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 […]

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 […]

U.S. Troop Withdrawal from the Middle East

In the latter half of December, President Trump announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria along with an additional withdrawal of 7,000 troops (a 50% reduction) from Afghanistan. Originally, Trump gave the military thirty days to remove troops from Syria, but now has extended the deadline to four months. One would think this news would have brought a tremendous amount of holiday cheer, but folks of blue and red persuasions have been lambasting Trump over the decision. I do not pretend to have an expert grasp the political situation in Syria. (Here is a brief synopsis of the current situation in Syria). But along with groups like World Beyond War, I want to pressure President Trump to […]

How Much Do You Make?

  A story from Finland jumped out of the paper at me recently: “In Finland, Every Citizen’s Taxable Income Is Revealed” (NY Times, 11/2/2018). The article describes a surprising tradition in that country. Many in Finland feel that this transparency helps to control the gap between high and low incomes and to control disparities in pay for the same work. Executives seem to think twice before raising their own salaries. One interviewee said Finns tend to be humble; “If you show it around, no one likes you,” he said. Such an idea must make that guy in the White House cringe. The rest of us can certainly see advantages to having such a release be automatic as far as trying […]

Niger Needs Food, Not Drones

Ed and I had an amazing trip twelve years ago to the Sahara Desert in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world. For those of you who know us, the reason we’ve traveled to some more unusual places is the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun — and it’s true, one is not enough! The August 2017 eclipse created new “eclipse chasers” since it crossed the U.S. and was visible to millions of people with tons of media coverage before, during, and after. So, you may wonder what this has to do with war tax resistance… The UN consistently ranks Niger near or at the bottom of human development based on life expectancy, education, and […]

Tariffs for War?

image of a container ship loaded up at sea

I feel fairly good about my twenty years of war tax resistance. At times you might even say I feel smug. With the purpose of promoting a more peaceful world, I have redirected those funds to various people, groups, and movements. But I have not been able to avoid financial support for war entirely. I have paid the federal excise tax on gasoline, airline tickets, alcohol, though I try to keep these purchases to a minimum. Starting on September 24, 2018, the US government will impose tariffs on numerous Chinese goods. As a recent Yahoo! article notes, “by Election Day in November, Trump will have placed new tariffs on $250 billion worth of stuff Americans buy every day.” Though the […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Conscience and History: Beit Sahour Conscience, the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC) from 1980 to 1995, covered the Palestinian tax resistance multiple times. Part 1 addressed 1988-1989’s coverage. The next mention of Beit Sahour, a center of such resistance, occurred in “West Bank Town Under Siege for Tax Protest,” in Conscience‘s Winter 1990 issue (#36), by Les Welsh: “This summer, the village of Beit Sahour, a working class, mostly Christian town of 15,000, decided unanimously to withhold taxes from the regime occupying their homeland. For many of Beit Sahour’s 320 businesses, this was their first participation in the Uprising. “The Israeli government responded on September 22nd [1989] by declaring Beit Sahour a […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 1

a stone arch over a paved lane in Beit Sahour, with a stone building in the background

Welcome to the 2nd in the Conscience and History series! In each of these posts I’ll explore a little bit of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC)’s newsletter, Conscience, which was published from 1980 to 1994. The newsletter was continued as Nonviolent Action (1995-2007) by the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia (NACC), which ran the CMTC Escrow Account until it moved to St. Louis. (For more on the CMTC Escrow Account, which is now in the process of closing down and transferring its funds to other alternative funds, see this archived page.) When WTRs discuss historic international examples of war tax resistance or tax resistance in general, Beit Sahour (pronounced roughly “Bait Sah-HOR,” or listen to a pronunciation) is […]

Let’s Honor Peacemakers on This Memorial Day

rows and rows of crosses and the Santa Monica beach in the distance - the Arlington West memorial to veteran and civilian deaths in war. Photo by Ruth Benn, May 6, 2018.

by Susan Miller When we’ve inquired about remodeling our apartment in Manhattan, contractors ask, “Is it pre-war?” That’s hard to answer. Pre- which war? For the past century, the U.S. has been complicitly or directly at war with countries around the world, with perhaps only a few years during President Jimmy Carter’s administration in which the world was spared from U.S. aggression and so much military aid to influence political and economic decisions. What has the world gained from the unconscionable numbers of civilians and soldiers killed in war, the money U.S. taxpayers lose to the preparation, payment, and resulting debt to our budget, the destruction of our planet, the crises of homelessness, suicide, gun violence at home, and reduction […]

Taxes, Teens, and the Costs of War

I hate doing my taxes. For each of the last few weekends, “do your taxes” has been on the top of my to-do list. If I were to prioritize a list of things I procrastinate about, doing taxes might be on top. I’ve always done them myself since my situation is not particularly complicated, but I am usually rushing at the last minute to get it in the mail before or after our tax day demonstration. Probably the one thing that motivates me to finally get it done is so I can enclose the letter telling the government why I’m not paying (here’s one from 2003). If I wasn’t a war tax resister would I continue to file? My style […]

No tax dollars for the war in Yemen

Throughout this year and last, the war in Yemen has been on my mind. The desperate ongoing humanitarian crisis, the devastation of war, and the United States government’s complicity all weigh heavily on me. Some, mostly Democrats, in Congress are coming around to criticizing this war, and even criticizing Saudi Arabia. If only they’d spoken up when Obama authorized billions in arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Or said something when he authorized US refueling of Saudi planes and other support for war in Yemen. Maybe we’d be getting somewhere by now? On November 13, 2017, the House passed a resolution noting that the US assistance to the Saudi war in Yemen was not authorized by Congress. But the resolution did […]

Natural Disasters and the Disaster of Militarism

Given all the crises we are seeing (or living) today, the crime of sustaining a massive military and endless wars is obvious. Emergency relief has a tiny budget compared to the Pentagon, and recently some members of Congress began to demand that new money for crises must be offset by spending cuts. You can bet they are not looking at the Pentagon for those cuts. As I’ve watched the news about devastating hurricanes and fires in recent months, I was thinking that sending the military to help with relief is a far better use of the troops than sending them to war. It would, of course, be better if they were actually trained in relief rather than killing, something that a […]