Much of the nation is reeling from Superstorm Sandy. As families rebuild from Sandy’s destruction, our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific, fossil-fueled storm.
When Gov. Mitt Romney made climate change a punch line at the Republican National Convention, he mocked a real threat to the lives of Americans.
We can’t let Mitt get away with his laughing dismissal of the threat of rising seas caused by the carbon polluters who fund his campaign. Share this ad with friends and family to tell Romney: climate change isn’t a joke.
Mitt Romney’s campaign has directed $134.2 million to political firms with business ties to his senior staff, spotlighting the tightknit nature of his second presidential bid and the staggering sums being spent in this election.
Nine firms that are run by, or recently employed, top Romney aides have received almost a third of the $435.8 million that Romney’s campaign and a related fundraising committee have spent on operating expenses through Oct. 17, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of federal election finance reports.
$134.2 million steered to cronies. Contrast this with Obama:
President Obama’s reelection campaign and a joint fundraising committee have paid about $5.8 million in consulting fees to companies with business ties to senior strategists, according to the finance reports.
A Romney administration will be entirely a pay-to-play corruption racket run for insider profit. They will start where Bush left off.
Right now a company named Sensata is moving equipment out of a factory in Freeport, Ill. and shipping it to a factory in China. Sensata will be laying off all of the American workers, but first they are making the workers train their Chinese replacements. The workers’ last day is the day before our election. Here’s the thing: this company is owned by Bain Capital, and Mitt Romney — who says he is against shipping jobs to China — will make a fortune from the move to China.
The Sensata employees have set up a camp outside the factory that they call Bainport and are trying to stop the Bain trucks that are moving the equipment out for shipment to China. These soon-to-be-jobless workers have asked Romney to come help them. This is a tremendous opportunity for Mitt Romney. As the former head of Bain Capital and with all the visibility of a presidential campaign, he could step in and help these workers. It offers him the chance to demonstrate to voters that he means the things he says on the campaign trail, and is not just saying these things to get votes. But Romney has refused.
Mitt Romney says on the campaign trail that he will crack down on China and is against companies shipping jobs to China. These are very popular positions to take — the public overwhelmingly wants to see things made in America again, and understands that China’s trade cheating is costing us dearly. So a candidate for president would certainly say he is for doing this. But when it comes time to show that he will actually means it and will do something about it, it looks as though Romney is not doing it. These workers have asked for his help, but he won’t do it. Voters should know about this, and make up their own minds about whether Mitt Romney means what he says, or just says what he needs to say to win.
Bain Capital And Sensata
Mitt Romney started the “private equity” firm Bain Capital. Bain’s business model is to purchase companies using “leveraged buyouts” that borrow huge sums using the purchased company’s own assets as collateral, uses the borrowed money to immediately pay itself, then cuts costs by doing things like sending jobs to China, cutting wages and manipulating tax rules to cut taxes owed, along with standard big-business practices like consolidating business units, taking advantage of economies of scale not available to smaller competitors, squeezing distribution channels for price cuts, and other practices that bring competitive advantages. (See So DID Mitt Romney Really “Create Jobs” At Staples? and Truthout: Romney & Company Shipped Every Single Delphi UAW Job to China.) After reorganizing the purchased companies and cutting costs — namely: you — Bain then “harvests” them for profit.
One company that Bain Capital purchased — after Romney’s time as CEO — is Sensata, a sensor manufacturer that makes key components for our automobile supply chain. Sensata then announced it is closing the factory in Freeport, Ill., and sending all of the manufacturing and jobs to China. This is significant because China is engaged in an effort to capture the automobile manufacturing supply chain, and sensors are a key strategic chokepoint. China built a factory for Sensata, and offers other incentives to the company to move manufacturing there.
So Bain is currently moving all of the equipment out of the Freeport factory, preparing to shut it down and lay off all of the American workers. Bain/Sensata brought in Chinese workers and made the Freeport workers train them. Bain/Sensata is moving the equipment out of the Freeport factory and shipping it to China right now. The Sensata employees heard Romney on the campaign trail, and somehow got the idea that he opposes sending our jobs to China just because he says that he opposes sending our jobs to China. So the Sensata workers asked him to come to Freeport/Bainport and help them. Read on to learn about Romney’s response to the Sensata workers, and how Romney is actually making big money right now from shipping their jobs to China.
“The week before they came they took the American flag down outside the plant. The week after they left they put it back up.”
Romney Making A Fortune From Sensata Sending Jobs To China
While Mitt Romney no longer manages Bain Capital, he still has millions of dollars in Bain funds and will personally make a fortune from this company moving to China – both from profits and from tax breaks. (What you and I consider a fortune, Romney might consider a drop in the bucket.)
A must-read news report by Sharon LaFraniere and Mike McIntire in The New York Times explains. As Romney Repeats Trade Message, Bain Maintains China Ties (emphasis added, for emphasis),
Mr. Romney also has millions invested in a series of Bain funds that have a controlling stake in Sensata Technologies, a manufacturer of sensors and controls for vehicles, aircraft and electric motors that employs 4,000 workers in China. Since Bain took over the operation in 2006, its investment has quadrupled in value. Bain continues to own $2.6 billion worth of Sensata’s shares.
Two years ago, Sensata bought an operation that made automobile sensors in Freeport, Ill. At the first meeting with the plant’s 170 workers, Sensata managers announced that by the end of 2012 all the equipment and jobs would be relocated, mostly to Jiangsu Province. Workers have staged demonstrations, pleading for Mr. Romney to intervene on their behalf. Chinese engineers, flown to Freeport for training on the equipment, described their salaries as a pittance compared with Freeport wages. Tom Gaulrapp, who has operated machines at the factory for 33 years, said he fears he will go bankrupt after he loses his job on Nov. 5.
“This goes to show the unbelievable hypocrisy of this man,” he said of Mr. Romney. “He talks about how we need to get tough on China and stop China from taking our jobs, and then he is making money off shipping our jobs there.”
According to his recently released 2011 tax returns, Romney transferred $701,703 worth of Sensata stock to the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by Romney. The gift is listed on page 323 of the pdf, on form 8283 (below).
Moving the stock to his nonprofit brings Romney twin benefits. First, he gets to deduct the full value of the stock. At a 35 percent tax rate, that’s nearly a $250,000 benefit. At 15 percent, it’s just over $100,000.
Second, Romney is able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the stock price increase. Romney’s returns list no cost for the stock, and indicate he obtained them as part of a partnership interest in Bain. Avoiding capital gains taxes on the full increase would save an additional $100,000. In 2010, Romney gifted $170,000 worth of Sensata stock to his charity, saving $25,000 in capital gains taxes that year.
Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata worker facing an imminent layoff, said, “I could pay off my house with that [$25,000], and he doesn’t need it anyway.”
So there you have it. Mitt Romney says he opposes sending jobs to China, and says he will “crack down” on China. But he refuses to do things that he could do right now that would make an actual difference right now. And it turns out that right now he is making big money from Sensata and other companies that are sending people’s jobs to China right now. Laying off American workers – usually shipping the jobs to China – and pocketing their wages for themselves is the story of the rise of the wealth of the 1%, and the decline of the American middle class. It is the Romney/Bain/Sensata business model. And the remaining workers have to do the jobs of the laid-off workers, often for lower pay, and are threatened with losing their jobs, too, if they don’t like it.
This is an advertisement titled “Economic Traitor,” that is being aired by superPACs Workers’ Voice and Patriot Majority, based on Sensata:
From UnitedNY, if Bain Capital was your psychologist:
PATIENT (LYING DOWN on couch): I think he’s depressed. I mean, he is a good kid but he just keeps to himself. I can’t get him to talk or spend time with the family and barely does any chores.
BAIN: Have you consider outsourcing? (hold shot of PATIENT)
PATIENT (confusion) You want me to outsource my son? (TURNS HEAD towards BAIN in surprise)
CUT to Bain face
BAIN: Yes, you can find some very obedient children in China or Bangladesh, even the Philippines.
(P.S. The reason I use #Sensata in the titles is because on Twitter the “hashtag” helps get the word out.) This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary
Obama clearly won. Clearly.
Romney got of several lies that were not refuted, but several that did get refuted. After a while Romney was left just repeating his memorized script — 4 times? Am I right that it was 4 times?
I wonder, is that ALL Romney has – just lying?
I saw Van Jones on CNN holding up an Etch-a-Sketch.
FYI – Obama never said that unemployment would be 5.4% by now. Romney repeated that lie … how many time?
I just have to say again that it just blows my mind learning that Romney associates bought the company that makes the voting machines that will be used to vote and count the votes in Ohio, Colorado and other states. This is very serious, and a lot of non-tech people just don’t get it. (I had one person say to me that it doesn’t matter because computers don’t make mistakes.)
Take this seriously, people — the timing and the people involved tell us this is fishy. This isn’t radical conspiracy stuff, talk to computer professionals, many of them really worry about electronic voting machines and the reporting systems in use these days. Here are some links to stories about this. And please, please click through for links, and expanded details: Brad Friedman, who has been on the voting machines issue all along, posted About that Voting Machine Company Tied to Mitt Romney and Bain Capital…
Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a “strategic investment” to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.
… Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the “crony capitalism” of Tagg Romney, whose father’s money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.
… Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney’s close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] — and often 100% unverifiable — voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org’s database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
And while I am not suggesting conspiracies or that anyone would get involved in any foul play here, most particularly the GOP candidate for President, how is it possible that so many people could exercise so much bad judgment?
The sanctity of voting in America is supposed to be one of our most important virtues. So concerned are we with a ‘clean’ process that James O’Keefe has made a career entrapping, video taping and destroying those sympathetic to Democratic Party candidates and causes who cross the line when it comes to the voting process. And that’s just fine. If Mr. O’Keefe can legitimately expose someone engaging in voter fraud, he most certainly should call them out.
So, why would these individuals who serve on the board of directors of Hart Intercivic go out of their way to make a contribution to any political candidate given the critical importance of their company remaining above reproach when it comes to the political process? And why would those who run the company that owns Hart Intercivic be giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to a political candidate? And why would a political candidate and his family have a financial relationship with a company that owns a chunk of the voting machine company that will be counting the actual votes given to that political candidate or his opponent?
Hart InterCivic is a national provider of election voting systems that are used in swing-states Ohio and Colorado, as well as in states we don’t really care about so much because we already know how they’ll turn out (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaii). Private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, LLC bought out a “significant” portion of Hart in July of 2011, and now the majority of Hart’s board directors are employees of H.I.G. (It’s not entirely clear how much of the voting machine company H.I.G. owns, but the financial advisors responsible for the transaction state that “Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital.”)
H.I.G., in turn, has ties to Bain & Co. and Mitt Romney directly:
H.I.G. was founded by Tony Tamer, a former Bain employee and bundler for Mitt Romney’s campaign.
Of H.I.G.’s 22 American directors, 21 donated to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. …
Of these 22 American directors, seven of them (nearly one-third) are former Bain employees. …
Four of H.I.G.’s directors, Tony Tamer, John Bolduc, Douglas Berman, and Brian D. Schwartz, are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.
Two of H.I.G.’s managing directors, Douglas F. Berman and Brian D. Schwartz, were present at the $50,000 per plate fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his notorious ”47%” comments.
H.I.G. employees currently make up the majority of the Hart InterCivic’s five-member board of directors. Two of these three directors of the voting machine company, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have donated directly to Mitt Romney’s campaign.
H.I.G. is the 11th largest donor to Mitt Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. employees have given $338,000 to the Romney campaign, outpacing even Bain Capital itself, which gave $268,000.
(Sidenote: Are we the only ones to notice that every single one of H.I.G.’s 22 American directors is white and male? Not related to the Mitt Romney issue, but sheesh.)
PLEASE click through. (Note there is a difference between Bain Capital and Bain&Co. The former is a spin-off from the latter. I also don’t like the term “has ties to,” that’s very Glenn-Beckian, but these are strong and real ties. Also they give the appearance of a problem whether they are actually a problem or not — major supporters of a candidate buying the voting and counting machines that will decide if that candidate wins… and this hurts the public’s — to use Romney’s economy word — confidence.)
Here is Lee Fang on The David Pakman Show:
We have to insist that there is sufficient random checking of the paper records in the machines against what the machines report, and of precinct results against what gets reported, esp in Ohio. (Of course it is better if every precinct is checked against reporting, but that is a big job that will be hard to get.) And seriously, if a single precinct result is different from what is reported, we have a potential tampering problem and should demand that all precincts are checked against what is reported.
Also, if more than a few voters in a precinct are reporting that they see something different on the paper from what they thought they voted, that also indicates a potential tampering problem.
Anyway it is possible to have secure systems. We certainly knew how to do that — and knew the REASONS we had to do that — back when we all used paper ballots and ballot boxes. “Ballot stuffing” happened all the time, so they came up with checks and balances.
Now there is much more at stake, but we no longer seem to worry about these things. But obviously if you think about it, there will be even more reason to “stuff ballots” because there is so much money involved! History tells us election tampering WILL be a problem! So we should be demanding that the right checks and balances are in place to make it harder to tamper with elections, and I don’t see it happening.
Once again, back when we had paper ballots and ballot boxes people came up with all kinds of schemes to tamper with elections, and we developed more and more checks and balances to make it hard to do that. It happened all the time. History says people will always be trying to tamper with our elections. Now that we use computers we seem to have less security, fewer checks and balances at the same time as the stakes are SO much higher!
And of course, there is also the cost in people’s faith in our elections. Never mind if there actually is any tampering, etc, when people hear that Tag Romney and a bunch of Bain partners are involved in buying a voting machine company before an election in which Bain Capital’s Mitt Romney is running for chief plutocrat — and in which one strategy of his party is keeping people from voting … well just for the reason of giving people faith in the choices the voters make, we should demand that every single precinct is carefully double-checked! Barriers
There are barriers to fixing this problem. One is that this privatization of elections is a corporate effort, and they have salespeople and lobbyists wining and dining local election officials around the country, offering to “solve” their resource problems through automation. They have put serious money into selling this. There’s money in selling this hardware and maintenance contracts.
The technology is not complex, but securing the results and making them transparent is resource-intensive. Actually checking those paper rolls in those machines that at least have them means people sitting there and checking and comparing from each machine. And then checking the reported precinct results against the actual precinct counts is also a major effort. The whole idea of the machines was to save money. And double-checking to be sure thecomputers did it right and were not tampered with costs money.
But here is the biggest barrier: if you try to say anything about this, this is what happens — typical elite hatred of the citizens and their concerns: https://twitter.com/chucktodd/status/260027262877974528
Ohio’s very Republican Secretary of State is John Husted, currently suing in the US Supreme Court to prevent the public from voting on the weekend prior to election day. As did Blackwell and Governor Robert Taft in 2004, Husted and Kasich will control Ohio’s electronic vote count on election night free of meaningful public checks or balances
Hart Intercivic, on whose machines the key votes will be cast in Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, was taken over last year by H.I.G. Capital. Prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital, both connected to Mitt Romney. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. Directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers, as is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.
Let’s not forget the other part of Romney’s Libya lie.
In the debate Romney had just said Obama ignored his duties and flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser, and a minute later we find out Obama was giving an address out the tragedy in Libya from the Rose Garden – NOT Las Vegas – in which he called it an act of terror.
Prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital, both connected to Mitt Romney. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. Directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers, as is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.
Why could this matter?
US courts have consistently ruled that the software in electronic voting machines is proprietary to the manufacturer, even though individual election boards may own the actual machines. Thus there will be no vote count transparency on election night in Ohio. The tally will be conducted by Hart Intercivic and controlled by Husted and Kasich, with no public recourse or accountability. As federal testimony from the deceased Michael Connell made clear in 2008, electronically flipping an election is relatively cheap and easy to do, especially if you or your compatriots programmed the machines.
Once again, we’re reminded of the dangers of the privatization of our once-public electoral system. The company’s ties to Romney aren’t the only disturbing ones we’ve seen with similar companies over the years. The fact is, that nobody other than the public should have any sort of control of our elections. The proprietary voting systems now in use in all 50 states, whether owned by Romney associates, a George W. Bush associate (as with Diebold in 2004) or even a company tied to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (as with Sequoia Voting Systems, which blatantly lied about that tie to public officials, and the Canadian firm Dominion which purchased Sequoia and also immediately lied about the fact that Intellectual Property of their voting systems used all across the U.S. is still owned by the Venezuelan firm), continue to be a grave threat to American democracy and confidence in U.S. elections.
This is likely to be a close election. We are going to see \states reporting for one or the other candidate after possibly hundreds of thousands of people being denied the right to vote. And some counties will pull machines out of key precincts, in an attempt to cause long line — like Ohio did last time — to keep people from voting.
That is a prescription of serious problems with people accepting the election results as legitimate.
So along with those problems now we have a bunch of Wall Street types — people directly tied to Romney — controlling the voting and counting in many areas!