Paul Goes There

This should be interesting:

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wants to end all foreign assistance, including aid to Israel.

Paul, a Republican newly elected in Kentucky, was on CNN Wednesday outlining where he would cut the $500 billion in government spending he says is critical to sustaining the U.S. economy. His focus was on the departments of energy, education and housing.

Interviewer Wolf Blitzer then asked about foreign assistance, asking if he wanted to end “all foreign aid.” Paul said yes, and Blitzer asked him about aid to Israel.

“Well, I think what you have to do is you have to look,” Paul said. “When you send foreign aid, you actually [send] quite a bit to Israel’s enemies. Islamic nations around Israel get quite a bit of foreign aid, too.

“You have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as a, you know, a fountain of peace and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East.”

Blitzer pressed, “End all foreign aid including the foreign aid to Israel as well. Is that right?” he asked.

Paul answered, “Yes.”

I’m wondering if the R after his name will protect him from a full-fledged freakout at Commentary, the Weekly Standard, and the other Israel first rags.

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66 replies
  1. 1
    SteveinSC says:

    Duck, incoming from AIPAC and the dual citizens.

  2. 2
    Comrade Luke says:

    I also love the tell by Blitzer, where there’s “aid” and there’s “aid to Israel”, and somehow those are two different things.

  3. 3
    SteveinSC says:

    Sorry to post twice, I think Rand Paul’s ideas are crazier than the proverbial shit house rat, but at least he has the balls to answer a question forthrightly.

  4. 4
    Califlander says:

    Look, he’s a Republican. His followers have been so indoctrinated that he could advocate selling their children to China in exchange for rare earths and they’d be totally okay with it … as long as liberals opposed it.

  5. 5
    Delia says:

    Is there in fact a limit to IOKIYAR? We may be on the brink of finding out.

  6. 6
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    He’s definitely consistently crazy.

    OT: Filibuster reform fails.

  7. 7
    SteveinSC says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): The total impossibiliy of anything in the fucking Senate, no matter how many democrats you have is beginning to have a sinister smell to it.

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    Wolf: Wait, are you sure about Israel?

    (ten seconds later)

    Wolf: When you say all, do you also mean Israel?

    I don’t agree with Paul, but geez, could Wolf be any more transparent? There are a few other countries in the world that receive aid from us.

  9. 9
    bleh says:

    He’s gonna take some serious flak. But I’m guessing very little of his funding comes from pro-Israel sources. (In fact, more may come from salt-of-the-earth millionaire Jew-haters.). Plus it’s red meat for the mouth-breathers, AND it’s a long time til he stands again. So on balance, probably not a bad bet.

  10. 10
    Montysano says:

    So Rand Paul expects Israel to carry out champagne-grade oppression on a beer budget? This is so unfair.

  11. 11
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Kudos to Paul, credit where credit is due.

    He is insane, and he doesn’t try to hide it.

    Ryan, the Nerd King of the GOP, sez that he has a super awesome plan to reduce spending, but he never quite seems to be able to come out with any details.

    Rand, on the other hand, is Balls to the Wall, and I respect him for it. I disagree with him, but at least he has the balls to dance with the Crazy he brought to the dance.

  12. 12
    Calouste says:

    It will just be relabeled as “military cooperation” or such. In any case, doesn’t most of the aid already go via the DoD?

  13. 13
    Andre says:

    There will be some quiet, restrained tutting, and then everyone will move on.

    No serious commentator would ever accuse a Republican of being anti-Semitic because something something liberal fascism.

  14. 14
    lol says:

    Just proof that every nut occassionally finds its squirrel.

  15. 15
    MattMinus says:

    I predict a freak-out about a betrayal of our closest ally in the world and abandoning the only Democracy (apartheid flavored) in the middle east, but none of the anti-semitism charges that would be hurled against anyone with a D after their name.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    Not to go all Sully on you, but events are rapidly escalating in Egypt right now. The internet has been totally shut down there, cell phone service is due to be cut off in less than 2 hours, and the police/military are firing at protesters with live ammunition. If nothing else, this is going to bring our entire foreign aid practices into focus Rand Paul or no Rand Paul. The neocons really didn’t see this coming.

  17. 17
    daverave says:

    More GOP intra-party squabbling is always OK in my book.

    Way OT, but today I got an e-mail from Congresscritter Mary Bono Mack (Nepotist..er..R, CA)that had a “State of the Union Survey” with a single poll question:

    *Do you support the President’s plan to increase federal spending again?
    *Yes
    *No
    *Unsure

    Not a lot of nuance there and sure to deliver the answer she wants that she can then trumpet as the people having spoken thusly. I went with “Yes” just to mess with her.

    See:
    http://bono.house.gov/Forms/Form/?ID=1040

  18. 18
    Elisabeth says:

    @SteveinSC:

    They did vote to end secret holds by a vote of 92-4. (Rand Paul was one of the four nopes.)

  19. 19
    Maude says:

    OT Where did Tom go? He had a post.

  20. 20
    Laertes says:

    I predict this remark vanishes down the memory hole without much fuss. It doesn’t fit easily into the dominant narrative, and as Blitzer’s stark incomprehension demonstrates, they really don’t know how to deal with that.

    Everyone will more or less pretend he didn’t say it, and that will be that.

  21. 21
    Elisabeth says:

    Rand Paul sure gets a lot of attention for a junior senator from Kentucky. Must be nice riding daddy’s coattails.

  22. 22
    J says:

    @SteveinSC: Well maybe; I seem to recall that he walked back his view about public accommodations when it became clear he’d pay a price for it.

  23. 23
    Tom Levenson says:

    @BombIranForChrist: If Paul had unleashed his actual views during the campaign, I’d have more respect for him now. But after his disastrous first weekend after the primary…full scale “I’m You” was the order of the day.

  24. 24

    I’m wondering if the R after his name will protect him from a full-fledged freakout at Commentary, the Weekly Standard, and the other Israel first rags.

    I doubt it. Those organs are genuinely pro-Zionist, not just Republican mouthpieces.

    George H.W. Bush and James Baker, for instance, are frequently denounced for their alleged anti-Israel activities.

  25. 25
    Mark S. says:

    Paul isn’t wasting any time in taking symbolic and meaningless stands. Was it ever straightened out whether he and Vitter’s birth citizenship thingamajig is a resolution or an amendment?

  26. 26
    Brian says:

    Stupid idea. Like trying to solve your budget problems at home by skipping butter on your toast. (Yes, home budgets are generally terrible analogies for Federal spending) F.A. is less than 1% of spending. It can be very effective, both directly and politically. Granted, the quasi-apartheid situation in Israel is not the kind of effect I want to cause, but that would happen anyway. Trying to track the next six years of stupid from this guy is going to be teh awesome.

  27. 27
    Hal says:

    A facebook former co-worker of mine is bitching today that the Pubs 100 billion dollars in cuts just aren’t enough and that’s why there’s a Tea Party!

    See, what happens is we turn over control of all the things the Fed controls and regulates to local agencies, and they will be able to effectively fix roads, provide clean food and water, and make sure your children are educated. And if corporations take control if (when) local agencies simply can’t cope, they will do so with benevolence and the best interests of the people, and not profits. So you see, it’s a win win!

    When’s 2012?

  28. 28
    Turgidson says:

    @daverave:

    Someone named “You’re A. Nutjob”, whose email is blowitoutyourrear @ verizon dot net just voted yes, too.

  29. 29
    Delia says:

    @beltane:

    The neocons really didn’t see this coming.

    Do the neocons ever see anything coming? Be that as it may, they’ll probably use the unpleasantness in Egypt as the reason that Israel needs yet more military aid.

  30. 30
    chopper says:

    @Mark S.:

    that wasn’t wolf trying to make it all about israel, that was wolf not-so-subtly telling paul ‘i’m going to give you a real chance to backtrack on this one’. something he probably would not have given to a D.

  31. 31
    Turgidson says:

    @chopper:

    Worse, he probably would have cut the interview off immediately after the more general statement, and then said “you heard it here, folks. Senator ___ (D) wants to cut off all funding to Israel…as well as other places we don’t care about.” He might have omitted “we don’t care about.”

  32. 32

    Paul, a Republican newly elected in Kentucky, was on CNN Wednesday outlining where he would cut the $500 billion in government spending he says is critical to sustaining the U.S. economy. His focus was on the departments of energy, education and housing.

    Interviewer Wolf Blitzer then asked about foreign assistance, asking if he wanted to end “all foreign aid.” Paul said yes

    The Department of Education budget is $71 billion for 2011.

    The Department of Energy budget was $29.1 billion in 2009, so let’s be generous and say it’s $33 billion this year.

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget in 2010 was $43.1 billion.

    The entire State Department and foreign aid budget in 2010 was about $53 billion.

  33. 33
    gene108 says:

    I remember when Bush, Jr. got elected 10 years or so ago many people on the right were going nuts about getting the U.S. out of the U.N., included Republican Senator Jesse Helms, who tried holding up the U.S. payments to the organization.

    I can’t say I’m surprised. The whole “get us out of the U.N.” crap got sort of swept aside after 9/11/01 and the recent economic problems. I don’t think people on the right have had their sentiments towards the U.N. change in the last 10 years, they just have other matters on their mind.

  34. 34
    Mark S. says:

    @gene108:

    Getting out of the UN will probably be the centerpiece of the John Bolton campaign, but you’re right, it’s not on most wingnuts’ radars right now.

    Here’s a new shiny object for them: Rabbis who criticize Glenn Beck are the real anti-Semites.

  35. 35
    Dan says:

    I had been under the impression that a good portion of israeli aid ended up back in the U.S. economy when the israelis turned around and used it to buy american weapons. I’m not saying it’s the most efficient use of american dollars (by far) but it’s not like it’s just being given away.

  36. 36
    Brachiator says:

    @beltane:

    Not to go all Sully on you, but events are rapidly escalating in Egypt right now. The internet has been totally shut down there, cell phone service is due to be cut off in less than 2 hours, and the police/military are firing at protesters with live ammunition. If nothing else, this is going to bring our entire foreign aid practices into focus Rand Paul or no Rand Paul. The neocons really didn’t see this coming.

    There are all kinds of ways to look at this, none of them particularly good. Neocons can see this as proof that America is losing its unofficial empire, and blame it on Obama. They can see this as proof that the non-belligerent approach to the Middle East is not working, and blame it on Obama. They can see this as proof that the region is becoming so unstable that a pre-emptive war against Iran is necessary to protect the US and Israel, and blame it on Obama.

    Neocons don’t need to see it coming. They have ready-made rationalizations.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    @lol:

    Beautiful.

    aimai

  38. 38
    The Moar You Know says:

    Rand Paul, one-term Senator.

    You’ll be amazed at the myriad ways in which AIPAC will neuter Daddy’s little boy.

  39. 39
    PeakVT says:

    The sooner the US stops meddling in the Middle East, the better it will be for everyone. We just fuck things up over there.

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    @Dan: “a good portion of israeli aid ended up back in the U.S. economy when the israelis turned around and used it to buy american weapons.”

    Actually, it is also used to buy American congress critters and to spy on the US government, so yes.

  41. 41
    me says:

    @The Moar You Know: The moment he gets more then a little flak for it he’ll fold like a lawn chair.

  42. 42
    gbear says:

    I don’t think that ‘fountain of peace’ means what Paul thinks it means.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    Just insanity. Why the fuck do they keep screwing this?

  44. 44
    M. Bouffant says:

    @gbear:

    “Peace” may have been incorrectly transcribed.

  45. 45
    Jay C says:

    I’m wondering if the R after his name will protect him from a full-fledged freakout at Commentary, the Weekly Standard, and the other Israel first rags.

    Probably – somewhat: but also probably nowhere near the sh*tstorm a Democrat/liberal would get from the usual suspects for saying the same crap. I get the feeling that Sen. Rand Paul is going to find himself gradually disinvited from venues like CNN (OK, well maybe not CNN) and end up – most likely before the current session of Congress adjourns – the Senate’s equivalent of the Crazy Uncle In The Attic. Yeah, it’s gonna be a long six years…

    @Mark S.:

    I found the response from Fox’s “senior VP” to be literally incredible: it strains belief that any executive at a major TV news network would respond to an ad like the one that that group of rabbis signed with dismissive crap like:

    “We haven’t seen the ad, but this group is a George Soros backed left-wing political organization that has been trying to engage Glenn Beck primarily for publicity purposes.”

    THAT’S Fox’s reaction to critiques of Glenn Beck’s perceived antisemitism? A sneer about George Soros? – that would sound assholish coming from some hack blogger? And this is a senior exec at FN? Why didn’t he add some crack about lox and bagels while he was at it?? OY!

  46. 46
    New Yorker says:

    This is one thing I can agree with Rand on. I don’t like the fact that my tax dollars fund Israeli settlements or Hosni Mubarak’s police state.

  47. 47
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    I particularly liked Randi’s suggestion to completely abolish the Department of Education–except for Pell Grants. Ahhh, yes… “The Sins (AKA–Failure to be able to Pay for College) of the Father shall be visited on his children..” Unless you’re Randi-Poo Paul.

    Actually, this is exactly what the kindly, caring Ronnie “Jesus Christ” Reagan did in the early 1980’s. Overnight, he made ALL college aid subject to the same means test as what we now call Pell Grants, including Guaranteed Student Loans, which I absolutely depended on to pay my tuition. So, because my Dad was an underpaid DOD engineer who had just moved to Northern Virginia, with a cost of living that only rivals San Fransisco and New York–he made about $2000 more than the Reagan cutoffs and we were shit out of luck. Yeah, they were getting their electric cut off periodically, but were too rich for me to get a student loan.

    Which also meant that I had to fucking drop out of college in my sophomore year. It wasn’t like I was a bad student either–I had scored a 1400 on my SAT’s and had a 3.5 in high school, but full ride scholarships were incredibly scarce in those days. So–My strategy was to marry my high school sweetheart who was in the Navy in order to be poor enough to resume my college education. We actually made it, he and our four kids–but I pretty much lost a decade of decent income because of how long it took me to become “gainfully employed”. It has probably negatively impacted my entire life’s earnings in terms of retirement, and certainly in terms of the quality of life I could have created for my own family.

    So, Fuck you, Rand Paul. FUCK YOU, you asshole.

  48. 48
    AxelFoley says:

    @New Yorker:

    This is one thing I can agree with Rand on. I don’t like the fact that my tax dollars fund Israeli settlements or Hosni Mubarak’s police state.

    Same here, although I’m mostly against aid for Israel because Israel can support itself. It’s not like it’s a Third World country. Fuck they need our aid for?

    But yeah, the settlements and police state part is a good reason to stop aid, too.

  49. 49
    Luthe says:

    @joe from Lowell: How much you want to bet that Rand Paul doesn’t even know what the Department of Energy does? Hint: 2/3s of its budget is not devoted to energy at all.

    What the DoE actually does is maintain the country’s nuclear stockpile and deal with nuclear waste. The waste management budget of the DoE is larger that the entire EPA budget. Only 1/3 of the total DoE budget actually is spent on energy related matters.

  50. 50
    4jkb4ia says:

    John, are you kidding? This is a guy who at the very least palled around with anti-Semites. Not even checking to see if I am first with this.

    (Clearly did not read post and sees that this is referring to Rand instead of Ron Paul.)

  51. 51
    4jkb4ia says:

    4jkb4ia’s Husband’s impression of years ago was that if we cut off all foreign aid to Israel that was non-defense, they could still make it. But if we cut off military aid or arms sales that would be a whole different story.

    (Update: 4jkb4ia’s Husband reacts to the prospect of cutting off foreign aid to Israel with great yawn. “Then they wouldn’t be beholden to us.”) (“They’ve been bantering this out for decades already” IN ISRAEL.)

  52. 52
    El Cid says:

    It’s never “Israel first”. It’s always “militarist Israeli policies first”. Israel would have been better off having had a sane end to their occupation. But, no, they served us better as militarist challenges to any other regional powers, and plus it was always fun to crush these semi-human insects known as Palestinians.

  53. 53
    Allan says:

    @daverave: I voted “yes” as well. Or I should say, “Chaz Bono” did.

  54. 54
    Allan says:

    @joe from Lowell: …and Meg Whitman spent more of her own money losing the governorship in California than the annual budget of the National Endowment for the Arts.

  55. 55
    4jkb4ia says:

    Response from Republican Jewish Coalition: We understand that most Republicans don’t agree with Paul but he’s wrong

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    By the way — here’s the 2011 sets of statistical abstract data for the 3 main categories of foreign aid.

    The main chart would be overall economic and military aid by major recipient country, 2001 – 2008 (PDF here).

    By far the major recipients of aid and/or ‘aid’ are Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Israel is 3rd, and by amounts far larger than other nations, getting roughly $2.43 billion, of which $2.38 billion is military aid.

    The next highest is Egypt at $1.49 billion, of which $1.29 billion is military aid.

  57. 57
    Kyle says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    “Then they wouldn’t be beholden to us.”

    Like now, when after receiving a shit-ton of US money we then unsuccessfully beg them to halt settlements for a few months in exchange for an additional shit-ton of money?

    Israel is a prosperous country now; they can buy US weapons on their own tab the way our other prosperous allies do.

  58. 58
    Pat says:

    Well, what do you know? I agree with Rand Paul today! End all aid to Israel and then let’s see how the fuckers act on the world’s stage!

  59. 59
  60. 60
    bob h says:

    Paul will come to regret showing up on AIPAC’s radar.

  61. 61
    Barry says:

    @Delia: “Is there in fact a limit to IOKIYAR? We may be on the brink of finding out.”

    I bet on a swift and furious counterattack, and Mr. Galt drawing his horns in toute de suite.

  62. 62
    4jkb4ia says:

    Commentary Further proof that 4jkb4ia’s Husband is excellent anecdotage since he made this point also: foreign aid is essentially a bribe. But Commentary didn’t go there as far as that Paul is anti-Israel.

  63. 63
    4jkb4ia says:

    @Kyle:
    Notice that that was in quotes. But now that I think about it, Israel is beholden to the US the way that North Korea is beholden to China. It’s about more than the money.

  64. 64
    jcricket says:

    I love how bat-shit insane people on the Republican side (Rand Paul) get props for being “internally consistent”, yet when Democrats point out something true, but different than the dominant narrative, but also true (“other countries have better healthcare and pay less”, “we need to raise taxes”) they’re flayed alive as out-of-touch.

    You know who else is internally consistent and quite honest about their views? Conspiracy theorists, Fred Phelps, etc.

    I give people like Paul and Ryan absolutely zero credit for mouthing off ideas that have no chance of passing and would do nothing but worsen every situation they claim it would help. Is the bar really that low?

    The only thing I like is that they are honest enough (Paul moreso than Ryan) to come out there and specifically state their bat-shit ideas, instead of vague assurances and platitudes (Boehner, et. al.).

    If Democrats would simply ignore the fact that Ryan and Paul don’t have that much power and start hammering the entire fucking GOP using proposals from them (GOP wants to get rid of Medicare. GOP wants to cut all foreign aid to israel, etc) maybe we’d get somewhere with the public.

  65. 65
    liberty60 says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    The Department of Education budget is $71 billion for 2011.
    The Department of Energy budget was $29.1 billion in 2009, so let’s be generous and say it’s $33 billion this year.
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget in 2010 was $43.1 billion.
    The entire State Department and foreign aid budget in 2010 was about $53 billion.

    To put it in perspective- the DoD + Homeland Security budgets = +/- $1,000 Billions.

    But by all means, lets cut that massive amount of foreign aid; then celebrate with a round of tax cuts!

  66. 66
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @Dan:
    They would be buying our weapons, anyway, because they need them to maintain their system. I see no reason we should be paying them to do so. I don’t see much advantage to the US in our alliance with Israel, and I think we should only have military alliances which are mutally beneficial.

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