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, April 30, 2004

Considering the amount of newsprint that is beginning to be devoted to Senator John Kerry, abortion and his reported Catholicism,  Democrats seem to be starting to become a little queezy about the subject.  See: "Catholic Bishops Who Fault Kerry Cross Line", by Thomas C. Fox, USA Today Thursday, April 29, 2004, The Forum, p 13A.  Despite the note that the author is the publisher of the National Catholic Reporter, he clearly regards being a Democrat (like that great Catholic, JFK) as much more important than being an observant Catholic who heeds his conscience and who avoids giving scandal.  See: "Kerry's Catholic Issue", by Cal Thomas, The Day Wednesday, April 28, 2004, Commentary, pA9.  See also: "Threats To Politicians Wrong", Editorial, The Day Friday, April 30, 2004, Opinion, pA6.  Here, the writer confuses the abomination of abortion with the unfortunate and unnecessary blanket Church prohibition against contraception, a Papal decision that flew in the face of the findings of his own Commission in 1968, and which literally "threw the baby out with the bath water".  The writer then elevates "the right of a woman to choose..." with abortion, "by its very nature a vile act...", because it "is the law as established by the Supreme Court."   This is reminiscent of the "Recht Ist Recht" ("Law Is Law") position, established in Nazi Germany in the 1930's, that "legitimized" involuntary sterilization and murder of "undesireables" ("untermenschen") and the victims of the Holocaust.  It should also be remembered that the decision in Roe v Wade was created out of whole cloth, without scientific, moral or legal basis.  Such "laws" are not legtimate.  On the contrary, it is our obligation to counter such "laws", whether as private citizens or even more so as politicians and public office holders.  This has nothing to do with the much abused "Separation of Church and State".  It has everything to do with core values.  And what does all this have to do with the recent scandals regarding abusive priests?  It is all the  more reason for each of us to utilize for ourselves the moral compass provided by our education in the Catholic Church and elsewhere.  Ultimately, being a Catholic involves more than having been baptized into the Church; just as being a Jew involves more than having been circumcised.  And the Roman Catholic Church has every right, and a responsibility, to determine who its members are.  Even with this issue addressed, there is still enough hypocracy around to service the politicians and their surrogates.  This is the "connection to reality" that the writer seeks.

GS

THURSDAY, April 29, 2004

"Lord preserve us from our friends", at least from friends like these.  The great pacifist and equivocator, Kofi Annan, today is quoted regarding "violent military action by an occupying power against inhabitants of an occupied country..."  How about "liberating" power and "liberated" country?  And in USA Today we read the glaring headline: "Poll: Iraqis losing patience.  Many say Saddam's fall benefited them, but most want U.S. troops to leave now."  Losing patience?  Are they tired of climbing upon the burned hulks of our Humvees in triumph, or of celebrating the deaths of our soldiers?  These are a people who may not deserve freedom and democracy.  They certainly don't appear to have the stomach to fight for it, with our help, as we had to do  two hundred years ago.  And they are rapidly showing themselves to be a people who can never be friends of ours.  Too bad...for them.  There is still time; but not much.

GS

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, April 26 through 28, 2004

As sobering and disturbing images have appeared before us through news media in the last week, like flag-draped coffins of our fallen military, and Iraqis standing "triumphantly" over destroyed Humvees, it seems that here in America the penchant for self-inflicted wounds of partisanship have waned somewhat.  Of course, there are always those, like Al Hunt, the token liberal at the Wall Street Journal, who never miss an opportunity, fact-based or not, to carp at the doings of the current administration.  So, perhaps we can take the opportunity of this "truce" to suggest a few common-sensical approaches to some of the more intractible disputes facing the American electorate this year.

In this quest for common sense approaches to vexing problems, we the people will unfortunately get little help from our politicians or from the legal community.  They go with what they know.  They know power; they know trial by combat.  It is we who will have to lead them back to common sense...and thereby to position this nation, united, to deal with a very dangerous world out there over the coming decades.
Each of us can do that with our carefully considered vote in November and beyond.  Look for the leaders and the potential leaders who offer common sense and not merely controversy.

GS

SATURDAY and SUNDAY, April 24 and 25, 2004

Finally, I have actually read a substantial part of Bob Woodward's new book, "Plan of Attack".   The following are some observations.
  1. Once again, this famous journalist and author has performed a public service.
  2. With his insistence, the book was published well before the November elections, to avoid its being misused.
  3. Woodward allows the players to be represented by their own words, with only limited editorialization.  The reader can come to his own conclusions.
  4. However, that method makes quoting out of context easy, as we have seen this week on nearly every major network and talk show.
  5. Woodward's own numerous appearances on news shows effectively re-oriented the proper context of the more dramatic revelations, to his great credit.
  6. In this narrative we realize the extremely complex interplay among the nation's leaders, always working  - of necessity - with incomplete information as the basis for momentous decisions.  The Hawks; The Doves; The Magpies (France, Germany, Hans Blix...).
  7. A fair reading of this material reveals President George W. Bush to be a good leader, a man for these times.  And a man who is comfortable with his decisions: "I would like to be a two-term president, but if I am a one-term president, so be it...Fully prepared to live with it."  (p443).
In history, the times have often made the man, who rose to the challenge.  This book reveals another such time in history.  It should be read.

GS

FRIDAY, April 23, 2004

GS

THURSDAY, April 22, 2004

GS

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, April 19 through 21, 2004

GS

SUNDAY, April 18, 2004

GS

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, April 16 and 17, 2004

"Revisionist History".  This term refers to a politically correct or biased re-writing of the facts of history...usually undertaken decades or even centuries after the fact.  But no longer.  In today's world of information and opinion travelling at warp speed throughout cyberspace, revisionism can be found occurring nearly simultaneously with fact.  And the fastest warp speed encountered is during a political season.  So, in the interests of balance and fairness,  here is a brief "executive summary" of facts occurring over the last 14 years that have brought us to our present state. Arrogant, you say?  No more arrogant than the spate of books, articles and commentary that actively seek to distort those facts.

GS

THURSDAY, April 15, 2004

Tax Day.  As much as we grouse about having to shell out a lot of our hard-earned money yearly, most of us Americans take secret pride in this as our stake in the American way of life.  But we know that the success of our tax system depends ultimately upon voluntary compliance.  Massive non-compliance and resistance could not be dealt with by any or all of the government agencies.  That's why it is so important for us to see fairness in the process.  That perception of fairness is being eroded over years by the fact of corporate and ultra-rich non-payment of taxes.  Our leadership had better address that festering sore soon.

GS

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, April 12 through 14, 2004

As important in the war on terrorism as is following the money trail, just as important is following the information trail.  After a week of mis-characterizing and lampooning Dr. Rice and, through her the President in expected partisan fashion, the "9/11 Commission" has finally found red meat in its probe of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.  Information and communication were lacking, within and between the agencies.  And as Dr. Rice testified, the reasons were "systemic": legal and public sentiment prohibitions to effective cooperation; funding cuts, intentional or otherwise; and the fact that, before 9/11, "the country was not on a war footing", as President Bush explained last evening.  Thus, as any computer operator knows, "garbage in, garbage out".  Federal legislators as well as past administrations were complicit in this, as was the public.  Even now, regarding the Patriot Act, some people just don't get it.  Civil liberties and privacy, yes; but always consistent with national security.  And today we learned from CIA Director George Tenet that getting up to speed against this new world terror will take five years!  How's that for planning?  "We has seen the enemy, and they is us".  Meanwhile, As the President said: "We will finish the work of the fallen".

GS

SUNDAY, April 11, 2004

Happy Easter.  This is the eternal message of good will offered to all theistic people of good will, whatever their particular religious beliefs.  It is the message that what we see around us is not the whole story, not even the most important part of the whole story.  And there is the great basis for hope.  Part of that hopefulness is being demonstrated in the massive interest in Mel Gibson's depiction of Jesus.  Remember: it relates not only to His death; it concludes with his Resurrection, the critical element.  This week's Time magazine asks the question: "Why Did Jesus Have To Die?"  Following a useful analysis, the only answer can be..."because."  Similarly, none of the recent expositions on the origins of the Holy Bible give any attention to the fact that the Bible is Holy because it is the direct product of Divine Inspiration.  Otherwise, the messages heard by the great prophets of antiquity might just be auditory hallucinations of psychotics.  And the Gospels and Letters written decades after Jesus' time might just be polemics designed as pay-back for troubling times.  I don't think so!

Finally, announcing a special occasional offering in this section: "Democrats On Parade". Whenever Democrats have something significant to say, good or stupid, related comments will appear under this heading.  Let's start with this report today from the N.Y.Times : "John Kerry has no intention of distancing himself from his fellow Democrat and Massachusetts senator, Edward M. Kennedy, a relationship that thrills Republicans" (pA1).   Stay tuned.

GS

SATURDAY, April 10, 2004

Today, the opinions offered for many months in this section can be supported by good recent newspaper articles:

Without saying "I told you so", let's go forward.  The uprisings must be put down with overwhelming force, as is true of any riot, and not with "pin-point strikes"...that merely put our soldiers in harm's way.  The Iraqi people must be protected with overwhelming force.  Let's get that overwhelming force there, at long last!   The Iraqi people and the clerics must have no doubt about what we, as the liberating force, will and will not tolerate for an outcome to our great and painful efforts on our mutual bahalf: democracy, not theocracy; majority rule with minority representation and protection.  Nothing more; nothing less.   The alternative is prolonged occupation, as pre-emptive self-defense.  And the American people also must have no doubt as to these, the strategy and tactics of this administration and, I believe, of the vast majority of Americans. Articulate that clearly, Mr. President.  Implement it effectively - and soon.  And let's test it in November.  That will be a "light worth the candle".

GS

FRIDAY, April 9, 2004

GS

MONDAY through THURSDAY, April 5 through April 8, 2004

GS

SUNDAY, April 4, 2004

On the offering in this section for March 17-21, 2004, I expressed an opinion regarding the assassination by Israel of the Muslim cleric who had headed Hamas and its attacks on that country.  After discussing the matter with my friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Levin, he sent me his views on the subject, as noted in the following letter.

Dear George:

Having read your recent opinion as regards the elimination of Sheikh Yassin in Gaza, I would temper it with the two articles that I have included with this letter.  Yassin was hardly an enfeebled old man.  It would be worth your while to read the Hamas Charter.  It reads like it was taken verbatim from Mein Kampf.  It expresses the same fate for all Jews and absolutely states NO compromise of any sort with Israel, ever.  It clearly envisions an Islamic republic from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean under Islamic law that is judenrein.  It seems as if the Bush Doctrine on terrorism is fine so long as it is only implemented by Americans.  The overwhelming view of the Jewish community is that this double standard for Israel is unacceptable.  The rising level of anger that I see is palpable and Yassin won't be missed.  Yassin ordered the homicide bombing of Israeli civilians, Israel finally strikes back, and the victims come under international criticism.  Sharon's impending withdrawal from Gaza is welcome, so long as Hamas is not left in control.  Israel will have to step forward to identify and protect what moderate leadership remains in Gaza; this has been a gaping hole in Israeli policy for a long time.  Arab leaders should be stepping forward to endorse this withdrawl and use this as an opportunity to push for an over all settlement.  I'm not holding my breath.  Arab leaders have more to gain by leaving the situation festering so that their own pitiful leadership and lack of vision can be excused by blaming the troubles of the Arab world on Israel and the United States.  The Palestinian Arabs make a great distraction for the "Arab street".  The leaders of the Muslim world have simply become Hitler's stepchildren.  Just read what the Malaysian prime minister said before representatives of 57 nations (mostly Muslim) last autumn, and not one person stood up to shout him down, condemn him, or even leave the room in protest.

As pertains to Israel versus the Palestinian Arabs, there is and never will be "moral equivalency."  What passes for leadership amongst the Palestinian Arabs has gone out of its way to politicize, radicalize, and morally impoverish (with hate) an entire generation, while they pilfer the coffers of billions of euros donated by the E.U. and move their own families out of harms way (in Paris or London).  Imagine what ten years of non-violent civil disobedience could have accomplished, a la Gandhi, but that presupposes people eventually living peaceably with each other.  The PLO is not interested in peaceful coexistence because it means they have to accept Israel (living side by side with a Palestinian state) as a fait accompli, which is not a part of their charter.  The Palestinian Arabs desperately need a Gandhi who won't suffer Gandhi's fate.

Sincerely yours,

Robert

GS

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, April 2 and April 3, 2004

More on fundamentalist Christians (and some Roman Catholics).  "Did you hear the one about" the Jewish soul who got up to the gates of Heaven and was examined by St. Peter?  The eternal gate-keeper said: you're admitted to Heaven, the Jewish Wing, #3;  but just tip-toe past Wing #1 on your way there".  Then came a Muslim soul.  After examination, St. Peter said: "you're admitted to Heaven, the Muslim Wing, #4; but just tip-toe past Wing #1 on your way there."  Then came a Hindu soul.  Same thing.  But this soul asked St. Peter: "why do we have to tip-toe past Wing #1?  Sighing, St. Peter replied: "because that's where the Christians are...and they think they're the only ones up here."

GS

MONDAY through THURSDAY, March 29 through April 1, 2004

Somewhere in the Bible there is a Divine admonition not to call another "Thou Fool".   But today the temptation is great, referring to whoever was responsible for re-printing today, in The Day, without comment, an editorial from the San Jose Mercury News.  The title, "Get Rid Of This Law", refers to the recently enacted Partial Birth Abortion Act, passed after years of testimony, none of which supported the allegation that this murderous act was ever necessary to protect the physical  health of the mother.  The gimmick here has always been reference to "the mother's health".  Is that mental health, financial health, social health, or what?  Even in the hypothetical situation where the mother was in serious physical jeopardy for her life, in balance with the life of her full-term child, anything could be done to save her life under the principle of "primary intent".  And so far as the positions of the AMA and the ACOG are concerned, "a pox on both their houses".  Remember...it has been many years since physicians have been required to take the Oath of Hippocrates.  So, even with physicians, "let the buyer beware!"

GS


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