Ron Paul, Surveillance, & the GOP

David Weigel has a good piece in the Washington Independent today on Ron Paul ‘s rising influence in Washington. The articles mentions that Ron Paul has been bringing in some folks to have lunch and discuss ideas with some of his Republican colleagues. The article includes a quote from me: “There’s a growing recognition that the GOP is intellectually bankrupt and morally bankrupt…. I hope the battle of ideas is changing.”

When I was the guest at a luncheon discussion in Paul’s office last Thursday, I spoke primarily about torture and warrantless wiretapping. Apropos the Jane Harman controversy, I asked the members of Congress: “How many of you are confident that your phone calls are NOT being wiretapped?”

I mentioned a comment by congressional leader Hale Boggs in 1971 on the effect of congressional “fear” of the FBI – how the FBI’s boundless surveillance undermined congressional oversight of the FBI in the 1960s and early 1970s. I asked whether the same thing could be happening now regarding congressional oversight of the various law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The luncheon was off-the-record, so, unfortunately, I cannot disclose the responses to my questions. (Disclosing one’s own comments or questions is not a breach of confidentiality).

41 thoughts on “Ron Paul, Surveillance, & the GOP”

  1. “David Weigel has a good piece in the Washington Independent today on Ron Paul ’s rising influence in Washington.”

    I’m sure Ron Paul’s ideas will influence people now just as much as theyu have for, oh, the last thirty years, or however long he’s been around and spouting. Ron Paul’s ideas and a free lunch, libertarian utopia united with dyspesia.

    1. Mooser: all I can say is “good grief!” The question is: are the ideas Ron Paul espouses right or wrong? If you believe he is wrong, then please tell me why. If you believe he is right, then you should reserve your snarky remarks for the congressmen who can’t fathom the truth.

      1. A commenter at another blog put it much better than I can: “Ron Paul is completely right about 25% of the stuff he talks about. The other 75% is so wrong it wipes out the rest”

        1. Mooser, please explain. What is this 75% that your talking about? Or did you just read a quote from another uninformed blogger and decide to pass it on? I always find it interesting to come across people who have strong opinions but are not sure why they hold them. Prove me wrong and state your position, I’m ready and waiting.

          Peace!

        2. Mooser, if you’ve got something to say, THEN SAY IT. Otherwise stop wasting our time.

    2. Mooser must have wandered over here from Glenn Greenwald’s blog. 90% chance that the quote he posted is from one of the overwhelming numbers of do-gooding Liberal Interventionists at Salon.

      The Liberal Interventionists that hang out at Salon are a perfect example of the fakers that Raimondo has been writing about recently. These absolutist torture-roosters get their feathers all ruffled if you bring up non-intervention, and after crying about BushCo and its illegal wars for YEARS, jumped on board the Af-Pak War Wagon the first chance they got, propaganda in hand, ready for Humanitarian Liberal Do-Gooding in Pakistan.

      That’s Mooser’s crowd. After crying about Bush for eight years they want others to volunteer to serve the empire in Pakistan. It’s absurd.

    3. And Mooser, if you’ve come here just to be a jerk, why don’t you F*** off back to Mondoweiss? I’m sure Scott Horton will have another interview with Phil, you should come back then with some of this worthless partisan trash talking.

      Ron Paul was one of the, what, five people to vote against cheerleading the Gaza slaughter and you come here to make fun of him? That’s pretty sad, pathetic actually.

      Hey everyone, why don’t you ask “Ron Paul Suck” Mooser what he thinks about Israel and Zionism? Then watch as he trashes Ron Paul of all people. What a partisan.

    4. You want to talk about utopia? Utopia is believing that Big Government can solve all of your problems.

  2. “How many of you are confident that your phone calls are NOT being wiretapped?”

    To which they reply: What makes you think I’m stupid enough to say the kind of things Harman so idiotically said? Maybe I should mail a transcription right to the DOJ?

    But Harman was high, you see, high on ziocaine. Ziocaine is a drug secreted by American Zionist-supporters which mimics, to a “T” the effects of cocaine. Feelings of omnipotence and grandiosity alternate with periods of paranoia, and ethical and moral distinctions coarsen and finally erode away. And, of course, the things you have to say and think to induce these gratifying secretions become more extreme all the time. When ziocaine is used along with the positive reinforcement of a group setting, it’s a hard habit to break.

  3. Thanks for trying to help the walking wounded regroup. The Republicans seem to be about where Lee was before Appomattox, having lost, does he surrender and hope for fair treatment (and we know how that turned out), or fight total defensive war. The Old Right, the Birchers, Sobran, Ron Paul and others have been showing for years how to fight back using the Laws, strategy, and arguments in plain sight, but ignored by the USG and both major parties. The now-defunct Congress is the only branch of the Fed government that is not completely corrupt. If resistance can’t form around RP’s informal lunches and stop the ANC, I mean CPSA, I mean Democrats, before they destroy everything in sight, the Whigs will do better in the next elections than the Republicans, and deservedly so.

  4. Ron Paul has always surrounded himself with intelligent, patriotic people. He knows what the Constitution says and adheres to it. If the popular clique in government would have done the same, we wouldn’t be fighting two useless wars and watching our savings and houses fly out the window.

    The group following Ron Paul is just getting started in turning the government around to being honest. More power to them.

  5. The luncheon was off-the-record, so, unfortunately, I cannot disclose the responses to my questions.

    Allow me to venture the cynical guess that they were probably as substantial or truthful as any other “answers” given by Repugnican Congresscreatures (Dr. Paul excepted) to hardball questions thrown their way.

    1. Somebody’s watching Tom: Brady subject of 968 illegal searches

      “Audits of Massachusetts law enforcement officials reveal thousands of illicit criminal record searches for Brady and other state celebrities like Paul Pierce, James Taylor and Matt Damon. While Brady wasn’t mentioned by name, a state official said the New England Patriots quarterback had been the subject of 968 such database searches.”

      http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Somebody-s-watching-Tom-Brady-subject-of-968-il?urn=nfl,161676

  6. Seems to me like Representative Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY) has some explaining to do.

    Records – reported on http://www.r8ny.com, a New York City political Web site – show Ackerman (D-Jamaica Estates) accepted a “personal loan” last year for as much as $100,000 from Selig Zises, a large investor in a California-based company that Ackerman called Xenonics Options. However, Ackerman, who denies any improprieties, said the alleged loan was actually a sale of stock that he accidentally misreported.

    “I no longer have it,” Ackerman said yesterday. “I sold it off a couple weeks back.”

    On March 9, 2002, Ackerman, a senior member on the International Relations Committee, purchased between $1,001 to $15,000 of stock in Xenonics, which is today valued at between $100,000 and $250,000, according to financial records.

    The 12th-term lawmaker said he decided to invest in Xenonics – a name he said he doesn’t even know how to pronounce – after a suggestion from Zises, whom he described as a friend.

    The U.S. Army awarded the company a $2.98 million contract a year later to manufacture night-vision equipment. Ackerman said he played no role in steering federal dollars to Xenonics.

    Within two years of his initial investment, Ackerman’s stake in Xenonics Options had ballooned to as much as $1 million.

    Why Xenonics? The answer can probably be found in Ackerman’s close ties to the Zises family, one of New York’s uber-Likudniks. Since 1990, the Zises family Bernard, Seymour, Selig & Jay, contributed at least $30,000 of Unifund CCR Partner proceeds (a vicious collection agency that will sue 160,000 Americans for Credit Card Default this year) to Ackerman’s campaign coffers.

    How close are Ackerman and the Zises? Close enough apparently for Ackerman to have made a statement on the House floor last year in celebration of patriarch Bernard Zises’s 90th birthday, and another upon the death of the Zises family matriarch, Ruth Zises . That’s right: a statement on the House floor.

  7. Everything is OK as long as there remains ONE political party with two fractions, the illusion of democratia is way, way better than what Mr. Adolf and Mr. Stalin allowed in their times of glory.

    1. Right on! Ron Paul is the exception that proves the rule (exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis). Is there a law somewhere I don’t know about that says only one congressman can have a brain that actually works? Seems like it to me.

      Peace!

      1. Brad,

        Analogy wise, it seems that Congress is one big Three Stooges pie fight and Ron Paul is sitting there as Gandhi, trying to reason with them to stop and saying…”Gentlemen, gentlemen”….. When he says this, all the participants turn around to see who just came in the room.

        1. That’s about it. Thanks for the chuckle. However, I would get more of a kick out of it if it wasn’t so true.

          Peace!

  8. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) is virtually the only one in the “Parliament of Whores” who isn’t bought and bossed by corporate interests, AIPAC, etc. Let’s hope his influence spreads far and wide.

    Bovard’s right that the GOP is morally and intellectually bankrupt. Of course, the Democrat wing of the DemoPublican Party is too!

  9. The Republican Party (USA) has (unfortunately) become a bunch of no-nothings. More reasonable people of conservative temperament have been excreted.

    Lester Ness
    Kunming
    China

  10. Ron Paul and his friends are the only real intelligent opposition out there. Their influence is growing fast in the Republican party. Bush, Gingrich, the neocons and the brain dead old hacks know it as well and don’t like it. There are plenty of financial and social conservatives who don’t like the present leadership either. I expect these factions to remake the party into a real opposition by next year. The left has always been a lost cause. Now that the Bush’s and neocons are being seen by more and more as the problem. I think their is hope.

    1. It’s time for the Republican Party to die, go the way of the Federalists, the Whigs, the No-Nothings.

      Lester Ness
      Kunming
      China

  11. My initial impressions of what it meant to be a Conservative came from watching William F. Buckley’s and Louis Rukyser’s television shows. Clever, gracious and oh so civilized! Their places have been taken by Glen Beck, Bill O’, and Sean. What else does one have to say about debasement of a movement?

    1. Conservatives in my lifetime: would-be slave owners. Those who decline to be slaves, own slaves: “evil” liberals.

      Lester Ness
      Kunming
      China

  12. The End of Free Speech?
    Criminalizing Criticism of Israel

    “On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby’s bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-semitism world wide.

    To monitor anti-semitism, it has to be defined. What is the definition? Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/

  13. Good – Out of Iraq, Legalize Pot

    Bad – Abortion, End Dept of Education, Abortion, End Dept of Energy, Abortion, No Action on Global Warming

    2 of 8, that’s 25%.

    Not saying I agree, just what I’ve gathered from conversations.

    Some might add ‘Audit/End the Fed’ to the good, but then you just add 4 abortions to the bad, still works out to 3 of 12 for 25%.

    1. richard, thanks for supplying the numbers. Yeah, that’s about what I thought, about %75 percent stinko.

      At any rate, I’m sure that Ron Paul’s will ascend to the heights of political power at about the same rate as he has been. He’d better look into cryogenics, and an endless loop tape of “Our Day Will Come”

      1. Well Mooser I’m still waiting for you to show me your points or don’t you have any?

        Richard, do some research for yourself. Abortion, he simply wants to follow the Constitution and leave it up to the states, which would nullify Wade vs. Roe. End the Dept. of Education. It’s a great idea and the teachers I know agree. The Feds don’t have a clue how Education works they just suck up funding and do nothing to educate anyone. Dept of Energy same thing. It’s just another waste of tax dollars and the loby gets whatever they want anyway. No Action on Global Warming, good again, show me some real evidence or even one instance where Government has helped anything.

        I should also get into ending the IRS, CIA, Torture, Bailouts, the Fiat Dollar, etc. But that would take more time to read than most slow people have to spare. I’m sure they need to get back to watching American Idle or some such.

        I could go into more detail but you either get the point or you don’t. for the people who are unwilling to educate themselves there isn’t much I can do, but I try. FREEDOM GOOD GOVENMENT BAD!!! Is that simple enough?

        Mooser, as for Ron Paul not ascending to hights of political power, your right he propably won’t mainly because of all the no nothing sheeple like you. I also doubt if he cares one bit for “power” anyway. It’s not exactly his thing.

        What Ron Paul does the best is educate. Unfortunately some people are hopeless and refuse to use their brains for anything other than repeating nonsense they hear from some other idiot.

        However, I’m really not all that worried. Once his ideas become popular all the anti-libertarians will suddenly become fans and swear they were forever. Somehow it will have been their idea all along. It really doesn’t make that much of a difference to me either way. I will continue to live my life as free from government as possible and wake up as many people as I can.

        Ron Paul 100% Richard’s conversations 0%. Still waiting on Mooser. But I won’t hold my breath.

        Peace!

      2. Why don’t you asker Mooser what he thinks of Israel and then compare that to Ron Paul. Mooser is nothing but an idiot partisan troll.

        Don’t expect him to do other than agree with others or point to things others have said because he can’t think for himself unless it involves making fun of his fellow Jews.

      3. Hey Mooser, how about that Israel?

        And it’s partisan morons like you, Mooser, who will always prevent any sort of “left/right” alliance that Glenn and Phil talk about. People like you who are too stupid to think for themselves and have to make everything a partisan issue, even though Ron Paul was one of five people in the house to vote against our cheerleading of the Gaza slaughter.

        Like I said Mooser, you’re pathetic.

      4. Mooser; Antiwar.com is a Libertarian anti-interventionist website. It promotes a viewpoint of the USA as having a non-interventionist foreign policy. I believe in the USA only engaging in conflict as a LAST possible resource and only when TRULY vital national interests are at stake (the war in Iraq met neither of these criteria). I would like to see foreign aid reduced or even scrapped, support ending the military-industrial complex, America abandoning its imperial pretensions and a strictly limited federal government where the constitution is respected and adhered to. Currently I feel these views are best expressed by Ron Paul to whom you have made vague, ambiguous and disdainful comments. Now if you want to provide legitimate commentary or provoke meaningful thought or debate welcome aboard. But if you’ve come here just to be a DICK, we already have Tim R. for that.

  14. Mooser will trash Israel all day long, then trash Ron Paul as being a stinker in the next breath.

    That’s blind partisan idiocy for you folks!

    What a moron.

  15. In my hunble opinon the department of education is still for the most part a good thing. I fear ppl like paul(and the majority of republicans) want to get rid of public education. I don’t at all agree with overturning roe v wade as that will adversly affect poor women in the south and that is not cool. I also don’t like his position on gay marriage. I know alot of you feel the above are state rights but if we had went with Paul like figures blacks wouldn’t have been able to vote for a while until state demogrpahics changed. I think Paul is basically decent, better than repubs/demos, but where I disagree with him it is severe. For the record I am a liberal and I am nothing like Raimondo says. I am anti-war, I think freedoms have been infringed on and I do think grps like true liberals and libertarians need to find a middle ground but mocking liberals won’t help. Guys like Chris Floyd and Chomsky stand by their guns regardless, what you ppl are thinking of are neoliberals and faux “progressives” i.e. Friedman,Obama,Stewart,Colbert,Olbermann etc.

    1. Thanks for the well thought out comment. I have a few points of contention. First, the Department of Education is not a good thing in any way. Forcing me to pay for public schools is bad enough but forcing me to pay for a Department that does nothing but mandate unrealistic goals is just to much. The closer you can keep the money to it’s sourse the better it will be spent. My community knows best how to spend the money it recieves not some buricrat in Washingington or even at the State Capitol.

      Second Roe vs. Wade. I won’t get into Abortion much other that to say again what Ron Paul’s point of view is. He believes that it is morraly wrong but even so it is not the Federal Governments right to make law regarding this. Your defense of Roe vs Wade is actually a defense of Large Government and Federal Government control over the States. That also is a bad thing. Do you really want an all powerfull Federal Government? That is unfortunatly what you get when you allow the Feds to controll the States.

      “I am anti-war, I think freedoms have been infringed on” I’m glad you feel that way. However, what you fail to understand is the reason for the war and the loss of freedom, which is in a fact a direct result of an unrestrained Federal Government.

      The problem with many Liberals is they believe that Uncle Sam is their friend and can solve all thier problems. He isn’t and he can’t. Giving away yet more and more power to the Feds whether it be For Liberal Casuses or for the war machine leads to the same problem. Too much power is held in the hands of too few people. They abuse this power and always will. The unintended consequences of do gooding programs no matter how well intentioned are to vast to list. But here is a start: loss of productivity from misalocation of funds, Loss of personal property rights through the theft of taxation and inflation. Loss of freedom by the ever increasing prohibitive laws. etc, etc, etc.

      Peace!

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