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 […]

On the Streets with XR

On Saturday, June 22, Extinction Rebellion NYC organized small group discussions in a midtown Manhattan park, followed by a march to take the message of “climate emergency” to the media – in this case directly to the headquarters of The New York Times. Many have heard of Extinction Rebellion (XR) now, which started with large actions in London, blocking bridges to demand decisive action from governments on the environmental crisis. The UK group describes XR as an international apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. In the U.S., XR has added a fourth demand: “We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations […]

Mennonite Church Peace Tax Fund

A new alternative fund that will be available to any U.S. Mennonite at their local church is being proposed at the biannual convention of the Mennonite Church USA in Kansas City on July 4. War tax resistance alternative funds began in the late 1960s as a way for resisters to pool the thousands of federal tax dollars resisted because of the Vietnam War. Alternative funds serve the following purposes: Hold resisted taxes in escrow until the government allows taxpayers to pay taxes without any of that money going to war (through, for example, the Peace Tax Fund Bill). Provide potential security of funds from seizure by the IRS. (Since all deposits are held in one common account under an organization’s […]

The Picket Line 2019 Annual Report on Tax Resistance by David Gross

pay no war tax chicago graphic

Picket Line Annual Report (For the Full Article by David Gross, including the detailed 1040: A Walkthrough click here.  Links to previous Picket Line articles can be accessed by  clicking on the “♦” symbols.) Tax Resistance Sixteen years ago, on 19 March 2003, the U.S. began its “shock and awe” attack on Iraq. For me, this was the last straw and so I started what I then called “an experiment” in tax resistance so that I would no longer feel as complicit.♦ My goal was to stop financially supporting the U.S. government. I hoped at first to do this legally by lowering my income below the federal income tax line, so I quit my job to start my own small business and I began […]

Military Members Speak Out On Memorial Day

Image of a person with a gun on the left and a human head with a gas mask on and the word War Huh! What is it good for?

This year at Memorial day, Veterans were sharing their stories about war, their time in the military and how the military has impacted both physical and mental health. While Memorial Day has been a holiday commemorating those killed and  forever silenced by war, Veterans who survived wars were talking about their experiences over the weekend. Many people involved in the military and those close to them were speaking publicly about the horrific experiences of war after the Army asked how the military has influenced them on Twitter.  On Memorial Day, a story was released about Atomic Soldiers who, for many spoke about their exposure to atomic weapons after 50 years earlier.   The Atlantic shared a short documentary, The Atomic Soldiers […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]