further shredding our constitutional rights:

$4.2 billion for militarized police. Almost 13,000 agencies in all 50 states and four U.S. territories participate in a military “recycling” program which allows the Defense Department to transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. In 2012 alone, $546 million worth of military equipment was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the country.


$34 billion for police departments to add to their arsenals of weapons and equipment. Since President Obama took office, police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” While police departments like to frame the acquisition of military surplus as a money-saving method, in a twisted sort of double jeopardy, the taxpayer ends up footing a bigger bill. First, taxpayers are forced to pay millions of dollars for equipment which the Defense Department purchases from megacorporations only to abandon after a few years. Then taxpayers find themselves footing the bill to maintain the costly equipment once it has been acquired by the local police.


$6 billion in assets seized by the federal government in one year alone. Relying on the topsy-turvy legal theory that one’s property can not only be guilty of a crime but is also guilty until proven innocent, government agencies have eagerly cashed in on the civil asset forfeiture revenue scheme, which allows police to seize private property they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity. Then whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, the cops keeps the citizen’s property. Eighty percent of these asset forfeiture cases result in no charge against the property owner. Some states are actually considering expanding the use of asset forfeiture laws to include petty misdemeanors. This would mean that property could be seized in cases of minor crimes such as harassment, possession of small amounts of marijuana, and trespassing in a public park after dark.


$11,000 per hour for a SWAT team raid on a government dissident. The raid was carried out against Terry Porter, a Maryland resident who runs a welding business, is married with three kids, is outspoken about his views of the government, and has been labeled a prepper because he has an underground bunker and food supplies in case things turn apocalyptic. The raiding team included “150 Maryland State Police, FBI, State Fire Marshal’s bomb squad and County SWAT teams, complete with two police helicopters, two Bearcat ‘special response’ vehicles, mobile command posts, snipers, police dogs, bomb disposal truck, bomb sniffing robots and a huge excavator. They even brought in food trucks.”


$3.8 billion requested by the Obama administration to send more immigration judges to the southern border, build additional detention camps and add border patrol agents. Border Patrol agents are already allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant. As one journalist put it, “The surveillance apparatus is in your face. The high-powered cameras are pointed at you; the drones are above you; you’re stopped regularly at checkpoints and interrogated.” For example, an American citizen entering the U.S. from Mexico was subjected to a full-body cavity search in which she was subjected to a variety of invasive procedures, including an observed bowel movement and a CT scan, all because a drug dog jumped on her when she was going through border security. Physicians found no drugs hidden in her body.


$61 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, one of the most notoriously bloated government agencies ever created. The third largest federal agency behind the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the DHS—with its 240,000 full-time workers and sub-agencies—has been aptly dubbed a “runaway train.”


$80 billion spent on incarceration by the states and the federal government in 2010. While providing security, housing, food, medical care, etc., for six million Americans is a hardship for cash-strapped states, it’s a gold mine to profit-hungry corporations such as Corrections Corp of America and GEO Group, the leaders in the partnership corrections industry. Thus, with an eye toward increasing its bottom line, CCA has floated a proposal to prison officials in 48 states offering to buy and manage public prisons at a substantial cost savings to the states. In exchange, the prisons would have to contain at least 1,000 beds and states would have to maintain a 90% occupancy rate for at least 20 years. This has led to the phenomenon of overcriminalization of everyday activities, in which mundane activities such as growing vegetables in your yard or collecting rainwater on your property are criminalized, resulting in jail sentences for individuals who might otherwise have never seen the inside of a jail cell.


$6.4 billion a year for the Bureau of Prisons and $30,000 a year to house an inmate. There are over 3,000 people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes. These include theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check. Most of the non-violent offenses which triggered life sentences were drug crimes involving trace amounts of heroin and cocaine. One person imprisoned for life was merely a go-between for an undercover officer buying ten dollars’ worth of marijuana. California has more money devoted to its prison system than its system of education. State spending on incarceration is the fastest growing budget item besides Medicaid.


93 cents an hour for forced, prison labor in service to for-profit corporations such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret. What this forced labor scheme has created, indirectly or not, is a financial incentive for both the corporations and government agencies to keep the prisons full to capacity. A good portion of the 2 million prisoners in public facilities are forced to work for corporations, making products on the cheap, undermining free laborers, and increasing the bottom line for many of America’s most popular brands. “Prison labor reportedly produces 100 percent of military helmets, shirts, pants, tents, bags, canteens, and a variety of other equipment. Prison labor makes circuit boards for IBM, Texas Instruments, and Dell. Many McDonald's uniforms are sewn by inmates. Other corporations—Microsoft, Victoria's Secret, Boeing, Motorola, Compaq, Revlon, and Kmart—also benefit from prison labor.”


$2.6 million pocketed by Pennsylvania judges who were paid to jail youths and send them to private prison facilities. The judges, paid off by the Mid Atlantic Youth Service Corporation, which specializes in private prisons for juvenile offenders, had more than 5,000 kids come through their courtrooms and sent many of them to prison for petty crimes such as stealing DVDs from Wal-Mart and trespassing in vacant buildings.


$1.4 billion per year reportedly lost to truancy by California school districts, which receive government funding based on student attendance. The so-called “solution” to student absences from school has proven to be a financial windfall for cash-strapped schools, enabling them to rake in millions, fine parents up to $500 for each unexcused absence, with the potential for jail time, and has given rise to a whole new track in the criminal justice system devoted to creating new revenue streams for communities. For example, Eileen DiNino, a woman serving a two-day jail sentence for her children’s truancy violations, died while in custody. She is one of hundreds of people jailed in Pennsylvania over their inability to pay fines related to truancy, which include a variety of arbitrary fees meant to rack up money for the courts. For example, “[DiNino’s] bill included a laundry list of routine fees: $8 for a “judicial computer project”; $60 for Berks constables; $40 for “summary costs” for several court offices; and $10 for postage.” So even if one is charged with a $20 fine, they may end up finding themselves on the hook for $150 in court fees.


$84.9 million collected in one year by the District of Columbia as a result of tickets issued by speeding and traffic light cameras stationed around the city. Multiply that income hundreds of times over to account for the growing number of localities latching onto these revenue-generating, photo-enforced camera schemes, and you’ll understand why community governments and police agencies are lining up in droves to install them, despite reports of wide scale corruption by the companies operating the cameras. Although nine states have banned the cameras, they’re in 24 states already and rising.


$1.4 billion for fusion centers. These fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance and intelligence efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, have proven to be exercises in incompetence, often producing irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence, while spending millions of dollars on “flat-screen televisions, sport utility vehicles, hidden cameras and other gadgets.”

In sum, the American police state is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle, meant to keep the property and the resources of the American people flowing into corrupt government agencies and their corporate partners. For those with any accounting ability, it’s clear that the total sum of the expenses being charged to the American taxpayer’s account by the government add up to only one thing: the loss of our freedoms. It’s time to seriously consider a plan to begin de-funding this beast and keeping our resources where they belong: in our communities, working for us.

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Golden Showers's picture

Have it your way!

You asked for it, now you got it.

We can all enjoy one or two in the back of the head. Thank you, Stalin. Thank you Obama.

Divided States of America's picture

Thats why everyone should have the right to have their own firearm and take out their own trash when necessary.

logicalman's picture

The most important vote you have is your 'wallet' - you can vote every day and it always gets counted.

Caviar Emptor's picture

Imagine there's no govmint
It's easy if you try

0b1knob's picture

And what about all the money they have spent keeping Jon Corzine in jail?   Oh wait....

wee-weed up's picture

Jackboots will continue on necks....

Until morale improves!

boogerbently's picture

USA is #1 !!!!

I bet our cops are as corrupt as any on the planet.

WHOOooooo !

markmotive's picture
Corruption at All Levels: Victim Criminalization in Action

This is SICKENING to watch.

Chuck Walla's picture

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

? Eric Hoffer


Anusocracy's picture

The problem is that 99% of the people believe that they know the best way to run the lives of 7+ billion others, when in fact they are too incompetent to even run their own lives.

Skateboarder's picture

If you can describe the 'human condition' in one sentence, I would pick this one. Accurate in its entirety.

0z's picture

"government and its merry band of corporate thieves stealing from the poor to fatten the wallets of the rich"

BULLSHIT! They dont give a fuck about the rich! They take the money, for THEMSELVES! AHAHAH FOOLS!

NoPension's picture

1% believe they know how to run the lives of the other 99.

BLOTTO's picture

The 0.001% *think* its their divine right to rule over us...

Anusocracy's picture

True, but most everyone would love to be the Benevolent Dictator of the World.

That way they could fix the world to suit their own desires - just like the elites actually do.

BuddyEffed's picture

The corrupt Pennsylvania courts that committed crimes against children can't hold a candle to the crimes against children in the King County Family Courts.

freedogger's picture

Yes and my wallet is sadly voting to no longer vacation in the USA. Why would I take a chance subjecting my family to any of that?

_disengage_'s picture

Don't just skip the American vacation, don't buy any American "products" at all.

Grumbleduke's picture

what american products? Hope, change, slaughter?

Milton Freewater's picture

I don't think vacationing in Aruba is exactly what he's talking about.  Try not paying taxes! That's what makes the beast lose it's boner!


PrintemDano's picture

The government doesn't need our tax money.  They just print what they need anyway.  Taxes are used as a way to keep the Serfs working so much that they have no time to pick up their pitchforks. 

umdesch4's picture

Too late. The government already took all the money in my wallet at gunpoint. I guess that means I have no votes.

ejmoosa's picture

What is in your wallet is THEIR currency.

Haven't you figured out yet that they can print more votes any time they do not like what you do with yours?

JLee2027's picture

I claim the game of stealing is only effective until the other guy knows what you're doing. Then, gradually, the stealing is shut down, as some of the people choose to no longer tolerate it. This leaves the Government with two options...steal openly and risk civil war or obey the people and stop stealing. A true hobson's choice is the result.

Offthebeach's picture

Why steal when it's so easy to trick?
Just say it, whatever, will be free.

Sheeple will come running.

wee-weed up's picture

Yep, it became so easy once the Leftists took over Public Education.

Escrava Isaura's picture

wee-weed up ... "so easy once the Leftists took over Public Education."

How so?

And where did the Rightist take over?

CognacAndMencken's picture


You're misusing the expression "Hobson's Choice." A scenario described as a Hobson's choice is a "take it, or leave it" option, whereby the person making the choice really has no choice at all.

The government freely chooses to tax, and any resistance by society is debated and voted upon. Neither society nor the government is given a "take it, or leave it" choice. That expression makes no sense in your context. What you've described is actually a "false dilemma," because you assume there are no other alternatives to eventual civil war..... which is idiotic.

TeethVillage88s's picture

Philosophy, much appreciated here on ZH.

I wasn't aware of Hobson's Choice or the False Dilemma or the Tridelemma.

Anyway Posit of A) Steal Openly by the Government OR B) Become an Honest Government... is clearly way too Narrow for Reality. Government Fixes to Crisis usually involve C. some small adjustment to address a narrow narrative of the problem.

Like WWI: maybe the Great Patriotic War for USA was about those horrible Huns.

Like WWII: maybe the War to End all Wars for USA was about some propaganda that now escapes me.

Certainly their are Unlimited Options to Civil War as you point out. It feels real hard at this point. Money and Organization seems to have all the power against Grass Roots Activism OR any kind of "People Power".

-Activist Journalism & Free Internet provide Networking opportunities that are Great
-Move To Amend Movement is a good Sign
-Patriotic Movements are Great
-Militias are Touchy, but thought provoking and Educational
-Tea Party points us back to Proper Accounting I think and toward Standardization of Accounting and Financial Instruments
-Anti Drug Law & Prison Activists Point to the Value of Man, the value of Self Determination, the Value of Self Actualization, and to the value of personal freedom and sovereignty

I think there is a lot of good philosophy going in the USA now, but compared to France in 1920 or compared to the Greek Philosophy movement and education of it's prime time, the USA is still just an Infant. I am just an Infant in these terms.

But thanks for your insight here.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

I politely beg to differ.  People know what's going on -- either overtly or intuitively -- yet are unable and to scared to do much about it.

Part of the problem is "us":  We've become a nation of people who are angry, scared and too still too comfortable to even be out marching -- much less taking to barricades or refusing to pay taxes.  We're not using our guns, and we're using blog sites as safety valves to blow off steam - when we should be organizing and marching, like in the 1960s.

As much as it pains me, I fear that things will (have to) get much worse before we get real change.  It's the way of the world, if you look at history and human nature.  And TPTB know this and are acting accordingly, while they can.

Even in our own household we are divided on this:  although I'm trying to live like it's the 1930s, my wife (10 years younger and "Mrs modern shopper") is desperately trying and pretending that it's still a 1980-2005 world that she loved so much.  She cares naught for "all this doom & gloom stuff" from me or ZH.  My hope is to educate and inoculate the kids, where I'm having partial success, and only with the oldest one.  Perhaps I really should cancel that fancy/expensive satellite subscription and opt for Basic coverage, Netflix and Hulu.  If that.

Frankie Carbone's picture

By the sounds of it, if you cancel cable then you risk having your wife ask for a divorce. 

TEE-VEE is the number one tool of mind control. 

#2. Peer pressure from her friends, who....... get all their thoughts from TEE-VEE!

Keep the cable, it's cheaper than a divorce. 

_disengage_'s picture

If people can't give up even some of the "middle-class" life: netflix/TV, going out to eat, shopping for the sake of shopping, new cars, vacations, etc... how can we expect even the most basic change? (The other day my neighbor told me: "My wants ARE my needs")

It makes me sad to hear so many people talking about crap like revolution before even trying to use economic tactics to get what we want. Maybe (probably?) it will come down to violence, but we are kidding ourselves if we jump straight to it without exhausting non-violent tactics first.

We, theoretically, tried voting for years. Does anyone really think Feinstein can really keep winning? It almost has to be rigged.

We tried protests via OWS/Teaparty, both of which had valid concerns, but were spun by the media.

I'd like to say that we should not organize. When your organize you give the media a target to slander. You give the Police/FBI targets to detain. You show a big group of people failing which is demoralizing. Instead we could look to individual actions that go in a general direction without having some kind of leader or specific goal. Distributed resistance?

Next we need individual economic sanctions against the USA. General boycott of non-essentials and force "their" hand. Consumer spending is the last thread in the already thin curtain.

Ideally the economy actually starts bucking and no one can ignore it. We reach critical mass and ???

Lastly, we roll em.

Moe Howard's picture

We must each find freedom in this unfree land on our own. If we "organize" we create a target for the government gang.


Read this when you get a chance.

By the late and great Harry Browne:

StandardDeviant's picture

A big +1 for linking to "How I Found Freedom...".

This was one of the first books I ever read on the subject of politics, while still a teenager, and it made a huge impression.  When I got around to reading Ayn Rand a bit later, I thought she was really a bit on the statist side, as she still saw a role for even a very limited government!

Browne described what we now call "virtual corporations", which have no (or very few) employees and simply contract for the services they need -- back in 1973.  Also, his descriptions of various thinking "traps" were brilliant; the "Previous Investment Trap" is one everybody should read and re-read.

chumbawamba's picture

Marching?  Marching to where?  The land of irrelevant protests?  What did the 1960s bring?  More socialist programs that replaced the Republic with the democracy.

You're going to have to think harder.

I am Chumbawamba.

NoPension's picture

Hey Kirk, you too?

After trying to educate my wife, I just decided the "humanitarian" thing to do was to let her live, in blissfull ignorance. She kinda gets it, because money is tighter. I work for myself, and have for 25 years. My daily hustle would not be a good fit as an employee. But her answer is to "go get a job". Now that's funny shit on about 5 levels.

Escrava Isaura's picture

new Kirk2NCC1701,

Well said! And you just exposed why solutions/preparations/changes are hard to implement.

Please check the link below. You [most here, if not all] will appreciate. It is a comment by Ezrydermike:

are we there yet's picture

The purpose of congress is to be an efficient place to sell power and corruption. How do you protest that? Maby a periodic polygraph on undisclosed financial contributions. Imagine what you would have to do to turn Barney Frank or Nancy Pilosi, and friends into an honest and wise politician. What are the chances of stopping lobbyists from creativly corrupting, or the chance of stopping the banks and financials from buying lobbyists. None.

Rusty Loads's picture

"...all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies..."

Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776



astroloungers's picture

There is nothing to argue about. All of the above is true. It seems at some point half will be in service enforcing the will of the government. Those "in service" don't seem to be aware that the monster they serve eats it own.

Mr Pink's picture





logicalman's picture

Wel know in who's name of.

toady's picture

Is there no standard anymore?
What it takes, who I am, where I've been, belong
You can't be something you're not
Be yourself by yourself, stay away from me.

NoPension's picture

I build.

You folks that haven't had the pleasure would never believe what the process has become.
First is the approval process. If your zoned correctly, that's helps (ha!) We had one project, 2.5 years to go through the approval process. As we finally cleared the last conjured hurdle, the clients called " no mas" and pulled the plug. At a cost of $400,000 down the tubes, and 1.5 years of work for 20 men.
Like living piñatas, we're doing it again, on a 16 million dollar project.

Once you do get a permit, these mother fuckers come out of the woodwork. State and local EPA, storm water, building inspectors, public works inspectors( one each for roads,sewer ,water,landscape,building asthetics,sidewalks,.....)
The Fire Marshall. Ah,...the Fire Marshall. A special breed unto themselves. I could write a book. Suffice it to say, they hold a special place in my heart. SHTF, these MF's best lay low.

We did a job, 2 years ago. $5 mil. During construction, never had a " write up" . Owner occupies the building, and receives a letter from the state Dept of Enviroment. It's a fine for $140,000 , for putting sediment in the adjacent waterway. Again, multiple inspections during 14 month construction, never gigged. Turns out, there was a disgruntled neighbor, who objected to having the commercially zoned patch of woods across the street , developed into a tax generating employment center. Complained to the Governor , who in turn made a call to state EPA . Don't ya love it.
Lawyers got it down to $40,000, and stated, to get it squashed completely would cost.....drum roll....$40,000!

Meanwhile, during the 2.5 years we are waiting for our permit, (first job above)the State; hold quicky hearings and makes gambling legal, approves a spot over vociferous community objections, hand out a permit ( with no drawings, they call it "fast tracking"), constructs and opens a mega-casino.
All we wanted was a permit to build a $5 mil properly zoned building on a vacant lot.