Thursday, July 26, 2012

Romney stuns Brits by suggesting Olympics may fail

Mitt Romney showed he isn't ready for international primetime by questioning London's preparation for the Olympic Games, which start tomorrow.  He did this hours before his meeting with the British conservative PM, and questioned the support for the Games in the British nation.  He also snubbed the leader of the Labor Party by calling him "Mr. Leader," which is not one of his official titles, or his name.  It is probably an attempt to convey a belief that the Labor Party wants a communist dictatorship like North Korea.

The British PM made a suitably catty reply implying Salt Lake City is the middle of nowhere, so it's easy to have an Olympics there.

Was Romney intentionally poking at the Brits, perhaps to erase the impression of slavish Anglophilia in the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" remarks of his underling? Of course not.  Nor was he hitting the Brits back for releasing that story.  No, Romney is all about his personal image.  When he took over the Salt Lake Games he publicly called for the conviction of the previous head of the Games for bribery (even though he hired the actual Bribers himself).  He will sneer at any Olympic effort which was not his own, because he thinks it boosts his image.  In the same way, he has been critical of everyone at Bain since he stopped running things. In the history of the United States, there has never been a presidential candidate more focused on his personal image than this one.  Not even Clinton and Nixon were this bad.

Did the Salt Lake Olympics run perfectly? Of course not. The security was excessive and there were repeated security false alarms. There were problems for disappointed local businessmen, judging problems, weather problems, course problems, Mormon image problems, and at one point a power outage as noted by this list of Canadian games stories from that time.

Is there "outrage" in America over Romney's "gaffe"? Of course not.

The American media have effectively buried the story (but will resuscitate if anything gets screwed up in London - and since something always gets screwed up, even at Beijing there were numerous problems - they will trot out these "prescient" comments).  They will, however, run a Romney interview tonight in which he reiterates one of his talking points, "Stop attacking success," although the primary assailant of success in this campaign has been the Republican's assault on an improving economy, successful military and foreign policy initiatives of Obama, and popular government programs.

Meanwhile, the USOC did their part for Romney by demanding the Obama campaign discontinue an ad that shows a Beijing Olympic scene in it. The USOC appears to feel they own all such images, although I suspect a legal challenge would discover they do not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Romney, Roma, and the Race Card

To nobody's surprise, the Romney campaign has been trying to corral the racist vote with suggestive remarks.  John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor, said the president should "learn how to be an American."  He later apologized, and the media all tried to spin it as a rejoinder to the president's comment that business owners did not build their companies by themselves, which Republicans think is outrageous.  Naturally they had no objection when Mitt Romney told Olympic athletes at the 2002 Olympics they didn't succeed on their own.

A story on the apology:
 This particular blog didn't even refer to the original comments in their story about the apology.

But Sununu's actual comments contained worse.:

 “He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, and when he came to the U.S. worked as a community organizer — which is a socialized structure — and then got into politics in Chicago. There has been no experience in his life in which he’s earned a private-sector paycheck that meant anything.”  Note that Sununu implies Hawaii is not part of the U.S. even though it has been a state throughout Obama's life.

Obama was a small child when he moved to Indonesia, so he wasn't "smoking something"  He returned to the US for high school and college, a year working, and then law school.  Then he became a community organizer.  He had a number of private sector jobs, and of course "community organizing" is hardly a communist apparatchik job in America.  Obama built his community group from three people to seventy-five essentially from scratch.  Mitt Romney's financial predations were carried out on existing businesses, and the new company he "started" on instructions from Bill Bain had millions in start up capital lined up to begin with. 

This was not the first and would not be the last attempt to frame Obama as not American.  In London, two advisers who said Romney told them not to criticize Obama to foreign media, did just that, saying he didn't appreciate the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" the US and Britain share and saying that Romney is "naturally more Atlanticist."

Anyone who thinks the candidate himself is not behind such remarks got their answer at Romney's response to being booed at the NAACP, which was to suggest that they wanted "Free stuff" from government.

None of this is any surprise.  The question is, is it true.  Romney's ancestors came from Britain, but the name "Romney" itself, is derived from the Roma or gypsy people.   Romney is one of the words they call themselves or their language.
 Various places in England, like Romney marsh, were named for them because they were notorious gypsy gathering places.  Gypsies or Roma people wandered to England from, ultimately, India, and pursued a nomadic lifestyle within the kingdom.  It is not known, of course, whether Romney got his name from the Roma people because he is one, or because his ancestors came from these places that were historically tied to the Roma people such as Dalton, place of a Traveler's fair, which has been anxious to claim the Romneys.

It is known, however, that the Roma people and Mormons have had an historic affinity based precisely on the fact that Roma have an exclusive communal clan-based culture, hostile to outsiders, that differs in many ways from the "Anglo-Saxon heritage," as do Mormons.  Note the last paragraph in this study from the last decade

"There are Romanies who have embraced Mormonism" although the article suggests that Pentecostalism is a more frequent choice.

Nonetheless, there was probably a profound Roma influence on early Mormons like the Romneys.  Brigham Young famously encouraged emigration using handcarts, a cheaper version of  the gypsy vardo much in use among Roma people in Europe even to the present day, and it is entirely probable that much early Mormon immigration from Europe during the era the Romneys arrived might have been from people already familiar with this technology, that is to say, Roma people.  It is also probable that the Mormon treatment of "gentiles" owes more to the Roma concept of "Gaje" than to the Jewish concept of "Gentiles."

In short, it is not unlikely that Obama's Anglo-Saxon bona fides are perhaps superior to Romney's.  Romney will try to appeal to racists in this election and each remark will be reported by the media as a dog whistle to summon the racists to his camp (sometimes with disapproving head shakes, and sometimes not). However, it is rather unlikely any of them will even mention the likely gypsy origins of the Republican candidate's family.  As Holocaust victims, the Roma people should be treated without prejudice.  However, the fact is that people who disapprove of Obama because of race would also likely disapprove of Romney if he were demonstrated to be of Roma origin, so there will be a cone of silence around this topic, demonstrating again the double standards of American media.

Meanwhile, Romney still has the option of asking Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Herman Cain, Bobby Jindal, or Florida's lieutenant governor (currently embroiled in a lesbian sex scandal) if  he needs 'color' on the ticket, although it might scotch his gains from the race gambit, so it likely won't be done.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Salt Lake Olympics bribery officials give millions to Mitt

A central element in the Legend of Romney is that he "cleaned up" the Salt Lake City Olympics after a bribery scandal. We have previously seen on this blog how his contributions were exaggerated, as was the profit.  Originally he claimed to take over facing a $120 million deficit and leave a $10 million profit, but by 2012 he had inflated these figures to $400 million deficit and $100 million profit (something he also did with his record as Massachusetts governor).  None of these figures is remotely true - even the $10 million included post-Games contributions.  By November I'm sure he'll be claiming a "billion dollar" turnaround in the Olympics.  The Salt Lake Committee were keen to encourage this legend, selling pins with Mitt's photo.  Utah Governor Mike Leavitt signalled to Mormons he was their boy when he was announced Romney as the new head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.  Romney now intends to make him head of his presidential transition unit.

Romney encouraged this clean up legend by firing the Salt Lake CFO under false pretenses and calling for a bribery conviction for his indicted predecessors.  The CFO landed at Mrs. Fields and a Mormon judge threw out the bribery indictments on the grounds that bribery of foreigners is not against the law in Utah.  But other than that, did Romney actually do anything to clean up the Utah Olympics?

The answer is no. He awarded key contracts to people in the bribery scandal, and they have rewarded him with millions in campaign contributions through the years.  Romney, in short, was as dirty as anyone in the Salt Lake Games, which seamlessly fused the fascism of Mormon Utah with the fascism of the IOC.

The total donations to Romney over the years from these two bribery scandal figures is $1.5 million.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Speculation mounts as to what is hiding in Romney's tax returns

Romney's "Obama=liar" campaign has won over conservatives, including a hysterical editorial in Investors Business Daily today, a neo-Nazi rag pretending to be about business and continually shifting to move themselves farther right than the always right leaning Wall Street Journal.  The public has not taken notice yet.
Mother Jones has of course made the whole issue moot by uncovering some Romney outsourcing investment from 1998, which is as predictable as bear leaving a trail of bear scat.

Perhaps IBD, WSJ and their cronies just need time to confuse the issue.   Remember why outsourcing is bad.  $1 paid to an American worker is spent locally, enabling local businesspeople to spend, and their suppliers to spend so that $1 becomes $3 in economic activity. Send $1 to a contractor hiring overseas labor, and you lose the entire $3.  The salary paid to foreign workers goes to multiply in their community, and the profit to the contractor is usually lost as well, being spent in overseas investments or held as economically inflationary and destructive speculation on asset prices.  When that outsourcing is in a program to deliver relief to poor people, as in Massachusetts, the loss is greater since a job given to someone on food stamps would lead to more economic activity and perhaps several people not needing food stamps, medical care, housing, welfare, etc.  In other words, your loss just went from $3 loss to the community to $4 to the community by outsourcing one payroll dollar, $3 is in lost economic activity plus $1 in required additional poor relief.   Granted that $1 stays in the community and is better than the $$ cost of starvation that would otherwise occur, but it is still a bad deal.

Romney would not have calculated this because he had an extremely short time horizon as a businessman.  Indeed, the Staples investment is a perfect example.  Bain Capital divested when Staples had $12 million in sales.  Why? Because their business model was to "pump and dump" not "buy and hold."    And that is key to understanding why the outsourcing was such a big deal.  Bain Capital and Bain Consulting  ran on a business model that promoted outsourcing, so even when he personally wasn't involved in a deal, it reflected his business model, and his business model included outsourcing.  We know that because he vetoed the legislature's attempt to put an end to outsourcing in Massachusetts in 2004.   This is fact, and when Romney calls Obama a "liar" on this issue, then he is adding to his already overwhelming stack of lies.  That of course is classic Karl Rove: Bush was an AWOL deserter so Kerry had to be accused of military misconduct.  Now Romney is known as a pathological liar so for the next four months we will be told from every pulpit in the land that Obama is the biggest liar ever, and on thin or fake evidence like this.

That "business model" also led Bain Capital down the path of fraud.  When Romney sold Damon Corp. to Corning Inc. at a profit, he was clearly defrauding Corning if he knew about Damon's Medicare scams as he claims.  Part of Bain's model was leverage.  Bain would buy a company and then get that company to borrow on their credit, but typically one third the money borrowed did not go to improve the company, but it was transferred to Bain Capital and booked as profit. That should also be seen as fraud on a grand scale, since it enabled Bain Capital to make money at the cost f the creditors who thought they were lending to a going concern.

That record of consistent business fraud leads people to speculate on why Romney has refused to publish any more than 1 year of tax returns.  The official Republican position is that he obeyed the law, and the custom of presidential candidates baring their finances is an invasion of privacy and silly besides.  However, when John McCain vetted Romney for VP, Romney gave McCain 20 years of tax returns.  The fact that Romney wasn't chosen, makes people think that McCain might have discovered problems in them.

Some of the possibilities:

1. Romney lost money in some years, paying no tax, thus puncturing his image as an infallible businessman
2. Still more foreign bank accounts not yet disclosed
3. Mishandled political contributions
4. Huge charitable contributions, possibly to groups that he pretends to be against.
5. Huge post-games contribution to Salt Lake Olympics, which otherwise would not have reported a profit
6. Losses to Madoff or some other ponzi scheme
7. Large profits from foreign businesses engaged in businesses antithetical to US interests
8. Income levels so high, his personal wealth must be much larger than has been admitted
9. Tax fraud or participation in the Swiss Bank Account tax amnesty for cheaters
10. Contributions to hate groups
11. Gambling profits or losses
12. Investments in liquor, pornography or other areas inconsistent with his image

The longer Romney delays revealing his taxes, the more speculation there will be. If that were Romney's only crisis of character, it might even be a good ploy to wait until the week before the election to release them, since all the speculation would then seem like a paranoid bad dream if there is nothing in them.  However, that is not the case this year.  There is more than enough dirt on Romney even without the tax returns.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Romney's "gotcha" campaign of calling Obama a "liar" continues with ridiculous distortions

Apparently, the GOP and the media think the public are dumb enough to believe anything.  Romney's latest campaign against Obama's "Outsourcing" ads is to call him on a liar on two grounds, neither of which reflect favorably on Mitt Romney. The first claim is that Romney left Bain Capital in 1999 to run the Salt Lake Olympics, so nothing that happened at Bain after that time can be charged to him.  He continued to be CEO and was paid a salary through 2002, however, and indeed he continues to get money from Bain even today.

So either he was really Bain CEO at that time, in which case his claims to have "saved" the Salt Lake City Olympics are fake; or he wasn't CEO, in which case he was paid a salary for doing nothing.  Neither case reflects creditably on him, and as we have seen in a prior post on this blog, the Salt Lake games were already in the bag when he headed them up, and he added little value.  The Salt Lake games post was to groom him to be the first Mormon president, not to utilize his management skills.  As for Bain, it is likely he interferes in both Bain Consulting and Bain Capital even today.

The GOP continues to try to get the media to contaminate itself in supporting his lies.  Here's one Mitt-oriented "fact check" that misses the point with regard to Massachusetts using Indian call center labor on a program designed to help the Massachusetts poor.

In 2004, the Mass. legislature passed a law to end the funding of outsourcing, which the blog notes, most states were doing.  Romney vetoed that provision of the law, meaning he intended to keep outsourcing in place. Citigroup was running a call center for support for the Massachusetts food stamps program in India.  So an unemployed Massachusetts impoverished person who need help on her food stamps would call somebody in India for help.  The dimwitted fact checkers say this means the Obama ad is a lie because Romney was only preserving outsourcing, not starting it; and it was the contractor Citigroup that was doing the outsourcing, not the state government itself.  First of all, there is no claim as to when the program started. Chances are Romney did start it.  Second, if they can't see  there is something wrong with hiring a private contractor to run a program targeted at unemployed poor people by hiring cheap labor 12,000 miles away, then they don't know the meaning of "penny wise, pound foolish."  Perhaps if some Massachusetts people had been hired for the call center, there would have been less need for food stamps.  Moreover, they miss the fact that Romney's veto confirms he believed in the principle of outsourcing.  In short, the Obama campaign ads are true: Romney was an outsourcer as governor.

But the Romneyites seem to think they can confuse the issue by claiming Romney wasn't responsible, even though the outsourcing happened, and even though Bain Consulting, Bain Capital, and the State of Massachusetts all did it, and all of them were headed by Mitt Romney. They think the public is stupid indeed.  They think if they can catch Obama in any misstatement, or as outsourcer of even one job, they have completely removed these issues from the table, so Romney's outsourcing in fact and in principle, and his thousands of lies, no longer matter.

That alone should disqualify him with the voters. Romney thinks you're stupid.  His best play in this situation would be to say, yes, he parked money in tax havens to avoid taxes, and yes he outsourced as a matter of policy in business; but that's why you should elect him, he knows how it's done and how to stop it.  He will not, not only because he doesn't intend to stop it, but he is so committed to the notion that he is morally superior to everyone else that he will not stop the lies. Remember, Romney has been told his whole life that Mormons are better than other people, and that he has been chosen by divine prophecy to be the first Mormon president and possibly the One Mighty and Strong whose job is to save America.  All  his life he has been told these things, sometimes mockingly no doubt, but it would hardly be surprising that he seems to think that anything he does is by definition righteous.  He can rationalize any crime, anything at all, with this mindset.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yahoo "News" makes fraudulent claim that "facts" don't support Obama outsourcing ad

Yahoo had a teaser "Facts Contradict Obama ad" followed by an even more shrill and fake inside headline "Obama ad doesn't stand up to the facts" followed by the following comment "The President's campaign accuses Romney of outsourcing jobs to China, but the claim has been debunked. Lies (in blue)."  Then there is a link to a highly biased, obviously Republican planted fake "fact check" article.

The problem is of course that that article is a lie.  The Obama ad is based on a Washington Post article that mentions specific investments Bain Capital made that specialized in outsourcing call centers.

While the article says Bain Capital was not the primary player in the Outsourcing, it does not add that another company Romney once headed, Bain CONSULTING, actually was one of the biggest outsourcers of American jobs in the last twenty years.  Bain Consulting created Romney's career.  After he left to found Bain Capital in 1984, he came back when Bain Consulting was having difficulties, brokered a deal between the founders and the new breed of partners (many of them foreign) and set the stage for Bain Consulting's global expansion and offshoring work.

Here is a 2005 Bain & Co. (Consulting) document telling companies to get past the "whether" to offshore to India and China and just do it.

While Romney can't be held personally responsible for what Bain Consulting does, neither can he be absolved of responsibility.  It is a joke that he pretends to get tough on China when the professional philosophy and professional companies he has worked with all have led the way in outsourcing to China.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Romney and the VP choice. Why is Meg Whitman so conspicuous by her absence?

Romney's choice of VP is something he has to do that Obama can't, so it's in Romney's best interest to keep as many people guessing as possible between now and the Convention to maximize speculation.
However, the Republican talent field is so thin that this may not actually help him, but rather associate him with people he'd be smarter to run from, like Donald Trump.

The media is filled with stories pointing to Rob Portman on the one hand; or Condoleeza Rice on the other.  What they seem to miss is the man himself.  McCain wanted his VP choice to be a "game changer" and Sarah Palin was.  Since Romney's game is less to generate excitement than to provide less of a target to Obama, he probably won't go with a surprise choice - but, it can't be ruled out.  He is after all a psychopath, and such people are risk takers.  An example of this was the choice of Dan Quayle by George H.W. Bush.
It took all the pundits by surprise.  What is interesting is the complete absence of any speculation regarding Romney's 2008 front runner, Meg Whitman.  A former Bain consultant, she knew Romney.  She lost a tough race for governor of California, she has been known as a layoff queen in business, and her son's legal problems were dealt with by getting Romney's son to hire him.  She hasn't been all over the campaign as she was in 2008.  Does this mean she is clearly out of the running, or is this just a bit of gamesmanship by the Romneys?

She spent $148 millon on her campaign for Governor of California and received only 41% of the vote, barely 4 million.  That shouldn't deter Romney though: he won the primaries with less than 10 million votes across the entire United States and he received only 4.5 million votes in his 2008 presidential run despite spending tens of millions of his money.  In short, she is certainly his equal as a politician, and more than his equal as a businessperson.  She also shares his values of wealth before wisdom, and if Romney is going to prove that democracy is a feeble easily corrupted thing, it is best to go whole hog with Whitman so that the public learn the lesson: it doesn't matter what THEY think, the rich have figured out how to win no matter what.  Such an intimidation factor would enable his presidency.

Ann Romney takes after Mitt in defrauding a buyer; Mitt decides to lay low

Fraud in the marketing of horses has a long history of drawing draconian punishment.  Last year a California woman got almost four years in jail for drugging horses and painting them for sale.

Ann Romney did the same thing, but received no jail time, just a lawsuit.

Ann performed on a lame horse for five years as her people drugged it ever more heavily.  Not only does it reinforce the idea of animal cruelty which is so apparent in the Romney family, but business fraud  as well.

Mitt Romney sold Damon Corp. to Corning at a profit, but Damon Corp. had been inflating revenue by bogus Medicare claims.  Romney said, oh, I blew the whistle on that, but if he did, he didn't tell Corning, and the FBI categorically denied it.  If his story was true, he defrauded Corning. If his story is a lie, then he was ignorant of a fraud scheme and didn't understand the business he was running. Ignorance would be the best defense for the Romneys both in the case of Damon Corp. and the horse, but they won't defend it that way.  ABC wrote a biased article on his behalf about Damon earlier this year, claiming 1) other companies also did it; and 2) after outside counsel told them to change policies, Romney says he did it.  No names or memos or dates proving this have been provided, so it's quite possible this is as phoney as his previous denials.  Nonetheless, it still does not excuse him from the charge of defrauding Corning Inc.

Indeed,  stories like Damon, Dade International, and the horses indicate that the Romneys' core business practices involved fraud.  That should come as no surprise to those who see his relentless lying on the campaign trail, but it is important because his wealth is his only recommendation for competence; and since that wealth is more and more seen as a case of sharp practice, it means that Romney has no justification for running for president.

It's likely he already knows this.  Some of his campaign advisers have revealed that he is avoiding the mainstream media, refusing to do interviews, and concentrating on right wing conspiracy blogs to plant his anti-Obama messages.

If that seems dumb, think again.  First of all, the mainstream media are in his corner anyway, because he and his friends own them.  Second, he is a desperately unlikeable personality, and that won't change by November. Third, he apparently sees the election as a referendum on Obama and the economy, so the less specific he is, the more votes he will pick up.  His best play, then, is to remain distant and vague.