ISIS • MANUFACTURING • ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION • NAFTA • CRIME • MILITARY BUDGET • POLICE KILLINGS BY RACE • QUALITY OF LIFE COMPARISON • OVERALL VIOLENCE LEVEL GLOBALLY • INTERNATIONAL APPROVAL/POPULARITY FOR U.S. • OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS • FEDERAL TAXES • NATIONS BEST FOR BUSINESS • REFUGEES • VOTER FRAUD
1. ISIS: The Pentagon announced in August 2016 that approximately 45,000 ISIS soldiers had been killed by U.S.-led coalition attacks. We may compare this to the unfortunate American deaths of 4 in the armed forces and less than 70 civilians (49 of which are not truly applicable – according to the CIA, the Orlando shooter had no contact with ISIS). This terrorist organization has lost half of its revenue and territory. More than 14,000 airstrikes have been launched against them. As of November 2015, the U.S. had dropped 3-4 times more bombs and missiles on ISIS than all other coalition forces combined, so many (20,000) that our stockpiles were running low. U.S. military leaders reported that their forces had carried out 6,471 airstrikes against ISIS by November 19, 2015. The total attacks completed by all other coalition countries at that time was 1,818 (Russia, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates). ISIS was formed in 2004, one year after a highly disorganized and mismanaged occupation of Iraq directed by the Bush Administration had begun. In 2008, the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government was signed by Bush, ensuring that all American soldiers would be out of the country by the end of 2011. Obama attempted to keep 5,000-10,000 military advisers (special forces) in Iraq, but the local leaders and American public opinion strongly opposed his efforts. Not in an effort to make light of the very real threat of terrorist brutality, but simply to put it in honest and realistic perspective, we should compare the alternative dangers and adjust our level of fear and proactive response accordingly. The statistical chance of an American dying from of long list of other ways is far higher that that of a militant Islamic terrorist attack. It’s about 2 times as likely to die at the hands of an armed toddler, 3 times by lightning, 7 times by lawnmowers, 29 times being hit by a bus, 82 times by falling out of bed and 1,304 times by another U.S. citizen.
2. MANUFACTURING: 2015 was the highest year on U.S. record for manufacturing. 9 out of 10 jobs among the 6 million lost since 1970s were due to mechanization, not outsourcing. The typical worker can produce twice as much today than in the past. An additional 7 million jobs have been created in logistics and transportation, aside from the large numbers newly available in other related fields.
3. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: The Tea Party, Trump and all of the 16 other Republican presidential candidates for the 2016 election hold and fiercely advocate for viewpoints far to the right of Reagan and Bush Sr. on several social and economic issues. This is certainly true in contrast with the far more compassionate and realistic illegal immigration policies of those two presidents. In the 1980 debate between Reagan and Bush Sr. for the Republican nomination for president, they competed with each other in trying to be more forgiving to illegal immigrants. Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, which enabled 2.7 million undocumented people to gain a path to citizenship. Both legal and Illegal immigrants from the south and elsewhere are less likely to commit violent crime or be in jail than average Americans. The Mexicans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans are especially nonviolent and they make up the majority of undocumented people in America. Even though illegal immigration grew by three times during the past quarter century, the violent crime rate in America dropped by half. A larger number of non-Mexicans than Mexicans have been apprehended at the border in recent years. As for the latter, migration has been in decline and there’s been an increase in those leaving the U.S. on their own. President Obama has been called the “Deporter in Chief” by America’s largest Latino advocacy organization, The National Council of La Raza. He’s deported more illegal immigrants than any other president.
4. NAFTA: Our companies have become more lucrative and agile within this competitive environment and this has brought down consumer prices for products we use every day. NAFTA has helped to significantly raise the standard of living for Mexican citizens, which has in turn affected an increase from $42 billion in 1993 U.S. exports to $267 billion in 2015. The U.S. has greatly benefited through the growth of export-related jobs, many of these positions including higher wages. The job loss to Mexico is so small that it represents under 0.1% of the typical turnover for American workers. Many of those lost employment opportunities for Americans have been replaced by 6 million, often more lucrative, positions necessary to run the export industry. Since NAFTA began, 34 millions jobs have been added. The growth rate has been higher than that of the general population. Trade among the three nations has multiplied by almost 4 times, from $293 billion in 1994 to $1.3 trillion by 2015. Almost 14 million jobs in the U.S. are currently dependent on NAFTA. Unique types of collaborations in manufacturing across these borders has strengthened all three countries in their ability to engage global markets. Canada and Mexico buy about 30% of total U.S. outgoing sales of agricultural goods.
5. CRIME: The U.S. violent crime rate is half of what it was in the early 1990s (after a high crime wave begun in the late 1960s). This includes cities notorious for elevated levels of illegal activity like Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego, New York City, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Even with the recent rise of murders in Chicago, referenced often in the news and in diatribes by Republicans like Trump claiming that crime is out of control because of local and national Democratic leadership, the number of murders each year between 2004-2015 was still about half as many as the average from 30-50 years ago. This happened even though the population for the City of Chicago has remained nearly the same size since the crime decline began. In 2016, the murder rate in Chicago was very high, yet still considerably lower than in many years during the high crime wave mentioned above.
6. MILITARY BUDGET: The defense budgets under Obama have been the highest since World War II (with dollars adjusted for inflation), ranging between being greater in size than the next 7 to 13 largest national defense budgets combined. Are the global threats really that extensive and necessarily so costly? Enough to justify the $70-100 billion spent annually to maintain over 700 bases in over 100 foreign nations? All other major nations have a combined total of 30 bases outside their orders. By 2010 numbers, our then current and potential foes spent 17% of the total for military budgets globally. Contrast that to America’s 39%, NATO allies’ 16.5%, other allies at 13% and 14.5% for the remaining nations. Or consider our navy’s 19 aircraft carriers, 3 being built and 11 more scheduled for construction when counting in February 2016. Russia and China had 1 each and a combined amount of 4 for the future.
7. POLICE KILLINGS BY RACE: Crime rates are correlated with poverty, not race. Poor urban blacks break the law at levels very close to poor urban whites. The same comparison is true for rural people. Blacks continue to be many times less wealthy than whites, typically by at least a factor of 10. The unemployment rate for blacks has been consistently twice that of whites since at least the mid-1950s. Killings by police are very rare in all other advanced Western nations. As an example, consider 2013: United States – 458, Germany – 8, Britain 0, Japan 0. Or 2011 data: United States – 404, Germany – 6, Australia – 6, Britain – 2, Japan – 0. Blacks are arrested, incarcerated and killed by police at radically higher rates than whites. The Reagan-Bush Sr.-Clinton War on Drugs of the 1980-90s correlated with a tremendous breakdown of the two parent family in black communities. Attacks against police are not going up, though there have been some terrible incidents that have made headlines in recent years. In contrast, the rate of killings by police has been gradually increasing since the early 1990s. Since the late 19th century, violence toward law enforcement authorities has become seriously out of control twice – during prohibition around the 1920s and among the social upheaval of the mid 1960s-early 1970s. Even the very conservative American Enterprise Institute has debunked the idea that there is a “war on cops” and recognizes the numbers show a decrease, 2015 being one of the safest years in history for police. FBI crime data from 2015 show that specifically among civilians: 8% of blacks were killed by whites, 90% of blacks were killed by blacks, 82% of whites were killed by whites, whites killed by blacks at 15%. Four times more blacks were killed by police in that year, even though whites constitute a five times larger portion of the total U.S. population. The annual reports from the FBI titled, “Crime in the United States”, for 1995-2012, reveal that the absolute number of white on white homicides were five to seven times larger than black on white homicides. Both categories decreased by more than 35% during that time period.
8. QUALITY OF LIFE COMPARISON: When comparing quality of life conditions between advanced Western nations and individual states within the U.S., a growing amount of data shows that those which are the most extremely conservative and religious are very often the most violent and plagued with far greater social problems in more than a dozen categories like overall crime, economic mobility, infant mortality, overall poverty, environmental abuse, teen pregnancy, incarceration, life expectancy, poor educational systems, foreign aid percentage through public funds, murder, healthcare efficiency, business opportunities, childhood poverty, average worker to CEO pay ratio, paid maternity leave, obesity, income inequality and minimal worker’s benefits. Extreme liberalism, such as with revolutionary communism, also seriously detracts from quality of life. This ideology has had a very weak following around the world since the late 20th century. Extreme social and economic conservatism, in contrast, have been increasingly popular among a large segment of the American population during the past three decades. I have discovered that the available economic, historical and sociological data reveal the best answer is a moderate combination of conservatism, liberalism and libertarianism.
9. OVERALL VIOLENCE LEVEL GLOBALLY: From a long-term viewpoint, terrible things like the following are in radical decline (or in some cases have been eliminated): warfare, rape, murder, judicial torture, child abuse, legal and illegal slavery, use of the death penalty, robbery, infanticide, bullying, lynchings, corporal punishment, misogyny, theft, domestic abuse, racism, blood sports, religious persecution, burglary, debtors’ prisons, sexism, abortion, dueling, property crime, witchhunts and animal abuse. This process started when societies began to organize away from hunter-gatherer communities between 7,000-10,000 years ago into structured civilizations, but shifted to an accelerated level of reform during the 18th century’s Age of Enlightenment and afterward. By absolute numbers and percentage of population, the trend is downward in violent behavior. Even with the still unacceptable levels of violence in many parts of the world, the overall truth is that we’re living in the most peaceful time in human history.
10. INTERNATIONAL APPROVAL/POPULARITY FOR U.S.: Obama and Clinton consistently have had far higher approval ratings than Bush Jr. and Trump in every other advanced Western nation. The surveyed favorable opinions of civilians and records of public statements of positive views from world leaders of other countries toward the United States reached a serious low under Bush Jr. and were largely repaired during the Obama administration. In April 2016, a survey of 20,000 adults in the world’s 20 richest countries by YouGov/CNN, in which Clinton received monumentally higher ratings than Trump, except in a society run by a dictator (Vladimir Putin), Russia. The gains achieved by the earlier president are being lost because Trump has continued his habits of the campaign. In many parts of the world, a whole lot of people are very troubled, baffled and disgusted by his unprofessionalism, pettiness, ignorance, bullying, hateful speech and isolationist policies.
11. OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDERS: They’ve been issued at the lowest rate since Grover Cleveland (1893 – 1897). It’s negligent to allow a false concept to endure and proliferate, as many of Obama’s critics have done, saying this level of use of a standard presidential power is a new and radical cause for concern. American legal scholars and the Supreme Court have considered it constitutional since the nation’s inception. We can compare the annual averages of recent presidents: Bush Jr. – 36, Clinton – 46, Bush Sr. – 42, Reagan – 48, Carter – 80, Ford – 69, Nixon – 62, Johnson – 63, Kennedy – 75, Eisenhower – 61. As of July 20th, 2016, Obama’s average was 33. He had put 244 executive orders into effect. That’s the smallest total for a two term president since the late 1800s. To call him an imperial president, as many Republicans do, is likely a grand overstatement if not an outright act of fearmongering, deception and demagoguery. I’m not under the illusion that the Democrats don’t use manipulative tactics as well. But, we must try to analyze the specific cases of alleged misrepresentation of facts, along with the larger themes of behavior. The focus ought to be on the content and impact of each order by each president.
12, FEDERAL TAXES: Our effective federal tax rates for households are the lowest in 30 years, through a long term American policy that has continued under Obama. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that income taxes for a “family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum…have been lower during the Bush and Obama Administrations than at any time since the 1950s.” America’s most prosperous time economically for the middle class and toward a reasonable level of income equality overall took place in the 1950-70s and correlated with moderate leadership among Republicans and Democrats. Taxes were much higher during that period.
13. NATIONS BEST FOR BUSINESS: America is often not even close to being the best country for business. For example, when Forbes evaluated which countries were best for business in 2015, Denmark was #1. This was followed by New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Canada. By a large measure, they obviously do not agree with Tea Party policies of extreme libertarianism, yet no conservative country is near the top of this “pro-business” list. The United States ranks #22. U.S. News & World Report conducted a similar research project in 2016 to find the most “market-oriented countries [that] are a haven for capitalists and corporations”, in which we scored #23 – behind those same types of more liberal advanced Western societies.
14. REFUGEES: Conservative libertarian think tank Cato Institute reported that out of 859,000 refugees that went through the U.S. vetting system, one of the most rigorous in the world, between 2001 and 2015, three people were convicted of planning an attack outside the U.S and zero acts of terrorist violence were committed. It takes between 18-24 months to get through our refugee screening process, involving nine different government agencies. Half of all applicants are denied access. Syrian refugees must go through an even more thorough investigation. In Germany, where compared to the U.S. the rate of overall crime is half the size and murder is five times lower, refugees are involved in criminal activity less than the average citizen. Official government statistics in that country for 2015 reveal that even though the number of refugees increased by 440%, the numbers of crimes only rose by 79% among these people. Those from the Western Balkans were charged with a crime much more often than immigrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
15. VOTER FRAUD: This is a virtually non-existent problem contradicted by mountains of verifiable evidence and numerous wide scale studies that certain leaders continue to irresponsibly or ignorantly distort for political gain. If they can solidify Americans together through hyped up fears, these leaders can more easily get elected and securely retain their office.