The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    The Quiet Man of 2012 - You can ask, but he won't tell

        John Wayne, star of the 1952 movie, The Quiet Man, was known to be a man of few words. But the Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, makes Wayne seem a veritable chatterbox when it comes to delivering verbal (or any) communication with facts, stances and issues relevant in this Presidential election, such as: 

    ‘His policy on Afghanistan is described as at best ‘murky’ by top senators of both parties and he hasn’t put forth clear and concise stances when attempting to address other beyond our border issues’:

    ‘But it does serve as a reminder that, after 30-plus Republican primaries and an unprecedented number of debates, voters have little idea of how Mitt Romney would deal with the world outside America’s borders, what his philosophy is, or whom he would name to high-level positions in his administration.’

    Evidently, according to:

    ‘he spoke of some potential plans, but without specifics on the processes or end game………

    "I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go," Romney said. "Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I'm not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we've got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states."

    ‘The Obama campaign released the list of its bundlers through the end of the second quarter. The Romney campaign does not release the names of its bundlers.’


    Mitt Romney is running a “just trust me” campaign, in which his lack of specificity and transparency extends far beyond just his tax returns, to his bundlers and to large swaths of his policy proposals. Intriguingly enough, Romney advisers have now come right out and confirmed the thinking behind this strategy.

    Romney adviser said, “Campaigns that are about specifics, particularly in today’s environment, get tripped up.”

    It’s curious to me the rationale why both the contributors and the Republican candidate are so intent on keeping the identity of the donors ‘a secret’.  Will the candidate’s ‘top secret’ gains equate into greater losses for We, The People? 

    Of course, we all are all aware of his choice to remain quiet about his tax filings and applicable financial dealings. 

    But, now there is a new discovery that may revive the clamor for full disclosure (edited for space, hopefully readers will link to full article at) -

    Mitt Romney has repeatedly insisted during the presidential campaign that layoffs and other controversy surrounding Bain Capital companies for the past decade are not his responsibility, because he retired in 1999.

    "As we have said many times before, Governor and Mrs. Romney's assets are managed on a blind basis. They do not control the investment of these assets. The investment decisions are made by a trustee," spokeswoman Michele Davis said.

    But according to his 2010 tax return, when the Internal Revenue Service comes calling in April, Romney has a different answer: The presumptive GOP nominee reaps lucrative tax breaks for "active" participation in the private equity firm he founded, as well as a host of other investments.

    Even if Romney could persuade the IRS his involvement was legitimately active, that still leaves him in a rhetorical jam: For tax purposes, he claims an active status; for political purposes, he claims to have zero to do with the investments.

    The distinction is valuable, for the IRS treats passive and active income and losses differently. If a passive investment loses money, the taxpayer can only write off that loss if passive gains have also been made. But active losses can be written off at a 35 percent rate and deducted from the taxpayer's ordinary income. In other words, a taxpayer wants active losses, not passive losses. So by describing many of his investments as active, Romney saves himself millions of dollars in taxes.

    With those active investments, he is also securing a tax break few Americans enjoy: When he wins, he's paying a 15 percent rate on the gain. When he loses, he's writing it off at 35 percent, meaning that tax policy is subsidizing Romney's risk in his Bain investments.

    In other words, Romney didn't build that, at least not without taxpayer backing.

    Romney's 2010 tax return lists $301,630 in "trade or business interest" deductions and $503,737 in "trade or business expense" deductions -- all of it described as expenses from his business partnerships, including Bain. Specifically from his various Bain-related activities, Romney scored a total of $547,525 in such deductions.

    These kinds of deductions are only available to "active" participants in business partnerships. While Romney filed as an active participant for tax purposes, there is no evidence that he took part in Bain management decisions in 2010, and he has denied doing so…..

    "Governor Romney appears to be saying one thing to the American people and one thing to the Internal Revenue Service," Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said to The Huffington Post. "Right now we are just seeing inconsistent statements. The American people are entitled to know more than that. If there's a legalistic distinction, we are entitled to know what that is. ... Has he played too close to the line or over the line?"

    It is also possible that these deductions are all legitimate expenses for Bain and the handful of Goldman Sachs subsidiaries in which Romney is a partner. But listing personal expenses as business expenses is not allowed.

    In addition, some tax experts are surprised by the size of the deductions he takes as business expenses and the aggressive nature of the deductions.

    "One question is just the amount of the expenses," said Rebecca Wilkins, senior tax policy counsel at Citizens for Tax Justice. "At half a million dollars, you have to wonder what all of that is."

    Romney's income can basically be divided into two parts. His "ordinary" income triggers the top 35 percent tax rate to which America's wealthiest earners are subject. But most of his income comes in the form of capital gains, which are taxed at only 15 percent. According to the Washington Post, 50 percent of all capital gains in the United States flow to the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers.

    These two different tax rates present a tempting opportunity: By applying deductions to the pool of money taxed at 35 percent, rather than the pool of money taxed at 15 percent, Romney can reduce his overall tax bill. The $805,367 in deductions from his partnerships all receive exactly this useful treatment -- which may or may not be appropriate, depending on the nature of the expenses incurred.

    "What's problematic is that these expenses are being deducted at the ordinary income tax rate of 35 percent, while the related income is mostly subject to the preferential long-term capital gain tax rate of 15 percent," Wilkins said.

    However, it is evident he has changed his stance on blind trusts since Oct. 18, 1994, when Romney did state: 

     “The blind trust is an age-old ruse, if you will,” Romney said. “Which is to say you can always tell a blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.”

    And then in 2012 he asserts,

    “I don’t manage them, I don’t even know where they are,” Romney told Radio Iowa Monday of his investment portfolio. “That trustee follows all U.S. laws, all taxes are paid as appropriate, all of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there.”

    ‘Blind trusts are common among politicians. According to an Associated Press report, records show Romney transferred 12,000 shares in the Bermuda company to his wife’s blind trust the day before he was sworn in as governor in 2003, a transaction that was not publicly disclosed at the time. 


    (Read more on Romney in 1994: Blind Trusts a 'Ruse') 

    Mitt Romney might repatriate his vast overseas holdings if he is elected president, the GOP candidate said in an interview with Parade magazine.

    The family-friendly periodical asked readers what questions the Romneys should be asked during the interview, which led to the question on Romney's offshore funds.

    "There were a number of questions about your financial wealth," Parade noted. "New Jersey resident Harry H. asked if you would make this pledge: If elected, do you promise to bank in the United States?"

    Romney first replied by claiming that the decision was out of his hands. "My investments have been managed for almost the last 10 years by a blind trust. A trustee decides where to put our money. If I'm president, my understanding is the same principle applies, that I may not direct any of my investments. I can't tell you what my investments might be because I won't make them," he said. "But I'm happy to have every investment in the United States."

    If it will make him happy, then why....?  Oh, never mind.

    He did release a sorta/kinda economic platform:

    ‘It is becoming increasingly evident that Romney’s “creative destruction” model of wealth creation for himself and wealthy investors does not include a thriving economy for average Americans.’

    While there are a multitude of reviews of his economic policy intro data, there is a consensus among most that it is vague, lacking in process and accurate financial data.  But, you review in part or whole as you need to make your own judgment.

    Romney’s ongoing reticence to stand up and speak out concisely and clearly about his policy plans, financial holdings and actions as well as other pertinent matters, equates to either his belief that he should not be held to the same requisites as others or arrogance and/or he doesn’t really have policy processes ready for review but knows the truth will harm, not help, his candidacy.

    The truth is that if voters will cast their vote for him, or any, without at least the option of knowing the facts about the candidate’s campaign donors identities, full financial disclosure, his specific plans and processes, professional endeavors - well then, kudos to Romney for his assessment that most voters will vote without benefit of factual knowledge about the man and his candidacy; which will only prove we have, and most certainly will continue to suffer from, the deeds of the government we deserve.

    As my momma said, 'It's the quiet ones ya gotta watch out for!'

    Note:  IMO - Both candidates need to quit harping on the past and deliver their processes, with specifics, on their plans for our nation’s future, with clear, concise specific goals.


    It is amazing that he has gotten so far by saying nothing. I had a talk with a Black Republican today who has switched to Independent.He will vote (again) for Obama because his former party has gone crazy. He is amazed that the hold standard is being mentioned. The active voter suppression is an abomination. Romney has been silent on a host of issues but found his voice on Birtherism.

    Romney is the true empty suit. Romney will bend to the desires of the even more wealthy than Romney funders of the SuperPacs.

    We will see how much detailed questioning Romney gets during the bates.Will his use of Bain as a cover to lower his taxes in 2010 even come up?

    I just did a quick read of some other sites and didn't see anything about the latest tax news referenced by Huffington.  It doesn't seem to be a small matter and speak to his methodology and ethics. Curious. 

    I really am worried about the ADD voters (and media) seem to have about Romney's ongoing lack of addressing important issues.  The Fluke/Rush debacle somehow eclipsed what's now the 'shrug, oh well' norm and both factions actually focused and were pro-active.  And yet, very few seem able or willing to do the same with the issues noted in post that should be 'front page' and needs pursuing.

    Perhaps to quibble, but as a lifelong sufferer. and Chair of the A.D.D. Trotskyite Caucus (curiously comprising all of the remaining Trotskyites...) I am happy to report that when adequately (or, in my case, enthusiastically) medicated, we are as (or, really, far more) alert than our neurotypical brethren

    Excellent, Aunt Sam.  These are the kinds of things that rile liberals and progressives up, but to the Republicans it's all just hot air.  They know who they're going to vote for and his name is Willard "Mitt" Romney.  Big yawn to all that's being dug up about their guy.  They want him (well, not quite), they'll vote for him, and if enough of them do, he'll become president.

    All that you cite above will be like water off a duck's back, even after he becomes president, because the base wants to believe that we're out to get them and we're bad. 

    He will be either the first-worst president or the second-worst president, depending on how GWB fares in the recent history department, but it won't matter, because Republicans have a knack for revising history and redeeming even the worst of their leaders.  They did it with Ronald Reagan--so much so that he is now a national hero right up there with Roosevelt.

    Romney can afford to be the quiet man, never allowing himself to get pinned down to specifics, because he knows, and the party leaders know, that he is just a figurehead, anyway and no matter what he does as president, history is bunk.  It's a win/win for them and they don't have to do anything except call themselves "Republicans."

    Okay, now I'm depressed.  Going to look for some chocolate.  Be back later.

    I agree that a large segment of the GOP doesn't care about his lack of communicating specifics about any plans, etc.  However, I do believe that for whatever reason the media is giving him a pass (softball interviews) and lack of follow up on (what should be) critical issues.

    That said, the most disheartening for me are two elements:

    1.  Majority of all too many voters are apathetic about these issues and

    2.  Obama's campaign and Dems reacting instead of being proactive.  Too much of their 'message' is just politico speak, responding to, instead of initiating clear messages about their stances and plans. 

    Even within the blogosphere, too much blather and not enough factual, informative topics needing to be addressed - not once or twice, but over again and again to at least attempt to stay on task and promote pro-active participation. 

    I agree that we want to hear something more substantive from Obama and the Dems but I'm thinking we won't just yet because it's still August and they're biding their time until summer is over.  We haven't had our convention yet, and that's when the platform is unveiled and there is something to chew on.

    If it doesn't happen soon after the convention then we can start hollering.  November will be on us before we know it.

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