As the world burns: Obama’s “Stupid Stuff” foreign policy and its disastrous effects

The crowded stadium roars its approval — “Allah is great!” — as a man shoots a woman in a public execution. Militants destroy a historic religious shrine. Women and children face public abuse, private violence, and daily fear. Girls, denied access to education, remain trapped in a seventh-century dystopia. A bloodthirsty terrorist organization promises death to Americans.

Think this resembles the Middle East today? No, these references date to the turn of the millennium in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Today, these same toxic forces behead children, sell women into sex slavery, drive ethnic and religious minorities from their homeland. Refugees hide in mountains and feed their children the parents’ own blood to prevent dehydration and certain death. ISIS jihadists throw screaming women and children into mass graves and, more recently, beheaded American photojournalist James Wright Foley in a disgusting “made-for-YouTube murder,” as some have called it.

Small wonder, then, that most Americans disapprove of president Barack Obama’s foreign policy. A recent NBC/WSJ survey on the president’s foreign policy registered 57 percent disapproval, an all-time high. Obama’s foreign policy has become noteworthy for a remarkable series of bad decisions, miscalculations, and fecklessness — tragically ironic for an administration whose foreign policy mantra is “don’t do stupid [stuff].”

Mr. Obama drew an ominous “red line” with Syria, threatening action if Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. When Assad deployed chemical weapons against his own people, Mr. Obama did . . . nothing.

Mr. Obama has taken steps to remove economic sanctions against Iran without any concessions from Iran or progress on limiting Iran’s ambitions to become a nuclear state.

Mr. Obama’s lead-from-behind Libyan policy supported aggressive military action against Qaddafi, who had voluntarily relinquished his illegal weapons program in direct response to the deterrent effect of Iraqi regime change. Post-Qaddafi, Libya has become destabilized, harboring terrorists and causing havoc in neighboring African countries.

Mr. Obama fixated on removing our troops from Iraq as a strategic end unto itself. Since our departure, the resulting vacuum left an environment in which jihadists could take control of most of Iraq and erase its border with Syria.

Mr. Obama declared a specific date for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, signaling both to violent jihadists and Afghan allies an impending return to the pre-9/11 dystopia there. Emboldened, militants attacked U.S. troops there, killing Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer killed in action since the Vietnam War.

Mr. Obama took office vowing to end the U.S. presence in Iraq, seemingly oblivious to the fact that American blood, toil, tears and sweat had recently brought new stability to the country. With a fledging democratic government, Iraq had just begun to experience greater security and order.

Hillary Clinton herself conceded, in seeking to pivot from Secretary of State to presidential nominee, that “don’t do stupid stuff is not an organizing principle” for a nation’s foreign policy and national security. But, unfortunately, “an organizing principle” is not the only thing lacking from the administration’s foreign policy.

As the list of unwise and inept decisions continues to grow, “stupid stuff” increasingly describes both the administration’s own foreign policy and its effects. After nearly six years, events today bear an eerie resemblance to those preceding the largest attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

A statue in front of the national archives building — which houses the signed originals of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution — bears an inscription both hopeful and ominous: “What is past is prologue.” But the president of the pen and the phone does not make his way down to the Capitol building very often to work with Congress, and perhaps he has not seen this reminder frequently enough.

Warning signs point to the unholy war returning to U.S. soil. Will Mr. Obama allow it to happen on his watch? We need decisive action to neutralize the ISIS threat. More empty words and inaction will do nothing to curtail the threat Americans now face.

Gayle Trotter is a writer and attorney in Washington, D.C. Her views are her own.

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President Obama and his “Equal Pay Demagoguery”


Working Woman

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus recently wrote about President Obama’s “revolting hyperbole” on the Paycheck Fairness Act.    Despite her position in favor of the act, Marcus wrote: “There is a difference between opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act and opposing paycheck fairness. Politicians who choose to confuse the two may score a cheap political point, but it’s not a fair one.”

Last week, I joined EWTN’s Brian Patrick to discuss President Obama’s recent executive orders and promotion of the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Click here to watch the segment.

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Fictitious Holiday Based on a Harmful Myth: Equal Pay Day

John Ransom and I enjoyed a spirited discussion about the fictitious “equal pay day” and the 77 cents wage gap myth.

Click here to listen.

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Tax Day 2014: Helping or Hurting Americans?

Today, Americans will file approximately 143,600,000 federal individual income tax returns to comply with 26 U.S.C. Section 6011 and pay approximately one trillion real, hard-earned dollars to the U.S. Treasury.  Taxpayers deserve a full and accurate accounting from Washington.  The Obama administration uses struggling Americans as justification for a vast federal overreach and growing federal expenditures, but his policies only make things worse.

Some Americans believe that when our government spends more than 22.9% of our entire U.S. economy, we should have something to show for it.  Call it a return on taxpayer investment.   Government spending roughly breaks down into three categories: entitlements (primarily Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security), discretionary spending (includes military spending, support for schools and highway maintenance), and interest payments on federal debt (only the debtors benefit from interest payments).

Each year, our federal government receives less from taxpayers than it spends, resulting in a budget deficit.  Each year’s budget deficit is added to those deficits of prior years, creating our federal debt.  The CBO recently projected that the federal deficit will be $492 billion for 2014.  Obama supporters may point out that this is a big decline from the $680 billion deficit in fiscal year 2013.   Yet, the $492 billion adds to prior year’s deficits and will create a projected $17.9 trillion federal debt by the end of 2014.

Under Obama’s budget proposal released in early March, we would spend more on interest payments on debt (not including principal payments) than on the entire defense budget by 2020.  Being highly leveraged reduces the US’s ability to make foreign policy decisions based on core principles rather than craven economic reasons.  Paying more to debt service than protecting our nation threatens our security.

On the domestic front, right now, we face a record high number of those receiving food assistance through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  In 2012, 46.37 million individuals received food assistance, meaning 15 percent of our country’s population received benefits under the program. As of April 4, 2014, 46.9 million individuals participate in SNAP.  Previously, children and seniors primarily received assistance, but now, 50.2% of participants are working-age adults.

Who doesn’t want hungry people to eat?  This administration would rather tax working Americans, run up federal credit cards, and expand a vast bureaucracy of soul-sucking forms, lines, and humiliation, than work with Congress to reform its signature health care law.  After repeating, “It’s the law of the land” when questioned about the ill effects of Obamacare, the administration has unilaterally changed the law over thirty times so the law no longer resembles the originally enacted statute.

This pernicious law creates incentives for employers (including universities) to cut employees’ hours and avoid hiring to avoid being targeted for federal manipulation of the labor market.

Instead of forcing people onto food assistance, why won’t the Obama administration allow an energy renaissance, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, lift the export ban on crude oil and open up opportunities like $80,000 per year jobs driving trucks (as is happening in energy boom state Texas) or $17 per hour jobs working at an entry level job at Wal-Mart (as is happening in energy boom state North Dakota)?

“I’m all for helping those in need,” posted one frustrated Democratic voter on Facebook after realizing what she owed in taxes this year, “But now I’m getting screwed.”

We can help fellow Americans without continually increasing our $17 trillion federal debt, imperiling our safety from outside threats, and limiting our liberties.  Use this Tax Day to demand our federal government hold up its end of the social compact.

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Government Shutdown? This is democracy in action. [NPR's Tell Me More interview]

Every Republican in the House of Representatives right now ran on either delaying, opposing or defunding Obamacare. And this is the point where Republicans need to show whether or not they’re going to follow through on their commitments. This is democracy in action, and if you don’t like where we are now with the government slowdown, most Americans didn’t like where we were when Obamacare was passed in the first place.”

Click here to listen to or read the transcript from my recent interview with Michel Martin on NPR’s Tell Me More

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Chilling dissent over Guantanamo Policy

The U.S. prison for enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should not succumb once again to policies that thwart our defense of U.S. citizens and national security interests.

While Gitmo houses 164 inmates who are eager to harm Americans, a group of left-leaning lawyers (colloquially dubbed the “terrorist bar”) is working earnestly on behalf of the Gitmo detainees. These groups include representatives of the American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First.

Under a recent policy change, the Department of Defense allows observers from these organizations to monitor ongoing proceedings at Gitmo. The department’s policy confers privileged status on these five organizations, which have automatic access rights to monitor Gitmo hearings.”

Click here to read my full commentary in the Washington Times.

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Obama’s New World Disorder

Americans have learned that the world is a more dangerous place under the leadership of our Nobel Peace Prize winner, who never seemed to learn that peace is best achieved through strength.”

Read my new piece at the Daily Caller.  Click here.

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Five Questions for the IRS

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has some explaining to do. An outcry from Shulman’s former bosses, the American taxpayers, should shame him into honestly answering five simple questions about his role in the most threatening scandal engulfing the Obama administration today.

Read the five questions here.

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Interview with Andrea Tantaros about AG Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder may have misled Congress and you about the Justice Department’s targeting of reporter James Rosen.  Did Holder perjure himself?  IWF senior fellow Gayle Trotter joined Andrea Tantaros to illuminate the issues.  Listen here.

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Gayle co-hosted Istook Live show on January 17

The President signed 23 new executive actions yesterday. NRA President David Keene joined Ernest and Gayle to explain what this means for you. Ernest and Gayle speak with author and Townhall editor Katie Pavlich about the executive actions.  Gayle and Ernest speak with Jordan Sekulow about an Iranian American pastor facing persecution and threat of execution. Listen here.

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