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Author Topic: Open letter to Marc Stevens on why his “No-State Project” show does harm  (Read 15813 times)

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MichaelWDean

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Howdy Marc,

I am, like you, a liberty lover and liberty media activist. I'm the co-host of two podcasts syndicated on The Liberty Radio Network as is your own "No-State Project." My podcasts are "Freedom Feens" and "Anarchy Gumbo." I also directed the film "Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom."

You and I have never spoken, but we have a lot of the same friends.

I am, like you, a fan of civil disobedience. I believe flexing rights with cops is good, and I believe it has its place with judges. I have respect for people who know the dangers, weigh the options and choose to do that on their own. But advising your "clients" (your word, not mine), who just want to stay out of jail, to go piss off the judge, especially in felony cases, is not helping anyone's personal liberty. It's doing quite the opposite.

I know that on your website you state that you are not an attorney (though you do charge $100 an hour for phone consultations). But people calling in on your show may not know that you are not an attorney, as you seem to present yourself as an attorney. Therefore people may place their trust in you and act upon your advice based upon a mistaken understanding.

I've listened to your show before, and I listened to your talk with Jillian the other day. I know Jillian. I posted some of her bail when she was busted in Texas recently. I speak with her frequently. The Freedom Feens podcast has also, for several month, given free ad time for her confectionery company on our Sunday live show, ad time that we also sell to other people. In short, she's a friend, and I care about her.

I was pretty appalled by some of your advice to her. Some of your advice might make sense to someone who was willing to grandstand in court to make a point, didn't mind doing some jail time, didn't have a kid, had money for a lawyer as a backup if needed, and was only facing misdemeanor charges in their home town. It was not helpful advice for a young mother with no money trying to stay out of prison and facing two drug felonies outside her home state. Particularly when the charges are pending in Texas, and after Jillian told you that the judge already hates her.

By the end of your talk with Jillian, she was saying "That makes sense!" and cheerfully saying "Thank you!" In short, she sounded like she thought you were the solution she was looking for. She's smart, but you confidently present yourself as having some basis for being able to give advice.

You even said to Jillian on the show "We're very confident of the material on this show."

I forwarded the episode to a lawyer friend for his opinion. This guy, Randy England:
http://blog.jeffcitylaw.com/

Randy is a former prosecutor and currently a privately practicing attorney, with decades of criminal law experience, a lot of it with drug charges. He's also a philosophical anarchist. He was taken aback by your advice. He said, "I believe that required licensing for anything is tyrannical. But this guy Marc Stevens is a poster child for everyone who believes that required licensing for lawyers is a good thing."

Randy said that in most states, if Jillian retains a criminal defense lawyer, or even the public defender, she's unlikely to get jail time, since it's her first felony and drug possession offense. He said if Jillian takes your advice, acting pro se, and challenges the judge by asking "Where do you derive your authority?" and "Do you honestly think I can get a fair trial here?", Jillian will almost certainly end up in a cage in Texas for a long time.

Yet your "knowledge" of the law is such, Marc, that you sought Jillian out, you contacted her, and offered to her: "I can help with court stuff."

That sort of "ambulance chasing" would be considered unethical for an actual attorney.

You read her statement here
http://statelesssweets.chipin.com/jillian-battys-legal-fund

wherein she said "I am not equipped to fight this financially", and " I'm so frightened thinking of the violence that may come in the near future from the state against me…"

Her fears notwithstanding, you still suggested she skip the public defender and act pro se and antagonistically challenge the judge.

You said, "This has worked in Texas for *traffic tickets.*" (Emphasis added.) But Jillian is not facing a traffic ticket. She's facing two *drug felonies.*

You went on and on with this "question and challenge the judge" defense theory for your whole long talk with Jillian. This theory is largely what you promote on all your shows, and in your seminars, books, workshops, web forum, etc.

I've heard you similarly advise other people who are not trying to "make a stand" but simply trying to serve the least amount of jail time as possible. In doing so, I feel that you are making people pawns in your plan of how to fight the system.

Occasionally on your show you make self-deprecating comments like "Hey take my advice or don't!" (usually followed by a laugh, like you're joking). But that's sadly lacking as a disclaimer, in my opinion. You make those jokes, then launch right back into pretending to know what you're talking about, and give advice on how to "fight the man" to people who are just trying to stay out of jail. Your pet theory isn't even particularly good advice for someone wanting to fight the man.

I have no ethical problem with someone practicing law without a license, if they're good at it. But I don't think you are good at it. One reason licensed, practicing attorneys are often much better at it then even the good "jailhouse lawyers" is that practicing attorneys have actually spent a lot of time in courtrooms in a wide variety of cases, and that's where a lot of knowledge of the law comes from. They know the courts, the judges, and the (often persnickety) local rules. You can't get it all from books.

In my opinion, you have a difficult time reconciling your vision of "how things should be in a perfect world" with how things are in reality. Your vision of "how things should be" has parallels to mine. You and I both believe that there should be private police and courts who actually have to earn their keep and only process real crimes, rather than the monopolistic tyrannical system of "justice" we have now.

But by providing your "clients" with bad advice, advice that comes out of some sovereign citizen-esque fantasy of "how things should be", and your faulty belief that magic words make tyrants melt in fear, I believe you are doing more harm than good.

I'm looking at your Facebook page right now, and reading a note to you from a woman who had her 18-year-old daughter try your "legal advice" by asking the judge "Do you really believe I can get a fair trial?" It didn't help and the woman seemed astonished that the judge didn't dismiss the case on the spot.

There is no profit to me in railing on you. I love liberty media, and want there to be as much of it out there as possible. I spend hours each week giving free technical advice to people wanting to start or improve their podcasts and filmmaking. I get great joy from helping people create liberty media. Before today I would never have considered telling anyone "You should stop doing what you're doing."

I'm no fan of Ronald Reagan but he had some good quotes. One was his "11th Commandment": "Never speak ill of a fellow Republican."

I feel it's an equally unwritten rule to not speak ill of fellow liberty activists. And your ideas about liberty are good. But when a fellow liberty activist is doing podcasts, radio, seminars, workshops, forums and books convincing people to do things that may endanger their liberty, without sufficient disclosure, I have to speak up.

Your legal advice would likely be solid if you were "practicing law" in a Heinlein novel. But in our current reality, much of your advice is not solid, and is more likely to hurt than to help. I wonder how many people are in jail or prison from following your advice?

I think your show, books, website and seminars are likely doing far more harm than good. I wish you'd do something productive instead. You're a smart guy, and could certainly excel at many things that would not inadvertently harm others.

At the very minimum, I think you should add a pre-recorded disclaimer with every caller and guest on your show, something like "Marc Stevens is not an attorney. And any advice he gives is aimed at activists who want to 'fight the man', not folks whose primary concern is to stay out of jail."

People calling in to your show don't know your whole deal. When people are facing the horror of actual prison time, and cannot afford an attorney, they are very vulnerable. You seem to offer a solution, but you don't give them the full terms of what your "solution" entails.

I'm even willing to professionally record that disclaimer for you, for free, if you'd use it.

I'm going to be reading this letter next week on the Freedom Feens podcast, and will also be posting it on my blogs, LibertarianPunk.com and MichaelWDean.com, and elsewhere.

Feel free to read this letter and reply on your podcast. I'd also like to offer you the opportunity to come on my podcast and respond. If you'd prefer to respond via e-mail I will print your response on my blogs and read your reply on the podcast.

Thank you,
Michael W. Dean
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The Anarchia Virus

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I just listened to the NSP interview with Jillian - Marc explicitly stated (off air I think, so maybe you didn't hear it if you listened to the original broadcast) that there was "no pressure" on Jillian to use his material, and he "understood" how serious the charges were.

I think some of your critiques of Marc are okay, but to call his approach "sovereign citizen-esque fantasy" is pretty ridiculous.  His approach is not to make arguments based on some esoteric, minarchist interpretation of the CONstitution, etc.  His approach is not to argue at all.  It's simply to play dumb and politely ask the bureaucrats to logically explain their nonsensical system.  That's it, no "magic words."  Just questions which force the bureaucrats to either expose themselves as the violent thugs they are, or (preferably) drop the case so they don't embarrass themselves.
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freeAgent

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I just listened to the NSP interview with Jillian - Marc explicitly stated (off air I think, so maybe you didn't hear it if you listened to the original broadcast) that there was "no pressure" on Jillian to use his material, and he "understood" how serious the charges were.

I think some of your critiques of Marc are okay, but to call his approach "sovereign citizen-esque fantasy" is pretty ridiculous.  His approach is not to make arguments based on some esoteric, minarchist interpretation of the CONstitution, etc.  His approach is not to argue at all.  It's simply to play dumb and politely ask the bureaucrats to logically explain their nonsensical system.  That's it, no "magic words."  Just questions which force the bureaucrats to either expose themselves as the violent thugs they are, or (preferably) drop the case so they don't embarrass themselves.

And after you have exposed them for violent thugs, they will most likely act like the violent thugs they are and put you in a cage.  Mission accomplished!
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The Anarchia Virus

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And after you have exposed them for violent thugs, they will most likely act like the violent thugs they are and put you in a cage.  Mission accomplished!

There are plenty of examples of Marc's approach working, backfiring, and probably having zero effect.  I agree that it's probably not the right approach for Jillian, but there is certainly value to it.
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alaric89

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There has to be different tactics used by a agorist who produces something while competing with the system then some civdis lemming who makes fine jail fodder. A successful black marketeer can not take stupid risks, they have too much to lose. By definition civil disobedience is trying to fight the system by making the system hurt them I guess, (what do I know with the retards that seem to end up on juries I think the whole civ dis thing is fucking stupid)....................... o..k, lets put it this way if you believe the government people might see how evil, corrupt, hypocritical and stupid their system is by making oneself the victim of the system and point it out, the Marc Stevens system is probably swell. If a agorist does something stupid like say... try and help a bum getting their ass kicked by a cop or taking a small stash of illegal stuff through a border town full of narcs, damage control is the name of the game.

suspect

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I have been a listener of the liberty radio network for almost a year.  I have not felt a desire to sign up for FTL message board until yesterday.  I enjoy most of the radio shows on LRN, especially Ian's show.  But I am reconsidering my opinion of it after I heard Michael Dean and Ian slam Marc publicly and yet at the same time, behind Marc's back.  Shame on both of you.   You crucify Marc and don't let him have equal time.  So Ian, when is Marc going to be able to have airtime on your show?

Dean seems only interested in having a disclaimer stated before the No State Project airs.  Dean gives the impression that he is desperate to punish Marc and that a disclaimer will be Marc's punishment.  Dean also gives the impression that he will have triumphed over Marc if Ian goes along with this disclaimer.  The disclaimer will be Dean's prize/win/payback.

What makes this so hypocritical on Ian's part is the name of his network: "Free Talk Live, talk radio you control".  If Ian uses a disclaimer for Marc's NSP, then it is not free talk, and Marc and his listeners are not controllling it.

I will be 60 years old at the end of this year.  I left the republican party with Ian's help.  This is the kind of thing that is rampant in mainstream politics.  Why is Ian allowing it here?  Dean comes off like an arrogant jerk and Ian falls for it.  I guess I should listen to my wife.  She thinks "Libertarians" are just another political party, no different from the republicans.  I really hope she is wrong.  So now I am suspect.
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Cognitive Dissident

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Dude...how can you claim it's "behind Marc's back?"  He invited Marc to talk about it on his show and Marc's show.  It might be bad style (see what I posted in another thread about FTL airing dirty laundry) but it's not behind his back.


Oh, and you probably haven't noticed yet, but Ian allows practically everything here.  BTW, since when is it censorship (or in some way unfree) to put a disclaimer on?  Now people can't say that they disagree with someone?  That, my friend, is censorship.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 03:12:15 PM by What's the frequency, Kenneth? »
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suspect

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Hey Kenneth.....  Thanks for commenting.  You made this old man's day.  Appreciate your opinion.

To me, a disclaimer is more than just a difference of opinion. It includes a difference of opinion, but it is more.  And in this case, it throws Marc Stevens under the bus. Not what I would expect from Ian. You have more experience with FTL than I do.  I am still a newbie here; so you are the expert here.

I have only listened to NSP a handful of times.  But after this I am going to make a point of listening more often.  I went over to his website and read the comments about M. Dean and Marc's response to him.  Marc seems to be a straight up guy and is taking this attack well.  Gotta respect him for that.  Maybe if Dean had some foresight, he would have not gone after someone he doesn't even know.  Marc makes it known that Dean is welcome to come on his show anytime Dean wants to.  Marc said he would be happy to be on Dean's show too.  Dean has refused.  Coward.

You are right: a disclaimer is not censorship.  However, in this case, Dean would like it to be.  I suggest checking out Marc Steven's website.  It was enlightening.
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alaric89

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Marc seemed to concentrate on the personnel stuff instead of Michael's more practical points. Marc seemed to win in the opinion on the commenters underneath. What does Michael have against people who believe one should use the system against itself and be in jail for a while? It worked for Nelson Mandella. Only 20 years in prison and he got to lead the country later and traded in his loyal wife for a hot young thing to boot. Win win. Go Marc!

MichaelWDean

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Marc seemed to concentrate on the personnel stuff instead of Michael's more practical points.

Yup.

Marc seemed to win in the opinion on the commenters underneath.

You seriously can't see what's going on there? On his blog Marc is only approving comments of his fans. I've had people tell me that they tried to post respectful comments that were critical of Marc, and he refused to approve them. He finally approved my comments, but hasn't approved any from others that are critical of him.

If you want to see the 50 or 60 liberty people agreeing with me that Marc's wrong, it’s here:
http://www.facebook.com/MichaelWarehamDean/posts/410401855679433?notif_t=like


What does Michael have against people who believe one should use the system against itself and be in jail for a while? It worked for Nelson Mandella. Only 20 years in prison and he got to lead the country later and traded in his loyal wife for a hot young thing to boot. Win win. Go Marc!

I love that stuff. But Jillian didn't want to be Nelsan Mandala and go to jail for a cause. She wants to stay out of prison and raise her child. Marc gave her advice that would have put her in prison.

MWD
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 06:32:51 AM by MichaelWDean »
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alaric89

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Kids only need one parent, preferably the Dad. I am sure deep inside Jillian wants to put her head on the block for the greater cause.
Of course Marc is going to cheat. He deals with lawyers all the time. People can take a lesson, in this instance, on how to manipulate things to your favour no matter what, if he joins you in your arena he is basically fucked, even though you have proved more then most that you are willing to learn and adjust over time, no person that tries to monkey with any system as absurd as law would ever deal with someone who thrives in reality. The key is the win, not being correct. When dealing with things in wonderland you got to eat the eat me cupcake and revel in the joke.

MichaelWDean

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 Maybe if Dean had some foresight, he would have not gone after someone he doesn't even know.  Marc makes it known that Dean is welcome to come on his show anytime Dean wants to.  Marc said he would be happy to be on Dean's show too.  Dean has refused.  Coward.

suspect:
Here is a reply of mine explaining why I used an open letter instead of contacting Marc:

http://www.libertarianpunk.com/2012/06/an-open-letter-to-marc-stevens-on-why-his-no-state-project-show-probably-does-more-harm-than-good/comment-page-1/#comment-8528

And one explaining why I won't go on his show:
http://www.libertarianpunk.com/2012/06/an-open-letter-to-marc-stevens-on-why-his-no-state-project-show-probably-does-more-harm-than-good/comment-page-1/#comment-8530


MWD
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 06:52:37 AM by MichaelWDean »
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MichaelWDean

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Of course Marc is going to cheat. He deals with lawyers all the time. People can take a lesson, in this instance, on how to manipulate things to your favour no matter what, if he joins you in your arena he is basically fucked, even though you have proved more then most that you are willing to learn and adjust over time....

Thank you.


The key is the win, not being correct.

My point is to get it out there that Marc gives some horrible advice that puts people in jail. There's no being "right" with him our his fans. I'm 100% sure his methods can be dangerous, he's 100% sure he's stumbled onto the secret keystone that you pull out to topple the government. Neither of us will "budge", there's no arbitration, there's no concessions, it's like I'm an atheist and he's a Christian. There's no "come on, guys, see the other guy's side just a little bit." Which is why there's no point in us going on the other's shows or on FTL.

Some are saying I did this for publicity, I didn't. I could have done this anonymously. But I'm not a coward, so I didn't.

I don't hate him and would love to give him a hug and would love him to do well doing something else. If he got rich and famous being the libertarian John Grisham, I'd stand up and cheer.


I am sure deep inside Jillian wants to put her head on the block for the greater cause.

You're kidding, right? Having a mother ripped from her kid and thrown into prison in Texas will do absolutely nothing to end the drug war.

MWD
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 07:14:39 AM by MichaelWDean »
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MichaelWDean

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And after you have exposed them for violent thugs, they will most likely act like the violent thugs they are and put you in a cage.  Mission accomplished!

This is my ENTIRE point in calling out Marc regarding his talk with Jillian. It's fine when Ian and Pete and Ademo do it themselves. It's not fine when Marc seeks out people facing serious prison time on multiple felonies, with a judge who already hates Jillian because cop block did a call flood, and says to Jillian "I can help with your court stuff", has her on the show and tells her to do things that will piss off the judge. And Jillian ends the show saying "That sounds great!" thinking she's just gotten legal advice that will keep her out of prison.

One can say "buyer beware", and Jillian is an adult, but when people are facing multiple felonies (especially in Texas, especially when the judge already hates her), they're a bit vulnerable. Marc ignores that and tries to turn someone into a jailed activist who has no intention of being one. Either that or he thinks that something that may work in traffic court will work in a criminal court when the person is facing years in prison.

Marc does this with a lot of people besides Jillian, but she's a friend of mine, so it really pissed me off when he did it to her.

MWD
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 07:16:27 AM by MichaelWDean »
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