26.3.05

Terri Schiavo, o Estado e a cultura da morte

Within a few days from now, Terri Schiavo will be dead because the courts have ordered that she be starved to death. Anyone who tries to intervene by giving her even a sip of water is arrested and led off in handcuffs. In the United States, starving a dog to death would result in arrest and imprisonment; starving a human being to death is state policy.

Terri Schiavo FAQ

If Terri hasn't recovered after all these years of therapy, why not let go?
Terri hasn't had meaningful therapy since 1991, but many credible physicians say she can benefit from it.

Why can't Terri just divorce?
Terri's husband/guardian speaks for her. She cannot divorce without his permission

Does Terri have an advanced directive or any wishes about her healthcare?
Terri never signed any directive or living will and there is no evidence that she foresaw her present situation.

Why do Terri's family fight to keep her alive? Shouldn't they let her husband decide?
Terri's husband has started another family and probably has gone on with his life. Terri's family want to provide her therapy and a safe home.

Is Terri receiving life support?
Not in the traditional sense. Terri only receives food and fluids via a simple tube.

Isn't removing her tube a natural and dignified way to die?
No. Dehydration and starvation cause horrific effects and are anything but peaceful.

Terri Schiavo e o império da legislação

All the lawyers in black robes who have decided that Terry Shiavo should die strike me as petty, bureaucratic imbeciles and enemies of civilization. Unfortunately, they wield a tremendous amount of governmental power. It comes down to this: Seven years after Terry was hospitalized her husband claims, without any proof at all, that she once told him she would want to pull the plug if she ever ended up in such a state. As her guardian, he thus decided that she should die. Some guardian.###

What all these judges have said, in essence, is that this is an indisputable truth, never to be questioned under any circumstances, no matter how much conflicting evidence is presented in any court. Terry must die if we are to remain "a nation of laws." Not God's laws, mind you, or the law of the Constitution, but the petty, bureaucratic, impossible-to-understand "laws" passed by the small-time crooks, conmen and political hacks known as "state legislators."

O Sinal da Cruz

Fora do Mundo há um ano

O novo porteiro do Hotel Lutetia

"Houve quem criticasse fortemente a decisão do último Conselho Europeu sobre a suspensão da directiva do mercado único dos serviços, tomada sob pressão da França, a braços com uma forte reacção social e politica contra a "directiva Bolkenstein" e por tabela contra a Constituição europeia (as sondagens de opinião dão agora vantagem ao "não" nas intenções de voto para o referendo de 29 de Maio). Mas a aprovação da Constituição pela França vale bem um compasso de espera quanto à liberalização dos serviços na UE. Um chumbo francês significaria a morte do tratado constitucional."
Vital Moreira, Causa Nossa, 25-03-2005
Não se trata de ignorância económica: Vital Moreira enuncia o objectivo político com uma clareza cristalina e pouco lhe importa o preço a pagar, ou quem o paga. A verdadeira escolha sob o(s) processo(s) de decisão colectiva envolvendo o tratado constitucional é uma escolha entre visões políticas radicalmente distintas da Europa e do seu papel estratégico no mundo; não uma escolha entre "UE vs. não UE". Para os defensores de uma Europa socialista e subordinada aos interesses franco-germânicos, a aprovação do tratado é politicamente vital. Ironicamente a estratégia pode falhar porque a "pele de ovelha que disfarça o lobo" é tão convincente que confunde os próprios franceses.

Se a hipótese —funesta, para os socialistas— da reprovação do tratado constitucional se vier a concretizar, Chirac talvez encontre algum conforto na perspectiva de uma salinha para a posteridade nos Invalides. Afinal de contas, onde Napoleão falhou com os canhões, Chirac terá falhado com a caneta.

25.3.05

Videbunt in quem transfixerunt

Recomendado

Freitas: o rei Sol

O único que se manteve no sítio foi Freitas do Amaral. Freitas há 20 anos estava em Portugal continental, há fotografias que o comprovam. Com esta deriva à direita dos continentes, deve estar a afogar-se algures no meio do oceano Atlântico. Pode ser que encontre uma ilha salvadora...
No século XVI, Copérnico propôs a teoria heliocêntrica. Todo o sistema solar rodava à volta do Sol. A Terra rodava à volta de si própria. O movimento aparente do Sol devia-se à rotação da Terra.
Na Europa, o sistema político roda à volta de Freitas do Amaral. O movimento aparente de Freitas do Amaral deve-se à rotação dos partidos políticos europeus. Freitas do Amaral, o astro-rei!

24.3.05

Páscoa

Uma república, não uma democracia

"We believe … that the voice of the people ought to be determining policy," said Bush, "because we believe in democracy." Does Bush really believe this? How does he think the Arab peoples would vote on the following questions: (1) Should the United States get out of Iraq? (2) Is it fair to compare Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Nazi treatment of the Jews? (3) Do Arab nations have the same right to an atom bomb as Ariel Sharon? (4) Is Osama bin Laden a terrorist or hero?###

If Bush believes he and we are popular in the Islamic world, why has he not scheduled a grand tour of Rabat, Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Riyadh, and Islamabad to rally the masses to America’s side, rather than preaching democracy at them from the White House? If one-man, one-vote democracy came suddenly to the Arab world, every pro-American ruler in the region would be at risk of being swept away.

Yet there is a larger issue here than misreading the Arab mind. Whence comes this democracy-worship, this belief by President Bush that "the voice of the people ought to be determining policy"?

(...)

"When the Constitution was framed," wrote historian Charles Beard, "no respectable person called himself or herself a democrat."

Democracy-worship suggests a childlike belief in the wisdom and goodness of "the people." But the people supported the guillotine in the French Revolution and Napoleon. The people were wild with joy as the British, French, and German boys marched off in August 1914 to the Great War. The people supported Hitler and the Nuremburg Laws.

Our Founding Fathers no more trusted in the people always to do the right thing than they trusted in kings. In the republic they created, the House of Representatives, the people’s house, was severely restricted in its powers by a Bill of Rights and checked by a Senate whose members were to be chosen by the states, by a president with veto power, and by a Supreme Court.

Parabéns ao Corcunda

Devolvido

Terri Schiavo e federalismo

There, we have the sad case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman in a "permanent vegetative state" whose feeding tube had been removed at her husband's urging -- and based on a court's findings regarding her wishes on the matter only to have Congress and President Bush intervene ostensibly on her behalf.

Putting aside the tangled facts of the case for the moment -- which include some bitter family history and selective science on both sides -- the driving question here should be: Does Congress have a role?

And when it comes to a family dispute over a painful medical decision, one which at least 19 judges in six courts have already adjudicated, the answer must be a resounding "no."###

The forums for matters such as the Schiavo case are state courts, upholding state laws. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives -- who want Roe v. Wade overturned and the issue of abortion moved back to state legislatures and courts -- should understand this better than any other group of Americans.

Conservatives, of course, recognize their hypocrisy. And they're offering up weak rationalizations, like this one from The Wall Street Journal in an editorial Monday: "We'd have more sympathy for this argument if the same liberals who are complaining about the possibility of the federal courts reviewing Mrs. Schiavo's case felt as strongly about restraining the federal judiciary when it comes to abortion, homosexuality, and other social issues they don't want to trust to local communities."

In other words: Our opponents are hypocrites, so we can be, too.

Pequeno apontamento e votos de boa Páscoa

Frankenstein

23.3.05

Exemplos de servidão: sugestão e desafio

O conceito enganador da legitimidade internacional

22.3.05

Alguém falou em McCarthy?

Direito a morrer ou direito a matar?

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.

(...)

No murderer would be allowed to be killed this way, which would almost certainly be declared "cruel and unusual punishment," in violation of the Constitution, by virtually any court.

Terri Schiavo's only crime is that she has become an inconvenience -- and is caught in the merciless machinery of the law. Those who think law is the answer to our problems need to face the reality that law is a crude and blunt instrument.

Make no mistake about it, Terri Schiavo is being killed. She is not being "allowed to die."###

(...)

Would I want to be kept alive in Terri Schiavo's condition? No. Would I want to be killed so slowly and painfully? No. Would anyone? I doubt it.

Every member of Terri Schiavo's family wants her kept alive -- except the one person who has a vested interest in her death, her husband. Her death will allow him to marry the woman he has been living with, and having children by, for years.

Legally, he is Terri's guardian and that legal technicality is all that gives him the right to starve her to death. Courts cannot remove guardians without serious reasons. But neither should they refuse to remove guardians with a clear conflict of interest.

There are no good solutions to this wrenching situation. It is the tragedy of the human condition in its most stark form.

Conclusões apressadas

A propósito do massacre ocorrido numa escola de uma reserva índia do Minnesota, em que o jovem atirador matou 9 pessoas antes de se suicidar, a TVI chegou rapidamente às possíveis origens para mais este acto tresloucado: a miséria e a pobreza que afecta os habitantes daquela reserva.

A miséria e pobreza são sempre, para este tipo de jornalistas, as causas mais prováveis destes actos, como do terrorismo, etc., etc....

Estas explicações de pacotilha nunca me convenceram pois, por exemplo, em muitos países do mundo, os actos terroristas não são fruto de qualquer miséria ou opressão, mas derivados das ideologias ou religiões professadas.

Assim, neste caso do Minnesota, descobri no The Guardian, esta notícia, que me parece ser muito mais certeira quanto aos motivos de tal acto.

Jeff Weise terá participado em 2004 nas discussões havidas online na página internet de um partido chamado Libertarian National Socialist Green (hein???? confusos? eu também!), onde colocou várias mensagens de carácter racista.

Esta faceta da sua personalidade não terá tido mais influência no acto praticado? Parece-me é que a TVI não lê a Net para se informar melhor. Preferem adequar o mundo às suas teorias. Realmente é mais prático e não dá tanto trabalho.

Leitura recomendada

O que podemos tirar daqui é que muitas e muitas vezes, é dificil antever que caminhos serão percorridos depois de determinados passos serem dados. Passos estes que parecem ser evidentes, demasiado evidentes. Mas cada passo traz consigo um novo passo e um caminho desconhecido.

A eugenia foi defendida no inicio do século 20 de forma alargada um pouco por todo o mundo em termos muito objectivos e de propostas de aplicação necessáriamente muito limitada parecendo assim até muito racional e justificada, creio que até Churchill teceu considerações sobre o assunto. Mas depois, uma sucessão de acontecimentos, levou a que uns quantos dessem um passo gigante em direcção ao mal absoluto - o necessário para nunca mais se falar no assunto, mas um preço excessivo.

O filme de Clint Eastwood é sobre um conflito moral individual. Não sobre "legalização", não sobre chegar a uma verdade colectiva que se aplica universalmente, proclamada e sancionada pelo monopólio uniformizador sobre "legal"/"ilegal" que o estatismo reivindica.

Absentismo

O mundo além da economia

21.3.05

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Escolhas difíceis (II)

Escolhas difíceis

Conceitos

Saneamentos...

Temor e Tremor

Ninguém os respeita

Dar o braço a torcer

Sócrates dixit (2)

Sócrates dixit

20.3.05

Barrigadas de riso

Paridades, de novo

- Não posso deixar de vos dizer como estou satisfeita por ter sido finalmente eleita uma mulher para presidente do Conselho Científico!
Entreolhámo-nos, quase todos homens, departamento de engenharia e tecnologia que somos: o espanto era geral. Pedi a palavra e saiu-me isto:
- O teu espanto por ser eleita uma mulher não seria maior se tivesse sido eleito um macaco.
Nenhum de nós tinha dado nenhuma importância, durante todo o processo eleitoral, ao género dos candidatos. Alguns de nós, eu incluído, não tinham sequer pensado qual ele seria. Só perante a afirmação da minha colega me dei conta do género da eleita: de facto, era mulher. E então? Para todos nós, com a excepção da minha colega, era um facto irrelevante. E, apesar da sua declaração infeliz, assim o continuámos a considerar. Mas instituam quotas, forcem a paridade, tornem obrigatória a rotatividade entre sexos no acesso aos cargos uninominais, e ganharão com isso um profundo desprezo pelas presenças femininas nesses cargos, vistos não como resultado do mérito pessoal, mesmo quando ele existir, mas como resultado de uma política de discriminação sexual, de uma política em que o sexo tem mais valor que as qualidades profissionais, científicas ou pessoais dos candidatos.

(A propósito de todos os artigos escritos ao longo da última semana exigindo paridade nas listas de candidados a deputados e nos cargos políticos.)

Leviandade criminosa

"Immediately after September 11, Ward Churchill compared the victims in the Twin Tower to “little Eichmanns.” Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) more recently likened President George W. Bush’s political methodology to what transpired in Nazi Germany. Earlier during the run-up to the Iraqi war, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin smeared Bush with a similar Hitlerian analogy.###

In fact, what do Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all have in common? The same thing that unites Fidel Castro, the European street, the Iranians, and North Koreans: an evocation of some aspects of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany to deprecate President Bush in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(...)

So what gives with this crazy popular analogy — one that on a typical Internet Google search of “Bush” + “Hitler” yields about 1,350,000 matches?

One explanation is simply the ignorance of the icons of our popular culture. A Linda Ronstadt, Garrison Keillor, or Harold Pinter knows nothing much of the encompassing evil of Hitler’s regime, its execution of the mentally ill and disabled, the systematic cleansing of the non-Aryans from Europe, or mass executions and starvation of Soviet prisoners. Like Prince Harry parading around in his ridiculous Nazi costume, quarter-educated celebrities who have some talent for song or verse know only that name-dropping “Hitler” or his associates gets them some shock value that their pedestrian rants otherwise would not warrant.

Ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination. Nowhere do we see that more clearly among writers and performers who pontificate as historians when they know nothing about history.

(...)

George Soros can nearly destroy the Bank of England in his hyper-capitalist financial speculations but somehow find spiritual cover among the leftists of Moveon.org, which he subsidized and which ran ads comparing the president to Hitler. Sen. Byrd, who suffers from the odium of an early membership with the racist Ku Klux Klan, perhaps finds it ameliorative to associate others with the tactics of the 20th century’s premier racist.

Entire continents can play this game. If Europe is awash in anti-Semitism, then one mechanism to either ignore or excuse it is to allege that the United States — the one country that is the most hospitable to Jews — is governed by a Hitler-like killer. Americans, who freed Europe from the Nazis, are supposed to recoil from such slander rather than cry shame on its promulgators, whose grandfathers either capitulated to the Nazis or collaborated — or were Nazis themselves.

If the sick analogy to Hitler is intended to conjure up a mass murderer, then the 20th century’s two greatest killers, Mao and Stalin, who slaughtered or starved somewhere around 80 million between them, are less regularly evoked. Perhaps that omission is because so many of the mass demonstrators, who bore placards of Bush’s portrait defaced with Hitler’s moustache, are overtly leftist and so often excuse extremist violence — whether in present-day Cuba or Zimbabwe — if it is decorated with the rhetoric of radical enforced equality.

Is there a danger to all this? Plenty. The slander not only brings a president down to the level of an evil murderer, but — as worried Jewish leaders have pointed out — elevates the architect of genocide to the level of an American president. Do the ghosts of six million that were incinerated — or, for that matter, the tens of millions who were killed to promote or stop Hitler’s madness — count for so little that they can be so promiscuously induced when one wishes to object to stopping the filibuster of senatorial nominations or to ignore the objection of Europeans in removing the fascistic Saddam Hussein?

(...)

Previsão segura

Andrew Sullivan: Bush’s triumph conceals the great conservative crack-up

Andrew Sullivan: Bush’s triumph conceals the great conservative crack-up

Beneath the surface, however, American conservatism is in increasing trouble. The Republican coalition, always fragile, now depends as much on the haplessness of the Democrats as on its own internal logic. On foreign and domestic policy alike the American right is splintering. With no obvious successor to George W Bush that splintering will deepen.###

Take foreign policy. At the moment Bush is riding high as his democratisation push seems to have made some modest progress in the Middle East. But the Iraq war was deeply controversial among conservatives before the war and it has become more so since. Old school conservatives — or "realists", as they call themselves — had no time for nation building or for wars of liberation among cultures they viewed as irredeemably undemocratic.

(...)

Back home the differences over fiscal policy are also profound. President Bush has added $1 trillion (£520 billion) to the national debt in only four years and is proposing to add at least another $2 trillion with his social security reform. With his Medicare prescription drug benefit, about whose massive expense he deceived Congress, he has enacted the biggest new entitlement since Lyndon Johnson. Bush has increased spending on medical care for the poor by 46%. He has doubled education spending in four years; federal housing spending has gone up 86%.

Compared with Bill Clinton, he’s an extreme, big government liberal. In fact the only real difference between the Democrats and Republicans at this point is that the Democrats believe in big, solvent government and the Republicans believe in an even bigger, insolvent government.

Conservatives are complaining. Two powerful think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, have published critiques of Bush’s fiscal policies. Heritage called for an outright repeal of the new healthcare entitlement.

(...)

Gone are the days when Ronald Reagan said: "The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralised authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is."

(...)

In my view if a Democratic president had Bush’s record, the Republican party would have come close to impeaching him for his adventures in big government, fiscal insanity and foreign policy liberalism. But it swallowed its principles and covered up its differences to keep him (and itself) in power. The consequences are slowly becoming clear.

The race to succeed Bush will become, in part, a battle for the future of American conservatism. I have no idea how it will turn out. But I do have one clear prediction: the Republican internal battle in the next four years is going to be bloody. After the mid-term elections in 2006 it will be brutal.

Uma constituição exemplar

I’m planning on using the U.S. and proposed E.U. constitutions as props in my sessions on constitutionalism in Jordan and Iraq. If the French defeat it, I’ll be robbed of a useful demonstration of how not to write a constitution.

Laranja estalinista