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Lawyerism: a mental disorder

(originally launched into cyberspace on 04/17/2003)

Dear List Subscriber,

I think we need a new classification of mental disorder, called "lawyerism."

Imagine that there was some guy that was some super-duper mathematics
expert. He could figure out amazingly complicated equations, quickly prove
or disprove any mathematical theorem imaginable, etc.

Then one day, he comes out and says "from now on, 2 + 3 = 37.6." The
universal response would be "Huh??? What do you mean? How on earth can 2 +
3 = 37.6?" If he responded only with "because I ruled it to be so," what
would you think of him? If the guy thought that he didn't need EVIDENCE any
more, because his decree alone actually MADE the statement true--as if he
could alter reality by making assertions--you'd think he was a fruitcake.

But if a lawyer with a robe and gavel does that, they call it "stare
decisis," The term "stare decisis" is Latin for "I don't give a darn what
the evidence shows; this is the truth because I SAID it is." Okay, it
doesn't literally mean that, but it might as well. And after that, almost
all the OTHER lawyers accept it as doctrine as well.

If YOU wrote down on a piece of paper "I would like an egg salad sandwich
for lunch," and your neighbor "ruled" that you MEANT you wanted a dead rat
for lunch, you would think your neighbor was a fruitcake in serious need of
psychological help.

What writes the laws? People (or at least lawyers in people costumes).
Aside from whether a law is Constitutional, intelligent, moral, or whatever
else, the law means what those who WROTE it MEANT it to mean. (That's just
a truism.) They are supposed to make their INTENTIONS apparent in the exact
language they use, but obviously those who WROTE the words knew what they
meant better than anyone else. (Thus the search for "legislative intent"
when a statute was badly written, or when there is some gray area.)

This is so painfully obvious, it seems silly to say. When YOU write
something, YOU know what you meant. The opinion of anyone else--especially
someone who hasn't even READ what you wrote--about what you meant is
obviously INFERIOR to your "opinion" of what you meant. It is downright
looney to claim otherwise.

But that lunacy is the norm for lawyers. Lawyers hold "rulings" of OTHER
lawyers (the ones with robes and gavels) as being superior to EVERYTHING
ELSE. What makes it looney is that what the rulings are ABOUT (the written
law) often is SUBSERVIENT to some judge's "opinion." Think of how insane
that would look in any field of thought OTHER than law.

"Yes, 2 + 3 would appear to be 5, but I have this ruling by the expert who
says it is now 37.6." If you can say that with a straight face, then you
and your "expert" needs to seek psychological help. You are delusional.
(Well, you could either seek professional help, or become a lawyer.)

A THEORY about the evidence cannot be MORE valid than the evidence ITSELF.
(Duh.) If our "system" of law ranks OPINIONS above the evidence which the
opinions are ABOUT, then that "system" should be flushed down the toilet as
quickly as possible.

For example, some people think that: 1) They should use 861(b) and 1.861-8
to determine their taxable domestic income, and; 2) those sections don't
show their income to be taxable. They therefore conclude that they don't
owe the tax. For now, let's say you and I don't know if they're right or

Then along comes a "judge," who quickly demonstrates (or even openly admits)
that he has NEVER READ those sections of law, but is going to make a
"ruling" about them anyway. He says the conclusion of those people is
"frivolous," and that their income IS taxable.

Okay. "Frivolous" means there was no basis for it. Suppose the people come
up with citations that seem to support the two points. (Again, we're in
clueless-observor mode, so we don't know what they might be missing, or
misreading.) So we eagerly await the court's ruling on that.

The court says "don't look there." In other words, the court ASSERTS that
those people are wrong on their first point. "But your honor, the
regulations SAY to use those sections..." "Yeah, well I say you shouldn't."

Sorry, but that is insane. The LAW says one thing, and the judge ASSERTS
that it means the EXACT OPPOSITE. First, let us set aside the insane notion
that the regulation-writers accidentally wrote the EXACT OPPOSITE of what
they meant. Even if that were the case, how on earth would the "judge" KNOW
IT?!? How would he KNOW what the law means, if it's not manifested ANYWHERE
in the law, or any other related documents?!? If he is ruling about the
LAW, how can anything OTHER than THE LAW ITSELF enter into his conclusions?
Sure, if the law is a bit vague, maybe he needs to search for legislative
intent. But if it's not, what is there to base a contrary opinion on?

Here is another analogy, which LOOKS like an exaggeration, but actually it's
not. Your buddy says "I'm going to draw something, and you and Fred guess
what it is." After a while you guess "a cat," and your buddy says "yep,"
and pulls out a picture of a cat. Then Fred responds with "no, you drew a
bug. That's a bug." That isn't just incorrect; it's INSANE. If the
picture is a picture of a cat, and the guy who DREW it says it's a cat, how
looney is it to argue that it's a BUG?

It would be bad enough if just ONE person engaged in such lunacy. But no...
almost EVERY lawyer will then accept that "ruling" as UNQUESTIONABLE HOLY
DOCTRINE (a.k.a. "stare decisis"). That one instance of insanity will
forever be cited as PROOF that the insanity is CORRECT. It was asserted
once, and therefore it is true. The Tax Court frothings have been a parade
of "quote-the-lunatic" ever since the Aiello case. Never mind that the LAW
ITSELF directly contradicts that "ruling." That doesn't matter. What
matters is the "interpretation" of the guy who hasn't even READ that part of
the law. (How exactly can you "interpret" something you've never even SEEN,
and why would anyone give ANY weight to such an "interpretation"?)

"Well, that's how the system works. You have your interpretation, but the
courts have their interpretation, and their wins. If you don't like it,

Incidentally, this is lawyer-talk for "might makes right." In other words,
if the system does something to you, and the judges say it's okay, BY
DEFINITION it is. Like I said, decrees by robe-wearing lawyers, no matter
how looney or baseless, are superior to EVERYTHING ELSE in the eyes of most
lawyers. That's how lawyers think. There is no knowable REALITY; only
binding "rulings."

I will close this message with some lyrics by Don Henley (who I usually
disagree with):

"Today I made and appearance downtown
I am an expert witness, because I say I am
And I said, 'Gentleman....and I use that
word loosely...I will testify for you
I'm a gun for hire, I'm a saint, I'm a liar
Because there are no facts, no truth,
just data to be manipulated
I can get you any result you like....
what's it worth to ya?
Because there is no wrong, there is no right
And I sleep very well at night"

Welcome to American "jurisprudence," in all its glorious lunacy.


Larken Rose
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Threats yes, Answers no

(originally launched into cyberspace on 04/17/2003)

Dear List Subscriber,

If you call Jim South's number (419-522-2455) to ask if he will answer (in
writing) ONE perfectly reasonable question about how to determine your
taxable income, you will now get a pre-recorded threat. Try it and see. It
will (politely) threaten nasty things if you rely on Section 861, and refer
you to the DOJ site, threatening more nasty things.

On the other hand, if you call Pam Olson's office (202-622-0050) to see if
she is ever going to answer the six questions that over SIX HUNDRED letters
have asked her about, you will get redirected to the Treasury Inspector
General's office... who will threaten you. How the heck would TIG know if
Pam Olson is going to answer? They don't. It's just another place to send
you so you get THREATS instead of answers. Incidentally, Pam's assistant
has commented on how they've been getting an "awful lot of calls" about
those darn questions. I don't suppose it occurs to her that maybe ANSWERING
them might be a good idea.

If any of you live near DC, you might consider showing up IN PERSON at Pam
Olson's office, to see if she intends to answer the questions. Or you can
always write to her again. Here is the address:

Pamela F. Olson
Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy
1500 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Room 1334
Washington, DC 20220

Based on what she keeps saying in her speeches, I'm sure she would be more
than happy to help you understand the tax laws. If you want to write to Jim
South instead, to get some more of his outstanding and unique brand of
"customer service," here is his address:

IRS / Jim South
Issue Specialist, Abusive Tax Promotions
1800 N Diamond Street, Suite 114
Mansfield, OH 44902

You could try to visit if you want, but unless I didn't hear right, his
voice mail says he'll be gone until February... whatever that means.

I hope you feel well served.


Larken Rose
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Jim South

(originally launched into cyberspace on 04/16/2003)

Dear List Subscriber,

As some of you will recall, someone named Jim South is one of the main
people inside the IRS who orchestrates their nationwide response to anyone
who mentions the 861 evidence. That "response" consists mainly of sending
out threats and accusations, "losing" returns, and trying to speed up
collections actions. For some strange reason, it doesn't include honestly
addressing what the law itself says. Hmmm.

Since Mr. South is one of the main players on the IRS' "anti-861 team," it
seemed fitting to show us where us poor, clueless peasants are wrong.
Beginning in late November of last year, about 200 people sent Mr. South a
letter, asking ONE question about determining what they owe. Here is that

"Should I use 26 USC § 861(b) and the related regulations beginning at 26
CFR § 1.861-8 to determine my taxable domestic income?"

Here is the entire letter, to show the context:

As of now (several MONTHS after the questions were asked), Mr. South has not
seen fit to answer the question (for ANY of the 200 people who asked it).
Personally, I think that's dereliction of duty. But maybe he's just been
really busy. Maybe he just needs a reminder.

Here is Mr. South's office phone number: 419-522-2455
(I assume he's still at that office.)

Maybe a few of us should give him a call, to ask if he ever intends to
answer the question, or if he is only interested in sending out threats and
insults. Personally, I wouldn't even ask him what the answer IS on the
phone (unless I was recording it); I would just ask him if he is GOING to
answer it in writing. Apparently 200 letters didn't get his attention.
Maybe 200 phone calls will.


Larken Rose
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Pam Olson

(originally launched into cyberspace on 04/16/2003)

Dear List Subscriber,

So far Jim South doesn't seem very skilled at providing quality "customer
service." I'm starting to get feedback from some who have called. At least
one person got to talk to Mr. South. While Mr. South indicated that we
should all be ignoring Section 861 and related regulations, he couldn't say
why the IRS won't PUT THAT IN WRITING. (Probably because it directly
contradicts 26 CFR §§ 1.861-1(a)(1), 1.861-1(b), 1.861-8(a), 1.863-1(c),
1.862-1(b), Treasury Decision 6258, etc.) Mr. South said that the COURTS
are the ones to answer legal questions. Mr. South then hung up on the

One has to wonder if Mr. South slept through civics class, or if he failed
to notice that the purpose of the IRS, according to their "Mission
Statement," is to help people UNDERSTAND and comply with the tax laws.
(Incidentally, why does the IRS HAVE regulations if they don't know what
they mean? And how the heck do they enforce the law if they DON'T KNOW
which sections to use to determine someone's taxable income, or don't KNOW
who is supposed to use Section 861?)

Perhaps Mr. South has his own mission statement: to terrorize the public and
evade their questions. It doesn't sound like Mr. South is having a nice
day. After a few calls about it, his phone line went "dead." Maybe it's
just a technical problem and we should keep trying.

Jim South: 419-522-2455

One person even got a recorded message saying that Mr. South is no longer in
the employ of the IRS. I suspect that was either a joke or a mistake.
(Either that or Mr. South had second thoughts today about the direction of
his career.)


Since Mr. South isn't being open and honest, perhaps Pam Olson is due for
some more attention. It has been two months since Ms. Olson received the
second volley of 300 letters asking a few fundamental questions about
determining taxable income. Here are the two letters she has been sent
(about 300 copies of each):

I don't have Ms. Olson's office number, but it appears that most inquiries
to the Treasury Department are dealt with by their "Office of Public
Correspondence," whose number is: 202-622-2000

Again, asking the people there for the actual ANSWERS to the six questions
will be fruitless. All I would like to know is whether Ms. Olson has any
intention of ANSWERING the questions (in writing). After all her speeches
about improving "customer service," being more open and honest, using
information instead of intimidation to get compliance, and helping taxpayers
understand the law... after all that, she doesn't seem to be "walking the
walk," does she? Maybe she forgot who is the public SERVANT, and who is the
master. Maybe a few phone calls asking her to please ANSWER THE DAMN
QUESTIONS (in writing) would jog her memory.


Larken Rose
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Pam Olson's Number

(originally launched into cyberspace on 04/16/2003)
Dear List Subscriber,

Okay, this is my LAST message today. (I went e-mail berserk for no apparent
reason today.) Someone just found and sent me Pam Olson's office number, so
I thought I'd forward it along. It would be better to use this than the
Treasury's "Public Evasions" office, or whatever it's called.

Again, don't bother asking for the answers over the phone, or trying to
debate anything (since I doubt you'll be talking to anyone who knows much
about the law). Just ask if Ms. Olson intends to respond to the SIX HUNDRED
letters she has received so far, by answering (in writing) the six questions
therein. Her office number is: (202) 622-0050


Larken Rose
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One More Thing

(originally launched into cyberspace on 04/16/2003)

Dear List Subscriber,

Just a quick afterthought about Jim South, Pam Olson, etc.:

When the IRS decides to harass somebody, do they call once and then go away?
Or do they harass you indefinitely until you do what they want? The IRS
will still be using their evade, accuse, insult and threaten techniques
tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. The IRS will continue to insult,
intimidate, and harass people who dare to do what the LAW (Section 861 and
its regulations) tells them to do. And Jim South is a large part of the
REASON they are doing that. They fully intend to terrorize Americans until
they get "compliance," regardless of what the LAW actually says. So this is
a contest. Which will happen first?:

1) You will give up telling your public servants to OBEY THEIR OWN
2) They will give up demanding money from people who don't owe it.

Your determination will decide who wins. If you feel bad about calling Mr.
South or Ms. Olson more than once, consider how many times the IRS calls
people EVERY DAY, demanding large sums of money, sums not even OWED. Most
bureaucrats can truthfully plead ignorance; they have no idea that what the
law says about what is taxable. But for those who CAN'T plead
ignorance--like Mr. South and Ms. Olson--why do they deserve a MOMENT'S
peace, while they continue to evade the questions while victimizing the
American public? Have pity on a reformed thief, but have no pity on a thief
who continues to steal.


Larken Rose
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