safia2010webOver 7,000 people camped at the SOA watch at Ft Benning in November. 7,000 people trying to create a new social agenda. 7,000 people who are responsible patriots wanting to do their part. 7,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, Colombian mothers; drop-out artists; Rastafarian SEIU workers; college age engineers and 80 year old radical nuns. 7,000 people and 6,000 of them are willing to pay war taxes. How do we persuade them that the 3 billion dollars that we willing give to the Pentagon to spend for weapons and war making is optional? How do we increase the level of risk in the peace movement? How can all these people dedicate hundreds of hours to peacemaking every month and then pay $300 dollars a month into the federal budget military items? Don’t they know that NcNamara said, Let them protest as much as they want, as long as they pay their taxes.” I know drastic changes will come to us in 2011. How can we prepare ourselves? Can we listen to a new way?

Light

Will someday split you open,

Even if your life is now a cage,

For a divine seed, the crown of destiny,

Is hidden and sown on an ancient, fertile plain

You hold the title to.

Love will surely bust you wide open

Into an unfettered, blooming new galaxy.

Even if your mind is now

A spoiled mule.

A life-giving radiance will come,

The Friend’s gratuity will come-

O look again within yourself,

For I know you were once the elegant host

To all the marvels in creation.

From a sacred crevice in your body

A bow rises each night

And shoots your soul into God.

By the Sufi, Hafiz  1300s

Most of my friends know that global warming is here; our lifestyle is pummeling the earth with lots of sewage. Many of us would like to change if we knew it would help. A Quaker told me, “We don’t mind changing, we just don’t want to be changed.” In other words we all see change as part of the plan, but could we just change a little please? And is there any way I could be in charge of the type of change?

inflationadjusteddefensespe1Defense Spending 1962-2015 (inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars)
This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons, pensions to military retirees and families, interest on debt incurred in past wars, or financing of foreign arms sales. Neither does it include defense spending in the Department of Homeland Security, or counter-terrorism spending by the FBI.

I’m not convinced that refusing to pay for war is the best strategy. I like paying for WIC, housing and subways. I like federal initiatives for alternative energy. But I won’t pay for a federal budget at this point. Our country is already in financial vicissitudes, so how can we rebuild it? I don’t pay taxes but I give money to good causes. You do pay taxes and want your money to go for peace. We aren’t far apart. I will stay part of society but I cross the fence and refuse to join that which is more destructive than constructive. Now with 2011 and human-caused natural disasters, I ask: what way can we radically work for peace and refused to participate in war? MLK asked us to conquer “the giant triplets or racism, materialism and militarism” to pursue the path to justice.

Total Federal Funds 2009: $2,650 billion
MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion
NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion

piechartHOW THESE FIGURES WERE DETERMINED

Current military” includes Dept. of Defense ($653 billion), the military portion from other departments ($150 billion), an additional $162 billion “Past military” represents veterans’ benefits plus 80% of the interest on the debt.