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Raymond Blair

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  1. The Vote in Iraq

    Since this has been reintroduced, Tim, you must now see that Bush and Blair were only right in their political leanings on this matter and not in their correctness. Or are you one of the last holdouts in thinking that knowing what wenow know that the foray into Iraq would be engaged in again. And, gulp, that Vietnam was a good idea too that was foiled by unpatriotic treasonous critics...? Plate of crow Tim?
  2. Debate on what to teach in History

    I think governments should avoid defining curricula. I especially think that states should not be allowed to pick the history facts of their country. Too much room for intentional propaganda.
  3. I think there is one major difference. When the Romans, British, Soviets took over a country they remained in power for a reasonable period of time. In doing so, they created order. Eventually, of course, they were removed by the host population because the valued freedom over order. For the last 100 years or so, the US has attempted to control countries by its use of economic power. Only on rare occasions has it been forced to send in an occupying army. When it has sent in the troops, such as in Vietnam and Iraq, it has never gained complete control and therefore has been unable to provide any protection to the host population. Therefore it has become the “Empire of Disorder”. This seems pretty darn selective to me. I'm not sure where you see complete Britsh control and long term stability. The Americans have had a longer period of Pax Americana than the Soviets were ever able to enjoy. They were the opposite sides of the war during the Cold War. The occupied nations of Germany and Japan have enjoyed long runs of peace as have the NATO powers that I would guess you would have as the other side of the Soviet control zone in the Warsaw Pact. The American vision of world trade provided a golden age of the economy from 1945-1970 and the Atlantic Charter, GATT vision of Bretton Woods has laid out a period of sustained growth. Major world powers haven't been warring with each other. Are you claiming that the Roman empire didn't have constant border wars along its much nearer frontier? I would locate the problems with nationalism and guerilla tactics that have turned around the tremendous advantages held by Westernized and industrialized forces. The conquest is as easy as ever, but in the post 1914 world countries must use inordinate force and brutality just to delay the inevitable. This is the lesson of Serbia of 1914, Algeria, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice. Remember, the British Empire was there with just as much frustration and futility. The United States has been put off by this difficulty as much as every other nation. And just like the mighty British Empire of the 19th century, it would rather its business interests or foreign policy clout solve its problems than a full blown military effort. I wonder what stability Britain was trying to instill with its drug pushing in China backed up by its gunboat Nemesis. I think conquest is disorder, And conquest + naitonalism = guerilla tactics means that the advantage remains in the hands of the home team, no matter how humble its means. I am not a flag waving patriot and I am critical of American foreign policy. But it has simply replaced Great Britain as a hegemon without being mcuh better or worse. When the United States behaves itself and doesn't have a cowboy as president shouting you're either with us or against us, the world calmy ignores the giant astride it. Much as the pre-coronation routines of the old British Empire were humble and underplayed in the days of Queen Victoria. When the power became less of a reality more pomp and pompousness hasten the British decline. (Eric Hobsbawm, one of my alltime favorite reads about the symbols of power) Cheers as you say on your side of the Pond. Have a Nice Day, as the sun-glass wearing CHP likes to say over here while handing a speeding ticket to the driver.
  4. But the Emperor Has No Clothes, and We as an educated society Know this but don’t cry Out. Snippets from posted text in balck, my comments in blue The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies. I’m not sure that Great Britain did this any differently. They paid out national resources when returns would come back for the empire. It exported an idealistic philosophy a la White man’s Burden as a justification for conquest and a reason to feel better about the pilfering of economies (the return of infrastructure into subjugated societies) but the myth of protection was revealed in times of war in places like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies. Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle. The obvious answer is the huge shift in the military budget. Before September 11, Bush was pushing for a new "Star Wars" effort, overruling the objections of allied powers. Bin Laden provided afar better argument for the Congress to approve the largest increase in defense spending in two decades, as Bush himself boasted. I think a key point to remember here is that the speech that Rice was about to deliver when 9-11 was carried out was about the need for re-pursuing the Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative to protect America from the one or two missiles that constituted a more realistic nuclear threat in a world of possible or probable proliferation. That was the policy goal at the time and that is a reason why the daily security briefing with a title similar to “Bin Laden Appears Determined to Make an Attack on American Soil” was not acted upon with all guns blazing. It is an amazing and puzzling fact that all of the things were are asked to do because the possibility of suspect A doing this or that seemingly is contradicted by the far less than all out effort to apprehend Bin Laden, the charismatic figurehead of the “evil-doers” Under this logic shouldn’t all resources be used on this manhunt, and all objections of allies be bullied aside with the “you’re either with us or against us” argument? If anything merits this doesn’t the search for Bin Laden do so? <a href = “http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40697-2004Mar31?language=printer”> Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism</a> “The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.” The strength of multinational conglomerates and delocalized banks, the transformation of investments into temporary installations as volatile as off-shore accounts that hold the threat of relocation over their workers, create a structural fear. The uprooting of the threat produces a structural fear by rendering localized protection useless. Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world. On the one hand, this situation derives from the transnationalization of violent mafias; on the other, from the transnationalization and concentration of capital, especially financial capital. Colombian, Afghan, Pakistani, Nigerian drug mafias, Russian and Yugoslavian mafias, Chinese Triads, the Camorra, the N'dranghetta, etc., all make up a world of private, violent and popular enterprises with wealth and power. They harbor certain symbols of sovereignty such as "the legitimate use of the threat of death." Mafia legitimacy is a political construction that is at war with certain states, but sometimes allied with powerful states (Mexico, Russia) or tiny ones (Liechtenstein). Although they do not comprise or dominate the majority of entrepreneurial society, they contribute to the destabilization of the government and the breakdown of the protective function that is legitimately ensured by the nation-state. They are a new global neighbor for corporations. IMHO a very importmant element of modern world politics. If the game is corporate, capitalistic, democratic socialism, then everybody is strongly encouraged to play and those that do not will constitute another world. (Do we have clear second and third worlds of the modern world order like we did during the Cold War?) Corporations, like other non-states, terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates, have tremendous advantages in the modern world order. As we open our borders up more in the name of free trade and free competition, our borders become so permeable that these non-state entities have a tremendous mobility and can count on being allowed to profit with relationships with those they must (U.S. U.K., Germany etc, while negotiating terms of entry into places that can give them other types of benefits too, (raw materials, cheap labor, secret banking, cover for illegal activities, what have you.) While I am generally a proponent of globalization, I see danger in the Al-Qaedas of the world and the Bermudas and Cayman Islands of the world. If we return to a period of economic nationalism each of these types of organizations would have more difficulty, but probably with the globalizing technology and morph-ability of the corporate structure, can probably adapt institutions today to adapt to any type of economic system short of fascist corporatism of dictators like Hussein. (and of course they probably can profit from supplicating relationships with these types even more but they have the danger of having their interests revoked and their property nationalized from figures like this) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I think it is a bit too much to lay a main burden of the blame here on the United States. The United States policies of globalization have been working hand in hand with nations around the world. There is a capital class that has had a high degree of success in distributing the bounty of the capitalist economy (and I do think the regulated market economy is superior to any socialist model put forward so far) to pay out to capital at the expense of labor in the last forty years. Of course I think the irony here is that center leftist policies reward the capital classes better than their ideal world (no taxes and the iron law of wages) IMO the modern economy is extremely dependent on consumption and the way to fuel consumption is pay high wages and invest in infrastructure and education and insurances for our citizens like health. but the modern corporate strategy is to have the cake and eat it too. Take high profits from interacting with the developed economies but move most investment into cheaper areas. In a world where capital seems to be available even in a period of ridiculously high government spending (see the US budget) at a pretty low cost, how is it that capital still earns so much of the rewards of the day at the expense of the middle and working classes. The present economy reminds me in far too many ways of the economy of the 1920s. The major exception being the lack of economic nationalism. But productivity is up and the income distribution is dangerously unbalanced in such a way that would make Karl Marx say I told you so.
  5. But the Emperor Has No Clothes, and We as an educated society Know this but don’t cry Out. Snippets from posted text in balck, my comments in blue The United States, however, as an imperial power, today refuses to assume the protective role for its friendly or dominated auxiliaries. It does not seek to conquer the world and take responsibility for protecting the subjugated societies. I’m not sure that Great Britain did this any differently. They paid out national resources when returns would come back for the empire. It exported an idealistic philosophy a la White man’s Burden as a justification for conquest and a reason to feel better about the pilfering of economies (the return of infrastructure into subjugated societies) but the myth of protection was revealed in times of war in places like French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies. Because terrorism is not an adversary, only a form of political violence, its suppression is not a Clausewitzian political goal that could end in a victory and a peace, especially since counter-terrorist actions are always implicated in a state or imperial terrorism and violations of human rights, measures that are the source of the most extreme forms of resistance and of terrorism itself. Without attacking the causes, we reinforce the cycle. The obvious answer is the huge shift in the military budget. Before September 11, Bush was pushing for a new "Star Wars" effort, overruling the objections of allied powers. Bin Laden provided afar better argument for the Congress to approve the largest increase in defense spending in two decades, as Bush himself boasted. I think a key point to remember here is that the speech that Rice was about to deliver when 9-11 was carried out was about the need for re-pursuing the Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative to protect America from the one or two missiles that constituted a more realistic nuclear threat in a world of possible or probable proliferation. That was the policy goal at the time and that is a reason why the daily security briefing with a title similar to “Bin Laden Appears Determined to Make an Attack on American Soil” was not acted upon with all guns blazing. It is an amazing and puzzling fact that all of the things were are asked to do because the possibility of suspect A doing this or that seemingly is contradicted by the far less than all out effort to apprehend Bin Laden, the charismatic figurehead of the “evil-doers” Under this logic shouldn’t all resources be used on this manhunt, and all objections of allies be bullied aside with the “you’re either with us or against us” argument? If anything merits this doesn’t the search for Bin Laden do so? <a href = “http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40697-2004Mar31?language=printer”> Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism</a> “The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.” The strength of multinational conglomerates and delocalized banks, the transformation of investments into temporary installations as volatile as off-shore accounts that hold the threat of relocation over their workers, create a structural fear. The uprooting of the threat produces a structural fear by rendering localized protection useless. Corporations, or rather their leaders, have reached forms of sovereignty that are foreign to the territorial definition of states. This is not a conspiracy, just the state of the world. On the one hand, this situation derives from the transnationalization of violent mafias; on the other, from the transnationalization and concentration of capital, especially financial capital. Colombian, Afghan, Pakistani, Nigerian drug mafias, Russian and Yugoslavian mafias, Chinese Triads, the Camorra, the N'dranghetta, etc., all make up a world of private, violent and popular enterprises with wealth and power. They harbor certain symbols of sovereignty such as "the legitimate use of the threat of death." Mafia legitimacy is a political construction that is at war with certain states, but sometimes allied with powerful states (Mexico, Russia) or tiny ones (Liechtenstein). Although they do not comprise or dominate the majority of entrepreneurial society, they contribute to the destabilization of the government and the breakdown of the protective function that is legitimately ensured by the nation-state. They are a new global neighbor for corporations. IMHO a very importmant element of modern world politics. If the game is corporate, capitalistic, democratic socialism, then everybody is strongly encouraged to play and those that do not will constitute another world. (Do we have clear second and third worlds of the modern world order like we did during the Cold War?) Corporations, like other non-states, terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates, have tremendous advantages in the modern world order. As we open our borders up more in the name of free trade and free competition, our borders become so permeable that these non-state entities have a tremendous mobility and can count on being allowed to profit with relationships with those they must (U.S. U.K., Germany etc, while negotiating terms of entry into places that can give them other types of benefits too, (raw materials, cheap labor, secret banking, cover for illegal activities, what have you.) While I am generally a proponent of globalization, I see danger in the Al-Qaedas of the world and the Bermudas and Cayman Islands of the world. If we return to a period of economic nationalism each of these types of organizations would have more difficulty, but probably with the globalizing technology and morph-ability of the corporate structure, can probably adapt institutions today to adapt to any type of economic system short of fascist corporatism of dictators like Hussein. (and of course they probably can profit from supplicating relationships with these types even more but they have the danger of having their interests revoked and their property nationalized from figures like this) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I think it is a bit too much to lay a main burden of the blame here on the United States. The United States policies of globalization have been working hand in hand with nations around the world. There is a capital class that has had a high degree of success in distributing the bounty of the capitalist economy (and I do think the regulated market economy is superior to any socialist model put forward so far) to pay out to capital at the expense of labor in the last forty years. Of course I think the irony here is that center leftist policies reward the capital classes better than their ideal world (no taxes and the iron law of wages) IMO the modern economy is extremely dependent on consumption and the way to fuel consumption is
  6. Essential Questions for the Future School

    Andy, Quite often. Every education course I ever have had to take. Sometimes in college it was prereqs that I would rather have had a shorter stay in college for. Another was a life skills course in high school that was very eye opening for me. I often have not wanted to take courses that I have taken. But I have been responsible about taking most of those courses.
  7. Essential Questions for the Future School

    But why bother having a teacher in this environment. For me there has to be some merit in experience and knowledge that makes someone the expert in the classroom. I know that if I was allowed to pick everything I did all day when I was sixteen I would be very disappointed today with my choices then. I am a reformer and I do read enthusiastically the ideas of people like Thomas Paine. We should question the value of our institutions constantly. But I also respect the ideas of people who think like Edmund Burke. Before radical change comes, there is still much value to get from our present school set up. Something wonderful can happen today in any classroom on any day. I think a lack of repsect for educators and for education is as much the root of the modern education problem as the structure of our schools. I also believe that schools should have more local control and that more flexibility in typs of schools should be available to the masses. In this way some ideas of the 22nd century can be tried out for progressive and radical thinkers and we can assess the product of the schools that wildly deviate from the traditional school structure.
  8. Developing Interactive Teaching Styles using an IWB

    Admitting from the outset that I seem to be part of the problem, I have had really enjoyed having an IWB in my room the past two years. I am a committed teach from the front of the room type of teacher. I am committed to getting material in front of students and asking them to make something out of it at home, in papers, in essays, and in class. I am very skeptical of group learning in the classroom setting. What I see are students who make someone in the group do most of the work and expect an easier evaluation as a result of a group project. I wish this wasn’t the case, but I haven't seen much evidence to the contrary. I am excited about the development of flash technology. I am glad to see a proliferation of PowerPoint material on the internet and I am happy that there are so many functions that can be worked into PowerPoint. I have had growing success with a site called united streaming that hopefully is continuing to add content. My IWB is allowing me to phase out my television and have my maps removed from class. As my school moves to all tablets I expect an IWB or just a projector system to be a central hub from which to take input from all students more often. But it will still be the information at the front of my classroom. I believe that the power of learning is in the students much more than it is in the school, the administration, or the teacher. I think if we give our children high expectations about their education and their work ethic they will be better people for it. Blaming the education system for the class structure of our society makes little sense to me. Especially today were educational information abounds. I am glad to see on this site that there are people passionate about education. These different ideas could each be the center of successful schools and these different types of schools should exist. But I don't see the value in only appreciating one teaching style over another. Age of students and discipline of learning require variety. IWB is a tool that can be used very effectively. I have really enjoyed turning over part of my week to presentations created by my students. They are 16-18 years old. They mostly use power point as a visual aid, but they have done some wonderful things in finding images, web pages and other different wrinkles. Some have very effectively used posterboards. With the IWB I can follow a student question with a web search. I can stop when I sense a dead period and click in a ten minute video clip from united streaming. This is what interactive has meant for me. I remain committed to controlling the classroom from the front and having information get presented to students. I expect them to take that and build on it. I am pleased when a period is entertaining and productive. But I always emphasize the productive side. I want my students to leave my class more able to enter the world and be able to handle daily responsibilities. I hope that they also get a love of history in the process. But if they don't engage the material they get poor grades and that is not because of the class they come from.
  9. George Bush: Five Years as President

    Sure, these are likely to become partisan talking points, but at least they are from the mouth of the POTUS. It seems in selling the Patriot Act Bush has offered apparently contradictory statements about judicial oversight of these searches. In these remarks he seems to be saying that the Patriot Act powers are carefully monitored. His recent remarks, as far as I can tell, say the opposite. White House President's Remarks at Ask President Bush Event President Bush Calls for Renewing the USA PATRIOT Act President's Radio Address Fact Sheet: Giving Law Enforcement the Tools They Need to Safeguard Our Homeland President Discusses Patriot Act
  10. Patriot Act: Good or Bad?

    It seems in selling the Patriot Act Bush has offered apparently contradictory statements about judicial oversight of these searches. In these remarks he seems to be saying that the Patriot Act powers are carefully monitored. His recent remarks, as far as I can tell, say the opposite. White House President's Remarks at Ask President Bush Event President Bush Calls for Renewing the USA PATRIOT Act President's Radio Address Fact Sheet: Giving Law Enforcement the Tools They Need to Safeguard Our Homeland President Discusses Patriot Act
  11. Who's the Liar?

    Who's the xxxx, it looks like President Bush this week. Sure, these are likely to become partisan talking points, but at least they are from the mouth of the POTUS. It seems in selling the Patriot Act Bush has offered apparently contradictory statements about judicial oversight of these searches. In these remarks he seems to be saying that the Patriot Act powers are carefully monitored. His recent remarks, as far as I can tell, say the opposite. White House President's Remarks at Ask President Bush Event President Bush Calls for Renewing the USA PATRIOT Act President's Radio Address Fact Sheet: Giving Law Enforcement the Tools They Need to Safeguard Our Homeland President Discusses Patriot Act
  12. Secret Wiretapping

    A Thread on the topic from another debate site This is either a bureaucratic issue where Bush is well inside the law but unable to explain how it is so in a convincing manner (partly because of the administration's antagonism toward transparency), or it is an act of executive arrogance that is more akin to the way a dictator must think. It is one of those, "Good people of the nation, we must sacrifice some of our liberties in order to be free. This is always a danger, but trust me because I have your best interests at heart." This seems to me to a dangerous breach of the checks and balances of our system. The country has already gone down the road of secret tribunals and court for black ops, yet Bush couldn't follow the rules and get a warrant for these intrusions into our liberties. Mandatory drug testing, 24/7 video and audio surveillance, sifting through our bank records, loyalty oaths, routine background checks without consent, etc. The problem is that this is supposedly in the name of the value freedom. It is something I highly value and I hold dear the concept of a limited government that is in place to protect and abide by the concept of liberty. Our new King George III (GWB) is overly happy about suspending liberties because people fit his definition of an enemy of the people. When does it happen that such a proactive government calls one of your actions something that is deemed an enemy of the people? The result can be blacklisting or internment camps, or forced removal to other lands. I was going to use Nazi references, but then I remember that the United States has a history of crimes against liberty.
  13. George Bush: Five Years as President

    Raymond I have tried reading your recent post several times...... are you dyslexic? What no dog to kick today? I'll clarify. If Bush accomplishes what he says he is going to accomplish by bringing democracy and peace to the Middle East he will likely be regarded as one of the greatest leaders in the history of the world. Reagan has a good reputation among many Americans and is celebrated as a highlight and icon of the neoconservative movement. American historians tend to acknowledge his charisma and his association with reviving the American self-image, but they also note the failings of his administration. Historians are not tending to rank him as one of the greatest presidents. Considering the mediocrity that surrounds Reagan’s presidency for years on each side it is understandable that Reagan would be considered the best president of the last forty years. Nixon, on the other hand, has a devoted core of long term defenders. There is a way of arguing that Nixon made the trains run on time (as they say, that's not too abstract for you is it?). But in reality Nixon was one of the greatest dangers to the American democracy in our history. In short he is not well thought of. I also made the point that Republican ideologues defend him even though politically he was a moderate. And now I will cut and paste to a spell checker because I have the time and I am not in the middle of taking care of three small children. (This seems to bring on my dyslexia) If you are giving out Christmas presents, a spell-check feature would be grand for us diselxics, Cheers
  14. George Bush: Five Years as President

    Oh come one. If someone achieves Pease in the Middle East they will rank with Jesus the Carpenter and Mohammad. Reagan is remembered fairly well here in the United States but I think historicaly he is seen as having significant limitations. But for the 25 eyars of presidencies he is surrounded by either way he is a highlight. Nixon is not well remembered here except by ideologues who conveniently also froget he was a moderate.
  15. George Bush: Five Years as President

    I think Bush's presidency will ultimately go down as being quite significant, but I think it will be for the harm he caused in international stability, American foreign policy, and American fiscal policy. He has been extremely successful at accomplishing major goals as a president. I believe the world no longer is content to see the US as a benevolent superpower and that we are on a longer range course to return to balance of power politics and there is more significant chance of a 21st century war between major powers (World War III) because of his policies. Between tax cuts, the huge costs of war, spending increases and tilting the American economy to favor the super wealthy even more than it already had, the Bush administration is sending the country into a fiscal and economic crisis on top of the problem that already looms ahead as the government has set the example for businesses by bankrupting the national pension accounts and having to pay as we go in the future because we already spent the money that was to be dedicated to Social Security. I wish he would be remembered as Clinton or his father as a mediocre, little-noted President. I think he will be remembered differently. Of course IF he hits the Home Run and achieves peace and democracy in the Middle East, he will go down in history as one of the greatest American presidents.
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