Patterico's Pontifications


A True or False Question for the “Let Terri Schiavo Die” Folks

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Schiavo — Patterico @ 11:29 am

Looking at the recent coverage of the Schiavo case by the L.A. Times, I am struck by the way the paper consistently portrays the theme of the controversy as “Family vs. Government.” And much of the public appears to be buying it.

This is apparent in today’s disgraceful article about Tom DeLay, which I discussed in this post. The article begins:

A family tragedy that unfolded in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal — without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the debate raging outside Terri Schiavo’s Florida hospice.

How ironic, right? DeLay wants Government to override the wishes of Family in the Schiavo case — but not in his own private situation.

The same “Family vs. Government” theme appears in the paper’s recent story about two mothers who made different decisions about ending the lives of their children. I discussed that article in this post. According to that article, the mothers believe that the government shouldn’t be involved in the Schiavo case:

There is no one correct course, [Kaye] O’Bara says. It’s a private decision one a family must make on its own, with love.

[Shirley] Bradley feels the same. Watching politicians and protesters presume to know what’s best for Terri angers her. She would not have wanted a stranger to make the choice for Randy.

Quite obviously, I am missing something. I am under this crazy delusion that Terri Schiavo’s family is divided about her wishes — and that most of her family members (including her mother, father, brother, and sister) think she would want to live. If anything, I would have thought that the case is about Congress plus the Schindlers, on one hand, vs. the Florida courts and Michael Schiavo, on the other.

But the L.A. Times says it’s Family vs. Government. And many members of the “Let Terri Schiavo Die” crowd seem to agree.

So enlighten me. Tell me where I am wrong.

Please answer the following statement true or false:

The Terri Schiavo case is, quite simply, a case about Family vs. Government. It pits the wishes of the family against the wishes of politicians.

I am especially interested in having this question answered by those who believe Schiavo should be allowed to die.

Please open your comment with the word “true” or “false.” Then take as much time and space as you need to explain.

I am also interested to hear your reaction as to whether it is appropriate for the L.A. Times to run a story about the death of Tom DeLay’s father. Was that story an utter disgrace, as I believe — or an on-target expose of DeLay’s hypocrisy? In your answer, please address the fact that DeLay’s family was unanimous regarding the wishes of the elder DeLay, whereas Schiavo’s family is virtually unanimous that she would want to live.

121 Responses to “A True or False Question for the “Let Terri Schiavo Die” Folks”

  1. Ridiculous!
    This story is much more simple… It’s about whether Terri Schiavo, as expressed through her husband, has a right to die, under the circumstances, regardless of the needs of certain members of her family. Government intervention is little more than an attempt by those who wish to take away her right to die to influence public policy to do so by claiming some higher moral ground. There is none, so let Terri have her own way.

    Whether one wants to admit it or not, the courts have spoken with one voice; Terri left her instructions with her husband, not with her parents and, siblings and their political supporters.

    We live in a nation of laws and it’s time for the losers in this battle to remember this. Let’s all move on.

    Neil Herring (e77bc0)

  2. Additionally, the family has clearly stated they would not follow Terri’s wishes if they were not consistent with their own (even if she were suffering).

    Ol Cranky (7214c4)

  3. Oops, to answer your question:

    It pits the [politically expedient] wishes of the politicians against the decision of her husband, who is her legally authorized representative. If she wanted additional input into decisions made about her life, she could have obtained a power of attorney requiring her husband make decisions in conjunction with her family (or named other family members as sole arbiters of decisions regardless of her husband’s input).

    Ol Cranky (7214c4)

  4. I’ll take these responses as a “false.” Or at least as attempts to avoid answering the question directly, which amounts to the same thing.

    Terri left her instructions with her husband, not with her parents and, siblings and their political supporters.

    She didn’t “leave her instructions” with anyone, dude. That’s why this is such a controversy.

    Patterico (756436)

  5. DeLay’s father and Terri are going to heaven are they not?

    Stan (3d6135)

  6. Amazing — how sure these people are that Michael Schiavo and the judge have it right.
    I remain unconvinced. Patrick, you’ve got it

    Randall Tanner (a30354)

  7. Patterico – You missed an opportunity to pour some gas here. You should change the name of the group from the “Let Terri Schiavo Die” crowd to the “Let’s Kill Terri Schiavo” crowd.

    Ladainian (91b3b2)

  8. Tempting, but I am really trying to encourage answers here — from people like you.

    Patterico (756436)

  9. False. This is a case about a woman the first trial judge decided did NOT want to be resuscitated in the event of her decending into a “persistent vegetative state”. The case became persistent because the parents of Mrs. Schiavo could not accept the first judgment.
    Tom Delay’s father needed full hookups to stay alive, had failed kidneys,and was more obviously gone for good. In his case the family were in agreement about withdrawing treatment.

    RJN (e973b6)

  10. The Terri Schiavo case is, quite simply, a case about a woman’s wishes vs. Government. It pits the wishes of the woman against the wishes of politicians.

    Now you can certainly disagree whether those were her true wishes as you have expressed in numerous posts and comments, but that is the issue.

    It was an utter disgrace to run the DeLay piece. The Chicago Trib ran it today (or a similar one). The situations are not the same.

    I have a question for you. In reading some of your responses to previous comments it appeared your only objection was that you thought Judge Greer got it wrong. That is: Terri wished to remain alive. Yet, the constant mentioning of “murder” makes it seem like you also object to the method in which she will die.

    Given that assisted suicide is illegal in Florida and that (at least here in Illinois) one cannot legally consent to their own murder, does it really matter to you what her wishes are? Terri isn’t dying anymore than you or I are. So given your positions (at least as they seem to me) it would be a matter of family vs government in that you don’t seem to think any family with a member in PVS (and just assume for the sake of argument Terri is in a PVS) should be allowed to starve their relative to death.

    ThreeSheets (4950ea)

  11. ThreeSheets:

    I’ll take that as a “false” as well. Why is it so hard for you folks to say that clearly?

    I think your comment makes good sense.

    I don’t recall using the word “murder” recently, though I am open to correction.

    I know for a fact I used it several times in October 2003. Since then, I have given a lot of thought to the possibility that Terri Schiavo might have wanted to die under these circumstances, and I have decided that the use of the word “murder” is too flippant. I don’t think it’s been proved that these were her wishes. But she *might* have wished this.

    Can you cite me a recent example of my calling this a murder?

    I have called it a killing, and I believe that to be true. Because we don’t know that she wants it. And because she is not otherwise terminal.

    In reading some of your responses to previous comments it appeared your only objection was that you thought Judge Greer got it wrong.

    No. That is my main objection. I also am very disturbed at the lack of procedural protections we have for persons in Terri Schiavo’s position. And I am appalled at the way she is being forced to die.

    Still, if she chose it for herself, that is her business. Assuming that she is in a PVS, and her wish is to die, I have absolutely no quarrel with that. I’m surprised that wasn’t already clear to you.

    I’m glad you agree that the LAT piece on DeLay was a disgrace. That (and the rest of your comment) speaks well of your intellectual integrity.

    I have enjoyed reading your comments on this issue, and I hope you stick around as a commenter. Your views are reasonable, well expressed, logical, and not insulting. It is, unfortunately, somewhat rare to run across someone who can express their disagreement in such an impressive way. Keep coming back.

    Patterico (756436)

  12. Oh, and I have added you to the blogroll.

    Patterico (756436)

  13. Right after you call me reasonable, well expressed, logical and not insulting I have to backtrack regarding your use of “murder.” I was more reacting to other people’s useage.

    I don’t agree that my answer is a false. Nor, however, is it a true. I think I tried the political sidestep and answered it my own way. I do think one can claim that it is the ability of a family to make the decision vs government. This particular family is divided hence the need for litigation. But as the LA Times presents it..yes, it’s false.

    By the way, Power Line has a very interesting post concerning the lawyers involved in the trial court. Basic point is that due to the med mal settlement, Michael hired one of the foremost authorities on “right-to-die” issues while the parents had an inexperienced nobody (no disrespect meant, I was an inexperienced nobody when I started practicing law too…thankfully now I am an experienced nobody). As I mentioned in one of my earlier comments to another post, I don’t have much faith in our judicial system and one of the reasons is that often you get whatever justice you can afford. In the parents’ case, little to none. I don’t know if the facts are true, but if so that would (and did) change my mind about the issue.

    Thanks for adding me to the blogroll.

    ThreeSheets (4950ea)

  14. False. This is not a simple case. It is naive to believe that giving up on the feeding tube is not common, particularly in Alzheimer’s patients during their final days — people who are not totally braindead. Does this mean these thousands of family members across the US are murderers? Yes, if you listen to all this insulting belligerant rhetoric.

    As for DeLay, he is just incompetent politically for not seeing that a mile away. DeLay is just creaming in his jeans because people aren’t thinking about his ethics problems this week. DeLay’s selfishness damages the Conservative agenda. (Well, the parts of the agenda that don’t relate directly to that one feeding tube going into that one belly.)

    Ladainian (91b3b2)

  15. Does this mean these thousands of family members across the US are murderers? Yes, if you listen to all this insulting belligerant rhetoric.

    Not in my view.

    Patterico (756436)

  16. True

    The truth of the matter is that Greer is the government and that the government is prohibiting others to care for Terri (even posting guards to ensure that she starve).

    Within a family, those that cared would be those that care.

    In a proper society, government would only get involved when called in to prevent abuse (ensure the protection of the right to life, liberty, etc.). Here the government is the agent of abuse–the executioner.

    Paul Deignan (0edb9f)

  17. In response to the first comment, the position is ridiculous.

    It is impossible to know the wishes of an individual. Think about it–you don’t even know your own mind from one moment to the next precisely. If you did, it would be impossible for you to learn in a meaningful way (you could experience things, but you could not learn–learning requires self-direction).

    Please also note that the courts spoke with one voice during slavery. They are not infallible. That’s ridiculous!

    Paul Deignan (0edb9f)

  18. False.

    As pointed out above, the family does not all have the same wish.

    Nor should we view the government as having a common objective. While there are those who want her kept alive, regardless of her wishes, others (I’m guessing, but I think it’s safe) just want to revisit the process by which we came to the present time (diagnosis of PVS, husband in charge, Terri not wanting to be kept alive).

    So, assuming I have permission to do so, I would recharacterize your question as: The Schiavo case is a case between those who think the matter has been properly decided -vs- those who don’t.

    steve sturm (a27d61)

  19. Exactly. And so, Steve, I assume that you agree with me that the LAT story on Tom DeLay was beyond the pale?

    Patterico (756436)

  20. I’m going to beg to differ with steve.

    Since we are a nation of the people–the people are the source of sovereignty, there must be some intrinsic aspect of the individual that exists without dependency and beyond review of any governmental construction.

    This “sphere of sovereignty” must include life and intrinsic autonomy. Wishes relevant to life/death exist within this sphere. It is not for the government to presume to know our will on these issues nor may it arbitrate.

    That is like saying that I need the governement’s permission to live or that breathing is a “right” that I negotiated in forming this government.

    Irregardless of how the case was decided, this was an overreach by the judiciary. In forming the government, we acknoledged a respect for each others intrinsic natural right to life. Here that principle was violated as well.

    Paul Deignan (0edb9f)

  21. Yes. I was meaning to add that in at the end of my post… and forgot.

    steve sturm (a27d61)

  22. To add to my comment for Patterico’s assistance in understanding my position number 1, above)….

    With all due respect, you may disagree with the conclusion but the trial court concluded that Terri did in fact leave her instructions with her husband. He obviously made a convincing case. Given the years that this case wandered around the Florida state court system and the consistent results obtained by anyone appealling that basic decision, why do you hold in disdain anyone who concludes that it in fact may be the truth? We live in a world where we all second guess each other all the time. As a prosecutor, you know this more than anyone. You can argue all you wish about judicial discretion, due process and all the rest but sometimes decisions are made that are not poplular with everyone involved. This is an obvious case. I, for one have no way of knowing whether the initial ruling for Michael was in any way an error, and unless you plan to spend the next six weeks reviewing every activity that took place and interviewing all the key witnesses yourself, neither do you (or anyone else who thinks that Michael is somehow evil and that the district court judge will meet him in hell – not for a minute do I think you fall for this nonsense, by the way).

    Neil Herring (e77bc0)

  23. Patterico,
    I have come to your Site via references from a few places (Michelle Malkin and FindLaw’s Writ).
    First, you have clarified the issue at hand about the discomfort of being dehydrated better than anything I have seen or heard.*

    I may have found the answer already, but I would love a clear answer from someone who appears to be able to give one. The problem can be seen in this email from a well known bioethicist:

    “no court has bought these claims trying to disqualify him as her husband. there have been eleven!! trials in florida. no judge has
    found any basis to kick him out as the surrogate.
    So, if you believe as I do that spouses have the power to make decisions about their spouses–not parents, not bioethicists, not governors and not the US Congress then his decision should be honored.”

    To those not well versed in law, it is easy to think that the facts get looked at again and again and it would appear that the Schindler’s need to “give it up already”. But I think the situation is much more like the trial Judge (Greer) ruled as he ruled, and unless something can be shown out of order in the process, or very gross misconduct by the judge, to get another court to actually review the facts of the case is nearly impossible. (I have seen or heard several times things to the effect that, “It is not the job of the Federal courts to correct every injustice of the State Courts”.)

    When Judge Greer states it doesn’t matter that Michael Schiavo’s claim about her wishes to “not live this way” were 8 years after the incident and contradictory to previous legal proceedings, it becomes a topic no longer considered by future courts. This becomes especially pertinent if the claims are true that
    the attorney representing the Schindlers at trial was out of their scope of usual practice and up against a “big gun” (Paid for by money that was supposed to help Terri). (Per Steve Sailer, Malkin, Powerline).

    Is that perspective on things somewhere near correct? If not, please educate me.

    *(I.e., if a person is terminally ill and actively dieing they may not be thirsty or hungry, so don’t make them. In addition, don’t feel guilty that you can’t make them. – People who aren’t actively dieing usually get thirsty. How to tell? Put ice chips in the person’s mouth and look for a response. If you really don’t want to know, make a court order against letting all forms of pure and adulterated water come near her mouth.)

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  24. Is the working theory here still that someone pumped up with morphine has hunger and dehydration discomfort?

    … you have clarified the issue at hand about the discomfort of being dehydrated better than anything I have seen or heard …

    Ladainian (91b3b2)

  25. I think you’re right on target.

    Patterico (756436)

  26. By the way, welcome to the site, and please bookmark it and return in the future!

    Patterico (756436)

  27. If not murder, then certainly Euthansia.

    On March 7, 2005 Terri Schiavo’s parents petitioned Judge Greer “…to provide Teresa Schiavo with Food and Water by Natural Means…” after the tube was removed. Judge Greer’s response: “Ordered and Adjudged that Respondents Emergency Expedited Motion for Permission to Provide Theresa Schiavo with Food and Water by Natural Means is DENIED” (March 8, 2005, File No. 90-2908-GD-003). It was at this point that the terrible execution order was delivered and it is only a matter of time before it will be finalized.

    Judge Greer has ordered that Terri Schiavo be executed by a slow and painful death. It was not just by the order to remove her feeding tube, which was questionable and was merely a death sentence. The terrible injustice came after he ordered the tube removed.

    If anyone, by willful neglect or intention, did this to their pet dog or cat, they would be prosecuted and jailed.

    The Courts have now established the legality of Euthanasia where the Legislators have prohibited it.


    Lee cox (9d41c8)

  28. False.

    I think in large part it has become a battle of politicians vs politicians. The family is just the unfortunate arena where the fight is taking place. The Schindler family cannot and will not let go and I can understand that.

    What it points to is the clear need for a legislatively defined standard for what constitutes a clear expression of an individual’s wishes.

    As for the L.A. Times story, that was beyond repugnant.

    Stephen Macklin (745fd2)

  29. False, it is a family case which has become politicized. It reminds a little of the woman who disappeared with her kid rather than obey court orders regarding visitation with the ex she claimed was a child molester. It would be interesting to compare the political lineups.

    That said I think the legislative intervention (both in Florida and by the US Congress) was wrong, this outcome was reasonable given Florida law and if the legislature finds it intolerable then the proper response is to change the law not keep holding trials until you get the desired result.

    Regarding DeLay I think the story is legitimate. This based in part on quotes that I believe have seen in which DeLay says nasty things about Michael Schiavo. If my memory is wrong or he was misquoted this would weaken the case. Even so politicians at DeLay’s level have fewer privacy rights than ordinary people. It is unfortunate that his family was dragged in but no one forced them to talk to the reporters. If your objection is that the cases have nothing to do with each other I don’t agree.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  30. If your objection is that the cases have nothing to do with each other I don’t agree.

    Can you explain why? As I said in the post: “In your answer, please address the fact that DeLay’s family was unanimous regarding the wishes of the elder DeLay, whereas Schiavo’s family is virtually unanimous that she would want to live.”

    Patterico (756436)

  31. True – if a person died without a will and seven years later somebody said that the deceased promised them something and had as a witness his brother and his wife, would the courts give the claimer the property?

    Why would a court take the word of somebody seven years after the fact and after the husband sued (and collected)rehab money (claiming she was rehabable?).

    Second: The husband may not have the best interest of his “wife” in his heart (and he may have) but it is to his advantage to have her die and not to his advantage for her to live.

    How come the right to die crowd has not nullified all the “cruelty” issues by pushing for a “merciful” death by injection? (They don’t want to face the obvious accusations of murder.

    Finally, if she is a vegetable what’s the difference if she exists for another thirty years?
    If she has no feelings there is no release for her in death – she has all of eternity to be dead and only a few more years to live.Let her parents have her, if for no other reason then to give them peace.

    George Saunders (c90e2e)

  32. To Ladainian-

    Not at all. If Terri Schiavo is in PVS she doesn’t need morphine, remember?

    Many people who are dieing are not in pain and do not need morphine. Even if one needs to control pain with narcotics they still can be hungry and thirsty. Last time I checked my patients who are in methadone programs still eat and drink.

    When a person is in “hospice” care, the idea is the treatment focus has shifted from “curing” whatever the illness is, to helping the person live as “comfortably” as possible. Comfort includes enjoying family and friends, doing things and going places, and eating what you enjoy. It would be typical of hospice care to withhold oral food and water only if eating and drinking caused so much pain the patient did not want to anyway.

    The only medical reasons to withhold food and water are to do tests like X-rays, before surgery, and if you are treating a condition that will get better by holding intake for a period of time. None of these are true.

    A “legislative standard”? That was discussed before/elsewhere. If Mr. Schiavo said, “Terri told me she murdered my old girl friend” that would not have much standing in a criminal case. If he says, “Terri told me that Mr. Jones gave us the old lawnmower” that would count more because the burden of proof for a civil action, regarding things, is not as high. The questions is, which standard applies when the “thing” is a human life? Common Sense (what??) would say human life needs a higher standard. The Courts did not see it that way. Legislation was enacted by Congress and signed by the president that was intended to do something like that in at least this case and the courts ignored it and Legal scholars are going back and forth on it. (Right patterico?)

    Concerning politicizing: The minute Michael Schiavo hired a big gun lawyer known to advocate euthanasia it became more than a “family dispute”. Bringing in expert medical testimony also well known to advocate euthanasia from out of state confirmed it. It became bigger and bigger because the Schindler’s would not go quietly into the night. I am sure there are people on both sides with less than pure motives. Which side prevails in this statistic I do not know.

    In one way I do not think this should be a right to live/die case at all. If I was estranged from my wife for 8 years, then appeared in the ICU after she was in a car accident and told the docs to turn off the respirator, I would expect her parent’s to ask me “what the h___ are you doing here?” and go to Family Court immediately. Theortically, I could see a man staying married to an extremely incapacitated wife and wanting her best even while taking up with another woman if his wife had no one else, and his behavior was consistent with caring. But Mr. Schiavo has stood in the way of appropriate care since about 1994, and he was not all that she had.

    Once upon a time the issue was did a patient have a right to decline care (Of course!). In this case we are asking it we can make sure a person dies, even if all we have to do for the person is spoon feed them. Please don’t tell me “They just took out the feeding tube”, because they didn’t, they also forbade nutrition and fluids by normal oral means. And don’t tell me “She can’t swallow anyway”, because if she couldn’t why would the judge have to make the order?

    One thing that has really bothered me is it appears there is a lack of intellectual integrity or common sense, or perhaps a lot of jumping to conclusions with inadequate facts . Which one/s I am not sure.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  33. I am afraid that this has now passed judicial approval and will become the new Law, or at the very least usher in the practice of Euthanasia of a most horrible kind, the starvation and dehydration of any one unable to speak. The activist court has spoken and approval from higher courts granted.

    Lee cox (9d41c8)

  34. Fathers “give away” the bride to the husband. This is a symbol for a fact about family. It’s enshrined in the law, and it is a part of most cultures the world over. And that answers the question. The marriage unit trumps in this case. Adults are emancipated at age 18. When they marry, the family of consequence before the law is the family of marriage. To intervene for the Schindler’s would pit the government against the family which Mr. & Mrs. Schiavo made with each other. I for one don’t want parents outside my marriage using the government to dictate my family life. This is a standard American view. The opposing view goes against the American tradition.

    PrestoPundit (cd3f73)

  35. Greg,

    What do you know about this case? Do your comments still hold given that the husband was engaged in a romantic relationship with another woman when he first mentioned Terri Schiavo’s alleged wishes? And he has had two children by that other woman. What part does that play in American tradition?

    Patterico (756436)

  36. Patterico, I don’t see why the unanimity (or lack thereof) of the family is important. As I understand it, you fear Terri Schiavo is being treated unjustly because her true wishes are not being followed. However I think the chances of this are greater in cases where the family is unanimous because then there is no effective oversight. You may think the process to determine her wishes was flawed but it was a lot more than she would have received with an unanimous family. Suppose Terri Schiavo had made a will splitting her estate between her parents and her husband. Suppose in this hypothetical the parents had better appreciated the husband’s point of view and agreed to pull the tube. As I understand it this likely would have meant the tube was quietly pulled long ago but I don’t see why the injustice done Terri Schiavo (if any) would have been any less.

    Also it is not clear to me that Terri Schiavo’s blood relatives agree that she would have wanted to keep the tube. As I recall her parents conceded they would oppose pulling the tube even it was established that that was her wish. And a lot of their case has been that her husband failed to meet the clear and convincing evidence standard which is a bit different than claiming that she would want to keep the tube. I don’t believe her siblings testified which they presumedly would have done if they had any real evidence to support the idea that Terri Schiavo would have wished to keep the tube.

    James B. Shearer (4332f9)

  37. “Do your comments still hold given that the husband was engaged in a romantic relationship with another woman when he first mentioned Terri Schiavo’s alleged wishes? And he has had two children by that other woman.”

    Didn’t her parents encourage that?

    actus (f9abe0)

  38. The parents seem to be quite crazy, and as such their wishes aren’t very important. No parent wants to lose a child, but no child/adult wants to be hooked up to a feeding tube for 20 years either.

    The court’s work meets the “good enough for government work” standard that’s imposed by the Court of Public Opinion.

    Richard Bennett (c5751d)

  39. False. The issue is a family dispute, and from what I can tell purely from what has been reported (and trying not to obsess on a personal tragedy which I am not directly involved in) there is no capacity left in Ms. Schiavo for any participation in her own life. Therefore, any regard for her that may be left would appear to be best expressed by letting her go, while keeping her from feeling pain if that is indeed possible in her present state. For the truly religious, this would be allowing her to enter into heaven, a much kinder end than the hooked-up one which she now is enduring.

    Ruth (61ba8e)

  40. Richard Bennett sez:

    The parents seem to be quite crazy

    This from the guy who gets upset if anyone breathes a word of criticism of “Mike” Schiavo. Whatever the parents’ faults, I have yet to read a single affidavit from a nurse quoting them calling Terri Schiavo a “bitch.”

    Patterico (756436)

  41. Patterico, it’s quite simple, you see.

    You’re under the impression that Terri’s mother, father, and siblings are somehow “family.” This is quaint and old-fashioned. Florida state law apparently has redefined “family” to mean “husband.”

    The other term that has been redefined is “humanity” itself. The zealots define this word to mean “having cognitive ability” or having the ability to develop that. Without that ability, the zealots tell us that nothing worthwhile, good, enjoyable, or meaningful remains. For the zealots, this is an untouchable article of faith, so obvious as to defy question.

    I do not sure how the zealots know so very well the full contents of the human mind and the human experience itself.

    I’ve tried for a week to engage any of them in this, to no avail. To the zealots, any disagreement with them MUST be rooted in religion, not in simple atheist uncertainty.

    Bostonian (04094f)

  42. A father “giving away” the bride does not give the husband license to treat her as a piece of property. The assumption is the wife remains able to speak for herself as any other adult. If the wife becomes unable to speak for herself the husband becomes her guardian. But the guardian is subject to the society’s view of the correctness of the care, just as with a child. The Children and Family Services Dept. of Florida should have investigated the case. (Typically a perpetrator of child or dependent adult neglect or abuse does not turn themselves in to be investigated. Close family members who are not paralyzed by shame or fear are in a perfect situation to do so.) At the last hour they did and Judge Greer overruled the findings of their investigation. Whether they had been involved previously I do not know. (If I spend anymore time on this than I have I am really going to get into trouble.)

    Fathers “give the bride away”, and if things go bad she “goes home to mom”. There is the claim (which I have not seen denied) that Terri was going to do just that, except literally she was planning to stay with a girlfriend.

    I do not understand how anyone cannot at least acknowledge they are troubled by Mr. Schiavo speaking on behalf of his wife with the obvious conflicts of interest and alleged testimony.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  43. False

    Reasons obvious upon inspection.

    There… isn’t it refreshing for someone simply to answer your question in a straightforward manner?


    Dafydd (df2f54)

  44. Here is my attempt to get the big picture.

    There is actual evidence for this analysis.


    Paul Deignan (d771a7)

  45. “Do your comments still hold given that the husband was engaged in a romantic relationship with another woman when he first mentioned Terri Schiavo’s alleged wishes? And he has had two children by that other woman.”

    Didn’t her parents encourage that?

    Possibly, depending on whom you choose to believe. Whether or not they did is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Michael Schiavo is living in open adultery with Jodi Centonze, a crime under Florida law, and proof positive he’s a HINO in any other state.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  46. Bostonian wrote… “simple atheist uncertainty.”

    My dictionary defines an atheist as one who rejects all religious beliefs and denies the existence of God. There is no “uncertainty” in atheism. If one is uncertain as to the existence of God, one is agnostic.

    ThreeSheets (79d1c8)

  47. TS: there’s some play in the definition of the word “atheist,” due perhaps to its ambiguous morphology. Everyone knows what the parts mean: roughly speaking, a- means “no,” the(os) means “god” and ism means belief system. The question is, how do you stack the parts together semantically? If a modifies theos, then “atheism” is the “ism” that teaches there is atheos (no god). But if a modifies theism, then atheism is merely the absence of theism, not an affirmative belief to the contrary.

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  48. X- I still stand by a) my dictionary b) common useage and c) the definition of theism. Again, my dictionary lists theism as “belief in a god or gods.” The other two definitions concern belief in one god. So even going back to the latin roots, a=no and theism=belief in a god or gods, I still conclude that atheism is lack of belief in a god or gods (or as you put it “absence” in a belief in god, not uncertainly as to whether their is a god. Seems to be “no god” and no belief in god” get you to the same result. But I quibble. I knew what he meant.

    ThreeSheets (79d1c8)

  49. False.

    The Terri Schiavo case is, quite simply, a case about Family vs. Family. It pits the wishes of the husband against the wishes of the parents, where Terri’s wishes are uncertain.

    Again, it’s possible this question wasn’t meant for me as I don’t think of myself as a member of a “let Terri die” faction. More of a “rule of law” faction.

    Lance McCord (e13a67)

  50. The “rule of law” faction is really the rule of courts faction. If Florida law had been respected by the Florida courts, Terri’s Law would have ended the issue in 2003. If federal law had been respected by the federal courts, she’d have gotten the de novo trial the law clearly called for. Either way, she’d be back on the feeding tube, at least for now.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  51. ” a crime under Florida law”

    can you believe jeb lets him get away with that? RINOS!

    ” If federal law had been respected by the federal courts, she’d have gotten the de novo trial the law clearly called for”

    de novo is a standard of review. not a procedure.

    actus (ebc508)

  52. King David of Biblical fame had many wives, plus a few random concubines and consorts. He was considered a just and holy man despite his (rather enormous) taste for tail.

    If such a man can render judgment about all manner of things with great wisdom, I fail to see the logic of impeaching Mike Schiavo’s ability to communicate Terri’s wishes to the court with clarity and certainty.

    Richard Bennett (57f7ac)

  53. “The Terri Schiavo case is, quite simply, a case about Family vs. Government. It pits the wishes of the family against the wishes of politicians.”

    False. This case has family pitted vs family (relatives vs husband), and government vs government (Congress vs State of Florida).

    But as with any emotionally charged and complex issue, this is a great opportunity for grandstanding in front of those unable or unwilling to educate themselves about the basic facts, and so of course the LAT is milking this for all it can get.

    Scott (57c0cc)

  54. Richard, what’s your point? Other than the one on the top of your head, that is.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  55. My point, XRLQWERTW, is that your argument is weak. And sad.

    Richard Bennett (57f7ac)

  56. I suppose so, if you are fundamentalist Xian who wants to return to the days of pre-Magna Cart monarchy. Otherwise, your response is a total non sequitur.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  57. XRLQPBJ, according to the laws of Florida, Mike and Terri are married, but you don’t accept their authority. You call him “husband in name only” don’t you?

    So you’re presumably invoking some Higher Authority to revoke the marriage and take him out of the decision-making process. As the only Higher Power I’m aware of is religion, I’m pointing out that your argument doesn’t even work on those grounds.

    But the Mike issue is irrelevant because the court has determined the nature of Terri’s wish, but I’m willing to accept your implicit claim that you’re more sensitive than the average man.

    Richard Bennett (57f7ac)

  58. Threesheets,
    My uncertainty is, as I tried to note, about Terri’s actual mind.

    I know this is very very hard to understand, but it is possible to be uncertain as to Terri’s mind without having any belief whatsoever in God.

    I do not believe in God, souls, the afterlife, mystic crapola about convergences, higher powers, or higher purpose. I believe quite firmly that all that is utter rot. When you die, it’s over, your body rots, and if you’re lucky some of your DNA lives on in other people. I do not have doubt about these things. I am a real atheist, not an agnostic.

    (I’m sorry if I offend any Believers here. It appears my atheist credentials must be established in an over-the-top fashion.)

    To my main point: We value our conscious, cognitive existence so thoroughly that some of us forget that the human mind contains more than that. Thoughtful scientists could tell you about a lot of unfortunate people whose traumas have shed light on this subject.

    From my own readings, it sure looks like the cerebral cortex is a sort of spin factory that generates rational sounding answers for problems that have already been solved deeper in the brain. Humans are not nearly so rational as they believe themselves to be.

    Anyway, nobody on earth can state with any kind of certainty was is happening inside another person’s mind, let alone the mind of someone with an abnormal brain. So how can any human proclaim what human life and human experience is “human enough”?

    Bostonian (04094f)

  59. Florida law also says the governor can have the tube reinserted by executive order, but the imperial judiciary didn’t like that law. Another law says judge’s stays are lifted automatically for three hours pending an appeal, but local “law” enforcement refused to abide by that law last week. Yet another Florida law, which courts have yet to strike down, says Michael Schiavo is committing a criminal offense by living in open adultery. If that Florida law had been enforced to the hilt, Michael Schiavo would have had to choose between his “common law wife” and his legal one, or spend the past decade in and out of prison. So don’t lecture me about Florida law, unless Florida law is really what you want.

    The only thing dumber than your efforts to play a lawyer on TV is your claim that Michael Schiavo’s credibility is irrelevant to Terri Schiavo’s supposed death wish. How else to you think that crank judge “determined” it? By asking your favorite strawman, King David?

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  60. Mark Steyn is brilliant today, by the way.

    Bostonian (04094f)

  61. My point, XRLQWERTW, is that your argument is weak. And sad.

    . . . .

    XRLQPBJ, according to the laws of Florida . . .

    That joke gets funnier every time you tell it.

    Patterico (08c813)

  62. What Exactly Is the Correct Answer
    There has been a great deal of discussion about Terri Schiavo. We know now that she will soon die. All along we have been told that she will not be in pain and will not suffer from starvation and dehydration. I wrote an earlier post where I describe…

    BIG DOG's WEBLOG (ce71de)

  63. Bostonian– You are correct. It is very hard for a simpleton like me to undertand such an enlightened soul as yourself but your last comment makes almost no sense. But please bear with me, me try to speak good and get point across OK Joe. (Patterico, so much for the nice things your said about me before)

    Still, your earlier comment makes no sense and your attempt to be snide and respond went nowhere too. To what does the “atheist” adjective refer to if not the following noun uncertainty. As noted atheists (as your yourself note) have no uncertainty as to the question of God’s existence.

    “Atheist uncertainty as to her mind” is an empty phrase. But I bet you thought it sounded like a great zinger. Maybe it was, I’m just to simple to understand you. Of course it’s “possible” to be uncertain as to Terri’s mind if you are an atheist. It’s also possible to be uncertain of her mind if you are agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist, pantheist or anything else you can think of. Belief in God has no bearing on what someone else’s mind holds.

    But congrats nonetheless, you are an atheist and damn proud. You were it well. Believers are just stupid simpletons to you but you have been able to see through the cons and shams and come to the truth..holding it with as much conviction as believers…even though both sides are equally based on faith.

    Last, and again have pity on my weak brain, if by zealots you are referring to the anti-tubists, my guess is most of them aren’t religous. In fact, probably the opposite. Hmm atheists just like you. But again maybe it’s me; maybe I just don’t find calling opponents zealots/extremists whatever very helpful to a discussion.

    ThreeSheets (4950ea)

  64. Yes, indeed most of the anti-tubists as you call ’em are not religious, or at least not formally so.

    They believe that we know all we need to about the human mind, which is why I consider them zealots. They believe that the only possible argument against removing Terri’s food and water must be from religion. And yes, it is very very difficult to even make them SEE their own belief system. I think the word zealot applies nicely.

    As for your last comment… your earlier pigeonholing of me (other thread especially) was not too “helpful” to the discussion either.

    Bostonian (04094f)

  65. Ruth, you said “For the truly religious, this would be allowing her to enter into heaven, a much kinder end than the hooked-up one which she now is enduring.” Doesn’t this argument work for anyone on this side of heaven?

    Why should I let my children grow up at all. Life isn’t fair, they will have to work, they’ll lose their job, recessions and wars will occur, etc, etc, etc. Just kill them now and let them enter heaven so they won’t have to endure suffering here.

    Sorry, Ruth, but I don’t find that aspect of your argument very morally compelling.

    As for your argument that she is best served by “letting her go” unfortunately they’re not “letting” her go, they’re “making” her go. Somehow that doesn’t do it for me either.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  66. Not only that, but most Christian fundamentalists believe that those who die as children (or, for that matter, in the womb) go to heaven, while most adults ultimately end up in hell. Why not kill all the kids as quickly and painlessly as possible? It seems like a horrible thing to do now, but they’ll thank you in heaven.

    Xrlq (c51d0d)

  67. Don’t say that too loud. Some might take you seriously.

    Patterico (756436)

  68. Some wag pointed out that Republicans have a lot of compassion for people before they’re born and after they’re dead, but not much in between.

    That seems pretty fair.

    Richard Bennett (c5751d)

  69. “Not only that, but most Christian fundamentalists believe that those who die as children (or, for that matter, in the womb) go to heaven, while most adults ultimately end up in hell.”

    I thought you needed to be baptized. News to me.

    actus (f9abe0)

  70. The Schiavo Case vs. the DeLay Case
    This LA Times story tries to equate the decision to remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube with the decision of Tom DeLay’s family to remove the ventilator from his father in 1988, but the cases aren’t very similar. For one, as Patterico notes, the DeL…

    Les Jones (794c81)

  71. Richard, you said “Some wag pointed out that Republicans have a lot of compassion for people before they’re born and after they’re dead, but not much in between. That seems pretty fair.”

    Nice unsubstantiated allegation but how so? I’m a conservative who tends to vote Republican if only because I’m hopeful they’ll do the least damage of the two common choices.

    Just curious about the reasons for your “not much in between” comment. A few solid examples might help. Is it the Bush wants more arsenic in the drinking water thing? Perhaps we can discuss the meaning of compassion.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  72. I think you’ll find it means government handouts.

    Patterico (756436)

  73. Xrlq, I think you may have missed my point. Many Christians, myself included, believe that in life there is suffering, allowed but not caused by God. He does, however, use it for many purposes that often result in a greater good but that we often simply don’t understand at all. I took exception to Ruth’s suggestion that taking Terri’s life was for her own good, something only God is truly in a position to know.

    My argument involved using a ridiculous extreme to illustrate where that process naturally leads and it certainly ain’t heaven. BTW, I don’t agree with your stereotype of “Christian fundamentalists” or their beliefs, but that’s far too large a topic for this thread so never mind.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  74. Patterico, unfortunately that may very well be true. Quite frankly I’m tired of being branded as lacking compassion simply because I believe that hard work, personal effort and an education are important and that I am entitled to determine my level of compassion with my own hard-earned money.

    Our federal budget is now at something like $2.54 trillion at the hands of a Republican president and Republican congress and my federal, state, and property taxes have never been higher. I can’t help but wonder, Richard, at what level of “compassion” would you be satisfied?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  75. Actus – your belief that fundamentalists believe that baptism is necessary for salvation is typical of a lack of comprehension of what fundamentalists really believe. There is a lot of nuance of belief among evangelicals and fundamentalists that few recognize outside of those groups.
    Though I am neither a fundamentalist or an evangelical, I believe that I am correct to say that most fundamentalists believe that baptism is an act of identification with Christ in burial and resurrection. It is an act of testimony – not salvation.

    Boman (6ec7ac)

  76. “Though I am neither a fundamentalist or an evangelical, I believe that I am correct to say that most fundamentalists believe that baptism is an act of identification with Christ in burial and resurrection. It is an act of testimony – not salvation.”

    It isn’t the washing away of original sin? We’re not born sinners? I was raised in a half-assed catholic family, so i may be wrong about this.

    actus (ebc508)

  77. Actus – fundamentalists and evangelicals are almost always identified as Protestants. Your Catholic background does not inform you on the beliefs of Protestants.

    Boman (6ec7ac)

  78. Actus – the thief on the cross,because of his belief, was told by Jesus that he would be in paradise. There was no baptism.
    But lets not get started on religion. There will be no end to it. The idea is to be careful what is attributed to fundamentalist belief. Too many people do a lot of commenting without knowledge on this subject.

    Boman (6ec7ac)

  79. Harry, I understood your point. My point was not to rebut yours, but rather, to take it to the next level, i.e., to take Ruth’s all the way to its grisly conclusion.

    Xrlq (c51d0d)

  80. Xrlq – your point is right on target. However, it does beg the question – will the parents who kill their children go to hell because they are murderers? If so, what are the implications for Michael Shiavo?

    Boman (6ec7ac)

  81. Harry A. XRLQ:

    To quote the Chairman of the Pres’s Commission on Bioethics, treating death as a disease to be treated takes away from us the valuation that it matters not so much how long one lives as how well one lives.

    Death may seem grisly to people who are afraid of it, but a life liveD twisted in contortions without the ability to speak or share life with loved ones seems like worse than ascending into heaven to some of us.

    Did Jesus choose to go into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday knowing he was going to his death because it was grisly? He had a choice, and chose death.

    Which doesn’t make death seem so evil, does it?

    Ruth (825b72)

  82. Xrlq, fair enough. Just wanted to be clear that I was arguing a point, not advocating a position. Perhaps we were making the same point but from slightly different directions.

    As a conservative evangelical, who you might consider a “fundamentalist” if we spent several days discussing some of the finer theological issues (which we most likely won’t due to Patterico’s bandwidth limitations :-)), my other point to you was that “fundamentalist” tends to be an overused term, often derisive, suggesting someone who’s not too bright and easily led, as the Washington Post might put it. In short it is often a stereotype as I suggested.

    I didn’t take your comment personally, nor was I offended in any way, just want to make a friendly suggestion that you reconsider the use of the term in a different context than you might be used to. “Fundamentalists” are definitely not monolithic any more than are most other groups of people.

    Bowman, just a friendly bit of information – there are many evangelical Catholics, and sad to say there are just as many non-evangelical protestants. Many of us actually do understand and respect our differences as well as our similarities.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  83. Harry – I agree and understand. That’s why I used words like, “most”, “nuance” and such.

    Boman (6ec7ac)

  84. Ruth, you said “Death may seem grisly to people who are afraid of it, but a life liveD twisted in contortions without the ability to speak or share life with loved ones seems like worse than ascending into heaven to some of us.” I couldn’t agree more that heaven is far better than anything on this earth but I would submit that when we go is a choice not given to you or I. That, my friend, is God’s prerogative and his alone IMHO. My point regarding Terri S was that we were usurping God’s place without even knowing at a fairly high level of certainty what Terri would have wanted.

    You also said “Did Jesus choose to go into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday knowing he was going to his death because it was grisly? He had a choice, and chose death.” Jesus also sweat “as it were great drops of blood” agonizing over his trip to the cross. And he asked the Father to “take this cup” from him. I do not believe Jesus ever had anything but total disdain for death. That was not what he created us for. I believe he viewed death as the enemy that it is.

    I just simply do not believe that you can sustain the belief from the life of Christ that death is something nice or that we should wilfully choose it. As a Christian I am neither afraid of death nor do I seek it – it is God’s prerogative and his alone.

    Finally, you said “Which doesn’t make death seem so evil, does it?” Death is totally evil. It results from the fall, from original sin. The fact that Christ reverses the results in the resurrection doesn’t make it less so.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  85. … my federal, state, and property taxes have never been higher.

    So much for the vaunted Bush tax cuts.

    Richard Bennett (c5751d)

  86. Richard, on the contrary, imagine how high my federal taxes would be if it were not for some moderation at the federal level. Now if we can just learn to control spending … a major problem that I have had with GW since he teamed with Ted Kennedy to raise education spending and with the AARP to create yet another entitlement with the Medicare drug program.

    As for state, I live in Virginia, where we elected a democrat, Mark Warner, who promised not to raise taxes without a vote from the people then did precisely that, to the tune of more than $1 billion. Just after conning the majority of the republicans in the legislature to join him (there are few innocent parties here), we all discovered that, surprise! there was actually significantly more revenue than forecast. Wow! What luck!

    I also live in Fairfax county where property values have risen significantly in recent years so I am being taxed on an unrealized gain there. Did I mention that the chairman of the Board of Supervisors also promised not to raise taxes then did precisely that through revaluations of real property while claiming, with a straight face mind you, that because we lowered the property tax rate a pitance, that what we really got when our taxes increased more than $1,000 of last year was a tax cut. Obviously I’m economically challenged – a bigger number certainly didn’t look like a cut to me.

    These are just a few of the reasons I have trouble with the “rich don’t pay their fair share” class warfare rhetoric. Perhaps if I were more compassionate and less mean spirited I’d not object so strongly.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  87. Silly me, and I thought that Jesus conquered death. Well surprise, surprise.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to be flip. But I do think that when early Christians went to their deaths in the Roman colliseum, they went joyfully. And I think that, like an elderly relative of mine who pulled out her own IV’s in an effort to leave ‘this earthly realm’, there are lives that are too horrible to bear.

    It seems that the testifying medical experts have also determined the same. the courts have taken more than eight years of due process to come to this conclusion. And as the Chair of the Pres’s Council of Bioethics has also registered for the administration that a life well lived is to be preferred to one prolonged, I would argue that there are cases where ‘extraordinary means’ to maintain life are not appropriate. And that this is resoundingly one of those.

    My sympathies on the economic collapse in VA, which of course was caused by the recent Rep’n governor’s cutting out taxes which the state couldn’t afford, wasn’t car tax the one he claimed the state particularly didn’t need? and now the only way to keep schools, roads, police, etc. operating is from the taxes you are taking so hard. Sorry ’bout that.

    Ruth (e95b1a)

  88. Ruth – if you think the courts with due process have come to the right decision, I can only encourage you to read much more about this case.
    If you think the courts are able to come to a right decision in situations like this, I can only encourage you to educate yourself about the problems of the adversary process.
    If you realize that the disabled are worried sick about this decision, then you have an idea of the problems to come with how we deal with the problems of the severely disabled.
    Your cursory understanding of the situation is not adequate to the need.

    Boman (2f4ea9)

  89. Nat Hentoff has written a number of articles on the Terri Shiavo case that are quite enlightening. I suggest that one could start their education process of this case by Googling Hentoff.

    Boman (2f4ea9)

  90. Nat Hentoff has written some very foolish things about this case. He’s Right-To-Lifer so that’s to be expected.

    The Disability Rights movement certainly is watching this case closely. My sister is one of the leading disability rights attorneys in the country and she was asked to be part of the Schindlers’ legal team. One predictable aftermath of the case will be laws that promote litigation in end-of-life cases. This will be a full-employment situation for disability rights attorneys but it won’t do much for families and suffering patients.

    There has been more due process of law afforded the Schindlers and their mouthpieces Randall Terry and Jesse Jackson in this case than in any 100 typical end-of-life decisions.

    The problem you folks have is not with the courts or the evidence, it’s with the law which does not generally promote the endless application of fruitless attempts at rehabilitation for brain-dead people.

    Richard Bennett (57f7ac)

  91. richard B:

    Thought you knew a lot about this situation. I simply cannot see why the obsession is with maintaining a sadly elongated existence which is not in any way a ‘good’ ‘life’… and hope at least multitudes of people will take the positive step of making their own wishes known.

    Also do not see why anyone would want to be a mindless, chemically maintained lump of flesh.

    That is obviously not what creation intended, nor does it make this god’s world.

    Ruth (9c81a9)

  92. Harry A.,

    Note that Richard Bennett didn’t answer your question about compassion.

    I think he did mean government handouts.

    Patterico (756436)

  93. Sometimes government handouts are an appropriate way to show compassion. A good example is unemployment insurance, part of the national social security program. During the deepest part of the recent recession, when millions of Americans were out of work and diligently seeking work, the Congress extended the benefit period once from the standard six months to nine months, and then they let it lapse back to six months. At around the same time, they increased the number of H1B visas issued to allow foreign temporary professional workers into the US.

    I’d say those two moves together illustrate my point about Republican compassion quite nicely.

    In a similar way, the President’s efforts to reform the social security system with private accounts for younger workers have now been defeated, largely by virtue of his blowing his political capital on the pointless Schiavo case.

    Republicans don’t prioritize very well.

    Richard Bennett (c5751d)

  94. Incidentally, people who feed at the government trough aren’t necessarily the best ones to complain about government handouts, Pat.

    Richard Bennett (c5751d)

  95. Ruth, I don’t think you’re silly, we just disagree. Strongly. I will never accept that in a case like Terri’s where, at best, there is serious doubt as to her actual wishes, we should as a society support causing her death. I’ll say it again – there is a tremendous difference in you chosing to allow your own death and me chosing that for you. And there is even a larger difference between ceasing extraordinary means to keep you alive and witholding food and water.

    Quite honestly where you end up after this life is of little consequence to this discussion – that decision is as the saying goes, above my pay grade. Furthermore, for you to decide on the quality of life of another human being and suggest that your determination warrants causing their death is at the very least arrogant. And, honestly, I don’t care if the president’s medical ethicist believes that or not. He or she can be just as wrong as the rest of us.

    The disability rights people, especially those who are disabled, and doubly especially those who are mentally disabled are very well advised to be worried about this case. They see where this leads. I’m surpised that many of you who advocate causing Terri’s death do not.

    As for our argument about how many angels can fit on the end of a pin, just one last question: Is it friends or enemies that we usually conquer? And a comment, the final conquest is not complete. That happens at the end of the age. You might want to do a word study on “death” sometime.

    My comments about the tax situation in Virginia were not meant to illicit sympathy but to illustrate the veracity of our local politicians. Virginia’s economy is doing quite well, thank you, in spite of our elected officials. Unfortunately, what we have chosen to do in Virginia is to grow government expenses far in excess of what inflation or demographic changes suggest or demand.

    Jim Gilmore, campaigned and won on eliminating the car tax – universally hated here in the Commonwealth I might add. We do not have “shortfalls” due to the partial elimination of the car tax but because of overspending.

    In this respect I’ll agree with Richard, except to add that I don’t think either party prioritizes very well. Why should they? If they want to spend more all they need do is revalue my home and increase my property taxes, sales taxes, or income taxes then claim it’s necessary or they’ll have to close the schools, fire departments and police departments. We can argue what constitutes true compassion in another thread. Perhaps we can work on SS private accounts in another thread also.

    A word of caution, any time a government entity, controlled by either party, the UN, the EU, or whoever, claims that there is a crisis in any area, hold onto your wallet and guard your freedom because both are at risk.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  96. Harry A:

    No doubt, if I thought my own judgment on another person’s life or death was the deciding factor that would be arrogant. My judgment is of the existing decision and the process by which it was achieved. My experience has led me to conclude that the medical profession, and the courts, behave with less than precipitous manner in concluding any life has no further prospect of being maintained.

    And I agree with your last statement regarding announcements of crisis.

    Ruth (82832d)

  97. Richard, you wrote “Nat Hentoff has written some very foolish things about this case. He’s Right-To-Lifer so that’s to be expected.”

    Is that what they call an ad hominem argument?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  98. Ruth, when I suggest arrogance I’m not suggesting that for you personally – it is a collective “you” to whom I am speaking. It is the “you” who have decided that Terri’s life is to be forfeit because it is not a worthy life. It is an arrogance IMHO of which WE as a society are guilty.

    For us to decide whose life is worthwhile and whose is not is to usurp God’s prerogatives and that is societal arrogance for which, I believe, God will have little patience.

    One more time, we are NOT talking about the prospect of maintaining a life. We are talking about taking the life of a living, breathing (on her own) person who happens to be severely brain damaged.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why we must take Terri’s life. It is repugnant to me that we have gotten to this point as a society. Do we now go into the mental hospitals where there are thousands of just as severely brain damaged people and starve them also? Why not? I dare say none of them would wish to live the way they are living. Their lives are not of the quality we have decided is appropriate to continue to support. Talk about compassion.

    “What you do to the least of these, you do to me.”

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  99. Harry A.,

    Yup. As I thought. He means government handouts.

    Of course, under Richard Bennett’s fascinating logic, I am not allowed to criticize his definition of compassion, because I am a government employee.

    Makes sense, right?

    What do you do for a living, Richard Bennett? Who pays you, and how much do you make?

    Patterico (756436)

  100. Richard, you said “Incidentally, people who feed at the government trough aren’t necessarily the best ones to complain about government handouts, Pat.” Nice cheap shot.

    It was certainly my experience in 25 years as an Army officer that both military and civilian government employees were as dedicated, underpaid, and hard working as any with whom I’ve worked in the private sector. I’ve seen few exceptions to that observation among my many government EMPLOYEE friends and neighbors.

    Of course in the military we had that “put your life on the line” thing going also. Hardly a get rich quick scheme in my mind.

    But then there are “troughs” and there are “troughs” aren’t there?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  101. Ruth, one last thought. Do we then decide that people who are severely disfigured can’t enjoy the quality of life that we have somehow collectively defined? I am not at all comfortable that once we decide to play God we won’t go all the way with it. Just human nature, after all.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  102. I took about a 65% pay cut to “feed at the government trough.” I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me; it’s what I wanted to do and I’m happy with the decision. But I’m hardly gorging myself at that “trough.”

    Bennett’s snide comment is just a way to avoid the fact that he equates compassion with government handouts. He needs to do that to deride Republicans’ lack of compassion, because there are indications that Republicans are more generous when it comes to charitable giving.

    I’m not sure why we’re having this discussion on this thread, anyway — a sure sign that Bennett is a troll.

    Patterico (756436)

  103. Harry A.:
    You said:
    “Of course in the military we had that “put your life on the line” thing going also.”

    I was wondering if your regard for the sanctity of life included the loss of life in war, or by capital punishment? Not to founder in sentiment, but much of my opinion of the life lived hooked up – and yes, feeding tubes are a variety of hookup – was derived from an elderly relative’s act in removing her IV’s to attempt to end her life when she wanted to go. I respect her choice. And I respect the choice of those who go to war, although I cannot join them in thinking they are bound to kill.

    John 10: 18 (Jesus speaking of the coming crucifixion): “No one takes it (life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”


    Aren’t you throwing around the “troll” terminology somewhat loosely? When some one has a serious discussion, I don’t think the insult should be applied.

    Ruth (74cc19)

  104. The definition of troll I have seen is someone who hijacks a thread by changing the topic. Bennett has us talking about tax cuts and spending.

    But this itself is a side discussion, and he has stayed on topic for the most part, so I’ll withdraw the comment.

    Patterico (756436)

  105. Patterico:
    Thanks. I appreciate your keeping discourse pretty dignified.

    Ruth (15ceec)

  106. Ruth, in each of the examples you cite, including Jesus’, the individual made the decision regarding their own life. We simply object to others making the decision for Terri. If I truly understood this to be her desire at a high level of confidence, beyond a reasonable doubt I might say, then I for one would stand aside and allow her her wish. Our problem is that we don’t have that level of confidence given all the salient facts.

    As for capital punishment, if we can be sure that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of a capital crime then it does not conflict with my Christian beliefs to execute that person as long as they have received the full due process of just law. They have by their actions forfeited their right to life.

    As a soldier, I am fully pursuaded that my belief in the sanctity of life is completely compatible with performing my duties as a soldier. Nor do I have any doubt whatsoever that I am completely in concert with Christian teaching as long as I conduct myself in an honorable manner that reduces to an absolute minimum, even at risk to my own safety, the potential for loss of civilian life. In short, I am in concert with Christian “Just War” theory developed over the last 1,900 years. As for killing “bad guys” who would do my country harm or kill my fellow citizens or my family if they got the chance, I have absolutely no problem with dispatching them to the life beyond this one.

    Different circumstances entirely than Terri’s.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  107. In the case of Terri Schiavo, the questions are these;
    l. Did she state that she wanted to die? Answer – not certain.
    2. Is she in PVS? Answer – not certain.
    3. Would she suffer if starved to death. Answer – not certain.
    Now, if you think the courts settled on the answers to these questions, and they are right, then I guess you can believe that the courts know how to answer difficult problems of science and medicine.
    I don’t.

    Boman (65b072)

  108. Bowman, exactly! Succinct and well stated.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  109. Harry A:

    Probably you had no intention of disregarding them, but the early Christians did not choose to be thrown to the lions or burned at the stake, etc.

    I can understand your feeling that those who are killed by our soldiers in war are not murdered, when they are aligned against us, even though they are only protecting their home. But to my mind the most poignant death I know is that of the 6 year old child found in the wreck of the house originally targeted as being the location of Sadam Hussein. During Shock and Awe, and precipitating the hostilities, this occurred when a bit of bad information led us to begin a bombardment of Hussein’s area of operation, beginning the unfortunate war.

    Your distress over Ms. Schiavo’s plight is one of respect for life, what about the women and children, and all noncombatants, who have become ‘collateral damage’. There we must agree to disagree.

    Oh, and the Chairman of the President’s Commission on Bioethics is Dr. Leon Kas.

    Ruth (ef3e3f)

  110. Actually, Patterico, in terms of foregone future income, your pay cut to work in the public sector was much higher than 65%. And the private sector would love to have you back.

    Jackie (5d52df)

  111. I think you can see my point. If it’s fair to characterize unemployment insurance as a “government handout” then it’s certainly fair to say government paychecks are “feeding at the trough.” And if you think one is unfair, then so is the other.

    Speaking of government employees, the 11th Circuit made us all proud today by rejecting the latest appeals. These fine civil servants pointed out that Judge Greer’s findings re: Terri’s wishes were rational, meeting the “clear and convincing” test.

    I especially liked the minority concurrence to the effect that the Palm Sunday Overreach was unconstitutional. We have some fine people working for us in government jobs.

    Richard Bennett (57f7ac)

  112. Jackie,

    Good point.

    Patterico (756436)

  113. The most poignant deaths I know were those of the innocent children killed by Herod.
    The early Christians did choose to be thrown to the lions, in that they chose not to deny their faith and be spared.
    Was the SS and the Imperial Army of Japan merely defending their own land?
    While many protested how the “shock and awe” would destroy the Iraq infrastructure, etc, etc., it probably was one of the most successful ever of avoiding mass civilian casualties. You may disagree, but the question of driving Hussein out of power when we did was potentially the same question as to what to do with Hitler in 1939. The idea of Stopping Hitler at his first aggression was disliked because of the potential loss of life. Perhaps earlier intervention would have ended up saving millions of lives. (The journal article that claims 100,000 civilian casualties were caused by the US is very flawed, by the way. Their calculations would assume that the death rate in Iraqi prior to the war was better than the U.S.).
    Patterico, I am not sure where you are and what you do, but we could use more civil servants out here that are civil, serve, and are intelligent and gracious as well.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  114. MD:

    I am time-deprived, but just for the moment:
    What about the innocents that Zeti had slain, from which Moses received his trip on the river?

    And I don’t agree that we’re sparing lives in Iraq. Or that this is a moral war. We had so many options, and ignored them to start blasting away.

    Ruth (24cf3d)

  115. The Surgeon General has declared that time deprivation is a national malady second only to sleep deprivation. (Common-sense deprivation is still under study.) Both (all three, some would say) problems are well known to me as well.
    Concerning Iraq, I would suggest there are a couple of ways to discuss it:
    1) War is bad, and people who fight wars are evil, no further comment.
    2) War is bad (only) when Republicans start it (Korea(?) and Vietnam excepted).
    3) War is bad, but may be necessary.
    a) Iraq is bad, don’t bother me with facts.
    b) Iraq is bad, after all the info I have seen, and I’ve seen enough
    c) Iraq is bad, after all I’ve seen, but I am open to further information gathering and discussion; even willing to possibly differ in opinion respectfully with someone who comes to the opposite conclusions, if their reasons have merit
    d) Iraq is good…(ditto (c) as above)
    e) Iraq is good…(ditto (b) above)
    f) Iraq is good…(ditto (a) above)
    4) War is bad (only) when Democrats run it
    5) War is good, it stimulates the economy, gives the news media something to do, limits population problems, and is part of the natural evolution of humankind. To oppose war is tantamount to getting in Darwin’s way.

    Those who hold Positions 3c and 3d can have meaningful dialogue.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  116. Ruth, unfortunately the topic of this thread was intended to be the late Terri Schiavo and we have gone far astray with the Iraq discussion – caused as much by my comments as anything. Perhaps when it comes up again in another context we can spend hours discussing concepts such as “the greater good” and whether in fact “We had so many options, and ignored them to start blasting away” as you suggest. As you might guess I have some level of disagreement with your characterization of events.

    I, for one, am darn proud of the superb, and restrained way our fine young men and women have conducted themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan to date. As Laura Bush has just indicated in her visit to Afghanistan, think of all the little girls who now have the opportunity for an education there. And of course in Iraq there is an end to mass graves, rape rooms, and public torture and beheadings for some imagined slight to the Hussein regime.

    You can indeed sleep peacefully knowing our fine young soldiers are willing to do a nasty job in places far away from their families to protect the citizens of our great country.

    MD in Philly, “Those who hold Positions 3c and 3d can have meaningful dialogue.” Exactly! As a retired soldier I am firmly in the #3 camp. As for Iraq I’m a mixture of 3c & 3d, though I’m inclined to believe that almost all war is bad, soldiers being most keenly aware of that fact. Unfortunately war is often necessary. Whether that makes it “good” or not, who knows?

    Your comments on Hitler were on the mark in my mind and not an entirely inappropriate comparison to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In that context I’m content to let history judge our intentions and actions in Iraq. Of course I remember vividly the intense criticism of Ronald Reagan as he rearmed Armerica and confronted the Soviets, ultimately resulting in the fall of the wall and of Soviet communism in general. Not unlike what we hear today from the very same critics about Bush’s attempt to democratize the Middle East.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  117. Harry A.

    Thanks for that ‘all war is bad’ which speaks from the experience best known to me. I was not of the generation that saw women serving in war zones, of course.


    Sorry, make another number on the list:
    (x) The war in Iraq is bad but we have to see it through, as happened in Vietnam.

    So true, deprivation of all sorts is rampant. I admit to having taken on a couple of very demanding tutorials with a time limit that grew much too close the last couple of days, and at the same time took on a recaulking job.

    And I am terribly sorry for the Schindlers, hope against hope that they will find joy in their daughter’s release to heaven.

    Ruth (e84ffc)

  118. Randall is no better than Scott Peterson–he thinks he’s “holy” because he uses fetuses instead of fists to maim and murder women. No one has mentioned the 13-year-old Floridian girl being denied an abortion will likely suffer smelly, permanent abstinence-imposing childbirth fistula incontinence that will force her to wear Depends diapers forever. Why do you think Randall, Gingrich, Hyde, Sherwood, the Bushes, etc. all cheat and divorce? Why do you think Laura and Barbara support abortion?–childbirth wrecked their health and hubbies’ fidelity! If LG’s fetus is female, she can also worry about breast and face cancer. My best friend died gruesomely from an estrogen-sensitive face cancer brought out of remission by her last daughter. My friend lost her nose, right eye, ear, upper and lower palate and finally her life. Her brat daughter wasn’t grateful. You know that if Terry Schiavo’s life was threatened by the female fetus-cancer link, Randall would be bloviating for Mrs. Schiavo’s death by fetal takeover. Moreover, “prolife” blowhards refuse to address a slew of other ugly hypocrisies: 1) Christ never condemned a Jerusalem RU-486 weed consumed by his women apostles to avoid fistula divorce; 2) the early church was hijacked by phony celibate pedophiles, playboys and closet gays whose heretic condemnation of birth control kept them supplied with fresh lovers at the expense of mothers’ lives; 3) the church burned 9 million women for childbirth scars proving “satan worship”; 4) the “ever consistant” church forbade sex most days of the year and with post-menopausal women; 5) the “know-it-all” church claimed birth defects were caused by sacreligious sex on Sundays; 6) the Vatican secretly hoodwinks abortions for priests’ “vocation-ruining” mistresses; 7) Paul VI’s anti-birth control Humanae Vitae encyclical is invalid because he knowingly funded the Catholic Nazi Croatian Ustashi slaughter of 500,000 Christian Orthodox Serbs in 1942 “to fight abortion”; 8) 450 plants, like coffee, tobacco, alcohol, ginger, penn royale, and Queen Anne’s Lace, all cause early abortions yet the Vatican refuses to ban them or stop serving them; 9) “prolifers” don’t bother making priests perform baptisms, last rites, and funeral masses for smelly used napkins, tampons, etc. which you know contain BILLIONS of tiny miscarried embryos; 10) aside from the countless caffeine abortions pedophile harem god Randall has executed from his mansions and rallies, you know he arranged secret surgical abortions for his underage mistresses to “avoid scandal” (NARAL, etc. should hire investigators and sex offender decoys to catch the creep!); and 11) people should mail or dump on his lawn stones for adultery stoning and boxes of Depends for his latest stupid slut brood mare, then call out the TV news crews to film the mess. I wish I lived closer so I could paper Randall’s district with flyers urging women not to suffer fistulas, cancer, or death on behalf of adulterous pedophiles like Randall! Regarding gays, studies show 5-20% aren’t the gender they think they are due to in utero endocrine disrupters and different sex fraternal embryos that fuse into one fetus–likewise, I believe Phyllis Schlafly is really a psuedo-female hermaphrodite whose marriage is invalid by “her” own standards. Similar hypocrisies apply to “Mr.” Randall Terry and his brood mare whores. Fertility doesn’t prove one’s gender. Anti-gay chromosome and DNA tests would reveal many Republican “marriages” to be invalid due to “same sex” lab results.

    Mary Mueller (6aeb85)

  119. Menopause’s Secret Phytoestrogen Natural Plant Estrogen Rebalances Women Men Hormones Level Pueraria Mirifica Natural Plant Estrogen

    Phytoestrogen (e15aca)

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