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ZetaTalk: Terri Schiavo
written Mar 24, 2005

Numerous judges and physicians have reviewed the Terri Schiavo case, and concluded that she is vegetative, her cortex now liquidated, replaced by fluid, as seen in scans. The case has involved first an attempt by Jeb Bush to intervene with the judicial process by executive order, then back to the courts as his intervention was considered illegal. Then the US Congress got involved, creating a special law just for Terri so the matter could get into federal courts. The federal judge then ruled to uphold the Florida judges, a rush to appeal, twice, was denied, and a US Supreme Court denial followed. Meanwhile Jeb Bush again tried to get the laws changed in Florida, just for Terri, but the Senate there denied that. Now we hear that Jeb Bush intends to use state services to become guardian for Terri. What is really going on here?

On the face of it, this seems to be an effort to save a woman’s life, but this is not what the argument is about. Using the feelings of a distraught mother, who has convinced herself that her daughter is still within a body that has been reduced to reflex actions only, there is another drama being played out.

If saving life were the issue, then why has intervention not occurred for the thousands of people dying in the US daily for lack of health insurance? What of the children dying in their parents arms, in hospital parking lots, because they are refused treatment by hospitals? Health insurance has been in the media, at the forefront of political debate, all throughout the Clinton era and up until the present, with the Republicans firmly on the side of cost control and against saving life. HMOs, a corporate entity supported by the Republicans in this endeavor, have routinely denied coverage for treatments that would extend life. The high cost of medications has been supported by the Bush administration and the Republican agenda because this is desired by pharmaceutical companies, again a Republican contributor. Where is the right to life in this?

Looking just under the surface, one sees a battle between the branches of government, established to provide checks and balances - the Executive, the Judicial, and the Congressional. Two other tests are currently in play, the effort to outlaw gay marriage in the Constitution, as a Constitutional Amendment, and the drive to pour Social Security funds into the Stock Market, an executive push that would require a modification of a Constitutional Amendment, an approval unlikely to be granted by a reluctant Congress. Examine the thrust and parry in this sword play.

Polls taken then reportedly showed that the American public, despite presentation of the brain dead woman on videos showing her apparently responding to a loving whisper in the ear by her mother, were solidly behind application of the law and the judicial process. Here the public, as an independent body weighing all issues - States Rights, Judicial review, Executive intervention, Presidential opinion, and Congressional oversight - determined that the process they are familiar with within the US as a Democracy, should stand. The public does not want a dictatorship, however benign or in favor of ‘erring on the side of life’ this might appear. The public does not want their Congress told to make exceptions when ordered to do so by dictators. The public wants the rule of law, with its appeal process, upheld.

This not only does not bode well for the President’s Social Security press, where these funds are to be made available to support the tottering Stock Market, it also does not bode well for future Martial Law plans, the real reason for these tests. Martial Law is difficult to invoke, and even more difficult to maintain. It lies counter to law, and thus can only be invoked for extraordinary reasons to be upheld under law. It lies counter to States Rights, as any issue requiring Martial Law is unlikely to be uniform across the nation. Since Martial Law stifles commerce and industry and places the public in duress, this is an issue where Congress is unlikely to simply stamp out new laws on demand from a dictator. In particular, this test showed that the ability of the President to sway public opinion, even on an issue where he can be considered to be viewed as compassionate and in the right, is scant. His reputation as a liar precedes him.

Signs of the Times #1363
Schiavo's Parents Suffer More Setbacks [Mar 23] 'Terri Schiavo's parents saw their options vanish one by one Wednesday as a federal appeals court refused to reinsert her feeding tube and the Florida Legislature decided not to intervene in the epic struggle. Refusing to give up, Gov. Jeb Bush sought court permission to take custody of Schiavo. The Schindlers have vowed to take their fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to get involved previously.’ [and from another source] State sought to remove brain-injured woman [Mar 23] ‘Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer said the state cannot take Schiavo into custody, nor provide her food or water. Florida´s DCF indicated it might remove the brain-injured woman, by force if necessary, from the hospice where she has lived the past five years.’ [and from another source] Tell Congress to stop Grandstanding on the Schiavo Tragedy [Mar 23] ‘On Sunday, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, the Republican congressional leaders, convened an emergency meeting of Congress to pass a bill that interferes with the Terri Schiavo tragedy. And although in five years no other issue has prompted President Bush to return to Washington during a vacation—including the tsunami—Bush flew back from his ranch in Texas to sign it.’