In case you missed it, Matt Taibbi called it: Mitt Romney is "a genuinely repugnant human being."
Bark Bark Woof Woof: The unravelling of Romney's selling points. Retroactively.
We are Respectable Negroes: Romney's "white" appeal to conservatives.
Mad Mike's America: Amidst apathy, dying to vote in Mississippi.
Meanwhile, over on the right:
Outside the Beltway: Release your tax returns already, Mitt.
Round-up by Michael J.W. Stickings of The Reaction (@mjwstickings). I'll be here all week.
Send tips to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.
A variety of links to articles/interviews/speeches on current issues that may be of interest.[...]
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There's still not much evidence that the Bain attacks have hurt Mitt Romney's standing with voters. But the Romney campaign's response could change that.
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Visual source: Newseum
Mitt Romney has released his 2010 tax return return and an estimate for 2011. When he was being vetted by John McCain for the vice-presidential slot in 2008, Mitt Romney provided the McCain camp with 23 years of tax returns. His 2008 and 2009 tax returns haven't seen the light of the day to anyone outside of Romney's private circle. John Cassidy at The New Yorker brings up a fact that has received little attention in the media:
His ten-year severance agreement with Bain Capital ended in 2009.What is so important about Romney's 2008 and 2009 tax returns that he's willing to endure the wrath of the right, left and everyone in between about his lack of transparency and disclosure?
With that question, on to the punditry...Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post:
Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy ? and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame.Dana Milbank:
Through a series of miscalculations, Romney has managed to turn what should have been a minor hiccup into what may be a defining moment, and not in a good way. Attacks by President Obama?s campaign serve mainly to draw attention to the train wreck.
We know the attack is working because Karl Rove says it isn?t. He called it a ?big mistake? to suggest, as Obama aide Stephanie Cutter did, that Romney may have committed a felony in misleading the Securities and Exchange Commission. This, Turd Blossom told Fox News, is ?gutter politics of the worst Chicago sort.?William D. Cohen at Bloomberg raises a question few are talking about -- Mitt Romney's "magical" IRA:
Rove is well-qualified to weigh in on such matters, having presided over Bush?s 2004 campaign, during which opponent John Kerry was accused of lying about his war record ? a rather more outrageous allegation than Cutter?s. Some of those who funded the attacks on Kerry are now bankrolling Rove?s assaults on Obama.
This isn?t to excuse Obama for stretching the truth about Romney. But those who portrayed the president as a Muslim radical who pals around with terrorists aren?t in a good position to be complaining that Romney is being painted as a vulture capitalist.
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.Joan Walsh at Salon:
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? Romney has not explained this conundrum, and seeing as he wants to become president, he would be wise to start talking -- if for no other reason than there might be many Americans who would like to emulate what he did.
So what would be more damaging than what Romney?s 2010 and 2011 returns told us? We already know that he?s insanely wealthy, that he?s got his money in offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, and that he paid an obscenely low 13.9 percent tax rate because he made his money from investment, not work, a result of the way our tax system privileges the investor class over even rich people who have to labor for a living. If that?s the kind of thing that outrages you, you?ve got enough to be outraged about.Again, no one outside of Romney's inner circle (presumably his wife, his most trusted advisors and his lawyers/accountants) have seen his 2008 and 2009 tax returns. Did Romney pay zero taxes during the height of the recession?
But what if Romney had years where he paid no taxes at all? The New Yorker?s John Cassidy surveys the list of possible reasons for Romney to hide his returns and seems to think that?s the most plausible explanation. Cassidy admits he?s in the realm of ?speculation? ? but that?s where Romney has left the electorate with his refusal to release more than two years of filings.
That's actually the question the Obama campaign is asking in a new ad today, "Makes you wonder." (video)
Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
In the ?50s and ?60s, a period considered the economic heyday of a free and capitalist post-war America, George Romney paid 37 percent of his income in federal taxes.Andrea Stone at The Huffington Post brings us the McCain campaign perspective:
By 2010, Romney?s son paid a total of 13.9 percent of his income in federal taxes, this in an America that is supposedly well on its way to becoming a socialist state, with a confiscatory federal government intent on stealing the wealth of its highest earners.
John McCain's top campaign strategist in 2008 says that Mitt Romney's much-discussed tax returns were not the reason that the Republican candidate chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, but he did acknowledge that Romney's wealth played a factor in the decision.As many pundits have already pointed out, we already know that Romney is incredibly wealthy and that he pays a much lower tax rate than ordinary Americans. If Schmidt is correct that all the tax returns up to 2007 do is paint the portrait of an extraordinary wealthy man, why is Romney refusing to release them? Would it add to the pressure to release his 2008-2009 returns, which may hold a secret that no one outside of Romney's inner circle is privy to? Whether it's a massive windfall from his severance agreement or paying zero taxes, the last thing Romney can afford right now is more defense on the fact that he got to play by rules written to benefit the rich while the rest of America slogged through the recession.
"I get the political hyperbole and all, but that?s not the way the decision was made," Steve Schmidt told The Huffington Post. "We never sat around having a discussion about Mitt Romney's taxes through the prism of a liability if he were chosen" for the ticket.
But he added that Romney's wealth was seen as a liability - "Sen. McCain got caught flat-footed answering a question about how many houses he owned. In fact, they were Cindy McCain's properties but that distinction was lost in the political optics and we knew it would be a big liability that the presidential and the vice presidential candidates together owned more than a dozen homes. It was like something out of a 'Saturday Night Live' skit. I mean, come on."
The Dallas Morning News editorial board:
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.Erin Burnett at CNN (video):
"It's time, Mitt. Time to put them on the table. We all know what it is. Your taxes." [...]Justin Sink brings us Donald Trump's latest funny:
"If he refuses to release them, it is because: one, he had a lot more money in tax shelters in prior years than he does now. Two, he did something shady. Or, three, he's stupid," Burnett said. "Now Mitt Romney is not a stupid man and if he did something shady -- well, he didn?t, because if he did, the IRS would already have found it. So let's assume it's number one. He had a lot of tax shelters. Took advantage of every loophole known to man in the 72,536 page IRS tax code. That's fair and square. That is why the tax code is so long so people can take advantage of it. But here's our decent proposal. Release the returns."
Mitt Romney surrogate Donald Trump said Monday that the Republican presidential hopeful should refrain from turning over additional tax records unless President Obama reveals his college transcripts.
"You talk about transparency," Trump told Fox News. "We will learn more about Obama when we look at those college applications than any other thing that can happen. I don?t think Romney should give anything until such time as Obama gives his college records and applications.?
From the July 17 edition of Fox News' The Five:
My philosophy is to do the best you can for somebody.
Help. It's not just what do you for yourself.
It's how you treat people decently. The golden rule.
There isn't anything better than the golden rule.
It's in every major religion in one language or another.
Born July 17, 1912
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Somebody get the fuck-the-repugs tabasco they've been puting on their wheaties at the White House lately and pour it on Ben Bernanke's oatmeal. Time for the Fed to put the economy ahead of politics.
Rome is burning while Congress fiddles. The president is out on the road trying to secure a second term, while the economy once again teeters on the brink of bad possibilities. The governors of the Federal Reserve Board seem to understand this better than most of Washington's power hitters. But what can the Fed do? The central bank has already dispensed trillions to the financial system and pulled interest rates down to rock-bottom levels. Yet the economy doesn't respond. Banks won't lend, businesses won't hire. Anxious consumers stopped buying, the order books are bare.
Miles Kimball, an imaginative economics professor at the University of Michigan, has stepped forward to propose an ingenious solution for the Fed's dilemma. The government should create a "federal credit card" and send one to every adult in the nation, enabling each person to borrow $2,000 at a very low interest rate and not pay back any of the money until after the economy has fully recovered. The provocative kicker in Kimball's proposal is that the Federal Reserve would itself provide the financing, not Congress or the president through the federal budget. And he argues that the central bank can do this with its unique power to create money.
A federal line of credit, Kimball suggests, could become a new, fast-acting channel for economic stimulus - more potent than the usual methods like tax rebates, and far less costly. That's because consumers would not get any benefit from this government assistance unless they use the card - that is, borrow and spend - and do so before the government's offer expires. After all, this is exactly what the economy needs. Why give the money in tax breaks for banks or businesses, which may not use it for the intended purpose? Why not deliver the aid to consumers, who will?
Kimball argues that this novel approach could deliver a strong, quick jolt to the stagnant economy, $400 billion or more. Yet it would add very little to the federal budget deficit, because the Federal Reserve operates under its own, independent balance sheet. Further, it's not free money but a temporary loan, like the trillions in short-term loans the Federal Reserve gave the banking system at the height of the crisis.
Yes, far better that the economy collapse, tens of millions of people suffer needlessly and the nation fall unto feudalism than the Fed do anything that might earn repug frowns.
From the July 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
On Topic - Childhood - The Teenage Years (3:02) [...]
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CNN IS DYING for ratings, but they’re purposed with a “newsroom” template, so making cheap political points is out. But former CNBC anchor Erin Burnett decides to step out and tell the truth to political power, getting in the middle of the Romney campaign’s business.
Transcript from Politico’s Dylan Byers:
“If he refuses to release them, it is because: one, he had a lot more money in tax shelters in prior years than he does now. Two, he did something shady. Or, three, he’s stupid,” Burnett said. “Now Mitt Romney is not a stupid man and if he did something shady — well, he didn?t, because if he did, the IRS would already have found it. So let’s assume it’s number one. He had a lot of tax shelters. Took advantage of every loophole known to man in the 72,536 page IRS tax code. That’s fair and square. That is why the tax code is so long so people can take advantage of it. But here’s our decent proposal. Release the returns.”
Byers calls what Burnett did “potentially risky” for CNN, but he’s wrong.
For anyone in the host or talking head game it’s an easy call. Democrats have called for Mitt’s taxes to be released, but now so have Republicans, including Bill Kristol on Fox News Channel, as well as Matthew Dowd, who said on ABC News “there’s obviously something there,” with George Will agreeing, saying it’s likely the cost of releasing them is worse than not.
So, Burnett is on safe ground, especially since she’s correct and has lots of people from all sides agreeing.