BREAKING: Bush Opposes Taxing the Rich

What a surprise.  George Bush wants all the tax breaks to stay in place for the 1%.  “Leave capital in the treasuries of the job creators,”  he says in the article linked below.  Here’s a concept:  what about letting the middle class be job creators?  What about helping small businesspeople feel economically strong enough to expand and carry out a plan that would involve employing other people?  That would mean the wealthy paying a little more in taxes so that the middle class could see some relief.  The Buffet Rule legislation could move us in that direction.  But first, a word from our primary sponsor of the Great Recession:  Bush wishes his name wasn’t attached to tax cuts – Apr. 10, 2012.

Loving Tough Guys

George Bush loved tough guys, like Dirty Harry and Richard Carmona, his swashbuckling surgeon general. He almost put Bernard Kerik in charge of Homeland Security. Wouldn’t we feel secure then?

Unfortunately there was a nanny problem, a minor oversight about immigration status. Then there were other problems, and Kerik was out on bail fighting conspiracy and fraud charges. He just got his bail revoked…

Before revoking the bail of Mr. Kerik, Judge Robinson described him as a “toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance, and I fear that combination leads him to believe his ends justify his means.”

“He sees the court’s rulings as an inconvenience,” Judge Robinson said, “something to be ignored, and an obstacle to be circumvented.”

He might have been another J.Edgar Hoover. Security level florescent orange, security level panic green, security level psychedelic. Close the borders and send those nannies home.

George W. loved tough guys, especially if they were team players who knew how to go with the program.

Just Wondering… (for May 26, 2008)

• …how President Bush and Senator McCain can in good conscience honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this nation (including the 4,082 American service members killed in the Iraq War) and yet continue to oppose a new GI Bill that has strong bipartisan support.

• …why the United States maintains the unusual practice of allowing the electorate to decide who should dispense justice (“87 percent of all state court judges face elections, and 39 states elect at least some of their judges”), despite concerns that “you’re not going to get fair and impartial judges that way.”

• …what it says about the United States and the policies and priorities of our so-called leaders that we were recently ranked an embarrassing 97th out of 140 nations on the Global Peace Index (edging out Iran and Yemen but falling short of Rwanda, Syria, and China).

• …whether Barack Obama might consider selecting a South American pack animal carrying a large Hostess snack cake as a running mate, just to give Americans the entertaining option of voting for a ticket of Obama Llama Ding Dong in November. (Hey, it’s just a thought.)

Bush-League Plays

Two hundred and forty-six days. Thirty-five weeks from tomorrow. That’s how much longer this nation must endure the reign of King George and await the term of a new President. Let’s hope that whoever swears to faithfully execute that office and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution actually honors that solemn pledge. Let’s also hope that they promptly begin to undo the rampant damage wrought by George and his minions. Part of that enormous task will involve changing the partisan and reactionary culture that has spread throughout the corridors of government like the rising waters of Lake Pontchartrain. Only until those waters are permitted to recede will the full extent of the destruction and disarray inflicted upon this nation by Hurricane George become truly evident. Only then will the abuses of power and privilege begin to abate. Or so I hope.

For now, the Bush-league policies and practices persist. Just in the last week, this nation was rudely greeted with news of abuses by immigration and customs agents, who appear to have taken the works of Kafka and Orwell a tad too literally. (Or perhaps the Department of Homeland Security has taken to borrowing a page or two from the Gestapo Field Manual.) When I read of such dehumanizing tactics, I feel overwhelmed with dismay and disappointment. Rather than feeling proud of my country, I feel embarrassed and ashamed. And rather than counting on those elected and appointed to serve the general welfare, I find myself counting the days until their reign has ceased. How sad is that? And how sad are the following news reports?

From the Washington Post:

Some Detainees Are Drugged For Deportation

The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government’s forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the “pre-flight cocktail,” as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

“Unsteady gait. Fell onto tarmac,” says a medical note on the deportation of a 38-year-old woman to Costa Rica in late spring 2005. Another detainee was “dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose,” according to an airline crew member’s written account. Repeatedly, documents describe immigration guards “taking down” a reluctant deportee to be tranquilized before heading to an airport.

In a Chicago holding cell early one evening in February 2006, five guards piled on top of a 49-year-old man who was angry he was going back to Ecuador, according to a nurse’s account in his deportation file. As they pinned him down so the nurse could punch a needle through his coveralls into his right buttock, one officer stood over him menacingly and taunted, “Nighty-night.”

Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 — the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security’s new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.

Federal officials have seldom acknowledged publicly that they sedate people for deportation. The few times officials have spoken of the practice, they have understated it, portraying sedation as rare and “an act of last resort.” Neither is true, records and interviews indicate. [full text]

From the New York Times:

Italian’s Detention Illustrates Dangers Foreign Visitors Face

He was a carefree Italian with a recent law degree from a Roman university. She was “a totally Virginia girl,� as she puts it, raised across the road from George Washington’s home. Their romance, sparked by a 2006 meeting in a supermarket in Rome, soon brought the Italian, Domenico Salerno, on frequent visits to Alexandria, Va., where he was welcomed like a favorite son by the parents and neighbors of his girlfriend, Caitlin Cooper.

But on April 29, when Mr. Salerno, 35, presented his passport at Washington Dulles International Airport, a Customs and Border Protection agent refused to let him into the United States. And after hours of questioning, agents would not let him travel back to Rome, either; over his protests in fractured English, he said, they insisted that he had expressed a fear of returning to Italy and had asked for asylum.

Ms. Cooper, 23, who had promised to show her boyfriend another side of her country on this visit — meaning Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon — eventually learned that he had been sent in shackles to a rural Virginia jail. And there he remained for more than 10 days, locked up without charges or legal recourse while Ms. Cooper, her parents and their well-connected neighbors tried everything to get him out. [full text]

Just Wondering…

• …whether Hillary Clinton will be even more determined to stay in the presidential race after witnessing what happened to the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

• …how a nation that owes its success and vibrancy to immigrants can be so indifferent or cruel to immigrants, even to the point of dismissing their deaths while in U.S. custody.

• …what’s the point of having health insurance, if we’re all increasingly stuck with “higher premiums, less extensive coverage, and bigger out-of-pocket deductibles and co-payments.”

• …whether President Bush’s recent cameo appearance on the TV game show, “Deal Or No Deal,” will lead to similar appearances on shows such as “Big Brother” or “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”

Diplomatic Dress

While noting the excitement over a photo of Barack Obama in traditional Somalian garb, I recalled that somehow, somewhere, I had seen a picture of President Bush wearing a lovely blue silk tunic and a strained smile.

Donning the costume over his suit for the obligatory “family photograph� alongside 20 other leaders of Asian and Pacific nations, Mr Bush grimaced repeatedly and shifted from foot to foot, a portrait of embarrassment in turquoise blue brocade with yellow trim.

For the rest of the article from The Guardian, and the photo, go here. And even better, YouTube has a video of George, Laura, Hillary, Condoleeza, and others showing off the local fashions on their various goodwill tours. All the news photos you’ve seen over the years strung together. I especially like the president in large polka dots, it becomes him.

Alien Nation

It’s the pre-dawn, a light snow is falling, I’m all caffeinated and I have to be at work soon. No time to put it all together, so I throw out the things that wake me up early.

I’m wondering about the half dozen people who picketed Michelle Obama’s campaign appearance at CCRI this week with signs that said, ‘Stop Illegal Immigration’. Were they with the man who held the Ron Paul sign?

I’m thinking of a post I want to start called, ‘Why Don’t They Just Learn English?’ I see some of my elderly clients struggle, and partly succeed, or give up and accept a kind of segregation. It’s definitely harder when a person is old. Add a stroke, or trauma, and sometimes it’s not possible. But just throwing it out as a question, what are the barriers? Have any of our readers learned English as a second language? Want to comment?

A friend wrote a letter to the ProJo in defense of immigrants and received hate mail at his home.

We the taxpayers are funding a Great Wall of Texas. When Pres. George Bush first took office it actually looked like he was going to talk with Pres. Vincente Fox of Mexico and address the problem of the joblessness that drives people over the border in the first place. After Pres. Fox refused to join the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ things got frosty. Wouldn’t it be cheaper, and saner, for our next president to re-open communications and build a legal temporary worker system that is safe and open? Also, I’m worried about the Canadians. They’re so quiet. They must be up to something.

Lani Guinier’s remarks about ‘demonizing’ those we disagree with have a synchronicity with a number of articles about the revival of exorcism in the Catholic Church. What’s up with this? As an ex-Catholic, and a former Pentecostal, I could tell a few stories about exorcism. Been there, done that. Is this all part of a new wave of xenophobia? Has WWII taught us nothing?

Finally, for no particular reason, a heartwarming story, sort of…

Walter Adler was touched that Hassan Askari jumped to his aid while a group of thugs allegedly pummeled and taunted him and his three friends. So Adler has invited his new friend over to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

The two new pals – Adler, 23, with a broken nose and a fat lip, and Askari, 20, with two black eyes – broke bread together and laughed off the bruises the night after the fisticuffs.

“A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah – that’s a miracle,” said Adler, an honors student at Hunter College.

“He’s basically a hero. Hassan jumped in to help us.”

It all began when Adler, his girlfriend, Maria Parsheva, and two other pals boarded the subway at Canal Street bound for Brooklyn and someone in another group wished them “Merry Christmas.”

Adler and his pal Angelica Krischanovich responded: “Happy Hanukkah.”

Apparently, those were fighting words.

“They just came at us so fast. The first thing that came into my mind was, ‘Yeah, this is going to be violent,’ ” said Parsheva, 20.

Ten people were arrested in the underground attack on Friday night – including two men who have been arrested for race crimes before.

I saw a patient this week. She came here from Russia, she struggles with English, but she managed to say these words, “Thank you, America.� Crazy as we all are, I’d rather live here than anywhere else in the world.