Media Memo Fraud?

Some of you may have heard about the alleged GOP Talking Points Memo. I haven’t paid much attention to it, because I don’t really care why somebody gets involved or how admirable they may or may not be, so long as Terri isn’t starved to death. God used a Donkey to confront Balaam, and He used the Chaldeans to chastize other nations, and He just might be using some self-serving types here. At least, that’s what I thought.

What if that memo is no more real than the forged documents Dan Rather used to try to unseat President Bush in an election year?

Powerline is investigating.

“our Washington sources tell us that a number of Republican Senators say they did not receive, and have never seen, the memo. This contradicts the implication that the memo is some kind of official Republican document that was circulated to all Republican Senators.

Third, the only clear evidence as to the origin of the memo is that it was circulated by Democratic staffers. Tom Maguire, author of Just One Minute, wrote to point out this story from yesterday’s New York Times:

As tensions festered among Republicans, Democratic aides passed out an unsigned one-page memorandum that they said had been distributed to Senate Republicans. “This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue,” the memorandum said.
So the memo has been traced to a group of Democratic staffers. What evidence is there that its origins go back any farther? None, that we’re aware of
.”

The Powerline blog ;oints out other problems (the memo spells Terri’s name wrong, has the wrong number for the bill, isn’t on letterhead as every other SEnate memo is…) and many more unanswered questions. Interesting reading.

Mike Allen of the Washington Post says we should accept it as valid because

“…I would not have put it in an article if I were not certain of its authenticity and relevance — i.e., senators had it on the floor.”

It is to laugh. This is just another way of saying ‘trust me, I would not say this if it were not true’- but the days when we trusted the word of a reporter on a questionable story just because he tells us to are long gone. Then there’s the comment about senators having it on the floor, thus proving its authenticity. But so far, the memo has only been traced back to Democratic staffers.

I wonder which senators ‘had it on the floor?’

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Admitting Mistakes

Remember the Petulance and Pride post?

When confronted with the videotaped evidence that Terri was far more responsive than he had ruled she was, Judge Greer’s reaction was to take off his glasses and look away from the monitor.

When his church leadership took issue with the drive to kill Terri (*after* Judge Greer himself publicized his connection with the church), Greer left the church, comparing it to canceling a subscription to a newspaper.

According to Patterico, the Judge has been wrong and refused to admit it before, in a bizarre ruling- one that is probably going to cost Terri her life.

Permit me to give some background and a bit of a timeline. Terri Schiavo mysteriously collapsed at home in February of 1990. In August and November of 1992, Michael was awarded $250,000 and 1.4 million dollars on Terri’s behalf in a malpractice settlement and then a trial. Also in November of 1992 Michael Schiavo was awarded $600,000 in malpractice trial.

Michael had tearfully promised that he needed it for her rehabilitative care and would love and tenderly care for Terri for the rest of her life. But in February of 1993 he denied Terri rehabilitation treatment, withheld her medical records from her parents, and threatened them with a lawsuit. He tells people that they had a falling out over money. They say the falling out was over the spending of the money- they wanted him to spend it on Terri as he had promised to do. He wouldn’t. He also put a Do Not resuscitate notice on her chart and refused to permit her to receive antibiotics for an infection. He admits under oath that he knew this could kill her. When asked if he would do it again, he said no, since apparently there was a law against him doing that.

In May of 1998 Michael petitioned the court to have Terri starved to death. For the first time, Michael mentions that Terri had allegedly told him that she would not want to live like this. In 1998, nobody else would support Michael’s claim, although many testified that Terri had said exactly the opposite to many of her family members and friends.

The only independent guardian ad litum Terri has ever had said that Michael had conflicts of interest and that there was no way of knowing Terri’s wishes, and she should not have her feeding tube removed. He also pointed out that Michael had no corroboration, and this was a problem. He was dismissed later, Michael’s lawyer claiming he had a conflict of interest.

According to this article in Crisis Magazine:

“at the last minute before the trial, Felos produced two witnesses who corroborated Michael’s claim: his brother and sister-in-law. Felos delayed producing his witness list until two days before the trial, preventing the Schindlers’ attorney from deposing them. Nevertheless, Judge Greer permitted their testimony to be entered into evidence, and the Schindlers’ attorney, who was not an experienced trial lawyer, didn¬ít contest his decision.”

Other witnesses testified that Terri had, in fact, valued life. One of them was Terri’s friend Diane Meyer. Diane testified (as did a friend who witnessed the conversation, that when Diane had once asked ‘who would want to live like that’ regarding the Karen Ann Quinlan case, Terri got angry. Terri reportedly said, “How do they know what she wants? Why don’t they just leave her alone?”

We return to this article from Patterico. There we read that Judge Greer rejected her testimony.

Patterico quotes the Judge’s reasoning, which you can read for yourselves here.

A witness [Meyer] called by Respondents testified to similar conversations with Terri Schiavo but stated that they occurred during the summer of 1982. While that witness appeared believable at the offset [sic], the court noted two quotes from the discussion between she [sic] and Terri Schiavo which raise serious questions about the time frame. Both quotes are in the present tense and upon cross-examination, the witness did not alter them. The first quote involved a bad joke and used the verb “is”. [Patterico notes: the joke in question was: “What is the state vegetable of New Jersey?” Answer: Karen Ann Quinlan.] The second quote involved the response from Terri Schiavo which used the word ‘are”. The court is mystified as to how those present tense verbs would have been used some six years after the death of Karen Ann Quinlin [sic].

Judge Greer apparently believed that the Quinlan girl died in 1976 when her ventilators were removed. He was wrong. Karen Ann began breathing on her own when the machines were removed, and she did not die until 1985. He dismissed Meyer’s testimony in part because he thought she was wrong about when Karen Ann died- but it turns out he’s the one who was wrong. So by his reasoning, we should dismiss his decision, right? Wrong.

As Patterico points out:

“It’s hard to admit you’re wrong, and when this was pointed out to Judge Greer five years later, he wrote that it made no difference to his credibility analysis when Quinlan had died. As I read the language quoted above, it made a big difference to him. Greer just didn’t want to admit it.”

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A Will, a Woman, and Her Feeding Tube.

Okay, there’s no will. There’s now no feeding tube, and so there will soon be no woman.

There’s no will. NO will.

A relative of ours wanted to give us some property. He made his wishes known verbally to everybody. He hired a surveyor to survey the land to make sure of the boundaries of the piece he wanted us to have. He told his lawyer that this is what he was going to do. He died very suddenly. He had written a new will. Do you think that if he had died without a will leaving that property to us, the court would have listened to all of us saying this is what his wishes were and given us that property? No. It would not, and that is as it should be.

People can say all sorts of things and even mean them at the time. However, if we wish certain statements to be understood as having authority when we can no longer speak for ourselves, the law expects us to take the time and make the effort to put them in writing.

As an article at The AMerican Spectator points out, we dispose of property with more care than is being given Terri Schiavo.

Furthermore:

“As “mildly pro-right-to-die” blogger Ace of Spades noted, “You need a written contract for any lease of land that lasts more than one year; it seems very odd to me indeed that the taking of a human life requires only one hearsay statement from one interested party.”

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

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Good Essay to Read

Thomas Sowell is one of our favorite authors around the Common Room.

Check out Cruel and Unusual:

“If the tragic case of Terri Schiavo shows nothing else, it shows how easily “the right to die” can become the right to kill. It is hard to believe that anyone, regardless of their position on euthanasia, would have chosen the agony of starvation and dehydration as the way to end someone’s life.

A New York Times headline on March 20th tried to assure us: “Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death” but you can find experts to say anything. In a December 2, 2002 story in the same New York Times, people starving in India were reported as dying, “often clutching pained stomachs.”

Read the rest- as always.

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Bah.

After having spent the last hour trying in vain to incorporate all of my favorite books into a profile box that only permits 600 characters, I have erased all of them in a fit of temper, and the “Favorite Books” section will be left blank.

My next post will be all about my favorite books and why I like them. In a post, I will room for everyhing.

*retires offline, grumbling*

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