FEBRUARY 21, 2000
Getting in the arena
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com

Last year about this time I emceed a panel at a "Preparedness Expo" in Sacramento, Calif. The panel covered a wide spectrum of conservative luminaries including WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah, Terry Reed, author of "Compromised," Sheriff Richard Mack, Officer Jack McLamb, Bo Gritz, Dr. Len Horowitz and others.

The panel was designed to tease the longer presentations each panelist would be conducting throughout the show's three day run. There were over 500 people filling the seats and standing room only surrounding the audience.

This year I again agreed to emcee the introductory panel. Although the need and importance of the information is even greater now than a year ago, the attendance was significantly less. "Y2K burnout" was blamed for the low turnout. The quality and scope of the information as good or better than last year, but the empty seats glared like scars on the body of the republic.

This year's panel included some old and some new faces. Harvard-trained Dr. Len Horwitz, best-selling author of "Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola"; Officer Jack McLamb, director of American Citizens and Lawmen's Association; Joe Banister, former special agent for the Criminal Investigative Division of the IRS; former Sheriff Richard Mack; Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Mike McNulty, producer of "Waco: A New Revelation"; and Dr. Ann Tracy, author of "Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?" spoke to a half filled room of concerned citizens.

One audience member asked, "What can WE do? Look around, there are so few of us. ... I'm embarrassed." Apparently, without the hype and threat of a potential Y2K disaster, all those scared bodies who had anxiously waited with bated breath for pearls of wisdom decided the dangers had been averted and stayed home. They were and are wrong.

The dangers of government abuse of power under the color of authority are greater now than they were a year ago. The dangers of erosion and usurpation of rights is greater now than a year ago. The dangers of government/corporate complicity to chemically and technologically control the masses is greater now than a year ago. And yet our voices echoed in the half empty hall that was too cold from lack of body heat.

I reminded those who cared enough to come out that few can do much. Most of the country's colonial Americans did not participate in the War for Independence. The American Revolution, which resulted in the establishment of the republic, was a product of only about 7 percent of the colonists. Most "remained home" and suffered, albeit begrudgingly the tyranny and usurpations of a king far away. They went along to get along, and left the heavy lifting to better men.

Knowledge is power, IF you use it. Jack McLamb told a story about a police officer who 15 years ago received literature he read and discounted as radical right-wing wacko bovine scatology. "This could never happen HERE," he said. A decade and a half later he had a personal epiphany and realized not only COULD it happen, but IT WAS happening. He became a soldier in the war for independence, liberty and freedom.

Joe Banister's story is a clear and more personal example of how what we do and don't do has consequences. I never knew that Special Agent for the IRS's Criminal Investigative Division Joe Banister listened to my radio talk show, but he did. He says that over the years he developed a respect for what I did and how I did it. He said, in his opinion, I had credibility. Which is why he was surprised to hear me interview Devvy Kidd and hear her claim the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified, and we are technically not required to pay income tax or even file. He had always been told kooks like that were "tax protesters" and wrong.

Joe is a CPA who had worked for a big six accounting firm before joining the IRS. He is a detail oriented kind of guy. He used his investigative skills to explore three issues:

  1. that no law made anyone liable to pay the income tax and that filing a return was voluntary
  2. that the 16th amendment was never properly ratified, and
  3. that the nature of the Federal Reserve and fiat money meant that monies collected from the income tax were not necessary to fund the Government



Banister wrote a 90-page report on his findings, and like a good soldier he submitted it to his superiors at the IRS. He asked that someone, anyone, please answer the allegations and to distribute it up the chain of command. Eventually he learned that his report had made it at least to the Undersecretary of the Criminal Investigative Division of the IRS in the District of Criminals. The response was a letter informing him that his report would NOT be answered, and that he was immediately put on administrative leave to "think things over." Duty, Honor, Country, Principle, and Courage are nice sounding words a lot of people use. However, it is one thing to talk the talk and another to have the strength and courage of your convictions to walk the walk. Joe resigned from his $80,000-plus per year career with the IRS and collected some scar tissue for his efforts.

When I first heard Joe's story I felt guilty for having contributed in any small way to his actions. However, I have since met and interviewed him, and am proud to say I know this remarkable and courageous man.

Knowledge is power, IF you take it and do something with it. There are consequences to what we do and what we don't do.

It is easy to throw rocks at those with whom you disagree. However, another remarkable man who was a Marine sniper in Vietnam used to carry the following on a scrap of paper in his wallet. It was authored by President Teddy Roosevelt and has been a source of great inspiration to many. It is often referred to as "In the Arena" and reads:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."