Shorter Question Everything
I haven’t seen anything on this yet but I’m wondering about Romney and that tithing thing. How does that 10% factor in? Is Romney including that in his estimation of his taxes in order to bring up his tax rate, at least on first glance? Keep an eye out. I don’t think Harry Reid is done with Romney yet.
Let’s start with some laughs
• Jill Biden Inadvertently Makes A Penis Joke – gets adorably flustered
• ”Ha ha. We’re in the stretch aren’t we? Look at those clouds. It’s beautiful,” he said, pointing to the sky. “Look at those things.” – Romney, on whether he’d be campaigning harder
• “I was told a story by my campaign manager. He was meeting with some folks, and there was a young couple there with a young son, maybe three or four years old, and the parents were really proud that he knew who I was. And they explained to my campaign manager — they said, listen, he loves Barack Obama. And they turned to the little boy and they said, what does Barack Obama do? And the little boy says, Barack Obama approves this message. So you know it’s election season. That’s what I do. I approve this message.” – Obama, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, Virginia
• “I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who think that they’re not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives. I don’t see a lot of victims in this crowd today. I see hard-working Virginians.” – Obama, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, Virginia
• “We understand that America is not what can be done for us, but what can be done by us together, as one nation, as one people.” – Obama, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, Virginia
• “Now, yesterday, I made this same point at a town hall in Florida. I said, one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington just from the inside. You change it from the outside. You change it because people are mobilized. You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard because of the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans. That’s what moves the country forward. Now, for some reason my opponent got really excited. He rewrote his speech real quick. He stood up at a rally, proudly declared, “I’ll get the job done from the inside.” What kind of inside job is he talking about? Is it the job of rubberstamping the top-down, you’re-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress? Because if it is, we don’t want it. If it’s the job of letting oil companies run our energy policy, we don’t want it. If it’s the job of outsources writing our tax code, we don’t want it. If it’s the job of letting politicians decide who you can marry, or control the health care choices that women should be able to make for themselves, we’ll take a pass. We don’t want an inside job in Washington. We want change in Washington.” – Obama, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge, Virginia
• President Obama signed a proclamation establishing Chimney Rock as a National Monument. Chimney Rock, located in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado, offers a spectacular landscape rich in history and Native American culture. The designation was made under the Antiquities Act with bi-partisan support from Colorado officials, the Native American community, local businesses and other stakeholders.
• Today, as part of his We Can’t Wait initiative, President Obama announced that two nationally and regionally significant surface transportation projects in California will be expedited to put Americans to work building a 21st century infrastructure and providing California with more transportation choices. California High Speed Rail – Central Valley Construction. San Francisco Downtown Ferry Terminal.
Before we get to those taxes
• “The information released today reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he’s seen fit to show the American people – and then only to ‘conform’ with his public statements. That raises the question: what else in those returns has Romney manipulated? We already know Romney has money in tax havens in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. What we don’t know is why he refuses to be straight with the American people about the choices he’s made in his financial life. When will the American people see the returns he filed before he was running for president? Governor Romney is showing us what he does when the public is looking. The true test of his character would be to show what he did when everyone was not looking at his taxes.” – Harry Reid
• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) famously – and repeatedly – said he had a reliable source who claimed Romney had paid zero taxes for 10 years. I have no idea if Reid’s source is right, but a notarized letter from Price Waterhouse saying what Mitt’s tax rate was for the last 10 years should only be seen as a weak, weasely fucking joke that tells us nothing.
• Romney artificially inflated 2011 taxes after saying, “I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president.”
1. After the election, when the subject of your tax returns is outside of the public glare, will you file an amended tax return to claim your full deduction of charitable contributions? Was the tax rate you reported for other years similarly manipulated?
2. Why was your 2011 income $7 million lower than you estimated it to be in January? How does someone overestimate their income by $7 million?
3. Financial disclosures show that you have as much as $82 million in your tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account, despite the fact that tax rules limited contributions into such accounts to $30,000 per year. Did you lowball the value of the assets you put into your IRA, as tax experts suspect? And did you do the same with gifts into your sons’ trusts?
4. What was the purpose of your Swiss bank account and the myriad offshore entities shown on your return, based in countries like the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, if not to avoid taxes?
5. Can you explain what one tax expert has called a “mysterious one-time infusion of foreign tax credits” in 2008?
6. You have not disclosed any foreign bank account reports (FBARs). Did you file all FBARs on all of your offshore accounts with the Treasury Department by the legal deadlines each year?
7. You claim to have paid an average tax rate of 20 percent over the last 20 years based on a flawed calculation. What was your real tax rate?
8. Your 14 percent tax rate –- not to mention the approximately 10 percent tax rate you would have paid had you not inflated it — is less than what many middle-class Americans pay. And you paid just 0.2% of your income in payroll taxes, while most Americans pay about 15%. Do you think that is fair?
9. Your tax returns show that the Marriott Corporation paid you $260,390 in directors’ fees in 2011. When you were the company’s audit committee chair in the 1990s, were you aware that the company was abusing a notorious illegal tax shelter?
10. You say you’ve made a “commitment to the public” that your tax rate should not be below 13 percent. If you believe that the richest Americans shouldn’t be paying an exceptionally low tax rate, why don’t you support President Obama’s “Buffett Rule”?
• “I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.” – Romney
• Alex Castellanos, the former Mitt Romney strategist from 2008 who has alternately been critical and praising of the current campaign, left no doubt where he stands on the decision to release a summary of the candidate’s tax rates over 20 years. “At first I thought this was an April Fool’s Joke,” said Castellanos, who tweeted something to that effect at me earlier. “But it isn’t April. I can’t imagine that David Axelrod will now say, I’m glad Mitt put this issue behind him. This will drag Mitt’s taxes back into the debate. And there’s not many days left. I just can’t imagine why they would do this. There are 40 days left and you have now made more of them about Mitt’s taxes….you don’t serve a life sentence and then confess afterward. They’ve taken their beating on this (already) … I just don’t understand how a (being) ‘little pregnant’ strategy (works).”
• A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says that church leadership is on a witch hunt against him after he criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. David Twede, a fifth-generation Mormon, told The Daily Beast that on Sunday his bishop and three other church leaders in Orlando ordered him to “Cease and desist, Brother Twede” after they found discussions about Romney at the blog MormonThink.com.
• Paul Ryan’s got his own “secret” video – in 2005, before the Atlas Society [Ayn Rand]:
Audio (from Atlas Society site) –
The video –
(1:45) I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people. [AS]
(2:01) I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. [AS]
(2:23) But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.[AS]
(3:53) But when you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capital Hill, it’s a tough fight. It’s a very important fight. But we need more people on our side to fight this fight. That is why there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security. Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system…
…And what’s important is if we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing social security … If we do not succeed in switching these programs, in reforming these programs from what some people call a defined benefit system, to a defined contribution system– from switching these programs—and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well—from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually prefunded, individually directed system. [AM]
(7:32) I think if we win a few of these right now—moving health care to a consumer based, individualist system, moving Social Security to an individually preowned, prefunded retirement system [AM]
• Romney, said Ryan, was “inarticulate” in his comments. But Ryan, it seems, has his own thoughts about government programs and victim status, quite articulately stated. In his 2005 remarks to the Atlas Society, a group of Ayn Rand devotees based in Washington, D.C., Ryan painted Democratic politicians as “collectivists” who seek to create a “victimization class.” In fact, all of Washington’s major battles, Ryan says, are essentially a contest between collectivism and individualism.
• Take a look at what Paul Ryan did to his own congressional district, and be very scared for your country. Child abuse and suicide is skyrocketing, the number of battered women has tripled, foreclosures have tripled, wages plummeting, and more.
• Paul Ryan at the AARP, getting booed
• Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was loudly and repeatedly booed by members of the AARP on Friday after he pledged to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.
• Ryan had previously called the AARP a corrupt ‘left-leaning pressure group’.
• 20% of his income: In an amended return also released Friday, Representative Paul D. Ryan, Mr. Romney’s running mate, disclosed that he and his wife had initially failed to report $61,122 in income from 2011. He said the failure was inadvertent. The change raised their total income to $323,416 and increased their taxes by $19,917 to $64,674, or 20 percent of adjusted gross income.
Right Wing Asshattery
• Funny, how it’s always a Republican who finds it necessary to resort to disingenuous tactics and lies to prevent people from voting: The Washington Secretary of State’s office mailed out 1.1 million postcards to eligible voters this week notifying them that they “don’t appear to be registered” to vote, generating confusion and suspicion from thousands of recipients who are in fact registered.
• Birther loser Corsi cooks up a new one – I guess it must be a win for them, as no one’s got a straight certificate?: Pathetic waste of skin and neurons Dr. Jerome Corsi, PhD, has in recent months shifted from being a straight-out birther to claiming that Barack Obama is a flaming homosexualist, presumably because being a birther mostly just gets him merely a tired indulgent laugh these days, even from other wingnuts. So now, yeah, Obama is gay and spends all his time gaying up everything, especially the State Department and the diplomatic corps. So therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable for Corsi to ask a very simple question: DID OBAMA SEND A ‘GAY’ AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA? Note that “gay” is in quotes in the headline and throughout the article, presumably because there is either no such thing as gayness, or maybe because it it such a new term that it must be marked as slang, like the many street names for exotic drugs.
• House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is vowing to continue pursuing Attorney General Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress citation in court and said the report is all the more reason to continue his own probe with new zeal.
• That should work well: In his first press conference since being named head of the Financial Services Roundtable, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he would seek a “refinement” of the Dodd-Frank Act, but also added that banks need to do more to regulate themselves.
• Reproductive Rights – Texas: When Texas Republicans cut off Planned Parenthood from the state’s Women’s Health Program — losing millions in federal funds and endangering access to health care for women in the program — Gov. Rick Perry (R) promised to keeping the program going with only state funds and without Planned Parenthood. Now it’s clear what groups he wants to include in the program for low-income women instead: anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers that do not provide the same women’s health services. In fact, the Women’s Health Program doesn’t even cover pregnant women, so there is no clear reason why crisis pregnancy centers should be included.
• Fox News host Geraldo Rivera on Friday declared that Muslims needed to “evolve” because they were “almost childlike” and would become enraged for almost any reason.
• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to notify Congress on Friday that she plans to take Iranian exile group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MEK, off a State Department terror list, three senior Obama administration officials told CNN. MEK denies that it supports terrorism and supporters rally daily in front of the State Department, demanding the United States remove it from the terrorism list. Many members of Congress have pressured Clinton to do the same. Moreover, MEK has paid well-known former U.S. politicians and former administration heavyweights to speak out on its behalf, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and former National Security Advisor James Jones.
• An amazing story from Libya today, where pro-America protesters staged a huge demonstration, and stormed and ransacked the base of the main radical Islamist militia: Libyan Demonstrators Wreck Militia Compound in Benghazi.