Those of you reading this blog are familiar with my conviction that the U.S. has completely abandoned its historical and constitutional roots. Let me be more precise. It is the Government of the United States that is the problem. The country is run by one of two private clubs – I am referring to the Democrat and the Republican parties. America’s first president George Washington – feared and opposed political parties. In any case, I want to make a specific point: The country and the political process is for the people – not for the politicians, not the IRS, not the political parties, not the mainstream media. November 12, 2011 was the annual celebration of a day for our veterans of armed conflict. During World War II, the allied powers went to war to protect their freedom and liberty from the axis powers. Freedom and liberty is NOT the natural order of the universe.
It is won after a long fight and should never be surrendered.
Ronald Reagan noted that:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Approximately 200 years earlier, Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address reminded us that:
“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve 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.”
Now what does this have to do with the “price of tea in China”?
The first amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantees freedom of expression. Anybody who knows anything about FBAR, OVDI, FATCA knows how wrong the conduct of Obama, Levin, Geithner and the IRS is. U.S. expats are living in a state of terror. (Once again, I will remind you that you are lucky you are already out of the U.S.) The mainstream media is supportive of the IRS and is publishing their stupid and dishonest press releases in which they laud the OVDI program. It is the job of those who believe in freedom and democracy to get a more balanced discussion of this issue in the mainstream. What good is the right to freedom of expression if it is not used?
In one of Phil Hodgen’s blog posts he noted that:
““Render unto Caesar . . . ” is all well and good. But it strikes me that the appropriate historical allusion is not New Testament, but rather to Julius Caesar’s “Alea iacta est” pronouncement as he crossed the Rubicon. (See what I did there?)
In waging a penalty war on middle-class Canadians and imposing shock-and-awe penalties on ordinary law-abiding people in the USA and Canada, the IRS has kicked off a diplomatic spat with Canada. “The die is cast” is apt. This is a defining act by the IRS. One need only look at the rising tide of media attention this topic is bringing in Canada.
At some point the announcement will come over the intercom, “Mr. Shulman, please come to the principal’s office.” That announcement cannot come a moment too soon, as far as I am concerned.
And yes, I am fully aware that Julius Caesar’s army defeated Pompey’s army. From my reading, a large part of the reason was that Pompey’s cavalry had communications problems. This makes the analogy all the more apt — the Forces of Good (that would be us) have a communications problem. How do we get the word out? How do we get the Canadian politicians into gear? How do we get the attention of John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to make him aware of the situation?”
It is absolutely essential – there is a moral duty to “speak up”, “get the word out”. If social media can bring down the government in Egypt, it can be used to publicize the grave injustice of using FBAR and OVDI to target hardworking U.S. expats. This “communications problem” must be solved. In order to “get the word out” you must be willing to tell your story.
Fortunately there are some courageous organizations and people who are working hard to solve the communications problem – to get the real story of OVDI and FBAR told. In no particular order:
– American Citizens Abroad has been a relentless fighter for U.S. expats. Apparently the organization is reaching out to journalists who have described the story from the IRS point of view. These journalists are being asked to write about the story from the “collateral damage” point of view. Last week I wrote a post about whether U.S. expats should be considered to be presumptive tax cheats. I referenced a Reuters article written by Amy Feldman a respected journalist. According to a comment on the following post on the Hodgen blog, Ms. Feldman is seeking stories to write about OVDI from the non-IRS point of view. Look for a comment by Just Me at: http://hodgen.com/vancouver-consulate-backlog-for-expatriation/ Once again, American Citizens Abroad seems to be the driving force. According to the ExpatsinCA blog (http://expatsinca.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/yet-another-article-demonizes-those-trapped-in-the-fatca-nightmare/) , American Citizens Abroad has also written another journalist who wrote a rather ill informed article about OVDI. Kudos to American Citizens Abroad. Get your stories to ACA and to Ms. Feldman.
– How about those private blogs! CAfree is a dual citizen in Canada. She has taken the innovative step of launching her own radio show about these issues. CAfree is also a relentless commentator on blogs. To put it simply she is doing a fantastic job to get the real story of ovdi told. You can hear all about it at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cafreeb She has also commented on and referenced another Canadian blog: http://expatsinca.wordpress.com – which is doing a great job of helping to get the real story told. A third Canadian based (I believe) blog is http://righteousinvestor.com (this is the some of the most insightful commentary around)
– Although many people hate lawyers, there are two lawyers whose blogs are a wealth of information and emotional support. They are Jack Townsend: http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.com/2011/09/irs-promotes-success-of-ovdi-and.html (this blog seems to be aimed more at the criminal side) and of course Phil Hodgen (http://hodgen.com/phils-blog/)
These people have created the vehicles to help get the real story of OVDI and FBAR out. They deserve our thanks and credit. But, their effectiveness is dependent on your willingness to tell your story.
Ronald Reagan once said:
“We can accomplish anything if we don’t care who gets the credit!”
By the way, if you value your freedom – thank a vet!