pbs Digest, Vol 56, Issue 14

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Wed, 12 Sep 2007 15:29:23 PDT
Earlier correspondents are quite right that stricter enforcement of plant 
and seed import regulations is likely to be ineffective in thwarting 
"terrorism." However, it is effective in one thing that's important to the 
regulators: getting hold of part of the vast amount of federal funding that 
has been diverted to the recently established Department of Homeland 
Security, which administers APHIS (the agency in question, an acronym I am 
not making up). When administration policy veered in its current direction, 
many government agencies stood to lose funding, and those that could assert 
that in some way, however, far-fetched, their activities protected the 
United States from terrorism did so with alacrity in order to protect their 
budgets. I don't think the impetus is ideological at all; it's not an 
attempt to curtail individual freedom, just an attempt to hold onto staff 
jobs. If you think this view is too cynical, you've never worked for a 
publicly funded institution!

Recent reports from oversight committees suggest that the truly dangerous 
gaps in security have not been covered by the DHS, but they've certainly 
made life hard for us innocent gardeners.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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