Skipping Tax Bill Is One Way Some Are Protesting Iraq War

In , Cindy Sheehan announced that she was going to stop paying her taxes in protest against the government’s duplicity in launching the Iraq War. This announcement was met by indignant shrieks from the right wing press and embarrassed and embarrassing silence in anti-war circles.

Sheehan stood her ground, but I haven’t heard her mention her tax resistance or recommend the tactic. I worried that maybe she’d changed her mind or decided it was too controversial to mention, both inside the anti-war movement and out.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. She’s back — and more tax resistery than ever:

This supplemental funding bill will pass, and I believe that giving George Bush a blank check for more killing is reprehensible and I refuse to support these crimes against humanity with my own funds.

I urge every American with a heart, compassion, and a sense for justice and a return to moral based leadership to join me in withholding our money from this murderous and callous government.

Give your money to peace or justice groups instead. Give your money to homeless shelters; grass-roots Katrina recovery efforts; create a “Peace Scholarship” at your local college to reward a young person who doesn’t want to join the military to pay for college; give to Veteran’s groups who are advocating for better care for our veterans or a group like IVAW which is a group of returning vets who are actively trying to stop the war; give to War Resisters to support legal aid for our active duty soldiers who refuse to go to war; give to Camp Casey; give to your local peace group.

I am sure there are thousands of places to put our money besides the pockets of the Military Industrial Complex. So many people and groups have been damaged because of our war economy. A lot of good could be done with our tax dollars instead of funding continued killing.

Our elected officials have failed us miserably. We elected them to oppose George and his war, not support him. We are not being represented properly and I, for one, refuse to be taxed by them.

Man oh man, we have been on a free spree around the house lately! Over the past several weeks, we’ve scored a handsome ceiling-mounted hanging pot rack, a large-sized Foreman Grill, and a spare back door (so I could install a cat door and keep the landlord happy) all for free thanks to members of a local “Freecycle” mailing list.

If you haven’t looked into “Freecycle” yet, you might want to take a peek.

Freecycling is a pretty moderate step on the freegan living plan. Some people push things a little further. Reporter Becca Tucker decided to give “dumpster diving” a try for the sake of journalism, and filed a fascinating report for a Manhattan weekly newspaper. Excerpts:

According to Madeline Nelson, who looks like your favorite librarian and dumpster dives for most of her food, dumpstering once a week can fulfill about 85 percent of your grocery needs. Twice-weekly dives can cover 90 to 95 percent. She didn’t need to come out to the trash tour, because a friend recently stayed at her apartment, and as a thank-you gift he dumpster dove her fridge stock-full.

For self-identifying freegans, embarrassment is not an issue. “I’m not so much bound by the illusions of our culture,” says Adam Weissman, 29, who does activist work twelve to sixteen hours a day for no pay and lives on $20 a week.

“Being bound by the cultural norm of whether someone’s going to think it’s icky or weird for me to be going through the trash is far less compelling than my sense of embarrassment or horror that I would feel for being part of the problem, by basically pumping more fuel into the economy in the form of capital, in the form of money.

“So it’s not that I’m in any way not cognizant of the fact that what we’re doing is socially deviant. It’s quite deliberate.”

When I started this experiment I had little interest in the politics of waste. I simply wanted to see whether a person could actually eat for free in a city where a sandwich costs $7. How freeing that would be, in a way. How strange an inversion of everything that drives us to go to work every day. We have to earn, we think, because we have to eat.

But after awhile, my exuberance at opening a bag to find it full of still-warm chocolate munchkins, or a hundred fat New York-quality bagels, or fifty plastic containers of organic lettuce from Mexico, or ten wrapped and ready-to-eat sandwiches, or two dozen firm, colorful peppers, was nudged out by dismay.

…now that I’ve had to throw away good food I’ve foraged from the trash to make room in the fridge for even better food, now that I’ve passed up wrapped cinnamon buns not because they’re stale, but because there are fifty of them, it’s started to sink in.

This happens every night all over the city, and to varying degrees, in every city across the country. All the energy that went into growing, producing, packaging, shipping, refrigerating, and dumping all this food is worth less than what it would cost a store to run out of something and fail to make a sale. So they deliberately overstock. And while the food and packaging gets dumped in landfills, people are going hungry just blocks away.

It’s depressing. It’s shameful.

It’s delicious.

Indefatigable military budget watchdog Winslow T. Wheeler takes a look at the latest Iraq War “emergency supplemental” and wonders what ever happened to the new Democratic Congress’s pledge to eliminate porkful earmarks?

I was alerted by a former colleague from the Senate staff that page 238 of the committee report… contains the following statement:

“EARMARKS: Pursuant to clause 9 of rule ⅩⅪ of the Rules of the House of Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule ⅩⅪ.” (Emphasis added.)

Wow! $21.3 billion in add-ons and not a single earmark! Now, that’s reform! Right?

Not exactly, check out page 291 for the $25 million added for spinach producers. And, page 216 for $60 million for salmon fisheries. And, page 214 for $5 million for aquaculture. Other tables in the report appear to contain many more. (I’ll get back to you on that. It looks like a “target rich environment.”)

Not earmarks? You could have fooled me. Having worked the congressional pork system for most of I was on Capitol Hill, they sure smell, wallow, and oink like earmarks to me.