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« Reply #60 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

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« Reply #61 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.


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.
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« Reply #62 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.
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« Reply #63 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.
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« Reply #64 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.

* taxchartromey.jpg (49.92 KB, 400x298 - viewed 275 times.)
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« Reply #65 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.

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« Reply #66 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.
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« Reply #67 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.
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« Reply #68 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.

* romneynose.jpg (8.18 KB, 220x144 - viewed 254 times.)
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« Reply #69 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."
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« Reply #70 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.
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« Reply #71 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.
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« Reply #72 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.

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« Reply #73 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.
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« Reply #74 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.
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