Mary Jo Kopechne

by Anonymous

A few days ago, from her grave, I thought I heard Mary Jo Kopechne (July 26, 1940-July 18, 1969) call. "This year, I would have been 67 years old. As my only wish, please refresh your memory of me and my murderer."

"Sometime around midnight, on July 18, 1969 Kennedy drove his Oldsmobile 88 off of a small bridge on Chappaquiddick island, into eight feet of chilly water. The vehicle landed upside-down. While Kennedy managed to free himself from the wreck and swim to safety, his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne was left in the car to drown."

{"Leaving the scene of an accident is a felony. If someone dies it might even be manslaughter. This would be even more likely if the person who died could have been saved by a simple call to a rescue team...the accident at Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island on July 18, 1969 probably cost Edward M. Kennedy the presidency. It certainly cost Mary Jo Kopechne her life." }

"Sen Kennedy told the police that he was driving Kopechne to the ferry after a party on the island when his car left the unfamiliar road."In the interview with John Farrar, the scuba diver who found Mary Jo, stated that engineers determined that Kennedy hit the water at between 35 to 40 mph, but Kennedy testified it was no more than 20 mph. Mary Jo took more than an hour to die, trapped in Kennedy's 1967 oldsmobile, in only 8 ft of salty water beneath Dike bridge.

Ted Kennedy drunkenly drove his car off a bridge, extricated himself, and left Miss Kopechne behind to die in the waters underneath the Edgartown, Massachusetts, Bridge on July 17th, 1969 after a night of drinking and partying with the young blonde campaign worker. But most Americans under 40 have never heard that story, or the details of how Kennedy swam to safety, and then tried to get his cousin Joe Garghan to say he, Garghan, was behind the wheel.

"Right from the start, the reporters who arrived at the scene were skeptical of his story, skeptical even of how he claimed he got back to Edgartown that night. Markham and Gargan said when they drove to the ferry landing — the ferry had stopped running by then — Kennedy took them by surprise by jumping in the water, and swimming across the channel towards Edgartown. They assumed, they said, he would report the accident that night to the police. Instead Kennedy went back to his hotel, ostensibly to change his clothes but instead, went downstairs to complain about a noisy party that was going on. "

"Because no autopsy is ever performed on Kopechne's body (her body had been promptly whisked out of state) it is uncertain how long it took her to drown, if she wasn't killed on impact. Likewise, it is never established whether Kopechne was pregnant or exhibited signs of recent sexual activity."

Young voters don't know how Miss Kopechne, trapped inside Kennedy's Oldsmobile, gasped for air until she finally died (some medical experts saying two and one-half hours later), while this leading Democrat war critic rushed back to his family's compound to formulate the best alibi he could think of.

Nor does Generation X know how Kennedy was thrown out of Harvard on his ear in 1951 for paying a fellow student to take his Spanish final. Nor why the US Army denied him a commission because he cheated on tests.

As they listen to the Democrats' "Liberal Lion" accuse President Bush of "telling lie after lie after lie" to get America to go to war in Iraq, young voters don't know about that notorious 1991 Easter weekend in Palm Beach, when Uncle Teddy rounded up his nephews for a night on the town, an evening that ended with one of them credibly accused of rape.

A Duty to Die

by Phill Kline

The perfect storm in support of the Culture of Death has arrived. Consumerism, self-indulgence, the worship of government, stardom and economic crisis is poised to transform the Shining City on the Hill into a death camp. The nation founded on the principle that all human life has value ordained by God is adopting a utilitarian view of life that casts aside the voiceless, defenseless, broken, disabled, diseased, unborn and elderly. The Land of Plenty is fast becoming a land where government shall ration its plenty only to those who it perceives add value, creating a duty to die for those who government perceives lessen value. We are losing our way.

The Culture of Death - (a) A health care bill introduced by House Democrats forces the elderly to attend consults regarding the withholding of food and water for the chronically ill; and (b) President Obama and the Democrat congressional leadership is attempting to force all Americans to pay for abortions and all hospitals to provide abortions.

Abortion has always claimed "choice" and "liberty" as its driving value. The same with Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Yet, at its core, both are about a belief that there is not enough compassion, not enough love, not enough money, not enough life to share. We do not want to face those who by their condition awaken our conscience to our duty to provide for such needs. We'd rather they die.

The most common reason for an abortion is fear of the impact a child will have on the future of the mother, father or parents of the mother. The top reason for assisted suicide is fear of becoming a burden on another.

Abortion is not about the "life" of the mother, nor is assisted suicide about eliminating physical pain as both concerns can be addressed without loss of life.. Rather, euthanasia and abortion are about America's increasing fear that bears the fruit of stinginess through lack of faith.

We are becoming a self-indulgent culture demanding immediate answers to life's intractable problems and thanks to an obsessive media focus, casting our hopes and eyes constantly towards government for answers. This is why government is constantly growing, regardless of which political party holds the keys - both parties have learned that promoting false solutions through government action appeals to America's demands for answers. Government plies our fears, creating false hope and doing so by our political wannabes warrants TV time with the talking heads resulting in Stardom. In government, you do not generate power by depowering government.

Government already dictates much in the medical industry. Medicare and Medicaid are now the largest player in the health care market providing 46 cents of every health care dollar spent in America. Private insurance provides 42 cents of every dollar and the remaining 12 cents comes from consumers through out-of-pocket expenditures.

Markets are intelligent - they know where their money comes from! As a result, as government has increased its play in the market - those who earn in the health care market have turned their eyes on government. Increasingly, physicians, medical manufacturers and hospitals have moved away from protecting free market principles and moved towards demanding more from government.

Professional associations representing these groups have demanded increased government payouts for various procedures and services. Increasingly, they have become employees of government - not directly responsive to patient needs or demands. And put simply, they want a pay raise.

Politicians recognize the political truism that you gain a more loyal following by passing out dollar bills than allowing people to keep their own money: dependency is a great source of power. Honoring this truism grows government - creating ever more powerful constituencies that protect every government dollar spent.

The loss of these constituencies commitment to free market principles has been devasting and increasingly resulted in physician decisions being dictated by government formularies - government reimbursement pay formulas for certain medical services and equipment. These pay formulas are the new values driving decisions in medical care. And now, the primary articulator of these values - government - is ready to pomote a claim of value in death.

A child that is unwanted and uneeded - is simply a burden. Abort it! The elderly - more of a drain than a benefit - encourage physician assisted suicide.

The President's new health care bill will mandate your participation in abortion. And a new "reform" bill introduced in the US House by Representatives John Dingell (D-Michigan) and Charlie Rangel (D-New York) creates government mandated death consultants who will encourage the elderly and disabled to choose death.

In 1985, withholding fluid and nutrition from a patient unable to feed himself or herself was considered criminal. Afterall, we are unable to feed ourselves at numerous stages of life and if we were not in the process of dying, someone wihtholding fluids and food was denying what was considered humane care.

Such care is not medical treatment it is an act of compassion. Yet, with high profile court cases in numerous states and the trend towards death and a rationing of care - in 1986, the American Medical Association for the first time defined the provision of food and water as "medical treatment." The impact is monumental. Medical treatment can be withheld, humane care cannot.

Death by dehydration is brutal and lengthy.  It is accomplished with dozens of people standing by who, with simple effort, can sustain a life they watch wither, suffer and die.

And now in the Dingell/Rangel bill, the government will get into the act. Under Subtitle C - "Miscellaneous Improvements" beginning on page 420 of the 1,018 page bill, the government would mandate under Section 1233 what it terms "Advance Care Planning Consultation."

The consultation requires reviewing with all medicare patients the options of withholding care, including providing information on "the use of artificially administered nutrients and hydration."

There is not a need to educate patients about the need of hydration and nutrients. All of us have lived with that need all of our lives. We obtain it - or we die. This provision is there to encourage a pre-determination of death by neglect in order to, as the bill's title suggests, "provide affordable health care."

The proposed law takes the next step and requires these death consultations when a patient and family are most vulnerable. The consultations are to take place "if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual, including the diagnosis of a chronic, progressive, life-limiting disease."

This sets up the dynamic for withholding food and water due to non-life threatening conditions. Further, it invites a patient, if conversant, to make a decision about their future during an ultimate time of stress.

This language invites an approach similar to Oregon's assisted suicide legislation, which was sold as a "compassionate" way out for those terminally ill and in constant pain. This was and is a lie.

Studies indicate that none of the 43 who were assisted in their suicides during the first two years of that legislation were facing such problems. The overwhelming concern was being a burden on family and requiring assistance in daily living.

Just as abortion plays on the fears of frightened mothers, euthanasia plays on the fears of frightened seniors and the disabled.

Further, the bill establishes a special government study called the "physician's quality reporting initiative" which will create special government funded "patient decision aids" and government consultation groups to assist paitents in understanding these issues.

These committees will represent different disciplines but with one commonality - all will be paid by government. And government is interested in saving "costs."

The only thing that breaks this cycle is principled leadership or Americans demanding principled action. Americans, however, are increasingly being taught that liberty is a frightening concept - it requires initiative and exists in a state of uncertainty. Today, there is the ever-present temptation to trade liberty for a false sense of security. This has happened with health care.

Health care is now government business and as with all those who pay the bill, government is attempting to cut costs and this means rationing - choosing one over the other. This is one of the main threads of the hidden debate on health care. Proponents of government making such choices are struggling to find the right Orwellian terms to confuse or mislead the American public.

At least Princeton University Professor Peter Singer, although confused, was blunt and direct in the July 19th edition of the NY Times Sunday Magazine. Professor Singer argues that such rationing is logical. Singer is right - it is. The crux, however, is who makes the choice of rationing and whose values are reflected in that decision. Singer and President Obama support government making these decisions.

Singer writes "(r)ationing health care means getting value for the billions we are spending by setting limits on which treatments should be paid for...." And Singer invites us to answer the following problem as an example: "saving the life of one teenager is equivalent to saving the lives of___ 85 year-olds."[ix] Or how about, preserving the quality of life of one adult is worth the lives of how many unborn? Or, saving the life of___ university professors is worth the life of___ unemployed steel workers? (Prof. Singer probably does not want to put that one up for a vote). You can see the problem.

Families make difficult choices of rationing every day - saving for college, purchasing a new and safer car, enhancing savings, moving to a new home, determining health care costs. Increasingly, government is making these decisions for us through the coercive impact of law or through tax code encouragement. This loss of liberty has profound implications. The government solution scheme incrementally replaces opportunity with government promises, diminishes personal accountability creating government inefficiencies and more ominously, invites government dictates in the cause of controlling costs.

And now President Obama is attempting to have government dictate abortion in the name of "choice." Soon, you government may be dictating the duty to die to the disabled, sick and elderly in the cause of universal health care.

Accordingly, the President and Democrat congressional leadership are trying to force through mandated health insurance coverage for abortion and the mandatory provision of abortion services for all Americans as well. All Americans will be forced into health insurance plans that include abortion coverage - forcing all Americans to pay for abortions through their premiums.

It is in these battles that we will define ourselves as a nation and a people.


{Phill Kline is the former Kansas Attorney General and now a visiting law professor in Virginia. His web site is http://www.standwithTruth.com - Ed.)