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Mandatory-minimum drug sentencing, restrictive zoning laws, and drunk-driving checkpoints are just a few of the bureaucratic excesses that torment Rockville writer James Bovard, author of Shakedown: How the Government Screws You From A to Z (Viking). Bovard lists examples of Joe Sixpack’s uphill fight against the Man, focusing on such federal alphabet agencies as the DEA, EPA, IRS, BATF, and EEOC. One might initially think that Bovard champions purely conservative causes, but he also documents illegal search-and-seizures and the stifling of attempts to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. The author sounds an awful lot like a libertarian, but doesn’t name his ideology, saying simply that he believes in “much less power in government.” And although he wants Shakedown‘s readers to know “how bad things have gotten in this country,” Bovard’s not a complete cynic. Asked if Uncle Sam has any virtues, he responds, “I appreciate the tax collection. [The government is] very good about going out and getting people to pay their taxes, very efficient.”