For example, the Obama administration’s first move on any bad news has usually been to caution against watching Fox News. So we listen to that warning and often never look at the facts. Another common tactic for the intellectually lethargic is to find one wrong detail then dismiss the rest without any additional thought.
Last week, North Korea issued a report on The USA’s Human Rights abuses. There is a strong urge to just consider the source and refuse to look at the facts. Let’s resist that lazy urge and look closer at some of what was presented.
“Under the citizenship act, racialism is getting more severe in the U.S. The gaps between the minorities and the whites are very wide in the exercise of such rights to work and elect.”
Can this be true?
Is it getting worse? According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black Americans have had a consistent unemployment rate of twice that of White Americans from the 1950s to present. The greatest variation was during the 1990 Great Recession when White workers were fired at a much greater rate. Since then, it has evened back out to our decades-long standard ratio. In 2012, Black voter turnout surpassed White votes. So we can say the accusation of widening unemployment gap and voting rights is not true.
While it’s true unemployment is high, the Korean statement implies nothing’s been done.
In our system, workers pay into an unemployment benefit so that they can receive benefits if they become unemployed. This is paid by the States, so it seems odd that Washington wants to extend the benefits. Democrats want to add $6 billion to extend payments longer. They say it will support 240,000 jobs. That comes out to over $100,000 per job. In a certain sense, the Koreans are right because any “proper measure” would include the ability to do math. Congress does not seem to have that ability.
“The housing price soared 11.5 percent last year than 2012 and 13.2 percent in January this year than 2013, leaving many people homeless.”
The rise in home prices is only true when compared to the very low starting point of the previous dip. It is a statistical trick that is often used by our current administration. We should all look at charts of longer trends when these types of statistics are trotted out. We might have a different view of Health Care or Climate Change or any issues attached to trends. That aside, the rise in home prices did not cause homelessness. It may have caused some buyers to stay renters, but that is a different issue.
Poverty rates in the US have gone up in the last six years. Jobs are harder to find. Raises are scarce. Energy and food prices are up. In 2014, the US poverty level is set at $23,850 for a family of four. I wonder what it is in North Korea. It would be fair to note that the Korean use of the word “famine” does not apply to children in New York City. In United Nations language, “famine” can be declared only when at least 20 per cent of households face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope, acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 % and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.
“The U.S. government has monitored every movement of its citizens and foreigners, with many cameras and tapping devices and even drones involved, under the pretext of ‘national security.'”
This statement is undeniably true.
“The U.S. has witnessed an increasing number of gun-related crimes in all parts of the country and even its military bases this year. In this regard, the United Nations on April 10 put the U.S. on the top of the world list of homicide rates.”
You probably believed this one, but it is not true. The UN top 10 homicide rates are Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Swaziland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa and Colombia. By the way, gun crime is down in U.S. It is up in a little in Indiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and several of the smaller states.
“The U.S. also has 2.2 millions of prisoners at present, the highest number in the world. For lack of prisons on the part of the government, individuals are providing detention facilities to make money.”
This statement is undeniably true. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.
“Its chief executive, Obama, indulges himself in luxury almost every day, squandering hundred millions of dollars on his foreign trip in disregard of his people’s wretched life.”
Obama’s last golf trip to Palm Springs cost $3million in flight expenses alone. Their family vacation to Ireland last summer cost $8million. The Africa trip and Honolulu vacation in 2013 cost $16million in flight expenses alone. The only part of the Korean statement that can be debated is whether Obama’s people have wretched lives.
There you have it. There is some truth in North Korea’s accusations even though the source is flawed.
There is also value in considering what others say even though it would be easier to just consider the source.