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Tucked away in the Bush administration's recent budget is a proposal that has alarmed scientists and environmentalists. Under the plan, the Environmental Protection Agency will shut down its network of libraries serving the public and its own staff scientists.

In addition, the agency will discontinue its electronic catalog, “which tracks tens of thousands of unique documents and research studies that are available nowhere else,” ...

This is the Bush administration at their sleazy best ... they excel at ruling by decree. Well, not exactly by decree, because he's not exactly a dictator, but what they do is to push through unpopular policies and rule changes under the radar. They do this through burying program cuts deep in budgets and never discussing the issue; through issuing executive orders, such as changing the rules for requirements when "updating" coal power plants; through meeting in secret with corporations to write national policy, while excluding popular interest groups or public opinion; and through stonewalling on the approval of drugs which meet science requirements but not their philosophy.

In the end, all of this degrades the democratic process; heck, it is a direct attack on the values of governance in our country, including the values of public debate, transparency and accountability. But little by little, rule by rule, and policy by policy, it continues. At this point the Bush administration's tactics have been quite destructive to numerous institutions that many Americans consider essential to the public good. Entire agencies have being virtually eviscerated and no longer are to fulfill their basic mandates. A few examples include the EPA, the FDA and FEMA.

If most Americans paid close attention to what is being done, and granted the administration doesn't make this easy, then Bush's popularity rating would be in the low 20s.

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