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
THURSDAY through WEDNESDAY, September 24 through 30, 2009
There are times when the best that I can do is to refer the reader
in this section to specific articles or books. As expressed in
the Law: "Res Ipsa Loquitur". This is one of those
- The book "Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's
Forgotten Heroes", by David Helvarg, Thomas Dunn Books, St
Martin's Press, NY. 2009. Finally, the Rodney Dangerfield of the
Military Services gets some very belated and well - deserved respect.
- The article by David Brooks, one of the most insightful observers
in journalism: "No Easy Choices In Afghanistan",
in The Day (www.theday.com) Saturday Sept. 26,
- "A Growth Vision For Health Reform", by Newt
Gingrich, hopefully the Republican nominee for President in 2012 (WSJ
Sept. 21, 2009, Opinion). This is a view that I proposed in the
- "Do Charters 'Cream' The Best?, WSJ editorial,
Thursday Sept 24, pA20. (Executive Summary: By no means!).
- "Navy Strategy Changing Along With Arctic Conditions",
by Jennifer Grogan, in The Day Wednesday, Sept. 23, pA1. Watch
Out: this could become a new, cold Middle East.
- "Who Put The Republicans In Charge?", by David
Collins, in The Day Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009, pB1. So, why don't
New Londoners come out of the desert after lo these 40 years?
- And then there's my current choice for "Most Authentic":
Glen Beck. "Glen Beck Now The Left's
Favorite Target", by Cal Thomas, in The Day Friday, Sept. 25,
2009, pA7. Talk about "illuminating a target". There's the
hatchet job in this week's Time magazine (Sept. 28, 2009, p30).
And then there's Beck's new book with the very appealing title: "Arguing
With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big
Government", Mercury Radio Arts, New York,
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, September 21 through 23, 2009
Executive Summary: YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR COTTON-PICKEN' MINDS!
outlines health plan without GOP support
WASHINGTON – His calls for compromise
rebuffed by Republicans, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
unveiled sweeping legislation Wednesday to remake the nation's costly health care
system largely along the lines outlined by President Barack Obama.
Sen. Max Baucus' proposal,
months in the making, drew quick criticism from liberals who said his
vision was too cramped and from Republicans who deemed it overly
expansive. Yet whatever its fate, its mere release marked a critical
turning point in Congress' long and tumultuous debate over Obama's top
The Finance Committee is to
meet next week to vote on the plan, and after combining it with another
panel's bill, Majority
Leader Harry Reid intends to begin debate on the Senate floor
late this month or early October. Across the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi
has been waiting to see Baucus' health care prescription before
advancing companion legislation toward a vote by the House.
cannot let this opportunity pass," Baucus, D-Mont., said as he outlined
a $856 billion plan designed to protect millions who have unreliable
insurance or no coverage at all, at the same time restraining the
explosive growth of medical costs.
budget experts estimated the proposal would reduce the ranks of the
uninsured by 29 million over a decade. They also predicted the plan
would trim federal deficits by $49 billion over the same period and
suggested savings in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars might
result for the decade that follows.
Many of the bill's major provisions would
be delayed until 2013, after the next presidential election.
the impact of one of the key concessions Baucus made in a
so-far-unsuccessful search for Republican support — allowing
cooperatives, rather than the federal government, to sell insurance in
competition with private industry — was judged harshly.
seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas
of the country," wrote Douglas W. Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office.
claim the co-ops would compete effectively with private companies and
help hold down the cost of insurance, but CBO's assessment is likely to
re-energize advocates of direct government competition.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs
called the overall legislation an "important building block" that "gets
us closer to comprehensive
health care reform."
Reid, too, described it as "another
important piece to the puzzle" on the road to health care legislation.
said that while the bill would do less than House legislation to make
coverage more affordable, its emergence "will move this historic debate
Senate Republican leader
of Kentucky, who has labored to keep his rank and file united in
opposition, called it a partisan proposal that "cuts Medicare by nearly
a half-trillion dollars and puts massive new tax burdens on families
and small businesses, to create yet another thousand-page,
trillion-dollar government program. Only in Washington would anyone
think that makes sense, especially in this economy."
legislation reflected nearly a year of preparation by the 67-year-old
Montanan, a partially successful attempt to gain support from outside
interest groups, and months of painstaking private negotiations with
two other Democrats and three Republicans on the Finance Committee.
White House backing, the nation's drug makers and hospitals have agreed
to defray part of the expense of the eventual bill, and the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America
is underwriting a television advertising campaign at a cost of tens of
millions in favor of health care legislation. The AARP generally
supports the effort as well, despite the cuts in planned Medicare
spending, and even opposition from the insurance industry has been
Even so, the private negotiations
involving Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Olympia Snowe of Maine came up short,
at least for the time being.
told reporters he expected he would gain bipartisan backing before the
bill emerges from committee, probably next week, an evident reference
to Snowe. "This is a first step in the process," Snowe said in a
written statement, and she promised to continue to work with Baucus and
Democrats on drafting a bipartisan bill.
The other Democrats in the talks were Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.
Like other proposals in circulation,
Baucus' plan would require
insurance companies to sell coverage to all seeking it, without
exclusions for pre-existing
medical conditions or prohibitively expensive premiums.
The legislation would create so-called
insurance exchanges in the
states where companies could sell policies that meet criteria set by
the government, with federal subsidies available for lower-income
individuals and families who would otherwise be unable to afford
coverage. Any policy offered for sale in the exchanges would have to
cover preventive and primary care as well as dental, prescription drug,
mental health and vision services. In general, consumer copays on
preventive coverage would be banned.
Additionally the plan envisions cutting a
coverage gap in Medicare
prescription drug program in half over a decade, although not as
deeply as Obama called for in last week's prime-time speech.
To hold down costs, Baucus included only
one year of a 10-year, $230 billion increase in doctor fees under
The legislation calls for a new tax on
plans, a series of fees and taxes on insurance companies, the
pharmaceutical industry and other health care providers,
and penalties assessed on people who refuse to purchase coverage or
large companies that refuse to offer it to their employees.
Planned Medicare spending would be cut by
roughly $500 billion
over a decade, with about one-quarter of that money coming from private
plans sold as an alternative to traditional government coverage. The
House bill calls for far deeper cuts in the alternative program, to the
point that industry officials say it could disappear.
Among Baucus' critics were liberals in
the House and labor leaders who have been among Obama's strongest
Sen. Ron Wyden,
D-Ore., who has long been involved in health care issues, said the proposal
doesn't go far enough to control costs or guarantee a greater choice
among health plans for consumers.
Chuck Loveless, the director of
legislation at the American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said, "Chairman
Baucus has made what I would characterize as a herculean effort to
produce this, but we think that the cost has been too high, and we want
to see major changes."
In the House, Rep. Anthony Weiner of
who favors a government-run program, said, "I think I speak for many
members of Congress in saying that the Senate proposal simply will not
pass muster in the House
of Representatives and fails on very basic levels to satisfy the
objectives of the president and the citizens of the United States of
Like authors of competing bills in the
House and in the Senate Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Baucus worked his way through
numerous controversial issues. Unlike them, though, his reflected a
desire to seek bipartisanship.
Thus, the bill includes provisions to
keep illegal immigrants
from obtaining health coverage through the new insurance exchanges.
The bill also would prevent federal funds
from being used to
pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the
mother would be endangered. It would leave in place state laws that
protect health care
workers who refuse to participate in abortion coverage.
Associated Press writers Ricardo
Alonso-Zaldivar, Erica Werner and Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed to
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, September 19 and 20, 2009
ALL THIS JUST FROM TODAY'S NEWSPAPER ARTICLES.
- Sordid. Thy name is former U.S.Senator
and Presidential candidate John Edwards.
- Is Senator Chris Dodd doing penance...as well
as trying to refurbish his tarnished political image? His quest
for a business "super-regulator" by merging four bank agencies has as
much chance of passage as was the likelihood of his re-election 6
months ago. If he pulls this off credibly, including implementing
Statutes and regulations, all will be forgiven...at least by me.
- U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: the only
"public servant" on the national scene that I trust implicitly.
Let's hope he's right - and not also political - about missle defense
in Europe. (See his article in today's NYTimes, WK p10).
- There's bad luck. There's mis-management. And then
there's the combination of arrogance and density reflected in Mashantucket
Chairman Michael Thomas' recent statement declaring that he
would preserve per-capita payments to tribal members by putting the
"last borrowed dollars...in a lock box" for that purpose - instead of
servicing the Tribe's massive debt. Wall Street took notice,
predictably, putting all Indian gaming businesses in jeopardy with
regard to ability to borrow in the future. "You're doing a
heck of a job, Tommy".
- One bit of good news out of that part of the world: "CIA
is Surging in Afghanistan". But don't
tell Washington. They'll figure out a way to screw it up.
- De ja vu. That was my reaction today to Morgan
McGinley's column in The Day (www.theday.com)
today on the sorry state of Connecticut's economy. In 1990, While
then-Governor Lowell Weicker was forcefully pushing a State income tax
to deal with Connecticut's similar ills, I ran for State Senate
from the 20th District on a platform tht
included: a vote for a State income tax only after
there had been implemented a 5% reduction in the budgets of all State
agencies, and a reduction in the number of State Commissions from 25 to
18. My opponent was resolutely against a State income tax.
The result: I lost. My opponent went on to provide the deciding
vote in favor of the State income tax that we have paid ever since;
there was no budgetary reduction from the Agencies and no reduction in
the number of redundant Commissions...quite the contrary. And
that is why I keep saying, right after the Our Father and the Hail Mary:
"In a democracy, the people always
get what they deserve."
SATURDAY through FRIDAY, September 12 through 18, 2009
"A CAMEL: A HORSE DESIGNED BY COMMITTEE". But both a camel and a
horse are mobile beasts of burden. Any creature arising out of this
process will stumble right out of the starting gate with its load of
political expediencies and factual ignorance. GS
test coming up for health care overhaul
– Keep going. You don't have to fix all of it now. Just please don't
let it stall. That's the essence of the message that Senate Democratic
leaders have for their Finance Committee
senators, who plan to start voting Tuesday on a remake of the nation's health care system.
Democrats on the pivotal committee are
disappointed with the bill from the chairman, Sen. Max Baucus,
D-Mont. Republicans see a chance to deliver a stunning blow to President Barack Obama's
top domestic priority.
The stakes are so high because this isn't
just another committee.
23-member panel is a microcosm of the Senate, the narrow gate through
which legislation to cover the uninsured and try to control medical costs has to
pass. If the committee can't produce, then the ability of Obama and the Democrats
to pass a bill this year will be seriously questioned.
it can't get through the Finance Committee, the mountain that has to be
climbed is a much higher mountain, and I don't know whether they'll
have the ability to climb that mountain," said Christine Ferguson, a
Senate GOP health aide during the Bill Clinton-era health care debate. Now
a George Washington University professor, Ferguson was part of an
effort to find a bipartisan deal.
Baucus, an optimist by nature, says he
has the votes. "Oh, yeah — no doubt," he says.
But last week the chairman stood alone as
he explained and defended his 10-year, $856-billion plan.
No Democrats joined him in front of the
media — not even Sens. Kent
Conrad of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who spent months working with
Baucus trying to find a compromise both political parties could support.
The second-ranking committee Democrat,
Sen. Jay Rockefeller
of West Virginia,
promptly announced he couldn't vote for the bill without major changes.
Senators have readied more than 560 amendments.
Baucus plan would require all Americans to carry health insurance or
pay a stiff fine. It would provide subsidies to many middle-class
households and expand government health programs for the poor. Insurers
could not deny coverage based on someone's personal health history.
plan would be paid for with cuts in Medicare and Medicaid spending, as
well as a heavy tax on high-cost health insurance plans. Baucus would
not create a government plan to compete with private insurers. And
workers at larger companies that offer coverage wouldn't see big
While business and health industry
groups generally have said good things about the proposal, core
Democratic constituencies are angry.
the insurance tax as a direct threat to hard-won benefits. Liberals are
outraged by the absence of a government insurance plan. There's
widespread concern that Baucus' subsidies are too meager and will stick
hard-pressed households with thousands of dollars in new insurance
"At the end of the day this has to work
for families," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow,
D-Mich., a committee member. "The trade-off can't be that a
middle-class family won't be able to afford the insurance in this bill."
can't ignore such concerns. With 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans on the
committee, he doesn't have much room to maneuver for votes. At best, he
may be able to win over one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.
committee staff tentatively has scheduled three days of work on the
bill, but that may not be enough to handle the deluge of amendments.
Democratic amendments are geared to improving subsidies to make
coverage more affordable and scaling back or replacing the 35 percent
tax on high-cost health insurance plans. Also on their list: adding the
public plan favored by liberals, as well as a requirement that
employers offer coverage.
Rockefeller is proposing to cap itemized deductions
for the wealthiest taxpayers as an alternative to the insurance tax. He
also wants to strike the nonprofit insurance co-ops that Baucus has
proposed in lieu of a government plan.
Republicans say they're coordinating
their amendments to highlight what Sen. John Ensign,
R-Nev., calls "fundamental differences" with Democrats.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, wants to
eliminate the federal
insurance requirement on individuals, leaving it up to states to
decide. The top committee Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa,
said Baucus' insurance requirement and fines as high as $3,800 for
going without coverage amount to "a penalty against middle-class
Ensign is trying to limit the future
reach of the insurance
tax. As proposed by Baucus, the tax would be adjusted based on the
general rate of inflation. Medical inflation, however, has been rising
about twice as fast. Ensign would peg the insurance tax to general
inflation, meaning that fewer insurance plans would fall under its grip
Republicans will try to bar funds for
abortions and tighten
rules to prevent benefits from going to illegal immigrants, although
Baucus says his bill already does both. And they're pushing for a
bolder approach on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.
Many committee members would like the
bill that emerges to be significantly different from the plan Baucus
placed before them.
But they're up against a hard barrier on
has said he wants legislation that's about $900 billion over 10 years.
The Baucus plan is right under that level. Sweeten the subsidies too
much and the cost could zoom above $1 trillion.
That's why Democratic leaders
and major interest groups backing a health care overhaul are urging the
committee to pass a bill now — and try to work out problems later.
Action by the committee is the first of
four big steps before any legislation can be signed into law.
Next, Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid of Nevada
would "meld" the Finance Committee bill with a more liberal measure
from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Then,
the House and Senate would pass its own version of legislation.
Finally, a negotiating committee with representatives from each chamber
would have to reconcile the two bills.
"The important thing is to keep moving
the process forward, and
to keep the big goals in mind, even if there are concerns about the
specifics," said John Rother, the top policy strategist for AARP.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, September 10 and 11, 2009
Given the mess called "Health Care Reform", President Obama may not
lave lied in his recent speech ("YOU LIED"). But he certainly
mis-represented the facts, despite an obligation to know them. He also
knows - or should know - that his assertions regarding the financial
impact of his and the liberal Democrats' plans are a pipe dream.
care talks focus on illegal immigrants
WASHINGTON – Senators closing in on a comprehensive health care
bill have whittled away all but the most contentious issues and one of
those loomed large Friday: coverage for illegal immigrants.
Negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee
thought they'd already resolved the question. That was before Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's
shout of "You lie!" as President Barack Obama
said in a speech Wednesday that illegal immigrants wouldn't be covered
under his health plan.
led senators to revisit the issue to make sure they have provisions in
place to enforce prohibitions against illegal residents getting
federally subsidized coverage.
"What we are trying to prevent is anyone
who is here illegally from getting any federal benefit," said Sen. Kent Conrad,
D-N.D., a member of the so-called Gang of Six of three Democratic and
three Republican members of the Finance Committee. The
group is facing a deadline early next week to produce a bipartisan deal.
If they don't succeed, Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.,
plans to go it alone with a Democratic bill.
outcome remains very much in doubt. A successful effort could form the
basis for legislation that could appeal to a majority in the Senate
since the Finance Committee has a moderate makeup that resembles the
Senate as a whole.
This weekend will be
critical as aides and lawmakers themselves hammer out language not just
on illegal immigration, but also a handful of other thorny issues
including abortion, medical malpractice and
how much states must pay for an expansion of Medicaid.
The deal-or-no-deal question could be
answered as early as Monday when the group meets again.
we'll find out who wants to support the (bill) and who doesn't," Baucus
said Friday. "I'm hopeful that there will be bipartisan support. And
I'll keep working on it frankly over the weekend, on the telephone
talking to people, so on and so forth."
plan largely mirrors what Obama laid out in his speech Wednesday:
expansion of coverage to most of the nearly 50 million uninsured, new
requirements for individuals to obtain insurance, new prohibitions
like denying coverage based on personal health history and creation of
a new marketplace called an exchange where consumers could shop for
different health plans.
If Congress ends up
creating a new government-run insurance plan it would be offered
through the exchange, but unlike the four partisan bills that have
emerged from committees in the House and Senate so far, Baucus' bill
will substitute nonprofit co-ops for the public plan.
White House says that Obama does not want illegal immigrants to be able
to buy insurance through the new purchasing exchange as they would be
allowed to do under Democratic legislation in the House. Spokesman
Robert Gibbs said the White
House will work with lawmakers on language to enforce that.
Though the issue is not yet finalized, the Finance Committee
is expected to follow the White House's lead in barring illegal
immigrants from the exchange, according to a Democratic committee aide.
The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing
"Illegal immigrants would not be
allowed to access the exchange that is set up," Gibbs said Friday.
Verification requirements are "something we'd work out with Congress,"
The illegal immigrant controversy that
led to the outburst from South Carolina's Wilson stems from
Republicans' contention that illegal immigrants would be able to get
federally funded health coverage under
the House health bill — even though the bill expressly prohibits
federal subsidies for illegals.
note that there are no enforcement mechanisms, or language on how to
verify whether or not someone is in this country legally.
"Without a verification requirement it's
essentially like posting a 55-mph speed limit and not having any highway
patrol on the road," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American
Democrats in two House committees
defeated amendments that would have required verification of legal
status. Many Democrats contend that such measures create barriers to
legal residents getting the health coverage they need.
provisions added to Medicaid several years ago require people to
provide documentation of citizenship and identity, said Jennifer
Tolbert, a policy analyst at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
She said states found that the new
requirements mainly caused delays or
denials for people who were entitled to be part of the program.
There are some 7 million illegal
immigrants in this country who lack health insurance, according to the
Pew Hispanic Center.
Unlike in the House bill or legislation
passed by the Senate's health committee, the Finance Committee
is aiming to include verification requirements. Anyone who tries to get
subsidized coverage through the new health insurance exchange would
have to provide valid Social Security numbers.
Aides are working through the weekend to complete how that requirement
would be implemented.
Another unsettled issue involves coverage
for legal immigrants. Gang of Six member Sen. Chuck Grassley,
R-Iowa, wants a five-year waiting period before legal immigrants
can get subsidized coverage, but Conrad said Friday that's not yet been
TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, September 8 and 9, 2009
PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SPEECH ON HEALTH CARE REFORM:
"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"
The Good: No Federsl coverage for abortions. Retention of freedom
of conscience rules for health care personnel.
The Bad: His analysis of cost implications is a pipe dream, as clearly
described in the article that follows.
The Ugly: Passing reference to Tort Reform regarding Medical
Malpractice, suggesting only "demonstration projects" in the only issue
and its consequential "defensive medicine" that has any likelihood of
producing substantial savings in health care costs.
And then there was one laugher: "Of course, there are a few details to
work out". Thus: B+ in style; C- in substance. GS
CHECK: Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama
used only-in-Washington accounting Wednesday when he promised to
overhaul the nation's health care system
without adding "one dime" to the deficit. By conventional arithmetic,
Democratic plans would drive up the deficit by billions of dollars.
president's speech to Congress contained a variety of
oversimplifications and omissions in laying out what he wants to do
about health insurance.
A look at some of Obama's claims and how
they square with the facts or the fuller story:
OBAMA: "I will not sign a plan that adds
one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period."
THE FACTS: Though there's no final plan
yet, the White House
and congressional Democrats already have shown they're ready to skirt
the no-new-deficits pledge.
House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office
said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats
and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was
deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn't have to count $245
billion of it — the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates
so physicians don't face big annual pay cuts.
reasoning was that they already had decided to exempt this "doc fix"
from congressional rules that require new programs to be paid for. In
other words, it doesn't have to be paid for because they decided it
doesn't have to be paid for.
also said that since Obama already had included the doctor payment in
his 10-year budget proposal, it didn't have to be counted again.
That aside, the long-term prognosis for
costs of the health care legislation
has not been good.
Director Douglas Elmendorf had this to say in July: "We do not see the
sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the
trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount."
OBAMA: "Nothing in this plan will require
you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have."
FACTS: That's correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan
guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers
sponsor coverage for most families, and they'd be free to change their
health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance
altogether. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill
written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people
who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers
would decide to stop offering it.
In the past Obama repeatedly said, "If
you like your health
you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period." Now he's
stopping short of that unconditional guarantee by saying nothing in the
plan "requires" any change.
OBAMA: "The reforms I'm proposing would
not apply to those who are here illegally." One congressman, South
Carolina Republican Joe
Wilson, shouted "You lie!" from his seat in the House chamber
when Obama made this assertion. Wilson later apologized.
FACTS: The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care
bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal
immigrants get health
care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy private health insurance,
as many do now, but wouldn't get tax subsidies to help them. Still,
Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification
requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits
they are not due.
OBAMA: "Don't pay attention to those
scary stories about how
your benefits will be cut. ... That will never happen on my watch. I
will protect Medicare."
THE FACTS: Obama and congressional
Democrats want to pay for their health care plans
in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500
billion over 10 years. The cuts would largely hit hospitals and
Medicare Advantage, the part of the Medicare program operated through private insurance companies.
Although wasteful spending in Medicare is
widely acknowledged, many
experts believe some seniors almost certainly would see reduced
benefits from the cuts. That's particularly true for the 25 percent of
Medicare users covered through Medicare Advantage.
Supporters contend that providers could
absorb the cuts by
improving how they operate and wouldn't have to reduce benefits or pass
along costs. But there's certainly no guarantee they wouldn't.
OBAMA: Requiring insurance companies to
cover preventive care like
mammograms and colonoscopies "makes sense, it saves money, and it saves
THE FACTS: Studies have shown that much
preventive care —
particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions — actually costs money
instead of saving it. That's because detecting acute diseases like breast cancer
in their early stages involves testing many people who would never end
up developing the disease. The costs of a large number of tests, even
if they're relatively cheap, will outweigh the costs of caring for the
minority of people who would have ended up getting sick without the
The Congressional Budget Office
wrote in August: "The evidence suggests that for most preventive
services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical
That doesn't mean preventive care doesn't
make sense or save lives. It just doesn't save money.
OBAMA: "If you lose your job or change
your job, you will be
able to get coverage. If you strike out on your own and start a small
business, you will be able to get coverage."
THE FACTS: It's not just a matter of
being able to get
coverage. Most people would have to get coverage under the law, if his
plan is adopted.
In his speech, Obama endorsed mandatory
coverage for individuals, an approach he did not embrace as a
He proposed during the campaign — as he
does now — that larger
businesses be required to offer insurance to workers or else pay into a
fund. But he rejected the idea of requiring individuals to obtain
insurance. He said people would get insurance without being forced to
do so by the law, if coverage were made affordable. And he repeatedly
criticized his Democratic primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for proposing to
"To force people to get health insurance,
you've got to have a very harsh penalty," he said in a February 2008 debate.
Now, he says, "individuals will be
required to carry basic health
insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance."
He proposes a hardship waiver, exempting
from the requirement those who cannot afford coverage despite increased
OBAMA: "There are now more than 30
million American citizens who cannot get coverage."
THE FACTS: Obama time and again has
referred to the number of
uninsured as 46 million, a figure based on year-old Census data. The
new number is based on an analysis by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid
and the Uninsured, which concluded that about two-thirds of Americans
without insurance are poor or near poor. "These individuals are less
likely to be offered employer-sponsored coverage or to be able to
afford to purchase their own coverage," the report said. By using the
new figure, Obama avoids criticism that he is including individuals,
particularly healthy young people, who choose not to obtain health
Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn
contributed to this report.
MONDAY, September 7, 2009
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM". In fact, America has
today two massive problems...one domestic and one foreign.
The domestic problem is the
whose seeds were planted and then nourished during
the Clinton administration followed by the Bush administration with
enthusiastic help from Senators Dodd, Frank and many other
Democrats. Now this killer
weed is being allowed to continue its wild growth by means of
recklessly sprayed fertilizer in the form of uncontrolled mega-billion
dollar "Stimulus Packages" and budget-busting simultaneous initiatives
like "Health Care Reform" and "Energy Reform" that will throw this
country predictably into massive stag-flation...and then into war, the
historic cure for such situations. Finally, the
American people are awakening to this danger...not with "fear", as
alleged by Paul Choiniere in his recent column in The Day (www.theday.com
but with anger and a healthy committment to do something about
The foreign problem is the most recent developing Middle
East quagmire: Afghanistan.
To frame this issue for
proper analysis, you must read the following excellent
article by Andrew McCarthy, printed below:
a tour d'
on Afghanistan and on the entire issue of Islam,
Islamism, Salafism and Sharia.
Other in-depth references
for further study include: "Islam",
by Karen Armstrong (The
Modern Library, New York, 2000); and "A History of God",
the same author (Alfred Knopf, New York, 1993). After reading at
least the article, please form your own opinion...and then Act as a
vital citizen in our democratic process. Our well-being and the
lives of our families depend on it.
17: Andrew McCarthy: A Dangerous Delusion: We Go to War to Defend Our
Interests, Not to Encourage Democracy
September 4, 2009
4:00 AM NRO
A Dangerous Delusion
We go to war to
defend our interests, not to encourage democracy.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
Right after 9/11,
Pres. George W. Bush made a succinct demand of the Taliban: Hand over
Osama bin Laden and his cohorts or face horrific consequences. The
demand, the president emphasized, was non-negotiable. The Taliban
refused, insisting that the U.S. produce evidence against al-Qaeda.
Because Islamists — not just terrorists but all Islamists — believe the
United States is the enemy of Islam, the Taliban also floated the
possibility of rendering bin Laden to a third country. No deal, Bush
replied. As promised, the consequences were swift and severe. Yet, two
weeks into the first bombing raids, the president offered the Taliban a
“second chance.” Mullah Omar declined to take it. The invasion
proceeded and the rest is history.
It’s now a long,
confused history. The distance we’ve traveled from the clarity of the
first days is manifest in the Right’s ongoing intramural skirmish over
the eminent George Will’s latest column.
Will has called for a
steep reduction of our 60,000-strong military force (out of a total of
about 100,000 coalition troops) in Afghanistan . That country, he
argues, is an incorrigible mess where we’re engaged more in social work
than in combat. Instead, Will would have our forces retreat to offshore
bases from which, “using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles,
airstrikes and small, potent special forces units,” American efforts
could be concentrated on Afghanistan’s “porous 1,500-mile border with
Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.” This suggestion comes just
as other conservatives are backing a Pentagon proposal to add about
40,000 troops. They seek a counterinsurgency surge for Afghanistan ,
similar to the one they claim worked so well in Iraq three years ago.
There’s no question
that the surge in Iraq resulted in the rout of al-Qaeda. For that
reason, it has to be counted as a net success. It would have been a
strategic disaster to retreat while al-Qaeda was present and fortifying
But then there was
the rest of the surge rationale: the claim that we needed to secure the
Iraqi population so a stable government, one that would be a reliable
ally against terror, could emerge. The same argument now is being made
about Afghanistan . Have you taken a look at Iraq lately? We went there
to topple Saddam; we stayed to build an Islamic “democracy,” and the
result is an Iranian satellite. The new Iraq is a sharia state that
wants us gone, has denied us basing rights for future military
operations, has pressured a weak American president into releasing
Iran-backed terrorists, has rolled out the red carpet for Hezbollah,
allows Iranian spies to operate freely (causing the recent ouster of
the intelligence minister, who was an American ally), tolerates the
persecution of religious minorities, and whose soon-to-take-power
ruling coalition vows “not to establish relations with the Zionist
entity” — a vow that would simply continue longstanding Iraqi policy,
as Diana West points out. If that’s success, what does failure look
naysayers (I’ve long been one) reluctantly supported the surge in Iraq
because our nation could not allow al-Qaeda a victory there. By
contrast, as Rich Lowry mentions in passing at The Corner, “al-Qaeda is
not in Afghanistan .” Rich’s observation came in the course of chiding
Will’s advocacy of “counterterrorist strikes from a distance.” But if
al-Qaeda is not in Afghanistan , why do we still need 60,000 troops
there, let alone 40,000 more? We don’t invade other hostile countries
where al-Qaeda is actually present (see, e.g., Iran , Kenya , Yemen ,
Somalia ), and the likelihood of al-Qaeda’s return is not enough to
keep us in other countries where we’re not wanted (e.g., Iraq ). That
is, we’re already banking on our capacity to conduct counterterrorist
strikes from a distance.
The reason for going
to war in Afghanistan was that al-Qaeda was there. The Bush
administration was content to live with the Taliban ruling Afghanistan
. They are a tyrannical lot, but Islam doctrinally and culturally lends
itself to tyranny. The Taliban’s brutalization of the Afghan people was
not our military concern. That was a problem for the State Department
to take up with our “allies” — like Pakistan , which created the
Taliban, and Saudi Arabia , which helped Pakistan sustain it. Our
military issue with the Taliban was bin Laden. Had the Taliban agreed
to our terms, there would have been no invasion of Afghanistan .
al-Qaeda’s departure, the idea now seems to be that we should
substantially escalate our military involvement in Afghanistan to
replicate the experiment that supposedly worked so well in Iraq . It’s
the age of Obama, so our commanders are talking not about combat but
about a stimulus package to fight the “culture of poverty.” As military
officials described it to the New York Times, “the overriding goal of
American and NATO forces would not be so much to kill Taliban
insurgents as to make ordinary Afghans feel secure, and thus isolate
the insurgents. That means using force less and focusing on economic
development and good governance.” This is consistent with the
delusional belief that terrorism is caused by poverty, corruption,
resentment, Guantanamo Bay , enhanced interrogation tactics, Israel —
in short, anything other than an ideology rooted in Islamic scripture.
But before we all laugh George Will out of the room, we might remember
that the Taliban was not our reason for invading. We would not have
gone to war to save Afghanistan from the Taliban — which is to say, to
save Afghanistan from itself.
THE WAR AND THE DREAM
At Contentions, Pete
Wehner offers a withering critique of Will’s column. Pete reminds us
that, not so long ago, Will predicted that the Muslim world would be
overrun by “a ripple effect, a happy domino effect . . . of democracy
knocking over these medieval tyrannies.” But now, in a dizzying
turnabout, Will ridicules the very premise of the democracy project:
the conceit — to quote Will quoting Tony Blair — that “ours are not
Western values; they are the universal values of the human spirit.”
Typical of Pete, it is a very effective smack-down. And it would be a
show-stopper — except that the pertinent issue is not Will’s
inconstancy. The question is: Was Will wrong then or is Will wrong now?
And that’s where Pete
and the rest of the surge-minded lose me. George Will is not being
faithless about the war. To the extent there was national agreement
about its objectives, the war was about routing al-Qaeda, driving it
out of its safe haven, and killing or capturing its main players. Those
objectives have been substantially accomplished, and, while we’ve
failed to round up bin Laden, Zawahiri, and some others, they are not
in Afghanistan .
What Will is being
faithless about is the democratic vision. Democracy enthusiasts have
always conflated the war and the dream, but the two are and will always
be separate. The American people overwhelmingly supported, and still
support, a vigorous war — not an experiment, but a war — against the
enemies who threaten us: Islamist terrorists and the regimes that abet
them. Americans do not support, have no patience for, and would never
go to war over the thankless enterprise of transforming the Islamic
Mind you, I’m no
dove. I daresay I’m as much or more of a hawk than the nation-building
side of the house. I’ve bit my tongue for a long time, and it kills me
to write this, because I’ve never bought the nonsense about how you can
support the troops but not support the mission. And if someone can
convince me we need 40,000 or 400,000 or 4 million more troops in
Afghanistan to destroy enemies who would otherwise attack the United
States , count me in. But I think Rich, Pete, and others I admire —
Bill Kristol, Fred Kagan, and Jen Rubin, for example — go too far in
their condemnation of Will. Americans have a right to wonder what on
earth we’re doing. The war against Islamist terror is global and, even
in the region where we are fighting, has always involved more than Iraq
and Afghanistan . There are hostile regimes (particularly in Iran )
that we have left in place, unscathed, and growing stronger. For all
the brave “you’re with us or you’re against us” talk after 9/11, we
never walked that walk. Americans would have supported such a war,
which was — and is — patently in the national interest. There is no
political will for it now because, without first defeating the enemy,
we tried to reprise the Marshall Plan in a place where it won’t work.
On that score, one of
the more baffling things I’ve read recently was from Powerline’s John
Hinderaker, whom I also admire. John was questioning former vice
president Dick Cheney’s apparent admission (in a Fox News interview)
that he had favored attacking Iran , which President Bush declined to
do. John counters that “at the time, it seemed to me that we had our
hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan , and military conflict with Iran
was not a serious possibility.” But we had military conflict with Iran
whether we wanted it or not — they were orchestrating terror attacks
and killing Americans. And what we had our hands full with in Iraq and
Afghanistan was nation-building. Quite apart from the inherent futility
of trying to democratize fundamentalist Muslim countries, our efforts
in those two places were doomed if we failed to address Iran ’s
promotion of terrorism and its intolerable nuclear threat. What has
happened to Iraq has happened because we lacked the will to deal with
Iran . We left unaccomplished the mission that was vital to our
national interests while laboring exhaustively to create Islamic
democracies that are either hostile or useless to us. And now, while we
are still idling on Iran , the plan is to double-down against the
There has been a
fascinating point of alignment since 9/11 between the anti-war Left and
the democracy hawks. Both sides have failed to identify the enemy:
Islamists. The hard Left resists because it doesn’t see Islamism as an
enemy at all. The Islamists, like the Left, regard the United States as
the problem in the world.
Democracy hawks are
another matter. Their boundless faith in democracy blinds them to the
severity of the Islamist challenge. For them, dwelling on Islam is
counterproductive: If Islam is understood as a huge liability,
Americans will rebel against the prohibitive costs, in lives and money,
of democracy-building. So the democracy-hawk approach is either not to
mention Islam at all or to absurdly portray it as a “moderating”
influence that will help build stable democracies. They shame doubters
into silence by decrying “Islamophobia” and “cultural condescension” —
mortal sins these days. On some level, the democracy hawks may grasp
that the threat here involves more than terrorism. But they’ve
convinced themselves that if we could just get rid of the terrorists,
the rest of the Muslims who abhor us would be brought around by
It’s a fantasy, and
we’re betting our lives on it. So let me try to spell out the folly of
the democracy project’s fundamental assumptions.
We like to think
Islamism represents only a fringe of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims.
But that’s because we confound Islamists and terrorists. The terrorists
— those who commit and materially support violent attacks — are a
fringe (bigger than we’d like to think, but still a tiny minority). By
contrast, Islamists may be a majority, and, if they’re not, they
constitute a very substantial minority.
Islamism is not
terrorism. To be sure, Islamism includes terrorism in its arsenal.
Still, there is major disagreement among Islamists about when violence
should be used and how effective it is. In any event, we must fight the
tendency to meld these concepts. Terrorism is a tactic that divides
Muslims. Islamism is a belief system that unites tens of millions of
Muslims. Abdurrahman Wahid, the former president of Indonesia ,
estimates what he calls the “radicalized” portion of the umma at about
15 percent. I think he’s low-balling it, but even if he’s right, that
would be about 200 million people.
So what is Islamism?
It is the belief that Islam is not merely a religious creed but a
comprehensive guide to human existence, conformity to which is
obligatory, that governs all matters political, social, cultural, and
religious, from cradle to grave (and, of course, beyond). The neologism
“Islamist” was minted over three-quarters of a century ago by Hassan
al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. To this day, the credo
of the Brotherhood is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our
leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of
Allah is our highest hope.” The Brotherhood claims, preposterously, to
have renounced terrorism. It maintains, more credibly, that it is the
Muslim Nation, as in a mass movement representing what Muslims,
Islam is called Salafism. Developed in the 19th century, Salafism calls
for a return to the unalloyed Islam of the 7th-century founders. It is
to be “unalloyed” in the sense that it should be stripped of
modernizing influences — particularly Western influences. This is to be
achieved by implementing sharia, the divine law designed to govern all
aspects of life.
is the aim of jihad. Because our government does not want to be seen as
Islamophobic, we are discouraged from noting the palpable nexus between
Islamic scripture and Islamist terror. Thus we’re conditioned to think
of jihad, a creature of Islamic scripture, as a form of madness — as if
terrorists blew up buildings for no better reason than to blow up
buildings. But jihad is a central tenet of Islam. It is the obligation
to struggle in the path of Allah — to impose God’s law everywhere on
earth. Jihad can be savage, but it is not irrational.
Jihad is correctly
understood as a military duty, but it need not be violent. That does
not mean, as Islam’s Western apologists claim, that jihad is some
wishy-washy internal struggle to become a better person. To the
contrary, just as war is politics by other means, violent force is one
of several jihadist tactics by which the Muslim Nation seeks to install
sharia. If non-Muslims are willing to accommodate sharia in their
political, legal, and financial systems, combat is not required.
Surrenders are happily accepted.
ut jihad undeniably
includes the duty to drive infidel armies out of Muslim countries by
force — even infidels who see themselves as benign, progressive, good
Samaritans rather than occupiers. In 2004, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the
“nonviolent” Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide, issued a fatwa
calling on Muslims to fight the Americans in Iraq . He was zealously
supported by the faculty at al-Azhar University in Cairo , the most
authoritative voice of Islamic jurisprudence in the Arab world. A few
months later, Alberto Fernandez, then the State Department’s top
spokesman in the region, gushed that Qaradawi was an “intelligent and
thoughtful voice from the region . . . an important figure that
deserves our attention.” It was an idiotic thing to say, but it was
said in recognition of the grim reality that Qaradawi is not a fringe
figure. His influence is vast. Understand this: It is not just
terrorists but millions of Muslims who believe Americans in Iraq and
Afghanistan should be killed even if they believe they are risking
their lives so that Muslims can have a better life.
Why should Islamism
matter to us? Because, besides being the ideology that catalyzes
jihadist terrorism and threatens our freedoms in sundry other ways,
Islamism rejects the premises of Western democracy. Islamists believe
that sharia is the perfect, non-negotiable blueprint for law and life,
prescribed by Allah Himself. Therefore, Islamists reject the notion of
free people at liberty to govern themselves, to legislate in
contradiction to God’s law. They reject freedom of conscience: Islam
must be the state religion, and apostasy from Islam is a capital crime.
They deny the principle of equality under the law between men and
women, and between Muslims and non-Muslims. They abjure any semblance
of Western sexual liberty: gay sex, adultery, and fornication are
brutally punished. They countenance slavery. They encourage polygamy. I
could go on, but you get the idea.
This is all
horrifying to us, but that is because we are a different civilization.
Tony Blair was wrong, as Will has realized in more recent times.
Individual liberty and democracy are not “universal values of the human
spirit.” And our democracy-building enthusiasts are wrong, and
unintentionally insulting to Muslims, when they intimate that the
Islamic world will fall in love with our values once they taste a
decried the “cultural condescension” of us democracy doubters. But the
shoe of arrogance is on the other foot. Those of us who’ve studied
Islam have never doubted its “aptitude for democracy” (to borrow Will’s
phrase). The issue has never been one of aptitude; it is about
principled beliefs. Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including
Salafism, have been developed by extraordinary minds. It is not that
these Muslims fail to comprehend our principles; they reject them. They
have an entirely different conception of the good life. They believe
freedom is not individual liberty but individual submission to Allah’s
law. Their very conception of freedom is the opposite of ours. When we
talk to them about “freedom,” we are ships passing in the night.
That doesn’t make the
Islamists backward. They are convinced that Western liberalism and the
Judeo-Christian veneration of reason in faith are corrupting influences
that rationalize deviations from Allah’s law and His natural order.
They believe, instead, in a pre-ordered, totalitarian system in which
the individual surrenders his freedom for the good of the umma — and in
which sowing discord (i.e., engaging in what we think of as free
speech) is a grave sin, on the order of apostasy. They are wrong in
this. Our civilization is superior to theirs, which is why we have
flourished and they have faltered. But being wrong doesn’t make them
crazy. They don’t want what we’re selling, and they have their reasons.
DEMOCRACY BEGINS AT
Most of our
uninformed national conversation about Islam since 9/11 has been about
the degree of Muslim support for terrorism. If you’re going to embark
on a quest to remake the Middle East, that’s the wrong question. We
should be asking: What is the degree of Muslim support for Islamism?
The answer to that question is: immense.
Islamism is the
official creed of Saudi Arabia , which, as noted above, is risibly
portrayed as a U.S. ally against terrorism. The Saudis have lavishly
supported and collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1950s,
enabling the Brothers to spread Islamism globally, including in America
and Europe . Islamism, moreover, is the dominant ideology in the Arab
world and in much of Pakistan , Iran , and Afghanistan . It is
strengthening in northern and eastern Africa . Despite decades of
suppression, it is resurgent in Turkey . Even in Indonesia , where
Islamism is not preponderant, it is a growing force.
The fact that
Islamists disagree with their terrorist factions on tactics obscures
the reality that they heartily agree with the terrorists’ contempt for
the West. Most of the places that are sources of Islamist terror do not
want Western democracy. They want sharia.
We can’t change that
about them, and it cheapens us when we try. The State Department’s new
“democratic” constitutions for Afghanistan and Iraq are a disgrace:
establishing Islam as the state religion and elevating sharia as
fundamental law. That is not exporting our values; it is appeasing
Islamism. It is putting on display our lack of will to fight for our
principles, which only emboldens our enemies. Recall, for example, the
spectacle of the Christian prosecuted for apostasy a couple of years
back by the post-Taliban, U.S.-backed Afghan government. He had to be
whisked out of the country because it’s not safe for an ex-Muslim
religious convert in the new Afghanistan . It’s not safe for
non-Muslims, period. We’re not building a democratic culture.
Further, even if we
could clear the hurdle that Islamists don’t want Western democracy,
there remains the problem that a Muslim country’s becoming a democracy
would not make us safer from Islamist terrorists. It is illogical and
counter-historical to suppose otherwise. The 9/11 attacks were
extensively planned, over long periods of time, in, among other places,
Berlin, Madrid, San Diego, Florida, Oklahoma, and Connecticut. Clearly,
thriving democracy in those places provided no security. The doctrine
that democracy is preferable because democracies don’t make war on one
another applies only if your threat matrix consists of hostile
nation-states. A transnational terror network with no territory to
defend and no normal economic system lacks the incentives a democracy
has to avoid war. And, far from discouraging terrorists, democratic
liberties work to their advantage.
We can’t stop Muslim
countries from being Islamist. That is their choice. It should be no
concern of ours who rules them as long as they do not threaten American
interests. When they inevitably do threaten us, or allow their
territories to be launch pads for terrorists, we should smash them. But
the price of defending our nation cannot be spending years — at a cost
of precious lives and hundreds of billions of dollars — in a vain
attempt to give people who despise us a way of life they don’t want.
Meanwhile, we must
accept that Islamism is our enemy and has targeted our constitutional
system for destruction by slow strangulation via sharia. Instead of
worrying about democracy in Afghanistan , we need to worry about
democracy in America . The surge we need is at home: to roll back
Islamism’s infiltration of our schools, our financial system, our law,
and our government. In addition to not being universal, the “values of
the human spirit” are not immortal. If we don’t defend them in the
West, they will die.
— National Review’s
Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute
and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter
SUNDAY, September 6, 2009
As I promised to offer in March 2003, and as I have done
since then, here are some more well-founded observations and
opinions...in no particular order. GS
- Pakistan. I hope there's more than meets
the eye with reference to our influence there. Otherwise, that
nation could blow up in our face.
- Afghanistan. As I have already said
in this section, the rationale for our continued presence and our
goals there must be re-defined, especially following the carnage of the
last few months and the election debacle. The Afghans themselves
must deserve and earn peace, with our without democracy as they see
fit. See related articles in the NYTimes Sunday Sept 6 by Tom
Friedman and Nicholas Kristol.
- What do the Iraqii people want? Do they
want commerce with China and other countries? Do they want to be
a subsidiary of Iran? Do they want our protection?
Meanwhile, the great elephant in the entire region is fundamentalist
Islam and the Sharia that totally distorts their window on the
world. If that continues, they will not survive as a sovereign
- In this country, we learn from a front-page article in the same
Times edition referenced above that " New Exotic Investments
Emerging On Wall Street". Obviously, No Pain...No Lessons
Learned. The Great Recession, as it's now
called, is the result of ever-present greed and stupidity, including on
the part of the "experts" like Alan Greenspan and "regulators" like the
SEC. That whole gang needs to be brougnt to heel. In that,
I agree with the Obama administration.
- Given the effects of globalization in magnifying
our economic woes, we must now cut back on that process. Whether
internationally or nationally, out-sourcing of
projects beyond a central control has produced all kinds of trouble for
Boeing in its efforts to build the 787 Dreamliner. And it
continues to complicate the work of Electric Boat Company in its expert
efforts to produce new submarines while politically connected Newport
News keeps on screwing things up.
- ObamaCare as currently touted will result in
higher costs, less access and lower quality - guaranteed. The
"cost savings" are a fiction...unless meaningful medical malpractice
tort reform reduces the need for and practice of Defensive Medicine -
which may account for up to 30% of current health care costs.
Furthermore, Federal coverage of abortions is a poison pill.
- Regarding the matter of abortion in the Health Care
debates, the Catholic Church seems to be using the same
tactic as the AMA, trying to promote positions directly with the
lawmakers, who are influenced only by voters, and not galvanizing their
constituencies / voters. A continuing mistake.
- Moving to Connecticut, Governor Rell continues
to be underwhelming. Witness here lame action on the State
budget, which will soon be a disaster of great consequence...as
lucidly ouitlined by Morgan McGinley in his column in
Sunday's The Day (www.theday.com). I guess I'll
go to my grave repeating the verity: IN A DEMOCRACY, THE
PEOPLE ALWAYS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.
SATURDAY, September 5, 2009
> Smart man!
> Love him or hate him,
he sure hits the nail on the head with this!
> Bill Gates recently
gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will
not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct
teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and
how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.
> Rule 1: Life is not
fair - get used to it!
> Rule 2: The world
doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to
accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
> Rule 3: You will NOT
make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a
vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
> Rule 4: If you think
your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
> Rule 5: Flipping
burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different
word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
> Rule 6: If you mess
up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes,
learn from them.
> Rule 7: Before you
were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got
that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to
you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the
rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try
delousing the closet in your own room.
> Rule 8: Your school
may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some
schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as
MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the
slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
> Rule 9: Life is not
divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few
employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your
> Rule 10: Television
is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee
shop and go to jobs.
> Rule 11: Be nice to
nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
TUESDAY through FRIDAY, September 1 through 4, 2009
HERE'S TO US! GS
matter what our kids and the new generation think about us,
ARE AWESOME !!!!
LIFE IS LIVING PROOF !!!!
1930 - 1979
ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE
60's and 70's!!
survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were
took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get
tested for diabetes.
that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered
bright colored lead-base paints.
no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and
when we rode our bikes,
helmets on our heads.
infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats,
no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and
sometimes no brakes.
the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually
died from this.
cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made
with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight.. WHY?
we were always outside playing...that's why!
leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back
when the streetlights came on..
No one was
able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.
spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
ride them down the hill,
find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few
times, we learned to solve the problem
We did not
have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games,
no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's,
surround-sound or CD's,
Internet and no chat rooms.
we went outside and found them!
out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits
from these accidents.
would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or
just a bare hand and no one would call child services to report abuse.
worms and mud pies
did not live in us forever.
given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and
tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put
out very many eyes.
bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the
bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
didn't had to learn
generations have produced some of the best
problem solvers and inventors ever.
50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to
deal with it all.
are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!
want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as
kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our
lives for our own good.
are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and
lucky their parents were.
makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?
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