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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

SUNDAY and MONDAY, June 29 and 30, 2008

As my wife says: less than six months to Christmas.  More importantly, slightly over four months to the end of this interminable election campaign. 

SATURDAY, June 28, 2008

Another busy bad news week. 

SUNDAY through FRIDAY, June 22 through 27, 2008

What the hell is going on in this country??  No common sense.  No Fundamentals!  Could this be the year we "throw all the bums out"?  I'll dream on for a while.  GS

> Subject: We Have The Oil
> This is very interesting.......
> This is amazing! Our elected leaders must be made to get off the
> dime and do something to free our country from middle east oil
> dependence. This looks very mush like it can be done and why are they
> not doing something about it? I've sent this to my entire mailing list
> hope it gets some of your attention. I hope you pass it on as well. Just maybe we "The People"
> can get our elected officials to do something or replace them with
> people that will.
> Subject: Wow!
> Be prepared to be upset if you did not know of this. I was and am
> Very Upset. I did Google this myself , and sure enough the fact are
> correct, but there is also a large deposit sitting under Colorado,
> Wyoming and Utah... It is an interesting read in Google...
> Just poking around the Internet recently, I simply 'Googled' the
> search 'Untapped U.S. Oil Reserves,' and the result (like the current
> price of a gallon of gas - BLEW ME AWAY! Go ahead, take a minute and
> see for yourself! Never mind, I'll share some of the highlights I found.
> 1. Ever heard of the Bakken Formation? GOOGLE it. I did, and
> again, BLEW my mind. The U.S. Geological Service issued a report in
> April ('08) that only scientists and oilmen/women knew was coming, but man was it big.
> It was a revised report (hadn't been updated since '95) on how much
> oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota; western South
> Dakota; and extreme eastern Montana ... check THIS out:
> The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska's
> Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American
> dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA)
> estimates it at
> 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable... at
> $107 a barrel, we're looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.
> 'When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically
> see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea.' says Terry Johnson,
> the Montana Legislature's financial analyst.
> 'This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field
> found in the past 56 years,' reports The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It's
> a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly
> referred to as the 'Bakken.' And it stretches from Northern Montana,
> through North Dakota and into Canada. For years, U.S.oil exploration
> has been considered a dead en d. Even the 'Big Oil' companies gave up
> searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent
> technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken's massive
> reserves... and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And
> because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!
> That's enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 41
> years straight.
> 2. [And if THAT didn't throw you on the floor, then this next one
> should - because it's from TWO YEARS AGO, people!]
> U.S.Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World!
> Stansberry Report Online - 4/20/2006 Hidden 1,000 feet beneath
> the surface of the Rocky Mountains
> lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world is more
> than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush
> mandated its extraction.
> [(???) What the!??]
> They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our
> borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the
> official estimates:
> -8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
> -18-times as much oil a s Iraq
> -21-times as much oil as Kuwait
> -22-times as much oil as Iran
> -500-times as much oil as Yemen- and it's all right here in the
> Western United States.
> [HOW can this BE!? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this!? Because
> we've not D E M A N D E D Legislation to come out of Washington
> allowing its extraction, that's why!]
> James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we've got more
> oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East -more than 2
> TRILLION barrels. Untapped. That's more than all the proven oil
> reserves of crude oil
> in the world today, reports The Denver Post.
> ----
> Don't think 'Big Oil' will drop its price - even with this find?
> Think again! It's all about the competitive marketplace, an d if they
> can extract it (here) for less, they can afford to sell it for less -
> and if they DON'T, others will. It will come down - it has to.
> ----
> [Got your attention/ire up yet? Hope so! Now, while you're
> thinking about it ... and hopefully P.O'd, do this:
> 3. Take 5-10 minutes and compose an e-mail; fax or good
> old-fashioned letter to our elected officials in Washington.. and
> their respected leaders. We'll start with them, and here's how you can
> send them your e-mail/fax, DEMANDING the immediate Legislation/an
> Energy PLAN that calls for tapping into these (OUR OWN!) Reserves, as
> well as allowing for the offshore drilling for OUR oil, in OUR
> offshore waters and Inter-continental shelf ... not to mention Alaska.
> Technology ain't what it used to be people (ever had arthroscopic
> surgery?). They can surgically extract OUR oil, and get us on the way
> to at least some measure of Energy independence.
> You don't take a little time to do this, then you should stifle
> yourself the next time you want to complain about gas prices ...
> because by doing NOTHING, you've forfeited your right to complain.

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, June 20 and 21, 2008
Obama raps McCain on flood prevention programs

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer Sat Jun 21, 2:32 PM ET

MIAMI - With communities in the Midwest still under water, Democrat Barack Obama on Saturday criticized Republican John McCain for opposing federal spending on flood prevention programs and opened a new debate in the White House race.

McCain's campaign said Obama was confusing the facts and engaging in typical political attacks that the Democrat rejects in his speeches.

Both candidates have visited the flood zones in the past two weeks, since tornadoes hit and heavy rains sent rivers surging over their banks. At least 24 people were killed, the majority in Iowa.

Obama, an Illinois senator, canceled a visit to eastern Iowa last week at the request of state officials and instead went to fill sandbags in Quincy, Ill. McCain, an Arizona senator, toured flood damage in Iowa Thursday.

"I know that Sen. McCain felt as strongly as I did," Obama said, "feeling enormous sympathy for the victims of the recent flooding. I'm sure they appreciated the sentiment, but they probably would have appreciated it even more if Sen. McCain hadn't opposed legislation to fund levees and flood control programs, which he considers pork."

The bill that McCain opposed spent $23 billion on water projects. It passed Congress overwhelmingly and was vetoed by President Bush because he said it spent too much on lawmaker's pet projects. Congress voted to override the veto, the first time of Bush's presidency.

The bill funded hundreds of projects — such as dams, sewage plants and beach restoration — that are important to local communities and their representatives. It also included money for the hurricane-hit Gulf Coast and for Florida Everglades restoration efforts.

McCain's campaign said Obama opposed an amendment that McCain co-sponsored to prioritize flood control spending. The bipartisan amendment, which failed overwhelmingly on a 69-22 vote, would have made sure "lifesaving levees like those that so tragically failed in Iowa and Missouri are given the highest priority and fixed first," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

"It is beyond the pale that Barack Obama would attack John McCain for actually trying to fix the problem and change the way Washington works," Bounds said. "Barack Obama's willingness to continue the status quo pork-barrel politics in Washington, and then engage in political attacks that entirely disregard the facts, once again fundamentally shows that he's nothing more than a typical politician."

Obama's criticism of McCain came in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He told the city leaders that he would be their partner and appoint the first White House Director of Urban Policy to help them cut through federal bureaucracies. The promise sparked a standing ovation.

He promised money for police, higher-paid teachers, transit, housing and broadband Internet. He said he would create jobs by rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. "That will be the cause of my presidency," he said.

And he announced a new program to offer matching grants that encourage businesses, government and university leaders to collaborate on regional economic clusters, such as the North Carolina Research Triangle Park and Nashville's entertainment cluster. The campaign said the proposal would cost $200 million a year and would be funded by improving government efficiency.

THURSDAY, June 19, 2008

Some more and on-going evidence that the FUNDAMENTALS in this country are now wrong. 

MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, June 16 through 18, 2008

This is worth reading and is an Accurate Account of History!

<>John Glenn (DEMOCRAT) said this ----- It should make us all think a little:
<>There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January. In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January. That's just one American city, about as deadly as the entire war-torn country of Iraq.
<>When some claim that President Bush shouldn't have started this war, tell them the following:
<>FDR (DEMOCRAT) led us into World War II.
<>Germany never attacked us; Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost ...
<>an average of 112,500 per year.
<>Truman (DEMOCRAT) finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. >From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost .. an average of 18,334 per year.
<>John F. Kennedy (DEMOCRAT) started the Vietnam conflict in 1962.
<>Vietnam never attacked us.
<>Johnson (DEMOCRAT) turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
<>>From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost ... an average of 5,800 per year.
<>Clinton (DEMOCRAT) went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.
<>This one is a fact that makes me mad as hell.
<>In the years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran, and, North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.  And the Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking.
<>But Wait, There's more.
<>It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno (DEMOCRAT) to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation
<>We've been looking for evidence for chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton (DEMOCRAT) to find the Rose law firm billing records.
<>It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.
<>It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!
<>Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB! The Military morale is high!
<>The biased media hopes we are too ignorant to realize the facts.
<>But Wait .....There's more!
<>JOHN GLENN (on the Senate floor - January 26, 2004)
<>Some people still don't understand why military personnel
<>do what they do for a living. This exchange between
<>Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum
<>is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive
<>impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one
<>man's explanation of why men and women in the armed
<>services do what they do for a living.
<>This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.
<>Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn):
<>'How can you run for Senate when you've never held a real job?'
<>Senator Glenn (D-Ohio): 'I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line.. It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.'
<>'I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day .. to a veteran's hospital and look those men .. with their mangled bodies ... in the eye, and tell THEM they didn't hold a job!
<>You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and Orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee ... and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DAD'S didn't hold a job.
<>You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you have the gall to tell ME that those people didn't have a job?
<>What about Metzenbaum?'
<>For those who don't remember During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist Party in the USA.
<>Now he's a Senator!
<>If you can read this, thank a teacher.
<>If you are living in the United States of America, thank a Veteran.
<>- Unknown
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, June 14 and 15, 2008

Today we begin with another exchange with my friend and political critic, Jim.

Jim, I agree with the basic premise, and with the fact that this is not good.  If fact, I have come to the conclusion that THE FUNDAMENTALS in this country are in decay and that as a consequence the health of the entire nation is at risk. 
But as a physician, I analogize this to the case of a mentally ill patient.  He or she often has serious physical ailments as well that need attention; and he usually has his own ideas about the diagnoses and the treatments he needs.  But beware simply agreeing with those diagnoses and demanded treatments.  What is needed in such cases is "Veterinary Medicine"...fully objective, fact-based and non-political.  That's going to be a tough job, with a lot of disruption and misery between now and that end.  For, "The inmates have taken over the insane asylum". 
Keep checking out my diagnoses and treatments as offered in the Rapid Response section of my web-site. 
- George

Over the past three decades, market-worshiping politicians and their corporate backers have engineered the most colossal redistribution of wealth in modern world history, a redistribution from the bottom up, from working people to a tiny global elite.
- Jim

TUESDAY through FRIDAY, June 10 through 13, 2008

SUNDAY and MONDAY, June 8 and 9, 2008

This is too good (BAD) to pass up. Senator Shumer, a leader of the Democratic Party, is out of his mind on this subject - for all the reasons stated in the letter, and more. As recently stated by John McCain: electing McCain would in no way be a "third Bush term"; but electing Obama and his gang of ultraliberals would be a Carter second term.  GS

And the Neville Chamberlain Award for 2008 Goes to . . .
The Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2008; Page A10

Sen. Charles Schumer's June 3 commentary "Russia Can Be Part of the Answer on Iran" offers an excellent illustration of why the Democrats are no longer a party that can be safely entrusted with America's foreign policy.

Sen. Schumer offers three reasons for dismantling the antinuclear missile defenses the U.S. is constructing: (1) the weapons are "ineffective"; (2) the primary threat they are intended to defend against -- an Iranian nuclear attack -- is "hypothetical and remote"; and (3) they drive Vladimir Putin to "apoplexy" because they strengthen "the relationship between Eastern Europe and NATO," thereby mocking "Mr. Putin's dream of eventually restoring Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe."

Sen. Schumer offers no evidence of the missile defenses' ineffectiveness, and if they were known to be ineffective, Mr. Putin would hardly care about them. As for the Iranian nuclear threat, by implausibly dismissing it as "remote," he weakens his own case for taking action to prevent it. In fact, of course, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad has publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons when available to destroy Israel. This is "remote"?

Most remarkable is Sen. Schumer's suggestion that in pursuit of Russian cooperation in a boycott of Iran, we should not only assist in the restoration of Russian hegemony over Central Europe, but even "make Russia whole" for the cost of sanctions by paying its government, currently basking in a sea of oil revenues, some "$2 billion to $3 billion a year" -- a figure Sen. Schumer observes is "about what we spend in Iraq each week."

Less than two decades ago the friends of liberty throughout the world celebrated the fall of the Iron Curtain. Is America now to assist in the reversal of that event in a bootless endeavor to secure Russia's "cooperation" on Iran -- when by the senator's account Russia has no independent interest in such cooperation?

Aside from the removal of Iran's nuclear weapons capacity by military means, antimissile defense offers the only hope of staving off Mr. Ahmadenijad's nuclear blackmail. As for Sen. Schumer's dismissal of the cost of bribing the Russians to cooperate by comparing it to the cost of fighting the Iraq war: What ever happened to the honorable slogan worthy of a great nation, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute"?

Russia Can Be Part of the Answer on Iran

June 3, 2008; Page A19

Last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran was installing an additional 6,000 centrifuges at Iran's main nuclear enrichment complex. The Bush administration in turn needs to use every diplomatic tool in its arsenal to halt Tehran's development of nuclear weapons.

While the military option can never be taken off the table, most experts admit it would be unlikely to succeed. Because Iran has dispersed its nuclear facilities and buried some deep underground, an air strike will at best slow down, without preventing, its eventual creation of nuclear weapons. A military occupation might do so, but there are less costly solutions available.

Those solutions begin with understanding the fundamental instability of Iran's theocratic dictatorship. Iran is not a homogenous country. It is home to several major and traditionally competitive ethnic groups – Persians, Azeris, Kurds and Arabs. The predominant Iranian culture is mild and secular, not prone to religious fanaticism. Iranians have a great affinity for Western goods and ideas. Satellite TV is illegal in Iran, but there are an estimated five million satellite dishes in Iranian households. The most popular television station is not Al Jazeera nor even CNN, but MTV.

Most importantly, Iran is considerably younger, more educated and more middle class than its neighbors. More than two-thirds of the population is under 30, and the literacy rate is 79%. Women make up half of all incoming university students. Iran's average income far exceeds its neighbors. The growing middle class treasures economic success above political or religious rights, and they measure the success of the current regime on an economic scale.

This dynamic creates an opportunity. Economic sanctions could cause the Iranian government to negotiate seriously with us, and might, over time, topple the theocracy. In fact, the mildest of economic sanctions – a boycott of Iranian banks by U.S. and European central banks – has already produced an economic slowdown, and unrest among Iranians.

Stronger economic sanctions could produce more effective results. To work, these sanctions would require the cooperation of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The U.S. and Britain have always backed tougher action; Germany and France are also now on board. The Chinese may go along if everyone else will. That leaves Russia and its prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Thus far, it is Russia that has blocked more effective economic sanctions.

There are three reasons. First, Russia has a longstanding, close relationship with Iran and regards itself as Iran's protector. Second, the Russian economy benefits from its relationship with Iran by several billion dollars a year. Third and most important is leverage. Mr. Putin is an old-fashioned nationalist who seeks to regain the power and greatness Russia had before the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia's relationship with Iran is a key point of leverage over the West that he will not relinquish easily.

To bring Putin's Russia on board we must make it an offer it cannot refuse. The offer has three parts.

First, we must treat Russia as an equal partner when it comes to policy in the Caspian Sea region, recognizing Russia's traditional role in the region. Second, we must offer to make Russia whole if it joins in our Iranian boycott and forgoes trade revenues with Iran. That will cost the U.S. roughly $2 billion to $3 billion a year, about what we spend in Iraq each week. Third, we should tell Mr. Putin we will cease building the ineffective antinuclear missile defense sites in Eastern Europe in return for him joining the boycott.

Two years ago, under NATO auspices, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania agreed to build an antimissile defense site to thwart the threat of a nuclear missile attack by Iran. The threat is hypothetical and remote, and the Bush administration's emphasis on pursuing the antimissile system, without Russia's cooperation, still baffles many national security experts.

It also drives Mr. Putin to apoplexy. The antimissile system strengthens the relationship between Eastern Europe and NATO, with real troops and equipment on the ground. It mocks Mr. Putin's dream of eventually restoring Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe.

Dismantling the antimissile site, economic incentives and creation of a diplomatic partnership in the region – in exchange for joining an economic boycott of Iran – is an offer Mr. Putin would find hard to refuse. It is our best hope to avoid a nuclear Iran, because a successful economic boycott would certainly force the Iranian regime to heed Western demands more than anything attempted so far.

Mr. Schumer is a Democratic senator from New York.

SATURDAY, June 7, 2008
Russia blames U.S. for global financial crisis

By Michael Stott Sat Jun 7, 5:44 AM ET

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev blamed "aggressive" United States policies on Saturday for the global financial crisis and said Moscow's growing economic muscle could be part of the solution.

"Failure by the biggest financial firms in the world to adequately take risk into account, coupled with the aggressive financial policies of the biggest economy in the world, have led not only to corporate losses," Medvedev told Russia's main annual event for international investors in St Petersburg.

"Most people on the planet have become poorer."

The Kremlin leader said investment by cash-rich Russian companies abroad, promotion of Moscow as a major financial centre and use of the ruble as a reserve currency were part of the answer.

These could help solve problems created by what he said was a gap between the United States' leading global economic role and "its true capabilities."

The Kremlin leader said economic nationalism had played a big part in triggering the current crisis, which he compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"No matter how big the American market and no matter how strong the American financial system, they are incapable of substituting for global commodity and financial markets," Medvedev told the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The Kremlin leader also attacked big bonuses paid out in the financial world, saying regulators needed to ensure that incentives promoted "rational behavior based on a balanced evaluation of risks and rewards."

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, who spoke shortly after Medvedev, appeared to reject the criticism.

He said the United States had never based its policies on "economic egoism" and believed in free trade.

"Globalization is in the national interest," he added.

Medvedev said Russia, now in the 10th year of an economic boom fuelled by soaring prices for its oil and gas exports, was in an ideal position to help solve the world financial crisis since it did not share the problems of other leading economies.

"Russia is now a global player and understands its role in

supporting the global community," the president added.

"I propose holding a representative international conference involving the heads of the biggest financial companies and leading financial early as this year," the Kremlin chief said. "Such a platform could become a permanent one."

The Kremlin has encouraged Russian companies, which are flush with cash from high commodity and oil prices, to invest more actively abroad but this has caused alarm in Western nations, which are traditionally suspicious of Moscow's intentions.

Medvedev said other countries had nothing to fear from Russian investment in their companies since it was "neither speculative nor aggressive" but purely based on pragmatism.

Sworn in last month as president, the Russian leader said world institutions had been unable so far to cope with the challenges from volatility on world markets, including soaring commodity and food prices.

With its past as a leading global wheat producer, Russia was ready for "constructive joint action" to overcome the food problem, he said.

Moscow could also help with another problem -- a lack of liquid investable assets because of disappointment with the U.S. dollar. Russia would soon adopt a plan to become a global financial centre and make the ruble a regional reserve currency, Medvedev said.

The Russian leader said that recent Kremlin moves to liberalize the domestic gas market and reduce taxes on the oil sector would help stabilize global energy markets. Russia is the world's biggest gas producer and its second-biggest oil exporter.

(Additional reporting by Oleg Shchedrov and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)

MONDAY through FRIDAY, June 2 through 6, 2008


SUNDAY, June 1, 2008


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