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Abandoned Afghanistan Before Evacuating Americans + Allies (13 U.S. Lives Lost)
On August 31, 2021, the United States concluded its military engagement in Afghanistan. According to a 2022 report from the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: “The Biden Administration ignored numerous intelligence reports about the potential for a speedy Taliban takeover of Kabul, decided to abandon Bagram Air Base, disregarded dissent cables from the State Department, failed to plan an evacuation until it was too late, and in the process, abandoned tens of thousands of Afghan partners. The administration did not make a decision on evacuations from Afghanistan until a National Security Council Deputies Committee meeting on August 14, mere hours before the fall of Kabul.”
According to the same report, on August 27, 2021, twin attacks outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians – resulting in “the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a decade.”
In an August 2022 report, the U.S. Department of Defense estimated that “U.S.-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban. This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment.”
The questions of whether the Ukraine conflict has become a “proxy” war between the United States and Russia has been characterized by some as “an intellectual and political battlefield.” However, as even The Washington Post concedes, scores of leaked data “illustrate how deeply the United States is involved in virtually every aspect of the war.”
To that end, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) notes that Congress has passed four spending packages in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine — $113 billion in total. As itemized by the CSIS: “The Department of Defense (DOD) has received a majority — 54.7% (or $61.8 billion) — of the appropriations across the four supplemental packages, to date. The second-largest sum of funds went to the U.S. Agency for International Development at 32.3 percent. Only 8.8% of the total funds appropriated have gone to the Department of State — primarily for refugee assistance and foreign military financing. The remaining funds appropriated to other U.S. government agencies makes up less than 5% of the total.”
On October 17, 2023, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that 31 Americans had been killed as a result of attacks by the terrorist organization, Hamas, on Israel. Kirby added additional hostages had been taken and that the number of unaccounted for Americans is at 13 “right now.” According to October 8th remarks by Senior Hamas Official, Ali Baraka: “We [Hamas] have been preparing for this for two years.” That admission confirms that plans began after Biden took office – likely commencing in the aftermath of America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. A high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Commander, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with Newsweek back in June (before the Hamas attacks), voiced concern that some of the U.S. weapons left in Afghanistan “have already been observed in the hands of Palestinian groups operating in the Gaza Strip.”
Biden has also been sharply criticized for reaching a deal with Iran (announced on 9/11 – roughly a month before the Hamas attacks) to release five American hostages in exchange for five Iranians and the unfreezing of $6 billion of Iranian assets. While the Biden administration argues that the $6 billion was earmarked for “humanitarian purposes only” – and still frozen when Hamas attacked Israel (as of publication, that status remains unchanged) – detractors are quick to point out that since the money is fungible, it still adds to Iran’s overall capital and frees up funds for other efforts, like supporting Hamas. As Baraka explains bluntly: “Our allies are those that support us with weapons and money. First and foremost it is Iran that is giving us money and weapons.”
According to the Federal Register, Biden signed more Executive Orders during his first 100 days than any new president since 1933 (during the same 100 day period). Although Biden claimed during remarks at the Oval Office (February 2, 2021): “I’m not making new law; I’m eliminating bad policy,” a review of the Federal Register reveals Biden’s statement to be categorically false. According to the Federal Register, less than 50% of the Executive Orders Biden signed in his first 100 days revoked previous Orders. The rest were, in fact, new law. (For a list of the 18 revoked Orders, see our earlier post: Biden Signs Record Number of Executive Orders.)
In 2022, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that the Biden Administration has “enacted policies through legislation and executive actions that will add more than $4.8 trillion to deficits between 2021 and 2031.” (Even if you exclude the effects of the COVID-focused “American Rescue Plan,” the total is still nearly $2.5 trillion.) This is on top of the trillions of dollars the United States was projected to borrow before Biden took office.
For reference, beginning in 1929, it took the U.S. Treasury 63 years to accumulate that much borrowing.
Citing the Department of Treasury, The Balance reports that between the end of fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2018, under the first two years of Trump’s presidency, the national debt increased by $1.9 trillion. During the first two years of Biden’s presidency (between the end of FY 2020 and 2022), the same metric increased by $3 trillion.
Note: While Biden claims he “cut the deficit $1.7 trillion” his first two years, the lower deficit mostly reflects the end of COVID emergency spending and increased tax revenue from post-COVID economic recovery. (In response to COVID, Trump spent $6.5 trillion in 2020 instead of the $4.4 trillion spent in 2019, pushing the budget deficit $2.1 trillion higher than it would have been otherwise.)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices rose 9.1% in June 2022, marking the “largest increase in 40 years.” (Funny enough, the month before, Biden called inflation his “top domestic priority.”) The Bureau goes on to explain: “Over the 12 months ended June 2022, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 9.1 percent. The 9.1% increase in the All Items Index was the largest 12-month increase since the 12-month period ending November 1981.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirms that nationwide border crossings during Biden’s presidency – spanning Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 to 2023 – total 7,924,245. Focusing on the Southern Border alone – and, once again: citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection – the U.S. House GOP announced (as of October 23, 2023): “Since Joe Biden took office, there have been over 6.2 million illegal crossings of our Southern Border.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as cited by the U.S. House GOP, 169 people whose names appear on the terrorist watchlist were stopped trying to cross the Southern Border in Fiscal Year (FY) 23 – an all time record. This total is more than the encounters in all FY17, FY18, FY19, FY20, FY21, and FY22 combined. Since Biden became president, there have been more than 267 individuals total, whose names appear on the terrorist watchlist, who were stopped trying to cross the Southern Border.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, border officials seized 27,023 pounds of fentanyl in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 – representing a 464% increase from FY 2020 (4,791 pounds). In fact, more fentanyl was seized by border officials in 2023 than 2021 and 2022 combined (combined total: 25,901 pounds).
In a report sourced from state-level police departments, ABC News found that 12 major U.S. cities broke annual homicide records under Biden’s presidency in 2021, including: Albuquerque (NM), Austin (TX), Baton Rogue (LA), Columbus (OH), Indianapolis (IN), Louisville (KY), Philadelphia (PA), Portland (OR), Rochester (NY), St. Paul (MN), Toledo (OH), and Tuscon (AZ).
On September 9, 2021, Biden instructed the Department of Labor to require that all businesses with 100 or more workers mandate that all employees are either COVID-19-vaccinated or tested once a week. On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Biden’s mandate in the National Federation of Independent Business v. The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration decision.
The American Rescue Plan Act was enacted on March 11, 2021. Under Section 1005, the Act stated that Congress may allow loan forgiveness to “socially disadvantaged” farmers and ranchers. The government defined “socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” to include individuals “who are one or more of the following: Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, or Pacific Islander.” Twelve White plaintiffs, who reside in nine different states, brought action against the Secretary of Agriculture and Administrator of the Farm Service Agency to stop the USDA from implementing the program, which they claimed “denies equal protection of the law” based “solely on racial classifications” (see: Adam P. Faust, et al. v. Thomas J. Vilsack, et al. United States District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin). The Court ruled that, “[Congress] cannot discriminate on the basis of race,” “Plaintiffs are excluded from the program based on their race and are thus experiencing discrimination at the hands of their government,” and that, “The obvious response to a government agency that claims it continues to discriminate against farmers because of their race or national origin is to direct it to stop: it is not to direct it to intentionally discriminate against others on the basis of their race and national origin.”
As described by the White House in a May 5, 2021 fact sheet, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund – established through the American Rescue Plan – prioritized “funding applications from small businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for the first 21 days of the program. Following the 21 days, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.” The relief bill defined “social and economic disadvantage” through reference to the Small Business Act (under a regulation that predates the pandemic, the agency presumes certain applicants are socially disadvantaged based solely on their race or ethnicity). Groups that presumptively qualify as socially disadvantaged include Americans who are “Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific, Native Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans.” Antonio Vitolo of Jake’s Bar and Grill sought an emergency injunction to stop the government from using what he claimed were “unconstitutional criteria” in processing his relief application (see: Antonio Vitolo; Jake’s Bar and Grill, LLC v. Isabella Casillas Guzman, Administrator of the Small Business Administration). Vitolo was White and his wife Hispanic; they each owned 50% of the restaurant. Since the restaurant was not 51% owned by a woman, veteran, or “socially disadvantaged” individual, they did not qualify for priority processing (which was important because, as the plaintiffs point out: “The key to getting a grant is to get in the queue before the money runs out”). On May 27, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reminded federal defendants: “Government policies that classify race are presumptively invalid.”
On August 3, 2021, a day after a Senior White House Advisor said the administration had been unable to find legal authority for even “targeted eviction moratoriums,” Biden answered a related question, stating: “The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster. Number one. But there are several key scholars who think that it may and it’s worth the effort. […] I have been informed [the CDC is] about to make a judgment as to potential other options. Whether that option will pass constitutional measure with this administration, I can’t tell you. I don’t know. There are a few scholars who say it will and others who say it’s not likely to. But, at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated, it will probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are, in fact, behind in the rent and don’t have the money.” On August 3, 2021, after Biden’s remarks, the CDC introduced a new eviction moratorium, covering “communities with substantial or high levels of community transmission of COVID-19.” The order stated it would remain in effect until October 3, 2021.On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court put a halt to the CDC’s eviction moratorium in Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline extension was proposed in 2008 by TC Energy as an 875-mile pipeline that would extend from the Canadian border at Morgan, Montana to Steele City, Nebraska. As described by the U.S. Department of Energy, its goal was to “increase the capacity of the existing Keystone Pipeline System and allow for the delivery of up to 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in the United States to Steele City, Nebraska, for onward delivery to refineries in the Gulf Coast area.” On his first day in office (January 20, 2021), Biden issued Executive Order 13990, revoking the Presidential Permit to construct, operate, maintain, and connect the pipeline at the U.S.-Canada border. In June 2021, TC Energy announced it had halted construction of the KXL pipeline and canceled the project. In a 2022 report to Congress, the Department of Energy writes: “Estimates for the jobs created during the construction phase of the KXL pipeline ranged from 16,149 to 59,468 annually for a two-year period.” Surveying several different models, the report also estimated the positive economic impact of KXL construction on the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) as $3.12 – $9.61 billion.
According to AAA Gas Prices, a public service website updated daily by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) – and cited frequently by finance publications, including Forbes – the highest average gas prices in U.S. history were recorded during the second year of Biden’s presidency: regular unleaded at $5.016 (6/14/22) and diesel at $5.816 (6/19/22).
According to a 2019 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report, China’s army (known as the People’s Liberation Army or PLA) is “the world’s largest standing ground force, with approximately 915,000 active-duty personnel in combat units.” As detailed by the same report, China also boasts the world’s largest coast guard (“by far”), seaplane, (the AG-600 Kunlong), and the third largest Air Force – in addition to having one of the largest forces of advanced long-range surface-to-air missiles on the planet. Which is why China’s increased displays of aggression during Biden’s presidency are of significant concern.
On October 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of Defense released a collection of declassified images and videos depicting 15 recent cases of “coercive and risky operational behavior” by the PLA against U.S. aircraft. These cases are just a small sampling – according to Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs: “Since the fall of 2021, we have seen more than 180 such incidents: More in the past two years than in the decade before that. And when you take into account cases of coercive and risky PLA intercepts against other states, the number increases to nearly 300 cases against U.S., allied, and partner aircraft over the last two years.” Addressing two of the incidents earlier in June 2023, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, warned that the recent encounters are “part and parcel of an increasing level of aggressiveness by the PLA.”
On October 19, the Department of Defense issued a 200+ page report on Chinese military and security developments, noting: “In 2022, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) expanded on its calls to prepare for an increasingly turbulent international climate.” The report estimates that as of May 2023, China has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads – a number that will likely expand to 1,000 by 2030. While additional shows of force are too detailed to list, a 2021 headline from CNBC, citing Robert Daly – Director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States – sums up the mounting threat: “China’s Aggressive Behavior on the Global Stage Is an ‘Immense Danger,’ Says Analyst.” Other mainstream media outlets echo the concern, with CNN highlighting China’s “show of force” against Taiwan in July 2023. On the day before this post was written – November 1, 2023 – the Associated Press published an ominous update: “Taiwan said Wednesday that China sent 43 military aircraft and seven ships near the self-ruled island, the latest sign that Beijing plans no let-up in its campaign of harassment, threats, and intimidation.”
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