Tuesday, March 22, 2005



The logic of it!!!

A Blow to the Rule of Law

If you are in a "persistent vegetative state" and there is a dispute about whether to keep you alive, your case will probably go no further than state court - unless you are Terri Schiavo. President Bush signed legislation yesterday giving Ms. Schiavo's parents a personal right to sue in federal court. The new law tramples on the principle that this is "a nation of laws, not of men," and it guts the power of the states. When the commotion over this one tragic woman is over, Congress and the president will have done real damage to the founders' careful plan for American democracy.

Ms. Schiavo's case presents heart-wrenching human issues, and difficult legal ones. But the Florida courts, after careful deliberation, ruled that she would not want to be kept alive by artificial means in her current state, and ordered her feeding tube removed. Ms. Schiavo's parents, who wanted the tube to remain, hoped to get the Florida Legislature to intervene, but it did not do so.

That should have settled the matter. But supporters of Ms. Schiavo's parents, particularly members of the religious right, leaned heavily on Congress and the White House to step in. They did so yesterday with the new law, which gives "any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo" standing to sue in federal court to keep her alive.

This narrow focus is offensive. The founders believed in a nation in which, as Justice Robert Jackson once wrote, we would "submit ourselves to rulers only if under rules." There is no place in such a system for a special law creating rights for only one family. The White House insists that the law will not be a precedent. But that means that the right to bring such claims in federal court is reserved for people with enough political pull to get a law passed that names them in the text.

The Bush administration and the current Congressional leadership like to wax eloquent about states' rights. But they dropped those principles in their rush to stampede over the Florida courts and Legislature. The new law doesn't miss a chance to trample on the state's autonomy and dignity. There are a variety of technical legal doctrines the federal courts use to show deference to state courts, like "abstention" and "exhaustion of remedies." The new law decrees that in Ms. Schiavo's case, these well-established doctrines simply will not apply.

Republicans have traditionally championed respect for the delicate balance the founders created. But in the Schiavo case, and in the battle to stop the Democratic filibusters of judicial nominations, President Bush and his Congressional allies have begun to enunciate a new principle: the rules of government are worth respecting only if they produce the result we want. It may be a formula for short-term political success, but it is no way to preserve and protect a great republic.

Congress's Midnight Frenzy

The sight of Congress and President Bush intruding into the sufferings of the Schiavo family was appalling. Washington had years to properly consider the agonizing dilemmas that cases like this one raise for uncounted, less publicized American families. But the Republican leadership did nothing until the issue ripened to a maximum moment for simplistic political exploitation.

Most Americans appreciate the complicated and sensitive concerns at stake here far better than the politicians. Whatever the range of opinion on the underlying issue, polls show that the public recoiled at the sight of elected officials racing to make hay of this family's private pain. Those findings only underline the hubris of the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, and the other G.O.P. leaders. Their egregious pandering was directed not at the bulk of the populace, but at their base vote among the evangelical and fundamentalist conservatives who have been demanding greater deference since working to deliver Republican victories last year.

The political timidity of potential opponents was woeful. No one dared even demand debate in the Senate. In the House, many opponents seemed simply to prefer to stay away. Arguments against the bill were led by Florida Democrats, who had the most reason to be offended by Congress's crude overriding of state government.

Sanctimonious rhetoric rang out about the value of each individual life even as a strategy memo was reported circulating among G.O.P. lawmakers cynically relishing the points to be scored with the right-to-life political machine in next year's elections. The rush to save Terri Schiavo was mixed with the urge to get rid of Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who faces re-election next year.

And the Illogic of it!!!

It's murder ... that's the ugly truth

Do you hear it? I do. The countdown clock is ticking – the zero hour is 1 p.m. EST, March 18 ... five days from today.

On that day, a young woman in Florida will begin being murdered by the judiciary. It appears no one can stop it. Now that's power.

On that day, the tube supplying food and water to an infirm young woman, Terri Schiavo, will be removed. It will be done for just one purpose: to kill her. To end her life.

Her father, Robert Schindler, calls it "judicial homicide." It's more than that.

If Terri's feeding tube is removed and she dies, it will be a permanent stain on the honor of this country and our system of law. It is a fact that we deliberately, legally, kill unborn children for reasons that have nothing to do with the child or its condition.

With the case of Terri Schiavo, the door to legally eliminating "the imperfect" among us has been opened. If Terri dies – as the Florida court is ordering, as her husband-in-name-only demands, as his euthanasia-supporter attorney argues – there isn't one of us who will ever be safe from the system.

It will set legal precedent making it possible and legally permissible for any medical personnel, any hospital or other institution, any lawyer, judge or lawmaker to decide it's time for us to die.

They will let it happen, or make it happen – makes no difference. The only thing that matters is that someone else decides your fate, the fate of your children, spouse, parents, siblings, family member, neighbor or anyone else.

When I say "decides your fate," I mean that in the most permanent sense. They'll decide who should live or die, on their timetable. They'll do it by refusing treatment or stopping treatment. It already happens every day, without any publicity and very often against the wishes of family. Medical people and institutions get away with it secretly or by intimidation. It's that power again.

The ugly truth is, it's murder. The other ugly truth is there's often nothing you can do about it. If Terri Schiavo is killed, murder of the innocent will be locked in the law.

Screaming feminists are always at the ready with their mouths and their marching when it comes to "women's rights." Terri Schiavo is a woman with a two-timing husband who has treated her negligently for 15 years and wants her dead. Where are the feminists?

Bleeding hearts hold candlelight vigils to prevent the execution of condemned murderers, regardless the heinousness of the crimes. Terri Schiavo committed no crime; she fell victim to some unknown malady or unexplained injury and is now an impaired human being who, on court order, will be killed by neglect – removal of food and water. Where are the bleeding hearts?

Human-rights activists condemn the United States for our capital punishment laws and for allegations concerning prison treatment. They march and demonstrate and rail. Terri Schiavo has been refused therapy, medical treatment, proper equipment, even walks outside and now she is to be starved and dehydrated to death, on court order. Where are the human-rights activists?

Churches preach and teach about the sanctity of life, the rights of the innocent, of kindness to the infirm, of gentleness for the afflicted. Terri Schiavo is alive and breathes on her own. She is not sick but she is infirm, having suffered brain damage from some unknown cause. She needs only food and water to survive, no more than any other human being on this planet. The system has decided she will die – that her food and water will be stopped. Where are the churches?

The media consistently take the side of the downtrodden, the have-nots, the poor. They pride themselves on presenting the "truth" with "no bias." They report Terri is vegetative, in a coma, has no consciousness, had anorexia, had a heart attack, had a chemical imbalance, and really, really wanted to die. None of this is true. Most ignore the story. If newspapers do carry it, it's a tiny throwaway buried deep in the paper. Where are the media?

The law is supposed to deal with justice; is supposed to be impartial; is supposed to protect the helpless and innocent. Terri Schiavo has been denied treatment and therapy, which might improve her physical condition. The judge ignores that.

Tests could better evaluate her condition. The judge refuses them.

There are x-rays that show Terri suffered major physical trauma. The judge refuses to allow them into evidence.

Every single petition filed by Terri's family has been denied by Judge George Greer for 8 years. This week, he denied a request by the state of Florida to investigate allegations of abuse. Last week, he denied a petition by her parents to allow Terri to be divorced. He is supposed to be acting in Terri's interest, yet he has never seen her and has just one position: Terri Schiavo will be starved and dehydrated to death. It could take as long as 15 gruesome days for her to die. Where is justice?

When a couple marries, each hopes to trust the other. Terri's husband Michael was alone with her when her "incident" happened 15 years ago in their apartment, cutting off oxygen, leaving her brain damaged an unable to swallow.

He won nearly $2 million in lawsuits, but spent virtually all of it on legal efforts to stop feeding her so she'll die. He says she wouldn't want to live that way, but it's only his word. Heresay.

If Terri got therapy so she could speak again, perhaps she could tell the world what she would want. Of course, she might also be able to tell the world what happened that night that left her crippled.

Terri's priest wants to visit and administer communion. Her husband threatens the priest with arrest. Her parents want to visit and take pictures with her. Her husband requires a policeman be present and forbids photographs.

He refuses to divorce her so Terri can be home with her parents. He refuses all their requests, including that she be buried in a Catholic ceremony if she dies. He demands immediate cremation.

He hasn't said when he will marry his "fiancee" by whom he has two children. Infidelity to the nth degree, but he maintains he is Terri's loving husband. His "fiancee" is either brave or stupid – time will tell.

The real bravery is that of Terri's parents and siblings. They have fought for her for 15 years, trying to save her life, spending every cent they have trying to buck what clearly is a corrupt legal system in Florida. How they've managed, I cannot comprehend except they are blessed.

Terri Schiavo needs our help. This is not mercy killing. She is not a vegetable. She is not brain dead. She is a damaged human being, but she is human. If we ignore that or pretend that because she is "damaged," she has no value and it's OK to kill her, we are no better than the Nazis who picked and chose who would live or die.

We fought a world war to stop that mentality. We must not fall victim now.
My comment:
This gibberish of passion is so pathetic, I can't begin to try and understand where these people are coming from... This is totally political, plain and simple... Where's the passion of this mindset, when 26 Iraqi prisoners were tortured to death at the hands of our government's military....?? Where's the passion when 45 million Americans suffer minor ailments that become major ones because they have no health insurance...?? Where's the passion when people have no safe home and not enough food to feed their children because they can't make a living wage?? Where's the passion when little children are raised in ghettos and do not have a snowball's chance in hell of becoming equal to their counterparts across town in suburbia? Where's the passion when one innocent American can be put to death because he/she was found guilty by a group of people like the above writer and a prosecutor who's soul reasoning is to better his career? UNTIL BUSH WE DIDN'T HAVE THIS ONE SIDED FAIRY TALE BELIEF PUSHED DOWN OUR THROATS... THEY (THE FUNDALMENTALISTS) ARE EMBOLDENED NOW... AND NOT JUST THE SCHIAVO FAMILY WILL SUFFER FROM THEIR BRAZEN VICTORIES... OUR DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS WILL SUFFER... WE ARE ALL IN A DIRE POSITION AND THE BULLIES WILL WIN IF WE DON'T KEEP ARE HEADS AND REALIZE JUST WHAT WE ARE LOSING A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME... OUR LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!! Carolyn


More of the logic of it!!!
February 28, 2005
Terri Schiavo: The Broader Issue
There comes a time when it becomes necessary to break ranks with one's political compatriots.
Notwithstanding strongly held opposing opinions regarding the life of Terri Schiavo specifically, it may be wise for all parties to proceed with due caution and deliberation. While it is indeed true that this is a case of one woman's life, there are larger and broader issues at stake, such as: the sanctity of marriage. Therewith, we must view the matter in the abstract.
Marriage is the legally binding union of a man and woman. With this union comes spousal responsibility, as well as other accepted rights and obligations. Some of these same rights and obligations have been at the center of the debate over gay marriage. However, most relevant in this case is the use of power of attorney in the making of medical decisions. For gay couples, this is an important issue. The case of Terri Schiavo, should her parents succeed in their custodial battle, may damage spousal rights in circumstances that many others are fighting for the right to have.
The operative question in this case: should Michael Schiavo's rights as a husband be reduced or eliminated because his wife's parents do not agree with his legal right to make medical decisions on her behalf? The point of view of some conservatives on this issue is, I believe, incorrectly predicated. While we may argue Terri Schiavo's right to live or die ad infinitum, the broader issue is being ignored; it is not our choice. While we do seemingly pay lip service to the vows of marriage as being sacred, when confronted with an issue of this nature, some of us are all too willing to cast the rights of the husband aside. Additionally, it is indeed an odd juxtaposition that in this case, we have conservatives who normally seek to limit the interference of government in the affairs of individuals, seeking in this case to have government intrude in an exceedingly egregious manner.
This is not a pro-life related issue; Terri Schiavo is not an unborn child. Therefore, this aspect should not be brought into the picture. The fundamental issue should be about who has the ultimate right to make a decision, medical or otherwise, of this nature. Irrespective of personal feeling with regard to whether or not Terri Schiavo should be artificially kept alive or not, conservatives who struggle mightily to preserve the sanctity of marriage are exhibiting a typical knee-jerk liberal reaction in this matter. The emotions of the moment are holding sway and the rights of the spouse are being abrogated in the extreme.
Conservatives fight hard to preserve not only the sanctity of marriage, but the idea of individual responsibility and independence of action. However, it would appear that as concerns this matter, some of our number have forgotten these basic tenets. Where may this lead us, and what should conservatives being saying or doing, ultimately? As with our defense of the sacrosanct right of free speech, while we may not agree with Michael Schiavo, we should be willing to support his right to act in accordance with his rights and obligations.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
In Texas, Bush sided with spouses in cases like thisHe signed 1999 law that was considered non-controversial
WASHINGTON -- President Bush, now championing the right of Terri Schiavo's parents to decide if her feeding tube should be reinserted, signed a Texas law in 1999 giving spouses top priority in making such decisions.
Hours after his early morning signing of a federal law sending the Schiavo case to federal court, Bush yesterday praised the hurry-up congressional action and said it gives the Florida woman's parents "another opportunity to save their daughter's life."
In siding with Schiavo's parents, who have battled her husband over removing the feeding tube that has kept her alive for 15 years, Bush ran counter to a measure he signed into law in Texas in 1999.
The state law says that in cases in which a patient has not signed a directive about life-prolonging care, the patient's spouse -- unless there is a court-appointed guardian -- makes the call. The patient's parents are listed third, behind "reasonably available adult children" and ahead of "the patient's nearest living relative."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., noted that the Texas law also allows caregivers to withhold treatment "at the point that futility has been reached and there is no longer any hope of survival or of additional health care measures being used to sustain life."
Wasserman Schultz said Bush's signing of the Texas law "seems to conflict with his position today."
At an event yesterday in Tucson, Ariz., Bush made brief mention of the Schiavo case but did not mention the Texas law.
"This is a complex case with serious issues," he said, "but in extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to always err on the side of life."
The White House yesterday defended Bush's signing of the 1999 state statute. Spokesman Scott McClellan said that law provided additional protections for patients facing death after hospitals decide that treatment is futile. Before 1999, some hospitals were giving only 72-hour notice before ending such treatment. The new law set a 10-day period during which patients' representatives can seek a transfer to a facility that will continue the treatment.
Dallas lawyer Tom Mayo, who helped draft the 1999 law, said the Schiavo case would have come out the same under the Texas statute.
"In Texas our law would protect the decision that Michael Schiavo made, with her physicians, to remove the artificial nutrition hydration just the way Florida law does," said Mayo, associate professor of law at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law.
The Texas law was intended to control in cases in which medical teams and patients' representatives disagree on treatment. In the Schiavo case, the medical team and Schiavo's husband agreed that there was no hope of improvement in her condition, determined by lower courts to be a "persistent vegetative state."
The Texas law, as in Florida, allows other family members to go to state court to challenge decisions about withholding care.
The 1999 Texas measure was backed by National Right to Life and sponsored by state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, a vocal Bush critic. Coleman said yesterday he saw nothing inconsistent in Bush's signing of the state law and the new federal law.
"The (state) bill was so non-controversial it was on the consent calendar in the House," Coleman said, referring to the process that allows unopposed bills to sail through with no debate.

The Politicization of Terri Schiavo

Just like countless other families, the family of Terri Schiavo has struggled for years with the intensely difficult decision of how to match her course of treatment to her wishes. Now President George W. Bush, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) are using the tragic case of Schiavo – a severely brain-damaged woman who has been incapacitated for the past 15 years – as an opportunity for political grandstanding. A memo, which the AP reports was distributed by Senate leadership to right-wing members, called Schiavo "a great political issue" and urged senators to talk about her because "the pro-life base will be excited." Over the weekend, DeLay and Frist held special sessions of Congress to facilitate passage of a bill that would allow a federal court to overturn years of Florida jurisprudence – encompassing seven courts and 19 judges – and intervene in the Schiavo case. (Underscoring that this was about the politics of the Schiavo case and not policy, the bill was written explicitly to apply only to Terri Schiavo.) President Bush played his part in the spectacle, flying to Washington from his ranch in Crawford to sign the bill, even though waiting a few hours for the bill to be flown to him would likely "have made no difference in whether Ms. Schiavo lives."

BUSH SIGNED LAW ALLOWING HOSPITALS TO DISCONTINUE LIFE SUPPORT: In a statement released early this morning, President Bush said he will "continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans." But the facts make it hard to believe that Bush is standing on principle. In 1999, then Gov. Bush signed a law that "allows hospitals [to] discontinue life sustaining care, even if patient family members disagree." Just days ago the law permitted Texas Children's Hospital to remove the breathing tube from a 6-month-old boy named Sun Hudson. The law may soon be used to remove life support from Spiro Nikolouzos, a 68-year-old man. Bush has not commented on either case.

DELAY VOTED TO SLASH FUNDING THAT PAID FOR SCHIAVO'S CARE: At every opportunity, Tom DeLay has sanctimoniously proclaimed his concern for the well-being of Terri Schiavo, saying he is only trying to ensure she has the chance "we all deserve." Schiavo's medications are paid for by Medicaid. Just last week, DeLay marshaled a budget resolution through the House of Representatives that would cut funding for Medicaid by at least $15 billion, threatening the quality of care for people like Terri Schiavo. Because the Senate voted to restore the funding, DeLay is threatening to hold up the entire budget process if he doesn't get his way.

FRIST FIGHTING AGAINST FINANCIAL RECOVERY FOR PEOPLE LIKE SCHIAVO: Bill Frist has been positioning himself in the media as a champion for Schiavo's interests. Yet, much of Schiavo's medical care has been financed by $1,000,000 from two medical malpractice lawsuits Schiavo won after her heart attack 15 years ago. Frist has been leading the charge to limit recovery for people like Schiavo who are severely debilitated. If Frist is successful, people like Schiavo would not be able to recover any punitive damages no matter how severe their injuries.

PS: This is not about poor Terri's right to life (The life of a spiritless life-form) this is about setting a precedent, creating a law allowing parents to have more authority over adult offspring than do their spouses...THINK ABOUT IT! Your mother/father-in-law can determine the fate of you and your children's lives!!!

Fall For Terri and all of us!

CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use it!






A Blow to the Rule of Law

Congress's Midnight Frenzy



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