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February 2010
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How money can clean up your image

We’ve been talking about the drug cartels in Mexico, and one of the interesting things about this is how they are donating money to churches and communities — essentially cleaning up their image and capturing the heart and soul of the people, many of whom aren’t sure who else to trust.

It’s a powerful and pernicious tool.

Here’s another article showing how the cartel is spending money to help kids.

It has paid for batting helmets for a girls softball team. It has paid for a machine that helps fill water bottles for high school football players. And it has paid to send kids to an Atlanta Braves game.

All the way to Atlanta? Wow.

Wait.

My mistake. Turns out this article isn’t about Mexican cartels and the money they get from people voluntarily purchasing their product. No, this is about another out-of-control group that actually steals their money from people.

Tapping into money from drug seizures, Sheriff Jimmy Ashe has directed $10,588 since 2007 to sports programs, trophies, booster clubs and a high school chorus.

The sheriff often spent the money with no oversight. In one case he directed $3,000 to youth baseball teams – including one on which his son played.

Asset forfeiture is a particularly nasty business that leads to greed, corruption, and even death (see Donald Scott). One of the worst practices of asset forfeiture is giving a portion of the seized money to the law enforcement units responsible for the seizure. This provides perverse incentives and increases the likelihood of abuse.

And using it for self-promotion? That just makes it harder to break the cycle of corrupt practice, because now law enforcement has purchased the good will of the community.

Parents in Jackson County said Ashe’s decision on how to spend the money has made a difference.

“I think that Jimmy Ashe is great for doing that,” said Susie Fortner, a single mother of three. “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if we would have gone this far in sports.”

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17 comments to How money can clean up your image

  • ezrydn

    The story begs the question: “Do all the Suzie Homemakers KNOW the true origin of the funds they’re benefiting from?” If parents knew the origin, would they pull their kids from that team and seek a “clean” team? While a “push,” Suzie could qualify as an “accessory.” I doubt parents even consider that.

  • kaptinemo

    “A system that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have Paul’s support.”

    Forfeiture was mistakenly thought to be the end-run around having to ask the taxpayers for more money to run the DrugWar via taxes. That presupposed, of course, that there was a finite amount of money the traffickers had, and that forfeiture would dig deep into the cartel’s earning power, eventually destroying them

    Nothing could have been further from the truth. Regular and repeated multi-ton interdicted shipments prove the folly of such thinking. And the vast majority of those non-drug goods forfeited came from low-level operatives in the trade…if not outright theft from the innocent.

    As things tighten economically, and it becomes political poison to call for even greater taxes to pay for the DrugWar, look for police to become even more dependent upon forfeiture…which will cause more citizen disaffection with police…which will cause more police alienation…which will lead to greater friction with taxpayers…which will cause political action to be taken…which cannot help but cause attention to be drawn to the previous abuse of forfeiture…which in turn cannot help but have greater scrutiny placed upon the DrugWar itself.

    A vicious cycle that was warned about at the every inception of the policy. Another case of being doomed to repeat history.

  • Just me

    When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power.
    Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

    I think this would fit the bill . Seems they have voted themselves money…and with more and more money and power comes corruption. I wonder if they have thought that they are detroying themselves? It takes a great deal of will power for an addict to admit they have a problem and do something about it…and these law enforcment people are very addicted.

    I dont trust law enforcement…not because they are law enforcement or because there are corrupt leo’s. I dont trust law enforcement becuase more and more laws are bought by those in power, those corporate entities that have their own interests in mind. More and more I feel as thought law enforcement has been co-opted by these special interests and are no longer there to serve and protest us.

    Once people wake up and see that WE THE PEOPLE are the subjects of control by corporate interests, we will start doing something about changing things. Our law enforcement and government institutions have been infiltrated at the smallest levels by these coporate controlls, and we the people are suffering for it.

    Just look at the quote above by Ben Franklin….
    Now look at what our government has done and is still doing…..wall street has voted themselves money, no different than Asset forfeiture in law enforcement.

    As Kaptinemo stated… “A vicious cycle that was warned about at the every inception of the policy. Another case of being doomed to repeat history.”
    …our leo’s are following the same lack of foresight as our government.

  • RichieRich

    I live in the next county over from Jackson, and I lived in Jackson county for 20 years…know Jimmy Ashe well….he gets 105 k a year!!! Thats right, in a small mountain county with people still living like in the old days in some cases, Jimmy Ashe gets over a hundred thousand dollars a year…sickening.

    The rules are so soft for these corrupt dogs that they get away with anything they want to….remember that in these small towns a good old boy network keeps the politics running and says who gets what.

    The ONLY good thing about jimmy Ashe is that he allows ONE person who uses medical pot to grow…this guy has to jump thru hoops anytime Jimmy says so…but at least he gets to treat his illness with pot, and Jimmy doesn’t have to do it…so he has one good quality.

    No other sheriff I am aware of ignores the cultivation law…but unless there is more than one person allowed it doesn’t do the rest of us much good. Typical small town crap…

  • kaptinemo

    Related: As the costs of the Meltdown become more evident, the cost to families and especially children will become clearer. And those costs will directly affect a pol’s ability to justify any more spending on the DrugWar.

    Growing Hunger in America

    from the article:

    “In January 2010, Feeding America (FA, formerly America’s Second Harvest) released its disturbing new report on growing hunger titled, “Hunger in America 2010.”…

    “FA’s president and CEO, Vicki Escarra said:

    “Clearly, the economic recession, resulting in dramatically increasing unemployment nationwide, has driven unprecedented, sharp increases in the need for emergency food assistance and enrollment in federal nutrition programs. Hunger in America 2010 exposes the absolutely tragic reality of just how many people in our nation don’t have enough to eat. Millions of our clients are families with children finding themselves in need of food assistance for the very first time. It’s morally reprehensible that we live in the wealthiest nation in the world where one in six people are struggling to make choices between food and other basic services.”

    Like I said, as things get tighter, prohibs will find it harder and harder to shed crocodile tears and shriek about ‘saving the children from druuuuuuugs!” when those same kids are facing hunger and homelessness. And the parents of those kids could sure use the money being wasted right this very minute on the DrugWar.

  • Just me

    Heres a story, although a bit off topic, relevent to this here fight…

    http://health.yahoo.com/news/afp/healthustobacco_20100209102313.html

    …My question is, have there been any studies as to residue of cannabis smoke as there have been for cigarette smoke? It would be interesting to see if cannabis reside had any effects like that of cigarettes. I’d bet the results would be no where near the same. Do any of you think the results would be less detrimental than that of cigs?

    My fater died of cancer a few years back, my mother sold the home. As I helped move her stuff out, I noticed how badly cig smoke had collected on EVERYTHING! It was very apparent to me this couldnt be good for you, I also wondered what effect that may have had on me as a child.

    …And they say cannabis is dangerous ….
    The evidence shows me that cigarettes should be illegal before cannabis.

  • RichieRich

    By the way…here is the story about Ken Locke, the guy I was talking about…:http://www.mpp.org/states/north-carolina/news/glenville-man-continues-fight-to.html

    I caled him when all this became news locally and spoke to him…nice guy. He is fighting for all of us and I am sure is grateful that Ashe is letting him get away with it….if only my sheriff was so sensible…but Robbie holland, in Madcon county, is a real politician and caters to the right wing lock em up rednecks..uneducated people love him.

  • Just me

    Kaptinemo, keep those stories in the forfront my friend! As this economic collapse catches up with us all(and it will), people will need to know where the money is being wasted….

    ….and our government keeps using that credit card. Its a sad time when we the people must suffer in order for our leaders to live well…and they do….

    http://beltwayblips.dailyradar.com/story/un-frickin-believable-u-s-military-serving-as/

    …on our dime. This is just ONE small example.

  • Tim

    Sickening.

    Here’s another sickening story — I don’t see it covered here, apologies if it was. Who the hell do these cops think they are? They are acting like a gang. And it’s nice to see the casino people being honest for once.

    At the January meeting, Woznicki said he walked into a room of more than 100 police officers, undercover vice cops, surveillance and security staff from Mandalay Bay, and gaming control and alcohol bureau officers…”Even at the meeting, a Mandalay Bay security guy said, `Pot smokers don’t drink and gamble and that’s where we make our money. It’s bad for business.'”

  • DdC

    The Forfeiture Racket
    Police and Prosecutors Won’t Give Up Their License to Steal

    F.E.A.R.
    Forfeiture Endangers Americans Rights

    Rainbow Farm Massacre 11/06/01
    “I have discussed this with my family and we are all prepared to die on this land before we allow it to be stolen from us,” Crosslin wrote in a March 29, 1999, letter to Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter. Teter had sent Crosslin a letter five days earlier warning him he could lose his 34-acre farm if drug use and distribution there

    L.A. Forfeiture Squads Kill California Millionaire 03/13/00

  • DdC

    “I have never seen a situation so dismal
    that a policeman couldn’t make it worse.”
    — Brendan Behan (1923-1964)

    Take tax money for kids sports and pay for cops to bust sick stoners and then sell the ill gotten goods to donate to sports? Seems we are taking money for sports from kids to pay cops to bully sick people. Ain’t dat a Merika! USA! Qaeda! Who needs foreign terrorists when we have such fine examples right here?

    Dollar vs. Dollar: Feb 4 2010
    U.S. Consumers Battle U.S. Taxpayers in Global Drug War
    The drug war is best understood as a battle of dollar versus dollar — a bloody war between the dollars of U.S. taxpayers and the dollars of U.S. consumers.

    check the date on the following…

    For over fifty years the United States has been committed to a policy of suppressing the “abuse” of narcotic and other “dangerous” drugs. The primary instrument in carrying out this policy has been the criminal sanction. The results of this reliance on the criminal sanction have included the following:
    (1) Several hundred thousand people, the overwhelming majority of whom have been primarily users rather than traffickers, have been subjected to severe criminal punishment.
    (2) An immensely profitable illegal traffic in narcotic and other forbidden drugs has developed.
    (3) This illegal traffic has contributed significantly to the growth and
    prosperity of organized criminal groups.
    (4) A substantial number of all acquisitive crimes – burglary, robbery, auto theft, other forms of larceny – have been committed by drug
    users in order to get the wherewithal to pay the artificially high prices charged for drugs on the illegal market.
    (5) Billions of dollars and a significant proportion of total law enforcement resources have been expended in all stages of the criminal process.
    (6) A disturbingly large number of undesirable police practices – unconstitutional searches and seizures, entrapment, electronic surveillance have become habitual because of the great difficulty that attends the detection of narcotics offenses.
    (7) The burden of enforcement has fallen primarily on the urban poor, especially Negroes and Mexican-Americans.
    (8) Research on the causes, effects, and cures of drug use has been stultified.
    (9) The medical profession has been intimidated into neglecting its accustomed role of relieving this form of human misery.
    (10) A large and well-entrenched enforcement bureaucracy has developed a vested interest in the status quo, and has effectively thwarted all but the most marginal reforms.
    (11) Legislative invocations of the criminal sanction have automatically and unthinkingly been extended from narcotics to marijuana to the flood of new mind-altering drugs that have appeared in recent years, thereby compounding the preexisting problem.
    A clearer case of misapplication of the criminal sanction would be difficult to imagine.
    — “The Limits of the Criminal Sanction,”
    by Herbert Packer, 1968

  • claygooding

    If the state and local law enforcement is spending this much money on public relations,how much do you figure the feds are spending?

    “Decriminalize Marijuana,” Says Rhode Island’s Largest Newspaper
    Article by Marijuana Policy Project
    (3 Hours Ago) in Society / Drug Law

  • claygooding

    The above article is at opposing views.

  • Bailey

    Is there a website with state forfiture laws in one place? Listing what sort of assets, risks, conviction or arrest etc.

  • strayan

    DdC, thanks for that excerpt. You can read the whole chapter thanks to google books.

  • Chris

    Asset forfeiture pisses me off the more I read about it. There was recently a pretty lengthy article about it: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n069/a09.html?341.