Avoid the Phone Tax by Switching to Voice-Over-IP

Jorge at StringCans comes out in favor of War Tax Resistance and says that he’s found a simple solution to getting rid of your telephone federal excise tax:

…just get rid of your phone bills altogether by switching to a broadband phone company such as Vonage. I’m becoming a strong advocate of such services, and I just realized that this is yet another reason. As of yet, at least, services like Vonage aren’t regulated by the government because they don’t use the phone networks. This is an excellent way to protest and save yourself money at the same time!

Fred Kaplan at Slate takes a look at the Defense Department’s budget and writes a “Dog Bites Man” story about how much money is chasing how much superfluous high-tech weapons bloat.

And the folks at Defense Tech take note of some Pentagon Budget Blackmail:

Give us more money, or soldiers aren’t going to get paid. That’s the cynical game the Pentagon’s leadership has been playing with the Army’s budget in recent months. And now, it’s crunch time.

, Rumsfeld & Co. have been dipping into the Army’s day-to-day funds — like money for soldiers’ paychecks — and then daring Congress not to make up the difference with a second, “supplemental” pile of cash.

They’re playing the same game with that extra “death benefit” that Bush promised a little while back. You may remember how with showy generosity, Dubya promised that “[i]f a soldier was killed in war… his loved ones would get a $100,000 lump sum — up from just $12,420 — plus an extra $150,000 in life insurance payouts.”

But then, something curious happened. Or rather, didn’t happen. The Pentagon never included the money for a bigger death benefit in its budget. So now, the Army has gone to Congress, asking for an extra $348 million to keep the administration’s word.

The money is part is a larger, $4.8 billion package of Army “ Shortfalls and Requested Legislative Authorities” — programs that the service’s chiefs felt should have received more money from the Pentagon budgeteers. Every year, the Army, Navy, and Air Force appeal directly to Congress to infuse these programs with more cash. This year’s Army list also includes $443 million for more M16s and other small arms and $227 million for night vision equipment…