Saturday, March 26, 2005

Early Warning

-------
Excerpts From a Speech to the Harvard Law School Forum, February 16, 1999:

"I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain "acceptable" thoughts and speech are mandated...

"Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes from separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong...

"Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus...

"So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and - by God's grace, built this country."


- Charlton Heston

Friday, March 25, 2005

Comments

Comments have been re-opened.

Common-sense expectations remain in effect.

Good Friday Observation

Terri Schiavo, the innocent victim of a murderous husband, an incompetent judge, and a callous judicial system, lies starving to death, her enemies having destroyed the last apparent legal recourse to save her life.

Friday signals the remembrance of Our Lord's Passion on the Cross. Also, it seems everything which can be said about the Schiavo case, save the grief, has been written. Those who want Terri to live had said their piece, and those who want her to die have said theirs.

Because of Good Friday, because I wish to keep my mind and heart free from needless argument on this day while I focus on my Lord, and because I am grieving for the needless and cruel death which approaches for Terri Schiavo, I have restricted Comments for the time being.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Presidential Tournament Round 2 Results

[][]
OK, the second round of the POTUS Tourney is done, and here are the results (recall that I hid the actual match-ups, asking for 1-10 ratings on the basis of seven key skills):

John Adams defeats Ulysses Grant, 160-148
George W. Bush defeats Franklin Pierce, 241-082
Bill Clinton defeats Warren Harding, 140-087
Dwight Eisenhower defeats Martin Van Buren, 265-133
Thomas Jefferson defeats Zachary Taylor, 208-079
John Kennedy defeats Andrew Jackson, 158-100
Abraham Lincoln defeats Calvin Coolidge, 183-072
James Monroe defeats GHW Bush, 109-093
James Polk defeats William McKinley, 134-109
Ronald Reagan defeats Herbert Hoover, 258-086
Franklin Roosevelt defeats John Quincy Adams, 220-180
Teddy Roosevelt defeats James Madison, 197-125
William Taft defeats Grover Cleveland, 155-138
Harry Truman defeats Richard Nixon, 241-201
George Washington defeats Benjamin Harrison, 217-155
Woodrow Wilson defeats Lyndon Johnson, 101-079


The scores were the results of multiplying the average rating for each skill, by the historical factor for that skill (using the 1-10 ratings for each skill in the six historical areas), then adding the resulting sub-totals for the final score).

The second round is now ready to begin, with 32 Presidents competing head-to-head. To avoid subjective influences, I am again asking the readers to submit 1-10 ratings (1 = lowest, 10 = top) for the Presidents in each of the following skill sets:

Diplomacy
Economic Policies
Judicial Doctrine
Military Command
Social Policies
Tax and Tariff Policies
Treaties


Here are the 16 Presidents still in the hunt:

John Adams
George W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Dwight Eisenhower
Thomas Jefferson
John Kennedy
Abraham Lincoln
James Monroe
James Polk
Ronald Reagan
Franklin Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt
William Taft
Harry Truman
George Washington
Woodrow Wilson


And remember, if you don’t enter your ratings, that means the decision will go to those who do enter their choices.

Congressional Tournament Round 2 Results

O

"Chicago" Regional Second Round Results

8. Harris beats 1. Byrd
10. Barrett beats 15. Feinstein
3. Cornyn beats 11. Warner
5. Sessions beats 4. Pryce


"Syracuse" Regional Second Round Results

1. Hastert beats 9. Ryun
2. Schumer beats 10. Leahy
3. Blunt beats 11. Davis
12. Kyl beats Voinovich


"Austin" Regional Second Round Results

9. Domenici beats 1. Bennett
2. DeLay beats 10. King
6. Brady beats 3. Johnson
12. Thomas beats 13. Bunning


"Alburquerque" Regional Second Round Results

16. Frist beats 9. McCotter
10. Hatch beats 2. Kennedy
11. Ryan beats 14. Nelson
5. Hyde beats 4. Hagel



Here are your Regional Semi-Final Matches:


"Chicago" Regional Round Three

8. Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) vs. 10. Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC)
3. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) vs. 5. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)


"Syracuse" Regional Round Three

1. House Spkr Dennis Hastert (R-IL) vs. 2. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
3. House Maj. Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) vs. 12. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) 06


"Austin" Regional Round Three

9. Pete Domenici (R-NM) vs. 2. H Maj Ldr Tom DeLay (R-TX)
6. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) vs. 12. Rep. William Thomas (R-CA)


"Alburquerque" Regional Round Three

16.Sen Maj Ldr William Frist (R-TN) vs. 10. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
11. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) vs. 5. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL)


Sweet Sixteen pushing to make the Elite Eight.

The Fight For Life

...
Sir George at "The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler" has a cogent observation on Terri Schiavo. His conclusion is especially apt:

"If our facts are in error our heart is not, and it is the heart of a man that is judged, not his depth of accumulation of trivia and legalisms. Terri may live but will certainly die, now or later as will we all, but when we follow her we would like to say to St. Peter, "I was a friend of Terri Shiavo's, and I am standing to face G-d's judgment. We may have delayed her arrival, but with you as my witness I confess that we would not act to hasten it."

Read the whole thing. It's more than just words.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Power

. . .

"All that is required for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing a judge to be in charge of the decision"
. . .

Terri Schiavo's husband wants to murder her, and the courts say that since he's her husband, he can.

The Florida State Legislature passed a law last year and governor Jeb Bush signed it, trying to save Terri. But a judge killed the bill all on his own.

The United States Congress issued subpeonae for the persons involved, but the judge presiding over the "wanna murder" ignored it.

Then the Congress of the United States passed a law requiring "De Novo" examination of the case, and President Bush signed it into law, but the judge in Florida refused to comply with reinserting the food tube during the review, and now three out of the last four judges to consider the appeal have sided against the victim, against the clear intent of the United States Congress, and against the President of the United States.

In the past month, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that laws passed by a majority of the states may be overturned by the preferences of a minority of the states, when the justices can revise the definitions of majority and precedent. This same court determined that the United States Constitution itself may be compelled to comply with the prevailing opinion of foreign bodies.

Our courts are drunk with power, and have now declared (by their actions) war on the Legislative and Executive Branches of American Government.

Send in the Marines!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

When Evil Is Chosen

.
“Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.”

Exodus 23:7


“How much more-when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed-should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!"

2 Samuel 4:11


“When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent.”

Job 9:23


“It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.”
Proverbs 18:5


“they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.”

Isaiah 59:7



Mark the day. A terrible sentence of lingering death, considered too cruel for any animal or even convicted murderers, has been established and held firm against Terri Schiavo, simply because her husband wishes it so.

A pace has now been set, and a trail blazed. An inconvenient wife may be destroyed for nothing more than not setting out a desire to live, a thing considered common sense not so very long ago, but which now must be documented at the peril of a person’s very existence.

What next? If a feeding tube is considered life support, if water itself is now to be designated “extraordinary measures”, what can we say to the mother who chooses to deny food and water to her children? What shall we say to someone who no longer wishes to care for his parents, since they cannot feed themselves, but need constant care. There are millions in this nation alone, from infants to the elderly to the mentally impaired, who are unquestionably innocent of any offense, but by this precedent are not subject to whatever cruelties their “guardians” may desire.
The Constitution is now construed to protect villains and causes, but not those people who have done no wrong, and is made available only to those who can pay and stand on other strength; the weak and helpless are denied even the most basic presumptions.

Good is mocked, and Evil chosen in its place. There will be a price, a terrible one, for this wickedness.

Mark the day. This nation shall surely rue it.

Monday, March 21, 2005

George Will: Part of the Problem

<..>
Sunday morning, I turned on the television for my regular installment of “Insulting Your Intelligence”, otherwise known as ABC This Week With George Stephanopolous”.

The beginning topic, not surprisingly, was the Terri Schiavo case. What was disappointing to me, was the jelly-spined acquiescence of George Will to the argument that Terri’s murder was a good and proper thing. Will began his sermon with the notion that “all steps of due process have been followed”, and followed with the arrogant notion that because Terri married Michael, this gives Michael the only say in the life-and-death decision. Will went so far as to claim that a decision to review the case in a Federal Court “would overturn the culture and standards of hundreds of years”, simply because it considered more than the will of a spouse. This attitude was, at best, na├»ve, and suggested to me a mind concerned with expedience rather than even the most fundamental purpose of law.

Let’s step back for a moment, to Will’s statements. Will appeared to be very uncomfortable even discussing the case. Not surprising, since the deliberate death by starvation, even denying water, to an innocent woman, amounts to the worst sort of torture, the kind of treatment we would not allow a person or group to mete out even to a murderer, even to Osama bin Laden. The very notion that it would be sanctioned for an American citizen innocent of any offense is obscene on its face, the more so when there is no clear evidence that Terri wants anything of the sort, and doubt even remains about the specific nature and degree of her condition. Also, George Will is certainly intelligent enough, to recognize that he was clearly casting his lot among the “Kill The Inconvenient” crowd. His statements, however he considered them, were not sympathetic to either the innocent or the moral elements of the matter.

Considering the matter of Due Process, then, we can break the case down to the essential players and events (a good review of additional relevant details can be found here):

· Terri Schiavo was reported to have had a heart attack in 1991 by her husband Michael, who reported finding her at home. It’s worth noting that the 1992 Malpractice suit Michael won, was based on a mis-diagnosis by the doctors and hospital treating Terri. If it happens that Michael did not correctly relate the events which led to Terri’s condition (see the reference to the 2002 bone scan which indicates unreported injuries to Terri at the same time as the “heart attack” Michael claimed, which are not consistent with a heart attack and fall, but instead indicate a physical attack on her person), this becomes germane not only to a proper diagnosis, but establishes a criminal motive for Michael’s desire to see her die.

· At the time of the Malpractice trial, Michael made statements about wanting to care for his wife until his death. It was not until after the malpractice award, that Michael “remembered” Terri wanted to die, a statement not supported by any other relative, or by any sort of documentation, such as a DNR order.

· Michael denied Terri any substantive therapy, even refusing to allow for a urinary tract infection to be treated, or for Terri to receive a P.E.T. or MRI. This conduct is not only malicious on its face, but violates specific conditions of the malpractice award.

· The only judge to consider the evidence in the case, is Judge Greer. All appeals courts reviews have dealt solely with procedural issues. Judge Greer has over-ruled a Superior State Judge, and now defied a Congressional Subpeona, in what can only be deemed egotism and spite.

· The medical diagnosis of Terri’s condition is in serious dispute, even by board-certified Neurologists. This point is largely due to the lack of relevant tests, so that any decision to end her life is premature, by definition.

Taken at the essential level, what we have here is one man who wants Terri dead, for reasons which cannot be confirmed to be sympathetic to Terri by any reasonable standard. The sole authority pushing for Terri’s death is one State Judge, who has admitted he refused to consider sworn testimony from acknowledged medical experts in the condition assigned to Terri. The husband and judge have refused to allow any sort of review of the statements and facts, laboratory test of the physical evidence, or procedural oversight to the matter. And George Will is cool with that. We must have multi-level review and oversight before sending a terrorist to Guantanamo, yet we cannot take a closer look before torturing a disabled woman to death. No person with a conscience could reasonably make such a balance, yet there they are.


As to the matter of Michael’s rights as a husband, here are the essentials:

· As I noted above, there is reason to doubt Michael’s explanation of how Terri became injured. There is forensic evidence of unreported injury, consistent with abuse.

· Michael did not produce any claim that Terri wished to deny treatment, or to die, until after he had money in the bank from a malpractice settlement, money which would be depleted by letting Terri live, and at the point where it became obvious that Terri would continue to live unless murdered, Michael suddenly “remembered” a death wish.

· Michael has effectively remarried another woman, to the point of living with her for years and having children with her, even while he remains married to Terri. That’s either Bigamy or Adultery (or both), but in any case is serious grounds for removing his standing as guardian. By no rational standard could Michael’s conduct be called consistent with the actions of a loving spouse.


So, once we consider the facts, George’s claims fall of their own weight. It’s not strange that people would make them; there are any number of self-serving hypocrites, willing to allow any sort of crime against someone else, so long as they get what they want. It is rather sad to see such conduct by a man considered to be Conservative, however, though it is illustrative.

One of the strange qualities of majority, is that the majority is often unable to exercise its strength. This comes from the fact that many people in the majority are separated from each other in one detail or more, and this shows up in disagreements, sometimes minor, but also sometimes major. George Will, articulate though he is, intelligent though he is, simply has forgotten to consider the essentials of what makes a Conservative.

There are any number of labels which are plastered on Liberals and Conservatives, and to the degree that we are all of us individuals, these labels are false. However, for all of that there are also basic truths which establish identities, even for groups, even as large as nations. I will leave Liberals to define their own purposes, though I have my ideas about them, some good, some bad. For Conserrvatives, however, in the matter of Law the essential is very like the Oath of Hippocrates: “First, Do No Harm…”. The basics of American Law come from our own Declaration of Independence, which includes the phrase “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. It is a common interpretation in American Law, that the Constitution which sets out the limits and roles of Government follows that template, and especially in the order set out so plainly:

1. Life
2. Liberty
3. Pursuit of Happiness


It means that killing someone should only be done when absolutely necessary, not simply because it can be done, or when someone finds it expedient. The whole Bill of Rights is premised on the notion of assumed innocence, and restricts action by any authority which would confine the innocent, to say nothing of taking life of an innocent person against their will. If Will thinks Due Process is sufficient, then he has forgotten the lessons of Dred Scott, or Jim Crow, and many other laws which were legal in their time, but rejected when they were finally considered against the Constitution.

When the motions are considered so closely that the moral and essence are ignored, then the people in power become not the engines of solution and progress, but the moral enemies of Justice.

In this matter, George Will has chosen to be part of the problem.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Presidential Tourney First Round Results

[][]
OK, the first round of the POTUS Tourney is done, and here are the results (recall that I hid the actual match-ups, asking for 1-10 ratings on the basis of seven key skills):

John Adams defeats Chester Arthur, 160-120
John Quincy Adams defeats James Garfield, 135-104
George H.W. Bush defeats James Buchanan, 139-076
Benjamin Harrison defeats Jimmy Carter, 186-060
Herbert Hoover defeats John Tyler, 078-075
James Polk defeats Gerald Ford, 097-043
Teddy Roosevelt defeats Rutherford Hayes, 180-145
Zachary Taylor defeats William Harrison, 045-043
Harry Truman defeats Millard Fillmore, 228-075
Martin Van Buren defeats Andrew Johnson, 092-034


The scores were the results of multiplying the average rating for each skill, by the historical factor for that skill (using the 1-10 ratings for each skill in the six historical areas), then adding the resulting sub-totals for the final score).

The second round is now ready to begin, with 32 Presidents competing head-to-head. To avoid subjective influences, I am again asking the readers to submit 1-10 ratings (1 = lowest, 10 = top) for the Presidents in each of the following skill sets:

Diplomacy
Economic Policies
Judicial Doctrine
Military Command
Social Policies
Tax and Tariff Policies
Treaties



Here are the 32 Presidents still in the hunt:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
Grover Cleveland
Calvin Coolidge
Bill Clinton
Dwight Eisenhower
Ulysses Grant
Warren Harding
Benjamin Harrison
Herbert Hoover
Andrew Jackson
Thomas Jefferson
Lyndon Johnson
John Kennedy
Abraham Lincoln
William McKinley
James Madison
James Monroe
Richard Nixon
Franklin Pierce
James Polk
Ronald Reagan
Franklin Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt
William Taft
Zachary Taylor
Harry Truman
Martin Van Buren
George Washington
Woodrow Wilson



And remember, if you don’t enter your ratings, that means the decision will go to those who do enter their choices.