Thom Hartmann interviews Congressman Ron Paul about the NYC mosque controversy and the intense politicization of our country’s values. Hartmann congratulates Dr. Paul for his tolerance and his attempt to bring reason to the heated debate. They also talk about campaign finance, corporate personhood, and the Citizens United verdict.
Show: The Thom Hartmann Program
Host: Thim Hartmann
Thom Hartmann: Arguably one of the most conservative guys in politics is Ron Paul, or at least libertarian. He ran for president on the Libertarian ticket once and [is] the Republican Congressman from Texas. He’s been on this program a number of times and in the past we’ve debated issues or argued issues but I wanted to bring him on and congratulate him and have a broader discussion about some of the areas where we agree on the fundamental core values of America that I think are neither left nor right, neither Democrat nor Republican, neither Libertarian nor Socialist. Congressman Ron Paul, RonPaul.org by the way, the website. Welcome back to our program, Sir.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Thom. God be with you.
Thom Hartmann: Thank you. You took a very noble and courageous step when you contradicted not only your party but your son as well in saying that this so called ‘Ground Zero Mosque’… it’s actually a Muslim community center two blocks away from Ground Zero, the same distance as Starbucks and a strip club. There’s another actual mosque four blocks away, that this was being basically demagogued by people who were peddling hate.
Ron Paul: Yes, and I believe their goal was not only to peddle the hate but to justify the war. We have perpetual war, the global war, and of course, we have to have an enemy and the people have to be hateful of the enemy to be willing to die and sacrifice so much. And if there’s not a real good excuse, then the people don’t support the war. So they have to have hatred. I see, from my viewpoint, hatred of all Muslims. And we do know that the people who attacked us on 9/11 were Muslims but I think there’s more to it than that. I think it’s perfectly alright to address the subject of the danger of Al-Qaeda, which is a small number of people of the Muslim faith. And I don’t like blanket accusations and I believe that they were just trying to justify the perpetual invasion and occupation, and planning to go and attack the next Muslim nation, it’s totally unrelated to 9/11.
Thom Hartmann: Right. This would be not unlike saying that “David Koresh was a wackadoodle Christian therefore we have to declare war on the Christian countries. Let’s start bombing France tomorrow.”
Ron Paul: Yeah. The analogy I used was Timothy McVeigh. He was Christian and he killed a lot of people, and yet he doesn’t represent hardly any Christian and if there were some, I would say that they’re very confused about the Christian faith and I personally know a lot of Muslims. I’ve worked with them in the medical profession and they’re friends. And I just think through study and history, although people can cite violence in their religion, I think some can find that in the Jewish religion and the Christian religion too. There’s been a lot of killing. There’s a lot of killing in the Bible and yet that doesn’t mean that everybody endorses use of violence because if you want to go and look at all the great religions, usually you find very, very similar statements about love and peace, and no war, and I’d like to concentrate more on that.
Thom Hartmann: Yeah, me too. Congressman Ron Paul who’s on the line, www.RonPaul.org, his website. Congressman, in the Republican Party, in your party, there seems to be a scism. There’s certainly a big scism in the Democratic Party which we can also talk about, but you know your party better than I do. And I’m seeing, for example, Bill McCollum, the guy who just lost the Republican primary to Rick Scott, to run for governor of Florida. He now is refusing to endorse Rick Scott because Rick Scott basically bought the election with $50 million. The Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court that allows wealthy people, actually the Supreme Court knocked down the part of McCain-Feingold two years ago actually, that allowed wealthy people to self-finance on an unlimited basis during elections and thus we have Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California. I’m guessing that the Libertarian side of you thinks rich people should be able to do what they want but what about the impact that this kind of thing has on democracy in a republic and your own party?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s the fact the government’s big and they can pass out so much is the problem, not to the fact that you can have an organization, you can spend your money any way you want. That is what I think is the problem rather than saying the right of corporations. Even corporations… See, I have trouble with that court ruling because I don’t know whom you work for but if you work for a corporation…
Thom Hartmann: I work for myself.
Ron Paul: Okay. But let’s say you work for the New York Times and the New York Times is a corporation. The New York Times, at least in the old days, newspapers could destroy a candidate and they could do anything that they want. They can endorse, bias the news, and everything else. But that corporation has different protection than say Corporation ABC that doesn’t have the so-called ‘the protection of freedom of press’. And I don’t think you should be able to divide people like I think rights should always be equal. So if the corporation on the radio and the TV, or a newspaper can do something up to the last minute, and slant the news, why shouldn’t other people spend their money in support or counteracting that?
Thom Hartmann: Are you suggesting that when the Fourteenth Amendment was written back during Reconstruction in 1874, in order to free black people, and it said that no person should be denied equal access under the law, equal protection under the law, that as proponents of… I’m sorry, my screen is flashing and it’s distracting me. I’m trying to organize this thought. That that means that corporations are persons and… I mean, this is the argument that was put forward by the railroad barons of the day that not they themselves, not Jay Gould and Samuel Huntington. Not they themselves but that their corporations were persons because it didn’t say natural person in the Fourteenth Amendment and corporations of course are artificial persons. They can buy land and they can be sued, and pay taxes, and things like that. Are you suggesting that you agree with that notion? That corporations should have the rights of persons?
Ron Paul: Well, I think the person who labels themselves a corporation would have equal rights whether they’re an independent business group or a newspaper company.
Thom Hartmann: But they’re getting special privileges. They’re getting tax breaks. They’re getting limitations of liability. They’re getting all kinds of things. Why should they be protected under the…
Ron Paul: Well, the tax breaks, I think everybody should have a tax break because I don’t think you have to pay for a tax break. I just…