The Watering Hole: Saturday, September 1, 2012, The Real Romney

By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock (or, if you are among the more affluent, inside a cave), you’ve heard some kind of story about how Mitt Romney turned a private equity firm around and saved lots of jobs. But what you probably haven’t heard so much about is how he did it, and how he lied about it later. If you knew, you wouldn’t be so quick to want him to run our country the way he ran Bain. You see, Mitt didn’t really “save” the company by building revenue and new sources of income. No. In fact, his attempt to save Bain & Company was a disaster, and the only way Mitt “saved” the company and made himself the quarter-billionaire he is today is “by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back.” And if that wasn’t bad enough, his oft-told story about how he rescued Bain & Company has been proven, thanks to Rolling Stone reporters Tim Dickinson and Matt Taibbi, to be a lie. And just before his big speech at the RNC self-love-fest convention, Romney’s campaign told another lie about how he saved Bain & Company and made it profitable in a year.

It’s a fascinating, if long, story that sheds some light on how the world of high finance works, or doesn’t, depending on your perspective, by which I mean whether or not you are the one making the money or paying it. Romney’s basic strategy was to buy a struggling company, borrow hugely against the company’s assets, pay himself and his partners millions of dollars in consulting fees, then leave the company to twist in the wind under a mountain of debt, with many of them declaring bankruptcy, but not after Romney and his friends made a profit. Some people applaud this kind of Capitalism, but I feel there ought to be laws against it and protections for the people whose company is being bought. Perhaps the biggest lie Romney and his backers tell is that he was some kind of job creator who turned struggling companies around. But creating jobs was never the goal of taking over those companies. It was to make money for himself and his partners. As Matt Taibbi explains, “If you invest in a Bain or a Carlyle or a KKR takeover deal, you’re not betting on the future success of whatever company they took over. You’re betting on the ability of those firms to make money on the deal, which may – or, just as importantly, may not – involve turning the target company around.”

We do not need to have people like this in charge of the whole system, and choosing who will regulate the banks and financial institutions of our country. We need people we can trust to do the right thing, which is what Public Service is supposed to be about. It’s not about having a chance to change the rules to benefit you and your friends, though many have gone to Washington with just that goal in mind. It’s about serving your country, which includes all of its citizens, not just the top one percent in income. I would take the job, but an atheist like me could never get elected in this God-loving country. Maybe you or your children can do better (assuming the country is still around when your children are old enough to become president.)

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]


151 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Saturday, September 1, 2012, The Real Romney

  1. Today is going to be a busy day. I’ve got F1 qualifying at Spa, on at the same time as UP with Chris, Danica racing all day, between Nationwide practice, qualifying and tonight’s race, plus her Cup practice (she’s qualified 23rd for tomorrow night’s race, not too shabby!), Indycar practice and qualifying, the Nationwide race at 6pm, Auburn plays Clemson at 6pm, Alabama plays Michigan at 7pm, Doctor Who’s new episode is on BBC America, at 8pm, so I really need for TVPC to work so I can watch it when the Brits do!
    I just hope I can have time to feed myself and the tomcat!

  2. It is a weird time of year. The birds don’t sing starting about 45 minutes before first light anymore and they won’t for a long time here. Nighthawks may or may not have peaked

    • Well, that was to the best of his recollection, dontcha know. He’s probably been telling that lie ever since 1990, usually to coeds. But if you’re going to lie about something in a presidential race you should at least come up with something plausible.

      • ” But if you’re going to lie about something in a presidential race you should at least come up with something plausible.”

        Or at least not verifiable.

  3. We happened to watch, last night, Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ and were once again impressed with Marlon (as the very strange Col. Walter Kurtz) Brando’s recitation of T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poetic masterpiece, The Hollow Men. As I listened to Brando’s sensitive and poignant reading, my mind’s eye flashed instantly to Tampa, to the Republican Convention, and I was stunned by the obvious fact that 87 years ago, Eliot somehow managed to sum up 2012’s GOP. It’s a longish poem, but here are a few poignant excerpts that should serve to demonstrate the notion that Eliot had somehow ‘met’ Romney, Ryan, and the rest of the GOoPers way back when. He had the nightmare and wrote it down, and now here we all are, living it.

    We Are The Hollow Men”

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
    Remember us — if at all — not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men.

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow

    For Thine is the Kingdom

    Between the conception
    And the creation
    Between the emotion
    And the response
    Falls the Shadow

    Life is very long

    Between the desire
    And the spasm
    Between the potency
    And the existence
    Between the essence
    And the descent
    Falls the Shadow
    For Thine is the Kingdom …

    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  4. Obama truly is the Welfare President, as in the General Welfare mentioned in the Preamble to the US Constitution. Republicans are the ‘Wealthfare Party’, as in the Grover Norquist pledge.

    • It’s odd that at the the same time we’ve turned into a super Christian nation meanness has flourished and helping the needy is something only communists do.

  5. A television program called “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” got better ratings than the RNC.

    What the hell is Honey Boo Boo?
    On second thought, I don’t want the answer.

    Kill your television.

  6. The RNC’s set design was loosely based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Prairie style.” A possible reason why:

    “Ayn Rand based the architect-hero character in The Fountainhead on Wright. Howard Roark soon became the poster boy for Rand’s Objectivist philosophical system. (Rand idolized Wright and tried to connect with him while writing the book, only to have Wright resist. The two became friends after the book’s publication in 1943, however.) … When Ryan stands in front of that stage accepting the VP nomination with an homage to the ultimate Randian hero looming over his shoulder, the associations might be too hard to ignore.”

    • There was another visual: The debt clock was prominently displayed over the Republican slogan “We Built It” — Was this convention surreal or what?

      • Hi, Marie. Always good to see you at The Zoo. Actually, I thought that happened to, but as someone here pointed out, that picture was a fake. The sentiment was true, but the reality wasn’t.

  7. The US Attorney in Phoenix says that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is in the clear, and of course they dumped it at 5 PM on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

      • Maybe, but…ten federal lawsuits have been filed against Maricopa County by the targets of government corruption probes by Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and the county has spent $3.2 million to litigate and settle those. Some cases are still outstanding, including one case that will probably settle for over $1 million. The citizenry must like wasting millions of dollars.

          • Maybe he will, maybe he won’t… He’s up for re-election again this year, and I am ever hopeful that people will vote him out this time. But then again… it is Arizona.

          • It’s possible — there are still other cases of discrimination, and others, yet, on appeal — but the higher justices are mostly GOP appointees.

    • The conclusion in the paper was that they didn’t have enough evidence or there was an “insurmountable burden of proof” — reminds me of what Tom Cruise’s character in “A Few Good Men” said: “It doesn’t matter what I believe, it only matters what I can prove!”

  8. Two worlds circling two stars that are circling each other

    Coming less than a year after the announcement of the first circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b, NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered multiple transiting planets orbiting two suns for the first time. This system, known as a circumbinary planetary system, is 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

    This discovery proves that more than one planet can form and persist in the stressful realm of a binary star and demonstrates the diversity of planetary systems in our galaxy.

      • The whole damned bunch of them aren’t worth a day-old doughnut. The worst part, as was so vividly portrayed by the fact free convention, is that they know their worshipers simply ignore anyone who points out that they are lying.

        Thanks to a rain out of the Twins game yesterday I caught a few minutes of a local Reichradio host who completely absolved the GOoPers for their lying with a lame “well, sometimes it’s hard to check all the facts in a speech because they are such busy people and getting something a bit wrong doesn’t really matter” or some such BS. It was hard to even be sure what he was really claiming because it was so divorced from reality that i lacked a frame of reference. Meanwhile, the trolls at the local paper are going with “all the fact checkers are Marxist fascists who cower in fear when real American patriots speak”.

        Of course, the real reason they don’t care is because anything that makes the black guy in the White House sound more scary is, by default, “the truth”.

        • I couldn’t believe my ears on BMaher’s show when Ron Christie said: “Who’s gonna check the fact checkers?” Honestly, that man is as disgusting as D’souza. Maher kept saying how hard it was for him to have a discussion with Republicans because they wont’ even agree on the facts of what they are arguing about.

          So true.

        • That is hilarious. 😆

          I could tell by the way he was speaking that his viewpoint on the world is much different than those of us who live in reality. He wants something to be true (i.e. Obama is enraged), so he bends his world and his thinking so that he can make it “true.”

          He seems different from so many others like him, in that he seems to actually BELIEVE his shit is true.

          • How does the guy have any credibility at all — Maher let him make a fool of himself — something no one else in the news has done since the book was released.

  9. Doctor Who airs at 19:20pm, London time, subtract five hours for eastern time, six for central. That should be 1:20pm here, and 11:20am pacific. Two of the TVPC BBC Ones are working for me just now, the second and third on the list.

    • I doubt I’ll get a reply from Paul himself, but I wouldn;t be surprised if he adoring fans try to rip me a new one. of course, all I’m doing is asking a simple question. I’m not attacking him personally in any way, but the right wing equates attacking what a person says with attacking the person himself. probably because that’s how they would do it.

      • “So, you ran one marathon in your life, finished at just over 4 hours, and somehow you remember that being 2 hours 50-something?”

        Remember, Ryan is by everyone’s account, the GOP’s “numbers guy.”

  10. House is today your birthday – or is it just around the corner?
    (I’m embarrassed to write I keep forgetting. I know it’s in September)

  11. Oh btw, Penn State lost their football opener to 15-point underdog Ohio University (not Ohio State), 24-14.

    • I passed by that game at halftime. The announcers seemed to think Penn State had that game well in hand. They led 14-3 at the half. Ohio scored 21 unanswered in the second half.

    • Is this a joke or has KKK come out as an atheist?

      …are there any atheists left in the Republican party, besides Karl Rove?

      • I nearly forgot that. I remember getting mad that Rubio was using that… this is the very foundation of Noblesse Oblige…and the Kennedy’s used it as a basis for making life better for everyone and here was this Republican trying to use it to deny basic health care to a great number of people.

    • Really liked this from the Iran coverage:

      For friends who know English, if you understand what this guy said, let me know too.” (The Atlantic)

    • I’m of a similar mind. Part of me wonders if he is a doddering oldster worried about kids on his lawn or if he has been watching Colbert. A third choice is he is so pro Willard that he was willing to spend 12 minutes behaving very strangely so no one would notice what the Weeble said in his acceptance speech. I’m thinking it is between Door #2 and #3.

  12. Here are some cool little prequel videos for this Doctor Who season.

    There are five of them, so just put “pond life” in the search thingy.

  13. A must-read. “The Legitimate Children of Rape”

    “Writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Felicia H. Stewart and Dr. James Trussell have estimated that there are twenty-five thousand rape-related pregnancies each year in the United States. While these numbers make up only a small part of this country’s annual three million unwanted pregnancies, the numbers are still extremely high…”

    • Akin needs to have that entire article read to him (he’ll never read it himself).
      Let this sink into his pea-sized brain:

      Rape is a permanent damage; it leaves not scars, but open wounds. As one woman I saw said, “You can abort the child, but not the experience.”

      And the very sad account of the Mother who wants to love the child however is reminded of the rape by just looking at her daughter. (truly heart wrenching)

  14. “I know what you’re thinking. “Did he really talk to an imaginary president or to a candidate?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a Republican Convention, the most powerful clown show in the world, and would blow your campaign clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

    • Sorry Wayne but the whole Democratic control of Congress is a pure fantasy, even for the technical 4 months. With Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu and a couple of other blue dogs, it never happened.

      • An even better argument why it’s bullshit for anyone to claim Obama had control of Congress (apart from the technicality that he didn’t control the other branches) for two years.

        And if Harry Reid doesn’t grow any balls, the Republicans will continue to use the filibuster to unprecedented obstructionist lengths.

        • Sometimes, in retrospect. I wish the Dems had allowed the Repubs to enact the nuclear option on the filibuster…tell me why Harry Reid doesn’t threaten that stuff?

    • Wayne, I think many of us know that, but I saved this article for future reference when speaking to one who believes that journalists actually investigate news — thanks, it’s a good summary.

  15. Bain Capital, the company co-founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is reportedly among several private equity firms being investigated by the New York attorney general.

    According to a story published on Saturday on the New York Times’ website, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) sent subpoenas to six firms in recent weeks to determine whether they improperly managed to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from their tax bills.

  16. Alabama 21 – Michigan 0 still in the first quarter

    Starting Quarterback for Michigan, injures throwing shoulder tackling on interception return.

    • I can’t decide if Romney is trying to be the Father from Father knows best or Biff from Back to the Future – before Marty goes back to the Future.

  17. Ale to the chief: White House releases beer recipe

    Beer lovers, the secret is out.
    The White House has made public the recipe for two homemade beers that have become an object of fascination for beer drinkers everywhere

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