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The Long Arm of US Law

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In a perfect illustration of just how ridiculous the US government’s tax policies are, Mayor of London Boris Johnson is being pursued by the IRS for capital gains taxes he owes for selling his residence in London. Apparently Mr. Johnson was born in New York and, despite the fact that his parents returned to Britain when he was five years old, has never given up his US citizenship. Like many other people who through no fault of their own become United States citizens, he never realized that the US government, situated as it is across an ocean, claims to be the rightful owner of a substantial portion of his income and assets.

If Mr. Johnson hasn’t paid capital gains tax on the sale of his house, I’m assuming that he also hasn’t filed a yearly Form 1040 tax return, nor has he probably submitted his annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). I’m sure IRS is salivating right now just thinking about all the penalties, back taxes, and interest they can charge him.

The sad thing about this situation is that it takes a prominent example like this to expose the absurdity of US tax laws. US citizens living abroad have for years been seeing their access to foreign bank accounts cut off due to over-reaching laws such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and the situation will only get worse. While Mr. Johnson may end up getting a slap on the wrist due to his political stature, the same cannot be said for other innocent victims, not just the accidental Americans, but those who have lived and worked abroad for years and decades and now find themselves shut offfrom an international banking system that now sees Americans as toxic.
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House Chooses New Cold War With Russia

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Last week the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the US government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine!
 
For example, one of the reasons to condemn Russia in the resolution is the claim that Russia is imposing economic sanctions on Ukraine. But how many rounds of sanctions has the US government imposed on Russia for much of the past year? I guess sanctions are only bad when used by countries Washington doesn’t like.
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Just Like the Stasi...

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Don’t you just love those Americans who celebrate how free they are under America’s national-security state system?

I wonder if such Americans also celebrated how free people were who lived under East Germany’s national-security state system.

I just read an interesting story in the New York Times about how the East German Stasi was confiscating art from wealthy East Germans. They would simply raid people’s homes, take valuable art, and then sell it, putting the money into the state’s coffers. According to the article, “between 1973 and 1989 the East German police, known as the Stasi, seized more than 200,000 objects in hundreds of raids.”

Why did the authorities do that? Because the government needed the money.

Why not simply raise taxes? Because people don’t like paying taxes. Anyway, why go through the taxing process when you can just barge into people’s homes and take their possessions?
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