I am often amazed at how some people with impressive academic credits can be so stupid when it comes to the most important subjects that affect their very lives? Cindy Sheehan described the out of touch, right wing spokes person William Kristol this way," By all accounts, Mr. Kristol is a brilliant man, who like his father before him, uses his brilliance for destruction. He is a shameless supporter of a failed, murderous, and miserable strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan and one of the "mushroom cloud" crowd. One thing Mr. William Kristol is not, is a combat vet."
I think she gives Kristol too much credit. Does she believe he is brilliant because he graduated from Harvard? George Bush graduated from Harvard, although I am yet to hear any Harvard folks brag about it. I never equated academic credentials with character or smarts and certainly not with moral structure.
All during the sixties the Kristol types baffled me. They claim to be patriotic and they are not. Patriots stand up for what they believe is in the best interest of their country not the best interests of a chosen few, or the best interests of a foreign state. They claim to be knowledgeable and they are not. One day I debated a representative from then Senator Tom Dodd’s office. (Chris Dodd’s father who was later censured by the congress) Dodd was a Vietnam War hawk. It soon became obvious to the audience that the man didn’t know much about the history or the oppression of the people of South East Asia nor did he know much about the political situation. I can remember him saying things like, "The people of Southeast Asia will be so grateful to us for bringing them democracy."
Cindy also reports," On February 20, 2003, Mr. Kristol incredibly gushed: "If we free the people of Iraq, we will be respected in the Arab world."
It is De’JA vu all over again as Yogi Berra said. What Arab world is he talking about? After the murder and mayhem we have brought the people of the region it will be a long time in hell before we can gain any respect there.
Essay Thirty Nine
Acadamia is shuddering and shaking like the empire.
Matthew Abraham said on September 5th, 2007 " I am an untenured, assistant professor at DePaul University in Chicago, where Norman G. Finkelstein, the most heroic critic of U.S. and Israeli policy in Palestine ever to set foot in the U.S. academy, was denied tenure over nearly three months ago. I was, and am, deeply saddened that DePaul University, the institution where I have chosen to make a career, has so effectively undermined its social justice mission in a series of actions that have put us, as a faculty body, in grave peril.
By capitulating to the threats, antics, and pressures of Alan Dershowitz, the Israel Lobby, and its numerous affiliates, DePaul has compromised something so integral to an educational institution’s mission, that once so compromised, it is impossible to regain. That something is institutional autonomy. An institution’s ability to withstand outside pressure, and economic coercion — which can often be tantamount to blackmail — is a must in an age of corporate scandal, sleazy deal making, and political cover-ups. The general public used to look to the academy for leadership, vision"
Noam Chomsky of MIT says, "[Dershowitz] launched a jihad against Norman Finkelstein simply to try and vilify and defame in the hope that maybe what he is writing will disappear."
Yes, this is the same Dershowitz that not only defended the Pollards who were found guilty of spying and giving US secretes to Israel, but also campaigned for their release. Obviously His country did not come first.
How can anyone call themselves a patriot when they write junk yard dog attack letters to the dean of a school asking them to refuse tenure to a respected professor simply because he does not like the professor’s writings? He made the professor so uncomfortable that he resigned. Dershowitz also has campaigned to keep others, who may say anything, negative about Israel from speaking at schools. He is Jewish and as such how can he not realize that he is the same as one of the brown shirt book burners?
The influence all of this has on students, in particular the Hillel members on campus must be enormous. If you do not like what someone says, try and get him or her fired. Dershawitz is a main contributor to the Divisiveness that leads to the isolation of many students on campuses. Extra security is needed when incidents like the showing of the very offensive Muslim Cartoons were shown on campuses. Thousands of Muslims worldwide protested both on and off the college campuses. One wonders who put them up to it on the Harvard campus.
More divisiveness is just what is not needed as we start this new school year.
The entire US education system is under duress. The "No child left behind act" has further divided the system. --Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said that "the U.S. higher education system is the envy of the world but primary and secondary schools are failing to adequately prepare students for college." Mr. Gates sends his three children to private schools and he himself is a college drop out. (Proving that the key to financial success is a college degree is not always a fact.) One of the wealthiest men in the world also said, "This nation has to do something very challenging, which is to provide a strong education to almost every student,"
It is true that if you are one of the football elite in high school or a member of the new phenomenon the girls basketball elite and a member of a minority group chances are good that you can go on to college. The chances are also good that you may join the ranks of America’s uneducated graduates. I have had conversations with students at some of America’s most prestigious citadels of higher learning and was amazed that they maintain such high averages in their masters of business administration classes and can not tell you anything about what really makes their government run.
As the rich in America get richer and the poor get poorer US News and World Reports published these figures. "An academic year at a typical public university is $16,400: $5,836 for tuition and fees, almost $7,000 for room and board, and an additional $3,500 or so for books, travel, and entertainment, If prices keep rising at the current rate, (6%per year) students who don't receive any grants will most likely pay more than $115,000 to reach graduation day."
In 2005 Act (The ACT test assesses high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work) reported half of last year's high school graduates did not have the reading skills they needed for college-level science and math courses. The report, based on scores of the 2005 high school graduates who took the exam, some 1.2 million students in all, also found that fewer than one in four met the college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects tested: reading comprehension, English, math and science.
The 2007 report was glowing, well sorta, "Scores have trended upward for nearly all racial/ethnic groups since 2003. All groups with the exception of African American graduates posted an increase on their ACT composite score this year compared to last, with Asian American students showing a sizable gain of 0.3 point. Scores for African American students this year are 0.1 point higher than in 2003, but have fluctuated slightly in the intervening years, dropping 0.1 point this year compared to last year."
With the reorganization of the militant Students for a Democratic Society forming on many college campuses across the nation and the huge demonstration against the war Planned for Washington DC September 16, 2007 all taking place in a divided society and a divided student body I fear for our young people.
College campuses are just an extension of our society. The anger and alienation splitting racial and ethnic groups amid the fear and anxiety created by the Bush administration, with the help of the Dershewitz types, can soon lead to the violent explosion that will further accelerate the crumbling of the empire.