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
THURSDAY May 29 through 31, 2012
10% of this is
true, it is 10% too much. NEVER.
of Muslim Women
the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old
have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.
dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his
slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use
her as a
though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce.
prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses.
after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the
family must return the dowry. The family has the right to execute her
killing) to restore the honor of the family. Husbands can beat their
will' and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.
husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour
(prostitute) at his discretion.
Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of
the West World ( Americaand Britain ) Muslim
starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and
have full and complete control of her. It is amazing and alarming how
our sisters and daughters attending AmericanUniversities and BritishUniversities are now
Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly
passing this on, enlightened American and British women may avoid
slave under Shariah Law.
the West in Two.
and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to
impose Shariah law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.
recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying
Global Implications of Islamic Law. Darwish was born in Cairo and spent
childhood in Egypt and Gaza before immigrating to America in 1978, when
eight years old. Her father died while leading covert attacks onIsrael . He was a
high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family inGaza .
he died, he was considered a "shahid," a martyr for jihad. His
posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in
Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her
Muslim culture and upbringing.. She converted to Christianity after
Christian preacher on television.
her latest book, Darwish warns about creeping shariah law - what it is,
it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.
the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on
world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed.
generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of
individual. Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be
or killed in this world.
and prosperity for one's children is not as important as assuring that
Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle
eventually in the world
Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the
golden rule, Shariah teaches two systems of ethics - one for Muslims
another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh
Shariah encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and
Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a
personal understanding of and relationship with God, Shariah advocates
executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted
hard to imagine, that in this day and age, Islamic scholars agree that
those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be
Sadly, while talk of an Islamic reformation is common and even assumed
in the West, such murmurings in the Middle East are
Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over
time, Darwish explains how petro dollars are being used to grow an
intolerant form of political Islam in her nativeEgypt and
will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. And Britain To elect
by themselves! Rest assured they will do so... You can look at how they
taken over several towns in the USA .. Dearborn Mich.Is
there are others....) ( Britain has several
totally controlled by Muslims)
think everyone in the U.S.And Great
be required to
read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely
unless each of us sends it on!
is too bad that so many are disillusioned with life and Christianity to
accept Muslims as peaceful.. Some may be but they have an army that is
to shed blood in the name of Islam.. The peaceful support the warriors
their finances and own kind of patriotism to their religion. While America and Britain are getting
Christianity from all public sites and erasing God from the lives of
the Muslims are planning a great jihad on America ...
MONDAY, May 28, 2012
this is the
next rr. Please try to post it today, Memorial Day, with my
and followed by the attached article in toto. Thanks. Dad
MEMORIAL DAY, 2012.
Our thoughts...and actions...on this day should focus on two subjects:
and selflessness of our military in action; and our Freedom for
they offer everything including their lives and limbs.
Please see the offering in this Rapid Response section for April 29 -
2012. "IS ANYBODY THERE? DOES ANYBODY CARE?"
See the review of a new book entitled :A History of America's Wars
Who Fought Them", by James Wright, published in NYTimes
Review May 27, 2012, p14. Here is sobering evidence that the rest
have "no skin in the game". This situation must be reversed,
most immediately by re-institution of the Draft, something that I
in and whose demise I have been criticizing for decades. Also,
the report that follows regarding the percentage of returning veterans
filing for disability benefits, the great majority of which are
warranted. Let 's see how our "grateful nation" deals with this
And then there is the issue of Freedom. The Saturday, May
edition of The Day (www.theday.com)
includes an article entitled "Islamic Gathering In Hartford Looks At
Anti-Shariah Movement in U.S." (Region, pF4). Of all the
hare-brained - and dangerous - ideas floating around our nation at the
time, the idea of substituting a foreign and despotic legal code for
Constitution in relation to some of our citizens is the worst. In
NEVER. This has nothing to do with Freedom of Religion or with
against law-abiding Muslims. For Islam is not just a Religion,
but also a
totalitarian civil and military government totally at odds with the
rest of the
Perhaps Memorial Day is just the right time to remind our enemies
without this nation of the Minutemen, of Bunker Hill, of Lexington and
Concord...and of Admiral Yamamoto's warning to his Japanese superiors
invading the American mainland: "There is a rifle behind every
GOD BLESS OUR FIGHTING AND DYING MEN AND WOMEN.
published in The Day, May 28,
Almost half of
returning vets now file for disability
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE AP Chief
Rate has skyrocketed,
America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a
historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled
generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.
A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say
are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21
percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s,
top government officials told The Associated Press.
What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments
on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11
to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving
compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War
II and Korea, just two.
It's unclear how much worse off these new veterans are than their
predecessors. Many factors are driving the dramatic increase in claims
- the weak economy, more troops surviving wounds, and more awareness of
problems such as concussions and PTSD. Almost one-third have been
granted disability so far.
Government officials and some veterans' advocates say that veterans
who might have been able to work with certain disabilities may be more
inclined to seek benefits now because they lost jobs or can't find any.
Aggressive outreach and advocacy efforts also have brought more
veterans into the system, which must evaluate each claim to see if it
is war-related. Payments range from $127 a month for a 10 percent
disability to $2,769 for a full one.
As the nation commemorates the more than 6,400 troops who died in
post-9/11 wars, the problems of those who survived also draw attention.
These new veterans are seeking a level of help the government did not
anticipate, and for which there is no special fund set aside to pay.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is mired in backlogged claims,
but "our mission is to take care of whatever the population is," said
Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits. "We want them to
have what their entitlement is."
The 21 percent who filed claims in previous wars is Hickey's
estimate of an average for Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
The VA has details only on the current disability claims being paid to
veterans of each war.
The AP spent three months reviewing records and talking with
doctors, government officials and former troops to take stock of the
new veterans. They are different in many ways from those who fought
More are from the Reserves and National Guard - 28 percent of those
filing disability claims - rather than career military. Reserves and
National Guard made up a greater percentage of troops in these wars
than they did in previous ones. About 31 percent of Guard/Reserve new
veterans have filed claims compared to 56 percent of career military
More of the new veterans are women, accounting for 12 percent of
those who have sought care through the VA. Women also served in greater
numbers in these wars than in the past. Some female veterans are
claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma - a new challenge from a
disability rating standpoint, Hickey said.
The new veterans have different types of injuries than previous
veterans did. That's partly because improvised bombs have been the main
weapon and because body armor and improved battlefield care allowed
many of them to survive wounds that in past wars proved fatal.
"They're being kept alive at unprecedented rates," said Dr. David
Cifu, the VA's medical rehabilitation chief. More than 95 percent of
troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have survived.
Larry Bailey II is an example. After tripping a rooftop bomb in
Afghanistan last June, the 26-year-old Marine remembers flying into the
air, then fellow troops attending to him.
"I pretty much knew that my legs were gone. My left hand, from what
I remember I still had three fingers on it," although they didn't seem
right, Bailey said. "I looked a few times but then they told me to stop
looking." Bailey, who is from Zion, Ill., north of Chicago, ended up a
triple amputee and expects to get a hand transplant this summer.
He is still transitioning from active duty and is not yet a veteran.
Just over half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans eligible for VA care
have used it so far.
Of those who have sought VA care:
• More than 1,600 of them lost a limb; many others lost fingers or
• At least 156 are blind, and thousands of others have impaired
• More than 177,000 have hearing loss, and more than 350,000 report
tinnitus - noise or ringing in the ears.
• Thousands are disfigured, as many as 200 of them so badly that
they may need face transplants. One-quarter of battlefield injuries
requiring evacuation included wounds to the face or jaw, one study
"The numbers are pretty staggering," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a
surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has done four
face transplants on non-military patients and expects to start doing
them soon on veterans.
Others have invisible wounds. More than 400,000 of these new
veterans have been treated by the VA for a mental health problem, most
Tens of thousands of veterans suffered traumatic brain injury, or
TBI - mostly mild concussions from bomb blasts - and doctors don't know
what's in store for them long-term. Cifu, of the VA, said that roughly
20 percent of active duty troops suffered concussions, but only
one-third of them have symptoms lasting beyond a few months.
That's still a big number, and "it's very rare that someone has just
a single concussion," said David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain
Injury Research Center. Suffering multiple concussions, or one soon
after another, raises the risk of long-term problems. A brain injury
also makes the brain more susceptible to PTSD, he said.
On a more mundane level, many new veterans have back, shoulder and
knee problems, aggravated by carrying heavy packs and wearing the body
armor that helped keep them alive. One recent study found that 19
percent required orthopedic surgery consultations and 4 percent needed
surgery after returning from combat.
All of this adds up to more disability claims, which for years have
been coming in faster than the government can handle them. The average
wait to get a new one processed grows longer each month and is now
about eight months - time that a frustrated, injured veteran might
spend with no income.
More than 560,000 veterans from all wars currently have claims that
are backlogged - older than 125 days.
The VA's benefits chief, Hickey, gave these reasons:
• Sheer volume. Disability claims from all veterans soared from
888,000 in 2008 to 1.3 million in 2011. Last year's included more than
230,000 new claims from Vietnam veterans and their survivors because of
a change in what conditions can be considered related to Agent Orange
exposure. Those complex, 50-year-old cases took more than a third of
available staff, she said.
• High number of ailments per claim. When a veteran claims 11 to 14
problems, each one requires "due diligence" - a medical evaluation and
proof that it is service-related, Hickey said.
• A new mandate to handle the oldest cases first. Because these tend
to be the most complex, they have monopolized staff and pushed up
average processing time on new claims, she said.
• Outmoded systems. The VA is streamlining and going to electronic
records, but for now, "We have 4.4 million case files sitting around 56
regional offices that we have to work with; that slows us down
significantly," Hickey said.
Barry Jesinoski, executive director of Disabled American Veterans,
called Hickey's efforts "commendable," but said: "The VA has a long way
to go" to meet veterans' needs. Even before the surge in Agent Orange
cases, VA officials "were already at a place that was unacceptable" on
backlogged claims, he said.
He and VA officials agree that the economy is motivating some
claims. His group helps veterans file them, and he said that sometimes
when veterans come in, "We'll say, "Is your back worse?' and they'll
say, "No, I just lost my job."'
Jesinoski does believe these veterans have more mental problems,
especially from multiple deployments.
"You just can't keep sending people into war five, six or seven
times and expect that they're going to come home just fine," he said.
For taxpayers, the ordeal is just beginning. With any war, the cost
of caring for veterans rises for several decades and peaks 30 to 40
years later, when diseases of aging are more common, said Harvard
economist Linda Bilmes. She estimates the health care and disability
costs of the recent wars at $600 billion to $900 billion.
"This is a huge number and there's no money set aside," she said.
"Unless we take steps now into some kind of fund that will grow over
time, it's very plausible many people will feel we can't afford these
benefits we overpromised."
How would that play to these veterans, who all volunteered and now
expect the government to keep its end of the bargain?
"The deal was, if you get wounded, we're going to supply this level
of support," Bilmes said. Right now, "there's a lot of sympathy and a
lot of people want to help. But memories are short and times change."
SATURDAY and SUNDAY, May 26 and
WHAT ABOUT THE
WHAT A SHAME!!
commissioner to New London schools: You can do better
05/24/2012 12:00 AM
05/25/2012 04:00 PM
London — The state education commissioner told members of the Board of
Education Thursday night that he knows New London can do better.
Commissioner Stefan Pryor spoke candidly with board members about the
recent state audit, which he said has raised a "number of concerns."
(State Board of Education's) concerns center upon the governance of the
district and the management of the district. I'm hoping to talk about
the perception of them and understand the context," Pryor said. "It's
never enough to just read a report and accept its findings."
said the performance of the students in the district is another large
area of concern. He called the path of student achievement in the
district "stagnant" and students' performance levels "unacceptable."
Fearon, chief of the state education department's Bureau of
Accountability and Improvement, said the commissioner's concerns were
concerns did not happen overnight and did not happen during the tenure
of this specific board, but at the same time, the solution to these
issues lies within the entire New London community. The state wants to
be part of the solution," Fearon said.
London ranks among the four lowest-performing school districts in the
state. During the New London school board meeting, Pryor said that the
district also has the sixth-lowest graduation rate in the state.
know New London can do better. We know that there is good will within
this board, within individuals on this board and with the hardworking
individuals in this school system," Pryor said. "No one is pessimistic
about the prospect for growth; on the contrary, we're optimistic that
there can be true progress. But there are concerns that conditions are
not yet set and that the platform has not been built for progress. We
can do it. We're confident that such a platform can be built. That's
why we're here today."
began the discussion by focusing on two areas in the audit.
first describes the school board's relationship with the superintendent
of schools, while the second focuses on school board meetings and their
lack of "focus on critical issues."
board members said Thursday that they do not receive information
pertinent to school board meetings on time and that their questions are
sometimes not answered. They said that this lack of communication
creates an environment of "distrust."
board members said that while they may receive reports and data, they
do not know how to interpret them.
don't think we've received any reports on student achievement or
improvement, which we're supposed to get one once a month," member
Margaret Curtin said. "We ask questions and we ask for reports (and)
we're told we're trying to micro-manage. I can't make a decision
without knowing what's happening."
purpose of the audit was to analyze school system leadership; district
and school organizational arrangements; and school district governance
structure and functions, including the relationships among
administrators, the school board, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, the City
Council and members of the community.
the audit's release, school board Chairman William Morse,
Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer and Finizio have met with Pryor to
discuss the audit. Those discussions have been called "preliminary" by
both the mayor and the commissioner.
the state will intervene in the school district and to what degree has
yet to be determined.
of the State Board of Education are slated to hear Pryor's
recommendations for New London at their regular meeting June 6 in
Hartford. Pryor said a recommendation for New London may come out of
asked what the board would like to see happen in the form of training,
members said they wanted to learn more about how to use the data the
board receives, and more about reading a school board budget.
suggested that a "board-to-board" relationship between the Windham
school district and New London would help, since the state has
intervened in Windham.
recent signing of the education reform bill by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
gives the state board broader authority in issuing recommendations and
intervening in a school system.
the state chooses to intervene by assigning a special master, replacing
the superintendent or reconstituting the school board or the entire
school system, the state also must require that all New London school
board members attend mandatory training.
FRIDAY, May 25, 2012
AT TIMES, THE BEST I CAN DO IS TO OFFER A READING
AND THAT'S NOT SO BAD.
all, you should read the same information
in at least two different sources. What used to be called "Yellow
Journalism" now passes for the accepted standard: spinning and
editorializing on every page - not only on the Editorial Page.
practice occurs through both commission and omission, particularly in
"Liberal" press. "It's a jungle out there".
- "Democracy Failing In Age Of No
Restraint", by David Brooks, in The Day (www.theday.com) Monday, May 21,
2012, Opinion pA4.
- Papal Address to US Bishops, in
Zenit.org, May 7, 2012, on the central importance of both an
intellectual and a religious education.
- "Echoes Of 1967 As Israel Faces Iran",
by Charles Krauthammer, in The Day Saturday, May 12, 2012, Opinion pA6.
- "The Spirit Of Vatican ll Fades
Into History", by Joseph G. Murray, in The Day May 13,
- "Romney's Critical Health Care
Choice", by Ramesh Ponnuru, in The Day Wednesday, May 23, 2012,
THURSDAY, May 19 through 24, 2012
TO MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY:
"WE HAS SEEN THE ENEMY...AND THEY IS US".
There is only one group of voters who can guarantee the loss of the
2012 national elections to the Obama cabal...and that is
following realities are the means to avoid that disaster.
the Republican Party and its nominee, Mitt
Romney, clearly espouse the above, Americans of nearly all political
persuasions will change the direction and governance of this country in
by a vast majority. BUT ONLY "IF"...
- Get out and vote in numbers not seen
- Realize that Republicans are not the
only rational and ethical citizens out there. "Independents",
already turned off by the antics of both Parties, are rational and
ethical and intelligent. They are listening and watching.
- Realize that the committed Far Left
are un-educable...and that they are the dangerous authoritarians of the
- Realize that this nation is
"Christian" but not fundamentalist, and that it genuinely respectful of
all other Religions - except "fundamentalist Islam"...which is not
Islam at all.
- Demand Freedom of Religion, not
Freedom from Religion.
- Abortion is the only non-negotiable.
- Homophobia is a distraction...and it
is increasingly unsustainable under the weight of new scientific facts
about the biology of sexual orientation.
- Illegal Immigration is the direct
result of "that great sucking sound" of American business
having drawn these people into the country for their own selfish gains.
As such, this is a problem to be solved and not to be demonized by
perjorative words like "amnesty". Start with the major elements
of the "Dream Act". The people caught in this status are mainly
good family people and great potential citizens.
- Emphasis on total "Free
Enterprise"without any regulation is an "Out of Mind" experience that
correctly will not be tolerated by the vast majority of citizens...who
know better about human nature.
- Acknowledge, while cashing your
Government check together with the other 60% of Americans, that central
Government has a legitimate role to play in the life of the nation -
besides in national defense. The task is to identify the "deserving
underserved" vs the dead-beats and crooks of all income levels.
- Recognize that taxes - and even tax
increases - are sometimes necessary...but only after reforming that den
of thieves called the Tax Code.
- Demand and vote for meaningful reform
of the moribund Public Education "system" in this country, including
accountability, measurable results and competition. Start with
outvoting the Teachers' Unions...the Tobacco Industry of the current
generations. This issue has rightly been identified as the Civil Rights
Issue of our time.
- Call out Racism, wherever it is found,
especially including "Black on White" racism so popular with the false
leaders of the "Black Community".
- Establish as a central goal of the
Republican Party the convening of a U.S. Constitutional Convention to
consider Amendments to the Constitution regarding Election Reform and
Term Limits. Our Federal Government is now dysfunctional. Next
stop: anarchy and then totalitarianism.
- Regarding our relationship with the
rest of the world, remember that nations do not have friends; they only
have interests. All of our international actions should be at
least in part in our own self-interest. For that, we can start
with "putting a sock" on the U.N. We can also re-evaluate our
role in the "world economy" under the rubric "Fair Play". What a
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
WORD OR TWO ABOUT
Actually, more than a few words. Please see the many offerings on
web site to be found under the Category entitled "Abortion,
Morality and Ethics". You might want to start with the
within "Physician-Patient Spirituality" entitled "Point
and Counter-Point", addressing many of the ethical issues of the
including some from the perspective of the other Great Religions.
As for the Catholic Church, the continued offerings under "What's
- or Right - With The Catholic Church", provide food for thought in
realm increasingly focused on authoritarian pronouncements without
valuable input by the loyal laity.
And just a word about "atheists": they are, in my opinion, "certifiable".
Agnostics, on the other hand, should be embraced and helped out of
search for the true meaning of life.
MONDAY through FRIDAY, May 14
through 18, 2012
in America---Top Ten
Only in America could
politicians talk about the greed of the rich
$35,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.
Only in America could people claim that the government still
against black Americans when we have a black President,
black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is
12% of the population is black.
Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible
our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury
and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means
BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher
Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of
and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims
be harmed by the backlash.
Only in America would we make people who want to legally become
citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens
thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting
who sneaks into the country illegally just become American
Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the
and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as
Only in America could you need to present a driver's license to
a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
Only in America could people demand the government investigate
oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas
up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company
Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes
Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from
people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion
more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER
and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.
Only in America could the rich people who pay 86% of all income
be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't
any income taxes at all.
SUNDAY, May 13, 2012
crisis in Public
Education continues to worsen, nationally and locally.
Please see the special section on this web site entitled "Public
Politics" to review the history of how our children got here and where
they are now.
Caution: this is not for the faint of heart...or for those easily
SATURDAY, May 12, 2012
Radical Islam: History and, maybe, Hope.
The world seen from Rome
of Islam; Western Response
Khalil Samir on a Solution
MAY 11, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Jesuit Father Samir Khalil Samir is an
and professor at the St. Joseph University in Lebanon in Catholic
Islamic studies and advisor to numerous Church and political
Riedemann for Where God Weeps in cooperation with Aid to the Church in
Need interviews Father Samir about the increasing radicalization of
the implications for western policy.
Unfortunately we start to see an increasing radicalization in Islam.
this radicalization occurring and where is this leading us?
Samir: The radicalization started with the Muslim Brotherhood at the
of the 1920s – specifically with the end of the First World War and the
the Caliphate in 1923 -1924 in which the Ottoman Empire, the last
empire, ended after 1,300 years. Additionally there was the
Turkey. The Muslims did not know what to do. They asked themselves who
is to be
the new Caliph? Saudi Arabia, Egypt? They could not find anyone to take
this empire. A movement started which said: We have to Islamize the
They are too westernized. And it was true: their juridical system was
the systems in France, in Switzerland etc., and so they founded and
Muslim Brotherhood, which was not very powerful then. Their intention
to change the society toward something more Muslim. They started as a
movement within Egypt. Initially they refused violence absolutely, but
time, violence became part of the st
against the Socialist revolution of Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood were persecuted, put in prison or
Then they started to organize the resistance and the opposition. They
every year, more violent.
But it did not remain just an Egyptian issue?
Samir: We have to remember that in 1948 the State of Israel was
The Arab countries waged war against Israel. The war ended with all the
countries defeated by this small country. They were humiliated. They
that this was due to the fact these countries were not Muslim enough;
have to start the revolution. War after war was waged between Israel
Arab world and every time it was a defeat for the Arab countries.
to change economically in 1973-1974, when there was a boom in the
petrol. The price of petrol increased four times and a lot of petrol
were suddenly available. What could these oil producing countries like
Arabia do with this money? They built mosques and Islamic centers. In
they financed the building of thousands of schools and mosques. They
doing that today.
Is there a religious agenda and if yes, what is the purpose?
Samir: Yes. Wahhabism originates from the name of Abdal Wahhab who
in 1780 who made an agreement with Prince Muhammad ibn Saud. He
prince and the prince adopted the religious ideology of Abdal Wahhab.
four Sunni juridical schools in Islam. The most rigorous one is called
which was practiced in Saudi Arabia at that time. Abdal Wahhab found
Hanbali was not strict enough and so Wahhabism. It is the strictest
Islam. When Saudi Arabia was established at the beginning of the 20th
this kind of Islam became the state religion which everyone was
follow. With their money they exported this ideology, and so it was
in Egypt and in the 1990s in Algeria and Indonesia.
So in simplistic terms, oil money from the US and Europe is fueling the
expansion of radical Islam?
Samir: Absolutely and it is going on today; they have plenty of money
and a vision, an ideology.
The inter linking of politics and religion: in the West we experience
secularization and a separation of Church and state. Is this possible
in the Muslim
world and how do we move to peace?
Samir: For the Muslim people who have not experienced secularization,
almaniyyah means atheism. They cannot imagine a state without religion.
Secularization for them means that religion is apart and is therefore
I never use this word in Arabic. I say a “civil state, which does not
religion has no part.
What is the approach then?
Samir: I think we must say to the Muslims and the Eastern Christians
that religion is a very important part of public life, and this we want
keep. An example is Lebanon, which has more religion than anywhere
all religions are recognized and respected. Here is a proposal: We all
in God. We have different approaches to God, the Muslim approach, the
and Jewish as well as other approaches. This is the proposal; we will
religion because it is too rooted in us, but we want citizenship. We
citizens and we want equality.
Is it too late? The Christians are leaving the Middle East. Is this
Samir: Yes, that is why we have hope and this is very important. We
would like, before it is too late, to say Stop; we as Christians have a
proposal, not a Christian proposal but a proposal for everyone. The
is, please, for all those who are willing to apply this proposal, don’t
whether you are Christian, Muslim or Jews, we have to build together a
based on human rights.
…because today the Middle East, tomorrow Europe and the United States.
Samir: …because if it is not done today and you don’t help us realize
this project, Europe and the US be forewarned that today the radical
are here but tomorrow they will come to you. They will attack you as
colonialist and imperialist; these words are often used because it is
expedient. You will be labelled as the bad one; you’ve put us in this
and now we shall take revenge upon you.
But violence cannot be the answer…
Samir: We cannot fight an ideology with bombs. It provokes more anger
among the aggrieved people. The more we kill this so called “terrorist”
will come to replace them because they do not perceive it as terrorism.
an honour. It is the only honour they can achieve because they are
marginalized in their own country. They then say ‘we are martyrs’. We
word ‘martyr’ Shahid every day.
And the answer?
Samir: What we, Christians, are saying; the meaning of our life is to
make peace, to have justice for the poor, the women, for everyone. For
to have an educational system where not only the rich benefit. Egypt
has one of
the worst educational systems in the world. People after an obligatory
years come out of the school unable to read or write. I was in charge
educational system during the Socialist government in Egypt in the
1970s and I
discovered during that time, at least half of the young people
boys could not read or write. I, as a government representative, even
went to a
so-called model schools where maybe 10% to 20% of the pupils could
for the others it is too late. The key word is to build together
know that we alone do not have the power to change the whole of society.
You stated ‘together’…
Samir: Together… that is to say that the solution has to be peaceful,
cannot be a violent solution. It has to start with a political project.
Firstly, the war has to end between Palestine and Israel. We will
proposal to create two states. One would be ideal but after 60 years of
this proposal will be impossible today. So two states with defined
need one generation to transcend this. These borders are not to be
allow a free movement of people. The same in Iraq, we need peace
Sunni and the Shia Muslims. I preach this among Muslims. So together
we can build our project – on one of social justice because this
precept is in
the Koran, the Bible and it is the ideal for Christians, Muslims and
propose this common project. We start. It cannot be, however, an
because it could be manipulated. The constitution is religious and will
recognize God in different manners and it has to be
on human rights. Lebanon could be a model, not a perfect model but some
ideas could come from there. And we will develop … step by step. It
…but it is achievable!
Samir: I think it is achievable. Then we invite the richer countries to
help us, then we will do the same to help them build a society of
co-existence. The king of Arabia would like to change the system. He
started a university with mixed students; can you imagine this in Saudi
and by the king? He is being criticized by the Mullahs, by the shaykh…
is taking this step.
this, it is clear that the "Hope" that
you note in your subject line is a fantasy until this sort of
religious fanatism is simply eradicated. Ideally, it
disappear with acceptance of the human rights mentioned by Father
but sadly I suspect it will end up (if it happens at all) being
with a combination of human rights and yes, lots of the bombs also
Father Samir. I'm continually baffled by how this world
history and at present rises up and wipes out (usually with
violence) evil and extremism in all its forms, usually when it reaches
scale. Radical Christianity was successfully and rightfully
fought; the same with radical Socialism (Communism and Nazism),
absolute monarchy, institutional slavery, and the list goes on.
a car racing toward the cliff's edge the world comes to a
halt when it approaches radical Islam.
noticed decades before 9/11 that Islam in
particular is singularly supreme to every other religion and way
in its talent for being "offended" at the slightest turn. I
specifically refrain from the term 'slightest provocation'
moderate Muslims often see provocation where none exists.
Further, also unlike any other culture or religion Islam's
to "offense" is most often totally irrational, utterly lacking
in proportional response, and simply accepted as one
culture's way of
protecting itself. While many of the aforementioned evils used
continue to use) the same survival tactics, only radical
its often vocal media supporters are met with tolerance and/or
validation. All others are rightfully denigrated, ridiculed,
fought against until they are (hopefully) destroyed.
I'm sorry if I
offend anyone reading this, but other than the
historical facts laid out by Father Samir much of the rest of what he
pablum. He has the nerve to say "so-called
'terrorist'"? He refuses to use any connotation of the notion of
secularization with Muslims as if they would spontaneously combust
had to think the 'unthinkable'? And, he "invite[s] the
richer countries to help" him? Is that a joke? The centers
the most radical Muslims on the planet are awash in the
petrodollars he mentioned. The continued propping up of corrupt
regimes by the U.S. doesn't help evolve a nation's
economy they way
it otherwise would be with such an influx of cash, but considering
alternative that Father Samir noted I'll take Hosni Mubarak
Muslim Brotherhood every time. In fact, without the fanaticism of
likes of the Muslim Brotherhood the Hosni Mubaraks of the world
never flourish. Remember, this isn't a 'chicken-or-egg'
proposition. The consequences of WWI in the Middle East were
catalyst for today's Muslim (and Arab) cultural and religious
schizophrenia. The West did not create radical Islam;
created its own fanaticism, most noteably in the late 18th Century
Wahhabism, but for centuries prior.
years of Ottoman rule, after 1,300 years of
a Love-Hate relationship with the West, they backed the wrong
horse. And, as repeated by Iran in 1979
Kemal Ataturk's endeavors in Turkey) considerable
Muslim sentiment in the 1920s chose to shun Western ideology
(whose cultural, religious, and economic success is unmatched
history) in favor of fanatism that continues to be their albatross, but
they irrationally view as honorable martyrdom; an expressway
immutable, but if Hope in this case is to have any
chance of success it must be manifested
with exceptional understanding of that history. Good
are not an excuse against the harmful consequences of those
intentions. Hoping for
the sake of hope that radical Islam simply evaporates is
errand. Further, kind words and/or money directed to people many
already view us as weak and/or unworthy of existence will not help the
situation. While I have hope that Humanity will someday pull
head out of its ass and correct this tragedy, I have none in the
that it will be resolved in my lifetime.
THURSDAY through FRIDAY, May 3 through 11,
OF "AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 OPINIONS".
- India. We don't hear much
about this great nation. Is that good news??
- China. More and more, the
news coming out of this country indicates that it is badly in need of a
flywheel: an 800lb. gorilla on steroids. Here, as usual, the
danger is that its despotic government will look to an outside "threat"
to deal with its internal turmoil.
- Pakistan. Enough, already.
Through its support of the terrorist Talliban, and now with clear
evidence that the Haqqani are its agents, Pakistan is trying to make
Afghanistan a client state, all to the detriment of any U.S. interests
in that region. Our dance with the Pakistani government is producing
nothing but body bags. Let us begin to act accordingly.
- Afghanistan. Let's get their
attention as well. They either cooperate with our very expensive
"nation-building"...or we destroy their entire opium crop and
substitute soy beans.
- Throughout the world: Islam is
a great Religion, and moderate Muslims are a great people. But Fundamentalist
Islam is the clear and present danger for the world. W must
somehow motivate all moderate Muslims to cut out this cancer in their
- Russia. There are signs
of democratic life. Give it a generation.
- Europe. Beginning to
resemble a tinder-box similar to the years following WW l, when
economic chaos spawned Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin. But how do you
incorporate hundreds of millions of unemployed and dis-engaged young
people into a world economy to the advantage of all? Hard work
and a level playing field is how, neither of which are operative
in that left-leaning continent now. And we don't have much
- Africa. I used to think
that Colonialism could be converted to a benign "Economic Colonialism"
that would benefit all, especially the indigenous peoples. But I
did not figure on Fundamentalist Islam as the corrosive wild card in
the game. Sorry for that. But see above.
- America. A nation divided by
misplaced youthful hubris, Middle American "malaise" at the ballot box,
and reactionary religious pap. But there is hope, enshrined in
Election Day, 2012. For the sake of ourselves and of the entire
world, we had better get our own act together...and soon.
WEDNESDAY, May 2, 2012
to which I have just one thing to add: PRECISELY.
Obama, the Divider in Chief", in The Day Saturday,
May 5, 2012, pA6.
TUESDAY, May 1, 2012
state sixth worst for business
By Lee Howard Day Staff Writer
Connecticut may be "open for
business," as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
spelled out in this year's State of the State address, but the impact
of his policy changes didn't budge its business-climate ranking this
year compared with 2011.
Chief Executive magazine's
annual ranking of the best states in
which to do business placed Connecticut at No. 44 among the nation's 50
states, the same spot it occupied last year. The rankings, based on 650
surveys handed in by chief executives of companies all around the
United States, noted that Connecticut businesses are anxiously awaiting
the outcome of a possible increase in the state's minimum wage.
Connecticut also saw the loss
of more than 94,000 residents during
the decade starting in the year 2000, according to the magazine. In
addition, the combined state and local tax burden in Connecticut was
put at 12 percent, compared to a national average of 2.2 percent.
"Connecticut could be the
business-friendly refuge of (New York
City) and New England," one anonymous executive said in a commentary
section on the website ChiefExecutive.net, "but instead taxes and
regulates like the crown of Old England."
Andrew Doba, director of
communications for Malloy's administration,
noted that the governor inherited a state that had seen no job growth
in 22 years.
"We are seeing some immediate
results from the governor's
leadership," Doba said in an email. "Do we have more work to do?
Absolutely. But that doesn't change the fact that for the first time in
a long time, people know that Connecticut is open for business."
Doba pointed out that the
state has seen private-sector job growth
of 15,300 since March 2011. Over the same time, the state's
unemployment rate has fallen from 9.3 percent to 7.7 percent, he added.
Still, the magazine survey
placed only New Jersey, Michigan,
Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and California in worse positions
than Connecticut among state business climates. But the Nutmeg State,
which had risen from 45th to 44th in the survey a year ago, was listed
as in a neutral business trend rather than negative, as had occurred
when it fell seven spots in 2010.
Texas earned the No. 1
ranking among states, with Florida, North
Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana rounding out the Top 5.
"It may be no accident that
most of the states in the top 20 are
also right-to-work states, as labor force flexibility is highly sought
after when a business seeks a location," according to the lead article
by J.P. Donlon.
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