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Member since: Sat Jan 5, 2008, 08:45 PM
Number of posts: 42,986

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As a family that suffers from MS, Romneys get benefit of tens of millions of tax payer research $

Romney is definitely in the 47% of the country that are 'takers'.

Their family benefits from tens of millions of US dollars that have gone into decades of research on neuro related diseases in general and MS in particular.

Had a neighbor who suffered tremendously from MS and died young and I don't wish it on anyone.

But I am completely baffled at what kind of morally bankrupt person with a basic education of how society works could see how people suffer with MS and not become more empathetic with their plight.

The National Institute for Health invests in advancing the research and treatment of MS does that make your wife Ann Romney a Taker?


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct research in laboratories at the NIH and also support additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Scientists continue their extensive efforts to create new and better therapies for MS. One of the most promising MS research areas involves naturally occurring antiviral proteins known as interferons. Beta interferon has been shown to reduce the number of exacerbations and may slow the progression of physical disability. When attacks do occur, they tend to be shorter and less severe. In addition, there are a number of treatments under investigation that may curtail attacks or improve function. Over a dozen clinical trials testing potential therapies are underway, and additional new treatments are being devised and tested in animal models.


1) Added an aggressive form of MS to qualify for the "Compassionate Allowances Initiative" at the Social Security Administration. This initiative will allow those individuals that qualify to receive Social Security Disability Insurance quicker than the average applicant.
Established new federal funding avenues that thus far, have yielded over $20 million for MS research. In FY 2008, nearly $4 million was dedicated for MS research in a Department of Defense competitive program. MS activists then successfully advocated for a distinct funding stream that has allocated over $16 million or MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

2) Introduced legislation to allow Medicare Part D to cover off-label drugs for people living with MS.
Promoted awareness and importance of a wide range of caregiving initiatives for people living with disabilities. As part of this effort, advocated for increased funding for and reauthorization of the Lifespan Respite Program, which improves access to quality respite for family caregivers, and supported introduction of legislation o support Adult Day Achievement Centers.

Prediction: Romney campaign will face cash flow problems

Not the Super Pacs (although they may not be getting any more either) but the official Romney campaign.

First thing is Romney has a very small base of contributors and the highest percentage of maxed out contributors.

Second thing is that with debacle after debacle event only the most diehard contributors will stay, most will go to Senate campaigns.

Third Romney never really engendered diehard contributors but more fair weather friends, and the sky is very cloudy.

Finally got who Reince Priebus reminded me of, Deck Shifflet.

One of Danny Devito's scummy characters.

Could have been Owen from Throw Mamma from the train


washed up actor Martin Weir in Get Shorty

but today

Priebus is playing the ambulance chasing attorney Deck Shifflet in the Rainmaker.

You remember the shiftless, scummy attorney who spends his time handing out business cards to neighborhood kids while Matt Damon is meeting with the dying client.

Romney campaign: The President is clearly ahead: Ohio, Swing states and General Campaign

Their map has many more routes to victory,” said a top Republican official. Two officials intimately involved in the GOP campaign said Ohio leans clearly in Obama’s favor now, with a high single-digit edge, based on their internal tracking numbers of conservative groups. Romney can still win the presidency if he loses Ohio, but it’s extremely difficult.

. . .

In the end, what gives both camps the sense that Obama is better positioned, is the map of 10 states they are fighting on. Two months ago, a top Romney official said they had to have at least one or two of these states in the bag, preferably Florida, to be on course to win. They don’t.

“Our problems are Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire,” a top official said. “Our opportunities are Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado. We can’t trade our problems for our opportunities and win the presidency. If we trade our problems for our opportunities, we lose.”

Stevens said Romney remains unfazed by the hand-wringing among Republicans and staff.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/80949_Page2.html#ixzz2605NloBj

A word about the numbers behind the polls

A lot of numbers will be thrown around and while it looks very good now and PPP is tweeting that tonight will yield more good news for Obama I think that too often the focus is on the wrong numbers.

First what number is the most important? The simple "who are you going to vote for" or "who do you approve of" are not the most important. Expressions for a candidate cover the gambit of 'yeah he's ok' to 'I am 100% behind this candidate'. Negative numbers are a lot more specific; "I don't like this guy".

The President's negative numbers have remained very stagnant, right around the 44% mark. Given that there is 40% of the population that are die hard Republicans/and or racists that will never support an African American Democratic candidate it is good news that of the remaining 60% of the population only 7% of that number is against the President.

Now look at Romney's numbers in all of the national polls. He is at 44/45%. He was at 44/45% and he remains there. It is his hard ceiling. It is telling that Romney's hard ceiling is the same as Obama's negatives. What this means is that Romney has basically persuaded no one that has an open mind.

For years ago when Secretary of State Clinton entered the Democratic race she had 42% and a big lead when there were 5 candidates. When the race was over she still had 42% which of course suffered when there were only two candidates. (With a little more time both Clintons are going to find that the American public is going to have an entirely different memory and perception in 2016). Sometimes campaigns have a ceiling that just won't move.

With no affection from any sector Romney is one of those candidates. He is stuck at 45%, and those are the same 45% that don't approve of the President.

Now there is very little chance of an incumbent President's negatives going up. If you haven't found a reason to not like him in the last 4 years you will not find one during the campaign.

Romney faces a different reality. A great deal of the country knows very little about him and there are lots of reasons for people to discover a reason that they don't like himl. In fact wherever there has been a sustaine primary campaign, like Iowa, Romney's numbers all go down.

Keep your eyes on three key numbers: the President's negatives ( set at around 44/45%), Romney's highest approval (same 44/45) and Romney's negatives (highest negatives of a Presidential candidate starting a campaign, likely to go up up up).

It's the President's fault I am going to miss his speech.

A little context.

After I left the UN I wanted to see what I could do in the private sector. I started a small business in my garage. Eventually we had to move out of the garage, we had to get more room, eventually room for 440 employees. We made furniture in Thailand mostly for the European market.

They took down the damned Berlin Wall (very inconsiderate that they couldn't have waited another 24 months until I got my IPO) and Poland and the Czech Republic actually became cheaper than Asia because their currencies had collapsed. Wipeout number one.

I made appointments to see the CEO's of other factories that I knew were growing and asked the astonished owners if they could take twenty or thirty of my excellent workers (they thought I was there to ask for a VP job). All my employees got a job offer.

Returned to the US and worked as a subcontractor and hired more employees. Got wiped out a second time. Promised Mrs. grantcart I would never hire again, couldn't stand the wipe outs. So I drew a line in the sand. Just do personal production, never hire again, never again would I be a 'job creator'.

I kept my resolve for 3 years. For 3 years I weathered yet another wipeout, this one because I couldn't buy health insurance, lost yet another house, but Mrs. grantcart understands the persistent cycle of kharma was just having fun messing with our minds so just grinned and bear it, atleast I wouldn't have to worry about hiring a bunch of others and all of the problems that brings, no more job creator.

Then my little sliver of the economy got a lot better. Yes I read about other DUers who are facing hard times, have been wiped out and are near that edge that I have had my toes overhang a couple of times. I know what its like to go to the landlord and have to ask for an extra couple of weeks and to finish out the last two weeks of a month on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Everytime I read one of those threads it hits me hard.

But my business kept getting better and now I am basically able to work every day but holidays. I can only make it to DU when somebody has to cancel an appointment.

My next scheduled day off is November 12th. The reason for that is I broke down and hired a secretary. She had been on unemployment for 2 years. She couldn't afford a phone, fix her car or use the internet. The same month that I hired her she went on Social Security. She works for me about 15 hours a week and earns about $ 400 (its based on output not hours and she keeps my schedule full).

I only did it because the President's optimistic outlook is so persistent and so infectious that if you give it half a chance it will take over. And that's the reason I hired a devout Catholic 62 year old that goes to Church 4 times a week to pray for others. And that's why when she told me that this job allowed her to fulfill a dream that she gave up 40 years ago when she had a teenage pregnancy. And that's why I am paying for all of her college expenses.

Yes we can go down the list of all of the policy victories that this President has either accomplished or tried, but this country will get another huge dose of "Yes we Can" and "Yes we have in the Past" and "We can be greater" and "I don't care how many times the Republicans diss me I still like them and think that I can get them headed in the right direction" and "I am still breathing so I believe that great things can be done" Obama-isms.

It reminds me of a 25 year old guy I used to know. He went to countries like Singapore and Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand and when no one else believed that more could be done and that countries could modify a policy on refugees he got them to modify a policy, or a 32 year old guy I used to see that filled his garage with tables so that he could cut templates for some furniture.

Now I could call the appointment in Temecula tonight and postpone it so I could watch the President on the TV.

I can't.

You see the 38year old mother of 5 who just re-entered the job market that I just hired for another full time position can't wait to get started, so you see its' the President's fault that I am going to miss the speech and I blame him.

I also understand that beyond the policies this President has given this nation what it needs most, a level of optimism that is almost obnoxious if he weren't so damn sincere about it.

He's got us believing in ourselves again.

Holy S&#*, Man almighty, did you just feel that where you are?

Updated Gallup just felt it too!!!!!!

No not an earthquake.

A Great Big Post Convention Bounce is starting to rumble to the surface, Baby.

Want to make a conservative squirm explain Romney's Debt Fetish

As Matt Taibbi explains in his article in Rolling Stone or was laid out in this DU thread earlier one critical fact about Romney and this election should make everyone squirm, but especially deficit obsessed conservatives:

No one has ever run for President having created so much debt (public or private). Romney hasn't just leveraged companies he has been in love with saddling them with massive, massive debt.

This isn't debt flirtation.

This isn't debt affection.

This isn't debt fixation.

This is a full blown debt fetish.

Now do you still want to give him the check book for the United States of America?

Make copies of the Rolling Stone article hand it to them and warn them they are about to read graphic debt porn.


TAIBBI's great expose on Bain's role in KB Toys came 228 days after reported/discussed at DU.

KPETE's thread today captures the essence of a brilliant article by Taibbi in the Rolling Stone outlining how Bain Capital ruined companies by loading them with huge debt that would eventually swamp viable companies and allow Bain a second bite at selling off the parts.

KPETE's thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021223780

The real heart of Taibbi's article (IMHO) is a very specific discussion about Bain's role in KB Toys

I feel bad even asking Patnode about Romney. Big and burly, with white hair and the thick forearms of a man who's stocked a shelf or two in his lifetime, he seems to belong to an era before things like leveraged debt even existed. For 38 years, Patnode worked for a company called KB Toys in Pittsfield. He was the longest-serving employee in the company's history, opening some of the firm's first mall stores, making some of its canniest product buys ("Tamagotchi pets," he says, beaming, "and Tech-Decks, too", traveling all over the world to help build an empire that at its peak included 1,300 stores. "There were times when I worked seven days a week, 16 hours a day," he says. "I opened three stores in two months once."

Then in 2000, right before Romney gave up his ownership stake in Bain Capital, the firm targeted KB Toys. The debacle that followed serves as a prime example of the conflict between the old model of American business, built from the ground up with sweat and industry know-how, and the new globalist model, the Romney model, which uses leverage as a weapon of high-speed conquest.

In a typical private-equity fragging, Bain put up a mere $18 million to acquire KB Toys and got big banks to finance the remaining $302 million it needed. Less than a year and a half after the purchase, Bain decided to give itself a gift known as a "dividend recapitalization." The firm induced KB Toys to redeem $121 million in stock and take out more than $66 million in bank loans – $83 million of which went directly into the pockets of Bain's owners and investors, including Romney. "The dividend recap is like borrowing someone else's credit card to take out a cash advance, and then leaving them to pay it off," says Heather Slavkin Corzo, who monitors private equity takeovers as the senior legal policy adviser for the AFL-CIO.

Bain ended up earning a return of at least 370 percent on the deal, while KB Toys fell into bankruptcy, saddled with millions in debt. KB's former parent company, Big Lots, alleged in bankruptcy court that Bain's "unjustified" return on the dividend recap was actually "900 percent in a mere 16 months." Patnode, by contrast, was fired in December 2008, after almost four decades on the job. Like other employees, he didn't get a single day's severance.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829#ixzz24zAWyW9R

In the 80s I took my furniture company through the process of shopping it to venture capitalist consortium's, they included Rockefeller, Saudi and other big name groups. Typically they would combine 10 deep pockets, each putting in 25 million, then they would look at 100 companies, nominate about 10 for the second round and end up picking about 1 to invest in and keep going until there capital was committed

So I was not immediately biased that what Bain was doing was evil, I wanted to see for myself. So I had 3 days where I didn't have to work and I got a list of Bain investments and started going through them one by one. In some of the cases it seemed pretty clear that the companies were on the way out anyway.

And then I came to KB Toys. The reason that it stood out is that had already gone through a restructuring once and was profitable, award winning, had a social conscience. It was the perfect company for an ethical venture capitalist to invest in and get it to the next level.

Bain bought it, took out their cash, saddled it with debt and destroyed the company. I did a lot of original source checking and laid out the facts point after point on January 14, 2012.

Here is the thread http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511407

I detail the particular history of KB Toys and why it was the perfect example of Vulture Capitalism and here was my conclusion

Bain engineered a private equity purchase of a profitable company that had already gone through 'creative destruction' eliminating unprofitable legacy operations and saddled the company with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt. The company was not just profitable but an example of the kind of companies that demonstrate a wider social conscious for its customers and the larger community. Sixteen months after purchasing the company with only 6% cash of the value Bain takes out dividends at over 400% of their investment. Significantly this was done during the time of the attacks on 9/11 when the country as a whole was undergoing a heightened sense of patriotism, sacrifice and social duty. Less than 2 years after saddling KB Toys with massive debt and taking out astronomical dividends, K-B Toys faces Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closes 354 previously profitable stores.

Vultures take meat that is already dead and complete the final loop in the cycle of life.

Bain took a company that had already been restructured and was surging in profits and cash. There was never any interest by Bain to restructure KB Toys, that had already been done.

Bain purchased KB Toys simply to raid its cash, and they did so during a time when the rest of the country was undergoing a period of reviewing the founding principles of the country.

To call what Bain did to KB Toys as 'Vulture' Capitalism is an insult to Vultures.

They were pirates and this is why there is so much interest to change the subject and not let the real facts of Bain Capital come to the surface during the Republican Primary.

It matches what Taibbis wrote point by point but preceded it by 228 days.

Compare it to what Taibbi wrote and you can see that the essential facts were well discussed at DU 228 days before RS published Taibbi's elegantly written and well researched article containing essentially the same points.

A few days ago a social welfare manager did a similar point by point dissecting of the lies of the Romney campaign about what is happening on welfare.

Its the kind of thing that happens at DU alot. Not just ahead of the curve, way ahead of the curve. Those who do this for a living would be well advised to comb DUs threads carefully because there is a lot of gold in these forums, sometimes its weeks ahead and sometimes months ahead but the most compelling reason to be a regularly reader of DU is that it is a community that has a tremendous resource of people whose experience and passion result in a regular production of valuable data, opinion and discussion.

"See I told you (with a deep and piercing glare to her husband)".

In my work I explain benefits to federal employees. A large percentage are in the border security/law enforcement field.

At one point I give a detailed explanation of how their 401k has functioned under Bush and under Obama. The results are presented completely apolitically but I use reference points based on the beginning and ending of administrations.

No need for commentary, the facts scream out, Bush cost them a lot, Obama has made them a lot.

It isn't unusual for the presentation to move into a little light hearted discussion and I can tell if they were voting Republican or Democratic before. A lot more of these guys voted Democratic last time and will again than you might expect.

Over the last year I have done 350 of these one on one sessions with the employee and their spouse.

Last night another very pleasant couple, obviously good parents, very relaxed personalities. He was a law enforcement officer and she worked in the private sector.

She was a lot more reserved than the normal occasion. It was a Border Patrol agent and this month three border patrol agents have died in work related accidents. In Yuma two died earlier in the year when they were killed by a train. Normally the wives are delighted to see me, as I explain their benefits to them, and how they can increase them, because they really have no idea.

I have a couple of jokes that always work well and one of them is "and then on TV the most frightening thing appeared that you will ever see in your life, a white guy in a suit with a piece of paper". You would be surprised at how Hispanics, African Americans and even most white guys laugh when they hear the delivered completely straight by a white guy holding a piece of paper.

You can see the relief in their faces and sometimes their eyes well up a little because they have been repressing some real fear and anxiety.

Last night the wife was engaged but somehow distant. No reaction to the insurance info, or the retirement.

When I showed the graph that showed how they lost so much under Bush and how they had gained so much under Obama the wife leaned forward and said "See I told you (with a deep and piercing glare to her husband)" and she reinforced it with a strong poke to his ribs.

I made a joke and he laughed, she laughed, they actually were very sweet people.

Now here is the point.

She was pissed about what the Republicans are doing and her husband probably voted Republican last time. I think she was distant in the beginning because she couldn't tell if I was a good ole boy or if I was straight with the facts.

I am telling you there is an intensity to the feelings that educated middle class women have about what is going on. They are not backing down, they are not going quietly. This was a church going somewhat traditional Catholic family with a law enforcement officer husband. It was the perfect demographic for the Republicans, but she was angry. This is the kind of anger I haven't seen anytime in the past few years, and she wasn't the first. This is the kind of "you better listen to what I am saying if you want any warm food between now and the election" kind of anger.

We had a very nice conversation after that and as I unloaded more and more facts the husband took it well, "I really didn't know that".

The long ride from Yuma to El Centro was quietly fulfilling as I remembered the intensity of her "See I told you" and his sheepish acceptance that in the past that he had been led astray by some white guy on TV in a suit with a piece of paper.
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