Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Words, words, soothing words

By Aussiegirl

Words, words, soothing words -- lull us into that final slumber, from which no one returns. As we slip slide down the road to Utopia, they lull us with soothing words.

Listen everyone -- death is your friend. Death is nothing to fear. DO, by all means -- go gentle into that good night. Do NOT rage against the dying of the light. No, my friends, the better part by far is to go peacefully, radiantly, with state and public approval. She did her part, they'll say. She died the way she wanted to live. What a noble, fine, dignified and peaceful death. And we can all go to sleep, our own "Living Wills" tucked safely in our desks, firm and snug in the knowledge that a nasty death, or a painful death, or a lingering illness will never claim US -- because we have conquered suffering -- with death. We have conquered the final chapter of life with a document called "A Living Will", a "Will for the Living". Let no suffering be endured. Let no illness betray us. Let no disability stand in our way of achieving the perfect lifestyle. And if it dare intrude, well then my friends, make your Living Will, and welcome death. Will away sickness, will away disability. Will away the hard decisions. It has all been made so easy. You can get a kit. All you do is fill out the forms. Yes, by all means, insure yourself against grief -- make that Living Will, and hold it as you would a cross before you in the face of suffering, or a talisman to protect you from all ills. It is your last best hope.

Only she didn't die the way she wanted to. Let's be frank. She was murdered by the withdrawal of life-sustaining food and water. Even Christ was given a sponge-full of vinegar. While Terri was forbidden a wet washcloth on her parched lips. And she did not go gentle into that good night. She showed at the end that she wanted to live, she fought valiantly, she survived for 14 days without a drop of water or a morsel of food. And she was denied in the end, even the comfort of her family by her side in her final moments. How does anyone, even those who sincerely hold the view that Michael Schiavo was acting in her best interests, deny that this was a cruel and unnecessary final act of disrespect and ultimate control by a controlling spouse. A final act of cruelty, in a long line of acts of inexplicable cruelty.

But why talk of such unpleasant things? This is what she wanted. The sacred bond of husband and wife has been honored. The sacred rule of law has been observed. Armed guards and burly policement protected her from those misguided family members who wanted to love and care for her in what remained of her natural life. Let us not forget. Terri Schiavo was not terminally ill. She was disabled. She was brain-damaged and mentally and physically impaired. She would not have died had she not been denied the basic necessities of food and water.

This is not an "end of life issue" as Governor Bush proclaimed today. Even he does't understand it and is lulling us with soothing words. Not for the legislature to clarify the law and to ensure that such a tragic miscarriage of justice cannot occur again. Oh, no -- according to the Governor -- we must all examine our own hearts about these painful, but inevitable, "end of life issues".

But let us not engage in recriminations, my friend, for there is much blame to go around. But what is really frightening is that we have set upon an irrevocable path to voluntary and involuntary euthanasia -- to "good death". It's all for your own good -- hush -- never fret -- it's a peaceful, even euphoric way to die. I'll remember that next time I see a news report on the famines in Africa.

At least in Holland, they aren't hypocritical about it and call it what it is -- and give the person a humane injection, as you would an animal or a pet. But we want to have it all. We want to pretend that we are dealing with "end of life" issues, when instead we are eliminating the helpless and disabled among us who have been judged unworthy of life. We want to say that Terri was "allowed to die with dignity", when in fact she would still be alive and responding, however minimally, to her parents, had she had food and water. She might have enjoyed the kisses of those who loved her and wanted to care for her. She would have felt their gentle touch. She would have heard their soothing voices. She would have felt the sunshine, so cruelly denied her by her "loving husband" Michael, on her face. She would have been loved. And in the end, my friends, that's what it's all about.

Eternal memory to Terri and all those forgotten and unwanted ones like her. There are those who will not forget her, or the example of her tireless family, who labored -- and suffered -- for love.

As Dante said at the end of the "Divine Comedy":

L'Amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.
The love which moves the sun and the other stars.

Reader's comments

I got some lovely comments on my "Words, soothing Words" post and I wanted to share them on the main board.

At 9:30 PM, Michael Morrison said...
And didn't he also say the worst punishment was reserved for those who refused to take a stand?
Edmund Burke said something similar, that evil will triumph if good men do nothing.
No fear for your soul, dear comrade.
Thank you for your passion and your dedication.

At 12:12 AM, Pindar said...
Aussiegirl, your words, the most beautiful and heart-felt words I've read anywhere about poor Terri and what has befallen her, brought tears to my eyes. Not only beautiful, but powerful in their cumulative effect. You write about how we fool ourselves into believing that something as insignificant as a living will can protect us from disability and death and all those cruel twists of fate that come upon us no matter how strong our "will" is. You correctly identify this as the first step on the famous slippery slope towards the elimination of all who are not "perfect" or "attractive" or "worthwhile". You fault Jeb Bush for calling this an "end of life" issue, which of course comes to us all--although being in effect murdered by the state doesn't come to us all. (Now I understand why the Hemlock Society changed its name to, I believe, the End of Life Society or some such toady words; "Hemlock" implies state-sanctioned euthanasia, as was forced on Socrates, but "end of life", why, we all end our lives, so let's not worry about the society's ultimate goals.) And what was particularly heart-wrenching was reading about what Terri was denied: kisses, the touch of a loving hand, sunlight on her face, and, as Earth's light was dimming and God's light was gradually filling all of space, the fading faces of those she loved and who loved her--not, as we learned, the hateful visage of her monster "husband". Yes, let us not forget Terri, poor Terri, and let us also not forget--or forgive--all those corrupt, evil ones who conspired to kill her. But then, having placed such monstrous, soul-less creatures in one of Dante's nethermost fires of hell, let us cleanse our thoughts--and our souls--with Dante's final words of love.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Yushchenko to address joint session of Congress

By Aussiegirl

The official word just came across the wires -- it was announced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. During his scheduled visit, Mr. Yushchenko is scheduled to have a 2 1/2 hour working lunch with President Bush.

Considering that the Bush administration couldn't ask for a better spokesman for the administration's policies of promoting peaceful transitions to democratic rule throughout the world, this is a good move. Ukrainians deserve this attention from the United States after years of laboring in the shadows of Russia.

"We are pleased to announce that President Yushchenko will be addressing a Joint Meeting of Congress on Wednesday, April 6.

"President Yushchenko's election is inspiring the spread of democracy throughout the world, in spite of threats and intimidation. We welcome him to this cathedral of democracy and look forward to hearing from him."

George Felos -- author, lawyer, and nutcase extraordinaire

By Aussiegirl

By his own words, George Felos reveals himself as a death-worshipping cultist who fancies that he spiritually contacts his incapacitated clients, and reads their minds about their desires to die. Do you want this man anywhere near you or your family?

Amazon.com: Books: Litigation As Spiritual Practice

From the Inside Flap:

"Such a deep, dark, silent blue. I stared as far into her eyes as I could, hoping to sense some glimmer of understanding, some hint of awareness. The deeper I dove, the darker became the blue, until the blue became the black of some bottomless lake. 'Mrs. Browning, do you want to die? ... Do you want to die?' - I near shouted as I continued to peer into her pools of strikingly beautiful but incognizant blue. It felt so eerie. Her eyes were wide open and crystal clear, but instead of the warmth of lucidity, they burned with the ice of expressionlessness."

With this meeting, attorney George J. Felos became the legal advocate of Estelle Browning's right to die and in the process plumbed the depths of death and dying and spearheaded a social revolution to enable death with dignity in the state of Florida. Felos uses this case and a decade-long tax battle with the United States Justice Department - sending him to Hong Kong's back alleys in search of antique jades and ivories - as framework to interweave the story of his law practice and spiritual unfoldment. "

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Gareth Jones -- the un-Duranty

By Aussiegirl

Visit the website of Gareth Jones Soviet Union Newspaper Articles 1930-33, and read some of the articles written by an eyewitness to the 1933 Ukrainian Genocide and Famine who actually wrote the truth of what he saw, instead of the Soviet lies that the New York Times' Walter Duranty promulgated. Decide for yourself if starving to death is a peaceful, beautiful and spiritual experience as promulgated by the death worshipping, euthanasia enthusiast, George Felos.

Nat Hentoff calls it Judicial Murder

By Aussiegirl

In a powerful and persuasive piece in the Village Voice entitled,
Terri Schiavo: Judicial Murder -- Nat Hentoff lays out the case in stark terms. Here's just a taste of what should be a must read -- especially for every liberal who thinks that this case is about right vs. left.

"During the March 21 hearing before Federal Judge James D. Whittemore, who was soon to be another accomplice in the dehydration of Terri, the relentless Mr. Felos, anticipating the end of the deathwatch, said to the judge:
'Yes, life is sacred, but so is liberty, your honor, especially in this country.'

It would be useless, but nonetheless, I would like to inform George Felos that, as Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said: 'The history of liberty is the history of due process and fundamental fairness.

Contrary to what you've read and seen in most of the media, due process has been lethally absent in Terri Schiavo's long merciless journey through the American court system.

'As to legal concerns,' writes William Anderson, a senior psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a lecturer at Harvard University, 'a guardian may refuse any medical treatment, but drinking water is not such a procedure. It is not within the power of a guardian to withhold, and not in the power of a rational court to prohibit.'

Ralph Nader agrees. In a statement on March 24, he and Wesley Smith (author of, among other books, Culture of Death: The Assault of Medical Ethics in America) said: 'The court is imposing process over justice. After the first trial [before Judge Greer], much evidence has been produced that should allow for a new trial, which was the point of the hasty federal legislation.

'If this were a death penalty case, this evidence would demand reconsideration. Yet, an innocent, disabled woman is receiving less justice. . . . This case is rife with doubt. Justice demands that Terri be permitted to live

The roots of liberalism and the culture of death

By Aussiegirl

Tim Birdnow, writing in
The American Thinker explores the roots of the current culture of death espoused by the modern liberals and democrats. He starts with the Aldous Huxley novel, "Brave New World", which describes a future utopian society in which the inhabitants are brainwashed into viewing death as a necessary and even beautiful thing. He goes on to analyze and to give us his answer to Peggy Noonan's question of - what makes these people so half in love with death.

Read a short excerpt:

Liberalism was born out of the Renaissance, which was a rediscovery of our Greek and Latin heritage. The Renaissance era saw a revival in interest in all things Greek and Roman; in art, literature, history, science, mathematics, and other branches of classical learning.
The Greeks and Romans had, for all their virtues, a far weaker respect for human life than their Christian successors. In fact, the Greeks and Romans saw a kind of nobility in death - especially a death for a higher cause. Liberalism has always had a fascination with the Classical period. The vision of Socrates ingesting hemlock for the good of the polis has a romantic appeal to the average liberal, and the word ?hemlock? has been used by various groups advocating euthanasia and ?death with dignity.? A ?good death? (which is what the word euthanasia means) done nobly and well is far preferable to a slow, wasting process."

Ukraine's little heroine

By Aussiegirl

Let's have some good news for a change. A little Ukrainian heroine named Nastya Ovchar, all of five years of age, saved her two year old sister from the flames of their burning home in Kharkiv after attempting to put out the flames herself. When she saw that she was helpless before the raging fire, she shielded her two-year-old sister with her own body and carried her out of the building. As a result she suffered third degree burns over 80% of her body while her sister emerged relatively unscathed.

Viktor Yushchenko became personally involved in helping the brave little girl after her story captured the hearts of Ukrainians. When it became clear that Ukrainian hospitals lacked the resources to fully treat her, Viktor and his wife Katya looked for help in the United States. Through the help of the Shriners Burn Hospital in Boston she is now receiving state-of-the-art treatment in the United States.

According to Ukrainian sources, President Yushchenko will be visiting with Nastya when he visits the United States in the first part of April. There are also reports in Ukrainian sources that the Shriner's Hospital said that her treatment would involve something that sounded almost like a twilight sleep, where she will be kept sedated while she recovers from surgeries and skin grafts on her back and torso. They reportedly praised the initial treatment that she received in Ukraine.

the rest of the story:

If they made a movie about Nastya, they could well call it
''The President and the Little Girl," for it was the intervention of a
national leader who had endured his own share of physical suffering
assured the 5-year-old could receive lifesaving medical treatment.

Tales of the rescue swiftly captured the attention of Ukrainians. That
nation's newly installed president, Viktor Yushchenko, extended his
assistance to Nastya. Yushchenko confronted pain and disfigurement last
year, when he was poisoned during his campaign for president.

''Mr. Yushchenko always supported very young people. Children are the
future of our country," said Iryna Bezverkha, press secretary of the
Ukraine Embassy in Washington. ''This is a really inspiring

Jesse Jackson's involvement leads me to the larger issues involved in this case -- and to personal connections

By Aussiegirl

Showing that the case of Terri Schindler (I no longer want to identify her with the surname of her murderer) is one that crosses ideological boundaries, Jesse Jackson appeared in a press conference beside the Schindler family and spoke more sense than I have heard during this whole crisis.

In just a few words (before he was cut off by the President's news conference touting his successes in Iraq), he laid out the crux of this tragic and horrifying injustice. I was sorry not to be able to hear his comments in their entirety.

To paraphrase him -- he said that on many occasions during his ministry he had been called to the bedside of a dying cancer patient who was in unbearable pain, even with demerol. He described instances where the machines that were being used to sustain vital functions of breathing and heartbeat were removed, and the person whose vital signs were already dimming even on the machines, was allowed to slip away peacefully.

He said that the Terri Schindler case was entirely different. He said that despite 12 days in which her body has been deprived of food and water, her vital signs are still good. He said that she is plain and simply being starved and dehydrated to death -- and that there was simply no reason for this and that this was wrong and profoundly immoral.

He said that this was a profound moral and ethical issue of our time, and we pray for God's miracle, and that God has provided them before. He further said that he had been in touch with the governor's office and the Florida legislature, and was urging legislators to come up with a creative solution to the stark reality that a woman was being starved and dehydrated to death.
He also stated that he talked with Michael Schiavo and asked that he be allowed to visit with Terri and pray with her -- and he was told -- "I don't think so."

So -- Jesse Jackson shows himself to be true to his civil rights roots. Why cannot other democrats and liberals see that this is a case of civil rights? Jackson correctly stated that his is a profound case, not only for the future of our country, but for the world, because it defines a new realm of killing people who are simply disabled or unwanted or inconvenient and leads us down the slippery slope towards genocide.

Let's make this plain again. This is not an end of life issue. Terri Schiavo is not terminally ill -- she is alive and healthy -- or was, until the court ordered her food and water cut off. Terri has lived with only food and water being provided for 15 years -- just like you and me. Her quality of life and cognitive functions may not be perfect -- they may not be to everyone's liking or taste -- they may not be what one would wish for one's self. But there is no reason that she should be deliberately starved and dehydrated to death with no reason except her husband's statement that these are her wishes, and with no documentary proof, and to the contrary of all those closest to her.

And for those who say that such a death is beautiful, or even euphoric, this is obscene and absolutely beyond bizarre. In that case, I suppose the looks on all those Holocaust survivors faces was truly one of euphoria. Why should we not welcome then, the death by starvation of millions in Africa? Why should I and others be outraged at the deliberate death by starvation of 7 million Ukrainians during the Holodomor, as Ukrainians call it - the artificially created famine of 1933?

My parents as children, both lived through that nightmare. And the people they witnessed dying every day from hunger were not euphoric -- and they were not beautiful.

Their limbs and abdomens were grotesquely swollen with edema. Corpses littered the streets and were picked up on a daily basis and loaded onto stacks on carts that made their ghoulish rounds. Children dropped dead in school on a daily basis. One classmate of my mother's simply lurched forward one day, his head hit the desk with a sickening thud, and he died. And he wasn't the only one. Even in the last stages of agony, he was in school, trying to carry on. He was 13 years old, as was my mother.

My parents lived in towns, where at least there were meager amounts of food to be had. My mother's father had a government job, so he received a small allotment of food. My mother's mother, who in my mind was a complete saint, took in all her relatives from the countryside, where there was literally nothing to eat, and she shared the family's meager rations with them all as they lay about the floors of their small apartment, too weak to get up. There is much my mother will never share with me, because the memories are so painful.

In the countryside the horrors were even more unbelievable. People lost their minds from the gnawing hunger and the lack of nutrients. They ate bark off trees, they ate grass and leaves. They resorted in many instances to cannibalism. Newly dead corpses were dug up and cooked and consumed.

If anyone wonders why this case has consumed my attention over these past weeks, let them wonder no longer. My family has seen this all before -- and more. And we know the dangers that lie in store for us if these actions of the courts are not halted. We know the dangers that lie ahead if politicians do not act, and simply move on to the next issue.

We cannot move on. There is no higher principle on this earth than life and liberty. And once the government arrogates to itself the right to put to death innocent people, without due process of law, without representation in the courts, without any fair hearing, then we are set upon this path. Once we encode in law the rights of spouses to kill their disabled spouses on simply their word that once, long ago, while watching a movie, their spouse uttered the words that they wouldn't want to live that way, then we are on our way to becoming a country I no longer understand. Who will be next? Who will be next considered inconvenient? Whose life will be considered not worth living next -- the mentally retarded -- the physically handicapped -- those who are too big a drain on the public purse? There are no end of legal classifications we can put people in. This is not the country I thought I knew.

I've tried to keep these personal facts out of this discussion -- but I no longer can.

When I came to this country as a small child, I had the strange but wonderful idea that once I stepped foot on American soil, I would be forever safe. Because in my mind, America was immune from all the dangers that my family had faced in Europe. Bombs never fell on America, like they did in Ukraine and Germany. People didn't come for you in the middle of the night, like they did on those other places. Freedom and justice for all existed in this magical world where evil was forbidden to enter.

It was a palpable feeling I had -- that I was safe -- at last.

My childhood in Australia had been filled with endless stories of real nightmares -- the tales oft told and shared with friends as they gathered at the dinner table, of events of not so long ago. Of arrests, imprisonments, of relatives taken and never seen again, of police interrogating children, because someone had informed that they wrote something in their personal diary about the famine. Of the young boy who was arrested for this crime and sent to a labor camp -- my mother's classmate. Of how she and her friend were called out of class and interrogated about what they knew about their friend -- and how they were kept at the police station until late at night. Of the tearful relief with which her parents met her, they knowing full well the fate she had just barely escaped.

I heard of executions -- of how the Germans hung people in the strees of their town -- and left the corpses hanging as an example to the townspeople to not resist. I heard of how a local Jewish woman and her son were sheltered from the view of the Germans. I heard of how one Jewish mother, upon hearing that the Germans were coming, smothered her children and then killed herself in her despair. I heard of how my aunt, a girl of 18, like so many others, was seized by the Germans on the streets one day while she was in town, and how she was shipped to a slave labor camp in Germany. Of how she returned to her homeland after the war, and was sentenced to 10 years hard labor in Kazakhstan for her "crime" of having been taken captive and having seen the west.

I heard of how my grandfather was arrested on trumped up charges and sent to a forced labor camp in Siberia for 15 years hard labor. I heard how the Germans executed every male between the ages of 12 and up on one street in my parent's town, because somewhere a partisan had shot a German. One woman came staggering and screaming into my parent's house, hysterically recounting how they took her 12 year old son, her husband and her grandfather out into the street and shot them all.

I heard so much horror -- I can scarcely even begin to recount it all.

So when I came to America I believed that such things could never happen here. That finally I had reached a safe haven.

But now -- I'm not so sure. And I'm afraid.

The politicians would like us to move on. But if we move on, my friends -- America will no longer be America.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Terri is not tired -- she wants to live

By Aussiegirl

According to the Miami Herald, which also has the entire history of this case, if you want to check, Terri is still responding to her visitors:

Terri Schiavo had an ''extraordinary'' reaction to a friend's Sunday night visit, her parents' spokesman claimed Monday morning.
Friar Paul O'Donnell, spiritual adviser to Bob and Mary Schindler, said Schiavo received a visit from her father and friend Sunday night. When the friend, identified as Sherry, recalled their days dancing and partying together, Schiavo ''raised her hands up and was moving and started making guttural sounds like she does when she talks to her mother,'' O'Donnell said.

No doubt the doctors will tell us that Terri has had another "reflex" action -- but her family and spiritual advisor say that she reacted to a friend's visit who recalled their happy days together. This tallies with the testimony of the Mayo Clinic doctor who testified that his examination of Terri revealed that her sounds were not random, but were reactions to specific events, people or questions put to her in her presence.

But then -- how could the death people feel good about what they are doing?

Terri seems to be putting up a valiant struggle for life, given her desire to be put to death, which is what her husband never tires of telling us.

At this point, I think we all are worn-out by this sad and tragic case. I can only imagine the grief and exhaustion and desperation of the Schindler family.

We are worn out trying to endlessly dispel all the lies and distortions put out by the mainstream media. We are worn out from hoping against hope that some branch of government, or that some individual, would look beyond the letter of the law and allow some common sense and decency into this tragic miscarriage of justice.

We are tired of saying that this is not a right-to-die case -- or an end-of-life situation -- or a "death with dignity" situation. We are tired of saying that this case is about a disabled woman's rights -- not a dying woman's wish.

We are tired of saying that Terri Schiavo is not dying -- she has lived with only the sustenance of food and water for the last 15 years -- not unlike you and me. She is a brain-damaged person and disabled person -- like many others -- and the fact that many people are horrified at her plight and would like to eliminate her on the pretext of "compassion" for her predicament, is a sad testament to the state we have come to in our society. Shall we execute all the mentally challenged and physically handicapped individuals trapped in bodies that terrify us and repel us -- and do it by deprivation of food and water?

But we are tired, because we have said all these things and more, over and over.
Now the politicians tell us how their hands were tied. God help us all -- for when the courts come to put us out of our misery there will be no one to help -- because -- they all did what they could -- they are tired too.

I now understand the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that settles in on people who live in countries where they have no say in what happens to them. It is a sense of resignation -- and fatigue.

Terri is lost. But will this all be swept under the rug? Will no good come of it? Will Congress hold hearings? Is this as important as steroids in baseball? Is this as important as Social Security reform --- when we could very easily solve those problems by eliminating the disabled and the sick who are a drain on our resources.

Will anyone make sure that this does not happen again? What guarantees to do we have that this is not merely the beginning of a trend which will be unstoppable?

I don't see any moves afoot to ensure that the law is clarified in this regard. The Florida legislature failed to act on a completely common sense law which stated that a person could not have a feeding tube removed without a prior written and notarized document. We need some law to deal with situations such as this when family members vehemently disagree on the course of action to be taken. We need a law to deal with a situation when the person requesting the termination of life (see how easily we slip into the terminology) has ulterior motives in the case.

I want to see a clarification of the powers of the various branches of government in situations such as this. I want to know if the rulings of a state judge trump all the powers of the Congress, the Governor, the President, the Attorney General's and whoever there is left in power in this country.

I want to see that a disabled person who has left no express instructions will have the same rights as a convicted murder, with her own counsel, before she is put to death by the state. I want the Supreme Court to look into the matter of "cruel and unusual" punishment when it comes to the slow death by dehydration and starvation -- although I could envision a legalistic argument being made that being "terminated" is not a "punishment" per se -- as the victim is innocent of any crime -- therefore it may proceed. These are the types of nonsensical legal angels that can be called on to dance upon the head of a pin at the drop of a legal brief.

But I don't detect any such movements among the political classes. Instead -- I detect a strong odor of wanting to forget this whole sorry mess, to get back to business as usual, to try to minimize the political damage -- and most of all -- to relegate this dirty business of prematurely ending people's lives to the dark recesses of hospices and hospitals, where people may be put to death quietly, and without all this embarrassing fuss. Let's not embarrass ourselves, by all means. It's so unseemly.

More content coming tomorrow

By Aussiegirl

I do have lots of things to say and articles to share, but Eblogger has been very recalcitrant today and I am very weary -- I need time to pull all my information and thoughts together into a coherent argument.

Stay tuned and thanks for visiting.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Bloggers and free speech

By Aussiegirl

One of the delights of the internet is when you find a new blog which puts into words exactly what you have been thinking and feeling, and does so in a cogent, well-written and persuasive style. So when I read the comments of TJ Willms on this site (check them out yourself) I had to investigate his blog called Twisted Steel.

Today he kindly links to UT by expanding at great length and insight on the recent article about the dangers that the McCain-Feingold bill may pose in the future to bloggers and their right to free expression. It's a must read -- as are his comments on the Terri Schiavo case. Check it out.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Blogger alert -- McCain Feingold is coming for you

By Aussiegirl

Call it Pewgate -- call it blog-gate -- it all boils down to restricting our rights to be the pamphleteers of the 21st Century. Bloggers beware -- McCain Feingold is coming after you, with the help of the kind folks at the Pew Charitable Trust (and, I might add, President Bush who signed this faulty legislation with the hope that he could have it both ways, political appeal that would then be overruled by the Supreme Court. Unfortunately for him -- and us -- this was an unwise decision.

Richard Poe, writing in today's
gives us the scary and the gory details -- if you blog -- if you read blogs -- if there is a blog in your future -- you must be aware of this:

The blogosphere is under attack. For three weeks, bloggers have battled the Federal Election Commission, seeking exemption from campaign finance laws that would effectively regulate political speech on the Web. How did it come to this?

The answer lies in a burgeoning scandal which we might call Pewgate. Ryan Sager of the New York Post broke this extraordinary story on March 17. He learned that the McCain-Feingold Act the law which empowers the FEC to muzzle bloggers was pushed through Congress by fraud.

. . . The McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 gave federal judges and FEC officials the right to determine who can buy political ads on TV or radio during election season, and what they may say in those ads.

On September 18, 2004, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the FEC to extend McCain-Feingold's censorship power over the Internet.

Here's how the Pew Charitable Trust got into the act:

"The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot - that everywhere they [politicians] looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform."

To this end, Pew and its allies dispensed $140 million between 1994 and 2004. . . Pewgate's tentacles reach even to the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of the legal arguments upon which the court based its December 10, 2003 decision to uphold McCain-Feingold derived from data now deemed to have been fraudulent data cooked up by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, a Soros-funded operation which received millions in Pewgate lucre.

Richard Poe is a New York Times-bestselling author and journalist. His latest book is Hillary's Secret War: The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists.

Bush adds Latvia and Georgia to his Moscow itinerary

By Aussiegirl

There is a lot of bad feeling in Latvia, Lithuania and the other Baltic nations about this 60th anniversary of this victory celebration in Russia. Lithuania has refused to participate, and not surpisingly, since the end of the war meant Soviet occupation for these countries, followed by massive arrests, executions, persecutions and deportations to labor camps. It was a genocide that occurred AFTER these countries were supposedly liberated by the end of the war. I'm pleased that President Bush will be visiting to make plain that it's not all celebration for these nations. Putin has also made threatening noises at the Baltic countries because of their refusal to celebrate their enslavement by invoking the dark specter of the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact, which divided the nations of Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin.

The Washington Post has the article:

Bush Risks Putin's Ire With Visit To Two Former Soviet Republics

President Bush expanded his planned May trip to Moscow by adding stops in two former Soviet republics that have resisted Russian influence, an itinerary seen as a pointed message to President Vladimir Putin.

Bush will visit the Baltic republic of Latvia and the southern Caucasus nation of Georgia during a trip centered on a Moscow celebration of the 60th anniversary of the victory in World War II, the White House announced Thursday. He will also stop in the Netherlands to mark the anniversary at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten near Maastricht.

Vigilantes on our borders?

By Aussiegirl

More fallout on the problems of our southern borders. President Bush thinks that citizens who patrol and report illegal activity (not unlike neighborhood watch groups) are vigilantes. The position of the administration on this crucial matter of the highest domestic priority continues to be curious.

Douglas Hanson, The American Thinker's military contributor makes some excellent points -- be sure to read the whole thing:

The conservative political punditry certainly called this one right.� Wednesday, President Bush spoke out against� the Minuteman Project, which consists of about 1000 US volunteers who have grown tired of the rampant illegal immigration across our southern borders, and is assisting the US Border patrol by observing and reporting illegal activity.� And, if this weren't bad enough, GW displayed a distinct lack of knowledge on exactly how the Minuteman Project operates, by using the term "vigilantes" when referring to the volunteers.� Frankly, this was an inappropriate term and displayed an elitist attitude.� And this coming from a man who in the past has been willing to place his trust in the American people rather than practicing political expediency.

. . . President Bush has been viewed as a leader who places the national security of our country as the number one priority.� His national security team and the DoD have correctly gone on the offense in the Global War on Terror and taken the fight to the enemy.� Unfortunately, the lack of will in securing our border, and his criticisms of our citizens acting in good faith to protect their loved ones and property, only reinforce the perception that GW is returning to business as usual in the domestic political arena.� Pandering to the oddball coalition of open-border Democrats and cheap-labor Republicans may have some economic benefit that I don't understand, but this is certainly no way to secure our country.

Last Rites

By BonnieBlueFlag

The days of excited anticipation for the Easter Bunny seem so long ago tonight, as I wait on a Holy Thursday night for a judge to decide the fate of Terri Schiavo. A woman I have never met, nor ever will in this lifetime. Someone's little girl who only had 26 years to enjoy her own life, and then another 15 years to eventually touch the hearts and lives of almost every American.

Raised in the Catholic Religion, but denied Holy Communion on her death bed by her husband. Not one crumb of a Host to touch her lips, denied the grace of God at the moment when she needs him most, by the man who promised to love, honor and cherish her until death do they part.

I am reminded of all the little stories we learned about the Catholic Saints and Martyrs in childhood. Never did I imagine, that I would one day be living in a time and place, where death and the denial of religious beliefs would once again go hand in hand.

Terri is not being put to death because she believes in Jesus Christ, but because her husband does not believe in him or his teachings. Michael Schiavo will most likely have committed murder when Terri draws her last breath. He has become so twisted in his heart and mind, and so consumed by evil, that he cannot even allow Terri to receive Holy Communion, so that she might be with God.

Perhaps Michael too knows some of the stories of the Saints. The obscure little stories that tell of men and women who were ill, and became stronger or even well, after receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Perhaps Michael is afraid that if Terri receives Holy Communion, she will also receive the strength to endure his attempt to end her life.

When comments add so much to the original article I like to post them on the main board.

Here's what TJ Willms said...

The fact that Terri and Michael Schiavo are Catholic is perhaps the most incongruous element of this entire situation. He, in trying to snuff out her life, living with and fathering children with a woman he is not married to would seem to fly in the face of thousands of years of Catholic doctrine. I cannot make myself believe that he has any remaining commitment to the church in any way. "Till death do us part",� seem to be the only words of his marriage vows he's willing to "honor".� If that word can even be used in association with that creep.

The vows we recite during a marriage ceremony are not a declarative to the community at large, as many people mistakenly believe. We utter those words aloud for our own ears to hear so that we may understand exactly what we are committing to.

Those who miss the significance of their vows are destined to fail in the fullness of what that committment entails. As awful as Terri's death will be she will suffer relatively briefly, Michael Schiavo on the other hand will suffer the consequences of his actions for eternity. That is perhaps the only justice that truly matters now.

Bloggers beware

By Aussiegirl

Read this From Tech Central Station -- The Coming War on Blogs

They're coming after the blogs next -- I predicted this on Lucianne.com during the last election. Enjoy these freedoms while you have them -- you may not have them for much longer. The methods include heavy regulatory action that will require bloggers to register their blogs as a contribution to a candidate under current campaign finance reform (thank you John McCain).

Further burdens which the MSM can afford to bear but would unfairly burden individual bloggers would be stringent interpretations of the copyright laws and laborious regulatory and bureaucratic forms and legal loopholes to be jumped through in order to comply with the new law or regulations. Expansion of the libel laws can also be used to stifle free speech on blogs.

Without the blogs let's just think what the mainstream media and the politicians would have gotten away with -- the Swiftboat scandal, the Dan Rather memogate, and on and on -- I'm sure there are so many I can't bring to mind yet. Just the other day Michelle Malkin and Mickey Kaus outed the incredibly biased question used by ABC to come up with its astonishing poll that had 70% of the public supporting putting Terri Schiavo to death. No other poll came even close to showing this result.

Kerry has already weighed in on the dangers of blogging to the mainstream media and how this has to be stopped. After witnessing what they've managed to do in the Schiavo case is there any doubt that bloggers are a danger that the left must extinguish.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Now isn't that special?????

By Aussiegirl

You will be mightily relieved to find out that comity and bipartisanship was not harmed by the recent vote on saving Terri Schiavo's life according to an article in the AP, quoting Frist as messaging Republicans that democrats had been helpful throughout.

Parties Put Aside Fights for Schiavo Law:

Awww -- isn't that just special???

I guess they can go back the old boys club
without rancor now. They put on a good show for the sheeple, now it's back to business as usual.

I'm sure Terri's parents are really relieved to hear this.

Are the Republicans who stand for life now occupying the same position in the Republican party as African-Americans now occupy in the Democrat party? Just wondering.

Read it here:

"Reid and Senate dems have been helpful thruout," Majority Leader Bill Frist messaged fellow Republican senators privately during pressured negotiations on legislation designed to save Terri Schiavo. The atmosphere was little different in the House, though Democratic opponents wanted extra time for debate and an on-the-record vote last weekend before allowing the final bill to pass.

Thomas More Law Center's opinion that Gov. Jeb Bush can save Terri Schiavo

By Aussiegirl

Jeb Bush has the legal authority to save Terri Schiavo -- only he knows why he won't do it.

Click here to read the legal opinion of the Thomas More Law Center --- October 15, 2003 --- sent to Jeb Bush at the time, entitled:

"Legal Authority of Governor Bush to prevent the imminent death of Ms. Terri Schiavo."

There are a number of bases listed here, among them Florida law and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Throwing Terri to the Lions

Tim Birdnow, employing his usual rapier style on Birdblog, pens a devastating piece entitled, "Throwing Terri to the Lions:

Here's just a taste -- be sure to visit and read the whole thing:

"Once Terri passes on, don`t be surprised to hear demands from the very people who helped kill her for more embryonic stem-cell research. Where have these people been while Terri awaits death? I thought stem-cell research was the miracle cure! It`s advocates have assured us that in a handful of years we would have cures for Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc. Why should Terri die now, when a miracle cure is within grasp? They have been strangely silent. I suspect we`ll be hearing a lot more from them after poor Terri is gone.

4. Ditto the opponents of capital punishment. Why is life so important for the guilty, but not the innocent?

5. If Terri can be tortured to death legally, how can we oppose non-lethal torture of the guilty-especially terrorists and serial killers?"

A Swiftian Modest Proposal

George Neumayr, writing today in The American Spectator has a modest proposal (hat tip to Tim Birdnow over at Birdblog)

To wit:

It is a melancholy object to those who travel in America when they see the hospices and hospitals crowded with the disabled and elderly. These people, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood or even show signs of meaningful mental life, impose severe burdens on the healthy.

I think it is agreed by all parties, at least within America's mainstream, that this prodigious number of disabled and elderly in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their family members, and frequently of their isolated and deprived husbands, is in the present deplorable state of the country with its deficits, unsustainable Medicare costs, and Social Security crisis a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of euthanizing this class of the ill would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

There is a great advantage in this scheme, that it will prevent those undignified lingering deaths of those with no hope of recovery, and that horrid practice of husbands murdering their wives, alas! too frequent among us!

I have been assured by a very knowing Democrat of my acquaintance in Washington, that a disabled person can be dehydrated to death in 8 to 12 days. It is not improbable that some scrupulous person might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly and unconstitutionally), as a little bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, has always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however so well intended." . . .

What drives the fanatical pull-the-plug people?

By Aussiegirl

OpinionJournal's Peggy Noonan asks what drives the pull-the-plug people, are they half in love with death?

Dostoyevsky wrote in "The Brothers Karamazov" that if there is no God, then anything is permissible.

As I watched the events of the last week unfold, I too wondered the same thing. As she writes, the same people who are passionately for saving the whales -- (and aren't we all?) -- And who weep over the inhumane treatment of everything from chickens to fish (we all love our animals and protect them from harm, need I say we would not starve our own dog or cat to death?) -- who militate mightily for the death row inmate who stands convicted of the most horrendous crimes to have endless appeals to the federal courts (and we shouldn't take the life of a human being without giving every benefit of the doubt)-- who decry the abuse of wives by controlling and abusive husbands -- who support the removal of children from families that abuse them -- who supported the armed intervention for the removal of Elian Gonzales (when the family in custody was providing no resistance) -- and on and on -- I too wondered why the passion on the pull-the-plug side to quickly kill Terri Schiavo.

There are lots of reasons here -- both personal and political. On the political side the left and the party of death -- the Deathocrats -- define themselves almost exclusively as the party of abortion. Abortion is the sacred rite of the left. The inviolable right of a woman to "choose" death for her unborn child - for whatever reason, and at any stage of pregnancy. It is the exclusive right of a woman to have power over her own body.

But suddenly they have discovered that it is not the woman who has any rights over her body -- at least not if she is helpless and cannot speak. If that is the case then the sanctity of marriage (which they also assault at every level by their support of homosexual marriage) has evidently trumped individual rights. They evidently long for the institution of Sharia law -- where a husband may dispose of his wife in whatever way he chooses -- and also have another wife and children on the side.

The Deathocrats also cannot afford to have any challenge to their supremacy in the courts, who have increasingly arrogated to themselves the supreme power over every other branch of government. If the legislature of duly elected representatives passes a law they do not agree with - they strike it down. If the legislature does not act -- they create wholly new law and demand that it be enforced. So that is the first reason for passion -- having lost at the ballot box, the Deathocrat party knows it can still govern through the twin powers of a distorted and propagandistic media which works hand in hand with them, and also the courts which rule by fiat and are unelected and appointed for life.

The other reason is more personal. Our society is a hedonistic one. When you have no belief in the sacredness of life - when you have no belief in anything but the materialistic -- then everything is permissible. Terri - and those like her - the imperfect, the disabled, the helpless, the unbeautiful are frightening. It is like looking in the mirror and seeing your own mortality. So we must expunge these less than perfect humans, to assuage our fears. Those fears of death and sickness and disability and discomfort that come in the dark hours of the night -- when sleep will not come -- and the nagging thoughts come unbidden -- someday I will die -- and then -- nothing -- extinguished for all eternity -- just -- nothing. So -- expunge what causes you discomfort -- for it is only here on this material plane where meaning can be found -- in material things -- in status, in power, in authority, in money, in possessions, in beauty (is that another wrinkle? - I better make an appointment with my plastic surgeon), and we only want to live perfect lives.

I seem to remember another society that started in culling out the less than perfect for the good of society. And everything was done legally, and by the books, and with such cleanliness and sanitation -- for the good of society -- for our good -- after all -- who wants to be reminded of suffering, of less-than-perfection when we can create a perfect world right here. It is fear and lust for power that drives them. So they can force their ideas of a paradise on earth to us. Only it will be a paradise of death.

Read what Peggy has to say -- and by all means, read the whole article:

"Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.

And those who are still learning--our children--oh, what terrible lessons they're learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They're witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society--their society, their people--on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you 'know' that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla."

The law is a ass ~~Charles Dickens

Jack Dunphy has some choice words on the subject today from
National Review Online (http://www.nationalreview.com):

If Terri Schiavo were able, she would go to the nearest telephone, dial 9-1-1, and tell the operator that people are trying to kill her. Police officers would respond, and they would take whatever action was necessary, up to and including laying down their own lives, to ensure that no harm came to this innocent, defenseless woman. If the perpetrators were identified, they would be arrested and prosecuted, perhaps to receive very lengthy sentences in prison. She cannot make that phone call, of course, but those who love her have made it for her, crying out to any and all who might have the authority to stand in the path of what now appears inevitable: the very public starvation and death of Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo.

How on earth can this be?

. . . In Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, for example, there appeared a story under the headline, "Ceasing Food and Fluid Can Be Painless." Incredibly, the point of the story seemed to be that death by starvation is an experience to be enjoyed, something we should all look forward to. It is staggering that things have come to such a pass.

The details of the case have been exhaustively reported here on NRO and elsewhere, but Ms. Schiavo's fate can be traced through a nearly impenetrable cloud of legal rulings, page upon page of citations and references and footnotes, all of it laced with words like movant and respondent and all the other esoteric terms that seem to flow so freely from the lips and pens of lawyers and judges. It is this specialized language that allows those employed in the law to imagine themselves superior to the rest of us, the unwashed of the lower orders, to whom such language is foreign. And it is this language that the various lawyers and judges will hide behind when Terri Schiavo dies, when all their writs and motions and petitions have flown from office to office and courthouse to courthouse before floating down and congealing into a massive pile of recyclable rubbish."

Come on down to Sunny Florida -- where the living -- and the dying -- are easy

By BonnieBlueFlag

There is undoubtedly a culture of rot and decay in Florida, unfortunately, the rest of the country is being tainted by the same decay. Florida is one of the bad apples in the barrel, along with others like California, and special mention of the Massachusetts State Supreme Court.

Florida, port of entry for the Cubans and the Haitians. Ah, the Haitians, the criminals and AIDS carriers could not be confined for scrutiny and treatment, because the courts said they had to be let go into the general public.

The days of a health check, or a background check at Ellis Island, are gone. Come one, come all, come aboard the United States of Titanic America.

You're a retired American registered to vote in the state you are currently living in? Well, come on down, you can register to vote here as well, you deserve that second vote.

Come on down, you've worked all these years and now you are entitled to free everything. Hide your portfolio with your children, and we'll see to it that you get all the government assistance that is being provided to our illegal alien population for free. No worries, let the American taxpayer foot the bill. Just remember that all this has been given you by the Democratic party when you cast those two or more votes of yours.

Sunny Florida, home of Judge Greer. He'll make sure that all of your illegal activities are sealed by order of his court, just in case someone tries to prove that you have repeatedly tried to murder your spouse.

Come on down.

Many lucrative business opportunities for nursing homes and hospices, easy fraudulent billing of the government for services that have not been provided. Doctors and Lawyers available for consultation, patient recommendations and referrals.

Come on down . . .

They have washed their hands of the matter

By Aussiegirl

Today, anger and the state of agitation, anxiety, anguish and indignation I have had for the last week or more have been replaced with a sense of profound resignation and sadness as we reach the end of the road of hope for saving Terri's life.

It is like watching the Crucifixion. Now we know how those who loved and believed in Christ must have suffered as they witnessed the angry mob demanding his death, and the officials and judges washing their hands of the matter.

Now there is only time for prayer and sadness and contemplation. At least we know that soon she shall be with the angels. Poor, poor Terri -- cut down at the age of 26 by this heartless monster. If only we could turn back the clock -- if only she had not stayed with him that night. Her girlfriend had asked her to stay with her overnight because she was afraid. But she said she would be all right. The next morning she was found unconscious on the floor with her neck bruised.

There is a can of worms of corruption and rot down there in Florida -- beginning with the courts and the police and sheriff departments, continuing on to the Protective Services and Social Services, including the nursing homes and hospices and the entire medical establishment. With all those old people there, Florida is now the breeding ground of government's eagerness to move people along so that they are not a drain on the public purse.

Sadly, I doubt that Jeb will do anything -- it's too late. She probably has suffered more damage from this period of dehydration and starvation.

And the judge has threatened that he will have sheriffs there to prevent Jeb from taking custody. Imagine -- this pipsqueak little state judge must be crowing right now -- he is in charge - and all the powers of the government are nothing against his magisterial authority.

Not only that, but we have to admit that there is so much corruption down there that Jeb may be afraid of the political scandal that will be uncovered if this is fully examined in public.

I fear that there will be no examination of anything. The media and the democrats and their judicial co-conspiritors have done their job.
We now see that elections are useless -- a majority in Congress is useless, having a Republican President and Governor is useless. God help us all!!

I am sad and resigned -- may God comfort the family and welcome Terri into his loving arms -- God knows she found few enough on this earth who would embrace her. Most people look at her and are repelled -- therefore they want to eliminate her to relieve their own discomfort -- their own fear that this might happen to them -- or God forbid -- one of their family. It would spoil this perfect world they have created for themselves, of designer clothes and big houses and stylish friends and plastic surgery, vacation, glamor, etc.

It is the state of our culture starkly placed into relief by this one tragic case of an innocent and helpless girl.

Put her out of sight - hide her from our eyes -- shelter us from the reality that life is about more than just trying to acquire as much as you can -- status, position, power, money, authority and beauty. Life is about compassion and love.

Once that is lost -- our society is lost, I'm afraid --- and those in power make gestures to appeal to the "right-to-lifers" because we are just one more constituency they need to appease so they can get our votes and retain their power.

But of what use is their power? If it was of no use to one lone girl -- then it can be of no use to the rest of us when we are in peril. How tragic -- how sad. I'm beyond anger -- just profound disappointment -- with the Congress who labored mightily and publicly through the night and brought forth this mouse of a piece of legislation. With the President for grandstanding and flying back to Washington in a show of support, which is all it turned out to be. With the courts which are so intent on protecting the power that they have seized that they will sacrifice as many innocents as are needed to the "higher good" of judicial supremacy. I am disappointed in Jeb Bush, who three weeks ago had new evidence of not only a change in the diagnosis of Terri, but new evidence of abuse by her "guardian", Michael Schiavo. When questioned at the press conference, an official from the Florida Protective Services read out the statute that provides the legal authority for the Governor or the Social Services to seize and place under protective custody an adult in danger.

He had the power -- he waited until the 11th hour -- because he hoped against hope that the Florida legislature would produce a bill. But with the refusal of 3 Republicans to agree to support the bill, the legislation was almost immediately killed following his press conference.

So I ask -- what was the point of the press conference? To tell us that he had the authority, but that he declined to use it? Why? Because he is afraid of the political fallout?

Let everyone who had power over this helpless girl examine their consciences in the dark hours of the watches of the night, when sleep will not come, when relatives fall ill, when disease comes knocking at the door -- let them examine their consciences and ask themselves if they did everything they could -- not just what was politically possible, safe or expedient.

We none of us are safe now. This was a pivotal case -- a case where the legislative and executive branches of government had a duty to reestablish their co-equal authority over the courts. Instead -- they feebly tried -- and then they all stepped back and admitted that the courts are supreme in our country -- even a little pipsqueak judge can tell Congress and the President and the Governor to go jump in the lake.

And they can all go home and wash their hands of the life and death of Terri Schiavo -- and say along with those who condemned Christ -- "My conscience is clear -- I did all I could do."

And sadly, this includes our President, a Republican Governor, and the entire Republican establishment who have proven themselves helpless and impotent in the face of the courts. Now they have cemented into perpetual precedent, that we live in a judicial oligarchy.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest,-
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway,-
It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

~~William Shakespeare from "The Merchant of Venice"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Andrew McCarthy analyzes the court ruling

By Aussiegirl

Andrew McCarthy writing in

NRO analyzes the bill that Congress passed in order to help Terri and how the judge interpreted it so narrowly as to permit him to not even give the facts a new hearing, which was obviously Congress's intent. So -- the legal eagles once again find a loophole through which they can let a human be dehydrated and starved to death.

Read More:

When Congress provided for de novo review, uninhibited by what had already been determined in Florida, it seems clear that this is what they thought they were getting at. They were saying: Before we allow state action to deprive the constitutional right to life, let's be certain we really are dealing with a PVS case and a woman who actually made an informed choice to refuse sustenance. Judge Whittemore, to the contrary, has decided to interpret Congress's command as limited to an inquiry about whether Florida's procedures are likely to produce good results. As for the results actually produced � a finding of PVS and informed choice to die � he doesn't see the need to kick those tires because, he lamely notes, the Schindlers haven't explained how they could possibly relevant.

The judge, I believe, is wrong and needlessly stingy in construing what the just-passed law directs him to do. Terri Schiavo has had neither the standard medical tests (including an MRI and PET scan) nor the extensive clinical observation that should be mandatory for any finding of PVS on which an effective death sentence is to be predicated. If the proof supporting the PVS finding or the informed-choice finding � which Florida law require to be proved by clear and convincing evidence � is blatantly inadequate, then she has then not received the due process of law necessary to justify a taking of life under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. If she is not a PVS case and she is being tortured by starvation and dehydration, the Florida ruling removing the feeding tube is subjecting her to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

That's what we need a de novo review of: Why weren't standard tests done, why shouldn't they be done before a final PVS conclusion is made, and, in their absence, why should we be confident in the accuracy of the PVS diagnosis? There may be good answers to all these questions, but that is what evidentiary hearings are for.

BonnieBlueFlag weeps with all of us today

by BonnieBlueFlag

I'm sure Aussiegirl will weigh in today with much more on the ramifications of Judge Whittemore's ruling this morning, she is much more knowledgeable than I in some of these areas.

In the meantime, I am sitting in a room illuminated only by the glow from my twin windows on the world, my computer and my TV. Even though the sun has risen somewhere, I can only see large gray raindrops this morning.

Some would speak poetically and say those raindrops were the tears of God, tears shed for the demise of one of the greatest Christian cultures to ever exist. This country was founded on Christian values that have ever so slowly been eroded by the Judiciary.

Each person who has sat in judgment of the Terri Schiavo case, maintains that they are only following the letter of the law.�They say that her husband has the right to terminate her life, even though it can be proven that it was his spousal abuse that put her in this life threatening situation in the first place.

We have all seen our laws bent every which way to achieve a desired result. Most often the courts find some way to rule on the death of innocents, and life and compassion for the guilty.

Once again they have ruled for the death of an innocent, while giving aid and comfort to her murderer, Michael Schiavo.
The essence of the entertainment offered in the ancient Roman Coliseum has come alive again in the US Supreme Court. Every day innocent babies are killed courtesy of Roe vs. Wade, and those who perform the abortions are showered with the coin of the day.� The party of death, the Democrats, are shown continued approval by the thumbs up vote of the people in the stands.� The onlookers have come to see the bloodshed of the Christians, and they shall not go wanting.

by BonnieBlueFlag

Monday, March 21, 2005

Congress fiddles while Terri dies

By Aussiegirl

All the politicians are fiddling while Terri dies. They dot the legislative "i's" and cross the legislative "t's", they compromise, and debate, the judge ponders and postpones, and all the niceties and proprieties are observed.

They followed the law in the early days of Hitler's Germany, first they sterilized the mentally ill and handicapped, then they killed those whose lives were not worth living and who were a drain on society. It was all done legally, clinically. Doctors examined and rendered qualified opinions. The judges observed all the legal necessaries.

What is needed is not more talk. Not more adherence to the letter of the law -- but to the spirit of the law -- the foundation of natural law -- the RIGHT TO LIFE!

If someone in the executive branch at either the federal or state level does not act to place her under immediate protective custody, which they are entitled to do -- then everyone can go home and assuage their consciences that they "did all that they could do."

For me this is watershed. Noonan was right. I cannot forgive this.

When comments are this good I have to post them on the main board:


Leave to the politicos to screw up something as simple a preventing a murder.

Worse yet, a murder that the entire nation has seen coming for months and is about to witness before our very eyes. It's enough to shake your faith in the decency of humanity. Noonan spoke the truth in her piece that the republican party will own the aftermath if Terri is allowed to die after a year and a half of their foot dragging on this case.

The American people need to remember their judges in the next elections. In my home state far, too many are able to run unopposed and it is illegal here for a judge to affiliate with a political party.

How can the public make an informed choice about an elected official without knowing who he/she really is and where their political sympathies will lead their judgment? The Federal Judge hearing the Schiavo case I think is hoping she will perish before he has to rule against her, thereby cutting off her parent's efforts to appeal yet another flawed judicial "finding of fact."�
Great Post! Keep 'em coming.

4:59 AM

Tim Birdnow said:

There are some things which must be stood up to; this is one of them. We are all painfully aware that the Republicans have linguini spines and that the activist Judiciary has run roughshod over the country for years. If ever, now was the time for the Republicans to stand up and put the tyrranical judiciary in it`s place. Their failure has far reaching implications; both for their own future right to govern and for the moral health of the nation as a whole. This is something God will punish!

The United States legal system was built on a Judeo-Christian foundation, and that means the Moral Law trumps the Judiciary; it is part of the reason we allow ``Jury nullification`` over laws (for those who don`t know, a jury can nullify a law in a particular case if they believe it does not serve justice.) In this case, a Florida State judge, and a Clinton appointed Federal judge have hijacked the moral law and condemned an innocent woman to death through torture. What they have done is immoral, it really is illegal (cruel and unusual punishment) SOMEBODY should intervene; President Bush should send Federal Marshalls down to enforce the Congressional subpeona.

If the Nation allows this foul murder of an innocent, we have no right to expect God`s mercy and protection. We should expect to inherit the whirlwind.
10:30 AM

Vatican appeal for the life of Terri Schiavo

By Aussiegirl

Although I am an Orthodox Christian and not a Catholic, today that seems like a difference without a distinction. We are all Christians at this time of Easter, when we are reminded of Christ's suffering and sacrifice for us on the Cross at Calvary. As far as I know, the Catholic Church is the only religious body which has issued an opinion or statement on this case. I want to publish it here as every person, regardless of their religious affiliation, or even lack of faith, should read.

Statement of Cardinal Renato Martino,
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Vatican City
7 March 2005

The courts have ruled again and again. Unfortunately, the deadline for the removal of the tube delivering food and water to Terri Schiavo is quickly approaching. I am sorry to have to use the word "deadline" but this is the most accurate way to describe what will happen. Without the tube which is providing life-giving hydration and nutrition, Terri Schiavo will die. But it is not that simple. She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days, even weeks. How can anyone who claims to speak of the promotion and protection of human rights - of human life - remain silent? Is this not a question of the right to life? I believe that I must speak out about this in the same way that I would speak of the protection of the unborn and just as I would concerning any injustice.
Has due process in this case been truly served? Have all options been employed? Where is love? Where is human compassion? No one would ever wish to witness the suffering of another, especially a loved one. And I am sure that no one could ever choose to witness suffering or a cruel death being inflicted upon another, especially one who is loved. How then have we come to this point?

If it is true that the process has been fair and that all legal avenues have been exhausted, how is it that this woman, who has done nothing wrong, will suffer a fate which society would never tolerate in the case of a convicted murderer or anyone else convicted of the most horrendous crimes? Again, it is an issue of human rights. It is an issue of the right to life, and as I stated earlier, no one can be the arbiter of life except God himself!

The State of Florida has many laws on its books which protect animals, whether they be household pets, domesticated farm animals or animals destined for slaughter. (And please pardon me as I make this analogy. I am not comparing Terri to an animal. I only want to show the protection that the courts afford to animals in the State of Florida.) These laws "prohibit[s] anyone from intentionally committing an act to any animal which results in cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering" (828.12). It is also unlawful to keep an animal in a place while failing to supply "a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water"(828.13).

Are these laws not enforced by the same courts, are these not the same laws established by lawmakers in order to protect other creatures of God?
However, in just a few days, [if her husband and the courts have their way] this is exactly what will happen to Terri. She will be completely deprived of water and food. She will have excessive suffering and pain inflicted upon her which will lead to her cruel death. Yet we have come to the point of asking whether due process been fully carried out and all options exhausted on behalf of Terri? This is unbelievable! Is it not sufficient enough to say that there are still questions that must be answered? We plead, we make the urgent appeal for the life of a helpless human being...a person with whom we all share our God given human dignity. How can anyone say that her best interests have been taken into consideration?

In his Message for the Eleventh World Day of the Sick (11 February 2003) His Holiness Pope John Paul II stated: "And while palliative treatment in the final stage of life can be encouraged, avoiding a "treatment at all costs" mentality, it will never be permissible to resort to actions or omissions which by their nature or in the intention of the person acting are designed to bring about death."

Palliative care, by its definition is the alleviation of suffering and relieving pain. In the last stage of life, it is this care for which we all must hope because, if the feeding tube is removed and Terri is forced to die this slow, terrible, painful death, we must ask ourselves, "And who will be next?" Will this open the door for a state to decide whether this or that incapacitated person should die...not be allowed to die a dignified death but that they should have death inflicted upon them?
It must stop here and now. The courts, the judges and everyone involved with this must understand that all of the questions involved in the case of Terri Schiavo have not yet been answered. Society must realize that we can never inflict this sort of death on a human being, on any other creature, without each and every one of us and society as a whole suffering a terrible fate.

A "Painless" way to die

By Aussiegirl

If you can stomach it, read the truth about what it feels like to be dehydrated to death, even if you are in the state that Terri's in. We wouldn't do this to a dog or a cat -- even if they were terminally ill.

Birdblog gets is right

By Aussiegirl

Tim Birdnow, as usual shares some excellent and well stated points on this whole matter of Terri Schiavo, along with some good links on his post entitled, "Murder Most Foul". Definitely worth a read through.

Kicking the ball down the field?

By Aussigirl

Andrew McCarthy from NRO has some notes of caution on the meaning of the recent bill passed by the Congress last night to send Terri's case to a federal judge. He echoes my thoughts precisely while expanding on the legal reasoning and precedents which will apply. Unfortunately this bill may only serve to kick the ball down the field.

The judge is a Clinton appointee. He is not even obligated to reinsert the feeding tube --- and the fact that he is taking his sweet time in scheduling the court session, for 3 p.m. instead of earlier in the day, tells me he is not hurry.

He could in fact have immediately ordered the reinstatement of the feeding tube pending his looking into the case, the fact that he hasn't makes me wonder if he is concerned about her health which is being compromised every hour she continues without hydration, or whether everyone is more concerned with procedure and passing the buck.

My sense is that everyone is covering themselves with the fig leaf of "We did all we could" procedurally, while allowing Terri to slowly dehydrate. Let's hope she gets a fair hearing, but there's a big "right-to-die" sentiment in the courts. She may well die before she gets a hearing. She seems to be a victim of correct procedures but no sense of the morality of the value of life itself.

Meanwhile, President Bush could put an end to this by sending in Federal Marshalls to enforce the subpoena and to safeguard her life until Congressional hearings are held. As a matter of fact, Congressman Weldon has said that he has urged the President to do just that.

Read More:

The Schiavo bill passes, but much is still in doubt. Well, the bottom line today is: Let's be thankful the Schiavo bill was finally done, since it at least gives time for sanity to prevail and for responsible actors � whether law-enforcement authorities or the federal courts � to say that to torture of a live, defenseless person by starvation/dehydration is illegal, barbaric, and must never be permitted. So today is a day for guarded hope. Yet, a few troubling observations are in order.

First, the path to the cultural crossroad at which we find ourselves was blazed by judicial proceedings aimed at deciding whose life has value. How ironic is it, then, that these circumstances have actually reduced us to asking for Terri to be placed at the mercy of...yet another judicial proceeding?

The fact that the case will now be reviewed by a jurist who happens to be a federal judge hardly means the outcome here will necessarily be different than it was in the state courts. Now that the dust has settled, it's probably worth asking about the composition � as in the general judicial philosophies � of the judges sitting on the federal bench in the Middle District of Florida. The "right to die" is yet another pet cause of the "progressive" vanguard. As we have come to know all too well, such movements tend to have more fellow travelers among legal elites (including the federal judiciary) than among the general population.

Second, in an age where more and more people get their news from television, and in the most fleeting of snatches, the language battle is more important than ever. It also remains the one thing the mainstream media still dominates. After watching the coverage over the weekend and the House debate last night, we should be very troubled by terms like life support, brain dead, and recover.

Life support came into our lay lexicon understood as a respirator of some kind for someone whose brain had ceased all but the barest minimum of function and who could not breathe on his own. In much of the public mind, however, it is now coming to include a feeding tube or intravenous hydration for someone who is very much alive and responsive to stimuli.

Brain dead, meanwhile, is being sedulously broadened to include brain damaged, even though the two concepts are manifestly worlds apart � in truth, as different as dead and alive.

Recover, moreover, is now cavalierly tossed about in public discussions with a connotation critically different from its prior meaning. It used to be said of an authentically brain-dead person that he would never recover, and this, sensibly, meant would never actually be alive again. It is now said of the brain damaged, like Terri, that they will never recover � as in will never be whole and enjoy all of their mental faculties again. The latter kind of lack of recovery is tragic, but it is not effective death, and thus is not a justification for society to take affirmative measures to bring death about. Even if the brain damaged cannot recover, they are still alive and a good many of them can improve.

Finally, the bill passed early Monday morning is a strange reflection of our times. It basically says: You have to stop starving and dehydrating Terri Schiavo until we can figure out whether any federal rights have been violated. That's a bit like saying: You need to stop clubbing me until I can figure out whether my head hurts.

. . . Congress could simply have said that the state is not permitted to starve and dehydrate a person who is not clinically dead.

That is to say, the bill does not communicate any sense of the Congress that torture by starvation/dehydration is itself a constitutional violation. . .Thus, so the argument will conclude, what Congress must have meant is that the federal court is limited to analyzing the state court proceedings themselves to weigh whether some federal law violation has occurred.

If that is the route the federal court takes � essentially, that it is limited to deciding whether the state proceedings satisfied minimal threshold of constitutional due process, which tends not to be rigorous � it will be much more difficult to reverse the Florida outcome.

The question still lingers: Regardless of what one thinks of the evidence developed and the procedures followed in the Florida courts, how is a judge empowered, ever, to order or license torture? Let's hope the federal court asks.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

They give us death -- and call it compassion

By Aussiegirl

It looks as though the democrats have dug in their heels on this one and are determined to drag it out. I'm not sure of all the procedural ramifications of what's going on, but they have clearly decided that they are willing to risk further losses at the ballot box rather than give in on this topic which seems of paramount importance to them: the twin doctrines of supreme judicial dictatorial authority over every aspect of our lives, free of any restraint of law, legislation or common decency -- and -- the culture of death that that party has been promulgating for years.

First with the Roe v. Wade decision, which makes our country the only country in the western world which allows for abortions up to and including the moment of birth and full gestation. The European nations are even debating about further reducing the time frame in which abortions may be sought, while we allow the killing of full term, viable babies.

Then we have the benign sounding and seductive term of "death with dignity", "right-to-die", "euthanasia", while crooning and lulling voices of experts reassure us that death by dehydration and starvation is really a beautiful and peaceful process -- there have been a number of articles recently on just that topic. A pink-cheeked little "geriatric specialist" on Fox who specializes in "end of life issues" assured us a few days ago that dying in this manner is one of the most humane, peaceful and wonderful things that can possibly happen. God save me from such a wet behind the ears little twerp of a "specialist" in my last days. He is nothing more than a ghoul, who enjoys inflicting death. What could he possibly know about life, much less sickness, aging and death at his age? A medical degree does not bestow wisdom or compassion or human decency.

We now see that the democrats will risk defeat at the ballot box to preserve these twin tenets of their faith -- death and the untrammeled power of the judiciary.

Reno managed to incinerate a bunch of men, women and children and it looks like the Democrats are going to leave a lot of human sacrifices in their wake as they go down to eventual defeat. But even in the minority they still seem to be wielding a great deal of power.

This is a test case, for sure -- whether a disabled woman has any civil rights, or not -- or whether the decisions of one judge trump all other branches of government combined and all other considerations. What ever happened to checks and balances?

This is big -- bigger than the Republicans in the Congress realized -- that's why they are hurrying to catch up. The president started the ball rolling on Friday, by finally coming out with a statement supporting life -- and the Republicans and Democrats who were scurrying home for the Easter recess suddenly were brought up short by the President.

What I still don't understand is why a U.S. attorney has not gotten an injunction or a bench warrant to enforce that subpoena and protect Terri Schiavo as a witness until all these politicos can have their endless discussions.

Why the rush to kill her and remove the tubes?? She has been this way for 15 years -- what difference would a few more weeks make? The reason is they hope she will die and then this will all be over. The judge, and the corrupt officials, and the members of that death hospice and the husband, will all get away with it -- and the democrats will have won another battle in the fight to make the judiciary the supreme unelected governors and dictators of this country -- and to encode in law once again and more firmly -- this concept of death of the inconvenient.

At this point, I believe the democrats don't care about losing more elections. That's not where the real power lies any more -- as we see so starkly with this case. They will sacrifice it all -- for this victory.

We don't know how it will come out. My gut told me last night that all that "agreement" that was announced yesterday was going to fall apart.

There is still hope -- but what is the point of dragging it out with further discussions??? The point is she might die -- problem solved -- for everyone - because I feel that even the Republicans would wish that this would just go away.

What we are seeing here is a stark reminder of the degree to which the judiciary has woven its deadly tentacles through the very fabric of our society - and rendered every branch of government -- and the people -- and the family -- completely irrelevant before its devouring maw.

God help us -- if all the powers arrayed on the side of life cannot save this one woman -- then we are done for -- and the slippery slope has just become an avalanche of death and evil. � And on Palm Sunday too. She will most likely die around Easter if no one reinserts that tube.

As I said before -- they will give us death -- and call it compassion.

And here we have the Pope -- blessing the assembled crowds on Palm Sunday. Twice now he has been taken to the hospital and twice many counted him out and started the death watch -- and each time he has come back. He gives hope to many people who are sick and dying. He may yet have some weeks, months or even years before him - and even in that crippled and painful body he carries on as an example to all of us of the worth and value of each life -- and even of the value of suffering to each of us. There is a message there to all of us -- and there is a message in the plight of Terri Schiavo.

God has given us life -- he has given us the power to love, to comfort, to feed and to nourish, to express kindness and to care for those who are in need -- but he has also given us through our free will -- the power to destroy and kill.

We now see the true stakes at play in our own country. While we looked to dangers across the sea -- in strange lands -- we find that the enemy is within -- and the enemy -- as Pogo used to say -- is often --- us. We are reaching a tipping point -- this is a watershed case -- which side will win?

So far the evil ones have won -- at Ruby Ridge, at Waco, with Elian -- what will happen here?

We watch, we wait -- we pray. What else can we do?

They feed horses, don't they?

By BonnieBlueFlag

In a hard winter with many feet of snow on the ground, Western ranchers will airlift hay out to their starving cattle, likewise on the Midwestern and Eastern farms.
Many of us feed the wildlife nearby when they are having difficulty finding food.

None of us expects our dogs and cats to be able to open their own cans of food, even though there are times when we wish they could feed themselves.

We quietly tend to all living things that fall within our sphere of influence, and many that do not.

Even if Terry Schiavo told her husband not to take extraordinary measures to keep her alive, did she specifically say, "Please do not feed me?"

When did providing someone or something with food and water become "extraordinary" life sustaining measures?

Bush returns to Washington to sign the Terri Schiavo Bill

By Aussiegirl

The Associated Press has the following news:

Compromise Reached on Measure to Allow Federal Court Review of Schiavo Case, Resume Feeding; Bush Returning to Washington Early

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional leaders hoped a deal reached Saturday would clear the way for a brain-damaged woman to resume being fed while a federal court reviews the right-to-die battle between her parents and her husband.

President Bush changed his schedule to return to Washington from his Texas ranch on Sunday to be on hand to sign the legislation.

"Everyone recognizes that time is important here," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in announcing the president's plans Saturday evening in Texas. "This is about defending life."

"I'm pleased to announce that House and Senate Republican leadership have reached an agreement on a legislative solution," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said Saturday at the start of a brief Senate session.

"We are confident this compromise addresses everyone's concerns, we are confident it will provide Mrs. Schiavo a clear and appropriate avenue for appeal in federal court, and most importantly, we are confident this compromise will restore nutrition and hydration to Mrs. Schiavo as long as that appeal endures," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said earlier at a news conference.

House approval was hoped for Sunday when the House planned to meet in a special session, he said.

"We're elated primarily that they put politics to one side and they're concentrating on the issue of saving Terri's life," Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler, said late Saturday.

The Senate session Saturday evening was convened to formally give necessary permission for the House to meet Sunday, when it otherwise would be in recess under a previously passed Easter recess resolution.

The plan is for the House to act on the two-page bill Sunday, or just after midnight Monday morning if someone objects to the bill being taken up on an expedited basis Sunday.

Frist said the Senate then would act on the House legislation Sunday, assuming it passes the House as envisioned, and rush the bill to the president for signature into law. Otherwise, he said the Senate will meet again after the House acts early Monday.

At a news conference after the Senate session Saturday, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, thanked the Democratic leadership for cooperating on an expedited procedure to consider the legislation. He singled out Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Carl Levin of Michigan as two who had reservations about the bill, but agreed not to use Senate rules or traditions to block its consideration.

It takes only a majority of those present and voting to pass a bill in either the House or Senate, meaning a handful of members - a dozen or less - could be on hand for floor action.

As to the possibility Schiavo could die if a federal judge did not quickly order her feeding restored once the case landed in federal jurisdiction, Santorum said that would be "irresponsible abuse of the judge's authority" and that "I'm not going to speculate on what I think is a remote possibility."

First word of the unfolding compromise came Saturday from Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who said: "What we've tried to achieve here is to give Terri Schiavo and her representatives and part of her family that believes strongly that she should be given an opportunity to live, that they have an opportunity to bring that case ... that the federal court be given a chance to review it."

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, appeared at the news conference with Santorum and others in support of the compromise. Harkin has favored broader legislation that would apply to similar situations beyond the Schiavo case.

The compromise was similar to a Senate bill passed Thursday that would let a federal court review the state judge's decision in the Schiavo case. House Republicans had favored broader legislation that applied similar cases that questioned the legality of withholding food or medical treatment from people who are incapacitated.
Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected Friday afternoon. Schiavo, 41, could linger for one to two weeks if no one intercedes and gets the tube reinserted.
Michael Schiavo urged Congress to stay out of the matter, saying he is just trying to carry out his wife's wishes.

"I feel like the government has just trampled all over my personal life," he said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Friday. "It is uncomprehensible that a government can walk all over somebody's private judicial matter, because of their own personal feelings."

GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the measure was "narrowly targeted" and did not set a precedent.

For a decade, a feud has raged between Schiavo's husband, Michael, and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have tried to oust Michael Schiavo as their daughter's guardian and keep in place the tube that has kept her alive for more than 15 years.

Michael Schiavo says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that, saying she could get better and that their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices.

On Friday, Republicans used their subpoena power to demand that Schiavo be brought before a congressional hearing, with lawmakers saying that removing the tube amounted to "barbarism."

The Florida judge presiding over the case rejected the request from House lawyers to delay the tube's removal. Late Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, denied an emergency request from the House committee that issued the subpoenas to reinsert Schiavo's feeding tube while the committee filed appeals in the lower courts to have its subpoenas recognized.