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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18, 2012 - Morning Headlines

- A suicide bomber has killed Syria's Defense Minister Wednesday morning according to state-run media (CNN):

- An organization of civil rights groups, religious leaders, and business organizations are challenging Arizona's "show me your papers" law upheld by the Supreme Court last month (ABC News):

- Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told the Congress that the US economy is "stuck in the mud" as retail sales slow and unemployment remains stagnant (CBS News):


  1. This is certainly going to be a reoccurring topic as the election draws near and the campaigns go into full force:

    I honestly feel similarly to the author of that piece.

    I know that some see this as a distraction or issue of non-relevance, and many on the left certainly are attempting to exploit that and as such I don’t agree with or support those motivations.

    But the Watergate scandal was serious, and there are very real, relevant, and important reasons that financial transparency has become tradition among all presidential candidates over the past 40+ years. Good or bad. Romney should not be any exception to what essentially has become standard.

    I realize that this is sort of the double-edged sword here from Romney’s perspective, in that he likely could receive bad press for this either way. Regardless of whether the returns end up ‘shady’ or not, I’m sure many on the left will take advantage of it by continuing their ‘Romney is disconnected’ campaign in tie to his high wealth/earnings. Then of course, if he doesn’t release them he leaves the open-ended question about his motivations and the level of trust you can have in him.

    But I think that the ultimate decision here is still rather clear.

    In reality, so long as he has nothing significant/extremely questionable to hide, the only people that will demonize him for his wealth likely are far left and weren’t voting for him in the first place. And in exchange, he’ll help gain the trust of independent voters or others on the fence. Not releasing the returns though, won’t gain him anything and only stands to hurt him.

    And the issue certainly is not going to go away.

    1. Good morning RKen - Back to the disagreement column for me :-)

      I think this is just more of the media doing what it wants to do with respect to Romney. This is a non-issue in my opinion. He has followed, to date, all of the required rules to run for the office of President of the United States. For the press to be reporting a political hack piece (I'll get to that in a minute) as "news" on it's front page shows exactly what I'm talking about.

      Why is this a hack piece? Because in it, without explicitly saying/making such accusations, Kleinbard brings up four "issues."

      - Swiss Bank accounts - Really Kleinbard, really? Romney filed an FBAR form, and the IRS had no problems. To me, like I've said before, this is another example of the left taking advantage and clouding an issue around the fact that the average Joe American will not understand these complex things.

      - Romney's IRA? Again, what does this have to do with anything. Kleinbard implies that he was somehow able to illegally inflate it? If that's the case, wouldn't the IRS have clamped down on it years ago?

      - Family Trusts? Now we are on a witch hunt here.

      - His fourth point kind of lumps them all together.

      My addressing of these: if there was really a problem, as someone (I can't remember who) stated in a separate comments section today, wouldn't the IRS have caught him? Wouldn't he be DQ'd for all this already? Showing this info TO THE PUBLIC doesn't do anything? What would showing this info do? The only question is, "did he do anything illegal?" If he did, the IRS would have caught it. If not, then alllllll these speculations are meaningless. To me, that supports my view on this. To further support it, to back the part that I say the left is exploiting the fact that the public doesn't know/doesn't understand these issues, if you look at Mitt Romney's Facebook page, it's loaded with Obama supporters' comments along the lines of "Mitt Romney outsourced jobs." To repeat anything that comes out of Team Obama's mouth without question, even in the face of this being proven to be not true by numerous fact checkers (along the same lines of the "when did Mitt leave Bain" issue, again, proven in favor of Mitt by many democrats themselves) shows how Team Obama knows it can continually get away with this. Just say it, repeat it, and the people will follow.

      Kleinbard then crosses into that murky tax issue lie. He says:

      "For 2010, the Romneys enjoyed a federal tax rate of only 13.9% on their adjusted gross income of roughly $22 million, which gave them a lower federal tax burden (including payroll, income and excise taxes) than the average American wage-earning family in the $40,000 to $50,000 range."

      FALSE! Just flat false. Nothing shows that the average American wage-earning family in the $40,000 to $50,000 range pays anything near 14% in taxes.

      In fact, it's about half that. I'm so tired of the lie. People can vote for whomever they want, but the lying is starting to make me sick.

    2. Hi LME,

      Well, just to clarify off the bat, I was agreeing with the message in his call for full financial disclosure and the importance there-of such. I don’t care much for the talk of Swiss bank accounts and the like.

      My questions to you in that topic would be:

      If there was really a problem in Nixon's Watergate scandal, wouldn't the IRS have caught it too? Should that whole issue have been dropped form day 1 for the same reasoning you listed here? Is this not an important part of the presidential nomination process? And as such should be abandoned despite it becoming standard over the past four decades?

      We as a people hold much higher standards and examination of whom we elect to the office of the POTUS, than we do for a normal tax-payer. There is no good reason not to encourage (if not require) full disclosure here, other than it potentially being used against your own candidate.

      Someone running for president has their entire career history, education, grades, criminal background, credit ratings, debt, and personal life on the table for verification and legitimacy. But not income/tax statements? That doesn’t even make sense to me. Does it to you?

      And again, none of this is particular to Romney either. I feel like everyone seems to think this is just all about Romney, but it isn’t. I again don’t disagree that it has been escalated by the anti-wealth sensationalism lately, but that doesn’t change the fact that this originates far before Romney ever came in the picture and has become all but standard since then.

    3. RKen,

      I completely agree with the call for full financial disclosure. Romney has done that. Full means giving exactly what is required. He has done that. This to me, is just what I have said it is: a witch hunt. He has done everything requested of him. To accuse him of anything less is like trying to get someone disqualified and unable to graduate from high school without completing extra credit assignments. He has released exactly what was needed, nothing bad was found, so everything else is silly. Again, what stops the left from saying, "well, we want to see what's under his bed... Obama happily showed us (I know he didn't, this is an example), so what is Mitt hiding" and jumping on Mitt for not partaking.

      I'm not sure to how the IRS would have caught on to Watergate, or how it relates since that was an in-presidency issue? I think that's completely unrelated. That's something that maybe if not busted (slipped up and caught) by authorities would never have happened. Nixon didn't go, however, "here, authorities, this is what I'm doing." With his financial records obligations, Mitt is. So yes, to me, this is different, and again, if there was anything nefarious over the last 40 + years, it would have came up.

      Yes, we have the right to know of the president what we should know. Mitt has done all these. Again, tax returns for 12 (random number, why not 11, or 15 or 40) or however man years is baloney. Mitt has satisfied the requirements to run for the office.

      TO me, it's nothing but an oversensationalized witch hunt that distracts voters while the country is suffering in an attempt to get them to say, "oh you know, there must be something there."

    4. Not to repeat the same points as in the other post, but on the one point:

      Full disclosure to me means presenting everything asked of him within reason and by a large enough populous. As typical?

      This doesn't mean he has to cater to some fringe extremists that want to know what color underwear he wears, but it does mean that something as important and oft-requested as his past tax returns are. It comes across as a completely unfair attempt to delegitimize the potential seriousness of a president's financial past by comparing it to asking for what is under his bed.

      I feel like we wouldn't be having this conversation if this was a Democrat breaking the trend of the past 40 years either. Would you feel exactly the same if the roles were reversed?