George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London,
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.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29
and 30, 2003
A variety of subjects today:
What happened to judicial restraint, to the constitutional "separation
of powers" among three co-equal branches of government, and to the Judiciary
declining to decide a "political question"? Ever since the Warren
Court and the imaginings of the Roe v Wade decision, liberals have pressed
for "activist" courts to achieve their goals otherwise unachieveable through
the democratic process. The latest example is the bare majority decision
of the Massachusetts Supreme Court to command the legalization of "gay
marriages". Without getting to the merits of the issue, what arrogance!
If this country is ever in danger of totalitarianism, it will be from the
Left. (See also "Avoiding Democracy", by John Leo, U.S.News
& World Report, December 1, 2003, On Society, p34).
Finally we are starting to hear about some serious discussion regarding
institution of a fair Selective Service draft. With few exceptions,
it should include all 18 year olds, male and female, for a two year stint
if they can pass an entrance exam including the three R's (I kid you
not), and for a three year duration if they can't...the first year
to be devoted to remedial education before traditional military service.
Now there would be a win-win-win result.
One of the great challenges of the next decade, in addition to bringing
terrorism to heel, will be reconciling future U.S. foreign policy with
the formation of a viable and assertive European Union on the one
hand, and with the ineffective United Nations on the other.
This will take more than the usual definition of a "statesman": a person
held upright by equally opposing forces".
You have to hear this one, in the category of "de ja vu all over again",
following passage of the recent Medicare bill: now baby boomers
are burning their AARP cards and are going to Canada for their drugs.
(See also "Can The State Afford 'Greatest Generation?" by Chris
Powell, The Day, Sunday, November 30, 2003, Perspective, pC1).
And then there are some Iraqis in Baghdad who are faulting President
Bush for not having visited them also. Why...so that one of them
could ambush and assassinate him? How do you say "idiot" in Arabic?
The Iraqi people must learn that they are going to have to earn their
freedom for themselves - by destroying or revealing the terrorists
in their midst. Otherwise, the prognosis is still in doubt, despite
our best efforts in their behalf.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27
and 28, 2003
Happy Thanksgiving. On our travels to be with family, we
were reminded first-hand about all the other Americans doing the same thing...including
President. Atta Boy! You don't lead by crying "charge",
but by calling "follow me". President George W. Bush is doing that.
a heart-felt thanks to all our men and women in arms.
Meanwhile, traveling - and waiting - and traveling provides ample opportunity
Today's edition of the WSJ is particularly useful on timely topics
Regarding the U.S. new brand of "globalization - lite": "The
Miami Fizzle - What Else But Cancun Redux?", by Brink Lindsey;
Regarding the meaning of Marriage: "One Man And One Woman",
by Robert P. George;
Regarding the current conduct of the war in Iraq: "Rumsfield
In Denial", by Barry R. McCaffrey;
Regarding the spectacle called the "Democratic presidential nomination",
Democrats!' Beloved Series Nears End of Run", by Daniel Henninger.
Talk about turkeys....
Also, in U.S.News & World Report, December 1, 2003, p72: Regarding
the ultimate hand-off to the Iraqi people: "Slowly but Surely In
Iraq", by Mortimer B. Zuckerman.
SUNDAY through WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER
23 through 26, 2003
The Medicare Bill has passed both houses of Congress.
In the process, we have witnessed quite a show. Demagoguery, thy
name is Democrats. The gang used every bogus argument in
the book, except the race card, to defeat the bill. Or did I miss
Meanwhile, the snake oil show called the Democratic Presidential
Candidates Debates continue to provide great fodder for next year's compaign.
Even Wesley Clark is hitting his stride in hyperbole and distortion.
The troublesome part of all this is that we have our troops engaged in
the battlefield while this is going on. In addition, we had better
learn how to fight and win the current unconventional, guerrilla war
that we are now in. We would not like to have to learn those lessons
on our own homeland - a definite possibility if we cut and run, as the
Democrats are urging. Furthermore, the Iraqi people are going
to have to do more and risk more than they have done so far for their own
freedom. They must deserve what we are trying to give
them, at their own personal risk and even at risk of civil unrest.
It is nothing less than what Americans had to do in 1776-1781 and
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2003
John F. Kennedy. A pivotal Presidency, both for the benefit
and to the detriment of our country. A week of following the old
and new evidence presented on the History Channel reinforces my earlier
comment on the subject in this section (November
16-19, 2003). And the cover-up goes on. Rest
in Peace, Mr. President.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2003
Very often I use the words "Americans" and "America".
We all know about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", "equal
protection under the law", the "melting pot".... We know that
we have been seared in the fires of many wars, the worst of which for the
national psyche having been the Civil War and Viet Nam. We know that
the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Nixon affair produced
much more cynicism than patriotism, especially in the younger generations
that do not have the benefit of having experienced the just wars that showed
our better natures.
But what is going on here? Is ours a "melting pot" or a melting
blob, an amorphous mass of irresponsible base desires and instincts,
acted out at will with impunity and with no true compass - no "Rule of
Law"? And if there is a rule of law, is it the feel-good law of positivism,
a situational Law like the "Recht Ist Recht" Law of Nazi Germany that "legitimized"
all manner of immorality and atrocity? Do we hold any "truths
to be self-evident...."? Or do we merely "tolerate" the
killing of unborn babies in the tens of millions, piled-on obscenity throughout
our national media, the repudiation of "one nation, under God"...anyone's
God, the threat of dissolution of Marriage, the corner-stone of our
society and the guarantor or our children's lives and rights....?
And if, as we learned today in a breathless news flash, Cameron Diaz's
bare breasts are worth 5 million dollars, is that for the pair, or is it
2 1/2 million for each??? Is anybody there? Does anybody
care? Somebody had better care, and express that
care in the shopping mall and in the election booth...or else we will have
entered the decline and fall of the American Empire.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2003
Can anyone honestly have further doubt? World terrorism
will be the world war of the 21st century, if we do not destroy it now.
And by "we" I mean the entire civilized world: Christian, Muslim, Hindu,
Buddhist, Jewish.... Turkey is the newest battlefield, as Jews, Turks
and Britons were targeted in recent days in Istanbul while cooperative
Iraqiis and all Americans are bombed in Iraq. What are the lessons
to be learned here?
Fortunately, America has in President George W. Bush the right leader at
the right time.
Pre-emptive self-defense is America's only sane course.
We must stay the course and up the ante, with more troops and more
aggressive actions against insurgents and any supporters. We must
establish security in all of Iraq...something which we have not yet accomplished.
We must resolve the Israel / Palestine issue by whatever persuasion
is necessary, and promptly.
We must remind the pacifist idiots in Britain, the hypocritical French,
the overly cautious Germans, and the paralyzed United Nations community
the events during the 1930's that produced World War II precisely
because of similar appeasement: the building of the Japanese fleet and
of the Wehrmacht illegally; the march of Nazi Germany into Alsace-Lorraine;
the suppression of German Jews; the annexation of Austria; the march into
Czechoslovakia...all without objection until September 1, 1939 and December
7, 1941. America has a right to expect unified action against
this world terror structure, in the world's own self-interest.
The cynical liberal Democrats who are trying to turn our current
difficulties in Afganistan and in Iraq to their political advantage will
reap the whirlwind.
through WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16 through 19, 2003
Now we have more explanations for the cognitive strengths and also for
the "cool" demeanor of Italians...besides the facts that they are
descended from ancient Rome and that they initiated the Renaissance: "Gesturing
As You Talk Can Help You Take A Load Off Your Mind", by Sharon Begley,
WSJ, Friday, November 14, 2003, Marketplace, p. B1. Just one problem:
not once in the article does she make mention of the acknowledged experts
in that art. Or is that more political correctness run amok?
One example: Italian cars actually have two pairs of windshield wipers:
outer ones to clear the rain; and inner ones to signal all others out of
More on Israel and Palestine. Thomas L. Friedman once again has
it right: "Wanted:Fanatical Moderates", the New York Times, Sunday,
November 16, 2003, Op-Ed, pWk 13. Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon continues
to reject the U.S. advice regarding Israel's more current provocations
on the West Bank. And Americans and others continue to die in Iraq.
There's a connection here that will continue until the Israel - Palestine
issue is resolved fairly. Enough for the advice! What
we need now is some economic and political coercion applied to both
sides and to their supporters. That too is an integral part of our
war on world terrorism and of our justified national self-defense.
On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy,
the History Channel aired this week an troubling and convincing documentary
that makes a strong case for the proposition that the murder was a conspiracy
among as yet unnamed individuals, and that subsequently there was a massive
that could only have been carried off by the highest levels of our own
government. Based upon new evidence and witnesses identified
within the last few years, the entire case should once again be investigated
- in the interests of Justice, and so that we may avoid another "coup
d'etat" in the future.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2003
The syndicated columnist Cal Thomas made an important point in his recent
article entitled "What Freedom Means In The Middle East"
(The Day, Thursday, November 13, 2003, Commentary, pA9). He asserts
that the 'massive and difficult undertaking' described recently by President
Bush "...will be made even more difficult if Westerners think that Islamic
nations want what we have". However, he seems to attribute to
the vast majority of Muslems the wishes and plans for themselves cooked
up in recent decades by the Wahhabi, the despots and the terrorists, with
no representation at all for "the wives of many of them and the mothers
of them all". First of all, that is no way to live, under any
religion. Secondly, the great Arab world that straddled much of the
earth between about 700 AD and 1500 AD did not wither because of the Ottoman
loss at the battle of Lepanto (1571). All educated Muslems
know that an unwillingness to evolve, in a way consistent with their own
religion, led them to be left far behind. That situation will not
change unless they do evolve, consistent also with the realities of the
modern world and with the desires and the rights of all human beings.
Meanwhile, any effort to take their unhappiness out on America will be
severely countered. This will be especially true after this administration
and its friends in the world act to bring both the crazies of Israel and
of Palestine to heel...an action long overdue.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2003
More on the Medicare Bill currently before Congress. (Please
see my related offering in this section, Thursday, October 30, 2003).
The pattern of objections in this case from the Democrats sounds a very
familiar chord: they object to some "privatization" of operations here,
as in public education, because they fear the inevitable...that the private
sector can do most jobs better than government bureaucracies can.
Also, they object to means-testing, however rational, because that would
give the lie to decades of handouts and plantation mentality. Citizens,
if you want relief from sometimes massive medication bills and also perhaps
better coverage, call your Congressmen and Senators. They need your
input right now.
The fight over Judicial nominees in Washington involves nothing
less than the continued existence of an independent Judiciary,
on which our form of tri-partite government depends. Whether nominees
to the Federal bench be from Republican or from Democratic administrations,
there should be only general inquiry into judiclal and social philosophies
of the nominee, and certainly not a strict litmus test like the issue of
abortion, as is the case now. Furthermore, if a test of legislative
wills is unavoidable, traditional rules of filibuster should apply, not
"filibuster-lite" that exists now...wherein it becomes a game of posturing
where neither side needs to work up a sweat.
Once again, Thomas Friedman has it right regarding the Israel - Middle
East crisis ("A Deal For The Saudis, Israelis", The Day, Friday,
November 14, 2003, Commentary, pA9). A clue: "The keepers of the
Muslim holy places and the keepers of the Jewish holy places really need
each other today."
And once again we have a wrong-headed analysis of the Iraq/terrorism
war presented in today's editorial of The Day: "The Deepening Quagmire",
(Opinion, pA8). Consistent, but wrong. In addition to much
already offered in this section during the last several months - with primary
source references, two more references are worth-while: "Knowledge of
the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda", by John Keegan, (Alfred Knopf,
2003); and "France's Game", by Charles Krauthammer, (Time, March
24, 2003, p82). Many of today's problems in that dangerous place
result from the "fog of war" and could neither have been anticipated nor
avoided. And yet we have to deal with the definition of
a liberal, even in a non - election year: "the first person to leave the
room when the fight starts".
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2003
"Crime does not pay". Those of us who are getting a little
long in the tooth remember learning that saying right after "Dick and Jane".
But more recent generations have been learning the opposite lesson
from the activities of some judges and lawyers. From the relative
slaps on the wrist for corporate executives whose malfeasance ruins tens
of thousands of lives, to the chump change that corporations are fined
for similar activities, to the 90+% of felonies that are plea-bargained
down and out of serious jail time, to lawyers who conveniently forget that
they are also "officers of the Court"....
And then we have today's travesty by the judge who decided that
several late teenage punks who brutalized their teammates this summer should
avoid fitting punishment by charging them as "juveniles". What lesson
is to be learned here by so many already out-of-control juveniles nation-wide,
and by their stupid and/or cowering parent(s)?
Well, now the victims and their parents should sue the parents of the
"juveniles" under Federal Civil Rights laws. If the offspring are
not held responsible, the parents certainly should be.
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER
10 through 12, 2003
I have learned that the current edition of The Economist, the
British publication, has an article examining the differences
between Europeans and Americans. The findings:
No wonder that we feel so good, and they feel so bad.
Americans are more patriotic.
Americans are more religious.
Americans are more independent-minded.
In addition, a recent public television program highlighted the rise
and fall of the British Empire, from its intentional, single-minded
and often ruthless expansion throughout the globe, to a point at which
one-third of the population of the world was under British rule...and then
to its decline and fall, beginning with the "jewel in the crown" - India.
Such was the fate of all other imperialist nations. America went
through a very short period of similar expansionist tendencies a century
ago; but we learned fast. We learned more in Viet Nam. Then
came the most important lesson, on 9/11/01. From now on, our overseas
activities will be guided by the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive self-defense.
And then comes Algore, who recently "accused the Bush administration
of exploiting Americans' fear of terrorism for political gain."
What a jerk!
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2003
How is "merely" using pot or cocaine, without even considering
the issue of selling illegal drugs, endangering the security of this
country? By supporting a massive and highly lucrative international
drug trade that has direct ties - economic if not also political - with
world terrorists. And by far the largest market for those drugs
is the United States. That was the evidence and the message presented
by a journalist specializing in the Latin American scene during the most
recent presentation sponsored by the Southeast Connecticut Committee
On Foreign Relations. Focusing on the situation in Columbia,
although describing working connections with Venezuela, Lybia and Turkey,
she described how a nearly one billion dollar rebel operation that controls
nearly 40% of that country is financed: approximately one-half through
the sale of illegal drugs; and the remainder through extortion, kidnapping....
These are "equal opportunity" criminals who work for money, for warped
ideals, or for both. It is thus time for all Americans to
demand and to support an effective "war on drugs": not just "cops
and robbers" scenes and an occasional flashy "bust", but mandatory long
jail time for drug pushers of any size, the choice between jail time and
effective rehabilitation for drug users, and a guaranteed availability
of drug treatment sites in timely fashion. None of this exists now,
and one might ask: why not? I will leave the conspiracy theories
to others. But, after 9/11, the drug war is a related war that we
must win, by eliminating the predominant source of demand for the products.
One step that needs to be taken is to allow private physicians, on
a voluntary basis and with adequate compensation and oversight, to provide
the ample medications and administration sites and followup. This
is not a task which they would relish. But they could be counted on to
do their part.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2003
There is always something to say about Public Education, and
it is rarely good, thanks to the organized efforts of the teachers unions,
of the "educators", and of their bought-and-paid-for politicians.
Perhaps the non-unanimous election of the new Chairman of the Connecticut
State Board of Education is a good sign. Betty J. Sternberg is described
as "a behind-the-scenes leader in several of Connecticut's most significant
education initiatives of the last two decades...." (The Day, Thursday,
November 6, 2003, pA1) If some people in the Education Establishment
were aganst her election, she has to have done something good. Good
luck to her. Meanwhile, the news from other fronts is not as good.
Please see the article by Joe Klein entitled: "How the Teachers Killed
a Dream", (Time Magazine, November 3, 2003, In The Arena, p27); "The
Charter Boom", (WSJ Monday, November 3, 2003, Review and Outlook, pA14).
This latter editorial concludes as follows: "The unbridled hostility
toward this promising new model for new public schools from the beneficiaries
of the rotten status quo - school boards, teachers unions and central bureaucracies
- should remind us that their opposition isn't limited to vouchers.
It's to anything that would hold them accountable." For
further evidence, please see the offerings under "Public
Education Politics" on this web site.
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6
and 7, 2003
Yesterday, President Bush made a very important foreign policy speech
regarding the Middle East ("Bush: U.S. wrong to excuse lack of Mideast
freedom", by Terrence Hunt, The Day, Friday, November 7, 2003, Nation,
pA4). It is worth reading in the original; and it is another reason why
the term "revolutionary" is beginning to be used in describing this
President and the approach of this administration towards the world.
Exactly right; and exactly appropriate for this terrorist equivalent
of World War III. Of course, the Arab champions of the decadent
status quo were quick to respond...in a fashion very reminiscent of the
lies and distortions that we learned to know and love coming out of the
regime of Saddam Hussein and his Informaton Minister and his Foreign Minister.
(See "Indignant Arabs Say Bush Democracy Speech A Sham", by Miral
Fahmy (Dubai, Reuters, November 7, 2003). Wake up, our Arab brothers:
after 700 years of ascendancy and great progress ( 700AD - 1400AD), you
have been in 600 years of steep decline. Ask yourselves why.
Whoops...The City of New London again looks like "the gang that
couldn't shoot straight": it botched the recent election. This
unheralded "garden spot of the world" really deserves better from its leaders.
Also in New London, CT, the current controversy between the Lyman Allyn
Art Museum and Connecticut College is unfortunate and will accrue to
the advantage of neither side. Evidently, some inaccurate information
is floating about out there (see the letter by Wendy Lehman Lash, most
recent Chairman of Museum's Board of Fellows, The Day, Friday, November
7, 2003, Opinion, pA6). The facts and the intent of the original
donor of the Museum will ultinately control; but I believe that Connecticut
College will emerge with a black eye. Too bad.
Ah, Bill. And we thought we knew ye. New London's
own William Cibes is a recent nominee for the "Sheldon Hackney Award"
Sheldon -- it's baaack, by John Leo). Say it isn't so, Bill.
Talk about the American Episcopal Church's problems. The Roman
Catholic Church is right up there with them. We know about the
child abuse scandals. In today's Day ("Catholic annulments are
both commonplace and unpopular", by David Crary, The Day, Friday, November
7, 2003, Daybreak, pC4), we Catholics are reminded of a long-festering
wound called "annulments", which have increased from 400 in 1968
to 50,000 in 2002, with only 10% of annulment applications
denied! This is not only a farce; it is another scandal perpetrated
by the Church. And, except in those relatively few cases
in which the marriage contract was never consummated due to impotence or
homosexuality, or where one party mis-represented regarding intention to
have children, annulments represent a cruel hoax on the parties, forcing
one or both to allege that that they never had a marriage...while forcing
them to reveal the most intimate elements of their relationship.
It would be far better to acknowledge that, where serious errors have been
made regarding choice of life partner, a fresh start at seeking a blessed
and life-long committment is more in keeping with the intent of a merciful
God than two lives of misery lived outside the embrace of the Church. To
our Church leaders: "Is anybody there? Does anybody care?"
SUNDAY through WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER
2 through 5, 2003
A number of gathering thoughts:
The ABC TV special on Jesus Christ was balanced, a neat trick in
view of the fact that most of it was sheer conjecture that could have been
played in any way. Bottom line: there is no evidence that Jesus was
married; there is no evidence that Jesus was not married; it would not
make any difference either way with regard to our understanding of this
The same can evidently not be said for the recently aborted "CBS Special"
on Ronald Reagan. The President of the Network reportedly decided
for himself that some of the material was not true at all, and that the
product was "not fair and balanced". Enter hysterical liberals crying
"Foul." But who cares. And has anybody noticed: this man is
More liberal hysteria: the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban" is
being signed into law today. The end of womanhood as we know it!
It is, rather, the end of an abomination that has long cheapened the concept
of womanhood itself. And in the extremely rare case where the mother's
life is endangered by a partially vaginally born baby, the ethical principle
of "primary intent" would allow taking any action necessary to save the
mother's life. Or should we continue to tolerate the ridiculous fiction
espoused by the Connecticut Supreme Court: that the baby is "part of the
Plenty of bad news out of Iraq. But the "bad news bearers"
of the major networks never include the progress that is being made to
raise a new, free nation out of the atrocity that was the old regime of
Saddam Hussein. Please see the article by U.S. District Court Judge Donald
Walter, a recent visitor to Iraq, entitled: "Don't Cut and Run"
(WSJ Tuesday, November 4, 2003, Opinion, pA18).
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
and NOVEMBER 1, 2003
Today is time to catch up on some recent very informative articles
on issues of the day.
By this time, you have discovered a pattern here, relating to the Wall
Street Journal, the best and most balanced newspaper published today.
At least it is a good antidote for addiction to the New York Times.
On our education system, public and otherwise: "It's Not About
The Money", by Rod Paige, WSJ Thursday, October 30, Opinion, pA16;
Say 'Adieu' To Foreign Languages", by Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ Thursday,
October 30, Personal Journal, pD1; "The Devastating Climate At Our Universities",
by Thomas Merry, WSJ Wednesday, October 22, Letters to the Editor, pA21.
will be hard-pressed to find any good news here. Wake Up, America!
The foundation of a viable democracy is education and information.
Several articles and stories chronicle the turn-around taking place
in the economy. And then there are the "but-heads" who
have a "but" for any bit of good news (read "Democrats"). The recent
article by Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, is
right on point: "The 'But' Economy", WSJ Thursday, October 30, 2003,
Opinion, pA16. A historical perspective regarding the Democratic
take on the whole subject is given by Robert L. Bartley: "The New Deal:
Time for a New Look", WSJ Monday, October 20, 2003, Opinion, pA19.
Also "Capitalism's Savior", by Conrad Black, WSJ Wednesday, October
29, 2003, Opinion, pA20. Joblessness will continue in some sectors
of the economy. That has already been addressed in several earlier
offerings in this section.
Regarding Iraq and the Middle East, one can do no better than to read the
book by Bernard Lewis, referenced above and entitled "What Went Wrong?",
and also the recent article by Professor Lewis and by R. James Woolsey
(former Director of the CIA) entitled: "King and Country", WSJ Wednesday,
October 29, 2003, Opinion, pA20.