Know the Earth…Share the Way…Understand the World

Flag of International Atomic Energy Agency with blue background, atomic particle surrounded by oak leaf branches

Last week I joined with others who had participated in a tax day action earlier in the year to raise awareness about nuclear weapons on the UN designated day to eliminate the most potent weapon ever created.  We set out seeking midday crowds in a boldly painted vehicle with messages of nuclear disarmament and “armed” with materials including the Warheads to Windmills literature. The program provides a framework of how we could invest the $61 billion for nuclear weapons (in 2018) into programs that could counter climate catastrophe including the Green New Deal. While we traveled around the city I had to put some of my organizing instincts on hold and focus on what underlies all of this work, building […]

Building Positive Pillars for Peace

On July 30th, 2019 I had the great pleasure of participating in a live webinar featuring several think tanks and organizations around the world addressing the continued efforts to abolish nuclear weapons worldwide. The participants hailed from notable groups like Abolition 2000, the World Future Council, and the Institute for Economics and Peace. The presentations revolved around the audacity for peace and how peace is possible through combined international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons. The Institute for Economics and Peace proclaims two types of peace: positive and negative. Negative peace defined as the “absence of violence or fear of violence.” According to the Positive Peace Index Report 2019 written by the Institute for Economics and Peace, higher levels of negative […]

Crisis at the Border

a line of military police with riot shields practicing a formation in a parking lot

I imagine that those in the War Tax Resistance community have been attuned to an increased militarization of US society for some time: from the increase in the US military budget, the overflow of military equipment into our city police departments and the militarization of law enforcement at the border.  NWTRCC has been reporting on the increased militarization of the border in recent years.  There have been some new developments in the shifting shell game of the military budget in recent times. Everyday the news is full of ways that the president is attempting to circumvent the “laws of the land” in order to solidify the “line in the sand” with a border wall dividing the United States of America with […]

Confessions of an Anonymous War Tax Refuser

I grew up in a constant shadow of wars—from bomb shelters when I was a child, through Vietnam, the “cold war,” and ceaseless hot ones since then. When I discovered in my 30s that besides what we directly participated in, our government was also fomenting wars all over the world and supplying the arms for them, sometimes to both sides, I vowed myself to peace. That meant I would not help war efforts in any way, including paying for them or for weapons, buying products from companies which profited from war, and every other way that came to my attention. The only way I felt comfortable resisting taxes (other than the phone tax resistance during Vietnam) was to keep my […]

Nukes vs. Earth: Wake Up and Change

#1 polluter = war with Frances Crowe

“People tell me I should study to become a climate scientist so I can solve the climate crisis. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.” — Greta Thunberg It’s pretty easy to find great quotes from the surprising and powerful new voice of the climate change movement, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. I like that quote because often I feel like we are drowning in information and should spend more time out making more noise than listening to news (ok, I’m something of a news addict, but then my parents were journalists) or reading yet another book on how we ended up where we […]

Bringing War Tax Resistance to Campaign Nonviolence and UN International Day of Peace!

During the hot dog days of August, I am kept busy prepping for the dedicated Week of Actions around the UN Day of International Peace on September 21.  Peace folks in San Diego have been part of the national actions for the past 4 years, including the Peace Resource Center of San Diego and the Franciscan Peace Connection.  Big shout-out to Pace e Bene for dreaming up Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions as a time of focused, united local actions to spread a culture of nonviolence.  It has grown from 200 to 2600 actions – a sign of the people’s movement. This year, the focus is on real climate action. I usually enjoy the busy work in anticipation of the […]

Negotiations Continue for FY 2020 Defense Bill

As this Blog is being prepared for publication conferees from the US House of Representatives and Senate are in negotiations finalizing the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The $733 billion House version was passed along party lines — 220 to 197 — with Republicans united in opposition to the legislation. For the past six decades the defense bill has traditionally been a bipartisan effort, but this year there has been more debate about what can be included in military spending as well as curtailing the executive branch’s ability to declare war.  The Trump administration’s escalating tensions with Iran have given added urgency to war authorization powers. Last month, the president said he did not believe he required […]

NWTRCC’s Adventures in DC with Code Pink and John Bolton’s War Making

Yellow button with words "No to War & Racism- HANDS OFF IRAN- Neighbors for Peace. org

When NWTRCC originally reached out to members of Code Pink to share a report back from their recent delegation for our May meeting in Washington DC, we could not have been fully aware of the timeliness of the situation in Iran and the rapidly changing US policy. Code Pink, co- founder Medea Benjamin shared her reflections of the 28 member delegation in March. She shared stories of some of the 80 million Iranian people who have been suffering under increasingly crippling sanctions as well as an increasing threat of war. As NWTRCC members were wrapping up our gathering in Washington DC and joining in support of some members of Code Pink at the Venezuelan embassy, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier […]

War Tax Resistance Conference in DC

We had a delightful NWTRCC gathering in Washington, DC this past weekend. I want to start with a HUGE thank you to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, who hosted folks who needed beds, hosted some of our weekend activities, and helped many of us make it down to the Venezuelan Embassy after our business meeting on Sunday. Thanks also to those who helped with food. Here are some of the highlights, in my humble opinion: Friday evening was supposed to begin with a report back from Code Pink activist Paki Wieland on her recent trip to Iran. Paki and other activists have been staying at the Venezuelan Embassy since it was officially turned over to them when Venezuelan diplomats who […]

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 […]

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 […]