Monday, January 9, 2017
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983
In 1953, the Office of Education, a very minor Bureau in the Federal Security Agency which was, I believe, in the Department of the Interior was upgraded to become part of the cabinet level Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Education was a small part of that, because it is not mentioned in the Constitution and thus was considered the task of the States. The GI Bill after WW II changed higher education by making it possible for nearly every veteran of the war to go to college; the Korean Bill gave a smaller, but less restrictive, grant of $33/week to Korean vets who chose to go to college full time. Neither of these revolutions in higher education had much effect on primary and high school education, nor were they intended to.
During the 1950’sthere was considerable agitation for a stronger federal role in the public school system. The opposition against Federal Aid to Education – a favorite debate topic in both high school and college debates – was chiefly that federal aid would mean federal control, and would mean the bureaucratization of all state schools, and thus would hamper education all over the country. Proponents spoke of what wonders could be accomplished for a fraction of the cost of a warship or bomber, and how deplorable some schools were.
The Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 was decisive.
[snip]The Soviet space success and well-publicized American space failures induced a climate of national crisis. Critics pointed to the deficiencies of American students in mathematics and science. The Sputnik crisis sparked national legislation to support training, equipment, and programs in fields vital to defense. The scientific community including university scholars and curriculum specialists are often called upon to reconstruct subject-matter content, especially on the high school level. [snip] https://www3.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/fedaid.html
[For more details see file:///C:/Users/JerryP/Downloads/Kaestle_Article_FutureFedRole_020101.pdf ]
There was great pressure for Education to have a ministry – a cabinet level Department – of its own, but this was successfully resisted until Jimmy Carter in 1979. Note that Federal Aid to Education had been in effect since 1958, and had grown in size and control over local education systems every year. Now it was a Department, and growth accelerated. In 1983 a blue ribbon National Commission on Education headed by Nobel Prize winning nuclear scientist Glenn T. Seaborg published a report called “A Nation at Risk” that concluded “If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.” Most studies conclude that education has deteriorated since that report. Republicans have attempted to abolish both the Education Department and Federal Aid to Education (to be terminated with a diminishing series of block grants) but failed.
Today the very liberal Los Angeles Times published:
For better schools, abolish the politicized Department of Education and give local districts more control
Bruce Meredith, Mark Paige
Republicans opposed the Department of Education from its beginning and regularly threaten to abolish it now, arguing that educational policy should be reserved to the states. Two respected Democrats also objected to the department’s creation almost 40 years ago. New York Sen. Daniel Moynihan warned that it would become a partisan sword. New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm worried about divorcing education from other policy areas vital to student success, such as making sure they had decent housing and enough to eat.
History has proved the critics right. It’s time for the department to be dismantled. It has done some good, especially in pointing out education inequity. But more often it has served political, not educational, interests.
In fact, the Department of Education was created by President Carter in part as a gift to the National Education Assn., for the union’s early support of his candidacy. Politics was the department’s original sin, and that reality has gotten only worse.[snip]
The article is worth reading; but its conclusion is vital. Federal Aid to Education has generated, among other horrors, “No Child Left Behind”, which, through aggressive enforcement and regulations, produces the result of No Child Gets Ahead, which is the only way to assure that statistically no child will be left behind. The Congress should end DoED and Federal Aid to Education – by a series of diminishing block grants to the states to be administered by the Department of the Interior after the instant abolition of DoED, all its employees being declared redundant.
If the Federal Government wants to show the States how to have great primary and secondary schools, it has the undisputed Constitutional right to do so by establishing those schools in the District of Columbia. It should easily be able to do so (if the experts actually know how) with the savings from the elimination of the former Department of Education; if they do not attract copiers by their excellence of results, perhaps they ought not to have been imposing methods on all the schools in the nation.
I had another back attack this morning and have spent much of the day exercising and stretching. It’s fairly clear I will have to do a lot more of that in the next couple of weeks. See previous post on details of that.
Wall Street Journal: “The smart line from the beginning would have been to denounce the hack, acknowledge that Russia has been acting in ways that harm the U.S., and say that Mr. Putin should stop or face consequences once Mr. Trump is President. Mr. Trump could also say that if Mr. Obama had retaliated sooner against Russia, the election hacks might not have happened. Instead, Mr. Trump’s denial of Russian reality makes him look like a sap for Mr. Putin.”
Mr. Trump: “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad!” he tweeted on Saturday. He added: “We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now.”
Wall Street Journal: “Let’s hope so, but it isn’t “stupid” to mistrust Mr. Putin. After his sheltering of Edward Snowden, his invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, intervention in Syria, sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and massacre of civilians in Aleppo, only a fool would imagine that Mr. Putin can be trusted beyond the cold logic of military and economic balance of power.”
But if only a fool would trust Mr. Putin, does it make for a better negotiating position for Mr. Trump to say so? To publicly denounce Mr. Putin in order to provide the media with headlines? May we not assume that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin pretty well know what they are doing, and this includes a pretty good idea of the actual interests each seeks to protect? And that each pretty well knows this, and each knows a lot about what the other desires, needs, and is thinking? So why do we need to impose sanctions on Russia for doing what we have always done, namely tried to influence public opinion in each others’ nation? When Reagan talked of the evil empire, he was denounced by the press; now Trump is denounced for not speaking ill of Russia and Mr. Putin, and he is not yet President.
Apparently the Wall Street Journal is concerned that the New York Times will think ill of it. Or perhaps it simply wanted to say something even if it makes little sense. Memo to WSJ: Mr. Trump is no fool, and betting that he is a fool is a very bad bet.
Pompey the Great was Julius Caesar’s son-in-law and so long as Caesar’s daughter Julia was alive they had strong mutual interests and got along splendidly.
Sunday, 01/08/17 – There will not be a Space Access Conference this April in Phoenix. Our long-time Conference Manager is retiring from that role. Proposals are now being accepted to organize and run the next Space Access Conference, date and location TBD.
Terrorists are organizing scavenger hunts where pre-teens are killing bound prisoners in abandoned buildings. They even have a pre-schooler shooting someone in the face and a seven year-old kid beheading someone and more.
Yeah, we can’t do anything about this. We need to cry about Russian hacking. This is an embarrassment, the Democratic party is an embarrassment, and I’m nearly embarrassed to call myself American in 2017. This is disgusting. Some “JV Team”, eh, Groveler in Chief?
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Come now. We can defeat ISIS, although not with a CinC who thinks they are the Junior Varsity.
The Russian Bear
Dear Mr. Pournelle,
From today’s (London) Times, a quote from Sir Richard Shirreff, Nato’s former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe:
“In reality, Russia has set itself on a collision course with the West. It is far more dangerous than Isis and is now our strategic adversary, having built up its military capability and thrown away the rule book on which post-Cold War security was based. … The invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine was a turning point in history and demonstrated unequivocally that Russia was our enemy now and that the situation had fundamentally changed. They’d been planning this all along, while pretending openness. Again, Putin got away with it, but it provided the wake-up call we needed.”
I agree that Russia has a long-standing interest in Slavic populations, and that Estonia is close to St. Petersburg. But I also remember the Sudetenland, and the story of the farmer who said “I’m not greedy. I only want whatever land is next to mine.”
It would indeed be unwise to twist the bear’s tail. But, as an old backwoods camper, neither would I want to feed it or pose for selfies. So far we seem to be shouting and making noise; which sometimes works.
Allan E. Johnson
There’s only one rifle in this camp, and another camper has it. I will have it in a couple of weeks. I think it would not be wise to go out looking for the bear to taunt it; but even less wise to do so while someone else has the rifle.
Russian Email Hacking
Personally, I trust Assange more than I do the US main stream media or *anything* that may come from the corruption that is the Obama Administration. But, concerning the assertions that Putin and the Russians were behind the email hacks the response, I am, nonetheless, reminded of a quote from The Usual Suspects that was based upon the following quote from Charles Baudelaire’s “The Generous Gambler”;
“My dear brethren, do not ever forget … that the loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist!”
That being said, supposedly, these masterminds of intrigue broke through the layers of defense built to protect these servers – presumably – yet was amateurish enough to leave behind enough evidence of the break-in to provide certainty of those responsible.
Yeah. And, I have some prime ocean front property in Arizona for sale.
Even if the Russians *were* behind the break-in, just what was the result?
Did they invent anything? Are the documents released fraudulent in any manner?
Best I can tell is that all that was exposed was the TRUTH. It seems to me that, if the claims of Obama et al are correct, that Putin and the Russians were behind the hacks, then a Pulitzer or two might need to be handed out to the Russians for uncovering the scandal of what was done to Bernie Sanders by Hillary’s campaign and the DNC. Would not that rise to the level of Watergate?
So, I don’t believe the Russians were behind the hack, if for nothing else than they are experienced enough to not leave behind any evidence, certainly not the bumbling ineptitude necessary to provide the level of detail Obama and his cronies assert exist.
But, there’s still Baudelaire’s quote…
At the time I bought my computers the anti-virus program most highly recommended by Best Buy was Kaspersky. According to Consumer Search it continues to be highly rated but according to their latest review was narrowly beaten out by Bitdefender.
Kaspersky is a Russian product and is supposedly very good at performing as advertised.
Would anyone be shocked to learn that a software product produced by the Russians, distributed all over the world, and intentionally bought and installed on a large percentage of the world’s government, business, and personal computers by their owners had a few ‘undocumented’ features that may be more valuable to the Russians than the sales revenue?
Mind you that I am not saying that Kaspersky HAS any such undocumented features; I am only expressing surprise that millions of folks apparently have a high degree of confidence that the Russians produced and distributed such software WITHOUT including them.
Cyberwarfare for Sale
An article about “ethical” hacking tools – and how they can be abused by governments and private concerns.
Cyberwarfare for sale.
Clapper is Incredible
I read the View today and saw this line from Clapper:
Whether or not that constitutes an act of war I think is a very heavy policy call that I don’t believe the intelligence community should make. But it’s certainly — would carry in my view great gravity.
As DNI he knows, or should know, better. Covert action straddles the line between diplomacy and warfare. Anyone who knows anything about statecraft or intelligence knows this. Who does he think he’s fooling? They’re totally trying to sensationalize this. And of course you cannot measure the impact of intelligence operations, in most cases we cannot even prove they were effective it’s called “the paradox of intelligence”. What I read was merely shameless pandering to the ignorant, all of it; not just the part I quoted in this email.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
I remember when “military intelligence” was jokingly(?) called an oxymoron.
Now that the United States has decreed that all intelligence bureaus throughout the federal government shall freely share information working under a super intelligence chief – currently Clapper – it is probably true that in the United States national intelligence is an oxymoron. No joking this time.
Here’s one of the best comments I’ve seen on the current state of the DNC hack I’ve seen, by one of the best security researchers I know:
Russian Hacking Narrative
The Dems, the current (Dem partisan) intel bureaucratic leadership, and the MSM are all enthusiastically pushing this “Russia hacked the election” narrative for the obvious reason, an attempt to cripple this new administration from the start.
Does it even need to be said that what the Russians did was of a piece with what they (and the Chinese, and half the rest of the world) have been doing to us (during our elections and otherwise) for years now?
Nor was it clearly distinguishable from what our former SecState did to the Russian elections a few years back. Why the left-prog establishment is finally, now, suddenly noisily horrified is left as an exercise for the reader.
I note this morning however that Senators McCain and Graham are on one of the Sunday talk shows, chiming in. I can see why they’re doing this
– they hope to pressure the President-elect into adopting more of their actively anti-Russian stance.
As you know I even sympathize with the two Senators on that point; I too think firm support for Balts and Ukrainians and Georgians should take precedence over rapprochement with Russia, at least till Russia dials the international aggression back down a bit from 11. (Mind, I’m beginning to think it’s at least arguable that Trump’s approach may have better odds of achieving that dialing-down. But that’s a different letter.)
Regardless, I think McCain and Graham are making a grave error in tactically allying with the Dem/Bureaucrat/MSM axis on this. It is very unlikely that they can accomplish just their limited goal of altering Trump’s apparent Russia accommodationism, then step aside unscathed, when their ad hoc allies are going all-out to cripple the new Presidency from the start (with what currently looks like some chance of success.)
On 12/19/2016 12:26 PM, Porkypine wrote:
Byron York has a great deal more on the CIA’s – actually, on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s – defiance of the House Intel Committee, tying it into an overall effort to delegitimize the President-Elect as “Russian-backed.”
On December 9th, “President Obama… ordered the Intelligence Community to finish a review of allegations of Russian election hacking by the time Obama leaves office on Jan. 20.”
Then “on Dec. 12, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper saying, in effect: Why didn’t you tell us? Why do we have to learn about this in the media? Nunes demanded the DNI brief the Intel Committee on the Russia situation no later than Dec. 16.”
“It didn’t happen. First, DNI flatly refused Nunes’ request. And then, included in an announcement that it would not brief the Electoral College, the DNI also announced it would offer no more briefings to lawmakers until after the Obama-ordered report is finished next year.”
The piece then goes into considerable detail on why “the bottom line is many Republicans who follow intelligence issues closely are convinced the White House is going to drop an intensely political document in January, the intended effect of which will be to delegitimize the election of Trump.”
My view: It’s a preemptive strike on Trump by partisan Dem intel bureaucrats, aimed at beating him right at the start of the fight to redirect their agencies to support the new Administration’s policies.
(After all, that worked so well for Imperial Japan at Pearl Harbor!)
I’ve said before that Trump will need to go through the agencies with fire and sword to root out Dem partisan activists before he can get anything much done.
Now these people seem to be doing their best to persuade him he has no other choice. Smart? Not if they don’t win decisively at the start. If they get him mad and it turns into a prolonged war of attrition… Just ask Admiral Yamamoto how well that worked out.
Read the whole thing. It’s at
Paul Krugman is now a Deficit Hawk
Things have changed a lot in 2 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days. Paul Krugman is now a Deficit Hawk! — It’s a miracle!
The Tea Party can now proudly hold the banner: “We love Paul Krugman!”
Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE
Time to Borrow, Paul Krugman AUG. 8, 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/opinion/time-to-borrow.html>
“….Right now there is an overwhelming case for more government borrowing…..”
Debt, Diversion, Distraction, Paul Krugman, October 22, 2016 <http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/debt-diversion-distraction/?_r=0>
“…. So, about that supposed debt crisis: right now we have a more or less stable ratio of debt to GDP, and no hint of a financing problem. So claims that we are facing something terrible rest on the presumption that the budget situation will worsen dramatically over time. How sure are we about that? Less than you may imagine…..”
Deficits Matter Again, Paul Krugman JAN. 9, 2017 < http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/opinion/deficits-matter-again.html>
“…. Those apocalyptic warnings are still foolish: America, which borrows in its own currency and therefore can’t run out of cash, isn’t at all like Greece. But running big deficits is no longer harmless, let alone desirable…..”
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.