Mitt Romney likes to say he won't "apologize" for his success in business. But what he never says is "thank you" – to the American people – for the federal bailout of Bain & Company that made so much of his outsize wealth possible.
According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."
In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.
With his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has made fiscal stewardship the centerpiece of his campaign. A banner at MittRomney.com declared, "We have a moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in." Romney also opposed the federal bailout for Detroit automakers, famously arguing that the industry should be forced into bankruptcy. Government bailouts, he insists, are "the wrong way to go."
But the FDIC documents on the Bain deal – which were heavily redacted by the firm prior to release – show that as a wealthy businessman, Romney was willing to go to extremes to secure a federal bailout to serve his own interests. He had a lot at stake, both financially and politically. Had Bain & Company collapsed, insiders say, it would have dealt a grave setback to Bain Capital, where Romney went on to build a personal fortune valued at as much as $250 million. It would also have short-circuited his political career before it began, tagging Romney as a failed businessman unable to rescue his own firm.
"None of us wanted to see Bain be the laughingstock of the business world," recalls a longtime Romney lieutenant who asked not to be identified. "But Mitt's reputation was on the line."
When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited an Ohio coal mine this month to promote jobs in the coal industry, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down.
The Pepper Pike company that owns the Century Mine told workers that attending the Aug. 14 Romney event would be both mandatory and unpaid, a top company official said Monday morning in a West Virginia radio interview.
Clearly another example of the insidious war on coal.
[Murray Energy CFO Rob] Moore told Blomquist that managers “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” He said the company did not penalize no-shows.
Because the company’s mine had to be shut down for “safety and security” reasons during Romney’s visit, Moore confirmed workers were not paid that day. He said miners also lose pay when weather or power outages shut down the mine, and noted that federal election law doesn’t let companies pay workers to attend political events.
Moore said he didn’t see anything negative in attending Romney’s campaign appearance with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
Murray Energy, you may remember, is run by Robert Murray — a big backer of Mitt Romney who told Soledad O’Brien:
These are my employees. I care for them deeply. Barack Obama and his Democrat followers are destroying entire segments of America. … Ma’am, it has nothing to do with politics. In the Eastern Ohio where these jobs are limited, it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. Everybody there wants jobs and he’s destroying them.
The “he” in the final sentence presumably refers to Barack Obama, not any of the various people who made a pro-Romney rally mandatory and then docked everyone a day’s pay.
Ohio miners turn on Obama? I can’t imagine they’re terribly happy with Romney, either.
A cost analysis of the technologies needed to transport materials into the stratosphere to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting Earth and therefore reduce the effects of global climate change has shown that they are both feasible and affordable.
Published August 31, 2012, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, the study has shown that the basic technology currently exists and could be assembled and implemented in a number of different forms for less than USD $5 billion a year.
Put into context, the cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions is currently estimated to be between 0.2 and 2.5 per cent of GDP in the year 2030, which is equivalent to roughly USD $200 to $2000 billion.
Solar radiation management (SRM) looks to induce the effects similar to those observed after volcanic eruptions; however, the authors state that it is not a preferred strategy and that such a claim could only be made after the thorough investigation of the implications, risks and costs associated with these issues.
The authors caution that reducing incident sunlight does nothing at all to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, nor the resulting increase in the acid content of the oceans. They note that other research has shown that the effects of solar radiation management are not uniform, and would cause different temperature and precipitation changes in different countries.
Co-author of the study, Professor Jay Apt, said: "As economists are beginning to explore the role of several types of geoengineering, it is important that a cost analysis of SRM is carried out. The basic feasibility of SRM with current technology is still being disputed and some political scientists and policy makers are concerned about unilateral action."
In the study, the researchers, from Aurora Flight Sciences, Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University, performed an engineering cost analysis on six systems capable of delivering 1-5 million metric tonnes of material to altitudes of 18-30 km: existing aircraft, a new airplane designed to perform at altitudes up to 30 km, a new hybrid airship, rockets, guns and suspended pipes carrying gas or slurry to inject the particles into the atmosphere.
Based on existing research into solar radiation management, the researchers performed their cost analyses for systems that could deliver around one million tonnes of aerosols each year at an altitude between 18 and 25 km and between a latitude range of 30°N and 30°S.
The study concluded that using aircraft is easily within the current capabilities of aerospace engineering, manufacturing and operations. The development of new, specialized aircraft appeared to be the cheapest option, with costs of around $1 to $2 billion a year; existing aircraft would be more expensive as they are not optimized for high altitudes and would need considerable and expensive modifications to do so.
Guns and rockets appeared to be capable of delivering materials at high altitudes but the costs associated with these are much higher than those of airplanes and airships due to their lack of reusability.
Although completely theoretical at this point in time, a large gas pipe, rising to 20 km in the sky and suspended by helium-filled floating platforms, would offer the lowest recurring cost-per-kilogram of particles delivered but the costs of research into the materials required, the development of the pipe and the testing to ensure safety, would be high; the whole system carries a large uncertainty.
Professor Apt continued: "We hope our study will help other scientists looking at more novel methods for dispersing particles and help them to explore methods with increased efficiency and reduced environmental risk."
The researchers make it clear that they have not sought to address the science of aerosols in the stratosphere, nor issues of risk, effectiveness or governance that will add to the costs of solar radiation management geoengineering.
Thinking folks who listened to Paul Ryan’s speech last night may feel as though they are stuck inside a bottle, screaming louder and louder and still not being heard. Ryan’s big lies keep resonating with the public. We keep saying that if that public only heard the truth, they would turn against him and Mitt Romney. If only it were so easy.
Of course—as is now well-documented—Ryan’s distortions about everything from the auto plant to Medicare are fundamental and horrendous. But we all should have learned by now that people understand the facts, or what is alleged to be factual, in a way that will conform to their pre-existing worldview. So the odds of convincing any significant number of voters who believe the Ryan-Romney myths that those myths are false are pretty slim. This is a divided electorate with virtually no undecided voters remaining. Passion, not logic, will determine the victor. Turnout will decide the election. Hence, the Ryan-Romney strategy is to show no doubt, raise the decibel level, and keep pounding. Facts, as they have admitted, will not be the guiding force in their campaign.
Paul Ryan’s bleating about a credit downgrade that resulted from his own party’s obstinacy about the debt ceiling is no better than Tea Party seniors on Medicare screaming: “Get government out of my Medicare.” But this hypocrisy won’t change, and we should stop expecting it to.
We have a binary choice ahead of us: a theologically driven Republican ticket that denies science, reason, logic, and fact, or a president who was too willing to negotiate for no gain, but at least is now fighting the fight. So while we will never stop trying to convert the probably unconvertible, let’s make sure we focus on getting those on our side of the aisle to take the election seriously and turn out to vote.
In Brief: Why the Entire RNC and the GOP Campaign Don't Deserve Coverage Anymore:
One quote from a pollster for Mitt Romney on why they're going to keep running ads saying that Obama is gutting work requirements for welfare, an assertion that is a demonstrable lie: "Fact checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." And even though Romney himself has cited fact checkers when they have said Obama is not telling the truth, the pollster said that fact checkers have "jumped the shark."
And, so, fuck Paul Ryan's speech last night. He went out and told so manylies that, if you were actually a Christian who believed in things like the Bible, you'd pretty much have to declare him "the Antichrist."
So, since facts don't matter to the Romney campaign, what they say is irrelevant and unworthy of anything that approaches analysis or even mild consideration. To do so would mean that you have to contemplate the ideas of someone whose plans include riding unicorns and demanding that Bigfoot be captured.
The black CNN camerawoman at the center of a racist assault at the Republican National Convention spoke out for the first time today to provide new details about the incident she says wasn't all that surprising.
"This is Florida, and I'm from the Deep South," she told the blog. "You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don't think I should do."
According to Carroll, no one at the convention bothered to identify the culprits before they were tossed out, but one delegation head told her they were alternates.
Carroll says that, while she herself won't be granting any additional interviews, she hopes her ordeal will serve as a "wake-up call" to black people. "People were living in euphoria for a while," she said. "People think we're gone further than we have."
This post isn’t about that. It’s about lies and the lying liars who tell them.
I spent a large part of the Bush years contending, at first almost alone, against the conventional wisdom that, even if you didn’t like his policies, Bush was a bluff, honest guy. In truth he was deeply dishonest — and all it took to see that was a look at his economic proposals and how he sold them. It was partly because I had reached a judgment on economics that I was able to see the very similar pattern in the selling of the Iraq war, and conclude — really really almost alone, at least in the pages of major newspapers — that we were being misled into invading another country.
Why did Bush have this reputation for honesty? Because he seemed like a nice, gregarious guy, and because most pundits don’t do actual policy analysis. And boy, did I get savagely and personally attacked for pointing out the obvious. It really wasn’t until Katrina that the obvious went mainstream.
The Paul Ryan affair has felt very similar. Once again you had an obvious flim-flam man — obvious, that is, if you actually looked hard at his proposals. But for quite a while the Beltway, once again demonstrating its unfounded faith in the power of up-close-and-personal impressions, didn’t want to hear it. I’ve heard that the usual suspects were very angry at me for questioning his bona fides.
It’s starting to look, however, as if the life cycle of the Ryan myth is proving a lot shorter than the Bush version. Even people who were fanatical Bush defenders and Krugman-haters seem to have had enough of Ryan’s shtick, thanks to the most dishonest convention speech ever.
And I think this matters. Ryan’s true constituency isn’t the Tea Party, it’s the commentariat; strip him of his unjustified reputation as an honest policy wonk, and he’s just another mean-spirited ideologue. Indeed, his character may itself become an election issue.