Tag: Paul

Progressive Commentator Praises Rand Paul, Criticizes Bernie Sanders on Russian Collusion

Kenneth Casey | United States

Last Thursday, Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution in the Senate that would according to him “accept the assessment of the United States intelligence community with regard to interference by the Russian Federation in our election”, “protect the election systems of the United States from interference by the Russian Federation”, “demand that the Sanctions enacted against the Russian Federation be fully implemented”, “will not accept interference with the ongoing investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller”, and “declares that the president must cooperate with the investigation”.

Rand Paul declared enthusiastic opposition to the resolution on the Senate floor, declaring “The hatred for the president is so intense, that partisans would rather risk war than give diplomacy a chance”, citing President Reagan sitting down with Gorbachev to lessen nuclear tensions as a prime example. He made it clear he was not defending Russia’s involvement in our elections, but he would “rather that we still have open channels of discussion with the Russians”. Rand is echoing the position his father Ron Paul shares on sanctions and has been vocal on for many years: Sanctions are an act of war, and diplomacy is always much preferred.

You would think that Bernie being the anti-war progressive that he is would take a position similar to Rand’s, to prevent war at all cost with Russia and oppose the sanctions. Instead, he naively stated that his resolution had nothing to do with curtailing relations with Russia, which is factually incorrect considering his resolution calls for enforcement of sanctions against Russia, and sanctions are enacted in order to express displeasure with a country.

Bernie Sanders’s resolution and statements regarding Russia received criticism from well-known, highly-regarded progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski on Tuesday. Kyle, who is the host of Secular Talk on YouTube, an affiliate of the far-left online news organization The Young Turks, made a video on his YouTube channel regarding Paul’s and Sanders’ back and forth on the resolution, asserting “hope you’re sitting for this one, Rand Paul is right and Bernie is wrong.”, and goes on to point out the hypocrisy that Bernie openly admits the resolution increases sanctions, and “acts like that’s not an escalation of tensions”. He goes on to say Rand’s statement that this round of sanctions is “hyperbolic”, but that it’s “definitely the direction that it’s going in”, and criticizes the denseness in Bernie’s statement “Who’s against Diplomacy? Nobody is.” which was a response the Senator gave to Rand Paul when he pointed out the bill damages diplomacy. “Really Bernie? Really? You’re acting like there aren’t people who are against diplomacy when every time Trump sits down with Putin there are screams of he’s doing treason and he’s a traitor?”

Kyle is by no means a libertarian. He endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, supports Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, protectionism in trade, and even helped with the founding of a group that was key to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory in New York. However, he’s been one of the few progressives to point out that Bernie is wrong on the issue of sanctions on Russia and it’s incompatible with the anti-war position held by progressives. He even went at it with The Young Turks founder and host Cenk Uygur on Twitter, stating Cenk was “prodding Trump to be more hawkish on Russia” after Cenk had complained that Trump noticeably used harsh language on Iran but not Russia.

Kyle has been one of the few commentators from the left that has not become convinced that Trump concluded with the Russians in the 2016 election, and thinks that Democrats should focus on actual issues rather than a talking point with zero policy substance. Although I disagree with Kyle on a lot of issues, I admire the fact he’s consistent with his principles and views on policy when so little few others do as such.

There’s no doubt that the “issue” of Russia interference in our election has been one of biggest talking points in the American political landscape ever since President Trump was elected in November of 2016. The dialogue regarding the issue arguably reached its apex in the aftermath of the 2018 Russia–United States summit in which President Trump met with President Putin of Russia, which occurred on July 16th.

Establishment Republicans and neoconservatives shared pretty much the same view as corporatist Democrats regarding Russia. They all want tougher action and less effort towards diplomacy. John McCain called it “One of the most disgraceful performances by an American President in my memory”. You can also take a recent bill introduced by neoconservative Lindsey Graham and corporatist Democrat Bob Menendez on the Senate floor as an example. The proposed bill would slap new sanctions onto Russia, targeting their “debt and energy and financial sectors”. Some notable senators to come out in favor of the bill include Republicans Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, and Democrat Chris Van Hollen.

This proposed bill would add onto the U.S. sanctions on Russia that overwhelmingly passed Congress in July of 2017 and was ultimately signed into law by President Trump (although he did send out a tweet in opposition to the sanctions in 2017, but even if he were to veto it, Congress had enough votes in favor to override the president’s veto). The bill only received five Nay votes in the Senate and House combined: 4 from libertarian-leaning Republicans Senator Rand Paul and Representatives Justin Amash, Thomas Massie and John Duncan; and one from an Independent Senator: Bernie Sanders.

Yes, the same Bernie Sanders that introduced a resolution in the Senate that would enforce the previously “overwhelmingly passed sanctions against Russia” was one of 5 Congressmen to vote against the sanctions in the first place. Welcome to Washington, folks.

In Bernie’s defense, he did say at the time of his vote against the sanctions he would support individual sanctions against Russia, but the thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that his reasoning for opposing the sanctions was it included additional sanctions against Iran and North Korea, and he thought that America should play a more “even-handed-approach” in the Middle East and be less reactionary in our policy towards Iran. Why doesn’t he apply the same logic towards Russian sanctions? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

With so little non-interventionist and anti-sanction advocates in Congress, it’s really good to see Rand Paul step up and be a leader on the issues.


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Rand Paul is in a Bind

By Glenn Verasco | @GlennVerasco

It’s the rainy season in Thailand, which means commuters like me are primed to get wet on our way to and from work. To me, the worst thing about this is constantly having rain-soaked shoes. There are few worse ways to start your day than feeling yesterday’s rainwater seep through a fresh pair of socks as you place your feet in shoes that have not had time to dry.

As bad as monsoon shoes are, I’d take them over Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s shoes any day of the week.

President Trump has recently nominated Brett Kavanaugh from the United States Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Unlike Justice Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh’s brand of constitutional originalism does not show much respect for the 4th Amendment. For those who do not know, the 4th Amendment intends to protect Americans against unwarranted searches and seizures. Without this amendment, police and other law enforcement officials may not be legally barred from rummaging through or confiscating our property, private documents, or even our bodies without just cause.

If you want to know more about Kavanaugh’s unfortunate history with the 4th Amendment, you can listen to Judge Andrew Napolitano, maybe the most pro-liberty judge in American history, discuss it with Tom Woods here.

Rand Paul, a 4A diehard and the 50th of the GOP’s 50-49 senator majority (John McCain, who is currently unable to vote for health reasons, would make 51) finds himself in an extremely tough situation as his vote may ultimately determine whether or not Kavanaugh is confirmed. The following are what I consider to be the most probable potential outcomes depending on the choice Rand makes.

The Sellout Scenario

If Rand Paul votes in favor of Kavanaugh, he will almost certainly become a SCOTUS justice, which could put all of our 4th Amendment rights on the line for decades to come. In the process, Rand would lose plenty of pro-Constitution credibilities. The Liberty movement would pile on with accusations that Rand Paul lacks the gumption his father Ron Paul possessed, and is just a slightly better version of the swamp creatures lurking throughout Washington.

From a political standpoint, Rand would likely secure his position in the Senate if he decides to run for reelection in 2022. I imagine that the typical Republican voter is far more concerned with making sure a Liberal justice does not take the place of Anthony Kennedy than he is with the technicalities of what the 4th Amendment entails, which means Rand’s seat in the Senate, unlike his credibility, would likely be safe.

In the long run, keeping Rand’s vote in the Senate for years to come could serve as more valuable than having a perfect originalist justice on the bench as Gorsuch and the four liberal justices (a majority) seem to be on Rand’s side when it comes to 4A. In other words, Kavanaugh’s impact on the 4th Amendment may be minimal anyway.

The Swamp Scenario

If Rand votes against Kavanaugh, he may still be confirmed via red state Democrats. At least three or four senators up for reelection in November are Democrats in Trump country. These senators are often forced to part ways with their party in order to maintain their positions in Congress. Due to their sticky situation, Rand’s decision may not ultimately matter in the confirmation process.

Voting against Kavanaugh would preserve Rand’s pro-Constitution credibility, and would likely have little effect on his reelection prospects as his choice to stand is ground would cost Trump and establishment Republicans nothing.

The Hero Scenario

If Rand votes against Kavanaugh, he may not be confirmed. However, this could work out beautifully for Rand in the end.

By blocking Kavanaugh’s nomination, Rand would help preserve the 4th Amendment (at least temporarily) and bolster his Libertarian credentials. And although he would defy Trump and rain on Republicans’ parade in the short run, sunnier skies could be on the horizon.

If the GOP retains control of the Senate after this year’s midterms (and they are expected to do so), Trump will be given another chance to nominate a more pro-4A justice. If Trump’s next choice winds up being more Gorsuchian, Rand will have taken a massive political risk and won big for the country as well as himself.

The Scapegoat Scenario

If Rand votes against Kavanaugh, he is not confirmed, and the GOP loses the Senate, Trump may not get another chance to nominate a SCOTUS justice as president. If a Democrat beats Trump in 2020, and Democrats retain control of the Senate, you can bet that a “living document” justice will be placed on the SCOTUS bench, probably resulting in a liberal majority for years to come.

Under these conditions, Rand may succeed in preserving the 4th Amendment. Conversely, the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 10th, and many other rights guaranteed by the Constitution could fall by the wayside.

Rand would have committed political suicide in the process, and a future reelection bid could result in comical defeat.

Let’s hope for the best.


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Paul, Lee Only Senators to Vote Against U.S. Support of NATO

By Kenneth Casey | United States

At around 7:00 EST on Tuesday, the Senate voted on a motion that supports continuing U.S. support and funds to NATO by an overwhelming majority of 97-2, with the only two dissents being libertarian-leaning Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee. With all the buzz and craziness going on about Donald Trump’s recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the vote of the two Senators flew under the radar.

This vote comes about 6 hours after President Trump criticized fellow participating countries in NATO for not paying their expected expenses to the treaty whilst relying on the U.S. for expected funding and defense.

Trump’s rhetoric on NATO goes back to when he was running for president. He was often criticizing our involvement in NATO and was one of the only Republican candidates calling for decreased spending within the treaty.

Rand Paul, who as mentioned prior was one of two Senators to vote against the motion, seemed to agree with President Trump on the issue of America’s involvement in NATO. He tweeted out the following:

Paul’s opposition to the expansion of NATO is unsurprising, as the libertarian senator has long expressed disapproval for our involvement in the treaty. Back in March of 2017, Rand objected to the adding membership of Montenegro to the treaty, which promptly led to Senator John McCain of Arizona accusing Rand of “working for Vladimir Putin”. The Senate ended up confirming support of Montenegro’s addition to NATO, with only two Senators objecting: Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Mike Lee commented on the addition of Montenegro to NATO:

“Of course, treaties and alliances with other countries can be beneficial, but the founders of this country understood their seriousness as well as going to war. That is why both of these powers-the power to make and ratify treaties and the power to declare and execute a war- are shared by the legislative and executive branches, and treaty ratification must be achieved by a supermajority in the Senate.”

-Senator Mike Lee of Utah

Unfortunately for libertarians who want the United States’ involvement in NATO to decrease, for both the purpose of cutting foreign aid and being involved in fewer entanglements overseas, Rand Paul and Mike Lee alone don’t have a ton of power in the Senate. 98 other Senators sharing opposing views which favor U.S. alliances and involvement abroad, so the only way for this to change is by electing more libertarian-leaning Senators.


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Libertarians are Lacking a Respectable Role Model

By Ryan Lau | @agorists

As a libertarian, it can be very difficult to find good examples of political figures to admire. Of course, very few public officials are members of the Libertarian Party, and the exceptions usually hold minor local positions. This creates a bit of a problem for libertarians, especially those of the next generation. Without a key figure to look up to, it can be very difficult for many youths to form their opinions.

In fact, it is entirely possible that the lack of libertarians in the country is perpetuated by a lack of clear examples to follow. Though the most informed will discover Hayek and Mises, the reality is that these names are foreign to a majority of people. Yet, names of current politicians are well-known.

What effect does this have on the youth? Simply put, it limits the ideas that they witness and process. If a mouse is fed nothing but cheese in its life, it may believe cheese to be the only food source. Yet, the mouse’s belief does nothing to actually cement itself into reality. It does, however, alter how the mouse perceives reality. In this manner, the nation’s adolescents are no different. If society teaches an adolescent that there is a one dimensional spectrum of ideas in politics, the second dimension will not cease to exist. But, it will not be in the youth’s brain in any way.

Thus, many are under the impression in America that only one dimension exists: left and right. One may either be a conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between. Of course, this could not be farther from the truth, but what reason do they have to doubt this? The fact of the matter is, there is no clear alternative in place. Blame the media. Blame government manipulation. Ultimately, however, the blame game needs to end. It is time for the libertarian movement to start acting proactively, not reactively.

Throughout much of the last two years, Governor Gary Johnson has focused on his Our America Initiative. The main objective is to make the country’s politics “fair” again, and end a bias against third parties. I do not question Johnson’s data on said bias, nor his intentions.

But, this simply is not the behavior of the leader of a new movement. Essentially, the governor is asking the government to treat him fairly, while accusing them of treating him unfairly. In his project, he makes no mention to his numerous embarrassing, televised gaffes during the 2016 election season, or his inability to raise enough money. Though the government does unfairly treat third parties, Johnson takes no responsibility for his own pitfalls, instead choosing to point the blame solely at anyone who can take it. He has successfully brought some more attention to the Libertarian Party, but Gary Johnson is not, and will not be, the next figurehead for libertarians.

If not Johnson, who else can fill the role? Some go so far as the Republican Party, claiming that Rand Paul should be the next leader of liberty. Conversely, he is a far worse choice. With his support for a federal income tax, as well as his vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, Paul shows that his true colors do not reside near liberty. Though he is better than most Republicans, the lesser of two evils is still evil. In fact, that very principle of not voting for a lesser evil is often the reason libertarians leave the major parties. It is absurd to think that now, they should throw their support behind a statist of a slightly lower degree.

Ruling out both of them, there simply are not many options left. Both Larry Sharpe and Austin Petersen are smart, respectable men with a desire for change. Yet, neither comes close to being well-known enough to make a national impact. Petersen, if he wins his Senate race, may have the potential to fill that gaping void. However, Josh Hawley may prove to be too difficult a primary opponent to defeat. Sharpe, on the other hand, appears even less likely to win his race for Governor of New York. Without a title, neither of these men are likely to gain the recognition needed to be the face of a movement.

We as a nation are at a turbulent time in politics. Approval ratings for both parties are at a record low, and desire for a third party is higher than ever before. Gary Johnson is correct with those statements. Yet, if libertarians wish to become a force in politics, with or without the aid of the Libertarian Party, they need a figurehead, someone who can inspire the masses. Ron Paul did exactly this, and did a great job of it, but he is well into his ninth decade and has retired from politics. We as a movement need a new viable leader, but alas, one does not seem to exist.


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Rand Paul Betrayed Us, But He Is Not Alone

By James Sweet III | United States

Rand Paul has been described as a liberty-loving, charismatic, honest man, paving the way for small government in the United States Senate. From filibustering the Patriot Act renewal to live-tweeting his reading of the most recent omnibus spending bill, it is safe to say that many describe the senator accurately. He has caused great anger among establishment Republicans (for good reason) by disobeying their partisan politics. Sadly, he is human, and humans make mistakes. He voted in favor of a positive report for Mike Pompeo, who is now the new Secretary of State. This was a blatant betrayal of the ground he and many of his supporters stood on.

Senator Paul openly stood against the nomination of Mike Pompeo, with the former CIA Director’s statements on striking Iran being a main concern for the senator, and rightfully so. Secretary Pompeo has also stated in a CBS interview that “make no mistake about it, we are doing things today that the CIA was not doing a year ago, and there’s more risk attached to those.” Expanding the surveillance state is something that Rand Paul stands against, and he knew that Mike Pompeo was okay with expanding it. Yet, he still decided to change his mind and vote in favor of Mike Pompeo.

Why?

Senator Paul tweeted his decision to vote in favor of Pompeo.

Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State.

Senator Rand Paul

@RandPaul

He was assured that Mike Pompeo believed the Iraq War was a mistake. It’s great knowing that the Secretary recognizes the mistakes made in the past. However, it means nothing if he believes in striking Iran or expanding harsh tactics before diplomacy. After all, the Secretary of State is one of the leading diplomats of the nation.

Senator Paul wasn’t the only senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that betrayed us that day. Senator Chris Coons is a Democrat, and initially followed in with his party, voting against Mike Pompeo in the committee. However, with Rand Paul voting in favor of Pompeo, and one senator absent, the vote was now 10-10. The missing senator was a Republican, but was busy at a funeral, speaking at it.

The committee could’ve waited until the senator returned, with his vote being the tiebreaker, but Senator Coons decided to not wait. He announced to the Committee he would abstain if a second vote occurred. Of course, due to this announcement, a second vote did occur. The new tally: 10 in the affirmation, 9 in the negation, 1 abstention. Because of this “bipartisan” move, the Senate gave Pompeo a positive report, enabling his senate confirmation.

Senator Rand Paul voted a war-hawk into the position of Secretary of State, and Senator Chris Coons compromised his principles and policies for a quicker and easier process for someone he disagreed with. It is disappointing to see that two Senators compromised their beliefs due to outside pressure to do so.


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