Since the 2008 financial crisis, the "sovereign citizen" movement/conspiracy theory (previously) has grown by leaps and bounds, thanks to a combination of the rise of antisemitism (long a dogwhistle in the movement, now out in the open), an increase in financial desperation and a sense of betrayal, and the movement's ability to realize real cash for its members, who have systematically defrauded the underfunded and resource-strapped IRS of move than $1B.
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WKYC Channel 3 in Canton, Ohio, posted footage of police smashing a car window, dragging out the driver and setting a dog on him after he very politely refused to answer questions. The driver, Ronald D. Wagner II, appears to be a "sovereign citizen" type who refuses to screw the number plate on their car for arcane constitutional reasons. Their excuse? The car's registered owner had a concealed carry permit, so they were frightened for their lives: "Stop fighting the dog"
Listen to his screams and ask yourself if America is great again. Read the rest
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This appears to be surveilling AI chatboxes set up to debate the fine points of constitutional law. It's presumably based on a transcript of an interaction between a sovereign citizen and a cop, but I'm not sure which one as all such interactions are nearly identical (sovcit patter is extremely rigid, and the cops adopt the firm-but-polite bemusement reserved for angry white people).
In other surveilling AI chatbox news, Google admitted yesterday that their newest surveilling AI chatboxes, including those sent to journalists to review, have a "bug" whereby they record audio 24/7. Read the rest
Stories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating "terrorist" with "jihadi suicide bomber" -- but the real domestic terror threat is white people
, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate
) cops and blow up buildings. That's what makes Brian Wood's first Briggs Land collection so timely
: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic.
A 2014 survey of 175 US law enforcement agencies found that they ranked "sovereign citizens" as the top domestic terror threat, and with good reason: members of the heavily armed, white-supremacist-adjacent movement regularly kill cops during routine traffic stops and other interactions. Read the rest
This patient police officer does not take much stock in the legitimacy of the sovereign citizen movement.
Cop: "You're under arrest."
Sovereign citizen: "NO I'M NOT!"
From Wikipedia: "The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American and Canadian litigants, commentators, tax protesters, and financial-scheme promoters. Self-described sovereign citizens take the position that they are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and are not subject to any government statutes or proceedings." Read the rest
Seems the "patriots" in Oregon, who have occupied a wild life sanctuary, are fixing to start trying local officials for undisclosed, but "substantial" crimes. They have brought in a phony judge and are raring to go!
TPM shares the story:
After 11 days of occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, a group of U.S. militiamen have brought in some "Constitutional" back up to help hold local officials accountable.
According to the Oregonian, self-proclaimed U.S. Superior Court Judge Bruce Doucette (not a real judge) arrived in Harney County Tuesday and is readying militiamen for a big old trial.
Doucette, who is reportedly associated with the sovereign citizen movement, met with individuals at the wildlife refuge Tuesday and said he believed there was substantial evidence against local officials to take action.
...and yes, they have committed treason. Read the rest
Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century
is a bestselling economics tome whose combination of deep, careful presentation of centuries' worth of data, along with an equally careful analysis of where capitalism is headed has ignited a global conversation about inequality, tax, and policy. Cory Doctorow
summarizes the conversation without making you read 696 pages (though you should).
OK, I just spent about three hours cleaning up the Wikipedia article on David Wynn Miller, the anti-government activist whose Time Cube-like views on grammar may have caught the fancy of Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner (see previous Boing Boing pieces on Loughner's social media presence by Sean and produced videos by Xeni). Miller travels the country advising people in the Sovereign Citizen anti-tax movement that they can fight in court by using a special grammar he created in 1988. It basically comes down to a belief that how one renders one's name with punctuation and how one uses grammar can alter one's legal status as a person. In other words, DAVID WYNN MILLER (as on his birth certificate) can be taxed, but :David-Wynn: Miller cannot, because that is not legally a person. In addition to unsuccessfully assisting people accused of tax evasion, Miller has also unsuccessfully assisted people convicted of abusing children, including a woman in Hawaii who broke the teeth out of her nieces' and nephews' mouths with a hammer. She claimed her conviction was invalid because her sovereignty group, Hawaiian Kingdom Government, said she did nothing wrong. Miller was spokesperson for the group and has claimed he is King of Hawaii. Miller says people don't need to pay taxes if they can "prove that money is a verb," and he offers seminars around the country on how to use his language to defend against criminal charges. Regardless of any connection with Loughner, these anti-government grammar people are, just... Read the rest