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Presidential candidates' campaign spending to confuse facts

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 06-20-2012 | in Political, Government, Ethics, Democracy, Critical Thinking, Economics,

Campaign spending for the 2012 presidential election moves past outrageous to corrupting our representative government. President Barrack Obama's record is there for voters to see. Romney published a 2011 campaign document titled "Believe in America" of his "Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth." Voters should be able to use those sources of information to evaluate the candidates.

Romney's "Believe in America" opening remarks show a strategy to enhance perceptions of his qualifications for office by unfairly tarnishing the record of Obama's administration. He wrote, "Back in the beginning of 2009, we were told by the incoming Obama administration that a massive federal spending package would keep the unemployment rate from rising above 8 percent. Eight percent is itself a shocking number, far above what was then the post-war average of 5.6 percent. If only President Obama had been right, for he proceeded to borrow nearly a trillion dollars for his "stimulus." And yet the unemployment rate blew right past 8 percent until it hit the high-water mark of 10.1 percent. At the moment that I am writing-three years into the President's four-year term."

Most of Romney's assertions are false. He does not directly claim the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent when Obama assumed office. He plants this number in the mind of voters by comparing instances of unemployment rates under Obama with this meaningless 5.6 percent average of unemployment over 63 years. He does assert the unemployment rate was less than 8 percent when Obama took office saying, "unemployment rate blew right past 8 percent until it hit the high-water mark of 10.1 percent" after Obama approved a trillion dollar stimulus pack.

Romney's remark, "Eight percent is itself a shocking number, far above what was then the post-war average of 5.6 percent" is itself shocking. It reveals mathematical illiteracy of a person that claims superior expertise to set national tax and economic policy. A mean average of 5.6 percent does not mark that rate as the highest or most common for the period. Yearly unemployment rates under President Reagan were 9.69 and 9.61 during this postwar period. An average reports only the balance of values above and below that number.

President George W. Bush signed a 168-billion-U.S.-dollar economic rescue package February 2008 to fend off a possible economic recession. After that, the unemployment rate increased each month from 4.8 percent in February 2008 to 8.2% before Obama took office February 20, 2009 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of unemployment increased to 8.6% in March 2009 a few weeks after Obama took office and before his policies could have affected them. Therefore, Romney's assertion is false that "the unemployment rate blew right past 8 percent" despite Obama's "nearly a trillion dollars for his "stimulus."

Romney likes to compare the status of the economy under Obama to previous times like the postwar era. However, comparing Obama's unemployment rates with a specific president like Reagan would be fairer although still not accurate. President Ronald Reagan faced an unemployment rate of 7.6 when he took office February 1981. His unemployment rate was 9.62 percent in 1982, 9.61 percent in 1983, and 7.52 percent in 1984. The rate had ballooned to over 10 percent during Reagan's first term. Unemployment rates were 7.20, 6.99, 6.19, and 5.51 percent during the respective years of Reagan's second term in office. Not surprisingly, Obama's record shows an identical trend of increasing unemployment rates during the first term before turning around.

Previously, Republicans projected Reagan as their economic authority and the model that all presidential administrations should follow. Why has Romney changed strategy during this presidential campaign to hide Reagan's unemployment rates in a meaningless six-decade national average of 5.6 percent? Perhaps, he acted this way to hide the obvious likenesses between Reagan and Obama's first term results that discredit his negative claims about Obama's first term performance. Similar employment results during Reagan and Obama's first term do not confirm that presidents face comparable economic environments curable by a magic formula. It does confirm that the complex forces of an economy have momentum that needs long reaction times for change. This realty of economic forces contradicts Romney's assertions the economy is immediately amenable to change so that Obama should have cured its problems during his short time in office.

I am disbelieving of someone who tries to convince me to appoint him or her in charge of my affairs with false accusation against my current agent. This is what Republicans and Romney do when they make assertions that conflict with history and fact. Perhaps, many voters do not care how much Republicans falsely disparage Obama's performance and cheer the effort. Nevertheless, they should care that they are the targets of the deception to confuse their ability to decide important personal and national issues. Someone that tells lies to you about another person disrespects you and the other person.

Hypocrites assert an Obama kill list

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 06-13-2012 | in Political, Government, Ethics, Democracy, Critical Thinking,

News commentary is abuzz about New York Times assertion that President Obama has a kill list of people targeted by U.S. Drones in the war on terrorism. Some commentators describe the list as a stunning, unprincipled, and unchecked use of presidential power. Just when I presume news reporting in the United States and American readers' gullibility reached the limits of absurdity, both prove me wrong.

The Constitution names the President Commander of all of America's armed forces and responsible for national defense. Americans are contradictory that hold Obama responsible for duties not assigned by the Constitution like unemployment rates, stock market prices, and public school quality, but criticize his use of constitutional and Congress granted powers to wage war against America's enemies.

On September 14, 2001, the U.S. Congress issued a "Joint Resolution: To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States."

"IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Clearly, this resolution authorizes the President as Commander of the U.S. Armed Forces to make a list of terrorist enemies and to use U.S. armed forces to kill them. Some people might contend the resolution authorized the President only to stop future attacks and not necessarily kill people. They argue he could arrest America's enemies and bring them to trial. This may be possible sometime. Nevertheless, the U.S. Armed Forces are a war making force organized to destroy and to kill when normal policing and judicial processes in defense of security fail. Congress signaled its conclusion that war was the best defense strategy against terrorism by approving uses of the military force against it. Whether correct or mistaken, this was the mandate of Congress for presidential action that it has not revoked. Therefore, some Americans characterizing Obama a president with a personal kill list outside the demands of war is wrong and bordering on subversion.

I suggested when Congress passed the September 14, 2001 Resolution that it was unnecessarily irresponsible by its broadness. It was different from past declarations of war against identified nations. Instead, it extended authority to President George W. Bush to identify terrorist enemies and to use military force against them anywhere in the world no matter their involvement. Bush announced Operation Enduring Freedom as war on global terrorism that would not distinguish between terrorist organizations and nations or governments that harbored them.

People are hypocritical that believe the waves of B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers; F-14 and F/A fighters and Tomahawk cruise missiles Bush ordered against Afghanistan October 7, 2001 were moral killing and the drone strikes approved by Obama are personal and immoral. They forget orders by previous Presidents for military uses of bombs, napalm, and Agent Orange herbicide on enemy and noncombatants during the Vietnam War. They forget Presidents' WWII decisions that targeted German and Japanese cities for regular, incendiary and atomic bomb attacks. The difference is that during October 2001, the shock from destructive attacks on the American homeland still dulled most Americans' concerns for the plight of noncombatants in those attacks.

No matter the 9/11 attacks, most Americans still do not recognize the full horrors of war as an ongoing experience. Except occasionally, few of them consider the death and injury our armed forces members face daily. They ignore that President Obama faces the terrible burden of war decisions daily that may or may not be correct, but will result in death or injury for terrorists, noncombatants, or American military members. There are no safe, easy moral decisions for a president at war.

I understand some Americans disagree with some war strategy or with continuing the war. I do too. They have the right as free citizens to discuss their concerns on that basis and to petition Congress to end the war. However, many of them lack the moral courage to state forthrightly the U.S. Armed Forces achieved its mission and it is time to end the killing. They fear a new terrorist attack the next day may prove them wrong and subject them to condemnation. Instead, they construct safe attacks against the integrity of the President who does not have the option of ambivalence. People are contemptible that cowardly construct their criticism of the war as an attack on the integrity of Obama as if he were a mob boss executing a vicious personal hit list.

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