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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Happy taXmas 
Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 | 02:23 pm [commentary, conspiracy theories, history]
Since the 15th was on a Sunday and yesterday was an obscure holiday in Washington, D.C. called Emancipation Day, which celebrates the day in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln ordered all slaves in town to be freed and paid the former slave owners 300 bucks a head for their trouble, today is Tax Day. I filed my taxes like three months ago and have long since received my state and federal refunds, but there are always those who insist on waiting until the last possible second. I’m not sure why this is, other than blatant slothfulness, since the vast majority of people in the U.S. have paid their taxes already by having them automatically deducted from their paychecks, so filing late only means you’ll have to wait longer for your refund.
Not everyone gets a refund, I realize, even following the progressive and compassionate tax cuts championed by our saint-like chief executive, which put a whopping couple of hundred dollars back in the hands of thousands of middle class families, most of whom no doubt made use of their newfound financial security to make a car payment or purchase a new pair of shoes.  But even if you wind up owing, isn’t it better to just get it over with? I visited Ashley at the library yesterday and there were still people coming in looking for tax forms. If it’s the day before the deadline and you haven’t even gotten the forms yet . . . all I can do is applaud. You are an inspiration to slackers and procrastinators the world over.
I’m just as lazy as the next guy (lazier, even — fuck, I’m in college!), but I prefer to just get the whole tax thing over with as soon as I get the w-2 in the mail. It’s not like I have a choice. Or do I?
I do according to Aaron Russo. He produced the interminable documentary America: From Freedom to Fascism, where he and others claim that there is no written law anywhere in the United States legal code requiring any individual to pay income tax. “But Steve,” you are no doubt saying to your monitors at this very moment, drawing quizzical stares from the others in your campus computer lab/Wi-Fi-equipped café, “aren’t Mr. Russo and his friends overlooking the Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which clearly declares, ‘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?’” No, for the simple fact that Aaron Russo and those who agree with him believe that the Sixteenth Amendment was never legally ratified, stupid.
Of the thirty-eight states that originally ratified the amendment, only four actually considered and approved the exact text of the amendment proposed by Congress. Most of the differences are just typographical errors, mistakes in capitalization of punctuation that resulted because Congress was too cheap to just mail copies of the proposed amendment to the state legislatures and had the text transmitted over the wire instead. None of the alterations change the meaning of the amendment in any way, and whenever the ratification has been challenged on these grounds, the courts have consistently told the tax protestors to please go fuck themselves. Still, despite the fact that their arguments have been universally rejected for over 80 years, Russo and many others insist that the Sixteenth Amendment was never ratified and they don’t need to pay any fucking income taxes, fuck you very much.
We all hate having to pay income taxes. I understand where Russo and his fellow tax protestors are coming from, but the poor bastards are jousting at windmills. They should at least change-up the strategy a little, try a different tactic than the “there is no Sixteenth Amendment” gambit that has failed every single time it’s been tried. Here’s my favorite: all court decisions upholding the income tax are invalid because lawyers and judges are not U.S. citizens and therefore have no authority to implement or interpret the law. Why are lawyers and judges not U.S. citizens? Because practicing lawyers use the title “Esquire,” which is a title of nobility, and under the Thirteenth Amendment any American who claims a title of nobility is automatically stripped of their citizenship. Quoted below is the hilarious rebuttal to this argument offered by the U.S. District Court of Arizona, in the case Campion v. Towns:
[T]he Court will correct any misunderstanding Plaintiff has concerning the text of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In his Complaint, Plaintiff includes a certified copy of the Thirteenth Amendment from the Colorado State Archives which was published in 1861. As included in that compilation, the Thirteenth Amendment would strip an individual of United States citizenship if they accept any title of nobility or honor. However, this is not the Thirteenth Amendment. The correct Thirteenth Amendment prohibits slavery.
This version of the Thirteenth Amendment, the Titles of Nobility Amendment (TONA), was proposed in 1810 and only ever ratified in 12 states (including Maryland), 26 shy of the ¾ majority necessary for ratification. Apparently a few states jumped the gun and published copies of the Constitution that included the erroneous amendment, including, judging from the above quote, Colorado, one of the 38 states that didn’t ratify TONA.
Another crackpot conspiracy theory demolished by an inconvenient fact. Yet Russo and his conspiracy theorist allies soldier on undeterred — and why shouldn’t they? The truth never stopped them any other time.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 | 11:15 pm (UTC)
It's days like this that I can really appreciate the meaning of Schadenfreude, as I imagine Darren staring at envelopes and forms on his desk with a twitchy eye and a belly full of rage. Then he licks the stamps and sends off the mail and gets back to the Truth movement (not his bowels).
Thursday, April 19th, 2007 | 10:09 pm (UTC)

You know, that's interesting. I mean, I assume Darren does file income taxes (I wonder if he tries to claim weed as a medical expense . . .), though if he were a true-blue tax protestor he would refuse, like his hero Aaron Russo. I just read online that Russo had like $2 million dollars in tax liens against him as of 2006. I also found a couple of websites (http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/jsiegel/Personal/taxes/F2F.htm , and http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html) that demonstrate convincingly that almost every argument Russo makes against the legality of income tax in his film is demonstrably false. Shocking, I know, since Darren's other sources are so reliable.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 | 09:03 am (UTC)
We filed electronically with the feds a while back and got back a small amount of money. Around a hundred bucks I think. We owed the state around forty bucks. We didn't send that in until a week ago. It's better to wait till the last minute if you owe because what would happen if a asteroid hit and took out the Earth before taxes were due? I would feel like a real idiot paying my taxes early.
Thursday, April 19th, 2007 | 10:05 pm (UTC)

You know, that's an excellent point, and reminds me of the logic my economics professor employed when she advised us to never pay our bills until they are due. Though I hasten to point out that for you "waiting until the last minute" means filing with a week to go, not walking into the library at 6 p.m. the day before the deadline looking for the fucking forms.

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