Has Our Education System Failed Teapublicans?

Over the last several years, it has become obvious that Republicans and their Tea Party Parasites lack basic comprehension skills. For example, when the President made a speech talking about the role of government, he said, “…look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

It was obvious that President Obama was referring to the fact that businesses benefit from government-provided infrastructure. But Teapublicans couldn’t grasp that. All they heard was “you didn’t build that.”

Likewise, during a lengthy Senate hearing on Benghazi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had tired of answering the same loaded questions over what led to the attack on the consulate, she finally said, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information.”

Teapublicans failed to comprehend the content of her testimony. All they heard was “what difference does it make?”

More recently, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that, among other things, noted the impact of the Affordable Care Act (for you Teapublicans, that’s “Obamacare”) on the labor market. The CBO report stated that the ACA would result in as many as 2.5 million people voluntarily leaving their full-time jobs because they would no longer be bound to those jobs for employer-based health insurance. The impact, according to the CBO, is that up to 2.5 million jobs openings would be created by 2024.

Teapublicans, of course, failed to comprehend the report. They believed that 2.5 million jobs would be lost…not created…and immediately labeled the ACA a “job killer.”

No wonder theTeapublicans are so angry all the time. They seem to lack the basic hearing and reading skills to comprehend the spoken word and written reports. Obviously, our education system has failed them.

GOP Identity Thieves.

Last week, it was revealed that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has created numerous websites pretending to be fundraising sites for 18 Democratic Congressional candidates. For example, if you Google Kyrsten Sinema, you may be led to a site headlined “Kyrsten Sinema for Congress.” But unless you notice the small subhead that reads, “Make a contribution today to help defeat Sinema and candidates like her,” your donation will actually help Sinema’s opponent.

That’s a dirty trick that would make Tricky Dicky Nixon proud!

It’s the same kind of scam that ticket resellers use to sell you theater tickets or concert tickets at exhorbitant prices. They buy a URL designed to make you believe it’s an official site for the theater. They let you choose your seats and pay for them online. Then, when you receive the tickets, you discover they are for nosebleed seats you could have purchased for a third the price.

It’s obviously fraud, but no one in authority seems inclined to prosecute.

Of course, authorities are even less likely to prosecute a political party or campaign committee. In politics, virtually anything goes…especially if you are a Republican or a Republican-leaning Super PAC. While advertisers of products and services are held accountable for claims made in their advertisements, the same cannot be said for political ads. If you’re a political campaign committee, you can lie, slander and libel your opponent(s) with no repercussions. The candidate simply says that he, or she, was unaware of the lies. And the campaign committee is dissolved as soon as the election is over.

You can’t sue an entity that no longer exists.

Of course, Republicans and Independents would like to believe that both sides are equally guilty. They’re not. Republicans mastered the art of lying and scamming during the Nixon administration and they’ve been using these tactics ever since. And what’s too despicable for them to do or say themselves they leave for Fox “News” Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and others to do.

No one on the left remotely resembles these liars and scam artists.

The Great Debate.

On Tuesday, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” debated Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum…you know, the place featuring dioramas of Adam and Eve sharing the Earth with dinosaurs.

I give credit to Ham. Not only did he pay Nye’s substantial speaking fee for the event. He risked exposing his supporters to a dose of reality. Nevertheless, I doubt Nye changed any minds. That’s the problem with trying to debate the faithful…they accept things based on faith and ignore anything that would contradict their beliefs, including actual scientific evidence based on centuries of observations and objective data.

For example, Ham and his followers believe the Earth is 6,000 years old based on the book of Genesis in the Bible. Ham says that the Bible trumps scientific research. “I find there’s only one infallible dating method,” said Ham. “It’s a witness who was there, who knows everything and told us, and that’s from the word of God.”

Ham fails to consider that the Bible is a written account of Judeo-Christian traditions and that it’s not necessarily any more accurate than the creationist accounts of other tribes – accounts such as the Chinese belief that humans came from a cosmic egg; the Tibetan belief that humans are the offspring of a monkey and a great demoness; the Egyptian belief that all creatures were created on a potter’s wheel; the Mayan belief that humans were created from wood; the ancient Greek belief that humans are the progeny of the Earth and the sky; the Hopi belief that man emerged from a hole in the Earth; and the Navajo belief that the first woman was created by blue and yellow clouds and the first man was created by black and white clouds.

All of these deserve as much credibility as the Judeo-Christian account. Moreover, unlike Ham, many civilizations believe the Earth is far older than 6,000 years. Indeed, Hindus believe that the Universe is 4,320,000,000 years old, a figure that more closely aligns with the dating of modern science.

But other traditions and science don’t matter to people like Ham. Ham believes the Judeo-Christian creation story is the only one that matters. He believes that the Bible was not written by man. He believes it is the actual word of God and anyone who contradicts anything in the Bible is simply wrong. It’s a matter of faith. The only one who could possibly convince him to accept the evidence supplied by historians, geologists, anthropologists, astrophysicists and archeaologists is God.

And the Judeo-Christian God hasn’t yet authored a sequel to the Bible.

Guns In The Neighborhood.

I live in a small development near several tourist destinations in Arizona. There’s absolutely nothing remarkable about the neighborhood other than it is primarily populated by retirees from California and snowbirds from New England and the Midwest. The neighborhood has virtually no crime and has never experienced a home invasion. Despite this, I have to assume the majority of my neighbors are gun owners. Arizona, after all, is a gun-friendly state. Many people come here to get their cowboy on. And it seems that our legislature values guns more than people.

If that sounds crazy, I assure you that it’s not as crazy as some of our laws.

In Arizona, you can carry a gun virtually anywhere…in your car, to the shopping mall, to your church, even to the bar. The state has even made it illegal for cities to destroy guns that have been confiscated from felons or used in crimes. The cities are mandated to sell them.

As a result of our gun-crazy culture, Arizona has more than its share of gun hoarders…those who have convinced themselves that the government and/or the UN is coming to take their guns. There is also a large number of so-called “sovereign citizens”…those who refuse to accept the rule of government.

I have no idea how many of my neighbors fit into these categories, but I do know of two. One is a retired electrical engineer who owned a large collection of handguns, shotguns and assault rifles until he got drunk one afternoon and threatened to kill his wife and himself. The sheriff;s deputies confiscated the weapons and the neighbor is now serving time in prison for that and a variety of senseless crimes associated with his drinking. Another arsenal of handguns and assault weapons belongs to a neighbor whose love of high-powered weaponry is exceeded only by his love of alcohol.

How comforting!

Knowing that a few yards away there is a large arsenal in the possession of such an individual does not make me feel more secure. Neither does knowing that there are dozens more who have guns at the ready. These people are exemplified by a neighbor who was convinced to purchase a handgun by one of his gun-loving paranoid friends. He told me the first time he fired it, the slide nearly amputated his thumb. He’s still uncomfortable with it, but that doesn’t prevent him from keeping the loaded weapon on the nightstand next to his bed. Even more disturbing is the fact that he keeps a round in the chamber, which means he is more likely to accidentally shoot himself or a friend than any potential intruder.

Rather than make our neighborhood more secure, all of these guns make it more dangerous; more likely that there will be an accidental shooting; more likely that the guns will be used in a shootout between neighbors than to shoot an intruder. But most suggested changes for gun control would fail to weed out these people. They all passed background checks. They all supposedly took at least one firearm safety class. Yet they are all armed and dangerous to themselves, their families and their neighbors.

These people clearly demonstrate that the only thing that can reduce the number of nincompoops who own guns is to reduce the number of guns. Period.

Worse Than Iraq.

This past Saturday, the United Nations reported that at least 733 Iraqis had been killed and at least 1,229 wounded in January as the result of violence. Worse, the UN said that the numbers did not include Anbar province due to problems verifying the numbers killed. Those numbers are startling and they justifiably made headlines in newspapers throughout the US.

But there was one nation that experienced even more violence last month – the United States of America.

As I noted in a recent post, there are more than 11,000 gun homicides in the US each year. That means that, on average, there are more than 916 gun homicides in the US each month…nearly 200 more than the deaths that occurred last month in Iraq! And, if you include those killed by other means, the US likely experienced more than 1,330 homicides last month…nearly double the number killed by violence in Iraq!

Looking at it another way, the US experiences nearly one-third the number of violent deaths each month as Syria, which is immersed in a cruel civil war. Yet I don’t recall seeing any headlines decrying the violence in the US. I don’t see humanitarian groups running to the aid of those in our most violent neighborhoods. I don’t hear conservative politicians calling for military intervention to help curb our violence.

Are conservative politicians so afraid of the National Rifle Association, that they have become willing to ignore our own violence? Have ordinary citizens become so accustomed to mass murders, gang violence, revenge killings, road rage and domestic violence that we no longer notice it? Or worse, yet, no longer care?

A Memorial To Gun Victims?

A new study by Dr. John Leventhal, professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, found that firearms kill more than 3,000 children each year in the US.  Another 7,000 are wounded badly enough to be hospitalized, most from assaults. And those are just the statistics for children! Overall, there are more than 11,000 homicides per year in the US involving a firearm and more than 19,000 suicides involving a gun according to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

No other advanced nation comes close.

To put these statistics into perspective, the number of children killed by guns in the US in a single year exceeds the 2,977 people who died in the attacks on 9/11. The 4,486 US soldiers killed during the 6 years of the Iraq War is less than half the number of gun homicides that occur in the US in a single year. And the 2,287 US soldiers who have been killed during the 10 years we have been engaged in the Afghan War is roughly equivalent to two and a half months of gun homicides in the US!

Put another way, as of May 2011, there were 58,272 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, representing the number of US soldiers killed during our 14 years of military involvement in Vietnam. The number of gun homocides in the US would exceed that number in approximately 5 years. And, if you included gun suicides, the number would be exceeded in just 3 years!

Do you still think we don’t have a gun problem in this country?

Yet despite the overwhelming reality of these statistics, American politicians refuse to act. The shooting of a US Congresswoman and the mass murder in Tucson, Arizona wasn’t enough to force common sense gun control. The mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater wasn’t enough. Even the slaughter of 26 children in Newtown, Connecticut wasn’t enough to prompt Congress to act. They couldn’t even pass a measure calling for universal background checks of gun purchasers when polls showed that a vast majority of Americans supported it.

It makes one wonder what it will take to bring Americans to our senses.

I would suggest that we create a memorial to gun victims listing all of their names. Make the memorial as visible and as powerful as possible, something similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Add the names of gun victims week by week; month by month; year by year. It may take a while, but eventually most sane people will realize exactly what our lax gun laws are costing us.

At least I would certainly hope so.