Feb
27

Santorum fails Constitution 101

By Katie Kieffer
Former Sen. Rick Santorum

Image credit: “Rick Santorum” by Gage Skidmore on Flickr via Creative Commons.

I think former Sen. Rick Santorum would make a great community organizer. Unfortunately, we are trying to remove, not re-elect, a community organizer in the White House. Both Santorum and President Obama have a track record of ignoring the Constitution and implementing their personal ideologies at the federal level. By incessantly talking about his principles and his seven children, Santorum has convinced some voters that he is more socially conservative than Romney, Paul and Gingrich. Whoa, hold on. Things are not always what they seem; Obama is a politician who looks and talks like a man of principle. In 2008, Americans perceived him as a leader they could trust to reform society and enforce the law of the land. But Obama’s picture-perfect marriage and family life haven’t stopped him from cheating on the Constitution. Likewise, Santorum’s picturesque family life eclipses his poor track record of upholding the Constitution. Let’s run through examples of how Santorum imitates Obama’s activist drive to choose ideology over the Constitution:

Constitution 101

Both Obama and Santorum have vocalized their discontent with the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. Constitution

Image credit: “US Constitution” by kjd on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Newsmax reports: “…during a September 2001 Chicago public radio program,” Obama said that the “country’s Founding Fathers had ‘an enormous blind spot’ when they wrote it [the Constitution]. Obama also remarked that the Constitution ‘reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.’” Santorum routinely trivializes the Constitution and implies that, as president, he would override the Constitution’s own words (like the 10th Amendment) in favor of his personal ideology. He has said that the Constitution isn’t the “end-all, be-all” and he’s implied that reading the Constitution literally could lead to a French-style revolution because our Constitution gives “radical freedom.” The Founding Fathers did not allow the president to cherry-pick sections of the Constitution to enforce, depending on his or her beliefs. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution declares the Constitution to be “the supreme law of the land” and Article II, Section 1 states that the President must take an oath to “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Founders specifically forbid the president from legislating or becoming a religious leader à la King Henry VIII, who ordained himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

War

The Constitution states that the president needs to get Congress’ permission to go to war. I’m unsure Santorum agrees with the Constitution here. In debates, he gives the impression that he thinks it’s the president’s role to lead the nation to war and even authorize assassinations against civilian scientists rumored to be working on a nuclear program. Red flags go off when you notice that Santorum’s approach to foreign policy is nearly identical to Obama’s approach. In a December, 2011 Fox News debate Santorum said: “…we need to make sure that they [Iran] do not have a nuclear weapon. And we would, should, be working with the state of Israel right now; we should use covert activity and we should be planning a strike against their facilities and say if you do not open up those facilities and not close them down, we will close them down for you.” He has also said: “I’m hopeful that some of the things we’re seeing with respect to the nuclear program—that the United States is involved with. Which is, on occasion, nuclear scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran will turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing. I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a nuclear scientist from Russia or from North Korea or from Iran and you’re gonna work on the nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe. And if people say, well you can’t go out and assassinate people, well, tell that to [Al-]Awlaki. OK? We’ve done it. We’ve done it for an American citizen.” The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments protect American citizens from being treated like foreign terrorists or denied due process of law. However, Santorum seems to dismiss constitutional due process for American citizens. Wolf Blitzer recently interviewed Sen. Rand Paul on CNN’s Situation Room and asked Paul to comment on “on the issue of Iran, when it comes to Santorum saying he’s ready to bomb Iran…” Paul responded: “…you want a commander in chief who’s in charge of nuclear weapons who will not use them carelessly, who will not take the nation to war carelessly and who also understands that Congress gets to vote on declaring war; one man should never decide for our country to go to war.”

Birth Control and Abortion

The U.S. Constitution is silent on birth control and abortion. The Tenth Amendment states that all powers not delegated to the federal government remain the rights of the states and individuals. Reuters reports that Santorum once supported a bill that made exceptions for legal abortion. But, when his position became politically disadvantageous, Santorum switched his stance to be against abortion in all cases. Santorum attacks Obama’s mandate that insurance companies cover some prenatal testing, saying that these tests can “encourage abortions.” He also attacks Obama’s mandate that insurance companies provide free birth control. Yet, three days before Santorum criticized Obama’s mandate as a violation of religious freedom, he pivoted and told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News: “The bottom line in my position is very clear. I’ve had a consistent record on this [issue] of supporting women’s right to have contraception. I’ve supported funding for it. … I actually have been criticized by — I think it was Governor Romney or maybe it was Congressman Paul’s campaign for voting for contraception, that I voted for funding for — I think it was Title X — which I have voted for in the past, that provides for free contraception through organizations, even like Planned Parenthood.” Santorum supported funding for Planned Parenthood by supporting a 1996 omnibus spending bill that included funding for Title X Family Planning. He also aggressively campaigned and cut ads for pro-choice politicians like Sen. Arlen Specter over pro-life, fiscal conservatives like Sen. Pat Toomey. Specter won by a slim margin and eventually cast the deciding vote on Obamacare.
Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Arlen Specter

Pictured, from left-to-right: Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Arlen Specter, Tom Ridge. Image credit: “Politicians in Salute” by djwhelan on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Rep. Ron Paul described the constitutional and ethical problems with Santorum’s support for Title X in the Arizona CNN debate on February 22: “This is a consequence of the fact that the government has control of medical care and medical insurance …the problem is the government is getting involved in things they shouldn’t get involved in, especially at the federal level. …I think the immorality creates the problem of wanting to use the pills, so you don’t blame the pills. I think it’s sort of like the argument conservatives use all the time about guns: Guns don’t kill. Criminals kill. …The pills can’t be blamed for immorality of our society.” “If you voted for Planned Parenthood like the Senator has, you’ve voted for birth control pills. And you literally, because funds are fungible, you literally vote for abortion because Planned Parenthood gets the money. ‘Oh, I’ll buy birth control pills,’ but then they have the money left over to do the abortions, so that’s why you have to have a pretty strong resistance to voting for these bunches of bills put together. Planned Parenthood should get nothing!” If someone really wants a “law” against contraception, he or she could become a Catholic. Churches are in the business of helping individuals behave morally in their private lives. The federal government, on the other hand, is merely supposed to protect individual freedoms, private property and national security.

Private Property, Free Speech, Sex and Marriage

Per the Constitution, the federal government may not regulate sexual or committed relationships between two consenting adults. Only the states and individuals may do so. Santorum does not appear to believe that individuals own their own persons or their own homes. Rather, he thinks that the President can dictate how individuals use their bodies and act within their homes. He has said: “There is no such society that I am aware of where we’ve had radical individualism and it succeeds as a culture.” (I would say America is a society where radical individualism has clearly succeeded.) Santorum told the Associated Press on April 23, 2003: “…if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” This is a troubling statement because the purpose of government is to protect private property—including the right to one’s own body. Santorum seems willing to let the federal government barge into private homes and arrest Americans for sinning. Obama selectively enforces federal law (think DOMA or federal immigration laws). Likewise, Santorum has warned that, as president, he would not uphold the 10th Amendment. He also seems unwilling to enforce the First Amendment, which bans any “law respecting an establishment of religion” and guarantees the “free exercise” of religion.
First Amendment

Image credit: “Independence Hall – The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution” by Nicolas Karim on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Santorum told pollster Dr. Frank Luntz in Iowa on Nov. 19, 2011: “…the idea that the only things that the States are prevented from doing are only things specifically established in the Constitution is wrong. Our country is based on a moral enterprise. Gay marriage is wrong. …there are folks here who said that ‘states can do this and I won’t get involved in that.’ I will get involved in that… as a president.” Santorum wants to regulate marriage and religious expression with a federal marriage amendment. Per the First and Tenth amendments, the federal government has zero control over our bedrooms and marriages. Ideally, individuals would get married in their own churches and the government would stay out of marriage. However, constitutionally, states may define marriage.

Spending

Santorum’s record reveals his penchant for spilling the federal purse. The Club for Growth writes: “[Santorum’s] record is plagued by the big-spending habits that Republicans adopted during the Bush years of 2001-2006.” Santorum voted to raise the national debt five times, the largest entitlement increase since the 1960’s at $727 billion (via the Prescription Drug Act and Medicare Improvement Act) and doubling the size of the Department of Education (via the No Child Left Behind Act). Highlights from his voting record:
  • May 25, 1995: Voted to increase taxes by $9.4 billion to subsidize student loans
  • June 27, 1997: Voted to hike taxes by $2.3 billion for Amtrak
  • July 16, 1997: Voted to increase the administrative costs of a government finance institution (OPIC) by 50%
  • March 11, 1998: Voted against repealing Clinton’s 4.3-cent gas tax
  • March 26, 1998: Voted to give $18 billion to the IMF
  • April 2, 1998: Voted against paying off the national debt within 30 years
  • June 4, 1998: Voted to swap marriage penalty tax relief for fines on tobacco companies
  • June 18, 1999: Voted for a $1 billion bailout of the steel industry
  • April 5, 2000: Voted to pay down national debt by dipping into Social Security instead of utilizing surpluses
  • May 21 and Nov. 15, 2001: Voted (twice) to tax the internet
  • February 14, 2006: Voted for a $140 billion asbestos compensation bill
  • March 16, 2006: Voted to increase spending on social programs by $7 billion
  • May 4, 2006: Voted against transferring $20 million from AmeriCorps to veterans

Conclusions

Show me a major political issue that Santorum approaches constitutionally, and I’ll show you a pink dinosaur. I’m concerned that Santorum would be an activist, “community organizing” president like President Obama. I fear he would sidestep Congress and violate the Constitution’s separation of powers when it comes to entering war and spending federal taxpayer dollars. By selectively ignoring the Constitution in favor of advancing his personal ideology, I’m concerned that he would encroach on the rights of states and individuals.

Feb
20

Dr. Babyface’s 3-Step Jobs Plan

By Katie Kieffer

Image credit: “San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon Amir Karam” by Best In Plastics on Flickr via Creative Commons.

America is showing her age. She had fun spending Sugar Daddy China’s cash; now she’s broke, tired and weak. Sadly, there’s no quick fix—no fancy wrinkle cream—that can erase decades of fiscal abuse from America’s face. To revive her youthful foundation in constitutional freedom America must take dramatic steps. It’s time for America to go under the knife; it’s time to call Dr. Babyface. Dr. Babyface is a “plastic surgeon” otherwise known as yours truly. Except I don’t inject Botox into aging celebrities. Rather, I inject radical doses of freedom into aging governments. Here’s Dr. Babyface’s three-step prescription to revive America:

Step One: Put President Obama in Constitutional Time-Out

President Obama keeps stepping outside his Constitutional bounds. He needs to sit back and let Congress do its job. The Constitution prohibits the President from using his executive authority to make laws or delegate lawmaking to extra-Congressional agencies like the EPA. Only Congress has the power to make laws and authorize military expenditures. Yet, President Obama continues to bypass Congress before intervening militarily in places like Libya. Even if we could afford to do everything President (King) Obama wants, we can never afford to lose our constitutional liberties. March Madness starts soon and I’m sure Obama won’t mind taking a time-out from unconstitutionally legislating if he has a big-screen TV and a bracket board.

Step Two: Listen to Steve Jobs and Peter Thiel

Dr. Babyface believes in an apple a day, as in Apple Inc. Earlier this month, Apple beat Exxon Mobil for the title of the world’s most valuable company. Apple became 17 percent more valuable than Exxon and Apple’s stock broke $500 for first time. President Obama could learn a thing or two from an entrepreneurial success story like Apple. The late Steve Jobs built Apple to become a financial behemoth. Before his 2011 death, Jobs offered Obama advice on how to revitalize America. While Obama used Jobs’ iconic image to push his socialist agenda during the 2012 State of the Union address, he ignored Jobs’ advice, which included dramatically reducing regulations and abandoning the notion that everyone should achieve a four-year college degree.

Image credit: “RIP Steve Jobs” from densaer on Flickr via Creative Commons. Quote from Steve Jobs in a 1985 interview with Playboy Magazine.

The President claims that he has some goodies for entrepreneurs in his four-volume budget proposal. However, his budget is heavy on spending and leaves us with a $901 billion federal deficit that entrepreneurs say will lead to higher taxes, lower profit margins and fewer jobs. Since many small business owners file their taxes individually, the President’s plan to bump taxes on anyone reporting income over $250,000 will hurt budding entrepreneurs. The budget even targets specific industries, like the commercial real estate industry—eliminating the carried interest tax incentive (15 percent rate) and taxing real estate partnerships as ordinary income at the 35 percent rate. In a healthy, free-market economy, the commercial real estate sector accounts for nearly one third of U.S. GDP, creates 9 million jobs and U.S. Treasury data shows that over 46 percent of all partnerships are real estate partnerships. Instead of replacing the carried interest tax incentive with comprehensive tax reform, the President is effectively amputating up to one-third of U.S. GDP. Instead of heeding Jobs and cutting regulations, Obama has added new layers of regulation to the economy (think the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the National Defense Authorization Act and net neutrality regulations.) And Obama chastises American companies for outsourcing? His policies are literally forcing tech companies like Apple to outsource to China. Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, also has job-creating advice. He says that while we have innovated in the realm of computers and the Internet, we still need a technology revolution in sectors like travel, medicine and energy. Thiel writes in the National Review: “The technology slowdown threatens not just our financial markets, but the entire modern political order, which is predicated on easy and relentless growth. The give-and-take of Western democracies depends on the idea that we can craft political solutions that enable most people to win most of the time. But in a world without growth, we can expect a loser for every winner. Many will suspect that the winners are involved in some sort of racket, so we can expect an increasingly nasty edge to our politics.” Thiel’s prediction is unfurling: President Obama embraces anti-innovation policies like the Buffett Rule and infuses his speeches with class rhetoric that pits wealthy, entrepreneurial risk-takers against everyone else. Like Jobs, Thiel shuns the notion that a $100,000-plus four-year college degree is the universal key to success. The New Yorker’s George Packer profiles Thiel thus: “Thiel believes that education is the next bubble in the U.S. economy. He has compared university administrators to subprime-mortgage brokers, and called debt-saddled graduates the last indentured workers in the developed world, unable to free themselves even through bankruptcy. … Above all, a college education teaches nothing about entrepreneurship. Thiel thinks that young people—especially the most talented ones—should establish a plan for their lives early, and he favors one plan in particular: starting a technology company.” Instead of listening to Thiel, President Obama is offering to bail out college students. By executive order, he recently rolled out his Pay As You Earn college student loan bailout program. The program stymies entrepreneurship and lets colleges get off the hook for rising costs and failing educational programs. The President should be encouraging entrepreneurial youths to ditch college and pursue a private Peter Thiel-style fellowship rather than pushing them to spend four years of their life accruing needless information and burdensome debt. Extreme innovators like Jobs, Taylor Swift, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and Ralph Lauren helped themselves and society by skipping overpriced, cookie-cutter experiences like college.

Step Three: Drill, Baby, Drill

We need to drill, frack and mine for our oil, gas, coal and rare-earth resources. For example, we could immediately create tens of thousands of jobs and produce 700,000 barrels of American crude a day by building TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department has twice declared the pipeline to be environmentally safe and the Obama administration is still blocking it on environmental concerns. Dr. Babyface also recommends eliminating the EPA because this agency routinely and unconstitutionally undercuts Congress. The EPA’s rules send energy jobs to China and raise the cost of energy at home. For example, “green tech” like electric, wind and solar is unaffordable because of the EPA. The U.S. once dominated the mining of rare-earthelements that are necessary to produce electric car batteries, wind turbines and solar panels. But EPA regulations essentially destroyed rare earth mining in the U.S. Today, China produces and controls the prices of about 97 percent of the world’s rare-earth supply.

CA rare-earth mine, Molycorp, celebrates its grand re-opening on April 21, 2011. The mine is slowly reviving after being suppressed by environmental regulations for years. Image credit: SupervisorRutherford on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The EPA also cut corners to regulate the coal industry in ways that will lead to higher energy costs and job losses. In September of 2010, the Associated Press revealed an internal government watchdog report: “The Obama administration cut corners…” because the EPA issued “controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time” despite the fact that the EPA did not conduct sufficient scientific studies to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions do in fact “pose dangers to human health and welfare.” To summarize, America needs a radical facelift. It will be painful. But Dr. Babyface has a simple, three-step plan: First, convince President Obama to take a time-out from legislating. Second, listen to Steve Jobs and Peter Thiel and encourage innovation by cutting taxes, expelling regulations and abandoning the cultural push for universal four-year degrees. Third, exploit our natural resources and eliminate the EPA in order to lower energy costs and propel manufacturing. I will see you in the surgery room, America.  To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your next event, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.

Feb
13

What Women Want

By Katie Kieffer
LOVE

Image credit: “Grafitti-love” by f1uffster (Jeanie) on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Forget chocolate, diamonds and flowers. Women want fathers. Not every woman has a brother. Not every woman finds or wants a husband (today just 51 percent of all adults 18 and over are married compared to 72 percent in 1960). However, I think every woman needs and desires a male role model in her life. Pink ribbons are plastered on everything from yogurt containers to NFL uniforms. And numerous “find the cure” organizations appear to be staying in business longer than necessary because they squander their funds on non-research projects (think abortions at Planned Parenthood), leaving women on their own to find the cure to breast cancer. Not every woman gets breast cancer (a horrible condition and certainly worthy of honest research funding.) Fathers, in contrast, are important to the health and development of all women. So, I think that one of the best things we can do for women as a whole is encourage men to be good fathers and father figures.
Father & daughter.

Image credit: “Father and His Daughter” by blindedbymysight on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Ideally a “father figure” is a woman’s biological father, but not always. A friend, adoptive father, uncle, husband, grandpa or a brother can become a male role model for a woman when her biological father dies or otherwise ducks out of her life. Some biological fathers abandon their daughters; they get a woman pregnant and then leave her to change the baby’s diapers (after kindly offering to pay for an abortion, of course.) Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs initially fell into this category: He got his on-and-off girlfriend pregnant and refused to be an active father for the first ten years of her life. Jobs eventually assumed his proper role as a father and he deeply regretted his early behavior. Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson: “I wish I had handled it differently. I could not see myself as a father then, so I didn’t face up to it. But when the test results showed she was my daughter, it’s not true that I doubted it. I agreed to support her until she was eighteen and give some money to Chrisann [his ex-girlfriend] as well. I found a house in Palo Alto and fixed it up and let them live there rent-free. Her mother found her great schools which I paid for. I tried to do the right thing. But if I could do it over, I would do a better job.” When Jobs married his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, he brought his daughter into his own home and took her on a special father-daughter trip to Japan as he eventually did with all three of his and Powell’s children. Jobs understood that his first daughter was still scarred by his behavior early in her life, even at his death, although they did reconcile. He told his biographer that the reason he wanted the biography was not to explain his entrepreneurial story with Apple: “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.” Jobs’ father abandoned him and gave him up for adoption. Because of this, Jobs struggled with a feeling of abandonment his entire life. Jobs ‘used to play [John Lennon’s song Mother] often,’ Isaacson writes. ‘The refrain includes the haunting chant “Mama don’t go, Daddy come home.”’ The behavior of his father probably played a huge role in Jobs’ behavior toward his own first daughter. Fathers who only have sons are just as important: When men raise good sons, they do their sons’ future girlfriends, wives and grandchildren a huge favor. Fathers have the power to prevent or encourage bad behavior: When a young man cheats on his wife, it’s often because he saw his father cheat on his mother, confirms a 2011 study from the Charles University in Prague. Likewise, when a young father is addicted to porn, it’s usually because his own father was a porn buff. In all, Jobs fathered three girls and one boy. He wasn’t a perfect father, but he genuinely thought about the message his actions sent to his children. Isaacson tells how, early on, Jobs insisted on a policy against porn apps for the iPhone. Jobs quipped: “Folks who want porn can buy an Android.” Jobs’ decision to censor porn apps at his own tech company upset the editor of tech blog Valleywag, Ryan Tate. One evening, he poured himself a stinger cocktail and emailed Jobs: “I don’t want ‘freedom from porn.’ Porn is just fine! And I think my wife would agree.” Jobs fired his own email back: “You might care more about porn when you have kids. It’s not about freedom, it’s about Apple trying to do the right thing for its users. By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others’ work and belittle their motivations?” By sticking to his guns, Jobs impressed Tate, who later wrote: “Jobs not only built and then rebuilt his company around some very strong opinions about digital life, but he’s willing to defend them in public. Vigorously. Bluntly. At two in the morning on a weekend.” A girl’s father shapes who she eventually finds herself attracted to. A girl whose father spoils her and stymies her with excessive attention will end up being irresponsible and incompetent. On the flip side, research shows that a girl whose father abandons her when she is young will prematurely reach sexual maturity and end up feeling both abandoned and sexually insecure. This insecurity could lead her to attach herself to smooth-talking bumpkins who use her and lose her. I think the most influential man in every woman’s life is her father. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Be a father figure to your daughter—or a woman who needs one. You will change the world. Key pages referenced from Walter Isaacson’s book, “Steve Jobs:” 51, 91, 551-552, 556-557. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your conference or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.

Feb
06

Paul vs Obama: Foreign Policy

By Katie Kieffer

Spc Jason Palmer, a crew chief for a Black Hawk helicopter from A Company, 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment. Image credit: U.S. Army photo by Specialist Teddy Wade, Released. On Flickr via Creative Commons.

I predict that President Obama runs for reelection on his foreign policy record. He told us as much when he bookended his State of the Union address with his foreign policy “wins.” Unlike his economic record (non-existent), Obama has brag-worthy talking points on foreign policy. I think GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul could throw the most effective darts at Obama’s puerile attempt to police the world. Certainly, GOP front-runner Mitt Romney can argue that he has more business experience than Obama. But his weakness in a general debate will be foreign policy. Romney can’t say that he has more presidential foreign policy experience than Obama. He can’t say he has more active-duty military experience than Obama. And Romney will struggle to attract war-weary voters because he’s criticized Obama’s highly interventional foreign policy as “timid.” Let’s run through the six key foreign policy “wins” Obama touted during his 2012 State of the Union address—and the darts Paul could throw in a general debate. Obama point #1: I love our troops! I “went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.” Paul counterpoint #1: I served the United States Air Force as a flight surgeon. I understand that our troops are weary and we’re broke and we should bring them home and utilize them on the U.S.-Mexico border where violent drug cartels are threatening Texas ranchers and farmers and the U.S. food supply. This is why I receive more individual contributions from active duty military men and women than any other major candidate. You, on the other hand, never served in the military. And, you’ve childishly ignored Gov. Rick Perry’s call for more boots on the Texas border. Obama point #2: “For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.” Paul counterpoint #2: Why did it take you three years to bring the troops home from Iraq? You broke the promise you made on March 19, 2008: “When I am commander in chief, I will set a new goal on Day One: I will end this war [in Iraq]. – I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. We can responsibly remove one to two combat brigades each month.” You didn’t successfully manage your elongated intervention in Iraq because she is now becoming a chaotic police state. And despite the fact that our country is broke, you’ve committed the U.S. to billions in ongoing aid in Iraq. Obama point #3: I’m effectively fighting terrorism: “For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken.” Paul counterpoint #3: Why do you continue to spoil Pakistan? Our “ally” helped us by (likely wittingly) harboring bin Laden in a fortified compound several hundred yards from the Abbottabad military academy. Then, Pakistan ignored the CIA and let China examine SEAL Team Six’s stealth copter tail technology. You gave the orders to kill bin Laden from the Situation Room but his capture and kill was the result of a cumulative effort over many years by many talented people. You failed to negotiate with the Taliban and distinguish between the Taliban and al Qaeda. Senior Diplomat Richard Holbrooke believed in negotiating with the Taliban. For, the Taliban used to be our allies and they are primarily concerned with keeping foreigners off their land. When you took office, you undercut Holbrooke’s authority and threw away his opportunities to broker peace with the Taliban and potentially ouster al Qaeda’s top lieutenants quicker and with minor loss of U.S. blood, treasure and military technology. President Obama, after initially promising to veto it, you signed the unconstitutional National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), authorizing the U.S. military—not local police or the FBI—to arrest and indefinitely imprison American citizens without a fair trial and a lawyer. This act violates the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. As I’ve explained, Mr. President, the NDAA “institutionalizes and codifies martial law …[such that] everybody in this country is [now] a potential terrorist. …if you happen to visit a website, happen to attend a meeting …you can be accused of being a terrorist and the bill says you have no right to a lawyer. They’ve been abusive of this for many years but now it’s been codified. …We should be consciously aware of terrorism and deal with it, but to say that we’re at war with the world … is very, very dangerous.”

Image credit: submarginals on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Obama point #4: “From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan.” Paul counterpoint #4: You are responsible for the troop surge in Afghanistan. Only 22,000 troops are set to come home this fall and you have no time table pacing the return of the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops. Since 2008—the year you were elected—the U.S. has sustained nearly two-and-a-half times the number of fatalities in Afghanistan as the six previous years combined. While Americans faced a double-digit unemployment rate and Standard and Poor’s downgraded our triple-A credit rating, you blew about $2 billion a week in Afghanistan. You’ve approached Afghan President Hamid Karzai like a trusted ally—even after reports leaked in 2010 that Karzai’s closest aide, former ambassador to Iran Umar Daudzai, receives bagfuls of cash in $1-, $2- and $6-million lump sums every other month from Iran. You even sided with Karzai over your own senior general in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller; Fuller simply voiced frustration when Karzai made ungrateful and disloyal statements suggesting that, despite receiving $11.6 billion in aid from the U.S. to train Afghan security forces, Afghanistan would side with Pakistan against the U.S. if Pakistan felt threatened. Obama point #5: “A year ago [Libyan dictator Muammar] Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators—a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone.” Paul counterpoint #5: You spent about $9.5 million a day in Libya. Today, violence and chaos continues to fester under the Libyan Transitional National Council. Obama point #6: I support Israel. I have levied “crippling sanctions” on Iran and “I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.” Paul counterpoint #6: Your foreign policy undermines Israel’s sovereignty and also jeopardizes her safety. The U.S. gave $1.5 billion in annual military and monetary aid to Mubarak’s Egyptian regime despite Egypt’s aggressive animosity toward Israel. Saudi Arabia and Iraq are also Israel’s foes, yet you pushed for $11 billion in Iraqi military training and helicopter, weapon and tank sales to Iraq. In December, you brokered a $30 billion deal to sell sophisticated U.S. fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. How does it help Israel to pump her enemies with cash and military technology? On May 24, 2011, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told Congress: “My friends, you don’t need to do nation-building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel; we’ve already got it! And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel; we defend ourselves!” Your actions toward Iran are particularly dangerous to both American and Israeli interests. Iran blames the U.S. and Israel for the 2010 malicious Stuxnet cyberstrike and the ongoing assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. Middle East expert Vali Nasr argues in Bloomberg that Iran perceives American economic sanctions as the last straw—effectively an act of war—because sanctions will break Iran’s oil-dependent economy and send its citizens into the streets. Your intentions are probably good. And Netanyahu praised American sanctions on Iran. But I’m concerned about blowback against America and Israel. Plus, our own DOD has shown Iran’s nuclear program to be defensive and deterrent in nature. This month, TIME published an investigative report on Iran’s nuclear program by Karl Vick in Jerusalem. Vick’s report shows that Israel’s air force is incapable of meaningfully taking out Iran’s nuclear program. Even if the U.S. were to aid Israel militarily, the evidence shows that it would be a long shot, could motivate Iran to build deeper, more secretive operations and could incite asymmetric attacks against the U.S. and Israel. TIME writes: “The potential targets are scattered and hidden all over Iran …In 1981, Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in a daring surprise strike. …One forgotten lesson of Osirak is that, as a consequence, Saddam Hussein took his nuclear weapons program into the shadows and got much closer to a bomb before the rest of the world caught wind of his intentions. An attack on Iran, even one led by the U.S., might produce only a temporary halt in its nuclear program—and a greater resolve to develop weapons out of sight of international inspectors, if only to buttress Iranian security in years to come.” Obama closing remarks: “We have made some incredible strides together. Yes we have! … Precisely because we were inheriting so many challenges… we knew [change] was gonna take time.” Paul closing remarks: Mr. President, please don’t blame your predecessors for your failures. You’ve even said that of all the Presidents, you most admire the foreign policy of George H.W. Bush. Freedom brings people together!” We’re broke. Our troops are weary. The U.S.-Mexico border is porous. I think we can better defend ourselves and our allies, like Israel, by revising our foreign policy. I’ll leave it up to you, my reader, to decide who won this theoretical foreign policy debate. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.