Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm Being Used As A Tool For The Right (Or Am I? Updated)

Frequent readers may notice that I did not comment extensively on the Terri Schiavo case. Or the Lacey Petersen case. Or the Michael Jackson case. Why?

In the limited political time I have per week (balancing personal and familial obligations, work, writing/blogging and activism), I do not want to become a pretend 13th juror of some obscure case (or at least a case that would be obscure if our news services decided to report news) that in no way directly affects me or anyone I know. I am not a lawyer, juror in the cases, doctor, or anything qualified to speak except very cursorily on these topics. I don't think it prudent of me to go all over the Web becoming an independent tabloid journalist digging up obscure facts about people I've never met, going so far as to call Terry Schiavo's husband a liar based on blatantly partisan evidence. Yes, I do not blindly trust the legal system, but I would rather look into, say, Mumia Abu-Jamal's case, if I look into any at all.

Worse, the media's laserlike focus on these issues to the exclusion of the reality of Iraq, the economy, Zimbabwe, Israel, Venezuela and the entire rest of the planet (you know, all that stuff outside of America's courtrooms) is the most blatant attempt I've seen to channel justified pent-up political rage and boredom into meaningless diversions.

Mind you, I appreciate that things like the Terry Schiavo case are causing debates and interactions. As a libertarian, I would prefer people be involved with something I disagree with or don't care about than not be involved at all. But the real tragedy is that the Left has failed so much that there are not the institutions to take up that rage and divert it to things actually affecting the working class folks who are researching these cases as if they were going to begin their prosecution the next day.

There's also a suspicious skin color involved in all of these things. Yup, these are all white people (even arguably Michael Jackson, who performed the ultimate crime: not child molestation, which he may or may not have commited but which I will assume he is innocent of because I do not have the evidence otherwise and because I respect those twelve jurors, but trying to be a white black man). "Pretty White Girl Syndrome", if you will.

Imagine my surprise and irritation, then, when a comment on my post about NPR and Day O' Conner shows up ( Now, the very fact that you are reading this post indicates something I am very proud about: that I care very much about the comments I receive and want this to be a free speech forum where a conversation can occur, not a monologue. And I feel angry when my libertarian patience is tested.

This comment, you see, was saying that Michael Schiavo is a liar and I should ask to convene a grand jury. On a comment about public radio and Day O'Conner. Please forgive me for thinking this isn't cogent. I'm not gonna delete the comment; I'm even gonna respond, both to the linked blog and to my page.

But this indicates the laughable fervor of this entire thing: Rather than reading my stuff, they use my forum as a vehicle for their partisan plans, without even so much as a "Hey, sorry this is off topic". Perhaps I should copy my blog posts verbatim into pro-life blogs.

The initial thing to say is that no matter what you think about Terri, Michael, or Mike's lawyers, this case proves not a whit about physician-assisted-suicide (PAS), the rights of families to determine either to let their family member live or die, and the right to suicide more generally.
I can simply see no argument for making suicide illegal, either physician assisted or not. It's mighty easy for someone who isn't suffering from the debilitating pangs of whatever condition it is to say that someone else shouldn't be allowed to gracefully die without being a burden on society or family any longer. Yes, mistakes can be made; no, that isn't any of your business. Yes, assuming God exists, it may indeed be an insult to Her to kill oneself; no, that isn't any of your business. Seeing a pattern?

Now, there are different questions of whether the person being spoken for in the case of someone brain dead is the person actually brain dead. But there can undoubtedly be guidelines for that, perhaps even banning the practice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Some rightly say that who lives and who dies has a lot to do with money. So change the economy, don't take away people's rights.

Here is the link I was pointed to:

Al Franken rebuts here:

David Peterson's excellent comment, per usual, here:

As Peterson rightly points out:
"Here (below) is the full write-up in today’s New York Times. Sad but unsurprising to see Jesse Jackson disgracing himself on this issue. Martin Luther King. Jr. is spinning in his grave, along with the nation’s founders. Maybe Jesse would like to say a bit more about the conflict between all the attention given to the rightist pseudo-Christian Schiavo fiasco and the modest discussion elicited by recent reports showing that many thousands of black Americans experience early deaths because of inadequate health care. "

Judicially sanctioned murder should be stopped whenever seen. It is tendentious in the case of Terri Schiavo. It is not in the case of millions of starving, overworked, or killed victims of American capitalism. And those politicians so courageously fighting the ultra-powerful courts that surely cannot be stopped by anything barring God or a nuclear weapon are exactly those who institute these crimes, as well as the neo-liberal institutions that increasingly make democratic governance a sham.

An interesting position here: Let me note that our personal decision, life or death (to lean towards), should have no bearing on whether the parents or the husband be allowed to make the decision as to what Terri would have wanted. And if Terri had come out of her coma and wanted to die? The most painless solution should have been immediately instituted.

Another rebuttal:

Maddox's April Fools page also had a great rebuttal:

Mind you, I have no problem with taking Michael Schiavo to a grand jury, except to note that grand juries are notoriously quick to pull the trigger on indictments. As long as the grand jury and any subsequent juries are fair and objective, not packed with right or left wing wonks, and stick solely to matters of guilt and not constitutional interpretation, that is entirely supportable.

(Edited again 5:17):

Interesting. I spoke to the blog writer in question. He's been going at this since '03, and his position is interesting. He alleges murder, not that pulling the plug if she was brain dead would be bad. A little research doesn't bear out his story, but it doesn't kill it in the water either. quotes two doctors saying that the manner of Terri's death (not the cause) is unidentifiable. They deny both the bulimia and the abuse story. speaks about the bulimia. uses the Terri Schiavo case to speak of eating disorders.

The Teknosis writer, pc93, also argues that there is a coverup circling around such disparate groups as the right-to-suicide movement, the ACLU, the Scientology Church, Jeb Bush, a substantial portion of the health industry and a number of others. Now I have to say that I don't like conspiracy theories. I'm afraid that there's a conspiracy theorist mindset where a denial is a coverup and all things are further evidence. It's very easy to begin to see corruption everywhere when looking at things in a particular way.

In particular, I find the idea that the ACLU and Bush are in cahoots ridiculous. For one, the ACLU wouldn't want to be part of Terri Schiavo's murder (even if they are totally corrupt, and I do have my issues with the ACLU), and Jeb has everything to gain from coming out of this conspiracy; for another, Jeb Bush and the AC-L-frigging-U?

I find it much more likely that if Terri was killed by her husband he was able to delude the court effectively. Not all that difficult to do.

Can anyone notice the fact that the only reason that Terry died, according to the media,
is our insane and unjust gender system? The fact that they are complicit with this as with racism, capitalism and statism is shown by the fact that this is not spoken of in the media.

(Updated July 07)

A thought occurs: If the Florida ME and his bud (Thogmartin/Nelson) disagree with Schiavo's doctors and the court doctors, why does that mean that Schiavo/the court doctors are bought out?

That is, even tracking money flows doesn't establish that someone's being dishonest. Maybe it's Thogmartin who is ideologically altering his diagnosis or testimony.

One problem with conspiracy theories is that everyone who denies you can be construed as part of the coverup. And if more people are against you than not, the people who are with you are courageous crusaders and the others dastardly apologists.


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