Saturday, March 26, 2005

Responding to the Response 

Apparantly, I cannot respond to comments on my own blog. Well, what do you want, it's free.

This is answering the comments in the previous entry.

I will agree that perhaps the husband is getting a bad rap in the coverage, at least from the right-wing media (FoxNews, Radio, blogs, etc.) but I think thats because of the extraordinary levels he's going to to keep the rest of the family silent about the situation.

I do think there is an unfortunate trend in policy debates to try to gaze into someone's soul and figure out why he is doing something.

The husband isn't particularly a winner, because he didn't win anything. I think perhaps the best analysis might be that he wants to move on with his life, and probably needs Terri dead before he feels he can. That would explain why he turned down offers for millions of dollars to let her live, when letting her die would only garner him several thousand (much of which may be eaten by the death tax and funeral expenses).

This case was extra violent, in that it began deeply personal, and took on a political edge that merged with the angriness of the personal.

I will say that I believe that since I've had two old family members in the hospital system recently, that doctors are entirely too willing to encourage, and even try to force euthenasia.

And I sincerely believe if we are going to perform mercy killings, we should be merciful about it: make them comfortable, and end it painlessly. This woman, supposedly on the verge of death, has been starving and dehydrating for a week and a half now. A quick shot of morphine would have taken this poor woman out of her misery, taken this case off of the news, and prevented this morbid deathwatch.

I do think that the federal government has a right to get involved, but only if they are planning to really make some changes. As I tried to illustrate, I think the Republicans tried to appeal to the Pro-Life crowd without any intentions of fixing the core issue, and with full knowledge that the courts would back up the previous decision.

Many current laws have emerged from one single incident catching attention from the media. Megan Kanka's kidnapping resulted in Megan's Law, for example, and John Brady's bulletwound resulted in the Brady Bill. The fact that sketchy euthenasias occur so often is the one reason that I think that this whole debate wasn't a total waste.

Will it change anything? I doubt it. We, as a nation, are all too afraid that we may get stuck in a position between life and death that rather than err on the side of life, we'd rather someone just take away all uncertainty.

I think the best solution we currently have right now is to write a specific living will (as creepy as that is), and not to marry someone who may appeal to his/her own preferences over your own. If you think there is valid reason to believe your significant other's opinion would clash with your family over the decision, then thats all the more reason to do so.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Inactivist Legislatures 

Admittedly, I believe that legally speaking, the various judges have made the proper, legal decision that Terry Schiavo's husband has the right to decide when to pull the plug, or in this case, the food supply. It may be not be ethical to kill someone by starvation, but it is the law, and the judges, if they weren't able to find any way to justify saving her within the law or the Constitution, they made the right choice.

The villain, in this, is the Republican Congress.

Unlike the judiciary, Congress is meant to be activist. Representatives and senators are voted upon, and therefore, if you do not approve of their actions, you can vote them out. This varies greatly from the appointed-for-life judges, who often act as omnipotent dictators from the bench.

The GOP gave it one shot to save Schiavo. They were beaten in the Senate by the usual suspects. Rather than continuing the fight, they forfeited in a lousy attempt to save political face.

They passed a resolution that a federal judge should review the case. Obviously, looking at the same laws that the previous judges looked at, the federal judge came to the same conclusion. Everyone with the slightest grasp of appeals law knew that he would find this way. He had no authority to decide if Shiavo was brain-dead or not; that decision was long over. This fight was about whether the husband has the primary right as caregiver. And, of course he does. Even if he is a bastard.

The Congress, as the Legislature, has the ability to make and alter law, as they see fit, as long as it falls within the boundaries of the Constitution. They could have made a law that made Michael Schiavo's infidelity a disqualifier for him to make the ultimate decision, for example. Or, they could have required a Living Will be apparant to make sure we know for sure if it is proper to kill us off. They neglected to do so. They passed a resolution to make it look like they tried their best, which they knew would fail, and then they could blame it on the judiciary.

On another subject, I think that this would be less disturbing if they found a more painless way to do Schiavo in. Give her a lethal injection or something.

Here is my Living Will. If I'm ever in that situation, replace the nourishment provided through the tube with vodka. If I die in such a horrible way, I'd prefer to die quickly with a pleasant buzz than super-hungry and dehydrated.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Extremely Late Term Abortion? 

In perhaps the most blatant and murderous form of Judicial Activism since Dred Scott, a circuit judge has sentenced a woman to death. She was not guilty of any crime. She does not carry any contagion. She simply inconveniences one man, her husband.

Terri Schiavo somehow fell into a horrible state back in 1990. Some allege her husband, Michael Schiavo, abused her and may have contributed to this condition. I don't know. What is well-known is that here husband cheated on her before the tragedy, lives with another woman now, and that there is a large malpractice trust which keeps Terri alive, which would go to Michael if she perished.

Terri Schiavo's condition is fairly interesting. She is awake, and breathes on her own. Her brain sends signals. Her eyes follow things. She simply cannot eat or talk. She's not a vegetable, per se. She seems to be like an infant.

Now, for whatever reason, the husband decided the state should let her die by removing her feeding tube. Judge Greer, the judge in the case agreed, despite the impassioned pleas of her parents and the lack of a living will. After a long torturous court case over the matter, the husband is definitely looking like the victor in this battle. At 1 PM today, the judge ordered the feeding tube yanked.

Congress tried to intervene. Both the House and the Senate passed bills preventing Euthenasia in cases such as this when there is no living will. As the two houses tried to reconcile the bills, Barbie Boxer and some other militantly Leftist Senators refused to conform their bill in a way to allow it to take effect.

In a last ditch effort to save Terri, Tom Delay subpoenaed her as a witness, thus making her a witness in a Federal Case, and subject to special protections against tampering with her well-being. Judge Greer, presumedly feeling immasculated since his word was not the final say in this woman's life, tiraded that the US Congress has no jurisdiction in the state of Florida, and ordered the tubes yanked. And thats where we are right now.

Without the feeding tubes, Terri Schiavo will slowly die of hunger and dehydration, as opposed to murderer Scott Peterson, who will get a quick lethal injection.

Now, how did we get to this point in society? Well, abortion made us all believe that it is easier to abort unhealthy children, since people would rather be dead than face difficulties in life. Dr. Jack Kavorkian stretched the concept to the elderly, since people would rather be dead than inconvenience their family. Now, in the former case, the peoples' lives who are in question don't really get a say in the matter. The the latter case, they are often not of sound mind. Either way, other people ultimately make the decision of whether these people are better off dead.

This is a dangerous view on morality. Where do we draw the line? If pseudo-vegetables can be killed off without consent, what about people with Downs Syndrome? AIDS? The wheelchair bound? We all say we would rather die than be in such a state as Schiavo, but then, we've never been in such a state. I'd currently say I'd rather die than be paralyzed to a point where I could never leave a wheelchair. Yet, I have a powerful suspicion that if I was put in that situation, I would probably change my mind.

This whole callous view on the sanctity of life has an even darker side as well. What if a charismatic politician with a greasy hairdo and a gay looking mustache decides to extend the forced Euthenasia to, say, the Jewish people? What if a Klansman manages to become Senator of West Virginia and tries to extend the same courtesy to Blacks? Euthenasia leads to Eugenics, and the 20th century was full of examples of where Eugenics leads.

Death is final. We have all the time in the world to be dead. Terri Schiavo was not in any apparant pain, although she hasn't eaten ir drank in seven and a half hours, so I'm sure that has changed by now. She is a Roman Catholic, who are adamantly opposed to Euthanasia. She left no living will indicating a desire to die in her current state. Some doctors examining her believe that with the right therapy, she may be able to live a somewhat fulfilling life again. Her family is willing to take care of her, without even taking a room in the hospital, and are willing to foot the bill to keep her alive. The only "proof" we have that she desired to end it was from her cheating husband who stands to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars if she dies right now.

For more information, check out http://www.terrisfight.org/

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Political Worldcom 

I fear the European Union. Not their military, because most of the EU would sooner kiss George Bush on the lips than form a useful militia. Not because of their economic power, either. In fact, I fear them because of their potential economic mismanagement.

I remember back when I first graduated, MCI phoned me after they saw my resume on Monster, but I was a little wary of them. After all, they had just come off the biggest corporate scandal in American history as their alter-ego, Worldcom.

Essentially, Worldcom overinflated the value of its stock through a system of mergers, buying new companies, allowing itself to get bought by other companies while maintaining key management. Essentially, while they were doing all this flipping around, they were able to distract even the most observant economists that they really weren't making any profit. In fact, they managed not to even bother pay off their debts. And most people buying stock at the time were not observant economists, they were amateurs buying trendy stocks. The Executives made out like bandits (literally), and for a while, stockholders and employees believed they would be set for life.

Until the shit hit the fan.

Eventually, Worldcom could no longer keep up their deceptive strategy. The Justice Department started halting their endless mergers, debtors wanted the money promised. The executives, seeing this coming, looted the company, and the employees and stockholders got totally screwed over.

Right now, the stock of the European Union, the Euro, is arguably overvalued. But it is a trendy investment that nations all over the world are investing in, including the emerging capitalist China, and historically militant Japan.

The economy of Europe really is not a powerhouse. Unemployment in Germany, the strongest economy in the EU, just reached 12.6%. France, 10%. The governments of most EU countries forbid employees from working certain hours throughout the day, and will not allow employees to work more than 36 hours/day.

The economy of Europe has been regressing for years. They hide this, mainly, by accepting new democracies in Eastern Europe into their organization. This is good and bad. The EU has the benefit of creating a large free-trade zone, which is an actual benefit. However, the EU actively destroys the capitalistic policies of its new initiates and forces them into their socialized standards, which may in time negate any benefit free-trade adds to their economy.

Now, I don't know if I have much more faith in the United States economy. However, our unemployment rate is around 5%. The trade deficit is a bit worrisome, I admit. However, the weaker dollar does make American products more afforable overseas, so if our idiot unions could actually make something that our customers overseas would actually want, like a pick-up truck that doesn't burst into flames while parked, then maybe we could open up new markets. Often, it seems like the United States doesn't have a handle on basic economics

Europe may be be the international version of Worldcom, which would be a disaster for the world. However, the way things often look, the United States may be the Pets.com of the world.

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

I Cry, When Italians Deserve to Die 

Damn, I wish those insurgents just murdered that Italian journalist. Or, barring that, the Americans who she was trying to run down.

What the Television media seems to refuse to disclose is that this woman reported for Il Manifesto, a Stalinist publication. Does anyone think she was ever an unbias source?

It seems odd to me that the inurgents just let her go. They haven't really had a history of doing that. Perhaps, since they have a common ideological enemy, this was pre-arranged? I'm a little too given to conspiracy theories for a right-winger, I must admit.

However, you don't need to be a conspiracy nut to think that her escort was a moron for driving so quickly to an American checkpoint. With all the car-bomb related fatalities, how did they expect the Americans to act?

On a similar subject, we keep hearing how the War in Iraq is so unpopular in Europe. But riddle me this, Batman. Which pro-American leaders have not won re-election? Only one, Jose Maria Azner in Spain, and thats because al-Qaeda pulled off a mini-9/11 attack the day before the election.

- Tony Blair is primed to win re-election easily, with the only real competition being from the even more Pro-War Conservative Party. The debate that hurts Blair is not the War at all, but the possibility of Britain abandoning the constantly-powerful Pound for the currently-trendy Euro.

- John Howard of Australia handily won reelection.

- Italy's Berlusconi, who makes George Dubya seem as measured as Joe Lieberman in comparison, has maintained constantly popular in Italy, although despised even more than Bush in the rest of Europe.

- President Kwasniewski of Poland doesn't seem to be taking much flack over Iraq. Possibly becuase newspaper columnists don't want to have to write out his name,

Meanwhile, some of the Iraq War's critics are currently not so popular.

- Putin is viewed by many inside and outside his country as no better than the Soviet leaders he replaced.

- Chirac has fallen under 50% in the French polls, largely due to his unending tax increases.

- It is beginning to look inevitible that Schroeder will lose his next bid for reelection to the Christian Democratic Union, possibly because unemployment has reached the double-digits in Germany.

- Paul Martin of Canada only squeaked by in Canada's last election.

Overall, I think it is fairly arrogant to think that anti-Americanism is a defining issue in any country in the world, including the US. Most people in the world don't give America any more thought on any given day than the average American gives to say, Romania.

As for Americans, we don't really care in the long run if people like us or not, because we control the world's industry, we control the free world's military, and we control the H-Bomb.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Moses on Trial 

After years of avoiding the issue, the Supreme Court has finally decided to make a ruling on the issue of the Ten Commandments being displayed in public buildings, particularly courthouses.

Now, it should be obvious to most observers that the Ten Commandments have an important role in the formation of American law. Our legal tradition is birthed by the British Common Law tradition. The British law was heavily reliant on Biblical Law. Biblical Law is based on the Ten Commandments.

Our laws are decendent from many great writings, philosophies, and traditions. Hammurabi, the Roman Republic and Empire, Papal-controlled Europe, British Common Law, and of course, the Bible. To whitewash any of this is Orwellian and an insult to history.

Now, the Athiests point out that the First Amendment commands that the Government not impose a religion. However, acknowledging the Commandments role in our legal system does not demand everyone become a Jew (remember, they are JEWISH laws, not Christian).

The Founders could not fathom the idea that anyone would ever be offended by the idea of public displays of Judeo-Christian religion, because honestly, they probably never believed that any non-Christians would ever want to come to this country. While they knew of Muslims, and to a lesser extent, the Eastern Religions, these other religions never seemed overly interested in emigrating to the West.

Only the United States offered people of all religions something that all humanity values: Human Freedom (which, by the way, flies in the face of everyone who says Muslims and others don't value Freedom). Now, by trying to repress religion, we are threatening that tradition of Freedom.

There really is no pressing interest to remove religious iconry from public buildings. However, both the accuracy of history and the tradition of Freedom demand that we remember our roots, and that we do not overzealously destroy what helped build this country.

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