Thursday, April 12, 2007

Can Liberty Survive the Income Tax?

April 12, 2007
Alan Keyes

Thanks to our nation's income tax system, individual Americans are not free --they are literally on parole.

If they fail to show up at the designated time and place to testify against themselves, they face the prospect that their material goods will be confiscated and their bodies seized and imprisoned. All this because they are guilty of the crime of doing what the most fundamental law of nature gives them the right to do --procure the means of preserving themselves and their loved ones.

A dilemma

Every year around this time, I find myself in a great quandary, a struggle between y sense of obedience to law and my sense of principle. The reason: it's time to file an income tax return.

Don't get me wrong. I have no trouble with the logic that effective government requires some form of taxation. What I can't understand is how we reconcile the clear provisions of our Constitution with the demand that every citizen testify under oath as to the amount of income they have earned in the previous year.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that "No person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." The common understanding is that every American must file an income tax return or be prosecuted for the failure to do so.

Yet, it also appears to be the case that the contents of the return can be used in evidence against us if and when we are prosecuted for tax evasion or other income tax related crimes, including perjury, if we do not scrupulously comply with the letter of the voluminous tax code.

If filing is compulsory, we are being forced to provide testimony that may be used in evidence against us. This means that we are compelled to bear witness against ourselves, which the Constitution plainly forbids.

On the other hand, those who support the use of the income tax return will say that it does not violate the Fifth Amendment because filing the return is a voluntary act. But if this were truly the case, how could anyone be prosecuted for failure to file a tax return? Prosecution brings the force of law against the individual. Acts performed under the threat of prosecution are therefore not voluntary acts, but acts done under the threat of force.

Shallow legal arguments

I'm sure that the self-interested representatives of the legal profession will spring forward to assure me that the Courts have accepted the validity of the income tax system and cooperated with its enforcement mechanisms (by sanctioning the coercion used to enforce compliance). But we all know that this offers no assurance of constitutionality.

The Courts do not reliably represent the rule of law, since they willfully ignore the plain provisions of the Constitution that is the Supreme Law of the Land and the source of all their legitimate governmental power. The Courts blithely fabricate and impose requirements that are nowhere found in the Constitution (such as the separation of Church and state) and demand respect for rights that contradict its principles and stated purpose (like the so-called right to abortion).

Given this dismal track record, it's not at all hard to believe that they would cooperate in the imposition of an income tax regime that contradicts the Constitution's plainly worded guarantee against self-incrimination.

Respect for law

If we assume for a moment that the income tax regime is enforced by means that systematically disregard one of the most basic guarantees against governmental abuse of individuals, we realize that it puts conscientious citizens in a terrible position. If they choose to cooperate, they lend credence to the abuse --so that over the course of generations, people become more and more inured to it, and ignorant of the abrogation of right that it represents. Since habitual deference to law enforcement is the only basis for the filing requirement, such deference becomes the source of government authority, rather than the plainly declared and duly ratified will of the people expressed in the Constitution.

Habitual deference to the perceived force of law is far from being characteristic of a free people. Indeed, it is the reason large masses of people in every region of the world submitted to despotism and arbitrary tyranny in the centuries before the influence of Christianity led thinkers to articulate the doctrine of God-given inalienable rights.

We must be careful, of course, to keep in mind the distinction between habitual deference to the force of law and the habit of respect for the law. The first is quite simply the product of fear, the second is the fruit of good civic education.

Courts and all the trappings of so-called law are no strangers to tyranny. They have more often been its tools and servants than its enemies. The preponderance of human history offers examples of tyrannical and unjust regimes that cowed the masses into submission using handy symbols of power to shackle the mind, reinforced by the routine application of brute force.

Constitutional self-government is supposed to achieve respect for law on a very different basis, one that commands obedience on account of the assurance that the transcendent principles of right and justice will be respected in both the substance of the law and the procedures that enforce it.

The issue

Here then is the question: If the administration of the income tax departs from the principles of right and justice plainly set forth in the Constitution, does our cooperation with the income tax regime constitute and encourage the habitual deference to force without respect for right that has been a key support for sustaining tyrannical and unjust government? Does our willingness to cooperate help to shackle the mind and will of our children and of future generations, corrupting their understanding so that they will no longer recognize the distinction between legitimate government by law, and government by force masked with the handy symbols of law?

If we truly care about liberty--which is to say, constitutional self-government based upon respect for our God-given inalienable rights--are we obliged to cease this cooperation, even as, in the founding generation of our country, people ceased to cooperate with a system of taxation that contradicted those rights?

This challenge might be less urgent if the issue involved were not so critical to the material foundations of liberty. The American founders repeatedly alluded to Blackstone's pithy dictum: The power to tax is the power to destroy. How much more so when the mechanism of taxation itself involves the destruction of one of the most vital protections against governmental abuse of the individual: the protection against self-incrimination.

The income tax gives the government the power to attack or manipulate the material resource base of the whole people, determining what share will be controlled by the government and what will be left to the discretion of individuals. It also places every individual under a requirement to reveal to the government the sources of their individual sustenance, knowledge that could be used to attack or sever these lines of supply at will. It places every individual under a reporting requirement which, aside from being incompatible with the Fifth Amendment, can at any time become the basis for embroiling the individual in legal and bureaucratic challenges that consume their time and resources in ways that can threaten their own survival and that of the family and friends who rely on them.

By contrast, Montesquieu defined liberty as the ability to live without fear that others could assault your life, In our society, livelihood is life. Franklin Roosevelt appeared to agree when he cited freedom from fear among the four freedoms for which we did battle during the Second World War. Under our system of constitutional self-government, legitimate power means power consistent with liberty. The provisions of the Constitution aim to secure liberty by establishing a government whose powers are limited by respect for the Constitution's principles and requirements.

Free-market alternative

I admit that we would face an insoluble dilemma if the income tax were the only form of taxation capable of funding our government effectively. If this were so, it would mean that republican government consistent with the U.S. Constitution and its principles is impossible. The best we could hope for would be some less evil form of tyranny.

However, the success of the free enterprise economy made possible by respect for liberty means the existence of a huge marketplace, whose transactions generate an enormous exchange of goods and services. A system of taxation that imposed a modest toll (retail sales tax) on every such open and public exchange in the marketplace would more than suffice to fund the government, without the need to threaten the livelihood or constitutional right of any citizen. In the normal course of their voluntary business and other economic affairs, people would pay for government services, just as they pay for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and entertainment.

If we care any longer to preserve the substance of democratic self-government, we need urgently to develop and put in place the free-market alternative to the liberty-destroying income tax system now in place. If we fail to do so, we leave the people, as individuals and as a whole, defenseless against the strategies of self-righteous, power-hungry elites who are already manipulating its administration to isolate and demoralize our people, crushing both their individual spirit and their ability to associate effectively for political action.

© 2007 Alan Keyes

Wow...Mr. Keyes gave me pause for thought with this article. He and I suffer from the same affliction: struggling to obey the law and at the same time honor our sense of principle. I never really thought about how the IRS compels us to do things that are in direct conflict with our Constitutional guarantees.

To be honest, while I have many reasons for supporting the FairTax, the Constitution was just never a part of it (aside from repeal of the 16th Amendment). I have become more aware of the Constitution over the last couple of years, but Mr. Keyes has given me many more things to consider now.

If you've read this far, perhaps you'll see a different side to the taxation issue. I know I certainly have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Told You So!

That's what Larry Birkhead said when he emerged from a Bahamian courthouse yesterday and announced to the world that he is Dannielynn's daddy.

I was pretty sure that would be the case (although I was sort of hoping that the test would rule him) even though Howard K is listed as the father on her birth certificate.

The next phase will be to establish custody. Howard K graciously said he would not contest custody. So the battle is now between Larry and grandma Virgie Arthur. Most jurisdicitions would give custody to the parent; in this case Larry Birkhead. Unless Virgie can dig something out of Larry's background to support a claim of him being an unfit parent. She needs to start sucking up to Larry so that she can have some part in her granddaughter's life. I'm not saying he would be unfit. I know nothing of Larry other than what I've seen in the news.

I just want this little girl to have as stable and normal a life as possible.

Good Luck, Dannielynn. I think you're going to need it.
Tough Questions - Answers

1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: boxing

2. The North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls (The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. The only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The only sport in which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball: baseball.

5. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.

6. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

7. Three English words beginning with "dw": dwarf, dwell, and dwindle.

8. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

9. The original lakes referred to in Lakers . . in Minnesota. The team was originally known as the Minneapolis Lakers, and kept the name when they moved west.

10. The seven ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting hit: taking a base on balls (a walk), batter hit by a pitch, passed ball, catcher interference, catcher drops third strike, fielder's choice, and being designated as a pinch-runner.

11. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen,canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: lettuce.

12. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with "s": Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

How did you do? Better than I did, I hope!
Don Imus Is An Idiot

That's true enough. I won't repeat the words; I won't add fuel to the fire. I don't know whether he's a racist at heart, trying to be funny, or just talking to hear himself talk, but what he said was stupid.

And all of those who are making a big deal of it are just as stupid. His remarks were nothing more than the adult version of what you might hear on a playground where kids make childish remarks to others. And before you get the idea that I sympathize with him, let me set you straight: he shouldn't have said what he did and he should be punished.

Kids say things they shouldn't because they either don't know better or they are parroting what they have heard others say. Adults ought to know better than to say things that might be hurtful.

But let's address who he made remarks about: the Rutgers Women's Basketball team. I assume that because these women are in college they are adults. I'll further assume none of them are straight out of a convent where they never watched TV, saw a movie or read a book other than the Bible. I am sure that each and every one of them has heard worse than what Imus called them. And some may have even called others worse than that. If they had their feelings hurt maybe they need to ask themselves why the words of an older white man were so hurtful.

Should we allow anyone to be verbally abused? Should the Rutgers women just sit back and "take it"? Of course not. Name calling is one of the lowest forms of humor, especially in an adult of Imus' stature. He is a media figure who should know when to stop the stream of consciousness thinking.

Haven't we all said stupid things in a similar vein? Or laughed when someone else said something stupid? I admit it. I'm guilty on both counts and I'm not proud to admit it.

Should Imus be fired? No, He might be guilty of being stupid in public, but let's call the PC police off and get back to important things. Like the War on Terror, illegal aliens pouring over our borders, high gasoline prices, and children being kidnapped at school bus stops, abused to the point of death, shot in drug deals gone bad or drive by shootings. If this is the biggest issue you can think of, then maybe the world isn't so bad after all, or you need to start thinking about someone other than yourself.

Or maybe these aren't as important as a news story that will be forgotten in two weeks.
Providing the PC police let go.

Or when a bigger story comes along.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Who's Your Daddy?

Tomorrow may be day that Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern finds out who her biological daddy is. Of course, being seven months old, at this point in time she won't have a clue as to what's going on. As long has she has a full tummy, a clean diaper, and someone to play peek-a-boo with, she's basically happy.

Now, that being said, if she's taken away from Howard K. Stern, it could be traumatic for her. He is, after all, the only father she's known. Depending on how much time he's actually spent with her I'm going to "assume" (and yes, I know what that means) that they have bonded as father and daughter. Some say nannies have raised her so far, so maybe it won't be too traumatic if another male enters her life as her father. At her very young, tender age, she will adjust to a new father in her life, should Howard K be revealed NOT to be her father (as I believe he is not). It could be traumatic for her for some time. But eventually she will bond with Larry Birkhead or whoever gains custody of her.

And that seems to be the issue. Under Bahamian law, apparently being the biological parent doesn't mean automatic custody. Right now, Howard K seems to have the inside track for custody, whether or not he is the biological father or not.

Right now, everyone seems to be saying, "I want custody because...." and various reasons are given. I haven't heard Howard K say, ..."because she's my daughter." And yes, I could have missed it. And if so, I apologize. I have heard Larry Birkhead say that. And for that reason, he gets points.

I'm not sure that anyone in this mess is really fit to be the custodian of Dannielynn. A lot of drugs seem to be swirling around Howard K. Anna Nicole had "issues" with her mother, Virgie Arthur. Whether that really means anything, only Virgie, and maybe Howard K, know. Maybe there's a bit of snobbery here, but Larry Birkhead is of the Hollywood set - drugs again. I'm not accusing Birkhead of being involved with drugs, but drugs are part of the Hollywood scene and there is the possibility.

Do I know who should get custody? I want the person who is most fit to give this little girl a loving, safe, normal (whatever that means), childhood. I just hope that whoever ends up with her really wants her, and not the millions that will arrive with her. Maybe a judge with the wisdom of Solomon should say, "Okay, let's separate Dannielynn from her inheritance." Who would want Dannielynn then? Hopefully everyone.

Who's her daddy? I think it's Larry Birkhead, but I'm sort of rooting for J. Howard Smith, Anna Nichole's late millionaire husband. Wouldn't that throw a delicious monkey wrench into the works?
Who Will Be To Blame?
“If anyone was under the impression that congressional Democrats actually considered their actions with regard to the ‘troop withdrawal bills’ —beyond achieving victory over the Bush Administration—they would be playing the part of the uninformed, Kool-Aid drinking fool. While Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of their anti-war, pro-genocide, hate-Bush contingent revel in the fact that they have succeeded in passing a bill that opposes the President, al-Qa’ida operatives in Iraq are preparing to set their alarm clocks for ‘half-past redeployment’ so the slaughter of those who braved Iraq’s polling places can begin.” —Frank Salvato [Patriot Post, 9 April 2007]

And then who will be to blame for the deaths of the innocents? Not the liberals who pushed for redeployment. When will people wake up and understand that the Democratic/Liberal plan to redeploy troops from the mid-east is not to allow Iraq to govern itself or even to get our troops out of harms way? When will people wake up and understand that Liberals only want to get back at Bush? It's the old "anybody but Bush" scene with a twist. Anything, especially the opposite of what Bush wants, has to be better. If Bush wants to keep troops in the mid-east, well, shoot, let's get 'em out of there! Let's not stop to consider what will happen if we don't finish what we started. If we made a mess, we should clean it up. But that's not what the Liberals and Democrats want to do, they just want to cut and run.

Look, Bush has made some huge mistakes. I'm not necessarily a Bush supporter so don't make the mistake of thinking I've been drinking from the Republican/conservative water cooler. But, the Liberal's and Democrat's only thought is to do something, anything, that opposes the current administration.

Let's get a, oh, what is the word? Grease? No! Plan! That's it! A plan that has achieveable objectives and the future in mind. Not just the future of the Democratic party and who will occupy the White House in 2009, but the future of the mid-east as well.

If a blood bath does begin of those we leave behind, on whose hands will that blood be?
Tough Quiz

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. Name the only sport in which the ball is always in possession of the team on defense, and the offensive team can score without touching the ball?

5. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

6. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

7. Only three words in Standard English begin with the letters "dw" and they are all common words. Name two of them.

8. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

9. Where are the lakes that are referred to in the Los Angeles Lakers?

10. There are 7 ways a baseball player can legally reach first base without getting a hit. Taking a base on balls (a walk) is one way. Name the other 6.

11. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

12. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on yourfeet beginning with the letter "s."

Watch this space for answers :D
Important Tax Reminder

Don't forget to pay your taxes.....

21 million illegal aliens are depending on you!

!Muchos gracias!

Remember, calling an illegal alien an "undocumented worker" is like calling a drug dealer an "undocumented pharmacist"