For Reals?


Rand Paul Hashtag Alert: #endNSA

This will probably be spun as a typo. Er, two typos. Which for some reason seems quite popular.

The latest from the Rand Paul Cult of Personality

You want war? Then you’ll have war.

From Hot Air:

A super PAC backing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is pulling no punches with the first attack ad of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, complete with fire-breathing bald eagles and slams of Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham for their stances on government surveillance.

Mimicking the aggressive style of a wrestling event promo, the one-minute spot teases the Senate debate Sunday (“Sunday! Sunday!”) over expiring portions of the Patriot Act as the “greatest brawl for liberty of the century.”

It also needles Obama’s “so-called conservative accomplices,” Cruz (R-Texas) and Graham (R-S.C.). Cruz, referred to by the super PAC as the “capitulating Canadian” as a dig against the fact that the GOP candidate was born in the country, supports a compromise bill called the USA Freedom Act.

So be it.

Rand can’t rise to power on the Paul Cult Of Personality and simultaneously distance himself from it. The fish rots from the head down. Rand Paul is a poser.

Other posts on Rand and Ron Paul here.

DOH! Rand Paul’s Brother: ‘The difference is purely in implementation.’


(Catches breath.)


Rand Paul’s Brother: ‘No Difference’ Between Rand And My Dad On Ideology

“The difference is purely in implementation. If you had a philosophical discussion on what the world should look like, there would be no difference.”

(The audio is here, edited only to focus on the relevant question and answer. The original source is here.)

I told you so:

“You’re basically what I would call a chip off the old block. Your policies are basically identical to your father, correct?”

“I’d say we’d be very very similar. We might present the message sometimes differently.. I think in some ways the message has to be broadened and made more appealing to the entire Republican electorate because you have to win a primary.”

For other Rand and Ron Paul related posts on this blog, click here.

CLA Radio 04/17/15: Running Songs (Rand On The Run)


Inspired by Rand Paul‘s pathetic performance on, and exit from Mr. Hewlitt‘s radio show, the next ConservativeLA Radio show (on Duane FM in the Hughniverse, Friday night, 04/17/15, 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern–and at 9:00 in Dallas) will consist of songs about Running.

Hope you can stop by and listen, and join us in chat!

Here’s the Spotify playlist.

(I’m also on Twitter.)

Set list (there will also be some movie clips sprinkled in):

CLAR Mash-Up: (prior to show Intro): Rand On the Run
CLAR Mash-Up: Runaway (feat. Rand Paul and Mr. Hewlitt)
Roy Orbison:
Running Scared
Roy Ayers:
Running Away
The Spencer Davis Group: Keep On Running
Otis Taylor & Alvin Youngblood Hart: Ran So Hard The Sun Went Down
Four Tops: You Keep Running Away
The Blind Boys of Alabama: Run On For A Long Time
Bob Marley & The Wailers: Running Away
The Rolling Stones: Before They Make Me Run
Issac Hayes: Run Fay Run
Buddy & Julie Miller: You’re Running Wild
The Steeldrivers: Can You Run
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas: Nowhere To Run
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Run Through The Jungle
George Strait: Run
Chuck Berry: Run Rudolph Run
Miranda Lambert: Better In The Long Run
Todd Snider: Beer Run
The Ventures: Walk Don’t Run
X: Johnny Hit And Run Paulene
Pat Benatar: You Better Run
The Allman Brothers Band: No One To Run With
The Temptations: Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
Van Morrison: Come Running
Sam Cooke: I’ll Come Running Back To You
The Doors: Running Blue
Marty Robbins: Running Gun
The Temptations: Runaway Child, Running Wild
U2: Running To Stand Still
Neko Case: Set Out Running
Ryan Adams: I Keep Running
Stevie Wonder: Keep On Running
Chris Knight: A Train Not Running
The Toasters: I’m Running Right Through The World
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: Girl Come Running
The Reverend Horton Heat: River Ran Dry
Elvis Presley: Run On


Rand Paul’s Flip-Flops

No, not these:



Note: The Paul partisans will probably kvetch about the sources listed below. Have at it. Feel free to nuance his many (often incoherent) policy shifts to your heart’s content. And while you’re at it, be sure to lay out how long-form nuancing will work in an age of soundbites–other than snarky, petulant complaints about “when did you stop beating your wife” gotcha questions. Like Ross Perot, I’m all ears.

Politico: Rand Paul’s biggest flip-flops

CNN: Rand Paul: The flip-flop king

MSNBC: Rand Paul’s epic ISIS flip-flop

Washington Monthly: Rand Paul Completes His Flip-Flop on Aid To Israel

Newsmax: Rick Santorum: Rand Paul Flip-Flops on Israel, Iran

Hot Air: Tense: Rand Paul clashes with Today host over his foreign policy flip-flops

NBC News: Rand Paul Has His Own History of Flip-Flops


More from this blog on Rand and Ron Paul here.

More Asshat Nuttery From the Paul Camp

Is ‘Libertarian Girl’ Rand Paul’s Problem Waiting to Happen?

Marianne Copenhaver is a 27-year-old from Ohio, who advertises herself as a “political activist, graphic designer, digital strategist.” Paul hired her about a month ago to do Web design and social-media outreach. She told me that the Las Vegas trip was the first time she had accompanied Paul on the road.

Copenhaver’s ideas, like those of many diehard libertarians, are far from traditional. She said she’s an “anarcho-capitalist,” someone who believes every government entity, from the library to the police department, should be privatized—which didn’t stop Paul from hiring her….

“Nothing makes me rage harder than the GOP trying to start another god damn war. Listen up you stupid armchair jingoes, we (libertarians, constitutional conservatives, and anti-war dems) want nothing to do with your bullshit special interest fueled wars,’ wrote Copenhaver in November 2013.”

Other Copenhaver posts referred to Sen. John McCain’s “blood lust,” and offered a “Side note: A big fuck you to Lindsey Graham and John McCain.”

Additionally, Copenhaver suggested that “Edward Snowden deserves a Nobel Peace Prize NOT President Obama.”


And then there was this little nugget:

whataboutronbobPerhaps Ron Paul should read more of the work published by the Ron Paul Institute, an organization to which he has, if I am not misinformed, some meaningful formal connection. In an article on Wednesday bearing the headline “France Under the Influence” — no points for guessing whose influence — Diana Johnstone did precisely that: blame the victims. “The Charlie Hebdo humorists were a bit like irresponsible children playing with matches who burned the house down,” she wrote. “Or perhaps several houses.” That is not ambiguous. If Ron Paul rejects these ideas, why is he publishing them?

It gets worse: Johnstone suggested that certain nefarious forces — Jews prominent among them — might have intended to provoke such an attack.


I could go on:

A few months ago Ron Paul touched off a media flap by agreeing to give the keynote address, on September 11, to a conference of the Fatima Center in Niagara Falls, Canada. The American Jewish Committee said it was “appalled” and “dismayed” and called on Paul to reconsider. Of course, he did not take the advice.

The Fatima Center is a Catholic fringe group whose leader, Father Nicholas Gruner, was suspended by the Vatican in 1996….

Gruner himself is a blatant Holocaust denier….


As I noted on Twitter: It’s hilarious to see Rand try to distance himself from Ron, while simultaneously piggybacking on Ron’s cult of personality.

Rand Paul is a snickering frat boy who never grew up



Words fail.

What on earth is Rand Paul thinking in taking Obama’s side against Rubio on Cuba?

Rand: I Don’t Start Fights, But I’ll Finish Them

Rand Paul Rand-splains Cuba to Marco Rubio

Other material on Rand Paul posted to my blog can be found here.


Update: Butthurt commenter comments:





From the Hoover Institution: ‘Rand Paul’s Fatal Pacifism’

Richard A. Epstein has penned a brilliant essay on Rand Paul’s incoherent “libertarian” philosophy vis. U.S. foreign policy and military intervention.

While I have quibbles with parts of the essay’s fourth paragraph (not excerpted below), which discusses Syria, the piece is a brilliant summary of everything that is wrong with the more isolationist, People For A Perfect World as it were, ideological strain of libertarianism–and the similarity it bears to the Left:

For my entire professional life, I have been a limited-government libertarian. The just state should, in my opinion, protect private property, promote voluntary exchange, preserve domestic order, and protect our nation against foreign aggression. Unfortunately, too many modern libertarian thinkers fail to grasp the enormity of that last obligation. In the face of international turmoil, they become cautious and turn inward, confusing limited government with small government. Unwisely, they demand that the United States keep out of foreign entanglements unless and until they pose direct threats to its vital interests—at which point it could be too late….

It is instructive to ask why it is that committed libertarians like Paul make such disastrous judgments on these life and death issues. In part it is because libertarians often have the illusion of certainty in political affairs that is congenial to the logical libertarian mind. This mindset has led to their fundamental misapprehension of the justified use of force in international affairs. The applicable principles did not evolve in a vacuum, but are derived from parallel rules surrounding self-defense for ordinary people living in a state of nature. Libertarian theory has always permitted the use and threat of force, including deadly force if need be, to defend one’s self, one’s property, and one’s friends. To be sure, no one is obligated to engage in humanitarian rescue of third persons, so that the decision to intervene is one that is necessarily governed by a mixture of moral and prudential principles. In addition, the justified use of force also raises hard questions of timing. In principle, even deadly force can be used in anticipation of an attack by others, lest any delayed response prove fatal. In all cases, it is necessary to balance the risks of moving too early or too late.

These insights help shape the serious libertarian debates over the use of force. Correctly stated, a theory of limited government means only that state power should be directed exclusively to a few legitimate ends. The wise state husbands its resources to guard against aggression, not to divert its energies by imposing minimum wage laws or agricultural price supports on productive market activities. Quite simply, there are no proper means to pursue these illegitimate ends.

In contrast, self-preservation and the protection of others form the noblest of state ends. The late economist and Nobel Laureate James Buchanan always insisted that a limited government had to be strong in the areas where it had to act. Perhaps his views were influenced in his time as an aide to Admiral Chester Nimitz in the Pacific theater during World War II. In responding to aggression, the hard questions are strategic—are the means chosen and the time of their deployment appropriate to the dangers at hand? Move too quickly, and it provokes needless conflict. Move too slowly, and the situation gets out of hand….

Read the whole piece here.

(Hat tip to @talkradio200)

Rand Paul: Missed It By That Much!

From Breitbart comes “Exclusive–Rand Paul: Hillary’s ‘War Hawk’ Policies Led to Benghazi Attack, Rise of ISIS,” by Matthew Boyle:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) certainly has a knack for boldness. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, he dubbed U.S. military engagement in Libya “Hillary’s war” and stated the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) is not a result of President Obama’s inaction in the Middle East but the unintended consequence of the U.S. military engagement in Libya.

Boldness? I guess you could call it that.

The Obama Administration’s Libya policy has been an unmitigated disaster from start to finish–and by most accounts, Hillary led the charge, within the Administration, for toppling Gaddafi. But to try to pin the rise of IS/ISIS/ISIL on the Obama Administration’s foolhardy policy vis. Libya is, frankly, bizarre–and seems a convenient political assertion in search of evidence to justify it.

The comments predictably caused heads in the GOP’s foreign policy establishment to explode. The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin called the rhetorical gambit “ludicrous” and said Paul holds the same views as his father, the libertarian former-Rep. Ron Paul. In an email to me, John Yoo, the former top Justice Department official in the Bush administration, said Paul is the Republicans’ “own version of George McGovern.”

Mr. Boyle’s assertion as to what Ms. Rubin said is simply untrue. (Please don’t make me stick up for Jennifer Rubin. Please.) Here’s what she actually said, the one time in the linked piece that she alluded to Ron Paul: “Paul, like his father, operates entirely in his own world of foreign policy. In that regard, he is closest to Obama….” (Which is entirely true.) But, alas, Breitbart has become quite adept at cherry-picking, and then distorting, comments made by those whom they wish to vilify.

As for Yoo, I have to assume that this was a BOOOSH dog whistle.

In a phone interview, Paul expanded on his remarks and offered a detailed rendering of his views on foreign policy that, regardless of their merits, are undoubtedly innovative for a man likely to seek the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016.

Innovative? That’s odd; I was having Noam Chomsky flashbacks.

Paul told Breitbart News:

I would say the objective evidence shows that Libya is a less safe place and less secure place, a more chaotic place with more jihadist groups—and really, we’ve had two really bad things happen because of Hillary’s push for this war. One is that our ambassador was killed as a consequence of not having adequate security and really as a consequence of having a really unstable situation there because of the Libyan war, and then most recently our embassy having to flee by land because they couldn’t leave via the airport because of such a disaster in Libya. So I think it’s hard to argue that the Libyan war was a success in any way. From my perspective, the first mistake they made was not asking the American people and Congress for authority to go to war.

While I agree, as noted earlier, that the Obama Administration’s Libya adventure has been an unmitigated disaster, the idea that the “two really bad things” that resulted pertained to our embassy problems, as horrific as they have been, is absurd. The main “really bad” thing that happened was destabilizing Libya (not that Gaddafi was any great prize, but he had been largely pacified, prior to his overthrow, vis. the West).

So “the first mistake” was not in being out of compliance with the arguably unconstitutional War Powers Act, or in not seeking political buy-in as was had with the invasion of Iraq, but in pursuing a policy with a slim chance of an upside, and a far greater likelihood of a catastrophic downside.

While Muammar Gaddafi, or Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein—deposed during the George W. Bush administration—were certainly bad actors, Paul wants to know: who takes their place?

Sometimes people are trying to say I don’t have enough concern for this. Well, actually, I have a great deal of concern—and not thinking through the consequences of intervention has caused Islamism and radical jihadist groups to proliferate. So I think Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein were both secular dictators who were awful, and did terrible things to their people, but at the same time were also enemies of the jihadists. Assad is the same way. What we’ve done in Libya, and now what we’re doing in Syria, is we have armed groups that are commingled with jihadists.

The desire to conflate “bad actors” into a single type, representing a similar threat or the lack of it, seems nearly irresistible for some. And so I find myself in the awkward position of having opposed the interventions listed above, but each for a different reason–and none of them motivated by the isolationist impulse that so obviously animates Rand Paul and his father.

Gaddafi, in the years prior to his overthrow, did not represent a serious threat to the West. The West was concerned with Gaddafi’s crackdown on the so-called Arab Spring, such as it manifested itself within Libya; the intervention by the West amounted to an outward manifestation of Samantha Power’s doctrine of “Responsibility To Protect.” That intervention was the most unnecessary and doomed of the three listed above.

Saddam Hussein was thought to represent a threat to the West (and note the sudden pivot away from talking about Congressional buy-in), and to Western interests, and to Israel (remember the Scuds?). Saddam Hussein never learned to moderate his behavior the way Gaddafi did. My biggest complaint with the invasion of Iraq is that it removed a counterbalance against Iran. But whatever the merits or demerits of the invasion, President Obama threw away a remarkably stabilized Iraq with his actions.

Assad versus the Islamists is a classic version of It’s A Shame They Can’t Both Lose.

For instance, in Syria, Paul says, by arming the “rebels” against Assad, America “degraded Assad’s capacity to wipe out the rebel groups in his country.”

That is bullshit–total, complete bullshit. Our “arming” of the “rebels” was laughably minimal.

A year ago, Obama sought approval from Congress to engage militarily in Syria, as Paul urges, but Congress balked. Facing stiff resistance from lawmakers of both parties, the matter never even came up for a vote.

According to Paul, that’s how the system is supposed to work.

But of course that’s exactly what President Obama wanted–to not act, and say his hands were tied by Congress.

“Think what would have happened had we seriously degraded Assad to the point where he was overrun, think who would be in charge of Syria right now?” Paul asked before answering his own rhetorical question: ”ISIS.”

Quite possibly. Which has not a bloody thing to do with Libya or pre-withdrawal Iraq. Zero. Nada.

The spillover of ISIS into Iraq has far more to do with the Obama Administration’s cut-and-run policy, and disingenuous Status of Forces Agreement blame-shifting–a policy that Rand Paul doesn’t seem to have enough of a problem with to mention it in this conversation.

In conclusion, Paul said:

So we are very lucky that the American people are much wiser than Hillary Clinton, and much wiser than the president. We got the president and Hillary Clinton to slow down, but Hillary Clinton was widely reported to be the chief person proposing that we get involved in Syria. But really the only person directly involved in bombing ISIS’s bases right now is the Syrian government—so for all their wrongs, we’re actually quite lucky we didn’t have regime change, because I think it is a very realistic prediction that, had we had that happen, that ISIS would be in charge of Syria. Really, Syria, with Assad and all this war, is somewhat of a counter to the power of ISIS.

Not in Iraq they aren’t, dude.

An amazingly incoherent analysis.

Paul’s critics in the GOP are increasingly agitated by his stances, especially what they see as him positioning himself to the left of Clinton on foreign policy, even while the Middle East is becoming ever more volatile.

Yes, that does tend to “agitate” those of us who, while not necessarily fans of nation-building, want America to lead in the world, and not ponder its philosophical navel as do the isolationists–sorry, it’s “non-interventionists now, right?–even as we see the horrible consequences of America’s failure to lead.

“The last thing the Republican Party needs is its own version of George McGovern,” Yoo told me. “More than 50 percent of the American people now disapprove of Obama’s isolationist foreign policy, whose disastrous effects we now see in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Asia. Paul’s views will have the same bad consequences, both for the Republican Party, the United States, and the world.”

Probably worse, actually.

On a panel on Meet The Press that followed Paul’s interview, Michael Gerson, the former Geroge W. Bush speechwriter and one of the architects of “compassionate conservatism,” criticized Paul for opposing foreign aid.

How about we talk about realpolitik once in awhile, instead of this tired, crappy debate between isolationists and nation-builders?

“He’s called for the gradual elimination of all foreign aid,” Gerson said. “I’ve seen its effect in sub-Saharan Africa and other places. This would cause misery for millions of people on AIDS treatment. It would betray hundreds of thousands of children receiving malaria treatment. These are things you can’t ignore in a presidential candidate. This is a perfect case of how a person can have good intentions, but how an ideology can cause terrible misery. He will need to explain that.”

I fear that Rand Paul’s stance will be wildly popular, however penny-wise and dollar-foolish it ends up being for our standing in the world.

However, James Carafano, a generally hawkish foreign policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, said Paul is tapping into real currents of discontent with the American public.

Paul is “onto something,” in that “in a sense that people are looking for something other than reflexively send in the bombs or reflexively do nothing,” Carafano told this reporter.

What? And you’re at Heritage? Odd.

“It’s not just Sen. Paul, but I’ve heard several of the people who might be Republican candidates offer different versions of the same thing,” Carafano said. “Rick Perry was here the other day and was a little more aggressive on Iraq than Paul, but in their own way, what everybody is trying to say is we need to be prudent as opposed to somebody who just says we’re going to go do this.”

Which is a natural, visceral critique of nation-building, not a call for withdrawal from the world stage.

Paul describes himself as “a foreign policy realist like the first George Bush, like Reagan, like Eisenhower.” He elaborates:

They did intervene on occasion. It was not their first choice—but they did intervene when there were American interests involved, and I think really it’s not one extreme or the other. I often tell people in speeches one extreme goes nowhere all the time and that’s isolationism. The other extreme goes everywhere all the time. Many of the foreign policy sort of establishment in Washington, they’re so used to being everywhere all of the time, that anyone who backs away from everywhere all of the time is considered to be an isolationist.

Stop invoking Reagan. Just because you’re not a Bushie nation-builder doesn’t make you Reagan.  Stop it.

And stop with the freaking cartoon false dichotomies. If you really thought the American people are so smart, you wouldn’t need to employ them, would you?

Paul said that in many cases, “there is no good alternative”—and that much of the time, each foreign policy choice by a president has negative consequences and positive ones. But the best decision, he said, is the one that acts in the best interest of America and her allies like Israel—even if that means a bad dictator remains in power.

No argument. Now, if I thought you could employ that balancing act judiciously, and not like Ron Paul Lite when push comes to shove, the argument would stand on its own.

“I think one of the biggest threats to our country is radical Islam and these radical Islamist groups—they are a threat,” Paul said.

But you want to destroy the NSA?

Paul is currently leading the GOP field in 2016 GOP primary polls a few months out from the 2014 midterm elections. He said Americans are looking for someone they can trust to do the right thing when a foreign policy crisis arises. Paul went on:

When people are looking at choosing someone to be commander-in-chief, I think first and foremost they’re looking at whether that person has the wisdom and judgment to defend the country and make those decisions—when that 3 a.m. phone call came for Hillary, she didn’t bother to pick up the phone. In Libya, they were calling—they needed reinforcements for six months. It wasn’t just the night of the attack; for six months leading up to the attack there were repeated calls for reinforcements, for security teams, for a DC-3 to fly people on a plane to be able to leave the country. So I think the compilation of mistakes leading up to Benghazi really do preclude her from consideration to become commander-in-chief.

Just as your utterances and inclinations preclude you from same.

Regarding ISIS, the Islamic State terrorist organization that has grown a foothold in Syria and Iraq, Paul said he supports airstrikes. But if he were the president in this situation, unlike Obama, he would have called Congress back from recess to sell both chambers on action—and seek authorization before using America’s armed forces there.

Politically, that makes sense–but there is nothing in the Constitution that requires it.

Paul said of ISIS:

We need to do what it takes to make sure they’re not strong enough to attack us. That means sometimes perhaps continuing the alliance with the new Iraqi government. Perhaps it means armaments, or perhaps it means air support, but frankly if I were in President Obama’s shoes at this time, I would have called Congress back, I would have had a joint session of Congress, and I would have said ‘this is why ISIS is a threat to the United States, to the stability of the region, to our embassy, to our diplomats, and this is why I’m asking you today to authorize air attacks.’ I’m betting if he would have done that to a joint session of Congress, he would have gotten approval. When you don’t do it through Congress, and you do it yourself, then you really have not galvanized the will of the nation. As a true leader, what I think we need to do is galvanize the nation when we go to war.

Perhaps this, perhaps that. Your real concern is Congressional involvement–although that doesn’t seem to enter into your critique of the original invasion of Iraq.

But since Clinton and Obama have “a disregard for the rule of law,” which generally requires congressional authorization for such military action while giving the president considerable latitude for short-term action, the administration did not seek congressional authorization for action in Libya—and probably won’t for action against ISIS, if it’s taken. Paul concluded:

Americans do want strong leadership from the president. They do think that President Obama is not being a strong leader. They do want a strong leader, something more akin to the public persona of Reagan. But they also don’t want somebody who is reckless in engaging in war; they don’t want somebody to put troops back in the Middle East. That was my point with Hillary Clinton—her eagerness to be involved in Libya and to be involved in Syria, in Libya led to very bad, probably unintended consequences and in Syria unintended consequences also. But I think you have less unintended consequences if you come to the American people through Congress and have a full-throated debate. It’s frankly difficult to convince Congress to do things—and that way, if you do it that way, you’re unlikely to go to war unless there is a consensus among the American people.

Is anyone buying this nonsense?

Alas, they are.