By now, hopefully readers of our website and loyal listeners to the Lions of Liberty podcast have already heard about Rand Paul’s remarks concerning Obama’s deal with Iran. If not, I highly recommend listening to yesterday’s special edition of the Rand Pauluses and Minuses podcast, featuring Marc Clair, Scott Horton and myselfdiscussing it. But, I’ll recap it here in this week’s first point of “Pauluses and Minuses.”
Rand Criticizes Iran Deal, Calls for Sanctions to Stay in Place
Rand Paul hesitated in responding to news that President Obama’s deal to remove / reduce sanctions against Iran in exchange for comprehensive reforms in their ongoing nuclear arms capability, in order to allow him to read the bill, according to Antiwar.com‘s Justin Raimondo. And that is what makes his response all the more puzzling, as he either completely misunderstood it, or willingly misrepresented the facts.
As per Rand’s Facebook page:
“The proposed agreement with Iran is unacceptable for the following reasons:
“1) Sanctions relief precedes evidence of compliance, 2) Iran is left with significant nuclear capacity, 3) it lifts the ban on selling advanced weapons to Iran
“I will, therefore, vote against the agreement.
“While I continue to believe that negotiations are preferable to war, I would prefer to keep the interim agreement in place instead of accepting a bad deal.”
The full text of the deal is available here, and as it’s fairly plain to see, Rand’s response is wholly inaccurate. The relief does not precede compliance – the exact opposite in fact. Iran isn’t left with anything more than the bare minimum of nuclear sites needed for power, a hugely reduced nuclear stockpile (2%) and nowhere near the number of centrifuges that would be required to create a bomb.
In regards to Rand’s contention that this removes the arms ban on advanced weaponry sales to Iran, he has a point, however that point won’t be applicable on a level that could possibly worry anyone for 8 years. The pact does allow conventional arms to be supplied to Iran in 5 years, and missile technology in 8. But any honest analysis of Iran vs. the United States in a military conflict would find that Iran would be of little threat to the United States even if it had a significant nuclear program – which they don’t and are even more assured to never have under this deal. That they might acquire additional non-nuclear arms almost a decade in the future is of little concern.
Rand’s inaccurate statements in his opposing points would be bad enough, but additionally he proves himself to be a hypocrite where Iran – and by proxy, Israel – are concerned.
Rand’s stance typically has been to encourage diplomacy and oppose sanctions – yes, even on Iran, which he voiced in January of this year. He also echoes this in his new book Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America(look for more in depth commentary on that soon), wherein he discusses the impact of governmental policy “on the street” and notes how powerful the “Arab Spring” can be as a tool for change. Yet, here he is, having turned a complete about-face on the Iran deal, calling for all the sanctions to stay in place instead of agreeing to this (impressive, in my view) deal.
It makes no logical sense and betrays his own ideals. Perhaps this is because of a back-room agreement with Sheldon Adelson, as Horton suggested on the podcast. Perhaps it’s what he thinks he has to say to woo neocon backing. Whatever his internal logic, it doesn’t coincide with mine or anyone that can claim a libertarian mindset.
This is a massive disappointment and one of the most upsetting actions he has taken since he’s been in office or on the campaign trail.
Check out the full show below:
Paul Calls for More Scrutiny of Immigrants From Islamist/Jihadist Regions
In a story that the media is predictably blowing out of proportion, Rand stated in response to the suspected terrorist attack in Chattanooga last week that he felt potential immigrants and students from regions that are “hotbeds” of jihadism and Islamism should be subjected to more scrutiny than those from other regions.
“I’m very concerned about immigration to this country from countries that have hotbeds of jihadism and hotbeds of this Islamism,” Paul told Breitbart. “I think there does need to be heightened scrutiny. Nobody has a right to come to America, so this isn’t something that we can say ‘oh, their rights are being violated.’ It’s a privilege to come to America and we need to thoroughly screen those who are coming.”
Rand is half right, even though I don’t agree with the notion that the government owns all of the land in the U.S. But, should we accept the notion – in theory – that America is the “private property” of the people within the country, Rand would be correct that no one has a “right” to access this property.
Where I’m a bit torn is on the “higher scrutiny.” While in one sense I do think that it’s a bit absurd to single out a group or region for stricter standards, we don’t live in a vacuum. Regions that may pose a threat to the people of this country do exist with a higher chance for immigrants that have nefarious intent than others, and it would boil down to what these screening processes would entail. I don’t have a problem with government doing due diligence for background screenings, or hosting question sessions with would-be applicants.
Just as a business has the right to more thoroughly vet the employee of a former rival suspecting corporate espionage, or someone who may have a spotty work record, the U.S. sould be able to apply deeper scrutiny to immigrants.
I’m going to give this one the dreaded…
Rand Paul to Join “Centennial Monetary Commission?”
Forbes is reporting a very interesting movement that Rand Paul is at the hub of along with several other prominent members of the Congress and Senate – the Centennial Monetary Commission. This commission would have significant impact over U.S. monetary policy, which of course goes a long way with Paul, who has taken up the fight against (or to reign in and make transparent) the Fed from his father.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Vice Chairman of the bicameral Congressional Joint Economic Committee — Congress’s own resident “Think Tank” — recently, without fanfare, introduced a potentially transformational piece of legislation in the House. Reportedly, this action has been followed by introduction in the Senate by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). This matters. Welcome the prospect of a Centennial Monetary Commission.
The official bill is numbered H.R. 2912, and the quick summary within the text is:
To establish a commission to examine the United States monetary policy, evaluate alternative monetary regimes, and recommend a course for monetary policy going forward.
Continued from Ralph Benko at Forbes:
The Commission isn’t hostile to the Fed. Nor is it designed to impair the Fed’s autonomy. The Fed now, almost universally, is seen as in “uncharted territory.” The Commission, simply, is designed to chart the territory.
The Commission is chartered to be impeccably empirical, to “examine how United States monetary policy since the creation of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 has affected the performance of the United States economy in terms of output, employment, prices, and financial stability over time….”
This Commission has been a long time coming, in my opinion, as the Fed has run autonomously without examination for far too long and with far too narrow of an economic bent. It’s been a “Keynes, Keynes, Keynes, Keynes World.”
There are a tiny handful of policies which determine whether or not we have a climate of equitable prosperity. What happened 15 years ago? Tax policy did not dramatically then change. Neither did trade, regulatory, or spending policy, not in such a way to explain the withering of the American Dream.
One thing only changed 15 years ago: monetary policy. The Federal Reserve drifted from its policy of the “Great Moderation” put in place by Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Economic stagnation is not of necessity the New Normal. Stagnation is the result of bad government policy.
Co-sponsorships in the Senate by Sens. Paul and Cruz are especially significant. Sen. Paul has laid down another marker on tackling the role of the Fed in job creation. He also was the first Senate co-sponsor of the Monetary Commission in the 113thCongress. He is the prime Senate sponsor of “Audit the Fed.”
Sen. Paul’s credibility on this potentially highly relevant issue cannot be denied. Should he take the “money issue” into his presidential campaign it could prove a game changer. (Full disclosure, one of my sons is a volunteer for the Rand Paul presidential campaign.)
As Benko notes, and against which it’s hard to argue, Rand’s monetary policy goals stand apart from the crowd and are one of seemingly few positions that he’s staying consistent on as his campaign evolves. The prospect of his taking a position of strong influence on the Fed and monetary moves is one that weighs quite positively on me.
The Current “Paulus-Minus” Tally:
80 Pauluses / 27 Minuses / 5 Push
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