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The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check USA + Readers Responses

Train Wreck Romney
How to Tank a Campaign in Two Weeks
• James Campion
Since I left Colorado two weeks ago having just completed a column on the DNC Convention that vaulted the president's approval ratings over 50 percent for the first time in half a year and jacked his head-to-head polling near seven percent nationally while beginning to show daylight in almost every swing state, the Mitt Romney campaign has gone off the rails.


For two weeks now the Republican candidate has been shooting from the hip during impromptu press conferences commenting on events abroad that hadn't yet happened and deconstructing comments made during a private fundraiser video in which he described half the American electorate as "victims" and wishing his father was Mexican so he could sucker what he obviously considers a laughably gullible Latino vote.

It is getting harder to believe Mitt Romney actually wants to be president. Perhaps this is just another business venture for him to increase his speaking engagement fees or raise his profile among anti-EPA lobbyists before investing in land-raping ventures. There was always a sense back in the primaries that Romney simply had run out of shit to do; CEO, Governor, Senate candidate, Olympic chairman, and now; "What the hell, I'll try president." Otherwise someone has to explain to me the wisdom behind the past two weeks of general election self-immolation rarely if ever survived by serious candidates for the presidency.

Whatever half-bright measures led to rolling out a Republican candidate with non-existent foreign policy bona fides to comment on the unfolding events at the Egyptian and Libyans embassies should have been abandoned in the woodshedding phase. The standard rule is for presidential candidates to not opine on a developing foreign crisis. Period. It's on the first page of the manual. This is best exemplified by Ronald Reagan's brief and wholly presidential moral support of President Carter after the failed military attempt to free the Iranian hostages in 1980.

Whether Romney's comments held any merit or not is not at issue here. The gamble just wasn't worth the risk, unless the people who engineered it are in panic mode. That would be the only reason to grab-ass anything that moves in hopes of putting a Romney Stamp on it. By the way, that's also in the manual's first page: Don't let the other side see you sweat. Either way it's a Hail Mary heave that reeks of desperation and makes the candidate look like a piker.

Then there is the matter of the surreptitious tape of Romney answering questions at a fundraiser as if he were Mel Gibson on a bender. The crux of which is connected with who doesn't pay taxes. Once again, regardless of what poorly deconstructed Ayn Randian nonsense this crap comes from it is not optimum strategy for a serious presidential candidate, least of all one that has big problems shedding the Out of Touch Rich Guy tag and who has brashly hidden his entire tax records.

Assuming, as we all do, let's face it, that Mitt Romney has no fucking idea what he stands for or what he should say next; who exactly is directing him towards these senseless cliff-diving exercises in political suicide?

Reportedly there are now three different factions representing the Romney campaign struggling to fill the empty voids the candidate has left by failing to a establish anything close to a consistent message.
Of course, consistency has never been Romney move. He is a businessman first, and as such has been trained well to play the cards dealt on the table at which he is currently sitting. Principles, whether real or imagined, may be a boon in politics but are the death knell of the business world. You must never appear the same with Subject A as you would with Client B. Every situation calls for a differing approach in demeanor and most times even shifting personal opinion.

And so the first segment trying to fill the "principle" void over at Romney Headquarters is the TEA Party wing that supported the Paul Ryan selection for vice president. Nothing Romney has ever uttered hints in the least that he truly believes or even knows a thing about the kind of "moocher class" drivel he spouted to the fundraiser group that he has now been forced to spend yet another crucial week in a waning campaign season defending. Even his "I don't care about poor people" was merely one of several feebly phrased gaffes. But these sentiments were different, they express a libertarian view; perhaps even a libertine view of every man for himself that diametrically opposes how he governed in his only political job.

The second voice belongs to the Republican Party establishment, which handed Romney the nomination on a silver platter when he was being kicked around during the primaries. They assisted in shifting delegates, re-figuring close counties, shunting Ron Paul, and leaning heavily on his opponents to drop out of the race. This group wants a more disciplined Romney, the one they found in Massachusetts and hoped would be the alternative to the historically unpopular mess that hijacked the party in 2010. This is the guy they are currently coaching up for the debates by sending him out these past days tout national health care.

And finally there are the insider ground-gamers; those from the very beginning, before Romney was the darling of the "electable" set and was the enemy of TEA Partiers. These are the ink-stained, body-odor, crumpled shirt geeks who crunch the numbers and once boldly promised to put Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada in play -- all of which are now long gone. They are beginning to crystallize the difficult math that has been rearing its ugly head since July; the states that don't add up for a run to 270 electoral votes that is only achievable by sweeping every swing state left.

The numbers guys have been begging the TEA Party/Establishment heads for some kind of dramatic shift in momentum that will stop the bleeding.

I know those guys. I've spoken to them about these numbers for months. They told me in April that they would have to play a tight game, take a solid lead by summer and then endure the inevitable autumn hits, as did John Kerry in '04 and McCain four years ago. They did not expect this kind of dysfunction and disintegration nor did they expect a candidate this wildly off-message to take a workable strategy against an eminently beatable incumbent and piss it away so frivolously.

But know this; not one of these bickering groups, which conservative columnist, Peggy Noonan called "a rolling calamity" this week in the Wall Street Journal, thought for one minute Mitt Romney would paint the elderly, poor, disabled, war veterans and low-income families as freeloaders. That, they were sure, didn't need to be in any manual.

© James Campion 9.21.12


A-Riteway Construction Must be Stopped

James Campion

A-Riteway Construction has been allowed to run a deceitful, negligent and dangerously haphazard business here in New Jersey for far too long.

The responses to A-RITEWAY CONSTRUCTION MUST BE STOPPED -- Issue: 8/29/12 has been vast and intriguing. Some of them were sent from interested parties that wish to remain anonymous, but who are working behind the scenes to bring down this criminal cabal posing as a legitimate construction concern. Also following up is two separate private investigators from two states, ex-employees promising horror stroeies a-plenty, and sadly even more victims of Leo Petrosillo's rabid disregard for property and professional integrity crying out for retribution. Two police departments over two towns are now on the case and the marauders are on the run. The story is fluid and will be monitored from here at The Reality Check Information Desk until A-Riteway is indeed stopped.

For your attention A-Riteway is still listed an accredited business here: Doesn't augur well for trusting BBB http://trenton.bbb.org/Business-Search/name/A-Riteway/

If you have been a victim of A-Riteway please contact the North Haledon, NJ police department to file a complaint or go to the municipality where the theft took place. North Haledon detectives are following through to bring this man to justice. Those who filed a complaint will learn next week which agency has jurisdiction. The North Haledon detectives are in possession of The Aquarian Weekly's and Hackwriters article. Great writing James Campion!


The North Haledon Police Department is all over this. A-Riteway has been evicted from their digs and is on the run. This article was a great service to those of us who have either been wronged by these criminals or have known someone who has. They are slime, dirt and the worst part of the American capitalist system that gives haven to these swine. I applaud your steadfast courage in bringing this terrible blight on the construction community down. Justice is a fine thing when unleashed on those who for years now have thought themselves above reproach and the law. They destroy people's homes and properties and then laugh at their victims, while cashing the check. But if nothing else these repeated activities have sparked outrage the kind of kick ass journalism that may finally end the horror! Hurray for the free press and the power of the pen! I salute the Aquarian Weekly for the guts to run it and keeping James Campion on the case.

Jeremy Ochs

Kiss your money goodbye people!! There are dozens of complaints filed with the North Haledon Police Department. I am waiting to hear who has jurisdiction. While doing my own investigation, I met a man he owes $$$$$ to so then I didn't feel so bad.

Clara O'Boyle

I'm, not saying it is a fact, but there has been ample rumor around Hawthorne, NJ, where this Leo character lives, of drug deals and prostitution and other nefarious activities connected to him. This is just the tip of the iceberg, Campion. Watch your back.


I got to know Leo over a couple weeks, the contracting courting time...then Leo took our deposit and never returned my calls or text messages. A-Riteway never started the work, just stole our money and added significant stress to our lives. My wife and I felt bad for him after receiving a certified letter stating he was in 2 hospitals and forced to temporarily shut done his business. We now understand this is one of his tactics...he lies like a 5 year old. This guy should be in jail.

I can think of 100s of things I'd like to do with that money; helping Leo buy a new car, or helping him procure new oak cabinets for one of his homes -- is not one of them. That money would be better spent educating consumers on how to avoid scumbag contractors in the first place or even better yet, to get Leo the professional help he desperately needs to get his life in order. I truly believe, at one point in his life, Leo was a good friend, a good husband and father; all of those are past tense. Leo, if you're reading this post you can change...pull yourself up and get the help.

Keith Grant
Jersey City

Excellent! A real page tur... um, scroller(?). Well done, thanks for the warning.

John Slater


My wife and I moved to NJ from Brooklyn this January, and we are appalled at how pathetic Jersey contractors or related businesses are. No one ever calls you back. It is a disgrace. And then when they finally show up they either have no clue what they are doing or forget parts, tools, change the estimate at the last second. Fuggedaboudit! They can't even cook good pizza.


Leo Petrosillo is a rip-off artist, a liar and a charlatan. I think New Jersey authorities; the Better Business Bureau and the state's attorney general and especially the police should be ashamed of themselves. How this cretin could ply his crimes under their watch for so long is unconscionable. It takes the ire of a client and, unlucky for Petrosillo, a journalist to get this out in the light and seek justice for so many ripped off people in this bad economy. Where is the oversight? Where is the regulation? And it's not just Petrosillo, although he is the worst and most egregious of these construction bandits, there are so many cases throughout this state and I am sure others where there is no accountability, no pressure from the towns or counties to keep these people clean, make sure they do the work they are contracted for. It's a sad joke and I am sorry it continues, but it does. Right now some innocent young couple or elderly widow or some desperate family is in need of a repaired roof or broken stairs or porch or some pertinent construction and some snake like Petrosillo is waiting in the grass to take their hard-earned money, lie to their face, and blithely destroy their lives. And he gets away with it. He's getting away with it right now.


Where is Chris Christie's tough-guy act now? Running around the country propping up that robot idiot Romney while the NJ construction business is stealing money from his constitutes.

Joyish Samuel T.

Thank you, James Campion for giving voice to so many who have not had one. The law, the state, the system apparently does not care. Sometimes it takes one man with enough balls to say enough. Thank you for saying "enough" for us. Good luck.

Democratic National Convention
James Campion + Readers Responses

This is a crappy time to be president. GDP diving. Manufacturing is down. Unemployment hangs steadily over eight percent. Congress is in gridlock. A war still rages, which apparently no one beyond those fighting it or dying for it care about.
Republican National Convention- James Campion

People who choose presidents based on appearance, likability or the general self-interest of the moment.

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