Sunday, November 02, 2008

While we’re sleeping

In case you missed it, amid all the attention given to the US elections, the Bush-Cheney regime has been working feverishly in secret to cement their neoconservative agenda of advancing the power of big business while suppressing the rights of, and protections for, ordinary Americans.

Back in July, I wrote about how the Bush-Cheney regime was secretly working to push through changes to regulations, removing workers protections from toxic chemicals, among other things. By finalising new regulaltions, they'd make it extremely difficult for the new president to change them. To do so, he'd have to begin the review process all over again, a process that can take many months, during which the Bush-Cheney regulations would remain in force. This could mean that the Bush-Cheney regulations would frustrate any plans at regulatory reform by the new president, thus cementing-in Bush-Cheney's hands-off regulation scheme for months or possibly years after they're out of office..

Well, they’re still at it.

The Washington Post reports that the regime is rushing to remove more regulations, including ones protecting consumers and the environment:

The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.

Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining.

Defending the hurried regulation changes, the Bush-Cheney regime’s spokesman, Tony Fratto, said: "This administration has taken extraordinary measures to avoid rushing regulations at the end of the term. And yes, we'd prefer our regulations stand for a very long time—they're well reasoned and are being considered with the best interests of the nation in mind."

He’s lying. The whole point is to rush them through while both the country and Congress are preoccupied so they can try and cement their neoconservative agenda. And, “best interests of big business” is more like it.

Republican apologists often say this behaviour is common for a departing president, that Bill Clinton “did the same thing.” Well, sort of. As the Post reports, after its installation in January 2001, “Bush's team was able to withdraw 254 regulations that covered such matters as drug and airline safety, immigration and indoor air pollutants. After further review, many of the proposals were modified to reflect Republican policy ideals or scrapped altogether.” They were able to do so because the Clinton Administration never completed the regulation changes before Bush-Cheney took over. With typical arrogance and determination to avoid oversight, the Bush-Cheney regime is rushing to make sure the new president won’t be able to do the same thing to them.

Add this to infinite list of reasons why this administration cannot end quickly enough.

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