"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
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.
NOVEMBER 10, 2003:
INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION - CORPORATE WELFARE IN FULL SWING
The USITC is beginning an investigation into whether wooden furniture imported from China is adversely affecting the American economy. There is an easy test to determine this: If American consumers choose to purchase wooden furniture imported from China, then that is what is best for the American economy. Unfortunately, your tax dollars will be spent to determine whether special interests (in this case, furniture makers) should be subsidized at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers. Same old, same old.
NOVEMBER 11, 2003:
Those who call themselves "patriots" celebrate Veterans Day with quite a bit of pomp; anti-statists and libertarians should make it a day of reflection as well. November 11 is also Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of World War I.
World War I is one of the more ridiculous wars ever waged, particularly in light of the inhuman way in which it was waged. France, a nation with a profoundly successful military history in the centuries leading up to the war, suffered horrendous casualties, with a resultant loss of morale that contributed to the French defeats against Nazi Germany and Communist North Vietnam.
Respect Veterans Day, for it is the memorial to the millions who have died in the service of the state, and a reminder of the futility of the state as the source of security.
NOVEMBER 12, 2003:
ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS - RIGHTING WRONGS . . . ON YOUR DIME
Is there anything wrong with cleaning up the Everglades? There is if you polluted and destroyed it in the first place, and now you're fixing your mistake using stolen taxpayer funds. The federal government drained the swamps of the Everglades, and now it is spending billions of tax money to restore the environment that it despoiled. Typical statism!
NOVEMBER 13, 2003:
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT - CONTINUATION OF "NATIONAL" EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO IRAN
In 1979, a despotic theocratic regime took over in Iran, and kidnapped the inhabitants of the American Embassy. Justifiably, the American populace was incensed. It doesn't condone, however, the inordinate amount of taxpayer funds funneled to the tyrannical Iraqi military to be used against Iranian civilians, and, eventually, American military personnel.
To this day, the federal government has a schizophrenic policy toward Iran. It places barriers on economic ties with Iran when it has no moral reason to do so. The federal government can let American businesses and individuals bear the risks of dealing with totalitarian regimes, or place legal barriers and flirt with interventionism itself. Of course, it chooses the latter, and therefore partially allies itself economically with Iraq and Iran.
NOVEMBER 14, 2003:
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY - SYMPOSIUM ON BUILDING TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN VOTING SYSTEMS
In practice, the only voting system that matters is the institution of special interests screwing the people. Democracy is, in effect, gang rape. A crew of "made" men dominate democracies--as politicians, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and spin doctors ensure that government belongs to those who desire the power to dominate others, the select group that seizes that power entrenches itself in government at the expense of the majority, who are taught to believe that whatever this so-called "democratic" system does is morally acceptable.
The method of voting doesn't matter; America's corporatist-socialist system will still predominate whether Democrats or Republicans win the next election. The goal, then, should not be to win the next election, but to decrease your dependence on the politicians that win it. Democracy, however, doesn't work that way.
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