NY Times]: Out of Spotlight, Bush Overhauls U.S. Regulations
April 21 was an unusually violent day in Iraq; 68 people died in a car bombing in Basra, among them 23 children. As the news went from bad to worse, President Bush took a tough line, vowing to a group of journalists, ‘We’re not going to cut and run while I’m in the Oval Office.’
On the same day, deep within the turgid pages of the Federal Register, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a regulation that would forbid the public release of some data relating to unsafe motor vehicles, saying that publicizing the information would cause ‘substantial competitive harm’ to manufacturers.

It’s a long and disturbing article, chronicling part of the vast Bush Administration enterprise to dismantle a vast array of public protections built up over decades — itself completely reasonable territory for disagreement and political debate — and to do it behind the scenes, as quickly and as unnoticed as possible — which is an affront to democracy, and an act of overwhelming political cowardice. IMHO.
It’s no surprise, I’m sorry to say. I’ve long felt that the key ideological/strategic thread in the conservative initiatives of the last 20+ years has not so much been to reduce the size of government — something that Republican presidents have not done nearly as well as they’ve done at redistributing wealth upward — as it’s been to delegitimize the very notion of government as a cooperative enterprise of people to promote the general welfare. Cooperative enterprise of business is ok, but you and me and our endocrine systems — we’re ‘special interests.’
Ya got that, Joe?


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