Some folks here, especially Steven J. Mopsick, our beloved former litigator for the IRS who has now turned advocate for fairness and justice for Americans abroad, have really wanted to stop the Isaac Brock Society from going off the deep tangent of drawing analogies between the United States and Nazi Germany. Finally, as an editor and administrator here at Isaac Brock Society, I have to agree: Everybody, please stop it!
That felt good. It is always good when you feel that you are in control and can order people around!
Meanwhile, I got to thinking about my recent comment at Outraged’s eloquent post “Me, I’m a moderate”. I said there that the first step in a pogrom of course is not genocide but identifying the target of persecution. The Nazis made Jews to wear yellow stars. I once read if I’m not mistaken in a Paul Johnson novel, The History of the Modern World, that many Jews were essentially assimilated to Europe, having forgotten about their Jewishness until Hitler abruptly reminded them that they were not Arian. He then made them wear yellow stars.
This gave me an excellent idea for Americans abroad. We could design a badge similar to the six-pointed yellow star, but this would help the banks overseas to identify US persons. Then, when an American walks into an FFI (Foreign Financial Institution) it’s easier for the bank to determine who is an US person who needs to be singled out by the FATCA law, and who are your ordinary natives and residents from every other country in the world, such as China, Bangledesh, UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Uganda, Kenya, India, Indonesia (well, you get the picture). It really is very difficult to identify and treat Americans differently, if they are hiding behind a foreign passport or if they have assimilated into their countries of residence. Just as some Jews didn’t speak German with a Yiddish accent, some Americans living in Canada speak English with a Canadian accent, eh? And so they are virtually undetectable without actually making them take their pants down so that you can see if they have a “Property of the United States Government” tush tattoo.
As a former American in possession of Certificate of Loss of Nationality, I should have to wear one too. After all, my birth in Chicago taints me, just as something like a million Canadians: border babies (those born in a US hospital), accidental Americans, children and grandchildren of Americans, and obvious tax cheats like Peter Dunn who escaped to Canada, not to study and marry a Canadian, but to avoid paying US taxes. Really, American citizenship is irrevocable, and the tax-free status of a citizens of 195 other countries is something which should elude American citizens forever. So here is my design for the star, and it is easily printable and clipable: Y’all can just print a few hundred copies each (don’t forget to pay royalties, see below–this is an honour system), clip them out and give them to your friends for distribution. While US persons should have to wear them at all the times so that they can be subject to special treatment when walking on the street, shopping, or renting an apartment, it should be a capital crime in all countries in the world not to wear one of these when entering an FFI. Now if we all just volunteer to wear this star, it would save the FFIs millions of dollars in identification software, questionnaires and FATCA advertising.
All copyrights and patent rights reserved. Designed by Petros Research Inc. Please send to all Foreign Financial Institutions but insist that if they decided to use my design that they pay all royalties to Petros Research Inc. ($0.50 CDN per use).
@extex- dismissing the U.S. Congress as being simply misguided and incompetent is much too generous. Malevolent is a much more accurate term to use. These are all educated people and they know exactly what they are up to. How else can you explain the seeming happy coincidence that every one who enters Congress comes out wealthier than he/she was when he/she came in?
If they truly are misguidedd and incompetent then maybe the whole institution should be done away withn because the American people surely are not getting what they are paying for.
@swisspinoy- I agree with you completely. I know more than a few Jewish people who are quick to draw parallels between the Nazis’ and some of their modern day enemies. Iran with its pledge to wipe Israel off the face the earth, comes to mind.
The Nazis have become a type for oppressive governments. There were plenty of people who were quite willing to compare the Serbs with the Nazis or drawing comparisons between the Hutu’s killing of the Tutsi. Like it or not but the Nazis’ are now the paradigm for genocide and/or mass ethnic discrimination.
Citizenship based taxation may leave our hearts beating but the poverty that we are left with means only a slow death. I’d like to see just how long any one can survive without access to banking facilities. We are now under a U.S. legislated financial embargo that is doing violence to U.S. citizens abroad.
@Petros- I for one would not want to see you go else where. I fully agree with the editorial policy that has been established and I believe that your absence from this forum would be to its detriment.
I would echo what others have said, which is that we must stay together. If their are now those amongst us who have come with the goal of destroying our group then we should not allow them to succeed.
@Mopsick Sorry to see you go. I will continue to follow your blog, as well as your activities at ACA.
@Mr. Mopsick, I will miss you as I have greatly appreciated your contributions here. Will follow you through your blog. All the best to you.
Why should anyone on this blog be offended by calling a spade a spade? The Nazification of the US financial system has been reality for a long time. The only difference now is that its about to go global and will hit the expat community like a ton of bricks.
Stephen, sorry to see you go. I appreciate your past interactions here. Seems like there have been some personality conflicts here. That happens, right? I “think” Petros wanted to include anything and everything related to these issues that affect us. Personally, I can care less about Fischer or O’Keefe or any of the extremist lot, but where do you draw the line on what content to post? Is this a “professional” website/blog? Definitely not. Professionals will stick to the regulations and not let anything go astray. This site is a mix of hundreds of “US Persons” that have been negatively affected by US Policy. In my case, some distant government that claims right to me when I didn’t ask to be born there– a government that is interfering in my life when I just want to live it in a different country. I sincerely hope that you and the ACA can change things before it’s my time to take the oath.
Swiss newspapers are reporting that two children of a Swiss asset manager were interrogated by US customs for six hours as to the whereabouts of their father, what their father did, whether their father made business trips to the US, etc. They were entering the US to visit their grandparents. Sorry, interrogation of children about a parent looks like something from the Gestapo playbook. Here’s an article on it in French:
Pingback: The Isaac Brock Society - Children Swiss asset manager detained for six hours for questioning by US officials
@Innocente- this is indeed reprehensible and uncivil behaviour. Questioning teenage children at all is bad enough but to do it without the benefit of counsel and an adult family member just goes to show that the U.S. is nothing more than a bully.
All of which is ironic when you consider the all of the the dollars and time that the government puts into its anti bullying campaigns.
I have a great deal of appreciation for you unwavering steadfastness. Period.
*Just heard the sad news that our friend, Steven Mopsick has left our company. In the beginning of our tenure with him he was our cynic-in-residence and then after listening, truly listening to our troubles, he became our reluctant defender and now a true champion. Maybe not for all of us, and maybe not the way we would wish him to be but nevertheless I truly feel that if he can somehow shepherd some of our fellow brockers to greener pastures his efforts are to be warmly commended. He could not have possibly been all things to all of us here at IBS considering the myriad of circumstances involved and I sincerely wish him well and thank him most humbly for all those occasions he attempted to soothe and smooth our raw and jagged nerves…
I’m surprised that the persecution we’ve all had at the hands of the US government hasn’t given us thick enough skins to shrug off the occasional post we find distasteful. It’s not a stretch to say that most of us are under a great deal of stress because of our unresolved issues and fear for the future, and for that of our loved ones. I think many of us have shown remarkable self-restraint considering the conditions we are under! We should all be more forgiving to those who may be just trying to blow off some stream, regardless of whether their method is to our taste or not. Let’s keep it in perspective and try to view these more colourful posts as anecdotal, and not debilitating as some would like us to believe they are.
…but there is one opinion voiced here that I don’t personally subscribe to, and that’s the belief that the US is incapable of changing its course on these policies that effect us so dearly. That being said, I don’t see anything significant enough happening that will change my mind in my determination to rid myself of that ‘yoke of slavery’.
@bubblebustin, we are not just blowing off steam. We are trying to make people understand how bad this attempt of the United States to find its expats has become. US expats are going to be second class citizens around the world. Mopsick’s response trivializes our predicament.
My apologies if I mis-classed any posts that were anything other than ‘blowing off steam’, however I believe that there are a great number of posts that are misunderstood as something other than attempts at humour (as sardonic as they may be) and expressions of frustration.
Maybe Mopsick has less obvious reasons for wanting to distance himself from Brock, say political ones?
I don’t think that the US government will change much and I don’t think that it will get any better in my lifetime. But, I don’t see anything wrong with being critical and it doesn’t hurt to try the impossible or to attempt things that have never been tried before. I wonder how, or if at all, the US embassy will respond to the letter I wrote today:
I admire your forwardness with that letter, but did you use your real name when you wrote that? Couldn’t they argue that, if you do decide to eventually renounce/relinquish, that you are under pressure to do so and therefore cannot be allowed to renounce? Are you unable to renounce due to not having another passport? It seems like the situation in Switzerland is so bad that I am amazed that several of you there with dual citizenship haven’t already tried to renounce..
I can see the response being something like this: That’s unfortunate, but US laws to protect Americans from being denied mortgages due to national origin cannot be enforced extraterritorially. You need to move back to the US to be afforded those protections.
@ bubblebustin, No need to apologize. I am trying to be sensitive to the manner in which our concerns are being characterized. I think in this sense, by not taking our concerns and our warnings seriously, Mopsick is undermining our position.
You are truly facing dire consequences that may be faced eventually by all of us..or, at the very least, many of us. My heart goes out to you, and, to all of us who are still dealing with this mess created by this myopic sighted government.
I think your letter has put the responsibility back where it belongs; however, as mentioned above, I think that citizens and green card holders abroad will continue to be regarded as responsible for bringing such a “fate” upon themselves as it was their (our) decision to leave the “homeland”. However, I think the letter and request was brilliant and reasonable. I can only hope that the US will let “their people” go once they accept their responsibility for having forced others to inflict such injustices upon their citizens and immigrants abroad. As of yet, I have seen little basis for holding out hope that their eyes will be opened to the impact of their actions. It will have an eventual impact on “homelanders”….they, just don’t see it yet.
I feel like we are standing at a bend of the road trying to warn others, including those at home, that the bridge up ahead has been washed out.
Don Pomodoro, yes, I gave my name and contact information. I’m simply exploring the worst-case scenario so that I’ll be prepared if things took that direction. It doesn’t bother me if I’m known and if the matter becomes extreme, then the press might become involved. My bank is closing the accounts of Americans, but they stated that they will refinance my mortgage since I’m a Swiss citizen. This, however, could change if the US government put pressure on my bank. In that case, as bubblebustin stated, the US might argue that I should move to the US. Yet, I moved to Switzerland to flee unemployment in the US and it would be a bit awkward if the US government told Swiss citizens that they must move to the US to be unemployed simply because the US wants to put pressure on Swiss banks! Just imagine the possible press titles to this scenario, such as: “US tries to prevent Swiss citizen from banking locally in Switzerland!”.
Therapist, I left because I thought I was “free” to do so. Now I find out I’m not, and there are a lot of restrictions on “US Pesons” living abroad. “Land of the Free” has to be the biggest oxymoron’ic statement I have ever been forced to repeat in my life.
Awww…yes. I found myself having very mixed emotions when I am observing the young US athletes sing the National Anthem at their medal ceremonies. I haven’t been able to sing those words for quite some time now. I am not certain that I will ever be able to again. However, I do find myself being able to voice the “Oh Canada” anthem with a greater genuineness of spirit and appreciation.
I would guess that many (but certainly not all) here have not previously experienced serious prejudice in their lives. Such prejudice may be faced daily because of skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc., etc. The prejudice we all now feel because of our or our parents country of origin is something new. And for those who have been subject to prejudice, this is just another startling addition to what already can be a difficult situation.
The anger expressed on the Isaac Brock Society is real and
Living in Canada as I do, I am now looking upon non US
person Canadians with some envy because they don’t have to deal with two incompatible tax systems, don’t have to worry about being asked where they were
born, don’t have to avoid certain types of everyday investments because of tax complications and don’t have to go through the trouble of relinquishing or renouncing to free themselves of discrimination because of country of origin.
I’m sure that what our Swiss resident posters are now going
through is a nightmare that may soon spread elsewhere. I am not confident that anything will be done
within the U.S. to unburden us. We must ask our own governments to defend their
And, for the very helpful US resident posters, keep up the
good work. It is important that you keep trying because you do have representatives in the U.S. Government, whereas those of us outside the U.S. do not.
@Petros, what good does it do Mopsick’s street cred if he abandon’s Brock and all the people who receive help and guidance from posting here?
@hazy2, what also concerns me is how US persons who can’t fly under the radar (having US birthplace, are known to be US persons, and who will not lie if asked if they are a US person), will view those who can pass undetected. Will those sacrifices to appease the FATCA gods be enough for the IRS for the undetected be able to breathe easier? Will that not cause resentment for the undetected by those who are ‘out’?