George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London,
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will offer fresh,
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military campaigns,
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will always
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
FRIDAY through SUNDAY, AUGUST 29
through 31, 2003
The terrorist bombing in Najaf, Iraq yesterday is another terrible
reminder of what the Iraqii people - and the American people - are up
against. Yes, both of our peoples, if only they and we would
see the identity of interest in defeating terrorists and their supporters,
whoever and wherever they may be. For their part, the people of
Iraq must now see who their friends are and who their enemies are...and
act accordingly. No more fence-sitting; no more brave words and gestures
"full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." As described in the
Suspects Tied To Al-Qaida," their country is again being invaded...not
by a country trying to help them while defending itself, but by foreign
enemies of their interests. For our part, Americans must stop
wringing our hands in doubt or cynically playing politics with this issue.
We must unite behind our leadership and behind our fighting men who are
dying daily to keep the chaos from our shores. And we must send massive
reinforcements both to restore security and to ferret out and neutralize
those enemies. This must include getting tough diplomatically and
economically with Syria, Iran and also Saudi Arabia - for starters - until
they suppress the terrorists in their own countries. There
is no other effective way for us to protect ourselves while stabilizing
a Middle East powder keg that can otherwise consume us. This is our
21st century variation of the Cold War of the later 20th century -
and it is just as dangerous, perhaps more so. For our enemies in
the Cold War did not themselves want to die. Such is not the case
with these madmen.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2003
We keep coming back to the Iraq situation, because it's there,
and because a combination of well-intentioned, fuzzyheaded and also
politicized opinions continue to appear in the media. In addition
to the many prior offerings in this section, two recent sources are directly
"Fighting 'The Big One'" (A war over ideas and values, not oil),
by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Sunday, August 24, 2003, Op-Ed,
A book by Caleb Carr, "The Lessons of Terror", Random House 2002.
Consider the following quotation from that book (p13): "The successful
answer to the terrorist threat, then, lies not in repeated analyses of
individual contemporary terrorist movements, nor in legalistic attempts
to condemn their behavior in courts of international law, nor in reactionary
policies and actions that punish civilian populations as much as the terrorists
who operate from among them. Rather, it lies in the formulation of
a comprehensive, progressive strategy that can address all terrorist threats
with the only coercive measures that have ever affected or moderated terrorist
(or any other military or paramilitary) behavior: preemptive military offensives
aimed at making not only terrorists but the states that harbor, supply,
and otherwise assist them experience the same perpetual insecurity that
they attempt to make their victims feel." Amen.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, AUGUST
25 through 27, 2003
Here are three more alarming articles on the issue of Internet Security,
or rather insecurity, a topic discussed earlier this month in this
section. The U.S. Constitution requires a "case or controversy",
and an actually harmed plaintiff, in order for a suit to be initiated.
There are probably millions of people and hundreds of corporations in the
world that fit that description and who cound be party to a Federal
class-action suit against the computer hardware and especially software
industries for producing and maintaining products which can be described
as "defective, unreasonably dangerous", under Product Liability Law.
Any enterprising attorneys out there?
"Welter of Viruses is a Wake-Up Call for Software Industry", by
Robert A. Guth, WSJ Tuesday,
August 26, 2003, Marketplace, pB1.
"Privacy is history on the Internet, says consumer group...Social Security
numbers of top federal officials found for sale online", by Jenniver
C. Kerr, The New London Day,
Thursday, August 28, 2003, Business, pB11.
"New Battleground Over Web Privacy: Ads That Snoop", by James R.
Hagerty and Dennis K. Berman, WSJ
Wednesday, August 27, 2003, pA1.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2003
Here's some good news about Iraq, found surprisingly in the New
York Times today: "Chaos and Calm are 2 Realities For U.S. in Iraq",
by Dexter Filkins, p1. Once again, it highlights the fact that
- whether dealing with the Palestinian, or the Israeli, or the Iraqii crazies
- their own people must take a direct and predominant hand in bringing
them to heel for the benefit of the greater societies involved, and for
the sake of world peace.
For readers of the New London, Ct. region, and for anyone who has been
asleep for the last several years, the excellent editorial in The Day (www.theday.com)
today regarding the New London Development Corporation is a perfect
way to catch up on the news and the challenge facing NLDC and the city
of New London. Atta Boy!
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, AUGUST 22 and
The last offering addressed "what we must do in Iraq." This
addresses what we must Not do in Iraq: namely, share military
authority and control with the U.N....for any reason. That august
body cannot hold a meaningful debate, let alone be effective in the field.
They did not even have the sense to accept U.S. protection for their headquarters
in Baghdad. No, we'll accept help, and we will show appreciation,
but not at the cost of jeopardizing the success of this vital mission.
It looks like we were right about the reported "air quality" in lower
Manhattan after 9/11 (see an earlier offering here). The
actions of the EPA at that time, evidently the result of pressure by the
Administration for "reasons of security", remind me that participants in
negligence and fraud in government always wait until they leave their posts
to expose it, and then always refer to it in the past tense.
And then we have more on the debacle called "public education".
An article in The Day (www.theday.com)
reported: "Schools Warned About Lagging Achievement", by Judy Benson
Friday, August 22, 2003, pA1. It was followed immediately, today,
by the article "Groups Want Revisions in Education Standards Law",
also by Judy Benson, The Day, pB5. The article describes the usual
bankrupt arguments by the usual "professional" suspects: if the kids can't
pass fair national exams, dumb down the exams to a level that they can
pass - whatever that is. This insanity began with City College of
New York, a once prestigious place of learning, in the early 1960's. It
has proceeded ad absurdum to produce the present sorry state. And
these "educators" haven't learned a thing from that whole experience.
Arrogant, and Asinine. (Please see the extensive offerings on
this web site under Public Education Politics).
THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2003
My sentiments, exactly! Reported in today's Day (www.theday.com)
are two articles addressing what we must do in Iraq: demand that the
Iraqiis take much more responsibility for what is happening in Iraq.
As noted in earlier offerings here, it is their country; it is their freedom.
And their lindividual and collective attitudes toward the help America
is giving them must fall into one of two categories, with appropriate response
from us: friend or foe. That includes especially the clerics.
Enough with "Mr. Nice Guy"! In a populace that has known only totalitarian
regimes, only the projection of power, fairly but effectively applied,
has any chance of working in the short run.
"Bremer demands Iraqi council take more authority, condemn U.N. suicide
bombing", by Dexter Filkins and Neil MacFarquhar, The Day, Thursday,
August 21, 2003, World, pA2.
"Blast wasn't aimed at U.N., it was aimed at Iraq's future, by Thomas
Friedman, The Day, Thursday, August 21, 2003, Commentary, pA9.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, AUGUST
18 through 20, 2003
The massive Blackout of a few days ago is yet another example
of the creed of the world of Business: "Greed is Good". It
turns out that today's national power grid, as someone noted, would be
comforting to Thomas Edison; nothing much has changed. Of course,
this is hyperbole. But, in fact, available and necessary controls
are not in place mainly due to eternal pursuit of the bottom line by Corporate
America - and even by States that have a stake in the status quo.
This, on top of the excesses and fraud of the 1980's, followed by the implosion
of two years age (Enron, etc.), accompanied by the vastly inequitable tax
burdens of private individuals and corporations alike, and by the rampant
cheating going on under the rubrics NAFTA and GATT. Where is it written
that, unless we follow totally unregulated laissez faire, allowing
the business community the right to lie, cheat and steal, we are attacked
as "anti-business". I am pro-business and anti-lie, cheat and steal!
That requires federal regulation, effective and yet not stifling.
This should not be a Democratic or Republican issue; it is an efficiency,
common sense and fairness issue. The Republicans, especially, had
better understand this and stop acting like Pavlov's dogs when the subject
is brought up...or they will lose the next election, even at a time when
the Democrats, as usual, cannot be depended upon to defend the country.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, AUGUST 16 and
Are the topics discussed in this Rapid Response section timely,
or what? Even the current Dilbert is about "your network-security
product..." Check it out.
Now Medicare has another dilemma: whether to pay for risky palliative lung
surgery for far-advanced chronic lung disease patients. Welcome
back to the "third rail" of American Medicine: rationing or prioritization,
as discussed elsewhere on this web site. The choice is clear, as
opposed to the current ad hoc political method of funding selected
medical care over other medical care...based upon whoever has the loudest
lobby. This society should either decide collectively to pay for
everything that the miracles of medical science can produce - regardless
of the percentage of the Gross Domestic Product that may represent; or
it should permit and sponsor a national system of prioritization of medical
care applicable to all of us. Or is this approach too honest for
our fearless leaders?
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 and
Here's a followup on the last comment, on Identity Theft and related
problems of internet insecurity. This is addressed in an article
published in the WSJ entitled:
Your PC Safe From The Worm", Thursday, August 14, 2003, Personal Journal,
pD1. Good Luck, but at least do what you can.
The rest relates to World Insecuity. First we read about "Islam
Under Seige", a recent book that attempts an explanation and apology
for the anti-Islamic murderous and sucidal actions of alleged followers
of this great Religion in recent years. Then we hear about yet another
close associate of Osama bin Laden captured today, a person whose
life to date epitomizes the long-term world-wide threat of terrorism, especially
against the United States. And then we read an article by Albert
R. Hunt, the chief liberal on the staff of the WSJ: The Faux Foreign
Policy Leadership, WSJ,
Thursday, August 14, 2003, Opinion, pA13. In it, Mr. Hunt chronicles,
based on polls, how badly our foreign policy seems to be fairing among
the people in the streets of various countries, including Spain, Turkey,
Russia and Indonesia. This, as contrasted with the more realistic
policies of their governments as they relate to the only super-power in
the world today. This is not to be jingoistic, but, under all the
circumstances, and since 9/11, Who Cares? Our first duty as a
society is self-defense. That includes pre-emptive self-defense,
military, economic, and in any other way that will get the message across
to friend and foe alike.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, AUGUST
11 through 13, 2003
Hello again. Work keeps getting in the way of this relaxation.
First, regarding "Identity Theft", a serious and growing problem
that has seriously disrupted the lives of many thousands of computer/internet
users, often through no fault of their own. As stated in
an earlier Rapid Response" the largely ignored "elephant in
the living room" is the fact that computer/software/internet providers
and their users cannot currently guarantee security and privacy.
The use currently is inherently non-secure, despite all the available security
measures. That brings to mind the legal principle of "Product
Liability: A tort which makes a manufacturer liable if his product
has a defective condition that makes it unreasonably dangerous to the user
or consumer". (Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, p1089).
Whether or not the application of this legal principle to this situation
needs to be tested in the courts, it would be a great marketing approach
if the computer/software/internet industries were to accept the responsibility,
both regarding victims of identity theft and regarding developing a sustainable
remedy for this serious shortcoming. There are millions of people
out there who will not currently use the commercial opportunities available
because of this personal vulnerability. Another way to do well while
Regarding the continuing conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere, the following
comment by Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez (Commander of U.S. Ground Forces
in Iraq) yesterday says it all:"Every American needs to believe this: that
if we fail here in this environment, the next battlefield will be the streets
of America. Every soldier...understands the impact to America and
to the global war on terrorism of his duty here." Another relevant
article is by Vin Weber, former Republican congressman from Minnesota,
entitled "As They Were Saying", (WSJ,
Wednesday, August 13, 2003, Opinion, pA10). In it the author reviews
the many times and ways in which the previous Administraion had
made the case for removing Saddam Hussein, facts conveniently forgotten
by the Democratic presidential hopefuls since then.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 2003
The goings-on in California have politicians throughout the country
quaking in their boots. Imagine a democracy "of the people, by the
people, and for the people" having a direct and effective say in their
own governance through such mechanisms as referendum petitions and recall
mechanisms. Shock and Awe! Well, "Power To The People", at
long last. And once again it is occurring in the the State which
has long been the the harbinger of our future as Americans, for good and
for bad. Gray Davis was regarded as a poor governor long before Enron,
as he and Willie what's - his - name rode rough-shod and spendthrift over
the legislative process in Sacramento during the 1990's in true Democratic
Party fashion. Furthermore, "lack of experience", the main strategem
of the Davis campaign against the Terminator, should read "absence of political
debts to pay". Many American corporations have found that often the
best new CEO is a person of integrity, common sense and people skills recruited
from a completely different background than that of the searching company.
Enter Arnold. He'll do just fine!
In the New York Times
today is another example of "Freedom from Religion" nowhere
found in the Bill of Rights. The article is entitled "Courts Weighing
Rights of States to Curb Aid for Religion Majors" (p1). It appears
that eleven states prohibit aid for the study of Theology in college.
Cases challenging these laws, which must be highly offensive to the vast
majority of Americans, will be heard in the U.S.S.C's next term.
Will such ultra-liberal and arrogance and idiocy never cease?
On the local front, we continue to have The Day of New London highlighting
inane articles by Tom Teepen and today by Tom Blackburn of the Palm Beach
Post (remember the hanging chads?) using all manner of sophistry in trying
to attack the logical and effective response of the Bush administration
to the implications of 9/11 for American national security. But then
we also find the excellent article by Jerome T. Fischer entitled
Peace: Let's Start At Home", (The
Day, Sunday, August 10, 2003, Perspective, Voices and Views, pC3).
I guess we'll have to continue taking the good along with the bad and the
ugly from this generally very good newspaper.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 and
As reprinted in The Day, Thursday, August 7, 2003, Thomas Friedman has
written another good article, "telling it like it is": Arab Nations
Practice Hypocrisy. This exposition, and so many other developments
coming out of that great cauldron called the Arab or Islamic World
make it clear that the price of America's engagement in the Middle East
and in Africa, either altruistically or for our own pro-active self-defense
, will be decades of carrot-and-stick deplomacy at substantial military
and financial cost. That will be the price of avoiding World War
lll or another round of Crusades. Do we have a choice?
The choice, I think, is either to meet the challenge of 9/11 at its roots,
or to fight it on our own soil. So stated, I see no alternative.
The "choice" of isolationism certainly does not exist. And this is
not a partisan issue, despite the Democrats' demagoging it. So, buckle
up. It's going to be a long, hard ride.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2003
The following requires no comment, just grass roots action...
By Rush Limbaugh:
I think the vast differences in compensation between victims
of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving the country in Uniform
are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because
you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11.
Well, I just can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really
disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you
lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an
average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all
the way up to $4.7 million.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4
through 6, 2003
If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in
action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half
of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you
are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's
a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits
18, those payments come to a screeching halt.
Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185
million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their
deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at
the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and
they and their families know the dangers.
We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma
City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that
the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the
families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation
You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel
of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really
sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive
next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle
East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent
housing. Make sense?
However, our own U.S. Congress just voted themselves a raise, and many
of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive
a pension that is more than $15,000 per month, and most are now equal to
being millionaires plus. They also do not receive Social Security on retirement
because they didn't have to pay into the system.
If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an
E-7, you may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people
who placed you in harm's way receive a pension of $15,000 per month. I
would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks
before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and
daughters who are now fighting.
"When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair
to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can. If you're
interested there is more.......................
This must be a campaign issue in 2004. Keep it going. SOCIAL SECURITY:
(This is worth the read. It's short and to the point.) Many of you
may have already seen this part, so it will be a depressing reminder....
Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years. Our
Senators and Congressmen do not pay into Social Security. Many years ago
they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no congressperson
has felt the need to change it. For all practical purposes their plan works
When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die,
except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments.
For example, former Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives
may expect to draw $7,800,000 - that's Seven Million, Eight Hundred Thousand),
with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives.
This is calculated on an average life span for each.
Their cost for this excellent plan is $00.00. These little perks they
voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this
The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General
Fund--our tax dollars at work! >From our own Social Security Plan, which
you and I pay (or have paid) into--every payday until we retire (which
amount is matched by our employer) --we can expect to get an average $1,000
per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect
our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one month to equal
Senator Bill Bradley's benefits!
Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made.
And that change would be to jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from
under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan
with the rest of us and then watch how fast they would fix it.
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted
and maybe good changes will evolve. WE, each one of us...can make a difference.
OK! It's catch-up time.
The Episcopal Church has done it again: Always avant-garde,
and always Non-Roman Catholic. Alright, we get the idea. But
be careful that you don't implode.
There are two wars that we have been fighting, both without success;
and I heard them being compared during an interesting GBH program last
night: the war on drugs, and the war on forest fires.
In both cases our approach is wrong, effective approaches are available,
and we refuse to change tactics for political reasons. More on that
at another time.
Here's the latest discovery: Americans are FAT, especially their kids.
Take one normal child, add years of junk foods and fast foods and sugar-laden
soft drinks (easily available at your local school as a cash cow), stir
in - very slowly -years of TV (average four hours per day) and other computer
idiocy. Let sit alone for hours on end while the parents are too
busy doing other things. And there you have it...A FAT KID.
And with girls there may be another ingredient: the very early use of oral
contraceptives. This is not rocket science, folks.
If there are any ultra-liberals out there who have had the intestinal
fortitude to stick with these commentaries during the last several months,
the following is a Must Read: Ann Coulter's recently published book
entitled: "Treason - Liberal Treachery From The Cold War To The War
On Terrorism" (Crown Forum, New York, New York, 2003). If you
still have any regard for the facts, any intellectual curiosity and honesty,
this book is for you!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 2003
There are times when the best I can do is to refer the visitor to some
good recently published articles. This is one of those days.
"The Sleepy Superpower Awakes", by Charles Krauthammer, Time
Magazine, August 4, 2003, Essay, p76;
"This Was A Good Thing To Do", by Paul A. Gigot, Wall
Street Journal, Monday, July 28, 2003, Opinion, pA10;
"The Press: Time For A New Era?", by Robert L. Bartley, Wall
Street Journal, Monday, July 28, 2003, Opinion, pA11;
Backs Research Cloning", Catalyst,
July - August 2003, p12 (see link on this web site).
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 and
Besides grousing about Homeland Security legislation (especially the
Patriot Act which does impact personal privacy to some extent), and about
the varied intelligence on which the Bush Administration relied in part
as a reason for invading Iraq, and about the WMD's - so far missing - but
known for a decade to exist, and about the daily tragedy of American soldiers
being killed, now we add the hind-sight regarding health hazards to which
the heroic workers at the World Trade Center site were exposed as they
searched for survivors. Regarding the last point, any high school
Biology student - and certainly the first responders and construction
workers knew or should have known what they were dealing with as a health
hazard. The workers did it despite that knowledge...that's why they're
heroes. What the general public knows viscerally - and what the politicized
liberals either don't understand or cynically ignore - is the fact that
are at war! All of the above issues must be considered in that
light. And that is also true regarding the Iraqi people, not
only at war, but on the losing side temporarily. They should be helping
us, and not engaging in political diatribes and outright assassinations
of our men in uniform. Both at home and in Iraq, we have to deal
effectively - even harshly - with these facts. Pre-emptive self-defense
is our right and our obligation as Americans.