Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chickens and Conscience

So Dad is talking about chickens and babies and also has this nice bit "I’m more than ever sure that at least for me war is wrong and I’m sure that it si wrong for the world as a way to settle differences. I can’t see anything in a religion that lets people kill other people and in some cases strengthens them." I am wondering about conscience and it's role in society. I heard from the folks at the tax advocacy place, who said the Secretary has found "Frivolous submissions include situations in which the taxpayer declines ' pay taxes if the taxpayer disagrees with the government's use of tax revenue, ...'". this is a new definition put out in 2010. So I fall squarely into this definition because I am not willingly paying the taxes which go to the current wars being waged by the US government. I do not argue with this. The question I have is the use of the frivolous filing penalty to squash or control people of conscience. I want to raise the question is a society better off if it discourages and tries to stamp out conscience completely or will it be better off if it allows for people of conscience to speak up? I reread Thoreau's essay on Civil Disobedience, he asks about the Government, "why does it not cherish its wise minority?" and "A very few,,,serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it." As I read these wonderful men's words I felt both encouraged and discouraged. All the things I am concerned about go back centuries. I reread some of John Woolman also, he and others wrote about refusing to pay taxes for wars before the revolutionary war. In all cases, all were concerned about what King labels "the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism". His full quote is: "When machines and computers, profits and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
So I am thinking about conscience and today's society and what I will do next with the good people at the Internal Revenue Service. I will call the man at the tax advocacy place tomorrow and see who I can contact in terms of an appeal. I have a little mantra I have chanted about this situation: it isn't about me, I did not ask for this situation, way will open.

February 18, 1944


Dear family,

Still isn’t much to say. The pigs are doing alright and the chickens are still laying aigs (eggs).

Did I ever tell youn’s that the director’s wife is going to have a baby? Well, she is. Some of the boys made a cradle for the kid and the director (with my help) made a swell table with a little cupboard underneath to bathe the baby on. They don’t have much furnature or place to put any. They have an apartment partitioned off in one of these CCC buildings about 30 feet long and the building are about are about 20 feet wide. The baby is scheduled for the week from next tue.

Those were some clippings that you sent me. When I read some of that stuff I wonder if there is ever any hope for the world. I reckon there is tho, but I probably will never see it. I’m more than ever sure that at least for me war is wrong and I’m sure that it si wrong for the world as a way to settle differences. I can’t see anything in a religion that lets people kill other people and in some cases streghtens them. I’m not going back on my religion but I sure think that Christ has been one of the most misunderstood and missinteripted men that ever lived.

I used to think some about being a preacher but I don’t think that I want to take the responsibility to interprit Christianity to people when I think about how little I understand about how to live with my fellow man. That leads me to wondering about Christianizing other nations. I wouldn’t bw supprised if the Japanese people know about as much about God and The Americans. To judge from the way we do thijgs in the name of God and kill people with love in our hearts, I can’t see that we have any business to show any nation the way to worship.

I guess you really had some winter for a while. We havn’t had even a frost for some time. We have been having a little more rain tho in the last week or two.

I hope you get that tractor planter. I may come home a little before the first of may but now much, We’ll see what happens. There hasn’t been a furlough bann since that one last April except around Christmas. Then it was out of from 15% to 10% and the 24 and 25 there were to be none of us traveling. So I’m not so worried about that. But our position with secelective service and the public in general isn’t too secure. The friends are batting for us in Washington but we don’t have any leverage over Seclective Service except our nusence value. Maybe the fact that we are working for nothing has a little to do with it too. But it is a pretty big load.

I think that I’ll try to get a reservation on a fast train but I’ll have to buy a ticket to Chicago but It will be worth it to spend lett time on the train and get home sooner.

So long


Monday, July 18, 2011

Baby pigs, corn pickers and frivolous filing

Now it seems to be my turn to be a conscientious objector. Back in '44 Dad is watching baby pigs and discussing with Grandpa the Farm Bureau and the value of picking corn by hand or by machine. There does not seem to be much happening at the CPS camp. Back here in 2011 I got a note from the IRS saying I have received a 'frivolous' filing penalty related to my 2010 tax return. Since the US invaded Iraq and I went back to a full time pay check I have withheld part of my tax, the part that goes toward current wars. I put it in an account at the bank labeled 'war taxes'. After the first few years the IRS did a levy and collected. They sent me a notice last fall that they would levy again, but never did. Then a week ago I got a penalty of $5000 with only 10 days to reply. I have contacted the advocacy people and hope to hear from them. So far I am just asking for clarity on why this particular form is considered 'frivolous'.
I was thinking about how with a volunteer army and much of the war work hired out by the military, tax resistance is one of the few ways we can actually resist or connect with the war machine. It amazes me to think of the cost to so many people of the violence of war.

February 12, 1944

Dear folks,

You are going to get a short one this time. About the only news there is is that the camp sow had pigs this morning before 5:00 Warren was on the job.

I got the box of cookies the same day I got you letter. Thur. Durn good too, everybody likes them. Thanks a lot. Thanks for the big check too.

Your good weather has let you get a lot of good out of the corn stalks this winter. I think I’m still for hand corn picking. I sort of hate to see you get a picker. I suspect that I don’t need to worry for a while at the rate that you are getting things from that board. I reckon you are right when you say that there are a lot of funny things done by the farm bureau guys. I don’t know as I blame them. It is just natural for people to favor their friends and not to notice the people that they don’t know so well. You get good deals from the friends you make among the storekeepers and Harry Ruth gives you good deals and you have had good car deals. The thing is that you don’t believe in the Farm bureau and so you can’t be quite as good friends with the fellows that do as you could if you did agree with them. I don’t agree with them either. I imagine that there are people that belong to the Bureau just because the ration board and the farm program is run by them. We won’t do things like that and we only have a peace of mind as a reward. We will get our reward some time. So I don’t think you want machinery if you have to get it by getting on the good side of people for that reason only when you don’t believe in their organization.

Talk about parts for the cornplanter. It seems to me like Ella B’s planter need something, I believe I had a hard time keeping it in gear, maybe the clutch was worn. If we had to use it it might go bad before we got done, if she hasn’t had if fixed.

Say! if Mom keeps on I won’t know her by may. She’ll be a mere shadow!

I saw a HENRY ALDRICH show the other day. The boys kidded me about going to see my brother in the movies. It was good. That guy can get in some awful messes.

They should have a Thin Woman program on the radio for you, Mom.

With love and a Mouth full of cookies,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rain again

I checked last year at the beginning of July and I wrote about rain. Dad's letter is back in February of 1944 and speak of the need of the war machine for people and a fear of them trying to recruit CO's. This didn't happen. We are in interesting times, where money and the challenges of extreme weather may actually help to move us away from wars. At the present we are still immersed in multiple wars, which I am coming to see as a big game which benefits the banks and keeps the war machine going at the expense of the people. Here near Mexico we are very close to the impact of the drug wars and how they destroy communities but do nothing to stop drug use. I do believe that as human beings we will move beyond this stage of greed and addiction to create sustainable communities that are in harmony with the earth.
Now to the rain. We have had a drought here I think it is at the supersize level. I think they are labled, severe, extreme and extremely severe. That's us. I had used up the water in our water barrels for the garden except the last tank in the front. Then finally the rain came on Friday night pouring down and more on Saturday. The rain brought back memories of rain in the Colorado mountains when we were kids and we would go hiking with Dad while Mom sat alone back at the campground and read. Coming back sometimes we would get caught in those afternoon showers and take shelter under a rock until it passed. In Colorado it can rain anytime of the year it seems. Here you really come to appreciate the rain. We often have a little in the spring, but not like the downpours we get in July and August. We have all been in fear of the fireworks since today is the 4th and the city had not canceled all fireworks, but the rains help. There is still a lot of dead wood from the winter freeze which killed things like our pomegranate tree. But the once dead grass and weeds are now perking up as are the eggplants and tomatoes in the garden patch.

February 4, 1944


Dear folks,
Here I am again. My letters don’t get off to such a good start as they used to. They have quit going down with the mail in the afternoon and so the only trip is in the morning about 9:30 and I get your letters then and answer them in the afternoon and they don’t go out till the next day. I used to get them out in the afternoon mail. They quit the afternoon mail trip on account of the gass siruation. The guys above our boss have been trying to get us to use less but hadn’t made much impression and then the rationing department or something or other cut the O & C’s gas in half for Jan. Well the project supt. got all excited about it and is trying to cut down. But they try mostly on things that benefit us COs. The big shot from Portland still drives down and they drive all around to the side camps in his car and don’t worry about gas. That’s the Gov’t men for you. We aren’t worrying about it. We figure that they have us to get work out of and if it takes gas they will get the gas when they find out they can’t bluff us into cutting down any more. That’s enough gass.
I got a letter from Harry today. He seems to be feeling better about loosing Norma since he has been running around a bit with some other girls. He has probably told you about it.
I’d like to see Mom with her stylish glasses and wine colored chai covers.
I’m figuring on coming home next May again. I will have 30 days by then. I scared stiff that they will shut off furloughs about that time like they did last April. That’s one bad thing about saving up so much furlough. If CPS should collapse and they might take a notion to let us all work in the ship yards or something that I wouldn’t want to do. They are getting a little hard up for men now. If somebody would happen to notice all of us nice ablebodied guys just fooling around doing work of national importance they might get somebody to revise the meaning of national importance. Don’t worry about that, I don’t.
Is you weather more like it should be by now? We are having a little Oregon weather this week but it isn’t too steady tho.
Dad sure wrote me a farm letter last time. All the pigs and what he is feeding them. I had forgotten how much they could eat. I think that ‘Nedra’s Calf” having a calf is good news, I thought that there never were going to be any cows out of that deal. Now maybe you will get some milk production in the heard. A little milk wouldn’t hurt. That’s a heck of a note about the baled straw. But save it then you can combine the oats and have some good bedding left from this year.
When does Harry have to come home and go to work? I wonder if he will want to.
Well, so long for another week,