foreign aid

Yes, Rand Paul is the future of the GOP

Over at the American Spectator, Reid Smith and Jamie Weinstein (so much for that “I before E” rule, right?), debate whether Rand Paul is the future of the Republican Party.

Smith takes the pro-Paul position in his part, “A New Age of Liberty,” in which he touts the libertarian scion’s innovative tactics and positions and success in just three years in the Senate. Weinstein takes the anti-Paul side, under the head “GOP Less Libertarian Thank You Think,” using more concrete examples, but making less sense doing it.

Weinstein’s main point against Rand Paul is ideological, and no surprise, focuses on the area where he differs most sharply with  party leadership: foreign policy. He argues that while Paul turned heads with his drone filibuster and then helped defeat the authorization of force in Syria resolution, the Syria result was an exception, and the continued support for military action against Iranian nuclear capability is the rule. Paul didn’t tilt the party more isolationist, Weinstein claims, people just didn’t like the options in Syria. While a convincing argument, we have another data point now with which we can test this theory: Ukraine.

Followingly less than a year after the Syria debate, 56% of Americans say we should “not get too involved” in Russia’s annexation of Ukraine either. And while 67% of Republicans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the situation so far, 50% say it’s important we don’t get involved.

Chatting with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)

Thomas Massie

“[T]he House and the Senate control the purse strings. It’s the only check that we have besides some oversight on the Executive Branch. And so I’m going to be part of that group that goes into this August recess and goes back home and says, ‘I will not vote for a continuing resolution that funds ObamaCare.’” - Rep. Thomas Massie

The last couple of election cycles have led to several interesting, liberty-minded Republicans being sent to Congress. On Tuesday, United Liberty had a chance to chat with one of those Republicans, Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District.

Elected last year with strong supports from grassroots groups, Massie quickly established his libertarian tendencies by taking strong stands for civil liberties and economic freedom. He’s an approachable guy and very down to Earth.

Along with Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Massie fought hard to get a vote last week on an amendment to the defense appropriations bill to defund the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance of American citizens.

Massie offered an inside baseball account of how a vote on the amendment, which was offered by Amash, came to pass in the face of fierce opposition from President Barack Obama, congressional leaders from both parties and the nation’s security apparatus.

Secession…an American Tradition

Texas Governor Rick Perry raised a few eyebrows recently when he used the “S” word in public. Secession, he said, was always an option on the political table as far as Texas was concerned.

Israel and Palestine: The Case for Non-intervention

The recent Israeli military incursion into Gaza has been correctly termed an “invasion”, as put by Congressman Ron Paul. It shows the world, once again, that the policy of preemptive or “preventive” war carries the day with Israel and its policies towards its neighbors. In reality, this is an extension of the U.S. foreign policy of intervention into the internal affairs of other nations, having taken its latest form in the past five years as preemptive war with the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Many staunch (i.e., blind) supporters of the state of Israel somehow believe that the latest military strategy will somehow work in staving off the threats of rockets being fired by members and supporters of Hamas.

UK Hacking Home Computers Sans Warrants Likely to Increase

Though news of this sort cannot be considered unusual any longer, I still find it insufferable and mildly shocking.  The likelihood of a British citizen having their personal home computer hacked by government authorities, secretly and without a warrant, has increased.  Even more infuriating, this intrusion may be at the behest of a foreign nation, thanks to a recent plan adopted by the EU.

Since the hacking may proceed if an officer believes there is sufficient reason to believe it would help prevent or detect a serious crime, the obvious question is, who decides what is considered “sufficient reason” and what is to prevent abuse of these over-reaching powers?  If there is truly sufficient evidence, why wouldn’t a judge simply grant a warrant?  This would at least grant some oversight.

Rand Paul and Aid to Israel – He Was Right the First Time

Just a week ago, PolitiFact.com’s Truth-O-Meter gave Sen. Rand Paul a “pants on fire” rating for the following statement:

I haven’t really proposed that in the past. We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.

Is this “pants on fire” rating fair? PolitiFact goes into quite a bit of detail and it does seem that Sen. Paul’s statements are demonstrably false and the only person mischaracterizing his statements is Rand Paul himself.

When Sen. Paul was promoting his 2011 budget, he repeated on several occasions that his budget would eliminate foreign aid to all countries, including Israel. There was even a section of the budget which addressed Israel directly:

Rand Paul vows to ‘Stand With Israel’ against U.S. taxpayer funding of Hamas terrorism

Three Murdered Israeli Teens

Earlier this week, the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers (one of whom held U.S. citizenship) were found in the West Bank. The teens had been missing for two weeks and were found shot to death “in a city called Halhul north of Hebron,” according to an adviser to Israel’s deputy defense minister. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority-backed Hamas as the culprits and vowed retaliation.

In Washington, President Obama’s foreign policy agenda funnels hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the Palestinian Authority. At the end of April, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation to cease foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Titled the “Stand With Israel Act,” Sen. Paul’s bill would only allow President Obama to send foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority if they have observed these seven objectives:

  1. Formally recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state;
  2. Publicly recognize the state of Israel;
  3. Renounce terrorism;
  4. Purge all individuals with terrorist ties from security services;
  5. Terminate funding of anti-American and anti-Israel incitement;
  6. Publicly pledge to not engage in war with Israel, and;
  7. Honor previous diplomatic agreements.

On May 1, Sen. Paul gave a speech on the Senate floor about this bill. The bill currently has 17 co-sponsors.

Rand Paul: End aid to Palestine until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist

On the heels of an agreement between rival militant factions, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced plans today to introduce legislation to end foreign aid to Palestine until its leaders recognize Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign nation.

“The recent announcement of a Fatah-Hamas unity agreement brings both danger and opportunity to the peace process, and the next five weeks may prove critical,” Paul said in a statement on Monday. “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end.”

Fatah and Hamas are rival political and militant organizations that have been engaged in a seven-year long dispute over control of the Palestinian Authority. The two factions came to an agreement last week for elections and, eventually, the formation of a unity government.

“[T]he new unity government has a chance to put itself on the record as clearly believing in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, as Israel recognizes the right of a Palestinian state to exist. It should also declare an immediate and lasting ceasefire to enable negotiations,” said Paul. “If that is accomplished swiftly, the peace process can move forward with two willing partners.”

But the Kentucky Republican, a likely 2016 presidential contender, cautions that any Palestinian unity government must recognize Israel’s right to exist.

“In the absence of such a clear, unambiguous statement on the part of the newly unified Palestinian government,” said Paul, “the United States should act to enforce the law and cut off aid to the Palestinian government until they recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

Cruz, Paul lead charge to block Ukraine aid package over IMF expansion

International Monetary Fund

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have gotten the band back together after a brief squabble over foreign policy, and they’ve been joined by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).

The five Republican senators have informed Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that they plan to object to the Ukrainian aide measure unless he allows a vote to strip language that would expand both the amount of money the International Monetary Fund can loan and the United States’ contribution to the fund.

“We are deeply concerned that the Ukraine aid legislation reported by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee contains ‘reform’ provisions that would unnecessarily double the United States contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), part of the largest proportional increase ever, yet ultimately undermine our influence in that body in a manner that provides no actual relief to Ukraine,” the five Senate Republicans wrote in a letter to Reid.

The letter was dated on March 13, but was not released to the public until March 21.

“As we understand it, this reform would double the funds the IMF can loan, involving a doubling of the United States’ contribution from its current level of $63 billion, while simultaneously reducing U.S. influence over how these funds are directed—and increasing that of Russia,” the letter continues. “Regardless of the magnitude of this change, this idea is antithetical to the driving purpose of the underlying legislation.”

Half of Syrian rebels are Islamic radicals, brutality documented

Syrian rebels

Even as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) arms rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, an upcoming report from IHS Jane’s, a defense and intelligence consulting firm, will estimate that nearly half of the rebel fighters in the Middle Eastern country are Islamic extremists:

The new study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy, estimates there are around 10,000 jihadists - who would include foreign fighters - fighting for powerful factions linked to al-Qaeda..

Another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.

There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.
[…]
Charles Lister, author of the analysis, said: “The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict. The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out.”

This, of course, files in the face of what Secretary of State John Kerry told members of Congress while recently trying to make the case for military intervention against Assad’s regime for its use of chemical weapons.


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