Bewildering Federal Budget

I recently read a guest editorial in my local newspaper that noted the startling fact that there is a “$437 million budget for the military’s 130 marching bands.” Setting aside the question of why each band needs to cost over $3 million, this fact got me interested in taking a look at federal budget priorities compared to mine. As a Quaker (we are known for our peace witness and works), I have long been aware that the U.S. budget is heavily tilted towards war. The War Resisters League pie chart shows that military and veterans’ services totaled 48% of the 2018 U.S. budget. The National Priorities Project shows the 2020 budget as allocating 55% for the military. For this budget, […]

Doomsday 2020

At the start of 2020, the Doomsday Clock was moved to 100 Seconds to Midnight. This is the closest the clock has been to a nuclear catastrophe (midnight) since its inception in 1947 as a project of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. When the hands were moved in January, three reasons were cited: (1) decrease in regulation of nuclear weapons, (2) climate change, and (3) increase in cyber-based disinformation. It appears that concerns in these areas have only increased as the year has progressed.  It was 75 years ago at 8:15 in the morning on August 6th, when the U.S. warplane Enola Gay released “Little Boy,” the first atomic weapon, on the people of  Hiroshima. Three days later Nagaski was […]

Loving the Hell out of People

John Lewis biography cover

Congressman and peace, justice and civil rights activist John Lewis was a longtime sponsor in the House of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill. With his death on July 17 tributes abound and interviews with him can be found online (Democracy Now has a good one). Short of personal stories about Lewis (please add yours in comments!), I was glad to find this essay by longtime Peace Tax Fund director Marian Franz. It was originally written for the organization’s newsletter in 1998 and is included in A Persistent Voice: Marian Franz and Conscientious Objection to Military Taxation, edited by David R. Bassett, Steve Ratzlaff & Tim Godshall. Consider this post as offering two tips for summer reading also. — […]

Tax Day Press Release July 2020

NWTRCC friends and supporters, Below is our press release for Tax Day, 15 July 2020. Feel free to adjust it for your own use. If you are having a tax day action, but have not alerted the NWTRCC office, please email the details to nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org, or use the online form. As stated in the press release, we are asking war tax resisters to make their presence felt on the streets (if possible) and online on July 15th. When posting online, please use the hashtags, #NoTaxes4War and #NWTRCC. Writing these “hashtags” with your message will mean that anyone can find your post on Facebook or Twitter by searching “#NoTaxes4War” or “#NWTRCC.” When posting a picture or graphic, also let folks know […]

Tax Day 2020- As Movements Converge

yard sign with Put People First printed on it; a hen in the grass behind the sign

The longest tax season is coming to a close on July 15th.  The 3 month extension has allowed for more opportunities to share information about the  bloated military budget during a time of growing human needs in the US. A couple of articles (Meet the People Who Refuse to Pay Their Taxes & Meet a New Generation of Tax Resisters Refusing to Pay for War ) and have helped get the word of war tax resistance to a wider audience. While many communities have utilized Tax Day as an opportunity to raise awareness about the federal budget, we know that the work extends beyond this one day. While tax day is soon to pass, conversations about where we place our […]

Examining My Good Intentions

Tax day is nearly here! I do find that a funny thing to say in June as I keep reminding myself that I should sit down and fill out the forms. My motto seems to be “put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Still, as someone who files and refuses to pay, I can’t think of any reason to file before tax day, and I like to file on paper at the last minute as just another little way to gum up the system But planning for redirection has been on my mind lately, reinforced by the calls to defund the police and invest in badly needed services in communities long underfunded. I’ve also gotten quite a few […]

Instead of War- Art and Beauty

Two people surrounding an oven with the words 'Make Art Not War'

  Time is running out… If you haven’t placed a bid or checked on your bid now is the time to respond.  Carlos Stewart has offered Flood Gallery to host the auction which is now exclusively online. Carlos is a former Ad Comm member of NWTRCC and currently serves on the Fundraising committee.  You can find the link to NWTRCC’s benefit at Charity Auctions Today HERE before it concludes on Saturday June 27th. Artists from throughout the U.S. have donated or discounted their artwork to support NWTRCC. Creative people have often been at the forefront of change in the world.  Their ability to envision another world has been expressed through many mediums.  Art has a way of evoking so many […]

Bringing the Troops Home to Use on US Citizens

two people holding signs and wearing masks

The president had a very isolating weekend, beginning with descending into an underground bunker at the White House and concluding with global leaders stating they would not be traveling to DC for the G-7 summit. Also, with the highest number of fatalities and cases of COVID-19, the U.S. was pulling out of the World Health Organization.  All week people were coming together to express their outrage at the brutal killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis police. The very protests emerging throughout the U.S. that were calling attention to police brutality as well as the 400+ year legacy of racism were met with increased militarization by the police and national guard.  The commander in chief was sending […]

The Financial Priorities of Local Governments Mirror the Federal Government

In 2017, I attended a retreat at the Su Casa Catholic Worker in Chicago where the black-led #LetUsBreathe Collective guided a mostly white gathering of Catholic Workers through various anti-racism exercises and candidly related the harsh racist reality of policing in the City of Chicago. They noted that approximately 50% of Chicago’s budget was dedicated to the police department, particularly when counting the millions of dollars the city pays out in lawsuits resulting from police misconduct. (“Misconduct” seems to be a totally inadequate term!) The group has regularly called for the city to redirect its $1.4 billion police budget to programs that would better serve the community. Imagine what could be accomplished with $1.4 billion! When I was informed that […]

Looking for Hope In A Time of Crisis

“The Status & Future of War Tax Resistance.” That’s the tag on an old folder floating around my office. When I finished my years as NWTRCC Coordinator a few people asked if I was going to write about the WTR movement, as had previous coordinators*, but I never got to it. Actually I never had much to say except, “It used to be stronger, with more active groups around the country. An undetermined number of us will keep resisting as long as taxes go to war.” Today as I pondered a blog topic yet again I decided to do a search on “war tax resistance” and see where that might lead. Interestingly, it led me to a recent article, “Tax […]

Grounded…or flying by the seat of our pants?

In recent days, an increased number of military planes have been flying over the US and targeting cities often in clusters to show appreciation to ‘front line workers.’  The Pentagon cooked up the scheme of ‘Operation America Strong’ to mobilize the military in what some refer to as the ‘war on the corona virus.’  The operation was to honor the sacrifices of health care workers who have faced new challenges in their profession in caring for those with COVID-19.  The risks to their lives have increased as the availability of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) has decreased.  It seems that the US government has passed the buck in its most basic responsibility to protect its citizens.  The federal government missed the […]

NWTRCC’s May 2020 Conference Report

Originally, our May 2020 conference was going to take place in Chicago. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we made the decision to meet online using Zoom instead. (Though I would like to thank the following groups and individuals who had put time and energy into the original Chicago meeting: Su Casa Catholic Worker, #LetUsBreathe Collective, Kathy Kelly, and Rosalie Riegle.) NWTRCC’s first online conference was a success. (Though to be clear, NWTRCC has had an online component to its conferences that allowed folks who were offsite to join us for quite a few years now.) About 50 folks signed up for the conference and 42 attended at least some portion of the conference. We had folks joining us from Alaska to […]