Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Statue of Freedom Declares Interdependence

Gazing up at the Tholos, the lighthouse atop of the Capitol Dome in Washington DC, it is virtually impossible to discern the figurehead standing there serving as a constant reminder of our national ideal. On his deathbed in 1857, the sculptor of this magnificent bronze statue, Thomas Crawford, named his creation “America.” When she was mounted atop the Capitol, during the Civil War in 1863, her name was “Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace.” . Today she commonly is referred to as the “Statue of Freedom.” 

Native Hawaiian Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a Kahuna, a healer and seer, upon recognizing this distant mythic figure as the “Conscience of the Nation,” dedicated her life to bringing “Our Lady of Freedom,” as she named her, to public attention, first by appealing to her State Senator, Daniel Kahikina Akaka.  In 1993, with funding largely from the Foundation of I that was founded by Simeona, Crawford’s original plaster model was taken from storage and installed at ground level in the Russell Senate Office Building.  That same year the Statue was brought down from the dome to be refurbished. Now the plaster model presides over Emancipation Hall in the newly constructed Capitol Visitors Center.

Her sculptor, Thomas Crawford, a New Yorker working from his studio in Rome, had received many important commissions during the re-construction of the Capitol complex. Jefferson Davis, the Secretary of War, (who became the President of the Confederate States of America), and Montgomery Meigs, (who became a general of the Union Army), were the curators of the Capitol art. The Statue was mounted on the Tholis of the Capitol in the midst of the Civil War when the nation faced its greatest trial to defend human freedom. Ironically, Philip Reid, the master craftsman who cast her, was a slave. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation freed him, just before the Statue was placed on the Dome.

Thomas Crawford presented three models of the Statue to Davis and Meigs.  These models morphed from a placid Athenian Goddess into a strong Euro/American Indian Goddess sharing characteristics both of Athena and the Iroquois Mother of Nations, Jigonsaseh. On the final model, at Davis’ request, Crawford removed the commonly used symbol for liberty, the Phrygian cap that was the Roman signification of a freed slave, and replaced it with an eagle surrounded by stars.  In a letter to Davis, Crawford explained the eagle as “… a bold arrangement of feathers suggested by the costume of our Indian tribes.”  Eagle, a primary figure from the Iroquois Great Law of Peace, is perched atop the Tree of Peace guarding the peace of the Nation.

The stars encircling America’s headdress are also central to the Iroquois Cosmo vision.  Jigonsaseh was conceived in Sky World from where her pregnant mother, Ataensic, (known as Sky Woman), was pushed by her jealous old husband to the watery Earth below. Ataensic landed on Turtle’s back and from that point created Turtle Island, the continent of America. The fir-fringed cloak on the Statue signifies shelter from fear and want, two of the four central Iroquois freedoms. A Peace Medallion inscribed with the letters US binds her dress.  Peace Medallions were prized gifts from US Presidents to Native American Chiefs to seal friendship and trust.

These two significant mythic goddesses from Europe and America weave an important allegory to inform our times.  The word Capitol was derived from Capitolium, the site of Zeus’ temple in Rome.  The Greco/Roman mythological Zeus swallowed his pregnant wife, the Goddess of Wisdom, fearing the prophecy that she would bear a son who would supplant him. So, Athena, in full golden battle regalia, birthed herself through the head of Zeus, with her sword drawn. First known as the Goddess of War, Athena became famous for her arts of diplomacy and grew to be her mother’s daughter, the Goddess of Wisdom.  Like career women of today, she instigated the respect for feminine intelligence in the Greco/Roman patriarchic Cosmo vision. Similarly, this Athenian archetype paved the way for her Indigenous sister, Jigonsaseh, The Mother of Nations, to be recognized for the ideals of freedom and peace in her domain, the Americas.

Jigonsaseh, together with one known as Great Peacemaker, co-created the Great Law of Peace that became the Constitution of the Iroquois League of Nations.  The Iroquois Confederacy, the world’s first known participatory democracy, existed on the American continent centuries before European contact. Evidence is strong that the Founding Fathers relied heavily upon the Iroquois Great Law of Peace when they created the Constitution, but this usurpation could not be revealed because in Iroquois government the powers of both genders were balanced.  Colonial society had not evolved sufficiently to invite such egalitarian ideas into the mainstream conversation.

The sword, shield and laurel wreath are what remain of the Athenian symbols from Crawford’s first model. The shield, representing protection from tyranny, the Nation’s founding principle, was first utilized on the Great Seal before the Constitution was finalized. Ironically, the Founders did not see the “Right of Conquest,” as the worst imaginable form of tyrannical despotism. Initially declared a “right” by William the Conqueror, this “Right of Conquest” was Washington’s justification to begin the obliteration of the Indigenous peoples with impunity, and it remains an egregious offender to the ideals of freedom that the Founding Fathers aspired to realize. 

US history is fraught with struggles to remove these types of blinders to the European tyrannical protocols that contradicted freedom. The Statue of Freedom’s poised right hand rests on a sheathed sword wrapped in its belt—an acknowledgment of the Nation’s violent history. Her left hand holds the laurel wreath of victory, the ultimate triumph of freedom. Combining her historical given names, the Statue of America, Freedom Triumphant, stands upon a globe with the inscription, E Pluribus Unum, the Nation’s motto. As the National figurehead, she beckons Americans to look to her for the ideals of freedom and peace to which all the peoples of the world aspire.

In closing, a short prayer from the Native Hawaiian practice Ho'oponopono in honor of Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona:

I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you.

May peace be with you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Would the Founding Fathers Do?

Every couple of years, we the people of Northern New Mexico are called to stand up and testify in defense of our territory against the environmental contamination created by the nuclear bomb activities at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The Lab sits atop a windswept mountaintop, in a seismic zone, where wildfires and contaminated run off from LANL continue to threaten and compromise the health and well being of millions who live down wind and down stream.  Does the government have the right to exert this form of cruel authority over the people here who repeatedly, year after year, have to leave their fields of endeavor and take the time to defend their communities against this form of tyranny?  Citizens have repeatedly spoken out and submitted written testimony to defend the rights to have air and water free from the horrible radionuclide contamination created by the Lab.  Citizens' opinions do not change and feel their voices have not been heard.  It has been an exercise in futility to attend these constant hearings that pretend to affirm that we still live in a democratic country.  

The Federal Government, year after year, continues to expand nuclear bomb production work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and has been trying for years open a new bomb factory to produce between 50 and 80 new nuclear pits, the core to nuclear warheads a year.  This is all part of a larger plan to modernize the entire nuclear weapons complex across the country to the tune of $180 billion over the next decade. The U.S. taxpayer has spent more than $6 trillion on nuclear weapons alone, and the budget continues to steadily increase from $6.38 billion in 2004 to now $7.6 Billion in 2011—doubling the cold war average.  

I firmly believe the development of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destructions are immoral, a vulgar and heinous crime against planet Earth and humanity. The only greater crime would be to actually use them.  Their very existence goes against everything our Founding Fathers designed the Constitution to prevent. In my younger years, during the insanity of the cold war, I chose to live below poverty level just so I would not have to carry the karmic responsibility of paying the taxes that I knew would make me complicit with this crime against humanity.  These weapons of mass destruction are so abhorrent to me that I cannot knowingly and willingly pay $1 for the development of a nuclear weapon.

Then when I believed that the Cold War was over, I became more engaged with society and began paying personal income tax. But when I could no longer turn a blind eye to fact that the U.S. leads the world in the development of these and other weapons of mass destruction, this crisis of conscience again became irreconcilable with the taxation that the government was imposing upon my inalienable rights as an American citizen. I have done everything I can think of to protect the Earth from these insidious weapons of ego.  I created the Los Alamos Peace Project with the intent “to transform the laboratories creating weapons of mass destruction into institutions that engage only in life affirming research and development” and conducted peace education in the schools.  I introduced a bill in the 2007 legislature of New Mexico to prohibit the manufacture of nuclear weapons in New Mexico, participated in creating a Department of Peace in New Mexico, obtained thousands of signatures in support of the Peace Tax Fund and have been engaged in innumerable other pro-peace endeavors.  My entire life has been dedicated, in one way or another, to promote the causes of environmental sustainability and world peace.

So I had many questions... Must I keep my income below the poverty line, dumpster dive, hitchhike and live in a teepee because I cannot in all conscience contribute to this loss of national soul?  Is it not my natural born right to carry on my work for world peace and environmental sustainability living in relative comfort and health?  Should people with a deep moral conscience be required to suffer under the yoke of poverty to live in this great land? How much “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” do American citizens really have?

In a quest to answer these questions I found the answers in the Supreme Law of our Land, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This research brought me to an even deeper respect for and alignment with the intentions of the Founding Fathers.  I realized that my stand was one of a Constitutional patriot, and that I was the truest of patriots.

The United States of America is not simply a plot of land on the North American continent. It is an ideal conceived from a desire to create the preeminent imaginable form of government that would provide the optimum freedom for the individual.  The Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution to stand in firm denial of the laws in European/British despotic feudal society from which the United States of America rose like a phoenix. Because of the Constitution, this country is “We the People” who have been given by it the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  We are bound together as a country only by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers, who risked all, took up this sacred task to insure human liberty for posterity with the utmost awareness of the need for and the value of their creation.

Every public official of the United States is bound by sacred oath to defend the Constitution and the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, as a requisite for assuming office. As the Founding Fathers clearly recognized, the propensity of political power is toward tyranny. Conversely, the yearning of the individual is for freedom and personal sovereignty. They endeavored to build into the Constitution safeguards to protect this human freedom in every way possible.

The Founding Fathers were themselves tax protesters when they went to war against George III. Their war was in defense of what would become our inalienable human rights against the enemy—the tyranny of power. Having won the war, the United States has carried this banner of freedom for the world. The Constitution is used as a model for newly forming democracies worldwide. However, becoming what it once abhorred, the USA is seeking to rule the planet with its weapons of tyranny, the development of which that can be directly traced to the unconstitutional income tax imposed by President Roosevelt in 1944 during World War II. Since the end of the Second World War, the government has maintained the same war economy led by military-industrial contractors making enormous profits through taxing incomes of citizens.

Many good, intelligent, conscientious citizens have waged, are waging and will keep waging this defense of their right to personal sovereignty under the Constitution, against our domestic enemy—the federal government—whose actions are, in legal terminology, “repugnant” to the Constitution. Our democracy has eroded into a domination of the people by government and corporations—a modern-day despotic oligarchy not unlike the monarchy that the Founding Fathers endeavored to prevent.

In a letter to Colonel Wm. Duane in 1811, Thomas Jefferson affirms this intention:

If we find our government in all its branches rushing headlong, like our predecessors, into the arms of the monarchy, if we find them violating our dearest rights, the trial by jury, the freedom of the press, the freedom of opinion, civil or religious, or opening on our peace of mind or personal safety the sluices of terrorism, if we see them raising standing armies, when the absence of all other danger points to these as the sole objects on which they are to be employed, then indeed let us withdraw and call the nation to its tents.

The protection against the centralization and misuse of economic power is repeatedly built into the Constitution. The articles that pertain to taxation are Article 1, section 8, clause 1, and Article 1, section 2, clause 3. Under the Constitution, Congress can impose only two classes of taxes: direct and indirect. Indirect taxes come in the form of duties, imposts (fees for the right to carry on certain occupations) and excise taxes (on alcohol, gasoline, tobacco, firearms, etc.), and these are uniform across state lines. Manufacturers and merchants pass these taxes on to the consumer. They are taxes on business and consumption. If one does not want to pay the tax, one can choose not to buy the goods. The framers of the Constitution expected that these taxes would cover all the costs of government.

Direct taxes, they envisioned, would be necessary only in extraordinary emergencies, such as war, but such direct taxes were expected to be dismantled as soon as safety permitted. Direct taxation negates private property and gives the government the right to determine how much of what one earns or owns belongs to it. (This, by the way, is a basic tenet of Communism.) It goes against the very foundations of governance “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

According to the Constitution, direct taxes can be imposed only according to census—to be collected within respective borders of the individual states as they see fit to meet the requirements of “apportionment,” which relates to the number of members a state has in the House of Representatives and is determined by the census of each state. If, for example, a state's population is 10 percent of the country's population, then that state would be responsible for 10 percent of a direct federal tax to be paid to the Federal Government. The Founding Fathers designed it in this way to maintain the independence and sovereignty of the states, protect the citizens from the intrusion of the federal government, avoid potentials for the dangerous centralization of power, and thus protect against the causes of tyranny. This is why we are called the United States of America, with states having their own particular sovereign governments, yet united as one country. 

During the Civil War, President Lincoln instituted an income tax, and because such a tax was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court called it an “excise tax.” It was discontinued in 1872. By the late 1880s, indirect taxation was providing Congress such a gargantuan surplus that it was perceived as a liability in government. Not only did it tempt Congress toward extravagant expenditures, but the corporate interests (known then as industrial monopolies) began to influence legislation against the common good. Sound familiar?

These industrial monopolies concentrated wealth and enslaved the laboring classes, enforcing unbearable working and living conditions. A new political party, the Populist Party, emerged that formed alliances with the many oppressed sectors of society. Based on Marxist ideas, they sought methods to redistribute the concentrated wealth. Tariffs were seen as being an unbalanced tax because they taxed buying power and thus taxed a larger percentage of the income of the poor than the rich. According to Marxist thought, direct income tax on the rich was a way financing government and also would serve to cripple the bourgeoisie. In 1894, in the midst of an economic recession, Congress enacted the Populists' call for income taxation, the Income Tax Act of 1894. The Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional even before it could take effect as violating the constitutional requirements of apportionment among the states of the Union.

Fifteen years later, Congress tried again to import a direct tax on American citizens in the form of the 16th Amendment that was never legally ratified by the required percentage of the states.

In the original draft in 1909, the words direct taxes were included, but when the Senate Finance Committee finally presented it, the word direct was omitted, as the members knew that it would cause the amendment to be struck down by the Supreme Court. When it was apparently and arguably ratified in 1913, the final text read:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived without apportionment among the several States and with out regard to any census of enumeration.

Subsequent Supreme Court rulings invalidated the amendment. Their judgment in 1916 in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad stated:

The 16th Amendment as correctly interpreted is limited to indirect taxes and for that reason is constitutional.

And the 1916 Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co. decision ruled:

The Sixteenth Amendment conferred no new power of taxation.
The Sixteen Amendment...has no real bearing and may be put out of view. As pointed out in recent decisions, it does not extend the taxing power to new or excepted subjects.

These decisions are an example of an effective balance of power that the Founding Fathers envisioned. By 1939 only 3 percent of the people filed returns. Following our entry into World War II, in 1943 Congress imposed an unconstitutional direct tax without apportionment, called the “Victory Tax.” Under the circumstances, to complain again this tax would have been perceived to be unpatriotic. In 1944 the law was repealed, but instead Congress instituted an unconstitutional withholding tax on wages that was supposed to last only for the duration of the war. In 1954, Congress wrote the current Internal Revenue Code. It is a labyrinth of legalese containing 2,000 pages of statutes and 10,000 pages of regulations, far too complex for the common person to spend time and energy deciphering.

The truth about income tax liability is nonetheless buried deep within the legalese of the statutes and regulations of the code. Tony Gutierrez, a local Constitutional researcher, has delved into Title 26 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. He has not been able to find one code under Subtitle A: Income Tax that makes the American citizen living and working within the 50 states liable for income tax. By thoroughly reading the code, he discovered that the requirement to withhold income tax is found in three sections that apply to nonresident aliens, to foreign corporations and to certain foreign tax-exempt organizations. Income tax liability applies to foreigners living and working inside the United States or to U.S. Citizens working in a foreign country that has a trade agreement with the United States and whose earnings annually exceed $70,000.

Gutierrez also points out that this finding is actually reflected on the 1040 individual income tax return form. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assigns a number on every type of tax form to connect the form to its underlying law. You can note the OMB number on the upper right corner of the 1040 form. This is actually the OMB number on the “work sheet” for the affidavit entitled “Foreign Earned Income.” When one files a 1040 form, one signs this “work sheet” under the penalty of perjury, which carries felony penalties if the information there is known to be incorrect. Providing one had no foreign earned income, then, technically, by signing the 1040 form one would perjure oneself.

Another Constitutional patriot, Bill Conklin, has discovered that the risk of perjuring oneself is also good reason to invoke the Fifth Amendment right to not file an income tax return. The Fifth Amendment states:

No person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

With each successive printing of Conklin's book Why No One Is Required to File Tax Returns, he raises the reward (now at $100,000) for anyone who can answer the following two questions: (1) How could I file a tax return without waiving my rights protected by the Fifth Amendment? And (2) What statute in the current Internal Revenue Code makes me liable to pay an income tax? In 14 years he has had a few difficult challengers, even a court case, but so far no winners.

For the IRS to admit that these claims are true would put them in a liability position for the fraud, deception and extortion of trillions of dollars from citizens. Since the original Supreme Court rulings have denied the validity of the 16th Amendment, Supreme Court judges have delivered decisions containing such convoluted logic that the law can be interpreted in a myriad of ways.  No federal judge wants to be the one to collapse this house of cards, so they find loopholes in the weakest parts of the fuzzy arguments. They use a weapon called stare decisis, meaning to stand by things decided. This is known as case law, in which IRS attorneys make claims completely unsupported by constitutional or Supreme Court authority. Then the judges quote these decisions and the Constitution becomes entirely irrelevant. Some judges even quote themselves as the authority for their own rulings on subsequent cases.

Certainly awful things have happened and are currently happening to the people who have stuck their necks out in defense of these inalienable sovereign rights under the Constitution. Larkin Rose is another who took up the banner and created a video that clearly and graphically deciphers the Internal Revenue Code for the average person (such as a jury) and translates the legalese terms as they are defined in the tax code. When he discovered the meanings of these words translated into legalese understandable only within the tax code he could not remain silent while he watched government lawyers illegally defraud fellow Americans.  He was defeated in court by a jury who was not allowed to see the video he created.  But you can watch it now on youtube and decide for yourself whether he should have been sent to jail for speaking truth to power.

This article constitutes the results of research I have done to clarify my personal dilemma, and I want to emphasize that this is not to be construed as tax advice.  I have posted my findings here to give my fellow citizens a leg up in examining the law and an opportunity to evaluate for yourselves what I have found. I have taken my stand and have no idea what the consequences will be for me, but I can only predict that at some point, I will have to defend my inalienable rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a way that may consume a lot of my time and attention.  I stand firm in my belief that that the current income tax system is counter to the tenets that our eternally struggling democracy was founded upon and therefore is unconstitutional.  If the citizens of this great nation are too afraid to stand for what is right and speak truth to the tyrannical power over people that is imposed by our governmental agencies, then we really have lost our democracy and country.  This very difficult task reaffirming and defending the basic values and tenets of our democracy is essential to uphold the rights of human freedom for the entire world. 

As the national debt spirals hopelessly out of control, imagine where we would be now had the United States of America adhered to the Founding Fathers original design and intent, with the states sufficiently sovereign to manage their own social issues and infrastructure, utilizing constitutional taxation as they see fit. Could corporations have exerted the stranglehold they currently enjoy on the Federal Government?  Would the $6 trillion, and counting, have been spent on the nuclear weapons complex to dominate and contaminate the world?

The on-going central argument for our continued proliferation of the nuclear arsenal is that the very existence of these weapons prevents war.  But since the inception of the nuclear bomb, the United States of America has been fighting wars in at least eighteen countries, Korea, Guatemala, Cuba, Indonesia, Congo, Peru, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and continues to fund wars and funnel arms to Colombia, Mexico and Israel. The continued proliferation activities by the US has been the cause of nuclear proliferation world wide. This has shredded the fabric of global potentials for cooperative security. We risk the lives of our soldiers in uniform abroad to make the world safe for democracy, yet we have lost our democratic freedoms at home. 

For this reason I take this patriotic stand. I want to make this distinction perfectly clear; I am a Constitutional patriot not a war tax protestor. My citizen's rights as ordained by the Founding Fathers became illuminated because of my firm conviction that the continuing work to proliferate nuclear weapons by the US Government is a morally reprehensible crime against humanity. It is very frightening to conceive of what the government might try to do to me.  But in the name of the intent of the Founding Fathers, in the name of the inalienable rights of all the citizens of the United States of America, and for all that defines what is true and good in my being, I am impelled by my conscience to take this peaceful warrior’s stand to defend the rights of freedom originally gifted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.