Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Wrecking Crew Goes Into Overdrive

If you're anxious about how tonight's vote is going to turn out, relax. Just take a look at George Bush and Dick Cheney and their malevolent shenanigans. There's your answer.

George Bush and Dick Cheney know that John McCain is toast. They know the Great Scam has run its course, that the Reagan Revolution is coming to an inglorious end.

Consider this. What do tyrants do when they're forced to surrender their office to someone not of their choosing? One thing that's common is to loot the treasury. Another is to start acting for the benefit of a few even when that's at the detriment of their people. Yet another is to adopt a "scorched earth" policy of destruction, to destroy or weaken what their successor will inherit.

Now, if Bush and Cheney really believed the Republicans weren't about to be run out of the White House and lose control of the Congress, they wouldn't be doing exactly what they're so furiously doing now. They wouldn't be leaving a minefield for John McCain if they even remotely believed he would win.

They have effectively looted the American treasury just not in the conventional way. They have ruthlessly exploited America's financial strength for decades to come to benefit what Bush called his base, "the haves and the have mores." That's what his tax cuts for the rich were all about. That's what his administration's apparently untied cash infusion into the banks was all about. With each step they have driven America down, sapped its strength.

But wait, there's more. Right now, with votes still being cast, they're indulging in an orgy of deregulation that will leave a deep scar on their country and an enormous headache for the incoming Democratic government. It's what the New York Times calls Bush's "wrecking ball":

Here is a look — by no means comprehensive — at some of Mr. Bush’s recent parting gifts and those we fear are yet to come.

Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey rushed out new guidelines for the F.B.I. that permit agents to use chillingly intrusive techniques to collect information on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Mr. Bush, or more to the point, Vice President Dick Cheney, came to office determined to dismantle Bill Clinton’s environmental legacy, undo decades of environmental law and keep their friends in industry happy.

Mr. Bush’s secretary of the interior, Dirk Kempthorne, has recently carved out significant exceptions to regulations requiring expert scientific review of any federal project that might harm endangered or threatened species (one consequence will be to relieve the agency of the need to assess the impact of global warming on at-risk species). The department also is rushing to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list — again.

In coming weeks, we expect the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a final rule that would weaken a program created by the Clean Air Act, which requires utilities to install modern pollution controls when they upgrade their plants to produce more power.

Interior also is awaiting E.P.A.’s concurrence on a proposal that would make it easier for mining companies to dump toxic mine wastes in valleys and streams.

Soon after the election, Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, is expected to issue new regulations aimed at further limiting women’s access to abortion, contraceptives and information about their reproductive health care options.

These changes would extend the so-called right to refuse to a wide range of health care workers and activities including abortion referrals, unbiased counseling and provision of birth control pills or emergency contraception, even for rape victims.

In late September, the I.R.S. restored tax breaks for banks that take big losses on bad loans inherited through acquisitions. Now we learn that JPMorgan Chase and others are planning to use their bailout funds for mergers and acquisitions, transactions that will be greatly enhanced by the new tax subsidy.

Not mentioned in the Times editorial is a proposal to deregulate the shipping industry by freeing them from some requirements concerning security for containers arriving in American ports. And then there's the greatest treachery of all - the Bush regime's steadfast refusal to force chemical companies, many of which are located within densely populated areas, to secure their tank farms against terrorist attack.

This is a government that has now openly turned on its own people, a regime that will deeply harm its own country to benefit a few powerful friends. Is that treason or just treachery?

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