Joe Stack committed suicide on 2/18/2010 by flying his private plane into an IRS building.


If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this
have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has
been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months
ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization
that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really
broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example
after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it
frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross
inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm
raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure,
but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no
society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country
have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and
service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further
brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we
should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals
represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no
taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my
adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood.
These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly
labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair
share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree
of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any
matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that
matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable
atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years)
and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of
their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal
government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not
hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical
system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens
of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims
they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as
bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political
“representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more
accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate
the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no
crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their
corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in
the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here
we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of
the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds
accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully
complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires”
a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully
that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than
what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early
‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along
the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and
understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of
people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In
particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful
“exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic
Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the
help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the
business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing
(except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the
government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a
great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules,
exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a
much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of
organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest
living. However, this is where I learned that there are two
“interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the
rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing
the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life,
and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first
time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total
and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had
been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that
they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and
that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming
evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first
lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after
making my way through engineering school and still another five years of
“paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my
dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should
digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination
for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very
young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my
early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my
own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor
was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who
was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked
all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises
from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he
would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his
retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because
the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the
government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All
she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on
peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to
splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and
heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after
all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely
appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with
each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion
tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like
her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and
bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I
decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I
would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a
‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer... and two years later,
thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of
Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and
other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick
Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section
1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for
tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report
regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant
parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws
affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion
here <>


(a) IN GENERAL - Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by
adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. - This section shall not apply in the case of an
individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and
another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer,
designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other
similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. - The amendment made by this section shall apply to
remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.


· "another person" is the client in the traditional job-shop

· "taxpayer" is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· "individual", "employee", or "worker" is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is
saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may
as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover,
they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and
directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years
later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least
1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator,
congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they
universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent
countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all
of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a
campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts
were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just
beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their
“freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on
this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile
exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a
pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce
that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately
proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to
have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle.
If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and
never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A.
depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t
need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern
California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was
economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized
Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one
gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or
street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan
companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall.
Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying
to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again
beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and
the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded
for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’
facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This
made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after
what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with
billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while
they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After
these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my
retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to
California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out
that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and
where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced
such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning
before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four
large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices
and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the
take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but
themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the
last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth
expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year
thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The
sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify
me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get
a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to
due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another
$10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world,
following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another
accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a
boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new
business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After
considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get
professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in
order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he
came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except
that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported
income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along
this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the
middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that
he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend
transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least
the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never
knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to
anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great”
depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping
out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything.
Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they
now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from
the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke)
to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy
fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a
tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential
puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced
for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the
government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is
in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a
government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as
their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand.
It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their
freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor
immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are
sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to
the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking
over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose
not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend
that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed
and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take
nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that
stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction
that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and
begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for
what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe
it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the /only/
answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top
have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this
awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the
same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be
different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big
Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh
and sleep well.

  • The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.*
  • The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.*

Joe Stack (1956-2010)


Created by brian. Last Modification: Friday 19 of February, 2010 14:33:06 CST by brian.