4 April 2005

Towering contradictions and hypocrisy in the controversy over the tragic plight of Terri Schiavo

John A. Kitzhaber, a physician and former governor of Oregon, points out how Congress involved the federal courts in the life of one individual, while making another decision to deny thousands of other Americans access to healthcare. Some of whom who may die as a result.
To understand this point is to understand the insidious form of implicit rationing practiced by legislative bodies throughout the nation - starting with the Congress. When the Congress cuts Medicaid funding, it is a direct cost shift to the states that administer the program. However, unlike Congress - which has run up a $7 trillion national debt over the past four years - states are required to operate within a balanced budget. So they respond to cuts in Medicaid by dropping people and/or services from coverage.

In 2003, for example, in an effort to balance the budget in the face of falling revenue due to the recession, the Oregon legislature discontinued prescription-drug coverage for certain categories of citizens covered by the state's Medicaid program. This action was apparently based on the assumption - widespread in legislative circles - that if we just stop paying for the healthcare needs of the poor, they'll somehow go away and the public sector can avoid the cost.

As a consequence of this decision, Douglas Schmidt, a man in his mid-30s suffering from a seizure disorder, was no longer able to afford to purchase the medication that controlled his seizures. He subsequently had a grand mal seizure and suffered severe brain damage. He was put on a ventilator in a Portland hospital, where he remained for several months. Eventually he was transferred to a long-term care facility where he died after life support was withdrawn - following a court order to do so.

The cost of his antiseizure medication was $14 a day; the cost of his hospital care was over $7,500 a day - a total medical bill exceeding $1 million. The legislature saved no money through its implicit rationing decision, yet Mr. Schmidt died of political and budgetary expediency based on a policy that said, in effect, we will not pay pennies for medication to manage a seizure disorder, but will pay thousands of dollars to keep an individual on life support after that unmanaged seizure disorder causes severe brain damage.

So, in another words, the act of Congress was one of mere ceremonial nature, and that they care not, in the aggregate, for the lives of Americans who are denied healthcare because they have no way to pay. And all of you who side with Tom DeLay (who applies a different set of standards for his own family), Bill Frist (who oversees a managed care corporate entity that he has defended such hospital made decisions) and George W. Bush (who signed a law in Texas to take these life support decisions away from the family), but yet are not in favor of universal health care envelope yourself in a giant contradiction.


Uhhhh.....thought you were sick of this shit. That's all I'm going to say about that (sounding like Forrest).
Hi Neocon.
where you talking to me or naum?
"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves."
—Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:277
Mondo, that's about the wisest thing I've read from one your posts…
Why thank you Naummy.

{3:1} My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we
shall receive the greater condemnation. {3:2} For in many
things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the
same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole
body. {3:3} Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that
they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
{3:4} Behold also the ships, which though [they be] so
great, and [are] driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned
about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor
listeth. {3:5} Even so the tongue is a little member, and
boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire
kindleth! {3:6} And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of
iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it
defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of
nature; and it is set on fire of hell. {3:7} For every kind of
beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the
sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: {3:8} But
the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of
deadly poison. {3:9} Therewith bless we God, even the
Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after
the similitude of God. {3:10} Out of the same mouth
proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things
ought not so to be. {3:11} Doth a fountain send forth at the
same place sweet [water] and bitter? {3:12} Can the fig
tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so
[can] no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. {3:13}
Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among
you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works
with meekness of wisdom. {3:14} But if ye have bitter
envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not
against the truth. {3:15} This wisdom descendeth not from
above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish. {3:16} For where
envying and strife [is,] there [is] confusion and every evil
work. {3:17} But the wisdom that is from above is first
pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full
of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without
hypocrisy. {3:18} And the fruit of righteousness is sown in
peace of them that make peace."
Unfortunately, this decision by the courts is symptomatic of a much wider slide by the courts into moral relativism. Consider, for example, another terrible decision handed down on March 14, 2005. Judge Richard Kramer of the San Francisco Superior Court summarily struck down California's law prohibiting same-sex marriage. The measure was deemed to be unconstitutional, he said, because "It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite sex partners." No rational purpose?

That takes us back to 2000, when, after a vigorous and highly emotional debate, fully sixty-one percent of Californians voted in a referendum to define marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman; only thirty-nine percent disagreed. Despite this overwhelming response by more than four million people, which became the law in the Golden State, Judge Kramer had the temerity to say that the will of the majority made no sense. He set himself up as the sole determiner of rationality. What utter arrogance! If the decision stands, it will be reflected in every department of government and in every California public school from kindergarten to high school.

We knew this judicial assault on the institution of marriage was coming, and it certainly won't be the last. Liberal judges throughout the nation are itching to sanction same-sex marriages by judicial decree, despite their awareness that the vast majority of Americans do not want the family to be redefined. There can be no doubt about that fact. Seventeen states have voted recently on the meaning of marriage, and all seventeen have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage exclusively as being between one man and one woman. There have been no exceptions, not even in socially liberal Oregon and Hawaii. In all, 38 states have passed "defense of marriage acts."

Nevertheless, there in San Francisco a few weeks ago sat an imperious judge who concluded that marriage—as it has existed for more than 5,000 years on every continent and in every culture on earth—is not rational and should be retooled. Although many fine men and women serve on the bench, this decision illustrates the heady abuse of power that is all too common among independent fiefdoms known as judges. They rule like royal monarchs. And sitting on the top of the pyramid is the U.S. Supreme Court, which threatens the liberty that was purchased with the blood of countless men and women who died to secure it.

How did this happen to us? How could such a great and freedom-loving people have allowed themselves to be dominated by a handful of unelected, unaccountable, arrogant and often godless judges, many of whom receive lifetime appointments and regularly circumvent the democratic process? It is a breath-taking and ominous development. Was this the desire of the Founding Fathers when they designed this great representative form of government? Hardly!

---Dr. James Dobson
Hi everyone!

Good to see you Trav! How is law school?
Wow! There is so much positive energy! I had to look twice to see if this was the right blog!
I also read the comments on Political Bridges. Here! Here! I agree as well!

I have been soooooo busy,Ii have really just been lurking. I needed a break from politics. It can drive you crazy! :)

"Why Schiavo case worries the disabled

First thing:Terri Schiavo is not terminally ill. She is severely disabled with a brain injury. She is not hooked up to any life-support systems. For 15 years she has relied on a feeding tube for food and water. Her organs function normally.

So why does anyone want to kill her? "Kill" is the correct word here. Removing her feeding tube will cause her death. She will die by starvation and dehydration.

For those of us in the organized disability rights movement, it looks like Schiavo is being put to death for the crime of being disabled.

Disability makes many people uncomfortable. How many times have you said, or heard someone say, "I would never want to live like that." Or, "I would rather be dead than be like that."

People have said that to me. I am severely disabled and use a motorized wheelchair as a result of having polio 55 years ago.

Doctors told my parents to put me into a "home" and forget about me. He will have no life, they said, move on with your own lives.

They ignored the advice. When I went to school, I was teased and made an object of pity. "I would hate to live like you," kids told me. When I went to university, I was told that "at least you still have your mind." When I went to work in the newspaper business, I was expected to remain at an entry level position; when I left to go to graduate school, my work supervisor told a colleague "what else could he ever hope to do?""


"ozarks voices Published Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Has disability become a capital offense?

Did you hear? Terri Schiavo has been convicted of being disabled by a persistent vegetative state, and she'll be executed.
I knew Florida was a death penalty state, but I didn't realize disability is a crime, one as bad as the other crimes that'll get you executed there, crimes like first-degree murder, felony murder, capital drug trafficking and capital sexual battery.

Another odd thing is that the law there says the condemned can choose between lethal injection and electrocution. Schiavo's case must be different. She is going to be starved to death.

I think I'd rather be shot up with a couple of drugs and sent off to meet my maker. I'd prefer that to being given no food or liquid until I died. Maybe not. I've not been in a famine or spent time in a concentration camp or a gulag.

But starvation is the specific punishment for being disabled by a persistent vegetative state, which makes it a crime worse than murder.


"Published on Monday, March 28, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
The Right and Left of the Right to Die
by Naomi Jaffe

Granted - more than granted, enthusiastically agreed - the Bushies, red-staters and fundamentalists are arch-hypocrites who profess to care about one brain-dead woman while ignoring, nay, promoting, hunger, mass murder, torture, and misery around the world.

But apart from the predictable, and justified, ridicule of their inconsistency, what does our side really think of the right to life and the right to death? Who should decide, and on what basis? Are we hypocrites too, defending some lives and not others?"


"Published on Monday, March 28, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Terri Schiavo: A Cause for the Left?
by Mark Polit

The battle over Terri Schiavo has been framed as a battle between the radical right which seeks to uphold the sanctity of life, and the left which focuses on an individual's fundamental right to self-determination.

In this case, however, the right has framed it correctly. There is no issue of self-determination, since their is no clear directive to act upon, and Terri is not able to express a preference. Even if Terri had made an off hand comment about what she would prefer, people who acquire a disability typically decide that living "that way" is far superior to dying. It is not up to a judge, a spouse, or a politician to determine when someone else should be rubbed out."

"Published on Friday, March 25, 2005
FOCUS: Bigotry and the Murder of Terri Schiavo


"Misery can only be removed from the world by painless extermination of the miserable.”
—a Nazi writer quoted by Robert J. Lifton in The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide

The case of Terri Schiavo has been framed by the media as the battle between the “right to die” and pro-life groups, with the latter often referred to as “right-wing Christians.” Little attention has been paid to the more than twenty major disability rights organizations firmly supporting Schiavo’s right to nutrition and hydration. Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a severely disabled woman, is being starved and dehydrated to death in the name of supposed “dignity.” Polls show that most Americans believe that her death is a private matter and that her removal from a feeding tube—a low-tech, simple and inexpensive device used to feed many sick and disabled people—is a reasonable solution to the conflict between her husband and her parents over her right to life.

nice to see you again KS!
Welcome back Kerry.
I read another chapter of Zinn's book, chapter 3, but I got caught up in life and never got around to posting comments on it.

For those of you with the book: read it. His views and the history he uses to confirm his views are SO out of the mainstream and what we are taught through out our lives, it even makes me a want to come to the defense of the gentle giant, America.

I am really happy about your deeper reflections lately mondomojo1969. Not to sound belittling, please don't take it this way, because it is sincere, but it appears like you have changed and your views have matured. I wish you the best in your search for meaning and knowledge, where ever that search may take you

I will now have to update my web blog, to show your gradual development:

I had cut and pasted a good portion of this web blog, and my led into the discussion was LESS than flattering:

"The problem with ideologues....
Below is pretty much the last argument I had with this conservative guy. After three or four months, his arguments became annoying and I was not learning anything from his conversations. I let him have the last word..."

It is interesting that you are now embracing religion even more in your search for truth. You can learn a lot from religion.

mondomojo1969, I am happy that you are changing and growing intellectually from your discussions and reading. I always say it is not the answers but the questions that matter-- Keep questioning! I think if a person stops questioning, they stop growing, i know that I have in the past.

I have a lot of ideas about this, but no time right now to write more.


There are two characteristics of human beings which prevent us from rationally finding out the reality of any subject:

*Our Self-defense mechanisms

First, human beings are hardwired to generalize, it is how we stay sane and our brain copes with so much information from our senses.

There is this sci-fi story that I am desperately trying to find about how this guy losses his ability to categorize and generalize and goes insane. For example, he can no longer see dogs as certain breeds, but only as individual dogs.

I have a brother who have suffered from bipolar illness. Once, when he is was on a high in the summer, his brain ceased to be able to categorize/ compartmentalize/ generalize what his senses told him. His sense of smell, touch, sight, and feel increased dramatically. He was able to pick up a conversation from across the room. Light bothered him because he wasn’t able to filter it out any longer. Colors became more vivid. What the brain did was it tried to compensate, it tried to get back to categorizing all the information from his senses, and he started to see patterns where he never saw patterns in license plates. He started to get paranoid and see things that “normal” people wouldn’t see. He was eventually hospitalized.

So human beings MUST generalize to survive.

The problem is that by generalizing we filter out other sources of information, often important sources of information which would prove our generalizations completely fallacious (incorrect).

Second, human beings are also hardwired to also automatically defend themselves--whether it be physically or intellectually. When someone attacks our views, we often go on the defensive, regardless of how factually accurate those views are.

When I begin learning about a subject, for example the Iraq War, I always start out generalizing, all human being do. The world is so complex today that we are unable to understand even a minuscule portion of our world. Important issues like the economy, religion, and war often get generalized and polarized by necessity.

So for you to REALLY learn the actual reality of any subject, you must fight against your own human hardwiring, your own human nature: to generalize and to self-defend yourself.

What a gargantuan and nearly impossible endeavor.

Meaningless school awaits.

I will update the web blog soon mondomojo1969.

Nice to see you again too Mondo!

Trav, next week I will be on spring Break, and I will crack the book. I PROMISE! :)
The thing about being human is we are limited by our concepts of time and history, whereas GOD moves beyond time, he was working in my life yesterday, he is working in my life today, and he will be working in my life tomorrow, if you chose to pass judgment on me yesterday not knowing who I may be today or tomorrow, it is not your fault because you are limited, as we all are, Only GOD knows which directions my soul is moving and what works I have done in this world. People might assume one thing or another about me, I however have posted LIBERAL articles, and even supported some liberal ideologies, even though my main ethos be conservative, and I am more inclined to follow the conservative general platform. If some people feel slapped by my solid (seeming) stance perhaps that is only because their solid (seeming) stance makes mine a little more personal.

My intelligence, honesty, morality, and maturity have been questioned here on more than one occasion by those who wish to judge others or limit the importance of others opinions based on mental integrity, I think even the foolish, and ignorant have rights to opinions. The problem with LIBERTY for all is exactly that, to some people who would prefer LIBERTY for some. This is the greatest and most dangerous of hypocrisies.
Thanks for your comments mondomojo1969.

I use a lot of illogical Argumentum Ad Hominem when I get wound up. I realize it isn't very logical nor very Christlike.

[Defintion of Argumentum Ad Hominem: Literally, “Argument to the Man.” Also called “Poisoning the Well” and "Personal Attack"):
Attacking or praising the people who make an argument rather than discussing the argument itself.]
Updated web blog:

With this conversation included.

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