January 2, 2008

The Mittster Mash: Oh, and One More Thing …. On Romney’s Personal Financial Disclosures, Iranian Disinvestment, and Sino-Russian Oil Companies

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:31 pm

The final verse of the Mittster Mash relates to a very important YouTube video.

What it relates to, by itself, could, and perhaps should, sink Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney’s primary candidacy. If it doesn’t, the damage it could do in the general election would be just as bad, if not worse, than that done by Ted Kennedy in 1994, when Romney was thought to be in a position to take Kennnedy’s US Senate seat, but was blown apart in the final weeks by examples of Bain’s questionable business and employee-relations practices.

The potential damage from what is in this YouTube vid and Romney’s Personal Financial Disclosure Form dwarfs anything Kennedy found.

But before I link to the video, a few points.

Yeah, I know it’s from a lefty called “DemRapidReponse.”

Yeah, I know it doesn’t do a good enough job of distinguishing between Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, and the supposed distance between them.

Yeah, I know that Romney claims that most of his assets are in a “blind trust,” and has satisfied a Massachusetts ethics body about that claim.

But, the distance from Romney to Bain and other questionable entities isn’t as far as one might think, and for being “blind,” an awful lot is pretty visible:

  • The New York Times has noted that Romney “remains an investor in Bain Capital.” Romney’s web site does not, and his bio there would leave a typical reader with the impression that he is currently not involved with Bain in any way.
  • The Personal Financial Disclosure form filled out by Romney in August (accessible here; ultimate file is a 40-plus page PDF) confirms that Mitt Romney has substantial ownership interests in various Bain entities.
  • The amount of those interests may be understated or obscured because the Form’s preparers appear to have failed to follow some of the specific instructions for completing the Form. I won’t go into the details of that right now, but suffice it to say that a reader will likely come away from the Disclosure form estimating a valuation of ownership interests that could be as much as tens of millions of dollars lower than it really is.
  • Even beyond Bain, the Disclosure Form reveals that Romney and/or his family also have likely-substantial investments in the Russian and Chinese entities mentioned in the video.
  • (Not noted in video) Certain of the entities Romney and Bain are involved with were implicated in the Oil for Food Scandal. Really: “There were two main types of manipulation: surcharges paid for humanitarian contracts for spare parts, trucks, medical equipment and other supplies; and kickbacks for oil contracts. Among the companies that paid illegal surcharges were South Korea’s Daewoo International and three subsidiaries of Siemens AG of Germany. On the oil side, contractors listed included Texas-based Bayoil and Coastal Corp., Russian oil giant Gazprom, and Lukoil Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of the Russian company, Lukoil.”

You will see the names of Gazprom and Lukoil in the video.

So while the video is less than perfect, it is sufficiently valid to raise questions about:

  • Romney’s sincerity about Iranian divestment, given his personal interests.
  • The complete nature of Bain’s and Romney’s Russian and Chinese investments and entanglements, especially given the state-sponsored or state-sanctioned nature of many of their companies, and the current and potential relationship between the Russian oil firms noted and President Vladimir Putin.
  • Whether a President Mitt Romney will ultimately represent this country’s interests, his own interests, those of another country or countries, or some combination of the three. Seriously.
  • Finally, whether all of this will be fatal to Romney’s general election candidacy if he somehow wins the GOP nomination.

That’s a lot of explaining for a 2:37 video. So without further ado, here goes (direct YouTube link, in case the embed doesn’t work):

(NOTE: CNOOC and Sinopec are Chinese oil companies.)

What has been covered here only scratches the surface. When all is said and done, the business dealings and entanglements of the Romneys and Bain may end up constituting the scariest thing of all about this man’s presidential candidacy.

And that’s saying something.

The Mittster Mash: What Others are Saying, and Writing

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:25 pm

This verse of The Mittster Mash scans the world for the constant variety of validly negative items about Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney (of which there is no shortage).

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John Haskins of the Parents Rights Coalition, in an e-mail release, on Romney’s lack of profamily bona fides, in part (link to the full letter, signed by nine Massachusetts and nine national pro-family leaders, is here; bolds mostly mine; Upddate — Picked up by WorldNetDaily):

A growing list of conservative leaders are circulating a strong public warning about “the conservative establishment’s aggressive cover-up of the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-gay adoption policies” of Mitt Romney while governor of Massachusetts. The letter accuses Romney’s stable of prominent “conservative” leaders, lawyers and pundits of gross malpractice, ruthless ambition and dishonesty toward voters.

It calls on principled conservatives to firmly condemn the rent-a-conservative feeding frenzy on Mitt Romney’s money and the cover-up of his actions as governor — most of which he did while pretending he was forced to either by judges or non-existent laws.

Their letter details numerous stunning aspects of Romney’s record that are known to few Americans. These include:
- boosting funding for pro-homosexuality indoctrination of schoolchildren, and refusing to order his education officials to enforce parents’ legal right to protect their own children from unwanted indoctrination about homosexuality.
- falsely claiming Massachusetts law required Catholic adoption and foster care agency to give children to homosexual couples.
- personally issuing over 180 special same-sex marriage certificates purely at his own discretion, and claiming a law forced him.
- lying about the state constitution by pretending Massachusetts judges have legal authority to create “gay marriage” and using that deception to force officials to issue marriage licenses illegally modified without the legislature’s approval and perform the ceremonies, thus fulfilling a secret 2002 campaign promise to homosexual groups.
- claiming that a law somehow “forced’ him to sign a new law subsidizing abortions at $50 each with Planned Parenthood established as the fox guarding the henhouse.
- and many other actions in return for campaign promises Romney made to gay groups and the pro-abortion lobby.

“The entire record of Mitt Romney’s political career is that of a man whose Mormon background has no more influenced his zigzagging statements, positions and policies than Ted Kennedy’s or Hillary Clinton’s religion influences theirs,” said John Haskins, of the Parents’ Rights Coalition, who like the other signers from Massachusetts, regrets having voted for Romney four years ago. …..

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The Manchester Union Leader, Dec. 26, on Romney’s credibility:

THERE IS A reason Mitt Romney has not received a single newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire. It’s the same reason his poll numbers are dropping. He has not been able to convince the people of this state that he’s the conservative he says he is.

Like a lot of people in New Hampshire, we wanted to believe Romney. We gave him the benefit of the doubt. We listened very carefully to his expertly rehearsed sales pitch. But in the end he didn’t close the deal for us. Now, two weeks before the primary, the same is happening with voters.

….. How could that be? Romney has all the advantages: money, organization, geographic proximity, statesman-like hair, etc.

But he lacks something John McCain has in spades: conviction.

Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that day in and day out, never wavering, never faltering, never pandering.

Mitt Romney has not. He has spoken his lines well, but the people can sense that the words are memorized, not heartfelt.

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Green Mountain Politics, yesterday, on the “back and forth” between Romney and John McCain (NY Times article here) over who has more foreign-policy experience (or as apparently claimed by Romney, whether you even need any for the job of president):

Senator McCain has the “McCain Surge” (and more than two decades of national security experience) while Governor Romney (probably) has the Winter Olympics.

So, if likely GOP Primary voters want to elect a candidate who will ensure that the ski jump and slalom run are in absolutely tip-top condition well, they know who they should pick.

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A not very current and otherwise ridiculously partisan dKospedia entry on Romney nevertheless has some I-believe accurate info that should give Republicans who wish to grow the party bone-chilling shivers:

During the 2004 election cycle, Romney recruited more than 100 GOP legislative candidates — collectively called “Team Reform” — for the Massachusetts House and Senate, putting his name on the line. While he spent much of the 2004 election campaigning for George W Bush in New Hampshire and Michigan, he did manage to secure more than $3 million from the Republican party for his efforts to reduce the Democratic hold on the legislature. In the end, these efforts failed resoundingly. Not only did Romney’s team fail to pick up any seats, the state GOP lost two seats in the House and one in the Senate.

The lefty Romney Is A Fraud site confirms this, and notes that it happened even though George Bush’s percentage of the vote went from 32% in 2000 to 37% in 2004.

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“Candor Gap” — Just this weekend, Romney was not going to run negative campaign ads before he decided to run negative campaign ads.

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John Hawkins, in his process-of-elimination video endorsement of Fred Thompson, has this to say about Romney:

Okay, I’m kind of stumped here. What does Mitt Romney even have going for him? The hair? Is it that he “looks” presidential? I have no idea, because the guy is an unelectable flip-flopper, and didn’t Repbulicans spend all of 2004 hammering John Kerry for being a flip-flopper?

And there’s no proof that Romney loves children or puppies (see the vid; you’ll get it).

As a matter of fact, at least in terms of full-grown dogs, there’s this. Dog lovers, prepare to be outraged. This story alone should have finished the guy off.

I looked for a debunk of this story, and found none (given how it developed, I don’t see how there could be). If there is one, e-mail me about it.

The Mittster Mash (010208)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:00 pm

(To the tune of “The Monster Mash“)

This is a series of quite a few posts,
That will show why Mitt Romney and his bid should be toast.

This man is much more scary than any mere ghost.
And thus should be rejected by voters coast to coast.

We’re doin’ the Mash.
We’re doin’ the Mittster Mash.
The Mittster Mash.
It’s fueled by tons of cash.
The Mittster Mash.
Of his fitness for office we will make hash.
The Mittster Mash.
We’re doin’ the Mittster Mash.

Mittster Mash posts will go up periodically between now and late this afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s Iowa caucuses.

Posts thus far:
Jan. 1 — Romney Was Against the 2003 Bush Tax Cuts Before He Was For Them
Jan. 1 — Romney Was a Tax-Raiser in Massachusetts
Jan. 2 — Romney’s Crunch-Time Choke Game Fix on Same-Sex Marriage
Jan. 2, Noon — Romney the ‘Lifelong Hunter’
- Jan. 2, 1:30 PM — What Others are Saying, and Writing
(Coming Soon) Jan. 2, 3:30 PM — Oh, and One More Thing …. Romney’s Current Financial Entanglements (do NOT miss this!)

The Mittster Mash: Romney the ‘Lifelong Hunter’

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:54 am

Although I did touch on a gun-related matter here that came up in Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney’s interview with Meet the Press’s Tim Russert on January 16, this verse of The Mittster Mash will bring up a gem from earlier in the campaign (HT Hominid Views; bolds are mine):

Romney, self-described lifelong hunter, has hunted twice

To hear Mitt Romney talk on the campaign trail, you might think the Republican presidential candidate had a gun rack in the back of his pickup truck.

“I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life,” he said this week in Keene, N.H., to a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

Yet the former Massachusetts governor’s hunting experience is limited to two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.

….. An aide said Wednesday that Romney was not trying to mislead anyone, although he confirmed Romney had been hunting only on those occasions in his life.

Here’s a depiction of Mitt Womney hunting wabbits (HT Good to Be Blue):

RomneyElmerFudd0407

Of course, no discussion of a Mittster position or statement would be complete without equivocation and “clarification” (EyeOn08 reviewed that back in April, so I don’t have to now), or looking at how it differs now from what it was previously From the same Boston Globe link (bolds are mine):

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Pretty Weak News from the ISM on Manufacturing

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:31 am

The December report on manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management came in at 47.7%, indicating contraction, which is any reading below 50%.

It was the lowest reading of 2007, and broke a 10-month expansion streak. In fact, looking at the full history of the index, it was the lowest reading since April 2003.

Beginning in June of 2003, the ISM index showed expansion for 43 straight months, and for 53 out of the next 55. Though the sector bounced back early last year after a brief bout of contraction, it may be that manufacturing’s best run in over 40 years (yes it is or was; look at the numbers; previous related posts are here and here) is officially coming to an end.

Time to panic? Hardly. Again looking at the full history, manufacturing was in contraction mode during the last seven months of 1998 and for six months in 1996. Those were both pretty good years for the overall economy, with respective GDP growth rates of 3.7% and 4.2%. Plus, manufacturing’s share of the total economy was a bit higher 10-12 years ago.

Nevertheless, there’s no escaping the fact that manufacturing’s 12% of the economy didn’t do well in December. We’ll see what’s up with the rest of the economy when the ISM’s non-manufacturing report comes out on Friday. Since today’s ISM manufacturing report starts by noting that the economy as whole grew for the 74th straight month, I expect continued expansion in non-manufacturing (November’s reading was 54.1%).

As to Old Media reaction, I expect a 5-alarm, full-blown, non-contextualized panic. I hope I’m wrong.

Two Years after Sago, AP Reporter Claims Non-Existent ‘Lag’ in Safety

An item at the Associated Press’s “Today in History” for January 2 reads:

In 2006, a methane gas explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia, claimed the lives of 12 miners, but one miner, Randal McCloy Jr., was eventually rescued.

What is conveniently forgotten by most is that Old Media, particularly the New York Times, and quite a few chronic sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome (but I repeat myself), attempted to hijack the tragedy before the wakes for the dead miners were even held. They wanted to pin the catastrophe, totally without foundation, on the idea that the administration had created the conditions for the tragedy by starving the budget of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and by putting industry cronies who were deliberately lax in safety enforcement in charge.

The Times even tried to tie the tragedy to a natural disaster that had occurred just a few months earlier:

Just as Hurricane Katrina forced Americans to look at the face of lingering poverty and racism, this mining tragedy should focus us all on another forgotten, mistreated corner of society. The Sago mine disaster is far more than a story of cruel miscommunication. The dozen dead miners deserve to be memorialized with fresh scrutiny of the state of mine safety regulation and a resurrection of political leadership willing to look beyond Big Coal to the interests of those who risk their lives in the mines.

The claims of negligence and pervasive deteriorating safety conditions were definitively debunked at these posts:

In short, yours truly and Bevan found that coal-mine deaths and injuries had been declining significantly during the previous four years; inspection hours had shown no indications of a safety letup; and the budget for MHSA had not been slashed.

So where is coal-mine safety, and mine safety in general, two years later?

Unfortunately, if you read the report published yesterday by the Associated Press’s Tim Huber, you would think that nothing meaningful has happened:
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Couldn’t Help But Notice (010208)

This CHBN covers:
- In essence, an attempted New Deal program re-run.
- Patterico’s Dog Trainer aka LA Times year in review.
- The release of an attempted presidential assassin.
- A new Arizona employer-related immigration law that just went into effect.
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Positivity: Father and Son No Less Than Heroes During Lewis County Flooding

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Lewis County, Washington, during the flooding that occurred last month:

Posted Dec 10, 10:38 am

This week in Lewis County, there were too many heroes to count. Many people who were rescued from Monday’s surge of dirty river overflow went back out into the dangerous waters to save other people. Few will deny that each account is harrowing and inspiring. But perhaps one of the most dramatic stories took place at the start of it all, on Monday morning at Boistfort Bridge where floodwaters moved up to state Route 6 quickly and unexpectedly.

Father and son Gary and Dan Dorning were responsible for saving at least two young members of the Cook and Bornstein family, who were trapped on the roof of their unstable house near Doty, several miles past the bridge.
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The Mittster Mash: Romney’s Crunch-Time Choke Game Fix on Same-Sex Marriage

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:02 am

OVERVIEW: In this verse of The Mittster Mash, we see that Mitt Romney’s reaction to the Goodridge same-sex marriage “ruling” by the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts wasn’t merely the equivalent of an athlete choking in a key situation. It was, instead, the same as an athlete in a position to do so deliberately throwing the game.

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There’s really no substitute for reading the three well-done late-December posts by Amy at Mass Resistance on this (index, Part I, Part II, Part III).

This post will hopefully boil down her great work adequately, and accurately.

As noted in Amy’s Part II, in March 2004, in advance of the artificially created and unenforceable “deadline” created in the Goodridge same-sex marriage ruling (full text here), profamily groups and concerned citizens….

wrote to Governor Romney asking him to please:
(1) defy the Court ruling, as it is only an illegitimate opinion and there is no new law for him to enforce;
(2) issue an Executive Order barring issuance of homosexual “marriage” licenses starting May 17, 2004; and
(3) support the Bill of Address to remove the four errant Judges.

In response, they got this from Mitt Romney on April 15:
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