Tag Archives: presidential candidate

Bernie Blowout – didja know?

By Chris Horton

So candidate Bernie Sanders won six out of seven Democratic Presidential Primaries and Caucuses in the week of March 21 to 26, by Yuuge margins! 

And I’ll bet lots of you reading this didn’t know! Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President, the “Political Revolution”, is on fire and growing, but you’d never know it from watching Network News, listening to talk radio or reading telegram.com!  Many – especially young folks – are getting their news from the Web or from Facebook.  

But not everyone can. 

For those who can’t, small local independent news sources, especially ink-and-paper weeklies like InCity Times, are a blessing. So thank you, Rosalie, for keeping it alive! Bernie Sanders just had three blowout wins on Saturday in Washington State, Alaska and Hawaii. The Telegram Online did run an AP story covering it, but it underplayed the wins by not mentioning the huge margins –  Hawaii  70% to 30%, Washington State 73% to 27%, and Alaska by an astonishing 82% to 18%! – or that Bernie won every single county in all three states!

Worse, the story, and Telegram Online, never ran a single word about the other four contests that week.  I had to really go digging on the Web to find them Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

First, last Monday March 21 the results of the Democrats Abroad Primary – with 13 delegates at stake – were released:

34,000 US Citizens in 170 countries gave it to Bernie by a lop-sided 69% to 31%.
Then Sanders won two out of three contests on Tuesday, by even more lopsided margins:  Utah 78% to 20% and Idaho 79% to 21%.

Arizona went for Clinton 58% to 40% – in a primary election so scandalously mismanaged that it made international news and is expected to trigger an investigation by the Justice Department. 

The number of polling places in Maricopa County had been reduced from 200 to 60, mostly by eliminating stations in poor and Hispanic neighborhoods. Voters were still standing in line to vote at midnight! 

And many thousands of independent voters who had switched to Democrat found that their registration had been lost, and had to cast provisional ballots which were apparently also lost!

Did you see a word about that in telegram.com?  Nope!
So there you have it.  Sanders won six out of seven contests in the past week, by Yuuge margins!  Yet I keep meeting people who are all depressed because they think Hillary’s won, her lead is too big to overcome – and they haven’t heard about this week’s results!  

If you didn’t know these stats, the odds are most of the folks around you don’t either.  

You might want to check them out for yourself at nytimes.com/elections/results.   
And then … Repeat the news to your friends, relations and co-workers, everyone you meet. Because the networks, the talk shows and the daily paper won’t.
 
Democratic Primary Facts, Week of March 21-27

  Overseas Democrats Primary March 21: 

Bernie  68%, Hillary 32%

  Arizona Primary March 23:                      

Bernie  40%, Hillary 54%

  Utah Caucus March 23:                              

 Bernie 78%, Hillary 20%

  Idaho Caucus March 23:   
                           
Bernie  79%, Hillary 21%

  Alaska Caucus March 26:                           

Bernie  82%, Hillary 18%

  Hawaii Caucus March 26:                          

Bernie  70%, Hillary 30%

  Washington State Caucus March 26:        

Bernie  73%, Hillary 27%

NEW! G. DAVIS column here: Worcester will be the butt of Donald Trump’s racism and hatred when he comes to town this week!

By Gordon Davis

This Wednesday Worcester will choose between racist, fear-monger, woman-berating, immigrant-hating Donald Trump and BlackLives Matter.

The racist Trump TV circus will be at the DCU Center on that day.  

There is a BlackLives Matter meeting sponsored by PLP at Centro Las Americas about police arresting kids at school on the same day at 6 PM.

Trump will make our city the “straight man” and the butt of his offensive rants.  

When thousands of people show up for his offensive and racist media show, the world will see Worcester as a backwards city full of backwards people.

It is said that Worcester County has the largest number of Tea Party people.  

Going to the Trump circus will give credence to that perception and Worcester will look stupid.

I guess I should not find it surprising that many people, even some who do not like Trump, will go to the DCU center because they like all the exciting “action” and the lights of the TV camera. I suppose it is something of an event.

I think other people like Worcester City Councilors Konnie Lukes and Michael Gaffney, who have similar right wing politics,will go and see him.

Worcester School Committee women Donna Colorio and Dianna Biancharia might like him as well. 

Donald Trump might eventually be as credible as some European fascists who used/use a combination of racism, misogyny, nationalism, and anti communism to come into power.  
Many people in the United States are alienated and find it hard to deal with our low paychecks, low standard of living and the fact this country will soon have a non White majority population. 

Several White Supremacy groups have already endorsed The Donald.

Candidate Trump has said that he will create a new national police force of Deportation Enforcement and new forms of concentration camps.

How else can you deport 11 million people?

He has made racist comments about Mexicans and other immigrants.

He has belittled the civil rights movement.

He has devalued the contribution of women to society.

He has made light of the heroism of American soldiers.

Some progressive people will say that they will go and oppose Trump. This is a good thing. However, Trump will bully these good people on National TV and boost his fake image of being a tough guy.

It might be better for people to boycott Trump’s visit and his racist circus.

It might be good for people to go to the BlackLives Matter meeting at Centro Las Americas in Worcester and help end the school to prison pipeline.

There is no clear Worcester policy for the use of police power in the schools and the arrest of children.

The City’s policy should be clarified and revised to ensure that the interests of the children are taken into account. Police in the schools are not educators …

Wednesday will tell us much about the character of Worcester.

The hatred of Donald Trump?

Or the creating of safe schools for all Worcester kids?

Worcester City Council candidates: Bernie Sanders could be the ticket to your success election day!

By Chris Horton

Voter turnout in the Worcester preliminaries was a disaster, especially east of Park Avenue.  I would maintain that if someone had been running for Worcester City Council as a Bernie Sanders supporter, Bernie as in the presidential candidate, the voter turnout might have been much higher in Worcester.

This may seem like an unbelievable statement, but please  allow me explain:

Despite the appearance of apathy, people, including non-voters, are politically highly charged, but many can’t see how a Worcester City Council vote matters. We campaigners all see many folks who enthusiastically promise to vote but don’t show up. I am convinced that most, consciously or not, are *choosing* to not vote. Some even see it as a boycott, and fantasize that if even more voters would stay home, finally the politicians would get the message and change their ways. One even bragged that his family hadn’t voted in three generations!

Many are clearly paying attention to Worcester issues and politics and may give a well reasoned argument that Worcester City Council voting doesn’t matter, for example because 1) the City doesn’t have power over the things that matter, 2) the Council doesn’t even run the City Government, 3) once we vote them into office they become politicians, get involved with the “money boys” and forget about us, and 4) the whole political system is rigged. Which – let’s admit it – all has some truth to it, although the organized power of the Community Labor Coalition is starting to shift that. (Far more turn out for Federal elections because that’s where the money we need is, even though they may see it as hopeless.)

So far this year, the Worcester City election campaigns have focused heavily on crime and safety. Some candidates have been raising jobs issues, but at best the Worcester City Council has the resources to nibble around the edge of a huge problem.

These are good fights, worth waging, but in a city where more than 1,000 are homeless and tens of thousands are barely surviving on crummy, part-time, temporary and off-the-books jobs or public assistance, these efforts to get 25 construction jobs and 20 jobs making beds here, 50 summer jobs there, can seem too small to matter.

Once you get them started, most regular folks feel very strongly and have a lot to say about jobs and job creation, wages, benefits and work conditions, unfair firings and out-of-control bosses, high rents, foreclosures and evictions, the right to health care, out of control college costs, bringing our jobs back and reopening the old mills. These are all Bernie Sander’s issues.

Regarding the out of control greed-crazed bankers who crashed the system and are about to do it again, most agree with Bernie they need to be prosecuted and jailed and their banks broken up. And most people agree that something radical needs to be done to remove big money from politics.

Quite regularly, when a conversation I’m having with a person goes deep enough, there comes a moment when he or she suddenly gets serious and quiet, looks me in the eyes and says some version of “You know what? We need a revolution!”

Which is what Bernie’s calling for, a “political revolution”!

When I tell people that Bernie Sanders is warning us that this will require organizing a great mass movement of millions to confront the “billionaire class,” when I repeat his warning that it will take a fight, almost everyone nods. 

And then when I look them in the eyes the way Bernie looked into mine and repeat his question to them: “Are you ready for a fight?” responses range from “Hell yes!” to a timid thoughtful little nod, but not one yet has shaken their head or said no.

Some Worcester City Council candidates told me privately they support Bernie, but they all “played it safe” and kept a firewall between their campaigns and his presidential campaign. Some of them are gone now. None placed in the top six.

If any candidate now were to commit to building a Worcester progressive populist movement, openly declared for Bernie Sanders and committed to work to implement his programs in Worcester, they could tap into a huge pool of potential energy and enthusiasm which could carry them to victory and dramatically increase voter turnout across the City on Nov. 3. 

My questions to them all: What do you have to gain by continuing to play it safe?  What do you have to lose by coming out swinging as an unabashed Bernie for President supporter?

Mitt Romney’s tax returns: an InCity Times investigative report

 

Mitt Romney’s trusts invested in Japanese automakers, European alternative energy companies, foreign pharmaceuticals, several French companies, and took a tax write off of $1.4 million for donating to his own charitable foundation. And much of Romney’s funds were invested through Goldman Sachs, the controversial Wall Street firm that received $10 billion in federal TARP money and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loans. One thing’s for certain – Mitt Romney did not invest as an American economic nationalist. He put his money where got the most bang for his buck, often in overseas bank accounts investments.

By Steven R. Maher

            Mitt Romney had good reasons to hide his tax returns. It provides a fascinating look at a man who would be an American President, but often put his money to work in foreign companies that directly compete with American manufacturers. While the American automobile industry was struggling to survive, Mitt was investing in Toyota and Mitsubishi. While campaigning for the country to free itself from the dependency of foreign oil, Romney, acting through trusts, was buying stock in foreign manufacturers of alternative energy sources. And in something remarkable, Romney gave $1.4 million to his own “charitable” foundation and reported it as a deduction on his tax return.

            Romney’s tax returns, released Tuesday January 24, 2012, show heavy reliance on the Wall Street firm of Goldman Sachs, which received $10 billion in federal TARP money and hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loans. The TARP money and loans, later repaid by Goldman Sachs, took place around the same time Romney invested with the firm.         

Well structured finances

 

            First, a brief explanation about how Romney structured his finances to minimize his tax liabilities and provide for the lowest possible tax on his estate when it passes to his heirs. Not surprisingly, Romney appears to have greatly benefited from sophisticated legal and accounting advice.

            Romney set up three trusts to house his property: the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust” (the most fascinating of the group); the “W. Mitt Romney Blind Trust”); the “Ann B. Romney Blind Trust”; and the “Tyler Charitable Foundation” a “Nonexempt Charitable Foundation Treated as a Private Foundation.”

            Theoretically a “blind trust” functions much like a super Pac – the owner of the assets, like the Presidential beneficiary of a super Pac, has plausible denial ability for knowledge of the Trustees’ investment decisions, which are supposedly made only by the trustees. Hence the description as a “blind” trust.

            It is unknown if the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust” is a blind trust. It does not state that on the front of the trust tax return filing. If it was established in 1995, the tax law at that time may not have required it. This trust is the most interesting of the four entities Romney published on his campaign, because many of the foreign investments reviewed in this article were made through that trust.

            We sent two emails to Romney’s press office asking if the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust” was a blind trust, and if it was, for documentation proving that. No response was received from the Romney campaign.

            Romney defended his investments in the January 26, 2012 Presidential debate by saying that all the purchases were done by a Trustee, that he did not know about them, and that his trusts purchased stocks through mutual funds rather than directly from the companies. But Romney did sign the tax returns, and he at least knew about where his money went at that point. It is hard to believe that Romney, who has campaigned on his abilities at as a CEO, did not know what was being done in his name with his money.

            The sole Trustee of all four Romney entities is R. Bradford Malt of the prestigious Boston law firm Ropes & Gray. All four entities’ tax reports were done by the same accountant, Daniel P. Feheley of the equally prestigious accounting firm Price, Waterhouse & Coopers. All four entities had their cash parked at Goldman Sachs and several purchased stock in the same companies, often selling stock on or within a few days or weeks of each other. Two of the trusts may have been “blind” and one a charitable foundation, but they seemed to make the same investment decisions at the same time.

            Romney funneled his income into these trusts, and through the trusts, back into the private tax return of his wife and himself. Why the trusts?

            All three of Romney’s trusts were “grantor trusts”, which Black’s Law Dictionary describes as follows: “A trust in which the grantor transfers or conveys property in trust for his own benefit alone or for himself or another.” Depending on the nature of the trust, Romney could have done this to transfer his property to his heirs or act as a tax shelter.

His own charity

 

            Romney’s tax return listed his income as follows:

            · Total income listed was $21,646,507. Of this, $3.295,727 was interest income, and $4,923,348 was dividends ($1.5 million from the “Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Trust” and $3 million from the “Ann D. Romney Blind Trust”).

            · Romney filed two self-employment Schedule Cs. The first was for $113,881 as a member of the Marriott International’s Board of Directors. Not bad for a part time job.

            · The second self-employment form filed was for author and speakers’ fees. Romney had income of $528,871 gross income for “author/speaking fees”. According to published press reports, $370,000 of this was for speaking fees, an amount Romney described as “inconsequential.”

            · Romney paid a total tax of slightly over $3 million on adjusted gross income of $21,646,507, an effective tax rate of 13.9%.

            · Romney received a tax refund of $1.6 million. You or I would probably grab such a refund, but Romney instead applied it to his 2011 taxes.

            Romney’s supporters make much of the fact that he gave more to charity than what he paid in taxes. They ignore the fact that a good part of Romney’s charity began at home. Of the money donated, $1,458,807 was from the “Ann Romney Blind Trust” to the “Tyler Charitable Foundation”, a non-cash transfer of “donated securities”. What Romney’s trustee or representative did was take money out of one Romney trust, put it into another Romney legal entity, take a $1.4 million deduction on his taxes, and maintained legal control of the transferred assets.

            This transaction probably took place only on paper, with the stroke of his accountant’s or trustee’s pen. Some paperwork was probably done to transfer the securities, but no cash left Romney’s control in making this donation.

            In terms of donating $1.4 million to himself, what did Romney know and when did he know it? At the time someone made the decision, or when he filed his tax returns? We asked that question of Romney’s press office twice by email and received no reply.

            If Romney made the biggest – and only donation – to the Tyler foundation, the foundation itself made $647,500 donations to various causes. The two largest donations were $145,000 to the Mormon Church and $100,000 to the George W. Bush presidential library. The Tyler foundation made several smaller donations to the medical institutions that treated his wife for cancer. Romney thought so well of Bush’s presidency that he prioritized his charitable donations to the 43rd President’s library over the medical institutions which saved his wife’s life.

Foreign investments

 

            The mainstream media has concentrated on Romney’s bank accounts in the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Grand Cayman Islands. Why did Romney put his money there? Probably because the interest rates were higher and the tax rates lower than your typical American bank. If Romney had been an American economic nationalist, he would have put all his money into the U.S. banking system, where it would have been loaned back to his fellow Americans to buy homes, cars, or expand their private enterprises. But it wouldn’t have been as profitable.

            Romney did invest a lot of money in America. But at a time when the country is struggling with a critical balance of trade deficit, he put considerable portions of his investments into overseas banks and companies.

            The real story is in the trusts through which Romney sheltered his wealth. Among his investments (many of which were done by the Ann and Mitt Romney 1995 Family Trust):

            · Toyota and Mitsubishi. While American car companies were dying, Romney’s trust was putting his money into Japanese carmakers.

            · While saying America needs to develop green energy sources, Romney’s trusts invested in foreign alternate energy providers such as the Dutch wind power company Vestas Wind Systems and the Austrian Verbund AS, which gets 90% of its power from hydro-electricity.

            · Romney’s trusts have invested in numerous foreign pharmaceuticals and medical suppliers: the Dutch CSL Limited, the Dutch pharmaceutical Novo-Doris; and Fresno’s Medical Care, a German manufacturer of medical supplies.

            · Among the foreign high-tech companies Romney’s trusts bought and sold stock in were Turkcel Ietisim, a Turkish cell phone service provider and the British based Sky Broadcasting Group, a tele-communications provider.

            · The Romney trusts invested in numerous foreign banks: The Greek National Bank; the Brazilian banking groups Itau Unibanco and Intesta Sanpaolo; and several other large “emerging market” banking groups.

            · Your average Republican during the Bush era may have wanted to rename French fries “freedom fries” but that didn’t stop Romney’s trustee from investing in several French companies: LVMH Moet, which is a Paris based clothier; Schlumbegrer LTD, a French company that provides oil field services.

            · Romney has said he would crack down on Chinese trading practices, which have cost so many Americans their jobs. His 2010 tax returns show investments in several Chinese companies including the New Oriental Ed & Tech, and the China Life Insurance Company, formerly a state owned enterprise insuring 45% of the Red Chinese public. According to Wikipedia, New Oriental is a system of 40 private schools teaching English, set up originally to train graduate students – presumably so they could come here, attend the best graduate schools in the world, and take their education and technological skills back home from America to create jobs in China.

            · Romney’s accountant adroitly played all the legal strategies available to maximize his client’s gains from his foreign investments. Romney got a tax credit of $129,697 for the payment of foreign taxes. 

No economic nationalist

 

            Most of Romney’s money was invested through Goldman Sachs, a company that received $10 billion in funds from the “Troubled Asset Relief Program” (TARP). The Federal “Primary Dealer Credit Facility” loaned Goldman Sachs $589 billion in 2009, when Goldman Sachs was purchasing Romney some of the same stocks he sold for a profit in 2010.

What does the tax return say about Mitt Romney’s vision and foresight?

Romney must have known in 2009 that he would be running for President in 2012. He could have reasonably foreseen that at some point he would be pressured into releasing his tax returns. Romney would have been well advised in 2009 to Americanize his portfolio. He should have withdrawn his money from foreign banks and ordered his trustees to only invest in American companies. Romney then could have run as an economic nationalist who put the country’s welfare above his own financial well-being. Short term, it would have led to a reduction in income that would not affect Romney’s life style. Long term, it would have generated enormous political capital and averted the many questions raised by his 2010 tax return.

Great Presidents – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan come to mind – tended to be visionaries who could foresee and proactively resolve problems facing the country. Obviously, Romney three years ago didn’t have the foresight to see the problems to be caused by how he handled his great wealth. The conclusion to be drawn from this is left for the reader to make.