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Mitt Romney’s time as CEO of Bain Capital may be the bane of his goals for president.

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 07-17-2012 | in Political, Government, Ethics, Democracy, Critical Thinking, Economics,

President Barrack Obama is making Mitt Romney's time as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and president of Bain Capital, Inc. the bane of his goals to become U.S. president. Romney set the tone of the campaign by persistently criticizing the 8.2 percent unemployment rate under the Obama administration. He touted his success creating jobs at Bane Capital. Obama's team countered with reports that Bain Capital outsourced American jobs to foreign nations. Romney responded he left Bain Capital in 1999 before it started to send jobs out of the United States in 2001 and 2002.

I would expect that someone trying to seize power from any national leader would do so mindful the leader's past victories over opponents. Nevertheless, Romney ignored the need for defense as he moved on offense to paint Obama as a poor leader of the economy. People that concentrate on offense and ignore the need for defense often suffer defeat by knockout in real life conditions.

Obama's team showed 2000 to 2002 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents signed by Romney that he was still CEO and president of Bain Capital. Obama's strategy forced Romney to answer if he was deceitful when he signed the SEC documents or deceitful now telling voters he left the corporation in 1999. Romney tried to avoid answering by making the issue Obama's lack of character for calling attention to Romney's conduct.

Romney appealed to voters' sense of fairness that Obama was not playing by the rules of civility, or playing by Romney rules. Next, he called for an apology for campaign advertisements suggesting that he committed a felony by signing the SEC papers. Recently Romney said in a nationally broadcast interview, "What does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in this campaign is attack me?'' Those remarks showed Romney's unwillingness to have voters decide accountability based on facts.

Some Republicans and members in the news media tried to explain away this gaffe by showing Romney took no active part running the corporation after 1999. This excuse damaged Romney's image as a responsible leaders more than accepting accountability for Bain Capital outsourcing of jobs would have done. The title CEO and president indicates the person named is responsible for running the corporation. Romney is accountable even if he did not take part in the decisions to outsource jobs. He selected the people that managed the organization in his name.

People with sound leadership ability always accept accountability even if not all their decisions bring ideal results. President Franklin D. Roosevelt displayed leadership traits by his response to the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on the American fleet and naval base at Pearl Harbor. President Harry S. Truman displayed leadership traits when he issued an executive order that ended racial segregation in the U.S. Defense Department and in the Armed Forces. President George W. Bush showed leadership traits by fashioning a response to Al Qaida's 9/11 attacks on the homeland. President Barack H. Obama displayed the traits of leadership May 1, 2011. He successfully ended the hunt for al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden by sending U.S. Special Forces teams to a possible Bin Laden hiding place although the information was inconclusive that he was there.

Each president while handling crisis continued his duties in other areas as head of the Executive Branch of the federal government. In contrast, Romney while still listed as CEO of Bain Capital after 1999 denies accountability for its outsourcing of jobs, because he needed to concentrate all his efforts on saving the near bankrupt 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Chris Rock’s Independence Day remark offensive or critical thinking?

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 07-08-2012 | in Political, Government, Ethics, Race, Democracy, Critical Thinking,

"Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks." A San Francisco Examiner article reported this remark by comedian Chris Rock in a tweet about the Independence Day celebration and negative reaction to it. Most responses I read were negative with many of them calling the remark racist.

Chris Rock gained national acclaim for his humor as a former cast member of "Saturday Night Live" television comedy. Remarks about society that defy social expectations of conformity to set values have been a characteristic of his humor. Let us analyze the basis for the controversy to see if the facts justify the objections to his remarks.

The Independence Day celebration on July 4 honors the goals of the Declaration of Independence of self-determination for Americans. In addition, it honors historic figures like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Hancock that helped write and helped gain approval for the declaration. Nobody can dispute this assertion based on fact. We do not hear people associating leaders of this era like President Barrack Obama, or former presidents George W. Bush and William J Clinton with the celebration.

Chris Rock is correct only white-labeled Americans had reasons to celebrate when Congress approved the Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776 and not black-labeled people still enslaved after its approval. The men that wrote and approved the Declaration of Independence mostly were enslavers of black-labeled people. Those enslavers did not intend to include the people they enslaved under the declaration's umbrella of freedom. Freedom day for black-labeled Americans was December 6, 1865 when the States approved and adopted the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Chris Rock only reported an obvious fact. His enslaved ancestors did not gain freedom or self-determination from the Declaration of Independence. They did not find its approval a joyful occasion. Therefore, people did not have a rational reason to resent Chris Rock's statement of fact or to characterize it racist.

Someone could rightly criticize Rock for generalizing happiness about Independence Day to all white-labeled people. He could have reflected about women's feelings on Independence Day. "Happy white males' Independence Day, the women weren't free to take part in government, but I'm sure the enjoyed the fireworks."

On the other hand, he could have reflected on the disenfranchised white-labeled males that did not own property. "Happy white male property owners' Independence Day, the white males without property weren't free to take part in government, but I'm sure they enjoyed the fireworks."

Critics' attacks on Chris Rock's Independence Day remarks are attacks on Higher Order Thinking skills that challenge their fixed beliefs and values. Perhaps they do not see the connection. In contrast, the Texas Republican Party saw the connection between Higher Order Thinking Skills as reasoning that challenges fixed beliefs and values. It included the following plank in the 2012 to 2014 platform.

"We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

The Texas Republican Party is correct the inclination and ability to examine or challenge fixed beliefs and values are fundamental traits of Higher Order Thinking. Fixed beliefs and fixed values limit Americans' ability to reason about their government. This is why many political leaders oppose their constituents learning critical thinking skills.

Rock's remark challenges the common belief the nation's founders intended to secure self-determination for all people in America by approving the Declaration of Independence. In addition, he challenged the fixed belief of the founders as models of virtue above criticism and its extension that material wealth and position of power indicate someone's high moral standards.


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