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.
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JUNE 2, 2003:
GRAIN INSPECTORS, PACKERS, AND STOCKYARDS ADMINISTRATION (GIPSA) FEE INCREASE FOR INSPECTION AND WEIGHING SERVICES
The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is increasing inspection fees by approximately 4.1% to cover increased operational costs. These fees apply only to official inspection and weighing services performed in the United States under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended. Under the provisions of the USGSA, grain exported from the United States must be officially inspected and weighed. Mandatory inspection and weighing services are provided by GIPSA on a fee basis at 33 export facilities.
Not only are these official inspections mandated by the government, there are no alternative businesses that offer the service. Thus, exporters are forced to pay higher prices (and pass those costs to consumers) for a compulsory 'service' that is mandated by those that provide it! The ultimate monopoly.
JUNE 3, 2003:
PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS ' ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BOB HOPE AMERICAN PATRIOT AWARD
This award was established in order to 'encourage love of country, service to the people of the United States, and support for our Armed Forces, and in order to recognize the unique and lifelong service of Bob Hope to the United States Armed Forces and to the Nation through his unwavering patriotism and dedication to maintaining the morale of the troops he entertained for nearly six decades . . . .'
The Award may be granted by the President, in his sole discretion, to any civilian individual who has demonstrated extraordinary love of country and devotion to the personnel of the United States Armed Forces, in the form of true patriotism.
For love of country, or love of the government???
JUNE 4, 2003:
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ' TRANSURANIC RADIOCATIVE WASTE DISPOSAL
This announcement is in regard to the Department of Energy's development of a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Hanford, Washington, for the disposal of transuranic radioactive waste produced in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
Transuranic (TRU) waste consists of materials containing elements having atomic numbers greater than 92 (with half-lives greater than 20 years), in concentrations greater than 100 nanocuries of alpha-emitting TRU isotopes per gram of waste. Much of the existing TRU waste consists of items contaminated during the production of nuclear weapons, such as rags, equipment, tools, and sludges.
The federal government's Basic Inventory volume of TRU waste in the United States exceeds 6.2 million cubic feet.
According to the Department of Energy, The Basic Inventory consists of (1) TRU waste generated by defense activities (defense waste) that has been placed in retrievable storage since 1970 and (2) defense TRU waste that would continue to be generated over approximately the next 35 years as a result of plutonium stabilization and management activities, environmental restoration (including remediation of some sites where defense TRU waste was buried before 1970), decontamination and decommissioning, waste management, and defense testing and research.
In fact, before 1970, the federal government disposed its TRU waste in shallow land burial sites, where much of it remains today!
The federal government is the biggest polluter of all, far worse than any private company.
JUNE 5, 2003:
COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION (CCC) ' BEET SUGAR - STATE MARKETING ALLOCATION
This notice announces a public hearing regarding the application of Cargill, Inc., for a new entrant beet sugar marketing allocation for the 2003 crop year. Cargill is requesting a 2003-crop year allocation of 80,000 short tons, raw value, annually, for years 2003 through 2007.
A branch of the Department of Agriculture, the CCC grants beet sugar manufacturers allocations, or production quotas, that 'allow' them to produce up to a set amount of product every year. Cargill's request for an allocation, if approved, will require all other beet sugar producers to reduce their allocation by an equivalent amount to reflect the new allocation.
According to the CCC, 'the allocation of beet sugar to the new entrant shall provide a fair and equitable distribution of the allocations for beet sugar while reducing the allocations of beet sugar of all other processors on a pro rata basis to reflect the new allocation.'
Soviet-style farming, courtesy of the federal government.
JUNE 6, 2003:
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ' $1.5 MILLION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
This notice announces the availability of 15 $100,000 grants available through the 'Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Grant Program.' Eligible grantees include non-profit organizations 'working on or planning to work on projects to address local environmental and/or public health concerns in their communities.'
Perhaps the program should be renamed the Taxpayer Injustice Grant, since it so successfully separates taxpayers from their own money.
FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL OFFICE ' GLOBAL TERRORISM SANCTIONS REGULATIONS
Thanks to Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001, the Foreign Assets Control Office (a division of the Department of Treasury) is implementing new rules to 'block property and prohibit transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.'
According to the rule, terrorism is defined as an activity that:
(a) Involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(b) Appears to be intended:
(1) To intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(2) To influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(3) To affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
Naturally, those who enforce the rule may interpret it liberally to suit their needs, so that nearly any American may be labeled a terrorist. For example, could someone who participates in an anti-government or anti-war protest be considered a terrorist? What about a journalist who writes a newspaper column that is critical of the administration?
This rule is yet another dangerous tool in the government's 'anti-terrorist' arsenal that will ultimately be used against peaceful citizens more often than in the combat against terrorism.
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