Did Romney “Bain” the UK?

By: hawkgrrrl
July 31, 2012

Last night I had a dream about my wallet.  The external coin purse on my wallet has a zip closure, and in the dream, the zipper was broken in both directions, and I had no way to keep the coins inside.  And there were so many coins.  They were spilling everywhere, and I realized I was going to have to leave them behind because I had no way to carry them and use them in my broken wallet.  This is a dream about lost opportunity.  In dream language the coins represent opportunities.  The wallet represents my own financial or professional identity.  While this dream is relevant to myself and my own feelings at this time, as I watched the “Romneyshambles” news coming from the UK, I felt a twinge of empathy at his lost opportunity.

What went wrong?

For those who missed what happened, Romney made at least 3 missteps with the UK:

  • Before he even went he talked about the importance of the Anglo-Saxon ties between our countries.  What’s wrong with that? It sounded to some like he was pandering to racist sentiments in the multi-cultural UK.
  • He openly mentioned a briefing he had with Sir John Sawers, the Secret Intelligence Service chief.  What’s wrong with that? For him to imply he already has access (as a candidate, not POTUS) to MI6 intelligence briefings is either their misstep or his.  Pointing out an ally’s indiscretion is itself indiscreet.
  • He criticized the security of the Olympics.  Specifically he said he saw “disconcerting” signs of security gaps, and said it was “hard to know just how well it will turn out” at the London games. What’s wrong with that? Hoo boy!  What’s right with that?

What the heck was he thinking?  Why would he lose this opportunity to shine with arguably one of the easiest global allies we have? In many ways, the UK views the US as its offspring; it is fond of us, proud of us, wishes us well, but Mother England certainly doesn’t need us to lecture it, criticize it, embarrass her with our boorish manners, or share table talk with strangers.  Why then would Romney’s approach be to imply a connection based on something superficial, boast about his ties to bolster his credibility, criticize how things are done and point out threats that he, the expert, understands based on his own personal experience?

I just watched two episodes of a show called House of Lies, a show about a small consulting firm run by Don Cheadle who points out throughout each episode the tricks they use to win, influence, and retain clients.  Additionally, in my own line of business, I have worked with consultants on many occasions, so I’ve seen many of these tactics.  Typically, a consultant is brought in when an area of the business (or all of it sometimes) is failing in some aspect; they provide expert advice and oversee the proces of implementing changes to create solvency.  But from the perspective of someone on the inside of the company, it’s also a vote of “no confidence” in the internal team on some level.  It’s also not possible for the consulting team to provide valuable input without assistance from the internal team, so we often say a consultant is someone who asks you for your watch, tells you what time it is, then keeps your watch.  One of the most effective tactics a consultant can use is to create fear by pointing out threats (even making them up or exaggerating them) and then coming in as the hero to eliminate those “threats.”

Was Romney applying his Bain skills in a diplomatic situation?  Simply put, diplomats are not consultants.

In the situation Romney faced in London, there was no need to sell himself or pitch his “business” to them.  Britons are not voters in our election.  Unlike his trip to Israel which is likely to influence Jewish voters in the US, it’s unlikely that pleasing Londoners will result in a wave of Episcopal support for Romney.  The value of Romney to the UK is purely if he’s elected as POTUS.  If not, he will be footnoted and forgotten.  In this situation, there was no need to oversell or even to sell at all.  The UK is already our strongest ally.  As Jerry Maguire would say:  “You had me at hello.” Everything after the hello really only had the power to reduce his cachet, not increase it.  Is Romney’s impulse to share his expertise too strong?  If so, he needs to learn quickly to keep his mouth shut. It’s irritating and arrogant to give unsolicited advice to a foreign ally, especially since, as David Cameron rightly observed, Romney’s Olympic experience involved creating national security in the middle of nowhere, not in the heart of a major metropolis like London.

In the movie The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger (as a cyborg) is standing over a sink removing his damaged ocular unit (eye) with an exacto knife when a custodian walks in on him and is alarmed by what he sees.  The cyborg is presented with a list of 4 options of things to say to the intruder, and he selects a very quotable (if profane) response.  In life, we all encounter situations and like the Terminator, we are presented with a set of options of what to say.   We are predisposed to choose the option that feels right.  Sometimes we choose the wrong option.

Sometimes we don’t even have the right option available.  The options we consider occur to us based on our life experiences.  We can’t say or do what never occurs to us.  If the right things aren’t occurring to us, we need external input and more experience so that those “right” options come to us when we need them.

No candidate for any job is a slam dunk on every skill.  While diplomacy is a pretty big miss for POTUS, so is the economy and ability to understand business and create jobs in a recession (skills that IMO Obama has failed to demonstrate).  If Romney wants to be a successful president, he will need to choose a VP who is a rock star on diplomacy because Obama is perceived fairly well on the world stage.

As usual, we are facing an election with two deeply flawed candidates.  While I’m ready for a change, I’m not thrilled about the trade-off implied between our nation’s economic recovery and our diplomatic relationships.  Will Romney be worse on the foreign stage than Bush?  Probably not.  But I wouldn’t put that on a campaign poster.


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52 Responses to Did Romney “Bain” the UK?

  1. Hedgehog on July 31, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    Yeah! It didn’t go down well. From what I’ve seen the present incumbent is more popular.
    What I made of his first mistake – he sounded just like a Utah visitor at church gushing about their British (but Anglo-Saxon) ancestors, which we hear a lot, and starts to grate… With that comment he was probably just being too US Mormon in Britain :-) . A big mistake not recognising just how multi-cultural the country actually is.
    I get that MI6 might want to talk to him, get his measure, but I would hardly imagine that they ‘briefed’ him.
    Criticising the Olympics was way out of line, and didn’t endear him to anyone here.

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  2. Kiley on July 31, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    He also looks very culturally out of touch now too. He doesn’t know who the Beatles are? Who McCartney is? He had this minor misstep after the opening ceremonies:

    Any hope that the former Massachusetts governor would recover from such missteps was shattered after the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, when he blasted former Beatle Paul McCartney for not being prepared to sing “Hey Jude.”

    “He did not seem ready to sing that song, which was certainly disconcerting,” Romney said. “Maybe he should have gone with a song that he had done before.”

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/07/mitt-romneys-olympic-trouble-continue.html#ixzz22CwX9nLB

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  3. Kiley on July 31, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    OOOps… Sorry. That “news” article was satire. (It felt so like Romney that I totally bought it.)

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  4. Andrew S on July 31, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Is there a political equivalent to Poe’s law, where one can’t be sure if a political news article is satire or real because…well, reality is stranger than fiction?

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  5. Dan on July 31, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    don’t forget how easily he dissed his wife’s horse!


    “Well,” Romney replied. “It’s — a big — exciting experience for my wife and — and for the person that she’s worked with, the trainer of the horse who’s riding the horse. And — obviously, it’s fun to be part of the Olympics in any way you can be part of them.”

    Williams followed up: “When is the event, and for those of us who don’t follow the sport, what happens? Are there rounds that — of competition? Is there just one chance? What happens?”

    Romney pleaded ignorance. “I have to tell you. This is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not — be — watching — the event. I hope — her horse does well.”


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  6. John Roberts on July 31, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    One random internet comment postulated regarding Romney’s performance in Great Britain that, from the perspective of the far right, “this is a feature, not a bug.”

    We need a President who will not bow to foreign leaders. (Not necessarily my opinion.)
    We need a President who will bluntly speak America’s truth to our allies. (Not necessarily my opinion.)
    We need our enemies, and our allies, to understand that if you are not with us, you are against us. (Not necessarily my opinion.)
    We need a President who will show that America can go it alone. (Not necessarily my opinion.)
    The time for diplomacy is over. (Not necessarily my opinion.)

    Mr. Romney’s own book is titled, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness”.

    If you don’t believe this is what the far right is looking for in a President:
    Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate

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  7. JimD on July 31, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Could be worse.

    At least Romney hasn’t gone to Afghanistan, tried to persuade the Karzi government to quit working with the White House until after Inauguration Day, and leaned on field commanders to disregard their orders from Washington.


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  8. Bonnie on July 31, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I closed my eyes in pain when I first read of Romney’s unfortunate misstep. It was so familiar. When I was 20 and nearly finished with my undergrad work in English, I was approached by a member of the Church who wanted someone to proof his correspondence for his business. He asked me to do a sample, and gave me a poorly-worded letter. With all my English teacher fervor, I corrected it with a red pen and handed the bloodied thing back to him. Shocker, but I didn’t get the job. I’ve often thought how hurtful our proffered skills in one arena are when misdirected in another.

    I don’t think this is fatal – he seems an intelligent man who can learn from his mistakes and I’m irritated beyond description by the American public’s tendency to generalize over trivialities instead of investigating substance. Still, sometimes one false step is crucial. I just feel for him, having once or twice misunderstood what my role in a situation was. Despite the fact that I didn’t vote for him, I still sometimes feel that way about Obama as well. But then, they knew that the job entailed this sort of scrutiny before they applied.

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  9. John Roberts on July 31, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    “By any reasonable standard, Romney’s trip has been successful. Yet press coverage has been unrelentingly negative.”


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  10. Last Lemming on July 31, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Did Romney “Bain” the UK?

    The short answer is no. When business people want to make a deal, they do not badmouth their counterparts or talk publicly about secret negotiations. A more interesting question is: Did he “Nephi” the Palestinians?

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  11. Hedgehog on July 31, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    The humorous bit was when he said he could see the Olympic park from the ‘backside’ of Downing St. Doesn’t have quite the same meaning here I fear.

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  12. Jettboy on July 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    There were no gaffes. There were only statements that the left hated. Anyone read blogs and news from the right would see his words and actions are considered a complete success. He did good by ditching leftist pander speech. Be honest; hoe many who are calling out these so called gaffes were going to vote for him anyway?

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  13. Will on July 31, 2012 at 2:45 PM


    Romney made a huge blunder. All he had to do was say how impressed he was with the volunteer effort or some comment to that effect and voice any concerns he had about security with those that could actually do something about it, such as the Prime Minister. With this said, the security holes have been widely published in the UK, so what he said shouldn’t be a surprise. Even though, keep your mouth shut.

    Romney’s blunder is nothing in comparison to the total, absolute destruction of the U.S. economy started by Bush and doubled down by Obama. Since Obama has taken office we have acquired 5 trillion in new debt, lost our AAA rating, set records on the number of people on food stamps and have the highest unemployment since the 1930′s. Most troubling is largest loss of wealth by the middle class by any president ever. Finally, adding yet another entitlement program that will make it impossible to ever balance our budget and will ultimately lead to our economic demise.

    All told, I would take a stupid comment oversees to the total destruction of the U.S economy anyday.

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  14. hawkgrrrl on July 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Get ready for the apocalypse. I’m in total agreement with Will!

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  15. Bob on August 1, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    Get ready for the 2nd Coming of Obama, Romney is a dead-man-walking.
    The # employed is also at an all time high under Obama__we are just bigger.

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  16. John Roberts on August 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    And in other news, it’s Mormon vs. Mormon as Harry Reid makes admittedly baseless accusations against Mitt Romney.


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  17. Will on August 1, 2012 at 2:45 PM


    With all due respect, we are talking about the percentage of unemployed, not the total number. When you add to the 8.2 percent unemployment rate the people that have given up looking for work the rate is more like 18 percent unemployment. Add to this the people that are underemployed and/or have taken cuts is pay, the economy is in a dismal state.

    Romney is right about one thing and that is we are fighting for the soul of America. The rights of free people pursuing their individual dreams vs a statist government. This collective ideology has never worked. Not once in recorded history. Not with Friedrich Engel, Marx, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro or any other collectivist. Never. Lucifer has been pushing it since the war in heaven; and, he is using the same tactics of jealousy and envy.

    This collectivist push is also what took down the Nephites as documented in Helaman 5:2. And yes, it is evil to expect someone else to take care of you.

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  18. Bob on August 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    @18: Will,
    In all due respect__you stated “unemloyment” only . You never used %. But let’s just drop this from the discussion.
    I understand the arguments of individuals vs States, and think they are good and fair to made. We (You/me) just see it with different eyes.

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  19. MH on August 1, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Careful Will,

    The Collectivist Brigham Young succeeded with the United Order until the federal government enforced capitalism upon the Mormons in Utah to simultaneously quash polygamy.

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  20. Will on August 1, 2012 at 4:35 PM


    Thank goodness for the Feds at the time.

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  21. Hawkgrrrl on August 1, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Amen, Will! Did I just say that?!

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  22. Bob on August 2, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    #21: Will,
    Utah was #3 State in the US receiving FDR money in the Great Depression. All of my family and my wife’s family were saved during this time by FRD, not the Mormon Church of which they were strong members.

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  23. Bob on August 2, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    I believe it was BY who could not wait to bring the Railroad (and Capitalism) to Utah.
    The United Order failed in Utah, Calitalism raped Utah, (i.e. mining, etc.)

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  24. Will on August 2, 2012 at 8:52 AM


    The free market economy is closely tied to free agency; they are one in the same. God has given us our free agency as he realizes it is the only way in this telestial sphere we can become like him – it is his purpose to elevate the individual in this life, which in turn will elevate the family, community or state – he wants to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. It was Lucifer that wanted to control everyone.

    The law of concentration can only work with celestial beings. It cannot work with telestial or terrestrial beings as they are selfish and greedy – either economically or politically. The reality is most of the collectivist leaders are greedy, power hungry, thugs. They are in it for the power. Thy are not trying to help the poor as much as they are trying to control the poor, or in the case of Obama, buy their vote.

    The reason Joseph and Brigham’s attempts at communal living failed is because the people were not ready. Conversely, it worked for Enoch as the people were ready. There were “no poor among them”. This verse has little to do with their bank accounts and much more to do with their spirits. They had spirits rich in virtue, hard work and service to others.

    In order to thrive in a telestial sphere, you need a system like the United States of 1950-1990, you need free market capitalism. It works. Conversely, militant collectivists have translated into hundreds of millions of deaths; and peaceful collectivists now in power in Europe (for a long time) and in the United States will bankrupt their respective populations. Trading votes for power is a horrible way to build a constituency.

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  25. Will on August 2, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    “Calitalism raped Utah, (i.e. mining, etc.)”

    To me it brought a lot of jobs. Thousands still feed thier families due to mining, don’t they?

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  26. MH on August 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Will, if you REALLY want to understand United Order (which is not the same as Consecration), please read Leonard Arrington’s “Great Basin Kingdom”. You are making inaccurate statements again because you don’t know the history. I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say, according to your characterization, then I guess that Brigham Young’s people were celestial beings because United Order worked.

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  27. Will on August 2, 2012 at 11:24 AM


    Admittedly, I don’t understand the difference between the United Order and the Law of Consecration as well as someone like you who is heavily involved in history. I do, however, know what works and what does not. I have run large and small businesses.

    For a small group of people that had been booted out of their homes and went through the trials and hardships of making it across the plains to an isolated and desolate place, a communal effort was probably a necessity. They needed each other and needed to work together just to survive. There is no question in my mind; Brigham Young was the right man for the job and for the time. What that man accomplished is simply amazing and he clearly deserves the current distinction and Statue in Washington D.C. marking him as one of the 50 most influential people in American History – non Mormons agreed and made this happen. No question he earned that distinction and Statue.

    With that said and with the complexities of the Modern U.S. economy, it simply cannot be centrally managed. For a society of this size, or even a 1/5 this size, collectivism and centralized planning simply do not work. Period. For a small Scandinavian nation with a population akin to Utah, it might work, but not for anything more robust than that. Obama’s push to collectivism will make things worse, not better; and, the people that will be most hurt will be those that depend on the very social programs he is pushing.

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  28. Bob on August 2, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    #28: Will,
    “…the complexities of the Modern U.S. economy, it simply cannot be centrally managed___China is.
    About 400,000 used the Oregon Trail, maybe 20,000 Mormons used wagon(?)(a 1,000 miles shorter). No certeral planning in Oregon like the Mormons tried and failed at in Utah.
    Many a Mormon worked himself to death trying to work the Church’s way. It’s unfair to say the were not ready__because they were. It was a failing in Church leadership__not just members.

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  29. MH on August 2, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Will, you’re right–the complexities of the current U.S. economy can’t be centrally managed. However, what we have is crony capitalism, and that isn’t exactly a celestial law. Brigham was firmly against capitalism, because it was not the CELESTIAL economy. I doubt U.S. style capitalism is the model that heaven uses in God’s economy. In fact, I doubt that money is used at all. Maybe that’s part of the reason why Brigham went to the barter system for things like tithing and fast offerings. It sure doesn’t look like the economy of today, because it was never intended to. There were no poor among them, but there were no RICH among them either. That’s the downside to the City of Enoch-there are no rich.

    Bob, China has largely abandoned central planning in favor of free-market principles.

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  30. Will on August 2, 2012 at 3:36 PM


    Wow. China. Really? This is what you are using as a successful working model of collectivism? You mean the Communist country that killed over a hundred million of its own people. Not a hundred. Not a million. Over one hundred million people were killed by Mao Tse-tung, the collectivist leader of China until 1973. It was the only thing that was planned centrally that was successful, if you want to think of it as a success.

    As MH properly pointed out, China has moved away from the economic centrally planned model and this is why they are thriving economically. From one who knows, it is easier to get permission to build in China that it is in California. This is not an hyperbole or an exaggeration, but a hard cold fact. It is no surpise as China (and Russia) move away from centralized planning they thrive and as the US moves towards centralized planning they are collapsing economically. Go figure. What a perfect illustration of my point.

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  31. Bob on August 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    The China’s Olympics were centerly planned. China’s Dam project was centerly planned. China’s building of a million people city in one step, is centeral planning. Birth Control is…
    Don’t confuse Hong Knog or Taiwan with Mainland China.

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  32. Hedgehog on August 3, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Well, I hadn’t been intending to join in this conversation (the whole US paranoia about socialism has always seemed bizarre to me, particularly amongst LDS, with the history of the United Order. I have heard the whole choice/force, God/Satan argument, and it isn’t something I want to get into now).
    The point I did want to make pertains to Will’s comment:
    “Wow. China. Really? This is what you are using as a successful working model of collectivism? ….. It was the only thing that was planned centrally that was successful, if you want to think of it as a success.”

    For me the ‘success’ of communism in China, in Russia etc, (for all the many, many failings in administration, in personal greed and ambition of leaders etc.) was the bringing of an education to the masses. Skills of reading and writing most would not have had under the previous feudal systems it replaced. Sure, in many ways it may have been brutal, but the feudal systems were no better, and often worse IMO.

    As far as capitalism goes, I take the view that the corporations/businesses have become too powerful, have become the ‘feudal lords’ if you will. That the pay of those running the corporations outstrips that of those working at ground level by such an enormous margin is a problem that should not be ignored, because those at the bottom are very much starting to feel like the ‘peasants’ working to enrich the ‘lord of the manor’. Social responsibility appears to have flown out of the window. It is a pity Mitt doesn’t take the same view on pay as his father.

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  33. hawkgrrrl on August 3, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    “It is a pity Mitt doesn’t take the same view on pay as his father.” Your comment is baffling. In what possible way do you see Mitt and George Romney’s views on pay diverging?

    I take your point about feudal lords, but the issue I see is that the government is no less greedy and corrupt than are the large corporations.

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  34. Will on August 3, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    Hawk had it right and per point is best illustrated mt Milton Freidman about greed


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  35. Bob on August 3, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    #35: Will,
    For the record, I fully agree with this Milton Freidman clip. But what he leaves out___ is the massive Colateral Damage of Capitalism. Other systems try to avoid this__but not Capitalism.

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  36. Hedgehog on August 4, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Hawkgrrrl: “ “It is a pity Mitt doesn’t take the same view on pay as his father.” Your comment is baffling. In what possible way do you see Mitt and George Romney’s views on pay diverging?”
    I was simply referring to George having refused an excessive bonus saying ‘no-one needs that much money’, whilst Mitt is very much a part of the big bonus culture. Leastways, that’s what I read in various US newspapers, leading up to the nomination. Months ago now, so I can’t remember what I read where, and if I got it wrong I apologise, but it seemed pretty clear, and fairly well known….

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  37. Hedgehog on August 4, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Hawkgrrrl: “I take your point about feudal lords, but the issue I see is that the government is no less greedy and corrupt than are the large corporations.”
    Sure, but nominally at least, we have some say in what the government do. And it applies to all governments to some extent or other, and I don’t think think the Right are any less likely to have this problem, more so when big business gets involved perhaps…

    Bob: “But what he leaves out___ is the massive Colateral Damage of Capitalism. Other systems try to avoid this__but not Capitalism.”
    I think an in depth comparison of China and India would be interesting. Many in India get no or little education even now.

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  38. Jake on August 4, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I loved the fact that he forgot the name of the leader of the opposition in a meeting calling Ed milliband ‘mr leader’ through the whole meeting. This is shocking as he is Romney’s political equal.

    And this is before we get into the debacle that was his Israeli fund raising dinner. I mean invoking divine providence and cultural superiority for israels economic prosperity is never a good move. Especially when Palestine is economically suffering due to occupation by Israel.

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  39. Bob on August 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    “Students from Shanghai’s schools outperformed those from 65 countries/regions, according to report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which has tested high-school students since 2000. Shanghai students were followed by Korea (#2), Finland (#3), Hong Kong (#4), and Canada (#5). U.S. students ranked #24″.
    [ The Economist online “An International Report Card” Dec. 7, 2010, OECD PISA 2009]

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  40. Bob on August 4, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Today, Chinese youth (15-24 years) have a 99% literacy rate.
    [Unicef, 2004-2008 data ]

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  41. Glass Ceiling on August 5, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    France, the size of Texas, has seven parties. They have some problems, admittedly; but at least they have real choices.

    How ridiculous would it be for a professor of any kind to ask an essay-style test question, and then at the end say, “answer a) yes or b) no?” Or for a father to tell his 18-year old daughter, “You may marry Jim or Bob. Those are your choices. ”

    We are living out George Washington’s prophecy of parties killing the nation. And we are too hypnotized and bewildered to even give it the consideration it is due.

    We are more polarized than we were right before the Civil War, supposedly. We are split in half. We have two nations within one. We tolerate each other, and hardly communicate. And therefore nothing gets done for decades. So, we end up sinking our teeth into petty, useless crap…particularly in an election year. And we are all looking for our own version on The Lord Himself for President. Good luck.

    And gaffes either put chinks in our armor or confirm how right we are about the other party’s guy. Of late, we may as well be debating what tie Romney wore in London. “Was it sufficient, classwise? I mean, did it jive with the people? Or was it too expensive? What the hell was he thinking, the idiot? ”

    My opinion? We are screwed. We are screwed until we understand that we need more than a third party. We need at least five.

    But how do we get there? I have no idea. But talking about it as much as we do gay chicken would be a start. Then talking about it some more. It also wouldn’t hurt for us to act as if the worst has already happened …the economy has gone over the cliff and martial law has hit. If we acted like we no longer had so much to lose by REALLY getting involved, REALLY committing …then maybe we would find some answers before whole Port-O-Let goes up in flames.

    Til then we are arguing the difference between which way we wanna get screwed. From big government or corporate theft. No President can change human nature or change which way the wind blows, regulations or not. A million new SEC laws will only make smarter villians when our cultural heroes are villians and moral relativity reigns. Isn’t that obvious?

    But after all that. Romney has my vote. I don’t think he is as bad as he is being portrayed. At least he has some experience and a good resume.
    (Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wanna ignore Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, etc.)

    Still, if I had a real choice, I’d like to think there is someone out there who resembles the socialist libertarian I am. I’m not holding my breath. Besides, there’s that pesky Pride Cycle to deal with.

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  42. Glass Ceiling on August 5, 2012 at 1:03 AM


    My comment about regulations could be right or wrong. Or both. All I know is that the battle between good and evil is bigger than law. And maybe that is why we are where we are. Maybe evil is giving good a run for its money in the US. And maybe that also has something to do with party politics…or the existence of parties at all.

    And the complications parties cause us. For instance, how many “good wars” have we fought since WWII? Hard to answer. Just like, to what extent was the sub-prime mortgage industry good for anyone…particularly considering the aftermath?

    Whatever can be said of any of that, one thing is sure: comeuppances suck.

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  43. Hedgehog on August 5, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Thanks for the figures Bob. China beat Britain hands down too. We now have a ‘global schools’ initiative here, where links are being forged between schools in China (and other countries)and schools here, with the aim of learning from eachother.
    India leaves my mind boggling, a captalist democracy, but riven with corruption at so many levels, and with such apalling poverty and inequality that those at the bottom can hardly be described as free in any meaningful way. Historically both have had to deal with British colonial interference to some degree, and India were later in getting rid (Hong Kong aside)…

    Glass ceiling, Europe does pretty well out of coalition governments on the whole, certainly seems to reign in the extremes. I certainly like the choice on the ballot papers here.

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  44. Glass Ceiling on August 5, 2012 at 4:30 PM


    Where are you? Are you in America?

    Wherever you are, your last sentence in your last one is intriguing. Could you expand on it?

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  45. Hedgehog on August 5, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Glass ceiling, I’m in Britain, and a true ‘floating voter’ (as we say here).
    The ballot papers here: I go to vote and I see names and (parties) standing for election, that in some cases I’ve never heard of before (they can’t have been campaigning in my neighbourhood). It varies with type of election too. Definitely more choice than the 3 main parties.
    In a local election there are typically candidates for the 3 main parties, and handful of independent candidates, then depending where you live, you might also have a Green party candidate, or UKIP or even EDL. Where I am, a number of independent candidates are regularly elected onto the local council, in addition to those from the 3 main parties.
    In a parliamentary election, you can get a whole host of oddballs standing (my favourite is the Monster Raving Loony Party who often get protest votes, there has been no MP yet, but there have been local councillors in some places from this party in the past). While it is the 3 main parties that get the most votes, other parties and the occasional independent candidate (standing on a single issue important to the local community) also get some seats. Scotland, Wales and Ireland have councillors and MPs from their national parties.
    Local and parliamentary elections use a first past the post system (which has drawbacks), and while there are some proportional representation systems I like, the one they offered a referendum on recently wasn’t one of them. I’m enjoying the current coalition (but they are rarer with first past the post).
    European elections follow a proportional representation system (not of a type I favour) which uses party lists, and generally involves my having to research the 2 or 3 candidates at the top of the lists of the parties that I’d consider voting for (my view is that on the whole the person is more important than the party, but also have to consider which groups the parties will be aligning with in Europe). Britain has Green, and even UKIP MEPs, in addition to those from the 3 main parties.

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  46. Hedgehog on August 5, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Ireland of cours means Northern Ireland in this context – govelling apologies to ROI.

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  47. Um on August 6, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Your system gas to be better than what ours has become.

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  48. Um on August 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM


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  49. Bob on August 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    #48:Um (and others),
    Please “ID” the systems you want me to compare to the USA.

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  50. Um on August 6, 2012 at 5:20 PM


    France before the Euro and before the predominance of he EU resembles, to me, some of the States’ many Americans yearn for. Same with Germany and Scandinavia. Granted, the US has been paying for half of their military since post – WWII. But the point still stands. It’d be nice to actually have some political choice. It’d be nice to be part of the process …instead of the grand, grand illusion of choice we have.

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  51. Um on August 6, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    “… the States rights many Americans yearn for …”

    Sorry. On a crappy phone.

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