Black Thoughts for a New Year:

It is not easy to come to grips with the moral despair induced by the knowledge that one’s government is engaged in torture. The people most besmirched by Abu Ghraib and Camp Delta — the ones at the top — have had their services retained rather than answering for the crime…

This is all, in a strict sense, beyond belief, and yet we are in the puzzling position of watching it happening and being powerless to stop it… One is charged with not getting used to this and not giving in to the temptation to pretend that everything is operating according to the normal rules. The United States is now caught up in a hallucinatory fog, in which the one thing that cannot be admitted is that the attacks of succeeded in driving the country insane.


The anti-war group United for Peace and Justice has announced its new organizing drive to end the U.S. war on Iraq:

We believe that there are three crucial weak points in the Administration’s war strategy. The Bush Administration cannot fight this war without taxpayer funding, soldiers willing to die, and the ability to contain domestic opposition to acceptable levels.

Alas, although they have identified these three weaknesses, the first of which is taxpayer compliance, their attack only really addresses the last two:

The anti-war movement should focus its energies on increasing the war’s unpopularity, particularly by emphasizing the horrific loss of life on all sides; by highlighting the war’s escalating financial cost, and the consequences of war spending for our communities; and by disrupting the Pentagon’s ability to recruit new troops.

It’s getting harder for the anti-war movement to ignore the connection between the taxes they pay and the policies they abhor, but this has yet to translate into concrete calls for tax resistance. For those of us in the tiny war tax resistance movement, now is a good time to redouble our efforts to highlight this contradiction and to show activists a way out of it.



Here’s an interesting follow-up to my post about the USDA-created frugal healthy diet plans:

In Sharon Gordon posted a “food stamp challenge” in the Community Food Security listserv (comfood-L): eat for a week on a food stamp budget. We decided to do this using as much food as we could from local farmers so we expanded the challenge to show how the combination of (1) frugal supermarket shopping, (2) preparing meals from basic ingredients, (3) buying local foods, (4) gardening, (5) food storage, and (6) home preservation of food could add up to a healthy, affordable, practical, and environmentally sustainable meal plan, even though the local meats, eggs, and dairy products are typically more expensive than typical supermarket fare. And the food had to be satisfying and taste good too, otherwise, what’s the point? Call this the Slow Food for the Poor Challenge. ¶ I am happy to report that we succeeded on all accounts.

Follow the link for details and recipes. This comes from the site Better Times: Access to Sustainable, Simple & Frugal Living, which is full of useful information.


In an excerpt from Paul Loeb’s The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, Walter Wink explores the cunning nonviolent martial art tradition of Jesus:

To risk confronting the Powers with such clown-like vulnerability, to affirm at the same time our own humanity and that of those we oppose, to dare to draw the sting of evil by absorbing it — such behavior is unlikely to attract the faint of heart. But to people dispirited by the enormity of the injustices that crush us and the intractability of those in positions of power, Jesus’ words beam hope across the centuries. We need not be afraid. We can assert our human dignity. We can lay claim to the creative possibilities that are still ours, burlesque the injustice of unfair laws, and force evil out of hiding from behind the facade of legitimacy.

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