"The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded." ~ Vance Packard
Federal Register Watch
What freedoms have you lost this week?
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents. This column attempts to summarize the highlights (or lowlights) of the Federal Register during the preceding week.
Instructions for subscribing to the Federal Register can be found at the end of the column.
JUNE 16, 2003:
TREASURY DEPARTMENT ' TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE ACT OF 2002; STUDY OF INSURANCE RISK FROM POTENTIAL TERRORIST ACTS
Passed in November 2002, the Act provides for a 'sharing' of losses resulting from certain acts of terrorism between the insurance companies and the Federal Government (i.e., taxpayers) after satisfaction of an insurance company deductible. The Act requires the federal government to reimburse insurers at 90% of any losses beyond the deductible amount.
This legislation is basically a huge subsidy for the insurance industry, as it reduces their liability - in the event of future terrorist attacks - by passing the burden on to American taxpayers! Naturally, the insurance industry is a strong supporter of the Act. Taxpayers lose again.
JUNE 17, 2003:
FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORPORATION ' $3.5 MILLION FOR 'UNDERSERVED' FARMERS AND RANCHERS
The Community Outreach and Partnership Assistance Program will provide $3.5 million in FY 2003 to for 'collaborative outreach and assistance programs' for women, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers who produce agricultural commodities covered by the noninsured crop disaster assistance program.
Free money, if you are in the 'correct' socioeconomic group. Another loss for taxpayers.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE (FWS) ' CRITICAL HABITAT DESIGNATION FOR 99 PLANT SPECIES
The FWS designates 55,040 acres of land on the island of Oahu, Hawaii as 'critical habitat' for various species of plants. According to the draft, the designation will adversely affect at least a dozen businesses in the Hawaiian cattle industry.
Once again, the FWS includes an incredible disclaimer in their analysis:
Designation of critical habitat provides little additional protection to species. Yet, their destructive policies continue unabated.
The final economic draft analysis by the FWS estimates that, over the next ten years, this 'critical habitat' designation will result in economic losses that range from $8.3 million to $20.3 million.
But why should the bureaucrats at the FWS care? It's not their money.
JUNE 18, 2003:
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE ' SOYBEAN PROMOTION AND RESEARCH
This rule amends the filing dates for the federal government's soybean marketing order, a mandatory program that the federal government imposes on domestic soybean producers. The government assesses a fee of 0.5% to 1.0% of the net market price of soybean sold by producers in order to fund this marketing program that is designed to 'strengthen the soybean industry's position in the marketplace through advertising and research.'
How many of these producers would voluntarily hire the government to market their soybeans, if they were not coerced to do so? Probably not too many.
LABOR DEPARTMENT ' WOMEN IN APPRENTICESHIP AND NON-TRADITIONAL OCCUPATIONS PROGRAM (WANTO)
The Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor announces the 2003 solicitation for grant applications authorized under the 'Women in Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Occupations Act of 1992.' The purpose of this program is to 'assist employers and labor unions in the placement and retention of women in apprenticeship and nontraditional occupations.'
Applicants get greater consideration for the grants if they meet the following requirements:
- ' Private, non-profit community based organizations (a requirement)
- ' Established employer and labor union linkages
- ' Women serving as employed staff or board members of the organization
As is the tradition with every government endeavor, the WANTO program is funded by other people's money that was confiscated involuntarily. Approximately $500,000 to $1 million of taxpayer funds will be available for the program.
JUNE 19, 2003:
OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY (ONDCP) ' SCHOOL DRUG TESTING PROGRAM SURVEY
This statement informs the public of the ONDCP's recent 'collection activities.' This request involves a survey of public and private schools currently operating school drug testing programs in 25 cities across the United States. The purpose of the survey is to 'identify schools or school districts that currently conduct student drug testing programs, and to assess the common characteristics of existing programs.'
Is Big Brother drug testing your kids?
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