mess to clean up
by Jim Hightower
Watching the Bush Administration in its final few months is like watching one of those scenes in a submarine disaster movie when the aa-oogah horn blows and crew members rush every which way to jerry-rig pipelines, crank balky machinery, twist gages and fire torpedoes as the captain barks orders.
In agency after agency, the Bush-Cheney crew is scrambling in similar fashion — frantically diverting, manipulating and generally rigging our governmental systems to deliver benefits to narrow corporate interests. From environmental agencies to the Pentagon, Bushites are rushing through new rules, executive reorganizations, and convoluted procedures designed to lock-in pro-corporate policies and tie the hands of the next administration.
The latest submarine effort comes from the Justice Department, which has issued a 215-page "policy guidance" paper for future anti-trust regulators. The very idea that this bunch would offer anything in the public interest is ludicrous, since the Bush crew never met a corporate monopolist it wouldn't hug. In fact, in Bush's eight-year reign, his Justice Department has filed exactly one case charging anti-competitive practices. One! And, of course, that one was not against such big monopolistic predators as Wal-Mart, but instead was a small potatoes case involving a West Virginia newspaper.
So, we need not be surprised that the new policy they've put forward is one to protect monopolists, not consumers or competitors. In fact, the policy is so unbalanced that even the Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step of blasting it, calling it "a blueprint for radically weakened (anti-trust) enforcement" that will allow monopolies to act "with impunity."
They say the worst job in the circus is cleaning up after the elephants. Here's another Bush mess that's going to have to be cleaned up.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown— visit www.jimhightower.com
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