Tag Archives: taxes

Teaching, Taxes, Texas and Lincoln

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Well my friends it has been a very busy day. A day full of teaching and writing. A day of filing taxes, thankfully I’ll get some of what I paid in back, and tomorrow I will be heading to Houston, Texas for a Chaplain Training conference at my denomination headquarters. I will return home on Monday afternoon.

Today it was the first meeting of my ethics class and the first meeting for the Gettysburg Staff Ride. I also did a modified version of last night’s post  on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to send to my colleagues and students at the Staff College.

While doing my taxes tonight I watched the movie Lincoln again and as I saw the flags flying half-staff on the base this afternoon I pondered the depth of the loss of the late President 150 years ago today. As I did so I thought of both the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address, for I so much desire the day that all of our citizens shall embrace the ideal that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

But now, I need to pack as I need to be at the airport at 4:30 A.M. and get to bed. So until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under civil rights, civil war, History, leadership

The Continuing Racket of the War Profiteers

 war-business

 

What is the cost of war? what is the bill? Major General Smedley Butler wrote: “This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all of its attendant miseries. Back -breaking taxation for generations and generations. For a great many years as a soldier I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not only until I retired to civilian life did I fully realize it….”

With all the domestic political news and the apocalyptic talk and actions surrounding John Roberts the Supreme Court and Obamacare it is hard to believe that we are at war for over 10 years and are at war or now preparing for war all over the Middle East. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Persian Gulf, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, you name the place there is a real a present danger of US forces becoming involved in even more war. The Trinity of Evil, those Politicians, Pundits and Preachers and over 60% of Americans now are in favor of sending in ground troops to fight the Islamic State.

There are no statesmen left in Washington DC only shills of the Right and Left and their masters from Wall Street to K Street. The only people profiting from this are the war profiteers who even if the budget gets cut and they fail to deliver usable weapon systems on time or in budget will still get paid. The losers will be the military personnel who must fight the wars who will get tossed onto the street by those that claim that personnel costs are the problem. Of course those that make this point are almost always the same lobbyists that shill for the defense industries and the banks. But enough about them.

Right now tens of thousands of American military personnel and other Department of Defense, Federal law enforcement, intelligence, diplomatic, humanitarian workers as well as contractors in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands more (mostly contractors)  are helping to shore up the Iraqi government against the Islamic State or are fighting wars by other names in Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa.  Others are deployed to counter Iran or standing by to assist other allies should the conflict in Iraq and Syria spill over the boarders. Of course this does not take into account the instability in Egypt, Libya, Eastern and Central Africa that threatens even more war or the potential of turmoil in Europe, especially the Ukraine. Likewise a crisis with the Euro Crisis could bring about more financial disasters or even revolutions in countries that are our allies. By the way let’s not forget about the nutcase leaders of North Korea who could provoke war on that side of the world in a heartbeat.

But never mind this, let’s fight each other instead threaten insurrection when we don’t get our way. But wait, I digress…

Did you know that while Americans stand in harms way almost every real or potential enemy has been armed, subsidized or assisted by American corporations and paid for by American tax dollars.  We have armed much of the world with weapons that have already in Iraq and Afghanistan killed thousands of American military personnel. But those were small time weapons compared to what we have provided to Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and yes even Israel. F-15, F-16 and F-18 fighter planes, Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles, M-1 Tanks, M113 Fighting vehicles, Patriot Air Defense systems, you name the weapons system the war profiteers will sell it and US taxpayers will pay for it. These are weapons that very easily could be used with great effect to attack American interests should leaders in any of those countries decide to use them against us. I only include Israel because in 1967 its forces viciously attacked the USS Liberty which was operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as Israel launched its pre-emptive war against Egypt. Although all of these countries are “allies” we must remember that alliances are only as good as the interests and values that unite nations.

Our defense industries with the support of the government sell advanced weapons to nations that often are less than trustworthy allies, allies of convenience that have little love for the United States but welcome the weapons and training that we provide.  They often use them to suppress the aspirations of their own people and plant the cultivate the seeds of radicalism and revolution.  It is hard not to cringe when pro-democracy protestors are killed by totalitarian regimes whose police and military are armed to the teeth with American made weapons. When those totalitarian regimes fall as did that of the Shah of Iran in 1979 those weapons fall into the hands of people radicalized against us by our support of their former oppressors.

Certainly nobody seriously believes that the angry masses in the countries that we have armed to the teeth with the latest in American weaponry would not use that weaponry against us should they desire.  But wait…. our politicians, arms dealers, bankers and their political, religious and financial backers certainly wouldn’t put Americans in harms way? Perish the thought, but not so quickly. They have done so before and will do it again.

Smedley Butler is one of under two dozen American military personnel to win the Congressional Medal of Honor twice. He saw the dangers of Fascism as well as the danger of unlimited corporate and business power to profit by war. Butler was not only a  valiant Marine he was also a commander that in war and peace cared about those who served. He saw how American finance and banking interests helped drag us into the Fist World War, the promises broken by the government and the lives destroyed by war.

In his book War is a Racket Butler wrote eloquently about how the heads of corporations and their political supporters in both parties were the only benefactors of war. He wrote of the plight of the soldiers that served and returned wounded and often changed by war and he did not mince words in what he saw. He became an anti-war activist. He was a supporter of the Bonus Army, the veterans that “occupied” Washington DC during the last year of the Hoover Administration to get the bonuses promised for their service and were violently evicted by troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. If he was alive today I have no doubt that he would be an active supporter of the current “Occupy” movement and opponent of politicians, political activists, lobbyists and even preachers that advocate even more war.

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Butler’s War is a Racket as well as other published works are a worthwhile read and should make the most rabid fan of war think twice. Butler’s patriotism and devotion to the United States and the Constitution is unquestioned. His warnings are strong, he was a prophet in regard to the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex well before President Eisenhower coined the term as he left office. He detailed how corporations made obscene profits often by selling the US Military vast amounts of materials that it could not possibly use and which taxpayers bought while business leaders and bankers made their fortunes that they never had realized when the nation was at peace. He reminds us of the dangers that our founders recognized about entwining ourselves in other people’s wars. While his answers on how to end war are now utopian dreams because of advances in technology and the wars which now rage without end in sight they are nonetheless not a bad place to start a debate.

Butler writes movingly about the price paid by veterans years after the war, men broken in body, mind and spirit from their war service.

“But the soldier pays the biggest part of this bill.

If you don’t believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit  any of the veterans’ hospitals in the United States….I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are about 50,000 destroyed men- men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital in Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed home.” 

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One would think that things would be better now but our veterans’ health care system is a train wreck and there is an epidemic of suicide among active duty troops and veterans. In 2005 after years of hand wringing the Bush administration grudgingly increased the number of Soldiers and Marines even while cutting Navy personnel and ships to the  minimum that they could despite ever increasing operational tempos. The Navy was reduced by over 50,000 sailors during the Bush years and now when the Navy is needed more it has been reduced to the point that 8-10 month deployments with short turn arounds will be normal.

Now the Obama administration is cutting back partly due to the withdraw from Iraq but mostly because of the economic crisis. However the bulk of these cuts are falling on the military personnel and not the war profiteers. The Army will be cut by nearly 80,000 in the coming years the Marines by 20,000 and that may increase if the budget takes the sequestration hit without any reduction in operational tempo. These Soldiers and Marines will enter a bleak job market where many employers give little value to military experience or training, which has resulted in a vastly higher unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than the general population.

It wasn’t much different in Butler’s day. He writes:

“Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. They were remolded; they were made over; they were made to “about face”; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think of nothing but killing and being killed.

The suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another “about face”! This time they had to do their own readjusting, sans mass psychology, sans officers’ aid and advice, sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn’t need them anymore. So we scattered them about without any “three minute” or “Liberty Loan” speeches or parades.”

Butler recounted another visit to a different veterans’ hospital:

“In the government hospital at Marion, Indiana 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around the outside of the buildings and on the porches. These have already been mentally destroyed. These boys don’t even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically they are in good shape but mentally they are gone.” 

There are thousands and thousands of these cases and more and more are coming in all the time…

That’s a part of the bill. So much for the dead-they have paid their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded- they are paying now with thier share of the war profits. But others paid with the heartbreaks when they tore themselves away for their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam- on which a profit had been made….”

I could go on but I think that Butler says it quite well and with the passion of a Marine who was wounded on more than one occasion and won the Medal of Honor twice.

The only people that want war are those that profit from it and don’t have to pay the price paid by those that have to fight them and pay for them. When I see pictures of Mitt Romney protesting in support of the Vietnam war while getting deferment after deferment to avoid service it makes my head spin. My head spins even more when I hear him talking brazenly about committing US troops to even more war. For me the pictures of Romney’s pro-war protests as a college student avoiding war on educational and religious service deferments as millions of other Americans went to war are up there with the pictures of “Hanoi” Jane Fonda giving aid and comfort to those that were killing our troops.

Butler’s detractors and they are legion on the political right attempt to paint him as an isolationist or appeaser of Hitler. However they misunderstand him and his work. They don’t understand as Butler understood that there would not have been a Nazi Germany without Versailles and that was not possible without the American intervention on the side of Britain and France in 1917. That involvement was driven by the bankers and industrialists who had supplied raw materials, weapons and technical patents to the British and French, and had done so before with the Germans who believed that they would lose their investments if the Germans won the war. That would have happened in late 1917 or early 1918 had not the Americans declared war and entered the war on the side of the British and French.

Most of Butler’s current critics have never served a day in uniform much less a day in a combat zone. They make their livings and profits by the sacrifice of others and other than a few of his quotes have never read anything about him.

If you sense indignation in my voice it is real. I have lived the nightmare of PTSD for over 7 years. I see and work with the young men and women that have bravely endured the hardship of combat deployments and come home physically, mentally and spiritually wounded. To our credit we are trying to do better, but that doesn’t always happen. But for the war profiteers even that will be too much. If military spending is cut you can bet that they will not take the hit that military personnel, their families and our veterans will take. They and their political benefactors will not allow it.

I am a military man through and through. I have spent nearly my whole life associated with the military as a dependent of a Navy Chief who served in Vietnam and a career of over 30 years divided between the Army and Navy. Some of my friends dads did not return from Vietnam, other friends and those who I have served with have paid with their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan while others suffer the continuing wounds of war.

This is personal for me and it is also motivated by my faith as a Christian. Today when I see prominent and politically influential right wing Evangelical Christian leaders and pastors beat the drums of war I am reminded of how Butler chided the pro-war clergy propagandists of the Great War. He wrote: “So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill Germans. God is on our side…it is his will that the Germans be killed.” Only today, it is not a blood lust for German blood, it is a blood lust for Moslem blood and it gets louder ever day.

Such preaching is not much different from the right wing pro-war preachers who advocate killing Moslems simply because they are Moslems and that go out of their way to preach the value of “pre-emptive war” despite such wars being against the Christian understanding of the  “Just War” or international law against such war that we as Americans helped develop after World War Two at Nuremberg and to which we hold the leaders of what we call “rogue nations.”

I only wish that our leaders; political leaders of both parties, religious leaders, and even business leaders would see the folly of this course and their responsibility for the results.

Someone has to say it.

Peace

Padre Steve+

Note: All quotations from “War is a Racket” by Smedley Butler copyright 1935 and 2003 by the Butler family. Amazon Kindle edition. 

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Filed under ethics, History, middle east, Military, News and current events, Political Commentary

Why Aren’t Any Politicians Talking About the War and Why don’t Voters Care?

“The military is at war and the country is not.” Former US Representative Patrick Murphy

Seven more American Soldiers were killed in Afghanistan when their UH-60 Blackhawk was either shot down or crashed due to other reasons yesterday. 41 were killed in July and 10 last week. But who cares? The news of each incident went across the ticker on the bottom of the cable TV news feed and the obligatory 15 second spot on the headlines of the hour before it is subsumed by the latest political lie-fest or celebrity scandal. Have we no shame?

It seems that nobody really gives a damn about the war in Afghanistan or for that matter anywhere else that the United States and its allies are fighting. I mean really. Think about it.  The war constantly ranks among the lowest of issues that American voters rank as important and it certainly doesn’t seem to register as important among most political candidates unless hey can be photographic hugging a tank so they can show that they support the troops.

From what I see it looks like the only person in the Washington DC political sewer who even thinks about the war is Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Panetta in frustration said Tuesday:

“I realize that there are a lot of other things going on around this country that can draw our attention, from the Olympics, to political campaigns to droughts, to some of the tragedies we’ve seen in communities around the country…. I thought it was important to remind the American people that there is a war going on.”

84,000 U.S. Military personnel are currently serving in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of DOD civilians, contractors as well as FBI, CIA, NSA, DHS, and State Department employees are also in harms way. Likewise another 30,000 or so troops from NATO or other coalition allies are risking their lives serving alongside of our personnel.

In July the Army recorded a record number of suicides. We don’t hear about the numbers of wounded because frankly aside from those directly affected and their friends or families most people would just prefer to ignore the war.

But then they can. Liberals have been accused of being anti-military and some are. But even the supposedly conservative God-fearing , military loving and Islam-Facist, Commie bombing Republican Presidential team of Romney-Ryan refuses to acknowledge the war when speaking in front of the World War II era battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk. No one of either party seems to have a plan for actually successfully ending the war and all seem to be content to let the war fester. I found that reprehensible. Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman? Oh wait they’re dead.

But there is no real shared sacrifice in this country when it comes to national defense. There is no draft, no taxes have been levied to support the wars and many Defense contractors responsible for producing the weapons of war needed to fight the current war and prepare for future wars seem only to care about their bottom line. Future weapons systems are over-budget, long-delayed and fail to meet the expectations of either the services or the nation. Name the system. The F-22 Raptor, the F-35 Lightening, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Army Future Combat System and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. All either truncated, delayed or cancelled. Billions of dollars spent and little to show for the expenditure of the nation’s treasure.

I think that national leaders of both parties need to be held responsible. I think that American citizens and political leaders who lamely put bumper stickers on their cars saying “I support the troops” should put up or shut up.

If we are going to keep fighting wars without end let’s at least do it together. Let’s re-start the draft and levee special taxes. Let’s sell war bonds, let’s plant Victory Gardens and donate our scrap metal, plastics and electronics to be recycled to build weapons like we did in World War II. Let’s find new energy sources to better power our weapons systems since no one cares about renewable energy for anything else.

But then let’s not inconvenience anyone, after all the troops all volunteered for this.

I hate to sound cynical but when the military has been at war for going on 11 years and it the lowest priority of voters and politicians then something is terrible askew.

Don’t you think? Or am I just pissing in the wind?

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under iraq,afghanistan, Military, national security, Political Commentary

Tides Win in Durham 6-4

Alfredo Simon (shown at Harbor Park) got his first win for the Tides

The Norfolk Tides began their first road trip of the year in Durham tonight defeat the Bulls 6-4 as I listened to the game on ESPN Radio 94.1 while doing my taxes.  I love listening to a well called game on the radio as I can imagine what is going on and find it more enjoyable than watching on television.  When I was a young I was always mesmerized by the legendary Dodger’s announcer Vin Scully even though his is in the employ of Satan’s Major League franchise. What can I say I’m a Giants fan? Stone me with heavy stones.  Anyway I digress.

Tonight I listened to Tides announcer Bob Socci call the game against the Bulls as on Jackie Robinson Day I waited as is my custom to e-file my Federal Taxes 2 hours before the midnight deadline. The Tides jumped off to an early first inning lead when Bulls starter Jeff Bennett surrendered walks to Joey Gathright and Jeff Salazar on 8 consecutive pitches and was removed from the game with an injury. Brian Baker came in to relieve Bennett and gave up a double to Lou Montanez which scored Gathright and advanced Salazar to third.  Scott Moore singled to Center to drive in Salazar and advance Montanez to third.  Bulls Catcher Alvin Colina allowed a passed ball which scored Montanez and the Tides led 3-0.  Baker the retired Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell to pop out but Baker then allowed a double to left by former Bull Rhyne Hughes doubled to drive in scoring Scott Moore before Baker got Robert Andino to pop out to Second Baseman Joe Dillon. In the bottom half of the first Tides starting pitcher Alfredo Simon allowed two hits but stuck out two before getting ground out to Tides Third Baseman Brandon Snyder.

The Tides went down in order to Baker in the second and Alfredo Simon surrendered a single to Angel Chavez before getting Chavez on a force play at second.  The Third inning was equally uneventful as in the top of the third Lou Montanez reached first on a base on balls. Scott Moore then flied out to left and Brandon Snyder hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the Tides at bat.  Durham picked up a run in the third when Elliott Johnson got a bunt single and advanced to second when Rashad Eldridge grounded out to the pitcher Simon. Justin Ruggiano flied out but John reached third on a wild pitch from Simon.  Hank Blalock then picked up an infield single to second scoring Johnson before Joe Dillon popped out to Brandon Snyder at first to end the inning.

Rhyne Hughes doubled with one out in the fourth but the Tides failed to bring him home as Robert Andino flied to left and Adam Donachie struck out swinging.  Durham picked up a second run when Dan Johnson homered to right.  Simon would get the next three Bulls in order to end the inning.

The Tides threatened in the top of the fifth. Joey Gathright walked; Jeff Salazar struck out swinging which brought about a pitching change for the Bulls. Richard De Los Santos relieved Baker and got Lou Montanez to0 ground out to short but Gathright advanced to second. He would reach third when De Los Santos threw a wild pitch; however Gathright would advance no further as Scott Moore struck out swinging.  The Bulls did nothing in the bottom of the fifth; Simon gave up a walk to Justin Ruggiano but nothing else.  The Tides added to their lead in the top of the sixth.  Brandon Snyder got a leadoff single but it looked like De Los Santos was going to get out of the inning when he got Josh Bell to line out to center and Rhyne Hughes to ground out advancing Snyder to second.  Robert Andino then tripled to drive in Hughes and was driven home on an Adam Donachie single to left.  Joey Gathright singled to third but Donachie allowed himself to get caught between second and third and was tagged out by Shortstop Angel Chavez. Simon put the Bulls down in order in the bottom of the sixth.

The Tides went quietly in the seventh although Scott Moore reached first on a walk allowed by De Los Santos.  Chris George then came into the game for the Tides. The Bulls left two on base in the bottom of the seventh on a Tides error and a base on balls. Both the Tides and the Bulls went down in order in the eighth inning.

The Tides threatened in the top of the ninth. Adam Donachie walked to start the inning and moved to second when Joey Gathright grounded out to catcher Adam Colina.  Jeff Salazar collected a single to right which sent Donachie to third.  Durham then brought Heath Rollins into the game and after Salazar stole second Rollins got Lou Montanez to ground out with Joe Dillon holding Donachie at third.  Scott Moore went down swinging to end the inning ending the Tides threat.  The call was a check swing which third base umpire Manny Gonzalez said that Moore had gone around on. Scott said something to Gonzales most likely questioning Gonzalez’s parentage or something that he does in the privacy of his bedroom and was ejected from the game.

The Bulls made interesting in the bottom of the ninth.  The Tides brought in Frank Mata to close the game and Jonathan Tucker came in for the ejected Moore at second.  Chris Richard led off the inning getting on when Tucker committed a fielding error. Mata then got Angel Chavez to fly out to left and Alvin Colina to ground out to third with Richard advancing to second.  Elliott Johnson singled to right sending Chavez to third and then stole second.  Rashad Eldridge walked to load the bases and Justin Ruggiano singled to drive in Chavez.  With the bases still loaded and the Bulls down by three Tides closer Alberto Castillo relieved Mata.  Hank Blalock singled to left scoring Johnson however with the home crowd cheering Joe Dillon flied out deep to left when Lou Montanez caught the ball at the foot of Durham’s 32 foot “Blue Monster.”

The Tides had 6 runs on 9 hits with 2 errors and the Bulls 4 runs on 9 hits and no errors.  Alfredo Simon got his first win of the 2010 season and Jeff Bennett lost his second.   Alberto Castillo got his second save of the season.  Rhyne Hughes led the attack for the Tides with 2 doubles and an RBI his 7th of the season. The teams will meet tomorrow with Troy Patton scheduled to pitch for the Tides. As of now the Bulls pitcher is not announced.  With the win the Tides improve to 4-4 evening their record.  Tomorrow I am on duty at the medical center so I probably will not get much of a chance to listen to the Tides but do expect to file some report on the game.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, norfolk tides

Tax Time again…How close can I cut it to the Deadline?

A satisfied taxpayer outside the IRS Building in Washington DC

“When we played, World Series checks meant something.  Now all they do is screw up your taxes.” ~Don Drysdale

As usual I am procrastinating on my tax return until the last minute, got it in with a couple of hours to spare thanks to H&R Block Tax Cut 2009 which unlike last year I purchased online versus picking it up at Wal-Mart. I would have picked it up at the Norfolk Navy Exchange yesterday but they didn’t have the version that I needed.  I’ve pretty much done my rough draft and thankfully we got some of our annual contribution to the Federal Government back.

Taxes have always made me nervous.  I remember when I was a poor college student making almost nothing having to pay what was then the astronomical sum of $250. This was because my employer did not withhold anything since I made almost nothing, however nothing can add up to something if you don’t have anything withheld.  Being young and stupid about tax codes this came as a surprise to me.  I was a college student working more than one job to make ends meet and not on any scholarships so $250 was painful, especially back when the minimum wage was about $3 an hour.  Even now I find that laughable amount to be frightening and thus I am very cautious about taxes.

I remember my parents always going to this old tax accountant in our town to get their taxes done every year.  I went with either mom or dad one year, probably around February of my 9th grade year.  It was a typical cold, foggy and dank California Central Valley day.  The guy’s office was in a drab, cube shaped brick building which had burglar bars on the windows.  The place looked like a jail.  The guy looked equally drab with “coke bottle” glasses, and I couldn’t imagine anyone actually working in such an oppressive environment.  He looked like a Troll. But year after year my parents would trudge down to this guy’s office to have their taxes done.  Of course this was way before the Internet and programs like Tax Cut or Turbo Tax were not even imagined.  I think it was seeing how depressing the tax accountant’s life was put the fear of God in me.  I never wanted to live like that, trudging down to the Troll’s office every year so I probably over-react even now.  I have done my own taxes for years even before the computer based programs simply because I don’t want to pay the Troll to do them.  If there are Trolls out there reading this no offense intended, I sure that you do a great job and know that God loves you too.

I have been to Washington DC quite a few times and on a number of occasions seen the IRS building.  This building too is depressing to look at.  I cannot imagine having to work there.

Even though I wait until almost the last minute to file my tax return and end up frantically digging through my files, gift receipts and other documents to ensure that I file an accurate return and not end up in jail I now find the process somewhat exhilarating to see just how close I can get to the deadline before filing.  Call me a thrill seeker.  Doing things this way probably means that I will never get the full credit that I am do, but what can I say?  Instead of just blaming it on my parent’s tax accountant I can also use the stress of PTSD to explain my procrastination as well as the need for excitement as an excuse to wait.  Excuses can be fun huh?

Giving to Caesar so Caesar can pay Me

So anyway without further adieu I need to go do some taxes and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s so Caesar can continue to pay this Centurion a living wage.

Pray for me a sinner.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

Death and Taxes

As usual I procrastinated on my tax return until the last minute, got it in with a couple of hours to spare thanks to H&R Block Tax Cut 2008.  Thankfully we got some of our annual contribution to the Federal Government back.

Taxes have always made me nervous.  I remember when I was a poor college student making almost nothing having to pay what was then the astronomical sum of $250.00. This was because my employer did not withhold anything since I made almost nothing.  When you are a college student working more than one job to make ends meet and not on any scholarships, even that now laughable amount was frightening.

I remember my parents always going to this old tax accountant in our town to get their taxes done every year.  I went with either mom or dad one year, probably around February of my 9th grade year.  It was a typical cold, foggy and dank California Central Valley day.  The guy’s office was in a drab, cube shaped brick building which had burglar bars on the windows.  The place looked like a jail.  The guy looked equally drab with “coke bottle” glasses, and I couldn’t imagine anyone actually working in such an oppressive environment.  He looked like a Troll. But year after year my parents would trudge down to this guy’s office to have their taxes done.  Of course this was way before the Internet and programs like Tax Cut or Turbo Tax were not even imagined.  I think it was seeing how depressing the tax accountant’s life was put the fear of God in me.  I never wanted to live like that, so I probably over-react.  I wait until almost the last minute to file frantically digging through my files, gift receipts and other documents to ensure that I file an accurate return and not end up in jail.  Doing things this way probably means that I will never get the full credit that I am do, but what can I say?  Instead of just blaming it on my parents tax accountant I can also use the stress of PTSD to explain my procrastination.  I do have to admit that the past two years have been more stressful in doing these things despite having things that make it far easier to do.

Today was also the day that I had to go in for my Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) mandated by the Navy. As far as I can tell I am doing a bit better than last year and appear to be pretty healthy, knock on wood.  I also got back up to about 4 miles for my PT run.  This made me feel really good because I have struggled a lot physically this year with various injuries to shoulders, ankles and joints in my legs. So Lord willing I think I should wake up tomorrow on this side of the dirt. I’ll check the obituaries when I wake up just to make sure.

Peace, Steve+

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