Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Bush's "Unhealthy" Power Grab....
With their usual stealth, last January the Bush administration issued an executive order "effectively rewriting the playbook" on who will write the rules on health and safety issues.... a power historically delegated by Congress to executive departments, with more specific directions from presidential executive orders.
Ever looking for ways to expand his death-grip on governmental power, Bush's order, which is to take effect a week from today, would require agencies to consider free-market solutions to problems before issuing rules, limits agencies' practice of issuing informal guidelines and calls for "regulatory policy officers," who must be presidential appointees, be given authority to set an agency's agenda.
Although initially resisting this executive order by threatening to kill the funding, the Democratic-controlled Senate committee caved to the demands of lobbyists of "64 trade groups".... who know The Decider's appointees will shield them from costly environmental and safety rules.... and dropped the effort to deny funding.
In other words, the Senate meekly handed the White House more of their checks-and-balances power.
However, Democrats in the House did vote last month not to fund the executive order.... although Bush has "threatened to veto any bill that blocks financing."
So, as reported in "Fighting for the Right to the Rules," (WaPo) the health and safety of the nation has lost again.
Just as the political officers appointed by the Bush administration muzzled the Surgeon General and NASA scientists on issues like stem cell research, safe sex practices and global warming.... they now want to extend this control and "give the White House unaccountable power over the agencies."
In effect, it guts the agencies power to do their job, and puts all power into the hands of a political appointee, and we know how much expertise the friends of George bring to the job.... look at Iraq, look at New Orleans, look at Homeland Security... and look at agencies overseeing food safety.
The Decider isn't alone in his irresponsibility toward protecting the health and safety of the public, Congress is also complicit. The ability of the FDA to make the inspections vital to determining the safety of imported seafood is dangerously, even criminally, inadequate.... "Catfish With a Side of Scombroid." (NY Times)
Yes, the FDA is rejecting imported seafood.... claw crab meat from Indonesia because of filth such as rodent hairs or parts of disease-carrying insects; shrimp from Thailand because of salmonella; tuna from Vietnam because of histamines responsible for scombroid poisoning and many veterinary drugs. In just May alone, 48 seafood shipments from China were rejected.
So, they're inspecting almost everything.... right?
Currently a mere 1.34 percent of seafood imports were physically inspected by the FDA because of a bare bones budget... and this year Congress has cut that inspection budget to ZERO!
This dangerous situation is what you get when your leaders make deep tax cuts, and then throw money at the disastrous Iraq war, good ol' boy earmarks, pet agendas and amoral corporations interested only in their bottom line.
But, you CAN once again swamp the switchboards with calls telling your representatives to uphold the House vote to curb The Decider's political appointee powers within the agencies and support the legislation to deny funding for his executive order... and to fund the FDA food safety oversight agencies!
Otherwise, the White House, which in the last years has become the enemy of the well being of its citizens, grows more powerful while daily we become at more deadly risk.