Monday, October 19, 2009
Congratulations! Omri Elisha Wins The Society for Cultural Anthropology's Annual Prize.
This year's doctoral student jury, consisting of Hannah Appel (Stanford
U), Emily Yates-Doerr (NYU), and Mareike Winchell (UC Berkeley), writes:
"'Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting
to get anything back. Then your reward will be great,' begins Omri
Elisha's article, with this quote from Luke. In "Moral Ambitions of
Grace: The Paradox of Compassion and Accountability in Evangelical
Faith-Based Activism," Elisha traces the mutually-constitutive and at
times irreconcilable ethical demands of compassion and accountability as
they shape the work of evangelical activists in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Elisha uses rich and convincing ethnographic material to show that
evangelicals themselves "explicitly recognize the paradox" between
compassion and accountability, seeing the relation as dialectical rather
than contradictory. Elisha's attention to this paradox and his
informants' awareness of it illuminates not only everyday practices of
the evangelical activists, but is also useful in understanding other
broader projects of care and compassion--be they humanitarian,
governmental, religious, or even anthropological projects. As Elisha
notes, the "unsettling indeterminacy" introduced by these competing and
dialectical demands relies on and in turn creates specific objects of
intervention - "obstacles and hardships" - interventions that "reinforce
narratives of embattlement." That such languages of embattled gifting
create vertical relations of accountability rather than empowerment
raises provocative questions about the daily intimacies not only of
evangelical activism but also of international humanitarian work,
philanthropy and democracy-serving military action.
PA Pro-Life Conference on Saturday, October 25th.
A Lesson From the History of the Death with Dignity Movement: Marijuana, Assisted Suicide, and States' Rights.
Beyond the tangible benefits to patients and providers, there is the issue of states' right. Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana, many by referendum. The Bush administration's refusal to honor or even recognize those states' decisions -- by arresting people for doing things which are perfectly legal under state law -- was one of many examples giving the lie to the conservative movement's alleged belief in federalism and limited federal power (see here, for instance, how John Ashcroft and GOP Senators tried deceitfully and undemocratically to exploit the aftermath of 9/11 to prevent Oregon from implementing its assisted suicide law). Constitutionally and otherwise, what possible justification is there for federalizing decisions about whether individuals can use marijuana for medical purposes? Ironically (given the "socialism" and "fascism" rhetoric spewed at it by the Fox News faction), the Obama administration's decision is a major advancement for the rights of states to have their laws respected by the federal government.
Unhappy with the outcome of democracy in Oregon, certain Republicans in Congress (led by Orrin Hatch and Henry Hyde) demanded that the Justice Department (through the DEA) revoke the federal registration of any doctors in Oregon who provide the death-inducing medication to the terminally ill patients who request it under the Oregon law. As the Supreme Court explained, the Justice Department refused to do so when Attorney General Janet Reno wrote to Hatch and Hyde, concluding:
that the DEA could not take the proposed action because the CSA did not authorize it to "displace the states as the primary regulators of the medical profession, or to override a state's determination as to what constitutes legitimate medical practice."
Unhappy with the notion that Oregon could make its own decisions about assisted-suicide, these same Republicans then introduced legislation in Congress in order to give the Attorney General authorization to revoke the federal licenses of any Oregon doctors who assisted in suicide under this law. These Republicans wanted to use federal law to override Oregon law despite the fact they have long claimed to be believers in "states’ rights" --i.e., that the Federal Government’s power should be restricted and individual states should be able to make their own decisions in areas traditionally reserved to the states, which indisputably includes regulation of the doctor-patient relationship.
In any event, the Republican sponsors could not get their legislation enacted. Congress refused to provide the Attorney General with authority to revoke the registration of Oregon doctors who assist in suicide.
So, Republican opponents of Oregon's assisted suicide law tried and failed: (a) to have Oregon’s law repealed by referendum; (b) to induce the Justice Department to revoke the licenses of Oregon’s doctors who assisted in suicide; and (c) to enact legislation in Congress giving the Justice Department the right to revoke the registration of doctors assisting in suicide. Again and again, these crusaders were rebuffed by the democratic and legal processes.
“What motivates this kind of talk and behavior,” Neiwert writes of the sometimes surprising viciousness from otherwise ordinary people, “is called eliminationism: a politics and a culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile and ejection, or extermination.”
Neiwert is a veteran journalist who has covered some of the farthest reaches of the American Right in the Pacific Northwest, including the Aryan Nations and the Montana Freemen. He was raised in Idaho, where the fervent factions of the far right (most notably the John Birch Society) were fashionable and intersected the lives of friends, family, and neighbors. The ideas in this book were developed in an influential series of essays at his blog Orcinus (Neiwert is also managing editor of Crooks & Liars where these issues are often discussed as well).
Neiwert stresses that eliminationist rhetoric “always depicts its opposition as beyond the pale, the embodiment of evil itself, unfit for participation in their vision of society, and thus worthy of elimination. It often further depicts its designated Enemy as vermin (especially rats and cockroaches) or diseases, and disease-like cancers on the body politic. A close corollary—but not as nakedly eliminationist—is the claim that opponents are traitors or criminals and that they pose a threat to our national security.”
“The history of eliminationism in America and elsewhere,” he writes, “shows that rhetoric plays a significant role in the travesties that follow. It creates permission for people to act out in ways they might not otherwise. It allows them to abrogate their own humanity by denying the humanity of people deemed undesirable or a cultural contaminant.”
Much of the book is devoted to outlining eliminationism in American history, from Native Americans and African Americans, through Chinese and Japanese immigrants and more. He shows how eliminationist rhetoric was often followed by “an actual campaign of violent eliminationism.”
This history is presented with a note of urgency, because the eliminationist rhetoric as currently featured by elements of the conservative movement, “is in many ways,” he stresses, “the signature feature of fascism.” An authentic, broad-based fascist movement is not here yet, he avers, though he warns that eliminationist rhetoric is not unlike “the distinct odor of burning flesh. And when it hits our nostrils, we dare not ignore the warning.”
Connecticut Court Case: Distinguishing Between "Aid in Dying" and Assisted Suicide.
Sarah Palin Fights "Entitlement" Health Care Reform.
Here’s a novel idea. Instead of working contrary to the free market, let’s embrace the free market. Instead of going to war with certain private sector companies, let’s embrace real private-sector competition and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. Instead of taxing the so-called “Cadillac” plans that people get through their employers, let’s give individuals who purchase their own health care the same tax benefits we currently give employer-provided health care recipients. Instead of crippling Medicare, let’s reform it by providing recipients with vouchers so that they can purchase their own coverage.
Now is the time to make your voices heard before it’s too late. If we don’t fight for the market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven reform plan that we deserve, we’ll be left with the disastrous unintended consequences of the plans currently being cooked up in Washington.
Religious Practice and The Family - Not Open to Ms.
Oh Nos! Medicaid Expanded to Cover 14 Mill Uninsured.
Using All The Parts.
Ohio Palliative Doctor Goes to Washington.
"I have yet to find a patient who said to me, 'Yes, please i want to die in the ICU hooked up to machines,' and all that stuff, I've never had a patient say that to me ever. They always say the same thing, especially when I encounter them in the hospital, 'Get me out of here, I want to be home with my family," said Wensel.
Doctor Wensel says doctors have a hard time predicting how long people will live and they often are too optimistic, so not enough people get hospice soon enough.
"In some way it sorts of robs patients and family of very crucial time," said Wensel.
Instead he says, most patients spend their last months in intensive care, and that's much more expensive than hospice.
"Patients in hospice care on average save Medicare 3,900 dollars per patient in the last two months of their life," said Wensel.
It will be a nice change to have a sound voice and an advocate for terminal patients weighing in on this bill.