El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dwindling Freedom

How US Policymakers are Making It Hard to Live Almost Anywhere
“Poor America...” writes a French friend. “It’s not the land of the free anymore. Now, it’s the land of slaves.”
The FATCA law (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) will force banks across the globe to collaborate with the IRS. An explanation of the huge repercussions this legal precedent will have on banks and banking clients.

Once FATCA — Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act — is enacted on January 1, 2013, banks worldwide will find themselves subject to the American tax administration bureau known as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Adopted in March, 2010, FATCA is a facet of the broader Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act which is designed to promote employment opportunities in the United States. In order to finance the HIRE Act, fighting tax evasion is even more in the spotlight than it has been in the past and Washington wants to use its political clout to get its message across this time. What this really means is that foreign banks — or FFIs (Foreign Financial Institutions) — will be obliged to conform to a long series of procedures designed to identify US Persons (US citizens & Green Card holders) subject to American taxes. This naturally concerns American citizens but likewise extends to American nationals’ foreign spouses. However, the l ong arm of the US administration will even be going so far as to include foreigners residing outside American borders, some of whom may have never even set foot on US soil. This is due to the fact that non-American banks will be obligated to report portfolios which include American assets even if they belong to foreigners with no ties to the US.
“We used to be so happy when we got to the US,” said another European. “We felt we could breathe more freely. The country was so big...so prosperous...and so open.

“That was what I remember from about 20 years ago. But now it is quite different. I dread coming to the US. We came through US customs in Atlanta a few weeks ago. My wife had a half-eaten sandwich in her bag...which she had forgotten about. They put us in a special room and treated us like we were criminals. It was ridiculous...and humiliating.

“But there’s always something. Someone is always yelling at you. Everything is illegal or forbidden. It just doesn’t seem like the same country it was a few years ago. So, we only come here when we have to for business reasons.”

*** “There goes the republic,” says an article at Truthdig, by Robert Scheer.
The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.” On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”

What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law... Sadly, this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

Bill Bonner,
for The Daily Reckoning

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