Debate Magazine

On the Anniversary of 9/11.....

Posted on the 11 September 2013 by Doggone
On the anniversary of 9/11.....
I am so very glad that we have Obama in the Oval Office, instead of the right wing neo-cons personified by 'Dubya the Dumb'.
I am so very glad that we have Obama in the Oval Office, instead of the right wing neo-cons personified by ‘Dubya the Dumb’.
A new Salon article underlines the real differences in intellect between Dubya and Obama:
The 1 percent’s Ivy League loophole
Not only do children of rich alumni get admission preferences, now they can get taxpayers to help them, too!
Legacy preference in college admission, or the practice of selecting the offspring of alumni over other qualified candidates, was originally a strategy developed to grandfather Jewish applicants out of admission. Though the policy’s intention has changed, it remains the reality that as American students head back to campus this fall, 10 to 25 percent of them do not deserve their spots. They’re “legacy admits,” the kids who got a boost via birth.
Quite a boost, in fact. In their 2005 paper “The Opportunity Cost of Admission Preferences at Elite Universities,” Princeton scholars Thomas Espenshade and Chang Chung found that legacy status gives fortunate applicants the equivalent of an additional 160 points on the former 1,600 point SAT scale. One hundred sixty points is no small adjustment; on the contrary, it’s the sort of improvement hopeful high schoolers bury their noses in books for. Yet it comes gratis to a set of students already privileged enough to be born to graduates of prestigious institutions.
Legacy preference seems to intensify in effect toward the upper end of university rankings, rendering entry into prestigious institutions with valuable resources and facilities especially daunting for poor students without alumni parents (or for first-generation applicants with no graduates in the family). Journalist Daniel Golden reports that nearly 90 percent of elite institutions calibrate their scales in favor of legacy status when weighing applicants against one another; as a result, numerous top-tier universities feature legacy acceptance rates far higher than overall acceptance rates. Legacy, in other words, is a sort of affirmative action for the wealthy, with fewer outraged news specials featuring tearful interviews of rejected candidates.
We saw President George Bush, father go to Yale; then we see his less than genius son get into that Ivy League institution as well - arguably as a so-called legacy admission. No one has ever accused Dubya of being a good student - or a good president. Dubya is not widely regarded as a deep thinker, or much of a thinker at all.
In contrast, we saw Bill Clinton qualifying as a Rhodes Scholar, and we saw Obama as a student who also earned his class positions and graduated with honors, from Harvard.
This is not coincidental, the correlation between the Ivy League Schools, and rising to power, and the factor of merit versus lack of merit:
...through some combination of all those factors arises a path to power: Research by Thomas Dye of the Lincoln Center for Public Service shows that 54 percent of America’s corporate leaders as well as 42 percent of our government officials are all graduates of just 12 institutions – Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford among them. In 2003, Harvard accepted 40 percent of legacy applicants compared to an overall 11 percent acceptance rate; Princeton’s numbers are quite similar.
As we look at the situation in Syria, we see actual weapons of mass destruction, we see Obama take the time and applying the critical thinking capability to make an intellectually honest determination and presentation. As Human Rights Watch notes, supporting the determination made by the U.S. government intelligence agencies:
The evidence concerning the type of rockets and launchers used in these attacks strongly suggests that these are weapon systems known and documented to be only in the possession of, and used by, Syrian government armed forces, Human Rights Watch said.
We've gone from waiting for the U.N. investigators to confirm that the attacks were made with illegal chemical weapons; that seems to be widely accepted. While Syria continues to deny they waged the attack, no one seems any longer to really believe that was the case. In any event, Syria prevented the U.N. investigators from addressing the issue of who launched the attack, preventing them from any access until that condition was agreed. That leaves the a gap which appears to be well-filled by the corroboration of the Human Rights Watch report, IN ADDITION to the confirmation by the intel agencies of our allies.
Where we had Bush ignore attack warnings, including from his own experts, we had 9/11. We have had no comparable event under Obama. Before our rightwing readers start mindlessly screeching about Benghazi, that appeared to have been an attack which was contemplated but not actually scheduled, until a last minute decision. In contrast, there have been far fewer attacks on the U.S. diplomatic missions under Obama, than under Dubya, and the casualties have been a fraction of those under Dubya. And, of course, not last or least, it was under Obama's direction that Osama bin Laden was taken, and it has been under Obama that we are out of the disaster that was Iraq, and are on our way out of Afghanistan, both involvements bungled by Dubya.
Syria, in contrast, is being handled so as to prevent not only the kind of conflicts that precipitated 9/11 being repeated in further foreign attacks, but also in a way far more likely to unify rather than divide Americans. And this time, we have the U.N. on our side, supporting the alternative proposed by Sec State Kerry:
UN Chief Urges Syria to Transfer Chemical Weapons
UNITED NATIONS September 9, 2013 (AP)
Associated Press
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging Syria to immediately agree to transfer chemical weapons and chemical precursors to a safe place within the country for international destruction.
Ban said Monday he will also propose to the Security Council that it unite and demand an immediate chemical weapons transfer should U.N. inspectors conclude that such weapons were used in an attack Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus.
He said he is also considering asking the council to demand accountability for an alleged chemical weapons attack.
It should be obvious, even this early in his term in office as Sec State, that Kerry would have been a better choice than Dubya in 2004. There are clear and obviously important differences between those who get into prominent positions of power and authority on merit, versus those who buy their way to the top without it.  The right believes that ideology will work for them, no matter what the reality is, as a kind of blind and stupid faith.  The left and center operate on merit and intellect and a much greater objectivity in dealing with the real world of facts.
We are clearly better off with the latter than the dumber.

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