Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pro-Life Supporters Should be Thinking Twice about Voting for Romney

by Nomad

The handlers of Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee in this year's election, have always had a serious conundrum when it came to the topic of abortion. While running for governor in 1994, his pro-choice stand was about as unequivocal as any liberal politician can be. Only he wasn't liberal. It was a transparent strategy to rob his opponent Edward Kennedy of his left wing support. (Romney is nothing if not ambitious.)

During the debate with Kennedy, Romney got up-close and personal with the audience, revealing how a relative had died as a result of a backstreet abortion. Kennedy’s reaction was bemusement with a touch of amusement. He replied that Romney’s position kept changing. Was he pro-choice or was his pro-life and finally labeled Romney “the multiple-choice candidate.”

Romney, clearly irked, demanded a chance to respond. This topic was one, he said, that he would never be changing his position on. This was rock solid. He was without any question and forever pro-choice.
Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the White House. He became pro-life.
Just like that. 

Spinning it like a potter’s wheel, Romney fobbed the contradiction off as an “evolving” opinion. (A concept most of the conservatives apparently don't put much faith in.)
With the cowardly mainstream media in tow in this presidential election, the Republican conservative elite somehow managed to deflect and to distract. The pro-life faction of the conservative right wing were assured that all was in order; that despite his heart-felt statements back in 1994, he was really (no, REALLY!) against abortion. This Romney is not the same as THAT Romney.

Stericycle- Money over Principle?
Then there came the Stericycle problem.
The original story was thought to be a dead issue when Huffington Post revealed that back in 1999 Romney had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm. Here’s what the press release said at the time:
Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Stericycle, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRCL), one of the largest providers of regulated medical waste management services in the United States, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with certain funds managed by Bain Capital Inc. ("Bain") under which such funds will purchase $75 million of newly issued convertible preferred stock of Stericycle concurrently with the closing of Stericycle's purchase of the regulated medical waste management business of Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc. and Allied Waste Industries, Inc.
The respective heads of companies kissed one another and made these statements:
Mark C. Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Stericycle said, "Bain's investment represents a historic milestone for Stericycle. Bain has achieved significant success investing in growth companies over the past 15 years. Bain has clearly demonstrated with this agreement its confidence in our aggressive growth strategy. Our entire team is excited about the opportunity to work with the Bain team in building Stericycle." John P. Connaughton, a Managing Director of Bain, commented, "We are pleased to work with the outstanding Stericycle team to support this attractive transaction. This acquisition will enhance Stericycle's ability to more effectively service its customers. We look forward to Stericycle's continued growth."
In itself, that’s not such a big deal. Bain Capital invests its money in hundreds of deals. And clearly from the statements above, Bain's investment came as welcome news and improved Stericycle's development.

The need to properly dispose of medical waste is vital to everybody’s safety. (Remember when waves of dirty needles, vials of blood and used catheter bags washed ashore along the East Coast in the summer of 1988, at the height of the AIDS panic?)

Anything that can cause an infectious disease, including single-use disposable items, such as needles, syringes, gloves and other medical supplies; cultures and stocks of infectious agents; and blood products are all considered medical waste.

Hospitals' trash also includes the more gruesome items like human body parts (limbs and other parts of the body that are removed during surgery), tissue, blood, bodily waste, and leftover chemicals from chemotherapy.

None this should surprise anybody. It has to go somewhere and it is better to go some place were it won't be stepped on by our bare-feet children at the beach.

To its credit, Stericycle has been able to take a potentially dangerous health and safety hazard for society and turn a profit doing it. For some, it might be considered a prime example of a private sector solution. Stericycle has managed to succeed in a necessarily heavily-regulated industry and to serve a purpose that improves the general environment.

Pro-Lifers Smell a Rat
Hold up. That's not what everybody thinks. For pro-lifers, Stericycle has been seen as a “collaborator” with the so-called abortion industry. The group, Campaign to Stop Stericycle (CSS) frames the accusation this way:
The evidence clearly shows that Stericycle not only disposes of the bloodied linens and syringes used in the murder of unborn children, but also the remains of the aborted children themselves.

CSS has recorded undercover investigations with Stericycle, which have affirmed the company’s collection, transportation and incineration of aborted children. We have also obtained documentation from government entities pertaining to Stericycle’s service to abortion mills and the contents of the abortionists’ “waste.” We have researched fetus disposal laws, which demonstrate that abortion mills must have the assistance of medical waste companies like Stericycle to legally operate. Additionally, individuals from across the nation have submitted photographs and video footage of Stericycle in action at their local abortion mill, confirming Stericycle’s widespread involvement with the abortion industry.
(Incidentally, nowhere on CSS' website is Bain Capital mentioned in the organization’s list of “blood money" investors.)

According to one article on that website, (warning about graphic on this link) back in December of last year, Stericycle was fined over $42,000 for the illegal dumping of aborted babies collected from an abortion facility in Austin.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has released documents showing that Stericycle has been served with papers by the Enforcement Division, which slam the company with $42,612 in fines for illegally dumping the fetal remains of aborted babies into a municipal landfill. Stericycle has paid $34,090 in a lump sum, and the remainder has been waived contingent upon their future compliance with the law.
Michael Marcavage, the founder of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Christian organization Repent America, stated,“The large fines slammed against Stericycle demonstrate the severity of its horrifying and egregious actions in treating children like trash...However, it is not surprising that these violations occurred since those that are involved with the abortion industry are partakers in its evil deeds. Stericycle’s claims that it is ‘protecting people, reducing risk’ are hypocritical, and businesses should be aware of its unethical practices. We again call upon Stericycle to stop facilitating the abortion holocaust and to clean up its act immediately.
We really must thank Repent America for bringing this matter to the public's attention. At least for one-half of the story, anyway.

It's worth noting that Michael Marcavage became famous for Hurricane Katrina pronouncements. Following the disaster which left much of the city of New Orlean in a soggy polluted deadly mess, Marcavage had the poor taste and judgement to issue a media release, noting that the catastrophe occurred “just days before the Southern Decadence gay celebration. He stated:
"Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin...'Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city.. . New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge..,May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God.
When news first broke about Bain Capital’s dealings with Stericycle, there was doubtless a lot of trembling to go around. In his defense, Romney claimed that he had left Bain Capital prior to any deals with this bio-waste disposal company. Bain Capital said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and probably had nothing to with the deal. The key word was probably “probably.”

Update: According to a recent article by Vanity Fair:
Though he left the firm in 1999, Romney has continued to receive large payments from it—in early June he revealed more than $2 million in new Bain income.
As dead as that story appeared to be, unfortunately for Mitt Romney, it has resurfaced, courtesy of Mother Jones News. The latest news seems to confirm that Romney was directly involved and that he has lied about that involvement.
(D)ocuments filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission—and obtained by Mother Jones—list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also contradict the official account of Romney's exit from Bain.
It’s not pure speculation either. The evidence is pretty conclusive.
The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the "sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd."

The document also states that Romney "may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to" 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle "in his capacity as sole shareholder" of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm's stock—the largest bloc among the firm's owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney. (Emphasis mine)
How Romney will explain this is anybody’s guess. Presumably, the mainstream media will claim squeamishness and flee from this story as fast as their little legs can carry them. 

Endorsements Mean Approval
The Christian Coalition will also, we may assume, become the silence of the lambs. They now know they have been had. They swallowed Romney’s lies, excused his flip-flopped and gave their endorsement despite their past reservations. And now this.

Before the Stericycle storm, Pat Neal, former Chair of the Board of the Christian Coalition of Florida said:
“Mitt Romney is pro-life and is a true conservative on issues of family and faith.
And Neal was not the only one that was fooled in Florida- a key swing state.
"Romney has sealed up endorsements from Florida's most important Christian Right leaders, including the heads of the Florida Family Association (connected to Focus on the Family) and the incoming head of the Christian Coalition of Florida...

"Dennis Baxley, David Caton, Carole Griffin and Anthony Verdugo, representing over fifty years of combined pro-family leadership in Florida, support Mitt Romney in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary...

"Carole Griffin is a pro-family lobbyist in Tallahassee and heads the Eagle Forum in Florida. Anthony Verdugo is the president of Christian Family Coalition."
And the list of pro-choice Romney victims goes on and on.
  • Fmr. U.S. Congressman Dave Weldon, founder of the Space Coast Family Forum and Israel Allies Caucus
  • Nancy Peek McGowan, twice the Respect Life Coordinator for the Diocese of St. Augustine
  • Rodney Akers, immediate past president of the Florida Conference of United Methodist Men
  • Pastor Derek Janney, Senior Pastor at Orlando Baptist Church
  • Adam Goldman, Former Vice President for Florida Right to Life
  • Reverend John-Erik Moseler, Assistant Pastor at Orlando Baptist Church
  • Vicki Mullins, program director for My-Choices.net, head of abstinence education in Florida under Gov. Bush
The question is whether any of these fine leaders of the community will now come out and condemn Romney’s profiteering from Stericycle- what CSS called a collaborator in the abortion holocaust- or whether they will remain silent. If they choose that path, pro-choice advocates have every reason for distrust all of them. They are clearly putting their politics before their principles.

Most likely they will divert the issue towards Romney's firm (?) stand on gay marriage equality. That seems like a solid Romney position... at least, until some writer at Mother Jones starts digging and finds Bain Capital financing gay cruises or gay dating sites. Who knows, The Southern Decadence celebration?

The Christian pro-life supporters should be asking the Republican party and their own church leaders how on earth did this former pro-choice serial liar became contender in the first place.
At the very least, Obama- whether you agree or disagree- has been honest about his position. Romney on the other hand, has said one thing and then said the opposite. Then he allegedly profited from at least one aspect of the abortion issue and when confronted lied about that, hoping nobody would ever find out.

Now it has found out, no thanks to the complicit corporate news organizations.

The Hard Choice
So here's the choice: On one hand is former capitalist turned conservative politician who not only profited from investing in the collection of aborted babies and then lied about it to his supporters. And on the other hand, a president that has expressed his support for a woman’s right to choose. The anti-abortionists are in something of a dilemma. 

Are the pro-life voters now actually prepared to reward Romney’s lies with their votes? If they do, their sworn principles on abortion certainly have been compromised by Republican politics and the capitalist system.

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