Judges are reluctant to sentence him to more time behind bars because that’s
just an expensive way of catapulting Br’er Rabbit into the briar patch. So
they fine him. He’s propertyless, having taken a vow of poverty, and…
Outside court, Vitale admonishes friends and family members not to pay [the
fine]. He would rather go to jail.
On , Tim DeChristopher, 27, walked into a Bureau of Land Management building in Salt Lake City where an auction was being held.…
When DeChristopher entered the building, officials mistook him for a bidder
and allowed him to enter the auction, where he was given a bidding paddle — number 70. The University of Utah economics student says he stood out in a
room filled mostly with veteran oil and gas men, but he started holding up
his paddle to bid. By the time officials caught on and stopped the auction,
DeChristopher had acquired the rights to 12 parcels of land, totaling 22,000
acres — for $1.79 million that he didn’t have.
DeChristopher’s motives were environmentalist, but his methods worked not just
to disrupt the oil & gas companies’ intended use of the land for resource
extraction, but also to disrupt the government’s revenue-raising exploitation
of the land.
He’s facing federal criminal charges for his action, but he’s confident that
the government will have a hard time proving any real damages — the Bush
Administration tried to sneak the auction in without following the rules, and
it has since been legally invalidated.
I mentioned that I was trying to come up with a creative bar-chart
representing the lopsided military spending in the federal discretionary
budget. Thanks to “Z” who gave me the inspiration for the following sketch:
Though national political figures have tried to coopt the movement, many of
these modern-day tax protestors are citizens who largely reject both the
major political parties.
Many demonstrators are interested in expressing their disapproval of decades
of federal government fiscal irresponsibility and unfair, intrusive policies.
These policies have impoverished us. They include needless foreign military
interventions, corporate bailouts and the socializing of private business
These protesters reject policies that provide taxpayer subsidies to industry
and special interests, they rebel against excessive and unfair spending and
decry gross monetary expansions that cause insidious tax inflation. They
warn of deficit spending that promises to leave a crushing debt to future
generations, and call for an end to the borrowing, printing, spending, taxing
and regulating policies that have caused our current economic suffering.
Some dismiss as selfish anyone who considers tax rates too high or who
disapproves of certain government spending. Some believe in government
taking on a larger role in our lives and see high taxes as something that
responsible and fair-minded citizens should pay happily.
But for those who recognize that excessive taxation robs many of their
ability to pay for the needs of their families, the tea party provides an
appropriate outlet for their frustrations. These demonstrators are in good
historical company. It seems right to join them.