Posts Tagged Olympic
Raging Moderate by Will Durst
Mitt Romney has to be more relieved than an Iowa corn farmer in the middle of a thunderstorm to be back on home soil. Arms wide. Head back. Wet face. Smile. Podium steps. National Anthem.
The American electorate may harbor an ambivalent attitude towards the former governor of Massachusetts, but the reaction to his European Vacation from folks across the big pond could only be described as decisively derisive. If diplomacy were a hurdling sport, the guy stumbled over the lane chalk.
The plan was for the GOP nominee to embark on a low-risk, three-country jaunt to raise his suspect foreign policy bona fides, but the seven-day charm offensive proved to be light on charm and heavy on offense. Good will hunting transformed into ill will gathering.
The first stop was Great Britain, where the Wee Bairne of Bain managed to pretty much insult the whole country. Romney told an interviewer that security problems surrounding the Olympics were disconcerting. And the gates of Hades opened and all sorts of evil tabloid creatures sprung forth.
He only said the same exact thing they had been saying for weeks in Merry Olde, but you know family. Siblings are allowed to call their father a harebrained lovable loser: cousins, not so much.
David Cameron snapped that London was a busy, world-class city and “not in the middle of nowhere,” which some interpreted as a snub targeting the man who famously saved the 2002 Winter Olympics. But the prime minister only demonstrated his own geographic ineptitude. Salt Lake City isn’t in the middle of nowhere; it’s in Utah.
Ann Romney traipsed along to offer moral support to her horse Rafalca, competing in Olympic dressage. Dressage being a French word describing an event where horse and rider perform predetermined movements. Like inter-species dancing. Which has to be illegal in at least half of the states Willard leads.
The Overseas Gaffe Express moved to the Middle East where Mr. Romney stuck a prayer in the Wailing Wall, presumably pleading to be struck dumb. Retroactively. Later he gave a speech saying Israel’s financial acumen and culture provided it with a major advantage over Palestine. Sort of ticking off the Palestinians. Not to mention a couple of Israelis who thought he called them thrifty.
The trip landed for a final stop in Poland and everyone held their breath. But all that happened on the outskirts of the evil continent of Europe was an aide cautioned a reporter to stop peppering the candidate with questions because they were in a holy site for Poles. And to emphasize the sanctity of the joint, he told the reporter to kiss his butt. Only he didn’t say butt, rather the word that rhymes with class. A quality of which he is obviously bereft.
The campaign was hoping to use this journey abroad to muffle the outcry over tax returns and set up the vice-presidential pick, but now even the most partisan Republican has to wonder how many consecutive blows to the head their candidate can take without visible bruising. Need to line up a platoon of makeup artists for Tampa.
Britain, Israel and Poland. Not what you call the Group of Death. Those aren’t the tough ones, Mitt. Got to rate their collective degree of difficulty in diplomatic terms at about a negative 2. But one thing you got to give him — at least he stuck his dismount.
- Romney horse Rafalca returns for Olympics dressage (3news.co.nz)
- Ann Romney’s horse won’t win an Olympic medal (news.yahoo.com)
- Romney-owned Rafalca’s Olympic run ends (nbcolympics.com)
- Romney horse Rafalca returns for Olympics dressage (metronews.ca)
- Romney horse Rafalca returns for Olympics dressage (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- Romney horse Rafalca returns for Olympics dressage (miamiherald.com)
- Horse of Mitt Romney’s wife eliminated from Olympics team dressage (guardian.co.uk)
- Romney horse Rafalca returns for Olympics dressage (oddonion.com)
- Romney horse Rafalca returns for Olympics dressage (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Photos: Rafalca competes in London (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
Who, What, Why: Why are US athletes taxed on Olympic medal wins?
The sweet taste of Olympic victory for US swimmers Ryan Lochte (l) and Michael Phelps (r)
US medal-winning athletes at the Olympics have to pay tax on their prize money – something which is proving controversial in the US. But why are athletes from the US taxed when others are not?
The US is right up there in the medals table, and has produced some of the finest displays in the Olympics so far.
Michael Phelps has broken the record for most Olympic medals ever, and16-year-old rising star Gabby Douglas has won the all-round gold in the gymnastics – the first African-American woman to do so.
So the US is feeling pretty proud of its athletes right now. But not everyone is happy to hear that their Olympic medal-winning athletes are being taxed on their medal prize money.
Athletes are effectively being punished for their success, argues Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, who introduced a bill earlier this week that would eliminate tax on Olympic medals and prize money.
“Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn’t have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home,” said Rubio.
This, he said, is an example of the “madness” of the US tax system, which he called a “complicated and burdensome mess”.
· The US, unlike most countries, has a “worldwide” system of tax, which means that money earned abroad is liable for US tax
The US Olympic Committee awards prize money to its medal winners – $25,000 (£16,000) for gold, $15,000 (£10,000) for silver, and $10,000 (£6,000) for bronze.
This money is considered taxable income by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
According to the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), an athlete on the highest rate of tax (35%), could face a tax bill of $8,750 (£5,600).
The value of the medals themselves could be subject to tax too, according to the ATR – adding a further $236 (£150), $135 (£85), and $2 (£1.20) respectively for gold, silver and bronze.
The Olympic example highlights what they regard as the underlying problem of the US’ so-called “worldwide” tax model.
Under this system, earnings made by a US citizen abroad are liable for both local tax and US tax.
Most countries in the world have a “territorial” system of tax and apply that tax just once – in the country where it is earned.
With the Olympics taking place in London, the UK would, in theory, be entitled to claim tax on prize money paid to visiting athletes. But, as is standard practice for many international sporting events, it put in place a number of tax exemptions for competitors in the Olympics – including on any prize money.
That means that only athletes from countries with a worldwide tax system on individual income are liable for tax on their medals.
And there are only a handful of them in the world, says Daniel Mitchell, an expert on tax reform at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank – citing the Philippines and Eritrea as other examples.
But with tax codes so notoriously complicated, unravelling which countries would apply this in the context of Olympic prize money is a tricky task, he says.
Mitchell is a critic of the worldwide system, saying it effectively amounts to “double taxation” and leaves the US both at a competitive disadvantage, and as a bullyboy, on the world stage.
· Gold - $25,000 (£16,000)
· Silver - $15,000 (£10,000)
· Bronze - $10,000 (£6,000)
“We are the 800lb (360kg) gorilla in the world economy, and we can bully other nations into helping enforce our bad tax law.”
The tax burden may not be as heavy as it first appears, however, as there are a number of credits and tax treaties which can either exempt or reduce the amount due, says tax lawyer and blogger, Kelly Phillips Erb.
She believes that the US tax system needs to be modified, and – most importantly – simplified.
The Rubio bill – by adding another exemption to the already complicated tax code – would only make matters worse, she says.
Congress is about to go off on a one-month recess, and with the Olympics already well underway, this is, says Erb, more about “political grand-standing” than anything else.
Not all athletes get prize money along with an Olympic medal – it depends what country you come from.
How much for a gold medal at London 2012 Olympics:
· Singapore - $800,000 (£515,000)
· Kazakhstan - $250,000 (£160,000)
· Kyrgyzstan - $200,000 (£130,000)
· Uzbekistan - $150,000 (£95,000)
· Russia - $135,000 (£90,000)
· Tajikistan - $63,000 (£40,000)
· US - $25,000 (£16,000)
· Australia - $20,000 (£13,000) plus face on a stamp
· UK - No money - but their face on a stamp
Sources: BBC Uzbek, Reuters
Money is not awarded by the International Olympic Committee. The decision whether to offer prize money is made by the national Olympic Committees in each individual country, who also set the sum.
UK medal winners get no prize money – but get the honour of appearing on a stamp instead.
At the opposite end of the scale is Singapore, which is offering $800,000 (£515,000) for a gold medal.
Many countries in Central Asia are alsooffering large sums to medal winners.
John Hoberman, a sports historian and expert on doping at the University of Texas at Austin, says Americans are focusing on the wrong issue.
The real question, he believes, is whether athletes should be awarded prize money at all at the Olympics – and he is firmly in the “no” camp.
“Cash incentives are just an incentive to cheat,” says Hoberman.
He believes the more money you offer, especially in poorer countries, the greater the chance an athlete will be tempted to dope.
- Why are US medal winnings taxed? (bbc.co.uk)
- Senator Rubio Introduces Legislation to Waive Tax on Olympic Winnings (jdjournal.com)
- American athletes taxed for winning Olympic medals (rt.com)
- Fla. senator introduces bill to make Olympic prizes tax-exempt (krem.com)
- Winning a gold medal brings a $9,000 tax bill (stltoday.com)
- Phelps sets record for the number of Olympic medals (english.ruvr.ru)
- Bill introduced to exempt taxes on Olympic medals (swrnn.com)
- Rubio bill outlaws taxes on gold medals (thehill.com)
- America’s Olympic Winners Must Pay IRS Nearly $9,000 For Every Gold Medal (mediaite.com)
- Florida senator proposes bill banning taxes on Olympic medals and prize money (charlotte.news14.com)
Fake news and political satire.
JULY 27, 2012
MITT ROMNEY’S OLYMPIC TROUBLE CONTINUES
Posted by Andy Borowitz
LONDON (The Borowitz Report)—Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s gaffe marathon at the 2012 Olympics in London continued unabated today.
Mr. Romney’s day got off to a bad start when he told a reporter for the Sunday Times, “I don’t mind that the British keep calling me a banker, but why do they pronounce it with a ‘W’?”
Any hope that the former Massachusetts governor would recover from such missteps was shattered after the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, when he blasted former Beatle Paul McCartney for not being prepared to sing “Hey Jude.”
“He did not seem ready to sing that song, which was certainly disconcerting,” Romney said. “Maybe he should have gone with a song that he had done before.”
The Republican candidate’s visit did little to win over the British people, as a poll showed that a majority of Britons wanted the Opening Ceremony to conclude with the Olympic torch lighting Mr. Romney’s head ablaze.
Alfie Langlan, owner of the popular Earl’s Boot pub, in Central London, summed up Mr. Romney’s performance this way: “Mitt Romney is coming across as an out-of-touch rich person in a country that still has a Queen.”
- Romney Claims Dog Ate Tax Returns and Ran Bain Capital for Three Years : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Mitt Romney’s London Trip: Successful In Terms of Image Deconstructing (themoderatevoice.com)
- POLL: Majority of Republicans Guess They Have to Support Fucking Romney : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney Campaign Releases First Picture of V.P. Pick : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- London 2012 Olympics: Boris Johnson fires broadside at US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s doubts over London’s readiness for Games (standard.co.uk)
- Romney wades into London Olympics controversy (latimes.com)
- Mayor Of London Blasts Mitt Romney Over Olympics (eurasiareview.com)
- Krauthammer Slams Romney Over Olympics Comment: ‘Unbelievable,’ ‘Incomprehensible’ (mediaite.com)
- Piers Morgan Defends Mitt Romney’s Olympics Comments: ‘He Was Just Speaking The Truth’ (mediaite.com)
- Mitt Romney: I expect the Olympic Games to be highly successful (telegraph.co.uk)
THURSDAY, JUL 26, 2012 10:45 AM CDT
He tells the British their Olympics planning isn’t up to snuff, the latest in a string of bizarre, entitled insults
BY JOAN WALSH
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at 10 Downing Street to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London. (Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)
Maybe he was just trying to make up for his adviser hyping his “Anglo-Saxon heritage.” On Thursday, rather than displaying his affinity for the British, Mitt Romney insulted them by questioning the professionalism of their Olympics planning.
“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting,” he told NBC’s Brian Williams. “The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.” The British press was unamused. The Telegraph’s website screamed: “Olympics: David Cameron rejects Mitt Romney’s suggestion Britain is not ready,” while The Times of London headlined the story “PM rebuffs Romney over readiness for Olympics.”
Cameron himself told reporters: “This is a time of some economic difficulty for the UK, but look at what we are capable of achieving as a nation even at a difficult economic time,” he said. “I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom but also we’re extremely good at welcoming people from across the world.”
Clearly, the same can’t be said for Romney.
“I will obviously make those points to Mitt Romney,” Cameron added. “I look forward to meeting him.”
I bet. Way to keep that “special relationship” special, Mitt.
I’ve called Romney “gaffe-tastic” before, but I found myself shocked by his tone-deaf, condescending remarks in London. I mean, we expect it in this country. Romney’s Olympics gaffe made me think about when, campaigning in Pittsburgh, the candidate insulted a local bakery by disdaining its baked goods. “I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them,” Romney said to the woman next to him. “No, no. They came from the local 7/11 bakery, or whatever.” In fact they came from the local Bethel Bakery, whose owner later told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell he was offended by Romney’s remarks.
Or when he visited the Daytona Raceway in Florida during a rainstorm and insulted fans wearing plastic ponchos. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said. “Really sprung for the big bucks.” Bill O’Reilly later suggested Romney’s comment sounded “elitist,” to which Romney replied he’d just wanted to wear a “garbage bag,” too. And while we’re on the NASCAR topic: Romney was also asked if he followed the sport. “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners,” Romney responded.
Or how about the time he talked to unemployed voters while campaigning in Florida last year, and told them, “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.” (Romney’s estimated tax returns showed his net worth at nearly $250 billion in 2011.) Or the other time he commiserated with the unemployed and economically insecure by saying, “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”
Then there’s that bizarre interlude with black voters in Jacksonville, Fla., during the 2008 campaign, where he broke out into “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and remarked on a child’s necklace with “bling, bling, baby!” (Maybe that one doesn’t count, because it’s hard to argue Romney was sincerely courting black voters.)
You can find these kinds of baffling, insulting gaffes going all the way back to his first Senate run, when he tried to charm a woman voter in Waltham, Mass., who was reluctant to shake his hand. “I know, you haven’t got your makeup on yet, right?” he told her, awkwardly adding, “You do, you do.”
What accounts for Romney’s capacity to consistently insult even those he’s trying to court? I’d argue it’s his fantastic sense of entitlement, with its accompanying inability to feel empathy for the less fortunate. It may or may not be connected to his pranking/bullying impulse, which showed itself in his school days when he forcefully cut the hair of a gay classmate, led a sight-impaired teacher into a closed door, or intimidated friends by impersonating a state trooper. Romney clearly lacks the ability to put himself in the shoes of others (except other wealthy business owners). That’s a bad trait on the campaign trail, but when it extends to the leaders of other sovereign nations, it’s a terrible trait in a president.
Why is this race close?
- The gaffe-tastic Mr. Romney (salon.com)
- The Gaffe-Tastic Mr. Romney (realclearpolitics.com)
- Mitt Romney’s Trip To London Is A Total Disaster, And Here Are The Headlines To Prove It (businessinsider.com)
- Oh, Mitt: those Romney gaffes in full (guardian.co.uk)
- ‘Like Mr. Bean,’ but American: U.K. press turns against Romney after one day in London (news.nationalpost.com)
- British media revel in Romney’s day of gaffes (cbsnews.com)
- Mitt Romney Makes ‘Disconcerting’ Olympic Gaffe In London (ibtimes.com)
- London 2012 Olympics: David Cameron slaps down US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney over Games gaffe (standard.co.uk)
- Boris, Cameron mock Romney over Olympic gaffe (abc.net.au)
- Brit papers blast Mitt Romney – CBS News (cbsnews.com)