A Tax Backgrounder: The Bush Tax Time-Bomb

· dKo journal

Just a bit of a “backgrounder” on a looming Republican political crisis:
Even if the Democrats continue to fail to come up with a vision of their own, the key Bush tax cuts have always had built into them a “time-bomb,” which is bound to do heavy damage to the Republicans in congress. It is hard to see how more than a year or two can go by before the issue comes politically front and center.
In the Bush scheme, two competing priorities were “Left Till Later.” Later is getting to be be Now.
1. The key cuts for the wealthy were passed with short life spans. That allowed for headline numbers on ten- year budget projections that were relatively more digestible, because they could count these cuts as being in effect for only about five of the ten years.
2. The Alternative Minimum Tax, established years ago so that the wealthy, even if their tax favors would normally wipe out all their taxes, would have to pay at least a (differently calculated) Minimum Tax.
The level at which this kicks in was not “indexed” to rise with inflation. So each year it affects, in addition to the Wealthy, more and more of the Very-Well-to-Do.
It is indispensable to the Republicans that the Wealthy and the Very-Well-to-Do have common interests in their respective levels of privilege. But the total budget will not sustain both. So there is going to have to be a trade-off, a choice, a schism: Either make the key cuts “permanent” or raise the ever-declining–and broadening–level where the Minimum tax kicks in.
So now we get to see how this unfolds. I think it’s going to be fairly traumatic for the GOP.

What If This Had Been a New Pill Made by Bayer?

· dKo journal

And what if, among a huge proportion of the at-risk population, this new pill made people 23 percent less likely to die from any cause…30 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 49 percent less likely to die from cancer? What if it were devoid of side-effects? And immediately available? One of the best ways to take care of people who suffer cancer is through Home Care Assistance.
I know you can’t compare the whole extended FDA process with a report, even from a respectable journal. And I know that preliminary studies are preliminary. Nevertheless, even at this stage, the buzz should be tremendous. The stock market should be atwitter. And many millions should be redeployed for competitive research, based on the potential profits from the patent.
But there is no Bayer here, no pill, no patent, no millions. And, so far, no buzz!
Well, let’s see what follow up we hear from this on the news. Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from the story. The boldface is mine.
Meditation…Lengthens Life
SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, May 2, 2005.
Increasing evidence suggests that transcendental meditation may not only reduce stress, but also may help adults with high blood pressure to live longer, according to a new study. “There are many non-drug techniques for reducing blood pressure, but none…extend life,” study author Dr. Robert H. Schneider….
Transcendental meditation is a technique…to allow individuals to enter a state of “restful alertness,” in which the body is awake but the mind is not engaged in conscious thought….
The new report, published in this month’s American Journal of Cardiology, is based on a review of data from two studies that….included 202 men and women, about 72 years old on average, who had pre-hypertension or mild hypertension. They were assigned to a transcendental meditation group, or to various comparison groups of other relaxation techniques.
Participants in the two studies were followed for about eight years on average — a maximum of nearly 19 years — during which 101 individuals died.
Overall, men and women who practiced transcendental meditation…were also 23 percent less likely to die from any cause,…30 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 49 percent less likely to die from cancer.
The “integrated holistic” transcendental meditation technique does not have any harmful side effects, Schneider said.
Schneider is the director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The Odds Are Looking Up

· dKo journal

“People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting today.” NYT, 4/20/2005
–I think anything below 100% would be a breakthrough.

I Want These Officers to Live in Terror of the Truth

· dKo journal

NYT, 4/11/05 (My italics.)
“…the arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue. ‘We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed,’ the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. ‘I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own.’
“…But one day after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges. During a recess, the defense had brought….A videotape…[that] showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints…”
——————-
I want this officer to see years of hard prison time. How much felonious perjury is laid out right here in these paragraphs? How much casual impunity does it imply? A subculture of police-perjury, of life-threatening and career-ending lies by police against innocents arbitrarily accused.
Ironically, this is where hard-line penal deterrence can really change the way the world works–far more effectively than punishment of the destitute and drug-addicted, where deterrence can make a sadly minimal difference to the actual prospects of people’s already wounded lives.
Police-perjury is manifestly epidemic in America. To return to the NYT article, as a small indication of the scale:
“For Mr. Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors.”
————
Little Brother is watching them, and we must all be Little Brother to helpless people who are accused falsely of crimes.

Caution: A Joke to Make Your Head Spin!

· dKo journal

Based on results of the latest brain-imaging technologies, it turns out the right side of the brain does not control the left side of the body and vice versa.
It only seems that way because, inside the brain-case within the scull, the brain is actually facing backwards! (No fool, that brain.)