Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wood turning and visiting the Law School

I missed last week. Every so often I am on a conference call for a committee on Sunday evenings and I end up without time to post a letter or to write. I'm trying to schedule another time for this blogging. So in today's letter Dad took a career test that did not put him high in carpentry which is what he spent his life doing. He mentions that he actually was more interested in wood turning. I remember the year when he got back to doing some work on the lathe. I think Carol may have already graduated from high school and she helped him to wrap the presents. He had his shop which was away from our house so we were not aware that he had been working on these presents. When Christmas came we found these presents under the tree and they said from Dad but were not in Mom's hand writing so we knew something was up.  For Carol and Mom he made platters and Bonnie and I each got a round wooden jewelry box. This would have been in the late 1960's. Many relatives and Friends were to receive wooden bowls from that day on. Every craft sale fundraiser for AFSC would find a collection of Barney bowls for sale. At one point he joined a craft coop and I offered to put in the hours at the store. I think the coop did not last long and Dad just went back to giving the bowls. This Christmas Jenny said she would like one and so I picked one of the small platters to send her. Glad to see that she values these family treasures.

Back to the continuing saga of the IRS and my war tax resistance. We got an interview with the UNM law school clinic and drove up to Albuquerque and presented our case to them.  The student who interviewed us seemed interested and we should hear later this week if they will take the case.

July 15, 1944


Dear home folks,

            How you been? I’m still getting along pretty well. We are having very good weather. Gets pretty hot and dry in the afternoons. Bad weather for fires, I mean it isn’t good to have one start now. We got a call at 2:00 a. M. a week ago today which really woke us up. We never had to go tho but we really whipped our organization into line from 3:00 to 5:00 that morning and now we are ready for anything. I guess it was quite a way to that fire and they had to call Portland to authorize our leaving and they talked them into hunting for men closer.

            We are supposed to get 12 or 15 new men soon but we havn’t seen anything of them yet. I guess transportation is pretty crowded. 3 are them are new west coast assignees. We only have 113 men now.

            Some time ago we had the opportunity of taking vocational interest tests. I took it. Just got the results the other day. The test don’t tell whether you can do the job or whether you would be successfou or not. It says that your interests were the same as those of a group of men that were in these occupations that were tested. I scored the highest in Mathamatics and Science teacher. Imagine that. I was high in what they call the social uplift group. YMCA secretary Personel Work, Minister and stuff like that. I was quite high in farming too. I was alos high in Musician. That doesn’t mean much as all CPS men run high in that. I guess it is ‘cause they have a lot of the same interestes that musicians have like to read the same books and spend their leisure time the same way. I wasn’t very high as a carpenter. But the group I was compared with was a bunch of Calif. union carpenters and I don’t suppose our interests would have much in common. I’m not so much interested in carpentry as I am in cabinet making and wood turning. I scored pretty good as printer which was interesting but I don’t think I would want to be a proffesional. This test didn’t really tell me much but it did confirm some of my ideas about myself. According to t is test I think I would be pretty happy in this Co-op deal we are talking about.

            Tell Evelyn I was glad to get her letter. I hope she is over her bruises by now and back with those dull people again. She should be able to learn a lot of things not to do from them. I bet I’d get tired of it tho. I’ll try and get her off a letter soon.

                                                            With love,


-EDSEC Newsletter, July 10, 1944. Vol. 1, No. 13 with note: This put out by the Educational Secretary each week
-Project News, July 10, 1944, No. 10 with note: This is put out by a guy who’s job (?) is Project Education and Safety Education and stuff. Both these guys have their headquarters in the main camp but spend part of their time in the side camps working with the men and working on their jobs too.
-The Reporter, July 1, 1944, Vol. III, No. 1

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Civil initiative

Today Jim Corbett's name came up twice to me, once in an article I read and then again when someone spoke at Quaker Meeting for Worship. Jim Corbett lived in Arizona near the US Mexico border and got involved in the last century in a movement known as the Sanctuary movement that helped people who were fleeing oppressive regimes in Latin America. Jim said that what those who helped give sanctuary were doing was not Civil disobedience but was Civil Initiative, the quote I liked was in the March 2008 Friends Journal and states;

"Nonviolent civil initiative by covenant communities is... the way human beings preserve and develop society based on consent, in which the rule of law, as distinguished from the rule of commanders is necessarily gounded..."

So I'm thinking about this in terms of conscientious objection to military taxation and my dialog with the IRS. I think this idea of civil initiative applies when we as citizens are working to bring government or society back inline with it's agreements. It changes the emphasis from objecting or disobeying authority to that of supporting and initiating civil society. I am copying below here parts of the Jan 17th letter to my Senators explaining my situation with the IRS.

Dear Senators Bingaman and Udall;
It seems appropriate that I am sitting down to write you today, the day we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I am writing to you both in regards to a personal concern that is also a larger concern regarding our government and conscience. I have been withholding the part of my taxes that go to promoting war and developing the military since the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Each year I put the money into an account labeled ‘war taxes’ in our credit union. Once the IRS collected money out of this account and once the money was taken from my paycheck. I do not oppose taxes and I do not ask for any special treatment.

I see my actions as civil disobedience and I accept the yearly penalties that have been applied. For the last year I have been in dialogue with the IRS over a new penalty one for ‘frivolous filing’. It is in regards to this penalty that I am writing to you and enclosing with this letter, the letter I have sent to the IRS requesting a face-to face hearing.

It is my understanding that the frivolous filing penalty was first created and approved by the US Senate. I believe that the Senate needs to now take a look at this legislation that has grown into a rather large monster that is no longer in line with the spirit of freedom of speech and conscience that has always been part of the United States of America. I do not believe that the intent of this penalty was to harass or penalize those of us who are not willing to pay taxes that go to war. I have also learned that those in the IRS do not have much familiarity with this penalty or it’s many clauses. In speaking with an internal investigator who is looking into systemic problems for the IRS, I found out that if I filed my taxes and did not fully pay them I would not be subject to this penalty. However if along with the form I filed correctly I insert a letter explaining my reasons, my thinking, my conscience I am then subject to a frivolous filing penalty. In other words if I am simply not paying based on greed, there is no problem. That is not considered frivolous. If I do not pay and politely explain my reasons, then my actions are considered frivolous.

A second rule of the frivolous filing penalty that intrigues me is the one that says ‘if you are making an argument that someone has argued before and lost’ then you are considered frivolous. It is nice to think about this today. How many times did black citizens in this country have to ask for equality? How many times did women have to ask for the vote, or gay activists have to ask for fair treatment? This country is where we are today because people have kept coming back to ask again and again. To knock on the door until it is opened. I believe that war and the war machine has dominated this country and that one day we will choose to take off the chains that bind us to the war machine and that one of the ways we will do this is through war tax resistance.

I am asking that you look into this situation with the possibility of passing new legislation that will change or eliminate this penalty so it does not work to penalize people of conscience.

July 7th 1944

7/744 Dear folks, So you are praying for rain now. That’s the way it goes it seems. All that water that fell is gone and you need more. Our rain seems to be pretty well over now. We haven’t had any for a while. It is foggy this morning which means it will probably be a clear warm day later on. I went up to the Autenrieth’s last week-end. Had a very nice time. I like them a lot, quite interesting people. I got better acquainted with Emily (attention Harry). She called me Harry to or three times so she must have remembered him a little. I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered. There are two youngest girls which I also got acquainted with. There are bunch of guys in Eugene last week from camp. They had a deal on to pick Cherries and can them. Two other guys and I took the three Auternrieth girls to a show. Had a right good time. They are pretty young but it didn’t seem to bother us any. The guys went up Wed. and picked some more cherries. We have canned about 1600 pounds to date. The canning factory works fairly well. They had a little trouble getting some of the jars to seal. They are using those vacuum lids and I don’t think they have learned how to use them yet. It looks to me like Evelyn could write me a letter now that she has a job she should have something to tell. Prod her a little. Compared with some of the wages they get out here and with what Viola has gotten she isn’t getting much. But I reckon that everything helps. Maybe there is too many girls trying to get jobs for that Gold Crud company. I can’t seem to find much to write today I guess I should have double spaced it. How did your Lion’s celebration come out? I forgot it was the 4th till it was about half over. A pretty quiet 4th here. How’s your eyes Mom? No one mentioned them, doing alright I guess. The emergency farm work season has started now. They want three men today. The project Supt. isn’t happy about it he can use the men himself. I hope I don’t get caught on it. I’d rather build stuff. Yours with love, Bernard P.S. (over) Say do I have any pictures that you sent me that you want back? I have some new ones I’m sending you next week. This letter will be full of Reporter! It is a good issue. B. A.