Shorter Question Everything
• Mitt Romney calls U.S.A. a ‘foreign country’ in his tax returns. When the former Massachusetts governor released his official 2011 tax return Friday, he (or whoever actually filled out the form) appeared to have mistakenly referred to the United States as a foreign country.
• Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns: What Else is He Hiding?
-From his 2010 release: Romney has a Swiss bank account and owns a corporation in Bermuda
-This year’s tax returns are 813 pages. More than 65% of them deal with his overseas investments.
-His overseas investments include huge investments in a Chinese oil company.
-Dozens of foreign accounts.
-Millions of dollars of Romney’s money are stashed away in notorious tax havens.
-Stocks in the Russian oil giant Gazprom.
-And he’s betting against the dollar by investing in the Norwegian krone, the Australian dollar, the Swedish krona, and the Canadian dollar.
• The details of Romney’s retirement account from the Bain Capital investment firm are missing from the 2011 returns. There is a claim that this money, stashed in the Caymans, is taxed at the same rate as it would be in the US, which strains credulity. If that was really the case, why not leave the money in the US?
“The taxes you evade by putting your money in the Caymans aren’t your own personal income taxes, but your offshore investment fund’s corporate income taxes,” writes Timothy Noah in The New Republic. “In other words, the Romneys aren’t evading income taxes by putting their money in the Caymans. The fund they put their money into is evading taxes by parking itself in the Cayman Islands. As a result, that fund (and therefore the Romneys) get to keep more of the profits. Why evade taxes when you can get somebody to do it for you?”
• Mitt Romney: Outside the Circle
• “Death panels” are back: Paul Ryan likened a mechanism to control health care spending to “death panels,” during a town hall at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Saturday. After listening to Ryan repeatedly call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, an elderly man asked the Republican vice presidential nominee about “the death panels.” Rather than dissuading the man from what PolitiFact named 2009?s Lie of the Year, Ryan laughed and responded, “that’s not the word I’d choose to use to describe it. It’s actually called….the Independent Payment Advisory Board”. The panel’s plan will modify payments to providers but despite Ryan’s claims, it cannot “include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria” (Section 3403 of the ACA).
• GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan sees no place for the Obama Administration’s contraception mandate. He vowed to remove that requirement for insurance providers, including Catholic hospitals and universities, on “day one.” “It will be gone,” Ryan told onlookers at the University of Central Florida. “I can guarantee you that.”
• Craven. Where a flip flop becomes a “shift”, as the Romney/Ryan ticket continues with ‘say anything’:
Then – As a young congressman from a largely rural Wisconsin district, Mr. Ryan, now Mitt Romney’s 42-year-old vice-presidential running mate, supported ending the trade embargo with Cuba, an unpopular sentiment among many Republicans and Cuban exiles in this part of Florida, one of the most crucial swing states in the general election. “If we think engagement works well with China, well, it ought to work well with Cuba,” Mr. Ryan had said a decade ago in an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The embargo doesn’t work. It is a failed policy,” he said, adding that while many Cuban-Americans were passionate in their support of the embargo, “I just don’t agree with them and never have.”
Now – Ryan made the case that his understanding of Cuba had evolved under long tutelage from Republican House members from South Florida, including Mr. Diaz-Balart and his younger brother Mario, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, now the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman, who have also endorsed him. In a separate local television interview, Mr. Ryan also explained how he had come to change his mind and since 2007 has supported the embargo. “You learn from friendships,” Mr. Ryan told the crowd at Versailles, explaining that his Florida friends in Congress had shown him “just how brutal the Castro regime is, just how this president’s policy of appeasement is not working.”
Stacking the deck
• Univision says that during his townhall with them, not only did the Romney campaign packed the hall with non-students because they couldn’t find enough supporters on campus, but when the anchor gave an introduction to Mitt that he didn’t like, he refused to go on until they re-taped it. A Republican present called it a “temper tantrum”.
• How Romney packed the Univision forum: The Romney camp realized there weren’t enough sympathetic students to fill the stands on their night — so they told the network and university that if they weren’t given an exemption to the students-only rule, they might have to “reschedule.” Romney’s team was allowed to bus in rowdy activists from around southern Florida in order to fill the extra seats at their town hall. Obama’s campaign, meanwhile, stuck to the original parameters and allowed a large chunk of the tickets to be distributed to interested students on campus. The result was a quiet, well-behaved crowd — and a lot of no-shows. Romney’s non-student activists ignored instructions to hold their applause. “We were a little bit thrown because it was supposed to be a TV show, it wasn’t a rally,” Salinas said of the outspoken Romney supporters. “It was a little bit of disrespect for us.”
• Let’s repeat that: Mitt Romney THREW A TANTRUM because he didn’t like the anchor noting that he’d agreed to appear for 35 minutes as opposed to Barack Obama’s hour. And then he REFUSED TO GO ONSTAGE until they retaped the intro. We are starting to think Miffed Romney, in addition to having what we suspect is Asperger’s-induced Insult People To Their Faces Constantly Syndrome, also might have a problem of temperament.
• Romney has a history of padding the audience. During a speech before National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in June, the GOP presidential candidate also brought in his supporters to the address.
• FLASHBACK: Did Mitt Romney bring in supporters to cheer him on during his Wednesday speech to the NAACP? That’s the charge made by Hilary Shelton, who heads up the Washington, D.C., chapter of the NAACP. Shelton told Ed Schultz on MSNBC Wednesday night that Romney flew in supporters to Houston to applaud him at the civil rights group’s annual convention. “The campaign actually gave me a list of African-American VIPs that they brought in to the NAACP meeting,” Shelton told Schultz. “So, I’m sure those are the ones they sat down with because, quite frankly, none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him.” After the speech, Romney said that he had African-American supporters at the convention who spoke with him privately and expressed their support. [12 July 2012]
• FLASHBACK: Something strange is going on with Mitt Romney’s Twitter account. It looks like the Romney campaign is using the Colorado shooting as a distraction to hide their buying 100,000 new Twitter followers. This isn’t even the first time that Romney has purchased Twitter followers. In August 2011, Peek You analyzed the Twitter accounts of all of the Republican presidential contenders, and found that only 26% of Mitt Romney’s followers were real people. [21 July 2012]
In Tennessee, a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls explicitly excludes student IDs.
In Wisconsin, college students are newly disallowed from using university-provided housing lists or corroboration from other students to verify their residence.
Florida’s reduction in early voting days is expected to reduce the number of young and first-time voters there.
And Pennsylvania’s voter identification bill, still on the books for now, disallows many student IDs and non-Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, which means out-of-state students may be turned away at the polls.
In 2008, youth voter turnout was higher that it had been since Vietnam, and overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. This time around, the GOP isn’t counting solely on disillusionment to keep the student vote down.
In the last two years, Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed dozens of bills that erect new barriers to voting, all targeting Democratic-leaning groups, many specifically aimed at students.
• Pennsylvania’s married or divorced women voters will have a harder time making it to the polls, Melissa Harris-Perry said on her show Saturday. According to the state’s controversial voter identification law, women who have changed their last name must present two forms of identification — the state voter ID issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and a separate government-issued ID or driver’s license. By comparison, male voters only need the former. “There’s officially a tax on being a woman in Pennsylvania if you want to vote,” Harris-Perry said.
• Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in the US city of New York at the head of a delegation to participate in the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
• Iran’s ambassador to International Atomic Energy Agency says the IAEA has approved Tehran’s proposal on the necessity of preventing sabotage in the member states’ nuclear facilities.
• Iran on Saturday accused the German technology company Siemens of planting tiny explosives inside equipment Iran bought for its disputed nuclear program, a charge Siemens denied. Aladdin Boroujerdi, a prominent lawmaker, said Iranian security experts discovered the explosives and removed them before detonation. The authorities believe that the booby-trapped equipment was sold to derail uranium enrichment efforts, he said. Siemens said its nuclear division had had no business with Iran since the 1979 revolution.
• Javad Jahangirzadeh, a senior Iranian lawmaker, accused Yukiya Amano, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog IAEA, on Sunday of passing confidential information about Iran’s nuclear activities to Israel.
• Iran’s Air Force plans to hold a massive military maneuver in the southern parts of the country by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 2013), a top Iranian commander says.
• Six members of the Libyan security forces have been “executed” in clashes that broke out when police, government soldiers, and activists stormed the main headquarters of a militia in the eastern city of Benghazi. The protesters, demanding the government demobilize the militias and form a national army and police, stormed Rafalla el-Shati camp in the city. Hundreds of protestors swooped on the headquarters of the group, located 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the center of Benghazi. Clashes erupted between the two sides and lasted for two hours before the brigade moved out of their base. Earlier, Libyan protesters attacked the base of the Ansar al-Sharia group in Benghazi, driving the group out of its headquarters.
• The Libyan authorities said late Saturday they had decided to dissolve all militias and armed groups that did not come under State authority. The move, a day after Benghazi residents rebelled against the militias in violence that killed at least 11 people and wounded over 70, was announced by Mohammed al-Megaryef, head of the national assembly, in the eastern city.
• Israel will not accept alterations to its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday, as ties between the two countries continue to fray. “There is not the slightest possibility that Israel will accept the modification of the peace treaty with Egypt,” Lieberman told Israeli public radio. “We will not accept any modification of the Camp David accords.” The comments come as tensions rise between Egypt and Israel, with speculation the government of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi could seek to alter parts of the decades-old treaty.
• Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday rejected an appeal by Islamists demanding the reinstatement of parliament, saying it was no longer legal, according to a judicial source. “The parliament no longer exists legally since the June 14 ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC)” deeming it unconstitutional and ordering its dissolution, the Supreme Administrative Court said. Officials in the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm the Freedom and Justice Party had hoped that the Supreme Administrative Court would support their demand for parliament to be reinstated. But the court said that any SCC decision could not be overturned.
In other news
• The State Department blasted CNN Saturday night for the network’s handling of a personal journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, which was removed from the site of the deadly Sept. 11 consulate attack. State Dept. spokesman Philippe Reines said in a statement to The Huffington Post that “given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting.”
REINES: Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting.
What they’re not owning up to is reading and transcribing Chris’s diary well before bothering to tell the family or anyone else that they took it from the site of the attack. Or that when they finally did tell them, they completely ignored the wishes of the family, and ultimately broke their pledge made to them only hours after they witnessed the return to the Unites States of Chris’s remains.
Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?
• Barring a burst of productivity in the lame-duck session in November and December, the 112th Congress is set to enter the Congressional record books as the least productive body in the post-World War II era. It had passed a mere 173 public laws as of last month. That was well below the 906 enacted from January 1947 through December 1948 by the body President Harry S. Truman referred to as the “do-nothing” Congress, and far fewer than many prior Congresses have passed in a single session.
• Ed Wilson: Wilson died Sept. 10 from complications from a heart valve replacement surgery, said Craig Emmick, a director at Columbia Funeral Home in Seattle. He was 84.
• Cuba has unveiled its first manufactured nanopharmaceutical drug — a tweaked variety of cyclosporine, used to help prevent transplant rejection — official media reported Saturday. “Its main advantages are that it can achieve the same favorable effect with a dose three times less powerful, using the most prescribed drug of its kind in its class, and while significantly reducing side effects,” lead researcher Dario Lopez told the Communist Party newspaper Granma.
• Right-Wing Obama lynching advocates take cue from Eastwood. I wonder how Clint Eastwood feels about having his piece of impromptu acting serve as grist for a lynch mob.
• Rival factions within the B.C. Conservative party are expected to battle over the political future of leader John Cummins during the party’s convention today. The question of leadership comes up one day after former Conservative byelection candidate John Martin defected to the B.C. Liberals.