I’ve found a new home — several times the space for less than ten clams more
per month than I’ve been spending for a walk-in closet on the fancy side of
And so I find myself with more time to blog, though not necessarily much more
to blog about, as my mind has been occupied by trying to get a roof over my
head, and so I haven’t been thinking much about taxes and government policy
and activism and the like.
The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
(a.k.a. Quakers) has
been trying to accommodate the war tax resistance of one of its employees,
Priscilla Adams. They haven’t been withholding taxes from her paychecks and
forwarding the money to the
have instead been putting the withheld money into an escrow account as the
legal case against them continued.
Since most conscientious objection arguments to the federal income tax have
failed in the courts, they had to try something new and so they reached for
the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a recent law
that was designed for people whose long-standing religious beliefs conflict
with federal law. It’s been used, for instance, to defend religious
practitioners whose peyote use conflicted with federal drug laws.
this Washington Post article,
the White House has finally started to back down a bit from the “torture is
peachy when we say so” stand. In addition, they plan to release more of the
memos in their torture-and-interrogation collection — and they hope by this to
show that the
awful ones we’ve
seen and heard about aren’t a sample that accurately represents White
However, the documents also seem to confirm that the Dubya Squad were playing
fast-and-loose with its treaty obligations and with its stated pledges to
treat prisoners humanely. The current incarnation of the
Post article begins: “President Bush claimed the
right to waive anti-torture laws and treaties covering prisoners of war… and
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized guards to strip detainees and
threaten them with dogs, according to documents released
.” Even the right-wing
Drudge Report, usually the first place to find the
hopeful White House spin on a story, puts these revelations in its headline.
And the papers are finally catching on to a story that I covered
: the Human Rights Watch report that
U.S. air strikes
designed to assassinate top Iraqi leaders were utter failures — zero for
fifty — and because they involved techniques like dropping “bunker busters” on
residential neighborhoods they caused many civilian casualties.
Why did it take
for outfits like the Times to consider this news
“fit to print?” I guess it’s because they finally got “senior military and
intelligence officials” to verify the report. I’d like the
Times better if they had the good sense to work the
other way around, and wait until Human Rights Watch verifies the latest
official spin before they rush it to print.