Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Child Torture Round 2 Why do we see this again in Romney's campaigns?

Everyone knows by now that a Republican Arizona sheriff is gay, and was accused of threatening a Mexican boyfriend with deportation.

What you may have missed, because it was buried in the fourteenth paragraph of a 19 paragraph article, is that he was Mitt Romney's Arizona campaign co-chairman.  Before that you would have found out that the accused supported John McCain in 2008, Romney's opponent, something which is very old news and hardly worth mentioning.  In paragraph 19, you find out that the accused was raised Catholic, normally not reported in such a story, which further distances him from Mormon Mitt Romney.

This is an egregious example of media bias in favor of Romney, since this occurred shortly before Mitt Romney was to be tested in the Arizona presidential primary, and yet how Sheriff Babeu got the Romney job is not mentioned.

It turns out that is only the first step in the scandal.   On election day, but late in the day, the LA Times finally published this article, indicating this is the second time a high Romney campaign official has been associated with a disciplinary children's school or camp that used methods described as torture and bearing suggestions of pedophilia.,0,6363707.story

The accused allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a seventeen year old student at a Massachusetts boarding school, and used "disciplinary" measures such as making kids strip and wear only a sheet as punishment.

All this might be excused as an unfortunate but understandable issue for the Romney campaign, or any campaign hurriedly thrown together in the heat of battle, if it hadn't all happened before.

In 2007, Robert Lichfield resigned as Utah Finance Chairman for the Romney campaign.  He had run a website to match students with boarding schools, and he ran a strict discipline boarding school in Utah.
Like Babeu's school in Massachusetts, it involved procedures which were deemed to be torture.

Randall Hinton, Lichfield's partner was eventually convicted of kidnapping, child endangerment and other charges.  Notice that this article also tries to distance Romney from the charges by saying a Romney relation was one of the whistleblowers.

As with Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile, there were allegations of child sexual abuse.

The question is, was Babeu's school part of Lichfield's network?  The lawsuits against Lichfield's company started before he was Romney's  Utah finance chairman and he only resigned when Hinton was convicted.  Is Babeu part of a ring of such people who are still associated with Romney?  Was Sandusky part of the Romney campaign too?  Why did a humor website claim Sandusky was running for office on an anti-Mitt platform? Why the sudden need to distance the accused child molester from Mitt Romney?

What is going on here? After the 2007 experience, why does Mitt Romney still have an issue with his campaign officials? Isn't it more normal to put a few locally prominent suits like Congressmen and Governors on your team and leave the work to anonymous low level workers, where you put all your drifters and grifters?

Romney, unlike the usual politician, doesn't share the limelight with anyone.  We saw that when he took over the Salt Lake organizing committee, when it was too late to move the Olympics anywhere else, and yet Romney publicly called for prosecution of his predecessor.

Here is another way to spot a psychopath.  Interviews with murderers have convinced people that there are some key things that they have in common in telling their stories.  They call these the psychopath speech patterns.

Among the most important are a) a trail of "uhs" as the desired facial expressions are framed under questioning; b) use of past tense to distance the perpetrator from the crime; c) use of  subordinate clauses to show necessity of crime within a plan; and d) focus on physical needs as opposed to higher order issues.

Now go back and look at Romney's explanation of tying his dog on the roof:

He had a pat fast-talk response, but still managed 11 uhs in trying to present it and still seem pleasant and dog loving.  He used the past tense to describe the incident - except when he said "his name is Seamus and we love the dog,"  Seamus must have died long ago, making this present tense usage absurd.  However, Romney described the roof incident as if happened a hundred years ago. Romney did not use many subordinate causation clauses, but did use a number of subordinate phrases like "in terms of Massachusetts" when speaking of the fact that he broke the law. Furthermore, he focused on the physical situation of the dog to interpret that the dog was okay with the action, not the issue of the dog's terror that would have been the primary concern of a dog lover.

In short, the response was the same response a murderer would give when talking about his crimes.

This is all old news and what difference does it makes?  Well it makes a difference if Romney is president and staffs high positions with people who are associated with a pedophile ring or is even a pedophile himself.  It makes a difference if Romney has no professional approach to staffing but works his gut.  It makes a difference if Romney is an unusually bad judge of character.  It makes a difference if Romney is so unwilling to hire strong leaders who might outshine him or talk back to him that he staffs his cabinet with underqualified or unqualified people.
This is not a side issue, although the press are conspiring to keep it so.  It is a bread and butter reflection on his judgement.


Deconstructing Michigan: No Home Run for Romney

The press and CNN are trying to make it sound like Romney won a smashing victory in Arizona and Michigan tonight. The facts don't really support that. Romney won 29 delegates in Arizona, a big win but in a state with half a million Mormons, not a surprise.  What was a surprise is that he got less than 50% of the primary vote.  In 2008 moderate Arizona Senator John McCain defeated him. This year showed a decline in Republican voting, although it was not especially significant given the lack of a favorite son on the ballot.

In Michigan, things were very close.  Both Romney and Santorum earned a miserable 15 delegates, essentially tying. In the popular vote Romney won by 32,000 votes, all but a few hundred of those were his margin of victory in Oakland County, where he grew up.   If there were skulduggery in the numbers, Oakland County is the place to look. Interestingly, Romney's margins in neighboring metro Detroit counties were much smaller. Oakland is reputed wealthy, and exit polls showed Romney losing all voters with family incomes under $100,000 a year to Santorum in Michigan.

What is interesting is what did not work for Santorum.  Santorum's opposition to abortion in all cases, even rape and incest, meant that pretty much all voters who didn't share that view, a large majority, preferred Romney.   Romney's failure to back the auto bailout also didn't hurt him.  I think Michigan Republicans in general favored bankruptcy as a way to break the UAW and invite Chinese and Indian car makers to pick over GM's bones, but it remains problematic for Romney in the Michigan general election.  Santorum also revealed a curious weakness among male voters compared to female voters, while male voters favored Ron Paul much more than female voters.

 There was a lot of noise about Democrats and Independents "crashing" the vote for Santorum.  Only 10% of the voters were Democrats, and while they favored Santorum, only 53% of their votes went to him.  While that was much more than Romney received (18%),   Independents (31%) actually favored Romney over Santorum, so it does not invalidate Santorum's success in winning more counties than McCain did in 2008.

The total vote did increase significantly from 2008, the first state in the entire primary process to do so.  The involvement of Democrats and Independents might have accounted for the 35% increase in votes, although these same Democrats and Independents referred to themselves as conservatives.   It could mean that the huge sums expended - Romney may have spent $25 million or more in Michigan alone - were able to generate some excitement.  For now, I will wait and see if there is reason to believe the vote totals inflated.

I think the bottom line is that Mitt Romney won despite the voters disliking him.  In Michigan, power and money count for everything, and Romney is the power and money candidate, essentially the gangster figure.  Wherever the Republican electorate flatters itself with mafia machismo, Romney is likely to win. However, his appeal is not broad, does not extend to the poor, to voters in rural areas or outside of rich suburbs. On the other hand, his gaffe production in the Michigan campaign may actually have helped him by distracting voters from the issues of the Medicare fraud one company engaged in while it was under his management; and his financial improprieties at another.  As long as Romney could make the election about his "Style" he had less serious negatives than the other candidates.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Can Money make Michigan Vote for Romney?

The press pundits are unanimous: Romney is rising again.  They are trying to make it a sporting contest and their representations of Santorum's debate performance were brutal.  Funny,  the public didn't have the same reaction, but now the full court is on.  Romney is trying to pin all of George W. Bush's big government programs on Santorum and make people forget Romney's work in Big Government Massachusetts on the Big Dig and Health Care.  Santorum's answers were coherent this time, and his performance is improving.  However, his answers did reveal he has never been a leader.  He voted sometimes against sacred conservative principles because he was told to by the Bush administration.  Nonetheless,  Romney has outspent Santorum by five to one trying to gain the upper hand and has only gotten a couple points to show for it.  People don't like him, and they have good reason not to.

In this clip, he insults Michiganders by saying their trees are "the right height."  Not only did he say it in Farmington Hills, but he said it again at a later stop, implying some handler actually vetted this comment.  He didn't say the "trees are big here," which would have flattered them.  That implies he thinks the trees are short in Michigan, which is not flattering. And he likes that because it is easier to see the  lakes, which suggests that trees only matter to him insofar as they complement his views.  He reveals himself, again, to be a psychopath.

He goes on to make a wildly exaggerated claim that when he was growing up he could identify any car by one square foot section.  Obviously that would not have been possible (give him one in the middle of a door, for example), but it's the kind of over the top false claim which is normal in big business and Wall Street, but not normal in Michigan, where people don't understand that kind of "cult of the entrepreneur" fish story lying.  Romney goes on to say that he always wanted a managed bankruptcy for GM when what  he really always wanted was to break the union. I find it odd he didn't just say that, because Republicans in Michigan would have eaten it up.  It seems an odd scruple given the audience.

Still, Michigan is his best bet to stop Santorum's momentum, and what it comes down to is not his ability to drive a wedge between Santorum's record and the tea party, but his ability to convince Michiganders that the old ways still hold and they should stick with him because he represents power and money, and if they don't they will regret it.  It's a gangster's theme.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Maine: More Fraud in the Mitt Success Story; the Abortion story is true

Mitt Romney supposedly "won" Maine, although his vote total dropped 25% compared to 2008 when he did win that state.  Maine was the first state which will show an increase in turnout in 2012 compared to 2008, and apparently that was entirely due to the Ron Paul enthusiasts, who almost upset Romney.  Losing to Paul would have been an embarrassment to the Bush and Rove approved frontrunner, so a Paul-heavy county had its caucuses postponed to prevent this untoward possibility.

And indeed, the Maine state party chairman has already said Washington County's votes WILL NOT COUNT in the state totals (last line in the article from the Kennebec Journal):

As in Iowa, democracy has become a sham in order to give us the Romney story he wants.

Meanwhile, today the New York Times ran an article on Mitt Romney and abortion, detailing his moving position.  As usual, the reporters soft-balled it, not even to see if it was true that Mitt Romney's mother supported abortion rights and had a relative killed in a botched abortion.  It's the kind of perfect lie setup for Romney: even if he knows it to be untrue, he could always blame it on his mother, and what boy wouldn't believe his mother?

Salon, however, looked into the details last August.  Ann Keenan was six years older than Mitt and her brother married his sister, distant enough relation that would not have reflected on the upbringing of the governor's son.  Romney was 16 and his dad was Governor when she died (old enough for him to have impregnated her).

How curious that this one Romney story turned out to be true!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Romney crashes and burns in three states

Mitt Romney lost the primary in Missouri, and failed also in Colorado and Minnesota.  Colorado he won in 2008.  He has a decided enthusiasm gap.  Nonetheless, he made little effort in these states (v. the 13,000 mostly anti-Gingrich ads he ran in Florida) and he is expected to win Mormon-heavy Arizona and his dad's state of Michigan in the  near future.

Romney is still the favorite to win, as Southerners don't like Santorum and Yankees don't like Gingrich.  If he can get into a two person race with Obama, then all his money and vote stealing can come to the fore.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mitt's Malaprops: Freudian Slips or a Reckless Agenda?

Paul Krugman does a typical liberal piece indicating that Romney, in best Freudian fashion, has told his real feelings about the poor in his mis-speaking.

But I think this is not the right interpretation.  First of all, Romney has been running for president for a the better part of a decade now, so whatever  tendencies to malapropism he might have had are well controlled. 
What can’t be controlled is the psychopath’s courting of risk, and that’s the real danger.  Romney thinks he can be elected while telling the American people off to their faces.   Historically Romney has not relied on persuasion but power to get his way, waiting until the legislature was in recess for most of his moves in Massachusetts, and relying on social structures not just to promote his advancement but to win political power for him.  What I fear that means, is that his misstatements are deniable statements of real intent: and the targets of that intention are supposed to be intimidated.

 In Massachusetts, Romney faced a legislature that was 85% Democratic, and as we know from previous posts, Salt Lake City was keen he get along with Massachusetts' liberals.  But with a Republican Congress, Romney would likely move to a far right agenda. You’d better believe the social security disability rolls would be slashed in half; that food stamps as a program would probably be eliminated for the crime of becoming too expensive; that Medicaid rather than Medicare would receive further axe attention; and AFDC would probably be eliminated entirely.  Pretty much any bugaboo of the conservatives of the 1970s would be a target.   And when some will complain they thought he was moderate, he would only have to point to these interviews and say, “I told you what I wanted.”

His grandiose desire for reckless change is most apparent in defense policy where he has criticized Obama for authorizing a $6 billion cut in a $525 billion annual budget.   He is obsessed with having a military "so powerful no one will ever dare challenge it" and makes ridiculous claims that the Navy and Air Force are weaker now than at any time since just after World War II.  Rather than accepting a diminished role in the world, Mitt Romney has rather megalomaniac ideas about our foreign relations.

He has all but guaranteed war with Iran saying if he is elected "Iran will not have a nuclear weapon" and refusing to say he would even consult Congress before declaring war. His foreign policy adviser has advocated nuking Iran.,_get_war_in_iran_/

In November he even said he would "prepare for war" with Iran.

Thus, Romney's recklessness knows no bounds when he doesn't have a political constituency to satisfy.  He is a most dangerous man, and that is what his "misstatements" most reveal.

Probable fraud gives Romney first majority in Nevada

Mitt Romney has won his first absolute majority.  Well, maybe.

Nevada waited a full day to report the results of its 2012 presidential caucus. This state, which Mitt Romney won with 51% of the vote in 2008, he "won" with 50.1% of the vote in 2012 after organizers acknowledged that more votes were counted than voters had signed in, particularly in contentious and Mormon-heavy Clark County (Las Vegas).

And yet for all that, Romney got 25% fewer votes than in 2008.  Why would they bother to steal enough votes to give him a majority, given his wide lead over the other candidates? Nevada is one of the Mormons' key states, and if he could not win a majority there, his brand would have been damaged. That they may have stolen just enough to win in Nevada, as they narrowly failed to do in Iowa, should bid fair warning to everyone: here is a campaign dedicated to managing the VOTE TOTALS, not just public opinion.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Romney votes 4% of total population in Florida

Mitt Romney won Florida, it is said, rather handily.  He spend $15.5 million dollars on television ads alone, meaning his total campaign costs of the state would have exceeded $1 for every man woman and child in the state of 19 million.

Mitt received 771,000 votes, a whopping 4% of the population deciding he'd be a good president, and less than half the total votes cast in the Republican primary.  That's less than 200,000 more votes than he got in 2008, and in total, GOP primary votes declined 300,000 from 2008 to 2012.  The simple explanation for his improved performance might be that he picked up the Giuliani voters from 2008, but his geographic strength shifted, making it likely that many who supported him in 2008 in the North of Florida no longer do; and many who didn't support him in Tampa and South Florida now do.  Then he was a conservative challenger to John McCain.  Now he is being painted as a moderate, although that is certainly unfair to him.  The decline in votes probably doesn't worry them as much as you might think.  On the surface, it means people are unenthusiastic. However, it may also reflect deliberate vote suppression engineered by the GOP to deprive minorities (particularly the unsympathetic black and Hispanic minorities) of votes.  In this, early voting was cut by one-third and Saturdays eliminated to stop people with jobs from voting while the elderly can still manage.

In the  meantime, an alert blogger has noticed a severe drop in Romney's local taxes, suggesting he is using his multiple residences to avoid tax and therefore may be voting in Massachusetts while claiming residence in New Hampshire for tax purposes and spending most of his time in California!

Romney's win was enough, however, to bring Donald Trump over to his side, which reminds one of the old statement of Malcom Muggeridge, who then was referring to the English: "A ruling class which is on the run, as ours is, is capable of every fatuity. It makes the wrong decisions, chooses the wrong people, and is unable to recognize its enemies - if it does not actually prefer them to its friends."

Donald Trump would not profit from a Romney gangster government, but from some desperation or other, he has been driven into the Romney camp.