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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

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list


MONDAY, December 31, 2007

As 2007 draws to a close, Americans may be noted to have - not Jimmy Carter's "malaise" - but a certain definite unease about the State of the Union.  As for myself, I kept looking for decisions, conclusions, end-games to our nation's numerous problems: security at home and abroad; immigration; health care delivery; social justice regarding income, race and gender issues; drug use and crime; corporate greed; climate change; ineffective leadership at all public levels.... 
And then I read Joseph Ellis' new book, "American Creation".  For any person who thinks that he or she "knows" American history, get thee to a bookstore: 
As the author states it: "...the very purpose of government was subtly transformed from an ultimate arbiter to a framework for ongoing argument...the design of the political foundation was ingenious in its combination of stability and agility...perhaps the most creative act of the founding era was to make time as well as space an indispensable ally, in effect extending the founding moment everlastingly into the future." (p243). 
 
So, there you have it, folks.  Let's all get used to it.  Or, as Flip Wilson's Geraldine would say: "What you see is what you git".  HAPPY NEW YEAR.

GS

SUN
DAY, December 30, 2007

GS

FRIDAY and
SATURDAY, December 28 and 29, 2007

PAKISTAN.  For this, I am aided by the NYTimes editorial published on Dec. 28, entitled "After Benazir Bhutto".  In it is articulated the standard Democratic world-view, echoed most recently by Hillary Clinton's comments involving "no reason to trust Musharraf...international investigation...by the U.N."  According to this view, everything in the world would be fine if we could only hold general elections...now...in all countries and among all peoples, regardless of their level of education, of wealth or abject poverty, of peace or turbulence, of stability or anarchy.  NONSENSE.  As reported in earlier offerings in this section, nations including the U.S. do not have friends...they have interests; and those interests in general must place stability over pure democracy, especially when dealing with a nuclear power.  Thus, friendly dictatorships have at times more closely served our national interests than have hostile democracies.

What Pakistan requires now, more than anything else, is stability before any march to democracy can take place...especially in a country on the front lines of a perpetual battleground of the world, and a country inhabited by radical and murderous Muslims, by al Qaida terorists and by a foreign invader...the Taliban.  Pakistan now requires an effective Military and President Musharraf to restore order and to prepare the country for elections.  The U.S. should overtly support all of that, while pressuring Musharraf and the Military finally to seal the borders of Pakistan and to eliminate all al Qaida and Taliban forces...with the aid of NATO and U.S. forces operating on both sides of the border.


Meanwhile, how the Democratic presidential hopefuls are handling this crisis will be yet another demonstration of their total disqualification for the job of safeguarding this country.


GS

THURS
DAY, December 27, 2007

Now for some holiday messages,  with some alliteration in a language created for it: Italian. 
GS

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, December 14 through 26, 2007



It was the day AFTER Christmas at a church in San Francisco. The
Pastor of the church was looking at the manger scene, when he noticed that
The baby Jesus figure  was missing from the cradle. He immediately turned
And went outside and  saw a little boy with a red wagon walking down the street.
And in the wagon, was the figure of the infant Jesus. 
So he walked up to the  boy and said,
 
"Son, where did you get that little baby Jesus that's in your wagon?" 
 
The little boy replied, "I got him from the church."

And why did you take him?" asked the pastor.  
 
The little boy replied,

"Well, about a week before Christmas, I prayed  and I told Jesus if he
Would bring me a red wagon for Christmas, I would  give him a ride in it!"

MONDAY through SUNDAY, December 17 through 23, 2007

'Tis the Season"...but the Chinese Curse is still current: "May You Live In Interesting Times".
Meanwhile, MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND A HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

GS

SUNDAY, December 16, 2007
GS

SATURDAY, December 15, 2007

POLITICS IN AMERICA...And The NYTimes Book Review
 
Whatever our political stripe, we can all enjoy elements of the NYTimes on Sundays.  But the offering for November 11, 2007 was better than most.  Four reviews went to the heart of what it is to be America.
Finally, this very accommodating publication even gives readers like myself (about 50 books behind in my readings) a way to keep up: "How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read", by Pierre Bayard (Bloomsbury).  But the Ellis book I have just ordered and will read...I promise.

GS

MONDAY through FRIDAY, December 10 through 14, 2007

Herewith follows a "stream of consciousness" on national and world affairs. The energy for this comes mainly from WSJ articles published during the past week.
GS

SUNDAY, December 9, 2007
GS

WEDNESDAY through SATURDAY
, December 5 through 8, 2007

As we are drawn ever deeper into this Funny Season of Presidential and World Politics, I feel it necessary to inaugurate a new, occasional offering in this section:
NON-NEWS; OR THE "DUH" FACTOR.
You get the idea.  But how many of us do?

GS

TUESDAY, December 4, 2007

A lot of different things on my mind today. 
GS

MONDAY, December 3, 2007

Since the Pledge of Allegiance
and The Lord's  Prayer
are not allowed in most
public schools  anymore
Because the word "God" is mentioned...
A kid in  Arizona wrote the attached

NEW School prayer: -
Now I sit  me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this  great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If  Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of  Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter  now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is  precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at  all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is  prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like  freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've  outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible .
To quote the Good Book makes  me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the  'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach  right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not  belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study  witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments  are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this  crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns  the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should  I be shot; My soul please take!
Amen

If you aren't ashamed  to do this,
please pass this on.
Jesus said,
"If you are ashamed of me,
I will be ashamed of you before my  Father."

- Author Unknown

SUNDAY, December 2, 2007

Interesting.  But I must believe that our Founders knew this same history and tried to immunize us from the same outcome.  A land of aliens, they provided protections for aliens.  The result was - and is - that we are still a melting pot, although with some lumps developing in the stew.  Those lumps must be broken up and stirred into the mix; but America's strength continues to be in the variety of its ingredients.  That must continue for many reasons, including the need to avoid the 200 year outcome. 
 
We in this country are now in a temporary time warp that has given rise to a profusion of excesses and a dearth of common sense.  That is nowhere more true than in our schizophrenia regarding Immigration.  But the verdict of Winston Churchill continues to be right on: "America can always be depended upon to do the right thing...after all else fails".

GS

>
>   HOW LONG DO WE HAVE?
>
>   This is the most interesting thing I've read in a long time. The sad thing
>   about it, you can see it coming.
>
>   I have always heard about this democracy countdown. It is interesting to
>   see it in print. God help us, not that we deserve it.
>
>   How Long Do We Have?
>
>   About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution
>   in 1787, Alexa nder Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University
>   of  Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic
>   some 2,000 years earlier:
>
>   "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a
>   permanent form of government."
>
>   "A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
>   they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury."
>
>   "From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who
>   promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that
>   every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is
>   always followed by a dictatorship."
>
>   "The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning
>   of history, has been about 200 years"
>
>   "During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the
>   following sequence: 
>
>   1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
>
>   2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
>
>   3. from courage to liberty;
>
>   4. from liberty to abundance;
>
>   5. from abundance to complacency;
>
>   6. from complacency to apathy;
>
>   7. from apathy to dependence;
>
>   8. From dependence back into bondage"
>
>   Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul,
>   Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000
>   Presidential election:
>
>   Number of States won by:
>   Gore: 19
>   Bush: 29
>
>   Square miles of land won by:
>   Gore: 580,000
>   Bush: 2,427,000
>
>   Population of counties won by:
>   Gore: 127 million
>   Bush: 143 million
>
>   Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by:
>   Gore: 13.2
>   Bush: 2.1
>
>   Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was
>   mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country.
>   Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in
>   government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government
>   welfare..." Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the
>   "complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of
>   democracy, with some forty percent of the nati on's population already
>   having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
>
>   If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal
>   invaders called illegal's and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA
>   in fewer than five years.
>
>   If you are in favor of this then delete this message. If you are not then
>   pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing
>   that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom. Thanks for reading.
>

SATURDAY, December 1, 2007

As promised in an earlier offering in this section, the following is a response to the full-page editorial on "The High Cost of Health Care" which appeared in the NYTimes on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007 (pWK 9). 
There you have it: "YOUR MISSION, IF YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT".    

GS

>From: "Alfred Laporta DDS"
>Subject: FW: Canada's Health Care
>Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 15:46:27 -0400

>Dear Friends,
>
>I have lived this personally in Sweden and I know this to be a fact.
>Please do not vote for national health care.
>Love,Anita
>
>Canada's Health care system from a Canadians point of view.
>
>Hey Guys;  I saw on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton
>introduced her new health care plan.  Something similar to what we have
>in Canada.  I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health
>care up here in Canada in his latest movie.  As your friend and someone
>who lives with the Canada health care plan I thought I would give you
>some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada.
>
>First of all:
>
>1) The health care plan in Canada is not free.  We pay a premium every
>month of $96. for Shirley and I to be covered.  Sounds great eh.  What
>they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care
>system afloat.
>I am personally in the 55% tax bracket.  Yes 55% of my earnings go to
>taxes.
>A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes
>directly to health care our #1 expense.
>
>2) I would not classify what we have as health care plan,  it is more
>like a health diagnosis system.  You can get into to see a doctor quick
>enough so he can tell you "yes indeed you are sick or you need an
>operation" but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated
>on.  We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 years
>down the road.
>
>3)  Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada
>is to prescribe drugs.  Have a pain, here is a drug to take, not what
>is causing the pain and why.  No time for checking you out because it
>is more important to move as many patients thru as possible each hour
>for Government re-imbursement
>
>
>4)  Many Canadians do not have a family Doctor.
>
>5) Don't require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the
>emergency room waiting for treatment.
>
>6)  Shirley's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it
>required that his hand be put in a splint - to our surprise we had to
>pay $125. for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus
>we have to pay $60. for each visit for him to check it out each week.
>
>7) Shirley's cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage.  Put on a
>waiting list .  Died before he could get treatment.
>
>8) Government allots so many operations per year.  When that is done no
>more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your
>case and embarrass the government then money suddenly appears.
>
>9)The Government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are
>increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter.
>Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away.
>But they are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don't call it
>a tax anymore it is now a user fee.
>
>10) My mother needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because
>she is a smoker they will not do it.  Despite her and my father paying
>into the health care system all these years.  My Mom is 80 years of
>age.  Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese
>people either because they are a drain on the health care system.  Let
>me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care system for healthy
>people only.  That should reduce our health care costs.
>
>11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.
>
>12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze,
>cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not
>allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because
>that would be jumping the queue.  I must wait my turn except if I am a
>hockey player or athlete then I can get looked at right away.  Go
>figure.  Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself
>but not allowed to spend money to get healthy.
>
>13) Oh did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at tax
>payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system and pay
>no premiums.
>
>14) Oh yeh we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them
>healthy.  Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and
>stealing your things.  But people with diabetes who pay into the health
>care system have to pay for their needles because it is not covered but
>the health care system.
>
>I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in
>the states you will be hearing more and more about universal health
>care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada.  I just
>want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and
>have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject.
>
>Step wisely and don't make the same mistakes we have.
>


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