Saturday, October 6, 2007

Not Free -- At Last!

I always know when something's up with those zany tax protestors, because the hits on my income tax pages start climbing. Yesterday, I had almost 2800 page loads from nearly 1600 different visitors -- a new record.

What's up? The nation's hottest protestors, Ed and Elaine Brown (or, as she likes to call herself, "Elaine Alice: family Brown") were finally taken into custody by U.S. Marshals after evading arrest for nearly a year.

Their strange saga began in January, when they were convicted in federal court of conspiring to avoid paying taxes on nearly $2 million in income between 1996 and 2003. Dissatisifed with the court's failure to accept their arguments that there is no law requiring them to pay income tax, the Browns stopped attending the trial about halfway through. In April, they were sentenced, in absentia, to 63 months in prison.

But the Browns had a strategy for avoiding the judgment: they holed themselves up in their "fortress-like" home with plenty of food, water, and ammunition, and threatened a fiery, Waco-like finish if they feds came after them: ''We either walk out of here free or we die,'' Ed Brown said. A series of colorful supporters, including Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge fame, showed up at the Browns' New Hampshire place for rallies and press conferences and some provided them with fresh supplies.

With admirable (if somewhat frustratingly long) restraint, U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier decided to wait until he could plan an arrest that could take place without violence. That occurred late Thursday evening. Visitors to the Browns' place had dwindled since the Marshals arrested four of them two weeks ago for aiding and abetting the Browns. They welcomed a few supporters Thursday, but those supporters turned out to be U.S. Marshals, who arrested the Browns without incident. You might think that if you were holed up in your home avoiding arrest you'd be a little more careful about whom you let in, but then if you had that kind of smarts you might not be holed up in your home in the first place.

Throughout their ordeal, the Browns said that if only someone would show them the law that requires payment of income tax, they would pay immediately. Of course the law has been available on my web pages the whole time.

By the way, what's up with "Elaine Alice: family Brown"? Believe it or not, some tax protestors actually believe that inserting a colon into your name somehow protects you from tax liability. But that's considered a little wacky even among tax protestors.

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