Factual Errors in America: Freedom to Fascism
Although I really enjoyed this movie, there are some factual errors in it, and if you think that you can get out of paying taxes by using the claims made in this movie, think again. If you are embarking on war tax resistance by any other means than reducing your taxable income, you must be prepared to make the sacrifice.
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- The claim that the 16th amendment was never properly ratified: The movie makes this claim based on Bill Benson's flawed research, showing the cover of the book The Law That Never Was. Benson claims that when the amendment was declared ratified in 1913 there were 48 states, so that three-fourths, or 36 states would be required and that Secretary of Sate Philander Knox committed fraud, as only 35 states had legally ratified the amendment, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee having made errors in the ratification process and their actions were being challenged.
The problem is, in 1909, when the amendment was presented to the states for ratification, there were only 46 states in the union, Arizona and New Mexico had not been admitted yet. That makes the requirement for passage only 35 votes, which means that the amendment passed, even with the elimination of the three problem states.
Furthermore, the legislature of Kentucky passed the amendment after the necessary correction was made, Oklahoma's vote was upheld in a federal appeals court and the US Supreme Court made a decision affecting the Tennessee outcome.
- The claim that wages are not taxable: I'm not sure why the IRS just didn't simply quote US Code Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Sub chapter B, Part 1, Section 61(a) which reads in part "Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived, including (but not limited to the following items: (1) Compensation for services, including fees, commissions, fringe benefits, and similar items;...". Now if that doesn't mean wages or salaries, I don't know what does. Besides, the language of the first paragraph covers everything not specifically mentioned.
- Gaylon "Whitey" Harrell beat federal tax charges: At least this is what the movie implied. However, he was challenging Illinois State Taxes, not federal taxes, and true, on May 26, 2000, the jury found him not guilty on all four counts. Maybe the Illinois tax code is defective in some way, but that does not apply to the Federal income tax. By the way, he's up on charges again for tax fraud. Not the same charges, as one cannot be tried for the same crime twice, but probably for something they forgot to go after him for the last time. His next court date is February 20, 2007.
UPDATE: Case now set for Jury pre-trial on 14 August 2007, with the Jury trial to start on 20 August 2007. This never happened. Various motions to Reconsider filed. Next court date is 7 January 2008.
UPDATE 2: On December 18th 2008, after two days of trial, Gaylon "Whitey" Harrell was finally convicted on three misdemeanor counts of failure to file Illinois state income tax returns. On February 5, 2009 he was sentenced to 24 months probation, fined $2500.00 and payment of 1996, 1997 and 1998 taxes due, with penalty and interest if any.