The Power of the Internet equally exposes its intrinsic danger as claims, studies, comments and mantras of wisdom are often credited to the wrong people, and when multiple powerful emails go around the world, the truth gets often lost. I was reminded of that this morning when I received yet another chain email from someone who claimed that the by now famous Bill of No Rights was written by Georgia State Representative Mitchell Kaye. Frankly I got a little peeved, because the Bill of No Rights is an undeniable libertarian point of view that deeply resents the nonsense of today’s politics. The Bill of No Rights was penned down in 1993 by a frustrated Mississippi man named Lewis Napper, who wrote it very early on in the Clinton Administration as a reaction to Hillary’s entitlement plan. Lewis, a born libertarian, was just getting angrier by the day about how this country was turning into a vestige of entitlements. But the Internet was still in its infancy then.
And then seven years after Napper wrote it, advice columnist Ann Landers, after deliberately censoring out what her political views didn’t like, wrongly attributed it to Mitchell Kaye and the damage was done. Of course those of you who have learned to be critical, will always consult Snopes.com when the truth is at stake, but many more will just accept the written word as gospel, which is why we still celebrate Columbus Day – for example.
Nourishing an unexpected and even less wanted cold, I took the time today to learn a bit more about Lewis Napper and found that he maintains a very enlightened blog called the freedomlobby, with a number of interesting sidestep navigations. I thoroughly enjoyed the following Lewis Napper Story was listed in the archives of The Binary Bunker; a story loosely based on the Beverly Hillbillies planted into today’s socio political environment. I thought it was hilarious. Lewis Napper made another fan today.
A Man Named Jedediah – by Lewis Napper
Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed. He was a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed. And then one day, he was shooting at some food and up through the ground came a bubbling crude; oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
Well the first thing you know old Jed’s a millionaire. And the first thing you know, he’s also a dangerous, radical, right-wing extremist, tax-evading, homophobic, angry white male, cult leader. And he’s in big trouble with the United States Federal Government.
Oh sure, you’ve heard the stories that Hollywood tells about the Beverly Hillbillies. But you haven’t heard the real story. What follows is a first-hand account of what actually happened as told to me by Jed’s niece, Jethrene Bodine.
Interview with Jethrene
Lewis: Thank you for talking to us today Jethrene. I know it’s not easy for you to speak about this. Go back to the beginning and tell us where the trouble began.
Jethrene: Well, everything was just fine ‘til Uncle Jed found that oil. We wudn’t fancy people, but we was safe and warm, and we almost never went hungry. Oh sure, there’d be a little scrap between some of the mountain folk every now and agin, but mostly we all just lived a simple life.
Lewis: When did the trouble begin?
Jethrene: Well, I blame that oil company. They paid Uncle Jed some kind of special money. Somethin’ they called, “million” dollars.
Lewis: Yeah, uhh, that’s a lot of money Jethrene. What did your Uncle do with that money?
Jethrene: Oh that was a fun day. It was bright and sun shiney. A whole bunch of us put on our Sunday-best, loaded up in the truck and rode over to Bugtussle. It took the better part of the day to get there so Granny made us a picnic lunch. We stopped on the side of the road and ate and talked. I just love the sun shining on my face, don’t you?
Lewis: Well, I burn easily Jethrene. So why did you go to Bugtussle?
Jethrene: They have one of them Savings and Loan places there. Uncle Jed said that if we put the money in the Savings and Loan, the good folks there would lend it out to other folks so’s they could buy ‘em a house. Uncle Jed always did have a soft spot for poor folks.
Lewis: So, he put all of the money in the Savings and Loan?
Jethrene: Well most of it he did. Ma wanted him to buy a new hat. He needed one awful bad, but he wouldn’t do it. He never would buy nuthin’ for hisself. But he wudn’t a stingy man. He bought everbody else somethin’. New glasses for Granny, a new shotgun for Elly May, a ciphering book for Jethro — he even bought new dresses for me and Ma. [Jethrene begins to tear up] I wish I had that dress now instead of these ugly orange coveralls.
Lewis: Don’t cry Jethrene. You’ll be out of here soon and I bet that young fellow who always comes to see you will buy you a new dress.
Jethrene: [Now with a big smile] Isn’t he just the cutest thing you ever did see? He don’t know it yet, but we’re gonna get hitched!
Lewis: Oh, I think he’s knows it Jethrene. But, let’s get back to the money. What did Jed do with the money?
Jethrene: Well, he put almost all of it in that Savings and Loan. He got the feller there to figure up the right amount to tithe and gave one big old bag of money to the church. Uncle Jed was proud to give it and the preacher was proud to get it. Uncle Jed said, “that preacher is a good man. He’ll put that money to good use.”
Anyhow, like I said, he bought us a few things and got some parts for the truck. Once him and Jethro got the truck going agin, we all went back home to tell everbody about our big day in town.
Lewis: Do you know if your Uncle paid any taxes on that money?
Jethrene: Funny you should mention that, that’s when things really started to heat up. Early in the Spring, not long after we went to Bugtussle, this feller from the IRS came by to see Uncle Jed. It was the first time anybody from the guvament had ever come to help us and we was all kindly embarrassed seein’ as how we didn’t need nothin’.
Granny said the feller was a revenuer, but I don’t think he was. I don’t think he was looking to bust up her still. He was just there to ask for some money to help the guvament. I don’t mean to speak ill of anybody, but I think he might even take a nip or two hisself. I think I smelled liquor on his breath.
Lewis: That’s what revenuers do Jethrene. They collect money for the government.
Jethrene: Oh well, I guess Granny was right then. I thought revenuers was just against drinking.
Lewis: No, revenuers collect money so that the government can help people.
Jethrene: Well now that’s just what that feller said. Uncle Jed got all excited and was all in favor of it! He told the man that he had already give the money to the Savings and Loan, but that he would go down there and see if there was any left.
Lewis: What did the man from the IRS say to that?
Jethrene: Well, he said that the Savings and Loan had closed. He said some crooked feller workin’ there had run off with all the money the very day Uncle Jed was there.
Lewis: You don’t say.
Jethrene: Yeah, that IRS feller was awful mad about it too. He stomped around and just swore up and down. Uncle Jed had to ask him to watch his language.
Lewis: Then what happened?
Jethrene: Well, Uncle Jed tried to make that IRS man feel better by telling him that there was a guvament guarantee on the money at the Savings and Loan. Uncle Jed said something about “FDIC.” He said that he wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that somebody down at the guvament already had that money. He was hoping that would cheer that IRS feller up.
But it didn’t seem to help at all. That IRS man just got madder and madder. He started waving papers around and yelling at Uncle Jed saying that he owed the guvament a lot more money now. He got so upset that Uncle Jed asked him to step out back of the cabin to cool off a bit.
Lewis: The compound you mean?
Jethrene: We always just called it the cabin.
Lewis: So, did the IRS guy calm down?
Jethrene: Well, it was kindly queer. He and Uncle Jed went around back to the hemp patch. The IRS man started yelling, “Mary wanna! Mary wanna!” and then he just took off in a big hurry. I think he remembered he was supposed to pick up something for his wife. I reckon her name’s Mary.
Lewis: You had hemp, I mean, marijuana growing on the property?
Jethrene: Yeah, we made clothes and paper and stuff out of it. Granny used it for medicine. She’d give it to folks when they had “angry gizzard.”
Lewis: Didn’t you know that it’s illegal to grow hemp?
Jethrene: Funny you should say that, cause the next fellers that showed up said the same thing.
Lewis: What next fellows?
Jethrene: Well, real late that very night, a whole bunch of fellers snuck up to the house and busted into the cabin with a battering ram.
Lewis: You mean the compound.
Jethrene: Well, like I said, we always called it a cabin. In all my life, I never heard anybody call it nuthin’ else but a cabin ‘til all this started.
Lewis: OK, sorry. So these men broke into the cabin in the middle of the night?
Jethrene: Yeah, they all come a bustin’ in, a hoopin’ and a hollerin’, and a pointin’ their guns. Granny would of shot one of ‘em too if Uncle Jed hadn’t stopped her. We didn’t know they was from the guvament at first.
Lewis: So, what did they say? What did they do?
Jethrene: Well there was just a whole lot of confusion. Uncle Jed figured they were there for the money. So he tried to explain about the crooked feller at the Savings and Loan. Then they tried to explain why we wadn’t supposed to grow hemp no more and well, everybody just got real agitated.
One feller with “DEA” wrote across his back started arguing with Granny about which plants were all right and which ones wadn’t. Granny got all riled up and started quoting the Good Book. She told that feller about Genesis 1:29, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
Lewis: So, what did the DEA guy say to that?
Jethrene: Well, I can tell you one thing for sure, that DEA feller wadn’t no Baptist. He yelled “drug propaganda!” and something about “church and state” and then he smacked Granny in the mouth with the butt of his rifle.
Lewis: Oh my God, what happened then?
Jethrene: Well, the other DEA fellers all grabbed him and wrestled him down on the ground. They was real sorry about it and started trying to apologize. But it was too late, Granny and Elly was already mad. Granny latched onto that feller what hit her and started whailin’ on him. And Elly May give three of the other ones a whuppin’ they won’t soon forget too. Uncle Jed finally got it all stopped.
Lewis: Where was Jethro?
Jethrene: He was still asleep. I swear that boy can sleep through anything.
Lewis: I guess they placed you all under arrest, huh?
Jethrene: Why would you think that? They’re the ones that started the fight!
Lewis: No, I mean for the hemp patch… I mean, the field of marijuana.
Jethrene: No, they didn’t try to arrest us. The one that hit Granny started saying that he was gonna take our land. He said the guvament was gonna take our land and sell it to the oil company. Now that’s when Uncle Jed started gettin’ mad. He didn’t like that feller talkin’ bad about the guvament that way. Uncle Jed went up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt and don’t take to nobody talkin’ bad about our guvament. He got all riled up and started recitin’ the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He finally run ‘em all off and told ‘em to not come back. He said they could send that nice IRS feller to fetch their guns.
Lewis: What happened next Jethrene?
Jethrene: The next day was the worst of it. Them DEA fellers didn’t just send that IRS man to pick up their guns like Uncle Jed asked. They come back with him and brought a bunch of other folks too. All of ‘em had letters wrote on their backs — IRS, DEA, FBI, ATF, EPA, CNN, and such.
Lewis: Yeah, I read about it in the papers. The Attorney General called you, “the most lawless group this country has ever seen.”
Jethrene: Well I don’t know what would make her say such a thing. We never hurt nobody.
Lewis: She cited your family with a long list of infractions. You had illegal vegetation. None of you had ever filed the appropriate tax forms. Granny was practicing medicine without a license. The EPA said that her lye soap was an environmental hazard. Jethro only had a 6th grade education and apparently Elly May had never gone to school at all. Some claim that there were violations of child labor laws. Elly was keeping wildlife as pets. All of you had been fishing, hunting, and farming without a license. Your food was not FDA approved. There were no emission controls on the truck and it didn’t have an inspection sticker, a license plate or an airbag. Jethro hadn’t registered for selective service. The compound didn’t meet building codes and it was covered with lead-based paint. You were caught in possession of illegal firearms and there were rumors that you were operating a methamphetamine lab.
Jethrene: I don’t even know what a methamine is and I already told you that we called it a cabin!
Lewis: Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry, settle down. The cabin itself was what caused the final disaster wasn’t it?
Jethrene: Yeah, there was a big argument about the cabin. Everybody with letters on their back claimed that the cabin and the land was legally their property and not Uncle Jed’s. Some of ‘em talked kinda crazy like the cabin or even the land itself had broken some law. One man demanded that the cabin be torn down because it didn’t have a permit. A lady from the Historical Society noticed how old the cabin was and wanted it “preserved.” I don’t know what she was talking about, but at least she was polite about it.
Lewis: The cabin burned didn’t it? How did the cabin catch fire?
Jethrene: Well, some of them DEA fellers set the hemp patch ablaze and the wind kicked up and it got out of control. The next thing we knew we was all running for our lives. I hear tell it burned down the woods clear over to Butcher Holler.
Lewis: Yes, uhh, four thousand acres I believe. I’ve heard rumors that the CIA, the NSA and the DOD were all there too. Did you see any letters like that? What did they want?
Jethrene: I didn’t see no letters like that, but there was some men folk there wantin’ to see the secret weapon Jethro was always braggin’ about.
Lewis: I see. Well, that’s enough about that. Where is everybody now? What happened to the rest of the family?
Jethrene: The rest of the family is in hiding. I was the only one they caught. I was the only one wearing a dress, so I couldn’t run very fast without my bloomers showin’.
Lewis: Jethrene, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I found Elly May last year living just outside of Beverly Hills. She was living on the street and she was addicted to crack.
Jethrene: Addicted to what?
Lewis: She’s addicted to cocaine. She was selling herself to make money for drugs. I’ve been trying to get her some government assistance — you know, food stamps and a good education. But now I can’t find her and she hasn’t shown up to get her check. All I need is an address, and they’ll mail out the money.
Jethrene: Well, I don’t know what address to give you, if that’s what you’re asking for. We didn’t never have a mailbox. Not even when we was all living in the compound.
Lewis: You mean “cabin” don’t you?
Jethrene: Huh? Yeah, cabin. What did I say?
Lewis: How did you wind up in jail Jethrene? What did they charge you with?
Jethrene: One of ‘em caught me running away from the flames and charged me with “fleeing the scene of a crime.”
Lewis: Well Jethrene, that was definitely the scene of a crime.
And to think that the Bill of No Rights brought me here.