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Compassion, But Only When Cameras Are On

by Dave Lindorff Monday, Sep. 12, 2005 at 12:10 AM
dlindorff@yahoo.com

Congress is temporarily softening the bankruptcy bill and postponing Medicaid cuts, afraid to look mean to Katrina survivors, but when the waters have subsided, they’ll go back to screwing the poor as usual.

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 cancelling the bankruptcy bill, which is a conservative and banker's wet dream long in coming. And they aren't cancelling 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 destoyed 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 hurrican 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.

For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .

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