Friday, August 10, 2012

What In Romney’s Tax Returns? – Digging for Dirt Reveals Romney Helps Family Purchase First Home

Romney's Pictured with his "Build It" Slogan - Walks the Walk - image

While the Obama Campaign, Harry Reid and every news outlet continues to call for more than two years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns to be released, accusing Mitt Romney of not paying his “fair share” of taxes - The New York Times has uncovered an investment that might make those who would see Romney as a “vulture capitalist” back track a bit. Tucked into the real estate news section is an article about Romney’s investments in Houston in the early 1980’s. This real estate investment involved purchasing lower income properties, renting them out to own, in order to for everyone to benefit – the investor and those renting the properties. The housing market in Texas took a turn for the worst, and Romney held onto the properties even when other investors bailed. When the market improved, he gave the renters the opportunity to buy the homes – personally backing the mortgages, even to those that could not be approved for a traditional bank mortgage. (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

“The renters were offered the first chance to buy, but the Stampses could not qualify for a mortgage, recalled Mr. Stamps, who at the time had recently lost his job at an oil company.

“Then I got this phone call, personally, from Mr. Romney, asking if we really wanted to buy the house,” Mr. Stamps, 63, said in an interview the other day at the barbershop he now runs. “I said, yes we did. And he said he would loan us the money. He really helped us when we needed it.”

“Mr. Stamps said that he and his wife had received calls in recent months from strangers who “seemed to be looking for negative stuff” about Mr. Romney, but that the couple had nothing to say to them. (The Stampses recently refinanced the original 30-year loan; the new mortgage, still with Mr. Romney, was dated June 12 but signed just two weeks ago. Details of the interest rate were not included in the public record.)”

The Times article notes that the Romney Campaign had no statement on this particular story – which is not unlike the Campaign – given that there are instances in Romney’s character that show a man that would help individuals, no matter the circumstances, and no matter who the individual are. It is a rare glimpse at the “other Mitt Romney”, the young man who gave his entire inheritance to charity away while in college and opted to live in a basement apartment in Boston instead. A young man who worked his way up the ladder on his own – no handouts. Critics are quick to site that there must be something he’s hiding in those tax returns, and perhaps there is – perhaps additional investments and or charitable ventures that, the reserved Romney might prefer to keep to himself.

Little has been reported about his selfless rescue of a family and their dog while he was the Governor of Massachusetts – those types of stories don’t fit with the Press and Obama Campaign narrative. Moreover, and the reserved Romney doesn’t tout personal information that might put him in a very positive light. Perhaps given his position in the national spotlight, he prefers not to involve others that he may have helped – the result being hounded by “people that were looking for negative stuff” on Mitt Romney. It is all speculation on what drives the man who has built a fortune from the ground up, while being characterized as heartless by the Obama PAC’s and Campaigns – with 98% of the “news” coverage regarding Romney being negative. One might think he’d like a boost – but it’s obvious that’s not in his character. It does however, play into the Romney narrative of a hand up not a hand out to those in need, unlike the current government policy.

Perhaps those other returns might reveal instances where he reached out and helped others, something that would go missing from the main news (but tucked into “real estate” or under some other heading bound to less viewed) while the focus would continue to be on his ability to amass a fortune, as if the very act of striking it rich, were a crime in our society. Those returns may tell a different story and show a side to the former Massachusetts Governor that would not work for Harry Reid, or the Obama Campaign, but Romney’s sticking by the law that does not require candidates to release any tax returns.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Desperation - Obama Super PAC Ad Uses Man’s Grief to Blame Mitt Romney for Wife’s Death 5 Years After Romney Left Bain Breaks Ground for New Low

Mr.Soptic pictured above in Obama Campaign Ad, appears in Obama Super PAC Tying Romney to Soptic's Wife's Death - Image and article:

A new ad from a Political Super PAC which backs President Barack Obama’s reelection effort, released on the 7th of August, is just steps from being slanderous, plays upon a man’s grief, and has drawn criticism from CNN as well as the Boston Globe. The Globe’s article: “Ad by pro-Obama super PAC exaggerates link between Mitt Romney and woman’s death from cancer” reveals some facts about the ad: the man in the ad, which the Obama Administration claims to have no prior knowledge was featured in a conference call with reporters two months ago, after the campaign launched two anti-Romney ads – during that call, “Soptic told the story of his wife’s death.” (Boston Globe)

Additionally, there are some flaws in the grief stricken man’s timeline: The plant where Mr. Soptic worked, was closed in 2001, Mitt Romney was busy running the Olympics in Salt Lake City (Denver Post, Feb. 2000). According to Politico, Mr. Soptic’s wife died in 2006, 5 years after the plant was closed leaving Mr. Soptic’s timeline of a wife dying 22 days after being diagnosed with terminal cancer 5 years after he lost a job at a plant which closed in 2001, is somehow tied to Mitt Romney in any way, shape or form, somewhat delusional. For the PAC, and the Campaign with full knowledge of the man’s history, to run the ad, is slanderous. That’s a new low in American politics.

Not for nothing, but the man is obviously grief stricken, it is 2012, his wife passed way six years ago, and he’s blaming a man that had zero connection to his family in this ad, and assuming that Mitt Romney had somehow been aware of his personal circumstances, but does not give a whit about his personal loss! It is human nature to want to cast blame when there is a loss, some people tend to handle grief better than others, therefore, Mr. Soptic has found a way to vent his grief, and mix that with a little politics. The Campaign and the PAC are using this man, in an attempt to smear the opposition and this is apparently just fine with some people.

The Los Angles Time’s, Michael Kinsley’s Op-ed “Kinsley: Hitting Romney below the belt? A pro-Obama attack ad implies that the GOP candidate is responsible for the death of an Indiana woman who lacked health insurance.” , consistently asks the rhetorical “So What?” when referring to falsehoods in the Pro Obama ad.

”Critics say that when her husband was let go, the woman still had health insurance through her own employer, but lost it when she had to quit her own job due to unrelated medical problems. Well, so what?Any story like this is going to involve a series of misfortunes.”……
“By the time the plant was closed, Romney was no longer in charge of day-to-day decisions at Bain. Again, so what?”

The Op-ed, interspersed with screamingly ridiculous assertions regarding Mitt Romney in general, is obvious in its intent to support the President – yet the tactic by the Obama Campaign to attempt to smear Romney by using his former association with Bain Capital have, to date, failed miserably. In late July of 2012 a poll by USA/Gallup found that by a margin of 2 to 1, respondents thought Romney was more capable of handling the economy than the President, in spite of Bain Capital. For the Obama Super PAC to use this particular tactic defies logic.

The nation is politically split, according to polls, however, that belies the fact that those who consider themselves independents, and can and will lean towards a candidate based upon their records to date, if available, and vote regardless of political affiliation of any candidate, and generally make the final decisions in any given election. An ad that is designed to appeal to the fringe elements of a candidate’s base, playing this late in the game, after the tactic has failed, suggests desperation.

Perhaps those polls showing the race as extremely close are not particularly accurate.

Perhaps the campaign is attempting to rattle Romney and PACs that back him to run ads that are similar in nature – thus being able to point to Mitt Romney running a negative campaign. Smartly, he has not taken the bait. Ads by the Romney campaign have been "compare and contrast" in nature. Although, Romney’s PAC’s can be just as vicious and play just as fast and loose with advertisements (review attacks on Gingrich and Santorum during the primary), those ads sunk to lows, gaining “Pinocchio’s” from the Washington Post – but somehow, not quite as low as accusing someone of murder. The Post routinely reviews political ads for falsehoods such as a recent Obama Campaign ad, receiving 4 “Pinocchio's” for falsehoods against Mitt Romney(Washington Post)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, Democrat Challenger for U.S. Senate, Backs Off Attacks on Senator Scott Brown. Ray Flynn endorses Brown

Senator Scott Brown and Progressive Democrat Challenger Elizabeth Warren - image with article from

Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat challenger to Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate Seat, recently suggested that Brown release 20 years of tax returns, as he had been in public service for that period of time. When asked to release her returns beyond four years as an Obama appointee, Warren, according to the Boston Globe reporting on this latest Warren flap “Warren backed off her demand, saying today that six years was enough. She did not, however, offer to release any more of her IRS filings.

Both candidates were asked by the Globe in April to release six years of tax returns, a common request to check for conflicts of interest, and contradictions between a candidate’s policy pronouncements and personal financial practices.

Brown agreed to allow reporters into his campaign office to inspect all six years of documents. Warren would only agree to allow reporters to inspect four years worth of returns, releasing some documents outright and allowing reporters into her office to review the supporting documents covering the same period.”
(Boston Globe)

Warren, who has had some fits and starts over several controversies was supposed to be a more viable Progressive Democrat alternative to run against Brown, however, unlike former Brown opponent, Martha Coakley, Warren’s advertising to Massachusetts voters does not mention her party affiliation, which is a bit odd, considering that she is a Progressive Democrat in a heavily Democrat state. That said, perhaps not that unusual, as Massachusetts Democrats and Republican are often just as independent as the states majority voters – the 50 plus percent who designate themselves as “unenrolled” (no party affiliation). Some might view this attempt as somewhat deceptive of Warren, who casts herself as rather benign figure in advertising; however, Brown’s ads have contained the same theme, his independence. The difference is that Brown truly has been an Independent Republican as he served in the State Legislature, and the State Senate, as well as the U.S. Senate. To politically survive in Massachusetts, while holding an elective office, one apparently must be truly independent in practice in order to get things done. Brown took his Massachusetts independent streak to Washington, and has irked both Progressives as well as hard Conservatives with some of his votes – that means he’s doing his job. Warren, who has never held an elective office, has been on the attack on the stump, while Brown has been out on the stump, comparing and contrasting, while picking up one endorsement after another – of Democrat heavyweights in the State. One has to ask why? – It’s the fact that Brown honestly is one of those rare politico’s who looks at both sides of an issue, beyond party politics and makes the decision based on what he feels is best for Massachusetts. While State Senator, Brown was extremely accessible to his constituents, and has remained the same since moving to the U.S. Senate – this remains rarity for most politicians.

Perhaps it was his Massachusetts upbringing, perhaps it is his lengthy service in the National Guard, which gives Brown that quality of a “boy scout”, but he remains a fighter – that’s the Massachusetts in Brown.

What about Political Party and the Democrat Hold on the State? – It matters very little, for the majority of the electorate – if given an opportunity to choose a politician that is not corrupt (this is Massachusetts, which has more than its share of embarrassing politicians serving time and being subpoenaed so often it’s almost expected), over someone who is forthright, regardless of party, that individual will win – if they have the ability to cover the state or district – which is where the money game comes in. That said, one can see politico’s crossing party lines, regardless of affiliation to stump for and support someone from the “opposition party over one of their “own” – it comes down to the individual. There is also a difference between Democrats in Massachusetts, which, one can expect, is a nationwide theme – it is simply this: there are the Progressive Socialist Democrats, and then there are the rank and file, old time Democrats, those who belongs to the party that stood for the poor, the unions (when they represented the factory workers who faced seriously hazardous conditions and those Police and Firefighters who risk their lives every day – rather than those who pay dues to hold desk jobs.) – They were fiscal conservatives (no kidding), and few were obviously partisan. That changed, but those old time Democrats, are now referred to in some instances as Blue Dogs – a Democrat who is somewhat like a Republican – or, in real speak, a Democrat who is somewhat independent of party. Warren is not one of those Democrats, she is a Progressive to the core and it shows, despite the ads that depict an otherwise non-partisan message.

This may be why Brown is picking up the heavyweight endorsements, specifically that of former Boston Mayor and Clinton appointee as Ambassador to the Vatican, Ray Flynn. The Boston Herald reported on July 27, that Flynn was appearing in a Scott Brown Ad, endorsing Brown. There are more Democrats who have come out in support of the Senator – An article in today’s Southcoast Today, in which Paul Walsh, the former Bristol County DA, will appear in an advertisement for the Brown campaign. The article suggests that Walsh is one of those “old time Democrats”, as he has endorsed both sides of the aisle – only the article was more accusing than matter of fact about the nature Walsh’s endorsements.

The list goes on, so much so that national news outlets, finding this one of the most “competitive” races in the nation (based on campaign funds collected (Warren has the edge, with the majority of her contributions coming from out-of-state, while two thirds of Brown’s contributions are from Massachusetts – which speaks volumes (US News & World Report)
The U.S. Article referenced above suggests that Brown is gaining momentum on Warren due to the types of endorsements he has received, especially Ray Flynn, who is compared to the legendary, Tip O’Neil, in the piece. One might take a look at the polling with a grain of salt as well, the last polling conducted by the Mass Inc. Polling Group (via Real Clear Politics – PDF), shows Warren with a 2 point lead, in a survey of 445 registered voters, taken July 19 – 22nd , 2012. Brown has an overall favorability rating of 50% with 33% (somewhat to) unfavorable and 17% undecided/never heard of, while Warren has a 47% favorability rating, with 26% (somewhat to) unfavorable and 26% undecided or never heard of.. Of course its summer, and that may be the reason that those polled had no idea of who Brown or Warren were – as the never heard of were equal to those undecided’s. Mass Inc bills itself as a non-partisan organization – visit site at (Or all national polling that shows a "tight" race at this point, for that matter.)

One might be more inclined to rely on Ray Flynn’s assessment at this point, and look at polls coming from local sources to have Warren up by 15 points the weekend of the election (See Boston Globe from January 10th, one week from the special election, which had Coakley up 15 points over Brown. The end result was more Flynn Like – Brown up by 5 over Coakley.

Brown endorsement and Small Businessman with Scott Brown on Warren’s statements

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Romney and Obama The Money Game – From “Romney Hood” to Reid and Pelosi's "Dirty Politics"

Obama and Romney - All About the Cash - image: (a blog about government waste)

The American Political Landscape has become one in which fundraising for campaigns continues to rule the news – the race to build the bigger “war chest” to best an opponent has run amok – the Boston Globe reports on the fact that for the third straight month, Mitt Romney’s Campaign has outraised the Obama Campaign – the headline ”Romney Trounces Obama in Fundraising for 3rd month”, begins with the question: “Can President Barack Obama raise the money he needs to hold onto the White House?”and goes on to speak of the Romney’s advantage in fundraising has brought about the unthinkable –

“While the race for voter support is tight, according to polls, Romney's robust fundraising and a crush of money from Republican-leaning political action committees have forced the president's campaign to spend heavily through the summer.”
(Boston Globe)

How much money have both candidates raised in one month? – According to the Globe, Romney at $101 million to Obama’s $75 million – both men drawing money from those who “have”, and some who “have not”. Those who have, according to the President, on the fundraising trail in Connecticut’s “wealth belt” – speaking to the “haves”, the President suggested that Romney was like “Romney-Hood”. The New York Times reporting that the President hopes that his new, easy to repeat, mantra, will take hold. It is based on one study that suggested Romney’s tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class, and favor those who had more – similar to the current tax plan if that were the case - the exact quote: “It’s like Robin Hood in reverse – it’s Romney Hood,” Mr. Obama told supporters at a fund-raiser in Stamford, Conn.” (New York Times).

It might stick, or it might not – especially since other efforts to play dirty have appeared to backfire – Romney continues to outpace the President in individual donors (or those who have not yet reached the Federal maximum, as well as those who are able to give unlimited funds, businessmen, having small to large companies are giving to Romney. On the other hand Hollywood and some on Wall Street give to the Obama Campaign (See fundraising in Connecticut – a combination of Hollywood east and the railway to Wall Street. The Obama campaign also has individual donors, but has not come close to the 2008 election haul.

It makes one wonder, who is listening? The press has been extremely negative on Mitt Romney – as expected, and yet that has, to date, failed to make a dent – (Google Mitt Romney in Google News, and one finds one negative after the next, the latest being Mitt Romney’s Religion. Mitt Romney and the Mormon Culture – from the Washington Post, is the number two headline this morning on Google news.)

Therefore, as the difference between the two “war chests” is a source of consternation for the Obama team – they put Harry Reid to work, along with Nancy Pelosi to back up Reid, who suggested that “an unnamed source” told him that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for ten years, Nancy Pelosi chipped in and suggested Reid spoke “the truth”. These outrageous statements are so ridiculous that even the Chicago Tribune weighed in suggesting Reid was similar to a birther! (Those who believe that the President was not born in the U.S.), by stating the absurd based on pulling something “out of thin air”. – The kicker:

Someday, Reid will say something important that he genuinely wants Americans to believe. After this episode, they'll probably ignore him. We found ourselves nodding in agreement Monday with the opinion of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, no right-wing nut he: "The politics of this squabble are delightful. But Reid has managed to draw both his party and his president into the gutter with him. ... The soaring rhetoric that Obama used in his first campaign has come to ground in the mud of Harry Reid's latter-day McCarthyism."
(The Chicago Tribune)

What’s a party to do that’s losing the “money game”? – Simple: Attack the Candidate who has the most money by attacking the donors! The Jerusalem Post’s, “Defending Sheldon Adelson’s Support for Mitt Romney”, speaks to the negatives being heaped on Mr. Adelson: “These same Democrats are silent when big wigs pump big money into their own favorite candidates’ campaigns.(Jerusalem Post)

One thing that the disparity in fund-raising does tell us, is the difference between donors – those businessmen, who create jobs, and those small donors who may or may not have a job, are giving what they can to Mitt Romney, while the President is fundraising in artistic circles – the “celebrity” circles, and those small donors who support the President and his policies. The polls, which have shown a tight race since the beginning, given the divided nature of the nation when comes to “Party Identity” rather than political ideology, suggest that the need to sway voters is what drives the campaigns to seek out those who “have” more often. In the end however, all the mud-slinging aside, all the reporting aside, it will be the 5% of the population that decides who will be the next President – unless, of course, the polls change once the glow of summer has faded into fall and the voting public begins to make up its collective mind and decide for whom they will vote in earnest. Will all the negative advertising help? To date, it appears to have done little to change the polls. It seems to some, such a waste, when millions in this nation are unemployed, or underemployed, or on fixed incomes – all being squeezed by rising costs – of everything. Would it not be a more perfect world – if the candidates were chosen on accomplishments, rhetorical skills, and the public square speeches and both candidates donating the campaign cash not spent, but stockpiled, to those who “have not?” Indeed that’s utopian, and in the long-run would not be American Politics – where, according to, and fueled by, the press, (going back decades) money talks, and the candidate with the most “Cash” wins. In the case of this election, where one candidate is obviously preferred over another by the same press, the shock and excuses regarding Mitt Romney’s continued fundraising ability, is apparent, and transparent, as are the attacks on Mr. Adelson, yet they persist. Yet, according to some pundits, this election will be based on the economy, those who have not - ironic.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Harry Reid (D-NV) Questionable Push for Chinese Solar Firm in Vegas – Son Works for Company – While Solar Panel Prices Fall – What About U.S. Co.'s?

Harry Reid - Nepotism Trumps National Solar Firms - image

In an op-ed written by Steve Sebelius at the Los Vegas Review Journal, questions are raised about Harry Reid’s dismissal of coal powered plants in NV, and his push for a particular Chinese firm to produce green energy for Nevada. There are two issues, according to Sebelius: 1) a lack of interest by consumers (as there would be an increase in costs) and 2) Harry Reid’s son works as an attorney for the firm.

There was some backlash in comments regarding Solar Energy firms on another opinion piece in the Journal written by Sherman Frederick on the Reid – Chinese Solar Company – Reid’s son and why the need to “outsource” solar energy to a Chinese Firm. What was amazing, was that there were comments about Solyndra, ostensibly noting that the company went under because they failed to get “enough subsidies from the U.S. government”- somehow the blame lay with Mitt Romney and the Republicans. That said, the commenter was comparing apples to oranges in this case – the Chinese Firm building an energy plan, rather than manufacturing panels like the bankrupt Solyndra, but, the problem with solar panel manufactures appears to be global in nature. According to NBC news arm MSNBC -the falling prices of solar panels, globally, are pressuring U.S. companies:

Average selling prices for the photovoltaic modules that turn sunlight into electricity have dropped to 80 to 85 cents per watt, a decline of more than 10 percent from levels near 95 cents recorded at the end of 2011, a year that saw prices fall by about 50 percent.
Those price drops have helped boost solar sales and made solar power less dependent on subsidies to compete against fossil fuels. But they also have virtually erased profits at the major manufacturers, such as China's Suntech Power Holdings , Yingli Green Energy Holding, Trina Solar Ltd and U.S.-based First Solar.
First Solar, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer and the world's lowest-cost producer, has seen its shares drop nearly 90 percent from 2011's peak to their lifetime low at $20.02 hit earlier this month.
Global demand for solar panels grew by about 40 percent last year, but excess manufacturing capacity has created a glut of supplies that forced companies such as Suntech, Yingli, Trina and SunPower to slash prices.”
(MSNBC – April 15, 2012 via Reuters)

Therefore, any failure on the part of U.S. solar panel manufactures can be tied to a glut on the market for a product that no-one appears to want, not a lack of subsidies – and Harry Reid is pushing the concept at Nevada?

The Citizens of Nevada have Harry Reid on their hands until 2016, when he is up for re-election (or retires like Frank (D-MA-4) or Dodd (D-CT). Unfortunately, in his current position as the Senate Majority Leader, he also has an impact on the rest of us – that position would change, if the balance of power in the Senate moves to the Republican column – which is entirely possible in 2012. At that point Reid would be either voted, by a body of his peers” as the Senate Minority Leader, or relegated to the background as a rank and file member of the Senate. Either way he’d still have a bully pulpit to spout nonsense but less power. As a resident of a state with more corrupt politicians (Boston rivals Chicago), one is able to recognizes the “good old boy” cronyism that exists, from the state level to the federal level – and either ignore, or vote the offending “politician” out of office – or register a protest vote for a cartoon character.

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