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23 April 2014


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"To lead effectively, in both the national and the global interest, the US must demonstrate its readiness to shoulder the full responsibilities of power."

She should run for office on that platform. Maybe the citizens could remind her that in the United States of America power does not come from the barrel of a gun. Perhaps Dr. Warmonger, Princton, Oxford, Harvard Law doesn't like that the power of the US Government comes from the consent of the states and thier citizens?


It's not going to be a land war in Europe if things come to that. It will be a nuclear war over Eurasia and North America. The fact that there are people in positions of responsibility who are seemingly sober talking about this nonsense is crazy.



You can feel a kind of hysteria amounting to "dick measuring with comparison" growing in the media. I contacted one prominent journalist last night and told him directly that he is fueling a fire that may consume us all. pl

Babak Makkinejad

All of this would have been funny had the implications not been so serious.

Furthermore, the boundaries of The Emperor and his cohorts coincide, essentially, with the so-called "White People".

I am astonished that they are oblivious to the ramifications of what they are presenting to the rest of the world.


Fred wrote:

Results 1 – 25 of 348

That's just one classification at one company. No jobs! Damn conservatives.'

Looked through a few including past the first page. I couldn't find any entry level jobs for recent graduates but I'm sure they are there if you say so. Nor did any of the jobs provide salary data but I'm sure the salaries are all outstanding if you say so.

Here is more of that to which I was referring:


nick b

That is not what you said originally. You cited lack of opportunity and poor salaries as reasons why no young American would enter science, engineering or computer science. I gave you examples of both opportunity and high salaries in finance. A quick check of google shows that cyber security pays well too.
If the US lags in this area, it's not because of the reasons you cite. Perhaps you should refine your argument.

Charles Dekle


We have excellent programmers and engineers but their software solutions are instantiated on silicon that we no longer produce. There are high risks associated with this policy. Please see the following link as just one example of the scope of the problem:

"... China doesn't need to drop agents into our defense assembly plants to degrade U.S. weapons. They can simply build bad parts and funnel faulty materials right into our weapons systems." There are Defense Science Board reports and GAO reports addressing this issue. I was part of the team that did some serious research in this area before retiring. It is a problem that we must fix.

In addition to the counterfeit threat there is also the risk of malware insertion that we cannot detect.



GCP -- Point taken.
Norbert M Salamon's comment below underscores your concerns.

I was thinking more about FB Ali's analysis, which is similar to what a Comp Lit major might develop.

Mark Kolmar

In an attempt to agree with FB Ali and Col. Lang -- If the game is not chess or poker, rather a waving contest, where they measure centimeters and we measure feet, better turn around and start talking about the integrity of the principle of the thing. Because that is not a win on raw numbers.


There are really two separate although mutually reinforcing tracks here. First, the average scientific and technological literacy of the American population has to be raised. Second, we want to set up a system where those whose training lay outside "regular regimen" of STEM education can make successful inroads because they too have had adequate background to learn what they need quickly. The second practically requires the first as a precondition. Also, the latter would suggest that even STEM students should learn to be creative by getting some serious liberal arts education on the side. And no, this is a long term approach. If there is a Cyber Pearl Harbor tomorrow, or even next month, there's no point to these. But, if there isn't, fundamentally reforming our education system, not just shilling for STEM and demonizing liberal arts (which many people do--I'm not saying you are suggesting it), is a necessary long term solution.

I don't think the way we are approaching STEM education is really seeing this as the prescription. STEM is becoming more regimented and exclusive. Engineers, especially, are getting churned out without getting anything approaching liberal arts education. Liberal arts and social science types are left in the lurch, certainly without getting much STEM education--or, in many cases, without getting much of quality education. Often, the justification is given in terms of how we need more STEM people yesterday and we need to cut corners. So, what would be the gain from churning out half trained rabble?


Entry level salaries are directly related to the right wing denegation of science? Good luck with that complaint. NMS and others have been complaining about US math scores since I was in high school, which is long before the war on science.


The best way to have more "women in tech"?

Stop hiring Patels and Ibn Whatevers and Chongs from Asia for slave wages.

Kyle Pearson

This new emphasis on STEM teaching has been almost directly adopted - in its entirety, from the top down - from Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.

If y'all want to know what the results of STEM will be, there's your answer: stagnating economies (Taiwan's growth is only attributable to the management role it plays on the Mainland; for ordinary people, the economy has been in a tailspin for the last 15 years), but with all that American-bred inequality of hyper-luxury and underclass-squalor, to boot.


"If FB Ali's analysis is accurate, then the distressing concern is that 'folding' will be presented by the neocons and R2Pers as a 'failure'." A lot of folks would be more than happy to put the moniker of "appeaser" on BO's legacy. And with good reason--he has appeased Wall Street, Israel, war profiteers and torturers. Yet for them appeasement seems to be a negative when it avoids nuclear war...

David Habakkuk

F.B. Ali,

To my sorrow, I think it is emerging that your reading of the position of the Obama Administration may have been too sanguine. It did indeed appear plausible to suggest that the text of the Geneva agreement meant that paramilitaries in both the East and the West would have to disarm, and also its provisions would rule out any attempt by Kiev forcibly to reassert its control over the East.

From Kerry’s remarks yesterday, however, it appears that this is not so – that he expects the Russians to ensure disarmament in the East, while having no objection to the attempts at a crackdown by the Kiev authorities, and being overly impressed by moves made by these which hardly seem likely to result in a disarming of the ‘Right Sector’ people.

(See http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/04/225166.htm .)

What these remarks by Kerry also suggest that we are dealing with people who have totally bamboozled themselves with their own propaganda – indeed, one might say, have a rather weak grip of the notion of objective reality. As ‘b’ brings out in a first-class new post on ‘Moon of Alabama’, Kerry asserted as fact that ‘some of the individual special operations personnel, who were active on Russia’s behalf in Chechnya, Georgia, and Crimea have been photographed in Slovyansk, Donetsk, and Luhansk.’

Almost incredibly, Kerry was making this claim at a time when the claim that these photographs are authentic had been abandoned even in the mainstream Western media. Indeed, as ‘b’ notes, ‘Time’ had tracked down the bearded man who featured prominently in them, and found that, far from being a member of an elite Russian special forces unit, he is a Cossack fugitive from criminal charges in Russia (although he claims he was framed.)

(For the ‘b’ piece, which contains the link to the ‘Time’ report, see http://www.moonofalabama.org/ .)

What the account given by ‘Time’ reinforces is my strong suspicion that the whole notion that Russian special operations people are already heavily deployed in Ukraine outside Crimea may be questionable. It has, moreover, seemed to me that such deployments at this point would represent a reckless hostage to fortune.

The Ukrainian military, and also the SBU and the law enforcement apparatus, clearly mirror the divisions in the country. For intelligence purposes, the Russians are likely to have quite sufficient assets in place. As moreover quite a few people are likely to be playing both sides, bringing in ‘little green men’ at this point would expose the Russians to a risk of exposure. A single instance of unambiguous visual or audio evidence of the presence of ‘spetsnaz’, let alone the actual capture of one, would have a devastating effect on the credibility of the whole Russian position.

Moreover, if in fact ‘little green men’ are present in Ukraine, it should be possible for the Kiev authorities, with all the resources of John Brennan’s merry men to assist them, to come up with something rather more impressive than a collection of bogus photographs.

The question of how far the Russians have instigated the occupations in the East is obviously a separate issue. But then, the fact that people like Kerry probably do see the likes not only of Yatsenyuk but of Parubiy through some kind of roseate haze – which may make it difficult for them to grasp that some in the East at least may want to take things into their own hands, without being put up to doing so by Putin.


"As for diversity... if you do a lot of work remotely, you actually don't know who is on the other end of the interaction. However, it's been my observation that diversity tends to create better outcomes in a global marketplace; for many companies, diversity is a business necessity - it has zilch to do with political correctness."

I see you're ignorant of the two tempest in a teapot "controversies" that sprung up because of a perceived lack of commitment to the cult of diversity (Mozilla & Github).

Kneeling to diversity means a lot of make work for women and minorities in HR and Media ("digital evangelists") versus the actual hard work of computer engineering.


The general problem throughout the West is the direct refusal of the powers that be to place any value on practical experience whatsoever. Indeed, as Col. Lang has opined, practical experience is denigrated. What is sought and valued instead is Academic qualifications leading to a theoretical knowledge of almost any subject short of surgery.

The outcome of this in business has been the rise of the MBA Manager, of which class I am a specimen. They were taught that in theory they can run any business successfully without detailed practical coal face experience. I am living proof this is BS.

In the U.S., there used to be a class of professionals called "diplomats" who did diplomacy and advised on foreign policy. They suffered the same fate as other experienced professionals - being replaced by dilletants and theoreticians. The net result is the Kafka-esque post modern foreign policy where an agreement signed Ten days ago is repudiated as having "served it's purpose" .

This is the bluff that has been called - the practical experienced, Russian team have called a weak, intellectually bankrupt Obama administration and found them wanting.

FB Ali

David, I've been out all day, hence couldn't respond earlier.

It is quite possible that my assessment of the US's stance at Geneva was too optimistic, since it was based on the assumption that its leaders were grounded in reality in spite of their public posturing. As you (and others) suspect, this may not be the case.

We shall soon find out. In my hypothesis I had allowed for more chest thumping by the West and the imposition of further token sanctions (against individuals). We will have to wait and see whether they go further; the imposition of sectoral sanctions would be evidence that my assessment was wrong, since they would raise the confrontation to a whole other level.

There is still hope that we won't reach that stage. Obama was careful today to link such sanctions to Russian troops actually crossing the border, (though Kerry, the neocons and the MSM are insisting that this has already happened).

I tend to agree with you that it is unlikely that Russia has any Spetznaz soldiers in Ukraine; as you say, they should have been found out by now, and Kerry etc wouldn't have to resort to such desperate (and stupid) efforts to try and 'prove' this.

As for what is likely to happen if the US does lose its mind and impose sectoral sanctions, it is a daunting prospect. Putin has played his hand fairly coolly so far, but he could react emotionally to such an attack (if it had its intended effect, which would partly depend on how far European countries and financial/economic sectors went along). Then we are in uncharted territory, because neither side can afford to back down. We may yet face the 'ultimate scenario', and Yatseniuk may get his wish for World War III.


KHC - I couldn't have put it better.
Kyle Pearson's comment also speaks wisely to this issue.


I am really afraid of its consequences. One thing I have noticed in my experienced is that, while Asian education does produce more students with good basic skills (who can find right answers to standard questions), it largely fails to produce students who can ask questions when the situation is "non-standard." Good American students, while relatively fewer, can generally deal eith unexpected problems better than relatively numerous "good" Asian students.

The strength of the American education comes from the relatively few really good students. If we lose them while trying to emulate China or Korea, we lose our edge.


"Diversity" that works is totally opposite of the politically correct "diversity." (See above) Unfortunately, "we" actively promote the latter and actively suppress the former.


nick b wrote : '... Perhaps you should refine your argument.'

Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. You originally provided some anecdotal evidence in a couple of markets (although why anyone leaving high school would want to go into the auto business long term is debatable) but we really don't have any salary data to make that determination. Maybe those auto jobs are unfilled because they don't pay doodly-squat. The article on cyber security is more interesting and I would think supports my argument more than yours.

The article seems to imply there are plenty of jobs available at very good entry salaries but not enough people to fill them. Less than half are filled with tech majors and the others are non-tech. I have nothing against non-tech majors (I was a double major myself one of which was a social science) and despite the arguments for hiring such people they simply aren't ready for a cyber attack without significant additional training. That's not to say over the long run they can't be very good at that job only that if an attack were to come shortly we simply aren't ready and to a large extent that's because we don't have enough technical graduates.

Also, with cyber-security, a lot of these jobs are government jobs or dependent on government contracts. As the crow flies across the lake I live about a mile from the Johnson Space Center. People are fleeing government jobs when they have an opportunity to do so because of the uncertainty associated with this type of work for the reasons I mentioned. For better or worse (I happen to think for worse as government should be an honorable and stable occupation) it is what it is at this point in time.


kao_hsien-chih wrote:

'Also, the latter would suggest that even STEM students should learn to be creative by getting some serious liberal arts education on the side.'

I agree with this 1000%.

This biggest detriment to creativity in this country is in the high schools. In Texas it was a conservative idea to take teaching away from the teachers and place more value on 'teaching to the test' instead. I'm sure we all remember Bush's 'reforms' when he was governor which he touted in his campaigns. He brought 'accountability' to the schools by making professional development for schools, school administrators and teachers dependent on the results of standardized testing. How they expect teachers to have their professional lives dependent on the numbers who pass a standardized test when learning is related to so many external environmental factors is beyond me but we are where we are. Teachers can't allow students time to learn to be creative (which means they have to be given chances to fail) because all time is spent getting students ready to 'pass the test'. Although I have no experience with schools outside Texas from reading the papers it seems this is a process which is now widely adopted across the country.


Kyle Pearson wrote:

'This new emphasis on STEM teaching has been almost directly adopted - in its entirety, from the top down - from Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.'

Exactly. Rote learning is all it is.


'I am really afraid of its consequences. One thing I have noticed in my experienced is that, while Asian education does produce more students with good basic skills (who can find right answers to standard questions), it largely fails to produce students who can ask questions when the situation is "non-standard." Good American students, while relatively fewer, can generally deal eith unexpected problems better than relatively numerous "good" Asian students.'

Thank you for saying this.

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