Thursday, March 31, 2005
Michael Schiavo's ghoulish attorney characterized the manner in which Terri Schiavo was killed as being "death with dignity." I'm sure, had allied soldiers not executed them in disgust and out of revulsion beforehand, that Nazi guards at Dachau concentration camp would have said the same of the Jews depicted here in tranquil repose after having died in what George Felos would describe as "peaceable death with dignity."
These holocaust victims, like Terri Schiavo, were starved to death by their government. In both cases, the national judiciaries were in complete support.
Felos' characterization of the forced starvation of an innocent woman as being death with dignity puts Adolf Hitler in a new light. He wasn't a genocidal monster. He was simply a caring individual who was doing the Jews a favor by not requiring that they live any longer.
Terri Schiavo has died, husband's attorney saysI've gone from anguish to sorrow to anger today. A mentally impaired woman who has never harmed anyone was executed because her life was considered no longer viable. There was an armed guard at her bedside to the very end, successfully ensuring that nobody made an effort to provide her with a sip of water, no matter how badly her lips cracked and bled.
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman whose 15 years connected to a feeding tube sparked an epic legal battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died Thursday, 13 days after the tube was removed, her husband's attorney said. She was 41.
Schiavo died at the Pinellas Park hospice where she lay for years while her husband and her parents fought over her fate in the nation's longest, most bitter right-to-die dispute. Her death was confirmed to The Associated Press by Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, and announced to reporters outside her hospice by a family adviser.
Brother Paul O'Donnell, an adviser to Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, said the parents and their two other children "were denied access at the moment of her death. They've been requesting, as you know, for the last hour to try to be in there and they were denied access by Michael Schiavo." (link)
Federal and state judges are high-fiving one another this evening for doing their part in making the justice system work fairly and efficiently. By anyone's measure, they too were highly successful.
1. The biggest winner has to be Michael Schiavo, the executed victim's erstwhile husband. He will receive Terri's malpractice settlement as an inheritance (how about that for irony). Deducting the estimated $600,000 that his lawyers will suck up, that still leaves better than $400,000 with which old Mike can do some serious partying. That kind of money will get him a couple of new wives to be sure.
2. George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, will have his phone ringing off the hook. Every husband who is wanting to shed a spouse is going to be seeking his services. I hear that Scott Peterson is wanting Felos' help and is going to change his defense to one of "Laci told me she did not want to live if she was going to be a vegetable." Felos can make it stick. And has a willing and compliant judge to assist him.
3. Judge Greer, the two-bit Circuit Court judge who has a Napolean complex, will be feted at every dinner party and soiree in elite circles from West Palm Beach to Manhattan. Don't be surprised to see him gracing the cover of Hunka Hunka Burnin' Judge Monthly magazine.
4. The federal and state judiciaries. They hung tough. They hung together. And they hung the president and Congress out to dry (I know this is a lousy sentence but it works). And now there is no dispute as to who's in charge. At least we won't need to worry about those pesky hanging chads in the future. Hell, we won't even need to go to the polls. The enlightened few are calling the shots from here on out.
5. The hospice industry. You can count on those beds filling up rapidly now. If you have investment capital, buy shares in the death business. It is your best growth opportunity for many years to come.
Yes, all have reasons to celebrate tonight. Terri Schiavo has been dispatched.
1. Terri Schiavo was unable to take care of herself. She depended on her husband, her family, and her fellow citizens to protect her. A horrible mistake, as it turns out. All abandoned her. She lost everything, including, in the end, her dignity.
2. President Bush could have saved her. He has stood up to tyrants and Democrats but cowered in the face of the almighty judiciary. He was bitch-slapped by a lowly circuit court judge and ran like a dog with his tail between his legs. I kept thinking he could have issued an executive order, pardoning Terri Schiavo. Presidents do it all the time. Hell, Bill Clinton set FALN terrorists free, for God's sake. Or Bush could have stepped in and declared the Schiavo travesty to be a violation of Terri's civil rights, a responsibility that he surely has and authority that is assuredly his to wield.
I was an enthusiastic supporter of the president when he sent our troops off to kill terrorists because I felt he was doing what he could to protect the lives of ordinary Americans. I guess Terri Schiavo, because of her affliction, wasn't ordinary enough.
3. Congress is now subservient to the judiciary - and knows it. Judge Greer was served a Congressional subpoena demanding Terri Schiavo's appearance before a Congressional committee. The judge read it, chuckled, wadded it up, and tossed it in the garbage. And never even responded. Congress passed a law that President Bush dutifully signed that required the federal judiciary to review Terri's case de novo. The federal courts chuckled and told Congress to go away. It did.
4. The Church might as well fold. Terri Schiavo and her parents were/are devout Catholics. With but a few exceptions (including an admonition from a Vatican spokesman), the Church was virtually silent on the subject of the forced starvation of a brain-damaged parishioner. When can we once again expect to see the American church hierarchy grow a spine? When will they risk everything in order to speak out in opposition to injustice? What purpose does the Church serve today besides providing a repository for funds being made available to victims of pedophile priests? Their inaction was particularly shameful.
5. The Schindlers, God love them, failed their daughter when she needed them most. When it became apparent that the entire judicial system was hell-bent on killing their daughter, they continued to go before the heartless monsters and beg for mercy, knowing full-well that none was forthcoming. God help anyone who tells me - by judicial fiat or to my face - that he is going to starve my daughter to death and that I am powerless to stop it. I may not stop the effort but I will give up my life in the attempt, and I'll be damned if I will ever beg for a judge's mercy. Not now. Not ever.
6. Jeb Bush tried to save Terri for years but failed. This was the most crucial fight of his career; one that literally involved life or death. He allowed death.
7. Terri Schiavo's lawyers, whoever they were, failed to protect their client. All their efforts at getting a court - any court - to hear their pleas, were pathetic. What about substantive due process? What about Terri's civil rights being violated? No. They argued that Judge Greer made procedural errors in the case ... Every court hearing this argument shrugged. And Terri is dead.
8. Every physically or mentally handicapped person in the country should be fearful of their government. It does not have their best interests at heart. And they are going be killed with little or no compunction. It's best for all concerned, you see.
9. We the people stood by and allowed our government to starve a young, healthy, precious woman named Terri Schiavo to death. We should all rot in hell for being accessories to her murder.
Critics of [George, Michael's attorney] Felos and Michael Schiavo claim a significant portion of funds awarded for the care of Terri Schiavo have actually been absorbed in legal fees paid to Felos. As Wesley Smith, author of Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope From Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder and frequent NRO contributor, says, "I find it bitterly ironic that the bulk of the money a medical-malpractice jury awarded to Terri for use in making her better instead went into Mr. Felos's pocket to make her dead."
Eric Pfeiffer, National Review On Line
The power to tax involves, as Chief Justice John Marshall said, the power to destroy. So does the power of tax reform, which is one reason why Rep. John Linder, a Georgia Republican, has a 133-page bill to replace 55,000 pages of tax rules.Every time I hear a politician propose a new tax credit or - more often - a new tax on ... anything, I roll my eyes and groan. More tax code that nobody will understand, except H&R Block, occasionally.
His bill would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and the many billions of tax forms it sends out and receives. He would erase the federal income tax system -- personal and corporate income taxes, the regressive payroll tax and self-employment tax, capital gains, gift and estate taxes, the alternative minimum tax, and the earned-income tax credit -- and replace all that with a 23 percent national sales tax on personal consumption. That would not only sensitize consumers to the cost of government with every purchase, it would destroy K Street.
"K Street" is shorthand for Washington's lawyer-lobbyist complex. It exists to continually complicate and defend the tax code, which is a cornucopia from which the political class pours benefits on constituencies. If the income tax were replaced -- Linder had better repeal the 16th Amendment, to make sure the income tax stays gone -- everyone and all businesses would pay their taxes through economic choices, and K Street's intellectual capital, which consists of knowing how to game the tax code, would be radically depreciated.
Under his bill, he says, all goods, imported and domestic, would be treated equally at the checkout counter, and all taxpayers -- including upward of 50 million foreign visitors annually -- would pay "as much as they choose, when they choose, by how they choose to spend." And his bill untaxes the poor by including an advance monthly rebate for every household equal to the sales tax on consumption of essential goods and services, as calculated by the government, up to the annually adjusted poverty level.
It is encouraging to see that Congressman Linder has considerable support for his plan. I'm not optimistic though that we will ever eliminate the IRS.
But we can dream. Can't we?
The Department of Homeland Security released hasty-sounding plans this week to dispatch 150 Border Patrol agents to Arizona in the next few days. The move is a short-term, ad-hoc fix that coincides with Project Minuteman's deployment this weekend and follows the president's abnegation of border-control promises. The move is welcome, but it is not nearly enough. "Right now, things are so out of control we have no idea who's crossing our borders," T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council union, told the Associated Press. "It's going to take more than a couple of hundred agents to seal those gaps."There are 10.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Half a million crossed the border last year - into Arizona alone, a state that is struggling to cope with the influx.
There is some consolation that the move to bolster the number of agents on patrol is unintended acknowledgement of the severity of the problem. However, that hardly alleviates the problem created by Mr. Bush's failure to fund 2,000 new agents -- as promised in the December intelligence-overhaul bill.
This isn't the fault of DHS or the Border Patrol; it's a lack of policy guidance. The United States needs concise direction from the White House. It cannot rely on the bureaucracies to resolve matters; bureaucracies are, by their very nature, incapable of making the kind of policy departure necessary to improve border-control. Sending a high-level official to diagnose the country's border-enforcement ailments and return to Washington with a set of recommendations is the only way to handle the matter at this point. There is a demonstrable need for such action and ample precedent to do so.
Where is our government?
At the same time, there's this perspective on the story from David Limbaugh:
There is a disquieting trend evolving here. And it should frighten all of you. Especially if you're approaching your retirement years. God help you if you become incapacitated. Today there is a percentage of Americans who still think it is important to know whether Terri Schiavo would want to be put to death. In twenty years, if this trend continues, our grandchildren won't give a damn whether we wish to be kept alive or not.
There is a perverted, sinister sickness in Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, glamorizing Terri Schiavo's death, saying she looks "beautiful" and is "resting comfortably."
Mr. Felos' statement is presumptuous, extraordinarily insensitive and powerfully offensive, especially given contrary accounts of Terri's family and their lawyers. They say she is emaciated, her eyes sunken, her skin flaking, she's bleeding from eyes and mouth and desperately trying to cry for help.
Terri's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, said, "It's like someone who is coming out of a bunker in Auschwitz." Brother Bobby Schindler said, "This is heinous what's happening, absolutely heinous -- this is absolutely barbaric. If she is in fact dying so peacefully and easily, why not allow a camera in there to videotape it?"
... I am saying all too many have become unwitting disciples of a pagan death cult, which romanticizes death and the death process, and disturbingly discounts the universal human will to live. At the very least they are blind agents in the incremental, inexorable devaluation of sacred human life.
They would have you believe, just as the pro-abortionists, that they are primarily interested in vindicating the choice, freedom and intent of the patient. Yet they don't seem remotely interested in finding what Terri's choice really is, just as the pro-abortionists do their level best to deprive pregnant women contemplating an abortion of information that might militate against making a choice for life.
They seem completely untroubled that Terri left no written declaration of her intention not to be kept alive, much less via feeding tube. They are unfazed that the only evidence she wants to die is the testimony of an estranged husband who somehow didn't remember to mention it in the first years of her disability when he was pursuing a malpractice award. Why wasn't he trying to honor "her wishes" then?
They appear entirely impervious to statements from Terri's parents and siblings, and from some of her medical providers, that Terri does want to live, which, if true, would cancel any past contrary expression made, if at all, many years before.
They are so incurious about the many irregularities in this case, especially Terri's reported current will to live, one must conclude they are biased against keeping alive severely brain-damaged people, regardless of their intent, past or present.
If Terri doesn't want to live, why did she make loud noises when told all she needed to do to stay alive was express her will to live? Even forgetting everything else, if there is any chance she was trying to express her desire to live, we have no moral authority to permit her to be killed.
The fact Michael's defenders turn a deaf ear to Terri's cries and casually dismiss the very real possibility she has a will to live that transcends her brain damage proves it isn't her intent they seek to honor, but their superior opinion that she doesn't need to be kept alive in these circumstances. [my emphasis]Rationalize if you must, but they are resolving all doubts against life and making their decision on subjective quality-of-life
So few beds. So many elderly citizens.
"Confidence in the judiciary." I remember that concept.
This morning brought very strange news in the Terri Schiavo case. From the Associated Press:
In a rare legal victory for Terri Schiavo's parents, a federal appeals court agreed to consider an emergency motion requesting a new hearing on whether to reconnect their severely brain-damaged daughter's feeding tube.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued a written order without comment late Tuesday allowing Bob and Mary Schindler to file the appeal, even though the court had set a March 26 deadline for doing so.
In a one-sentence order, the court said: "The Appellant's emergency motion for leave to file out of time is granted."
Even as the court waived the legal deadline, a biological deadline approached. Terri Schiavo is now in her 12th day without food or water, and doctors have said she will likely be dead within two weeks of her feeding tube's removal.
Whatever the legal merits of the Schiavo parents' argument, the court's latest ruling certainly seems to vindicate the views of Judge Charles Wilson, who, dissenting a week ago in Schiavo v. Schiavo, wrote that "we should find that the gravity of the irreparable injury Theresa Schiavo would suffer could not weigh more heavily in Plaintiffs' favor. In contrast, there is little or no harm to be found in granting this motion for a temporary injunction and deciding the full merits of the dispute."
The best argument the "right to die" people have had in this case is that the legal process has worked, even if it's produced an outcome with which not everyone is happy. As the 2003 guardian ad litem report put it, "The courts have carefully and diligently adhered to the prescribed civil processes and evidentiary guidelines, and have painfully and diligently applied the required tests in a reasonable, conscientious and professional manner."
Yet there is now a strong chance that Terri Schiavo will die, pursuant to court order, while legal questions about her fate are unresolved. It's hard to see how this can do
anything other than weaken Americans' confidence in the judiciary. (link)