L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 326, July 3, 2005
"Hands Off My Home!"
"Which Side is the Con On?"
Special to TLE
So began the soon-to-be-famous script of the closing argument of Attorney Jeffrey Alan Dickstein of the Bernhoft Law Firm, on behalf of the "most public and known member of the illegal tax protest movement," according to the IRSone whistleblower named Joseph Banister. Bookmarking his closing argument with the petition of Sir Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia to King George of England and signed by a few other "notorious tax protestors," and closing with the poem of the German priest who noted there were none left to defend him when he had failed to defend his fellow citizens from the Nazi regime, Dickstein threaded his closing with one resounding themewhich side is the con on?
With a pen and paper and a few words, Banister's attorney surmised the case: conspiracy to defraud was the allegation, for which the first three letters of the first word controlled the outcome: con. As Mr. Dickstein repeatedly asked the jury, who was conning whom?
The former IRS agent who simply asked some questions and cracked the tax code? Or the Government that "pink-slipped" him when he did? Which side is the con on?
The Catholic school boyhis friends call him the last Boy Scoutwhose widowed mother sat behind him day after day in court? Or the government lawyers who said no American citizen had a right to protest the IRS with a direct petition, instead claiming only pamphleteering outside buildings was legal? Which side is the con on?
The young man sitting before ordinary seamstresses openly sharing his story on videotape, warning them of the dangers of learning who the tax law applied to, but declaring he could not leave a morally corrupted world to his children and live with himself in good conscience? Or the politicians who blame the taxpayers for the problems they, and their hand-picked minions before the bench and behind it, created? Which side is the con on?
The stunningly honest citizen tax advocate who followed the very procedures the IRS advised him to take to get answers to basic questions from the government? Or the government that now says doing just that is a criminal conspiracy, calling advocacy itself, a notorious crime? Which side is the con on?
Who is really the "mark" of the con? The all-powerful, lawyer-filled marbled halls of power in the D.C. beltway "tricked" by Joe Banister's "false" statements? Or the tax collecting politicians disclaiming their own written laws in the words they were written in, behind the lectern and leathered pulpits of sophists masquerading as judges, and harlots parading themselves as prosecutors? Which side is the con on?
As Attorney Robert Bernhoft noted, is the IRS/Government's way of answering serious questions from citizens about serious issues a Federal Criminal Indictment to shut those people up? If it is, and the Banister prosecution proves it is, then that's about as un-American as you can get.
Which side is the con on? The jury answered that question real clear: Joseph Banister acquitted on all counts. So who does that leave guilty?