Mitt Romney's War on Teachers, Students and Education
by Michael R. Burch
Willard Mitt Romney has a long history of insulting and bullying
teachers and students, among other people.
Case I: Cheryl Arnett
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."
Case II: Gary Hummel
Gary Hummel, a closeted gay student at the time,
recalled that his efforts to speak out in their high school English class were punctuated by
shouting, "Atta girl!"
Case III: Carl G. Wonnberger
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
Case IV: John Lauber
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!"
This 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."
Here's what Mitt Romney said about the incident on Fox News Radio:
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.
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
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."
Here's what Amy Davidson wrote about the 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
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."
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.
Case V: Mitt Romney cynically milks the Department of Education of more
than $1 million
• "I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is
• Romney also said,
"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."
• Romney also 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's Nixonian Meltdown
Here's what Mitt Romney told fellow millionaires at a closed-door,
"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."
But the 47% of people who don't pay federal income tax includes millions of
students and teachers who work hard, but don't live in the lap of luxury like
Case VII: The Vanishing Middle Class
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.
How many teachers make $200,00 to $250,000 per year, I wonder?
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?
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
"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 probably 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
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
If Romney wants to get involved in manufacturing, he should stick to his
particular area of
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?
Case IX: Big Brother and Adult Education
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
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
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
us what we can do with our free time, in the privacy of our own homes and
Case X: Bishop Romney
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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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:
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
"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
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
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
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
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.
Case XII: Romney's Failure to Protect the Environment
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.—Mitt
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.
Case XIII: 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.
Case XIV: 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
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
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.
Case XV: 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?
Case XVI: 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
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
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
shareholder and chief executive of Bain funds used in corporate takeovers and
other investment deals, according to the AP and Fox News.
Case XVII: 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
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:
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
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.
Case XVIII: Swimming with the Sharks
Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my
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
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
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
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.