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The U.S. Stealing of Russian Yachts

Given the U.S. government’s increasing financial difficulties, we can expect extremely vicious behavior on the part of federal officials to bring money into the regime. What U.S. officials are currently doing to Russian billionaires provides a clue as to what they are likely to do Americans as the federal government’s financial situation worsens.

The federal government is spending more than $1 trillion per year than it is bringing in with taxes. That means that, every year, it adds more than $1 trillion dollars to the federal debt load. There is no possibility that the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA will permit Congress to significantly reduce the largess that is being flooded into their section of the federal government. There is also no possibility that the people on the welfare-state dole are going to permit Congress to reduce their welfare largess.

The national debt is now over $31 trillion. You can rest assured that when the debt ceiling is soon reached, Congress will raise it again, which will enable federal officials to continue adding to the government’s debt. 

The U.S. Stealing of Russian Yachts

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That is the whole point of hiring those tens of thousands of new IRS agents. Their job is to go out and squeeze American taxpayers out of every available dime to increase tax revenues to help shore up the finances of this voracious welfare-warfare state machine. If a major financial or monetary crisis were to hit, don’t be surprised if federal officials decide to seize people’s retirement accounts and replace them with bonds. If they could seize people’s gold, which was once the nation’s official money under the Constitution, they can easily do the same with IRAs and 401(k)s.

Ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have been having a field day seizing enormously expensive yachts of Russian billionaires. The way these seizures work provides a clue as to what American citizens can expect to happen in the event of a severe financial or monetary crisis. 

The process begins with the imposition of sanctions on Russian billionaires. This is done by either the State Department or the Treasury Department. The determination of who is going to be sanctioned is entirely arbitrary. What they do is research and identify extremely wealthy Russians and then declare that these wealthy Russians have ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

What kind of ties? Who cares? All that matters is that they are Russian “oligarchs” who are extremely rich. The U.S. imposition of sanctions on them then enables U.S. officials to seize their yachts, which just happen to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

And woe to any nation that doesn’t cooperate with the U.S. system of sanctions against these Russian billionaires. When Russian billionaire Alexey Moreashov’s $500 million yacht landed in South Africa, U.S. officials demanded that South African officials seize it. A spokesman for the South African government responded, “South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU.” You can bet your bottom dollar that U.S. officials are now considering measures designed to punish the South African people for what their government has done, no doubt through the imposition of brutal sanctions on them. 

This entire seizure process is akin to asset forfeiture here in the United States. That’s the process in which law-enforcement officials stop people, especially blacks, who are traveling on the highway and seize any large amount of cash they happen to be carrying, without having to charge them with a crime. The idea is that if they are carrying a large amount of cash, they must be guilty of something. 

It’s the same with these Russian billionaires. Given that they are so wealthy and given that they are Russian, it must be that they are guilty of having participated in Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, which apparently makes them automatically guilty of having committed some unknown U.S. criminal offense.

This is precisely why our American ancestors demanded the enactment of the Fifth Amendment, which expressly prohibits the U.S. government from taking people’s property without due process of law. Keep in mind that the Fifth Amendment does not apply only to Americans. It applies to everyone. Our American ancestors did not want federal officials to be taking property from anyone, including foreigners, without due process of law.

Due process means notice and hearing. It requires U.S. officials to file a lawsuit to establish their legal authority to seize someone’s assets. It also requires a hearing or trial in which U.S. officials have to provide competent evidence to justify the seizure. 

Needless to say, the Fifth Amendment has become a nullity when it comes to Russian citizens. But don’t expect the federal judiciary to enforce the due-process clause of the Fifth Amendment. As we have learned time and time again, federal judges are not about to interfere with the national-security establishment, given the overwhelming power of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA within the federal governmental structure. 

The irony in all this is that U.S. officials are behaving just like communist officials. After all, that’s exactly what they do in communist countries — arbitrarily seize people’s assets to shore up the finances of the government. Just don’t be surprised when these people turn their sights inward, toward the American people and their juicy retirement accounts. 

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Jacob G. Hornberger
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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