Liberty won't be achieved by expanding this big, failed government program

Refugee crises, US-armed terrorists and funding state sponsors of terrorism. These are just some of the ramifications of President Obama’s schizophrenic foreign policy that caused the American people to turn to Donald Trump in a moment of stupendous blowback.

No, not everything about Trump pleased conservatives. But many viewed him as the Batman to Obama’s Joker; replacing a foreign policy marked by chaos and anarchy with the drive and firepower needed to decisively defeat America's enemies.

Part of making America great again was about empowering the military that Obama weakened. Surely this was the best way to put a stop to the international mayhem, right?

Well, not so fast...

It's important to remember Obama’s foreign policy woes were a result of too much intervention, not too little. If you think Detroit is suffering from excessive government meddling, then it’s no surprise what’s left the Middle East in such shambles.

By the end of Obama’s second term, US special operators were in 70 percent of the world’s nations, a 130 percent jump since the days of George W. Bush, with over half of 2016’s deployment heading to the Middle East. Obama also expanded the drone program ten-fold. He used his executive might to engage in undeclared wars in Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and dropped over 100,000 bombs across seven countries, with over 26,000 in 2016 alone.

Trump's strong-willed, tough-minded rhetoric on foreign policy and vow to reverse the backward eight years that preceded him made for an acceptable trade-off after the embarrassment of Obama.

Unfortunately, Trump has merely doubled down on the big-government mistakes of his predecessors. Americans should eye their executive’s job performance as any boss would examine an employee. With that in mind, let’s review Trump’s first year of foreign policy.

During his first year in office, Trump dropped almost 33,000 bombs on Iraq and Syria and 2,400 on Afghanistan. He almost tripled the number of strikes in Yemen to over 100. He greatly expanded each major overseas conflict America is engaged in. He also increased the government contracts needed to supply these bombs and the federal bureaucracy needed to drop them.

Trump called it a strategy to “bomb the sh*t” out of ISIS. Defense Secretary Mattis called it “annihilation tactics.” Voters looking to drain the swamp called it a satisfying delivery on one of Trump’s most important campaign promises. Weapons manufacturers probably called it a stimulus package.

Now, Trump calls on Congress to eliminate a seven-year old spending cap in order to increase military spending by $700 billion. Even though the military already takes up over half of federal discretionary spending and outranks the next seven largest military budgets in the world combined, Trump believes the department still lacks sufficient taxpayer funds.

Just like the war on poverty led to more poverty instead of less, the war on terror has led to more terror, not less. The same knowledge and incentive problems that plague the progressive regulatory apparatus also plague the military.

If life, liberty and property are the benchmarks by which to judge government action, US foreign policy is starting to look like one big, failed government program. Let's look at these point by point.

Is our foreign policy protecting life? While Trump promised to bomb “the sh*t out of” ISIS --- a murderous organization if there ever was one --- he has also bombed the sh*t out of innocent bystanders, providing ISIS more ideological fuel in the form of American resentment and grieving family members. According to Airwars, a group that tracks airstrikes, Trump is breaking records for killing civilians with his fast and loose approach.

If civilian casualties are unavoidable, shouldn’t we be sure Pentagon bureaucrats are working diligently to minimize them? Just like the post office and the public school system, however, military failures are rewarded with more funding and naive optimism, instead of less.

How about protecting liberty? The Iraqis or Syrians certainly don’t have the resources to show up and destroy our political and economic liberty. The US government is a bigger threat to the average person’s Constitutional rights than impoverished people on the other side of the globe. These campaigns haven’t protected the liberty of those abroad either. They have destabilized already-shaky political institutions and empowered extremists.

What about property? Certainly no Yemeni thieves are going to show up in America and rob the taxpayers to the tune of $700 billion if we stopped helping the Saudis. After all, the military has no resources of its own, only those it receives from the private sector. Not to mention the property destroyed abroad, like schools and apartments.

There’s a more accurate description for massive expansion of war abroad: socialism.

It looks like “bomb[ing] the sh*t out of” them has become a mainstay of US foreign policy. But there’s a more accurate description for massive expansion of war abroad: socialism.

What are America’s 700-plus military bases abroad, endless domestic weapons manufacturing, and engagement in reckless (usually undeclared) wars if not state socialism writ large? The constant insistence on using our bloated military to “just do something” is an enormous drain on taxpayers and promotes a sense of entitlement for arms makers and Pentagon busybodies. How many future Platos or Teslas instead become nameless cogs employed --- or worse, murdered --- by the military?

This state-sponsored squandering of human and social capital, here and abroad, must end.

There is no more fatal a conceit than America's attempt to centrally plan the entire Middle East geopolitical landscape. Ultimately, neither the Obama nor Trump foreign policies serve to protect life, liberty or property. The longer Americans worry about the creeping socialism of the welfare state but not the warfare state, the true nature and danger of socialism will be obscured.

Socialism isn’t always wearing a Che t-shirt and calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat. Sometimes it’s in a suit swearing to us that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction (or that Kim Jong-un is on the verge of using his).

There is no government activity more destructive to rule of law, property rights and free trade than military adventurism. There is no more powerful and devastating a socialist apparatus than the US military and there is nothing more destructive to liberty here and around the globe.

To provide a real alternative to the neoconservative establishment, Trump must, like Batman, find the wisdom to realize how similar he is to his enemies and adopt a less aggressive posture.

We should be trimming our bloated military, not enlarging another federal department.

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Cory Massimino is the Senior Academic Programs Chair at Students For Liberty, the Mutual Exchange Coordinator at the Center for a Stateless Society and a Young Voices Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @corymassimino.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

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Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?

These days, when Americans decide to be outraged about something, we really go all out.

This week's outrage is, of course, the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration along the southern border. Specifically, people are upset over the part of the policy that separates children from their parents when the parents get arrested.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

Lost in all the outrage is that the President is being proactive about border security and is simply enforcing the law. Yes, we need to figure out a less clumsy, more compassionate way of enforcing the law, but children are not being flung into dungeons and fed maggots as the media would have you believe.

But having calm, reasonable debates about these things isn't the way it's done anymore. You have to make strong, sweeping announcements so the world knows how righteous your indignation is.

That's why yesterday, the governors of Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut declared they are withholding or recalling their National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border until this policy of separating children from their parents is rescinded.

Adding to the media stunt nature of this entire "crisis," it turns out this defiant announcement from these five governors is mostly symbolic. Because two months ago, when President Trump called for 4,000 additional National Guard troops to help patrol the border, large numbers of troops were not requested from those five states. In fact, no troops were requested at all from Rhode Island. But that didn't stop Rhode Island's Democratic governor, Gina Raimondo, from announcing she would refuse to send troops if she were asked. She called the family separation policy, "immoral, unjust and un-American."

There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York all used the word "inhumane" in their statements condemning the Trump administration policy. There's so much outrage, we're running short on adjectives.

In a totally unrelated coincidence, four of these five governors are running for re-election this year.

I've made my position clear — separating these children from their parents is a bad policy and we need to stop. We need to treat these immigrants with the kind of compassion we'd want for our own children. And I said the same thing in 2014 when no one cared about the border crisis.

If consistency could replace even just a sliver of the outrage in America, we would all be a lot better off.

I think we can all agree, both on the Left and the Right, that children who have been caught up in illegal immigration is an awful situation. But apparently what no one can agree on is when it matters to them. This past weekend, it suddenly — and even a little magically — began to matter to the Left. Seemingly out of nowhere, they all collectively realized this was a problem and all rushed to blame the Trump administration.

RELATED: These 3 things need to happen before we can fix our border problem

Here's Rachel Maddow yesterday:

I seem to remember getting mocked by the Left for showing emotion on TV, but I'll give her a pass here. This is an emotional situation. But this is what I can't give her a pass on: where the heck was this outrage and emotion back in 2014? Because the same situation going on today — that stuff Maddow and the rest of the Left have only just now woken up to — was going on back in July 2014! And it was arguably worse back then.

I practically begged and pleaded for people to wake up to what was going on. We had to shed light on how our immigration system was being manipulated by people breaking our laws, and they were using kids as pawns to get it done. But unlike the gusto the Left is using now to report this story, let's take a look at what Rachel Maddow thought was more important back in 2014.

On July 1, 2014, Maddow opened her show with a riveting monologue on how President Obama was hosting a World Cup viewing party. That's hard-hitting stuff right there.

On July 2, 2014, Maddow actually acknowledged kids were at the border, but she referenced Health and Human Services only briefly and completely rushed through what was actually happening to these kids. She made a vague statement about a "policy" stating where kids were being taken after their arrival. She also blamed Congress for not acting.

See any difference in reporting there from today? That "policy" she referenced has suddenly become Trump's "new" policy, and it isn't Congress's fault… it's all on the President.

She goes on throughout the week.

On July 7, 2014, her top story was something on the Koch brothers. Immigration was only briefly mentioned at the end of the show. This trend continued all the way through the week. I went to the border on July 19. Did she cover it? Nope. In fact, she didn't mention kids at the border for the rest of the month. NOT AT ALL.

Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not?

Make up your minds. Is this an important issue or not? Do you care about immigrant kids who have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system or not? Do you even care to fix it, or is this what it looks like — just another phony, addicted-to-outrage political stunt?

UPDATE: Here's how this discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Glenn gives Rachel Maddow the benefit of the doubt

Rachel Maddow broke down in tears live on her MSNBC show over border crisis.

Progressives think the Obamas are a gift to the world. But their gift is apparently more of the metaphorical kind. It doesn't extend to helpful, tangible things like saving taxpayers money. Illinois has approved $224 million to pay for street and transportation upgrades around the planned site of the Obama Presidential Center. The catch is that Illinois taxpayers will have to cover $200 million of that cost. For a presidential museum.

Eight years of multiplying the national debt wasn't enough for Barack Obama. Old fleecing habits die hard. What's another $200 million here and there, especially for something as important as an Obama tribute center?

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That's all well and good except Illinois can't even fund its pension system. The state has a $137 billion funding shortfall. That means every person in Illinois owes $11,000 for pensions, and there is no plan to fix the mess. Unless Illinois progressives have discovered a new kind of math, this doesn't really add up. You can't fund pensions, but you're going to figure out a way to milk the public for another $200 million to help cover the cost of a library?

It's hard to imagine who in their right mind would think this will be money well spent. Well, except for maybe Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who said, "The state's… investment in infrastructure improvements near the Obama Center on the South Side of Chicago is money well spent."

Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

The spending has already been signed into law, even though the Obama library has not received construction approval yet. Part of the holdup is that the proposed site is on public land in historic Jackson Park. That doesn't seem very progressive of the Obamas, but, you know, for certain presidents, you go above and beyond. It's just what you do. Some presidential overreach lasts longer than others.

Here's the thing about taxing the peasants so the king can build a fancy monument to himself – it's wrong. And completely unnecessary. The Obamas have the richest friends on the planet who could fund this project in their sleep. If the world simply must have a tricked-out Obama museum, then let private citizens take out their wallets voluntarily.

As the Mercury Museum proved this weekend, it is possible to build an exhibit with amazing artifacts that attracts a ton of visitors – and it cost taxpayers approximately zero dollars.