Rebuttal of John Stossel’s lies

In his latest (and hopefully, this year’s last) screed for the year 2011, John Stossel alleges that “we libertarians have won the battle of ideas”, without providing any proof of this, and makes these false claims:

“What am I talking about? We haven’t won. Even Republicans want to grow government. When the Super Committee failed to reach its super conclusion and thereby put us on automatic pilot to a trillion dollars in spending cuts, Republicans screamed about draconian damage to the military. But the automatic cuts are really just cuts in the rate of increase. Spending will still go up, just at a slightly slower rate. Why is this even controversial?”

Except the statement that libertarians haven’t won yet, all of his claims quoted here are blatant lies.

Let’s start with the last one. Stossel alleges (without providing any evidence, because none exists) that the cuts will be only reductions of the rate of increase of defense spending. That is FALSE. Under the sequestration mechanism, not only will there be zero growth in defense spending, it will also be cut IN REAL TERMS (i.e. accounting for inflation) by $882 bn over a decade below the FY2011 level and will not return to that level until the mid-2020s. And even if inflation is NOT taken into account, there will still be zero growth of defense spending, and it will still be cut by $228 bn below the FY2011 level, and not return to it in nominal terms until FY2019.

At the same time, GWOT (OCO) spending, albeit not subject to the sequester, will be continually shrinking (as US troops withdraw from Afghanistan): to $80 bn in FY2013, $50 bn in FY2014 and FY2015, and $0 in FY2016 (all US troops are schedueld to leave that country by Dec. 31st, 2014).

And even WITHOUT the sequester, OCO spending would still zero out after 2014 while defense spending would still be cut in real terms (i.e. zero growth and still a cut) – in $465 bn over a decade. That would be a milder reduction, but still a real term spending cut.

No, Mr Stossel, those will not be mere reductions in the rate of defense spending growth. There will actually be zero such growth and radical defense spending cuts if the debt ceiling deal is allowed to stand.

Stossel falsely claims that “Republicans screamed about draconian damage to the military.” In other words, he’s trying to mislead the public into thinking that Republicans were merely scaremongering the public. Yet, if the sequestration mechanism is allowed to stand, the damage WILL be draconian. The ICBM leg of the nuclear triad will have to be eliminated entirely and immediately; the other two legs gradually through nonreplacement (because both the Next Gen Bomber and the SSBN-X program will have to be cancelled). The bomber fleet will have to be cut by 2/3, the SSBN fleet by 4 boats (from 14 to just 10), the fighterplane fleet by 35%, the Army to its smallest size since 1940, the Navy to its smallest size since 1915 (to just 230 ships), and the Marines to just 145,000 men – not able to conduct even one big military operation. For anyone to dismiss this damage as scaremongering is foolish.

And what of Stossel’s claim that Republicans’ protests against these defense cuts constitute proof that Republicans want to grow government? Firstly, Republicans haven’t called for any defense spending INCREASES. They merely want to protect the defense budget from draconian cuts (or, in the case of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, from any cuts at all). But even if they did want to increase defense spending, that would NOT mean growing government, because the Pentagon is NOT a big government program. Defense is a Constitutionally legitimate function, and a Constitutional DUTY, of the federal government. The frequently-made libertarian claim that it’s just another big government project has been rebutted by me many times, notably here, here, and here.

The Founding Fathers agreed. George Washington said to the Congress in 1790:

“Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. (…) To be prepared for war is one of the effective means of preserving the peace.”

James Madison, for a long time an opponent of standing armies, ultimately changed his opinion and said in 1788:

“How could a readiness for war in times of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?”

Fort his part, John Adams said one time that:

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.”

So according to the Founding Fathers, defense is “one of the cardinal duties of a statesman” and we must prepare for war in order to keep the peace and prevent war. In other words, Ronald Reagan did not invent the “peace through strength” philosophy – George Washington did, although he did not call it that way.

Claiming that defense is a Big Government program essentially means claiming that George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison were Big Government politicians.

Rebuttal of some of the lies stated in the pro-Ron-Paul leftist video

A pro-Ron-Paul leftist video which is a litany of lies is now spreading around the web. In it, in the opening sentence, some guy lectures the American people to “listen to what our troops have to say” if they really support the troops and veterans. Which begs the question: where are pro-Ron-Paul veterans’ organizations? How many veterans have publicly endorsed Ron Paul? Only one, as far as I know. By contrast, Governor Rick Perry has been endorsed by over 100 veterans, including 3 recipients of the Medal of Honor (Dakota Meyer, James Livingston, and Michael Thornton), one Navy Cross recipient (Marcus Luttrell), and one Purple Heart recipient (Daniel Moran).

Here’s my rebuttal of some of the lies stated in the video:

It features known Blame America First leftists such as Chalmers Johnson, Ray McGovern, and of course, Ron Paul.

It falsely claims that the GWOT has cost $4 trillion to date, when the real cost of the Afghan and Iraqi wars has been a little over $1 trillion to date, and that cost will stop growing in FY2015 after the last American troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

It falsely claims that the US has increased its military spending by 81% since 2001, which is, likewise, a blatant lie. In fact, the US military budget for FY2001 was $390 bn; the recently-passed FY2012 budget (the FY2012 NDAA) authorizes $662 bn, an increase of just 69%, significantly less than what the video claims. And that’s total military spending. The CORE defense budget has grown by only 39% since FY2001. Moreover, invoking a past defense budget or a past fiscal year as a baseline out of context is ridiculous and deliberately misleading. The FY2001 defense budget was the smallest since before WW2, and in FY2001 the US military was completely decrepit, massacred by 12 years of continous defense cuts. Armored units had to use golf carts to practice tank tactics because there wasn’t even enough money for training. The US was having a procurement holiday. Even defense spending skeptics like John Kasich and the CSIS recognized that the defense budget was woefully inadequate and called for large hikes of it: Kasich by $50 bn (in 2000’s money), CSIS by $100 bn (in 2000’s money). Then, of course, came the Islamic agggression of 9/11, which necessitated the launch of the GWOT and further military spending The Bush Administration should be praised, not pilloried, for increasing military spending.

Then there is the despicable claim that the US is to blame for 9/11 and that OBL attacked the US because American troops were in Saudi Arabia. That is also a blatant lie. The attacks (not tragedy – attacks) of 9/11 had nothing to do with American troops in SA. They were perpetrated because of the hateful, murderous Islamic ideology stated in the Quran, which commands Muslims to kill all non-Muslims. But according to Ron Paul, Americans travelled back in time and caused the Muslims to write all the hateful verses of the Quran.

Ron Lipsman is totally ignorant about history

Yesterday, in the pages of the American Thinker, which now seems to accept totally-wrong garbage articles in large numbers, Ron Lipsman erroneously claimed that “it is the habit of the American people to reelect their Presidents” and that US presidents get reelected unless – and only unless – there are good reasons not to do so.
He’s completely wrong.

The US has had 43 Presidents so far (Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and the 24th President). Of them, only 15 were reelected for a second term immediately following the first: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, William Clinton, and George W. Bush. A grand total of just 15 out of 43, i.e. a little more than 33%. (Cleveland lost his reelection campaign in 1888, but came back in 1892.) If “it is the habit of the American people to reelect their Presidents”, why have the vast majority of them never been reelected?

Lipsman argues that, except two “relatively brief” (in his words) periods, US presidents got reelected. I wouldn’t call a 20 or 25 year long period brief. Moreover, let’s recall the facts:

Only from 1804 to 1820 did all sitting Presidents get reelected. In 1824, the Whigs won the White House, with John Quincy Adams being elected for his sole term as President. His 1828 reelection bid was unsuccessful.

From 1836 (when Martin Van Buren was elected to his only term as President) to 1864 (when Abraham Lincoln was reelected), no US president was reelected.

From 1876 (when Rutherford Hayes was elected for one term) to 1900 (when William McKinley got reelected – yet AT claims he was not, thus showing he can’t even get the basic facts right), no President was reelected for a second consecutive term of office, with Cleveland losing the 1888 election but coming back in 1892.

From 1904 (when Teddy Roosevelt was elected for his only own term as President) until 1936 (when FDR was reelected), only one President managed to get reelected: Woodrow Wilson.

Since the 1944 election, when FDR was elected for a fourth term, only four presidents have managed to get reelected, and all of them but one were Republicans.

That means that in the last 67 years, there has been only one Democratic incumbent President who has managed to get reelected: William Jefferson Clinton.

Stats, of course, aren’t everything. We also need to examine why those President who managed to get reelected were trusted with a second consecutive term.

George Washington was a war hero universally revered by the people. Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence. James Madison was reelected during the War of 1812, and you don’t change your horse mid-stream; moreover, he was a good president. James Monroe was reelected during the “Era of Good Feelings” and won fame as Secretary of State and Secretary of War during the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson was a war hero, the victor from New Orleans, and the guy who closed the central bank. Abraham Lincoln was aided enormously by the Union victories of September and October of 1864, including the capture of Atlanta, the Confederacy’s third-largest city. Ulysses Grant was a war hero. William McKinley was also a Civil War era hero, as well as a competent Governor and a competent President; he also won the Spanish-American war. FDR was aided enormously by government hand-outs and by the unelectable Republican nominee, Alf Landon. Dwight Eisenhower was a war hero and the President who obtained a ceasefire in Korea; and the Dems shot themselves in the foot by nominating a left-wing candidate, Adlai Stevenson. Richard Nixon was the one who, by 1972, managed to almost end the Vietnamese War and again the Dems shot themselves in the foot by nominating George McGovern. Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection victory doesn’t need an explanation, and neither does that of George W. Bush.

On the other hand, what are President Obama’s reelection chances?

As was the case with previous Presidents, much will depend on whom Republicans nominate. If a conspiracy-theorist kook like Ron Paul or a candidate perceived as too extreme (like Rick Santorum) wins the nomination, Obama will surely be reelected. If, however, Republicans nominate an electable, competent candidate, Obama will lose.

Obama is no George Washington. He’s no Thomas Jefferson. He’s no James Madison. He’s no Ronald Reagan.

As President, he has accomplished absolutely nothing except to worsen the state of the US economy and make America and the world less safe. He had no real accomplishments to his name before he was elected President. Even worse for him, now he has a Presidential record to run on. And his record is one of dismal failure.

And despite pandering to various special interest groups, he has offended key constituencies, for example, Jewish voters, who perceive him as hostile to Israel. This is what helped bring Jimmy Carter down in 1980, and will also help Republicans defeat Obama.

So, can Obama get reelected? Yes, but only if Republicans nominate a totally unelectable candidate like isolationist kook Ron Paul. If they nominate a sane, electable candidate, they will win the White House. It’s Republicans’ election to lose.

What to do about Iran

There is irrefutable evidence that Iran is working on nuclear weapons. Iran, as reported by the IAEA, is working on uranium deuteride, which has no civilian applications. Its only application is as a trigger for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the latest IAEA report provides further evidence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, including a number of centrifuges much higher than necessary for civilian enrichment purposes.

There is currently a debate about what to do about it ongoing in the Republican Party.

Ron Paul and his minions still deny that there is any evidence that Iran is working on nuclear weapons, despite all the evidence that exists, and they say that even if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, it would be justified in doing so and would not be a threat to the US nor Israel.

Conservatives, including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and some NRO columnists seem to believe that America’s only resort is to bomb Iran if it wants to be safe.

Both sides are wrong.

Conservative candidates’ plan (bombing Iran) is better than doing nothing (which is what Ron Paul advocates), but it’s still a risky option and whatever benefits it may accrue would be outweighed by the disadvantages. An attack on Iran would only delay the Iranian nuclear program by a few years. It would not prevent the eventual emergence of the outcome that we conservatives fear – a nuclear-armed theocratic Iran. It would cause Iran to close the Straits of Hormuz, choking the world’s oil supply and sending oil and gasoline prices into the stratosphere. It would also cause Iran to activate its hidden Hezbollah cells in the US and to retaliate against Israel, certainly with ballistic missiles and probably even with weapons of mass murder.

Ron Paul’s plan – doing nothing – is even worse. He would allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and he doesn’t mind if that happens. He believes that America brought this upon itself.

What if I told you that America does not have to choose between attacking Iran and leaving itself and Israel unprotected against an Iranian nuclear threat?

I’m asking because there is such a possibility.

My plan does not require bombing Iran, starting a new war in the Middle East, or choking the Strait of Hormuz. Specifically, I propose three paths which should be pursued concurrently:

1) Missile defense;

2) Nuclear deterrence; and

3) Covert actions to topple the Iranian regime.

I believe in a strong defense to prevent war, not to start one.

I believe that a strong military offers a high chance that the US will never have to use it.

Firstly, missile defense. In the Middle Eastern region, the US should permanently deploy BMD-capable warships in the Persian Gulf; Airborne Laser planes in Turkey and Iraq; and PATRIOT and THAAD batteries in Qatar, Turkey (including at USAF bases), and in countries which might request such batteries. The US should also sell PATRIOT and THAAD systems to countries like the UAE which request them (the UAE have requested THAAD systems worth $7 bn). It should also encourage Israel to deploy a fourth Arrow battery and assist it financially if needed. In Europe, the US should deploy a radar, 10 ground-based interceptors, and BMD-capable ships in the Black Sea and the Med. In the long term, the US should also deploy BM interceptors in space, because all ballistic missiles except those of very short ranges have to travel through space. The MDA should therefore reactive Ronald Reagan’s Brilliant Pebbles program.

Missile defense doesn’t kill or threaten anyone. It only PROTECTS people. That’s its only purpose. It’s a purely defensive system. America’s goal should be to prevent any ballistic missiles from hitting any of its allies. Therefore, coverage must be comprehensive.

Then, as Herman Cain rightly said, the US could say to Ahmadinejad, “Make my day”.

Secondly, nuclear deterrence. The US should not only modernize and replace all three legs of its nuclear deterrent – and the nuclear warheads – it should also make it public and clear that it protects Israel as well as America’s Arab allies, and that any Iranian or terrorist nuclear attack will be met with a swift, devastating retaliation. Similarly, Israel should go public with its nuclear deterrent and promise retaliation if attacked. Both countries should simoultaneously pledge not to use nuclear weapons first.

Thirdly, the US and Israel should continue all efforts to destabilize and topple the Iranian regime without war, including sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank, bans on gasoline exports, other sanctions, encouraging European countries to divest from and stop trading with Iran, encourage the EU to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization (which will dry up this organization’s funding and render it a hollow shell), assassinations, cyber attacks, and aiding the Iranian opposition.

If the free world makes maximum effort to topple the Iranian regime, it will eventually collapse, just like the Soviet regime did, even though the USSR had much larger natural resources, a much stronger military, and a global empire. Ronald Reagan foresaw that the Soviet Union would eventually end up in the dustbin of history. The Iranian regime is also destined to end up there.

These three measures, if pursued in parallel, will keep America safe and will eventually bring about the collapse of the Iranian regime, even if it acquires nuclear weapons. And even if it does, America and its allies will be kept safe by missile defense and a modernized nuclear deterrent, so any Iranian ballistic missile will be intercepted.

Garbage about defense spending and modernization by Michael O’Hanlon and Duncan Currie

William Buckley’s nephew Brent Bozell has remarked that his uncle, if he were alive today, would’ve been ashamed of what the National Review has become.

He’s right. The NR is no longer a conservative magazine. Today, it’s a mere rag for anyone who claims to be a right-winger or a conservative to publish his/her screed, no matter how factually wrong, how poorly researched, and how un-conservative it is.

On Friday, December 23rd, the NRO published yet another garbage article that NRO editors didn’t even bother reviewing.

The author, who obviously knows nothing about defense issues and defers to other ignorant guys. Here’s what he wrote about defense spending:

“defense outlays could be trimmed without doing serious violence to national security. (Brookings Institution scholar Michael O’Hanlon has discussed how Washington could responsibly cut the military budget by $60 billion through “tighter resource management, smaller ground forces and more selective modernization efforts.”)”

That is utter garbage. No, large-scale defense cuts cannot be done without endangering the United States. That is a fact. To start with, defense spending is already at a historically low ebb – 3.59% of GDP (or 4.51% of GDP if you count spending on Afghanistan, which has nothing to do with defense, and the DOE’s defense-related programs). It amunts to less than 19% of the total federal budget.

Secondly, O’Hanlon is a strident liberal from a stridently leftist organization (the Brookings Institution, which is funded by George Soros), so what he says should not be taken seriously (he writes what George Soros pays him to write). The “study” by O’Hanlon that Currie cites here is an example why. O’Hanlon says “tighter resource management, smaller ground forces and more selective modernization efforts.”

1) As for efficiency, that is doable and necessary, but it won’t save $60 bn per year because there isn’t that much waste in the annual defense budget. Not even close.

2) Cutting America’s ground forces when they are already at their minimum needed size, and with 100,000 troops still fighting in Afghanistan, would be suicidal and irresponsible. Cutting them afterwards would also be suicidal and irresponsible – the US may have to fight a ground war again sometime, and has long borders to protect. Those troops are badly needed on the US-Mexican border.

3) Yet O’Hanlon’s most dangerous proposal is that of “selective modernization efforts”, by which he means cancelling dozens of crucial weapon programs and completely foregoing modernization in some areas and of some types of units and weapons – thus leaving America unprepared for many missions and several types of combat. This is foolish, irresponsible, and dangerous. The military is mostly using obsolete equipment from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (and in some cases, such as bombers and tankers, from the 1950s). All four Services have legitimate large modernization needs. All of their needs are equally important and all must be met. America can’t afford to fund only some of them and refuse to meet the other needs. That would be an attempt to avoid reality and to pretend that modernization of some units and weapons isn’t necessary when it is. The military needs a modernization ACROSS THE BOARD, not “selective modernization”, and an across the board replacement of obsolete military equipment is long overdue. Foregoing some modernization programs is like asking the military, “I’m going to cut your arm or your leg – which do you prefer?” O’Hanlon’s proposals should therefore be rejected.

The NRO should really be ashamed of itself for publishing this screed. William F. Buckley Jr. would’ve been ashamed of today’s NR.

Is robust defense spending a “Big Government Program”?

Is robust defense spending a Big Government Program? Is it just another pet project favored by some politicians? Is it against conservative ideology? Is it a contravention of the Limited Government Principle? Does conservatism require defense cuts? Does conservatism require that defense be treated as just another line item in the federal budget on par with agriculture and national parks?

If you ask libertarians such as Jack Hunter and Ron Paul, the answer to all of these questions is yes. Just three days ago, in his most recent screed for the DailyCaller, Hunter claimed that “unlimited Pentagon spending is the Big Government program that many Republicans love” and that “unless conservative limited government philosophy is implemented comprehensively, conservatism will remain a mere asterisk”.

But they are completely wrong.

Defense spending is NOT a Big Government program, nor is it anyone’s pet project, nor a contravention of the Limited Government Principle. On the contrary, according to conservative ideology, defense is a Constitutionally legitimate government function and indeed the #1 Constiutional DUTY of the federal government. The #1 reason for having a federal government at all is to have it defend the country and its citizens. The Preamble to the Supreme Law of the Land explains why the federal government was established in the first place:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution not only authorizes a strong national defense (and consequently, robust funding for it), it REQUIRES it. Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution says as follows:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…

As you can see, the Constitution not merely authorizes, it REQUIRES a strong defense and therefore any measures necessary to build it.

A key tenet – indeed, the overriding principle – of conservative philosophy is that we must obey the Constitution as it is written. We may not cherry-pick which parts of the Constitution we’re going to obey and which ones we won’t abide by. But that’s what Ron Paul and his minions (including Jack Hunter) are doing. They cherry-pick the Constitution and abide only by those party they like, while ignoring the ones they don’t like and pretending they don’t exist.

What about the Founding Fathers? Did they all oppose standing armies and a strong defense? Did they consider defense spending to be just another Big Government program? No. Although a few of them, like Elbridge Gerry, opposed standing armies, most understood that defense was not only a legitimate government function but also the highest duty of any government. George Washington said to the Congress in 1790:

“Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. (…) To be prepared for war is one of the effective means of preserving the peace.”

James Madison, for a long time an opponent of standing armies, ultimately changed his opinion and said in 1788:

“How could a readiness for war in times of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?”

Alexander Hamilton, the author of most of the Federalist Papers, explained in Federalist #24 why a standing army was needed even when the US seemed to be shielded by oceans:

“Though a wide ocean separates the United States from Europe, yet there are various considerations that warn us against an excess of confidence or security. On one side of us, and stretching far into our rear, are growing settlements subject to the dominion of Britain. On the other side, and extending to meet the British settlements, are colonies and establishments subject to the dominion of Spain. This situation and the vicinity of the West India Islands, belonging to these two powers create between them, in respect to their American possessions and in relation to us, a common interest. The savage tribes on our Western frontier ought to be regarded as our natural enemies, their natural allies, because they have most to fear from us, and most to hope from them. The improvements in the art of navigation have, as to the facility of communication, rendered distant nations, in a great measure, neighbors. Britain and Spain are among the principal maritime powers of Europe. A future concert of views between these nations ought not to be regarded as improbable. The increasing remoteness of consanguinity is every day diminishing the force of the family compact between France and Spain. And politicians have ever with great reason considered the ties of blood as feeble and precarious links of political connection. These circumstances combined, admonish us not to be too sanguine in considering ourselves as entirely out of the reach of danger.”

Fort his part, John Adams said one time that:

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.”

So according to the Founding Fathers, defense is “one of the cardinal duties of a statesman” and we must prepare for war in order to keep the peace and prevent war. In other words, Ronald Reagan did not invent the “peace through strength” philosophy – George Washington did, although he did not call it that way.

So according to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, defense is not a big government program, but rather a Constitutionally legitimate government function and indeed the highest Constitutional DUTY of the federal government. And if that is the case, a strong military (and generous funding for it) does NOT violate the Constitution and therefore also does not violate the Limited Government Principle.

Consequently, the Limited Government Principle does NOT require any defense cuts, nor does any other tenet of conservative philosophy. Therefore, consistent application of conservatism, including the Limited Government Principle, does NOT require any defense cuts.

In fact, conservative ideology REQUIRES that a strong defense be built and generously funded, as stated by numerous conservative leaders from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan.

No, the Pentagon is not a Big Government program, nor is it anyone’s pet project. Defense is the #1 Constitutional obligation of the federal government and, as John Adams rightly said, “one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.”

For a comprehensive examination of the “the Pentagon is just another big government project and you cant be a limited government conservative if you don’t support defense cuts” claims, and the Constitutional basis of national defense, please read my article, “Defense and the Principle of Limited Government”.

Jeffrey Kuhner praises Ron Paul and discredits himself; Can the WashingtonTimes be trusted any longer?

Good grief. Now even the WaTimes publishes pro-Ron Paul propaganda screeds (although it does not yet officially endorse him). Can no one be trusted?

Today, the WaTimes has published a ridiculous “article” by one of its columnists, Jeffrey T. Kuhner, a pseudoconservative libertarian. In it, Kuhner praises Ron Paul as “the only Republican willing to reduce the federal leviathan”, as “the godfather of the Tea Party movement”, and someone who “has done more than anyone else to remind the GOP of its small government roots”. Yet, Kuhner’s claims about Ron Paul – and about today’s America – are completely false and do not meet even the straight-face test.

First, domestic affairs. Kuhner wrongly calls Ron Paul “the godfather of the Tea Party movement”. In fact, Ron Paul has had nothing to do with the Tea Party. He did not help found it, organize it, recruit new members, or defend it against a barrage of unfair attacks by the media and the Democrats. He has done nothing for it. He never had anything to do with it.

The Tea Party was founded by brave, dedicated grassroots conservatives such as Judson Phillips and Amy Kremer (to name just a few) who, in early 2009, founded the first Tea Party groups, organized them, recruited new members, organized marches and protests (and even a Sep. 12th, 2011 Tea Party Presidential debate) and have had to defend it against propaganda attacks by the Dems and their MSM parrots. Ron Paul never had anything to with it. For him and his supporters to now ride the Tea Party’s coattails is completely unwarranted.

Moreover, if Ron Paul is the “godfather of the Tea Party movement”, why did 89% of Tea Party Patriots voting in a very recent TPP poll on the GOP presidential primary reject Ron Paul? Their preferred choice was Newt Gingrich, who got 35% of the vote. Ron Paul got a mere 11%. In other words, 89% of TPP members rejected him. So much for the “godfather of the Tea Party movement”.

The claim that Ron Paul is “the only Republican candidate truly serious about rolling back the federal leviathan” is also false. He’s not. Michele Bachmann introduced legislation to that effect, including her own budget cuts (encompasing every federal agency, including the DOD), a bill to repeal socialized medicine, and other bills. She supports the closure of the Education Department and other unconstitutional agencies. Rick Perry, however, has introduced the most comprehensive, most credible plan to reduce the federal government: cutting federal spending from 24% of GDP to 18% (i.e. by a whopping 6 percentage points), abolishing three federal departments (of Education, Energy, and Commerce), cutting the DHS, privatizing the TSA, auditing the ENTIRE federal government (not just the Federal Reserve), balacing the budget by the end of this decade, cutting Congress’ pay by half if it fails to comply, criminalizing insider trading, eliminating regulations (including unconstitutional Acts), etc. He has proposed a detailed plan to rein in ALL THREE branches of the federal government.

Ron Paul is not serious about rolling back the federal leviathan and cannot be trusted to comprehensively cut it, because he personally profits from it. On the Hill, he’s known as the King of Pork, delivering $400 mn per year in earmarks to his district, more than the vast majority of his Congressional colleagues, defying the GOP’s pork moratorium. Earmarks are not large, but they’re especially poisonous because they corrupt the political process, and Congressman Paul is a part of the problem.

And so we come to foreign policy. Kuhner falsely claims that on this subject ” Mr. Paul has shown genuine courage and foresight”, and that “in foreign policy, he is a non-interventionist who believes – like our Founding Fathers – that America should mind its own business.”

This is a blatant lie. Firstly, Paul has not shown any kind of genuine courage and foresight; he’s been a constant PR agent for America’s enemies, an inside saboteur working to weaken America’s defense, and a slanderer of the United States worse than the propaganda machines of Moscow, Beijing, and Pyongyang.

And he’s not a mere “noninterventionist”, he’s a 1930s-style caricature isolationist who lives in a fantasy world where the US is to blame for all of the world’s evil and America’s enemies are merely countries rightly aggrieved by American policies. He wants to dump all of America’s allies (leaving them to fend for themselves and ceding them to our common enemies), cowardly hide behind oceans (as if they could protect the US any longer), appease America’s enemies (including Iran), gut defense, and withdraw from all trade arrangements, fair or unfair. This is what Kuhner calls “minding our own business”, and it’s a suicidal policy. It was tried during the 1930s and failed abysmally. It’s suicidal, detached from the real world, evil, and arrogant towards the American people.

The claim that the Founding Fathers were all “noninterventionists” and thought that “America should mind its own business” is also a lie, as demonstrated by AmSpec’s Jeffrey Lord among others. Thomas Jefferson, who initially proclaimed “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none”, was the first US president to intervene military abroad, and did so without Congressional authorization. He and James Madison also engineered the failed US attempt to conquer Canada (1812), which Jefferson said would be “a mere matter of marching”. James Monroe earmarked half of the world (the Western Hemisphere) for US intervention and influence. Moreover, during the early 1800s America was a young, weak Republic not respected or wanted as an ally by anyone in the world. It was one thing for some Founders to endorse noninterventionism in those times (when there was no feasible alternative). It’s quite another to try isolationism today, in a completely different world.

Yet, Kuhner further blathered nonsense by claiming:

Mr. Paul is saying what most on the right (and left) are not willing to confront: America is being broken by military overstretch. We are no longer a constitutional republic, but an empire. (…) Small government and militarism are incompatible. (…) America is being bled to death, unable to sustain its global ambition. The welfare-warfare state is doomed to collapse.”

This is utter gibberish, a mere repetition of all military-related lies stated by Paul. Firstly, the claims that the US is practicing (or has succumbed to) “militarism”, that the US has a “global ambition”, and  that the US is a  “welfare-warfare state” are insulting, blatant lies. The US is not practicing (and has not succumbed to) militarism and is NOT a “welfare-warfare state”, it is a welfare state, pure and simple. America’s total military spending amounts to just 4.5% of its GDP ($14.66 trillion) and less than 19% of the total federal budget; the core defense budget itself equals only 3.59% of GDP and less than 15% of the total federal budget. The country’s biggest weaponmakers (LM, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman) are not even in the top 20 companies on the Fortune 100 list. LM is barely 26th. The claim that America is a “warfare state” is therefore a blatant lie; there is no evidence to support it. And although the US military is overstretched indeed (partly because of Afghanistan, and partly due to Cold War era relic bases and deployments in Europe), military spending is NOT the cause, or even one of the causes, of America’s fiscal problems. A budget item that equals a paltry 4.5% of GDP and less than 1/5 of the federal budget cannot be credibly blamed for them.

The claim that the US is “no longer a constitutional republic, but an empire” is also a blatant lie unsupported by any evidence. The US does not have 900 bases around the world, contrary to Ron Paul’s false claims. It has only 700 installations beyond its borders, and the vast majority of them are tiny installations like radars. Only a few dozen are truly big bases like Ramstein, Spangdahlem, Misawa, and Yokota. In only 13 countries are there 1,000 or more American troops. In most countries, the only American troops present are Marine embassy guards, advisors, and trainers teaching foreign militaries how to use American-produced weapons. The bulk of American troops stationed abroad is concentrated in a dozen select allied countries: South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Britain, Turkey, Qatar, Bahrain, and a few others. And in every country where American troops are permanently stationed, they’re there because they are WANTED there, invited, and not as occupiers. The claim that the US is an empire is an insidious lie. It’s popular with libertarians and liberals, but it’s a blatant lie.

Kuhner has also made a ridiculous straw man claim that “Small government and militarism are incompatible.” No one has claimed the opposite. But, as proven above, the US is NOT practicing, and has not succumbed to, militarism. What Kuhner probably meant by “militarism” was probably defense spending and intervening militarily abroad. As for the latter subject, I believe, like Ronald Reagan did, that the US should intervene abroad only if necessary, but that there ARE sometimes circumstances when the US DOES need to intervene militarily overseas.

As for defense spending, I have already proven – in the American Thinker, on this blog, and on other websites – that building a strong defense and providing generous funding for it is perfectly compatible with, and is actually an irremovable part of, conservative ideology. A large defense budget is perfectly consistent with it – it is actually an inexcisable part of it. Defense is a legitimate Constitutional function, and indeed the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government, not a big government program.

Last but not least, Kuhner himself recognizes some of Ron Paul’s flaws, including the fact that Paul is a blind hardliner ideologue:

“Yet Mr. Paul is also an ideologue. This is his fatal weakness. Ideology trumps reality. He denies that Iran is bent on getting the bomb. In fact, he often sounds like Tehran’s public-relations agent, defending the mullahs’ quest to acquire nuclear weapons. He refuses to recognize the existence of radical Islam and the mortal threat it poses to the West. He lionizes anti-American, anti-war websites such as the odious WikiLeaks. He will not stand up to China’s predatory trade practices, blindly adhering to free-trade nostrums. His support for homosexual rights and the legalization of drugs, including cocaine and heroine, represents an assault upon traditional America. His libertine libertarianism would lead to a more permissive society and widespread drug use, especially among youth. Indeed, Mr. Paul appeals to many young voters: He combines the principles of Steve Jobs with Charlie Sheen, the economic individualist and the moral hedonist.”

While I don’t believe that drug legalization would lead to more widespread drug use (it’s already common and constitutes a huge societal problem), this is the one part of Kuhner’s article that I completely agree with.

But in summation, most of his article is gibberish. The fact is that Ron Paul is NOT the godfather of the Tea Party; he is far from the only candidate truly serious about reducing the federal leviathan; America is NOT an empire nor a “warfare state”; it has NOT succumbed to militarism; and military spending is NOT to blame for America’s fiscal woes.

If Kuhner wants to restore his credibility, he should immediately withdraw that article, correct his mistakes, and apologize. And if the Washington Times – until recently, a supremely reliable and respectable newspaper – wants to retain its crediblity and reputation, it should delete Kuhner’s article immediately.