I was following my site meter and found a link to my blog in German!
Will technological and informational wonders never cease?!
The New York Times published a column today advocating that the government save Medicare money by withholding “life-prolonging” treatments from the elderly. I write about it in my law firm blog, Barbarians At Your Door. The article starts out saying:
ALTHOUGH Social Security’s fiscal direction has taken center stage in Washington of late, Medicare’s future financing problems are likely to be much worse. President Bush has asserted that the Medicare Modernization Act, which he signed in 2003, would solve some of those problems – “the logic is irrefutable,” he said two months ago. Yet the Congressional Budget Office expects the law to create just $28 billion in savings during the decade after its passage, while its prescription drug benefit will add more than $400 billion in costs.
So, how can Medicare’s ballooning costs be contained? One idea is to let people die earlier. (emphasis added)
I’ve had the opportunity to look at the Medicare/Medicaid program up close as I represent health providers in my practice. I am not optimistic about the scheme.
There is no doubt in my mind that the present system, in some respects, encourages heroic measures to prolong life in inappropriate cases. I have seen the government take regulatory action against clients in situations where the physician, family–and sometimes even the resident, have elected not to have such treatments.
But, to have the government initiate policy mandating the withholding of such treatment is a prescription for coarsening, and eventually destroying, the moral fiber of our society.
Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid sow the seeds for resentment, anger and callous regard for human life–especially the lives of the elderly, infirm and disabled. The New York Times article shows that we may soon begin to reap the horrifying results.
UPDATE: The coarsening I talked about above was just made apparent on Fox News in a piece about Terri Schiavo. Jeffery Feiger, the attorney who represented Dr. Kevorkian, just made the argument that if Terri is saved–who would pay for her care? He essentially made the argument, that because the taxpayers would eventually shoulder her care–that is an additional reason for her to die.
Given what has been going on with Terri Schiavo the past few weeks, I think it’s appropriate to revisit a similar issue, the Groningen Protocol that I discussed here and here. It appears that a Dutch blogger was taking note of the conservative and Christian bloggers who were blogging about the issue way back in December. He wrote what appears, with the aid of Bablefish Alta Vista, to be a sneering review of our position on the issue:
What this way angry makes the conservatieven in America it is so-called “groningen protocol”. This directive gives the freedom in specific cases to doctors living new-born children to conclude. The protocol is addressed as if it concerns that the “protocols of the manners of Zion” convex state of the anti-Semitism has helped with and eventually make the climate ripe for the mass destruction of Jews in Europe. The reporting in America concerning “groningen started protocol” in neo-conservatieve the Weekly Standard of 13 September 2004. “Going Dutch has never leg so horrible.” (Now They because to Euthanize Children) Afterwards in the heart country of conservative America, in the provincial newspaper the Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota) started it appear on 11 October. Dominee gives an overview of anger which then broke out in Christian America: to mark of Roberts on its site.
No dear, we were comparing the protocol to the Nazi policy of killing the disabled. Of course, killing the disabled simply because they are disabled does pretty much make a “climate ripe for the mass destruction of Jews” and anyone else considered to be unworthy of life. And, yes–after spending American blood to defeat the people doing such things on your continent–it does upset some of us when you behave like immoral Nazis and kill helpless babies because you feel they are unworthy of life.
Then he links a bunch of us:
A further overview:
Een verder overzicht:
Groningen Protocol — Must Read (GotDesign)
Groningen Protocol (E-nough)
Dutch ponder ‘mercy killing’ rules (CNN)
Netherlands Hospital Euthanizes Babies (MY Way News)
The Creeping Evil of Good Intentions (Sidesspot)
A Question Of Values (Captain’s Quarters)
Five Questions and a Thought for the Dutch Baby Killers (MediaCulpa)
The Groningen Protocol (HoodaThunk?)
The Netherlands now practices post-birth abortion (Shock and Blog)
Dutch Hospital Euthanizing Gravely Ill Babies (Fox News)
The Groningen Protocol (David Limbaugh)
The Groningen Protocol (Brain Shavings)
Killing Newborns (Sue Bob’s Diary)
Fourth Trimester Abortion (Interested Participant)
More Groningen Protocol (Powerpundit)
Post Birth Abortions (bLogicus)
Death by Committee (Hugh Hewitt)
Let the Killing Begin (PowerLine)
Managing Death (The Fourth Rail)
Bureaucratizing euthanasia (QuandO Blog)
Taking Innocent Human Life in Holland The Death of Holland and Christian Democrats Holland is Leaving the West Preventing Death versus Killing (Eidos)
He concludes by saying:
A steel card of neo-conservatief America posted concerning the demoralisatie of the Netherlands by citoyen at 15.23
I don’t know what a “steel card of neo-conseravtief America” is supposed to mean, but I agree that the Protocol is strong evidence of the demoralistatie of the Netherlands. I also think that Corrie Ten Boom would agree with me.
I found an article by a Florida columnist(Mike Thomas) about Terri Schiavo. Thomas backhandedly criticizes the attempts to save her life. Full of sanctimony and pseudo-sympathy for Terri, this columnist takes the position that the efforts to save Terri are somehow actually harmful to her. Of course, to accomplish this–he has to use really fuzzy reasoning. He starts out:
You are lying in a bed, with your brain reduced to performing the most rudimentary functions. You wake up. You sleep. Sometimes you respond to basic stimuli. You make noises open to interpretation by the hopeful.
You are awake but not awake. You died but are still alive. It is a cruel hoax played on those who love you.
He fails to acknowledge anywhere in the article that there is conflict between the medical experts about Terri’s condition. But, anyway, his basic premise is that she is not really there–she’s just a vegetable. Later in the article, despite taking the position that she’s really not there, he pretends sympathy for her on the basis that she is suffering from a figurative “tug of war” over her feeding tube. Of course, conservatives are to blame:
A judge allowed your feeding tube to be yanked in 2001.
Two days later, another judge ordered it restored.In 2003, the tube was pulled again. Then it was the politicians’ turn. House Speaker Johnnie Byrd was running for the U.S. Senate. He needed to curry favor with religious conservatives. So he pushed through a law to “save” you. And then he sent out a press release: Be sure to catch Me on Fox News, talking about Terri.
Jeb Bush used Byrd’s law to restore your feeding tube six days after it came out. He snatched you back, just about the time that bright light was visible at the end of the tunnel. Was he doing you a favor?
I guess it would have been doing her a favor to force her to go through the process of starvation and dehydration to the very end.
What he conceals from the public in this piece, is the fact that the public absolutely overwhelmed the Governor and Legislature in its fury over the husband’s intent to starve Terri to death with the blessing of a judge. But, no–he has to pretend that out of the blue, conservative politicians just happened to pick this situation to use in order to “curry favor with religious conservatives.”
While pretending sympathy for her parents –he disingenuously questions their motives:
Your father writes: “This is our daughter, our little girl, and even in her disabled condition, she still has the right to life and the right to be loved and cared for by her family.”Is this really about your family providing love and care to you? Or is it about you — even in your condition — providing love and care to them?
I would remind him that there is a very old and similar story in a very wise Book that is very illustrative about motive. It is the story of King Solomon, a baby, and the two women who each claimed the baby was hers. When neither woman could sufficiently prove the baby was hers, King Solomon offered to split the baby in two and give each woman a half. One woman agreed. The other, crying in horror, gave up her claim to the baby so it would be saved. Solomon, in his wisdom, had revealed the true mother.
It would have behooved this journalist to try to conjure up a little of this kind of wisdom himself. After all,Terri Schiavo’s parents have spent most of their physical and emotional resources on the attempt to save their daughter. Moreover, just has did the true mother in the Solomon story, they have offered to totally exonerate Schiavo of any financial responsibility and to allow him to walk away with what money remains left from Terri’s malpractice award–just for the privilege of taking care of their daughter. Not only has Schiavo refused, profound questions about his motive in all this have been raised by his wilful failure to use Terri’s money to attempt any rehabilitation or to allow independent testing of her cognitive functioning.
If anyone’s motive is suspect in this story it is Schiavo’s.
Then there is this gratuitous comment about the parent’s lawyer (new lawyer by the way) :
The attorney who represents your parents has a media director. Anyone wanting a quote about you can give him a call.
Well, what about George Felos, Michael’s lawyer and this article in the St. Peterburg Times about him and his practice of yoga? I’d say he’s rather a media whore. If the parent’s lawyer has a media director–he or she is apparently there to actually help clients rather than to get self-aggrandizing snippets like this into the media:
Every morning these days, Felos is 160 pounds of elastic on his bedroom floor. He does yoga, inspired by a framed portrait of Paramahansa Yogananda, the founder of spiritual realization. He does more stretches and takes out a machine that helps with his chi, or body energy.
The purpose of the morning routine is to be “present in the sensation of his body.”
He takes out a throw pillow and meditates for a half hour before showering and drinking a concoction of protein powder, banana, orange juice, yogurt and goat’s milk.
Each morning he checks to see if something has grown on the mango tree and bamboo he planted in the front yard.
Thomas summarizes the “point” of his column by saying:
You are Terri Schiavo. You were so beautiful and full of life, and now millions of strangers watch your distorted features on video, supposedly reacting to that which the experts say you are oblivious to. How do you feel about being seen like that?
What about how she will feel while being starved and dehydrated to death?
Morever, doesn’t the paragraph say more about him than it does about Terri Schiavo? Would he prefer that all people with “distorted features” and brain damage be done away because it is discomfitting for him to see them? How sad that he cannot really understand that all human life has value.
About that last point I made. The Empire Journal reports that the Vatican is appealing for the life of Terri and is emphasizing that every human life has value and purpose:
“I would like to remind everyone in this connection, about all that the Holy Father has said in past days to the Pontifical Academy for Life, confirming that the quality of life is not interpreted as economic success, beauty and physical pleasure, but consists in the supreme dignity of the creature made in the image and likeness of God.”
Mr. Thomas, are you hearing this?
I’m presently reading Men In Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America by Mark R. Levin. Right off the bat, Mark Levin makes it crystal clear that judges are no better than you or me. Some are good people–some are not. Some are smart–some are stupid. Some are moral–some are not.
I was disabused of the notion that judges are majestical and perfect creatures before I graduated from law school. I sat second chair in a trial when I was a third year law student, enabled to do so with a third year practice card. The presiding judge was, quite frankly, an ass. He was openly biased–and he purposely played with a nosy, beepy little calculator during my boss’s examinations of witnesses and closing argument. From that moment on, I knew that the judicial system did not fit the ideals of my youthful imagination. I became a cynic about the qualities and qualifications of judges. Quite frankly, there are judges whom I believe became judges because they can’t make it as lawyers. There are many, many good judges–but I now always reserve judgment.
Judge Greer’s actions in the Terri Schiavo case do nothing to disabuse my cyncism regarding the inherent quality of judges. The Empire Journal reports on what appears to be a pattern with this judge. Another article at the Journal discusses irregularities in the Pinellas County Probate System regarding other cases:
At the center of the guardianship fiasco in Florida is none other than Pinellas County. Honorable David A. Demers, Chief Judge Sixth Judicial Circuit conducted an audit on the Final Accounting of the guardianship of Timothy Corwin. The audit discovered, â€œa lack of compliance with state law and court orders, as well as inappropriate practices and questionable expenditures.â€
In my last post on this subject, I discussed the hearsay evidence by Schiavo as to his wife’s wishes. The Empire Journal analyzes the issue in more detail:
The Florida Supreme Court held in Browning that when the decision of proxy or surrogate to refuse medical treatment on behalf of an incompetent patient is challenged, although the surrogate may rely on oral statements allegedly made by an incompetent patient while competent, to exercise patientâ€™s wishes to forego life-sustaining treatment, presumption of clear and convincing evidence that attaches to written declaration does not attach to purely oral declarations. While oral evidence, considered alone, may constitute clear and convincing evidence, surrogate (Michael Schiavo) would bear the burden of proof if the decision based purely on oral evidence is challenged.
Terri’s guardian ad litem concluded the following about the strength of Schiavo’s hearsay testimony:
A six month investigation conducted by a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem culminated in a report filed with the court on December 30, 1998. The report stated that Michael Schiavoâ€™s sole version of Terriâ€™s alleged oral declaration not to be kept alive if ever in her present condition did -not- provide clear and convincing evidence of Terriâ€™s wishes. Note: The Guardian Ad Litem recommended to the court that Schiavo’s Petition to remove Terriâ€˜s feeding be denied.
Judge Greer, at some point, appointed himself as Terri’s Guardian Ad Litem–a position that places him in ethical conflict in this particular case–given the heated nature of it. At the least, it gives the appearance of impropriety.
The bottom line is that there is simply no clear and convincing evidence that Terri would want to die under these circumstances–there is only opinion–which is insufficient. There is a reason for having such a high bar before allowing a guardian to deny nutrition and hydration. Juan Paxety at Paxety Pages gives his own personal example. It is quite fortunate that Judge Greer wasn’t deciding his fate.
An emergency habeas corpus motion has been filed today in Terri’s case. Go read about it.
Back in December I wrote about the Groningen Protocol linking to an excellent essay by Dr. Bob of The Doctor is In entitled The Children Whom Reason Scorns. The Groningen Protocol involves the euthanizing of sick and/or disabled children in the Netherlands upon the judgment of physicians–and without the consent of parents.
Dr. Bob commented on the thinking behind this Protocol :
Euthanasia is the quick fix to man’s ageless struggle with suffering and disease. The Hippocratic Oath – taken in widely varying forms by most physicians at graduation – was originally administered to a minority of physicians in ancient Greece, who swore to prescribe neither euthanasia nor abortion – both common recommendations by healers of the age. The rapid and widespread acceptance of euthanasia in pre-Nazi Germany occurred because it was eminently reasonable and rational. Beaten down by war, economic hardship, and limited resources, logic dictated that those who could not contribute to the betterment of society cease being a drain on its lifeblood. Long before its application to ethnic groups and enemies of the State, it was administered to those who made us most uncomfortable: the mentally ill, the deformed, the retarded, the social misfit. While invariably promoted as a merciful means of terminating suffering, the suffering relieved is far more that of the enabling society than of its victims. “Death with dignity” is the gleaming white shroud on the rotting corpse of societal fear, self-interest and ruthless self-preservation.
Dr. Bob attributes the march to such immorality to several factors including:
The banality of evil: Great evil springs in countless small steps from lesser evil. Jesus Christ was doubtless not the first innocent man Pilate condemned to death; soft porn came before child porn, snuff films, and rape videos; in the childhood of the serial killer lies cruelty to animals. Small evils harden the heart, making greater evil easier, more routine, less chilling. We marvel at the hideousness of the final act, but the descent to depravity is a gentle slope downwards. (Dr. Bob calls this
The false expediency of evil: Solve the problem today, deny any future consequences. We are nearsighted creatures in the extreme, seeing only the benefits of our current actions while dismissing the potential for unknown, disastrous ramifications. When Baby Knauer, an infant with blindness, mental retardation and physical deformities, became the first child euthanized in Germany, who could foresee the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau? We are blind to the horrendous consequences of our wrong decisions, but see infinite visions of hope for their benefits. As a child I watched television shows touting peaceful nuclear energy as the solution to all the world’s problems, little imagining the fears of the Cuban missile crisis, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the minutes before midnight of the Cold War, and the current ogre of nuclear terrorism.
We have two such examples before us now. One involves Terri Schiavo, the other an infant named Sun Hudson.
Many people are writing about Terri Schiavo, including La Shawn Barber and The Anchoress. Terri is the victim of a guardian/husband who has long had a conflict of interest in his role as decision-maker making medical decisions regarding his wife–who had no Advance Directives or Living Will. The judge in the case has repeatedly refused to recognize the conflict of interest presented by the fact that the husband has refused from the beginning to use Terri’s money to rehabilitate her and is living with another woman by whom he has children—and stands to inherit the remainder of the money awarded Terri by a court in a malpractice suit. The judge in the case has wilfully failed to follow the law:
“Over the years Greer has repeatedly allowed Michael to shirk his legal mandate as guardian to file annual prospective “guardianship plans,” specifying his proposal for providing for Terri’s medical and social needs for the coming year.“
Schiavo wishes for permission to pull Terri’s feeding tube. For an extremely ill person at the end of life, dehydration and starvation is not necessarily painful as appetite wanes near death. However, Terri is not near death from illness. For her, starvation and dehydration will be extremely painful. Despite what the media says, there is strong evidence that Terry is not in a persistant vegetative state.
Terri is not on life support. She is merely receiving food and water by a tube because her husband would not allow Terri’s money to be spent on therapy for her swallowing issues. Therapy has helped many a person who has undergone a stroke or other medical incidents to regain lost ability to swallow. The fact that one cannot swallow is does not mean that one is incapable of life. Stephen Hawking has a feeding tube, after all.
Michael Schiavo was never granted Power of Attorney by his wife designating him as the person to decide such life and death issues for her upon her incapacitation. She signed no Advance Directives or Living Wills. We have only the word of a man who lied to a jury. He testifed that he intended to use money awarded her for her rehabilitation (which he never did)–and soon after began to date and procreate with other women. How the Court decided to admit and base decisions upon Schiavo’s hearsay testimony about Terri’s wishes is beyond me. I can think of no definitive or strong exceptions to the Rules of Evidence to support the Judge’s admission of such hearsay testimony under the circumstances. Watching a television show or movie about an incapacitated person and allegedly commenting about not wanting to live like that is not sufficient to find the exception of “excited utterance” and to overcome established and wise rules about hearsay evidence in my opinion.
Thus, here we have the situation where a man, whose own personal interests are clearly contrary to the continued life of his wife, holds her fate in his hands without confirmable directions from the wife allowing him such power.
But–what about the situation where a court or health provider elects to stop treatment of a baby in contravention of the mother’s wishes?
There is such a situation in Texas as written about by ArrMatey at Pirate Pundit. The Baby’s name is Sun Hudson. ArrMatey actually interviewed the attorney for the mother and writes about it here. According to the attorney for the mother, the hospital wants to turn off the baby’s ventilator regardless of the wishes of the mother and went to court for such an order under the “Futile Care” Statutes of Texas. The Court apparently ruled that the Mother had no standing under the law to present evidence regarding the matter–according to her attorney. ArrMatey writes:
Finally before the probate court, the mother was not given the opportunity to call any witnesses or present any evidence in an evidentiary hearing. Instead, the judge ruled that the hospital may discontinue treatment of the child, based on facts not even alleged by the hospital, specifically that the judge believed the child was suffering â€œsignificant pain.â€ According to Caballero, when he asked how the judge had reached that finding of fact without ever having heard any testimony or conducting a hearing on the merits of the case, the judge replied, on the record, that he â€œprobably got it from the newspaper.â€ Having visited the baby in the hospital, Caballero flatly denies that the child is in pain. After reflection, Caballero asked Judge McColloch to recuse himself from the case. McColloch refused.
The Hospital represented to the judge that it had checked with numerous facilities and had not found one that would take the child–thus it should be allowed to turn off the ventilator. As ArrMatey recounts here–there was at least one facility that may be equipped to accept the baby that the Hospital didn’t bother to ask. I know about that facility and it is inconceivable to me that the Hospital was unaware of the facility.
This case is a bit different from the Terri Schiavo case as the Baby is on what would be considered to be life support–unlike hydration and nutrition. Baby Hudson suffers from Thanatophoric Dysplasia. It is usually fatal soon after birth, though there are cases of victims surviving into childhood. Pragmatists relying only on reason divorced from morality would opine that because the baby will most certainly die–there is no reason to continue keeping the baby alive on life support. A pragmatist would decide that the parent of such a child is simply too ignorant of the realities of medicine to have an opinion worth heeding in such a situation.
The fact that the Baby’s disease is most certainly fatal is not justification for ending this baby’s life now by pulling the vent contrary to the wishes of his mother–and solely upon the say so of the hospital and a judge who doesn’t seem to realize that he shouldn’t be deciding the case based on what he reads in the newspapers. Moreover, taking such decisions away from parents seems to take us in the direction of the Groningen Protocol.
Baby Hudson has already defied the odds by surviving for five months. Who knows what God may have in store for him. As Doctor Bob says:
Reason of itself is morally neutral; it can kill children or discover cures for their suffering and disease. Reason tempered by humility, faith, and guidance by higher moral principles has enormous potential for good – and without such restraints, enormous potential for evil.
Putting life and death decisions regarding medical treatment solely into the hands of the courts and medical profession is simply courting evil. Dr. Bob again:
Higher moral principles position roadblocks to our behavior, warning us that grave danger lies beyond. When in our hubris and unenlightened reason we crash through them, we do so at great peril, for we do not know what evil lies beyond. The Netherlands will not be another Nazi Germany, as frightening as the parallels may be. It will be different, but it will be evil in some unpredictable way, impossible to foresee when rationalism took the first step across that boundary to kill a patient in mercy.
The MSM routinely criticizes the Blue Line of Silence, rightly claiming that it thwarts the airing of truth and the administration of justice. Isn’t ironic that in response to the Eason Jordan issue–and others concerning the truth and veracity of the MSM–it responds by forming its own obstacle equivalent to the infamous Blue Line. Yes, the MSM has circled the wagons, fallen back into formation, gone on the defensive, lobbed sneers and jeers in the direction of the bloggers, and created its own “Line”– the “Gray Line of Sneers and Jeers”. (Hugh Hewitt, Power Line, Easongate, Kerry Spot, Beldar)
But it is too late. As Vox Day points out:
A few weeks ago, I was informed by Universal Press Syndicate that since they had been unable to sell my column to a single newspaper over the course of a year, they were dropping it from syndication. I was not the least bit upset by this, nor did they expect me to be, for we are both aware that the time of the legacy gatekeepers is coming to a close.
This is only the first chapter and these are only the first of many legacy scalps that will be claimed. Already Creative Labs, the computer hardware giant and maker of Web cams, is beginning to eye the blog phenomenon with interest … and it will not be long before the video blogs begin their assault on the cable news channels.
The barbarians are within the gates … let the pillaging begin!
Now, we have a new tactic from the Gray Line of Sneers and Jeers, threats of lawsuits for violation of copyright and other fantastical theories. Cheat Seeking Missiles discusses the Michelle Malkin post about threats made against blogger Michael Bates by the Tulsa World. Here’s part of the letter sent by this silly paper:
The reproduction of any articles and/or editorials (in whole or in part) on your website or linking your website to Tulsa World content is without the permission of the Tulsa World and constitutes an intentional infringement of the Tulsa World’s copyright and other rights to the exclusive use and distribution of the copyrighted materials.
Therefore, we hereby demand that you immediately remove any Tulsa World material from your website, to include unauthorized links to our website, and cease and desist from any further use or dissemination of our copyrighted content.
The letter ignores the “fair use doctrine”. Most appalling is the claim that linking to the paper is an infringement. That’s like saying that a footnote in a book is a copyright infringement. It’s a good thing that an actual lawyer didn’t write the letter because he or she might have a little ethical problem due to such a gross mischaracterization of the law.
We should all write. As Vox says “Let the pillaging begin!”
Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters points out one member of the MSM who has refused to join The Gray Line of Sneers and Jeers: The Washington Times. Smart move Times!
For months I have been trying to stop watching Law and Order. It has been the one and only drama that I have wanted to watch on TV. I like the fact that it focuses on the cases and not the personal lives of the characters. Sometimes, I watch it multiple times in a day. But, its continued descent into the quagmire of leftism has become too much for me. Last night’s Law and Order: Criminal Intent was the last straw.
The show last night guest-starred Chris Noth. His character is portrayed as a “guy’s guy” with great common sense. Hah! The premise of the story was that the government is hiding Arab-Americans in state prisons “off the books”. The prisoners were being tortured by sadistic guards in the particular prison portrayed in the show. The guards had the “mob” murder a guard leaving his job to become a New York firefighter because of fear that he would tell on the others.
Chris Noth got involved because he was dating a nurse at the prison who treated the “tortured Arab-Americans”. She was marked for death because she talked to the detectives. During the show, Chris Noth calls the Patriot Act–”1984.’ So much for his “guy’s guy persona.” I’ve read through the Patriot Act and it seems to be comprised of a little tweaking of pre-existing law–with one major difference–the fact that intelligence agencies can share information. I have yet to see anyone opposed to it argue specifically about even ONE section. The opposition sticks to general mud-throwing–like Chris Noth’s character.
Preceding this show, was a re-run of Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit. It was about a fictional male governor of Connecticut who had an affair with a guy. Serena, the assistant DA who was fired and who asked upon her termination: “Is it because I’m a lesbian?” defended the governor because he’d taken money from suburban school districts to give to urban school districts.
This may seem like a trivial post compared to what others are doing in the blogosphere, but I think that a lot of people believe that shows like this represent reality. Thus, shows like this are a bigger threat than the propaganda on CNN or CBS news. After all, Law and Order is a heck of a lot more fun to watch than 60 Minutes.
I have to stop watching it. How does that 12 step thing go?
Hindrocket at Power Line writes about the Jeff Gannon controversy:
The “scandal” that has erupted over the past few days involves the following elements: 1) “Jeff Gannon” isn’t his real name; it’s James Guckert; 2) Guckert is alleged to be a homosexual (Markos Moulitsos of the Daily Kos has made a big deal out of this); and 3) several gay porn sites are registered in Guckert’s name.
I still don’t get it. Gannon has been attacked for not being a “real” journalist–as compared to whom, Helen Thomas? He called himself a “voice of the new media” on his web site, and it seems passing strange to me for bloggers to suggest that only journalism school graduates are qualified to ask questions at press briefings. As far as I can tell, the only thing that distinguished Gannon from the other reporters is that he is a partisan conservative, whereas they are nearly all partisan liberals. I’d be happy if the administration threw the whole lot of them out and took questions from people on the street.
Inasmuch as I still don’t see that there is much of a story here–apart, of course, from the somewhat entertaining strangeness of it all–I’ll stop writing now.
I agree with Hindrocket that Gannon himself is not a story. But there is a story of some significance here. In fact, Brit Hume discussed this today with his panel.(For some reason, the only people on the panel I remember by name are Brit and Charles Krauthammer)
The discussion touched upon the question of who is a real journalist given the rise of “unconventional journalists” such as those who write for on-line publications like TalonNews.com and bloggers. What I gathered from the discussion–as well as from the Scot McClellan statement mentioned by Hindrocket–is that, at least daily credentials are issued to these “unconventional journalists” and opinion journalists and writers who work for advocacy publications. It was also discussed that, contrary to the impression being given by the MSM and liberal bloggers, Gannon never ran porn sites. He registered domain names for clients. According to the panel discussion, there was never any content posted on those sites.
The panel agreed that perhaps the question posed by Mr. Gannon that set this off was somewhat inartful–but that his partisanship was no more noticeable than the liberal slant given by the others allowed to participate in press conferences. As Hindrocket notes, isn’t Helen Thomas still allowed to participate?
If you look at the articles and blogs attacking Jeff Gannon, you will also see indignation because Gannon has no prior press experience–or journalism background. (academic snob alert) TalonNews.com uses volunteer journalists. Kind of like citizen-journalists populating blogs, eh? Hugh Hewitt and Power Line have often discussed the sometimes less than illustrious training of journalists–especially as compared to the intensive training of attorneys. A degree in journalism does not particularily impress me. And, I don’t believe that Mark Twain–who like Jeff Gannon wrote under a pseudonym– had a degree in journalism. The motivation behind all this really has nothing to do with Gannon’s lack of a journalism degree–look what happened to Paul Sperry–a degreed journalist with 12 years experience at Investor’s Business Daily–when he broke stories unfavorable to Clinton.
The real story here is the outrage and venom spewing from the leftists–and now Democratic members of Congress–over the fact that questions were posed by an openly conservative reporter. We’ve seen conservative pundits and bloggers complain about reporters asking questions with a notable liberal spin–but I don’t recall seeing Republican Representatives asking for investigations as a result.
Some veteran White House reporters said Gannon’s questions at press conferences show he is trying to make Bush look good — or providing a “life line” — instead of demanding answers. “I’ve heard people grumble about it,” said Terence Hunt, an Associated Press White House correspondent for 20 years.
A representative of the AP giving an opinion on journalistic ethics after this? Now THAT’s funny.
I’ve been following the blogosphere on Eason’s Fables (phrase coined by Captain’s Quarters) I can’t add anything to what Captain Ed, Hugh Hewitt, La Shawn Barber and others have written. I did see Hannity & Colmes discuss the issue tonight and I totally agree with Slant Point when he says:
Sadly, Sean Hannity had no idea what this issue was all about. Missing Bozell’s queue to release the tape, instead Hannity only focused on the effect on putting troops in harms way by improper propaganda being distributed by CNN. This is a valid point, but he missed a huge opportunity to call for the tape’s release. (Hat Tip La Shawn Barber)
Slant Point also discusses the participation of Danny Schechter, from mediachannel.org who made the film Weapons of Mass Deception. This guy was all over the map so much that I couldn’t make out what his position is. He would claim that Arab journalists “felt” that the military was targeting them as if that’s evidence. When asked directly if he believed that American soldiers were targeting journalists–he’d dance off into some incomprehensible rant. Slant Point discusses his meanderings in more detail.
As Slant Point says–the Eason Jordan issue out there now–but I was really disappointed in the show. It’s not the first time I’ve felt that Sean Hannity was not really grasping the point. I felt the same way for a long time about his grasp of the significance of the facts presented by the Swift Boat Vets. I hope that somebody gets him up to speed on this issue.
The blogosphere is full of great commentary on the SOU and the aftermath–and no doubt–you have read most of it. For an interesting approach just published today–go to my favorite newsletter, To The Point News and read the commentary, Bush in Norway, by Dr. Jack Wheeler. Dr. Wheeler believes that President Bush is the most deserving of anyone to receive the Nobel Peace Prize:
It was about two years ago when I was talking to my friend Tony Blankley of the Washington Times and Fox News, and commented that someday George Bushâ€™s greatness as a president would be compared to Ronald Reaganâ€™s. Tonyâ€™s response floored me: â€œYou know, Jack, someday it might be the other way around.â€
The trifecta of the last two weeks â€“ the Second Inaugural Address, the elections in Iraq, the State of the Union â€“ provide an undeniable demonstration of Tonyâ€™s prescience. Yet next December 10 in Oslo, Norway, there will be another undeniable demonstration â€“ this one of undiluted perversity. For on that day, George W. Bush will not be there to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (paid subscription required for the rest–believe me it’s worth it)
For the best, and funniest, take on the aftermath, go to Wuzzadem.
That “captured American Soldier” of whom the thug terrorists sent photos to the MSM? He is actually a Cody Special Ops doll (Wizbang)! (HT Got Design, Polipundit, Power Line–and of course Scrappleface is on the job)
I think that this is a job for– MIGHTY MOUSE!!
I’ve written on this blog about Jack Wheeler’s newsletter, To the Point News. I receive it via e-mail every Friday. You have to pay a subscription fee–but it is well worth it. Go subscribe!!
GWâ€™s second inaugural address was the Vision Statement regarding this goal. What is needed now is the Business Plan, how the vision is to be actually implemented. For an insight into Bushâ€™s Business Plan for Ending Tyranny, we can look at the drunk coal miners of Donetsk.
Eastern Ukraine is heavily ethnic Russian. The main industry is coal. The miners are rough, tough, and hate Yushchenko for wanting to take Ukraine away from Russia and towards the West. It was arranged for more than a thousand of them to be taken from Donetsk, the capital of the coal-mining region, by bus and train to Kiev, where, armed with clubs and blunt tools, they would physically beat up the Orange Revolutionaries. Such mass violence was not only to disperse the demonstrators but serve as an excuse for the government to declare martial law, suspending the Ukrainian Parliament (the Rada) and elections indefinitely.
When the miners got on their buses and trains, they found to their joy case after case of vodka â€“ just for them. When they arrived in Kiev, trucks awaited them filled with more cases of vodka â€“ all free provided by â€œfriendsâ€ of the Donetsk coal miners. Completely soused, they never made it to Independence Square. Too hammered blind to cause any violence at all, they had a merry time, passed out, and were shipped back to Donetsk.
Guess who the Friends of the Miners were?
And just who were the minerâ€™s friends that had the vodka for them? The same folks who had all the supplies for the democracy demonstrators: teams of Porter Gossâ€™s CIA working with their counterparts in British MI6 intelligence.
Do you suppose that we could use this approach on Ted Kennedy?
I love Westerns so much that I have the Western channel at home. I find myself watching it more and more as television fare continually declines.
A common theme in the old Western movies is about the evil rich saloon or ranch owner who covets everyone else’s land. When he can’t persuade others to sell, he forces them off using thugs. He buys the sheriff and the judge and has papers served on the small ranchers in order to confiscate the property. What he can’t do through the free market–he does through naked force. Then a lone cowboy, played by someone like Randolph Scott, rides into town and confronts the villain and faces down corrupt law enforcement and saves the day for the ranchers.
Throughout this country we have the same theme playing out time and time again. Big developers buy off local governments with the promise of more tax revenues and the local governments, in return, force less wealthy and powerful–and sometimes rather poor– property owners off their land–at the point of a gun if need be.
Neal Boortz writes about another of these outrages unfolding in Norwood Ohio. A couple has lived in their home for 35 years, but now a private developer covets it for apartments and an upscale mall. The city has given the couple until this Thursday to get out of the only home they have ever owned, the only home they want.
You may say–well, all the other neighbors wanted to sell and they are being offered a lot of money. Is that the issue? These people want to live their lives out in this home that they bought and paid for and they should have that right, especially since this is not the kind of situation that was ever contemplated for the use of eminent domain.
Remember when William Wallace in Braveheart said to Robert the Bruce: You think the people of this land exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. Land-grabbing local politicians seem to believe that you and your property exist only to provide them with a tax base–and that they have no obligation to protect your property rights.
Where is Randolph Scott when you need him?
Neal Boortz has the link to contact the Norwood mayor if you are inclined to emulate Randolph Scott.