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Activism Tactics => The Agitator => Topic started by: suijurisfreeman on February 05, 2004, 03:46:32 pm

Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: suijurisfreeman on February 05, 2004, 03:46:32 pm
The following article made the Sunday front page of the Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper on April 13, 1997 - in living color.

Winston Johnson stands near two of his protest signs on Squawfield Road.  (One sign reads: A man's home is his castle, so they say!  But not if the Woodbridge Township STUPIDVISOR has his way!)

PROTESTER AIMS JABS AT OFFICIALS  by Steven Hepker, Staff Writer.  HILLSDALE - When Hillsdale County Road Commission officials approached Winston Johnson to take down his roadside tax protest signs, they encounterred an odd sight.
"I was trudging up the road wearing a crown of thorns and carrying a 12-foot cross on my back," Johnson said.  "I even fell down to my knees, making a mockery out of the whole thing."
Johnson, widely known for outlandish tax protests, wallows in symbolism.
"He is pretty clever," Road Commission Engineer Manager Stan Clingerman said, "I guess he was being crucified by government."
On Saturdays, Johnson protests at the Hillsdale Fairgrounds by wearing a foam coffin, with a stuffed monkey on his back.  He says it signifies the impact of an overbearing government on free men.
When he got wind of police coming to arrest him at his 42 acres, he bought a dozen doughnuts and threatened to lead police elsewhere with a trail of pastries.  "I have a sense of humor,' he said recently at his property, south of Hillsdale.
When the Woodbridge Township assessor valued a tiny, half-done structure on his property at nearly $60,000, Johnson ripped up and tossed the assessment notice at the board of review.
And then he stewed for hours until he concocted the sign campaign.  He built all kinds and sizes of protest signs, and then plastered Squawfield Road with them along his north border.
"I'm the property-tax terrorist, and I'll huff and I'll puff 'til I tax your house to the ground," one sign reads.
One of his props is a fairly realistic dummy shooting the moon at the assessor, telling him to "Assess this one!"  He refers to the supervisor as the "Stupidvisor."
"I could care less what is on the signs," Clingerman said.  "We just want to protect the motoring public within the 66-foot right of way."
He said road crews remove signs, including political signs, if they are too close to the road.
Johnson, 46, researched the law and determined the law regarding roadside nuisance signs was found unconstitutional in 1965 and repealed by the Legislature in 1980.  "Mr. Johnson is very knowledgeable and has a lot more time to study the law," Clingerman said.
Nevertheless, he asked Johnson to voluntarily remove the signs by April 1.  Johnson did not, and was served a notice last wek for encroaching on the right of way.  He has until May 3 to comply, or risk prosecution for a misdemeanor.  Johnson said he likes Clingerman, but will not back down.
"In fact, I think I am going to build a tiny leprechaun village down along the road and buy some of those little ceramic gnomes and have them peeking out of the houses," he said.
This is no idle threat, Johnson is skilled at handiwork and tomfoolery.  Last week, he started posting dozens of signs on 3-by-5 cards along the road, perhaps a prelude to the leprechaun village.
In addition to making and marketing cat furniture and toys, he invents and builds off-the-wall games, like the Old West town on his living room table.
He built his house with $1,400 and scrap material.  It is a work in progress, as is the 576-square-foot house that was assessed for $30,000.  Both sit on concrete piers, so that they cannot be termed permanent structures.  They have no running water or electricity.
Johnson kicked Assessor Kenneth Vincent off his land several years ago, so Vincent assessed the new building and a nearby shed from the road.
The newest building was for one of Johnson's two sons, but the son fled the property recently, fearing an all-out police siege.
"He is chicken-hearted. They (his sons) are both gutless wonders," said Johnson, who has watched the movie "Braveheart" more than 20 times.
He finds similarities in the oppression the Scottish clans faced and the demands by government on American citizens who hold to constitutional and God-given rights.
His wife, Eula, seems to tolerate his activities with humor and resignation.  His sons, however, think he has gone overboard.
"My oldest son wants to have me committed," Johnson said.  "He asked me: 'Do you wake up every day, look in the mirror, and say 'I am going to be defiant'?"
A group of followers, who called themselves We The People, fizzled out.  They didn't have the guts to demand freedom from government-imposed regulations, he said.
Johnson has spent time in courts and jail during his crusade to assert his freedom.  He refuses to buy license plates, a driver's license, auto registration, building permits or insurance.
"I have a right to travel.  When you ask permission, it no longer is a right." he said.  "People have certain inalienable rights the government cannot take away or diminish."
Likewise, filing with the Internal Revenue Service is essentially a contract to work for the government, he said.
He has no bank accounts, no electricity, does not pay income tax or Social Security tax, nor does he deal in paper money, credit or checks.  He refuses to maintain an address or post office box.  When he sells cat furniture or works construction, he is paid in federal reserve notes and converts them to Susan B. Anthony dollars.
He calls his house a structure in which he and his wife seek shelter.  They are sovereign citizens of the Republic of Michigan, and claim no residency.  He took down his mailbox and gets general delivery at the Frontier post office, where his mail is tossed into a crate.
"It's the same way people got their mail 40 or 50 years ago," Eula Johnson said.
Johnson asserts it is nobody"s business what he does, how much money he makes, or how he chooses to live, as long as he is not harming anyone.  Each time hyou sign your name to an official document, he said, you lose more freedom and establish a paper trail the government can use against you.
Flouting authority and mocking local officials, however, has created a larger paper trail than if he were a common working stiff.  It is a price worth paying, he said.
"I'm a little monkey wrench in the cog of government," he said.  "I am as free as a man can be."
Contrary to the impression and the "Don't Tread On Me" flag in his yard, Johnson is not a militia member.  He considers himself a free man, in the tradition of Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
"I went to one militia meeting, but there were so damn many kooks," he said.  "I am too independent for that bunch.  I don't have paramilitary exercises out here.  I'm not violent."
Johnson has confounded local officials with his knowledge of the U.S. and state constitutions, laws and court decisions.  And by his tenacity.
"He knows the law enough to try to get out from under it," Prosecutor Neal Brady said in a 1994 trial in which Johnson was found guilty of not buying a building permit for a shed.
Later, he spent nearly a month in the Hillsdale County Jail for driving without a license, plate, driver's license or insurance.  He refused to sign his bond, even after prosecutors said they would drop the $250 bond.
"Signing a bond gives them permission to prosecute you," he said.  Eventually, after Johnson was released and failed to appear in court, the matter was dropped.
"We are not going to forcibly detain him on this," District Judge Donald Sanderson wrote.
In the fall of 1995, Johnson was jailed again after a contingent of state, city and county police surrounded him at the Taco Bell in Jonesville.
"I just kept eating my taco and drinking my drink," Johnson said.  "That time I spent 23 days in jail, and got out Oct. 13, 1995.  They have left me alone since then."
Given his penchant for mocking government, laws and government leaders, Johnson said he realizes the truce likely won't last through spring.

Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: beech_trees on February 05, 2004, 05:24:24 pm
What was the 'Taco Bell' incident all about sui?

Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Hidden_Variable on February 05, 2004, 05:29:13 pm
 Jonesville doesn't have a Taco Bell.
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: suijurisfreeman on February 05, 2004, 05:46:08 pm
 Jonesville doesn't have a Taco Bell.
I don't know what's there today, but on September 21, 1995 my wife and I were in fact eating at the Taco Bell in Jonesville, Michigan (well actually it was located in the WalMart plaza between Jonesville and Hillsdale on M-99.  Whether it's there today or not, I don't have a clue, but it was on September 21, 1995.  In my mind's eye I can still see all the cop cars pulling up, both State Police and Jonesville City Police were there (no Hillsdale County Police as reported by the newspaper article).  I can still hear that one woman State trooper who said, "I know who you are Mr. Winston!"  She knew who I was because I had served her court papers at the Jonesville State Police Headquarters post on US 12 for Jean Ventura's Title 42 lawsuit against the State Police, et al.
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Misfit on February 05, 2004, 06:05:05 pm
What I want to know is, did ya ever build that leprechaun village?
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: suijurisfreeman on February 05, 2004, 06:20:57 pm
What I want to know is, did ya ever build that leprechaun village?
That leprechaun village is whole 'nother story!  It was at this point that things were really starting to get ugly between my wife and I.  When I went to get the gnomes she said, "don't you have anything better to do?"  I said, "absolutely not, I think I'm going to start doing this shit full time!"  She'd tear my "rude ass dummy" down, I'd put it back up - on and on it went!  I had some of my signs on wheels, I'd put them right up by the road, then when I knew "they" were coming to remove them I'd pull them back.  When I posted those 3" X 5" signs for the leprechaun village I asked Stan Clingerman, the Hillsdale County Road Engineer if he thought they'd be a danger to the motoring public.  Ah, the leprechaun village, the houses may be small, but the property taxes are wee!

It was about this time that I came up with my superhero, Feces Man - I'm not going to take your shit anymore man!  One of my large signs was an enlarged copy of that "The Last Great Act of Defiance" cartoon.  It had a large eagle with its wings and claws outstretched (I wrote government on the wings) about to snatch a mouse (Mickey Mouse type).  The mouse is flipping off the eagle with one hand, the other hand is holding a pistol behind its back!  I crossed out the word "Last" so that it read, "The Great Act of Defiance!"
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Hidden_Variable on February 05, 2004, 06:38:09 pm
You are right Sui. I forgot, that was one of those "mini-stores" .
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: suijurisfreeman on February 06, 2004, 06:10:50 am
What was the 'Taco Bell' incident all about sui?

The "Taco Bell" incident was part of the ongoing battle that began with my original arrest in September of 1994 for no operator's license, no registration, no insurance, fingerprint refusal and resisting and obstructing a police officer.  The felony charge of resisting and obstructing was dismissed after I filed my "Motion to Dismiss" brief as was the fingerprint refusal charge.  Judge Sanderson ordered me held for 28 days because I refused to post bond.  I was released on November 8, 1994 without posting or signing any bond.  A trial was scheduled for January 10, 1995, I've posted the certified transcript of those proceedings.  On February 21, 1995 while I was in court to help my oldest son with similar charges Judge Sanderson ordered my arrest.  I then filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, Judge Harvey Moes ordered my release.  Judge Moes reminded me that I had a "date" with Judge Sanderson on March 7, 1995 - a new trial date had been set for those three remaining charges.  I guess judges can change their minds - remember Judge Sanderson said, "If Mr. Johnson does appear and wish to have a trial, further sanctions will be taken, but we're not going to forcibly detain him on this."  I filed paperwork stating that I was under no legal obligation to appear for their new trial and informed Judge Moes that with all due regard to his reminder of my "date" with Judge Sanderson I was also fully aware of "date rape" and therefore would not be appearing in court on March 7th.  I don't think Harvey liked that statement!
Anyway another warrant was issued for my arrest, but Michael Smith, Hillsdale County Prosecutor was quoted in the newspaper that they "wouldn't be sending the troops out to get Mr. Johnson."  So that's when the Taco Bell incident happened on September 21, 1995 in Jonesville, Michigan.  With all the cops that showed up you would have thought I was a real bad ass criminal.

Remember Judge Sanderson said, " If Mr. Johnson would appear an wish to have a trial ....."  Well I guess with all the media attention, picketing, etc. that I orchestrated he was under considerable pressure to do something about me.  I'll be posting more about this on my "Oh ye of little faith" thread.

Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Hasher on February 06, 2004, 08:13:10 am
Sounds like Sui needs a "Molon Labe" sigh.

In Latin it means Come and Take Them! Its a Quote from King Leonidas when htey wantd to Disarm his Spartans. The 300 of them stood thier ground and forced the Greeeks to come and take thier weapons. The Spartans dies but  they killed thousands of the enemy.
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Delos on February 06, 2004, 08:41:16 am

Well, convincing stuff, I'll grant you.

Reading all of your posts lately on so many boards, it seems your cyber tactics of disseminating the freedom meme are similar to your initial tactics back when you started asserting your freedom ten or so years ago. By that, I mean you operate in a very "high profile" manner, and with not a modest degree of rub-your-nose-in-it rebelliousness.

Though our strategies of divorcing ourselves from the state are in harmony, our tactics are markedly different. I basically went "low profile" after a brief stint on the soapbox decades ago, when I became deeply impressed with the powerfully ingrained, herd-like mentality/nature of Joe and Jane six pack. I been saying for years now how stupid most people really are. I figured quickly thereafter that if I was going to end up in jail, it wouldn't be for trying to shepherd the slavish masses.

IMO, some enraged control freak somewhere along the line will find  way to snuff you out, sui, and those like you, who continually and blithely expose the control freaks to the public as the depraved predators they really are.

Oh well, they can only kill the body, right?

Oh, yeah . . . I pretty much believe you're probably for real, and I admire your principles and courage.

Living freely,
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Hidden_Variable on February 06, 2004, 01:01:04 pm
DELOS wrote:

IHMO, some enraged control freak somewhere along the line will find way to snuff you out, sui, and those like you, who continually and blithely expose the control freaks to the public as the depraved predators they really are.

He's got you there Sui. If you'd mixed it up with the ATF or FBI  instead of  Hillsdale Co. you could've ended up like Randy Weaver.

(PS: Maybe you should write down your whole story about those events and post or link it somewhere and refer people to it with a link, (if they're interested). Some of those posts rehash alot a facts and are hard to follow if you haven't read them all.  :)  ).
Title: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: suijurisfreeman on February 06, 2004, 02:41:15 pm
Hey, you must be posting on STR as Lab Rat.

I haven't gone looking for who's the baddest (sp?) while exercising my rights.  In Hillsdale it just happened to be the Hillsdale County Sheriff's Department first, then the Michigan State Police, then the Hillsdale City Police and finally the Jonesville City Police/Michigan State Police.  I don't think that the ATF or FBI are involved in traffic enforcement yet.
My quest for freedom hasn't come to a Ruby Ridge or Waco yet, but regardless I'm not going to back down no matter who's involved.  What, do you actually believe that if the FBI or ATF were involved I'd say, Oh my god, it's the FBI/ATF I'm really not a free Human Being?  I'm 55 years of age, I don't give a shit!  Believe it or not, I'm actually willing to die for my beliefs - not that I have a death wish, but I determined in 1993 that I wasn't going to take their shit anymore, period!  As I've posted before, if I die tomorrow atleast I've lived my live as a free Human Being for over 10 years now.  Once I've tasted freedom, I'll never go back!
Title: Re: Oh ye of little faith ......
Post by: Ty Sampson on January 03, 2019, 09:58:50 pm