KING: He’s made three runs for the White House, and now his son, US Senator Rand Paul, is aiming for the Oval Office. Ron Paul, former Republican member of the House of Representatives. And one time Libertarian presidential nominee is my guest on this edition of PoliticKING.
Welcome to PoliticKING, I’m Larry King. He is always outspoken, opinionated, and one of a kind. He’s Ron Paul. He joins me from Clute, Texas. Former congressman, he’s a physician. He’s made White House bids twice as a Republican, once in 1998 as the Libertarian party’s nominee. He’s the founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, he’s an outspoken advocate for limited government, personal liberty, and low taxes, and you can catch him as he hosts the “Ron Paul Liberty Report” and you’ve seen ads for a latest thing that he’s got, about you and your finances about what this country’s going to, or coming to. We’ll get to that in a minute. What are your thoughts about your son’s success in the Senate? End the Fed Best Price: $0.25 Buy New $7.27 (as of 03:25 EDT - Details)
PAUL: Well, I think it’s wonderful because I know how tough of a job he has. You know, because it’s not nice to be in a place where you really want to get along, but you have to stand your ground, and everybody’s yelling and screaming at you, you have to believe in something to do that. Too often people just capitulate, and go along to get along because that’s how you advance in Washington. So I thought he did a great job because he was dealing with something very, very important. I think he realizes the obstacles and also what might happen in the future. But he made the point very clearly. I thought he handled himself very well.
KING: Now as I understand it, we are still going to have some sort of USA Freedom Act, right? It’ll be somewhat diminished from what it is now.
PAUL: Well, that’s what they’re telling you and that’s why a lot of people are voting for the reform act, but actually it’s making things worse. Because, the first thing is it’s making government a partner with big business, as you know. Verizon, and AT&T, so they’re doing the government’s work. I don’t like that. I don’t like the mixture. But the other thing that is very, very bad, is that they’re cancelling, or they’re working toward the court ruling. The court ruled that the Patriot Act, the way it’s written, did not legalize this collection of data, and now what they’re doing in the reform package is making sure that the law says this. When the court ruled, they did not rule on the Fourth Amendment, they just ruled and said, well the Patriot act is pretty vague on that, it doesn’t say that you can’t do this, so they’re correcting that. So, one thing in Washington, when they have a reform of something, you cannot trust them. Because reform usually means that they’re making things a lot worse, and also you have to be very, very cautious about anything about a Freedom Report or the Patriot act. I thought that was very unpatriotic, what they were doing, but everybody after 9/11 said, oh, well we can’t vote against the Patriot act, so I think the reform act is a very, very dangerous thing to go. It’s not a slight improvement, as some people argue.
KING: It’s a dilemma to many people. He said — your son said yesterday, “I acknowledge a need for a robust intelligence agency, and for a vigilant national security. I believe we must fight terrorism. I believe we must stand strong against our enemies. But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not. There has to be another way.” Do you agree totally with that statement?
PAUL: Well, probably just, very, very close to everything, but the point is very important. Why do we give up our liberties? We go to war, we send our kids over there, fight wars that are undeclared, they make no sense whatsoever, and they’re made to protect our liberties and protect our Constitution. Well, why would we do to ourselves what we’re claiming they might do to us from coming overseas. So we in this process, undermine our Constitution. It wasn’t a lack of—it wasn’t because we had too much freedom that was the problem, but now we have less freedom and the way we are fighting the war on terrorism, and I think they have made a lot of mistakes.
KING: The problem is, isn’t it, Ron, when you deal with fear, when you instill fear into people, in Hitler, in 1937, discarded warrants, and his argument was, if you have nothing to hide, what are you afraid if we don’t need a warrant to come into your house? We have troubles in this country and we should weed out the bad people. And that appealed to Germans. The Revolution: A Mani... Best Price: $0.25 Buy New $5.00 (as of 06:00 EDT - Details)
PAUL: Well it appeals to a lot of Americans right now, I hear it all the time. It’s very scary because people, when they’re fearful, and that is a technique and a tool for those who believe in a lot more government than I do, they want to make the people fearful, but they can do this in economic policy too, well if the government doesn’t take care of you, there will be poverty, and everybody’s going to suffer. But the government has these programs, and look at how many people are suffering right now, the middle class is getting wiped out so that hasn’t worked. And of course, the fear around the world is that we have to spread America’s greatness, we have to have a program of promoting democracy around the world, and what do we end up with? A lot of constant wars if they do have an election and they don’t elect the person that we want, we go get rid of them. So I think the idea that we are exceptional and we can tell the world how to live is the wrong approach. I think we can be an exceptional nation, we have been an exceptional nation, but we should set a standard. We should practice civil liberties, we should have a good economy, and let people say, hey America is great, I wonder what they’re doing, maybe we ought to follow them. But for us to use authority and force and guns and threaten people, I claim we’ve only had two kinds of foreign policy. If other countries would do exactly as we say, we give them billions and billions of dollars. If they don’t do exactly as we tell them, we turn on them and we kill them. And I think there’s a third option, and that is a little bit of diplomacy and a little bit of common sense.
KING: Your son’s party, though, is the one that probably most favors the Patriot Act. He ran against his own party, in a sense. How will this affect him, do you think, in the Republican primaries?
PAUL: Well it’s a challenge, but I found out that we were able to do quite well by inviting people in who otherwise wouldn’t vote in the Republican primary. But I also believe you don’t sacrifice truth. If you believe in something, and you if you believe that the Constitution is right and the Fourth Amendment is right and privacy should be protected. You know, that individual who promotes it isn’t the problem. The problem is that too many people wimp out and say, well you know we have to be safe and we have to give up our liberties if we don’t have anything to hide. And to give more and more authority, let the government go into business with big business, and that of course is bad, and let financial situations just get worse. No, if that’s what they believe, to go along with them would be, in my mind, criminal. It would be sacrificing your whole soul to go along because you think you’re going to do better. But what we need to do in this country is make sure that the majority of the American people really want their freedoms back again. And quite frankly, I think we’d be a lot safer, there’d be a lot more peace, and this economy would be a heck of a lot better considering the trillions and trillions of dollars we spend on the war machine, military investor complex and how about that many, many trillions of dollars we spent bailing out the rich when the economic crisis hit. That can all change, we could have such a different situation, and I just sort of am sad that more people don’t wake up and listen to the truth.
KING: You think it will change?
PAUL: The country and the world? Liberty Defined: 50 Es... Best Price: $1.56 Buy New $10.39 (as of 07:05 EDT - Details)
KING: And the economic policy? Are you optimistic and pessimistic?
PAUL: On the short run, I’m very pessimistic, we have to go through the ringer. But I’m optimistic about how things are going because the undercurrent in the intellectual community, in many universities and outside the universities on the internet, liberty is once again a very precious issue, and it’s being debated, and young people are paying attention. I think it’ll take another generation. I do not think you can have this much debt and now invest and privileges that are building the economy. I think that has to be eliminated, which will be painful, but if we prolong the agony and keep bailing out people and dumping the debt on the people, this will go on for many, many years. Just like in Japan, they will not admit that there was a problem, and you have to liquate debt in a malinvestment. So I see that as a problem.
KING: This weekend, Ron, CIA director, John Brennan, said the critics of the Patriot Act were involved in political grandstanding, and crusading for ideological causes. He called the tools in the Patriot Act important to American lives. And when you expressed a threat like that, that from the CIA director in a democratic administration, it’s going to carry weight, isn’t’ it?
PAUL: Well, I think that’s totally misleading. He’s working on getting people fearful, and Brennan is the guy that was in charge of the torture program and the assassination program. And now he’s the chief of the CIA. So, I don’t think he’s a standard in any way, whatsoever, for defending American liberties.
KING: Your son recently stirred a lot of controversy when he asserted that the hawks in a Republican party were the blame for the rise of ISIS. He said that everything that they’ve talked about in foreign policy has been wrong for 20 years, and I know you are against the War in Iraq.
PAUL: Right, and I think it’s more than 20 years and I think it’s more than just Republicans, I think it’s a mentality that’s been around for many, many years, even all the way back to WWI, when we’d assumed that we had to be the policemen of the world and make the world safe for democracy. And it’s ongoing. This is why I think our problems can only be addressed with education and philosophy, because it’s not a partisan thing. I want to see a revolution, a peaceful revolution of this country, but if it’s successful, it will infiltrate Democrats and Republicans, not only Independents that liberty should be the issue, a financial system built to help the wealthy, an intrusion of civil liberty—all of these things, and we have to change the foreign policy. But it’s an intellectual thing, it’s not just the hawks in the Republican party, because quite frankly, there’s just as many hawks in the Democratic party. I mean, with our president now, who says a lot of good things about backing off from war, he has a war going on and we’re very much involved unnecessarily in Ukraine. He’s a participant in the civil war in Yemen on the Saudi side, and we’re in a lot of places around the world, so it is bipartisan, it’s philosophic, and we have to have people, once again believe in liberty, the foreign policy that defends america but is not the policemen of the world and we don’t have the right nor the facilities to throw our weight around and tell the rest of the world how to live. A Foreign Policy of Fr... Best Price: $0.25 Buy New $2.99 (as of 12:05 EDT - Details)
KING: Do you think the national security issues will be a big part of the debate in the presidential election?
PAUL: Yes, and I think there will be a lot of demagoguing too, because people have already started it. You know, Rand suggests that there is a different way and there’s some flaws, so all the hawks come out. Democrats and Republicans will come out because they belong to the military industrial complex, they belong to the financial system, and no matter what the rhetoric is and no matter how populous they sound, yes, they’re going to come down hard on foreign policy. For some reason, it is the big issue, there’s a lot of money involved, whether it’s a foreign aid money, or whether it’s the military industrial complex. You know, if we’re building a bomber, it’s always building fifty states to make sure nobody votes against it because it’ll be bad for jobs. See that is the gross distortion of what we have to deal with.
KING: And the major thing that Dwight Eisenhower worried about when he left office. We’ll be back more with our former Congressman, Ron Paul, you always know where he stands, we’ll be back right after this.
Welcome back to PoliticKING, my guest is Ron Paul, former republican member of the US House of Representatives, one time libertarian presidential nominee, he made three runs for the White House and now his son, US Senator Rand Paul, is aiming for that office. He’s the founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, and he hosts the “Ron Paul Liberty Report.” You can get information on that on the internet. What are your concerns about the trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal?
PAUL: Well, I’m not for it and the main reason is it’s an illegal transfer of power, so even if there happens to be something good in it, you don’t sacrifice the Constitution. The Constitution is very clear that the Congress has the authority to regulate commerce. You can’t just say to the president, you can do whatever you want, and a matter of fact, they have agreed in this policy, that what they put into this, they can keep information secret. And it’ll be as classified, and even that should be enough to stop it. But I don’t like it because it’s thousands of pages, very complex, has to do with protectionism, even though it’s all done in the name of free trade. I’m a free trader, I believe in low tariffs, I believe that people can spend the money they want, but this has nothing to do with free trade. This has to do with managed trade, and it helps certain companies over others, and it’s a good way to get permission to put on tariffs and controls when you’re annoyed with what other companies are doing. So I don’t like the idea of another governmental body regulating things. Our government and our Constitution is very clear that we should have free trade and we should be willing to work and travel back and forth and not be an isolationist. But, to have another government body like this one that you’re proposing, is not a good idea.
KING: But they have some odd bedfellow opponents. You’ve got Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, many members of the tea party, labor unions, and libertarians. They’re all against this.
PAUL: Yeah, and sometimes it’s different for different reasons too. But that’s the way politics works, is you do work with people who might have disagreements about other things, but come together on an issue. They might have a The Case for Gold Best Price: $1.74 Buy New $27.59 (as of 08:35 EDT - Details) reason to be opposed to this agreement, than I do, but still, it looks like the special interest, the powerful special interest are very much in favor of this, and this is why Obama is being challenged by the progressive wing of the Democratic party, because they’re not for it.
KING: How do you rate your son’s chances, Ron? I know you’re rooting for your offspring, he’s a physician as well, he certainly speaks his mind. How do you rate his chances?
PAUL: Well, I think they’re good, I think they’re a lot better than mine. I think his biggest job is the thing I had to put up with, was sometimes when I came in second or even in first in some of the polling they would just ignore. I think they’re having a little bit harder of a time ignoring him, I think a Senate seat is much better, and I think he does an excellent job in presenting the case so who knows. I think he has as good as chance as the rest because in the polling that’s going on right now, he’s ranking quite well.
KING: Yeah, you can’t ignore him. Fox News is hosting the first presidential debate among the Republicans. It’s going to restrict the number of participants. Contendants have to place within the top ten in five major national polls to participate. What do you think of that.
PAUL: I don’t like the debate process, you know. When in ‘07 when Fox was holding the first one, about two days before was being held, and I was doing very well on the polls, they just uninvited me, which was, as far as the campaign goes, it wasn’t very helpful. So, no, I think there has to be a better way of choosing, I mean it’s sort of like, why do the candidates roll over and abide by the rules of some commercial organization that has an agenda? And Fox certainly has a very powerful agenda, so who knows the rating. I know that even on their polling after debates, I usually won all the polling, but they would say, well there’s a mistake and they would ignore it, so I don’t like the idea that somebody like Fox has sort of monopoly control of how a debate will be run.
KING: Do you think your politics hurt or help your son?
PAUL: It probably helps more than it hurts, but you know, because I was Independent, he’s rather Independent, if you’re working for the status quo, it provides some problems. But I think he does a much better job at overcoming that, and here he has McConnell has endorsed him for the presidency, so I would say that he’s done pretty good at trying to work within the Republican party, and that’s been one of his goals, but he’s also claimed that he has to grow the Republican party and that’s why he spent so much time on civil liberties and the drug war and how the minorities have been mistreated in the drug war, and I think that is very good. So I think that he has done quite well in that regard, but it’s also a challenge, obviously.
KING: You were in congress when Dennis Hastert was the Speaker of the House, I interviewed him a few times. How do you react to the indictment? Pillars of Prosperity:... Best Price: $1.80 Buy New $6.00 (as of 09:35 EDT - Details)
PAUL: Total surprise and shock, even though I didn’t know him. I mean I probably said hello to him a couple times, but I never really had a conversation with him. But his image and for me, and it’s actually like most people reciting now, how can the believe something like this. All I know is it’s a sad tragedy.
KING: Ireland voted to change its Constitution, Civil marriage okay to same sex couples. I know you’ve been opposed to that. How did you react to that Catholic country voting to okay it, and are you running against the tide?
PAUL: Oh no, I think you misquoted me there, I’ve never been opposed to it. I don’t like national laws. I like state laws, states can do whatever they want, but the principle position in a free society is that governments aren’t involved. Why do you have to get a license to go get married? Why can’t we go to the preacher or the priest and get married and call ourselves married? So in a free society, anybody can be married, and call it what they want and that would be it and you’d solve all these problems about who’s married and who’s not.
KING: State’s involved, I guess, because of the children, right?
PAUL: Well, yes, and we have too many laws. I don’t like the drug laws, I don’t like marriage laws, I don’t have licensing. Licensing in general is very bad. If you’re a hairdresser, the big companies will try to put you out of business, or whether it’s a plumbing company, oh you don’t have a license to do plumbing, welders don’t have licenses—it’s a gimmick to limit entrance into a trade. So if all licenses are—it serves an agenda. I think of a marriage license is the same way. We don’t need a marriage license, and we don’t need to fight over the definition. Should you have the law change the definition of something for a lot of people who don’t want to change? So if you just ignore it and let people do what they want, all of a sudden it’s a non issue.
KING: Alright. You want to abolish the federal reserve, we’ll get into that on our next interview with you because I always love having you on. But we have some social media questions for Ron Paul. Don Fencer asks, would you support using military force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?
KING: A simple no? Eric Sweigle wants to know, what’s your stance on genetically modified foods and the herbicides that are used with them? Gold, Peace, and Prosp... Best Price: $11.02 Buy New $7.00 (as of 09:30 EDT - Details)
PAUL: Well you don’t want a lot of regulations, you don’t want to make the final decisions on that, the market can handle it, but the consumer and anybody who has a consumer organization ought to be taking care of the warnings of that because I think there’s a lot of questions about it. But a lot of that stuff, when it comes to growing corn and different things, things get modified, there’s a lot of government regulations and permissions and licensing going on there, so no, but you don’t want to prohibit it, but there’s every reason in the world why people should pay attention. Matter of fact, this modified organization, I mean, they are being curtailed, I see the advertisers all the time. This is not modified, and because the people have awakened and decided they do not want this kind of stuff, so it can be handled. In a free society you’d have a lot more of these citizen organizations that would be providing the information, it wouldn’t be biased by government laws and people getting influenced by high paid lobbyists. That’s what happens when you have some of this go on, and all you have to do is get a lobbyist and get somebody in Washington to lobby for you, sort of like the drug industry is that way, so I don’t like that method. There’s always an alternative, which is probably better than a government regulatory system.
KING: Salvator on our PoliticKING blog, what are your predictions with Iran and the nuclear deal?
PAUL: Well, this is one area where I think that Obama has done reasonable things. I think that he’s doing a reasonable thing on Cuba, why should we not be talking to Cuba, why can’t we travel, you know the Cold War is not so visible anymore. I think we should be talking to the Iranians. When you mentioned before about building up fear, I think the fear is way over the top when it comes to Iran. When’s the last time Iran invaded to occupy a neighboring company? I think it’s like 250 years ago.
KING: Good point.
PAUL: That is not your goal, but everybody has an axe to grind, and you have to look behind the scenes on actually why.
KING: Well said. Against the State: An ... Best Price: $6.50 Buy New $9.94 (as of 03:05 EDT - Details)
PAUL: But I don’t want them to get a nuclear weapon, but to go to war over this? I mean just think of the agitation of the last 15 or 20 years about trying to prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear war and all the screaming and hollering about a weapon that doesn’t exist. What about the Cold War during the 60s? I was in the military for five years. There were 20, 30 thousand nuclear weapons held by mad men and we didn’t hysterical about it, we didn’t have to say, well we have to go to war. All we had to do was wait to show that their economic system was deeply flawed. But this whole idea that going to war on the pretense that the Iranians might get a weapon, and so far our intelligence agency, as well as the UN, has never claimed that they have broken the treaty of the non proliferation treaty. And there are some countries in the Middle East that have nuclear weapons, and they never even joined the non proliferation treaty, and nobody seems to worry about them.
KING: Ron, it’s always great talking to you, stay well.
PAUL: Very good, good to talk to you, Larry.
KING: Ron Paul. Great guy. And thanks to you for joining us as well. Remember, I want to hear from you. Join me on Facebook, or share your thoughts on Twitter by tweeting @KingsThings and use the #PoliticKING hashtag. I’ll see you back here soon for another edition of PoliticKING.