Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Oleta Adams Week!


And then this:




Oleta’s tune for today…Many Rivers to Cross

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61 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Oleta Adams Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    Charles Blow and Joy Reid are on The Last Word. Blow is laying it down on those angry white men heads exploding over PBO being in the White House. How did he get there? YOU TELL THE TRUTH, CHARLES BLOW.

  2. Ametia says:

    Illinois City Calls On Romney To Stop Bain-Owned Company From Outsourcing 170 Local Jobs to China

    WASHINGTON — The city council of Freeport, Ill., approved a resolution Monday evening that will call on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to step in and save roughly 170 local jobs being outsourced by a company owned by Bain Capital.

    Last year, Massachusetts-based Sensata Technologies announced that it was closing its Freeport plant by the end of 2012 and shipping the jobs to China. The U.S. positions, the company claimed, would be phased out gradually. Sensata Technologies makes sensors and controls that are used in aircraft and automobiles.

    The resolution organized by Sensata employees calls on Romney — who co-founded Bain — to “come to Freeport to meet the people directly affected by Bain Capital’s outsourcing and to step in and stop the outsourcing of these jobs from Freeport to China.”

    The city council voted unanimously, 8-0, on Monday to approve the Sensata resolution.

  3. rikyrah says:

    found these 2 comments at BooMan and they made me think:

    about WILLARD:

    There is another reason, other than taxes, to offshore your $$$.

    As a hedge against a catastrophic drop in the dollar. Romney is/was a vulture capitalist. Apparently one of the best in the business. Is it any great wonder that he might hedge $25M+ as a hedge against the dollar going south when the RealEstate bubble burst?

    Remember, he was all for letting the the market do its will with forclosures and Detroit going bankrupt. Since we don’t know how much he has placed in off shore banks, we don’t know how big a bet he placed against the dollar.

    by DerFarm Tue Jul 17th, 2012 at 04:51:32 PM EST

    the reply:

    Suddenly all becomes clear: What Romney is hiding is simply that he was betting against the American economy and doing everything he could to make that bet pay off. I’ve wondered for so long why the Reps seem compelled to do evil even when there’s no payoff for them. I believe you’ve got it: Vultures have to make sure their prey is dead before they can harvest it. Romney and his fellow Reps are simply doing what they can to make sure that happens.

    by DaveW on Tue Jul 17th, 2012 at 05:12:49 PM EST

    had not thought of this angle before:

  4. Ametia says:

    Is Grover Norquist days numbered?

  5. Ametia says:

    Full video of episode 1 of HBO’s NETWORK by Aaron Sorkin

  6. Ametia says:


    Clearly still in panic mode, Gov. Romney desperately flings Obama’s out of context quote about “If you own a business, you didn’t build that” around in a speech, and explains about teachers, firefighters etc. and then says “sure those things are important, but ya know…WE PAY FOR THOSE THINGS, alright. The TAXPAYERS PAY FOR GOVERNMENT!”

    • Ametia says:

      No, Mittens, PBO’s not attacking success, he’s attacking your claims of knowing how to create jobs and grow America’s economy.


  7. rikyrah says:

    She Will Not Go Quietly, Ctd

    A reader suggests a “bonus Quote for the Day”, delivered yesterday by James Carville: “The only person who has seen Romney’s taxes is John McCain and he took one look and picked Sarah Palin.” Another writes:

    Today, McCain was not very helpful to Romney. McCain said he had no issue with Mitt’s tax returns when vetting him for veep in 2008. But then he added, “We just thought Sarah Palin was a better candidate.” And somewhere the Romney people said “Gee, thanks for bringing that up.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Romney Needs to Stop Talking
    by BooMan
    Tue Jul 17th, 2012 at 01:59:28 PM EST

    The National Review got to ask Mitt Romney a few questions. Here are two of them, and Romney’s answers:

    For much of this week, you’ve been asked about your tax returns. What’s the downside to releasing your pre-2010 financial records?
    My tax returns that have already been released number into the hundreds of pages. And we will be releasing tax returns for the most current year as soon as those are prepared. They will also number in the hundreds of pages. In the political environment that exists today, the opposition research of the Obama campaign is looking for anything they can use to distract from the failure of the president to reignite our economy. And I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about.

    From a political perspective, a lot of pundits wonder why you haven’t gotten rid of your offshore accounts. Can you explain why you have not done that?

    Well, first of all, all of my investments are managed in a blind trust. By virtue of that, the decisions made by the trustee are the decisions that determine where the investments are. Secondly, the so-called offshore account in the Cayman Islands, for instance, is an account established by a U.S. firm to allow foreign investors to invest in U.S. enterprises and not be subject to taxes outside of their own jurisdiction. So in many instances, the investments in something of that nature are brought back into the United States. The world of finance is not as simple as some would have you believe. Sometimes a foreign entity is formed to allow foreign investors to invest in the United States, which may well be the case with the entities that Democrats are describing as foreign accounts.

    On the former question, Romney is admitting that he doesn’t want the political fallout that would result if people could see his taxes. He’s isn’t even faking a privacy argument. Also, he’s back to that All-American Republican aversion to things with lots of pages.

    On the latter question, I have to ask if this is proof that Romney is Mexican, because he isn’t supposed to be a “foreign entity” or a “foreign investor.” He’s supposed to be an American. So, how can he put his money in an account that is designed for foreigners who want to make investments in American companies without having to pay any American taxes (or taxes out of their own jurisdiction)?

    Is this some kind of Hedge Fund of Funds that caters to foreign tax cheats? I don’t get it. The whole thing sounds more crooked than Hong Kong.

  9. Ametia says:

    John McCain: I Didn’t Pick Romney Because ‘Sarah Palin Was The Better Candidate’

    Benjy Sarlin-July 17, 2012, 1:13 PM15807
    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended Mitt Romney from Democratic speculation that he passed on him as a 2008 running mate after reviewing his tax returns, saying Sarah Palin was simply the better choice at the time.

    McCain called the tax claims “outrageous” and “disgraceful” in an interview with Politico Tuesday. He said he chose Palin “because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate.”

    “Why did we not take [Tim] Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people,” McCain said. “Why didn’t I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others. … Come on, why? That’s a stupid question.”

    Former McCain adviser Steve Schmidt told the Huffington Post this week that the campaign was primarily concerned Romney’s vast wealth would make the ticket difficult to sell to average Americans, but didn’t believe Romney’s taxes were a liability. Schmidt also said he never personally saw 23 years of tax returns Romney provided to McCain during the vetting process.

  10. Ametia says:

    Demonstrators stand outside a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Monday, July 16, 2012 in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  11. Ametia says:

    Can Ben Bernanke, Like John Roberts, Ignore Political Pressure and Do His Job?

    In congressional testimony this week, the Republican Fed chairman could hold out the possibility of monetary easing that might spur a pickup before November, or Fed intervention to push job creation—even though either would be bad for Romney, who has built his campaign around economic misfortune.

    by Robert Shrum (/contributors/robert-shrum.html)
    July 17, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    The Bush financial collapse of 2008 sealed the election of Barack Obama (/search.html?q=Barack+Obama) . Despite the apparent doldrums of recent months and predictions of doom or increasing danger for the now-incumbent president, an unexpected pickup in the recovery may yet leave Mitt Romney high and dry as a rising tide lifts growth and job creation in the final months carries Obama to a second term.

    You won’t know that after listening to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to a Senate committee on Tuesday and its House counterpart on Wednesday—that is, unless you were listening very closely.

    First, Bernanke will sound his usual if urgent warnings. Congress needs to use the fiscal tools—short- and medium-term actions to sustain growth—that currently are in the death grip of a Republican Party intent on victory through policy paralysis and economic stagnation. Bernanke can’t ever say it that bluntly; he would be denounced as political if he plainly called out the GOP’s politicization of economics. But that will be the inescapable implication of his critique.

    Beyond this, Bernanke has to warn about the dangers of the “fiscal cliff”—the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for the end of the year that could drain demand and spark another downturn. Republicans and Democrats alike do worry about this. And it’s hardly noted but ironically revealing that here the GOP seems to accept the Keynesian view—the capacity of government budgeting to spur or slow the economy—even as the party explicitly insists on the twin holy grails of higher Pentagon spending and lower tax rates on the highest incomes

  12. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    July 17, 2012 11:08 AM
    Exposing the Ryan Budget

    By Ed Kilgore

    The jury’s still out as to whether the questions being raised by the Obama campaign and others about Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital is having (or will soon have) an impact on actual support levels for the two candidates. It is clear, however (and this is the angle I have been emphasizing in posts on the subject), that the toxification of Mitt’s background at Bain creates a serious strategic dilemma for his campaign, since it’s that background that has served as the centerpiece of his own case for becoming president. But of equal importance is the utility of the Bain association in setting up future attacks on the policy agenda that Romney embraced in order to secure the Republican nomination, but that he would prefer not to discuss. WaPo’s Greg Sargent explained that aspect of the Obama strategy last week via an interview with Priorities USA pollster Geoff Garin:

    The goal is twofold: First, to undermine Romney’s principal case for the presidency, i.e., that his business background makes him a “job creator” who is equipped to turn around the country’s economy. And second, to define Romney in a way that makes it easier for voters to understand his true policy goals and priorities on entitlements, taxes, and other issues.

    So another shoe is due to drop as the general election campaign intensifies. And because Romney’s “true policy goals and priorities on entitlements, taxes and other issues” are mostly encompassed in the Ryan Budget, I strongly recommend a careful reading of new public survey research from Democracy Corps that shows how the abstract symbol of “the Ryan Budget” (which doesn’t poll terribly well even as an abstraction) can be turned into a powerful indictment of the GOP agenda. Here’s a snippet from DCorps’ findings, based on polling of the Ryan Budget’s actual features and consequences:
    The most recent survey and focus groups by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps reveal deep opposition to the Ryan budget- and its potential to damage Mitt Romney’s candidacy if he embraces it in the coming campaign. At the outset, the Ryan budget (described in Ryan’s actual language) barely garners majority support. And voters raise serious doubts when they hear about proposed cuts—particularly to Medicare, education, and children of the working poor.

    President Obama’s lead against Romney more than doubles when the election is framed as a choice between the two candidates’ positions on the Ryan budget- particularly its impact on the most vulnerable. The President makes significant gains among key groups, including independents and voters in the Rising American Electorate (the unmarried women, youth, and minority voters who drove Obama to victory in 2008). This is an important new finding; highlighting the Ryan budget’s impact on the most vulnerable seriously weakens Romney.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    July 17, 2012 1:19 PM
    So’s Your Wife!

    By Ed Kilgore

    The latest twist in Mitt Romney’s fight against releasing his tax returns—a fight in which more and more Republicans seem to be defecting—is his effort to claim those mean old Democrats are holding him to a different standard than that other wealthy Massachusetts president nominee of recent years, John Kerry. Why? Because Kerry’s wife didn’t release all her tax returns!

    The Kerry camp is firing back pretty strongly, per this report from the Boston Globe:

    Romney and his surrogates have repeatedly claimed that Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, made public just two years of tax returns, despite the fact that Kerry released five years of tax documents and consistently released earlier returns during his Senate races.

    On Monday, after Romney brought Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, into the argument, the senator’s office blasted Romney, accusing him of “conjuring up false and convoluted alibis.”

    “As Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan once said, people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts,” said David Wade, Kerry’s chief of staff and the Democrat’s national spokesman during the presidential race eight years ago.

    “The Romney campaign needs to stop getting their facts wrong about John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry,” Wade added, saying Kerry had put a total of 20 years of tax returns into the public domain by the time he ran for president

    So is Mitt willing to force his family members to release their tax returns? Who knows what might be hiding there? I really don’t think this is a discussion that will end well for Romney.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:55 AM ET, 07/17/2012
    The Morning Plum: Observers say Romney is dangerously close to being defined

    By Greg Sargent

    With the attacks on Mitt Romney’s business background and lack of transparency about his finances showing no signs of abating, more and more observers are sounding the alarm for Romney. They are beginning to wonder whether Romney is dangerously close to being defined on exactly the terms the Obama campaign has chosen. Here’s Charlie Cook:
    The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally — not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks — seems a perverse one… The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability.

    The attacks on Bain, outsourcing, and his investments are sticking to Romney like Velcro, and it’s hard to see how that will change until he picks his running mate. Romney has lost control of the debate and the dialogue. Instead of voters focusing on the economy, they are now hearing about investments and accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, as well as about outsourcing and layoffs

  15. rikyrah says:

    Experts: Mitt Romney’s returns could show he paid very low tax rates

    By Greg Sargent

    Why won’t Mitt Romney release his tax returns? Some commentators have begun floating the suggestion that he paid very, very low tax rates while amassing enormous wealth. The Obama campaign released an ad today taking this further, claiming Romney’s use of offshore accounts and his low rate on investments should make you “wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all.”

    How likely are these scenarios?

    I surveyed several experts on the question. The answer: While they cautioned that this is necessarily speculative, since Romney won’t release his returns, it’s likely he paid significantly lower rates in previous years. They said the possibility that he paid next to nothing in any given year couldn’t be ruled out completely, though they said it was unlikely.

    “For a person of that amount of wealth with good advisers, you would expect somebody like that to be well advised enough to minimize the tax consequences,” George Yin, a professor of tax law at the University of Virginia, tells me.

    The experts said a key unknown is how Romney might have done this — and whether he resorted to aggressive tax sheltering, which could be very damaging.

    “To the extent he was able to shift investments offshore, again presumably in compliance with the law, but in the views of some members of the public as aggressive sheltering, that would be a potential political problem for him,” said Yin, who in the mid-1980s was a GOP appointee to the Senate Finance Committee and has given money to candidates in both parties.

    Yin said he obviously didn’t know if this were the case, but described it as a “reasonable possibility.”

    The experts also said Romney may have reduced his tax rate significantly through more standard tax planning techniques and through offsetting capital gains with capital losses. These are typical methods that many people use but could still be politically difficult to explain, the experts said, depending on how substantially they reduced his overall tax rate on the money he actually made.

    “This is the kind of thing people do all the time, but people will look at the percentage paid in tax, not the mechanics of how that percentage was paid,” Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, told me. “It’s not likely that he paid no taxes, but it is possible that he paid a much lower tax rate in earlier years than in 2010.”

    In 2010, the year for which they has released a return, the Romneys paid a 13.9 percent tax rate on $21.6 million in income, much of which was from lower-tax capital gains.

    Asked what the likelihood was that Romney paid substantially lower tax rates than that in previous years, Daniel Shaviro, a professor of taxation at New York University, said: “His extreme reluctance to release the returns makes you wonder — it becomes the natural expanation.”

    Shaviro, who supports Obama but is a nonpartisan tax analyst, said the question would then be this: “Did he get there just by selling losing stocks, or did he get there with aggressive tax shelters?”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Romney campaign attacks Obama’s patriotism

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:52 PM EDT.

    Last week, in the midst of swirling questions about Mitt Romney’s private-sector background, there was one line in particular the Republican campaign seized on. Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s re-election team, raised the specter of Romney having committed a “felony” with misstatements in his SEC filings.

    Cutter wasn’t alone — even fact-checkers siding with Romney had raised the same point — but Republicans pounced. For the Obama campaign to even mention “felonies” was proof, they said, of viciousness. It’s precisely why Romney asked for an “apology.”

    That was a few days ago. When we compare Cutter’s comment to the latest tirade from former Gov. John Sununu, arguably Romney’s top campaign surrogate, let’s just say it puts a new spin on who might owe whom an apology.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Sununu, in an unhinged attack, told reporters, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.” The quote was in direct reference to the ridiculous, out-of-context talking point we discussed this morning.

    Sununu, who has a well-deserved reputation as a GOP loudmouth, also said this morning the president “has no idea how the American system functions,” in part because “he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something.” (Update: Sununu also went berserk on Fox.)

    Remember, this is one of Romney’s top surrogates, speaking on behalf of the candidate himself. The intensity of the over-the-top vitriol, following staff shake-ups, and hastily thrown together interviews, also reinforces the perception that the Romney campaign is feeling a sense of desperation and losing its composure.

    For its part, the Obama campaign issued a statement, quoting spokesperson Lis Smith saying in response to Sununu, “The Romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end.”

    Update: Hoping to walk back some of his nonsense, Sununu later said, “What I thought I said but what I didn’t say is the president has to learn the American formula for creating business.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    GOP appears to have killed Law of the Sea Treaty

    It’s become extremely difficult — far more difficult than any point in American history — for Congress to pass legislation. But treaties are even harder, since they require 67 votes for passage. Even if every member of the Democratic caucus backs a treaty, it would need 14 Republicans to go along, and in this Congress, that’s an implausibly high number.

    This is particularly relevant this week because of the Law of the Sea Treaty, negotiated 18 years ago, and ratified by 161 countries around the globe. Here in the U.S., it’s been endorsed by the Clinton administration, the Bush administration, the Obama administration, business leaders, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs, and specifically U.S. Navy leaders who, as Josh Rogin explained, see the measure as necessary “to allow the United States to fully participate in the growing multinational system that governs the open seas.”

    In the Senate, hopes were raised when the treaty earned the backing of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), who began the ratification process with a “24-star hearing” — a panel with six military officers with four stars each. For its part, the Obama administration told senators the treaty would allow the U.S. to “secure mineral rights in a larger geographical area, would ensure freedom of navigation for U.S. ships, and would give the country better leverage for claims in the Arctic.”

    And yet, despite all of this, Senate Republicans have apparently succeeded in killing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    As of [yesterday], 34 Republican senators have expressed opposition to Senate ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty, a number that would add up to rejection of the treaty if all those senators vote against it when it comes to the Senate floor.

    “This is Victory Day for U.S. sovereignty in the Senate,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a passionate opponent of the treaty, proclaimed on the Senate floor late Monday. “With 34 opposed to LOST (the treaty), this debate is over.”

    Inhofe’s declaration of victory came after two Republican senators, Romney surrogates Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), announced Monday they would vote against the treaty.

    What happened? Why would Republicans dismiss the pleas of American military leaders? Well, it’s an odd story.


    As Kerry and Lugar began their efforts in earnest, so too did far-right activists, who had irrational fears, based on little more than paranoia, that the measure would give the United Nations power over American laws. Fox News and other conservative media outlets soon began trumpeting the talking points, which were aggressively pushed by John Bolton and other extremists, that our “sovereignty” was being put at risk by treaty backers, including the U.S. military.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Complete reply by the Obama campaign to John Sununu’s tirade:

    “The Romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end,” Smith said in a statement. “The question is what else they’ll pull to avoid answering serious questions about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and investments in foreign tax havens and offshore accounts. This meltdown and over-the-top rhetoric won’t make things better- it only calls attention to how desperate they are to change the conversation.

  19. rikyrah says:

    17 Jul 2012 11:21 AM

    The Bait, The Trap, And Romney

    Nate Silver wonders if Mitt has over-reacted to the Bain ads, given the relatively mild impact they appear to have had on the polling at this stage. I think Nate’s wrong to think this dismantling of his business record is not damaging. The point of it is to explain why a man like Romney, in an era of soaring debt and inequality, wants to cut taxes on the rich still further and turn Medicare into a premium support system. The impact of it is designed to be cumulative, which may be too clever by half, but makes strategic sense.

    But Nate’s right about one aspect of this. What many voters are hearing is pretty simple: Romney wants to distance himself from his own company as much as possible in the years 1999 – 2002, despite being the CEO throughout that time. And Romney won’t release more than two years of tax returns – and those we already have show any number of tax shelters from Bermuda to the Cayman Islands. If this is the cleaned-up-for-the-race version, one wonders what Romney has been doing all these years. As someone once said,

    One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.

    That was Mitt’s father. The son has lower standards

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Humungous, Massive, Huge IRA

    William D. Cohan asks about it:

    The most mysterious of the unexplained mysteries about Mitt Romney’s considerable wealth is how he was able to amass between $21 million and $102 million in his individual retirement account during the 15 years he was at Bain Capital LLC. How did he do it, given the relatively small amounts that the law permits to be contributed to such a plan on an annual basis?

    He goes on to propose several theories. Felix Salmon joins in the speculation:

    [T]he recent controversy over when exactly Romney left Bain raises another possibility, which is hinted at in a Maremont article from January:

    “Several estate-planning experts said they know of others with IRAs of more than $100 million, but they are rare. Typically, they said, that occurs when founders of companies invest in their own shares, which then take off.”

    We now know that Mitt Romney, individually, was the sole shareholder of Bain Capital when he took leave of all day-to-day responsibilities in 1999 to concentrate on running the Salt Lake City Olympics. And he remained the sole shareholder of Bain Capital through 2002. So here’s the thesis, taken directly from Henry Blodget: that Romney filled up his retirement account with shares of Bain Capital itself, rather than shares in its funds, or in its portfolio companies.

    This would also help explain why it took Romney three years to disentangle himself from Bain Capital.

    Interesting as a possibility. But there’s only one way to clear this up for good.

    Follow your father’s advice, Mitt. Release the returns!

  21. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Boxer ‏@Sarah_Boxer
    Obama campaign’s response to Sununu conference call: “The Romney campaign has officially gone off the deep end.”

  22. Ametia says:

    William Raspberry dies: Washington Post columnist wrote about social issues including race, poverty
    By Matt Schudel, Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 9:02 AM

    William Raspberry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post whose fiercely independent views illuminated conflicts concerning education, poverty, crime and race, and who was one of the first black journalists to gain a wide following in the mainstream press, died July 17 at his home in Washington. He was 76.

    He had prostate cancer, said his wife, Sondra Raspberry.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s rationale for his hidden tax returns

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:46 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns, and says he’ll eventually disclose his 2011, at which point we’re simply out of luck. At least for now, he refuses to even consider making additional information available.

    George Will said over the weekend, “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” That’s true, but it’s also obvious — of course he knows he’s taking a hit, so he clearly believes this embarrassment is less severe than the embarrassment that would come with disclosure.

    The next question, then, is why Romney refuses to do what even his allies have urged him to do. There are competing explanations, and CNN’s Erin Burnett noted some of them in a segment last night, concluding with the possibility that the Republican presidential candidate might be, as she put it, “stupid.”

    Clearly, answering the question is speculative for those of us outside Romney’s inner circle, but I think there are probably five main possibilities to explain this strange secrecy.

    1. Romney may not have paid any taxes. As Kevin Drum suggested yesterday, “[T]here are probably multiple years in which Romney paid no taxes at all. This would very definitively be a Bad Thing, so he really doesn’t have any choice but to take the heat instead.” This would also apply if he paid almost nothing in taxes, thanks to various tax-avoidance schemes.

    2. Romney may have made even more money from Bain. Before his “retroactive” retirement, Romney made “more than $100,000” a year from his firm for, according to him, doing absolutely no work whatsoever. But as Michael Tomasky noted, we don’t know how much more than $100,000 he made in compensation. If it’s significantly more, that could be awfully embarrassing.

    3. Romney may have had to pay fines. If he tried to skirt American tax laws in the past and got caught, the returns might show penalties, fines, and/or back tax payments.

    4. Romney may have additional offshore investments. We know about the shell corporation in Bermuda, the cash in the Caymans, and the Swiss bank account because of the one year’s worth of returns. If Romney considered himself an International Man of Mystery for a long while, there may be other foreign holdings he’d prefer to conceal.

    5. Romney may have taken some problematic deductions. Did he give money to controversial charities? Did he take deductions on his family’s fancy horses? Something else?

    Of course, it’s worth noting that these aren’t mutually exclusive — the returns, if we ever see them, may include some combination of these concerns, or perhaps even all of them.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Cheney to rally GOP against GOP proposal

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:39 AM EDT.

    Less than a week after hosting a lucrative fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Montana, former Vice President Dick Cheney will be on Capitol Hill today, warning House Republicans about the dangers of looming, automatic defense cuts.

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney is coming back to his old stomping grounds in the House of Representatives on Tuesday to highlight the impact that the automatic spending cuts to defense programs will have next year, according to two senior GOP leadership aides.

    Cheney is scheduled to attend the weekly leadership meeting with House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other top elected leaders and then will meet with the full House GOP whip team led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to discuss strategy for how to deal with the automatic cuts to defense programs that were included as part of the debt deal last summer.

    According to Politico, point of the visit is to get lawmakers “ginned up” about the need to blunt the cuts.

    I’m sure Cheney will be well received — Republicans don’t like to be seen with George W. Bush, but they still hold Cheney in high regard, despite his scandals and notorious unpopularity — and he’ll no doubt make stirring remarks about the evils of cutting the Pentagon budget.

    But can we please not forget that the cuts that Cheney and congressional Republicans are so concerned about were proposed by congressional Republicans themselves?


    To reiterate a point that often goes overlooked, there are deep, automatic defense cuts set to kick in at the end of the year. But the history matters: as part of last year’s debt-ceiling deal, policymakers accepted over $1 trillion in cuts that would be implemented if the so-called super-committee failed. Democrats weren’t completely willing to roll over — they wanted to create an incentive for Republicans to work in good faith

    Republicans agreed: if the committee failed, the GOP would accept defense cuts and Dems would accept non-defense domestic cuts. The committee, of course, flopped, which put us on the clock for the automatic reductions (the “sequester”) that Republicans contributed to the very process they insisted upon.

    Cheney and GOP lawmakers will agree today that these cuts would undermine the military during a time of war. There may even be some truth to the argument. But Republicans will nevertheless be railing against the Republicans’ own idea.

  25. Ametia says:

    Romney names staffers for vice presidential pick

    CNN) – Mitt Romney’s campaign appointed two staffers for its eventual vice presidential pick Tuesday as speculation increases on the timing of the closely watched decision.

    Randy Bumps, an executive at the public affairs firm Direct Impact, joined Team Romney as director of operations for Romney’s vice presidential candidate, and Kevin Sheridan, who CNN reported last week was joining Romney’s campaign as a senior adviser, was named as communications director for the running mate.

    – Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

    “I’m proud to add Randy and Kevin to our growing team,” Romney Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades wrote in a statement. “They both have enjoyed long and distinguished careers in our party. Their work will be vital as we move forward in the campaign to defeat President Obama and elect Mitt Romney.”

  26. Ametia says:


  27. Ametia says:


  28. rikyrah says:

    Why the Bain Capital Story is So Important

    By Bob Cesca: Taking a look at the Mitt Romney Bain Capital fiasco from the air, it’s really illustrating a major flaw in both the American mindset — not to mention our corporatocracy.

    In the relationship between the corporate world, the financial sector and the rest of us, there’s absolutely no contest as to which of these groups will always be screwed. Throughout the last 100 years in America, the rest of us have been crushed under the mighty heft of the “one percent” as we wait for either the wealth to trickle down to us or as we claw our way up the socioeconomic ladder, often deluding ourselves into believing that with enough tenacity we’ll become one of the glorious few who can then about-face and crush the rest of us under our newly attained mighty heft.

    But as the middle class shrinks, the pathway to our own opportunity to sit atop a bazillion dollars becomes increasingly obstructed. Due to the pervasive influence of Reaganomics — de-regulation, tax cuts for the wealthy and a 30 year nuclear Armageddon against social programs — the middle class is shrinking, the poor and working classes are growing and the wealthiest one/two percent has become walled off in its exclusive gated community while playing blue-booded grabass with its near immortality.

    At no time in recent history has the crisis been more evident than during the Great Recession and the current recovery. It’s not hard to see how Reaganomics was the direct cause of the recession, irrespective of which party did what or who passed whatever law. Among other things, de-regulation led to ongoing trickery with corporations merging into unprecedented monopolistic behemoths large enough to maintain an effortless choke-hold on the most colossal economy in history, while the financial sector engaged in toxic, predatory lending and the marketing of enigmatic investment products that spiraled into a form terminal economic cancer around the world. Nearly-stagnant wages, prohibitively expensive healthcare, vanishing pensions and a tsunami of personal debt prevented the middle class from saving enough to brave the storm. The lowest tax rates in history and Reagan’s infectious “government is the problem” mindset gave these people the financial means and the regulatory latitude to bankrupt millions of people. (Guess what? They’re still doing it.)

    What does half the nation do, just a few years into the recovery?

    They nominate Mitt Romney for president. They select a man who is literally a product of the corporate Olympus that almost obliterated everything. It can’t be repeated enough and without exaggeration: Mitt Romney resides in the one percent of the one percent. He’s among the top 3,140 wealthiest people in America and, therefore, among the 0.001 percent of the population. One percent of the one percent. His entire private sector life was spent seizing upon the advantages of Reaganomics. And yet half of us are getting ready to cast a vote in a few months in favor of rewinding and replaying the whole thing with the exact same policies and the exact same potential consequences.

    Why is this? Why do we worship these people? Without getting too deeply into the psychological weeds, the overall explanation is simple: 1) we’ve been trained — brainwashed — to prop up corporations and people of means, and 2) we aspire to be like them, however twisted that might sound. We want to someday do the crushing and so we obsessively act as defenders of people and corporations that don’t need us to defend them (they have gigantic marketing budgets and investment capital with which to defend themselves). Of course the endeavor is ultimately futile because the casino is rigged for us to lose.

    Now that we’re stuck with this guy as the Republican nominee, the means by which Romney has augmented his considerable family wealth should constantly be scrutinized. No offshore account or tax document should be left unscathed. Right now, at this moment, we’ve captured one of these evasive specimens in bottle — so we have the opportunity to expose his cynical, soulless machinations because he was stupid enough to step onto the stage this close to the recessionary ground zero.

    What do we see so far? We see someone who was desperate enough to hide his nefarious business details that he lied to the American people about when and how he was associated with Bain Capital and, subsequently, what Bain was up to during that time. Romney himself knows how damaging these details could be and so he’s keeping a tight lid on his tax returns and other damning bits of information to a point when conservative Republicans — his own allies like George Will, Bill Kristol and others — have demanded that he release all of his returns.

  29. rikyrah says:

    She Will Not Go Quietly

    Romney is understandably trying to ignore a former half-term governor from Alaska:

    Palin would certainly light up the base at the convention—her 2008 vice-presidential acceptance speech was, in terms of partisan enthusiasm, the high-water mark of the McCain campaign—but a jolt of Palin at Romney’s convention seems most unlikely. The Romney campaign prides itself on a slavish adherence to script, and Palin cannot be trusted to avoid the impulse to go rogue. That is why, perhaps, the Romney campaign has not asked Palin to speak at the convention nor contacted her about even attending the party’s marquee event in Tampa. Queries to the Romney camp about any possible Palin role at the convention meet with a stony silence

    And we know how she reacts to stony silence, don’t we? If the former vice-presidential candidate is barred from speaking at the Convention, the Tea Party restlessness will surely grow. Ed Morrissey analyzes:

    The article seems to be pretty heavy on sourcing from Palin’s camp, and very little from Tea Party activists. In fact, it seems very heavily sourced from Palin herself. The one comment made by “one adviser associated with the campaign” was that they thought Palin’s contract with Fox would preclude her from speaking at the convention, which Palin refutes herself on the record (and Fox concurs). It looks like a shot across the bow, leveraged through Boyer with some very weak Tea-Party-is-angry dressing, aimed at Team Romney to give Palin a platform in August. We’ll see if the message is received, and what the response will be.

    Cue the popcorn.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Romney comes up with a tax-return spin

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:35 PM EDT.

    For months, Mitt Romney was effectively Bartleby the Scrivener when it came to tax returns. Governor, why won’t you disclose the materials to the public? “I prefer not to.”

    This morning, Romney went to the friendly confines of “Fox & Friends” to try out a new line. Igor Volsky posted the clip.

    The Obama people keep on wanting more and more and more,” the GOP candidate said. “More things to pick through, more things for their opposition research to try make a mountain out of and to distort and to be dishonest about.”

    I’m delighted Romney is now saying something in response to the question, but I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around this one. He’s going to keep his tax returns secret and hidden from public view because … Obama might find stuff?

    Isn’t this effectively the same thing as saying, “I can’t release my tax returns; I’m running for office for Pete’s sake”?

    Complicating matters, Romney also said on Fox that he shouldn’t be compared to other presidential candidates, but rather, compared to other candidates’ spouses. “John Kerry ran for president,” Romney said. “You know, his wife, who has hundreds of millions of dollars, she never released her tax returns. Somehow, this wasn’t an issue.”

    Um, governor? Teresa Heinz Kerry wasn’t a candidate for the nation’s highest office; you are. And in 2004, John Kerry made 20 years’ worth of returns available.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Top senators, including Republicans, can’t explain Mitt Romney’s Afghanistan policy

    Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012, 1:38 pm by GottaLaff

    I’m guessing that even Willard Romney can’t explain Willard Romney’s Afghanistan policy. Josh Rogin reports that nobody else can either:

    Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s policy on the future of U.S.-led war in Afghanistan war is unclear and confusing, complicating attempts to either support or criticize it during the campaign, according to leading senators from both parties. […]

    But when it comes to what a President Romney would do differently from Obama on Afghanistan if and when he became president, the details remain sketchy. […]

    Last week, The Cable asked several senior senators from both parties whether they supported Romney’s plan for Afghanistan. None was able to articulate exactly what that policy is or what the U.S. force in Afghanistan might look like if Romney is elected.

    “What is it?” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a Romney supporter and senior member of the Armed Services Committee. […]

    Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said he wasn’t sure exactly what Romney’s Afghanistan policy entailed and didn’t want to get into it.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Romney says waiters at fundraiser “aren’t having a good year”

    Mitt Romney held up the waiters and waitresses serving donors at a fundraising event Monday night as examples of people who aren’t doing well under President Obama.

    Addressing 300 contributors at a Jackson, Miss., fundraiser who paid $2,500, $10,000 or $50,000 to hear him speak, Romney acknowledged that the people in the room were well-off compared to many Americans. It was the middle class that had been let down by Obama, Romney said, and he pointed to the wait staff serving finger foods as an example.

    “It’s tough being middle class in America right now,” Romney said. “The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they’re not having a good year. The people of the middle class of America are really struggling. And they’re struggling I think in a way because they’re surprised because when they voted for Barack Obama…he promised them that things were going to get a heck a lot of better. He promised hope and change and they’re still waiting.”

    As he did earlier at a fundraiser in Baton Rouge, La., Romney accused Obama of funneling government money to his own donors, while neglecting those struggling in the country.

    “This is a time when it’s good to be a friend of Obama campaign,” Romney told the crowd at the River Hills Club in Jackson. “Because you might be able to get some money for your business. But it’s not so good to be middle class in America.”

    Romney said it is “not true,” as some have insinuated, that the Republican Party is only concerned about the rich. “We’re the party of people who want to get rich…We also want to make sure people don’t have to become poor. And we know what it takes to keep people from becoming poor.”

  33. rikyrah says:

    July 16, 2012 09:03 PM CDT

    Editorial: Romney must release more tax returns
    In modern presidential politics, any candidate who doesn’t release several years of income tax returns is foolishly swimming upstream against public opinion and political common sense. Extensive disclosure of tax information is a rite of passage all candidates accept the moment they declare for the presidency.

    Mitt Romney especially should know this, given the disclosure expectations his father helped set when he ran for the GOP nomination in 1968. This is why his insistence on disclosing only two years of tax returns is a major disservice to his candidacy and voters. He needs to release multiple years of tax information immediately, even if those returns contain embarrassing information.

    Even his conservative allies know what he must do. In an effort to save him from himself, columnist George Will, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and former Bush adviser Matthew Dowd all have called on Romney to stop dawdling. Said Kristol: “It’s crazy. You gotta release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two.”

    Without additional disclosure, the Obama re-election campaign’s attacks on Romney’s involvement at Bain Capital — particularly post-1999, when Romney says he turned over management of the firm to others who favored outsourcing jobs — will continue to divert the conversation from Romney’s strong economic message and give the impression that he’s hiding something. In politics, perception left unchecked often is reality.

    This newspaper has consistently urged greater financial disclosure from candidates, regardless of their party affiliation. In 2010, we urged former Houston Mayor Bill White, a Democrat, to disclose more tax returns to clarify the extent of his energy-business activities while a member of the Clinton administration. Although this newspaper recommended White over Perry for governor, we sided with Perry when he said “Texans are tired of waiting for Bill White to release his tax returns.” Likewise, Romney needs to go the extra step to dispel perceptions that he has inaccurately described his role at Bain.

    Romney has released his 2010 return but hasn’t set a date for disclosing last year’s return and shows no indication that he will disclose tax documents from prior years. And he’s made this political matter worse by asking the Obama re-election campaign for an apology for focusing on the tax returns and Bain Capital.

    For some people, no amount of disclosure would satisfy. But Romney, who has positioned himself for a run at the White House for years, had to know that he would be held to a tough standard. Presidential candidate John Kerry released 20 years of tax returns when he ran against George W. Bush in 2004; Romney’s own father released 12 years of his tax returns when he ran for president more than three decades ago, explaining that “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”

    Political candidates, especially presidential candidates, don’t get to pick and choose what will become their opponent’s attack theme. Romney needs to release more tax returns, take the heat, move on and not allow an information vacuum to create a one-sided narrative.

  34. Ametia says:

    According to independent economists, Mitt Romney’s tax plan to eliminate U.S. taxes on companies’ foreign incomes could create up to 800,000 jobs overseas – jobs that could come at the expense of American workers. President Obama’s plan helps create American jobs and an economy built to last by rewarding companies for bring jobs back to America.

    Though Mitt Romney often tries to Etch-A-Sketch his policy positions, this is one thing that has remained consistent — Romney has a history of creating jobs overseas instead of in America, and of supporting policies that would do the same: at Bain, in Massachusetts, and now as outlined in his jobs plan.

    For a simple breakdown of how Romney’s plan would encourage companies to create jobs overseas, and the steps President Obama has proposed to help eliminate tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas, check out this truth team post (also pasted below):

  35. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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