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 […]

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 […]