By Ruth Conniff
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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.