Bermuda

Why would anyone put his money in the Cayman Islands if there were, as Romney claims, no tax advantages?

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Hardly anything could have been more damaging to Mitt Romney’s perpetual quest to relate to the average American than the recent revelations in Vanity Fair that he maintains personal finances in a sophisticated network of institutions across Europe and North America. Among the entities that Romney relies upon is a limited liability corporation in Bermuda and a “blocker” entity in the Cayman Islands.

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It’s a choice between “kids’ safety” and “tax breaks for corporate jets” according to President Obama’s clearest explanation of the budget showdown in a press conference last Wednesday. The Republicans’ staggering refusal to consider even the most minimal efforts to close tax loopholes—because it would cross the line of their blood-oath to tax lobbyist Grover Norquist—was boiled down to the tangible phrase, repeated six times, “corporate jets.” The reaction, especially but not exclusively on the right, was disparaging. It was simultaneously “class warfare” and futile.

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A Serious Mankiw

Former Bush economic adviser Greg Mankiw whips up an analogy to explain why he's leery of even a deficit-neutral health care reform: Imagine you have a friend who has a budget problem.  Every month he spends more than he earns.  His credit card bills are piling up.  He is clearly on an unsustainable path.  Then one day he comes to you with an idea. Friend: I am going to take off a few days from work and fly down to Bermuda for a quick vacation. You: But isn't that expensive?  Won't that just add to your growing debts? Friend: Yes, it is expensive.  But my plan is deficit-neutral.  I have deci

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Eastern Promises

In June, when four Uighur detainees at Guantánamo were released to Bermuda, the media’s portrayal of their story served as both distraction and palliative: Articles in many papers were written as though the United States had rescued members of an oppressed minority in China and delivered them to a tropical paradise.

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As the age of cheap oil comes to a close, it's springtime for gloomy futurists. Visions of a brutish world marked by violent squabbles over dwindling reserves, of junkyards littered with abandoned cars, of suburban slums overrun by weeds, of the collapse of industrial agriculture--none of this sounds as outlandish as it once did.

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The Rescuer

A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff (The New Press, 269 pp., $26.95) Twenty-five years ago, while researching Holocaust history for the Joint Distribution Committee in New York, and as I was preparing to immigrate to Israel, I came across a clipping from The New York Times from 1936.

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Indochina

Even months ago, the leaders-of the Grand Alliance met at Bermuda. Little was accomplished, perhaps because US spokesmen grandly assumed that "the initiative" in the Cold War had in fact been "seized" by the Alliance, or certainly by the US. Whatever the cause, Bermuda was hardly a meeting between equals, rather between the leader and his subordinates.

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