Monthly Archives: February 2015

Robert Fulford: Obama believes in Israel as a valuable long-time ally. He just gets angry when Israel doesn’t obey

National Post

For the sake of diplomacy and political reputations, the mutual irritation felt by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has for years been muffled by the habitual gentility of international rhetoric. Recently, however, their conflict has exploded into a public row. The cause of their rift is, of all things, a speech.

[np_storybar title=”Israeli PM faces growing calls to cancel ‘partisan’ trip to Washington that’s opposed by White House” link=”http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/08/israeli-pm-faces-growing-calls-to-cancel-partisan-trip-to-washington-thats-opposed-by-white-house/”]A national leader’s appearance before the U.S. Congress is usually a source of pride and unity. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Washington – opposed by the White House and many Democrats – has Israel in uproar.

The Israeli leader faces growing calls to cancel the visit as rivals accuse him of risking Israel’s relations with the United States in hopes of winning extra votes in next month’s Israeli parliamentary election.

But Netanyahu has shown no signs…

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De Tocqueville and America’s International Decline

Good post. I tend to put it a little differently, but I think there is an overlap in idea:
America rose to greatness when it maintained a high degree of “moral capital”. It was trusted and admired. There was a sense that American believed in the right values – most notably “freedom” and “democracy”. Those days are long gone.

Cook v. Tait 18: #Americansabroad by their very nature benefit the US government wherever they may be found

The above tweet references a fascinating discussion about the best Thomas Jefferson quotes. Homelander lawyers often justify U.S. citizenship-based taxation by citing the 1924 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Cook v. Tait. The world in 1924 is very different from the world today. What is meant by “taxation” in 1924 is very different from what “taxation is today”. Neither the factual context nor the reasoning in Cook v. Tait bears any relation to the world today. The quote referenced in the above tweet is:

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Cook v. Tait 19: Q. How are #Americansabroad taxed by the US? A. What country do they live in?

The above tweet references the following  comment at Robert Wood’s blog.

The comment includes:

Tax loopholes? You must be joking Robert! Pity the poor US Slave (sorry, Citizen) who is self employed and happens to live in New Zealand (or any other country on the planet except for the 25 without an International Social Security agreement with the US). Having paid their taxes to their country of residence, they then face paying US self employment tax to the US as there is no exemption. In the case of New Zealand this is 33% local tax + 15.3% US self employment, a marginal tax rate of almost 50%.

It gets better – Firstly, non-US residents are not eligible for Medicare anyway. Secondly, even if they qualify for Social Security, New Zealand will simply deduct the benefit from their New Zealand state pension which has been funded and paid for from general taxation.
So, a person may spend half a lifetime paying 15.3% of their income in self employment taxes to receive NOTHING in return. Oh, did I mention PFIC, FBAR and all the other “gotchas” faced by the unfortunate US slave in New Zealand. Is it any wonder why people are willing to pay almost anything to get out from under this financial terrorism?

This comment is a reminder that there are no consistent principles for Americans abroad are taxed by the U.S. It depends completely on what country they live in. The situation described in this comment would NOT be shared by a U.S. person in Canada.

The “country by country” discrepancies in how Americans abroad are taxed, compounds the pre-existing injustice.

This is one more reason why it’s impossible to live as a U.S. citizen abroad.

Renounce and rejoice!

 

 

 

 

More on phantom capital gains and the injustice of U.S. taxation of #Americansabroad

I was alerted to the above comment that appeared on Facebook. Here we have one more casualty of the “Code of Conduct” that governs Americans abroad. You have heard the saying:

“When in Rome, do as the Romans”.

When it comes to Americans abroad, the Code says:

“When an American goes abroad, do as an American in the Homeland.”

The above tweet references an article on how dangerous Foreign Exchange rates can be to the financial health of an American abroad. It’s fascinating how fluctuating exchange rates impact the lives of Americans abroad in so many ways.

By the way, the Canadian dollar is feeling. This means that:

2015 is a very good year to renounce U.S. citizenship. To understand why, read this post.

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Selick: The folly of civil forfeiture

https://twitter.com/USCitizenAbroad/status/563918560570142720
“This is the result of a law that was sold as a means of fighting organized crime and assisting crime victims. Sometimes it’s very rewarding being able to say “I told you so,” but this is one case where it’s hard to take much satisfaction over having been right 13 years ago.”

National Post

In 2001, I appeared before a committee of the Ontario legislature and predicted that Bill 155 — the province’s proposed “civil forfeiture” law — would violate the property rights of innocent individuals. The government passed the bill anyway, and other provinces soon followed suit.

These civil forfeiture laws — which few Canadians have even heard of — allow provincial governments to seize property that has allegedly been used in crime, or may constitute the proceeds of crime, even if nobody has ever been charged with, let alone convicted of, a related offence.

One unfortunate victim of Ontario’s law is Margaret Reilly of Orillia. Following in the footsteps of her father, an Anglican priest who operated a youth hostel for many years, Mrs. Reilly has worked with disadvantaged people from a young age. Her husband Terry, an insurance broker, shared her concern for the needy. He sat on the local housing…

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Marni Soupcoff: When cops become robbers

https://twitter.com/USCitizenAbroad/status/563917663458832384

We have so far not seen quite as brazen and unrelenting civil forfeiture abuses in Canada as have been typical in the United States. But it’s hard to escape the feeling that things are getting worse here, even as Americans are very slowly starting to demand that civil forfeiture powers be reined in. In Ontario, an Orillia couple named the Reillys stand to lose the two boarding houses they own even though they are not charged with any crime.

National Post

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued new guidelines to prevent local and state police from using federal law to seize private property without a warrant or proof of a crime. But it’s a little early to be celebrating the end of civil forfeiture abuse.

Most U.S. states have their own civil forfeiture statutes, as do seven Canadian provinces, which means that in most of North America, police are still free to take people’s property — their homes, their cars, their cash — without even charging them with a crime, let alone proving one beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

It is difficult to think of a better example of how little will change thanks to the DOJ’s guidelines than a Virginia bust and seizure reported on recently by The Washington Post.

A high stakes game of poker was taking place in the basement of…

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