Some may be interested to see my full e-mails with national correspondent James Fallows at The Atlantic; now that he has published his article, I feel free to publish my e-mails to him in full.
Mr. Fallows made a suggestion in correspondence with some in our group that we shouldn’t use the name of Isaac Brock, a man who fought off the invasion of the United States in Ontario in 1812. He has now written as follows:
For what it’s worth, if I were organizing a group whose goals include changing mainstream American opinion and ultimately changing U.S. legislation, I would not name it after someone who was a hero for fighting against U.S. troops. Good symbolism in Canada, perhaps — but not so effective here south of the border. (I guess “Tokyo Rose Society” was already taken? Just a little joke — but how about the Thomas Paine Society, or something?*)
In my first e-mail I wrote:
Hi Mr. Fallows:
Thank you very much for your article on FATCA.
I do appreciate your suggestion [about using the name of Isaac Brock]. This is something we mulled over when choosing the name for our site.
From my perspective, however, it matters almost not at all about mobilizing the popular sentiment in the United States. Certainly, I am elated when I see articles like yours, but I am not of the opinion that the American population as a whole gives a damn about the concerns of US persons abroad, and we are most concerned about mobilizing our fellow Canadians and anyone else who understands the meaning of Isaac Brock. The people in the United States have their own worries: high unemployment, the war on terror, the coming election. Our concerns are as far away from them as possible, and we will never be able to get the vast majority even to nod to our predicament.
My own situation is that I had to expatriate, i.e., relinquish my US citizenship when I became a Canadian on 27 February, 2011. As a result of series of laws passed by Congress which harm US persons abroad, it is no longer possible for me to consider myself an US person. The list of laws which are detrimental to my well-being and that of my Canadian family are: (1970 Bank Secrecy Act [created FBAR]; 1996 Reed Amendment [punished expatriation for tax purposes]; 2004 Jobs Act [increased FBAR fines]; 2008 HEART Act [created an expatriation exit tax on “covered expatriates]; 2010 HIRE Act[FATCA])–both Republicans and Democrats have been responsible for these laws and it is not a partisan matter.
As a result of my stance against the United States on these issues, I am not sure that I am free to travel to the United States again. My hope is that I would be treated as a natural born Canadian (in accordance with the 1868 Expatriation Act which has never been repealed), but because my Canadian passport says I am born in United States, I may never again travel to the United States: Why? Because I have insisted that FBAR is a violation of several of the Bill of Rights, and I am unwilling to fill out an FBAR form. Furthermore, I will not fill out the 8854 expatriation tax form which requires that I enumerate my assets for the IRS. These filing requirements are unnecessary for the collection of taxes and are a violation of a free person’s 4th and 5th amendment rights. My only hope is that 1 million US persons in Canada, and 6 million abroad may one day benefit from a presidential pardon; for we have become as so many Viet Nam draft dodgers, people in danger of no longer being welcome in our birth country. Jimmy Carter pardoned the draft dodgers, and that made it possible for them to return their country of birth if they wished.
Again, thank you very much for your article, and thank you that you are concerned about how we might appear to the American public. I just think that our better hope is to stir up our compatriots here in Canada to realise how dangerous American overreach has become, and hope that they would prepare Canada in the way that Isaac Brock did in the period leading up to the War of 1812. Indeed, I believe that when the economic consequences of FATCA come to a head, the American people will turn to demagogues who will undoubtedly place the blame on foreign countries like China and Canada and “rich” people like me and the other members of the Isaac Brock Society, who have abandoned the US. It is unlikely that anyone will realize that the economic woes are the fault of bad legislation like FATCA. So far, Mr. Fallows, the bad legislation is the result of demagoguery, and I don’t expect that as the economy worsens, that the United States will suddenly come to its senses–indeed, I fear that much worse things will come down the pike, seven times the son of the devil that FATCA is.
Peter W. Dunn, PhD
Isaac Brock Society
I wrote a second time:
Your response [regarding FATCA] comes to us, I think, too late. I.e., we move forward from the standpoint that we have no hope that we could change American opinion, for the reasons I enumerated. It also has something to do with the reason why it is wrong to tax people in a far away country: we have no representation in the decision making process and we feel that the lawmakers and people in the United States don’t care about our situation. Thus, we are only hoping to reach Canadians and our own elected officials to protect us from the long arm of the IRS and the United States government.
I am no longer able to vote in the United States and no longer under the jurisdiction of FATCA. I’ve moved all my investments out of the United States. Once everyone in Canada realizes what the United States is doing, I think they will also be reluctant to invest there too. The same scenario will be repeated throughout the world. You wrote about it in your article. My job is to mobilize this awareness before Canada becomes a protectorate of the United States. Your job is to try to stop the more detrimental effects of FATCA, to foreign investment in the United States, before they happen. Good luck to us both.
Peter W. Dunn