How human is human enough for human rights?
Justice Taney on slavery, in the ruling on the Dred Scott case:
The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement [people of Aftican ancestry] compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them. “
Nevertheless, today’s Supreme Court hearing didn’t deal with the question of whether the zygote/embryo /fetus is human enough. It dealt with the regulations for abortion businesses and the doctors who work for them. These are essentially the same rules imposed on Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers.
Doctors must offer continuing care and the buildings should allow safe egress and sanitary standards of care. The challenge is against State protections for the women who have chosen abortion.
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By 7 PM, there was a line of people setting up to spend the night in front of the Supreme Court of the United States building. They hope to be able to watch the Court proceedings on Wednesday when the Texas abortion law, HB2.
Here’s the coverage from Brian Rosenthal of the Houston Chronicle, about Texans, like me, who travelled to DC for the hearing. I’m quoted as ‘helpful about the future of the law in the last few paragraphs.
Beverly Nuckols, 60, a New Braunfels family doctor who flew in for the arguments, said she was happy that a long and just process finally could be coming to an end.
Nuckols said was hopeful about the ruling because she was confident in the law.
“I believe we will get a tie,” she said.
“”Ronald Reagan made us believe that it was morning in America again, and it was. Now, the children of Reagan are ready to assume the mantle of leadership. . . Those of us who grew up when it was morning in America and Ronald Reagan was in the White House are ready to do for the next generation what Ronald Reagan did for ours!””
Someone named Rich DeOtte has written a Facebook piece attacking friends of mine. Rich mocks Dr. Joe Pojman as “a rocket scientist” and “knucklehead” (needless to say, that’s not popular in the Nuckols household) and takes a slap at Kyleen Wright, of Texans for Life Coalition and the Texas Medical Association.
Dr. Joe Pojman, Ph.D., is indeed a “rocket scientist,” who gave up his original career path of aerospace engineering to sacrifice as founder and Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life, an organization I’m proud to support and serve as a Board member.
Joe wrote the op-ed that Rich attacks in direct response to the “misrepresentations” in another, political op-ed piece by Emily Kebedeaux Cook on the Texas Right to Life Website. Joe only wrote about issues, and did not engage in name calling or derision. The only reason Emily and TRTL are mentioned is because she’s the author of the political opinion piece about the “decline in the Texas Legislature’s efforts to protect human Life.”
As Joe points out, the very document to which Emily refers refutes her position: Texas was named one of three “Life List All-Stars” for 2016 by the Americans United for Life.
Joe laid out the case that our Texas Legislature’s pro-life laws are most definitely not at a standstill: we are ahead of the Nation. Joe’s position that Texas leaders gave us many successes in the 2015 84th Legislature is supported by the similar list of “Wins” reported by the Texas Catholic Conference, representing the Bishops of Texas. In an earlier letter, TCC notes that many of the criticisms Emily makes in her February 8th blog post were not previously scored “equitably” by TRTL. For instance, Senator Bob Deuell received no credit for authoring much of what became HB2.
In fact, Texas’ Legislative leadership in passing pro-life laws is why many of us are going to Washington, DC on March 2nd to bear witness when the Supreme Court hears testimony on the abortion facility regulations in HB2.
Emily and Rich focus most of their criticism on the efforts of pro-life groups, including doctors like me, to reform end of life care and the Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA). Session after session since it was passed, we in the pro-life community have had our efforts repeatedly blocked by the “death panel” accusations Rich makes and the demands in Emily’s op-ed.
I was one of the doctors appointed to the Texas Medical Association ad hoc committee that evaluated last sessions’ end of life Bills for TMA approval. Our group of doctors agreed to and helped fine tune HB 3074, what Emily called a “modest protection”: prohibiting the removal of Artificially Administered Nutrition and Hydration, including food and water by invasive medical methods like IV’s and “Total Parenteral Nutrition.” We were called anti-life and pro-“death panel” (Rich’s words) for including medical exceptions for the rare circumstances when the patient can’t process the AANH and/or when it actually caused harm.
Those “three strongest Pro-Life bills” that Emily mentioned were included in the “Wins” listed by the TCC. The Bills not only would have forced doctors to continue to indefinitely perform acts that we believe are not medically appropriate as long as a patient or his family demands it. They would have forced all disputes between the doctors practicing medicine and patients or their families into court and add “liability”(civil and criminal penalties) for the doctor.
Forget if you can, that if all disputes go to court judges would be required to determine medical care – to practice medicine – probably based on the testimony of dueling, paid medical expert doctors. Malpractice rates will go up for doctors taking on the most vulnerable patients – the elderly, the trauma victims and the victims of cancer. Those doctors will spend more time in courts, rather than in the ICU. And so will more grieving families.
We found out what happens when malpractice goes up in Texas, before tort reform was passed. Because of the malpractice crisis, there were no neurosurgeons west and south of San Antonio and Houston – none at all in El Paso or all of South Texas. We were losing obstetricians and family doctors willing to deliver babies and offer prenatal care, all over the State.
I don’t know how to translate past physician shortages directly into the possible shortage of doctors providing end of life care. However, I will predict that fewer family doctors, internists, pulmonologists and the ICU intensivists will be able to afford to practice in the ICU. Just as a patient had to be flown to Dallas, San Antonio or Houston from most of Texas for a head injury, only the tertiary medical centers in those cities will be able to staff their ICU’s properly.
Physicians, not hospitals – and certainly not courts – practice medicine in Texas. Doctors must be allowed to practice medicine according to our medical judgment, which is a combination of education and experience, under the watchful eye of the community; not “death panels,” but fellow physicians, nurses, ethicists, lawyers (who may be any of the former) and lay people. In the end, if you force the hands and minds of doctors against their judgment, you will end up with doctors practicing without judgment, and humans with inalienable rights forced to act against our will and in violation of our conscience.
And, now, back to Rich’s Facebook post. Think twice when you read political posts full of personal attacks and name calling. We should be able to discuss politics without, as Emily said in her blog post, “unnecessary, vicious, and vindictive fights inside the Republican Party.”
Edited to fix a name glitch – BBN
I’ve never done this before, but …
I hope Texas – and especially Comal County – voters will wait to vote. The State elections and the Presidential race are full of dirty tricks and deceptive ads and flyers.
People I once trusted are so fearful of a couple of powerful Lobbyist groups in Texas, and at least one lying campaign management firm, that they are making ill-advised endorsements. Those people most likely will not benefit the way they think they will.
Wait. Watch. Election day is March 1st.
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For every one who still claims that Republicans should have shut down the government last year rather than pass any budget that included funds for Planned Parenthood, read what National Right to Life had to say at the time. Even if the government had shut down over the budget, PP would have continued to receive funds!
“Additionally, as LifeNews.com reported recently, a study by the Congressional Research Service found that the majority of federal funds flowing to Planned Parenthood would not even be temporarily interrupted if the government shut down over this issue, because the funds flow through “entitlement” programs such as Medicaid – and those entitlement programs do not do not depend on enactment of the annual funding bills.
“It is also important to understand that federal spending bills do not include any “line items” that specifically designate money for Planned Parenthood. Rather, Planned Parenthood affiliates tap into funds from big programs like Medicaid and Title X. In order to deny Planned Parenthood such funds, a new law must be enacted to specifically prevent such funding. But for Congress to approve such a law will require 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, to overcome the filibuster.”
Remember this the next time you read or hear that nothing has come from a Republican majority in the House and Senate because Congress passed a budget September, 2015.
Then, ask the writer or speaker what kind of budget we would have had if Pelosi and Reid had been in charge.
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Edited for formatting -BBN
Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists. (Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, February 11, 2016)
The Washington Post reports on an interview with Wasserman-Schultz in which she is asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper to explain why Hillary Clinton received as many delegates in the New Hampshire Democratic (NOT) Primary as Bernie Sanders, who beat her by 22 percentage points.
For all those who declare other Republicans “establishment,” the Dem’s superdelegates are the true establishment of power by the Powers-That-Be of the Party. You only have to win your delegates, not 2/3 of the vote and then, again, 1/3 of Party officials. (Or lobbyists and donors.)
I’m “Establishment” if you believe what others say about me. The “friendly fire” isn’t accurate in this case, if the goal is to defeat the Democrats in not only the Presidential race, but to keep our majority in the House and Senate.
I remember when conservatives were against “liberals” and liberals called us the establishment. Liberals and conservatives were clearly divided into Democrats and Republicans. Today, Republicans are just as likely to deride other Republicans as being “establishment” as they are to use the equally variably defined “RINO” name-calling. At least with “RINO,” there was once an attempt to point out where the Republican-In-Name-Only differed from our core values. There’s no similar definition or list somewhere about what it is to be, or even as why it’s bad to be “establishment.”
The “establishment” designation is reminiscent of the tactic from the ’60’s: “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” It’s also classic Alinsky: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
Besides being a distraction (time spent denying or defending that ephemeral “establishment”), it attacks the person addressed, rather than the issue at hand. By assigning the other as “other,” the name-caller can assume he is free to entirely skip any consideration about the other person’s thought process.
It takes more time to discuss issues and facts than to declare someone with differing views as a part of a mindless group, rather than as individuals who think and reason. It was much easier for President Obama to accuse Conservatives of being led by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh or for Hillary Clinton to assign us all to the “Right-Wing Conspiracy” than to confront us as individuals with reasons to oppose government-run and -owned medicine or higher taxes.
The Republican Party is a very diverse group of individuals, who generally agree that individual liberty is better achieved under a small constitutional government with a strong national defense. Individuals within the Party can disagree on priorities and tactics and we can definitely disagree on personalities. We should not simply shut out fellow Republicans with name-calling.
Cute. We’re assured that it’s still illegal to implant these “edited,” engineered embryos – but until now, it wasn’t legal to edit them! See the pattern?
The experiments are only supposed to only use “surplus” embryos conceived by in vitro fertilization. Next will come the argument that embryos should by designed “from scratch” as a couple’s right (or group marriage partner’s rights.
The only embryos that will be helped as a result of this line of experimentation wold be extracorporeal embryos that are to be edited, themselves! Job security for the experimenters, perhaps.
We can be sure implantation will happen, moving closer to “designer babies.” Lots of science fiction has often dealt with the good and bad, the intended and unintended consequences of “editing” the humans or transhumans we conceive.
The unintended consequences can’t be known, but we can know that they will occur. And yet, that child of tomorrow can’t consent, his or her contemporaries can’t consent and their off spring certainly can’t consent.
The nascent human once again unquestionably becomes the means to another’s end, rather than an end in himself.
Yes, someone will point out that many or even most parents may have children for their own purposes other than to truly become one with their spouse or to reproduce and pass on their genes. The mere fact that anyone can contemplate “spare” or “excess” human beings is proof of that. (And don’t forget the “unwanted” child the abortion advocates constantly remind us of.)
Will there be a money-back guarantee for the “failed” comodified child? Will those future generations think better of us than we regard past efforts at breeding a better human? Let’s hope that if we live among them, they tolerate us!
The National Review has a page online of non-endorsements for @therealdonald. They are worth reading. Here’s a few excerpts:
From Erick Erickson, radio talk show host and formerly of RedState.com, this reminder:
“Nonetheless, I will not be voting for Donald Trump in the primary. I take my conservatism seriously, and I also take Saint Paul seriously. In setting out the qualifications for overseers, or bishops, Saint Paul admonished Timothy, ‘If anyone aspires to the office of overseer . . . he must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil’ (1 Timothy 3:1,6).”
From Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs and author (I stole his line about Pope Benedict for my email signature, “I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it.”), observes:
American conservatism is an inherently skeptical political outlook. It assumes that no one can be fully trusted with public power and that self-government in a free society demands that we reject the siren song of politics-as-management. A shortage of such skepticism is how we ended up with the problems Trump so bluntly laments. Repeating that mistake is no way to solve these problems. To address them, we need to begin by rejecting what Trump stands for, as much as what he stands against.
“Why is there a double standard when it comes to evaluating Donald Trump? Why are other politicians excoriated when they change their minds — as, for example, Rick Perry did on the question of whether HPV vaccinations in Texas should be compulsory — but when Trump suddenly says he’s pro-life, the claim is accepted uncritically? Why is it unconscionable for Ted Cruz to take and repay a loan from Goldman Sachs to help win a tough Senate race but acceptable for Donald Trump to take money from George Soros? Why is vetting Trump, as we do any other candidate, considered “bashing”? Aren’t these fair questions?”
Death, lies and video
Supported only by his imagination, what he saw in videos produced by Texas Right to Life lawyers, and a news article,Dr. Phillip Hawley, Jr., M.D., wrote “A Tragic Case of Modern Bioethics; Denying Life-Sustaining Treatment to a Patient Who Wanted to Live” about the truly tragic, but inevitable death of Chris Dunn. Hawley erred by pretending to read the minds of doctors and hospital representatives and calling complete strangers “utilitarian” “murderers.” Before discussing the ethics of his accusations, it’s necessary to explain the meaning of the documented facts, available in news sources, blog posts and court records:
It is very unlikely that Chris understood his condition, the questions the lawyers were asking or the consequences of his “prayer.” That he was unable to make medical decisions is supported by the fact that his parents had been making his medical decisions. The Harris County judge agreed with the hospital’s request that a single legal guardian be named by a separate court.
“Life-sustaining treatment,” “medically inappropriate” and “Artificially Administered Nutrition and Hydration” are legal terms defined in the Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA), which outlines the exact procedure and language for communications between doctors, the hospital committee, and patients or their surrogates. The use, monitoring and adjustment of a mechanical ventilator is in the definition of “life-sustaining treatments.” TADA specifically excludes “Artificially Administered Nutrition and Hydration” (AANH) in the definition of “life sustaining treatments,” which would argue against the accusation that his doctors planned to withdraw “food and water.”
The only legal reason under TADA to remove any “life-sustaining treatment” is that it is deemed “medically inappropriate” by the attending physician and then only if the hospital medical or ethics committee “affirms” that decision. If and when they are withheld, the Act specifically prohibits “mercy killing” or otherwise intentionally intervening with the intent to cause death by artificial means.
Additional demands by Chris’ mother, Mrs. Kelly, and the lawyers in blogs and news articles would have also fallen under the legal definition of “life-sustaining treatment.” These demands included a biopsy in order to determine a definitive tissue diagnosis for the clinically apparent pancreatic cancer and liver lesions, a surgical tracheostomy and the removal of the ventilator (to be fair, I believe they meant the tube through the vocal chords), less sedation, searches for and trials of treatment of the cancer, and the non-standard use of an indwelling drain for the ascites (large exudates in the abdomen due to high pressures in the liver and the failure of the liver to make necessary proteins). These are invasive, potentially painful and, based on the reported size and effects of the mass, the extent of liver damage visibly evident in the videos as temporal wasting and copper-colored skin, ascites and the GI bleeding – they were very unlikely to lengthen his life, much less cure his cancer. In fact they could be very likely to hasten – or be the immediate cause of – his death.
Chris died in the ICU on full life-sustaining treatments, including the ventilator and intravenous AANH.
The doctors are on record as basing their decision on the suffering caused by the treatments to their patient, Chris. This is consistent with the known side-effects of the ventilator and even reports from Chris’ mother, who told reporters that Chris suffered from the treatments and fluid building up in his lungs despite the ventilator. And yet, Dr. Hawley made sensational statements such as:
“For patients with terminal illnesses, this standard often leads to the utilitarian question: Is the patient’s life still worth living?
“In Chris Dunn’s case, the committee’s answer was “no.” Relative strangers with little or no knowledge of his values and beliefs weighed his “quality of life” and decided that he no longer deserved to live.”
“. . . How did these committee members who had only recently met the patient—if they ever met him at all—know that it was in his best interest for them to end his life?”
“. . . But, somehow, we are to believe that these committee members were able to deduce existential truths about what was in Chris Dunn’s best interest?”
The physicians who cared for Mr. Dunn for over a month had certainly met him and members of the Methodist Hospital Biomedical Ethics Committee met with the family several times. Court documents are clear that the doctors believed the life-sustaining treatments were causing suffering and that the committee agreed that the treatments were medically inappropriate. There certainly is no evidence that the doctors or the committee members sought to intentionally “end” Chris’ life. “Medically inappropriate treatment” is not an “existential truth” and never in the patient’s best interest.
(Some may remind us that suffering can have benefits. However, Mr. Dunn couldn’t consent to suffering, much less benefit from the suffering, whether as a medical treatment or a willing religious self-sacrifice.)
Robert P. George is one of my heroes a conservative tenured professor of law and ethics at Princeton and one of the founders of the Witherspoon Institute, an organization known for its defense of Judeo-Christian ethics based on natural law, and the parent organization of Public Discourse. He has helpfully outlined a “key” to evaluate the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining care:
“[T]he key is the distinction between what traditionally has been called “direct killing,” where death (one’s own or someone else’s) is sought either as an end in itself or as a means to some other end, and accepting death or the shortening of life as a foreseen side effect of an action or omission whose object is something other than death—either some good that cannot be achieved or some evil that cannot be avoided without resulting in death or the shortening of life.”
George and Hawley each point to a value in medicine that is higher than autonomy or even preserving life at all costs: the duty of physicians to care for the patient. “Cure when possible, but first, do no harm.”
The lawyers didn’t just sue to maintain “life-sustaining treatments,” or even Mrs. Kelly’s right to force the doctors to treat Chris the way she wanted them to. The lawsuit, blog posts and public statements document the ultimate goal to have TADA declared unconstitutional and to force all doctors to give patients and surrogates the right to demand any and all desired treatment indefinitely. The power of State courts, law enforcement and licensing would be used to force Texas doctors to carry out acts against our medical judgment, education, experience and conscience.
What justification can the lawyers and Dr. Hawley give for not believing the physicians who care for patients daily and hourly when those caretakers document that the patient is suffering?
What kind of physicians will we end up with if the State can force us to act without judgement or conscience?
What kind of State would we have?
Based on a video and his imagined conversations between “malevolent” and “utilitarian” doctors and hospitals, Hawley declares Texas a “morally impoverished society.” Ignoring sworn statements from the physicians and misrepresenting TADA, he distorts the purpose of the Texas Advance Directive Act, which is to address the problems encountered when patients and surrogates disagree., Only by assuming evil intent is he able to force doctors to prove a negative and distract from any possibility of a conflict between the equal and inalienable rights of the patient and the doctor.
While the video of Chris apparently praying to be allowed to live wrenched at our emotions, it was used to tell a false story upon which Dr. Hawley built his harmful assumptions. We would all do well to remember my Mama’s advice: Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.”
Edited for grammar and decrease wordiness and formatting (1-15-16). BBN
I am glad that the rules are explicit about the duty to report sexual or physical abuse.
Here’s a statement from Texas Alliance for Life, with links to the ruling:
Austin, TX — Today the Texas Supreme Court released rules for how courts handle judicial bypass proceedings regarding secret abortions on minors girls without parental notification or consent. The rules were created in response to HB 3994, authored by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) and sponsored by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and strongly supported by Texas Alliance for Life.
The following statement is attributed to Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life:
We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s strong rules regarding the judicial bypass process for abortions on minor girls. These bring to fruition a 10-year effort by Texas Alliance for Life and a coalition of pro-life organizations to protect minor girls in Texas from abortion. In 2005, the Texas Legislature passed a bill requiring doctors to obtain the consent of a parent before performing abortions on minor girls. In 2015, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Abbott signed into law, HB 3994 to reform the judicial bypass process by which a judge can allow abortions on minors without parental consent. The reforms closed loopholes and increased protections for the minors from abuse. The Texas Supreme Court has faithfully implemented House Bill 3994 in a way that will best protect the well being of minor girls.
Here is a link to the Texas Supreme Court’s order issuing the rules: http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1225647/159246.pdf.
HB 3994 was one of five major pro-life bills and numerous other pro-life provisions passed in 2015. Here is a summary.
Texas Right to Life turned Mr. Dunn’s imminent death from metastatic pancreatic cancer into a crusade against the Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA or the Act). The Act is invoked by the attending doctor – not the hospital or ethics committee – when family members demand that he or she perform acts that go against the conscience because they are medically inappropriate, causing the patient to suffer without changing his course.
In this case, the mother and father disagreed with one another about the care plan and the patient was unable to make legally binding decisions. The father agreed with Mr. Dunn’s doctors that the treatment was causing suffering, objected to surgery to place a tracheostomy, and wanted hospice and comfort care. The mother wanted dangerous, painful procedures performed that would not change the medical outlook except to possibly hasten death.
And, unless you read the court records, you wouldn’t know that the judge ruled that Chris was not mentally competent to make his own medical decisions, that the hospital never wanted guardianship and had voluntarily promised to continue care until the guardianship could be settled. In fact all the lawyers, including the Texas Right to Life representatives, signed off on an agreement acknowledging this promise on December 4th. ( The official court records are available to view free of charge online at the Harris County District Clerk’s website as protected pdf images. See Family case number 2015- 69681.)
Inflammatory headlines falsely claimed that “the hospital” had imposed a “death sentence,” and was actively trying to kill Mr. Dunn by refusing to diagnose, treat or even give a prognosis. That same blog post mentioned non-standard treatments that some in the family were demanding.
First of all, of course there was a diagnosis. Several, in fact. From the signed affidavit of Mr. Dunn’s attending physician, filed December 2, 2015 in response to the law suit:
“Based on my education, training, experience, as well as my care of Mr. Dunn, I, and members of my team, have advised his family members that Mr. Dunn suffers from end stage liver disease, the presence of a pancreatic mass suspected to be malignant with metastasis to the liver and complications of gastric outlet obstruction secondary to his pancreatic mass. Further, he suffers from hepatic encephalopathy, acute renal failure, sepsis, acute respiratory failure, multi-organ failure, and gastrointestestinal bleed. I have advised members of Mr. Dunn’s family that it is my clinical opinion that Mr. Dunn’s present condition is irreversible and progressively terminal.”
The primary diagnosis was metastatic pancreatic cancer. The cancer was a mass that blocked the ducts and blood vessels coming from the liver as well as the normal function of the intestines. As liver excretions backed up into the liver and the blood pressure in the liver increased, Mr. Dunn suffered a life-threatening gastrointestinal bleed, fluid buildup in the abdomen and lungs, and sepsis (an overwhelming infection). All of these would aggravate respiratory failure, the necessity of a ventilator and lead to the kidney damage. Liver failure often results in hepatic encephalopathy and variable delirium.
There was definitely treatment given, including tube and IV feedings, antibiotics, the ventilator, and periodic removal of the abdominal fluid. Again, this was all publicly documented in Court documents, in the media and even on the Texas Right to Life blog that claimed that “Houston Methodist has invested no time or effort in Chris’s health, instead exerting their energies into trying to kill him instead.” [sic]
The Intensive Care doctors as well as the Biomedical Ethics Committee, met with the parents to explain Mr. Dunn’s condition and his prognosis. The family was given notice before the Committee hearing and met with the (not at all “nameless” or “faceless”) Committee to discuss their (differing) wants. Thirty days’ worth of medical records, a hospital case worker and assistance in finding alternative care were made available to the family.
Then, there’s the complaint about the limits on visitors and videotaping. It is not unusual to limit Intensive Care Unit visits to specific times and to allow only close family, especially when the patient can’t consent and there is contention among family members. It is certainly standard to prohibit filming in the Unit, since patients are visible from one area to the next, in various states of undress and undergoing constant or frequent *intensive* treatments.
(BTW, one of the lawyers in the TRTL ICU video proves the basis for the rules: he is not compliant with the usual isolation procedures. Former Senator Joe Nixon didn’t wear the protective gown at all correctly, risking the introduction of infectious contamination into the room and/or taking germs home with him.)
It’s very unusual for patients on a ventilator to be conscious because of the severe discomfort associated with the foreign body – the breathing tube – that is necessary in the airways. It’s difficult to believe that anyone would complain about sedating Mr. Dunn in order to bypass his gag reflex.
Finally, the standard of care in advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer is pain relief and palliative support. The surgery to remove a pancreas is extremely dangerous for even healthier patients. As Mr. Dunn had already had an episode of bleeding and both liver and kidney failure, it’s likely that even a biopsy of the pancreatic mass or liver, much less surgery, would have caused more life-threatening bleeding. With liver and kidney damage, he wouldn’t have been able to tolerate trials of radiation or chemotherapy, either.
In fact, the doctors and nurses gave excellent treatment all along, as shown by his survival beyond the average for patients who presented in such a precarious state and acknowledged by Mrs. Kelly in her statement after Chris’ death.
The truth is that Methodist never made plans to “kill” Mr. Dunn. Mr. Dunn was never in danger of the hospital “pulling the plug.” The real problem was a disagreement between Mr. Dunn’s divorced parents over who would legally make medical decisions. That rift is bound to have been made worse by TRTL and the lawyers turning Chris’ illness into a public political battle. The accusations about euthanasia, killing and murder may cause other future patients harm, if they are reluctant to seek care because of these stories.
The Colorado policeman who was killed Friday, Garrett Swasey, is the Christian, pro-life man we should all be talking about.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
On the blog, Cripple Gate, Jonathan Standbridge has posted excerpts from officer Swasey’s last sermon. Mr. Standbridge notes that one of the tenants of the church where Swasey was an elder, is to oppose elective abortion as the taking of human life.
And yet, Officer Swasey put his life in danger for, and died as a result of, an attempt to protect the occupants of that Planned Parenthood business!
The frequent justification for elective abortion is utilitarian: we are told that in the interest of the greater good, the mother must sacrifice her unborn child in order to have a better life. Officer Swasey, in contrast, sacrificed himself for the lives of others.
There should be no more talk about pro-life “zealots,” “killers,” or “haters.” Instead, remember Garrett Swasey and how he served Christ and even the people of Colorado Springs with whom he disagreed on abortion.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6-8
Bioethicists and transhumanists – and I – have long speculated on the ability and usefulness of drugs to enhance performance. However, assassins, murderers and the subgroup that are the jihadists, have a completely different goal for their “enhancement.”
“Captagon — a synthetic amphetamine-based pill — is considered the drug of choice for Islamic State fighters in Syria, Iraq and, now it seems, Paris.
‘When French police raided a hotel room at Alfortville, south-east of Paris, last week they found a stash of syringes, needles and plastic tubing.” (from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-24/captagon-the-drug-that-kept-the-paris-attackers-calm/6970464 )
Hat tip to BioEdge
Today, the Conservative grassroots are shouting raw emotions, masses feeding off headlines, “Shares,” and “Likes,” rather than the meat of the story.
Paul Waldman, in “Why have so many GOP governor’s fizzled out in the 2016 race?”online at “The Week,” astutely describes the insanity that has gripped the Party formerly consisting of Conservatives, but which is now infested with destructive anti’s.
From the article,
Over the past few years, the party’s grass roots have been gripped by an anti-politics fervor that values quixotic crusades over substantive victories, and equates actually accomplishing anything through ordinary political processes with betrayal.”
“That’s why someone like Ted Cruz, a senator who has never written a law and who, if you ask him what he has accomplished, will tell you about the times he “stood up” and failed to stop Barack Obama and his own party’s leaders from keeping the government open or not defaulting on America’s debts, can still be considered unsullied and thus potentially worthy of the nomination. And those like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, their minds uncluttered by even the remotest understanding of how government works, are the most popular of all.”
Brutal. Truth. Insanity, where failure equals stature and inexperience and ignorance are lauded as qualifications.
Can we re-use the Know Nothing name for our party?
Once upon a time, the grassroots of the Republican Party, especially Conservatives, were researchers, well informed, and capable of reason. It was a joke among us that the real news was hidden in the penultimate paragraph of any news story.
Yet, 14 years of Governor Rick Perry’s Conservative leadership in Texas is mocked amid comments about glasses and his performance over a few months in 2011. Governor Scott Walker won and re-won elections in a Blue State and braved for-hire Union mobs willing to break windows in the Wisconsin State Capitol, but he was simply ignored. Each were treated more seriously by crooked Dem Prosecutors than by Conservatives.
There’s no way this latest crop could have exposed the Clinton’s of the 1990’s – or will be able to do so in the last half of the 2010s. Sticking out the month long re-count in Florida, or defending the Governor’s Mansion in Austin?
Not while dragging that couch they supposedly got off of in 2009 and Tweeting about the “Establishment.”
I’m not being flippant when I say, God help us!
James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today distinguishes between the comments of Donald Trump and Marco Rubio and the “reporters” that covered them. The truth is worse than a set of “When did you stop beating your wife” questions: the reporters inserted words and assertions that weren’t voiced by the candidates.
From November 20th’s “More Hillary than Hitler:”
Further, the atrocious idea of “a database or system that tracks Muslims in this country” didn’t come from Trump but from either Hillyard or Yahoo! News’s Hunter Walker.
ThinkProgress’s headline: “Rubio Trumps Trump: Shut Down Any Place Muslims Gather to Be ‘Inspired’—Not Just Mosques.” But Rubio didn’t say Muslims, he said radicals. ThinkProgress thereby takes the position that there is no distinction between radicals and Muslims more generally.
I’ve seen high praise and strong condemnation for both men, based on the falsehoods “reported” in the news – or in the headlines of articles slanted by those “reporters.” I’m not surprised at the bias from sites such as “ThinkProgress” or even “Yahoo.” However, I’m deeply disappointed in the voters and, especially, the conservative bloggers and voters who take the headlines at face value.
It is the duty of *our* government to protect *our* inalienable rights. We, the people, *are* the government and we have no business taking from our neighbors to give to another. We cannot ethically put others in danger for our purposes.
As the Governor of Texas wrote, there is absolutely no way to vet the current crop of refugees. Have you seen the make up of the groups? Largely, single men who should be defending their own land, not coming here so completely dependent on charity.
Good hearted people are claiming that we are hypocrits and false Christians if we don’t accept Syrian refugees with open arms ( and State tax coffers.
The good Samaritan analogy is not equivalent. The Samaritan self-sacrificed, both financially and with time. He didn’t tax anyone else to pay for his good deads, but covered the expenses from his own pocket.
And he didn’t put himself — much less his dependents and innocent bystanders — in harm’s way.
If you feel this way, you might consider sponsorship of an alien someday. However, we can’t afford the money as a State, to bring in these people who will need total care and we certainly can’t afford to risk that even one is a terrorist.
(As someone asked: If I hand you a bunch of grapes, telling you that 1% may be poisoned, but I can’t test –Are you going yo eat any of them?)
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“A nation which despises its soldiers will all too soon have a despicable army.”
Thank you to all who served our Nation. You defended my right to write this blog – and my very life. There is “No greater love . . .”
(Yes, I compared the self-sacrifice of veterans to Christ’s self-sacrifice. Sue me.)
(I was looking up the apparent prediction in 1975 of the then-future Falklands War by Dr Pournelle in his Exile and Glory, a collection of short stories, when I came across this quote.)
Please read the link – or at least the entire quote I’ve pasted here – before commenting.
The immigration debate and its ability to divide the Republican Party and split the Conservative vote is not new. Here’s a commentary about the dispute in light of the 2012 Presidential election, written in 2011. (Scroll down the page to “On Immigration,” Saturday, May 21, 2011.)
Dr. Jerry Pournelle has served our Nation in many capacities (including serving in the Army during the Korean War), but he’s probably best known, to those who know his name at all, as the author of Science Fiction written from a conservative, libertarian-leaning viewpoint. I strongly recommend his essays, including this one from 2011:
“We aren’t going to deport them all, and no Congress or President will do that, nor could even if it were thought desirable. The United States is not going to erect detention camps nor will we herd people into boxcars. We can’t even get the southern border closed. Despite President Obama’s mocking speech, we have not built the security fence mandated a long time ago. We probably could get Congress to approve a moat and alligators, although there are likely more effective means. We can and should insist on closing the borders. That we can and must do. It won’t be easy or simple, but it’s going to be a lot easier than deporting 20 million illegals. Get the borders closed. We can all agree on that.
“That leaves the problem of the illegal aliens amongst us. We can and should do more to enforce employment laws; but do we really want police coming around to demand “your papers” from our gardeners and fry cooks and homemakers?”
This is not a trivial point. I advocate for the necessity of identifying illegal aliens and would prefer that the process begin in the country of origin. However, in practical terms, how would the “Maria” Dr. Pournelle describes, who was brought here as a child, “begin the process?”
Defense and security requires that we secure the border and that we identify as many who are here illegally as possible. A first step would be to better track people who enter on Visas: what are all those computers at border entry spots for?? We should also cease the fiction that our schools don’t know which families with children are undocumented. We should hold employers accountable, but be very careful about instituting new government papers and government computer lists of eligible workers.
We must determine common ground for the sake of success. As pointed out four years ago by Dr. Pournelle, errors will be used against us, with the hard cases like “Maria” will be splashed across media and social networks. Without common ground, and with emotional demands to “deport them all,” we’ll still be debating this four years from now. And our citizens – and the illegal aliens – will remain at risk from the violent and criminal, if not from the terrorist.
And stop “sharing” them!
Remember who the real opponents are: the Dems!
No matter how juicy the gossip, consider waiting a few hours for the rest of the story to come out.
(BTW, this is a test of my mobile app.)
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For years, I’ve joked that we shouldn’t be asking, “Who is John Galt?” But, “Where is John Galt?”
However, with modern satellites and other methods of surveillance, I don’t think there’s any place on earth to build our own Galt’s Gulch, the mythological hideaway that Ayn Rand described in her novel, Atlas Shrugged.
We’re going to have to look for the man rather than the place, after all.
While Galt had some good ideas about production and the free market, he scoffed at altruism and self-sacrifice. In his world, the solution he advocated the withdrawal of our talent and gold from society and to let civilization collapse.
And yet, Galt’s actions were not completely consistent with his words. He gave up safety, comfort and wealth in order to win converts and enable the “producers” to escape the tyranny of his government.
From Galt’s speech explaining why his actions were not a sacrifice:
“‘Sacrifice’ does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. ‘Sacrifice’ does not mean the rejection of the evil for the sake of the good, but of the good for the sake of the evil.”
“If a man refuses to sell his convictions, it is not a sacrifice, unless he is the sort of man who has no convictions.”
Who John Galt in 2015?
If you haven’t voted in a Republican Presidential primary in the last 20 years but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you once seriously allowed yourself to be considered a candidate for another Party but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you claimed to be Pro-Choice just a few years ago,but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you donated to Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi AND the Clinton Foundationd since the last time we had a Republican President, but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you have stated that you “identify more as a Democrat” since Bill Clinton was President, but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you’re 100% in favor of Kelo-type eminent domain, but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you believe that Planned Parenthood needs tax subsidies, but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you believe in a progressive income tax, but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
If you’re running on the premise that your money makes you better than everyone else, but decided to run as a Republican this year, you might be a RINO.
We should at least have as much care for the donation of tissue from aborted human fetuses and embryos as we do for the donation of organs from those killed by capital punishment. Both scenarios involve purposeful intervention to cause death and the collection of tissues, at least, must be carried out by licensed and regulated medical personnel.
Robin Alta Charo (a law and ethics professor at the University of Wisconsin) has an opinion piece in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, “Fetal Tissue Fallout.” in which she claims that society has a “duty” to use tissues harvested after elective, intentional abortions.
I object to the idea that society has a “duty” to make use of the end products of either procedure. Both scenarios involve purposeful intervention to cause death by licensed and regulated medical personnel, making those of us who vote for the legislators who write laws complicit in the actions, at least remotely. Under a strict philosophy of ethics based on the protection of inalienable rights, each act should be weighed individually and should only be carried out when the one killed is a proven danger to the life or lives of others.
Robin justifies her elevation of the use of fetal tissues after elective abortion to that of a “duty” by citing past benefits of research using fetal tissues. She is more political and names past Republican supporters in an earlier op-ed, published in the Washington Post on August 4th.
Yes, society has benefited from these tissues. However, that picture at the side of this post depicts Dr. Frederick Robbins, one of the scientists who utilized fetal tissue in the 1950’s development of the Salk polio vaccine. Dr. Robbins is depicted smoking at work in the laboratory, while handling test tubes without gloves. We know better than that, now. Isn’t it time that science and medicine researchers catch up with our knowledge that the human fetus is a human being from the moment of fertilization?
Where are the Ethics Review Boards that monitor for the unethical behavior we’re hearing about in the videos from the Center for Medical Progress?
In 2013, the science journal, Nature, published an article covering the history and evolution of informed consent and compensation for donors of human tissues, including the fetal tissue culture, WI-28. Ms. Charo was quoted as supporting monetary compensation:
But, says Charo, “if we continue to debate it entirely in legal terms, it feels like we’re missing the emotional centre of the story”. It could be argued, she says, “that if somebody else is making a fortune off of this, they ought to share the wealth. It’s not a legal judgment. It’s a judgement about morality.”
Yes, “It’s not a legal judgment. It’s a judgement about morality.”
Human developmental psychology 101: We learn “Mine!” long before we learn, “That’s not fair!” Before that, we learn that Mama is not part of us. We must develop self-awareness, that there is “Me,” and there’s everyone else, each causing our own effects on the universe. In direct opposition to the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, object permanence is one of the first things we learn: we don’t each create our own universe.
Individualism and private property are basic to human nature, and integral to the development of the concepts of truth, love and justice. Truth can’t be known without first learning to manipulate our bodies and then objects around us. Love is just narcissism if there’s no “other.” Sharing and justice are meaningless without private ownership of property.
In contrast, in socialist and communist regimes, independence of the individual isn’t necessary. The individual must surrender his rights to the collective and “fairness” is determined by consensus or Committee.
If we learned anything from the Soviet experiment with socialism, it’s that Lamarckian evolution is false: DNA doesn’t change because of use or disuse. Laws don’t change human nature, any more than Stalin could change the cold-hardiness of wheat by gradually moving the planting fields farther north. In fact, laws that endure are those that lag behind changes in the thought of an overwhelming majority of individuals. Historically, precipitous changes in law imposed by an elite only function if backed by totalitarian regimes willing to confiscate, enslave and kill.
Socialism, in direct opposition of the philosophy laid out in the Declaration of Independence, and the science of human development, would regress us all back to psychological infancy, where a few may deem everything – and everyone – is “Me! and “Mine!”
(An excellent review of the five stages of self-awareness is available in <a href="http://tinyurl.com/ohzk963More popular discussions are here http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-does-consciousness-arise/” target=”_blank”>.pdf and here, and here .)
Edited to clean up the wordiness. 6PM 7-6-15. BBN
Liberty is not simply the freedom to act, it’s the more fundamental freedom not to act. Remember the proverb that “The right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose?” True liberty includes the right *not* to make a fist at all. To force the hand of a person against his will other than to defend the higher-priority right to life is to enslave him.
The same sex marriage ruling and protected status for “sexual orientation” is the latest socialist infringement on the inalienable right to liberty. In the name of “equality,” “fairness” and even “liberty,” they attempt to give government the ownership of all property and the means to earn it.
In particular, they demand that people of conscience either deny their faith or get out of government and public activities, including business and earning a living. (For real life examples, read the earliest few comments, here. Or here.)
People who want what they want, when they want it, and from whom they want it seem to have no problem forcing other citizens to act against their will. In order to devalue the right of conscience and religion they deny the rights in the First Amendment of the Constitution – or the very existence of inalienable rights at all.
The Board of Labor of Oregon just gave us a perfect example just this week. Brad Avakian, the judge in the Sweet Cakes Bakery case, has slapped the couple with a gag order. He would deny them free speech as well as the free exercise of their religion.
Here’s the justification for that order.
(Thanks to Kelsey Harkness!)
The Supreme Court of the United States, States and local governments cannot create a world of gumdrops and lollipops, where everyone likes everyone and everything they do. There is no right not to be inconvenienced, much less the right not to be offended. The right to liberty of anyone may not be infringed for the benefit of another person’s pursuit of happiness without significant distress to society and government.
Read the Declaration of Independence to see what happens when governments attempt to do so.
Okay, hunker down in the bunkers, y’all.
There is truth to be found in the multi-page soliloquies in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s opus that has won over readers in generation after generation. John Galt’s philosophy appeals to individualists and is rooted in classic liberalism that we now call libertarian or conservative.
But where Rand excelled was as an excellent observer of statism and socialism, as well as faithfully reporting the justification made by the proponents of each. Since reading Atlas Shrugged in the mid-1990’s, I’ve heard and read adults make the very claims that some of Rand’s characters make about the duty of producers and employers and the “rights” of the people who want benefits without obligations and who are willing to use the power of guilt, class warfare and greed to control both.
However, Rand’s objectivist libertarian philosophy goes too far. She was anti-religious, anti-altruist, pro-abortion and left her husband in order to live with a much younger man who was also married. In fact, her portrayals of relationships between men and women too often resemble warped rape and dominance games. Her earlier book, The Fountainhead, includes a controversial scene that Rand is said to have described as, “If it was rape, it was rape with an engraved invitation. Fifty Shades of Gray from the ’50’s?) The fact that John Galt would hide away with fellow rich, intelligent and successful elites in a remote enclave and allow the rest of society to self-destruct is selfish and impractical. (Rand herself certainly didn’t attempt to “go Galt.”)
The TEA Party has proven that we are outside the influence of Party politics. We have demonstrated that we will work from within and for the Republican Party only as long as the Party will honor our principles.
However, I worry that many who have “gotten up off the couch” in the name of “Taxed Enough Already” are not well informed on the connection between inalienable rights and the social issues. Others don’t understand how and why Conservatives conflate those inalienable rights with small government and national defense.
Too many never get past the first three words of the Preamble of the Constitution:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
With six months to go before the first Primaries, let’s spend our energies on educating our fellow voters about Conservative principles, rather than tearing down the various candidates. We don’t have to settle on an “electable” candidate – yet. And we certainly don’t yet have to compromise on values.
Here’s where we are, according to Red State:
The Senate has already approved the TPA. On Friday, the House voted on it. The TPA portion was actually approved by a tiny majority, however it did not pass because it was tied to another provision: TAA, which failed miserably. In essence, the TAA is a multi-faced welfare program for those allegedly “hurt” by trade deals.
“TPA ensures that only 51 votes are needed in order to pass the TPP. If you don’t think Obama and the Chamber of Commerce can engage in some bi-partisan vote whipping, you are living in fantasy land.”