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?
Administration Lowers Nuclear Threshold
Bush Administration Weakens
Clean Air Act
The Enron Scandal
George W. Bush: What's Missing?
Global Health Failure
Global Economics, Politics & the Environment
The First Casualty
of War is Truth
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
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
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
"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)
Wrecks Cheap Drugs Deal:
Cheney's intervention blocks pact to help poor countries after
pharmaceutical firms lobby White House, by Larry Elliott & Charlotte Denny,
"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
Falling: Homeland Security Act inoculates drug makers against autism
"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
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
"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
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." -
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