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Barney Frank needs to answer the aid-to-Israel question

on 14 Comments

barneyBarney Frank, the liberal congressman representing Boston suburbs, will be holding three town hall meetings in the next ten days. They will feature his plan to reduce military spending by 25%.

Frank has previously dodged the issue of reducing aid to Israel. You can see the Congressman mention cutting aid to every ally with the exception of Israel (at about minute 2:45) in this talk with Keith Olbermann. Frank similarly dodged the same question, posed by Josh Ruebner, at a Congressional hearing in March 2009. And in 2010 Frank responded to the same question at another New Bedford gathering by saying that the United States had to honor its commitments to Israel and could not cut aid to that one nation.

Frank’s constituents may want to make him squirm at one of the three Town Hall meetings scheduled in the next few days, announced in this email:

Dear Mr. —,

I am writing to invite you to attend a Town Hall meeting that I will be holding in New Bedford this Saturday, October 15th. Our country is currently engaged in a critical national debate over the economy, job creation, and the deficit. I believe that we cannot fruitfully discuss these issues without talking about military spending, which makes up more than 50% of total discretionary spending.

I believe that it is essential, in order to meet our needs at home, to scale back our worldwide military commitments and substantially change a military structure that was created in the wake of World War II more than 60 years ago. We can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman.

We must cut excessive military spending in order to meet other priorities here at home. On Saturday, I plan to speak and listen about these and other pressing national issues that so greatly affect our lives.

The event will take place from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park– see details below. I hope to see you there.


Town Hall with Congressman Barney Frank

Saturday, October 15th 2:00 – 4:00 PM New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park Corson Building 33 William Street, 2nd Floor New Bedford, MA

Other upcoming Town Halls with Congressman Frank

Sunday, October 16th 2:00 – 4:00 PM Mass Bay Community College Main Auditorium 50 Oakland Street Wellesley Hills, MA

Sunday, October 23rd 2:00 – 4:00 PM First Parish Church 68 Church Green Taunton, MA

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14 Responses

  1. Les
    October 14, 2011, 9:25 am

    He should also be asked about his support to spring superspy Jonathan Pollard from prison. He would benefit from hearing from voters.

    • Kathleen
      October 14, 2011, 12:41 pm

      Why he wants the US to release a prisoner who undermined US National Security in such a massive way?

  2. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    October 14, 2011, 9:41 am

    First, it should be made clear that Barney Frank hasnt the slightest interest in reducing military spending. That’s point number one. The 4th district in Massachusetts has many branches of defense contractors, as well as a large military/DHS presence.

    This is simply a re-election campaign promo. Full stop.

    He gets to tout his “pro Israel” bona fides by making clear that defense cuts would not mean cuts to aid to Israel – which goes over really well in brookline, wellesley, sharon and sherborn-dover – and he gets to tell fisherman and other working class people that the reason their lives are alot worse then they used to be is because we sink all our money into the military. There is, of course, some truth to that – but Barney doesnt care, he just wants the votes.

  3. pabelmont
    October 14, 2011, 11:08 am

    If you speak at a public meeting, ask Barney why the UN should not seek to enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention (and other international law) by compelling Israel to remove all settlers, and as soon as possible, WHOLLY INDEPENDENT of progress on peace.

    I raised this sort of question with Senator Edward Kennedy in 1980s (in an open public meeting in Lexington) and he brushed it off, saying (in part), “What, are you a professor or something?”

    Good to have a few friends in the hope that several similar questions can be asked.

  4. Richard Witty
    Richard Witty
    October 14, 2011, 11:36 am

    Again my post was kicked out.

    It asked Phil,

    “Do you prefer that the Frank amendment not pass?”
    “If the disruption of hearings of the Frank amendment were the tipping between a $150 billion reduction in defense spending, or even prospective increase, would you be happy or sad?”

    And, then further,

    “Isn’t it better for political education if the issue of funding for Israel military is discussed separately and conspicuously on its own?”

    • Mooser
      October 14, 2011, 11:42 am

      “Again my post was kicked out.”

      Some people just can’t take a hint, can they?

      • James
        October 14, 2011, 12:02 pm

        lol… witty, think of all the palestinians being kicked out of your faraway zionist homeland when you cry and whine… there’s a small chance you’ll learn how to empathize… it’ll really conflict with your zionist heritage…

    • Donald
      October 14, 2011, 3:10 pm

      “Isn’t it better for political education if the issue of funding for Israel military is discussed separately and conspicuously on its own?”

      Let us know when Frank is going to conduct a number of town hall meetings devoted to that one issue so it can be discussed separately and conspicuously on its own. I assume you are calling for exactly that to happen.

    • Justice Please
      Justice Please
      October 16, 2011, 5:39 pm

      Richard, what makes you think that Israel should be treated apart from every other nation?

      Either you are a Jew-Hater or a Jewish supremacist, otherwise this separatist position makes no sense. Please enlighten us.

  5. Kathleen
    October 14, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Often like his stance on domestic issues but he take a hard turn right and when it comes to Israel.

    He voted no on the 2002 Iraq war resolution

    Frank’s hard and sustained push for the release of Pollard should be hammered. His votes to isolate Palestinians is right wing radical. The legislation that he has voted for to sanction Iran is filled with unsubstantiated claims about Iran.

    Did he vote to get rid of Glas Steagal?

    I find his comments towards those that question him demeaning and over the top

  6. Kathleen
    October 14, 2011, 12:43 pm

    Looking for his voted on the repeal of Glass Steagall
    The Repeal of Glass Steagall

    In the background of the go-go economy, the feeling grew among some economists and the financial community that Glass-Steagall hampered America’s financial competitiveness. Among the many voices favoring this was Alan Greenspan along with former Goldman Sachs partner Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary. In a 1995 speech and testimony to Congress Rubin signaled the Clinton Administration was ready to repeal Glass-Steagall:

    “The banking industry is fundamentally different from what it was two decades ago, let alone in 1933.” He said the industry has been transformed into a global business of facilitating capital formation through diverse new products, services and markets. “U.S. banks generally engage in a broader range of securities activities abroad than is permitted domestically,” said the Treasury secretary. “Even domestically, the separation of investment banking and commercial banking envisioned by Glass-Steagall has eroded significantly.”

    Anyone who thinks the repeal of Glass-Steagall was forced on an unwilling Bill Clinton need only read Rubin’s testimony.

    A year later Sandy Weill set in motion the forces that would finally end Glass-Steagall. Weill proposed the most audacious financial merger in American history: he would merge one of the largest insurance companies (Travelers), one of the largest investment banks (Salomon Smith Barney), and the largest commercial banks (Citibank) in America. The problem was the merger was illegal in terms of Glass-Steagall.

    Independent Community Bankers of America CEO Kenneth Guenther captured the audacity of the deal in an interview with Frontline:


  7. Kathleen
    October 14, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Frank voted “nay” on the Gramm Leach BlileyActHouse Vote on
    Conference Report: S. 900 [106th]: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

    Over and over again we hear Republicans blame Frank for the Fannie Freddie debacle

  8. Redruin
    October 15, 2011, 7:51 pm

    I remember hearing Gary Johnson pledge to cut military spending 43%. The press doesn’t give him much coverage.

  9. pjdude
    October 16, 2011, 12:18 pm

    no aid should be given to Israel. I don’t mind aid to unstable countries. but for countries like ISrael that willfully attack the US military, harm and kill(well murder) american citizens and actively harm our countries ability to protect its self from threats shouldn’t get aid. hell they should be made to pay back aid they have been given

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