Ron Paul Equates Former Militia Wingnut Tax Evaders With Martin Luther King

by: Paul Rosenberg

Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 21:24

(H/T to L.W.M. in Comments at Unclaimmed Territory, from whom this is shamelessly ripped off.]

The IRS is a monster Ron Paul wants to get rid of. He says the income tax is unconstitutional. What's more, "Federal Reserve notes aren't leagal tender," he informs us.  He doesn't actually know the details of the case, but that doesn't bother him facilely comparing wingnut tax-evaders to Martin Luther King.  This has been up on YouTube for four months.

Read about Ron Paul's would-be heroes on the flip.

None of this invalidates him when he's right.  Even if Hitler told you the sky was blue, it would still be blue.  But it does provide some useful context--and raise some pretty basic questions.  Like, "How bad is it when a freakin nutball is the voice of reason?"

Paul Rosenberg :: Ron Paul Equates Former Militia Wingnut Tax Evaders With Martin Luther King
Wikipedia notes:

Edward Lewis Brown (born 1942) and his wife, Elaine Alice Brown (born c. 1940), residents of the American state of New Hampshire, gained national news media attention in early 2007 for not paying their federal income tax and refusing to surrender to federal government agents after having been convicted of tax crimes.[1] After the conviction and sentencing, a long, armed standoff with federal law enforcement authorities at their New Hampshire residence ended with the arrest of Edward and Elaine Brown on October 4, 2007.[2][3][4]

Wikipedia also notes the Tom DeLay connection:

Ed Brown

Ed Brown is a retired pest control officer.[1]

His Ghandian past:

Earlier felony convictions and pardon

In 1960, Brown was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon and armed robbery in connection with an attack on a man in Somerville, Massachusetts.[9] Brown was imprisoned at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Concord, Massachusetts, was paroled in January 1965, and was pardoned in July 1976 by then-governor Michael Dukakis, with the recommendation of the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Parole.[9]

That Michael Dukakis.  First Willie Horton, and now this!

And now for something completely different! NOT!

Involvement in militia movement

According to an October 1994 article in the New Hampshire Sunday News,[10] Ed Brown was the spokesman for an organization called the Constitution Defense Militia and had become involved in the militia movement in late 1993. The newspaper reported that Brown designated various individuals and organizations as being part of a conspiracy to deprive Americans of life and liberty. Among the people and organizations named by Brown were then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, The Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, the Trilateral Commission, the American Bar Association, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).[10]

Brown reportedly had stockpiled 18 months' worth of food, with weapons and ammunition, and believed that there would be a Federal government takeover of "private property, utilities, health facilities and the media." The 1994 article reported that Brown believed the militia was setting up its own "courts . . . for the purpose of taking back America."[10] The newspaper reported that Brown said he saw no way the conflict would end except in violence.[10] The paper stated: "Brown, who says he is an agnostic, admits it's easy to dismiss him as a nut."[10]

Well, sure it's easy to dismiss him as a nut.... because he is!

Don't believe me?  Well, here's the New World Order Zionist/Bavarian Illuminati part of the show:

Beliefs about religion, Zionism, Judaism, Freemasonry and taxes

The Concord Monitor wrote: "The Browns changed their names in late March after converting to a non denominational form of Christianity they learned from a man named Sonny. According to friends of the Browns, Sonny, who wears a long beard, all-white attire and sandals, flew from Hawaii to New Hampshire to visit the Browns and shared his religious and legal teachings over several days."[17] Elaine Brown was quoted as saying: "The only law book we now recognize is the Bible. The only way we're coming out of our home is either as free man and free woman or in body bags."[7]

The Browns alleged that they were not United States citizens, that they were non-residents of the United States for tax purposes, that the New Hampshire business tax laws were incorrect, null and void, and that labor could not be taxed.[18] According to a New Hampshire newspaper, the Browns had not paid some state taxes, and "face a state tax lien for business profit taxes" of $343,000. The paper reported that with penalties and accumulated interest, the combined Federal and state tax amount owed by Edward and Elaine Brown was over three million dollars.[19]

In mid-July of 2007, Ed Brown also announced that he would stop paying school and town property taxes to the town of Plainfield, New Hampshire. A local newspaper quoted Brown as saying: "They don't provide me any services, I'm not going to contribute to them anymore."[20]

The Concord Monitor reported that property tax bills were mailed to residents of Plainfield on June 1, 2007, with return envelopes. The Monitor stated that when an employee of the town of Plainfield opened the return envelope from the Browns, no check for the Browns' property taxes was included. Instead, the Browns included a note with the following statement:

    Nay! Nay! The land . . . at 401 Center of Town Road, Plainfield, New Hampshire [the Browns' residence], and all that is in and upon it, including the Lords bodies, are in the kingdom of heaven, belonging to the Lord, have been claimed by him, and thus can be claimed by no man, nor can any man have beneficial interest in it. [ . . . ] Stand down and away from the Lords land and the bodies of the Lord. So it is written. So it is done.[21]

Edward Brown was also quoted as having made comments about law enforcement officials and the judge in his case:

      I wouldn't want to be this U.S. attorney. I wouldn't want to be this judge or these other people. This James John or anybody else that decides to come down here. Their names are already out there [ . . . ] They are just as vulnerable as I am. And if they're so foolish and stupid to think that they're not, hey, doom on them.[22]

Ed Brown was reported to have stated in a radio interview in March 2007, in comments about federal authorities who were unwilling to see Brown's righteousness:

      Once you've used the lawful word, you've done it the absolute proper way, and they still come at you, they are now attacking the Creator himself or itself, [ . . .] You kill them. That is exactly what the Ten Commandments tell you to do.[23]

In early June 2007 Brown claimed that the law enforcement officials surrounding his properties were part of a "Zionist, Illuminati, Freemason movement," and that the federal government had no jurisdiction in New Hampshire.[24] Referring to the warrants and court orders against him, Brown said "This is just paper [ . . . ] This is fiction. The entire American government is fiction. We created it, didn't we?"[24] The New Hampshire Union Leader also reported that "the Browns believe the IRS and the federal income tax are part of a deliberate plot perpetrated by Freemasons to control the American people and eventually the world."[25]

Wikipedia has much, much more, including a section on their trial, and for those who are really into it, check out the Wikipedia entry on Tax protester statutory arguments, which notes:

The courts that have been presented with such arguments have ruled them to be spurious, unpersuasive, or frivolous, or all three.

Paul, however, relies on Constitutional arguments.

In this video, he says in passing that the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified, but does not elaborate.  However, Wikipedia gives us an idea of the kind (and quality) of argument to be found on the subject here:

Sixteenth Amendment ratification arguments

Amendment XVI in the National Archives of the United States of America. It provides that: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Amendment XVI in the National Archives of the United States of America. It provides that: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

One argument that has been raised several times (and always ruled meritless) suggests that the Sixteenth Amendment was not properly ratified. This argument is based on the fact that the legislatures of various states passed ratifying resolutions in which the quoted text of the Amendment differed from the text proposed by Congress in terms of capitalization, spelling of words, or punctuation marks (e.g. semi-colons instead of commas).

Sure, you've heard of "strict construction" but these guys really mean it!  Drop a comma, lose an Amendment!


The earliest reported court case where this argument was raised appears to be United States v. House,[1] about seventy-two years after the ratification. The best-known proponent of the non-ratification claim is William J. Benson, co-author of the book The Law That Never Was (1985), who testified in the House case to no avail. The Benson contention was comprehensively addressed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. Thomas:[2]

      Thomas is a tax protester, and one of his arguments is that he did not need to file tax returns because the sixteenth amendment is not part of the constitution. It was not properly ratified, Thomas insists, repeating the argument of W. Benson & M. Beckman, The Law That Never Was (1985). Benson and Beckman review the documents concerning the states' ratification of the sixteenth amendment and conclude that only four states ratified the sixteenth amendment; they insist that the official promulgation of that amendment by Secretary of State Knox in 1913 is therefore void.

      Benson and Beckman did not discover anything; they rediscovered something that Secretary Knox considered in 1913. Thirty-eight states ratified the sixteenth amendment, and thirty-seven sent formal instruments of ratification to the Secretary of State. (Minnesota notified the Secretary orally, and additional states ratified later; we consider only those Secretary Knox considered.[3]) Only four instruments repeat the language of the sixteenth amendment exactly as Congress approved it. The others contain errors of diction, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. The text Congress transmitted to the states was: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." Many of the instruments neglected to capitalize "States," and some capitalized other words instead. The instrument from Illinois had "remuneration" in place of "enumeration"; the instrument from Missouri substituted "levy" for "lay"; the instrument from Washington had "income" not "incomes"; others made similar blunders.

      Thomas insists that because the states did not approve exactly the same text, the amendment did not go into effect. Secretary Knox considered this argument. The Solicitor of the Department of State drew up a list of the errors in the instruments and - taking into account both the triviality of the deviations and the treatment of earlier amendments that had experienced more substantial problems - advised the Secretary that he was authorized to declare the amendment adopted. The Secretary did so.

Talk about tyranny!  Surely, no one but Ron Paul can save us from the lawless disregard of spelling errors!

Oh, where is the Martin Luther King of spelling errors?

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Greenwald is wrong on this one (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps the reason right-wing nuts "gravitate" towards Ron Paul is because of the dog-whistle rhetoric he employs. Greenwald seems to be suggesting that all of this is just a big coincidence, or something. He's dead wrong on this one.

I Think He'll Catch On (0.00 / 0)
He said in the comments that he respects Sara and David's work at Orcinus and he will look into it.  Odds are good that he will catch on.

You have to realize where he's coming from is a constitutional law perspective.  He really doesn't know a lot about the history of rightwing populist movements, so he doesn't realize how standard it is to use the kinds of obfuscating arguments that he takes at face value.

But his willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt up front is a strength in the long run, and I think he'll catch on--sooner, rather than later.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Beg to differ on one point (0.00 / 0)
I don't think I'd describe the "willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt" as a desirable trait for a political commentator.

What's appalling about Greenwald's quasi-embrace of Ron Paul was the fact that he called Paul a "vigilant ... defender of America's constitutional freedoms." Ron Paul is vehemently anti-choice; how someone who opposes the basic constitutional freedoms of half the population can be described as a "vigilant defender" of those freedoms is a complete mystery to me.

Implicit in Greenwald's statement is that the constitutional freedoms of women are of little importance.

[ Parent ]
Quite so (0.00 / 0)
I have a feeling Greenwald will be eating a large dish of crow in the not-too-distant future.

[ Parent ]
Let Me Give Some History Here (0.00 / 0)
In earkly 2006, Glenn's position was that BushCo violated the most basic tenents of "true conservatism."  I disagreed, arguing that "true conservatism" was predominantly mere rhetorical cover, which did not accord with the long-term historical record, and referring to Phil Agre's "What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?" which was intensely discussed at MyDD right after the 2004 election.

At the time, Glenn dismissed Agre out of hand as a hack.  This prompted me to write a series on conservatism as identity politics.  Over time, as the handful of conservatives who opposed Bush's power grab were not joined by more, but instead were ostracized by the conservative movement, Glenn came around to my point of view--and freely admitted that he had been mistaken.

Whith Ron Paul, I think the process will be a lot quicker.  He has already focused on Paul's contradictory abortion positions, and the more he focuses on Paul, the more flaws will appear in the facade.

Thus, I'm not saying the the willingness to "give people the benefit of the doubt" is universally a good trait.  Indeed, in our political climate it is almost universally the opposite.  But Glenn is the exception that proves the rule, and this comes in large part from his background as a lawyer.  By starting with the most generous interpretation of the other side's argument, he develops incredibly powerful refutations.  And this comes, in part, from being genuinely open to those arguments in the first place.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Stopped clock, right twice a day.... (0.00 / 0)
you know the rest.

I'm not endorsing Paul or anything he does, but I understand why he's attracting so much positive support. People are just hearing the surface positions--anti-war, anti-PATRIOT Act, anti-taxes--and aren't looking deeper. The more you actually show Paul supporters just how far off the reservation he is, the more they realize he's no more suitable for the presidency than the current occupant.

I blogged a bit more about Paul's success and the crazy uncle theory here: http://www.scholarsa...

'Broken Clock' That Is! (0.00 / 0)
I thought I used the phrase that here, but I guess it was over at Unclaimmed Territory.

It is, IMHO, Ron Paul's great lasting contribution.

Henceforth it will always be recognized that not only are stopped clocks right twice a day, but broken ones are as well.

Nice post, btw.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I don't get it ... (0.00 / 0)
are Dems/Progressives supporting him because they like his positions? ... I doubt it .. I won't give him money ... but I am rooting for him .. to make the Rethuglican race real chaos .. just think of it ... when was the last time the Rethugs had a race this wide open? ..

Dems Do This All The Time, Unfortunately (0.00 / 0)
With no high-profile true progressive in the primaries since Jesse Jackson in 1988, Democrats have just gotten somewhat crazed.  Back in 1996, there was a boomlet of hysteria over the prospect of Colin Powell--a Republican, of course.  Then, in 2000, there was even a Democratic buzz for McCain--repeated again in 2004, with speculation over Kerry naming his as his running mate.

So, in a sense, Paul is filling a familiar role--one that speaks very pointedly to the long-term vacuum on the left in Democratic presidential races.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
'Voice of reason....' (0.00 / 0)

'Freakin' nutball is more like it and, no, I don't give a fuck that he raised 4m or whatever it was.

The Pat Robertson once took in millions 'cause he told his TV audience that a 900 foot tall Jesus told him to ask them for all the money they had....

And they mailed it to him.

P.T. Barnum put his finger on somethin' about the fat, stupid part of Merikkka....

Dat''s fer sure.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

We must sound warnings about him (0.00 / 0)
I think he gets a lot of support because all people hear is "anti-war, pro-Constitution."  We have to warn pissed-off Democrats that he is not their savior.

Not to mention... (0.00 / 0)
...that $4 million internet haul was, in a not too subtle way, a glorification of anti-government terrorism, no?  I guess since Guy Fawkes (like Timothy McVeigh) wasn't a Muslim, it's all okay.  I give the Paul cultists credit for boldly going there, to be honest.  At least there are some citizens out there refusing to cower.

Too bad the Democrats can't grasp that opposing the absurd "unitary executive" overreaches of late could broaden their appeal.  They're unlikely to win over the hardcore Paul faction, but there's a much broader constituency out there looking for leaders willing to defend fundamental liberties.

Hey, Paul R. (0.00 / 0)
Glad you liked the video. ;-) I hope you are right about Glenn. Try to convince Glenn to interview Dave Neiwert and Chip Berlet as well as Ron Paul. It might help.

It might be interesting for your readers to watch Dr. Paul responding to questions about this matter from (blech!!) Cavuto.

on the one hand (4.00 / 1)
It saddens me that we have to expend effort pointing out Ron Paul's many egregious flaws.

On the other hand, perhaps we can succeed in discrediting libertarianism so all those "I'm not a conservative, I'm a libertarian" apologists won't have the "respectable" cover of an ideology with the root word "liberty" to make their abhorrent beliefs seem respectable.

It really is the sole virtue of libertarianism over conservativism.  You could call it "freedomism" or "goodism" and have the same effect.  The only one trumping it is "objectivism" which must the objective superior ideology, it is named after it!

The Jesse Ventura Effect (0.00 / 0)
Every so often people get so fed up with politicians that they signify it by picking an outsider to support. This has nothing to do with the person's actual positions, but from the perception that they are not corrupted by the "system".

It's a protest vote, but against business as usual, not the ruling party. I seem to remember when Mickey Mouse was a popular choice for a write in.

Ron Paul fits the bill this time. Some who give him money may like what he says, or they just focus on the few items like Iraq that appeal to them while ignoring the rest. We all know about the ability of followers to hear what they wish selectively.

Some may be giving him money just to see the GOP squirm. I was thinking of doing this just for the entertainment value. I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some Dem strategists pushing this to create discomfort in the GOP.

If we had a multi-party system, as in much of the rest of the world, Ron Paul would be the head of some fringe party and nobody would pay him much attention. If we had proportional voting his party might even get a seat or two in government. One only has to examine how much influence these fringe parties have to see that this doesn't work for them either.

A more interesting question is should Dems be supporting one of the viable GOP candidates? A rational thing to do would be to support the weakest among this group as the easiest to defeat in the general election. I claim that this is Rudy.

If the Dem strategists do this right he can be painted as the next Barry Goldwater. The campaign that he was nuts enough to use the bomb worked wonders in that election. I don't see why it wouldn't work against Rudy as well. He is actually more nuts than Goldwater was.

Policies not Politics

Rudy Guiliani is the most dangerous of the Republican candidates (4.00 / 1)
I hope you are right that Guiliani would be easy to defeat in the general elections. There's certainly a ton of negative ammo to use against him. But I think he is by far the most dangerous candidate in his approach to war, torture, constitution. A lot of other Republicans talk a terrible game but I worry that Guiliani really believes everything he says. I think he will lose but if something happens to increase the fear level even more in this country he just might win and it would horrific. So please do not do anything to support him. I would like to see anyone but Guiliani be nominated and I think they all are beatable.

[ Parent ]
Ron Paul is totally right-on about U.S. foreign policy (0.00 / 0)
I agree totally that Ron Paul would be very dangerous as an actual U.S. President.

However I wouldn't downplay that he makes fantastic sense talking about Iraq. I am a John Edwards supporter but I think Ron Paul is far better in talking about U.S. foreign policy. I haven't heard any Democrat talking about how blowback against U.S. foreign policy is responsible for all of the anti-American hostility in the Arab world, even correctly going back to the 1953 overthrow of Mosadeqh in Iran by the CIA as a major part of this history.

So I cheer on Ron Paul because he is doing more to educate the American people on our foreign policy than any presidential candidate. I would love to see him run as a 3rd-party candidate as well. I would only get worried if I thought he had a real chance to win. But he doesn't.

He Blames The UN & Wants To Get Us Out Of It (0.00 / 0)
It's somewhat incoherent, but he somehow blames the UN for our invasion of Iraq, even though the Security Council refused to endorse the invasion.  And he goes even further and says that the Iraq War is just one more reason that we have to get out of the UN.

Weakening the rule of international law puts him squarely on the side of Bush, as opposed to all the Democrats--some, certainly, much more solidly then others.

So much for being "totally right-on about U.S. foreign policy."

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]

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