Taxes Are Over ,what would happen if........... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Good caught your attention; Now don't get all peed off at this question everyone,just think of an answer to send back.

We have heard that this guy Joe Garrison has info about the IRS and how we don't really have to pay taxes,right? Well,then what would happen if a "class action suit" against say, H&R Block and all those tax guys were to occur? Just think about it now; if we don't have to pay taxes really, then should we not discuss getting that money, we have all paid into the IRS and the tax guys that prepare our taxes, back ???

I wonder what would happen to the Offices of H&R Block and the tax Preparer's ,are they in a position of scamming us all these years? Or are they just doing their job ?

What would happen ??? Every tax paying person asking for all the tax money they have given to the IRS and for filing taxes at H&R and other places. So what kind of disruption would that cause ?

But if this guy Garrison is correct, wouldn't you want all that money back??? Think about it logically, that's a ton of money. That would be owed to us. Now don't p--- and moan about it. Think of what it could do to the system of the IRS ? Interesting question ?


-- Furie (, April 24, 1999


Frivolous litigation, if it's enough of a nuisance, is prosecuted as a crime. So far, acc. to report, no case against IRS filed on this point has succeeded. Plus, the legal fees would be a great burden.

-- Tom Carey (, April 25, 1999.

Within my fairly recent memory, there have been a couple dozen folks who have tried to explain why we owe no taxes to the Federal Gov't. In MOST cases, these courageous folks have done their interviews for the radio market and the tabloids from the Greybar Hotel. I can't help but wonder if the rest were out in the world because they actually paid the taxes that they said weren't owed.


Some may call it the Greybar Motel, but, since there is food service, it's a Hotel to me. It's just the lack of sun I don't think I'd like.

-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 25, 1999.

and then the govmit would ask for all those interstate hwys, welfare checks, social securtiy checks and on and on and on....including your hospital and ambulance service, most likely.


-- Taz (Tassie, April 25, 1999.

My understanding of Mr. Garrison's position is that he believes that the income tax is "voluntary," and that nothing in the law requires him (or anyone else) to pay income tax. I favor limited government (and thus oppose taxes) more than most, but he is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, "wishing for a world that just isn't."

The position that taxes are voluntary is a corruption of statements made by the IRS, the courts and Congress to encourage taxpayer compliance with the tax laws without the need for legal action against taxpayers.

A quotation frequently taken out of context in "support" of this position is the following by the U.S. Supreme Court:

"Our tax system is based upon voluntary assessment and payment and not upon distraint." Flora v. United States, 362 U.S. 145, at 175. This quotation is out of context, because the court first noted that the government could collect the tax by exercising its power of distraint, "but [the Court] cannot believe that completing resort to this extraordinary procedure is either wise or in accord with congressional intent." 362 U.S. at 175. In other words, Congress can collect taxes by force, but the court believed that Congress intended to give taxpayers an opportunity to comply before exercising that force.

This is better explained in Helvering v. Mitchell, 303 U.S. 391, 399 (1938), which the court cited in the Flora decision:

"In assessing income taxes, the Government relies primarily upon the disclosure by the taxpayer of the relevant facts. This disclosure it requires him to make in his annual return. To ensure full and honest disclosure, to discourage fraudulent attempts to evade the tax, Congress imposes sanctions. Such sanctions may confessedly be either criminal or civil."

See also, Ginter v. Southern, 611 F.2d 1226, 1229 & n.2 (8th Cir. 1979), cert. den., 446 U.S. 967 (1980); Funk v. Commissioner, 687 F.2d 264, 265 (8th Cir. 1982).

When confronted by claims that income taxes are "voluntary," courts readily explain that the payment of income tax is mandatory, not optional:

"Appellants' claim that payment of federal income tax is voluntary clearly lacks substance. See Newman v. Schiff, 778 F.2d 460, 467 (8th Cir. 1985)." United States v. Gerads, 999 F.2d 1255 (8th Cir. 1993). "The payment of income taxes is not optional ... and the average citizen knows that payment of income taxes is legally required." Schiff v. United States, 919 F.2d 830, 834 (2nd Cir. 1990).

"Any assertion that the payment of income taxes is voluntary is without merit. It is without question that the payment of income taxes is not voluntary. United States v. Gerads, 999 F.2d 1255, 1256 (8th Cir. 1993), (per curiam); Wilcox v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 848 F.2d 1007, 1008 (9th Cir. 1988). The assertion that the filing of an income tax return is voluntary is, likewise, frivolous. Title 26, United States Code, Section 6012(a)(1)(A), 'requires that every individual who earns a threshold level of income must file a tax return.' United States v. Pottorf, 769 F.Supp. 1176, 1183 (D.Kan. 1991). Failure to file an income tax return subjects an individual to criminal penalty. Id., (citing 26 U.S.C. ' 7203)." United States v. Hartman, 915 F.Supp. 1227 (M.D.Fla. 1996).

A similar claim is that a federal income tax return is a form of contract, and is therefore voluntary or invalid if entered into under duress. This claim is also uniformly rejected:

"The notion that the federal income tax is contractual or otherwise consensual in nature is not only utterly without foundation by, despite McLaughlin's protestations to the contrary, has been repeatedly rejected by the courts." McLaughlin v. United States, 832 F2d 986 (7th Cir. 1987).

"Drefke argues that taxes are debts which can only be imposed voluntarily when individuals contract with the government for services and that those who choose to enter such contracts do so by signing 1040 and W-4 forms. By refusing to sign those forms, Drefke argues that he is 'immune' from the Internal Revenue Service's jurisdiction as a 'nontaxpayer.'

"This is an imaginative argument, but totally without arguable merit. 26 U.S.C. ' 1 imposes upon 'every' individual a certain rate of income tax depending on their amount of taxable income. 26 U.S.C. ' 6012 states that unmarried individuals having a gross income in excess of $4,300, and married individuals entitled to make joint returns having a gross income in excess of $5,400 'shall' file tax returns for the taxable year. Considering Drefke's gross income for 1979 and 1980, he was clearly required to file tax returns for those years.

"26 U.S.C. ' 6151 states that when a tax return is required to be filed, the person so required 'shall' pay such taxes to the internal revenue officer with whom the return is filed at the fixed time and place. The sections of the Internal Revenue Code imposed a duty on Drefke to file tax returns and pay the appropriate rate of income tax, a duty which he chose to ignore." United States v. Drefke, 707 F.2d 978, 981 (8th Cir. 1983), cert. den., sub nom., Jameson v. United States, 464 U.S. 942 (1983).

"Upon review of May's amended peition, we find no allegations of fact which could give rise to a valid claim; rather, the complaint merely contains conclusory assertions attacking the constitutionality of the Internal Revenue Code and its application to the taxpayer.[Footnote omitted.] Tax protest cases like this one raise no genuine controversy; the underlying legal issues have long been settled. See, e.g., Abrams, 82 T.C. at 406-07 (citing cases rejecting similar arguments). Because May's petition raised no justiciable claims, the Tax Court properly dismissed the petition for failure to state a claim." May v. C.I.R., 752 F.2d 1301, 1302 (8th Cir. 1985), (among other things, May's amended complaint alleged that "The filing of an 'imcome' [sic] tax return is 'VOLUNTARY' and penalties can not be instituted against a voluntary act since to do so would make the act 'mandatory.'" 752 F.2d at 1304, note 3).

Apparently, Mr. Garrison also claims that there is no law which imposes a tax on him. Again, unfortunately, this is flat wrong.

"Section 1 of the Code [26 U.S.C. Sec. 1, et seq.] imposes an income tax on the income of every individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States ...." Treas. Reg. ' 1.1- 1(a)(1).

United States v. Moore, 692 F.2d 95 (10th Cir. 1979); United States v. Slater, 545 F.Supp. 179 (Del. 1982).

"The payment of income taxes is not optional ... and the average citizen knows that payment of income taxes is legally required." Schiff v. United States, 919 F.2d 830, 834 (2nd Cir. 1990). The following arguments are "completely lacking in legal merit and patently frivolous: (1) individuals are not persons 'persons' subject to taxation under the Internal Revenue Code; (2) the United States' authority is confined to the District of Columbia; ... (5) wages are not income ...." Lonsdale v. United States, 919 F.2d 1440, 1448 (10th Cir. 1990).

The statutes themselves require the payment of the tax and the filing of a return. 26 U.S.C. ' 6012. ... [The] duty to pay those taxes is manifest on the face of the statutes, without any resort to IRS rules, forms or regulations." United States v. Bowers, 920 F.2d 220, 222 (4th Cir. 1990).

"Upon review of May's amended peition, we find no allegations of fact which could give rise to a valid claim; rather, the complaint merely contains conclusory assertions attacking the constitutionality of the Internal Revenue Code and its application to the taxpayer.[Footnote omitted.] Tax protest cases like this one raise no genuine controversy; the underlying legal issues have long been settled. See, e.g., Abrams, 82 T.C. at 406-07 (citing cases rejecting similar arguments). Because May's petition raised no justiciable claims, the Tax Court properly dismissed the petition for failure to state a claim." May v. C.I.R., 752 F.2d 1301, 1302 (8th Cir. 1985), (among other things, May's amended complaint alleged that "The Respondent has added penalties for Petitioner not filing a return (1040) when in fact there is NO SECTION of the Internal Revenue Code that 'REQUIRES' anyone to file." 752 F.2d at 1304, note 3).

An attorney named Thomas J. Carley argued before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that "[n]owhere in any of the Statutes of the United States is there any section of law making any individual liable to pay a tax or excise on 'taxable income.'" The Second Circuit responded that "Section 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C.) (hereinafter the Code) provides in plain, clear and precise language that '[t]here is hereby imposed the taxable income of every individual ... a tax determined in accordance with' tables set-out later in the statute. ... Despite the appellant's attempted contorted construction of the statutory scheme, we find that it coherently and forthrightly imposed upon the appellant tax upon his income for the year 1980." Ficalora v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 751 F.2d 85, 88 (2d Cir. 1984), cert. den. 105 S.Ct. 1869 (1985).

Oddly enough, the same attorney raised nearly the identical argument before the Eighth Circuit, arguing that there was "no law imposing an income tax" on his clients. The Eighth Circuit held that the appeal was "frivolous" and imposed a penalty on the appellants of double the Commissioner's costs of the appeal. Lively v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 705 F.2d 1017, 1018 (8th Cir. 1983).

Even more incredibly, only a year after losing the Lively appeal, and six month after losing the Ficalora appeal, the same attorney, Thomas J. Carley, raised the same issue with the 10th Circuit, questioning "Whether there is any law or statute imposing an income tax on appellants for the year 1977 and, if such a law or statute is claimed to exist, what is the precise citation of such law or statute?" The 10th Circuit quoted from both the Ficalora and Lively opinions, and then spent the rest of the opinion explaining why it was going to impose sanctions on Mr. Carley personally (not his clients). "It is obvious that despite having full knowledge of the learned opinions of two different Article III courts and the accurate reasoning of the Tax Court in Manley [v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 46 T.C. M. 1359 (1983), another case lost by Mr. Carley)] concerning his arguments, Carley has failed to learn that he has no right to occupy the time of such courts with frivolous, unreasonable and vexatious proceedings, and that if he does so, he exposes not only his clients but also himself personally to sanctions." Charczuk v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 771 F.2d 471, 474 (10th Cir. 1985). The court also referred to Mr. Carley's arguments as "meritless," "preposterous," "nearly silly," and "thoroughly defy[ing] common sense."

So, I guess you could say that Furie's plan has been attempted, and failed.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 25, 1999.

The name is NOT Garrisson, but JOE BANISTER! Do a search with that name and you get the truth straight from the horses mouth! Joe Banister was a former IRS Agent, who did a lot of research and discovered a couple of months ago that Americans are NOT liable for the Income Tax!

The only people that are liable are non-resident aliens and Americans working in foreign countries!

Because of his information, I did not file a 1040 this April 15th!!!

I made sure to take some precautions, and put all my assests in different trusts. I bought the IRS Code, title 26 and found out Joe Banister is telling the truth! Until they change the law and actually make me liable, I will not file a 1040 from now on!

-- freddie (, April 25, 1999.

Thanks to all who commented on my question. So if we decide not to sign the 1040 forms we will not be incriminating ourselves by the information put on the forms. In otherwords ,we will not waiving our 5th Amendment rights.

Just in case the IRS wants to make a criminal case against us later.

Thanks for responding,


-- Furie (, April 25, 1999.

freddy; hey ,sorry I did misspell the name in the question.


-- Furie (, April 25, 1999.

Also see Otto Skinner's web page at
for info on how to stop paying and dealing with IRS.

-- A (, April 26, 1999.


Thanks for the legalese. "They" can write and pass decisions on any tax "law" they wish, but they're simply embellishing lies with more lies. The constitution does not allow for direct taxation of sovereign individuals. The constitution allows only for federal tariffs, excise taxes, and taxes apportioned among the states (non-personal taxes). Furthermore, the constitution does not allow unlawful search and seizure, i.e., "mandatory" reporting of one's financial history, assets, and activities. The fact that this invasion is couched within an unconstitutional (illegal) tax system enacted and oppressively enforced through a tax-funded power bureaucracy is all the more heinous. If find the fedgov's convolution of the supreme law in order to maintain this charade against the American people is both pitiable and destructive.

Like good little automatons, we submit in disgust to their tax charade and pay our taxes. But make no mistake. The entire system is nothing but coercion and lies built upon earlier coercion and previous lies -- a direct violation of the intent and spirit of the document this country was founded upon. The Supreme Court sustains this lie, Congress embellishes this lie, and the Executive branch administers violence against the people daily to maintain this lie. I know it, you know it, and, someday, every "taxpayer" will know it.

-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.


You wrote, "The constitution does not allow for direct taxation of sovereign individuals. The constitution allows only for federal tariffs, excise taxes, and taxes apportioned among the states (non-personal taxes)."

Apparently your reference copy of the U.S. Constitution (to which I presume you refer by "constitution") has not been updated in the 86 years since the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified.

From The U.S. Constitution Online - at :

Amendment XVI
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Did you know that U.S. Senators are now elected by popular vote? Or that women can vote now? Or that the voting age has been lowered to 18? Or that there have been a total of 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including one (18th) that was repealed by a later (21st) amendment?

-- No Spam Please (, April 26, 1999.

Meerkat - you know damn well that the whole tax scam is illegal, implemented by skullduggery, and has been for the better part of a century.

-- Andy (, April 26, 1999.

No Spam,

You are aware, of course, that the 16th amendment was never properly ratified. Also, the Supreme Court found in 1916 in the case Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co.; 240 U.S. 1, that the 16th Amendment did NOT extend the taxing powers of Congress.

Did you know that the Constitution does not allow Congress to delegate its primary Constitutional functions, especially taxation (for voter accountability reasons), to anyone else? Did you know Congress has done just this via the IRS? Did you know the IRS is a private corporation? Did you know that the Federal Reserve is also private corporation, yet another, illegal Congressional dereliction of duty and accountability?

Furthermore, any so-called "amendment" that violates the founding principals of freedom, liberty, and justice of the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights is patently illegal, no matter what the so-called "law" and its mindless hired thugs say.

-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.

First of all, the tax IS voluntary, it is just that the court system is punishing people for not volunteering! Second, once you volunteer (sign the 1040), you agree to play the game, and you are liable for the taxes you "owe."

Check out: -- and --

Happy reading!

-- winna (??@??.com), April 26, 1999.

"The Sixteenth Amendment gave congress no new power to tax."

This statement is derived from language in the opinions of the United States Supreme Court in the Brushaber and Stanton decisions and is actually true. The problem is not that the statement is false, but that it doesn't mean what many people want it to mean.

Many believe that, before the adoption of the 16th Amendment, a tax on incomes was unconstitutional and therefore outside the power of Congress. (However, cases before the Sixteenth Amendment actually held that Congress could tax wages and earnings from employment, as well as income from business operations.) If the 16th Amendment gave Congress no new power to tax, then a tax on incomes must be unconstitutional even after the adoption of the 16th Amendment. This is ridiculous, because it means that the 16th Amendment changed nothing and has no meaning, while it is plain from the words of the amendment that Congress was to have the power to tax incomes.

To understand the statement of the Brushaber court, you have to understand the context in which it was made. One of the claims made by the taxpayer in the Brushaber case was that the 16th Amendment was "repugnant to the constitution" because it created a form of tax that was neither required to be apportioned (as required for "direct" taxes by Article I, Section 9) nor required to be uniform (as required for "excises" by Article I, Section 8, Clause 1). The court referred to the conclusion "that the 16th Amendment provides for a hitherto unknown power of taxation; that is, a power to levy an income tax which, although direct, should not be subject to the regulation of apportionment applicable to all other direct taxes," as an "erroneous assumption."

"[T]hat the contention that the Amendment treats a tax on income as a direct tax although it is relieved from apportionment and is necessarily therefore not subject to the rule of uniformity as such rule only applies to taxes which are not direct, thus destroying the two great classifications which have been recognized and enforced from the beginning, is also wholly without foundation since the command of the Amendment that all income taxes shall not be subject to apportionment by a consideration of the sources from which the taxed income may be derived forbids the application to such taxes of the rule applied in the Pollock Case by which alone such taxes were removed from the great class of excises, duties, and imposts subject to the rule of uniformity, and were placed under the other or direct class." Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1, __ (1916). This statement was confirmed and explained by the Supreme Court in Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co., 240 U.S. 103 (1916), in which the court stated that "by the previous ruling [in Brushaber] it was settled that the provisions of the 16th Amendment conferred no new power of taxation, but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of INDIRECT taxation to which it inherently belonged, and being placed in the category of direct taxation...."

Therefore, the power to tax incomes without apportionment is not a new type of power, but just a different classification of the power, placing it in the category of indirect taxation "to which it inherently belonged."

(As noted above, some circuit courts are still not certain whether the income tax is a "direct tax" or an "excise," despite the Brushaber and Stanton decisions. Regardless of the confusion in nomenclature, they are unanimous that the tax is constitutional under the 16th Amendment.)

Regarding the IRS being a "corporation," Section 7801(a) of the Internal Revenue Code states that the administration and enforcement of the Code shall be performed by or under the supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury. Section 7802(a) then says that there shall be a Commissioner of Internal Revenue in the Department of the Treasury who shall have such duties and powers as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Finally, Section 7803(a) of the Code states that the Secretary is authorized to employ persons for the administration and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code.

Acting under these laws, the Department of the Treasury has adopted regulations creating the Internal Revenue Service, of which the following is a part:

"The Internal Revenue Service is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The Commissioner has general superintendence of the assessment and collection of all taxes imposed by any law providing internal revenue. The Internal Revenue Service is the agency by which these functions are performed." Treas. Reg. Section 601.101(a) Faced with the claim that the IRS is not an agency of the United States government, the courts have reached the obvious conclusion:

"It is clear that the Internal Revenue Code gave the Secretary of the Treasury full authority to administer and enforce the Code, and the power to create an agency to administer and enforce the tax laws. Pursuant to that legislative grant of authority, the Secretary created the Internal Revenue Service, so that the IRS is an agency of the Department of the Treasury, created pursuant to Congressional statute." Snyder v. IRS, "Plaintiff attempts to circumvent this conclusion by arguing that the IRS is 'a private corporation' because it was not created by 'any positive law' (i.e., statute of Congress) but rather by fiat of the Secretary of the Treasury. Apparently, this argument is Based on the fact that in 1953 the Secretary of the Treasury renamed the Bureau of Internal Revenue as the Internal Revenue Service. However, it is clear that the Secretary of the Treasury has full authority to administer and enforce the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. ' 7801, and has the power to create an agency to administer and enforce the laws. See 26 U.S.C. ' 7803(a). Pursuant to this legislative grant of authority, the Secretary created the IRS. 26 C.F.R. ' 601.101. The end result is that the IRS is a creature of 'positive law' because it was created through congressionally mandated power. By plaintiff's own 'positive law' premise, the, the IRS is a validly created governmental agency and not a 'private corporation.' Young v. Internal Revenue Service, 596 F.Supp. 141 (N.D.Ind. 1984).

"We perceive not need to refute these arguments with somber reasoning and copious citation of precedent; to do so might suggest that these arguments have some colorable merit. The constitutionality of our income tax system--including the role played within that system by the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Court--has long been established." Crain v. Commissioner, 737 F.2d 1417 (5th Cir. 1984), (responding to, among other things, a claim that the "Internal Revenue Service, Incorporated" lacks authority).

"Salman's argument that the Internal Revenue Service is not a government agency is wholly without merit." Salman v. Jameson, 52 F.3d 334 (9th Cir. 1995). (Salman has now been enjoined against filing any other lawsuits against the IRS or the United States. See Salman v. Jameson, 97-1 USTC 650,452, 79 A.F.T.R.2d 697-2667 (D.Nev. 1997).)

Finally, let's talk about the poster's comment "Furthermore, any so- called 'amendment' that violates the founding principals of freedom, liberty, and justice of the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights is patently illegal, no matter what the so-called "law" and its mindless hired thugs say."

The Constitution sets forth a variety of things, and provides a host of rights set forth in the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments. The mechanism for the adoption of amendments is set forth, although much of the details provided are ministerial in nature. But I ask, how can an amendment added in accordance with the constitution violate the constitution. By its very nature, an amendment changes the underlying document. For example, the First Amendment restricted the U.S.'s power to establish a national religion. Without this amendment, that power would have presumably been one that the Federal government had (else what was the point of the amendment).

Finally, about the comment "'They' can write and pass decisions on any tax 'law' they wish, but they're simply embellishing lies with more lies." The constitution, a document I hold in far greater reverance than that poster seems to, provides for Article III courts, which, since the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1801, review and determine the constitutionality of laws. Article III courts are arbiters of this dispute. If the tax laws are unconstitutional, either in the abstract or as applied, then recourse is found there. They are the balance. In my opinion, ALL of the constitution has purpose, and therefore we cannot overlook the plan fact that the courts, whether you like it or not, are determine what the law is, ultimately.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.


My apologies for questioning the timeliness of your reference copy of the U.S. Constitution.

-- No Spam Please (, April 26, 1999.

The IRS agent that was fired never got his responce as to how or why the American people are SUBJECT to the income tax. The TRUTH is that when the American people volunteered for the Social Security System... They agreed to pay an INCOME TAX...

-- Greg (, April 26, 1999.


It's so nice for the IRS to drop by from time to time to dispense its "legal" interpretations. No one doubts your ability make the "law" dance to your tune. Force and favor can turn anything on its head. The tax system is a blatant, criminal violation of fundamental constitutional rights. Yet you and your ilk stand idly by -- no, worse -- you actively support this legal fiction. Sleep well my friend.

-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.

Stooge --

First off, as I mentioned before, I probably oppose taxes even more than you do. However, I am also not into wishful thinking. Wishing a thing is how I'd like it to be does not make it so.

I'd like to support your position, but I don't see the evidence. I look at constitutional history, the adoption of the 1922 and then the 1954 internal revenue laws (and the most recent major amendment in 1986), and I look at all of the cases that courts decide in interpreting the tax laws, and I just don't find legal support for your position. Show it to me. Cite something. Provide evidence of the "conspiracy." Don't just tell me "the Amendment wasn't ratified properly," tell me how, and show me the historic evidence. If there is an opposing position, show me how it's wrong, don't just call it a "schill's position."

Let me give an example of how I think you and I diverge. Let's take something as old as "interstate commerce." Congress can regulate interstate commerce. That's in Article I. I think we both can look at the Constitution and see that. The Supreme Court, over the past century, has interpreted "interstate commerce" extremely broadly, such that if I grow crops in my own back yard I can be deemed engaged in interstate commerce (and thus Congress could, in theory, regulate it). This is based on the fiction that, if lots and lots of people were to grow crops (not just me) in their backyard, it would impact interstate commerce. A heck of a stretch, isn't it?

But the Supreme Court has upheld such an interpretation. And, according to our constitution (the one that we BOTH appreciate, I am sure), the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what the law (and the constitution) means. So... Here we have what I think is a dumb result, and one that the framers (I think) never had in mind when they drafted the constitution. But at the same time, they provided that the Supreme Court would interpret the law, and thus intended the constitution to be interpreted. So therefore, whether or not I like the interpretation, it is what it is. Therefore, it IS within Congress's power to regulate, whether or no I think it SHOULD be.

Using your logic, you would argue that those court rulings are simply wrong, and that Congress cannot regulate interstate commerce (at least insofar as the example I provided). But that ignores half of the constitution (or at least Article III). I would agree that it is horrible policy. I advocate changing it. But I cannot pretend that, just because I don't like it, it isn't what it is. I respect the constitution (all of its parts) too much to accept that premise.

Help me see your position, Stooge... Don't just cite me to someone else's page. Give me the basis for your position, not just your conclusion.

I've given the legal evidence for my position (or rather not my position, but the law as I understand it). Show me where I'm wrong.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.

Brother Gregory --

I now understand Mr. Garrison's position. But what is the basis for the IRS's responsibility to answer him? Is there a law that requires them to answer his question?

For example, if I send a letter to the Supreme Court of my state and ask them "Is it O.K. for me to shoot my wife?" Would they be under a legal obligation to say "umm... no."

Similarly, if I presumably sent a letter to the EPA asking, "is it O.K. to dump poisonous gunk in the stream out back behind my house?" I can't imagine that I would be free of any obligation if I never got a response and proceeded to dump the gunk.

Is there some reason why we should expect an answer, necessarily?

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.

Mr. Dono-ho:

There is a difference between an act that is prohibited (murder, sludge dumping)... and one that is forced by TDC -- threat, duress, coercion -- (taxation by fraud, under color of law). Do you know the difference?

BTW, I doubt your "reverence" for the Constitution. I can imagine that your ideal is a country where "all that is not specifically permitted is forbidden."

-- A (, April 26, 1999.

Ok, A, your name calling is duly noted. Do you have anything constructive to say, or do you just like to name call.

And by the way, you couldn't be more wrong about my constitutional interpretation. I am a libertarian, but I also do not stick my head in the sand. I recognize what the law is, and work to change it.

And at least I include a real e-main address. Why don't you do the same, or do you prefer to hide?

-- Jeff Donohue (Jeff, April 26, 1999.

Further, you have again assumed your conclusion. You assume that taxation is "under color of law," but not legal. Like the prior poster, you give no concrete example, no cite, no authority. You just don't like it. I understand that taxes stink, but you still fail to show the evidence or authority. Show me the proof, and I'll agree with the logic.

Stop wasting our time: show evidence, or stop ranting.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.


You are quite correct, sir, all truth should proceed from the legal framework. However, you must realize that the American "legal" system, from the Supreme Court on down, is subservient to the tax system, not the other way around. Your arguments and citations are specious, as your initial premise is faulty. The "legal" system itself became a fiction in order to enable and sustain the fiction of the tax system. Every legitimate flaw in this tax-law arrangement is immediately papered-over with more illegal obfuscation.

I hold the law -- the true law -- in the highest regard. Sadly, the manipulation and deception masquerading as "law" in America is become but a truncheon of the power-mad and moneyed elite. The Ship of State has been cut adrift from its constitutional moorings ever since FDR packed the Supreme Court, decimating its independence and the greater part of its legitimacy. Oh sure, they go through the motions with the usual aplomb. But the truly heinous violations of constitutional authority are all but ignored, year after year.

Without true constitutional adherence and accountability of legislative duty, true constitutional restraint of executive power, and true, independent, constitutionally-centered judicial review, it is only a matter of time until we crash upon the rocks. The endlessly destructive tax and federal reserve systems sit atop our federal government, the states, and the people, continually and increasingly perverting the founding law, feeding on the wealth of the nation, manipulating our media, and destroying our fundamental freedoms.

-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.


The "tax" money is NOT the issue. The power to illegally and forcibly extract this money is the issue, for the power to tax is the power to destroy, and the Constitution was founded on safeguarding against THIS PRINCIPLE. The total perversion of America's ideals through the application of force, money, and deceit is the issue. The TRUTH is the issue.

Here's a link exploring the validity of the 16 amendment. As explained previously, if you are waiting for the courts to resolve this in any way, shape, or form, you will be waiting a very long time.

Sixteenth Amendment Never Ratified


In 1984, William J. Benson of South Holland, Illinois, (a criminal investigator for the Illinois Department of Revenue, for approximately 10 years) commenced a project to examine the process of the ratification of the 16th Amendment to determine if the amendment had really been lawfully made a part of the constitution. To undertake such a task, never before performed, required the review of all documents stored in various state archives, state law libraries, legislative libraries, and offices of the secretaries of states, clerks of the houses, and secretaries to the senates, that related to the method by which the States in the American Union in 1913 allegedly approved the amendment as a part of the constitution. Notwithstanding the enormity of such a research project, Bill spent virtually the entire year traveling to the state capitols to find old dusty and musty records regarding the actions of the states taken to adopt the amendment, an investigative task that Bill had been well trained for during his years as an investigator with the Illinois Department of Revenue.


The authority of the federal government to collect its income tax is premised upon the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the federal income tax amendment, which was allegedly ratified in 1913. In 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar federal income tax act adopted in 1894 was unconstitutional, thus depriving the federal government of a potential source of tax revenue. In 1909, the 16th Amendment was proposed by Congress to circumvent that decision by the U.S Supreme Court and by 1913, the process of ratification of the amendment was claimed to have been completed, the consequence of which was to once again permit Uncle Sam to collect income taxes. Thus, because of the existence of this amendment, the federal government lays claim to the power to collect this tax from all of us.


Starting in January, 1984, Bill went first to the capitols of the New England states and performed his investigative research using the journals of the various state legislative bodies to find out how these states acted upon the proposal by Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to permit a federal income tax law. After review of these records, he began to see that serious problems existed as to weather these states had legally ratified the same amendment which had been proposed by Congress. When examination of the records of about 20 states showed that many had not ratified the amendment and that information regarding the action taken by these States had been sent to the U.S. Secretary of State, he determined that records in Washington, D.C. most probably existed to prove the point.

In august, 1984, Bill traveled to Washington, D.C. to research the historical records in the National Archives. After several days of pursuing fruitless leads, he finally found a book that had contained within it all federal records which had been prepared during the process of amending the Constitution by the 16th Amendment. This proved to be an exceptional discovery because those documents revealed that a man named Philander Chase Knox, the Secretary of State in 1913, was fully aware that the amendment had not been ratified nonetheless.

After making this important discovery, Bill concluded that it was essential that he also research the records of all other states which the federal government claimed had ratified the amendment. In September, 1984, Bill started investigating the remainder of the remainder of the states and completed the project on December 1984. When this year long project was finished at the end of 1984, Bill knew that not a single state had actually and legally ratified the proposal to amend the Constitution in the manner required by law. Such conclusion obviously meant that the federal government lacked the power to legally impose and collect the federal income tax.

To demonstrate the merits of this argument, an examination of the evidence uncovered by Bill is essential. The federal government claims that the State of Kentucky was the second state to ratify the amendment, such action taking place on February 8, 1910. But, the records of the State of Kentucky reveal a far different picture. These records show that the Kentucky House proposed a resolution to adopt the amendment and then sent that resolution to the Senate in early February, 1910. On February 8, 1910, the Kentucky Senate voted upon that resolution, but rejected it by a vote of 9 in favor and 22 opposed. The Kentucky Senate never did ratify that amendment, but federal officials, being in possession of documents showing this rejection, fraudulently claimed otherwise.

A second interesting situation involves the State of Oklahoma., Here, this proposed amendment was passed by the Oklahoma House and the language of the resolution perfectly matched the one passed by Congress. However, the Oklahoma Senate obviously disliked what Congress had proposed, so it amended the language of the 16th Amendment in such a fashion as to have a precisely opposite meaning. After all was settled and done in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Legislature wanted an amendment which meant something entirely different than that which was proposed by Congress.

What happened in California reveals a comedy of errors. That legislative assembly never recorded any vote upon any proposal to adopt the amendment proposed by Congress. However, assuming that a nonexistent vote was taken, whatever California did adopt bore no resemblance to what Congress had proposed. And many states engaged in the unauthorized activity of amending the language of the amendment proposed by congress, a power that these states did not possess. The State of Minnesota sent nothing to the Secretary of State in Washington, but this did not deter Philander Knox as he claimed that Minnesota ratified the amendment regardless of the absence of any documentation from the State of Minnesota.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution controls the amending process, which requires that three-fourths of the States ratify any amendment proposed by Congress. In 1913, there were 48 States in the American Union, so to adopt any amendment required the affirmative act of 36 states. In February, 1913, Knox issued a proclamation claiming that 38 states had ratified the amendment, including Kentucky, California and Oklahoma. But, as previously shown, Kentucky had rejected the amendment, California had not voted on it, and Oklahoma wanted something entirely different. If just these 3 states are excluded from the court of those which ratified, then the amendment was not legally adopted, the number of ratifying States being only 35. But, then again, a total of 11 states failed to vote on the amendment, 33 changed the language of the amendment and Minnesota sent in nothing. If the process of the adoption of the amendment is subjected to strict legal scrutiny the amendment was adopted by none.

Today, the federal government pretends that it has all encompassing power to tax the income of everyone, and that the only was to change this system is to vote for congressmen who promise to modify or, even more unlikely, to repeal these laws. The American public needs to be apprised that another alternative exists, and that it is entirely possible to challenge the very foundation of this taxing power upon the grounds that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was never adopted. This challenge can be effectively made by exercising your rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.

The flaw, as you present it, Stooge, is that Article III courts do not interpret the constitution in a narrow fashion, and there is no safeguard to ensure they will (especially in light of the FDR court packing threat that you alluded to, which is still a possible threat that a future -- or current -- president could use to change the consistancy of the Supreme Court). That part of your analysis, I think, is absolutely right. There is no check on the power of the so called "least dangerous branch." As a result, the judiciary grants increasing powers to the federal government. Hence, we have cases ranging from the so-called Slaughter House cases on, which provide tremendous powers to the Congress by way of an ever expanding definition of "interstate commerce."

Keep in mind, however, that the Supreme Court's action is perfectly constitutional under the current constitution. Supporting an expansive interpretation of "interstate commerce", like supporting income taxation, might be dumb policy, amoral, and generally a nasty thing, but not unconstitutional.

Under your analysis it seems, Stooge, that the only solution is a new constitution. I think I'd recommend against that, though...

Given the (unfortunately) expansive expectations that the public has for government services, were we to call a constitutional convention today it would be surely difficult to end up with one that supporters of limited government desire. It would probably (and unfortunately) expand, not deminish, the power of the federal government as a result.

Might I suggest a different proposal, then: abandon non-sense about how the income tax is unconstitutional under the current constitution. It may be stupid. It may be morally wrong. But to argue that it is unconstitutional is to acknowledge only half of the constitution. The constition, according to the framers, means what the Supreme Court says it means. (See the Federalist Papers and Marbury v. Madison).

Instead, support a repeal of the income tax. Now, a repeal of the income tax, alone, will never happen. Why? The federal government needs tax revenue. Thus, it will need to be replaced with something. Alternatives to an income tax exist. For example, a national sales tax. A national sales tax has been widely advocated as a way of making taxes more readily apparent to the people (and thus showing what a large percentage of our earnings taxes take). It would also be truly voluntary: if you don't want to pay taxes, you simply don't buy goods (and instead save your money in a bank, since there's no taxation on the interest). It also has the advantage of bringing lots of otherwise illegal activities into taxation (i.e., drug traffickers need to buy groceries just like everyone else, so they get taxed).

Why not do something to change the system, eh?

One thought: if the income tax is really some sort of "trick," and average people really aren't subject to it, then aren't you doing a disservice by telling people this? I mean, if most people were not required to pay income tax, surely the federal government (a huge consumer of cash) would need tax revenue of some sort -- wouldn't Congress then NEED to either pass legislation ENFORCING the Income tax, or alternatively set up another form of taxation (like the National Sales Tax?). I mean, sheesh -- if it IS a trick it's the most poorly thought out one in history.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.

That was an interesting post, and I read the book that it came from back in 1992 for a paper.

Although the Constitution describes how to ratify amendments, it doesn't say how we know when an amendment has been ratified. After some confusion about the status of some amendments, Congress decided that the Secretary of State should certify what amendments have been ratified.

The argument that the 16th Amendment was not ratified is best explained by this quotation from U.S. v. Thomas, 788 F.2d 1250 (7th Cir. 1986), cert. den. 107 S.Ct. 187 (1986). This is a long quote, so bear with me:

"[O]ne of his [Thomas] arguments is that he did not need to file tax returns because the sixteenth amendment is not part of the constitution. It was not properly ratified, Thomas insists, repeating the argument of W. Benson & M. Beckman, The Law That Never Was (1985). Benson and Beckman review the documents concerning the states' ratification of the sixteenth amendment and conclude that only four states ratified the sixteenth amendment; they insist that the official promulgation of that amendment by Secretary of State Knox in 1913 is therefore void. Benson and Beckman did not discover anything; they rediscovered something that Secretary Knox considered in 1913. Thirty-eight states ratified the sixteenth amendment, and thirty-seven sent formal instruments of ratification to the Secretary of State. (Minnesota notified the Secretary orally, and additional states ratified later; we consider only those Secretary Knox considered.) Only four instruments repeat the language of the sixteenth amendment exactly as Congress approved it. The others contain errors of diction, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. The text Congress transmitted to the states was: 'The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.' Many of the instruments neglected to capitalize 'States,' and some capitalized other words instead. The instrument from Illinois had 'remuneration' in place of 'enumeration'; the instrument from Missouri substituted 'levy' for 'lay'; the instrument from Washington had 'income' not 'incomes'; others made similar blunders.

Thomas insists that because the states did not approve exactly the same text, the amendment did not go into effect. Secretary Knox considered this argument. The Solicitor of the Department of State drew up a list of the errors in the instruments and--taking into account both the triviality of the deviations and the treatment of earlier amendments that had experienced more substantial problems-- advised the Secretary that he was authorized to declare the amendment adopted. The Secretary did so.

Although Thomas urges us to take the view of several state courts that only agreement on the literal text may make a legal document effective, the Supreme Court follows the 'enrolled bill rule.' If a legislative document is authenticated in regular form by the appropriate officials, the court treats that document as properly adopted. Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 36 L.Ed. 294, 12 S.Ct. 495 (1892). The principle is equally applicable to constitutional amendments. See Leser v. Garnett, 258 U.S. 130, 66 L.Ed. 505, 42 S.Ct. 217 (1922), which treats as conclusive the declaration of the Secretary of State that the nineteenth amendment had been adopted. In United States v. Foster, 789 F.2d. 457, 462-463, n.6 (7th Cir. 1986), we relied on Leser, as well as the inconsequential nature of the objections in the face of the 73-year acceptance of the effectiveness of the sixteenth amendment, to reject a claim similar to Thomas's. See also Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433, 83 L. Ed. 1385, 59 S. Ct. 972 (1939) (questions about ratification of amendments may be nonjusticiable). Secretary Knox declared that enough states had ratified the sixteenth amendment. The Secretary's decision is not transparently defective. We need not decide when, if ever, such a decision may be reviewed in order to know that Secretary Knox's decision is now beyond review."

It has also been claimed that the votes of Georgia legislature were recorded incorrectly and that Georgia actually rejected the amendment, contrary to Knox's report. However, no Congressman or other official from Georgia (the only people with legal standing on a matter that has to be decided by a legislature) has ever complained about the "error" and, even if there was an error and Georgia did not ratify the amendment, there would still have been thirty-seven ratifications, one more than the thirty-six required. (Article V of the Constitution requires that amendments to the Constitution be approved by the legislatures of three fourths of the states, and there were forty-eight states in 1913.)

As noted by the 7th Circuit in Thomas, the argument that the 16th Amendment is invalid is not only factually deficient, but it is an argument that federal courts are unwilling to consider. This is because the federal courts have always recognized limits upon their powers, and one of those limits is that the courts should not get involved in issues that the Constitution has entrusted to other branches of the government. The Constitution says that Congress may propose amendments, and the states may ratify them. Whether an amendment has been properly ratified is considered to be a "political question" to be resolved by Congress and the states, and not in court. In this case, no state has ever claimed that the 16th Amendment was not ratified.

Again, this boils down to a basic understanding of constitutional law. Unlike the constitionality of a statute, the constitutionality (or procedural adoption) of a constitutional amendment can only be challenged by a state under the constitution. This was because the founders believed that the states would play a greater role in the United States than they have since the Civil War. The United States, as it was originally established, was just that, a union of states.

The court, here, presented the historical guidance in passing, but ultimately held, rightly or wrongly, that the Sixteenth Amendment would be passed or treated as passed. Thus, it cannot be a challenge to the Internal Revenue Code, in itself.

If you don't like the result, you're unhappy with the constution itself, in that it is the constitution that told us that Article III courts (of which the 7th Circuit is one) would tell us the meaning of the constitution.

So, without more guidance, we have the Sixteenth Amendment as adopted.

An interesting side note on my paper was that I looked at earlier amendments to the constitution to see if they (according to the book) would have been ratified properly. If the Sixteenth Amendment was not ratified due to the changes in text, capitalization, et al., then Amendments # 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, and 11 were not either. #7 was a close call, but I think I'd have to give it a "passed". When you start looking at the old documents used in the formation of the Union, you start to realize how utterly amazing and important modern copiers and Xerox's are today! In any event, I think we all hope that the Bill of Rights passed. I sure rely on it!

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.


You are by far the strangest Libertarian I've ever met. In fact, I know Libertarians and you're no Libertarian.

Fashionable expansiveness is no justification for what has happened with the Supreme Court. That very expansiveness you so cavalierly toss out is a violation of the primary overriding founding principle that the powers of the federal government are to be strictly limited, and that goes for the Court, too. They should know this. They DO know this.

There's nothing wrong with the Constitution that would require a rewrite, heaven forbid. The moneyed-interests and the media would make a travesty of the whole process. All the Constitution requires is men of high moral caliber to uphold and administer its basic tenets.

Repeal of the 16th amendment is and idea, but, unfortunately, it can't possibly be repealed as it was never ratified. A beauty, eh?

What Libertarian would assert that the government needs to get its money from someplace? That's the problem. The government needs money -- mountains of it -- none of which it has any Constitutional need or Constitutional right. The federal functions found in the Constitution are enumerated and few. A bloated, overreaching government is absolutely no justification for this illegal tax system or any other massive tax system that my be proposed.

And the spread of truth is a disservice? A novel assertion. And yes, the "trick" as you call the US tax system is, indeed, a poor one -- a very poor one. Why else the need of constant threats, lies, coercions, and confiscations? A really good lie would require little of this. Truth would work even better.

I agree with you in a way. Whereas you would like to "change" the system, I would prefer to "correct" the system, though I doubt either of us will ever be oblidged to any large extent. And before either change or correction comes education.

Regarding your last post, it reads like an apology for remiss of judicial duty:

...beyond review

...unwilling to consider

...cannot be challenged

They ignore the states' illegitimate amendments to the 16th amendment and lamely profess these as "typos". They accept "oral" confirmation, with no supporting documentation. What do you expect the courts to say?

Then you resort to introducing a Bill of Rights "typos" red herring, intimating the ratification of the entire original Constitution is on the same level as the rail-roaded, backroom dealings surrounding the 16th amendment.


-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.

To all you wishful thinkers hoping the IRS and the 1040 are a bluff:

Get caught by the cops driving around town with $20,000 cash. Then, after you have spent a year and 10% ($2000) having your "arrested" cash returned to you (if they return it at all), come back and tell us just how little authority the federal government has over your assets.

-- try this (taxpayers_@re.screwed), April 26, 1999.

Tax Stooge,

In case we lose this thread, I'd be happy to discuss this via e-mail.

In any event, let me answer your assertions.

#1. "Fashionable expansiveness is no justification for what has happened with the Supreme Court. That very expansiveness you so cavalierly toss out is a violation of the primary overriding founding principle that the powers of the federal government are to be strictly limited, and that goes for the Court, too. They should know this. They DO know this."

What is the recourse, then? We cannot, per the constitution eject the Article III judges from office. We can hope that our Congress and the President will appoint judges who will rein in government, but since they (Congress and the President) benefit from the increased power they receive as a result of a broad interpretation, I think we would wait in vain. Therefore, bitching about how Article III judges don't read the law right is pointless: the law is what they say it is. Again, look at Marbury v. Madison and the Federalist Papers.

#2. "There's nothing wrong with the Constitution that would require a rewrite, heaven forbid. The moneyed-interests and the media would make a travesty of the whole process. All the Constitution requires is men of high moral caliber to uphold and administer its basic tenets."

Agreed. But what happens when such leadership is not forthcoming? The whole point of checks and balances is to ensure a government of laws, and not men (cite to Benjamin Franklin, I believe). The point is that the so-called "weakest branch" (Article III) is nothing of the sort.

#3. "Repeal of the 16th amendment is and idea, but, unfortunately, it can't possibly be repealed as it was never ratified. A beauty, eh?"

A foolish position, and one which creates a self-imposed weakness; if the courts entrusted with the obligation to interpret the constitution say that it is valid, it is. Therefore, it CAN be repealed.

#4. "What Libertarian would assert that the government needs to get its money from someplace?"

An educated one. One who realizes that there are very few things that a government is good for (i.e., defense), but that those things cost money. Even if the federal government was paired back to its original size, it would still have a budget...

#5. "That's the problem. The government needs money -- mountains of it -- none of which it has any Constitutional need or Constitutional right. The federal functions found in the Constitution are enumerated and few. A bloated, overreaching government is absolutely no justification for this illegal tax system or any other massive tax system that my be proposed."

Agreed, for the most part. It is not true to say "None of which it has any constitutional need or right." There are enumerated powers left to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government (i.e., defense). These must be paid for. How do you propose to handle that?

An unfortunate side effect of returning rights to states in a modern world would also be, I fear, simply a shifting of burden (e.g., it wouldn't be surprising if the states increased their tax burden if the federal government took away all of its environmental protection programs, for instances, as the states tried to fill the void). The better news here would be that people can freely move from state to state, and so could determine what mix of benefits and burdens would be right for them, if that did happen.

#6 "And the spread of truth is a disservice?"

Only if the result would be an increase in tax obligations for all (i.e., if your position were correct AND Congress simply acted to fix it!)

#7 "Regarding your last post, it reads like an apology for remiss of judicial duty."

It is nothing of the sort. It simply relates the Courts position, which is based on the "non-justiciability doctrine" which, by the way, arose in 1811. The principle behind it was that Court is not the right place to bring purely political questions. For example, some people in 1811 claimed that Rhode Island did not have a "republican form of government" as required by the constitution. The Court did not resolve the matter, as it decided that what is and what is not republican is a political matter. This is the same reason why the court will not overturn elections to the United States Congress.

Might I suggest you read Chemerinsky's "Federal Jurisdiction" to understand more of what the Supreme Court can and cannot due before you accuse people. Most of the Supreme Court's "remiss of judicial duty" comes from restraint that the early Supreme Court justices (many of whom were drafters of the Constitution itself) felt appropriaate. The 7th Circuit case is in accordance with that: you will not it simply defers as to whether the actions taken by Knox were appropriate or not and relies on the States to challenge the matter in court.

#8. "Then you resort to introducing a Bill of Rights "typos" red herring,

I did nothing of the sort. I noted that the same types of errors which Benson and Beckman posited as being the reason why they claimed the XVI Amend. was never ratified were also present in another context. My point was to show that errors were common in the early (and not so early) history of the Republic.


"intimating the ratification of the entire original Constitution is on the same level as the rail-roaded, backroom dealings surrounding the 16th amendment."

If they were errors, yes, the same errors were made. If there was "collusion," I will need more supporting evidence to conclude that.

#10. Finally, about my libertarianism. I believe that, like Thoreau, that which governs least governs best. I belive that government should remain out of the market. I belive in extensive personal freedoms for all, so long as they cost me nothing. I believe and support the proposition that men and women are capable of leading themselves without a paternalistic government. I have advocated privitization of most government agencies (everything from the Post Office to the EPA to the military). I'm probably more libertarian than your libertarian friends...

But I am also a realist, and a legal scholar. I do not simply make conclusory statements that something is "unconstitional" without making damn sure I'm right. My philosophy and worldview is libertarianism, but that doesn't mean I don't acknowledge what is true if it conflicts with my beliefs. Libertarianism is the rock, from which I build the church of my politics -- but I can only do so by building on the truth and not pipe dreams.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 26, 1999.


"...the law is what they say it is."

And that, is it in a nutshell. At its BASE, the LAW is what the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights say it is. And, if America is to survive the next 200 years in any semblance of its former self, any process, any artifice, any man, any group of men, and any government bureaucrat elected or appointed cannot alter this simple truth. Lest we confuse the chicken for the egg, "they" are not the LAW. The LAW existed before "they" did, and the LAW will exist after "they" are gone. And the LAW will exist even if everyone of its original principles has been or abandoned or inverted and all the "theys" deny it ever existed. All "they" can do is choose to either subvert or sustain the original idea of America. Yes, "they" now have the form, the trappings, but "they" lack the substance. I care not for "they", but for the LAW. Reread Orwell's 1984 if you truly wish to entertain the notion that "the law is what they say it is" to its logical conclusion.

I, too, was once optimistic for the possibility of positive change. Sadly, the events of the last few decades would suggest we're racing in the opposite direction. The thoughts of the under-educated masses are now all too easily manipulated. The pseudo-two-party power structure is too entrenched, narrow-minded, and self-interested. And a fictitious, corrupt, and corrupting monetary system tenuously holds the entire rotted mess together. I fear the odds favor America collapsing before it ever returns to its roots. I just wish to help people see the system for what it is, what it was, what it could have been in a better world, and understand the mechanisms that are driving it to its likely conclusion. I sincerely hope I am dead wrong in this regard.

I see on the news tonight that the budget is "balanced" and that the president does, after all, have the power to commit the entire nation to war without Congressional debate or approval. It appears the "polls" have shifted in favor of this escalation against the evil, sub-human Serbs, so Congress will, of course, rubber-stamp it. The LAW in 1999. The Ship of State stays afloat another day...

Jeff, I enjoyed our dialog very much. Thank you.

-- taxstooge (taxstooge@goodold.usa), April 26, 1999.

For final clarification before sigining off, by "they," I refer to Article III judges (i.e., the Supreme Court). Your reference to the President and Congress is not what I meant about "they" defining the law. To quote Justice Marshall (a framer of the constitution), "it is empatically with in the province of the judiciary to say what the law is."

As an unrelated aside, your comment about the President committing the United States to military action highlights some of the trouble with the constituion. In 1976, the War Powers Act was passed by Congress, which requires the President to get Congressional approval before committing armed forces into combat for more than 60 days. It is widely considered itself unconstitutional, as it was a restriction placed on the Executive by the Legislative relating to the Preisendent's ability to execute the executive aspects of the job. Supporters of the War Powers Act argued that what it was really doing, in not so many words, was defining what a "war" was (and thus what actions required Legislative approval). In any event, as structured, it is mostly ignored (it may have been ruled unconstitutional or repealed, I've lost track).

My point is that these things are a lot more complicated than people tend to make them out to be. Let's take the pro-War Powers Act camp: does Congress have the power to pass a statute telling us what the constitution means? Or is that a power of the Judiciary? Before you answer too soon, imagine if Congress could pass a statute telling us what "speech" meant for the purposes of the First Amendment. I think you start to see the complications... On the other hand, surely the founders can't have meant that the Executive can, on its own, commit forces indefinitely merely because the President does not call it a war. That can't be right either -- it's an example of elevating form over substance, which is a common mistake of neophytes to the law.

So we are left with the Judiciary... Again, not the "weakest branch", eh?

Back to the main topic: I empathise with your frustration, but again, wishing something is the case does not make it so. We can want the XVI Amend to not be the law of the land 'till the cows come home, but it is.

So, since that is the case, perhaps we work for alternatives, rather than throwing up our hands and getting cranky about the "system."

In any event, best regards. I enjoyed this discussion.

-- Jeff Donohue (, April 27, 1999.

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