Those hoping Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will step forward to save Terri Schiavo from imminent, court-ordered starvation death are likely to be disappointed, based on his comments to a group of reporters following county court Judge George Greer's ruling against the state's effort to take custody of the brain-injured woman at the center of a worldwide euthanasia controversy.Tell him to honor the oath he swore.
While Bush reiterated his motivation to save Schiavo, based on new evidence that she is not in a persistent vegetative state and is, to some degree, conscious of her surroundings, the governor said "it isn't possible to remove her" from the hospice. - more
It looks like Jeb Bush needs more encouragement:
Governor Bush's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal experts say that if Florida Gov. Jeb Bush defies state judge George Greer and orders state troopers to rescue Terri Schiavo, he and any other officials who participate in such a move risk a contempt citation from Greer that could put them in jail.
But with a powerful ally in the White House, Terri Schiavo's would-be rescuers have nothing to fear from the runaway judge.
In 2001, President Clinton pardoned drug dealers, international money launderers - even FALN terrorists, who were spared in a blatant bid to win votes for his wife's Senate campaign.
The episode taught a bewildered nation that the powers of the president to pardon anyone he wishes are absolute and irrefutable.
Today Clinton is the most popular American politician in the world and his wife is the front-running candidate for her party's presidential nomination. In other words, the Pardongate scandal's lasting political fallout was nil.
He even pardoned his own brother, who had been convicted of selling cocaine.
Should Gov. Bush decide to rescue Terri Schiavo by force in violation of Judge Greer's order, President Bush could do the same for his brother - along with any other officials the right-to-die judge tries to punish.
Would there be controversy? You bet. Would the Bush family's political enemies try to capitalize? Absolutely.
But a nation that forgives one president for pardoning terrorists will certainly forgive another who uses his pardon power to save a life.
Once Terri Schiavo begins to receive the treatment she's been denied for more than a decade, her condition will almost certainly improve. Nurses who have cared for her have already testified she can speak and eat without a feeding tube, in stark contradiction to Judge Greer's findings.
Terri's recovery, however minimal, would serve as powerful evidence that the Bush brothers did the right thing in coming to her rescue.
In the meantime, the nation would be spared the haunting specter of its government starving an innocent citizen to death.
WASHINGTON, March 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith, author of the award winning book "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America" call upon the Florida Courts, Governor Jeb Bush and concerned citizens to take any legal action available to let Terri Schiavo live.I can't tell you how good it made me feel to hear that today. And this is about justice and compassion, not about politics and cold logic.
"A profound injustice is being inflicted on Terri Schiavo," Nader and Smith asserted today. "Worse, this slow death by dehydration is being imposed upon her under the color of law, in proceedings in which every benefit of the doubt-and there are many doubts in this case-has been given to her death, rather than her continued life."
Among the many injustices in this case, Nader and Smith point to the following:
The courts not only are refusing her tube feeding, but have 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, it has ordered her to be made dead," Nader and Smith assert.
The medical and rehabilitation experts are split on whether Terri is in a persistent vegetative state or whether Terri can be improved with therapy. There is only one way to know for sure- permit the therapy. That is the only way to resolve all doubts.
The court is imposing process over justice. After the first trial in this case, 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.
The federal and state governments are spending billions on what we are told will become miracle medical cures for people with all sorts of degenerative conditions, including brain damage. If this is so, why not permit Terri's parents and siblings who want to care for her do so in the hope that such cures are discovered?
Benefits of doubts should be given to life, not hastened death. This case is rife with doubt. Justice demands that Terri be permitted to live.
TORONTO - A U.S. Army paratrooper was denied political asylum Thursday, dealing a blow to Americans who are seeking refuge in Canada to avoid serving in an Iraq conflict that they argue would force them to commit atrocities against civilians.Canada Denies Refugee Status to American
An immigration board ruled that Jeremy Hinzman had not convinced its members he would face persecution or cruel and unusual punishment if returned to the United States.
Seven other American military personnel have applied for refugee status, and Hinzman's lawyer estimated dozens of others are in hiding in Canada waiting to see how the government ruled. The attorney, Jeffrey House, said Hinzman would appeal the ruling and expected to win.
"He is disappointed," House told CBC TV. "We don't believe that people should be imprisoned for doing what they believe is illegal."
Immigration and Refugee Board member Brian Goodman, who wrote the ruling, said Hinzman might face some employment and social discrimination. But "the treatment does not amount to a violation of a fundamental human right, and the harm is not serious," he wrote.
Canada opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and the decision could help ease strained relations between the two governments.
Hinzman could face charges of desertion if sent home and would face up to five years in prison. He and seven other U.S. military deserters are being represented by House, a Wisconsin native who came to Canada in 1970 to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.
The Pentagon has urged the deserters to return to the United States and take up their concerns at their respective military bases.
"We are an Army serving a nation at war," the Army said in a statement after Thursday's ruling. "Each of us volunteered to serve, and the vast majority serve honorably. AWOL and desertion are crimes that go against Army values, degrade unit readiness and, in a time of war, may put the lives of other soldiers at risk."
Hinzman, 26, lives with his wife and young son in Toronto, where Quakers and the War Resisters coalition of anti-war groups have taken on his cause and provided some shelter. Coalition supporters planned to demonstrate Thursday in front of the U.S. Consulate in Toronto.
He fled from Fort Bragg, N.C., in January 2004, weeks before his 82nd Airborne Division was due to go to Iraq. He had served three years in the Army, but had applied for conscientious objector status before his unit was sent to Afghanistan in 2002.
Hinzman argued to the Immigration and Refugee Board in December that he would have had to take part in war crimes if he went to Iraq, saying the war there is illegal. He said he would be persecuted if forced to return to the United States.
Hinzman also testified he had been willing to fulfill his full four-year obligation to the Army, but not to participate in combat.
"I find Mr. Hinzman's position to be inherently contradictory," Goodman said in the ruling. "Surely an intelligent young man like Mr. Hinzman, who believes the war in Iraq to be illegal, unjust and waged for economic reasons, would be unwilling to participate in any capacity, whether as combatant or noncombatant."
Hinzman's lawyer estimated as many as 100 American war resisters are hiding in Canada, waiting to see how Hinzman's case is played out before coming forward. He said 30,000 to 50,000 Americans fled to Canada during the Vietnam War and were allowed to settle here, but Hinzman would have become the first American soldier to be granted political asylum in Canada.
During the Vietnam era, young American men could be drafted into military service, but now enlistment in U.S. military is voluntary. The military attracts many young recruits with job skills training and programs that help pay for university.
Pfc. Joshua Key, 26, of Oklahoma City is the latest war resister to flee to Toronto, arriving two weeks ago with his wife and four children. He told the Toronto Star he served in Iraq with the 43rd Combat Engineering Company, which was deployed in April 2003.
Key said he served eight months in Iraq before he left the military when he was on leave at the 43rd's base in Fort Carson, Colo., in December 2003.
"I was in combat the entire time I was there," said Key. "I left for Iraq with a purpose, thinking this was another Hitler deal. But there were no weapons of mass destruction. They had no military whatsoever. And I started to wonder."
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has launched a lawsuit against a political humour magazine for lampooning him on its cover.
Penguen, a satirical weekly, depicted Erdogan as various animals after a newspaper cartoonist was fined for caricaturing the leader by showing him as a cat ensnared in a ball of wool.
Musa Kart, whose sketch made fun of the government's difficulty in passing legislation, was fined 5,000 lira (about 2,000 pounds) after he was convicted last month of "publicly humiliating" the prime minister.
His case sparked a media outcry and accusations that Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was curbing freedom of expression.
Erdogan's new lawsuit says Penguen "attacked (his) individual rights" and seeks 40,000 lira in damages, the state-run Anatolian news agency said.
"We did not mean for it to be an attack. We believe penalising Musa Kart was wrong and that it is our duty as humorists to criticise what we disagree with," Penguen publisher Erdil Yasaroglu told Reuters.
"It's unfortunate this has arisen as our country is furthering its European Union bid," Yasaroglu said.
The AKP has introduced a raft of reforms aimed at meeting the EU's basic political criteria for entry talks. European leaders agreed late last year to begin negotiations.
Erdogan has described himself as a champion of free speech after his political career was nearly destroyed because of a 1999 jail sentence for a poem a court ruled "incited hatred".
But critics have questioned those credentials after Erdogan's lawsuit against Kart and another case pending against local newspaper Sakarya that re-published the cartoon.
Journalists have also protested against a new penal code they say stymies press freedom. The revised code, which goes into effect on April 1, includes prison sentences for those who "insult" the state, publish classified information or cover such issues as rape or euthanasia.
Erdogan lashed out at the media for its coverage of police using force to break up a women's rights rally this month. The EU condemned the incident in which police kicked and beat protesters.
"Freedom of speech is meant to protect things that offend public opinion and officialdom. But Musa Kart's statement wasn't even offensive. It was poking fun," Jonathan Sugden of Human Rights Watch said.
Terry Schiavo is near death. If actions are to be taken to save her life, they must be taken now.
Let us briefly review the relevant facts: Terri is a human being whose physical condition is in dispute, but perhaps not for long. She is the daughter of loving parents, and she has a brother and sister. She is the wife of a man who once loved her, may still love her, but has taken a new woman and has with her two children. It is his duty under Florida law, and by common sense, to be her guardian.
Florida courts have found that she is incapacitated and beyond repair. Doctors have voted three to two that she is in a "persistent vegetative state." Her husband and legal guardian claims that she would have wished not to be kept alive should she find such a state. The courts agree. Florida law, as interpreted by Florida courts, provides that she should be allowed to expire. It appears Terri Schiavo has no legal right to life.
But does Terri Schiavo have a natural right to life?
Yes. She is a human being. She has committed no crime and therefore she has forfeited not one of her natural rights. Our American faith teaches us that, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And the purpose of all American government is "to secure these rights," not destroy them.
What then is to be done?
The Florida legislature sought to keep Terri alive, or at least postpone her death, by authorizing the governor to issue a one-time stay in order to prevent the withholding of nutrition and hydration from anyone under certain and extreme circumstances. "Terri's Law" was signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush in October, 2003, but soon after, the Florida supreme court struck down the law as unconstitutional.
Clearly, Governor Bush believes "Terri's Law" to be constitutional. Not only did he sign it into law, he later challenged the decision of his own state Supreme Court by appealing to the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court would not hear the case.
In theoretical terms, this is a conflict between the separate powers of Florida government, as the judicial and executive branches have different opinions about what the Florida constitution requires. But in practical terms, Terri's life hangs in the balance: If the Florida supreme court prevails, she dies. If Governor Bush prevails, she lives. It is a mistake to believe that the courts have the ultimate say as to what a constitution means. Every governor is bound by oath to uphold and protect his state constitution. In the case of Florida, the constitution Mr. Bush pledged to defend declares that, "All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty..." If the governor believes that he and the Florida legislature possess the constitutional authority and duty to save Terri's life, then he is bound by his oath of office to do so.
James Madison remarked in the 51st Federalist that "auxiliary precautions" — constitutional mechanisms such as separation of powers and checks and balances — are necessary for limiting the power of government, a means for the end of protecting rights. But, Madison also reminded us, "a dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government." The Florida constitution echoes Madison when it states in Section 1 that, "All political power is inherent in the people."
The "auxiliary precautions" of Florida government — in this case the Florida supreme court — have failed Terri Schiavo. It is time, therefore, for Governor Bush to execute the law and protect her rights, and, in turn, he should take responsibility for his actions. Using the state police powers, Governor Bush can order the feeding tube reinserted. His defense will be that he and a majority of the Florida legislature believe the Florida Constitution requires nothing less. Some will argue that Governor Bush will be violating the law. We think he will not be violating the law, but if he is judged to have done so, it will be in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr., who answered to a higher law than a judge's opinion. In so doing, King showed respect for the man-made law by willingly going to jail (on a Good Friday); Governor Bush may have to face impeachment because of his decision.
In taking these extraordinary steps to save an innocent life, Governor Bush should be judged not by the opinion of the Florida supreme court, a co-equal branch of the Florida government, but by the opinions of his political superiors, the people of Florida. If they disagree with their governor, they are indeed free to act through their elected representatives and impeach him. Or they can vindicate him if they think he is right. But he should not be cowed into inaction — he should not allow an innocent woman to be starved to death — because of an opinion of a court he believes to be wrong and unconstitutional.
Governor Jeb Bush may find it difficult to protect Terri's rights without risking impeachment. But in the great American experiment in republican government, much is demanded of those who are charged with protecting the rights of the people. Governor Bush pledged to uphold the Florida constitution as he understands it, not as it is understood by some Florida judges. He is the rightful representative of the people of Florida and he is the chief executive, in whom the power is vested to execute the law and protect the rights of citizens. He should use that power to protect Terri's natural right to live, and he should do so now.
Florida Judiciary Defines the Rule: State Constitution Be Damned!
Florida Constitution, Article I Section 2: All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty…No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability.
The Florida judiciary has determined that it can deprive Terri Schiavo of her right to life simply because she is disabled and allegedly has no hope of recovery.
This court system has defined a very simple rule, and it is this: The courts have the final say, State Constitution be damned.
The wanton disregard for Article I Section 2 by has created a constitutional crisis which cannot be solved by within the very system which created the crisis – the Florida courts. Going to the Federal route, as the numerous legal defeats have shown, is a losing proposition.
Gov. Bush is playing in the State Court’s sandbox, and as a result, is reaching for statutory grounds on which to take Terri into custody. Does he seriously think the courts, which disregard the Constitution, are going uphold state laws?
Jeb needs to exercise his duty and responsibility as governor by enforcing Article I Section 2 – the illicit rules of the courts be damned!
Gov. Bush does not need to justify himself to the court nor file any more petitions. He simply needs to give the orders to take Terri into protective custody without delay. It is upon the court to explain how its orders do not violate Terri’s rights, not he other way around.
Please call Governor Bush at 850-488-4441 and relay the following message to him.
"Gov. Bush, please enforce Article I Section 2 and stop playing by the illicit rules of the Florida Judiciary. You have the obligation and the authority to enforce the State Constitution without first having to explain yourself in court. No more excuses or court filings, just take Terri into custody NOW."
King Abdullah II of Jordan accepted a global disability award Wednesday for his country's promotion of equal rights for the handicapped, saying free and successful societies must open doors and give hope to all people.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award, named for the late U.S. president disabled by polio, was presented to Abdullah by the president's granddaughter, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, who praised Jordan for putting the disabled "in the forefront of its national agenda."
Jordan is the first Arab nation to win the award, joining Italy, Ecuador, Thailand, Hungary, Ireland, Canada and South Korea.
Roosevelt said her grandfather "well understood the many obstacles that all too often prevent those with disabilities from joining the mainstream of civil society."
"Jordan's successful efforts to eliminate these obstacles stand as an inspiration to all of us," she said.
"In the largest sense, Roosevelt understood that if this earth is to prosper and thrive, all people must have access to the promise. He worked to create a better life, not for himself alone, or his country alone, but for the people of the world," the king said.
He said Roosevelt's philosophy was the centerpiece of Jordan's commitment to the disabled.
Abdullah said a key milestone was Jordan's 1993 law affirming the rights of the disabled. The country also gives free health insurance cards to the disabled, pays 90 percent of university tuition for disabled students who pass the secondary school exam, has a special enforcement unit to oversee job opportunities, and uses sign language on national television and in mosques.
In its crazed campaign to keep a brain-dead woman alive against the will of her husband, Congress has now passed a law violating the separation of power between the legislative and judiciary and between federal and state governments by arbitrarily altering the jurisdiction of the Terry Schiavo case—and doing so ad hoc, not as part of any general rule affecting all such cases universally.Which is it that's bothering you, C&F? That it's applying only to one home, or that Repubicans will now be intruding on every home? Occam's razor tells me this is just sloppy, ill-thought-out work, which is funny considering how proud Objectivists are of their reasoning skills. A cartoon is supposed to distill issues to their essence, with wit, and provoke thought. This one muddles the issue, is besides the point, and acheives nothing but making other Randroids nod their heads and feel superior to all of us who are more concerned with the mundanity of saving a life than with a minor expansion of the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Which, remember, is explicitly listed as one of the powers of Congress in the constitution.