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Discussion => Evolutionary Astrology Q&A => Topic started by: Rad on Jan 15, 2012, 09:29 AM



Title: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 15, 2012, 09:29 AM
Hi All,

I decided to post the birth chart of Mitt Romney because it looks as if he may be the the one to run against President Obama in the next election in the USA for President of the United States. From an EA point of view this chart is fascinating to me because it is a classic, archetypal, symbol of essence of duplicity. And for those living in the USA the potential consequences of this person becoming your next President are staggering to consider. Here is just a brief list of what his proposals/ policies are:

Tax cuts for the wealthy, replacing Medicare with a voucher scheme, privatizing Social Security, taking away health care coverage from millions, letting Wall Street do as it pleases, a more right-wing federal judiciary, slashing public investments that benefit working families, more foreclosures, and of all things, tax increases on those already struggling."

And let's add to this recreating the neocon approach to foreign policy, and the elimination the EPA. And let's add to this the removal of the minimum wage, and all child labor laws. And to this let's add removing the re-regulation of the financial industry.

Please fee free to comment and make your own EA observations upon this appalling Soul.

God Bless, Rad

(http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/images/romney1.jpg)


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: BrendaP on Jan 15, 2012, 12:16 PM
He so rubs me the wrong way, that I am jumping in, with my thoughts not completely formed, but thanks for this chart. I always see this darkness around him, thinking it was entity attachment, but looking at it I feel he has made a pact with evil----His Lucifer is conjunct the fixed star Regulus and trines his natal Vesta. Vesta has to do with sacred contracts, in this case he has made a contract with Evil.

Moon Jupiter in Scorpio--south node, the enormous desire for power, the Neptune stellium--allows him to mask this. Then Pluto in Leo, house 4 conjunct Saturn--prior lifetimes of power and leadership related to this pact with evil.

Even though he is married with lots of children, I keep getting that he is homosexual, but very much in denial, since it is not socially acceptable in this current culture and the Republican party--think this is supported with Venus in Aquarius --which is conjuct the South Nodes of Venus/Neptune/Vesta. The Vesta in Aries falls in the Geodetic zone for Rome/Greece--where, in some times in history male/male relationships were often preferred, and very prevalent in persons of power. Perhaps this is the origin of his pact with evil.

He is just so scary, he presents so innocuous, and to some Independents appears the lesser of the evils of the Republican candidates, and that is so deceptive.

Sorry if this is coming more from impulsivity rather than deep thought.

Thanks for bringing this up. 


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: cat777 on Jan 15, 2012, 02:55 PM

I don't know much about Mitt Romney, but every time I see him on tv he reminds me of a stepford wife.  There's something odd about him.  I don't really think he can win against Obama but still wish the Republicans would come up with a better candidate somehow just in case the wind is going to blow their way.  Once I finish up with Michael jackson I will be looking at this chart closely.


Thanks for posting
cat


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Jan 16, 2012, 03:54 AM
It makes total sense to me that the next candidate would represent such darkness.

I'm leaning towards this man being evil - and astrologically, there is such a strong indication of that possibility. With Pluto in the 4th conj the IC and Lucifer in Leo in the 4th squaring the nodes. The essence his inner identity has been focused stongly on separating desires - and creating states of absolute emotional devastation for other souls. I want to point out a couple core themes that pop out at me:

His Lucifer forms a first quarter square to his Gemini nn, that nn is ruled by mercury in Pisces in the 10th which forms a first quarter square with the sn in Sag.
This correlates to a soul that has literally lied about who he is in order to be pleasing and approved of by others - he has, with great ease, developed the ability to speak to others that which they want to hear, all the while hiding his own agenda and motives. This in fact is the dark side of the 7th house archetype.

The core message of this chart - whether or not this soul has lost itself to evil - is hiding and lying about his true intentions in order to further his own personal ambition. And it is absolutely likely that there are all kinds of secret relationships that this soul has engaged that are in fact judged by society. The symbols that point to that are incredibly clear in his chart. A 4th house Pluto with the sn in Sag in the 7th and Mars and Mercury in Pisces in the 10th squaring that sn. He definitely has a whole other "secret" life that is totally behind the scenes. And a lot of that is linked gender and sexuality.

Jupiter, the ruler of the sn is in his 6th house conj the Moon in Scorpio and also conjunct the sn and squaring Mars in Pisces. This would correlate to a strong ideology (Sag) backed up by a strong judeo-christian psychology of guilt and purity. He overcompensates in his total lie about who he actually is by identifying with all kinds of Virgo religious like dogmas of perfection and purity.This is further intensified when considering the the Piscean in the 10th moral judgement.

I just looked up his religion - he is a mormon. wiki quote: "Also in accordance to his religious beliefs, Romney abstains from alcohol and smoking". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_image_of_Mitt_Romney#Religion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_image_of_Mitt_Romney#Religion)

Jupiter in Scorpio conj the sn also rules the 8th house which re-emphasizes the same evil influence theme in this chart.

Like Brenda said, this guy is sooo deceiving. When I read about him and look at him - he appears so innocent.

Luckily Neptune is squaring his AC soon, and then his nodes. I don't think he'll make it very far! His actual nature will be revealed in soon time and that will be a part of the inevitable and growing polarization in this world between Light and dark.

Here's a revealing and melodramatic video about Romney's history of incredibly selfish and deceitful behavior with corporate america - creating trauma for at least hundreds of souls. I don't have the energy to watch the whole thing though from what I've seen, it clearly portrays how dam charming selfish and deceitful he actually is. http://themoderatevoice.com/134734/mitt-romney-as-evil-capitalist-ken-doll/ (http://themoderatevoice.com/134734/mitt-romney-as-evil-capitalist-ken-doll/)
Thanks for posting this Rad.

God bless,
Ari Moshe


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steven on Jan 16, 2012, 10:16 AM
Hello, all,

I have a question about the retrograde status of Pluto, Saturn, Chiron, Lilith and Mercury in this chart. In my limited understanding, these retrograde placements speak very strongly about some of the soul's intentions to internalize, question itself, and accelerate its evolution which do not at casual glance seem to reflected in this man's approach to life-- so far.

I grasp that the need reflected by a retrograde Pluto to withdraw from activity, to question the status quo, and accelerate the return to Source can certainly remain unconscious (I think JPW said it might emerge merely as a "wistful desire for withdrawal"), but the other retrograde planets would seem to make this an emphatic soul need. The emotional wounding represented by Pluto's house position again seems to be denied or repressed, and what would normally seem to be the healing polarity of the PPP seems to be the very arena of "activity" through which the denial is being reinforced.

I realize that my readings of certain signatures have been influenced by the fact that most people coming to me for a reading are at an evolutionary level in which they are consciously seeking healing and growth. It's really a whole new system for me to try to interpret charts for those who are not consciously seeking awareness. If I didn't know this was Romney and a politician, I'd have a whole different take. Yet the minute I know it's a politician, my reading of the Piscean sun in the 11 house takes on different nuances, not just heightened empathy within a collective and a need to reform or serve the collective, but instead identification with a collective "image" or role, from which the soul derives power and security, etc.

I am also struck by the South Node in First House, Pluto's sign energy in Leo, and Vesta in Aries in 12th as possible signatures for the souls' continued desire to take power and assert, despite the evolutionary calls to withdraw, question, sensitize, and accelerate it s desire to return to Source.

So to clarify my questions: how do others interpret the retrograde status of Pluto, Saturn, Chiron and Mercury as influences here?  And what signifiers here, beside Lucifer, might help signal to the experienced eye that denial of emotional wounding and covert power grabs would be more likely?

Thanks again for all of this,

Steven





Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 16, 2012, 11:00 AM
Hello, all,

I have a question about the retrograde status of Pluto, Saturn, Chiron, Lilith and Mercury in this chart. In my limited understanding, these retrograde placements speak very strongly about some of the soul's intentions to internalize, question itself, and accelerate its evolution which do not at casual glance seem to reflected in this man's approach to life-- so far.

I grasp that the need reflected by a retrograde Pluto to withdraw from activity, to question the status quo, and accelerate the return to Source can certainly remain unconscious (I think JPW said it might emerge merely as a "wistful desire for withdrawal"), but the other retrograde planets would seem to make this an emphatic soul need. The emotional wounding represented by Pluto's house position again seems to be denied or repressed, and what would normally seem to be the healing polarity of the PPP seems to be the very arena of "activity" through which the denial is being reinforced.

I realize that my readings of certain signatures have been influenced by the fact that most people coming to me for a reading are at an evolutionary level in which they are consciously seeking healing and growth. It's really a whole new system for me to try to interpret charts for those who are not consciously seeking awareness. If I didn't know this was Romney and a politician, I'd have a whole different take. Yet the minute I know it's a politician, my reading of the Piscean sun in the 11 house takes on different nuances, not just heightened empathy within a collective and a need to reform or serve the collective, but instead identification with a collective "image" or role, from which the soul derives power and security, etc.

I am also struck by the South Node in First House, Pluto's sign energy in Leo, and Vesta in Aries in 12th as possible signatures for the souls' continued desire to take power and assert, despite the evolutionary calls to withdraw, question, sensitize, and accelerate it s desire to return to Source.

So to clarify my questions: how do others interpret the retrograde status of Pluto, Saturn, Chiron and Mercury as influences here?  And what signifiers here, beside Lucifer, might help signal to the experienced eye that denial of emotional wounding and covert power grabs would be more likely?

Thanks again for all of this,

Steven


Hi Steven,

The  key here is first to understand that his Soul is in the 3rd stage consensus state where consensus equals conformity to the existing consensus of reality of any given society or culture of  birth. The second key is to understand his prior lives background, and why. Without going into great detail this is the story of a Soul that had a series of lives of great destitution and poverty that lead to a psychological state of wanting, desiring, of ENVY,  of those few people in patriarchal realities that had all the power, and wealth. That desire became almost almost like a singular desire manifesting as intense compulsion. Because of that singular desire there came a point in which he was then born into those families of great wealth, power, and prestige. These types of families were like self-appointed Zarathustra's who of course created the necessary 'beliefs' in order to justify they self-appointed status as special people, of being a Zarathustra.

So of course the prior life families would live in their castles while all those outside the castles would live in a state of feudalism and serfdom. These self appointed Zarathustra's including Romney would then justify themselves through their beliefs which started with the fact of convincing themselves that they were indeed special. This in turn created the justifications for all those who suffered at their hands: their purpose being seen as serving the needs of the Zarathustra's.

This justification thus correlates to it's own form of DENIAL of the actual reality of themselves, and the actual reality of all those who were made to suffer at their hands. The Soul of Romney is still is such a state of denial: the meaning of his Moon/Jupiter in Scorpio in the 6th, ruled by that Pluto in the 4th which is in a balsamic conjunction with his Saturn: both retrograde. These are of course ruled by his Pisces Sun which is trine to that Moon/Jupiter conjunction: easy to deny any responsibility in his own actions leading the suffering, use, and manipulation of many others in order to actualize his own desires for power, money, and prestige.

That Sun is also conjunct his Mercury in Pisces retrograde in the 10th, which itself is conjunct his Mars. His Soul chose to be born into a country, the USA, in which capitalism is the governing philosophy of life. Thus, using capitalism as the current life belief and rationalization to keep doing what he has already done from other lifetimes. One of the great rationalizations that comes out of his mouth, Soul, relative to the suffering he has caused for so many is 'creative destruction'. The retrogrades in HIS CONTEXT means that he keeps desiring to RELIVE THESE DYNAMICS for the reasons being pointed out here. And, sadly, he will keep doing so until the very nature of the cataclysmic events he creates either for others, or to himself, or both, reach such a level of magnitude that he will, at that point, be forced to question himself in the harshest of ways that will then lead to acknowledging his actual reality: what he has desired and why. Only then will the core intentions of the retrogrades be acted upon.

God Bless, Rad


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 17, 2012, 08:48 AM
When Romney ran Bain Capital, his word was not his bond

By William D. Cohan,

America has been learning a lot lately about “the Bain way.” The damning 28-minute video “When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” put out by a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC, and the new book “The Real Romney,” by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, have shed light on the strategies that Mitt Romney’s old private-equity firm, Bain Capital, used to generate outsize returns for its investors.

Make no mistake: Under Romney’s leadership in the 1980s and 1990s, Bain was a top-performing private-equity fund. According to an internal 2000estimate, the fund achieved annualized returns of an astounding 88 percent from 1984 to 1999 for its institutional investors, including state and corporate pension funds that invest the savings of millions of American workers. It also made a fortune for Romney, whose net wealth reportedly exceeds $250 million.

For Kranish and Helman, the Bain way is an “intensely analytical and data-driven” approach to studying companies, what makes them successful or not, and how to boost their competitiveness.

The video “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” is understandably less sympathetic. To the filmmakers, bankrolled by the Winning Our Future super PAC, the Bain way is nothing less than “turning the misfortunes of others into . . . enormous financial gains.” The film spends most of its time interviewing people who lost their jobs and much of their savings after working at various companies that Bain bought, milked and sold to generate those huge profits.

Yet, there is another version of the Bain way that I experienced personally during my 17 years as a deal-adviser on Wall Street: Seemingly alone among private-equity firms, Romney’s Bain Capital was a master at bait-and-switching Wall Street bankers to get its hands on the companies that provided the raw material for its financial alchemy. Other private-equity firms I worked with extensively over the years — Forstmann Little, KKR, TPG and the Carlyle Group, among them — never dared attempt the audacious strategy that Bain partners employed with great alacrity and little shame. Call it the real Bain way.

Here’s how it worked. Private-equity firms are always eager to find companies to buy, allowing them to invest chunks of the billions of dollars entrusted to them and from which they earn hundreds of millions in fees. One ready source of these businesses is Wall Street bankers hired to sell companies through private auctions. The good news is that when a banker puts together a detailed selling memorandum about a company, chances are very high that company will be sold; the bad news is that these private auctions tend to be very competitive, and the winning bidder, by definition, is most often the one willing to pay the most. By paying the highest price, you win the company, but you also may reduce the returns you can generate for your investors.

I never negotiated directly with Romney; he was too high-level for any interaction with me. Rather, I dealt often with other Bain senior partners, who were very much in his mold. In my experience, Bain Capital did all that it could to game the system by consistently offering the highest prices during the early rounds of bidding — only to try to low-ball the price after it had weeded out competitors.

By bidding high early, Bain would win a coveted spot in the later rounds of the auction, when greater information about the company for sale is shared and the number of competitors is reduced. (A banker and his client generally allow only the potential buyers with the highest bids into the later rounds; after all, you can’t have an endless procession of Savile Row-suited businessmen traipsing through a manufacturing plant if you want to keep a possible sale under wraps.)

For buyers, the goal in these auctions is to be one of the few selected to inspect the company’s facilities and books on-site, in order to make a final and supposedly binding bid. Generally, the prospective buyer with the highest bid after the on-site due-diligence visit is selected by the client — in consultation with his or her banker — to negotiate a final agreement to buy the company.

This is the moment when Bain Capital would become especially crafty. In my experience — which I heard echoed often by my colleagues around Wall Street — Bain would seek to be the highest bidder at the end of the formal process in order to be the firm selected to negotiate alone with the seller, putting itself in the exclusive, competition-free zone. Then, when all other competitors had been essentially vanquished and the purchase contract was under negotiation, Bain would suddenly begin finding all sorts of warts, bruises and faults with the company being sold. Soon enough, that near-final Bain bid — the one that got the firm into its exclusive negotiating position — would begin to fall, often significantly.

Of course, some haggling over price is typical in any sale, and not everything represented by sellers and their bankers is found to be accurate under close examination. But Bain Capital took the art of negotiation over price into the scientific realm. Once the competitive dynamics had shifted definitively in its favor, the firm’s genuine views about what it was willing to pay — often far lower than first indicated — would be revealed.

At such a late date, of course, the seller is more than a little pregnant with the buyer. Attempting to pivot and find a new buyer — which knew it had not been selected in the first place, but was now being called back — would be devastating to the carefully constructed process designed to generate the highest price. Once Bain’s real thoughts about the price were revealed, the seller either had to suck it up and accept the lower price, or negotiate with a new buyer, but with far less leverage.

Needless to say, this does not make for a very happy client (or a happy banker). By the end of my days on Wall Street in 2004, I found the real Bain way so counterproductive that I no longer included Bain Capital on my buyer’s lists of private-equity firms for a company I was selling.

The real Bain way may be nothing more than a clever tactic to eliminate competition from a heated auction in order to buy a business at an attractive price. After all, Bain Capital is seeking the highest returns for its investors. But Bain’s behavior also reveals something about the values it brings to bear in a process that requires honor and character to work properly. If a firm’s word is not worth the paper it is printed on, then its reputation for bad behavior will impair its ability to function in an honorable and productive way.

I don’t know if Bain Capital still uses the bait-and-switch technique when it competes in auctions these days (I’m told that it doesn’t). But that was the way the firm’s partners competed when Romney ran the place. This win-at-any-cost approach makes me wonder how a President Romney would negotiate with Congress, or with China, or with anyone else — and what a promise, pledge or endorsement from him would actually mean.

Would a President Romney, along with a Republican Congress, cut taxes for the wealthy even more than he has pledged to do? Would he not try to balance the federal budget, even though he has said he would? Would he protect defense spending, as he has indicated he would?

I have no idea how Romney might behave in office. I do believe, however, that when he was running Bain Capital, his word was not his bond.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 17, 2012, 12:31 PM
This article is from the American magazine PERSPECTIVES ..

Beyond an archetypal study in duplicity I should  have also said an archetypal study in pathological lying ... the EA of his chart is breathtaking on both accounts ........

January 16, 2012

   Romney's Big Lie on the Economy Gets Bigger

If nothing else, Mitt Romney seems dedicated to proving that repetition of a lie will make it true. On no point is Romney's tilting against the windmill of truth more comically pathetic than his long-ago debunked claim that President Obama "did not cause this recession, but he made it worse." After a tidal wave of fact-checkers demolished his mythology last summer, Romney on June 30 pretended, "I didn't say that things are worse" before reinstating the falsehood in his stump speech just days later. Now, Mitt has a new twist on his "Obama made it worse" fraud, declaring in light of the improving economic outlook that "It's getting better not because of him, it's in spite of him and what he's done."

Sadly for the myth-maker from Massachusetts, the numbers and the overwhelming consensus of economists - including John McCain's 2008 brain trust - demand Mitt Romney give credit where credit is due.

That, of course, is something the serial deceiver Romney is refusing to do, even as he acknowledges the economy is improving. As Mitt put it in New Hampshire ten days ago:

    "I'm sure the president will want to take credit for it, for any improvement. Guess what? He doesn't deserve it."

Two days later during a GOP debate, Romney repackaged his con job this way:

    "The president is going to try and take responsibility for things getting better. You know, it's like the rooster taking responsibility for the sunrise. He didn't do it," Romney said. "In fact, what he did was make things harder for America to get going again."

But back on planet Earth where the force of gravity still applies and the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Romney's slander shuold receive the ridicule it rightly deserves.

This summer, Time blasted Romney's accusation that "the recession is deeper because of our President," concluding "that Romney's claim has no credible basis" because "there's no credible economic data showing that Obama has inflamed our economic problems." As Greg Sargent noted on June 27, both the AP and the Washington Post's own fact-checker demolished Romney's talking point on the recession which the NBER declared over in June 2009. Confronted three days later by NBC producer Sue Kroll about the growing economy, modest job gains and surging stock market, Romney simply denied he ever made the charge:

    "I didn't say that things are worse...What I said was that economy hasn't turned around."

Nevertheless, just four days later Romney marked Independence Day by returning to his lie. As the New York Times reported:

    Speaking at the annual July Fourth parade here on Monday, Mr. Romney told a crowd of supporters and passersby, "the recession is deeper because of our president," adding, "it's seen an anemic recovery because of our president." Mr. Romney made a similar assertion earlier when reporters had pressed him on the point near the parade staging grounds, after initially seeming to limit his commentary to the president's handling of the recovery, which he said, "has been slower and more painful,'' But then he went ahead and said it, that the president "made the recession worse."

As it turns out, it's not just the tidal wave of reporters and fact-checkers that washed away the mud Mitt Romney hurled at President Obama on the economy. A bevy of economists, including ones who worked for Romney endorser John McCain, long ago concluded that Barack Obama saved the U.S. economy from calamity.

Take, for example, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Despite Republican mythmaking that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) "created zero jobs," in November the CBO reported that the stimulus added up to 2.4 million jobs and boosted GDP by as much as 1.9 points in the previous quarter. As The Hill explained, the CBO has found that "President Obama's 2009 stimulus package continues to benefit the struggling economy":

    The agency said the measure raised gross domestic product by between 0.3 and 1.9 percent in the third quarter of 2011, which ended Sept. 30. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that GDP in that quarter was only 2 percent total...

    By CBO's numbers, the $800 billion stimulus added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011.

Mark Zandi, an adviser to John McCain in 2008, was adamant on positive role of the stimulus. Federal intervention, he and Princeton economist Alan Blinder argued in August 2010, literally saved the United States from a second Great Depression. In "How the Great Recession Was Brought to an End," Blinder and Zandi's models confirmed the impact of the Obama recovery program and concluded that "laissez faire was not an option":

    The effects of the fiscal stimulus alone appear very substantial, raising 2010 real GDP by about 3.4%, holding the unemployment rate about 1½ percentage points lower, and adding almost 2.7 million jobs to U.S. payrolls. These estimates of the fiscal impact are broadly consistent with those made by the CBO and the Obama administration.

But their modeling also suggests that the totality of federal efforts to rescue the banking system dating back to the fall of 2008 prevented a catastrophic collapse:

    We find that its effects on real GDP, jobs, and inflation are huge, and probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2.0. For example, we estimate that, without the government's response, GDP in 2010 would be about 11.5% lower, payroll employment would be less by some 8½ million jobs, and the nation would now be experiencing deflation.

Even Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the CBO and chief economic adviser to John McCain during the 2008 election, acknowledged the impact of the stimulus. Certainly no fan of either Barack Obama or the design of the ARRA, Holtz-Eakin told Ezra Klein that:

    "The argument that the stimulus had zero impact and we shouldn't have done it is intellectually dishonest or wrong. If you throw a trillion dollars at the economy it has an impact, and we needed to do something."

Of course, Mitt Romney is nothing if not intellectual dishonest. But his lie that President Obama "made the economy worse" has become, as Greg Sargent noted, "has now become absolutely central to his campaign message, yet it's finding its way into story after story and segment after segment with no rebuttal whatsoever." And until that deception is finally buried by the scorn and disdain it deserves, Mitt Romney's "Post-Truth Campaign" will continue until November.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Sunyata on Jan 17, 2012, 02:37 PM
To me I do not see evil at all as far as evil that we talk about in EA...but rather a desperate and inherently stupid and incredibly shallow human being .....He is the whitest white man..........a 'wannabe' as Rad stated here:

"Without going into great detail this is the story of a Soul that had a series of lives of great destitution and poverty that lead to a psychological state of wanting, desiring, of ENVY,  of those few people in patriarchal realities that had all the power, and wealth"

He comes across as that desperate soul that is so wrapped up in patriarchal reality as the only reality and the desire to 'succeed' within that system as it is, of course, the greatest system of the greatest nation in the history of the planet. (sarcasm there)

The scary thing for him is that he does not see the possibility that anything is or works better that it does in the USA and like most republicans that use their religion to validate what they do he see the USA as the center of the UNIVERSE because for any conservative christian republican that is where the UNIVERSE is, after all GOD HAS BLESSED THIS GREAT AND POWERFUL NATION.

He is in essence to me, hiding behind this false intellect and delusion of reality.....his popularity comes from the ability to string together a few sentences in a coherent manner from time to time and of course he handled money well once or at least has not blown his family fortune and anyone that is successful with money is automatically considered a candidate in the conservative party.

.......people will actually vote for an idiot en masse. He is the flag bearer for the republic......waving the flag of his country as natives are slaughtered and put on reservations..... a soldier imprisoning the pagans, ......dismantling peoples very realities because his reality is the only one that matters.......can you not just see him as the boy who inherited power because there was nobody better around..maybe small power but using it to create a false 'success story' for his superiors at the expense and disregard of others...??? Im just projecting......


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: cat777 on Jan 19, 2012, 09:41 AM
Hi Rad and Everyone,

I was just looking at the latests GOP polls.  It looks like Rommney and Gingrich are the strongest.  Its not very clear who is ahead in upcoming primaries as the polls are inconsistent with each other.  In any case, which of the two are the lesser evil from an EA perspective?  Has anyone looked at Gingrich's chart?

I have to admit, I don't delve to deep into politics but do skim the headlines.  It seems to me that Rommney has been the media's choice all along for some reason but now the tide seems to be changing.  Alot of what has been mentioned in the previous posts may be coming to light, maybe?

cat


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 21, 2012, 01:42 PM
Hi Rad and Everyone,

I was just looking at the latests GOP polls.  It looks like Rommney and Gingrich are the strongest.  Its not very clear who is ahead in upcoming primaries as the polls are inconsistent with each other.  In any case, which of the two are the lesser evil from an EA perspective?  Has anyone looked at Gingrich's chart?

I have to admit, I don't delve to deep into politics but do skim the headlines.  It seems to me that Rommney has been the media's choice all along for some reason but now the tide seems to be changing.  Alot of what has been mentioned in the previous posts may be coming to light, maybe?

cat

Hi Cat,

Here is the birth chart for Newt Gingrich. What is fascinating relative to your question is that his natal Lucifer is at 17 Scorpio, and the current transit of Lucifer, right now, is at 17 Scorpio. I will leave to you to judge how evil he is relative to Mr.Duplicity.

God Bless, Rad


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: cat777 on Jan 21, 2012, 03:55 PM


Looking at Lucifer.  Transiting Lucifer conjunct Gingrich's Natal Lucifer right now at 17 SC in the 9th House.  On May 3rd it will conjunct "Mr Duplicity's" Jupiter in SC in the 6th House.  In both cases Scorpio and the Jupiter/9th/Sag archetype are involved.  Interesting.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Jan 21, 2012, 10:13 PM
Rad, from your earlier posts about Romney, it doesn't seem implicit in your words that you consider this soul to have made a contract with evil. I am wondering what your perspective is on this soul?


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 22, 2012, 08:17 AM
Hi Ari,

My perspective is more or less expressed in my answer to Steven above. I do not feel he has yet made a contract with Evil, but has of course been severely influenced by it that has lead him to where he is now, and has been for the reasons I expressed to Steven. My view is that there is a future life coming for him in which, due to the karma created, his Soul will find itself back to where it started: a life of complete misery and destitution where he has no power at all. The conditions of that life will be extreme, and beyond. At that point he will then be tempted by Lucifer to make a contract in order to get back all that was 'lost' from his Soul's point of view. His natal Lucifer is at 29 Leo which of course can correlate to a culmination of the Zarathustra realities he has created for himself. Virgo is the next stop which will create this karmic boomerang. His Soul will be born again with Lucifer square the Nodes. 

God Bless, Rad


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Jan 22, 2012, 11:27 AM
Wow, thank you for that insight Rad.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steven on Jan 22, 2012, 10:20 PM
Rad, this is indeed all so amazing, and helpful. Yet it raises a question for me that I am not sure falls within the confines of what this message board is about, so I will try to keep it within the EA paradigm.

Given these insights about the lives of destitution and poverty that have influenced this soul towards its current incarnational choices, I feel the need to understand why the soul "chose" those lives of great impoverishment to start with, and what it hoped to learn. Is that something that can gleaned solely through the current chart, and through the EA lens?

I guess I'm always thinking in terms of how to help or diagnose, and from that perspective, if we can know/intuit the places where the thinking or responses in those lifetimes went contrary to the soul's intentions, then those are the places where healing and therapeutic help can theoretically occur now.

So, in my processing of the dynamics of Romney's chart, it still seems important -- if not necessarily essential-- to know the intentions behind those "past" experiences of impoverishment and powerlessness, to understand better how and why the lessons/tests were presumably missed and led instead to a karmic desire to join the path of the Zarathrustas. I hope my question makes sense.

Thanks so much again,

Steven







Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jan 23, 2012, 08:59 AM
Rad, this is indeed all so amazing, and helpful. Yet it raises a question for me that I am not sure falls within the confines of what this message board is about, so I will try to keep it within the EA paradigm.

Given these insights about the lives of destitution and poverty that have influenced this soul towards its current incarnational choices, I feel the need to understand why the soul "chose" those lives of great impoverishment to start with, and what it hoped to learn. Is that something that can gleaned solely through the current chart, and through the EA lens?

I guess I'm always thinking in terms of how to help or diagnose, and from that perspective, if we can know/intuit the places where the thinking or responses in those lifetimes went contrary to the soul's intentions, then those are the places where healing and therapeutic help can theoretically occur now.

So, in my processing of the dynamics of Romney's chart, it still seems important -- if not necessarily essential-- to know the intentions behind those "past" experiences of impoverishment and powerlessness, to understand better how and why the lessons/tests were presumably missed and led instead to a karmic desire to join the path of the Zarathrustas. I hope my question makes sense.

Thanks so much again,

Steven

Hi Steven,

Your question is well taken and it is certainly within the parameter of EA. The answer is that it's not an issue of his Soul desiring lives of poverty and destitution per se. Countless Souls have had such lives not because of a desire to do so, but because of the nature of the times being lived within conditions caused by the patriarchy that were in full affect around 5,500 B.C.E. It is consciousness created by the patriarchal perversion of natural laws, including the natural law of giving, sharing, and inclusion that lead to creating societies and countries in which a relatively small amount of people had great power, wealth, and prestige.

The vast majority of peoples thus lived in relative poverty and destitution as compared to these relative few. So the Soul of Romney of course found itself is such conditions in many, many lives, just like most of us have. In those lives, within the consensus state, he made his observations and judgements of this fact, and of course just who these relatively few were that had all the power, wealth, and prestige. In those observations and judgements the Soul of Romney concluded that God must have made certain Souls to be special, to be Zarathustra's, as compared to the vast majority of all other humans.

You can see this in his chart with his Venus in Aquarius in his 10th, which is conjunct the S.Nodes of Neptune, Saturn, Vesta and Venus itself, in opposition to his natal Saturn in Leo in the 3rd and Pluto in the 4th and these then being conjunct his N.Node of Neptune. His natal Neptune in Libra is in his 5th: royalty/ Zarathustra's.  It is also seen relative to the ruler of his 2nd House, personal values that correlate to the meaning of life that then define the person's inner relationship to them self, in his 10th: his Mercury in Pisces retrograde conjunct his Mars. The 10th House of course, among other archetypes, is about the nature of judgements and how societies or countries are structured: it's norms, customs, taboos, laws which all condition any Soul's consciousness in any given life that it lives. It also correlates to how any given Soul integrates itself into it's society, country, of birth: it's role on behalf of society. And of course his Mercury and Mars are ruled by, yep, his Neptune in the 5th.

It was in such lives that the Soul of Romney became jealous and envious of those who were the 'special one's' who had all this wealth, power, and privilege. Jealousy of course is Scorpio, Pluto, and the 8th House. Within that jealousy his Soul considered itself to be special, and that it did not 'deserve' to be in these miserable life conditions. This is symbolized by not only what I just mentioned, but also by his Jupiter/Moon conjunction in Scorpio in his 6th which are conjunct his S.Node in Sagittarius in his 7th. One of the archetypes of  the 7th, Libra, and Venus in one of extremities. So his jealousy became so intense that it then became the cause of his singular desire to be one of the self appointed Zarathustra's. He desired to be served by the masses, to be given too, versus giving, like the majority of people around him, to these Zarathustra's, the special few.

With his S.Node in Sagittarius relative to the S.Nodes of Jupiter, Saturn, Vesta, AND PLUTO, he actually created and later joined philosophies and religions that postulated that indeed God created Zarathustra's that were meant to be served by the great masses of common or 'little people'. So, of course, this self justifying philosophy served as the rationalizations needed in order to justify himself in this way. In his current life Romney is of course a Mormon. Relative to it's founder, Joseph Smith, these people considered themselves special which included it's own hierarchy within it. Part of it's specialness was even the Caucasian race itself: African Americans, black people, any other race was inferior to being White. It's patriarchal dimensions were so warped that men could have of course many wives, but, of course the women could only have one man. In another recent life of Romney's, without going into any detail, he was immersed in the philosophy of Fredric Neitzsche. Interestingly, Neitzsche's Moon is conjunct the S.Node of Romney's in Sagittarius, and his Saturn in conjunct Romney's natal Venus.

So it is this singular desire to be a Zarathustra that was born of the conditions of life that most of us have experienced in our own past lives that then became the causative factor in the lives that he created to become what he has become.

God Bless, Rad  





Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steven on Jan 23, 2012, 10:08 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is so helpful in so many ways.

God bless,

Steven


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Sunyata on Jan 26, 2012, 05:48 PM
"This is what I mean by the rise of Paganism. The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization."

Newt 1/25/12

http://youtu.be/CksdsnZ3wHE

To be honest in my opinion, the biggest threat to civilization would come from a Newt and Netanyahu union vs. the Arab world. Whereas Romney is a wannabe, Newt is the real deal. He is a fundamental patriarch to his core and has been for a long long time. (lifetimes, biblical and roman) (that's my own perception talking, not the chart). You just dont get that thick into it unless you've 'been there and done that' before and for him, it oozes out of his pores.

I would like to hear more about Newts past via his chart. I cant envision a scenario where either of them beat Obama. I just don't see it happening. The world is changing but its not going backwards.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Jan 26, 2012, 06:18 PM
re: Newt

I don't often do this and I realize its off topic.  But I read an article about Newt earlier that was so insane it reminded me of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.  This man is bonkers and is a serious candidate for President of USA.  In the article he states he would have Sarah Palin in his cabinet if elected.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/26/gingrich-admits-to-having-no-character-witnesses-in-open-marriage-scandal/


"This is what I mean by the rise of Paganism. The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization."

Newt 1/25/12

http://youtu.be/CksdsnZ3wHE

To be honest in my opinion, the biggest threat to civilization would come from a Newt and Netanyahu union vs. the Arab world. Whereas Romney is a wannabe, Newt is the real deal. He is a fundamental patriarch to his core and has been for a long long time. (lifetimes, biblical and roman) (that's my own perception talking, not the chart). You just dont get that thick into it unless you've 'been there and done that' before and for him, it oozes out of his pores.

I would like to hear more about Newts past via his chart. I cant envision a scenario where either of them beat Obama. I just don't see it happening. The world is changing but its not going backwards.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Stacie on Jan 31, 2012, 06:21 AM
I feel an instinctual repulsion whenever I see or hear this man speak.  I can't help but notice that my repulsion is virtually identical in nature to what I felt when hearing/seeing then Presidential Candidate GWB in '99/2000..and all the way through his presidency.  The essence of my instinct is a perception of danger, and to me the potential of this 'danger' is rooted/concentrated in the psychological dynamic of self-righteousness that is defining Romney's consciousness.  As we know the phenomenon of self-righteousness is one of the hallmarks of consensus state consciousness, but in the case of this soul, it is particularly emphasized and actively employed/imposed. 

I think of Romney's recent declaration in a speech, when he was drawing a contrast between himself and President Obama relative to orientation in foreign relations: "I will never, ever apologize for America".  Venus in aquarius/10th, relative to uranus in gemini/1st, and neptune in libra/5th: i.e. 'God wants America to lead (dominate) the entire rest of the world'.  This again is reflected in Romney's own words: "God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.  America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers."  Translation: in Romney's distorted world, the very notion of giving, sharing, and inclusion--to live and co-exist in a state of collective harmony, cooperation, and equality--is a direct threat to the Zarathustra reality that motivates Romney's ambitions.  If Romney were to actually be elected president, this would reflect an absolute resistance within the american collective to embracing the necessary work of accepting and applying the necessary adjustments implied in natal USA's neptune in virgo/5th..adjustments which would then allow for a mutation of sociological reality and ultimately manifest collective relief. 

In a reasonable world, the events of the recent past which have imploded America into its present condition, would of themselves, seemingly be enough to guarantee the rejection of a candidate like Romney.  However..this is not a time of collective clarity (i.e. a 'reasonable world').. It is a time where collective fear of cataclysmic change and sociological mutation (relative to natal USA saturn return) is causing all kinds of distorted extremities to surface from the collective american psyche..a uranian phenomenon..and presently this is being responded to by a large percentage of american citizens at a base, survival-oriented level.  Wolf's words are so true when he describes the sheer power of the survival instinct: this influence potentially leading to choices and actions that one would never think or see themselves making.  Taurus (survival instinct) is intercepted in Romney's 12th and ruled by that venus in aquarius.  The primary ruler of that 12th house being mars in pisces, conjunct that mercury ruling uranus in gemini.  This reflects a powerful influence Romney potentially has upon the american collective subconscious/unconscious--and all the fears that have been repressed within it, relative to a survival instinct that is in a very hypersensitive condition within the american population.  These symbols show that this influence is used for self-interest, self-gain, and self-aggrandizement, through the agency of his public role..venus in aquarius/10th. 

Circling back to my initial comment about instinctual perception of danger relative to Romney potentially winning the presidency..  The danger here is the fact that the self-righteous orientation defining his consciousness is, in reality, producing an awareness that doesn't go much further than the tip of his nose.  He simply doesn't think things through beyond the egocentric aggrandized fantasies he imagines when he visualizes himself in this role.   And because his awareness is so limited in this way, he has no actual comprehension of the potential ramifications his self-aggrandizing words could ACTUALLY have upon the nation as a whole, relative to environmental reactions initiated by the uranus in gemini/1st..trauma via incitement through words.. 

Stacie


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Feb 02, 2012, 08:37 AM
All,

A friend emailed me this about the actual reality of how Romney's Bain Capital actually worked. I think it speaks for itself.

**********

Jon Stewart did what so few in our mainstream corporate media have been willing to do with Mitt Romney's so-called record on "job creation" and his time at Bain Capital and their leveraged buyouts of many of the companies they took over.

Here's Stewart explaining the kind of business Romney practiced in, in a manner most of our Villagers in the mainstream media are apparently incapable of.

    STEWART: It's like putting ten percent down on a car, then using the value of that car to get another loan and repay yourself that ten percent and and maybe a little twenty percent... on top for your troubles and then walking away, leaving the car on the hook for the payments.

    But, for Bain Capital to borrow money from other people, knowing that those debts might never be repaid, while still profiting themselves, I don't know. I don't know how I feel about that business practice. Does it make anyone else uneasy?

    ROMNEY: I think it's simply immoral for us as a nation and as a generation, to keep spending more and more money, by borrowing money from other people knowing that those debts will never be repaid during our lifetimes.

    STEWART: I don't know who that ruggedly handsome guy is but I agree one hundred percent. So there you go and his pitch to Americans seems to be, elect me as your president. I have twenty five years of business experience doing something I believe this country should never ever do.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Feb 02, 2012, 11:27 AM
February 02, 2012 09:00 AM

Romney's Economic Plan Isn't Concerned About the Poor - or the Middle Class

By Jon Perr

One day after branding President Obama "really out of touch with what's happening in America," Mitt Romney marked his Florida primary victory by declaring, "I'm not concerned about the very poor." Of course, back in December Romney announced that "I'm concerned about the poor in this country," adding, "We have to make sure the safety net is strong and able to help those who can't help themselves."

If Mitt Romney's latest statement seems like a contradiction, at least it's a more honest one. After all, his proposal to slash $700 billion in Medicaid spending and send what's left as block grants to the states would devastate the program serving nearly 60 million poor and elderly Americans. But as it turns out, his 59 point, 162 page economic plan isn't very concerned with the middle class, either. Over the next decade, that budget-busting blueprint would drain $6.6 trillion from the U.S. Treasury and divert most of it into the pockets of the richest Americans.

On Wednesday, Romney explained his devil-may-care attitude towards the 46.2 million Americans now living in poverty and the 51 million more with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line:

    "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there," Romney told CNN. "If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."

That's an odd statement for Mitt Romney to make, and not merely because he previously declared himself part of "the 80 to 90 percent of us" who are middle class. Romney's own economic plan says otherwise. Romney's isn't worried about fixing the safety net; he wants to shred it. And in December, Chris Wallace of Fox News called him on it.

    WALLACE: But you don't think if you cut $700 billion dollars in aid to the states that some people are going to get hurt?

    ROMNEY: In the same way that by cutting welfare spending dramatically, I don't think we hurt the poor. In the same way I think cutting Medicaid spending by having it go to the states run more efficiently with less fraud, I don't think will hurt the people that depend on that program for their healthcare.

It's not just that Romney's block grant program would lead governors to begin "capping enrollment, thinning benefits, increasing co-payments, and so on" in the future. As Ezra Klein explained, they are already doing that now:

    Twenty states implemented benefit restrictions in the past year. In fiscal year 2010, 39 states implemented Medicaid provider rate cuts or freezes (up from 33 in fiscal year 2009), and 37 states have provider rate restrictions planned for the next fiscal year.

And as the Kaiser Family Foundation determined last year, the Ryan plan championed by Mitt Romney and virtually every Republican in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act would certainly hurt working Americans as well:

    "By 2021, between 31 million and 44 million fewer people nationally would have Medicaid coverage under the House Budget Plan relative to expected enrollment under current law."

Then there's Mitt Romney's tax plan.

That's the one he claimed was focused on the middle class. It's not just that his proposal to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and eliminate the capital gains tax on the first $200,000 of investment income does not help the middle class, it's that Mitt Romney would deliver another gilded-class payday to the very rich, himself included.

Last month, McClatchy reported that the "Romney tax plan would most benefit [the] wealthy." The Center for American Progress explained just how much. While "Romney's plan also gives nearly 60 percent of its benefit to the richest 1 percent of Americans," Mitt's tax cuts for millionaires are "nearly twice the size of those from George W. Bush."

And that was before Mitt Romney's spontaneous outburst during a debate last month that he would really like a top rate of 25 and not 35 percent.

It's worth noting that Romney, the $250 Million Man, has also proposed eliminating the estate tax. Compared to the current 35 percent rate on estates larger than $10 million, Mitt's tax plan would give his heirs roughly $84 million courtesy of the U.S. Treasury and all other American taxpayers. With his plans to extend the Bush tax cuts, lower the corporate tax rate, and repeal some high-income tax increases from the Affordable Care Act; the impact of on the national debt would be staggering. As ThinkProgress detailed in September:

    Romney's tax plan includes a $6.6 TRILLION giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Meanwhile, Romney's Medicaid cuts are even more draconian than the ones in Paul Ryan plan.

So much for Romney's claim that "I want to focus on where the people are hurting the most, and that's the middle class. I'm not worried about rich people. They are doing just fine." But at least Mitt Romney was telling the truth when he said, "I'm not concerned about the very poor."

Or, it turns out, the middle class, either.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: astroguru on Feb 07, 2012, 12:08 AM
A non-supporter of Romney alluded me to this.


Sometimes, this facet of Romney's personality isn't so subtle. In July 1996,
the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, had
disappeared. She had attended a rave party in New York City and gotten high
on ecstasy. Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she
was. Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and asked
all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay's
daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and hired
a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a
toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the NYPD, and went
through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did business with in New York ,
and asked them to help find his friend's missing daughter. Romney's
accountants at  Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on street poles,
while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in the bag of every
shopper. Romney and the other Bain employees scoured every part of New York
and talked with everyone they could - prostitutes, drug addicts - anyone.
 
 That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of the
girl and the Bain employees searching for her. As a result, a teenage boy
phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up abruptly. The NYPD
traced the call to a home in New Jersey , where they found the girl in the
basement, shivering and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a massive
ecstasy dose. Doctors later said the girl might not have survived another
day. Romney's former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter's
life, saying, "It was the most amazing thing, and I'll never forget this to
the day I die."
 
 So, here's my epiphany: Mitt Romney simply can't help himself. He sees a
problem, and his mind immediately sets to work solving it, sometimes
consciously, and sometimes not-so-consciously. He doesn't do it for
self-aggrandizement, or for personal gain. He does it because that's just
how he's wired.
 
 Many people are unaware of the fact that when Romney was asked by his old
employer, Bill Bain, to come back to Bain & Company as CEO to rescue the
firm from bankruptcy, Romney left Bain Capital to work at Bain & Company for
an annual salary of one dollar. When Romney went to the rescue of the 2002
Salt Lake Olympics , he accepted no salary for three years, and wouldn't use
an expense account. He also accepted no salary as Governor of Massachusetts.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/romney/search.asp


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Stacie on Feb 07, 2012, 10:00 AM
Hello astroguru,

What symbols/signature in Mitt Romney's chart are you drawing from to support the epiphany you've shared?

When you say that you see Romney's behavior as not being motivated by self-interest, gain, or aggrandizement..that he is simply 'wired' to solve problems, what I'm hearing you speaking to is the mars/aries/1st house archetype..the instinctual function within us that generates an impulse to act without forethought.  While this archetype is indeed purely instinctual, there is always a reason and cause for the kind of instinctual nature we are born with..i.e. desire.  What is the desire in Romney's soul that would explain the why of his instinctual nature and how he is acting upon it?  We also can't overlook the fact that the planet mars in Romney's chart is correlating to a skip step.  Mars in pisces.  This is showing us that there is a dynamic active in Romney's instinctual nature, leading to certain types of actions and ambitions (mars/10th) that are delusive in nature.  If Romney were indeed acting upon impulses generated through the godhead, as he has alluded to in some of his publicized comments, we would probably not be seeing mars as a skipped step.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

God Bless,
Stacie





Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Feb 14, 2012, 09:15 AM
‘Spreading Romney’ satire leaks into candidate’s top Google results

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, February 13, 2012 15:22 EST

A satirical redefinition of the word “Romney” has leapt from obscurity and into the limelight this week by cracking a list of the top 10 Google search results for the Republican presidential candidate’s last name.

Similar to the “Spreading Santorum” website that has so plagued anti-gay Republican Rick Santorum by redefining his last name to mean “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex,” “Spreading Romney” does the leading Republican candidate no favors.

Much to the campaign’s assured dismay, it defines the word “Romney” as a verb meaning, “To defecate in terror.”

The page was #4 overall in Google’s search results for the term “Romney” at time of this story’s publication.

On the website, the word “terror” links to The Huffington Post, which reminds readers that the Massachusetts Republican once strapped a dog to the roof of his vehicle ahead of a family road trip in 1983.  According to a 2007 Boston Globe profile of the candidate, Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, yelled, “Gross!” as he noticed a brown liquid flowing down the back window from the Irish Setter Seamus.

“As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station,” the Globe noted. “There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.”

Asked by The Wall Street Journal about the bizarre behavior, Romney said simply: “Love my dog. That’s all I’ve got for ya.”

The story has haunted Romney for years, and looks to play at least a minor role in the 2012 campaign, should he become the nominee.

In a stroke of ironic luck, a protester with the group “Dogs Against Romney” was recently pulled over by police in Littleton, Colorado for suspected animal abuse after officers spotted a dog kennel with what appeared to be an animal inside, strapped to the top of a vehicle.

It turned out the man just had a stuffed animal inside and he was not cited.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Feb 17, 2012, 06:57 AM
February 16, 2012 07:00 PM

Social Security: A Tale of Two Mitties

By Richard RJ Eskow

Mitt Romney at CPAC last week

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the year of protecting Social Security, and the year of cutting Social Security. It was the age of defending Medicare, and the age of ending Medicare.

In other words, it was another day on the Mitt Romney campaign trail. This week Romney's evil twins (there isn't a good one) played both sides of the Social Security issue, but finally came down on the side of the party's power brokers.

That placed him squarely against its own rank and file, as a new video and recent polling both confirm.

But then, reversing himself is a Romney specialty. Last week the "effectively pro-choice" turned "pro-life" candidate went to the CPAC Conference to tell the world about his "extreme conservative" governorship of Massachusetts - Obamacare is Rightycare when Mitt does it - and it was all "we conservatives" this and "we conservatives" that.

(Does he drive to Shriners' conventions in one of those funny little Shriner cars, wearing a Shriner fez and talking about "we Shriners"?)

Then he directed his double vision toward Social Security and Medicare.

One Romney Makes Entitlements Safer ...

Yesterday Romney slammed President Obama on entitlements, saying "the president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors." He added that Obama "had nothing to say about making sure that those programs are solvent and permanent."

Romney's stance as a pro-entitlement champion echoed the GOP's "Seniors' Bill of Rights," which was a hallmark of their winning 2010 Congressional campaign. That plan insisted on "no cuts to Medicare to pay for another program: Zero."

Then, after the election, they promptly introduced the Ryan Plan to dismantle Medicare altogether. (Those who claim that it wouldn't end Medicare are living in an Alice-in-Wonderland world - and smoking the Cato-Piller's hookah ...) Romney didn't bother waiting.

... and One Romney Makes Them Small

Romney's CPAC speech was very specific about the cuts he'd like to make. He couldn't have been clearer. "Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable," said Romney, "not for the current group of retirees, but for coming generations."

See what he did there? Romney combined Social Security - a completely self-sustaining program - with Medicare, a program whose long-range problems are caused by precisely the kind of private-sector healthcare that Romney and his party defend.

And think about it: Would-be Social Security cutters like Romney are always telling us it's unsupportable because so many Baby Boomers are about to retire. (In reality, they largely prefunded their own retirement with increased contributions and other changes.) Yet, like Romney, they then turn around and say that it's "later generations" who must face Draconian cuts.

It doesn't make sense - but making sense isn't their goal. Cutting Social Security is. And Romney's happy to carry out the mission he's been given.

... and the One That Grover Gives You Doesn't Do Anything At All

Romney's the Thing With Two Heads, the man with two opinions. How can a person pull off a trick like that? Practice.

Usually Romney waits a little while before reversing himself, but for Social Security and Medicare he's accomplished a feat physicists once thought impossible for anything larger than a photon: He's managed to be in two places at once.

But that's Mitt. He's a "second variety" candidate, a "shmoo," a shapeshifter who will become whatever's expedient. To call him an empty suit is to grant him too much substance. He appears to have no emotional core except ambition and no values except the net present value of the next job-destroying investment.

Romney is exactly who Grover Norquist thinks he is: Someone who will do what he's told. And the orders have already been written, as Norquist helpfully explained:

    "We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff ... The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate ... Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president ... his job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared."

That's where Mitt comes in.

Plan 59 From Outer Space

Besides, Romney already told us what he would do in his famous package of "59 economic proposals." There, as at CPAC, he promised that current retirees' benefits would not be affected and offers reductions in the already-inadequate cost of living adjustment - which is a benefit cut for current retirees too - as well as increases to the retirement age (in addition to those already underway, which nobody ever seems to mention. The next increase will amount to a 13 percent benefit cut for anyone born after 1959).

Romney's plan also states that Paul Ryan's plan to dismantle Medicare "makes important strides in the right direction by keeping the system solvent and introducing market-based dynamics," although he promises some unspecified differences.

Romney specifically excludes the one solution that is supported by most Americans, including most Republicans: Lifting the payroll tax cap so that it's assessed against more of the earnings of millionaires like himself.

Republican vs. Republican

That pits Romney and the Republican leadership squarely against their own base, as a recent poll shows: 69 percent of Republicans would rather raise the cap than cut benefits, including 67 percent of Tea Party members.

Seventy-seven percent of those much-sought-after independents agree, as do 84 percent of Democrats.

Pollsters couldn't find anyone aged 18 to 29 who supported the Romney position.

Reality TV

That means Mitt's Plan 59 is going to tick off rank-and-file conservatives, as you can see in this video from my colleagues and pals at Social Security Works:

These conservatives have a firm grasp of the topic. One points out that Social Security is an insurance program, while another notes that people have paid into the program all their lives and are entitled to receive its benefits. Both statements are absolutely correct.

A young conservative in the video shows equal perspicacity by saying that good conservatives like him shouldn't vote for Mitt Romney.

But in the end, if he becomes the GOP nominee most of them will. It's an old trick: In 2010 the Republicans ran as defenders of Medicare and Social Security. They even created a "Seniors' Bill of Rights" that declared flatly: "No cuts." But as soon as they re-took the House they immediately started pushing Social Security cuts and created the Ryan Plan to gut Medicare.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I'm a conservative who votes Republican.

Action at a Distance

Contradictions be damned. Mitt soldiers on, his jaw firmly set and his head held high, marching resolutely in two directions at once. But the orders have been given and the stage has been set. We know where he'll really lead us if the two Mitts are elected President: He - or they - will cut Social Security and Medicare.

And if the last flickering embers of his conscience must die to do it, then so be it. "It's a far, far better thing we do today than we have ever done before ... "

If you want to serve power brokers like the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist, you have to be willing to impose policies that vast majorities of voters - including your own base - overwhelmingly reject. Real leaders show us their one face, their true face. But if you want to serve the GOP's power elite then, as the old song says, "it takes two."

When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, Mitt Romney's showing them that he's just the men for the job.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Feb 24, 2012, 08:31 AM
For those interested here is the birth chart for Rick Santorum. It's a noon chart.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: BrendaP on Feb 24, 2012, 09:47 AM
Just some comments made by Santorum that seem appropriate relative to his chart

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57382008-503544/santorum-in-08-satan-is-attacking-america/


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Feb 26, 2012, 02:39 PM
No Bailouts for Romney’s Intellectual Bankruptcy

By Jonathan Alter


By all accounts, Mitt Romney is a smart businessman with a sophisticated understanding of how economies work. So why is he so tied up in knots over basic questions of government spending in a recession and the limits of the free market?

Because he’s running for president in a party that has lost its economic common sense, its political bearings and probably Michigan’s electoral votes.

Here’s the Republican candidate off-script (the best way to find out what’s in his head) at a town hall meeting Tuesday in Shelby Township, Michigan: “If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, why, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy, so you have to at the same time create pro-growth tax policies.”

This is a classic example of a “Kinsley gaffe” (named for my Bloomberg View colleague Michael Kinsley), which is when a politician accidentally says something that’s true but politically inconvenient.

Sure enough, Andy Roth, vice president for government affairs at the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, called Romney’s comments “hogwash.” Roth said the statement “confirms yet again that Romney is not a limited government conservative. The idea that balancing the budget would not help the economy is crazy. If we balanced the budget tomorrow on spending cuts alone, it would be fantastic for the economy.”

Ask a Professor

Oh, really? If we balanced the budget by immediately cutting $1.3 trillion in spending, as some Tea Party adherents advocate, unemployment would surge. Spending cuts (mostly through entitlement reform) are critical in the medium and long term, but they’re harmful when the economy is weak. If you don’t believe Romney or me on this point, ask any economics professor who isn’t a crackpot.

After Romney’s gaffe, a campaign spokesman undertook damage control with a tortured statement that amounted to saying that Romney supports the House Republican “Cut and Grow” economic policy. This is the one that shuns all “investment” as a Democratic codeword for spending (thereby repudiating 150 years of Republican support for infrastructure investments) and says that the route to economic growth is through tax cuts.

A preview of Romney’s tax plan making its debut Friday in a speech in Detroit suggests that “Romneynomics” would in effect transfer wealth from the poor and the future old (through draconian cuts in Medicaid and Medicare) to the wealthy (through more tax cuts at the upper end). You may recall that President George W. Bush tried a variant of this with his 2001 tax cuts and the result was the weakest decade of job growth since the 1930s.

Romney is trapped in a “theology” (to use Rick Santorum’s word in a different context) that he knows is completely inadequate for addressing our economic problems.

We first glimpsed that trap during the 2008-09 economic crisis. Like many in his party, Romney supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program for banks but opposed the portion of TARP devoted to the auto industry. He was sure the auto bailouts would fail and thus he was safe in writing his now famous “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed article in the New York Times.

In fairness to Romney, that piece was written in November 2008, when clueless automakers were asking for money from the outgoing Bush administration with no strings attached. (They got $17.4 billion and flushed it down the same old rat holes.) Romney wrote that government guarantees for warranties and post- bankruptcy financing would be acceptable and these eventually became part of the Obama deal.
Intellectually Bankrupt

Even so, the premise of that piece, which endorsed a “managed bankruptcy” without direct federal money, was itself intellectually bankrupt. It assumed that the car companies would find new investors after reorganization. But the firm Romney co- founded, Bain Capital LLC, was among many potential creditors that refused to touch any deal involving auto companies. The billions necessary to keep General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler alive weren’t available from any place but the government. When CNN moderator John King made this point during Wednesday’s debate among Republican candidates, Romney tried to ignore it.

Romney’s approach was popular among many Republicans, who hypocritically argued that the rules of free market capitalism could be suspended to bail out bankers but not workers. Sure, hundreds of thousands of people working for auto companies or their suppliers would lose their jobs, but that was just part of capitalism’s “creative destruction.”

This selective approach to conservative principles — not Romney’s opposition to the auto bailouts — is what put Romney in trouble with primary voters in Michigan, where Santorum’s consistency in opposing all bailouts has won him conservative support.

Santorum tried to use that consistency to his advantage in Wednesday’s debate. Like so much else about his performance, he failed. Could it be that free market fundamentalists have been consistently wrong for three years? They are the “little minds” Ralph Waldo Emerson had in mind when he savaged the “hobgoblin” of “foolish consistency.”

Every so often, history renders a clear verdict. However noxious and debatable the particulars, the TARP bank bailouts averted a global run on American banks and a depression. They helped to stabilize the global economy. Almost all of the money has been paid back.

The auto bailouts? The reduction in Michigan’s unemployment rate from 14.1 percent in 2009 to 9.3 percent today isn’t a matter of opinion or differing economic philosophy. It’s a happy reality that should make any open-minded conservative acknowledge that dogmatic adherence to abstract principles usually ends badly.

Romney’s core problem is that he doesn’t have the courage of his pragmatic impulses. If he did, he’d stick with his view that cutting spending sharply in the short term is a bad idea, and that in extremely rare circumstances we must hold our noses, put principles aside and let Washington prop up vital industries.

Of course he can’t say that, which means that winning Michigan is all but out of reach for him or any other Republican candidate this fall.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 06, 2012, 07:38 AM
From the American magazine "Perspectives"

How Can Mitt Romney Sleep at Night?

Less than 24 hours after refusing to take hate radio host Rush Limbaugh to task for slandering Sandra Fluke , Mitt Romney reached a new low on Saturday. During an exchange with an Army mom yesterday in Ohio, Romney asked of the President who killed Osama Bin Laden, "How in the world can the commander in chief sleep at night?" That from a man who once brushed off the importance of even getting Bin Laden, opposed U.S. strikes to target Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, flip-flopped on whether the Iraq war was mistake and declared his own five son serve America by "helping me get elected."

How can Mitt Romney sleep at night?

As CBS reported, in Dayton this weekend an Army mother asked Governor Romney what he could do to speed her daughter back from Afghanistan. Romney, who has opposed President Obama's timeline for drawing down troops there, responded by blasting the Commander-in-Chief (around the 2:00 mark):

    [Mrs. Chura said] "There is no mission here. We have no definition of a mission."

    Romney jumped on Chura's complaint and attacked Obama on the war. "If your daughter is not familiar with the mission that she's on, how in the world can the commander in chief sleep at night, knowing that we have soldiers in harm's way that don't know exactly, precisely, what it is that they're doing there?" he asked.

How in the world can Mitt Romney sleep at night, when during his first run for President he declared that Osama Bin Laden wasn't that important?

In a May 2007 diatribe conflating all Muslims into a single unified global threat, there was one Muslim he wasn't too worried about:

    "But I don't want to buy into the Democratic pitch, that this is all about one person, Osama bin Laden. Because after we get him, there's going to be another and another. This is about Shia and Sunni. This is about Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is the worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate."

Even regarding that "one person, Osama Bin Laden," Romney struggled. After insisting in May 2007 that "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney reversed course just three days later and declared of Bin Laden, "He's going to pay, and he will die."

He did, thanks to President Obama and no thanks to Mitt Romney.

How can Mitt Romney sleep at night, when he opposed the American strikes in Pakistan that killed Bin Laden and most of his lieutenants?

Repeatedly in 2007 and 2008, then candidate Barack Obama promised to unilaterally launch strikes against Bin Laden and other high-value targets in Pakistan and ramp up the U.S. effort in the under-resourced effort across the border in Afghanistan. In July 2008, Senator Obama pledged, "we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights."

But Mitt Romney said no:

    "I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort..."There is a war being waged by terrorists of different types and nature across the world," Romney said. "We want, as a civilized world, to participate with other nations in this civilized effort to help those nations reject the extreme with them."

That might seem like an incongruous statement coming from the same Mitt Romney who last fall said of our "ally" Pakistan, "We need to help bring Pakistan into the 21st century, or the 20th for that matter." It's more comical still coming from the same Mitt Romney who also told Chuck Todd of MSNBC that he now supports the very kind of operation to take out Osama Bin Laden he once opposed:

    "I think in a setting like this one where Osama bin Laden was identified to be hiding in Pakistan, that it was entirely appropriate for this president to move in and to take him out," Romney replied, later adding that "In a similar circumstance, I think other presidents and other candidates, like myself, would do exactly the same thing."

Not true, as the 2008 edition of Mitt Romney made clear.

How can Mitt Romney sleep at night, when he can't even make up his mind about whether the Iraq war was a mistake?

Four years ago, Mitt Romney felt pretty good about killing Saddam Hussein, too. As Byron York noted, during a January 2008 GOP debate, Romney was asked, "Was the war in Iraq a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent?" Mitt's response?

    "It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now."

Then in 2011, Multiple Choice Mitt was not so sure. The answer now depends:

    "Well, if we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction -- if somehow we had been given that information, why, obviously we would not have gone in."

Needless to say, over the past four years nothing has changed on that point: Saddam's non-existent weapons of mass destruction have not magically appeared. Then again, neither has Mitt Romney's backbone.

How can Mitt Romney sleep at night, after trying to lecture any military parent when he claimed his five sons serve their nation by getting their dad elected President?

Young Mitt Romney avoided military service during the Vietnam by virtue of multiple deferments granted to enable his church mission in France. There, he was either forced to poop in a bucket or live in an elegant Paris mansion, the answer depending on whether you ask him or anyone else. By Mitt's own accounts, he felt guilty - or not - about being in the vineyards of France instead of the rice fields of Vietnam.

But as Mitt Romney made clear in 2007, he felt no such guilt about his own sons' lack of military service. After all, they had a higher calling:

    "My sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president. I respect that and respect all those and the way they serve this great country."

Of course, these are a just a few of the reasons the serial flip-flopper who would be Commander-in-Chief Romney should be experiencing a lot of sleepless nights. There are myriad others. For starters, telling jobless workers that "I'm also unemployed," proclaiming himself part of the "80 to 90 percent of us who are middle class" and insisting income inequality should only be discussed in "quiet rooms" even though as a $250 million man he pays a lower tax rate than most middle class families.

For the American people, the real nightmare could begin in November. If Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States, how will anyone sleep at night?


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 06, 2012, 09:10 AM
meanwhile

Santorum: ‘Higher-income people don’t have to pay taxes’

By David Edwards
Monday, March 5, 2012 13:19 EST

Republican presidential Rick Santorum is advising President Barack Obama not to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans because “higher-income people don’t have to pay taxes if they don’t want to.”

“Once we defeat Barack Obama this economy will start turning around,” the former Pennsylvania senator told a crowd in Miamisburg, Ohio. “Because you’ll know you have someone in there who’s going to unshackle businesses, reduce rates, not increase them. The president’s promised increased taxes if he’s re-elected.”

“All he wants to do to solve the deficit problem is increase taxes on people, particularly higher-income people,” Santorum continued. “You see, that sounds very populist. Go after the 1 percent. It’s interesting because the British just did this. They went after the 1 percent in Britain. They dramatically increased taxes on the highest-income Brits. And guess what? It failed.”

“What happened? Well, higher-income people don’t have to pay taxes if they don’t want to because they can move their money somewhere else, they can move their investments. They can stop investing. They can stop working. They don’t need to work. They’re higher-income people.”

DeAnne Julius, the former chairwoman of Chatham House in London, has explained that Britain’s 50 percent marginal tax rate on high-income earners should not be compared to 35 percent rate imposed on wealthiest Americans, who can take advantage of loopholes in the U.S. tax system.

“[R]elative to other countries, the U.K.’s 50 percent tax rate for high earners is uncompetitive, while the U.S. top rate of 35 percent is still highly competitive,” Julius wrote in an October 2011 op-ed for The New York Times.

“These factors led 20 British economists to warn that the 50 percent top tax rate is doing lasting damage to the British economy and is unlikely to raise much if any additional revenue,” she added. “However, these factors do not apply to the United States, where the current tax regime allows many high earners to escape paying even their proportional share of taxes and where both average and marginal tax rates are low by international standards.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 08, 2012, 08:34 AM
From the American magazine "Perspectives"

March 7, 2012

Romney Admits He Has No "Bold" New Tax Plan

Two weeks ago, Mitt Romney unveiled what he has repeatedly deemed a "bold" plan to deliver a 20 percent across the board tax cut. As it turns out, the plan isn't so bold after all. For starters, it's largely a retread of the 15 percent tax cut scheme Bob Dole rode to defeat in 1996. And after a wave of analyses showed Romney's plan would produce oceans of red ink while giving the rich yet another payday courtesy of the U.S. Treasury, Mitt admitted today that his plan "can't be scored" because "I haven't laid out all of the details."

As The Hill reported today, the GOP frontrunner is now essentially claiming he deserves an "A" because the dog ate his homework:

    "So I haven't laid out all of the details about how we're going to deal with each deduction, so I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."

As Ezra Klein's Wonkblog rightly concluded:

    "Let's be clear on this: A tax plan that can't be scored because it doesn't include sufficient details is not a plan. It's a gesture towards a plan, or a statement of intended direction, or perhaps an unusually wonky daydream. But it's not a plan."

Romney's may not be a plan, but it is a recipe. At a time of record income inequality, the lowest federal tax burden in 60 years and large budget deficits, without listing all of his ingredients Mitt Romney is just offering a recipe for exploding national debt and a windfall for the wealthy.

As the Washington Post explained in its discussion of an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, "until the campaign offers a more specific plan, Budget Watch analysts said Romney's entire framework would add about $2.6 trillion to the debt by 2021." That's likely a conservative estimate. As ThinkProgress and the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Ezra Klein documented, Mitt Romney's risky new scheme makes George W. Bush look like Karl Marx:

    Romney's claim that his plan would promote job and economic growth while reducing the deficit is also likely false. The Bush tax cuts were promoted under the same guise, only to blow a $2.5-trillion hole in the federal budget that was accompanied by worst performance of any post-war expansion" for growth in investment, GDP, and job creation. Romney's tax cuts are even more expensive, clocking in at a cost of more than $10.7 trillion over the next decade and reducing revenue to a paltry 15 percent of GDP, according to Linden. Balancing the budget on those terms, as Romney claims he will do, would be next to impossible.

And as Klein made clear in his 150 word description of the Romney plan, there's only one place Mitt can look for the money:

    Mitt Romney is promising that taxes will go down, defense spending will go up, and old-people programs won't change for this generation of retirees. So three of his four options for deficit reduction -- taxes, old-people programs, and defense -- are now either contributing to the deficit or are off-limits for the next decade.

    Romney is also promising that he will pay for his tax cuts, pay for his defense spending, and reduce total federal spending by more than $6 trillion over the next 10 years. But the only big pot of money left to him is poor-people programs. So, by simple process of elimination, poor-people programs will have to be cut dramatically. There's no other way to make those numbers work.

The numbers won't work, that is, unless President Romney both savaged federal spending and eliminated deductions for workers, families and businesses that cost Uncle Sam over $1 trillion a year. But in typical Romney fashion, his campaign is refusing to say which loopholes it would close while promising to maintain the ones voters care about most. His economic adviser Glenn Hubbard admitted Romney's cowardice, explaining "it is not his intention to take on any specific deduction or exclusion and eliminate it." And as the New York Times reported, Romney promised last Wednesday his plan would somehow be "revenue neutral" and raise the burden on upper-income taxpayers, even as he balanced the budget.

Two months before Romney rolled out his desperate 20 percent tax cut, the reliably Republican Wall Street Journal essentially labeled Mitt a coward when it came to making the tough choices in his economic plan. Then and now, Mitt admitted that discretion was the better part of valor:

    Amid such generalities, it's hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. "I happen to also recognize," he says, "that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn't been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you're gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election."

Those "demagogues," as Mitt Romney calls the American people, just want to see his math. Otherwise, his pledge to "cut, cap and balance" the budget is just a smokescreen. As Klein summed it up:

    So at this point, Romney doesn't have a plan to reform the tax system. He has a statement about what he would like a reformed tax system to include: lower rates for everyone. But that's cake-and-ice-cream stuff. All the hard questions -- which tax breaks to close, for instance -- remain unanswered, and it doesn't appear that he plans to answer them anytime soon.

And there's nothing bold about that.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 08, 2012, 08:38 AM
Obama to Romney: Make Your Case For War With Iran Or Quit Talking About It

By karoli

Mitt Romney's pathetic efforts to stain the President's track record when it comes to foreign policy ring hollow and are actually dangerous, or could be. During his news conference yesterday, President Obama addressed Mitt Romney's irresponsible comments about war with Iran in recent days. Here's a sample:

    “Yet, the current administration has promoted a policy of engagement with Iran,” he continued. “The president not only dawdled in opposing sanctions, he’s opposed them. Hope is not a foreign policy. The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.”

    Earlier this week in Snellville, Georgia, Romney told an 11-year-old boy that the world would be one step closer to nuclear war if President Barack Obama was allowed another term in office.

    “If Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change if that’s the case,” he said.

This follows on the heels of his irresponsible statements at the last debate about how he, and he alone, would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

President Obama had some choice words for him and any other Republican candidate who thinks war with Iran is a good idea.

    OBAMA: At this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically. That's not just my view -- that's the view of our top intelligence officials, it's the view of top Israeli intelligence officials. And as a consequence, we are going to continue to apply the pressure, even as we provide a door for the Iranian regime to walk through, where they could rejoin the community of nations, by giving assurances to the international community that they are meeting their obligations and they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. That's my track record.

    Now, what's said on the campaign trail, you know, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. They're not commander in chief. And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. I'm reminded of the decision that I have to make, in terms of sending our young men and women into battle, and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy.

    This is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it. And, you know, when I see some of these folks who had a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them, specifically, what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years. It indicates to me that that's more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem.

    Now, the one thing that we have not done, is we haven't launched a war. If some of these folks think that it's time to launch a war, they should say so. and they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.

It's not just the President who thinks they're being irresponsible with their "loose talk of war," either. The former director of the Mossad spoke out, saying Romney is actually making the situation worse with Iran. The National Security Network has a roundup of other condemnations by highly respected current and former officials also condemning it, and reminding people that war is not "another applause line."

Doesn't the Republican drumbeat for war with Iran feel a lot like the drumbeat for war with Iraq back in 2003? It does to me, and so let me just remind readers and casual visitors alike that there is no evidence of Iran actually having a nuclear weapon. Further, Iran has agreed to restart talks with the world community and agreed in principle to allow nuclear inspectors to visit the Parchin site. Saying so doesn't make it so, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

It frustrates me to see Republicans warmonger to create a campaign wedge, but I don't understand why they think they'll succeed. This is a war-weary nation and support for another war is almost nil. What do they think they gain with this kind of "loose talk"?


Former Mossad Director: Romney ‘Is Making The Situation Worse’ With Iran

By Eli Clifton on Mar 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Efraim Halevy

Mitt Romney’s oped in today’s Washington Post claimed — without offering any evidence — that Iran has a “nuclear-bomb program” and that the Islamic Republic is “racing to build a nuclear bomb.” Currently, U.S. intelligence and the IAEA do not believe either of these claims to be true.

But Romney’s disregard for the facts was noticed not just in Washington. Former Israeli Mossad director Efraim Halevy said that Romney’s militaristic talk could induce the Iranians to rush to acquire nuclear weapons in order to deter an attack if the former Massachusetts governor were to assume the presidency in January 2013. Halevy warned that Romney is effectively “telling the Iranians, ‘You better be quick about it,’” in an interview with the Huffington Post. Halevy explained:

    If I’m sitting here in the month of March 2012 reading this, and I’m an Iranian leader, what do I understand? I have nine more months to run as fast as I can because this is going to be terrible if the other guys get in.

Halevy went on to observe, “In the effort to demolish the president [Romney] is making the situation worse.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said an attack would only delay Iran’s nuclear program and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey warned that military action “could carry unforeseen risks.”

The bellicose rhetoric of the campaign trail, which often incorporates accusations that Obama has been insufficiently protective of Israel’s security in the face of an Iranian nuclear threat, has stood in stark contrast to the messages coming out of Israel’s intelligence and security communities. Indeed, the IAEA has expressed concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program but neither U.N. nuclear inspectors nor U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Iran has restarted its nuclear weapons program.

In February, former Israeli intelligence chief Meir Dagan disagreed with the characerization of Iran as an “existential threat” to Israel and current Israeli intelligence chief Tamir Pardo reportedly told a gathering of Israeli ambassadors in December that Iran doesn’t pose an “existential threat” and “the term existential threat is used too freely.”

Also in February, Israeli Lt. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak reported that the Israeli military’s leadership doesn’t support a strike on Iran and the AP disclosed that Israel’s incoming air force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel is “less enthusiastic about a possible attack on Iran” than the current air force chief, according to defense officials.

The White House also noticed Romney’s efforts to beat the war drums. Speaking today, Obama challenged Iran-hawks to “explain to the American people exactly why [we should launch a war] and what the consequences would be.” A growing number of defense and intelligence elites in Israel seem to think the costs of war with Iran far outweigh the consequences to the Jewish state.

Responsible Leadership: “Not Just Another Applause Line”

March 7, 2012

Amid Super Tuesday-week rhetoric on national security and war with Iran, three things held constant this week: Active-duty and retired military leaders pushed back strongly on loose war talk and supported the White House approach. The public continued to give strong support to the pragmatic national security policies of the administration and oppose pre-emptive military actions. And national security commentators continued to raise the alarm about the most sensitive security topics being swallowed by meaningless election-year rhetoric.

Military leaders, active and retired, reject loose talk on Iran. As Politico reports today, “On Iran, however, the generals seem wary of the GOP’s hawkishness and more in agreement with the White House’s measured approach… On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, another top U.S. general cautioned that military action would ‘just delay’ Iran’s nuclear drive. ‘I don’t see this going in the right direction until the full effect of the sanctions can accrue,’ the head of Central Command, Gen. James Mattis, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.” Retired military leaders also reject the conservative approach. As Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (ret) told Military.com earlier this week, “There is a national reflex on the conservative part [of the] political spectrum to reach for the military option first and others second… We feel the need to give the president and those who endorse this approach as much space as possible to let … the economic efforts guide Iranian behavior.” [Politico, 3/6/12. Paul Eaton via Military.com, 3/5/12]

By trying to make political hay out of deadly serious issues, candidates show they’re not ready to be commander in chief. As Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, commented in a floor statement yesterday responding to an op-ed by Mitt Romney earlier in the week: “[W]e should all remember that the nuclear issue with Iran is deadly serious business that should invite sobriety and serious-minded solutions, not sloganeering and sound bites. This can’t become just another applause line on the Republican presidential stump. Talk has consequences, and idle talk of war only helps Iran by spooking the tight oil market and increasing the price of the Iranian crude that pays for its nuclear program. And to create false differences with the President just to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course. Worst of all, Governor Romney’s op-ed does not even do readers the courtesy of describing how a President Romney would do anything different from what the Obama administration has already done…”

On substance, as the New York Times reports, from redlines to sanctions to arms sales to allies to consultations with our military, “As it turns out, that [Romney’s plan] amounts to what President Obama is doing.” Yesterday, Obama pushed his opponents: “Now, the one thing that we have not done, is we haven’t launched a war. If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so. And they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.” [John Kerry, 3/6/12. New York Times, 3/5/12. Barack Obama via The Plum Line, 3/6/12]

The public backs a foreign policy that delivers results, not empty bluster. Pollsters Stan Greenberg and Jeremy Rosner write: “Americans may be sharply polarized on many issues, but they are relatively aligned on their confidence in Obama as commander in chief. Over 60 percent approve of the job Obama is doing handling terrorism — and this was true even before the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. According to a February ABC/Washington Post survey, voters trust Obama to handle international affairs more than the Republican Party’s likely standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, by an outsized 19-point margin. What explains these strong ratings? Historically, Americans are fairly non-ideological on foreign policy. Above all, they want results, and that is what Obama has produced.”

The Century Foundation’s Michael Cohen spells out further: “According to a recent AP/Gfk poll the president scores a negative or barely positive rating on a host of domestic issues: the economy, health care, the budget deficit, gas prices, unemployment, and taxes. But check out the foreign policy side of the ledger and it tells a very different story: handling of Iraq, 57 percent approve; Afghanistan, 54 percent; relationships with other counties, 57 percent; and finally terrorism, 63 percent. Other polls suggest that Americans see Obama as a strong leader and someone who will keep the country safe… If anything, Obama’s foreign policy advantage — rather than being vulnerability — may very well be one of the keys to his re-election.”

That’s especially true on Iran. Cohen writes, “In October 2009 (months after the crushing of the Green Movement), voters were asked if they supported or opposed direct diplomatic talks with Iran to prevent Iran from procuring a nuclear weapons — an astounding 82 percent of Americans supported this approach. Even today, most voters prefer that the U.S. exhaust all diplomatic and economic levers before considering the use of force with Iran. One can find certain similarities in these numbers with results indicating that — while Americans don’t trust North Korea either — they prefer to eschew force in containing Pyongyang.” [Stan Greenberg and Jeremy Rosner, 2/29/12. Michael Cohen, 3/2/12]


   
March 6, 2012

Ronald Romney Forgets Iran-Contra

For the second time in four months, Mitt Romney has penned a tough-talking op-ed on the Iranian nuclear program. But this time, the almost certain GOP presidential nominee has introduced a new riff to his constant refrain that "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. If you elect me as president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon." Now in his Washington Post piece and again in his speech Tuesday to AIPAC, Romney has portrayed himself as a modern day Ronald Reagan who will force Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions just as it did the 52 U.S. hostages in 1981. Unfortunately, Mitt forgot the full story of the Gipper's experience with Iran. As it turned out, in the Iran-Contra scandal that almost ended his presidency, Ronald Reagan gave the mullahs in Tehran not a show of American might, but a cake, a Bible - and U.S. arms.

Romney first Reagan impersonation appeared in Monday's Washington Post as a follow up to November's "I Won't Let Iran Get Nukes." In it, he cast Barack Obama as "America's most feckless president since Carter" and cast himself as the Gipper:

    Beginning Nov. 4, 1979 , dozens of U.S. diplomats were held hostage by Iranian Islamic revolutionaries for 444 days while America's feckless president, Jimmy Carter, fretted in the White House. Running for the presidency against Carter the next year, Ronald Reagan made it crystal clear that the Iranians would pay a very stiff price for continuing their criminal behavior. On Jan. 20, 1981, in the hour that Reagan was sworn into office, Iran released the hostages. The Iranians well understood that Reagan was serious about turning words into action in a way that Jimmy Carter never was.

Speaking by satellite this morning to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy (AIPAC) Conference, Mitt again donned his Reagan mask:

    "I believe the right course is what Ronald Reagan called "peace through strength." There is a reason why the Iranians released the hostages on the same day and at the same hour that Reagan was sworn into office. As President, I will offer that kind of clarity, strength, and resolve."

Apparently, Mitt Romney wasn't paying attention to the rest of Reagan's performance. That would be the part when Ronald Reagan swapped arms for hostages with the Ayatollahs.

The Iran-Contra scandal, as you'll recall, almost laid waste to the Reagan presidency. Desperate to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon, President Reagan provided weapons Tehran badly needed in its long war with Saddam Hussein (who, of course, was backed by the United States). In a clumsy and illegal attempt to skirt U.S. law, the proceeds of those sales were then funneled to the contras fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And as the New York Times recalled, Reagan's fiasco started with an emissary bearing gifts from the Gipper himself:

    A retired Central Intelligence Agency official has confirmed to the Senate Intelligence Committee that on the secret mission to Teheran last May, Robert C. McFarlane and his party carried a Bible with a handwritten verse from President Reagan for Iranian leaders.

    According to a person who has read the committee's draft report, the retired C.I.A. official, George W. Cave, an Iran expert who was part of the mission, said the group had 10 falsified passports, believed to be Irish, and a key-shaped cake to symbolize the anticipated ''opening'' to Iran.

The rest, as they say, is history. After the revelations regarding his trip to Tehran and the Iran-Contra scheme, a disgraced McFarlane attempted suicide. (That would be the same Bud McFarlane whose endorsement Newt Gingrich touted during a reecent GOP debate.) After his initial denials, President Reagan was forced to address the nation on March 4, 1987 and acknowledge he indeed swapped arms for hostages (video here):

    "A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages."

(For more background, read the Reagan diaries, starting with the part in which he admits in 1986, "I agreed to sell TOWs to Iran.")

Of course, the sad saga didn't end there. Then Lt. Colonel and now Fox News commentator Oliver North saw his Iran-Contra conviction overturned by an appellate court led by faithful Republican partisan and later Iraq WMD commissioner Laurence Silberman. And in December 1992, outgoing President George H.W. Bush offered Christmas pardons to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five other Iran-Contra scandal figures. Among them were John Poindexter and Elliott Abrams, men who eight years later reprised their roles in the administration of George W. Bush.

As it turns out, Elliott Abrams - one of the people who brought you the Iraq War - is also now providing ammunition for Mitt Romney. As Washington Post blogger and Romney stenographer Jennifer Rubin wrote Monday after President Obama's address to AIPAC:

    As former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams explains, "Military and intelligence cooperation is excellent, and American diplomatic support for an isolated Israel was repeatedly (though not always, as he suggested) forthcoming. Still, any effort to paper over the differences between his administration and the Netanyahu government--or worse yet, to make believe there really are no important differences--was bound to fail." Facts are stubborn things, and Obama's record is so error-strewn and so different in tenor from predecessors that no speech can paper over the last three years.

Facts are, as Ronald Reagan liked to say, stubborn things. Among those facts is that with the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan disgraced himself and his country. Which is why Mitt Romney had it right for once back in 1994 when he proclaimed:

    "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush; I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush."

Sadly, 18 years later and 25 years after Iran-Contra, Ronald Romney is trying to rewrite that history, too.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 15, 2012, 09:43 AM
March 15, 2012 08:00 AM

Romney, Santorum, and Goldman Sachs: Their Values Are the Same

By Mike Lux

Everyone is buzzing — and the Goldman Sachs PR team is desperately spinning — about the powerhouse op-ed in the New York Times this morning by the (as of this morning, apparently) former Goldman Sachs exec Greg Smith who resigned in protest because of their “toxic and destructive” environment. It is a painful reminder of how out-of-control Goldman has become, but this isn’t just about one company or one set of immoral executives; it’s about the Wall Street system and its allies in the political and media world.

Stories like Smith’s, along with a Mack Truck-load of books and articles written since the financial panic of 2008 about Wall Street greed and corruption, are a reminder of the breakdown of basic morality in the entire culture and structure of Wall Street, and of the destruction and potential destruction this lack of ethics causes the rest of our economy. According to virtually all the reporting, writing, and research we have seen in the last four years, this kind of short-term greed and willful corruption — and in many cases outright law breaking — has been baked into the Wall Street system, so that the honest players like Smith are systematically discouraged, punished economically, and driven from the companies. Only the people obsessed with short-term greed remain. The events of 2008 demonstrated in way too dramatic a fashion the incredible harm that does to the entire economy.

You have to be amused by the massive irony of all this, as these pillars of our society and their close allies in government and the media go on and on about what is moral and what is not. Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, with its $75 trillion in toxic assets and its terrible track record of heartless foreclosures, talks of the moral hazard of writing down mortgage debt for homeowners. One of Wall Street’s biggest defenders in the media is Rush Limbaugh, who calls young women sluts and prostitutes when they disagree with him. Goldman Sachs’ closest political ally, Mitt Romney, wants to shut down Planned Parenthood because they are apparently so immoral.

The irony is deep because the conservatives who are such fans of Wall Street and so worshipful of free markets say that they are the ones who are for traditional morality. The problem is that the kind of greed they defend gets its morality from a very untraditional place: Ayn Rand, who argued that selfishness was not only a virtue, but really the only one that mattered, and that generosity was immoral because it helped society’s leeches. When a company like Goldman encourages its executives to, as Smith put it, “callously talk about ripping their clients off,” they are simply following Rand’s twisted version of a morality based on greed and selfishness.

When Republicans like Romney, Santorum, Limbaugh, or GOP budget author Paul Ryan (who openly sings Rand’s praises and speaks of her as his biggest influence) speak of morality and values, they seem to never talk of things like companies not cheating people, or fairness, or kindness, or generosity. I suspect that is because they agree with Rand that those are false values that don’t actually matter. But maybe the not cheating/fairness set of values is somewhere on their list but not high enough to mention or think about as much as, say, stopping people having sex.

The other rich irony here is that the man these guys claim to worship as their savior, Jesus of Nazareth, cared a whole lot more about the fairness and kindness stuff. He despised greed and wealthy people taking advantage of the poor, and preached over and over about generosity, kindness, helping others less fortunate, and that whole set of values. The sex thing, not so much. Jesus never condemned homosexuality even though it was common in ancient Greek and Roman culture, and never mentioned abortion even though it was a very common practice in that era. He mentioned adultery a few times, mostly in a long list of other sins to avoid, and told the authorities about to stone a woman to death for committing adultery that he who was without sin should cast the first stone. He openly socialized with prostitutes. This was not a man obsessed with sexual sins.

These modern day followers of his sure seem to be, though. Wall Street is brazenly ripping off its clients and tanking our entire economy, and the Romney/Santorum/Limbaugh team has no time to castigate them, but they sure seem to have all the time in the world to talk about the sinfulness of gays and abortion and birth control.

Maybe we should try to reorient their thinking about morality. My organization, American Family Voices, has put up a petition calling on Mitt Romney to call on Lloyd Blankfein to step down as CEO of Goldman Sachs. I think Romney should be the one to lead the charge on this because Goldman is his single largest source of money, and if I were Romney, I would want to do everything I could to make clear that my values were not identical to Blankfein’s values.

It is amazing we live in a culture that allows the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the country to cheat their clients and the public at large with impunity, and that their closest political allies aren’t held to account as well. Help us shine a spotlight on this by signing our petition.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 19, 2012, 08:33 AM
March 19, 2012 06:00 AM

Romney Admits GOP Education Policy is Intended to Kill Unions

By karoli

Republicans always say they want to get the federal government out of education. This comes in many forms, but usually they say something like "education should be returned to local control" or "I'll eliminate the Department of Education." They always avoid talking about union-busting because union-busting is not always especially popular. Wisconsin's Governor Walker can attest to that.

Romney, in a rare moment of transparency, told Bret Baier that the reason for returning control of education to the states is for one reason: to union-bust.

    But the role I see that ought to remain in the president's agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions. Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teacher's unions behind.

I'm sick and tired of seeing teacher's unions demonized, and even more tired of seeing teachers shamed and demonized. There's been a theme that Democrats and Republicans alike have adopted where teachers are the reason for problems in the schools. Teachers are not the problem. I would argue that teachers have been the backstop to keeping schools from deteriorating in the face of constant budget cuts, student poverty, larger classroom sizes, and not enough parent involvement. I don't necessarily blame parents for that, by the way. When you're working two jobs to make the house payments it's tough to head down to your kids' school or constantly nag about homework.

The problem in the schools right now is not teachers' unions, either. The problem in the schools is that for ten years, teachers have been forced to teach to a test and "one size fits all" standards. They are accountable for an arbitrarily set baseline, regardless of circumstances in their specific area. As we've all discovered, that baseline does not necessarily reflect reality or the students they're instructing, or the environments they're teaching in. Yet their job hinges on meeting those standards. If they don't, they're out.

Unfortunately, reality never seems to matter to Republicans. Diane Ravitch wrote about the differences between Finnish schools and American schools recently. She points out that Finnish educators do not administer standardized tests until the end of high school. Before that point, they do evaluate students, but based on tests developed for their specific student populations.

    Sahlberg speaks directly to the sense of crisis about educational achievement in the United States and many other nations. US policymakers have turned to market-based solutions such as “tougher competition, more data, abolishing teacher unions, opening more charter schools, or employing corporate-world management models.” By contrast, Finland has spent the past forty years developing a different education system, one that is focused on

        improving the teaching force, limiting student testing to a necessary minimum, placing responsibility and trust before accountability, and handing over school- and district-level leadership to education professionals.

    To an American observer, the most remarkable fact about Finnish education is that students do not take any standardized tests until the end of high school. They do take tests, but the tests are drawn up by their own teachers, not by a multinational testing corporation. The Finnish nine-year comprehensive school is a “standardized testing-free zone,” where children are encouraged “to know, to create, and to sustain natural curiosity.”

Did I mention that Finland's schools finished at the top of world rankings in 2009? They did. It had nothing to do with teachers' unions, or local control. In fact, teachers are highly valued in Finland. When you hear Mitt Romney talk about wrecking teacher's unions, do you have the impression teachers are highly valued?

As my youngest child nears graduation from a rural, public high school, I count myself fortunate to know that she had teachers who were Harvard and Stanford graduates who placed value not only on educating my daughter but caring enough about her to see her strengths and weaknesses and not stop until they addressed the latter and bolstered the former. Unfortunately, my daughter saw the unnecessary struggles that came with their efforts, the constant attacks by parents and politicians alike, and has vowed never to be a teacher.

I hope she changes her mind. She would be a gifted teacher in the right system with the right goals, but if Mitt Romney's dream comes to pass, her vow would remain intact.

Full transcript follows:

    BAIER: Governor, one of the standard lines in your stump speech is on spending and the test that you would apply in a Romney administration is a program so critical that it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it. At the FOX/Google debate in September, you said without qualification, quote, we need to get the federal government out of education. Does this mean eliminating the Department of Education?

    ROMNEY: Not necessarily. It may be combined with other agencies. There will be a rule, meaning that, for instance, the federal government provides funding to local school districts for care of disabled children, that will be maintained.

    But the reach of the Department of Education into the states has to be pulled back. Education has to be managed at the state level, not at the federal level. Will there be any flow through of funds to the states? Yes. But the role I see that ought to remain in the president's agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions. Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teacher's unions behind.

    BAIER: Do you still support No Child Left Behind?

    ROMNEY: I support the principle of having states test their kids, and one of the things President Bush did that I supported, and I did support No Child Left Behind and do support continuing to test our kids. I want to know which school districts are succeeding and which ones are failing and where they are failing. I want there to be action taken to get the teacher union's out and to get the kids once again receiving the education they need.

    So, I like the idea of testing our kids. No Child Left Behind needs to be changed, I think in some pretty significant ways before it's reauthorized. But I do support the testi


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Mar 21, 2012, 07:32 AM
Who is the real Romney ? Click the link below to find out ........


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxch-yi14BE


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Apr 16, 2012, 12:26 PM
From the American magazine "Perspectives"........

April 14, 2012
                                                           The Romney Uncertainty Principle

That Mitt Romney will say anything to become President of the United States - no matter how blatantly false or comically contradictory - is sadly taken as a given in Election 2012. But while his pathetic pandering and transparent dissembling are not new, novel theories to explain his pathology are rapidly proliferating. Rick Perlstein sees Romney as an undoubting Hamlet determined to avenge his father's defeat most foul in 1968. As Jonathan Chait explained, there's even a clinical term for Mitt's compulsive aversion to the truth known as "fundamental attribution error." And just two weeks ago, David Javerbaum offered his ground-breaking (and side-splitting) "Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney."

But whatever hypothesis you may subscribe to, an incontrovertible truth is that on almost any issue, Mitt Romney's position changes when observed. Call it the Romney Uncertainty Principle. And as his advisers once again confirmed this week, Mitt Romney's defining trait is a feature, not a bug.

That admission comes via Fred Barnes, the conservative water carrier for Republicans past and present. Just three weeks after campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom boasted that his RomneyBot can easily be reprogrammed for a post-primary run back to the center ("You hit a reset button for the fall campaign...It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.), Team Romney promised voters that the unseen Mitt is softer and gentler than the one observed during the Republican primaries:

    On one issue--immigration--Mr. Romney would be wise to move away from his harsh position in the primaries. He can't afford to lose the Hispanic vote as decisively as John McCain--who won just 31% of it--did in 2008. According to a Romney adviser, his private view of immigration isn't as anti-immigrant as he often sounded.

As it turns out, Romney himself has been surprisingly candid about his strategy. Given his battered approval ratings and well-earned reputation for flip-flopping (even to the point of bragging that "I think you'll find that I've been as consistent as human beings can be" after having declared "if you're looking for someone who's never changed any positions on any policies, then I'm not your guy"), Mitt has announced that only he knows the details of any position he advocates.

For months, the Romney campaign auto-response of "no comment" has been on display across a gamut of issues ranging from the mass deportation of illegal aliens and Ohio's anti-labor laws to extension of the payroll tax cut and even GOP debate attendees booing a gay active duty U.S. soldier. But in a December interview with the Wall Street Journal, the RomneyBot admitted his cowardice was simply his app working as designed:

    Amid such generalities, it's hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. "I happen to also recognize," he says, "that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn't been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you're gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election."

Unfortunately, what Mitt Romney branded "demagogues" most Americans call "voters."

Even when he rolled out his new 20 percent across-the-board tax cut as a bribe for those supposed demagogue-voters, Governor Romney refused to say how he would keep his pledge to "Cut, Cap and Balance" the budget. Even by taking an axe to domestic spending, his proposal to both massively cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while increasing the defense budget would produce a much larger 10-year debt than President Obama's FY 2013 plan. Unless, that is, Romney is willing to eliminate deductions for workers, families and businesses that cost Uncle Sam over $1 trillion a year. But in typical Romney fashion, his campaign is refusing to say which loopholes it would close while promising to maintain the ones voters care about most. His economic adviser Glenn Hubbard admitted Romney's cowardice, explaining "it is not his intention to take on any specific deduction or exclusion and eliminate it." For his part, Romney promised only "I want to make sure that you understand, for middle-income families, the deductibility of home mortgage interest and charitable contributions, those things will continue."

But asked to get specific about his self-proclaimed "bold" tax plan, Mitt Romney decided discretion is the better part of valor. As he explained earlier this month, Romney in essence responded, "I'm not going to tell you":

    "So I haven't laid out all of the details about how we're going to deal with each deduction, so I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."

As Ezra Klein's Wonkblog rightly concluded:

    "Let's be clear on this: A tax plan that can't be scored because it doesn't include sufficient details is not a plan. It's a gesture towards a plan, or a statement of intended direction, or perhaps an unusually wonky daydream. But it's not a plan."

Romney's penchant for withholding vital information from voters is no accident. As the former Massachusetts Governor inadvertently revealed in an interview with the Weekly Standard, his opacity is by design, a lesson learned from losing the 1994 Senate race:

    "One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don't care about education," Romney recalled. "So I think it's important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we'll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations. So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I'm not going to give you a list right now."

But as Rick Perlstein suggested in Rolling Stone, the roots of Romney's horror at telling voters anything they may not want to hear dates back further. Apparently, Mitt concluded that his father George Romney lost his bid for the White House in 1968 by leveling with the American people. George's "shocking authenticity," Perlstein argued, cost him the GOP nomination. And that's a mistake his son Willard has no intention of making:

    The truth was a dull weapon to take into a knife fight with Richard Nixon - who kicked Romney's ass with 79 percent of the vote. When people call his son the "Rombot," think about that: Mitt learned at an impressionable age that in politics, authenticity kills. Heeding the lesson of his father's fall, he became a virtual parody of an inauthentic politician. In 1994 he ran for senate to Ted Kennedy's left on gay rights; as governor, of course, he installed the dreaded individual mandate into Massachusetts' healthcare system. Then he raced to the right to run for president.

The result, conservative columnist Ross Douthat fretted in December 2010, is that Romney is "serially insincere." Nevertheless, Douthat warned his readers that trait was a plus for Mitt's supporters:

    Nearly every position he stakes out comes across as a blatant (and often inconsistent-looking) pander to a conservative electorate that regards him with suspicion. But there are good ideas concealed within the pandering -- you just have to know where to look! And in your heart, you know he's a smart guy who'd make a solid center-right president -- wonkish, detail-oriented, sensible on policy, all the rest of it. He's just a prisoner of the process!...Even when he's mid-pander, you always know that he knows that it's all just a freak show, and you can always sense that he'd rather be at a policy seminar somewhere, instead of just forking red meat. There's a highly competent chief executive trapped inside his campaign persona, in other words, and the only way to liberate him is to put him in the White House!

While Romney's backers may view his duplicity as a virtue, even Douthat is unconvinced. "Because everything he does feels like a pander," he worried, "I don't know where he really stands on any of them."

Which is probably just how Mitt Romney wants it. (While his closest adviser Eric Fehrnstrom compared Mitt to an "Etch-a-Sketch," in 2005 his strategist Michael Murphy admitted his man was "a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly." ) After all, when he's not pandering to voters, he's keeping silent altogether on what would actually do in the Oval Office. As he put it in response to the growing outcry for the release of his tax returns:

    "I don't put out which tooth paste I use either. It's not that I have something to hide."

If so, Mitt shouldn't need a six month extension to complete his 2011 return. After all, he doubtless already knows how much money he won't be paying Uncle Sam.

But that's just par for the course for Mitt and the Romney Uncertainty Principle. Mitt Romney simply has to be seen to not be believed.

For more on the Romney Uncertainty Principle, see "Romney Launches Mitt 3.0" (June 2, 2011) and "A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney" (March 31, 2012).

                                                               Mind the Gap

This week, Mitt Romney's former Lieutenant Governor and current adviser Kerry Healy nonchalantly acknowledged the yawning chasm separating her candidate from American women, "There's always going to be a gender gap between Republicans and Democrats." She should know. After all, she was by Mitt's side as he made - and broke - a bevy of promises to women voters during his days in Massachusetts. And as it turns out, that long list not only includes his gymnastic reversal on abortion rights and shocking betrayal of Planned Parenthood. As we now know, Mitt's beliefs that "now mom and dad both have to work" and "I want the individuals to have the dignity of work" don't apply to well off households like his own.

Seeking to capitalize on the manufactured flap over Hilary Rosen's offhand remark that Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life," Mitt proclaimed that "all mothers are working mothers." As it turns out, Romney's Rule is means-tested. Put another way, on Mitt's Animal Farm, some mothers are more equal than others. As he explained during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy:

    "This is a different world than it was in the 1960s when I was growing up, when you used to be able to have mom at home and dad at work. Now mom and dad both have to work."

Now, as the severely conservative and severely condescending Romney insisted in January, women who receive welfare must work outside the home, even if their children are very young:

    "I wanted to increase the work requirement," said Romney. "I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, 'Well that's heartless.' And I said, 'No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work."

Just not if the individual is his wife.

As Ann Romney explained in an October 1994 interview, their dignity was provided by Mitt's father George:

    "Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. The stock came from Mitt's father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt's birthday money year to year -- it wasn't much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education."

$250 million dollars later, the dignified Mrs. Romney now claims their wealth can't be quantified. As she lectured voters in January:

    "I understand Mitt's going to release his tax forms this week. I want to remind you where our riches are: our riches are with our families," Ann Romney said. "Our riches, you can value them, in the children we have and in the grandchildren we have. So that's where our values are and that's where our heart is -- and that's where we measure our wealth."

As Rosengate reached its crescendo last week, Ann Romney explained, "My career choice was to be a mother." She then added:

    "We have to respect women in all those choices that they make."

Just not when those choices involve their own bodies and their own health. And that message to the women of America is the exact opposite of the one Mr. and Mrs. Romney sold to the women of Massachusetts.

In March, Governor Romney caused a firestorm when he casually announced, "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." While he later clarified that "what I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood," he shouldn't have stopped there. After all, Mitt Romney wants to end all funding for Title X, the only federal program devoted to family planning. But as Ruth Marcus documented last year, that's only a small part of the health care services Title X provides for lower-income American women:

    The inevitable result of eliminating Title X funding would not only be more abortions - it would also be higher bills for taxpayers footing Medicaid and welfare costs for poor children. Guttmacher found that every public dollar invested in family planning care saves $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures for pregnant women and their babies during the first year of care. Imagine the lifetime savings.

    And then there is the other "important work" that Pence cited: 2.2 million Pap smears, 2.3 million breast exams, nearly 6 million tests for sexually transmitted infections.

Mitt's positions on Planned Parenthood, women's health care and reproductive rights have always depended was running for office inside or outside of liberal Massachusetts.

During his 2002 race for governor, Ann assured Massachusetts voters they need not worry about moderate Mitt protecting the right to choose:

    ANN ROMNEY: I think women also recognize that they want someone who is going to manage the state well. I think they may be more nervous about him on social issues. They shouldn't be, because he's going to be just fine. But the perception is that he won't be. That's an incorrect perception.

    MITT ROMNEY: So when asked will I preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer: yes.

(Just five years later, Ann Romney announced that Mitt "has always personally been pro-life." She added that "he did change his mind. It took courage" and claimed, "hasn't changed his position on anything except choice." So much for her claim Thursday that "we need to respect the choices that women make.")

During the '94 Senate campaign when her husband declared the death of a "dear, close family relative" from an illegal abortion inspired his formerly "unwavering" pro-choice position, Ann Romney put her money where her Mitt's mouth was. That fall of 1994, Ann and Mitt attended a Planned Parenthood event. During a time when he was trying to establish his pro-choice bona fides with liberal Massachusetts voters, Ann wrote a check for $150 to the organization. When presidential candidate Romney said in 2007 that he had "no recollection" of the fundraiser, then president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Nichols Gamble seemed surprised:

    "I can understand that he might not remember the check -- it's surprising to me that he would not remember the event. His main motivation for being there was a political motivation."

For her part, Ann Romney gave away the game during a January 2008 interview in Florida (around the 3:10 mark). A clearly irked Mrs. Romney brushed off a question about the contribution to Planned Parenthood, before walking away:

    "That was 14 years ago and $100. Do you really think I'd remember?"

Of course, the good people of Planned Parenthood remember not only Ann Romney's check, but Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's support for their agenda. In an April 2002 questionnaire he completed for the group, Mitt Romney put his mouth where his wife's money was :

    Do you support the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade? YES

    Do you support state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women? YES

    In 1998 the FDA approved the first packaging of emergency contraception, also known as the "morning after pill." Emergency contraception is a high dose combination of oral contraceptives that if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, can safely prevent a pregnancy from occurring. Do you support efforts to increase access to emergency contraception? YES

Of course, that was then and this is now. And in order to win over his party's evangelical base, Mitt Romney adopted a new anti-woman agenda in his 2011 "Pro-Life Pledge":

    I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.

    I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.

Now, CEO Mitt Romney shows his commitment to female voters by casually announcing that that his wife "reports to me regularly" on what women care about. Of course, during the flap five years ago over Ann's Planned Parenthood contribution, Mitt had a different view about the value of her input:

    "Her positions are not terribly relevant for my campaign."

That helps explain why Romney's surrogate Kerry Healy is so fatalistic:

    There is always a gender gap between women voters between the Republican and the Democratic Party. There are more women in the Democratic Party to begin with. They are Democrats and they are always going to vote Democratic. We're hoping to win a few of those over, but there's always going to be a gender gap between Republicans and Democrats.

Especially if President Romney has his way.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Apr 17, 2012, 06:45 AM
April 15, 2012 09:50 PM

David Cay Johnston: Romneys Were Able To Give Sons $100 Million Tax Free

By Heather

During another typically intelligent panel discussion on Chris Hayes' show on MSNBC this Sunday on the Republicans and Mitt Romney out there demagoguing President Obama asking Congress to pass the "Buffett Rule" so that millionaires and billionaires are not exploiting tax loopholes that allow them to pay far less of a percentage of their income in taxes compared to average working class citizens out there, David Cay Johnston brought up something I apparently missed earlier this year that he had reported on in January -- the fact that Mitt Romney was allowed to give his sons $100 million as a gift tax free, thanks to a tax loophole on "carried interest."

Romney’s gift from Congress:

    When the Romney campaign disclosed in December that the couple’s five sons had a $100 million trust fund, I suspected that, in setting up the fund, the Romneys used a tax strategy that allows some very rich people to avoid paying gift taxes. But it was impossible to know if this was the case without seeing their tax returns going back years.

    So when Mitt Romney released the family’s 2010 tax return last week, I went looking. I found a hint on pages 132 and 134 of the return. It showed that the value of property placed that year into another family trust, the Ann D. Romney Blind Trust, was, for tax purposes, zero. The Ann Romney trust is not the same trust as the one that holds the Romney sons’ $100 million, but I wondered if the Romneys used the same approach in prior years when it came to valuing property placed into the sons’ trust.

    Reuters emailed the Romney campaign spokeswoman to ask how much the Romneys paid in gift taxes on assets put into the sons’ trust over the last 17 years. The spokeswoman, citing Brad Malt, the Romney family tax lawyer, answered: none.

    The idea that someone could pay zero gift taxes on contributions to a $100 million trust fund may surprise people who have heard arguments that the wealthy are overburdened by gift and estate taxes. But the Romneys’ gift-tax avoidance strategy is perfectly legal. Read on...

Johnston posted a video explaining the loophole in his post at Reuters which you can watch below the fold.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones flagged this interview with Johnston on CNN in January as well where he was discussing the same column at Reuters -- Mitt Romney's Kids Pay an Even Lower Tax Rate Than He Does:

    As we all know, much of Mitt Romney's wealth is derived from "carried interest," a share of the profits from investments that Bain Capital made while he was CEO. This income is taxed at the same 15 percent rate as ordinary capital gains, which is why Romney's tax rate is so low.

    But it turns out there's another interesting tidbit about carried interest that I've never heard of before: It's a great way of passing along a huge inheritance to your kids without paying any taxes. David Cay Johnston explains:

        Johnston: The Romneys gave $100 million to their sons and paid not one penny of gift tax. They were able to take assets they have that are producing enormous income and, under the law, give that money to their children and not pay any taxes on it.

        Sambolin: Is that something you specifically found in what has been released to you?

        Johnston: Yes. I have suspected this and written about it in my column that this is what happened, and last night, Brad Malt, the attorney for the Romneys, confirmed to Reuters that we were correct. They have not paid a penny of gift tax. That's because Congress allows a very tiny group of people—the Romneys by their income are in the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent—to not count as having any value the real source of their income, something called carried interest, if they give it to their children.

As he noted, "Welcome to the wonderful world of estate planning for the super wealthy." The segment above from Up With Chris Hayes showed Romney out on the campaign trail saying President Obama was trying to "divide America" by asking that the rich like himself pay their fair share in taxes. As their panel of David Cay Johnston, Betsey Stevenson, Tom Perriello and Heather McGhee noted later in the program, that division does not have a fifty/fifty split, since the ones Romney is carrying water for are only the super rich in America and the upper 1 percent.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Apr 25, 2012, 12:08 PM
April 25, 2012 10:00 AM

Mitt Romney Rewrites American History, Claims Progressive Taxation Increases Poverty

By Blue Texan


Willard gave a speech Tuesday night in Manchester, New Hampshire that was more than fact-free than usual.

    This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.

Reality: government jobs have decreased under Obama more than they did under Reagan. Strange way to "put us on a path" to the government taking over everything, isn't it?

    We’ve already seen where this path leads. It erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help. Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty. Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.

This is just ahistorical. The top marginal tax rate during one of the most prosperous eras in US history -- the three decades after WWII -- was as high as 91 percent. The middle class thrived and the poverty rate declined. And for six years of the Reagan administration, the highest tax rate was 40 percent higher than it is now.

Willard might as well claim that America fought France during the Revolutionary War and that the slaves were freed by Zachary Taylor.

Also, tell Germany higher taxes and more government leads to rampant poverty. Tell Sweden.

    I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise.

Well, that vision sounds a lot like George W. Bush and the GOP's vision. And during the Bush/Cheney era, income declined and America's job creation was anemic.

Republicans have a serious problem. They don't have actual evidence to support their trickle-down Laffer Curve fantasies any longer -- so they just have to rewrite history and claim up is down. That raising taxes to Reagan-era rates will cause mass poverty. That cutting taxes even more will lead to more jobs and widespread prosperity. That wages go up when government just gets out of the way of the "free market."

None of its true, but then, Republicans haven't been a reality-based party for some time now. The question is, are there enough American voters that are gullible enough to fall for it in November?


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Apr 29, 2012, 09:11 AM
April 29, 2012 08:00 AM

Liar of the Week: Mitt Romney's Brain Fehrnstrom Says Auto Bailout All Romney's Idea

By karoli


In case you're unfamiliar with Eric Fehrnstrom, let me introduce you to him. The original creator of the "Etch-a-Sketch" candidate, Fehrnstrom is Mitt Romney's brain, much like Karl Rove was George Bush's brain. He's counting on each and every person out there to suffer from collective amnesia, too, or just love the Etch-a-Sketch enough to appreciate it when he erases and re-draws a narrative.

Today's picture concerns the auto bailouts and Romney's role in them. Mr. Fehrnstrom would like you to forget the title of Romney's 2008 op-ed, calling to "let Detroit go bankrupt." Or his 2012 op-ed, where he reiterated his 2008 stance.

But if you don't remember those, maybe you remember the primary debates, where he sneered at the bailouts (begun under George W. Bush, by the way) as a "giveaway to the UAW." If you don't, just watch the video at the top of the page.

Today we have the New and Improved Mitt Romney position on the auto bailout, courtesy of Fehrnstrom, via The Hill:

    One of Mitt Romney's top advisers said Saturday that President Obama's decision to bailout Chrysler and General Motors was actually Romney's idea.

    "[Romney's] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that," Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said.

    "The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney's advice."
    [...]

    "The fact that the auto companies today are profitable is because they've shed costs," Fehronstrom said. "The reason they shed those costs and have got their employee labor contracts less expensive is because they went through that managed bankruptcy process. It is exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do."

Welcome to the 2012 general election campaign, where up is down, right is left, wrong is right, and whatever you said yesterday is yesterday's truth because today is a new day with a new truth. This is the cynical Romney campaign at it's lying-est best.

This is an outright lie, and it wasn't Fehrnstrom going off the reservation. It was planned, it relies upon a gullible and uninformed public to accept the lie as truth because memories are too short to remember yesterday and for the most part, the part of the press that reaches the most viewers hasn't bothered to actually call a lie a lie or to pull them up short on any of the lies they've told, so why not?

This is who Mitt Romney is, and Fehrnstrom is merely amplifying it:

    [Romney]’s not stupid. He’s not a stumbling, gaffe-prone doof. He’s a soulless, cynical robot who has no problem with saying exactly what he thinks voters want to hear, and he doesn’t care if the subsequent contradictions, flip-flops and nonsense are utterly obvious and transparent. Voters expect politicians to be two-faced and inconsistent, so why not say whatever it takes to make it through the week and over the next hurdle?

    The now-infamous line from Romney staffer Eric Fehrnstrom about the campaign resetting its language when the general election begins — like an Etch-A-Sketch — was one of the most glaring examples of meta-cynicism in the history of modern presidential politics. Not only was Fehrnstrom describing the cynical strategy in detail in front of a national audience, but he was cynical enough to believe that voters wouldn’t care — they expect candidates to be shifty, so why the hell not?

    Romney is easily the most jaded, cynical presidential politician since Richard Nixon. He operates with the hubristic attitude that voters expect him to be shifty, and therefore he’s allowed to be shifty. The expectation gives him permission to be that caricature.



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Apr 30, 2012, 12:08 PM
This is what happens in the USA .. an utterly corrupt media .. a media owned by of course the corporations .. who then hire people to enact the corporate agenda ... remember in the USA chart you have a 9th House Pluto in Capricorn opposed a Mercury retrograde in Cancer in the 3rd... the perfect symbol for a corrupt and corporate controlled media .. which is then ruled by it's Moon in Aquarius in the 10th conjunct, yes, Lucifer.

April 30, 2012 10:00 AM

Media Coverage Favored Romney Over Obama

By Nicole Belle

Oh, that librul media strikes again...

    During the bruising Republican primaries, there was one candidate whose coverage was more relentlessly negative than the rest. In fact, he did not enjoy a single week where positive treatment by the media outweighed the negative.

    His name is Barack Obama.

    That is among the findings of a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington nonprofit that examined 52 key newspaper, television, radio, and Web outlets.

    “Day in and day out, he was criticized by the entire Republican field on a variety of policies,” Mark Jurkowitz, the group’s associate director, says of Obama. “And he was inextricably linked to events that generated negative coverage”—including rising gas prices, the ailing economy, and the renewed debate over his health care law.

    In short, while the president was being hammered on both fronts, his message was somewhat drowned out by the volume of news coverage surrounding the GOP candidates.

Surprise! The media doesn't seem to want to offer up "balanced" coverage, do they? They don't want to inform their audience that the president has little to do with rising gas prices, or that the economy is in fact recovering, albeit slowly, or that there are massive lies constantly flung by Republicans over the health care law. No, it's much more interesting to cover the Republican primary as a horse race and to uncritically regurgitate Every. Single. Republican. Talking. Point. without bothering to fact check or place it into context.

And that's why Democratic voters cannot take this election for granted. The media -- by abdicating their jobs -- have muddied the waters. They have made this race far closer than it should be, for their own purposes. And while Obama is nowhere near the progressive hope that some may have thought him to be in 2008, there is no question that the alternative is far, far worse.

Not that the media will ever admit that.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 03, 2012, 08:46 AM
May 03, 2012 07:00 AM

Mitt Romney's Top Donor On Wealth Inequality: The Wealthy Should Be Wealthier So All Can Benefit

By karoli

Mitt Romney's former Bain Capital partner and current high-stakes donor Edward Conard wants all of us 99 percenters to know we've got it all wrong. If we really understood the economy, we'd be grateful that wealth is concentrated with the wealthiest .01 percent of the 1 percent, and we'd work really hard to double their wealth because it would be good for all of us.

Not only does he believe this, he's written a book about it, due to come out next month. I've already written to see if I can get a review copy of it, because I just cannot pass up such an exercise in self-adulation. In the meantime, Conard sat down for an interview with New York Times reporter Adam Davidson. His brazen responses to Davidson's questions reveal the extraordinary thought process of the investor class, who have become so incredibly removed from reality that they actually believe this stuff.

Take, for example, his assertion that doubling the wealth of the wealthy is really good for the rest of us. His argument goes like this:

    Conard picked up a soda can and pointed to the way the can’s side bent inward at the top. “I worked with the company that makes the machine that tapers that can,” he told me. That little taper allows manufacturers to make the same size can with a tiny bit less aluminum. “It saves a fraction of a penny on every can,” he said. “There are a lot of soda cans in the world. That means the economy can produce more cans with the same amount of resources. It makes every American who buys a soda can a little bit richer because their paycheck buys more.”

    It might be hard to get excited about milligrams of aluminum, but Conard says that we live longer, healthier and richer lives because of countless microimprovements like that one. The people looking for them, Conard likes to point out, are not only computer programmers, engineers and scientists. They are also wealthy investors like him, who are willing to risk their own money to finance improvements that may or may not work. There is a huge mechanism constantly trying to seek out and support these new ideas — entrepreneurs, multinationals and, crucially for Conard, investment firms and hedge funds and everyone down to individual bond traders.

And yet. I see an economy with trillions on the sidelines and wonder what a few more trillion dollars will do for the economy. What can be done with 4 trillion dollars squirreled away that can't be done with 2 trillion, after all? He doesn't seem to have much of an answer for that, but he's certainly willing to look down his nose at art history majors.

    A central problem with the U.S. economy, he told me, is finding a way to get more people to look for solutions despite these terrible odds of success. Conard’s solution is simple. Society benefits if the successful risk takers get a lot of money. For proof, he looks to the market. At a nearby table we saw three young people with plaid shirts and floppy hair. For all we know, they may have been plotting the next generation’s Twitter, but Conard felt sure they were merely lounging on the sidelines. “What are they doing, sitting here, having a coffee at 2:30?” he asked. “I’m sure those guys are college-educated.” Conard, who occasionally flashed a mean streak during our talks, started calling the group “art-history majors,” his derisive term for pretty much anyone who was lucky enough to be born with the talent and opportunity to join the risk-taking, innovation-hunting mechanism but who chose instead a less competitive life. In Conard’s mind, this includes, surprisingly, people like lawyers, who opt for stable professions that don’t maximize their wealth-creating potential. He said the only way to persuade these “art-history majors” to join the fiercely competitive economic mechanism is to tempt them with extraordinary payoffs.

There's much, much more, but this last paragraph more or less turned me off to anything more he may have had to say. This writer is someone who writes, who reads, and who doesn't need to be fabulously wealthy to figure out solutions to her own little problems, like how to keep the pug from chewing the legs on the table or even how to pay for her daughter's college education. Conard, like so many wealthy people, assumes everyone on the planet wants to be wealthy and those who don't are really just a drag on the rest of society. Or, as Digby says, his message is really "f*ck you, you little art history parasite."

Some of us want to be content. Some of us want to live a peaceful life in harmony with our neighbors and our environment, making whatever small contribution to our communities we can. Some of us are artists, and musicians, and writers and people who make the landscape something more interesting than just the bland business suits running up and down the elevators like rats on a cage wheel.

We are not all destined to be moguls and magnates. By the same token, one doesn't have to be a mogul to contribute to society. The teachers, firefighters, police, file clerks and insurance agents in this world maybe don't care if they have millions. They just want the ability to have a home, a family, and an opportunity to live without wondering what fealty they must pay to the world's wealthiest in order to live a simple, quiet life. As Davidson points out, this is a paradigm Conard does not understand.

    The world Conard describes too often feels grim and soulless, one in which art and romance and the nonremunerative satisfactions of a simpler life are invisible. And that, I realized, really is Conard’s world. “God didn’t create the universe so that talented people would be happy,” he said. “It’s not beautiful. It’s hard work. It’s responsibility and deadlines, working till 11 o’clock at night when you want to watch your baby and be with your wife. It’s not serenity and beauty.”

Oh, by the way. The whole reason for the financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008? Our fault. The fault of the 99 percent. If we were smart like Conard and Romney, well, there wouldn't have been a problem. Seriously, he believes this.

    In 2008 it was large pension funds, insurance companies and other huge institutional investors that withdrew in panic. Conard argues in retrospect that it was these withdrawals that led to the crisis — not, as so many others have argued, an orgy of irresponsible lending. He points to the fact that, according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, banks lost $320 billion through mortgage-backed securities, but withdrawals disproportionately amounted to five times that. This stance, which largely absolves the banks, is not shared by many analysts. Regardless, Conard told me: “The banks did what we wanted them to do. They put short-term money back into the economy. What they didn’t expect is that depositors would withdraw their money, because they hadn’t withdrawn their money en masse since 1929.”

Gee, and here I thought it was the frozen credit markets that finally precipitated the meltdown. Heck, if there was a run on the banks, why is it that my 401k took such a hit? Why did the government and the fed have to pump trillions of cash into the system to keep it from a total meltdown? Hey, friends, these questions aren't ours to answer in Conard's world, because it was just the little "art history majors" peeing their pants and putting runs on the banks.

Davidson predicts that Conard's book may be the most hated one of 2012. On the contrary, I see it as a revelatory work which should tell voters throughout this country exactly what Mitt Romney and his fellow Bain overlords think of us. To their philosophy and unbridled greed, I reply in Digby-esque fashion, "F*ck you, you Randian robots."

One final thought on this. When the economy melted down, a close relative of mine made his living managing small investment accounts for elderly people in an ethical, honest fashion. About two months into the meltdown he remarked that he thought he was playing by the rules, only to discover there were no rules. It was that moment that illuminated just how greedy and immoral these people are. When do they decide they've got enough? When they have 90 percent of the wealth? 95 percent? Is there some point where they've got whatever they think is enough?

No, I didn't think so.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 06, 2012, 07:46 AM
Mitt Romney’s Bigotry Needs No Spokesman

May 04, 2012 8:32 AM
By Michael Kinsley

Mitt Romney didn’t exactly fire Ric Grenell, who is gay, as his foreign policy spokesman. But when the religious right got wind of Grenell’s hiring, his job started to shrink.

Grenell was told to sit in on conference calls with reporters and not say anything, which is tantamount to firing him. He was told to be silent not merely on gay issues. He was told not to talk about anything, even foreign policy. A spokesman who is not allowed to speak — even internally — doesn’t have much of a job. So Grenell quit, three weeks after he was hired.

For Romney, this is the first big flub of the general election campaign. Until now, his smooth-running machine was one of the more impressive things about his candidacy. It made you think that maybe, as a businessman, he really could bring some efficiency to the White House, if not to the government as a whole.

Besides being offensive, however, this episode is remarkably inept. Grenell apparently was completely open about his sexuality. Why did Romney appoint him in the first place if he was going to hang the guy out to dry as soon as there was any criticism? (And there never was much.) If you’re going to be a bigot, at least be smart about it.

Although, as a weak-kneed liberal, I hate to talk like this, this episode does make you wonder about Romney’s guts. He portrays himself (and probably thinks of himself) as a hard- nosed businessman, ready to make the tough decisions that professional politicians won’t. Romney has even defended his famous flip-flops in these terms. “In the private sector,” he says, “if you don’t change your view when the facts change, well, you’ll get fired for being stubborn and stupid.”

I don’t know about that. You see a lot of stubbornness and stupidity in stories about business, but not so much about business executives getting fired for it.

Romney seems obsessed with firing people. In January, you may recall, he committed a gaffe by saying he enjoyed doing it. He seems to consider it as evidence of a backbone and a tough hide. He also likes to say that if you want this or that undesirable quality in your president, “I’m not your man.” This also is supposed to signal toughness, as well as independence of thought.

Better evidence would have been telling the people who complained about his hiring of a gay man as an adviser where they could put their objections. And has he stopped to ask himself how he will manage to fill a Romney administration if he excludes all gay men (and women?) from the candidate pool?

Romney is right of course that there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. But you should (a) be prepared to admit it and (b) be prepared to explain it.

In his most famous flip-flop, about health care, Romney has tried, instead, to have it both ways. He has never renounced his Massachusetts health-care plan, with its individual mandate almost identical to the one in President Barack Obama’s. He just says that he will veto Obamacare on Day One of his administration, because the individual mandate is so awful.

Nor has he explained his change of mind on abortion or gay rights, on which he once said he would be a better advocate than Ted Kennedy.

Many moderates and independents may still believe that at heart Romney is a moderate Republican who fortunately has no principles and will say whatever it takes to win. Actually, citizens of all stripes across the country more or less believe that Romney’s been faking who he is, but it’s moderates he must now convince that he’s been lying like mad for the past year.

He’s going to need a few really top-notch spin doctors to perform this operation successfully. Too bad for him that he just drove a good one away.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 09, 2012, 06:44 AM
May 08, 2012 01:00 PM

Mitt Romney Takes Credit For Saving Auto Industry

By scarce

No, really, he did. Those were his exact words. Video via WEWS in Cleveland.

    (AP) EUCLID, Ohio — Campaigning in the backyard of America’s auto industry, Mitt Romney re-ignited the bailout debate by suggesting he deserves “a lot of credit” for the recent successes of the nation’s largest car companies.

    That claims comes in spite of his stance that Detroit should have been allowed to go bankrupt.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee told a Cleveland television station on Monday that President Barack Obama followed his lead when he ushered auto companies through a managed bankruptcy soon after taking office.

    “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney said in an interview inside a Cleveland-area auto parts maker. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”

    Romney has repeatedly argued that Obama ultimately took his advice on the auto industry’s woes of 2008 and 2009. But he went further on Monday by saying he deserves credit for its ultimate turnaround.

    The course Romney advocated differed greatly from the one that was ultimately taken. GM and Chrysler went into bankruptcy on the strength of a massive bailout that Romney opposed. Neither Republican President George W. Bush nor Democratic President Barack Obama believed the automakers would have survived without that backup from taxpayers.

    Romney opposed taxpayer help.

Shameless. Completely and utterly without shame. The guy whose NY Times op-ed Let Detroit Go Bankrupt set the standard for Republican obstinance is now trying to claim credit.

The Obama campaign called it "a new low in dishonesty" and called on Romney to "have the courage and integrity" to admit he was wrong. Yeah, like that'll happen.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on May 10, 2012, 10:45 AM
Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.

“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”

“It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”

“He was just easy pickins,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

The incident transpired in a flash, and Friedemann said Romney then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall.

Friedemann, guilt ridden, made a point of not talking about it with his friend and waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.

(What’s your opinion: Are Romney’s high school actions relevant to his campaign?)

Romney is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee. In a radio interview Thursday morning, Romney said he didn’t remember the incident but apologized for pranks he helped orchestrate that he said “might have gone too far.”

His campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in a statement that “anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body. The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”

Campaign officials denied a request for an interview with Romney. They also declined to comment further about his years at Cranbrook.

After the incident, Lauber seemed to disappear. He returned days later with his shortened hair back to its natural brown. He finished the year, but ultimately left the school before graduation — thrown out for smoking a cigarette.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, David Seed noticed a familiar face at the end of a bar at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

“Hey, you’re John Lauber,” Seed recalled saying at the start of a brief conversation. Seed, also among those who witnessed the Romney-led incident, had gone on to a career as a teacher and principal. Now he had something to get off his chest.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.

Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”

Lauber died in 2004, according to his three sisters.

Romney came of age during his six years at Cranbrook. First as a day student and later as a full-time boarder, he embraced and became emblematic of the Cranbrook way — a strict disciplinary code and academic rigor that governed the school by day and a free-wheeling unofficial boys code of “Crannies” at night. Wherever the action was, so was Romney. He wrote the most letters to the girls at the sister school across the lake and successfully petitioned to get placed in the top classes. He was not a natural athlete, but found his place among the jocks by managing the hockey team and leading megaphone cheers for the football team. Although a devout Mormon, one of the few at the school, he was less defined by his faith than at any other time in his life. He was a member of 11 school organizations, including the Spectator’s Club and the homecoming committee, and started the school’s booster outfit, the Blue Key Club.

It was at Cranbrook where he first lived on his own, found his future wife and made his own decisions. One can see the institution’s influence on his demeanor and actions during those years, but also how it helped form the clubbiness and earnestness, the sense of leadership and enthusiasm, apparent in his careers as a businessman and a politician. “He strongly bought in to community service,” said Richard Moon, a schoolmate at the time. “That hard work was its own reward.” What is less visible today is what was most apparent to his prep-school peers: his jocularity.

Now, nearly half a century later, Romney’s presidential campaign has turned to the candidate’s youthful antics as evidence of his capacity for harmless, humanizing pranks and as an indication of his looser, less wooden self.

“There’s a wild and crazy man inside of there just waiting to come out,” Romney’s wife, Ann — a graduate of Cranbrook’s sister school, Kingswood — attested in a television interview this month, evoking what she saw as his endearing and fun-loving prep-school persona. Many of Romney’s peers from his high school days echo that version of the candidate, describing him as the humble son of an automobile executive-turned-governor who volunteered at the nearby mental hospital. They recall an infectious laugh, a characterization first documented in his senior yearbook.

“If you should ever by chance be walking down the [Stevens Hall] corridor at 2:00 a.m. and hear rising tones of boisterous, exuberant laughter, you are almost sure to find its source is Mitt Romney,” the yearbook reported. “A quiet joke, a panicky laughter and another of the Friedemann-Romney all-night marathon contests has begun.”

But Friedemann and several people closest to Romney in those formative years say there was a sharp edge to him. In an English class, Gary Hummel, who was a closeted gay student at the time, recalled that his efforts to speak out in class were punctuated with Romney shouting, “Atta girl!” In the culture of that time and place, that was not entirely out of the norm. Hummel recalled some teachers using similar language.

Saul, Romney’s campaign spokeswoman, said the candidate has no recollection of the incident.

Teachers were also the butt of Romney’s brand of humor.

One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize, step into wastepaper baskets and stare blindly as students slipped out the back of the room to smoke by the open windows. Once, several students remembered the time pranksters propped up the back axle of Wonnberger’s Volkswagen Beetle with two-by-fours and watched, laughing from the windows, as the unwitting teacher slammed the gas pedal with his wheels spinning in the air.

As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and has long been bothered by the Lauber incident. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks.”

In later years, after Romney went on a Mormon mission, married and raised five sons, he seemed a different person to some old classmates. “Mitt began to change as a person when he met Ann Davies. He gradually became a more serious person. She was part of the process of him maturing and becoming more of the person he is today,” said Jim Bailey, who was a classmate of Romney’s at Cranbrook and later at Harvard.

* * *

By the 1950s, George and Lenore Romney had cracked the Motor City firmament and made their home in the exclusive enclave of Bloomfield Hills. When it came to educating their children, the clear choice was Cranbrook.

Built in 1927 by George Booth, publisher of the Detroit News, and named after his father’s alma mater in Kent, England, Cranbrook stood out as an architectural gem in the Michigan woods. Modeled on British boarding schools with “forms” instead of grades, “prefects” instead of RAs, “masters” instead of teachers, it also boasted the work of famed Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. Cranbrook had all the trappings of an elite school where kids walked around like junior executives and, as Tom Elliott, Class of 1966, recalled, learned mantras such as, “Remember who you are, and what you represent.”

“If you went to Cranbrook,” said a classmate, Peter “the Bird” Werbel. “You were crème de la crème.”

The Romney children walked under arches reading “A Life Without Beauty Is Only Half Lived”; past a field overlooked by Greek-style sculptures where the Detroit Lions practiced; and then a statuette of the school’s symbol, the archer from Book V of Virgil’s “Aeneid,” who “aimed an arrow high.” (In the mug honoring Romney’s Class of 1965, a naked woman replaced the aiming archer.) They looked out of leaded-glass windows in the academic buildings, crossed the spruce-spotted quad lined with modernist fountains and sleek statues of coursing hounds. They studied in reading rooms featuring frescoes and marble friezes. In the chandeliered dining room, students waited on fellow students and sat on straight-backed spindle chairs bearing the school’s insignia of a proud crane. After dinner, they wiped their mouths with cloth napkins.

In 1959, Mitt Romney enrolled at Cranbrook as a 12-year-old seventh-grader.

For the most part, the school broke down along the usual lines of jocks and brains, popular kids and introverts, all trained with the expectation of joining the next generation’s elite. The students gave one another chummy nicknames. There was Moonie and Butch, the Kraut and Flip. Romney, his name short to begin with, was playfully teased with chants of Wiiillard, Wiiillard by his friends.

Ron Sill, a Romney classmate especially attuned to the counter-culture of the 1960s, rolled his eyes at the dance instruction and lessons on how to hold a teacup and properly shake a man’s hand. He preferred to listen to folk music in the coffee shops of neighboring Birmingham. Taro Yamasaki, the son of the architect of the World Trade Center and several Bloomfield Hills houses, then went by the name Michael and encountered what he called a “veiled racism.” “I was a linebacker in football,” said Yamasaki, who went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. “And the coaches would call me Kamikaze.” Sidney Barthwell, the son of a prominent Detroit pharmacist, was the only African American student in Romney’s class from the seventh through 12th grades. Now a Detroit magistrate, he said he tried to introduce some west Detroit swagger to the school, but it was, he said, “pretty Republican and pretty waspy.”

There was a significant Jewish contingent, and several of those students said they never sensed any obvious prejudice. During Romney’s tenure, there were also Middle Eastern exchange students, usually from Kuwait.

Abdulhadi M. al-Awadi, a Kuwaiti student, had fond memories of the school and the respect and special attention he received from teachers. He recalled Romney as the “son of Governor Romney” who was “very sociable.” When some students put up pictures of Israeli statesman David Ben-Gurion in the hallway near his room, he did not believe it was meant intentionally to offend him, but he was bothered by it. “It’s human nature. But they did it. That’s their right.”

Faisel F. al-Abduljadir, a Kuwaiti student spending his senior year at Cranbrook in part to improve his English, said the teachers and students went out of their way to treat him with respect, showing consideration for his celebration of Ramadan and bathing requirements. But he acknowledged being “angry” about a caption under his picture in the senior yearbook that read, “Take a left at the next Synagogue.”

Religion was not much of an issue for the students. There was mandatory chapel time on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they sang Episcopalian hymns and the school song, “Forty Years On,” but it was studiously nondenominational. The campus’s elegant Christ Church had a Star of David, an Islamic crescent, and Yin and Yang sign above its wooden door. The Mormon Romney joined Jews and Protestants on Cranbrook’s Church Cabinet, which focused on community service.

Some students admired Romney for what they saw as his lack of airs, saying he did not trade on his father’s status as an auto executive and governor. Romney even came in for teasing because American Motors, the company his father ran, was considered at the bottom rung of the big auto hierarchy, below General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

“Boys in a boys’ school can tease and make fun of almost anything,” said Bailey, a scholarship student and head prefect of the school who described Romney at the time as an awkward adolescent with a penchant for practical jokes. The children of other auto executives would taunt Romney for the Ramblers he and his father drove. “That’s not a car, that’s a bicycle with a dishwasher for an engine,” Bailey recalled them saying.

Others noticed a distance between themselves and Romney. “I was a scholarship student and he was the son of the governor,” said Lance Leithauser, now a doctor, who attended the school with his brother, Brad, now a noted poet. “There was a bit of a gulf.” Even a close pal like Friedemann felt that distance; their friendship was confined to the dorms. When Romney left the campus on weekends, he never invited him. “I didn’t quite fit into the social circle. I didn’t have a car when I was 16,” Friedemann said. “I couldn’t go skiing or whatever they did.”

Lou Vierling, a scholarship student who boarded at Cranbrook for the 1960 and 1961 academic years, was struck by a question Romney asked them when they first met. “He wanted to know what my father did for a living,” Vierling recalled. “He wanted to know if my mother worked. He wanted to know what town I lived in.” As Vierling explained that his father taught school, that he commuted from east Detroit, he noticed a souring of Romney’s demeanor.

Romney was bowled over by the wealth of some of his friends. He briefly dated Mary Fisher, the daughter of the philanthropist and diplomat Max Fisher, who acted as a finance chairman to George Romney’s political campaigns. At her house, he watched the James Bond film “Goldfinger” in the family’s private theater before it was widely released. He reported excitedly back to Friedemann about the theater, noting that the seats even had numbers.

The largest chasm of all at Cranbrook was between the boarders and the “day boys.” Students within the limits of Detroit’s Eight Mile Road had the option to attend the school without boarding. The requirements for enrollment as a day student were generally tougher, leading day boys to consider themselves academically superior. Day boys also had the freedom to leave campus when school let out late in the afternoon. Often those with cars would gas up at nearby service stations, cruise Woodward Avenue and plot “how and where we could get some beer,” said Gregg Dearth, who went by the nickname Daiquiri Dearth. Drugs were generally unheard of, but day boy parties often included someone downing beers or toting bottles of scotch.

Romney began his Cranbrook career as a day boy and quickly adapted to the school’s unofficial code. He was prohibited by his religion from drinking alcohol but excelled at elaborate practical jokes.

During spring break of his senior year, when most of his friends went to Florida for vacation, Romney stayed behind to make movies for an upcoming Cranbrook talent show. For one, he filmed his friends Stu White and Judy Sherman seated at a table to dine on fine china on a Woodward Avenue median as their friend Pike John, now deceased, acted as the waiter. Romney filmed the luncheon until a police officer pulled up. “And that was it,” Sherman said.

But in a well-known prank in which Romney flashed a police siren and, bearing a fake badge and cap, approached two friends and their dates parked on a dark country road, there was a stronger undercurrent of fear to the incident than commonly conveyed. Candy Porter, a Kingswood boarder from a small town in Ohio, had a strict 11 p.m. curfew. As Romney and his Cranbrook pals played out the joke, pretending to be shocked over empty bourbon bottles in the trunk, Porter thought of the dorm mothers waiting at the door and the threat of expulsion. “I just remember being like a deer in headlights,” she said. “I just remember being terrified.” Once she realized it was all a prank, and was safely back at her dorm, Porter joined in the laughter.

Romney’s sense of humor ran through his family.

Sherman, a friend of the Romneys from high school, recalled Ann telling her about the time Romney and his older brother, Scott, dressed up in white coats and wheeled a gurney up to the Birmingham train station to meet their aunt. When she got off the train, they rushed her away as if to a madhouse.

* * *

By the time Romney started dating Ann in his senior year, he had immersed himself into the Cranbrook culture. In 1962, when his father won the governorship and his parents moved to Lansing, he entered the boarding life as a resident of Stevens Hall, named after the school’s first headmaster. From the inside, Cranbrook was an entirely different place.

“The day students,” said Steph Lady, a boarder and now a screenwriter in Hollywood, “it was like they didn’t even go there.”

Romney breathed Cranbrook day and night.

He met the Kingswood girls at the Get Acquainted Dance in the school gym. There was the Chateau de Noel girl-ask-boy dance at Christmas, and the World A-Fair, in which students dressed up in the garb of other nations. He sang in the Glee Club and started the Blue Key Club, an organization of students who “know the campus and Cranbrook traditions well” and served as ambassador to parents and prospective students. The school newspaper noted that his “diligent and capable leadership” of the homecoming weekend, where he delivered a “brilliantly hilarious monologue,” earned him a citation reserved for “students whose contributions to school life are often not fully recognized through already existing channels.” He was co-chairman of the Speculators Club and played a leading role in the American Field Service, which helped bring foreign students to the campus. He also served a leadership role on a student cabinet organization and during his senior year took a bus with some Kingswood girls to volunteer at the nearby state mental hospital. There, he danced to spinning 45s and talked and ate chips with the young patients.

“His altruism was apparent then and is apparent now,” said Candy Porter, who volunteered with Romney at the hospital. “I just remember him being really nice,” said Mary Fisher.

Romney also found time to contribute to the school paper as a special correspondent at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. “Mitt Romney Comments on Kennedy Funeral,” read the front page headline on the Dec. 17, 1963, edition of the Crane. “Note: Personal comments and observations made by Mitt Romney in Washington, Nov. 25, 1963.”

“The old Washington theory of relativity, briefly: one is important only until a bigger brass appears, was blatently [sic] obvious for whenever before have we had the top potentates of the world here to outrank our dignitaries? We all recall the day when we saw a senator of the like in some big, black limosine [sic] drive through our town. Most likely our mouths were hanging wide open as our Mommies and Daddies told us the man out there was a very important person who worked in Washington.”

* * *

Even without extracurricular activities, Cranbrook demanded long days. The morning bell rang at 7 and breakfast was served in the dining hall at 7:30, coat and tie required. After breakfast, students returned to clean their rooms in anticipation of white-gloved senior prefects who scoured the bed frames for dust. After classes and study hall at 9:30, students could go beneath Stevens Hall to the school store, where the boys received letters, via an inter-school postal service, from the girls at Kingswood. Some were perfumed.

The letters Romney wrote were delivered to the Green Lobby in Kingswood. Around 10:15 every morning, the girls, all wearing saddle shoes, hoped to hear their names called amid walls of rich green tile, and banisters, benches and clocks all in the art deco style.

“The person who wrote the most consistently was Mitt,” said Lyn Moon Shields, who dated Romney in the fall semester of 1964. Gentlemanly and fun, Romney was her best date in her six years at school. He called every evening and picked her up in his powder blue Rambler and drove her up and down Woodward Avenue on weekends, and to school dances where she wore blue-green formal dresses and he a dark suit and tie. “Things were so innocent,” she said. “We kissed each other, I think Mitt would admit to that.” One day, she said, Romney just stopped calling. He had taken an interest in a Kingswood sophomore. “They got intentional about their relationship very soon,” Shields said of Mitt and Ann.

Like every other student, Romney completed a rigorous workload that made most college requirements seem easy by comparison. Between the seventh and eighth grades, the faculty selected a dozen or so students to enter an advanced-placement program. Romney at first was not among the chosen, and he objected. “He went into the headmaster and convinced him that ‘I should be in this,’ ” John French, who had been friends with Romney since they served together as Cub Scouts, recalled Romney telling him. “He had gumption. He had his sights on what he wanted to achieve.”

The time after class was set aside for sports. Romney was not a natural athlete, according to classmates. He wore the Cranbrook “C” on his white tank top as a cross-country runner, but the greatest impression he made in that pursuit was collapsing near the finish line during a meet — although his perseverance won him admiration and applause. He was more at home on the sidelines, cheering the football team on as a member of the Pep Club, chanting such cheers into a megaphone as “Iron them out. Iron them out. Smooooth.”

He participated on the school’s hockey team as its manager, lugging a duffle bag full of pucks and sticks. Dressed in suit and tie and three-quarter coat, he rode the bus with the uniformed players and kept stats in the coach’s box at the cold outdoor rink. The team’s senior year began with promise, but ended badly. The players took out their frustration on the ice, getting into brawls with Lakeview and Catholic Central. During one fight, Maxwell pulled the jersey over the head of an opposing player and pummeled away. Romney dashed onto the ice, slipping and sliding in his Brogan wingtips in an apparent attempt to break up the fight.

During the winter of Romney’s sophomore year, the faculty assigned him and Maxwell to mop the floors of the academic halls, part of a World War II-era program meant to instill a work ethic in the students. During their six-week detail, the two old friends had long, rambling conversations about religion, and Maxwell pressed Romney on how he could believe in Mormonism.

As Maxwell later recalled their discussion, he asked Romney, “How can you believe that thing about the tablets?” referring to the divine gold tablets Mormons believe were discovered in New York and translated by Joseph Smith.

Romney, he said, responded, “What about the Virgin birth and the holy trinity?”

“I don’t believe that either,” Maxwell responded. The discussions ultimately came down to a faith vs. reason equation.

“You simply have to have faith,” Romney concluded.

“That’s a cop-out,” Maxwell said.

While there were seeds of Romney’s future devoutness at Cranbrook, he was then more interested in goofing off. In the evenings, he cut loose with Friedemann, a scholarship kid from the small town of Romeo, dubbed the Kraut. The two boys stayed up late, joking around and racing mops like racehorses up and down the hallway.

One regular in the Stevens Hall revelry was the school’s security guard, Chester. In police uniform, chubby and middle-aged, Chester would let Romney and Friedemann examine and play with his gun. In the student yearbook, Romney posed with his arm around Chester wearing thick black glasses, similar to those the guard wore, but also a ski hat and a silly Jerry Lewis expression. At the Swingin’ Sweeney Dance, Romney pointed a toy gun under his chin as two girls shook hands in front of him. A photo of the pose ran in the yearbook above the caption, “Give a guy enough rope and he’ll hang himself.”

Romney spent months trying to convert Friedemann, the son of New Deal-worshiping Democrats, to the Republican Party. He asked to meet his friend’s grandmother, so that he could convert her, too. “He talked politics all the time,” Friedemann said. “It was more big government versus small government. He was a business guy back then.”

Romney’s political and personal idol, George Romney, was never far away. Once Crawford Elder, a student a year behind Romney, saw the governor in the basement under Stevens Hall getting a haircut from Everett Arthurs, the school barber and part-time bartender at faculty cocktail parties. When Ev, as he was widely known, dropped dead after a round of golf, Gov. Romney eulogized him at a tree dedication ceremony on the quad, a few steps away from his son’s room.

* * *

After lights out, John Lauber often left his door open. Larry Olson and some other boarders would check for the hall monitor they called Sneaky Pete and slip into Lauber’s room. From there, they would crawl out his window, climb over the bushes and scurry off campus to Lone Pine Road, where a pizza truck regularly parked. Sated, they would climb back through the window and check on the bottles of apple juice that they hoped fermenting grapes would turn into hard cider. Then Lauber and his friends played poker until the early morning.

When Lauber’s younger sister, Betsy, visited the campus, she said she found him happy and sporting a preppy look. He took her to an off-campus party at a fellow student’s house where they danced to Motown records and laughed.

But he was always a bit different from the rest. During breaks from school, he worked as a mortician’s assistant. He spent more time devouring books than making friends in clubs.

“He was very quiet, not a jock,” said Steph Lady. “Very soft-spoken. I know nothing, probably gay, but who knows. We were so stupid and naïve. I know there was homosexuality there but we didn’t even have a word for it. And there was homophobia then, too.”

On an overcast Saturday, David Craig, a senior prefect and day student, drove his car down Martell Drive along the school grounds and saw a figure duck into the hedges. He thought the person might be trespassing and stopped, only to find Lauber puffing on a cigarette. In a move that he said he later regretted as an excess of the “dorm trooper” mentality instilled by Cranbrook, Craig reported Lauber to the headmaster. Soon after, Lauber was expelled.

“He just disappeared,” Lady said.

Sudden disappearances at Cranbrook were not unheard of. Students might pass a dorm neighbor on the way to class and come back hours later, with all their belongings gone and their beds stripped by maintenance staff. Bad behavior and bad grades were not tolerated.

Ben Snyder, who as an assistant headmaster later spearheaded the school’s effort to recruit inner-city students, said Cranbrook in Romney’s time “had its standards and applied them briskly when needed.” As chairman of a group of faculty members and students who were in charge of discipline, he described a strict school in which offenders could be “dismissed, period.” Snyder could not recall dealing with any transgressions involving Romney. “I wouldn’t expect to see him,” Snyder said of the disciplinary tribunals. “The family was so straight, they don’t do those types of things.”

On June 12, 1965, Romney concluded his Cranbrook career at a commencement ceremony at the Christ Church, in which his father delivered a keynote address reported on by the local papers.

“This is a special occasion for us as a family,” George Romney told the gathered boys before emphasizing that religion and “the one girlfriend whom you finally take the greatest interest in” and good health habits were critical for a successful life. So, he said, was character. “Developing character is going to be more important than your education from now on.” The ceremony concluded with all the boys singing a final rendition of their school song, “Forty years on.”

“Forty years on, when afar and asunder

Parted are those who are singing today,

When you look back, and forgetfully wonder

What you were like in your work and your play,

Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you,

Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song –

Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,

Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along,

Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!”

Forty years on, Mitt Romney accepted the school’s 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award.

A year earlier, John Joseph Lauber died at a Seattle hospital.

The boy few at Cranbrook knew or remember was born in Chicago, grew up in South Bend, Ind., and had a hard time fitting in. He liked to wander and “had a glorious sense of the absurd,” according to his sister Betsy. When the chance to get out of Indiana presented itself, he jumped at it, and enrolled at Cranbrook. He never uttered a word about Mitt Romney or the haircut incident to his sisters. After Cranbrook asked him to leave, he finished high school, attended the University of the Seven Seas for two semesters, then graduated in 1970 from Vanderbilt, where he majored in English.

He came out as gay to his family and close friends and led a vagabond life, taking dressage lessons in England and touring with the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion riders. After an extreme fit of temper in front of his mother and sister at home in South Bend, he checked into the Menninger Clinic psychiatric hospital in Topeka, Kan. Later he received his embalmer’s license, worked as a chef aboard big freighters and fishing trawlers, and cooked for civilian contractors during the war in Bosnia and then, a decade later, in Iraq. His hair thinned as he aged, and in the winter of 2004 he returned to Seattle, the closest thing he had to a base. He died there of liver cancer that December.

He kept his hair blond until he died, said his sister Chris. “He never stopped bleaching it.”

Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 10, 2012, 10:46 AM
May 10, 2012 08:00 AM

Former Classmates Recall Romney Attack on Gay Student

By Diane Sweet


Wow. Here I thought Mitt Romney's cruel streak was in that he likes to fire people. Five of Romney's former classmates from a prestigious all-boys college prep school recall a "vicious" attack on a new student who Romney and others believed to be gay.

The Washington Post reports:

    Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

    “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

    A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

Romney never received any punishment for his actions.

Lauber was expelled from the school after being caught smoking on school grounds. He "came out" to family and close friends. Among other jobs, he later worked as a civilian contractor in Bosnia and Iraq. He died of liver cancer in 2004, according to his sisters.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 11, 2012, 07:33 AM
Mother of murdered gay son: Romney’s prank was ‘an act of torment’

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, May 10, 2012 17:40 EDT

Judy Shepard, whose son was murdered for being gay, blasted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for allegedly harassing prep school classmates he judged to be too effeminate.

“While this may seem like an innocent prank to some, it was an act of torment against a child for being different,” Shepard said. Her son Matthew was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 1998. “We expect the people we elect to be leaders in the charge against bullying so that all students are afforded the right to learn and grow in an environment free of fear. This incident calls into question whether Mitt Romney can be an advocate for the nation’s most vulnerable children.”

A Washington Post article published on Thursday described how Romney and his friends pinned down a fellow classmate, John Lauber, and cut his hair with scissors. Romney had complained that it was “wrong” for the boy, who was often teased and accused of being gay, to have such long hair.

Responding to the story, Romney said at the time he had “no idea what that individual’s sexual orientation might be.”

“I don’t recall the incident myself but I’ve seen the reports and not going argue with that,” he told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. “There’s no question that I did some stupid things in high school and, obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.”

According to the Washington Post, Romney also used to shout “atta girl!” at a classmate who was a closeted homosexual. Romney said he had no recollection of the event.

News of Romney’s prep school pranks came just one day after President Barack Obama endorsed same sex marriage.

“We cannot look past this incident now that Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee for president,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to understand or acknowledge the gravity of his actions and sincerely apologize is a troubling suggestion of a lack of character.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 11, 2012, 07:36 AM
Former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm Takes Mitt Romney to Task for Claim of Saving Detroit

Dear Mitt Romney:

There are politics, there are lies, and then there's you. You take it to a whole 'nother level.

OK, I admit that I have a particular animus toward you, as a guy that knifed us in the back when Michigan was on its knees, but you simply cannot be our president. It cannot happen.

As you know, Mitt, I was governor of Michigan during that horrible time, when the financial industry was melting down and the auto industry was in free fall. And you were running for president. You saw the polls about the unpopularity of bailouts and you lumped the auto industry in with the bank industry -- the auto industry, where your father and so many of your family members had worked.


You raised your finger into the air, saw which way the wind was blowing, and followed it. Way to lead, Mitt.

You weren't looking into the eyes of autoworkers getting laid off as factory after factory closed.

In the six month period surrounding the president's inauguration, more than 1,018 Michigan companies had announced mass layoffs in response to the crash.

Our unemployment office was receiving more than 800,000 calls per day from people desperate for help. The auto industry was heading over the cliff, we were begging for help, and you were coolly standing behind us giving your home state a shove over the ledge. And now you have the nerve to claim credit for the auto industry's rebound? It's a joke, right?

Steve Rattner, who headed the president's auto task force said it succinctly today when he said, "Mitt Romney is nuts." If only that's all it was.

So Mitt, here's my request: Just stop it. Stop denying that you were pandering to a national audience when you wrote that Detroit should "go bankrupt" and then stop taking credit for the success of the Obama administration's intervention to save the auto industry and more than a million jobs that went with it.

The Obama team wasn't taking advice from you. So just. Stop. Talking. Just stop.

And to you, reading this in The Huffington Post -- let's be honest, most Democrats aren't going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway. This latest example of his deception and distortion is just that, the latest example.

But to the Republicans and Independents who are reading this: Could you honestly see George H.W. Bush, or John McCain or Bob Dole, or even George W. Bush, demeaning the intelligence of the American people like this? Acting in a way so devoid of integrity?

It's ironic that on a day in which we focus on the auto industry, we're debating the merits of a guy who exhibits all the clichés we unfairly assign to used car salesmen.

America is not a business. It's not about ROI. It's not a trophy to mount on your wall.

America is an idea. And it's the solemn responsibility of each "temporary" president to protect and nurture that noblest of all ideas -- with integrity.

This man, Mitt Romney, has shown -- not through his experience, but through his actions and words -- that he is unqualified to carry out that responsibility.Jennifer Granholm Takes Mitt Romney to Task for Claim of Saving Detroit


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 12, 2012, 07:10 AM
From the American magazine "Perspectives"
May 11, 2012 06:00 PM

Romney's Strategy? Call the Kettle Black

Two funny things happened this week on Mitt Romney's way to the White House. First, the man who cried "let Detroit go bankrupt" announced "I'll take a lot of credit" for President Obama's million-job saving rescue of the American auto industry. But just as telling was the Republican's claim that, despite Obama's "Forward" campaign slogan, it was the President who was "looking backward." After all, Mitt Romney isn't merely offering an even more reactionary resurrection of George W. Bush's failed policies. As it turns out, from his charges on immigration reform and women's issues to labeling Obama an out of touch "Marie Antoinette" and so much else, Romney's strategy is call to the kettle black.

(Click a link below for the details on each.)

    "Looking Backward"
    "Fairness"
    "Out of Touch"
    "Spent Too Much Time at Harvard"
    "Hide-and-Seek Campaign"
    "Broke His Promise to Hispanics"
    "Respect Women in All Those Choices That They Make"

"Looking Backward"

In April, the RNC's Alexandra Franceschi gave away the game when she explained that even after the calamitous Bush recession which began over four years ago, the2012 GOP economic platform would be the Bush program, "just updated." As a quick glance at Mitt Romney's proposals shows, Franceschi has a gift for understatement.

Romney, after all, is promising massive tax cuts which would deliver the lion's share of their winnings to the very richest Americans, his family included. (His 20 percent across-the-board tax cut is simply a tired retread of Bob Dole's failed 1996 plan, one that nevertheless steers a third of its benefits to the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of Americans.) He nevertheless pledges to balance the budget even while boosting defense spending. And this latest scion of a proud Republican family would like to privatize Social Security and leave Americans to fend for themselves in the private health insurance marketplace.

Undaunted, Romney slammed the President this week in East Lansing, Michigan:

    "Looking backward won't solve the problems of today, nor will it take advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow," Romney said. "His are the policies of the past. The challenges of the present and the promise of tomorrow must be met by a new and bold vision for the future, and I will bring it."

Despite the conclusion of the nonpartisan CBO and the overwhelming consensus of economists that Obama's actions saved the U.S. from "Great Depression 2.0," Romney has insisted for months that the President "made the economy worse." Unfortunately for Mitt, "we are not stupid."

"Fairness"

Barack Obama has made "fairness" a central theme of his reelection campaign. And with good reason. After all, at a time of record income inequality and the lowest federal tax burden since 1950, Both Mitt Romney and his budgetary twin Paul Ryan would deliver a massive tax cut windfall for the rich, paying for it by gutting the social safety net each pretends to protect. Each would end Medicare as we know it with a premium support gambit that would dramatically shift health care costs to America's seniors. While increasing defense spending, the House Budget Chairman and the GOP frontrunner would repeal the Affordable Care and leave at least 30 million people without insurance. And despite their mutual pledges to end many tax loopholes and deductions to fund their gilded-class giveaway, neither Paul Ryan nor Mitt Romney has the courage to say which ones. As a result, these supposed deficit hawks would actually add trillions more in red ink to the national debt.

Nevertheless, Romney used the occasion of his Northeast primary sweep three weeks ago to portray himself as the crusader for fairness:

    "We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends' businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next."

Afterwards, The Democratic Strategist translated Romney's cynically transparent gimmick, "We will twist and distort the concept of fairness to justify bashing government workers, crushing labor unions and privatizing public schools."

"Out of Touch"

Four years ago, the campaign of John McCain - a hundred-millionaire who literally lost count of how many homes he owned - unsuccessfully tried to portray Barack Obama as an out-of-touch, arugula-eating elitist who vacationed in exotic Hawaii. Now Mitt Romney has branded President Obama a modern day Marie Antoinette, an "out of touch" occupant of the White House whose message to financially struggling Americans is "let them eat cake."

That might not be the wisest strategy.

To be sure, Romney's repeated and comical failures to present himself as a "man of the people" have only deepened his yawning empathy gap. Romney, who explained that over the last decade "my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past," joked with jobless voters that "I'm also unemployed." The $250 million man similarly declared himself part of "the 80 to 90 percent of us" who are middle class, when just the "not very much" $374,000 he earned in speaking fees last year puts him in the top one percent of income earners. Whether or not he really enjoys firing people, Mitt Romney almost certainly never pooped in a bucket during his time as a missionary at a toney Paris mansion. (Who else would lecture a child about his plans to divvy up his estate among his 16 grandchildren or endorse rooftop canine waterboarding?) And there's no doubt that the man who spent $12 million to buy his third home (none of which are located on "the real streets of America") didn't win any friends when he offered this prescription for the housing market crisis:

    "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."

It's no surprise Mitt Romney believes income inequality should only be discussed in "quiet rooms." But it certainly didn't help matters when his wife Ann joked "Mitt doesn't even know the answer to that" when asked how many dressage horses she owns while her husband slanders Democrats as "the party of monarchists." It's no wonder his ally and Massachusetts GOP Senator Scott Brown urged Romney to release his tax returns:

    "He's in a category, a lot of those folks are in categories that we don't really understand."

Brown was only saying what most Americans were thinking when he acknowledged that Romney is living in "a different world from me."

"Spent Too Much Time at Harvard"

Part of Romney's different world centered on Harvard. In 1971, Ann and Mitt Romney headed to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There, Mitt completed a "terrific" four year program to get his JD and MBA at Harvard Business School.

Thirty seven years later, Romney continues to claim Barack Obama "spent too much time at Harvard" learned what he knows about the economy by "hearing about it at the faculty lounge at Harvard."

Ironically, even with small children and Mitt in school, Ann avoided the "dignity of work" because "Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. The stock came from Mitt's father." That history might explain why Romney offered this advice in March to college students struggling to pay for his education:

    "If you can't afford it, scholarships are available, shop around for loans, make sure you go to a place that's reasonably priced, and if you can, think about serving the country 'cause that's a way to get all that education for free."

Pell grants, schmell grants.

Later, Mitt told college students to borrow money from their parents to start a business, advice his son Tagg took to the tune of $10 million.

"Hide-and-Seek Campaign"

Following the dust-up over Obama's open mic comments to former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Mitt Romney accused the President of running a "hide-and-seek campaign."

    "He does not want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press," Romney said. "By flexibility, he means that 'what the American public doesn't know won't hurt him.' He is intent on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking."

Romney must have been looking in the mirror. Because hiding his past record and future plans is a cornerstone of the Romney 2012 campaign.

Mitt didn't merely arrange for his computers in the Massachusetts governor's office to be scrubbed. After delivering 23 years of tax returns to John McCain in the vain hope of securing the number two slot on the ticket four years ago, so far Romney has only released two to the American public. And as he and his wife Ann ("unfortunately" the world now knows how "successful in business" Mitt has been.) made clear, even that limited disclosure was done grudgingly:

    "I don't put out which tooth paste I use either. It's not that I have something to hide."

Romney's penchant for withholding vital information from voters is no accident. As the former Massachusetts Governor inadvertently revealed in an interview with the Weekly Standard, his opacity is by design, a lesson learned from losing the 1994 Senate race:

    "One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don't care about education," Romney recalled. "So I think it's important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we'll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations. So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I'm not going to give you a list right now."

Asked to get specific about his self-proclaimed "bold" tax plan, Mitt Romney decided discretion is the better part of valor. As he explained earlier this month, Romney in essence responded, "I'm not going to tell you":

    "So I haven't laid out all of the details about how we're going to deal with each deduction, so I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."

Mitt revealed why he was refusing to lay out "all of the details" during a very revealing December interview with the Wall Street Journal:

    "I happen to also recognize," he says, "that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn't been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you're gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election."

Unfortunately, what Mitt Romney branded "demagogues" most Americans call "voters."

"Broke His Promise to Hispanics"

"We're going to be able to get Hispanic voters," Mitt Romney assured big-dollars donors last month, adding, "We're going to overcome the issue of immigration." How the Republican presidential nominee plans to do that is another matter.

After all, John McCain captured only 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008. A recent Pew Research poll shows Democrats enjoy a three-fold (and growing) advantage among registered Latino voters. As it turns out, the GOP's list of Republican Latino candidates includes some who are neither. Worse still, Mitt's high-profile backing by SB 1070 author Russell Pearce may put GOP stronghold Arizona in play. And on top of it, Romney is rapidly alienating Hispanics with his hardline rhetoric on immigration, talking points that include vetoing the DREAM Act and encouraging even long-time illegal immigrants to "self-deport."

But Mitt Romney may still have one or two more cards up his sleeve.

The first approach is to blame President Obama for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the face of total Republican opposition. As MNSBC reported in April:

    Romney nonetheless predicted that, by November, the economy would trump immigration as a driving issue for Hispanic voters, and he vowed also to remind the Hispanic community that, despite promises of comprehensive immigration reform by Obama, Democrats ultimately fell short in passing legislation in their two years in control of Congress and the White House at the start of the president's term.

The second gambit is for Mitt Romney to simply do what he does best: change positions. As conservative columnist Fred Barnes explained, that's part of the plan:

    According to a Romney adviser, his private view of immigration isn't as anti-immigrant as he often sounded.

Bettina Inclan, the Republican National Committee's Hispanic outreach director, confirmed that a Romney turnabout is imminent:

    "I think as a candidate, to my understanding, he's still deciding what his position on immigration is. I can't talk about what his position is going to be."

It will be whatever it needs to be. After all, he's running for office, for Pete's sake.

"Respect Women in All Those Choices That They Make"

For months, the now pro-life Mitt Romney has trailed President Obama by large margins among women voters. Seeking to capitalize on the manufactured flap over Hilary Rosen's offhand remark last month that Ann Romney "has actually never worked a day in her life," Mitt proclaimed that "all mothers are working mothers." As it turns out, Romney's Rule is means-tested. Put another way, on Mitt's Animal Farm, some mothers are more equal than others. As he explained during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy:

    "This is a different world than it was in the 1960s when I was growing up, when you used to be able to have mom at home and dad at work. Now mom and dad both have to work."

Now, as the severely conservative and severely condescending Romney insisted in January, women who receive welfare must work outside the home, even if their children are very young:

    "I wanted to increase the work requirement," said Romney. "I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, 'Well that's heartless.' And I said, 'No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work."

Just not if the individual is his wife.

As Ann Romney explained in an October 1994 interview, their dignity was provided by Mitt's father George:

    "Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time.

    The stock came from Mitt's father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt's birthday money year to year -- it wasn't much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education."

$250 million dollars later, the dignified Mrs. Romney now claims their wealth can't be quantified. As she lectured voters in January:

    "I understand Mitt's going to release his tax forms this week. I want to remind you where our riches are: our riches are with our families," Ann Romney said. "Our riches, you can value them, in the children we have and in the grandchildren we have. So that's where our values are and that's where our heart is -- and that's where we measure our wealth."

As Rosengate reached its crescendo, Ann Romney explained, "My career choice was to be a mother." She then added:

    "We have to respect women in all those choices that they make."

Just not when those choices involve their own bodies and their own health. And that message to the women of America is the exact opposite of the one Mr. and Mrs. Romney sold to the women of Massachusetts.

In March, Governor Romney caused a firestorm when he casually announced, "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." While he later clarified that "what I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood," he shouldn't have stopped there. After all, Mitt Romney wants to end all funding for Title X, the only federal program devoted to family planning. But as Ruth Marcus documented last year, that's only a small part of the health care services Title X provides for lower-income American women:

    The inevitable result of eliminating Title X funding would not only be more abortions - it would also be higher bills for taxpayers footing Medicaid and welfare costs for poor children. Guttmacher found that every public dollar invested in family planning care saves $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures for pregnant women and their babies during the first year of care. Imagine the lifetime savings.

    And then there is the other "important work" that Pence cited: 2.2 million Pap smears, 2.3 million breast exams, nearly 6 million tests for sexually transmitted infections.

Mitt's positions on Planned Parenthood, women's health care and reproductive rights have always depended on whether he was running for office inside or outside of liberal Massachusetts. Now, they happen to be the opposite of Barack Obama's - and the opposite of respecting all the choices women make.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 12, 2012, 07:53 AM
Top Romney aide outed transgender woman in political smear

By David Ferguson
Friday, May 11, 2012 15:20 EDT

Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide and political strategist to presumptive Republican presidential candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA), made headlines earlier this year with a gaffe comparing Romney in the primary fight to an “Etch a Sketch” that you can flip over and shake and start over with as a blank slate in the general election. Before he was an adviser to Romney, Fehrnstrom was a political columnist for the Boston Herald. According to a profile in GQ, in 1992, he outed recently-elected Massachusetts Rep. Althea Garrison (R) as a transgender woman, effectively ending her political career.

To Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the malicious outing and the presence of Fehrnstrom on Romney’s staff is simply unacceptable.

“Privacy for transgender people is a matter of survival, physical and economic survival,” Keisling told Raw Story, “Once you out a trans person, you can’t just ‘Etch a Sketch’ it away.”

Fehrnstrom made his name in Boston as a “blue-collar conservative” columnist whose hard-hitting style got him moved from sports reporting to the political beat at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Herald, which was the splashy, tabloid-style counterpart to the more staid Boston Globe. He and his fellow reporter Howie Carr brought what GQ called a “nasty and resentful” tone to the paper’s political reportage, making the Herald a kind of perfect weapon against the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, gormless former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

It was for a local official, however, that Fehrnstrom reserved one of his nastiest political hits. Althea Garrison was a Boston politician and activist who was elected as a Republican to the Massachusetts state House in 1992. Two days after her election victory, Fehrnstrom published an article in the Herald announcing that Garrison had been born male.

“I can remember his glee when he found the birth certificate,” said a former Herald reporter named Robert Connolly.

Garrison’s career in politics was over. Speculation had previously gone around the community about Garrison’s gender status, but after Fehrnstrom’s story, it became her defining characteristic to the media. In every mention of her name in the press, her performance as a House member was overshadowed by her gender identity. Howie Carr, who is now a conservative talk show host, wrote in the Herald not long after the outing, “I’ve always liked Althea. She has a big heart. Not to mention big feet. And very, very big hands.”

The outing of Althea Garrison raises serious questions about the culture of the Romney campaign, where Fehrnstrom operates as a privileged member of the command team and as Romney’s longest-serving, most-trusted political strategist. It has been said that if Karl Rove was “Bush’s brain,” then Fehrnstrom is “Romney’s balls.”

Mara Keisling told Raw Story that Ferhnstrom’s campaign against Garrison is “just more bullying. It’s an invasion of privacy. We’ve had five or six hate murders of trans people across the U.S. just in the last six weeks.” She said that these kinds of tactics represent the worst form of transphobia, describing it as “putting people at risk just because you get your jollies from it.”

Also, in recent days, stories of violent, homophobic “pranks” during Romney’s prep school years have come to light, incidents which the candidate claims not to remember, but for which he issued a shallow, blanket apology, “There’s no question that I did some stupid things in high school and, obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.”

To Fehrnstrom, on the other hand, the careers and reputations he savaged were of little consequence. In a 1999 article he wrote for Boston magazine, he said, “In my trade, politics was never personal. Hell, people were rarely people — they were ducks in a shooting gallery.”

Althea Garrison herself refuses to speak about the experience of being outed by Fernstrom. Raw Story reached her by telephone, but when the former state representative realized that the person on the phone was a reporter asking about Fehrnstrom, she ended the discussion.

“I don’t have time for this today,” she said, and hung up.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 12, 2012, 08:03 AM
You can't make this stuff up ........

Romney challenges Obama to waterskiing

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, May 10, 2012 22:52 EDT

WASHINGTON — Republican Mitt Romney took the White House race into uncharted waters, suggesting he would like to challenge President Barack Obama to a bit of waterskiing.

“I don’t think I’ll play the president a round of golf but I’ll be happy to take him through a waterski course,” the presumptive presidential nominee said on Fox News on Thursday when asked whether he was as “hip” as the commander-in-chief.

“We have different skills and different interests and different hobbies,” said the former Massachusetts governor and multimillionaire venture capitalist.

The comments were the latest in a series of tone-deaf remarks made by Romney in which his cheery honesty has only pushed his immense wealth further into the spotlight, leading some to question if he can relate to everyday Americans.

During a televised presidential debate in December, he challenged rival Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, to a “$10,000 bet” to settle a dispute over Romney’s position on health care reform.

In February in Michigan, he spoke of his wife driving “a couple of Cadillacs,” and then told a reporter at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 race that he has “some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

Romney has consistently insisted that the state of the economy and its wobbly recovery is the main issue of the 2012 campaign. But his deep pockets have become an issue at a time when millions of American families are struggling.

Obama last week branded Romney a corporate raider who outsourced American jobs overseas and piled up cash in offshore havens and a Swiss bank account.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Cypress on May 18, 2012, 10:14 PM
I'm curious...

I've been reading over the threads here to gain more information. I noticed that when speaking of Mitt's Mars in Pisces it was referred to as a "skipped step". What does that mean? I would like to understand not only what a skipped step is, but why Mars in Pisces specifically represents that?

I imagine that a complete "understanding" wont happen solely through the response I recieve on this post, but I would be willing to read anything in depth on the subject suggested. In January I recieved both Pluto books and the Uranus book, I've read through them all, front to back, and am slowly picking through them all again to catch what I missed the first time (as I will my 3rd, 4th, 5th time through...etc. etc. etc...). If I need to reference those books again I'd love to! But anything else I need to read I'm more than eager to get my hands on.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: astroguru on May 18, 2012, 10:39 PM
http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/index.php/topic,653.0.html


Planets square the Nodes. His Mars is square his Nodes.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Cypress on May 18, 2012, 11:32 PM
I'll read it in the morning. Thank you astroguru.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 19, 2012, 08:14 AM
Hi Cypress,

In Wolf's first book this starts on page 18 or 19. You can also click the link below which will access many posts on this message board about skipped steps.


http://schoolofevolutionaryastrology.com/forum/index.php?action=search2

God Bless, Rad


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Cypress on May 19, 2012, 09:58 AM
Thank You Rad. When Astroguru mentioned the squaring of the nodes I remembered and suddenly the Virgo/Pisces to Gemini/Sagittarius square clicked. I have Sagittarius in my own chart but none of the others. I'm more familiar with Cardinal Squares and so I missed the connection. I did go back to the first Pluto book last night (books are easier on the eyes for me late at night) and I will now go over both the links you two have shared.
Thanks again! I enjoy the study.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 22, 2012, 08:15 AM
May 22, 2012 07:00 AM

Mitt Romney's Latest Video Ignores the Fact That He Wasn't A Job Creator In the Private Sector

By Kenneth Quinnell

The latest web video from the Mitt Romney campaign attacks President Barack Obama's comments about Romney's time at Bain Capital. The video asks if viewers are tired of Obama's attacks on 'free enterprise' and says that his 'key supporters' are, then trots out Corey Booker, Harold Ford Jr. and Steven Rattner as Obama's 'key supporters'. While these obviously aren't Obama's key supporters, the ad is also an attempt to change the topic from Romney's time at Bain, which was more about hurting working families than it was about 'free enterprise'. Ford is notorious for his right-wing positions and Booker took numerous contributions to his 2002 campaign from Bain executives.

Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman responded to the video:

    Mitt Romney’s partners, employees, and top supporters have all been clear: his tenure at Bain Capital was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, not creating jobs. Mitt Romney’s focus has always been getting a high return on his investments, no matter the cost to workers, companies or communities. That’s what Romney did at Ampad when he and his partners drove the company into bankruptcy after loading it with debt, firing 250 Indiana workers, and extracting $100 million for themselves. And those are the very same economic values he’d bring to the presidency – America can’t afford Romney Economics.

Despite Romney's claims to the contrary, his time at Bain was about making money, not about creating jobs. From Bloomberg:

    A top surrogate to Mitt Romney said making money—rather than creating jobs—was the primary goal of the presumed Republican Party presidential nominee when he was running Bain Capital LLC, saying he ‘acted responsibly’ as chief executive officer of the private-equity firm. ‘The role of private equity as fiduciaries is certainly to make money,’ said Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples Inc. (SPLS), in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Political Capital,’ airing this weekend.

And...

    A Bloomberg review of several Bain deals during Romney’s tenure showed that workers in some firms had indications their jobs might be in jeopardy soon after Bain moved into management. In other cases, pink slips arrived after Bain and its investors had collected their profits and left debts behind.

    ...

    Interviews with former employees and executives at Bain and companies it controlled, along with a review of Bain’s activities described in public documents and news accounts, paint a picture of an operation that wasn’t focused on expanding employment. Instead, Bain’s mission, like most private equity firms, was to generate gains for its investors.

From the Boston Globe:

    In assessing deals, Romney and partners didn’t consider whether they saved or created jobs, according to a former Bain employee who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality guidelines. When Bain partners discussed shutting down failing businesses in which they invested, Romney never suggested they had to do something to save workers’ jobs. ‘It was very clinical,’ the former employee said. ‘Like a doctor. When the patient is dead, you just move on to the next patient.’

The Los Angeles Times:

    Some of Romney’s colleagues recall him as vain, however, and focused only on the bottom line. They saw him as impatient and unconcerned about those affected by his decisions. ‘They’re whitewashing his career now,’ said Marc B. Wolpow, a former managing director at Bain Capital who opposes Romney’s White House bid. ‘We had a scheme where the rich got richer. I did it, and I feel good about it. But I’m not planning to run for office.’

From the Boston Globe:

    Throughout his 15-year career at Bain Capital, which bought, sold, and merged dozens of companies, Romney had other chances to fight to save jobs, but didn’t. His ultimate responsibility was to make money for Bain’s investors, former partners said.

From the New York Post:

    However, the former private equity firm chief’s fortune -- which has funded his political ambitions from the Massachusetts statehouse to his unsuccessful run for the White House in 2008 -- was made on the backs of companies that ultimately collapsed, putting thousands of ordinary Americans out on the street.

Take Romney's own words for it (KMOV (St. Louis, MO), 3/13/12):

    And when you ask the question, how many jobs did you create at Bain Capital, the truth is we invested in businesses that created the jobs. We didn’t create them ourselves. They did but I’m proud of the fact that businesses we invested in collectively created amongst themselves well-over a hundred thousand jobs.



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 24, 2012, 07:35 AM
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Romney will promise anything to be president

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Shyster

As The Hill reports, Mitt Romney is pledging to bring the unemployment rate below six percent by the end of his first term -- and of course in so pledging is once more sinking back to his default position of smearing President Obama:

    "I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we'd put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, and perhaps a little lower," Romney says in a Time magazine interview...

    "This is a President who spends his time blaming other people for the fact that he has been unsuccessful in turning around this economy," Romney says in the Time interview. "And I think the reason you're seeing across the country, people saying they'd like to try someone new, is because they believe this President, while he may be a nice guy, is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy."


We've heard this sort of crap from Romney so often before. He won't just say and do anything for votes, he'll promise anything as well. (And, of course, he has some rather significant problems with the truth.)

First, assuming Romney wins, if the unemployment rate is that low by the end of his first term, it won't be because of anything he's done. It would only be because a) the global economy has improved significantly enough to pull the U.S. along for the ride; b) there has been a significant enough domestic stimulus to create a huge number of jobs; c) the U.S. is embroiled in a massive foreign war; or d) pigs fly, hell freezes over, the Cubs win the World Series, and nothing makes any rational sense whatsoever.

It could be a), and we're already seeing signs of sustainable recovery, including domestic job growth, but the president has very little impact on the global economy, and so that wouldn't be Romney's doing at all.

Romney isn't about to embrace demand-side Keynesianism, whatever his former inclinations (back when he was something other than the suck-up to the far right he is now), not with his party so firmly entrenched against government spending, and so isn't about to push a major stimulus package, so forget b).

With all the saber-rattling among Republicans, a war is possible (like with, say, Iran), but it would likely not be enough of one to stimulate the economy enough to create widespread employment, so forget c). Although I must at least acknowledge the possibility of an alternative c), which would be conscription. You never know.

I have nothing to say about d) other than that Romney would take credit for any of those things and say he was for it all along, no matter what he may have said in the past, back before all the sucking up.

I suppose e) would be a redefinition of unemployment altogether, also possible given Romney's penchant for blatant dishonesty. (This is the man, remember, who recently took "a lot of credit", utterly without merit, for General Motors's success despite having previously called, more or less, for its obliteration, and explicitly for Detroit's bankruptcy, yet another "Etch a Sketch" moment.)

In any event, to repeat, it wouldn't be Romney's doing.

Second, it's ridiculous (and incredibly unrealistic) to blame the president for not "turning around the economy," as if turning it around means not just fixing it but making it the dominant global force it once was. (Note to my dear American friends: It never will be. Ever. Ever. Again. Sorry.) Against all manner of ugly Republican obstructionism, Obama succeeded in slowing and then reversing the downward spiral in which he found the economy upon taking office. If not for the Republicans, the stimulus would have been larger, and hence the recovery quicker and greater. If not for the Republicans, the U.S. wouldn't have the mass of debt it has today, largely as a result of Republican militarism and the Bush tax cuts. And so on and so on...

Basically, there wasn't much Obama could do, and in fact, in retrospect, it's amazing he got done what he did -- stabilizing the economy and unemployment and putting in place the tools for recovery, including the Wall Street and auto industry bailouts (whatever else you might think of them, especially the former). So the question isn't what Obama should have done but didn't but what the economy would look like had he not been president, or, more to the point, if the Republicans had held the White House along with Congress and imposed their destructive policies on the country -- the ones Romney is pushing now.

Third, unemployment is already coming down... under Obama:

    When Obama took office in January 2009, unemployment stood at 7.8 percent and rose throughout the year, peaking at 10 percent in October. It's been slowly declining since, hitting 8.1 percent in April, although job growth has slowed in recent months.


In other words, he's actually presided over significant job growth, including notably in the private sector. Is it moving in the right direction? Yes. Is it moving quickly enough? No. But, again, there's only so much Obama can do, not just because of Republican obstructionism but because he only has so much control -- and really not very much at all -- over the U.S. labor market. He can't force employers to hire, after all, and there isn't much he can do about U.S. corporations sitting on massive amounts of cash and profit.

Third, what has Romney ever done to create jobs? And why should anyone trust a shameless vulture capitalist to guide the economy to the promised land and bring the bounty of mass employment to the American people?

As the Trojans might have said, beware of people named Mitt Romney making promises they cannot possibly keep.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 24, 2012, 07:52 AM
Published on The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com)

On Health Care, Romney Goes Retro

    Jonathan Cohn
    May 23, 2012 | 11:47 pm

Editor's Note: After looking at the economic platform of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, this installment of our series on his policy plans examines the details of his health care agenda.

The gist: Repeal the Affordable Care Act; end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it, by turning the former into a voucher program and the latter into a block grant scheme; unravel private insurance, by changing the tax treatment of benefits and undermining state regulation.

The good. Not much. Once in a while he talks up worthwhile reforms designed to improve the quality of care. He also endorses malpractice reform, which is a worthy idea, although his approach would do in a way that reduced damage awards without improving compensation for actual medical errors.

The bad: Changing the tax treatment of health insurance makes sense if you do it alongside other reforms. But if you do it without those reforms, it undermines employer-sponsored coverage without providing adequate alternatives.

The ugly: Up to 58 million more people could end up without health insurance, relative to what will happen if current law stays in place, according to one credible estimate drawn from the things he's said so far.

They said it: “Never before in history has a candidate run for President with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.” – David Cutler, economist at Harvard and 2008 campaign adviser to President Obama.

* * *

Mitt Romney’s big campaign moment on health care came a little over a year ago, when he gave a speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Reporters from around the country came, eager to hear Romney’s official explanation for why, as governor of Massachusetts, he’d signed that state’s reforms into law—and why, having done so, he opposed President Obama’s effort to create a similar scheme for the nation as a whole.

Romney did not disappoint, offering a list of distinctions—some sensical, some nonsensical—between Romneycare and Obamacare. The next day’s headlines reported them faithfully. But substantively, at least, the real thrust of Romney’s speech was the part the reporters didn’t emphasize: His vision for what an ideal health care system would look like.

Of course, Romney’s plan on that day was not terribly specific. And he hasn’t added many specifics since, although a series of upcoming policy speeches could change that. This aversion to detail has been Romney’s signature approach to policy and you can understand why. Providing details about his policy proposals would mean owning up to difficult, but inevitable trade-offs—for example, the trade-off government spending and health insurance coverage. Reduce the first, as Romney proposes, and you’ll inevitably end up reducing the second.

But, as with the economic plan, it’s possible to perceive Romney’s general approach to health care: He wants to scale back health insurance, so that it reaches less people and provides less protection from medical bills. In theory, this transformation will unleash market forces that restrain the cost of medical care. In practice, it will cause serious hardship, by exposing tens of millions of Americans to crushing medical bills or forcing some of them to go without necessary, even life-saving care.

That sounds awfully harsh, I know. But it's a fair interpretation once you examine the four main ideas Romney has embraced so far:

Repeal the Affordable Care Act: Projections suggest more than 30 million additional people would get insurance from the Affordable Care Act, some through Medicaid and some through subsidized private insurance. If Romney repeals the law, these people would be uninsured. Millions of others stand to get better insurance because of the law. That's particularly true of those with pre-existing conditions who buy coverage on their own. The coverage available to them now is typically very expensive, not very protective, or some combination of the two. The Affordable Care Act will allow these people to buy the same policies as healthy people, at the same prices. Take away the law and they’re back to the same, vulnerable position they occupy today.

The law’s other benefits would vanish, too. Letting young adults enroll in their parents’ policies? Gone. Free preventative care? Gone. Enhanced state authority to regulate insurance rates? Gone. Yes, it’s possible Romney could embrace some of these smaller reforms—and, if I had to bet, he probably will at some point. The young adult provision, for example, seems to be awfully popular. But these concessions are likely to achieve only a small fraction of what the Affordable Care Act would.

Change the tax and regulatory treatment of private insurance: This is probably the least understood part of Romney’s plan. Romney has endorsed a familiar set of conservative ideas that would affect private insurance, directly and indirectly. Some of these ideas, like malpractice reform, make sense in certain contexts. But Romney’s versions of them are unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst.

The most important of these is a proposal to change the tax treatment of private health insurance. Ever since the 1940s, the federal government has treated employer-provided insurance as distinct from wages, exempting it from income taxes. This makes employer-sponsored insurance more valuable and, for much of American history, it made employer insurance a stable source of health coverage for the majority of working-age people. But it's become less reliable in the last two decades or so, as medicine has become more expensive and companies have tried to squeeze their labor costs. In addition, economists agree almost universally that the tax break distorts the health insurance market, by making benefits more valuable than wages. The existing tax break also penalizes people without access to employer insurance, since there’s no equivalent tax break for people who buy coverage on their own.

Romney proposes to get rid of those distortions, which is a perfectly fine idea in theory. In fact, the Affordable Care Act includes an effort to do just that, albeit gradually, by limiting the current exemption to a fixed amount and then letting that limit rise slower than the price of insurance (so that it gradually declines in value). But precisely because reducing the tax break would reduce the incentives for employer-sponsored insurance, it’s important to discourage employers from dropping coverage and/or to create alternative ways for people to find affordable, comprehensive benefits.

The Affordable Care Act does this, by penalizing employers that don’t offer insurance to employees and by making insurance available to all people, at uniform rates, regardless of pre-existing condition. Romney wouldn’t take those additional steps or anything like them. Romney promises that the tax (and regulatory) changes he envisions will cause more consumers to shop for insurance, producing more vibrant competition and bringing down the price of medical care. That may be true, to a point—even liberals like me agree that market forces in health care can be constructive. But the market Romney envisions simply won't work for a lot of people, because insurers will be able to exclude all but the safest medical risks.

David Cutler, the Harvard economist and former Obama campaign adviser, explained the situation at the new blog for the Journal of the American Medical Association:

    Letting people roam free to make purchasing decisions on their own is fine if markets work well. But health insurance markets don’t, as any economist (or consumer!) knows. In the individual market Romney envisions, people will not be guaranteed coverage; insurance premiums can increase without limit when a person gets sick; and basic benefits for mental health care, maternity care, and countless other services will be eliminated.

That last part, about the elimination of benefits, is a reference to Romney's wish to allow cross-state insurance sales. Most experts believe this would render most existing state regulations on benefits worthless, since insurers would gravitate to the states with the least requirements, just like credit card companies have. If prices came down, it'd only be because insurance was covering less.

One way to assess the impact of a Romney-like plan is to examine the impact of John McCain’s 2008 plan, which called for nearly the same set of changes. Here’s what one paper in the journal Health Affairs predicted would happen: "Moving toward a relatively unregulated nongroup market will tend to raise costs, reduce the generosity of benefits, and leave people with fewer consumer protections." An analysis by Linda Blumberg of the Urban Institute, came to essentially the same conclusion and suggested the result might even be fewer people with insurance.

The one, crucial unknown here is whether Romney would provide a refundable tax credit for health insurance, which means even poorer people could benefit from it, rather than a tax deduction. If so, it's possible more people would get insurance; at least one estimate of McCain's plan, which had a refundable credit, suggested it'd even approach, although not meet, the coverage expansion of what eventually became the Affordable Care Act. But that estimate was something of an outlier. More important, as Ramesh Ponnuru reported in his Bloomberg View column this week, the Romney campaign is leanng against doing so—most likely, I expect, because refundable tax credits cost a lot more money than tax deductions.

Republicans like Romney say they wish to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. But, as my friend Ed Kilgore observed recently at the Washington Monthly, these sorts of changes suggest their agenda is a lot more ambitious: It’s “repeal and reverse.”

Turn Medicare into a voucher scheme: Romney has been characteristically vague about this element, too, but he’s made plain his intention to adopt a scheme like the one House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has proposed. Today Medicare guarantees a set of benefits to all seniors, by providing a government-run insurance plan with the option to enroll in a private alternative. Romney would instead opt to create a “premium support” plan, which basically means giving seniors vouchers and having them use it to get insurance. (Romney would preserve traditional, government-run Medicare as an option, but many experts question whether it would survive for long.

The premium support idea has been kicking around a long time and there are versions of it that even liberals can support. The Affordable Care Act’s scheme for covering non-elderly Americans might fairly be described as one. But applying vouchers to the Medicare population, with its higher medical needs, would be inherently risky—something govenrmetn should do only with careful regulation and with guarantees of adequate funding. Romney and his Republican allies have indicated virtually no interest in doing this. On the contrary, they’ve indicated they want to squeeze Medicare for even more savings than the Affordable Care Care would (which hasn’t stopped Romney, or any other Republican, for criticizing the Affordable Care Act’s cuts as stealing from seniors).

These are the main reasons why Henry Aaron, the Brookings economist who helped develop andp promote the idea of premium support for Medicare, has warned against recent Republican versions of it.

Transform Medicaid into a block grant: The changes Romney envisions for Medicaid are, if anything, more profound. Today, Medicaid is an entitlement program. And that has as much significance for government as it does for individual beneficiaries.

As a condition for participating in the program, states must make Medicaid coverage available to everybody who meets the program’s eligibility guidelines—and provide a comprehensive set of benefits. States have authority to offer coverage to more people or to offer greater benefits to those who get it, if they choose. But they may not do less than the law requires. In exchange, the federal government agrees to cover a large share of the costs, even if swelling enrollment—the kind, for example, we typically see during economic downturns—makes the program a lot more expensive.

Romney would take away Medicaid’s entitlement status and turn Medicaid into a so-called block grant. Under such an arrangement, the federal government would basically cut the states a check, based on a fixed formula, and let them spend Medicaid money however they see fit. Block granting Medicaid has been a Republican cause at least since the early 1980s, when the Reagan Administration nearly pushed such a proposal through Congress, and it’s a prominent (if under-appreciated) feature of Ryan’s House budget. The theory is that states could provide better, broader coverage through innovation, if only they had more freedom.

But Medicaid already pays very little for services. While there are surely innovations that could make the program better, do you trust Rick Scott to make sure changes improve life for poor, vulnerable people in Florida? What about Rick Perry in Texas? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how that could go horribly wrong.

And the structural changes to the program are only part of the problem. Republican block grant proposals typically envision massive spending cuts to the program. Romney hasn’t been as specific about this, naturally. But if he were true to his vow to cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product while setting aside 4 percent for defense spending, it’s virtually certain he’d end up cutting Medicaid by as much if not more than Ryan would.

It’s not possible to say exactly what this would mean in practice. But it’s possible to get a sense of scale. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, citing estimates from researchers at the Urban Institute, said that Ryan’s proposal would mean between 14 million and 27 million people would lose Medicaid coverage. That’s above and beyond those who would lose Medicaid coverage because the Affordable Care Act, which expands Medicaid to more people, wouldn’t take effect under the Ryan-Romney plan.

Throw in the more than 30 million who wouldn't get insurance once the Affordable Care Act came off the books, plus those who'd lose coverage because of Romney's changes to private insurance, and you end up with between 45 and 58 million fewer people with health insurance, as Cutler first observed. (The damage would be less severe if Romney went with a refundable tax credit, but it'd still be more people uninsured than under current law and probably more people uninsured than today.) And, again, that doesn't include the many other people with insurance who will end up with weaker coverage.

* * *

Those are a lot of policy details, I know. But here’s a (relatively) simple way to think about it. Since modern health insurance first came to the United States in the 1930s, coverage has expanded, albeit fitfully, through a combination of private and public sector efforts. These efforts culminated in the Affordable Care Act, which, whatever it flaws, put in place a system that could eventually make affordable, decent coverage available to all Americans. Romney would run this process in reverse.

He and his supporters call that progress. Would you?

follow me on twitter @CitizenCohn


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on May 24, 2012, 06:17 PM
Bain Capital Explained By Tony Soprano

The national debate over private equity so far has hinged on the question of whether experience in the field qualifies Mitt Romney, the former Bain Capital executive, for the presidency. But a more vexing, and largely unanswered, question lies just beneath the surface: How is it, exactly, that an investment company can make millions even as the company it's ostensibly trying to turn around goes bust?

For that answer, we turned to what may seem like a less-than-reliable source: Tony Soprano.

The investors profit, it turns out, not despite the failure of the company, but in fact because of it.

In the organized crime world, the business practice is known as a bust out. A group of investors -- in Soprano's case, an entire family -- looks for companies that have a strong underlying business but are in distress thanks to heavy debt burdens. The investors then take over the company. In the mob's case, the family presents the business with a very high-interest loan -- an offer which, under the financial circumstances, is difficult to refuse -- and effectively takes control of the company with the threat of physical violence. Private equity investors, by contrast, buy control of the company's board by purchasing the firm's stock. But for both private equity firms and the mafia, investors use their control of the firm to take on more debt, while at the same time cutting costs by laying off workers.

Cash from the loans and cost savings are funneled back to the investors. This looting continues until the company can't pay its debts. When it finally collapses, the company files for bankruptcy to extinguish the debt -- but private equity investors, as well as mobsters, get to keep the gains they've already reaped.

Mark Galeotti, one of the leading experts in transnational organized crime, said it's a familiar tactic above ground and below it. "It's one of the classic tactics of organized crime," Galeotti, a New York University professor, told HuffPost. "You exploit it as far as you can and when you have essentially squeezed every possible bit of value out of it, you burn it. In organized crime's case, I mean that literally, whereas with private equity, it's planned bankruptcy. But essentially you dispose of it in as convenient a way as possible, and then you walk away."

Private equity isn't always this rapacious. Investors often oversee healthy restructurings that re-set struggling firms on stronger footing. But mafia-esque looting of productive enterprises has always been a part of the private equity business that has a terrible reputation, a stain that the industry has repeatedly attempted to remove with creative marketing efforts. Today, the industry is trying to replace common pejorative terms for its business, such as "corporate raider" and "vulture funds," with new phrases, such as "growth capital."

The difference between a "Sopranos"-style buyout and one executed by Bain Capital, Galeotti said, has to do with the mob's willingness to use illicit capital and unregulated violence to accomplish its goal. "Private equity firms, in the main, while there are exceptions, basically operate within the letter of the law, if not the spirit. What they do is legal. It can't be challenged in the courts even if it runs against, sort of, the notion of the social contract," Galeotti said. "Whereas organized crime, if they have to kill someone, or if they have to use dirty money to do it, they'll do it. So it's the methodology that is different. But if you actually think about, Well, what are they doing? How are they doing it? And what's the end result? There, it's strikingly similar."

Romney has been reluctant recently to delve too deeply into his private equity background, as the Obama administration has hammered the GOP candidate for profiting even while workers were left jobless -- in some cases, obligations for such workers' pensions were then met by the government, and the cost foisted on the taxpayer. On Wednesday, Romney declined twice to say whether he welcomed a full discussion of the nature of private equity. Instead, he accused President Obama of not understanding how private enterprise works. "Having been in the private sector for twenty-five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created – that someone who's never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand," Romney told Time magazine.

But if voters do come to understand private equity, the discussion might not end well for Romney. Capitalism unbounded by regulation can be an ugly thing. Galeotti pointed to Russia, where a barely existent regulatory regime has allowed an extreme version of the free market to flourish.

"There you actually have a much, much closer connection between finance and criminality, in that a lot of the organized crime groupings are very strongly operating within the sort-of-legitimate financial sector. Particularly there you have the phenomenon of what's called raiding, which is basically -- you don't even bother giving the loan, you find ways of forcing the company into your ownership, usually by bribing a judge to authenticate some document that says you've been given this by the original owner," Galeotti said. "In some cases, when they take over working businesses, they keep them as working businesses and skim the profits. But more often, precisely, it's these kind of short-term, squeeze-and-burn type ventures. You take over a company, use it, and then you discard it however you can."

The Obama campaign has recently raised the profile of private equity by highlighting the bankruptcy of Ampad, an office supply company that was busted out by Bain Capital. The company went bankrupt, while Bain investors made roughly $100 million.

The squeeze and burn has been dramatized both by "The Sopranos" and the film "Goodfellas," where mobsters take control of companies and run up their credit.

When one hapless victim, a man with a healthy sporting goods store and a corrosive gambling addiction, asks Soprano how the process will end, the fictional mob boss is ready with a precise answer.

"Planned bankruptcy," Soprano tells him.

from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/24/bain-capital-tony-soprano_n_1542249.html


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 25, 2012, 07:12 AM
 Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 1:26 PM
   
FACT CHECK: Romney off on Obama's love for unions

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney decried President Barack Obama as beholden to the nation's teachers' unions and unable to stand up for reform, he glossed over four years of a relationship that has been anything but cozy.

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO

AP Education Writer

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney decried President Barack Obama as beholden to the nation's teachers' unions and unable to stand up for reform, he glossed over four years of a relationship that has been anything but cozy.

Obama has promoted initiatives that encourage districts to tie teacher evaluations to student performance and to expand the number of charter schools - actions the teacher unions have long been against, and which Romney himself promoted Wednesday in a speech in Washington outlining his education platform.

He also painted a bleak picture of a country where millions of kids are getting a "third-world education" and whose international standing has fallen far behind, an assertion frequently used by politicians and debated by academics, though the most recent tests show that U.S. student scores haven't changed significantly and remain about average.

Here are some of Romney's statements on education, and how they line up with the facts:

ROMNEY: "President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses - and unwilling to stand up for kids."

THE FACTS: Several of the core tenets of the Obama administration's signature education initiative, the Race to the Top competition, are policies first heralded by Republicans and are in opposition to the steadfast positions of teacher unions on topics like school choice and merit pay for teachers.

In order to qualify for a slice of the $4 billion allotted for the first two rounds of the grant competition, more than a dozen states changed laws to link teacher evaluations to how well students perform on tests. The Department of Education also rewarded states that had lifted caps on the number of charter schools and created performance pay plans to award teachers whose students have made the most progress.

When a board of trustees in Central Falls, R.I., voted to fire all the teachers at one of the state's worst-performing schools in early 2010, Obama said the dismissals were an example of why accountability is needed at the nation's most troubled schools, causing a furor among union advocates.

At its annual meeting last year, the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, sent a message to Obama that it was "appalled" with Education Secretary Arne Duncan's practice of focusing heavily on charter schools, supporting decisions to fire all staff and using high-stakes standardized test scores for teacher evaluations, along with 10 other policies mentioned.

"Obama has taken on teachers unions unlike any previous Democratic president," said Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution. "Because of that his support among union members, although it is still there, is rather tepid."

---

ROMNEY: "The two major teachers unions take in $600 million each year. That's more revenue than both of the political parties combined. In 2008, the National Education Association spent more money on campaigns than any other organization in the country."

THE FACTS: Romney is correct that the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers pull in a lot of cash. The NEA took in more than $399 million in 2011, according to its annual report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. A similar report from the AFT shows it took in more than $211 million last year.

But neither was at the top of the political spending list four years ago. In 2008, the NEA doled out $29 million to federal, state and local political efforts, federal data show. That ranked them a distant third in political spending by labor unions that year. The Service Employees International Union was first, with $67 million, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was second with $63 million.

---

ROMNEY: "More than 150 years ago, our nation pioneered public education. We've now fallen way behind."

THE FACTS: Romney backed this assertion with figures from the most recent Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, which tests 15-year-olds around the world in math, reading and science. The United States ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math out of 34 developed countries. Those figures have been frequently cited by the Obama administration as well.

The test has only been administered since 2000, and shows U.S. students consistently hovering right around the average, at about the same achievement levels in math and reading as countries like Sweden, the United Kingdom and France. Overall, the U.S. scores are about the same as they were a decade ago, while some countries have improved.

"A better way for him to state it is to say American achievement is mediocre," Loveless said. "It's been mediocre for 50 years."

Romney also asserted that millions of students are getting a "third-world education." Looking again at the PISA test, students in schools where more than 75 percent of children were eligible for free and reduced-price lunch - a key indicator of poverty - scored an average of 446 points in reading. That's at about the same level as Chile and Serbia. Meanwhile, those in the wealthiest U.S. schools score nearly as high as the top performer, the Shanghai region of China.

---

ROMNEY: Students participating in the Washington, D.C., Opportunity Scholarship program made gains and "after three months, students could already read at levels 19 months ahead of their public-school peers."

THE FACTS: Romney's description of the success of the school voucher program, which helps low-income children in the nation's capital attend private elementary, middle and high schools, doesn't match up with Department of Education evaluations.

A congressionally mandated review of the program released in 2009 found that after three years - not three months - only some students saw those gains. About one-fourth of children who used the scholarship read 19 months ahead of their peers after three years. In general, however, students' gains were more modest. After three years in the program, students read at about four months ahead of their public-school peers.

A 2010 evaluation of the program found that on average, after four years, reading and math test scores of opportunity scholarship students were statistically similar to those not offered scholarships.

The program did, however, significantly improve students' chances of graduating from high school.

---

Associated Press writers Sam Hananel, Jack Gillum and Jessica Gresko in Washington contributed to this report.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on May 30, 2012, 07:13 AM
Romney campaign quietly scrubs all mentions of anti-labor adviser Peter Schaumber

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 14:10 EDT

The campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has scrubbed its website of all mentions of its former top labor adviser, Peter Schaumber, following the resignation of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Terence Flynn, who is accused of leaking internal government documents to Schaumber in violation of federal law.

Specifically, the Romney campaign appears to have spirited away a column published last Sept. by Schaumber that blames working people for America’s sagging economy and suggests that labor unions may no longer even be necessary. Schaumber was named Romney’s top labor policy adviser less than a week after writing that column, but he resigned in April following allegations involving improper leaks from Flynn.

Republican attorney Terence Flynn, who secured his spot on the NLRB thanks to a recess appointment by President Barack Obama in January, resigned his post on Sunday. Two successive NLRB Inspector General (IG) reports, one of them published last Friday, allege that Flynn gave internal documents to two former NLRB board members, including Schaumber. The IG began investigating the leak as a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities while on duty.

The first IG report on Flynn’s activities, published in March, triggered Schaumber’s exit from the Romney campaign less than a month later. Schaumber, the former chairman of the NLRB, was appointed by President George W. Bush and served during Flynn’s time as an NLRB attorney. The IG concluded that Flynn improperly leaked internal documents in 2010 and 2011 to Schaumber and Peter Kirsanow, an attorney for the National Association of Manufacturers and former NLRB board member.

A second IG report (PDF), published Friday by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back. It claims that an examination of Flynn’s government hard drive revealed numerous communications between he and Schaumber detailing internal NLRB deliberations and efforts to coordinate Schaumber’s messaging in the media.

“Given Mr. Flynn’s position as a Chief Counsel and his years of service, he knew, or should have known, that he had a duty to maintain the confidence of the information that he received in the performance of his official duties,” the report concludes. “We also find that the improper disclosure of information to former Members Kirsanow and Schaumber amounted to a conversion of the information for the private benefit of former Member Kirsanow and his client, the National Association of Manufacturers, and former Member Schaumber’s labor relations consulting and/or legal practice.”

Flynn’s attorney insists his client’s actions were not illegal. The Romney campaign, however, seems to be hedging its bets.

On Sept. 6, 2011, less than a week after he published an editorial in The National Review that quoted an NLRB board member’s dissenting opinion contained in privileged documents leaked by Flynn, Schaumber published a column on MittRomney.com that placed blame for America’s economic malaise squarely upon organized labor. Romney announced just six days later that he’d picked Schaumber to co-chair his labor policy advisory group.

That Sept. 6 column, along with every other mention of Schaumber, has since been scrubbed from Romney’s website. Despite the campaign’s attempt to send its former adviser down the memory hole, Schaumber’s anti-labor essay was preserved on Google Cache and archived by Raw Story.

In the column, Schaumber suggests that organized labor will simply have to relinquish bargaining power to management or “be satisfied with a smaller footprint in the private sector.” Schaumber goes on to claim that the Obama administration’s NLRB has too often favored the rights of working people, which he believes has impeded economic growth. He also adds that, in his view, laws protecting workers’ rights — on the books today because of union activism — have now made unionization of private sector employees “no longer necessary.”

Schaumber additionally suggests that if President Obama is elected to another term, it will “virtually guarantee [an NLRB] controlled by union partisans whose goal will be to continue to augment union power at the expense of workers’ rights and legitimate management interests,” saying, “Mitt Romney offers a different future.”

“He understands the harm to the economy caused by activist bureaucrats who make the law unstable and unpredictable to increase union power,” Schaumber opines. “In his extensive private sector experience, he has seen firsthand the importance of flexibility in the workplace and a cooperative, rather than combative, relationship between labor and management.”

President Obama has in recent weeks taken to criticizing Romney’s treatment of workers during his time as CEO of the private equity firm Bain Capital. Though most companies under Bain’s management did in fact stay in business, many faced significant cuts to workers’ pay, benefits and pensions, and President Obama has singled out a slew of firms that Bain essentially destroyed.

One particular case highlighted by the president’s reelection campaign details how Bain purchased majority stake in a Kansas City steel mill, Worldwide Grinding Systems, then changed changed its name to GST Steel and proceeded to slash employees’ monthly pension payouts, renege on a promise of health insurance and stack the company with massive debts.

When GST Steel finally went bankrupt less than a decade later, over 750 employees lost their jobs and Bain threw out their severance pay and pensions. The federal government was ultimately forced to pay $44 million to bail out the GST Steel’s pension fund, but Romney’s firm walked away with more than $16 million in profits.

Romney’s website explains that the candidate believes strengthening organized labor is “probably the last thing” America needs, and that as president he will encourage states to curb or eliminate union rights to collectively bargain for better worker pay and benefits.

The Romney campaign did not respond to Raw Story’s request for comment. It is not clear specifically when the Romney campaign removed Schaumber from its website.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 04, 2012, 07:01 AM
Romney adviser dismisses women’s issues as ‘shiny objects’

By David Edwards
Sunday, June 3, 2012 12:21 EDT

Mitt Romney’s senior campaign adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, on Sunday said that social issues important to women, like contraception coverage and abortion rights, were “shiny objects” that were being used to distract voters.

David Plouffe, one of President Barack Obama’s top aides, last week told New York Magazine that Democrats needed to be clear about what a Romney presidency would mean for women’s rights and other social issues.

“Potentially abortion will be criminalized,” Plouffe said.”Women will be denied contraceptive services. He’s far right on immigration. He supports efforts to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”

On Sunday, Fehrnstrom insisted that the Obama campaign strategy was not going to work.

“Mitt Romney is pro-life,” the senior adviser admitted to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election.”

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter noted that Romney had promoted his social policies throughout the primary season.

“If it’s not a social issue election then why did Mitt Romney just spend the last year campaigning on social issues?” she wondered. “These are his positions that he’s taken. Whether it’s giving bosses control over whether female employees can get contraception, being for the so-called personhood amendment that would ban all forms of abortion or telling the American people that he’ll get back to them on whether he supports Lilly Ledbetter [Fair Pay Act] — which is an economic issue and it should be a no-brainer, but the governor couldn’t even bring himself to be for that.”

“I think that getting rid of Planned Parenthood or a number of other social issues that the governor injected into the campaign — I think that women don’t like that intrusion,” she added. “What Mitt Romney is really saying that he’s going to do is he’s going to use government to intrude into their lives. And I think that they resent that.”

While Obama still leads Romney 51-40 among female voters, the GOP hopeful has rebounded by 13 points since early May, according to an ABC News/Washinton Post poll released last week.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 05, 2012, 09:29 AM
The con job by the con man called Mr. Pathological liar aka Mitt Romney. Note on the graph below how he would actually make poor people pay more in taxes while giving those already rich a deeper tax breaks that former President Bush. For those who live in America this should be a real wake up call to the actual reality of con man Romney.

From the American magazine Perspectives.

June 2, 2012

                                     Mitt Romney's Tax Fraud

Imagine that you are completing your federal tax return. After looking up the tax rate for your income level, you decide you will pay 20 percent less to Uncle Sam. But along with your underpayment, you include a handwritten note to the IRS letting the government know that you promise to make up the difference at some future date by not claiming some deductions to which you are currently entitled. That, you tell the tax collector, makes your tax return "revenue neutral."

If you're like most Americans, your fraud will earn you a fine at best and prison time at worst. But if you're Mitt Romney, you believe that plan qualifies you to be President of the United States.

To understand how Romney's shell game works, a short primer is in order first. In essence, the GOP presidential nominee has proposed what might be called the "Bush-Dole" plan. That, President Romney would make the budget-busting Bush tax cuts permanent, and then enact another 20 percent across-the-board reduction reminiscent of Bob Dole's failed 1996 scheme. As Matthew O'Brien summed it up in The Atlantic:

    First, he extends all of the Bush tax cuts. Second, he cuts income tax rates an additional 20 percent. Third, he undoes the tax hikes and credits from Obamacare and the stimulus. Finally, he eliminates the capital gains tax for all but the richest households. The first three parts of this plan shower high-earners with most of the money. The last part is a bit of a fig leaf for the rest of us. After all, the top 0.1% of households earn half of all capital gains. Exempting middle-class households from this tax certainly helps them, but there's just not that much money there.

(It's also worth noting that Romney wants to eliminate the estate tax, a move which could theoretically divert over $80 million from the United State Treasury to the his heirs.)

Unfortunately for a man who loves numbers, Mitt Romney's math simply doesn't work. Not only does his safety-net shredding budget provide yet another massive tax cut windfall for the wealthy, the Romney plan produces red ink as far as the eye can see. The Tax Policy Center estimated Romney's tax cuts would cost Uncle Sam $460 billion in 2015 alone. (Combined with the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the total figure would reach $900 billion.) As ThinkProgress and the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Ezra Klein documented, Mitt Romney's risky new scheme makes George W. Bush look like Karl Marx:

    Romney's claim that his plan would promote job and economic growth while reducing the deficit is also likely false. The Bush tax cuts were promoted under the same guise, only to blow a $2.5-trillion hole in the federal budget that was accompanied by worst performance of any post-war expansion" for growth in investment, GDP, and job creation. Romney's tax cuts are even more expensive, clocking in at a cost of more than $10.7 trillion over the next decade and reducing revenue to a paltry 15 percent of GDP, according to Linden. Balancing the budget on those terms, as Romney claims he will do, would be next to impossible.

Impossible, that is, unless Mitt Romney eliminates some of the deductions for workers, families and businesses that cost Uncle Sam over $1 trillion a year. And so far, the cowardly Republican nominee has refused to say which ones.

Earlier this year, his economic adviser Glenn Hubbard admitted Romney's cowardice, explaining "it is not his intention to take on any specific deduction or exclusion and eliminate it." Just two weeks later, Mitt Romney refused to reveal which deductions and tax breaks he would end:

    "So I haven't laid out all of the details about how we're going to deal with each deduction, so I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."

In response, the Post's Klein could only shake his head:

    "Let's be clear on this: A tax plan that can't be scored because it doesn't include sufficient details is not a plan. It's a gesture towards a plan, or a statement of intended direction, or perhaps an unusually wonky daydream. But it's not a plan."

Or at least, not a plan Mitt Romney will speak about publicly. As the Wall Street Journal reported in April:

    Mr. Romney discussed his plans while speaking to high-dollar donors at a private estate. During the backyard event, which could be heard by reporters outside on a public sidewalk, Mr. Romney offered policy specifics he has yet to unveil on the campaign trail...

    "I'm going to probably eliminate for high-income people the second-home mortgage deduction," Mr. Romney told supporters at the event Sunday. His plans could allow him to keep the same level of tax revenue but to lower rates, which he said would allow small businesses to keep a larger share of their earnings and expand their payrolls.

Sadly for Romney, that small step is nowhere near enough to make the budget math work.

It's important to understand that much of the estimated $1.3 trillion in annual tax expenditures in 2015 (a figure larger than the entire 2012 budget deficit and equivalent to about a third of the $3.8 trillion in federal spending next year) benefit working and middle income Americans. As the New York Times recently revealed, that trillion dollars in annual tax expenditures is now larger than Uncle Sam's take from the income tax each year. And as the Washington Post highlighted last year, "ever-increasing tax breaks for U.S. families eclipse benefits for special interests." For example, the home mortgage tax deduction for all Americans was worth $89 billion in 2011. Tax-deferred 401K accounts cost the Treasury $63 billion. The Earned Income Tax Credit had a similar $63 billion price tag last year.

But Mitt Romney still won't tell the American people which of these tough choices he would make. And as he has repeatedly made clear, that dishonesty and secrecy is a feature, not bug of Romney 2012.

Romney's penchant for withholding vital information from voters is no accident. As the former Massachusetts Governor inadvertently revealed in an interview with the Weekly Standard, his opacity is by design, a lesson learned from losing the 1994 Senate race:

    "One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don't care about education," Romney recalled. "So I think it's important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies. So for instance, I anticipate that housing vouchers will be turned over to the states rather than be administered at the federal level, and so at this point I think of the programs to be eliminated or to be returned to the states, and we'll see what consolidation opportunities exist as a result of those program eliminations. So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I'm not going to give you a list right now."

In a December profile by the Wall Street Journal, Governor Romney acknowledged that when it comes to facing the voters, discretion is the better part of valor:

    Amid such generalities, it's hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. "I happen to also recognize," he says, "that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn't been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you're gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election."

But what Mitt Romney calls "demagogues," most Americans would call "voters." And if they handled their own taxes the way he is proposing to, they would end up not in the White House, but in jail.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 06, 2012, 06:53 AM
Nobel-winning economist predicts Romney recession

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 14:56 EDT

Economist Joseph Stiglitz is hitting the media circuit to promote his new book. And as with any good book tour, he’s also throwing out a few political bombshells.

Primary example: Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, the Nobel Prize-winner and former World Bank chief claimed that if former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) is elected president in 2012, the risk of another recession will go up “significantly.”

“The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession,” he said, according to Bloomberg News.

Stiglitz went on to say that economic policies proposed by President Barack Obama and his challenger have “very big differences” because Obama views income inequality as a problem, whereas Romney does not.

Those two very different positions could mean the world to Americans in that Obama would attempt to address inequality with more progressive tax policies that levy higher rates on wealthy people, whereas Romney would accelerate inequality by lowering taxes on wealthy people and raising them on the poor.

Stiglitz’s characterization of Romney’s economic policies was recently supported by an analysis from The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, which found that reduced taxes on wealthy Americans, major spending cuts to social safety net programs and increased defense spending would have a disastrous effect on lower-income Americans. That effect will be especially pronounced among those who rely upon Social Security, which would have to be cut 59 percent by 2022 under Romney’s policies.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Stiglitz explained that Romney, like most Republicans, still adheres to the debunked principles of “trickle-down economics,” which he said encourages income inequality.

“[It] is based on the fallacy that inequality is good for economic growth, but again, the evidence is to the contrary,” he said. “Time and again, inequality has been shown to retard economic growth and promote instability. These are findings based on mainstream studies. Even the International Monetary Fund, not known for its radical economic stances, has come to recognize the adverse effects of inequality on economic performance.”

He added that income inequality also tends to encourage the most wealthy and influential to seek special protections from the government, which Stiglitz said has repeated itself throughout history. “Such rent-seeking behavior is a terribly inefficient use of resources: Rent-seekers don’t create value,” he said. “Rather, they use their privileged positions in markets to capture larger and larger portions of existing value. They distort the economy, lowering efficiency and economic growth.”

To begin addressing the problem of inequality, Stiglitz has recommended setting up “a fair tax system” that does not unfairly punish working people while giving the wealthy lower rates. President Obama has put several proposals on the table that would bring tax rates between the rich and poor more into line, but Republicans in Congress have consistently blocked progressive efforts to reform the tax code.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 10, 2012, 11:15 AM
June 07, 2012 04:00 PM

Mitt Romney's Ethics Problem: Creepy Fake Cop Edition

By karoli

This is just creepy. As Lawrence reported on The Last Word last night, Mitt Romney had a police uniform that he used to impersonate a police officer. This account has now been corroborated by another witness. Via National Memo:

    Phillip Maxwell, a prep school buddy, told the New Republic in 2008 that Romney had pulled over students from a girls school next door to Cranbrook while wearing a police uniform as a prank. Other former classmates described Mitt as a “happy-go-lucky guy known less for his achievements and more for his pranks.”

    In The Real Romney, a biography published by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman this year,another former friend recalled how Romney had “put a siren on top of his car and chased two of his friends who were driving around with their dates.” The two friends were in on the scheme, but the girls were not. There was beer in the car trunk, according to a prearranged plan. Mitt told his two counterparts to get out of their vehicle and into his car. Then they drove off, leaving the girls behind.“

    It was a terrible thing to do,” said one of his accomplices, a Cranbrook classmate named Graham McDonald.

    To some observers, Romney’s alleged masquerading as a cop to intimidate innocent drivers shows a character defect that is also revealed by other bullying incidents during his youth. When those incidents were disclosed in the Washington Post earlier this year, Romney issued an apology of sorts, stating that he had done “stupid” things and was sorry if he had harmed anyone.

This incident is creepy, but it also points to an authoritarian and anti-woman streak in Romney. Let's not forget that Romney's religion forbids any alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. To set up two women with beer in the car, pretend to be a cop, and leave them there with it? That's not a joke. That's a disgusting, authoritarian, nasty statement about what Romney thinks of women who don't comport with his idea of what women should be.

Interestingly, it seems that Romney has given himself a bit of cover on his Wikipedia page with the claim that he worked as a security guard during his first year at Stanford to pay for his trips home to see Ann. I predict now that he will use that bit of information to counter the claim that he used a Michigan police uniform to intimidate drivers and bully women. Yet, the bullying story comports with other behavior which has been corroborated, and it points to a deep, dark lack of ethics in Mitt Romney that emerges on an almost-daily basis in his propensity to lie in order to deny true allegations.

By 1966, when Romney was at Stanford, the anti-war protest movement was underway with full-throated force. Students were not friends with police and vice versa. Yet here is Mitt Romney, who protested against the protesters and for the war playing fake cop. Power complex, much?

You know who else plays fake cop? Serial killers and criminals. That's why it's a crime.

June 10, 2012 09:00 AM

Romney's Creepy Fake Cop Act Extends To Staffers

By karoli


I'm still sort of amazed that this story about Mitt Romney's creepy and weird cop impersonation hasn't gotten more traction. Conservatives whip up a frenzy to the point of Hannity running a series on "The Vetting of Barack Obama" over stupid things like a speech in college, or those nefarious missing transcripts or the insane and ongoing birther controversy, but if a Republican candidate impersonates a cop, and goes so far as to use that phony authority to frighten and abandon a couple of girls on the side of the road, then...crickets.

Unlike so much of the conservative manufactured fauxtrage, Romney's penchant for impersonating cops has implications that shouldn't be ignored, because they point to an authoritarian world view that would permeate how he approaches the office of President.

Lest you think otherwise, here is a story of some other cop impersonators who just happened to be Romney staffers. Joe Conason:

    If Mitt Romney had a penchant in his youth for masquerading as a state police officer — and there is reason to believe he did – then he seems to have attracted staffers with that same peculiar fantasy over the years. During the summer of 2007, months before the general public paid much attention to the Republican presidential candidates, Romney’s 2008 campaign stumbled into a scandal that led to the resignation of a top staffer accused of impersonating a state trooper, and allegations of similar misconduct by at least two others.

    A former gubernatorial aide to Romney at the Massachusetts state house who served as his “body man” in the early stages of the 2008 primary campaign, Jay Garrity provoked several reporters with thuggish behavior that led to investigations of his conduct in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich accused Garrity of waving his car over and ordering him to “veer off” from a campaign motorcade, claiming that he had “run” the license plate of Leibovich’s car.

And then there's this in 2007, from the Boston Herald, hardly a bastion of liberal journalism:

    In an apparent violation of the law, a controversial aide to ex-Gov. Mitt Romney created phony law enforcement badges that he and other staffers used on the campaign trail to strong-arm reporters, avoid paying tolls and trick security guards into giving them immediate access to campaign venues, sources told the Herald.

    The bogus badges were part of the bizarre security tactics allegedly employed by Jay Garrity, the director of operations for Romney who is under investigation for impersonating a law enforcement officer in two states. Garrity is on a leave of absence from the campaign while the probe is ongoing.

And this from Boston.com:

    State Police are investigating one of Mitt Romney's top campaign aides for allegedly impersonating a trooper by calling a Wilmington company and threatening to cite the driver of a company van for erratic driving, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the probe.

Also, The Politico in 2007:

    Boston's Fox affiliate has their hands on the tape of somebody calling themselves "Trooper Garrity," as the owner of the plumbing company in question claims the culprit was also faking his conversation with the state police barracks.

Alter Net:

    Just two days after Garrity's resignation, the Herald reported that Romney's event planner, Will Ritter, had uploaded a MySpace page painting himself as a "Jason Bourne-esque" figure in the description of the newspaper whose duties include "very secretive work" in "special ops."

Police impersonation seems to be a tactic Mitt Romney is perfectly comfortable with. I don't know about you, but to me this is not just one of those stories that we should shrug off as a smear. It's part and parcel of how Romney and Republicans view authority and its role in our government. On the one hand, they believe themselves to be above the law, and on the other, use the cover of authority to intimidate and bully their way toward whatever goal they may have.

Are there any investigative reporters left out there? If so, I'd like to suggest the names Jay Garrity, Mark Glanville and William Ritter as a place to start.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 12, 2012, 12:00 PM
June 12, 2012 12:35 PM

Romney’s Educational Tax Raid

By Ed Kilgore

I was remiss in not writing earlier about Mitt Romney’s big K-12 education initiative, which basically just involves taking all the existing federal money spent for this purpose and tossing it out there as a hand grenade designed for the destruction of public schools.

While the Obama administration has committed itself (to its own political peril) to the standards-and-accountability movement aimed at using federal dollars to leverage measurable improvements in low-performing public schools—a movement once championed by Republicans—Romney is moving in the opposite direction, proposing to turn over all those highly conditional taxpayer dollars to parents for use however and wherever they want, with zero accountability for results other than via abstract market forces. The primary beneficiaries, of course, will be private schools that will pocket public subsidies and do whatever they choose.

I know a lot of people, on the Left as well as the Right—think of “school choice” as a unitary philosophy, and consider the sharp distinctions drawn by Obama and many other Democrats between charter public schools and private schools as fairly meaningless. To them Romney is just going the logical next step beyond current law.

But the whole idea of charter schools is that they contract with public authorities to educate all students free of charge and be held accountable for specific levels of student achievement. Voucher systems like that proposed by Romney would eliminate any and all specific expectations. Both approaches are often considered threats to traditional public schools. But while public school choice is intended to challenge “traditional” schools to compete on a level playing field, voucher systems simply move the money elsewhere and abolish the “playing field” and most of the rules. It is a prescription for the destruction of the very idea of public education, other than as a mechanism for subsidizing private education.

Were Romney’s proposal to be implemented, it would place the power and the resources of the federal government against every state and local effort to improve public schools other than by their virtual abolition. Before long you’d doubtless see tax revolts against spending any tax dollars on education at any level; after all, why should any jurisdiction bother to tax itself simply to subsidize the private decisions of individual families to secure a service that is no longer viewed as public in nature?

Romney’s proposal is, of course, catnip to the Christian Right, which tends to view public schools as secularist reeducation camps designed to brainwash good God-fearing kids into accepting gay people and non-Christian religions and all sorts of nefarious modernism. Why not divert those tax dollars to the local Church of the Final Thunder Academy, free of those scary people of color, or better yet, to parents themselves for home-schooling? Next time you hear someone say Romney is a non-ideological technocrat who should be given a chance to see if he can somehow tune up the economy via those skills he deployed at Bain Capital, direct them to Romney’s education plan and ask how “moderate” it looks.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 14, 2012, 07:33 AM
p m carpenter

Romney is doing what has never been done

I'm not trying to be strident or outrageous, but it has come to this. In at least the spirit of mid-20th-century totalitarian propaganda techniques, the Romney campaign is all in.

We suspected as much when they unabashedly and later unapologetically lifted an Obama video from the 2008 campaign, in which the Democratic candidate repeated (attribution, clipped) the Republican candidate's self-troubled admission. The really stunning dimension of that Romney ad wasn't its naked misrepresentation--this is, after all, politics--but the Romney campaign's absolute refusal to concede its absolute untruth.

When pressed on the ad's scurrility, Romney's campaign spokesmen and Romney himself would just grin their wicked, knowing little grins--the black-hearted grin of the grifter, of the political thug, of the frustrated, unaccomplished novelist. George W. Bush reinvented Reality; now Mitt Romney will reinvent Truth--it is whatever Mitt Romney says it is, although it's even more repugnantly opportunistic than that; it is, plainly, whatever 50.1 percent of the electorate is willing to believe.

To truly be a first-rate propagandist of world-class scurrility, however, one must repeat one's naked transgressions against both reality and truth. You know, just to show the bleeding-heart bastards and media watchdogs and goo-goo types that one not only intends to play rough, but without any sign of correction or contrition or rehabilitation. Ever.

In short, bullying thugs double-down, which is precisely what the Romney campaign has done in this sickening ad, which purports a shocking presidential reversal on the merits of government employment. Here I'll just leave the ad's description at that;  the ad itself is too preposterous to bother with elaboration.

Doubtless the ad is aimed strictly at lowest-information voters. No one who has read a newspaper or watched any news in the last few months could absorb it without experiencing utter incredulity. And the more knowledgeable among us might be tempted to say--as I said above--well, this is, after all, politics. Everybody does it.

Yet there is something qualitatively different here. No one has ever "done it" like the Romney campaign; even throughout the heretofore most vicious presidential campaigns of, say, 1800 or 1828 or 1860, there were at least some elements of truthful reality in the wildest charges of monarchism or militarism and adulterous bigamy or violently unwanted government encroachment.

But this is new. What the Romney campaign's doing is staggeringly, venomously fresh. No one has ever done it before--not in America, anyway.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 14, 2012, 09:21 AM
From the American magazine "Perspectives"........

Romney's $25 Billion Voucher Plan Puts Public Schools at Risk

For Mitt Romney, the love that dare not speak its name is "vouchers." Two weeks after he delivered a major address on education policy in which he never mentioned the V word, the New York Times detailed Romney's proposal to divert $25 billion in taxpayer dollars to religious, private and for-profit schools. But voters don't have to imagine what that plan, an old GOP twofer designed to subsidize Christian institutions while bludgeoning Democratic-friendly teachers unions, will do to American public education. As the frightening results in states like Louisiana, Indiana, Georgia and Arizona show, the Republican voucher dream is fast becoming America's nightmare present.

Governor Romney has been an advocate of so-called "school choice" since his first run for the White House. In 2007, Romney suggested American parents should not only be encouraged to abandon the public schools; they should be rewarded for it with a tax break for home schooling their kids:

    "I also believe parents who are teaching their kids at home, homeschoolers, deserve a break, and I've asked for a tax credit to help parents in their homes with the cost of being an at-home teacher."

Now, as the Republican nominee outlined in a recent speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Romney wants to redirect $25 billion from two federal programs into a new voucher scheme. As the New York Times explained:

    As president, Mr. Romney would seek to overhaul the federal government's largest programs for kindergarten through 12th grade into a voucherlike system. Students would be free to use $25 billion in federal money to attend any school they choose -- public, charter, online or private -- a system, he said, that would introduce marketplace dynamics into education to drive academic gains.

But as the experience in Indiana and Louisiana suggests, that system would instead introduce large quantities of public cash into the coffers of religious schools and academies whose educational credentials may be suspect at best.

In "Vouchers Breathe New Life into Shrinking Catholic Schools," the Wall Street Journal last week revealed that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels' voucher program is proving a major boon to the bishops. "Driven by expanding voucher programs, outreach to Hispanic Catholics and donations by business leaders," WSJ reported, "Catholic schools in several major cities are swinging back from closures and declining enrollment." For example:

    Thanks to vouchers, St. Stanislaus, which was $140,000 in debt to the Catholic Diocese of Gary at the end of 2010, picked up 72 new students, boosting enrollment by 38%.

    "God has been good to us," says Ms. [Principal Kathleen] Lowry. "Growth is a good problem to have."

Mark Gray of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University explained why. As the Journal noted, getting more students enrolled in Catholic schools is "clearly one of the top priorities" for the church as it tries to get more faithful back into the pews. As Gray put it, "There is an important long-term effect on the Catholic population by having them in schools."

Of course, there is an important effect on public schools as well.

    Critics, including teacher unions, say vouchers drain resources from public schools, siphon off the brightest students with the most engaged parents, and, in the case of Catholic schools, violate the separation of church and state by sending tax dollars to religious institutions...Krista Stockman, spokeswoman for the nearby public school district Fort Wayne Community Schools, which lost nearly 400 students and $4.2 million in state funding to vouchers--more than any district in the state--says it is tough for her schools to compete. "There's this unfair perception out there that all private schools are better than public schools," she says.

That's certainly not the case in Bobby Jindal's Louisiana, where voucher-receiving institutions must be blessed by the state. As the Daily Kingfish noted, over 90 percent of the 115 schools qualifying for Jindal's $8.500 voucher are religious institutions. And as Reuters documented, many of the 7,450 slots reserved for voucher students are at some pretty suspect schools:

    The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

    The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

    At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

    "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.

Meanwhile in places like Arizona and Georgia, Republican governors and legislatures are trying to confuse taxpayers and the United States Supreme Court. In April 2011, a 5-4 majority upheld an Arizona law which tried to evade the voucher controversy by giving gives taxpayers there a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit of up to $500 for donations to private "student tuition organizations." The organizations are permitted to limit the scholarships they offer to schools of a given religion, and many of them do. While Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion claimed "awarding some citizens a tax credit allows other citizens to retain control over their own funds in accordance with their own consciences," dissenting Justice Elena Kagan saw through the façade. As the New York Times noted:

    Justice Elena Kagan, in her first dissent, said the majority had laid waste to the doctrine of "taxpayer standing," which allows suits from people who object to having tax money spent on religious matters. "The court's opinion," Justice Kagan wrote, "offers a road map -- more truly, just a one-step instruction -- to any government that wishes to insulate its financing of religious activity from legal challenge."

Georgia provides a case in point for the insulation of government financial of religious activity from legal challenge. There, a $50 million program supposedly offering $2,500 tax credits for donations to "nonprofit scholarship groups" to help poor and needy children turned into something else altogether. Instead, the New York Times documented last month, the Georgia program became just another vehicle to siphon government funds into non-secular schools:

    That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.

    "A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund," Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during an informational session. "The rest of the money will be channeled to the family that raised it."

    ...Most of the private schools are religious. Nearly a quarter of the participating schools in Georgia require families to make a profession of religious faith, according to their Web sites. Many of those schools adhere to a fundamentalist brand of Christianity. A commonly used sixth-grade science text retells the creation story contained in Genesis, omitting any other explanation. An economics book used in some high schools holds that the Antichrist -- a world ruler predicted in the New Testament -- will one day control what is bought and sold.

Of course, what is being bought and sold is our children's future. According to the Alliance for School Choice, in this year alone eight states "the programs redirected nearly $350 million that would have gone into public budgets to pay for private school scholarships for 129,000 students." Mitt Romney's ideology notwithstanding, education is not (or at least, shouldn't be) a free-market where parents purchase a product called test scores. But if it were, it would be a case of market failure. As Stephanie Mencimer pointed out, the dubious performance and questionable financial practices of charter schools has them in hot water with federal investigators. As the Washington Monthly detailed in April 2008, voucher programs in Cleveland and Milwaukee failed to produce better performance in the private versus public schools. (70 percent of students in the Milwaukee program attend religious institutions.) As the American Prospect reported last year:

    In Milwaukee, home of the oldest city voucher program in the country, researchers are in the middle of the five-year study of the program that is expected to shed light on the potential of voucher programs. But three years into the study, results are unimpressive. High school graduation and college enrollment are up 5 percent to 7 percent among voucher recipients, but overall performance between public school and voucher recipient cohorts is virtually the same.

It's no wonder Christopher Lubienski, an education professor at the University of Illinois, concluded that "Romney is on poor empirical ground in making a claim based on competitive effect." But for Mitt Romney, vouchers are all about bashing teachers' unions ("In 2008, the National Education Association spent more money on campaigns than any other organization in the country...and 90% of those funds went to Democrats") and putting public dollars in private pockets (as he did by endorsing the for-profit and Romney-donor Full Sail University).

Even, that is, if Mitt Romney is afraid to say the word "vouchers."


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 14, 2012, 11:54 AM
June 14, 2012 09:00 AM

Romney's New Lie About The Affordable Care Act

By karoli

This local interview in Iowa has apparently given Mitt Romney yet another lie to spew at his victims. This one goes something like this: President Obama is out of touch with small business needs and doesn't even understand how Obamacare is hurting them. Why look! Here's a small business that had to close one of its locations because Obamacare caused them to!

Yeah, except that's not exactly true. Greg Sargent explains:

    It turns out that the company didn’t close because of Obamacare at all, according to a company spokesperson. What’s more, the company sees lack of demand as the key problem — a lack of demand that is partly due to the drive to repeal or modify Obamacare, not to the implementation of the law itself.

    The company in question is called Nemschoff Chairs, and it manufactures a whole range of health care furniture for waiting rooms and so forth. Around 100 jobs are being moved out of Iowa as part of a consolidation with another plant in Wisconsin, where around 50 of those jobs will be preserved.

    [...]

    Schurman said that lack of demand for the product was a leading culprit. He pointed to a variety of factors that are inducing companies that buy Nemschoff’s health care furniture to hold off, including general economic conditions, the continuing bad news from Europe, and — yes — the drive to repeal or change Obamacare in Congress and the Supreme Court.

    “The ongoing uncertainty surrounding what health care reform will take place has caused some health care provider customers and other related aspects of the industry to defer investments in their facilities,” Schurman said.

    “The issue is not the administration’s propsed reforms,” he continued. “The issue is that there is no certainty as to what reform is going to look like. Is it going to be repealed or modified? Is it going to be decided in June by the Supreme Court, or the election? Or decided through a series of lawsuits?”

    “The uncertainty is caused by the ongoing debate,” Schurman said. “Were there no ongoing debate, there would be no uncertainty.”

There's that pesky demand thing again, that thing Mitt Romney just doesn't seem to understand. And this particular episode shows that not only does he not understand it, he's determined to lie about it in order to get to his desired political end, because Romney knows that he can lie about it and once the lie hits ears willing to hear, it doesn't really matter what the truth is.

Except for this: Romney is a liar. He's a liar, a bully, and has an infatuation with authoritarian behavior. That's a truth he won't be able to escape.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 19, 2012, 07:24 AM
June 18, 2012 04:26 PM

Chris Matthews: Mitt Romney Isn't a Candidate. He's a Speaker System.

Chris Matthews didn't pull any punches with his "Let Me Finish" segment this Monday evening where he took Mitt Romney to task for who he's pandering to: Matthews: Romney is ‘a speaker system,’ not a candidate:

    Let me finish tonight with this Romney character.

    I don't think Romney cares all that much about the presidency except that he wants it. If he weren't running, do you think this guy would be watching this or any other show on politics? Forget about it!

    Mitt cares about three things: his faith, his family, his business.

    Right now, his business is running for president. That's why he's interested in the presidency. It's his business to be interested. Listen to him answer questions. If the interviewer doesn't ask the most obvious thing, something that Mitt's briefers have been over and over with him, he seems stunned. He doesn't have an answer. Why? Because he never thought of that one!

    Fact is, he hasn't thought about many things outside his zone of interest, which again includes his faith, his family, his business. And this is the most dangerous thing about this guy. Since he doesn't have a foreign policy, he buys the foreign policies of the powers that be.

    So he sings the song of his neo-con so-called "advisers." What they really are, of course, are people who advocate a point of view — the need for a new war with each new Republican president — and they need someone in the White House to push it for them. They need a president who speaks their language. So they write his speeches. They want war with Iran. They just put it in the next speech.

    This, as I said, is the dangerous part. We've had experience with a president who came to office with an empty head on foreign policy and bought the entire neo-con pitch — hook, line and sinker. The result was the one war in this country's history that truly deserves a dunce cap.

    Mitt won't say a word about taxes that Grover Norquist might disapprove. He won't approve any deal to cut spending that Grover won't say "okay" to. That doesn't make Mitt a leader; it makes him "Grover's Rover." Grover says, "Fetch"? Mitt Fetches. Grover says, "Beg"? Mitt begs.

    Same with the religious right. Mitt won't say a word the Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham crowd hasn't approved for his political prayer book. There he was down at Liberty University getting an honorary degree. I didn't know they gave honorary degrees for pandering.

    The scariest thing about Mitt Romney is that he really is open for bids. He's sold his soul to every right wing faction that's out there: the neo-cons on foreign policy, the religious right on social policy, Grover on the tax issue.

    Why have a brain if you don't have to think? With this crowd around him, his only job is to do exactly what he's told.

    He's done just that. Listen closely: tell me if you ever, ever hear Mitt Romney say something that's not pluperfect right wing talking points, the exact words the pressure groups are telling him to say.

    This guy isn't a candidate. He's a speaker system.

It's too bad he didn't figure out the same thing about George W. Bush a whole lot earlier than he did.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 21, 2012, 08:02 AM
Sensata Employees Ask Mitt Romney To Save Their Jobs

By Kenneth Quinnell


Employees at Sensata Technologies in Freeport, Wisconsin, protested Mitt Romney's visit to nearby Janesville, asking the Republican presidential candidate and former head of Bain Capital for their jobs. Sensata is now owned by Bain and is in the process of laying off hundreds of American workers. The workers know that Romney has the influence at Bain to save their jobs and since he's campaigning on a "jobs first" platform, they asked him to put his money where his mouth is.

    "My priority is putting Americans back to work, that's job number one," said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

    Wisconsin is considered a battle ground state for the presidential election, and the main fight Monday was over jobs.

    "If your priority is jobs, you got to get rid of Obamacare," said Romney. "And I will."

    ...

    But not everyone thinks Romney is the right man for the job. Some people outside the rally don't think the country is his main priority.

    "People that are making that kind of money and that are paying this kind of money for these campaigns are not in the best interests of the American people," said Iver Knuth, who came to Janesville to protest against Romney.

    Not so far away in Freeport, over a dozen workers at Sensata Technologies are blaming Romney and a company he ran 2001, Bain Capital, for sending their jobs over seas. They want Romney to be more clear on how he plans to put them back to work.

    "I've never heard him just really say what he's going to do to save our economy," said Dot turner, whose job is being outsourced overseas.

    Romney's response; to invest in energy production like coal, oil, and natural gas.

    "I want that energy here, because I want those jobs here, were going to bring employment back up in America," said Romney.

The disconnect between Romney's words and his history is a major theme of his current bus tour across the Midwest:

    Mitt Romney’s “Every Town Counts” bus tour brought the presumptive Republican presidential nominee across southern Wisconsin and into Iowa Monday and Tuesday.

    But the towns didn’t count enough for him to learn their real histories and their real needs. And the tour scrupulously avoided towns where Romney’s Bain Capital continues to put the hurt on American workers.

    In Janesville, Wisconsin, where a sprawling General Motors plant closed three years ago, socking the town with one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, Romney failed during his stop to discuss the plant or GM. He couldn’t exactly rip into his November opponent, Barack Obama, for not doing eneough to reopen the plant—a credible gripe—since Obama worked during his first term to save GM while Romney talked up the idea of letting the company go bankrupt.

    That’s the problem for Romney. He has been on the wrong side of so many economic fights that it is impossible for him to play the economic populist in communities that could stand with a little populism.

    But the real story of Romney’s tour is the towns that don’t count with him.

    When Romney made stops in Janesville and Dubuque Monday, he was just up the road from the town of Freeport, Illinois.

    But Romney did not stop in Freeport, a town that like Janesville and Dubuque has been hard hit by trade and fiscal policies that encourage corporations to shutter US factories and ship jobs overseas—and that has been even harder hit by speculators who buy up factories, strip the assets and close them.

    On the day Romney was busing across the region, employees of Freeport’s Sensata Technologies plant gathered in front of the factory with handmade signs that read:

    “Romney! Stop Bain Outsourcing to China”

    “Mitt Romney Save Our Jobs”

    “Romney: Instead of talking about JOBS, just don’t ship MINE to China”

    The Sensata Technologies plant, which has been on the forefront of producing state-of-the-art automotive sensors, was owned by Texas Instruments, and then by Honeywell, before being sold in 2010 to Sensata Technologies Holding, N.V, a firm based in the Netherlands but majority-owned by Bain Capital. Bain, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney helped to develop and that continues to make him a very rich man, has since consolidated ownership of Sensata.

    The workers at the plant wanted Romney to make a slight detour on his bus trip and take a look at the devastation being caused by Bain’s machinations at a plant where many of them have worked for more than thirty years.

    The plant’s operations are rapidly skrinking as Sensata moves to outsource work from Illinois to China.

    “This used to be a very high-volume plant and now it’s pretty much a ghost town…and by the end of the year it will be a ghost town”, Sensata employee Cheryl Randecker told local reporters.

    Had Romney come to Freeport, he would have heard how much Bain’s approach has harmed not just the Sensata workers but Freeport and counties along the Illinois-Wisconsin stateline that have suffered more than their share of plant closings.



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 22, 2012, 08:32 AM
June 22, 2012 07:00 AM

Mitt Romney to GOP Governors: Shut Up About Economic Gains In Your States, Already!

By karoli


Remember when John Kasich went on Fox News and said "Anybody who would root against the economy has something wrong with them?" That was just one month ago. Someone should have told Mitt Romney that before he scuttled over to Florida and told Rick Scott to ixnay on the improvements in Florida.

Via Bloomberg News:

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

    What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

    Scott should follow the advice of the Romney campaign and it won’t undermine his own message, said Mac Stipanovich, a political strategist and lobbyist in Florida.

    “This is one of those situations where you could have it both ways and there’s enough truth in it that it would resonate,” Stipanovich said. “It would be better if everybody was singing from the same hymnal.”

Only, it's bull. There is that. But then, truth isn't all that important to Mitt, as we know. We also now know that he is just fine with rooting against economic recovery for political gain, just like his compatriots in Congress. So yes, I think Governor Kasich may have stated it best: Mitt Romney's got something wrong with him.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 22, 2012, 11:14 AM
June 22, 2012 10:00 AM

Romney Led Bain's Investments in Outsourcing Firms, Despite What Fact-Checkers Say

By karoli

This Obama campaign ad received four pinocchios from the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, the fact-checking guru of WaPoLand.

    Regarding the outsourcing claims, we have frowned on these before. The Obama campaign rests its case on three examples of Bain-controlled companies sending jobs overseas. But only one of the examples — involving Holson Burns Group — took place when Romney was actively managing Bain Capital.

    Regarding the other claims, concerning Canadian electronics maker SMTC Manufacturing and customer service firm Modus Media, the Obama campaign tries to take advantage of a gray area in which Romney had stepped down from Bain — to manage the Salt Lake City Olympics — but had not sold his shares in the firm. We had previously given the Obama campaign Three Pinocchios for such tactics.

    The Modus Media case is also not an example of shipping jobs overseas. The company closed one plant in California and transferred the jobs to North Carolina, Washington and Utah. At the same time, it opened an unrelated plant in Mexico. The Obama campaign once trumpeted the fact that we had dinged a conservative Super PAC for making the same leap in logic.

Bad, naughty Obama campaign, misleading viewers that way. Oh, wait. Because the Washington Post also has this story running on page 1 this morning about how Romney did, in fact, outsource jobs to China and Mexico during his time at Bain Capital. And it directly contradicts Mr. Pinnochio-Giver Kessler:

    Until Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, he ran it with a proprietor’s zeal and attention to detail, earning a reputation for smart, hands-on management.

    Bain’s foray into outsourcing began in 1993 when the private equity firm took a stake in Corporate Software Inc., or CSI, after helping to finance a $93 million buyout of the firm. CSI, which catered to technology companies like Microsoft, provided a range of services including outsourcing of customer support. Initially, CSI employed U.S. workers to provide these services but by the mid-1990s was setting up call centers outside the country.

    Two years after Bain invested in the firm, CSI merged with another enterprise to form a new company called Stream International Inc. Stream immediately became active in the growing field of overseas calls centers. Bain was initially a minority shareholder in Stream and was active in running the company, providing “general executive and management services,” according to SEC filings.

    By 1997, Stream was running three tech-support call centers in Europe and was part of a call center joint venture in Japan, an SEC filing shows. “The Company believes that the trend toward outsourcing technical support occurring in the U.S. is also occurring in international markets,” the SEC filing said.

    Stream continued to expand its overseas call centers. And Bain’s role also grew with time. It ultimately became the majority shareholder in Stream in 1999 several months after Romney left Bain to run the Salt Lake City Olympics.

    Bain sold its stake in Stream in 2001, after the company further expanded its call center operations across Europe and Asia.

Oh, and there is more. Much, much more. Mr. Glenn Kessler should have to retract his judgment, though I'm certain he will follow in Politifact's footsteps and find a way to dig in harder. He will do this despite hard, factual evidence that Bain Capital not only invested in companies specializing in outsourcing services, but also invested in companies that moved operations overseas, just like the OFA ad claims.

    In addition to taking an interest in companies that specialized in outsourcing services, Bain also invested in firms that moved or expanded their own operations outside of the United States.

    One of those was a California bicycle manufacturer called GT Bicycle Inc. that Bain bought in 1993. The growing company relied on Asian labor, according to SEC filings. Two years later, with the company continuing to expand, Bain helped take it public. In 1998, when Bain owned 22 percent of GT’s stock and had three members on the board, the bicycle maker was sold to Schwinn, which had also moved much of its manufacturing offshore as part of a wider trend in the bicycle industry of turning to Chinese labor.

    Another Bain investment was electronics manufacturer SMTC Corp. In June 1998, during Romney’s last year at Bain, his private equity firm acquired a Colorado manufacturer that specialized in the assembly of printed circuit boards. That was one of several preliminary steps in 1998 that would culminate in a corporate merger a year later, five months after Romney left Bain. In July 1999, the Colorado firm acquired SMTC Corp., SEC filings show. Bain became the largest shareholder of SMTC and held three seats on its corporate board. Within a year of Bain taking over, SMTC told the SEC it was expanding production in Ireland and Mexico.

The dates aren't an accident. These companies were on track to close and move operations overseas along with the jobs long before Romney left Bain. Long before.

The Obama campaign responded to the article with the following statement:

    “Tonight's story in the Washington Post exposed Mitt Romney's breathtaking hypocrisy. He has campaigned all over this country, vowing that he would be an advocate for American jobs. But tonight we learned that he made a fortune advising companies on how to outsource jobs to China and India. Maybe that explains why, despite his campaign rhetoric, Romney continues to support tax policies that would reward companies who send American jobs overseas."

It really is devastating to Romney, after all. The whole premise of his candidacy rests on his so-called better ability to create jobs. Yet here he is, working hard to destroy them.

The next time you hear Mitt Romney claim that he's all about jobs, just remember how many he sent overseas. Oh, and fire the fact-checkers.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 24, 2012, 08:43 AM
Access For Sale! GOP $500K Donors Get To Rub Elbows With Mittens And Party Elite

By Susie Madrak

It's a little obscene, isn't it? Once you're a national candidate, the only people who get to talk to you are the people who don't actually need help - but insist they do. I'd say at $500 thou a head, they're doing a lot better than everyone else in the rest of the country:

    PARK CITY, Utah —They schmoozed with Mitt Romney at a barbecue cookout at the Olympic Park, pressing him on labor regulations and the threat of a nuclear Iran as downhill skiers performed midair flips behind them.

    They rubbed elbows with Beth Myers, who is running Mr. Romney’s vice-presidential search, in the packed lobby bar of the Chateaux at Silver Lake, over $15 glasses of Scotch.

    And they mingled with Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, during an intimate “Women for Romney victory tea,” held on an umbrella-shaded patio in this resort town.

    The Romney campaign, whose fund-raising prowess has defied assumptions about President Obama’s financial advantages, offered wealthy donors and bundlers an extraordinary level of access to the candidate, his staff members, advisers and family this weekend at a three-day retreat that even seasoned political contributors said dwarfed previous presidential powwows.

    Mr. Romney’s political operation seemed to all but shut down and relocate to the mountains of Utah. At least 15 senior campaign figures flew in for what blue-blazered guests from Texas, North Carolina and New York dubbed Republicanpalooza, delivering briefings on the effectiveness of Mr. Romney’s and Mr. Obama’s commercials and spinning them through the latest polling data, which they said showed the race as a dead heat.

    “Everybody was completely accessible,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Romney fund-raiser who said the candidate took the time to warmly greet and thank him by his nickname, Mooch, at a dinner on the first night of the retreat.

    Yet for all the political and financial firepower assembled here, the Romney confab was not the only, or necessarily the most exclusive, gathering of ultrarich Republicans this weekend. In a simultaneous demonstration of the party’s fund-raising might, the industrialist billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch held a conference for conservative megadonors at a resort outside San Diego. Over the past few years, their high-dollar strategy sessions have been the marquee events of the Republican campaign finance set.

    The Koch conference touched off an unexpected — and for the Romney campaign, somewhat unwelcome — competition for top-flight moneyed supporters. While Mr. Romney’s campaign officials have made it clear that they appreciate the efforts of wealthy backers like the Kochs, there was consternation among some on his finance team that the brothers decided to move forward with their conference after Mr. Romney scheduled his for the same weekend. As one fund-raiser noted, Mr. Romney is, after all, the candidate.

    The Romney campaign offered donors who gave $50,000 or raised $100,000 intimate seminars and discussions featuring leading Republican lights, past and present: Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, James Baker III, John McCain and Jeb Bush, whose presence represented a symbolic embrace of a candidate who struggled to win over the disparate elements of his party in the bruising primary.



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 24, 2012, 10:25 AM
June 24, 2012 09:00 AM

Romney "Sick at Heart" Over Bain Job Losses

By Jon Perr

Back in 2007, Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney declared that taking a big payment from a company that later failed "would make me sick, sick at heart." If so, Romney by now must be badly in need of a quadruple by-pass. Because as the New York Times became just the latest to report, through massive consulting fees, sales of stock and, most perversely, dividend payments, Romney and his partners at Bain Capital reaped whirlwind profits even when the companies they acquired collapsed.

Back in January, McClatchy offered this primer on how private equity firms like Bain Capital work, at least on paper. As candidate Romney explained at a GOP debate back in June 2007, "Don't forget that when companies earn profit, that money is supposed to be reinvested in growth."

But as the New York Times documented Friday, large sums of that money were going to Mitt Romney and his Bain colleagues whether their portfolio companies were profitable or not. Put another way, Bain won either way:

    Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain's funds.

Cambridge Industries, which filed for bankruptcy in 2000 after amassing $300 million in debt, is hardly unique when it came to Bain's "win even when they lose" business model:

    Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year "advisory fee" in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.

    In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain's investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.

"Traditionally," Josh Kosman wrote in his 2009 book The Buyout of America, "cash-rich public companies have paid dividends to lure and reward investors." But private equity firms, he explained, stand this process on its head:

    Fourteen of the largest American private equity firms had more than 40 percent of the North American companies they bought from 2002 until September 2006 pay them dividends. In thirty-two of the eighty-three case, 38 percent, they took money out in the first year.

    Mitt Romney was a pioneer of this strategy. His private equity firm, Bain Capital, was the first large PE firm to make a serious portion of its money not from selling its companies or listing them on the stock exchange, but rather by collecting distributions and dividends, which in this context is the exact opposite of reinvesting in a company. Bain Capital is notorious for failing to plow profits back into its businesses.

Just how notorious was first detailed by the Times five years ago during Mitt Romney's first presidential bid:

    One transaction, involving the medical diagnostics company Dade Behring, took place in 1999 as Mr. Romney was leaving the firm, and the other, involving KB Toys, occurred about two years later. Bain and its co-investors extracted special payments of over $100 million from each company, enabling Bain to make a healthy profit even before re-selling the businesses -- a practice known as "getting back your bait." Lenders say Bain is one of the firms that has taken the most in such payments, which companies usually make by taking on additional debt.

    Both Dade Behring and KB Toys soon suffered dips in their business. Unable to meet the burden of their debts, each filed for bankruptcy and laid off thousands of workers. Bain Capital spokesmen have said the company did nothing improper.

    Mr. Romney, who remains an investor in Bain Capital, said he had not been involved in those decisions but acknowledged that such payments became part of the buyout business "very early on."

It's with good reason, as President Obama recently explained of PE firms like Bain, "Their priority is to maximize profits, and that's not always going to be good for businesses or communities or workers." But while "these Bain Capital guys were agents of the shareholder-value revolution", as one analyst but it, that didn't stop shareholders of KB Toys and Stage Stores from suing Bain Capital over the firm's profit maximization at their expense. (A settlement was reached in the KB Toys case.)

During tenure as CEO from 1984 to 1999, Bain invested in 40 companies in the U.S. While seven later went bankrupt, the Times found that "In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money." That mirrors a January 2012 analysis by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed:

    Bain produced stellar returns for its investors--yet the bulk of these came from just a small number of its investments. Ten deals produced more than 70% of the dollar gains.

    Some of those companies, too, later ran into trouble. Of the 10 businesses on which Bain investors scored their biggest gains, four later landed in bankruptcy court.

Mitt Romney may claim that he had not been directly involved in the Dade and KB death spirals or others before and since. But as a damning New York Times examination showed in December, Romney still reaps millions of dollars annually from Bain:

    Though Mr. Romney left Bain in early 1999, he received a share of the corporate buyout and investment profits enjoyed by partners from all Bain deals through February 2009: four global buyout funds and 18 other funds, more than twice as many overall as Mr. Romney had a share of the year he left. He was also given the right to invest his own money alongside his former partners. Because some of the funds and deals covered by Mr. Romney's agreement will not fully wind down for several years, Mr. Romney is still entitled to a share of some of Bain's profits.

Some of those profits came from companies like the now-shuttered KB Toys and Clear Channel Communications, which axed 2,500 employees after its purchase by Bain.

Reflecting on his time at Bain, Romney in 2007 sounded almost remorseful about the kind of plunder for profit the New York Times described this week:

    "It is one thing that if I had a chance to go back I would be more sensitive to," Mr. Romney said. "It is always a balance. Great care has got to be taken not to take a dividend or a distribution from a company that puts that company at risk." He added that taking a big payment from a company that later failed "would make me sick, sick at heart."

If Mitt Romney becomes the 45th President of the United States, it will be the American people who would become sick at heart. While Paul Krugman predicted "I think Ireland is America's future if Romney is president," his fellow Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned, "The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession." Or as Mark Hopkins of Moody Analytics summed it up:

    "On net, all of these policies would do more harm in the short term. If we implemented all of his policies, it would push us deeper into recession and make the recovery slower."

To put it another way, if Romney wins, America loses. Of course, that sickening result is one Mitt Romney knows all too well.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 26, 2012, 07:26 AM

Companies’ Ills Did Not Harm Romney’s Firm

Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

The Boston headquarters of Bain Capital, a firm that usually found a way to make money from companies it controlled even when they ultimately went bankrupt.

By MICHAEL LUO and JULIE CRESWELL
Published: June 22, 2012

Cambridge Industries, an automotive plastics supplier whose losses had been building for three consecutive years, finally filed for bankruptcy in May 2000 under a mountain of debt that had ballooned to more than $300 million.

Among the faltering companies Bain controlled: a GS Industries steel mill in Kansas City, Mo., whose entrance sign showed its decay,

Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year “advisory fee” in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.

In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain’s investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.

That Bain was able to reap revenue from Cambridge, even as it foundered, was hardly unusual.

The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.

Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.

Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.

Bain officials vigorously disputed any notion that the firm had profited when its investors lost, arguing that a full accounting of their costs across their business would show otherwise. They also pointed out that Bain employees put their own money at risk in all of the firm’s deals.

“Bain Capital does not make money on investments when our investors lose money,” the company said in a statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is based on a misleading analysis that examines the income of a business without taking account of expenses.”

To a large extent, however, this is simply the way private equity works, offering its practitioners myriad ways to extract income and limit their risk. Mr. Romney’s candidacy has helped cast a spotlight on an often-opaque industry.

In four of the seven Bain-owned companies that went bankrupt, Bain investors also profited, amassing more than $400 million in gains before the companies ran aground, The Times found. All four, however, later became mired in debt incurred, at least in part, to repay Bain investors or to carry out a Bain-led acquisition strategy.

Perhaps most revealing are the few occasions, like with Cambridge Industries, when Bain’s investors lost. Lucrative fees helped insulate Bain and its executives, records and interviews showed.

Piling On Debt

Having spun off from a management consulting firm, Bain has always been known for its data-driven, analytical approach. Under Mr. Romney, the firm scored some remarkable successes, enabling its investors — wealthy individuals and institutions like pension funds — to collect stellar returns.

The companies that fell into bankruptcy were clearly the exception, and the causes were also often multilayered. Some companies proved too troubled to rescue, and others were hit by broader economic or industrywide downturns.

A one-stop destination for the latest political news — from The Times and other top sources. Plus opinion, polls, campaign data and video.
   
In at least three of the seven bankruptcies, however, companies appear to have been made more vulnerable by debt taken on to return money to Bain and its investors in the form of dividends or share redemptions.

That was arguably the case with GS Industries, a troubled Midwest steel manufacturer that Bain acquired in 1993, investing $8.3 million. The private equity firm took steps to modernize the steelmaker. A year later, the company issued $125 million in debt, some of which was used to pay a $33.9 million dividend to Bain, securities filings show.

The private equity firm plowed an additional $16.2 million into the steelmaker, but when the industry experienced a downturn in the late 1990s, the company could not manage its heavy debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, but Bain’s investors still earned at least $9 million.

Debt from acquisitions, usually part of a “roll-up” strategy of buying competitors, played a role in at least five of the seven bankruptcies The Times examined. In most of these cases, Bain investors garnered some initial gains before the companies faltered.

For example, after Bain acquired Ampad, a paper products company, in 1992, the company grew through a series of acquisitions. Sales jumped, but its debt climbed to nearly $400 million, and it found itself squeezed by “big box” office retailers. It filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Bain and its investors walked away with a profit of more than $100 million on their $5 million investment, on top of at least $17 million in fees for Bain itself, according to securities filings and investor prospectuses.

A similar phenomenon unfolded with DDi, a Bain-owned circuit board maker that expanded aggressively in the late 1990s. Sales soared, but so did its debt. The bursting of the tech bubble forced it to scale back. It filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The gains for Bain’s investors easily exceeded $100 million. Bain also collected more than $10 million in fees.

Substantial Fees

The numerous fees collected by private equity firms have been a frequent lightning rod for the industry. First, the firms charge their investors a percentage of the fund as a management fee, meant to cover its overhead. During Mr. Romney’s tenure, this was initially 2.5 percent and then dropped to 2 percent. Private equity firms also collect transaction or deal fees, ostensibly for advisory work, from companies they buy. These fees are generally collected for major transactions, like the purchase of another company, a public stock offering or even the initial acquisition of the company. A third fee stream comes from annual monitoring or advisory fees that portfolio companies typically pay to their owners, the buyout firms.

These fees can be substantial. In the case of Dade International, a medical supply company in which Bain acquired a stake in 1994, Bain and other investment firms piled up nearly $90 million in fees over seven years. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2003 but not before it had borrowed heavily to pay $420 million to Bain and other investors several years earlier.

In 1998 alone, Mr. Romney’s final full year at Bain, The Times was able to identify roughly $90 million in fees collected by the firm across its various funds, a figure that is probably low because most companies in Bain’s portfolio did not have to file financial disclosures.

These fees covered Bain’s expenses — like rent, salaries and lawyers — and the bulk of the remaining money was awarded to Bain employees as annual bonuses.

Bonuses were relatively small some years, like from 1989 to 1991, when the savings and loan crisis and other events slowed business. In that period, Bain managing directors made roughly $300,000 to $400,000 a year, mainly from their salaries, excluding gains from investments, according to an executive familiar with Bain’s compensation. By the mid-1990s, as Bain grew, managing directors’ annual incomes, again excluding investment returns, had swollen to $3 million to $5 million, mainly thanks to bonuses derived from fees.

The companies that fell into bankruptcy were clearly the exception, and the causes were also often multilayered. Some companies proved too troubled to rescue, and others were hit by broader economic or industrywide downturns.

In at least three of the seven bankruptcies, however, companies appear to have been made more vulnerable by debt taken on to return money to Bain and its investors in the form of dividends or share redemptions.

That was arguably the case with GS Industries, a troubled Midwest steel manufacturer that Bain acquired in 1993, investing $8.3 million. The private equity firm took steps to modernize the steelmaker. A year later, the company issued $125 million in debt, some of which was used to pay a $33.9 million dividend to Bain, securities filings show.

The private equity firm plowed an additional $16.2 million into the steelmaker, but when the industry experienced a downturn in the late 1990s, the company could not manage its heavy debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, but Bain’s investors still earned at least $9 million.

Debt from acquisitions, usually part of a “roll-up” strategy of buying competitors, played a role in at least five of the seven bankruptcies The Times examined. In most of these cases, Bain investors garnered some initial gains before the companies faltered.

For example, after Bain acquired Ampad, a paper products company, in 1992, the company grew through a series of acquisitions. Sales jumped, but its debt climbed to nearly $400 million, and it found itself squeezed by “big box” office retailers. It filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Bain and its investors walked away with a profit of more than $100 million on their $5 million investment, on top of at least $17 million in fees for Bain itself, according to securities filings and investor prospectuses.

A similar phenomenon unfolded with DDi, a Bain-owned circuit board maker that expanded aggressively in the late 1990s. Sales soared, but so did its debt. The bursting of the tech bubble forced it to scale back. It filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The gains for Bain’s investors easily exceeded $100 million. Bain also collected more than $10 million in fees.

Bonuses were not the main drivers of the immense wealth accumulated by Mr. Romney and other Bain executives. That came from their share of Bain’s “carried interest,” the firm’s cut of its funds’ investment profits, as well as the returns from personal investments in Bain deals.   

Bain officials insist that fees were never a way for the company to garner much in the way of profits and pointed out fee structures for every fund are agreed-upon in advance by investors. They said fees supported the firm’s staff-intensive approach to managing companies. Totaling up the hours Bain employees put into deals at standard consulting rates, they said, would far exceed what the firm actually collected. They said fees also covered the costs of hundreds of deals researched every year and not pursued or completed.

Investors have succeeded in the past decade in pressing private equity firms for a greater share of these fees. In 2009, a trade group representing institutional investors issued guidelines it believed firms should follow, including turning over all advisory and deal fees to investors, also known as limited partners. “The battle over fees is right now going in the limited partners’ direction,” said Steven N. Kaplan, a University of Chicago finance professor.

Bain began splitting some fees with its investors in 2000. In the firm’s newest fund, Bain officials said they would funnel all deal fees to their limited partners.

Bain prides itself on the personal money its employees put into deals, saying its co-investment rate is among the highest in the industry. The percentage during Mr. Romney’s tenure sometimes ran to nearly 30 percent but was usually less, according to records and interviews.

“We are collectively the single largest investor in every portfolio company and every fund,” the company’s statement said. “When our portfolio companies grow and perform, investors and Bain Capital do well. In rare instances when a business fails, Bain Capital employees share in the negative economic consequences of those losses.”

Offsetting Losses

When deals sour, however, fees can provide a hedge.

Toward the end of Mr. Romney’s tenure, Bain bought Anthony Crane, a crane rental company, which then acquired a slew of smaller competitors, financed by debt. But a building slowdown hit the company hard, and it filed for bankruptcy in 2004, wiping out $25.6 million from Bain’s investors, along with $9.5 million from Bain employees. The firm, however, collected $12 million in fees over the life of the deal.

Bain officials maintained they still lost money on Crane because it also cost them $5.1 million in carried interest that they otherwise would have garnered from gains in the rest of the fund.

When Bain bought a troubled chain of maternity stores called Mothercare in 1991, its investors put $1.24 million into the deal. Bain repositioned the company and upgraded its merchandise, but the stores still struggled. Bain offloaded the chain in 1993 at a total loss, and the new owners put it into bankruptcy. Bain still collected $1.5 million in fees while it owned the company, bankruptcy records show.

In the case of Cambridge Industries, Bain first acquired a stake in the manufacturer of plastic automotive parts in 1995. Bain employees personally invested $2.2 million, according to bankruptcy records, alongside $15.7 million from outside investors.

Bain immediately collected $2.25 million from Cambridge as a transaction fee for investing in the company. Cambridge then acquired several companies in rapid succession, and each time, Bain earned 0.75 percent of the purchase price as a transaction fee. The rest of Bain’s $10 million in fees came through advisory fees and payments for a debt refinancing completed by Cambridge in 1997.

By then, interest payments from the company’s expansion were outstripping operating income. As part of the refinancing, aimed at lowering interest payments, Cambridge repaid $17 million it owed to a debt fund run by Bain. This involved paying it a $2 million prepayment penalty.

Cambridge was finally forced into bankruptcy in 2000, when Bain declined to provide the company with an infusion of capital needed to fulfill a major new order, according to former company officials. During bankruptcy proceedings, lawyers for some of Cambridge’s creditors leveled scathing criticism at Bain, zeroing in on the fees extracted while they said Cambridge was insolvent, as well as the prepayment to Bain’s debt fund.

Eventually, Bain settled the dispute by paying $1.5 million to the bankruptcy trustee.

“We have been unable to identify what, if any, ‘reasonably equivalent value’ the Company received in exchanges for these exorbitant fees,” Michael Stamer, a lawyer for the unsecured creditors committee, wrote to Bain’s lawyers. “It appears, instead, these fees were nothing more than a device used by Bain to provide a return on its equity.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 26, 2012, 07:28 AM

June 26, 2012 06:00 AM

Bad Week for Bain-onomics

By Mike Lux

When the Obama campaign started raising questions about the way Bain Capital operated when Romney was the CEO, some Democrats who are close to Wall Street immediately starting complaining. We shouldn’t be attacking “capitalism”, they said, or the financial industry. But those Democrats are looking pretty foolish after the stories that have come out over the past few days. It has never been capitalism or even the financial industry being attacked when Bain’s style of operating is the subject: it is the worst kind of vampire capitalism that the Obama campaign is going after.

The idea of questioning Bain has always been essential to this campaign, because Romney has made clear that his main qualification to be President is the work he did at Bain. As the New York Times put it in their story Saturday “Companies’ Ills Did Not Harm Romney’s Firm”:

“Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.”

But now, with this major new NYT story, plus the Washington Post pioneer-in-outsourcing story, it is becoming increasingly obvious to everyone why the Obama campaign and people like me have been making a big deal about Bain for a long time. All capitalism is not the same, and Bain is right up there with companies like Goldman Sachs in the sleaziness with which they make their money. What Bain did in buying these companies was to create a structure where they made money no matter what. As the saying goes, it’s nice work if you can get it- but you can’t get it unless you are willing to be absolutely brutal in pursuing your own profits at the expense of everyone else. What Bain did wasn’t just capitalism, but the worst sort of capitalism. As the NYT and other media sources have so explicitly laid it out, at least 7 Bain-owned companies went bankrupt, but “Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.” Bain loaded these companies with debt, in part so they could pay Bain millions (sometimes tens of millions) of dollars in fees. They then wrote off the debt on their taxes. In some cases (at least 4 times according the NYT story) Bain amassed huge short term profits before the companies, weighed down with the debt Bain forced on them, sunk under the weight of that debt.

Some of the companies Bain bought did better than that. Of course, some of those that did were out-sourcing and off-shoring pioneers. And others did better in great part by laying off huge numbers of workers and/or slashing the wages and benefits of many others. This is the track record that is “at the heart of [Romney’s] case for the Presidency”?

The debate over Bain-onomics is exactly the kind of debate this country should be having. We are at a make or break moment for the American middle class. What should our path forward be? Will it be the path of Bain and the biggest banks on Wall Street, which put profits over everything else, making millions because other people went broke and lost their jobs? Or will it be a path that invests in the health of our economy and the business sector from the bottom up? This is the fundamental choice for Americans: do we help and promote the kind of businesses that make and sell products and services here in America? Do we help the economy by investing in our people, giving them good education, college loans, and decent wages so they can buy goods from the small businesses in their community? Do we help our small businesses with start-up capital and giving them a fighting chance to compete with the big dogs? Or is our government going to be 100% geared toward the big incumbents who already have big money and market share and well-connected lobbyists who can get them sweetheart deals and tax breaks?

I think the Obama team has been absolutely right to engage all-out in this debate over Bain, and to frame this race as to who will fight for the middle class in their moment of need. This new ad shows they get it:


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 26, 2012, 01:11 PM
The art of deception and duplicity......

Mitt Romney's no-policy problem

By: Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns
June 24, 2012 07:06 AM EDT

Mitt Romney’s aides suggested that when the Republican appeared before a Hispanic advocacy group on Thursday he’d address immigration.

But when Romney spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), he only reiterated what he had said earlier in the week about the citizenship status of children of illegal immigrants.

“I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure,” he told the group about President Barack Obama’s hotly debated directive regarding the DREAM Act.

But on the question of what exactly such a long-term solution would be, the GOP nominee isn’t saying.

Vague, general or downright evasive policy prescriptions on some of the most important issues facing the country are becoming the rule for Romney. Hoping to make the campaign strictly a referendum on the incumbent, the hyper-cautious challenger is open about his determination to not give any fodder to Obama aides hungry to make the race as much about Romney as the president.

Romney is remarkably candid, almost as though he’s reading the stage directions, about why he won’t offer up details: he thinks it will undermine his chances to win.

“The media kept saying to Chris, ‘Come on, give us the details, give us the details,’’’ Romney has said about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial race. ‘’We want to hang you with them.’”

It’s a lesson the former Massachusetts governor said he took from his first, painful foray into electoral politics in 1994.

“One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” Romney told the Weekly Standard this spring.

That’s not to say Romney doesn’t have plans: he suggested at an April fundraiser overheard by reporters that the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development might be eliminated or merged with other agencies, and even said he’d pay for proposed tax cuts by eliminating the second home mortgage deduction.

But as he enters the heat of this year’s campaign, Romney is testing just how far he can go in not telling voters what policies he’d pursue in the White House.

He’s not entirely alone in sticking to a do-no-harm strategy when it comes to policy proposals. Obama has offered scant detail about how he’d balance the budget in a second term, let alone what his top priorities would be for the next four years. The Romney campaign contends that Obama should be held to a high standard as the incumbent.

“President Obama has had three and a half years to get this economy moving and put us on a path to a balanced budget, tackle long-term immigration reform and strengthen our military. But all we have seen is broken promises and a lack of leadership with no plans to make things better in the future,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

“On the other hand, Mitt Romney has provided an unprecedented level of detail during the course of the campaign and will continue to discuss his plans to get the economy back on track between now and the election.”

But Republicans not affiliated with Romney’s campaign aren’t so sure about that level of detail, and worry that Romney thinks running out the clock is sufficient to win.

“The Romney strategy the past eight weeks has been, in a small way, shrewd: have the candidate out there talking in a candidate-like manner, but don’t let him say anything so interesting that it will take the cameras off Mr. Obama,” wrote conservative columnist Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. “The president is lurching from gaffe to mess, from bad news to worse. Don’t get in his way as he harms himself. It’s working, but won’t for long. People want meaning, a higher and declared purpose.”

For Democrats, Romney’s refusal is a both a source of frustration and a target to shoot at. It’s hard to make the contest a “choice” campaign when the challenger is so determined to minimize his own issue profile in the race.

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo urged Obama to challenge Romney aggressively to “give me your plan” for the country. Right now, Cuomo said, Romney’s “playing the Nixon game. Nixon said, ‘I have a plan but you won’t know it until you elect me as president.’ ”

“His whole case is, ‘Trust me, I made myself rich,’ ” Cuomo said of Romney. “We should know what our choices really are. You know what our choice is with Obama. He hasn’t hidden anything. He’s not suggesting that he’s holding back anything. So you know Obama, but you do not know Romney. And that’s done deliberately and it’s not fair.”

On multiple major issue areas, Romney has left holes in the public record about what he’d do as president:

Immigration

Obama’s directive offering legal status to some children of illegal immigrants prompted the most recent, and perhaps most egregious, example of Romney’s hiding the ball.

Asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” four times if he’d overturn Obama’s order, the Republican wouldn’t say yes or no. Romney only insisted he’d offer a “long-term solution.” He then deployed the same generic phrase later in the week to NALEO.

But it’s not just on the children of illegal immigrants that Romney has been purposefully vague – he’s also not laid out a plan for what he’d do about the entirety of the 11 million individuals in the country illegally. Worried that coming out for some sort of path to citizenship will anger border hawks on the right but conscious of the need for Hispanic votes to win, Romney has stuck to generalities during the general election after hard-line rhetoric in the primary season.

“I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner,” he told NALEO, indicating how he’d go about addressing the issue but not what he’d actually do about it.

The policies Romney has laid out on immigration tend to focus on more educated, higher-skilled immigrants, proposing to increase visa caps and give green cards to foreigners who obtain advanced degrees in the U.S. Romney has spoken of an electronic system for verifying workers’ legal status, which would make it harder for businesses’ to hire undocumented workers’ — and perhaps, over time drive those workers out of the country. He’d also give permanent resident status to illegal immigrants who served in the military.

Romney does seem to have bigger ideas on the matter, but he just seems reluctant to lay it out. As long ago as last December, he told the conservative Washington Examiner: “I actually have a plan in mind, I haven’t unveiled it.”

“This issue is now part of the election debate and not going away,” said Ana Navarro, the former national Hispanic campaign chair for John McCain. “I don’t know whether or not he’ll give specific answers on DREAM [
Act] and a plan for undocumented [immigrants], but I do know the questions will persist.”

Balancing the budget

It’s on the matter of how he’d get the country’s fiscal house in order that Romney has been so candid about why he won’t be specific. In the Weekly Standard interview this spring, he said he’d eliminate entire agencies – but then declined to say which ones.

“I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies,” he told reporter Stephen Hayes. But, noting what the Kennedy race taught him, Romney added: “I’m not going to give you a list right now.”

Last summer, Romney waited until virtually the last possible moment to weigh in on the standoff over the debt ceiling – and then sided against congressional GOP leaders who cut an 11th hour deal with the White House. When the Republican laid out his tax reform plan earlier this year in Detroit he proposed lowering all income tax rates by 20 percent and indicated he’d pay for such reduced revenue by eliminating deductions – without naming which ones he’d eliminate. Romney has even admitted that his plan can’t be fully evaluated because he hasn’t named the offsets.

The cuts he has identified have tended to come with price tags closer to the million than to the trillion dollar mark. Romney supports privatizing Amtrak, cutting foreign aid, reducing funding for programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He argues that eliminating Obama’s health-care bill would save billions, but independent budget analysts aren’t so sure.

If the candidate has been mum publicly about the bigger-ticket programs he’d cut and what loopholes he’d do away with, he has revealed some of his intentions in private.

If not the Rosetta Stone to his presidential intentions, Romney’s remarks at a Florida fundraiser in April made clear that he’s just not saying publicly what his ideas are about how exactly he’d balance the budget.

“Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later,” Romney told the donors.

And the Education Department? “I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely.”

That wasn’t all he revealed, though, when it came to his governing intentions: there was also a riff on how’d he pay for his tax cut.

“I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, also floating the possibility that he’d do away with state income and local property taxes.

Since Romney’s comments at the event were reported, his campaign has made the fundraisers open to the press and the candidate has stopped going beyond his standard stump speech.

Foreign policy and the Afghan war

Romney has spoken about his foreign policy vision largely in terms of tone and posture. Unlike Obama, Romney says, he won’t “apologize for America.” He’ll speak out more strongly against regimes he views as hostile, like Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

There are a few areas where Romney’s policy is relatively specific: he has pledged to expand the Navy, label China a currency manipulator, push through new trade and security agreements in Latin America and never openly criticize Israel. Romney has spoken enthusiastically about missile defense and opposed Obama’s arms reduction efforts with Russia.

As far as specific global crises go, Romney’s proposals have ranged from the cautious to the nonexistent. He criticized Obama in a November debate for endorsing a quick drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, saying this isn’t “time for America to cut and run.” But he hasn’t announced his own war strategy, except to listen to “the generals.” The Afghanistan policy on his website includes one bullet point: “Ensure Buy-In from Afghan and Pakistani Governments.”

He blasts Obama’s track record on Iran, saying the president should have imposed tougher sanctions earlier and supported democratic uprisings in 2009. A second Obama term would mean a nuclear weapon for Iran, Romney says; a Romney administration would not.

Looking ahead, though, Romney’s approach is as vague as Obama’s: escalating diplomatic and economic pressure while reserving the option of a military strike. There’s little obvious distinction on North Korea, either.

And forget about an Israeli peace plan or anything of the kind. Romney told the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington this month that his Israel policy would be to “do the opposite of Obama” – a comprehensive strategy, in a way, but not a detailed one.

Romney has weighed in on the conflict in Syria, saying the U.S. should work with allies to get arms to opposition forces. But he has rarely mentioned Syria in his campaign, and has resisted calls by other Republicans – such as John McCain – for air strikes on the Arab state.

Regulating Wall Street

Romney has been crystal clear about his view of the Dodd-Frank banking law passed by the Democratic Congress and signed by Obama: it has to go.

As to what he’d put in its place, Romney is considerably hazier.

Romney says he doesn’t just want to tear down the banking reform law and let Wall Street run wild and free. Romney’s campaign has criticized the Volcker rule, which regulates certain kinds of proprietary trading and wants major changes to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But Romney says he supports regulation of the derivatives market, and wants to rollback the government role in housing and mortgages, which he views as deleterious. On his campaign Web site, Romney pledges to “repeal Dodd-Frank and replace [it] with [a] streamlined, modern regulatory framework.”

The contents of that “framework” are almost entirely unknown. Romney policy adviser Lanhee Chen offered the closest thing to detail in an early June interview with Bloomberg TV’s Al Hunt. Chen insisted that Romney would not support returning to a “dog- eat-dog kind of situation where there’s absolutely no regulation.”

“Gov. Romney has made clear that we do need some regulation of derivatives trading, that we do need to have some kind of consumer protections in place, that we do need to look seriously at things we can do to ensure that the financial services industry is regulated in a reasonable way,” he said. “But Dodd-Frank is really not the answer. And so, you know, I think we have to resist the temptation to caricature what a post-Dodd-Frank world looks like.”

At a campaign rally in Michigan this week, Romney showcased his standard message on banking reform.

“Who wants four more years of Dodd-Frank that makes it harder for banks to make loans to small business?” Romney asked supporters, drawing a loud “No!” from the crowd.

© 2012 POLITICO LLC


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jun 28, 2012, 07:38 AM
Mendacious Mitt: Romney's bid to become liar-in-chief
   
Michael Cohen   
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 June 2012 18.31 BST   

When challenged about an untruthful statement, Romney's tactic is to deny he said it – lie trumping lie, writes Michael Cohen.

Four years ago, when I was writing about the 2008 presidential campaign, I wrote with dismay and surprise at the spate of falsehoods coming out of John McCain's campaign for president. McCain had falsely accused his opponent Barack Obama of supporting "comprehensive sex education" for children, and of wanting to raise taxes on the middle class, while his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, took credit for opposing the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere", which she had actually supported.

At the time, such false and misleading claims from a presidential candidate seemed shocking: they crossed an unstated line in American politics – going from the usual garden-variety campaign exaggeration to willful lying.

Ah, those were the days … after watching Mitt Romney run for president the past few months, he makes John McCain look like George Washington (of "I Can't Tell A Lie" fame).

Granted, presidential candidates are no strangers to disingenuous or overstated claims; it's pretty much endemic to the business. But Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.

Now, in general, those of us in the pundit class are really not supposed to accuse politicians of lying – they mislead, they embellish, they mischaracterize, etc. Indeed, there is natural tendency for nominally objective reporters, in particular, to stay away from loaded terms such as lying. Which is precisely why Romney's repeated lies are so effective. In fact, lying is really the only appropriate word to use here, because, well, Romney lies a lot. But that's a criticism you're only likely to hear from partisans.

My personal favorite in Romney's cavalcade of untruths is his repeated assertion that President Obama has apologized for America. In his book, appropriately titled "No Apologies", Romney argues the following:

    "Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable."

Nothing about this sentence is true.

President Obama never went around the world and apologized for America – and yet, even after multiple news organizations have pointed out this is a "pants on fire" lie, Romney keeps making it. Indeed, the "Obama apology tour", along with the president bowing down to the King of Saudi Arabia, are practically the lodestars of the GOP's criticism of Obama's foreign policy performance (the Saudi thing isn't true either).

But foreign policy is a relatively light area of mistruth for the GOP standard-bearer. The economy is really where the truth takes its greatest vacation in Romney world. First, there is Romney's claim that the 2009 stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Obama "didn't work". According to Romney, "that stimulus didn't put more private-sector people to work." While one can quibble over whether the stimulus went far enough, the idea that it didn't create private-sector jobs has no relationship to reality. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill created more than 3m jobs – a view shared by 80% of economists polled by the Chicago Booth School of Business (only 4% disagree).

Romney also likes to argue that the stimulus didn't help private-sector job growth, but rather helped preserve government jobs. In fact, the Obama years have been witness to massive cuts in government employment. While the private sector is not necessarily "doing fine", as Obama said in a recent White House press conference, it's doing a heck of a lot better than the public sector.

And the list goes on. Romney has accused Obama of raising taxes – in reality, they've gone down under his presidency, and largely because of that stimulus bill that Romney loves to criticize. He's accused the president of doubling the deficit. In fact, it's actually gone down on Obama's watch.

Romney took credit for the success of the auto bailout – even though he wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt". He's said repeatedly that businesses in America see Obama as the "enemy", and that under his presidency "free enterprise" and economic freedom" are at risk of disappearing. In reality, since taking office, corporate profits, industrial production and the stock market are up, while corporate bankruptcies have actually decreased.

Then, there is the recent Romney nugget that the Obama administration passed Obamacare with the full knowledge that it "would slow down the economic recovery in this country" and that the White House "knew that before they passed it". It's an argument so clearly spun from whole cloth that according to Jonathan Chait, the acerbic political columnist for New York Magazine, Romney is "Just Making Stuff Up Now".

Also of Obamacare, Romney has said that it will lead to the government taking over 50% of the economy (not true) – its true cost can't be computed (that's why we have a Congressional Budget Office in the United States); that it will create to "a massive European-style entitlement" (many liberals wish this were true, but alas, it is not); and that it will lead to a government-run healthcare system (a lie so pervasive that it's practically become shorthand for Republicans – yet it too, like the infamous made-up death panels of the health care debate, is simply not accurate).

The lying from the Romney campaign is so out-of-control that Steve Benen, a blogger and producer for the Rachel Maddow show compiles a weekly list of "Mitt's Mendacity" that is chockfull of new untruths. Benen appears unlikely to run out of material any time soon, particularly since Romney persists in repeating the same lies over and over, even after they've been debunked.

This is perhaps the most interesting and disturbing element of Romney's tireless obfuscation: that even when corrected, it has little impact on the presumptive GOP nominee's behavior. This is happening at a time when fact-checking operations in major media outlets have increased significantly, yet that appears to have no effect on the Romney campaign.

What is the proper response when, even after it's pointed out that the candidate is not telling the truth, he keeps doing it? Romney actually has a telling rejoinder for this. When a reporter challenged his oft-stated assertion that President Obama had made the economy worse (factually, not correct), he denied ever saying it in the first place. It's a lie on top of a lie.

Now, it's certainly true that on the campaign trail, facts can be stretched in many different directions – and both parties, including President Obama, frequently make arguments that are misleading, lacking in context or simply false. But it is virtually unheard of for a politician to lie with such reckless abandon and appear completely unconcerned about getting caught.

Back in the old days (that is, pre-2008) it would have been considered unimaginable that a politician would lie as brazenly as Romney does – for fear of embarrassment or greater scrutiny. When Joe Biden was accused of plagiarizing British Labor Leader Neil Kinnock's speeches in 1988, it derailed his presidential aspirations. When Al Gore was accused of exaggerating his role in "inventing the internet" (which, actually, was sort of true), it became a frequent attack line that hamstrung his credibility. Romney has done far worse than either of these candidates – yet it's hard to discern the negative impact on his candidacy.

Romney has figured out a loophole – one can lie over and over, and those lies quickly become part of the political narrative, practically immune to "fact-checking". Ironically, the more Romney lies, the harder it then becomes to correct the record. Even if an enterprising reporter can knock down two or three falsehoods, there are still so many more that slip past.

It's reminiscent of the old line that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on. In Romney's case, his lies are regularly corrected by media sources, but usually, in some antiseptic fact-checking article, or by Democratic/liberal voices who can be dismissed for their "partisan bent". Meanwhile, splashed across the front page of newspapers is Romney saying "Obamacare will lead to a government take-over of healthcare"; "Obama went on an apology tour"; or "the stimulus didn't create any jobs". Because, after all, it's what the candidate said and reporters dutifully must transcribe it.

Pointing out that Romney is consistently not telling the truth thus risks simply falling into the category of the usual "he-said, she-said" of American politics. For cynical reporters, the behavior is inevitably seen to be the way the political game is now played. Rather than being viewed and ultimately exposed as examples of a pervasive pattern of falsehoods, Romney's statements embed themselves in the normalized political narrative – along with aggrieved Democrats complaining that Romney isn't telling the truth. Meanwhile, the lie sticks in the minds of voters.

As MSNBC's Steve Benen told me:

    "Romney gets away with it because he and his team realize contemporary political journalism isn't equipped to deal with a candidate who lies this much, about so many topics, so often."

Romney is charting new and untraveled waters in American politics. In the process, he is cynically eroding the fragile sense of trust that exists between voters and politicians. It's almost enough to make one pine for the days when Sarah Palin lied about "the Bridge to Nowhere".

****************

For a total list of all the lies Mr.Duplicity and pathological liar please clink this link. You will be stunned.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/01/12010806-chronicling-mitts-mendacity-vol-xx?lite


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Jul 03, 2012, 10:29 AM
THE OFFSHORE CANDIDATE
Secret Accounts, Tax Loopholes, Mysterious I.R.A....
Check, Check And Check


Where the Money Lives


http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts

For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. Nicholas Shaxson delves into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.
By Nicholas Shaxson

A person who worked for Mitt Romney at the consulting firm Bain and Co. in 1977 remembers him with mixed feelings. “Mitt was … a really wonderful boss,” the former employee says. “He was nice, he was fair, he was logical, he said what he wanted … he was really encouraging.” But Bain and Co., the person recalls, pushed employees to find out secret revenue and sales data on its clients’ competitors. Romney, the person says, suggested “falsifying” who they were to get such information, by pretending to be a graduate student working on a proj­ect at Harvard. (The person, in fact, was a Harvard student, at Bain for the summer, but not working on any such proj­ects.) “Mitt said to me something like ‘We won’t ask you to lie. I am not going to tell you to do this, but [it is] a really good way to get the information.’ … I would not have had anything in my analysis if I had not pretended.

“It was a strange atmosphere. It did leave a bad taste in your mouth,” the former employee recalls.

This unsettling account suggests the young Romney—at that point only two years out of Harvard Business School—was willing to push into gray areas when it came to business. More than three dec­ades later, as he tried to nail down the Republican nomination for president of the United States, Romney’s gray areas were again an issue when he repeatedly resisted calls to release more details of his net worth, his tax returns, and the large investments and assets held by him and his wife, Ann. Finally the other Republican candidates forced him to do so, but only highly selective disclosures were forthcoming.

Even so, these provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, “I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.” But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” It could be that Sankaty is an old vehicle with little importance, but Romney appears to have treated it rather carefully. He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003, the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. The director and president of this entity is R. Bradford Malt, the trustee of the blind trust and Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list this entity on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an “excepted investment fund” that would not need to be on his disclosure forms. He finally included it on his 2010 tax return. Even after examining that return, we have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates. While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.

That’s not the only money Romney has in tax havens. Because of his retirement deal with Bain Capital, his finances are still deeply entangled with the private-equity firm that he founded and spun off from Bain and Co. in 1984. Though he left the firm in 1999, Romney has continued to receive large payments from it—in early June he revealed more than $2 million in new Bain income. The firm today has at least 138 funds organized in the Cayman Islands, and Romney himself has personal interests in at least 12, worth as much as $30 million, hidden behind controversial confidentiality disclaimers. Again, the Romney campaign insists he saves no tax by using them, but there is no way to check this.

Bain Capital is the heart of Romney’s fortune: it was the financial engine that created it. The mantra of his campaign is that he was a businessman who created tens of thousands of jobs, and Bain certainly did bring useful operational skills to many companies it bought. But his critics point to several cases where Bain bought companies, loaded them with debt, and paid itself extravagant fees, thereby bankrupting the companies and destroying tens of thousands of jobs.

Come August, Romney, with an estimated net worth as high as $250 million (he won’t reveal the exact amount), will be one of the richest people ever to be nominated for president. Given his reticence to discuss his wealth, it’s only natural to wonder how he got it, how he invests it, and if he pays all his taxes on it.

Ironically, it was Mitt’s father, George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns, in November 1967, just ahead of his presidential campaign, thereby setting a precedent that nearly every presidential candidate since has either willingly or unwillingly been subject to. George, then the governor of Michigan, explained why he was releasing so many years’ worth, saying, “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”

But his son declined to release any returns through one unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate, in 1994, one successful run for Massachusetts governor, in 2002, and an aborted bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination, in 2008. Just before the Iowa caucus last December, Mitt told MSNBC, “I don’t intend to release the tax returns. I don’t,” but finally, on January 24, 2012—after intense goading by fellow Republican candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry—he released his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011.

These, plus the mandatory financial disclosures filed with the Office of Government Ethics and released last August, raise many questions. A full 55 pages in his 2010 return are devoted to reporting his transactions with foreign entities. “What Romney does not get,” says Jack Blum, a veteran Washington lawyer and offshore expert, “is that this stuff is weird.”

The media soon noticed Romney’s familiarity with foreign tax havens. A $3 million Swiss bank account appeared in the 2010 returns, then winked out of existence in 2011 after the trustee closed it, as if to remind us of George Romney’s warning that one or two tax returns can provide a misleading picture. Ed Kleinbard, a professor of tax law at the University of Southern California, says the Swiss account “has political but not tax-policy resonance,” since it—like many other Romney investments—constituted a bet against the U.S. dollar, an odd thing for a presidential candidate to do. The Obama campaign provided a helpful world map pointing to the tax havens Bermuda, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands, where Romney and his family have assets, each with the tagline “Value: not disclosed in tax returns.”

Romney’s personal tax rate is a particular point of interest. In 2010 and 2011, Mitt and Ann paid $6.2 million in federal tax on $42.5 million in income, for an average tax rate just shy of 15 percent, substantially less than what most middle-income Americans pay. Romney manages this low rate because he takes his payments from Bain Capital as investment income, which is taxed at a maximum 15 percent, instead of the 35 percent he would pay on “ordinary” income, such as salaries and wages. Many tax experts argue that the form of remuneration he receives, known as carried interest, is really just a fee charged by investment managers, so it should instead be taxed at the 35 percent rate. Lee Sheppard, a contributing editor at the trade publication Tax Notes, whose often controversial articles are read widely by tax professionals, is nonplussed that the Obama campaign has been so listless on the issue of carried interest. “Romney is the poster boy, the best argument, for taxing this profit share as ordinary income,” says Sheppard.

In the face of such arguments, Romney’s defense is that he never broke the rules: if there is a problem, it is in the laws, not in his behavior. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” he said. Even so. “When you are running for president, you might want to err on the side of overpaying your taxes, and not chase every tax gimmick that comes down the pike,” says Sheppard. “It kind of looks tacky.”

The assertion that he broke no laws is widely accepted. But it is worth asking if it is actually true. The answer, in fact, isn’t straightforward. Romney, like the superhero who whirls and backflips unscathed through a web of laser beams while everyone else gets zapped, is certainly a remarkable financial acrobat. But careful analysis of his financial and business affairs also reveals a man who, like some other Wall Street titans, seems comfortable striding into some fuzzy gray zones.
The Caped Avoider!

One might perhaps accept an explanation by Romney’s campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, that the candidate’s failure to include his Swiss account in earlier financial disclosures was merely a “trivial inadvertent issue.” But deeper questions do emerge.

All the assets on Mitt’s financial disclosures are in blind trusts or retirement accounts held by him and Ann. Blind trusts are designed to avoid conflicts of interest for those in public office by having politicians’ assets managed by independent trustees. The Romneys’ blind trust was created when Mitt was elected governor of Massachusetts. Curiously, the Romneys appointed Bradford Malt as their trustee. It’s certainly true that under Malt the trusts don’t appear to be as blind as they might be: for instance, in 2010 the Romneys invested $10 million in the start-up of the Solamere Founders Fund, co-founded by their eldest son, Tagg, and Spencer Zwick, Romney’s onetime top campaign fund-raiser; Solamere is now in the Ann Romney blind trust. Malt has said he invested in Solamere without consulting Mitt or Ann and explained he liked Solamere because of its diversified approach and because he knew the founders and had confidence in them.

Likewise, the Romneys were reported to have invested at least $1 million in Elliott Associates, L.P., a hedge fund specializing in “distressed assets.” Elliott buys up cheap debt, often at cents on the dollar, from lenders to deeply troubled nations such as Congo-Brazzaville, then attacks the debtor states with lawsuits to squeeze maximum repayment. Elliott is run by the secretive hedge-fund billionaire and G.O.P. super-donor Paul Singer, whom Fortune recently dubbed Mitt Romney’s “Hedge Fund Kingmaker.” (Singer has given $1 million to Romney’s super-pac Restore Our Future.)

It is hard to know the size of these investments. Romney’s financial disclosure form lists 25 of them in an open-ended category, “Over $1 million,” including So­lamere and Elliott, and they are not broken down further. Romney hides behind a disclaimer that the fund managers “declined to provide such information” about their underlying assets. Many of these funds are set up in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, where a confidentiality law states that you can be jailed for up to four years just for asking about such information.

Andrea Saul said of these investments, “Everything … was reported correctly.” Joseph Sandler, a Democratic lawyer who has worked with candidates on disclosures for more than two dec­ades, is skeptical. “The law is the law,” Sandler says. “[Romney] says, ‘Well, you know, they won’t tell me.’ But when you run for office in the U.S. and are not prepared to comply with disclosure requirements, you should either divest yourself of the assets or don’t run.” The Washington Post summarized the opinions of experts across the political spectrum by saying Romney’s disclosures were “the most opaque they have encountered.”

Mysteries also arise when one looks at Romney’s individual retirement account at Bain Capital. When Romney was there, from 1984 to 1999, taxpayers were allowed to put just $2,000 per year into an I.R.A., and $30,000 annually into a different kind of plan he may have used. Given these annual contribution ceilings, how can his I.R.A. possibly contain up to $102 million, as his financial disclosures now suggest?

The Romneys won’t say, but Mark Maremont, writing in The Wall Street Journal, uncovered a likely explanation. When Bain Capital bought companies, it would create two classes of shares, named A and L. The A shares were risky common shares, to which they would assign a very low value. The L shares were preferred shares, paying a high dividend but with the payoff frozen, and most of the value was assigned to them. Bain employees would then put the exciting A shares in their I.R.A. accounts, where they grew tax-free. With all the risk of the deal, the A shares stood to gain a lot or collapse. But if the deal succeeded, the springing value could be stunning: Bain employees saw their A shares from one particularly fruitful deal grow 583-fold, 16 times faster than the underlying stock.

The Romneys won’t tell us how, or even if, they assigned super-low values to the A shares, but there are a couple of ways to do it. One is to use standard options models to price the shares—then feed inappropriate assumptions into those models. Romney could alternatively have used a model called liquidation valuation, which Kleinbard says would have been “completely inappropriate.” Without seeing the assumptions used on Romney’s tax returns from the years when those lowball A shares were squirted into his I.R.A., we cannot know how he did it. Whatever methods he used, however, the valuations were, according to Andrew Smith, of Houlihan Capital in Chicago, “pushing the envelope.” (Andrea Saul retorts, “Why should successful investments be criticized?”)

Mitt’s and Ann’s I.R.A.’s have also been receiving profit interest from (mostly Cayman Island–based) Bain Capital funds that were set up long after he had left the company, in 1999. For example, the 2010 return reveals a profits interest in a Cayman-based fund called Bain Capital Partners (AM) X LP, which was transferred to the Ann D. Romney trust in October 2010. An attachment to the return says the Ann D. Romney trust is “performing services” to the partnership, which is boilerplate language for these kinds of filings. Her blind trust could receive lightly taxed income from Bain Capital for years to come, well into the presidential term her husband hopes to win.

But administrative guidance says you can do this kind of thing only if the compensation is in recognition of past services you have provided. “This should not mean retired from the mother ship 10 years out and getting profits you had nothing to do with,” Sheppard says, adding that Romney can get away with it because of excessive “administrative indulgences” that have allowed a “perversion of the law in favor of a small class of overcompensated investment managers.”

Romney’s I.R.A. also appears to have invested in so-called blocker corporations in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. U.S. pension funds, foundations, and even I.R.A.’s routinely use offshore blocker corporations to avoid something called the Unrelated Business Income Tax, which was designed to keep nonprofits from competing with ordinary companies in areas outside their core purpose: if you invest directly you get hit with the tax, but if you invest in a blocker, which then invests in the U.S. business, you escape it. Romney’s I.R.A. appears to have employed this lawful escape route, and his campaign has used language suggesting that it has. But that would mean the Romney camp’s claim that Mitt’s tax consequences of investing via the Cayman Islands is “the very same” as it would have been had he invested directly at home is simply not true. (Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul says Romney “gets the same benefit anyone would get from an I.R.A.,” but she did not respond to questions on whether his I.R.A. had used blockers or avoided taxes by investing via tax havens.)

A Deutsche Bank analysis of 68 Bain deals Romney was involved in calculated an internal rate of return—a standard private-equity benchmark—at a staggering 88 percent annually (though after fees and inflation, investor performance may have been little more than half that). It is substantially on this stellar rec­ord that Romney is now running for president. His work at Bain was unquestionably good for himself and for Bain, but was it also good for the businesses he acquired, for their workers, and for the economy, as he claims?

A report by Bain and Co. itself, looking at the period from 2002 to 2007, concluded that there is “little evidence that private equity owners, overall, added value” to the companies they took over: nearly all their returns are explained by broad economic growth, rising stock markets, and leverage. Josh Kosman, who researched the subject of private equity for his book The Buyout of America, singles out Bain Capital in particular. “They take pride in pushing the leverage envelope [i.e., use of borrowed money, which magnifies returns, while off-loading the risks onto others] more than their peers,” he says. “I have heard that from limited partners in Bain’s funds. I have heard that from bankers who lend money to finance their leveraged buyouts. Bain always prided itself on ‘We’ll push leverage more than the others.’ They brag about that, behind closed doors.”

Dade Behring is a cause célèbre for Romney’s and Bain’s critics, and it illustrates the leverage problem clearly. In 1994, Bain bought Dade International, a medical-diagnostics company, then added the medical-diagnostics division of DuPont in 1996 and a German medical-testing company called Behring in 1997. Former Dade president Bob Brightfelt says the operation started well: the Bain managers were “pretty smart guys,” he recalls, and they did well cutting out overlap, and exploiting synergies.

Then brutal cost cutting began. Bain cut R&D spending to an average of 8 percent of sales, a little more than half what its competitors were doing. Cindy Hewitt, Dade’s human-resources manager, remembers how the firm closed a Puerto Rico plant in 1998, a year after harvesting $7.1 million in local tax breaks aimed at job creation, and relocated some staff to Miami, then the company’s most profitable plant. Based on re­a­ssur­ances she had received from her superiors, she told those uprooting themselves from Puerto Rico that their jobs in Miami were safe for now—but then Bain closed the Miami plant. “Whether you want to call it misled, or lied, or manipulated, I do not believe they provided full information about what discussions were under way,” she says. “I would never want to be part of even unintentionally treating people so poorly.”

Bain engaged in startling penny-pinching with the laid-off employees. Their contracts stipulated that if they left early they would have to pay back the costs of relocating to Miami—but in spite of all that Dade had done to them, it refused to release the employees from this clause. “They said they would go after them for that money if they left before Bain was finished with them,” Hewitt recalls. Not only that, but the company declined to give workers their severance pay in lump sums to help them fund their return home.

In 1999, generous pensions were converted into less generous benefits, wages were cut, and more staff members were laid off. Some employees contacted Norman Stein, then the director of the pension-counseling clinic at the University of Alabama law school, with a view to challenging the conversions. Stein says the employees were “extraordinarily nervous,” so fearful, in fact, that they refused to let lawyers even make copies of pension documents. “I have been dealing with pensions issues for over 25 years and I never saw anything like this,” recalls Stein. The spooked employees did not go to court. Stein says that, while breaking pension contracts like this was not unheard of, the practice at that time was “questionable,” adding that Dade may have saved $10 to $40 million from converting its pensions.

The beauty—or savagery—of leverage is that it can magnify any and all cash-flow boosts, such as this one. Take $10 to $40 million squeezed from a pension pot, then use that to create new, rosier financial projections to borrow several times that amount, and then pay yourself a big special dividend from the borrowed funds, many times the size of the pension savings. That is just what Bain Capital did: the same month it converted the pensions, it created new financial projections as a basis to borrow an extra $421 million—from which Bain, its co-investor Goldman Sachs, and top Dade management extracted $365 million in dividends. According to Kosman, “Bain and Goldman—after putting down only $85 million … made out like bandits—a $280 million profit.” Dade’s debt rose to more than $870 million. Romney had left operational management of Bain that year, though his disclosures show that he owned 16.5 percent of the Bain partnership responsible for the Dade investment until at least 2001.

Quite soon, however, a fragile Dade faced adverse conditions in the currency markets, and it had to start in effect cannibalizing itself, cutting into the core of its business. It filed for bankruptcy in August 2002 and Bain Capital departed. When Dade emerged from bankruptcy, its new owners invested in long-term R&D, and it flourished again.

Nor was this an isolated incident: Kosman lists five other “formerly healthy” companies—Stage Stores, Ampad, GS Technologies, Details, and KB Toys—Bain helped drive into bankruptcy, while making big profits. (Despite numerous entreaties from Vanity Fair to Bain Capital to address on the record points in this article with which it might disagree, the firm refused to do so and instead provided this statement: “When politics overwhelm fact, some will distort or cherry-pick our record and launch unfounded allegations and insinuations. The truth and the full record show that Bain Capital operates with high standards of integrity and excellence in compliance with all laws. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless.”)
Tax Haven U.S.A.

The term “financialization” describes two interlocking processes: a disproportionate growth in a country’s deregulated financial sector, relative to the rest of the economy, and the rising importance of financial activities with a focus on financial returns among industrial and other non-financial corporations, often at the expense of real innovation and productivity.

Some see the rising influence of finance and financial models in epochal terms. Author of Financialization and the U.S. Economy Özgür Orhangazi summarizes academic literature that sees financialization “as one of the indicators of the decline of the heg­e­mon­ic power”: imperial Venice, Genoa, Holland, and Britain all saw their power rise on the back of productive industrial capitalism, followed by domination by the financial sector, which eventually began to cannibalize the productive sector in pursuit of financial returns—a process that ended in weakness and collapse.

Little noticed in the academic discussions of financialization is the role of offshore tax havens, one of the big reasons the financial sector has become so powerful. In 1966, Michael Hudson, a young Chase Manhattan balance-of-payments economist, was in a company elevator when he was handed a memo by a former State Department operative. The memo came from the U.S. government, and Hudson was tasked with figuring out how much foreign money the U.S. might attract. “They were saying, ‘We want to replace Switzerland,’ ” Hudson explains. “All this money will come here if we make this the criminal center of the world. We wanted foreign criminal money, which was patriotic, but not American criminal money.”

In the years since then, almost unknown to most Americans, the United States has turned itself into a giant tax haven for foreigners, just as the memo suggested. Federal and state tax laws have been deliberately shaped to give foreigners special tax exemptions unavailable to Americans, plus financial secrecy and exemptions from regulatory restraints. “We have criticized offshore tax havens for their secrecy and lack of transparency,” said Senator Carl Levin. “But look what is going on in our own backyard.”

In this grand scenario, tax havens such as the Caymans serve as feeders of foreign savings into Tax Haven U.S.A. from abroad, providing foreign investors with additional ways to skip around tax, disclosure, and regulatory requirements that they might trigger if they invested directly.

The money sucked into Tax Haven U.S.A., often via the “feeder” tax havens, is frequently tax-evading and other criminal foreign money, in the spirit of Hudson’s 1966 memo, and it is predominantly channeled not into productive investment but into real estate and financial business.

One cannot properly understand Wall Street’s size and power without appreciating the central role of offshore tax havens. There is absolutely no evidence that Bain has done anything illegal, but private equity is one channel for this secrecy-shrouded foreign money to enter the United States, and a filing for Mitt Romney’s first $37 million Bain Capital Fund, of 1984, provides a rare window into this. One foreign investor, of $2 million, was the newspaper tycoon, tax evader, and fraudster Robert Maxwell, who fell from his yacht, and drowned, off of the Canary Islands in 1991 in strange circumstances, after looting his company’s pension fund. The Bain filing also names Eduardo Poma, a member of one of the “14 families” oligarchy that has controlled most of El Salvador’s wealth for decades; oddly, Poma is listed as sharing a Miami address with two anonymous companies that invested $1.5 million between them. The filings also show a Geneva-based trustee overseeing a trust that invested $2.5 million, a Bahamas corporation that put in $3 million, and three corporations in the tax haven of Panama, historically a favored destination for Latin-American dirty money—“one of the filthiest money-laundering sinks in the world,” as a U.S. Customs official once put it.

Bain Capital has said it did everything required by the U.S. government to check that the investors were not associated with unsavory interests. U.S. law doesn’t require Bain to enforce the tax laws of its investors’ home countries, but the presence of Swiss trustees, Bahamas trusts, and Panama corporations would raise red flags with any tax authority.

Many Americans might react with a shrug to the idea of shady foreign money such as Robert Maxwell’s being invested here. But, says Rebecca Wilkins, of the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, “It is shocking that a presidential candidate should think that is O.K.”




Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 09, 2012, 03:36 PM
Belshazzar’s Feast

Look, we all know that wealthy people play a disproportionate role in the satantic system of campaign financing that the U.S. Supreme Court has foisted upon us. And we also know that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald put it, “the very rich are different from you and me” (“They think, deep in their hearts, they are better than we are.”).

So it’s with some concern that I am being partisan here that I maliciously wallow in Maeve Reston’s description of the attendees of one of Mitt Romney’s big Hamptons fundraisers over the weekend:

    As protesters assembled on a beach in advance of Mitt Romney’s evening event at the home of conservative billionaire David Koch, the candidate slipped to East Hampton for his first of three fundraisers on this tony stretch of Long Island.

    The line of Range Rovers, BMWs, Porsche roadsters and one gleaming cherry red Ferrari began queuing outside of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman’s estate off Montauk Highway long before Romney arrived, as campaign aides and staffers in white polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of Perelman’s property — the Creeks — checked off names under tight security.

    They came with high hopes for the presumed Republican nominee, who is locked in a tight race with President Obama. And some were eager to give the candidate some advice about the next four months.

    A money manager in a green Jeep said it was time for Romney to “up his game and be more reactive.” So far, said the donor (who would not give his name because he said it would hurt his business), Romney has had a “very timid offense.”

    A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

    “We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

Yes, “they think, deep in their hearts, they are better than we are.”

Because of Mitt’s own spectacular wealth, and the spectacular extent to which his policy agenda is congruent with the fondest hopes of his donors, there is some risk these sort of events involving these sort of people in these sort of places might assume a symbolic importance beyond the usual mutual massaging of egos.

I am reminded of “Belshazzar’s Feast,” the biblical allusion applied to a big New York fundraising banquet for presidential candidate James Blaine in 1884 that came to symbolize the Gilded Age corruption of the Republican Party (at least in the eyes of the influential “Mugwump” journalists who abandoned Blaine for Grover Cleveland that year). That event was even interpreted by some as tipping the election to Cleveland.

Mitt’s toney fundraising events may not achieve that notoriety, but after Reston’s account, I’m sure he wishes his donors would just shut up and write checks. The quotes are just, ahem, too rich.

******************
July 09, 2012 01:00 PM

Robert Gibbs Destroys Dan Senor Over Romney's Bermuda and Swiss Investments

By David


Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs tried unsuccessfully on Monday to get Romney campaign adviser Dan Senor to explain why his candidate would not release more tax returns to prove he had broken no laws by hiding money in Swiss bank accounts and a secret Bermuda corporation.

"It was reported that Mitt Romney has taken pretty extraordinary steps to hide the fact that he has a shell corporation in Bermuda," Gibbs explained during a panel with Senor on MSNBC. "We know as a result of good investigating reporting that he's had a bank account in Switzerland and he's got investments in the Caymans."

"Is somebody who has sheltered their income taxes in Switzerland and the Caymans and Bermuda really somebody who's going to get under the hood and get us to a place of tax fairness?" he wondered. "We need to know why he's got that money there. The American people deserve to know if he's sheltering this money somewhere or, quite frankly, is not paying the taxes that he owes. And the only way to do that, quite honestly, is to release more tax returns and show the American people."

Senor responded that Gibbs' assertion was "stunningly dishonest."

"There's nothing secretive about these accounts," Senor said. "The reason we know about these accounts is because they are in the tax returns Mitt Romney released and they were in the federal disclosure form that Mitt Romney -- financial disclosure form that Mitt Romney submitted. ... Are you suggesting that Mitt Romney is guilty of some kind of felony here?"

"Dan, what I'm suggesting is nobody has any idea because the only person with the tax returns is Mitt Romney," Gibbs explained. "Let's understand that the day before Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts, he transferred the ownership of this shell corporation in Bermuda to his wife in order to not have to disclose it. The day before he came governor of Massachusetts! The notion that Mitt Romney has been transparent about the fact that he has offshored money all over this world is patently ridiculous, OK?"

Gibbs added: "But look, Dan, I don't know if he's paid money. I don't know if he's getting a tax break. I don't know if he's sheltering money. He gave 23 years of tax returns to John McCain's vetting committee when he wanted to be vice president of the United States. That vetting committee picked Sarah Palin and not Mitt Romney. Did they do that because something they saw in 23 years of tax returns? Why give John McCain 23 years of tax returns and give the American people 2 years of tax returns?"

But instead of addressing the tax returns, Senor pivoted to an Obama campaign ad that Factcheck.org said determined had "thinly supported" claims about Romney outsourcing jobs while he was running Bain Capital.

"But why not release the tax returns?" MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski interrupted.

"Can we call a spade [a spade]?" Senor objected. "Talking about wanting to change the subject, this wave of attacks against Mitt Romney is a distraction from the real discussion, which is we're in a jobs crisis and we're not talking about jobs."

"Dan, release the tax returns," Gibbs pressed. "Put all this to rest. If Mitt Romney's not hiding something in Bermuda and Switzerland and the Caymans, it'll be in the tax returns. Why not simply do it?"

"It sounds like no one -- including you -- are not suggesting based on what he's released in those accounts, he has not paid his taxes fully, he's not paid the taxes that he's owed," Senor replied.

"Why does he have these corporations?" Gibbs continued. "Dan, do you have secret Cayman account? Do you have a company in Bermuda? Do you have a Swiss bank account?"

"This is a distraction from the real issue!" Senor insisted.

"Eventually Dan will answer the question," Gibbs quipped. "It will probably be in reruns."
Tags: Bain Capital, Barack Obama, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dan Senor, Election 2012, Mika Brzezinski, Mitt Romney, MSNBC, Robert Gibbs, swiss bank, Switzerland

*****************************************
July 09, 2012 12:00 PM

Biff and Bitty's Magnificent Koch Adventure

By karoli

Biff™ and Bitty™* think of themselves as VIPs.

    A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney, “Is there a V.I.P. entrance. We are V.I.P.”

Of course, gentle reader, they must be VIPs because, well, they're in The Hamptons and they've just shelled out a whole lot of money to chomp bonbons and drink champagne with Mitt whilst rubbing elbows with the moneyed elite from Wall Street to Overland Park, Kansas, after all.

Biff™ and Bitty™ don't think much of the people beneath them, beginning with the current President of the United States, who simply does not suit.

    A few cars back, Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Habor, N.Y., long a favorite of the well-off and well-known in the Hamptons, could barely contain his displeasure with Mr. Obama. “He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene,” Mr. Conklin said from inside a gold-colored Mercedes as his wife, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement.

    Ms. Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit: “Tell them who’s on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!”

    Over Mr. Conklin’s objections, Ms. Simmons disclosed that a major executive from Miramax, the movie company, was on the 75-foot yacht, because, she said, there were no rooms left at the hotel.

That poor Miramax executive, stuck on a big boat with all those giant, 40-room homes in the Hamptons? No room at the mansion? Or wasn't he 1% enough for them?

Biff™ and Bitty™ are always so concerned about those who aren't quite up to their level of understanding. They're especially concerned about those "low-information voters" who just don't understand:

    A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

    “We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.“

Gawd, it's tough being Biff™ and Bitty™. All around them there are nails ladies and babysitters who just don't understand that the black guy in the White House is out to get them, each and every one. And he has disappointed them so. Here they stepped up and donated and stuff in 2008 because he was a black guy full of hope and possibility, at least as far as possibility meant bowing and scraping to their demands, and yet. He passed that Republican socialist health care plan and ZOMG, Dodd-Frank! How will they survive another four years of THAT?

Biff™ and Bitty™ are fearless, too. They aren't afraid to stand up for their principles, unless those principles would cost them business. Can't have that!

    A money manager in a green Jeep said it was time for Romney to "up his game and be more reactive." So far, said the donor, who declined to give his name because he said it would hurt his business, Romney has had a "very timid offense."

Ooooh, brave Biff™! Giving Mittens that advice while living in fear of losing business for having an opinion! This is Your Republican Party, folks. Step up and look close.

Twitter eavesdroppers have left us some nuggets from the Big Parties In The Hamptons. Enjoy! Share! We may not get to eat the bonbons but we can share the bon mots.

*Biff™ and Bitty™: Trademarked representatives of the anonymous .01 percent


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 10, 2012, 09:42 AM
July 10, 2012 08:00 AM

Where I Respond To Romney's Whimpers About Taxing 'Job Creators'

By karoli

Monday morning President Obama laid the foundation for the core battle of this election: preserving tax cuts for those earning $250,000 or less while rolling them back for the 2 percent who earn more than that.

Immediately, the Romney campaign responded with this:

    President Obama’s response to even more bad economic news is a massive tax increase.

Lie #1: "Massive Tax Increase"
Only in Karl Rove's America could it be true that maintaining lower tax rates for 98 percent of individual taxpayers is a "massive tax increase." Just in case there's any doubt here, we are talking about less than a 5 percent increase in taxes on anyone with earned income in excess of $250,000. Will someone at the Romney campaign please let me know how this "massive tax increase" compares with the Affordable Care Act as the "biggest tax increase in US history"? Settle down, boys. Your caviar might rebel if you don't. Onward.

    It just proves again that the President doesn’t have a clue how to get America working again and help the middle class. The President’s latest bad idea is to raise taxes on families, job creators, and small businesses.

Lie #2: "Raising taxes on families, job creators and small businesses."

First, a look at what Mitt Romney calls "small business." Romney is referring to those "small businesses" known as pass-through entities. Rachel Maddow explained how these work to the benefit of the ultra-wealthy a couple of years back.

In a nutshell, those "pass-through entities", usually LLCs (Limited Liability Companies) or LPs (Limited Partnerships) pass through all of the income and expenses to owners instead of paying taxes as a business entity. Those owners then include that business income and/or expense on their tax returns. On the one tax return Mitt Romney released, for example, nearly all of the $26 million he declared as income was attributable to pass-through entities, some of them located in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and others located here in the United States. Because some of that pass-through income came to him as "carried interest", he also paid a far lower tax rate on $12.5 million in income in 2010.

Here are some of the "small businesses" that generated income for the Romney Family Trust in 2010:
[See attachment at bottom of this post]

For the record, there isn't one single "job creator" on that list. Not one. Those are investment funds through Bain, Goldman Sachs, and other ventures. If you think of these funds as Russian nested dolls, inside each fund is a little piece of another business. That's how Bain bought Dominos, Staples, and others. They created a "business" for the purpose of receiving investment funds, then use that business to distribute income.

There are many unopened nested boxes still, which is why Romney should release more years of his tax returns. But for this post, let's just deal with this nonsense claim about "job creators" being penalized as a result of a small increase in the personal tax rate of those earning more than $250,000 per year.

Paul Krugman compares and contrasts one Romney's job creation record with another:


    What did George Romney do for a living? The answer was straightforward: he ran an auto company, American Motors. And he ran it very well indeed: at a time when the Big Three were still fixated on big cars and ignoring the rising tide of imports, Romney shifted to a highly successful focus on compacts that restored the company’s fortunes, not to mention that it saved the jobs of many American workers.

    It also made him personally rich. We know this because during his run for president, he released not one, not two, but 12 years’ worth of tax returns, explaining that any one year might just be a fluke. From those returns we learn that in his best year, 1960, he made more than $660,000 — the equivalent, adjusted for inflation, of around $5 million today.

    Those returns also reveal that he paid a lot of taxes — 36 percent of his income in 1960, 37 percent over the whole period. This was in part because, as one report at the time put it, he “seldom took advantage of loopholes to escape his tax obligations.” But it was also because taxes on the rich were much higher in the ’50s and ’60s than they are now. In fact, once you include the indirect effects of taxes on corporate profits, taxes on the very rich were about twice current levels.

    Now fast-forward to Romney the Younger, who made even more money during his business career at Bain Capital. Unlike his father, however, Mr. Romney didn’t get rich by producing things people wanted to buy; he made his fortune through financial engineering that seems in many cases to have left workers worse off, and in some cases driven companies into bankruptcy.

    And there’s another contrast: George Romney was open and forthcoming about what he did with his wealth, but Mitt Romney has largely kept his finances secret. He did, grudgingly, release one year’s tax return plus an estimate for the next year, showing that he paid a startlingly low tax rate. But as the Vanity Fair report points out, we’re still very much in the dark about his investments, some of which seem very mysterious.

    Put it this way: Has there ever before been a major presidential candidate who had a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account, plus tens of millions invested in the Cayman Islands, famed as a tax haven?

Krugman's contrasting tale of two Romneys is a perfect illustration of why Romney the younger's whimpers about Mean Mister Obama's penchant for punishing so-called job creators is nonsensical and stupid. The only jobs Mittens has created are in the "wealth preservation" industry -- an army of accountants and lawyers to keep up with the myriad companies he's bankrupted in the name of "capitalism."


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 11, 2012, 01:18 PM
From the American magazine Perspectives

July 10, 2012
   
                           You Know Mitt Romney Is Out of Touch When...

For months, Mitt Romney like John McCain before him has tried to compare President Obama to Marie Antoinette, an Ivy League educated elitist who is out of touch with the American people. Of course, that task is a daunting one for the $250 million man who insists his personal finances remain a mystery to voters. And Romney's laughable case of projection became even more comical after he held three $75,000-a-head fundraisers in the Hamptons last weekend.

Obviously, Mitt Romney is the one who is badly out of touch. And here are just some of the ways you can tell.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he tells his guests in the Hamptons that "I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor" after previously declaring, "I'm not concerned about the very poor."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when one of his Hamptons donors explains "the common person" and "the lower income" voter "don't understand what's going on."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch he expresses his disdain for those common people who wear polyester and plastic rain ponchos, while praising his friends who own NASCAR and NFL teams.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he criticizes President Obama's call to let the Bush tax cuts expire for only the top two percent of earners as a "massive tax increase" for "on families, job creators, and small businesses," while proposing an average $264,000 annual windfall for the top 0.1%.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his tax cut proposal supposedly focused on "the people in the middle" could save his own family tens of millions of dollars and his billionaire backers billions more by ending the estate tax.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his surrogate Haley Barbour says Mitt's tax returns don't "amount to diddly," the same expression he used to describe slavery after his state of Mississippi omitted mention of it in its Confederate Heritage Month declaration.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when defends his supposedly blind trust's investments by claiming "I don't even know where they are" after having accused Ted Kennedy in 1994 of running a "an age-old ruse" with a "blind trust that appeared to be not quite so blind."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his supposedly blind trust transferred 12,000 shares in a Bermuda company to his wife's blind trust the day before he was sworn in as governor in 2003, closed a $3 million Swiss account in 2010 and invested $10 million in son Tagg's new firm, Solamere Capital.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he tells college students to "borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he tells high school students to "get as much education as you can afford" or "if you can't afford it, scholarships are available, shop around for loans, make sure you go to a place that's reasonably priced, and if you can, think about serving the country 'cause that's a way to get all that education for free."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he announces his five sons serve their nation by "helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he joined pro-Vietnam War protesters at Stanford, only to then secure multiple deferments to perform his church mission in France.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann explains that when Mitt was at Harvard, she was able to avoid the "dignity of work" because "Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. The stock came from Mitt's father."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when the Harvard law and business school graduate repeatedly accuses Barack Obama of spending too much time in the Harvard faculty lounge.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he explains his refusal to release his tax returns by declaring "I don't put out which tooth paste I use either. It's not that I have something to hide."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his father released 12 years of tax returns and he himself gave John McCain 23 years' worth in a failed attempt to become his 2008 running mate.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when the estimated 14 percent tax rate he paid the IRS is lower than many middle class families.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his tax cut proposal supposedly focused on "the people in the middle" delivers two-thirds of its benefits to millionaires - including Mitt Romney.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he claims that his donations to his church and other groups mean his "tax rate is really closer to 45 or 50 percent."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he has his wife Ann do interviews in 2002 and 2006 touting his pro-choice credentials and his "essential" individual health insurance mandate in Massachusetts.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann laments "unfortunately" the world now knows how "successful in business" her husband has been, but that nevertheless wants to "remind you where our riches are: our riches are with our families."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann insists they won't travel abroad as First Couple because "our vacations and our happiness come from being with our children and our grandchildren," and adds that she and her husband "own places for that."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he jokes he never intended to run for office again after 2008 because "I went back and bought a home which was far too expensive and grandiose for the purposes of another campaign."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he apparently forgets which state he lives in, votes in and pays taxes in - twice.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he sells two of his four multimillion dollars mansions because he and his wife are, according to an aide, "downsizing and simplifying."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his advice to struggling American homeowners is "don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he says Democrats are "the party of the monarchists."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann jokes that "Mitt doesn't even know the answer to that" when asked how many dressage horses she owns.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when one of those often seven-figure horses is on the U.S. Olympic team, and the Romneys' potential $77,000 tax deduction for horse-related expenses exceeds the average household income in America.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he was raised in upscale Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, claims he's just "a guy from Detroit" and then authors an op-ed piece titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he then claims "I'll take a lot of credit" for the Obama rescue package which saved the American auto industry.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he pretends he had to worry about "getting a pink slip," but stills gets a chuckle thinking about those who did when his father moved AMC jobs from Michigan to Wisconsin.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he looks back fondly at being with his dad at Detroit's Golden Jubilee, a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the American automobile which occurred on June 1, 1946, "fully nine months before Romney was born."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when the $250,000,000 son of an auto magnate jokes with jobless voters, "I'm also unemployed."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he stages a photo-op with an unemployed single mom in Michigan - who also happens to be the mother of a paid campaign staffer.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he declares himself part of the "80 to 90 percent us" who are middle class.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he declares "I love a flat tax" after calling it a "tax cut for fat cats."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when decides he will not seek donations to repay $45 million in personal loans he made to his failed presidential bid -- "the biggest ever made by a candidate in a primary campaign."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he responds "I'm not concerned about the voters" after Tim Russert asked him "why not tell the voters of Florida and across the country how much of your own wealth you're spending?"

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he lies about federal employees making more than their private sector counterparts and then complains about "our servants who are making a lot more money than we are."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when calls for state pension funds to divest their holdings in companies doing business in Iran, only to learn that his former employer is doing just that.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he calls for a crackdown on illegal immigration, only to reply "aw geez" when informed undocumented workers have been landscaping his home.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his defense is "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when claims he opposes a religious test for office after having said "based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he starts uncomfortably chanting "who let the dogs out" during what looks like his only interaction with African Americans on the campaign trail.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he still chants "who let the dogs out" after the world learns he strapped the family dog to the roof of his car.

You know Mitt is out of touch when his own adviser Michael Murphy informs Massachusetts voters in 2005 that Romney's "been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly."

You know that Mitt Romney is out of touch when he comes out in support of anti-abortion "personhood" amendments after having previously told Americans he was pro-choice because "I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he said of Osama Bin Laden in 2007, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he panders to the NRA by proudly declaring "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," only to clarify two days later "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when explained that while he placed Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's work among his favorite novels, "I'm not in favor of his religion by any means. But he wrote a book called 'Battlefield Earth' that was a very fun science-fiction book."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when says "My life experience convinced me that Ronald Reagan was right" and giving himself a 10 out of 10 on the conservative scale a decade after proclaiming during his 1994 Senate run, "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he planned to run in 2008 against Hillary Clinton by claiming "Hillary = France" despite his having addressed the 2002 Winter Olympics in fluent French.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he runs an ad in Spanish which concludes "soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje" (I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message) after demanding that "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he starts flip-flopping on flip-flopping, claiming "I think you'll find that I've been as consistent as human beings can be" after having declared "if you're looking for someone who's never changed any positions on any policies, then I'm not your guy."


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Jul 12, 2012, 12:38 PM
yet again - more lies.  Also from this article I realized for the first time that Mitt Romney was the SOLE OWNER of Bain Capital - no partners or investors, just Mitt.  So how can he pass the buck to anyone else for anything that happened at Bain?  None the less, I am certain he will do, and excel at, just that!  Liar in Chief.
**********************************************************************

Obama team: Romney committed a felony or lied to voters
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN |
7/12/12 12:22 PM EDT

Mitt Romney either lied in federal filings that show he worked at Bain Capital through 2002 and could be guilty of a felony, or has lied to the American people in saying he left the company in 1999, the Obama campaign is arguing in light of news reports on the firm’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is serious business,” said Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign’s counsel, in a conference call for reporters coming after the Boston Globe published a story Thursday that calls into question the timeline of Romney’s involvement of the firm that the Republican candidate has been promulgating for years.

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony."

"Or," she said, "he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,” including layoffs and the outsourcing of jobs.

If the latter is true, she said, it’s a “real character and trust issue” that voters should be aware of as they decide who to vote for in the presidential election. If Romney was still at Bain through 2002, he's also "politically responsible for the consequences" of deals that the firm made through then.

Andrea Saul, the Romney campaign's press secretary, countered that the Globe's "article is not accurate" because"[a]s Bain Capital has said, as Governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point."

The emergence of the SEC filings appears to conflict with that, the Obama campaign contends. There are “literally scores of filings that make it very, very clear that over a period of time that Gov. Romney claims that he was not active with Bain, the Securities and Exchange Commission was informed” that Romney was the chief executive officer, chairman of the board and sole shareholder of the company, Bauer said.

SEC filings "are very carefully scrutinized by lawyers because of the very severe consequences that follow from making statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission that are not correct," he said. And if that's the case, and Romney's role in the firm was misrepresented in filings, "in the normal course would subject somebody in this position to every manner of investigation with all the consequences that you can imagine would follow."

People who interacted with Romney at Bain between 1999 and 2002 -- and who would corroborate the storyline suggested by the SEC filings -- haven't emerged. Nor have documents or other details that would suggest Romney has been lying about when he left the company. But, Bauer hinted, there might be new developments to come. “I would stay very much tuned on that,” he said.

Asked about the Globe story during his daily briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney deferred comment. "It's an interesting read but beyond that I'd refer you to the campaign," he said.

*******************************************************************

Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Exit Date Called Into Question By Filings

When did Mitt Romney leave Bain Capital?

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said that he left the private equity firm in 1999, but new reports indicate that he may have stayed on until 2002.

The Boston Globe reported Thursday on SEC filings dated after February 1999 that state that Romney is the firm's "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president." A 2003 Massachusetts disclosure form says that he owned 100 percent of the company in 2002, and forms indicate that he earned $100,000 as an "executive" in 2001 and 2002, apart from investments.

A Romney official told the Globe that the SEC filings "do not square with common sense."

"The article is not accurate," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement sent to reporters. "As Bain Capital has said, as Governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point."

The story came out the same day that the Romney campaign released a television ad blasting the Obama campaign for lying about his tenure at Bain Capital. But this tactic may only serve to draw more attention to the substance of Obama's criticisms. As Romney said Wednesday on Fox News, "I respond to the attacks that come, but they say in politics if you are responding, you are losing," adding that it was better to call them "completely off base."

Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo have also highlighted SEC filings that suggest Romney did not leave the company in full in 1999.

The date Romney left the company is important, since he cites it to rebut the charge that Bain invested in firms that outsourced jobs.

"Governor Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999," reads the campaign's response to a recent Washington Post story that it unsuccessfully tried to retract.

The Obama campaign has aired ads based on the story, which reported that Bain invested in companies that sent jobs to countries like China and India. The Romney campaign responded that no jobs were moved offshore under his tenure. More recently, Mother Jones' David Corn reported that Bain invested in a Chinese company before even the campaign says Romney left.

Factcheck.org, which disputed the truthfulness of the Post report and accepted that Romney left the firm in 1999, wrote that were that not the case, Romney "would be guilty of a federal felony by certifying on federal financial disclosure forms that he left active management of Bain Capital in February 1999."

The SEC filings listed in the Globe article were first flagged in a letter the Obama campaign sent to Factcheck.org, which nevertheless concluded that Romney never returned to active management in the company after 1999, instead shifting his focus to the 2002 Winter Olympics. But in separate SEC filings from 2000 and 2001, Romney listed his "principal occupation" as "Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.," and a 2003 state financial disclosure form said he owned 100 percent of the firm in 2002.

The controversy over the disclosure forms follows one over Romney's opaque personal filings. Vanity Fair looked into the candidate's personal finances, estimated at up to $250 million in his most recent disclosure form for president. The magazine found that much about his wealth was unknown and hard to check, given that many of his assets are held in offshore accounts or retirement accounts.

The Associated Press also recently investigated an offshore company in Bermuda that Romney once controlled. He transferred it to his wife's trust one day before he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Jul 12, 2012, 12:58 PM
NAACP official: Romney ‘rigged crowd’ by having blacks ‘flown in’
By David Edwards
Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:31 EDT

The director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau revealed on Thursday that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney had conservative African Americans “flown in” to the 103rd convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to make it appear that he had more support than he really did.

During an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, Romney said that he had met with a “number of African American leaders” after his NAACP speech and they told him “a lot of folks” were disappointed in President Barack Obama.

On Wednesday night, MSNBC host Ed Schultz asked NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton which “African American leaders” Romney was referring to.

“The campaign actually gave me a list of African American VIPs that they brought in to the NAACP meeting,” Shelton explained. “So, I’m sure those are the one they set down with because, quite frankly, none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him.”

“He’s talking about African American Republican politicians that were actually brought in — flown in — to the NAACP convention in Houston, Texas to be there for the [candidate] alone,” he added.

“That means that Mitt Romney rigged the crowd to support him there so he could go on TV and say, ‘You know, actually I got a lot of support among African American leaders,’” Schultz noted.

“Apparently, that’s what the case is,” Shelton agreed. “They are bringing people in that they know will support his agenda from other places that aren’t active with the NAACP. These are people that were actually brought in to provide the cheering for him so there will be some support for him along those lines.”

While Romney did receive some sparse cheers and applause during the speech, the loudest reaction came when the crowd booed him for vowing to repeal “Obamacare.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Jul 12, 2012, 02:58 PM
What happened at Bain in 1999?
by digby

I have been wondering obsessively why Romney is so keen on saying that he left Bain in 1999 instead of 2002. I mean it's not as if he's running from his career there in general. So why is so adamant that he not be associated with it during that period? The easiest answer is that he stupidly said it without really thinking through the implications of holding the title and being compensated while allegedly being uninvolved and now he's stuck with it because of his FEC filing.

On the other hand, there are some things beyond the usual off-shoring and layoffs that he might not want it known that he profited from. Henry Blodget writes (http://www.businessinsider.com/sorry-mitt-romney-you-cant-be-chairman-ceo-and-president-of-a-company-and-not-be-responsible-for-what-it-does-2012-7):

Quote
   [T]he reason this issue is important is that Romney wants to disavow responsibility for anything Bain or Bain companies did after early 1999.
    And one of the things that Bain did after early 1999, as Dan Primack of Fortune points out, is invest in a company called Stericycle whose services included the disposal of aborted fetuses.

    For obvious reasons, an investment in a company that performed this service might hurt Romney's standing with the right-to-life voters in the Republican party, even though Romney was pro-choice at the time the investment was made...

    As "Chairman, CEO, and President" of Bain, he damn well would have remained responsible for these decisions. In which case, saying he had "left" and implying that he had no involvement or responsibility whatsoever is highly misleading.
    The CEO of a car company may not have input into the decision of what specific cars the company makes or where it makes them (though he or she obviously could if s/he wanted), but this CEO is unequivocally responsible for these decisions.
    Similarly, if Romney was CEO of Bain at the time it made the Stericycle decision, as well as the company layoffs and other unpleasant facts that Candidate Romney would like to disown, he certainly was responsible for these decisions.


You have to wonder how the true believers would feel about that little deal. Once being pro-choice is one thing. Profiting from abortion may just be a bridge too far for people who have compared that company to Nazis (http://www.stopstericycle.com/stericycle/).

Update: I missed this original comprehensive piece (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/romney-bain-abortion-stericycle-sec) last week from Mother Jones breaking the story of the disposal business:

Quote
   The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the "sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd."

    The document also states that Romney "may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to" 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle "in his capacity as sole shareholder" of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm's stock—the largest bloc among the firm's owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.

    Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds "voting and dispositive power" with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?

Good question.

Update II:

You should check out this StopStericycle site (http://www.stopstericycle.com/bloodmoney/). One of their major campaigns is to out the executives of the company and warn away investors:

  
Quote
If you are a trader of stocks or a holder of mutual funds, please check your portfolio for the company Stericycle (SRCL). If you find that you are partaking in the blood money of Stericycle, pull out now. Your investment in Stericycle helps to financially support Stericycle’s daily collaboration with the abortion industry.

    Additionally, please check your portfolio for the companies listed on our top shareholders, mutual fund investors and other investors lists. These companies are profiting from Stericycle’s blood money, and if you invest in them, you are as well. We encourage you to remove your investment until these corporations stop supporting Stericycle.

    Correspondingly, it is important to also contact the corporate officers and fund managers of these companies via phone, postal mail or e-mail and inform them that you have ceased supporting their company until they discontinue their investment in Stericycle. You may click on the names of each company on our profiteers lists to obtain their respective contact information.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Jul 13, 2012, 08:50 PM
Mitt Romney's Signature Appears On Bain SEC Filings During Time He Said He Left Bain

WASHINGTON -- Between 1999 and 2001, Mitt Romney, then the CEO of Bain Capital, signed at least six documents that the private equity firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The documents run in direct contradiction to a claim that Romney has made repeatedly: that he had nothing to do with Bain, and therefore no responsibility for Bain investments, during that period.

It's also a claim he made in August 2011 on the federal disclosure form he filed as part of his presidential bid. Romney didn't leave any wiggle room: "Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee [for the 2002 Winter Olympics]. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."

That is false.

SEC files include at least six instances of Romney signing documents after February 1999, proving -- unless the signatures were forged -- that his claim to not have "been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way" is wrong.

Most of the documents reference Romney as the "reporting person." Most of the filings were first reported by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, although he noted them in an opinion column otherwise dedicated to demonstrating that Kessler was correct weeks ago when he wrote that Romney had parted ways with Bain in 1999.

For instance, in April 1999, Romney signed documents related to a Bain deal with Pirod Holdings.

In November of that year, his signature appears on documents connected to a deal with Stericycle.

In January 2000, he signed paperwork for a deal with VMM Merger Corp.

His John Hancock appears on ChipPAC Inc. documents in February 2001.

That same month, Romney's signature can be found on paperwork connected to a Bain deal with Integrated Circuit Systems Inc.

In February 2000, he signed documents related to a deal with Wesley Jessen Visioncare Inc.

"There's no contradiction here," a Romney spokesperson told HuffPost in a statement. "He did not participate in the investment or management decisions on any of these or any other investments during this period, as has been said repeatedly by Bain Capital and as was unanimously determined by the bipartisan Massachusetts ballot commission in 2002."

That's not entirely true, either.

As HuffPost reported Thursday, Romney sat in on the board meetings of at least one Bain investment. And the SEC filings back up Romney's own earlier statements involving Bain. In February 1999, the Boston Herald reported that "Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investments and key personnel decisions. But he will leave running day-to-day operations to Bain's executive committee."

In 2002, the Boston Globe quoted Bain employee Marc Wolpow saying, "I reported directly to Mitt Romney ... You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, 'I really don’t know what my guys were doing.'"

Romney later said that he became too busy organizing the Winter Olympics and couldn't fulfill even the basic responsibilities he had outlined to the Herald. Yet in a 2002 hearing in a dispute over whether he was a Massachusetts resident eligible to run for governor, he testified that he still attended board meetings for at least one Bain-affiliated company.

Also in that hearing, he claimed to have taken a temporary leave of absence from Bain to helm the Salt Lake City Olympics.

As part of running for governor, Romney was required to submit personal financial disclosure statements to Massachusetts' State Ethics Commission under threat of perjury. In his 2001 disclosure statement, he listed himself as "Former Executive" for both Bain Capital Inc. and Bain Capital LLC, with a gross income of more than $100,000. But in his 2002 disclosure statement, he provided a different answer, listing himself as "Executive" of Bain Capital Inc. and Bain Capital LLC, with a gross income of more than $100,000. The latter may be one instance in which Romney and the SEC filings agree on his role.

"It is beyond belief that three years went by and this was some sort of clerical mistake," said Charlie Baker, a Democratic political operative who worked on the residency case against Romney.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party is jumping on these latest Bain revelations. "Clearly Mitt Romney isn't telling the truth about when he left Bain Capital. It’s clear he's either lying to the American People or lied to the SEC,” said Kevin Franck, the state party's communications director, in an email.

Perjury before the Massachusetts ethics commission can lead to civil penalties, although the bar for proving perjury is high and, in Romney's case, the statute of limitations has passed.

These latest twists in the Bain narrative look like vindication for Democrat Shannon O'Brien, who lost to Romney in the 2002 governor's race. The former state treasurer had made Romney's role in Bain an issue in the campaign. But at the time, Romney deflected her attacks by denying any involvement in the firm once he joined the Olympic planning effort in Utah, much as he is doing today, with less success.

"Ten years ago, when I ran against Mitt Romney for Governor, my campaign was attacked for misstating the truth about Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. Massachusetts voters were told that Romney was absolutely not the leader of Bain at a time when bankruptcies and layoffs were devastating workers at companies in their portfolio," O'Brien told HuffPost in an email. "Recent news stories now present clear evidence that Mitt Romney didn’t tell the truth to Massachusetts when he ran for Governor in 2002 and he's not telling the truth to the American people today."

O'Brien continued, pushing for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee to release his tax returns and settle issues over his finances now.

"I released my tax returns when I ran for Governor in 2002, and encouraged Mitt Romney to do so as well, but he refused to comply," she wrote. "He should follow the inspiration of his father, George Romney, and other presidential candidates and release 12 years of tax returns so that the American voters have a chance to learn more about the background and ethics of the man who wants to be their president."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/mitt-romney-bain-departure_n_1669006.html


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 14, 2012, 06:59 AM
Romney refuses to release earlier tax returns, demands President Obama apologize

By Muriel Kane
Friday, July 13, 2012 19:54 EDT

Candidate also confirms he has no intention of releasing income tax returns for years prior to 2010

In an interview with ABC News on Friday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney insisted that he had played “no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999″ and demanded that President Obama apologize for remarks by his campaign staff implying that Romney might have committed a felony by misrepresenting his status with the firm.

“The president needs to take control of these people,” Romney stated. “It’s Chicago-style politics at its worst and the president promised something better than this when he ran the last time. And he ought to disavow it and reign in these people who are running out of control. … He sure as heck ought to say that he’s sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team. … This is simply beneath the dignity of the presidency of the United States.”

The Washington Post has copies of six SEC forms that Romney signed as Bain’s president, chief executive officer, and chairman between 1999 and 2001. According to Romney, however, he was no longer making any management decisions and signed the forms only because it took several years “to negotiate a departure and retirement program.”

In another hastily arranged interview on Friday, Romney told CNN that he has no intention of releasing more than two years of his income tax returns.

“We’ve complied with the law,” Romney stated. “The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure. That I’ve done. I know there will always be calls for more, people always want to get more, and, you know, we’re putting out what is required plus more that is not required, and those are the two years that people are going to have. … That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.”

Meanwhile, President Obama continued to hammer Romney on Frida, telling an ABC affiliate, “My understanding is that Mr. Romney attested to the SEC, multiple times, that he was the chairman, CEO and president of Bain Capital, and I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does.”

The dispute, which started off with questions about whether Romney should be held responsible for layoffs and bankruptcies at companies managed by Bain during that period, has now turned into an issue of Romney’s character. As the president went on to say, “Ultimately, Mr. Romney, I think, is going to have to answer those questions because, if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations.”

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 14, 2012, 07:01 AM
Romney Race-Baits after NAACP Speech

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, July 12, 2012 8:40 EDT

Since Mitt Romney certainly isn’t going to pick up many—if any—black voters by making a speech for the NAACP, his choice to go there and make a big media stink about it had to be about something else. There’s a couple of interpretations of his behavior. Jamelle Bouie offered the best I’ve seen:

    The point of this address to the NAACP was to send a signal to right-leaning, suburban white voters—that Mitt Romney is tolerant, and won’t represent the bigots in his party. But there’s a sense in which Romney had it both ways: Not only did he reassure hesitant whites, but by pledging to repeal Obamacare—and being booed by the audience—he likely increased his standing with those who do resent African Americans. By going to an audience of black professionals and sticking with his stump speech, there’s a sense in which Romney might receive credit for refusing to “pander.”

My sense of this was that it was actually far more about shoring up the racist narrative than signaling tolerance to right-leaning, suburban white voters, mainly because I’ve never noticed these voters giving a moment’s pause to the idea of switching candidates merely because they fear being associated with outspoken racists.

My suspicion was that it’s more about the latter benefit Jamelle spells out: shoring up support with a racist base. That the narrative Romney is trying to establish is, “Gosh, I tried to reach out to Those People and talk some sense into them, but they’re just too lazy and greedy to listen.” It feeds into larger narratives about how Obama is just trying to steal money from the white man and give it to black people, which in turn satisfies the constant conservative hunger to be assured that they can’t be racists, because they’re the real victims here.

Any doubt that this is what was going on was neatly wiped away last night with this report:

What makes it especially grating that Romney is playing the black-people-just-want-to-take-your-stuff-instead-of-earn-their-own-living card is that all this is in response to the Affordable Care Act, which mostly expands insurance coverage by getting people onto private plans. Oh, and if they don’t do that? They have to pay a tax penalty. Remember that? The thing Republicans were so mad about last week? Unless Romney wants to claim there’s a race-based exception to the law, the “free stuff” whine doesn’t make a lot of sense. Plus, calling health care “free stuff” is just plain offensive. It equates getting cancer treatment and vaccinations with getting a shiny new TV set. Only moral monsters make that kind of equation, or people who’ve been turned into them by listening to too much Rush Limbaugh.

Clearly, signaling “tolerance” isn’t part of the Romney campaign. Which makes sense. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of appetite beyond liberal circles in addressing the problem of racism by actually striving for more diversity and equality. Outside of liberal circles, the main way racism is dealt with is by angry denials that one is a racist whenever it’s even slightly suggested that perhaps your political beliefs might be less than ideal when it comes to the goal of eradicating racial disparities between white people and everyone else. Since Romney’s not going to get the liberals, he’s focusing on everyone else, the “nuh-uh!” population, which encompasses both conservatives and swing voters. Thus, this repulsive race-baiting strategy.

I definitely see why the NAACP graciously offers the chance for Republican candidates to make a pitch before their members, but I’m beginning to wonder if the larger concerns in play are going to make them question whether or not to do this in the future.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 16, 2012, 07:45 AM
In Tracing Romney’s Role at Bain, a Convoluted Timeline

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MICHAEL D. SHEAR
Published: July 15, 2012
NY Times

When Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts a decade ago, Democrats went before a state commission to demand that he be struck from the ballot. Their argument: After taking over the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, he had ceased to live and work in Massachusetts, the state where he had built Bain Capital into one of the leading private equity firms in the world.

Mr. Romney’s team was just as insistent in arguing the opposite. For 30 years, his lawyer argued, “the center of his social, civic and business life has been in this commonwealth.”

Now, amid the heat of the presidential campaign and unrelenting attacks from Democrats over Mr. Romney’s tenure at Bain, the three-year sojourn in Utah has again become the source of controversy — but with the positions reversed.

President Obama and the Democrats are questioning whether Mr. Romney really left Bain in February 1999, when he took over the Olympics. And Mr. Romney and the Republicans are insisting that he ended his day-to-day management role at Bain after taking the Olympics job.

At stake is whether Democrats can hold Mr. Romney responsible for a series of now-controversial investments Bain made during the period in question, including in companies that specialized in outsourcing, laid off some of their workers or declared bankruptcy.

Mr. Romney faced a barrage of attacks over the issue on Sunday, as well as new demands, even from Republicans, that he release more tax returns. Democrats have seized on Mr. Romney’s Bain ties as a test of his credibility, suggesting that he is evading responsibility for his leadership of Bain.

The attacks have thrust Mr. Romney’s three-year leave to the center of the presidential campaign, questioning a central component of Mr. Romney’s case for election — that his business experience gives him the experience to steer the economy on the right course — while putting his campaign on the defensive when it could be attacking Mr. Obama’s job record.

On Sunday, Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, told CNN that the candidate had “retired retroactively” from Bain more than two years after leaving in 1999, an example of how the complexity of Mr. Romney’s business has proved difficult to explain in the simple terms favored by political campaigns.

The complications arise in part from the ways in which Bain was organized. When Bain Capital was originally created, Mr. Romney was given full control of the private equity firm’s new management company, Bain Capital Inc. When Mr. Romney went on leave in 1999, he retained ownership of that entity — and with it, in theory at least, the power to control Bain Capital’s funds.

At the time, Mr. Romney appeared to be leaving open the possibility that he would return to Bain. His leave was originally characterized as part time, and he told The Boston Herald in 1999 that he would be providing input on investment and personnel decisions in his absence.

Campaign and company officials now say that the Olympics job quickly became all-consuming and that Mr. Romney delegated his management powers to the active partners, most of them longtime friends and colleagues. And in recent years, Mr. Romney has been far more definitive in characterizing his departure.

“Since Feb. 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way,” reads a footnote to Mr. Romney’s most recent federal financial disclosures.

Yet because he retained technical control of Bain Capital’s management and because his wealth remained heavily tied up with the firm, Mr. Romney’s name or signature appears on dozens of documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission between February 1999 and August 2001, when he finalized a retirement deal with the active Bain partners and transferred to them his shares of Bain’s management entity.

“Mitt’s name were on the documents as the chief executive and sole owner of the company,” Edward W. Conard, a Bain partner at the time, said during an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday. “And it took several years for us to sort out how to put the management team in place.”

All told, Mr. Romney’s name appears on at least 142 such forms, some of which have been the subject of news coverage in recent days, fueling questions about whether Mr. Romney ever really left. One such form, posted last week by Talking Points Memo, lists Mr. Romney’s “principal occupation” as “managing director” of Bain Capital Investors VI Inc., a private equity fund.
   
Some of the filings reflect the complex nature of private equity funds: each Bain fund was run by a separate general partnership — one that included all of Bain’s executives — that in turn was legally controlled by Mr. Romney through his management entity.

“It’s a disconnect between the ownership interest and managerial functions,” said Harvey L. Pitt, who served as S.E.C. chairman under President George W. Bush. “When Bain takes positions in public companies, they’re required to show anyone who has an ownership interest that could be the effective equivalent of control. So Romney has to be shown on those filings. If they didn’t show them on those filings, they would have broken the law. But it has nothing to do with who’s actually running Bain Capital.”

Indeed, no evidence has yet emerged that Mr. Romney exercised his powers at Bain after February 1999 or directed the funds’ investments after he left, although his campaign has declined to say if he attended any meetings or had any other contact with Bain during the period. And financial disclosures filed with the Massachusetts ethics commission show that he drew at least $100,000 in 2001 from Bain Capital Inc. — effectively his own till — as a “former executive” and from other Bain entities as a passive general partner.

An offering memorandum to investors in Bain’s seventh private equity fund that was circulated in June 2000 also suggests that Mr. Romney was no longer actively involved in managing firm investments at the time. The memorandum, first published by Fortune, provides background on the “senior private equity investment professionals of Bain Capital.” Eighteen managers are listed; Mr. Romney is not among them.

On another filing with Massachusetts officials, Bain Capital listed all of Bain’s directors and officers for 2001. The form lists Michael F. Goss as “president, managing director and chief financial officer,” along with seventeen other managing directors. Mr. Romney is not among them, suggesting that while he still owned Bain’s management company, he was not an officer of the company.

By August 2001, Mr. Romney had announced that he would not return to Bain Capital. Talk was already swirling about a bid for Massachusetts governor; behind the scenes, Mr. Romney was negotiating his final departure from Bain. Mr. Romney’s partners agreed to pay him a declining portion of the firm’s profits in buyout deals and other businesses for 10 years. The deal, signed in 2002, incorporated a payout formula reflecting his passive role in the firm from February 1999 forward, officials said.

*********************

Editorial: NY Times

Mitt Romney’s Complaints

Published: July 15, 2012

After three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it’s clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn’t want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin.
Related

    In Tracing Romney’s Role at Bain, a Convoluted Timeline (July 16, 2012)

Related in Opinion

    Op-Ed Columnist: Policy and the Personal (July 16, 2012)
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Mr. Romney’s descriptions of when he left Bain have been erratic and self-serving. In 2002, when he needed to show he was still a Massachusetts resident, he denied he had quit in 1999, saying he had taken a leave of absence to run the Olympics committee. A series of documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Committee show that Bain certainly didn’t describe him as absent after 1999.

A former Bain managing director, Edward Conard, said on MSNBC Sunday that Mr. Romney remained C.E.O. “legally” so he could negotiate his generous exit deal.

But now that Bain has been accused of helping other companies outsource jobs overseas, laying off steel company employees and wiping out their pensions, Mr. Romney says he had no management role after 1999. A Kansas City steel plant that Bain bought in 1993 under Mr. Romney’s control, for example, went bankrupt in 2001, costing 750 workers their jobs and pensions. After the Obama campaign made an ad featuring several of the angry workers, the Romney campaign said he couldn’t be blamed because he left Bain in 1999.

On Thursday, a Boston Globe article demonstrated Mr. Romney’s continuing ties to Bain through 2002, and Mr. Obama said it raised questions for his opponent. “I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, C.E.O. and president of a company,” he said, “you are responsible for what that company does.”

Mr. Obama’s campaign aides did go too far, perhaps, in suggesting Mr. Romney may have legal problems over this issue. But Mr. Obama’s criticism is fair. Mr. Romney has persistently refused to tell voters about his finances. Even now it is not clear how much money he has made from Bain in the 13 (or 10) years since he left the company.

The right way to respond to Mr. Obama is to release his tax returns from that period, or open up Bain documents. But Mr. Romney told CNN he would not release more than the one year’s return he has already released and the one for 2011 when it is finished. “That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” he said. It’s not even close.

*****************

There was no escaping politics even at Comic-Con this year: RobotRomney

WSJ:

    Heroes In Action, a toy company that produces monster figurines based on presidents and other politicians, used its booth at the conference to unveil a prototype of its latest action figure: Romney the Robot.

    Mocking the Republican presidential candidate’s stiff demeanor and wealth, the figurine features Romney’s head atop a body encased in a gold robot suit. An ATM machine inset on the torso bears the legend “For Deposit Only.” A gold dollar sign protrudes from either side of its helmet.

    Mark Huckabone, president of Heroes In Action, said the finished model will likely bear two bumper stickers on its back: “I Brake for Mormons” and “I [Heart] Money.” But, Huckabone added, “I don’t know how far I want to push it.”

You'll have to dig a little deeper into your wallet to purchase Romney the Robot, however. While Heroes In Action usually charges $24.99 for their toys, because of Romney's large ATM, the price will be $30.00. The company anticipates having the toys ready for sale to the public by October.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 16, 2012, 08:16 AM
Romney’s Bain Yielded Private Gains, Socialized Losses

By Anthony Luzzatto Gardner 2012-07-15T22:30:01Z

Mitt Romney touts his business acumen and job-creation record as a key qualification for being the next U.S. president.

What’s clear from a review of the public record during his management of the private-equity firm Bain Capital from 1985 to 1999 is that Romney was fabulously successful in generating high returns for its investors. He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm’s partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses.

What’s less clear is how his skills are relevant to the job of overseeing the U.S. economy, strengthening competitiveness and looking out for the welfare of the general public, especially the middle class.

Thanks to leverage, 10 of roughly 67 major deals by Bain Capital during Romney’s watch produced about 70 percent of the firm’s profits. Four of those 10 deals, as well as others, later wound up in bankruptcy. It’s worth examining some of them to understand Romney’s investment style at Bain Capital.

In 1986, in one of its earliest deals, Bain Capital acquired Accuride Corp., a manufacturer of aluminum truck wheels. The purchase was 97.5 percent financed by debt, a high level of leverage under any circumstances. It was especially burdensome for a company that was exposed to aluminum-price volatility and cyclical automotive production.

Casino Capitalism

Forty-to-one leverage is casino capitalism that hugely magnifies gains and losses. Bain Capital wisely chose to flip the company fast: After 18 months, it sold Accuride, converting its $2.6 million sliver of equity into a $61 million capital gain. That deal, which yielded a 1,123 percent annualized return, was critical to Bain Capital’s early success and led the firm to keep maximizing the use of leverage.

In 1992, Bain Capital bought American Pad & Paper by financing 87 percent of the purchase price. In the next three years, Ampad borrowed to make acquisitions, repay existing debt and pay Bain Capital and its investors $60 million in dividends.

As a result, the company’s debt swelled from $11 million in 1993 to $444 million by 1995. The $14 million in annual interest expense on this debt dwarfed the company’s $4.7 million operating cash flow. The proceeds of an initial public offering in July 1996 were used to pay Bain Capital $48 million for part of its stake and to reduce the company’s debt to $270 million.

From 1993 to 1999, Bain Capital charged Ampad about $18 million in various fees. By 1999, the company’s debt was back up to $400 million. Unable to pay the interest costs and drained of cash paid to Bain Capital in fees and dividends, Ampad filed for bankruptcy the following year. Senior secured lenders got less than 50 cents on the dollar, unsecured lenders received two- tenths of a cent on the dollar, and several hundred jobs were lost. Bain Capital had reaped capital gains of $107 million on its $5.1 million investment.

Bain Capital’s acquisition in 1994 of Dade International, a supplier of in-vitro diagnostic products, was 81 percent financed by debt. Of the $85 million in equity, about $27 million came from Bain with the rest coming from a group of investors that included Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

From 1995 to 1999, Bain Capital tripled Dade’s debt from about $300 million to $902 million. Some of the debt was used to pay for acquisitions of DuPont Co.’s in-vitro diagnostics division in May 1996 and Behring Diagnostics, a German medical- testing company, in 1997. But some was used to finance a repurchase of half of Bain Capital’s equity for $242 million -- more than eight times its investment -- and to pay its investors almost $100 million in fees.
Bankruptcy Filing

Dade was left in a weakened financial condition and couldn’t withstand the shocks of increased debt payments when interest rates rose and revenue from Europe fell because of a decline in the value of the euro. The company filed for bankruptcy in August 2002, because of its inability to service a $1.5 billion debt load. About 1,700 people lost their jobs while Bain Capital claimed capital gains (net of its losses in the bankruptcy) of roughly $216 million, an eightfold return.

There are many other examples of this debt-fueled strategy. In the two years following the acquisition in 1993 of GS Industries, a steel mill, for $8 million, Bain Capital increased the company’s debt to $378 million on operating income of less than a 10th of that amount. Some of this was used to pay Bain Capital a $36 million dividend in 1994. That degree of leverage was excessive in light of the cyclicality and capital-intensive nature of the steel industry.

By the time the company went bankrupt in 2001, it owed $554 million in debt against assets valued at $395 million. Many creditors lost money, and 750 workers lost their jobs. The U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures company retirement plans, determined in 2002 that GS had underfunded its pension by $44 million and had to step in to cover the shortfall.

Bain Capital’s acquisition of Stage Stores, a department- store chain, in 1988 was 96 percent financed by debt (mostly in junk bonds) -- an extreme level for a cyclical and very competitive low-margin business. Bain sold a large part of its stake in 1997 for a $184 million gain, three years before the company filed for bankruptcy because of its inability to service its $600 million debt.

Success, entrepreneurship, risk taking and wealth creation deserve to be celebrated when they are the result of fair play and hard work. President Barack Obama is correct in distinguishing the patient creation of value for the benefit of investors through genuine operational improvements and growth -- the true mission of private equity -- from the form of rigged capitalism that was practiced by some in the industry in the past when debt was cheap and plentiful.

While Bain Capital wasn’t alone in using financial engineering to turbo-charge its returns, it was among the most aggressive under Romney’s leadership. Enriching investors by taking leveraged bets isn’t a qualification for a job requiring long-term vision and concern for public welfare. It is appropriate to point that out to voters.

(Anthony Luzzatto Gardner works at Palamon Capital Partners, a private equity fund based in London, and was director of European affairs in the U.S. National Security Council in 1994-95. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Read more opinion online from Bloomberg View. Subscribe to receive a daily e-mail highlighting new View editorials, columns and op-ed articles.

Today’s highlights: the editors on good news from Guantanamo, why Jamie Dimon’s bonus should be clawed back and how to put more electric cars on the road; William D. Cohan on Romney’s magical IRA; Albert R. Hunt on the candidates’ need to spell out debt-cutting plans; Stephen Marche explains why Canadians are now richer than Americans.

To contact the writer of this article: Anthony Luzzatto Gardner at gardner@palamon.com

To contact the editor responsible for this article: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 16, 2012, 08:28 AM
Mother Jones

Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses, Government Documents Show And these documents challenge Romney's claim that he left Bain Capital in early 1999.

By David Corn | Mon Jul. 2, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported [1] that in 1999 the GOP presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the GOP primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina Republicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate's reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.


But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission—and obtained by Mother Jones—list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also contradict the official account of Romney's exit from Bain.

The Stericycle deal—the abortion connection aside—is relevant because of questions regarding the timing of Romney's departure from the private equity firm he founded. Responding to a recent Washington Post story [9] reporting that Bain-acquired companies outsourced jobs, the Romney campaign insisted that Romney exited Bain in February 1999, a month or more before Bain took over two of the companies named in the Post's article. The SEC documents undercut that defense, indicating that Romney still played a role in Bain investments until at least the end of 1999.

Here's what happened with Stericycle. In November 1999, Bain Capital and Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, filed with the SEC a Schedule 13D [10], which lists owners of publicly traded companies, noting that they had jointly purchased $75 million worth of shares in Stericycle, a fast-growing player in the medical-waste industry. (That April, Stericycle had announced plans to buy the medical-waste businesses of Browning Ferris Industries and Allied Waste Industries.) The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the "sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd."

The document also states that Romney "may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to" 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle "in his capacity as sole shareholder" of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm's stock—the largest bloc among the firm's owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.

Another SEC document [11] filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds "voting and dispositive power" with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?

The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also call into question the account of Romney's exit from Bain that the company and the Romney campaign have provided.

Stericycle was a lucrative investment for Romney and Bain. The company had entered the medical-waste business a decade earlier, when it took over a food irradiation plant in Arkansas and began zapping medical waste, rather than strawberries, with radiation. The company subsequently replaced irradiation with a technology that used low-frequency radio waves to sterilize medical waste—gowns, masks, gloves, and other medical equipment—before it was transported to an incinerator. By mid-1997, Stericycle was the second-largest medical-waste disposal business in the nation. Two years later, it was the largest. With 240,000 customers, its operations spanned the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Fortune ranked it No. 10 on its list of the 100 fastest growing companies in the nation [12].

But the company had its woes, accumulating a troubling safety record along the way. In 1991, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited its Arkansas operation for 11 workplace safety violations. The facility had not provided employees with sufficient protective gear, and it had kept body parts, fetuses, and dead experimental animals in unmarked storage containers, placing workers at risk. In 1995, Stericycle was fined $3.3 million—later decreased to $800,000—by Rhode Island for knowingly exposing workers to life-threatening diseases at its medical-waste treatment facility in Woonsocket. Two years later, workers at another of its medical-waste processing plants in Morton, Washington, were exposed to tuberculosis [13]. In 2002 and 2003—after Bain and its partners had bought their major interest in the firm—Stericycle reached settlements with the attorneys general in Arizona and Utah after it was accused of violating antitrust laws. It paid Arizona $320,000 [14] in civil penalties and lawyers' fees, and paid Utah $580,000 [15].

Despite the firm's regulatory run-ins, the deal worked out well for Bain. In 2001, the Bain-Madison Dearborn partnership that had invested in the company sold 40 percent of its holdings in Stericycle for about $88 million—marking a hefty profit on its original investment of $75 million. The Bain-related group sold the rest of its holdings by 2004. By that point it had earned $49.5 million [1]. It was not until six years later that anti-abortion activists would target Stericycle for collecting medical waste at abortion clinics. This campaign [16] has compared Stericycle to German firms that provided assistance to the Nazis during the Holocaust. A Stericycle official told Huffington Post that its abortion clinics business constitutes a "small" portion of its total operations. (Stericycle declined a request for comment from Mother Jones.)

In 1995, Stericycle was fined by Rhode Island for knowingly exposing workers to life-threatening diseases at its medical-waste treatment facility.

In response to questions from Mother Jones, a spokeswoman for Bain maintained that Romney was not involved in the Stericycle deal in 1999, saying that he had "resigned" months before the stock purchase was negotiated. The spokeswoman noted that following his resignation Romney remained only "a signatory on certain documents," until his separation agreement with Bain was finalized in 2002. And Bain issued this statement: "Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in February 1999. He has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies since that time." (The Romney presidential campaign did not respond to requests for comment.)

But the document Romney signed related to the Stericycle deal did identify him as a participant in that particular deal and the person in charge of several Bain entities. (Did Bain and Romney file a document with the SEC that was not accurate?) Moreover, in 1999, Bain and Romney both described his departure from Bain not as a resignation and far from absolute. On February 12, 1999, the Boston Herald reported [17], "Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions." And a Bain press release [18] issued on July 19, 1999, noted that Romney was "currently on a part-time leave of absence"—and quoted Romney speaking for Bain Capital. In 2001 and 2002, Romney filed Massachusetts state disclosure forms noting he was the 100 percent owner of Bain Capital NY, Inc.—a Bain outfit that was incorporated in Delaware on April 13, 1999—two months after Romney's supposed retirement from the firm. A May 2001 filing with the SEC identified Romney as "a member of the Management Committee" of two Bain entities. And in 2007, the Washington Post reported [19] that R. Bradford Malt, a Bain lawyer, said Romney took a "leave of absence" when he assumed the Olympics post and retained sole ownership of the firm for two more years.

All of this undermines Bain's contention that Romney, though he maintained an ownership interest in the firm and its funds, had nothing to do with the firm's activities after February 1999. The Stericycle deal may raise red flags for anti-abortion activists. But it also raises questions about the true timing of Romney's departure from Bain and casts doubt on claims by the company and the Romney campaign that he had nothing to do with Bain business after February 1999.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 16, 2012, 09:31 AM

July 16, 2012 08:00 AM

Mitt Romney Will Never Tell The Truth About Bain...Or Anything Else

By karoli

Mitt Romney cannot tell the truth. It isn't that he won't. It is that he cannot. He cannot because he is afraid of what it might mean and the damage it might do.

One of the most revealing passages in The Real Romney is the author's description of how young Mitt Romney took the demise of his father's campaign for President after George Romney claimed he had been "brainwashed" by the generals and diplomats into believing war in Vietnam was justified.

    Mitt did not view the "brainwash" footage that caused his father such trouble until it was shown to him thirty-nine years later. But his sister Jane said the episode had a lasting impact on her brother. "The brainwash thing -- has that affected us? You bet. Mitt is naturally a diplomat, but I think that made him more so. He's not going to put himself out on a limb. He's more cautious, more scripted."

Mitt Romney took the wrong lesson from his father's disastrous campaign. He assumed George Romney's honesty is what cost him a shot at the White House. But it wasn't the elder Romney's honesty at all. People did not take kindly to the idea that the future leader of the free world, fraught as it was with Commies in the corners, was weak enough to let himself be brainwashed. Rick Perlstein's brilliant Rolling Stone article in January is required reading on this. Just a tease for you here:

    When people call his son the "Rombot," think about that: Mitt learned at an impressionable age that in politics, authenticity kills. Heeding the lesson of his father's fall, he became a virtual parody of an inauthentic politician. In 1994 he ran for senate to Ted Kennedy's left on gay rights; as governor, of course, he installed the dreaded individual mandate into Massachusetts' healthcare system. Then he raced to the right to run for president.

    He's still inauthentic – but with, I think, an exception. Every time he opens his mouth on the subject of capitalism, he says what he sincerely believes, which happens to fit neatly with present-day Republican ideology: that rich people deserve every penny they have, and if people complain about anything rich people do, it's only because they're envious.

2002 Olympics

In the video at the top there's another example of how Romney reacts to situations, especially when he's put on the spot. Raw Story reports:

    The former Massachusetts also recently suggested during a Republican presidential debate that he had not taken any more money from the federal government for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games than previous games.

    Again, the 2002 video recorded by Democratic operatives tells a different story.

    “We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games,” Romney boasted. “That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going after every agency of government.”

    At one point, he even explained how one of his colleagues managed to get Olympic funding from the Department of Education.

So here we have an outright lie in 2011, but it's been justified in Mr. Romney's mind by the need in 2002. We can't have the country embarrassed by corruption inside the US Olympic committee, especially when there are profits to be made. So Mitt Romney did what he had already done at Bain Capital: He put together corporate investors, sold the deal, mixed in some federal funds and made it work. And it did work. It was a dirty process along the way, sparking condemnation from Senator John McCain and other Republicans who weren't thrilled with Romney's use of earmarks -- something he now adamantly opposes -- as funding for the 2002 games.

But rather than actually stand and defend his fundraising efforts, he denied them when confronted because they appeared to go against current hard-line conservative values, and Mitt Romney had no intention of letting the truth get in the way of his belief that he, and he alone, possessed the skills and values to win the Republican nomination and ultimately, the White House.

A lie was more convenient. No one would remember how the 2002 Olympics were funded all these years later, right?

Romney internalized the wrong lesson from his father's failure and as a result, he absolutely cannot tell the truth no matter what because he fears the truth will cause him to fail, and failure is not an acceptable outcome. This is why, by the way, he has no problem using the politics of destruction on his rivals. It's always better to destroy them than to be accountable for one's own decisions. This is a character flaw and it's a big one.

The Bain Capital Years

In the world of "private equity", Romney was steering the boat and had full control of the reins with the blessing of his billionaires. Romney had to raise the first round of capital for his first venture on his own, with little help from the existing Bain & Co. group. It was the combination of capital investment combined with Romney's top-down business takeovers that launched Bain Capital's enormous success. But first he had to court the billionaires and convince them to take a risk on him. Those billionaires made their investments because Romney's work and reputation had built Bain Capital into a formidable merger and acquisition business. If their truth is strictly defined by profits on a balance sheet, their balance sheets looked terrific when Romney worked his magic with Bain deals. So terrific, in fact, that the Koch brothers jumped into bed with Bain, buying Bain's 2002 stake in Georgia-Pacific's international distribution subsidiary in order to take it private in 2006 (post-Romney, or perhaps not).

No billionaire really cared, for example, that a big chunk of his first round of capital came from El Salvadoran billionaire Eduardo Poma back in 1984. 1984 was the year of the beginning of some progress toward a peaceful resolution of El Salvador's civil war. As Duarte progressed toward basic reforms like reasonable tax reform, the right-wing party (ARENA) opposed them strongly. Eduardo's brother Ricardo had been kidnapped and killed by the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP) in 1977, an act which did not endear the oligarchs to any kind of populist realignment, even a moderate one. It goes without saying that Mitt Romney's offer of a safe stash of big money in United States' investments had to be a safe harbor for the Poma family, and the payoff proved their confidence was well-placed. The first Bain Capital investors got a piece of the Accuride, Staples, Key Airlines and Medivision deals. Accuride alone returned $121 million on an investment of $5 million.

Romney's success with those investments led to a line of billionaires wanting a piece of the action. According to The Real Romney, they had to turn away investors for their second fund.

    Bain Capital had become a hot property. So much money poured into Romney's second investment fund that the firm had to turn away investors. Romney set out to raise $80 million and received offers totalling $150 million. The partners settled on $105 million, half of it from wealthy customers of a New York bank.

Mitt Romney can talk and talk about how he left Bain Capital in 1999 and not 2002, and how he turned away from Bain in order to "rescue" the 2002 Olympics, but here's a fact: Billionaires don't place money for investment unless they trust the investment advisor at the top of the letterhead. It's really that simple. You don't invest in Bain; you're investing with Mitt. And it's Mitt's deals you want to be in. It doesn't matter what was filed with the SEC and what wasn't. You know your money is safe with Mitt, that he's got the right eye on the right businesses, and so you let him have at your millions so you can be a bigger billionaire.

This works really well in the financial halls of fame but not so much in the political arena, which is where Mitt Romney is right now. The problem is, he doesn't see it. He can't see it. A TPM reader explains:

    I’ve had enough contact with the PE guys to know they particularly see themselves in a heroic light — as the saviors of capitalism from the quasi-socialist clutches of entrenched management, the unions, outside pressure groups, and the other “stakeholders” of the big public corporations (the PE guys really detest that concept).

    What’s more, they’re usually insulated enough from normal human reality that they can assume all “reasonable” people see things the same way. And when you’ve got as much money to spend on campaign contributions, endowed chairs, wingnut welfare, etc. as they do, an awful lot of people are going to see things your way, or at least tell you that they do.

    Point is, Mitt is not only congenitally blind to the optics of all this, he also appears — to quote Sonny from the Godfather — to be taking it very, very personally. That’s the only way I can explain his incredibly bizarre decision to spend the entire afternoon on TV talking about it, which is about the best way imaginable to keep the feeding frenzy going.

Because Mitt is used to being trusted by his billionaires, you see. Mitt is used to being a hero. To criticize him for heroism, even when the pathway to success wasn't particularly pure is simply wrong, at least in Mitt's view. Again, from The Real Romney, a glimpse at Mitt's world view from 2008:

    "Everything could always be tweaked, reshaped, fixed, addressed," said one former aide, describing Romney's outlook. "It was foreign to him on policy issues that core principles mattered -- that somebody would go back and say, 'Well, three years ago you said this.'" The perception of expedience, along with lingering bigotry against Mormonism, helped bury his hopes.

And this, written to his father after the collapse of George Romney's campaign, sums it all up quite well:

    The rest of our system I know pretty well -- only one thing I can't understand: how can the American public like such muttonheads?

This is the key to why he will not tell the truth and why he cannot tell the truth. He doesn't see it as particularly relevant because in his view, the only thing that matters is that he succeeded at turning handsome profits for his investors, can declare himself a success and expects everyone else to view him through that lens. If they don't see it that way, well, they're just "muttonheads." If policy currents shift, well, it can be tweaked, fixed, reshaped, Etch-a-Sketched. He cannot understand how we, the ordinary people who sign the back of our paychecks, can object to the inevitable "creative destruction" which he and his billionaires believe must take place in order to create a more prosperous nation for his next round of investment opportunities. Make no mistake about it. The only truth he told in that 2002 video is this: "The money is in Washington." Muttonheads be damned.

It is beyond his ability to comprehend, because the only thing he comprehends is his "rightness." We're the muttonheads; he's the guy who has the answers. This, combined with his internalization of the absolute wrong message of his father's campaign, leaves a weak, flailing candidate who does not measure up to the standard of leadership necessary to be President.

I can almost hear Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich giggling in the hallway.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Jul 20, 2012, 02:51 AM
Hi Rad, I want to check some geodetic and historical correlations regarding this soul.

If i wanted to pull up a Mars cosmogram, his Mars being in Pisces - is it accurate to look at the Virgo subage of Pisces from 980 ad an onwards? Thank you.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 20, 2012, 07:08 AM
Hi Rad, I want to check some geodetic and historical correlations regarding this soul.

If i wanted to pull up a Mars cosmogram, his Mars being in Pisces - is it accurate to look at the Virgo subage of Pisces from 980 ad an onwards? Thank you.

Hi Ari,

No, not from just the Mars in Pisces as the lead point in the cosmogram. For the time frame you are asking about look into his 6th House with the Moon, Jupiter, and Chiron in it. That isn't for cosmogram that is linked to that time frame however.

God Bless, Rad


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Jul 20, 2012, 10:56 AM
Hi Rad, will you please restate that last sentence? I'm not sure what you meant to indicate... thanks.
Love, am


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 20, 2012, 11:57 AM
No, not from just the Mars in Pisces as the lead point in the cosmogram. For the time frame you are asking about look into his 6th House with the Moon, Jupiter, and Chiron in it. That isn't for cosmogram that is linked to that time frame however.

God Bless, Rad
   

Hi Rad, will you please restate that last sentence? I'm not sure what you meant to indicate... thanks.
Love, am

**********

I meant that the time frame that you asked about does not have a cosmogram to go with it. But with Mr.Duplicity have his Moon/Jupiter/Chiron in the 6th that this would in fact correlate to that time.

God Bless, Rad


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 21, 2012, 06:54 AM
Report: Romney stayed on at Bain to negotiate severance pay

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, July 20, 2012 16:05 EDT

Though he did take a “part-time leave of absence,” presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romeny did not, as he’s claimed, fully relinquish control of the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1999 because he was using his position as sole shareholder and CEO to negotiate a lucrative severance package, the details of which are still unknown due to Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns.

That preliminary information comes by way of The Boston Globe, which in its second swing at Romney’s business record finds that the former Massachusetts Governor in fact wanted to have it both ways.

While Romney was organizing the Salt Lake City Olympics, he set up a management committee to run Bain for him, composed of five board members. Romney became head of that management committee. From this allegedly estranged post, he spent two years negotiating a lofty sum while Bain’s lawyers and accountants unwound Romney’s involvement in the company.

But during that time, Mitt Romney even referred to himself in public as CEO of Bain. Globe reporters Beth Healy and Michael Kranish found a press release issued by Bain alums Geoffrey S. Rehnert and Marc B.Wolpow (PDF), in which Romney was quoted as “Bain Capital CEO W. Mitt Romney, currently on a part-time leave of absence.”

The Globe also noted that to this day nobody has replaced Romney atop Bain, which is still run by the management committee he established.

The Globe‘s first shot across Romney’s bow was the discovery of Securities and Exchange Commission documents which showed Romney retained the status of CEO and sole stock holder until 2002, even though he persistently claimed to have separated from the company in 1999.

In the years that followed, the company undertook several highly controversial projects that saw it outsource American jobs overseas and dismantle companies for profit and fire all the workers. The Obama campaign warned that if Romney was misrepresenting his role in the firm to government regulators or investors, he could face “severe consequences” for having committed a criminal offense.
——


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Sunyata on Jul 21, 2012, 03:28 PM
This is John McCains opp file on Mitt Romney from 2008.......

http://www.scribd.com/doc/78582788/McCain-2008-Oppo-File


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 24, 2012, 10:25 AM
From the American Magazine Perspectives

Romney Will Put Walmart in the White House

Even at a time of record income inequality, the lowest federal tax burden in 60 years and plummeting effective tax rates for the top one percent of earners, it is often difficult to put a face on the yawning chasm between the super-rich and everyone else. But now we have six. New data from the Federal Reserve reveal that the heirs of Walmart founders Sam and James "Bud" Walton now possess total wealth equivalent to 49 million American families, 42 percent of the total. As it turns out, that shocking number will grow much larger if Mitt Romney wins in November. After all, would-be President Romney not only wants to deliver another massive tax cut windfall for the wealthy, but wants to eliminate the estate tax altogether, a move that on paper would divert over $30 billion from the U.S. Treasury into the vaults of the Walton family.

Back in the fall of 2007, Walmart chief financial officer Tom Schoewe told Wall Street analysts, "Tough times are actually a good time for Walmart." Now we know just how good.

As labor economist Sylvia Allegretto of the University of California and Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute documented this week, the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) showed that the crippling recession which began five years ago has been a bonanza for the Walton Six. Between 2007 and 2010, the wealth of the Walton family members jumped from $73.3 billion to $89.5 billion even as median family wealth fell by 38.8 percent. The result?

    In 2007, it was reported that the Walton family wealth was as large as the bottom 35 million families in the wealth distribution combined, or 30.5 percent of all American families.

    And in 2010, as the Walton's wealth has risen and most other Americans' wealth declined, it is now the case that the Walton family wealth is as large as the bottom 48.8 million families in the wealth distribution (constituting 41.5 percent of all American families) combined.

Apparently, that's not enough for the Waltons. Which is why they along with dozens of other billionaires are backing Mitt Romney, big time.

As you'll recall, Mitt Romney doesn't merely want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent: he wants to end the AMT and enact another 20 percent across the board tax cut that could reduce his own future tax bills by half. But one Romney proposal above all others - the elimination of the estate tax - offers a staggering ROI for the richest families in America.

In 1999, that tax was 55% on an individual's estate valued at over $675.000. Thanks to President Obama's capitulation to Congressional Republicans in December 2010, the estate tax dropped to 35 percent starting at $5 million per person. (Despite the fact that only 0.25 percent of estates even had to pay the tax, Democrat Blanche Lincoln, also once known as the "Senator from Walmart," colluded with Arizona Republican Jon Kyl to force the lower rate.) Now, Mitt Romney wants to eliminate that levy altogether, one that brings Uncle Sam billions in revenue annually.

The result will be billions back for Romney's billionaire backers. On paper, Sheldon Adelson's heirs will keep $8.75 billion (35 percent of his estimated $25 billion fortune) currently destined for the U.S. Treasury. The beneficiaries of Richard and Bill Marriott, the hotel moguls worth an estimated $3.3 billion between them, would reap an extra $1.15 billion payday. Then there's Alice and Jim Walton, who are in a class by themselves. For their combined $400,000 contribution to Romney's Super PAC, their Walmart heirs could get back 81,750 times on Alice and Jim's original investment.

As Forbes first highlighted last year, between them the six Waltons combined have over $90 billion. As Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders explained in his famous filibuster of December 2010, the elimination of the estate tax could potentially save the Walton family $32.7 billion. As it turns out, President Romney's zeroing out of the estate tax would cap a years-long effort for the Waltons. USA Today summed it up in 2005:

    Led by Sam Walton's only daughter, Alice, the family spent $3.2 million on lobbying, conservative causes and candidates for last year's federal elections. That's more than double what it spent in the previous two elections combined, public documents show.

    The Waltons have joined a coterie of wealthy families trying to save fortunes through permanent repeal of the estate tax, government watchdogs say. The election of President Bush and more conservatives to Congress gave momentum to the long-fought effort. The Waltons add more.

A Republican victory this fall could bring Alice Walton's crusade to fruition. And if she succeeds, the gaping multi-billion hole left in the U.S. Treasury will have to be filled by all the other taxpayers in America. Or as the Waltons call them, Walmart customers.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 24, 2012, 10:42 AM
Mitt Romney is Running for Bush's Third Term

By Jon Perr

In Las Vegas last week, Mitt Romney looked to his own biography in proposing a new requirement for anyone seeking the presidency:

    "In addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birthplace of the president being set by the Constitution, I'd like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before becoming president of the United States."

Of course, if Mitt Romney had his way, the President should also have an MBA from the prestigious Harvard Business School. He ought to have made millions in the private sector and earned notoriety for running a high-profile sports enterprise. A scion of a proud Republican family, the occupant of the White House should promise massive, Treasury-draining tax cuts which would deliver the lion's share of their benefits to the very richest Americans, himself and his family included. The President should also nevertheless pledge to balance the budget even while boosting defense spending. And in his ideal America, he would like to privatize Social Security and leave Americans to fend for themselves in the private health insurance marketplace.

If that profile sounds like Mitt Romney, that's because it is. Then again, the same description also applies to America's First MBA President*, George W. Bush. And we all know how well that worked out.

Big Tax Cuts and Bigger Debt

In April, the RNC's Alexandra Franceschi gave away the game when she explained that Romney's 2012 GOP economic platform would be the Bush program, "just updated." If anything, she understated the disturbing similarities between the two HBS grads.

Starting, for example, with taxes and debt. After Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt, George W. Bush doubled it again. During his tenure, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 drained $2.5 trillion from the U.S. Treasury, accounting for half the deficits he produced. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found, over the next decade, the debt due to revenue lost to the Bush tax cuts, if made permanent, would exceed the price tag for TARP, the Obama stimulus, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ... combined.

As it turns out, Mitt Romney's scheme to "Cut, Cap and Balance" the federal budget does nothing of the sort. As ThinkProgress explained:

    Romney's claim that his plan would promote job and economic growth while reducing the deficit is also likely false. The Bush tax cuts were promoted under the same guise, only to blow a $2.5-trillion hole in the federal budget that was accompanied by worst performance of any post-war expansion" for growth in investment, GDP, and job creation. Romney's tax cuts are even more expensive, clocking in at a cost of more than $10.7 trillion over the next decade and reducing revenue to a paltry 15 percent of GDP, according to Linden. Balancing the budget on those terms, as Romney claims he will do, would be next to impossible.

Romney's proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut on top of making Bush's tax cuts permanent, would produce a $600 billion shortfall in 2015 alone. As The Washington Post explained in its discussion of an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, "until the campaign offers a more specific plan, Budget Watch analysts said Romney's entire framework would add about $2.6 trillion to the debt by 2021." But as Romney admitted in March, he's too afraid to do that:

    "So I haven't laid out all of the details about how we're going to deal with each deduction, so I think it's kind of interesting for the groups to try and score it, because frankly it can't be scored, because those kinds of details will have to be worked out with Congress, and we have a wide array of options."

Windfall for the Wealthy

Of course Romney, like Bush before him, isn't afraid of dramatically expanding the income gap. At a time of record income inequality, the lowest federal tax burden in 60 years, Mitt would widen the chasm further. After the Bush tax cuts handed a third of their benefits to the wealthiest one percent of earners, Romney would give 60 percent of the benefits from his tax cuts to the same privileged few. As it turns out, Mitt wouldn't merely be cutting his own tax bill by an estimated $4 million a year. By following in Dubya's footsteps in seeking to eliminate the inheritance income tax, the $250 million Mitt would guarantee his heirs an $80 million windfall, courtesy of all other U.S. taxpayers.

Social Security Privatization

On Social Security, too, George Bush and Mitt Romney see eye to eye. Bush, as you'll recall, tried and utterly failed to partially privatize Social Security. (As President Bush explained to a January 2005 town hall meeting with an African-American audience, "Another interesting idea ... is a personal savings account ... which can't be used to bet on the lottery, or a dice game, or the track.")

For his part, Governor Romney has tried to run away from the wildly unpopular privatization scheme, repeatedly telling a New Hampshire crowd "I didn't mention that." But while Mitt now claims only "when it comes to Social Security, we will slowly raise the retirement age [and] we will slow the growth in benefits for higher-income retirees," in the past Romney was a fervent advocate of Bush's disgraced plan. As ThinkProgress has documented at length, for years Mitt Romney supported the very private accounts he now pretends to oppose.

In his 2010 book, No Apology, Governor Romney proclaimed, "I also like the fact the individual retirement accounts would encourage more Americans to invest in the private sector that powers our economy." During a 2008 GOP presidential debate, Romney explained that "the president said let's have private accounts and take that surplus money that's being gathered now in Social Security and put that into private accounts. That works." The year before, Mitt frequently repeated his preference for private accounts:

    June 2007: When a college student asked Romney how he, as president, planned to solidify Social Security's future, he endorsed private accounts: "One thing that the president proposed [on Social Security] that is a good idea is to take some of that money, or all of that surplus money and allow people to have a personal account. So they can invest in things that have a higher rate of return than just government debt. They can invest in things like our stock market or the world's stock market...so that they can get a better return, and maybe that would make up for some of the shortfall. That's a good idea."

Bush's Health Care Reform—On Steroids

As it turns out, Mitt Romney—or at least the 2012 edition of him—is largely recycling President Bush's disastrous prescription for health care. Despite the clear success of his popular Massachusetts program in reducing both the ranks of the insured and the rate of growth of costs, Romney has largely repackaged Bush's stillborn proposals. That litany includes selling insurance across state lines, enacting draconian curbs on malpractice awards, supporting tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs) and, most importantly, giving tax breaks to private insurance while ending them for businesses. And as the Los Angeles Times explained, Romney's $1 trillion Rx could prove catastrophic:

    Critics and independent analysts say the impact would probably leave a larger number of Americans without insurance...While offering consumers more choices, Romney's plan would give companies strong incentives to stop providing insurance to workers. It also would overhaul the 46-year-old Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.

Defense Spending and National Security

On national defense, the two offer the same tough talk. Both Bush and Romney pledged to increase defense spending, while caustically criticizing the current Democratic occupant of the White House for leaving America unprepared and at risk. Despite the fact that the Pentagon's budget has doubled since 2001 and increased during each year of the Obama presidency, Romney warned (wrongly, it turns out):

    "Our Navy is smaller than it's been since 1917. Our Air Force is smaller and older than any time since 1947. We are cutting our number of troops. We are not giving the veterans the care they deserve. We simply cannot continue to cut our Department of Defense budget if we are going to remain the hope of the Earth."

If that fear-mongering sounds familiar, it should. Then-candidate George W. Bush offered an even more dramatic, if similarly false, jeremiad at the 2000 Republican National Convention:

    "We have seen a steady erosion of American power and an unsteady exercise of American influence. Our military is low on parts, pay and morale. If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, 'Not ready for duty, sir.'"

(As it turns out, many of Romney's neoconservative advisers not only helped bring you the war in Iraq, but have for months been advocating an American attack on Iran "before it's too late.")

Of and For the Haves—and the Have Mores

When it comes to the aloofness that comes with great wealth, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney are mirror images of each other. That is, while in 2000 the former alcoholic Bush was the man voters wanted to have a beer with, the teetotaler Romney is clearly the choice Americans don't want to not have a beer with. Nevertheless, in moments of levity—both intended and not—each man showed the yawning chasm separating himself from the concerns of the American people he would serve.

Texas Governor Bush joked about truth to power at the October 2000 Al Smith Dinner:

    "This is an impressive crowd—the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."

(Some of them—the ones who own NFL and NASCAR teams—Mitt now calls friends. As for their fans—the people in polyester and plastic rain ponchos—not so much.)

But Bush's shockingly cavalier comments while pitching his Social Security privatization plan during a February 2005 town hall were no laughing matter:

    In Omaha on Friday, a divorced single mother named Mary Mornin tells the president, "I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two daughters."

    "Fantastic," the president exclaims, and he tells her she has "the hardest job in America, being a single mom."

    Later, the 57-year old Mornin tells Bush that she works three jobs, which the president deems "uniquely American" and "fantastic."

Fast forward seven years and Ann Romney is channeling the man her husband would replace as the next Republican President of the United States:

    "I love the fact that there are women out there who don't have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn't easy for any of us."

Not even for the Romneys.

Mitt Romney, who explained that over the last decade "my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past," joked with jobless voters that "I'm also unemployed." The $250 million man similarly declared himself "part of the 80 to 90 percent of us" who are middle class, when just the "not very much" $374,000 he earned in speaking fees last year puts him in the top one percent of income earners. Whether or not he really enjoys firing people, Mitt Romney almost certainly never worried about "getting a pink slip" or pooped in a bucket during his time as a missionary at a toney Paris mansion. (Who else would lecture a child about his plans to divvy up his estate among his 16 grandchildren or endorse rooftop canine waterboarding?) And there's no doubt that the man who spent $12 million to buy his third home (none of which are located on "the real streets of America") didn't win any friends when he offered this prescription for the housing market crisis:

    "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."

Of course, he could have just been talking about the Bush recession and the policies that helped produce it. Mitt Romney may be much smarter and much more successful than Dubya. But the would-be Second MBA President is reading from the same script as the first. And Americans already know how that movie ends.

* NOTE: It is worth recalling that Bush ran on his business acumen in 2000. His followers touted him as the "First MBA President" and boasted "MBA President's Success Leaves Dems Out in Cold." They even produced books with titles like "The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Commonsense Lessons from the Commander in Chief." But as these articles from US News and BusinessWeek show, President Bush did not receive high marks from his fellow business leaders. Now, Mitt Romney is touting his private sector business leadership and the claim that he knows "why jobs come and why jobs go." As leaders and managers, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush seem to have little in common. But in terms of public policy, they are eerily—and depressingly—similar.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 25, 2012, 06:44 AM
‘On his own’ Romney ad star took over $1 million in government loans

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 11:00 EDT

The up-by-his-bootstraps businessman who stars in an ad for Republican hopeful Mitt Romney seems to have built his business through government-sponsored loans, putting a dent in the campaign’s attack on President Barack Obama’s saying to business owners, “you didn’t get there on your own.”

“My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company?” New Hampshire businessman Jack Gilchrist, president of Gilchrist Metal, asks in the ad that’s been making waves since last week.

Reporting by The New Hampshire Union Leader disputed this claim by looking into Gilchrist’s history, revealing that he took over $1 million in government loans since the 1980s, including $800,000 in tax-exempt bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority to build a new manufacturing plant and buy equipment. Gilchrist also admitted to the paper that he took a U.S. Small Business Administration loan of “somewhere south of” $500,000 in the 1980s, and said that to this day about 10 percent of his business comes from defense-related projects.

“Defense business is a good way to help the economy,” Gilchrist told the Leader. “But the President wants to cut the crap out of the defense budget. I’m not going to turn a blind eye because the money came from the government. As far as I’m concerned, I’m getting some of my tax money back. I’m not stupid, I’m not going to say ‘no.’ Shame on me if I didn’t use what’s available.”

In spite of the controversy, the Romney campaign said it’s standing by the ad. But apart from the obvious hypocrisy of the Gilchrist ad, the Romney also camp deceptively edited President Obama. And it’s no ordinary deceptive edit.

In the ad, Gilchrist’s obstinate response follows audio of President Obama saying in Roanoke, Virginia on July 13: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

What the president actually said is much longer and more nuanced. Romney’s ad team essentially picked three sentences out of a minute’s worth of audio — sentences that did not come in succession.

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” the president actually said. “I’m always struck by people who think, ‘Wow, it must be because I was just so smart.’ There are a lot of smart people out there. ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’ Lemme tell you something: there are a lot of hard working people out there. If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that’s allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that: somebody else made that happen. The Internet did not get invented on its own.”

The ad was apparently enough of a punch to get President Obama to respond directly. “In politics we all tolerate a certain amount of spin,” he said at a campaign stop in Oakland on Monday evening, according to The Los Angeles Times. “I understand these are the games that get played in political campaigns. But when folks omit entire sentences of what I said — they start splicing and dicing — you may have gone a little over the edge.”

And to drive that point home, the Obama campaign has highlighted a speech Romney made in 2002, during the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, in which he too exclaimed that even the Olympians “didn’t get here solely on your own power.”

“For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions,” he said. “All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right!”

This video was published to YouTube by the Mitt Romney for President campaign on July 20, 2012.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 26, 2012, 07:25 AM
Originally published Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 5:20 AM

FACT CHECK: Romney met Bain partners after exit

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City's Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney's actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.

By STEPHEN BRAUN and JACK GILLUM
Associated Press

WASHINGTON —

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City's Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney's actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.

Those familiar with Romney's discussions with his Bain partners said the contacts included several meetings in Boston, the company's home base, but were limited to matters that did not affect the firm's investments or other management decisions. Yet Romney continued to oversee his partnership stakes even as he disengaged from the firm, personally signing or approving a series of corporate and legal documents through the spring of 2001, according to financial reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

The details of Romney's contacts with his Bain partners between his 1999 departure and his separation from the company in mid-2001 could show how involved he was - either as CEO or passive investor - in several multimillion-dollar investment deals, bankruptcies and a spate of layoffs and overseas job shifts at Bain-owned companies that reportedly occurred during that span. Romney's role became a campaign issue in recent weeks because corporate records from the time showed his interests in some of those deals - despite his insistence that he gave up any decision-making authority once he left Bain.

"When partners depart a private equity company and are no longer active, there are various ways that their interests may be affected," said Colin C. Blaydon, director of Dartmouth College's Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship. "In some cases it may not be affected at all, but they still own points in the funds and the carried interest that is paid as part of their partnership stake. It's entirely possible to step back from a previous management role, but that all depends on the arrangements they make and the management structure created to replace them."

A clear accounting of Romney's contacts with Bain has been hampered by his presidential campaign's reluctance to discuss the period in detail and complicated by conflicting accounts in some of Romney's comments and financial reports. Both the Romney campaign and Bain have declined to provide documentary materials that could shed light on Romney's role after 1999.

Romney's campaign says that once he agreed to head the Olympics bid, he was no longer "involved in the management of that business or the investment decisions that occurred." Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul added that "it took some time to transfer his ownership to the other partners, which is not surprising given the growth and success of the firm."

Romney testified during a 2002 Massachusetts court case that he flew back and forth between Boston and Salt Lake City frequently in the first half of 1999, returning at least four times to attend board meetings of office supply giant Staples Inc., which had named him a director. Romney said nothing about his dealings with Bain during that testimony, which came during a legal challenge to his Massachusetts residency that was aimed at thwarting his campaign for governor.

Several associates now say Romney made repeated trips between Salt Lake City and Boston, where he met at times with his former partners, mostly to discuss his severance from the firm. The Boston Globe reported last week that Romney also met with his Bain partners at a 15th anniversary celebration in Palm Beach, Fla., in early 1999.

"Some were group conversations. Some were one on one," said a legal expert familiar with Romney's discussions with his Bain partners. This person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential business dealings, said that Romney did not relinquish his Bain ownership after taking the Olympics role but that Romney took care to avoid the day-to-day role of a corporate manager.

This person said that when Romney left, a five-partner management committee was already in place. That account echoed a similar version given by Edward Conard, a former Bain partner who donated $1 million last year to a political committee supporting Romney's presidential run.

"There was a management committee running Bain to transition from Mitt to a new structure," Conard said last week during an interview on MSNBC. At the same time, Conard said, Romney's exit was complicated by the fact that "Mitt's names were on the documents as chief executive and sole owner of the company."

Those documents, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, contain dozens of references to Romney and his holdings. An AP analysis of thousands of SEC filings in that three-year period found at least 39 documents in which Romney was listed as sole shareholder, president or director of investment funds that controlled large stakes in Bain-related companies.

Some legal experts said those records show that Romney remained the "controlling person," as some filings described him, in the deals that Bain struck in that span. "From a corporate law point of view, it would not be kosher to hold him out as president when he had no role in the company," said George Washington University law professor Arthur E. Wilmarth Jr.

Other experts cautioned that while federal "beneficial ownership" rules require the listing of partners whose voting stakes exceed 5 percent of an investment in a public company, any partner with voting power in the same investment could also exercise authority. While Romney controlled the management entity running Bain, his partners controlled connected general partnerships that directed the investment funds. As a result, Romney was not the only Bain partner with lines of authority over the investments cited in the SEC filings.

"Anyone who has voting power over the shares could be the owner for reporting purposes," said Brian J. Lane, a partner at the Washington law firm of Gibson Dunn and former director of the SEC's Corporate Finance Division, which oversees corporate filings.

In addition to those SEC reports, other corporate documents obtained by the AP show Romney's personal signature at least 10 times on large stock transactions or ownership statements tied to Bain investment deals at the time. Those documents include Romney's signature on federal stock forms approving the sales of large stakes in circuit board manufacturer DDi Corp. The company went into bankruptcy in 2003.

SEC filings by Bain also showed that Romney's digital signature- a legal version of his personal script - appeared on at least 18 other stock ownership records between 1999 and 2001. The filings were part of Bain investments in Therma Wave, a heat testing company; Wesley Jessen Visioncare; and Staples Inc.

Romney's defenders argue that such signings reflected his limited role as a Bain partner and investor, but not as the firm's manager. One former senior Bain partner said that once Romney had accepted the Olympics position, he would "make suggestions but not decisions." The former partner added that Romney's extensive partnership stakes required him to respond to - and at times approve - a succession of ownership documents stemming from the company's continuing investment deals.

Documents reviewed by the AP also showed that Romney signed several power-of-attorney statements that were used repeatedly during the transition, allowing other senior Bain partners and several lawyers for Bain to represent his interests in the investment deals the company struck between 1999 and 2001.

Blaydon said such moves are common in private equity deals and also could have provided Romney with legal flexibility as he moved to disengage from Bain. "If he wanted to dial in by phone, he could have," Blaydon said. "There's no doubt he could have played a bigger role if he wanted, but if he wanted to have minimal involvement, he had that flexibility."

Other private equity experts questioned whether Romney's continuing financial stakes could be so easily separated from his longtime CEO role. Victor Fleischer, a University of Colorado law professor and private equity expert who urged corporate tax code reforms during congressional testimony last year, said Romney could not simply waive his duties as Bain's CEO and major shareholder.

Many of Bain's investment funds and several of Romney's own managing partnership entities were based in Delaware. Fleischer said the state's corporate code required that the fund manager "perform whatever partnership duties they have with the greatest attention. He was still president, CEO and sole shareholder of some of the management companies for some of these funds, and under Delaware law, owed fiduciary duties to his investors. If you can't fulfill your fiduciary duties as owner, you have to waive your partnerships."

Charles M. Elson, a University of Delaware finance professor and an authority on the state's corporate laws, countered that Delaware law "is flexible enough to give (Bain) leeway in their decision-making. The partnership law is enabling. They could make decisions without him."

Even Romney's explanation of his role at Bain after 1999 appears to have shifted in recent years, as shown in notes that his financial trustee provided in successive presidential candidate financial reports submitted in 2007 and in 2011 to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. The lawyer administering Romney's finances, R. Bradford Malt, said in 2007 that Romney did not have "any active role with any Bain Capital entity" after 1999. In 2011, that explanation broadened, saying Romney had also "not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."

Both explanations appear at odds with statements attributed to Romney in a corporate news release from July 1999, five months after he left to take over the Olympic bid. The news release, recently posted on the Daily Kos website, announced the departure that year from Bain of two of Romney's founding partners. The release also stated that Romney remained Bain's CEO while on a "part-time leave of absence" to head the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

D'Jamila Salem, a former Boston public relations executive who wrote the release, recalled recently that Bain officials provided the quotes and information about Romney at the time.

Salem was listed on the release as a press contact along with Joshua Bekenstein, a founding Bain partner. Bekenstein also substituted at times for Romney on SEC filings under power of attorney during that period. Bekenstein, still a Bain managing director, was one of several company executives who did not respond to calls from AP for comment.

---

Associated Press writers Charles Babington and Andrew Miga in Washington and Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 26, 2012, 07:27 AM
‘Anglo-Saxon’ comment hangs over Romney in Britain

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 17:33 EDT

WASHINGTON — The start of Mitt Romney’s foreign tour was overshadowed Wednesday by a reported remark by an aide that President Barack Obama doesn’t understand the “Anglo-Saxon heritage” shared by Britain and the United States.

The Republican White House hopeful’s campaign scrambled to deny that one of its operatives had told a British newspaper that Romney, unlike Obama, understands the “Anglo-Saxon heritage” underpinning the so-called special relationship with Britain.

In the context of previous jibes that the Democratic incumbent, the United States’ first black leader, does not understand American values and business practice, the latest alleged comments were seen as racially charged.

But Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg said in a statement that the British report was mistaken.

“It’s not true,” she said. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”

British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said it had interviewed two Romney advisers who said their man would be better than President Barack Obama at reinforcing the special bond between the United States and Britain.

“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” an unnamed adviser told the Telegraph. “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”

The British paper also quoted an adviser saying Obama “is a left-winger” who “doesn’t value the NATO alliance as much. He’s very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him.”

The comments caused scandal just as Romney arrived in London to kick off a three-nation tour where his campaign has said he won’t attack Obama’s record, and the White House seized on the remarks as undignified and disturbing.

“Despite his promises that politics stops at the water’s edge, governor Romney’s wheels hadn’t even touched down in London before his advisers were reportedly playing politics with international diplomacy, attempting to create daylight between the United States and the United Kingdom where none exists,” Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement.

The comments, Biden said, “are a disturbing start to a trip designed to demonstrate governor Romney’s readiness to represent the United States on the world’s stage.”

Senior Obama re-election strategist David Axelrod called the comments “stunningly offensive.”

The Romney campaign hit back, saying Obama’s campaign was using the dust up as a distraction ahead of the November election.

Biden invoked “an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams alleged.

“We have very serious problems confronting our nation and American families are hurting, yet the Obama campaign continues to try to divert voters’ attention with specious shiny objects.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 26, 2012, 07:29 AM
 SPIEGEL ONLINE
07/25/2012 06:17 PM

European Tour: Romney's Trans-Atlantic Policy Needs a Reboot

A Commentary By Annette Heuser and Tyson Barker

Likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit the United Kingdom and Poland at a time when the GOP's policy toward Europe seems to be trapped in the days of the Cold War. It will be a chance for him to update his outdated views.

Mitt Romney's first foreign tour as the Republican Party's likely presidential candidate includes visits to two European states. While designed to send a message to potential voters at home, particularly blue-collar Reagan Democrats in the Midwest, the trip will be about photo opportunities. Romney's visit to London is meant to echo his own successful management of the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City and play into a campaign narrative built on executive experience and sober business acumen.

His visit to Gdansk and Warsaw will highlight the triangle that broke the back of communism: the Polish people's courage, their Catholic faith and Western resolve. Not coincidentally, Polish-American immigrants dot the landscape in important battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Romney's visit will inevitably draw parallels to that of candidate Barack Obama, who on a visit to Germany in July 2008, resolutely declared on the steps of Berlin's Victory Column that he is a "citizen of the world." Now the Republican candidate has an opportunity to articulate his vision for US relations with Europe, which has so far remained underdeveloped and reliant on dated platitudes.

Cold-War Rhetoric

At the moment, Romney's European policy hints at a worldview more reminiscent of 1982 than 2012. In a March interview, Romney described Russia as the US's "number-one geopolitical foe." More recently, one of his top defense surrogates warned of the creeping Soviet threat in the Arctic. Another stated that the Obama administration's decision to opt for a phased adaptive approach to missile defense was abandoning "Czechoslovakia."

Individually these unfortunate statements are meaningless, but taken together they represent a worldview that is tinged with Cold War-era tropes. The Romney camp seems to overlook that Russia's accordance of access to the International Security Assistance Force's northern distribution network has been essential to the continuation of the mission in Afghanistan. His campaign also fails to remember that recent arms reductions in the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty make the US military more effective and the world safer, and that Russia's entry this month into the World Trade Organization forces Moscow to accept higher standards for the rule of law.

That is not to say that US-Russia relations are unproblematic. Russia's obstinacy in the face of the Syrian civil war runs counter to the humanitarian responsibility incumbent upon the United Nations Security Council's permanent members. The Kremlin's new, restrictive laws on non-governmental organizations and internet freedom also call into question even the most basic commitment to civil society. And the country's endemic corruption is worrisome. Indeed, Russia's relationships with the US and Europe are complex and wrought with difficulty. They cannot be boiled down into simplistic, anachronistic sound bites.

Lack of Vision

In Poland, Romney is expected to criticize the Obama administration's reset policy with Russia. In fact, US and Polish approaches to Moscow have hewed closely together. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski has stated that his country started its own reset with Russia in 2007 and paved the way for the US to follow a similar path. Even in conservative Poland, Obama's approval rating stands at 50 percent, up from George W. Bush's 41 percent during his last year in office, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey.

Apart from criticizing Obama's Russia policy, the most remarkable feature of Romney's vision is his lack of approach. His 48-page document outlining his foreign-policy strategy does not once mention the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union. That will certainly be a source of concern for his European hosts, two of the largest members of both organizations and countries with two of the largest troop contingents to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

The one bright spot in Romney's trans-Atlantic vision has been his public call for a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement, a major positive agenda item that is sure to find support from Europe's most important leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But Romney has yet to address what role his administration would play in tackling the euro-zone crisis, now the most serious foreign-policy challenge for the US. Instead, Romney campaign rhetoric has used Europe as a foil in domestic-policy debates over debt and public spending: "We are increasingly becoming like Europe," he has said. "Europe is not working in Europe. It will never work here." He has stated that he would not allow America's national balance sheet to be exposed to the euro-zone crisis, but the US is already exposed indirectly through trade, banking ties and returns on foreign direct investment. Romney will inevitably have to articulate a policy that recognizes America's continued role as a European power.

Once upon a time, the Republican foreign policy brain trust was replete with some of the greatest minds on US relations with Europe. It was the creative tension in America's center-right foreign-policy establishment from realists such as Henry Kissinger and Brett Scowcroft, to strident Cold Warriors such as Jeanne Kirkpatrick, to brash pragmatists such as James Baker that drove successful American foreign policy in the latter half of the Cold War, eventually leading to an unequivocal geopolitical triumph for the West. Today, however, the Republican candidate's relations with Europe have been relegated to vague pronouncements. Romney's trip to Europe gives him a chance to change that.

Annette Heuser is executive director, and Tyson Barker is director of trans-Atlantic relations at the Washington, DC-based Bertelsmann Foundation.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 26, 2012, 09:12 AM
July 26, 2012 08:00 AM

Romney Campaign Joins Voter Suppression Efforts In Virginia

By karoli

That ad was created by the Voter Participation Center in response to outraged fluff from Virginia Republicans over voter registration forms being sent to people, and in some cases pets, who aren't eligible to vote.

This is where I point out that pawprints are not usually accepted as signatures in state registrars' offices. Mailing is not a crime.

The Voter Participation Center (VPC) exists to reach out to unregistered voters in more than half the states in this country and get them to vote. They do this by combing lists, comparing them to registration lists, and sending out a pre-populated voter registration form clearly identified with their organization. Before any mailing goes out, state registrars have an opportunity to review and edit what is sent. It's not being done in a vacuum, and 15,000 people have returned the forms to the Virginia registrar, which is really why the Romney campaign has heartburn, I'm sure.

As usual, the right wing is determined to invent a problem so they can apply a solution like Voter ID, which we already know impacts those very same voters targeted by the VPC.

The Romney campaign has jumped on the bandwagon, calling for an investigation by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli into their practices. Wouldn't that be a nice "get"? A peek inside the lists the VPC uses, a list of voters, all sorts of goodies there for the taking if they actually got the Cooch to agree. The VPC is pushing back hard against their efforts, and well they should. For some bizarre reason the Romney people have it in their head that mailing a form is the same as submitting one for registration.

As anyone who has ever had the misfortune of working with lists knows, it's pretty easy to have entries that aren't right. A typo, someone uses their pet's name to register or subscribe to something, any number of things can cause list errors. But there isn't a problem unless someone actually picks up that erroneous form and tries to use it. Then they're committing fraud, and it would be the job of the registrar to verify those registrations anyway.

All in all, it's just more right wing smoke and mirrors intended to discredit any organization which extends opportunities for all citizens to vote.

But there is a humorous side to an otherwise fairly mundane story. In their zeal to find some sort of ZOMG conspiracy, PJ Media's reporter asked why they are "spoofing their zip code" on a conference call with the VPC on this issue. Nay, they even have it up on their front page right now!

Sorry to destroy that exclusive for you, PJ Media, but you see, when you send mass mailings with reply mail on them, the United States Postal Service assigns a "QBRM" number and code.

    The ZIP+4 Code assigned by the Postal Service is unique for that category of letter-size BRM. The ZIP+4 IMb barcode provides for sortation on postal automated equipment by specific size and rate categories (i.e., cards, 1 oz. letters, 2 oz. letters, etc.).

So you see, there's no conspiracy to "spoof" a zip code, Brian Preston of PJ Media (aka Tatler). It's called complying with the rules. Gosh, I'll bet you anything FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity does it too!

Another conspiracy theory killed before it's born.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 27, 2012, 07:40 AM
 SPIEGEL ONLINE
07/27/2012 11:14 AM

MI6 and Anglo-Saxon Heritage: Mitt Romney Flounders and Flubs His Way Through London

By Sebastian Fischer  in Washington

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had been hoping to show off his foreign-policy credentials by traveling to Europe this week. Instead, he has committed one flub after another. The headlines have not been kind.

Mitt Romney was hoping to start off his European tour with a bang: a meeting with conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron, the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday and a couple of lucrative fundraising events. The idea was to show the presumed Republican presidential candidate from his best side. After all, he himself successfully managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The plan, in short, was a good one, and London is to be followed by quick stops in Poland and Israel. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Romney to make the kind of negative headlines he had been hoping to avoid. And it has cast a dark cloud over his entire trip.

It all began with an anonymous Romney "adviser" and the special relationship between the US and Great Britain. "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he (Romney) feels that the special relationship is special," the adviser told the British daily Telegraph. "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."

Perhaps the comment hadn't been adequately vetted. But the Telegraph teased it out for its readers. The remarks, the paper wrote, "may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity" given that Obama's father, after all, was neither white nor Anglo-Saxon. US Vice President Joe Biden reacted strongly by calling the comments "disturbing" and saying the assertion was "beneath a presidential campaign." Obama adviser David Axelrod said that the comment on shared heritage was "stunningly offensive."

'Disconcerting'

And Romney? The candidate has done his best to distance himself from the statements, saying he doesn't know who the source is -- and accusing Biden of reacting to quotes from an unnamed adviser in a "foreign newspaper."

That, though, was just the appetizer. Not long after his arrival in London, Romney joined Brian Williams from the US broadcaster NBC for an exclusive interview. It was a wide-ranging talk, touching on topics as diverse as the shooting in Colorado (the candidate said America did not need new gun-control laws) and his wife's horse Rafalca, which will be competing in dressage at the Olympics ("I will not be watching the event," Romney said).

And then Williams lobbed what should have been a softball question about whether London was well-prepared for the Olympics. Romney could have said how wonderful it was to be in such a great city full of wonderful people and rich history. Instead, he said: "There are a few things that were disconcernting, 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."

As if that weren't enough, Romney also seemed to take aim at the British people. "Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? That is something which we only find out once the Games actually begin."

Not surprisingly, the British press jumped on the comments. As did British leaders. During a rally to celebrate the end of the torch relay in Hyde Park, London Mayor Boris Johnson said to the gathered crowd: "There's this guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready."

'Mr. Leader' and MI6

And Prime Minister Cameron also chided the Republican candidate. "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world," he said. "Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."

Chagrined, Romney quickly did something that Americans have become used to from him: He flip-flopped. In comments to the press afterward, he conceded that it is "impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur." And added that, once competition starts, "those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes."

Still, Romney wasn't quite done making headlines. It was, after all, a long day full of meetings with a variety of people, including Labour party head Ed Miliband, who Romney addressed as "Mr. Leader."

And then there was another appointment. "I can only say that I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6 as we discussed Syria and the hope for a more peaceful future for that country," he said at a news conference.

Oops. The meeting with MI6 head Sir John Sawers was supposed to remain secret. That, at least, had been the agreement beforehand.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 29, 2012, 10:20 AM
From the American magazine Perspectives ...

How the U.S. Government Helped Mitt Romney Build His Fortune

At events across the country, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is trying to convince voters that small business owners in fact build the roads and bridges they use every day. Unfortunately, Romney's "We Did Build It" gatherings have hit some potholes, with many participants revealed to be the recipients of government contracts and subsidies and others unaware of the full context of President Obama's selectively edited remarks now under attack.

But Mitt Romney has another, much larger problem with his baseless contention that President Obama is "insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America." Because on his road to becoming a $250 million captain of private equity at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney had a lot of help from his uncle. Uncle Sam, that is. As it turns out, the U.S. tax code doesn't merely allow Romney to pay a lower rate than many middle class families. Without the public subsidy that is the corporate debt interest deduction, there might not be a Bain Capital--or a private equity industry as we know it--at all.

Private equity owes its success in no small part to that uniquely American provision of the corporate tax code. The New York Times recently helped explain why:

    Companies can finance investment from either debt or equity. Companies can finance investment from either debt or equity. But profit on an investment financed with equity -- stock issued by the company -- is taxed. In contrast, if the project is financed with debt, then only the profit after interest payments are made is taxed. This means debt-financed investments are cheaper than equity.

And not just a little cheaper. As the Treasury Department recently explained, "The effective corporate marginal tax rate on new equity-financed investment in equipment is 37 percent in the United States. At the same time, the effective marginal tax rate on the same investment made with debt financing is minus 60 percent--a gap of 97 percentage points." The result:

    This creates a bias by corporations toward debt.

Or, for the likes of Mitt Romney, a business model.

For the leveraged buyout (LBO) kings of the 1970's and 1980's, that was the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow. Because the same interest deduction applied whether debt was taken on for a new factory or just to pay investors, Josh Kosman detailed in The Buyout of America, the early corporate raiders and their private equity successors could almost mint money as they bought firms for a fraction of the overall deal size:

    Kohlberg saw a way to make debt far less onerous for the company being acquired. He would have the company treat its debt the way businesses handle capital expenditures--as operating expenses deduced from profits through the depreciation tax schedules, thereby greatly reducing taxes. With far less to pay the government, his companies could use the money that formerly went to Uncle Sam to retire these huge loans at an unusually fast rate. Bear's equity would rise with every dollar the companies paid back in debt, even if the value of the businesses only remained the same. The final step in the plan was to sell these companies, usually within four to six years.

In January, The Economist explained how the perverse incentives work:

    From 2004 to 2011 private-equity firms piled more debt onto their companies so they could take out $188 billion in dividends to pay themselves. The deals got bigger and bigger. The largest ever, in 2007, was the $44 billion purchase of TXU, an electricity company. The market worries the company will go under.

    But though the private-equity people may have walked off with the loot, America's tax code was partly to blame, because it encourages this behaviour. The tax deductibility of interest payments on debt gives private-equity executives an incentive to pile extra debt onto the companies they buy, thereby risking the health of these firms for the sake of a tax benefit and the prospect of higher returns.

"Traditionally," Kosman noted in 2009, "cash-rich public companies have paid dividends to lure and reward investors." But private equity firms, he explained, stand this process on its head. "Fourteen of the largest American private equity firms had more than 40 percent of the North American companies they bought from 2002 until September 2006 pay them dividends, "Kosman pointed out, adding, "In thirty-two of the eighty-three case, 38 percent, they took money out in the first year." And the innovator behind the business model?

    Mitt Romney was a pioneer of this strategy. His private equity firm, Bain Capital, was the first large PE firm to make a serious portion of its money not from selling its companies or listing them on the stock exchange, but rather by collecting distributions and dividends, which in this context is the exact opposite of reinvesting in a company. Bain Capital is notorious for failing to plow profits back into its businesses.

So much for candidate Mitt Romney's 2007 claim, "Don't forget that when companies earn profit, that money is supposed to be reinvested in growth."

During his tenure as CEO from 1984 to 1999, Bain invested in 40 companies in the U.S. While seven later went bankrupt, in June the New York Times reported that "In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money." That mirrors a January 2012 analysis by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed:

    Bain produced stellar returns for its investors--yet the bulk of these came from just a small number of its investments. Ten deals produced more than 70% of the dollar gains.

    Some of those companies, too, later ran into trouble. Of the 10 businesses on which Bain investors scored their biggest gains, four later landed in bankruptcy court.

Put another way, Mitt Romney's investing was almost risk-free. He won when his portfolio companies won and often when they lost. Thanks in large part to the dangerous incentives unleashed by the U.S. tax code.

Which is why other countries like Denmark, the UK and Germany either don't offer--or are trying to limit--the "public subsidy" that William D. Cohan deemed "the mother's milk of a leveraged buyout". As Felix Salmon noted, the United States could lower the rate at which debt interest can deducted or cap the amount of debt to which it applies. (The Obama administration is considering those kinds of changes in its recently proposed "Framework for Business Tax Reform.") In its January 30, 2012 editorial, the Financial Times lamented:

    "The system could be made fairer and more efficient by taxing debt and equity at the same rate...Most of [Romney's] money was made at Bain Capital, which, like all private equity groups, benefits from a federal debt subsidy. It should be eliminated."

Reflecting on his private equity career, Romney in 2007 sounded almost remorseful that the pain from Bain fell mainly on the plain:

    "It is one thing that if I had a chance to go back I would be more sensitive to," Mr. Romney said. "It is always a balance. Great care has got to be taken not to take a dividend or a distribution from a company that puts that company at risk." He added that taking a big payment from a company that later failed "would make me sick, sick at heart."

Not so sick at heart, though, to make President Romney change the two key elements of the federal tax code that keep the American private equity gravy train running at full speed. The first is the tax deductibility of corporate debt. The second is the notorious "carried interest exemption" that allows him and fellow fund managers to pay only the 15 percent capital gains rate- and not the 35 percent rate on income- to Uncle Sam. It is that rule that allowed Mitt to pay a lower effective tax rate on his $45 million (much of it still from Bain Capital) over the past two years, a rate below that of many middle class families.

As Alec McGillis noted in the New Republic, even the likes of Stephen Moore and Pete Peterson have grudgingly come to the conclusion that it's time for the carried interest exemption, "which allows fund managers to have their compensation for investing other people's money taxed as capital gains, not earned income," to go. But what makes Congress' largesse to Mitt Romney's ilk so glaring is the historically low capital gains tax rate he and his gilded colleagues now pay.

In September, an analysis by the Washington Post concluded that "capital gains tax rates benefiting wealthy feed [the] growing gap between rich and poor." As the Post explained, for the very richest Americans the successive capital gains tax cuts from Presidents Clinton (from 28 to 20 percent) and Bush (from 20 to 15 percent) have been "better than any Christmas gift":

    While it's true that many middle-class Americans own stocks or bonds, they tend to stash them in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, where the capital gains rate does not apply. By contrast, the richest Americans reap huge benefits. Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.

The tax rate on capital gains and dividend income used to be much higher. In the late 1970's, it reach 40 percent. Even as late as 1986 the IRS treated the top taxpayers' investment and earned income the same way. (It is worth noting that lower capital gains tax rates raise income inequality, not investment.) This convenient chart tells the tale:

All of which has--and continues--to work to the great advantage of the one Willard Mitt Romney. To be sure, other codicils of the United States tax code, like overseas tax havens and vagaries of the gift tax have allowed Romney to, among other things, generate a $100 million IRA for his sons, tax-free. (Getting state tax breaks or having the U.S. bail out the pension funds of firms he he acquired didn't hurt, either.) To be sure, Mitt Romney is very smart, very hard working and, to use his words, "extraordinarily successful." But without the policy choices of the United States government, Mitt Romney would not have gotten nearly as rich as he did at Bain Capital. The fact is he simply couldn't have built Bain Capital.

Not without help from his uncle. Uncle Sam, that is.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 30, 2012, 07:02 AM
Romney horse rider: dressage can be done with a ‘normal budget’

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, July 29, 2012 11:21 EDT

The man who will ride Ann Romney’s horse, Rafalca, in the Olympics insists that dressage is not a sport solely for the upper class, and that any family on a, “normal budget” could afford to buy, train and feed their own horse for competition.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Jan Ebeling, the 53-old who will ride Rafalca, pushed back against the notion that the sport is elitist, saying that he and others on the Romney’s riding team are not all millionaires. Riding lessons aren’t too expensive, Ebeling said, nor is the cost of buying a young, cheap horse.

An analysis by Current.com estimated that it costs on average $28,800 to shelter a dressage horse annually, or more than half the roughly $52,000 median household income nationwide from 2006-2010. That figure does not include the costs of feeding, clothing and transporting a dressage horse either, which bring the total ownership costs to around $55,000.

Critics have assailed Ann Romney’s partial ownership of Rafalca as another sign that she and her husband are woefully out of touch with average Americans. For his part, Mitt Romney has done little to assuage that concern when it comes to sports. In February, Romney told a reporter in Florida that though he didn’t follow NASCAR, he had good friends who owned racing teams. One month later, despite being heavily lampooned for that miscue, he said the same of NFL team owners.

Dressage is an equestrian sport in which riders take their horses through a series of specific trots and maneuvers, each of which are then rated by a panel of judges.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 30, 2012, 09:28 AM
yet another lie by the pathological liar

July 30, 2012 08:00 AM

Bibi Netanyahu: No, Mitt Romney Isn't A Close Friend of Mine

By Blue Texan

Mitt Romney, who's currently in Israel holding secretive fundraisers out of the view of the press, loves to brag about his close friendship with with Bibi Netanyahu.

    “We can almost speak in shorthand,” Mr. Romney said in an interview. “We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.” [...] “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’"

And,

    “Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend, he’s an old friend,” Mitt Romney, with whom Netanyahu worked at the Boston Consulting Group in the 1970s, told aipac in March.

Mitt and Bibi: BFFs!

Except no one told Bibi.

    “I remember him for sure, but I don’t think we had any particular connections,” he tells me. “I knew him and he knew me, I suppose.”

Yes, Bibi Netanyahu just called Mitt Romney a liar.

First of all, take a moment to imagine the howling by Jennifer Rubin and the rest of the right-wing smear machine if President Obama had bragged about being buddies with the Israeli Prime Minister in '08, only to have the Israeli leader say publicly, "Obama? Yeah. I suppose I've heard of him."

Now, it's easy to believe Romney's lying -- he lies about everything. But Bibi didn't have to throw him under the bus like that.

So what gives?

Either Bibi has concluded that Romney's going to lose in November, or he just doesn't like him. Can't think of anything else. Got any other theories?


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Sunyata on Jul 30, 2012, 10:08 AM
ROMNEY COMMENTS AT FUNDRAISER OUTRAGE PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who suggested his comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. His campaign later said his remarks were mischaracterized.

"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who ate breakfast at the luxurious King David Hotel.

Romney said some economic histories have theorized that "culture makes all the difference."

"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence." He said similar disparity exists between neighboring countries, like Mexico and the United States.

Palestinian reaction to Romney was swift and pointed.

"It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," Erekat added. "He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."

As criticism mounted while Romney traveled to Poland, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said: "His comments were grossly mischaracterized." The Republican's campaign contends Romney's comparison of countries that are close to each other and have wide income disparities - the U.S. and Mexico, Chile and Ecuador - shows his comments were broader than just the comparison between Israel and Palestine.

While speaking to U.S. audiences, Romney often highlights culture as a key to economic success and emphasizes the power of the American entrepreneurial spirit compared to the values of other countries. But his decision to highlight cultural differences in a region where such differences have helped fuel violence for generations raises new questions about the former businessman's diplomacy skills.

As he has at home, Romney in Jerusalem cited a book titled, "Guns, Germs and Steel," that suggests the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there.

"And you look at Israel and you say you have a hard time suggesting that all of the natural resources on the land could account for all the accomplishment of the people here," Romney said, before citing another book, "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," by former Harvard professor David Landes.

This book, Romney said in Jerusalem, concludes that "if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it's this: Culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference."

The economic disparity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is actually much greater than Romney stated. Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500, according to the World Bank.

Romney, seated next to billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson at the head of the table, told donors that he had read books and relied on his own business experience to understand why the difference is so great.

His comparison of the two economies did not take into account the stifling effect the Israeli occupation has had on the Palestinian economy in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem - areas Israel captured in 1967 where the Palestinians hope to establish a state.

In the West Bank, Palestinians have only limited self-rule. Israel controls all border crossings in and out of the territory, and continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967, but has invested much less heavily there than in Jewish west Jerusalem.

And although Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it continues to control access and has enforced a crippling border blockade since the Islamic militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

It's true that Israel has logged tremendous achievements, said Abraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Inter-Disciplinary Center outside of Tel Aviv. But "you can understand this remark in several ways," he added. "You can say it's anti-Semitic. `Jews and money.'"

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund repeatedly have said that the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.

"It's Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that's why Palestinians cannot realize their potential," Erekat said.

The breakfast with top donors - including Adelson, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and hedge fund manager Paul Singer - concluded Romney's visit to Israel, the second leg of a three-nation overseas tour designed to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

Standing on Israeli soil for the first time as the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, Romney on Sunday declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and said the U.S. has promised never to "look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

The status of Jerusalem is a critical issue in peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

In Israel, Romney did not meet with Abbas or visit the West Bank. He met briefly with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Romney's campaign says the trip, which began in England last week, is aimed at improving the former Massachusetts governor's foreign policy experience through a series of meetings with foreign leaders. The candidate has largely avoided direct criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama while on foreign soil.

The Jerusalem fundraiser, however, was a political event that raised more than $1 million for Romney's campaign. It marks at least the second finance event during his tour. The first, in London, attracted about 250 people to a $2,500-per-person fundraiser.

Both presidential candidates have aggressively courted American donors living abroad, a practice that is legal and has been used for decades.

Romney's declaration that Jerusalem is Israel's capital was in keeping with claims made by Israeli governments for decades, even though the United States, like other nations, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.

His remarks on the subject during a speech drew a standing ovation from the audience, which included Adelson, the American businessman who has promised to donate more than $100 million to help defeat Obama.

Adelson was among a several donors who flew to Israel for a day of sightseeing with Romney in addition to private meetings with top Israeli officials.

Romney flew to the Middle East from Britain, where he caused a stir by questioning whether officials there were fully prepared for the Olympic Games. A stop in Poland will complete his trip.

Four years ago, Obama visited Israel as a presidential candidate, part of a five-nation trip meant to establish his own foreign policy credentials.

A goal of Romney's overseas trip is to demonstrate his confidence on the world stage, but the stop in Israel also was designed to appeal to evangelical voters at home and cut into Obama's support among Jewish voters and donors. A Gallup survey of Jewish voters released Friday showed Obama with a 68-25 edge over Romney.

Romney and other Republicans have said Obama is insufficiently supportive of Israel.

---

Associated Press writers Amy Teibel in Jerusalem and Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 31, 2012, 06:54 AM
 SPIEGEL ONLINE
07/30/2012 03:12 PM

The World From Berlin: 'Romney Has Already Disqualified Himself'

Republican contender Mitt Romney heads to Poland on Monday, the last stop of an overseas tour that has already taken him to England and Israel. So far, German newspapers have not been impressed with his performance, citing embarrassing verbal blunders and superficial political posturing.

In addition to raising money, the seven-day trip to visit important American allies was supposed to burnish presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney's foreign policy credentials. He started out last week in London where he met with Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the Summer Olympics. Over the weekend he went on to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But so far, Romney's trip has not had the intended effect. In London he drew fire for clumsy gaffes. In an interview on US television Romney called preparations for the games "disconcerting," questioning the adequacy of security personnel and the possible strike by immigration and customs officials. "That obviously is not something which is encouraging," he said.

Though he later praised the Olympics, the damage was already done. London mayor Boris Johnson rebuked the former Massachusetts governor in front of a screaming crowd of about 60,000. To make matters worse, Romney revealed what was supposed to be a secret meeting with the British foreign intelligence agency MI-6 and awkwardly called Labour leader Ed Miliband, "Mr. Leader."

Warmer Welcome

In Jerusalem, Romney received a warmer welcome from Netanyahu -- the two worked together at Boston Consulting Group after they finished business school. In a speech Sunday evening in Jerusalem's Old City, Romney made clear that he supports more American cooperation with Israel. "We recognize Israel's right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with you," said Romney, who suggested that he might be open to Israeli military action.

US President Barack Obama has also reiterated Israel's right to defend itself, but has been more cautious, discouraging military action and saying that economic sanctions, including a recent European ban on Iranian oil, should be given time. On Friday he signed a bill that will step up American aid to Israel, also announcing $70 million in funding to help the country advance "Iron Dome," a short-range missile defense system that has already been successful in stopping rocket attacks in places like the Gaza Strip.

Romney sought to distinguish himself from Obama's Middle East policy, calling for a tougher stance on Iran, and saying that the America's "highest national security priority" should be keeping the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.

On Monday, German newspapers criticized Romney's visit to Israel as a shallow effort to win over Jewish voters in the US.

Conservative daily Die Welt writes:

"The first part in London went wrong because Romney bluntly criticized the lack of organization ahead of the Olympic games. It was unfitting for a visitor who hopes to be elected to the White House and invoked a great deal of reaction to the prospect. By contrast, in Israel he was greeted by Prime Minister Netanyahu as a "personal friend of mine and a strong friend of the state of Israel." Romney managed to put Obama on the defensive."

"The Middle East is a weak flank for Obama, who has demanded one-sided concessions from Jerusalem, thus casting a massive shadow on the bilateral relationship. The fight for Jewish voters, who have always tended to vote Democratic, could therefore make sense for the Republicans. ... In practice, however, the essence of [Romney's] political proposals is not that different from the president's: military actions won't be ruled out, but diplomatic solutions are preferred."

"In the end it will come down to this: The economy will decide the presidential election, not strong speeches or awkward appearances in foreign countries."

Conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"Mitt Romney's trip to London, Israel and Poland aimed to sharpen the Republicans' international profile and make an impression on American voters. The interim result: He could (and must) do better. When he tried to give his best in London, his hosts saw it as an unfriendly act. In any case, his Israel visit is even more important to his public back home. With his predictable beliefs about the American-Israeli relationship -- and as an indirect critic of Obama's Middle East policies -- Romney wants to win over Jewish voters, the majority of whom have always belonged to the Democratic Party. But regardless of how stately and diplomatic, or amateurish and clumsy he appears, or how much he talks about the supposed foreign policy errors and failures of the president, who still wears Bin Laden's scalp on his belt, it will have little meaning for the outcome of the November election. The presidential election is a referendum on Obama's domestic policy record. It will be largely decided by the major themes of the economic situation and outlook."

Center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Travel educates. As a result one should assume that Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger of Barack Obama, wants to learn something during his visit to Israel. Wrong! Almost everything that the candidate organized in Jerusalem fuels the impression that he doesn't want to try understanding how complicated the Middle East situation is. Instead, Romney paints the crisis region in black and white: Israel is good and the rest -- the Palestinians and the mullahs in Iran -- are lumped together."

"This one-sided world view is less dumb than it is coldly calculated. Romney is soliciting campaign donations in Jerusalem (the minimum price for two plates at breakfast is $50,000.) And he is ensnaring Jewish voters at home."

"The trip to Israel may help Romney in the short-term. But in the long-term the Republican has done damage. The Middle East needs the US as a mediator. As such, the presidential hopeful has already disqualified himself."


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Jul 31, 2012, 07:35 AM
 SPIEGEL ONLINE
07/31/2012 02:34 PM

Tour de Gaffes: Romney Flops in Europe

He's only been abroad for a week, but the Palestinians are accusing him of racism, the Brits are annoyed and Polish union leaders don't like him. Mitt Romney's trip to Europe and the Middle East has been marred by one fumble after the next.

In the end, Mitt Romney tried to find something positive to say about his European adventure. He said an important lesson he had learned is that "rejection of one kind or another is going to be an important part of everyone's life."

The remark didn't come after the Republican presidential candidate's snafu-filled European tour over the past week. He made it after spending two years as a missionary for the Mormon Church in France in the 1960s, according to his biographers Michael Kranish and Scott Helman in their recent book "The Real Romney". He only managed to convert 10 to 20 people during that time.

Fast forward to last week in Europe, and things haven't really gone any better for Romney. His visits to Britain, Israel or Poland didn't go very well. The result has again been rejection of one kind or another. And the candidate has only himself to blame for this gaffe-filled tour.

A Difficult Trip

It was telling that Romney's spokeswoman, Andrea Sail, was on the defensive right from the start of the trip. At one point she said his words had been "grossly mischaracterized," and at another she denied them completely, saying they were "not true". By Tuesday, his staff was so frustrated that one spokesperson told reporters with the American press corps to "shove it" after they tried to ask questions about his myriad missteps.

First Romney took a swipe at the British, questioning their preparations for the Olympic Games and their enthusiasm. Then, in Jerusalem, he directly compared Israeli gross domestic product to Palestinian per capita GDP, attributing the Israeli's economic vitality to their culture, while at the same time ignoring the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. On Monday, Romney's trip continued to Poland, where the left-leaning national daily Gazeta Wyborcza asked: "Will there be further blunders?"

Things actually went pretty well for Romney on Monday. A visit to the Gdansk shipyard, the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union movement that led the Polish struggle against communism in the 1980s, provided the kind of symbolism Romney favors. He met former Solidarity leader and democracy hero Lech Walesa, who last year refused a meeting with US President Barack Obama but practically gave Romney his endorsement this week. "I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Governor Romney, get your success -- be successful," Walesa said through a translator.

But the visit also led to irritation. Solidarity officials criticized the meeting. "Regretfully, we have learned from our friends in the American trade union central AFL-CIO representing 12 million workers about Mitt Romney's support for the attacks against trade unions and labor rights," Andrzej Adamczyk, the head of the union's international department, wrote in a statement.

Romney also failed to find support in areas where one might generally expect him to. In an editorial headlined "No Illusions," the conservative daily Rzeczpospolita wrote the visit was "doubtlessly a nice gesture, but we shouldn't attach too much importance to the event."

It is precisely with these sorts of pleasant gestures that Romney is hoping to impress voters back home in swing states like Michigan, which are home to large numbers of voters with Polish roots. For months, Romney has been seeking to distinguish himself as a critic of Russia, labelling Poland's neighbor as America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe". He won't forget to mention that when he meets Poland's president and foreign minister on Tuesday, and then holds a speech on the value of freedom.

Can it suffice to save his unsuccessful trip? Hardly. The European tour of Barack Obama before the 2008 election is remembered here for the speech he gave to 200,000 people in Berlin. Romney's trip will be remembered for his gaffes.

Things went wrong right from the start of the trip in London, where even Prime Minister David Cameron reprimanded the candidate. "Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," Cameron said, referring to Romney's management of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. And then Romney flubbed by telling the press about what was supposed to be a secret meeting with the head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency.

Romney Angers Palestinians

In Israel, Romney opted for strong messages in a bid to finally score points with Jewish Americans. Gallup polls show Obama with a particularly large lead among this group, with 68 percent of American Jews supporting the president compared to just 25 percent for Romney. But the Republican candidate is equally concerned about attracting the votes of Christian fundamentalists, who tend to appreciate sharp rhetoric when it comes to Middle East policies.

It didn't go well. Speaking to 40 campaign donors in Jerusalem's King David Hotel, Romney said "culture and a few other things" were to thank for the country's economic power. He then went on to compare Israel with the Palestinian territories, saying Israel's per-capita income was more than twice as high. "You notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," he said. Cultural superiority? Oh dear. "Grossly mischaracterized," Romney's spokeswoman would later say.

This comparison -- which was also incorrect given that the World Bank states that actual Israel's per-capita income is actually 20 times higher -- has infuriated Palestinians. "It is a racist statement," said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "This man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation." Admittedly, Erakat made no mention of Palestinian policies, but he still managed to catch Romney in a Mideast policy gaffe. "It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," Erakat told the Associated Press.

Indeed, Romney's trip to the Middle East turned out to be a perplexing one. Further angering Palestinians, Romney went on to describe Jerusalem as Israel's capital, stating he would like to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the city. Even the US government doesn't recognize Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem.

The trip has cast doubt on whether Romney has the stature to hold the United States' highest office.

White House officials are predictably satisfied with Romney's performance. "It is clear that there are some people who have taken a look at those comments and are scratching their heads a little bit," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. Even harsher criticism came from the Obama campaign itself, where spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Romney's foreign trip had been overshadowed by a series of "fumbles". As if that weren't enough, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak even came forward with praise for Obama, telling CNN: "This administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past."

In recent days, it appears as though Romney has actually improved Obama's chances of re-election.

*****************

Jul 31, 2012 7:04am

Mitt Romney Spokesman Tells Reporters ‘Kiss My ***’ at Polish Holy Site

WARSAW, Poland – A Mitt Romney spokesman reprimanded reporters traveling with the candidate on his six-day foreign trip this morning, telling them to  “kiss my a**” after they shouted questions from behind a rope line.

As Romney left the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and walked toward his motorcade parked in Pilsudski Square, reporters began shouting questions from the line where campaign staffers had told them to stay behind, prompting traveling press secretary Rick Gorka to tell a group of reporters to “kiss my a**” and “shove it.”

He later apologized.

As Romney wrapped up his visit to the historical site, a CNN reporter had yelled, “Governor Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip.”

“Governor Romney, do you have a statement for the Palestinians?” a New York Times reporter shouted.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

“What about your gaffes?” yelled a Washington Post reporter, referring to a number of missteps the candidate has made during his trip, including one in which he said there were some “disconcerting” developments leading up to the London Olympics, drawing the ire of the British media, and another suggesting that  culture was to blame for the difference in economic success between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Romney campaign has called the reports on the candidate’s remarks about Palestinians a “gross mischaracterization.”

Gorka told reporters answering questions to “show some respect.”

“This is a holy site for the Polish people,” he added.

“We haven’t had another chance to ask a question,” one reporter noted to Gorka.

Gorka told another journalist to “shove it.”

Romney last took questions — three — from the traveling press corps Thursday in London. Romney did not address the media that’s flying with him on any of the three charter flights — two that lasted more than four hours — either. Romney has conducted several television interviews during the trip.

Gorka later called both reporters to apologize for his remarks, telling one that he was “inappropriate.”

ABC News reached out to Gorka for an additional comment but did not immediately receive a response.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 05, 2012, 06:38 AM
August 04, 2012 01:00 PM

How did Mittens get $100M in his IRA? Dems want to know

By Susie Madrak

This question has been raised several times, and now two Democratic congressmen are making it an official issue: How did Mitt Romney end up with so much money in his IRA - and more importantly, is it legal?

    Romney’s most recent financial disclosure form revealed that his tax-deferred individual retirement account holds upwards of $100 million — an amount that awkwardly showcases his enormous wealth but also raises legal and ethical questions.

    IRAs are intended to allow workers to put away modest sums of money each year in order to help finance a middle class retirement. The savings are tax deferred, but there’s a legal limit — now $6,000 — on how much each IRA holder can contribute annually.

    Now top Democrats on the Budget, Ways and Means, and Education and Workforce Committees want to know how people of Romney’s wealth can end up with 100,000 times that much money in a single IRA, and how much the tax and investment strategies they employ cost the Treasury in revenue every year.

    In a letter Thursday to senior officials at the Treasury and Labor departments, Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Sander Levin (D-MI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) want to know: Is this legal? How easy is this strategy to get away with? How much does it cost the government every year? And what can be done to end the practice?

    “[W]e are alarmed to learn that wealthy taxpayers may be taking advantage of a tax subsidy that is designed to provide for retirement to instead accumulate massive amounts of tax-sheltered assets,” the lawmakers write. “Given your commitment to the rule of law and equitable treatment of taxpayers, we hope that you will evaluate this issue carefully to ensure that a select few are not being provided with a loophole that allows for wrongful tax evasion.”

**************

TPMDC

Dem Lawmakers Want Answers About Romney’s Enormous IRA

August 3, 2012, 8:26 AM 48406

Leading House Democrats want to turn Mitt Romney’s enormous IRA into more than just a political problem.

Romney’s most recent financial disclosure form revealed that his tax-deferred individual retirement account holds upwards of $100 million — an amount that awkwardly showcases his enormous wealth but also raises legal and ethical questions.

IRAs are intended to allow workers to put away modest sums of money each year in order to help finance a middle class retirement. The savings are tax deferred, but there’s a legal limit — now $6,000 — on how much each IRA holder can contribute annually.

Now top Democrats on the Budget, Ways and Means, and Education and Workforce Committees want to know how people of Romney’s wealth can end up with 100,000 times that much money in a single IRA, and how much the tax and investment strategies they employ cost the Treasury in revenue every year.

In a letter Thursday to senior officials at the Treasury and Labor departments, Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Sander Levin (D-MI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) want to know: Is this legal? How easy is this strategy to get away with? How much does it cost the government every year? And what can be done to end the practice?

“[W]e are alarmed to learn that wealthy taxpayers may be taking advantage of a tax subsidy that is designed to provide for retirement to instead accumulate massive amounts of tax-sheltered assets,” the lawmakers write. “Given your commitment to the rule of law and equitable treatment of taxpayers, we hope that you will evaluate this issue carefully to ensure that a select few are not being provided with a loophole that allows for wrongful tax evasion.”

The lawmakers’ inquiry has a substantive, policy basis — but the politically charged question is also a shot across Romney’s bow.

“[R]ecent news reports indicate that Bain Capital allowed service partners and employees to co-invest in investment deals via tax-preferred retirement accounts … in some cases providing one-fourth of the total capital in the investment deals,” the lawmakers write.

They go on to speculate about how it worked.

“Some experts have expressed the view that the investments made through these accounts and plans may have been assigned a nominal value that was significantly lower than the fair market value of the investments, perhaps using a liquidation value methodology. In particular, this strategy has been cited as one explanation for how presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s IRA is valued at between $20 and $101 million despite the annual contribution limits that apply to tax-preferred retirement accounts and plans.”

To translate, Romney could have skirted the annual contribution limit if his IRA invested heavily in Bain projects by dramatically lowballing the value of the stakes.

If the administration is forthcoming — and why wouldn’t it be? — its answers to these questions will be general, not about Romney specifically. But those answers will broadly apply to Romney and his IRA, and could bring some clarity to one technique people of Romney’s wealth can use to amass even more.

for more information about all this please click on this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7YSMxzp70Hs#!


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 07, 2012, 06:33 AM
 SPIEGEL ONLINE
08/06/2012 04:31 PM

Labeled a 'Wimp': Doubts Growing About Romney's Election Chances

By Gregor Peter Schmitz

Critics have called Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney a weakling, and polls show him far behind President Barack Obama. With new suspicions emerging that he has been less than honest about his taxes, even fellow Republicans are having their doubts about him.

Lee Sheppard, a columnist with the industry paper Tax Notes, has spent decades wading through books on taxation. But even Sheppard took a few days to figure out what Rafalca was doing in the 203-page tax return of Ann and Mitt Romney.

Rafalca is a fine, dark brown, 15-year-old Oldenburg dressage horse with an estimated value of $500,000 (€404,000). Horse enthusiast Ann Romney, the wife of the Republican presidential candidate, has been a co-owner of the mare since 2006. Last week Rafalca, ridden by German-born equestrian Jan Ebeling, even competed for the United States in dressage at the London Olympics. No ordinary Olympian, the valuable horse traveled to London in a chartered jet -- in the style to which she is accustomed.

Rafalca is a pretty expensive source of entertainment, but not necessarily for the Romneys, as Sheppard discovered while poking around in their tax return. As it turns out, the political couple posted a loss of $77,731 for the mare's upkeep and transport on their 2010 tax return, just as if the horse were a business. Although the Romneys have not claimed the loss as a deduction yet, they were acting with foresight. Whenever they earn a little money with Rafalca in the future, be it through prizes or breeding fees, they will be able to carry forward the 2010 expenses as a deduction on future tax returns.

"Do we want a president who takes advantage of tax loopholes for his wife's horse hobby?" asks Sheppard, who just published a long article on the subject.

Do Americans even want Willard Mitt Romney, 65, in the White House? It's an increasingly relevant question. The Washington Post selected Romney for its "Worst Week in Washington" column after Romney's much-touted foreign trip turned into a flop. First he insinuated that the British would not be good Olympic hosts. Then, in Israel, he said that the Palestinians were economically backward because of their "culture." Finally, his spokesman verbally abused journalists in Warsaw. "Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive," the Daily Telegraph wrote bitingly.

Newsweek Calls Romney a Wimp

According to the Washington-based Pew Research Center, the Republican presidential candidate is now polling 10 percentage points behind President Barack Obama, as conservatives in the United States become increasingly exasperated with Romney. After all, he is campaigning against a president whose economic policies meet with disapproval among the majority of Americans. One of the reasons Romney is trailing Obama is that he persistently refuses to talk about his past and his plans for the future. He has been deliberately vague about his own proposals for America's future economic and foreign policy.

This approach prompted Newsweek to characterize Romney as a "wimp." This man avoids all risk, unlike previous Republican candidates like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who both went on to win the White House. "It looks like they're banking on simply the angst about President Obama," influential conservative journalist Craig Shirley told Politico. What you've got to do is come up with a pitch, a formula, a message that is going to tell the American people, 'We've tried the last four years. I have a better plan and here's what it is.'"

Romney's biggest weakness is that he is seen as the candidate of the 0.1 percent, the richest of the rich in America. With an estimated net worth of $250 million, he is also one of the richest presidential candidates of all time.

His inability to shed this reputation is his own fault. The former businessman likes to pose while jet skiing in front of his $10-million lakeside vacation house, and he raves about how nice it is to "fire" people. Some 89 percent of Americans believe that Romney's main motivation is to help the rich, whose taxes he promises to cut considerably.

It isn't as if US citizens didn't have a weakness for rich politicians. They've voted the Kennedys and the Bushs into office, and in New York they elected multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg as mayor. But Americans also expect full transparency from candidates for the White House, on matters ranging from marital fidelity to their health and the state of their finances.

Speculation About Unreleased Tax Returns

And that, precisely, is Romney's problem. The steadfast refusal to release his tax returns to the extent that former candidates have done has led to speculation. Mark McKinnon, a former campaign strategist for George W. Bush, said there was obviously something problematic in Romney's tax returns. And Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, even insinuated that Romney hadn't paid any taxes at all for 10 years.

Romney's 2010 tax return, the only one he has released so far, offers an indication of how serious the problems could be. His investment advisors found so many loopholes that the Romneys paid taxes of only 13.9 percent on income of $21.6 million, a lower rate that the average secretary pays in the United States.

The Romneys' extensive investments abroad cover 55 pages of the joint return. Vanity Fair has learned that his former company, the investment firm Bain Capital, maintains 138 investment funds in the Cayman Islands, and that Romney has interests in 12 of them, with an estimated value of $30 million.

Romney, who doesn't tire of praising the United States as the "greatest country in the world," is proving to be less than patriotic in his investment strategies.

Until 2010, the Republican had $3 million deposited in a Swiss bank account. An investment firm in Bermuda helped him save additional taxes. Romney invested at least $1 million in Elliott Associates, a hedge fund of the worst sort. Elliott buys the bonds of dirt-poor African countries, often for very small amounts, and then tries to sue their governments for the money.

All of this can be found in the tax return Romney felt comfortable enough to release. But what secrets could be hidden in the others? More offshore accounts? Even lower tax rates? Politically sensitive investments for a candidate running on an anti-abortion platform? Bain, for example, once invested in a company that media reports claimed had helped abortion clinics dispose of fetuses.

Aggressive Investment Firm

Experts are not even ruling out the possibility of illegal transactions. In 1995, the Republican transferred assets that would now be worth $100 million to his five sons. Without reviewing the documents, it can't be determined whether he may have underreported the value of the transfers to avoid pesky taxes. It's a widespread practice, and US authorities only tend to investigate violations sporadically. "If detected, undervaluing large gifts to one's children could provoke large penalties from the I.R.S.," Columbia University law Professor Michael Graetz writes in the New York Times.

Romney remains defiant. "I'm simply not enthusiastic about giving (the Obama people) hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about," he says. But even Romney's father George, the former CEO of a car company and former governor of Michigan, released 12 years of tax returns during his unsuccessful 1968 presidential candidacy. Ironically, in doing so he established the practice of tax transparency.

The longer the debate drags on, the more voters remember how Romney accumulated so many millions as the founder of Bain Capital, a particularly aggressive investment firm. Bain advisors repeatedly bought up healthy companies and saddled them with high levels of debt. Then the advisors collected lavish fees while the overleveraged companies went bankrupt. Rick Perry, one of Romney's rivals in the Republican primary, characterized the Bain people as "vultures."

Romney has argued that his years with the investment firm make him more qualified than President Obama to create the jobs that are so urgently needed in the United States. But now no one really believes him anymore.

The worries of his wealthy rival must seem like a gift from God to Obama. The president already published his 2011 tax return online in April, and it showed that he paid a tax rate of more than 20 percent last year. The Democrat is now a millionaire, thanks to the royalties for his memoirs. But he rarely forgets to remind voters of the modest circumstances in which he was raised.

In a recent speech, just as Romney was being photographed on jet skis,

Obama reminisced about spending vacations travelling in Greyhound buses and staying at budget motels in his youth.

Obama's advisors are using ads to paint Romney as a tax trickster. One ad features Romney doing a terribly off-key rendition of "America the Beautiful," while images of the picturesque beaches of the Cayman Islands flicker across the screen.

" The Obamans firmly believe that they've hit a nerve," writes New York Magazine, " and like a bunch of sadistic dentists, they plan on drilling away at that sucker until the patient/victim screams."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 07, 2012, 03:38 PM
From the American magazine Perspectives........

August 5, 2012

Romney Proposes $80 Million Tax Cut for His Family

The U.S. tax code may be difficult to grasp, but understanding the presidential candidates' plans for it doesn't have to be. President Obama wants to raise his own taxes, while Mitt Romney wants to dramatically reduce the already small slice he pays to Uncle Sam.

Of course, that simplification doesn't shed light on just how dramatic President Romney's windfall for his family would actually be. Mitt's plan, which the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center forecast would cut taxes for the richest five percent of earners while increasing the tax bill for the other 95 percent of Americans, could slash his own annual IRS payment by almost half. And by eliminating the estate tax, the $250 million man would potentially divert $80 million (and possibly more) from the United States Treasury to his own heirs

On Friday, Governor Romney defended his mystery finances, declaring, "I have paid taxes every year. A lot of taxes. A lot of taxes." But when he announced Sunday that he wants "something dramatic" to boost the economy, he must have been speaking about his own.

Here's why.

At the end of 2012, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 will expire. Among other changes to the tax code, President Obama wants to let the top 35 percent tax rate for income over $250,000 to return to its Clinton-era level of 39.6 percent and implement the Buffett Rule guaranteeing millionaires pay a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate. Obama would also end the "carried interest exemption" that allows Mitt Romney and other similar financiers to pay under 15 percent to Uncle Sam each year. In contrast, Romney would not only make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but deliver a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. Upper income taxpayers would not only see their rate slashed to 28 percent, but would benefit by the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

In June, the AP's Connie Cass reviewed studies by the conservative Tax Foundation and the more liberal Citizens for Tax Justice. She concluded:

    Compared with what they owed in April, both men would be dinged in 2013 under Obama's proposal, along with other wealthy taxpayers. They could expect savings under Romney, depending on which tax breaks the former Massachusetts governor decides to oppose.

(It's worth noting that Romney thus far has refused to say which of the $1 trillion in revenue lost to tax breaks and deductions he would recover. But as Ezra Klein rightly pointed out, "The size of the tax cut he's proposing for the rich is larger than all of the tax expenditures that go to the rich put together. As such, it is mathematically impossible for him to keep his promise to make sure the top one percent keeps paying the same or more.)"

But left unsaid in the AP analysis is that Mitt Romney's proposed tax cut windfall to his family would dwarf his own personal payday. Ending the estate tax would not only mean billions back for the families of Mitt's billionaire backers, but as the Center for American Progress showed in the chart at the top, a huge payday for the Romney clan as well.

It's bad enough that the $250 million man Romney pays less than 15 percent of his income to Uncle Sam each year, a rate well below most middle class families. Worse still, the notorious "carried interest" exemption for private equity managers (like his son Tagg) Romney wants to preserve taxes him not at the ordinary income rate of 35 percent but at the capital gains rate now half of what it was only 15 years ago. (As it turns out, most of Mitt's millions each year come from his controversial former employer, Bain Capital.) On top of his Cayman Island investments and past Swiss bank accounts, Romney has created a $100 million trust fund for his sons - tax free. Thanks to some (apparently legal) chicanery on the part of his former employer, Mitt has also accumulated an IRA worth a reported $100 million. The Romney camp even complained about that, worrying that recent tax code changes had "created a tax problem" for the former Massachusetts governor and asking, "Who wants to have $100 million in an IRA?"

Mitt Romney's answer to that is another question: who wants to pay the estate tax? That tax is currently paid by less than a quarter of one percent of American estates each year. According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2009 fewer than 2,700 family farms and businesses owed the tax to Uncle Sam. But thanks to successful Republican brinksmanship, the December 2010 tax cut compromise lowered the rate from 45 percent to 35 percent while boosting the estate tax exemption to $10 million per couple. Now, Mitt Romney wants to make sure those 40 richest estates estimated to now pay the tax each year could keep billions of dollars away from the federal government.

And among those 40 estates would be those of the Walton family, the Adelsons, the Koch brothers and his own. With President Romney zeroing out the estate tax, those 17 grandchildren would get a golden shower when their grandparents Mitt and Ann leave the scene. On paper, their payday courtesy of all other American taxpayers could reach $84,000,000, that is, 35 percent of $240 million. (While the effective estate tax rate is lower than 35 percent, Romney's wealth may also be substantially greater than has been reported.)

Those winnings would represent a pretty good return on investment for the former Bain Capital CEO. Back in 2008, Romney spent $45 million of his own money in his first presidential bid, money he wrote off in hopes of securing the vice presidential slot on John McCain's Republican ticket. As Mitt's son Matt explained at the time, the Five Brothers had no problem with their diminished inheritance:

    "I don't ever expect to see any of that anyways. I don't think any of us kids are counting on that money. If my dad decides to use the money he's made, then we support him."

And why not? If Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States, Matt and his four brothers will get that money--and more--back from Uncle Sam.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Sunyata on Aug 07, 2012, 11:02 PM
Great video on Romney's duplicity

http://www.upworthy.com/barack-obama-should-hire-this-guy-to-attack-mitt-romney?c=bl3

http://www.mittvmitt.com/


Also, Obama called Romney's tax plan which is to steal from the poor to give to the rich, "Romneyhood"....(reverse robin hood)


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 08, 2012, 12:01 PM
Romney Persona Non Grata in Italy for Bain’s Deal Skirting Taxes

Jesse Drucker, Elisa Martinuzzi and Lorenzo Totaro, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Updated 6:03 a.m., Monday, August 6, 2012


Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Mitt Romney skipped Italy on his swing through Europe. That was probably prudent.

That’s because Bain Capital, under Romney as chief executive officer, made about $1 billion in a leveraged buyout 12 years ago that remains controversial in Italy to this day. Bain was part of a group that bought a telephone-directory company from the Italian government and then sold it about two years later, at the peak of the technology bubble, for about 25 times what it paid.

Bain funneled profits through subsidiaries in Luxembourg, a common corporate strategy for avoiding income taxes in other European countries, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. The buyer, Italy’s biggest telephone company, now has a total market value less than what it paid Bain and other investors for the directory business.

In Italy, the deals have spurred at least three books, separate legal and regulatory probes and newspaper columns alleging investors made a fortune at the expense of Italian taxpayers. Boston-based Bain wasn’t a subject of the inquiries, which didn’t result in any charges.

The sale of the government’s directory business is “a dark chapter in the country’s privatization history, one that has hurt Italians deeply,” said Bernardo Bortolotti, an economics professor at Turin University who advised the Italian Treasury on asset sales from 2002 through 2005. “It was a mistake from the start, damaged by a lack of transparency and the use of offshore funds.”

Personally Involved

While few ordinary Italians realize the link between Romney and the investor group, the deal symbolizes Italy’s economic woes and government futility as the nation struggles to convince investors that it can repay Europe’s second-largest debt without a bailout. The economy is in its fourth recession since 2001 and unemployment is at a 13-year high.

Romney himself probably earned more than $50 million, and possibly as much as $60 million from the Italian directory sale of Seat Pagine Gialle SpA, according to a person familiar with the matter. The deal turned into one of the biggest windfalls of his tenure.

“With this investment, Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, with its consortium partners, partnered with a new management team to transform this company, and grow it into a tremendous success,” said Michele Davis, a spokeswoman for Romney’s presidential campaign. “Mitt Romney is running for President to put that experience to work.”

‘Burned’ Investors

As Bain’s CEO from 1984 to 2001, Romney was personally involved in the deal at various points, including the initial decision to invest. He attended at least one meeting about it in Boston, according to a participant. When Bain sold the directory business in 2000, Romney, while still holding the title of CEO, was in charge of preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Romney has contended that he gave up management control of Bain in February 1999 to run the games.

“Mitt Romney and Bain played the role of successful financial speculators at the peril of the Italian government and the small stock-market investors who were burned by the sharp decline in Seat shares,” said Giovanni Pons, a journalist for la Repubblica and co-author of “L’Affare Telecom” (2002), which recounts details of the Bain deal.

The use of offshore subsidiaries to avoid taxes has been standard practice for private equity firms such as Bain, as well as other big U.S. companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc.

‘Full Compliance’

“The holding company structure was in full compliance with all tax and reporting requirements in Italy, Europe, the U.S. and the resident countries of other investors,” Bain Capital said in an e-mail. “Investing through this common cross-border structure ensured that investors were not unfairly subjected to double taxation in multiple countries. The structure did not reduce or defer income taxes for any U.S. investor.”

Romney’s extensive investments in tax havens are drawing intensifying media scrutiny at the same time that revenue- starved governments around the world are cracking down on such practices.

In recent weeks, Romney has faced increasing pressure to release additional years of tax returns because of questions over his 13.9 percent personal tax rate, his Swiss bank account, an IRA valued at as much as $102 million and his investments in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

An official for Italian Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli, who oversaw privatizations at the Treasury when Italy sold the telephone-directory business, declined to comment.

Cautionary Tale

The telephone directory episode may serve as a cautionary tale now that the Italian government has approved an additional round of state asset sales, said Italian Senator Elio Lannutti, a member of the Italian Values party, which is headed by a former magistrate who led anti-corruption probes in the 1990s. Italy aims to raise 10 billion euros through those sales and reduce the second-biggest government debt load in Europe.

Bain’s purchase and quick resale of the yellow pages business is “an example of Italian capitalism, whereby those with little capital are able to cheat the system and enrich themselves,” Lannutti said. “It’s a mistake Italians hope won’t be repeated again now.”

Twelve years later, Romney’s ties to the deal could hurt his image in Italy, said Carlo Alberto Carnevale-Maffè, a professor of strategy at Bocconi University’s School of Management in Milan.

“There is always this underlying sentiment in Italian public opinion that when you are in politics you don’t serve the public good, you serve your personal interest,” Carnevale-Maffè said. “Many will see Romney’s role in this as confirmation and it will be interpreted in a very cynical way.”

Pagine Gialle

The origins of Bain’s deal can be traced to 1996, when the Italian Treasury -- whose chiefs then included director general Mario Draghi, now head of the European Central Bank -- began privatizing several publicly owned businesses to reduce government debt, making it easier to enter the euro zone.

One of the first companies to go was Seat Pagine Gialle, or yellow pages, controlled by a state-owned company called Stet SpA.

Bain got wind of the public auction through the Italian unit of Bain & Co., the consulting company whose partners created Bain Capital. The Milan-based subsidiary was run by Gianfilippo Cuneo, a founder of McKinsey & Co.’s Italian operations.

Cuneo also was part owner of an investment firm, which needed additional capital to invest in the directory sale. Cuneo brought the deal directly to Romney.

“He immediately understood that it was a credible operation and it was worth devoting some time to it, so he guaranteed the support of Bain Capital,” Cuneo said.

‘Sharp Questions’

Lorenzo Pellicioli, who became an investor in Seat and its CEO, recalled Romney stopping in on a meeting in Bain’s Boston offices about the pending acquisition.

“He came into the room, asked a couple of very sharp questions immediately, we shook hands and he left,” Pellicioli said.

The other investors in the Bain group included De Agostini SpA, an Italian holding company with publishing and media interests; Banca Commerciale Italiana SpA, then itself only recently privatized and one of the country’s largest banks; Telecom Italia SpA, Italy’s biggest phone company, then government-controlled; and Cuneo’s investment group Investitori Associati SpA.

Bain invested 36 million euros, or about $40 million, according to a document compiled by Investitori Associati, giving it a 16 percent share of the bidding group, and making it the second-biggest investor, after Telecom Italia.

2000 Resale

Bain and its partners wound up acquiring 61.7 percent of Seat for 853 million euros in November 1997, beating another bidder.

The Italian government, which previously owned a controlling stake in Telecom Italia, sold most of its shares in the phone company in 1997. In February 2000, at the height of the Internet bubble, Telecom Italia announced it was spending 14.6 billion euros to buy the remaining portion of Seat -- which had since expanded its Web offerings.

While Bain won’t disclose its precise return on the investment, Cuneo’s office said Investitori Associati’s return was almost 28 times the initial investment. Bain, like other private equity firms, enhances returns by using borrowed money to finance acquisitions.

Bain moved profits through a series of subsidiaries in Luxembourg, a country that makes it easy to get cash out without paying taxes, according to corporate filings. Corporate records in Luxembourg show Bain carried out technical steps for a tax- free repatriation of profits to the U.S.

‘Non-Existent’ Taxes

Investitori Associati said taxes paid by the Luxembourg holding company in which it and the group members invested were “almost non-existent,” according to an e-mail from Cuneo’s office.

Seat’s stock price had almost tripled in the three months leading up to Telecom Italia’s offer in February 2000. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index increased 160 percent in the two years leading up to the deal.

“It was sold at the peak of the Internet bubble” recalled Pellicioli, Seat’s then-CEO. “It was not pure smoke, there was a lot of real meat, but the multiple within the Internet bubble and the timing helped.”

Italian regulators raised concerns that the price was manipulated and investors traded on inside information and probed alleged conflicts of interest. Two top Telecom Italia officials also owned shares in Seat indirectly.

‘Ripped Off’

Italy’s stock market watchdog, Consob, and Turin prosecutor Bruno Tinti investigated, according to a person familiar with the matter and news accounts at the time. No charges were brought.

Seat was sold in 2003 for 3.7 billion euros to another group of private equity firms and today has a market value of 57 million euros. Today, all of Telecom Italia has a market capitalization of 12.5 billion euros. Since February 2000, shares in Telecom Italia have declined about 90 percent.

“The government got ripped off,” said Alessandro Fogliati, who led a Stet shareholder group that voted against the sale of Seat. “It was the beginning of the destruction of Italian industry.”

--With assistance from Chiara Remondini in Milan and Simon Clark in London. Editors: Dan Golden, Lisa Wolfson



To contact the reporters on this story: Jesse Drucker in New York at jdrucker4@bloomberg.net; Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net; Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at jkaufman17@bloomberg.net

***************

What does it tell about any Soul, when a lie is exposed as below, that that Soul continues with the lie anyway ?


August 08, 2012 9:49 AM

The Big Dog Speaks

Mitt Romney’s campaign probably made a tactical error in displaying Bill Clinton’s image in its highly mendacious and deeply divisive new ad on welfare policy that suggests, among other fabrications, that the Obama administration is somehow abolishing the central “work” focus of the 1996 welfare reform act Clinton signed. As I thought might happen, the Big Dog is speaking out against the lies in a statement (per Politico’s Maggie Haberman):

    Governor Romney released an ad today alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true.

    The act emerged after years of experiments at the state level, including my work as Governor of Arkansas beginning in 1980. When I became President, I granted waivers from the old law to 44 states to implement welfare to work strategies before welfare reform passed.

    After the law was enacted, every state was required to design a plan to move people into the workforce, along with more funds to help pay for training, childcare and transportation. As a result, millions of people moved from welfare to work.

    The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment. The Administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach. The welfare time limits, another important feature of the 1996 act will not be waived.

    The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether. We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads.

How did the Romney campaign’s response to this rather categorical rejection of the ad’s claims? It just repeated them. I swear, trying to engage these people in any sort of reasoned discourse is like looking into the eyes of a goat: nothing there but the determination to keep on keeping on, truth be damned. Team Mitt has a lot riding on this latest effort to tar (racial allusion intended) the president with the “welfare” meme, which unsubtly links repeated GOP claims that Obama is a wild-eyed socialist “redistributor of wealth” to the least popular and most racially explosive programmatic element of the New Deal/Great Society legacy. The welfare ad is going to be in heavy rotation according to Romney campaign sources, and no number of refutations of its central claims (by Clinton or by “fact-checkers” like PolitiFact, which quickly gave the ad a “Pants on Fire” designation) will stop them.

***********



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 09, 2012, 06:43 AM
Romney spokesperson: His individual mandate could have saved woman’s life

By David Edwards
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 16:12 EDT

A spokesperson for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday shocked conservatives by suggesting that a woman whose husband was laid off from a Bain Capital-owned plant would have lived if she had been covered by a health care law similar to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

During an interview on Fox News, host Bill Hemmer asked Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul to respond to an ad released by the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action that linked former factory worker Joe Sopic’s job loss to his wife’s eventual death from cancer.

“When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant I lost my health care, and my family lost their health care,” Sopic says in the ad. “And a short time after that my wife became ill.”

“I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone,” he adds.

On Wednesday, Saul didn’t dispute the facts, but called the attack “disgusting.”

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate when anyone loses their job,” she explained. “This particular case was a plant that was closed years after Gov. Romney left the company.

Saul continued: “And to that point, you know, if people had been in Massachusetts under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.”

Romney has spent much of the election season running away from his record of creating an individual health care insurance mandate in Massachusetts so it wasn’t surprising to see conservatives calling Saul’s remarks a misstep.

“OMG,” Redstate’s Erik Erickson tweeted. “This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow.”

“Not sure if the Romney camp realizes what a huge opening they’ve just created for Ds on Obamacare,” the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein agreed.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 09, 2012, 07:06 AM

Catholic Sisters blast Romney’s ‘woeful ignorance’ about struggling families

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 18:25 EDT

The group of Catholic Sisters who gained international attention for their “Nuns on the Bus” tour have invited Mitt Romney to spend a day with them to learn about the needs of struggling families.

Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, described Romney’s latest ad regarding welfare as “terribly divisive and demeaning”

“Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times,” Campbell said in a statement. “We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”

The group of Catholic Sisters have previously protested against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R) over proposed budget cuts they said would hurt struggling families. The nuns are not the only Catholic group to have criticized Ryan’s budget. Referencing Matthew 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have claimed that cuts in Ryan’s budget plan are “unjustified and wrong.”

“Paul Ryan has claimed to be a faithful Catholic, and I have no reason to suspect that that isn’t accurate,” Sister Mary Ellen Lacy Daughter, a lobbyist for NETWORK, told Raw Story last month. “What we do know, and what the bishops agree with us on, is that the document, the budget that he wrote, is not a moral document. It is not a faithful budget. It is not consistent with the Catholic social teachings. He may claim one thing, but it is clearly in opposition to what we believe.”

The proposed budget is meant to prevent a 10 percent cut in defense spending and 8 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending from taking effect. The automatic cuts were part of the debt ceiling deal signed into law last year, and will take effect in 2013 unless Congress passes a budget that provides $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction measures.

Ryan’s plan would cut programs for low- and moderate-income people while allowing defense funding to remain well above the automatic 10 percent cut, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that Ryan’s proposed budget would give millionaires an additional $265,000 on top of the already-enacted Bush tax cuts while cutting funding for the food stamp program by $134 billion. An additional analysis found that 62 percent of Ryan’s proposed budget cuts come from programs for low-income Americans.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 09, 2012, 08:13 AM
From the American magazine Perspectives ...

Romney Throws Wife and Father under the Bus

By most accounts, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is a devoted father, dedicated family man and committed church leader. But as his record sadly shows, Romney's family values often take a back seat to his presidential ambitions. Just last week, he cast aside his father George Romney, the man whose rags-to-riches success story Mitt uses as a proxy for his own, all in the name of keeping his mysterious tax returns secret. His wife Ann Romney, the woman Mitt says "reports to me regularly" regarding what American women care about, has been hung out to dry over issues including Planned Parenthood, abortion and the family's personal finances. And as it turns out, Mitt's betrayals hardly end there.

In his interview with David Muir of ABC last week, Governor Romney trotted out a new defense of keeping his secret tax returns secret:

    "From time to time I've been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don't think I'd be qualified to become president. I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."

Put another way, if you paid a penny more to Uncle Sam than you could've, you're not just a sucker; you should be disqualified from becoming President.

Just like Mitt's dad, George Romney.

Mitt's idol didn't merely establish a precedent by releasing 12 years of tax returns during his failed 1968 presidential campaign. As Paul Krugman recently reminded voters, the auto magnate and Michigan governor not only paid a lot to the U.S. Treasury, but probably much more than he needed to.

    Those returns also reveal that he paid a lot of taxes -- 36 percent of his income in 1960, 37 percent over the whole period. This was in part because, as one report at the time put it, he "seldom took advantage of loopholes to escape his tax obligations."

(The contrasts between father and son hardly end there. As Rick Perlstein documented, George Romney didn't merely develop an innovative profit sharing plan for his employees at AMC and return bonuses if he thought them too high. He also believed that "rugged individualism" is "nothing but a political banner to cover up greed.")

But if Mitt Romney has turned his back on the legacy of his late father, he has similarly shown no compunction about tossing his wife Ann overboard when political circumstances dictated.

Circumstances like those in 2002, when Romney was trying to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Its constitution requires gubernatorial candidates to have been Massachusetts residents for seven consecutive years. Unfortunately, Mitt had not just been running the Salt Lake City Olympics the past the past three years, but also paid discounted property taxes to Utah while claiming his $3.8 million Park City area mansion was his "primary residence." As the Deseret News reported on April 11, 2000, "Romney has declared his Deer Valley home his primary residence for tax purposes." And while Romney pointed the finger at his accountants at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for his failure to file as a Massachusetts resident in 1999 and 2000, he also blamed his wife, Ann Romney:

    Romney said he didn't see the property tax bills for his $3.8 million home in Park City Utah because the home was in his wife Ann's name and she paid the tax bills.

(After paying amended taxes in Massachusetts and sending Utah a check for $54,000 for the discount he shouldn't have received, Romney survived a Democratic challenge before the state Ballot Law Commission. But with his week's revelations regarding his efforts to cut the property tax bill on his $12.4 million La Jolla, California beach front home, Mitt's status as a registered voter in Belmont, Massachusetts may once again be called into question.)

But that episode pales in comparison to Mitt's tortured history on reproductive rights for American women. For that, he used Ann Romney as a disposable human shield, which could be discarded as needed.

While Romney now claims he wants to "end" Planned Parenthood, he didn't always feel that way. As ABC News revealed in 2007, Romney during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy attended a Planned Parenthood event. During a time when he was trying to establish his pro-choice bona fides with liberal Massachusetts voters, Mitt's wife Ann wrote a check for $150 to the organization. When presidential candidate Romney said in 2007 that he had "no recollection" of the fundraiser, then president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Nichols Gamble seemed surprised:

    "I can understand that he might not remember the check -- it's surprising to me that he would not remember the event. His main motivation for being there was a political motivation."

Whatever Mitt Romney's motivation in 1994, in 2007 his run for the GOP presidential nomination required a different answer. As Romney explained in May 2007, what his wife did - the same woman who with her entire family converted to her husband's Mormon faith - did not reflect on him. As the New York Times reported:

    "Her positions are not terribly relevant for my campaign."

Ann Romney went along with the new script. In a January 2008 interview in Florida, Mrs. Romney brushed off a question about the contribution, protesting "that was 14 years ago and $100. Do you really think I'd remember?"

If not, she doubtless remembered testifying to her husband's position 10 years ago that he was "effectively pro-choice." As Romney's wife Ann explained during his 2002 race for governor, Massachusetts voters need not worry about moderate Mitt protecting the right to choose:

    ANN ROMNEY: I think women also recognize that they want someone who is going to manage the state well. I think they may be more nervous about him on social issues. They shouldn't be, because he's going to be just fine. But the perception is that he won't be. That's an incorrect perception.

    MITT ROMNEY: So when asked will I preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer: yes.

But Ann Romney wasn't the only family member Mitt deployed and later discarded in order to make his case as a reliable pro-choice leader for Massachusetts voters. As Salon's Justin Elliott documented in "The Abortion That Mitt Doesn't Talk About Anymore," it was his own family story which Romney claimed during his 1994 Senate run against Ted Kennedy informed his--and his mother's--pro-choice position. When Kennedy labeled him "Multiple Choice Mitt," during their debate, Romney responded with a tale of personal loss:

    "On the idea of 'multiple-choice,' I have to respond. I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that."

But waver he did. American voters who missed those Massachusetts campaigns wouldn't know of the existence of Ann Keenan, the sister of Romney's brother-in-law who died at the age of 21 in 1963 after a botched, illegal abortion. Of course, as this 2007 exchange with Tim Russert showed, Mitt Romney no longer wants you to know about her, either:

    RUSSERT: You talked about your family relative who died from an illegal abortion, and yet President Romney is saying is saying ban all abortion. And what would be the legal consequences to people who participated in that procedure?... So back to your relative.

    ROMNEY: Mm-hmm.

Romney went on to explain the consequences (loss of license and possible prison time for doctors, though not patients) of his new found anti-abortion views. But he never did get back to his relative.

That's because the tragic story of "dear, close family relative" Anne Keenan wouldn't have been very popular with conservative Republican primary voters. Like Mitt's father, mother and wife (and even their horse Rafalca), she became political road kill on Romney's road to the White House. And that public mistreatment of his loved ones says an awful lot about the character of the man. After all, if there's anything worse than being strapped to the roof of Mitt Romney's car, it's being thrown under the bus.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 09, 2012, 08:15 AM

August 09, 2012 06:00 AM

Actress Elizabeth Banks: Romney Won't Help Women With 'a Heavy Flow'

By David


In what may be a first for U.S. presidential campaign advertisements, actress Elizabeth Banks is warning that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would strip Planned Parenthood of funding and prevent some women from receiving treatment for conditions like migraines and "a heavy flow."

"Planned Parenthood was my health care provider when I didn't have insurance after I graduated from college," the "Hunger Games" star says in a video released on President Barack Obama's YouTube channel on Wednesday. "Yes, I got birth control, but it was for my massive migraine headaches and my heavy flow. Yeah, I'm on the record saying I have a heavy flow."

"The services that they provide -- what is it? Ninety-five percent of them don't involve anything controversial. So for that little 5 percent that Mitt Romney decides he doesn't agree with, he's going to take away cancer screenings?" Banks continues. "What is he doing? He's going to take away people's access to health care close by. We're talking about working-class ladies who need health care."

"President Obama has not compromised on women's rights and that's why President Obama needs to stay in office," she concludes.

Speaking to KDSK in March, Romney said that he would “get rid” of the family planning organization.

“The test is pretty simple: Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?” the candidate explained. “And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”

In February, Romney said it was even “wrong” for private organizations like like Susan G. Komen for the Cure to fund Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings for poor women.

“Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution which is providing abortion, in my view, is wrong,” the former Massachusetts governor told conservative radio host Scott Hennen.

During a round-table discussion on ABC in June, Romney’s senior campaign adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, insisted that social issues important to women, like contraception coverage and abortion rights, were “shiny objects” that were being used to distract voters.

“Mitt Romney is pro-life,” the senior adviser admitted to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 10, 2012, 06:18 AM

Romney won’t release taxes because ‘I’m not a business’

By David Edwards
Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:23 EDT

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said he would not be releasing more than two years of tax returns because “I am not a business.”

Executive editor Josh Tyrangiel asked Romney why the American people shouldn’t be entitled to the same information from a presidential candidate that he would have required as the CEO of Bain Capital before investing in a company.

“If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?” Tyrangiel wondered.

“I’m not a business,” Romney insisted. “We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns.”

“This happens to be exactly the same as with John McCain when he ran for office four years ago. And the Obama team had no difficulty with that circumstance,” the former Massachusetts governor continued. “The difference between then and now is that President Obama has a failed economic record and is trying to find any issue he can to deflect from the failure of his record. ”

In recent days, Democrats have turned up the pressure on Romney to release more than two years of tax returns. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has gone so far as to claim that the candidate “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”

Speaking to ABC’s David Muir last month, Romney said that he wouldn’t be qualified to be president if he paid “more than are legally due.”

“I haven’t looked at the tax rate paid year by year,” Romney explained. “I know that I pay a very substantial amount of taxes and every year since the beginning of my career so far as I can recall.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 10, 2012, 06:20 AM
Analysis: Most of Romney’s new Twitter followers are fake

By Rory Carroll, The Guardian
Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:55 EDT

Most of Mitt Romney‘s newest Twitter followers are fake, according to an investigation of bogus social media accounts.

A pay-for-follower service most likely drove the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent and dramatic spike in online followers, concluded Baccardua Labs, a digital security company.

The widely reported surge in tens of thousands of new followers for@mittromney from 21 July – which provoked commentary and suspicion – appeared to have been purchased from a dealer, it said: “We believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.”

The analysis, part of a wider investigation into what the report called the underground Twitter economy, found telltale signals that about a quarter of the new followers were less than three weeks old and had not tweeted. Some 80% were less than three-months-old.

The report’s author, Jason Ding, said there was no way of identifying whether it was the work of the Romney campaign, a Romney supporter or an opponent out to discredit him.

“Romney’s newest followers could have been paid for by himself, his associates or by his opponents. So far, there is not a feasible way to confirm who is responsible.”

Authentication was not required when buying Twitter followers from eBay or other websites, he said, and anyone could buy followers for other Twitter users.

mitt romney twitterAs of Wednesday, Romney had nearly 800,000 followers.

Zac Moffat, the Romney campaign digital director, denied that his side was responsible. “The Romney campaign does not buy Twitter followers,” he told CNET. “We have reached out to Twitter to find out additional information regarding the rapid growth.”

By Wednesday afternoon @mittromney had more than 792,800 followers. He gained 116,922 in a single day, 21 July. Around a tenth have since been suspended by Twitter.

Barracuda said this fit a wider pattern of clandestine Twitter trading which it began studying in May. “Our team set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 Twitter followers for each of them from eBay and another website searched from Google.”

It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

The report defined dealers’ clients as “abusers”, with the average abuser boasting 48,885 followers. The phenomenon of fake accounts is not new. The oldest was said to be @krails, created on 15 January 2007. Dealers controlled the following speed and total following number of fake accounts to avoid being suspended by Twitter. “Dealers can apply obscure techniques to make them hard to detect, eg randomly following some famous and some average people, or posting tweets grabbed from the Twitter stream, etc.”

Prices for 1,000 followers ranged widely from $2 to $55 depending on how “real” they seemed. “This underground Twitter business is just blooming,” the report said.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 11, 2012, 08:14 AM

August 11, 2012 06:00 AM

Romney-Ryan 2012: The Herman & Eddie Munster Ticket

By karoli

As I write, the only thing lacking is official confirmation by the Romney campaign that Mittens will adopt young Paul Ryan as his running mate. It would appear as though Mittens' disaster-laden campaign of the past few weeks has prompted his billionaires to lay down the law and require Ryan as the Very Serious Running Mate.

Ah, yes. Paul Ryan, "zombie-eyed granny starver" extraordinaire. The guy who loved Ayn Rand until he didn't.

Paul Ryan is a disaster, but that doesn't mean the Villagers won't treat him as a Very Serious VP Candidate Who Will Give Mittens A Much-Needed Bump. They will treat him that way. Meanwhile, the Very Serious conservatives will rejoice and forget Mitt is their candidate, substituting Paul Ryan in their minds for the first name on the ballot, and the Kochs will open their wallets wider for Their Black-Haired Boy. See, for example, the fawning by Chuck Todd and David Gregory over Ryan As Visionary.

I suppose that's enough bashing for one post. (Can Ryan ever be bashed enough?) Let's review some of the facts on Paul Ryan and whether he's a good fit with Mitt:

    He wants to raise taxes on ordinary people so billionaires and millionaires can get a break. Check.
    He wants to give Granny and Grampy a little voucher instead of the Medicare they've come to know and love. Check.
    Repeal Obamacare! Because...Romneycare. Check.
    He was once a beneficiary of the social safety net he seeks to destroy. Hypocrisy. Check.
    He speaks spreadsheet. Check.

Also? President Obama turns him into a whining, sniveling wimp.

I have a theory about why Ryan is the Boy Wonder, and no, it's not the one that says Mitt is really Herman Munster and Ryan is his sixth son, Eddie. I think Mitt's billionaires were tired of his very terrible, awful campaign and decided they'd better get the base fired up before they gave up entirely. And so word was passed to Mitt: It's Ryan or we're done with you.

After that, all that was left was tapping Tagg to fire TPaw and Rob Portman. Mitt seems to be quite good at delegating tasks, even firing people.

Over on the left, there is much rejoicing about Mitt's the billionaires' choice for the veep slot, and for good reason. After all, for eighteen months we've been trying to get the general electorate to see the do-nothing Congress in all its glory, from the debt ceiling debacle to the Ryan budget monstrosity to the zillionth meaningless vote to climb into women's reproductive systems. Now it will be on display for all to see, naked, fat and ugly.

A few other random thoughts. Does anyone giggle at the thought that Bill Kristol picked Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan? How will Newt Gingrich cover his tracks? Has anyone asked Paul Ryan about Ponzi schemes, particularly those he benefits from?

Who does Eddie Munster's hair? Quick, hire them for Pretty Paul's campaign appearances.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 11, 2012, 08:15 AM

August 11, 2012 07:00 AM

'When I Hear Mitt Romney Speak it Makes Me Sick to My Stomach'

By Diane Sweet

Many say that Mitt Romney's tax plan, or his refusal to release his personal income tax forms will be what will ruin his chances of becoming president in 2012. What I believe will do him in are these stories that come straight from the mouths of Americans who are or have worked for Romney's Bain owned corporations. There are millions who can relate to the tragedy of having worked at a job for years, only to see their jobs shipped overseas, with no real prospects of another job on the horizon. Beautiful, friendly little towns that turn into ghost towns as people who never missed paying their debts fall behind on their mortgages and watch their homes fall to foreclosure.

The employees of Bain owned corporations seem to have to endure more than the usual share of tragedy that comes with the shuttering of their place of work. There was the paper plant in Marion, Indiana where the workers (Workers who had no idea what was about to happen to them.) were ordered to stop what they were doing and build a stage. The stage was used the next day by men in suits from Bain to tell them all that they no longer had a job. One man likened building the stage to "building my own coffin."

At the Bain owned Sensata plant in Freeport, Illinois, employees are personally training their Chinese replacements, and watching the plant being shipped overseas piece by piece. The Guardian interviewed several of the workers, and city officials in Freeport. Their stories are as heartbreaking as you would expect:

    The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.

    But for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

    It's a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

    . . . Sensata (the plant where they work) is majority-owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm once led by Mitt Romney, that has become a hugely controversial symbol of how the modern globalised American economy works. Indeed, Romney still owns millions of dollars of shares in the Bain funds that own Sensata.

    Bain has declined to comment. But it has made a lot of money from owning Sensata, quadrupling its initial 2006 investment . . .

    The anger towards Bain and Romney is palpable. Romney has become the target for the emotions of a community who built lives based on the idea of a steady manufacturing job: a concept out of place in the sort of fluid buy-and-sell world from which Bain prospers. "I didn't have a clue what Bain was before this happened," said Cheryl Randecker, 52. "Now when I hear Romney speak it makes me sick to my stomach."

Right this moment, Romney may not be the CEO at Bain, but he does still profit as Bain continues to destroy people's lives. Can you imagine vulture capitalist Mitt Romney holding the highest office in the land while working-class people all over the nation can't bring themselves to look at him, or hear his voice because he upsets them so that it would cause them to vomit? And that's on top of how he has already destroyed their lives and their communities.

I can't imagine it. Mitt Romney is counting on voters being ignorant come election day. We've all watched too many Mitt Romneys steal our jobs, and destroy our towns. We've all been forced to learn a lot, the hard way, and I believe we'll all remember come November. Our memories aren't that short.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 13, 2012, 07:27 AM

Aug 11, 2012 7:30pm

Does Paul Ryan Pick Mean Electoral Problems for House and Senate GOPers?

So, how do strategists who are tasked with advising their candidates in House and Senate races view the Paul Ryan pick?

Most Democrats we talked with were giddy about the pick. Even hours after Ryan’s selection had been announced, one Democratic strategist was still in disbelief calling it the “best pick possible for us.”

This same strategist, who was at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Annual issues conference in Napa Valley, California, said donors and members of Congress in attendance were “pumped” about the Ryan pick.

“This election becomes a referendum,” said this advisor. “Balance the budget the right way by protecting Medicare. Or stand with Romney-Ryan — who would further burden seniors and the middle class. It is a disastrous pick for congressional Republicans.”

However, one long-time Democratic consultant warned Democrats not to get too confident. The fact that Ryan has teamed up with Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to outline a plan to tackle Medicare reform, said this consultant, complicates Democrats’ plans to turn Ryan into a partisan boogeyman.

In an op-ed penned in the Wall Street Journal by Wyden and Ryan last December, the two men wrote, “Our plan would strengthen traditional Medicare by permanently maintaining it as a guaranteed and viable option for all of our nation’s retirees.”

Look for Republicans to revive this quote often on the campaign trail.

Even so, at least one Republican consultant we reached out to told us that he worries that every time Republicans are talking about Medicare, “they are not talking about jobs and the economy.” An issue, of course, that Republicans have long held will not only define this race, but sink Obama.

When asked what he thinks of the Ryan pick, another GOP strategist who is involved in House and Senate races tells me simply “not helpful. Instead of referendum election we now get a choice.”

“I am sure Florida and Arizona love the Ryan budget,” this strategist notes sarcastically.

So, will tying every Republican candidate to the Ryan budget help ensure that Democrats keep control of the Senate and win control of the House?

One smart Democratic strategist we spoke with wasn’t willing to make that prediction. He was, however, supremely confident in its effectiveness at the presidential level.

**************

Paul Ryan’s VP nod elicits cheers of joy across liberal America

By Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, August 11, 2012 10:37 EDT

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate on Saturday energized the Republican base, but it also elicited an unusual amount of glee from prominent Democrats, many of whom believe he’s the ideal candidate for President Barack Obama to run against.

“Paul Ryan is the one VP pick who can unite liberal and conservative America,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow wrote on Twitter, adding her comment to the category “#CouponsCouponsCoupons,” a sly reference to Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare and convert it to a coupon program that offers discounts on private health insurance policies.

On that very subject, Washington Post columnist and occasional Maddow fill-in host Ezra Klein added: “Mitt Romney, announcing Paul Ryan as his VP, attacks Obama for cutting Medicare by $700 billion. Just wow.”

The president’s spokespeople didn’t waste any time hitting that same point, arguing that Ryan will enact “budget-busting tax cuts” for the rich and hurt the middle class. That that effect, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told The Associated Press that Ryan “would end Medicare as we know it.”

Ryan’s selection also plays into the Democrats’ “war on women” rhetoric because of his support for policies that undermine women’s access to reproductive health programs like Planned Parenthood. “Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Ryan as his running mate reminds us of why elections matter when it comes to our ability to make personal and private medical decisions,” NARAL president Nancy Keenan said in a media advisory.

“The outcome of the 2012 presidential election very well could determine whether abortion remains legal and accessible for the next generation of American women,” she added. “Romney has pledged that taking away women’s rights will be a priority for him and his choice of Ryan amplifies that promise to the extreme anti-choice backers of this ticket. My organization’s priority is to make sure President Obama remains in the White House.”

“Paul Ryan: takes big $ from Koch bros, shovels big $ to the oil industry,” environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote, calling Ryan “another corrupt hack.” In a second post he referenced Ryan’s love for the writings of Ayn Rand. “Fun guy, Paul Ryan: ‘I gave out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.’”

Seconding that, Think Progress’s “12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan” list mentioned Ryan’s attachment to the writings of Rand and his vote to keep over $40 billion in government subsidies for big oil companies.

“Rand described altruism as ‘evil,’ condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as ‘phony,’ and called Arabs ‘almost totally primitive savages,’” Igor Volsky wrote. “Though he publicly rejected ‘her philosophy’ in 2012, Ryan had professed himself a strong devotee.”

“Paul Ryan?” liberal documentarian Michael Moore exclaimed. “I guess they plan on winning. It’s all about who is able 2 get more ppl 2 the polls. Ignorance fear & hate r great motivators.” He added: “Channeling Bush, war supporters/military dodgers Romney & Ryan insult those who served by using battleship as their prop.”

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), published a document examining the positions of potential Romney running mates, and ultimately said that Ryan holds “anti-civil liberties positions.”

In the milling aftermath of Romney’s announcement, politics magazine The New Republic summed it all up by exclaiming: “The Ryan Veep pick is a fantastic stroke of luck for President Obama.”

******************

August 11, 2012
NY TIMES

Mr. Ryan’s Cramped Vision

Mitt Romney’s safe and squishy campaign just took on a much harder edge. A candidate of no details — I’ll cut the budget but no need to explain just how — has named a vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, whose vision is filled with endless columns of minus signs. Voters will now be able to see with painful clarity just what the Republican Party has in store for them.

As House Budget Committee chairman, Mr. Ryan has drawn a blueprint of a government that will be absent when people need it the most. It will not be there when the unemployed need job training, or when a struggling student needs help to get into college. It will not be there when a miner needs more than a hardhat for protection, or when a city is unable to replace a crumbling bridge.

And it will be silent when the elderly cannot keep up with the costs of M.R.I.’s or prescription medicines, or when the poor and uninsured become increasingly sick through lack of preventive care.

More than three-fifths of the cuts proposed by Mr. Ryan, and eagerly accepted by the Tea Party-driven House, come from programs for low-income Americans. That means billions of dollars lost for job training for the displaced, Pell grants for students and food stamps for the hungry. These cuts are so severe that the nation’s Catholic bishops raised their voices in protest at the shredding of the nation’s moral obligations.

Mr. Ryan’s budget “will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment,” the bishops wrote in an April letter to the House. “These cuts are unjustified and wrong.”

Mr. Ryan responded that he was helping the poor by eliminating their dependence on the government. And yet he has failed to explain how he would make them self-sufficient — how, in fact, a radical transformation of government would magically turn around an economy that is starving for assistance. At a time when state and local government layoffs are the principal factor in unemployment, the Ryan budget would cut aid to desperate governments by at least 20 percent, far below historical levels, on top of other cuts to mass transit and highway spending.

Those are the kinds of reductions voters of all income levels would actually feel. People might nod their heads at Mr. Romney’s nostrums of smaller government, but they are likely to feel quite different when they realize Mr. Ryan plans to take away their new sewage treatment plant, the asphalt for their streets, and the replacements for retiring police officers and firefighters.

All of this will be accompanied, of course, by even greater tax giveaways to the rich, and extravagant benefits to powerful military contractors. Business leaders will be granted their wish for severely diminished watchdogs over the environment, mine safety and food quality.

Mr. Romney had already praised the Ryan budget as “excellent work,” but until Saturday the deliberate ambiguity of his own plans gave him a little room for distance, an opportunity to sketch out a more humane vision of government’s role. By putting Mr. Ryan’s callousness on his ticket, he may have lost that chance.

*******************

 ThinkProgress

12 Things You Should Know About Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan

By Igor Volsky on Aug 11, 2012 at 8:27 am

Mitt Romney has picked as his running mate 42 year-old Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP budget, which the New York Times has described as “the most extreme budget plan passed by a house of Congress in modern times.” Below are 12 things you should know about Ryan and his policies:

1. Ryan embraces the extreme philosophy of Ayn Rand. Ryan heaped praise on Ayn Rand, a 20th-century libertarian novelist best known for her philosophy that centered on the idea that selfishness is “virtue.” Rand described altruism as “evil,” condemned Christianity for advocating compassion for the poor, viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages. Though he publicly rejected “her philosophy” in 2012, Ryan had professed himself a strong devotee. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he said at a D.C. gathering honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.” Learn more about Ryan’s muse:

2. Ryan wants to raises taxes on the middle class, cut them for millionaires. Paul Ryan’s infamous budget — which Romney embraced — replaces “the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.” Federal tax collections would fall “by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade” as a result and to avoid increasing the national debt, the budget proposes massive cuts in social programs and “special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.” But 62 percent of the savings would come from programs that benefit the lower- and middle-classes, who would also experience a tax increase. That’s because while Ryan “would extend the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year, he would not extend President Obama’s tax cuts for those with the lowest incomes, which will expire at the same time.” Households “earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.”

Audiences have booed Ryan for the unfair distribution:

3. Ryan wants to end Medicare, replace it with a voucher system. Ryan’s latest budget transforms the existing version of Medicare, in which government provides seniors with a guaranteed benefit, into a “premium support” system. All future retirees would receive a government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans or traditional fee-for-service Medicare. But since the premium support voucher does not keep up with increasing health care costs, the Congressional Budget Offices estimates that new beneficiaries could pay up to $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050. A recent study also found that had the plan been implemented in 2009, 24 million beneficiares enrolled in the program would have paid higher premiums to maintain their choice of plan and doctors. Ryan would also raise Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67.

4. Ryan thinks Social Security is a “ponzi scheme.” In September of 2011, Ryan agreed with Rick Perry’s characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” and since 2005 has advocated for privatizing the retirement benefit and investing it in stocks and bonds. Conservatives claim that this would “outperform the current formula based on wages earned and overall wage appreciation,” but the economic crisis of 2008 should serve as a wake-up call for policymakers who seek to hinge Americans’ retirement on the stock market. In fact, “a person with a private Social Security account similar to what President George W. Bush proposed in 2005″ would have lost much of their retirement savings.

5. Ryan’s budget would result in 4.1 million lost jobs in 2 years. Ryan’s budget calls for massive reductions in government spending. He has proposed cutting discretionary programs by about $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, which, the Economic Policy Institute estimates, would suck demand out of the economy and “reduce employment by 1.3 million jobs in fiscal 2013 and 2.8 million jobs in fiscal 2014, relative to current budget policies.”

6. Ryan wants to eliminate Pell Grants for more more than 1 million students. Ryan’s budget claims both that rising financial aid is driving college tuition costs upward, and that Pell Grants, which help cover tuition costs for low-income Americans, don’t go to the “truly needy.” So he cuts the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could “ultimately knock more than one million students off” the program over the next 10 years.

7. Ryan supports $40 billion in subsides for big oil. In 2011, Ryan joined all House Republicans and 13 Democrats in his vote to keep Big Oil tax loopholes as part of the FY 2011 spending bill. His budget would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while cutting “billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil.” For instance, it “calls for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone” and would spend only $150 million over five years — or 20 percent of what was invested in 2012 — on energy programs.

8. Ryan has ownership stakes in companies that benefit from oil subsidies . Ryan “and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan,” the Daily Beast reported in June of 2011. “Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.”

9. Ryan claimed Romneycare has led to “rationing and benefit cuts.” “I’m not a fan of [Romney's health care reform] system,” Ryan told C-SPAN in 2010. He argued that government is rationing care in the state and claimed that people are “seeing the system bursting by the seams, they’re seeing premium increases, rationing and benefit cuts.” He called the system “a fatal conceit” and “unsustainable.” Watch it:

10. Ryan believes that Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.” Though Romney has gone to great lengths to distinguish his Massachusetts health care law from Obamacare, Ryan doesn’t see the difference. “It’s not that dissimilar to Obamacare, and you probably know I’m not a big fan of Obamacare,” Ryan said at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the American Spectator in March of 2011. “I just don’t think the mandates work … all the regulation they’ve put on it…I think it’s beginning to death spiral. They’re beginning to have to look at rationing decisions.”

11. Ryan accused generals of lying about their support for Obama’s military budget. In March, Ryan couldn’t believe that Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey supports Obama’s Pentagon budget, which incorporates $487 billion in cuts over 10 years. “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said at a policy summit hosted by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.” He later apologized for the implication. Watch it:

12. Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment, an extreme anti-abortion measure. Ryan joined 62 other Republicans in co-sponsoring the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which declares that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” This would outlaw abortion, some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 13, 2012, 07:35 AM

Obama Welcomes ‘Ideological Leader’ Paul Ryan to Race 

ABC News
By Devin Dwyer

CHICAGO — Just over 24 hours after Rep. Paul Ryan was tapped for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, President Obama today welcomed the Wisconsin congressman to the race, branding him the “ideological leader of Republicans in Congress.”

Addressing donors at a campaign fundraiser on the south side of Chicago, Obama slammed his rivals’ belief in “top-down economics” as a solution to the nation’s economic woes, insisting the approach has been tried and failed.

“This kind of top-down economics is central to Gov. [Mitt] Romney and it is central to his running mate,” Obama told roughly 1,000 donors huddled inside the Bridgeport Arts Center.

“Just yesterday, my opponent chose his running mate, the ideological leader of  Republicans in Congress, Mr. Paul Ryan. I want to congratulate Mr. Ryan. I know him. I welcome him to the race,” Obama said.

Some members of the crowd began booing at the mention of Ryan, but Obama cut them off.

“He is a decent man, he is a family man, he is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision, but it is a vision that I fundamentally disagree with,” he said.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

The remarks were the first time Obama publicly acknowledged Romney’s running mate since the announcement Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va.  Vice President Joe Biden called Ryan Saturday to welcome him to the race, the Obama campaign said.

Obama and Ryan will face off on the campaign trail for the first time Monday with dueling events scheduled in Iowa, a key Midwest battleground. The president begins a three-day, seven-stop bus tour through the state, while Ryan plans to “drop by” the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said Republicans are girding for a fight.

“We all know that President Obama will continue to run a fear and smear campaign because his policies have failed and he has no vision for the future of our country,” Williams said in a statement.  “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan bring new ideas about creating jobs and controlling the budget. President Obama’s campaign has accused Mitt Romney of committing crimes and killing people, and now they have turned their smear campaign to Paul Ryan. They have lost all credibility.”

Obama is in Chicago for a whirlwind day of five re-election fundraisers expected to raise at least $6.4 million combined for the 2012 race, according to estimates provided by the Obama campaign.

Obama has spent a record-smashing amount of time fundraising as an incumbent, attending more than 200 events in his first term. President George W. Bush had attended just 88 fundraisers at this point in his first term.

********************

Voting record analysis finds Paul Ryan most extreme VP nominee in a century

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, August 12, 2012 14:27 EDT

Rep. Paul Ryan is the most ideologically far-from-center vice presidential nominee since at least 1900, according to one statistical analysis of historical Congressional voting records.

Based on the DW-NOMINATE model, Ryan’s record makes him the most extreme nominee from either party during that stretch, meaning he is not only ranked as more conservative than any past GOP vice presidential nominee, but also as further from center than any Democratic number two over that same stretch.

That ranking system analyzes all the roll call votes cast by members of Congress and computes a weighted average of how conservatives or liberal elected representatives are based on those votes. For example, the system pegs Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva (D-NM) as the ninth-most liberal member of the House, while Ron Paul (R-TX) ranks as the second-most conservative member (Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) barely beat out Paul for the title of most conservative.)

Ryan, meanwhile, falls well into the conservative end of the spectrum. In fact, the ranking system puts him just four slots closer to center than Tea Party crusader Michele Bachmann (R-MN.)

The system presents its averages on a numerical scale, from -1.0 to 1.0, liberal to conservative, with zero being completely centrist. Ryan earned a 0.562 Ideology Score according to the system, higher than Dick Cheney’s previous record high score for a VP nominee of 0.531. The most extreme Democratic nominee, by contrast, was President Franklin Roosevelt’s VP, John Nance Gardner (-0.482.)

That finding affirms anecdotal evidence about Ryan’s perceived image as a very conservative politician. His budget proposal last year, for example, was so extreme that even Newt Gingrich dismissed it as, “right-wing social engineering,” — though he has since come around now that Ryan is on the party ticket.

*********************

Axelrod: Ryan plan is a ‘prescription for economic catastrophe’

By David Edwards
Sunday, August 12, 2012 12:51 EDT

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod on Sunday warned that the budget plan authored by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), was a “prescription for economic catastrophe.”

During an interview on NBC, host David Gregory predicted that Romney and his VP pick would claim that President Barack Obama was trying “scare seniors” by claiming Ryan’s budget would end Medicare as it exists today, turning it into a voucher system.

“There’s no doubt, David, that we’ve got to do more [to make Medicare solvent],” Axelrod explained. “But the question is are you going to do it in a way that preserves the program and the basic integrity of the program and the access to care that seniors need, or are you going to turn it into a voucher program with ever-decreasing value of the vouchers relative to health care costs and throw seniors onto the tender mercies of the private insurance market?”

The senior adviser said he agreed with an assertion made by former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, that Ryan’s budget was “right-wing social engineering.”

“In terms of debt, I heard Congressman Ryan talking about debt — as you pointed out, this was a guy who rubber stamped every aspect of the Bush economic policy, including not paying for two wars, a Medicare prescription plan, two big tax cuts,” Axelrod charged. “And now he wants trillions of dollars of more budget-busting tax cuts skewed to the wealthy.”

He added: “We have more to do, not just to deal with unemployment, but to rebuild the middle class in this country. And the way to do it is not to give trillions of dollars in new tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, raise taxes on the middle class and cut things like college loans, research and technology, infrastructure, energy. This is prescription for economic catastrophe.”

Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopolous on Sunday, Axelrod went even farther, claiming that Romney and Ryan “do not believe” in Medicare.

“He’s the guy who’s the architect of a plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program and ship thousands of dollars of costs onto senior citizens. He’s someone who was the architect of a Social Security privatization scheme that was so out there that even George Bush called it irresponsible, and he believes that we should ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest,” Axelrod said.

***********************

Romney would pay less than 1% in taxes under Ryan plan

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, August 12, 2012 15:54 EDT

Under the budget plan proposed by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Romney would have paid an effective tax rate under 1% in 2010, according to an analysis by The Atlantic.

Romney’s 2010 tax rate—he has only released complete information for that year, so it is unclear what his burden would have been in other years—would have come in at a tiny 0.82 percent for the year, far lower than the already low 13.9% rate he actually paid.

That huge drop would come primarily from the Ryan plan’s proposal to eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends. Romney’s income in 2010 came largely from those sources, so those taxes made up the bulk of the overall effective tax rate on his reported $21.6 million income.

Romney would also enjoy the Ryan plan’s reduction in the marginal tax rate from 35 to 25 percent which, in conjunction with other measures like eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, would drop his effective tax rate down under one percent.

That finding comes amid allegations made by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) that Romney paid zero taxes for a decade. While that claim is highly suspect, both stories yet again bring a caricature of Romney as a wealthy, perhaps tax-dodging businessman back to the forefront of the election—and based on recent polls, attacks labeling Romney as such appear to be working.

Romney has said in the past that he did not totally back the Ryan budget, though a top advisor confusingly said Sunday that Romney “would have signed” it. Romney also, during the GOP primary debates, hammered Newt Gingrich for offering a similarly drastic overhaul of the tax code, noting at the time that such changes would result in him paying almost no taxes at all.

*******************

Cheney on Ryan: ‘I can’t think of a better choice’ for VP

By David Edwards
Sunday, August 12, 2012 14:47 EDT

The man who selected himself to be former President George W. Bush’s running mate says that he “can’t think of a better choice” than Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to share the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney.

“I’m a big fan of Paul’s,” former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Saturday. “I can’t think of a better choice. I really just think that it is a vital one and I want to give Gov. Romney very high marks for making it.”

“I think that what he has done here is take, and put front and center in his campaign, somebody who has been spending time and energy addressing the most serious problem we face as a nation.”

The former vice president added: “I’m delighted with the Paul Ryan choice. I think he’d make a great vice president.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 13, 2012, 11:09 AM

August 13, 2012 09:00 AM

Will the Influence the Mormon Church has over Mitt Romney ever be Questioned?

By John Amato

I've written a lot about what Mormons believe, their history and the influence they have over Mitt Romney, including a story about his polygamist great-grandfather and their exodus to Mexico. If I asked 100 people to name the head of the LDS Church, or what the First Presidency is, I bet not one would know the correct answer.

In our history the media went crazy over John F. Kennedy being the first Catholic to run for President and he was forced to address it and disavow how much influence the papacy would have over his presidency. Fox News went ballistic over Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his "Black Liberation Theology", forcing Barack Obama to step down from his church. But apparently Mitt Romney is given a complete pass when it comes to his faith. It's astounding.

Here's something you may not know.

    Mormons have no full-time paid clergy, and instead are led by an all-volunteer lay male leadership.

Mormons do not have a paid clergy to run their church so males make up the entire infrastructure and as usual, women need not apply. Mitt was ordained at the age of twelve, like other Mormon males. He became a Bishop in 1981 and Boston Stake President in 1986. The dedication each Mormon makes to his faith is as a high as any minister, priest, rabbi, imam or cardinal. The reason a Catholic bishop (I'm Catholic) has never run for public office is because he cannot separate his religious beliefs from governing a secular United States made up of many different faiths and non-faiths. His religious views would dictate exactly how his votes would be cast and how his policies were shaped. That's not a dig against this hypothetical bishop, that's exactly what everyone would expect him to do.

So I ask again, why isn't Mitt receiving a serious look into his religious views?

And by the way, every member of the Mormon faith must pay out 10 percent of their wages to remain in good standing with the church, a practice known as tithing. That's why he has given so much money to the LDS church, according to the only tax return we've been able to see.

    Romneys "gave away $7 million in charitable contributions over the past two years, including at least $4.1 million" to the LDS Church. Paying 10 percent of their annual income in tithing, what members of the LDS Church refer to as "a full tithe," makes Romney, if nothing else, a typical Mormon.

I love how the Deseret News frames Mitt with his millions of dollars of charitable giveaway as just typical Mormon on 'tithing."

Huffington Post: The Mormon Moment -- Postponed

    In the last few months, considerable attention has been devoted to Mitt Romney's tax returns and his former company's "job-creating performance," but there has been insufficient discussion about what arguably has had the greatest role in shaping who he is and how he views the world: his Mormon religion. Despite his reluctance to address the subject directly, public interest in Mormonism remains at historic levels.

    His "Mormon Moment" is laden with obligation: never in the history of the United States has an ordained minister been a major party's candidate for the presidency. The Mormon Church has a lay priesthood, and by virtue of his ordination to the offices of Bishop and Stake President, Romney has occupied ecclesiastical positions equivalent to those within the Roman Catholic Church of Priest and Bishop. Were a Catholic Bishop to run for the presidency, there would doubtless be a demand that he address aspects of his religion in far greater detail than would be required of candidates never ordained to the ministry -- and thus Gov. Romney's obligation.

In 2007, Romney was forced to give a speech on religion called "Faith In America" . Not surprisingly, he mentions the word "Mormon" only once! Instead, he chose to give a series of platitudes and generalities. Of course, he made sure to include a heavy statement about 'religious tolerance' to dissuade the demand for any specifics:

    "There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.

That's a nice cop out. If you question Mormons on some of their more bizarre beliefs, then you're an intolerant lout. Obama had to discuss his beliefs in great detail. John F. Kennedy had to do the same. But there's one big difference with Romney's faith. Many religions do believe and preach that they are the true faith of God, but Joesph Smith, the founder of Mormonism stated quite clearly that either you follow the God of Joseph Smith or you follow evil. Via Krakauer's Under The Banner Of Heaven

    Joseph preached something he called “free agency”; everyone was free to choose whether to be on the side of the Lord or the side of wickedness; it was an entirely personal decision—but woe to those who decided wrong. If you knowingly chose to shun the God of Joseph and the Saints, you were utterly undeserving of sympathy or mercy.

In the Huff Po piece that I cited above, they ask a germane question for Romney to answer:

    What your church labels "sacred" is frequently termed by others "secret" or even "sinister," leading many to conclude that Mormons may not always be telling us what they truly believe. How can you assuage these suspicions by articulating your beliefs?

Mitt Romney will never challenge a Mormon principle, ever. Nor will he be open about what the LDS church teaches.

Here's a segment of Meet The Press from 12/16/2007. You'll notice that Romney will not condemn his church for their odious treatment of African Americans until 1978.

    MR. RUSSERT: You, you raise the issue of color of skin. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs. Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools. In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn't till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully. Here was the headlines in the papers in June of '78. "Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias. Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites." You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation. Didn't you think, "What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?"

    GOV. ROMNEY: I'm very proud of my faith, and it's the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a, a faith--well, it's true and I love my faith. And I'm not going to distance myself in any way from my faith. But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at, at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mm was a tireless crusader for civil rights. You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights. So my dad's reputation, my mom's and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else. And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in, in my church.

    I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept. Even at this day it's emotional, and so it's very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God. My faith has always told me that. My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the, the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.

    MR. RUSSERT: But it was wrong for your faith to exclude it for as long as it did.

    GOV. ROMNEY: I've told you exactly where I stand. My view is that there--there's, there's no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased than to see the change that occurred.

Romney was thirty-one years old when he supposedly pulled his car off the road and wept with joy, but he never once spoke out publicly in defense of Black America prior to that, so we're supposed to take it on faith that he always believed in it. In reality, the pressure of their bias became too great for the Mormon Church to handle along with the fact that they also wanted to build a massive temple in Brazil so the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during a prayer session reversed the horrible century-old law. I bet you never heard of the Quorum of Twelve, right? When Russert tried to get Mitt to admit Mormonism was wrong to be so biased against African Americans. Romney ducked the question and reiterated that there is no discrimination in the eyes of the Lord. He makes my point for me.

However, in the eyes of Mitt Romney's 'Lord' it was just to exclude blacks from the priesthood. He slyly tells a story about his father supporting MLK, but he avoided any sentence that would have even hinted that Mormonism was fallible. He'd never say anything against his church, even with their discriminatory practices. To clarify, blacks were not allowed to enjoy the hereafter before 1978. But that exclusion--the lifting of which brought Mitt to tears--was not enough to question his faith or criticize it even retroactively.

Now I imagine most think that Mormons, as all Republicans, believe that life begins at conception. Actually, that's not true in Mormon teaching. For Mormons, life begins in spirit children from a premortal world. These human spirits live with heavenly Father and Mother. Jesus is there to help Mormons get over sin and death and all their earthly trails and tribulations on earth. Mortals have no memory of their spirit life The only reason why they're born into a corporeal being at all is so they can be tested by how Mormons live their life.

But that's not what most Republicans believe, so when Russert quizzes him on this point, he waffles through it.

    MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe life begins at conception?

    GOV. ROMNEY: I do. I believe, I believe from a, from a, a political perspective that life begins at conception. I, I don't, I don't pretend to know, if you will, from a theological standpoint when life begins.

Romney is lying outright by saying he doesn't pretend to know from a theological standpoint when life begins. Mitt Romney understands every bit of Mormon theological viewpoints thoroughly. He can teach it to you. He's a Bishop, remember?

Another hugely important point about the Mormon religion is that so much of their rituals are secret. Why? If they are proud in their beliefs today why not share them with the rest of us including entering their over 100 Temples around the world? Or maybe the promise of the afterlife. There are three kingdoms (Telestial, Terestrial. Celestial) in the afterlife a mortal can exalt to. How strictly people adhere to Mormon teachings will determine their destination. It's a plan of salvation, so to speak. God's plan was for all his spirit children to be able to transform into God as well, ruling their own kingdom with their spirit mate and children. When so many of the Republican Party identify themselves as fundamentalist Christians, don't you think they deserve to know this about the man for whom they are expected to vote?

Helen C. Whitney and Gregory A. Prince conclude their piece with this:

    We realize that in addressing these issues, Gov. Romney would likely open himself to criticism from some quarters. However, the office to which he aspires demands of its aspirants a level of openness and clarity that he has yet to reach. Ironically, his reluctance to be open about his religion only reinforces the last and arguably most enduring of all Mormon stereotypes: its secrecy. Given the overwhelming importance of his religion in shaping who he is and how he views the world, we see the above questions as an opportunity for him to begin to emerge from obscurity.

At least someone other than moi is asking finally....


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 16, 2012, 11:50 AM

August 16, 2012 10:00 AM

Romney Campaign Calls Police On Sensata Worker Delivering Letter

By karoli

It's a good thing the nice policeman wasn't a jerk. Instead of arresting this terribly threatening woman (cue sarcasm), he agreed to hand-deliver her letter for her, after Romney campaign workers locked her out and called the police.

Sensata, as you may recall, is the company where Bain Capital is in the process of shutting down plants and sending jobs overseas. Adding insult to injury, Sensata workers are required to train their replacements.

While Mitt Romney isn't directly ordering the closure, as a Bain investor he is certainly benefitting from it. As one Sensata employee said, hearing Romney speak makes her physically ill. Who wouldn't feel that way after losing their job and financial security while having to cheerfully train their overseas replacement? The stories are heartbreaking.

I realize there's a lot of people out there who will vote for Mitt Romney just to get Barack Obama out of office, but I hope they'll stop and ask themselves whether they really want a guy as President who thinks people exist for only one reason: Profitability. This is what drives Romney in business, and it's what will drive him in office. We're just chattel; the corporations are king.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ImcN_yj7sOs

***********

Sensata Employees Ask Mitt Romney To Save Their Jobs

By Kenneth Quinnell

Employees at Sensata Technologies in Freeport, Illinois, protested Mitt Romney's visit to nearby Janesville, asking the Republican presidential candidate and former head of Bain Capital for their jobs. Sensata is now owned by Bain and is in the process of laying off hundreds of American workers. The workers know that Romney has the influence at Bain to save their jobs and since he's campaigning on a "jobs first" platform, they asked him to put his money where his mouth is.

    "My priority is putting Americans back to work, that's job number one," said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

    Wisconsin is considered a battle ground state for the presidential election, and the main fight Monday was over jobs.

    "If your priority is jobs, you got to get rid of Obamacare," said Romney. "And I will."

    ...

    But not everyone thinks Romney is the right man for the job. Some people outside the rally don't think the country is his main priority.

    "People that are making that kind of money and that are paying this kind of money for these campaigns are not in the best interests of the American people," said Iver Knuth, who came to Janesville to protest against Romney.

    Not so far away in Freeport, over a dozen workers at Sensata Technologies are blaming Romney and a company he ran 2001, Bain Capital, for sending their jobs over seas. They want Romney to be more clear on how he plans to put them back to work.

    "I've never heard him just really say what he's going to do to save our economy," said Dot turner, whose job is being outsourced overseas.

    Romney's response; to invest in energy production like coal, oil, and natural gas.

    "I want that energy here, because I want those jobs here, were going to bring employment back up in America," said Romney.

The disconnect between Romney's words and his history is a major theme of his current bus tour across the Midwest:

    Mitt Romney’s “Every Town Counts” bus tour brought the presumptive Republican presidential nominee across southern Wisconsin and into Iowa Monday and Tuesday.

    But the towns didn’t count enough for him to learn their real histories and their real needs. And the tour scrupulously avoided towns where Romney’s Bain Capital continues to put the hurt on American workers.

    In Janesville, Wisconsin, where a sprawling General Motors plant closed three years ago, socking the town with one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, Romney failed during his stop to discuss the plant or GM. He couldn’t exactly rip into his November opponent, Barack Obama, for not doing eneough to reopen the plant—a credible gripe—since Obama worked during his first term to save GM while Romney talked up the idea of letting the company go bankrupt.

    That’s the problem for Romney. He has been on the wrong side of so many economic fights that it is impossible for him to play the economic populist in communities that could stand with a little populism.

    But the real story of Romney’s tour is the towns that don’t count with him.

    When Romney made stops in Janesville and Dubuque Monday, he was just up the road from the town of Freeport, Illinois.

    But Romney did not stop in Freeport, a town that like Janesville and Dubuque has been hard hit by trade and fiscal policies that encourage corporations to shutter US factories and ship jobs overseas—and that has been even harder hit by speculators who buy up factories, strip the assets and close them.

    On the day Romney was busing across the region, employees of Freeport’s Sensata Technologies plant gathered in front of the factory with handmade signs that read:

    “Romney! Stop Bain Outsourcing to China”

    “Mitt Romney Save Our Jobs”

    “Romney: Instead of talking about JOBS, just don’t ship MINE to China”

    The Sensata Technologies plant, which has been on the forefront of producing state-of-the-art automotive sensors, was owned by Texas Instruments, and then by Honeywell, before being sold in 2010 to Sensata Technologies Holding, N.V, a firm based in the Netherlands but majority-owned by Bain Capital. Bain, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney helped to develop and that continues to make him a very rich man, has since consolidated ownership of Sensata.

    The workers at the plant wanted Romney to make a slight detour on his bus trip and take a look at the devastation being caused by Bain’s machinations at a plant where many of them have worked for more than thirty years.

    The plant’s operations are rapidly skrinking as Sensata moves to outsource work from Illinois to China.

    “This used to be a very high-volume plant and now it’s pretty much a ghost town…and by the end of the year it will be a ghost town”, Sensata employee Cheryl Randecker told local reporters.

    Had Romney come to Freeport, he would have heard how much Bain’s approach has harmed not just the Sensata workers but Freeport and counties along the Illinois-Wisconsin stateline that have suffered more than their share of plant closings.

************

'I'm sick to my stomach': anger grows in Illinois at Bain's latest outsourcing plan

The Sensata plant in Freeport is profitable and competitive, but its majority owner, Bain Capital, has decided to ship jobs to China – and forced workers to train their overseas replacements.   

The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.

But for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

It's a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

"It's not easy to get up in the morning, training them to do your job so that you can be made unemployed," said Borman, pictured, a mother of three who has worked for 23 years at the Sensata auto sensors plant.
Bonnie Borman at Sensata in Freeport

Borman knows her eventual fate in the stricken economy that surrounds Freeport. "I am going to be competing for minimum wage jobs with my own daughter," she said.

Such scenes have been common in America as manufacturing has fled abroad in search of cheaper wages.

But, in the midst of the 2012 presidential election, Freeport is different. For Sensata is majority-owned by Bain Capital, the private equity firm once led by Mitt Romney, that has become a hugely controversial symbol of how the modern globalised American economy works. Indeed, Romney still owns millions of dollars of shares in the Bain funds that own Sensata.

So as Sensata strips out costs by sacking American workers in favour of Chinese ones, the value of Romney's own investments could rise, putting money into the pockets of a Republican challenger who has placed job creation in America at the heart of his bid for the White House.

The story of how Bain became involved in a car factory in a small town amid the rolling farmland of northern Illinois is emblematic of modern financial wheeling and dealing.

Bain bought the firm that was to become Sensata in 2006, when it was the Texan arm of a Dutch company. It then floated it on the stock exchange in 2010, but kept a majority stake. Sensata came to own the Freeport plant at the beginning of 2011 as part of a wider purchase of a car parts business from Honeywell.

Sensata spokesman Jacob Sayer said closing the Freeport plant to cut costs was a key element of the Honeywell deal. "If that had not been part of the strategy, then the deal would not have been so attractive," he said.

Bain has declined to comment. But it has made a lot of money from owning Sensata, quadrupling its initial 2006 investment. In business circles that focus on the bottom line is all that matters. But, not surprisingly, it cuts less ice in Illinois.

Workers insist their operation is profitable and makes top quality auto sensors.

"I understand business needs to make a profit. But this product has always made a ton of money. It's just that they think it is not enough money. They are greedy," said Tom Gaulraupp, who has put in 33 years at the plant and is facing the prospect of becoming jobless at the age of 54.

Mark Shreck, a 36-year-old father-of-three, confessed he was one of the few workers not surprised at the layoffs, as this is the second time his job has moved to China. "I feel this is what companies do nowadays," he said.
Freeport mayor George Gaulrapp

The Freeport workers have appealed to Bain and Romney to save their plant. The local town council, several Illinois politicians and the state's Democratic governor have all rallied to their cause. "This company is competitive globally. They make a profit here. But Bain Capital decided to squeeze it a little further. That is not what capitalism is meant to be about," said Freeport mayor George Gaulrapp, 52, pictured.

The anger towards Bain and Romney is palpable. Romney has become the target for the emotions of a community who built lives based on the idea of a steady manufacturing job: a concept out of place in the sort of fluid buy-and-sell world from which Bain prospers. "I didn't have a clue what Bain was before this happened," said Cheryl Randecker, 52. "Now when I hear Romney speak it makes me sick to my stomach."

President Barack Obama's campaign has sought to make Bain's record of buying and selling companies – often involving job losses – a key part of its strategy of painting Romney as an out-of-touch super-rich financier. In turn, Romney, who left Bain in 1999, has defended his long career there, saying Bain ends up generating economic growth and spurring job creation. Far from profiting from layoffs, Romney has portrayed Bain as a model for the American future.

That argument stuns Illinois governor Pat Quinn. "If he thinks that is the model for American economic growth then he is barking up the wrong tree," Quinn told The Guardian.

Of course, no one at the Romney campaign wants to be linked with the Freeport plant closure. "Governor Romney is not familiar with this issue and has not been involved in the management of Bain since 1999," said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

Nor does anyone at Sensata want to discuss the social costs of their decision. "We don't have any statement on the impact it has on Freeport," said Sayer. Bain did not return a request for comment.

But the impact is enormous on individuals and city alike. Freeport, a city of 26,000, is struggling. Its downtown features empty store fronts and businesses barely getting by.

The loss of 170 solid well-paying jobs will ripple out into this economy, further straining city resources, hurting businesses and eventually adding to Freeport's foreclosure problem. "There is a sense of fright. People don't know what this means for their families, their health insurance and whether they will keep their homes," said mayor Gaulrapp.

It is already happening.

Tom Gaulrapp – no relation to the mayor – worries he will be homeless. "It is a real possibility," he said. Randecker's daughter has already quit nursing college in Iowa to save money. Joanne Penniston, 35, is wondering if she will have to leave town. "I would have to uproot my whole family," she said.

Dot Turner, who joined the firm when she was 18 and freshly married and then put in 43 years on the factory floor, has suddenly found long cherished retirement plans thrown into disarray. She is 62 and knows finding another job will be tough. "I should not be standing in an unemployment line at this stage of my life," she said.

Turner too finds it hard to hear Romney talk of creating jobs when the post she has worked at for four decades – and which paid for three children to go to college – has just been sent overseas by a firm majority-controlled by Bain. "When Romney talks about creating jobs, it is just a big fairy tale," she said.

There is little chance of a happy ending for Freeport. The workers collect petitions and hold demonstrations. But they know they are likely doomed. "We are not stupid. We know we are unlikely to save our jobs. But if we get the next company that tries it to think twice, then maybe we save our neighbour's job. Or our children's," said Tom Gaulrapp.

Meanwhile, bit by bit, the machines inside the Freeport plant are being packed up, beginning their long journey to China. By the end of the year it will be over. "It is kind of like part of your family being shipped out - I worked with that stuff for years. Now there's nothing left but a discoloration on the floor where the equipment used to sit," Gaulrapp said.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 23, 2012, 10:40 AM
Big Oil Buys Gusher: 5 Pro-Oil Planks In Romney Energy Plan

By Climate Guest Blogger on Aug 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

After raising nearly $10 million in Texas oil money in two days, Mitt Romney announces an energy plan on the Texas-New Mexico border later today that includes billions of dollars in giveaways to industry contributors.

Romney will call for extensive expansion of oil and gas drilling – including along the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas – and eliminating most federal safety and environmental standards that govern the development of energy resources on our public lands.

This corporate polluter agenda should come as no surprise, as the Washington Post noted:

    “Romney’s plan caters heavily to oil and coal interests, and oil executives are some of his biggest benefactors.”

Romney’s energy team is comprised of oil and coal industry insiders, from oil billionaire Harold Hamm, the chair of Romney’s energy policy team – and $1 million donor to the conservative Restore Our Future Super PAC — to coal lobbyist Jim Talent, as well as retreads from the George W. Bush administration. Politico described it as “Bush energy advisors going to Romney.”

The Romney-Ryan plan once again claims mysterious “trillions” of dollars in government revenue; however, a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis found that their proposals would bring in only limited federal revenues over the next decade. Instead, the Romney-Ryan energy plan includes billions of dollars of tax breaks to corporate polluter allies, access to lands and waters owned by all Americans, and fewer restrictions on mercury, toxic, and carbon pollution.

Here are five facts about the Romney-Ryan “oil above all” energy strategy you ought to know in advance of his energy speech in New Mexico today.

1. The Romney-Ryan plan gives the big five oil companies a $2.3 billion tax cut above and beyond existing tax loopholes

Both Romney’s plan and the House-passed Ryan budget would retain $2.4 billion in annual tax breaks for the big five oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell – that made a record $137 billion in profits last year, and over $60 billion so far in 2012. Perhaps more outrageous is that the Romney-Ryan proposed cut in the corporate tax rate would provide a $2.3 billion tax cut for the big five oil companies. With the existing tax breaks, the big five companies would skim over $4 billion annually from the U.S. Treasury.

2. Romney plan gives Americans’ lands and waters to dirty energy interests

Romney also proposes the extreme idea of giving states control over energy development on America’s public lands.  This is a misguided proposal that would end the tradition of managing lands that belong to the entire country for the wide array of resource values to “meet the present and future needs of the American people.” Instead, on a state by state basis these unparalleled national assets – including national parks – could be turned over to energy companies, making energy development the primary use of the land, at the expense of grazing, hunting, fishing, and all other forms of recreation. A similar proposal was too radical even for arch conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. She vetoed a bill turning all federal lands over to her state.

3. Romney and Ryan would cede clean energy innovation, exports to China, Germany, other nations. They outsource energy jobs to our greatest competitors.

The worldwide market for clean energy technologies will be $2 trillion by 2020. Yet Romney and Ryan would cede this market to other nations by opposing incentives to help emerging technologies grow to scale. Romney and Ryan oppose the extension of the Production Tax Credit to encourage wind energy. The PTC helped the U.S. double its wind electricity generation over the past four years, and ending it could cost at least 37,000 jobs this year.

An American Wind Energy Association analysis predicts that New Mexico and Texas could lose up to 5,000 and 20,000 jobs, respectively, if the PTC expires.

4. Romney plan won’t reduce oil and gasoline prices

Romney falsely claims that his energy plan will “lower energy prices.”  Oil prices are set on the global market, regardless of domestic production. Even oil independent nations such as Canada experienced high gasoline prices this year. The Wall Street Journal reiterated that “Producing a lot of oil doesn’t lower the price of gasoline in your country.” To determine whether domestic oil production lowers gasoline prices, the Associated Press analyzed 30 years of production and price data. AP determined that there is:

    “No statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.”

5. Romney and Ryan support continuing mercury contamination from power plants

The Obama administration issued overdue reduction standards for mercury and cancer causing pollution from power plants.  The standard saves thousands of lives of children, seniors and other vulnerable people. Yet Romney promises to undo it on his very first day in office by issuing an executive order that

    “Directs all agencies to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy or job creation.”

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standard will produce “$3 to $9 in health benefits” for every dollar in pollution reduction costs, according to EPA.

In spite of record-breaking temperatures, severe droughts and raging wildfires plaguing the U.S. this year and worsened by manmade climate change, Mitt Romney has put the interests of big donors over science once again. The Romney-Ryan energy plan is simply a handout to their biggest polluter supporters, ignoring the devastating impacts of continuing to rely on a fossil-fuel based economy that does nothing either to address the growing threat of global warming or to increase our competitiveness in the growing clean energy economy.

– Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Noreen Nielsen is CAPAF Energy Communications Director, and Christy Goldfuss is the Public Lands Project Director.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 24, 2012, 08:45 AM
REPORT: Seniors Will Pay $60,000 More For Medicare Under Romney/Ryan Plan

By Igor Volsky on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

The Romney/Ryan proposal to transform Medicare’s guaranteed benefit into a “premium support” structure for future retirees could increase costs by almost $60,000 for seniors reaching the age of 65 in 2023, a new report from the Center for American Progress finds. Current seniors would also have to pay more for preventive, hospital, and physician services should Romney and Ryan repeal the Affordable Care Act, facing an increase in health spending of between $7,900 and $18,600 over the course of their retirement.

Beginning in 2023, Romney’s proposal — which is modeled heavily on Paul Ryan’s FY 2013 budget — would provide all retirees with a premium support subsidy to buy coverage from an exchange of private insurance plans or traditional Medicare. Private insurance plans in each geographical area would bid for how much they would charge to provide Medicare benefits and the premium subsidy would be tied to the premium of the plan with the second-lowest cost, or the premium for traditional Medicare—whichever is lower. If seniors choose a plan that costs more than the voucher, they will have to pay the difference. As a result, most seniors will have to spend more on coverage. Here are 5 reasons why:

1) Current seniors will pay more. The premium support structure does not kick in until 2023, so current seniors will remain in the existing Medicare program. But should Romney/Ryan repeal the Affordable Care Act’s savings, beneficiaries will face higher cost sharing and premiums (particularly for preventive services) and seniors who have received prescription drug discounts, will now pay more for their medications. What’s more, Romney/Ryan would lower Medicaid spending significantly beginning next year, shifting federal spending to states and beneficiaries, and increasing costs for the 9 million Medicare recipients who are dependent on Medicaid.

2) Cost shift to future retirees. The average beneficiary will receive a premium support credit of $7,500 in 2023 to purchase coverage in traditional Medicare or private insurance. But that amount will only grow at a rate of GDP plus 1.5 percentage points and will not keep up with health care costs. So while the federal government will spend less on the program, seniors will pay more in premiums.

3) Private insurers will charge more. Private plans lack the market clout and efficiencies of traditional Medicare, experience higher profits and administrative costs, and will charge more for the same coverage seniors currently enjoy in the traditional program.

4) Private insurers will cherry pick the healthiest beneficiaries. The existing private plans in Medicare — insurers that participate in Medicare Advantage — have long attracted the healthiest, lowest-cost enrollees from the Medicare population. Without robust regulations, private insurers will have an incentive to ramp up benefits that attract healthier seniors (i.e. preventive services), while playing down care that sicker beneficiaries rely on (i.e. chemotherapy or services to manage expensive chronic conditions). If healthier applicants leave the program, premiums for traditional Medicare will increase.

5) Medicare will yield fewer savings. As some seniors opt out of traditional Medicare and enter into private coverage, “Medicare’s market share will fall and neither Medicare nor any single private insurer would have sufficient market share to negotiate provider prices as low as Medicare can achieve.”

Read the full report here or check out this infographic:


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 25, 2012, 06:54 AM
Romney: ‘No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate’

By David Edwards
Friday, August 24, 2012 13:28 EDT

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney came the closest yet on Friday to personally embracing the so-called birther movement’s theory that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

“I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born,” the former Massachusetts governor told a group of supporters in Michigan. “Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital.”

“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” he added. “They know that this the place that we were born and raised.”

Late last year, Romney’s son, Matt, also promoted the theory that the president was not born in the United States.

Stumping for his dad in Concord, New Hampshire, Matt Romney told a group of senior citizens that the multimillionaire candidate might not release his tax returns until Obama releases his birth certificate, a document that was made public long ago.

“He has not said that he will not do it,” the younger Romney said of the tax returns, sounding like the son of a politician. “He has also not said that he will. I think it’s just a matter of time until that issue comes up. So, I don’t know the answer to that. I’m not sure he knows the answer to that.”

“I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things then maybe he’d do it,” he joked.

Matt Romney later told KITV that he was “satisfied” the president was born in Hawaii.

******************

Romney birth certificate joke blasted as ‘racism’ and ‘gutterball politics’

By Muriel Kane
Friday, August 24, 2012 20:22 EDT

Mitt Romney can’t seem to stop telling people in Michigan how much he feels at home there, but perhaps he should have stuck to praising the height of the trees. A comment he made on Friday morning — that in Michigan “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised” — is now drawing fire from all sides.

Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a scathing criticism, telling MSNBC, “This is the kind of gutterball [sic] politics that will and should turn the American people off. This is a pattern. Mitt Romney has questioned repeatedly over the last several months whether the president understands America, whether he understands freedom — he’s wrapped his arms around Donald Trump, one of the originators of the birther movement, so we’ve seen a pattern here.”

Rachel Maddow made a similar observation, pointing out on Twitter, “Today’s remarks follow 5 straight Romney ads about Obama being the president of lazy welfare recipients taking your $. Not subtle.”

However, the harshest words may have come from Andrew Rosenthal at the New York Times editorial page.

“Politicians sometimes think they can get away with saying something profoundly offensive or just plain stupid by acting like it was a joke,” Rosenthal wrote. “It never works, just like it didn’t work today when Mr. Romney shamelessly played the birther card in what seems like an increasingly desperate campaign against President Obama.”

“Today’s crack was way over the line,” he continued. “His audience laughed and applauded, probably not because they thought Mr. Romney was doing hilarious stand-up comedy, but because they knew exactly what he was up to. … It’s racism, pure and simple.”

Later in the day, Romney attempted to do damage control, telling CBS News that his remarks were “not a swipe” at president Obama. “This was fun about us, and coming home,” he insisted. “And humor, you know — we’ve got to have a little humor in a campaign.”

The harm had been done, however, and Romney’s attempted explanation seemed to ring hollow. Even Cher got into the act, tweeting enthusiastically, “lip bitting over! Mitt Romney ‘NO ONES EVER ASKED 2 SEE MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE’ Ya No Why FOOL? U make ‘WONDER BREAD LOOK DARK & MYSTERIOUS.’”

*****************

Romney claims Mormon faith dictates tax return secrecy

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, August 24, 2012 12:16 EDT

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a new reason for keeping his financial details secret from the American people: his Mormon faith.

Speaking to Parade Magazine, Ann Romney said their tithing to the Mormon Church is so meaningful and personal, she cries every time they sign over a check. “So do I,” Mitt added, “but for a different reason.”

“Our church doesn’t publish how much people have given,” he’s quoted saying. “This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one’s financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It’s a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.”

The statement opens a fresh front in the rhetorical war on Romney’s campaign over the candidate’s refusal to detail more than two years of his financial history, and represents yet another significant reversal for Romney, who bragged to Parade Magazine and Fox News just earlier this year that he’s given millions to the church and regularly tithes 10 percent of his pre-tax income.

But even that claim was problematic for Romney, who was dinged by conservatives after the two years of tax returns he released showed he only donated 7 percent to the church in 2010. The same year, Romney gave an additional 7 percent of his income to charitable groups like the Friends of the George W. Bush Library, Harvard Business School and the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.

Every presidential nominee over more than 40 years has released at least 12 years of tax returns — including Romney’s also-Mormon father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney — although it is not required by law.

Because Romney is one of the most wealthy individuals to ever seek the presidency, the Obama campaign has constantly hammered him over the refusal to release his returns. Team Obama even promised last week to drop their attacks on Romney’s tax return secrecy if the former Massachusetts governor releases just three more years of returns, but the Romney campaign turned down their offer.

Update: Watch Romney boast to Fox News about paying tithes

In the January 22, 2012 episode of “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Romney whether he believed his support for the Mormon Church would pose a problem for his outreach to Christians.

“The Bible speaks about providing tithes and offerings,” he replied. “I made a commitment to my church a long, long time ago that I would give 10 percent of my income to the church, and I followed through on that commitment.”

Romney’s comments on tithing begin at 9:53 in the video below.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

******************

Romney snooping on Americans’ private data to sniff out potential donors

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, August 24, 2012 17:19 EDT

In hopes of identifying untapped Republican donors, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has secretly employed a data-mining firm based in Fort Worth, Texas to crunch thousands of minute, many times private details about Americans living in more than 120 million households, The Associated Press revealed on Friday.

The AP noted that Romney’s campaign hasn’t yet reported paying the firm any money, and neither has the Republican National Committee. However, a source within Romney’s campaign told AP reporter Jack Gillum that the candidate has hired Fort Worth-based Buxton Co. to provide what amounts to sales leads for the campaign’s fundraising staff. CEO Tom Buxton confirmed the claim, but the Romney campaign had no comment.

Buxton brags that it has “one of the largest databases of consumer information anywhere,” tracking more than 75,000 different characteristics about each person, including “brand loyalties, lifestyle choices, hobbies, purchasing behavior and media preferences.”

Data collected by Buxton and other private intelligence shops in the data-mining business is often gathered quietly, behind the scenes by companies that buy and sell massive quantities of personal information. That information includes things like credit card purchases, health carde and Internet search histories, churchgoing habits, Facebook posts, music tastes, favorite activities and much, much more, all of which can be combed to reveal startling personal insights — like knowing whether a woman is pregnant before she’s even told anyone, as big box retailer Target did earlier this year in a case that set off alarms about how deep big data actually reaches.

The entrance of Buxton in the presidential race could give Romney an advantage of President Barack Obama’s big data efforts, which so far have focused on the comparatively limited world of social media networks like Facebook to help target and influence voters and drum up donations. It’s also the first major move the Romney campaign has made into the realm of big data, and if Buxton is as successful as they’ve been helping Fortune 500 companies maximize profits, it could help him continue to widen his financial lead on the president.

However, it could also prove alarming to Romney’s core constituency among elderly, white, wealthy conservatives, 83 percent of whom told the Lares Institute last month that they are very concerned about how their private information is being used. Privacy management firm TRUSTe also said in February that 90 percent of adults worry about companies snooping on their private information, warning that too much snooping and customer personalized marketing can undermine trust.
——

*****************

Ryan on abortion exceptions: Rape is just another ‘method of conception’

By David Edwards
Friday, August 24, 2012 13:02 EDT

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says that he personally believes that rape is just another “method of conception” and not an excuse to allow abortions.

During an interview with WJHL this week, Ryan was asked his view about Rep. Todd Akin, who recently asserted that women could not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

“Specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s raped?” WJHL reporter Josh Smith wondered.

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life,” Ryan explained. “But let’s remember, I’m joining the Romney-Ryan ticket. And the president makes policy.”

“And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted that responses like this were probably the reason that Romney is refusing to take any questions about Akin or abortion.

“In this case, when Ryan says ‘the method of conception’ is irrelevant, he’s talking about rape,” Benen wrote. “In other words, the Republicans’ vice presidential nominee clearly believes the government should force women to take their pregnancy to term if they are impregnated by a rapist.”

“Republicans can only distance themselves so much from Todd Akin before we realize they share his views.”



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 27, 2012, 09:56 AM
Romney: Women Should Support Me Because of 'Romneycare'

By David

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says that women should support him because of a health insurance law he passed as the governor of Massachusetts -- even though he has promised to repeal a similar law passed by President Barack Obama.

During an interview that aired on Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Romney why women should vote for him after a fellow Republican, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), suggested that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate rape."

"Look, I am the guy that was able to get health care for all of the women -- and men -- in my state," the former Massachusetts governor explained. "There was talking about it at the federal level. We did something."

"So, you're saying look at Romneycare?" Wallace wondered.

"Absolutely," Romney replied. "I'm very proud of what we did, and the fact that we helped women and men and children in my state."

"And then with regards to contraceptives, of course Republicans and myself in particular recognize that people should have a right to use contraceptives. There is absolutely no validity whatsoever to the Obama effort and try and bring that up. And with regards to the issue of abortion, that is something where men and women have alternative views on that or different views."

Throughout his campaign, Romney has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which fact checking organizations have determined "is identical to the Massachusetts health care plan -- the same thing."

By repealing Obama's health reforms, women could once again face insurance co-pays for contraception, screening for HIV, breastfeeding support, domestic violence counseling and other services.

Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has voted for legislation that would ban some forms of birth control, ban abortion and end funding for Planned Parenthood, according to the Obama campaign.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 28, 2012, 10:13 AM
Romney Camp Bets On Welfare Attack

Their most powerful weapon, a top aide says. “We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” says Newhouse.

By Travis Waldron posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Aug 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has run multiple false advertisements accusing the Obama administration of “gutting” the 1996 welfare reform law through a waiver program that will give states more latitude in applying the law’s work requirements. The ads, debunked by many news outlets, are blatantly false — the waivers do not “gut” the law, and work requirements remain in place. Romney himself supported an even more expansive waiver program while he was governor of Massachusetts.

The Romney campaign, undeterred by the obvious falsehoods, has both continued running the ads and released new ones. On Tuesday, when asked by an NPR reporter why the campaign continues to run the ads, Romney political director Rich Beeson laughed off their brazen lack of truth, stating that “reasonable people can have a disagreement” about whether the oft-debunked ads are false:

    STEVE INSKEEP (NPR): “Doesn’t the change mean that the governors can choose or can apply to change the work requirement as opposed to being forced to remove it?”

    BEESON: “Again, that still is a change.”

    INSKEEP: “But it’s not, quote, ‘they just send you your check,’ which is what the ad says.”

    BEESON: (laughs) “I think reasonable people can have a disagreement over this but he [Obama] has significantly changed what President Clinton put in in 1996.”

The Romney campaign’s apparent disagreement with the notion that facts are true (and still matter) was reinforced later in the day, when campaign pollster Neil Newhouse told BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” Neither, judging by Romney’s repeated struggles with the truth, are they going to let their campaign be dictated by actual facts.
Update

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent highlights Romney’s own words, from earlier this month, citing fact-checkers against an Obama advertisement and lamenting the days of past when false ads were pulled from the air:

    “You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad,” Romney said on the radio. “They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead. You know, the various fact checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they’re wrong, and inaccurate, and yet he just keeps on running them.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Aug 28, 2012, 10:26 AM
The presidency: So, Mitt, what do you really believe? Too much about the Republican candidate for the presidency is far too mysterious

The Econonmist
Aug 25th 2012 | from the print edition

WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it (see article). And that is a pity, because this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious business acumen to the way he worked across the political aisle as governor to get health reform passed and the state budget deficit down. We share many of his views about the excessive growth of regulation and of the state in general in America, and the effect that this has on investment, productivity and growth. After four years of soaring oratory and intermittent reforms, why not bring in a more businesslike figure who might start fixing the problems with America’s finances?

But competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper. The convention offers Mr Romney his best chance to say what he really believes.

There are some areas where Mr Romney has shuffled to the right unnecessarily. In America’s culture wars he has followed the Republican trend of adopting ever more socially conservative positions. He says he will appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court and back the existing federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA). This goes down well with southern evangelicals, less so with independent voters: witness the furore over one (rapidly disowned) Republican’s ludicrous remarks about abortion and “legitimate rape” (see article). But the powers of the federal government are limited in this area; DOMA has not stopped a few states introducing gay marriage and many more recognising gay civil partnerships.

The damage done to a Romney presidency by his courting of the isolationist right in the primaries could prove more substantial. He has threatened to label China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency. Even if it is unclear what would follow from that, risking a trade war with one of America’s largest trading partners when the recovery is so sickly seems especially mindless. Some of his anti-immigration policies won’t help, either. And his attempts to lure American Jews with near-racist talk about Arabs and belligerence against Iran could ill serve the interests of his country (and, for that matter, Israel’s).

Once again, it may be argued that this will not matter: previous presidents pandered to interest groups and embraced realpolitik in office. Besides, this election will be fought on the economy. This is where Manager Romney should be at his strongest. But he has yet to convince: sometimes, again, being needlessly extremist, more often evasive and vague.

In theory, Mr Romney has a detailed 59-point economic plan. In practice, it ignores virtually all the difficult or interesting questions (indeed, “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex). Mr Romney began by saying that he wanted to bring down the deficit; now he stresses lower tax rates. Both are admirable aims, but they could well be contradictory: so which is his primary objective? His running-mate, Paul Ryan, thinks the Republicans can lower tax rates without losing tax revenues, by closing loopholes. Again, a simpler tax system is a good idea, but no politician has yet dared to tackle the main exemptions. Unless Mr Romney specifies which boondoggles to axe, this looks meaningless and risky.

On the spending side, Mr Romney is promising both to slim Leviathan and to boost defence spending dramatically. So what is he going to cut? How is he going to trim the huge entitlement programmes? Which bits of Mr Ryan’s scheme does he agree with? It is a little odd that the number two has a plan and his boss doesn’t. And it is all very well promising to repeal Barack Obama’s health-care plan and the equally gargantuan Dodd-Frank act on financial regulation, but what exactly will Mr Romney replace them with—unless, of course, he thinks Wall Street was well-regulated before Lehman went bust?

Playing dumb is not an option

Mr Romney may calculate that it is best to keep quiet: the faltering economy will drive voters towards him. It is more likely, however, that his evasiveness will erode his main competitive advantage. A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper. Indeed, all this underlines the main doubt: nobody knows who this strange man really is. It is half a decade since he ran something. Why won’t he talk about his business career openly? Why has he been so reluctant to disclose his tax returns? How can a leader change tack so often? Where does he really want to take the world’s most powerful country?

It is not too late for Mr Romney to show America’s voters that he is a man who can lead his party rather than be led by it. But he has a lot of questions to answer in Tampa.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Tamara on Aug 30, 2012, 02:33 PM
Politics: The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
BY TIM DICKINSON
AUGUST 29, 2012 | 7:00AM EDT

From the September 13, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone

Mitt Romney likes to say he won't "apologize" for his success in business. But what he never says is "thank you" – to the American people – for the federal bailout of Bain & Company that made so much of his outsize wealth possible.

According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."

In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.

With his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has made fiscal stewardship the centerpiece of his campaign. A banner at MittRomney.com declared, "We have a moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in." Romney also opposed the federal bailout for Detroit automakers, famously arguing that the industry should be forced into bankruptcy. Government bailouts, he insists, are "the wrong way to go."

But the FDIC documents on the Bain deal – which were heavily redacted by the firm prior to release – show that as a wealthy businessman, Romney was willing to go to extremes to secure a federal bailout to serve his own interests. He had a lot at stake, both financially and politically. Had Bain & Company collapsed, insiders say, it would have dealt a grave setback to Bain Capital, where Romney went on to build a personal fortune valued at as much as $250 million. It would also have short-circuited his political career before it began, tagging Romney as a failed businessman unable to rescue his own firm.

"None of us wanted to see Bain be the laughingstock of the business world," recalls a longtime Romney lieutenant who asked not to be identified. "But Mitt's reputation was on the line."

Mitt Romney's Federal Bailout: The Documents**

The trouble began in 1984, when Bain & Company spun off Bain Capital to engage in leveraged buyouts and put Romney in charge of the new operation. To free up money to invest in the new business, founder Bill Bain and his partners cashed out much of their stock in the consulting firm – leaving it saddled with about $200 million in debt. (Romney, though not a founder, reportedly profited from the deal.) "People will tell you that Bill raped the place clean, was greedy, didn't know when to stop," a former Bain consultant later conceded. "Did they take too much out of the firm? You bet."

The FDIC documents make clear what happened next: "Soon after the founders sold their equity," analysts reported, "business began to drop off." First came scandal: In the late 1980s, a Bain consultant became a key figure in an illegal stock manipulation scheme in London. The firm's reputation took a hit, and it fired 10 percent of its consulting force. By the time the 1989 recession began, Bain & Company found itself going broke fast. Cash flows weren't enough to service the debt imposed by the founders, and the firm could barely make payroll. In a panic, Bill Bain tapped Romney, his longtime protege, to take the reins.

In Romney's own retelling, he casts himself as a selfless and loyal company man. "There was no upside," he told his cheerleading biographer Hugh Hewitt in 2007. "There was no particular reason to do it other than a sense of obligation and duty to an organization that had done great things for me."

In fact, Romney had a direct stake in the survival of Bain & Company: He had been working to build the Bain brand his entire career, and felt he had to save the firm at all costs. After all, Bain sold top-dollar strategic advice to big businesses about how to protect themselves from going bust. If Bain & Company went bankrupt, recalls the Romney deputy, "anyone associated with them would have looked clownish." Indeed, when a banker from Goldman Sachs urged Bain to consider bankruptcy as the obvious solution to the firm's woes, Romney's desperation began to show. He flatly refused to discuss it – and in the ensuing argument, one witness says, Romney almost ended up in a brawl when the Goldman banker advised him to "go fuck yourself." For the sake of Romney's career and fortune, bankruptcy was simply not an option – no matter who got screwed in the process.

According to the government records obtained by Rolling Stone, Bain & Company "defaulted on its debt obligations" at nearly the same time that "W. Mitt Romney . . . stepped in as managing director (and later chief executive) in 1990 and led the financial restructuring intended to get the firm back on track."

Romney moved decisively, and his early efforts appeared promising. He persuaded the founders to return $25 million of the cash they had raided from Bain & Company and forgive $75 million in debt, in return for protection from most future liabilities. Romney then consolidated Bain's massive debts into a single, binding loan agreement with four banks, which received liens on Bain's assets and agreed to delay repayments on the firm's debts for two years. The federal government also signed off on the deal, since the FDIC had recently taken control of a bank that was owed $30.6 million by Bain. Romney assured creditors that the restructuring would enable Bain to "operate normally, compensate its professionals competitively" and, ultimately, pay off its debts.

Almost as soon as the FDIC agreed to the loan restructuring, however, Romney's rescue plan began to fall apart. "The company realized early on that it would be unable to hit its revenue targets or manage the debt structure," the documents reveal. By the spring of 1992, Bain's decline was perilous: "If Bain goes into default," one analyst warned the FDIC, "the bank group will need to decide whether to force Bain into bankruptcy."

With his rescue plan a bust, Romney was forced to slink back to the banks to negotiate a new round of debt relief. There was only one catch: Even though Bain & Company was deep in debt and sinking fast, the firm was actually flush with cash – most of it from the looted money that Bill Bain and other partners had given back. "Liquidity is strong based on the significant cash balance which Bain is carrying," one federal document reads.

Under normal circumstances, such ample reserves would have made liquidating Bain an attractive option: Creditors could simply divvy up the stockpiled cash and be done with the troubled firm. But Bain had inserted a poison pill in its loan agreement with the banks: Instead of being required to use its cash to pay back the firm's creditors, the money could be pocketed by Bain executives in the form of fat bonuses – starting with VPs making $200,000 and up. "The company can deplete its cash balances by making officer-bonus payments," the FDIC lamented, "and still be in compliance with the loan documents."

What's more, the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn't give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain's debts, Romney would raid the firm's coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain's creditors – including the federal government – but the firm's nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.

In March 1992, according to the FDIC documents, Romney approached the banks and played the bonus card. Allow Bain to pay off its debt at a deep discount, he demanded – just 35 cents on the dollar. Otherwise, the "majority" of the firm's "excess cash" would "be available for the bonus pool to its officers at a vice president level and above."

The next month, when the banks balked at the deal, Romney decided to prove he wasn't bluffing. "As the bank group did not accept the proposal from Bain," the records show, "Bain's senior management has decided to go forth with the distribution of bonuses." (Bain's lawyers redacted the amount of the executive payouts, and the Romney campaign refused to comment on whether Romney himself received a bonus.)

Romney's decision to place executive compensation over fiscal responsibility immediately put Bain on the ropes. By that July, FDIC analysts reported, Bain had so little money left that "the company will actually run out of cash and default on the existing debt structure" as early as 1995. If that happened, Bain employees and American consumers would take the hit – an alternative that analysts considered "catastrophic."

But Romney didn't dole out all of Bain's cash as bonuses right away. According to a record from May 1992, he set aside some of the money to put one last squeeze on the firm's creditors. Romney now demanded that the banks and the government agree to a deal that was even less favorable than the last – to retire Bain's debts "at a price up to but not exceeding 30 cents on the dollar."

The FDIC considered finding a buyer to take over its loans to Bain, but analysts concluded that "Bain has no value as a going concern." And the government wasn't likely to get much out of Bain if it allowed the firm to go bankrupt: The loan agreement engineered by Romney had left the FDIC "virtually unsecured" on the $30.6 million it was owed by Bain. "Once bonuses are paid," the analysts warned, "all members of the bank group believe this company will dissolve during 1993."

About the only assets left would be Bain's office equipment. The records show FDIC analysts pathetically attempting to assess the value of such items, including an HP LaserJet printer, before concluding that most of the gear was so old that the government's "portion of any liquidation proceeds would be negligible."

How had Romney scored such a favorable deal at the FDIC's expense? It didn't hurt that he had close ties to the agency – the kind of "crony capitalism" he now decries. A month before he closed the 1991 loan agreement, Romney promoted a former FDIC bank examiner to become a senior executive at Bain. He also had pull at the top: FDIC chairman Bill Seidman, who had served as finance chair for Romney's father when he ran for president in 1968.

The federal documents also reveal that, contrary to Romney's claim that he returned full time to Bain Capital in 1992, he remained involved in bailout negotiations to the very end. In a letter dated March 23rd, 1993, Romney reassured creditors that his latest scheme would return Bain & Company to "long-term financial stability." That same month, Romney once again threatened to "pay out maximum bonus distributions" to top executives unless much of Bain's debt was erased.

In the end, the government surrendered. At the time, The Boston Globe cited bankers dismissing the bailout as "relatively routine" – but the federal documents reveal it was anything but. The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain's debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney's firm owed the government.

It was a raw deal – but Romney's threat to loot his own firm had left the government with no other choice. If the FDIC had pushed Bain into bankruptcy, the records reveal, the agency would have recouped just $3.56 million from the firm.

The Romney campaign refused to respond to questions for this article; a spokeswoman said only that "Mitt Romney turned around Bain & Company by getting all parties to come to the table and make difficult decisions." But while taxpayers did not finance the bailout, the debt forgiven by the government was booked as a loss to the FDIC – and then recouped through higher insurance premiums from banks. And banks, of course, are notorious for finding ways to pass their costs along to customers, usually in the form of higher fees. Thanks to the nature of the market, in other words, the bailout negotiated by Romney ultimately wound up being paid by the American people.

Even as consumers took a loss, however, a small group of investors wound up getting a good deal in the bailout. Bain Capital – the very firm that had triggered the crisis in the first place – walked away with $4 million. That was the fee it charged Bain & Company for loaning the consulting firm the services of its chief executive – one Willard Mitt Romney.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 01, 2012, 11:51 AM

September 01, 2012 09:00 AM

The Post-Truth Campaign: Mitt Romney Tells 530 Lies in 30 Weeks

By Blue Texan


Steve Benen has truly done yeoman's work this campaign season in documenting the astonishing onslaught of Romney's lies, and Fred Clark helpfully compiled them.

    Click those links. Read the lists. List after list of lie after lie. Hundreds of them — 533, to be exact, although Benen does not make any claim to providing a comprehensive chronicle.

    This is unprecedented. “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Romney’s pollster, Neil Newhouse, said.

While the sheer number of Romney's lies are indeed unprecedented for a presidential campaign, his fact-free campaigning is simply the logical continuation of a trend that started in the George W. Bush administration, when Republicans literally walled themselves from reality.

    The [Bush] aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

So this has been going on for a while. Right-wingers just don't have to confront facts they don't like any longer. They no longer have to watch to Edward R. Murrow dress down Joe McCarthy for his un-American demagoguery. They don't have to listen Walter Cronkite telling them the Vietnam War is lost. Those days are over -- they can simply switch the channel.

Now, they are tightly cocooned in the cozy world of FOX News, right-wing radio, conservative newspapers and wingnut blogs where high taxes and burdensome regulations are crushing the American dream, inflation is running rampant, businesses are suffering, global warming is a joke, homosexuality is a choice, illegal immigration is at all-time high, our scary Muslim enemies are on the march -- and if only Republicans could take power over the entire federal government again, those problems would all magically disappear.

Because of this highly-profitable right-wing media infrastructure so willing to deceive its consumers, and because conservative dogma has replaced fact-based analysis on the right, Republican candidates don't have an incentive to tell the truth. Quite the opposite.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 02, 2012, 09:00 AM
From the American magazine Perspectives
Sept 1 2012

How We Built Bain Capital

Among the things absent thus far from the 2012 Republican National Convention has been any mention of Bain Capital and any fidelity to the truth. After just the first day, the GOP's twin frauds about welfare and "we built that" were once again demolished, prompting Team Romney to protest that "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Adding to the embarrassment was a prime-time presentation on how to build your small business by selling to the government.

As it turns out, the silence about Mitt Romney's old company and the Republican sham that "you didn't build it" are related. Because when it comes to Bain Capital, in a very real sense you did build it. After all, your United States tax code doesn't merely allow the "carried interest exemption" that enables the likes of Mitt Romney to pay a lower rate than many middle class families. Without the public subsidy that is the corporate debt interest deduction, there might not be a Bain Capital--or a private equity industry as we know it--at all.

As the history shows, on his road to becoming a $250 million captain of private equity at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney had a lot of help from his uncle. Uncle Sam, that is. Writing in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi explained how:

    Essentially, Romney got rich in a business that couldn't exist without a perverse tax break, and he got to keep double his earnings because of another loophole - a pair of bureaucratic accidents that have not only teamed up to threaten us with a Mitt Romney presidency but that make future Romneys far more likely. "Those two tax rules distort the economics of private equity investments, making them much more lucrative than they should be," says Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel at the Center for Tax Justice. "So we get more of that activity than the market would support on its own."

Then-Bain Capital CEO Mitt Romney concluded as much when he acknowledged, "There's a lot greater risk in a startup than there is in acquiring an existing company." So he fatefully redirected his firm from venture investments in new companies like Staples and instead became a leveraged buyout king. To understand both why he did that and how all American taxpayers helped make it possible, a little background is in order.

Private equity owes its success in no small part to that uniquely American provision of the corporate tax code. The New York Times recently helped explain why:

    Companies can finance investment from either debt or equity. Companies can finance investment from either debt or equity. But profit on an investment financed with equity -- stock issued by the company -- is taxed. In contrast, if the project is financed with debt, then only the profit after interest payments are made is taxed. This means debt-financed investments are cheaper than equity.

And not just a little cheaper. As the Treasury Department recently explained, "The effective corporate marginal tax rate on new equity-financed investment in equipment is 37 percent in the United States. At the same time, the effective marginal tax rate on the same investment made with debt financing is minus 60 percent--a gap of 97 percentage points." The result:

    This creates a bias by corporations toward debt.

Or, for the likes of Mitt Romney, a business model.

For the leveraged buyout (LBO) kings of the 1970's and 1980's, that was the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow. Because the same interest deduction applied whether debt was taken on for a new factory or just to pay investors, Josh Kosman detailed in The Buyout of America, the early corporate raiders and their private equity successors could almost mint money as they bought firms for a fraction of the overall deal size:

    Kohlberg saw a way to make debt far less onerous for the company being acquired. He would have the company treat its debt the way businesses handle capital expenditures--as operating expenses deduced from profits through the depreciation tax schedules, thereby greatly reducing taxes. With far less to pay the government, his companies could use the money that formerly went to Uncle Sam to retire these huge loans at an unusually fast rate. Bear's equity would rise with every dollar the companies paid back in debt, even if the value of the businesses only remained the same. The final step in the plan was to sell these companies, usually within four to six years.

In January, The Economist explained how the perverse incentives work:

    From 2004 to 2011 private-equity firms piled more debt onto their companies so they could take out $188 billion in dividends to pay themselves. The deals got bigger and bigger. The largest ever, in 2007, was the $44 billion purchase of TXU, an electricity company. The market worries the company will go under.

    But though the private-equity people may have walked off with the loot, America's tax code was partly to blame, because it encourages this behaviour. The tax deductibility of interest payments on debt gives private-equity executives an incentive to pile extra debt onto the companies they buy, thereby risking the health of these firms for the sake of a tax benefit and the prospect of higher returns.

"In the majority of these deals," Lynn Turner, former chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission explained, "the tax deduction has a big enough impact on the bottom line that the takeover wouldn't work without it." And that interest," Turner said, "just sucks the profit out of the company." As Taibbi rightly noted, "You almost have to start firing people immediately just to get your costs down to a manageable level."

"Traditionally," Kosman noted in 2009, "cash-rich public companies have paid dividends to lure and reward investors." But private equity firms, he explained, stand this process on its head. "Fourteen of the largest American private equity firms had more than 40 percent of the North American companies they bought from 2002 until September 2006 pay them dividends," Kosman pointed out, adding, "In thirty-two of the eighty-three case, 38 percent, they took money out in the first year." And the innovator behind the business model?

    Mitt Romney was a pioneer of this strategy. His private equity firm, Bain Capital, was the first large PE firm to make a serious portion of its money not from selling its companies or listing them on the stock exchange, but rather by collecting distributions and dividends, which in this context is the exact opposite of reinvesting in a company. Bain Capital is notorious for failing to plow profits back into its businesses.

So much for candidate Mitt Romney's 2007 claim, "Don't forget that when companies earn profit, that money is supposed to be reinvested in growth."

During his tenure as CEO from 1984 to 1999, Bain invested in 40 companies in the U.S. While seven later went bankrupt, in June the New York Times reported that "In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money." That mirrors a January 2012 analysis by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed:

    Bain produced stellar returns for its investors--yet the bulk of these came from just a small number of its investments. Ten deals produced more than 70% of the dollar gains.

    Some of those companies, too, later ran into trouble. Of the 10 businesses on which Bain investors scored their biggest gains, four later landed in bankruptcy court.

Put another way, Mitt Romney's investing was almost risk-free. He won when his portfolio companies won and often when they lost. Thanks in large part to the dangerous incentives unleashed by the U.S. tax code.

That's why Romney's former Bain colleague Marc Wolpow fretted, "I believed he was making a mistake by framing himself as a job creator." In reality, he insisted, "That was not his or Bain's or the industry's primary objective. The objective of the LBO business is maximizing returns for investors."

And it's also why other countries like Denmark, the UK and Germany either don't offer--or are trying to limit--the "public subsidy" that William D. Cohan deemed "the mother's milk of a leveraged buyout". As Felix Salmon noted, the United States could lower the rate at which debt interest can deducted or cap the amount of debt to which it applies. (The Obama administration is considering those kinds of changes in its recently proposed "Framework for Business Tax Reform.") In its January 30, 2012 editorial, the Financial Times lamented:

    "The system could be made fairer and more efficient by taxing debt and equity at the same rate...Most of [Romney's] money was made at Bain Capital, which, like all private equity groups, benefits from a federal debt subsidy. It should be eliminated."

Reflecting on his private equity career, Romney in 2007 sounded almost remorseful that the pain from Bain fell mainly on the plain:

    "It is one thing that if I had a chance to go back I would be more sensitive to," Mr. Romney said. "It is always a balance. Great care has got to be taken not to take a dividend or a distribution from a company that puts that company at risk." He added that taking a big payment from a company that later failed "would make me sick, sick at heart."

Not so sick at heart, though, to make President Romney change the two key elements of the federal tax code that keep the American private equity gravy train running at full speed. The first is the tax deductibility of corporate debt. The second is the notorious "carried interest exemption" that allows him and fellow fund managers to pay only the 15 percent capital gains rate- and not the 35 percent rate on income- to Uncle Sam. It is that rule that allowed Mitt to pay a lower effective tax rate on his $45 million (much of it still from Bain Capital) over the past two years, a rate below that of many middle class families.

As Alec McGillis noted in the New Republic, even the likes of Stephen Moore and Pete Peterson have grudgingly come to the conclusion that it's time for the carried interest exemption, "which allows fund managers to have their compensation for investing other people's money taxed as capital gains, not earned income," to go. But what makes Congress' largesse to Mitt Romney's ilk so glaring is the historically low capital gains tax rate he and his gilded colleagues now pay.

It's worth noting Bain Capital has come under increasing scrutiny for getting carried away with carried interest. The practice isn't just immoral; in Bain's case, its use of "fee conversion" to evade taxes may also have been illegal:

    Private equity funds are usually paid like this: They get a 2 percent management fee, which is taxed as ordinary income at a 35 percent rate, and a 20 percent share at the profits, called carried interest, that's taxed at as capital gains at a 15 percent rate, as University of Colorado law professor Victor Fleischer explains. But since those 2 percent fees can still be a lot of money, funds convert this into carried interest, too, by waiving the management fee in exchange for the chance to skim off the top of future profits. Fleischer writes, "Unlike carried interest, which is unseemly but perfectly legal, Bain's management fee conversions are not legal. If challenged in court, Bain would lose." The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore, Floyd Norris, and Julie Creswell report that the funds converted $1.05 billion in fees that would have been taxed at the higher rate. That saved $200 million in income taxes and $20 million in Medicare taxes.

Leaving that question aside, there's little doubt, as a Washington Post analysis detailed last year, that "capital gains tax rates benefiting wealthy feed [the] growing gap between rich and poor." As the Post explained, for the very richest Americans the successive capital gains tax cuts from Presidents Clinton (from 28 to 20 percent) and Bush (from 20 to 15 percent) have been "better than any Christmas gift":

    While it's true that many middle-class Americans own stocks or bonds, they tend to stash them in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, where the capital gains rate does not apply. By contrast, the richest Americans reap huge benefits. Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.

The tax rate on capital gains and dividend income used to be much higher. In the late 1970's, it reach 40 percent. Even as late as 1986 the IRS treated the top taxpayers' investment and earned income the same way. (It is worth noting that lower capital gains tax rates raise income inequality, not investment.) This convenient chart tells the tale:

All of which has--and continues--to work to the great advantage of the one Willard Mitt Romney. To be sure, other codicils of the United States tax code, like overseas tax havens and vagaries of the gift tax have allowed Romney to, among other things, generate a $100 million IRA for his sons, tax-free. (Getting state tax breaks or having the U.S. bail out the pension funds of firms he acquired didn't hurt, either.) To be sure, Mitt Romney is very smart, very hard working and, to use his words, "extraordinarily successful." But without the policy choices of our elected United States government, Mitt Romney would not have gotten nearly as rich as he did at Bain Capital. As Matt Taibbi put it, "the way Romney most directly owes his success to the government is through the structure of the tax code."

    In other words, the government actually incentivizes the kind of leverage-based takeovers that Romney built his fortune on. Romney the businessman built his career on two things that Romney the candidate decries: massive debt and dumb federal giveaways. "I don't know what Romney would be doing but for debt and its tax-advantaged position in the tax code," says a prominent Wall Street lawyer, "but he wouldn't be fabulously wealthy."

Not without us, that is. After all, we built Bain Capital.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 02, 2012, 09:09 AM

September 02, 2012 08:00 AM

Mitt Romney's Federal Bailout; Bain Investigated for Tax Evasion

By Diane Sweet

Mitt Romney may not "apologize" for his success in business, but more importantly, you'll also likely never hear him say "thanks" to the American people for the Federal bailout of Bain Capital.

Via:

    The trouble began in 1984, when Bain & Company spun off Bain Capital to engage in leveraged buyouts and put Romney in charge of the new operation. To free up money to invest in the new business, founder Bill Bain and his partners cashed out much of their stock in the consulting firm – leaving it saddled with about $200 million in debt. (Romney, though not a founder, reportedly profited from the deal.) "People will tell you that Bill raped the place clean, was greedy, didn't know when to stop," a former Bain consultant later conceded. "Did they take too much out of the firm? You bet."

    The FDIC documents make clear what happened next: "Soon after the founders sold their equity," analysts reported, "business began to drop off." First came scandal: In the late 1980s, a Bain consultant became a key figure in an illegal stock manipulation scheme in London. The firm's reputation took a hit, and it fired 10 percent of its consulting force. By the time the 1989 recession began, Bain & Company found itself going broke fast. Cash flows weren't enough to service the debt imposed by the founders, and the firm could barely make payroll. In a panic, Bill Bain tapped Romney, his longtime protégé, to take the reins.
    ...

    In fact, Romney had a direct stake in the survival of Bain & Company: He had been working to build the Bain brand his entire career, and felt he had to save the firm at all costs. After all, Bain sold top-dollar strategic advice to big businesses about how to protect themselves from going bust. If Bain & Company went bankrupt, recalls the Romney deputy, "anyone associated with them would have looked clownish." Indeed, when a banker from Goldman Sachs urged Bain to consider bankruptcy as the obvious solution to the firm's woes, Romney's desperation began to show. He flatly refused to discuss it – and in the ensuing argument, one witness says, Romney almost ended up in a brawl when the Goldman banker advised him to "go f*ck yourself." For the sake of Romney's career and fortune, bankruptcy was simply not an option – no matter who got screwed in the process.

It's no wonder Romney wouldn't want to discuss the details of the bailout during a campaign for office. And then when it came to "negotiating" repayment of the bailout, Romney threatened use of a loophole:

    In a letter dated March 23rd, 1993, Romney reassured creditors that his latest scheme would return Bain & Company to "long-term financial stability." That same month, Romney once again threatened to "pay out maximum bonus distributions" to top executives unless much of Bain's debt was erased.

    In the end, the government surrendered. At the time, The Boston Globe cited bankers dismissing the bailout as "relatively routine" – but the federal documents reveal it was anything but. The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain's debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney's firm owed the government.

Sounds more like blackmail than a negotiation, doesn't it?

As if this bailout doesn't sound crooked enough, Bain is now under investigation for tax evasion. Via Think Progress:

    Since July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been issuing subpoenas to private equity firms including Bain, which he believes intentionally changed management fees into capital gains as a way of hanging onto millions of dollars that would have otherwise been taxed at a higher rate. Bain alone is estimated to have saved “more than $200 million in federal income taxes and more than $20 million in Medicare taxes.” It is unclear whether the tax strategy was used while Romney was at the helm of the company, but the Times reports that Romney is still making money on funds that are using the method in question.

While an attorney for Romney insists that he “can confirm that neither he nor the trust has ever done this, whether before or after he(Romney) retired from Bain Capital," it would certainly be nice, for the sake of transparency, if Romney would release his tax returns.

****************

September 02, 2012 07:00 AM

Taibbi: Mitt Romney Was The Guy Who Fired You From Your Job

By Susie Madrak

Once upon a time, when I was a department head at a large company, one of my employees was badgering me about why we were going to lose our jobs after we merged with another company. "We make money for them, if you just tell them, they'll keep us on," she said.

I said that the whole point of the merger was to make money for the stockholders, not to reward us for doing a good job. She told me how unfair that was. Finally I said, "I hear you on the phone every week, moving the money around in your 401K because you expect to make 13 percent interest. Don't you get it? It's people like you who cost us our jobs. Everyone in the stock market who expects to make a killing, instead of a reasonable return. Every time you move your money, you make it more likely someone else is going to lose their job."

She simply didn't believe me. I thought of her when I read this from Matt Taibbi:

    Are you kidding? Mitt Romney was the guy that fired you from that $22.50 an hour job, and helped you replace it with two $9 an hour jobs! He was a pioneer in the area of eliminating the well-paying job with benefits and replacing it with the McJob that offered no benefits at all. One of the things that killed him in the Senate race against Ted Kennedy were Kennedy ads that reminded voters that Mitt’s takeovers resulted in slashed wages and lost benefits. He was exactly the guy that eliminated that classic $22.50 manufacturing job, like in the case of GST Steel, where Bain took over with an initial investment of $8 million, paid itself a $36 million dividend, ended up walking away with $50 million, and left GST saddled with over $500 million in debt. 750 of those well-paying jobs were lost.

    What kinds of jobs were left for those fired workers to look for? Well, in the best-case scenario, you might have found one at Ampad, another Bain takeover target, where workers had their pay slashed from $10.22 to $7.88 an hour, tripled co-pays, and eliminated the retirement plan.

    So a guy who eliminated hundreds of $22 an hour jobs and slashed hundreds more jobs to below $9 an hour blasts Barack Obama for not giving you the better life you deserved, after you lost your $22/hour job and had to take two $9/hour jobs. Are we all high or something? Did that really just happen?



Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 13, 2012, 06:09 AM

September 12, 2012 03:00 PM

Russia's Putin Thanks Mitt Romney For Calling Them Greatest Foe

By John Amato

Oh boy, Mitt Romney stuck his foot in his mouth big time. You can see what a novice he is when it comes to foreign affairs.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Mitt Romney’s characterization of Moscow as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe” has actually helped Russia.

    The Russian leader said Romney’s comments strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, a system Russia believes will degrade its nuclear deterrent. The U.S. insists the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

    “I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

    “The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective,” he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.

You can see why John McCain's staff was right about Mittens.

    Romney knew little about foreign policy when he ran for president in 2008. An internal dossier of John McCain’s presidential campaign said at the time that “Romney’s foreign affairs resume is extremely thin, leading to credibility problems.”

If you recall, the GOP presidential primary field was chock full o' nuts.

    Rick Perry labeled the Turkish government “Islamic terrorists.” Newt Gingrich referred to Palestinians as “invented” people. Herman Cain called Uzbekistan “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” and memorably blanked when asked what he thought of NATO’s incursion into Libya. Michele Bachmann pledged to close the US embassy in Iran, which hasn’t existed since 1980. Rick Santorum gave a major foreign policy speech at a Jelly Belly factory in California.

I never had so much fun on Twitter as I had during the Republican debates.

And because Romney is so green on foreign policy, he has surrounded himself with Bush-era neocons. John Bolton leads his team, but there are many more Bushies littering his crew.

    Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran. Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says, “Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected.” On some key issues, like Iran, Romney and his team are to the right of Bush. Romney’s embrace of the neoconservative cause—even if done cynically to woo the right—could turn into a policy nightmare if he becomes president.
    --
    Romney’s team is notable for including Bush aides tarnished by the Iraq fiasco: Robert Joseph, the National Security Council official who inserted the infamous “sixteen words” in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union message claiming that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from Niger; Dan Senor, former spokesman for the hapless Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer in Iraq; and Eric Edelman, a top official at the Pentagon under Bush. “I can’t name a single Romney foreign policy adviser who believes the Iraq War was a mistake,” says Cato’s Preble. “Two-thirds of the American people do believe the Iraq War was a mistake. So he has willingly chosen to align himself with that one-third of the population right out of the gate.”

The Nation has much more on these remnants of the cold war still grasping at windmills.

Pretty soon Iran's Supreme Leader will thank Romney for revving up his followers at the U.N.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 13, 2012, 06:12 AM

September 12, 2012 02:00 PM

Romney's Debacle: Smirking Attacks Make Unfitness Clear

By David Neiwert

Well, as Josh Marshall says, "this is when you learn they're not ready." Or at least when your suspicions become manifest.

The roof has caved in on Mitt Romney, beyond even Chuck Todd and Peggy Noonan's criticism of his mishandling of his response to the murders of American diplomats in Libya and Cairo. Now it seems that everyone involved in the diplomacy business are pronouncing him unfit:

    "They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster" and a "Lehman moment" — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.

    He and other members of both parties cited the Romney campaign's recent dismissals of foreign policy's relevance. One adviser dismissed the subject to BuzzFeed as a "shiny object," while another told Politico that the subject was the "president's turf," drawing a rebuke from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

    "I guess we see now that it is because they’re incompetent at talking effectively about foreign policy," said the Republican. "This is just unbelievable — when they decide to play on it they completely bungle it."

And that's just the Republicans.

So he went before the press this morning and basically doubled down -- smirking, as he had the night before, all the way through. If those performances didn't convince anyone that this is not the man you want handling a difficult national crisis, nothing will.

As Greg Sargent observed about Romney's "opportunistic, incoherent" response:

    But this press conference looks to me like a serious mistake on Romney’s part. The whole thing reeked of political opportunism and didn’t convey any sense of leadership or reassurance amid a crisis. It was also somewhat incoherent. At one point, Romney defended his reaction by noting that the White House, too, had also condemned the U.S embassy’s statement, claiming: “I had the exact same reaction.” Okay, so Romney is criticizing the Obama administration while simultaneously agreeing with it?


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 13, 2012, 06:13 AM

September 12, 2012 01:00 PM

Mitt Romney, 9-11 Profiteer?

By karoli


    Endurance Specialty Holdings was one of many insurance and reinsurance startups that cropped up in the wake of 9/11. These companies were designed to purchase debt from insurance companies who faced billions of dollars in claims after the attacks and sold insurance at high prices generated by the soaring rates that resulted from the cash crunch on traditional insurance companies. Mr. Romney was invested in Endurance Specialty Holdings both through Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm founded by a former Bain Capital executive in 2000 and through his direct interest in another investment firm, CCG Investment Fund, LP.

    In documents filed with the SEC ahead of a proposed IPO in late 2002, Endurance Specialty Holdings, which began operations in December 2001, a little over three months after the World Trade Center attacks, boasted about how they were taking advantage of economic opportunities created in the wake of September 11th.

But, but, but...Willard wasn't involved with Bain after 1999, was he? And didn't he have his money in a blind trust controlled by his close personal friend and lawyer? Yeah, that's not a blind trust, and Mitt knew exactly where his money was, because he was one of the original investors.

Endurance made a ton of money on those September 11th attacks, and so did Mitt Romney. But did he pay any taxes on the profit? Doubtful.

    In addition to Endurance’s history of profiting from the September 11th attacks, Mr. Romney’s investment in the company is also interesting because the company was domiciled in Bermuda, though none of its initial investors hailed from the island nation and ten of them came from the United States. In SEC filings, Endurance noted this arrangement ensured it was not “subject to taxes computed on profits or income or computed on any capital asset, gain or appreciation, or any tax in the nature of estate duty or inheritance tax or to any foreign exchange controls.” Throughout this election, the Obama campaign has accused Mr. Romney of using similar offshore investment schemes to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

What a patriot. This is the man who wants to be president, profiteering from a national tragedy and doing so without even paying a dime of taxes on it. Some might call him enterprising. I call it greedy.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 13, 2012, 07:12 AM
September 12, 2012 5:21 PM

Character Defects

By Ed Kilgore

The following is a long paragraph penned by Steve Erickson for TAP that is so succinct and powerful an indictment of Mitt Romney’s “character problem” that I will simply repost it without comment:

    Romney’s current troubles don’t stem from miscalculation or even a duff convention in Tampa but are manifestations of his own political character as heard and witnessed over the past half-decade. This is a man who has altered his positions—not modified, not tailored, not hedged, but utterly transformed—on every single issue from abortion to climate change to the health-care reform that he signed as governor in Massachusetts. Now he runs a campaign that doesn’t want to talk about his record as governor or as a financier and that refuses to put forth an economic alternative of any detail beyond building the Alaska pipeline and lowering taxes for people like himself, even as at the same time he won’t show us what he pays in taxes now or whether he pays taxes at all. His adamant hostility to revealing anything that resembles an authentic belief or credible strategy for accelerating the recovery is not only losing Romney the choice part of the election but the referendum part as well, as the Democrats succeed in making this a referendum on Romney, not Obama. Romney’s selection of Ryan was meant both to reassure the party’s base and bathe the presidential candidate in the glow of the vice-presidential candidate’s reputation as a man of integrity and candor. As evinced by the ticket’s appearances on this past Sunday morning’s news programs and Ryan’s speech at the Republican Convention, when he blamed Obama for a plant that closed during his predecessor’s term and for a Medicare cut that Ryan himself supports and for not embracing a debt-commission report that Ryan himself opposed and for the country’s credit downgrading that Ryan himself brought about as much as any single individual, it is truth-teller Ryan who bathes in the glow of Romney’s irrefutable standing as the phoniest nominee of our lifetime.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Sep 13, 2012, 07:26 AM
Wow, that is pretty darn succinct and says it all.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 13, 2012, 10:46 AM
Romney’s Economic Plan–Shhh It’s Not Really His

12/09/2012
By harvey_gold

The reason Mitt Romney’s 5-Point Plan sounds familiar is because it’s not really his; the GOP Economic Plan hasn’t changed in 30 years, regardless of the economic conditions. Throughout the Republican “preliminaries” I kept getting the feeling that I had heard most of what the candidates were saying before. Turns out I’ve heard Mr. Romney’s plan lots of times. Actually, it’s the same exact plan that Republican candidates have repeated for decades, but never actually implemented. How about looking at just this century?

Conservatives frequently say that their ideas are the only ones that will work. For the past eleven months, however, I’ve been observing the Republicans more closely than in the past simply because the economic crash at the end of George W. Bush’s second term did not catch me by surprise. I knew it was coming. [The way we govern it had to. Throw in the normal economic cycles and you'll always have ups and downs, but our economy is driven by politics rather than economic principle. Emotions rather than logic. Perception rather than reality. Amateurs rather than experts. Half of the population doesn't even understand a basic economic tenet; The Fallacy of Composition. That fallacy drives assumptions made daily by millions of Americans that think that accounting, budgeting, economic, etc. work the same way as accounting for individuals or businesses. Actual Businessmen know that this is not true. The ones that tell you that it can are telling you that in order to take something that you have that they need; be it cash, property or votes. Con men know it's not true as well. And politicians that tell you this are either laughing at you for believing them, or ignorant enough to believe it themselves. I'll let you judge of which is worse. ]

In fact, had the crash held off another few months, President Obama would probably be preparing to retire because the Republican propaganda machine is nothing short of phenomenal. America re-elected President Bush despite 9/11 happening on his watch, Katrina’s botched rescue, starting a war, A TEN-YEAR WAR based on non-existent Iraqi WMDs, and stating that he wasn’t worried about Osama bin Laden,(I guess “bait & switch” is only illegal in advertising, not sending our armies to war).

Then, after Mr. Romney wrapped up the GOP nomination he rolled out his own unique vision. A “Five-Point Plan to create twelve million jobs!!! Wow. Sounded great. So I listened. I read the plan. And there it was again, this nagging feeling that I had heard all of this before. So I fired up the Google machine to find out exactly what the details were for this stunning business plan. Specifically, here are the five points that Mr. Romney-the-Business-Expert, the “Best possible man to have in charge of a situation as unique in our lifetime as this”, has laid out to save America’s economy during his August 30th, 2012 RNC Acceptance speech:

The details of Mr. Romney’s plan are :

…by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables .
When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance so he[Romney] will give our citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow.
He[Romney] will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.
He[Romney] will assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.
He[Romney] will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Wait. So Mr. Romney’s super-fantastic, five-point plan to create twelve million jobs , which is laser-focused to THIS UNIQUE set of conditions by Mr. Business-Profit-Man and is fixated on 1)domestic energy production,2) school choice, 3)more trade agreements, 4)cutting government spending, and 5)reducing taxes and business regulations.

This is Mr. Romney’s plan to solve our long-term mass unemployment , restore our economy to greatness, and is specifically suited to the economic conditions as they exist today, right?

The Familiar Ring Becomes Clear–A History Lesson in Romney/GOP Economic Plans

Candidate McCain

On September 4th, 2008. John McCain had stunned the U.S. by choosing Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate. Senator McCain gave his acceptance speech for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, during at which time unemployment was 6.1 percent, and George W. Bush’s second term was coming to a close. Two weeks later, Lehman Brothers Investments collapsed, the real estate market collapsed in severity not seen since the Great Depression. During a campaign stop in Jacksonville, FL, despite the collapse of Lehman Brothers, McCain made the remarkable statement that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” So what exactly were Mr. McCain’s proposals for the economy in his nomination speech two weeks earlier, and why did he not see the need to change them? Well, it’s not the “GOP way.”

Mr. McCain’s acceptance speech for your comparison convenience to the above, I’ve changed the order, but not the content of HIS five point plan:

“These are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that’s just what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future”…

We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much…We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas…this great national cause will create millions of new jobs
Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school…When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one… But they will have that choice and their children will have that opportunity.
We believe in low taxes, spending discipline and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers… I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them…
We all know that keeping taxes low helps small businesses grow and create new jobs… I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them…. I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them.
My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.
Some of the wording may be a little different, but the two candidates are expressing remarkably similar ideas under radically different circumstances. The “5-Point Plan” that comprises the 2012 Romney agenda for job creation (promising 12 million jobs) is exactly the same prescription that John McCain wanted to do anyway but in 2008, and a couple of weeks after an economic collapse the likes of which this country has not seen since the Great Depression.

Well, I have to say, that’s a little strange . But there’s more.

Candidate Bush

On September 2nd, 2004, George W. Bush is at the RNC, giving his speech accepting the nomination to run for a second term as President of the United States. Unemployment is 5.4 percent. A housing bubble is taking place, and the country is debating the motives and cost of the invasions of first Afghanistan, which seemed at least logical, but later Iraq under the auspices of some undefined length and mission of the War on Terror. A few months later, people will be talking about a permanent Republican majority in Congress. But what are some priorities for a second George W. Bush terms of economics? Americans’ paychecks have been stagnant and 9/11 didn’t help with consumer confidence.

You remember George W. Bush, right? George W. Bush that took the keys to the white house from Bill Clinton with the budget experiencing the first surplus in a generation? Mr. Bush accepted the nomination for his second term in 2004 with unemployment at 5.4 percent, but a housing bubble was occurring and some were were very skeptical about the reason s for invasion of Iraq that deposed Saddam Hussein, but no WMDs were found, as well as the intention to stay in Iraq now that Saddam was gone. To make things even stranger, there was less and less talk coming out of the Bush Administration about Osama Bin Laden and why were were still in Afghanistan as well. Billions of dollars per week were being spent of two wars that the American public clearly did not understand any clear and simple reasons for either. And what about paying for these two wars? How were we paying for that?

Again, the salient points:

At Mr. Bush’s RNC acceptance speech:

To create more jobs in America, America must be the best place in the world to do business.

To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
On education … Too many American children are segregated into schools without standards, shuffled from grade-to-grade because of their age, regardless of their knowledge. When a school district receives federal funds to teach poor children, we expect them to learn…And if they don’t, parents should get the money to make a different choice.
The last time taxes were this high as a percentage of our economy, there was a good reason … We were fighting World War II. Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend…The surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money…I will use this moment of opportunity to bring common sense and fairness to the tax code…no one in America should have to pay more than a third of their income to the federal government…So we will reduce tax rates for everyone, in every bracket…reform the tax code and share some of the surplus with the people who pay the bills[and reduce regulations that keep business from flourishing].
To create jobs, my plan will encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making the tax relief permanent…create jobs, we will expand trade and level the playing field to sell American goods and services across the globe.
What, no health plan? Mr. Bush will later get to privatizing healthcare with tax breaks and purchase your own “basic health insurance” plan.
Well, again, it’s the same agenda. Apparently, there is ALWAYS time for less government spending, more oil drilling, open markets and free trade, and lower taxes and regulations to fix the economy.

All those even numbers. All those different circumstances. All those same plans melding into the same old failures that Democrats sit back and take the blame for.

Still, that the plan doesn’t seem to change. There has to be some common thread between all these situations that I’m just not seeing.

President Bush

Here’s George W. Bush in 2007 giving his State of the Union address. Unemployment is 4.6 percent and the economy seems to be alright. So, Mr. Bush must have a different plan for his last two years in office right? Mr. Bush was convinced the economy was amped up and purring like kitten.

Alright then. Now we’re talking. What is the Republican plan to keep this momentum going and propel us into a stable and safe economy?

January 23, 2007:

“Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move — and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government but with more enterprise.”

For too long our Nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists — who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments… raise the price of oil.
… without taking control from local communities … and without backsliding and calling it reform. We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools
…we must balance the federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes. What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C.[and eliminate pesky regulations].
Mr. Bush saw fit to call an audible in 2007. Instead of trade policy, wars stood proudly as it’s placeholder.
For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance… this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making healthcare affordable for more Americans.
Well, there you have it. This is NOT coincidence. This is THE GOP boilerplate, one-plan-fits-all, pro-forma, fill-in-the-blanks Republican economic plan. It was the same for candidates as well as Presidents going back to Ronald Reagan. It was the same in 2004 and 2008. And it is the same exact plan that Mr. Romney is proposing in 2012.

Domestic oil production, school choice, trade agreements, cut spending and reduce taxes and regulations – feel free to substitute on any one of the five, no one can call the GOP inflexible for goodness sakes–it’s been the conservative answer to all conditions. It’s the answer when the Republicans inherit surpluses, it’s the answer during times of economic worry, it’s the plan after economic collapse, and it’s even the plan for Wall Street hysteria. It’s been the GOP Plan through the Savings & Loan Collapse, it’s been the GOP Plan through Enron, WorldCom, Housing collapses, 9/11, wars, natural catastrophes, and even recoveries.

I have to say, at least conservative icon, Ronaldus Reaganus and George H.W. Bush had enough sense to see the folly of their ways and raise taxes when necessary to fulfill their oaths before the one all Republicans feel blackmailed into signing now from little Grover Norquist (which apparently takes precedent over their oath of office).

And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. With a misinformation machine like the one conservatives have constructed, virtually unlimited money, (whether domestic, foreign, terrorist-backed, or of criminal origin), why would Mr. Romney feel the need to offer anything different? It is disconcerting for me that the Republican economic playbook doesn’t change regardless of circumstances though.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why it does not concern everyone.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 14, 2012, 07:04 AM

September 13, 2012 02:00 PM

Mitt Gets Worse

By karoli

This is Julie Goodridge. Goodridge sued the Massachusetts Department of Health in 2003 because her partner was denied the right to see her newborn daughter or her after a difficult and life-threatening birth. That case turned into the landmark ruling that said gay couples do have the right to marry.

In this video, Goodridge tells us all what it was like to fight for those rights in a state where Mitt Romney was governor at the time. She said she begged him for a meeting and couldn't get one. When she did finally have an opportunity to speak with him, he had not read anything with regard to her case (or so she claimed). She described his answer to her question about what she should tell her daughter about why her parents couldn't be married as "cold." The answer was the equivalent of flipping her off. Via Boston.com:

    “It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling,” recalls David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the case who met with Romney that day. “People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying — that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”

    Occasionally Romney would say something.

    “I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.
    The offhanded remark underscored that Romney, the governor of the first state prepared to grant same-sex marriage, hadn’t taken the time to look at what the landmark case was really about. By this point the plaintiff’s stories had been widely covered by national media — in particular, Julie Goodridge’s heartrending tale of how her then-partner, Hillary, was denied hospital visitation following the precarious birth of daughter Annie. It was the ignorance of these facts — and Romney’s inaccurate, insensitive answer to her parting question, that pushed Julie Goodridge to her breaking point.

    “I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”

    His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”

Romney couldn't even be bothered to know that Goodridge's daughter was not adopted. She was her natural daughter. In fact, it was Goodridge's childbirth experience that sparked the lawsuit. But he hadn't bothered to pay attention at all, yet was supporting a constitutional amendment banning her marriage.

If Goodridge's story was unique, it could possibly be dismissed as pure politics. But it's not. The words she uses to describe Mitt Romney -- cold, lacking any empathy, dead eyes -- are what we see every day. This is the same Mitt Romney who says students should get the best education they can afford, who profiteers from the 9-11 tragedy, who stores his money in Swiss and Cayman bank accounts while placing his hand over his heart and singing "America the Beautiful."

It's no stretch to imagine Julie Goodridge begging Willard to just try and see things from her vantage point, only to be rebuffed and told that she wasn't worth him even reading about her case.

On top of all the other reasons, imagine what it would be like to have someone like Romney as president. Shoot, just look at the states that are currently run by Republicans! Women? Bah! Let them do laundry! Gay people? Suffer, sinners. That would be what would happen. There would be no rights for anyone but wealthy white dudes.

Julie's story is only one of many, but all of them tell the same tale.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 15, 2012, 06:02 AM

September 14, 2012 12:00 PM

Mitt Romney Defines 'Middle Income' As $250,000 Per Year

By Blue Texan

This morning on ABC News, Mitt Romney took a break from his reckless and self-destructive comments on foreign policy to discuss his tax policy.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But his study, which you’ve cited, says it can only work if you take away those deductions for everyone earning more than $100,000.

    MITT ROMNEY: Well, it doesn’t necessarily show the same growth that we’re anticipating. And I haven’t seen his precise study. But I can tell you that we can lower our rates–

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you cited the study, though.

    MITT ROMNEY: Well, I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these. Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle-income people. So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?

    MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less. So number one, don’t reduce– or excuse me, don’t raise taxes on middle-income people, lower them. Number two, don’t reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest. The top 5% will still pay the same share of taxes they pay today. That’s principle one, principle two. Principle three is create incentives for growth, make it easier for businesses to start and to add jobs. And finally, simplify the code, make it easier for people to pay their taxes than the way they have to now.

Wow. Only someone worth $250M would say that someone making a quarter million dollars per year is in the "middle." In fact, people who earn between $200,000 and $250,000 per year earn more than 97-98% of the country.

Median household income in the US is $50,054.

This is what happens when your entire economic philosophy involves cutting taxes for rich people -- you have to define up "middle." Way up.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 17, 2012, 08:19 AM
September 14, 2012 9:50 AM

To Be Presidential, Romney Must First Be Truthful

By Jonathan Alter

Presidential campaigns sometimes turn on big moments that help voters ponder the central question they have about every challenger: What would this person actually be like as president?

These aren’t the same as gaffes, which are slips of the tongue that may be politically damaging but say little about the candidates except that they misspoke.

I’m talking instead about critical moments of miscalculation — often made in desperation — that illuminate important truths about a politician.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater ardently defended extremism. In 1984, Walter Mondale said he would raise taxes. In 2008, John McCain suspended his campaign to work on the economic crisis and then offered no solutions for it. They all lost.

Now we have Mitt Romney, with astonishingly poor timing, trying to profit politically from tragic events in the Middle East. His remarks on Libya and Egypt at a news conference in Jacksonville, Florida, might or might not hurt his chances with pivotal independent voters in November. But we do know that he has managed to be simultaneously unpresidential, untruthful and unwise.

On the morning of Sept. 12, the world learned of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. Stevens died when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At the same time, angry mobs breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Obvious Posture

The obvious and proper posture for a serious presidential candidate at that moment of shock and sadness would have been to show the country he could inhabit the role of mourner-in-chief,
an important part of being president. Vows of justice are also welcome. Even if Romney couldn’t compete with President Barack Obama on this terrain, he needed to at least appear to be above partisan politics for a day or two.

Instead, Romney doubled down on a scorching statement issued the night before by his campaign that said: “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

In Jacksonville, Romney compounded his campaign’s slur with one of his own. “I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions,” he said.

Accusations that the Obama administration is somehow “sympathizing” with terrorists are false and, well, pathetic.

Here’s what the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, run by the Bush-era Ambassador Anne Patterson, wrote after mobs gathered outside in protest against a virulently anti-Muslim film associated with Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones:

The embassy “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions,” it said. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

This is “disgraceful”? Really?

Read dispassionately, the statement is merely an effort by prudent diplomats to prevent a riot and bodily harm to Americans. It is almost identical to what the Bush administration said in 2006 after cartoons denigrating the Prophet Mohammad appeared in European newspapers: “We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”

Was that also “akin to apology,” as Romney deemed the statement from the embassy in Cairo?

Republican Base

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the nominee is trying to pander to the Republican base, almost one-third of which still believes — against all evidence — that Obama is a Muslim.

In a fast-moving international crisis, facts can be confusing, which is why prudent leaders exercise caution. Not Romney, who was proud to shoot from the hip. “I don’t think we ever hesitate when we see something that is a violation of our principles,” he said at the news conference.

A little hesitation might have helped. Romney made it sound as if the statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo criticizing the anti-Muslim film was issued after the compound was under attack. It was issued before. A Twitter post reiterating the message, which the White House later said didn’t represent U.S. policy, was posted during the attack. But this, too, was nothing more than an effort to calm the “Arab street” and save lives.

To get a sense of how tone-deaf Romney’s news conference was, consider that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Fox News political analyst Liz Cheney and William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, were just about the only Republicans to echo his message. House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and McCain (though he assailed Obama on Libya the next day) all issued statements about Stevens’s death and the violence in
Libya and Egypt. None included criticism of the Obama administration.

They understand that it’s not smart to use a tragic occasion to score political points even before the next of kin have been notified.

This fiasco may have originated with Romney, not his staff. In 2010, he wrote a book titled “No Apology” that charged Obama with issuing apologies for America in seven speeches at home and abroad in 2009. But Romney included not a single quote from any of those Obama speeches showing that the president
actually apologized.

Is this what we want in a president? Imagine what would happen in the Arab world if a President Romney, pursuing his “No Apology” policy, expressed no regret when Korans were mistakenly destroyed by U.S. forces at a prison in Afghanistan, as they were earlier this year. The region would be ablaze for
his entire time in office.

Americans recognize that judgment, prudence, instinct and a sense of what the moment demands are all job requirement.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 17, 2012, 09:36 AM

Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled

By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
September 16, 2012 07:46 PM EDT

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, knew his candidate’s convention speech needed a memorable mix of loft and grace if he was going to bound out of Tampa with an authentic chance to win the presidency. So Stevens, bypassing the speechwriting staff at the campaign’s Boston headquarters, assigned the sensitive task of drafting it to Peter Wehner, a veteran of the last three Republican White Houses and one of the party’s smarter wordsmiths.

Not a word Wehner wrote was ever spoken.

Stevens junked the entire thing, setting off a chaotic, eight-day scramble that would produce an hour of prime-time problems for Romney, including Clint Eastwood’s meandering monologue to an empty chair.

Romney’s convention stumbles have provoked weeks of public griping and internal sniping about not only Romney but also his mercurial campaign muse, Stevens. Viewed warily by conservatives, known for his impulsiveness and described by a colleague as a “tortured artist,” Stevens has become the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6.

This article is based on accounts from Romney aides, advisers and friends, most of whom refused to speak on the record because they were recounting private discussions and offering direct criticism of the candidate and his staff, Stevens in particular.

Stevens, in a lengthy interview Sunday afternoon, defended the campaign’s performance, refused to discuss internal conversations and insisted Romney is doing far better than the pundits portray. “Like all campaigns, we have good days and bad days. I’m happy to take responsibility for the bad days,” he said. “This is a tremendously talented team.”

To pin recent stumbles on Stevens would be to overlook Romney’s role in all this. As the man atop the enterprise — in effect, the CEO of a $1 billion start-up — Romney ultimately bears responsibility for the decisions he personally oversaw, such as the muffling of running mate Paul Ryan’s strict budget message and his own convention performance.

As the Tampa convention drew near, Wehner, now a “senior adviser” and blogger for the campaign, was laboring under an unusual constraint for the author of a high-stakes political speech. He was not invited to spend time with Romney, making it impossible to channel him fluently.

Nevertheless, Wehner came up with a draft he found pleasing, including the memorable line: “The incumbent president is trying to lower the expectations of our nation to the sorry level of his own achievement. He only wins if you settle.” It also included a reference to Afghanistan, which was jettisoned with the rest of his work.

Instead, eight days before the convention, at a time when a campaign usually would be done drafting and focused instead on practicing such a high-stakes speech, Stevens frantically contacted John McConnell and Matthew Scully, a speechwriting duo that had worked in George W. Bush’s campaign and White House. Stevens told them they would have to start from scratch on a new acceptance speech. Not only would they have only a few days to write it, but Romney would have little time to practice it.

McConnell and Scully, drawing on their experience writing for Vice President Dick Cheney, were racing to finish the convention speech for Romney’s running mate, Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Budget Committee chairman. It was the Wednesday before convention week. Ryan was to speak the following Wednesday, followed by Romney on Thursday.

The two finished Ryan’s text the next day and started crashing on Romney’s. That weekend, Stevens accompanied Romney as he went to a school auditorium in New Hampshire with his wife, Ann, to practice yet another version of the speech. Only one paragraph from the McConnell-Scully draft wound up being used, about a rose that Romney’s father had put on his mother’s bedside table each day. The speech that was actually delivered, it turned out, had been cobbled together by Stevens and Romney himself.

When asked about the various versions of the convention speech, Stevens said: “The governor writes his speeches.” Pressed on whether he does so with no help, Stevens added: “He reaches out to a lot of people. … We don’t discuss who works on what. It’s all just the Romney campaign. Everything is just the Romney campaign.”

The hasty process resulted in a colossal oversight: Romney did not include a salute to troops serving in war zones, and did not mention Al Qaeda or Afghanistan, putting him on the defensive on national security just as the Middle East was about to erupt. It was also very light on policy specifics, much to the chagrin of conservatives who were certain the addition of Ryan and inclusion of Wehner meant a real battle of ideas was about to begin.

The damage had been compounded when, in compressing the program from four days to three because of a hurricane delay, convention organizers had scrapped a planned remote appearance by Romney and veterans that was to be fed live into the Tampa hall from a speech he was giving to an American Legion convention in Indiana. With the salute-the-troops tribute out, the assumption was Romney would pay tribute to them in the speech. He didn’t.

The convention finale was undermined even further by Eastwood’s rambling comedy routine, which became the only glimpse that many swing voters got of the Republican show. Eastwood had been added to the program after chatting with Romney at a fundraiser in Idaho just weeks before the convention.

Stevens and his team loved the idea of the tough-talking American icon greeting the millions of viewers tuning in to the main event. But Eastwood, unlike every other speaker at the tightly controlled convention, had free rein to say or do whatever he wanted without the campaign’s approval. Eastwood has said just minutes before going live, he was handed a chair to sit on, which he promptly decided should become a prop in his speech.

Many in the Romney high command watched in fury. Later, a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that for many voters — especially independents and casual viewers, exactly the ones convention organizers hoped to reach — the Eastwood skit, not Romney’s speech, was the highlight of the convention.

As mishaps have piled up, Stevens has taken the brunt of the blame for an unwieldy campaign structure that, as the joke goes among frustrated Republicans, badly needs a consultant from Bain & Co. to straighten it out.

“You design a campaign to reinforce the guy that you’ve got,” said a longtime Romney friend. “The campaign has utterly failed to switch from a primary mind-set to a general-election mind-set, and did not come up with a compelling, policy-backed argument for credible change.”

In what many in the campaign now consider a fundamental design flaw, Stevens is doing three major jobs: chief strategist, chief ad maker and chief speechwriter. It would be as if George W. Bush had run for president in 2000 with one person playing the roles of Karl Rove, Mark McKinnon and Michael Gerson. Or if on the Obama campaign of 2008, David Axelrod had not been backed up by Jim Margolis, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau.

Asked if he had assumed too many roles, Stevens said he had big teams to help him in each area. “Everybody wears a lot of hats,” he said. “We’re that kind of campaign — very un-compartmentalized.” He said that making the ads in-house has been a huge advantage. “You can walk down and stick your finger in the cookie batter.”

Stevens enjoys little of the internal affection that surrounded the brain trusts of the Bush and Obama campaigns. “I always have the impression Stuart must save his best stuff for meetings I’m not important enough to attend,” said one Romney campaign insider. “The campaign is filled with people who spend a lot of their time either avoiding him or resisting him.”

Stevens, who has won a string of U.S. Senate and governor’s races, worked on the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004, and was signed up with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, but then switched to Romney.

POLITICO has learned when Romney was gearing up for his 2012 run, he made never-before-reported overtures to Ken Mehlman, the manager of Bush’s campaign, and Mike Murphy, a top strategist who remains close to Romney.

Still, when Romney went for a leaner campaign with fewer consultants, Stevens was left standing. At Romney’s insistence, Stevens and his business partner, Russ Schriefer, went all in, closing the Stevens and Schriefer Group office in Washington and moving into a first-floor warren at Romney headquarters in Boston’s North End.

Schriefer said Stevens “has done a very good job of keeping the campaign focused on a message of jobs and the economy, and focused on what it takes to win.”

“He has a competitive spirit that translates to the rest of the team,” Schriefer said. “When there’s criticism, you’re always going to get people trying to blame someone. This is not something unusual. The important thing is that the campaign is staying very focused. We know what we want to do, and we think we’re in a very good position to win.”

A mad-professor aura, combined with post-midnight calls to sleeping senior staffers, have led some colleagues to express increasing concern about what the campaign is doing to Stevens — and what Stevens is doing to the campaign.

The GOP convention failed to generate momentum or excitement for Romney — a potentially fatal setback for the struggling campaign. Before that, Romney’s criticism of Olympics organizers just after he landed in London set the tone for a snake-bitten foreign tour that some top campaign officials had argued against taking. Last week, Romney diluted his repeal-“Obamacare” message by saying on“Meet the Press” that he would keep part of the plan. Then Romney’s incendiary late-night statement after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya led many conservative allies to say he had squandered credibility as a potential commander in chief.

Stevens had vocal internal critics long before the recent blunders. One proposal by the strategist that drew ridicule behind his back envisioned a “Route 66” bus tour along the pre-Interstate, Dust Bowl migration highway. Other advisers argued that Romney hardly needs more retro or nostalgic connotations. That idea morphed into a blander “Every Town Counts” week, hitting smaller population centers of six target states in the Northeast and Midwest.

Asked about the bus-tour ideas, Stevens said: “We bat around a lot of ideas. … The campaign has a very collegial — we have a good locker room. There’s a lot of support, a lot of collaboration, a lot of cross-pollination of idea from across the board.”

But whatever Stevens’s shortcomings, presidential candidates get the campaigns they want. And Romney, who in an interview with POLITICO last month said his leadership style very much centers on having a variety of smart people offering advice and him being the decider, has taken a very active role running his own campaign.

In a way, that’s the problem. Romney associates are baffled that such a successful corporate leader has created a team with so few lines of authority or accountability.

Romney has allowed seven distinct power centers to flourish inside his campaign, with the strategy pod, headed by Stevens and Schriefer, handling the most essential ingredient — the candidate’s public message and image.

Then there is the conventional staff, led by campaign manager Matt Rhoades, who functions as an air-traffic controller. For months, Republicans inside and out of the campaign have said the structure is problematic. Rhoades, for instance, is as disciplined and methodical as Stevens is improvisational and disorganized.

Add to those the old Boston hands — Beth Myers, Peter Flaherty and Eric Fehrnstrom; longtime friends and advisers — Mike Leavitt, Bob White and Ron Kaufman; newcomers with juice, especially Ed Gillespie; the family, with his sons and Ann Romney involved in many decisions; and the money folks, headed by a longtime Romney friend and helper, Spencer Zwick.

Campaign officials said most parts of the Romney operation run in the rigid, metrics-driven style of Rhoades, a veteran of the buttoned-up Bush operation of 2004. These parts include finance, voter contact, legal and communications. This stands in contrast to the hazy controls over things in Stevens’s domain, the officials said.

“It is organized the way enterprises are organized: There is a person in charge, and people underneath him with specific responsibilities,” a Romney official said. “There are clear goals and objectives, and constant measurement. Elsewhere in the enterprise, there are all kinds of people with influence and authority but only vague responsibilities.”

Stevens, a 58-year-old son of the South, is easy for conservatives to dislike. His official bio does not exactly scream “Republican ad guy from Mississippi”: “Stuart was educated at Colorado College, Middlebury College, Oxford University and the UCLA Film School, [and] is also a former Fellow of the American Film Institute.”

He is not particularly ideological, and has a big-city, Hollywood aura that grates on movement conservatives. “He’s a smart, capable guy but he sends bad signals” to the right, said a Republican operative who works closely with the campaign. “He has a lot of goofy quotes that cause everybody to shake their heads. … Stuart is one of the most insecure guys in the business. But he has become the top strategic adviser to the nominee, which is a huge accomplishment.”

A Romney official explained: “Mitt is a sticker — he stays with you. He had a reputation at Bain for sticking with people. They made a bad investment, he hung with them. … None of this is going to be fixed. This is the organization, and this is who Mitt is betting on to win. There aren’t going to be further changes.”

A person who recently was alone with Romney added: “Big changes would destabilize the thing.”

Every profile of Stevens includes the descriptor “eclectic,” which seems fair, given he has skied to the North Pole, chronicled his use of steroids to compete in an extreme race, written novels and a campaign memoir, advised clients in Albania and Congo and consulted on Hollywood projects, including the political film “The Ides of March.”

Stevens has a free-flowing way about his life and is excited by ideas he deems wonderful or weird. He enjoys a love-hate relationship with the media — firing off emails with his candid and often illuminating take on the political spat of the moment, while also stoking the media-is-so-damned-biased flames inside the campaign and among conservatives.

Inside the Romney campaign, Stevens has preached a gospel of caution and consistency: Keep the candidate tightly focused on a bad economy and a worse president. In an interview last year with Robert Draper for The New York Times Magazine, Stevens explained his theory of the case this way: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback “Michael Vick’s not a real good pocket guy … So don’t tell him he can’t roll out. Try to make him the best rollout guy that’s ever played.”

A growing number of conservatives are blaming Stevens for advocating a campaign of caution, one that puts all the emphasis not on how good Romney could be but how bad Obama is. “Credit for this fog goes to that inner circle of Romney advisers who never liked the Ryan pick and have reasserted their will over a candidate who is naturally cautious,” conservative columnist Kimberley Strassel wrote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. “In the la-la land where adviser Stuart Stevens presides, Mr. Romney wins by never saying a single thing, ever, that might rock a single boat, ever.”’

Stevens was a big, early advocate of a bland vice presidential candidate, privately talking up former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and pushing the idea of an outsider, anti-Beltway ticket. But Stevens is hardly to blame for what many conservatives consider a campaign that is specifics-free and lame. That blame goes straight to the man running his own campaign: Romney himself, according to a number of people in and out of the campaign.

Some Romney loyalists think Stevens never fully appreciated what a good and unique candidate they had in Romney, and pleaded early on to showcase what they saw as a generous, wise and gifted leader. Still, for reasons not fully understood by those around Romney, the candidate not only went with Stevens but gave him tremendous authority.

There are no signs his authority is getting curtailed: Sources inside the campaign said he just prevailed in an internal battle over the next rounds of ads, customized for each swing state.

“Politics is like sports,” Stevens said. “A lot of people have ideas, and there’s no right or wrong. You just have to chart a course, and stay on that course.”

© 2012 POLITICO LLC


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Steve on Sep 17, 2012, 06:27 PM
SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters
When he doesn't know a camera's rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.
—By David Corn | Mon Sep. 17, 2012 1:00 PM PDT - motherjones.com

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

    There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Mother Jones has obtained video of Romney at this intimate fundraiser—where he candidly discussed his campaign strategy and foreign policy ideas in stark terms he does not use in public—and has confirmed its authenticity. To protect the confidential source who provided the video, we have blurred some of the image, and we will not identify the date or location of the event, which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination. Here is Romney expressing his disdain for Americans who back the president:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnB0NZzl5HA&

At the dinner, Romney often stuck to familiar talking points. But there were moments when he went beyond the familiar campaign lines. Describing his family background, he quipped about his father, "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this." Contending that he is a self-made millionaire who earned his own fortune, Romney insisted, "I have inherited nothing." He remarked, "There is a perception, 'Oh, we were born with a silver spoon, he never had to earn anything and so forth.' Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America."

Romney told the contributors that "women are open to supporting me," but that "we are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation." When one attendee asked how this group could help Romney sell himself to others, he answered, "Frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars." He added, "The fact that I'm either tied or close to the president…that's very interesting."

Asked why he wouldn't go full-throttle and assail Obama as corrupt, Romney explained the internal thinking of his campaign and revealed that he and his aides, in response to focus-group studies conducted by his consultants, were hesitant to hammer the president too hard out of fear of alienating independents who voted for Obama in 2008:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3vwuXMw7ac

    We speak with voters across the country about their perceptions. Those people I told you—the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring onto our side—they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. So, and by the way, when you say to them, "Do you think Barack Obama is a failure?" they overwhelmingly say no. They like him. But when you say, "Are you disappointed that his policies haven't worked?" they say yes. And because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he's a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he's corrupt. Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn't up to the task. They love the phrase that he's "over his head." But if we're—but we, but you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And these people are people who voted for him and don't agree with us. And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. And the best success I have at speaking with those people is saying, you know, the president has been a disappointment. He told you he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn't been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job. Fifty percent. Fifty percent of the kids in high school in our 50 largest cities won't graduate from high school. What're they gonna do? These are the kinds of things that I can say to that audience that they nod their head and say, "Yeah, I think you're right." What he's going to do, by the way, is try and vilify me as someone who's been successful, or who's, you know, closed businesses or laid people off, and is an evil bad guy. And that may work.

(Note: Obama did not promise his policies would keep unemployment under 8 percent, and 50 percent of college graduates are not unemployed.)

To assure the donors that he and his campaign knew what they were doing, Romney boasted about the consultants he had retained, emphasizing that several had worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7i7zVRFKSA

    I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants, a couple of people in particular who have done races around the world. I didn't realize it. These guys in the US—the Karl Rove equivalents—they do races all over the world: in Armenia, in Africa, in Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his race. So they do these races and they see which ads work, and which processes work best, and we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I'd tell them to you, but I'd have to shoot you.

When one donor said he was disappointed that Romney wasn't attacking Obama with sufficient intellectual firepower, Romney groused that the campaign trail was no place for high-minded and detail-oriented arguments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAIDfwrghHw

    Well, I wrote a book that lays out my view for what has to happen in the country, and people who are fascinated by policy will read the book. We have a website that lays out white papers on a whole series of issues that I care about. I have to tell you, I don't think this will have a significant impact on my electability. I wish it did. I think our ads will have a much bigger impact. I think the debates will have a big impact…My dad used to say, "Being right early is not good in politics." And in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject—discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections. And there are, there are, there are—for instance, this president won because of "hope and change."

Romney, who spoke confidently throughout the event and seemed quite at ease with the well-heeled group, insisted that his election in and of itself would lead to economic growth and that the markets would react favorably if his chances seemed good in the fall:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHKVsEknCrI

    They'll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don't know what will happen. I can—I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get a "Taxageddon," as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can't work together, it's—it really is frightening.

At the dinner, Romney also said that the campaign purposefully was using Ann Romney "sparingly…so that people don't get tired of her." And he noted that he had turned down an invitation from Saturday Night Live because such an appearance "has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential."

Here was Romney raw and unplugged—sort of unscripted. With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don't contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative. Yet Romney explained to his patrons that he could not speak such harsh words about Obama in public, lest he insult those independent voters who sided with Obama in 2008 and whom he desperately needs in this election. These were sentiments not to be shared with the voters; it was inside information, available only to the select few who had paid for the privilege of experiencing the real Romney.

COMING SOON: More from the secret Romney video.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 18, 2012, 07:54 AM
This is the response from Obama about Romney statements:

CHICAGO – “It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.” – Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Sep 18, 2012, 08:27 AM
Here's a press conference with Romney's response:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWjE5rtYOoo&feature=player_embedded (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWjE5rtYOoo&feature=player_embedded)


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 18, 2012, 10:50 AM
Hi All,

The exposure of Romney by way of this 'secret video' has occurred while the transiting Lucifer is now on his S.Node in Sagittarius, the truth coming out by way of 'gods' hand' in it, and while the transiting N.Node of the Moon is on top of his Moon/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio in his 6th House. And that transiting N.Node is also square his natal Lucifer in Leo in his 4th. It was just learned that the place of this event took place in a multimillionaires house, and that person is  millionaire hedge fund manager, and that that person is also addicted to 'sex parties'. Look at how graphic that is relative to the EA symbols involved here. Just incredible.

God Bless, Rad

Here is yet another example:


Romney: ‘There’s Just No Way’ To Achieve Middle East Peace

By Ben Armbruster on Sep 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

Photo: Getty
Mother Jones is out with a new video from a high-dollar fundraiser for Mitt Romney in which Romney says he believes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “unthinkable” and that his policy will be to “kick the can down the the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

Romney’s comments came at the same fundraiser in which Romney said he’s not concerned about 47 percent of Americans “who are dependent upon the government” and believe they’re entitled to food and shelter.

Romney has previously said he supports a two-state solution but in the video uncovered by Mother Jones, the GOP presidential nominee indicates he has no interest in actively pursuing peace:

    ROMNEY: I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that? Some might say, let’s see the Palestinians have the West Bank, and have security and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians. And then come a couple of thorny questions. [...]

    And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, “There’s just no way.” And so what you do is you say, “You move things along the best way you can.” You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with it in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it imminently.

Watch the video:

But when asked recently if he supported the two-state solution by the Israeli paper Haaretz, Romney said:

    “I believe in a two-state solution which suggests there will be two states, including a Jewish state. I respect Israel’s right to remain a Jewish state. The question is not whether the people of the region believe that there should be a Palestinian state. The question is if they believe there should be an Israeli state, a Jewish state.”

While Romney does pay lip service to the two-state solution, publicly, his rhetoric at the fundraiser mirrors much of what he’s been saying throughout the campaign. The “Israel” issue page on his campaign website makes no reference to a “two-state solution” or a “Palestinian” state. He said earlier this year that now is not to the time to be talking about a peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. So Romney has never really been interested in a two-state solution, he was just more up front about it at his fundraiser.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 19, 2012, 07:02 AM

September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney, Class Warrior

NYT

It turns out that Mitt Romney was right. There is class warfare being waged in the 2012 campaign. It is Mr. Romney who is waging it, not President Obama, and he’s stood the whole idea on its head.

When you think of class warfare, you probably think of inciting anger, resentment and jealousy among the have-nots against the haves. That’s what Mr. Romney has accused Mr. Obama of doing, but those charges have always been false. The truth is that Mr. Romney has been trying to incite the anger of a small slice of the richest Americans who need no government assistance but get it anyway, against the working poor, older Americans, the disabled workers and veterans, and even a significant chunk of middle-class Americans.

That was the message of remarks that Mr. Romney made in May at a private fund-raiser held at a private equity manager’s estate in Florida, a moment when he thought he was safe from annoying reporters and cameramen, and other Americans who are not rich enough to have bought a ticket to the event.

A video made public on Monday by the magazine Mother Jones showed a Mitt Romney who felt free to speak candidly about his campaign and how he would conduct a presidency. In that safe zone, Mr. Romney spoke with a bone-chilling cynicism and a revolting smugness. If he is elected, he said, capital will come back and “we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.” That’s the state of trickle-down economics in the 21st century.

Gone was the pretense that he will be a president of all Americans. Mr. Romney rather neatly divided the country between the people who matter and the 47 percent he does not care about.

To Mr. Romney, that 47 percent consists of people who do not make enough money to be required to pay federal income tax. They are freeloaders, he said, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” It is not his job, he said, as a candidate nor apparently as president if he is elected, “to worry about those people.”

By his definition, those undeserving freeloaders include workers in low-paying, menial jobs (sometimes more than one job) who don’t even earn $9,750 a year, the amount at which they would start to owe federal income tax. Also included are older Americans whose Social Security pensions are too low to be taxed, disabled veterans and people who were maimed on the job.

This group also includes some middle-income Americans who make, say, $50,000 a year but are not required to pay taxes after they take advantage of child credits, marriage penalty relief and other tax breaks, many of which are part of the Bush-era tax cuts that Mr. Romney backs with a blind ideological fervor.

But, of course, Mr. Romney was not talking about the Americans who make so much money that they are able to avoid paying any tax at all or who, like him, are able to shelter their incomes in overseas banks or tax loopholes that permit them to pretend that ordinary income comes from investment and thus pay lower taxes. Mr. Romney has been paying, by his own account, about 13 percent to 15 percent of his enormous income in federal income taxes. Just compare that with your own tax return.

Everything about Mr. Romney’s characterization of this mythical slice of lazy, shiftless Americans was wrong. A vast majority of Americans pay federal taxes, either income tax or payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare — or both — as well as other federal fees. They also pay state and local taxes and sales taxes.

The government’s revenue problem does not start with the poor but with the richest people, through the Bush tax cuts and other changes. The tax cuts for the richest people should expire now, and the middle-class cuts should do so eventually. But that will not happen as long as people like Mr. Romney protect the rich by turning the working poor and middle class into the enemy.

Mr. Romney may have been talking about electoral tactics: those people are going to vote for Mr. Obama, so let’s concentrate on our kind of people. It’s also possible that he was mouthing the words of the extreme right without really believing them. But all the possible explanations say terrible things about Mr. Romney’s character.

The right wing has long been whining about people who don’t pay taxes and who, therefore, don’t deserve a say in government. They have it backward. The shame is not that those people don’t pay income taxes. The shame is how many poor people there are when the top 1 percent can amass uncountable fortunes fed by tax breaks and can donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates to keep it that way.

****************

September 17, 2012

Thurston Howell Romney

By DAVID BROOKS
NYT

In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today, as Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out, about 49 percent do.

In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more than 700 percent over the last 50 years. This spending surge, Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.

There are sensible conclusions to be drawn from these facts. You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care for the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future.

But these are not the sensible arguments that Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser earlier this year. Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.

The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view — from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.

The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency.

But, of course, no middle-class parent acts as if this is true. Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills.

People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.

Sure, there are some government programs that cultivate patterns of dependency in some people. I’d put federal disability payments and unemployment insurance in this category. But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.

Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?

Frank Bruni is off today.

******************

September 18, 2012

Let Them Eat Crab Cake

By MAUREEN DOWD
NYT

WASHINGTON

Oh, for the days when we thought Mitt Romney didn’t stand for anything.

As a secret video from a Boca Raton fund-raiser with high rollers in May shows, Romney in private stands for so many bizarre things that it’s hard to tell what’s crazier — his domestic policy or his foreign policy.

Less than 50 days before the election, we learn that Romney may have given up on half of America and on Mideast peace.

In a reply to a fat cat at the $50,000-a-plate dinner, he wrote off 47 percent of the country as deadbeats, freeloaders and “victims” who feel they’re entitled to stuff — stuff like basic sustenance.

“Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. “All right? There are 47 percent who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

The candidate, who pays so little in taxes relative to his income that he has to hide tax returns and money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, then added, condescendingly: “These are people who pay no income tax.”

“So my job is not to worry about those people,” he blithely concluded. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” What kind of presidential candidate shrugs off wooing whole groups — we’re talking many seniors and white-working-class voters in battleground states who are, if he actually knew what he was talking about, his own natural constituencies?

A “stupid and arrogant” one, as Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, put it.

Conservatives knew that Romney was no Reagan, but the tape left many Republicans and Obama strategists gobsmacked. One top Democrat called it “a treasure trove of stupid answers.”

On Fox News Tuesday, Neil Cavuto gently asked Romney if he had “prematurely” presumed that he couldn’t get all of those voters. Mitt’s rambles to the donors, released by Mother Jones magazine and, in a bit of poetic justice, unearthed by Jimmy Carter’s grandson, were a stunning combination of wrong facts, callous sentiments and dumb politics.

He seemed to have bought into the warped canard that some conservatives inside and outside of Congress have pushed: that the president and Nancy Pelosi were nefariously hooking people on unemployment benefits so they’d get addicted and vote Democratic to keep the unemployment bucks flowing like crack.

It’s literally rich: Willard, born on third base and acting self-made, whining to the rich about what a great deal in life the poor have.

We thought Romney was secretly moderate, but it turns out that he’s secretly cruel, a social Darwinist just like his running mate.

You’d assume that it would be hard now for Romney to resume bashing President Obama for demonizing and pandering on class warfare, with lines like he’s been using on the trail: “he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups.”

But, even as Mitt was spitefully demonizing and dividing in Boca, he remained cardboard-cutout un-self-aware, musing: “The thing which I find most disappointing about this president is his attack of one America against another America.” This is the absolute height of cluelessness.

At another point in the video, Romney once more showed his foreign policy jejuneness, questioning the workability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, which is U.S. policy endorsed by W.

Mr. Sunshine said he sometimes felt “that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace — and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”

He continued: “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem,” adding, “And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen to resolve it.”

Wow. That’s leadership. He said a former secretary of state had called him to suggest that after the Palestinian elections there might be a prospect for a settlement, but that “I didn’t delve into it.”

After months of doggedly trying to seem more likable, sharing his guilty pleasures like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snooki, Romney came across as a mean geek, a Cranbrook kid at the country club smugly swaddled in class disdain. He thinks being president is his manifest destiny. His father didn’t make it, so he will — no matter what far-out conservative positions he must graft on to in order to do it.

We’re in search of the real Romney. But, disturbingly, so is he.

One thing we have to give Mitt, though: He is, as advertised, a brilliant manager. He’s managed to ensure that President Obama has a much better chance of re-election.

******************

September 18, 2012

Middle East Comments Could Vex a Romney Administration

By DAVID E. SANGER
NYT

BOSTON — No one has ever had any illusions about where Mitt Romney stands on the two hottest disputes in the Middle East: the argument over the creation of a Palestinian state, and the debate over what can be done to assure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.

In both cases, he has taken positions very close to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, his friend from their days together as young consultants here in Boston.

But if he is elected president in November and finds himself in negotiations over a future Palestine on Israel’s borders, Mr. Romney may find that his comment at a campaign fund-raiser — captured on video — that “there’s just no way” a separate state can be workable could undermine his effectiveness in bringing the two sides together. And any dealings with the mullahs of Iran may not be facilitated by his description of them, in the same video, as “crazy people.”

Mr. Romney’s aides, in interviews on Tuesday at the campaign’s headquarters in the North End of Boston, played down the statements. They said that there was no news in the Iran comments, and that Mr. Romney was simply arguing for a more credible strategy that would strike fear in the Iranian leadership. And they said his position on the Palestinian dispute remained unchanged: he believes in a two-state solution, the kind President George W. Bush endorsed early in his presidency.

On both the Palestinian and Iran issues, the aides said the real problem was President Obama, who they said had not been tough enough with Iran and had left the Mideast peace process to die, worsening the problem by separating the United States from Israel and leaving its ally feeling insecure and unwilling to negotiate.

Mr. Romney’s foreign and legal policy director, Alex Wong, said the candidate believed that while Mr. Obama says the military option for dealing with Iran is on the table, “he spends more time worrying about an Israeli strike than he does about stopping Iranian nuclear capability.”

Still, Mr. Romney’s comments on the video left the strong impression that he believes any Palestinian state, jammed close to Israel’s most vital and economically vibrant cities, may well be unworkable. He said he had felt “for some time” that “the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”

Mr. Romney asked his audience to imagine a map where the “border would be, maybe seven miles from Tel Aviv,” and on “the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point or Jordan.”

“And of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, what they did in Gaza,” Mr. Romney said, “which is, the Iranians would want to bring missiles and armament into the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel.”

If Israel patrolled the border, he went on, “the Palestinians would say: ‘No way! We’re an independent country. You can’t, you know, guard our border with other Arab nations.’ ”

“And now how about the airport? How about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we going to allow military aircraft to come in and weaponry to come in? And if not, who’s going to keep it from coming in? Well, the Israelis. Well, the Palestinians are going to say, ‘We’re not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what can land in our airport.’ ”

He concluded: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, there’s just no way.”

Mr. Romney said the best that could be hoped for was “some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem.”

The Palestinians, not surprising, had a different view. Yehia Moussa, a Hamas official in Gaza, argued that the United States had “never been suitable” as an arbiter in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute because it instinctively sided with Israel.

“We are sensing a new pattern of alliances among the Zionist lobby and the rightist Americans who believe in Zionist legends and predictions,” Mr. Moussa said. “Romney is part of this.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said the prime minister would not comment.

On Iran, Mr. Romney made an argument — often repeated by experts in both political parties — that the biggest risk of an Iranian nuclear program is that it would supply terrorist groups with the means to make a nuclear weapon or a “dirty bomb,” a conventional device laced with radioactive material that can make parts of a city uninhabitable. But his problem may come in how he characterized the Iranian leadership.

“America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people,” he said. “So we really don’t have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

Mr. Romney’s aides did not say whether he believed that Iran’s leaders were rational actors who could be subjected to pressure.

Jodi Rudoren contributed reporting from Jerusalem, and Sharon LaFraniere from Boston.

**************

How is as an example of Neptune in Pisces ? A universe constructed of total lies and fiction that is considered to actual reality .....

September 18, 2012 02:00 PM

Romney's '47 Percent' Rant Reveals a Right Wing Voting Bloc Built on Lies

By David Neiwert

There's always that moment of total cognitive dissonance that happens when people who happen to live in the real world, and not that right-wing ideological bubble we sometime call Planet Bizarro, listen in on the conversation as conservative True Believers like Mitt Romney babble their Fox-brewed talking points among each other. That's the component that makes Mitt's revealed videos of his "47 percent" rant to fellow Republicans so special.

The dissonance is different for different people. For me, it lay in this: I pay federal taxes. Lots of them. I have every year of my adult life. Moreover, I have never taken a dime of government largesse and am not in any sense dependent on it. And I would never vote for Mitt Romney or the Republicans or their whole every-dog-for-himself philosophy. Nor am I alone. Like millions of other smart Americans, I want a strong and complete social safety net, because I'm smart enough to understand that making sure everyone is cared for appropriately makes the whole of society better for everyone, me included. I might add, for the privileged particularly -- even though they're too stupid and selfish to get that.

But that's only a small component of the bigger picture here, which is pretty stark when viewed in perspective, namely: The conservative worldview is increasingly built on a foundation of complete and utter falsehoods, laughably provable, and irredeemably vicious in nature.

The Foxheads and their right-wing enablers have now closed ranks to proclaim, once again, that "Romney was right!" Which is pretty funny, when you think about it: After all, it was clearly Romney regurgitating an oft-repeated Fox News falsehood, as Media Matters lays out in detail, that we saw on that video.

You can see the epistemological loop closing in on itself, so that they now are just talking among themselves on their own planet, believing only their own lies as a bizarre version of fabricated reality.

And it creates a quasi-eliminationist mentality among these True Believers. Romney and his fellow Republicans not only really believe that these people's views should be dismissed, but that their views should not count at all.

My favorite iteration came when Steve Doocy not only claimed that 47 percent of the American public pays no taxes at all, but suggested that this status might be reasonable cause for them to lose the right to vote.

I'm sure, however, that Doocy would make an exception for the 7,000 millionaires who paid no taxes at all.

The best part of all this, though, is that the whole "47 percent pay no taxes" meme is a lie. David Leonhardt at the New York Times demolished it two yeas ago:

    The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.

    But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

    Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.

Moreover, that doesn't even include the bigger picture, which includes a wide range of non-federal taxes:

    State and local taxes, meanwhile, may actually be regressive. That is, middle-class and poor families may face higher tax rates than the wealthy. As Kim Rueben of the Tax Policy Center notes, state and local income taxes and property taxes are less progressive than federal taxes, while sales taxes end up being regressive. The typical family pays a lot of state and local taxes, too — almost half as much as in federal taxes.

    There is no question that the wealthy pay a higher overall tax rate than any other group. That is an American tradition. But there is also no question that their tax rates have fallen more than any other group’s over the last three decades. The only reason they are paying more taxes than in the past is that their pretax incomes have risen so rapidly — which hardly seems a great rationale for a further tax cut.

As Annie Lowrey explained at the NYT recently:

    The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer.

    It found that about half of the households that do not pay federal income tax do not pay it because they are simply too poor. The Tax Policy Center gives as an example a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 a year: The household would pay no federal income tax because its standard deduction and other exemptions would simply erase its liability.

    The other half, the Tax Policy Center found, consists of households taking advantage of tax credits and other provisions, mostly support for senior citizens and low-income working families.

    Put bluntly, these are not households shirking their tax liabilities. The pool consists mostly of the poor, of relatively low-income working families and of old people. The tax code is specifically designed to reduce the burden on them.

    Indeed, the recession and its aftermath have left tens of millions of workers out of a job or underemployed, removing more households from payment of federal income taxes. Moreover, the Bush tax cuts – the signature Republican economic policy of the 2000s, which doubled the child tax credit, increased a number of other deductions and exemptions, and lowered marginal tax rates – erased millions of families’ federal income tax liabilities.

    It is also worth noting that though tens of millions of families do not pay federal income taxes, there are virtually no families that do not pay any taxes – between payroll taxes, sales taxes, state and local taxes, and on and on.

Perhaps even more amusing is that, if reality were known to Mitt Romney, then he would know that he's actually attacking his own base, since the states where 47 percent of the population pay no federal income taxes are deep red states, mostly in the South, and its Northwestern counterpart, Idaho:

Credit: Tax Foundation

But as Derek Thompson observed in delving these numbers deeper:

    The 47% aren't lucky ducks cheating the system. They're mostly poor working families getting pilloried by the political party that wrote the rules they're following. If the 47% are the monster here, then Republicans helped play the role of Dr. Frankenstein. "Non-payers" have grown in the last 30 years because of marginal tax rate cuts and credits like the EITC passed under Republican presidents and continued by both parties in Congress.

And what's truly sad is that many of those people will actually be gulled into voting for Mitt Romney, because Fox News tells them he's on their side.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 20, 2012, 05:42 AM
 SPIEGEL ONLINE
09/19/2012 02:51 PM

The World from Berlin: 'Who Wants an Amateur in the White House?'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to have seriously damaged his chances of election with his comments about the "47 percent" of voters who are "dependent" on the state. German commentators are baffled by how a career politician could have made such an embarrassing gaffe.

Has Mitt Romney shot himself fatally in the foot? Many observers are wondering if the Republican presidential candidate can recover from the damage he has done to his own campaign with his remarks that almost half of Americans see themselves as "victims" and live off the state.

In the speech, which was secretly filmed at a $50,000-a-head fundraising event, Romney said that the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income tax would never vote for him. "There are 47 percent who are with (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it," Romney said in the recording, which was published Monday on the website of the magazine Mother Jones. He added that his role "is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Romney tried to defend his remarks on Tuesday, telling Fox News that he knew those people who are "dependent on government" would not vote for him and calling the idea of government "redistribution" an "entirely foreign concept."

US President Barack Obama made political capital out of Romney's remarks in an appearance on David Letterman's late-night talk show. "One thing I've learnt as president is you represent the entire country," he said. "There are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims."

The race remains tight, however, ahead of the Nov. 6 election. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 47 percent of likely voters support Obama, with 46 percent backing Romney.

On Wednesday, German commentators analyze the impact of Romney's gaffe.

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Sure, other candidates have also put their foot in it while talking in a supposedly intimate setting. Four years ago, Barack Obama, for example, talked disparagingly about white workers who desperately 'cling to guns or religion.' That comment still haunts the Democrats today …."

"But Romney's verbal blunders threaten to leave deeper scars. Even before the latest comments, the once-moderate Massachusetts governor was considered an opportunist. Three-fifths of his countrymen think he is a man who says what he thinks people want to hear instead of the truth. Even if Romney were now to apologize, people will not buy his remorse."

"Nevertheless, the election has not yet been decided. Romney still has three opportunities, in the form of the three TV debates with Barack Obama in October. Romney has to hope that many voters will only start paying close attention to him then. But he will be on his own. No touching speech by his wife or million-dollar donation will save him then. He has to help himself. Otherwise, he will soon join the ranks of those who he despises -- the losers."

The conservative Die Welt writes:

"The vote will be counted on the evening of Nov. 6, but it can already be predicted with a degree of reliability that Mitt Romney has lost the US presidential election. The former Massachusetts governor personally hammered the nail in the coffin of his political career when he told donors that 47 percent of Americans would vote for Barack Obama because they see themselves as 'victims' and rely on the state."

"Obama, too, has made his fair share of rhetorical blunders … but by excluding almost half of his compatriots from the American dream, Romney has insulted all those people in question. Romney's 'off-the-cuff speech' is not only quantitatively devastating, it is also qualitatively worse because it provides ammunition for the Democrats' charge that Romney wants to conduct politics for the benefit of the better-off."

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"It's not very convincing if a presidential candidate who says he wants to revive the 'American dream' excludes almost half of voters right from the outset because they live on state aid anyway and are not willing to take responsibility for themselves. Mitt Romney may be right when he says that those people will not actually vote for him. Nevertheless, he committed a strategic blunder: Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush certainly gave the impression that they also cared about the fate of those whose lives could not be described as a success story."

"It will now be even easier for Obama's people to portray the Republican nominee as a rich man who will conduct politics on behalf of America's rich -- and as a man who commits gaffes and is therefore not capable of holding the country's highest office."

The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"Of all the blunders that Mitt Romney has made in the current election campaign, this is the worst. We can ignore the fact that the Republican presidential candidate called the Olympic host Great Britain incapable or attacked the incumbent Barack Obama in sharp tones. But writing off one half of his own country's population? Now that's something. The candidate said that it was not his job to concern himself with the 47 percent of voters who supposedly rely on government assistance and are therefore Obama supporters. It's amazing how a politician can voluntarily brand himself as a cold-hearted capitalist."

"We Germans can already hardly understand why many Americans would prefer to vote for Romney. But if we now like to believe that he has stumbled, then that is wishful thinking on our part. The policies that we like -- the welfare state, universal health insurance, a foreign policy of rapprochement-- are the policies that Obama stands for. He is Europe's preferred candidate. But the political culture in parts of the US is different. It is more conservative, more religious, more skeptical about government and more focused on the individual. And some statements that would cause a scandal in Germany are only enough to cause a blip in the polls in the US."

The business daily Handelsblatt writes:

"A professional politician would never make such comments publicly -- at most, they would talk about it in a small group -- but never at an event for donors, even if they paid $50,000 for their lunch. Yet this is what Mitt Romney did when he chatted all too openly in Florida a few months ago. Hence, it is less the content of his remarks and more the lack of professionalism that surprises us and gives us pause. After all, who wants an amateur in the White House who can't even keep his campaign under control?"

"This new scandal could spell the end of Romney, who is already notorious as a capitalist and cold-hearted millionaire. Five years after the Lehman bankruptcy, Americans don't need a president who divides society into the rich and those who live off the state. That also applies to Republican voters. After all, many of them don't pay any taxes."

-- David Gordon Smith


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 23, 2012, 07:25 AM

Romney campaign demanded rules change to stack Univision forum with supporters

By Jonathan Terbush
Saturday, September 22, 2012 14:08 EDT

In a coordinated effort to appear more popular among Latino voters, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his campaign insisted on a few last-minute changes to the candidate’s participation in a Univision town hall that allowed them to pack the event with fervent Romney supporters.

According to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, the Romney campaign asked the town hall’s organizers to be exempt from a previously agreed upon rule that tickets to the event be given mainly to college students. Tickets to the event were split between Univision, the University of Miami, who co-sponsored the event, and the two campaigns, with both sides agreeing to give their tickets almost exclusively to university students.

But when team Romney ran into a dearth of college supporters—they gave some of their tickets to conservative groups on campus and still had plenty of extras left over—they asked for an exemption to the rule. According to one of the moderators, Maria Elena Salinas, the Romney campaign then upped the ante, suggesting that if Univision did not grant an exception, then they would potentially need to “reschedule” the event.

Univision relented, and the Romney campaign was allowed to bus in boisterous supporters from around Florida to pack the town hall and cheer on his performance. The result was clear to viewers, who saw Romney drawing loud applause at various points during his interview. By contrast, President Obama, who sat down for the same forum the following night, received far more tempered reactions from the crowd.

In addition to the ticket rule change, the Romney campaign also reportedly demanded that Univision retape the introductory remarks made by moderator Jorge Ramos, arguing that the original introduction made Romney look bad. In that intro, Ramos noted off the bat that Romney only agreed to give the network 35 minutes of his time, while Obama had agreed to sit for a full hour.

Romney reportedly refused to go on stage when introduced, instead forcing the network to retape the segment and drop the mention of the time differential. Ultimately, the two sides compromised and the network was allowed to mention the differential at the end of the segment—though it was lost amid the cheering of the Romney supporters the campaign bussed in to the event.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 23, 2012, 08:12 AM
September 22, 2012 2:55 PM

Mitt Romney: worst presidential candidate ever?

Well, that may be putting it too strongly, but I do believe that, on a purely personal level at least, the Mittster may well be the least appealing presidential candidate in my lifetime. He oozes insincerity, shallowness, and arrogance; those qualities would be less than awesome in any political environment, but the latter is particularly grating in an economy like this one, where so many are struggling. Worse, not only does he totally lack a common touch, he doesn’t bother to attempt it. The fake populist shtick George W. and especially George H.W. Bush indulged in could be annoying and awkward — remember pork rinds? — but I give them credit for trying. That in itself showed some humility and made them seem a little more human.

But Mittens, at this point, is beginning to emit the strong whiff of a loser. You can almost smell the blood in the water; his own staff has already started bitching to the press about turmoil within the campaign, and even his putative supporters are writing columns comparing him to Thurston Howell III. The only demographic that seems genuinely enthusiastic about the guy are the Mormons, for understandable reasons. But I think there’s an increasing sense among Republicans that they have got a gold-plated turkey on their hands. In public, most Republicans are keeping their counsel for now, but once the election returns are in, I strongly suspect the knives will be out.

Years from now, if people want to understand just what was so awful about MItt Romney, the film below (H/T: Melissa McEwan) would not be a bad place to start. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it; as McEwan says, the man is a social trainwreck. A fun drinking game would be to watch the video and take a belt whenever he unknowingly insults someone. Keep in mind that the YouTube below was released in early 2012, so it misses such golden moments from the Mittens highlights reel as “I like to fire people,” gratuitously insulting the cookie maker, trashing the Brits during his alleged “charm offensive” at the London Olympics, his cheap shots at the Obama administration during the recent crisis in the MIddle East, and, last but not least, his infamous remarks about 47% of Americans being moochers and looters who are not “entitled” to food. Enjoy!

THE BEST OF MR DUPLICITY: CLINK ON THE LINKS......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nJJKW7ea1oc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzkSxxSfEuo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=236zu7AGSUg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFUUDrh9wNg&feature=related


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: ari moshe on Sep 23, 2012, 09:52 PM
And this one is really cute!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=fit79MQwyeY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=fit79MQwyeY)


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 24, 2012, 06:34 AM
Mitt Romney Sincerely Hates You

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:25 EDT

As Scott Lemieux notes, this ludicrous narrative has emerged that Romney was merely pandering to his rich benefactors in the 47% video and wasn’t expressing his sincere beliefs. It’s a more clever dodge than the MISSING TWO MINUTES!!!111!!11!1eleventy!!!!111! one. For one thing, the MISSING TWO MINUTES!!!111!!11!1eleventy!!!!111! claim has been debunked and the missing footage is available for viewing, and was only missing because there was an uploading error that has been corrected. But the “what’s in his mouth isn’t what’s in his heart” thing is more disturbing because it allows people to believe that Romney isn’t what he seems. It’s also somewhat plausible, because Romney is such an empty set of a candidate. Most politicians are adept at telling people what they want to hear, but by both Democratic and Republican estimation, Romney is a special case who appears to have no convictions at all.

Well, I think the reason these videos are so compelling is that this is the first time we’ve gotten a full earful of what Romney sounds like when he’s being sincere. What’s amazing about these videos is that he expresses conviction that we almost never hear from him. His anger at people who feel “entitled to food” was so much more sincere than, say, his nostalgia at remembering his father giving roses to his mother. It’s so startling that Jonathan Chait, who was, by his own measure, eager to give Romney the benefit of the doubt, is now reeling at what a hateful bastard the man turned out to be.

    Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. (“I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.”)

And:

    First, in general, a candidate’s statements behind closed doors to people who already support him are more likely to reflect his true beliefs than public statements designed to appeal to those who don’t share his beliefs. Second, Romney does pander a lot, but the thing is that he’s absolutely terrible at it. His lies are obvious, which makes the moments when he says something he seems to genuinely take to heart strikingly different. His comments about the 47 percent were notable for their apparent genuineness.

It’s always entertaining when a centrist white male Democrat gets exposed to the real asshole lurking underneath the genial exteriors of the handful of Republicans who have managed to get centrist white male Democrats to think they’re not so bad. Alas, for the queers, the ladies, and the people of color, imagining that there’s a Republican politician left standing who means well but is just a tad conservative is a luxury we cannot afford. “He isn’t so bad” isn’t something that makes sense when contemplating someone who would veto your right to marry, force you to have a baby against your will, and enact spending cuts that are only popular with Republicans because they disproportionately hurt people that look like you. From our vantage point, it’s easy to see that if you’re a white dude who means well but is a little conservative, you should just be a Democrat. Much to our dismay, there’s plenty of room for you in the party.

Not that I think the lesson will stick or anything. We went through this process with John McCain, who was applauded as a reasonable conservative, and then exposed to be a seething mass of anger and resentment against ordinary Americans just trying to get by. And we’ll probably go through it again in 2016. But I just want to be clear: Beyond learning this about Romney (or McCain or whoever), we need to realize this attitude of obsessive sneering at the lower classes is what being a Republican is about. And it’s a problem that actually echoes through the classes. Wealthy Republicans sneer at everyone. Upper middle class Republicans (and sadly, some Democrats) sneer at the lower middle classes, and see them as crass and wonder why they don’t just get a little better. Middle class Republicans generally obsess over why service sector employees aren’t more docile and cheery. White working class Republicans obsess over what the poor are doing, especially if they’re poor people of color. There aren’t really poor Republicans, so I think I can finish up with that. If there’s any doubt that this is their favorited form of discourse, I invite you to go to Facebook and look at what the Republicans you know are talking about.

I mean, his name is “Mitt”. If you were writing a comedy that had a sneering upper crust frat boy as a character, you’d pick that as his name, and then reconsider on the grounds that it’s too easy.

***************

Romney and the Rich Self-Deluded

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:22 EDT

By now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the video of Romney, thinking he’s speaking with like-minded rich people in private, telling them that 47% of Americans are “dependent” because they—as he’s tried and for all we know succeeded to do in the past—don’t pay income taxes. The obvious inference from this canard, which was a favorite amongst Tea Partiers, is that half the country works and the other half of the country sits around eating bon bons paid for by welfare. That we don’t really have welfare in this country in the sense they’re imagining does nothing to dissuade pampered conservatives of this belief.

Beyond just echoing Tea Party implications that half the country lives on welfare, this claim is a lie. It is true that nearly 47% of Americans don’t pay income taxes, but pretty much all of them pay taxes: sales taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, etc. And the reason so many people don’t pay income taxes is because assholes like Romney and his buddies have worked so hard to keep average workers toiling for peanuts.

    Firstly, some of those people who did not pay income tax, still paid payroll taxes, for social security and Medicare, so that it was only 18.1% of households that did not pay any income or payroll taxes.

In other words, most of these people work for a living, but make so little money they don’t pay income taxes. Remember, this was a room full of rich people burning with resentment. Frankly, if they think it’s so great working your ass off for below a living wage, I welcome them to trade places with any random member of the working poor.

    Of the 18.1% paying no income or payroll taxes, more than half (10.3% of all households) were elderly, so retired people who may well have paid income and payroll taxes, as well as others, during their working lives. Of the remainder, 6.9% of all households did not pay income or payroll taxes, essentially because they were poor, leaving 1% of “others” who did not pay either of these two types of taxes. Presumably, within the “others” category would fall the likes of six of the 400 US tax filers in 2009 with the highest adjusted gross income (at least $77m), who, according to Internal Revenue Service studies, paid no US income tax, and the 19,551 US households with income above $200,000 who owed no US or foreign income tax.

So those are the fact, and they have nothing to do with this right wing fantasy of half of Americans paying taxes so the other half can live on welfare.

There’s a tendency on the left, though it’s thankfully fading, to believe that the right wing propaganda machine that pumps out horseshit is run by a bunch of cynical rich people who know that this stuff isn’t true, but are trying to dupe the masses into believing it and voting against their own interests. And most of that image is true. They are cynical. They do finance unbelievable amounts of propaganda. They are exploiting people’s bigotries in order to get them to vote against their own interests.

But what I hope people realize watching this video is that rich right wingers are true believers. Their fancy educations and their access to the world hasn’t done a damn thing to make them more aware of the world. On the contrary, they’re aggressively ignorant. But for whoever leaked this video, that room was eating up these blatantly obvious lies. These folks live on a cloud of wealth that separates them from reality so much that they can convince themselves that, say, a huge chunk of Americans don’t work out of laziness. Which is a belief that anyone who has had to sit in traffic without a driver to handle that for you can tell you is nonsense. The propaganda they push out to the masses is a reflection of their true delusions.

And they think that you have it too easy.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 24, 2012, 06:36 AM
Chris Hayes: Romney tapes reveal ‘plutocracy’ just ‘whining’ about everything

By Megan Carpentier
Sunday, September 23, 2012 17:41 EDT

“This is what plutocracy looks like,” Chris Hayes told his audience on Sunday after viewing the now-infamous Romney 47% tapes. “The first thing that jumps out is that a lot of the question [asked of Romney] are really inane.”

“The folks in the room all but advise Romney to tour around the country reading passages from Ayn Rand novels out loud as his campaign rallies and hectoring the idiotic masses to bow before their obvious superior,” Hayes said by way of characterizing the advice Romney got from his $50,000-a-plate donors. “Romney, who is many things but not a total fool, gently explains that probably is not the best way to go about attempting to win over the Obama voters he needs to be elected,” Hayes added.

“Almost none of the advice Romney gets during the tape is very good. Some of it is terrible,” Hayes said, but that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part, he explained, is that “Unlike the millions of other political junkies and backseat drivers, this small coterie of folks by sole virtue of their wealth, gets to impose their invaluable insights on the actual candidate.”

“This is the power of money, not just in politics but in society more broadly: the power to make people listen to your ideas, no matter how dumb or uninformed,” Hayes said.

He added, “The other thing that stood out to me was just how under siege, persecuted and victimized these extremely wealthy people appear to feel,” he added. “And what you hear from them is the same kind of whining that was the central theme of the Republican convention.” (Hayes’ response to the “whining” was this clip from “Reservoir Dogs” featuring the world’s smallest violin.)

“And yet despite the fact that Obama has managed a recovery that has been exceptionally good to them,” Hayes said, “Wall Street is incensed that anyone would call them ‘fatcats’ or assign new financial regulations.” He added, “In almost every way conceivable, they inhabit an alternate universe. And everyone’s pretty frank about that.”

Hayes said that the tape reveals one of the biggest problem with the amount of money that’s required to be in politics in this day and age: “It’s not that lots of money can buy elections, though sometime’s that’s true. It’s not that campaign contributions function as a quid pro quo, chits to be cashed in when legislation is being considered — though that’s also often true. It’s that every single person running for high office in America is forced to spend the vast majority of their time around one group of people, and one group only: wealthy people. That’s who they talk to and listen to all day long, day in and day out, every day for months and years and decades. It has an incredible warping effect.”


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 24, 2012, 08:42 AM

Millionaire Mitt: It’s ‘Fair’ For Me To Pay Lower Taxes Than Middle Class Americans

By Igor Volsky on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

Mitt Romney told CBS’s 60 Minutes that it’s “fair” for him to pay a tax rate of just 14.1 percent on his investment income of $20 million, a lower rate than someone earning $50,000 a year in wage income:

    SCOTT PELLEY (HOST): Now, you made on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?

    ROMNEY: It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.

    PELLEY: So you think it is fair?

    ROMNEY: Yeah, I think it’s the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

There is little economic evidence to support Romney’s argument that higher capital gains and dividend rates will discourage investment. As Paul Krugman has pointed out, the current very low rate of 15 percent, wasn’t enacted until 2003. Between 1986 and 1997 “long-term capital gains were taxed at close to 30 percent” and under President Clinton, the rate sat at 20 percent, while dividends were treated as regular income. “I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain,” Warren Buffet explains.

Indeed, investors continued to invest, despite the higher rates, and throughout the Clinton period, the nation actually saw stronger investment. So it’s difficult to take Romney’s argument seriously — both because history shows that the wealthy don’t need a capital gains rate 20 points below the top marginal income tax rate (currently 35 percent) in order to invest their money and because Romney himself believes he paid too little in investment taxes, choosing to forfeit $1.8 million in charitable deductions.

*******************

Adviser Admits Romney’s Tax Plan Would Redistribute Wealth

By Igor Volsky posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Sep 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

Mitt Romney economic adviser Emil Henry tripled down on the GOP presidential candidate’s claim that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent upon government” and see themselves as “victims” because they don’t pay federal income taxes, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday. “You have a president who errs towards, in the very least, an entitlement society, a society of hand downs, a society of 46 million people on food stamps,” Henry said, adding that Romney opposes Obama’s efforts to “redistribute” wealth to those with lower incomes.

He then advocated for Romney’s tax reform plan — which he likened to a flat tax — of lowering the marginal rates by 20 percent across the board and limiting exemptions and deductions for the richest Americans, while providing the middle class with tax relief. “I have heard him say this 100 times and I know this for a fact, he says taxes on rich folks are not going to go down because of the elimination of exemptions,” Henry added.

But when Hayes pointed out the inconsistency of the charge, noting that taxes on wealthy people would have to come down substantially if Romney seeks to eliminate the “redistribution” inherent in America’s progressive tax code, Henry conceded that Republicans would also transfer wealth from one group to another:

    HAYES: There is a tension with the nonredistributed thing. Taxes on wealthy people have to go down. If he doesn’t believe in that, he has to reduce the burden of wealthy people. We have a barely, but progressive income tax. If he doesn’t believe in redistribution, he has to cut it for the wealthy. It’s not the case he is flattening the tax code and not lowering them for rich people. [...]

    HENRY: If your point is that a progressive tax code, which is what the United States of America has and it’s the right thing, and it’s about fairness and fairness of opportunity, your point is there’s a technical element of redistribution by virtue of hiring –

    HAYES: Not just technical — that’s redistribution. You are paying for it!

    HENRY: Let’s be real about it. Let’s be real about this. When President Obama talks about redistribution, Chris, you know this is true, when he talks about redistribution, he is talking about a massive difference from the Romney plan, which is about simpler, lower marginal rates, getting rid of exemptions and lowering the corporate tax rate to attract business in America.

In fact, Romney’s economic plan does provide substantial tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and would redistribute wealth to the already wealthy. According to a Tax Policy Center analysis, the GOP presidential candidate’s proposal would increase after-tax income for those making more than $200,000 annually, while lowering it for everyone else:

“Taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000), taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4 percent (an average tax cut of $1,800), while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130).”

Romney, however, is arguing that he will raise enough revenue through the elimination of tax loopholes that benefit the rich to totally offset the tax cut he provides them, though an analysis from the Tax Policy Center found that to be a mathematical impossibility. There simply isn’t enough revenue to be generated through the closure of those loopholes to offset the massive cost of Romney’s plan.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 24, 2012, 11:45 AM
Romney’s Advice To The Uninsured: Go To The ER

By Sy Mukherjee on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:15 am

During a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley on Sunday evening, Mitt Romney suggested that there are already adequate measures in place to protect Americans who lack health insurance. According to Romney, Americans should just go to the hospital to seek care, regardless of the crippling expenses they may incur without adequate health coverage:

    PELLEY: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

    ROMNEY: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we– if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.

    PELLEY: That’s the most expensive way to do it…In an emergency room.

    ROMNEY: Different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, “You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.”

However, as Pelley points out, ambulatory care is extraordinarily expensive and shifts costs from often-uninsured emergency room patients into the overall health care market, effectively driving up everyone’s cost of care.

All Americans are entitled to care though the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or (EMTALA), a law Ronald Reagan signed. It requires hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding to treat patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of legal status or ability to pay. But EMTALA only applies to medical emergencies. “So, yes, if you’re actively giving birth, you can expect to receive care at an emergency room,” Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll explain. “If you’re actively having a heart attack, you can also get emergency room care. If you’ve been seriously harmed in a car accident, you can go to the emergency room.” Patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference — the millions of Americans with diabetes who need “regular access to medication to stay alive,” asthma patients, or women diagnosed with breast cancer — would not be able to access needed treatments.

Although Obamacare and Romney’s own health reform law in Massachusetts both overcome this hurdle by mandating and subsidizing health insurance for all residents, irrespective of pre-existing conditions, Romney no longer seems to believe that his own program — which has improved the lives of millions in Massachusetts while nearly eliminating the children’s uninsured rate in the state — is effective enough to be implemented in other states.
Update

Romney has not always believed that emergency rooms are the best route for the uninsured. Back in 2008, Romney decried uninsured emergency room visits as “free riding,” declaring, “If somebody could afford insurance, they should either buy the insurance or pay their own way. They don’t have to buy insurance if they don’t want to, but pay their own way. But they shouldn’t be allowed to just show up at the hospital and say, somebody else should pay for me.” According to Jonathan Gruber, a close adviser and architect for Romney’s Massachusetts health care law, overcoming this “free-rider” dilemma was at the heart of Romneycare. “The guy has come completely full circle,” Gruber said.


Title: Re: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY
Post by: Rad on Sep 25, 2012, 06:18 AM
GOP backer Adelson accused of commandeering Israel's media market

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has poured millions into GOP coffers, also bankrolls a pro-Netanyahu Israeli newspaper that could transform the media market.

By Joshua Mitnick, Correspondent / September 24, 2012
Charles Dharapak/AP

Tel Aviv

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson grabbed the spotlight in the US earlier this year for making multi-million dollar campaign contributions to Republican presidential candidates on the bet that their policies would better jibe with those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than with President Obama's.

In Israel, Mr. Adelson is better known as the force behind the five-year-old free newspaper, "Yisrael Hayom" (Israel Today), which is seen by some as the Israeli print equivalent of Fox News. Touting Israeli patriotism, it is among the most widely read newspapers in the country and has a reputation for its fiercely loyal coverage of Mr. Netanyahu – and now Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Adelson rejects accusations of bias, insisting in a previous interview that his paper is a "fair and balanced" alternative to other newspapers more critical of the government and that he is breaking rival newspaper Yediot Ahranot's monopoly on the market. Many Israelis nonetheless see the paper as a political vehicle to support the prime minster, and now, American Republican politicians. And with other newspapers floundering financially while Adelson puts his substantial wealth behind Yisrael Hayom, some worry that he is squeezing other political ideologies out of the market.

"You can see completely biased coverage always emphasizing good news for the Republicans, or always hiding or eliminating bad news for the Republicans," says Oren Persico, who writes a daily analysis of print news coverage for Israel’s media magazine "The Seventh Eye." "It's one-sided, so Israelis will stand behind Romney."

An opinion poll conducted by Hebrew University and released yesterday showed Mr. Romney with an eight percentage point advantage over Mr. Obama among Israelis – 34 percent to 26 percent, with 20 percent undecided. Another opinion poll from earlier this month suggested that the gap was more than two to one.

While it is impossible to discern the exact role Yisrael Hayom plays in shaping those opinions, its critical take on Obama and its upbeat coverage of the Republican campaign stand out from the rest of Israeli media coverage of US politics.

For example, the day after the Romney campaign was rocked by a video of the candidate making disparaging remarks about Americans who pay no income tax, Yisrael Hayom featured a front page opinion piece alleging the US is a declining empire and accusing Obama of "voluntarily lowering the profile" of the US and fueling unrest in Arab countries. The story about the video was on page 23.

A day later, the newspaper wrote in a subhead that "commentators think the affair will help" and quoted conservative columnist Ann Coulter saying that Romney comments were on the mark. Today the newspaper acknowledged that the video is having a negative impact on public opinion of Romney, but cited "optimism from surveys" indicating that the Republican candidate remains close in the polls, despite the uproar.

Yisrael Hayom is not the only paper that comes across as promoting a particular political agenda in Israel. News coverage in the liberal newspaper Haaretz, for example, is known to be sympathetic to the US president and heavily critical of Netanyahu. But critics of Yisrael Hayom say the fact that the paper has never reported a profit is further evidence that the goal of the paper is primarily political rather than a business enterprise.

Nahum Barnea, an Israel Prize laureate columnist who works for rival newspaper Yediot Ahronot, has denounced Yisrael Hayom as a paper with no business model that serves the interest of "one man" and is undermining Israeli democracy by making it impossible for for-profit newspapers to compete.

And as Yisrael Hayom has surged in readers, other Israeli papers that need to make money in order to stay afloat have struggled – yesterday, the cash-strapped daily newspaper Ma’ariv was sold to Shlomo Ben Zvi, the owner of another right wing newspaper, who announced plans to lay off most of the staff.

"For many years, the media was dominated by left-of-center views and families supporting the Labor party," says Mitchell Barak, an Israeli pollster. But today the paper’s sympathetic coverage of US Republicans has a natural audience in Israel, he says.

"In general, Israelis have been disappointed with the promise and hope of Obama. That’s not specific to Yisrael Hayom."

****************

September 24, 2012 3:35 PM

Adelson’s Ideological Dollars

By Ed Kilgore

Mike Allen of Politico got some face-time with Sheldon Adelson, and wrote a profile of the casino mogul and maximum GOP donor that should be of interest to those of us—which means all of us—who might be affected by the man’s views.

According to Allen, Adelson himself ticked off five reasons he’s giving so heavily this year. The first and most interesting is probably “self-defense;” he thinks the Obama administration is conspiring to take down his business empire and maybe send him to tennis prison. Another way of putting it, of course, is that the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have exhibited a keen interest in his vast operations in Vegas and (especially) Asia, which involve places and enterprises where skullduggery is not exactly unknown.

A second rationale cited by Adelson is very well-known: he hates unions, and loves a particular brand of right-wing Israeli politics (indeed, he is arguably more influential and controversial in Israel than here, thanks to his ownership of Israel Hayom, a free, high-circulation pro-Netanyahu newspaper.

A third reason for Adelson’s hyper-activism involves what Allen describes as a high level of annoyance with inefficiency on the American Right:

    Adelson has played a previously unreported role that has helped maximize the outside groups’ muscle. He has insisted that they coordinate their efforts, making the spending more efficient. “If word got back to him that a group wasn’t cooperating, he’d cut them off,” said a top official at one of the groups, who deals personally with Adelson. “It’s to maximize the dollars. You don’t want repetition. You don’t people doubling up. He doesn’t want to feel like his money is wasted.”