biz, legal, and professionalism homeschooling marriage and family

Dr Nanny State Knows Best … or not.

I just learned of Michael Farris’ ongoing lawsuit defending the rights of a homeschool family to make difficult medical decisions on behalf of their children.  This story involves some of my favorite issues: push back against the Nanny State, “experts” who upon examination prove to be more arrogant than informed, excellent lawyering, and Grand Rapids, MI.  In his own words:

Who Makes the Really Tough Decisions: Parents? Or Doctors?

by Michael Farris
HSLDA Chairman

Who should make very difficult decisions for children? Parents or doctors?

In March of this year, 8-year-old Jacob Stieler was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a dangerous bone cancer. His parents took him to a highly-rated children’s oncology center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jacob had surgery to remove the tumor, which was followed by several rounds of chemotherapy. The treatment was incredibly difficult, and Jacob’s mom, Erin, told me that when she looked her son in the eyes, she knew in her heart that he simply could not survive many more rounds of these drugs.

Erin and Ken, Jacob’s mom and dad, joined by hundreds of others, prayed for Jacob and his complete recovery.

After all of these rounds of chemotherapy were completed, there was a PET scan done to check on the status of the cancer. There was no evidence of cancer detected in Jacob’s body. Jacob’s family and friends rejoiced in his healing—praising God for this wonderful outcome.

But the doctors wanted to give Jacob several more rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, despite the clean PET scan. When asked why they wanted to keep giving Jacob these incredibly dangerous drugs, the doctors replied that this was “the standard of care” for his illness.

Jacob’s parents begged the doctors to make an individual diagnosis, rather than simply following unbending standards. But the doctors were steadfast. All children with this cancer needed multiple rounds of these drugs—regardless of PET scan results, the doctors contended.

Jacob’s parents did extensive study of the side effects of the five different chemotherapy drugs that the doctor wanted to administer. And they believed that the risk of the drugs was far greater than the risk of recurrent cancer, since Jacob had a clean PET scan. They said no to the doctors. No more chemotherapy treatment for now.

But the doctors would not take no for an answer. They called child protective services in Jacob’s county and asked the agency to file charges against the family for medical neglect.

After looking into the matter, both the local CPS agency and the local prosecuting attorney refused to file charges. They believed that the parents were making reasonable decisions for Jacob.

The doctors still would not take no for an answer. They called higher authorities in the state level CPS agency. The doctors had to make several calls before they finally found someone who would agree with them.

As a result of all of these calls, the local CPS agency was pressured into filing medical neglect charges against the parents.

The local prosecutor still refused to take a case against the family, so the state level CPS officials hired an independent private lawyer to serve as the prosecutor against Ken and Erin Stieler.

 A jury trial is scheduled for early January to determine if the doctors will be given the authority to take over the medical decision-making for Jacob.

When I heard about this case—and checked out the facts—I knew that I could not sit on the sidelines and watch this family be overrun and parental rights be trashed by well-meaning but overzealous doctors.

 I recently flew to Michigan and took the depositions of all three doctors who were scheduled to testify against the family.

 Jacob’s treating physician is the key.

I prepared for the depositions by obtaining copies of the official “package inserts” that the FDA requires all drug companies to give to physicians and patients. Undoubtedly, you have seen these inserts when you have picked up prescriptions for your children.

The inserts tell you several things:

culture praise

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
By the President of theUnited States of America.

 The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

 I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of theUnited States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

 In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of theUnited Statesto be affixed.

 Done at the City ofWashington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of theIndependenceof the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

 By the President: Abraham Lincoln

See also, Refuting the Seven Myths of the Radical Left About Thanksgiving By Douglas W. Phillips and Elijah Brown, November 23, 2011


politics, economy, etc. video

Why Ron Paul keeps talking about the Federal Reserve …

and others should also:

See also: Why Not Ron Paul?

culture politics, economy, etc. praise

Our Best Days Are Ahead

As an undergraduate at Purdue in 1987, one of my Professors, Harry Targ, lectured on the Cold War.  He had just published his book Strategy of an Empire in Decline, in which he explained his belief in the moral, economic and political superiority of communism viz capitalism.  In his mind, the USA Would not long withstand the inexorable and inevitable expansion of the Soviet Union.  He was right regarding the collapse of an empire but wrong about everything else.

While Professor Targ is a run of the mill exemplar of the Marxist-Socialist bias in secondary education, he illuminates a larger point.  He was a full-time academic on the Soviet Union.  In 1986, there wasn’t serious discussion or analysis regarding the forthcoming USSR implosion.  Notwithstanding his expertise on the Soviet Union, Professor Targ didn’t see the collapse coming in a relatively few years.  None of us did.

Life works like that.  Major historical events rarely appear obvious or inevitable as they happen. They are only clear in retrospect, if ever.

In contrast to the failure to foresee the swift and surprising nature of the USSR’s collapse, there are serious red flags that Western liberal democracies in general and the USA in particular have become financially, politically, and morally unhinged.  Spending well beyond the available means is the norm not the exception for governments and families throughout the West. No leading political figure in any way advocates significant spending cutbacks.

We’re politically dysfunctional as the federal government divides fairly equally between those wedded to socialist statism and those that prefer corporate and military statism (while occasionally mouthing traditional conservatism).

Post-modernism has supplants Judeo-Christian beliefs as our moral foundation.  Regarding sex, sexuality and marriage, what had been regarded as immoral, perverse and often illegal in the 1950s, is now acceptable and often routine and laudatory.  When the highly accomplished Coach Paterno was fired for harboring a child molester on his coaching staff, thousands of students at one of our most esteemed Universities protested … not over the sexual improprieties that had occurred between Paterno’s subordinate and boys, but over the fact Paterno was fired over it.  These outraged students are some of our most gifted minds and the future of this country.

There are clouds on our national horizon.

We should however fear and fret not.  One kingdom will last forever, and it’s not our beloved USA.  The everlasting kingdom will provide perfect justice and governance.  As much as I love the USA and what we stand for, that future perfect government has not yet been established on Earth.

The future King of nations will not be delivered via an election.  He will arrive with the sound of trumpets.  Instead of water, he will baptise with fire, providing terribly perfect justice and loving grace.  Under his perfect reign, the curse will be lifted and a new world reborn.  Death will no longer sting and eternity will be a reality.  That day should be our hope for the future.  In Christ and not the works of mankind should we place our faith. Jesus Christ return and his perfect reign will endure forever.  Pray soon.  Amen.

culture politics, economy, etc. video

Would Elaine Marshall Eat the Rich?

Listening to the Occupy Wall Street crowd, I feel like I’m back in my undergraduate days, taking notes down from the lecture of yet another tenured, self-proclaimed Marxist professor.  In attempting to explain the OWS motivation, the self-proclaimed Communist website Kasama explains,

It’s not that we don’t have demands; it’s that we speak them in a different language. We speak them with our struggle. Our movement is made up of people fighting for jobs, for schools, for debt relief, equitable housing, and healthcare. We are resisting ecological destruction, imperialism, racism, patriarchy, and capitalism.

See here. The only thing missing from this traditional Communist rallying cry is resistance against deism.  In listening to the OWS crowd and trying to read what this somewhat inchoate mass puts out, it sounds just like a rehash of what the radical egalitarian, hardcore statist left-wingers have been advocating since at least 1917.  Pajamas Media has compiled a list of those endorsing and supporting OWS, and it reads as a Who’s Who of the hardcore lefties, communists, socialists, and nationalist socialists (NAZIs).  See here. Robert Laurie observes,

[A]ll of these disparate forces view capitalism and the United States as broken, deeply flawed constructs. The thing that unites them, no matter how unlikely their alliance may seem, is the idea that America needs to be undone and reconfigured as a country most citizens would scarcely recognize. As President Obama himself put it, America needs to be rebuilt ‘from the ground up.’

I was therefore surprised when I recently received an email from the North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall campaign bragging about her support for OWS. In her words and emphasis:

There are a lot of politicians trying to cozy up to Occupy Wall Street – but very few are actually hitting the streets to stand with them. That’s why I’m proud to be working for Secretary of State Elaine Marshall – someone who hasn’t just embraced the OWS protests, but has actually joined with them on the streets of Raleigh!

See Marshall OWS rally “pep talk” here. She concluded her OWS email endorsement with a request for a campaign contribution.  It’s not a good time for the USA when mainstream, southern Democrats take the stage to endorse a movement of hardcore communists and other statists.