The HyperTexts

Mitt Romney on Israel, the Palestinians, Iran and the Middle East

This is the main we must not vote for Mitt Romney: He has assembled the same team of neoconservatives (neocons) who plotted to attack Iraq on false premises, and they are now plotting to attack Iran on the same false premises. Their names and intentions will be revealed below, after I have pointed out some of the truly odd goings-on at the recent commencement party of "America's Comeback Team" ...

Battleships and Freudian Slips

When Mitt Romney revealed that his running mate would be Paul Ryan, the announcement was made in front of a battleship. When Ryan emerged from the USS Wisconsin, the music being played was from the movie Air Force One. Was this a signal to allies and enemies of the U.S. that the neocons who launched the invasion of Iraq are still firmly in control of the GOP, and now stand ready to use the immensely powerful American navy and air force to attack Iran and any other Middle Eastern nations that refuse to submit to U.S. and Israeli tyranny? (No doubt Bibi Netanyahu and other Israeli neocons were just as "deeply excited" as Paul Ryan to see this impressive show of power.)

Like Rachel Maddow, I object to two men who chose not to serve in the military running down from the battleship to the podium, laughing and waving. I was reminded of Michael Dukakis playing tank commander and George W. Bush using a jet dubbed Navy One to land on the USS Abraham Lincoln (after he had allegedly played truant from the Texas Air National Guard unit that helped keep him from seeing duty in Vietnam!).

It was hopefully a good omen that the Wisconsin is a decommissioned WWII-vintage battleship, currently in mothballs. Perhaps this is a sign that Romney's campaign will be shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

"Join me," Romney instructed the crowd, "in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan!"

Was this a mistake, or a Freudian slip? (I suspect the latter.)

The ever-dapper, always-wooden Romney stood at the microphone sans jacket, wearing a light blue tie. Ryan wore a billowing, cloak-like black jacket that made him look like a Jedi gone over to the dark side, or perhaps a KGB agent in a Cold War film noir. Did they dress this way as a signal that Ryan is the more serious, capable and formidable leader, just as Dick Cheney was a far more serious, capable and formidable leader than George W. Bush? In any case, Ryan looked a bit spook-y to me, please pardon the pun.

As Ryan was marveling—"Wow! Hey! Man!"—that he was standing in the shadow of the mighty (if completely obsolete) Wisconsin, a distant, distraught voice could be heard—"Hold on! Hold on!"

It was Romney, returning to the stage to renounce his claim that Ryan would be the next president. (Whew, that was a close call!)

Romney probably came close to giving Ryan a heart attack when he interrupted his speech with: "Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake." For a few painful seconds, a puzzled-looking Ryan must have felt like Bain Capital worker being informed that his job had just been outsourced to China. Romney at least had the wits to recover somewhat, with: "I did not make a mistake with this guy. But I can tell you this, he's gonna be the next vice-president of the United States." Romney sounded more hopeful than confident (as when he talks about his tax returns).

The marriage made in political heaven seemed to have suddenly hit the honeymoon rocks. And this was before elderly people in Florida began protesting what Romney and Ryan propose to do to Medicare, forcing Romney to cancel a speaking engagement in Orlando, presumably to regroup and think of new lies (euphemistically called "campaign promises"). In any case, Romney and Ryan will not be going to the Magic Kingdom anytime soon, except perhaps in their highly irrational dreams that they are the "saviors" of the "American way." Since when is it the American way to wage war after illegal war, while sending our children, parents and grandparents to the poorhouse? Only since the madness of King George—George W. Bush—has fighting unwinnable wars while the nation goes bankrupt been a national goal. Before, it was something we tried to avoid, not always successfully. But the battleship and triumphant strains of martial music seem to clearly indicate that Romney and Ryan are ready, willing and able to go to war (as long as they and their children don't have to risk their lives, and their super-rich patrons don't have to risk any of their money, which explains why Medicare must be gutted while the poor and middle classes shoulder even more of the tax loads and war debts).

"He’s never been content to simply curse the darkness," Romney said of Ryan later. "He’d rather light candles."

This seemed to be a reference to Eleanor Roosevelt, who once said that it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. But she was ahead of her time in demanding equal rights for everyone. Paul Ryan is no Eleanor Roosevelt, as he seems intent on denying fully equal rights to gays and, like many Republicans, also seems determined to return women's reproductive rights to the Dark Ages. To date, Ryan is best known as the author of a budget plan so radical The New York Times called it "the most extreme budget plan passed by a House of Congress in modern times." Newt Gingrich dismissed it as "radical" and "right-wing social engineering." Ryan's budget would end Medicare as we know it and transfer huge sums of money to the super-rich by slashing their taxes—yet again!—while raising taxes for the middle class. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center's number-crunching indicates that Ryan's plan would reduce revenue by almost $4 trillion over the next decade, resulting in 2020 deficit of roughly $1.3 trillion. Ryan may talk about the deficit in "apocalyptic terms," which is easy enough to do, but his "Roadmap" would actually increase it. The TPC estimates that Ryan's plan would slash taxes on the richest 1% in half, giving them 117% of the plan’s total tax cuts! But taxes would go up for 95% of the population. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that elderly Americans would pay $6,400 more for healthcare by 2022. According to a New York Times editorial, "The Romney-Ryan Plan for America," the Ryan budget plan has other serious flaws: "Even less familiar to voters are Mr. Ryan’s plans for the rest of the federal budget, which if anything are worse than his Medicare proposal. By cutting $6 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years, he would eliminate or slash so many programs that the federal government would be unrecognizable. That has long been a goal of the Tea Party ideologues who support Mr. Ryan fervently, but it is not one shared by anywhere near a majority of Americans."

Please excuse me for not applauding!

And yet Romney called the 42-year-old policy wonk the Republican Party's "intellectual leader." Was this another signal? Like George W. Bush, Romney is no deep thinker, but merely looks "presidential." As the book Angler makes clear, Bush was way over his head on complex issues, so Cheney ended up running the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Did the Republican party's money men inform Romney that the only way he's going to get elected is by promising to defer to Ryan on complex issues, hence the slip of the tongue? Did the neocons instruct Romney to stage the announcement in front of a battleship, to the strains of the music of Air Force One, as a way of communicating to various world leaders that the real commander in chief will be Ryan, not Romney?

Of course I have no way of knowing such things, and thus can only speculate. But it hardly matters who leads, since Romney and Ryan share the same nefarious goals. Ryan is the architect of the Republican master plan to boost U.S. military spending to $8 trillion dollars over the next decade, even if it bankrupts the nation. Romney has been even more hawkish on military spending, always a neocon priority. His plan is to spend a minimum of 4% of GDP on the Pentagon. That would increase an already-bloated military budget by more than $200 billion in 2016, a 38% hike over President Obama’s budget, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Romney’s proposal to embark on a second straight decade of escalating military spending would be the first time in American history that war preparation and defense spending had increased as a share of overall economic activity for such an extended period," wrote Merrill Goozner in the Fiscal Times. "When coupled with the 20% cut in taxes he promises, it would require shrinking domestic spending to levels not seen since the Great Depression—before programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid began." Such cuts, Goozner noted, "would likely throw the U.S. economy back into recession."

Why do Romney and the neocons want to spend so much money on the military? The main goal of the neocons (emphasis on "cons") is the establishment of an "American Century" (think "thousand year Reich") via U.S. domination of the globe through massive military superiority, which of course means massive military spending. If you doubt me, you can easily confirm that Romney subscribes to the philosophy of Hitler and the Nazis by the number of times he has voiced the same fascist ideas. Romney's goofy idea that American "exceptionalism" gives the U.S. the right to establish a global "American Century" in which it dominates all other nations is essentially the same as Hitler's goofy idea that Aryan "exceptionalism" gave Germany the right to establish a thousand year reign in which Germany would dominate all other nations.

When Romney starts ranting about the "American Century" and how he is the person who can make it happen (as in the remarks below from a speech he made at the Citadel), he sounds suspiciously like Hitler:

I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century.
In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.
I believe we are an exceptional country with a unique destiny and role in the world.
America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers.
America must lead the world, or someone else will.
If we do not have the strength or vision to lead, then other powers will take our place.
The world is dangerous, destructive, chaotic.
Like a watchman in the night, we must remain at our post and keep guard of the freedom that defines and ennobles us, and our friends.
The United States will apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict.
While America should work with other nations, we always reserve the right to act alone to protect our vital national interests.
As president of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America.
I pledge to you that if I become commander-in-chief, the United States of America will fulfill its duty, and its destiny.
It is only American power—conceived in the broadest terms—that can provide the foundation of an international system that ensures the security and prosperity of the United States and our friends and allies around the world.

Romney is clearly saying what Hitler and the Nazis once said: that because of their conviction and passion about German/American exceptionalism, Germany/America must fulfill its duty and destiny to lead the world, using superior military power preemptively to take out any perceived threats to German/American hegemony. Thus Germany could preemptively attack Poland and Czechoslovakia, even though they posed no immediate danger to Germany. Thus, the US can attack North Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and (soon) Iran.

This "family resemblance" should not surprise anyone, because Hitler was a fascist, and American neocons are also fascists. Fascist believe that might makes right, so if a nation has superior firepower, it has the automatic "right" to dominate other nations, or destroy them if they refuse to submit. German and American fascists have the same beliefs and the same cold-blooded, calculating methods. Here are some rather obvious similarities:

the American century = the thousand-year Reich
American exceptionalism = Deutschland uber alles (Germany over all)
"dangerous" Muslims = "dangerous" Jews
Iraq = Poland
Iran = Czechoslovakia

History really does seem to repeat itself, and Romney strikes me as a slightly spruced-up, slicked-down version of Hitler. But I digress ...

Here is Ari Berman's analysis of Romney's Citadel speech: "The cornerstone of Romney’s speech was a gauzy defense of American exceptionalism, a theme the candidate adopted from [Romney adviser] Robert Kagan. The speech and [corresponding] white paper were long on distortions—claiming that Obama believed 'there is nothing unique about the United States' and 'issued apologies for America' abroad—and short on policy proposals. The few substantive ideas were costly and bellicose: increasing the number of warships the Navy builds per year from nine to fifteen (five more than the service requested in its 2012 budget), boosting the size of the military by 100,000 troops, placing a missile defense system in Europe and stationing two aircraft carriers near Iran. 'What he articulated in the Citadel speech was one of the most inchoate, disorganized, cliché-filled foreign policy speeches that any serious candidate has ever given,' says Steve Clemons, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation."

I agree with Daniel Larison, who wrote for American Conservative: "At times, Romney’s speech sounded like a technocrat’s brief for divinely-ordained U.S. hegemony: 'God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will.' It seems presumptuous at best to claim knowledge of God’s foreign policy preferences, but the most misleading statement here is that another state will assume the role of a global hegemony if the U.S. does not fill it. There is no one state or group of states aspiring to the international role that the U.S. currently has, and no other is capable of filling that role if it wished. Probably the most remarkable thing in the speech was how little [respect] Romney paid to the other major powers in the world. He poses some questions about future scenarios in the beginning of the speech, but he never answers any of them. Today’s speech lifted quite a few arguments that Romney had already made two years ago in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. The main difference is that the "nations or groups of nations" he identified as the main international threats back then have now become threatening "forces." There’s nothing the matter with recycling his own material, but it is still bad material."

American neocons like Romney want the U.S. to dominate the globe. All they need to implement their dark designs is a malleable, witless figurehead like George W. Bush or Willard M. Romney, a clever Vice President to act a a conduit (and perhaps replace the president if he gets out of line), and highly-placed advisers to make sure the war games proceed according to plan. Now the neocons have reassembled the old team, with Romney replacing Bush and Ryan replacing Cheney (although Cheney remains busy in the background, waddling around, constantly doing evil, like his alter ego the Penguin).

Romney and Ryan are calling themselves "America's Comeback Team." I think it would be more accurate to call them "America's Throwback Team." After all, they're clearly trying to return us to the kind of thinking that led to the Vietnam War.

As Vice President Joe Biden said recently in a major foreign policy speech, Romney and his chief advisers "see the world through a cold war prism that is totally out of touch with the realities of the twenty-first century." We won the Cold War and Russia is no longer a major threat to our security, if it ever was. Neither Russia, China nor Iran are going to attack the U.S., unless they are attacked first. And there lies the greatest danger to the U.S., because the neocons are radical ideologues who fully intend to go on the offensive, following the dangerous philosophy of "preemptive retaliation."

Neo-con Hall of Shame

As quoted in Foreign Policy, Rep. Adam Smith pointed out that of "Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration."

According to an article by Ari Berman in The Nation, "a comprehensive review of [Romney's] statements during the primary and his choice of advisers suggests a return to the hawkish, unilateral interventionism of the George W. Bush administration should he win the White House in November."

And Romney's advisors seem to confirm such suspicions. According to an article in The Fiscal Times, Romney advisor Richard Williamson said that a Romney presidency would offer a "more aggressive" approach toward China, Russia and the Middle East. "I think our biggest single difference [with the Obama administration] is probably over Iran," Williamson said. "Put it this way: If I was the regime in Tehran I'd be much more worried about dealing with a Romney administration than with the current administration."

According to The New American, "Neoconservative domination of the Romney campaign's foreign policy advisors also caught the attention of U.S. News & World Report back in April, and the group was labeled a 'Neocon War Cabinet' by the leftist magazine The Nation in May. In addition, former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell told MSNBC in May that Romney's advisors were 'quite far to the right,' implying they were too interventionist for his taste."

Among Romney's advisors listed by reputable news services like the Wall Street Journal, The Nation and the New American are such notable neocons, hawks and warmongers as:

Henry Kissinger: Nixon's Secretary of State and a primary author of the Vietnam War on the false premises of the "Domino Theory"
Cofer Black: former CIA director, former vice president of Blackwater International and a vocal advocate of "enhanced interrogation techniques"
Michael Hayden: former NSA director who created the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping programs
George Shultz: father of the "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive retaliation
Eliot Cohen: Bush State Department counselor and a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century, a neocon think tank
Robert Kagan: foreign policy commentator and a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century
Richard Williamson: Bush Assistant Secretary of State and a hawkish Republican foreign policy specialist
Paula Dobriansky: Bush State Department official and a leading advocate of Bush’s ill-fated "freedom agenda"
John Bolton: Bush's former UN ambassador and a leading advocate of an Israeli attack on Iran
John Lehman: Reagan's Secretary of the Navy and a noted war hawk
Michael Chertoff: Bush's Homeland Security Secretary
Dan Senor: a right-wing pundit and apologist for the "successes" of the Iraq war; he says "Mitt-Bibi will be the new Reagan-Thatcher"
Eric Edelman: Bush Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; he supports an attack on Iran (like 12 other Romney advisors)
Robert Joseph: NSC official who inserted the "16 words" in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech claiming that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium

Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says, "Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected ... I can’t name a single Romney foreign policy adviser who believes the Iraq War was a mistake. Two-thirds of the American people do believe the Iraq War was a mistake. So he has willingly chosen to align himself with that one-third of the population right out of the gate." On certain key issues, like Iran, Romney and his neocon advisors are to the right of Bush. Here's an example of why having such hawkish advisors is so dangerous; some of them still want to fight the Cold War:

[Russia] is without question our number one geopolitical foe.—Mitt Romney

Romney was immediately rebuked by everybody with a brain.

David C. Speedie, senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, called Romney's statement "palpably ridiculous." Colin Powell said: "Well, c’mon, Mitt; think! That isn’t the case." Senator John Kerry called the comment "naive." Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was unimpressed, telling reporters that Romney's remark seemed like a throwback to the Cold War era and "smacked of Hollywood."

Lawrence J. Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, agreed with Medvedev, saying: "Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has not faced an existential threat, nor does it have any 'number one' geopolitical or nation state foes ... The rhetoric of geopolitical foes should be retired as a relic of the Cold War while the U.S. develops policies to deal with its short- and long-term challenges."

In a poll of foreign policy specialists taken by the L. A. Times, not a single expert named Russia as our "number one geopolitical foe." Two named Iran, two said "nobody" and two suggested that the U.S. may be its own worst enemy (perhaps because of politicians like Romney?). Hell, most average Americans know that other nations pose more problems for the United States today, than Russia does.

Furthermore, Romney's barrage of misstatements and comments taken as insults by our allies in Great Britain, Israel, Palestine and Poland on his first foray into international politics demonstrate how ill-informed Romney is about foreign policy matters, and how tone deaf he is to other people's concerns, aspirations and feelings. If he surrounds himself with hawks still intent on fighting the Cold War, we could miss out of the dividends of peace and go bankrupt fighting needless, unwinnable wars.

The American Taliban

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have designated themselves "America's Comeback Team" but they seem more like the Taliban to me, with their chauvinistic attitudes towards women and non-heterosexuals, and their autocratic alpha male machismo. They both have advocated prayer in schools. Romney has endorsed "religious ornamentation and celebration" in the public square. They sealed their political nuptials by running down to the podium from a battleship, laughing and waving, even though neither of them ever served in the US military. Paul Ryan looks and dresses like a Cold War spook. Mitt Romney blinks ten thousand times per second, has the most artificial smile I have ever seen, and seems to have absolutely no regard for the truth, or any empathy for ordinary Americans. Do we really want Ayatollah Romney and Imam Ryan to preside over the erstwhile Land of the Free?

Romney and the Romulans Restart the Cold War

In his recent speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Mitt Romney said, "I’ll implement effective missile defenses to protect against [unspecified] threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin." The Cold War finally ended when Ronald Reagan formed a friendship with Mikhail Gorbachev that was based on mutual respect and a willingness on both sides to compromise for the sake of peace. Now Romney and his bellicose neocon advisers want to junk detente and return to the days of nuclear brinksmanship. But the US already has its hands full in the Middle East and with China. Do we really want to bully Russia and risk another Deep Freeze?

As Joe Biden pointed out recently, Romney and the neocons "see the world through a cold war prism that is totally out of touch with the realities of the twenty-first century." Christopher Preble said, "Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy ... I can’t name a single Romney foreign policy adviser who believes the Iraq War was a mistake." When Romney called Russia "without question our number one geopolitical foe," he was immediately rebuked by everybody with a brain. David C. Speedie called Romney's statement "palpably ridiculous." Colin Powell said, "Well, c’mon, Mitt; think! That isn’t the case." John Kerry called the comment "naive." Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Romney's remark "smacked of Hollywood" and reminded him of the Cold War. Lawrence J. Korb agreed with Medvedev, saying: "Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has not faced an existential threat, nor does it have any 'number one' geopolitical or nation state foes ... The rhetoric of geopolitical foes should be retired as a relic of the Cold War." In a poll of foreign policy experts taken by the L. A. Times, not one named Russia as our "number one geopolitical foe." Two named Iran, two said "nobody" and two suggested that the US may be its own worst enemy (perhaps because of politicians like Romney?). If he surrounds himself with hawks still intent on fighting the Cold War, we could miss out of the dividends of peace and go bankrupt fighting needless, unwinnable battles.

Mitt Inappropriate

When an anti-Islam movie prompted angry Egyptians to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Romney called the embassy's statement condemning religious intolerance "akin to an apology" and "disgraceful." He also accused the Obama administration of "sympathizing" with the attackers. But the Americans inside the embassy were in severe danger. Four ended up dying, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Was it in any way wrong for them to try to calm the waters by pointing out that the U.S. stands for religious freedom and tolerance? After all, diplomats are paid to be diplomatic. How many Americans other than Romney and the lunatic fringe would condemn what the embattled embassy said: "Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

Even staunch conservatives were appalled at Romney's attempt to further his political aspirations in such a reckless, inappropriate, sleazy way. Mark Salter, the longtime speechwriter and senior aide to Republican Senator John McCain, wrote that to condemn President Obama "for policies they claim helped precipitate the attacks is as tortured in its reasoning as it is unseemly in its timing." Even Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, departed from his petty politics. Speaking in Wisconsin, Ryan described the killings as "disturbing," but didn’t criticize President Obama and said it was "a time for healing." Peggy Noonan, who made waves with her criticism of Romney on Fox News, had an even more withering assessment for the normally conservative Wall Street Journal: "Romney looked weak today. At one point, he had a certain slight grimace on his face when he was taking tough questions from the reporters, and I thought, 'He looks like Richard Nixon.'"

I, too, have been thinking recently that Romney seems like a somewhat-more-attractive but even-more-wooden-and-alien Richard Nixon.

Joe Scarborough, a stalwart conservative, said he was "absolutely flabbergasted" by Romney's response. Even the arch-conservative Bill O'Reilly questioned Romney's sanity: "The embassy was trying to head off the violence. Being conciliatory in that kind of a situation seems logical."

As John Cassidy wrote in an article for The New Yorker, "the search for senior Republicans willing to repeat his suggestion that the President is providing succor to America’s enemies continues. So far, just about the only statements of support Romney has managed to elicit have come from discredited neocons (Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney), paleo-cons (Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton), and nutty-cons (Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint). Meanwhile, John McCain and Condoleezza Rice, arguably the G.O.P.’s two most influential voices on foreign policy, have conspicuously failed to criticize Obama, while paying tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens, the longtime foreign-service officer who was killed."

Palin once again managed to sound like a complete and utter moron, saying that President Obama "can’t see Egypt and Libya from his house" and needs to "grow" a "big stick," which sounds weirdly sexual and ignores the fact that the use of force does not change people's religious beliefs, but only strengthens them.

"It almost feels like Sarah Palin is his foreign policy adviser," said Matthew Dowd, a former political adviser to President George W. Bush, "It’s just a huge mistake on the Romney campaign’s part—huge mistake." And indeed it seems that Romney is being advised by people as lacking in wisdom as Palin. According to the Washington Post, Romney acted on the "unanimous recommendation of his foreign policy and political advisers." I think Cassidy hit the nail on the head when he said, "Think about that for a moment ... all of them thought it was a capital idea, solely on the basis of statements from the Embassy in Cairo, to accuse Obama and his Administration of expressing sympathy 'with those who waged the attacks.' ... Why? Well, it is widely thought that Romney’s political advisers aren’t the brightest bulbs—his entire campaign has been a litany of errors. What has been less remarked upon is the makeup of Romney’s foreign-policy team. For a former businessman who claims to willing to hire the best and smartest regardless of background, it is a remarkably unimpressive and ideologically driven group, consisting largely of washed up neocons and Cold Warriors, many of whom served in the Administration of George W. Bush."

Newspapers blasted Romney's response as well. The Washington Post called it "a discredit to his campaign" and the Los Angeles Times said it was an "outrageous exercise in opportunism." The Boston Globe labeled it "offensive on many other levels" beyond the timing of his remarks. The fact-checking brigades also had their knives out for Romney. The Associated Press, for instance, said he had "seriously mischaracterized what had happened in a statement accusing President Barack Obama of "disgraceful" handling of violence there and at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo."

Romney has frequently accused Obama of apologizing for America, and titled his 2010 book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. However, Romney's accusation that Barack Obama "began his presidency with an apology tour" earned him a "Pants on Fire" rating from PolitFact (its lowest ranking for truthfulness).

And while Romney is invariably quick to criticize President Obama, he refuses to say what he will do differently. Romney seems to believe that we should trust that his august presence in the White House will somehow magically change the laws of cause and effect. But for those of us who don't believe Romney has a magic wand, his long list of goofs and gaffes put him at the bottom of the political class along with mental lightweights George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.

Hillary Clinton, speaking for the State Department and the Obama administration, stated the proper American position succinctly: "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

That is diplomacy ... something Romney and the Romulans seem to be incapable of.

Why does Mitt Romney deny gay veterans their constitutional rights?

While other American men his age were fighting and dying in Vietnam, young Willard Mitt Romney took two and a half years off to vacation in France as a Mormon missionary, receiving a deferment from military service as a "minister of religion" despite being barely out of high school. While vacationing in France, Romney encouraged his fellow missionaries to read Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill, so it seems Romney was evangelizing Mammon along with God and magical underpants. Nor did he wish to serve his country as a soldier. As a Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, Romney told the Boston Herald: "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam." But when he met an American veteran of the Vietnam War recently, Romney had the audacity to deny him his constitutional rights.

"You can’t trust him," said Bob Garon, a gay 63-year-old vet, after meeting Romney, looking him in the eye, and calling him out for his bigotry.

While Garon was risking his neck in Vietnam, Mitt Romney was tooling around Le Havre and Paris. But Romney, acting in his usual cold-blooded style, had no problem telling Garon that he is a persona non grata, despite his service to his country.

Asked by reporters to assess Romney’s chances for the nomination after their encounter, Garon replied: "I did a little research on Mitt Romney and, by golly, you reporters are right. The guy ain’t going to make it. Because you can’t trust him. I just saw it in his eyes. I judge a man by his eyes."

Ironically, Romney met Garon during a campaign stop at Chez Vachon, a French cafe in Manchester, N.H. While working the room, Romney spotted Garon wearing a flannel shirt and a Vietnam Veteran hat, then slid into his booth for a quick photo op. But to his consternation, as the cameras rolled, Garon confronted Romney with a blunt question: "New Hampshire right now has some legislation kicking around about a repeal for the same-sex marriage. And all I need is a yes or a no. Do you support the repeal?"

"I support the repeal of the New Hampshire law," Romney said, confirming that he denies equality to gay Americans, even if they risked their lives in service to their country while he vacationed in France, incubating his get-rich-quick schemes.

Garon, who was eating breakfast with his male husband, pointed out correctly: "If two men get married, apparently a veteran’s spouse would not be entitled to any burial benefits or medical benefits or anything that the serviceman has devoted his time and effort to his country, and you just don’t support equality in terms of same-sex marriage?"

Romney confirmed that he not only denies gay veterans the right to marry, but that he also denies their partners having the same rights and benefits as heterosexual partners of other veterans. This is consistent with what Romney has said about denying gays the right to marry or to enter into civil unions, thus leaving them bereft of essential human rights.

"It's good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights," Garon replied dismissively.

When Romney started to argue that the Constitution is a homophobic document, a desperate-sounding aide urged him to wrap up the conversation: "Governor, we’ve got to get on with Fox News right now!" Was Romney saved from a knockout blow by the ding-dong bell of likeminded bigots?

"Oh, I guess the question was too hot," Garon remarked.

"No, I gave you the answer," Romney replied. "You said you had a yes-or-no [question]. I gave you the answer."

"You did," Garon agreed, although quite understandably not pleased or impressed. "And I appreciate your answer. And you know, I also learned something, and New Hampshire is right: You have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer. And you know what, governor? Good luck ... You’re going to need it."

"You are right about that," Romney said, unintentionally acknowledging that his bigotry against gay vets would come back to haunt him.

As reporters swarmed around his booth, Garon, an independent, said that he would not support Romney.

"I was undecided," Garon said. But "I’m totally convinced today that he’s not going to be my president—at least in my book. At least Obama will entertain the idea. This man is ‘No way, Jose.’ Well, take that ‘No way, Jose’ back to Massachusetts."

Later, Garon spoke to MSNBC about the exchange. "Well, quite frankly I'm not a professor of the Constitution but I don't believe it says anything about a man and a woman defining marriage," he said. "I didn't expect the answer that I got—I thought he'd be a little more diplomatic in his answer. But I did ask for a yes-or-no question and I've got to respect that that he did give me a yes-or-no answer."

But shouldn't we expect a prospective president and commander-in-chief to give the right answer, the fair answer, the just answer, the equitable answer?

Garon continued, "What I didn't expect from Mr. Romney is how confrontational he was and argumentative ... my question was really hoping that if he did get into the White House that he'd be in support of the benefits entitled to veterans and their spouses. Currently, they're not ... It just makes no sense to me."

Asked by reporters after Romney left why he feels so strongly about the issue, Garon responded passionately: "Because I’m gay, all right? And I happen to love a man just like you probably love your wife. I went and fought for my country and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same benefits as if I were married to a woman. What the hell is the difference?"

A very good question, indeed.

Garon said there is one aspect of Romney’s candidacy he supports: "I kind of liked his health care plan in Massachusetts." But of course Romney now castigates President Obama for Obamacare, even though it was clearly modeled on his own Romneycare. Romney has also waffled on climate change, women's reproductive rights, gun control and other issues. Take invasions of other countries, for example. His father, George Romney, who had once supported the Vietnam war, famously claimed that he had been brainwashed, possibly costing him the presidency. Mitt Romney agreed with his father and was quoted in a 1970 Boston Globe article as saying: "We were brainwashed. If it wasn’t a political blunder to move into Vietnam, I don’t know what is." But today Romney is a right-wing war hawk. He supported the invasion of Iraq and the troop surge. He supported the invasion of Afghanistan. He sealed his political marriage to Paul Ryan in the shadow of a battleship, after "America's Comeback Teamn" ran down to the podium from the battleship, laughing and waving. And in his speech to the Citadel in October 2011, Romney seemed to be the one brainwashing young American cadets to pursue wars of preemptive retaliation (i.e., offensive wars). If you continue reading this page, you can hear Romney sounding like the second coming of Hitler ...

Mitt Romney strikes me as a fascist who believes that might is right and will say or do almost anything to achieve his personal goals of acquiring money, fame and power. It seems the only position that he hasn't changed is his belief in his money, his power and his budding godhood. Like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler, this endlessly strange creature named Willard Mitt Romney seems to see the rest of us a pawns in his game of cosmic chess. He claims that his Mormon faith is very important to him, and perhaps that's part of the problem, because Mormonism teaches that human beings can become gods and rule worlds. Romney and the Romulans seem to be cold-blooded conquerors intent on ruling ours.

The Romneybot doing its best George W. Bush and Sarah Palin impressions

I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love.
I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was.
I'm Mitt Romney—and yes Wolf, that's also my first name. (Romney's first name is Willard; Mitt is his middle name.)

Mr. Doublespeak

It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.—Mitt Romney

Romney constantly speaks with a forked tongue, out of both sides of his mouth. As long as Osama bin Laden was at large, Republicans criticized President Obama for not doing enough to bring him to justice. And despite the quote above, Romney called the decision to send a team of Navy SEALs to Pakistan to kill bin Laden an easy decision that "even Jimmy Carter" would have made. While speaking to New York firefighters, he said:

Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden.—Mitt Romney

But in 2007 he said that it was not worth spending billions of dollars to catch one person and he criticized President Obama for suggesting that such an attack might be launched in Pakistan, saying in his best imitation of George W. Bush:

I do not concur in the words [sic] of Barack Obama in a plan [sic] to enter an ally of ours.—Mitt Romney

So it seems obvious that Mitt Romney would not have launched the attack on Osama bin Laden, because (1) he thought it wasn't worth the money it would cost and (2) he didn't think the United States had the right to stage such an attack in Pakistan.

Is Mitt Romney a Sociopath?

I have studied the findings of several handwriting experts, and this one by Sheila Kurtz seems to agree with the general consensus about Mitt Romney: "... inclined to think quickly, act impulsively, dream big, and hang on to what’s his." But several of the experts pointed out real problems with his ability to empathize with and relate to other people.

Here is a graphology (handwriting) analysis by Joel Engel, the author of two books on the subject: "Mitt Romney’s capacity to relate is bleak. His signature has abrupt endings. This signifies being short with others. The two hooks reflect stubbornness. Dashes reveal a (usually subconscious) desire to be unsocial, especially when they vary from the standard (forward slashes). The disproportionately distant and disconnected T bar shows personal detachment. These combined traits produce feeling awkward in public. [Romney's] middle zone is also small. What is unique is that he connects from this area to the upper zone (instead of the routine middle zone). [By] avoiding the social (middle zone) area, this man’s thought processes are purely intellectual ... His rightward slant informs us that he can use his gifted brainpower aggressively."

Here is another graphology analysis, by Treyce Montoya, CEO of Center of Forensic Profiling: "Romney's handwriting is more separate or disconnected (mostly print) than Obama's. This indicates that he can be abrupt and impatient with others as well as not wanting to socially engage. His disconnections on his "TT"s in his name show his desire to not truly connect to [other] people ... the exit strokes are short ... which indicate stubbornness and reemphasize his 'unsocialness.' ... Romney's signature is more rightward and this shows that he is more impulsive ... Romney likes to acquire (collect) things and retain them."

Another handwriting expert, David Littman, said that to be on the same wavelength with Mitt Romney, because he is so analytical, we would have to appeal to his mind, not his emotions. Littman also said that Romney takes umbrage when people break the rules, is aggressive and would go "straight for the jugular," which could account for his warlike talk about attacking Iran.

The handwriting experts give Romney credit for high intelligence and leadership, but question his character. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highest, Engel rated Romney as a 2 for personality. Anyone who has watched Romney try to "connect" with other people in public should be able to confirm that Romney seems to be functioning purely or mostly on intellect. He doesn't seem to be able to empathize with the suffering of others. This would explain why he "can't remember" holding a fellow student down and cutting off his hair, and why he doesn't understand that it was inhumane to strap his dog to the roof of his car for an 11-hour road trip. A classmate of Romney's compared him to the "Lord of the Flies." I have read what many people who know him have said about Romney in my research, since I became concerned that Americans may be about to elect a sociopath to the presidency. While people have complimented his intelligence and ability to get things done, almost no one has had anything nice to say about him as a person. While none of this is conclusive proof, still his handwriting, his actions, and what people do and don't say about him, all seem to suggest that Romney may lack normal human empathy and sociability. Our greatest presidents obviously cared about other Americans: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, JFK, et al. Can we afford to elect a president who can't connect with other Americans, in these trying, dangerous times?

Mr. Flip Flop, Part II

A liberal, a conservative and a moderate walk into a bar. The barman looks up and says: "Hi Mitt!"

Is Willard Mitt Romney a liberal, a conservative, or a moderate? The simple truth is that no one really knows what Romney believes, or would do as president. We have, however, learned a few things about Romney's character, through his actions:

• Romney was not a venture capitalist, but a vulture capitalist and corporate raider.
• Romney did not "create" jobs, in sum, but fired thousands of people, outsourcing large numbers of American jobs to foreign countries.
• In fact, Romney's companies were pioneers of such job "off-shoring" according to the Washington Post and other reputable news services.
• Romney loaded American companies with massive debts, so that they could pay him massive dividends before they went under.
• Romney has called it "simply immoral" to borrow money to help flood victims, but has no problem bailing out his rich Wall Street cronies.
• Why is it "immoral" to help people who didn't create their own problems, but "moral" to help people whose greed created problems for an entire nation?
• While Romney crows about American exceptionalism, he relies on banks and shell corporations on tiny, insecure Caribbean islands.
• According to major news services, Romney may have up to $100 million sheltered in Bermuda and Cayman Island "IRAs," safe from taxes.
• And yet he now hypocritically accuses Americans who ask for affordable healthcare of wanting "free stuff," when he is the King of Free Stuff!
• Romney only "saved" the Olympics with the help of a huge bailout from U.S. taxpayers (i.e., we saved the Olympics and Romney took the credit).
• Romney then insulted all England by suggesting that only he could successfully organize an Olympics, casting the only shadow on the games.
• Romney was a bully in school (one of his classmates compared him to The Lord of the Flies). Now he wants to bully Iran, starting another war ...

Other than having a better understanding of how Romney became so fabulously wealthy and seeing what an oddly disconnected robot he seems to be, we still know very little about the man and his core beliefs. Romney has been accused of running an Etch-a-Sketch campaign, with the goal of fooling right-wing conservatives into believing that he's a fellow conservative in the early going, then picking up the votes of moderates later by pretending to be more liberal. And there seem to be valid reasons for such concerns. Take, for instance, the issue of gay marriage. When Romney ran for senator against Ted Kennedy, he told Log Cabin Republicans that he would be a stronger advocate of gay rights than his famously liberal opponent. But when Romney speaks before evangelicals, he claims to be against gay marriage and even civil unions for gays. However, when Chick-fil-A and his good friends the Cathys were being criticized and boycotted for publicly opposing gay marriage, Romney refused to speak to the larger American public at all. So who can possibly know where this political chameleon stands on many important social issues?

At least with politicians like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, we know where they're "coming from." If we want right-wing nutjobs to run the country into the ground, we can vote for them. But with Romney we remain clueless. One minute he's a life-long hunting enthusiast, because he's speaking to NRA members. The next minute, he (or one of his aides) has to admit that he only ever hunted twice in his life, because someone caught him in yet another wild exaggeration. Romney wrote a book with one of the strangest titles ever, No Apology, but now must repeatedly confess that he made things up, when the truth would have served him better. Pathological liars dissemble even when the truth would suffice, and Romney seems to fit that mold. (I can hear Richard Nixon pleading, "I am not a crook" in the background.) Romney reminds me of Nixon with his disdain for the truth and his space-alien-like detachment from average Americans. Such detachment makes Romney a hard man to "grok."

But here's what we do know: On the most important issues that Romney has addressed clearly and consistently, he is dead wrong.. He is wrong about attacking Iran for the same highly dubious reason that we attacked Iraq. He is wrong about giving the super-rich 1% more tax cuts, while raising taxes for the other 99%. He is wrong about spending $8 trillion on more military buildups, if that means ripping apart the safety nets of retirees who contributed to Social Security and Medicare all their working lives. He is wrong about giving billions to his rich cronies in Israel, so that Israelis can have universal healthcare, if that means denying affordable healthcare to Americans. He is wrong about not disclosing his tax returns to American voters, so that we can be sure that with his vast fortune, he paid substantially more taxes than we did.

Romney is wrong about so many things that it would be hard to know where to start, except that he is so wrong about the most important thing of all, that we can safely start there ...

The Romneybot

Have people taken to calling Romney the "Romneybot" because he lacks the things that make human beings human: warmth, humor, compassion, empathy, and a sense of fair play and justice? It can be painful watching Romney when he tries to josh around with other people or connect with them emotionally. Something appears to be missing ... he really does act like an android programmed to spit out the correct answers without understanding the questions at the heart and gut level. Americans want their presidents to care about Americans who are suffering, and we have been fortunate to have had presidents who really did seem to care: Lincoln, FDR, JFK, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Obama, to name a few. Even George W. Bush, for all the terrible mistakes he made, seemed to care; his problems lay in other areas, such as thinking and speaking. But Romney strikes me as being more like Nixon: something essential seems to be missing. This is evidenced in their inability to connect with average Americans.

For instance, here's what Romney said recently about less wealthy Americans who want affordable healthcare, referring to his speech to the NAACP:

When I mentioned [that] I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy ... That’s okay. I want people to know what I stand for, and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else; that’s just fine … But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff.

But Romney seems to be all about "free stuff" ... for himself and his super-rich friends. Even if it's somehow "wrong" for poor people to want affordable healthcare for their children and aging parents, isn't it vastly worse from someone richer than Midas to insult them while ripping apart their safety nets, so that he can become even richer? (As I wrote this paragraph, I had a vision of Ebenezer Scrooge denying raises to Bob Cratchit while Tiny Tim wasted away for want of an operation.)

How can someone who gets away with highway robbery turn around and condemn average Americans for requesting a much smaller break? For instance, Romney served on the board of Damon Clinical Laboratories, which pled guilty to charges of defrauding Medicare and agreed to pay the largest health care criminal fraud fine in history at the time, over $119 million altogether. Corporate Crime Reporter put it like this: "As manager and board member of Damon Corp, Mitt Romney sits at the center of one of the top 15 corporate crimes of the 1990’s." Romney never reported Damon's fraud to the proper authorities. When Corning bought Damon, it discovered the fraud and reported it. Bain and Romney earned millions from their investment in Damon, but conveniently never noticed that Damon was obtaining "free stuff" from our cash-strapped federal government. According to a Boston Globe report, Romney claimed that he and fellow board members uncovered what was later determined to be a criminal scheme to defraud Medicare in 1993, yet acknowledged that the directors did not turn over their findings to federal authorities who were then investigating the medical testing industry. While Damon went bankrupt, with thousands of employees losing their jobs, Bain Capital enjoyed a $12 million profit, with over $450,000 of that money going to Romney personally.

Is it fair that Romney made so much money from healthcare, then turned around and mocked less advantaged people for only wanting healthcare they can afford?

Please don't get me wrong: I don't begrudge Romney his success or his wealth. But if it's true that he paid virtually no taxes for more than a decade, while amassing a fortune estimated at $200 million or more, that seems terribly unfair to the 99% of Americans who do pay their fair share of taxes, rain or shine. When he mocks and criticizes them, that only adds insult to injury and makes him seem like a heartless, soulless android ... the Romneybot.

Romney strikes me as a hypocritical creep for three reasons: (1) he blasts Obamacare, but his Romneycare was obviously the model for Obamacare; (2) he favors bailing out Wall Street billionaires yet denies average Americans what he imperiously calls "entitlements;" and (3) he has no compunction about taking "free stuff" himself, by evading taxes despite his fabulous personal wealth.

Mr. "Free Stuff" Part II

Obviously, there is something terribly wrong when a rich, imperious tax dodger lectures hard-working American taxpayers about not asking for "free stuff" when, in reality, all they want is a fair shake.

Romney's hypocrisy about American healthcare seems to know no bounds. When he traveled to Poland, he praised Poland for its economic success, but Poland provides free medical care to all its citizens despite having less that half the per-capita income of the U.S. When Romney traveled to Israel, he praised Israel for its superior economy, which he attributed to a superior culture. But in Israel, healthcare is universal and medical insurance is compulsory. As a result, Israel has the fourth-highest life expectancy among earth's nations, at 82 years. And of course Romney has no problem giving "free stuff" to his rich friends in Israel. (He and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu are pals.) According to the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, since 1949 the U.S. government has given Israel more than $134 billion in financial aid. That's more than $23,000 per Israeli citizen. So American taxpayers who struggle to afford healthcare for themselves have probably paid for every Israeli citizen to enjoy superior healthcare, either in whole or in part.

Before Romney lectures Americans, I think he should listen for a change to a real conservative:

Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country and giving it to the rich people of a poor country.—Ron Paul

Why does Romney want to give "free stuff" to his rich friends in Israel, why denying affordable healthcare to Americans? Is it because Romney is getting "free stuff" from rich, powerful Jews, in return for Romney selling his fellow citizens down the river?

Romney's Mentors

Why do rich Republicans like Romney begrudge American citizens affordable healthcare, while helping to provide the best healthcare on the planet to Israeli citizens? It seems obvious to me that alpha males like Romney see other people as mere steppingstones on their path to money, power and personal glory. Romney doesn't give a damn about Americans not having decent healthcare, and he doesn't give a damn about Israelis having superior healthcare. He doesn't think in such terms, which would require him to empathize with other people and their suffering. No, Romney is a sociopath and the decisions he makes are based purely on self-interest. He favors giving money to Israel because that buys him Jewish votes and campaign contributions from fellow billionaires like Sheldon Adelson. Adelson wants the U.S. to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, putting the final stamp of approval on Israel's evil, unjust scheme to add the 20% of Palestinian land it doesn't currently own, to the 80% of Palestinian land it stole by force, hook and crook (thanks of course to money and weapons provided by gullible American taxpayers through their villainous politicians). Romney doesn't seem to understand or care that the constant theft of Palestinian land, and the brutal, degrading treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli Injustice Machine were the root causes of 911 and the subsequent wars, which have cost average Americans thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. Men like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler and Romney do not think in terms of the suffering their actions will produce for other people. They put grandiose visions above human lives and happiness. When Romney talks about the "American Century" and offering "No Apology" (the title of his book) for America dominating the world because American "exceptionalism" entitles Americans to dominate the world, he is repeating almost verbatim what Hitler said in his egocentric rants ...

the American century = the thousand-year Reich
American exceptionalism = Deutschland uber alles (Germany over all)
"dangerous" Muslims = "dangerous" Jews
Gaza walled ghetto = Warsaw walled ghetto
Palestinian refugee camps = Jewish concentration camps
Iraq = Poland
Iran = Czechoslovakia
"ally" Israel = "ally" Italy
fascist friend Netanyahu = fascist friend Mussolini

History really does seem to repeat itself, and Romney really does seem like a slightly spruced-up, slicked-down version of Hitler. But I digress ...

Romney Quotes

We should double Guantanamo!—Mitt Romney

Should we double the size of an extraterritorial prison camp best known around the world as a symbol of torture and illegal incarceration of prisoners as young as 13 and as old as 98?

Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously, I apologize for that … You know, I don’t, I don’t remember that particular incident [laughs]… I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.—Mitt Romney on Fox News Radio

Romney was talking about an incident in which he and some of his high-school classmates viciously bullied a fellow student, John Joseph Lauber. Romney's classmates who participated in the bullying incident remember it, and have expressed remorse. If Romney can't even remember the incident, that suggests that he either did such things so frequently that they failed to register, or that he lacks normal human empathy and compassion, or both. His laughter while discussing the incident seems to suggest that he still doesn't "get" the seriousness of what he did. Here are the details, from a Washington Post article:

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it. "He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled. A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be identified ... "It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me," said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was "terrified," he said. "What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do." "It was a hack job," recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. "It was vicious." "He was just easy pickin’s," said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

David Seed, an onlooker who did not participate in the bullying, later apologized to Lauber for not doing more to help prevent it. The only person involved not to express remorse, and who claims not to remember what happened, is Romney. According to his campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, "Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents."

Atta girl!—Mitt Romney taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel

Here's what Amy Davidson wrote about the first incident for The New Yorker: "Does he [Romney] count this as a high jink or a prank? It was neither; it is hard to imagine that hurt, rather than being the byproduct, was anything other than the point of the attack on Lauber. In terms of what a gay teen-ager might encounter, and what other boys might go along with at a school like Cranbrook, 1965 was different; but memory and empathy are not qualities that have only been invented since then. As our country has changed, and the other boys became men, they seem to have turned the events of that day over in their minds, not once, but many times, and made something new out of it. That’s why it’s all the worse that Romney says he can’t remember—that he walked blithely away from the boy crying on the ground and kept going. Was there nowhere in him for that sight to lodge? ... And how far has Romney moved? This story is resonant because one can, all too easily, see Romney walking away even now, or simply failing to connect, to grasp hurt ... Who else might he walk away from?"

Josh Barro, writing for Forbes, made another very interesting point: "The story is more damning for Romney in other ways. It’s telling that the campaign seems to be having so much difficulty finding any friends from the Cranbrook School to talk to the media about what a good guy he was. The Romney camp reached out to Stuart White (who threw the party where Mitt and Ann Romney met) asking him to make supportive remarks. Instead, White contacted ABC News and expressed his ambivalence to do so, saying, "it’s been a long time since we were pals." Another old friend of Romney’s told ABC on background that Romney’s behavior in high school was "like Lord of the Flies" and that a number of people from Cranbrook have "really negative memories" of him. Is there really no one from Cranbrook that Romney can persuade to vouch for him? The whole thing gives the sense that Romney was a Regina George-like figure in high school—"popular," but mostly because other students were afraid to cross him ... But does Romney have empathy for people who are different from him? The tone of Romney’s reaction today does not look good on the empathy front. Referring to an assault on a classmate as "hijinks and pranks" is pretty tone-deaf ... Romney’s actions as governor also suggest that he doesn’t view bullying as a significant problem. In 2006, Romney threatened to dissolve the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, established by Republican Governor William Weld in 1992, and then to expand its mission to cover all youth. The legislature established a independent commission, overriding a Romney veto, in response to these threats. A key part of the commission’s mandate is the prevention of anti-LGBT bullying in schools. His administration also repeatedly delayed the publication of an anti-bullying handbook for public schools, which had been developed in 2002 by Governor Jane Swift’s Task Force on Hate Crimes. Kathleen Henry, who chaired the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth at the time, said she thought the guidebook was held up due to its LGBT-related content, particularly content to do with transgender students. Ultimately, the handbook was published under Governor Deval Patrick, six years after it was first drafted."

Barro concluded his article by saying, "This actually goes to Romney’s greatest weakness as a candidate. Nobody knows how he really feels or what he cares about. People look at him and they can’t see evidence that he understands or cares about their needs. They’re not sure he can relate to people who are different from him. This incident, and his nonchalant reaction to being reminded about it, reinforce the impression that Romney lacks empathy."

I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.—Mitt Romney

Not concerned, when the Grand Old Pontiffs, led by men like Romney, want to slash the safety nets of what they call "entitlements" while preserving tax cuts for the super-rich and waging more trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East, the next one presumably against Iran? Who will end up dying in those unwinnable wars? The children of the very poor, of course.

I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed.—Mitt Romney

Romney, speaking to unemployed Floridians, once again demonstrated an amazing lack of empathy and concern for people who are actually down on their luck. His net worth has been estimated at $200 to $250 million.

I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much. —Mitt Romney

Romney earned $374,000 in speaking fees in a single year, according to his personal financial disclosure. Once again Romney demonstrates his extreme disconnect from average Americans, who would consider making that kind of money from a few speaking engagements a real windfall (please pardon the pun).

I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life.—Mitt Romney

Romney's campaign later said he'd been hunting twice, once when he was 15, the other time at a Republican fundraiser when he was 59. Hunting twice in 44 years hardly qualifies one as the Great White Hunter, but perhaps more unsettling than his blatant vote-pandering is Romney's desire to brag about his hunting/killing prowess.

PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.—Mitt Romney

Oh, really? Romney strapped a crate containing his Irish Setter, Seamus, to the roof of his station wagon for a twelve-hour drive from Boston to Ontario. When the terrified dog lost control of its bowels, Romney pulled over, sprayed the car and the dog down with a hose, then resumed driving. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk noted: "Any individual who does something like that may have what scientists term the absence of the mirror neuron, i.e., a pin-pointable absence in the brain of the characteristic which allows the individual to feel basic compassion. The implications are frightening ... Mr. Romney seems to hold the very old-fashioned idea that he needs to actively show he is heartless, hence the hunting claims he has made. Not subsistence hunting, but pride in killing defenseless animals for sport, for fun, for show. In the case of the dog on the roof of the car, if this is true, quite remarkably it obviously wasn't for show as only his own children were watching, a lesson in cruelty that was also wrong for them to witness. There was also the obviousness of the situation. Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured. If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don't know who would find that acceptable."

Here's a comment I found online that I believe makes germane points about Romney: "The classic definition of a sociopath is someone who can feel his own pain, but is incapable of feeling another's. Remember how desperately wounded George Bush felt when Kanye West accused him of not caring about black people? And how utterly untouched he appeared to be in the face of 1500+ such black people, dead in New Orleans? Classic sociopath. Mitt Romney suffers from exactly the same pathology—strap the dog on the roof of the car and off you go on your nice vacation. Trim the hair on the "maybe homosexual" because he shouldn't look like that, and off you go to finish your homework. There's a piece missing in Mitt, and it's an essential quality in the man or woman this country needs as its President at this time in our history. We need a Lincoln or a Franklin Roosevelt—someone with not only the necessary talents, skills, capabilities, experience, etc. to lead this nation, but someone who also possesses the capacity for empathy and the moral compass required to understand in which direction we should be headed. Mitt Romney is not the man we need—now or ever—and he would be a total disaster as President of the United States. Vote."

Here's another pertinent comment that I found online: "Like most people, I don't believe he wouldn't remember an incident like this! But for the sake of argument, if a person really did not remember holding a kid down and cutting [his] hair wouldn't the natural reaction to be horrified and indignantly deny the accusation? Just saying 'I don't remember' without expressing any outrage is alarming and emotionally backwards in and of itself. Unlike most people posting, I really was leaning towards voting for Romney but this story sounds bad any which way you look at it. Also, on a purely pragmatic level. I think that this kind of bullying shows a low level of emotional intelligence that could actually be dangerous when it comes to negotiating with enemies or dealing with truly tough, real-world situations. Regardless of political leanings, any leader who is strong and effective has to also be sensitive, quick with nuance, and have sharp instincts in order to survive and fight in hard times. All in all, a very worrying story."

And here's a third comment: "I'm sorry, but I must speak my mind on this. I think the concern over this—and a pattern of other incidents—extends far beyond whether he was a spoiled, rich boy. The real concern about Romney is that his actual behavior displays anti-social tendencies, i.e., sociopathic. Sociopaths are very, very good at concealing their real "feelings," if you can call them that, as they climb to the top of the human pyramid. They crave power over others, and see no reason for the normal humility and concerns that many of us feel when in the public's service. Here are a list of qualities for the anti-social, sociopathic person: - Glibness and Superficial Charm: Check. - Manipulative: One doctor's definition: "Fail to recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims." The story speaks for itself. Check. - Grandiose Sense of Self: Check. - Pathological Lying: No memory? At all? No problem saying so? Check. - Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt: Third-person apology? Check. - Shallow Emotions: Another definition: "When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises." A politician's promises? Not genuine? The flip flopping on what should be heart-felt social issues attests to this issue. Check. - Callousness/Lack of Empathy: Well, that is what this article is about. The excitement of cruelty is one of the few, tenuous connections to true emotions they are capable of, which if emphasized, extends into psychotic behaviors. Thus, this story from Romney's past is not only revelatory, but deeply concerning. Is the Mormon persona something that he is using as a disguise, a red herring? If it is, he probably wouldn't know himself, since his brain may be disconnected from the genuine and sincere feelings the rest of us experience daily. I am very, deeply concerned. God bless America. We may be in great need of His help, very soon."

Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are ... Human beings, my friend.—Mitt Romney

Does the Romneybot confuse heartless corporations with human beings because he lacks a human heart himself?

Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that.—Mitt Romney

Getting rid of Planned Parenthood and denying women access to contraceptives seem to be high on the Republican Party's agenda. But what happens to all the girls and women who aren't ready to become mothers and/or can't afford to have children? Where is there any empathy or compassion for them, or the unwanted babies? Republicans have made it clear that they have no intention of helping out people in need, so forcing girls and women to have babies they don't want or can't afford seems truly heartless. Romney says it's wrong to borrow money from China to fund Planned Parenthood, but he seems quite content to borrow trillions from China to fund new military hardware and wars in the Middle East. If it's wrong to borrow a few million dollars to fund contraceptives, family planning and healthcare for girls and women, isn't it much worse to borrow trillions of dollars to attack other nations?

I would repeal Obamacare.—Mitt Romney

But "Obamacare" is obviously modeled after Romney's own health care plan, Romneycare. As President Obama pointed out, Romney seems to be pretending that the two plans are radically different, saying: "We designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans, including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different." Romney's Massachusetts health care plan served as a model for the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). Why does he now rail against a very similar plan? Probably because the only way he can get elected is to appeal to right-wing conservatives who despises anything President Obama does, on general principle, even if he does what Republicans formerly suggested. Repealing Obamacare without coming up with something better might cause American citizens to suffer and die, but that seems to be secondary to the all-important goal of Mitt Romney becoming president, regardless of the cost.

I will never, ever apologize for America.—Mitt Romney

But obviously when the United States makes mistakes, apologies are in order. Ronald Reagan signed legislation that apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On August 10, 1988, Reagan said himself that "We admit a wrong." Also, Reagan's Justice Department issued a formal apology to France for protecting Klaus Barbie, a Nazi whom U.S. intelligence recruited and shielded in the aftermath of World War II. Reagan also expressed regret for the U.S. military shooting down an Iranian passenger jet over the Persian Gulf and offered compensation to both Iranian and non-Iranian victims.

I am big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in Washington.—Mitt Romney

Romney is a braggart who waffles from position to position, depending on the people he's trying to impress or gain votes from. When he's appealing to conservatives for votes, he's a down-on-his-luck unemployed hunter who deplores Washington insiders and spending. But when he's trying to impress someone else, he's the consummate Washington insider who knows how the get the big bucks from the federal government. Romney called the auto industry bailouts "crony capitalism on a grand scale," but he wasn't above lobbying Congress to bail out the Salt Lake City Olympics, an intervention that ended up costing U.S. taxpayers about $1.3 billion, according to TIME (August 29, 2011).

Before I made a statement [about the Palestinians] I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: "Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?"—Mitt Romney

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times about the statement above, which seems to suggest that Romney will allow Israel to either set or direct U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East: "Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel. In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: 'Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’' Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would "subcontract Middle East policy to Israel." "That, of course, would be inappropriate," he added.

Romney's Fiscal Insanity

Romney claims to have a plan for America's financial salvation. He confidently announces that he will put Americans back to work, end Obamacare with a wave of his magic wand, balance the budget, restore the federal government's AAA credit rating, etc. But in reality his "plan" boils down to throwing even more money at the super-rich, due to the failed thinking that making the rich richer will cause money to "trickle down" to the less affluent. Albert Einstein, a very smart cookie, once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for different results. By that rule of thumb, Romney is insane, and so is the GOP.

After his primary victories in Michigan and Arizona, Romney detailed a list of tax changes designed to delight wealthy Americans, while sending everyone else to the poorhouse. He promised to enact an "across-the-board, 20 percent rate cut for every American," to "repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax," and abolish the "death tax" ("death tax" is conservative-speak for the estate tax paid by by only the wealthiest Americans). He also pledged to lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, to "make the R&D tax credit permanent to foster innovation," and "end the repatriation tax to return investment back to our shores."

That's truly wonderful for the Warren Buffets and Bill Gateses of the world, but what about the rest of us?

Perhaps at first glance an across-the-board tax cut sounds nicely fair and balanced. But a recent Tax Policy Center study of the impact of a 20% across-the-board cut indicated that the wealthiest 0.1% would get an average tax reduction of $264,000. The poorest 20% would get $78, and those in the middle would get an average of $791. And the TCP predicted that the plan would add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

Romney Betrays His Roots and Religion

"His father was a beloved governor because he was pragmatic and compassionate and moderate," former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm told The National Memo, referring to the late George Romney, who was a popular auto executive before he was elected Michigan's top official. "Mitt Romney, while he may have been some of those things while he was governor of Massachusetts, is vying to outflank Rick Santorum on the right, and he is not his father. He has morphed into something his father would not recognize."

Like many other Republicans who profess to be Christians, in his eagerness to be considered a "conservative's conservative," Mitt Romney has forgotten or ignored the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and Hebrew prophets, all of whom said that true religion is to practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and social justice. Ironically, the GOP's alpha males who profess to "believe" in God are now practicing social and economic Darwinism: the survival of the strongest and most ruthless at the expense of everyone else, particularly mothers, children, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed and the poor. Just try finding a Bible verse to support that type of behavior!

Romney Waffles Because He Panders to Religious Fanatics in His Quest for Votes

When asked to define himself in a single word during a recent debate, Mitt Romney chose the word "resolute." But Romney seems to always be willing to waffle if doing so will gain him votes and campaign contributions. Take, for instance, his inconsistent stance on global warming. In his book No Apology, he wrote, "I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control." But if global warming is obviously real, it doesn't matter a hill of beans who is responsible. All that matters is what human beings can do to keep ice caps and glaciers from melting to such an extent that sea levels rise and people and animals living on low-lying islands and in coastal regions begin to suffer and die in large numbers.

But recently Romney altered his position, rather obviously in order to win the votes of conservative Christians whose "faith" leads them to ignore facts and science. Romney now opposes spending money to address global warming because it can't be "proven" that human beings are "responsible." Well, the dinosaurs weren't "responsible" for asteroids hitting the earth and leading to the climate change that caused their extinction, but they became extinct nonetheless. President Barack Obama has taken the much more intelligent and reasonable position that we need to do whatever we can to do to deal with a warming planet and rising sea levels. Republicans like Romney are pandering to irrational people in order to obtain their votes and campaign contributions. That is obviously a very foolish, very dangerous thing to do.

In my opinion, Mitt Romney is neither resolute, nor acting responsibly. He seems to believe that his getting elected president is vastly more important that what happens to our planet, more than eight billion human beings and trillions of animals.

The Romney-Bot Delivers Standard GOP Propaganda

Mitt Romney certainly looks "presidential," but if we tear our eyes away from his impressive figure long enough to actually heed his words, he sounds like a robot programmed to mindlessly drone the standard Republican mantras: "Everything bad that ever happened to Americans is the fault of Barack Obama, and if you elect me I will wave my magic wand and fix everything my first day in office, by repealing this, that and the other piece of socialistic legislation." He makes it sound as if jobs and money will fall magically from trees, the day he becomes president.

But like most robots, Romney seems to lack empathy for average Americans. He is certainly no Ronald Reagan. While he’s not as creepy as Richard Nixon, he seems even more implausibly remote and alien. Take, for example, his recent remark that "I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine." He seems to somehow calmly equate the pain-wracked struggles of the very poor with the mild discomforts of the very rich (who just happen to be his friends).

And there seems to be a pattern of such disconnects. Not long ago, Romney opined that his speaking fees of $374,327 for a single year were "not very much." In June of 2011, he told unemployed Florida workers that he understood their plight, saying. "I’m also unemployed. I’m networking. I have my sight on a particular job." If he was trying to be funny, the joke undoubtedly fell flat, because Romney has a personal safety net of $250 million and doesn't need the "job" he's seeking in order to feed his family. At one of the early Republican debates, he offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 — an amount that, however facetious, reminded voters just how rich Romney really is, and how carefree he is about money.

Mitt Romney’s $100 million Cayman Island IRA: Did he pay 13%, really, or is he a tax cheat?
Will Romney's Fascist Dreams of an "American Century" lead to more unwinnable wars in the Middle East?
Will Bishop Romney continue to Wage War on American Women and Moms and Teachers and Big Bird and China and American Workers?
Will Romney Hood rob Americans blind with his Medicare Scam, by stealing from the poor to give to the rich?
Are Romney and the Romulans trying to get rid of Martin Luther King Day?
Mitt Romney Quotes, Paul Ryan Quotes and Ann Romney Quotes the Stepford Wife?
Mitt Romney Poems, Parodies, Songs, Jokes and Nicknames

The HyperTexts