George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
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RAPID 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.
GS

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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 article, "Bombing 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.

GS

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 on point:

GS

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?

GS

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2003

GS

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, AUGUST 22 and 23, 2003

GS

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.

GS

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.

GS

SATURDAY and SUNDAY, AUGUST 16 and 17, 2003

GS

THURSDAY and FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 and 15, 2003

GS

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11 through 13, 2003

Hello again.  Work keeps getting in the way of this relaxation.

GS

SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 2003

GS

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 and 9, 2003

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.

GS

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.

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 as well.

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 like this:

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 plan.

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.

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4 through 6, 2003

OK!  It's catch-up time.

GS

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.

GS

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 and 2, 2003

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 we 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.

GS


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