Archive for what are they hiding?

VIDEO: What's the deal with Republicans and their refusal to provide details? Talkin' to you this time, Boehner.


To go all Seinfeldian for a moment, what's the deal with Republicans and their refusal to provide details? Remember this collection of GOP evasion and secrecy?

Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Republicans just can't seem to learn from their mistakes, because here we go again.  Then again, if Americans knew the details of their plans... fugetaboutit.

Today at a press conference, John Boehner said the following:


There has been no serious discussion of spending cuts so far. And unless there is, there is a real danger of going off the fiscal cliff. [...] So right now all eyes are on the White House…It’s time for the President, Congressional Democrats to tell the American people what spending cuts they’re willing to make.


So your 2011 position still stands, then? I mean, are you still offering, those talks from 2011, is that still the basis here?


Listen, I’m not going to get into the details, but it’s very clear what kind of spending cuts need to occur, but we have no idea what the White House is willing to do.

Pot. Kettle. Elusive.

Think Progress:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on President Obama and Democrats to specify entitlement cuts that could balance their desires for tax increases in a hypothetical deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff,” even though only Republicans have demanded spending cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security. Despite their support for putting entitlement programs on the chopping block, GOP lawmakers have refused to specify how, or by how much, they would cut the programs.

First, it's not a "fiscal cliff," more like a "fiscal bluff," and a crisis of their own making. Second, they're not entitlements, they're earned benefits.

And third, killing Medicare is not an option, voucherizing is not an option, avoiding direct questions is not an option, but this sure is: Liberals double down: No entitlement cuts.


VIDEO-- GOP war on reality: The non-partisan report that Republicans don't want you to see


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Republicans "refuse to acknowledge that a factual thing is a factual thing."

The GOP pushed for the removal a non-partisan report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (Congress's own think tank) that showed that the very partisan Republican economic plan of tax cuts for the wealthy helping the economy is dead wrong.

The federal agency that wrote the report is "the gold standard,"  their integrity  is "unimpeachable" per Rachel Maddow.

They show that there is no evidence that cutting taxes on the rich will make the economy grow, which is exactly the basis of Mitt Romney's and the GOP's economic philosophy. That is what Romney has been trying to sell America. That is the premise he's been pushing for months and months.

So what did Senate Republican aides do when they got wind of the findings that conflict with their own talking points? Why, they started complaining about them so strongly that the agency withdrew the report.

The GOP does this repeatedly: Don't like what you hear? Get rid of the report. But we have it. The Maddow Blog has it. The Internets have it, right here. And as Rachel Maddow reminds us, "there's nothing that Senate Republicans can do to stop that."

Maddow Blog's Steve Benen:

More information is coming to light.

Thomas Hungerford, the CRS researcher who produced the report, told HuffPost that he stands by it. "Basically, the decision to take it down, I think The New York Times article basically got it right, that it was pressure from the Senate minority to take it down," Hungerford said. "CRS reports go through many layers of review before they're issued and as far as the tone and the conclusions go, people who specifically look at the writing and the tone said it was okay. So it's not going to be that and as I can tell you outright, I stand by the report and the analysis in the report."

Hungerford said that he had never experienced suppression like this before....

For its part, McConnell's office insists "people outside of Congress" also raised concerns about the CRS report, but Tim Noah explained that these outsiders are apparently limited to conservative think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation.

Here is the New York Times article.

The Republican party suppresses the vote and suppresses the truth. Why any voter would think either of those actions is worthy of their support is beyond me.

Steve Benen goes on to say, "I talked yesterday with the office of House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Mich.), who's begun an informal investigation to determine the extent to which the CRS faced coercion from Mitch McConnell's office."

Jared Bernstein, a former economist for Vice President Biden:

This sounds to me like a complete political hit job and another example of people who don’t like the results and try to use backdoor ways to suppress them... I’ve never seen anything like this, and frankly, it makes me worried.”

Me too.


Report: Romney used loophole to “rent” Mormon church’s exemption status, avoid paying taxes for 15 years


So will anyone care enough to report this widely now that we're only a week out from Election Day? And now that we have Hurricane Sandy to contend with?

Willard M. Romney can hide, he can run, he can even run and hide, avoid and deflect, but somebody's going to find his tax returns, or at least divulge more about them.

Raw Story sums it up for us:

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney used a loophole to “rent” the Mormon church’s tax exemption status and defer paying taxes for 15 years, according to a new report.

Tax returns obtained by Bloomberg News through a Freedom of Information Act request indicated that Romney set up a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) in June 1996 just before Congress cracked down on the loophole in 1997.

Bloomberg News:

The charitable remainder unitrust, as it is known, is one of several strategies Romney has adopted over his career to reduce his tax bill. While Romney’s tax avoidance is legal and common among high-net-worth individuals, it has become an issue in the campaign. [...]

In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity -- the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing -- to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefiting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires, according to tax returns obtained by Bloomberg this month through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In general, charities don’t owe capital gains taxes when they sell assets for a profit. Trusts like Romney’s permit funders to benefit from that tax-free treatment, said Jonathan Blattmachr, a trusts and estates lawyer who set up hundreds of such vehicles in the 1990s.

The main benefit from a charitable remainder trust is the renting from your favorite charity of its exemption from taxation,” Blattmachr said. Despite the name, giving a gift or getting a charitable deduction “is just a throwaway,” he said. “I used to structure them so the value dedicated to charity was as close to zero as possible without being zero.”

Michael Arlein, a trusts and estates lawyer at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, said, "The Romneys get theirs off the top and the charity gets what’s left. So by definition, if it’s not performing as well, the charity gets harmed more.”

Sound familiar? Remind you a little of Mitt's Bain Capital days? They profit, the business from whom they make money loses. See: Sensata, Bainport, Illinois.

Follow the link for more.


Mitt Romney: No more interviews for you!


Why it seems like only yesterday that I posted that President Obama will be taking questions from young voters on MTV, and my doubts that Willard Romney would do the same. Oh wait, it was yesterday.

In fact, President Obama will be interviewed by both Brian Williams and Jay Leno this week.  And Willard?

Per Politico:

The Romney campaign is not committing to granting any network interviews in the final two weeks of the campaign.

No interviews for you! So there.