the dollar vigilante blog
Another Tough Day In America: Criminals Rewarded, Heroes Jailed, Dollar Destroyed
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[Editor’s Note: The following post is by Jim Karger, TDV legal correspondent]
I wish I had been busier a few days ago, more occupied, or at least more distracted, with less time to follow the news. But I read it all and I regretfully report that it was another tragic day in America, another palpable step toward an ignominious end.
The day began with the mainstream press reporting, matter-of-factly, that the US government was giving a reward to former UBS banker, Bradley C. Birkenfeld, admitted liar, tax fraud promoter, low-rent trash in a suit who violated every promise he ever made to his employer and to his clients. For his efforts, he will receive a total of $104 million. The US government disingenuously classified his collective breaches of contract, trust, and ethics a compensable "service" to a government that collected billions by extorting foreign banks that had the audacity to accept deposits from US clients, not knowing they were expected to also act as agents of the Internal Revenue Service. US foreign account holders also ended up paying billions after being threatened with prison if they did not self-report and pay draconian fines.
The government cynically characterized Birkenfeld's actions as "blowing the whistle", ignoring the fact that tattling is only honorable when done for honorable purposes, to reveal dishonesty, not to garner a personal reward. If you squeal for money, it is not whistle-blowing. It is bounty-hunting. Even as a paid government snitch, Birkenfeld couldn't do it straight and was sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying during the course of the very investigation he initiated. No hard feelings, though. He was just released early to a lifetime of fabulous wealth.
As I perused that hideous story, the contrast with Bradley Manning was too obvious, too stark, too disturbing. Manning blew the whistle, too, not for cash, but to deal with the profound guilt he felt from reading and seeing the war crimes of his government which were kept hidden. Since his act of heroism, or treason, depending on how you define those terms, Manning has spent 2 1/2 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, tortured, with no trial. By any definition, Manning was a whistleblower. Unfortunately for him, he blew the whistle on a 900 pound gorilla in the room, the one with a bad attitude and a gun.
Therein lies the difference between Birkenfeld and Manning. Birkenfeld gave the government what it wanted, a cudgel with which to threaten to imprison its own citizens, oftentimes for nothing more than failing to file an obscure form timely. Manning, on the other hand, had the audacity to reveal the true nature of the State, to expose the government for what it is: petty, dishonest, lumbering, inefficient, but mostly pernicious and power-hungry, not above wholesale murder if that is what it takes to further the cultural imperialism it seeks to impose in self-recognition of its manifest destiny to rule the world and everyone in it.
The United States government has become the modern-day Stasi, only with a better PR department. From "if you see something, say something," to paying a bounty hunter for a list of names to threaten and extort, there appears no limit on what this government will do to achieve its desired ends or who it will enlist into its conspiracy.
Indeed, as I despaired through the news today, I learned the same government that determined Birkenfeld was a good guy worth making rich, also supported former enemy, now friend, al-Qaeda, who killed its on-again, off-again friend and enemy, Mohamar Kahdafi. Unfortunately, as killers will do, after taking the keys to the country, they turned their guns and killed their (former) friend's Ambassador to Libya.
The old Chinese adage that "the enemy of my enemy may be my friend" may be true, but if the enemy of your enemy is lying, thieving scum, they will, given a reason and an opportunity, kill you, too. In Kahdafi's case, he got out of synch on the "friend-enemy" sequence and ended up with a broomstick up his ass. In the case of US Ambassador Stevens, apparently he didn't get the memo that al-Qaeda had gone from friend back to enemy after they had done the dirty deed in Libya.
Even more distressing than the news was the Sheeple's reaction to it, or better said, lack of reaction. Most weren't bothered in the least. Most, through willful ignorance, didn't and won't know any of this. Many of the rest will know but won't care. After all, the iPhone 5 was released and, "Wow, did you see how thin it is?" The newest toy even overshadowed Bernanke's third attempt to kill, bury and give the epitaph for the US dollar as he announced to the delight of traders that he would print as much money as it took forever and ever, Amen.
Bernanke made the rich very happy today, while the rest of the proles will be left to come to terms with the reality that more can (and will) become less very soon. Savers will be punished, spenders rewarded, retirees put in bread lines without bread, while the banks will again be saved from their own felonies by a State whose enemies, foreign and domestic, are those who can't, don't or won't pay.
Yes, it was a tough day in America. But there was one high point for me. I wasn't there. Here in San Miguel de Allende, nestled in the high central desert of Mexico, it was cool and clear, the bougainvilleas in full bloom. The dogs played while I worked with our gardener/handyman Arturo taking down a 40 foot cactus while Kelly was out in the campo checking out a new location for another spay-neuter clinic.
On days like these, I wonder whether it might have been better to not know, to have stayed in bed, to have not turned on the computer. But then I remembered Edmund Burke's warning that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And, most Americans have been doing nothing for too long.
As painful as the truth may be, it is better to know than not to know, for without knowing we cannot identify our enemies or our friends, often with disastrous consequences.
Jim Karger is a lawyer who has represented American businesses against incursions by government and labor unions for 30 years. He has been the subject of many feature articles, including, "Outlandish Labor Lawyer Gets No Objections From Staid Clients," published in The Wall Street Journal, and most recently was featured in an article entitled, "You Can Get There From Here," published by the American Bar Association. In 2001, he left Dallas, and moved to San Miguel de Allende in the high desert of central Mexico where he sought and found a freer and simpler life for he and his wife, Kelly, and their 10 dogs. Today, Jim takes a handful of assignments each year, and speaks regularly to industry associations and employers on issues involving government regulation, over-criminalization, and privacy. His website is www.crediblyconnect.com.
It's funny. Just yesterday I railed against taxes. I pointed out that federal taxes are just the means by which the government farmers keep the cows...well, cowed...and productive enough to provide collateral for the real source of government spending money: borrowing.
Now today in his article Jim reminds us that no matter how morally wrong taxes are, tax avoidance just doesn't pay. In fact, helping the government by ratting on tax avoiders is what pays...and it can pay very well. So we here at TDV want to make this very clear: while we loathe taxes almost as much as we loathe child murder, we do not recommend that you do anything dodgy to avoid paying whatever extortion you must to the IRS enforcement arm of the US government mafia.
We do, however, heartily recommend that you leave your current oppressive relationship with your current owner for something and someplace better! The ideal situation is living in a country where you are not a citizen so you can't be economically milked like a tax cow. This could take a little doing to work. You would need either to be wealthy enough not to draw an income...or have a means of making an income from outside your country of residence - the internet has made this possible now for millions. You can be both a citizen and a resident and remain income tax-free in places like the Dominican Republic and Paraguay as long as your income came from outside the country.
The US has just about the worst deal going. Not only does the US government require reporting and tax payment on the income of its citizens and permanent residents no matter where they live in the world... It will hunt your ass and your assets down if it suspects you are hiding something. Its agents will confiscate and jail and they will do so with righteous conviction.
So don't get cute with tax avoidance. But make sure to legally minimize what you have to pay while legally maximizing your privacy. Incorporating offshore may be just the thing you need. And it's not nearly as difficult as you might think...especially with a team of dedicated experts at your beck and call. Find out more by clicking here.
And finally a heartily cynical "happy birthday" to the US Constitution. Those with warm and fuzzy feelings about the Constitution may not want to believe this, but the Constitution did exactly what it was supposed to do. It allowed the steady growth of government power. We maintain that any piece of paper outlining the legitimate use of the intiation of force does not merit affection...but the Articles of Confederation would have been much preferable to the Constitution that replaced it...precisely becaue the Articles would have made it very difficult for the federal government to do much ever.
Editor, The Dollar Vigilante