Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ten major ways Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton are exactly the same

Although many Americans have understandably given up hope in the political system, the charlatans in Washington nonetheless continue to do their song and dance. Once again, another election is dawning upon us, and once again, two shills are being prepped and readied to assume the imperial mantle. On the right, we have Rand Paul, who is attempting to merge the Ron Paul libertarian movement with the GOP, and on the left, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party favorite who gets her rocks off laughing about bombing Iran. These two might seem dramatically opposed to one another on the surface, but as was the case with the previous election, and the one before that, and the one before that, the two candidates actually have much more in common than one may originally be led to believe. 

1. Both are willing to continue the utterly failed policy of marijuana prohibition

Here's Hillary on the subject, in her own words

"I don't think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don't think that - you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped." 

Here's Rand on the subject, in his own words

"I'm not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot. I'm not a libertarian. I'm a libertarian Republican. I'm a constitutional conservative." 

And, as reported by the Washington Post

"At a lunch Friday with about a dozen evangelical pastors in a Cedar Rapids hotel, the younger Paul assured the group that he disagrees with libertarians who support legalizing drugs. When one pastor inquired about ideological ties between Paul and his father, the senator asked that he be judged as his own man."

Both Hillary and Rand claim they want to reduce the length of time one spends in jail for possessing the wrong kind of plant, which is all fine and dandy if you think ten years in a rape-filled gulag is somehow better than fifteen.  

But this assumes either of them genuinely want to reduce penalties at all. Recall that Obama promised the same thing before he was elected only to oversee numerous raids against perfectly legal marijuana dispensaries once president. 

2. Both are in favor of intervention in Iran because of a non-existent nuclear weapons program

Here's Hillary on the subject, in her own words

"I share the opinion of you and many of your colleagues that these sanctions and the carefully constructed global consensus behind them are responsible for driving Tehran to the negotiating table. It was because sanctions worked that we are starting implementation of the Joint Plan of Action, an important step - though still only a first step - toward a comprehensive solution. Now that serious negotiations are finally under way, we should do everything we can to test whether they can advance a permanent solution. As President Obama said, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed, while keeping all options on the table." 

Hillary wants to "keep all options on the table"? Where have we heard this before?

Here's Rand Paul on the subject, in his own words:

"I believe all options should be on the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, including the military option. False choices between being everywhere all of the time and nowhere any of the time are fodder for debate on Sunday morning shows or newspaper columns. Real foreign policy is made in the middle; with nuance; in the gray area of diplomacy, engagement and reluctantly, if necessary, military action."

Paul voted for the Kirk-Menendez amendment on December 1, 2011, which seeks "to require the imposition of sanctions with respect to the financial sector of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran." The amendment's main focus is on Iran's oil industry: "Sanctions imposed ... shall apply with respect to a foreign financial institution owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country including a central bank of a foreign country, only insofar as it engages in transactions for the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products to or from Iran." 

Since then, Rand has made a valiant effort to deceive his libertarian base into thinking he's actually against sanctions, all the while assuring his Republican base that he's for them.

Hillary on the other hand has taken the route of trying to justify her support of sanctions by calling them "effective" at bringing Iran to the negotiating table (again, over a nuclear weapons program that most outside the realm of Washington have repeatedly said does not exist). She has even made special trips to places such as India to try and convince their government to join in on torturing the Iranian population with a form of economic warfare that has utterly crippled the Iranian economy and would be considered nothing short of a declaration of war were it done to us by another country.

Maybe Rand and Hillary should have a long chat with Ron Paul, who said on the subject: 

"Some may argue that we are pursuing sanctions so as to avoid war with Iran, but recent history teaches us otherwise. For how many years were sanctions placed on Iraq while we were told they were necessary to avoid war? Thousands of innocent Iraqis suffered and died under US sanctions and still the US invaded, further destroying the country. Are we safer after spending a trillion dollars or more to destroy Iraq and then rebuild it? Sanctions do not work. They are precursors to war and usually lead to war. They undermine our economy and our national security. They result in terrible, unnecessary suffering among the civilian population in the target countries and rarely even inconvenience their leaders. We must change our foreign policy from one of interventionism and confrontation to cooperation and diplomacy. This race to war against Iran is foolhardy and dangerous. As with the war on Iraq, the arguments for further aggression and war on Iran are based on manipulations and untruths. We need to learn our lesson and reject this legislation and the push for war."

3. Both are in favor of intervention in Ukraine

Blatantly ignoring the US role in destabilizing Ukraine while focusing only on the Russian response, Rand and Hillary have both come out in support of Cold War 2.0 measures that would seek to further escalate the so-called "crisis". 

Hillary compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, whereas Rand penned an article for TIME Magazine, claiming it is "America's duty to condemn these actions in no uncertain terms" and that "it is our role as a global leader to be the strongest nation in opposing Russia's latest aggression." 

4. Both are unapologetic whores for the Israel lobby

During a Hanukkah dinner speech delivered in December 2005, Clinton said: 

"I held a series of meetings with Israeli officials [last summer], including the prime minister and the foreign minister and the head of the [Israel Defense Forces], to discuss such challenges we confront. In each of these meetings, we talked at length about the dire threat posed by the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, not only to Israel, but also to Europe and Russia. Just this week, the new president of Iran made further outrageous comments that attacked Israel's right to exist that are simply beyond the pale of international discourse and acceptability. During my meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I was reminded vividly of the threats that Israel faces every hour of every day. ... It became even more clear how important it is for the United States to stand with Israel."

In 2006, she accepted $37,928 from pro-Israeli donors.  

As for Rand, here's a snippet from his website

"Sen. Rand Paul today introduced the Stand with Israel Act of 2014. This legislation halts all US aid to the Palestinian government until they agree to a ceasefire and recognize the right of Israel to exist."

And here is Rand in his own words

"Well absolutely we stand with Israel, but what I think we should do is announce to the world - and I think it is pretty well known - that any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States."

5. Both are against government whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden

Here's Hillary on Chelsea Manning, who was accused of leaking a treasure trove of information to the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, detained indefinitely for months without trial, and ultimately imprisoned for a little over 30 years:

"I think that in an age where so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so."

And here's Rand

"What Manning did was just willy-nilly, just released millions of pages of things and I think some people have said there is potentially some harm from that. You know individual agents that could have been killed or put at risk from this. So there is a problem with that. So I just can't support that."

"When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistleblowers. If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been. But it struck me as - I just have to be honest with you - as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia - two countries with which we have very difficult cyber relationships, to put it mildly."

And here's Rand, who is also for punishing Snowden, as long as it's done "reasonably": 

"I think the only way he's coming home is if someone would offer him a fair trial with a reasonable sentence."

6. Both are in favor of keeping the hellhole at Guantanamo open

Hillary has spoken quite a few times of reforming the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where dozens of men have remained imprisoned for nearly two decades without explanation or due process. According to one report, after she ascended to the position of Secretary of State, Clinton criticized the Obama administration for "throwing its commitment to close Guantanamo into the trash bin." And yet for all the empty rhetoric, just a few days before her tenure ended in early 2013, the State Department shuttered its office responsible for "resettling" the detainees. The "resettling" aspect is important, because like Obama, Clinton never wanted to release the inmates so much as merely transfer them to other prisons. 

Rand isn't much different. He referred to Gitmo inmates as "thugs" and "foreign terrorists" - an offer of judgment before any kind of actual conviction - only to clarify a few days later that he still thinks they should be allowed to have a trial via military tribunal. 

7. Both are backed by out-of-touch, extremely wealthy "one percent" donors 

Hillary is backed by a wide array of banks, including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan, as well as by a number of giant corporations, including Time Warner. 

Rand Paul, on the other hand, has taken money from investor Lane Moore and Nate Morris, a Paul ally and Kentucky businessman who once bundled funds for George W. Bush, as well as Jack Oliver, another former Bush donor, who is aligned with former Florida governor Jeb Bush. 

Paul also has the support of the Koch Brothers, a well-known Republican Party-aligned organization that has actively fought against factory farm whistleblowers, climate change, and net neutrality

Additionally, Paul is heavily backed by an organization known as FreedomWorks, which is also affiliated with the Koch Brothers and the Republican Party establishment. FreedomWorks has specifically called for the manipulation ("cultivation" was their wording) of former Ron Paul supporters in an effort to get their vote in the next election, with a leaked memo from the organization asking whether the face of American conservatism can be "younger" and "more diverse", adding, "can liberty, personal responsibility, and doing things for yourself be the new 'cool'?" 

It's also worth pointing out that FreedomWorks, like many groups linked with the Koch Brothers, has a long history of an utterly deceptive practice called "astroturfing" - where fake internet accounts are used to create the illusion of popular support when in fact there is none or very little. 

8. Both have been endorsed by, or have endorsed, partisan hacks 

Hillary has been endorsed by 18 senators and 39 members of the House. "The level of support is astounding, especially two-and-a-half years before the Democratic Party hosts its nominating convention. The total represents more than 20 percent of the 253 Democrats in the House and Senate. It is also more than half of the lawmaker endorsements Clinton received in 2008," points out Jasmine Sachar and Bob Cusack, who made the count.

Unsurprisingly, she also has the endorsement of her husband, Bill, the saxophone-playing president who also just so happened to oversee the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians as a direct result of crippling US sanctions put in place by his administration.

Meanwhile, Rand Paul has received endorsements from the likes of Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin, and of course, who could forget that Rand himself endorsed Mitt Romney.

9. Both are backed by the military-industrial complex

Hillary and Rand have each received campaign contributions from defense companies, with Hillary taking cash from Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon, and Rand taking cash from Lockheed Martin as well as Raytheon. 

Interestingly, Rand wrote an op-ed criticizing the Obama administration for making cuts to the Tomahawk missile program. He said: 

"In the current budget, the Obama Administration called for the elimination of the Tomahawk missile. This missile protects our troops and allows us to avoid much direct person-to-person combat. Our navy has depended heavily on them. Now President Obama wants to get rid of them rather than do the harder work of finding the waste and fraud in our bloated Pentagon bureaucracy. This is a mistake and will weaken our defenses." 

Who builds the Tomahawk missile? Raytheon, one of Rand's contributors. 

10. Both are masters of spin and doublespeak 

Leave it to career politicians to perfect the skill of saying two things at the same time with a totally contradictory meaning, or to just be flat-out, flip-flopping hypocrites.

Back in 2011, Hillary gave a speech on why freedom of information is important, saying:

"The right to express one's views, practice one's faith, peacefully assemble with others to pursue political or social change - these are all rights to which all human beings are entitled, whether they choose to exercise them in a city square or an internet chat room. This is an urgent task. It is most urgent, of course, for those around the world whose words are now censored, who are imprisoned because of what they or others have written online, who are blocked from accessing entire categories of internet content, or who are being tracked by governments seeking to keep them from connecting with one another."


"When ideas are blocked, information deleted, conversations stifled, and people constrained in their choices, the internet is diminished for all of us."

And lastly: 

"Those who push these plans often do so in the name of security."

So what's the problem with these remarks? As pointed out by Glenn Greenwald: 

"As part of WikiLeaks' disclosures, she was caught ordering her diplomats at the UN to engage in extensive espionage on other diplomats and UN officials; in a classified memo, she demanded 'forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications' as well as 'credit card numbers, email addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers and even frequent-flyer account numbers' for a whole slew of diplomats, actions previously condemned by the US as illegal."

Pure, unfiltered hypocrisy. 

On the other side, consider this example from Rand, who said, "I am not for containment in Iran. Let me repeat that, since no one seems to be listening closely: I am unequivocally not for containing Iran." And yet immediately after saying this, he added: "I am also not for announcing that the United States should never contain Iran." So in the very same day, Rand said he is against containing Iran, but also not against it. 

Here's another instance from Paul. In this clip, he's talking about his position on marijuana legalization. He says, "I don't want to put people in jail" for marijuana use, but with a catch: he doesn't want to put people in jail "for extended periods of time" - but he still wants to put them in jail. So as he's rightfully complaining about overcrowded jails filled with nonviolent offenders, in the same breath, he's also saying he doesn't want to legalize marijuana and just wants reduced sentences instead for possessors.

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Barring some totally unforeseen event or a mystery candidate springing out of the woodwork, Hillary and Rand are likely to be the Democrat and Republican choices for Americans to pick from in the next election. Imperialist vs. imperialist, drug warrior vs. drug warrior, corporate stooge vs. corporate stooge. Take your pick and vote for one, vote for both, vote for none, vote third party, write in Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck, or don't vote at all, because the truth of the matter is it really doesn't matter anyway. Until the system itself changes, we will forever be left to deal with the mutant spawns it inevitably produces.

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Update, 7/10/2014: 

Here's another important similarity: both Hillary and Rand support intervention in Iraq.

Hillary backed the Bush administration's initial invasion, and more recently, she pushed for US troops to remain there in 2010.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, said in a July 2014 interview that he's "not opposed" to providing the Iraqi government with weapons, and he "would not rule out" launching US airstrikes on the country.

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Update, 11/19/2014: 

On Hillary and Wall Street, "big bankers love Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president. Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry - among them, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Tom Nides, a powerful vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, and the heads of JPMorganChase and Bank of America - consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric."

On Rand and Wall Street, "the founders and employees of Mason Capital Management, a $13.6 billion New York hedge fund, have become leading contributors to Paul's political aims." In all, 17 of the company's 33 employees have given at least $75,000 to Paul. Additionally, Paul has been meeting with bankers from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Blackstone, The Carlyle Group and many other financial institutions.

Regarding marijuana legalization, Rand went on Real Time with Bill Maher in November 2014 and claimed he wants to "end the War on Drugs" - while a year prior, he told evangelicals he wants to continue it, and repeated this message on FOX News during an interview with Sean Hannity.

And lastly, both Hillary and Rand have picked up some new endorsements from the neoconservative crowd. Clinton has received the backing of Max Boot, while Rand received a nod from none other than John McCain back in September 2014. "I've seen him grow, and I've seen him mature, and I've seen him become more centrist," McCain told the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. "I know that, if he were president or a nominee, I could influence him, particularly some of his views and positions on national security. He trusts me particularly on the military side of things, so I could easily work with him. It wouldn't be a problem."

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Update, 12/2/2014:

There should have been little doubt about this, but now it's official: Hillary - like Randsupports the new US war in Iraq. "The situation now is demanding a response and we are seeing a very robust response," she said. "It is something that I think the president is right to bring the world attention to."

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Update, 3/26/2015: 

* In the span of less than a few weeks, Rand Paul - echoing the words of George W. Bush during the 2000 election - said he is against nation-building, only to later propose splitting Iraq up and giving the Kurds their own country.

* Joined by only the most hawkish within the GOP, Paul signed a letter stating that any deal reached between the Obama administration and Iran could be voided if a Republican wins in 2016.

* Paul, like Hillary, is now supportive of increasing the defense budget.

* During Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress, Rand Paul gave him - by his own estimate - 50 standing ovations.

* Scandals surrounding Hillary have been mostly superficial thus far, but her eagerness to keep private email accounts while simultaneously endorsing NSA spying is certainly a heavy dose of cognitive dissonance.

* It would be nice if the media paid attention to the bloodbath Clinton pushed for in Libya back in 2011, or how Wikileaks revealed she ordered diplomats to spy on the UN - but let's not expect too much serious journalism from the folks at CNN, FOX, and MSNBC...

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See also: 

Rand Paul sounds like pre-election Obama and Bush on pot legalization - When it comes to the War on Drugs, Rand Paul has taken a page from 1999 Bush and 2004 Obama

Socialists are rejecting Bernie Sanders like libertarians are rejecting Rand Paul - Bernie Sanders is a socialist, Rand Paul is a libertarian, and the moon is made of cheese

Is the Republicanization of the liberty movement the GOP's strategy in 2016? - The Republicans need a little "hope" and "change" if they plan to successfully swing the two-party pendulum back again and regain control

Republicans are the new Democrats, Democrats are the new Republicans - Are Republicans morphing into the new Democrats, with Rand Paul as the new Barack Obama? Have the Democrats morphed into the new Republicans, with Barack Obama as the new George W. Bush?

We've heard it all before - Rand Paul claims he wants to transform the GOP, but such rhetoric is nothing new

Democrats merge with GOP, form War Party - Bush helped Republicans justify needless war, Obama has helped Democrats; now, there is no mainstream anti-war party. Mission Accomplished™!

Liar-in-Chief: An integrity analysis of Bush and Obama - Presidential politicians have been mercilessly lying to and manipulating the public for decades

The problem wasn't Bush and the Republicans, and it isn't Obama and the Democrats - Far too much attention is spent attacking figureheads who will one day be out of office instead of the actual system and the system's ideology

Warmakers favored Obama over Romney - While Republican candidates in general still hold the support of the defense sector, in terms of the 2012 Presidential Election, they placed their bets on Barack

Eight bullshit misconceptions about the renewed US invasion of Iraq - The odds are high that you believe at least one of the lies mentioned here peddled as truth by US news networks

Six reasons the West wanted Gaddafi to GTFO - Six reasons the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Israel wanted former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi out of power and dead

The "crisis" in Ukraine coincidentally serves the interests of US corporations - Conveniently, the US-backed "crisis" in Ukraine has also served as an excuse to push European NATO members into boosting their defense budgets

The White House petition section and illusions of a responsive government - With their approval rates plummeting, US officials create and promote an online petition website in a desperate attempt to keep the public at bay

What will we do when the next war starts? - When the US military attack on Iran starts, will anti-war demonstrators once again assemble like farm animals behind metal barriers on sidewalks throughout major US cities?

The idea that protests in the US are not allowed to disrupt the public is simply ludicrous - What exactly does the government have to do before it is considered acceptable for protesters to interrupt the lives of Americans?

Why the 2014 US midterm election saw the worst voter turnout in 72 years - Until the corporate-dominated status quo is altered, voting will be nothing more than a charade

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  1. I love the article, except for the top portion, in which you wrote,

    "On the right, we have Rand Paul, who is attempting to merge the Ron Paul libertarian movement with the GOP once and for all,..."

    As a member of the libertarian movement for some 40-years, I can assure you that Rand Paul is no where near being libertarian, nor can ANY of his policies be considered libertarian in nature. He is a right-wing conservative through and through. To say that Rand is libertarian was just a Republican ploy to get real Libertarians to vote for Rand. Real Libertarians would not vote for Rand, any more than a communist in 1935 Germany could be tricked into voting for Adolph Hitler. It just goes to show how little the Republican Party understands the libertarian movement, principles and philosophy.

    1. Jeff is the #1 Rand Paul smear monger and LP shill on the Internet. His opinions of Rand Paul are extremely biased and inaccurate.

    2. No he is pretty much dead on. Rand and Ron Paul ate republicans through and through. they are NOT libertarians no matter how much they try to use the title.

    3. April 13, 2015 . . . you are clueless. Rand is lib-lite, for sure; but, while Ron may be a republican, he most certainly is not Republican in philosophy. Just because he existed in a binary reality, doesn't mean he subscribed to Republican platforming; even while advocating the republic.

  2. That's interesting but what's even better is the fact that most libertarians think that Gary Johnson would somehow turn the United States into a beaming light of liberty. Take a look at New Mexico!!

    Thinking that one man can actually change things toward liberty is fallacy and foolishness

    1. Look what 1 man did - Obama in the wrong direction...

    2. Obviously one man cannot make everything better. That's a stupid idea. But libertarians dismantling government are better than republicans and democrats building it bigger ... one makes things better, the other two make things worse. I'm counting Rand as a Libertarian in this statement, though he is only close ...

  3. So who's going to carry Ron Paul's mantle this election cycle (if not Rand)?

    1. No one remotely comes close to Ron.

    2. Rand Paul is of the same positions as Ron Paul.

  4. The answer is: government isn't the answer, it's the problem. Stop voting. Start supporting non government solutions to problems. Ron Paul didn't make it because no good man can. Governments are tools for evil people to impose their will on the rest of us.

  5. Wow. This is the biggest hack piece. Is this lazy journalism or intentional garbage. Rand Paul is not for any of these things. People, don't let the media make up your mind for you. Its articles like this, where words are cut and pasted and taken completely out of context that is a major reason their are so many uninformed voters. Do yourselves a favor and file this away with nonsense like honey boo boo.

    1. I have watched Rand very closely to see if he could be that shining hope to fix the republican party from the inside. All I have seen is repeated flip flopping this article points out. He attended a marijuana legislation event in 2013 & les than 24 hours later meet with the arch bishop of Chicago denouncing marijuana and saying the war on drugs should be continued. He had a major filibuster against the use of drone surveillance over America and two weeks later states that it should be used in some cases (his words). And most importantly .. When his father was running he supported Mitt Romney over his own father Ron. That told me all I need to know about Rand.

    2. The article provides links. The stories are true. You must be so in love with Rand you won't admit the truth. Denial is a terrible thing.

  6. It seems intentionally dishonest or incredibly stupid to take ""I'm not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot. I'm not a libertarian. I'm a libertarian Republican. I'm a constitutional conservative."

    I do support the legalization of all drugs, but yet I, too, could say very easily that ""I'm not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot." Do you want to see all the old people naked and stoned? I don't. Let 'em smoke with their clothes on.

  7. This is so wholly disingenuous and selective that I had to laugh. Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton have practically nothing in common. Hillary works for the CFR and Rand is an outsider that both establishment elements despise.

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