President Apologizer Tells Iran He Didn’t Want To Sanction Them

Posted by Fullcouch on January 23, 2012, 7:40am

President Apologizer strikes again. Well, Iran, mommy wants to put you in a timeout. Let me be clear, Iran, I don’t want to put you in a timeout, but I have to, so fear and respect me even less while you sit and ponder how sorry and weak your daddy is.

PJ Media – The threat by the Islamic regime in Iran to close down the Strait of Hormuz and of Revolutionary Guards Navy boats harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf has caused President Obama to send secret messages to the regime stating his concerns over the closure of the strait and the possibility of an accidental war.

Since then, Iranian officials have been revealing the contents of President Obama’s letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which indicates a deep desire by the U.S. president for a dialogue with the radical leaders of Iran. However, on Saturday, Iranian officials also claimed that an oral message by Obama delivered through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran is even more revealing than the letter delivered to the Iranian supreme leader.

According to Fars News Agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Ebrahimi, the vice chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, alleged that on Saturday in a meeting between Swiss Ambassador Livia Leu Agosti and Iranian Foreign Ministry officials, Agosti informed the Iranian officials that Obama recognizes Iran’s right of access to and use of nuclear technology.

Ebarhimi also disclosed another important point that the Swiss diplomat delivered: Obama said that “I didn’t want to impose sanctions on your central bank, but I had no options but to approve it since a Congress majority had approved the decision.”

Last month, the Obama administration pressed key Democrats on the defense bill conference committee to get their colleagues to water down the strong sanctions language against Iran, which passed the Senate by a 100-0 vote as part of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill. The administration, threatening a veto, managed to delay the implementation of sanctions and penalties from 60 to 180 days in the final draft, also allowing the president to waive those penalties for national security reasons or if it would harm the global economy.

President Obama boasted on Thursday that U.S.-led sanctions had reduced Iran’s economy to a “shambles,” defending his policy towards Iran following sharp Republican attacks.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast also disclosed on Saturday that Iran had received Obama’s message through three different channels: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice handed a letter to her Iranian counterpart, the Swiss ambassador conveyed the same message in Tehran, while Iraqi President Jalal Talabani delivered the same message to Iranian officials in Baghdad.

Last Wednesday, Ebrahimi for the first time disclosed the contents of Obama’s letter in which the U.S. president had mentioned that cooperation and negotiation are based on the mutual interests of the two countries, and assured Iran that America will not take any action against the Islamic regime.

This is not the first letter sent to the leaders of Iran by Obama, Ebrahimi said. “He has repeatedly spoken in a soft tone about the Islamic Republic of Iran, but in practice, he has not acted accordingly.”

In response to Obama’s message to the leaders of the Islamic regime and his request for negotiations, Iranian officials have decided to reveal his message in order to further embarrass him on the international scene, claiming that Obama’s approach shows the world the true power of the Islamic regime.

Obama: I did not want to sanction Iran’s bank

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Chief Of Iran’s Quds Force Claims Iraq, South Lebanon Under His Control

Posted by Fullcouch on January 21, 2012, 11:25am

We check out, they check in. Who didn’t see this coming? And, with nukes on the way, Iran will have even more leverage and power to take over. Do something, or at the very least, say something, Mr. President. Silence is agreement.

Al Arabiya – Commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Brig. Gen. Qasem Soleimani has said that the Islamic Republic controls “one way or another” over Iraq and south Lebanon and that Tehran is capable of influencing the advent of Islamist governments in order to fight “arrogant” powers, ISNA student agency reported on Thursday.

“The enemies are trying to besiege the Islamic Republic of Iran, but this symposium is an opportunity for thousands of youth who play an influential role in the Islamic awareness to travel Iran and shed sensitivities of Iran-phobia by observing the an Islamic government founded on religious principles in Iran,” Gen. Soleimani, who reports directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said.

Speaking about Iran and Lebanon, Gen. Soleimani said: “These regions are one way or another subject to the control of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its ideas.”

Gen. Soleimani was speaking during a student symposium titled “The Youth and Islamic Awareness.”

The Quds Force, established during the Iran-Iraq war, is in charge of external security operations aimed at exporting the Islamic Revolution.

In January 2012, UK’s The Guardian reported that the head of Iran’s Quds force had conveyed a message to U.S. CIA director David Petraeus telling him that he was in charge of Iran’s policy in the region.

“General Petraeus, you should know that Qassem Suleimani controls the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan. And indeed, the ambassador in Baghdad is a Quds Force member. The individual who’s going to replace him is a Quds Force member,” The Guardian reported.

Petraeus had admitted that most of U.S. diplomatic efforts in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East were undermined by the work of Suleimani, according to the Guardian.

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s former national security minister, told the London-based asharq al-Awsat newspaper in July 2010, “He (Suleimani) is the most powerful man in Iraq without question,” “Nothing gets done without him.”

Iranian forces controlling Iraq?

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Muslim Brotherhood Is Gaining Ground In Egypt. Surprised?

Posted by Fullcouch on January 21, 2012, 11:10am

Anyone who is surprised by this must see the world from a proctologists point of view.

Al Jazeera – Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party wins 47 per cent of seats, with al-Nour party coming in second, officials say.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which represents Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has won 47 per cent of all seats in the country’s election for the lower house of parliament, the election commission has said.

The FJP won 235 seats in the new People’s Assembly, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of the country’s election commission, announced on Saturday.

It also secured 127 seats on party lists, while its candidates won another 108 in first-past-the-post constituency votes, where votes were cast for individual candidates.

The hardline Islamist Salafi al-Nour party has won 24 per cent of all seats on offer.

The liberal al-Wafd party won about seven per cent of the seats, according to the latest results. The remaining 22 per cent of seats were split amongst smaller political parties.

The election commission says that voter turnout was 54 per cent in the polls.

The FJP has named Saad al-Katatni, a leading Muslim Brotherhood official who has previously sat in parliament as an independent, as speaker of the assembly.

Katatni has told the Reuters news agency that he intends for the role of the assembly to “reconciliatory”.

“The priorities are meeting the demands of the revolution,including the rights of the injured and those killed in the
uprising,” he said.

New constitution

The landmark elections for the lower house of parliament, held in three stages, were the first since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the former president, who was overthrown by a popular uprising in January last year.

Two-thirds of the 498 seats up for election were reserved for those belonging to registered political parties (refered to as ‘closed party lists’), while the remaining one-third of seats were contested by individuals.

Ten seats were reserved for appointees of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military council that has been ruling Egypt since Mubarak fell.

“This parliament, that has its opening session on Monday, has very limited powers,” reported Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros from Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

“The most important thing that it will be doing in the coming weeks and months, is setting up a 100-member body that will then write the constitution.”

Elections for the upper house of parliament will be held in February, after which the constituent assembly will be chosen.

A new president is to be elected by June under a timetable decided by the SCAF. Candidates can register for that election by April 15.

Muslim Brotherhood – Spearheading the “Arab Spring.”

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The Dangers Of Fracking Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Posted by Fullcouch on January 21, 2012, 10:45am

One of the Lefts religions: Pseudo-science. And the faith of the week is…

Townhall – The science portal New Scientist reported yesterday that the much-publicized risks involved in the natural gas recovery method of “fracking” have been exaggerated according to British geologists.
“Frack away, there’s no reason not to,” writes New Scientist. “Two of the main objections to ‘fracking’”- [earthquakes and well-water contamination] – “have been blown out of proportion, according to British geologists… ‘We think the risk is pretty low,’ said Mike Stephenson, head of energy science at the British Geological Survey at a press briefing in London on Tuesday.”
Fracking involves boring into shale deposits with water, chemicals and particulates in order to open seams to allow the escape of natural gas, oil and other fossil gases for recovery as fuel. Huge new reserves of energy have been found in the US over the last decade that can only be recovered by fracking. These reserves have the potential to supply hundreds of years of energy for the US, meaning the country can import less energy from foreign sources, even if domestic sources are only partially developed. The discovery is a threat to liberals because it could upset the bedrock liberal scam that we have to ration everything, including energy.
As conservative George Will noted at the beginning of the year:
Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior.

Accordingly, liberals have been pushing for a ban on fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing, because of supposed health and environmental risks the method poses. Those risks have been widely hyped via the liberals’ new scientific peer-reviewed media of the docu-drama.
Following the stunning success of Al Gore’s fictional docu-drama, An Inconvenient Truth, a movie about- gasp!- GLOBAL WARMING, a film that relied more on hyperbole than on hypothesis- one science site counted 35 scientific errors in the film before they got through the opening credits- liberals have made a cottage industry of creating pseudo-science through the media magic of the docu-drama.

Gassy liberal pseudo-science discovered

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GOP Race Starts To Feel Palin’s Power

Posted by Fullcouch on January 20, 2012, 6:15pm

Sarah is a kingmaker. Wishing she’d be a queenmaker as well.

N.Y. Sun – Who is the leader of the “Not-Romney” movement within today’s GOP?

Is it Newt Gingrich, whose surge in the South Carolina opinion polls puts him within striking distance of front-runner Mitt in tomorrow’s vote?

Is it Ron Paul, whose dedicated core of “hard-money” but isolationist supporters gives him 15 to 20% in every Republican contest?

Or is it Rick Santorum, recently endorsed by a raft of Christian evangelical leaders?

For my dollar, the leader is Sarah Palin, whose endorsements continue to carry more weight among conservatives than any other national figure and who is well-positioned to play a king-making role in the 2012 elections similar to her “Mama Grizzly” performance guiding the Republican surge in 2010.

How did this happen? She’s not running. She’s in Alaska. Since declaring herself a non-candidate at the beginning of October, Mrs. Palin has kept a pretty low profile.

Until recently, her main contribution to the political discourse was castigation of “Congressional insider trading,”a practice exposed by one of her SarahPac advisors, Hudson Institute fellow Peter Schweitzer, in a new book called “Throw Them All Out.” That expose gave rise to competing Congressional reform bills, the best of which would make it illegal for Federal legislators to routinely do what Raj Rajaratnam.

Before that, at a much-noted speech to Iowa Tea Partiers back in August, Mrs. Palin the political wordsmith injected “crony capitalism” into the public discussion. That phrase has captured the corrupt connivance between Big Business and Big Government which challenged the anti-business protestations of the “Occupy” crowd.

Recent weeks have seen a resurgence of the Grizzly factor. In a December 1 appearance, as a Fox News commentator on the GOP race, Mrs. Palin uttered one sentence in praise of Rick Santorum’s “ideological consistency.” Immediately the former Pennsylvania senator’s numbers began to climb.

By January 4 Mr. Santorum tied — or maybe, when the final figures are out, bested — Governor Romney in the Iowa straw poll, an accomplishment that seasoned observers attributed to good timing and months of hard work in Iowa’s rural precincts. Palin-watchers had their own theory of causality.

This week Mrs Palin was at it again. As Suzi Parker described it at the Washington Post:

[Mrs. Palin] told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday night that if she was a South Carolinian, she would vote for Newt Gingrich. It wasn’t a straight endorsement, she stressed, but Palin simply believes the primary should be hard-fought and not easily handed to Mitt Romney on a silver platter.

“Iron sharpens iron, steel sharpens steel,” Palin said.

At RealClearPolitics, Palin-watcher Scott Conroy asked the Gingrich camp how significant they considered Mrs. Palin’s support to be? “Big,” was the answer of a top aide to the former speaker.

Now polls show Mr. Gingrich surging, as the not-Romney vote coalesces, at least for now, around the one-time college professor and speaker.

Mrs. Palin even went on Hannity’s radio program Thursday to lambast the “lame-stream media” for publishing an interview with Mr. Gingrich’s disgruntled “ex”, a rhetorical axe Mr. Gingrich himself swung at CNN’s John King later that night, with telling effect.

So what is next for the politician The New York Sun calls “the alert Alaskan”? For now, to keep the GOP pot boiling.

She is able to do so because millions think she is brilliant, incorruptible, and knows how to lead. Many of them hope she will still get into this race, but she has insisted that in this political season she will make her contribution from the side-lines with the goal of a Republican president in 2013.

Palin factor starts to emerge in GOP race

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Iran War Could End Life On Earth? CO2 Drops To #2

Posted by Fullcouch on January 20, 2012, 1:10pm

And all this time I thought it was CO2 that will could kill us.

Pakalert Press – A former American official has warned that the United States wants to blame Israel for Washington’s possible war on Iran that could end life on earth.
US warnings to Israel for not attacking Iran is to avoid responsibility for the war Washington has prepared, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts wrote in an article on Global Research.

“If the war gets out of hand, and if Russia and China intervene or nukes start flying, Washington wants the blame to rest on Israel, and Israel seems willing to accept the blame,” Craig Roberts said.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal said the US has privately sought assurances from Israeli leaders that they will not take military action against Iran. But the Israeli response has been noncommittal.

The US analyst also used a few examples to show that the White House has prepared for an all-out war against Iran.

“If Washington did not want war with Iran it would not have provided the necessary weapons to Israel. It would not have deployed thousands of US troops to Israel,” he argued.

“Washington would not have built a missile defense system for Israel and would not be conducting joint exercises with the Israeli military to make sure it works,” Craig Roberts added.

He said, “Washington won’t prevent the war that it so fervently desires. Neither will Washington’s NATO puppets.”

“‘Great’ Britain does as it is told, subservient and occupied Germany, bankrupt France, Italy occupied with US air bases with a government infiltrated by the CIA, bankrupt Spain and Greece will all, in hopes of an outpouring of US dollars and devoid of any dignity or honor, support the new war that could end life on earth,” Craig Roberts added.

Maybe this will bring R.E.M. out of retirement.

Could be the end of the world. What else is new?

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Obama Bails On Keystone To Appease The Jagged Fringes Of The Left

Posted by Fullcouch on January 20, 2012, 8:55am

Nice work, Mr. President. Let’s dump on one of our biggest allies, keep funding the Middle East and China, keep gas prices high, throw a boost to national security and well-paying jobs out the window, just to make some environMENTALists happy. All this, and more, for an ideology. So empty, yet so revealing.

Robert Samuelson – President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn’t often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and — beyond the symbolism — won’t even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his re-election that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances.

Aside from the political and public relations victory, environmentalists won’t get much. Stopping the pipeline won’t halt the development of tar sands, to which the Canadian government is committed; therefore, there will be little effect on global warming emissions. Indeed, Obama’s decision might add to them. If Canada builds a pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific for export to Asia, moving all that oil across the ocean by tanker will create extra emissions. There will also be the risk of added spills.

Now consider how Obama’s decision hurts the United States. For starters, it insults and antagonizes a strong ally; getting future Canadian cooperation on other issues will be harder. Next, it threatens a large source of relatively secure oil that, combined with new discoveries in the United States, could reduce (though not eliminate) our dependence on insecure foreign oil.

Finally, Obama’s decision forgoes all the project’s jobs. There’s some dispute over the magnitude. Project sponsor TransCanada claims 20,000, split between construction (13,000) and manufacturing (7,000) of everything from pumps to control equipment. Apparently, this refers to “job years,” meaning one job for one year. If so, the actual number of jobs would be about half that spread over two years. Whatever the figure, it’s in the thousands and important in a country hungering for work. And Keystone XL is precisely the sort of infrastructure project that Obama claims to favor.

The big winners are the Chinese. They must be celebrating their good fortune and wondering how the crazy Americans could repudiate such a huge supply of nearby energy. There’s no guarantee that tar-sands oil will go to China; pipelines to the Pacific would have to be built. But it creates the possibility when the oil’s natural market is the United States.

There are three things to remember about Keystone and U.S. energy policy.

First, we’re going to use lots of oil for a long time. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that American oil consumption will increase 4 percent between 2009 and 2035. The increase occurs despite highly optimistic assumptions about vehicle fuel efficiency and bio-fuels. But a larger population (390 million in 2035 versus 308 million in 2009) and more driving per vehicle offset savings.

The more oil we produce domestically and import from neighbors, the more we’re insulated from dramatic interruptions of global supplies. After the United States, Canada is the most dependable source of oil — or was until Obama’s decision.

Second, barring major technological breakthroughs, emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, will rise for similar reasons. The EIA projects that America’s CO2 emissions will increase by 16 percent from 2009 to 2035. (The EIA is updating its projections, but the main trends aren’t likely to change dramatically.) Stopping Canadian tar-sands development, were that possible, wouldn’t affect these emissions.

Finally, even if — as Keystone critics argue — some Canadian oil were refined in the United States and then exported, this would be a good thing. The exports would probably go mostly to Latin America. They would keep well-paid industrial jobs (yes, refining) in the United States and reduce our trade deficit in oil, which exceeded $300 billion in 2011.

By law, Obama’s decision was supposed to reflect “the national interest.” His standard was his political interest. The State Department had spent three years evaluating Keystone and appeared ready to approve the project by year-end 2011. Then the administration, citing opposition to the pipeline’s route in Nebraska, reversed course and postponed a decision to 2013 — after the election.

Now, reacting to a congressional deadline to decide, Obama rejected the proposal. But he also suggested that a new application with a modified Nebraska route — already being negotiated — might be approved, after the election. So the sop tossed to the environmentalists could be temporary. The cynicism is breathtaking.

Obama bails on Keystone to appease the environMENTALists

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Republicans Need To Exploit Obama’s War On Fossil Fuels

Posted by Fullcouch on January 19, 2012, 7:30pm

Remember when Obama said that under his watch “energy prices would necessarily skyrocket?”

Townhall – President Obama launched the New Year by blasting an unpopular Congress.

Following Obama’s successful outmaneuvering of Congressional Republicans over the payroll tax cut the President rammed through a recess appointment for Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

By securing an estimated $40 a paycheck for the average family and appointing a consumer advocate, Obama is marketing himself as the savior of hardworking Americans by rescuing them from an ineffective Congress and Wall Street.

There is little doubt that economic issues will be a main factor in the 2012 election. Picking fights with Congress to highlight the President’s effort to help the “little guy” is a cornerstone of Obama’s re-election bid.

While the President is currently scoring short-term political points, his strategy may backfire if Republicans use the upcoming debate over the extension of the payroll tax cut to challenge Obama’s war on fossil fuels. They can do this by adding a pro-energy reform as part of the deal.

Obama’s war on fossil fuels is a big vulnerability for the President because it harms the prosperity of hardworking Americans. The issue illustrates the stark difference between what Obama says is good for average Americans and the reality of his policies.

High energy costs are an economic matter for Americans of every political persuasion. While Obama talks a good game regarding the welfare of hardworking Americans, his policies that raise energy prices will burden many families. Rising gasoline prices alone could easily negate the $40 tax savings from the payroll tax cut, but the Administration’s policies are unnecessarily pushing electricity prices higher as well.

All by itself, President Obama’s assault on coal – expected to be a main cause of predicted electricity price hikes — may have major implications for his re-election bid and the Democratic Senate majority.

Coincidently, key presidential swing states, including Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, derive over 45 percent of their electricity from coal – with some of these states generating over eighty percent of power from this source. Critically for Republican legislators looking for a way to recruit Senate Democrats to support lower-price, pro-energy reforms, each of these states also has Senate Democrats running for re-election.

With coal, Obama’s EPA is doing almost everything possible to bring about the President’s promise to make electricity prices “skyrocket.”

While Obama was pivoting around House and Senate Republicans with the end-of-year politics surrounding the payroll tax cut, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was issuing the Utility MACT Rule – the most expensive regulation ever issued by the agency. According to the EPA, this rule will cost utilities almost $10 billion a year. Which is why it can’t help but cause substantially higher electricity prices for consumers.

The Utility MACT Rule and another new Obama Administration regulation, the Cross State Air Rule, both of which target coal-fired utilities, are estimated to result in up to double-digit utility rate increases and a loss of 1.4 million job-years by 2020.

Electricity price increases are being reported nationwide as a result of the EPA’s actions. In North Carolina, Duke Energy is seeking rate increases of 14 and 17 percent for households and businesses respectively, in Louisiana rates may go up 25 percent and in Chicago the rates may spike up to 60 percent.

Refusing to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the creation of an estimated associated 20,000 jobs (with the additional benefit of increasing our oil supplies from Canada at a time when Iran is rattling its saber) is but one example of the destructive nature of Obama’s energy policy.

In contrast, Congressional Republicans have consistently fought EPA’s overreach and, accordingly, have been on the right side of economic prosperity and the interests of lower and middle class citizens.

In addition to pushing for the construction of the Keystone pipeline, House Republicans, in a bipartisan effort, passed the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011 to slow down the EPA’s assault on our economy and coal-fired utilities.

In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY) led an unsuccessful effort to use the Congressional Review Act to stop the Cross State Air Rule. Senator Paul’s effort to stop the Cross State Air Rule was vindicated, as a federal court recently blocked the rule and its outcome will be determined later this year.

This presents reform-minded Republicans with an opportunity. If they attach a reform proposal, such as the TRAIN Act, to a high-profile issue such as the upcoming debate over the extension of the payroll tax cut, they can educate the voters in these states about the impact of Obama’s energy policies on their wallets.

Debating the pros and cons of the TRAIN Act would expose Obama’s role in driving electricity prices higher and apply pressure to Congressional Democrats to support pro-energy, lower-price reforms.

If Congressional Democrats recognize Obama’s attack on Congress provides meaningless benefits for their constituents while the President’s war on fossil fuels threatens their political future, they may resist being thrown under the President’s bus. After all, Democrats are part of Congress and, in fact, they control the Senate.

Given the political risk facing some Senate Democrats and Obama’s eagerness to run against Congress, Republicans might find some surprising support to stop Obama’s assault on fossil fuels.

GOP needs to attack Obama’s war on fossil fuels

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10 Reasons Mitt Romney Is In Trouble Over His Taxes

Posted by Fullcouch on January 19, 2012, 2:30pm

Daily Mail – It was all so avoidable. All Mitt Romney needed to do in Monday night’s debate when Rick Perry (in what may turn out to be his most enduring contribution to the 2012 race) asked him about his tax returns was to state that he would release them in April if he was the presumptive nominee.

That would have made news. He’d have agreed to disclose at the stage party nominees normally disclose and although his rivals would have kept demanding the returns now he’d have been able to stonewall fairly easily. Instead, he completely failed to answer the question. The following morning, yesterday, he was pressed into revealing that he paid a tax rate of just 15 percent on most of his income.

Here’s why Romney’s in big trouble over this:

1. This is a problem of his own making and will therefore give Republicans pause

Romney completely ignored Perry’s question. Even though that bought him some time, when the WSJ’s Kelly Evans, inevitably, brought it up again he gave a weirdly evasive and indecisive answer.

He initially said: “You know, I, I looked at what has been done in, in campaigns in the past, with Senator McCain and President George W. Bush and others. They’ve tended to release tax records in April, or tax season. I hadn’t planned on releasing tax records, because the law requires us to release all of our assets, all the things we own.

“That I’ve already released; it’s a pretty full disclosure. But, but, you know, if, if that’s been the tradition, then I’m not opposed to doing that. Time will tell. But I anticipate that most likely I’m going to get asked to do that around the April time period, and I’ll keep that open.”

When Evans asked simply, “Governor, you will plan, then, to release your income tax records around April?” it got even worse. Romney responded: “I, I think I’ve heard enough from folks saying, look, you know, let’s see your tax records. I have nothing in, in them that, to suggest there’s any problem, and I’m happy to do so.

“I, I, I, I sort of feel like we’re, we’re showing a lot of exposure at this point, and if I become our nominee I’m, and what’s happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year, and that’s probably what I’d do.”

A dreadful response. Although Romney has performed extremely well in the debates, this is not the kind of answer a Republican nominee should be giving in a debate against President Barack Obama in the autumn.

2. Chris Christie has said he needs to release his tax returns

This morning, Christie, a top Romney surrogate, charged straight off the reservation and said on NBC: “I would say if you have tax returns to put out, you know, you should put them out sooner rather than later, because it’s always better in my view to have complete disclosure, especially as the frontrunner.”

That effectively gives Romney little choice but to get his tax returns out this week. Otherwise, he’s going to get hammered in tomorrow’s debate in Charleston and it’ll look like he really goes have something to hide.

3. Romney’s own father released his tax returns early in the 1968 campaign

This boxes Romney in morally as well as politically. It could also make him extremely uncomfortable if confronted with his father’s own words in a debate. Romney reveres his father and is an intenseley private man. Again, it pushes him towards disclosure right now.

4. The Mormon thing

It’s barely reared its head here in South Carolina but from the Romney campaign’s point of view, I suspect, the tax issue is principally the Mormon issue. Throughout his life, Romney has tithed 10 percent of his income to charity. That’s a collosal amount of money – millions and millions of dollars.

Naturally, this money will have gone principally to Mormon-linked organisations. The tax returns will disclose which ones and prompt the media to crawl all over them asking questions about the charities, their practices and their rules. Quite sensibly, the Romney campaign doesn’t want this to happen until he’s got the nomination safey wrapped up.

5. Offshore investments

The peerless Brian Ross and his ABC colleagues report that Romney – as well as Bain Capital – has substantial offshore investments. They’re still subject to American tax laws but as Ross and Co point out these accounts “provided him – and Bain – with other potential financial benefits, such as higher management fees and greater foreign interest, all at the expense of the US Treasury”. For US Treasury, read American taxpayers.

6. Timing

The timing couldn’t be worse. There are just two full days before voting on Saturday. In the middle of that, there’s a debate. If Romney releases his tax returns, that will dominate the last 48 hours. If he doesn’t, his refusal will dominate just as much. It’s a Catch-22 situation. His best hope has to be that he’s far enough ahead in South Carolina for it not to matter and he wins anyway, even if it’s a squeaker.

7. The 15 percent rate plays right into Newt Gingrich’s hands

Gingrich is an erratic and undisciplined campaigner. But he’s also a clever and nimble one when the opportunity presents itself and he’s in the right mood. Gingrich already had a 15-percent flat tax plan.

After Romney revealed his tax rate, Gingrich quipped: “I think we ought to rename our flat tax,” Gingrich said Tuesday on the campaign trail. “We have a 15 percent flat tax. So this would be the ‘Mitt Romney flat tax’ that all Americans could then pay the rate Romney paid. I think that’s terrific.”

This is much better terrain for Gingrich that the class-warfare attacks on Romney’s time at Bain because it allows him to mock Romney while at the same time making a conservative case for a lower, flat tax rate for all.

8. Most Americans pay a much higher rate than 15 percent

America’s tax system is a complete mess. You need a degree in accountancy to understand it. There are some very good reasons for having low tax rates for investments. But Gingrich’s tax rate last year was 31 percent and Obama’s about 25 percent. Once you get into parsing the reasons for this on the stump then you’ve lost the argument.

Class warfare and proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy are hardly likely to turn the tide in a Republican primary battle. But there’s a real inequity here and it does not help Romney at all.

9. This feeds the “out of touch” meme about Romney

At the same time as revealing his 15 percent rate, Romney remarked that he earned “not very much” from speaking fees. In fact, he earned $374,327 from speaking fees last year – putting him way up in the top one percent of Americans.

This shows the same sort of tin ear as exhibited by Gingrich when he said that he made $60,000 a speech and was therefore incorruptible (the average household income for a family of four in South Carolina is about $58,000). After “I’m also unemployed” , “corporations are people”, $10,000 bets, “pink slips” and “I like firing people” it’s yet another unforced error by Romney on a similar theme.

10. The psychological effect – it hits Romney in a place where he feels beyond reproach

When John Kerry was assailed over his Vietnam war record in the 2004 campaign, the effectiveness of the attack was not just that it questioned Kerry’s truthfulness and even patriotism but that it hit him where it really hurt.

Kerry thought that Vietnam would be a huge net positive for him. When it suddenly looked like it could be an albatross it was a disorientating experience. The same thing is true of Romney and taxes. It goes to his business record with Bain and his charitable giving (colossal by the standards of any American).

Romney expected attacks on healthcare and flip-flopping. Having to defend himself on his business record and his personal wealth in a Republican primary could ruffle his usual calm – he’s proved brittle before in debates (particularly in the 2008 campaign) so tomorrow night will be a big test for him.

Why Mitt Romney is in trouble over his taxes

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London Cop Leaves Olympic Security Documents On Train

Posted by Fullcouch on January 19, 2012, 7:45am

Once again, life imitates the Onion

National Post – A British tabloid reported Tuesday that it had been handed documents about security arrangements for the London Olympics that were left on a train by a police officer, the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps involving British authorities misplacing government documents.

London police confirmed Tuesday that one of its officers lost a bag containing documents on Jan. 5 and reported it to his bosses, but downplayed the incident, adding that the papers were not “operationally sensitive.”

“Obviously the loss of restricted material is a matter for concern, but we are satisfied that this does not compromise our security operation for the Olympics,” police said in a statement.

The Sun newspaper said it received the documents from a passenger who found them on the train, and that it returned them to the police. It says the papers contain accounts of meetings where security measures were discussed, and details of contingency plans for the Olympics.

The Sun published an image of some of the documents in its print edition, and described in sweeping terms some of the complaints police had about communications systems.

Olympics experts deemed the breach embarrassing.

“It will do nothing but undermine confidence in the Olympics security operation, already brought into question by the prospect of riots and terrorist attacks,” said Ellis Cashmore, a professor of culture, media and sport at Staffordshire University in England. “With so much scrutiny, it’s almost beyond belief that someone in a responsible position would be guilty of such crass absentmindedness.”

Security has been a top priority for the Olympics since 1972, when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches died during a hostage ordeal involving Palestinian extremists at the games in Munich. The nature of nations squared off against nations also opens up the Olympics to an array of political issues.

The incident comes only a few weeks after London police experts managed to smuggle a fake bomb into Olympic Park in a security test. Olympic officials declined to comment directly on the matter, saying such “testing is standard practice” in all major security operations.

Security experts said that while such testing is routine, it underlined the constant and ongoing struggle faced by security forces to create a system that will safeguard the July 27-Aug. 12 event without making London feel like an armed camp.

Authorities have already acknowledged they vastly underestimated the number of people needed to search spectators and otherwise secure venues and other Olympic sites, and have substantially increased the number of military, police and security guards taking part in the games.

U.K. authorities have been criticized over several mishaps involving the loss of sensitive information in recent years.

In January 2008, a computer carrying information on 600,000 prospective military recruits was stolen from the car of a Royal Navy recruitment officer in central England. The month before, the government’s top transport official said a disc containing personal information of 3 million driving-test candidates was lost. The Department of Health also lost information on 168,000 patients in a separate incident.

Dwarfing all those incidents was the revelation in November 2007 that British tax officials lost computer discs containing information – including bank records – for 25 million people, nearly half the country’s inhabitants.

London police officer leaves Olympic security docs on train

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