Time for an Antidote

Take this, all you purveyors of evidence-based, biopsychosocial, deconstructed, social-engineered medicine and new age spirituality:

Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor, K. 427.

Performed in the Grand Chapel of the Séminaire Saint-Sulpice in Paris.
Laurence Equilbey (her bio here) conducting the Accentus Choir and Insula Orchestra.

[NOTE: Unfortunately ads come with the video.  Close them by carefully clicking the x in the corner of the ad, not by clicking within the ad, or you might find unwanted programs loaded onto your computer.]

Ethics Professor Zeke Emanuel on “Who is to Blame?”

Ezekiel Emanuel — an architect of Obamacare as well as ethics professor  — had a tough time Friday answering Megyn Kelly’s question as to whether Obama intentionally lied to the public.  The video is about 9 minutes, but watch to the end, where he complains that he didn’t have enough time to answer the question.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

Cheers!  According to Pallimed.org, today is World Hospice & Palliative Care Day: a day to call on all governments to declare “palliative care” (hospice and symptom treatment) a “human right.”  World-Hospice-and-PC-Day

It’s a special day of awareness, to be celebrated this one day, and throughout the year.  A day to take action by signing a petition in support of the Prague Charter.

Pallimed writes:

(A logo to warm the hearts of secular humanists and progressives everywhere.)

(A logo to warm the hearts of secular humanists and progressives everywhere.)

So for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day … I encourage you to increase your awareness about global palliative care issues the whole year through.  But since awareness is real[ly] only the first step, I would also ask that you sign The Prague Charter in an effort to make governments recognize palliative care as a human right.  It is already sponsored by:
– European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
– International Association for Palliative Care (IAHPC)
-Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) and
-Human Rights Watch (HRW)

(Incidentally, one common bond uniting the four sponsors is the support of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.)

Continuing from the Pallimed blog post:

Basically [the Prague Charter] asks government to support access to medications, palliative care training, public health policies . . . [and] integration of palliative care into the healthcare system continuum. [emphasis added]

In other words, the Charter wants government to move hospice and palliative care into all aspects of medicine and the individual patient’s medical treatment, from the moment of diagnosis, if not before.  Presumably this would be done by funding and/or regulation.

To put the commentary in context, a word about Pallimed is in order.

Pallimed is a blog that likes to err on the side of withholding and/or withdrawing treatment.  When government-funded advance care planning was up for debate as a section of HR 3200 several years ago, Dr. Drew Rosielle — founder of Pallimed — dismissed opponents as “wingnuts.”   More recently, Dr. Rosielle won financial support from the Hastings Center — a bioethics think tank that churns out guidelines on when to withhold treatment.  (In an unrelated issue, Hastings Center was also involved in the formation of the Earth Charter.)

And the blog has been critical of Catholic teachings in support of life.  When the bishops spoke out in 2009, emphasizing that nutrition and hydration are ordinary treatment, Dr. Christian Sinclair of Pallimed critiqued the revised directives, noting

If you think having members of the [Catholic] church directly becoming involved in health care matters seems theoretical or indirect at best, consider the case of Mr. Welby in Italy in 2006, or Steven Becker in St. Louis in 2000.

Dr. Sinclair urged readers to learn more about the Catholic directives by visiting the website of Compassion & Choices – a radical death-with-dignity group,

Now Dr. Sinclair wants us to sign a petition in support of the Prague Charter. Thanks, but I think I’ll take a pass.

Andrew Breitbart as Pro-Life Warrior

Thanks to the American Catholic for posting this gem in tribute to Andrew Breitbart:  Andrew Breitbart – One Year Later

Donald McClarey notes that Breitbart’s “keen insight for conservatives is that there can be no long-lasting success politically if the culture is ceded to the other side.”

That is true on the issue of abortion, and it is equally true in the so-called “end-of-life” issues.  Human life will remain in jeopardy as long as the culture assumes Better-Off-Dead Values and accepts the Quality-of-Life Imperative.

C-TAC Hosts DC Conference

The C-TAC website. (No link; they don’t need the additional traffic.)

Last Friday’s March for Life was a reminder that many Americans understand a fact that is lost to those inside the Beltway:  that protection of human life, grounded in Judeo-Christian principles, has been the foundation of American civil society for over two centuries.  By way of contrast, tomorrow an organization called C-TAC, run by right-to-die activists, will begin a two-day conference uniting pragmatic ethicists, political progressives, consumerists and crony capitalists at, appropriately, the National Academies of Science.

C-TAC (the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care) was founded by social marketer Bill Novelli; death-with-dignity activist Myra Christopher of the Center for Practical Bioethics (CPB; formerly known as Midwest Bioethics Center); and former Evan Bayh adviser Tom Koutsoumpas, now at ML Strategies.  The American Bar Association, while not a coalition member, had a hand in development of C-TAC through Charles Sabatino, who is director of ABA’s Commission on Law and Aging.

C-TAC co-founder Myra Christopher of the Center for Practical Bioethics

Bill Novelli is former AARP president, and is also a co-founder of the huge public relations firm Porter Novelli – the firm that made the news last year when it won a $20 million contract from HHS to promote Obamacare. (Porter Novelli handles C-TAC’s press releases.)

Myra Christopher’s claim to fame is that she helped attorney William Colby argue for the death of Nancy Cruzan, and later advised Senators Danforth and Moynihan in crafting the Patient Self-Determination Act.

As Partnership for Caring transitioned to Last Acts Partnership, Tom Koutsoumpas moved to Chairman and Rev. Jeremiah Wright was added to the board of directors. (Website has been removed; this is the web page as it appeared archived in 2005. IRS Form 990 confirms they were both on the board.)

Tom Koutsoumpas was on the board of Partnership for Caring, and appeared on the website as chairman in 2004 as the organization transitioned to Last Acts Partnership and added Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the board.  (Partnership for Caring had been known as Choice in Dying in the late 1990s; before that, it was known as the Society for the Right to Die.)

All of these founding members happen to have been key players in the 1990s death-and-dying project called Last Acts – a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project that collaborated with George Soros’s Open Society Institute, until Not Dead Yet raised protests, and funding was cut shortly thereafter.   In fact, C-TAC bears a striking resemblance to Last Acts.

Two years ago a two-day celebration of “the Legacy of Nancy Cruzan” brought together a number of people who would go on to launch C-TAC

C-TAC operated “largely under the radar” for about a year (as reported by one liberal blogger in-the-know).  By September 2011 their strategic plan included “SWAT Teams” to “respond to questions from the media as well as any attacks”  It is not clear whether this was in preparation for a specific “attack,” or whether they were just paranoid in general.  The worry about “questions from the media” was clearly a ruse, because Christopher has a long history of using the media to foist her propaganda on the public.  In 2000, for example, she and Partnership for Caring collaborated with Bill Moyers on a public television series, by which they were able to generate news stories, magazine articles, photo ops with members of Congress, and establish a community organizing network.  They can always count on newspapers to carry their message.  Susan Tolle –  developer of POLST, a major contributor to Oregon’s guidebook to the Death with Dignity Act, and a board member on one of Christopher’s projects – boasted in a CPB publication:

“Our use of data with the news media often precedes efforts to bring about change in other settings. . . .  If data have not been presented effectively to a wider audience, we are unlikely to be of tremendous influence to legislative bodies. . . . There is no doubt that The Oregonian has made a huge difference.”

What is C-TAC’s objective?  According to Diana Mason, WBAI radio host and president of the American Academy of Nursing, “C-TAC was formed to reframe the discussion” in response to what she termed “fear-mongering” and “’death panel’ rhetoric.”  Blogging at Disruptive Women in Health Care, Mason reported that C-TAC was ready to “take back the conversations with the public about choices in dying.”

One page from C-TAC’s Strategic Plan, complete with “SWAT Teams.”
[click image to enlarge]

“Choices in dying” is one part of the agenda, but C-TAC’s objective is much broader.  For one, they plan on “changing the health care delivery structure.” They are working with the new Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) at HHS; one of their board members just won $13 million in taxpayer money from CMMI to test a new intervention.

C-TAC likes to talk a lot about honoring a person’s values, but clearly they are in the business of shaping the public’s values and behaviors.  One of the stated goals in their Strategic Plan is (emphasis added)

“Improve the social, policy and health system environment and norms for quality advanced illness care.”

To accomplish that goal, C-TAC plans to

 1. Coordinate public engagement, policy advocacy, clinical model development, and provider education/support to optimize timing, sequence, and priorities to achieve greatest impact.

2. Utilize mass and social media and policy channels to create positive change in normative and expected behaviors regarding advanced illness”

[emphasis added]

Putting aside their lack of a solid definition for the term “advanced illness,” the problem here is that C-TAC clearly intends to impose its own values on the public in terms of defining “quality,” “positive change” and “normative and expected behaviors.”  This is a little troubling coming from an organization whose founders can’t even get it right when it comes to what “ordinary care” means (hint:  nutrition and hydration).

Get the picture? A C-TAC presentation showing that frail, elderly patients are a “cost to society.”
[click to enlarge]

Nor do the C-TAC founders understand the meaning of the word “person.”  According to their definition, a person ceases to be a person when he or she loses cognitive capability – as a number of them would argue in the cases of Nancy Cruzan, Hugh Finn, Robert Wendland, Terri Schiavo, and countless others.  So it is not surprising to learn that two years ago a two-day celebration of “the Legacy of Nancy Cruzan” served both as a reunion for old Partnership for Caring alumni, and a convening of agents who would go on to launch C-TAC.

It would be nice if these bioethicists, statists, and crony capitalists would not use taxpayer dollars to impose their values and agenda on the public, but to obtain government funding is one of their objectives.  And of course, if all goes as planned, with the government money will come regulations and guidelines that will further operationalize their “better-off-dead” values and pragmatic ethics.  Let’s hope they fail.