War Tax Resister Don Schrader

Don Schrader is a devoted tax resister and one of Albuquerque’s celebrated eccentrics. J.A. Montalbano has written a profile of Schrader for the Albuquerque Tribune that does a good job of avoiding the freak-show “local colorful figure” clichés and letting us get to know the man and what makes him tick.

In shorthand, he’s a former Mennonite minister from rural Illinois who believes in war-tax refusal, simple living, sun worship, raw nutrition, raw bodies and raw bodies of the same sex in carnal communion.

Schrader, 61, lives his life publicly, trumpeting, in the rawest of language, his big-picture philosophy as well as the minutiae of his daily brand of asceticism — from Gandhian proclamations to a detailed discussion of his urine-drinking regimen. He is a unique mix of local celebrity and conscience of the city. He is a lightning rod whose letters prompt weeks-long debates, and his mere presence on Central Avenue elicits hoots and whistles, threats and epithets. The way he lives seems like a threat to our way of life.

“What I stand for — if many people followed my example — is revolutionary but not in a violent way,” he says. “It would undercut the structure of this entire society.”

The reporter interviewed another local activist, Chuck Hosking:

Hosking, a familiar face as prolific protester outside Kirtland Air Force Base, and [Mary Ann] Fiske were devoted to simple living , donating two-thirds of their income to people in poor countries and, like Schrader, living below the tax threshold.

When I arrive, Hosking is sitting at the table in the airy main room of his house. His home is a veritable mansion, I point out, compared with Schrader’s one-room monastery.

“Discipline is Don’s middle name,” Hosking says.

Schrader’s extreme lifestyle, he says, makes people like Hosking seem like moderates by comparison.

“He is so far out there that he makes us look reasonable,” Hosking says with a smile. “…He’s broadening the range of what people are willing to consider.”

Another TIGTA report confirms my suspicions from earlier this month: That long distance telephone excise tax that the IRS illegally collected all those years? The one they kept collecting as one by one, district courts across America told them it was illegal? They one they finally said they’d refund when they relented and read the writing on the wall?

Well, as it turns out, “a significant amount of the telephone excise tax overcollected from individual taxpayers may never be refunded.”

Perhaps this will help the folks who launched a lawsuit last year after predicting just such a result from allowing the IRS to design its own remedy.