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Intro: "While it's true that all politicians play games with the facts, it is actually rare for a politician to be an inveterate liar. But Mitt Romney is one of that rare breed on matters both big and small."

Mitt Romney. (photo: AP)
Mitt Romney. (photo: AP)



Mitt Romney Lies to the World

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

10 October 12

 

hile it's true that all politicians play games with the facts, it is actually rare for a politician to be an inveterate liar. But Mitt Romney is one of that rare breed on matters both big and small. And with some polls showing his surge toward victory on Nov. 6, his dishonesty may soon become an issue for the entire world.

Romney's foreign policy speech on Monday was another example of his tendency to lie on minor stuff as well as weighty issues. For instance, he claimed that President Barack Obama "has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years" though Obama secured passage of agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and signed them in October 2011.

Romney apologists suggest that the Republican presidential nominee was hanging his truthiness on the word "new" since negotiations on the agreements began late in George W. Bush's presidency. But the work was completed by Obama and he pushed the deals through Congress despite resistance from some of his own supporters in labor unions.

So, by any normal use of the English language, Obama had signed new trade agreements, but Romney simply stated the opposite.

Romney also accused Obama of staying "silent" in the face of street protests in Iran over the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. But Obama wasn't "silent." He did speak out, with his comments becoming increasingly harsh as more images of violence emerged.

"The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days," the President said on June 23, 2009. He added that he strongly condemned "these unjust actions."

If Romney wished to criticize Obama for not condemning Iran in even stronger terms or for not using his harshest language immediately that might be one thing, but to say, the President was "silent" is just a lie.

More broadly, Romney's depiction of U.S. foreign policy as weak and feckless under Obama is almost the inverse from the truth. For instance, Obama helped organize an international military force to wage war in Libya, enabling rebels to overthrow longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, but Romney acts as if that never happened.

Instead, Romney lays every foreign policy problem at Obama's door and credits others with every accomplishment, including the killings of Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders.

On that topic, Romney said: "America can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the killing of Osama bin Laden." But Romney gives no credit to Obama for ordering these strikes and taking criticism from many on the Left for his aggressive use of drone attacks.

The Palestine Flip-Flop

Another jaw-dropping example of Romney's dishonesty was his sudden embrace of negotiations leading to a Palestinian state after he was recorded in his infamous "47 percent speech" last May as deeming such talks hopeless.

"I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way," Romney told a group of wealthy donors. "The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."

As for what the U.S. policy would be in a Romney administration, he said, "we kick the ball down the field."

However, on Monday, Romney declared: "I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel."

And again, all the blame for the impasse is placed on Obama: "On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew."

And then, there's the traditional hypocrisy that you get from both parties but most notably from the Republicans, preaching the value of liberty and democracy but advocating ever closer ties with the oppressive monarchies of the Persian Gulf.

Romney declared about Obama's approach to the Arab Spring that "the greater tragedy of it all is that we are missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East - friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists, and evil tyrants, and angry mobs who seek to harm us."

However, Romney then added, "I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf."

Neocon Revival

Besides the lies and misrepresentations in the speech, there were some genuine policy differences expressed by the Republican presidential nominee. For instance, he vowed to expand the U.S. military and to deploy it more aggressively around the globe.

Romney also repeated his pledge to yoke U.S. foreign policy to Israel's desires. "The world must never see any daylight between our two nations," he said.

And Romney renewed his belligerence against Russia, which he had previously deemed "without question, our No. 1 geopolitical foe." In his speech on Monday, Romney said, "I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin."

Despite the Depression-level economic crisis gripping Europe, Romney also announced that he "will call on our NATO allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2 percent of their GDP to security spending. Today, only 3 of the 28 NATO nations meet this benchmark."

One might regard Romney's neoconservative revival as delusional in a variety of ways – further driving the United States toward bankruptcy even as U.S. interventionism in the Muslim world would surely make matters worse – but it is Romney's reliance on systematic lying that perhaps should be more troubling to American voters.

Romney has long been known as a serial flip-flopper who changes positions to fit the political season, but his pervasive mendacity has been a concern since the Republican primaries when his GOP rivals complained about him misrepresenting their positions and reinventing his own. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Mitt Romney: Professional Liar."]

That pattern has continued into the general election campaign, with Romney telling extraordinary whoppers on the campaign trail and even during last Wednesday's presidential debate, such as when he claimed his health-care plan covered people with pre-existing conditions when it doesn't. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Mitt Romney as Eddie Haskell."]

Strategic Lying

One reason that I criticized Romney's debate performance – though many other Americans, including many Democrats, disagreed with my assessment – was that I felt his lying and his squirrely behavior were more important than Obama's sluggishness. Telling lies while waving your arms shouldn't trump telling the truth in a moderate tone.

Indeed, as a journalist, I simply cannot abide politicians who lie systematically, who don't just trim the truth once in a while but make falsehoods a strategic part of their politics and policies.

When I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a reporter for the Associated Press, the nation had just emerged from the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. To reassure the country that the government could be honest, President Jimmy Carter promised never to lie to the American people.

But then came the Reagan administration with its concept of "perception management," i.e., the manipulation of the public's fears and prejudices for the purpose of lining up the people behind new foreign adventures. A chief "public diplomacy" goal of the administration was to cure the American people of "the Vietnam Syndrome."

Thus, minor threats, like peasant uprisings in Central America, were portrayed as part of a grand Soviet strategy to invade the United States through Texas. The strength of the Soviet Union was itself exaggerated to justify a massive U.S. military build-up. Today's neocons cut their teeth of such distortions and lies.

Post 9/11, with George W. Bush in the White House, this neocon strategy of fear-mongering led the United States into the debacle of the Iraq War (in pursuit of imaginary weapons of mass destruction).

Now, less than a year after U.S. military forces left Iraq - and with a withdrawal from Afghanistan finally underway - the latest polls suggest that the American voters are shifting toward the election of another neocon President who promises more soaring rhetoric about U.S. "exceptionalism" and more interventionism abroad.

It's almost as if many Americans like being lied to.



Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

 

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+25 # AMLLLLL 2012-10-10 06:58
So did Romney learn to lie repeatedly from his sons or did his sons learn it from him?...
 
 
+21 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-10 07:01
Mitt Romney is demonstrating daily, in as many ways humanly possible why a person whose claim to political office lays in his business world experience. As with any person applying for a job, the one-term governor, needs to demonstrate how their experience directly qualifies him for the new job.
Romney made his fortune by lying, if needed, to obtain the leverage needed so that whatever the end result of the Bain investment, Bain and Romney would risk almost no money, the principals of target company also made out well. But the company itself that Bain took over, who cares? This is not the experience that he claims; but even that is not the most disturbing thing about Mitt Romney's qualifications to be President.
What I am reading is either a total disregard of facts because either he did not do the research or equally bad, its a calculation of which lies he can "sell" as truth, or the sheer audacity of the disregard for the truth is so out of the realm of normalcy, that many people believe the accusations of lies are the actual lies.
 
 
+31 # LeeBlack 2012-10-10 07:20
The idea that the U.S. will expand the military and 'deploy more aggressively' is terrifying. The same with his falling into lock step with Israel. No person and no country is perfect.
 
 
+51 # Billy Bob 2012-10-10 07:24
The reason Twit is SUCH a liar (even by political standards) is that he's been given a pass by the corporate media and right-wingers - ANYTHING it takes to get President Obama out of the White House.

Remember, THEY "OWN" THIS COUNTRY - and don't you ever forget it!

They want Obama out for a reason. That's why it bothers me to listen to "left-wingers" who also want him out "since it doesn't matter". CLEARLY the right knows something about the difference that many on the left are ignoring.

I'm terrified of the apparent stupidity of many of my compatriots.

When you buy a car from a sleazy salesman with a sleazy reputation, don't be surprised when you find out it's a lemon.
 
 
+22 # Independentgal 2012-10-10 09:35
Great post! And the apparent stupidity of so many is shocking. I'm particularly upset with those I know who are very intelligent people but have somehow been persuaded by Fox (I know, if they are intelligent, why listen to Fox) that Obama is a socialist.
 
 
+12 # BradFromSalem 2012-10-10 11:31
IndependentGal,

If possible when a Rightie claims that Obama is a Socialist, I respond "Ï wish!".

I have known a few people that I thought were intelligent based on that silly rubric of their professional standing in the world. There is no correlation, stupid people are amongst us and most try to hide their stupidity by calling themselves Republicans because none of the Republicans party is based on anything intelligent. As a sidenote, there are smart Republicans; usually they really want to disavow themselves of wack jobs currently in the Republican tent.
 
 
+20 # mdhome 2012-10-10 08:28
The fact that there are so many low information voters is rather scarey. To learn the facts is certainly not hard, why do so many accept what faux noise tells them as gospel when they tell so many falsehoods.
 
 
+15 # Buddha 2012-10-10 08:35
Again, the blame has to go to the ignorant American voter. In this information age, there simply is no excuse for being successfully lied to so transparently. And if we as voters do not punish liars, and indeed reward them with clear surges in the polls after a performance like Mittens pulled in Debate Number 1, then how can we be surprised that politicians who have a platform that isn't going to be well accepted choose to lie about their goals and positions???
 
 
+13 # Sensible1 2012-10-10 08:56
Romney was not always a liar. However, lying, stealing, deceit, and other corruptions are inherent to corporate operating methodology, and now that politics has become the method for corporations to operate, there is blatant approval both by his corporate cronies and his political friends in the Republican party. Romney believes he is above the law, and is moving into a very precarious realm which few have been able to traverse without stumbling, and he obviously believes he can say anything, promise anything, and still have blanket approval to do whatever he wants.
 
 
+9 # WolfTotem 2012-10-10 09:29
PLATO ON OLIGARCHY (RULE OF THE FEW)

"And what manner of government do you term oligarchy?
A government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it."

"Just think what would happen if pilots were to be chosen according to their property, and a poor man were refused permission to steer, even though he were a better pilot?
You mean that they would shipwreck?
Yes; and is not this true of the government of anything?
I should imagine so.
Except a city?—or would you include a city?
Nay, he said, the case of a city is the strongest of all, inasmuch as the rule of a city is the greatest and most difficult of all."

ON OLIGARCHS

"...In the hour of battle, they are oligarchs indeed, few to fight as they are few to rule. And at the same time their fondness for money makes them unwilling to pay taxes.
How discreditable!"

"Do you know where you will have to look if you want to discover his rogueries?
Where must I look?
You should see him where he has some great opportunity of acting dishonestly..."

SO, WHAT'S NEW? EXCEPT THAT THE USA'S BIGGER THAN ANY CITY...
 
 
+16 # AlWight 2012-10-10 09:43
The problem is that people do like being lied to, if the lies support their prejudices. Romney says whatever he thinks might get him votes. Who knows what he really believes, if he knows himself? He must have a very low opinion of the American voter, if he thinks they will buy his lies. I hope he isn't right.
 
 
+21 # karlarove 2012-10-10 09:43
I posted an article here and on my blog "People of the Lie", I had titled it "Person of the Lie" because I was writing about Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, the only person calling him a liar and using the word liar is Jon Stewart. People who lie to the extent that Mitt Romney does are generally classified as "psychopaths"
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2012-10-10 09:53
Twit has NO business commenting on anything but how to be greedy and phony, especially on foreign affairs, on which he is as much of an incurious ignoramus as Dimwits if not more so.
That's like me, an economic nutter-case, lecturing Paul Krugman and Robert Reich on Keynsean vs. Freidman economics and trying to make Freidman look like a hero!
The Twittite world view is far too obviously circumscribed by his Mor(m)onic philosophy that all other nations and races are poor, erring sinners who have to be saved by young, brainwashed missionaries (their claims to be "Helping the poor" are likewise phony and conditional to joining that wealthy church as converts) sent out to drag as many as they can into their puritanical and corporate-like, narrow-minded fold.
I wish that Obama had NOT signed the still-recent three-nation "Free trade (not)" agreement he was accused of "never doing" -which amply illustrates where Twit-o-nomics is headed if he's "selected". More jobs to the sweatshop nations.
I really do wish he'd move with his spawn to Taipan where he belongs.
 
 
+12 # phyldav 2012-10-10 10:06
Let's not forget the tenet of the Mormon religion as told us by Joseph Smith's granddaughter - it is a G-d given right to lie if it leads to your justified goals. That is all I could think about as I watched Romney during the debate. It is hard to reply to these - it can be astounding to your debate partner!!!
 
 
+10 # chrisconnolly 2012-10-10 11:27
A reptilian Chameleon is admired for its ability to survive by looking like it is part of the scenery. A human chameleon should be loathed at every level. Romney seems able to fool an awful lot of people by sounding like he is with them in the moment no matter where he was just hours before. He is truly a snake, my apologies to retiles, that will take us down the rat hole while he slithers away on his newly minted fortune.
 
 
+1 # Human Right 2012-10-10 12:17
We voted for Obama & change
What they got was a president who took the entire defense department bureaucracy of a previously discredited administration into his administration inclusive of the Generals, Secretary of Defense and all the rest ( this has never happened before); then gave us more phony war. While president Obama was receiving the “Nobel Peace prize” he simultaneously and successfully defended the architect of torture in a San Francisco federal court. In addition, he sidetracked attempts of the ACLU to remove the illegal overseas prisons and never gave even a feeble attempt to close the infamous Guantanamo prison. He has never tried to return our revered habeas corpus or remove the immoral, illegal, Patriot Act. As this is written he has placed ill advised military intimidation and economic sanctions over innocent Iranian people and continues to fund the illegal Zionist settlers three generations removed from WWII, (many from New York) in the Middle East. Recently Obama signed a law (National Defense Authorization Act) making the “Patriot Act” permanent and the USA is now officially a military/police state with the habeas corpus long gone.
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2012-10-10 12:53
"Romney lies to the world"--gee, d'ya THINK?

One does wonder how Mighty Morphin' Mitt squares his dishonesty with his claim to be a devout Mormon. That faith has many unusual beliefs, but it's no friendlier to lying than any other.
 
 
+6 # tabonsell 2012-10-10 13:41
One of Romney's greatest lies is that Obama has doubled the deficit left to him by George W. Bush.

The facts :

Bush's last budget (the 2009 fiscal-year budget that became law before the 2008 election) carried a deficit of $1.55 trillion, but some off-budget surpluses reduced the total to an official $1.412-trillion deficit.

The latest projections indicate the present deficit to be about $1.1 trillion. No off-budget surpluses included in this calculation. Estimates made early in Obama's term were for 2012 deficits to be about $1.33 trillion.

So, in less that four years Obama has reduced the deficit by close to $400 billion and reduced the deficits much more than anticipated. It took Bill Clinton four years to eliminate a $255-billion deficit left by Bush's daddy.

And if Republicans in Congress would cooperate on job creation instead of obstruction the deficits would be lower because people going back to work would be paying taxes.

What is even sadder than Romney's lies on the subject, is the media has refused to report the reality of this in spite of the figures being easily obtainable from the Office of Management and Budget.
 
 
+4 # angelfish 2012-10-10 16:27
Maybe Ann Romney is right. Maybe Romney is too fragile to withstand the rigors of Campaigning and/or the Presidency should he attain it. If he can't tell truth from reality as a candidate, WHAT kind of Commander in Chief will he be? It looks like he's ALREADY fallen down the rabbit hole and is enjoying the Tea Party with Alice, the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and all....?
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-10-10 17:29
She also said we'd need to "unzip" him to see the "real Mitt", when asked if he really was as "stiff" as he appears.

I played the audio of that interview for my wife and her response was, "um, no thanks!"
 
 
+3 # hoodwinkednomore 2012-10-10 16:29
I just can't get over how much Mittsnomer Mittstake sounds like Reagan. I still remember the "trust me" and the nauseating suave (NOT) brush-off he'd give to any serious question involving any real-life, real-time concern. Ride off in to the sunset, Mr. Liar Pants. And take your corporate junkies with you!!
 

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