Continuing a Farce?
by Peter Tompa
The State Department has announced that CPAC will receive public comments on new requests for import restrictions from Bulgaria and Belize. For more, see http://exchanges.state.gov/heritage/whatsnew.html .
Despite Obama Administration promises of greater government transparency,the public summaries of the requests provide little more than a history lesson about the cultures in both countries and some general information about looting in each country. Nothing at all is said about what particular objects are subject to possible restriction or any particular justifications for such actions.
And once again, the public comment period is exceptionally short, ending on November 2nd.
Accordingly, one must again unfortunately conclude that the State Department and its Cultural Heritage Center really are not looking for informed public comment from the broadest number of stakeholders possible.
And doesn't such a tactic merely confirm the suspicions of many that the State Department bureaucracy views CPAC as little more than a rubber stamp for imposing the broadest import restrictions possible?
John Hooker commented:
"As we already know that the public comments have no effect on the outcome, it seems like an exercise in futility to make any. However, the public comments could be geared more to criticizing that soliciting public comments for an action in which all details are kept secret is an indication that the State Department is actively against informed consent and the public are being asked to buy a pig in a poke."
That does appear to be a sensible and appropriate approach. A large number of comments complaining about the manner in which the State Department has reduced the role of public input to a meaningless charade, while pursuing a course of action directly contrary to the legitimate interests of the vast majority of those who comment regarding proposed import restrictions, could be useful in drawing attention to the scandalous maladministration of the 1983 CCPIA.