Romney Exhibits Symptoms of MBA Derangement Syndrome

Marcy Wheeler wrote up an astonishing little episode from the Romster’s campaign. Ann Romney was in a small private plane which had to make an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit, which was probably the result of an electrical fire. No one was hurt.

Marcy highlighted Mitt’s remarks at a fundraiser (emphasis mine):

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

OK, now maybe this remark is proof that Romney really has blood rather than machine oil running in his veins, and he was so rattled by the incident that he started babbling when the topic of the emergency landing came up. But even as free association, this isn’t very encouraging.

Read that snippet again. Romney really thinks having windows on airplanes that open is a pro-safety measure because it would help passengers breathe in the case of fires.

How can Romney not know jets are pressurized? He has to have flown on commercial airplanes for years before he was rich enough to travel only in private jets. Once every few years, there’s a dramatic account of a sudden cabin depressurization and resulting emergency measures, usually successful but not always so.

No matter how you cut and slice it, windows were NOT the answer. Readers can fill in the details: at an altitude of not much more than 10,000 feet, you depressurize the plane, which might kill the fire but can also kill passengers by sucking what air there is in the plane out, which leads objects and even people to fly about. And if the big “whoosh” doesn’t get them, the oxygen deprivation will (unless they get an oxygen mask on, pronto). At lower altitudes, you might get more fresh air in the plane, but you at least screw up its aerodynamics. And in general, planes are pretty fragile, hence you don’t want to give passengers or even pilots all that much discretion in what they can do with them?

You don’t want to have fire in a plane, period. After all, you can’t go anywhere even if there are windows. Marcy reported that Romney mainly uses an airline broker, Air Charter Team, which in turn relies on a research company to grade pilots and planes:

The CHEQ report (Charter Evaluation and Qualification report) has three major components that air charter companies use: historical safety ratings, current aircraft and pilot background checks, and on-site safety audits. Analysis of these components results in four potential levels of safety rating: DNQ, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each level reflects analysis and ranking based on increasing amounts of detailed information on the charter operator.

Marcy pointed out:

If it were my spouse who had had an emergency landing on a charter my campaign was using (and presumably would use for the next six weeks), I’d want to double check this assurance. Was Ann on a Platinum graded plane? Were the reports in the plane’s historical aircraft checks accurate?

That is, I’d want to know if the subcontractors my contracted service was using were fulfilling my needs.

But let’s get to the more interesting part: how can Romney think like this? He was a consultant for a while, then an investor, and a state governor. But his remark says he has absolutely no powers of observation. How can someone have sat through umpteen airline safety presentations which mention sudden depressurization and tell you what to do with your oxygen mask? Or if you read the business media with any regularity, you’ll encounter references to cabin pressure (you see it, for instance, in discussions of how flying coach is less healthy than flying in the front of the bus because the air circulation is better in the premium classes).

Romney looks to have an advanced case of MBA Derangement Syndrome, in which suffers believe they can solve any problem no matter how little they know. In Romney’s case, it appears to be compounded by a remarkable ability to not let information in. He might have an intellectual version of tunnel vision, in which all he takes in is what is of top interest to him, and anything ancillary doesn’t penetrate.

Now there are other, more charitable interpretations of Romney’s brief foray into aerospace design. He might grasp that fixing the problem would involve regulating subcontractors. In the Republican religion, regulation is evil and subcontracting is ever and always benign. Ergo, he had to say something diversionary to avoid pointing out what was the likely real problem and he didn’t much care if what he said sounded stupid or intelligent, it just needed to be short (of course, there was no need for him to propose remedies at all, but maybe that’s his version of machismo).

But if Romney really is seriously lacking in the ability to absorb information, how has he survived? Has he always had minions and minders to filter information for him and tell him what he needs to evaluate in order to make decisions? It’s hard, for instance, to explain his repeated gaffes in London. Doesn’t everyone at his level know to have subordinates prepare briefing papers? And hasn’t he learned by now how to pleasantly deflect questions when they might expose ignorance?

I’d love to hear reader theories: how could Romney have gotten where he is given how often he demonstrates cluelessness and abject ignorance?

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  1. bob goodwin

    Engineers (I am one) are as deranged as MBAs in our optimism and belief in our ability to solve problems. There is an alternative to optimism… the democratic party.

    1. Crazy Horse

      Actually the answer is quite simple. Romney is only partly human, a cyborg operating with a faulty program designed by the same minimally competent hackers from Diebold who arranged the results of the Ohio presidential election and sealed little bush’s second term election victory.

    1. JP Shannon

      I’m sorry but he’s just another Dumb Shit, in a long line of Dumb Shit’s selected by the party of Dumb Shit’s, to do whatever the CentaMillionaire$ and Billionaire$ who fund their election, tell them to do!

  2. Middle Seaman

    Most people are optimistic about solving problems they encounter. Most people, however, recognize an unsolvable problem. Those that don’t suffer from a terrible affliction.

    Romney is the classical case of a guy born rich who made money because of his father and due to good times. He is a good manager, but otherwise is downright incompetent, stupid and arrogant.

    1. jake chase

      What evidence to we have that he is a good manager? He seems to me just an effective looter: befuddle the desperate equity investors, lay on the debt, gouge out the fees, strip mine the assets, leave the husk to bankruptcy, move on.

      I love ‘MBA derangement syndrome’. Lawyers and academics develop similar pathologies. Overeducation is the curse of the allegedly intelligent. Why are we so trusting of people who excel on ridiculous tests? And let’s not forget Obama, a beautiful example of a person who has achieved nothing in real life yet is constantly credited for superior abilities. We trusted him with the damn country because he talked provocative bullshit for 15 minutes during the 04 convention. Who’s next, Steven A. Smith? Face it, we can look forward to a choice of bullshitting fakers. God help us.

      1. Hal Roberts

        You said it Jake Chases Romney seems to be good at one thing. Dismantling viable business in the name of profit for a few no real talent needed. I think thats why the Globalist in America like him so they probably got their eyes on a few American assets to sell out to the highest bidder in the right position (of course). Then he will tell us how good it will be for U.S. Citizens to be able to by Chinese bobbles at a cut rate price.

        Get that son of a gun a jet with a window that will open please.

      2. Fred Streeter

        “Lawyers and academics develop similar pathologies.”

        So do guys who left school at 15.
        It is a very egalitarian syndrome.

    2. YouDon'tSay?

      Let’s see now, who was our first and only MBA President? Some dude that went by the name W? What could go wrong?

    3. CaitlinO

      It’s not even clear that he did much, if anything, in the way of management at Bain. Matt Taibbi’s account seems to suggest that Mitt was more in the role of glad-handing, happy talking investor relations, attracting a steady flow of money from deep-pocketed individuals.

      If that’s true, then his job was virtually identical to the one Bush performed while “managing” the family oil company and the Texas Rangers.

      1. ForReal?

        There’s a lesson in that for the rest of us: good money in glad-handing and happy talking if you’ve got the knack. Of course a few million in the bank already, an established blue-blood family name, and lots of Ivy League connections don’t hurt either.

      2. Art Eclectic

        “attracting a steady flow of money from deep-pocketed individuals.”

        Another guy did that with a high degree of skill: Berni Madoff. Conincidence?

      3. Maude

        The CEO of the corporation today gets way too much credit. They shouldn’t be termed ‘businessmen’ but classified as salesmen. They sell the business to Wall Street, investors, the media, and to employees. Any real work that goes on is more a function of the team around him. In this respect, Mitt is a really bad salesman, because he can’t seem to sell himself.

      4. Don Druid

        Well, he was the son of the former governor of Michigan. That alone guaranteed him a position hitting up his dad’s friends for cash, plus an Ivy League degree. Why bother to get good at anything?

  3. Joe

    Well, what about if Romney is just a classic example of how mediocre our so-called elite are? Would that still surprise anybody?

    1. brian t

      I wag going to say something similar to JeffC above: you would descend to 10,000 ft or lower, at which point it is safe to “open the windows” i.e. do something to ventilate the cabin better.

      The danger of that, however, is that more oxygen could make a fire worse. It’s the old fire-fighting Catch-22: the oxygen that fans flames is the same oxygen needed by living things. If that wasn’t the case, there would be Halon fire suppressant systems in planes already.

      Snopes looked at the Romney comment and concluded that he was probably joking, not making a serious scientific suggestion. I’m no fan of his, but this is overblown.

    2. ForReal?

      Depends on your definition of “mediocre.” To the elite it’s only about the abilty to gain, maintain, and exercise power, then reap the financial rewards that naturally follow. By that measure alone, I’d say der Mittster is an unqualified success so far. Actually being Prez is probably just a legacy thing for him. Completes the stamp collection, but in no way diminishes his millions if it doesn’t work out. Something tells me the “decision” has already been made anyway, nice and safe behind closed doors where it always is. Obama, the “liberal democrat,” will preside over the final meltdown, so that when the conservatives REALLY decide to get all jiggy wid’ it in 2016, We the Sheeple will be duly amendable.

    3. dirtbagger

      Besides windows, Romney must also have undying gratitude for all of the unionized emergency ground personnel that were probably dispatched for the plane landing.

  4. Mary J

    Being charitable, maybe he was going for something like “they should have been able to do something for the passengers. They couldn’t breathe.” Then on the fly out came the window idea without thinking.

    What puzzled me is why the oxygen masks were not deployed to assist the passengers. Perhaps the smoke density wasn’t great enough? Or perhaps sufficient oxygen and not overmuch CO2?

    Or perhaps pumping O2 into a possible fire would only serve to feed the fire?

    Even with this most charitable rewriting of the statement, Romney is a 24k d*ckhead and would be a foreign relations nightmare. He’s too accustomed to being the most important voice in the room without requiring a filter to moderate his thoughts.

    1. Jim A

      They (usually) deploy automaticly when the cabin loses pressure. This plane filled with smoke, but didn’t lose pressure, so they didn’t deploy. There isn’s any central control, just that a sudden decrease in pressure is supposed to pop open the door that they’re stored behind. It may be possible to bang on the little door to get at them, but I’m not sure about that.

    2. r stolte

      Now Mary J just look at what you blurted out – talk about Romney. “he would be a foreign relations disaster.” Really, why have you chosen not to remark on the current guy’s total disaster? The middle east is on fire, it’s living up to our worst fears. The world economy is on verge of collapse. The big banks are out of control. Yet our “rock star,” when not on vacation or at fundraisers, is busy on the TV circuit charming the ladies, and can’t find the time to meet with foreign leaders when they’re in town. Are you OK with that? Oh yeah, with so many here characterizing Romney as an idiot, maybe someone will be good enough to check on Romney’s college grades so that a meaningful comparison can be made with Obama’s. We really have to know. After all, the election will be here soon so we all have to have our facts straight.

      1. ForReal?

        You’re barking up the wrong tree here if you honestly think anyone’s gonna come riding in guns-a-blazing to Barry O’s defense. Pick your poison’s about as good as it gets in 2012. Or opt out altogether.

      2. Mary J

        Yeah, actually, I’m seriously thinking of voting for a 3rd party candidate.

        I won’t vote for the guy who wants to open airplane windows, and I also am not overly interested in voting for a guy that executes US citizens and their minor US citizen children with a kingly wave of his executive hand.

      3. liberal

        “…and can’t find the time to meet with foreign leaders when they’re in town.”

        Yes, because the President of the United States should be at the beck and call of foreign leaders.

    1. Crazy Horse

      Mormons believe that the magic underwear “garments” they wear allows them to fly.

      Enough said about our future president’s sanity.

  5. Surtt

    I think you are giveing Romney too much credit.
    Facts do not mater to him. He just says things, not caring if they are true or not.

  6. Sheila H.

    I’m constantly astounded at how stupid all politicians and most wealthy men are! There is a distinct pattern there that can’t really, seriously be denied. I suppose the dumber, the easier to be bought and used.

  7. Veri

    This is an overblown issue on the Left. Maybe he was trying for levity and failed?

    Besides, there is much better evidence for his inability to properly run America.

    Verdict: The Left has gone too Far Left on this one.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please. This is not a right/left issue. I’ve refrained from pouncing on numerous Romney gaffes, but to illustrate that this is hardly partisan, the UK press, which does not have a dog in this fight, was appalled at Romney’s remarks during the Olympics. And it was not one mistake, it a series of put foot in mouth and chew incidents.

      Now, how hard should it be for someone who is supposedly a seasoned pol to visit another country and say meaningless pleasantries, and duck pretty much anything of substance by saying you are here to enjoy these spectacular games and don’t want to try competing yourself? It’s not hard to get a minion to draft 3 or 4 really gracious sounding blow off lines and stick with them.

      This one stuck in my craw because 1. I am a former consultant and 2. I’ve advised billionaires (4 to be exact) AND PE funds. I have never in either incarnation run across anyone, even someone wet behind the ears in consulting (which has a lot of people who greatly overestimate their intelligence), who shows as much willful ignorance as Romney.

      To quote Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.” So the only question is: is Romney really this stupid, or is he doing the number one most convincing stupid act of all time? And if the latter, how could he possibly think this is to his advantage?

      1. Pearl

        Yves–Have you ever seen this (30 second) “Pure Michigan” Tourism ad?

        I first noticed the ad soon after Governor Romney made his “I love Michigan; the trees are just the right height” comment.


        Anyway, toward the end of the commercial, there is a shot of a hot air balloon traveling over a thick forest of trees. As soon as we saw the shot, my husband and I had the very same thought, and burst out laughing–“Look! The trees are just the right height!” And then it donned on us–could that have been what Governor Romney was referring to in his “I love Michigan; the trees are just the right height” comment?

        Of course it’s just a guess on our part–but we’ll always be convinced that Mr. Romney had just watched that Michigan promotional ad prior to his campaign stop–and was relating an honest impression–the trees in Michigan were (amazingly!) just the right height for hot air balloons not to crash into them!!! :-)

      2. El Snarko

        C’mon guys yer missing the best part. Romney was flustered, and this is him completely off the cuff responding to mini-pressure! Far, far worse than W. Election over! Done, and finished.

        I have marveled for years how conservative leaders, largely, cannot play ‘policy jazz’. Their ability to improvise is usually nil, because they worship the ‘musical score’ of a segment of the status quo.

        Pleas, no three AM calls for this guy.

      3. Susan the other

        Romney comes across as a twit. Even when he is trying hard not to. But the thing that scares me is not his need for adoration but his determination to go forward. He is a lot like W in that both men were overshadowed by their famous fathers who indulged their sons, but both of those fathers always sucked the oxygen out of the room. No wonder Mitt admires fresh air. He is still 10 years old in many ways; W had those characteristics too. But when W got into the white house all bets were off. He proved himself to be the most audacious president since LBJ. He left us with a terrible mess in the middle east – one that Romney has indicated he will be incapable of ending. In fact all indications are that Romney will go to war with Iran gladly.

        1. ForReal?

          Reminds me of an old saying back in the 60’s: What if they threw a war and nobody came? My wouldn’t the pols and the brass look stupid then?

      4. r stolte

        Yves, how do you rate Romney’s London gaffe vs Obama’s eloquent toast gaffe while the British national anthem played.
        Many more examples of presidential cognitive challenges come to mind, but must be mindful of space limitations of course.

      5. Doug Terpstra

        It may well be to Mitt’s advantage for Obama to win this one, in ways we hoi polloi are not privy to. Obama is a unprecedented godsend to crony capitalists, globalists, and war profiteers. Who else could have initiated the Cat Food Commission, the Death Panel Profiteers Bailout Act (Obamacare), the War on Libya, Drone assassinations, Patriot Act II, three new rigged trade pacts, and the ultimate Trans-Pacific Partnership?

        Anyway, after Obama’s reselection, Mitt can do lucrative sponsorships like Bob Dole, for erectile-dysfunction meds.

      6. jerry 101

        I dunno Yves…it worked pretty well for Dubya.

        Maybe Mittster figured lightning could always strike twice.

        Most people in charge in the business world rarely have an original idea.

        Proof of that is in your local Barnes and Noble Business books aisle.

  8. Mary Bess

    Mitt is the rule, not the exception. If you’re born to wealth and privilege or acquire the right connections, it’s hard to fall off the gravy train. Al Gore is another case in point. He sounds like a “dull normal.” And then we have the Clintons, who have maintained a carefully cultivated reputation for brilliance despite all their screw ups (healthcare, NAFTA, banking deregulation, the assault on civil liberties contained in anti-terrorism legislation). Obama’s genius is his talent for misdirection and deception. They are all variations of the NitMitt. We need grown ups not people who are still running for president of the senior class.

    I’ll take that rascal Lyndon Johnson any day. He knew people and politics. When warned that the civil rights issue was a loser for him, he said, “Well, what the hell’s a president for anyway?” and took it on. He wasn’t the creature of a focus group. He was a real person with many faults. But when he had his chance, he reached out to those at the margins of hope because he remembered what is was like to grow up with none of the advantages enjoyed by the above.

    1. Nathanael

      Al Gore does not fit in this list — his decision to actually research science and listen to scientists is what makes him the exception.

    2. CaitlinO

      The Clinton’s, for all their pros and cons, were most definitely not born to great wealth. You cite legislative programs and political positions they took as evidence that they’re on the dim bulb side of the spectrum. While some of those were better ideas than others, they’re political, not evidence of personal ability, skills or intelligence.

      Go back and look at Bill’s extemporaneous speech at the convention. How many people of average, much less lower than average, intelligence could pull that off, including Obama?

    3. ForReal?

      LBJ really was a towering political figure for his times. If only for Vietnam… At least he had the true character to be crushed by his folly. By virtually all accounts, it was what killed him shortly thereafter.

  9. JGordon

    Proof that cheating your way through those science classes because “they’ll never make you any money” isn’t such a good idea.

    Actually though, considering the typical level of mentality of the typical American, not only did this article likely go over the head of most Americans, but also what Romney said likely made a lot of sense to them. I.e, Romney is now more likely to be elected because of this speech now than before he made it. The more stupid and dishonest a candidate is, the more Americans will be eager to support him.

  10. Clive

    Your politics (and, in general, your politicians) in the US do rather suck but there are some redeeming features of your system. I can’t tell if they’re intentional or not but I’m going to point out something that your should really be grateful for and might overlook because there’s so many easy targets for all the rubbish parts.

    Which is: The maga bucks campaign funding, the saturation coverage in the MSM of the trivial but not the real issues, the two choices which aren’t really choices at all so you descend into trivia… all of it ends up showing the minor details which no amount of presentation, media training or management by advisors can hide. Like that guy who ran for president and go caught out using a UK politician’s speeches. That simply would not have been found out in any other country’s political environment.

    So count yourselves lucky you can spot the clinkers like Romney from such a distance.

    Here, we get hoodwinked by clever operators who get away with pretending to be something (caring conservatives) but aren’t (they’re rampant libertarians). With the US system, they’d probably have been found out before.

    My theory does have one slight problem though: you let Obama in… then again, what was the alternative ?

    1. Ned Ludd

      That guy who got “caught out using a UK politician’s speeches” was Joe Biden. Things worked out pretty well for him. He was chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2002, when AUMF passed. Not only was he for the Iraq war, he used his position as chair to push through the war resolution and silence opposition.

      People are so swamped with “minor details”, they quickly forget history. People are so swamped with minor details, they ignore the larger issues — like supporting a war of aggression that killed over a half a million Iraqis. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton (who also voted for the Iraq war) should both be disgraced politicians. Instead they are high-ranking members of the executive branch because people forget issues of life and death while paying too much attention to minor details.

      1. Clive

        Thanks for the reminder Ned of the clueless plagiarising politician — couldn’t remember who it was. As you rightly say, it’s not like he was politically ostracised. I know blackballing is out of favour, but blimey, some people really deserve it.

        Of course, Biden didn’t actually *get elected* as president, though… hence my comment that you have a system that sort-of works to spot the crazies and keep them from the top office. Think what Uncle Joe would have done if he had got the keys to a certain house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    2. CaitlinO

      I agree that our rather protracted, brutal vetting system has the advantages you pointed out. It’s hard to pretend in public for a year or more to be something you’re not, although there are occasionally individuals who can pull it off. Obama seems to be one.

      A drawback is that it is so brutal that there must be a serious self-selection bias present. I suspect that anyone with sensitivity and deep feeling, for their families and others, would look at our process and say, no thanks. Thus, we get presidents who run to the non-empathic, manipulative, ambition-trumps-everything-else side of the page.

  11. Hugh

    I used to joke that if politicians had been on the Titanic, there solution to keeping the ship from sinking would have been to knock holes in the other side of the ship to let the water out. Romney’s reference to windows that open on planes, for me at least, falls into this same category of thinking. It’s about looking at one small problem and completely ignoring the context or larger situation.

    His gaffes in London, corporations are people too, my friend, his 47% speech, all bespeak an incredibly insular view of the world. In limited, very controlled situations he may do very well. Certainly, he was able to amass a large fortune. But it would simply never occur to him that there could be anything wrong or to criticize about him accumulating his wealth by destroying companies, firing their workers, and gutting their pensions.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      10 inconclusive comments on one query on a site that reports a typical 5 to 35,000 views on a single post is the antithesis of “considerable debate”. If you pointed to an article in a trade magazine that resulted in a big brouhaha, that might be persuasive. Your link does not even come close.

      Look, the early lower altitude airplanes were all open cockpits, remember? Having windows was clearly a design option which was rejected a long time ago. The airlines spend a fortune on flight simulation and wind tunnel studies. And in the early days of jet design, you had people like Howard Hughes, who before he succumbed to his bipolar disease, was as much a genius of aircraft design (in terms of innovation) as Steve Jobs was in computers. And he was also a serious pilot.

      My take from that discussion is the conditions under which having a window be a plus are only in very unusual situations, and then as a very last ditch, desperation move. This appears to be offset by the risk of allowing panicky pilots to use it at anything other than a final move, since the impact on flight speed, cabin pressure levels, etc, are likely to be a big negative, and a risk not to be taken unless every other measure has failed. In other words, it appears to have been deemed a discretionary measure likely to do more damage than good.

      1. bluntobj

        Yves, I can’t figure out if you are trolling or not, so 10/10.

        But in seriousness, this gem:


        The Los Angeles Times story that relayed Romney’s airplane remark to the world was based off a pool report written by the New York Times‘s Ashley Parker. When we asked Parker this morning whether it seemed as if Romney made the mark in jest, she left no doubt. “Romney was joking,” she e-mailed. Parker told us that while the pool report didn’t explicitly indicate that Romney was joking, it was self-evident that he was.”


  12. David Lentini

    My own experience with similar types over the years has been similar to what John Kenneth Galbraith described for corporate executives–they delegate as many thinking tasks as possible to show thier power. In the end, they are more like figureheads or glamorized pitchmen (and -women) than thinkers or problem solvers; their job is to make the deal, offering the plan that their staffs who do the thinking produce.

    I suspect that Romney’s career has been like this in spades. Like “W”, he’s never had to worry about bringing anything to the table since he always had his family money and position. A company like Bain is very much dependent on executives who can get access to other executives, and Romney had that problem licked. Loads of Harvard Business School grads are available to do the number crunching and make the pretty charts.

    To be fair, I’ve also worked with many executives who provide the whole package too. But even there, the nature of their jobs moves them away from analytical problem solving to getting others to agree to a deal.

  13. vlade

    luck and the right contacta (which to an extent is just luck again). the role of luck is wastly underestimated as we like to feel incontrol of our lives, so rationalize most of (good and bad) luck away as our skill (or lack thereof if its bad luck for ssoomeone else)

  14. sporble

    In a world where an idiotic video – which does NOT represent ANY particular American’s views – can trigger truly hideous responses, how could ANYone vote for Mitt Gaffe-ney to be US Spokesperson #1?
    I am deeply disappointed in Obama’s first 4 years – but I’m sure we’d look back on them as being golden – or platinum! – should Romney win.

  15. craazyman

    oh. come on now. you get below 6000 feet or so and the air pressure outside is pretty normal. and it was a small plane, not a commercial jet.

    I won’t vote for Romney or Obama. But on a small plane you could have a passenger side window that opens, for example, in case you had your dog flying with you. So he could stick his head out the windown, like they do on the highway.

    And you could have a drivers side window that opens so you could rest your elbow on the window.

    You and the dog crusing at 6000 feet. If you go up higher, you close the window and you make the dog bring his head in.

    What about that guy who hijacked the plane way back and parachuted out the back door. DB Cooper, I think

    There’s got to be a way to get smoke out of planes in the air, somehow. With a little creativity. The engineers can work out the details.

    1. Heretic

      That was a gem of blurb craazyman. Someone should make a cartoon of your depiction of flying with your dog at 6000 feet, with the dog’s head sticking out the window sniffing the air. The caption could be ‘I’m glad the new models (of personal jets) have these, I always like the fresh air when I’m driving’

      1. F. Beard

        Farside beat you to it. The caption was (if I recall) “Why the Space Shuttle’s windows don’t open.”

    2. Valissa

      I think this dog wishes the airplane window was open

      Let’s go!

      Mutt Muffs, for the sophisticated canine navigator

      A heartwarming story… Pilots N Paws (they take donations)

      And finally, because it’s such an adorable costume,,, Airplane Dog

      1. Valissa

        On that last link, the URL needs the period “.” at the end in order to see the image, so you will need to add that manually.

        1. Valissa

          I don’t remember it, but I tried hunting it down and couldn’t find it. Searching for specific cartoons or images can be very challenging. Even searching on relatively simple keywords can be an adventure… all sorts of strange images that seem to have nothing to do with the words you type into the search engine show up. Text searches are much easier.

          1. Valissa

            Couldn’t find that one either ;)

            But I did find this article about Russian dogs in space

            Fun space dog trivia fact… Russian space dog Strelka “gave birth to six puppies, one of which was given to Caroline Kennedy, daughter of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, by Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.”

            Apparently there was a space cat as well… “France launched a black and white stray tomcat of the Paris streets on October 18, 1963, on Veronique AGI sounding rocket No. 47 from the Hammaguir test range in Algeria. Was it a male named Felix. Or a female named Felicette? Whichever, it was the first cat in space…”

            It’s not about space, but here’s a great cat cartoon that… Cat vs Internet

          2. F. Beard

            Funny! However my cat would just walk onto the keyboard.

            My cat once played the role of Baalam’s donkey with me but I won’t go into the shameful details … Suffice to say, he would not let me sin in peace.

          3. Valissa

            What I learned when I searched on Balaam’s donkey… thanks Beard!

            The first appearance of the Democratic donkey, and it’s a tale about money…
            why is it that old time cartoons are so much smarter?

            The Modern Balaam and His Ass, President Andrew Jackson Riding the Democratic Party Donkey, 1837

            The whole fascinating true story of the Democratic donkey is here (the cartoon is here too but much less readable)

          1. Bert_S

            Never mind. The image gets blocked. But it was just a donkey wearing a sombrero. There’s a guy with a poloroid camera that will take anyone’s picture standing next to the donkey. Even Obama.

          2. Valissa

            Some sites don’t allow “hot links” and the way around this is to copy and paste the url in the comment into a new tab/window. This works 99%$ of the tiem and world on this image. btw, that’s why I almost always put URLs into a comment directly instead of using htmal tags off a word/phrase.

          3. Bert_S

            Also, usually they make holes in the sombrero so the donkey’s ears stick thru and take the picture with the donkey looking at the camera. That would be the way to go with an Obama PR shot, I would think. Sort of a subliminal “We hear ya, and yes we can” message.

            But this photo was the best I could find on the internet.

  16. Gabe McArthur

    Dear Friends,

    I am surprised that so many can miss so many of the simple signs. Perhaps, though, it is not so surprising. Hiding in plain sight is the sociopath’s greatest asset.

    Romney’s inability to understand the real world has absolutely nothing to with being stupid. Most sociopaths don’t have any actual skills besides reading others in an attempt to exploit them. They don’t have any desire to improve themselves; they suffer from no sense of inferiority. Ever.

    Sociopaths have no need for knowledge. They just need control over people of actual worth. Remember: they are not like you. They do not feel. They don’t care if they’re wrong. They don’t get embaressed, but they know that you do. They will use that, and every other tool of fear, intimidation, and misinformation to bend you to their will.

    Lest you forget, Stalin had a nice head of hair too and can smile wide for a camera. Believing in a sociopath’s appearance — the laugh, the smile, the vicious wit — is the fastest path to a shiv in the back.


  17. William

    Most commenters here are way too charitable as to Romney’s intelligence, such as saying “well he got rich so he must have some brains.” No, the ability to obtain money is not proof positive of intelligence. It means you have an ability to obtain money. Look, we’ve all seen how the dumbest, least creative management types in larger organizations are able to create solid niches, warming a seat in a position no one else wants, and it is precisely because they are dumb and uncreative.

    More worrisome than his lack of intelligence are his delusions of himself and willingness to put his own country at risk by thinking he is qualified to run this country. He is not the type lauded by Ayn Rand. If you actually read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, you’ll see that she celebrated the highly intelligent innovator/creator/builder types, the top 1% who possess those characteristics. Most anyone who follows what has come to be identified as Randian thought, bear no resemblance to the heroes in her stories.

    1. F. Beard

      Most anyone who follows what has come to be identified as Randian thought, bear no resemblance to the heroes in her stories. William

      Because her heroes had talent. Selfishness is no substitute for talent. Also, the truly talented are often NOT selfish.

      1. John

        The truly talented are not selfish? I don’t see why that must be the case. Talent and selfishness are in no way mutually exclusive.

    2. McKillop

      When I challenge the one _one_ friend who I have who believes in “randian libertarian” ideas, he often responds that he is talking about an “ideal” situation and an “ideal” society.
      He does not claim that self-aggrandizement should be absolute.
      Those idealists, eh?
      As far as guys like Romney, and others, are concerned, I’d say that it may be the old fear and attendant suck-holing to power that helps them to become stupidly arrogant.
      Many of us have had to tug our forelocks and to bow to those , as was said of King Arthur, “. . . not covered in shit like the rest of us.”
      While being a ‘sociopath’ may contribute to the ascension to power it is isolation from challenge that leads to stupidity.
      We all need to be called out, I’d say. Wasn’t that what democracy was for?

    3. synopticist

      I don’t have any time for this ” Mitt’s just stupid” nonsense. It was the same for GW. Bush WASN’T dumb. He was smart as a whip actually. The secret of his political success was that he WASN’T stupid, but his opponents thought he was, and they didn’t have to try too hard to beat him. So they didn’t think hard, AND THEY DIDN’T BEAT HIM. Thats the pattern, from when he was first taking on the Texas governor, to al qeada in iraq. Gore thought he could beat him just by sneering.

      Bush was LAZY, especially intellectually lazy, but he wasn’t stupid.
      Romney isn’t stupid either. It’s fairer, whilst being objectivelly balanced I think, to say that Romney’s basically a c*nt. A rich, entitled, privileged, over-promoted parasitical cun*, with a cu*t for a wife.

      1. McKillop

        Where I come from, the term c*nt, or cun*, or cu*t is usually modified with an adjective.
        We have lazy c*nts, useless cun*s, stupid or dumb cu*ts, greedy c*nts, rich cu*ts, some smart cun*s. Even c*nn*ng. There was once in our neighbourhood a family from Finland who had the name “Kuntsi”. Their daughter, once familiar with the language, was tough enough to make us careful in our pronunciation of her last name, there being no sound suitable to represent any asterisk but the long vowel sound for ‘*’.
        (For years, being a bit of a dumb kid myself, I thought that “k” was a necessary first letter, and have only the “Bolour Supplement” routine of ‘Monty Python’ to thank for my current knowledge. As a matter of fact, locally, a doctor by the name of Knut stirs in me a desire to correct the mistakenly obvious misplacement of “nu” in his advertisements.
        Naming a person as “stupid” for saying or doing stupid things seems to me to be more accurate than naming a person as a cu*t or et C. Especially in that ‘intellectual’ laziness is one mark of stupidity.
        ‘course, I’ve been a bit of a silly bunt often enough, myself, (and stupid to boot), so . . . .

  18. Goin' South

    I’d agree with the many comments that there’s little correlation between wealth and brains. I’ve often said that if the gods offered you the chance before birth to pick which you wanted among brains, brawn, good looks and wealth, it’s best in our society to go with wealth. Brains would be the last choice. It’s only likely to make your life harder in our current circumstances, especially if combined with some integrity and empathy.

    But I do believe that more is at work in Romney’s gaffes beside limited brains, poor advisers and the general cluelessness of the rich.

    I think it’s clear that there’s some early onset dementia going on, and he doesn’t have the Gipper’s acting skill to cover it.

  19. jerry denim

    Yves is right. Furthermore, and every other aviation site I have ever stumbled across on the Net is not a place where scientists and engineers hang out to debate the finer points of aerospace design and technology. It is the domain of wanna-be’s and 15-year old student pilots who compete amongst themselves for the title of biggest “aerosexual”.

    Romney probably isn’t any more ignorant about aviation than your average member of the flying public, but then again is a guy who is about as stupid as your average American the man you want to run the country?

    I’m a flight instructor and airline captain with 10,000 hours flight time for the record.

  20. JeffC

    Private pilot here. In a small plane with smoke in the cockpit, the pilot could very quickly descend to below 10,000 ft – you’d be surprised how fast you can do this if you really need to – and then either open windows – on some planes they do indeed open (and at appropriate window-opening speeds the aerodynamics are perfectly manageable) – or have the ventilation system bring in lots of outside air. I’m no Romney fan, but, basically the whole post is ridiculous.

    1. F. Beard

      No the post isn’t ridiculous. Romney is basically saying he knows better than aircraft design engineers. That’s very unlikely and indicates that he maybe dangerously overconfident.

        1. JurisV

          Nancy Goldfarb is full of it. And I hope you were trying to be funny about “fact checking.”

          The wings are made in Japan and the wingbox (the structure in the body to which the wings are attached) is made in Italy. And the wings did not “fall off” !! There is an interesting story about that whole episode, but it is not all that unusual in new airplane programs. The problems with some cracking in the wing-to-wingbox structure were addressed, parts were redesigned, and successfully retested.

          The structural design engineers had alerted management early on that there was an issue with the area, but they were blown off by management.

          1. JurisV

            Bert_S: Did you even read my comment? No, I don’t think that all aircraft parts are still made in the US! The heavy duty stuff (the wings and the wing-box) are made in Japan and Italy respectively as I wrote in my comment. Thanks for the bit about the wing to body fairings being made in China. You do know ,don’t you, that the wing to body fairings are not structural, and they do not require any where near the critical expertise that are necessary to build the wings and the wing-box.

            My comment was on your link about the “wings falling off” blog post by that awesome aerospace expert — that you said didn’t require fact checking. Her post (that you linked) was unadulterated bullsh*t.

    2. craazyman

      that’s true. small planes can stay airborne, I think, at just over 100 mph.

      That’s no so fast that a dog couldn’t stick his head out the passenger window with his tounge hanging out, while the pilot rests has arm on the pilot side window ledge. Just crusing along.

      The pilot could have a little triangular ventilation window that tilts out, like on old cars.

      they used to make planes without any cabins at all. Just a seat and a windshield. the pilot would wear goggles and a scarf.

      there’s a lot more to this topic than amateurs realize.

      1. Bert_S

        So true. I miss those those old bi-planes and it would be fun to take snoopy along.

        But you need to consider what Romney calls a “small private plane”. The linked article said it was a Challenger 601, which IS smaller than Air Force I.

        Some pics for reference:

        1. craazyman

          those planes are undoubtedly more sophisticated than the ones you needed goggles and a mask to fly. and some of those were even too small for two front seats and you had to sit behind the pilot. If that was a dog, you’d worry he’d jump out, not realizing he was 1000 feet up.

          Still, if the secret service were on that plane, they could just shoot out a few windows to clear the smoke.

          You can’t do that on a commercial flight, I realize. But maybe they should let the pilots pack guns just in case of smoke in the cabin.

          If an MBA were running things, they’d find a way to cut costs so the pilots couldn’t pack sidearms. Even a pick-axe would work. But for “efficiency” they probably wouldn’t pay for even that.

          The more MBAs run things, the worse they get, generally speaking. I’ve noticed that myself too.

          Maybe somebody could invent a smoke vacuum cleaner.

          1. Fiesty

            Mitt’s dog just sent me an email and said that Mitt just realized he outsourced aerospace parts to China and Mexico, they put locks on the pilot cabin door now so pilots don’t need to carry a gun, and they cost reduced the fire extinguisher out of airplanes.

            He said Mitt is sitting straddled on top of his dog house, with a dazed look on his face, saying “I’m never flying again” and drooling all over himself and making motor noises while steering an imaginary steering wheel.

        2. tcox

          Folks, Romney’s wife was aboard a medium sized business jet with the charisterics shown below. The article refers to a “small private plane” which can be misleading depending on your orientation. Cessna 210 anyone?

          Specifications (CL-601-3A)

          General characteristics

          Crew: Two (pilot & co-pilot)
          Capacity: Up to 19 passengers, depending on configuration
          Length: 68 ft 5 in
          Wingspan: 64 ft 4 in
          Height: 20 ft 8 in
          Wing area: 520 ft²
          Empty weight: 20,485 lb
          Loaded weight: 43,250 lb
          Useful load: 4,000 lb
          Max. takeoff weight: 43,100 lb
          Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CF34-3A turbofans, 40.7 kN (9,140 lbf) each


          Maximum speed: 548 mph
          Cruise speed: 529 mph
          Range: 3,875 mi
          Service ceiling: 41,000 ft
          Rate of climb: 4,450 ft/min
          CL601 Vref (landing reference speed), Sea Level:
          30,000 lbs: 123kts
          34,000 lbs: 131kts
          38,000 lbs: 138kts

    3. Yves Smith Post author


      With all due respect, are you nuts? This wasn’t a six seater plane, it was as small commercial JET. Even at below 10,000 feet they fly at high enough speeds that throwing open a window is going to lead to a fast deceleration. If’ you’ve dropped a lot of altitude (which means you’ve already decelearated a lot, this isn’t a great time to have wild card further deceleration (as in pilots won’t have practiced this…..).

      Point to a trade magazine written by and for designers of JETS that recommend this as a neglected design feature, and then we might take you seriously.

      1. JeffC

        Hi Yves,

        Not nuts, but unaware when I commented that we had a jet here. All I saw was “small private plane” and “charter”, and that hinted – no proof here obviously – at that proverbial six-seater.

        My comment about admitting more outside air to clear smoke works fine for a small jet, esp at lower altitudes. Of course it’s easy to see why a window that opens would not be a design priority for a small jet, but you are just wrong to assume disaster if tried. No pilot would open it at jet cruise speeds anyway but only at flaps-down, low-power landing-pattern speeds, and then quite carefully.

        Irrelevant but maybe interesting: I used to open windows occasionally in my small single-engine (prop) plane as a way to get some extra aerodynamic braking so I could descend more steeply without accelerating. Once a small hidden window crack led to the entire completely closed window simply blowing out without warning (you should have seen my passenger’s face!) over Joliet, Illinois. The aerodynamic effects were apparent (and quite loud) but in no way threatening.

      2. Jerry Denim

        I’m a little late to a dead thread but I hoped I might clear the air (sorry) on this power widows in airplanes thread. Posts regarding credit spreads and securitization law are well outside of my professional expertise but since aviation is my profession I finally feel qualified to weigh in. I avoided getting all technical and pedantic with my first post but since others here already have, I might as well have a go.

        First in regards to Jeff’s comment above, no he’s not crazy, he’s just out of his league. He probably hasn’t ever flown anything besides a single engine, normally-aspirated, unpressurized, piston-powered aircraft that goes really slow. Apples and oranges when comparing a Cessana 172 or a Piper to a Jet which goes much faster, and operates with a pressurized cabin up in the flight levels. (above 18,000 feet)

        Commenter ‘tcox’ posted the specs for a Challenger 601 so let’s just assume that was the aircraft Ann Romney was flying around in and go from there; I’ll run two scenarios, one a high altitude cruise scenario and another low altitude take-off or approach to landing scenario.

        OK, so scientifically or aeronautically speaking why would it be a bad idea for Ann Romney to have access to a power window when the jet she is riding in is cruising at 41,000 feet? Well dropping a window at FL410 smoke or not is going to cause either an explosive or a rapid decompression. An explosive decompression would be a decompression event that takes place in less than .5 seconds where the air inside your lungs would violently be sucked out faster than you could exhale. This would result in tissue damage and a very nasty case of the bends. A pressurized Challenger cruising at 41,000 would have a internal cabin pressure approximating about 8,000 feet so dropping a window and having the pressure reset to 41,000 feet in half of a second would be pretty darn uncomfortable and would be much akin to a diver several hundred feet deep riding a rocket sled to the surface. The carbon dioxide in your bloodstream as well as other dissolved gases would come out of solution immediately causing lots of trouble for everyone onboard. Besides the pain and disorientation caused by the explosive decompression the sudden loss of oxygen would result in the sudden incapacitation of all on board. Time of useful consciousness tests conducted inside of pressurization chambers at 41,000 feet pressure altitude using gradual decompression is around 15 seconds, but the shock and stress of a rapid or explosive decompression would probably reduce those times by half or more. For those of you thinking, “ahh, but there’s oxygen masks!” No. Sorry. The dilutor-demand type of oxygen masks provided to passengers on airplanes are totally worthless at high altitudes. The trickle of oxygen delivered by a dilutor mask would evaporate before your lungs could process it and you need air pressure to breathe normally. At 41,000 feet the air is so thin you can’t really breathe in the conventional sense of the word even if there is oxygen available. In order to survive you would have to have a pressure-demand mask, which forms a seal around your face and then forces positive pressure air/oxygen into your lungs when you attempt to breathe much like a SCUBA regulator. The pilots up front would have access to these types of masks but passengers do not. Even with pressure demand masks available there is no guarantee that after the shock of a sudden cabin depressurization that the pilots would have the presence of mind to don their masks before they were incapacitated. I could continue but I think everyone gets how bad this scenario would be. Its what NTSB investigators think killed golfer Payne Stewart in 1999.

        OK, now low altitude gets a little more complicated but power windows for passengers would still be a really bad idea. Down low there’s lots of oxygen for the people on board but lots of oxygen for passengers equals lots of oxygen for the fire as well. I don’t know if anyone has ever seen a blast furnace in a blacksmith shop or perhaps a Asian kitchen with air being forced over hot coals but that is pretty much what a source of rushing oxygen rich fresh air would be like inside a burning airplane. Airplanes are unfortunately made out of very combustible materials. Aluminum is the structural aircraft material of choice due to its light and strong properties, but it melts at an extremely low temperature. About 1200 degrees fahrenheit compared to around 2750 degrees fahrenheit for stainless steel and over 3000 degrees for titanium. In the cockpit pilots do have windows that can be opened for emergency egress or even smoke evacuation if they chose, but emergency procedures typically call for a more controlled means of smoke evacuation using the pressurization system to minimize the blast furnace effect of opening windows mentioned above.

        Opening a window has no radical effect on aerodynamics unless it the window is bizarrely engineered to open into the slipstream around the aircraft, which most do not. Below 10,000 feet everyone is required to fly 250 knots indicated (287mph) so the crazy airspeeds and aerodynamics aren’t as big of a consideration as they might be when talking about the effects of an open window when cruising in the flight levels around the transonic range. (close to Mach or the speed of sound)

        I have had smoke in the cockpit emergencies before and I can tell you it is one of the most serious and dreaded of emergencies for pilots. Thankfully passengers do not have access to windows in the back.


    Of course Romney has an advanced case of MBA Derangement Syndrome, which explains his ability to amass huge wealth.

    The Syndrome focuses his attention on AMASSING WEALTH ONLY. It is a derangement because it eliminates all other human qualities.

    I studied with the most advanced MBAs and the deranged do not have any other focus, whether on society, or for others who are not a part of their amassing wealth.

  22. CaitlinO

    MBA derangement syndrome. Hmmmm. You’re much more generous than I would be. From here he seems to share some unfortunate traits with our last GOP prez. A willingness to say what he’s told to, a remarkable lack of curiosity and general knowledge, few essential core values to drive his belief system, an alarming bellicosity and a remarkable lack of empathy for the day-to-day lives of his fellow citizens.

    I’d summarize them both up as privileged, not very bright, plastic preppies with something to prove to dad.

  23. John

    Watching him on the debates and at press conferences I believe he is rather stupid.

    How did that man become an billionaire?

    Born into wealth, connections, good looks, he is the front man for the money makers under (behind) him.

  24. richard in norway

    This is the Reagan and bushII campaign tactic and the the lefties are falling for it again. This ain’t a gaffe, its saying hey I’m mitt romney and you can trust me cos I’m as stupid as you are. Same as Reagan did and the same as bush2 did and when the lefties laugh at these gaffe’s they reveal themselves to be elitist and lose blue collar votes. See these poor hating republican aristos have leant that in a class war you need to know your enemy, and get them to vote for you

    1. McKillop

      You may be correct.
      Or: “Right on.”
      I’ve noticed that many ‘astro-turfer’ comments by conservative leaning types start out stupid and cliched but when challenged change in tone and tenor. If public relations firms are ‘smart’ enough to write copy for uneducated people then the same firms who are bought and paid for can come up with commonly stated ‘pinions.
      Imagine good ol’ boy George W. Bush as a guy to have a beer with.
      “T.L.D.R.” and other bits meet any posts stinking of reason or intelligence or wit.

    2. ChrisPacific

      That was my thought as well. I remember when the Bush/Gore debate was coming up and everyone was expecting Gore to demolish Bush. Bush came out and did his good ol’ boy act, successfully provoked the intended ‘elitist intellectual’ responses from Gore, and ended up ahead in the polls.

      We can expect American elected officials to be intelligent when American voters start requiring it of them, and not before.

  25. Paul Tioxon

    Yves, does it come as that much of shock to you that the people you sat next to as you were acquiring yr MBA from Harvard were really not your equal? Ivy League schools, especially the professional programs are for socialization. The fact that you may have actually did the work, actually read what was on the reading list, studied, etc etc is incidental. You received an education and some socialization, Mitt, George W among others, were there for the credentials and received more socialization than received wisdom or challenging intellectual stimulation.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, you are missing the point.

      MBA are generally good at FAKING being the smartest guy in the room (remember, this is in business, so the “room” is not a room of the brightest people, but nevertheless, they are supposed to be able to fake being above average intelligence). Some actually did the work, some did parts of the work, some were pure bullshitters. Look, even Reagan who was an actor managed to sound sagacious as opposed to smart. That works too.

      Mitt can’t even fake it plausibly. That is the part that is grating.

  26. MIWill

    the Mitt doubledown:

    ‘Also catching fire, these engine things… I don’t know why they install them.’

    ‘And this, what is it? this jet fuel stuff, what’s up with that?’

  27. ohmyheck

    Posted on Facebook by a pilot:

    “In the United States of America, aviation, to include aircraft certification standards, is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    The highest position in the Federal Aviation Administration, the Administrator, is a political appointment.

    The political appointment of the FAA’s Administrator is made by the President of the United States of America.

    One of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States of America, Mitt Romney, wonders why airplane windows cannot be rolled down in flight to let in more oxygen in the case of an in-flight fire.

    I think that I am rightly concerned about the future of the industry from which I draw my income should a man with this degree of ignorance be put in charge of determining the leadership of the administration that regulates aviation safety. I am concerned about my industry because that is what I am familiar with. There are many other sectors with which I am not as intimately familiar such as education, medicine and finance. I am concerned about these sectors as well because, while I can only see the ignorance demonstrated regarding my industry, I can only assume that he exercises the same ignorance and disregard to all industries forming this nation that do not directly support his efforts to consolidate his wealth. What other experience does he have or has demonstrated?”

    Seems this pilot is worried that Mittens will appoint someone just a ignorant as he is…and that is only ONE of the possible millions of ignorant things this ignarant man could do…my two cents.

  28. Jay

    Many people in high positions do not suffer to have their notions contradicted by the people around them. Romney’s tunnel vision is facilitated by people who cater to his whims and who always reinforce his arguments. “I like to be able to fire people,” he once famously said. As with foreign policy, women’s issues simply don’t matter to him; presumably Ann Romney doesn’t face those issues, doesn’t rock the boat, and I think all of his children are sons. I don’t believe anyone has ever seriously challenged him. If they did, he fired them, and if he couldn’t fire them he didn’t keep them around. His tunnel vision also indicates an inability to perform the mental equivalent of chewing gum and walking at the same time. He’s not able to focus on more than one variable in a complex system, or deal with the added complexity of observing how multiple variables become more or less important over time. For a person like that, their best bet is to settle on one plan (almost always a self-interested plan) and see it through to the end, never deviating no matter the consequence. There is never a plan B, because contemplating outcomes alternative to plan A is like simply too confusing, and frankly, too disturbing.

    I’m reminded of the remorseless Cyclops in Homer’s Odysseus. His monocular vision is a metaphor, he is unable to perceive depth, and his outlook on the world is strictly superficial, especially when it comes to the suffering of Odysseus’ sailors as he eats them. His hunger is the only thing that matters; he is unable to sympathize with anyone unless it is himself.

  29. Jay Goldfarb

    Yves, You ask “How can someone have sat through umpteen airline safety presentations which mention sudden depressurization and tell you what to do with your oxygen mask?” It is possible that Romney has never sat through the scheduled-airline version of this presentation, having flown on charters all his life. Charters are also required to brief the passengers, but they do it differently.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, Mitt would have flown commercial at least through the end of 1980s. He was at Bain and with Orit Gadiesh turned it around after it nearly failed in the wake of the Guiness scandal (so the near failure would also make flying private jets, maybe even in the front of the bus, a non-starter for a while). It was really looked on badly if you took a private jet then unless you had a damned good reason (like you had to go to a bunch of podunk cities in short order). Most CEOs didn’t then, and you didn’t want to risk pissing off clients. My billionaire client of the 1980s always flew commercial, for instance.

      Top consultants and even top M&A guys didn’t fly private jets. It didn’t become a staple of PE guys until the 1990s. He almost certainly would have had at least a decade of flying commercial.

      And remember,

  30. Lafayette

    ME, ME, ME

    In both Romney and Ryan, we are quite possibly viewing two caricatures of the American male. Both virile, successful men who take their destiny in two hands and become successful.

    Yes, caricatures of an ideal to which they both aspire but in all likelihood do not deserve.

    It is unwise to doubt the role of male virility in determining a man’s pursuits – that is, what he chooses to do in his life and how he does it. In our pressurized society, hell-bent on both success and showing the accoutrements of achievement, winning becomes an essential ambition for some. It is at the very core of their existence.

    Not of all males, mind you, but enough to inspire Forbes and Fortune magazines to promote them as Success Ikons, which simply strengthens the image. Ayn Rand was a harbinger of the Dominant Male in our modern society, which she wrapped in praising prose. Not without some commercial success admittedly.

    The “dominant-male” is a throwback to the origins of mankind as an animal. He rides herd on a group of females and fights off all pretenders to his position as he focus on procreating his male lineage.

    Is this the sort of uber-mensche that the 21st-century needs as leadership? In a world, rather, where leaders should want to assure the most well-being for the most possible of a nation’s citizens?

    Methinks not, yet it is most definitely the one proposed in the US presently by the Replicants. Because they are all replicants based on the same model, with the same senseless ideals and the same selfish dogma devoid of any understanding of social justice or even of morality.

    It’s all about Me, Me, Me … sharing is for wankers.

  31. TC

    Maybe Mitt still watches the Flintstones and entertains a dream of “sustainable flight” founded on the Republican vision for a more Stone Age social order, this venturing to one up the Democratic dream of “sustainable energy” involving more modern, 12th century technology.

    1. TC

      p.s. if Obama wins the election, then I am forecasting a new bull market in wooden shoes, yet I will not discount possibility of his further lean right fully accommodating cement shoes, as well.

  32. Jack Bray

    More likely one of the CF34’s had a seal issue and began consuming a little (engine lubrication) oil. The smoke gets into the cabin via the engine compressor bleed air system (which is used to power the electrical system, air conditioning, etc). Not particularly dangerous, if its severe enough the pilot can shut it down and fly in on the other engine. We get quite a few in for overhaul on the basis of “smoke in cabin”.

  33. Up the Ante

    Counterfeit Leaders

    “I’d love to hear reader theories: how could Romney have gotten where he is given how often he demonstrates cluelessness and abject ignorance? ”

    Romney was essentially confirming the ‘goodness’ of outsourcing, in this case, the cause of the fire was probably outsourced Chinese counterfeit aircraft parts. I imagine those in the FAA would have some insights into this phenomenon ?
    As such a confirmer, he was ‘warded away’ from the concept of ‘outsourcing not-good’. [literally]


  34. Cynthia

    I think we’ve been collectively brainwashed into accepting the premise that loading businesses down with debt is a good thing because it’s facilitates restructuring.

    The people who created this financial zeitgeist had no concern for the overall impact on the American economy. MBAs were taught to accept this kind of financialization as the ideal form of capitalist ideation. We now see what that impact has been. An army of PowerPoint toting idiots who have absolutely no clue how to build a productive enterprise.

  35. sk

    “how often he demonstrates cluelessness and abject ignorance”

    Almost EVERYTIME, no matter what the subject matter is: finance, economy, foreign affairs, knowledge of world in general. On pretty much any topic he makes me feel ashamed to think that this is the kind of person we may have to choose as president.

    Republicans are nuts and they made a mistake by choosing Romney. Their best bet was Ron Paul but they did everything ot cut him down. Despite sharp views on some subjects, Ron Paul has explicit reasoning for any argument and, unlike Romney or Obama, he does not get influenced by politics of the moment. Ron Paul would have drawn independent and democrat voters and would have beaten Obama in the general election. No doubt.

  36. Doug Terpstra

    Hmm, how many more ways can we burnish the halo and grind the horns of the lesser-evil between now and (res)election day? As many as needed, and then there’s always Iran.

  37. steelhead23

    “Open a window,” Romney exclaims, “we’re suffocating back here.” Pilot B. Bernanke, “Yessir Mr. Romney, the Repo window is now wide open.” Mr. Romney, “No you fool, I meant the cockpit wind…” voice trails off from asphyxia. Helicopter Ben soldiers on.

  38. kevinearick

    if you want to see an MBAer or a system blow up, block all the exits and challenge its false assumptions. don’t they just love their acquisitions. too funny.

  39. james

    N.B. this comment is most effective if read aloud in a fey and effeminate nose-voice with Ws substituted for the Rs.

    1. Valissa

      Looks like management needs to have it’s snark meters recalibrated… your deliberately dastardly comment has been consigned to the netherworlds and now my response below doesn’t really make any sense without it :(

  40. mitchw

    Isn’t he also against stem cell research? Oh wait, that’s a moral position. And let’s not even dream of asking about the utter pile he believes is the foundation of the universe and life on earth; that’s different.

  41. Lily

    Isn’t everyone here being a little harsh? This is a guy who was genuinely concerned about his wife’s safety, who under stress happened to experience a bit of faulty logic as he said the first thing that came to mind. Is every person negatively commenting here innocent of such speech/thought malfunctions (have you ever happened to add something simple wrong in a momentary lapse, for example)? It would be different if someone had pointed out “sir, airplane windows cannot be opened due to cabin pressure” and Romney decided to ignore this statement of fact. I don’t think this immediate, intuitive response without any political ramifications merits criticism that this guy is obviously mentally defunct… we all suffer from such lapses in automatic cognition, and the best solution is to overcome them with thought and reasons. I doubt that Romney, given a little more time and research materials, would conclude that it would be a good idea to mandate open windows on airplanes.

    My opinion is that there are definitely problems with Romney’s social policy, international relations agenda, etc., that unlike this statement have been considered for a long time, and those are the reasons I would be reluctant to vote for him. But to pick at this sort of human error is just supplementing useless partisan politics, not pointing out the real issues in our country.

  42. Dude

    Anyone in this field knows its all about WHO you know, not WHAT you know – and growing up in the family he did allowed him to know a lot of people…Add that to a need to be powerful and you have a great candidate for president, no intelligence needed. Just look at GW Bush…very similar to Romney in that sense except that at least Romney was good at his job, regardless of how despicable some people see that job to be.

  43. Pat

    Key to illicit proceeds has always been within the confines of following the law fronts, usually companies organized to provide that smoke screen that no one has a reason to question.

    Accessing proceeds is more a matter of engineering the process in order not to elicit suspicion, so shell companies work well for funneling proceeds where they need to go.

    Loose bankruptcy rules for companies were made to order for commercial plundering, and limited liability does much the same.

    It’s not how many companies are begun that identifies productivity, but now many are going concerns with profits without disruption; crafted to become Mergers and Acquisition targets, companies are simply funnels to success.

    Is this what Romney did? Finding the magic key to millions is something many would love to do.

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