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About NoVaDamer

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  • Birthday 10/21/1960

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    History, world travel, security, running &exercise

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  1. My wife uses Express VPN and watches Acorn using the app, so that method works! Express VPN customer service told her she had to use the Seattle site to connect, btw. Their customer service is amazing: they stay on line (chat) and talk you through options until something works.
  2. Of course. Propaganda is the intentional distribution of information to influence (not just inform) the recipients. Some experts argue that only governments do propaganda, and when commercial entities do it, it is just advertising. Either way, it is all around us. There are laws on when/how the US may use propaganda. Probably the most successful US propaganda effort of all time is/was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. These government-funded news efforts were hugely influential during the Cold War in providing info behind the Iron Curtain to citizens with no access otherwise. One of the things which made RFE/RL so effective is they only broadcast verifiable truth; this made them reliable and trustworthy. They were still propaganda efforts, though, because they simply didn't cover some things which would have conflicted with their purpose to help undermine the Communist world. That meant they were influencing, not informing. So yes, I have heard of US propaganda, to answer your question. Care to answer any of the questions I posed to you? 😉
  3. On what basis? Because Canada has a different set of warnings? And why does the US want to discourage travel to Mexico? More specifically, why does the US State Dept (who issues the warning) want to do so? Did you know US Foreign Service officers are inveterate believers in overseas travel, and want more Americans to do so so they understand the importance of the Foreign Service. As to the charge they "ramp up" the warnings before Spring break, there is no data to support this. The warnings are based on the info developed by the Foreign Service, the Intelligence Community, and data provided by the host government. It would be malpractice for the State Dept to not provide reminders to the many spring-breakers coming to Mexico to get roaring drunk, buy/try drugs, and flash cash at the clubs after midnight.
  4. Solajijic, "divorce" is a good way to look at it. I ended up choosing Ohio and moved my tax domicile there before departing the States, but I had to "divorce" Virginia, which is one of the toughest states on taxing expats. Among the things Virginia demands if you claim a non-resident (expat) exemption from taxes, you have to give up your drivers license, voter registration, library card, any property or business, any income, not visit the state (I forget what the limit on a visit was, but it was short) not use a mailing address in the state, and not have any immediate family members living in the state. Sheesh!
  5. Angus & Ibarra: thanks for the responses. I stand corrected, and should know better than to use "all" under such circumstances. I'll return to my main point: if you are a US citizen expat and have earned income or possibly taxable pensions (including SS), you need to be aware that every US state handles these items differently for tax purposes. Also, every state has different rules for determining if you qualify as a resident and whether you continue to be a resident, regardless of your intentions. Finally (forgot this originally), if you have a US will that will be probated through a state court, that will present an opportunity for that state (and others) to claim tax jurisdiction. Your tax domicile is the location that you can claim (I called it an address, but that is only a common understanding, not a literal requirement) and that can claim you under its tax jurisdiction. You have one whether you know it or not; you may or may not have tax liability as a result. So if you come from a State which does not covet your or your heir's resources, and does not tax your income or pension, and will never have a will pass through probate in the States, and there is no other state which can claim you: relax and enjoy the good (tax-free) life as an expat! Actually, the last bit is true, regardless: don't worry, be happy!
  6. Angus & Ibarra, care to be more specific? I don't want to put out bad info, but I researched this issue when I moved down two years ago and spent a lot of time dealing with attorneys, states, and the IRS. While still a layman, what I wrote is what I learned. What part is wrong? BTW, here's a link to a plain English description of the issue: https://www.myexpattaxes.com/state-taxes-as-an-expat
  7. You mention Los Angeles, so I assume you are currently a resident of California. Regardless of your time/stay in Mexico, you remain a resident of California until you establish a residency in some other US state. Each state has different rules as to what that requires. Usually it requires owning or renting property, getting a drivers license, or registering to vote. A simple Google search will tell you the tax implications of various states, and then you can research the residency requirements of those states. It is not as simple as picking a state: you may not be able to claim residency in some states. Some States do not have many taxes, and some states have tax advantages for expats. You must research this carefully. I am a resident of Ohio, and there is a way for me to claim as an expat an exemption from Ohio's taxes. However, were I to do so, I would also lose my Ohio Drivers license and voter registration. Just one example. All US citizens, even those who are permanent expats, must establish a tax domicile in the US. This is an address for tax purposes, which establishes your tax responsibilities for both federal and state taxes. A tax domicile does not have to be a state where you lived: it simply is an "intention" to live there, if you return to the States. You can change it, too. However, you have to meet its residency requirements, in any case.
  8. A little dated, but relevant: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm286155.htm
  9. USAA is a great banking option for expats in general: of course, you have to be a veteran, discharged honorably, to qualify (or the child/spouse of same). Unlike some banks that treat expats as a problem (you live where?), USAA is used to dealing with deployed military personnel the world over. It's all we use here, even when needing to transfer large sums (like buying a car) and it all goes very smoothly. Good luck!
  10. We used One Minute Park, which is next to the Hangar Inn, just before the Airport exit coming from lakeside. 99 Pesos a day. They immediately took us to the terminal, and gave us a phone # to call when we returned. Our Spanish wasn't that good, but when we called for pick up they were able to figure it out and came in about 10 minutes. The only negative point was they washed the car early during the two weeks we were gone, and there was a heavy layer of dust (from the dry season) all over it.
  11. My wife and I needed to renew our passports, so we chose to make a day of it in Guadalajara. Ours was a simple renewal (no name change, passport less than 15 years old, passport in normal condition), so we checked on the website and it said we didn't need an appointment, we could "walk in" between 12 and 1230 Monday-Thursday. We drove up and parked at Chapultepec public parking garage (33 pesos) at the corner of Chapultepec Sur and Avenida Manueal Lopez Cotilla. We got to the Consulate around 1115 because traffic was so light (due to the gas shortage). The guard at the front window station checked to make sure we had all our documents and told us to be back at 1200. We went across the street and had a coffee at La Fortuna cafe, then came back around 10 minutes before noon. A small group of around six people had gathered for simple passport renewal. A young lady double checked our paperwork and sent us through the metal detector (remember, no cell phones!). After that, we went inside the consulate building and up to a window where a man greeted us and asked whether we preferred English or Spanish. He reviewed our docs (3rd time) accepted our payment ($110 USD each, via credit card) gave us back our paperwork and sent us to a second window. There another helpful local national processed our paperwork. Our copies of our original passports were not legible, so he made new ones for us (he didn't have to, as they have signs everywhere and say they do NOT make copies). He took our passports and paperwork and filed then, then sent us to the FEDEX desk at the end of the room. He said the renewal would take two weeks to process. After filling out a FEDEX delivery slip, we paid $220 MXP for delivery and were given our tracking numbers and shown the door leaving the consulate. Total time spent: less than 30 minutes. Everyone was very friendly, the process went smoothly.
  12. The new building on the carretera (lakeside) between Vinos America and Palé restaurant now has a sign on it. Anybody know what it will be?
  13. I drove my FJ back to Houston last August and sold it at CarMax. They give you estimated value offer online before you arrive, but the offer is contingent upon their inspection. I also had a KellyBlueBook sponsored offer from another Car dealership in Houston. I dropped the car at CarMax and waited about an hour for the inspection. When it was finished, the salesman confirmed their offer, but he also checked against KellyBlueBook, and they listed a value $1000 more than CarMax's offer. CarMax's policy is to match any higher offer, so they upped their offer by $1000 dollars. I had a check (sent to my bank) in about 90 minutes total. Very good service.
  14. We have Dish network via Ajijic Electronics, they usually have an add in the Guad Reporter. We have subscribed for almost two years. Very clear signal, and I have only had three or four outages during the rainy season, and each lasted less than 10 minutes. We have a basic package which has all the major US networks (you pick what home region) and maybe 50 other channels, for about $79 USD per month. They also have some upgraded packages.
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