Liberty and Accessibility

Friday, June 29, 2007

[FL4RonPaul] Excellent In-Depth Ron Paul Q+A (Many Issues) (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 13:42:34 -0400
From: Frank Gonzalez <>
To: Frank Gonzalez <>
Subject: [FL4RonPaul] Excellent In-Depth Ron Paul Q+A (Many Issues)

BlankOnce again, please note that, although I am running as a Ron Paul
Democrat, he and I differ on the abortion and gay equality issues. I have
no problem with either of these social and ultimately PERSONAL issues.

Furthermore, I too favor the most controversial of stem-cell research,
though, like Paul, completely oppose building yet another bureaucracy by
extorting taxpayers to pay for it. Theft is wrong if we do it to each
other, and we should not forget that allowing this would mean violating an
ethical principle.

When are we, as adult Americans, going to take responsibility for ourselves
and only call for programs when the government is economically solvent?

When are we going to stop irresponsibly throwing OUR desires on the heads of
our future generations?

Do we not care that we will leave them a horrible and crushing and bleak

Frank J. Gonzalez
A Ron Paul Democrat for US House (FL-21) in 2008
2006 results here:
Updates & commentary:

"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as
necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American
people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus
building a wall of separation between church and state."

--founder of the Democratic Party, 3rd President of the United States,
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)


Muckraker Report
An Interview with Presidential Candidate Congressman Ron Paul

Joseph Murtagh

An Interview with Presidential Candidate Congressman Ron Paul
June 28, 2007

Muckraker Report: You seem to have a stronger anti-war stance than even many
of the Democratic candidates: unlike Hillary Clinton, for instance, you
voted against the Iraq war. In terms of foreign policy, what would a Ron
Paul presidency look like?

Congressman Ron Paul: Well, it certainly wouldn't involve going to war with
countries that pose no threat to us. The 2002 Iraq war resolution
transferred the authority and responsibility for waging war from the
legislature to the executive branch, which is a total breach of the
principles of the U.S. Constitution. James Madison pointed this out in
1798, that because the executive is the branch of government most interested
in war, the question of war must be vested in the legislature – "with
studied care," I believe his exact words were. You can't have presidents
waging war willy-nilly for reasons that are fundamentally at odds with the
basic interests of the American people. I voted against that resolution
because I believe strongly that we should avoid getting entangled in foreign
alliances and instead seek peace and trade with all nations. This is a
reflection of the wisdom of the Founders, who advocated a
non-interventionist foreign policy, the most eloquent expression of which
can be found in George Washington's Farewell Address. So to answer your
question, if I were president, I would do my best to follow in the footsteps
of the Founders by abiding by the rules laid out in the U.S. Constitution,
which means limiting the power of the executive to wage war.

Muckraker Report: Each year, the U.S. gives billions of dollars in foreign
aid to Israel, which, many academics have argued, not only fuels anger and
hostility towards the United States among Muslims in the Middle East, but
places a heavy burden on the U.S. taxpayer. As president, would you do
anything to address this imbalance in America's foreign aid policy?

Congressman Ron Paul: I'm with the academics on this one. Anyone who is
even remotely aware of the facts knows that American foreign policy in the
Middle East has stirred up enormous anger among Muslims, our support for
Israel included, and you're correct to say that it's the American taxpayer
who's shouldering much of the burden. Also, the sanctions in Iraq during
Clinton's presidency, which killed nearly as many Iraqis as have died under
the Bush presidency, and the presence of our military bases in Saudi
Arabia – together with the situation in Israel, these actions are used by
extremists and jihadists as justification for killing Americans. Just look
at bin Laden's public statements throughout the nineties. Can you imagine
what it would be like if parts of the United States were occupied by a
foreign power, if China was building military bases the size of the Vatican
in Kansas? People would be up in arms! This isn't to say that we "invited"
the attacks of 9/11, or any other terrorist attacks, but simply that our
policy decisions have certain consequences that we might wish to avoid. The
CIA has given a name for this – "blowback." This was the subject of my
recent disagreement with Rudy Giuliani in the debate, who has no idea what
he's talking about. On a global playing field, deeds can have a way of
rebounding on the doer, which is why the older imperial powers tended to be
very cautious in their dealings with strange peoples in foreign lands. The
Clinton and Bush administrations have been absolutely incompetent in
comparison. This doesn't mean that I'm against the idea of spreading the
concept of freedom, just not with the barrel of a gun. Like I said, my
solution would be to follow the wisdom of the Founders, which means a
non-interventionist foreign policy, getting rid of foreign aid to all
nations, including Israel. We ought to lead by example, not by coercion or
special interest: this was what the Founders had in mind.

Muckraker Report: Where do you stand on Guantanamo?

Congressman Ron Paul: Shut it down. The current rationale at Guantanamo is
based on the false premise that detainees are not entitled to due process
protections. I support court decisions recognizing fundamental human
rights, such as habeas corpus. Again, this is an issue that flies in the
face of our civic and legal traditions as outlined in the Constitution. As
such, I see no purpose for continuing the facility.

Muckraker Report: In his book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," former
president Jimmy Carter has argued that AIPAC, the so-called "Israeli Lobby"
in Washington, exerts an undue influence on America's foreign policy
decisions in the Middle East. Do you agree?

Congressman Ron Paul: The First Amendment grants all citizens the right to
petition the U.S. government, and this applies to AIPAC as much as anyone
else. However, I oppose certain lobbying groups having more of an undue
influence than others, and since one of the main purposes of AIPAC is to
lobby for generous taxpayer subsidies to Israel, that portion of their
influence would end under my administration.

Muckraker Report: Would you advocate trading with Iran?

Congressman Ron Paul: I believe in free-markets, and I think the goal of the
United States should be to have a friendly trading relationship with all
nations. Look at how much we accomplished in Vietnam since we stopped
fighting with them and started trading with them. I believe that it's wrong
for the government to encourage or discourage trade with anyone. So while I
do not advocate trading with Iran in any special or exclusive sense, I would
look at how best to remove government limitations on international trade.
If this should result in increased trade with Iran, then so be it.

Muckraker Report: You're a proponent of free-market capitalism: however,
when I think of the word "capitalism," I tend to picture big multinational
corporations, like Halliburton and Blackwater, both of which have been
granted private no-bid contracts by the federal government, certainly not
"free" in the sense that you mean. When you say "free-market capitalism,"
are you thinking more of the small-business owner?

Congressman Ron Paul: Yes, I'm a proponent of free-market capitalism, and
yes, I think what you point out here about large corporations receiving
no-bid contracts from the federal government is a total subversion of that
process. It's ironic that we often hear members of the political class in
Washington praising the free-market system when clearly by their actions
they have no understanding of what that system means. During my time in
Congress, I've seen firsthand over the years how woefully ignorant
politicians in Washington are of economics, and yet these are the same
people wielding tremendous economic power, through taxes and regulations and
other costs associated with government, borrowing and spending Americans'
hard-earned money without even the most basic understanding of the laws of
economics or the principles of human action, which are incapable of being
suspended as the laws of physics. Many members of Congress have absolutely
no interest in Federal Reserve policy, for instance, even though this policy
determines so much of our economic life, whether through inflation or
interest rates. These issues aren't nearly as complex as many Americans are
falsely led to believe. The market isn't some mysterious inhuman entity,
but a process grounded in the interplay of human choice, that is, in the
total interplay of those with a desire to buy and those with a desire to
sell, and to the extent that the bureaucratic overreach of the federal
government and the influence of special interest and lobbying groups has
interfered with that process, this is something I would work very hard to
fix. Another problem you allude to is the raised barrier of entry for start
up businesses, which places a disproportionate burden on the small-business
owner. Again, removing these burdens and regulations at the federal level
would be a top priority of my administration.

Muckraker Report: What's your stance on NAFTA?

Congressman Ron Paul: I opposed it; my stance has not changed. NAFTA isn't
free trade, its government-managed trade.

Muckraker Report: Your views on monetary policy have been influenced by
Friedrich Hayek and what's known as the "Austrian school of economic
theory." Could you say a bit about what this entails?

Congressman Ron Paul: The approach of the Austrian school is to recognize
economics as grounded in human action, that is, in the creative choices made
by various individuals cooperating together under the division of labor.
The tendency is to view government interference in this process of creative
choice as counterproductive, and there's an emphasis on entrepreneurship as
the driving force in economic development. This is a topic that's much too
vast to go into here, but there are several books I've found influential
that I would recommend to people, if they're interested: The Law by Frederic
Bastiat, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, What has the Government
done with our Money? by Murray Rothbard, and The Road to Serfdom by
Friedrich Hayek, to name a few. Also the writings of Ludwig von Mises,
particularly the work he did with Friedrich Hayek on what's known as the
"Austrian business cycle theory."

Muckraker Report: You've said that, as president, you would work to abolish
both the federal income tax and the IRS. Why?

Congressman Ron Paul: The federal income tax takes billions of dollars out
of the private sector, with many Americans giving as much as a third of what
they earn to the federal government, which inhibits job growth and penalizes
productive behavior. Also, there are unnecessary privacy violations, and
power gets consolidated at the federal level against the several states.
Our country got along just fine without a federal income tax for its first
126 years, with the government raising revenues through tariffs, excise
taxes, and property taxes. I strongly believe we can do without it, and
that goes for the IRS too.

Muckraker Report: I'm an admirer of the political theorist Hannah Arendt,
who taught that freedom is something that happens between people rather than
to individuals in isolation: you strike me as having a similar understanding
of freedom, one in which freedom is based more on the free association
between people than on the egotism or self-interest of the individual. Am I
correct in saying that?

Congressman Ron Paul: I can't imagine the philosopher who coined the phrase
"the banality of evil" would be too pleased by the current level of
bureaucracy in Washington DC. That said I'm in complete agreement with what
she says about free-association being fundamental to human liberty, since
without it, there could be no assembly, no cooperation, and ultimately no
trade. However, I also feel that property rights are especially important
at the moment, given that eminent domain actions as a result of powerful
corporate interests who want to create an economic federation between
Canada, the US, and Mexico – what's known as the "North American Union" –
are driving American families from their homes and farms. My understanding
of liberty is one that would try to strike a balance between
free-association and rights-based considerations.

Muckraker Report: You differ from the official libertarian platform in being
pro-life: does this come out of your professional experience working as a

Congressman Ron Paul: In my medical career, I've delivered more than 4,000
babies, so naturally my professional experience has influenced my views on
abortion. It's my strong belief that life begins at conception, and that
children in the womb are entitled to inheritance rights. More broadly,
libertarians, like most Americans, respectfully come to different views on
the issue based on their different personal feelings about when human life

Muckraker Report: In my hometown of Ithaca, New York, I have a lot of
friends who I think would be attracted to your strong anti-war stance:
however, your views on certain social issues, such as abortion, would prove
troubling to some people. A woman's right to choose is as much a moral
issue to these people as the preservation of unborn life is to you. As
president, would you be willing to cooperate with these people, in a way
that respects their beliefs?

Congressman Ron Paul: Naturally I'm aware of the extraordinarily sensitive
nature of this subject, and that people hold different views on abortion. I
think we ought to return the issue to the states so that local opinions
could better determine the specific regulations concerning this deeply
personal issue.

Muckraker Report: Another social issue of concern to many people in Ithaca
is gay rights. You've said you're against a Constitutional amendment
banning gay marriage, but you're also against changing federal law to allow
for same-sex marriages. Can you explain your stance on this?

Congressman Ron Paul: Just like with abortion, I believe that marriage is an
issue best decided by the states, not the federal government. I'm opposed
to a federal ban on gay marriage, but it also goes both ways: I'm against
the courts at the federal level pressuring the states into accepting
same-sex marriage licenses. What we're talking about in both cases is the
redefinition of an ancient social institution by the federal government that
's best left to the people to decide at the local level. I have introduced
legislation called the We the People Act to remove deeply personal social
issues like marriage and abortion from the jurisdiction of the federal
courts so the states and local governments can make the decisions, as the
Constitution intends.

Muckraker Report: So if the city council of San Francisco, if the town
assembly of Burlington, if the state of New Hampshire decided to legalize
civil unions between gay couples, you would be okay with that?

Congressman Ron Paul: Yes, if those decisions were made by legislatures, and
not by courts.

Muckraker Report: It seems to me that you make a distinction between the
social and political realms: another way of saying this is that you don't
believe the federal government should legislate morality. How does this
apply on an issue say, like, stem-cell research?

Congressman Ron Paul: Again, like my views on most social issues, I think
the stem-cell issue should be determined by the market. In Washington,
lawmakers either want to prohibit something, or subsidize something. How
about doing neither, and letting people make the decisions! The whole
stem-cell debate involves profound questions of a moral, ethical, and
religious nature, questions that I don't think politicians in Washington are
in a very good position to decide. Asking taxpayers to fund research that
they could very well be opposed to ethically seems to me to be patently
unfair, for instance. I say let the private sector work it out.

Muckraker Report: My next few questions concern race relations. In a 1992
newsletter, arguing that government should lower the age at which juvenile
criminals can be prosecuted as adults, you wrote, "We don't think a child of
13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people,
but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have
joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any
adult and should be treated as such." In the same newsletter, you also
wrote, "What else do we need to know about the political establishment than
that it refuses to discuss the crimes that terrify Americans on grounds that
doing so is racist? Why isn't that true of complex embezzling, which is 100
percent white and Asian?" Obviously, there are many Americans, and not just
blacks and Asians, who would find these comments upsetting. What would you
say to these people?

Congressman Ron Paul: In 1992, I was back in medicine full time, but lent my
name to a foundation that published large volumes of material. A staffer
wrote some things under my name that I did not approve. I have taken
responsibility for these comments and apologized. If you look at my 30-year
record and my numerous writings on the subject of race, I think anyone will
clearly see that those comments do not reflect my beliefs.

Muckraker Report: That said - where do you stand on the Don Imus

Congressman Ron Paul: As I wrote in a recent article, I found it very
discouraging. The young women on the basketball team are over eighteen and
can speak for themselves. I believe that introducing third parties to speak
collectively for minority groups is inherently racist, since it denies the
rights of minorities to speak as individual people. Furthermore, I was
concerned about the threats to free speech, since now with the FCC
regulating the airwaves and granting broadcast licenses, we're told that it'
s okay for government to restrain certain kinds of insulting or offensive
speech in the name of social tolerance, despite the fact that the First
Amendment explicitly states that "Congress shall make no law." The whole
thing should have been a private employment issue. It points to our society
's uncomfortable obsession with race today, in which people are viewed in
terms of racial group identities rather than as unique individuals. The
solution to this I believe is liberty, which encourages a sense of personal
pride and responsibility, regardless of gender, skin color, or ethnicity.
Racism is a sin of the heart, which can be solved only by mutual tolerance
and respect, not by government.

Muckraker Report: One place where race plays a significant role today, I
think, is in education. Our inner city schools, many of which are
predominately black, are in dismal shape. What do you think can be done to
alleviate the situation?

Congressman Ron Paul: A good place to start would be to get rid of the
bureaucratic control of education by the federal government, which has grown
to gargantuan proportions in recent years. Many people in America don't
realize that most of the money they send to the federal government for
education is never returned to the local schools. It's extremely
inefficient. Far less than half of each tax dollar is spent on our children
's education. Federal funding also comes with strings attached. The more
money we give to Washington, the more power we give to education bureaucrats
to decide the policy. Local schools are forced to carry the burden, even if
it means accepting one-size-fits all education policies that aren't in the
children's best interests. I'm for returning the power to the people to
decide what's best for their children in terms of education, and I have a
steady track record in Congress of supporting legislation that seeks to do
just this.

Muckraker Report: Are you in favor of lowering college tuition rates?

Congressman Ron Paul: Again, I think the free-market should set the price.
Remove the bureaucracy, and the price will go down.

Muckraker Report: What's your position on health care? I know you wouldn't
be in favor of a national health care system, but what about socialized
medicine at the state level?

Congressman Ron Paul: As a practicing physician for 30 years, I find the
pervasiveness of managed care very discouraging. Patients are paying more
and doctors are leaving the profession in droves. It's time to rethink the
whole system. The rise of HMOs has created a harmful collusion between
politicians, drug companies, and organized medicine that raises the price of
healthcare by stifling competition between providers. And all this in favor
of moving us towards universal healthcare! The HMOs didn't originate in the
free-market; they are the result of policy decisions that were made back in
the 1970s. One problem is the 1974 ERISA law, which grants tax benefits to
employers to provide healthcare, while not allowing the same kinds of
incentives for the individual. This creates an unnecessary coupling between
employment and healthcare that is very restrictive on patients' ability to
decide which kinds of healthcare are appropriate for them. I believe
strongly that patients are better served by having an element of choice in
the matter, which is why I support letting the free-market determine
healthcare costs. This won't happen, however, until we unravel the HMO web
and change the tax code to allow individuals to fully deduct healthcare
costs from their taxes, as employers can.

Muckraker Report: You've said that you wish to secure the borders against
illegal immigration and to come up with sound economic policies that
decrease the flow of illegal immigration into the United States. However,
there are 12 million illegal immigrants already present in the country, many
of whom are working honest jobs and just trying to get by. As president,
would you be willing to work with leaders within the immigrants' rights
movement to grant these people their civil liberties under the law with a
goal towards eventual citizenship? Or are you in favor of deportation?

Congressman Ron Paul: While I realize that mass deportation is unrealistic,
I'm opposed to amnesty, because I believe strongly in the rule of law. I
see this matter chiefly as a problem of the welfare state. The majority of
illegal immigrants in this country are exceptionally hard workers, but there
is a small minority receiving housing subsidies, food stamps, free medical
care, and other kinds of welfare from the federal government. This
alienates taxpayers and breeds suspicion of illegal immigrants, which in
turn causes citizens to form vigilante groups to deal with the issue while
Congress does nothing. Without a welfare state, we would know that everyone
coming to America wanted to work hard; with one, however, you can't avoid a
small element of criminals and freeloaders being attracted into the country.
This is why I'm in favor of securing the borders immediately. Federal
entitlement programs such as Social Security are also threatened by the
influx of illegal immigrants into the country. Successive administrations
have supported the so-called "totalization" agreements, by which illegal
immigrants would be allowed to qualify for programs like Social Security,
programs that are already in dire shape and threatening financial ruin for
the United States. Sending benefits abroad to immigrants who once worked
here will cost the United States millions, perhaps even billions, of
dollars. Anyone who hopes to receive Social Security someday should oppose
amnesty and totalization proposals. The problems associated with illegal
immigration cannot be solved overnight, but we cannot begin to address the
issue until we take the difficult steps of securing the borders, rejecting
amnesty, and reaffirming our right as a sovereign nation to control
immigration without apology.

Muckraker Report: The REAL ID act is set to take place in May of 2008. What
are your feelings about a national identification card?

Congressman Ron Paul: I'm against it. The purpose of government is to
protect the liberty of individuals not the secrecy of government.

Muckraker Report: Especially after the release of Al Gore's global warming
documentary, the environment has been very much on people's minds. Where do
you stand on global warming?

Congressman Ron Paul: Global temperatures have been warming since the Little
Ice Age. Studies within the respectable scientific community have shown
that human beings are most likely a part of this process. As a Congressman,
I've done a number of things to support environmentally friendly policies.
I have been active in the Green Scissors campaign to cut environmentally
harmful spending, I've opposed foreign wars for oil, and I've spoken out
against government programs that encourage development in environmentally
sensitive areas, such as flood insurance.

Muckraker Report: How about KYOTO?

Congressman Ron Paul: I strongly oppose the Kyoto treaty. Providing for a
clean environment is an excellent goal, but the Kyoto treaty doesn't do
that. Instead it's placed the burden on the United States to cut emissions
while not requiring China – the world's biggest polluter – and other
polluting third-world countries to do a thing. Also, the regulations are
harmful for American workers, because it encourages corporations to move
their business overseas to countries where the regulations don't apply. It'
s bad science, it's bad policy, and it's bad for America. I am more than
willing to work cooperatively with other nations to come up with policies
that will safeguard the environment, but I oppose all nonbinding resolutions
that place an unnecessary burden on the United States.

Muckraker Report: At the moment, I have several friends who are operating
marijuana farms in northern California. The right to grow marijuana for
medical purposes is protected under California state law, but it's illegal
according to federal law. Naturally, these friends of mine are concerned
about the future of their livelihoods. What would you say to them?

Congressman Ron Paul: As a medical doctor, I have a special interest in this
issue. Tell your friends I support their livelihoods and strongly oppose
any attempt by the federal government to infringe upon the right to grow
medical marijuana in California under Proposition 215 of California state
law. The Ninth and Tenth amendments make it very clear that under our
federal system, the states retain the full authority to craft their own
laws. The federal government has only limited powers, and can therefore
preempt the states only in a very narrow range of federal matters. This
essential principle of our Constitutional Republic is being ridden roughshod
over by imperial Washington, which bullies local governments into accepting
its illegal and unconstitutional policies.

Muckraker Report: Last February, I published an article at the Muckraker
Report called "9/11 Widows Keep on Asking the Tough Questions," in which I
interviewed four out of five of the "Jersey girls," the 9/11 widows who
spearheaded the drive to form the 9/11 Commission. In that article, Lorie
van Auken calls the 9/11 Commission Report a "pathetic excuse of a report,"
in which "seventy percent of our questions went unanswered." Widow Monica
Gabrielle had this to say: "Addressing all these unanswered questions out
there is about more than simply trying to quell conspiracy theories. It's
about making sure Americans are safe by revealing the unfettered truth about
the failures. Because you can't make recommendations on distortions,
omissions, and half-truths, which is basically what the 9/11 Commission
did." As president, would you be in favor of reopening investigation into
the 9/11 attacks?

Congressman Ron Paul: If the 9/11 families aren't satisfied with the results
of the 9/11 Commission, than neither am I. I'm in favor of an independant
investigation, provided costs are kept in check.

Muckraker Report: As someone who uses the Internet as a primary source of
information, I care a lot about net neutrality. As President, what would
you do to protect free speech on the Internet?

Congressman Ron Paul: I have the strongest record in Congress of opposing
taxing or regulating the Internet in any way. As president, I would work
with lawmakers to make sure no laws were passed inhibiting the right of
Americans to communicate and do business freely.

Muckraker Report: I think most Americans would agree that the Bush years
have seen some of the worst government corruption in American history. The
time-honored means to heal a divided nation is to grant unconditional
amnesty, so that anyone who may have committed crimes under executive
privilege can come forward and be protected under the law. If you were
president, would you consider taking such an action?

Congressman Ron Paul: Yes, granted we were able to take a close look at the
specifics of each case.

Muckraker Report: Finally, "republicanism" as a political philosophy and a
form of government stretches all the way back to ancient Rome. Is there a
particular tradition of republicanism that you identify with?

Congressman Ron Paul: Naturally, the tradition I aspire to is the tradition
of the Founders, who in the eighteenth century established a Constitutional
Republic that has today degenerated into a bureaucratic welfare state. More
recently, however, I've stated in the debates that I uphold the old "Mr.
Republican" tradition of Robert A. Taft, both in Congress and in the
presidential race. This involves limited government, the rule of law, and a
foreign policy of non-intervention, traditional Republican positions for the
last 100 years.

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