"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." ~ Alan Bullock
Federal Register Watch
Federal Register Watch
by Nick Ebinger
February 24 - 27, 2004
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.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24:
FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION - THE ARROGANCE OF A GOVERNMENT LENDER
The dirty secret of the "red states" (those that voted for Bush in 2000) is that they are, on net, dependent on government handouts, whereas Gore's "blue states" are net taxpayers. So much for the Republicans being the small government party! (They never were, but have positioned themselves as such since William Jennings Bryan and his anti-hard money rhetoric hijacked the Democratic Party in 1896.)
The greatest source of "red state" welfare comes in the form of agricultural subsidies. In this regulation, the Farm Credit Administration reasserts its total control over the loans it makes, even if other lenders are involved. Modern government bureaucracies regularly arrogate powers to themselves by fiat. Is this, in the U.S. anyway, Constitutional? No. Is it moral? No. Is it legal? Yes, which means that no written law means much legally anymore. The Constitution clearly isn't relevant. So why did the Founders put so much faith into it in the first place . . . and why do we expect it to shield us from the ravages of the State? It's certainly failed thus far!
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE - CHARITY STARTS ABROAD
I'm loathe to deny people the right to flee situations that threaten them with death or severe hardships, but how is it "important to the national interest of the United States " to allocate funds to help refugees from the Sudan ? (Ignorant neocons, I'm sure, would cite Al Qaeda's historical presence there, but certainly, opponents of the Islamist regime in Khartoum wouldn't be likely to join Osama's ranks, particularly as they're almost all Christian and animist!) It's certainly awfully charitable to do so, but there's nothing charitable about stealing someone else's money to support the charity of your choice, which is what Bush is doing here.
There's no such thing as a "national interest"--we're a nation of individuals, not a collective of patriotic automatons waiting for the next American Cultural Revolution (or at least we should be). How dare Bush cheapen the language by using such a powerful phrase to debase our morals and justify his theft!
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26:
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) - MARS FARCE
This notice announces a meeting of the President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. Their purpose is to see how to waste hundreds of billions (literally!) of U.S. taxpayer money on exploring the solar system.
If the solar system were worth exploring to the extent that Bush wants to do so (and it may well be), then the mission would be accomplished with private funds. Otherwise, it's just a patriotic boondoggle that will accomplish nothing but provide popularity for the current president. Then again, what better White Housewarming present for Dubya to give to Jeb than an American on Mars? A man on the Red Planet would be the perfect diversion for the unemployed voter otherwise worried about an economy gone to hell.
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE - INNOVATION THROUGH BUREAUCRACY
The White House is attempting to encourage innovation in manufacturing by creating a series of government programs, each involving burdensome counterproductive regulatory requirements. This presidential document begins with Bush's avowal that private sector innovation requires public sector (involuntary taxpayer) funds to succeed. In fact, the private sector has consistently been far more innovative than the government (except in terms of coming up with new ways to restrict its citizens' liberties). The information in Sections 3(a) and (b) concerning "formats and schedules for submission of reports . . . [and] guidelines and directives" should give you some idea of how efficient this executive order will be.
To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents LISTSERV electronic mailing list, go to http://listserv.access.gpo.gov and select Online mailing list archives, FEDREGTOC-L, Join or leave the list (or change settings); then follow the instructions.