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EditorBlog (1573)

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Last week, we posted a widely read commentary, "Did Romney Possibly Commit Fraud on His Income Taxes, But Received Amnesty?"

But there was another significant flare up about Romney's undisclosed income taxes last week, yet again.  The New York Times headlined it this way: "Romney Says He Paid at Least 13% in Income Taxes." The New York Times article of August 17 also this quotation and reporter interpretation, "'Every year, I’ve paid at least 13 percent,' he [Romney] said, referring to his effective federal income tax rate, which is a higher effective rate than most people pay."

There is a problem with the New York Times article and it is a big one.  Mitt Romney never referred directly to what he has or has not paid in income tax; he only referred to what he and his wife have paid in taxes in general over the last several years. (There is a second problem: The New York Times reporter implies that 13% is a high income tax rate.)

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

But, as Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out, the year 2009 even looms larger on the horizon.  (Remember that Romney has only released a 2010 income tax return with the vague offering to release his 2011 income taxes at some undesignated point in the future.)  Given that most of Americans paid their taxes by August 15th, the indefinite delay in sharing his 2011 income taxes raises the question of why he just won't release his 2009 IRS filing, which is completed.

Here may be the answer: Romney may have taken advantage of a 2009 IRS amnesty period to disclose income hidden in offshore accounts but subject to US taxation.  The amnesty offer allowed such persons to escape potential criminal prosecution for tax evasion.

Here is an example of what happened to one person who banked taxable income in offshore accounts to avoid paying US taxes, according to a law firm that specializes in such cases. It is entitled, "Additional Criminal Prosecutions for Undeclared Offshore Accounts.":

This week, Anton Ginzburg, another taxpayer with a non-compliant account at UBS, plead guilty in a Federal Court in New York to criminally concealing his account and failing to disclose the account on the required FBAR form.  This taxpayer faces a jail sentence of up to five years and a fine of approximately $1.5 million, constituting fifty percent (50%) of the value of the account during 2007.  In fact, the law allows the government to impose a 50% penalty for every year that the account was non-compliant, although the pattern in recent criminal prosecutions is that if the defendant enters a guilty plea, the government imposes a 50% penalty for one year.

This potential jail sentence and monetary fine stands in contrast to taxpayers who voluntarily disclose their foreign accounts.  A proper voluntary disclosure would avoid a criminal prosecution and jail time, and the fine would be capped at twenty five percent rather than fifty percent.

Indeed, even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information web page on the amnesty (which was re-instituted for part of 2011) notes: "Taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts or entities should make a voluntary disclosure because it enables them to become compliant, avoid substantial civil penalties and generally eliminate the risk of criminal prosecution."

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Reader Eric K. Johnson sent a proposal to BuzzFlash at Truthout for the Paul Ryan sequel to Ayn Rand, Ryan's idol, famous book, "Atlas Shrugged."  The book encapsulates Rand's theory of "objectivist" indifference to the "parasites" of the earth, those who get in the way of the "rational selfishness" of the masters of the universe.

BuzzFlash at Truthout took the liberty of reducing the short outline to a few Paul Ryan tenets. (Although we took the liberty of putting his philosophy from pen to paper.):

Grandma couldn't afford medical care to treat her colon cancer and passed away – and Paul Ryan Shrugged

Poor children had nothing to eat for lunch at school. Blaming the teachers, Paul Ryan shrugged.

Workers in the US ended up competing with Mexican maquiladoras, receiving $7.50 cents a day without benefits – Paul Ryan Shrugged.

Women were forced to carry babies to term, even if raped – Paul Ryan shrugged.

 

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

 

Paul Ryan wasn't voted the most likely to succeed by his Janesville, Wisconsin, high school peers.  In fact, according to the Washington Post, his classmates selected him as the “biggest brown-noser" in 1988.

That may be why he now appears to many as someone with the appearance of an earnest eagle scout, but with the inner balefulness of Eddie Munster.  Ryan carefully cultivates the sincere demeanor of someone who would take the time to help an elderly woman across the street, but he's likely to be pick pocketing her as he is doing it.  That pretty much serves as an anecdotal image of what he is doing when he assures seniors he is out to save Medicare and Social Security, knowing full well that his intention is to dismantle them as safety nets that are secure and efficiently run.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Most notably, as an indication that Paul Ryan's ambition is fueled by dishonesty, is a 2011 statement he made on videotape on universal coverage and Medicare. Ryan said (and we will put this in italics), "Government-run healthcare doesn’t work. Wherever we’ve seen government-run healthcare, it’s failed."

Let's repeat that, and for commenters who will claim Ryan didn't say that we have him on tape (courtesy of WashingtonStakeout.com): "Wherever we’ve seen government-run healthcare, it’s failed."

This a flat out lie for the consumption of flat earth voters.  In fact, there is no nation in the developed world with some form of universal medical coverage that has reversed it.  Here is a map from The Atlantic Magazine that shows nations that provide universal coverage in varying forms. Just click here to view.

universal coverage mapsliceUniversal coverage nations in teal (Courtesy of Campanstan website)

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

That's some fat deal on healthcare, pension, and salary that Paul Ryan has had since 1998 on the taxpayers' tab.

Ayn Rand, Ryan's heroine, calls the poor parasites. Ryan champions the takers, sort of an adaptation of the master race as defined by whoever is a "taker," a crusher of those who get in one's way to the acquisition of vast wealth and power.

Perhaps it is the supreme irony that Paul Ryan is the ultimate leech and parasite, living off the taxpayers' hard-earned dollars.

 

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT


Call it a Freudian slip or just call it the truth, but when Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States" on Saturday, it was more than just another Romney gaffe. It was an admission that we might have another Dick Cheney-style vice presidency wagging the tail of the president, were the ticket to be elected.

Ironically, this is a bit of a reversal from the Bush selection of Cheney (when Cheney was appointed to vet vice presidential candidates and positioned himself as the inevitable choice for George W.). In this case, Romney has chosen an ideological Ayn Rand zealot who is more of a son figure to him than Cheney was a strict authoritarian father figure to Bush.

mitt the twit quotes whatever33

 

Illustration by Lynn Larrow

Bolivia appeared set to become the fourth nation to ban Coca-Cola (Myanmar, North Korea, and Cuba), but quickly backed off this past week.

It's an interesting news story that reveals much about transnational corporations, the coca leaf industry in Bolivia (Coke originally used the coca leaf narcotic in its secret formula), the branding of caramel colored fizzy water as an international product sold in more than 200 nations, and the darker side of the Coca-Cola empire.

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, was elected as an indigenous populist president, capitalizing on his prominent position as head of the coca growers union, called the Cocalero.  A key Morales presidential campaign objective was the protection of coca growing (in limited areas) for traditional non-cocaine uses that have long been part of the Andean culture.  Morales first was elected as leader of Bolivia in 2006 and again, with 64% of the vote in 2009. 

killercoke2slice

Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:45

Blood Money Helped Start Bain Capital

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Truthout just finished a ten installment series called Truthout on the Mexican Border.  The last article concludes with the killing of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1980, and the people in the State Department, the Reagan administration and congress who supported the death squads in El Salvador.  

One of the leaders of the right wing paramilitary killings in that Central American nation – as pointed out in the Truthout series -- was Roberto D'Aubuisson, who was lionized by the likes of Jesse Helms.

As The Huffington Post reports in a detailed article, some of the initial backers of the death squads in El Salvador also provided a significant part of the financing that launched Bain Capital.

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Just this past weekend, in the concluding installment of Truthout on the Mexican Border, it was noted that the US assists friendly Latin American nations with setting up widespread surveillance capabilities.

Unfortunately, a federal appeals court just ruled that the United States government may wiretap American citizens without a warrant being necessary.  This legal finding means that any of us may have our telephone conversations monitored and recorded by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies:

The federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision reversing the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.

“This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.

Although a separate suit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’ aimed at striking down warrantless wiretapping is still active, right now the latest ruling is the law of the land. This means you have no guarantee that the government is not monitoring your conversations, and no recourse if they are.

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