Ron Paul on Brian and the Judge

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Part 2:


Judge Andrew Napolitano: […] In the same week during which a report by the Department of Homeland Security surfaced which lumped in with race-based haters, people who are pro-life, people who are in favor of or concerned about immigration and in favor of protecting Second Amendment rights, people who think the federal government is too big, too fat and taxes too much, regulates too much, and engages in too much activity nowhere sanctioned by the Constitution.

In the same week, in which President Obama releases 175 pages of memoranda for President Bush’s Justice Department in which the Justice Department purports to justify legally the most horrific physical abuse of prisoners that I’ve ever seen written down in the modern era.

There’s so much to talk about. Who better to discuss these things with than Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, welcome back to Brian and the Judge.

Ron Paul: Thank you. It’s good to be with you.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: You are, in addition to being a congressman, a world-class economist, and a physician. How do you react when you learn… I want you to wear whichever of those hats comes naturally to you, when you learn what the government did to people under the Bush administration. That President Bush obviously lied about it, that President Obama has the courage to reveal it, but lacks the courage to prosecute the people who did it.

Ron Paul: Yes, it sounds like he’s playing politics. He wants to put equal advantage of blasting Republicans and at the same time he helps cover it up and not prosecute. So I’m not very reassured that he’s going to get to the bottom of this, and deliberately he doesn’t want to.

But my initial reaction, it becomes more political than it does medical, even though the medical also offends me to no end because sometimes I even get physicians involved in some of this stuff. You know when on the extreme aspect of this, when it gets as bad as it was in Germany, you know the doctors had gotten involved and that to me is so bad. I really hate to even see doctors involved in dealing with death penalties and different things like that or abortion.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: These things just are abhorrent, but legally this is just outrageous because you could argue the whole principle of what governments are supposed to do, but what about the practical argument, too. You know, if you have a hundred people and you think there’s one person that might have information that might save somebody’s life, what you’re doing is you justify and say, “Well, we have a right and an obligation to waterboard every single one of them.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: And we can be sure that a lot of innocent people were waterboarded during that time and Christopher Hitchens, despite some of his shortcomings, I think he’s one that volunteered to do this.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Yes.

Ron Paul: And he said, “Believe me. Believe me.” He says, “You will tell them anything.” And of course, they do and that just leads to capturing more innocent people or the people they don’t like.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: It was the hallmark of the Nazis, to punish a large group because they believe that one among that group might have disobeyed them or might have information that they want. It is particularly abhorrent that we would follow that type of a procedure, but I never thought of it that way. You’re right. These people haven’t been adjudicated of anything. If somebody said to somebody else that they heard from somewhere else that this guy knows something, so on that basis, they’re going to bang his head against the wall. They’re going to practically drown them. They’re going to try and torture him to death with mosquitoes inside a coffin.

Ron Paul: You see, well, one of the worst arguments is to say, well, and they say to the people and to many conservatives, and they had reassured and they said, “Well, what’s wrong with this? You know, they are terrorists.”

Well, they are not. They’re just suspects. We have a letter and I’m sure you can believe this. It was circulated by a group of conservative members of Congress and they asked me to sign it, which I have no idea what they bother asking me, and the letter was urging to make sure that none of these prisoners came into the United States.

It had nothing to do with they were going to blow up the country. It had to do with, “if they get into this country, they might have the protection of the Constitution.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Wow.

Ron Paul: I mean, it was so blatant. What are they thinking about?

Judge Andrew Napolitano: There are so many of your colleagues, obviously not you and not the people that agree with you, but so many people in government, I was repulsed by this one when I was on the bench, Congressman Paul. You and I had discussed this in private.

So many prosecutors or lawyers representing the government would spend more of their time justifying, avoiding, and evading the Constitution than simply following. The lust for glory, the desire for victory, the wish for political gain, cause them to circumvent the very sheet anchor of our liberties, the supreme law of the land as to which everybody in the government takes an oath to uphold.

Ron Paul: Right, and thrown into that is re-interpretation. You know, they do avoid it, and yet many times, they’ll say, “Well, the other day somebody said, ‘Yes, Ron Paul is always talking about the Constitution, the defense of the Constitution, but he doesn’t have the vaguest idea of what the Constitution means’.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: And that’s what they’ll say that it our understanding. But, you know, it shouldn’t be yours and mine decision to make and tell us what the Constitution says. We should be able to read it and see what it says. There shouldn’t be… most of it is pretty clear.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: It’s pretty clear that it gives the Congress just 17 unique, discreet powers and then it says in two of the amendments, “What’s not given to Congress is not there and what’s not there is reserved for the people and the States.”

Ron Paul: Yeah.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: It’s pretty, pretty direct. Well, what would the government say when they are asked where in the Constitution they get the power to fire the Chairman of GM, to say to GM bondholders, “You’re going to surrender that bond or we’re going to give you GM worthless stock instead.”

To say to the president of the ABC Banking Company, “Because we bought one percent of your stock, you know, we browbeat you into selling us the one percent. We threaten to audit if you didn’t sell us to us and now that we own one percent of you stock, we’re going to micromanage your company.”

There is nowhere in the Constitution that the government can point to for that kind of authority and yet you know that they will soon claim it.

Ron Paul: Yes, and what they’ll say is that they want to protect the general welfare and that they have this obligation, and by protecting the financial industries, they’re protecting the general welfare of the everybody, and once you get involved, then you have this obligation to make sure that that money is well managed and they lose no sleep over this. They take their oath and they probably, in their minds, think that they are being very, very serious, and then they march on and whether it’s the Interstate Commerce clause or the General Welfare clause or the fact that we have an obligation to make the Constitution, you know, “modern”. We can’t live with the rigid, old document that doesn’t allow us to adjust for modern times.

And they go to bed and sleep quite well, unfortunately, for the country.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Yeah, it’s even worse than that, because as I remember you telling me, at that time, it seemed scandalous and almost incredible, but it’s now accepted as a commonplace of history that, for example, when the PATRIOT Act was voted on in the House of Representatives, as horrific as it is, as tampering with the Constitution, the supreme law of the land as it does, you had 15 minutes to read something that I have read and it takes me over 20 hours to read. Fifteen minutes, so you know that no one read it, meaning the institutional equipment of the government prevents the democracy that the government is supposed to perpetuate.

If the rules of the House of Representatives don’t let a member of the House adequate time to read a document before he or she has to vote on it, where are we going? Is the House an oligarchy? Does the Speaker of the House of Representatives just get his or her will no matter what the members want?

Ron Paul: Yes, and the more important issue, the faster the legislation. Sometimes, we’ll debate on a bill and it might go through committee, it will be in the public, it will be on the floor, and they’ll spend hours and hours on certain issues like we’re really serious. But then it will pass in the Senate, pass in the House, and then it goes to a conference, and maybe the real, ugly stuff will be put in. Now, you understand, I know, the conference is supposed to split the difference.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: And it was supposed to be a technical thing, you know. The Senate wants a hundred, the House wants fifty, so they split the difference, but now, they use the conference as the vehicle for putting new stuff in and when the conference report comes back, the most that you can have, I think, on a debate, generally is about an hour and nobody is serious about it because they’ve been exhausted by pretending that they’re truly working with that.

There was a fair amount of debate on the PATRIOT Act in the Senate.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: You know, and the House had a debate, too, and everybody had an idea. But you’re absolutely right in remembering that the real bill when it came up was stuck on just within hours or minutes —

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: — and nobody possibly could have read, so I have a good general rule, which has served me pretty well and that is if I don’t have the time and the ability to read it, I have no right to vote for it.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Well, I couldn’t agree with you more. In the case of the PATRIOT Act, it was particularly insidious because the bill that you all debated was not the bill you voted on, the one that they posted on the House Intranet was vastly different and vastly more assaultive of Constitutional rights than the bill that you had been debating on the previous two weeks.

Ron Paul: Yeah, yeah, but I think this information is getting out, thanks to you and others, because the general public, you know, is getting outraged. Especially with this financial crisis, I think that’s what these April 15th ceremonies we have around the country is expressing.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right. These are…

Ron Paul: The people are pretty disgusted and it’s very healthy, but we have to make sure that this disgust for government is directed in the right way because we need to re-direct the purpose of government rather than just complaining and yelling and screaming and, you know, people are upset with the last administration, so they got rid of the Republicans.

Now, they have Obama who was supposed to have a better understanding of civil liberties and what is he doing?

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right. He’s doing the same thing. The Department of Homeland Security report that came out, interestingly the same day as a million-plus Americans rallied nationwide about the heavy hand of the federal government, lumps together pro-life, pro-gun, military, concerned about immigration, concerned about federal government, along with skinheads and race-baiters —

Ron Paul: Yeah.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: — I mean, what business does the federal government have of doing that and trying to chill our freedoms?

Ron Paul: Yeah, and that’s their effort to discredit what’s going on. I hope they can’t silence us that easy. Somebody was interviewing a liberal the other day and he said, “Well, sometimes, there’s liberal attempts to dissent.”

And the liberal argued, “That’s different. We shouldn’t profile them [liberals] because they never use violence. It’s only you guys, you guys”, — like us — “that believe in the Second Amendment and right to life and, you know, these kinds of things.”

We’re the only one that might be prone to violence [alleged the liberal], and you know, how much effort I’ve made in my little group to emphasize that that’s not what I want to resort to. I mean, as long as we have this process, I think we have to try to wake people up and change things in a more peaceful fashion.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Before I let you go, you know, I love chatting with you, what and where is the greatest threat to our liberties today?

Ron Paul: Well, I’ve talked about this in the speeches I give and I talked about the oath of office, you know, protecting ourselves against all enemies, foreign… and then I just sort of paused and everybody shouts, “domestic!”

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Ron Paul: You know, it’s a domestic threat. It’s this lack of interpretation of the ability to interpret the Constitution. I think the biggest threat is that they don’t understand that the Constitution was there to restrict the government and not ever to restrain the people. It was there to protect our liberties and believing and having confidence in freedom.

Freedom really works and if you want prosperity, if you’re a humanitarian, what you ought to be doing is fighting for liberty.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Congressman Ron Paul, it’s always a pleasure. Have a great weekend. We’ll chat again next week.

Ron Paul: Thanks a lot.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Thank you, 866-408-7669. Be right back with your calls in Brian and the Judge.


  • T Azer

    Nobody Does It Better

    Go Dr. Paul

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