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For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. Nicholas Shaxson delves into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.
By Nicholas Shaxson
A person who worked for Mitt Romney at the consulting firm Bain and Co. in 1977 remembers him with mixed feelings. “Mitt was … a really wonderful boss,” the former employee says. “He was nice, he was fair, he was logical, he said what he wanted … he was really encouraging.” But Bain and Co., the person recalls, pushed employees to find out secret revenue and sales data on its clients’ competitors. Romney, the person says, suggested “falsifying” who they were to get such information, by pretending to be a graduate student working on a project at Harvard. (The person, in fact, was a Harvard student, at Bain for the summer, but not working on any such projects.) “Mitt said to me something like ‘We won’t ask you to lie. I am not going to tell you to do this, but [it is] a really good way to get the information.’ … I would not have had anything in my analysis if I had not pretended.
“It was a strange atmosphere. It did leave a bad taste in your mouth,” the former employee recalls.
This unsettling account suggests the young Romney—at that point only two years out of Harvard Business School—was willing to push into gray areas when it came to business. More than three decades later, as he tried to nail down the Republican nomination for president of the United States, Romney’s gray areas were again an issue when he repeatedly resisted calls to release more details of his net worth, his tax returns, and the large investments and assets held by him and his wife, Ann. Finally the other Republican candidates forced him to do so, but only highly selective disclosures were forthcoming.
Even so, these provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, “I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.” But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” It could be that Sankaty is an old vehicle with little importance, but Romney appears to have treated it rather carefully. He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003, the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. The director and president of this entity is R. Bradford Malt, the trustee of the blind trust and Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list this entity on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an “excepted investment fund” that would not need to be on his disclosure forms. He finally included it on his 2010 tax return. Even after examining that return, we have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates. While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.
That’s not the only money Romney has in tax havens. Because of his retirement deal with Bain Capital, his finances are still deeply entangled with the private-equity firm that he founded and spun off from Bain and Co. in 1984. Though he left the firm in 1999, Romney has continued to receive large payments from it—in early June he revealed more than $2 million in new Bain income. The firm today has at least 138 funds organized in the Cayman Islands, and Romney himself has personal interests in at least 12, worth as much as $30 million, hidden behind controversial confidentiality disclaimers. Again, the Romney campaign insists he saves no tax by using them, but there is no way to check this.
Bain Capital is the heart of Romney’s fortune: it was the financial engine that created it. The mantra of his campaign is that he was a businessman who created tens of thousands of jobs, and Bain certainly did bring useful operational skills to many companies it bought. But his critics point to several cases where Bain bought companies, loaded them with debt, and paid itself extravagant fees, thereby bankrupting the companies and destroying tens of thousands of jobs.
Come August, Romney, with an estimated net worth as high as $250 million (he won’t reveal the exact amount), will be one of the richest people ever to be nominated for president. Given his reticence to discuss his wealth, it’s only natural to wonder how he got it, how he invests it, and if he pays all his taxes on it.
The Geopolitical Paradigm of the 21st Century
November 26, 2011
When The Shanghai Five held its first presidential summit in China in 1996, this innocuous group hardly registered as a blip on the geopolitical radar. Within just five years, however, the loose-knit cooperative organization of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan was already attracting the attention of some of the premier globalist institutions as a potential opponent to Western imperial hegemony.
In 2001 the five countries convened their annual summit in Shanghai where they admitted the body’s sixth member, Uzbekistan, and signed the Declaration of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And from these inauspicious beginnings emerged an economic, cultural and military alliance which is now threatening to become a serious contender for control over one of the most geostrategically important areas of the globe.
This region, which arch-globalist Zbigniew Brzezinski referred to as “The Eurasian Balkans” in his infamous 1997 opus, The Grand Chessboard, encompass portions of Southeastern Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Brzezinski admonished the global power players who constitute his real readership that “any successful American policy must focus on Eurasia as a whole and be guided by a Geostrategic design.”
This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett, presenting the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, its increasing role in the formation of economic, political and even military cooperation in the region, a new power bloc that is not within the purview of the NATO powers and threatens western sovereignty over this vastly important region, and the tension that is likely to increase, as both sides become more entrenched, and more desperate to attain control over the area.
Watch the Preview Here:
Americans are more upset with political leadership than ever before
By Paul Joseph Watson
Disapproval of Congress has hit an all time record high of 84% according to a Gallup poll released today, barely a week after pollster Pat Caddell warned that a dramatic loss of confidence in the country’s leadership meant Americans were now “pre-revolutionary”.
“Americans have usually not held Congress in high regard, but currently they have a more negative view of the institution than any other time Gallup has measured,” states the report, noting that the disapproval figure stood at 77% last time Americans were polled on the issue in early July.
Approval of Congress, which stands at just 6 per cent according to Rasmussen, is measured by Gallup at 13 per cent, tying the all time historic low reached in December 2010, but the disapproval figure of 84 per cent is one percentage point higher than last December’s figure.
Disenchantment with Congress is mirrored by President Obama’s ailing approval rating, which also fell to an all time low of 40% in recent days.
Anger at both Obama and Congress at their inability to offer genuine long-term solutions to the debt crisis and the country’s economic decline has left many Americans fearful that rioting and unrest could ensue. Almost half of all Americans believe that government austerity measures will lead to civil unrest on a scale recently seen in London, according to a new Rasmussen survey.
By every measurement, Americans are finally beginning to realize that the two party system has failed them because both establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats have completely abrogated their duty to uphold the constitution in favor of pleasing Wall Street and special interests in Washington.
This is why 2012 is perfectly primed for Congressman Ron Paul, the only presidential candidate who has stuck to sound money principles. Paul’s voting record proves that he is the only Republican candidate who will attempt to change the status quo that has left America in financial ruin.
Polls show that Ron Paul has the best chance out of any of the Republican candidates of beating Obama in 2012.
Now that the establishment media has brazenly admitted its deliberate policy to denigrate, sideline and ignore Ron Paul, it is once again left to the grass roots to educate other Americans about how Paul is the last hope for the United States if it wishes to maintain its status as the leading economic superpower of the world.
I'm not sure who authored this. It was sent to me in an email. But whoever wrote it, it's spot on if you ask me.
Political Psychology 101
If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.
As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result ... all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other
monkeys will try to prevent it because they don’t want to be sprayed with cold water.
Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment... with enthusiasm. Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.
Why, you ask? Because in their minds... that is the way it has always been!
This, my friends, is how Congress and state legislatures operate... and is why, from time to time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.
There is more than meets the eye to the meteoric rise of Sarah Palin. In this commentary American Free Press author Michael Collins Piper provides the details behind Sarah Palin and her backers. Find out exactly why the mainstream media loves to hate the former Alaskan governor.
WHO’S REALLY BEHIND THE SARAH PALIN PHENOMENON?
There’s more to the story than meets the eye! Although it is undoubtedly true that many self-styled “liberal” writers and self-perceived “grass-roots” activists of the liberal stripe have hammered away at Sarah Palin and contributed to a wide-ranging array of misinformation about her, particularly during the heat of the 2008 presidential campaign, the fact remains — hard as itmay be for both Palin’s liberal critics and her conservative defenders to understand—that, at the higher, decision making levels of the elite circles who own and control the big print and broadcast media, the word has obviously been sent down to promote Palin’s money-making and publicity-seeking ventures. AND THAT’S PRECISELY WHAT WE NOW SEE HAPPENING!
While Palin has most definitely carved out a niche in the American political pantheon as a “maverick” with a traditional conservative bent, highly regarded by many for her devotion to family values (and she has a most attractive family at that), the point remains that the big money power brokers who control the mass media have actually lent their support to Palin by giving her an AVALANCHE OF PROMOTION. What role the big money interests behind the scenes perceive for Palin in the future remains to be seen, but the evidence assembled here—uncomfortable though it may be for many, both on the “left” and the “right”—suggests indeed that high-level forces are laying the groundwork for a future national political endeavor by Palin. You won’t find this in-depth analysis anywhere else in print today. Although Mrs. Palin’s new memoir, entitled Going Rogue, promulgates the theme that Palin is “free and independent” in the Alaskan spirit with which she is identified, the truth is that Mrs. Palin is not “rogue” at all when it comes to the big issues that concern those who are now giving “Galloping Palinism” free rein in the big money-controlled big media in America.
Audio presentation by Michael Collins Piper,
the author of "The Power Behind Sarah Palin."
By Simon Tisdall and Richard Norton-Taylor
A US terror alert issued this week about al-Qaida plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials have told the Guardian.
The non-specific US warning, which despite its vagueness led Britain, France and other countries to raise their overseas terror alert levels, was an attempt to justify a recent escalation in US drone and helicopter attacks inside Pakistan that have "set the country on fire", said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the high commissioner to Britain.
Hasan, a veteran diplomat who is close to Pakistan's president, suggested the Obama administration was playing politics with the terror threat before next month's midterm congressional elections, in which the Republicans are expected to make big gains.
This is another great spoof from the Onion that highlights just how ridiculous our Members of Congress have become. Again, this is a spoof but it's not hard to imagine the boneheads in Congress actually doing something like this.
Leave it to the Onion to put it all into the perspective. This hilarious news story spoof captures just how ridiculous our members of Congress are. Funny part is this is not that hard to imagine these bone heads really proposing such a law.
By Kurt Nimmo
The Tea Party movement is now almost completely unrecognizable from what it was a few short years ago. It came to prominence in 2008 when the Libertarian Party of Illinois planned to hold an April 15, 2009 anti-tax “Boston Tea Party” in Chicago. In February 2009, the idea grew after CNBC personality Rick Santelli, speaking from the floor of the Chicago stock exchange, criticized the Obama administration’s tax and economic policies and urged Americans become Tea Party activists.
In fact, the idea began as the Boston Tea Party in 2006. It was founded by a group of former Libertarian Party members who criticized the party for its “abdication of political responsibilities,” declaring that “Americans deserve and desperately need a pro-freedom party that forcefully advocates libertarian solutions to the issues of today.” The Boston Tea Party opposed statism at all levels. “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”
How things have changed.
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