"As to the evil which results from censorship, it is impossible to measure it, because it is impossible to tell where it ends." ~ Jeremy Bentham
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.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2003 :
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC) - FINAL RULES ON CLOTHES WASHER REGULATION
I covered the absurdity of this several weeks ago, but it's worth noting again, now that this rule has been finalized. The federal government is establishing additional regulations with regard to how clothes washers work. I showed what buncombe taxpayer interference in this is, as the private sector can provide such regulation much more efficiently . . . but, then I'm not up for reelection, am I?
The state intrudes everywhere, even into the spin cycle.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE - RESTRICTION OF TRAVEL FOR U.S. CITIZENS
The Department of State is renewing its ban on using the U.S. passport to enter Libya . Since 1981, the country has been off-limits to Americans, ostensibly because "there is imminent danger to the public health or physical safety of United States travelers."
What danger exists to the safety of individuals is of no importance to anyone but the individuals themselves. If people choose to enter the country, it should be at their own risk, not ours (for if they do, they risk imprisonment at our expense, as taxpayers).
The Libyan state, while run by a megalomaniacal dictator, has not been proven a threat to each and every American individual. Qaddafi (sp?) may harbor strong feelings against the American government, and perhaps even against most Americans in general, but this does not legitimize the federal government's ban on the individual's right to travel as he or she chooses.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2003 :
NUMEROUS DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES - REQUIREMENTS FOR A DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE
Certainly, the truly impaired employee should be verboten in any workplace. But the government's idea of drug-free? C'mon! You know as well as I do that that is a joke.
The state arbitrarily establishes certain drugs as illegal and others legal. Those not prescribable by doctors (the AMA cartel) are proscribed as illegal by the FDA (at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies, ever generous to politicians) . . . that is, Ambien: kosher; poppers: jail time . . . etc., etc.
People use drugs because they're fun. There is nothing morally wrong with using drugs recreationally. . . or perhaps, according to your set of beliefs, there is. But it is certainly immoral to deny others the right to introduce whatever chemicals into their bodies that they choose.
So, if someone enjoys the occasional mind-altering substance, no matter whether it is illegal or not (morality and the law are rarely in league), why should that person be denied one's work, so long as such playtime does not interfere with the job?
Then again, once someone realizes the disconnect between common sense and state law, why would one pursue government employment?
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2003 :
THANKSGIVING DAY - NO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY
If you prayed on this day, or are praying anytime soon, pray for the boys and girls (the dreaded g-word, but have you seen how young our troops look?) abroad. Four hundred thirty-six Americans, and several dozen others, have already died in the Iraqi fiasco . . . how many more will be lost?
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2003 :
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE (AMS) - THE AMS STRIKES AGAIN
The AMS here establishes certain rules regarding pooling provisions for dairy producers. This is typical; the state reserves for itself the right to monopolize or, in this case, cartelize.
The Agricultural Marketing Service gets very little publicity, but it intrudes in our lives every day through the prices of our meals. Food costs are increased by its bureaucratic (read: unlegislated, unaffected by your vote) rules, but the media would rather focus on men marrying each rather than increasing food prices squeezing the budgets of the working class. Change the focus; win the vote.
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