Terri Schiavo: Horsewoman of the Apocalypse

A friend popped into the virtual world I inhabit the other day and complained about being unable to escape the face of Terri Schiavo, what with every channel on TV being filled with her vacant stare.

Whew, I thought. Thank you, TiVO.

I watch relatively little TV these days, and what I do watch tends to be aggressively pre-screened and narrowly selected: movie DVDs, mostly, along with some Daily Show, some What Not to Wear (the Stacy-and-Clinton version; Trinny and Suzanna are too catty for my tastes, and the Cinderella storyline doesn’t work for me when ‘after’ looks as bad as before, at least to my American eyes), some Letterman, some Ellen, a little basketball. Most of the time, the big, stupid media obsessions are like moths beating their wings futilely against the closed window of my inner life.

But the Terri Schiavo story, thanks to the spectacle of the Torture Party in Congress suspending the business of the nation so they can address the issue, and Fearless Leader actually interrupting his Crawford vacation to rush back to Washington (something he couldn’t be bothered to do even for grave threats of imminent al Qaeda attack during the late summer of 2001), has managed to burst my bubble of isolation.


Okay. Since this has been deemed by the Master Control Program to be the story that will consume my attention, what am I to make of it?

The best summing-up I’ve found is this one from Obsidian Wings’ hilzoy: Terri Schiavo. Among the unanticipated ironies I found there: The woman whose forced feeding has become a national obsession suffered her original cardiac arrest due to a chemical imbalance that was the result of bulimia. With the gallons of ink being spilled on this story, why has that fact so far escaped my notice?

For more on Schiavo’s medical condition, there’s Doctor Rivka of Respectful of Otters: Terri Schiavo, part I: The medical post.

The Republican machine that is attempting to raise political capital with this issue is being blatantly, cynically dishonest. The Christian right, those red-state values voters, believe they are fostering a “culture of life” in calling for the tube to be stuck back down Schiavo’s throat. They believe, based on some heavily edited video, that the random grimaces, blinks, and grins being produced by her reptilian hindbrain are possibly a response to her mother’s face, a spoken word. They believe there’s a chance that the person who was Terri Schiavo is trapped inside there, somewhere, and that her immoral, godless husband is trying to kill that good woman.

In that belief, they display a faith-based morality that is a credit to their upbringing. They also display a crushing, abject ignorance. It’s the same sort of ignorance that let Bush conflate Iraq with al Qaeda in the run-up to war, and to now be hailing his own fabulous “success” in bringing democracy to the Middle East.

So the Christian right has an excuse: They don’t know any better. But the Republicans grandly posturing as defenders of Terri in order to curry favor with the ignorant have no such excuse. They know what they’re doing.

As do we in the reality-based community. We know exactly what they’re doing. They’re pandering for votes, in the process ignoring the duty they have to lead the country wisely and thoughtfully.

It’s a sign of the Last Days, I think. Not necessarily in the Biblical-prophecy sense, but in the Fall-of-Rome sense. When leaders stop trying to make capable, wise decisions, and devolve instead to offering increasingly blatant bread and circuses, the end of empire is not far off.

Maybe these folks have it right: The coming of deindustrial society: A practical response. Maybe Bush is really just a symptom of a larger disease, a small manifestation of our collective denial of the doom foreseen thirty years ago in The Limits to Growth.

One last irony before I go: hilzoy explains that the Terry Schiavo case is really about incompetence, in the medical/legal sense. Her capacity to make decisions is gone, long gone, but her body lives on. What process will we, as a society, use to reach decisions on her behalf? And now she becomes the poster-girl for the Bush presidency, which is itself a monument to incompetence of another sort. Bush the legacy, the indifferent student whose whole career has been a serial upward failure, aggressively denying his own inadequacy, daring you to find fault with him, while making bonehead mistake after bonehead mistake. And we, via our collective political will, putting the feeding tube back down his throat, keeping the illusion alive.

When I tell myself that my country can be saved, that catastrophe can be averted, am I praying for a miracle that can’t possibly come? Am I hoping for the cerebrospinal fluid that has replaced my country’s cerebral cortex to magically turn itself back into a functioning democracy? Do I honestly expect that the Tom Delay Congress, the William Rehnquist Supreme Court, and (especially) the George Bush/Karl Rove presidency, are going to spontaneously morph back into a government of, by, and for the people?

40 Responses to “Terri Schiavo: Horsewoman of the Apocalypse”

  1. Rise Against Says:

    Great right up, JBC.

    This totally smacks of politicking. This will no doubt be spun outta control by the grand American media into a ‘moral cirsis’ in the US. I bet you more people are paying attention to this ‘moral crisis’ than they are about the toture chambers being operated by the US military, or the outsourcing thereof.

    I thought it was very ironic too, that Terri ended up being fed through a tube support because of a chemical imbalance caused by bulemia, yet this fact is absent from all the 24/7 news channels. I first learned about it through the link you provided.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out, I can already hear the religious right revving up their engines.

    Something else I find extremely ironic:

    Why is it immoral to play ‘God’ when it comes to abortion, but it’s not immoral to play ‘God’ when it comes to this? She is supposed to be dead, isn’t she?

  2. TeacherVet Says:

    You can all relax. It is now in the hands of our all-powerful judicial system, the branch of our government that consistently trumps the other two branches, our duly elected representatives. I certainly expect the judge to let the woman die, and the party that purports to champion women’s rights will celebrate. Irony?

    I do not represent the “religious right”, but I fully support their constitutional right to believe and worship. Such grouping, collective labeling, is contrary to the constant protestations of the “left.” Something about the pot calling the kettle black. If you think it is wrong to characterize in that manner, don’t practice doing it yourself. The Golden Rule would be a great social teacher, but of course, since it’s in the Bible it must be discarded. If I don’t agree with you, I am cynically dishonest.

    I have contrasting views of abortion. On one hand, I have never personally heard any woman claim to be “great with fetus,” but I am very familiar with the phrase “great with child.” I have twin nieces who were born late in the “second trimester.” Were they not living human beings at birth? Unlike Terri Schiavo, they were kept alive with life support apparatus for several weeks – if they had died, would you have celebrated?

    On the other hand, I should be grateful that abortion can be attributed to the Democrat downward slide in elections – and is certain to be a self-inflicted mortal wound in elections for many years ahead. I’m not talking about morality – just numbers and logic. At least 20 million potential voters were aborted from 1973 to 1986, and simple logic dictates that the majority of them were done on women who believe in abortion – need I name a political party? Do your own math, and see if you can find the “missing, disenfranchised votes” to overturn the Ohio result. Continue to kill the party base at the rate of 6 million every 4-year voting cycle, and future election opportunities appear bleak. Is it possible that “abortion sank John Kerry’s ship?”

    The “religious right” is making this a political issue? Please read the original article very closely and analytically, along with the politically biased references, and you will discover another example of the pot calling the kettle black…especially in the strenuous efforts to draw parallels. Analogies between this and the Iraq War? Wow. Face it – Bush is in favor of giving the woman a chance to live, so it must be wrong.

    I don’t understand why the woman’s husband has not been charged with various crimes – including cruelty and misappropriation of funds (theft). Torture? My mother-in-law has Alzheimers, and she will never recover; but if we told the nursing home staff to keep her in the dark, allow her no visitors, deny her medical attention, and stop giving her food and water, we would be arrested and charged – and rightly so. Often she doesn’t recognize us, usually staring at us without making a sound, but sometimes smiling at us – perhaps only a reflex of her “reptilian hindbrain.” I won’t let my wife know of that characterization. That reptilian reflex, about once every two weeks, sustains her.

    In the Schiavo case, there is no living will – only the word of the man who wants her dead. When she dies, he wants her cremated immediately. She is not comatose, and not on a respirator or any other artificial life-support machines. She appears somewhat responsive in the “heavily edited video,” but Mr. Schiavo will not allow medical examinations. He wasted more than a million bucks that was designated for her care. He was offered a million bucks if he would just divorce her and surrender custody to her parents, but that would allow efforts to recover her speech. That fact really arouses my suspicions. It has been suggested that the Right fails to question, but I question why the Left unquestionably accepts a Bulemia report that appears only in an extreme Left publication.

    I don’t care about Mr. Schiavo’s morality or any godless attitude – his behavior is mean, cruel, and very suspicious. This has nothing to do with politics or religion; it is a human rights issue. She has survived with nothing more than food and water for many years; a testiment to her will to live.

  3. ymatt Says:

    Okay, discarding all the left vs right name calling… I’m certainly not going to be celebrating if/when she dies (and I have absolutely no idea what this has to do with women’s rights). It’s just that I cannot understand why this needs to be dealt with by *the Congress of the United States of America*. This case has been reviewed over and over by courts and experts and there has not once been a question of the result — her brain has *turned to liquid* and she would have wanted to pass on in such a state. The Republicans have found a way to look like the heroes to those who aren’t paying attention to anything beyond the tear-jerker reporting.

    And give me a break, imagine if your spouse were suddenly struck down and their brain completely destroyed beyond repair. How would you hold up to 15 years of watching their empty shell go on breathing — especially if their wishes were to be let go? He has not been petitioning for her to die, he’s just been asking the experts and the courts to tell him “yes, she’s gone and it’s over”. I understand her parents not wanting to let go, but I don’t think they’re grasping that she’s already dead here or they don’t care.

    And seriously: *the Congress of the United States of America*. What the hell?

  4. Sven Says:

    Personally, I resent this being made into a left vs. right issue by Teachervet and other Republicans. I don’t feel any of us here have the information to make the decision over this woman’s right to life or death, and hopefully none of us will ever be forced to make such a decision. I for one will not be celebrating anyones death.

    I feel it is especially hypocritical of Bush and Bush Republicans toss this around like some kind of political football, however. Especially since a Texas law Bush signed back in 1999 resulted in pulling the plug from a six month old baby in his homestate just this past week. Against the mothers wishes I must add.


    Yeah. You have the right to life. Just as long as you are able to pay for it.

  5. jbc Says:

    The bulimia comment is linked by hilzoy to an opinion piece by Michael and Terri Schiavo’s lawyer. It ran in the St. Petersburg Times — which I wasn’t aware was an “extreme Left publication”; the things you learn online, eh? Anyway: The lost lesson of Terri Schiavo.

    But the cause of her coma (update: oops. not “coma.” make that “condition.”) isn’t particularly important in the larger scheme of things. I just find it ironic, given how the case has played out. And I find it interesting that the Christian right is failing to mention it in their effort to craft a particular storyline.

    Michael Schiavo has allowed all kinds of access by medical experts to Terri Schiavo. I think your suspicions, TeacherVet, are more about the biased sources of information you’re listening to than any lurking mystery about the case.

    I’m not saying Terri Schiavo should be killed. I’m saying that we as a society have an established means of determining the wishes of someone who is incompetent, and that process has been followed here, to the nth degree. For understandable reasons, her parents disagree with the outcome of that process. For cynical, dishonest reasons the Christian right is misrepresenting and propagandizing about the case, and making it into a huge circus, turning this poor, brain-dead woman into a football to advance their political agenda. I find that thoroughly contemptible.

    I’ve said before that I value your contributions to the site, and I do. But in this case, after reading your comment several times, I fail to find anything that adds to my understanding of the issue. Maybe you could post links to some sources that give a version of the situation that has led you to your views?

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I experienced my father-in-law’s death from brain cancer a number of years ago, and it was a very difficult time. More recently, I experienced my stepfather’s death from Alzheimer’s disease, and it was similarly unpleasant. Even at their lowest points, though, there was a world of difference between my father-in-law and my stepfather on the one hand, and the descriptions I’ve read of Terri Schiavo on the other.

    Whatever made her a unique individual, a thinking, feeling human being, is gone. It’s no mystery where in our bodies the processes take place that create our individual sense of identity: they take place in the cerebral cortex of the brain. For the most part, she no longer has one. And despite the misrepresentations currently being made by her parents, it just isn’t coming back. That’s reality.

    Her husband didn’t go into court and say, “she would have wanted to die under these circumstances.” He said to the court, “I don’t know what’s right. You decide what her wishes would have been, based on the evidence.” The court did that. It decided that she would not have wanted the vegetative shell of her body kept alive by forced feedings, to grow old and die with virtually none of the characteristics we regard as essential elements of humanity. Given that finding, the state has no right to intervene and overrule her wishes. Neither do her parents. End of story.

  6. TeacherVet Says:

    I agree with many of the responses – in the present context, and without the unfortunate characterizations. I have a living will, and I certainly don’t want to be kept “alive” by artificial means. However, if I am not in a coma, not hooked up to any machines, and the only requirements for keeping me alive are food and water…..perhaps second thoughts. I’m presently not comatose, although my wife might debate that at times, but I’m kept alive by the same nutrients.

    My post was in reaction to:

    (1) The mean-spirited languaged used, seemingly inappropriate – reptilian hindbrain? Really now, John….perhaps it’s a medical term with which I’m not familiar, but I doubt it.
    (2) The s-t-r-e-t-c-h that had to be used in the attempt to make analogies with the Iraq War – not an example of politicizing the issue?
    (3) The abortion reference – I touched on it briefly.
    (4) The opportunistic religion-bashing – a consistent theme, but this is a human rights issue. The vote tally reflects a bipartisan effort, but I think that is due to the seriousness of the issue, not any religious theme.
    (5) References to Terri being in a coma – she is not. She is in a vegetative state, and only tonight the husband is conveniently starting to “remember” the efforts he made on her behalf in the past.
    (6) The credibility seemingly given to Michael Schaivo – I don’t trust him…at all. Primarily, I am suspicious because of his plans for events immediately following her death. He wants her cremated, with no autopsy. It is known that starvation will be the cause of death, but an autopsy certainly could reveal the cause of her condition. It “stinks” of a man with something to hide. If she must die in the next week or so, she should at least be allowed to speak through an autopsy after dying.
    (7) My complete distrust of the judiciary, which is equal to your distrust of the other two branches. The power is intended to be balanced among all three branches……and I perceive a well-constructed, well-planned, consistent effort by the Supreme Court to dictate social policy. I’m too tired to get into that at the moment.
    (8) Defensiveness. Cynically dishonest; abject ignorance; Torture Party; posturing to gain favor with the ignorant; condescending rhetoric about the reality based party, etc. I know I’m not always right, but I’m not dishonest, nor am I ignorant – perhaps “misunderestimated”. Seriously, it just gets old, since that kind of snobbish generalizing has now gone on for several decades. It has lost meaning and credibility with repetition.

    The role of Congress? If social policy must be determined for us by any of the three branches, I much prefer that it be done by the people we elect to represent our concerns and opinions. Perhaps that’s overly simplistic, but I certainly don’t want policies set by the only branch that cannot be held accountable by the people.

    Based on what I’ve heard from the husband, he didn’t simply ask the court to decide what her wishes would have been, or to read her mind. He told them, as he stated in an interview tonight, that she had expressed her wish to die in this kind of eventuality. Given his treatment of her over the past several years, I don’t believe anything he says.

    Sven, do you really believe that we have a right to life only if we can afford to pay for it? Please examine the functions of some of our social welfare programs before making such a statement. We have many people who are not expected to pay their way – maybe I’m reading your statement too broadly.

  7. Sven Says:

    Teacher Vet: I was refering to the “Texas Futile Care Law” enacted by your president in Texas back in 1999. It is this law that seems to say everyone has the right to life as long as they can pay for it. It gives the hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient can not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient’s family’s wishes. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother’s wishes in Texas just this week. See my previous link. So who is really pro-life here? Bush? I think not.

  8. adam_blust Says:

    Great post, John. This country is so messed up, sometimes it takes my breath away. And this case is just another example rubbed into our faces until we vomit.

    -CAT scans have shown that Terri’s brain is gone. Full stop.
    -Courts have ruled again and again and again that there was no foul play, and that Michael Schiavo has the right to make medical decisions on his wife’s behalf.

    There’s nothing more to debate, really. Anything else is just emotionalism and hunger to believe complete falsehoods (sound familiar?).

  9. jbc Says:


    Covering your numbered points, on the assumption that at least some of them were aimed at me:

    1) I’ve got nothing against reptiles per se, and didn’t mean to liken Terri to a reptile by referring to her still-functioning brainstem as a “reptilian hindbrain.” So, my apologies for that bit of rhetorical excess. I’m not sure where I first heard that phrase used, but it stuck in my head, and I tend to haul it out once in a while without necessarily meaning it in a pejorative way. Googling for the phrase turns up about 138 hits, so at least I’m not guilty of having invented it. Anyway, if I had it to do over again, I’d probably lose the phrase here. Point TeacherVet.

    2) The only reference I made to the Iraq war was to comment on the fact that the people who were ignorant enough to believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks were the same people who are ignorant enough to believe that Terri Schiavo has a chance of having her higher brain functions return some day, and in both cases that ignorance has been knowingly played upon for political gain by Bush and his supporters. It’s a generalization I can’t support with specific poll results (I’m not aware of any polls that have been conducted to specifically tie those two views together), so maybe this is at least partially the result of my stereotyping my political opponents. Point awarded provisionally to TeacherVet — but if PIPA comes out with a poll demonstrating a broad overlap in those who hold those two positions, I want that point back.

    3) I haven’t mentioned abortion. I guess you’re responding to Rise Against here. Not my problem.

    4) I’m not criticizing religion qua religion. I’m criticizing the Christian right. I will continue to criticize the Christian right. I think they have it coming. I think they’ve been led astray by dishonest men, allowing the essential message at the core of Christ’s teachings to be replaced by a very different message that is, in fact, antithetical to those teachings. Those who lead them are modern-day Pharisees, and if Jesus were here I believe He’d tell them so. Since He’s not, I’ll do it on His behalf. No apologies for that.

    5) Actually, I didn’t mention anything about a coma in my original posting. You did in your original comment, and I did in responding to that comment. But it was incorrect, and I’ve gone back and edited my comment to correct it. Point TeacherVet, sort of, again.

    6) Michael and Terri won a $2 million judgement against the medical practitioners who, a court found, had provided her inadequate care. Most of that has since been spent on legal fees and Terri’s medical expenses. After 15 years of legal battles, during which she has been thoroughly examined over and over and over again, the demand that he pay for an autopsy after her death, that he consent to her body being subjected to the final indignity of dissection just to demonstrate what any rational person (or at least, all the rational people entrusted by our society with making these sorts of judgments who have looked into her case so far) already accepts, is unreasonable. That he would object to that demand is not suspicious. It’s understandable. You don’t trust Michael Schiavo; fine. It’s not about him. It’s about his wife, and her wishes, and her right not to have those wishes violated with respect to what happens to her body.

    7) The judiciary is an essential component of our system of government. If the Supreme Court is engaged in a conspiracy to dictate social policy, it’s odd that it would be a policy you object to, in that a majority of current Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican presidents you presumably supported. I agree that the current Supreme Court is guilty of wildly exceeding their authority, but I would argue that they exceeded it not on social policy, but on one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy, the right to cast a ballot and have it counted, in Bush v. Gore. You may have cause to distrust the judiciary generally, but I have all kinds of cause to distrust Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and O’Connor specifically. But whatever. I’m too tired to get into that, too.

    8) I acknowledge that you are neither dishonest nor ignorant. To the extent I voiced disdain for those who are revealed in this case to be one or the other, I was not talking about you. The essential facts at the heart of my disdain are, again, that a) Terri Schiavo’s cerebral cortex is largely gone, and that has clear consequences in terms of her medical prognosis, b) many of those arguing most stridently for the resumption of her forced feeding are apparently ignorant about that, and c) many of those politicians claiming to represent that view are voicing a position they know to be unsupported by the facts in order to curry favor with the people referred to in (b). That produces a strong emotional reaction in me. Maybe it could be characterized as “defensiveness,” but if so, I think the things I’m defending are worth defending.

    Bottom line: It’s true that I expressed myself strongly, even excessively, and I understand that you took some of what I said personally. I apologize for hurting your feelings. I still think this case is pretty disgusting, but I’ll endeavor in future to do a better job of directing my disgust more narrowly at those who deserve it.

  10. leftbehind Says:

    Don’t apologize to TeacherVet! What should you apologise for not caring about a woman you don’t even know. It’s obvious from your post that you don’t give a rat’s ass if this woman lives or dies, and that’s cool. The point here is that the Bushies want her alive, so we don’t. Why apologize? The life or death of this woman is of no consequence to any leftist cause I can think of, so piss on her. If this were a case where stem cell research could have saved her, we could use this against Bush. As far as I know, however, this is not the case, so who cares? Let the family iron this out among themselves and leave the rest of us alone.

  11. Rise Against Says:

    Can someone from the right please answer my question?

    Why is it immoral to play “God” with abortion, but it’s not immoral to play “God” in this case? Without the help of man, she will die, simple as that.
    So in essence by keeping her alive, someone is doing Gods work, if you beleive in God. Either way, I find it very hypocritical of conservatives.

  12. jbc Says:

    leftbehind, I thought your comments sounded pretty tongue-in-cheek, so I checked the IP address from which you posted against those of previous commenters.

    Heh. I know who you really are. Moo hoo ha ha ha. :-)

  13. leftbehind Says:

    Moo hoo ha’s ass. I meant every word I said, and think I did a pretty good of paraphrasing your initial post, with which I agree, wholeheartedly.

  14. Rise Against Says:

    Here’s something interesting from a country that HAS a seperation of church and state. A CTV/Ipos Reid poll asked Canadians the following question:

    “Do U.S. President George Bush and the Congress have any business in the Terri Schiavo case?”

    28% said ‘Yes’

    72% said ‘No’

    For the life of me with all the problems the US has right now, I cannot figure out why this is so important to lawmakers, other than the right seems to see an opportunity to spin this into a moral issue, and yet cause further division among the people.

  15. leftbehind Says:

    RiseAgainst – You of all people, as an astute observer of the American scene, should realize that issues which involve human suffering of any kind become important only when they provide one side of the political spectrum or the other a chance to advance their own agenda, or attack the agenda of the other side under color of moral superiority. People are, by nature, selective in their compassion, and the politicized generally save their compassion for those victims of society whose plight can be best twisted to their own ends. Otherwise, why would views regarding Terri Schiavo be divided pretty squarely along partylines, just like views regarding prison abuse, abortion or tens of other “moral crusades” one party or the other decides to bash the others over the head with. George Bush really cares about Terri Schiavo about as much as Howard Dean really cares about the detainees in Cuba.

  16. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    It’s funny, but according to an MSNBC poll I saw last night, Americans are agreeing with our friendly neighbor too the north at almost exactly the same at 30% yes and 70% no in terms of Congressional interference, with something like 63% supporting the decision to remove her feeding tube based on the lower courts findings that she would not have wished to persist in her current state.

  17. Rise Against Says:

    Thanks Leftbehind, that was a great response and I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. You summed up what I could not put into words perfectly.

  18. Rise Against Says:

    Thanks Leftbehind, that was a great response and I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. You summed up what I could not put into words perfectly.

  19. TeacherVet Says:

    John: By my own calculations, you’re winning the majority of the points in this match…appropriate concessions made.

    Three last statements on the Schiavo case:

    If Terri was my daughter, they would have to arrest me or shoot me in the back for giving her Jello.

    I wish they would give her an injection, or even call Dr. Jack K. in from the Michigan prison (or wherever he is), to finish the job quickly and in a less cruel, painful manner.

    Michael Schiavo: (a) I would gladly help pay for an autopsy – not to certify the obvious cause of death, but to search for clues causing the condition. I believe the magnitude of the case justifies an autopsy. (b) Cremation destroys any potential evidence and it doesn’t fit with her Catholic beliefs. If the man has nothing to hide, why enhance the suspicions? I doubt his pronouncements of continued affection for his wife – too many nurses coming forward who were asked, “When is the bitch going to die?”

    On the Judiciary: I disagreed with their involvement in the 2000 election, but after the Florida Supreme Court agreed to a hearing on the issue, appeal to the U.S. Supremes became the next logical step. I disagreed with the outcomes of both courts. My humble opinion on the judge who issued a ruling this morning; he knew his decision would be appealed, and should have allowed nourishment until the entire process is completed.

    Leftbehind: I agree with the analysis of most issues, but the Schiavo case is certainly not squarely divided along party lines. Several Repubs voted against the measure, and the Dems were almost squarely divided within their own party. Many on both sides of the aisle were afraid, or unable, to take a stand. This is not a “slam-dunk” on either side.

  20. Rise Against Says:

    No, this issue is certainly not divided by party lines. The problem is neither party/government has any business sticking their nose in this case.

    Also let’s try to remember who rushed to Washington in the middle of the night, cutting his vacation short (a first I beleive) to sign a law starting this whole mess.

    It is not a matter of life or death but a matter of death now or death later. To prolong the agony is a despicable and unconstitutional abuse of the judicial process for political purposes.

    Doctors and neurosurgeons who have treated Schiavo all agree she will never recover from her “persistent vegetative state.”

    She has no cerebral cortex, only a primitive brain stem which controls “reflex actions” such as involuntary jerks and spasms. She feels no pain nor is she aware of her surroundings. In fact she is virtually dead.

    Finally, a federal judge has rejected Washington’s case to reinsert Schiavo’s feeding tube for the third time.

    Enough is enough. Leave Terri alone to die in peace.

  21. TeacherVet Says:

    Rise Against, once again let me say…if the facts support your argument, they don’t need to be exaggerated or misstated.

    Terri was not dying, as you imply; only forced starvation is killing her.
    Terri was not in agony, as you imply; the forced starvation is agonizing.
    Terri obviously does feel pain; that’s why they filled her with morphine.
    Terri was not on life-support, as indicated in public polls; she was given only food and water.
    Terri was not dead, and possibly not even in a PVS.
    All doctors do not agree that she is in a PVS; 33 independent specialists have stated otherwise – and yes, some have personally examined her longer than “Michael’s doctors.”
    The PVS claim is based solely on a Cat-Scan. Michael has always denied any other means of examination.
    Doctors have not “treated” her – they have only been allowed to examine her for the purpose of diagnoses.

    I continue to assert some other undeniable facts:
    (1) Michael received a settlement, but only after promising the court that he would (a) live with her forever and (b) use the money in rehabilitation efforts. He committed perjury, doing neither.
    (2) Almost immediately, he posted a “no treatment” order.
    (3) There has never been any attempt at rehabilitation.
    (4) The physician whose PVS diagnosis saw her only once, for 45 minutes. The same doc also wrote that PVS patients “have no Consitutional rights.” His opinion has never been bourne out in the courts.
    (5) Michael’s own attorney admits that the settlement money was spent, almost entirely, on legal fees to have her killed.
    (6) Michael’s past actions demonstrate that he is a cruel SOB.
    (7) Many more – see above posts – trying not to be redundant.

    Strangely, even the doctor who originally condemned her seems to be in opposition to Michael and his attorney on their most basic contention: he stated that Terri’s recovery from her last forced starvation was due to her strong “will to live.”

    Out of curiousity – If this is all to be blamed on either of the Bushes, why have neither of them issued a directive?

    Must stop – end of my plan period/lunch break.

  22. Rise Against Says:


    Brain dead, is in effect dead. She cannot live without the intervention of man. Without she would die, so I am right is claiming she is dying.

    Death now or death later, prolonging her suffering for political purposes is disgusting.

    “Terri wasn’t on life support, she was only given food and water” Please sir, what happens to one’s life when they are unable to eat or drink? Those are the basic fundamental needs of human life, without them you die. If it’s not life support, then she won’t die by stopping the tube, right?

    All of those ‘facts’ that you want answers to can be all answered in one statement. And that is…

    This man has been watching his wife, who is, no matter what you want to beleive in a PVS, watching his wife lie in a bed un able to eat or drink without a tube inserted in her for 15 years. How is one supposed to move on with their life? What do you expect him to do, sit by her side for 50 years while she lays there in a PVS? Not mention she said to him before, after seeing a movie about this sort of thing, “no tubes ever for me”, a statement that has been verified and also a statement that i have personally made myself, and heard others say as well.

    You may call Michael a cruel SOB, but what is really cruel is people sticking their noses in people’s private business for nothing more than political reasons.

    He wants his wife to rest in peace, finally. Forcing him to watch her for 50 years being fed from a tube is to me cruel, and quite frankly ridiculous.

    A brain so damaged as to permanently strip the cortex of consciousness is beyond remedy. For Terri Schiavo, consciousness and sentience no longer apply. A human being deprived of both has essentially been deprived of humanity. The ability to recognize self and the environment and the relationship between both is to live. Terri Schiavo has not been alive for 15 years.

    It’s a fact that the human brain, after sustaining damage so crippling as to permanently strip the cortex of consciousness, is beyond remedy. Still, the puritanical paradigms apparently ruling the voting conscience of the U.S. Congress choose to “err on the side of life.”

    The side of life?

    This is about choice. Human will. Schiavo had told her husband that she would never want to be at the mercy of a feeding tube. It was, according to Michael Schiavo, her choice to never endure the void as she has been since 1990.

  23. TeacherVet Says:

    Michael’s own words on Larry King Live, “We don’t know what she wanted. This is what we want.” (emphasis added) The only choice being respected here is that of the man who wants her dead. Her supposed utterance of “not wanting life support” is only heresay, and Michael only “remembered” it after she refused to die for several years.

    Your fifth paragraph, beginning with This man has been watching…. really concerns me, for a number of reasons. We don’t have any way of knowing whether she could eat or drink….he wouldn’t allow it. I expect him to sit by her for 50 years because of the promises he made to the court – or give the money back that he gained with those promises. Michael never mentioned anything about “tubes” when he finally remembered her supposed expression of wishes. If the facts truly support your contention, no spinning is necessary.

    When the police first responded to the call, years ago, they wrote it up as an attempted homicide investigation. That investigation was abruptly and mysteriously interrupted, after which time many broken bones were discovered, and attending nurses were put under a gag order. The cause of the heart attack has never been investigated. SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE – and his choices of cremation with no autopsy can only be for the purpose of covering/destroying evidence.

    Soon after fraudulently receiving the settlement money, he posted a “Do not resuscitate” order on her charts, refused to allow any rehabilitation treatments, and threatened nurses if they tried to feed her jello or pudding. As a result, no one even knows whether she can swallow (see the end of your third paragraph). I repeat, we don’t know. We can never know, because he wouldn’t allow any attempt. Sorry, but this is a mean, cruel SOB.

    Kill her. She might even deserve it for marrying this guy in the first place (I don’t really believe that), but don’t reward him by aiding in the evident cover-up of his misdeeds. Once dead, I beg the state to take custody of her body before the evidence can be destroyed. If they do not, I’ve no doubt that he committed the perfect murder – with our courts as his accomplice.

  24. jbc Says:

    TeacherVet, where are you getting this stuff? I asked you before if you could post some links to online information that supports your version of the situation, but I’ve yet to see any. It’s hard for me to understand how things could be as you describe them, given the 15 years of court decisions in the case.

  25. ymatt Says:

    “If they do not, I’ve no doubt that he committed the perfect murder – with our courts as his accomplice.”

    You know, my apologies if this is actually true somehow, but I couldn’t help but reading that in Poirot’s voice in my head.

  26. enkidu Says:

    teacher vet – u have already made your mind up from reading…. what? freeper hate speech? psycho gibberish from the voices in your head? post some links!

    terri schaivo HAS NO NEOCORTEX! her back brain (sometimes called the reptillian brain) is all that is left… her upper thinking lobes are GONE, nothing but csf

    for 15 YEARS (years)… I would wager that they have tried everything within those 15 years…

    her condition was brought about by a chemical imbalance brought on by bulemia. the irony should be evident to anyone except right wing nut jobs…

    btw – my wife and I discussed these issues when we had our living will made up 3 years ago before I had some surgery. My clear and definitive declaration: if the docs say there is no hope, I do not want to live as a vegetable sustained by machines and feeding tubes. I made that clear to my mother yesterday.., and reiterated this decision to my wife as well. Persistent vegetative state… pretty much sums up Teacher Vet and those who seek to profit from Terri’s condition.

    btw – the 2 million Mr Schaivo won from the courts has been spent on her life support, treatment and court costs. Let her die with some shred of dignity.

    finally… how about that poor black child who was yanked off life support due to shrub’s ‘pay to play’ life support law in texas? you should be ashamed

    but you aren’t.., you self righteous psychopath

  27. leftbehind Says:

    Enkidu – I’m sure that bulimics really are deserving of death. but I think you’re otherwise being a little hard on TeacherVet . I’ll grant you though, the black kid in Texas packs a greater emotional blackmail quotient than some bulimic woman in Florida, but a sack of dead bones is a sack of dead bones, no matter what state it’s being warehoused in. Your post has made me further sympathize with Jbc’s feeling of apathy regarding this matter.

    btw – I think the use of the 2 million dollars is more in doubt than you seem to suggest, but you’re the expert and I could be wrong.

  28. enkidu Says:

    I have been coming to lies.com for years and listening to teachervet wail and moan about all sorts of stuff and I am fed up (thank u very much)

    I am no expert, but implying that Mr Schiavo sued to be rich is ridiculous

    why is it when anyone actually answers these freepers with the same fire and brimstone and vitriol it is suddenly time to wave our hands and give up?

    Have some backbone, please.

    The right wing of our country has completely lost its moorings in ethics and honesty and if we don’t call em on it we deserve the miserable future these creeps want to impose (by force, of course) on us all.

  29. Rise Against Says:

    I saw Jeb bush on news last night lying right into the cameras. Here’s what he said,

    “… a neurologist who examined Schiavo’s medical records found she was most likely in a state of minimal consciousness,”.

    First of all, thats not true. To use the word examined when talking about a doctor leads one to beleive that she was thoroughly looked over and further tests were run. Well, thats not what happend. He examined her med files and looked at her in bed. That is not a medical examination. Cheshire (he doctor) who reveiwed Schiavo’s medical records, watched videotapes and observed her at the Pinellas Park hospice earlier this month.
    But he was unable to directly examine her, Department of Children and Families Secretary Lucy Hadi told reporters.
    This is just another example of misleading statements from a Bush, I’m glad the Judge saw through it. My statements can be verified here.

    To say that someone is in a “minimal” state of anything for 15 years is completely stupid, and people are starting to make themselves look that way, too.

  30. Rise Against Says:

    And I wasn’t sure where I could post this one, but I just have to share this headline that caught my eye in this morning’s paper. Here’s what the headline said:

    Rumsfeld Wonders Why World’s Fifth Largest Oil Exporter Would Want to Arm ItselfHillarious!

    The article goes on to talk about Venezuala buying 100,000 AK47’s from Russia. Ya, King George, really making the world a more stable place, eh.

  31. Rise Against Says:

    And just one more item that should concern any American taxpayer:

  32. Rise Against Says:


  33. leftbehind Says:

    Enkidu – why is it ridiculous to think the husband would sue to get rich? If I were in his place, I might do the same thing myself, psychopath that I am. If she’s already dead, who’s getting hurt? Even if he thinks she’s alive, the possibility isn’t out of the question. I guess you know him better than I do, but stranger things have happened.

  34. Rise Against Says:

    Your points are weak.

  35. leftbehind Says:

    I know. It’s not like people are throwing their wives out of fishing boats in California or anything, but I thought it might be fun to play devil’s advocate, just to see which one of you all might be willing to jump outside the box with me. I forgot that the box around here is so awfully high. Why doesn’t anybody around here want to put down the partisan playbook and talk to each other like human beings?

    Besides, none of us know this guy, so any points any of us make regarding his motives are weak. He could be Jesus Christ or Jack the Ripper, for all we know. Everybody around here is going so far out on a limb to defend this guy, which sounds as stupid as TeacherVet does trying to make the guy look diabolical.

  36. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Well, for me whats been apalling in all this is blatant disregard for the rule of law and the seperation of powers. Regardless of my personal opinion or politics, what we’re seeing is a disgusting willingness to disregard the findings of multiple courts when we don’t like the results. Its not congress’ or the president’s place to tell the courts what they can and cannot rule on or interfere with the excercise of their powers. This is basic 7th grade civics and its disgusting the number of legislators willing to ignore it.

    If rule of law, fair representation and trial before the courts mean nothing to us, what are we left with, anarchy?

  37. TeacherVet Says:

    John, et al:

    Apologies for not providing sources. Most of my expressed opinions/biases are based on stuff I hear in the media, so providing links is difficult, if not impossible. Print media – I cancelled all newspaper and magazine subscriptions a decade ago. Visual media – I watch all three of the 24/7 news outlets, but haven’t watched a single news program from the “old” news programs in many years. Audial media – admittedly, all I listen to are the conservation shows; I would listen to the other views, but they are not available. Books – I read everything; a simple glance at the bookshelf beside by computer reveals Burkett, Clinton, Clinton, Coulter, Franken, Franks, Hannity, Moore, O’Neal, Patterson, Woods, etc., plus many books on JFK, MLK, and American (mostly conflict) history. Electronic media – I don’t follow lots of links; the only politically-oriented “Favorites” I have marked are this lies.com, Lisa’s allhatnocattle, a local blog site, Bob Zangas’ Journey in Iraq, and AlphaPatriot Iraq Archives.

    I frequently follow supporting links, but I seldom surf for supporting or contrasting opinions; I never post my opinions anywhere but here and the local blog; I provide my email address, I never try to hide my identity by posting under other usernames (always using TeacherVet) or false email addresses, and my exact identity is easy to decipher. On the local blogsite, maintained by a truly hateful jerk named Philip Mullins, most readers know my identity – I have provided sufficient clues. I am neither ashamed nor fearful of posting my opinions, for they are only that – my opinions.

    In short; while I have pre-conceived leanings on most issues, I don’t form opinions based on a “groupie” mentality. I am not afraid to delve into the “dark side” because all who opine on opposing sides of issues offer something of value. That’s why I’m here. I don’t seek or expect to change the views of anyone, but only to provoke discussion for my own edification. When insults dominate the discussion, whether aimed at me or anyone else, I often dismiss the offerings as baised rants. Even you, leftbehind, would surely admit that it’s at least entertaining to have someone around at whom you can vent your frustrations. I don’t know what happened to Gunslinger and Patriot, but you must miss them – I do.

    All that crap just to say that I can’t provide many online links as references. Apologies offered. John provided links to contrasting views, since I failed to do so. Most of my suspicion of Michael Schiavo is based on common sense, conclusions derived from the obvious. I am conflicted, and much of my diabolical suspicion will disappear if he releases custody of the dead body to her parents, but the (partial) following considerations will continue to nag my curiosity:

    He never, ever allowed any rehabilitation treatments, even before her brain began to deteriorate.

    The diagnosis/prognosis was based only on a Cat-scan. Never has an MRI been done, as admitted by Michael’s attorney. Brain activity is not identified in a Cat-scan, but she has been diagnosed as brain-dead?

    The only witnesses to “Terri’s expressed wishes” were all (3) named Schiavo, and they all remembered her expression 7 years after her heart attack. I think the court calls this “heresay” evidence.

    The doctor who made the decisions upon which all court action has been based saw her only one time, for 45 minutes, using only a set of keys and a review of her Cat-scan to form his conclusions. Dr. William Hammesfahr (sp) worked with her for 10 hours, forming completely contrasting conclusions.

    My thoughts were interrupted by the news conference by the attorney for Michael Schiavo, still airing at this moment. My blood pressure is boiling, and my thoughts scrambled (partly because my wife is railing at me to go to bed – I’m recovering from surgery). He is surrounded by deputies – what is he afraid of…death? Why should he, and others, be denied the same “euphoric” experience he argues for Terri Schiavo?

    His statement, “In all the years I have visited with Terri, never have I seen such a look of profound peace.” “Her lips are not cracked, her skin is not peeling, she looks beautiful.” Many other statements, every one an obvious attempt at face-saving. Her parents have said otherwise, and he finds it prudent to contradict grieving parents. I stand by my opinion that Michael is a mean SOB, based on the obvious, and his attorney who collected the money that was earmarked for treatments of Terri defends Michael’s actions. I judge him to be a liar of equal stature. If my son-in-law did the same things to my daughter, I would kill him.

    He states that Terri will not be given religious communal rites except as dictated by the courts. The judiciary is dictating religious rites? That serves to confirm my mistrust of that body.

    As a parent, my parental bias is apparent.

  38. Rise Against Says:

    When he was governor of Texas, George W. Bush presided over 152 executions, more than took place in the rest of the country combined. In at least a few of these cases, reasonable doubts about the guilt of the condemned were raised. But Bush cut his personal review time for each case from a half hour to a mere 15 minutes (most other governors spend many hours reviewing each capital case to assure themselves that there’s no doubt of guilt). His explanation was that he trusted the courts to sort through the life-and-death complexities. That’s right: the courts.

  39. Rise Against Says:

    Oh my…

    Pope may need feeding tube inserted…


  40. leftbehind Says:

    Good thing for him he doesn’t live in Florida, huh?

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