Following up from this previous post, here are more disastrous Presidential directives being enacted by outgoing President Bush The Incompetent (emphasis added):
1) The Dept. of Labor proposed a regulation Aug. 30 that changes how workplace safety standards are met. Labor experts contend that the administration, which previously issued only one new workplace safety standard and that under court order, is trying to make it a bureaucratic nightmare for future administrations to make workplace safety rules.
Here’s what it would do:
Currently, if the Occupational Safety and Health Admin. or the Mine Health and Safety Admin. want to introduce a new safety standard on, say, the level of exposure to toxic chemicals, it issues what is called a notice of proposed rule-making. This notice is published in the Federal Register and then debated by labor, business and relevant federal agencies.
The new regulation would add an “advanced notice of proposed rule-making,” meaning OSHA and MSHA would have prove that, say, the said chemical was seriously harming workers.
This would open the door for industry to challenge the validity of the risk assessment and then, if necessary, the actual safety standard that may come from that risk assessment.
“The purpose of this sort of rule is to require agencies to spend more time on a regulation which gives them less of a chance to actually regulate,” said David Michaels, a professor of workplace safety at George Washington University, “You’re adding at least a year, maybe two years, to the process.”
The regulation has not been finalized.
2) The administration proposed a rule that changes the employer-employee relationship laid out in the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act.
Here’s what it would do:
The Family and Medical Leave Act says that employers must give their workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they are sick or need to take care of a family member or newborn. The employer’s health-care staff can check the legitimacy of the family or medical leave claim with the employee’s doctor or health-care provider.
The proposed regulation would allow the employer to directly speak with the employee’s doctor or health-care provider. The employer could also ask employees to provide more medical documentation of their conditions.
Why such a rule — which may threaten an employee’s privacy– is needed is unclear. The only study the Labor Dept. has done on the act was in 2000. The department collected comments from employers before issuing the proposed regulation, but a report analyzing the comments was never issued.
The regulation also would gives employees the right to waive their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, making it the first national labor law to be optional. A worker, for instance, cannot waive his right to earn a minimum wage or get paid more for overtime.
The regulation was finalized on Election Day.
3) The Dept. of Health and Human Services proposed a rule Sept. 26 that would expand the reasons that physicians or health care entities could decline to provide any procedure to include moral and religious grounds. The language of the regulation says the department hopes to correct “an attitude toward the health-care profession that health-care professionals and institutions should be required to provide or assist in the provision of medicine or procedures to which they object, or else risk being subjected to discrimination.”
Here’s what it would do:
The rule change seems to apply to abortion. But they are already several rules that say physicians or health-care entities can deny an abortion request. Some women’s health advocates contend that the proposed regulation’s broad language is meant to increase the number of physicians who not only don’t provide abortions but don’t provide contraception.
“Contraception is certainly the target of this rule,” contends Marylin Keefe, director for Reproductive Health at the National Partnership for Women and Families. “The moral and religious objections of health-care workers are now starting to take precedence over patients.”
The regulation is notable for another reason. A rule involving an employee’s religious rights must be referred to the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, yet the commission was never told of this proposed regulation.
A bureaucratic battled erupted when EEOC’s legal counsel, Reed Russell, wrote a regulation comment (pdf) blasting both the substance of the proposed rule and its disregard for the rule-making process.
The regulation has not been finalized.
4) On July 31, the Justice Dept. proposed a regulation that would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to collect “intelligence” information on individuals and organizations even if the information is unrelated to a criminal matter.
“This is a continuum that started back on 9/11 to reform law enforcement and the intelligence community to focus on the terrorism threat,” said Bush homeland security adviser Kenneth L. Wainstein in a statement.
Critics say it could infringe on civil liberties.
Here’s what it would do:
“It expands local law enforcement’s ability to investigate criminal activity that it deems suspicious,” said Melberth of OMB Watch. “But what’s suspicious to you may not be suspicious to me. They could be investigating community organizations they think are two or three steps away from a terrorist group.”
The regulation has not been finalized.(Read also this, if you will)
All of the above bring me back to the following other previous posts:
U.S. Bailouts = Bush's Final Pillage?
North American Security State: I Told You So ...
Reloaded: Do You Hear The Jackboots Coming To Town?
Oligarchy And The Idiots Who Rule Us
Got Protest? Lose All That You Own - Including Your Rights
Shhhhh ... Don't Speak, Don't Say A Word ...
Marching Straight Towards Authoritarianism
This Is How A "Soft" Dictatorship Works
Domestic Spying Abuse: You Were Warned
Can You Hear Jackboots Thundering On The Horizon?
While No One Was Paying Attention ...
Security, Hallowed Be Thy Name And Dominion
On The Final Steps In "Crossing The Rubicon"
More U.S. Secret Prisons And Indefinite Detentions Galore!
The *Real* "Axis Of Evil" Of Our Times
More Case Of Abusive, Paranoid-Driven Security State Domestic Spying
The Authoritarian Security State At Work
The Problems With The FISA Capitulation Bill
Your Privacy - Government Style
Brownshirts 'R US
Domestic Spying: The Ever Convenient Rationale Of The Security State
No One Is Safe: The Real Low Down
Telecom Immunity Capitulation: The Other Problem With This
Welcome To The Security State Of North America
Behold The Wisdom Of SheepIn essence, what Bush is doing in his last days in office is finalize the establishment of tools which allow the government to fully monitor and control the population through what can only be described as an authoritarian security state, while at the same time giving corporations not only unrestrained and unchecked freedoms to do as they will, but furthermore granting them actual powers to infringe upon, intervene into - and consequently, dictate - the private lives of people.
Indeed (emphasis added):
Whenever you apply for a job, you must submit yourself to all sorts of intrusions in your privacy, regardless what kind of job you apply for - from giving urine and/or blood samples, to granting permission for "security checks" on you (including credit reports), to submitting to wide-ranging questionnaires to assess your personality, including your psychological/cognitive/emotional state of being (not counting having to actually go through the ludicrous exercise of submitting yourself to a lie detector).
And when you are employed, you are under constant scrutiny - electronic or otherwise - in order to continually assess your performance during your "day at work". In addition, how many companies/corporations nowadays have "proper employee conduct" codes to which all employees must adhere to - including outside of the work place?
But company/corporate "elites" crave total control over their employees and there are large periods of time in a day, a week, a month and a year, when their employees escape their ever-watching, scrutinizing and controlling gaze: off-work hours, week-ends, holidays and vacation time.
Companies/corporations have kept increasing their requirements of what they consider "appropriate performance" on the part of their employees, while freezing (or reducing) wages at the same time.
In short: they ask you to do more and more and more, while they pay less.
Now imagine a day when company/corporate elites can actually know what you do in your "off-work" time - surfing the internet? Watching TV? Renting/buying movies? Reading books? Going to shows? Cheering your favorite team? Just spending time with your family in the backyard?
Imagine also if your employers became intimately aware of every facet of your private life, including whether you are having an affair (or your partner/spouse does), you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with a grave illness, your sexual practices (with or without your partner/spouse), which political party you adhere to, etc.
What kind of power, then, would your employers hold over you, your job and your career?
As example, how many people have so far been fired for "moral conduct incompatible with moral values/proper employee conduct" of a company/corporation outside of work, based only on rumors? Now imagine what can and will happen when actual facts are known.Here is but one tiny example to support this:
I just read something that has verily shocked and outraged me. Via Raw Story - Workers told to shape up or pay up:
"Looking for new ways to trim the fat and boost workers' health, some employers are starting to make overweight employees pay if they don't slim down. Others, citing growing medical costs tied to obesity, are offering fit workers lucrative incentives that shave thousands of dollars a year off health care premiums."
At the last, the companies and corporations are now flatly coming out, unafraid and unfettered, to proclaim their intent of actually controlling your lives as they see fit.
Not only does this constitutes a serious breach of human rights, such encroachment into our personal, private lives would leave us open to any desire, whim and fancy of the moment from high-minded, arrogant corporate bureaucrats whom, let us not forget, will ever remain watchful of the bottom line first and foremost, rather than your health and/or well being.
What's next? Employees being fined for not eating enough veggies? For eating too much meat? For drinking too much coffee? For listening to "non-approved" kinds of music or artists? For reading "non-approved" books or blogs? For watching "non-approved" TV channels and/or shows? For smoking cigarettes or having a drink, at home?
For dating a "non-approved" other?
For having a "non-approved" number of children?
For having a "non-approved" overall lifestyle?
For holding "non-approved" political views?
For following a "non-approved" religion, or specific denomination?
For belonging to a "non-approved" party?
For (fill in the blanks)?
For non-conforming to every single dictate of your employers?
(...) Via at-Largely: Chicago police stormtroopers swarm a gathering of poetry reading on private property - without warning and without warrants. Now, I am not a "fan" of poetry, but still ... looks like the Powers-That-Be decided that poetry was not for your own good, or something to this effect? Perhaps the quite innocent, legal and constitutional gathering was perceived as an exercise in subversion - perhaps even indulging in reading the Constitution, the most subversive type of literature of all? Or perhaps the nefarious shadow of poetic terrorism is on the rise again? How about the clear and immediate danger to Homeland Security for reading in public? After all, knowledge is a very dangerous thing indeed.
And further down we slide the slippery slope ...Yup.
Incidentally, there is a word for all of this: fascism.
The Bush legacy is nothing but a long litany of gradual destruction of the constitution, civil rights and human rights, all in order to leave way for a fascist state.
What is the price to pay indeed after eight years of Bush ...
(Cross-posted from APOV)