The HyperTexts

Romney's Battleships

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan sealed their political nuptials by running down the gangplank of a decommissioned battleship to the podium (below), laughing and waving, even though neither of them ever served a day in the military. Bishop Romney avoided the Vietnam war by living in a French palace as a 19-year-old "missionary." The palace, owned by the Mormon church, had stained glass windows, chandeliers and servants.

As President Obama pointed out, Romney and the Romulans are backward-looking in every respect: "Governor, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s." Here's just one of many examples of Romney's backwardness ...

The New York Times recently disclosed a September 2011 memo drafted by Mitt Romney’s advisors which advocates the resumption of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” initiated under President George W. Bush but banned by President Barack Obama on his second day in office. In a December 17, 2011 Town Hall meeting, Romney said, “I will not authorize torture.” But at the press conference after the Town Hall meeting, when a reporter asked him if he considered waterboarding to be torture, Romney responded “I don’t.” Romney’s stance led one UN official to warn that his election would amount to “a democratic mandate for torture.”

Horses and Bayonets

"Horses and bayonets" became the most memorable catchphrase of the third and final debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as the Democratic president used  the past to paint the Republican candidate's worldview as hopelessly outdated. Romney had criticized Obama's military policy throughout the campaign, accusing the president of spending too little on the U.S. military by noting that the Navy has fewer ships than in 1917. When the former Massachusetts governor made the point again during the  debate, President Obama was ready with the perfect rejoinder: "Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines." Obama even invoked a children's military role-playing board game: "The question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships." 

Romney's is a "pointless" comparison, as CNN noted recently, explaining that it’s "wrong to assume that fewer ships translates to a weaker military" because of "the technological supremacy of current Navy ships." Hundreds of 1940s-era fighter planes combined can’t match one modern Stealth bomber, and the same is true for Navy vessels. The Washington Post's fact checkers agreed with CNN, saying: "This is a nonsense fact." called it "a meaningless claim.

Shades of China, Romney Hominy Plagiarized!

"Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose."

Mitt Romney seems to be obsessed with the "clear eyes" slogan, used by the small-town high school football team depicted on the now-defunct TV series Friday Night Lights. It came up again during the third presidential debate, which took place in Boca Raton, Florida (ironically, where Romney’s infamous "47 percent" video was recorded). When the former Mormon Bishop and Massachusetts governor was taken to task by President Obama for claiming that Russia remains America’s foremost "geopolitical foe," Romney replied: "I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin ..."

Well, there he goes again. Peter Berg, the executive producer of Friday Night Lights, recently fired off an angry letter to the Romney campaign, claiming they plagiarized his show’s trademark phrase: "Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series. The only relevant comparison that I see between your campaign and Friday Night Lights is in the character of Buddy Garrity—who turned his back on American car manufacturers [by] selling imported cars from Japan."

Ouch, that does sound like Bishop Romney, who famously (or infamously) wrote an article entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

Romney claims to love American cars, but his comments about the 47% and his liquidation of American companies and job during his tenure as CEO of Bane Kapital make it seem pretty obvious that he doesn't love American factory workers.

As is his imperious wont, ignoring Berg’s fiery missive, Romney has not only kept the phrase in his repertoire, but has even begun selling cheap plastic red, white and blue bracelets bearing the slogan for $10.

Shades of China! Not only did the Romney camp steal the phrase, they're now making money by selling something they don't own. Bishop Romney condemns China for stealing American trademarks and intellectual property, by selling cheap knock-offs, then turns around and does the same thing himself!

Obama's Battleship reference seems doubly ironic because Peter Berg directed the movie Battleship—one of filmdom's biggest box office busts. Berg’s Friday Night Lights and Battleship both exude a dizzy, unthinking  patriotism. Romney wants to increase the military budget to 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, even though there is widespread agreement that spending cuts must be made. According to the New York Times: "Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, has calculated that even if a Romney administration slowly increases the military budget to 4 percent of the G.D.P. over two presidential terms, that would still amount to spending $7.5 trillion over the next decade—or $1.8 trillion more than the Obama administration plans for the Pentagon’s base budget in the same period."

Can even Visine get the red out of Romney's blurry budget vision?

To further investigate this subject please click here: Romney Clear Eyes Full Hearts?

Milk of Romnesia ... or is it Bilk of Romnesia?

Here is the definition of romnesia, a new disease that threatens the lives and health of 47% of Americans, or roughly 150 million people:

rom-ne-sia noun /rom nē zha/
A state of self-induced amnesia, usually for political gain, in which a candidate conveniently forgets his/her previous positions even though they have been indelibly entered into the public record.
Example: "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard." [but] "I never really called myself pro-choice." [and] "I was a severely conservative governor." (Mitt "Myth" Romney)
Etymology: a modern coinage based on the name of its exemplar nonpareil, the Mormon Bishop, CEO of Bane Kapital and American political figure Willard Mitt Romney, who elevated self-induced amnesia into a political art form during his campaigns for elected office.
Synonyms: balderdash, baloney, blather, bull, bunk, bunkum, hooey, hogwash, poppycock, selling ice to Eskimos, selling swampland
Antonyms: truthfulness, honesty, candor

For a more detailed account of the history and etymology of the word, please click here: Romnesia History and Etymology.

If this topic interests you, please click here: Mules and Bayonets.

Mr. Free Stuff

Willard Mitt Romney scornfully accuses ordinary Americans of wanting "free stuff" when they request affordable healthcare, and yet it seems he may have paid virtually no federal income taxes for years, despite being one of the world's wealthiest men. Wouldn't that make Matinee Mitt the King of Free Stuff?

Does Mitt Malarkey really believe in American exceptionalism, or just his own "exceptions" (i.e., evaded income taxes)? If Darth eVader really believes in American exceptionalism, why did he stash so much of his cash in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands? Captain Americon drives high quality American-made cars, so why does he park his money in obscure financial institutions on tiny, insecure islands? Why did a fabulously wealthy man like Mittens choose the Yugo of banks, rather than a Cadillac? The answer seems obvious: multi-million-dollar offshore "IRAs" are a rich man's way of mooching off everyday Janes and Joes who pay their taxes, rain or shine, via automatic payroll deductions. That Mitt Robme would scam his fellow Americans calls his character into question: whatever happened to leading by example? That More Money (his nickname at Bane Kapital) would mock less affluent Americans by claiming they want "free stuff," after he used every trick in the book to avoid paying taxes, is simply beyond the pale.

Rich Americans frequent the Cayman Islands for two reasons: either to work on their tans, or their tax shelters. Obviously, soaking up the Caribbean sun does not require 137 offshore shell corporations like those created by Willard Fillmore. We are limited to retirement contributions of a few thousand dollars per year, but it seems Wrong Way Romney put entire companies in his IRAs, which have been estimated to be worth up to $100 million. How? It seems Mitt Moneybags probably assigned his shares implausibly low initial values, then let them "appreciate" only after they were safe from taxes. If there's any other explanation, I'd certainly love to hear it, but the King of Bain Pain remains mum despite even his supporters' anxious pleas for him to come clean. Thus it seems obvious that the Cayman Island Chameleon has something to hide. And Romney Hood's assertions that he paid at least 13% in taxes every year mean nothing. If he paid 13% on one-tenth of his income, while sheltering nine-tenths, that means the Bermuda Barracuda actually paid 1.3% on his total income.

Romney Fires Big Bird, Outsources Sesame Street to China!

During his first presidential debate with President Barack Obama, the extraterrestrial android Willard Mitt Romney came up with a truly unique solution: fire Big Bird and outsource Sesame Street, along with the rest of PBS, to China.

Big Bird Will Work for Food

Romney Exposes Enormous Ass, Shocks Schoolchildren


Madame Butterfly

Egad, yet another act of shape-shifting metamorphosis by Bishop Romney. During the final presidential debate he emerged from the political chrysalis as a peaceful, serene, almost feminine butterfly ... not to mention a fan, advocate and supporter of the Obama administration's values, policies and actions.

As the New York Times pointed out, this more moderate version of Multiple Choice Mitt "kept talking about American 'strength' and the need to be 'tougher,' but he seemed at times unnerved by the president, a man he accused of being too weak." Is this because Romney's handlers, spin-meisters and neo-con advisers instructed him to once again reset the Etch-a-Sketch, but he had to look the president in the eye while parroting their lies, and that gave him a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach? Is he belatedly coming to realize just how oily and unctuous his used-car salesman act seems to the American public? Is even Romney himself growing weary of his constant dissembling?

Ironically, Romney looks weakest on jobs and the economy, which were supposed to have been his strengths. Romney's only consistency through three debates is that he never gave a straight, specific answer when when President Obama pointed out the massive illogic of $5 trillion in tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans, plus $2 trillion in additional military spending the Pentagon hasn't requested.

Tricky Dick Redux

The more I learn about Willard Mitt Romney, the more he reminds me of Richard Milhous Nixon ... Tricky Dick, meet Wily Willy!

Mr. Transformer

Mitt Romney seems to be running for shape-shifter-in-chief of the United States. If he was a superhero, he would be an incredibly flexible Plastic Man, with extra-long arms, hands and fingers suitable for lifting people's wallets, extracting their money, and handing it over to the owners of Chinese sweatshops. If he appeared in the Twilight movies, he would be a cross between the Cold Ones and the Werewolves, with the worst characteristics of each, and none of their redeeming values. If he was a character on a children's show, he would be either a very sketchy Etch-a-Sketch or a human eraser like Gumby, only with a nastier disposition. If he starred in a comic book, he would be Stuporman, able to induce a state of shock in the presidents of world superpowers, by making $8 trillion disappear in the blink of an eye.

Mitt and Ann Romney: War on Moms is a "Gift" to their Political Campaign

During a closed-door fundraiser in Florida, Ann Romney told the audience that Hilary Rosen's remark that she had never worked was a boon to her and her husband's political campaign: "It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it." Mitt Romney obviously agreed because, speaking after his wife, he called the ensuing "war on moms" a "gift."

I find it hard to understand why a man running for president of the United States, and his potential first lady, would consider a war on mothers to be a "gift." But that was not Rosen's intention. Rather, she had criticized the Mormonator for turning to his wife for advice on women's economic concerns, when she had never entered the job market and has long lived a life of incredible luxury because Willard Billhard is one of the world's wealthiest men. Most American mothers these days have to work for pay and be their children's primary caregivers. While Rosen's choice of words may have been unfortunate, her point seems valid. Especially when Ann Romney has made statements such as: "My horse has more style and more class in its hoof than they [presumably less affluent people] do in their whole deal!"

Also, the Romneys have made it clear that only rich stay-at-home moms should get credit for working.

Like her husband, Ann Romney comes across as a rich boor ... so perhaps Hilary Rosen was more right than she was wrong.

Mormon Tribune: Too Many Mitts

The Salt Lake Tribune, originally created as the Mormon Tribune and currently the largest-circulation newspaper in the state of Utah, has endorsed President Obama for reelection, in an editorial highly critical of Republican challenger Mitt Romney. How did the American Borat go from being a "favorite son" candidate from Utah, the historic and cultural center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to an object of scorn and ridicule?

The article begins on a positive note: "Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee’s political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican, business-friendly state." The article also praises Romney lavishly for his rescue of the 2002 Winter Olympics and described him as "the Beehive State’s favorite adopted son."

But the Tribune sharply and severely criticized Romney’s "servile courtship of the Tea Party," called him "shameless" in his pandering to right-wing radicals, and labeled him the GOP’s "shape-shifting nominee" for his constant and outrageous flip-flopping.

"Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?’" the editorial asks, then opines: "The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear. More troubling, Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts (except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax deductions and exemptions is utterly meaningless without identifying which and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a balanced budget simply does not pencil out. If this portrait of a Romney willing to say anything to get elected seems harsh, we need only revisit his branding of 47 percent of Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, yet feel victimized and entitled to government assistance. His job, he told a group of wealthy donors, 'is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.' Where, we ask, is the pragmatic, inclusive Romney, the Massachusetts governor who left the state with a model health care plan in place, the Romney who led Utah to Olympic glory? That Romney skedaddled and is nowhere to be found."

There are, it seems, simply "too many Mitts" to believe in any of them.

The article goes on to list President Obama's leadership and accomplishments, such as the auto bailout and Obamacare, then concludes: "In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust. Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first."

Fact Free Dressing

Some restaurants serve fat-free dressing. It seems the presidential debates are fact-free window dressing for Mitt Romney. He reserves the truth for the jet-set elite. How can we tell? Well, if you gave $50,000 to reserve a spot at Mitt Rotney's swanky retreat for donors in New York this week, you would have received this confidence letter: "All events are closed to the public and you should treat all statements, whether made during formal presentation or informal conversations, as off the record. Please be mindful of the security and confidentiality of your meeting notes and materials. Please do not post updates or information about the meeting on blogs, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or in traditional media." Why so secretive? Perhaps Mitt the Ripper wants to be able to level with his wealthy donors about his $5 trillion "rescue plan" for the super-rich. Experts say it will cost the average family with kids $2,000 per year in order to give multi-millionaires more humongous tax cuts. Or perhaps Pink Slip Mitt wants to be able to talk freely and disdainfully about how 150 million Americans are lazy, irresponsible freeloaders ... even the ones fighting and dying in Afghanistan. Or maybe Rombo just wants to brag about how he bought a Chinese sweatshop complete with guard towers, barbed wire and thousands of young girls providing virtual slave labor so that Bain Capital could profit even more from the closing of American factories and outsourcing of  American jobs. One thing is certain, though. Re-money's finance chairman gave the donors a firm goal: raise $2 million in 45 minutes!

Myth Romney: Candidate or Con?

Candidate contains the word "candid." I think most American presidential candidates since Richard Nixon have been reasonably candid, at least about their primary beliefs and intentions. We knew, for example, that Ronald Reagan saw communism as a threat to the free world and wanted to cut taxes for the rich in the hope that some of the money would "trickle down" to ordinary Janes and Joes. So certain things he did as president, such as beefing up the military, taking a hard line with the USSR until its leaders were ready to negotiate peace, and cutting taxes (although he eventually compromised and raised them), made perfect sense, whether we agreed with him or not. We also knew that Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were liberal-to-moderate Democrats who stood for equality for minorities and women. And we know that Barack Obama is also a liberal-to-moderate Democrat in the FDR-Kennedy-Carter-Clinton mold, despite the wild and false claims of right-wing nuts that he is a "communist," a "totalitarian socialist," etc. And we know that George W. Bush was a brash, vain, reckless, not-so-intelligent Texas cowboy, which helps to explain why Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were able to so easily dupe him into invading Iraq on false premises. Still, Bush Junior was never disingenuous; he was just in way over his head. 

But Mitt Romney seems more like a con-didate than a candid-ate to me. Even people in his own party have called him out in public repeatedly: not only for constantly flip-flopping on major issues, but also for flat-out lying. Flip Flopney lies even when the truth would serve much better. He is not only out of touch with most Americans, but also with basic reality. For instance, the Mighty Mormon Power Ranger claims to have lived a hardscrabble existence without running water or refrigerators in France as a 19-year-old "missionary," while other young Americans fought and died in Vietnam. But Rook Romney's fellow missionaries say that he lived in a multi-million-dollar French palace owned by the Mormon church, and that it had not only running water and refrigeration, but chandeliers, stained glass windows and servants. Phony Bologna claims to be a "self-made" man who "bootstrapped" himself to wealth and success without help from other people, but his wife Ann once admitted publicly that they never had to work while her husband earned three degrees (including two from ultra-expensive Harvard) because whenever they needed spending money they would sell some of the stock his millionaire father had given them as gifts. The only deprivation Ann Romney mentioned was very mild indeed: they chose to forego entertaining guests until Mitt graduated. But how many college students put on the Ritz? The fact that she even thought to complain about not being able to host soirees suggests a deep sense of privilege and entitlement, in my opinion.

Why would Fancy Cheesebag (his nickname at prep school) lie about such things? My educated guess is that he lies for the same reason he bullied gay classmates, co-workers, employees, the Colorado schoolteacher he told to shut up because he hadn't asked her a question (even though they were engaged in a roundtable discussion), the elderly moderator Jim Lehrer at the first debate, and the female moderator Candy Crowley at the second debate (kudos to her for standing her ground). Hell, he even tried to bully President Obama, who's hardly a milquetoast. So what gives? I think Bain in the Ass (as David Letterman calls him) bullies people and lies because he's a narcissist who longs for the approval of other people, and because he's deeply insecure about himself. He also seems to lack empathy for other people's suffering, so he doesn't know when to let up. Children often lie and show off to get attention. Bullies think making other people look bad somehow makes them look good. Romneycon seems like the ultimate illusionist to me: a spoiled, bullying brat masquerading as a man fit to be president of the United States, when he lacks the empathy and self-confidence to be a decent dogcatcher. I certainly wouldn't trust him with our six puppies, much less 300 million Americans.

Golden Showers, or a Reign of Terror?

In a tight presidential race, it’s dangerous to alienate American women, since they outnumber men and thus represent the majority of voters. But Mitt Romney has real difficulty talking about women without sticking his oversized foot in his overactive mouth. Now he’s in a real bind over his "binders full of women" blunder. "Binder" rhymes with "bind her" ... did Medieval Mitt's irrepressible alpha male id inject its two cents' worth into the current debate about women's rights? Romney's disdainful, insensitive bullying of first an elderly male moderator, then a female moderator, certainly makes him look suspect on the equality front.
During their second debate, President Obama challenged Romney directly on the issue of equal pay for equal work, bringing up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, which was the first piece of legislation he signed as president, but which Romney and the Romulans (oops, Republicans) opposed.
Romney attempted to dodge the pay equality issue by claiming that as governor of Massachusetts he proactively requested the resumes of women qualified to join his cabinet. But Romney "didn’t go out looking for those binders" according to Carol Hardy-Fanta, the former co-chairwoman of the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP). Rather, MassGAP initiated and spearheaded the process before Romney’s election and provided an unsolicited roster of qualified female candidates when he won. In an interview with National Review, Kerry Healey, Romney’s former lieutenant governor, confirmed that the binders in question came from MassGAP.
Fact checkers were also quick to point out that Romney never made a woman a partner during his entire tenure as CEO of Bain Capital, the ultimate rich boys’ club. So it seems Romney was blissfully unaware of the existence of a single qualified executive-level female until MassGap finally opened his eyes.
According to The Huffington Post, one of Romney’s senior advisers, Ed Gillespie, confirmed that if Romney had been president in 2009, he would not have signed the Lilly Ledbetter bill into law. "Is that leadership?" asked Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, pointing out that if Romney was president, "We wouldn't have equal pay. I think that's the point. He doesn't lift a finger to do anything for women."
Romney is on record as saying that it’s not his job to worry about the 47% of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay federal income taxes. He also seems to have few concerns about the 52% of Americans who face rampant pay discrimination in the job market. Does he, perhaps, come off as an elitist male chauvinist oinker because that’s what he is?
Lilly Ledbetter herself hit the nail squarely on the head in her comments reported by the Wall Street Journal: "I think women have gotten the message loud and clear from the other side — how they don’t believe in equal pay for equal work and they don’t believe that we women have the right to say what we should do with our bodies."
Ledbetter also pointed out that before Roe vs. Wade, many American women bled to death from hemorrhages caused by illegal back alley abortions. While Romney tries to give the impression of being "empathetic " by deigning to allow abortions in cases of rape, incest and a woman’s life being imperiled, where does this leave most teenagers and working mothers who have accidents? They will be faced with either risking their lives and health to bear babies they don’t want and can’t afford, or resorting to expensive butchers or cheap wire hangers. Does any man have the right to send American girls and women back to the Stone Age? Should patriarchal men’s beliefs about invisible gods and soul-infused macroscopic cells trump women’s rights over their own bodies? Why not keep religion a personal, rather than a political, matter?
Ledbetter’s remarks about being "shortchanged " (the absolutely perfect word) by Romney, made at the Democratic National Convention are also germane: "Maybe 23 cents [per hour] doesn’t sound like a lot to someone with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Island investments, and an IRA worth tens of millions of dollars. But Governor Romney, when we lose 23 cents every hour every day, every month, it cannot just be measured in dollars." The energized, appreciative audience rose to its feet as she concluded with: "What began as my own, is now our fight for the fundamental American values that make our country great." She was, of course, talking about Americans believing in fair play and a level playing field for everyone.

But as President Obama just pointed out during the second debate, Romney has a one-point economic plan: let the richest Americans acquire even more of the nation’s wealth and hope that a drop here and there trickles down to burdened masses, in the political equivalent of a golden shower, with most of the pissers being rich, entitled men and most of the pissees being discriminated-against women. 

Ledbetter’s speech garnered one of the highest tweets-per-minute ratios during the recent conventions. Romney’s infamous phrase quickly became the third most-searched-for term on Google. So it seems that many American women are paying close attention, and my educated guess is that they are not at all amused by Bishop  Romney’s blatant alpha male chauvinism.


Paul Ryan recently stopped at a Youngstown, Ohio soup kitchen to demonstrate his empathy for the downtrodden ... by washing dishes specifically set aside for staged campaign snapshots of him "selflessly" washing them, during a contrived, hasty 15-minute photo op. According to one shelter volunteer, the dishes were already clean and the homeless people had already left before Ryan performed his Good Samaritan act. There is a conflicting report that some dirty dishes were deliberately saved in an unwashed state specifically for Ryan to clean them. In either case, as Jon Stewart implored, "Please for the love of God, make it stop!"

Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, told the Washington Post that Ryan and his people "ramrodded their way" into the soup kitchen in what seemed to be a cheap, cheesy publicity stunt, saying: "They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors." According to the Washington Post, "Ryan stopped by the soup kitchen for about 15 minutes on his way to the airport after his Saturday morning town hall in Youngstown. By the time he arrived, the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned. Upon entering the soup kitchen, Ryan, his wife and three young children greeted and thanked several volunteers, then donned white aprons and offered to clean some dishes. Photographers snapped photos and TV cameras shot footage of Ryan and his family washing pots and pans that did not appear to be dirty." Antal said that he "can’t fault my volunteers" for letting the campaign in because the publicity-seekers "didn’t go through the proper channels." He noted that the soup kitchen relies on funding from private individuals who might reconsider their support if it appears that the charity is favoring one political candidate over another. "I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals," he said. "If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem." He added that the incident had caused him "all kinds of grief" and that regardless of whether Ryan had intended to serve food to patrons or wash dishes, he would not have allowed the visit to take place. "Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted ... I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture."

The Stepford Wife

What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage. — Ann Romney

Since the US has not yet officially banned marriages of human beings to cyborgs, this may well be true. On the other hand, in what sort of "real marriage" does the bride tell her parents that they're not welcome to attend her wedding ceremony because the Mormon Church forbids non-Mormon from entering its Salt Lake City temple? Or, when her father refuses to convert to Mormonism, has him baptized into the faith after his death? Or claims that she never argues with her husband, the autocratic and intimidating Bishop Romney? Or says that he never raises his voice to her (perhaps because she's so wonderfully submissive?) Or who describes their love like this in an anniversary video: "I think Mitt now will say that I dug it in really, really deep, and he’s never been able to escape the grasp that I got ahold of him."

Multiple Choice Mitt

For me the central issue is that people who are here illegally should be able to apply for citizenship; that should not be prohibited.
[Immigrants] should not be allowed to stay in this country and be given permanent residency or citizenship.

I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since my mom took that position when she ran [for Senate] in 1970.
I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.
I was an avidly pro-life governor; I am a pro-life individual. I never really called myself pro-choice.

It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.
Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden.

I believe the world is getting warmer ... I believe humans contribute to that.
My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet.

I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.
It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.
[He avoided Vietnam by living in a French palace as a 19-year-old Mormon "missionary."]

I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero.
It’s a tax cut for fat cats.

I’m going to take burdens off the back of the auto industry. [Romney later wrote an essay titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."]

I'm a big believer in getting money where the money is, and the money's in Washington.
If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars [more] than we take in every year.

I like [compulsory health insurance] mandates. The mandates work.
Being called the "grandfather of Obamacare" is a "compliment."
I would repeal Obamacare ... because it's a "costly disaster."

As the quotes above indicate, Mitt Romney is either lying through his teeth in order to get elected president, or he is so deeply conflicted that he doesn't know what he believes himself. In either case, he is unfit to be president.

Mitt Romney in his own Words

We should double Guantanamo!
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that!
Let Detroit go bankrupt!
I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back!
(Referring to the auto industry he wanted to go bankrupt.)
I would repeal Obamacare! (Even though Obamacare is modeled after his claim to fame, Romneycare.)
Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend!
Now, the banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now. They're overwhelmed with a lot of things. One is a lot of homes coming in, that are in foreclosure or in trouble ...
(Romney wants us to have compassion for banks because they are overwhelmed from repossessing so many homes!)
Let it [the home foreclosure crisis] run its course and hit the bottom!
Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom!

If we properly parse and interpret Romney's remarks above, it seems he has more compassion for heartless banks and corporations than he does for human beings. He opposed temporary loans for cash-strapped American automakers and the millions of workers and subcontractors they employ. He opposed any financial aid for millions of Americans facing home foreclosures. But he favored much larger bailouts of his fellow Wall Street tycoons and the big banks that created the foreclosure crisis with their greed and irresponsibility. What does that tell us about his priorities and values?

We have a president who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps. (Mitt Romney has two Harvard degrees.)

I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks. (Romney insulting NASCAR fans for wearing plastic rain ponchos at the Daytona 500.)

I'm in this race because I care about Americans [but] I'm not concerned about the very poor [and] he dismissed 47% of Americans, or roughly 150 million people, as lazy, irresponsible freeloaders who only think they are entitled to food, housing and healthcare, implying that they are not really entitled to live, in his opinion, since a decent human life requires food, housing and healthcare.

Atta girl! (Taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel.)

He can't look like that! That's wrong! Just look at him! (Before tackling a gay classmate, John Lauber, pinning him to the ground and cutting off his long, bleached-blonde hair.)

One of Romney's former classmates compared him to the Lord of the Flies, because of incidents like those above.

I didn’t ask you a question! (This was Romney's insulting comment to Cheryl Arnett, a first grade teacher from Craig, Colorado, when she tried to suggest a solution to an educational problem during a roundtable discussion.)

Mitt Romney explains why he is not qualified to become president:

If I had paid more [federal income taxes] than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. (But Romney chose not to claim all his charitable contributions on his 2011 tax return, in order to keep his tax rate from falling below the13% he said he never fell below when he disclosed his 2010 taxes.)

Creepy Romney

Joe Conason reported in The National Memo that Mitt Romney routinely impersonated police officers by donning a cop uniform that was apparently a gift from his father. One of Romney’s friends, Robin Madden, claims he "told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler." Madden’s wife added, "We thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, 'Wow, that’s pretty creepy.'" According to Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman in their article "The Real Romney," other sources said that Romney schemed with friends to prank two girls. Romney "put a siren on top of his car and chased two of his friends who were driving around with their dates." Romney pulled them over and "discovered" beer in the truck. Romney and his friends then got into Romney’s car and left the girls behind.

How Willard Mitt Romney Dodged the Draft and the Vietnam War by Vacationing in a French Palace

The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor. ~ Voltaire
Let them eat [non-existent] cake! ~ Marie Antoinette
We should double Guantanamo! ~ Willard Mitt Romney
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that!
~ Willard Mitt Romney
Let Detroit go bankrupt!
~ Willard Mitt Romney
I would repeal Obamacare! ~ Willard Mitt Romney
Don't try and stop the foreclosure process! Let it run its course and hit the bottom! ~ Willard Mitt Romney

Corporations are people, my friend! ... Of course they are! ... Human beings, my friend! ... Now, the banks aren't bad people! They're just overwhelmed right now! They're overwhelmed with a lot of things. One is a lot of homes coming in, that are in foreclosure or in trouble!

Willard Mitt Romney wants us to have compassion for banks because they are overwhelmed from repossessing so many homes! I find that very odd. But what should we expect from a man who avoided the draft and the Vietnam war by vacationing in a French palace as a 19-year-old "missionary"? Here are reports on the matter from reputable sources ...

Daily Kos: Romney supported and protested for the United States to continue drafting young men to be sent to fight and die in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. But when it was Mitt's turn to possibly be drafted, he ran away from America as fast as he could and found refuge in France where he lived in a Palace staffed by two servants—a Spanish chef and a houseboy named Jose.

The Daily Mail: When the president of the [Mormon] mission returned to the U.S. to bury his wife, Romney, who was his assistant, was left in charge, relocating from Bordeaux to a palatial residence in Paris, complete with chandeliers and servants ...

Seeking to show Americans that he can understand their troubles, Mitt Romney has reflected on the time he spent in France as a Mormon missionary. Romney said he lived in apartments so rundown that he was forced to defecate in a bucket and shower with a hose. "Most of the apartments I lived in had no refrigerators," Romney said last week at a town hall New Hampshire. "I don’t actually recall any of them having a refrigerator."

But according to fellow American missionaries who spoke with the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, Romney not only had a refrigerator and toilet, but a lot more. The missionaries said Romney spent most of his time in France in a Paris mansion that some described as a "palace." It featured a cook, a servant, stained glass windows and expensive art, and later became an embassy!

The Daily Telegraph: ... for most of 1968, Mr Romney lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. "It was a house built by and for rich people," said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr. Romney’s stay. "I would describe it as a palace". Tearful as he described the house, Mr Anderson, 70, of Kaysville, Utah, said Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there. The building, on Rue de Lota, was bought by the Mormons in 1952, having been seized by the Nazis during the Second World War. The Church sold it again in the 1970s, and it was until recently the embassy of the United Arab Emirates. It is currently worth as much as $12 million (£7.7 million). Mr. Romney moved into the building following a stay in Bordeaux, after being promoted to assistant to the president, Duane Anderson ... He was given a room on the third floor. "They were very big rooms," said Christian Euvrard, the 72-year-old director of the Mormon-run Institute of Religion in Paris, who knew Mr. Romney. "Very comfortable. The building had beautiful gilded interiors, a magnificent staircase in cast iron, and an immense hall."

National Memo: In 1966 during the Viet Nam war, Romney attended Stanford University in California and while hundreds-of-thousands of young Americans across the nation were protesting the war and the ever-expanding military draft, Willard was participating in a pro-draft demonstration to support sending young Americans to fight and die in South East Asia. While Romney’s classmates were protesting a test designed to help authorities decide who was eligible for the draft, he joined 150 other conservatives to show their support for expanding the draft. Willard did not just join demonstrators, he told a protest leader that "he had some experience with the press, and that he would handle the press for him if he wanted him to." Like many hawkish politicians of his generation, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney managed to avoid serving in the Vietnam War through family connections. The young Romney could not use a student deferment from the draft — having dropped out of Stanford University after only two semesters — but avoided service anyway with the assistance of the Mormon elders. The son of George Romney, then Michigan’s governor, he was one of a limited number of Mormon youth chosen as missionaries — a status that protected him from the draft between July 1966 and February 1969 as a "minister of religion or divinity student." Essentially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints re-routed Romney from Vietnam to the south of France, where he served as missionary. According to Romney, proselytizing in la belle France was no picnic. Romney recently rebutted suggestions that his immense wealth has left him out of touch with ordinary Americans by claiming he learned how the other 99 percent live through his service in France. According to Romney, his French quarters had no working bathroom ... But Romney’s gritty recollections contradict those of his fellow American missionaries, who told The Daily Telegraph that Romney lived in a "palace." Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president during Romney’s stay, described it as "a house built by and for rich people," complete with stained glass windows (which scandalized the Mormon missionaries due to their depiction of a bare-breasted woman), chandeliers, massive bedrooms, a full-time chef, a houseboy, and yes — a working bathroom. That’s not to say that Romney was lying when he said that he was "not living high on the hog at that kind of level;" for a man who’s worth over $200 million and who doesn’t hesitate to offer $10,000 bets, the French palace may indeed have seemed like a "lower middle income" existence.

The Romney Economy

Before anyone buys the complete and utter malarkey that Mitt Romney is a "job creator" who is "tough on China," they should read How Freeport Became Bainport.

Shit Mitt Emits

To get to know Mitt Romney in his own words, please click here: Shit Mitt Emits.

Mitt Malarkey

I think Vice President Joe Biden found the perfect term to describe the fountain of irrational nonsense that constantly bubbles up from the overheated cores of Myth Romney and Lyin' Ryan, like a political Old Unfaithful: "malarkey." Biden set the Internet a-twitter with a flurry of tweets after he accused Myth Romney and Lyin' Ryan of dishonesty so pervasive their assertions are pure hogwash.

ma·lar·key noun /mə lär kē/ also malarky, mullarky
Meaningless, idle, insincere, phony, pretentious or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive.
Example: "snookered by a lot of malarkey" (New Republic)
Synonyms: balderdash, blather, bunk, bunkum, claptrap, drivel, garbage, hogwash, idiocy, nonsense, piffle, poppycock, rigmarole, rubbish, tomfoolery, trash, twaddle, tommyrot, (slang) applesauce, baloney, bilge, bull, bunk, crap, hooey

The hashtag #malarkey became instantaneously popular and "malarkey" was a top four Google search term during the debate. Here's what Biden said: "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey—because not a single thing he [Ryan] said was accurate." Later, Biden hit Ryan with, "This is a lot of stuff," by which he obviously meant "shit." Biden also accused Romney and Ryan of "loose talk" for political gain that endangers American diplomats and soldiers.

During the debate, @PiersMorgan said, "Biden's smirk is infectious. I'm starting to laugh too. Maybe this is a deliberate cunning strategy." @KrystalBall said, "People are complaining about Biden smiling/laughing. I like it. Paul Ryan is saying absurd things."

Mitt Romney's Extreme Makeover

President Barack Obama recently suggested that Mitt Romney must be bonkers if he thinks American voters will fall for his Etch-a-Sketch act, saying: "He's trying to go through an extreme makeover. After running for more than a year in which he called himself severely conservative, Mitt Romney's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding." Obama mocked this "latest version of Mr. Romney" and again claimed that his opponent was advancing a $5 trillion tax cut that would mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans, while claiming without proof that it would pay for itself, likening Romney's approach to deficit-busting George W. Bush "trickle down" economics: "We heard that same argument back in 2000, back in 2001, back in 2003. We have heard this pitch before — we know it doesn't work."

Bishop Romney

Willard Mitt Romney is a High Priest of the Mormon Church, and once served as a Bishop over a diocese (called a "stake"). While I would not normally be concerned about a presidential candidate's religious beliefs, I would if he was a brainwashed Moonie, for obvious reasons. I think we should all be concerned about the High Priest of a bizarre cult running for president. Here are just a few of the many strange teachings of the Mormon church:

• God the Father is a polygamist who lives on the planet Kolob, where he has sex with his harem of wives.
• God the Father had physical sex with Mary.
• Jesus was and is a polygamist.
• Mormon men will become Gods.
• Mormon wives can only enter heaven if their husbands consent; in heaven they will remain eternally pregnant, bearing innumerable spirit children.
• Human beings are not saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but by participating in the secret sacraments of the Mormon temple.
• Because salvation depends on temple sacraments, Mormon priests can sentence people to hell, by excommunicating them.
• This, of course, gives the Mormon church and its priests tremendous power over church members.

There are many credible reports of the Mormon church using that power to brainwash and control its members. And it turns out that Bishop Romney has been accused of using ruthless, cold-blooded and high-handed tactics himself, especially against women (which is not surprising in a cult whose most famous—or infamous—teaching is polygamy). For instance, Peggy Hayes, who once babysat Romney's children, said that when she was single and expecting, he showed up at her house one day, demanding that she surrender her baby to the church, via adoption. When she indignantly refused, Romney "somewhat casually" threatened her with excommunication, which was, in effect, to threaten her with hell. It seems Bishop Romney had appointed himself a God, here on earth, with the power to save women or condemn them to hell. Today, Peggy Hayes says, "My son was a gift to me" and "I'm so glad that I didn't listen to Mitt's advice." She thinks Romney is unfit to be president because "He follows the doctrines [of the Mormon church] so closely that he can't waver from it much."

Mitt's Magical Undies

As a High Priest of the Mormon Church, Bishop Romney must wear magical undergarments with special occult symbols that, according to Mormon dogma, protect him from lust, supernatural entities (demons) and various other dangers. Kay Burningham, a lawyer who left Mormonism, explains: "It’s very cultish in its behavior and what it demands of its people. It doesn’t allow free thought and it makes them perform these legalistic, symbolic, very strange behaviors, and tells them that those are required of God for their salvation." When Kay married a Mormon she was given magical underwear on her wedding day. She recalls that on the morning after her wedding night, "I awoke drenched in sweat, and found symbolic markings over the magic undergarments I was wearing." Bizarre occult signs covered her breasts and naval: "They resembled pagan signs, Masonic markings and had nothing whatsoever to do with God or religion." She was required to wear these church-endorsed undergarments every day, beneath her outer clothing.

Park Romney

Park Romney is a former Mormon high priest. He is also Mitt Romney’s second cousin and bears a striking resemblance to his famous relative. He calls Mormonism "an insidious contemporary fraud" and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints "an American cult." Bishop Romney, he claims, would be conflicted in office because "obedience to the leadership of the Mormon Church is part of the covenant of the temple ordinances to which Mitt Romney is absolutely a party."

Mitt Romney was a Mormon missionary to France in the 1960s, studied at the almost-exclusively Mormon Brigham Young University, and rose to become a Bishop and a Stake President (diocesan leader). He led Sunday services, ran Bible classes for children, and presided over a 4,000-strong congregation in Boston for five years in the 1980s. Like all Mormons, he is expected to give 10% of his annual income to the Church and not drink tea, coffee or alcohol. Committed Mormons wear magical underpants, and Romney is believed to follow this tenet of his faith too.

Park Romney questions founder Joseph Smith's prophecies: for example, his alleged "translation" of an Egyptian scroll, part of the Mormon book of Abraham, which Egyptologists say is a fraud. Mormons believe Smith found golden scripture plates buried by an angel, but according to Park Romney, "There's compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the Church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable." According to Park Romney the Mormon leadership are "masters of mendacity" who brainwash their followers in order to take their money and control their lives. If he's right, Mitt Romney is either hopelessly gullible, or one of the cynical manipulators. In either case, he is not fit to be president.

A Concerned Mother Explains Why Mitt Romney Cannot Be Trusted

"My two-year-old daughter, Zoe, was born with half a heart. For her, that is and will forever be a 'pre-existing condition'—she required two open heart surgeries already, and she'll need one more within the next year. At the [first] debate, Mitt Romney told you, me, and everyone else in America that repealing Obamacare would be his first priority as president, including the part of Obamacare that says insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage or charge more based on pre-existing conditions. He said his repeal plan will take care of people with pre-existing conditions, but then his top campaign aide 'clarified' after the debate that all he means is he would go back to the inadequate system that existed before Obamacare, which allowed insurance companies to deny coverage and resulted in bankruptcies and broken families. In other words, despite what he said in the debate, his campaign says he has no intention to do anything to help people like my daughter, Zoe, if she ever loses coverage. I don't say this stuff because I'm a political junkie. I'm not. I pay attention to this because I have to ... The stakes couldn't be higher in this election."—Stacey Lihn

China Finds Comfort in Mitt Romney's Serial Flip-Flopping

China’s Xinhua news service recently called Mitt Romney "foolish" and hypocritical, declaring: "It is rather ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician’s wealth was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered politics." According to The New Yorker, China had previously "been pleased by his association with Bain Capital, which had been energetic in trying to assist Chinese companies buy American technology firms." But then Romney switched from being an outsourcer of American technology and jobs to China, to being a critic of China. This bewildered China: "Is Romney only capable of saying slogans?" the Global Times asked. But China found hope and comfort in the fact that Romney is a serial flip-flopper who often says what he doesn't really mean: "Is Romney’s toughness toward China just a scam? Western media believed it a temporary tactic by Romney to win the presidential election. His soft stance is only a matter of time."

"How is it China’s been so successful in taking away our jobs?" Mitt Romney asked recently. "Well, let me tell you how: by cheating." But in his former "soft stance" it was Romney who, through Bain Capital and its affiliates, invested millions of dollars in Chinese companies like Asimco Technologies and notorious sweatshops like Global Tech Appliances, even as they acquired American technology and jobs with Romney's and Bain's assistance. According to The New York Times, Romney's financial disclosures reveal investments in at least seven Chinese companies. So his words and actions fail to mesh. A confidential prospectus for one of the Bain funds, obtained by The New York Times, promotes China as a good investment for the very reasons that Romney says concern him: "Strong fundamentals" like manufacturing wages 85 percent lower than what Americans earn, vast foreign exchange reserves and the likelihood that China will surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy.

Global Tech has been accused of violating patents, and for outsourcing Amercian jobs through its involvement with American manufacturers like Sunbeam. Sunbeam was run by Albert J. Dunlap, nicknamed "Chainsaw Al" for destroying so many American jobs. Sunbeam announced at least 6,400 layoffs in 1998, putting it among the top 10 in the country. And yet Romney invested millions of dollars in Global Tech, owning more than ten percent of its stock at one point.

Romney described touring Chinese factories during a Feb. 11, 1998 panel discussion at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. During that discussion—which also featured Andrew Cuomo, who was then-secretary of Housing and Urban Development and is now governor of New York—Romney said, "I just came back from a trip to China, and I went to a factory of 5,000 workers making bread makers and mixers and so forth. And 5,000 Chinese, all graduated from high school, 18 to 24 years old, were working, working, working, as hard as they could, at rates of roughly 50 cents an hour ... they wouldn’t even look up as we walked by."

It seems Romney never asked himself why the workers didn't look up, or why he saw Chinese factories surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers (as he revealed in another discussion at a Boca Raton fundraiser), or why the workers were all so young. (and therefore vulnerable to exploitation). No, it seems all that Romney saw was an opportunity to make even more money ...

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 Romney’s Sick Joke

Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, hammered Mitt Romney for his factual inaccuracies and outright lies during the first presidential debate, saying: "OK, so Obama did a terrible job in the debate, and Romney did well. But in the end, this isn’t or shouldn’t be about theater criticism, it should be about substance. And the fact is that everything Obama said was basically true, while much of what Romney said was either outright false or so misleading as to be the moral equivalent of a lie. Above all, there’s this: "Number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan." No, they aren’t. Romney’s advisers have conceded as much in the past; last night they did it again. I guess you could say that Romney’s claim wasn’t exactly a lie, since some people with preexisting conditions would retain coverage. But as I said, it’s the moral equivalent of a lie; if you think he promised something real, you’re the butt of a sick joke. And we’re talking about a lot of people left out in the cold: 89 million, to be precise. Furthermore, all of this should be taken in the context of Romney’s plan not just to repeal Obamacare but to drastically cut Medicaid. So enough with the theater criticism; Romney needs to be held accountable for dishonesty on a huge scale."

Mythical Conservatism

Krugman had previously pointed out that Paul Ryan's budget plan would leave "tens of millions" of people without health insurance and take money from the poor to give it to the rich, while increasing the budget deficit. "How can [Ryan] get away with this?" he asked incredulously, wondering how Americans can fall for this "flimflam." He also skewered the belief that Ryan is serious about balancing the budget, calling him a "mythical" conservative: "Paul Ryan understood that a lot of people in the media [and] a lot of people in the beltway establishment wanted there to be such a person, and so he played into that desire. He became the figure of their dreams. In reality, he is nothing like that."

Mr. One Percent

Peter Gloor of explains how Mitt Romney would reduce taxes for the 1% to 1% or less: "Warren Buffett, billionaire, pays a total tax rate (federal, state & local; personal & corporate) of 11% of his income and investment gains. A single person earning a minimum wage pays taxes amounting to 37% of her wages, double Mr. Buffett’s rate [and Romney's]. Mr Obama wants to end this inequity; Romney wants to expand it. Romney has applauded his running-mate's budget, which coincidentally, would reduce his own federal tax rate to 1% [.0082, to be exact]. He has said he would sign that budget bill. The top 1% in the US have gone from owning 22% to 40% of the nation's wealth in the last thirty years. This is largely due to the tax cuts for the wealthy investor class, started under Reagan. They were supposed to encourage investment and strengthen the economy. Since then, the average annual GDP growth dropped by one-quarter. Twice in our history the wealth held by the top 1% reached 40%. Once before the Great Depression and right before our current Great Recession. Coincidence? [Hardly!]" Gloor concludes that unless we implement a fairer system of taxation soon, "All but the wealthiest are at risk of losing their jobs, homes, retirement savings."

Comedians Complain: "Mitt Romney is beyond satire, and yet he keeps beating us to the punch!"

One would think that a presidential candidate who seems to be a cross between Beaver Cleaver and the android Data, with a bit of Lurch and Herman Munster thrown in for good (or bad) measure, would be a comedian's dream come true. But the Romneybot's uber-Mormon-cleanliness, alienness, stiffness, and utter lack of human warmth, charm and personality ... well, it leaves comedians with the problem of trying to make fun of a vacuum cleaner. Human beings are funny because they are human. Robots are not funny unless they have human foibles, like C-3PO. Will Tracy, editor of the satirical news site The Onion explains: "We have had quite a bit of fun with Mitt Romney, but my sense is that we are fighting against a certain amount of disinterest in him as a human being, which seems to be the exact thing Mitt Romney himself is fighting against. Nevertheless, anyone who sleeps upon a massive pile of crisp $100 bills every night, as I’ve been assured he does, is bound to yield a few interesting stories."

Fire Big Bird, Outsource Sesame Street to China!

During his first presidential debate with President Barack Obama, the extraterrestrial android known here on earth as Willard Mitt Romney came up with a truly unique solution: fire Big Bird and outsource Sesame Street, along with the rest of PBS, most probably to China.

Big Bird Will Work for Food

(Speaking of China, why did Mitt Romney invest millions of dollars in a Chinese sweat shop where thousands of young girls worked as virtual slaves, in terrible conditions, surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers? You and I would have reported the girls' plight to the proper authorities and the American public. Mitt Romney saw an opportunity to make lots of money and became a financial partner of the slave drivers.)

President Obama pointed out Romney's absurdity: "When he was asked what he'd actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he'd eliminate funding for public television. That was his answer. I mean thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time! We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that's what we heard last night. How about that? Elmo, too?"

PBS quickly issued a statement noting that the federal outlay for public broadcasting was "one one-hundredth of one percent" of the nation’s budget.

The internet community was not nearly as polite, producing images of Big Bird giving Romney the bird, creating a "Big Bird for President" Facebook page, and plotting a Million Muppet March on Washington.

ht debate twitter tracking nt 121004 wblog Presidential Debates: More Than 10 Million Tweets in Less Than 2 Hours

Romney's suggested sacking of Big Bird set the internet a-twitter, creating a spike of 350,000 tweets (roughly 17,000 per minute). Supporters of the popular Sesame Street character rushed to Twitter to create accounts such as @SadBigBird and @FiredBigBird, with messages like: "Mitt Romney favors Wall Street over Sesame Street." By the following morning, Romney's remark had emerged as an Internet meme: a cultural event reinterpreted in commentary and parody online. One image depicted Big Bird seated on the front stoop, next to two children, holding a sign declaring: "Will work for food."

The debate was the most tweeted-about political event in U.S. history. Users posted 10.3 million tweets about the 90-minute debate, eclipsing the 9.5 million tweets generated about the multi-day Democratic National Convention early last month. The Republican National Convention produced less than half as many tweets: 4 million, according to Twitter. Romney's dissing and dismissing of Big Bird didn't spark the largest reaction, however. That came when Romney started to suggest a debate topic, saying, "Let's talk about —" and moderator Jim Lehrer quipped, "Let’s not." That phrase generated 158,690 tweets per minute, and was my favorite moment of the debate.

Romney was so rude to Lehrer that Jimmy Fallon, playing Romney in a skit about the debate, told the actor playing Lehrer to "Shut the f*** up!"

Romney looked uneasy firing Big Bird, according to body language expert Chris Kowal: "When he talked about Big Bird he looked down at his right and I suspect he was actually uncomfortable making that point. If you're uncomfortable with something you don't give great eye contact." Kowal also said that Romney expressed "anger, contempt, scorn and pride," saying, "Those are the emotions that voters in his base feel." Kowal is a professor at Purdue University who has studied Obama's and Romney's facial expressions since 2007. He said that the emotions Obama expressed were "positive" on the whole. Republicans claim in a new ad that Obama sported a "smirk" at times during the debate, which they suggest is a sign that he was "uncomfortable" and struggling with his answers. Kowal, however, said that Obama's face registered more frustration than uncertainty, according to his software. And that's completely understandable, since Romney lied repeatedly during the debate (numerous examples appear below).

While Romney professed to "love" Big Bird despite being ready to give him the ax, he has also professed to care deeply about Americans whose jobs he outsourced to China during his stint as CEO of Bain Capital. Such cold-blooded axings have left many Americans wondering if thethird strike will be aimed at them. Romney comes across as an eel-slick, consummate salesman who will say and do anything necessary to "trim away the fat," in order to close a deal and make lots of money for his employers. But the "fat" seems to be "we the people," while the employers funding Romney's run for the presidency are mega-billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. If Romney's partner in crime Paul Ryan succeeds in eliminating federal income taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends—the main revenue sources of billionaire investors—their effective tax rates will drop to below 1%, along with Romney's. President Obama and Bill Clinton are correct that the Romney-Ryan budget math just doesn't add up: there is no way to give the super-rich such exorbitant tax breaks without either raising taxes on middle income Americans, or slashing the safety nets of the elderly, sick and poor. Or both.

Romney's main talent and the source of his own wealth is helping the rich get richer, by "trimming fat," which means liquidating jobs. He once said that he likes being able to fire people, and I see no reason not to take him at his word. He was against the federal government making loans to cash-strapped auto companies or helping homeowners facing foreclosures, but he was for much larger bailouts of his fellow Wall Street tycoons and the big banks. He recently called 47% of Americans, or roughly 150 million people, lazy freeloaders. So it's not hard to see why he refuses to reveal any of the specifics of his "plans." He clearly favors the rich and successful, and sees everyone else as so much dead weight. And while Romney has promised not to raise taxes on the middle income class, he recently revealed that by "middle income" he means families who make $200,000 to $250,000 per year, even though the median income for American families is only $50,000. Romney can't reveal the specifics of his budget plan until after the election, because he is about to ratchet up the economic suffering for all but the wealthiest Americans. He can only win the election by persuading poor- and middle-income Americans that he is their "savior," but his real allegiance is to the financial elite.

Some people are claiming that Romney "won" the debate, but I disagree. I think it was more like a cobra mesmerizing a mouse, preparing for the lethal strike.

President Obama seemed to see the same sort of "cobra dance," saying at a post-debate rally: "Gov. Romney may dance around his positions but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth."

Obama accused Romney of once again changing his political stripes: "I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney" because the "real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that." The president also accused Romney of misrepresenting past statements on education and outsourcing, concluding that Romney "does not want to be held accountable ... because he knows full well that we don't want what he's selling."

Obama seemed to be initially caught off guard by Romney's gigantic flip-flop on his budget "plan." For months Romney has been talking about massive new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, coupled with a massive increase in military spending. Out of blue nothing, Romney suddenly disavowed the main planks of his economic platform. "It was a very vigorous performance, but one devoid of honesty," David Axelrod said of Romney, accusing him of delivering "fraudulent" lines that will be hard to hold up over the remainder of the campaign.

Brenda Peterson suggested that Romney didn't "win" with many women, saying: "The women I spoke with who watched the debate were dismayed by Romney's rude interruptions, his high-handed dismissal of the venerable PBS moderator, Jim Lehrer, his turning away from the audience—who should be his primary focus—to fix his feisty attention all on President Obama. While Obama calmly addressed the audience and moderator and the world audience, Romney was riveted on Obama as if he were the only person in the room. This is the way a predator focuses on prey. It's not the behavior of someone seeking to serve and heal a country divided. This was a sports event, not an exchange of ideas affecting us all deeply. Romney's fervent goal of seizing the presidency was evident in his body language, his snobbish smirks, his false sympathy for those of us "crushed" in the middle class—those 47 percent he so contemptuously dismissed when he was among his rich cronies. Romney's combative dogfight stance may impress men or those who have held power so long they assume it belongs to them. But women, or anyone who has been in an underclass or faced racism, read this behavior as arrogant and overly aggressive—the language and habit of dominance."

Romney came across as an alpha male bully intent on dominance to me also, and I felt my sympathies going out to Jim Lehrer, an elderly gentleman who deserved far more respect than Romney showed him.

Brenda Peterson again: "We've had bosses, fathers, boyfriends and co-workers like Romney who invade our space, try to dominate every discussion and see every encounter as a chance to 'win,' rather than dialogue. It's the old patriarchal model that women have endured for way too long ... many women are weary of angry, entitled white men controlling our bodies and our workplaces."

While it appeared at first glance that Romney won the first debate by being more aggressive and decisive, he may have won by aggressively and decisively lying ...

• Romney claimed that "pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan" but this was refuted after the debate by Eric Fehrnstrom, one of his top advisers. It would be up to 50 states to pass and enforce 50 laws before every American with pre-existing conditions was covered. Romney as president would have no authority over state laws, courts and legislatures. So his "plan" does not begin to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions.

• Romney haughtily and condescendingly denied that American companies receive tax breaks for moving jobs overseas, as if President Obama didn't know what he was talking about. But according to Annie Lowrey of the New York Times, the tax code currently allows companies to deduct certain expenses when they move operations overseas. As part of its plan to aid the manufacturing sector and promote job growth, the Obama administration has proposed ending this deduction, and instead giving tax credits to companies that move jobs back to the U.S.

• President Obama is correct that Romney rejected a deficit reduction plan that included $10 in spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increases. At a debate in Ames, Iowa, in August 2011, Bret Baier, a Fox News moderator, asked the Republican candidates to raise their hands if they would refuse to sign a legislative package that included $10 of spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increases. Slaves to a rigid ideology, they all dutifully raised their hands.

• Romney claimed that President Obama "doubled the deficit." This is a blatant lie. When Obama took office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office had already estimated that the 2009 federal deficit would be $1.2 trillion. The deficit ended up being $1.4 trillion. For fiscal 2012, the deficit was $1.1 trillion, which is lower than when Obama took office. And "measured as a share of the economy, as economists prefer, the deficit has declined more significantly — from 10.1 percent of the economy's total output in 2009 to 7.3 percent for 2012."

• Romney claimed that President Obama is at fault for the Solyndra affair. However, the Solyndra grant process began under the George W. Bush administration, and it received bipartisan Congressional and lobbying support. Romney campaigned at the Solyndra factory in California, where he called the venture "a symbol of gross waste," a failure of the president’s stimulus package and an example of Mr. Obama¹s poor stewardship of a shaky economy. But Republicans bear much of the blame, perhaps because neither Republicans nor Democrats have perfect crystal balls.

• Romney claimed that President Obama had "cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare" but according to these are cuts in the future growth of spending which will prolong the life of the Medicare trust fund. There is no transfer of existing money from Medicare to Obamacare, as Romney insinuated. The New York Times said that Obama "did not cut benefits by $716 billion over 10 years as part of his 2010 health care law; rather, he reduced Medicare reimbursements to health care providers, chiefly insurance companies and drug manufacturers. And the law gave Medicare recipients more generous benefits for prescription drugs and free preventive care like mammograms." While fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked this claim, it remains a standard attack line for Romney. The charge that Obama took $716 billion from Medicare recipients has several problems — not least the fact that Mr. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, included the identical savings in his annual budget plans that nearly all House Republicans voted for in the past two years.

• Romney denied proposing a $5 trillion tax cut, but he did, according to the New York Times, when he "proposed cutting all marginal tax rates by 20 percent — which would in and of itself cut tax revenue by $5 trillion." has weighed in on this subject, tweeting during the debate that "Romney says he will pay for $5T tax cut without raising deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that's not possible." PolitiFact has also given a "mostly true" rating to the charge that "Romney is proposing a tax plan "that would give millionaires another tax break and raise taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year." As President Obama pointed out, "For 18 months, he’s been running on this tax plan. Now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is ... never mind." Here’s the problem. As explained in a detailed paper by the Tax Policy Center, if you cut tax rates by 20 percent, you give the wealthy a multibillion-dollar tax break. Even if you take away all their credits and loopholes and preferential rates, they still do not owe the government as much as they did before. If the rich are paying less, then the poor and middle class must pay more in order to raise the same amount of money.

• Romney said that six studies prove that Obama's charge about him raising taxes is "completely wrong." The "studies" Romney cited include two Wall Street Journal editorials, an article in the same paper by one of his own economic advisers, and two analyses by conservative think tanks. And even those studies, according to Glenn Kessler in The Washington Post, "do not provide much evidence that Romney's proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions."

• Romney claimed that President Obama had "added almost as much to the federal debt as all the prior presidents combined." That is not even close to being true.

• Romney claimed that ObamaCare creates "an unelected board that's going to tell people what kind of treatments they can have." This attempt to resurrect "death panels" was called "one of the biggest whoppers of the night" by National Journal, which says it's a line Republicans "regularly and inaccurately" use. In fact, the Medicare board created by ObamaCare is "explicitly restricted from directly cutting Medicare benefits." Its charge is to keep overall spending within a specific target. According to PolitiFact, "Romney's claim can leave viewers with the impression that the board makes health-care decisions for individual Americans, and that's not the case."

• Romney claimed that half the green energy companies given stimulus funds had failed, but three out of nearly three dozen is far less than half. Romney's claim is "a gross overstatement," according to John M. Broder in The New York Times.

• Romney said, "I’m not going to cut education funding. But in the past Romney and Ryan have both said they would do just that, particularly Pell grants and student loans. Romney is on the record as saying that students should borrow from their parents: "Take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents." But many parents don’t have enough money to finance their children’s educations. Romney seems like an out-of-touch elitist. His father was the CEO of a major automaker, AMC, but few American children are beneficiaries of such wealth. Romney's own position paper on education says he would "refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students who need them most," suggesting that fewer people would qualify. That Romney would allow banks bank into the federal student loan system is also evidence that he would cut Pell Grants. Obama eliminated the banks’ role as middlemen servicing the loans, saving billions of dollars in fees—money that is helping pay for the Pell expansion. In a speech to donors in Florida that was overheard by reporters, Mr. Romney said he would either merge the federal Education Department with another agency "or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller." As always, Romney’s "plans" are very hazy, and light on specifics, but it seems that he intends to save money by reducing educational opportunities for less affluent students.

• Romney vowed to repeal ObamaCare, but that would actually increase the federal deficit. This summer, after Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the law, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that doing so would increase the federal deficit by $109 billion over the next decade. Repealing the law would also mean that 30 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2022.

• Romney promised to create 12 million jobs over the next four years if he is elected president, but that is about how many jobs the economy is already expected to create, according to some economic forecasters.

Mr. Etch a Sketch

John Avlon, a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, wrote about the first presidential debate: The Etch a Sketch was in full effect at the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday night. Mitt Romney put forward a strong performance, transforming back into his 2002 Massachusetts moderate mold, a belated advocate of bipartisan leadership. It would have had a lot more impact if it hadn't contradicted almost every policy statement Romney has made on the campaign trail since he started running for president. This flip-flopping is a force of habit, but it was used to great effect, reflecting a campaign and a candidate finally focused on the general electorate. The audacity of the Etch a Sketch was evident in the first 15 minutes of the debate, when Mitt Romney said, "I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans." It was an eye-popping assertion, almost as if the candidate hadn't been listening to his own campaign rhetoric for the past 18 months or more. ["Etch A Sketch" entered the campaign lexicon in March, when Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN that Romney would shift from being a conservative in the primaries to a moderate for the general election.] The pattern continued with Romney asserting that after repealing Obamacare, he would advocate the implementation of his own individual mandate plan—"And the best course for health care is to do what we did in my state"—but it would be state by state, along a federalist model. Romney did not hesitate to play the MediScare card—the most discredited Democrat tactic against entitlement reform, but apparently acceptable if it is done by a Republican trying to win Florida. Happily, for hypocrisy watchers, this move also scored worst with the focus group of undecided voters conducted by CNN's Erin Burnett in Denver during the debate. The litany of flip-flops increased when the candidates' policy positions were pushed for specifics ...

Romney's Bad Budget Math

William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, wrote: For months, voters have been in the dark about key details of Mitt Romney's tax plans. He specified $5 trillion in tax cuts, a 20% cut in income tax rates, a 40% cut in the corporate tax rate, repeal of the estate tax and alternative minimum tax and elimination of taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for households with incomes below $200,000. He did not want his changes to raise the deficit, but he was utterly mum on how to raise $5 trillion to offset the tax cuts. During the summer, two colleagues and I showed that if Romney did not want to add new taxes on savings and investments—and raising savings and investments is the second of four main planks in Romney's overall economic package—he could not finance his tax cuts without generating a net tax cut for households with income above $200,000. Even if all the available tax expenditures were closed in the most progressive manner possible, it would not raise enough revenue among high-income households to offset the tax cuts they would receive. This was true even when we adjusted the revenue estimates to allow for the impact of potential economic growth, and even when we gave the campaign a trillion-dollar mulligan by ignoring the cost of the corporate tax cuts. As a result, we concluded that if Romney did not impose new taxes on savings and investments, the only way to finance his tax cut proposals and reach revenue neutrality was to raise taxes on households with income below $200,000. This was not a forecast of what Romney would actually do; it was simply a matter of arithmetic.

Romney Hood: Debate Winner or Sinner?

Most voters probably don't fully understand what a "revenue neutral" tax plan really means. But they will soon learn, if Mitt Romney becomes president. Revenue neutral means that the tax system will be changed, but will not bring in more money. It's essentially a way to redistribute money from one group of taxpayers to another. Romney's blind adherence to Republican dogma forbids him from raising revenues to reduce the national debt. Therefore, wealth redistribution and spending cuts alone can reduce the deficit, in Romney's scheme. This is not liberal conjecture, but basic math, as Bill Clinton recently pointed out.

Romney's plan sounds evil and crazy, because it is evil and crazy: he wants to transfer even more of the nation's wealth to the richest Americans, by robbing lower- and middle-class Americans.

Romney's argument is one we heard before, from the lips of President George W. Bush. It's been called "supply-side economics," "trickle down economics" and "voodoo economics". The idea is that if we give wealthy people truckloads of money by deeply slashing the taxes they pay, some of the largesse will "trickle down" to the American public. But the Bush tax cuts had the opposite effect, resulting in the worst recession in 70 years. The rich have gotten richer, while unemployment remains high and wages remain low.

Now Romney plans to redistribute wealth as Bush Junior did, but on steroids. Although during the debate Romney lied, saying that he has not proposed a $5 trillion tax cut that will mostly benefit the wealthy, even Republican think tanks have agreed that he actually has, unless he can come up with $5 trillion in cost savings, plus $2 trillion more to cover his proposed increases in military spending over the next ten years. Again, it's just basic math.

How does Romney intend to further enrich the super-rich? If his plan is actually revenue-neutral, tax experts say that he will have to either increase taxes for other Americans, or make drastic cuts to the safety nets people like Romney love to call "entitlements." So, for instance, Romney will probably follow his running mate Paul Ryan's proposal to strip away the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families. Thus, the working poor will pay higher taxes. PBS and Big Bird will have to go. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, environmental protection, food safety, and other "wasteful" programs will also have to go, or suffer drastic cuts.

Who benefits? The wealthy. For instance, Romney's plan eliminates all federal taxes on investment income (capital gains) and inheritances (estate taxes).

Romney has revealed his disdain for the 47 percent of Americans who don't make enough money to pay federal income tax. Romney describes them as parasitic, government-dependent layabouts who refuse to take responsibility for their lives. But in reality they include retirees who paid taxes all their working days, soldiers, teachers, firefighters, cops, and people who are out of work today because of the voodoo economics of people like George W. Bush and Willard Mitt Romney.

Bishop Rotney Ridicules NASCAR Fans

While Bishop Romney is not a fan of NASCAR racing, he has "some great friends who are NASCAR team owners." But he doesn't seem to think much of NASCAR fans. He mocked race-goers he saw wearing plastic rain ponchos, saying: "I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks."

Why does Romney speak and act so boorishly to people who are not incredibly wealthy? In his own words he explains that being rich and famous is the key to happiness: "When I was a boy ... when I was a boy ... I used to think that becoming rich and becoming famous would make me happy ... boy was I right!" So according to Romney, money really does make the world go 'round, and he seems to be unhappy with anyone who's not in his economic class.

Bishop Romney Accuses Ordinary Americans of Envy

Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of promoting the "bitter politics of envy." And according to Romney, if you question the motives and tactics of Wall Street and the big banks, you too are full of bitter envy. Here's an illuminating exchange on the Today Show ...

MATT LAUER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I'm curious about the word "envy." Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it's about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you have opened up a wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.

LAUER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?

ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It's a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.

So if you and I question the way Wall Street and the big banks act, then according to Mitt the Ripper, we must be envious!

Bishop Romney Expresses Compassion for Corporations and Banks, but not Average Americans

One of the strangest things about Mitt Romney is that he seems to care more about banks and other corporations than human beings. He actually said:

Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend.
Banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now ... scared to death ... feeling the same thing that you're feeling.

Romney opposed bailouts for Detroit autoworkers and homeowners, but supported much larger bailouts for the bankers and Wall Street tycoons who helped create the debt crisis. One of the oddest things I have ever heard a politician say is this statement by the Romneybot:

Now, the banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now. They're overwhelmed with a lot of things. One is a lot of homes coming in, that are in foreclosure or in trouble ...

In other words, we should have compassion for banks, because they are foreclosing on so many houses that they're having trouble keeping up! Romney also said:

The banks are scared to death, of course. They're feeling the same thing that you're feeling. And so they just want to pretend that all this is just going to get paid some day.

But banks don't have babies and children to feed. They don't have elderly parents and grandparents who face health and financial problems as they age. Yes, banks can have problems. But how can anyone equate a bank's problems with those of families that confront suffering and possibly death if family members become homeless or can't obtain proper medical care?

The statements above were made by Mitt Romney during campaign speeches in Florida, as he asked people to have compassion for banks because they were being overwhelmed with foreclosed houses. Speaking in shirtsleeves beneath a blazing sun, Romney reinforced earlier statements he had made about the need to let the foreclosures continue:

Let it [the foreclosure crisis] run its course and hit the bottom.

His comments echoed his sentiments expressed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board:

Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.

Romney then took a swipe at Newt Gingrich, who at that time led him by four points in Gallup's rolling Florida polls. Recycling a line from his recent debate in Tampa, he said Gingrich was "peddling influence" as a consultant to Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant that Romney said was one of the biggest causes of the housing crisis, built on a pile of government-guaranteed debt. "We can't have an influence peddler leading our party," said Romney, standing on a makeshift stage in front of a one-story house that was in the process of foreclosure.

Gingrich in his response pointed out that Romney made millions of dollars from his investments in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Goldman Sachs: "So maybe Governor Romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments?"

Hypocrite Mitt

After Bishop Romney refused to disclose more than two years of his tax returns and his wife Ann imperiously told the American public that "you people" have no right to question how the Regal Romneys live so affluently, it turns out that Mitt Romney required the people on his short list of potential VP candidates to provide him with ten years of their tax returns! Once again he declines to lead by example. In response to questions about the ten-year requirement for potential VPs, Romney campaign press secretary Andrea Saul declined comment. "We do not discuss the VP selection process," she wrote in an email. It seems Hypocrite Mitt intends to keep the game rigged, by having one set of rules for himself and his super-rich patrons, and a more "taxing" set of rules for everyone else. Mitt's modus operandi is "Do as I command, not as I do myself."

Last August, Obama campaign chief Jim Messina suggested a compromise: If Romney agreed to release five years of tax returns, Team Obama would declare a cease-fire and stop calling for more years of returns. Romney rejected the offer. Thus, it seems clear that he was doing something prior to 2010 that he doesn't want the American public to know about. Even staunch conservatives like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and William Kristol have castigated Romney for failing to disclose more tax returns.

Lewd, Crude, Rude and Obnoxious

Willard Mitt Romney has a long history of insulting and bullying other people. Here is a transcript of the filmed testimony of Cheryl Arnett, a Craig, Colorado first grade teacher who was invited to participate in a roundtable with Mitt Romney: "When I was asked to speak with Mitt Romney, it seemed like a very important thing to me and I wanted to put a lot of careful thought into what I would say, so I went to the roundtable discussion, very optimistic and interested in hearing what he had to say. When he sat down one, of the questions he asked was: 'I understand there’s a teacher here today, which one of you is the teacher?' So I raised my hand thinking that’s a good thing, he’s interested in education. But it wasn’t a good thing. I—I felt like his view was a little old-fashioned. I was surprised by it. He went on to kind of lecture me about schools and how bad they are. He talked bad about the teachers' union. He was talking about the importance of private schools and voucher systems. At one point, I said to him: 'I have an answer for that.' And he said: 'I didn’t ask you a question!' When I think of Mitt Romney I don’t think of a person that could really relate to small-town Craig, Colorado. Although he came here, I don’t think that his life experience would allow him to really understand the perspective of people that live in a small town. One of the things I like best that Obama has done for education is that he is releasing states from 'no child left behind.' Colorado is one of the states lucky enough to be released. I did not become a teacher to become wealthy or powerful. I became a teacher to make a difference. It’s important to us to have a government and a leader that respects us, who will listen to us even if he doesn’t agree with us. We need to have open conversation and open communication between educators and government, and I think President Obama is the one to do that."

Romney's Healthcare Solution: Wait until the Uninsured are on Death's Door, then let them go to Emergency Rooms!

CBS News: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

Mitt Romney: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people—we—if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.

But should we wait until people are on death's door before we think about ways to help them? Doesn't waiting until they need ambulances and emergency rooms drive up the cost of healthcare? When people don't have bread to eat, should we echo Marie Antoinette and say, "Let them eat [nonexistent] cake!" When they have chronic health conditions, should we let their health deteriorate until their conditions become acute, then cavalierly say, "Let them go to emergency rooms!"

Romney loves to talk about American exceptionalism. During his recent visits to England, Israel and Poland, he praised each nation's culture and economy. But all three nations have universal healthcare, as do all the more advanced free world democracies. How can Americans be exceptional if they can't do what so many other nations have done successfully? And Romney himself helped establish universal healthcare for Massachusetts, when he was governor there. So why does he attack President Obama for trying to help all Americans have access to quality healthcare, before they need ambulances and emergency rooms?

Mr. Flip Flop

Willard Mitt Romney finally released a tax return for 2011, showing that he paid a higher tax rate than required, by not deducting all his contributions to charity. The press immediately unearthed a Romney quote from July: "If I had paid more [federal income taxes] than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president." So by his own definition, Mitt the Flopple is also Unfit Mitt. He has pulled off a sort of reverse miracle, by managing to become even less convincing than Richard Milhous Nixon. Even their names sound eerily similar. Tricky Dick, meet Wily Willy.

What Romney's Conservative Allies Say about Him

Here is what his Republican allies have to say about "Multiple Choice" Mitt Romney's serial flip-flopping, lack of honesty, various other deficiencies, and general money-grubbing madness ...

Republican senator and former presidential nominee John McCain: "Gov. Romney has taken two positions on every issue."

Another widely respected Republican presidential candidate, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, said: "We just call him a serial flip-flopper."

Former New York mayor and hero of 911, Rudy Giuliani: "I have run a lot of elections, supported a lot of people, [and] I have never seen a guy change his position on so many things, so fast, on a dime."

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum: "This is someone who doesn’t have a core. He’s been on both sides of every single issue in the past ten years. This is someone who will say anything to get elected. People want the genuine article. If Romney is an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble, because he was 47th out of 50 in job creation in his state of Massachusetts when he was governor."

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told CNN: "I think he's certainly being dishonest about his own record. When he said that he had the endorsement of the NRA, he did not. When he says that he didn't raise taxes, in fact there were $500 million in fees that were raised during his time [as governor of Massachusetts] ... He's making up stuff ... It's just incredible ... It's not true ... "

Another Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, in a campaign ad said: "Mitt Romney will do and say anything to become President. Anything."

Asked directly by CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O’Donnell if he thought Romney was a liar, Gingrich said bluntly, "Yes."

Brit Hume on FOX News Sunday: "You're only allowed a certain number of flips before people start to doubt your character. And I think Romney exhausted his quota sometime back. And these fresh ones, I think are over the limit, and I think they hurt, and I don't think the fact that he's flipping in the direct that the Republicans would like will help very much because I think they don't trust him."

Another Republican presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, told CNN: "You can’t be a perfectly lubricated weather vane on the important issues of the day, whether it’s Libya, whether it’s the debt ceiling, whether it’s the discussion around the Kasich bill in Ohio, where Gov. Romney has been missing in action in terms of showing any kind of leadership."

Rand Paul told National Review: "I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress."

Please click here to read more Republican and Conservative criticism of Mitt Romney.

Multiple Choice Mitt is America's First Ultra-liberal Conservative!

Mitt Romney told NARAL Pro Choice, "I’m a strong believer in stating your position and not wavering." But as we will see, Romney changes his positions more frequently than even the most adventurous porn stars. Here are examples of why Romney has earned nicknames like Flip Flopney, Mitt the Flopple and Multiple Choice Mitt ...

Romney has accused President Obama and even his Republican presidential rivals of being Washington insiders guilty of pork barrel spending. But here is what Romney told people about himself, when he wanted to impress them with his ability to get money out of the federal government:

• "I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in Washington."
• "We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games. That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going after every agency of government ... That kind of creativity I want to bring to everything we do."

Romney has also flip-flopped repeatedly on women's reproductive rights:

• "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country."
• "I sustain and support that law [Roe v. Wade] and the right of a woman to make that choice [abortion]."
• "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard."
• "I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it." ... [but] ... "Roe v. Wade has gone too far."
• His position was clear and he gave his word to NARAL Pro Choice ... [but] ... "I never really called myself pro-choice."

Here are more about-faces by Flip Flopney:

• "It's not worth moving heaven and earth ... trying to catch one person." ... [but] ... "Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden."
• "I like [compulsory health insurance] mandates. The mandates work." ... [but] ... "I think it's unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front."
• "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King." ... [but] ... "I did not see it with my own eyes." [Because they never marched together.]
• "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there." ... [but] ... "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam."
• "I will work and fight for stem cell research." ... [but] ... "The stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise."
• "I don’t line up with the NRA." ... [but] ... "I’m a member of the NRA."
• "I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero." ... [but] ... "It’s a tax cut for fat cats."
• "I’m going to take burdens off the back of the auto industry." ... [but] ... He wrote an essay titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
• In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, Romney wrote that he was in favor of "gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly" in the military. But during the 2007 presidential debates, he insisted that they should continue to serve secretly and dishonestly, under "Don't Ask Don't Tell," which he wanted to keep.
• "Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts." ... [but] ... "I don’t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose."
• "I believe the world’s getting warmer ... I believe that humans contribute to that." ... [but] ... "My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change."
• "I’m not in favor of privatizing Social Security or making cuts." ... [but] ... "Social Security’s the easiest and that’s because you can give people a personal account."

Please click here to read more Mitt Romney Flip Flops.

Rebooting the Romneybot

Maureen Dowd recently called the Romney campaign "a moveable feast of missteps." Even arch-conservative Republicans have pretty much thrown their hands up in the air, asking, in effect, "How can he and his wife keep alienating millions of Americans by sounding like rich, elitist pricks?" But perhaps that's what they really are, and they just can't help themselves. If so, "rebooting the Romneybot" won't do any good, because only a change of heart and mind would result in decent behavior. People who are programmed to value wealth, style and "class" over equality and fair play will always seem distant and out of touch to ordinary Americans ... simply because they are.

13.9 and 14.1 Percent of What, Exactly?

Mitt and Ann Romney claim they paid 13.9 percent in federal income taxes in 2010, and 14.1 percent in 2011, and I believe them. Why? Because I think they realized that if Mitt Moneybags was going to have a shot at becoming president, he was going to have to disclose his more current tax returns. So it seems that in 2010 they decided to pay taxes on a good chunk of their earnings. But a valid question is whether they sheltered most of their earnings from federal taxes prior to 2010. This seems to be the case because there are some rather obvious clues: (1) If there were no major problems with the returns prior to 2010, why risk the presidency by not disclosing them? Even died-in-the-wool conservatives have pointed out that choosing not to disclose the returns indicates that there must be major problems with them. (2) The fact that the Romneys are willing to reveal the percentages paid in the past, but not the income those percentages apply to, suggests that the income reported may be far less than the $21 million reported in 2010. (3) The Romneys have been careful to say that they paid at least 13 percent in "taxes" every year, but they have avoided using the words "federal income taxes." (4) Cayman Island "IRAs" worth up to $100 million suggest that the Romney's fortune has been growing with a lot of help by talented tax attorneys (or perhaps unethical ones).

It seems obvious to me that the Romneys avoided paying federal income taxes on much or most of their income prior to 2010. If they paid 10 percent in federal income taxes on 10 percent of their total income, their effective federal income tax rate on their gross income would be a stunning 1 percent. Of course no one knows what their real effective rate was, but all they have to do to prove naysayers like me wrong is disclose all their tax returns for 12 years, as Mitt's father did when he ran for president. As George Romney pointed out, releasing returns for just one or two years can be deceptive if the returns are not representative. Why is Bishop Romney afraid to follow his father's good example?

Ugh, You People!

According to Ann Romney, roughly half of all Americans are utterly lacking in class or style ... at least compared to her Olympic dressage horse, Rafalca. The Romneys took a $70,000 tax deduction for Rafalca Romney, which is more than the median annual American household income. Has Ann Romney, perhaps, confused wealth with class and style? Here's what she said about Democrats recently, so you be the judge:

My horse has more style and more class in its hoof than they do in their whole deal!

The comment above was reported by Jason Horowitz of the Washington Post as having been made by Georgette Mosbacher — "cosmetics impresario and eccentric grande dame of GOP fundraising" — to her younger sister Lyn Paulsin, who once dated Rush Limbaugh. These are loyal Romney supporters, not enemy infiltrators. Horowitz describes them thusly: "Both sisters wear gold Eagle pins on their lapels, identifying them as Romney mega-donors, and a stack of VIP credentials around their necks." Horowitz informed his readers that the sisters discussed Ann Romney's comment "giddily," as if they were impressed or awed by what she said.

This seems like yet more confirmation that the Romneys and many of their super-rich supporters are the ones who lack not only class and style, but basic human decency and common sense. Here is what Ann Romney recently told Robin Roberts: "We have given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life." She sounded like a feudal queen talking down to a bunch of serfs. Like her imperious husband, she seems to think the America public doesn't deserve full disclosure. Who the hell are we to question someone rich enough to have Swiss bank accounts, Bermuda trusts, Cayman Island IRAs, and horses in the Olympics?

More Ann Romney Quotes

Many conservatives criticized Mitt Romney for suggesting that 47 percent of Americans are lazy, shiftless moochers. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 4,000 American households with incomes over $1 million ended up with zero federal income tax liability in 2011. Another 14,000 households made between $500,000 and $1 million, yet paid not federal income tax. So the problem is obviously not limited to poor people who mooch off the rich. According to 2008 data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, eight of the top 10 states with the lowest income tax liability are Republican-leaning states. William Kristol was especially harsh, calling Romney’s observations "arrogant and stupid." Conservative journalist Peggy Noonan called the avalanche of tactless gaffes a "rolling calamity."

In response, Ann Romney said:

Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring. This is hard and, you know, it's an important thing that we're doing right now and it's an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt's qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.

The problem for the Romneys is that it really isn't "difficult" not to insult millions of people repeatedly. First it was England, then the Palestinians. Now it's half the population of America. I can't think of anyone outside the KKK and neo-Nazi circles who would find it so very hard to be more diplomatic and tactful.

Ann Romney, like her husband, has a remarkable ability to sound condescending:

I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too.

The Romneys' disdain for "those people," by which they obviously mean "we the people," seems obvious. What Ann Romney means seems clear to me: we (the successful people) value (have some minimal concern for) those people (the less successful ones). Thank goodness that we (the successful people) are such saints, considering the other people we have to put up with!

Please click here to read more Ann Romney Quotes.

Bishop Romney's Modest Proposal

In 1729 Jonathan Swift shocked the world with a "Modest Proposal" in which he suggested that Ireland could solve its problems with the burdensome children of the poor, by eating them. Of course Swift was speaking facetiously in order to make a point. But now Bishop Romney (yes, Mitt Romney was a Mormon bishop who once administered a diocese, called a "Stake") seems to have said something very similar, in earnest.

After Mitt the Ripper accused 47% of Americans (nearly half the population) of being freeloaders for not paying federal income taxes, suggesting that they only think they are entitled to housing, food and healthcare, and thus implying that all they are really entitled to is death for being unproductive, there was quite understandably a public outcry. After all that 47% includes millions of soldiers, ex-soldiers, teachers, firefighters and policemen. His running mate Paul Ryan claimed that Bishop Romney was "obviously inarticulate," but it seems to me that Romney really does have great disdain for people who are not as successful as he is. In recent days, Romney and his campaign have blasted English Olympics organizers, members of the NAACP who support universal healthcare, blacks who fail to understand America's superior "Anglo Saxon heritage," and the entire Palestinian people for having an inferior culture. And if we examine Romney's stance on women's reproductive rights and gay marriage, it seems clear that he doesn't trust more than half the nation with the personal freedom and responsibility to make essential life choices for themselves. That's a very troubling form of bigotry combined with smug authoritarianism.

Keen-eyed observers quickly noted that Paul Ryan received Social Security survivor benefits after his father died, which he used to finance his education, and that Romney's father received welfare assistance after his family fled a revolution in Mexico. This was verified by Romney's own family. "[George Romney] was on welfare relief for the first years of his life. But this great country gave him opportunities," Lenore Romney, the mother of Mitt Romney, pointed out in a video which apparently dates back to George Romney’s 1962 campaign for governor of Michigan.

When the Romneys want other Americans to see them as human beings, they point out their family's struggles, and that's perfectly fine. But Mitt Romney seems to want to have his cake and eat ours too. When someone in his family struggles, they remain pillars of the nation, full of character. But when other Americans struggle, we are lazy, shiftless freeloaders ... especially if we happen to be female, gay, or have darker skin.

Why is the Terminator—as Romney was called at Bain Capital for liquidating American companies and firing American workers after outsourcing their jobs to China and other low-wage countries—trying to shame Americans who are struggling to make ends meet? Does he intend to terminate them too, by denying them assistance with housing, food and healthcare? Should we take him at his own word, or hope that he is only babbling incoherent, time after time after time?

Top Ten Mitticisms

A "mitticism" is like a witticism, minus the intelligence. These things were actually said by the Romneybot in its attempts to communicate with warm-blooded earthlings ...

We should double Guantanamo!
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that!
Let Detroit go bankrupt!
I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back.
(Referring to the auto industry he wanted to go bankrupt and did nothing to help.)
I would repeal Obamacare! (Even though Obamacare is modeled after his claim to fame, Romneycare?)
Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend.
Banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now ... scared to death ... feeling the same thing that you're feeling.
I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in Washington.
Atta girl!
(Taunting a closeted gay high school student, Gary Hummel.)
He can't look like that! That's wrong! Just look at him! (Before tackling a gay classmate, John Lauber, and cutting off his long, bleached-blonde hair.)

Mr. Roboto

I bathe in statistics.
Who let the dogs out? Who, who?
(During an awkward photo op with a group of African American kids.)
PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air. (After having strapped his dog to the roof of his vehicle for an 11-hour road trip.)

The quotes above seem like the output of a badly-engineered android, one that could not possibly be mistaken for an actual human being. And what about these statements, made by the Romneybot to ingratiate itself with potential voters? ...

I love this state. The trees are the right height. The streets are just right.
I had catfish for the second time. It was delicious, just like the first time.
I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and ... strange things are happening to me.
Morning, ya'll. I got started this morning right with a biscuit and some cheesy grits.
(No one calls them "cheesy" grits.)
I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce and hubcaps. Because there's no plates like chrome for the hollandaise.
These pancakes are about as large as my win in Puerto Rico last night, I must admit. The margin is just about as good.

Look at us in here! We are all nice together, all nice and wet, you know, like a can of sardines.
That's a big lava lamp, congratulations!
Davy, Davy Crockett. King of the wild frontier!
I'm an unofficial southerner.
Please give us a big hug, that's the girls. I've been getting hugs from the Southern girls ... from 12, to well, a lot more than 12.
I never imagined I'd be up here like Larry the Cable guy
I love the hymns of America, by the way.

When asked at the Daytona 500 whether he followed NASCAR, the Romneybot replied, "Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."

I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed.—Mitt Romney (one of the earth's wealthiest men)
I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much. —Mitt Romney (in a single year he earned $374,000 in speaker's fees)

When talking about money, as Gary Kamiya put it in a Salon article, Romney comes across "not only as an obscenely rich person, but as an obscenely rich person from another planet."

As Charles P. Pierce wrote in an article for Esquire: "People have been trying to humanize the Romneybot since he first stepped into politics against Ted Kennedy almost 20 years ago. They tried for two years when he was governor and, to most of the people around the State House, he went out as pretty much the same ice sculpture they'd sworn in. They tried for two years during the run-up to the 2008 campaign and, according to the one worthwhile anecdote in Game Change, by the end of the primary process, everybody wanted to spit on him. Did it look to any of you that his rivals this time around wanted to do anything else, either? No matter what they're saying now, they all thought he was a slick bond salesman who was buying the nomination. Newt Gingrich looked sincerely like he wanted to eat Romney's heart in the marketplace throughout almost all of the debates. Here is the simple fact: Unless you are a member of his family, you simply cannot like Mitt Romney."

The Romneybot has a cold, calculating CPU, but its output is wildly inconsistent. For instance, in 2004 the Romneybot said: "The people of America recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm. And an effort by one candidate to somehow say, 'Oh, this recession and the slowdown in jobs was the result of somehow this president magically being elected,' people in America just dismiss that as being poppycock. ... Every indication is that the economic policies adopted and pursued by this president are creating jobs at a very high pace. And so the people of America have to ask, 'Do I stay with the president, who is rebuilding the economy, who is creating jobs, or do you want to stop mid-stream and find someone new?'"

But of course when the president in question is Barack Obama, the Romneybot immediately spits out pure poppycock.

And here is what the Romneybot said about its record of sluggish job growth after four years as governor of Massachusetts, in 2006: "You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling off a cliff ... And then we turned around and we're coming back. And that's progress. And if you're going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected somehow jobs should immediately [have] turned around, why that would be silly. It takes a while to get things turned around. We were in a recession; we were losing jobs every month. We've turned it around ... That's progress."

But when the person with the record of job growth progress that is not immediate is Barack Obama, the Romneybot immediately spits out sheer silliness.

In November 2006, shortly before the Romneybot retired as governor of Massachusetts, its approval rating was a dismal 34%, ranking it 48th of 50 U.S. governors.

Why was the Romneybot so unpopular? Well, for all its talk about creating jobs, Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 states in putting people to work when Romney was governor. And while Romney loves to brag about smaller government and cutting spending, according to research by PolitiFact, spending actually rose by 24 percent during his governorship, making such claims false. As his replacement, Gov. Deval Patrick told the DNC, "He cut education deeper than anywhere else in America. Roads and bridges were crumbling. Business taxes were up and business confidence was down." Also, according to Ellen Story, "He was aloof; he was not approachable. He was very much an outsider, the whole time he was here. The Republican reps would grumble that he didn't even know their names."

The Crown Princes of Entitlements

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

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan claim to be "fiscal conservatives" who abhor government spending and can fix America's economic problems with quick waves of their magical wands. But the truth is that Romney and Ryan both supported huge federal bailouts, as long as their rich patrons, cronies and constituents got most of the loot. Paul Ryan effusively praised George W. Bush's 2002 federal stimulus package, which mostly benefitted wealthy Americans by lowering their taxes. And even as he was damning President Obama's much fairer 2009 stimulus package, Ryan was lobbying for millions of stimulus funds for his constituents. Mitt Romney accepted a huge federal bailout of the Olympics, bragging that he knew how to get money from the federal government, then claimed that he "saved" the Olympics when it was really "we the people" who did the saving with our tax dollars. The only thing Romney's and Ryan's magic wands will accomplish, if we are foolish enough to elect them, is to reduce taxes on the richest 1% of Americans to below 1%, leaving the rest of us to pay thousands more in taxes even as we get smaller Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits when we are no longer able to work. That ain't magic, it's highway robbery.

I've learned from my Olympic experience [that] if you have people that really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there you can get money to help build economic development opportunities ... We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games. That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going after every agency of government.Mitt Romney

Romney cited more than $1 million that one his colleagues managed to get for the Olympics from the Department of Education, concluding:

That kind of creativity I want to bring to everything we do.Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney's Nixonian Meltdown: Let's get rid of the half of Americans who won't vote for me, by letting them starve to death!

Here's what Mitt Romney told fellow millionaires at a closed-door, $50,000-per-plate fundraiser: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That, that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what ... These are people who pay no income tax ... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

First, it is the president's job to care about all Americans, even those who didn't vote for him. Second, to say that no Democrat works, or pays income taxes is a blatant lie; millions of people who pay no income taxes are Republicans. Third, to call food an "entitlement" is ridiculous. Is it an "entitlement" not to starve to death, in a land of plenty with more than enough food for everyone? Has any American presidential candidate before Romney ever suggested that we should let half the American people starve to death if they didn't vote for him? That seems to be what Romney is saying, in a Nixonian meltdown, as he expresses his obvious disgust for the 150 million Americans who have the temerity to think independently and disagree with him.

According to W. Mitt Romney, if you believe in helping less fortunate Americans, you are part of a mass of shiftless moochers and parasitic leeches who fall far short of the glory of W. Mitt Romney. But the majority of the Americans in Romney's 47 percent are working people: retirees, soldiers, teachers, cops, firefighters, steelworkers, members of the clergy, and many others. And most of them have worked far more honestly that Mitt the Ripper, who made millions by firing American workers and outsourcing their jobs to China and other low-wage countries, then evaded income taxes himself via off-shore Bermuda and Cayman Island "IRAs."

At the same fundraiser, Mittler (as he is called by the LGBT community) also expressed his disgust for seemingly all Palestinians: "I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way."

When Romney talks about the people he despises—poor people, Palestinians, and most people who aren't rich white Americans like himself—he sounds disturbingly like Hitler talking about the Jews.

Even hardcore conservatives were shocked at Romney's bigotry. For instance, William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, called Romney's comments "stupid and arrogant."

Palestinians who both want and work for peace said Romney's accusations were ridiculous: "No one stands to gain more from peace with Israel than Palestinians and no one stands to lose more in the absence of peace than Palestinians," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters. "Only those who want to maintain the Israeli [military] occupation will claim the Palestinians are not interested in peace."

Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have accused Israel of practicing apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Leading Jewish intellectuals from Albert Einstein to Noam Chomsky have rebuked Israel for using massive military superiority to unjustly dominate and displace Palestinians, who have now lost more than 80% of their native land without compensation. To blame Palestinians for all the hostilities is like blaming Native Americans for not submitting meekly to ethnic cleansing and genocide at the hands of white supremacists. Rather than exchanging land for peace, Israel chooses to relentlessly gobble up more and more Palestinian land via a massive, brutal military occupation. Romney is either lying through his teeth, or he has failed to study and understand the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine. Virtually the entire global community agrees that Israel must end its land-grabbing in the West Bank, but thanks to American politicians like Mitt Romney, Israel continues to let robber barons do their thing, protected by a super-powerful military funded and armed by American taxpayers to the tune of more than $130 billion over the years.

"Let Them Eat Cyanide"

Mitt Romney promises to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans. But what does he mean by "middle-income"? During an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Romney told host George Stephanopoulos, "No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers." Stephanopoulos then asked, "Is $100,000 middle income?" Romney replied, "No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000." But according to the Census Bureau the median American household income is just over $50,000. So Romney seems to be either bent on deception, or hopelessly out of touch.

Even if you are fortunate enough to make $200,000 or more per year, do you think the federal government should give the bulk of tax cuts to the people who make the most money, while other people lose their jobs and homes?

The proposed Romney-Ryan budget plan will further decimate the American middle class, by virtually eliminating all federal income taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, because it makes capital gains, interest and dividends tax free. If this plan had been in effect in 2010, Mitt Romney would have paid less than 1% (.0082, to be exact) on earnings of $21 million. It seems Romney and Ryan intend to get rid of all taxes for the super-rich, while reducing taxes somewhat for people making $200,000 or more. This will force everyone else to pay more taxes, or leave the federal government without the means to keep the current safety nets of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid intact. But at some point in their lives, especially as they age, the vast majority of Americans will need those safety nets. When Marie Antoinette was told that French peasants had no bread to eat, she allegedly said, "Let them eat cake." Now it seems that Willard Mitt Romney, one of the world's wealthiest men, is saying that when elderly Americans need healthcare, we should say, "Let them eat cyanide!" and when poor people are hungry we should say, "Let them starve to death!"

As much as I would like to see my taxes reduced, I cannot sanction this blatantly unjust plan to let the wealthiest Americans avoid virtually all taxes, by condemning elderly Americans who worked and paid taxes all their lives to the human equivalent of a glue factory. Can you?

Magical Mittens

Mitt Romney seems to believe that he can boost the economy without actually doing anything: "If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy."

And yet he ridicules Democrats for talking about hope and change!

Bishop Romney invests in Chinese Slave Labor Camp, complete with barbed wire and guard towers

One of the most disturbing things I have heard about Mitt Romney from his own lips is his confession that he toured a Chinese slave labor camp/factory, then invested in it, with never a word of protest about the terrible conditions he saw there. Instead of protesting the existence of such gulags, the Romneybot became a pioneer of outsourcing American jobs to them, through his vulture capital outfit, Bain Capital. Here is how Romney described what he saw, in private during a high-dollar fundraiser attended by his rich cronies, not knowing that he was being filmed by a whistleblower: "When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married. And they work in these huge factories; they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10 rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen, you’ve seen them? And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in …"

The account above has been reported by major news services such as the Boston Globe. Because the factory made small appliances, we can safely assume that it belonged to Global Tech Appliances, a company that takes over manufacturing from American companies like Sunbeam and Mr. Coffee. According to SEC documents first reported by Mother Jones magazine, a Bain Capital affiliate called Brookside initially acquired about 6 percent of GTA on April 17, 1998 and later increased its ownership to more than 9 percent. Romney was listed as the "sole shareholder, sole director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookside Inc." So it seems clear that Romney alone was responsible for deciding what to do about the 20,000 young girls he saw living in what sounds like a Nazi concentration camp complete with barbed wire fences and guard towers. Did he go public and protest what he saw? No, he invested in the slave labor facility, then helped American companies save money by firing American workers and outsourcing their jobs to such sweat shops.

What would you have done, knowing that at best the girls were being used like pack mules, and that at worst a fire might kill them all? Wouldn't you have said something to someone, to try to help the girls, and others like them in other Chinese factories? Why did Mitt Romney, a child of wealth and privilege and one of the world's wealthiest men, became a business partner of their enslavers, then send them more American businesses as customers?

What sort of man is Mitt Romney, really? Here's a rather blunt appraisal. China’s Xinhua news agency criticized Romney in a strongly-worded editorial, noting the profits Romney has made from investments in China: "It is rather ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician’s wealth was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered politics."

If Romney wants to get involved in manufacturing, he should stick to his particular area of expertise: flip-flops.

And speaking of flip-flops, here's a real doozy, straight from the lips of Mitt the Flopple himself. At the end of his spiel above, Romney concluded: "The Bain Partner I was with turned to me and said, 'You know, 95% of life is settled if you are born in America. This is uh, this is an amazing land and what we have is unique and fortunately it is so special we are sharing it with the world.'" But this agrees with what President Obama and the Democrats have been saying, which is that Americans built the infrastructure of America together and no one can claim to be completely self-made. Why does Mitt Romney attack President Obama in public as if he is the "enemy" of American values, only to agree with him in private? Is that good character or duplicity?

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.

Bishop Romney

Mitt Romney was a Mormon bishop and claims to be a Christian, but Jesus Christ saved nearly all his sternest criticism for hypocrites and clearly said that the rich should help the poor, rather than take advantage of them. It makes my blood boil to hear a prospective American president condemning less advantaged Americans for wanting a fair shake, when the system is tilted so wildly in his favor and he doesn't even have the good grace to pocket his windfall millions without insulting honest working folks.

And why did Romney say that the government should let Detroit go bankrupt, after he used a federal agency and its money to bail out his sugar daddy, Bain & Company? When Bain was told to go through bankruptcy by a Goldman Sachs advisor, why did Mitt Romney refuse, choosing instead to rely on dirty tricks and fiscal blackmail? As Rolling Stone pointed out in "The Federal Bailout That Saved Mitt Romney," government documents indicate that Mitt Romney's personal mythology is just that: a wild fantasy. He didn't save Bain or the Olympics; we bailed them out. One reason Romney is so rich today is that "we the people" bailed out Bain to the tune of millions of dollars written off by the FDIC. But did Willard Mitt Romney ever have the good grace to tell us "Thanks" for saving Bain? No, of course not. According to Rolling Stone, "Federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster—leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had 'no value as a going concern.' Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC—the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers—out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds."

Romney paid 30 cents on the dollar to retire Bain's debt, and we covered the rest. Now, rather than thanking us for our generosity, Romney wants to take all the credit. What a hypocrite! How did he pull off this stupendous feat? Rather than going through bankruptcy the way he advised Detroit automakers, Romney threatened to take all the cash out of Bain by giving it to Bain's highest-earners as bonuses, unless the FDIC agreed to let Bain avoid paying the bulk of its debts.

This is like me owing you $1,000 and saying that you can take $300 and call things even, or I'll give all my money to hookers and pay you nothing!

So you tell me ... does Willard Mitt Romney have any reason to accuse ordinary Americans of wanting "free stuff," when he blackmailed the FDIC into giving Bain millions in free stuff? And then, after we bailed him out, he insisted that we let Detroit go bankrupt, which could have cost more than a million Americans their jobs. Why does Willard Mitt Romney demand that we bail him out, and his rich Wall Street cronies, only to insist that we let American autoworkers bite the dust?

"None of us wanted to see Bain be the laughingstock of the business world," recalls a longtime Romney lieutenant who asked not to be identified. "But Mitt's reputation was on the line." It seems to me that Mitt Romney cares a lot more about his reputation and his money and power, than he does about us, the American people.

Mr. Creative Destruction

Romney used the term "creative destruction" repeatedly in his book No Apology, calling for government "to stand aside and allow the creative destruction inherent in a free economy." He acknowledged that such "creative destruction" is "unquestionably stressful—on workers, managers, owners, bankers, suppliers, customers, and the communities that surround the affected businesses." During a photo shoot for a brochure to attract investors, Romney and his Bain Capital partners gleefully clutched $10 and $20 bills, stuffed them into their pockets, and even clenched them in their grinning teeth. But while they romped in piles of money, thousands of American workers at companies owned by Bain were being fired as their jobs were being outsourced to China and other low-wage countries.

I have a very hard time imagining Jesus Christ taking such shark-like delight in "creative destruction" and other people's misfortunes. Jesus, after all, said that a man cannot serve two masters, and so had to choose either God or Mammon.

But destroying jobs is how corporate raiders make their money. Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, once pointed out that discussions with buyout companies typically do not focus on how jobs will be created. "It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut ... because you had to document how you were going to create value."

It takes an unusual type of person to suggest that destroying American jobs "creates value," but Romney and the Romulans seem to be such cold-blooded creatures, unfortunately. How do vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney make huge amounts of money, while the hardworking, honest people go broke? By transferring wealth from workers to "investors." As we will see together, if you continue reading this page, this is exactly what the Romney-Ryan budget plan will do the American middle class, if we elect them. The Romney-Ryan "rescue plan" would virtually eliminate all federal income taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans by making capital gains, interest and dividends tax free. If this plan had been in effect in 2010, Mitt Romney would have paid less than 1% (.0082, to be exact) on earnings of $21 million.

If you're ready to swim with the real sharks, these cold-blooded predators ("investors") will be only too happy to oblige.

Bailout Baloney

Mitt Romney, the ultimate cold-blooded predator, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." In this article, Romney confidently predicted that "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." But today the U.S. automotive industry is much healthier than before the federal government intervened. General Motors just had the most profitable year in its 103-year history and surpassed Toyota as the world's best-selling auto company. According to estimates, over a million jobs were saved by the bailout, the auto industry has since added 240,000 new jobs, and the Big Three were all profitable for the first time in seven years.

Arthur J. Gonzalez, the federal judge who presided over Chrysler’s bankruptcy case, told ABC News that if Mitt Romney’s advice had been followed, the auto giant would be dead with thousands of jobs lost because there "were no other sources of lending" besides the federal government.

Romney opposed a federal bailout for auto manufacturers but favored a much larger bailout for his super-rich Wall Street cronies and banker buddies. Then, after Romney said that the federal government should let the auto companies go bankrupt, he tried to take credit for their later resurgence, saying: "I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back." But as puts it, Romney is full of "Bailout Baloney."

Big Brother

During his campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Romney, not just a devout Mormon but a missionary and bishop who oversaw a Mormon diocese for eight years, promised that if elected he would attempt to have a pornography filter installed in every new computer sold in the United Sates!

Patrick Trueman, the head of ominous-sounding Morality in Media, told the conservative Daily Caller that he was promised that fighting porn will be a top priority for a Romney administration. Trueman said he and another anti-porn prosecutor from the 1980s Justice Department, Bob Flores, met earlier this year with Alex Wong, Romney's foreign and legal policy director. "Wong assured us that Romney is very concerned with this, and that if he’s elected these laws will be enforced. They promised to vigorously enforce federal adult obscenity laws."

Like Rick Santorum, another would-be Big Brother, Mitt Romney is a prude who doesn't trust American adults to make their own decisions about sex. Romney thinks it's a "sin" to drink a beer, smoke a cigarette, or look at racy pictures, thanks to his religion's puritanism. He has called pornography a "home invasion" of "unwanted filth." But the simple truth is that most Americans are much more relaxed about sex than the straight-laced Mormon Bishop, and we don't want a domineering overseer telling us what we can do with our free time, in the privacy of our own homes and bedrooms.

Et tu, Brute?

Classmates of Romney's say that he tackled a gay classmate, John Lauber, pinned him to the ground, then cut off his long, bleached-blonde hair. "He can't look like that," an "incensed" Romney told one of his friends, "That's wrong. Just look at him!"

Gary Hummel, a closeted gay student at the time, recalled that his efforts to speak out in class were punctuated by Romney shouting, "Atta girl!"

In another disturbing incident, Romney caused an English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger (nicknamed "the Bat" for his diminished eyesight) to walk into a closed door he pretended to have opened for him. When Wonnberger walked into the door, according to another student, Pierce Getsinger, Romney "giggled hysterically."

The first incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently. Four of them — Matthew 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. Buford said Lauber was "terrified," and that the attack was "a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do." Maxwell called it "vicious" a "hack job" and "assault and battery" that he deeply regrets not stopping and has carried as a "black mark" on his character for many years. Friedemann also expressed remorse for not intervening. Seed apologized to Lauber years later when he met him at an airport. A sixth classmate, Stu White, later said that he was "disturbed" by Romney's "prank."

White, a close friend Romney, told ABC that the Romney campaign had approached him and several other classmates to defend Romney's behavior in the wake of the article. It's interesting and probably significant that none of them have stepped forward to defend Romney. So far, everyone has sided with, sympathized with and defended the victim, John Lauber.

The deep and lasting remorse the other participants and witnesses have expressed proves that this was no light-hearted schoolboy prank. Only Romney claims to be unable to remember what happened, even though he planned and led the attack and did the shearing.

According to ABC News, another "former classmate and old friend of Romney’s" who declined to be identified said there are "a lot of guys" who went to Cranbrook who have "really negative memories" of Romney’s behavior in the dorms, behavior this classmate describes as being "like Lord of the Flies." The classmate believes Romney is lying when he claims to not remember the attack: "It makes these fellows [who have confessed] very remorseful. For [Romney] not to remember it? It doesn’t ring true. How could the fellow with the scissors forget it?"

Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo, noted: "What strikes me most about this story is Romney’s intense equivocation. First he didn’t remember the incidents. Then he apologized to anyone who was offended but without saying he remembered anything specific. Then he said that he definitely didn’t know or think the kid they attacked was gay, even though he apparently didn’t remember the attack."

Lou Vierling, a scholarship student was struck by questions Romney asked when they first met: "He wanted to know what my father did for a living. He wanted to know if my mother worked. He wanted to know what town I lived in." As Vierling explained that his father taught school and that he commuted from east Detroit, he noticed a "souring" of Romney’s demeanor.

As you will see if you continue reading this page, Romney's behavior as an adult continues to display remarkable insensitivity, at best, and brutish boorishness at worst. He seems to be clueless when dealing with women, gays and other people who aren't rich, lily-white Grand Old Patriarchs.

I find the caption of a yearbook photo of Romney interesting and hopefully prophetic: "Give a guy enough rope and he'll hang himself." In the photo a young Mitt Romney is about to shoot himself in the head with a toy pistol.

Mormon Chauvinism

Mitt Romney's attempts to return women's rights to the Stone Age have been well documented. Is his male chauvinism related to his faith? Let's take a look ...

Romney was no layman, but a bishop and president of the Boston Stake (diocese) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If he wins in November, he will be the first high-ranking religious official to become president of the U.S. in modern times.

Perhaps his alpha male chauvinism is related to the Mormon church's legendary chauvinism, which includes polygamy, female submission, male-only administration, crusading to repeal gay marriage in California (Proposition 8), and working to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. Mormons who supported the ERA received threatening letters from church officials warning them about their spiritual fates; some were censured, denied church sacraments or excommunicated (which means being denied salvation). Sonia Johnson was excommunicated after she delivered a speech entitled "Patriarchal Panic: Sexual Politics in the Mormon Church" in which she denounced the church's allegedly immoral and illegal nationwide lobbying efforts to defeat the ERA. (The Mormon church seems not to believe in equality for women and gays, or in separation of church and state.)

Bishop Romney, Part II

Was Bishop Romney a male chauvinist? Here's a revealing excerpt from "The Mind of Mitt" in Vanity Fair:

As both bishop and stake president, he at times clashed with women he felt strayed too far from church beliefs and practice. To them, he lacked the empathy and courage that they had known in other leaders, putting the church first even at times of great personal vulnerability. Peggie Hayes had joined the church as a teenager along with her mother and siblings ... As a teenager, Hayes babysat for Mitt and Ann Romney and other couples in the ward. Then Hayes’s mother abruptly moved the family to Salt Lake City for Hayes’s senior year of high school. Restless and unhappy, Hayes moved to Los Angeles once she turned 18. She got married, had a daughter, and then got divorced shortly after. But she remained part of the church. By 1983, Hayes was 23 and back in the Boston area, raising a 3-year-old daughter on her own and working as a nurse’s aide. Then she got pregnant again. Single motherhood was no picnic, but Hayes said she had wanted a second child and wasn’t upset at the news. "I kind of felt like I could do it," she said. "And I wanted to." By that point Mitt Romney, the man whose kids Hayes used to watch, was, as bishop of her ward, her church leader ... Then Romney called Hayes one winter day and said he wanted to come over and talk. He arrived at her apartment in Somerville, a dense, largely working-class city just north of Boston. They chitchatted for a few minutes. Then Romney said something about the church’s adoption agency. Hayes initially thought she must have misunderstood. But Romney’s intent became apparent: he was urging her to give up her soon-to-be-born son for adoption, saying that was what the church wanted. Indeed, the church encourages adoption in cases where "a successful marriage is unlikely." Hayes was deeply insulted. She told him she would never surrender her child. Sure, her life wasn’t exactly the picture of Rockwellian harmony, but she felt she was on a path to stability. In that moment, she also felt intimidated. Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader and was the head of a wealthy, prominent Belmont family, sitting in her gritty apartment making grave demands. "And then he says, ‘Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church,’" Hayes recalled. It was a serious threat. At that point Hayes still valued her place within the Mormon Church. "This is not playing around," she said. "This is not like ‘You don’t get to take Communion.’ This is like ‘You will not be saved. You will never see the face of God.’" Romney would later deny that he had threatened Hayes with excommunication, but Hayes said his message was crystal clear: "Give up your son or give up your God." Not long after, Hayes gave birth to a son. She named him Dane. At nine months old, Dane needed serious, and risky, surgery. The bones in his head were fused together, restricting the growth of his brain, and would need to be separated. Hayes was scared. She sought emotional and spiritual support from the church once again. Looking past their uncomfortable conversation before Dane’s birth, she called Romney and asked him to come to the hospital to confer a blessing on her baby. Hayes was expecting him. Instead, two people she didn’t know showed up. She was crushed. "I needed him," she said. "It was very significant that he didn’t come." Sitting there in the hospital, Hayes decided she was finished with the Mormon Church. The decision was easy, yet she made it with a heavy heart. To this day, she remains grateful to Romney and others in the church for all they did for her family. But she shudders at what they were asking her to do in return, especially when she pulls out pictures of Dane, now a 27-year-old electrician in Salt Lake City. "There’s my baby," she said.

Here is a disturbing excerpt from a Huffington Post article:

A 1994 article in the Boston Phoenix told the story of an anonymous woman (who has since been identified) who wrote an article in a feminist Mormon magazine claiming Romney, as bishop, discouraged her from having an abortion even though her health was at stake. Romney later said he could not remember the incident.

The episode above was also reported by Vanity Fair. Here is how the second woman, also a mother of five, described her experience with Bishop Romney after being told by her doctors that she had a serious blood clot in her pelvis and that even if she risked her life to give birth, the baby's chance of survival would be only 50 percent:

"As your bishop," she said that he told her, "my concern is with the child." The woman wrote, "Here I—a baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the church—lay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterus—not for me!"

Romney would later contend that he couldn’t recall the incident, saying, "I don’t have any memory of what she is referring to, although I certainly can’t say it could not have been me." Romney did however acknowledge having counseled Mormon women not to have abortions except in exceptional cases, in accordance with church rules. The woman told Romney that her stake president, a doctor, had already told her, "Of course, you should have this abortion and then recover from the blood clot and take care of the healthy children you already have." Romney, she said, fired back, "I don’t believe you. He wouldn’t say that. I’m going to call him." And then he left. The woman said that she went on to have the abortion and never regretted it. "What I do feel bad about," she wrote, "is that at a time when I would have appreciated nurturing and support from spiritual leaders and friends, I got judgment, criticism, prejudicial advice, and rejection."

That Romney claims not to remember giving advice that could have killed a woman or endangered her health, especially when she had five children to care for, is troubling. He has also claimed not to remember tackling a gay classmate, pinning him to the ground, and cutting off his hair, even though students who watched the event remember it vividly many years later. Most of us would remember such things vividly, with tremendous remorse, if we were ever capable of such callous behavior. But we don't remember ants we crushed by accident. Is that how Willard Mitt Romney thinks of females outside his family circle, and gays? Here's another revealing excerpt from the Huffington Post article:

In July 1994, during Romney's U.S. Senate campaign, the Boston Globe published a story saying that Romney, in a speech to a congregation of single Mormons, said he found homosexuality "perverse and reprehensible." The story cited one named and three unnamed sources. Romney denied the comments. "I specifically said they should avoid homosexuality and they should avoid heterosexual relations outside of marriage," Romney told the Globe then. "I did not use the words perverse or perversion. I just said it was wrong. ... That is what my church believes."

So if his church believes something, it seems Romney believes it too. But the Mormon church has any number of strange beliefs: ... that Jesus was a polygamist, that God is an exalted man who lives as a physical being with multiple wives on the planet Kolob, that only men with multiple wives can reach the highest heaven (making polygamy a prerequisite for salvation), that in heaven the wives of polygamists will remain eternally pregnant and have billions of spirit children, that there are multiple gods, that human beings can become gods, and that magical underwear required and sold by the Mormon church can protect Mormons from lust and attacks by supernatural entities.

Is it possible that some of these beliefs are incorrect and should not be used to deny women and gays fully equal rights? Has the Mormon church, perhaps, been wildly wrong before?

Until 1978 the Mormon church taught that black people were the children of Cain and were black because they had been cursed by God, making them unfit to serve as ministers. The Mormon prophet Brigham Young said that if a white man has sex with a black woman the "law of God" is "death on the spot." (This despite the fact that according to the Bible it seems that the greatest prophet, Moses, and the wisest man, Solomon, both had black wives.) Brigham Young told the Utah Territorial Legislature that "any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] ... in him cannot hold the priesthood and if no other Prophet ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it." John Taylor a president and prophet of the Mormon church, taught that God is a segregationist who discriminates against blacks, who "represent" the Devil. Mormon apostle Mark E. Petersen said that if a child had a single drop of negro blood, he would "receive the curse" and that the best such a cursed child could hope for, if he was "faithful all his days," was to be a "servant" (slave) in heaven. But then in 1978 one of the "prophets" of the church had a "revelation" that the curse had somehow mysteriously been lifted. But in the church's official notice, the prophet went oddly unnamed, as if no one wanted to take credit for the prophecy.

When the Mormon church was so obviously wrong about racism and segregation, and attempted to correct its obvious mistake in such a contrived and clumsy manner, can it be trusted to hand down edicts on the rights (or lack of rights) of women and gays? Should a potential president like Willard Mitt Romney withhold (or attempt to withhold) basic human rights from women and gays because his church teaches that women are supposed to submit to men in all things, and that God discriminates against non-heterosexuals, the way he used to discriminate against "the children of Cain?

Or are the Mormon church's current teachings about women and gays as absurd and laughable (albeit not funny) as its former teachings about blacks?

Did Romney call homosexuality "perverse"? Isn't that a teaching of most conservative Christian churches, including the Roman Catholics, the Southern Baptists and the Mormons? Romney’s alleged comments on homosexual practices were part of a 20-minute address he delivered on November 14 to the Cambridge University Ward, which numbers about 250 to 300 single Mormons. "He said he was appalled at the incidence of homosexuals in the congregation," said Rick Rawlins, a 32-year-old Mormon who had previously served as a counselor to the ward’s bishop. "He went on to say that he found homosexuality both perverse and reprehensible." Romney denied the veracity of the comments but, as the Globe noted, the account was confirmed by three other attendees: "I believe that his general message was that sex outside of marriage is immoral, but on the other hand, I do remember that there was a specific remark that he was appalled at the incidence of homosexuality in the ward and he termed it perverse," said one. "It was specific enough that I wanted to go see Bishop [Steven] Wheelwright right after that talk." Another person present offered this account. "During the talk, President Romney began talking about families and family values, and he mentioned homosexuality as a perversity. He went on for some time." This person didn’t recall the exact term Romney used to express his dismay at report of homosexual conduct, but said: "He certainly was conveying that he was appalled." Said a fourth person: "He started going on about being upset about homosexuality in this ward. I remember him calling it a sickness and a perversion."

It seems to me that Romney and the Mormon church, like other fundamentalist sects of Christianity, are now wrestling with intolerance against homosexuality the way they once wrestled with intolerance against "the children of Cain." Obviously, the churches are wrong and their prehistoric teachings do not come from a loving, wise, just, enlightened God.

Can we afford to have a president who refuses to admit that his church's "prophets" are wrong and that their teachings are relics of a stone age past? Should millions of Americans be denied full equality because someone like Mitt Romney believes that God is a sexist and a homophobe?

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 13% Solution

When asked to disclose his tax returns, Willard Mitt Romney replied, "I am not a business." But he famously (or infamously) said that "corporations are people." Mitt the Flopple changes political positions the way Imelda Marcos changes shoes. But he is remarkably consistent about his taxes. Mitt the Omitter consistently makes up excuses not to explain why he seems to be one of the biggest tax evaders in American history. Perhaps we should call him Darth Evader.

Romney claims that he paid at least 13% in taxes for the last decade, while being careful not to specify federal income taxes. And did he pay 13% of everything he made or only of the money that he didn't shelter from taxes? It seems obvious that Romney has a LOT of money in Bermuda and Cayman Island tax shelters. Major new services like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Reuters and CBS News have reported that he may have up to $100 million, or close to half his estimated net worth, in esoteric Caribbean investments. In fact, it seems he may have placed entire Bain Capital holdings in offshore "IRAs." So suppose Romney made $20 million one year, sheltered $19.9 million in offshore "IRAs," then paid taxes on only $100,000 in earnings? Yes, he might have paid 13% in taxes on the $100,000 and that might be commensurate with what other Americans pay after deducting personal exemptions, charitable contributions, etc. But his real effective tax rate might be closer to 1.3%, or zero, depending on how much money he made, and how much of that money was sheltered. The only way for anyone to know Romney's real tax rate is for him to release his tax returns. The fact that he refuses to release any of his returns prior to 2010 suggests that there are major problems with his older returns. Do we want a commander-in-chief who expects American soldiers to risk their lives in battle, when he's too cowardly to pay his fair share of taxes to help provide them with the best possible equipment and training?

The proposed Romney-Ryan budget plan would eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains, making it possible for millionaires and billionaires to reduce their effective tax rates to 1% or less. (According to Romney's 2010 tax return, under the new Romney-Ryan plan he would have paid slightly less than one percent on $21 million in earnings.) In order to fund this lavish bounty for the super-rich, less wealthy Americans will have to pay thousands more in taxes per year. Then, finally, Willard Mitt Romney can legally avoid paying taxes, since you and I will be covering for him!

Mitt Rotney's Art of "Creative Destruction"

During Romney's years as CEO of Bain Capital, he did not specialize in creating jobs, but in "creative destruction," a term he employed twelve times in his book No Apology (but which he now avoids during his race for the American presidency). Mitt Romney did not create jobs ... that was Myth Romney. Here is how Rigger Mortis's business associates described the actual process they employed: creative destruction is like a "forest fire" that "clears out the detritus even if you lose some animals [i.e., human beings] in the short run."

Or, as Romney's Bain Capital partner James McCurry put it, "When the momma bird shows up with a worm, all those little open beaks are down there sending the signal, 'Give the worm to me!'" But what vulture capitalists do in such situations is like the poppa bird greedily gulping down the worm itself, after flinging the fledglings from the nest before they're able to fly.

Mitt Romney became one of the world's wealthiest men by firing American workers, outsourcing their jobs to China and other Asian countries, then pocketing the "savings" himself. But this larceny was inconvenient for his political aspirations. When Mitt the Ripper was running against Ted Kennedy for a Massachusetts senate seat in 1994, while Bain was closing plants and firing hundreds of workers, he was quoted as saying, "Aw, jeez, do we really need to fire these guys right away?"

The King of Bain didn't have any problem firing American workers; his only remorse was for the impact their firings had on his campaign.

Is Mitt the Omitter a sociopath unable to empathize with the suffering of people he doesn't know?

Wrong Way Romney's Aversion to Risk

Mitt Romney made his fortune by forcing other people to assume all risk for his speculations. When Bill Bain offered Romney the lead role at the then-new Bain Capital private equity firm, Romney refused the job until the salary was guaranteed and he was promised his old job back if the new venture didn't pan out. This led Bill Bain to say that "all the risk and investment was basically on my side."

Romney would go on to do something similar with the companies he "invested" in. He would put up relatively small amounts of money, then load the companies he purchased with massive debt, which he would then pay to himself and and Bain in the form of "dividends" and consulting/management fees. At that point, he had no risk. If the company failed and all its employees lost their jobs, he still profited. No wonder he's called Mittler by the LGBT community.

The Gospel according to Mitt "Rigger Mortis" Romney: Tax cheats shall inherit the earth, while the poor inherit their taxes!

As reported by Bloomberg, the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post and other reputable news services, on August 23, 2012, Willard Mitt Romney told a group of wealthy donors, "Big business is doing fine ... They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses." Romney, who has been accused of sheltering up to $100 million of his own money in Cayman Island "IRAs," obviously sees avoiding taxes as a good thing, at least when speaking to his rich cronies and benefactors. But this presents a huge problem for the 99% of Americans who are forced to pay taxes, rain or shine, through automatic payroll deductions, since we end up paying the taxes of the wealthiest Americans and corporations, while they laugh to their Cayman Island banks. Even worse, if Romney is elected president, he plans to reduce the taxes of the wealthiest 1% to less than 1%, by eliminating income taxes on the main sources of their income: capital gains, interest and dividends. If the Romney-Ryan budget plan had been in effect, Romney would have paid federal income tax of less than 1% on his 2010 income of $21 million. Who is going to make up the difference? Obviously, we the little people. Experts have calculated that when Romney cuts his taxes to almost nothing, each average American's taxes will go up by around $2,000.

So when Romney promises to "fix" our economy, what he really means that he is going to geld everyone who isn't super-rich, like himself.

Meanwhile, the Wikileaks-like website Gawker has released more than 950 pages of information about Romney's finances, which it calls a "black hole" full of "tax-dodging tricks available to the hyper-rich." Gawker describes the net effect of the documents as follows: "Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his wealth, the exotic tax-avoidance schemes available only to the preposterously wealthy that benefit him, the unlikely (for a right-wing religious Mormon) places that his money has ended up, and the deeply hypocritical distance between his own criticisms of Obama's fiscal approach and his money managers' embrace of those same policies. They also show that some of the investments that Romney has always described as part of his retirement package at Bain weren't made until years after he left the company." (When Romney wants to brag about his accomplishments at Bain, he ran the whole show, but after Bain became a pioneer of outsourcing American jobs to China, Romney "wasn't there" even though his name appears over and over again as the CEO of Bain Capital, years after he "left.")

The bottom line? Romney's comments above, his personal $100 million Cayman Island "IRA" and his track record as a corporate raider, vulture capitalist and outsourcer of American jobs speak for themselves. If he wants to prove me and his other critics wrong, all he has to do is disclose how he and Bain made so much money in non-parasitical ways. But he's not going to do that, because the evidence would support our claims, not his.

Here's how Romney described his business career himself: "I spent 25 years balancing budgets, eliminating waste and keeping as far away from the government as humanly possible." But by "eliminating waste" he seems to mean American jobs and workers. And his main avoidance of the government seems to have been tax avoidance.

Romney's main claim to business fame is as a bean-counting number cruncher. Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples, said that the idea of saving money on paper clips "really resonated" with Romney, whom he called "one of the cheapest sons of guns I ever met in my life." But the problem for Americans is that Romney had the same attitude toward jobs. He closed factories, crushed unions and was one of the pioneers of outsourcing American jobs to low-wage countries like China. Remorseless cost cutting made Romney richer than Midas, but he was doing the opposite of creating jobs.

And of course when incredibly wealthy men like Mitt Romney choose to avoid their taxes, less-well off Americans are forced to make up the difference. His longtime Bain Capital partner Marc Wolpaw was recently quoted in TIME as saying, "I think he believed, and I do believe, that as a businessperson, you have the right to push the tax law into the gray area ..."

The TIME article concludes that Romney's unwillingness to disclose his tax returns stems from the "political reaction" he will receive if "the creativity of his accounting becomes fully known."

White House or Waffle House?

Romney has earned nicknames like Flip Flopney, Mitt the Flopple and Multiple Choice Mitt by waffling on important subjects. Today he tries to project himself as a staunch conservative, but his term as governor of Massachusetts featured state-mandated healthcare, gun control and legalized abortion. He recently had much more liberal stances on stem cell research and climate change as well.

Romney has also been called Pander Bear for being willing to say anything to anyone in search of votes. When pandering for the votes of NRA members, Romney now pretends to be a hunting enthusiast. But business associates of his say Romney wanted nothing to do with guns, which he equated with tobacco and gambling, presumably for ethical reasons. For instance, his longtime partner Marc Wolpaw was quoted in TIME as saying Romney was "adamant" about not making investments in tobacco and firearms and that there was "no way" Bain Capital could invest in weapons manufacturers. Another Bain associate, Geoffrey Rehnert, agreed that tobacco, guns and gambling had a "personal yuck factor" with the partners.

But it seems Romney's values must have been discarded when he entered the presidential race, as his biggest financial contributor is Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul who has pledged to invest a startling $100 million in what seems like a blatant attempt to buy the presidency and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby putting the US stamp of approval on the liquidation of any hope of a Palestinian state, which would probably result in more events like 911, and thus cost Americans thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

Adelson is under investigation by the state of Nevada, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible money laundering and bribery of Chinese officials, which would be in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He has also been accused of ties to prostitution; more than 100 prostitutes were recently arrested in one of his Chinese casinos.

Adelson obviously doesn't care who gets elected president, as long as he gets what he wants, since much of the $16 million he spent on Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign was used to attack Romney. Now Adelson has made a $10 million donation to the pro-Romney "Restore Our Future" Super PAC, with the promise of more to come. When Paul Ryan was selected as Romney's running mate, one of his first official acts was as pilgrimage to Las Vegas to pay obeisance to Sheldon Adelson.

I think this except from a Democratic Underground article succinctly sums up what we know about the candidacy of Mitt the Ripper: "that Mitt Romney's qualification for the presidency consists of a career at Bain Capital about which we know essentially nothing; that his economic plan is the most massive transfer of wealth to the rich from the rest in the history of the country; that he arrogantly, petulantly and suspiciously refuses to play by the same financial disclosure rules that have applied to presidential candidates since his father ran; that his foreign policy team is a reunion of the neocon club that gave us [the invasion of] Iraq; that the health care reform he championed in Massachusetts is virtually identical to the Affordable Care Act ["Obamacare"] he promises to repeal; that he has changed sides on climate change, gun control, a woman's right to choose and so many other issues that the only consistent theme in his record is the urgency of pandering to the right, a spinelessness he is unlikely to abjure as president; and that Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout may well send him to the White House."

I, Robot

If a robot, android or space alien was running for president, just think of some of the strange things it might say in its attempts to connect with real human beings ... but these are all things actually said by Willard Mitt Romney, a man even stranger than his name and nicknames (Matinee Mitt, Mitt the Twitt, Mitt Inappropriate, the Romneybot):

I love this state. The trees are the right height. The streets are just right.
I had catfish for the second time. It was delicious, just like the first time.
I am learning to say y'all and I like grits, and ... strange things are happening to me.
Morning, ya'll. I got started this morning right with a biscuit and some cheesy grits. (No one calls them "cheesy" grits.)
I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce and hubcaps. Because there's no plates like chrome for the hollandaise.
These pancakes are about as large as my win in Puerto Rico last night, I must admit. The margin is just about as good.
Look at us in here! We are all nice together, all nice and wet, you know, like a can of sardines. ("Nice"?)
That's a big lava lamp, congratulations!
Davy, Davy Crockett. King of the wild frontier!
I'm an unofficial southerner.
Please give us a big hug, that's the girls. I've been getting hugs from the Southern girls ... from 12, to well, a lot more than 12.
I never imagined I'd be up here like Larry the Cable guy!
I love the hymns of America, by the way.

The Romneybot expresses empathy for other heartless, soulless entities

Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend.
Banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now ... scared to death ... feeling the same thing that you're feeling.

The Romneybot however fails miserably in its attempts to empathize with warm-blooded human beings

We should double Guantanamo!
Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that.
Let Detroit go bankrupt.
I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back. (Referring to the auto industry he wanted to go bankrupt.)
I'm in this race because I care about Americans.
I'm not concerned about the very poor.
I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed. (Quite a story, indeed!)
I know what it's like to worry whether you're gonna get fired. There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.
I've got a lot of good friends, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine.
I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals. (Presumably when he wasn't running for office, it was okay to have illegals.)
I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. ("Like"?)

The Romneybot waxes romantic, sorta

I introduce to you the heavyweight champion of my life. Wait, that didn't come out right. (Referring to his wife Ann.)
Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. (Is that one of her alien superpowers?)
In one of his more bizarre flip-flops, Romney went from strongly supporting federal funding for stem cell research that might cure his wife's multiple sclerosis, to opposing such funding. This strange bit of waffling was pointed out by fellow Republican John McCain and his staff during the last presidential election.

The Romneybot fails to compute and emits static

[Russia] is without question our number one geopolitical foe. (Not true since the fall of the Iron Curtain and end of the Cold War.)
I must admit, I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy. (Not rape, incest, murder, infanticide, matricide or genocide?)
I like the Twilight series. I thought that was fun.(We assume he thinks the Cold Ones are comedians; well, perhaps compared to him, they are.)
Who let the dogs out? Who, who? (During an awkward photo op with a group of African American kids.)

The Romneybot's CPU cannot compute basic science

Conservatism has had from its inception vigorously positive, intellectually rigorous agenda and thinking. (Oh, really?)
I am in favor of stem-cell research. (Romney later changed his stance on federal funding of stem cell research.)
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. (The scientific consensus is that excessive carbon dioxide is the primary cause.)

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

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

Mitt Romney would have us believe that he favors a smaller, leaner federal government. But when the Salt Lake City Olympics was on the financial rocks, what did he do? He relied on a huge taxpayer-funded bailout that exceeded all federal spending on all previous Olympics combined. John McCain called the bailout a "boondoggle" and a "ripoff" of American taxpayers" for "an incredible pork-barrel project" that was "outrageous" and a "national disgrace." Romney, however, bragged about the huge sums of money he procured from Uncle Sam. Later he flip-flopped and said that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich (not-so-coincidentally his main rivals for the Republican presidential nomination) must be "held accountable" for seeking earmarks. But when Romney addressed the New Bedford Industrial Foundation in October 2002, his advice in a Power Point presentation was to "boost federal involvement." (Romney is also obviously a big believer in telling gullible people whatever they want to hear.)

In any case, the real credit for saving the Olympics should go to the American public. Romney's main contribution, really, was that he was an effective lobbyist for federal government assistance (i.e., welfare). So when he attacks poor people for requesting government assistance and accuses the government of what he calls "crony capitalism," he's denouncing what he bragged about when he was leader of the welfare pack. And he seems especially hypocritical when he calls it "immoral" to borrow money to help flood victims, when he had no problem with the federal government borrowing billions to bail out the Olympic games and his rich Wall Street cronies. Nor does he have any problem proposing a budget that will force the federal government to borrow $8 trillion dollars over the next ten years to further increase spending on an already-bloated military.

Romney also waffles on the subject of abortion. Sometimes he claims to want to abolish abortion completely, when trying to convince pro-life conservatives that he believes life begins at conception. But when speaking to more moderate and liberal Americans, he says that he favors exemptions for rape, incest and cases where a pregnant woman's life is in danger. He also constantly waffles on gay marriage. When speaking to a group of gay Republicans, Romney promised to be a stronger advocate of gay rights than Ted Kennedy, who espoused gay marriage. When speaking to more conservative Americans, Romney claims to oppose gay marriage. But when his friends the Cathys were under fire for publicly opposing gay marriage through their management of Chick-fil-A, Romney refused to take a public stance. So he gives friends and foes alike the impression that he would rather sit on the political fence than definitively explain what he really believes.

I believe that God designed the universe and created the universe, and I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.—Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney claims to be a Christian, but his belief in human evolution completely contradicts the salvation gospel of Saint Paul, which Paul said he received directly from God. According to Paul, Adam was created perfect and immortal by God, and was only condemned to suffer and die when he disobeyed God. Thus it was Adam's disobedience that required Jesus Christ to be born, live a perfect life and die, thus atoning for and redeeming Adam and his descendents. But if Romney is correct and imperfect human beings evolved in an imperfect world where trillions of animals suffered and died before man was capable of understanding the will and word of God, there could have been no fall or original sin. That would place the onus of suffering and death on the Creator, not man. So it seems that Romney is attacking the core belief of most Christians: that man is fallen and must be redeemed by God (because if human beings evolved, it would be the other way around). During his discussion of his belief in evolution, Romney pointed out that evolution is taught at B.Y.U., the private Mormon university named after Brigham Young, a prophet of the Mormon church. On April 9, 1852 speaking before the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Brigham Young taught that Adam was "our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do." He also taught that Eve was only one of Adam's wives (meaning that God is a polygamist) and that Jesus Christ "was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." Brigham Young's teachings were later confirmed in writing by major figures of the Mormon church, such as Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff. Just four years before his death, Brigham Young declared that it was God who gave him the Adam-God doctrine. And Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism and its first prophet, also said that Adam was the Ancient of Days, or God. But if Adam was God, then God is responsible for all suffering and death, and thus for all evil. And it seems these sins of God are connected to polygamy, since Brigham Young said: "The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy" (Journal of Discourses 11:269). This would mean that Jesus must have been a polygamist, even though the Bible does not mention Jesus being married. And Mormon prophets have said that human beings can become gods and "have jurisdiction over worlds" as Joseph Smith put it. So it seems this process of God sinning and creating fallen worlds where creatures have to suffer and die and evolve will continue ...?

We have a president, who I think is is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.—Mitt Romney

But Willard Mitt Romney is a child of privilege with two Harvard degrees!

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.

The top ten reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney

I have learned from my Olympic experience that if you have people who really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there you can get money to help build economic development opportunities.—Mitt Romney

(10) American taxpayers bailed out the Utah Olympics; Romney just took the credit for what we did.
(9) Romney was not a venture capitalist but a vulture capitalist who killed American companies and jobs in order to gorge on their remains.
(8) Despite becoming one of the world's wealthiest men, Romney apparently paid little or nothing in income taxes for more than a decade.
(7) And yet he now accuses Americans who request affordable healthcare of wanting "free stuff," when in reality he is the King of Entitlements.
(6) His budget plan would reduce taxes on the richest Americans to 1% or less, while everyone else goes broke paying higher taxes.
(5) Romney is a sociopathic bully and pathological liar; one of his classmates compared him to the "Lord of the Flies."
(4) He is leading the Republican assault on the elderly, the sick, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, gays, union workers and minorities.
(3) He is leading the Republican assault on the poor and middle classes, which means he is attacking most of the Americans we know.
(2) He is leading the assault on women's rights, which means he is attacking our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and grand-daughters.
(1) He has reassembled the same neocon advisers who plotted the invasion of Iraq, and they are now plotting to attack Iran on the same false premises. Romney and his Romulans lust after money, power and glory, and they see war as the way to achieve their goals, like other fascists of the past.

Romney, the King of Entitlements

Let Detroit go bankrupt.—Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was in favor of letting Detroit go bankrupt, which would have cost tens of thousands of American autoworkers and suppliers their jobs. But of course Romney was in favor of much larger bailouts for his rich Wall Street cronies.

Well, the banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now. The banks are scared to death, of course. They're feeling the same thing that you're feeling.—Mitt Romney

But as with the Olympics, Romney is more than willing to take credit for something he didn't do:

I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back.—Mitt Romney

Incredibly, Willard Mitt Romney now wants to take credit for the recovery of the American automobile manufacturing industry, despite having written a New York Times op-ed piece titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," in which he said if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

Romney seems to be more concerned about banks and Wall Street tycoons than he is about the working classes and the poor. He and other Republicans speak disparagingly of "entitlements." But the simple truth is that American taxpayers fund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, so for anyone who has paid his/her taxes honestly, they are not entitlements but social compacts. In reality, Romney is the King of Entitlements because unlike middle-class Americans who pay their taxes rain or shine, Romney evades his taxes like the plague. Now he wants to be the commander-in-chief of courageous American soldiers, when he lacks the courage to help provide them with the equipment that would help protect their lives, health and mental well-being. Why should we elect a commander-in-chief whose cowardice endangers our soldiers' lives?

Romney's Failure to Protect the Environment

My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.—Mitt Romney

This is a not-so-artful dodge, simply to suck up more votes, while the planet goes down the tubes. Anyone with a brain understands that it doesn't matter who is responsible for climate change. All that matters is whether the earth's climate really is changing, and it obviously is. It has been documented that sea levels are rising, which means large amounts of ice are melting in glaciers and polar ice caps. Anyone who watches nature shows knows that glaciers really are receding and polar ice caps really are melting at tremendous rates. So Romney is either lying through his teeth to get votes from people who refuse to accept the truth, or he is a complete idiot. In either case, he has no business being president of the United States. The dinosaurs were not responsible for the climate change that caused their extinction, but they became extinct nonetheless. So obviously not being responsible changes nothing. Human beings have the advantage of bigger, more powerful brains, so we have the chance to survive, but we need to use them. The Romneybot either has a faulty CPU, or its CPU only computes ways to grab more money and power, never thinking about the suffering and deaths its actions will produce.

Romney's War on the Elderly, Sick and Poor

Here's economist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner, on Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan: "In the first decade, the big things are (i) conversion of Medicaid into a block grant program, with much lower funding than projected under current law and (ii) sharp cuts in top tax rates [i.e., for the wealthy] and corporate taxes. Is this a deficit-reduction program? Not on the face of it: it’s basically a tradeoff of reduced aid to the poor for reduced taxes on the rich, with the net effect of the specific proposals being to increase, not reduce, the deficit."

In other words, Romney and Ryan will sell the sick, poor and elderly (us one day, if we live long enough!) down the river, in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Many of the richest Americans will legally pay less than 1% in taxes, since the main sources of their income will be tax-free: capital gains, interest and dividends.

Romney's War on Women

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

Mitt Romney is leading the ever-escalating Republican full-frontal assault on American women's rights. If there was an Olympics for male chauvinism, Romney and the Romulans would undoubtedly sweep gold, silver and bronze.

A recent Guttmacher Institute report reveals the startling extent of the GOP's war on women’s reproductive rights: "By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions ..."

And the GOP’s biggest stars are leading the dash to force girls and women to bear their rapists’ babies. When Todd Akin spoke of "illegitimate" rape, he was merely echoing what Ron Paul said when he told CNN’s Piers Morgan that victims of "honest rape" should be treated differently than other rape victims. Paul Ryan obviously concurs, as he and Akin were co-sponsors of the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which in its original form included an exemption only for "forcible rape." Rick Santorum has called rapists’ fetuses "gifts" from God and opposes abortion and contraceptives under all circumstances. Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann signed the "Personhood USA" pledge, which allows no exceptions for rape and incest. Mitt Romney wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood, to repeal Roe vs. Wade, and to define life as beginning at conception, meaning that a microscopic egg fertilized by a rapist against a teenage girl's will can sentence her to death. So why all the fuss about Todd Akin, really? He is no more extreme than any of the best-known conservative presidential candidates, and less extreme than the only one with a legitimate shot at becoming president.

Romney and the Romulans will sell American women down the river, returning them to the Dark Ages, the same way Romney's Bain Capital vultures sold American workers down the river, and the same way Romney intends to sell poor- and middle-income-class Americans down the river once he becomes president. In Romney's United States, unless you are rich, healthy, white and male, there is something terribly "wrong" with you—thus all you are good for is to work and pay taxes, so that rich, healthy white men don't have to pay taxes. When you can no longer work and pay taxes, you will be quickly discarded. If you ask for any help from the government you helped fund all your working career, you will be called a freeloader in search of "free stuff." But things will be even worse for girls and women. If a girl iis raped, she will have no choice but to bear her rapist's baby. If a mother has two jobs and three children, and she forgets to take a birth control pill, or a pill is defective, if she becomes pregnant she will have no choice but to bear another child. It will be illegal for her to choose not to become a mother.

A mere two days after Akin's gaffe, we learned conclusively that he is actually far less extreme than his party, when the Republican platform committee approved language seeking a constitutional amendment to ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to a pregnant woman's life. The wording of the GOP’s renewed call for a "human life amendment" agrees with what the party approved in 2004 and 2008. Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, noted that the absolute abortion ban "is the platform of the Republican Party." The Romney campaign declined to comment on the platform committee’s vote, but in the past Romney has endorsed identical language. In 2007, during his first White House bid, Romney told ABC News: "I support that [human life amendment language] being part of the Republican platform." During a Republican presidential debate in 2007, Romney said that he would welcome a consensus that "we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period." He added that he would be "delighted" to sign a bill banning all abortions.

So Romney is obviously much more extreme than Todd Akin. And yet Romney told a New Hampshire TV station that Akin’s remarks were "deeply offensive" and that he and Ryan "can’t defend him." Ryan, seated beside Romney, nodded his head in agreement. But Akin effectively tied Ryan to his comment when he confirmed on Mike Huckabee's radio program that by "legitimate rape" he meant "forcible rape," the term that appeared in the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." bill co-sponsored by Akin and Ryan!

The bottom line is that—as stupid, evil and offensive as Akin's comments were—Paul Ryan is just as bad, and Mitt Romney is worse.

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 Single Most Important Issue

This is the only reason we must not vote for 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.

Why Floridians are not Amused

Even as the ink was still drying on the Romney-Ryan political marriage license, signs of ruptures within the larger Republican family began to appear.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, one of Romney's first decisions after the bizarre nuptials was to cancel a scheduled speaking engagement in Orlando. Why? Perhaps because the headlines of major Floridian newspapers had almost unanimously questioned Romney's selection of Ryan and what it meant for Floridians. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Romney was "too exhausted to make the trip."

Does this perhaps mean that Romney was exhausted of ideas, seeing how very difficult it was going to be to persuade Americans to vote for his plan to feed the neo-con war machine, by depriving elderly people of Medicare and raising taxes for 99% of Americans, while further reducing the taxes of the 1%?

Could Romney's "exhaustion" be the result of finally realizing that, while he can fool some of the people all of the time, the majority have grown wise to his shell games and bad parlor tricks with the truth?

Florida has a large number of retirees who are not amused by Ryan's preposterous "budget plan." The only people who see anything to like in Ryan's plan are young, incredibly naive Tea Party ideologues who are too short-sighted to realize that unless they are fabulously wealthy like Romney and his rich cronies, they and their loved ones will also need the things they currently denounce as "entitlements" one day: Medicare, Social Security, and perhaps Medicaid if they become unable to work (which does happen to millions of Americans).

In other words, the average Florida retiree is much better able to access the real impact of the Romney-Ryan plan, than the typical Tea Party type.

Romney is probably "exhausted" because the latest polls are reflecting the fact that his pro-rich, pro-war stance, when coupled with his anti-women, anti-minority, anti-gay, anti-elderly, anti-sick stance, is going to make it difficult if not impossible for him to win the upcoming election. To him, that is of course a very bad thing, but would it have been a "bad thing" for the average German if Hitler had lost elections?

Romney was not too "exhausted" to keep a fundraiser in Miami on his schedule. But of course at a fundraiser where rich people pay big bucks to hobnob with Romney, he is unlikely to have to explain why the common folk increasingly hate him and his all-too-obvious plans for their demise. Of course rich people love Romney, because he is trying to further reduce their taxes, while shifting war expenses and war debt over to the 99%. But unfortunately for Romney and his rich patrons, thanks to people like them most Americans are worse off financially than they were when George W. Bush became president and started cutting taxes for the rich while invading Middle Eastern nations that were bound to see American troops as foreign conquerors. Since we live in a democracy, it should be hard for 1% of the people to dictate terms to the other 99%.

Did Romney "save" the Olympics, really?

''In fact, most of the federal money was already in place before Mitt came on,'' said Senator Bob Bennett, who served as point man for the federal funding. ''The Clinton administration was completely supportive in saying these are America's games, we will do whatever we can to make sure they are successful. The one concern I had was whether we would get the same degree of support from the Bush administration, which we did.''

David Wallechinsky, a commentator for NBC's Olympic coverage and the author of several Olympic reference books, said that Romney played an important role in budget and public relations. But beyond that, "his involvement is greatly exaggerated." Wallechinsky also told The Huffington Post: "A lot of people could have stepped in and made it work. Not to say he did anything wrong. He did what he had to do. What he did was fine. The way he portrays it, however, is absurd ... The Olympic movement had survived two world wars, a terrorist attack, and boycotts. It could have survived a bribery scandal."

According to a Daily Kos article, Romney may have breached his contract with the Olympic Committee by not severing all ties with Bain Capital: "AP news items from the time, written by Kristen Moulton, also include specific details about ethics and anti-scandal restrictions placed on the new CEO, Mitt Romney. He would have to sever ties with all corporations that did business with the Olympics. This same AP piece is found in the archives of the Laredo Morning Times and the Hurriyet Daily News." But as the article goes on to point out, Romney remained directly or indirectly involved with a number of companies that either invested in or profited from the Olympics, including companies bought by Bain, and/or for whom Romney served on the board of directors. Companies named in the article include Staples, Gateway, Marriott, Sealy and Domino's Pizza.

According to Romney, he left Bain Capital in February of 1999 and had "no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital" thereafter. Romney has made this assertion repeatedly and it also appears on the financial disclosure Romney filed when he formally applied to run for president. If there is anything definite that we know about Romney, it is that he "left" Bain Capital in 1999 and had "absolutely nothing" to do with running the company thereafter. But according to a number of documents that Bain and its subsidiaries filed with the SEC, Romney remained in control of Bain and its subsidiaries long after he "left." Romney was named at least 39 times in SEC filings as the sole shareholder and chief executive of Bain funds used in corporate takeovers and other investment deals, according to the AP and Fox News.

Outsourcing Pioneer

Why is the year 1999 so important to Romney? Because when the Washington Post published an article headlined "Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas," the Romney campaign was caught flatfooted. The Post disclosed that Bain had invested in companies like Modus Media, Stream International, Hi-Tech Manufacturing, SMTC and Holson Burnes, that had not only shipped thousands of American jobs overseas, but had helped pioneer the practice. It seems clear that Romney does not want to be connected to such pioneering, hence the since-disproven claims that he had "absolutely nothing" to do with Bain after early 1999.

To make matters worse, Romney even invested money in a Chinese company, Global-Tech Appliances, that specializes in taking over manufacturing from American companies like Sunbeam and Revlon. Part of Romney's GTA holdings ended up in Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors LTD, a Bermuda-based corporation that lists Romney as "the sole shareholder, a director, and President." According to an AP report, Sankaty is "is among several Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed" and there is a "mystery surrounding" Sankaty. Vanity Fair noted that "investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in 'jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,' as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it." Another mystery is why Romney was using a Bermuda-based entity to invest in a Chinese firm that specialized in outsourcing American manufacturing jobs.

Bain first invested in GTA in 1998, before Romney "left" the firm in 1999, so it seems clear that Romney was deliberately investing in and profiting from outsourcing long before anyone else "took over," if that ever actually happened.

As reported by The Christian Science Monitor and Washington Post: "During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, the private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment."

A CBS Evening News report confirms that there are accusations that "Mitt Romney's companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low-wage countries." Now, if such accusations are false, all Romney and Bain have to do is provide hard evidence to the contrary. All companies with payrolls keep detailed records of hirings and firings, so why have Romney and Bain failed to provide any hard evidence of net job increases? Obviously, because there isn't any such evidence. In reality, Romney and Bain fired thousands of American workers and outsourced many other jobs to foreign countries, while Romney became one of the world's wealthiest men by sheltering most or all of his Bain wealth from taxes in offshore Bermuda and Cayman Island "IRAs."

And the claims that Romney had "no involvement" with Bain after early 1999 seem more than shaky ...

James Cox, a professor of corporate and securities law at Duke University, has pointed out that Bain’s continued reference to Romney as CEO and sole shareholder indicate that Romney remained the "final authority" and that Romney would likely have been updated regularly about Bain’s profits while negotiating his severance package. Thus, according to Cox, Romney’s insistence that he had no involvement with "any Bain Capital entity" appears "inconsistent" with his actions.

According to Stephanie Cutter, Romney was "either misrepresenting his own position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people."

According to the Boston Globe, which was able to interview Bain insiders, "Romney has said in financial disclosure statements that he 'was not involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way' after Feb. 11, 1999. But he was still legally the CEO, with numerous duties and obligations that were his alone, until early 2002. Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him, according to his former associates. Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates. 'The elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions but Mitt’s retention of control of the firm and therefore his ability to extract a huge economic benefit by delaying his giving up of that control,' said one former associate, who, like some other Romney associates, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the company."

Romney continued to refer to himself as CEO. In July 1999, five months after he had "left" Bain, he provided a blurb for a press release issued by Rehnert and Wolpow, in which he was referred to as "Bain Capital CEO W. Mitt Romney, currently on a part-time leave of absence." In the release, Romney said of departing Bain partners, "While we will miss them, we wish them well and look forward to working with them as they build their firm." So Romney obviously still considered himself a part of Bain and its future. Romney’s name continued to appear as CEO and owner on dozens of Bain fund documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission until January 2002.

So it seems Romney was truthful with the SEC, but lied repeatedly to the American people ... and is still lying, even though he's been caught red-handed.

Swimming with the Sharks

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

But as we all know, some corporations are more like cold-blooded sharks than warm-blooded human beings ... especially private equity firms like Mitt Romney's rapacious team of orca-like corporate raiders, Bain Capital.

Under Romney's direction, Bain loaded companies like GST Steel and Dade International with massive debt in order to pay Romney and other investors massive dividends, while the companies went bankrupt and their workers became jobless. Now Romney, the consummate slick pro-corporation politician, has raised large sums of campaign cash from Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley because they know he'll scratch their backs by letting them do what he did himself: profit from the elimination and outsourcing of American jobs. Romney insists that "corporations are people" and has called federal government spending to assist tornado and flood victims "simply immoral" because it increases the national budget deficit. But when has he ever called government borrowing to fund wars and Wall Street bailouts "immoral"? Romney knows where his bread is buttered, and who provides the rich cream. Like most Republican politicians these days, he seems quite happy to let the commoners go without bread, as long as his wealthy patrons and cronies can continue to have their cake and eat it too.

In his book The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy, Josh Kosman describes Bain as "notorious for its failure to plow profits back into its businesses." Bain was the first large private equity firm to derive a large percentage of its revenues from corporate dividends and other investor-gratifying distributions. Companies acquired by Bain sometimes borrowed large sums of money in order to increase their dividend payments, ultimately leading to the collapse of what had been financially stable businesses. According to Bloomberg, "Whether companies boomed or filed for bankruptcy, the Boston-based firm found profits for Romney, its other executives and investors ... Interviews with former employees and executives at Bain and companies it controlled, along with a review of Bain’s activities described in public documents and news accounts, paint a picture of an operation that wasn’t focused on expanding employment. Instead, Bain’s mission, like [that of] most private equity firms, was to generate gains for its investors."

Dade International is a good example. Dade was combined by Bain with several other companies, becoming Dade Behring. At least 1,600 employees were dismissed from 1996 to 1999, according to SEC reports. Bain and Goldman Sachs sold their Dade shares for $365.4 million, in addition to prior dividends and other distributions, before the company went bankrupt. According to Michael Rumbin, Dade's vice president of technology, "They leveraged this thing to the hilt and got out when they could. We were left holding the bag." Rumbin became one of Romney's and Bain's casualties when he too lost his job. Now we know why private equity firms are better known as "corporate raiders."

Like a reverse Robin Hood, Mitt Romney stole jobs from the poor to give dividends to the rich. Now he seems intent on sending American citizens to the poorhouse, en masse. He recently earned the sobriquet "Romney Hood" after the non-partisan Tax Policy Institute reported that Romney's tax proposals are likely to result in a net tax increase of $2,000 for middle-class wage earners while reducing the taxes of the wealthiest Americans by hundreds of thousands of dollars, each.

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's Tax Returns

Romney also derides Americans for requesting affordable healthcare out of self-interest because conservatives hate President Obama and he will win a lot of conservative votes and campaign cash by opposing Obamacare, even though it was modeled after his own Romneycare. But do we need a president who puts his interest above those of 300 million Americans? Do we want a president who cheats on his taxes, when he's richer than Midas? Do we want a president who will say anything to anyone in order to glean cash and votes?

Now, on to those troublesome tax returns ...

Joshua Green, writing in Businessweek, asked the question that's on everyone's mind: "What's Romney Hiding in His Tax Returns?" In his article, Green made the point that because Romney has released his 2010 and estimated 2011 tax returns, but won't release his 2009 return, there must be something damning in the 2009 return. But if the 2009 return was an anomaly, Romney could release his returns for the ten prior years, or at least disclose the amounts he paid in taxes each year, then explain why 2009 was the exception to the rule. So I think it is more likely that there are serious problems with many (or all) of his tax returns for years prior to 2010.

Matt Yglesias of has suggested a different 2009 scenario: that Romney may not have previously been disclosing the Swiss bank account mentioned in his 2010 return. In 2009, the IRS offered amnesty to taxpayers who had been hiding Swiss accounts: essentially, "Disclose and ante up, and we won't send you to jail." Is it possible that Romney took that deal, which might seem like the confession of a crime to the American public?

Ezra Klein, writing for The Washington Post, speculates that Romney's effective tax rate may have been so low for certain years, including 2009, that to reveal the percentages might be political suicide. My educated guess is that Klein is correct. I think, based on remarks made by "people in the know" like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that Romney's effective tax rates for the years 2009 and prior may have been closer to 0% than to his 2010 rate of 14%. Thus, Romney can't reveal his tax returns because they make him seem like a shyster. Quite probably, because he is.

Also, if Romney has sheltered half his wealth or more from income taxes, even the 14% disclosed in 2009 may be wildly overstated, since it would be based on artificially reduced base revenues. If any Romney tax return prior to 2010 showed large investments being wildly devalued to a few thousand dollars, then placed in offshore "IRAs" ... well, the jig would be up, and Romney might be in danger of huge tax liabilities, penalties and jail. From what I have gathered in my research, it seems entire Bain-owned companies may have been placed in a series of such "IRAs." If so, it would be more than just political suicide for Romney to release his returns.

This would also explain why the Romneys look and act so positively weird when the subject of tax returns is raised. Mitt's wife, Ann Romney, who has offshore accounts and a horse in the Olympics, recently told Robin Roberts imperiously, "We have given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life." She sounded like a feudal queen talking down to a bunch of serfs. Like her imperious husband, she seems to think the America public doesn't deserve full disclosure. Who the hell are we to question someone rich enough to have Swiss bank accounts, Bermuda trusts, Cayman Island IRAs, and horses in the Olympics?

Mr. "Free Stuff" Part III

In any case, it seems Mitt Romney had no compunctions about getting "free stuff" himself. Take, for example, GST Steel. Romney's company Bain Capital bought GST Steel for $75 million, but put only $8 million of its own money into the deal, borrowing the rest. Within a year, Romney and Bain had saddled GST Steel with another $125 million in debt, with $36 million of the borrowed money being paid to Romney and Bain as a dividend. So less than a year after loading the company with debt 15 times the amount they had invested, Romney and Bain gave themselves bonuses four times their investment. What tax rate did they pay on that unearned income? A measly 15 percent, thanks to the "free stuff" available to rich investors in the U.S. tax code. And at the same time Romney and Bain were pocketing $36 million in borrowed funds, they were asking Kansas City to forfeit $3 million in public money to give them tax breaks. That's even more free stuff. Furthermore, when GST Steel filed for bankruptcy and laid off 750 people, it turned out that Bain had underfunded its pension obligations to those employees. So the federal government's pension benefit guarantee corporation was stuck with a $44 million bill. Thus, Bain cost the government $44 million for the pensions, $3 million for the local tax breaks and $7 million in federal taxes. That's $54 million in "free stuff" from the government. And that was just one of Romney's and Bain's "success" stories.

"Mr. Romney’s Financial Black Hole," a July 10, 2012 editorial in the New York Times, explains why the sketchy information released by Romney to date indicates "a concerted effort to park much of his wealth in overseas tax shelters, suggesting a widespread pattern of tax avoidance unlike that of any previous [presidential] candidate."

Meanwhile, in a remarkable accusation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said, "His father, George Romney, set the precedent that people running for president would file their tax returns ... but Mitt Romney can’t do that because he’s basically paid no taxes in the prior 12 years."

How is it possible that one of American's wealthiest men paid virtually no taxes for 12 years? If Reid's statement is false, Mitt Romney could simply produce his tax returns and disprove it. But instead Romney seems to be confirming that where there is smoke there is also fire, by adamantly refusing to release any of his returns prior to 2010. As a result, even arch-conservatives like Newt Gingrich, George Will, Bill Kristol, Matthew Dowd, Haley Barbour and Michael Steele have added their voices to those of liberals who have been upbraiding Romney in public. As Will said recently, "The cost of not releasing the returns are clear, therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them." Dowd agreed, saying, "There’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it.’" Kristol called it "crazy" for Romney not to release more returns.

But perhaps he can't release his returns, without risking charges of illegal income tax evasion. Did Romney break the letter of the tax law, as well as the spirit? Has he sheltered up to $100 million of his personal fortune in offshore IRAs, as various reputable news services have suggested? If Romney protected most of his wealth from income taxes, his effective tax rate prior to 2010 may be closer to 0% than 14%, and that would explain him blinking and squirming like a fish out of water when he was asked to disclose his taxes during a Republican presidential debate. When I saw the usually-confident Romney hemming and hawing about disclosing his returns, to a chorus of boos, I knew there was something in them that he didn't want the American public to see ...

During the debate in question, Newt Gingrich pointed out that there was no rational reason to delay disclosing tax returns for prior years, and that American voters have the right to see such returns before they vote. Debate moderator John King mentioned that Mitt's father had voluntarily disclosed tax returns for 12 years, when he ran for president, pointing out that disclosing just one year's return could be seen as non-representative and/or deceptive. But it was obvious that Mitt Romney wanted people to vote before he disclosed any of his returns, and that makes no sense unless there's something in the older returns that he doesn't want American voters to see. (Multi-million dollar tax dodges, perhaps?) In any case, since 1967, presidential candidates have voluntarily disclosed multiple years of tax returns. The first to do so was George Romney. Ironically, the first since then to refuse to do so is his son, Mitt Romney.

Here's my main question: If what Romney did is on the up-and-up, why doesn't he just say, "Look, what I did was perfectly legal, but it is unfair to other American taxpayers, and we need to fix the unfair tax system and close the loopholes." But by refusing to disclose his older tax returns, he gives the strong impression that he did something wrong.

As reported by reputable news services like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Reuters, CBS News and Huffington Post, Romney may have sheltered his Bain holdings from taxes, in offshore accounts. For example, a Bermuda-based vehicle called the Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. has been described in securities filings as "a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney." Romney transferred his wife’s newly-created blind trust to Sankaty on January 1, 2003, the day before he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts. Sankaty's director and president is R. Bradford Malt, Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list Sankaty on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely-held vehicle would seemingly not qualify as an "excepted investment fund." According to what Romney aides have said the past, some of Romney's funds may have below the $1,000 in assets that would trigger disclosure requirements. But Sankaty was used in Bain's billion-dollar takeover of Domino's Pizza and other multimillion-dollar investment deals. And yet Sankaty was only made public when Romney disclosed his 2010 tax return, after being pressured to do so during the debates. Having most or much of his wealth in offshore tax shelters could easily explain Romney's fish-out-of-water act, when pressured to disclose his returns. And it's hard to imagine that the wife of a multimillionaire has under $1,000 in her trust. Who even bothers to set up overseas trusts for a few hundred dollars? Surely the American public has the right to know why a man running for president has so many offshore accounts that give every appearance of being part of a shell game to avoid U.S. income taxes. Is there any reason to create shell companies in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, other than to avoid U.S. laws and taxes?

As Nicholas Shaxson pointed out in a recent Vanity Fair article, such investments "provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, 'I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.' But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands."

To date, Romney has released a full tax filing only for 2010. Former President Bill Clinton recently told NBC's Today Show that Mitt Romney's hesitation to release more tax returns struck him as "odd," saying, "I am a little surprised he only released a year's worth of tax returns. That kind of perplexed me, because this is the first time in, I don't know, more than 30 years that anybody running for president has only done that. You know, it's typical we all release 10, 11 years; I think Senator McCain released over 20 years of tax returns." (And of course Romney's father set the precedent by voluntarily releasing 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president.)

And there is good reason to question whether Romney's "blind trusts" are really blind. For instance, one of the investments that R. Bradford Malt made with Romney's "blind" trust was to put $10 million in Solamere, a company co-founded by Romney’s son Tagg and Romney’s campaign finance chair, Spencer Zwick. The Solamere investment strongly suggests that Romney’s "blind" trust is operating under Romney's watchful eye. And if you don’t believe me, please consult an expert: in 1994, Mitt Romney explained that the "blind trust is an age old ruse!"

Mr. Infallible

I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was.—Mitt Romney

Romney is so confident that he's infallible, that he doesn't even have to know what he said to be sure that it was correct. But in reality, Romney is far from infallible. For instance, after CNN's Wolf Blitzer introduced himself by saying, "I'm Wolf Blitzer and yes, that's my real name" at the beginning of a November 2011 Republican presidential debate, the Romneybot responded:

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. Inappropriate

Who let the dogs out? Who, who?—Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney became Mitt Inappropriate during an awkward photo op with a group of African Americans kids at a Martin Luther King Day parade in January 2008.

Mr. Etch A Sketch

These and other issues will be discussed on this page. Romney has been accused of running an "Etch A Sketch" campaign, which was recently admitted by one of his campaign advisers. The plan seems to be that Romney will appear to be ultraconservative in the Republican primaries, then "shake to reset" and appeal to moderates in the general election. Since few conservatives will vote for President Obama under any circumstances, this deceptive plan may have a chance of working. But perhaps the most troubling questions about Romney are not his personal and financial ethics, or his flip-flopping and pandering for votes, or his willingness to kowtow to the wealthiest 1% of Americans while leaving the remaining 99% in the lurch. In my opinion, the most troubling questions about the Romneybot have to do with his character. The quotes below betray a disturbing lack of empathy or compassion for anyone who isn't cruising down Easy Street in a Rolls Royce ...

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.

Romney’s $101 Million Cayman Island IRA

How did Mitt Romney end up with a $101 million Cayman Island IRA? It seems Romney may have sheltered all or most of his Bain Capital wealth from taxes by putting it into an offshore "IRA" and only allowing it to be valued correctly once the appreciation was protected from taxes. If there is some other reasonable explanation for how anyone's IRA can be so huge, when contributions are limited to a few thousand dollars per year, I'd like to hear it.

I first became suspicious about Romney's finances when he started squirming like a fish out of water when asked about releasing his tax returns during a Republican presidential debate. I was sure at that moment that there was something in his tax returns that he didn't want the public to see. Ironically, Romney's father, George W. Romney, had voluntarily released his tax returns for twelve years when he became a presidential candidate in 1967.

But Mitt Romney's public squirmings told me that something was obviously wrong with his tax returns. Then later something in a Huffington Post article about his tax returns caught my eye, because a single Bain fund was valued at $5 million to $25 million, and yet it was called only "part" of his total IRA. Most IRAs are relatively small because the contributions are capped at a few thousand dollars per year. Romney's IRA seemed impossibly large, and it also seemed extremely odd that it was made up of multiple offshore Bain investments in the Cayman Islands, which are world-famous for two things: beautiful beaches and hideous tax shelters. So I began trying to determine what Romney's full IRA amounted to. Here's a Reuters report that I found on the subject ...

How did Romney's IRA grow so big?
by Lynnley Browning
Monday, January 23, 2012

In the wake of news reports last week that presidential contender Mitt Romney owns an individual retirement account worth as much as $101 million, questions are growing over how it could have gotten so big when contribution limits are capped at $5,000 or $6,000 a year.

Tax lawyers and accountants suggest an answer: Romney may have made use of an Internal Revenue Service loophole that allows investors to undervalue interests in investment partnerships when first putting them into an IRA. These assets can produce returns far in excess of those that could be generated from other investments made at the capped level.

An investor could even set an initial value for a partnership interest at zero dollars, because under tax regulations an interest in a partnership represents future income, not current value, said Chris Sanchirico, co-director of the Center for Tax Law and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Whether Romney used this technique, which is legal, when he put partnership interests into his IRA is a question that won't likely be answered when he discloses his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday.

Romney's IRA, valued at between $20.7 million and $101.6 million, as reported by The Wall Street Journal last Thursday, holds stakes in 13 investment entities run by Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he cofounded and led for 13 years.

"One possibility for its size is that he put his Bain partnership interests into the IRA and valued them at a very low number," said David Weisbach, a law professor who focuses on tax at the University of Chicago Law School.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, declined to respond to emails and calls.

In the wake of growing scrutiny of his personal wealth, Romney, one of the wealthiest contenders ever for the White House, told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that on Tuesday he would release his 2010 tax returns and estimates for his 2011 return.

The release will not provide much insight into his IRA. That is because a personal income-tax return shows IRA contributions and withdrawals only for the year of the return, and not for previous years, and does not show whether any contributions were in the form of undervalued partnership interests. While an IRA investor can sometimes be required to file a separate return for the IRA, it is unclear whether Romney intends to release any such returns.

Romney's personal financial summary, disclosed last August under federal election rules, shows that his IRA holds his most lucrative investments, which are stakes in partnerships run by Bain Capital. Those stakes include Bcip Trust Associates III, a Bain fund that is his single largest investment, with assets valued at $5,000,001 to $25,000,000. Bcip Trust Associates III produced income to Romney's IRA of over $5,000,000 over 2010 and through August 12, 2011, according to the summary.

Robert Stack, head of international tax at law firm Ivins Phillips & Barker, said it is possible that Romney's IRA grew so large not only because of an increase in the value of the funds in which it invests but also through lucrative profits, typically 20 percent of investment gains per year, that funds can generate for their general partners.

It is not known whether Romney is a general partner in the Bain funds, meaning invested in the partnership responsible for managing the funds, or simply an investor in the funds. The Romney campaign has declined to comment on this issue.

The general partners' cut of the profit, known as carried interest, is taxable each year if the funds in which the IRA is invested earn certain management fees or borrow to make their investments. Tax lawyers say they want to know whether Romney's IRA holds any carried interest and whether it has paid tax on it—something not disclosed in his personal financial summary or on a federal income tax return. "In the context of a $100 million IRA, that is what we would want to know," said David Miller, a tax lawyer at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.

The average IRA held by Americans holds $42,500, according to the Investment Company Institute, a trade group. While the Romney campaign has said that some of his IRA consists of retirement savings rolled over from previous plans, accountants say rollovers would not likely explain the size of his IRA.

"Even if he rolled over a 401k, with the annual caps on contributions, you're still only talking about a few million dollars," said Robert Green, an accountant who is founder of Green Trading, a tax and accounting firm that caters to the investment industry. Last year, individuals could contribute a maximum of $16,500 a year to their 401(k) plans.

Tax lawyers say it is also important to know whether Romney's IRA holds stakes in Bain funds directly, or through related, offshore entities.

These entities, commonly used by tax-exempt investors such as Romney's IRA, legally allow the investors to avoid having to pay a special tax, known as the unearned business income tax, or UBTI.

While the Wall Street Journal suggested on Thursday that avoidance of the special tax was a big reason for the size of Romney's IRA, some tax lawyers said that its size might simply reflect the extreme profitability of a carried interest held by the IRA. "The best guess is that he put the carried interest into the IRA," Miller said.

Romney's IRA produced income of $1.5 million to $8.5 million over 2010 and through August 12, 2011, according to his financial summary, but it is unknown what, if any, taxes the IRA may have paid on its carried interest. Saul, Romney's campaign spokeswoman, declined requests for comment.

(Reporting by Lynnley Browning; Additional reporting by Gregory Roumeliotis; Editing by Amy Stevens, Eddie Evans and Carol Bishopric)

The average American IRA is $42,500, so Romney’s seems outrageously large. His IRA produced income of $1.5 million to $8.5 million between 2010 and 2011, so it seems quite possible that it may be closer to the high end estimate of $101.6 million. Romney’s total wealth has been estimated at around $200 million. If he shielded half his money from all taxes, that would seem to drop his effective tax rate from around 14% to around 7%. And that would explain why he looked like a fish out of water when he was asked about disclosing his tax returns. In this case, I suspect that two plus two probably results in four ... as in four more years for President Barack Obama.

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 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
Mitt Romney Poems, Parodies, Songs, Jokes and Nicknames

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