Monday, June 06, 2005

If Terri Schiavo had been a cow...

Today I am on a culture watch, and believe me, there's a LOT of stupidity out there. Who can forget the terrible ordealTerri Schiavo situation? During the drama of that murderous event (yes, I said MURDEROUS!), the PETA people, had a mini-drama of their own, in their own tiny miserable pseudo-reality world of theirs. Feel free to read:

Starving Cows

"A Cabot farmer accused of starving his herd of cattle has pleaded innocent to five counts of animal cruelty.
Christian deNeergaard, 47, was released on conditions, including that he not own any animals, except for the two cats his wife has.
Vermont District Court Judge Patricia Zimmerman on Thursday gave attorneys until July 15 to depose four witnesses, two veterinarians and two Agency of Agriculture officials in the case.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked that deNeergaard face jail time and undergo psychological counseling at his expense.

"Outside, I observed a cow that had cast herself into the feed bunker and died a few feet away from the available feed," he wrote in the inspection. "Two other dead cows were located in a pen on the east side of the barn near the road."

I have something I have to say to Michael Schiavo's attorney and right to die guru:



Not for humans, though (break in elevator music)! When humans starve, everything shuts down, and humans feel no pain. It's just wonderful, it's almost like getting high.

How come these people are persecuting this farmer? He was just doing what George Felos and Michael Schiavo were doing to Terri. And, hey, they were just stupid cows. What do they know? What kind of life do they have to look forward to? Eat grass, drink water, stare at motorists doing cow imitations, and getting milked three times a day. That's no life. The farmer was doing them a favor and using the most humane way of doing it, according to Felos. Ignorant asses in the court! You need to learn from the trinity of compassion: Judge Greer, George Felos, and the ever devoted husband of two: Michael Schiavo.

Wait till my next post!


At 12:22 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Aw come on Sam, you can do better than this. The cows were not in a persistant vegitative state. As opposed to Ms. Schiavo, who could feel, hear, smell, see nothing, the cows actually could. She couldn't suffer, they obviously did.

As for the cows, the owner should have been prosicuted for terminal stupidity, and the waste of perfectly good pot roasts!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

yikes! Remind me to spell check before I post comments!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger the Logic Monkey said...

"Ms. Schiavo, who could feel, hear, smell, see nothing,"

Really? You know that for a fact? Why not just admit that you are for killing people you find inconvienient?

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

GWB: Terri Schindler was not in a PVS. Oh, she couldn't quote Byron or scream bloody murder at George Felos or Michael "one wife and a Ho" Schiavo. She could wail loudly when asked by the family attorney if she wanted to die.

Bear, the point is, human life is an infinitely higher life form than any dumb cow. And liberals who fight for the rights of cows, are either silent or in favor of the killing of a human being, calling it euphemistically "the right to die." Starvation and dehydration is a despicable mode of killing, for either humans or cows.

I concur about the pot roasts...ain' it a shame?

At 6:59 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Sam, medical evidence is what it is. Virtually every doctor who examined her agreed. She was, for lack of a better term, a vegetable. There is no humane reason for allowing someone to persist in that state. There comes a point when it is far more cruel to let one live than to let one die. She was far beyond that point.

Now, that pot roast reference has made me hungry. time to fire up the grill.

And whats with this logic monkey guy? Boy, would I love to have him lie down on the sofa and wind him back. Nobody should be that angry!

I'll consume a Leinie tonight in your honor!

At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Innocent Bystander said...

The nurses who worked with Terri disagree with you, since they happened to sign affidavits saying that Terri was responsive and would try to talk to them and so on and so forth. Plus I remember somewhat of an uproar among doctors who examined her and got different opinions. Some said she was a veggy, others said otherwise.
Whatever the case, you cannot say that "virtually every doctor who examined her agreed," because that is obviously not the case.

Since the "in" thing now is to post articles, here's one to read:

Terri Schiavo: Judicial Murder
Her crime was being disabled, voiceless, and at the disposal of our media

by Nat Hentoff
March 29th, 2005 10:59 AM

For all the world to see, a 41-year-old woman, who has committed no crime, will die of dehydration and starvation in the longest public execution in American history.
She is not brain-dead or comatose, and breathes naturally on her own. Although brain-damaged, she is not in a persistent vegetative state, according to an increasing number of radiologists and neurologists.

Among many other violations of her due process rights, Terri Schiavo has never been allowed by the primary judge in her case—Florida Circuit Judge George Greer, whose conclusions have been robotically upheld by all the courts above him—to have her own lawyer represent her.

Greer has declared Terri Schiavo to be in a persistent vegetative state, but he has never gone to see her. His eyesight is very poor, but surely he could have visited her along with another member of his staff. Unlike people in a persistent vegetative state, Terri Schiavo is indeed responsive beyond mere reflexes.

While lawyers and judges have engaged in a minuet of death, the American Civil Liberties Union, which would be passionately criticizing state court decisions and demanding due process if Terri were a convict on death row, has shamefully served as co-counsel for her husband, Michael Schiavo, in his insistent desire to have her die.

Months ago, in discussing this case with ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, and later reading ACLU statements, I saw no sign that this bastion of the Bill of Rights has ever examined the facts concerning the egregious conflicts of interest of her husband and guardian Michael Schiavo, who has been living with another woman for years, with whom he has two children, and has violated a long list of his legal responsibilities as her guardian, some of them directly preventing her chances for improvement. Judge Greer has ignored all of them.

In February, Florida's Department of Children and Families presented Judge Greer with a 34-page document listing charges of neglect, abuse, and exploitation of Terri by her husband, with a request for 60 days to fully investigate the charges. Judge Greer, soon to remove Terri's feeding tube for the third time, rejected the 60-day extension. (The media have ignored these charges, and much of what follows in this article.)

Michael Schiavo, who says he loves and continues to be devoted to Terri, has provided no therapy or rehabilitation for his wife (the legal one) since 1993. He did have her tested for a time, but stopped all testing in 1993. He insists she once told him she didn't want to survive by artificial means, but he didn't mention her alleged wishes for years after her brain damage, while saying he would care for her for the rest of his life.

Terri Schiavo has never had an MRI or a PET scan, nor a thorough neurological examination. Republican Senate leader Bill Frist, a specialist in heart-lung transplant surgery, has, as The New York Times reported on March 23, "certified [in his practice] that patients were brain dead so that their organs could be transplanted." He is not just "playing doctor" on this case.

During a speech on the Senate floor on March 17, Frist, speaking of Judge Greer's denial of a request for new testing and examinations of Terri, said reasonably, "I would think you would want a complete neurological exam" before determining she must die.

Frist added: "The attorneys for Terri's parents have submitted 33 affidavits from doctors and other medical professionals,all of whom say that Terri should be re-evaluated."

In death penalty cases, defense counsel for retarded and otherwise mentally disabled clients submit extensive medical tests. Ignoring the absence of complete neurological exams, supporters of the deadly decisions by Judge Greer and the trail of appellate jurists keep reminding us how extensive the litigation in this case has been—19 judges in six courts is the mantra. And more have been added. So too in many death penalty cases, but increasingly, close to execution, inmates have been saved by DNA.

As David Gibbs, the lawyer for Terri's parents, has pointed out, there has been a manifest need for a new federal, Fourteenth Amendment review of the case because Terri's death sentence has been based on seven years of "fatally flawed" state court findings—all based on the invincible neglect of elementary due process by Judge George Greer.

I will be returning to the legacy of Terri Schiavo in the weeks ahead because there will certainly be long-term reverberations from this case and its fracturing of the rule of law in the Florida courts and then the federal courts—as well as the disgracefully ignorant coverage of the case by the great majority of the media, including such pillars of the trade as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, and the Los Angeles Times as they copied each other's misinformation, like Terri Schiavo being "in a persistent vegetative state."

Do you know that nearly every major disability rights organization in the country has filed a legal brief in support of Terri's right to live?

But before I go back to other Liberty Beats—the CIA's torture renditions and the whitewashing of the landmark ACLU and Human Rights First's lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld for his accountability in the widespread abuse of detainees, including evidence of torture—I must correct the media and various "qualified experts" on how a person dies of dehydration if he or she is sentient, as Terri Schiavo demonstrably is.

On March 15's Nightline, in an appallingly one-sided, distorted account of the Schiavo case, Terri's husband, Michael—who'd like to marry the woman he's now living with—said that once Terri's feeding tube is removed at his insistent command, Terri "will drift off into a nice little sleep and eventually pass on and be with God."

As an atheist, I cannot speak to what he describes as his abandoned wife's ultimate destination, but I can tell how Wesley Smith (consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture)—whom I often consult on these bitterly controversial cases because of his carefully researched books and articles—describes death by dehydration.

In his book Forced Exit (Times Books), Wesley quotes neurologist William Burke: "A conscious person would feel it [dehydration] just as you and I would. . . . Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucous membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining.

"They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water! . . . It is an extremely agonizing death."

On March 23, outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo was growing steadily weaker, her mother, Mary, said to the courts and to anyone who would listen and maybe somehow save her daughter:

"Please stop this cruelty!"

While this cruelty was going on in the hospice, Michael Schiavo's serpentine lawyer, George Felos, said to one and all: "Terri is stable, peaceful, and calm. . . . She looked beautiful."

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"—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." (Emphasis added.)

But the polls around the country cried out that a considerable majority of Americans wanted her to die without Congress butting in.

A March 20 ABC poll showed that 60 percent of the 501 adults consulted opposed the ultimately unsuccessful federal legislation, and only 35 percent approved. Moreover, 70 percent felt strongly that it was wrong for Congress to get into such personal, private matters—and interfere with what some advocates of euthanasia call "death with dignity." (So much for the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of due process and equal protection of the laws.)

But, as Cathy Cleaver Ruse of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pointed out:

"The poll [questions] say she's 'on life support,' which is not true [since all she needs is water], and that she has 'no consciousness,' which her family and dozens of doctors dispute in sworn affidavits."

Many readers of this column are pro-choice, pro-abortion rights. But what choice did Terri Schiavo have under our vaunted rule of law—which the president is eagerly trying to export to the rest of the world? She had not left a living will or a durable power of attorney, and so could not speak for herself. But the American system of justice would not slake her thirst as she, on television, was dying in front of us all.

What kind of a nation are we becoming? The CIA outsources torture—in violation of American and international law—in the name of the freedoms we are fighting to protect against terrorism. And we have watched as this woman, whose only crime is that she is disabled, is tortured to death by judges, all the way to the Supreme Court.

And keep in mind from the Ralph Nader-Wesley Smith report: "The courts . . . have [also] ordered that no attempts be made to provide her water or food by mouth. Terri swallows her own saliva. Spoon feeding is not medical treatment. This outrageous order proves that the courts are not merely permitting medical treatment to be withheld, they have ordered her to be made dead."

In this country, even condemned serial killers are not executed in this way.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Great comment!

GWB: I think you're wrong in this instance. Terri was not PVS. She was definitely brain damaged and had zero rehab. since her loving husband has prevented it from happening for twelve years.

In addition, since when is intentional starvation and dehydration of a patient ever humane? I contend that this "right to die" movement, with such groups as the former "Hemlock Society" choose euphemisms to cloak what they really are all about: the removal of undesireables.

Bear, please consider a rethink on this subject.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Guys, for Hentoff to assert that somehow Mrs. Schiavo received sub par legal or medical treatment is absurd. Her case was in court 21 times, in front of 17 different judges/judicial bodies. She was examined by more court appointed physicians than you can shake a stick at. Her family had far better legal representation than you and I (or her husband) could ever possibly afford. And not one sided with Schiavo's parents.

If I thought for one second that Mrs. Schiavo could have felt anything, I might be inclined to side with you. But the overwhelming evidence is that she couldn't feel a damn thing.

If my kids ever leave me to live like Ms. Schiavo did for all those years, they'd better hope there is no afterlife. Because if there is, and they do, I will haunt their asses across eternity!

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...


Your facts are off, way off. She was not to receive any therapy, no rehab, even her damn teeth were left to rot, all by order from her two-timing loving husband.

Bear, are you sure you're getting your facts right?

At 11:07 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

yeah, on this one I am (remember, I am the ultimate news junky; one has lots of time to listent to the news when you spend 10 hours a day in a truck). The truth is, Ms.Schiavo's parents had great representation. They were in court 21 times. They lost 21 times. On at least 10 of those times, she was examined by court appointed physicians.

This poor woman needed to go. Her family, and the rest of the country, need to put it behind them and move on. Time to get the hell oughta limbo and get on with it, so to speak!

At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Saurkraut said...


I'm with you on this. If you click on my name and look at my post toward the bottom of my blog you'll also see something I wrote about the subject that you might not have read.

I think it's very sad how quickly this went away once Terri died. Which was exactly why Michael did it.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

The number of times in court is beside the point. Arguing over who has legal custody has nothing to do with whether justice was done to Terri herself. You can have judges who are pro "right to turn your spouse into a raisin" advocates and get bad decisions each time. The Schindler's had a troupe of doctors who clearly question the diagnoses of Michael's doctors of Terri.

If it was time for Terri to go, does Michael have the moral right to say when that is? And also, it was he who put her in that condition with orders not to rehabilitate. And there were some Doctors who thought she was not as bad as some patients they've had. A doctor Hammesfar comes to mind.

As to moving on, this will not go away. This subject will come up again and again. There is a pro-euthanasia movement in this country that is gaining power and as long as their are those who are moral, there will be a fight for the dignity of human beings, pre-born or elderly.

Question: When Mark Fuhrman comes out with his book on Terri Schindler, will you read it?


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