Featuring Charles Stimson, Manager, National Security Law Program and Senior Legal Fellow, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation; Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor, University of Maryland; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; and Alex Nowrasteh, Immigration Policy Analyst, Cato Institute; moderated by A. Trevor Thrall, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.
In Lukewarming: The New Climate Science that Changes Everything, Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger explain the real science and spin behind the headlines and come to a provocative conclusion: global warming is not hot—it’s lukewarm. Climate change is real, it is partially man-made, but it is clearer than ever that its impact has been exaggerated—with many predictions now being rendered implausible or impossible. This new paperback edition of the book is an expanded edition of last year’s ebook-only edition of Lukewarming, and includes updates in science and policy following the accords reached at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
The Cato Institute has released its 2015 Annual Report, which documents a dynamic year of growth and productivity. The thousands of individuals who contribute to Cato are passionate about freedom and committed to ensuring that future generations enjoy the blessings of liberty, unencumbered by an overreaching state that seeks to control their lives. This is Cato’s optimistic vision for the future, and it would be unimaginable without the Institute’s longstanding partnership with its Sponsors. We will continue our diligence and dedication to seeing this vision realized.
As President Obama counts down the days of his last year in office, one positive step he could take for his legacy would be to halt the federal government’s use of civil asset forfeiture and make the suspension of the equitable sharing program permanent.
Civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize your cash and property without ever charging you with a crime, is rife with abuse and violates many cherished principles such as due process, separation of powers, federalism, and private property rights. The predatory practice has become so prevalent that in 2014, for the first time on record, law enforcement officers took more money from Americans under federal forfeiture law than burglars stole from their victims. More than $5 billion was deposited into the Treasury Department and Justice Department forfeiture funds, and that astonishing figure doesn’t include seizures that were purely state-based.
Further compounding the abusive nature of civil forfeiture is the federal government’s equitable sharing program, which allows state and local cops in states with restrictive forfeiture laws (or none at all) to circumvent their state laws and seize property under more-permissive federal law in exchange for an 80% kickback of the proceeds. The Department of Justice recently suspended the equitable sharing program, citing a budget shortfall, but it’s clear from the suspension statement that the Justice Department plans to restart the program in the future.
Civil asset forfeiture creates an inappropriate profit motive for predatory policing, it distorts the priorities of law enforcement, and it tramples our constitutional principles. President Obama should take the time to end these practices before he leaves office.