Saturday, April 20, 2019

Crisis in American Education: Reading Comprehension Touches a New Bottom

By Horace Mann
Education Correspondent and
Scott V. Sandford
Justice Correspondent

The failures of American schools have been a national scandal for generations.  They don't prepare our children for the complexities of the modern world.  Not only are the kids not taught how to code, they are not even taught how to read.

And from the evidence on display in Washington this weekend, the lack of basic reading comprehension skills has afflicted generations of Americans, including those “boomers” who received their schooling before the current era of political correctness or whatever anti-public school reactionaries are blaming these days for the failure of our education system.

To cite one flagrant example, a supposedly well-educated man was assigned to write a book report on a riveting non-fiction thriller published last week.  Asked to summarize the work's key findings, here's what he came up with:

First, a bit of advice for Sen. Wilfred M “Profiles in Courage” Romney (R - UT/MA/NH/CA).  Don't use Twitter to write your book reports.

Let's go to the text he was purporting to summarize and see how well Wilfred did on his homework assignment.

We'll take the obstruction bit first.  Was it the case that Robert Mueller found insufficient evidence to charge President U Bum with obstruction of justice?  Here's what the book actually said:

So Mueller did not conclude that he lacked evidence to indict the Grifter-in-Chief.  He said other legal obstacles prevented him from doing so.  If only his report explained what those obstacles were.

Ah, but it did.  And Wilfred if you want to pass the course you really should read at least page 1 of the volume you are reporting on, where this appears:

So if Wilfred had read and understood page 1, he would have realized that it was exactly wrong to claim that Mueller did not charge President U Bum with obstruction of justice because he lacked evidence.  He sought no indictment against U Bum because he could not charge him under binding Justice Department policies.  His Report said correctly that accusing the Tangerine-Faced Grifter of a crime without so indicting him is fundamentally unfair, because anyone charged with a crime can defend herself in court, while a person smeared by a law enforcement official can't.  Ask Hillary Clinton about James Comey's views re her email server.

How did Wilfred do on the Russian conspiracy charge?  A little better, because in fact Mueller concluded that on the narrow question of whether President U Bum made an agreement with Russia to interfere in our elections and then there occurred an overt act in furtherance of that agreement (which is the definition of conspiracy), Mueller lacked sufficient evidence to bring such a charge:

As for the June 9, 2016 meeting there were only three persons who could have provided testimony as to whether President U Bum was in on that conspiracy: U Bum, Li'l Grifter, and Vladimir Putin.  None was willing to testify.  Further, those with more curiosity than Wilfred might want to consider whether evidence of the willingness of U Bum campaign officials and appointees, like Flynn and Manafort, (and maybe U Bum himself) to receive Hillary's stolen emails and collude with Russian officials and their cutouts constitutes an egregious subversion of the American democratic system warranting impeachment even if it did not establish beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of campaign-finance law.

Speaking of which, since Li'l Grifter invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, imagine what he might say if immunized by the Judiciary Committee in response to questions about communications with his father before and after the June 9 meeting and in the unsuccessful coverup thereafter.

Also Wilfred seemed to have missed the basic fact that Mueller's report summed up the evidence solely with respect to conspiracy to further Russian election interference.  He never reached the broader question of whether U Bum has been bribed or blackmailed into “conspiring with a foreign adversary” by for example crediting Putin's preposterous denials of such interference, weakening support for the Ukraine, currently under Russian attack and occupation, or refusing to impose meaningful sanctions on Russia.  All of which would be grist for the impeachment mill.

So we have bad news and good news for Wilfred.  We're hard pressed to give his book report a higher grade than C-, given the lack of effort he put in in trying to comprehend its contents and summarizing them carefully.

The good news for Wilfred?  He had the highest grade in the Republican class.

Consider little Marco Rubio's effort:

Marco, if you want to pass Reading Comprehension, you have to read Volume II, not just Volume I.  D.

And how about Robbie Portman, supposedly the smart one of the group?

What did we tell you Robbie about relying on trots and other secondary sources?  Automatic flunk.

With illiteracy so widespread among the Republican citizenry, perhaps the only way to communicate the full gravity of the threat to the Republic would be to provide a television version that could also be live streamed on the Internet.  That way, basic information could be conveyed to those unable to take it in on the printed page.

You could even attract a wider audience by calling the video version “impeachment hearings.”

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