Feeding the Trolls at McClatchy

Roger sent me an early morning email, saying that my name made into the Miami Herald, and I immediately began to comment at the McClatchy site:  IRS crackdown on foreign assets leading many to renounce U.S. citizenship.

There I’ve had a numerous interactions with commenters.  Here is what has appeared thus far:

Petros wrote

Hi! My name is Peter W. Dunn, and I am a blogger at the Isaac Brock Society.  I am the one mentioned in this article.  I don’t know why the moderator took down my original comment, perhaps because I included a link to our blog, where people can get information about why Americans abroad are renouncing their citizenship.  I am sorry that I have to go to such lengths to have free speech. But I think that it is the least you can do, since you have mentioned my name in the article, that you give me an opportunity to respond to the article.

The reason why we are renouncing is because the IRS is breathing down our necks.  Most of us are not rich people.  We are just normal people who have learned about unreasonable filing requirements, such as telling the IRS about the contents of all our financial accounts, or face draconian fines up to 300% of our total wealth (=50% willful fines times six years statute of limitations).  We renounce out of self protection, but not only so, to protect our spouses, many of whom are not even US citizens.  Please, do not erase this comment this time.

Timr wrote:

so you are excusing the fact that you are a tax cheat, because?  Using your wife to hide your income is a pretty filch thing to do.  And, if you think you are just a “normal” person then you are not only lying to the IRS but you are also lying to yourself.   So you hope to get a Canadian passport? Doesn’t it also mean that you will now have to pay Canadian taxes? Which BTW, are higher than US taxes.

Petros wrote:

Timr  I invite you to the Isaac Brock Society, where you can find out more about me.  I left the United States in 1986.  I’ve lived in Canada since 1995, and am a now a Canadian citizen.  You don’t have to tell me about Canadian taxes, I am intimately familiar with it.  I also am up to date with my US tax filings.  I owe nothing.  In addition, you can be sure that my reason for relinquishing my citizenship has to do with escaping the long reach of the IRS, and their attempts to make expats pay because they actually have no representation in Congress and cannot vote the idiots running your country out of office.

Golfer78015 wrote:

People who refuse to pay taxes should have everything they own  confiscated and be put in jail.

Petros wrote:
golfer–you’re pretty smart.  Have you read the fifth amendment?  Do you know what due process is?
dw1206 wrote:

What is the protocol for treason?

Petros wrote to dw1206:

Why, do you want to charge Barack Obama and numerous members of his administration for their violations of the Constitution of the United States?  Or is your question pointed at me because I used my God-given right, refered to in the Declaration of Independence, to separate myself from unjust government?

debbieqd wrote:

What is the appropriate thing to say to these evaders?  Good riddance?

Petros wrote

Yeah, debbie, we feel the same way about your IRS.  I mean when you have a chance, think about how the IRS threatens us with fines of 300% of our bank accounts

gmartini wrote:

For the life of me, I cannot feel sorry for your situation.  You have broken our laws and well, you must suffer the consequences.  All actions have consequences, correct?  I get that no one really likes the IRS nor their tactics, but paying taxes is the law.

Petros replied to gmartini”

I have broken laws?  What are you talking about?  FBAR?  Don’t make me laugh.  That is a farce of a law, and a violation of most of my constitutional rights.  Please see an article I wrote with Monty Pelerin, When government turns predator on the FBAR law.

gmartini wrote to Petros:

You have tried to conceal income, thus avoiding the income tax.  THAT is breaking the law.  And please re-read you reply to me….you have contradicted yourself and in a round about way, incriminated yourself in the process.   I will allow you to figure out how…..

Petros wrote:

gmartini, I am tax compliant in the United States.  I don’t owe anything.  I pay my taxes in Canada, and you are now libelous because you say that I am concealing income, which is an absolutely unprovable assumption on your part.  I have not contradicted myself.  It is a long and clear principle of law that an unjust law is no law. [originally I mistaken wrote, I pay my taxes in the United States–I am tax compliant, but don’t owe anything in the US]

gmartini wrote to Petros:

Thank you for explaining the very basics of the Natural Law Theory to me.  Martin Luther King Jr. used it to denounce segregation; I get it.  But what I do NOT get is how and why wealthy people try everything possible to avoid paying taxes.  I don’t care what country you profess your allegiance to, the fact of the matter is NOT paying income tax in this country is illegal and a punishable offense.  Get over it and pay your fare share!  You are NOT special nor above a law that YOU do not agree with.  Regardless if you agree with a law or not,  it is still the law.  Until that particular law is changed or abolished YOU, like the rest of us, must comply.  And might I suggest you research what join accounts/community property means!

Petros wrote to gmartini:

I pay all my taxes here in Canada.  I don’t need your lectures about paying taxes.  It is really ignorant on your part to think that I should have to pay taxes in two countries.  That’s why I renounced my citizenship.  Its because people like you can vote to tax expats.  It is a form of thuggery.

DW1206 wrote:

I hope it’s worth it to them. There are many foreigners who would do anything to be American citizens. It is amazing what greed can do to people!

Petros wrote:

Yes, greed can cause people to vote for politicians who will try to steal money from Expats because they have no representation in Congress.  Yes, greed can cause people to put Obama in power so that he can go after the expats and threaten them with 300% fines if they don’t hand over 27.5% of their savings to the IRS.  Yes, it is amazing what greed can do.

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54 thoughts on “Feeding the Trolls at McClatchy

  1. @petros, you may mention how there are citizens of other countries that are deemed to be US citizens through a US parent who are obligated to pay US tax even though they may have never stepped a foot in the US! Are they tax cheats?

  2. Incredible how these newspapers are lumping all of us together with the Americans who hided foreign investments from the IRS. We have to try to make clear that we are not the same.

  3. @bubblebustin: Based on some of the vile comments I’m reading on the other website, I’m sure many would say yes on the children issue. They think they own us all.

    Like IRS, many are convinced we are tax cheats, tax evaders, traitors, and criminals. And, horror of horrors–we are also liberals! I think they would even lump Canada’s conservatives in that last group!

    The level of ignorance and animosity is terrifying. Douglas Shulman has groomed them well.

  4. @petros, Thank you for stepping up to the plate on this one. I am sorry to say that the vicious and unfounded abuse that has been directed at you is just tyypical of the attitude of most members of Congress towards US persons who have chosen to exercise their UN guaranteed right to leave the country of birth. Their reaction is to impose cruel and unusual punishment for excercising their God given and consitutional right to freely leave the country where they were born to marry a person from another country and chose to live, work and raise a family in that other country.

    Keep standing tall! Ylou are an inspiration to us all.

  5. You will never convince these people. They live in the US and simply cannot conceive of people living in another country, being not rich and having a simple bank account. We don’t get any services from the US and have no representation. How could anyone even keep a straight face when demanding taxes?

  6. @grromit: If we label all American in the US as the same, we are doing the same as those who criticize us.

    I was in the US recently. When I told childhood friends about this IRS quagmire, they were appalled. Many said “Why do we wonder why people hate the US so much?”

    We need to keep trying to work one person at a time to change these vicious attitudes.

  7. Most resident US Citizens have this childish “You left our team!” attitude. After all, all they hear every day is how many poor people want to be Americans. A lot of people grew up during the Cold War, like me. So when they showed one of those escape stories, you really felt like the US was the best place on earth.

    Times have changed. Americans need a reality check. Many places that were worse than the US 30 years ago are now BETTER in many aspects!

    It’s impossible to convince these people. If you want to do it Peter, then go for it. But me, I gave up about 11 years ago when I returned to the US. From that point forward, I just wanted to get back out.

    I’ll just keep it on the DL and renounce quietly because this is REALLY a case of arguing with ignorant people. Ignorant because they don’t have 1 clue as to what life abroad is really like.

  8. @To all, I also really appreciate Petros’ efforts but worry he may be presenting his argument too vehemently and inevitably these posters are reacting very angrily. Who’s to say that one of them might become a whistle blower or even accuse IBS as being terrorists? I realise it sounds ludicrous but I’m concerned that we might be deemed provocative, especially when gloating about

  9. When gloating about renouncing…with their mindset they will definitely accuse our organisation of inciting treasonous acts. Perhaps I am too cautious but it’s such a fine line between presenting our case but making them so angry they refuse to hear us out. Though maybe Victoria and Peter are correct in that it will unfortunately take a degree of nastiness…but that’s never been my style.

  10. Petros

    Valiant effort, but you are trying to educate brainwashed people who think that the US is the only place in the world worth living in, and that US law applies everywhere. You can’t out-logic that kind of prejudice. What’s truly scary is just how many people down there think like that.

    The only positive I can pull from those vile comments is that if the majority of Americans think like that, and therefore their Congresscritters think like that, the odds of the rest of the world going along with their extra-territorial reach will diminish. Sooner or later, others will wake up to the fact that you can’t negotiate with tax-terrorists.

  11. @monalisa: I don’t think your perception is ludicrous at all. I’m surprised someone hasn’t already accused us of being terrorists. Right now, some of them seem to think liberal is the nastiest word they can throw at us.

    I think I should stay off of there in my Brock uniform. The way they’re going after Petros, think what they would do to a Redcoat with a sword!

  12. I personally feel more comfortable explaining the problems regarding double taxation, investment discrimination, closed accounts, compliance costs and complexities but saving discussion of renunciation as the nuclear option. Otherwise, it’s too shocking for them and they will reject what we’re trying to say.

  13. @Blaze and @Arrow, yes, it is going to require both being diplomatic and discrete. Just seems common sense, really. Plus some of us like myself want to ideally resolve these issues without having to giving up US citizenship. It’s not as though everyone on here wants to renounce. It’s certainly a mess but isn’t a black and white situation for many here.

  14. Remember that it is people who react impulsively that are vilifying Petros, and I don’t believe they represent the majority. I believe there are many many more who read what he says, who worry about what has happened to freedom in America, and who go away and think about what he says. I think there really is a silent majority who will speak in the voting booth.

  15. @Arrow: I would love to think you are right about the rest of the world balking at FATCA. You may want to check out these two articles:

    One claims a breakthrough on FATCA in Europe. On a positive note, that one seems to address only requirements for reporting on accounts held offshore by US residents and doesn’t seem to add much to what was in the Europe Five agreement. Canada has had such an agreement with US for years.

    In the other article, Forbes asks if Irish Eyes Are Smiling on FATCA. Again, if Ireland gets the same deal as the other European countries, that would seem to mean reporting on accounts of US residents. And, of course, “reciprocity” is dependent on US reporting on accounts held in American banks–which seems to be far from a done deal.

    http://www.europolitics.info/economy-monetary-affairs/breakthrough-in-foreign-bank-accounts-dispute-says-semeta-art333666-30.html

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2012/05/07/are-irish-eyes-smiling-on-fatca/

  16. @foxyladyhawk…I don’t believe there is a silent majority. I think they are a silent minority. At the end of the day, for the most part, they will go along with the statist quo because it is easier to live your life without attracting undue attention. Sort of why I’m writing rather anonymously here.

    The vehement reactions to Petros are probably more common than not. No one thinks about freedom any more. Just security. Sheeple. Would rather be herded to their certain slaughter and defend the owners of the slaughterhouse, as well.

    It is not the same country I grew up in or the people I grew up around. The powers that be have ensured that people are afraid of their own shadows and need the cover of uncle gubmint to get them through the day.

    [/rant]

  17. @Gentleman: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” (Abraham Lincoln)

    Right now, US seems to be on the path to self-destruction. What would Abe say?

  18. @Blaze: I certainly didn’t intend to label “all” Americans as the same (nor do I think I did). I have many American friends and family who are very sympathetic to our plight. That said, a widely held conscript in the US is “don’t let the door hit you on your way out!” These people simply do not understand the problem.

  19. @Grommit: That’s exactly what’s happening on the other website. Several are saying “Good riddance.” If only we could say “good riddance to US and IRS that easily!

  20. @Blaze it is certainly making my decision to renounce less difficult.

    I don’t believe I have ever been so afraid of my own government (and the people who support it)…I’m certainly not as afraid of the British government or its representatives.

  21. @to all, to be fair, I used to think more like those people when I used to hear of people renouncing…it seemed deeply offensives to my sensibilities but this was before I became aware of all the nuances and deep problems. I would like to think that many of them would become more understanding if they understood the issues we face. Even Mr Mopsick was initially critical but came around once he grasped the dilemmas.

  22. I unfortunately think the Miami Herald blogger attacks on Petros reflect the mindset of the majority of people in the Homeland today.

    Most Homelanders have been brainwashed to blindly believe in the moral superiority of their system, and by default, view ex-pats with a high degree of suspicion.

    In their eyes, any Americans living outside the Homeland must be FATCATS or criminals. They will never value or care about us. In fact, deep down inside, some of them may actually be jealous.

    Therefore, American ex-pats will always be looked upon with scorn. It is just the way it is.

    So for me, if I wanted to gain “peace of mind,” renunciation was something that I knew I had to do.

  23. @all, I believe that like many elsewhere in the world, Americans in the US desire to know the truth. With each of these there is the opportunity to get our message out to one more, as painful and frustrating as it is trying to drill through their stubborn misconceptions. Eliciting empathy will be the thin edge of the wedge here. Make an effort, look for headway, if you can’t make any, drive on. Don’t forget, we’re a curiosity to many of these folks who couldn’t imagine living outside the US borders. By that nature, we ARE different. Maybe trying to find common ground would be a helpful start. Just an idea.

  24. I believe we must patiently and friendly keep focusing on the difference between Americans in the USA who have hidden foreign bank accounts and Americans Living and Working Abroad who have bank accounts in their country of residency and have no need to hide anything. Let’s keep doing this.

  25. Gentleman’s Rapier: I sympathize with your dejection, and certainly your fear. But you and I are not the only ones who remember what the US is supposed to be all about. Those ideas and feelings still live within us, even those who renounce. That is why I think it is a silent majority – most of them have no idea how much company they have. I didn’t, until I came here. It isn’t over.

  26. @foxylady

    The gap between America’s core values and the laws passed by congress has become so wide that it is now almost impossible to reconcile the difference.

    The Ron Paul movement recognizes this and is united by a sort of collective cognitive dissonance.

  27. It’s pretty sad to read the response of these people who can’t even make the difference between rich people who open accounts to evade taxes and expats. Let me just say that this is not a sign of intelligence.

    @ Thatisme, the difference is more subtle. I would also make the diffence between immigrants, who had accounts and let them dormant and the real tax evaders. A lot of “victims” of this Jihad are immigrants.

  28. I couldn’t agree with ThatisMe – more!

    But in the end, what are our individual goals? I hope to never have to return to the US, other than to say goodbye to my elderly grandparents and parents. After that, I have no desire or need to go there

    I would like to renounce and not be American. I didn’t ask to be born there. I don’t like the way that they reacted in Petros’ case — even if he may have been a little HEAVY on the chat — they mentioned unreported income and they tried to make it sound as if he were really *evading* taxes. These people are morons! I can’t really understand how someone with a high school education or higher can’t understand that governments tax people where they live. After all, sales tax in Oregon is different from New York after all!! And you pay when you actually live there.

    In closing – there was one remark that was made to me about 10 years ago that made me feel very different from “resident US Citizens”. It came from my own sister. So I realize that this “ignorance” / a.k.a. not knowing how people REALLY live overseas is pretty widespread, not just regelated to trash with mullets and beer guts, but rather, way more widepread.

    Our families may make comments to the extent that “they can’t believe what is going on” or “they had no idea” or “they can’t believe it” as what came out of my aunts and uncles. But are they REALLY going to do anything about the problem? — NEVER!! This doesn’t affect them!

    Best thing to do is renounce. For the record, I just come here because I like interacting with people who are in the same boat as me. I can care less for ignorant people that tell me “Good Riddance!”

    “Part” of me last week wanted to try to keep some links with people there. But after reading a few of these articles, these ignorant people can [put whatever you want to here]………… more like good riddance to those muleteers.

  29. Maybe we should talk about some American “tackyness” like those college rings.. I saw a site today comparing Brits to Americans. Sure enough, the Americans are way tackier. Even more of a reason to renounce. Haha, what else do they have there that is tacky, — I think those license plate holders. But maybe that is Canadian too?

    And Obama with his “reluctant” decision on gay marriage. Gimme a break. – Brazil has had “Stable Union” in place for maaaaaaaannnnnnnyyy” years whereby people could get visas based on this. Same sex.. no problem.

    This is an issue I saw politicised in the US for maaany years, but when I came here, I saw “no big deal”. People can get a visa; there’s no scandal over it. Shame on the US for politicising the personal lives of people. Shame on Obama for trying to play both sides by saying “allowing” and “reluctantly” in the same sentence!

  30. Angelo Frank wrote:

    I wish these un-Americans no ill will but I hope they don’t come pleading for the assistance of our diplomatic corps or military might when they find themselves in a jam that their money won’t buy them out of. Unexpected events can occur in some of those tax havens they are flocking to. Revolutions, wars, coups or kidnappings are not unheard of and may make their money useless.

    Petros responded:
    The biggest threat to my life and prosperity is actually the United States government. Who will protect me and my family from the confiscation of my property by the federal government of the United States of America, of up to 300% (50% willful FBAR fines *six years) of my wealth? The answer is the Canadian government, which has said that under no circumstances will it collect FBAR fines from Canadian residents. So I don’t need the protection OF the United States–I need protection FROM the United States. That is why I speak to reporters with my real name, because unlike Americans living in the United States, I don’t need to fear the United States. As I said in an earlier comment, I am the Peter Dunn who is mentioned in the article above, and the one who spoke to Atossa Abrahamian in the Reuters article that has been cited.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/05/14/148688/irs-crackdown-on-foreign-assets.html#disqus_thread#storylink=cpy

  31. The whole tone of the responses is really silly, ridiculous, stupid and seemingly, hopeless. Though I agree with Thatisme, one thing we CAN do, is to continue to try and point out the difference between wealthy, rich tax evaders and those of us who are affected by this simply because we live abroad. Just Me has had a real influence here, his tireless efforts at Twitter, responding on a daily basis to news articles etc. At some point, it will pay off.

  32. @A Gentleman’s Rapier

    Your point about America not being the place we grew up in was discussed a great deal at the previous Forum. I am reminded of an exceptionally elegant post written by foxyladyhawk. I think I have it somewhere and would like to post it, if she has no objection?

  33. Responses at the American Thinker were more positive; no brainless reactions, and not a few likes for my comments–despite never publicizing it here, and trying to get people to go over there and hit like on my posts–which I know you guys would do if I asked.

  34. One of the more interesting responses from someone else named Timothy:

    Geary1938:
    It’s about time for the Congress to pass a law that plugs the tax loophole being used by these greedy and avarice citizens.Maybe something equivalent to the War on Terror Bush Doctrine’s tenets that: we will spare no efforts, recognize any geographical constraints, or accept the sancity of any financial havens for those in residence anywhere IF it can be demonstrated that they as US citizens were in violation of the US Internal Revenue Code anytime before 1July12

    Timothy:

    Given the Government of Canada has indicated it will not help to collect unpaid US taxes on US citizens living in Canada I suppose you would support a Declaration of War by the United States of America against the Dominion and Crown of Canada

  35. Pensive, hard-working Americans do not have time to write comments, loud-mouthed, know-it-alls, spring-loaded to the stuck-on-stupid position have nothing else to do.

    also reflects the regimented group-think in the “land of the free“

    manditory sentencing taking discretion from judges

    Treasury and IRS treatment of minnows

    TSA policy frisking little old ladies and pat-downs of toddlers

    and the latest from the Calgary Herald
    grandmother denied entry to the US for stealing a bag of peanuts more than 50 years ago
    «a crime is a crime, no matter how minor US border officers have no discretion in applying the law»

  36. @petros I was disgusted by the short-sightedness of the people that attacked you. I posted two texts at McClatchy there that I have used elsewhere . I hope they will be read. It is odd that we found so many unsympathetic people in one place.

  37. @Rivka, while they might not go far as to enforce the Reed Act against all renunciants, you made a valid point about the granny being denied entry even for a minor crime fifty years earlier. I could imagine it could be difficult to visit the US with virtually any sort of criminal record, no matter how minor.

    America seems to find it hard to see all the shades of grey; it tends to be more black and white with them.

  38. I’ve decided that my argument for the attacking comments is to go for picturing a world where all countries demanded their expats to the US pay tax to them as well (I know there’s the double taxation treaties but these people seem to think we should pay double tax) and where expats can’t contribute to the economy due to their homeland restrictions. I don’t think we’ll ever get through to these people based on “unfairness” arguments because they couldn’t care less about us. However, it might get through to some if you show them how it would hurt the US to have the tables turned.

    Ack, really it probably won’t have any influence, but it makes me feel a bit better. :+)

  39. The primary purpose, and it is in every one of them, is that the tax treaties between the US and all other countries where such treaties exist, is that the Other country guarantrees that it will allow the US government to collect taxes from its citizensand green card holders which live in that other country,

    Sometimes there are provisions which mitigate double taxation for US citizens on certain kinds of income, such as perhaps divicends taxed by both countries, but by no means is this universal in all treaties. You have to read the specific treaty for your country to know what benefits it provides. They are all available on line.

  40. What’s even more amazing is that these people seem to think that anywhere outside of the US is a “tax haven” – talk about brainwashed people…

    I really don’t think the majority of US residents want to know. It’s easier for them to unplug their brains and swallow whatever they’re told. Are there still WMDs?

  41. Geeez,I am surprised, reading some of the McClatchy article posted comments, that some even believe that Americans who live abroad somehow are immune from taxation by the countries where they live, and if they give up their US citizenship they should think twice becuase they might have to pay taxes there. Some sure live in a fanticy world fueled by their own ignorance.

  42. Mona –

    Regarding Reed Act. I recently heard a tax law professional mention a specific personally-known-of case of US entry denial to a renunciant who was deemed to have expatriated for tax reasons. The context was application for a Nexus border pass in Canada. Apart from location, which I choose not to state, that is all I know.

    It seems apparent that this was a low-level decision, one that probably would not withstand appeal (who would spend the time and effort and money?), and that might not even withstand publicity (how many are willing to stand in that glare to expose the United States).

    Moral of the story. Renunciants, think twice about doing Nexus.

  43. @usxcanada, Do you know if this person was actually denied entry into the US or was he denied the issuance of a Nexus bprder pass? If it was the latter that should not be a matter of deep concern.

  44. Pingback: Is the vitriol caused by patriotism? | outragedcanadian.ca

  45. @ A Gentleman

    This is the post that foxyladyhawk wrote way back, when many of us were really not at all sure what we were going to do. Everyone felt moved by this piece; Schubert said something along the lines that even after 40 years of strong negative feelings about the US, the war, etc, that this post brought tears to his eyes. Foxyladyhawk has given me her permission to put it here:

    Original post (I don’t wish to identify the author)

    “Oh Peg, I wish I could hug you. I feel the exact same as you and I know this is hard…I feel forced into it too. Best of luck with the rest of this journey. In the end, you know you are doing what is right for your situation and family. It’s just that no one should have been put in this position.”

    foxyladyhawk:

    “To both you and Peg – I join in your sorrow. My feelings have been evolving throughout the last few months. I will become, and stay, compliant at this point because all of my immediate family is in the US and I have no children. I still harbour (Cdn spelling!!) a faint thought of moving back to the US if my spouse dies and I have no means of caring for myself. I still love the principles I grew to believe in and remember every time I see an American flag.

    But in the last few weeks especially, as I watch in mounting grief and horror at the criminally insane new laws being passed that are slowly turning every American on the planet into a criminal, and new tax concerns about the possibility of my innocent spouse coming under IRS scrutiny due to the intertwining of our financial resources, I have for the first time considered the possibility of renouncing.

    This growing spider-web of US government power, enhanced by the intrusion of worldwide electronic surveillance which itself started out based on communications with so much promise for enhancing people-to-people interactions, is creating the dream of every tyrant – truly global power over every human on earth. And by the country that STILL claims to be the freest nation on earth. 1984 and Animal Farm are happening. Words have come to mean the exact opposite of their original definitions. And the US has become a government of men, not laws, where your future depends on the whims of a nobody in an obscure IRS office in the dust bowl somewhere. And where, most ironic of all, virtually any freedom fighter in any other country defends American principles of individual liberty with more passion and integrity than any elected American official who has pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States. People still yearn to breathe free – but not in America.”

  46. @nobledreamer @foxyladyhawk Very stirring words indeed.

    I have my first appointment on the 23rd and my final appointment on the 30th, and the only succour I get from renouncing citizenship from the country I served as a sailor for 6 years and whose naval bases I grew up on as a child steeped in tradition, is that it is not, in fact, that country any more.

    But I do think homelanders have bought the propaganda hook, line and sinker. Even my father, a professed libertarian, grimaced and brooded when I explained what I am up against as an expat.

    And I think about the amount of power the state has assumed in the US since 9/11 (and probably slightly before), I shudder.

    I come back to my relationship with the British state as a subject of HM the Queen. Although I pause slightly every time I get a brown-coloured envelope (from HMRC), I generally don’t live in fear of representatives of Her Majesty’s Government, including the police.

    My life is now here. The window where I could have moved back to the States to establish residency for my wife in order to bring over her ageing mother has closed. I’m here for the foreseeable future and the fact that I am a US citizen has severely limited my potential for prosperity.

    I am anything but rich. I’ve never broken the FEIE barrier, but I have my own business here.

    It gets pretty bad when (as has been the case) my business has not had any income in 7 months, I am more grateful that I don’t have to give anything to the IRS.

    I more or less shut down my Facebook account because I am afraid of getting flak from all of my US acquaintances when they find out.

    All this talk about homelanders reminds me of the day I left the US. It was my last day in the Navy, and my uncle, who was stationed at Norfolk, just like me, took me out to lunch at Hooters (how American can you get). He thought it was cool that I was going out to search my fortune, and practically bragged to the Hooters girl serving us that I was moving to London. Her response?

    “Why would you want to do that?”

    Pretty much sums it up.

    It’s funny really, my Slovenian great-grandfather left the Austro-Hungarian Empire for America, as the family story goes, because the Kaiser’s troops were rounding up young men and impressing them into service. And now I leave America, because, in its way, it is laying a similar claim to my body and its products.

    Apologies for the ramble, but I am getting more and more introspective, the closer I get to renouncing.

  47. @Gentleman: You are a class act.

    How sad your story is–like all of us and most of all, how sad it the state of affairs in a once great nations.

    Especially sad is that others here also served the US through the military–or our brothers, sisters, fathers, cousins, husbands and grandparents did.

  48. @A Gentleman’s Rapier
    you are not the only US veteran to have renounced, I went through names of the Vietnam Wall Memorial website. I must know at least 100 people of died during that war.

  49. @Foxladyhawk and A Gentlemen’s Rapier. Wow – to both of you. Your stories moved me, when I thought I had so much anger built up that it wasn’t possible to move past it. So, thank you, for bringing me, once again, some much needed perspective, and remind me why I can’t be so cavalier as to think to myself when reading posts & comments, ‘just renounce, darn it!’. I wish I had something comforting to offer, but, of course, I don’t, except to say you have many friends here who share your pain, and even those, like me, that can’t or don’t, share the pain, do have empathy for you.

  50. @all…Thanks for your support. It really helps to know that there are others out there making the same agonising decisions. I mostly lurk on the site and the forum, but it really has gotten me through the process. I actually worked on a FATCA implementation programme at a large British bank, and had been thinking about this for a while before that. When I discovered IBS, though, it made it a lot easier to actually begin the process.

  51. @A Gentleman’s Rapier “my Slovenian great-grandfather left the Austro-Hungarian Empire for America, as the family story goes, because the Kaiser’s troops were rounding up young men and impressing them into service. And now I leave America, because, in its way, it is laying a similar claim to my body and its products.” This is a very clear statement. Even for those of us that did not leave the US with the intention to leave permenantly, we are now, in effect, making the same choice as your great-grandfather.

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