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Sunday, March 23, 2014

A War for All Seasons

by Debra Rae author

For ancient Israelites war held religious significance. In fact, priests often accompanied armies into battle. Wars were initiated with sacrificial rites; the divine oracle was consulted and trumpets blown. Biblical battles date back to the time of Abraham and Israel’s wars of conquest and were followed by wars involving the United Kingdom and, thereafter, the Divided Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.[1]

Over nine hundred years before Christ, Solomon acknowledged a time for war.[2] The second president of the United States, John Adams apparently embraced Solomonic wisdom by defending war in these similarly pragmatic terms: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.[3]

King-of-the-Mountain Wars
The Psalmist posed an age old question: “Why do the nations rage?”[4] Over two thousand years ago Plato attempted a reply: “When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.”[5]

In other words, desires of fallen humanity (with king-of-the-mountain ambition) move swiftly to violence. This principle was evidenced in the life of Adolph Hitler.[6] Begun by an East Saudi Arabian Muslim scholar of the seventh century, today’s revivalist Wahabi movement mirrors Nazism in its extremist orthodoxy and decidedly militant actions.[7]

Just War
Countering wars of unbridled aggression, Augustine and Aquinas fashioned Christian theory for just wars—namely, in the face of a grave wrong (one that can be stopped only by violence), it is egregious to enjoy a blissful state of peacefulness.[8] Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously concurred. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil,” he mused. “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”[9]

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Monday, March 10, 2014

CATO: Common Core End Game

Common Core End Game


CatoLibertyFor far too long a big part of the Common Core debate has been about establishing simple fact: the federal government provided serious coercion to get states to adopt the Core, and the Core’s creators asked for such arm twisting. Indeed, just yesterday, Andy Smarick at the Core-supporting Thomas B. Fordham Institute lamented that the write-up for President Obama’s education budget proposal gives the administration credit for widespread Core adoption. Wrote Smarick: “The anti-Common Core forces will likely use this language as evidence that Common Core was federally driven.” Of course it was federally driven, by Race to the Top (RTTT) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers! But the budget proposal tells us far more than that.

The big story in the proposal is – or, at least, should be – that the president almost certainly wants to make the Core permanent by attaching annual federal funding to its use, and to performance on related tests. Just as the administration called for in its 2010 NCLB reauthorization proposal, POTUS wants to employ more than a one-time program, or temporary waivers, to impose “college and career-ready standards,” which–thanks to RTTT and waivers–is essentially synonymous with Common Core. In fact, President Obama proposes changing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – of which NCLB is just the most recent reauthorization – to a program called “College- and Career-Ready Students,” with an annual appropriation of over $14 billion.

This was utterly predictable. Core opponents, who are so often smeared as conspiracy mongers, know full well both what the President has proposed in the past, and how government accumulates power over time. RTTT was the foot in the door, and once most states were using the same standards and tests, there was little question what Washington would eventually say: “Since everyone’s using the same tests and standards anyway, might as well make federal policy based on that.” Perhaps given the scorching heat the Common Core has been taking lately, most people didn’t expect the administration to make the move so soon, but rational people knew it would eventually come. Indeed, the “tripod” of standards, tests, and accountability that many Core-ites believe is needed to make “standards-based reform” function, logically demands federal control. After all, a major lesson of NCLB is that states will not hold themselves accountable for setting and clearing high academic bars.

While it’s a crucial fact, the full story on the Common Core isn’t that the feds coerced adoption. It is that the end game is almost certainly complete federal control by connecting national standards and tests to annual federal funding. And that, it is now quite clear, is no conspiracy theory. 


Monday, March 3, 2014

NRO: Ukraine and Our Useless Outrage

Ukraine and Our Useless Outrage 

By Victor Davis Hanson | FEBRUARY 27, 2014

Don’t step over the line and re-militarize the Rhineland. Absorbing Austria would cross a red line. Breaking up Czechoslovakia is unacceptable. Get out of Poland by the announced deadline. The rest was history.

Don’t dare blow up another American military barracks overseas. Don’t even consider another attack on the World Trade Center. Don’t even try blowing up one more American embassy in East Africa. Don’t ever put a hole in a U.S. warship again. The rest was history.

Map picture
President Obama issued yet another one of those sorts of warnings to stop the violence to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych just before protesters drove Yanukovych out of office. “There will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama threatened.

Read the rest of the article at National Review online…