Celestial Map circa 1684 – Greed, Conservatives, Avarice and Conservatism

Celestial Map circa 1684

In was not too many years previous to this map, which shows the sun stationary with the earth in orbit, that it would have been considered blasphemous. It shows Galileo’s theory of a heliocentric universe rather than the geocentric one described in  1 Chronicles 16:30.

Amy Davidson’s headline reads, Shouting Toward South Carolina or better – Mitt Romney the “vulture capitalist” and the Rest of the Republican Clown Posse Who Have Presidential Fantasies.

When the New Hampshire results came in, with Mitt Romney winning—he got about thirty-nine per cent of the vote—commentators offered two immediate, somewhat contradictory conclusions: the outcome could hardly be better for Romney, and nobody else was leaving the race. Everyone got a ticket to South Carolina. Perhaps New Hampshire’s transformative powers have been exaggerated, and the primary is now so early that most voters aren’t even awake yet. Or Romney’s victories may simply seem less compelling to his opponents than his liabilities; this week has brought a sustained, and arguably belated, interrogation of Romney’s history at Bain Capital. (Alex Koppelman has more on that.) Perhaps none of the not-Romneys want to leave before he’s got the worst of it.

There is a why-not quality to the attacks on Romney, from Newt Gingrich’s involvement in the airing of an anti-Bain documentary to Rick Perry’s characterization of Romney as a “vulture capitalist.” (“That almost sounds like Occupy Wall Street, not someone who is governing the state of Texas as a conservative,” Sean Hannity said to Perry.) One suspects that the “vulture capitalist” line resonates because it serves, for many, not only as a description of Romney’s career but of his personality. It captures something about him—the way he seems to embody the least attractive qualities of both the animal and the automaton. Listening to Romney, one sometimes feels trapped in a science-fiction story that has been written to explore the question of whether robots can lie, or be greedy.

Intangibles are by definition difficult to impossible to quantify. It became the Beltway wisdom that Bush 43 was a tough guy with “swagger”. A mental image beamed into the country’s head by MSNBC’s Chris Mathews. All I ever saw was a whiny brat with an arrogant sense of entitlement. Mittens has some of that as well, but he an amazing additional quality. He does seem like a programmed automaton that sucks the life out of any space he occupies. His programmed lifeless quality may account for why he has been running for president for three years and only received 42% of the vote where only conservatives were voting. The general drift of the political coverage is look ROMNEY WON. Primaries are not horse shoes, if you won you won. Still it says something about the trend on the part of conservatives to however reluctantly to accept what seems inevitable.

Something else Amy said,

And yet the possibility of a Mitt implosion doesn’t seem like enough of an explanation for why so many improbable candidates are still in it. Most generously, there may be sound, or at least plausible, ideological or tactical reasons to stay: Ron Paul can influence the Party platform, Huntsman can set himself up for 2016.

[  ]…Or maybe Newt is just thinking about money. He wouldn’t be alone. Money, in this case, is a shorthand for a whole set of factors that keep candidates in: the money that they might make more easily for themselves, now that more people know who they are (speech-selling, book-writing, Fox News anchoring); and the money that, thanks to Super PACs, they don’t have to work particularly hard to raise.

Cha-ching. That’s the sound all the conservative non-winners heard last night. A united front at this point would surely tip the odds just a little toward a right-wing wing in 2012. Have the runner-ups no shame. Amy as all experienced political reporters, acknowledged that sure Mitt could do something crazy, some awful skeleton could drop out of the closet – an affair with an intern would do far more to hurt Mitt than his history as a vulture capitalist ( per that now famous scene in The Ides of March ). That said the rest of the field knows they’re done. One way to look at how conservatives think is Iraq. They felt no shame at sending over 4,000 Americans to their deaths based on a pack of lies. Conservatives felt no shame at wrecking the economy. Conservative feel no shame in doing everything they can to keep the economy from recovering just to make Democrats look bad. So why feel shame in staying in a political race – in which PACs play a large role, but conservatives are taking millions from gullible Main Street conservatives. Those Main Street conservatives who are our friends and co-workers. You know, the same gullible rubes who also bought the lies about Iraq, think liberals somehow caused the economic collapse. OK wait a minute, maybe these rubes should keep sending their money to clowns who will just screw them over again. Politics has turned into some kind of sick game in which conservative Americans appear to like being treated like trash and fleeced out of their money.  Rick, Ricky, Newt and Ron are all well aware of the blind cult like tendency of their followers. It is not like if they quite they would find something productive to do.

It only took 24hours for the rabid Right to shift into reactionary mode on Newt’s attack ad against Mittens in regards to predatory capitalism, Rush Limbaugh, still the de facto leader of the Conservative Partay: Newt Gingrich ‘Sounds Like Elizabeth Warren’

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh went nuclear on Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday, laying into him for his attacks on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s business career.

“He sounds like Elizabeth Warren,” said Limbaugh, who devoted much of his show Tuesday to lambasting Gingrich, the former House Speaker.

Limbaugh played clips of Gingrich’s remarks from earlier in the day, and said that the former House Speaker sounded like President Obama when he criticized Bain Capital, Romney’s former company, for profiting too much from its takeovers of struggling companies.

Limbaugh doesn’t think predatory business practices are anyone’s business, certainly not the government’s business. Morality, values, repercussions for the lives of people not part of the equation for people like the drug addict millionaire Limbaugh or the cuddled son of a rich daddy Romney. Values are nothing but a hollow marketing gimmick for the conservative movement who get the Main Street conservatives discussed above to get all worked up over the women folk  being in charge of their own reproductive health. Or to get those checks in the mail because surely we’ll all be living under the hammer and sickle unless you elect another crony capitalist rich kid to the presidency – or hurry up and vote conservative, your cracker jack prize will be the Bush administration part III. Throw in a war with Iran as icing on the crazy cake.

Two reports in the last day show that the Bush tax cut kool-aid still fogs minds, ANALYSIS: GOP Candidates’ Tax Cuts For The Rich Are Up To 270 Times Larger Than Their Tax Cuts For The Middle Class

The 2012 Republican candidates are largely in lockstep when it comes to economic policy, wanting to give huge tax cuts to the rich and corporations while doing next to nothing to boost consumer demand or help the middle class and the unemployed who have been battered by the Great Recession. In fact, according to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, the average tax cuts received by the richest 1 percent of Americans under the Republican plans would be 270 times as large as the cut received by the middle class…

Once again the deficit peacocks show the only plan they have to balance the budget is to gut absolutely every bit of government that those in the middle and working classes relies on. All so the wealthy can buy more imported German cars and McMansions. The conservative tax giveaway certainly is not about the unfair tax rate or corporations needing yet the umpteenth tax break to create jobs: Over Two-Thirds Of Corporations Pay No Federal Corporate Income Tax

The issue of corporate tax participation has become especially pressing in recent years, as the country struggles to manage its ballooning deficits. Corporate taxes for non-financial companies have fallen more than 13 percent since 2007, according to Bloomberg. At the same time, the national debt grew to $15.23 trillion from $9.13 trillion — a number larger than the economy itself.

According to a recent analysis of nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies by the Citizens for Tax Justice, the average company was paying just 18.3 percent in taxes — a little more than half the official rate. And by using techniques like industry subsidies, stock option packages, and moving assets overseas where they can’t be taxed, 30 companies mentioned in the report — including Wells Fargo, Verizon, Boeing and General Electric — didn’t pay a cent in federal taxes in 2008, 2009 or 2010, the report found.

The phenomenon affects state income taxes as well as federal. Last month, another study from the Center for Tax Justice found that corporate tax avoidance had cost states a combined $42.7 billion between 2008 and 2010 — a period when budget shortfalls forced states to cut spending for health care, public schools and care for the elderly and disabled.

Some moderate caring Americans might still be under the impression that pointing out how much Americans suffer would move conservatives to be less predatory and uncaring. Remember back in September conservatives audiences cheered at the idea of someone down on their luck dying. Remember the Scrooge quote from a Christmas Carol about letting the poor die thus decreasing the surplus population. When conservatives read that they get all weepy eyed dreaming of the day when we roll back the safety net and start decreasing the surplus population. But hey they love zygotes.

Via Krugman,  David Atkins( writing at Digbys) address the warped world view of conservatives,

David Atkins, over at Digby’s blog, gets at what I’ve been trying to say about Romney, and more eloquently:

But watching the video clip is profoundly disturbing in a way that goes beyond just a thoughtless gaffe. James Fallows postulates that it’s because he used the word “enjoy” in the context of the act of firing someone–an act that should in no way be enjoyable for the person on either end of the pink slip, if they have any empathy.

But not even that gets at the heart of what is so wrong with Romney’s statement. It goes much deeper, to Romney’s sense of privilege, and a relationship to the world around him that is alien to most Americans and reinforces everything that is wrong with the 1% in America.

The key part of what’s off-putting about the gaffe isn’t the first part about liking to fire people, so much as the second part about “who provide services to me.” Liking to fire people is bad enough, but this is the real kicker.

When it comes to basic services like healthcare, almost no one in America sees the relationship that way. Most of us wouldn’t speak of “firing” our health insurance company. No matter how much we might detest our insurance company, we probably wouldn’t describe the experience of removing ourselves from their rolls an enjoyable one.

But most of all, we don’t see the health insurance company as providing us a service. We see ourselves, rather, as indentured supplicants forced to pay exorbitant monthly rates for a basic need that responsible people with means can’t get out of paying for if we can help it. We don’t see ourselves as in control of the relationship with them. They are in control of us–and no more so than when we get sick and need the insurance most. If the company decides to restrict our coverage or tell us we have a pre-existing condition after all, we’re in the position of begging a capricious and heartless corporation to cover costs we assumed we were entitled to based on a contractual obligation. It’s precisely when we need insurance most that we’re least able to “fire” the insurance company.

The same goes for the rent/mortgage, for the utilities, for the car, for the cell phone bill, for nearly everything.

Romney talks about paying for health insurance as if it were the same as getting a pedicure, hiring an escort or getting the fancy wax at a car wash. It’s a luxury service being provided to him, and he doesn’t like it, he can take his business elsewhere. Romney’s is the language of a man who has never wanted for anything, never worried about where his next paycheck would come from, never worried about going bankrupt if he got sick.

It is the language of an entitled empowerment utterly alien to the experience of most Americans.

Is Christie’s ‘Jersey Style’ Misogyny Helping Romney or Turning Off Voters?

On Sunday, Jan. 8., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was speaking at a Romney for President rally in New Hampshire when he was interrupted by some female hecklers. It’s difficult to make out exactly what Christie’s critics were yelling, but it’s something to do with jobs going down. Ever the class act, Christie’s response: “You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.” He then goes on to insult the women by saying that if they were from Jersey, they wouldn’t be so silly as to think that his policies don’t support job creation.

Because nothing says “Vote for Romney!” than condescendingly referring to NH females as “sweetheart”, “girls”, make thinly veiled allusions to fellatio and to cap it off, insinuate that they are not as smart as New Jersey females. Does Mittens think this shores up his “regular Joe” vote?

Obvciously the right-wing bloggers think Christe walks on water. The liberal blogespere seems to be divided over the meaning of what Christie said. Some claiming that Chrisite was being his usual jerk self, while others claiming he was implying something sexual and misogynist.  Lets see if what Chrsite says would hold up as non-sexist or especially condesending towards other women, say his mom Sondra A. (née Grasso) Christie.

Sondra Christie rises her hand: Chris I have a question about job creation in New Jersey.

Governor Christie: “You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”

I’m guessing that Sondra would slap the smug condensation right off little Chris’s face. Though that is assuming that Chris would dare talk to his mother and any other female family member that way.

MARCH ON WASHINGTON PHOTOGRAPHS – Nice slice of history courtesy the National Archives.

On August 28, 1963, a photographer working for the United States Information Agency (USIA) took a picture which has become an iconic image of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The photograph, in the holdings of the National Archives, is of a young African-American girl, holding a March on Washington banner and concentrating intently on the scene before her. The image has been reproduced countless times in history books, on calendars and most recently in the National Park Service brochure for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. Edith Lee-Payne of Detroit, Michigan, celebrated her 12th birthday by attending the March on Washington with her mother.