By Matthew Rothschild on August 18, 2008

Bush has vowed to sprint through the final five months of his Administration, and you better believe him.

Because he is pulling all the bureaucratic levers in the Executive Branch to advance his rightwing agenda.

Unable to accomplish his goals legislatively, Bush is trying to get them done by fiat.

If you look at proposed regulatory changes at the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Interior, and the Justice Department you get a sense of how vast this hustle is.

“Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush Administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers’ on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins,” The Washington Post reported last month.

The Department of Labor is not exactly making the safety of workers a priority. As the Post reported, this change “would address longstanding complaints from business.”

The Bush Administration was trying to sneak this one through. “The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices,” the Post reported.

The proposed change at the Department of Health would redefine some kinds of contraception as abortion, even contraception before implantation. Hospitals that offered such contraception would forfeit federal aid. They would also forfeit the aid if they refused to hire health professionals who opposed abortion or birth control. This regulatory change “could also undermine state laws that require hospitals to prove emergency contraception to rape victims,” according to womensenews.

At the Department of the Interior, the Bush Administration is going after the Endangered Species Act. It has published a proposed regulatory change in the Federal Register that would, as the New York Times noted, “eliminate the requirement for independent scientific reviews of any project that could harm an endangered species living on federal land.”

We already knew the Bush Administration was anti-science, but this is just further proof.

And the Bush apparatchiks over at the Justice Department published a proposed regulatory change in the Federal Register on July 31 that would wipe out just about every restriction on the sharing of intelligence information about U.S. citizens who are being spied upon.

The old regulations, still in place, were designed to protect “the privacy and constitutional rights of individuals,” says the statute that brought the regulations into being.

But now those rights would be as to nothing compared with the demands of the authoritarian state.

Today, the most important publication in America is the Federal Register.

That’s where Bush has to publish his intentions to alter federal regulations.

And his intentions, by now, are all too clear.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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