Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Arlen Specter: The Right Man to Chair the Senate Judiciary Committee

March 10(23), 2005

When Arlen Specter was nominated to head the Senate Judiciary Committee, his candidacy faced an immediate avalanche of protest from the mainstream Republican right because of his moderate status on many issues and his generally sensible nature. The red party seemed quite a bit scared by a person whom they knew was not a religious reactionary, but in the end their paranoia and slander was not enough to stop this well-qualified man from becoming the chairman of the committee.
Specter's opinions and actions have already proven that he wil make a good chairman. With regards to the Supreme Court, Specter has gone against President Bush and against part lines by saying that, should the current Chief Justice step down, it would be important to replace him with someone who could reach across ideological lines. He reminisced about Earl Warren, the Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed by President Nixon who made the famous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, reminding us that, "Nobody would have predicted that Earl Warren would have been able to do that."
When asked whether or not he opposed changing Senate rules to block Democratic filibusters of Bush's court nominees, Specter responded that, "I think it would be an abrupt change that would cause problems with the Senate and the committee."
He also said that, while he thought the Patriot Act should be renewed, certain provisions ought to be changed or at least reviewed.
"I think that getting access to private records like library books without the traditional showing of probable cause needs to be reexamined. People on both right and left agree that there are civil liberties questions involved."
All in all, Arlen Specter seems like just the kind of level-headed moderate that a body like the Senate Judiciary Committee needs in hese crazy and frightening times.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo Case Goes to Federal Court: Congress Pushes Legislation in Bold and Controversial Move

March 8(21), 2005

In a landmark legislative decision, Congress met last night to pass an emergency bill forcing Terri Schiavo's case to the federal courts. Members of Congress flew back to Washginton from all over the country on Palm Sunday to vote on the measure late in the night, and President Bush himself took a jet to the White House, leaving his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
To counter claims that the passage of the bill could have longterm effects on the American legal system by setting the precedent of Congress intervening in private family affairs, members who backed the legislation said that the bill had been crafted specifically to accomodate the Schiavo family and that it would have no widespread implications. And in that very explanation lies the problem; it is illegal in this country to create laws dealing with specific people. Governor Jeb Bush of Florida found that out just a short while ago, when his own effort to maintain Mrs. Schiavo's life support, called, "Terri's Law," was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court as being unconstitutional. Following that decision, Terri's feeding tube was removed, prompting last night's legislative session.
The Florida Supreme Court's conclusion will undoubtedly be considered by the federal judge now ruling in the case. The federal law signed by President Bush in the late hours of the night on Sunday treds constitutional ground that is shaky at best. The United States Congress is a debative, legislative body. It is almost unheard of that such a body would overturn a judicial decision from a court as distinguished as the Florida Supreme Court. Based on those grounds, the law could be found unconstitutional, which would essentially guarantee that Mrs. Shiavo's current condition (without her feeding tube) would remain in place until it effected her death.
Most important to the case, however, is the question of Terri's rights. Her husband (and others, many of them Democrats) have argued for her right to die. Mr. Schiavo has repeated said that his wife would not have wanted to live out her life under such circumstances as she now finds herself. Indeed, if it was Terri's wish to die, she should absolutely be allowed to in accordance with her desires. Congress has no right, no place at all, in infringing on a citizen's personal ability to choose whether or not they are kept alive through extraordinary means.
Conservatives have pointed out that Mrs. Schiavo did not have a living will, and have asked that a person's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be remembered. Terri's life cannot be ended, they say, unless she has had due process. Unfortunately for Republicans who would see Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted, it is likely that any federal judge would find the media and judicial circus that has surrounded the case due process enough.
And the case is further marred by the growing body of evidence suggesting that many of the Republicans voting for the measure have been motivated by political goals. A number of Republicans have gone out of their way to designate themselves as, "pro-life," as opposed to the Democrats, who, it is insinuated, are anti-life or some other rubbish. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who has remained virutally hidden from the media following rising concern over his ethical conduct, is suddenly front and center, slamming Democrats as those who voted to, "kill Terri Shiavo," and allow her, "to die of thirst."
Representative Brian Baird, a Washington Democrat who went against party lines to vote for the measure, was moved to remark that, "We are all pro-life." He went on to say that he was upset by the comments of many Republicans.
An internal Republican memo that leaked to the press certainly hasn't helped matters. The memo said that Republicans should support the Shiavo measure because, "the prolife base will be excited and this is a tough issue for Democrats." The fact that this helpless woman's life (or death) is being used to energize a political constituency is callous, to say the very least. While Robert Novak, the cohost of CNN's, "Crossfire," remarked that Democrats came out of the conflict looking, "legalistic," a number of people seemed to disagree with him. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, said that Republicans were voting solely with, "the upcoming election in mind." He also remarked that religion had nothing to do with the reasons behind the votes. Certainly, the right wing's blatant exploitation of this very personal case has disgusted many, including, it seems, the American public.
An ABC poll conducted yesterday found that 60% of the public was against the legislation, 75% felt that Congress's intervention was inappropriate, and 67% believed that the Republicans were politicking. Less than 20% believed that the Congress Republicans genuinely cared for Mrs. Shiavo's welfare.
In the end, it is what Mrs. Schiavo (or anyone else in her condition) would have wanted that should count. If someone chooses to stay on life support, that wish should be carried out. Similarly, anyone who would not want to be kept alive in such a manner should be allowed to die peacefully. An overwhelming majority of the American public (75%) say that they would prefer death to life maintained by extraordinary means.
The conservatives do have one thing right, though; the way in which these deaths are facilitated is terrible. None among us would choose to starve to death, but that is the fate that invariably awaits Mrs. Schiavo, should it be found that it was her will to die. In the future, those who express a clear desire to die rather than live off of a machine should be able to pass on in a quick and painless fashion. Should it be in their will, a person choosing death over life support should be euthanized, not starved. Euthanization of irreversibly damaged patients, those people who will never live independent of a machine, is an option that needs to be made available to those who wish to take it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Why ConservativeDemocratNews is Here

The primary purpose of the site is to report the political news of the day. Above all, as the title implies, ConservativeDemocratNews is a news organization that relays the latest Washington developments to readers across the country who care to listen. This news will be delivered specifically to an audience of conservative Democrats.
And what is truly significant is not what is reported, but who is reading it. For political stories come a dime a dozen and a dozen a day, but the conservative Democratic base is constant and an overwhelming force of good in our country. We are the group that you don't hear about in the press, the significant majority of our party that is skipped over by Republicans wishing to paint us all as dangerous radicals who would overthrow all legitimate order.
Indeed, we desire nothing of the kind. We are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts. We are men and women who love our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, who would die to protect our children, who are fiercely devoted to our spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, and significant others. We are good, kind, hardworking, and honest people. We are Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer. We are disgusted by the disenfranchisement of our fellow citizens, horrified at an administration that lies to its people, and deeply saddened by a democratic system that has been unspeakably violated in two highly questionable elections.
We do not want to abolish marriage, legalize public prostitution, kill babies, advocate treason, or institute communism, despite Republican claims to the contrary. We cherish the home and the family as much as we cherish protecting the environment, maintaining Congressional and executive ethics, and making sure that not one American soldier ever has to die in vain.
We are the massive bulk, the rock of the Democratic party. We wring our hands as we watch daily reports of boys as young as eighteen being brutally murdered in a faraway desert, for no other reason than so Halliburton executives can take home a bigger paycheck. We fight valliantly to protect our planet against indutrialized encroachments against it, so that our children and grandchildren might have a safe and healthy Earth on which to live, that they might be able to breathe in good country air and watch the sun set over a western horizon. We fume when we hear Republicans talk about the, "godless party," while extolling their own moral values. We go to church and pray for our loved ones, who, because they are stricken with Alzheimer's, can no longer recognize us. We hope that one day stem cell research will be able to save them, to restore what's been so tragically lost.
And we wish, every single day, that our country may be delievered safely through the tumultuous times that it now sees. The Clinton years now seem like a faraway dreamworld. The economy was booming, the environment was under adequate protection, social security was still a given, and terrorism was a foreign nightmare, something that never intruded on our lives.
Things have changed. We live in a different reality now, one in which the president of the United States is not the legitimately elected leader of the people, one in which nothing is certain and everything seems to be in an awful, terrible mess. We love our soldiers. We want them to come home. During these troubles, we lean heavily on God and on our Christian faith. It is our love of America, our love of God, our love of our neighbors, and our love of the family members with whom we sit down to dinner every night that has facilitated the creation of this site. The life and the liberty that we hold so dear is slipping. An immoral, frightening group of men have succeeded in transforming us, in the public eye, into traitorous atheists. Because of this, many feel alienated from the Democratic Party. But we are still here, the same as we always were. People have just had a hard time seeing our true side. Well, this is it. This is reality, this is the actual Democratic party, not what the Republicans in power have told you about. So read on, step into this world. Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, black, white, Hispanic, or Asian, maybe you'll see that we're a lot more alike than you ever would have thought.

ConservativeDemocratNews is Online

March 7(20), 2005
ConservativeDemocratNews is online and will soon begin posting stories.