Category Archives: U.S. democracy

The @BarackObama #FATCA law: “an absolute disgrace and a dark spot in history”

The above includes some of the text of a comment at the Isaac Brock Society. The comment should be read by all Americans abroad.

Excellent post and I couldn’t agree with you more. I wouldn’t take back US citizenship if they offered it along with no tax obligations, a once a year round trip ticket to the US destination of my choice and leaving me alone forever. No, I wouldn’t want it back because any country that was capable of doing what they did to their expat community and continue doing those same things to their expat community, in spite of all of the articles and pleas alerting them to the fallout and with constant alarm bells ringing and do absolutely nothing, is not to be trusted under any circumstance. I too sadly agree that nothing will change regarding moving to RBT and FATCA wont be repealed either, in my opinion. There is too much to be made by picking the pockets of innocent folks living outside of their ever tightening borders, folks who have little to no say in the laws that are being thrust upon them, no representation in Congress and no interest whatsoever in speaking with them from US lawmakers. Like you say, “Is holding on to the nostalgia of one’s origins worth all that?” Absolutely not! To continue to be exploited, extorted, controlled, be under permanent surveillance, financial and otherwise, while living in another sovereign country, where I am and have been a citizen for nearly my entire life, makes the decision not to accept US citizenship, should it ever be offered back a no brainer. I recommend anyone reading this, in a situation of trying to decide what to do and wondering if, just if, things will change for the better, you should seriously consider renouncing, sooner rather than later. Things are not likely to improve and may in fact even get much worse. I felt ten years, or more, younger after renouncing and now live, invest and see life as a much freer and unburdened person. I will never forgive nor forget what Obama’s FATCA and related laws created and how much damage they did in destroying the overseas US community of citizens and deemed persons. It is and still remains an absolute disgrace and a dark spot in history.

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It’s time for Canada to cede sovereignty and unilaterally seek Trump approval of the NAFTA Treaty

Justin Trudeau’s pre-emptive decision to tell one of the planet’s most voracious deal-makers that Canada is willing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, without even being asked, ranks as one of the great examples of a sovereign government disintegrating like cheap toilet paper.

See the complete article here.

Justin Trudeau thinks that President Elect Trump has initiated an “Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program” for countries that have treaties with the USA.

Step 1: Remind the USA of the treaty

Step 2: Ask the USA how to make the treaty better for the USA.

The solution to all of Canada’s problems would be for Canada to simply join the United States. Were this to happen there would:

– be no more pesky treaties.

– no more second class Canadians – all Canadians would be Americans

– no more foreign offshore accounts

– no more CFCs

– no more foreign trusts

– no more PFICs

Think of it!

The treatment of expatriates by the Government of the United States often defies explanation – or does it?

The above tweet references a comment at the Isaac Brock Society which needs to be commemorated as a post.

The treatment of expatriates by the Government of the United States often defies explanation. It is burdensome, often frightening and usually threatening. It is also marked by confusion and lack of comprehension. In short, the attitude of some Americans toward the plight of expatriates is mystification, outright antipathy, or shoulder-shrugging “so what”–or all three. I am going to suggest that these things may be best understood by seeing it as analogous, at least, to behaviour which may be described as “religious.”

The U.S. effectively has what may be termed a “state religion.” Conor Cruise O’Brien calls it the “American Civil Religion” (following Rousseau). Its core is “Patriotism.” It has a deity (originally represented by “Lady Liberty”, but in more recent years by The Flag), tenets, rules and forms of worship. Its proponents behave very much like religious persons generally.

When I was a child of five, I began each school day with a little “religious” ritual. We would sing “America”, recite the Lord’s Prayer (King James’ version) and, of course, pledge allegiance to the Flag. Indeed, during my childhood years, the words of the pledge were altered to include the now controversial “under God”. This was a simple form of worship for a more simple time. Other simple forms included Memorial Day ceremonies at local town and village squares, local Independence Day celebrations and even boy and girl scout meetings. In time, however worship would encompass thousands of people in sports stadiums, enormous flags that would require troops of people to carry, celebrity singers of “America the Beautiful” and “To Anachreon in Heaven..”, oh sorry, “The Star Spangled Banner” (same tune), and military fly-overs.

This isn’t worship? Well, it’s a pretty good imitation. 50 or 60 thousand people with their hands over their hearts looks a lot like religious ritual–or would to an uninformed observer who didn’t know exactly what they was going on.

And of course there are the “saints”. “Land of the Pilgrims’ pride” celebrates the first real Americans, the first American “saints” (and indeed, the Pilgrims termed themselves “saints” in the traditional religious sense). Never considering, of course, that some descendants of these very “saints” would be driven out of their homes because they remained loyal to the Crown between 1775 and 1783.

But for sure there is “Saint Washington” (so sublime a saint that his monument has no graven image), “Saint Jefferson”, “The Sainted Father Abraham”, and so forth. All properly worshipped, each with his sacred shrine in Washington.

And there are the hymns. “America,” “America the Beautiful,” “Columbia Gem of the Ocean” …a particular 1991 recording of American patriotic hymns has a total of eighteen (but three would likely have to be discounted, because they are Confederate hymns). Even this collection does not include things like “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Over There..” I’ve been a Canadian for fifty years and, besides the national anthem, I can only think of two patriotic songs, “The Maple Leaf Forever,” and “Mon Pais…” (a third might be Stompin Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song.”)

You need these hymns for the same reason you need the rituals, to keep people “in” the faith. The greater the emotional involvement, the more encompassing the faith.

And, of course, there are tenets of this religion. “The U.S. is the very cradle of freedom. “ ”The U.S. observes and upholds the rule of law.” “The U.S. is the exemplar of democracy.” And so forth. But above all, Patriotism holds that the United States is the greatest country that has ever existed. Ever. Sing it: “This is My Country, grandest on earth.”

Mystification.

And, having drunk this kool-aid from childhood, the average American cannot imagine why any person would not want to be an American. As proof of that particular pudding, there are the thousands upon thousands of “illegals” who would want nothing so much as the green card that will start them on the road to full U.S. citizenship, the most wonderful status available to any human being on the face of the earth. (And in addition, there are thousands more would-be illegals marshalling on the southern border of the United States).

All other citizenships pale by comparison. All are inferior to the glorious American nationality.

So why, in the name of all that is “holy”, would anyone ever consider giving up American nationality. This is what produces a reaction of “mystification” on the part of many, probably most, Americans. The United States is “My Country, grandest on earth,” so giving up its citizenship is beyond comprehension.

Antipathy and Punishment.

But there is another “religious”response. All religions are familiar with what can be called “heresy” or “apostasy”. And fully expatriating, divesting oneself of U.S. citizenship, aside from being incomprehensible, is clearly “heretical” and “apostastic.” What is more, it is very threatening to the true believers, especially if perpetrated by persons who were given the “kool-aid” at an early age and had the opportunity to drink it into their adult years. They must be extremely misguided at the least, deranged at the extreme. Because, in practice, expatriates have done what no reasonable believer could possibly have done: denied the tenets of the faith, denied that the U.S. is the “grandest” country on earth. What is more, they have advanced the heresy that other countries may be much better places in which to live.

For heretics, no punishment can be too great, no pain too exquisite. The medieval and renaissance Christians punished heretics by burning them at the stake, an absolutely horrifying punishment, employed because it was believed that fire purifies..

But justified.

So, if expatriate Americans suffer, no problem. It’s a punishment fully justified by their heretical denials of the greatness of the United States, that inherent belief attested to at every football game in America by thousands who keep the faith and know the truth. If those who want to leave are forced to jump through hoops, again, no problem. Like those heretics who were purified by fire, the apostatic expatriate may be purified by delay. Then he or she will hopefully return to seeing the light. (As it was believed the purification by fire might, at last, “save” the heretic).

No. No punishment is too great in the defence of the faith.

Dialling down the burden–the shrug..

There is one more dimension on which the American state religion sheds light and it is this. Many religions, in varying degrees, demand “service” to the deity. In some instances that demand is so extreme that “service” becomes “servitude”, and it seems to me that the American state religion demands something approaching “servitude”.

“Service” involves a wide degree of “choice” and personal freedom and integrity, “servitude” is a situation in which the deity may demand much of the “server,” up to and including the surrender of life, without allowing much in the way of choice. The United States has always seemed to me to be on that end of the scale. Now I will admit to a personal bias here, since I have always resented the fact that the U.S. thought that I should be “pursuing happiness” in places like Nha Trang or Da Nang. I was not entitled to plan my life, had no choice as to whether or not I wanted to pursue my happiness in a land war in Southeast Asia. Servitude, pure and simple.

I was fortunate. I was able to avoid that awful mess. Legally. But it bespeaks a mentality. The United States is the greatest nation on earth. Citizenship in such a nation is so incredibly valuable that absolutely anything can be demanded of the citizen. Hence the nonsense: “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

For this mentality, the subjection of citizens to “internal” taxation when they do not live within the borders of the United States makes perfect sense. In effect, the prize of citizenship in the greatest country that has ever been has to be paid for. The United States is not required to actually do anything in return for tax monies collected–“Ask not what your country can do for you…”–as one political thinker would have required. Servitude in worship of the deity makes perfect sense to those who have drunk the kool-aid.

The United States is not the greatest country on earth in any particular other than obscene wealth and military muscle. It regularly scores relatively low on “pursuit of happiness” scales. For the living of ordinary life, the U.S. is inferior to any number of other countries on the planet.

When I was eighteen, I entered one of those countries (Canada) as a student. I very quickly realized that I was in a better place, a kinder, gentler, caring place. My fellow students were able to start planning their lives without having to think about giving up a minimum of two years to the great god (or goddess) of the state. By the time I had entered my second year of “university,” I knew where it was that I wanted to live and it was not the U.S.

I have been a Canadian in my mind ever since, and in reality for nearly 50 years. The United States is an alien government as far as I am concerned, and were it not a thug and a bully, it would actually observe the rule of law that it gives mere lip service to. One of the rules of that rule of law is that you do not get to create legislation which, (by any expedient pretext) allows you to reach across your territorial border and touch people and things in other countries. Instead the American thug visits upon me unlawful taxation requirements and the possibility of crippling penalties. And this is completely justified–in American eyes–because “servitude” requires that the “server” provide whatever is demanded.

Those Homeland Americans who have drunk deeply of the kool-aid will not care that this “servitude” is something they do not have to share. After all, not everyone was drafted. But the accepting of burdens, any burden at all regardless of whether or not it is shared, is a perfectly legitimate demand made by a state which is god.

Understanding of the clear wrongness of all of this is beyond those who worship at the shrines of Lady Liberty and The Flag. They don’t even recognize their military defeats, so how likely is it that they will admit to international wrongdoing.

Rather than being surprised by it, we should expect confusion and mystification when we want to leave. Rather than imagining that we will avoid it, we should expect punishment. Rather than hoping Americans will see how wrong they are, we should expect that they will shrug their shoulders and return to worshipping the Flag.

It’s their Faith. And faith, according to St. Augustine, is irrational. By definition.

For those who think that there are NO Donald Trump supporters among #Americansabroad in Canada

And see the following discussion at the “The Current” Facebook page:

Born abroad to US citizen parents in a #CookvTait world? Are you a US citizen or do have a right to US citizenship?

Introduction:

The above tweet references an earlier comment on this vitally important question.

The purpose of this post is to continue hammering away at this very narrow issue/question.

Does the United States have the right to deem a person born outside the United States to be a U.S. citizen? Can the United States forcibly impose citizenship on a person NOT born in the United States?

To be more specific, I understand that the United States has the right to offer U.S. citizenship to anybody who it wants. The question is whether the United States can force a person (who has not accepted U.S. citizenship) to be a U.S. citizen. Given that the United States is “Hunting For Citizens Abroad”, this is an important question. I have written on this topic before here and here.

This is an attempt to explore the question form from the possible perspectives of: Congress, the State Department, U.S. Courts and legal scholars. I then conclude by asking the questions of whether:

– those unknowingly registered as U.S. citizens by parents should have the right to “reject” U.S. citizenship; and

– whether any forcible imposition of U.S. citizenship on the citizens of other countries could be a violation of international law.

Here we go …
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In a #CookvTait world of “Taxation Based Citizenship”, should the right to vote depend ONLY on whether one files taxes?

In the finest of American traditions and mythology:

The summary statement of the Samuel Adams instructions, written to the representatives of the Massachusetts House, approved May 24, 1764:

“If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves?”

But yet,

Never resided in the U.S.? As of this writing, 37 states* allow U.S. citizens, 18 years or older, who were born abroad, but have never resided in the United States to be eligible to vote absentee. Voting address in the United States will be the last U.S. residence of a U.S. citizen parent. States vary in their voter registration identification requirements, however, most commonly you can use either: 1) the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (SSN); or 2) a valid state driver’s license.

*Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Colombia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington (State), West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Voting may or may not be based on citizenship …

For example:

  1. The Government of Canada has tried to prevent certain Canadian citizens from voting if they live outside of Canada.
  2. An issue in certain Municipal Elections (example Toronto) has been whether non-citizens should have the right to vote.

What does citizenship have to do with it anyway?

It appears to be neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for voting.

The question …

Given that there is NO PRESUMPTIVE connection between citizenship and voting rights, perhaps the United States should consider/reconsider what the right to vote should be based on. We know that U.S. citizenship is about and ONLY about taxation. That’s why U.S. citizenship is properly understood to be:

“Taxation Based Citizenship”

Should the right to vote in the United States be based on whether you file and pay U.S. taxes?

Two polls – Two different questions

Poll 1 – Filing U.S. taxes as a NECESSARY condition for voting

Poll 2 – Filing U.S. taxes as a SUFFICIENT condition for voting

 

 

 

The #FATCA Retirement and other assorted #CookvTait short stories …

Have you either considered stopping working because of U.S. policies toward Americans abroad? Have you stopped working? Have you given up attempting to plan for your retirement?

________________________________________________

FATCARetirement

Updated and continued on January 8, 2015 …

Meanwhile back on the Homeland Front …

As the above tweet confirms:

Yes, it’s true! Americans abroad are damaged by FATCA, FBAR and CBT. Who could have known? Of course the “FATCA Retirement” is only one form of damage. What follows is the message forwarded  from ACA and rerouted to me:

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