Senator Paul Takes on GOVERNMENT BULLIES: Among Other Atrocities, the Government Regularly Arrests, Prosecutes, and Imprisons Americans for Trivial Vagaries in the Law. Senator Rand Paul Points out a Few Injustices

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Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds, by Senator Rand Paul, New York: Center Street Hatchett Book Group, 2012, 280 pages, hardcover.

The bad news is that after little more than a year and a half in federal office, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was able to fill a book full of instances he has come across of outrageous abuses of power by government officials lording it over people they allegedly serve. The good news is that there are a few people in Congress willing to stand up and sound the alarm over a once-free nation's slide into the practices and policies of a police state. In a Congress that is shamefully servile before an overreaching and arrogant executive branch, Rand Paul and his father, U.S. Representative and two-time Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Texas), who wrote the foreword for his son's book, stand out as men who take seriously their oath to uphold the Constitution.

Paul's slender volume contains 21 chapters filled with one story after another of "government bullies" trampling on the rights of Americans in their homes and places of business. One paragraph sums up the tyranny of a government that has jumped the tracks of its legal and reasonable limits:

  Most recently, this past August, Henry Juszkiewicz, the
  chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corporation, had his
  company raided by armed federal agents. A half million
  dollars' worth of Mr. Juszkiewicz's property was seized,
  along with guitars and computer hard drives. His factory
  was shut down for a day, and his employees were ordered to
  go home. All this was done to him because he allegedly
  violated the Lacey Act, yet the Department of Justice has
  yet to file any formal charges against him.

No charges? It is disturbing when someone is brought to trial with inadequate or phony evidence or when one or more due process guarantees are violated in the course of bringing someone to trial and conviction. But if armed agents of the federal government can shut down someone's business and take half a million dollars worth of property without even charging him with a crime, then you have to wonder if the government itself has not become the nation's most dangerous criminal.

Gibson Guitar's ordeal with the federal government began when a SWAT team from the Department of Homeland Security, made up of more than 30 agents armed with automatic weapons, descended on the Gibson factory in Nashville, Tennessee. The agents evacuated the factory, forcing out nearly 300 workers. They then seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of materials. The search warrant was sealed, leaving Juszkiewicz to wonder what his guitars had to do with homeland security.

The agents were, in fact, with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, now a bureau of DHS. They were apparently searching for evidence of violation of the Lacey Act, a 1900 law that bans trafficking in illegal animals, fish, and plants. Congress has amended it several times, most recently in 2008, adding heavy fines and jail sentences for importations that violate foreign laws. Gibson's imports of woods from India and Madagascar allegedly violated laws of those countries that protected those raw materials.

"But if that is true, they should tell the governments of Madagascar and India," Paul wrote. "Both countries have said in writing that Gibson has not broken any of their laws. In every shipment, Gibson had clearance from both foreign and U.S. customs, following all the rules and paying all the necessary tariffs. These foreign governments certify all of this. Our U.S. Customs confirms this to be true. But the U.S. government doesn't recognize any of this and still proceeds with its vendetta against Gibson."


Paul suggests the vendetta may be due, in whole or in part, to what he describes as "huge" donations to the Democratic Party by Gibson's main competitor, Fender Musical Instrument Corporation. …