The good news is that I’ve got a paying gig that’s keeping me very busy. The bad news is that I’ve been very busy, and haven’t been able to update The Picket Line as much as I’d like.
: a bunch of links I thought were interesting enough to share but that I’ve given up hope about being able to weave in with some original commentary.
- Michael Kinsley tactlessly wonders where the buck stops on the torture policy.
- The European Court of Human Rights has denied an attempt by The Peace Tax Seven to establish that a country’s unwillingness to allow people to legally refuse to pay for military spending is a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the European Convention.
- Craig Hancock caught me on film at the San Francisco Tea Party rally. Twice.
- The number and percentage of Earned Income Tax Credit claims that are fraudulent — those in which the person claiming the credit doesn’t qualify for it — has increased exponentially in recent years, and the IRS hasn’t been able to keep up.
- Isaac Stanfield is reading David Beito’s Taxpayers in Revolt: Tax Resistance During the Great Depression and is blogging his observations along the way.
- Winslow Wheeler tells us what to expect from the upcoming military budget and what deceptions and spin you’ll be seeing in the news coverage about it.
- Beware of religions whose symbol is a man being tortured to death.
- Vargarquista at anarkismo.net writes about Smuggling as a strategy of tax resistance (Spanish). This is a particularly urgent subject in countries that rely more on sales and value-added taxes than on taxes like poll taxes and income taxes that individuals can more directly resist. If the “FairTax” scheme that some are pushing in the United States ever came to pass, this would become more of an issue in the U.S. as well. (“Smuggling” is my best translation of “el contrabando,” but the author seems to include a lot of different sorts of underground-economy activity under that term.)
- Here’s another article about the Basque country war tax resistance activists who have been making noise recently: Colectivos antimilitaristas y de mujeres promueven la objeción fiscal a los gastos militares en la campaña de IRPF (Antimilitarist and womens’ groups to promote war tax resistance in income tax season)
- David John Marotta has an intriguing idea about manipulating the timing of traditional-to-Roth IRA transfers and recharacterizations so as to maximize your tax-free capital gains. It’s somewhat complex but very clever. Basically, you do a traditional-to-Roth conversion into several different Roth accounts using as many different investment strategies. Then file tax extensions so that you extend the amount of time in which you can recharacterize those conversions. Wait and see which of your new Roth accounts appreciate the most; keep those (if any) as Roth accounts in which the appreciation will remain tax free and pay the taxes on the principle now. For the rest, recharacterize them as traditional IRAs again, and avoid paying taxes on them now. Follow the link for details and a more leisurely and clearer explanation.
- Radley Balko at The Agitator reminds us of this section from Dubya’s address to the nation on when he was launching the Iraq War:
And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”