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March 18, 2007

Boatism: A system of thought centering on boats, ships, and other vessels of the sea. More and more I am becoming a boatist. As I gather together my documents to pay taxes this year, I find it increasingly difficult to remain calm.

When I was fresh out of college, I was hungry and driven. I wanted to make the big bucks, what people began calling "Crow Money." I have no doubt that I was on the path to be a millionaire in a few short years. I could have been one of the big players in corporate America, but I couldn't take it. One look at the client list and I was disgusted with myself. My life was not sustainable and I started to realize I had to get out, which took me a while and cost me a lot. Mostly my friends and family stood by me even though they didn't necessarily understand or share the same values.

I've come a long way now with a job helping the environment, a partner to share resources with, a house in the city that keeps us buying local food, recycling and composting, a limit on our driving and rules for purchasing. Everything we do takes us closer to breaking even for sustainability, closer to achieving what the greens call permaculture. Month after month I accomplish things that help people live on the Earth in harmony. I consider myself to be Green, but not green enough. I submit this chart so that you can see where I stand (the gray bars) and so that you can score yourself.

I analyze where all of my expenditures go and make sure I'm not selling out my community or using products that pollute. Then I look at the companies that I purchase products from, are they using child labor? Are they fair trade? Are they applying the same moral code to their product creation that I apply to my life? I spend a good deal of mental energy refining my life and judging my own sustainability and as you can see from the chart I've done most of the easier items. Now I either have to give up meat, sell my car, or get Only Footprints, Inc. off the ground to be more green.

At least that's what I thought, until I looked at my taxes. I've been looking at just my take home income all this time and I never even thought about the 40% of my income that goes to the government. If I add in my taxed amount to my take home amount and then think of my entire income as a one lump sum that I "choose" to pay out in various ways, I find that I personally am paying $5000 a year to kill Iraqis for Oil. (My source is here "http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2008/budget.html"). How do I explain that to the Iraqis? Or God? Or my Children? Or myself?

For months now I've been wondering how I could protest in a meaningful way and I finally figured it out. The trip to the white house started it all for me, I saw no protests, but lots of security and FBI/CIA under cover homeless people with cameras and realized that we are no longer in a democracy. Instead we're in a polite fascist regime where the American government is being used to line the pockets of a few individuals and corporations and the masses are being pacified by religion, sports, a relatively high average standard of living, illegal FBI spying, corporate media, fear-mongering news programs, and a pretend voting process. Since organized public displays of disagreement have been outlawed in this country, the only true way to protest is to stop paying taxes and to stop in an organized way with letters to Congress and the White House.

I don't want to go to jail and I wouldn't be able to save the environment from in there so I've thought of a legal way. Everyone should set up their employment as if they are consultant to their employer. Then the employer won't take out taxes. If you can't do that, you can always claim 10 deductions on your W-4 and then some taxes will be taken out, but not a lot. These two things will get you to April 15 and then you can file for automatic extension which will get you to October 15. Then you'll have to pay (and with a 1% penalty) or leave the country, but either way you'll have held out on Uncle Sam for 22 months. We already tried voting. Bush stole two elections and now with Congress run by democrats, many of which were elected to end the war, we are not only still occupying Iraq, but sending more troops with no foreseeable end to the occupation. The War is the greatest violation of Green in the current budget, but it's certainly not the only item.

Talk to your Human Resources departments and see what you can do. Don't forget the letters. Let's reclaim America for the people and not for special interest groups and corporations.

Crow