Musings After A WTR Presentation

I did a presentation about war tax resistance before tax day to an antiwar section of the local DSA group, Democratic Socialists of America, a group that has grown like wildfire since the 2016 Bernie campaign. I gave a broad overview of the reasons, history and methods of war tax resistance, and we had a good amount of time for questions. I neglected to write up some notes during or after the session, but a few things that came up that still rattle around in my brain. There were definitely people in the room who were interested in war tax resistance, or tax resistance in general, for personal reasons — thus the invite to speak. But like many activists, they […]

Tax Day 2019 Report Back

Like many, I awoke Monday morning with anticipation for Tax Day. My excitement was related to thinking of the many throughout the US who would be resisting giving money to pay for war and raising the issue of bloated military spending to the general public through leafleting, holding vigils and marches.  NWTRCC had been busy in the lead up to April 15, sending out copies of the War Resisters League’s annual Pie Chart and information about how to resist paying taxes for war with packets to communities gathering on this day. Additional posts were made on social media, especially with tweets of the many ways people were refusing to pay taxes for war.  Lists of communities taking action were compiled […]

Terrible Taxes in History

Tax Day in the United States is Monday April 15 in most states (April 17 in Maine & Massachusetts). So I thought a post on terrible taxes in history would be appropriate. Back in December, HistoryExtra.com published an article about ten terrible taxes. (HistoryExtra is the official website for BBC History Magazine and BBC World Histories Magazine.) One downside of the article from an American perspective is that all of the taxes listed were English-enforced, but it’s still interesting and has some parallels with American taxes today. Here are a few of the unpopular taxes from their list: (1) The poll tax became more common in England at the end of the fourteenth century. It charged a flat tax per […]

King’s Bay Plowshares/ MLK Anniversary

7 activists hold a sign that reads "The ultimate logic of racism is genocide"

TODAY is April 4th, the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.      It is also the first anniversary of the action of 7 Catholic peace activists to symbolically disarm nuclear weapons at the Trident Submarine Base at Kings Bay, Georgia.  Most, if not all, of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, as Catholic Workers, are also by default war tax resisters, since they live below a taxable income.  Not paying taxes for war is a baseline value for the movement founded by Dorothy Day.  One of the KBP7, Martha Hennessy, is Dorothy Day’s granddaughter.      The seven activists chose April 4th, 2018, as the day for their action at Kings Bay precisely because it […]

The Continual Crossroads of Nuclear Weapons

People of Bikini Atoll carry their possessions to ships as part of forced relocation

History of the Nuclear Testing in the Marshall Islands After World War II the United States seized the Marshall Islands, a 1,800 mile chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Prior to that the Japanese had occupied the territory as an outpost for their military interventions. One Sunday in February 1946, the island’s US military governor asked the locals if they would be willing to temporarily relocate for “the good of mankind and to end all world wars.”  Operation Crossroads began on July 1, 1946 to determine how nuclear detonations would impact warships. The operation was terminated after many ships were destroyed and a 94 foot tsunami coated everything with radioactive water.  Many of the veterans who were ordered into […]

Increasing “Lethality” of Drones

There have been a couple news stories in March about American military drones. On 6 March 2019, Trump signed an executive order ending the requirement that CIA officials “report civilian deaths in drone attacks outside active war zones.” Trump referred to the requirement as a distraction. Obama put the requirement in place in 2016, during the last year of his presidency. (The Pentagon is still required to report civilian deaths to Congress, but the CIA program is responsible for covert drone strikes outside of war zones.) According the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there were 1,878 drone strikes during Obama’s eight years in office, which was a dramatic increase compared to the drone use by George W. Bush. During Trump’s first […]

Why I am a Cop Watcher… for the same reasons I resist war taxes.

Sunday, Feb 24 – Since Cat was nowhere in sight, and not responding to texts, Julie and I headed over to check out the nearby AJA Project while we waited. Located in the City Heights neighborhood, the young artists at AJA Project use art as the medium for young people dealing with systemic oppression to express the inexpressible. This San Diego neighborhood is known for its diversity, large refugee populations, and tense police-community interactions. The notorious local Curfew sweeps ignited complaints about racially motivated stops as more and more young people were swept up, handcuffed, and in some cases “documented” for being brown and black. No surprise that Cat was busy filming police in a nearby parking lot. Cat and […]

WTRs in the Era of IRS Budget Cuts

The poor, underfunded IRS has been ignoring me lately. I get the usual two or three letters a year asking for payment or threatening levies, but I’m not getting enough personal attention to write about my own case in a monthly blog. However, I do know some others who have the long arm of the government reaching into their pockets. On the one hand there’s less to fear from the IRS; on the other hand potential resisters still have to know about the risks. A longtime resister who lives on a low income but has tax debt is suffering with a salary levy now. Although she works very part-time as a therapist, the levy is taking something from each check, […]

Trump’s State of Emergency Lies Like a Loaded Weapon

A poster issued on April 1, 1942 detailing requirements of Japanese Americans

77 years ago on February 19th 1942, Executive Order 9066 was issued. The Order directed the army to create military zones and to remove all residents of Japanese ancestry during  World War II. It also created the War Relocation Authority which forcibly relocated over 110,000 citizens to internment camps. Last week,, the president declared a State of Emergency in order to get funding for the wall along the Southern US border with Mexico. Although there are over 30 emergency declarations in place at present, Trump’s action  is unprecedented. There were only two times that the Executive branch has taken money from the military under a State of Emergency. The first was when George H W Bush began the Gulf War […]

Gambling with our Future

Image of nuclear weapons explosion on horizon with orange glow

A recent headline, Cost to taxpayers to clean up nuke waste jumps $100 billion in a year brought home the tragedy of the nuclear weapons legacy. NBC reported that 80% of the increase was related to the Hanford site in Washington state where the plutonium was processed for nuclear weapons during the Cold War. David Trimble, director of the Government Accountability Office’s Natural Resources and Environmental team stated “We believe the number is growing and is understated.”  The projected timeline for clean up at this site is at least 50 years. Hanford is one of 75 sites in 35 states contaminated with nuclear weapons waste throughout the country. It was just a few days before that the Bulletin of Atomic […]

Chinese Tariffs for War Continue…

The trade war with China continues to fund real wars. Back in September, I wrote a blog post about the tariffs the United States has imposed on Chinese-imported goods. I have been reticent to write about this in the newsletter because the situation is in constant flux, which could make a newsletter article obsolete by the time it reaches your hands. But I do not want it to fall off our radar, so I thought I better compose a blog update for it. Last week, Trump met with Chinese representatives to reach a new trade agreement. The current tariff list is almost 200 pages long, consisting of over 4,000 items. If an agreement is not reached by March 1st, the […]

War Tax and Vortex: It’s a Matter of Priorities

Man holding a sign reading"Seeking Human Kindness "

While I have been involved in War Tax Resistance(WTR) for the past 20 years,  I have paid property taxes to the City of St. Louis. Five years ago I bought a house at one of the many tax sales where the city sells houses for the back taxes owed after not being paid for 5 years. I, like many others wait until the last week of the year to pay these taxes. This year when I pulled up to City Hall there was a man sleeping on a steam grate with some possessions surrounding him. It was particularly jarring this day as I was coming to pay my taxes to the city. I started to leave and then returned to […]