Wattree on Mandela: Homeward Bound
Richard Day: Cold in Minnesota, and in the Hearts of Men
Ramona On Martin Bashir
Like most of you (I'm guessing), I was delighted and appalled by the stories detailing the privilege and self regard of Mitt Romney's backers this morning. Though I can kind of understand driving around the Hampton's yelling, "We're VIP!" at the help, given the amount of money these people had to give to Mittens. They'd darned well better be VIP, right? It's what they're paying for. They want to be VIP in the eyes of the next president.
And it's certainly amusing how some of these people think that the poors and the college students aren't voting in their own interests. I half expect them to come out with a book like "What's The Matter With New Haven?"
But, on top of the wealthy clowns who Romney is parting from their money (these are true Hobin Roods, stealing from each other to give to a wealthy man) we get the news today that Denise Rich has renounced her U.S. citizenship in order to cut her tax bills.
Rich is ex-wife of the formerly fugitive Marc Rich, a wealthy commodities trader who used a complex "daisy chaining" scheme to trade in banned Iranian oil, in violation of U.S. sanctions at the time. This man is so rich that he made his own foreign policy. When charged with his crimes, he fled to Zug, Switzerland, where he restarted his commodities business and lived in exile for years, occasionally popping up in the news when bored FBI agents would try to force his private plane down onto the soil of some country with an extradition treaty.
Denise Rich, separated amicably from Marc, is also extremely wealthy and was a Friend of Bill. She convinced Bill Clinton's people to pardon her ex husband who, I believe, stayed in Switzerland anyway because, to heck with us. At least nobody's trying to guide his plane down anymore and he can visit.
Now Denise, who had enough power and influence that she could get Rich a pass on crimes that would have put others in prison for decades, has decided it's not worth it for her to pay taxes anymore.
When Eduardo Saverin renounced the country that welcomed him, sheltered him from potential kidnappers in Brazil and gave him a one in a billion shot at turning $20,000 in $5 billion, I scoffed. But I get the argument. He's young. He's a citizen of the world. It's his life, he's got different plans and ambitions. He wants to do stuff with the money that U.S. citizens can't do (monkey knife fighting?) I think it's sick, but he's basically a case of extreme luck anyway.
Denise Rich was a political operator. And now she up and takes her money out of the country to save on taxes? Forget it. Confiscate every penny. Knock her down to zero and drop her off in St. Louis to begin anew. Because if this is the attitude of the rich -- that they make their own rules, that presidents do them favors and then they don't even pay taxes -- then examples must be made. Somebody has to say, "Uh... no."
Denise Rich. Take all of her stuff and give it to the poors. Leave her in East St. Louis. She'll be fine.