George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
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
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
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
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
SUNDAY and MONDAY, August 30 and 31, 2009
As I was saying...and in no particular order...
- Recurring and predictable devastation in highly
vulnerable natural habitats of Florida, the Gulf
coast, the Outer Banks, California and elsewhere should not be eligible
for Federally sponsored insurance. Life is choices.
- If our national budget is not brought under
control soon, we will see stagflation followed by Depression...and then
War. That's history...which is often the future.
- The New York Times predictably urges slamming "Health
Care Reform" through Congress with an illegal tactic that is
guaranteed to further polarize our government and our citizens.
As always in recent years: ARTICULATE, ARROGANT, ASININE.
- The Obama administration is wrong on backing off
on the European anti-missle shield under pressure from Russia, on
allowing our enemies within and without this country to define and
demonize enhanced interrogation practices as "torture", on burying the
reality of the "War on Terror" in banalities, and on continuing
to enable Israel to torpedo the Peace process there with more illegal
settlements. And it is at sea with regard to our goals in
Afghanistan...while our soldiers and the Afghan people get torn
apart. Wake Up!
- Cuba is and will remain a Communist country as
long as we continue our embargo between the Cuban people and our
democracy. To paraphrase: "Mr Obama, Tear Down This Wall!"
- Mexico has declared surrender in their drug
war. That only increases our troubles. And it makes it all
the more imperative that we control our borders.
- North and South Korea are engaging. Tell
me again why we shouldn't do so also, while believing not a word of
what the North tells us without verification?
- Some of our European sometime allies are
Socialist countries. It works for them. It will never be
allowed in America.
- Is the resistance to needed Immigration Reform
partly due to the fact that Latinos are largely Roman Catholics?
We certainly have seen that before.
- Election Law Reform is once again in
ferment. A Federal Judge has overturned Connecticut's reform
legislation. And the U.S. Supreme Court will shortly take up one
of its own decisions regarding limitations on corporate election
contributions. The Freedom of Speech issue is very relevant
here. Could we not pass needed reform simply by
restricting the duration of electioneering? Sounds good
- Ethics and Morality in government and in society
has become an oxymoron. It's time for the pendulum to begin a
long swing in the other direction.
- And then there is the reported related surge in
Athiesm. As morality goes down, it's uncomfortable to
believe in a Just God ("Vengance is Mine, Sayeth the Lord. I
Shall Repay"). Meanwhile, my view is that an avowed
athiest is so irrational that he or she should not be allowed to sign
- Public "Education". No, I won't go there
this time. But stay tuned...and meanwhile read the article in the
August 31st edition of The New Yorker, entitled "Worst in Class".
- Finally, I am working here with the aid of a product which should
be considered tortious under the doctrine of Product Liability:
"defective, unreasonably dangerous": The Internet.
This entire innovation needs a Mulligan in order to establish even a
modicum of safety and security. Meanwhile, "Caveat Emptor".
SATURDAY, August 29, 2009
AND NOW, ANOTHER EPISODE OF AROUND THE WORLD IN 80
- India. Here is a nation that has embraced
Democracy, thanks to Ghandi and the British. Here "the light is
worth the candle", as we wisely strengthen our relationship at all
- China, not so "inscrutable". A massive
number of people held together through many centuries by force of
empire, including now Communism, their leaders will always do anything
to stay in power and in control. We can have successful interests
there, if we insist on a quid pro quo; but we will never have
- The entire Muslim World is now in ferment, with
reactionary forces (alleging the "Will of Allah" through their
interpretation of the Koran) currently continuing to hold sway over
freedom and fairness. The product of this ferment will not be
ready for decades. Meanwhile, our only realistic recourse in that
area of the world is the pursuit of self-interest, leavened with
altruism only where the indigenous people embrace it. And
"self-interest" includes oil, and self-defense. Unfortunately,
that is not how the Obama Administration is conducting its foreign
policy in that region...resulting in loss of respect, loss of
influence, and loss of American lives.
- Israel and Palestine. Here is the most
cynical of political activities - outside of Europe. Israel does
not want peace if that means compromising the Biblical integrity of its
homeland and of Jerusalem...so it continues to build settlements that
make peace impossible. The Palestinians and their Arab supporters
do not want peace if that means the survival of Israel in their
midst...so they continue to demand the "right of return" for the
millions of Palestinians now in diaspora throughout the Middle
East. They deserve eadh other unless they end this game.
And the U.S., apart from guaranteeing the survival of Israel, should
expect and enable little more.
- Europe. With many centuries of practice in
intrigue and cynicism...and wounds, these countries look to America for
support and protection. Once we are perceived as being unable to
provide this, as is now beginning to be the case, they will turn to any
other available "protector", including Russia...always the wounded bear
on the prowl.
- England and we have the same DNA. We can
depend on that - unless it too turns Muslim!
- Latin America is as seriously infected at its
core as America was before and for 100 years after the Civil
War...and until Blacks were made truly free through Civil Rights
legislation of the 1960's. In Latin America, the infection is the
absence of land reform, enabled in part by the studied neutrality of
the Catholic Church in the matter...a disgrace, in my opinion.
- Africa is still in the hands of colonial powers,
some unchanged and some with locally grown surrogates. But
little has changed in many of the nations and regions with respect to
despotism vs democracy. A real shame. But America should
spend little of our resources there except on a "quid pro quo"
basis until the political realities change, nation by nation.
- America. We are now also wounded, not as
much by the ourtageous financial developments of the last year...and
the feckless and also self-serving "treatments"...as by the fact that
the American people are now a "house divided". That's the bad
news. The good news is that the division is about 80% / 20%
in favor of those who remember the founding principles of
America. All the 80% need to do is to make their position clearly
known...and to throw the current bums leading us out.
- And how can we not include the Catholic Church in
this survey of power centers of the world? All is not well there,
thanks to the all-too-human Catholic Hierarchy. See my offerings
under Catholic Church in the Abortion...
Category. And now we read of another exercise in chutzpa:
"Diocese Wants Scalia To Look At Case" (The Day Saturday, Aug.
29, 2009, pB4). Wrong on two counts. First, it should be
insulting to all Catholics to approach a sitting Justice of the U.S.
Supreme Court for favorable action specifically because he is a
Catholic; and Justice Scalia should also be insulted. Secondly,
the arguments offered by attorneys for the Diocese of Bridgeport
spuriously allege protection under the Religion clause of the First
Amendment and allege that the issues in the "civil case" of
rampant Clergy Sex Abuse should defer to " internal church
decisions about priest assignments." Well,
attorneys are trained to argue anything. But churchmen are
expected to hold to a Higher Authority. The issue of Clergy Sex
Abuse should have been handled throughout under Criminal Law and not
under Civil Law. And the priests' superiors who protected them
should have been indicted for Obstruction of Justice. "CAN YOU
HEAR ME NOW?"
Have we reached 80 yet? If not, you can be sure that
this count will continue.
WEDNESDAY through FRIDAY, August 26 through 28, 2009
GOOD FOR YOU, SENATOR ENZI. YOU GOT THE MESSAGE. THIS BILL
IS A DISASTER THAT WILL GREATLY INCREASE COSTS - AND AMERICA'S MASSIVE
BUDGET DEFICIT -WHILE DECREASING ACCESS AND REDUCING QUALITY.
ONLY IN WASHINGTON, D.C. CAN THIS BE CLAIMED TO BE A BENEFIT TO THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE. GS
of health compromise take another blow
– A leading GOP negotiator on health care struck a further blow to
fading chances of a bipartisan compromise by saying Democratic
proposals would restrict medical choices and make the country's
"finances sicker without saving you money."
The criticism from Sen. Michael Enzi,
R-Wyo., echoed that of many opponents of the Democratic plans under
consideration in Congress. But Enzi's judgment was especially
noteworthy because he is one of only three Republicans who have been
willing to consider a bipartisan bill in the Senate.
In the Republicans' weekly radio and
Internet address on Saturday, Enzi said any health care legislation
must lower medical costs for Americans without increasing deficits and
the national debt.
"The bills introduced by congressional
Democrats fail to meet these standards," he said.
Enzi, together with Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Olympia Snowe of Maine,
has held talks with Senate
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus,
D-Mont. But the chance of a bipartisan breakthrough has diminished in
the face of an effective public mobilization by opponents of Democratic
"I heard a lot of frustration and
anger as I traveled across my home state this last few weeks," said
Enzi, who has been targeted by critics for seeking to negotiate on
legislation. "People in Wyoming
and across the country are anxious about what Washington has in mind.
This is big. This is personal. This is one of the most important
debates of our lifetime."
Hours after the address aired, about
1,000 people rallied in New York City in
support of an overhaul. Rep. Carolyn Maloney,
D-N.Y., told the crowd near Times Square about legislation that she
said would lower costs for almost everyone.
Earlier, Enzi called for more competition
among health insurers,
for the ability of small businesses to band together across state lines
to negotiate for lower-cost insurance plans, for tax breaks to help
people buy insurance and for reducing malpractice lawsuits.
The debate over health care will resume
in Washington after Labor Day, just two weeks after White House budget
officials projected that deficits would total a staggering $9 trillion
over the next 10 years. Though President Barack Obama has said he wants
the total health care bill
paid for without adding to the deficit, congressional budget officials
have estimated that House health care proposals would cost the
are trying to rush a bill through the process that will actually make
our nation's finances sicker without saving you money," Enzi said.
also are calling for cuts in Medicare spending, using some of the
savings to help uninsured workers. A House bill would result in a net
reduction in Medicare of about $200 billion, though Obama has insisted
the reductions would not cut benefits in the health program for the
But Enzi said: "This will result in
cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the elderly to create new
repeated Republican accusations that the Democrats' plans would result
in less access to certain medical treatments, citing a proposed
government board that would research the most effective medical
"We're a nation of people who want
the ability to choose what will best fit our families' needs and it
should be that way with health care, too," Enzi said.
MONDAY and TUESDAY, August 24 and 25, 2009
LETTER TO A FRIEND RE
“HEALTH CARE AS A “PUBLIC GOOD”, A “RIGHT”, Aug 09
You are right to pose the basic question: “Is
care a private good or a public good?”
I might re-phrase the question using the term “public utility”.
In contrast to police protection (where we are
not allowed to protect ourselves) and fire protection (where our bad
easily become our neighbors’ bad luck) and community acquired illness /
disease, and energy (where we cannot fend for ourselves)…and
50% of all health care costs are directly life-style related and
under our individual control…Health Care is and should be a
Good subject to private / personal responsibility leavened with
milk of human kindness.
But if you want to make Health Care a Public
you prepared to make health care personnel Federal employees with all
rights and benefits (including the right to collective bargaining) in
with that new status? Or are you thinking
more along the lines of indentured servitude?
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, August 22 and 23, 2009
Subject: Whole Foods CEO responds to Obamacare
"The problem with socialism is that
eventually you run out
of other people's money."
With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit
for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next
decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending
about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby
Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other
people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are
either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or
they will bankrupt us.
While we clearly need health-care
reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care
entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new
unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of
our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms
by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and
more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly
lower the cost of health care for everyone:
• Remove the legal obstacles that
slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health
savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health
insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our
health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the
premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week
(about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible
health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in
additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees'
Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health
Money not spent in one year rolls over
to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their
own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about
$2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to
spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower
than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of
• Equalize the tax laws so that
employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health
insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health
insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health
insurance is not. This is unfair.
• Repeal all state laws which
prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We
should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any
insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance
wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
• Repeal government mandates
regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates
have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars.
What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by
individual customer preferences and not through special-interest
• Enact tort reform to end the
ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds
of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to
us through much higher prices for health care.
• Make costs transparent so that
consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many
people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that
total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without
knowing how much they will cost us?
• Enact Medicare reform. We
need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards
bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment,
choice and responsibility.
• Finally, revise tax forms to make
it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation
to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered
by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Many promoters of health-care reform
believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to
equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us
empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have
more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or
Health care is a service that we all
need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through
voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading
of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not
reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's
because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America
Even in countries like Canada and the
U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in
these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care
treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them.
All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing
their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
Although Canada has a population
smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be
admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last
month in Investor's Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8
At Whole Foods we allow our team
members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund.
Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences
very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can
control and spend themselves without permission from their governments.
Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they
already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is
clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any
Rather than increase government
spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor
health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is
responsible for his or her own health.
Unfortunately many of our health-care
problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight
and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account
for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer,
stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper
diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other
healthy lifestyle choices.
Recent scientific and medical evidence
shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient
dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative
diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to
live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even
past 100 years of age.
Health-care reform is very important.
Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially
responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the
health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle
choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health.
We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom
to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so
will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable
Mr. Mackey is co-founder and
CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.
SATURDAY, August 21, 2009
NEWS FLASH, from Charles Babington, Associated
"Washington - President Barack Obama guaranteed Thursday that
his health care overhaul will win approval and said any bill he signs
will have to reduce rapidly rising costs, protect consumers from
insurance abuses and provide affordable choices to the uninsured -
while not adding to the federal deficit. Obama listed those four
'bullet points' as his basic requirements in response to a question
from a caller to a Philadelphia-based talk radio show."
Unless the President is smoking something other than his
cigarettes, in order to achieve the above he will have to scrap the
current Democratic legislative proposals and finally address the real
Health Care reform needs of this country...issues well reviewed in many
Rapid Response and Managed Care offerings on this
web site during the last 30 years. Some of the most recent
are dated July 31, July 4 and June 6...2009. Will he ever realize
that neither his country's nor his personal interests will ever be well
served by the strident and wrong-headed demands of the radical liberal
FRIDAY through THURSDAY, August 14 through 20, 2009
AND THE DRUM BEATS ON... GS
Mike, although this report describes
laudable goals, it misses several points of substance in addition to
using faulted strategy / tactics. On substance, please see my Rapid
offerings on my web site (www.asthma-drsprecace.com
for the dates July 31, July 4 and especially June 6. Also see my
commentary article for The Day that was published in 1978.
the Managed Care category, I think). I could re-publish
this today with very little "up-dating".
SUNDAY through THURSDAY, August 9 through 13, 2009
On strategy / tactics, the AMA could
have been part of the discussions without allowing itself to be
categorized as "endorsing" the effort before seeing the final
product...unless that endorsement was the price for being allowed "at
the table" - too high a price. The real table is the table of
public opinion, since only our patients have clout. We
physicians, whether organized or dis-organized, certainly do n ot have
clout. The AMA should be exerting its efforts toward the
continuing education of our patients and the general public instead of
trying to curry favor with the legislators...a fool's errand, I
Here is the latest on what and why the AMA is doing what it is
doing re healthcare reform.
Subject: Health System Reform Message from AMA President J James Rohack
To: Delegates and Alternate Delegates
From: Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, Speaker, and Andrew W. Gurman, MD, Vice Speaker
The following message is being sent to members of the HOD on behalf of AMA
President J. James Rohack, MD.
- - -
We knew the battle for health system reform was going to be tough; but who could
have predicted we’d be dealing with allegations of euthanasia and death panels?
No question that all of us in physician associations have been hearing lots of
feedback, not only from our members, but from myriad others who have an interest
in the outcome of health system reform. The volume has been ratcheted up
considerably during the August congressional recess. With 24/7 cable and
internet blogs going full steam, how does anyone know what to believe?
To help physicia
ns better understand what is going on with the legislative
process, the AMA is reaching out to its members and members of supporting
organizations with facts and resource materials about health system reform,
which you can see on our website, www.ama-assn.org/go/reform.
First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that legislation in the
House of Representatives (HR 3200) is very much a work in progress. The bill, as
introduced, promised to achieve many of our collective high-priority goals:
- Extending coverage to the
- Making investments in the physician workforce
- Providing long-term relief from Medicare's flawed physician payment formula
- Increasing the nation's focus on preventive care and wellness initiatives
- Simplifying administrative burdens for patients and physicians
Three committees in the House have already adopted amendments and more will come
before the bill is considered on the floor. Meanwhile, two committees in the
Senate are still engaged in their own drafting process.
As the legislative process continues, there will be ample opportunity to work
with legislators on refinements to the bill. In fact, improvements were already
made during the House committee amendment process, particularly with respect to
the proposal for a public health insurance plan. It is also important to note
that among the House committee amendments was an AMA-backed program to test
alternative medical liability reforms.
Some physicians have asked why the AMA supported the House legislation so early
in the process. There were several sensible reasons for this strategy:
- The original bill contained a core set of high-priority provisions that our
organization has long supported;
- Bill sponsors were not likely to maintain the $230+ billion investment in
Medicare physician spending if we did not register support for the bill
(hospitals, the home health sector, Medicare Advantage plans and pharmaceutical
companies are all facing cuts in the tens and20hundreds of billions of dollars);
- As early supporters, we are well positioned to help shape revisions to this
bill, as well as the final legislation that will ultimately be presented to the
Not only will the AMA and other physician organizations continue to work
collaboratively with legislators of both political parties, we will also share
our views with the White House…and have done so already. For instance, the AMA
and other physician groups have registered strong concerns with the White House
regarding recent comments made by President Obama regarding tonsillectomies and
amputations for diabetics. In no uncertain terms we have told White House staff
that the examples cited by the President were misleading. Further we have urged
that the President publicly recognize that physicians take an oath and live by a
code of ethics that commits
the medical profession to put patients’ interest
before economics or self-interest.
While some of the information physicians have received reflects legitimate
differences of opinion, other hyperbole reflects narrow political agendas and is
The AMA has also developed a dedicated health system reform web page on which we
are continually posting important facts, breaking news and web links, so that
physicians have access to the best, most up-to-date information about reform.
www.ama-assn.org/go/reform now to sign up for e-updates, get the latest
news, download patient information and take action.
We also urge you to read the Frequently Asked Questions document developed by
the AMA (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/399/hsr-hr3200-faqs.pdf). We
hope this information will be helpful to you.
Physicians are working hard to make sure that health system reform meets the
needs of patients and the physicians who care for them.
J. James Rohack, MD, AMA President
Obama is running a tone-deaf health-care campaign.
By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
It didn't take chaotic town-hall meetings, raging
demonstrators and consequent brooding in various sectors of the media
to bring home the truth that the campaign for a health-care bill is, to
put it mildly, not going awfully well. It's not hard now to envision
the state of this crusade with just a month or two more of diligent
management by the Obama team—think train wreck. It may one day be
otherwise in the more perfect world of universal coverage, but for now
disabilities like the tone deafness that afflicts this administration
from the top down are uninsurable.
Consider former ABC reporter Linda Douglass—now the
president's communications director for health reform—who set about
unmasking all the forces out there "always trying to scare people when
you try to bring them health insurance reform." People, she charged,
are taking sentences out of context and otherwise working to present a
misleading picture of the president's proposals. One of her key
solutions to this problem—her justly famed message encouraging citizens
to contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org if they got an email or
other information about health reform "that seems fishy"—set off a
riotous flow of online responses. (The word "fishy," with its police
detective tone, would have done the trick all by itself.)
These commentaries, packed with allusions to the
secret police, the East German Stasi and Orwell, were mostly furious.
Others quite simply hilarious. Ms. Douglass, who now has, in her public
appearances, the air of a person consigned to service in a holy order,
was not amused.
Neither has she seemed to entertain any second
thoughts about the tenor of a message enlisting the public in a program
reeking of a White House effort to set Americans against one
another—the good Americans protecting the president's health-care
program from the bad Americans fighting it and undermining truth and
She intended no such outcome, doubtless. That this
former journalist, now a communications director, failed to notice
anything amiss in the details of that communiqué is a bit odd
but not altogether surprising.
Crusades are busy endeavors, the enlistees in this
one, like those in every undertaking of this White House, concerned
with just one message. Which is that the Obama administration is in
possession of vital answers to ills and inequities that have long
afflicted American society (whether Americans know it or not), and that
those opposed to those answers and that vision are cynics, or
operatives of the powerful vested interests responsible for the plight
Americans find themselves in (whether they know it or not), or
political enemies bent on destroying the Obama administration.
It shouldn't have been surprising, either, that the
tone of much of the commentary on the town-hall protests was what it
was. There was Mark Halperin for one, senior political editor for Time,
bouncing off his chair, Sunday, in agitation over all the media
coverage of this rowdiness—"a horrible breakdown of our political
culture, our media culture" and so "bad for America," as he told CNN's
Howard Kurtz. "I'm embarrassed about what's going on, as an American."
The disruptions and coverage thereof distorted serious discussion, he
explained. Mark Shields said much the same on Friday's PBS NewsHour, if
with less excitation, pointing out that these events were "not good for
the democratic process," and were a breakdown of civil debate.
There was no such hand-wringing over the decline of
civil debate, during, say, election 2004, when cadres of organized
demonstrators carrying swastika-adorned pictures of George W. Bush
routinely swarmed about, and packed rallies. There was also that other
“breakdown of our media culture,” that will dwarf all else as a cause
for embarrassment, the town-hall coverage included, for the foreseeable
future. That would be, of course, the undisguised worshipful reporting
of the candidacy of Barack Obama.
That treatment, or rather its memory—like the
adulation of his great mass of voters—has had its effect on this
president, and not all to the good. The election over, the warming glow
of those armies of supporters gone, his capacity to tolerate criticism
and dissent from his policies grows thinner apace. His lectures,
explaining his health-care proposals, and why they'll be good for
everybody, are clearly not going down well with his national audience.
This would have to do with the fact that the real
Barack Obama—product of the academic left, social reformer with a
program, is now before that audience, and what they hear in this
lecture about one of the central concerns in their lives—his message
freighted with generalities—they are not prepared to buy. They are not
prepared to believe that our first most important concern now is
health-care reform or all will go under.
The president has a problem. For, despite a great
election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little
about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a
stranger to the country's heart and character.
He seems unable to grasp what runs counter to its
nature. That Americans don't take well, for instance, to bullying,
especially of the moralizing kind, implicit in those speeches on health
care for everybody. Neither do they wish to be taken where they don't
know they want to go and being told it's good for them.
Who would have believed that this politician
celebrated, above all, for his eloquence and capacity to connect with
voters would end up as president proving so profoundly tone deaf? A
great many people is the answer—the same who listened to those speeches
of his during the campaign, searching for their meaning.
It took this battle over health care to reveal the
bloom coming off this rose, but that was coming. It began with the
spectacle of the president, impelled to go abroad to apologize for his
nation—repeatedly. It is not, in the end, the demonstrators in those
town-hall meetings or the agitations of his political enemies that Mr.
Obama should fear. It is the judgment of those Americans who have been
sitting quietly in their homes, listening to him.
Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, August 7 and 8, 2009
WRONG WITH THE CATHOLIC
One would never guess, from the abundant and turgid prose reported
regularly on "Zenit...The World Seen From Rome" (see link)
and from the occasional Papal Encyclical (including the most recent
one), that the Catholic Curch regularly engages in a conspiracy of
silence. As the man said in the movie: "What we have
here is a failure to communicate". I have
previously made this point in earlier offerings under this continuing
series (see "Catholic Church", under "Abortion, Morality
and Ethics" on this web site.
But the opportunities for reinforcement unfortunately never end.
- The suppression, through zealous neglect and outright
obstruction, of initiatives by lay organizations
like "Voice of the Faithful", which died aborning;
(where are Cardinal John Henry Newman and Vatican ll when we need
- The cave-in by the Bishops of Connecticut on the Plan B
abortifacient pill which the State legislature forced upon all
hospitals...including Catholic Hospitals;
- The financial starvation of Catholic schools in
various parts of the Diocese of Norwich, including St. Bernard High
School, in some cases leading to closure - which should never happen
- and without explanation or meaningful consultation with the
- The furor raised over a legislative proposal to open Church
finances to Lay oversight;
- The appeal to the United States Supreme Court (!) of a
Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that would require Clergy sex
scandal case files to be opened to the public...alleging
contractual agreements (despite the underlying issues being against
public policy) and alleging the First Amendment Freedom of
Religion safeguards (where the underlying issues certainly had
nothing to do with "religion" and had much more to do with "obstruction
- At least 90 years of sadism and sex scandals perpretrated
against children in Ireland, that bastion of Catholicism,
initially "discovered" in 1975 and further suppressed until very
- Addressing, always in an outcome-determinative
way, and with the same level of urgency, such issues as
contraception, abortion, embryonic stem cell research,
homosexuality, euthanasia and "natural death";
- Addressing world economics in other-worldly terms,
without dealing with a Liberal Theology for the un-propertied
masses of the world...in fact supressing that Liberal Theology in the
1980's in Latin America;
This Catholic Hierarchy evidently thinks it is suppressing
controversy and enhancing its own authority through these
methods. It is doing the opposite.
THURSDAY, August 6, 2009
FYI, an important scientific report. GS
repudiate gay-to-straight therapy
NEW YORK – The American Psychological
Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals
should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or
the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could
range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients whose
sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.
a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA's governing council,
and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the
150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of
so-called "reparative therapy"
which seeks to change sexual orientation.
solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and
some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful,
inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.
APA had criticized reparative therapy in the past, but a six-member
task force added weight to this position by examining 83 studies on
sexual orientation change conducted since 1960. Its comprehensive
report was endorsed by the APA's governing council in Toronto, where
the association's annual meeting is being held this weekend.
report breaks new ground in its detailed and nuanced assessment of how
therapists should deal with gay clients struggling to remain loyal to a
religious faith that disapproves of homosexuality.
Glassgold, a Highland Park, N.J., psychologist who chaired the task
force, said she hoped the document could help calm the polarized debate
between religious conservatives who believe in the possibility of
changing sexual orientation and the many mental health professionals
who reject that option.
"Both sides have to
educate themselves better," Glassgold said in an interview. "The
religious psychotherapists have to open up their eyes to the potential
positive aspects of being gay or lesbian. Secular therapists have to
recognize that some people will choose their faith over their
In dealing with gay clients from
conservative faiths, says the report, therapists should be "very
cautious" about suggesting treatments aimed at altering their same-sex
"Practitioners can assist clients
through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but
rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and
development without imposing a specific identity outcome," the report
"We have to challenge people to be
creative," said Glassgold.
suggested that devout clients could focus on overarching aspects of
religion such as hope and forgiveness in order to transcend negative
beliefs about homosexuality, and either remain part of their original
faith within its limits — for example, by embracing celibacy — or find
a faith that welcomes gays.
evidence to say that change therapies work, but these vulnerable people
are tempted to try them, and when they don't work, they feel doubly
terrified," Glassgold said. "You should be honest with people and say,
'This is not likely to change your sexual orientation, but we can help
explore what options you have.'"
One of the largest organizations
promoting the possibility of changing sexual orientation is Exodus International, a
network of ministries whose core message is "Freedom from homosexuality
through the power of Jesus Christ."
Its president, Alan Chambers,
describes himself as someone who "overcame unwanted same-sex
attraction." He and other evangelicals met with APA representatives
after the task force formed in 2007, and he expressed satisfaction with
parts of the report that emerged.
positive step — simply respecting someone's faith is a huge leap in the
right direction," Chambers said. "But I'd go further. Don't deny the
possibility that someone's feelings might change."
evangelical psychologist, Mark Yarhouse of Regent University, praised
the APA report for urging a creative approach to gay clients' religious
beliefs but — like Chambers — disagreed with its skepticism about
changing sexual orientation.
Yarhouse and a
colleague, Professor Stanton Jones of Wheaton College, will be
releasing findings at the APA meeting Friday from their six-year study
of people who went through Exodus programs. More than half of 61
subjects either converted to heterosexuality or "disidentified" with
homosexuality while embracing chastity, their study said.
To Jones and Yarhouse, their findings
prove change is possible
for some people, and on average the attempt to change will not be
The APA task force took as a starting
point the belief that
homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality, not a disorder,
and that it nonetheless remains stigmatized in ways that can have
The report said the subgroup of gays
interested in changing
their sexual orientation has evolved over the decades and now is
comprised mostly of well-educated white men whose religion is an
important part of their lives and who participate in conservative
faiths that frown on homosexuality.
"Religious faith and psychology do not
have to be seen as being
opposed to each other," the report says, endorsing approaches "that
integrate concepts from the psychology of religion and the modern
psychology of sexual orientation."
Perry Halkitis, a New York University
psychologist who chairs the APA
committee dealing with gay and lesbian issues, praised the report for
"Anyone who makes decisions based on good
science will be
satisfied," he said. "As a clinician, you have to deal with the whole
person, and for some people, faith is a very important aspect of who
The report also addressed the issue of
should be subjected to therapy aimed at altering their sexual
orientation. Any such approach should "maximize self-determination" and
be undertaken only with the youth's consent, the report said.
Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist who has
sought to discredit the so-called "ex-gay" movement, welcomed the APA
"Ex-gay therapy is a profound travesty
that has led to pointless
tragedies, and we are pleased that the APA has addressed this
psychological scourge," Besen said.
SATURDAY through WEDNESDAY, August 1
through 5, 2009
EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS
JOURNALIST HAS SCRIPTED IN THIS MESSAGE. READ IT AND
THEN REALLY THINK ABOUT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL DEBACLE.
Charlie Reese (Charley
Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.)
are the only people in the world who create problems and then
campaign against them.
you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are
against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation
and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on
appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank
hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine
Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300
million are directly, legally, morally, and individually
responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that
problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress
delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to
a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound
reason.. They have no legal authority. They have no ability
to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one
cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1
million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to
accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is
the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this
common con regardless of party.
separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall
of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for
creating deficits.. The president can only propose a
budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating
and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the
House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the
majority party. She and fellow House members, not the
president, can approve any budget they want. If the president
vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not
replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of
incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a
single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those
545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545
people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must
follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red ..
the Army &Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want
them in IRAQ
they do not receive social security but are on an elite
retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they
want it that way.
are no insoluble government problems.
not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom
they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose
gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they
give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this
power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief
that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy,"
"inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they
take an oath to do.
545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
and they alone, have the power.
and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are
the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
you do with this article now that you have read it........... Is
up to you.
This might be funny if it weren't so darned
Be sure to read all the way to the end:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
Tax his mule,
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax him if he
If he cries
Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
To tax his
Tax all he
Then let him
won't be done
Till he has
screams and hollers;
Then tax him
Tax him till
Then tax his
Tax the sod
Do not relax,
Its time to
Accounts Receivable Tax
Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
(currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Charge T ax
Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Federal Excise Tax
Federal Universal Ser vice FeeTax
Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Minimum Usage Surcharge=2 0Tax
Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
State and Local Tax
Usage Charge Tax
License Registration Tax
THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not
one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous
in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest
middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
in the hell happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'
I still have to 'press 1' for English!?
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