George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2003

The "Big New Idea" that this season's crop of Democratic Presidential candidates has come up with relates to national health care delivery.  Talk about denial, obfuscation, cowardice.  Our fearless leaders will do anything except approach the "third rail" relating to the only effective solutions: either implement  prioritization...rationing based upon medical need in a fair and rank-ordered manner; or pay as much of the GNP as will be necessary for Americans to get all the advanced health care that they need and want - after a lifetime of self-abuse - and with the patient paying directly a substantial part of the bill himself.   These are not new ideas developed after decades of observation.  I diagnosed and published the problem and the prognosis on May 27, 1978 in an article reprinted on this web site, together with other commentary of more recent vintage. (See Categories entitled Health Law Topics, and Managed Care Topics).  I stand by every part of that 1978 statement and I recommend it today.  This topic was also addressed this week in an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled Weighing (and Ignoring) Candidate Health Plans, by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., WSJ Opinion, Wednesday, May 28, 2003, P. A13.   When will someone in political life be brave enough to open this honest discussion with the American public.  I believe that they are ready.


FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2003

Again, WHAT'S GOING ON?  Nine American soldiers killed in the last few days from ambush!  Although very upsetting, it is not surprising, given the situation on the ground in Iraq.  What is surprising is the lack of effective response on our part:  too few soldiers and others policing; failiure to dis-arm the population on pain of prison terms, after a short period of amnesty for surrendered weapons;  shooting looters and shooting to kill attackers; using effective riot control measures for unruly mobs; paying cooperative Iraqiis with goods, services, and greenbacks; and making it crystal-clear that the U.S. and its Allies will not tolerate or allow a theocracy to rule Iraq.  We have produced - for good and sufficient reason, pre-emptive self-defense -  a power vacuum in that land.  We are the only power there now.  If we don't use that power effectively and promptly, the vacuum will be filled by all sorts of undesireables.  So, let's stop the bickering and soul-searching: MR. PRESIDENT...DO YOUR DUTY.  YOU HAVE BEEN RIGHT...SO FAR!


TUESDAY through THURSDAY, MAY 27 through 29, 2003

The recent scandal at the New York Times, addressed with multiple "mea culpas" but without reported changes in its methods of doing business, has produced a raft of soul-searching throughout the world of journalism.  The media have been especially "shocked,shocked" by recent polls showing that over 60% of the population believe, even before recent events,  that the media are often untruthful. That is the natural harvest of the "new journalism" which has been practiced since the mid-60's.   Not quite "yellow journalism" of the early 20th century, the pervasive practice of editorializing in news articles and even in the choice of articles published, in addition to the editorial page, has produced a healthy cynicism in self-defense. Our only other protection is to routinely cross-read from several sources.  And that it why the FCC decision to be taken in the next week regarding unilateral, concentrated control of multiple news outlets in a given region  is so important to a democracy that exists mainly on the free flow of reliable information. This issue warrants a call Now to your legislators and to the FCC.


SATURDAY through MONDAY, MAY 24 through 26, 2003

There are times when one simply cannot improve upon reference to a particular article to get some important ideas across.  This is one of those times.


THURSDAY and FRIDAY, MAY 22 and 23, 2003

Have you noticed how the singlemindedness of this Bush administration is succeeding in converting many of the fictions of the last decade into realities that can finally be tested on their merits: the "relevance" of the U.N.; the "sanctions" against Iraq, which were routinely ignored by some of our cynical Allies - who later became pusillanimous Allies when the time finally came to deal with that den of terrorists;  the unacceptability of a theocracy for the new Iraq; the true colors of some of our Arab allies; the illegal and provocative Jewish settlements which will have to be abandoned for peace; the impossibility of the "right of return" for exiled Palestinians as their price for peace; the implementation of the bedrock Republican doctrine that tax reductions will stimulate a languid economy - an effort whose chance for success was nearly destroyed by the ever-spendthrift Democrats who had the added aim of seeing the doctrine fall on its face; the total engagement in the Korea problem toward a lasting solution, as distinguished from the neglect and impotence of the prior administration and from the visceral inclinations of our self-perpetuating Department of State.  This approach, realistic and courageous, will determine the reputation and the duration of President George W. Bush's leadership.  This is as it should be.  Not wet-finger-in-the-wind "leadership", but the real thing.  But this administration should beware of one thing in this test: how the test is defined often determines the perceived outcome.  Its opponents should not be allowed to define freely the test according their own aims.  For example,  we did not have "the elimination of weapons of mass destruction" as our sole or even main rationale for deposing Hussein, as the ultra-liberals assert ad nauseum.  It was the right decision for many other reasons, first among them being the implementation of the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive self-defense.  That is what will get us safely through the next several dangerous decades, just as Mutual Assured Destruction got us through the last fifty years.

(Two excellent recent articles on some of the above subjects appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, May 22, 2003, Opinion, pA14: "No Nuclear Blackmail", by Mohamed ElBaradei; and "Where's the Muslim Debate?", by Husain Haqqani).


MONDAY and TUESDAY, MAY 19 and 20, 2003

Sorry, but when I don't have anything insightful to say, I won't simply mimic some of the "talking heads" around us.  Besides, I actually work.

Events of the last few days, in Saudi Arabia, in Morocco, and in Israel, reinforce the validity of earlier comments on the subject of world-wide terrorism and pre-emptive self-defense (see Rapid Response...May 13, 16...).   They also reinforce the wisdom and courage of our actions (but not of our more recent inactions) in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Israel.  The Democrats - and the State Department - have taken up once again their diatribes against this entire approach.  For the Democrats, this is nothing but stupid politics that will back-fire. For the State Department, this is a futile attempt to justify their miserable stewardship of American involvement in the world during the last decade.

Forceful and effective military and administrative control in all areas that require it will be critical to defeating  terrorism and its supporters. But the only approach that will prevent another Christian Crusade against Islamists who declare all but them to be infidels to be damned and destroyed, is for the leaders of all the World Religions to enter into immediate discussions aimed at detente of the Faithful, whether they call God Yahweh, Jesus Christ, or Allah.  Meanwhile, the current decade(s)  will be analogous to the Cold War;  but they may not be Cold.  Get used to it.  "If you seek peace, prepare for war".


SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2003

People are finally starting to come to their senses regarding what is needed to address the serious, chronic disease in this country called "Public Education".  There can be only effective treatment: competition, in the form or magnet, charter, alternative, home, and parochial schools - and Vouchers!  Even the Mayor of Washington, D.C. has at last come out in favor of vouchers to benefit one of the worst systems in the country.  (See Wall Street Journal, "a Mayor Breakthrough", Opinion, Review and Outlook, Tuesday, May 6, 2003, pA26)  (See also the category entitled "Public Education Politics" on this web site).  If this movement is to succeed, parents and students will have to do the heavy political lifting.  Most of their leaders, fearful of the cynical teachers unions and their politlcal power, have consistently failed...especially national Black leaders.  Maybe now...


FRIDAY and SATURDAY, MAY 16 and 17, 2003

This topic is "Crime and Punishment", inspired by a number of current events.


THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2003

If you don't read the Wall Street Journal, you're missing a lot.  It's Opinion section, a daily course in public affairs, is worth its price even without the excellent news coverage.  The edition publisned on Tuesday, May 13 had two especially good articles: "Chirac's Bungling Gaullism Threatens European Unity" (pA18); and "The Mighty Poles" (pA17).   There you will find the Old Europe and the New Europe illustrated  in a nutshell.

Another fine article appeared in the New London Day on Sunday, May 11, by Robert Linden, M.D.  Practising physicians are calling for help as they go down for the second time.  Make no mistake: as they go, so goes health care in this country. There is no "B team".  (See the Categories on Managed Care and on Health Law on this web site for more on this subject).


TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, MAY 13 and 14, 2003

What is going on here?  Riots, looting, assassinations of our fighting men.   Has the sappy State Department taken over the Iraq  issue again?  We hope that the recent change in command of the post-war effort is a good omen.  Ordering our forces to "shoot looters" is a good start, however belated.  And how about a lot more troops on the ground in the cities during this difficult transition.   Our enemies, also the enemies of the majority of Iraqi people, are beginning to sense vacillation and weakness.  President Bush will have earned his victory lap only when he has won the peace in Iraq.  And Beware our "Friends",  like the Saudis.   Maybe they need a hand-out, so that they can afford to arm their guards at potential terrorist targets.  Right.


MONDAY, MAY 12, 2003

So many topics, so little time...


SUNDAY, MAY 11, 2003

There appears to no limit to the arrogance and hypocracy of this French administration.  President Jacques Chirac and his Foreign Minister have either taught or have been trained by the now deceased Iraqi Minister of Information.   They totally ignore the decade of illegal  commerce with Iraq during the 1990's in contravention of U.N. sanctions.  Rather, they insist on having their existing oil "contracts" with Iraq honored during the coming changes, on threat of intercepting oil tankers carrying Iraqi oil in the future in order to satisfy those "contracts".  What "Gaul".  And now comes the information shared below regarding more recent travesties.  We should hold no ill will toward the average Frenchman.  But so long as his country is led by the likes of these pompous and self-important cheats, "let our buying public beware!"

See the French Product List from the Wednesday and Thursday, April 2 and 3, 2003 Rapid Response.


SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2003

A great deal has happened in this interval.  But life is for the living.  Or, as Maura - always the high-spirited optimist - may be saying right now: "Alright, don't forget me...but get over it!"   What followes is a "stream of consciousness.


SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2003

The following is a reading from "Toilers of the Sea", by Victor Hugo:

"I am standing upon that foreshore.  A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.  Then someone at my side says 'There! She's gone!'  Gone where?  Gone from my sight, that's all.  She is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.  Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And,  just at that moment when someone at my side says 'There!  She's gone!',  there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout  'Here she comes!'  And that is dying."

Safe voyage, Maura.   Mother and Dad

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