Taxes and Second Chances

by Gary

April is not just the month for taxes, it’s for second chances my friends. As a writer of the hardboiled school, I’m all for a second shot, a chance for a character to redeem themselves. What is Batman but a man who feels that he watched impotently as a child when his parents were cut down before his eyes…a horror he relives night after night, seeking to redeem himself yet knowing he can’t as he faces down the likes of Killer Croc and Poison Ivy.

Facing down the electorate, former South Carolina governor Mark Sandford this month won the Republican primary for congress to face off against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of satirist Stephen Colbert. As you may recall, Sanford joined the ranks of the so-called disgraced for disappearing in 2009 to “hike the Appalachian Trail.” That was his euphemism to slip away for six days, including Father’s Day Sunday, from his wife and kids to be with Argentine honey, Maria Belén Chapur, a journalist. His ruse wasn’t all that elaborate given his camping equipment in plain view inside his vehicle left at airport parking.

Sanford
A chagrined Mark Sanford.

In those days I used to watch Keith Olbermann’s (who is possibly now poised to do the redemption comeback his damn self as he’s settled with the last employer who fired him, Current TV) show Countdown then on MSNBC. I laughed uproariously as Olbermann read Sanford’s e-mails as the governor’s staff hemmed and hawed as to where the heck their boss was. The truth soon emerged and once he was back in the States, Sanford did the politicians version of the perp walk, the tearful press conference. Notably his wife Jenny Sanford nor his children were there at his side.

“I’ll lay it out,” Sanford said. “It’s going to hurt, and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve been unfaithful to my wife. I’ve let down a lot of people. That’s the bottom line.”

But hey, that was then. He’s in the running now and engaged to Ms. Chapur. Love means never having to say you’re sorry, babe.

But as Tax Day is tomorrow as I post this, let’s note this month also saw action star Wesley Snipes released from jail after serving nearly 90% of his three year tax evasion conviction. Flashback to 2006 and Snipes, star of the Blade the vampire slayer trilogy, was accused by the IRS of tax fraud. He was originally indicted on charges of fraudulently claiming he was owed some $12 million in tax refunds. For reasons that are not at all clear to me, brother Snipes hooked up with two anti-tax, anti-government groups, the afrocentric United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors and the rightwing American Rights Litigators (ARL). Among other pursuits, the United Nuwaubians claimed once that 144,000 of the chosen ones would be taken up to the home galaxy of Ilyuwn as apocalypse ensued.

Cuing the music signaling a flashback within our flashback, we go back to 2000 when Snipes, having paid then CPA Eddie Ray Kahn, founder of the ARL for his dubious advice, filed an avadavat of incompetence stating he did not understand the tax laws and how they applied to him. This move apparently part of an interpretation by anti-taxers having to do with what’s called the 861 Argument. They maintain that in section 861 of the tax code supposed stating that only income earned outside of the U.S. can be taxed. Well that and the myriad other arguments Snipes’ lawyers offered over the years didn’t wash. He and Kahn were convicted – with the now former CPA getting more years than his client for all sorts of charges.

But Snipes has done his jolt, and it’s not like this is the first time he’s played a prisoner. There’s the pretty sweet little Walter Hill flick he did, Undisputed from a decade ago. In it, Snipes was a former light heavyweight champ doing life for murdering his cheating wife who has thundering boxing match with a Mike Tyson-like boxer in the joint for rape played by Ving Rhames.

I can see it now, Wesley Snipes as Street Fighter Kahn, No Bars or Taxes Can Hold Him!

On the matter of holding, how about former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, huh? You remember him. He of the “Clintonian rise” as was stated in the New York Times magazine got busted for sexting and sending pics of his, er, sheathed erectness to the ladies in 2011. At first he denied that the object in question was his John Thomas, deflecting that his name since childhood had always given…rise to penis jokes. But he began to, as they say, walk those comments back when he said he couldn’t say “with certitude” that the pic was not his schlong. So, Tone-Dawg, you do be sending them shots around. But he too is on the redemption trail and considering a run for mayor

Weiner said, “…I want to ask people to give me a second chance,” Weiner said. “I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me. I think to some degree I do want to say to them, ‘Give me another chance.'”

April is the month for second chances.

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