Why I Voted for Ron Paul

Even though I disagree with his economics for the most part (my views are more in line with another candidate– whom I will do a favor and not name– who has a long record of supporting Keynesian economics), I just got back from voting for Ron Paul in the GOP presidential primary.

The reason I did is simply because Ron Paul is the only candidate who rejects the idea that the President of the United States has the legal authority to assassinate any or all of the People of the United States, something Attorney General Eric Holder had the balls to defend publicly.
“Some have called such operations “assassinations.” They are not, and the use of that loaded term is misplaced. Assassinations are unlawful killings. Here, for the reasons I have given, the U.S. government’s use of lethal force in self defense against a leader of al Qaeda or an associated force who presents an imminent threat of violent attack would not be unlawful.”

In other words, its not unlawful because “for the reasons I have given” I say that that its not unlawful. Why that’s practically as solid as the Magna Carta (well not really, “NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned… or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land“).
Weighing in on the other side from Eric Holder is Sir William Blackstone (still quoted by judges three centuries after his passing):
“Bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom”.

Yeah, you’d think. But there’s only one presidential candidate conveying the alarm of tyranny.
“Ron Paul: I strongly object to the President institutionalizing a policy that explicitly says that he has the authority to target American citizens because he believes they’re bad people. You don’t protect bad people because they deserve it, you protect bad people and go through the process because you think a lot about innocent American people never being treated in this manner.”

Brav to the O. Remember the old days when even Democrats talked like that? This is what Eric Holder had to say during the Bush Administration.
“To those in the Executive branch who say “just trust us” when it comes to secret and warrantless surveillance of domestic communications I say remember your history.”

If by the GOP Convention this summer, no candidate has achieved a majority of the delegates, Romney and/or Santorum will have to scramble to pick up votes where they can. I trust the Paul supporters (I guess I mean, my fellow Paul supporters) are considering what Dr. Paul should trade his delegates for if he isn’t in a position to win the nomination. My own druthers would be the eventual GOP nominee:
(1) Promises to end to Fed, which doesn’t require congressional action if the President files a lawsuit against an independent agency– any one will do– and petitions the Supreme Court to overrule Humphrey’s Executor on unitary executive grounds (After which the elected President, subject to Acts of Congress, would set monetary policy. I trust he and they won’t set up a gold-based currency board but there’s no telling);
(2) Renounces presidential authority to assassinate US citizens and promises to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate any rumors or allegations– someone should’ve read Holder his Miranda Rights before he gave his most recent speech– that the Foreign Murder of US Nationals statute has been violated by government officials;
(3) OK OK, this one’s for the kids; Pledges to reschedule cannabis by Executive Order so the decision whether a sick person benefits from use of medical marijuana is left in the hands of their doctor and not their congressman.

Comments

  1. I agree with skepticism in this area, but I guess I’m just not seeing the difference between “black ops” against foreigners in a foreign country and “black ops” against American Citizens in a foreign country both having done the same thing.

    For instance, if Osama were an American citizen, would we have had different rules of engagement in Pakistan when we found him?

    I guess I just don’t know what the threshhold should be, or why.

    • beowulf says:

      “For instance, if Osama were an American citizen, would we have had different rules of engagement in Pakistan when we found him?”

      Oh yes definitely, it make an enormous difference. Were Osama a US citizen, he’d have the same due process rights as, say, Timothy McVeigh. And like with McVeigh, I trust a jury would have given him the death penalty. What’s more there, the Foreign Murder statute (18 USC 1119) specifically forbids Americans from killing other Americans abroad. Killing a foreign citizen doesn’t trip over that law.
      “A person who, being a national of the United States, kills or attempts to kill a national of the United States while such national is outside the United States but within the jurisdiction of another country shall be punished as provided under sections 1111 [Murder], 1112 [Manslaughter], 1113 [Attempt to Commit M or M].”
      ——–
      Thanks for the kind word Joe.

    • So what does the law say about killing non-Americans during black ops? Is that an act of war? Should it then take an act of congress?

      Maybe I’m just too jaded on things military, but if we have evidence XYZ that someone commited a terrorist act as part of a broader war-like declaration launched from a foreign country, the LAW may say things about how a non-citizen should be treated vs a non-citizen, and I’m all for abiding the law, but I guess I just don’t see much difference on a more basic moral level.

      I do debate these things regarding how to treat the “war on terror” all the time, but never have I really thought that a dividing line was whether one of the terrorists, if operating from a foreign base, was an American citizen or not.

      Does this mean we can’t strike terror camps if we think Anwar Al-Awlaki was there? What if one of our citizens had defected to the Germans during WWII… do we owe him seperate treatment?

      • “So what does the law say about killing non-Americans during black ops? Is that an act of war? Should it then take an act of congress?”.

        The issue isn’t killing per se, after all American POWs died in the A-bombing of Nagaski, collateral damage is one of the unavoidable horrors of war. Similarly if an American serves in an enemy army, American forces wouldn’t know he was a countryman until after he’d been killed or captured (after which, like John Walker Lindh he’d be a POW subject to civilian prosecution for treason and related crimes). The crux of the matter is targeted killings, its unclear if the Geneva Convention forbids targeted killing of civilians (I’m seen conflicting claims on this point and I’m no expert in international law), to the extent it does or does not would apply equally to Americans and non-Americans.

        However, the US Constitution applies to everyone on US soil and every US National anywhere in the world (where it otherwise, the IRS couldn’t assert tax jurisdiction on citizens’ worldwide income). Now you can make the argument that the US Government and US citizens don’t owe each other any sort of duty of loyalty higher and above what they owe other government and citizens… and you’d be wrong. There’s no question that the govt killing its citizens without due process of law violates the 5th Amendment, Sects 1983 & 1985 of the Civil Rights Act and the Foreign Murder statute.Think of it as an economic agency problem, permitting corporate managers to launch drone strikes against shareholders is no way to run a railroad (it would make for interesting annual meetings).

        • Cullen Roche says:

          Not directly related, but Paul’s stance on war in general is equally admirable. I am not sure it comes from a general hatred of war (which is right) so much as it comes from a hatred of govt (which is wrong), but it’s the right stance to have.

          • I generally agree with Paul on foreign policy, but sometimes I think he’s just a little bit too naive. Meaning, I agree with him that we shouldn’t be fighting all these wars and being the “policeman” of the world. But… a lot of countries around the world have more or less disarmed based on the understanding that we are there to be the military force “for peace”. Therefore, a broad U.S. military disengagement might be accompanied by a worldwide reengagement in military spending.

            thoughts?

            • Cullen Roche says:

              I think that’s probably accurate. I’m no foreign policy expert, but I tend to lean towards the thinking that some presence is necessary, but that we’re overextended in many parts of the world right now for no particular rational purpose other than the fact that history has put us there and kept us there. Then again, I also disagree with the Paul position that we should be more isolationist. We can be more diplomatic without being isolationist or the world’s policeman. Probably easier said than done, but many in Congress won’t even consider diplomacy due to being purely stubborn.

  2. Bravo, Beo!

  3. +1

  4. Matt Franko says:

    What if you just went through some sort of legal process to remove the US person/terrorist’s citizenship and then had said terrorist killed? Like if the US person/terrorist hadnt been in the US for x many years and hadnt filed a 1040 for same years, they legally lose their citizenship (eg Marc Rich) and then are fair game in the GWOT… Resp,

    • beowulf says:

      There’s a Supreme Court decision on point, Afroyim v. Rusk, you can’t lose your citizenship involuntarily. Were it otherwise, it’d be cartoonishly simple for govt officials to void violating the civil rights of citizens by first stripping them of their citizenship.
      You can only give it up by going into a US consulate overseas and taking an Oath of Renunciation. Even then the State Dept doesn’t have to accept it (renouncing his citizenship at a US Consulate in Russia didn’t keep Lee Harvey Oswald from getting another passport when he got homesick— or his Naval Intelligence fake defection op was completed, accounts vary).

      • Matt Franko says:

        What about where in the cases where a Federal warrant is issued for a US person’s arrest, they send out a notice: “Wanted: Dead or Alive”? If someone just shoots the person and brings in the body, I assume they collect the reward… is this still legal? Obama could just sign an order saying “Dead or Alive” and then it is up to the person doing the apprehending to make the choice… unless that type of approach went out some time ago.. Resp,

  5. Philip Pilkington says:

    The reasoning isn’t up to scratch. While its a fairly nasty piece of legislation, the NDAA will probably rarely be used. You will not have the state degenerate into Alex Jone-style tyranny because the democratic structures (legal apparatus etc.) remain in place. The road to tyranny, no matter what Ron Paul says, is NOT incremental. It comes in leaps and bounds.

    Again, my impression of US political discussion about this — on both the right and the left — is that it is hopelessly naive and ideological (being shot through with memories of the founding of the Republic etc.). In Ireland we had terrible crackdowns on the IRA for decades. We undertook some very dodgy and non-constitutional practices to detain and capture IRA suspects (in alliance with the British government). Terrible things were done and many innocent people went to prison. BUT the country hardly devolved into tyranny.

    Ron Paul would do far more damage to the US through his weird economic policies than he would do it justice through saving people from being locked up by Obama. There’s simply no question of the trade-off. The amount of actual suffering would be caused by his economic policies would simply be incomparable to the frankly minor effects the NDAA will have on US civil society.

    • Well, Paul is aware we can eliminate debt by simply having the fed buy it and just retire it.

      Plus, while Presidents are generally given wide latitude “making” and enforcing laws on civil liberties, setting the level of spending is not his constitutional job. He can suggest how much to spend, but in the end, the level of deficit spending is controlled by congress.

      It’s a separation of powers driven vote, if I could speculate on how beowulf was thinking (at least in part) about this vote. The president is tasked with enforcing civil liberties, congress sets spending levels.

      S

      • Dunce Cap Aficionado says:

        Mike,

        You vocied some concerns you had about paul in response to a comment of mine in another thread. Could speak a little more to those concerns here?

        • DCA,

          RP has associated himself with racists over and over again in his newsletter. I think much of the Tea Party is based on barely hidden racism.

          My dad – who I love and will defend with my life – is a racist, and a Tea Party person (I avoided the Bagger part, lol). I know he thinks he isn’t a racist, and he does give every person he meets a more than fair chance. The Rush Limbaugh/Tea Party wing of the Republican party is racist.

          I think RP has lots of really interesting ideas, and some of them are actually good ideas.

          I do very much appreciate RP’s stance on the powers of presidency, and appreciate his “minimum force” approach to government powers. I don’t even mind his views on spending that much because I think they would be overruled by congress.

          But…when I look at Ron Paul, I see a dangerous person. I see someone who would try a vast experiment on changing society and ignore any evidence which runs counter to his views. He’s one of the most dangerous people in politics, because he’s a principled man. This says to me it’s possible for him to make a vastly dangerous decision out of devotion to some principle he may not have articulated clearly yet.

          He’s not a bad guy and he’s probably not evil. And I am glad to have him part of the national scene and stirring things up. But as an actual president? no way.

          • Dunce Cap Aficionado says:

            Mike,

            Thanks for the well articulated response. I didn’t know it before you said it, but I’m more and more agreeing with the ‘vast experiment’ concern you outline.

            Thank you,

            DCA

      • beowulf says:

        Exactly. the things I like about Paul a President can make happen by executive order. The things I don’t like about Paul require approval of both Houses of Congress (and the Senate requires 60 votes for almost everything).

        • Couldn’t he appoint a fed chairman with ridiculous economic “solutions?”

          That’s what would scare me the most.

          • beowulf says:

            If he gets 60 Senate votes to approve his nomination, sure. But then once the new Fed chairman takes offices, remember there are 6 other Fed governors (two seats are vacant currently). In addition, the Fed bank presidents occupy the 5 remaining FOMC seats. The custom has always been that a Fed chairman can rely on the other Fed governors (and the NY Fed president) to back his play. If the chairman starting advocating something ridiculous, that custom will change.

    • beowulf says:

      You’re mixing apples and orangutans. The only person talking about NDAA is you.
      NDAA is about the detention of suspects. I actually don’t have as big a problem with that because the Supreme Court has ruled that any US citizen held by the govt, whether in Guantanamo or Gary, Indiana, has a right to seek counsel, challenge the evidentiary basis for the detention and petition a federal judge to order his release (with a Writ of Habea Corpus). Congress keeps trying to take these rights away by anti-terrorism legislation and the Supreme Court keeps telling them they can’t amend the Constitution by Act of Congress.
      A wrongly detained citizen can be set free by a court order, a wrongly executed one cannot be.

      • Pierce Inverarity says:

        You are a one-stop shop for amazing analysis and information. I’m grateful you’re around. (needless to say Mike and Cullen fall into that category too). Cheers.

  6. Dunce Cap Aficionado says:

    Eric Holder is in the running for all time worst AG of ever.