We, as a nation, are becoming less civilized. H.L. Mencken once
observed, “For men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness
to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.”
We have been conditioned to eschew doubt and embrace the “superior”
knowledge and insight of our presumed masters.
For almost a decade I have interviewed a wide variety of heroes,
scoundrels, scam artists, and scholars about two interconnected big lies.
The two frauds are The Federal Reserve, and the 16th Amendment (the one that
gave us the income tax).
Thomas Jefferson in an 1816 letter to John Taylor wrote, “I sincerely
believe … that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing
armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity
under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
George Bernard Shaw observed, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul
can always depend upon the support of Paul.” Youbetchabygolly!
Much of the “tax protest” movement has consisted of extremes. There are
bodies of players of dubious intentions that, armed with kernels of fact,
have gotten a lot of people in trouble. There are also some true believers,
researchers, and scholars who have made a compelling case for the facts in
evidence and could and will win any academic argument. However, the cruel
reality check is that notwithstanding the facts, right is not might.
I have talked with and met most of the key players in the tax protest
community: Bill Benson, Red Beckman, Bill Conlin, G. Edward Griffith, Devvy
Kidd, Joe Banister and others of both exceptional and dubious distinction.
Voltaire once wrote, “The history of the great events of this world is
scarcely more than the history of great crimes.” Different observers have
different dates for when the republic started the terminal slide down the
razorblade. My personal “dark date” is 1913. A whole bunch of real bad
stuff happened in 1913. Two of the most egregious were the Federal Reserve
Act of 1913 and the fraud of the 16th Amendment.
Robert Schulz is chairman of a foundation called “We The People” (not to
be confused with former California Governor Jerry Brown’s organization).
Schultz has held a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., designed to bring
attention to, and to mitigate the fraudulent ratification of the 16th
Recently he placed an extraordinary (and expensive)
USA Today. It is extraordinary not for its content — the content is all the “facts that contradict preconceived opinions” I have been interviewing folks about for almost a decade. It is extraordinary because it may well be the first time — this information has been so clearly delineated in a mainstream national publication.
The ad starts off with three declarative statements:
- Most citizens are not required to file an income tax return.
- The 16th (“Income Tax”) Amendment to the Constitution is a fraud.
- If you file, you waive your 5th Amendment rights.
The ad continues, “These are the major points expressed in a ‘Remonstrance,’ that was hand delivered to leaders of the three branches of the federal government on April 13, 2000, by a group of citizen-delegates representing all 50 states. These grievances concern alleged illegal operations of the federal income tax system and the IRS.”
Three specific points highlighted in the USA Today ad have always fascinated me, and remain a prime reason I continue to interview these people some label as “tax protesters,” “right wing wackos” or “kooks.”
- Bill Benson has clearly demonstrated and documented that the 16th Amendment was fraudulently and illegally announced as being ratified in 1913. However, the courts have refused to even hear this issue. If, in fact Benson is wrong, conventional wisdom would suggest, drag his butt into court and prove him wrong. Rather the courts have routinely and consistently avoided this issue.
- Neither the IRS nor Congress can cite an authorizing law or regulation that compels us to file a tax return. A recent effort to prosecute a citizen for “willful failure to file” resulted in an acquittal when jurors simply asked the judge for the law, statute or regulation. The judge repeatedly refused and despite his annoyance at what seems a reasonable request from jurors, the members of the jury “smelled a rat” and freed the citizen. The judge was reportedly so PO’d he left the court without even thanking and dismissing the jurors.
- The very real fact that “You can be criminally prosecuted for your ‘voluntary’ return.” Remains a curiosity.
Those who subscribe or even question this issue are often sluffed off as kooks. However, most of them are not kooks. In fact, the best (and most disturbing) example is Joseph Banister. Banister was a “Big Six” CPA before he became a badge wearing, gun carrying, special agent of the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS.
I have always had mixed feelings about Banister’s involvement in the tax protest movement. He had been working for the IRS and wielding subpoenas, his gun and badge enforcing exactly what he now protests. Joe used to listen to my radio talk show when I was on the air in San Francisco. As he was driving around one day on Treasury Department business, he heard an interview I conducted with Devvy Kidd, co-founder of
Institute. Kidd was talking about the three items that ended up in that USA Today ad, and Banister’s immediate reaction was to write her off as one of those “kooks” his superiors had warned him about. However, he had listened to me for years and considered me to be fair, reasoned, and credible. Apparently Devvy’s comments were enhanced by the venue (he must have missed my interview on “The Philadelphia Experiment”).
Banister subsequently started a research project of his own on his own off duty time to document, corroborate, or refute, what he had heard. Eventually he produced a 90-page memo delineating his concerns, and questions. He submitted the memo to his superiors in the IRS and asked that they review it and respond.
Well, just as the courts have refused to hear this issue, just as that judge could not provide jurors with documentation they requested, Banister’s superiors refused to even consider his research, let alone comment on it. They would however accept his resignation.
Banister joined Schulz and others and delivered copies of this remonstrance to designated honchos of the three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.
This issue is not a liberal or conservative thing. It is not Democrat vs. Republican. It is frankly and simply: Right and Wrong.
The government flat out refuses to even enter the debate, let alone demand a judicial review to discredit these charges. Jason Furman, Senior Director and Senior Economic Advisor of the National Economic Council, after having initially agreed to meet to discuss the issue, subsequently bailed. Furman told Schulz, “The legality of the income tax is not a high priority item at the White House, and we will not participate in any conference on the subject.” What does than mean? That is White House-speak for “Eat excrement and die”?
Sen. Everett Dirkson once observed, “Politicians don’t see the light until they feel the heat.” Maybe the USA Today ad will reach people who had not been exposed to this information. Meanwhile, I suggest we embrace the insights of Senator Dirkson and make our elected officials “feel the heat.”