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
MONDAY and TUESDAY,
September 29 and 30, 2008
What a spectacle in Washington
and on Wall Street these days...culminating today in the greatest
demonstration by John Q Public of abiding distrust in
our political and business leaders. And well deserved on the part
of all of those participants, regardless of Party affiliation.
This is the result of at least a decade of inslder self-dealing with no
regard for the public interest. :It was not helped by the initial
arrogant three-page proposal of Secretary Paulson and President
Bush...literally a massive blank check to be drawn on the pockets of
every American, and with any oversight to be prohibited by law.
It was certainly not helped by the ham-handed comments by Speaker
Pelosi, just before the House vote was taken, blaming the Republicans
for the whole mess. It is fueled by a basic suspicion that
the "crisis" is being hyped by "the usual suspects" in order to
stampede a gigantic citizen bail-out of all the greedy and stupid
participants in this spectacle. And the greatest insult is
the recurring comment that this would not have happened in other than
an election year. As always, a cynical - and too often accurate-
reliance on the studied ignorance and apathy of that same John Q.
Public. Well, you finally got our attention - which is the only
way that a democracy can function. Will we remember that after
this "30 second sound-bite"?
September 27 and 28, 2008
SO, NOW YOU KNOW. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO
How the Democrats Created the
Commentary by Kevin Hassett
Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The
financial crisis of the past year has provided a number of surprising
twists and turns, and from Bear Stearns Cos. To American International
Group Inc., ambiguity has been a big part of the story.
Why did Bear Stearns fail, and
how does that relate to AIG? It all seems so complex.
But really, it isn't. Enough
cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear.
The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and
understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many
bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.
Fannie and Freddie did this by
becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall
Street's efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary
customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they
held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.
In the times that Fannie and
Freddie couldn't make the market, they became the market. Over the
years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie
alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage
investments. Their large presence created an environment within which
even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready
The problem was that the
trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real
estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire
house of cards came down with them.
Take away Fannie and Freddie, or
regulate them more wisely, and it's hard to imagine how these highly
liquid markets would ever have emerged. This whole mess would never
It is easy to identify the
historical turning point that marked the beginning of the end.
Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie
were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were
enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. At one
telling moment in late 2004, captured in an article by my American
Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison, the Securities and
Exchange Comiission's chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief
Franklin Raines that Fannie's position on the relevant accounting issue
was not even ``on the page'' of allowable interpretations.
Then legislative momentum
emerged for an attempt to create a ``world-class regulator'' that would
oversee the pair more like banks, imposing strict requirements on their
ability to take excessive risks. Politicians who previously had
associated themselves proudly with the two accounting miscreants were
less eager to be associated with them. The time was ripe.
The clear gravity of the
situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current
mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how
urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie
and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that
they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their
portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they
potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the
road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the
future at a substantial risk.''
What happened next was
extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and
Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The
bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the
companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.
If that bill had become law,
then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a
blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and
Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable
institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and
buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.
But the bill didn't become law,
for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the
committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans,
tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the
Senate to vote on the matter.
That such a reckless political
stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then.
Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the
risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few
Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so
if their constituents understood what they were doing.''
Mounds of Materials
Now that the collapse has
occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is
unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for
honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials
defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda
But we now know that many of the
senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama,
Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling
levels of financial support from them over the years.
Throughout his political career,
Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from
employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who
received more than $165,000.
Clinton, the 12th-ranked
recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has
received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their
employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who
killed the fix.
There has been a lot of talk
about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005
makes the answer pretty clear.
Oh, and there is one little
footnote to the story that's worth keeping in mind while Democrats
point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of
the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this
September 21 through 26, 2008
In anticipation of the first Presidential debate, I
offer herewith the following questions:
- There is a strong perception in the country that our Federal
government has become disfunctional, and that our citizenry is deeply
divided ...at least at the margins. WHAT WILL YOU DO REVERSE THIS
- On Main Street it appears that all interests, national and
international, are represented in Washington - except those of the the
citizen. WHAT WILL YOU DO TO REIN IN THE INFLUENCE AND INFLUENCE-
BUYING OF WASHINGTON LOBBYISTS?
- WHAT IS YOUR POSITION REGARDING TERM LIMITS FOR U.S. SENATORS AND
- DO YOU BELIEVE THAT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IS STILL A MAJOR
PROBLEM TODAY IN THIS COUNTRY? EVIDENCE, PLEASE.
- WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF "FREE ENTERPRISE" VS. "SOCIAL JUSTICE" AND
WHETHER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE IN
RECONCILING THOSE GOALS?
- DO YOU AGREE THAT THE ABORTION ISSUE IS TODAY COMPARABLE TO
SLAVERY IN THE 19TH CENTURY AS THE CENTRAL ISSUE DIVIDING OUR
CITIZENRY/ HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THAT PROBLEM AS PRESIDENT?
- It is generally agreed that PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THIS
COUNTRY HAS BECOME A FAILURE IN RECENT DECADES. HOW WOULD YOU
DEAL WITH THAT AS PRESIDENT?
- It is generally agreed that WE MUST DECREASE OUR DANGEROUS
DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN ENERGY SOURCES. HOW DO PROPOSE TO DO THAT,
IN THE SHORT TERM AND IN THE LONG TERM?
- HOW DO YOU PROPOSE TO DEAL WITH THE MASSIVE OPIUM TRADE, WITH THE
TRIBAL CHIEFS AND WITH THE TALIBAN IN AFGHANISTAN?
- WHAT COULD YOU DO AS PRESIDENT TO STOP THE ISLAMIFICATION OF
PAKISTAN AND ITS INCREASINGLY ANTI-U.S. POSTURE?
- WOULD YOU REITERATE THIS GOVERNMENT'S EVIDENT POLICY TOWARD
ISRAEL: THAT WE WOULD ACTIVELY DEFEND ISRAEL'S INTEGRITY AGAINST ALL
ENEMIES...EVEN IF iSRAEL EMPLOYED PRE-EMPTIVE SELF-DEFENSE?
- WOULD YOU SUPPORT A U.S. - NATO DOCTRINE THAT WOULD GUARANTEE THE
DEMOCRACY OF ALL CURRENTLY DEMOCRATIC NATIONS IN EUROPE AND ASIA
AGAINST RUSSIIAN OR ANY OTHER DESPOTIC ACTIONS?
- HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH ISLAMIC NATIONS, GIVEN THE FACT THAT THE
MUSLIM WORLD VIEWS ISLAM IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT WAYS: FROM SECULAR TO
- CAN THE U.S. EXERT ANY EFFECTIVE INFLUENCE ON THE AFRICAN
CONTINENT, GIVEN THE OVER-RIDING IMPORTANCE OF TRIBAL IDENTITY AND
OF THE RESIDUAL COLONIAL INFLUENCE OF MANY OTHER NATIONS?
- WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FOREIGN POLICY GOALS TOWARD CHINA?
- WHAT IS YOUR PLAN TO REHABILITATE OUR AILING ECONOMY? CAN
THAT BE DONE WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF A "WORLD ECONOMY". OR IS THAT
CONCEPT BEGINNING TO DEVOLVE BACK INTO NATIONAL "TRIBALISM"?
These questions and the candidates' answers reflect the
importance of the coming election, both with regard to the candidates'
respective professional experience and even more so with regard to
their respective world-views and problem-solving approaches.
September 20, 2008
Events of the last two weeks have been remarkable, even
historic, precisely the times that require our focused
attention to facts and to the most informed opinions available.
Failure to pay that attention is not only ignorance, but rank
stupidity. And by far the best source of such facts and opinion,
properly separated from each other, continues to be the Wall
Street Journal. It has earned a reputation as "the
newspaper of record", that description having been lost by the New York
Times, opinionated on every page. Check out the following
editorials and articles which have appeared in the WSJ in the course of
the last two weeks:
- "Bush's Lonely Decision;
- "Bailout For Billionaires";
- "Obama's Lost Years";
- New Evidence On Taxes and Income";
- "Comparing Obama and McCain On Public Service";
- "If You Like Michigan's Economy, You'll Love Obama's;
- All the stories regarding the Wall Street meltdown and the
bailout by taxpayers - you and me.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are totally panicked by
the new McCain - Palin Presidential candicacy.
Witness the vitriol dripping from the mouths of all their spokesmen,
from Obama way down to The Day's petulant Kenton Robinson (in The
Day.com this week), mainly directed against Governor Sarah Palin.
At the heart of this: the self-centered and pro-abortion "females" who
have taken over what can be called the "Women's Generation" of the last
two decades cannot bear to chance the prospect of an actual "woman"...a
principled and loving mother, wife and daughter - who is not only
anti-abortion but who lives out that position with her Down Syndrome
baby...finally earning her way into the White House. What a
display: Articulate, Arrogant, Asinine...and sickening.
September 7 through 19, 2008
The world seen from Rome
Knight's Letter to Biden
Children of All Races Are Denied Recognition as 'Persons'
D.C., SEPT. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is an open letter addressed
Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for vice president, from the
Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson.It was published today
a full-page ad in various U.S. newspapers.
Senator Biden:I write to you today as a fellow Catholic layman, on a
that has become a major topic of concern in this year's presidential
bishops who have taken public issue with your remarks on the Church's
position on abortion are far from alone. Senator Obama stressed your
identity repeatedly when he introduced you as his running mate, and so
statements carry considerable weight, whether they are correct or not.
have a unique responsibility when you make public statements about
NBC's Meet the Press, you appealed to the 13th Century writings of St.
Aquinas to cast doubt on the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church
are several problems with this.
Aquinas obviously had only a medieval understanding of biology, and thus
only speculate about how an unborn child develops in the womb. I doubt
there is any other area of public policy where you would appeal to a
knowledge of biology as the basis for modern law.
Aquinas' theological view is in any case entirely consistent with
long history of Catholic Church teaching in this area, holding that
a grave sin to be avoided at any time during pregnancy.
teaching dates all the way back to the Didache, written in the second
It is found in the writings of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine and
and was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which described
as "an unspeakable crime" and held that the right to life
be protected from the "moment of conception." This consistent
was restated most recently last month in the response of the U.S.
of Catholic Bishops to remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
that suggest that our Church has anything less than a consistent
on abortion are not merely incorrect; they may lead Catholic women
crisis pregnancies to misunderstand the moral gravity of an abortion
should a discussion about a medieval understanding of the first few
or weeks of life be allowed to draw attention away from the remaining
of an unborn child's life. In those months, even ancient and
doctors agreed that a child is developing in the womb.
as you are well aware, Roe v. Wade allows for abortion at any point
pregnancy. While you voted for the ban on partial birth abortions, your
support for Roe is a de facto endorsement of permitting all other
term abortions, and thus calls into question your appeal to Aquinas.
recognize that you struggle with your conscience on the issue, and have
you accept the Church's teaching that life begins at conception - as a
of faith. But modern medical science leaves no doubt about the fact that
person's life begins at conception. It is not a matter of personal
belief, but of science.
your unwillingness to bring your Catholic moral views into the public
arena on this issue alone is troubling.
were several remarkable ironies in your first appearance as Senator
running mate on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield,
selection as the first black American to be the nominee of a major party
president of the United States owes an incalculable debt to two
were led by people whose religious convictions motivated them to
moral evils of their day - the abolitionist movement of the 19th
the civil rights movement of the 20th Century.
rally in Springfield took place just a mile or so from the tomb of
who in April 1859 wrote these words in a letter to Henry Pierce:
is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must
to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for
and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."
fought slavery in the name of "a just God" without
or apology. He confronted an America in which black Americans were
considered "persons" under the law, and were thus not entitled to
Constitutional rights. Today, children of all races who are fully
and only minutes from being born are also denied recognition as
because of the Roe v. Wade regime that you so strongly
Lincoln's reasoning regarding slavery applies with equal force to
who are minutes, hours or days away from birth.
American founders began our great national quest for liberty by
we are all "created equal." It took nearly a century to transform
bold statement into the letter of the law, and another century still to
it a reality. The founders believed that we are "endowed by [our]
with certain unalienable rights," and that first among these is
have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the
of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard-won liberty, or you can
to turn your back on them.
behalf of the 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their
in the United States, I appeal to you, as a Catholic who acknowledges
life begins at conception, to resolve to protect this unalienable
welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in
detail during the weeks between now and November 4.
September 6, 2008
If this is true, Obama is sounding more
and more like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. GS
Columbo interview with Obama
. . . Sorry to bother you Mr. Obama, Sir
me Mr. Obama, I mean Senator Obama, sir. Um . . . I know you are
busy and important and stuff. I mean running for president is very
important and . . . ah . . . I hate to bother you. I will
only take a minute, ok, sir?
I have these missing pieces that are holding me up, and I was wondering
sir, if you could take time out of your busy schedule and help me out.
You know, no big deal, just some loose ends and things.
you have a nice place here! The wife sees houses like this on TV all
the time and says boy she wishes she had digs like this you know? Is
that painting real? Really? Wow. I saw something like that in a museum
sorry sir. I didn't mean to get off the track. So if you could just
help me out a minute and give me some details, I will get right out of
your way. I want to close this case and maybe take the wife to Coney
Island or something. Ever been to Coney Island ? No, I didn't
listen, anyways, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap
this up. These things seem to either be "locked" or "not
available'. I'm sure it's just some oversight or glitch or
something, so if you could you tell me where these things are . . I . .
. I . . . have them written down here somewhere . . . Oh
wait. Sorry about the smears. It was raining out. I'll just
read it to you.
you help me please find these things, sir?
Your Occidental College records
Your Columbia College records
Your Columbia Thesis paper
Your Harvard College records
Your Selective Service Registration
Your medical records
Your Illinois State Senate records
Your Illinois State Senate schedule
Your Law practice client list
A Certified Copy of your original Birth certificate
Your embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth
Your Harvard Law Review articles that were published
Your University of Chicago scholarly articles
Your Record of baptism
hey . . Listen! I know you are busy! Is this too much for you
now? I mean tell you what. I will come back tomorrow. Give
you some time to get these things together, you know? I mean, I know
you are busy, so I will just let myself out. I will be back tomorrow.
And the day after. .
more information check out this link! What efforts he has gone to
in order to have a "clean slate" and not leave a paper trail.
THIS IS VITAL INFORMATION
AND INSIGHT, FOR CATHOLICS, FOR CATHOLIC WANNABES, AND FOR ALL
OTHERS...OF ANY OR OF NO RELIGIOUS PERSUASION. IN ADDITION TO
BEING A RELIGIOUS ISSUE, IT IS A MEDICAL, LEGAL AND MORAL ISSUE.
TOO BAD THAT THE ARROGANT AUTHORS OF ROE V. WADE GOT
IT SO WRONG, ON ALL LEVELS. GS
ZENIT, The world seen from
History of Church Teaching
US Bishops Issue Fact Sheet
WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 4,
2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a fact sheet issued by
the U.S. episcopal
conference's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, which
clarifies the Church's
constant teaching on abortion.
The fact sheet responds to a
misrepresentation of Church teaching made in
remarks by Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi during an Aug. 24 interview on
* * *
The Catechism of the
Catholic Church states: "Since the first century the
Church has affirmed the
moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has
not changed and remains
unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion
willed either as an end or a
means, is gravely contrary to the moral law"
In response to those who say
this teaching has changed or is of recent origin,
here are the facts:
-- From earliest times,
Christians sharply distinguished themselves from
surrounding pagan cultures
by rejecting abortion and infanticide. The earliest
widely used documents of
Christian teaching and practice after the New Testament
in the 1st and 2nd
centuries, the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) and
Letter of Barnabas,
condemned both practices, as did early regional and
particular Church councils.
-- To be sure, knowledge of
human embryology was very limited until recent
times. Many Christian
thinkers accepted the biological theories of their time,
based on the writings of
Aristotle (4th century BC) and other philosophers.
Aristotle assumed a process
was needed over time to turn the matter from a
woman's womb into a being
that could receive a specifically human form or
soul. The active formative
power for this process was thought to come entirely
from the man -- the
existence of the human ovum (egg), like so much of basic
biology, was unknown.
-- However, such mistaken
biological theories never changed the Church's
common conviction that
abortion is gravely wrong at every stage. At the very
least, early abortion was
seen as attacking a being with a human destiny, being
prepared by God to receive
an immortal soul (cf. Jeremiah 1:5: "Before I
formed you in the womb, I
-- In the 5th century AD
this rejection of abortion at every stage was affirmed
by the great
bishop-theologian St. Augustine. He knew of theories about the
human soul not being present
until some weeks into pregnancy. Because he used
the Greek Septuagint
translation of the Old Testament, he also thought the
ancient Israelites had
imposed a more severe penalty for accidentally causing a
miscarriage if the fetus was
"fully formed" (Exodus 21: 22-23),
language not found in any
known Hebrew version of this passage. But he also held
that human knowledge of
biology was very limited, and he wisely warned against
misusing such theories to
risk committing homicide. He added that God has the
power to make up all human
deficiencies or lack of development in the
Resurrection, so we cannot
assume that the earliest aborted children will be
excluded from enjoying
eternal life with God.
-- In the 13th century, St.
Thomas Aquinas made extensive use of
including his theory that the rational human soul is
not present in the first few
weeks of pregnancy. But he also rejected abortion
as gravely wrong at every
stage, observing that it is a sin "against
nature" to reject God's gift
of a new life.
-- During these centuries,
theories derived from Aristotle and others
influenced the grading of
penalties for abortion in Church law. Some canonical
penalties were more severe
for a direct abortion after the stage when the human
soul was thought to be
present. However, abortion at all stages continued to be
seen as a grave moral evil.
-- From the 13th to 19th
centuries, some theologians speculated about rare and
difficult cases where they
thought an abortion before "formation" or
"ensoulment" might be
morally justified. But these theories were
discussed and then always
rejected, as the Church refined and reaffirmed its
understanding of abortion as
an intrinsically evil act that can never be morally
-- In 1827, with the
discovery of the human ovum, the mistaken biology of
Aristotle was discredited.
Scientists increasingly understood that the union of
sperm and egg at conception
produces a new living being that is distinct from
both mother and father.
Modern genetics demonstrated that this individual is, at
the outset, distinctively
human, with the inherent and active potential to
mature into a human fetus,
infant, child and adult. From 1869 onward the
obsolete distinction between
the "ensouled" and "unensouled"
fetus was permanently
removed from canon law on abortion.
-- Secular laws against
abortion were being reformed at the same time and in
the same way, based on
secular medical experts' realization that "no
other doctrine appears to be
consonant with reason or physiology but that which
admits the embryo to possess
vitality from the very moment of conception"
Association, Report on Criminal Abortion, 1871).
-- Thus modern science has
not changed the Church's constant teaching
against abortion, but has
underscored how important and reasonable it is, by
confirming that the life of
each individual of the human species begins with the
-- Given the scientific fact
that a human life begins at conception, the only
moral norm needed to
understand the Church's opposition to abortion is the
principle that each and
every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be
treated with the respect due
to a human person. This is the foundation for the
Church's social doctrine,
including its teachings on war, the use of capital
health care, poverty and immigration. Conversely, to
claim that some live human
beings do not deserve respect or should not be
treated as "persons" (based
on changeable factors such as age,
condition, location, or lack
of mental or physical abilities) is to deny the
very idea of inherent human
rights. Such a claim undermines respect for the
lives of many vulnerable
people before and after birth.
THURSDAY, September 1 through 4, 2008
To repeat my initial comment, made in the offering dated August 28-29,
about John McCain's choice of Governor Sarah Palin as
Republican Vice Presidential candidate: "A STROKE OF
GENIUS." During the third night of the Republican
National Convention, she hit a grand slam home run. She's a
natural. And she's of no less presidential timbre than that other
then - unknown, Harry Truman. Even Senator Joe Biden was subdued
during his interview on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. Of
course, the panicked liberal crazies are spinning like tops. And
well they should.
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