What is Romney Hiding?

So Mitt Romney wants to be President but he doesn't want to show people his tax returns. Is it because he has something to hide? Is he afraid if people see his tax returns they won't vote for him? All the more reason for people to not stop asking to see his returns. This is from Edward D. Kleinbard and Peter C. Canellos at CNN:
The U.S. presidency is a position of immense magnitude and requires a thorough vetting. What the American people deserve is a complete and honest presentation by Romney of how his wealth was accumulated, where it is now invested, what purpose is served by all the various offshore vehicles in which he has an interest and what his financial relationship with Bain Capital has been since his retirement from the company. These are all factors that go to the heart of his character and values.
It's quite probable that Romney has hundreds of millions of dollars stashed overseas. Why would he do that?  It's possible he's a tax cheat. Why else would he hide his returns? A lot of people are not voting for Romney because they like him, they just hate Obama.  So yeah, some people hate Obama so much they are willing to vote for a possible tax cheat. Romney should know that in the absence of information, people will tend to make up information to fit the narrative.

So people will continue to ask for Romney's returns.  After all, many people never stopped asking for President Obama's birth certificate, right?  The drumbeat will continue.


Happy Birthday to Hunter S. Thompson

Happy Birthday to the late Hunter S. Thompson.
Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish — a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow — to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested...Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988)
We need people like Thompson now to help us make sense of the world.


Things Are About to Get Very Bad for Mitt Romney

The story about why Mitt Romney has not released more of his tax returns is about to break wide open-- and it could be the end of his candidacy. I expected the story to start to get legs today. There were a few rumblings over the weekend. All this even before the smoke has cleared regarding when exactly he left Bain Capitol to manage the Olympics.

 Here's the latest from the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson:
Romney has spent the better part of a decade running for president. Did it never occur to him that if he ever won the Republican nomination, surely there would come a time when he was under pressure to release multiple years’ worth of tax returns? Did he think everyone would forget that it was his own father, George Romney, who set the modern standard for financial disclosure? Did he not recall that when he was being considered for the vice presidential nod four years ago, he furnished tax returns spanning more than two decades to John McCain’s campaign?
All good questions. So now even conservatives are calling for a full disclosure of returns. This is real trouble for Romney. If it comes out that he's a tax cheat then that's the end for Mitt. Look for serious challenges to his candidacy at the convention.

The Best Election Money Can Buy

This is going to be the first national election since the Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case that allows unlimited corporate money in politics. Anyone who thinks that's a good idea is crazy.  A law called the DISCLOSE Act that would help reveal donor identities was defeated yesterday in the Senate. John Avlon says the bill never had a chance:
Look, bringing up a bill that attempts to clear up this potentially half-billion-dollar loophole never had much chance of passing just four months before a presidential election. But it is still disappointing to see it go down in a 51-44 vote. Because back in 2000, a similar proposal to increase transparency in election donations enjoyed bipartisan support—and in the last congress, the DISCLOSE Act passed the House and received 59 votes in the Senate. This version of the bill would have impacted unions as well as trade associations and 501(c)(4)s in the future. It was a balanced bill that could have compelled more disclosure on both sides.
It was your friends, the GOP, who voted it down. No surprise there.  And so unlimited funds continue to pour into political campaigns without a trace of where they come from. What a great way to launder drug money. Who knows, maybe our next president will be chosen by Exxon or Pfizer or even China?


Income Inequality Hurts Everyone

In today's Washington Post,  E.J. Dionne says conservative policies make income inequality worse:
Occupy Wall Street, whatever its future, will always merit praise for placing inequality at the center of our politics. The biggest sign of the Occupiers’ success: Conservatives once stubbornly insisted that inequality wasn’t a problem because the United States was the land of opportunity and upward mobility. Now they are facing the fact that we are by no means the most socially mobile country in the world.

Power for Sale

In 2010 Rick Scott spent an estimated $75 million of his own money to successfully run for Florida Governor. He clearly bought the governor's office.

Now with hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on the presidency, could we have the first president bought by special interests? Robert Reich says American Democracy is for sale and the American people are the biggest losers.n
I’m not letting Democrats off the hook. Democratic candidates are still too dependent on Wall Street casino moguls and real casino magnates (Steve Wynn has been a major contributor to Harry Reid, for example). George Soros and a few others have poured big bucks into Democratic coffers. So have a handful of trade unions.
 But make no mistake. Compared to what the GOP is doing this year, Democrats are conducting a high-school bake sale. The mega-selling of American democracy is a Republican invention, and Romney and the GOP are its major beneficiaries.

Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration.