Of all the things I might regret losing… »« Stalker!

Sometimes, Jon Stewart gets it right

Too often, he softballs truly odious guests on his show, and sometimes he practices that annoying false equivalency, but I have to admit, he’s exactly right here.

Harry Reid heard from some guy that Mitt Romney was a tax fraud (or, really really good at finding loopholes)? That’s kind of cheap and low.

Comments

  1. Stevarious says

    I really enjoyed the montage of Fox Nooz commentators making stuff up followed with the Fox Nooz commentator saying ‘a lot of this stuff we just make up’. I think it’s the most honest thing that whatserface ever said.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Any chance of a summary of the content for those of us not able to see the video? (I.e. outside the US)

  3. moelarryandjesus says

    “Harry Reid heard from some guy that Mitt Romney was a tax fraud (or, really really good at finding loopholes)? That’s kind of cheap and low.”

    I hope he keeps it up.

  4. says

    Oh, Harry, that was beneath you! The rumor should have been delegated to someone who is not in the senate leadership. That’s what minions are for!

    Alternatively, share the gossip with Mitch McConnell to see how he splutters and fumes (preferably with a reporter standing right behind him at the time).

  5. tccc says

    I have read some folks who are suggesting that Reid is a very good tactician and just made this statement to force Romney to actually release his tax returns or not and therefor be unable to prove the accusations wrong.

    They could also very well be true in the sense that he either actually paid no taxes or paid such a pitifully low amount to essentially be no taxes compared to his wealth, think like $5000.00 on 10 million in income type of scenario.

  6. unbound says

    Actually, I think Jon Stewart does pretty well overall considering what his realistic limitations are. He typically goes head on with a lot of nonsense, but in terms of softball questions, I think we need to be realistic that he can’t go full bore against the odious guests or he would never be able to get them on the show again. Usually he is able to put in a number of subtle jabs against the jerks…and that is more than mainstream news is willing to do anymore.

  7. peterhearn says

    You can get around the country ip block by modifying your http headers, if you know how to do that. Theres probably tutorials on youtube.

    If not you show be able to view the last 5 episodes from Hulu.com, regardless of country. Its probably from one of those.

  8. frog says

    And yet wouldn’t it be delicious if Mitt does eventually release his taxes, and this is accusation is essentially true? (And if he doesn’t release his taxes, then what does that say?)

    Yeah, spreading rumors isn’t cool. Adopting the foul tactics of your opponents isn’t cool. But from a pure, Machiavellian strategic point of view, I gotta admire it as a tactic.

  9. anteprepro says

    Harry Reid heard from some guy that Mitt Romney was a tax fraud (or, really really good at finding loopholes)? That’s kind of cheap and low.

    Seriously? This is what counts as “cheap and low”? Am I missing something? This sounds like politics as usual, and not even particularly egregious politics as usual.

    Here’s a question to ponder: If a Republican, any Republican, made this kind of weak, tentative accusation about Obama, would it be news? Would there be any outcry, at all, even from Democrats? I would say the answer is an obvious “no” because we are all used to far worse shit. So why is Harry Reid “terrible” for making a weak accusation that wouldn’t even be a blip on our radar if it was a Republican spewing it out?

  10. says

    I have read some folks who are suggesting that Reid is a very good tactician and just made this statement to force Romney to actually release his tax returns or not and therefor be unable to prove the accusations wrong.

    exactly. Romney is hoping the issue will go away, and there must be something truly horrible in there for them to avoid releasing them.

    Also, has no one learned that this shit about taking the higher ground doesn’t fucking work with republicans? democrats pal around with terrorists, aren’t REAL americans, aren’t helping “us take america back”, and then there was the whole fiasco over obamas birth certificate (!!!!). I remember vividly the denigration of john kerry’s military record from people who would shoult SUPPORT OUR TROOPS whenever someone criticized foreign policy. These people have absolutely no integrity and whine like babies when a tiny dose of their own bullshit gets flung back at them. I say be fucking ruthless.

  11. Brownian says

    I remember vividly the denigration of john kerry’s military record from people who would shoult SUPPORT OUR TROOPS whenever someone criticized foreign policy.

    Ah, the flock of chickenhawks.

  12. pschoeckel says

    So, Harry Reid just makes up stuff like every other politician. I’m disappointed in myself for being surprised. I’d normally say that this wasn’t so bad in the scheme of things and that it politics as usual, that is until I read the Sam Harris essay “Lying”.

    I did like the faux news montage, they’re always good for a laugh.

  13. jjgdenisrobert says

    Let’s be clear here: Reid never said that Romney was a “tax fraud”. He made that quite clear (if you read past the first sentence of his comments). More to the point, he also stated for the record that he had no direct evidence of this, and admitted that it was all hearsay. So yes, it’s a somewhat dishonest rhetorical tactic, but it’s not lying. Compare that to Romney claiming that Obama thinks business people have nothing to do with their successes for a second.

    So this is a case of false equivalency: on the one hand a factually true but meaningless statement used for political expediency, and on the other hand a deceptively edited comment used to completely distort the opponent’s position. Anyone who reads Reid’s comments in full can see the value of his accusation. But no one who sees Romney’s commercial or the comments of his proxies, without actually checking the original, can know that Romney is full of s**t.

    I’d rather have a transparently dishonest debater than an outright liar anytime of the day.

  14. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    The thing is, there’s a difference between this kind of thing, where actually Romney’s tax returns are relevant to the election, and something like “well some guy told me Romney was snorting cocaine off a baboon’s ass at the zoo.”

    Okay obviously that’s a total lie but you see what I’m saying, it’s not a “well I didn’t SAY Obama was a muslim, I’m JUST ASKING QUESTIONS” that Glenn Beck does (not a direct quote) but rather a ploy to get Romney to actually release his tax returns, which is kind of a relevant issue and not just noisemaking like the Repubs like to do.

    I mean is it totally a Roveian move? Yeah, but all Romney has to do is release his tax returns to prove Reid wrong.

  15. hortensehenriettahigginbotham says

    Skeptifem took my answer. Too many people in this country are only paying attention to 30-second soundbites, and the Republicans know this and have been using it to their advantage, especially since the last election. Death panels… taking your guns…FEMA camps…increased taxes…war on religion – you get my drift. If Democrats don’t start fighting back and learning how to get their message out Obama is going to be a one-termer. I also say be fucking ruthless.

  16. jacobfromlost says

    Reid is very likely just playing political games, but I think they are akin to the games Romney is playing.

    When Romney says that he is in full compliance with the law and has paid 100% of what is legally required and not a dollar more…

    It SOUNDS like he probably paid no taxes, or very little, during many of those years–and leaving the door open to backtrack if he needs to.

    It’s the same spidey sense I got when Clinton used the phrase “sexual relations”. That’s when you KNEW he was parsing the definition of what counted as sex and what didn’t.

    Here, Romney claims he paid 100% of what is legally required. Well, what if what is “legally required” of him is nothing? That would not only hurt Romney, but the entire Republican agenda…and simultaneously help Obama, fit exactly with Obama’s narrative on taxes, and open many people’s eyes to the disparities in the country.

    I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask Romney for evidence that he paid a reasonable amount of taxes in the last 10 years. And if he refuses, as Judge Judy says, where did he think he was coming today? He’s running for president, and if he refuses to offer evidence that he paid a reasonable amount in taxes over a reasonable amount of time, then I think it is safe to say such evidence doesn’t exist…because he has access to the evidence, if it existed, and there is no reason to hide it otherwise.

    (Also, Rachel Maddow had a good question on her show. Last time Mitt ran, he spent 42 million + of his own money. This time he has only spent 150 thousand of his own money. Why? Any answer to that question–that I can imagine, anyway–would not seem to be flattering to Mitt, the Republican party, their confidence in winning, or their commitment to their cause.)

  17. says

    This is why we get our asses kicked, because of this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” stuff. Yeah, Reid was wrong to go in this direction… but everyone seems so desperate to find an example of Democrats being dishonest in order to balance the fact that the Republicans have almost completely abandoned telling the truth ever.

  18. robro says

    I remember vividly the denigration of john kerry’s military record from people who would shoult SUPPORT OUR TROOPS whenever someone criticized foreign policy.

    And completely ignore the fact that we don’t know where Georgie was during the Vietnam war. Somewhere in Alabama, maybe, but definitely not Nam. Regardless of whether Kerry earned that medal or not, we know he was there.

  19. newfie says

    Romney lied to his cult and didn’t really cough up 10%

    Good on Harry for his own ‘sauce for the gander’.

    also, Mormons really lie a lot

  20. Kevin nyc says

    I love it.

    Politics is a dirty game and Romeny has played cheap shot after cheaper… Reid is an inside fighter and this attack is going to hurt! so he got a bit muddy rolling on the floor, this is going to have legs and RMoney is not going to release his tax returns.

    Reporters (via Maddow) have him on record saying he will tell if in any year he paid less than 13.6% tax on his income. that was a while ago and still no response.

    so go Harry! This can only help him. He just gave in into Boehner on the continuing resolution so this is payback.

  21. fastlane says

    My biggest beef with Stewart is that he tends to ‘get it right’ more when dealing with the left. Even he seems to have fallen, at least somewhat, for the false narrative of the rightwing noise machine. He softballs the morons like O’Reilly and Krystal, but hits hard(er) at the left leaning pols that come on the show.

    See, he’s fair and balanced. Fuck that noise. He’s good overall, but I really wish he would be more accurate, even when going for the laughs.

  22. PatrickG says

    Cheap and low? Sure, it’s politics. From the story newfie linked above

    Reid has said he learned about Romney’s taxes earlier this summer from an investor in Bain Capital who, he said, called his office to pass along the information. The senator has refused to identify the investor and has acknowledged that he can’t be certain about the veracity of the charges he’s been spreading.

    If it’s untrue, at least Reid admitted he had no direct evidence. All Romney has to do is release his tax returns, and Reid’s accusation will be shown false. Unless it is true, in which case… Reid’s accusation from an unnamed source would be entirely valid, and highly relevant, yes?

    Cheap rhetoric? Slightly sleazy? Sure. But to call Reid a “terrible person” for this is kind of bombastic. Personally, I hope this continues to have traction.

  23. says

    Well yabbut Reid is trying to goad Romney into releasing his returns. If Romney keeps hiding something, then people are naturally going to speculate about what that is.

  24. amitxjoshi says

    “He’s exactly right here”?!?

    WTF, PZ, is your irony monitor out of batteries or something? Let’s say Harry DID hear from a well-informed source that Romney cheated on taxes, and failed to speak up as he did. Are you saying that would be admirable? A President Romney would be in a position to do real harm to a lot of people–just read Krugman’s articles and blog posts on how reverse-robin-hood is doing real and lasting harm to lots of innocent people.

    You speak so clearly and well on behalf of victims of catholic priests. To paraphrase, Ratzinger is a criminal if he knew of coverups of such abuse. And yet, Harry Reid is wrong to speak up if he knows of Romney’s fraud??

    WTF is this, a garden party where blunt speaking is “simply not done”?? Perhaps you haven’t yet read about Maddow’s piece last night on how Romney has a *track record* of lying about his tax returns, right up until someone is able to prove that he’s lying. At which point, he “retroactively” fixes the the tax returns!

  25. jacobfromlost says

    I highly doubt he cheated on his taxes. I do think it is possible he paid no taxes, however–and that this was perfectly legal.

    THAT is the bombshell that they don’t want the average voter to finally understand.

  26. says

    Frankly, I’ve had enough Republican secrecy. What’s your plan for the economy? Well, it’s not Obama’s. But I won’t tell you about it until after you’ve elected me.

    What’s your plan for health care if you repeal the ACA? Oh we have a competing plan. But you don’t get to know what it is unless you elect me.

    Romney refuses to show his tax returns. This is a standard part of running for president, which is a course of action he chose. I assume there is a really good reason his team decided they look better obfuscating than being transparent.

    So if we need to goad him into being forthright with the voters, I’m fine with that. The GOP doesn’t play nice, doesn’t play fair, etc. I don’t think the Dems need to get that slimy, but they can’t fight this fight with both hands tied behind their backs either.

    Harry is simply bringing up what the worst case scenario is for Romney. The fact that this claim is plausible tells you all you need to know about our tax code, BTW. So yeah, I’m all for forcing this issue.

  27. says

    Even the “unnamed source” didn’t accuse Romney of fraud, just of not paying taxes. Frankly, it would surprise me not a whit if it were so (or close enough to being so that the distinction is irrelevant). I don’t see anything wrong, immoral, or dishonest with Reid pushing in this manner. Let the voting public see the last 10 years of Romney’s income and what he’s paid in taxes. Surely, that’s relevant information.

  28. says

    For those who can’t watch:

    Jon calls Harry Reid a terrible person for saying that a Bain insider told him that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years, because he has no evidence that the claim is true (though Reid made that clear in the original statement). Jon then calls him a really, really terrible person because Reid also said that Romney’s (now deceased) father would be embarrassed of him. Jon does a bit contacting Romney’s father with a ouija board where “Governor Romney” says that he’s actually proud of his son and who the fuck is Reid to say otherwise. Then Jon puts away the ouija board and shows a clip of Gretchen Carlson from Fox deploring the state of journalistic integrity when people can basically make up whatever they want with no corroboration and call it news. Then he shows a montage of Gretchen and her Friends making up all kinds of crap (e.g. Obama is a foreigner, Obamacare = euthanasia, some guy named Rauf has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas) plus her actually saying that the show is popular because they “a lot of it we just sort of make up.” Jon concludes by saying “there’s lots of terrible to go around”.

  29. frog says

    Is there any possibility that Jon’s writers were on vacation and he got Stephen Colbert’s instead? Because the whole sketch would make perfect sense if it were on Colbert.

  30. schweinhundt says

    It seems that Sen. Reid may have chosen his poison wisely. Conservative outlets have been, IMNO, surprisingly muted in their responses given the crass, unsubstantiated nature of the attack. Based on my (admittedly unscientific) sampling, there has been more umbrage directed at critics of Romney’s “culture” comments and Chick-fil-A boycotters than at Reid.

  31. ednaz says

    Skeptifem@ #12

    Exactly.

    You can’t play fair with people who have thrown out the rules.

  32. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Romney lied to his cult and didn’t really cough up 10%

    Good on Harry for his own ‘sauce for the gander’.

    also, Mormons really lie a lot

    FWIW, Reid is Mormon too.

    Of course, that could mean he’s working on inside info.

  33. Brain Hertz says

    That’s kind of cheap and low.

    Not to mention sleazy, despicable, and about fucking time. Good for Harry. Democrats didn’t ask for politics to be conducted this way, but this is how the GOP wants it.

  34. says

    Provided Reid actually did hear this from someone who had even possible occasion to know about Mitt’s tax “burden”, I have absolutely zero problem, not a whit of a problem, with this tactic.

    And actually think it’s one of the most brilliant moves I’ve seen a democrat make recently.

    Mitt’s history with taxes and shady behavior, his stonewalling on releasing anything past two years (when every pres for 37 years or so, I think, has released at least 10 or so, I think), his language and careful phrasing when he ambiguously discusses how much he has paid in taxes…

    All of this, and then you add the context of how big an issue tax policy, particularly regarding the rich, are in this election, this particular piece of hearsay has devastating power.

    Whether he releases or not.

    The time for strict, high-minded, admirable fair play is over. I, like many of us here, am very, very, this-is-no-joke, are we heading for massive violence in the streets, concerned about the spiral this country is in.

    Our opponents are waging a war of propaganda, lies, smears, distortions, allegations – just an endless and constant stream of bullshit. And it’s working.

  35. says

    Reid has doubled down on this accusation, and Dana Bash says she knows the person who Reid’s getting it from, and the source would know.

    So maybe Reid’s onto something.

  36. says

    Harry Reid heard from some guy that Mitt Romney was a tax fraud (or, really really good at finding loopholes)? That’s kind of cheap and low.

    Maybe four years of Republicans insisting — to this day — that Obama must be hiding something because he hasn’t released his birth certificate or his college transcripts has skewed my threshold, but Reid’s charges seem downright tepid.

  37. says

    Some disappointing comments around here.

    This was an unbelievably childish move by Reid. If I want blustering man-children in office I’ll vote for the fundies.

  38. Anri says

    I highly doubt he cheated on his taxes. I do think it is possible he paid no taxes, however–and that this was perfectly legal.

    THAT is the bombshell that they don’t want the average voter to finally understand.

    See, this.

    The reason (well, the most obvious reason, anyway) that Romney wants the whole ‘what I paid in taxes’ bit to go away is that even if he is in full and total compliance with the law – and I am perfectly willing to presume he is – the law is so desperately unfair that he’ll look like a crook regardless. Most especially due to the EXTREME LOBBYING he and his company did to set the up in exactly that way.

    People don’t like being stolen from, but they might admire the brazenness of a daring outlaw. They really hate being stolen from perfectly legally.

  39. palljansson says

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Reid is vastly preferable to the Angle, Bachman, Jindal etc. bunch of crackpots (and to Romney for that matter).

    That doesn’t mean we have to like it when he effectively says “Some guy told me on the phone that Romney is a serial tax avoider, I’m sure his father is rolling in his grave. No I’m not telling you who it was”. That’s Fox News level stuff.

    TIt’s just sad and pathetic. I certainly hope some proof surfaces.

  40. says

    That doesn’t mean we have to like it when he effectively says “Some guy told me on the phone that Romney is a serial tax avoider, I’m sure his father is rolling in his grave. No I’m not telling you who it was”. That’s Fox News level stuff.

    Actually you should like it. Rhetorically it’s a good point and puts Romney in a true dilemma. And it’s right out of the birther strategy so it’s hardly an escalation. Reid is at best weaseling to tell a fact he suspects is true and a t worst telling a lie he suspects Romney isn’t honest enough to refute.

    The ends should be considered

  41. says

    The time for strict, high-minded, admirable fair play is over. I, like many of us here, am very, very, this-is-no-joke, are we heading for massive violence in the streets, concerned about the spiral this country is in.

    Our opponents are waging a war of propaganda, lies, smears, distortions, allegations – just an endless and constant stream of bullshit. And it’s working.

    This.

  42. Amphiox says

    This is basic political gamesmanship, and Reid is only doing an exact carbon copy of the tactics the Republicans pioneered and used so effectively in the past.

    And now the Repubs are all in a tizzy about this and similar Democrat utilization of their own tactics against them.

    Turnaround may or may not be fair play, but whether it is love, war, politics or sports, it is to be as expected as if dictated by natural law.

    And it is a perfect example of something I have pointed out before – successful political tactics, from a practical point of view, will be imitated, and if the Republicans have any electoral success whatsoever in 2012, then their latest innovation in odious political tactics, rank obstructionism, will also be slavishly imitated.

    And while it would be amusing to watch a Democratic senate minority filibuster every Republican initiative under the sun, and listen to Democratic senate minority leader Harry Reid declare that the only goal of his party for the next four years will be to make Mitt Romney a one-term president, the cost of such amusement in collateral damage to the American political system itself will not be worth it.

  43. Gregory Greenwood says

    palljonsson @ 45;

    This was an unbelievably childish move by Reid. If I want blustering man-children in office I’ll vote for the fundies.

    I think that you would find little arugmnet here that it would be immensely preferable if US politics was conducted strictly on the facts and in a rational, fair minded fashion that didn’t rely on cheap stunts and shallow media manipulations.

    Unfortunately, as skeptifem pointed out @ 12, such high-minded tactics have proven ineffectual in the past. The Republicans have succeeded in creating a system where two thing above all else are required to win – deep pockets and a preparedness to engage in mud-sling with abandon. That is the reality of modern American politics, to such a degree that people who stand on principle as being above such things are seen as unelectable because they supposedly ‘do not want it enough’. A short sighted and stupid attitude, to be sure, but a common one none the less.

    If the Democrats are not prepared to recognise the political reality of the system as it actually is, instead of how they wish it were, then they will certainly lose, and one can guarantee that the Republicans will show little restraint in the electioneering, and none once they are in power.

  44. susan says

    What Atrios said.

    As I’ve said many times, what’s fascinating about the what’s-in-romney’s-tax-returns story is that the man who has been running for president forever (presumably) could never bring himself to conduct his finances in such a way so as to make it politically possible for him to release the damn things.

  45. Stevarious says

    That doesn’t mean we have to like it when he effectively says “Some guy told me on the phone that Romney is a serial tax avoider, I’m sure his father is rolling in his grave. No I’m not telling you who it was”. That’s Fox News level stuff.

    Well, no, not exactly. Reid was very open about how he doesn’t know whether it’s true. Fox Nooz would just say ‘Obama is a tax evader’ if the shoe was on the other foot.

  46. susan says

    Oh and, of course, What Digby said also too.

    It isn’t the first time that [Jon Stewart's] self-righteous definition of “civility” has taken him down the wrong path. Nobody’s perfect, although I have to say that I’ve never seen Colbert fail to see the forest for the trees.

  47. bjtunwarm says

    Poor, poor Mr Romney. These attacks of him are utterly unfair. If there was only some way for the man to disprove them. Next the mean old Democrats will be calling him a draft dodger like Bill Clinton or ineligible for the Presidency because his father wasn’t born in the United States like Obama.

  48. gragra, something clever after the comma says

    Yep, Dems will walk into obscurity with their noses in the air, because god forbid they should get in the trough with the rethuglicans and bring the game to them. All this talk of civility gives me the shits. Let him have it I say.

  49. palljansson says

    @Gregory Greenwood

    Touché.

    But still, it would feel better if he would at least delegate the task to someone below him in the ladder, to keep up the illusion of rational people in goverance.

    But then it wouldn’t have the same effect.

    Oh god, I’m getting depressed.

  50. shadow says

    @57: Was it his (Mitt’s) grandfather or great grandfather that ran off to Mexico to practice polygamy? Did he (The gf or ggf) renounce his US citizenship when he did? If not, wasn’t that a violation of US law (and would it have been applicable)?

    When the Romney clan immigrated back to the US, did they need to become naturalized again?

    If Obama had to (incessantly) prove his US citizenship, what about Mitt?

  51. says

    palljansson,

    to keep up the illusion of rational people in goverance.

    First of all, there’s an illusion of rational people in governance? I must not be wearing the proper glasses.

    Second, how, exactly, is this specific tactic irrational?

    This isn’t an “Obama is a Kenyan Socialist Marxist Muslim” accusation. These are irrational accusations. This also isn’t an “Obama is a Kenyan”, Obama releases birth certificate, and a continued barrage of “Obama might be a Kenyan” regardless. Which compounds the irrationality of the charge. (Though it could be argued that even these aren’t “irrational” actions, but rather dishonest, deliberate, and effective use of propaganda aimed at credulous idiots).

    Let’s look at the issue.

    Mitt Romney is conducting himself suspiciously when it comes to his taxes.

    There has been demonstrably shady behavior on his part in regards to claiming to have filed in one place and actually having filed in another.

    There are entities that pay far less, and in some cases approaching zero in taxes, despite being the wealthiest, money-making-ist entities in the country.

    He did release far less than any candidate in the past 37 years or so.

    The rational hypothesis is that he is hiding something when it comes to his taxes.

    So, if I hear – and I qualify this because I’m not sure I could get onboard with outright fabrication, despite how likely it is he is hiding something – from a source that has a reasonable likelyhood to know something about Mitt’s taxes, like an investor of his, that he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years…

    Well, the rational thing to do seems pretty obvious to me. Put it out there, put the pressure on.

    And that isn’t even taking into account the dire situation we face. I’m not even factoring in the dirty ass way the rethugs play the game.

    Of course, if he released his tax forms and they revealed it was just a lower level of societal robbery, like he averaged 13.9% or something, I would naturally say that Reid should acknowledge the inaccuracy of his information.

    Meh, regardless, at least Reid did something effective. The whole rolling over and dying thing is getting pretty fucking old.

  52. says

    Somebody didn’t close their italics tag.

    I heard from an unnamed source we can find the evidence of the culprit’s identity in Mitt’s tax returns.

    *blink*

  53. PatrickG says

    @tkreacher

    Not accurate, you did close it. Just in the wrong place. And then began a new italics after that, unfortunately. I have the email comment update to prove it. :)

    That said, great comment. Completely agree!

  54. says

    …and sometimes even both Jon Stewart AND PZ Myers get it wrong. Very wrong.

    This isn’t swiftboating, though I understand there’s reasons to think it is. But even if it was, even if Harry Reid was simply making this all up, just to put pressure on Mitt to release his embarrassing-but-not-illegal tax returns, so?

    Oh my gods. Politics is cheap and low! Let me escort you to the feinting couch, Professor. Yeesh.

  55. says

    How do you know he hasn’t released tax forms? What makes you think he has anything to hide? What indication do you have that he is reluctant to release tax forms?

    What point do you think you are making?

    Finally, are you an idiot?

  56. says

    Hi kitty kitty.

    How is anyone who has been a United States Senator for several decades NOT worth a few million dollars? You can’t even become a US Senator if you haven’t already made a bunch of money, unless you’re a Senator’s son.

  57. furiouslysleepy says

    Ok, so how is “all he has to do is release his tax returns!” not equivalent to “all he has to do is show us his birth certificate!”?

    I haven’t done a critical analysis of this story or anything, but this is how it strikes me.

    In case someone’s going to say, effectively, that they are equivalent, but the end justifies the means, I have to say that one of the things that endears the democrats to me is the fact that they seem to have a little more political integrity than the republicans. I don’t think I can actually vote in US elections, so this point may be moot, but Obama has broken enough promises by now that my belief in the general credibility of democrats has already been eroded quite a bit.

  58. Marc Abian says

    Ok, so how is “all he has to do is release his tax returns!” not equivalent to “all he has to do is show us his birth certificate!”?

    Obama’s nationality was not seriously in doubt, while the particulars of Mitt Romney’s tax returns are not well known.

    Obama’s birth certificate has been released.

  59. palljansson says

    @tkreacher

    Sorry, I’m not buying that at all.

    Reid didn’t do something effective, he did something embarassing. It wasn’t nutjob level embarrassing, just embarrassing.

    Him stripping naked and running through the park would also be doing something other than rolling over. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  60. anbheal says

    #4 and #9 — if you are an ex-pat, be extremely careful about modifying/blocking your IP address in order to access American streams. It will completely banjax your online banking, Amazon, iTunes, etc., and they won’t readily let you back in.

    I know a number of misfortunate souls who regret that one episode of Archer that torpedoed all their other online capabilities.

  61. says

    “Reid didn’t do something effective, he did something embarassing.”

    It was very effective, and not at all embarrassing. Except to Romney, of course. The whole situation must be very embarrassing for Romney. Almost as embarrassing as those tax returns are going to be, if he ever comes to grips with the fact that if he doesn’t release them, he has 0% chance of becoming President.

  62. furiouslysleepy says

    Obama’s nationality was not seriously in doubt, while the particulars of Mitt Romney’s tax returns are not well known.

    Well, that depends at least a little on whom you talk to. In that case, if asking for Obama’s certificate was valid, then this is too. If it wasn’t, then neither is this. Both sides seem rather hypocritical on this issue.

    In any case, I personally hope he succeeds. I think the rich have too much legal protection in the US.

  63. Marc Abian says

    You are thinking superficially.

    Here’s what’s people don’t like about the birthers.
    1. There were good reasons to think Obama was a US national before he became president.
    2. After the cert was made available people still doubted. This was not reasonable. In fact, it was very unreasonable.
    3. The doubt, such as it was, was motivated by racism/insular thinking.

    Are there good reasons to think we know how much Romney pays in taxes? Would people concoct conspiracy theories if the returns were made available? Does the issue have an undercurrent of racism/sexism/punching down some power gradient?

  64. KG says

    Obama’s nationality was not seriously in doubt, while the particulars of Mitt Romney’s tax returns are not well known.

    Well, that depends at least a little on whom you talk to. – furiouslysleepy

    No. No, it doesn’t. The fact that racist liars pretend there is real doubt about Obama’s nationality does not mean there is real doubt about Obama’s nationality, or that there ever was.

  65. furiouslysleepy says

    @Mark

    Thanks. I can still point out a parallel, of course, where perhaps the liberal media demands the tax returns for months, while Romney consistently says he’s paid all required tax. Then finally he bows to pressure and releases the returns, and they’re a decent number — certainly making Reid’s statements untrue. But a lot of people still say that he lied, and only released the statements after months because he was retconning his tax returns.

    The differences are that Romney has already retconned his taxes once, and we have good reason to believe that he’s really only paid a pittance, and an instinctive distrust of the moneyed class is better than an instinctive distrust of black people.

    I would also say in hindsight the Dem’s gamble seems more strategic, politically — as you say, I was 95% certain that Obama was born in America, but I’m less certain that Romney has paid a reasonable amount of money as tax on his wealth. Still, baiting it out with allegations of paying zero tax is seems underhanded.

    @KG

    The fact that racist liars perpetuated doubt about Obama’s nationality does not mean that there was no real doubt. I can assure you that there was Real Doubt in the minds of many people I know personally, and they might be racist, but they weren’t liars.

  66. says

    The fact that racist liars perpetuated doubt about Obama’s nationality does not mean that there was no real doubt. I can assure you that there was Real Doubt in the minds of many people I know personally, and they might be racist, but they weren’t liars.

    Oh well as long as they’re honest racists!

    Except they’re not because of their double standard.

    You’re quite the little shit head aren’t you?

    Touché.

    But still, it would feel better if he would at least delegate the task to someone below him in the ladder, to keep up the illusion of rational people in goverance.

    But then it wouldn’t have the same effect.

    Oh god, I’m getting depressed.

    No it wouldn’t. “Some asshole says Obama is a pedophile” doesn’t carry nearly the same head line as “Sarah Palin says Obama is a pedophile”

    Well, that depends at least a little on whom you talk to. In that case, if asking for Obama’s certificate was valid, then this is too. If it wasn’t, then neither is this. Both sides seem rather hypocritical on this issue.

    No it fucking isn’t. If X is less than Y then Y is not less than X. Honest questions about Romny’s taxes doesn’t effect squat about race baiting bullshit. Oranges are not apples

    Ok, so how is “all he has to do is release his tax returns!” not equivalent to “all he has to do is show us his birth certificate!”?

    I’ll remind you that Obama did do that.

    Fucking idiot.

  67. furiouslysleepy says

    @Ing

    I got sidetracked. I think the point was that the accusations of Obama not being a citizen were dishonest (and racially motivated) while the accusations against Romney… weren’t? I don’t think Reid believes that Romney has literally paid no taxes either. But it’s not racist, so it’s better than the accusations against Obama.

    There’s also a difference in expected outcome — I guess the Rep’s were going for “people remember the headlines, not the retractions” and were counting on America’s racism to make that work, while Reid seems to be going for America’s disgust at the rich getting away without taxation even after they know about Romney’s true but (probably) pitiful tax statement.

    So, yes, on both those counts, Reid was less bad than… I don’t even remember. Trump? I got what I came for, thanks.

    The rest is OT, but whatever, I don’t want to leave it hanging. I say “honest racist” as a way to distinguish between people that are (consciously or unconsciously) racist but well-intentioned, versus people that are lying to exploit other’s racism to further their own ends.

    The former seem reachable (thought not easily), the latter do not.

    I say 95% because 4 years ago, looking at the elections, I thought that if the Rep’s were raising such a huge fuss over it, there had to be at least a 5% chance that Obama really wasn’t a citizen. I didn’t think it was higher because the Reps were covering their asses with “I’m not saying he’s not, but let’s just see the certificate.” This is not a number that I published as an expert or anything — I didn’t have much confidence in it, but it was my best estimate.

    That has taught me to take the Reps with extreme skepticism. It would be nice if I could take the Dems at face value, but in hindsight, that has always been a naive hope.

  68. says

    furiouslysleepy,

    I say “honest racist” as a way to distinguish between people that are (consciously or unconsciously) racist but well-intentioned, versus people that are lying to exploit other’s racism to further their own ends.

    Wait.

    So, you reserve terms like “honest” and “well-intentioned” for people who are actually racist, and use these terms to distinguish these honest and well-intentioned racists from people who, I dunno, pretend to be racist, or something, to further their own ends (while somehow also not really being racist)?

    And you also find this distinction useful?

    Further, how exactly do you tell the difference? Mind reading?

  69. furiouslysleepy says

    One really has to wonder under what definition of well intentioned one can be activly and consciously racist?

    The “road to hell” kind of definition? Anyway, it’s not like I’m defending this. Just because the word “honest” has some positive connotations doesn’t mean I want to convince you that honest racists are all joy and rainbows. They’re obviously still racist, just that they genuinely believe the arguments they are making. In fact in my opinion this is the majority of racists, and I would never have had to prefix “honest” if I weren’t contrasting this group with politicians who try to use racism to get votes.

    And it also depends on what definition of “racist” you use: if you’re saying, under what definition of ‘well-intentioned’ can one actively try to oppress African Americans? then clearly the answer is that there isn’t one. But if you’re saying, under what definition of ‘well-intentioned’ can one actively believe that African Americans are in some ways inherently different from European Americans? then, well, I know a few people like that. They don’t think they’re racist, of course, but will agree with racist statements.