Wednesday, July 21, 2010

“Arguably, we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad."

[Who is this woman and why should you be listening to what she's saying?]

That is a serious statement, and not one made lightly, by someone who is most assuredly in a position to know – the former head of Britain's MI-5 (counterpart to our FBI), Lady Manningham-Buller, a gal I would NOT want to mess with. (To those of us who are "Spooks" fans she's the real, and ever beloved, "Harry", or was from 2002 to 2007 when Don Rumsfeld and his crowd were pumping iron to go to war. ) [And by the by, another little plug for the MI-5 series on Netflix here. Some of the best TV you'll see anywhere, BBC of course.]

And wow what explosive testimony she gave to a British panel investigating the Bush gang's invasion of Iraq. The head of MI-5 affirming what those of us knew who've been publicly opposed to this war knew from the start! Some of what she had to say:

“Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11,” she added, “and I have never seen anything to make me change my mind.”

But, she said, “it was not a judgment that found favor with some parts of the American machine” — namely Donald H. Rumsfeld, the United States secretary of defense at the time. That “is why Donald Rumsfeld started an alternative intelligence unit in the Pentagon to seek an alternative judgment,” she said. [my bold]

Hmmmmm... I'd like to know more about that. Wouldn't you? Ol' Don, whose comment to the press two days after Sept. 11 when asked what the most difficult part of conducting the war on terra would be, answered: "Selling it to the American people." That's verbatim. Were you 'sold'?

Anybody out there who's surprised needs to have their brain examined for rot. This is not the end of this matter for sure. The headline above is the problem, for us as well as for the Brits, as terrorist attacks reacting to the invasion in the US and Britain continue to grow. As that happens, guilty consciences may seek the light of day at last, sunlight and disinfectant and all that. A general urge to explain the increase to the public, purging, confessions and doled out, (albeit) weak penances may ensue for there is still money to be made. Keep your eye on this one.

In other news today, a perhaps too late but grand idea nonetheless emerges in the Education section of the Times. National standards for education! As the hairdresser in "Moonstruck" exclaims:Finalemente! Get rid of those ugly greys! One commenter's response:

"Everyone knows that federal politics is the art of bribing people with their own money."

My response:

"Well I'll be! And it's high time! It took starving the state education departments to death financially to get them all to bow to the inevitable and admit, by virtue of climbing on the national standards bandwagon, they didn't have a clue as to what students should be learning anymore. HIgh time. We're the only developed nation without national education standards and we rank way way down the list of international tests of student knowledge. The adoption of national standards is long overdue. Next let's require teachers teaching at anything above the fourth grade level to have majored in their subject! Not 'education math' but Mathematics of one kind or another.

This is a decent start. Now we'll see if the teachers (who according to your article need a little time to figure out what this 'means'?) can understand the material enough to teach it properly. Having long been suckers and spenders in the superrigged textbook racket (Texas textbook corporations and Bush family members being two of the major racketeers) , they'll need to be reined in from overspending in their enthusiasm for buying texts that support new standards. Once the teachers learn how to think critically, a skill they tout but few actually practice, we'll be all set."

[There is a crazy little old lady outside my window somewhere wailing in a language I do not know. Her voice like a machine gun, ratatat staccato anger over something, which might be the fact that she's clearly lost her mind. Can't say as I blame her for yelling. She sounds like those Iraqis on TV right after a bomb explosion.]

Continuing in the education mode, a really interesting piece on the absence of rural whites (read farmers and such) at elite bastions of higher ed in the US. This guy has a really interesting point. You get a real sense of the "eeewww" factor present at places like Harvard vis a vs admitting lower/working class whites. This guy thinks beyond the obvious.


The greedy Chinese government , hungry for tourist dollars, will regret this move. And proof positive that dehumanizing Orwellian nightmare spaces can emerge from either end of the political/economic spectrum, left or right (and what exactly are those differences in extremes today I wonder? What with everybody chasing the almighty dollar instead of a better quality of life for all.) Truly disappointing news for cultural preservationists everywhere. In a society/culture with such deep Confucian roots, this destruction will backfire. It will hollow out the culture and, while it make take a couple of generations, there will come a day of reckoning for those who continue to bulldoze through cultures in the name of "progress". Maybe enough Chinese will notice the results of building on the cheap around our abandoned towns and cities and take heed, but I doubt it. Will there be someone to stand before the bulldozers now?


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