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Thoughts on de facto liberty

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Clayton Posted: Sun, Jul 1 2012 3:55 AM

I have been watching some videos of these common law tax-resistance guys. I think what they're doing is very dangerous but has the potential to be ground-breaking. What I think they really need is some more rigorous scholarship to put their efforts on a more solid foundation. I think there are some pervasive misunderstandings in the movement about why some of the common-law methods of resisting standard tag & bag legal processes (such as traffic fines, certain kinds of small tax obligations, etc.) succeed.

When I had just graduated college, I had to take a job framing houses for a few months while I was searching for a job in my field. One house I helped frame was being built by a wealthy BMW dealer in town. It was a fabulous house. Anyway, the guy I was working for had an old injury from his days in the Forest Service and had a bit of a limp. When the dealer stopped by to take a look at how things were going, he asked my boss how he had the limp and he explained it was the old Forest Service injury. To this, the dealer replied, "Oh, wow. Well, you oughtta sue and get compensation, this happened while you were working for the government." My boss said, "Yeah, but it's been so many years now, there's probably nothing I can do" and the dealer replied, "Doesn't matter. See, this is how it works. If you sue the government, you will win. But it's a waiting game. It takes years for the courts to move. But if you have the capital to wait them out, no matter what, you will win. So what you do is go down to San Francisco and find the tallest building, go to the highest floor and find the law firm there and you tell them your story. They'll handle the rest. Unlike the small guys, they have the capital to wait the government out and - sooner or later - they will get your settlement and collect their commission."

I was actually pretty shocked - at 25 years old I had never heard anyone talk that frankly about the way the world really works. But when I thought about it, I realized he was probably right. What do the government's defense lawyers care whether this case is won or lost? What does the respective bureaucracy that handles paying punitive damages care whether they will be writing another $5m check or not? The logic of public choice theory is a two-edge sword. It's the same reason that Goldman Sachs can plunder the public treasury to the tune of dozens of billions of dollars.

And this is the real reason why the "sovereignty" movement has some degree of success - they're not worth the hassle! The prosecutor (actually, the junior member of the deputy prosecutor's staff who will be handling your case) doesn't want headaches. He wants convictions. And he has a fairly rote bag of tricks that works about 90% of the time. It's that 90% that he really cares about. If the conviction rate were to significantly deviate from 90%, the prosecutor's office would start to get upset and want to know what is going on. But isolated headaches are just as easily swept under the rug and forgotten about.

What is de facto liberty? I don't think that Bill Gates worries much about liberty because he's in no meaningful danger of being deprived of it. Why not? Because he's very wealthy. He has residences anywhere in the world he chooses to have them. He has private jets that can take him between a half-dozen different jurisdictions in a single day, if he so chooses. And he can afford a phalanx of the best lawyers to work for him 24/7, across multiple jurisdictions. No single, civil authority can pin him down. The folks over at Casey Research, Sovereign Man etc. recommend similar strategies for the common man.

But I think that what the "freeman" movement is asking is why do we have to fly around and jet-set in order to just say "Hey, this is my stuff, you can't take it, even if you're the government"? It's actually very reasonable. But to pursue this strategy, it's not enough to simply declare that you will not pay taxes or DMV fees and fines. Such bone-headed declarations are happily met with billy clubs, jail cells and bogus charges. What is needed is a more cunning approach of calculating how to make yourself not worth their while. And that's effectively what some of these guys are doing, however dimly they are aware of why they are succeeding.

You have to calculate the odds. Does the government have evidence against you (paystubs, other paper trails)? Can they put the hurt on you (seizing bank accounts, garnishing paychecks, interfering with your employment, etc.)? Have you made inculpating statements or given evidence against yourself? If things are aligned in such a way that the government doesn't really have a lot of leverage against you, then you may be in a position to directly challenge their legal BS.

The root of the matter is the conflict-of-interest between the government's courts hearing charges brought by the government's revenuers, the government's DMV, the government's traffic police, etc. The courts will never, under any circumstances, discuss this topic, not even to establish its legitimacy from statutes, case law or on any other basis. It's the 10-foot elephant in the room that they will ignore even if it is trampling over them.

Anyway, what the more successful guys are doing is essentially playing a game of chicken with the court and the State: let's talk about the conflict-of-interest or else we can drop the matter and I walk out. The specific way in which you have to go about this probably varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may not work in some jurisdictions if the courts are unapologetically totalitarian. I will very cautiously mention Dean Clifford's name as from the two videos I've watched, he seems to have his wits about him. His basic idea is to nip the matter in the bud - avoid going to court at all until you are arrested and physically brought there. Then, you file suit against the State for damages from having been unlawfully detained while filing a motion to dismiss whatever bullshit charges the State arrested you on. The motion to dismiss is basically predicated on presenting preliminary evidence that you have nothing to do with the government. You're not an employee, have no contract with them and they're not claiming civil damages of any kind, so there's simply no matter to be tried in the first place.

If you frame this properly - Clifford claims - the State will play right into your hands by failing to rebut the evidence you give in the motion to dismiss. Basically, the State is giving the court no reason not to dismiss. The key to Clifford's strategy is to frame the issue in such a way that the State would be lured into a debate over the sacrosanct conflict-of-interest. Because the State has bigger things to think about than frying you, they'll probably just drop the matter if it's small rather than have to take the gloves off (remember, under no circumstances will they ever, ever talk about the conflict-of-interest).

I don't think this "game of chicken" will work for felonious matters, such as large cap tax-evasion or whatever. Just because the county circuit court doesn't know what to do with your game of chicken doesn't mean there aren't bigger sharks out there that will simply chew you up and spit you out without apology. Why do you think they send these "terrorists" to certain, specific US district courts, such as the Sourthern New York or Eastern Virginia districts? The courts have all kinds of dirty tricks when they want to convict innocent people... they can let their thugs beat you literally to pulp, they can declare you insane and have you involuntarily committed, they can accuse you of contempt or disorderly conduct and muzzle you, and so on. There are just so many options and so few victims.

I don't really have a conclusion, just some recent thoughts I wanted to share.

Clayton -
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Clayton replied on Sun, Jul 1 2012 10:05 PM

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AJ replied on Wed, Jul 4 2012 2:11 PM

Clifford's body language is also fascinating.

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