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Compassion for the Camera

 

The Republican Congress (and their conservative Democratic quislings) have decided to show a little compassion for the victims of Bush Administration incompetence and nature’s revenge by including a waiver in the bankruptcy bill to exempt them from losing their shirts along with their houses. They’ve also decided to postpone cuts in Medicaid, so as not to gut what little public healthcare remains in Louisiana during this crisis.

Notice, though, that they’re only doing this for the tragic victims who are filling prime time TV screens. They aren’t canceling the bankruptcy bill, which is a conservative and banker’s wet dream long in coming. And they aren’t canceling plans for slashing Medicaid…just postponing them.

This isn’t compassion. This is covering your ass while people are upset about a national tragedy.

After all, why would the person whose house was destroyed by a tornado, or an overflowing creek, or who lost a job because her or his company had decided to move operations to Mexico or China, be any less deserving of bankruptcy protection than someone who was made homeless and/or jobless by a hurricane with a given name? Why should a poor person in New York City or Tonopah, Nevada without resources or insurance have to endure cuts in Medicaid assistance while a victim of the winds and flooding form Katrina in New Orleans or Mississippi is given such help? There is no reason, of course. It’s all about the politicians looking good while the reporters in the corporate media temporarily pay attention to the suffering in the midst of American plenty.

Once this crisis has passed, as it eventually will, and once the media have moved on to the next celebrity scandal, these political shysters and image mavens will be back to screwing the poor and the working class again in the interests of their corporate patrons. When nobody’s looking at the suffering that is caused by Congress’s actions, the bankruptcy bill will put hundreds of thousands of unfortunate families into permanent peonage, and the Medicaid cuts will consign millions to third-rate or no medical care.

Unless we start demanding better news coverage, and unless we vote the bastards out next year.

By the way, here’s a thought to ponder:

According to a recent poll, one in five Americans, or 20 percent of the adult population, believes that the sun revolves around the earth. At latest count, only 38 percent of the American public supports President bush. Assuming-and I think this is a reasonable assumption to make-that all of those who believe the biblical notion of geocentricism vote Republican, this would mean that more than half of little bush’s backers-52. 7% to be exact-don’t even know that the earth orbits the sun. The most powerful nation on earth, that is to say, is being run, at least indirectly, by a bunch of total yahoos, and a fair number of them are in policy making positions in Washington these days. Now don’t you feel better? No wonder they’ve made such a hash of it in Louisiana.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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