Ron Strom is commentary editor of WND, a post he took after serving as a news editor since 2000. Prior to coming on board with WND, Strom worked in politics in California. Married and the father of two homeschool graduates, he has served in leadership positions in his church, local nonprofit boards and in county government.More ↓Less ↑
Rose Lear, the 52-year-old Michigan woman ending the fourth week of a hunger strike, fears her health soon will be harmed permanently unless her demands of the federal government are met, allowing her to eat once again.
Having stopped eating on March 5, Lear says she is willing to die for her cause if she does not secure answers to 537 questions included in a petition for redress of grievances sponsored by the “tax honesty” organization We the People, which was delivered to all 535 members of Congress last fall. The questions concern the movement’s contention that the federal government lacks any legal jurisdiction to enforce the income tax, that there is no law that requires Americans to pay the tax, and that the tax is enforced in a manner that violates the U.S. Constitution.
After her congressman, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., did not respond to Lear’s request for answers and her husband was convicted – she says unjustly – of failing to file a tax return, Lear decided to start her fast.
Lear says at that meeting Hoekstra did not address the concerns of those who petitioned the government. Last week, she met with Hoekstra again, and the congressman assured her that his staff “is working on all of the questions.”
To date, however, no one from the federal government has done what Lear says is the only thing that will get her to eat: Answer the hundreds of questions “under oath.”
Two years ago, at the request of We the People, IRS and Justice Department officials agreed to meet with WTP leader Bob Schulz to answer his questions after he went on a 20-day hunger strike. Government officials later reneged, and We the People held its own congressional-hearing style forum in Washington, D.C. At the event, several expert tax attorneys and former IRS officials testified that the income tax system is fraudulent and that most Americans are not legally required to pay. It was the record of that forum that accompanied the petition delivered to Congress.
“The Internal Revenue Codes is being misapplied to the majority of Americans who are being victimized, terrorized and abused, leaving those not well-heeled financially without any means to defend their homes or businesses and thus destroying their families,” Lear said in a statement yesterday.
Saying she now experiences dizzy spells off and on, Lear told WND, “I can feel pain in my muscles.” The activist suffers from fibromyalgia and says the lack of food is intensifying the disease. At the end of this week, Lear will have fasted for over 30 days, the point at which many medical experts believe permanent damage can occur in someone on a hunger strike, she noted.
When asked if she would accept a promise of answers within a few weeks, Lear was resolute. She says she will not eat until she has answers to all the questions in-hand, signed under oath – no promises accepted.
“They did that with Bob [Schulz],” she said, referring to Schulz’s hunger strike and the government’s reneging on a promise to address the issues.
Lear says John Van Fossen, Hoekstra’s chief of staff, with whom she had a lively discussion last Thursday, told her she will not get the answers under oath. She insists on that as a requirement, however, since those who sign a tax return are required to sign it “under penalty of perjury.” She believes the same should be required of the government when addressing the income-tax issue.
Tomorrow, Lear plans to participate in a radio talk show on WBIG in Chicago. She says listeners to the program will be visiting their own congressional representatives’ offices during the show and will use cell phones to call in to the host, Ron Newman, to report on their activities. At the same time, Lear will be in Hoekstra’s office on a cell phone conferenced in to the talk show.
Lear has a blog site on the Internet where Web users can post their thoughts and communicate with the activist.