Deregulation??

Lately, I haven’t been able to turn on TV news without the talking heads therein telling me the country’s financial state is terrible because of deregulation. The Republicans, it is alleged or explicitly stated, deregulated the financial sector, and those greedy businessmen and bankers took full advantage. Now, the bottom has fallen out of the stock market and financial institutions are having to be bailed out by the government.

Then, what to my wondering screen should appear, but the following:

http://cei.org/articles/%E2%80%98hidden-tax%E2%80%99-rules-hits-economy

The heart of the matter:

“The Federal Register, which lists all new rules, ran to 72,090 pages in 2007. This was down 3.8% from 2006. The record year was 2004, which saw 75,676 pages.

“Out of more than 60 federal departments, a mere five accounted for 45% of new rules. The departments of Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, along with the EPA, instituted a combined 1,741 new rules in 2007.

“Some rules cost more than others and deserve special attention. Of the new rules, 159 are “economically significant,” meaning they will cost at least $100 million a year. ”

So, it’s difficult for me to see just what has been “deregulated,” and how it’s caused all this financial destruction.

–Ken

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Terrorism vs. Freedom of Speech

Here we go again.

Sherry Jones, an American journalist, wrote a book entitled The Jewel of Medina. She got and advance of $100,000 from Random House, and the book was scheduled to come out in August of this year. It reportedly concerns the love story of Muhammed and his child bride.

A professor who was asked to read the book and perhaps provide a blurb for the cover, instead panned the book. Her derogation of the book as “softcore pornography” was leaked to the press.

The result was to cause Random House to withdraw. Jones responded, “That one of the biggest publishing houses in the world refuses to publish a book because of warnings is a sobering comment on the state of freedom of speech in the USA.” http://tinyurl.com/4b5osy

What Jones said is true; freedom of speech is eroding in this country. That is happening, not because of any conspiratorial suppression, but because of our government’s defaulting on its job of protecting this freedom.

The default, ongoing for years now, was highlighted when American publishers and book sellers were terrorized from publishing Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and the government did nothing. It’s hard to blame Random House for being scared off.

Sherry Jones was able to find another publisher, Gibson Square, an independent in Britain. The threats followed the book across the ocean. The home/office of this publisher, Martin Rynja, has been firebombed, lending credence to Random House’s fears. At least, the British authorities acted quickly and well, arresting the perpetrators and charging them with terrorism.

–Ken

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