A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Loose Lips Might Sink Ships - I Am The 47%

As Forest Gump would say "Stupid Is As Stupid Does."  That's Mitt Romney's story.  Every time he opens his mouth, something dumb and stupid falls out of it.  This collection of facebook posters allows me to tell this story.  The 47% found their voice and tells Mitt Romney that they are not moochers and they will not be voting for him on Election Day.

The firestorm over Romney's remarks has already hurt his standing in swing states.

“I am one of 47%, even though I pay income taxes,” said Michael, a 27-year-old sandwich shop manager in Indianapolis. “I don’t make $100,000 to $250,000 a year that he thinks is middle class. I feel like Romney is so far disconnected from what the average American actually is. It’s like he doesn’t care.”
Michael, who is married to a dog groomer and has a 1-year-old, said he typically votes Republican but can’t get past what he viewed as Romney’s contempt for half the population.
“He was in this room with all these other fat cats just like him and you heard all this snarky laughter from all these guys who have no idea what it’s like to spend 50 or 60 hours a week on your feet, working with your hands, trying to get ahead.
“I don’t want the presidential candidates to be average Americans,” he concluded, “but I at least want them to understand what exactly … I am going through so they don’t look like a ... in front of everyone.” Michael used a word to describe Romney we don’t publish at The Times.

Mitt Romney's '47%' comment alienated voters

Samuel L Jackson says: "Wake the F*** Up!"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ann Romney: Stop It! This Is Hard

1    Facebook posters are once again used to tell a story set to the song "I Look To You" by Whitney Houston. Willard Mitt Romney looks to the Koch Bros, Sheldon Adelson and "Mr. Birther" Donald Trump for his campaign finance. He panders to an all white audience and when that doesn't work, he uses wifey Ann Romney. John Boehner cries at the idea of the party falling apart and Ann tells us to "Stop It." Michelle Obama has something to tell Ann.                                                    

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mitt Romney - The History of Romneyhood

A special thanks to all of my friends here on Facebook who spend countless hours making posters.  Your pictures are worth a thousand words.  I hope this video does your work justice.  As activists, we have been telling the Romneyhood story in bits and pieces.    Now, look at that story unfold.     

Mitt Romney Movie 0001 from Jo Ann Brown on Vimeo.

Romney promised he would take a hard line against China over its currency manipulation. He said his response to the United States' losing its share of manufacturing jobs to other countries would be to adopt policies favorable to both manufacturing and as well as engineering and development.
"Some people say, that's fine, we'll just do the engineering and the high end things," Romney said. "But let me tell you, ultimately the engineering and high end things go where the manufacturing is because ideas and engineering are associated with manufacturing. We have to have manufacturing here and my policy will be to bring it back."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

4 Republican Senators Writes Bipartisan Veterans Bill Then Vote NO!

The Veteran Job Corps Act of 2012

Hire The Veteran!
The White House responds:
No veteran who fought for our nation should have to fight for a job at home, but Republicans in Washington are blocking a common sense plan to create the Veterans Jobs Corps and put tens of thousands of veterans back to work.

Working with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, the Obama Administration has already made real progress to help veterans find jobs. We passed tax credits to encourage employers to hire veterans and released new tools to connect veterans with employers. And thanks to the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative, more than 2,000 businesses have hired or trained more than 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year. But we can do more and Senate Republicans should not block legislation that includes many of their ideas and stand between veterans and good jobs protecting and preserving America.

What kind of men are they?  The Rachel Maddow Show tell us about 4 Senators who wrote a “Veteran’s Bill designed to put tens of thousands of veterans back to work.  But subsequently turn their backs on U.S. veterans and kill a bill designed to help them.”  

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Just 2 votes short

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It's Always a Bad Idea to Disparage Voters

"And what I said on election night was, even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president." ~ President Obama

"I'm not going to get" votes from Americans who believe government's job is to redistribute wealth." ~Mitt Romney 

A huge swath of the people who don’t pay federal income taxes live in the Deep South or are elderly.

President Obama is unpopular with both groups.

And, both groups will likely vote for Mitt Romney.

"Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him." ~ Bill Kristol

“In 1969, Treasury Secretary Joseph Barr announced that 155 households with incomes over $200,000 paid no income tax. Outrage spawned the birth of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to ensure that rich Americans paid their fair share.  We established the Alternative Minimum Tax to ensure that the rich pay taxes, like the rest of us.  Today we have thousands of millionaires paying no taxes, and this is with the Alternative Minimum Tax in place. If these people are acting legally, then they have every right to lawfully reduce their tax burden. But we worry about all these people who are zeroed out.  There are as many people making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year as there are with incomes in the $20,000s.  One third of the country makesunder $20K. Half the country makes between $20K and $100K. If you report cash income in the triple digits, then congratulations! Your cost-of-living notwithstanding, you're in the top sixth of earners.” 

You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future.
But these are not the sensible arguments that Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser earlier this year. Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

Conservatives like the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan continue to question Mitt Romney’s choice of words in discussing the 47 percent.  

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The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.   There’s no way thecountry will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.   

Poetic Justice

Now How Did This Happen?

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Thanks to numerous tax breaks and loopholes, corporations rarely pay the full corporate income tax rates.  Many of the nation’s largest companies are paying little or no federal taxes at all.  Corporations have been paying a lower share of our nation’s total taxes.  Corporate taxes fell from 26.4 percent of total tax revenue in 1950 to just 7.4 percent of total tax revenue in 2010.  During this same period, personal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes increased from 51.4 percent to 83.8 percent of total tax revenue.  A 2011 report by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that 78 of 280 of the nation’s largest and most profitable companies paid no federal income taxes in at least one of three years.  

Consider the 76 million people who don't legally owe individual income taxes in 2011 (please, please note: does not include payroll, excise, state and local taxes). The vast majority of this group was poor. They didn't owe individual income taxes because they didn't owe a lot of money to start, and various exemptions, like the earned income.  There are three buckets of factors that can bring taxable income down from $1 million to zero. One is tax tricks. The IRS should crack down more. Two is relying heavily on investments. The administration can try to level taxes for earned income and investment income. Third is great misfortunes. When investments lose significant income, a house or business is destroyed (i.e. a casualty loss), or a family member gets sick and incurs high medical costs for the self-insured, all these things chop away at taxable income and eventually bring a millionaire's income taxes to zero. tax credit, wiped out the rest.  

Mitt Romney’s mother discusses George Romney, his dad, 
being on welfare.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney Insult: Another "No Apology"

So, is this what Mitt Romney discusses in those quiet rooms?  Or, is this a sales pitch to rich campaign donors?   

On May 17th fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., at the  home of investment banker Marc Leder - Romney tells millionaire donors at a closed-door, $50,000-a-person fundraiser what he really thinks of Obama voters.     

Romney’s campaign began letting reporters into his fundraisers in early May, but members of the press aren’t allowed to watch unless he has “prepared remarks.” Romney fundraisers normally include three parts: those who pay $2,500 are admitted to a reception that reporters are allowed to attend.  Those who give more often $25,000 are allowed to have their photo taken with Romney before the event.  At most evening fundraisers, those who donate $50,000 are allowed to attend a dinner where Romney takes questions, often held at the home of a supporter separate from the reception. Reporters are not permitted to watch that portion of fundraisers.  Based on the description of the video posted by Mother Jones, that is where Romney appears to be speaking to guests at an evening fundraiser.  Someone invited to the fundraiser provided the videos--perhaps Romney's comments were too shocking even for some Republicans donors.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.  My job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them.  They should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” ~ Mitt Romney

Finally! The first time I have heard Romney being honest!  The reason this article and these clips are news worthy is because Willard Mitt Romney actually said something he believes. In a moment he thought he was safe he decided to expound on what he really thinks. Fascinating to hear what Willard thinks when he is behind closed doors. For a man who is running to be president of the entire country, there seems to be a large portion of the country he views with disdain.  What I find interesting is not so much what he says, but the way he speaks in the videos. This is the real Mitt – crass, uncaring, borderline sociopathic, dollar driven with little compassion for anyone other than those who are just like him. The condescending tone of the speech is, while not that shocking, at the same time it is alarming.   This is the real Mitt Romney, like him or not. You can hear him speaking very candidly and very comfortable, unlike how he is on the stump or has been throughout the primaries.   Truth is we spend more on corporate welfare than we do on social welfare. If it wasn't for corporate welfare, Bain wouldn't exist.

For those shocked at the claims about the 47% uttered by Romney, this has been a battle cry for the right-wingers for several years.  Romney falsely claimed that 47 percent of all Americans are complete freeloaders is just plainwrong.   Poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes that go toward Medicare and Social Security than in income taxes.   If you're a senior citizen, he was including you. Half of the 47% who don't pay federal income taxes are on social security and don't earn enough to hit the threshold for collecting taxes.  Yes, these households owe no taxes because these households receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.   For all the people who complain about 47% of the people not paying federal income taxes, consider this, they are filing and paying according to the tax rules. They are paying everything they are legally obligated to pay, just like Mitt Romney. It is not their fault that the tax rules are the way they are.  47 percent has become shorthand for the notion that the wealthy face a much higher tax burden than they once did while growing numbers of Americans are effectively on the dole. 

Dr Paul Krugman on Mitt Romney’s statement that 47% of Americans don’t pay taxes and only support President Obama because they want a government handout:  “Many of the people in the no-income tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job – that is, they’re people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future.  The idea that half of Americans are just grafters is grotesque.”
Mitt Romney:  Another “No Apology”

“I am sure I can state it more clearly and effectively than I did in a setting like that,” he told reporters assembled quickly at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts before attending a fundraiser.

Romney said the video didn’t fully capture his views or his entire comments about personal responsibility and the role of government in society.  “I am talking about a political process of drawing people in my campaign. … My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility,” Romney said.  “This is ultimately a question about the direction of the country. Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits? Or do you believe instead in a free-enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?”

I don’t have a prancing pony to deduct from my taxes.  I don't care how much money he has, how many elevators he has for his cars, or what his tax returns says. He simply doesn't understand America enough to be President.  “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.” ~ Jim Messina

I found this SNL too funny.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Militant Extreme Terrorist – There Is No Difference – Muslim and Christian

The history of terrorism is as old as humans.  Terrorism is best thought of as a modern phenomenon.  Its success depends on the existence of a mass media to create an aura of terror among many people.

Religiously motivated terrorism is considered the most alarming terrorist threat today. Groups that justify their violence on Islamic grounds- Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah—come to mind first. But Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and other religions have given rise to their own forms of militant extremism.

Domestic terrorism in the United States can often be explained as a violent claim over what or who is authentically American.  Although the Boston Tea Party does not necessarily come to mind as an act of terrorism, the staged rebellion by colonists was meant to threaten the British into changing its policy of taxing colonist tea importers' imports, while offering a tariff-free trade to its East India Tea Company. Putting the Boston Tea Party in the category of terrorism can be a useful exercise for comparing the goals and tactics of different national liberation groups, which is what the Americans--once upon a time--were.

The first and arguably most entrenched terrorist in the United States is based in an ideology called "white supremacy," which holds that white Protestant Christians are superior to other ethnicities and races and that public life should reflect this purported hierarchy.  In the period before the Civil War, American social organization did in fact reflect a presumed white supremacy, since slavery was legal. It was only after the Civil War, when Congress and the Union military began to enforce equality between the races that white supremacy emerged. The Ku Klux Klan grew out of this period, using a variety of means to terrorize and harm African-Americans and sympathetic whites. In 1871, they were outlawed by Congress as a terrorist group, but they have had several violent incarnations since then. 

The 1920s were also a period of upsurge in KKK violence, carried out not only against African-Americans but also against Jews, Catholics and immigrants.  The "roaring twenties," a period of tremendous wealth building by American "robber barons" provided a useful background for agitators against inequality. One of the first cases of terrorism to be investigated by the FBI was the 1920 bombing on Wall Street by suspected anarchists.  At noon on September 16, 1920, a horse drawn buggy loaded with 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of cast- iron slugs exploded across the street from the J.P. Morgan bank headquarters in downtown Manhattan, New York. The explosion blew out windows for blocks around, killed 30 immediately, injured hundreds of others and completely destroyed the interior of the Morgan building. Those responsible were never found, but evidence—in the form of a warning note received at a nearby office building—suggested anarchists.

One of the most affluent all-black communities in America, a mini Beverly Hills, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites. The dollar circulated 36 to 100 times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community.  The mainstay of the community was to educate every child.  In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering.  The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful businesses lost.  The impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan. 

Dozens of unsolved bombings and police killings terrorized the black community since World War II. 

James Meredith tried to become the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi.  His fight marked the beginning of the fight for civil rights.

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Rosa Louise McCauley Parks called “the first lady of civil rights,” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”  On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F Blake’s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

In the spring of 1963, stores in downtown Birmingham had been desegregated and schools in Birmingham had been ordered by a federal court to integrate.  Many Klansmen would not accept this decision nor would they accept the successes the civil rights cause seemed to be making.  The influence of the KKK was such that children’s books that showed black and white rabbits together were banned from sale in book shops in the city. On September 15th, 1963, a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama killing 4 young girls and injuring many others. 

In the 70’s terrorism in the United States also emerged. Groups such as the Weathermen grew out of the non-violent group Students for a Democratic Society. They turned to violent tactics, from rioting to setting off bombs, to protest the Vietnam War.

In the 1980s, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups such as Aryan Nation saw a resurgence - often among working class white males, who perceived themselves as displaced by women, African Americans, Jews, and immigrants who benefited from new civil rights legislation.  Radical groups and individuals committed to violent action to stop abortion were among the most visible. Michael Bray, head of a group called the Army of God spent four years in prison for his abortion clinic bombings in the 1980s.

Rodney Glen King was an African-American construction worker who became well known after being beaten harshly on March 3, 1991 Four police officers from the LAPD took part in the incident.  Three of the police officers were acquitted, and the jury failed to reach a verdict regarding the fourth police officer. The acquittals are generally considered to have triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots, in which 53 people were killed, and over two thousand were injured .
On April 19, 1993, the standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidian cult (led by David Koresh) at the Davidian compound in Waco, Texas ended in a fiery tragedy.  When the FBI tried to end the standoff by gassing the complex, the entire compound went up in fire, claiming the lives of 75 followers, including many young children. The death toll was high and many people blamed the U.S. government for the tragedy. One such person was Timothy McVeigh.  McVeigh, angered by the Waco tragedy, decided to enact retribution to those he felt responsible -- the federal government, especially the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). In downtown Oklahoma City, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building held numerous federal agency offices, including those of the ATF.

In 1999, the most lethal act of domestic violence to date occurred when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. Those responsible for what became known as the Oklahoma City Bombing were home-grown terrorists, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.  McVeigh's stated motivation--revenge against a federal government that he viewed as intrusive and oppressive, was an extreme version of more mainstream desire among many for a smaller government.   
Dean Harvey Hicks, a citizen angry over his taxes, for example, created the one-man terrorist group "Up the IRS, Inc." and tried to bomb IRS locations.

Tim McVeigh was a Christian.  Do we start hating all Christians?  Disgruntled people in America respond the same as those in Egypt when they “feel” violated.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Leila Fadel: This was a Sophisticated Two-prong Attack

I haven’t seen the news until I’ve watched The Rachel Maddow Show.

Again, The Rachel Maddow Show didn’t disappoint me.

Her broadcast confirmed what I’d been thinking.  

“NPR’s Leila Fadel reports that Libya’s Deputy Interior Minister, Wanis al Sharef, said this was a sophisticated two-prong attack.  Sharef said it may have been an infiltrator inside the Libyan security forces that tipped the militants off to the location of the safe house.  The attacks may have been timed to mark the 9/11 anniversary and the militants used civilians protesting an anti-Islam film as a cover for their actions. ” 

The Attack On The Consulate Was A Planned Terrorist Assault Against U.S. and Libyan Interests

The experts at the Quilliam Foundation, a “counter-extremism think tank” based in London - Press Release reads as follows:

The military assault against the US Consulate in Benghazi should not be seen as part of a protest against a low budget film which was insulting Islam – there were just a few peaceful protesters present at the event. Indeed, there have been no other demonstrations regarding this film in Libya.
We at Quilliam believe the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a well planned terrorist attack that would have occurred regardless of the demonstration, to serve another purpose. According to information obtained by Quilliam – from foreign sources and from within Benghazi – we have reason to believe that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.
The reasons for this are as follows:
·         24 hours before this attack, none other than the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a video on Jihadist forums to mark the anniversary of 9/11. In this video, Zawahiri acknowledged the death of his second in command Abu Yahya and urged Libyans to avenge his killing.
·         According to our sources, the attack was the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault – it is rare that an RPG7 is present at a peaceful protest.
·         According to our sources, the attack against the Consulate had two waves. The first attack led to US officials being evacuated from the consulate by Libyan security forces, only for the second wave to be launched against US officials after they were kept in a secure location.
The weak security environment in Libya including in Benghazi and the failure of the government to project its power outside of the capital have been used as a cover for the attack.
The failure to rebuild the defense and security sector, in an accountable, professional and responsible manner will only further the likelihood of such attacks in the future. Attacks in Benghazi are not new – the Red Cross has been attacked multiple times in previous months, as have the US consulate and also the UK Ambassador, and such security lapses encourage attacks. The International Community must take the challenge of not allowing extremist elements to hijack the Arab Uprisings very seriously, by renewing their focus on civic and governance responses to check the efforts of Islamist extremists attempting to exploit the inevitable security vacuum.
Noman Benotman, President of Quilliam says:
“These are acts committed by uncontrollable jihadist groups. We hope Libya will seize this opportunity to revive its policy of Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration (DDR) in order to facilitate an end to the spread of such attacks, with the help of the International Community. We hope that the International Community, including NATO member states and especially the US, will continue their excellent work in Libya which began with the overthrow of the dictator Gaddafi after 42 years in power.”
U.S. officials from the State Department, the National Security Council and law enforcement have not been able to confirm that this was a planned attack. 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Four More Years


By Ralph Maxwell


By Ralph Maxwell
O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
You flip-flop here, you flip-flop there,
You flip-flop almost ev'rywhere.
You ballyhoo what you're gonna do
And then you pull a switcheroo;
You now malign what you found fine;
Seems like you've got a jellyfish spine.
Obamacare, by you begun,
Now you'd trash it on day one.
Gun control you did extol,
But now you're preaching decontrol.
O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
We've got no clue what you will do
Or what new view you'll pander to.
Time was you championed women's choice,
But you no longer heed their voice;
On gay rights, too, guess you withdrew
Support they once enjoyed from you.
Global warming, EPA,
Immigration, minimum pay,
Roe V. Wade, also fair trade,
All joined your flip-flop cavalcade.
O, Romney-O, Romney-O Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
So many things that you were for
You've turned against and slammed the door.
Stimulus and cap and trade,
Education, foreign aid,
Campaign reform, tarp rescues, too,
All victims of your switcheroo.
You take your stand on shifting sand,
We never know where you will land;
You vacillate, and you fabricate,
A wishy-washy candidate.
O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou Mitt Romney?
As gov'nor you let taxes rise,
Now ev'ry tax you demonize.
You say regardless of the facts
You'd take an axe to the millionaire's tax;
You'd feed the greed of the richest few
The poor and middle class you'd screw.
Your tax returns you hide from view
What evil lurks there we've no clue;
If they're not bad why hesitate?
Is it that they incriminate?
O, Romney-O, Romney-O, Wherefore art thou Mitt Romney?
At Bain you plundered with a flair
And walked away a zillionaire.
You shipped off-shore, good jobs galore
To China, India, Singapore;
A job creator you are not.
And to boast you are is tommyrot.
As a total fraud, Mitt's got no peer;
What we must do is crystal clear:
Let's give Obama four more years!
Yes, it's Obama – four more years!

Hilarious poem about Mitt Romney by 92-Year-Old Retired ND Judge & WWII Vet needs to go viral!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mitt Romney Have You Sought Amnesty From The IRS?

"...the election four years ago wasn't about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens—you were the change."
He's right, we are the change. President Obama won in 2008 because of people like us and he absolutely cannot win again without that kind of support.

Nearly six in 10 likely voters think President Barack Obama will win the upcoming debates against Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday.  Fifty-nine percent of likely voters said they believed Obama will win the debates, while just 34 percent said Romney would prevail. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/obama-romney-debates_n_1875251.html

"This Video MIGHT Stop Romney from becoming President."
Mitt Romney, have you ever sought or obtained amnesty from the IRS? Switzerland’s biggest bank, agreed in 2009 to disclose data on more than 4,500 American clients suspected of tax evasion to the Internal Revenue Service.  Birkenfeld told authorities how UBS bankers came to the U.S. to woo rich Americans, managed $20 billion of their assets and helped them cheat the IRS. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008, a year after reporting the bank’s conduct to the Justice Department, U.S. Senate, IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. Birkenfeld’s disclosures preceded UBS’s decision to pay $780 million to avoid prosecution, admit it fostered tax evasion from 2000 to 2007 and turn over data on 250 Swiss accounts. UBS later agreed to provide information on another 4,450 accounts. Since then, at least 33,000 Americans have voluntarily disclosed offshore accounts to the IRS, generating more than $5 billion.  The UBS case led to an erosion of the use of Swiss bank secrecy by wealthy Americans to cheat the IRS.
 “I delivered and documented this entire scandal, the largest in U.S. history,” Birkenfeld said. “I’m the most famous whistle-blower in the history of the world. It’s a question of doing the right thing, and that’s what I did.”  The bank admitted it helped clients circumvent U.S. securities restrictions by referring them to outside advisers who set up sham companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong and Panama.  He worked at Barclays Plc before joining UBS in 2001.  The IRS paid Birkenfeld $104 million dollars.