What timing! (I’ll explain).
First, I have to go back to the beginning of this story. On April 4, 2004, my oldest child, Casey Sheehan, was killed in what I always considered an illegal and immoral war in Iraq.
However, after I was fired from the job I held at the time for having to take too much time off—I had a lot of time to study the fraudulent war on terror—the more time that went by, the more I was convinced that my son was dead for lies fueled by desire for profit and the control of other people’s natural resources. I mean, corporations like GE, Halliburton, Unocal, etc, were reaping legendary profits, while entire countries, innocent people and families in the US were being devastated.
To add insult to the worst cut of all—burying a child—the Bush Administration had many, many connections to these war profiteers—through being on the boards (i.e., Cheney, Halliburton; Condi, Chevron) to having campaign coffers stuffed to overflowing by oil companies—it was crystal clear to me that I had much cause for a wrongful death claim against the US government. However, because of laws preventing elected officials from being sued for acts committed while in office, that avenue of accountability was denied to my family and me.
Now, even though I wasn’t as hyper-aware as I am now, I knew that often the US did very evil things in the name of “good.” I didn’t believe this nation often did good things, but I never thought too much about the intentions. After Casey died, I began traveling the country for peace—then I camped in front of the Bush play ranch in Crawford, Texas and received my useful education in bar ditches—talking to vets and other activists—I knew that all war is a racket and this nation never was “noble.” I have been swallowing that bitter pill for years now. My son died for a country that NEVER has put people over profit.
So, the above has been a brief background on what I am about to tell you.
In 2004, we buried Casey two days before tax day and we still paid our taxes. I was not happy about it since this criminal government stole my oldest child from me—Casey’s dad, my then husband, was adamant about it.
After Casey’s dad and I separated during the time of Camp Casey, I vowed that I would never, ever pay a penny to this government in the form of income taxes again, because: A) My oldest son was priceless to me and I feel this nation owes me and B) other people’s sons and daughters all over the world are precious to me and I refuse to fund their murder, torture, displacement, etc.
Consequently, after I made this decision to become a tax resister, (as an unemployed peace activist using her son’s rapidly diminishing life insurance money to fund her activism), I became very well known and desired on the college circuit and Simon and Schuster gave me an advance to write a book about my exploits.
Still, most of the money I made for these services (minus living expenses and helping my children through tough times and school) went back into the movement. I never charged peace groups a stipend or for travel in those early years, and I traveled all over to receive many awards, which were really just an opportunity for groups to raise money most of the time. I didn’t care—I had money and money wasn’t important to me. Ending the wars was.
Also, in 2006, I was forced to purchase property in Crawford, Texas so we could hold our regular Camp Casey gatherings since after we left the first summer, the county passed “Cindy Sheehan Ordinances” to prevent what happened in August of 2005. I spent about 55 grand on five acres in Crawford and about 30 grand improving the bare, weed infested flood plain. By May of 2007, I was so ill, broke, exhausted, and being attacked for holding Democrats to the same standard I held the Republicans that I decided to leave the movement.
(And then what?) I got sucked back in when then House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, refused to hold BushCo accountable for their crimes and I decided to run for Congress against her in San Francisco. I thought I had money problems before! I moved to San Francisco, found a “cheap” $1600/month one-bedroom apartment. Because of campaign laws that heavily favor the wealthy, I couldn’t make any money until I actually qualified for the ballot over eight months later.
All this time since Casey died, I have been a very outspoken critic of the USA’s foreign policy and the economic terrorism here at home caused by that policy. The rich are getting fabulously rich and the poor (including me) are getting desperately poorer. I haven’t slowed my activism down, except now it’s being done on even more of a shoestring than before and if someone invites me to speak, I have to have them pay for my airplane ticket and lodging (including a stipend).
During last month, I was gone for a grueling two weeks in Japan and then nine days for a bus tour of the West Coast advocating Re-creating Revolutionary Communities that are peaceful and sustainable. After I returned, when I was looking through my pile of mail from my PO Box, I found something from my speaking agent, who stopped getting me gigs during my campaign and has only arranged two since. She was forwarding me a “Notice to Levy” from the IRS that said I owed more than 104 grand to them for 2005 and 2006. This is where the good timing comes in.
The Institute for Policy Studies recently did research and found that 25 of the top 100 companies doing business in the US paid their CEO’s more than the government! The biggest war profiteer of all, General Electric, which made 10.8 billion dollar profit worldwide in 2010, received a 3.2 billion dollar refund from the IRS—the IRS says that I owe them more than General Electric does? Here in the US, GE conveniently recorded a loss of 10.8 million dollars (so where does the 3.2 billion refund come in?) in 2010. The head of GE, Jeffrey Immeldt, gets 15.2 million in yearly compensation AND a position in the Obama Administration, while I have been informed I can face up to five years in prison for being “frivolous,” with my moral and ethical compass–even though I recorded a priceless loss in 2004.
How do these corporations get away with not paying taxes? Offshoring their money, sometimes; having armies of accountants and lawyers, usually; but also they “defer” their tax payments indefinitely. Why do they get to do that and we don’t?
We the people are picking up the tab to pay for wars and for these tax scofflaws. The corporations benefit from the wars and don’t even pay taxes to continue them!
In a landmark Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission (2010), the Supreme Court ruled that groups have the same (more, in reality) Free Speech rights as individuals. Then in 1886, in another landmark case, The City and County of Santa Clara v. the Southern Pacific Railroad, Chief Justice Waite, gave an opinion before the case was even heard that corporations have the same 14th Amendment protections and rights as citizens.
If corporations are people, then people must be corporations by the mathematical (logical) property of equality and I will defer paying my taxes as long as slaughter abroad is the foreign policy of this government, economic terrorism is the paradigm here at home and the Bush mob continues to roam the world as unrepentant criminals.