Another Take On The Russell Kanning Situation

Frequent HoT junkie Seth Cohn just offered another view on the whole Russell Kanning deal that Ian already covered. From the Concord Monitor:

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!” according to the late Barry Goldwater. I’m sure Russell Kanning agrees with that sentiment, and because of that belief, he is sitting in a jail cell. He’s likely on a hunger strike by now, and protests calling for his release are already in the planning stages. I won’t be at any of those protests though, because as much as I like Russell as a person and fellow liberty activist, he’s in the wrong, this time, in my opinion.

Last week, Russell was arrested while attempting to pass out flyers to IRS agents, which compared Bush to Hitler and asking them if they wanted to be a part of that evil, or if, instead, they would quit their jobs. Released right away, he went back, this time without his flyers, and attempted again to enter the IRS office. Arrested yet again, he then publicly announced that he would not attend a court hearing the next day. On Monday, federal agents came to his home, where Russell was seized and taken forcibly to a Federal Court in Concord, to answer to an arraignment hearing. Russell made clear he would refuse to cooperate with the proceedings, he didn’t want a lawyer, and if allowed to leave, he would not voluntarily return to the court. As a result, the trial was held right then and there, and after being found guilty on 4 of 5 charges (essentially disobedience of the officers and disruptive conduct) he’s now being held in jail until his sentencing, in early September. The sentence could be as high as 4 months in jail and twenty thousand dollars.

Russell has a history of doing non-violent civil disobedience activism. He’s taken to dressing in overalls and bearing a pitchfork, evoking some archetypal farmer, yet formerly, he was an accountant, and among other things, now publishes a small newspaper. He holds protests and events without permits. He burns flags and hold up picket signs along the roadside. He refuses to argue before a judge or post bail, and pleads guilty when charged with a crime, rather than fight it, because he refuses to acknowledge the court’s right to try him in the first place. When he attempted to board an airplane, without any identification and without submitting to a secondary search by security, while carrying his Bible, Constitution and an airline ticket, he was arrested and pled guilty to trespassing. No one was hurt, and if he’d been allowed to pass, his flight would have been uneventful. When he and his wife were holding signs protesting eminent domain and President Bush, in Manchester on a public street corner, they refused to move to a ‘free speech zone’ and were arrested. Those charges were later dropped.

Russell wrote before going to the IRS offices: “I don’t plan on hurting people, but I am resisting them and might mess up the office. I don’t think it is infantile, but maybe I am wrong. I do call it tilting at windmills. I have chosen to begin with the IRS. Jesus Christ overturned the moneychangers tables. I will try to turn over the tax collectors desks. I might even use a big magnet (a weapon of mass destruction). I am trying to break laws and certainly disturb the peace.” This potential threat of violence is why the officers were waiting for him in the first place last week, and at the first sign of his intent to commit that act, they stepped in and arrested him.

I think Seth has a point here. There’s nothing wrong with civil disobedience, and there’s plenty wrong with the notion of “free speech zones.” But going so far as to threaten property damage? In the name of God? Maybe if Kanning was Jesus Christ Himself. But that’s pretty much against Christian Anarchism, in just about every meaningful sense of the term. And it’s certainly not libertarian.

Seth’s got the right idea here. We shouldn’t be apologists for this sort of thing; we should apologize for it instead, lest we be associated with mayhem, property damage and extremism.

  1. As far as I can tell, Russell was kidding about actually flipping over tables.

    Facts are facts. Russell Kanning went to deliver a flyer to IRS agents. He was arrested before even making it to the office.

    It’s a shame to see a libertarian defending the police state.

  2. Look, I’m just offering all sides here. I’m interested in hearing your take on FTL, though.

    I mean, damage to government property is still not cool. The rest… yeah he’s making a point but I don’t know if the point he’s making is really doing too much good. I wish him the best and all, I’m just wondering about the strategy.

  3. I can say personally there are listeners to my show that are empowered by Russell. His actions are encouraging more activists to come to NH, there’s no doubt about it.

    Seth is worried about FSP recruitment numbers, but really the FSP recruitment numbers can only go up. I’ll see to it personally.

  4. “He holds protests and events without permits.”

    Heaven forbid! Imagine, protesting something without the government you are protesting against giving you the permission to do so, even though the Constitution allegedly founding that government already protects the inherent human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly from interference by that government.

  5. Heaven forbid! Imagine, protesting something without the government you are protesting against giving you the permission to do so, even though the Constitution allegedly founding that government already protects the inherent human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly from interference by that government.

    I knew there’d be a comment along these lines; I found myself thinking something similar when I read it.

    Seth is worried about FSP recruitment numbers, but really the FSP recruitment numbers can only go up. I’ll see to it personally.

    The vibe I was getting more from this article wasn’t so much FSP recruitment but the FSP’s ability to positively influence the native population towards liberty. At least, that was my biggest concern when reading the article.

  6. The government doesn’t own desks. Taxpayers do. Trivial here because the guy had no opportunity to destroy anything. That we discuss it makes it worthwhile. I see the point in deciding that the issue is not a court’s decision- he only did that which is constitutionally protected.

  7. Ian claims that Russell was ‘joking’ and retracted his threats prior to the event. I’m still waiting for Ian to produce any evidence of that, as I’m unable to find any. Ian saw Russell’s remarks as jokes. Plenty of people, including FSPers as well as Homeland Security, saw it as serious.

    In a private email exchange, someone raised the question of the validity ‘defensive violence’. His point being that the IRS somehow deserved Russell’s actions. In the exchange, I ended up finding Rothbard’s comments about just such a situation:

    As for his constitutionally protected rights: he would have been fine and within those if he’d non-violently handed out flyers outside. When he attempted to enter the building past security that was specifically sent there because he made threats of violence publically, who told him that they were there for that reason, he crossed the line away from his protected rights.

  8. By the way, I’m not deriding his holding events without permits, or burning flags (UN or otherwise, as someone complained that I hadn’t specified they were UN flags), or other non-violent actions. More power to him for those.
    That part was background in the article…

    The point is that Russell’s violence, real or threatened, crossed the thin line. It wasn’t ZAP, so ZAPpers should be upset. It wasn’t non-violent, so peaceniks should be upset. He’s not a libertarian, yet his press (Ian and Dave) is claiming he is, so (L)libertarians (here and elsewhere) should be (and here were) upset.

  9. Russell did a good thing. He’s in jail. Now is not the time to be picking apart the details of what he did. Support him. He’s on our side. He has slightly different moral convictions, that’s all. He deserves our support, and ten times that.

  10. Matt, if now is not the time, then when is? If his actions are ok, should we support you when you decide to attack an IRS agent who knocks at your door, or if Stephen decides blowing up an IRS building is ‘ok, this one time’?

    Russell was NOT arrested for his flyers. (They dropped that charge right away, as he never did pass out a flyer) He was NOT arrested for his non-violent stand against Bush or the IRS. He was arrested because he publically and openly told people he was going to destroy property, and when he openly and directly attempted to move past security officers stationed to prevent that from happening, he was arrested. He then went back _again_, with NO flyers, and was stopped again for entering the building.

    If he had not threatened to commit violence, it’s unlikely that he’d have been arrested, or if so, it would have been after his passing out flyers “without a permit”, and YES, I would be supporting him against that charge…. But that’s not what happened.

  11. Interesting smear job. I do have to wonder if Seth hasn’t been in touch with DHS, tho and whether it was prior to or after the initial arrest. Seth’s piece contains quite a bit of room for being a good “citizen” and supporter of the state. An interesting situation all around.

  12. I don’t buy it. I read the reports and Kanning definetly appeared to be joking. I think someone is trying to get publicity for themself by taking the contrarian view. Kanning clearly did not do anything violent.

  13. Russell made public statements that said he was going to damage property. Claims that he was only joking might have been a useful defense to raise in court, but my understanding that he didn’t bother defending himself in court leads me to believe that he’s not denying the content of those previous statements.

    Ian: You’re asking us to believe that simple, plain English, statements did not mean what they mean at face value, but are actually jokes. It’s a stretch for me, and I’m sympathetic. It’s a farther stretch for people who are employed to ensure the security of Federal offices. More simply, if you were a DHS agent, you wouldn’t see it as a joke.

    Michelle: Actually, the desks are government property. They were purchased with taxpayer-provided funds, but they are not the divisible or indivisible property of individual taxpayers. I don’t have the cite handy, but this is settled law.

    Matt: He’s on our side, but he crossed a line. It’s not, “our Russell, right or wrong.”

  14. Mr. Kanning is clearly in violation of the New Bill of Rights:

    Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech within free speech zones, or of the press to report government issued statements, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble with a valid permit, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances in a manner prescribed by law.

    In addition, he threatened to use his “big magnet”, which constitutes terrorism as defined by using violent means to achieve political goals by a non-state entity.

    There is no question this dangerous man intends to destroy the American way of life and is probably in cahoots with Osama and receiveing Iranian funding.

    Send this evil-doer a cake or even a card telling him you are wise to his plot to destroy the beloved IRS.

    I understand he gets mail here:

    Russell Kanning c/o
    Strafford County House of Corrections

  15. MRJarrell: nope, I’m not siding with the DHS, nor a supporter of them. I’m against the IRS, Homeland Security, and likely on plenty of ‘lists’. Russell crossed a line, and despite his only crossing a ‘little bit’, none the less he did cross it.

    Recanting or “I’m only kidding” isn’t likely to convince those whose job (like it or not) is to respond to such threats. What if they _hadn’t_ responded, and Russell had overturned a desk, (or used a magnet, etc)? Then people would be saying “But he told he was going to… why didn’t you do something?”

    They responded with _minimal_ force. He was arrested, quickly booked and released. Arrested again (the same day, about an hour later (or less?), and released _again_, on his own recog… his failure to show up, and then admitted unwillingness to return voluntarily for trial or sentence is the only reason he is in jail today. In other words: his choice, since he left little choice to anyone else how to respond.

  16. BTW, at the Merrimack Valley Porcupine meeting today (50+ people there, including George Phillies, already out campaigning for President), there was a card passed around to be sent to him. (Hallmark doesn’t appear to have a ‘sorry you’re in jail’ card, but it was a good one anyway…)
    I did sign it, “We might disagree, but come home safe” I like Russell, but that doesn’t mean I have to ignore the facts, or excuse them. It also means I worry about his fasting for 30 days, and the effect on his wife and friends….

  17. If the man has a conviction and willingness to express it, let him.

    He is raising awareness and discussion at the very least, here.

    Even if he tossed a table, would it compare to the distruction already wrought in our names over there ?
    Nobody died. I can here the practicality shouts now.

    I had a brief moment with him up at Porcfest and he’s definately not a ‘party’ guy. In some regards he disavowed the FSP. But FSP invited him as part of a broadbased coalition of ‘Liberty’ activists. There should be room for anarchists and their simple shenanigans. Think of what they were doing in protest 100 years ago.

    His friend (wife perhaps ?) spent numerous weeks/days in solitary for her protests. I have a feeling Mr. Kanning can sit it out while they decide how to handle him.

  18. I do not even believe I am reading this on HoT. There are all kinds of complex questions with complex arguments leading to complex answers … AND THIS ISN’T ONE OF THEM.

    Russell Kanning is taking on evil and the state in defense of good and freedom. You either support that or you don’t. Every other consideration is quibbledick bullshit.

  19. So, you pick up a shotgun and attacked your local IRS office, I should rally and support you, because they are evil, and you are thus doing good?

  20. Seth,

    1) I didn’t say that you “should” or “should not” support anything.

    2) When I referred to “every other consideration,” I was referring to every other consideration specific to this event, which did not involve Kanning “picking up a shotgun and attacking” anyone or anything. If you want to consider other situations, that’s fine, but I was referring to this situation.

    Kanning harmed no one, threatened no one, and trespassed nowhere. There was no justification for his arrest, no justification for the laying of any charges, and no legitimate authority on the part of any court to compel him to attendance of any hearing. Kanning is good, the IRS is evil. Kanning conducted himself properly, the “authorities” conducted themselves improperly.

    Those are the facts, and any disputation of them is, as I said, quibbledick bullshit. Support good, support evil, or support neither, but don’t try to support evil and pretend to be supporting good. It’s unseemly.

  21. Thomas, you are incorrect here. The posts where Russell threatened property damage are linked in the article. Other FSPers took them as potential threats, and we’re his friends, so imagine how the authorities took it. He trepassed when he was asked by security to not to attempt go upstairs. He attempted to do so, and was promptly arrested. Without his flyers, he attempted _again_ to do so, and was arrested a second time, so what was he doing there? Not pamphleting, clearly.

    If you think that the court lacks the authority to compel attendence at an arraignment hearing, I wonder how bench warrants you might have outstanding… because that’s the usual result.

    Kanning is a nice man… but he’s crossed the line, away from non-violence, when he makes threats, and his apologists are wrong this time, even you.

  22. Seth,

    It is impossible to “trespass” on one’s own property, or to meaningfully “threaten” to damage it. I do not recall any legislation excluding Mr. Kanning from the definition of “the public,” i.e. the owners or lessors of any property upon which the IRS might be operating.

    Insofar as authority is concerned, you left out a qualifying word — “legitimate.”

  23. Tom,
    Respectfully, throwing scare quotes around all the words that lead a reasonable observer to see Russell threatening to bust up property and engage in disorderly conduct inside an IRS office is the quibbledick bullshit. I’m unconvinced that when the office is a government one that all the words stop meaning what they normally mean, theirs becomes his, and threats become nonviolent.

    See also the arguments by radical right-to-lifers to justify the murder of abortion providers. It doesn’t stop being murder just because one throws up some scare quotes and claims that the existing law is legitimate.

  24. Nicholas-thanks for pointing out the settled law part of property. You certainly should know more about that than me. Perhaps you can address the “threat” issue. My ex was violent. When he threatened me, the police could do nothing. They could do nothing until he harmed me physically. When he finally acted on his threats, caused bodily harm to me and property damage, he went to jail for > 30 days. Why two sets of rules? Or are there two sets?

  25. Here’s an interesting quote regarding the notion that anyone should be able to do what they want on “public” property:

    There is no such thing as “symbolic speech”. You do not have the right to parade through the public streets or to obstruct public thoroughfares. You have the right of assembly, yes, on your own property, and on the property of your adherents or your friends. But nobody has the “right” to clog the streets. The hippies, in the ’60’s, should have been forbidden to lie down on city pavements. (The used to lie down across a street and cause dreadful traffic snarls, in order to display their views, to attract attention, to register a protest.) If they were permitted to do it, the Nazis should be permitted as well. Properly, both should have been forbidden. They may speak, yes. They may not take action at whim on public property.

    The source? Ayn Rand, 1978.

  26. Perhaps you can address the “threat” issue. My ex was violent. When he threatened me, the police could do nothing. They could do nothing until he harmed me physically. When he finally acted on his threats, caused bodily harm to me and property damage, he went to jail for > 30 days. Why two sets of rules? Or are there two sets?

    First, threats, assault, and battery are typically covered under state criminal law. Depending on the state, threats to commit violence that are not imminent and credible may or may not be illegal. If one attempts to commit the violence, it becomes an assault. If the violence is carried out, it becomes a battery.

    So it’s not that there are two sets of rules, but probably that your state did not criminalize threatening communication, but did criminalize assault and battery.

    Again, IANAL and it’s been a while since I took Crim Law, so I might be fuzzy on the details.

  27. Which is the greater threat?
    The threat of Russell tipping over an IRS desk.
    The threat of Russell being shot for tipping over an IRS desk.

    We know the answer, so did the LEO’s on duty. So did the judge when he held the trial immediately. I’m certainly not proposing and argument of ‘relativism’, but that Russell is in the right to put himself in the line of fire, of the LEO, the Judge, and the Media, if he so chooses.

    It was force to walk past the guards. But who was the victim? If he flipped the tables, would it have been the Americans whose paperwork was just shuffled? The IRS agents who would have had to sort their desks back in order? Or merely the broken peace inside that office –that these sorts of things can actually happen: strangers barging into their lives, asking questions, and passing judgement and sentences upon them, disrupting their lives, with the ultimate possibility of gunfire? Sounds like tax collection to me.

  28. People — you either live by the NIFP or you don’t. Now, I’m not an advocate of it. I disagree with it on its face.

    But apparantly Mr. Kanning — and certainly Mr. Bernard — *ARE* advocates of it. And at the end of the day; this was a violation of that principle.

    You’ll hear a lot of people obfuscating this issue by attempting to relegate the public property portion of the argument to make it a non-violence… and also the fact that since he was stopped *IN THE PROCESS* rather than *AFTER THE FACT* … that means he wasn’t ever going to try.

    Both of which are pure bullshit. Regardless of wether we recognize the agency or individual as legitimate, it is not THEIR actions that must be governed by principle, but *OURS*. This was unprincipled on its face.


  29. Ever heard of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons?

    Mr. Knapp would say, “Russell Kanning is taking on evil and the state in defense of good and freedom. You either support that or you don’t. Every other consideration is quibbledick bullshit.”

    There is one consideration that is higher; was it done *THE RIGHT WAY*? There is a reason vigilantism is in and of itself criminal, above and beyond the authority of the police; lynch mobs are an abrogation of justice. Pick-pockets being shot dead on the streets is not justice.

    So doing something that is ‘good’ but in the wrong way — the wrong thing, for the right reasons — is almost worse than any other option.

    Because if *THIS* is fine… what else is? If we get to decide, now, which agencies *THAT EXIST TODAY* are legitimate and which not, where does that end?

    No — we can work to *ABOLISH* the IRS; but to state that because we dislike it… it isn’t real?

    That’s a line which to cross is to become the evil we fight.

  30. He did nothing unprincipled. He make a crack about turning over tables. Surely you aren’t against free speech too?

    You probably support federal “conspiracy to commit” charges too. I hope you never get charged with one.

  31. So — to summarize:

    If we are to *EVER* have any claim to righteousness, principle, or ‘the higher moral ground’ we MUST — and I do mean *MUST* — recognize that even those organizations we detest, despise, and loathe have the same, equal protections under our ideals, that we ourselves possess.

    The trick, then, is to find legitimate ways to abolish those evils. That, and *ONLY* that, is the principled way.

    We live, today, under this authority. These laws exist. We disagree with the laws, but we want them changed. Does that mean we get to pretend they don’t apply to us?

    Only if we are fools. We must work to change the laws, yes. We must *protest* the laws. YES. But to pretend they do not apply to us… is perhaps in its own way an evil almost as great as the fascism we all here fight and many would perhaps die to undo.

  32. Ian B; Show me where, before attempting the act, he stated it was a joke. Cite me the quotation and provide a link to the relevant information, or if in paper format provide a link to the scanned document.

    Without that, you need to give up this claim that it was mere humor. All evidence but your hearsay states it was not.

    As it stands, what Mr. Kanning did — specifically in attempting to deny the existance and authority of the state of New Hampshire — was specifically unprincipled, for every reason I stated above.

    They are things to be fought, and changed… but they exist now. Evil, yes. But we don’t get to decide which agencies that *EXIST NOW* apply to us. We can only work to change which ones will *CONTINUE TO EXIST.*

    Anything else is unprincipled on its face.

    Ain’t absolutism grand?

  33. And to answer your statement about conspiracy charges…

    Yes, I support them. If you and two buddies planned together to kill the Speaker of the House, then guess what? That’s criminal — if it is a plan you were taking seriously.

    Can we make changes to make this otherwise? Perhaps. But those who helped commit a crime ought to be at least partly responsible for it. Responsibility is the hallmark of liberty, Mr. Bernard. *s*

    We can fight to CHANGE how *THINGS ARE.* But only if we take the responsibility on ourselves of accepting the EVILS THAT NOW EXIST. Without that, we are simply blowhards shouting at the clouds.

  34. Sorry, IanC. My interpretation of what he said was that it was humor. You’ve already read the quotes.

    In regards to the “authority of the State of NH”:

    If Russell denies that the state exists, he is correct. You have been fooled into believing a big lie, IanC. The “state” is nothing more than a group of strangers playing pretend. They don’t have “authority” over anyone, because no one I know consented to give it to them. They are just a group of men and women doing “business” at the point of a gun, and they need to be oppposed and stopped, as any group of violent thugs should be.

  35. Ian B — would you kindly try actually reading and understanding something rather than reiterating tired, failed, rhetoric? I’m sorry, but your position is simply flawed beyond redemption so far as I an concerned. While your heart is in the right place, more or less, your execution leaves a vastly great deal to be desired.

    This, I have documented repeatedly. Once again as example of this I use your incapability to refute the dilemma presented by the “Company Town” in the light of your pet idyl. When you come up with a better solution that’ll guarantee more freedoms, then I will gladly sit at your knee and heed your wisdom. Ain’t happenin’ now though.

    Furthermore… despite the fact that the agency is evil, it does in fact exist *NOW.*

    To attempt to deny its existance — legitimate or not — is to live in a fairyland. Sticking your head in a hole and wishing fascism away is just plain silly.

    Personal responsibility, Mr. Bernard. Look into it.

  36. I love how you talk down to me, as though I know nothing about personal responsibility. I don’t think you know me too well.

    In regards to your company town scenario, I won’t be living there, so I really don’t give a flip about it.

    About the “agency”: it does not exist. Delusional men with guns do. They are the ones in fairyland.

    Finally, if you think I’m sticking my head in a hole, you should probably take note that I am moving to NH this year to actively fight for Liberty with the other non-violent revolutionaries. In addition, I host what may be the most pro-Liberty radio show in the world. I wouldn’t call that “sticking my head in a hole”.

    We all know damn well what personal responsibility is, thank you very much.

  37. Ian, I’ve emailed you my second request for the source of your claim that Russell either was joking or recinded his threats. No answer to the first request, despite your insistence on your radio show on 8-03 of the above when I called in.

    Put up or shut up with the claim that they were jokes. Fellow FSPers read them as sounding like threats of violence, and the authorities certainly did, which is why they were there in the first place… Your credibility is on the line here…

    And I’ve already moved to NH, been here almost 2 years, and have supported a variety of liberty causes (including this website’s growth) for at least as long as you have… So note that, cause IanC is right about you.

  38. I think I just wrote that it was my interpretation of what he said. I’ll not reiterate.

    When you say fellow FSPers, you mean you and a handful of others, right? There were a good dozen people at the inital “Free Russell Kanning” protest, and things will only build from there. If Russell cared what some FSPers thought about his actions, he’d likely be paralyzed with fear. Luckily, your opinions aren’t stopping him.

    What exactly is IanC right about? Suggesting I don’t know anything about personal responsibility? That I have my head in a hole?

  39. Ian:

    You insisted that it was a joke and ALSO that prior to the incident he’d backed off, and when I ask you repeatedly for proof, since that is the crux, you’ve failed to provide it.

    Fellow FSPers including people as diverse as Board members and also some who hang out on NHfree. In private emails, I’ve had a number of people who agreed privately who do not wish to get attacked by you, Kat, or others, which is what you’ve done to those who did publically speak up. In other words, it’s NOT a minority opinion, and when people who otherwise supported Russell have found out the facts, some have come to realize that he did cross a line. Not just a handful, ok?

    As for what IanC wrote, your heart is in the right place, but your execution leaves a great deal to be desired. In my numerous dealings with you so far, I can’t say much has changed to sway that opinion much. IanC’s take on you is more accurate than you can see, sadly. Perhaps you can take a better look in the mirror.

  40. As you might imagine, I’d say the same thing about you.

    I’m not trying to convert you, Seth, so I’m not going to run around chasing after evidence in some attempt to satisfy you. Bemoan Russell’s actions all you want. All you’re doing is drawing more attention to it.

    Also, when have I attacked anyone? All I do is promote pro-freedom activity in NH.

  41. It’s okay to be frustrated, Seth. I can imagine what it must be like to have all the pro-freedom media in NH taking Russell’s side:

    Free Talk Live
    Gardner Goldsmith’s Against The Grain
    Keene Free Press
    Roger Grant’s Political Graffiti

    Despite your vehement opposition to Russell’s recent action, I’ll continue to support and promote pro-Liberty efforts in NH, many of which we’ll probably agree on.

  42. Ian, you really need to check your facts:

    Keene Free Press: Oh yeah, _Russell’s_ own paper… no surprise there. Biased source.

    You _are_ Free Talk Live, so let’s discount that as biased.

    Roger’s one of the NHFree people, so let’s discount that:
    he took the video of the event and he’s biased, part of your group.

    So who do we have left… Just one.

    Gardner’s not taking Russell’s side, since I last talked to him… in fact, he _loved_ my blog post, since he read the first draft and made suggestions on it.

    So tell me again, WHO is supporting Russell, besides his inner circle of cohorts?

    The more you protest, the worse you dig that hole, Ian.

    As for ‘chasing evidence’, there is NO evidence. You, on your national radio show, pulled the same sort of shit as Limbaugh or Franken and other hot airs: you made it up and claimed it as fact.

  43. Nah, I honestly remember seeing something about a retraction. I’m just not going to spend the time looking for the evidence, because it’s totally immaterial.

    Fact is, he never did any damage. If he did, you’d actually have a case.

  44. Ian, when you make an assertion (such as that Kanning’s comments were a joke), you’re required to back up that assertion with some sort of proof. Failure to do so requires you to retract that assertion in a debate of logic.

    You’re fumbling here and it’s a shame because you’re usually pretty solid on the issues, even where we disagree.

  45. IanB: He never reached a point where he could do damage. I already debunked the statement that “since he never managed it, it doesn’t count.” He was caught *IN THE EXECUTION* of the act.

    Sidestepping the issue with “it was my impression” is spin-doctoring at its finest. You just got called on it.

    Your idyl world is the “Free Market” in a zero-state environment. That *IS* the ‘company town’ scenario. You advocate it. Without resolving the dilemma, what you advocate is nothing more than a pipe-dream, to be discounted like all others.

    And finally, IanB, without recognizing the penalties for carrying out these necessary acts for freedom, what you advocate is freedom without responsibility. *JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU GET TO IGNORE IT.* We agree, these agencies are evil. But without facing the punishments like men, we are nothing more than children throwing tantrums.

    You know nothing of responsibility.

    And this conversation is over; you are wrong. Learn.

  46. Thanks for your opinion.

    It’s my opinion that Russell was caught in the execution of *walking to the IRS office*.

    As much as Seth and I might disagree over tactics, at least he doesn’t talk down to me. If you want someone to “learn”, try a little tact.

  47. IanB; I apologize for addressing you in the manner you address myself and the few others I have heard/witnessed you address when you disagree with them. Your opinion on this subject will have weight once you document it in any meaningful way. (Rhetoric supporting an idea does not document that idea.)

    However — you have a lot to learn, man. You really, truly, do.

    It should be meaningful to you that almost every single time you are left avoiding the facts, where I am concerned. Heed them. Learn.

  48. In case you haven’t figured it out, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think my opinions have weight. I don’t care if you “learn” or not. I’m not here to convert you. Who are you, anyway? At this point, I’m just replying to see how many more times will you demand I “learn”.

    The readers are likely very entertained. You probably have your backers, and I mine.

    Why don’t you call me on the carpet about your little company town scenario? We take calls six nights per week. Hope to hear from you! Then you can school my whole audience instead of just the readers of this blog. Maybe we’ll all learn something from you.

  49. Figured I’d actually answer this challenge…

    1) I don’t tend to walk into baited situations.

    2) I generally don’t do well in live audio. Speech impediments (mild neural disorder.)

    3) I’m not on east-coast-time; between work and other obligations I’m generally away from home & unable to place calls during your airtimes.

    Take your pick of the three. Each is valid.

  50. One’s property is an extension of himself. Violence against another’s property is violence against that person.

    Russell’s actions were not violent, but his words were (and still are), and that is NOT nonviolent, it is only pure noncooperation. Gandhi had much to say about this:

    Jesus most likely only overturned tables (in His house) because He is the Lord, and vengeance is His, not ours. Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other founders of nonviolent methods of change have never promoted destruction of property. In fact, all of them chose suffering and death before so base an action as destruction of property.

    Sticking up for Russell’s actions are one thing, but his words are another thing entirely. I ask everyone here to do one thing: look past your emotional feelings about his actions and realize that violent words are unacceptable.

  51. I over and over read about the threat to turn over desks.

    The supervising officer that made the arrest, Russell himself, and the court he was tried in never brought up the threat of physical damage.

    I have read threats of violent revolution (under certain conditions) from folks running for office, should they be hung out to dry?

    I hear all sorts of nonsense about nonfacts.

  52. Roger, Denis’s eyewitness account says otherwise.

    “The officers stated that they do monitor, and that they were prepared & had extra officers present on that day because they had read that there would be a disruption. They had copies of the letter that they’d downloaded, and also some pictures.”

    Which letter? Is that the one Russell that wrote talking about ‘turn over the tax collectors desks’ perhaps? Or one of the other posts in a similar tone (linked in my blog post)

    First Ian claims it was just a joke, now you are claiming that it was never a factor… the facts speak for themselves. Russell himself says he still might plan on doing it ‘sometime.’

    Kudos to Mike Fisher for his above post… Perhaps Russell will listen to him.

  53. I can’t speak to the disruption comment they refered to in court. The reference by the officer was that to ask the IRS folks to quit their job would be interfering with a government employee (or something like that).

    Russell publicly stated that he only intended to attempt to hand out the flyers that day. I made a point of saying I would not engage in any criminal acts. I said I would only document his effort.

    The officer talked (on tape) with Russell and he completely announced his intentions.

    As to the photographs they had I am told they were of the small demonstration at the Federal Court intended for the Brown Tax Hearing. The photos that I took. A completely unrelated event. And by the way the only violent threats I am aware of came from a Federal Security Employee that threatened to “punch my lights out” for taping him.

  54. Roger, Russell publically stated a lot of things, and if he later back pedaled (a claim I have found no evidence for, but let’s accept it for the moment) after saying the table-turning bit (which he did), and said he was _now_ only going to hand out flyers, the damage was already done, the alert was already out there, because of his threaten potential for action.

    You said you were only going to tape the event, and your documentary efforts are not in question. And please note I am not saying Russell did anything more than attempt to push his way past the officers to enter the place he was told he could not. Does that jibe with your tape?
    Do you have footage of them telling him that he was not allowed to enter? That he could remain unmolested outside and hand out flyers all he wanted?

    The photos and rude behavior of some Feds is beyond the scope here… I’m not arguing those points.

  55. If you had been able to follow the threads, the discussion had gone well away from the “turning over the tables”. Ya’ll get so damn worked up over things you start to only hear what you already believe.

    The problem is that people view things through the lens of their on beliefs.

    Russell wanted to be arrested or he wanted to hand the flyer to an IRS employee. Either way he saw it as advancing his goal.

    You guys got all worked up over his initial statement. He is trying to stir things up. Ya’ll pushed Russell and people like him away and then think that they should listen to your input.

    I see the divide that has been created and a large portion of it is at the hands of the debate-atarians. Got to lead from the front, standing around and debating ain’t doing a damn thing but wearing folks out.

    On a lighter note an image for ya’lls amusement.

  56. Roger, we’ll agree to disagree. Russell, Kat and others in that group pushed the political types away just as much. If you are so nearsighted that you can’t see that the “discussion moving away” doesn’t mean a thing once it’s out there, and Russell’s own comments about show that he hasn’t ‘moved away’ from it either.

    I don’t just “debate”… I’m active behind the scenes, and occasionally in public. But of course, your lens says something different to you. Pot. Kettle. Black.