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
WEDNESDAY through MONDAY, October
19 through 31, 2011
Time for another
edition of Around
The World in 80 Opinions...aka COMMON SENSE REVISITED!
- PAKISTAN. Time for the U.S.
to create, unilaterally if necessary, a military buffer zone on the
Pakistan - Afghanistan border to minimize the current sanctuary used by
the Taliban, al Qaida and the Hakani to kill our troops. If
- AFGHANISTAN. We cannot
replace the tribal governments with democracy without a strong central
Afghan government - something that is not in the cards for many years,
if ever. Meanwhile, do some good...but mainly maintain a strong
base of operations in that dangerous part of the world - not for them,
but for our continued pre-emptive self-defense. If Afghanistanis
or other nations object...tough!
- INDIA. Develop and
maintain closer contacts. A good, strong nation. If
- CHINA. Like Russia: never to
be trusted, ever. The oriental penchant for government
(however invalid) over people cannot ever be reconciled with the
occidental emphasis on the individual.
- RUSSIA. See above.
- TURKEY. A diamond in the
rough, if the West could only figure how to cut it. The best
chance for a strong secular Muslim nation, the only
possible evolution for Islam that can avoid WW lll, or...if you
prefer, the next Crusade.
- ISRAEL. Again, with feeling: "HE
WHO SEEKS EQUITY MUST DO EQUITY". And the Israelis are not
doing equity. Israel: She will always exist. "May she
always be right...but not right or wrong".
- EASTERN EUROPE. These are the
nations that we should be strengthening, the real future of
Europe. They well know the false hopes of Socialism and
- WESTERN EUROPE. The Marshall
Plan was good. But most of these countries took the wrong lesson
from that largess: it was a temporary fix, not a permanent way of
life. GET A LIFE. WORK HARD. STOP BITCHING.
- ENGLAND. Wake up, folks, and
take back your country from all the immigrants who have no desire to
- SOUTH AMERICA. Islands of
progress amidst the destitute, thanks to the absence of land
reform. Just the conditions for rampant drug cultures to
flourish. And where is the Catholic Church in pressing this
necessary reform? AWOL.
- MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA.
Martial Law should be declared and should continue for a year, if any
honest leaders could be found. During that time, brutal
house-cleaning should take place. That is a festering wound that
needs thorough debridement.
- AMERICA. Now there's a
challenge. Let's start with reversing the terrible mistake we
made three years ago while in a national hypnotic state. OBAMA, NO.
JUST ABOUT ANYONE ELSE, YES. Well, not
really. But you get my drift. And then, let's demand the
convening of a U.S. Constitutional Convention in order to draft and
pass Amendments to preclude the purchase and sale of ANY Federal office
in the government, including that of President of the United
States...for the right price. That must stop!
- New London, Ct. A very
important election is at hand. Let's do it right, at least in our
little neighborhood of the world...and not resort to recriminations,
anger, intimidation and theft - something that is starting to raise its
ugly head regarding SHARING RIVERSIDE PARK WITH OUR U.S. COAST GUARD
AND OUR ARMED FORCES. Above all,
AHHHH. THAT FELT GOOD...........GS
MONDAY and TUESDAY, October
17 and 18, 2011
statement is not from an American. It is translation from a Czech
Republic Newspaper, Prager Zeitung, published on April 28, 2011.
voted for obama, I'm not calling you an idiot the writer of the article
using the term.
OF THE DECADE
quote was translated into English from an article appearing in the
Republic as published in the Prager Zeitung of 28 April 2011.
danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of
an inexperienced man like him with the Presidency. It will
far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than
restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved
willing to have such a man for their president. The problem
much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere
of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should
blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their
The Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to
a multitude of Idiots such as those who made him their president."
WEDNESDAY through SUNDAY, October
12 through 16, 2011
What do you do if you can’t run on your
record — on 9
percent unemployment, stagnant growth and ruinous deficits as far
as the eye can see? How to run when
you are asked whether Americans are better off than they were four
years ago and you are compelled to answer no?
Play the outsider. Declare
yourself the underdog. Denounce Washington as if the electorate
hasn’t noticed that you’ve been in charge of it for nearly three years.
But above all: Find villains.
President Obama first tried finding excuses, blaming America’s dismal
condition on Japanese supply-chain interruptions, the Arab Spring,
European debt and various acts of God.
Didn’t work. Sounds plaintive, defensive. Lacks fight, which is what
Obama’s base lusts for above all.
Hence Obama’s new strategy: Don’t whine, blame. Attack. Indict. Accuse.
Who? The rich — and their Republican protectors — for wrecking America.
In Obama’s telling, it’s the refusal of the rich to “pay their fair
share” that jeopardizes Medicare. If millionaires don’t pony up,
schools will crumble. Oil-drilling tax breaks are costing teachers
their jobs. Corporate loopholes will gut medical research.
It’s crude. It’s Manichaean. And the left loves it. As a matter of math
and logic, however, it’s ridiculous. Obama’s most coveted tax hike — an
extra 3 to 4.6 percent for millionaires and billionaires (weirdly
defined as individuals making more than $200,000) — would have reduced
last year’s deficit (at the very most) from $1.29 trillion to $1.21
trillion. Nearly a rounding error. The oil-drilling breaks cover less
than half a day’s federal spending. You could collect Obama’s favorite
tax loophole — depreciation for corporate jets — for 100 years and it
wouldn’t cover one month of Medicare, whose insolvency is a function of
increased longevity, expensive new technology and wasteful defensive
medicine caused by an insane malpractice system.
After three years, Obama’s self-proclaimed transformative social
policies have yielded a desperately weak economy. What to do? Take the
low road: Plutocrats are bleeding the country, and I shall rescue you
Problem is, this kind of populist demagoguery is more than
intellectually dishonest. It’s dangerous. Obama is opening a Pandora’s
box. Popular resentment, easily stoked, is less easily controlled,
especially when the basest of instincts are granted legitimacy by the
Exhibit A. On Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed punitive
legislation over China’s currency. If not stopped by House Speaker John
Boehner, it might have led to a trade war — a 21st-century
Smoot-Hawley. Obama knows this. He has shown no appetite for a reckless
tariff war. But he set the tone. Once you start hunting for villains,
they can be found anywhere, particularly if they are conveniently
Exhibit B. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin rails against Bank of America
for announcing a $5-a-month debit card fee. Obama echoes the opprobrium
with fine denunciations of banks and their hidden fees — except that
this $5 fee is not hidden. It’s perfectly transparent.
Yet here is a leading Democratic senator advocating a run on a major
(and troubled) bank — after two presidents and two Congresses sunk
billions of taxpayer dollars to save failing banks. Not because they
were deserving or virtuous but because they are necessary. Without
banks, there is no lending. Without lending, there is no business.
Without business, there are no jobs.
Exhibit C. To the villainy-of-the-rich theme emanating from Washington,
a child is born: Occupy Wall Street. Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad,
iPhone-clutching protesters denounce corporate America even as they
weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over.
These indignant indolents saddled with their $50,000 student loans and
English degrees have decided that their lack of gainful employment is
rooted in the malice of the millionaires on whose homes they are now
marching — to the applause of Democrats suffering acute Tea Party envy
and now salivating at the energy these big-government anarchists will
presumably give their cause.
Except that the real Tea Party actually had a program — less
government, less regulation, less taxation, less debt. What’s the
Occupy Wall Street program? Eat the rich.
And then what? Haven’t gotten that far.
No postprandial plans. But no matter. After all, this is not about
programs or policies. This is about scapegoating, a failed
administration trying to save itself by blaming our troubles — and its
failures — on class enemies, turning general discontent into rage
against a malign few.
From the Senate to the streets, it’s working. Obama is too intelligent
not to know what he started. But so long as it gives him a shot at
reelection, he shows no sign of caring.
TUESDAY, October 11, 2011
Demography Is Destiny
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Low Fertility and Low Economic Growth
The Importance of Marriage and the Family
By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, OCT. 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Fewer children and diminishing numbers
of married couples will have a significant impact on economic growth
and the ability of governments to finance welfare programs.
This is the warning contained in a report just published, “The
Sustainable Demographic Dividend: What Do Marriage & Fertility Have
To Do With the Economy?” It was released by the Social Trends Institute
and co-sponsored by a number of family groups and universities.
The Social Trends Institute is a non-profit research group, based in
Barcelona, Spain, and New York City, that concentrates on on four
subject areas: Family, bioethics, culture and lifestyles, and corporate
The long-term fortune of economies will rise or fall depending on what
happens with families, according to the report. There are two main
trends that are a cause for concern, First, dependent elderly
populations are sharply increasing at the same time productive
working-age populations stagnate or even decline in many developed
Second, there is a major decline in the number of children being raised
in intact, married families.
The term demographic dividend in the report’s title was used by some
economists to describe the boost to economic growth experienced in a
number of Asian countries where population growth was sharply reduced.
This freed up resources that were used to stimulate economic growth.
This dividend is really more of a loan, and one which has to be repaid.
The economic stagnation that Japan has experienced in recent years is
in part due to the low fertility that it has had since the 1970s,
according to the report.
There’s a warning in that for China, the authors noted, which itself
saw the fertility rate fall below replacement level in the 1990s. China
will very likely see a reduction in its economic growth in coming
decades as its workforce shrinks.
In more than 75 countries the fertility rate is now below the
replacement level - 2.1 children per woman - that is needed to maintain
a steady level of population.
The average woman in a developed country now bears just 1.66 children
over her lifetime, the report noted. Already the number of children age
0–14 is 60.6 million less in the developed world today than it was in
Low fertility is also a reality in many less developed countries the
report pointed out. The number of births per woman was slashed in a
single generation from six or more to less than two in countries such
as Iran, Lebanon, Chile, Cuba, Thailand, China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Overall the global population is still rising and United Nations
projections estimate that the total number could reach up to 10 billion
from the current 7 billion.
But, the report clarified, this will be a very different type of
population growth than we have had in the past. Up until very recently
numbers grew due to the increase in young people.
In the coming decades, however, the U.N. projections calculate that 53%
of population growth will come from due to the greater number of people
over 60. Only 7% will be due to having more people under 30.
Between 1990 and 2010 the number of those in the age range of 15–64
grew by 1.3 billion. Because of falling fertility the population of
those in this working-age range is only forecast to increase by about
900 million between 2010 and 2030. In many European and East Asian
countries the working-age population will, in fact, decline.
In Western Europe, for example, during the next two decades there will
be a decline of 4% in the 15-64 year age group, and that is assuming
that there will be 20 million new immigrants. At the same time the
population over 65 is set to swell by 40%.
Already a number of Western European governments have been forced to
cut welfare programs and raise the age at which people are eligible for
pensions, due to the financial pressure of financing the welfare state.
Meanwhile, in the United States, starting in 2010 Social Security began
to pay out more to the retired than it received from those in
Economies will suffer not only due to fewer workers but also because of
lower quality. Marriage is on the downturn in many countries around the
world. A combination of divorce, cohabitation and single parents means
that large numbers of children are raised outside of intact married
This is particularly the case in many European countries and in the
Americas. In these countries 40% or more of children are born without
their parents being married.
Many of these births are to cohabitating couples, which are much more
unstable than marriages. The report looked at the case of Sweden, which
has 55% of children born outside of marriage. In spite of the broad
social acceptance of cohabitation and the legal and financial support
these couples receive, such families are much less stable than married
A recent study found that children born to cohabiting couples were 75%
more likely than children born to married couples to see their parents
break up by age 15.
As a result Swedish children living in single-parent families are at
least 50% more likely to suffer from psychological problems, to be
addicted to drugs or alcohol, to attempt suicide, or to commit suicide
than children in two-parent families.
As well, research shows that children growing up in unstable families
are much less likely to succeed in their studies and obtain good jobs.
It is also documented that men who marry and remain married work harder
and earn more. This happens in a variety of cultures and nations,
ranging from Israel to Italy, Mexico and the United States.
According to the report, “countries that enjoy a comparatively strong
marriage culture— such as China, India, and Malaysia - are likely to
reap long-term economic dividends.” Many countries, however, are not in
that fortunate position.
The report wasn’t all doom and gloom. There are a number of ways in
which families can be supported and it made a number of recommendations.
-- More support for family farms and businesses, which will ensure
greater financial stability for families.
-- Help young adults obtain secure permanent employment, instead of
casual or contract work. Secure careers will enable them to start a
family and have children.
-- Provide affordable housing. High cost housing is associated with low
fertility around the world.
-- More flexible employment practices that will enable women who prefer
to balance family responsibilities with a career to do so without
having to either drop out of the workforce or be full time.
-- Governments should support marriage and educate people about the
advantages of marriage and the deficiencies of single parenthood.
-- Encourage saving by young adults and also give greater financial
support to couples with children.
-- Contemporary culture is anti-family and promotes promiscuity and
moral corruption, an effort needs to be made to clean up popular
-- Governments should respect the positive contribution made by
religion to family life.
Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke out about the importance of marriage.
Addressing a group of engaged couples during a visit to the Italian
town of Ancona he encouraged them to overcome the cultural challenges
to marital fidelity.
“The stability of your union in the sacrament of matrimony will enable
the children that God wishes to give you to grow confident in the
goodness of life,” the pope said.
“Fidelity, indissolubility and transmission of life are the pillars of
every family, a true common good, a precious patrimony for the whole
society,” he added. Good advice not only religious, but also economic.
MONDAY, October 10, 2011
The following was written by a French soldier in Afghanistan
(and translated into
the folks back home in France commenting on the quality of the
>> "We have shared our daily life
with two US units for quite a while -
>> they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious
>> battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military
>> secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other.
>> live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know
>> have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of
>> Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series
>> "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are
>> those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what
>> support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day ? Few
>> belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on.
>> This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the
>> They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point
>> the language they speak is not even English. How many times
>> have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste
>> minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common
>> Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and
>> admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties
understanding each other.
>> Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins
>> creatine (Heh. More like Waffle House and McDonalds) - they
>> heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us
>> Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps,
>> the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake
us for Afghans.
>> Here we discover America as it is often depicted : their
>> taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and
>> loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan
>> Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that : the
>> flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one
>> post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth
>> American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal
>> to hold high and proud the star spangled banner.
>> Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people
>> provides them through the mail all that an American could miss
>> such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums,
>> razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every
>> aware of how much the American people backs him in his
>> mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the
>> American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the
>> team are the focus of all his attention.
>> And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad
>> as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical
>> people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy
>> of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how.
>> Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to
>> them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the
>> hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the
>> slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the
>> wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle
>> night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the
>> of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like
>> nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the
>> only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional
>> presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles
>> are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling
the fuel tanks
>> with the Japy pump.
>> And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all -
>> coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble,
>> always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks :
>> switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three
>> Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is
>> disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault
>> stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts
any pussyfooting short.
>> This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone
>> passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan:
>>"If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember
>> to run from a fight./So take open order, lie down, sit
>> wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic
>> philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the
>> of orders, take a defensive position." Indeed, virtually
>> in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however,
>> from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of
>> Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or
ill, will wait for
>> precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other
>> 'incident', the American force will simply go, counting on
>> and SOP to carry the day.
>> This is one of the great strengths of the American force in
>> and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the
>> and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find
>> surprising. No wonder it surprises the hell out of our
>> We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp
>> are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent
>> passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just
>> check that everything is alright; an American combat team will
>> to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission
>> from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier
>> beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and
>> To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat
>> outposts and who everyday give proof of their military
>> those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's deployment
>> Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping
>> we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue
>> them say that we are all the same band of brothers".
>> Much of this the various veterans reading will go 'Well, duh.
>> course we do our 'camp chores' and stand our posts in good
>> There's a reason for them and if we didn't we'd get our heads
>> to us eventually. And, yeah, we're in shape. Makes battle
>> more you sweat, the less you bleed.'
>> What is hard for most people to comprehend is that that
>> represented only the most elite units of the past. Current
>> conventional boring 'leg infantry' units exceed the PT levels
>> training levels of most Special Forces during the Vietnam War.
>> exceed both of those as well as IQ and educational levels of:
>> SS, WWII Rangers, WWII Airborne and British 'Commando' units
>> WWII. Their per-unit combat-functionality is essentially
>> because it has to be compared to something and there's nothing
>> in industrial period combat history.
>> This group is so much better than 'The Greatest Generation' at
>> that WWII vets who really get a close look at how good these
>> are stand in absolute awe.
>> So much of 'The scum of the earth, enlisted for drink.'
>> Everyone complains about the quality of 'the new guys.'
>> The screw-ups of this modern generation are head and shoulders
>> 'high-medium' of any past group. Including mine.
>> This is 'The Greatest Generation' of soldiers.
>> They may never be equalled.
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, October 8 and
After many months on the side-lines, I have been
local theaters by the caliber of actors thrown together in some recent
offerings. The results: spotty.
there you have it.
- CONTAGION. Plausible,
realistic, scientifically sound, well presented and acted. B+.
- MONEYBALL. A true story
(that always gets my interest). Well told. Well acted...but too long,
and with the Post Script information too small for me to read from the
rear of the theater. B+.
- THE IDES OF MARCH. Good
actors and good acting, except for George Clooney..who regularly
depends too much on his limited number of facial expressions.
Unfortunately a reasonable plot line, but piled on to its
collapse. Mediocre development of characters. C-
overall; P for "potty-mouth". F for extensive and gratuitous use
of the F-word throughout.
SATURDAY through FRIDAY, October 7, 2011
IN RIVER CITY"...and
it's nothing to sing about. This maritime nation is heading
for dangerous shoals, and we may not survive the current pitched battle
President Obama turns out to have over-promised and grossly
under-performed. Like a shifty lawyer, he is following a lawyer's
the Law is with you, argue the Law. If the Facts are with you,
Facts. If neither the Law not the Facts are with you...yell and
scream." Having failed under both the Law and the Facts that
have long sustained this nation, he is in his "yell and scream" mode,
having abandoned Washington to campaign around the country for the next
months...as a Divider and not as a Uniter.
The trouble is that this Ship of State is being driven by high winds
heavy sea onto the rocks. We cannot survive another 13 months of
see around us today: grid-locked leadership, unstructured rage and
anarchy in the streets, and fear in the heartland. Meanwhile, the
around us, friend and foe alike, see this country as a wounded lion and
beginning to circle for a piece of the carcass.
This nation was conceived and developed with gunpowder and hope.
plenty of gunpowder out there...but diminishing hope. That is
dangerous. What we need now is an alternative to the articulate,
and asinine Democratic playbook. And that alternative cannot be
ol', same ol' tripe coming from reactionary Republicans. The
must come from thoughtful Republicans and from concerned
must come NOW.
If you haven't noticed, there is a leader out there who is providing
necessary ideas and experience, and could provide true
person is Newt Gingrich, one of the most successful Speakers of
House of Representatives in many years. But don't take my word
it. Visit his web-site (www.newt.org)
for a comprehensive vision and battle plan...an offering vastly better
much of the stuff being offered by the other Republican hopefuls.
WAKE UP, AMERICA. We're headed for the rocks...and the lighthouse
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