Category Archives: Mitt Romney

The Company He Keeps

Those guys Mitt Romney’s hanging around with? Yeah, they’re assholes. Oh, and Republicans? You sure you want to be making a big deal about these allegedly politically-motivated leaks? After all that Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson stuff you did? Think we forgot about that? We didn’t.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney

Homework

As I’ve said before, I’m super busy right now on some work stuff and I just can’t devote my usual amount of time to blogging. But maybe you trusty blog followers can help ol’ Southern Beale out?

It seems John McCain’s entire 2008 oppo research file on Mitt Romney has been leaked to the internet. Check it out here and let me know if you find anything juicy. Keep in mind it’s four years old.

h/t, GottaLaff at The Political Carnival.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney: Fortunate Son

The memory hole has coughed up another Mitt Romney embarassment, this one the ultimate flippy-floppy. Not sure how I missed it when it first surfaced in January but for what it’s worth: in 1966 Mitt Romney was one of 150 conservative students at Stanford University picketing in favor of the Vietnam War draft.

He’s the guy on the far right holding the “Speak Out, Don’t Sit In” sign:

Pro-War, Pro-Draft

Well, I’m sure since young Mitt was such a supporter of the Vietnam War that took so many of his peers he didn’t skirt his patriotic duty, right? Since he’s out there holding a sign and everything supporting the draft? Aw, be serious:

[Romney], meanwhile, never served in south-east Asia because his status as a Mormon missionary exempted him from the draft.

The GOP hopeful spent just one year at Stanford before heading to France for 30 months of missionary work.

He had already met his future wife Ann in 1965 when he was 18 and she was 15. The couple married in 1969 and have five sons and 16 grandchildren.

Isn’t that special. Mitt Romney was happy to join a student counter-protest supporting the Vietnam War and the drafting of his fellow students, but he “served” in France trying to win converts to the Mormon church. Just another Republican chickenhawk, pushing for the little people to get drafted into a war that he refused to join himself.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, chickenhawks, Mitt Romney, Vietnam War

Mitt Romney’s Money Shot

Apparently this just happened. I’m going to guess Photoshop was involved but it is true you can’t spell “Romney” without “m-o-n-e-y.”

BTW, if this wasn’t Photoshopped, it deserves an American Moran Gold Medal Award.

(h/t, Dangerous Minds)

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, American Morans, Mitt Romney

Romney: For Govt. Handouts Before He Was Against Them

How did Mitt Romney turn the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games into such a financial success? Just your modern conservative grift, of course! By funneling taxpayer money away from public services and straight into the pockets of private, for-profit entities. From the memory hole, December 2001 Sports Illustrated edition:

For the past few years, while attention was focused on the Great Olympic Bribery Scandal—in which Salt Lake City boosters dispensed as much as $7 million in gifts, travel, scholarships, medical care, jobs and other goodies to IOC members (and their relatives and companions) to ensure that Utah’s capital city would be chosen to host the 2002 Winter Games—private and public interests have siphoned an estimated $1.5 billion out of the U.S. Treasury, all in the name of those same Olympics. Two months before the Games, Utah has already walked away with the gold while setting records in four categories:

Total federal handouts. The $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars that Congress is pouring into Utah is 1� times the amount spent by lawmakers to support all seven Olympic Games held in the U.S. since 1904—combined. In inflation-adjusted dollars.

Enrichment of private interests. For the first time, private enterprises—primarily ski resorts and real estate developments-stand to derive significant long-term benefits from Games-driven congressional giveaways.

Most government entities tapped for cash. With all the skill, grace and precision of a hockey team on a power play, Utah’s five-member congressional delegation has used the Olympics to drain money from an unprecedented number of federal departments, agencies and offices—some three dozen in all, from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to the Agriculture Department.

Most U.S. tax dollars per athlete. Federal spending for the Salt Lake City Games will average $625,000 for each of the 2,400 athletes who will compete. (Not a penny of it will go to the athletes.) That’s a 996% increase from the $57,000 average for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It’s a staggering 5,582% jump from the $11,000 average for the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Again, these are inflation-adjusted dollars. (If the minimum wage had gone up at the same pace since ’84, the average McDonald’s hamburger flipper today would earn $190 an hour.)

Earmarks, gotta love ’em. This is why business people make such lousy public servants. They don’t understand the concept of government being not-for-profit, the idea of the public good, the commons, or that the Treasury is not their personal slush fund. All they know how to do is grift and fleece and help their friends.

It’s that overarching sense of entitlement: what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.

The article takes an in-depth look at the billionaires and multi-millionaires who got ever-richer at the taxpayer trough thanks to Mitt Romney’s boondoggle, plus some of the convoluted schemes and sleight-of-hand maneuvering that made it all happen. For instance, check out C.C. Myers, billionaire construction magnate and private developer, who got the sweetest deal of all: a brand-new, two-mile-long road (and utilities!) built straight through his private real estate development, all paid for by the federal government. Here’s the best part:

One obstacle remained to the speedy construction of the two-mile access road, to be known as Bear Hollow Drive. If the Utah Department of Transportation, the state agency responsible for highway construction, handled the job, it could insist on building the road to meet both county and state standards, a costly requirement. Again, not to worry. The Olympics make all things possible.

The Utah Sports Authority assigned responsibility to the state’s Division of Facilities Construction & Management, an agency that builds buildings, not highways. The result might have been anticipated: a winding, two-lane road with grades exceeding county standards and prone to slides and sinkholes.

Regulations, schmegulations! Who needs ’em! They’re just an oppressive block to job creators! Who cares if public money paid for a crappy road, prone to slides and sinkholes? Myers doesn’t. After all, it’s the public who pays to clear off the debris and fix the potholes. Plus, he made a mint:

The road paid off handsomely for Myers and his partners. County assessment records show that in 1990 the Summit Ranch land was valued for tax purposes at about $3 million. Ten years later the land alone—excluding the houses that had been built—was valued at $48 million, a sixteenfold increase. In the last year sale prices for homes in the partnership’s development, known as Sun Peak, have ranged between $320,000 and $1.5 million.

Welcome to Mitt Romney’s world. You want more of that good ol’ fashioned American grift? Where the 1% can pretend to be hardy, boot-strap pulling American entrepreneurs who got where they are by the sweat of their brow? Hoping you won’t notice they’ve got their hands in the taxpayer till? Then vote for Mitt Romney next November, he’ll subject the whole country to his warped notion of free market principles.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney, Olympic Games

The Ugly Season

Of course this came out of Tennessee:

“Look at my picture and ask yourself ‘Would he really do that for money?’ YOU CAN TELL I WOULD!”

That’s how Ron D. of Loudon, Tennessee, described the seriousness of his eBay listing, which was called “I will embarrass Mitt Romney on national TV for money.”

What would your high bid buy? “The possibilities,” the seller said, “are endless… As long as it isn’t against the law, I’ll do or say whatever you want until someone comes and drags me away. And it will take a few of them. I’m a biggun.” Bidding started at one penny.

Oh, Tennessee. Stay wacky.

Such is the enmity Mitt Romney inspires in people. You know, Ron D. could always just … not vote Mitt Romney! But no, Romney comes off like such a greasy player, the stereotypical used-car-salesman but with better suits, that it’s not enough just to vote against the guy. People want to take him down.

Me? I find Romney’s voice the biggest turn-off (other than the heinous “corporations are people, my friend” policies, the flip-flopping, the tying-the-dog-to-the-roof, etc.) Just in terms of the person, there’s something too smooth about that voice, that screams “untrustworthy.” If I heard Mitt Romney in a dark alley I’d run — fast. He’s that creepy.

Things Romney should never say on TV: “It won’t hurt a bit,” “trust me,” “would I lie to you?” and anything ending with the name “Clarice.”

But Romney is going to be the nominee, no matter what anyone says. No matter how much Santorum-mentum is out there. No matter what Newt Gingrich wants. It’s already been decided by our capitalist overlords. And while Democrats might rejoice that their opponent is so despised, my view is that this is going to be the ugliest, sleazieset, slimiest presidential election in U.S. history.

If you despaired the ethical nadir that was the Swift Boat Veterans, funded by big businessmen like Bob Perry and even our own Lee Beaman and foisted on the public by right-wing media figures like Jerome Corsi and Sinclair Broadcasting, well: you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s gonna get ugly. There will be new lows, unimaginably despicable depths to be plumbed. Obama won’t just be a reverse-racist, Muslim-Kenyan, Socialist Nazi. He’s going to eat aborted Christian babies for breakfast. They’ll finally find that “whitey tape.” Michelle Obama will be revealed to be Louis Farrakhan’s secret love child. I mean, I can’t even imagine it, but it’s going to be shocking, you just know it will. Because when so many people hate the Republican nominee, the Republican Party has no choice but to use fear as a motivator. And after what we saw in 2008, which was shockingly sleazy, you just know they’re going to have to crank up the volume exponentially.

At a certain point these tactics have to backfire, I keep holding out a shred of hope that my fellow Americans will finally say enough, but it hasn’t happened yet, so until it does: more of the same, but on steroids. Not just rat-fucking, but nutria-fucking. Coypu-fucking. You get the picture.

The other thing they’ve been trying to do is pretend the last Republican administration was not George W. Bush’s but Ronald Reagan’s. Have you noticed that Bush has disappeared off the map? The entire family is gone. Know what you get if you Google “Bush”? The first three results refer to the rock band. I almost feel sorry for him, except of course I don’t. But you won’t be hearing anything about Bush. Instead, he’s been replaced by Ronald Reagan, as if both Bush terms and that of his father never happened. That’s why we aren’t seeing anything from Jeb Bush. No one wants the Bush name out there reminding people of past failures. No, we’ll just pretend none of that happened and roll the clock back two decades. That, and a constant drumbeat of fear, tinged with racist dog whistles, might get enough people to hold their nose and pull the lever for the lying Massachusetts liberal in the magic underwear with Satanic markings.

This is how I see the next 10 months going. Regardless of the election’s outcome, we’re all going to come out the other end bruised and bloodied. This will not be a proud moment for American politics. You can take that to the bank.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney

Scaring Them All The Way To The Voting Booth

I just can’t imagine who is buying these bullshit theatrics about Iowa that are all over my TeeVee this morning. Every news channel is full-on Iowa right now, as if we’re all supposed to be biting our fingernails and staying up nights wondering what’s gonna happen! Even Mr. Beale got disgusted this morning and switched to Bob Newhart Show re-runs.

As I’ve said before a thousand times, anyone who doesn’t know that Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee is delusional or on crack. All the rest of this stuff is just media-generated theatrics pretending to be news because the media is too far removed from its audience to recognize what is important to us and what isn’t. The national media still thinks we believe our system functions the way we were told it does when we were in third grade. They think we believe the BS, but really, does anymore buy this nonsense? I don’t.

Who thinks Iowa and New Hampshire matter? They don’t. The Romney fix has been in since day one. Maybe I’m a cynic, but really: throwing a new, ever-more hilarious name onto the front page every four weeks (Palin! Trump! Bachmann! Perry! Cain! Gingrich!) has only discredited the media, not served to convince any sane person that the Republican Party has a stable of political talent ready to lead the nation. (See how Newsweek tarnished its brand for a sense of what I’m talking about here.)

So, let’s ignore all of the nonsense and fast forward to the time when Mitt Romney becomes the Republican nominee. Here’s an old campaign flyer Joe My God unearthed from the memory hole:

He writes:

As regards the 1994 flyer above, the one funny thing about Romney’s inevitable nomination is how he is so viciously hated by the anti-gay industry. When they’re not tweeting lies about man-dog marriage, they’re usually spewing attacks on “homo-lover Romney.” So that aspect of Romney’s nomination, at least, will be suh-weet to witness.

I think Romney is pretty much despised by all of the Republican base. Between his flip-flopping on everything, his liberalism, his stiffness and lack of charisma, his elitist background, his membership in the Country Club Class, there’s not a lot for the meat-and-potatoes conservative voter to like. What we’re going to see, which I don’t think will be “suh-weet to witness,” is 11 months of ever more hysterical fearmongering about Obama and the Democrats as the Republican machine tries to scare its base to the polls. They know their candidate is a dog so all they’ve got are lies and scare tactics to whip up the voter turnout.

If you thought 2004 with its Swift Boat lies and Justice Sunday events and fearmongering about terra terra terra was bad, or 2008 with the birther nonsense and Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim-trained-at-a-madrassa, fasten your seatbelts, it’s only gonna get worse. “Socialism” was the buzzword of the 2010 midterms; I predict some wackadoodle crazy crap that will make fearmongering about Sharia Law look like a sober policy discussion.

The only question is whether the media will continue to treat Republican scare tactics seriously. Judging by the last few election cycles, the answer is yes.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, Media, Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney Memory Hole

Much is being made of Matt Romney’s birther joke, which stirred a memory from Mittens’ last failed attempt to win the favor of Republican voters. Back then he was asked why none of his strapping young sons had served in the military. The answer, from the memory hole:

Romney: Sons Serve Country By Campaigning

(AP) Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons’ decision not to enlist in the military, saying they’re showing their support for the country by “helping me get elected.”

[…]

Romney noted that his middle son, 36-year-old Josh, was completing a recreational vehicle tour of all 99 Iowa counties on Wednesday and said, “I respect that and respect all those and the way they serve this great country.”

Oh, the unbearable, insufferable hubris of our ownership class. An RV tour of Iowa to elect his dad is somehow comparable to those serving in Iraq or Afghanistan? I don’t think so, Mittens. Of course, he’s refashioned himself into a “populist” now.

Sorry, it was hard to type that without laughing myself silly.

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Filed under 2008 presidential election, 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney

Diseased Capitalism

I realize I’m not walking any new intellectual ground here, but I couldn’t read today’s cover story on Bain Capital’s pillage of Dade International and not reflect that capitalism, unrestrained by some type of social conscience, is a disease on human society. It is, in fact, the exact opposite of what Ayn Rand spent her life claiming it to be.

Bain’s takeover of Dade International, a medical supply company, ended up costing 1,700 people their jobs, saddled the company with debt and bankruptcy, and earned Bain $242 million — eight times more than its $30 million original investment:

Bain and a small group of investors bought Dade in 1994 with mostly borrowed money, limiting their risk. They extracted cash from the company at almost every turn — paying themselves nearly $100 million in fees, first for buying the company and then for helping to run it. Later, just after Mr. Romney stepped down from his role, Bain took $242 million out of the business in a transaction that, according to bankruptcy documents and several former Dade officials, weakened the company.

[…]

Cost-cutting became a mantra inside the company. After his employer, DuPont, was bought by Dade, William T. Mowrey, a field engineer, said his generous pension plan was replaced by a 401(k); his salary was cut by $1 an hour, costing him $2,000 a year in income. When he filed for overtime, he said, his new bosses refused to pay it. “They were just trying to milk as much out of us as they could,” he said.

Mr. Mowrey, now 54, quit. Many workers, like Mr. Shoemaker, the Dade employee in Westwood, and his wife, a temporary employee at the same plant, did not leave on their own terms. When they lost their jobs in 1997, they had to abandon plans to buy their first home together. “It created a lot of stress,” said Mr. Shoemaker, 59, who had earned more than $80,000 a year.

They were the lucky ones:

For some, the emotional effects of the layoffs outweighed the financial repercussions. Soon after Dade bought the DuPont unit, it closed a plant in Puerto Rico; all but a few of its nearly 300 workers were laid off.

Arsenio Muñiz Rosado, a 51-year-old father who had spent 23 years at the plant, starting out as a groundskeeper, sank into a debilitating depression. Still jobless six months after he was let go, he tried to commit suicide with a bottle full of Xanax pills. It was the first of several attempts.

For all intents and purposes, he said of the plant, “I died in there.”

Cindy Hewitt, a human resources manager, had been instructed to persuade about a dozen of Mr. Rosado’s co-workers to move to Miami, where Dade had another plant.

Not long after the workers arrived, the company said it would close that factory, too. Ms. Hewitt tried to help several workers return to Puerto Rico, but she said Dade insisted that they first repay thousands of dollars of moving costs. “They were treated horribly,” she said. “There was absolutely no concern for the employees. It was truly and completely profit-focused.”

Ms. Hewitt said she was so disillusioned by the experience that she left the corporate world.

This is the raw, unfettered capitalism of the sort Mitt Romney and America’s ownership class not only practices but heralds as the standard by which we should measure all else. It’s the brand of capitalism that Gov. Bill Haslam espouses. It’s what people mean (intentionally or not) when they say “government should be run like a business.”

It’s a betrayal of the very people who are the backbone of our economy and our society: the middle class. Bain Capital and companies like them — the “fighter pilots of capitalism” — are vampires. They seek out the treasure in the business landscape, extract the wealth, and leave the corpse of whatever company they sucked dry to rot in the gutter of the American economy. Bain octupled its investment but left 1,700 people out of work, and even more with slashed salaries and pensions. These are people who can’t pay their mortgage or their kids’ college education, or can’t take that family vacation or buy their first home. Think of all that implies for the economy at large and you begin to understand why we find ourselves in our current mess today. But what does Bain Capital care? They sucked the meat from Dade’s bones, deposited it in their bank account, and moved on.

This is capitalism devoid of morality. And this is what Republicans and far too many Democrats have been selling us for far too long. And, if anyone wants to know, this is why the 99% movement has resonated with the average American. When profits are valued over people, over and over again, this is the result.

How ironic that Cindy Hewitt, Dade’s human resources manager, got so disillusioned by her whole experience that she left the corporate world completely. Ms. Hewitt just got a look at what value the corporate world places on this “resource” called the work force. And that would be: nil. I’ve said it here a thousand times before but it bears repeating: if our society truly valued people, if we really thought of humans as a “resource,” we wouldn’t treat people like trash. We wouldn’t devalue them at every turn.

I was musing about the need for a more realistic counterpart to Atlas Shrugged — call it Atlas Stumbled, if you will. An engaging piece of fiction where the human collateral damage of the rapacious Galts and Dagnies is revealed. But of course we don’t need this fictionalized work, the real thing is in the news every day. Or, if you must have fiction, try Harriet Arnow’s The Dollmaker or John Steinbeck’s The Grapes Of Wrath.

I’m not an anti-capitalist in toto, I’ve benefitted tremendously from capitalism in my life, and still do. But for capitalism to fully work for the benefit of the maximum number of people it needs to be tempered by some kind of social conscience, some moral rudder. And the best way to do that is by government regulation.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, economy, Mitt Romney

Romney Whitewashes Healthcare Statement In 2nd Memoir Edition

The problem with Mitt Romney isn’t his religion — it’s his flip-flopping on his own healthcare plan:

(ORLANDO, Fla.) — After the Republican presidential debate Thursday night, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney acknowledged that a line about spreading health care reform throughout the country was changed in the paperback version of Romney’s book No Apology.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said during the Florida debate that Romney took out the single line that suggested the Massachusetts health reform law could be applied to the country. The line that is removed in the paperback version reads, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.

Oh, Republicans. You keep painting yourselves into a corner! Romney even denied his book had been changed, saying:

“I actually — I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said — actually, when I put my health care plan together — and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, is this a plan that if you were president you would put on the nation, have the whole nation adopt it? I said, absolutely not. I said, this is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan.”

Le Sigh. Look, this stuff can be checked too easily. Why even lie about it? Do you think people won’t check? You’re looking like an ass. Either stand behind what you said, or say you were wrong and you’ve learned something since then. Don’t pretend you didn’t say it! That’s beyond asinine. It’s kind of making you look like a political opportunist with zero credibility.

Romney staffer Eric Fehrnstrom tried desperately to paint the edit as a change akin to fixing a typo:

“Every time a book goes from hardcover to paperback there are updates that are made,” said Fehrnstrom after the debate. “When Mitt Romney wrote his book No Apology it came out before the health reform law passed and the stimulus bill passed came so of course there were updates a year later when the paperback edition came out. That’s not unusual in the publishing industry.”

“They were simple updates to reflect that we had more information at the time the paperback came out,” said Fehrnstrom.

I just want to die laughing right now. Really? You now have “more information”? Such as how extreme the base of the Republican Party has become? The very people you have to suck up to in order to secure the nomination need you to pass their ideological purity test, and you can’t? And there are True Conservatives running for the nomination who can? But those folks could never, ever have broad enough appeal to win a general election?

Sucks to be you, dude. I can’t believe these things didn’t figure into your game plan. You’ve only been running for president for how many years now? Well, how unprepared are you? And you really think lying about your state healthcare reform is going to work?

I know it’s hard for Mitt Romney to pretend to be a True Conservative who wants to repeal “Obaamcare” while the public record shows the exact opposite. But surely you folks saw this coming, didn’t you? You didn’t have a better game plan than just denial and whitewashing the public record whenever possible?

It’s the lack of credibility, stupid.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, healthcare, Mitt Romney