by Thea Halo
Oscar Wilde once said: “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” A graph by ‘Vincedevries’1 on Quartz sums it up beautifully!!!!
- The Five Universal Laws of Human Stupidity
- Helpless people offer benefits to others and losses to themselves.
- Bandits or the corrupt offer benefits to themselves and losses to others.
- Intelligent people offer benefits to others and benefits to themselves.
- Stupid people offer losses to themselves and losses to others.
So what should we make of the following news reports?
- US food pesticides contaminated with toxic ‘forever chemicals’ testing finds.
PFAS are present at ‘potentially dangerous’ levels in widely used chemicals sprayed on food crops destined for Americans’ plates. (Note: The EPA is the government agency designed to protect Americans from harmful ingredients in our food and drugs, yet it “… has previously been silent on PFAS in food pesticides…[and] The potential for millions of acres of contaminated food cropland…”2 In other words, as we are told to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, the agency designed to protect the health of Americans is allowing us to be poisoned on a daily basis with chemicals it knows causes cancer and other deadly illnesses.
Next: Little more than a month after a six year old brought a gun to school to deliberately shoot his teacher,3
- “Missouri’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted against banning children from carrying guns in public without adult supervision. A Democrat who sponsored the proposal [to ban children from carrying guns] said police asked for the change, adding that ‘we have 14-year-olds … carrying AR-15s.’4
- Grand Rapids school staff confiscates gun from third grader, issues backpack ban.5
Note: This was the fourth of the academic year.
- Then we have three young people shot simply for accidentally going to the wrong address to pick up a sibling, or pulling into the wrong driveway.6
On February 14, 2023, ABC news reported: “There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023, database shows. There have been 67 mass shootings so far this year.”7 Note: By then there had been only 45 days in 2023. This post does not list the latest mass shootings.The Pew Research Center reported that: “In 2021, … 48,830 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC.” That trend continued in 2022 and 2023. How does this square with the ‘right to life” folks? Or is their real slogan the right to be born? After that, you’re on your own.
Of course, there is a reason for the lack of will to make sensible gun laws. Here’s a link to a list of all the congressional hopefuls and members of congress—almost all Republicans with only four Democrats—who took money from the NRA, often repeatedly.8 Were they elected to work for the NRA or to “protect and serve American citizens? Here are a few more gun related news reports.
- Analysis: How a Supreme Court ruling led to the overturning of a guns and domestic violence law. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently struck down a federal law prohibiting individuals from “possessing a firearm while under a domestic violence restraining order.”9 (Note: What could go wrong? One can only wonder if this law would have been struck down if women were the main perpetrators of domestic violence against men.)
- Tennessee House votes to expel 2 of 3 Democratic members over gun protest
In an extraordinary move, Tennessee’s Republican-led House voted Thursday to expel two of three Democratic lawmakers who recently led a raucous protest from the House floor calling for gun law reforms.10 (Note: They were later reinstated after protests.)
- One mass killing every 6.53 days: US shootings are on a record pace. Despite the death toll, there is little indication of federal policy changes, but some states have tried to impose more gun control.11
- Attempts to Ban Books Are Accelerating and Becoming More Divisive.
“To mark Banned Books Week, the American Library Association released a report on the rise in censorship efforts: In 2022, there have been attempts to restrict access to 1,651 titles.”12 Note: Of course, our concerned politicians want to protect Americans and their children from books. They apparently believe books, not guns, are the real danger.
And yet, here are some headlines to chew on that demonstrate just how concerned these lawmakers really are about the health and well being of American children:
- Republicans push for teenagers as young as 14 to work in restaurants, industrial jobs.
In the past two years, lawmakers in at least 11 states have sought to loosen child labor laws to help employers fill empty jobs, even as federal officials and news investigations suggest that many minors working in manufacturing, meatpacking and construction jobs are being exploited or hurt.13 (Note: Instead of subjecting under age American children to dangerous jobs, adult migrants could surely fill these positions.)
- ‘Dumb and dangerous’: US sees surge in efforts to weaken child labor regulations. Ten states have rolled back child labor laws recently, with a federal bill to allow teens to work in one of the most dangerous industries.”14 (Note: That includes the logging industry where at least one teen was already killed on the job.)
- Over 300 minors found working at 3 McDonald’s franchisees: Department of Labor
“Two 10-year-olds were among hundreds working in violation of federal labor law. …According to Garnett-Civils, there has been an uptick in federal child labor violations, including instances where minors are operating equipment or doing dangerous work.”15
And then we have these stories:
- What You Need to Know About Child Marriage in the U.S.
“More than 1,000 15-year-olds have been married in Missouri since 1999. Even children ages 14, 13 and 12 are allowed to marry in Missouri — it’s one of 25 states with no minimum age requirement. For those 14 and younger, a judge’s consent is required.”16 NOTE: The website FindLaw contradicts some of this UNICEF report.17
- Bill To Ban Child Marriage In West Virginia Defeated By Republicans
Currently, children can marry as young as 16 in West Virginia with parental consent. Anyone younger than that also must get a judge’s waiver.18
- Missouri Republican Doubles Down on Letting 12-Year-Olds Marry
After being called out by California Governor Gavin Newsom for apparently supporting legal child marriage for kids as young as 12, Missouri Republican Mike Moon doubled down on his controversial stance—at least when it comes to minors getting married to other minors.19
Imagine that. Ban books, but allow children to carry guns in public without supervision, to work in dangerous jobs, and to marry before the age of puberty, and even before liability for various crimes. It’s difficult to even write about this without wondering where these politicians shoved their brains, presuming they have some sort of grey matter that biologists might consider representative of what constitutes a brain. It’s as if these jokers want to see just how far they can push the proverbial envelop before the public comes after them with their own assault rifles to run them out of town.
However, considering how popular Donald Trump was in some of these areas, that might not be the desired outcome for some. Pamela Engel of Insider reported: “TRUMP: I ‘absolutely wouldn’t’ ban assault rifles because ‘people need protection’.20
Of course, that’s true. People do need protection. But what’s left out of Trump’s assertion is the fact that people need protection from pedophiles and sometimes mentally disturbed people and children walking around with assault rifles. Even hunters shouldn’t be carrying assault rifles. Hunting with an assault rifle should not be considered sport. “An assault rifle is a rapid-fire, magazine-fed rifle designed for military use.”21 In fact, there is very little difference between an assault rifle and a machine gun. The former holds between 20 to 50 rounds, and the machine gun holds 50 or more rounds. What in the devil’s name can justify carrying such a weapon on the streets of the US of A? How is this a 2nd Amendment ‘right’ under the constitution?
The Second Amendment, of the US Constitution, often used to justify the owning and carrying of weapons, was meant for a time when the US was still threatened by an invasion from the British. The Second Amendment was meant to be used by a US citizen militia to defend US territories from invaders. It was not meant as a toy or weapon to be used in any manner the owner chose, including mass murder, or as a gift to a troubled child. Unless and until the US is under attack by a foreign entity, guns, and especially assault rifles, have no place on our streets, or in the hands of children, the mentally ill or troubled, those accused of domestic violence, and felons. Licensed hunting rifles, which should not include assault rifles, are the only weapons Americans should be allowed to own after a screening process, until a time when the US is officially under attack by a foreign entity. That would more realistically comply with the Second Amendment.
Then we have judges on our highest court:
- Conservative justice Clarence Thomas accepted luxury trips from Republican billionaire donor without disclosing them: report
“For over twenty years, Clarence Thomas has accepted multiple luxury trips from Harlan Crow, a Republican real estate developer and megadonor, according to a new ProPublica investigation.”22 Note: And let’s not leave out the fact that Mr Crow is an avid collector of Adolf Hitler artifacts and Nazi memorabilia. The US has become a swamp of corruption over the years. When the US Supreme Court can’t be trusted not to be bought and paid for by special interest groups or individuals, or even the appearance of corruption, this nation is in deeper trouble than we thought. Until now, some thought Donald Trump was the epitome of corruption.
- Clarence Thomas Failing to Note Wife Ginni’s $680k Side Income Resurfaces.23
Note: Apparently the corruption is a family affair. No wonder Ginni is always smiling. Thomas claims taking such gifts from a friend need not be reported. President Joe Biden once said: “Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defense. It’s patriotism.”24 Start here!
- Revealed Senate investigation into Brett Kavanaugh assault claims contained serious omissions.25 2018 investigation in the lead up to supreme court justice’s confirmation found ‘no evidence’ to substantiate claims of sexual assault. (Note: Didn’t we know that even if unofficially? Now we have two alleged molesters on the Supreme Court: Thomas and Kavanaugh. How is that supposed to inspire confidence in our highest court?
- Republicans take aim at Medicaid as budget talks heat up.26 (Note: Perhaps they believe those children they think should marry at age 12 and 14 are pulling in six figure incomes and just hiding their resources. Or all women who become pregnant are rich… or married with rich husbands.)
- US maternal mortality is more than ten times higher than in Australia. Why?
What do we make of a nation that has made giving birth so dangerous – yet forces more and more women to do it?27
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Signals He’s Open to Banning Plan B Contraception.
“At a tailgate for the University of Georgia College Republicans last week, a student asked Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) whether he could ban the Plan B morning-after pill, a contraceptive, in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.”28 Note: One has to wonder if God gave the wrong sex the ability to conceive and bear children. Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine a world in which men gave birth and women ran governments and passed the majority of the laws. It would be poetic justice if the banning of contraceptions and abortions were the same if men gave birth.
And here are a few more headlines I found to be gratifying, amusing, or shocking:
- Vatican rejects ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ justifying colonialism
After decades of demands by Indigenous people, Vatican ‘repudiates’ theories that backed colonial-era seizure of lands.29 Note: Perhaps we can say: Better late than never! Imagine if bank robbers had a Doctrine of Discovery to justify robbing banks that hadn’t been robbed before. Perhaps some bank robbers have such a Doctrine of Discovery.
- A Yale professor suggested that older people in Japan should die by mass suicide, fueling a heated conversation on elder care in the country.30 Note: This headline makes one wonder if some have lost all sense of decency and proportion.
- Marjorie Taylor Greene Hints That Stepmoms Aren’t Real Mothers
During a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on COVID-19. Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), was there to testify about school closings during the pandemic. During a panel called to determine the teachers union’s role in school reopening guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Greene questioned whether Weingarten was a doctor or a “biological mother.” Green also told the doctor she needed “…to admit that you’re just a political activist, not a teacher, not a mother and not a medical doctor.”31
- Jury Finds ‘How To Murder Your Husband’ Author Guilty Of Murdering Husband.32 This needs no explanation for the depth of human stupidity.
- DeSantis admin defends banning African American studies class.33 Note: One has to wonder what DeSantis is afraid of. To imply that knowledge is dangerous smacks of dumbing down America to maintain control. Perhaps the US should ban all studies of history. After all, there are many unfortunate truths out there, some committed by the US. Or perhaps the US should ban reading altogether. That would solve many problems, even though it would create many more. The next headline addresses that problem.
- Low Literacy Levels Among U.S. Adults Could Be Costing The Economy $2.2 Trillion A Year. “According to the U.S. Department of Education, 54% of U.S. adults 16-74 years old – about 130 million people – lack proficiency in literacy, reading below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level.”34
- US man dies from stroke days after realtor found him but didn’t call for help.35
“A US family has demanded an investigation after its patriarch reportedly died within days of having a stroke in his home and being found but left on the floor by a real estate agent who never called anyone for help.”
- Donald Trump Jr. Doesn’t Get Why His Dad Shouldn’t Bomb Mexico.36
Note: God forbid he follows in his father’s footsteps and runs for office one day.
- Russia-Ukraine war: discovery of mass grave in Izium prompts call for war crimes tribunal.37 Note: Shouldn’t invading another sovereign nation already be considered a war crime? Of course, that would put the US and the UK in jeopardy for the invasion of Iraq based on lies, and their other adventures.
- Virginia governor blocks bill banning police from seeking menstrual histories.
The Republican governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin essentially kills a bill passed in Democratic-led state senate to ban search warrants for menstrual data on tracking apps.38 Note: Good grief! In other words, even a woman’s menstrual history is open for review by Republican government officials in Virginia. If this doesn’t smack of a police state, then nothing does. A police state is defined as: “a totalitarian state controlled by a political police force that secretly supervises citizens’ activities.” In this case, however, monitoring a woman’s menstrual cycle would be done as a matter of law. Perhaps women of Virginia will next be asked to post their menstrual cycles online accompanied by a little smear of blood with DNA authentication. Elon Musk, or perhaps Donald Trump, can then start a new social media platform called “The Bloody Truth Social.”
- Mike Pence breaks with Trump on Medicare and Social Security.
Cuts to entitlement programs should be ‘on the table,’ the former vice president and possible White House hopeful said on CNBC.39 Note: This of course puts the lie to the shouts of “liar” by the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green and other Republicans during President Biden’s State of the Union Address, when they claimed no cuts to SS and Medicare.
- 5 Times Tucker Carlson Privately Reviled Trump: ‘I Hate Him’
“The Fox host’s private comments, revealed recently in court documents, contrast sharply with his support of conservatives on his show.”40 Note: In fact, Carlson said he hated Trump ‘passionately.’ He also called Trump “a demonic force” and “a destroyer.”41 Yet he and others lied for Trump to maintain FOX NEWS ratings. Perhaps Fox’s News license should be revoked. They can then broadcast as a variety show called: Whatever it Takes for Ratings.
One has to wonder if the US Congress shouldn’t move to redefine the US’s old Moniker of Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, to Land of the Free, ruled by Meatheads, Criminals, and Liars. Donald Trump and Rep. George Santos are not the only ones alleged to be Meatheads, Criminals, and Liars.42 There are others who may be more hidden, but no less dangerous and embarrassing.
Here are some positive headlines to chew on.
- CEO on why giving all employees minimum salary of $70,000 still “works” six years later: “Our turnover rate was cut in half.”43 In fact, the CEO reduced his own salary to do so.
- High school students raise $260,000 for elderly custodian so he can retire.44
- Charlotte florist gives flowers to 800 widows on Valentine’s Day45
- 17-Year-old Wins $150,000 in Science Talent Search for Remarkable Way to Diagnose Pediatric Heart Disease.46
- Researchers Develop Water Treatment that Zaps ‘Forever Chemicals’ for Good.47
- And Here are some slogans Congress should not only learn, but adhere to as part of their job description:48 Among them is no. 2: Working together for the common good.
- Corinne Purtill. The Five Universal Laws of Human Stupidity. Quartz. April 29, 2017. https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-five-universal-laws-of-human-stupidity
- Tom Perkins, US food pesticides contaminated with toxic ‘forever chemicals’ testing finds. The Guardian, May 7, 2023.
- Sarah Rumpf, Virginia teacher shot by 6-year-old identified, parents demand action. Fox News. January 7, 2023.
- Mary Papenfuss, Missouri Lawmakers Vote Against Banning Children From Carrying Guns In Public. Huffpost. Feb 11, 2023, Updated Feb 11, 2023.
- Samantha May and Katie Sergent, Grand Rapids school staff confiscates gun from third grader, issues backpack ban. News Channel 3Wed, May 10th 2023.
- Cheri Mossburg, Taylor Romine and Steve Almasy, White homeowner accused of shooting Black teen who went to the wrong house in Kansas City will face 2 felony charges, officials announce. CNN April 17, 2023. Homeowner charged for shooting and killing woman who pulled into wrong driveway. CNN.
- Kiara Alfonseca, There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023, database shows. There have been 67 mass shootings so far this year. ABC News. February 14, 2023.
- PBS. Feb 8, 2023.
- Bill Chappell & Vanessa Romo, Tennessee House votes to expel 2 of 3 Democratic members over gun protest. NPR. April 6, 2023.
- One mass killing every 6.53 days: US shootings are on a record pace. Associated Press in Washington. April 21, 2023.
- Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris, Attempts to Ban Books Are Accelerating and Becoming More Divisive. NY Times. Sept. 16, 2022.
- Stephen Elliott, Lawmakers in 11 states seek to weaken child labor … USA Today. April 18, 2023.
- Michael Sainato, ‘Dumb and dangerous’: US sees surge in efforts to weaken child labor regulations. The Guardian. May 1, 2023.
- Teddy Grant, Over 300 minors found working at 3 McDonald’s franchisees: Department of Labor. ABC News. May 3, 2023.
- Sarah Ferguson, What You Need to Know About Child Marriage in the U.S. UNICEF. October 29, 2018.
- FindLaw Staff. Legally reviewed by Nicole Prebeck, Esq. State-by-State Marriage “Age of Consent” Laws. Last updated December 30, 2022.
- Sebastian Murdock, Bill To Ban Child Marriage In West Virginia Defeated By Republicans. Huffpost. March 9, 2023.
- Giulia Carbonaro, Missouri Republican Doubles Down on Letting 12-Year-Olds Marry. Newsweek. April 14, 2023.
- Pamela Engel. Insider. Jun 13, 2016.
- Cox Media Group National Content Desk. Assault weapon vs. assault rifle: What is the difference? National & World News. August 4, 2019.
- Maya Yang, Clarence Thomas accused of accepting luxury trips from billionaire Republican donor. The Guardian. April 6, 2023.
- Darragh Roche, Clarence Thomas Failing to Note Wife Ginni’s $680k Side Income Resurfaces. Newsweek. September, 29, 2022.
- The White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/03/statement-by-president-joseph-r-biden-jr-on-the-national-security-study-memorandum-on-the-fight-against-corruption/
- Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Revealed: Senate investigation into Brett Kavanaugh assault claims contained serious omissions. The Guardian. April 28, 2023.
- Alice Miranda Ollstein, Republicans take aim at Medicaid as budget talks heat up. Politico. March 8, 2023.
- Moira Donegan, US maternal mortality is more than ten times higher than in Australia. Why? The Guardian. 20 Mar 2023.
- Laura Bassett, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Signals He’s Open to Banning Plan B Contraception. MSN. Sep 15, 2022.
- Vatican rejects ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ justifying colonialism. Aljazeera. March 30, 2023.
- Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida, (reporting from Toyko) A Yale Professor Suggested Mass Suicide for Old People in Japan. What Did He Mean? The New York Times. Feb. 12, 2023.
- Maura Zurick, Marjorie Taylor Greene Hints That Stepmoms Aren’t Real Mothers. April 26, 2023.
- David Moye, Huffpost. May. 25, 2022.
- Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes. September 9, 2020.
- Ramon Antonio Vargas, US man dies from stroke days after realtor found him but didn’t call for help. The Guardian. February 24, 2023.
- David Moye. Donald Trump Jr. Doesn’t Get Why His Dad Shouldn’t Bomb Mexico. Huffpost. May. 6, 2022.
- Nadeem Badshah (now) Joe Middleton (earlier) The Guardian. September 17, 2022.
- Richard Luscombe. The Guardian. Feb 16, 2023.
- Jonathan Allen, Mike Pence breaks with Trump on Medicare and Social Security. NBC News. February 22, 2023.
- Katie Robertson, 5 Times Tucker Carlson Privately Reviled Trump: ‘I Hate Him’ The New York Times. March 8, 2023.
- Daniel Dale and Andrew Kaczynski, Fact check: George Santos tells new lies in interview about his old lies. CNN. February 22, 2023.
- Sebastian Murdock, Tucker Carlson Privately Called Trump ‘A Demonic Force, A Destroyer’: Court Filing. Us New, Fox News. February 18, 2023, Updated February 19, 2023.
- CEO on why giving all employees minimum salary of $70,000 still “works” six years later: “Our turnover rate was cut in half” CBS News. September 16, 2021.
- Khristopher J. Brooks, High school students raise $260,000 for elderly custodian so he can retire. CBS News. MoneyWatch. February 24, 2023.
- Megan Cerullo, Charlotte florist gives flowers to 800 widows on Valentine’s Day. CBS News. MoneyWatch. February 14, 2023.
- Andy Corbley, 17-Year-old Wins $150,000 in Science Talent Search for Remarkable Way to Diagnose Pediatric Heart Disease. Good News Network. March 24, 2023.
- Andy Corbley, Researchers Develop Water Treatment that Zaps ‘Forever Chemicals’ for Good. Good News Network. March 24, 2023.
- John Bamam, 582 Best Congress Slogans to Use in 2023. https://www.slogans.xyz/congress-slogans-taglines/
Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.