Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
You Can't Hide Greedy, Stupid and Scared

Hide-and-Seek With Mitt and Barack

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

“Well, it’s time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry’s going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course, that’s totally and completely wrong.”

– Mitt Romney

OK, I’ve stopped laughing…Yep, he said it! And, there you have it. The recent “gaffes” about the Olympics and the mindless praise for Israel’s ability to control heath care cost sans any notice that Israelis enjoy Universal Health Care; the “I’m also unemployed” guy proffering $10,000 bets; the “corporations are people, my friend” guy calling for cuts to social services, the guy promising to invade Iran w/o Congressional approval (a la Obama re: Libya), the animal abuser…this is the real Romney. He’s so insulated from reality – a lifetime of sycophants surrounding him and never ever telling him he might just be wrong – that on a daily basis he trots out another statement that goes right to the heart of his heartless, me first (“I’m not concerned about the very poor”), war-mongering lack of any sense of the Commons, Truth or Justice. It’s this unaccountable top dog elitism that is “totally and completely wrong.”

So, the richest presidential candidate ever angrily responds to Sen. Harry Reid’s assertion about the secreted tax returns and how they may well show that Romney paid no taxes at all for over ten years on an average annual take of over $22 million.

Could Romney have framed his denial any worse? “Harry” obviously can put up and/or be rebutted only once Romney puts up his tax returns. And, for good measure, let’s throw in a reminder of Romney’s own substantial concealment by calling out Harry for secretly withholding his source.

Mitt Headroom

Mitt, whose ethical lapses, sociopathic “I don’t even remember assaulting someone when I was 18,” insane sense of entitlement (people who need food stamps to survive are out for “something for nothing,” while he takes a $77,000 tax deduction - in the one year’s tax returns he did report – for his wife’s dancing horse!,) whose fortune came from inheritance and through a sordid alliance with junk bond crook Michael Milken  and then multiplied as a jobs-cremating Hedge Funder  - the profession that has brought the American economy/public to its knees … is fast making George W. Bush look like Mother Teresa with a Rhodes Scholarship (not that I ever believed for a minute that W. was a dimwit – hell, no supposedly smarter Democrat ever defeated W. in an election – or in Gore’s case, ever prevented W. from stealing one; nor, could all of the “smart” progressives combined ever derail his agenda.)

Obviously, not releasing the returns speaks volumes. Not releasing those means simply that he has something to hide that would harm his campaign more than it’s being harmed right now by withholding them. John McCain DID have the returns in 2008 and McCain determined that Sarah Palin was the better choice. Ponder that one!

So What’s He Hiding?

“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America that millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

– Mitt Romney, Jan. 2012.

Harry may well be on to part of it. But, my money’s on Rmoney having taken advantage of the IRS Amnesty Program for people who avoided taxes (a crime) through their overseas bank accounts.

Fat cats like Romney have stashed over $31 trillion in off-shore accounts…primarily as a way to dodge taxes. The IRS Amnesty that Romney likely took advantage of lets the dodgers off the hook and requires them to retroactively pay some of their past due taxes in exchange for not pursuing criminal charges. In the two years the Amnesty has been used 2009 and 2011, the Treasury collected $4.4 billion from the tax cheats; certainly not chump change, but rather an indication of how widespread the cheating. The IRS estimates that these unpatriotic crooks have failed to pay over $1 trillion over the past decade alone!

Astonishing as it is that the GOP (Guardians of Plutocracy) would even choose such a narcissistic, sociopathic unpatriotic twit, it’ll be even more amazing if Romney is allowed to coast along and not release the returns. But, then again, if he does…?

I expect that if/once the truth comes out on Romney’s tax-dodging ways, the GOP will be forced to dump him. If that happens, I’ll go out on a limb here and predict they’ll choose a Condi Rice/Rick Santorum ticket. Since they know they are going down in flames (and, there IS the fact that the current White House resident is already carrying out the corporate/Imperial agenda), why not? A three-fer for the GOP – the first party to ever run a woman and a black one at that AND one who has expressed pro-choice views in the past. Sure, the Tea Party, religious Dominionists and the outright racists in the mix would howl despite the Santorum nod…but Jeb will still be on deck for 2016.

Scared and Brain-dead? Can’t Hide That Either

“If we do not change our politics — if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works — then the problems we’ve been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.”

– Candidate Barack Obama 2008

Given the alternatives, you’d think that all the “disillusioned” liberals would be rallying to Obama. And, you’d be correct. All sorts of frightened liberals who think that Wall Street and the Pentagon will actually change horses mid-stream are taking the “Obama’s a huge disappointment, but I’m still voting for him” stance. Or as Michael Moore voiced the other day, “I wouldn’t say I support him. I would say I will vote for him.”

Moore’s certainly not alone. There’s the choice for those who still believe in the “system:” the “best turd in the bowl” system. It’s the ABB (Anybody but Bush) Kerry rationalizing on steroids. Sure, right-wing hate media is setting the stage for their mindless adherents to not just hate liberals, but to kill them. Yes, that’s the logical outcome of exploiting fears with such contrived loathing. But, should liberal fear (even if somewhat credible) of that give a guy whose own human rights abuses and corporate/Wall Street toadying are unforgivable a free pass? Voting isn’t about to dent that dynamic in any way. Were already an Imperial Oligarchy and it matters little who the Patricians install as their CEO in this rigged game. Heads they win; tails we lose.

Other Options?

Is doesn’t always have to be the Evil of Two Lessors. There ARE other choices: Roseanne Barr and the indefatigable Cindy Sheehan are running for the  Peace and Freedom Party nomination. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala are running as the Green Party slate. http://www.jillstein.org/ Both these female tickets are far superior on the issues than the two corporate parties.

I’ll leave the final word on it to a past candidate:

“We are up against the belief that it’s all right for lobbyists to dominate our government–that they are just part of the system in Washington. But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem, and this election is our chance to say that we’re not going to let them stand in our way anymore. Unless we’re willing to challenge the broken system in Washington, and stop letting lobbyists use their clout to get their way, nothing else is going to change.” — THE guy who turned over the Treasury to Goldman Sachs.

MICHAEL DONNELLY lives in Salem, OR. He can be reached at Pahtoo@aol.com