What is the correct attitude when a freeborn citizen of Britain's rebel colonies chooses to betray the revolution and marry into the reviled and rejected Royal house? The Washington Post knows how to parade on the reign:
Meghan Markle's U.S. Citizenship Could Cause Tax Headaches For British Royal Family
As the Post sees it, this isn't a story about an American marrying into the Royal Family, but about the Royal Family marrying into the IRS. Their wedding message to the Queen is: Don't look on it as losing a grandson, but as gaining an audit. And, unlike most recent Royal marriages, Lois Lerner is forever:
"U.S. citizens are subject to U.S. tax obligations regardless of their country of residence," Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor and the author of "At Home in Two Countries: The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship," wrote in an email to The Washington Post. "A member of the royal family would be treated just like anyone else."
By contrast, if Prince Harry were to move to the United States to live with Markle, he would not be expected to file taxes in Britain. The United States' citizenship-based taxation system is unusual: Only Eritrea has a similar system. It's a relic of the Civil War and the Revenue Act of 1862, which called for the taxing of U.S. citizens abroad — in part to punish men who fled the country to avoid joining the military.
How much more satisfying to punish women who flee the country to join George III's garden parties. It would be too much to expect the Republican Congress to remove this anomalous affront. God forbid the US tax code should cease to be competitive with Eritrea.
PS Miss Markle, an American divorcée, is posterity's jest on Wallis Simpson: During the abdication crisis, Stanley Baldwin took soundings from his fellow prime ministers and reported back to the palace that, while in Britain Mrs Simpson was unacceptable because she was divorced, in Canada she was unacceptable because she was American.
~Several readers have asked what I make of this latest report from the Pew Research Center, headlined "Five Facts About the Muslim Population in Europe". The "facts" include such stunners as these:
2) The Muslim share of Europe's total population has been increasing steadily and will continue to grow in the coming decades...
3) Muslims are much younger and have more children than other Europeans.
I understand that the Pew Research Center is tediously respectable and that for some reason I am not. But longtime readers will note that I said as much over eleven years ago in a certain bestselling book, personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available at the SteynOnline bookstore and make a thoughtful Christmas present for the somnolent Pew Research demographer in your family. But it's beyond that really: the above "findings" are such a dreary statement of the obvious that to deny them you have to deny reality. All that has changed is that in 2006 it was still possible to reverse this trend, while a decade on it is increasingly likely that, for much of Europe (France, Sweden, Germany), we are past the point of no return. Tragic.
And, as the prosecution of Jayda Fransen by the successors to the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Mrs May's rebuke of Trump for retweeting Ms Fransen both confirm, the European political class attaches far greater priority to shooting the messenger than addressing the message.
~My former colleague Jonah Goldberg makes an interesting point with respect to last season's sex scandals versus this season's:
One thing has been nagging at me for a while and Patrick Ruffini put his finger on it this morning:
Why did this cascade start with Weinstein and not Roger Ailes? Was it because the Fox scandals were mostly about discrediting Fox? — Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) November 29, 2017
When the allegations about Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes came out, the mainstream media had a field day. But there was no larger feeding frenzy. Last year it was a "Fox News" story, not a "societal problem" story. It took the Harvey Weinstein allegations to get the mainstream press to start asking uncomfortable questions about its own institutions. I can think of several reasons for this, but one that stands out is the tribalism of media itself.
In other words, the Ailes/O'Reilly scandals were an opportunity for the "mainstream" media to get Fox: the sex stuff was merely the Hitchcockian MacGuffin. When O'Reilly was fired in April, I recall Melissa Francis muttering on air about the stories "everyone knew" over at the other networks. But, if they ever gave a thought to it, Matt Lauer et al saw it through the classic tribal lens: "We're better men than those Fox guys, so by definition even our foibles are superior. By the way, can you have Building Services swing by and install a new under-the-desk door-lock button? I've worn the last one out."
On Fox the other day I remarked rather casually that the sex scandals were taking out liberal icons. When you point that out, liberals yell about Roy Moore. But hardly anyone outside Alabama had ever heard of Roy Moore, and, within the GOP establishment, he's reviled as a fringe kook to the point where McConnell & Co would rather lose the seat. Whereas, if you wanted to strike at the very heart of liberal self-satisfaction, you couldn't have plotted a better cast of fall-guys than this:
Harvey Weinstein, the producer of all those Oscar-bait chick-flicks with Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, so superior to all the shoot-'em-ups for the rubes;
Kevin Spacey, the star of everybody's favorite insider political drama;
Charlie Rose, the host of the oh-so-civilized PBS talk-show that's an antidote to all that ghastly right-wing yelling on Fox...
I was thinking to myself: hmm, Hollywood, TV drama, PBS... But what about radio? And then out of the blue yesterday came the latest firing:
Garrison Keillor, that nice man who reads poems to us very slowly every day on the way to work on NPR's "Morning Edition".
And even better, his defenestration came a day after he'd rushed to Al Franken's defense in The Washington Post.
Nancy Pelosi was wrong: Conyers is about the only non-icon in this story - he's just another lifelong political hack three decades past his sell-by date. Queen Mary famously said that when she died they would find Calais engraved on her heart. Well, Judi Dench had Harvey Weinstein's name tattooed on her butt, which is close enough. To a certain kind of upscale liberal, the Weinstein Company, "House of Cards", "The Charlie Rose Show", and "Prairie Home Companion" were all engraved on their hearts.
And they're all gone.
~Among the non-icons swept up in the wake of Hurricane Harvey are a few non-sex fiends who nevertheless create a "hostile work environment" for female staffers:
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) found himself in the spotlight when The Washington Times reported Monday that he arranged for the payment of more than $48,000 in taxpayer funds toward a "severance package" — for a former staffer who threatened to slap him with a hostile workplace lawsuit back in 2015.
The publication revealed that an attorney charged with advising members of the House of Representatives on employment issues negotiated a $48,395 payout for the former senior staffer of Grijalva's that equaled five months of her salary. The employee received the settlement when she left the congressman's office after spending three months on the job in exchange for dropping her lawsuit, which alleged Grijalva frequently was drunk and created a hostile work environment.
Grijalva is a sleazy thug who used the power of his position to intimidate private citizens by arguing that, if you appear before his crappy committee, you've somehow put every jot and tittle of your life within his jurisdiction. But apparently, when he uses taxpayer funds to settle booze suits, that does not fall under any such public scrutiny. I regard him as a man unfit for office even by the low standards of Congress. As I testified two years ago to the United States Senate:
Raúl Grijalva, the Congressman from Arizona and Ranking Member of the House UnEnvironmental Activities Committee, earlier this year sent a letter to seven scientists, including professors Curry and Christy – a quite disgraceful letter that no citizen-legislator in a representative parliament has any business sending to anybody, demanding among other things details of speaking fees, travel expenses, and email communications stretching back a decade. Commissar Grijalva presumed to be able to do this because these scientists had voluntarily testified before his committee, and thus, as he saw it, had submitted to his jurisdiction over every aspect of their lives. I hope this Senate sub-committee will distance itself from Commissar Grijalva' s deformed understanding of his role. But, in the event that, following my voluntary appearance here today, any Senator demands in five years' time to see my emails and know what hotel I stayed in in Cleveland or Copenhagen, I might as well give you my answer now: You ain't gettin' nuthin '.
~See you on the telly this evening. If you prefer me in non-visual form, tomorrow we'll be launching the second half of our Scott Fitzgerald double-bill - one of our bonus features for Mark Steyn Club members.
If you're thinking of giving the gift of Steyn this holiday season, we've introduced a special Christmas Gift Membership that lets you sign up a chum for the Steyn Club and then choose a personally autographed welcome gift for them - either one of two handsome hardback books or a couple of CDs. You'll find more details here - and scroll down to the foot of the order form for the choice of books/CDs.