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Mitt Romney was an 18 year old high school bully and it matters

#mittromney   #election2012   #bullying   #euromaestro  

Or so says Forbes magazine in this article.

We all now know that as an 18-year-old prep school student in the 1960s, Mitt Romney rounded up a group of friends, assaulted a student who would later come out as gay, pinned him to the ground, and hacked off the hair he had grown long and dyed blond over vacation.

The boy was crying and screaming for help as he was held down by the other boys.

All of the participants remember the event and have expressed remorse. All save for the ringleader, Romney.

Phillip Maxwell, a fellow student who was there when it happened, told ABC News, It’s a haunting memory. . . . because when you see somebody who is simply different taken down that way and is terrified and you see that look in their eye you never forget it. And that was what we all walked away with.

Who could ever forget such a thing? Andrew Sullivan writes, “We have two options: this man is so callous that, unlike all those others involved in this assault, he has forgotten it. Or he is a liar. ”

I raised the same issue in an earlier post and some people felt that it mattered and others that it did not.

Some felt that his response was insincere or dismissive or an outright lie.

Mitt Romney laughs off his teen bullying

Mitt Romney's empathy problem

Does his bullying and response matter ?
Mari Thomas's profile photoRobert M. Reynolds's profile photoEuro Maestro's profile photoTimothy Takemoto's profile photo
What matters is that he has not (to my knowledge) made an apology to his victim. I want to see him on a talk show, with the victim.
The bully mentality isn't something you grow out of. He apologised when he was caught but considering who he represents they probably see it as a virtue.
+Ayoub Khote I don't believe that's possible, I saw some reports earlier today that the victim has already died.
he is still a hater, a bully by means of his policies, and at a greater scale
+Ayoub Khote Not only has he not apologized but he has kind of laughed it off and said that he has no recollection of it. As I indicated in my previous reports the other students all have vivid memories of it that haunted them decades later and brought it up spontaneously upon meeting the victim 30 years later. Unfortunately the victim died a few years ago.
+Ayoub Khote From what I've read, the family is upset that this has been brought up and made public... I'll see if I can google-fu up some references, instead of sticking with 2nd/3rd hand reports.
I think this says a lot about Romney's personality, both that he did it in the first place, and that he now "don't remember" it. Lack of empathy seems to could be part of it.
+Anthony Ashley Candidate for presidency makes for bigger digging budgets. As for your question - I don't care about the diggers, it is Romney that is aiming for presidency, and his personality that matters.
+Daniel Buchner The biggest problem I have is the way he is responding to the issue now. It shows potentially a real charachter flaw, certainly when he was 18 but worse that there is still one there today.
Good point +Anthony Ashley but digging skeletons out of the cupboard is what happens at important elections. The opposition go looking for ways to discredit you and sometimes this is very dirty. The President went through this when standing for office and has had to cope with it every day since then.

If he had anything to hide, it has already come out. No one even noticed Mittens before he ran for President so we're just finding out about him now.
Yes +Anthony Ashley I think the incident speaks about who he was. It's his response now that speaks about who he is. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have learned from that his experience and that's sad at best.
That would include me, but I never bullied. I was the one on the receiving end. Bullies bully. It's not a thing you grow out of.

Joining in for fear of being bullied too is human nature. You either toughen up and learn to say no or you continue to be beta.
As we get older we stop doing stupid things because we're smarter than trying to ruin for ourselves. That doesn't mean that the bullies no longer are bullies. Personality doesn't tend to change a lot, but we do get more experienced and smarter.
Phillip Maxwell, a fellow student who was there when it happened, told ABC News, It’s a haunting memory. . . . because when you see somebody who is simply different taken down that way and is terrified and you see that look in their eye you never forget it. And that was what we all walked away with
+Daniel Buchner I'm willing to agree with you. Again my concern is how he is handling the situation now.
I'm thinking this is the same guy who didn't see anything wrong with strapping his pet to the roof of his car on a long road trip, who made a half-arsed apology with this revelation and who said that he "enjoys firing people".
+Ann McPherson Yes, I think there is a real problem with his response. Interestingly enough, Forbes, a conservative magazine thinks so as well.
+Ann McPherson I just added to the post a quote from Andrew Sullivan where he says either Romney is so callous that he has forgetten this incident that is so etched in the minds of everyone else or he is a liar.
Proof that you can be Conservative without being an overbearing, paternalistic prat, +Euro Maestro. I like Forbes. No two writers seem to have the same opinion and the clashes are fun; I refer to both the margin of difference and the comments section.
Apparently, the dog-eating thing was an unproven rumour. The reason I believe this is Indonesia is mostly Muslim and dog is Haram (forbidden/unclean). If he'd lived in Korea, I'd find it easier to believe because they eat dog there.
I would encourage everyone to read the entire Forbes article. It isn't very long at all. Joe Klein's comments are particularly scathing. I'm really surprized that there is no more outrage/concern by the right that he apparently is very flippant about being callous and a liar.
Plus +Daniel Buchner he was supposedly 10. He didn't go out and cook the dog himself.

But to the bigger issue, yes I agree much more is learned from Romney's reaction to it all.
Bill Clinton left the economy in surplus, then Bush invaded Iraq and Afghanistan on dodgy evidence. This year, the President sent in a crack team and took OBL out. If Bush had done that, I daresay there would be no deficit. At least it would be smaller.
+Daniel Buchner I agree with you that there are certainly a lot of vital issues to take into account but why should that stop one from reviewing what appears to be a serious problem that he has with the truth. Character is important too, wouldn't you agree ?
If Mittens is only a glove puppet for the big corporations, character doesn't matter because he'll do what they tell him.
I am certain he was a bully then, and is a bully now, he has just learned to do it in a more socially acceptable hidden way..
+Mari Thomas Are you not shocked by the way that he tries to laugh it off now and says that he doesn't even remember it ? His own closest friends say that isn't possible.
Who do you think is a good choice for President, then? You can write in candidates that aren't officially running, as far as I know.
i am not shocked at all +Euro Maestro , I think he is a bit of a socio-path .. I think most people who make money the way that he does are a bit socio-pathic.. he doesnt think societies rules apply to him and he has very little empathy for anyone who isnt like him.. I think he would gladly throw lots of Americans under the bus and not think twice about it. .. not even bat an eye
Mitt Romney willingly gives away over ten percent of his 6million per year to charity. Gay marriage was also passed in the state he ran very well.

Obama has just made well timed promises to get campaign donations for which he's not done, nor likely will he do a lick for gays.
+Mari Thomas I have to say that I'm truly shocked. I think Joe Klein makes a good point. Even if you accept that he could be so callous and so willing to lie about this. Isn't it also an insult to our intelligence to expect us to take this response seriously ?
Mitt Romney will do much to give the appearance of caring.. because he really .. doesnt!!
+1 for the #truth about the President, but can you verify via link about the charity? I'm annoyed about #NDAA so I'm not seeing him as the last, best hope; more of a "better than Mittens" candidate. He really needs to make good on his word and leverage support from the people the way protestors do. He used to be a community organiser so it's not a big shift or anything.
+Patrick Berzai Which charities? Last time I checked, it was heard that he gave mostly to the Mormon religion.

If gay marriage passed in his state, that means the people in his state are open-minded, that doesn't mean he is.
+Patrick Berzai So even if we were to accept that Obama is a bad person and in some other respects Romney is a good person, how does it change this situation ? He is still blantantly lying and being callous about a bullying event where he terrorized a fellow student.
Meanwhile, the President seems to be stuck in a place where compromising doesn't work and much of what he wants to get done is being blocked by the Republicans. None of that excuses the things he could and should have done, but chose not to. #NDAA #Surveillance
He is just kinda classic to me +Euro Maestro, no shame no guilt, no worry.. because we dont matter to him, except in that he needs a certain percentage of us to vote for him. all numbers... I dont even think he hates gay people.. I think he just knows that a lot of people do and wants to give the appearance of being a wholesome person. It is all about the end game for him.. He might not remember torturing that young man when he was younger.. any more than he would remember swatting a fly or pouring salt on a slug.
+Daniel Buchner the records don't lie, but I'm still naffed off about the war. What's your stance on that? It's being wound down at the moment.
+Mari Thomas I thought about that. I'm not sure which is scarier him lying about it or him actually not remembering it. Either way it's pretty bad. Either way he chose the wrong words to say.
If lying is an issue, they're 'bullying' people in Guantanamo, no? Obama said that would stop. It hasn't.

As to the Mitt-er, here it is:

What did Obama donate?

I mean, I know it's crazy for me to actually ask people to rely on facts when deciding that Romney is a good guy. He didn't take money for the time he spent as gov of MA. He's donated more money than everyone on this thread added up will ever make. I suppose that will mean nothing.

A guy like Obama--who said he believes gays should get married (not did anything, just said something)--is lauded when in actuality it was done because the gay lobby (which has replaced the Wall Street lobby in level of donations) threatened to withhold money. Just yesterday, bouyed by the announcement of his 'belief' he raked in 15million from Hollywood donors in one fell swoop.

The only person who will ever benefit from this rake is Obama, as this is money to help elect him so that he can do nothing that he promised to do for another four years.

Those, my friends, are facts. And your earlier posts and your later responses will show that those facts mean nothing to you and that you've already decided Mitt is a bad guy based on a single event years ago and that Obama is a great guy even though there is no event to positively attribute to him other than words that only benefit him. And that's our world today.
Intriguing new dynamic on this thread... highlights for me in todays reading include:

Forbes: Romney has a near-perfect record of cowardice, obfuscation and downright lies. of that I would be more curious, and perhaps it is prior knowledge of his near-perfect record that has people reacting in such emotional outrage/disgust/negativity/etc on this issue

CSMonitor: The Post story is a subtle attempt to shape Romney as a gay basher at a moment when President Obama has come out in favor of same-sex marriage that seems quite reasonable... again a plea to emotion and polarizing readers to an us vs them mentality

still waiting on to load...

still unchanged on my stance from the prior thread...
+Patrick Berzai I'm not really sure what it is that you are saying about this subject. Are you saying it's ok that he terrified this boy in the 1960s ? Are you saying it's ok that he's lying about it now ? Are you saying that it doesn't matter that he is callous about it now ? Or are you only interested in pointing out faults of Obama and praises for Romney ?
+Ann McPherson +Daniel Buchner you are both correct. Bush was in his lame duck phase and partisan politics allowed the housing bubble to build up and burst.

As for Mittens, I looked at the linked article:

It isn’t unusual for high earners like the Romneys to funnel money into charitable foundations that they control, said Lloyd Mayer, an associate dean at the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Most of the dosh went to the LDS. Their church. Most, if not all churches are registered charities.

Edit: re: Guantanamo: that's not the President's fault. Congress is blocking it being shut down.
+Becky Cox I'm glad that you are here. This thread has the advantage of being a little bit more balanced as there are at least a couple of Romney supporters here.

I'm surprized you were not even a little bit swayed by the Forbes article. I also posted links to two other Forbes articles.
I wonder why some people are forgetting a very important point: that he is NOW a bully. Period
or do you need I link to his nowadays declarations about gay people to confirm that he is a bully now???
One thing I've noticed and I don't know if it's particular to American politics or not but it seems often supporters of a candidate are unable to maintain any criticism of their candidate and very relucantant to give any praise to his opponnent. I have no issue at all criticizing someone I support. Nor with praising his opponnent. Now I can understand that sort of reaction from people who work for the campaign but in the general public, I don't get that.
Neither do I, +Euro Maestro. Slagging off our reps, even if we usually support them, is a British institution. Critical thinking is important when selecting a candidate and this "My party right, right or wrong" mentality is part of the reason that Congress is a mess right now.

To quote Dawn of the Dead, "We're them, and they're us."

They're mirroring what's going on here on G+.
but this should be not only critcism, if someone is a declared hater, for instance openly racist or homophobe, she/he should be banned from politics, because they are working against fundamental human rights, and that should be enough.
Nobody reasonable can doubt that because you linked to the White House records to prove it. Partisanship causes more problems than it solves. The elephant in the room is that there are conservatives in the Democrats, but there's a litmus test to pass for Republicans so there are fewer differences of opinion among them.

Even die-hard Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger has commented on this.
+Euro Maestro the people who want to vote for romney at this point have some other reason for wanting to vote for him.. They will never disclose that.. Romney has a history of buying companies and manipulating them so that he can squeeze the most money out of them, pocket it, then sell off the rest of it or destroy it all together.. In the mean time he has thrown all the employees out of jobs, i even remember reading he raided pensions etc..

and now he wants to buy America and do the same thing.. Squeeze whats left and throw the citizens out into the streets.. .. His MO is very clear. So anyone who wants to vote for him already knows this and somehow thinks they will be on the winning squeezing side .. Or is pretending that he is only going to do this to "groups of people who deserve it" in their opinion..

Truthfully he doesnt care about anyone but himself and people who can help him.. so hopefully he doesnt fool enough people and win an election.. if he does we will become a 3rd world type of country with hundreds of millions poor and desperate ,begging to shine shoes or take in other peoples laundry in order to feed our kids and pay off our degrees.
+Daniel Buchner The really sad thing I find about the whole deficit situation going back to time where it looked like the US was heading to a surplus and projected surplusses as far as the eye could see, was that the overwhelming majority wanted the surplus used to pay down the debt. This was at a time where they were actually forseeing the US paying off the debt completely within a few years. Opinion polls showed the percentage to be over 80 percent in favor of that solution. However, the Democrats wanted to use the surplus to increase spending on various programs and the Republicans wanted to use the suprlus to reduce taxes. Both parties ignored the will of the people and quickly worked together to erase any chance of a real surplus. Alan Greenspan campaigned hard with the President and Congress to ensure that the debt was not paid off.
I appreciate a good conversation about politics but it is odd that a discussion about the morals of one candidate all of the sudden turns to what two previous presidents did.

+Daniel Buchner No one is saying that this should be the sole thing to look at when making a decision. How could you not find it important or relevant for voters to pay attention to the type of moral or immoral decisions that a candidate has made? This is merely one part of the picture that each of us has to build in our heads before we make a decision. And you can't possibly think that bullying another student, whether he actually thought he was gay or not, is inconsequential?
**sigh, why do people so dislike hearing of data and factual accounts...**

What, you mean Republicans? Search me. It's the evasiveness and subject-changing that I find annoying.

If and when I am presented with a fact, I examine it and if it's from a reliable source, e.g. The White House records, I accept it.

I'm not afraid to criticise my chosen party (Pirate) or any of its candidates (should that become an issue). I suppose that makes me broadly Libertarian. I just don't understand your apparent "Mittens FTW" attitude and your refusal to engage with any of the facts I've brought up. I'm not afraid to admit to being wrong when refuted. Are you?
+David Arce It's not even just the bullying. It's also the concern about how he is handling the issue now. Clearly there is a lack of empathy, a callousness that is hard to understand and what many believe is also an outright lie. The issue isn't only about what happened back in the 1960s but how he as a person is responding to those issues now. You can see the very strong reaction of his former close friends from prep school who are completely appaled by his response.
Whatever made you think I continued to accept that after you had proved it wrong?

I'm not a fan of Clinton, I just thought he'd got something right for once.
+Daniel Buchner Yes, I'm not talking about what happened to the revenues after, that i'm very familiar with. I'm talking about the policy changes made on the hill and the White House in response to the projections of the time that the US would have surpluses as far as they could project and that the entire US debt would be paid off in just a few short years. Rather than accept that or work with that goal which the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted, both parties worked actively to spend those projected surplusses. The Democrats wanting to use it up on various programs and the Republicans on tax cuts.
+Daniel Buchner Yes, I wasn't trying to suggest that this was the only issue. I am just shocked at the way that he is handling this. Even if you were really callous and had no empathy, it would be a cold calculating move to at least appear to have more empathy. His failure to do even that seems to confirm what Joe Klein suspects that he is really insulting our intelligence.
We're cool, +Daniel Buchner. What do you think are the biggest concerns and what do you think are the best ways to fix them?

I'd start by scaling down all war efforts as reasonably as possible, then cut right down on the #surveillance.

I'd then make the rich pay the 90% they used to pay before they started getting tax breaks in the Eighties.

I'd add taxes to imports that compete with those on the domestic market because they're being subsidized by their own governments so that's unfair competition.

I'd then remove any incentives given to those who outsource jobs to other countries.

Outsourcing may be necessary but if it's just about contributing to the economic downturn to make a buck, forget it; no breaks.

Ain't gonna happen, of course. What do you think?
highlight from theblaze: “The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda,” she said. “There will be no more comments from the family.”

So essentially no one asked for an apology... no one involved or directly affected WANTS an apology... so I still don't fully understand why some are so enamoured with this particular story...

+Euro Maestro it appears to me that your emotional reaction to the issue is based on the idea that someone can not forget being a bully. Which I whole heartedly disagree with. and am quite glad to have such a fiesty and respectful opponent on And worry about his callous lack of empathy as a person. That character trait may be one to cause some concern, but again, I would rather look at his track record, or how it will affect my country, or yours, or others, rather than look upon this one incident. Even if the guy was dismissive in his apology of which I do not see that myself that doesn't really play into my judgement upon him as a presidential candidate. And in terms of judgement I speak of judging how well he would fill his political role... Sometimes a lack of empathy is what is needed, as mentioned in the earlier thread regarding shark tanks essentially being the atmosphere of some political arenas...

If, based on his track record and other events, Romney is in deed found to be callous and lacking empathy I do not see that as a definite strike against him. I would then look to the state of his country and see what the country needs to move forward as a whole. Will he be able to lead such movement and actions to fruition, or not? Will he just further his own means and those of his monetary political supporters, or the people as a whole?...
+Becky Cox I agree. I'm also annoyed that people are dragging this up to use for political capital and not caring about the collateral damage. That family wants to be left alone and don't need a campaign to be run on their behalf.

Bullying is wrong and this was a bad thing, but making a campaign of it is unseemly.
+Becky Cox I quoted the other participants of the bullying and they are the ones who can not believe that it is possible for him to forget. I think either he is lying which is pretty bad or he's telling the truth which presents another problem. Namely that he could be so callous to even be able to forget terrifying someone to that extent. I think the remarks of the family are largely if not entirely irrelevant. Also even if he did somehow manage to forget this incident, his response is entirely inappropriate. If you read the Forbes article, it explains quite clearly the type of response that one would expect. His laughing off the incident is just completely and entirely inappropriate.
Hey, is it just me or are the plus ones not working on this post ? I keep seeing it get plus oned but then nothing shows up on the summary.
"that he could be so callous to even be able to forget terrifying someone to that extent." To that +Euro Maestro I would say that each person creates their own memories based on what is important to them, and how it impacts their life. From the articles it appears that Romney believed the victims hairstyle or whatever was "wrong" and he was standing up for what he believed to be "wrong". If that is the case, no matter how misguided his beliefs of what were right or wrong then I think that is an admirable trait for the leader of a country to possess. It takes a lot for someone to stand up for something they believe to be wrong. Granted at the time it was a prejudice thing for him to do, and inappropriate action, but somehow we seem to draw different conclusions upon how this reflects on Romneys character... also noteworthy in relation to this is doing some of my own family history I interviewed my father and his 2 brothers about their childhoods and what it was like for them as a family... comparing the 3 stories you would have thought they all grew up in completely different households. Additionally there was an incident where one of the boys was injured, to the extent of having broken bones, and held a bias against the other as a bully... the bully in that case has no recollection of said events... It is our perceptions and emotional reactions to things that imprint our memories... in my opinion...

While yes, as I mentioned earlier Romney did miss a great opportunity to voice a current opinion on bullying or how he would like to see it handled today, I do not believe he laughed off the incident... I do not see his response as inappropriate...

contentedly reflecting on how enjoyable it is to disagree with you in such a lively and respectful manner Euro...
What, in the sidebar? Happens to me, too. Have you had +1 buttons run away from you when you try to click them? Happens to me all the time.

And posts I've written vanish when the system updates before I have a chance to post. Grrrr!
Yes, I have no problem with disucssing this issue or other issues with people that have different views or opinions. If anything, it's more interesting. I just have a hard time understanding your position. I do agree with you that it's great to be passionate about something and that his passion was misplaced. I don't think it's admirable what he did about his passion. If he had felt the haircut was wrong and had confronted the boy, or had gone to the school officials or some other response that would be one thing. But to organize a group of boys to hunt him down then physically hold him down against his will, and while the boy is crying and screaming for help, to continue to hold him down and cut off his hair, I'm sorry that's just totally inappropriate behaviour on so many levels. His failure to remember the terror that he created (if true) says something about him. His failure to be able to express today an apology or show some empathy says something about the man today and it's not pretty. :) I have no idea why you fail to see the inappropriateness of his response. I think it's clearly explained in the Forbes article.
+Becky Cox I think the family situation you descirble is a completely different situation and I think perhpas it is influencing your judgement of this situation. Being boys in a prep school is a completely different type of relation than within a family.
let alone thinking that he had the right to do that to the guy in the first place.. I mean WTH.. with that kinda logic no woman could ever leave the house..
+Mari Thomas I mentioned in my other post how one of the participants bumped into the victim at the airport 30 years later and the first thing he said to him was that he was sorry about what they did. The victim said that he was terrified and that he had often thought about the moment and that was 30 years after the fact !
+Euro Maestro No. I am pointing out that something someone did in high school is irrelevant.

I think both are good candidates. But Obama is all promises. He does not make good on them. He talks pretty, so he fools a lot of 'smarter-than-thous' in our country. And it's sad because these people (self anoint) think they're so smart
+Patrick Berzai ok. So if I understand your point of view since whatever he did in high school is irrelevant, if he's lying about it now that's irrelevant too ?
+Euro Maestro I'm saying that people have changed. I stuck up for others 80% of the time in high school, sometimes getting into fights to do it. I hate bullying. I also know that I was not always kind.

I ALSO know that where I live in Boston, it's mostly gay men. It's called the South End of Boston. Two things:

1. No one, and I mean NO ONE is meaner to gay men than other gay men. It's not even close.
2. I have been bullied by gay men. (and no, before it happened, I never thought that gay people would bully).

It cuts both ways.

What do I know about Romney? As the governor of MA we had our best years economically. Due to this being a liberal state, gay marriage AND health care was passed while Romney was gov.

So, Mitt has ACTUALLY done more for gays that Obama even SAYS he'll do. That is what I'm saying.
+Patrick Berzai I totally understand what you are saying and I can appreciate that point of view. I still don't get the part about how that excuses him lying about it now. Why can't he simply say that he made a big mistake ?
Well, if someone mentioned that I 'did' something that I did not remember, I would not apologize about it, no matter what it was. I'd want more information, certainly.

The point for me is the level of vetting for Mitt Romney--picking on a kid in high school...I mean HIGH SCHOOL?--is more than the vetting we did of Obama in '08 when all he'd ever done is fix potholes for local gov't in Chicago. The press vetted Sarah Palin 100x more than Barack and she wasn't even running for President. Hell, they vetted "Joe, the Plumber" more than they vetted Barack Obama.

My point is: "What does it matter?" What can this person do as President. I dont even care about the issues. Can this man run an efficient gov't? If you asked that of Obama you'd say "Sort of, I guess, if he ever gets around to doing what he says he will."

With Romney? It's always a "hell yes." Guy is just efficient as fuck and he gets the job done. He'll get my vote for that reason, and that one alone.
Well +Patrick Berzai if you were running for president, and five of your best friends all remember an event when you were 18 where you terrified one of your classmate"s and held him down against his will while he was screaming for help and crying and you really somehow had no recollection of it at all, hopefully you wouldn't just laugh it off and instead if not offer an apology, you could at least say that if true that would be absolutely wrong, it's really not hard that hard if you have a little bit of decency to come up with an acceptable response. It is not only a question of character today but it's a question of
If I were running for President I would say "Seriously? Seriously? This is what you got? We have 8% unemployment and this is what you're asking?"

Then I'd launch into why the modern media sucks--just absolutely sucks--at their jobs. Then I'd wonder why I was trying to lead a nation of assholes who care about something that happened forty years ago and who even if I mowed their lawns, did their laundry, took their kids to school and then paid for their dinner would STILL think I was just a greedy white guy because I didn't wash the floors.

Our country's politics are being hijacked by the "smarter-than-thous" on the left and the "holier-than-thous" on the right, neither living up to their moniker.

Meanwhile we have a middle that is larger than the two extremes who are so apathetic I wonder if they even deserve representative gov't.

That's what I'd say. I'd be right and have credibility and therefore be laughed out of the election.
We have closer to 17% unemployment. and yes, I know how to fix it as do about 80% of the Citizenry -- but the Riche won't do it because of their greed.
+John Nash it's not the rich. They already pay for 80% of gov't. If YOU want more gov't programs, volunteer to have your taxes raised. If YOUR'RE arguing there is a class war, segregating a single class is hypocrisy.

The rich pay way more than their fair share. It's time EVERYONE steps up. Blaming the rich or the GOP just makes you a part of the problem. You've not even taken the first step toward a solution if you've only done that.
+Patrick Berzai The Riche might account for 80% of the total federal income, HOWEVER they pay less than 3% of their own income as taxes. Your statement is an example of the deceptive spin these Riche use to evade taxation: they collect 99% of all income in the US for themselves, but only pay for 80% of income taxes collected. The working poor and middle class must make up the difference while the Riche kick back and laugh at them.

Normal people end up paying 35% of their income as taxes, PLUS medicare, and Medicaid, and FICA: a rate over 50% of the middle class income. If the Riche were taxed at as high a rate as the rest of us and not allowed to escape taxation for their speculation and market manipulation then they would have an incentive to put that money to good use building factories and employing American Citizens so our economy would recover.
No, it's more than that.

Easy math. What's 3% of oh i dunno, 500 Million? What is that? 15 million bucks?

You know what, you dont have to do the math because I know it's more than 100% of 50K or 100K or even $250K. So they pay more in taxes in one year than most people will even MAKE in their lifetimes.

Now that we're comparing apples to apples rather than a silly percentage argument, try again.
+Marcin Ciszewicz you raise so many good points.

I think you are quite right to be concerned about someone who backstabs you with a smile.

I understand as well your comments suggesting that empathy may be overrated.

My concern is in the context of this specific example where one is accused of a horrific bullying act where a child is terrorised. I think it's a sign of incredibly poor judgment to leave the impression that you are callous about it especially if you already have an image problem about empathy.

I think if you are right and this was a calculated response, I think they blew it. It would have gone away a lost faster with the expression of heartfelt regret. 
+Daniel Buchner Exactly! They're attacking Romney in effort to cover up their own deficiencies. It's defense by offense.
+Daniel Buchner

I don't subscribe to this calculus where there is some kind of mutual exclusivity of good and evil between the two candidates. The idea that one candidate must be good and the other bad. I don't have any problem with saying that each is bad in some respects or that each is good in some other respects. So it's easy for me to condemn Romney where he's wrong, praise him where he's right and do likewise for Obama. 
It's really irrelevant if there were Obama partisans trying to take political advantage of this story. The criticisms are still valid. The same applies to criticisms of Obama. 
+Patrick Berzai are you really saying on the tax issue that the percentage is irrelevant and what's important is the nominative dollar figure paid ?

If that's what you really mean then a billionaire who pays 50 000 in taxes "pays more" in taxes for you then someone who pays 40 000 in taxes on an income of 80 000.

That's a very interesting way of looking at it, crazy but interesting. 
When you're trying to pay the bill for your dinner and the bill is $200 split between ten of you, how often is it equitable for two people to pay for $160, for two people to pay the rest of the $40 and the other six pay nothing?

Because that's how the tax code is set up now.
That cannot be fair. THAT is crazy.
I've heard people try to defend a flat percentage but not a flat dollar amount. At least, it's original. I admit that you have courage to advance the idea that a billionaire should pay the same dollar amount as someone making minimum wage. 
That's not what I said. What I am deflecting is the need of the hoi polloi to think that "oh, the rich should pay more."

They're paying enough.

I dont hear these same people say "Please take more of my taxes." If they were saying that, then instant credibility.

However, they're saying the opposite. They're saying "Tax him, but not me." I want the same representation and privildeges and they're so important to me and I value them so much that...I wont pay for them. But someone else should!

THAT my friend, is Greed. Undadulterated greed. We should shrink from anyone who makes any sort of suggestion. And let me stress again, that I am not rich.
I don't think it's greed. It's a response to a system that's unfair. That's why Buffet likes to give the example that he pays a lower tax percentage than his secretary.

I've previously posted about the number of millionaires that pay zero taxes.

Also the top corporations in the US that pay no taxes. 
Wanting to keep the money you make isn't greedy. Wanting the services you want and expecting others to pay for it is the height of greed. Nothing smacks of "mine" more than that.

Which corporations paid no taxes? I know of some that had zero net taxes because they were overcharged in years past, but none that paid none.

I also know that there is between 20-30% of our poor pop that pays no taxes yet gets the most services. Our country is founded upon taxation w/o representation. If you do not pay taxes, should we reverse engineer that statement?

And Buffett is a perfect example. Was Buffett's sec'y charged a lower percentage, or less money? Buffett is a grandstander anyways. He's got lots of way to sock his money away to avoid taxes. At least he says "tax me." The others in our country dont even say that.
It's difficult to take +Daniel Buchner and +Patrick Berzai seriously -- setting aside the creative taxation math, which I presume is intended to be amusing.

They're straining so hard to caricature the President in such outlandish ways, that is appears they're simply incapable of recognizing the ethical / moral question at hand, which +Euro Maestro continues to ask, over and over.

The consistency is striking: Romney is not troubled by lapses in ethics or morality... and neither are his most vocal supporters.

Do sociopaths support GOP policies because those policies are so antisocial? Or, are GOP policies antisocial because of all the sociopaths supporting them? Chicken or egg? Discuss.
+Gary Stock glad you made the statement about how bad it is to generalize only to set up your generalizations. Who shouldn't be taking who seriously?

Hoisted upon your own petard, you are.
I suppose I could insult your intelligence here. But how can I do more to insult it than you already have?

One, I'm not even talking or making caricatures about the President. I'm talking about the press and his supporters.

Second, how is: "Do sociopaths support GOP policies because those policies are so antisocial? Or, are GOP policies antisocial because of all the sociopaths supporting them? Chicken or egg? Discuss."
...not a wild swing for the fences generalization? Do you know what 'generalization' means?

Also, how is paying 17% of 1 million less than paying 35% of 50K? And please, since I'm so dumb, do the math slowly...
+Ann McPherson I'm not a Christian, good or otherwise. Also, Romney didn't flaunt this. It's in his income taxes, which he has to produce for the election.

Seriously, your 'up' and 'down' should be based upon facts and not 'what will help Obama if I think one way?" or "what will make Obama look better if we judge another?" The 'who' should be almost irrrelevant. How often does a personal whim of the President get indulged? Last I knew, it was PEPFAR, which was really, really, really nice. But then, that wasn't Obama, so who cares, right?

I"d love to see our country actually just ask not what this person believes, but how good he is at the job. Administraion and not pontification is what Presidents are for.
As I've said before I have no problem criticising either candidate when he does something wrong and praising him when he does something right.

I get the impression +Daniel Buchner that you are unable or at least reluctant to acknowledge the criticism and concerns regarding Mitt Romney and all to eager to cite them regarding Obama. I won't even mention praising Obama since I'm sure that's off the table.

It seems a lot more closer to the truth for a person to acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate he supports while making the case that he is the better of the two. 
+Daniel Buchner

Straw man arguments don't work well with me. Please try to avoid conflating my position with someone else's.

As far as your point about millionaires paying an average tax rate of 29 percent.

It's an average which means that some pay more and some pay less.

If there really were a minimum tax rate of 30 percent, the average would most likely be greater than 30 percent.

As far as higher taxes go on millionaires go, opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority support higher taxes on millionaires. Even more interesting is that even the majority of millionaires support the idea.

The real serious problem with tax avoidance comes from corporations. The largest companies pay no taxes. The average rate paid by corporations is well below the 30 percent nominal rate and works out to be close to 17 percent.

It's much easier for corporations to engage in practices to avoid taxes than it is for individuals. 
Yes I remember very well that you did acknowledge the criticism. That was great. It's just in your subsequent posts you always restate the criticism in the second person as if you were distancing yourself from it. 
+Daniel Buchner

Perhaps you didnt read what I wrote. I said not only do a majority of Americans support the increase but also a majority of the people affected by the tax support it as well. So if they're ok with paying the tax, why are you so busy opposing it ?

One thing I agree with you on is the idea of people wanting what you call free shit.

That's why the debt level is so high in the US. People want stuff but don't want to pay for it. Notably the people opposing higher taxes frequently fall into this category !

+Daniel Buchner, I wasn't dismissing your personal experience. I was dismissing your inability to acknowledge others' personal experience.

And, +Patrick Berzai... you crack me up, man. You're in way over your head...
+Gary Stock No, you have not even conformed to your own logic. It's not me who is over his head, it is you who cannot swim. You've offered no data, no arguments, just a solipsistic syllogism (if that's even possible) and then just a sweetspot of ignorance and arrogance.

I'd rather not discuss things with a person like you.
+Daniel Buchner

I agree with a lot of what you said. I don't really think that we got played. I do agree with you that the campaign staff of Obama does probably want us to talk about this. The reason I'm talking about it has nothing to do with Obama and is solely because of the poor response by Romney. It is also the basis of the Forbes article and Joe Klein's commentary. I think Romney has only himself to blame for this. 
Euro makes the point well: it is not necessary to be interested in sides, politics, or political outcomes to take an abiding interest in the actions of a prominent public figure.

Four independent observers, with direct personal knowledge, report that a presidential candidate took actions that we all see as highly inappropriate. That goes to questions of character, and of judgment. I, for one, would have known better at any age than to physically assault another person (let alone out of insecurity, or in yielding to peer pressure). If I ever had stooped to such violent incivility, I would remember it. What am I to make of a person who would do that, and then forget it? Is that person worthy of my trust?

Suggesting that a discussion is too long; implying that the testimony of four people is merely a "story"; imagining that the victim's family had any knowledge of the event; acting as though assaults are forgiven merely because the victim is dead -- all such notions mislead us into complacency. That is what Romney's excellent PR team would have us do.

A man who seeks the most powerful position in the world deserves scrutiny. How he treated his peers; how he treated his pets -- these reveal traits that will matter to all of us. It is worth more than a few minutes of our time to consider Romney's own demonstrations of his own values.
For all that it is worth:
In the 60'ies, it was fairly common to bully long haired men as it was seen as unnatural, provocative and just plain wrong.
That was the whole point of growing long hair back then, I guess.
Doesn't justify his actions at all, however.
But it doesn't hurt to put it into historical context.
Hey +Euro Maestro, so I've been pondering some more... uhoh, and there's more comments I haven't read... egads!

I think George W Bush plays more heavily on my perspective here... the old "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" line and it's fallout... honestly, it was in Bush's personal life, I didn't care, he lied, I giggled a lil when they found out and the ensuing fallout, I moved on... don't care one bit if he lied, had an affair or is an ass... if he lied well, then uh, well, sad to say, but it is part of the job... Not everything you do as president is going to be something you love, nor wholeheartedly support. Too many factors at play... Would I critique Bush for how he handled the Lewinski fiasco? Not really... don't much care... would I critique him on how he managed the country, led them to prosperity or not - you bet your bottom dollar I would!!!
Ha... my visual learner side is showing again! Yes, I do know that... thanks for asking... perhaps this is why I don't often dabble in political threads...
Totally sarcastic, all the way, yup! ;-)
+Daniel Buchner

I agree with your last couple of posts. I hope that people look critically at both candidates. 
+Daniel Buchner, when I see someone as singularly focused on changing the subject as you have been -- repeatedly directing the focus toward unrelated issues -- yes, I do comment. And yes, I do so honestly and vigorously.

If I saw such misdirection occurring with regard to a topic which deserved focus on Obama, yes, I would comment. This topic did not and does not involve Barack Obama.

Your giddy insistence on making it about him is unfortunate -- and nearly as awkward as your effort to make it about me.
+Daniel Buchner, the subject is an article entitled "Why Romney's Teenage Bullying Actually Matters." Its focus includes, in sequence: whether assaults by an 18-year old tell us something enduring about that person; whether a bully who forgets (or denies) his actions may be redeemed; whether apologies may be taken at face value.

I and others sought to (and still may wish to) explore those questions. Repeatedly imposing another topic is "changing the subject." In person, in civil society, it is seen as rude.

The initial topic was neither unending nor pedantic. It was about bullying, and what values and character it represents. The reason I keep +Euro Maestro in a small circle (named "Value") is that topics here are fairly stated, current, and focus on the prospect of thoughtful consideration.

In that context, obsessing about Obama's advisors? Really? Pretending others' credentials are related? Seriously? Such sophistry is unflattering toward you.

BTW, Pew has documented distinctly favorable coverage of Romney as well: So, seriously: you can't make unrelated data relevant, no matter how the instant topic (or revelations about Mitt Romney's character) may frustrate you.
Glad I'm not a US voter - I'd still however urge all US voters to think very carefully about voting for a bully.
thank about the consequences of voting for a bad apple - Look at what Bush and his shonksters have done to the global economy.. awesome, now remember that when you visit the polling booths
+Daniel Buchner

I don't agree with your causal explanation of the crisis.

It wasn't the loans per se that caused the crisis. It was the evaluation of securities and derivatives products that were tied to these loans and supported by credit default swaps. Through a series of complex manoeuvres the banks created a system that allowed to sell these products as AAA investments even though the underlying loans were actually sub prime (and therefore higher risk). The deals became so complex that there was also a high degree of certainty as to how extensive the risk actually was and who bore it.

It's pretty clear that there was a major failure here in both the markets and the regulatory system. 
The point is the system could have handled what you call the crappy loans. That's not the source of the problem. The problem is the faulty evaluation of those products and the risks associated with them. This transformation involved a set of complex and questionable manoeuvres that involved, inter alia, using offshore resources to mask those risks.

As far as trying to ascribe political culpability to all this mess, that's perhaps even more complicated.

A large part of this is clearly in the private sector.

Both parties can probably be held responsible for their roles in the undermining the regulatory structure that facilitated this catastrophe.

The Republican party was certainly no stranger to advocacy of bank deregulation. 
Yes as I said I believe both parties share a responsibility for the problem.

The problem was not the amount of sub prime loans. The problem was with the way they were later repackaged.

My comment about the republicans remains completely accurate. 
either way, the end result of voting in an irresponsible thug can be disastrous...
+Daniel Buchner

I thought I was clear that I agreed with your comment that both parties share responsibility in allowing the regulatory structure to be gutted. If I'm not mistaken it was Clinton that signed the repeal of Glass-Seagall.

Again the problem was not the number of loans that were bad or even the number of loans that defaulted. The market can handle those type of risks. What brought the financial world perilously close to the cliff was the (fraudulent) evaluation and selling of these very high risk instruments as very low risk instruments as they were all graded with Triple A ratings.

Adding to all that was the complexity with no one really certain as to the size of the risk nor even who held the liability. 
The problem isn't what you refer to as the tidal wave of sub prime loans. The problem was rating them AAA. If you're trying to say that had there only been a small number of bad loans that were sold as AAA then we wouldn't have had a crisis. Yes, of course. But it's not the size that is the source of the problem, it's the erroneous value placed on them. 
+Daniel Buchner

We should team up. I love that last summary.

By any chance, have you ever watched the McLaughlin Group ? 
+Daniel Buchner

Weekly political commentary show. They discuss the week's news. Two people from the right plus two from the left plus John McLaughlin.

Regulars include Patrick Buchanan, Mort Zuckerman, and many others. 
When a man of 59 looks back at his age of 18...He remembers all the things that shaped his life up to that point. Being 18 was an important right of passage at that time. Being 18 meant you could go to war and die. In the year of 1970 the 18 year old vote was ushered in. Bombs dropped on Hanoi. Richard Nixon went to China. When you were 18 what was important to you may not have been important to everyone. Neither were you responsible for many of the crazy stunts you did. And when you did them as the years went by and you found yourself to be an older and wiser man...  did you regret your choice? I think we all know the answer to that. So why bring up something so obviously wrong... and lay blame now? After all, when you are forgiven of such an act, does that mean you need to pay for it again? Just how long is the the statue of limitations of the wrongs or rights of what we did when we were 18?
+Robert M. Reynolds

But he was responsible for these acts. He was not forgiven. He has not apologized. He has not even acknowledged the indecency of it. He has laughed it off and lied about it.

Youthful indiscretion is one thing, being callous or lying as an adult is another. 
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