Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bush's Final Insults

The hotly-contested presidential campaign is sucking all of the attention-oxygen from the public discourse.

And The Decider is taking full advantage of the electorates' distraction.... rushing to fill the vacuum with goodies for his corporate buddies and more power for the executive.

Ponder this.... in the entire history of the United States, all presidents combined have signed about 600 executive orders. Those are statements made at signing saying that the executive will not comply with.... or enforce.... certain provisions of laws passed by Congress with which they disagree.

I-decide-what's-law George has used the executive order signing statements to assert a right to bypass sections of laws.... are you ready for this.... a staggering 1,100 times. Double the amount of all of the executive orders of all the presidents who preceded him!

Just last Tuesday, Bush asserted "that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills he was signing: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control.' (NY Times)

The Decider challenged four sections in the authorization bill, one challenge would enable the U.S. to exercise control over Iraq oil resources. We're leaving when....

In the other bill, Bush challenged two sections that strengthen legal protections against political interference with the internal watchdog officials at each executive agency. Bush challenged the inspector general's right to counsels who report directly to them. Instead, such lawyers would be bound to follow the legal interpretations of the politically appointed counsel at each agency.... leaving the agencies the unfettered freedom to exercise their will, public good be damned.

While the White House defends The Decider's actions, the American Bar Association called executive orders "contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers."

The Bush administration is flexing their will in other ways while the presidential campaign in the center ring entertains and distracts.

For example, as Tom Kenworthy laments today in "Saving the Desert Southwest," (WaPo) .... "as Bush prepares to leave office, the administration is working quickly to hand over much of southern Utah to the oil and gas industry and off-road-vehicle enthusiasts."

In less than two months this summer, the federal Bureau of Land Management released six new proposals for managing 11 million acres of public land in Utah.... 80 percent of some of the Southwest's most spectacular treasures will be open to oil and gas development.

And this gift to Bush and Cheney's oil buddies is just the tip of The Decider's "Last-Minute Mischief." (NYTimes)

Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, is trying to revoke the rule that gives Congress and the interior secretary emergency powers to protect public lands when commercial development seems to pose immediate dangers.

Kempthorne decided on this move after members of the House Natural Resources Committee ordered him to withdraw about 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining claims to give officials time to assess potential damage to the air and water.

Kempthorne not only refused to obey the committee’s order, but proposed to rescind the departmental rule requiring him to obey it. The public has been given 15 days to comment, after which Kempthorne will be free to jettison the rule.

And, it's not just the environment under attack. Labor protection laws are in the Bush administration's mischief-making cross hairs.

In "Last-Minute Mischief for Labor," the New York Times finds that "under the Bush administration, the Department of Labor has shirked its responsibility to upgrade workplace safety. In seven years, it has issued but one major rule change protecting workers against a chemical toxin — and that was forced on it by court order.

"Now, it’s taken a giant step beyond benign neglect. Political appointees at the agency have been discovered in a rush to duck public disclosure and jimmy into place a pro-industry rule making it more difficult to limit workers’ exposure to poisonous chemicals."

It’s pathetic to discover Bush's agencies investing their closing months on one more sop to industry. It signals that the regulatory mess facing the next president continues to grow, since the stealth games at Labor are likely being duplicated in other agencies.

The next president must not be another George Bush. Another corporations first, trickle-up ravaging of our country. Must not be another arrogant good ol' boy administration..... tilted to the interests of oil and run by lobbyists.... like McSame's campaign.

November 4. Vote. It matters!

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