"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
Federal Register Watch
Federal Register Watch
by Nick Ebinger
January 20 - 23, 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.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21:
OFFICE OF THE WHITE HOUSE: ONE NATION, ON THE EUPHRATES, INDIVISIBLE
Bush here declares yet another national emergency, this one in regard to those who seek to disrupt the Middle East peace process.
Am I missing something here? This is a national emergency, but we're talking about the Middle East, and there's no part of the United States in the Middle Ea- . . .
Oh, I get it. Empire, and all that.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24:
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA): HEROES TO THE RESCUE
The FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU; tell me when you're tired of the acronyms) in regard to how they'll concert their efforts in the event of a threat to homeland security.
Thank god; I think a chartreuse-spotted Feeblefester's titmouse tried to sell me DDT-spiked ephedrine on the subway the other day!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 23:
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERIVCE (AMS): FRESH BREATH, FOUL PRACTICES
The dreaded AMS here establishes purchasing quotas for spearmint oil. The state begins controlling the food supply by claiming that it needs to regulate food prices to ensure that the poor can afford to eat. Eventually, of course, it ends up regulating the prices of foodstuffs that have nothing to do with the starving children originally invoked by campaigning demagogues. Finally, chewing gum costs more than it used to. To what end? So some do-gooder in a spearmint district can get re-elected.
People chew gum, vote and pay taxes. Sheep chew cud, bleat and get sheared. This is democracy in action.
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: IS THIS WHY PUBLIC SCHOOLS PASS ON SUCH POOR ENGLISH SKILLS?
These regulations show how the state uses language as a method of expanding its bailiwick.
"Violent death" here is defined as including suicide, a death of "indeterminate intent," and an "accidental" (their quotations) death from a firearm.
An individual, first and foremost, owns him- or herself. Suicide is a private choice, involving one's own body. Once the ownership of life is taken from the individual who inhabits that body, a form of slavery exists. Any state that outlaws suicide therefore condones some form of slavery, for you are required to keep yourself alive, which is a form of forced labor. Whether or not suicide fits the proper definition of violence is certainly a legitimate issue for debate, but the phrase "violent death," as used by the government, is merely a rationale for state involvement. Suicide, then, is criminalized, and it becomes society's problem . . . as well as the taxpayer's burden (and the individual's loss to the state, a profoundly antihuman attitude).
Next, indeterminate deaths are classified as violent, despite the fact that, by their very description, we have no idea if they were violent. Time again for the state to get involved! (And for government law enforcement bureaus to ask for more tax money; first, because they have so many "violent deaths" to deal with, and second, because they need to throw more money at determining the cause of death, which they do a lousy job of doing in the first place.)
Finally, accidental firearm deaths are declared as "violent." Why? They're accidents, which, by definition, means that they're not violent. (This, by the way, is by sensible definition, not the state's legal definition.) Automobiles are potentially killing machines, and certainly cause far more accidental deaths than guns, so why aren't car accidents considered violent deaths?
Because politicians haven't gotten around to using them as vote bait, that's why.
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