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
SATURDAY through FRIDAY, April
24 through 30, 2010
YES, I NOTICED TOO. GS
Your administrations' plan to re-define September 11 as
A National Service Day. Sir, it's time we had a talk.
your campaign, Americans watched as you made mockery of our
Tradition of standing and crossing your heart when the Pledge of
Was spoken. You, out of four people on the stage, were the only one not
Honoring our tradition.
During one of your many speeches, Americans heard you say that you
Intended to visit all 57 states.
all know that Islam, not America has 57 states.
When President Bush leaned over at Ground Zero and gently placed a
Flower on the memorial, while you nonchalantly tossed your flower
The pile without leaning over.
Every time you apologized to other countries for America 's position on
An issue we have wondered why you don't share our pride in this
Country.. When you have heard foreign leaders berate our country
Our beliefs, you have not defended us. In fact, you insulted the
British Crown beyond belief.
When your pastor of 20 years, "God-damned America " and said that
9/11 was " America 's chickens coming home to roost" and you
Having heard recriminations of that nature, we wondered how that
Be. You later disassociated yourself from that church and Pastor
Wright because it was politically expedient to do so.
announced that you would transform America , we wondered
Why. With all her faults, America is the greatest country on
Sir, KEEP THIS IN MIND, "if not for America and the people who
Her, you wouldn't be sitting in the White House now." Prior to
Election to the highest office in this Country, you were a senator from
Illinois and from what we can glean from the records available,
Very remarkable one.
All through your campaign and even now, you have surrounded
Yourself with individuals who are basically unqualified for the
Positions for which you appointed them. Worse than that,
Of them are people who, like you, bear no special allegiance, respect,
Affection for this country and her traditions.
You are 14 months into your term and every morning
Americans wake up to a new horror heaped on us by you. You seek to
Saddle working Americans with a health care/insurance reform
That, along with cap and trade, will bankrupt this nation.
We seek, by
protesting, to let our representatives know that we are not
In favor of these crippling expenditures and we are labeled
"un-American", "racist", "mob". We wonder how we are supposed to
You know how frustrated we are. You have attempted to make our protests
seem isolated and insignificant.
your appointment, Americans had the right
To speak out.
11, 2001 there were no Republicans or Democrats, only
Americans. And we all grieved together and helped each other in
Whatever way we could. The attack on 9/11 was carried out because we
YES, "We noticed."
There were many of us who prayed that as a black president you could
Help unite this nation. In six months you have done more to
This nation than the attack on 9/11. You have failed us.
is a day of remembrance for all Americans. You
Propose to make 9/11 a "National Service Day". While we know that
Don't share our reverence for 9/11, we pray that history will
Your proposal as what it is, a disgrace.
You have made a mockery of our Constitution and the office that
You hold. You have embarrassed and slighted us in foreign
YES, "We noticed."
We have noticed all these
things. We will deal with you. When Americans
come together again, it
will be to remove you from office.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, April 22 and
SURPRISE. SURPRISE. Meanwhile, please pardon me while I prepare
to take care of my next 35 million new patients. GS
says health care will cover more, cost more
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR,
Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press
Writer – Fri Apr 23, 5:58 am ET
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law is
getting a mixed verdict in the first comprehensive look by neutral
experts: More Americans will be covered, but costs are also going up.
Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department concluded
in a report issued Thursday that the health care remake will achieve
Obama's aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million to the
But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's
twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by
about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since
Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the
It's a worrisome assessment for Democrats.
In particular, concerns about Medicare could become a major political
liability in the midterm elections. The report projected that Medicare
cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional
providers into the red, "possibly jeopardizing access" to care for
The report from Medicare's Office of the Actuary carried a disclaimer
saying it does not represent the official position of the Obama
administration. White House officials have repeatedly complained that
such analyses have been too pessimistic and lowball the law's potential
to achieve savings.
The report acknowledged that some of the cost-control measures in the
bill — Medicare cuts, a tax on high-cost insurance and a commission to
seek ongoing Medicare savings — could help reduce the rate of cost
increases beyond 2020. But it held out little hope for progress in the
"During 2010-2019, however, these effects would be outweighed by the
increased costs associated with the expansions of health insurance
coverage," wrote Richard S. Foster, Medicare's chief actuary. "Also,
the longer-term viability of the Medicare ... reductions is doubtful."
Foster's office is responsible for long-range costs estimates.
Republicans said the findings validate their concerns about Obama's
10-year, nearly $1 trillion plan to remake the nation's health care
"A trillion dollars gets spent, and it's no surprise — health care
costs are going to go up," said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., a leading
Republican on health care issues. Camp added that he's concerned the
Medicare cuts will undermine care for seniors.
In a statement, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to highlight
some positive findings for seniors. For example, the report concluded
that Medicare monthly premiums would be lower than otherwise expected,
due to the spending reductions.
"The Affordable Care Act will improve the health care system for all
Americans, and we will continue our work to quickly and carefully
implement the new law," the statement said.
Passed by a divided Congress after a year of bitter partisan debate,
the law would create new health insurance markets for individuals and
small businesses. Starting in 2014, most Americans would be required to
carry health insurance except in cases of financial hardship. Tax
credits would help many middle-class households pay their premiums,
while Medicaid would pick up more low-income people. Insurers would be
required to accept all applicants, regardless of their health.
The U.S. spends $2.5 trillion a year on health care, far more per
person than any other developed nation, and for results that aren't
clearly better when compared to more frugal countries. At the outset of
the health care debate last year, Obama held out the hope that by
bending the cost curve down, the U.S. could cover all its citizens for
about what the nation would spend absent any changes.
The report found that the president's law missed the mark, although not
by much. The overhaul will increase national health care spending by
$311 billion from 2010-2019, or nine-tenths of 1 percent. To put that
in perspective, total health care spending during the decade is
estimated to surpass $35 trillion.
Administration officials argue the increase is a bargain price for
guaranteeing coverage to 95 percent of Americans. They also point out
that the law will decrease the federal deficit by $143 billion over the
The report's most sober assessments concerned Medicare.
In addition to flagging provider cuts as potentially unsustainable, the
report projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare
Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular alternative.
Enrollment would plummet by about 50 percent. Seniors leaving the
private plans would still have health insurance under traditional
Medicare, but many might face higher out-of-pocket costs.
In another flashing yellow light, the report warned that a new
voluntary long-term care insurance program created under the law faces
"a very serious risk" of insolvency.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, April 19
through 21, 2010
HAVE YOU HEARD THIS PIECE OF ADVICE
Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for
the Orlando Sentinal has hit the nail directly on the head, defining
clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility
for the judgments’ made that impact each one of us every day.
It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth
545 vs. 300,000,000
EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS JOURNALIST
HAS SCRIPTED IN THIS MESSAGE. READ IT AND THEN REALLY THINK
ABOUT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL DEBACLE..
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and
then campaign against them...
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are
against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation
and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget.. The president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on
appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme
Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are
directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the
domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that
problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress
delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a
federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound
reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability
to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one
I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in
cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.
No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's
responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common
con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
amount of gall. No normal human being would have the
gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for
creating deficits. The president can only propose a
budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and
approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of
the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority
party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can
approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they
can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot
replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of
incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single
domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545
people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people
exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that
what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the
If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want
them in IRAQ .
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement
plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they
hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and
advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to
regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do
not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied
mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics"
that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
SUNDAY, April 18, 2010
Now that's more like it. Is the tiny
island of Malta leading the way? GS
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Benedict XVI Meets With Group of Abuse Victims
Says Church Is Working to Investigate, Bring Justice
VALLETTA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI met today
with a small group of persons who were sexually abused by the clergy,
reports the Vatican press office.
A statement released after the meeting confirmed that the meeting took
place at the Apostolic Nunciature in Malta, and that the Pope was
"deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over
what victims and their families have suffered."
"He prayed with them and assured them that the Church is doing, and
will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to
bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective
measures designed to safeguard young people in the future," the
The Vatican reported that "in the spirit of his recent Letter to the
Catholics of Ireland, [the Pontiff] prayed that all the victims of
abuse would experience healing and reconciliation, enabling them to
move forward with renewed hope."
On Tuesday, Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta met with a group of men
sexually abused by religious in the 1980s.
Archbishop Cremona praised the victims for going public with their
cases, affirming that justice needs to be done, the Times of Malta
reported. He also decried certain sectors of the international media
aiming to "form" the people against the Church, rather than "informing"
them of the facts.
The Archdiocese of Malta noted on its Web site that since 1999, there
has been a Response Team in Malta to deal with allegations of sexual
abuse within the Church. Some 45 cases have been brought to light that
took place as far back as the 1970s.
Of these cases, 13 are still under investigation, 19 were found to have
no basis for such allegations, and some 13 priests were found guilty of
Of the 13 priests found guilty by the Response Team, four of the cases
were sent to the Holy See and the priests were found guilty. "Sentences
varied from being defrocked to restrictions placed upon his
pastoral activity, in such a way that the priest involved would not be
permitted to work with minors and be subject to supervision," the
Three others were also sent to the Vatican and the priests are
currently waiting to testify before the Tribunal of the Holy See, and
four other cases have only just been concluded and have not yet been
sent to the Vatican.
The remaining two priests found guilty have since died.
"The Church treats these cases extremely seriously," the archdiocese
asserted. "In spite of the fact that both Civil Law and Canon Law have
a period of prescription over criminal cases, the Church Tribunal
waivers this prescription in cases of abuse on minors and the cases
continue to be processed no matter how old they are.
"In every case, the persons involved, on presenting their allegations
are immediately informed that, in spite of the fact that they made the
allegation before the Church authorities, they still retain the right
to report their case to the civil authorities."
"For the Church, every case is one too many," the statement concluded.
"In this respect, we insistently repeat what the episcopal conference
stated in its statement dated April 8, 2010, 'Christians are obliged to
cooperate with the Church, rather than disguising facts or remaining
silent, in order that this wound may be healed once and for all.'"
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, April 16 and
This man is right, but I go one step further: vote all incumbents out
of office in November. Send an unmistakable
name is d'Lynn. I'm a disabled Vietnam vet. I don't look
too bad for a beat-up old fart, do I? And that's my ride.
She's looking pretty good looking also, especially when you
consider that she'll turn twenty this summer. That's right, it's
a 1990 with a 1990 sidecar. I can't ride a solo bike, ergo the
sidecar rig. It's my sole means of transportation - rain or
shine, snow or wind, and this summer also marks a milestone in both of
our lives, as I will finally be able to pay her off. Twenty years
old? What? Why did it take so long? You weren't
paying attention, were you? It's right at the beginning of this
paragraph. I am a disabled vet, which means I receive a veterans
administration disability pension,
which also means "I'm broke!" Just one step ahead of being
homeless every month, and that's not an idle statement or an"Oh,
whoa is me" dire complaint. There’s a point to this, so
hang in there a minute or two and read on.
There's a 25-year-old illegal immigrant woman living in Florida , with eight kids. Yes,
eight "anchor babies" and she receives just shy of $1,500 per month per
kid, plus medical, plus food stamps.
Oh, wait. I've been informed that I shouldn't call them
Food Stamps anymore. That's not PC. It's all called “Social
Assistance” now. You do the math on that yourself. I'd say
that she was schooled early in how to make it in the system.
Twenty-five years old, eight kids . . . . . yep, she started
can whip out the calculator if you want, but this women who never has
paid a dime in taxes of any kind, (and still doesn't – she's 'illegal,'
remember?) is here in this country illegally. She hasn’t paid one
cent in medical for all the “anchor babies,” makes more in one month,
legally, than I receive in over a year and a half in disability
payments and I can't even get food stamps! Oops, I mean “Social
I am eligible for “Social Assistance.” I was told it would be a
walk through – a gimme – being disabled. No problem, and in the
very next breath I was also informed that under the law the amount I
received in “Social Assistance” would be deducted from my disability
say I take a great photograph. It was just luck, a one of a kind
accidental, in the right place at the right time shot. My local
newspaper offers me fifty bucks to use the photo in a featured story.
(I live in a small town and fifty bucks is all they could
afford.) I have to report that fifty dollars to the VA as earned
income, which will immediately be deducted from my next month’s
disability check. If I don't report it I’m in violation of
federal law and technically they can stop my disability pension and prosecute me under
a federal felony. Pretty cool, eh? For fifty bucks.
see no point in dealing with two federal
bureaucracies, so I don't bother. What's the point?
here illegally and with just one kid would make over
twice what I receive per month. She has eight and
she’s not a stand-out case. She’s not alone. That's the way
the system works. Millions of illegal immigrants know this, know
how the system works and know how to use it. (Haven't you seen
the pamphlet? It's handed out all along our borders, "The Illegal
Immigrants' Guide to Keeping America Just The
Way It Is.") and that's just the way it works.
you know that the federal government provides a “refugee” in this
country with a monthly “stipend” of $1,890, plus $580 a month in
“Social Assistance?” That’s $2,470 a month, tax-free. That's two
and a half times what I’m allowed to receive as a disabled vet.
And just what did they do to earn this? All you have to do is
show up on our collective doorstep, raise your right hand and swear
that you're a refugee and, bingo, receive $30,000 a year, tax-free.
That's more than someone making $15 an hour, and they have to pay
taxes to boot!
Now, in defense of the Veterans Administration, they are doing what
they can with what they've got. This is precious little compared
to what they should have to get the job done. At least this
country has a VA. It's the Senate that keeps
passing laws, rules and guidelines, cutting their budget, denying
requests for more staff and computer systems to handle the massive work
flow. Their hands are tied by the very government that's supposed
to give them what they need to get the job done, by the government you
voted into office. Don't scream at the VA. I have.
It's misguided anger.
The point to this “story?” Just why are you paying such high
taxes to support this incredibly screwed-up government?
Why? And I’m not proposing you stop paying your taxes.
That's wrong. There are good programs and reasons to pay
your taxes and support our government. What am I proposing?
It's quite simple. Vote.
government, our government, is broken and we as the
voters serve as the maintenance crew. We fix it . . . . . by
your state Senator has been in office more than two terms, vote 'em out
at the next election. If your state representative has been in
office more than two terms, vote 'em out of office. We put term limits on just about every
publicly-elected official in the country except the House and Senate.
Why? Believe me, they know this and love it! Ahhh
- the power!
don't care how much you believe your Senator or Representative is doing
a good job. They're not! Look at the government you have,
that we have. How can you state they are
doing what you want as the voter that put them
them out of office. Do it.
the course of this country's history by what you are granted and
guaranteed under the law. Vote! And if you have the guts,
the anger, the outrage, start a petition in your state
for a state-wide initiative to be placed on your next
state ballot. Limiting the terms of
office for your state senators and state
representatives to your federal government to two
federal government will never pass such a law, but you can. You
can get it done. You can force it. You can make it a law.
This is the first step in “getting it right.” Just vote.
It's simple. It's easy, dammit!
first step will send a very clear message. It’ll work. It’ll put
“us” back in control of “them.” As it should be. As it was
intended in the first place.
Are you an American? Born and raised? Then vote!
Side note: I sent this e-mail to a little over one hundred on my
e-mail list. If you believe I’m wrong or misguided or you simply
don't agree, that's fine. Go right ahead a delete this e-mail.
No problem. Sorry to have bothered you. But if you
think I just might have a worthwhile idea, something we can easily
accomplish, something that could be a small part at getting this
country back under “our” control, then please pass this along.
SATURDAY through THURSDAY, April 3
through 15, 2010
TO THIS, I CAN ADD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. GS
Obama has awakened a sleeping nation
Barack Obama is the
best thing that has happened to America in the last 100 years. Truly,
he is the savior of America's future. He is the best thing ever.
Despite the fact that he has some of the lowest approval ratings among
recent presidents, history will see Barack Obama as the source of
America's resurrection. Barack Obama has plunged the country into
levels of debt that we could not have previously imagined; his efforts
to nationalize health care have been met with fierce resistance
nationwide; TARP bailouts and stimulus spending have shown little
positive effect on the national economy; unemployment is unacceptably
high and looks to remain that way for most of a decade; legacy
entitlement programs have ballooned to unsustainable levels, and there
is a seething anger in the populace.
That's why Barack Obama is such a good thing for America.
Obama is the symbol of a creeping liberalism that has infected our
society like a cancer for the last 100 years. Just as Hitler is the
face of fascism, Obama will go down in history as the face of unchecked
liberalism. The cancer metastasized to the point where it could no
longer be ignored.
Average Americans who have quietly gone about their lives, earning a
paycheck, contributing to their favorite charities, going to high
school football games on Friday night, spending their weekends at the
beach or on hunting trips ï¿½ they've gotten off the
fence. They've woken up. There is a level of political activism in this
country that we haven't seen since the American Revolution, and Barack
Obama has been the catalyst that has sparked a restructuring of the
American political and social consciousness.
Think of the crap we've slowly learned to tolerate over the past 50
years as liberalism sought to re-structure the America that was the
symbol of freedom and liberty to all the people of the world.
Immigration laws were ignored on the basis of compassion. Welfare
policies encouraged irresponsibility, the fracturing of families, and a
cycle of generations of dependency. Debt was regarded as a tonic to
lubricate the economy. Our children left school having been taught that
they are exceptional and special, while great numbers of them cannot
perform basic functions of mathematics and literacy. Legislators
decided that people could not be trusted to defend their own homes, and
stripped citizens of their rights to own firearms. Productive members
of society have been penalized with a heavy burden of taxes in order to
support legions of do-nothings who loll around, reveling in their
addictions, obesity, indolence, ignorance and
have been arrested and re-arrested, coddled and set free to pillage the
citizenry yet again. Lawyers routinely extort fortunes from doctors,
contractors and business people with dubious torts.
We slowly learned to tolerate these outrages, shaking our heads in
disbelief, and we went on with our lives.
But Barack Obama has ripped the lid off a seething cauldron of
dissatisfaction and unrest.
In the time of Barack Obama, Black Panther members stand outside
polling places in black commando uniforms, slapping truncheons into
their palms. ACORN is a taxpayer-supported organization and is given a
role in taking the census, even after its members were caught on tape
offering advice to set up child prostitution rings. A former Communist
is given a paid government position in the White House as an advisor to
the president. Auto companies are taken over by the government, and the
auto workers' union whose contracts are completely insupportable in any
economic sense is rewarded with a stake in the company. Government
bails out Wall Street investment bankers and insurance companies, who
pay their executives outrageous bonuses as thanks for the public
support. Terrorists are read their Miranda rights and given free
lawyers. And, despite overwhelming public disapproval, Barack Obama has
pushed forward with a health care plan that would re-structure
one-sixth of the American economy.
I don't know about you, but the other day I was at the courthouse doing
some business, and I stepped into the court clerk's office and changed
my voter affiliation from Independent to Republican. I am under no
illusion that the Republican party is perfect, but at least they're
starting to awaken to the fact that we cannot sustain massive levels of
debt; we cannot afford to hand out billions of dollars in corporate
subsidies; we have to somehow trim our massive entitlement programs; we
can no longer be the world's policeman and dole out billions in aid to
countries whose citizens seek to harm us.
Literally millions of Americans have had enough. They're organizing,
they're studying the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, they're
reading history and case law, they're showing up at rallies and
meetings, and a slew of conservative candidates are throwing their hats
into the ring. Is there a revolution brewing? Yes, in the sense that
there is a keen awareness that our priorities and sensibilities must be
radically re-structured. Will it be a violent revolution? No. It will
be done through the interpretation of the original document that has
guided us for 220 years the Constitution. Just as the pendulum swung to
embrace political correctness and liberalism, there will be a backlash,
a complete repudiation of a hundred years of nonsense. A hundred years
from now, history will perceive the year 2010 as the time when America
got back on the right track. And for that, we can thank Barack Hussein
Gary Hubbell is a
hunter, rancher, and former hunting and fly-fishing guide. Gary works
as a Colorado ranch real estate broker. He can be reached through his
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, April 1 and 2, 2010
My response to this sermon was not rapid enough; but I defer to the
commentators in the following report for stating my opinion at least as
well as I was about to. The faux-outraged reactions of officials
in the Catholic hierarchy to legitimate public inquiry reveal clearly
the continued wrong-headed mindset during recent decades that has
converted the Clergy child abuse tragedy into a complete disaster for
the Catholic Church. As I stated earlier in this section, there can be
no substitute for a direct statement from the Pope himself regarding
whether the actions taken under his jurisdiction while serving as
Archbishop of Munich were a failure of his personal oversight, or a
failure of his judgment. Either way, he failed then. He should
not fail now. GS
hailed as 'unfailing' leader at Easter Mass
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, March 29
through 31, 2010
VATICAN CITY – A senior cardinal
staunchly defended Pope Benedict XVI from
"petty gossip" on Sunday as the pontiff maintained his silence on
mounting sex abuse cover-up accusations during his Easter message.
The ringing tribute by Cardinal Angelo Sodano,
dean of the College of
Cardinals, at the start of Mass attended by tens of thousands of
faithful in St. Peter's Square,
marked an unusual departure from the Vatican's Easter rituals.
Sodano's defense of the pope's
"unfailing" leadership and courage, as well as of the work of priests
worldwide with children entrusted to their care, built on a vigorous Vatican campaign to
defend Benedict's moral authority.
The pontiff and other church leaders have
been assailed by accusations from victims of clergy sexual abuse that
he helped shape and perpetuate a climate of cover-up toward the crimes against children
in parishes, schools, orphanages and other church-run institutions.
Dressed in gold robes and shielded from a
cool drizzle by a canopy, Benedict looked weary as he listened to
Sodano's speech at the start of Mass in the cobblestone square bedecked
with daffodils, tulips and azaleas.
In early evening, the pope, who turns 83
later this month, was to fly by helicopter to the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, a
lakeside retreat in the Alban
Hills southeast of Rome, where he will greet pilgrims from the
palace courtyard balcony on Monday.
Easter Sunday Mass was the highlight of a
heavy schedule of public appearances by the pope before the thousands
of faithful who have poured into Rome for Holy Week services.
"With this spirit today we rally close
around you, successor to (St.) Peter, bishop of Rome, the unfailing
rock of the holy church," Sodano said. "Holy Father, on your side are the people
of God, who do not allow themselves to be influenced by the petty
gossip of the moment, by the trials which sometimes buffet the
community of believers."
At the end of the two-hour long ceremony,
Benedict delivered the papacy's traditional Easter "Urbi et Orbi" message
— Latin for "to the city and to the world" — which analyzes humanity's
failings and hopes.
Benedict singled out the "trials and
sufferings" of Christians in Iraq and
that these believers have risked persecution and death for their faith.
He urged hope for the people of Haiti and Chile, devastated by earthquakes. He said
"signal the victory of peaceful coexistence and respect" in
crime-ravaged areas of Latin American countries plagued by drug trafficking and
said he would pray for peace in the Middle East.
But, despite repeated appeals by victims
of clerical sexual abuse that he take responsibility for his role in
the handling of pedophile priests, he stayed silent on that issue. The
victims contend there were decades of systematic cover-up by bishops in
many countries, including the United States, Ireland and Benedict's
They want him to demand the resignations
of bishops complicit in any conspiracy to shield pedophile priests by
shuffling them from parish to parish instead of kicking them out of the
The accusations against the pope stem
from his leadership as archbishop of Munich before he came to the Vatican three decades
ago, as well as his long tenure in Rome leading the Holy See's office
dealing with a growing pile of dossiers about pedophile priests.
Sunday's edition of the Vatican newspaper
denounced the accusations against the pope as a "vile defamation
Benedict hasn't made any explicit
reference to the sex abuse scandals since he released a letter to the
Irish faithful concerning the abuse crisis in that country on March 20.
Sodano defended the church's priests as
well as the pontiff.
"Especially with you in these days are
those 400,000 priests who generously serve the people of God, in
parishes, recreation centers, schools, hospitals and many other places,
as well as in the missions in the most remote parts of the world," the
In rushing to Benedict's defense, the
Vatican has angered abuse victims and their advocates. Jewish leaders
also fumed after the papal preacher in a Good Friday sermon told the pope that the
accusations against him were akin to the campaign of anti-Semitic
violence that culminated in the Holocaust.
The preacher, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa,
told Corriere della Sera daily in an interview Sunday that he had no
intention "of hurting the sensibilities of the Jews and of the victims
"I have sincerely regretted and I ask
forgiveness, reaffirming my solidarity with both" lobbies, he was
quoted as saying.
Some more headaches for Republicans from their "Conservative
Base". Conservatives by themselves cannot win elections for
Republicans; they can only lose them. There is only one issue on
which they must be...and can get away with being...totally of one mind
and position: anti-abortion. On all others, they must develop
more nuanced thinking and positions: Immigration; Health Care Reform;
taxation; total free enterprise in Business vs some necessary
government regulation (in the obvious absence of self-regulation);
necessary State and Federal roles in governance...all of this in a
pluralistic society that values freedom as well as a functioning
society and that fortunately remains middle-of-the-road in its
This is our mission as Republicans - if we choose to accept it. GS
hopes repeal-the-bill fire won't burn them
WASHINGTON – Top Republicans are starting
to worry about their health care rallying cry "Repeal the bill." It
just might singe GOP candidates in November's elections, they fear, if
voters begin to see benefits from the new law.
Democrats, hoping the GOP is indeed
positioning itself too far to the right for the elections, are taking
note of every Republican who pledges to fight for repeal. Such a pledge
might work well in conservative-dominated Republican primaries, they
say, but it could backfire in the fall when more moderate voters turn
At least one Republican Senate candidate,
Mark Kirk of
Illinois, has eased back from his earlier, adamant repeal-the-law
stance. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which fiercely opposed President Barack Obama's
health legislation, now
urges opponents to pursue a "more effective approach" of trying to
"minimize its harmful impacts."
For Republicans, urging a full repeal of
the law will energize conservative activists whose turnout is crucial
this year. But it also carries risks, say strategists in both parties.
Repeal is politically and legally
unlikely, and some grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a
"It's just not going to happen," Sen. Bob Corker,
R-Tenn., said of repeal in a speech Wednesday. "It's a great political
issue," he said, but opponents will never muster the 67 votes needed in
the 100-member Senate.
Over the next few months, Democrats say,
Americans will learn of the new law's benefits, and anger over its
messy legislative pedigree may fade.
Republican leaders are moving cautiously,
wary of angering their hard-right base. In recent public comments, they
have quietly played down the notion of repealing the law while
emphasizing claims that it will hurt jobs, the economy and the deficit.
Sen. John Cornyn of
Texas, who chairs the committee responsible for electing GOP senators
this fall, said in an interview, "The focus really should be on the
misplaced priorities of the administration" and Congress' Democratic
Asked if he advises Republican Senate
candidates to call for repealing the law, Cornyn said: "Candidates are
going to test the winds in their own states. ... In some places, the health care bill is
more popular than others."
Three weeks ago, Cornyn told reporters he
thought GOP Senate candidates would and should run on a platform of
repealing the legislation.
Cornyn and others increasingly are
focused on several corporations' claims that a provision of the new law
that cancels a tax benefit will hurt profits and hiring. This approach
places a greater premium on pivoting to the economy instead of dwelling
on the legalistic process of trying to repeal the complex law.
"The health care debate provides a natural
segue into talking about the economy and jobs," said Nicklaus Simpson,
spokesman for the Senate Republican Conference, a policy group.
Obama said last week he would relish a
Republican bid to repeal the new law.
"My attitude is, go for it," Obama said
in Iowa on Friday. "If
these congressmen in Washington want to come here in Iowa and tell
small-business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and
essentially raise their taxes, be my guest."
Sen. Robert Menendez of
New Jersey, who
chairs the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee, said his team began pressing
Republican candidates months ago to state whether they support repeal
of the health care
legislation. Most of them have, and Democrats plan to use it
against them this fall.
"You never want to wage a campaign
telling voters you want to take something away from them," Menendez
In Illinois, where there's a spirited
battle to fill the Senate seat Obama once held, Kirk recently said he
would "lead the effort" to repeal the measure. But on Tuesday, when
asked repeatedly by reporters whether he still wants it repealed, Kirk
would say only that he opposes the new taxes and Medicare cuts
associated with the law.
In Delaware, Rep. Mike Castle is one of
the few top Republican Senate candidates who has declined to pledge to
fight for the health law's repeal. Christine O'Donnell has made it
central to her underdog bid to deny him the GOP nomination.
"We must repeal this health bill horror,"
she said in a statement, assailing Castle's "cynical refusal to fight"
for that cause.
The conservative Club for Growth is on her
side. It launched a "Repeal It" campaign in January, and is urging
supporters to back only those candidates who make the pledge.
Menendez said candidates seeking the GOP
nominations in many states "are facing tremendous pressure from the tea
party, from the party base" to embrace a position that could hurt them
when more independent and moderate voters turn out in the general
He said Democrats will ask these GOP
opponents why they want to restore insurance companies' ability to deny
coverage to people with medical problems and to young adults who
otherwise can stay on their parents' health plans until age 26.
Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican
Senatorial Committee, doesn't think Menendez's plan will work.
"If Democrats genuinely believe this is a
winning political issue for them in November," Walsh said, "it's
obvious they haven't learned a thing from their losses in New Jersey,
Virginia and Massachusetts."
Those losses — in two governors' races
and a special Senate race — occurred before the health bill became law,
and Democrats predict a dramatically different landscape by November.
Unsavory dealmaking and arm-twisting, which Democratic congressional
leaders used to pass the measure without a single GOP vote, will soon
be forgotten, these strategists say.
The GOP candidates who have embraced
repeal-the-bill pledges all over the country are counting on them to be
Associated Press writer Erik Schelzig in
Nashville contributed to this report.
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