Compassionless Conservatism?
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What is compassionless conservatism? Tax cuts for that disproportionately favor millionaires?  Deregulation that results in trading/consumer abuse in key markets such as energy ala Enron? Energy legislation (or lack thereof) that promotes environmental degradation? That everyone deserves a chance except those whose rights are denied through the Patriot Act and other restrictions on civil liberties? Making nuclear war more thinkable? Failure to support national and international health reform?  Education based standard reforms that ignore the economic and social realities of poorer communities throughout the country? Providing government grants to faith based organizations, even when those organizations actively promote  a specific religion and set of beliefs, thus blurring the distinction between church and state? Tough love that applies to the poor and middle class, but permits welfare for the wealthy? What it clearly is not is a well reasoned, principled political philosophy that can be usefully and consistently applied to addressing social ills and societal inequalities.

Whether or not the characterization above of compassionless conservatism is fair, can the actions below in any way be characterized as compassionate, except perhaps to big business and the wealthy in general?

See Also:

Bush Administration Lowers Nuclear Threshold
Bush Administration Weakens Clean Air Act
The Enron Scandal
Free Speech
George W. Bush: What's Missing?
Global Health Failure
Global Economics, Politics & the Environment
Global Warming
The First Casualty of War is Truth

White House Budget Office Thwarts EPA Warning on Asbestos-Laced Insulation

"The Environmental Protection Agency was on the verge of warning millions of Americans that their attics and walls might contain asbestos-contaminated insulation. But, at the last minute, the White House intervened, and the warning has never been issued.

The agency's refusal to share its knowledge of what is believed to be a widespread health risk has been criticized by a former EPA administrator under two Republican presidents, a Democratic U.S. senator and physicians and scientists who have treated victims of the contamination." - Andrew Schneider, St Louis Post-Dispatch

Snooping in All the Wrong Places:
Not only would the Administration's plan to centralize every American's records destroy privacy, the security payoff would be minimal

"The outrage over TIA (Total Information Awareness System) doesn't seem to have reached the President's ear, but it should. It's not too late for him to realize the folly of such a plan. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project would combine every American's bank records, tax filings, driver's license information, credit-card purchases, medical data, and phone and e-mail records into one giant centralized database. This would then be combed through for evidence of suspicious activity. Jane Black, Business Week, 12/18/2002; See also: Electronic Privacy Information Center, Total Information Awareness (TIA)

US Wrecks Cheap Drugs Deal:
Cheney's intervention blocks pact to help poor countries after pharmaceutical firms lobby White House, by Larry Elliott & Charlotte Denny, Guardian/UK

"Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, last night blocked a global deal to provide cheap drugs to poor countries, following intense lobbying of the White House by America's pharmaceutical giants.
Faced with furious opposition from all the other 140 members of the World Trade Organization, the US refused to relax global patent laws which keep the price of drugs beyond reach of most developing countries.

Talks at the WTO's Geneva headquarters collapsed last night after the White House ruled out a deal which would have permitted a full range of life-saving drugs to be imported into Africa, Asia and Latin America at cut-price costs." 


Mercury Falling: Homeland Security Act inoculates drug makers against autism lawsuits.

"When President George W. Bush signed the Homeland Security Act in the White House on Monday...three thousand miles away, Portland lawyer Mike Williams of the law firm Williams Dailey O'Leary Craine & Love rolled his eyes.

Williams represents hundreds of families who are suing pharmaceutical companies--in particular, Eli Lilly--over a mercury-based preservative [thimersol] used in some childhood vaccines. The families contend that the preservative triggered neurological damage in their children, who have been diagnosed with autism.

Last week, Williams was stunned to learn that an unknown lawmaker had slipped a last-minute rider into the Homeland Security Act, shutting down the lawsuits in the name of the war on terrorism."

"...Congressional sources say the Republican leadership must have OKed the rider. Eli Lilly, which made $1.6 million of political contributions in the last election cycle, has strong ties to the Bush administration. Bush's budget director, Mitch Daniels, formerly worked at Lilly; the company's CEO, Sidney Taurel, sits on the Presidential Homeland Security Council; and the president's father, George Bush, sat on Eli Lilly's board of directors."  

Willamette Week Online, "Mercury Falling: Homeland Security Act inoculates drug makers against autism lawsuits," by  Chris Lydgate, 11/27/02; See also: Safe Minds-Sensible Action for Ending Mercury Induced Neurological Disorders.

Finally Washington columnist Helen Thomas, in a 1/03/03 article provides a perspective on the Bush Administration's "compassionate conservatism" in the article, "Whose Side Are You On, Mr. President?." She writes:

Frist [new Republican Senate Majority Leader] also is the author of a provision in the Homeland Security bill providing liability relief to the makers of Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that recently has been added to various childhood vaccines. The provision is applicable even to pending cases and is expected to result in the dismissal of numerous ongoing cases alleging that Thimerosal has caused autism in children.

In Bush's eyes, the bogeymen, of course, are those trial lawyers.

Trial lawyers are used to being demonized and they are a favorite political target of conservatives

"...The second way to enforce consumer rights is the private lawsuit. Bush's war on the trial lawyers can only please those from the consumer-be-damned school of corporate wrongdoing. In President Bush's "compassionate conservatism," just whom does he feel compassion for?

I fear I know the answer."

EPA Eases Clean Air Requirements on Power Plants

"The Bush administration on Friday eased clean air rules to allow utilities, refineries and manufacturers to avoid having to install expensive new anti-pollution equipment when they modernize their plants.

The long-awaited regulation issued by the Environmental Protection agency was immediately attacked by environmentalists, state air quality regulators and attorneys general in several Northeast state who promised a lawsuit to try to reverse the action."

"...Vickie Patton, an attorney with Environmental Defense, said the changes amount to "a sweeping and unprecedented erosion of state and local power to protect the public health from air pollution" by thousands of power plants, oil refineries and industrial facilities.

"They're going to do everything they can not only to roll these rules back at the federal level but to force states to dismantle clean air programs that have been in place for years," she said."
- John Heilprin, Washington Post, 11/22/02

Oppose Demands for Federal Immunity from Laws on Abortion Access!

"On September 25, the House of Representatives passed legislation, by a vote of 229 to 189, that would allow health care entities to refuse to provide abortion services or give information regarding those services."

"This measure is nothing less than a broad and dangerous federal "refusal clause." Sometimes called "conscience clauses," refusal clauses permit a person or entity to refuse to provide abortion and information about abortion services. Although proponents have misleadingly characterized this bill as a "clarification" of existing law, it would in fact radically alter existing law by providing broad license for health care entities -- from hospitals to insurance companies to HMOs -- to avoid basic legal requirements imposed by all levels of government." - ACLU, 10/7/02.


Climate Action Report 2002:
The United States of America's Third National Communication Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

"Philip Clapp, president of the Washington, DC based group National Environmental Trust, said today this study "undercuts everything President Bush has said about global warming since he took office. He has denied global warming exists, claiming scientific uncertainty justified doing nothing to stop the problem. Now a report from his own administration says global warming is real and will have real impacts on America." - Environment News Service, 6/3/02. Yet despite the recognized threat- the administration will not embrace Kyoto and is failing to take substantive and decisive action. This represents public policy at its absolute worst.


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