Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Critique of Ron Paul

Originally Written on November 15th, 2011
For a YouTube Video Which Would Have Been Entitled
“The Ron Paul Contrast Ad”

Edited and Expanded on December 6th and 7th, 2015

I first became familiar with Texas Congressman Ron Paul on May 3rd, 2007, when he appeared on the first televised Republican debate of the 2008 presidential election. The following year, I registered as a Republican in Wisconsin, in order to vote for the congressman in the national Republican primary, and on the day of the election, I wrote-in his name on the ballot for the presidency.
These days [in November 2011], I find myself agreeing with Dr. Paul about two-thirds to three-quarters of the time. In light of various criticisms of a potential Ron Paul presidency which were made on the eve of the 2008 election by Canadian voluntaryist philosopher Stefan Molyneux, in proponence of some legalistic and non-legalistic tactics which I have come to feel that the congressman has failed to properly or sufficiently emphasize, in attentiveness to geopolitical circumstances and history which I feel the congressman has overlooked, and in defense of my stances on policy topics on which I simply disagree with the congressman, I will detail thirteen major areas of policy on which I feel Congressman Paul and I differ to some significant degree, and I will explain why I believe that my suggested improvements to Dr. Paul’s platform would be more conducive to the simultaneous manifestation of legitimate governance, contract rights, freedom of association, individual liberty and sovereignty, free and fair trade, and socioeconomic justice in a free-market system.
The thirteen areas of policy on which I feel that Congressman Paul and I differ to some significant or notable degree are (1) abortion; (2) gay marriage; (3) immigration-related issues; (4) election reform; (5) taxation; (6) tactics for achieving socioeconomic justice; (7) the Federal Reserve System; (8) U.S.-Israeli foreign policy; (9) U.S.-Iranian foreign policy; (10) the conflict in Libya; (11) issues pertaining to the events of September 11th, 2001; (12) issues pertaining to the citizenship and eligibility status of the current president of the United States; and (13) the abolition of several federal departments.

1. Abortion
If Ron Paul were elected president, and there were to become a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, President Paul would likely appoint Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge and [as of 2011] the host of FOX Business’s program “Freedom Watch”. Napolitano is a libertarian, and a pro-life Catholic.
In the event that Napolitano’s appointment were approved by the Senate and he found himself on the Supreme Court, and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision were challenged, Associate Justice Napolitano would likely be one of five justices to support such a challenge, comprising a pro-life majority.
This would cause the Roe decision to be found unconstitutional, effectively giving the states power to regulate abortion. Currently [as of 2011], seven states have provisions in their laws which would immediately prohibit abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade were overturned.
Like Andrew Napolitano and Ron Paul, I oppose the Roe decision, but for the opposite reason, and due to that reason, I would pursue different tactics in order to invalidate it.
I oppose the Roe decision because it has been used as a precedent to prohibit partial-birth abortion on the national level [Note: as of 2015, I no longer support the legality of partial-birth abortion]. It is for this reason that I feel that Roe v. Wade could be a slippery slope to the prohibition of all abortions on a nationwide basis.
To echo the sentiment of a libertarian bumper sticker, “I’m pro-choice on everything”; on every issue I favor the right of each individual to make his or her own decisions, so long as those decisions do not directly harm another person or their legitimate property.
I accept that a person is a human being in-utero, and I would never argue that a parent has the right to determine whether a child who has been born is truly a person – being that such an argument could be used to excuse infanticide – but I believe that when discussing human beings who have not been born, arguments about personhood can be distracting from the moral dilemma which I regard as the central issue of abortion.
I believe that individual liberty includes the right to judge whether it is truly more despicable either to terminate a pregnancy or to risk bringing a child into a world where it and its mother may suffer for the remainder of their lives.
Additionally, the thought that an abortionist and / or a woman who has an abortion could be prosecuted – and potentially even charged with murder – for participating in an abortion, is something that I would never want any segment of our civil society to be free to permit.
I think it is obvious to everyone today that there is a shortage of doctors in this country – and, to an even greater extent, the world – in general, and I would hate to see doctors with skills and educations involving medical issues other than those directly pertaining to the performance of abortions imprisoned or executed for ever having participated in the performance of such a procedure, as much as I would hate to see any potential mother who is concerned about the world their child would grow up in imprisoned and / or executed for simply being a victim of her socioeconomic environment, and for not wanting to pass-on such harm to the unborn out of a sense of misdirected resentment of the condition of her society and of humanity in general.

With regard to the states’ rights aspect of the abortion issue, I am generally in favor of the freedom of choice – that is, for states to choose the majority of their own policies – and I also – for the most part – support Ronald Reagan’s saying “vote with your feet”, meaning that if someone doesn’t like the laws of the state in which they are living, he or she can always move.
However, considering that the federal and state governments exercise jurisdiction over such large geographical territories, that pregnancies last for shorter periods of time than election cycles, and that many women who can barely afford to pay for abortions also – most likely – could not afford to relocate to a state where abortion laws would be more permissive, I feel that it would be too costly and time-consuming for citizens to have any abortion policy other than the following:
I would support an amendment to the Constitution which would require the states to legalize all forms of abortion - including partial-birth abortion [this was my position in 2011, but as of 2015 I am opposed to partial-birth abortion] - and to prohibit the county and municipal governmental agencies under their jurisdictions from making abortion illegal and/or punishable.
In summary, while I applaud Ron Paul for his consistent support of states' rights on the abortion issue - as well as for exercising restraint from joining Rick Santorum and others in support of a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion - because the states do ultimately have the final say on the matter. However, because I feel that the federal courts should not have any involvement in the issue - as they have shown themselves incapable of consistently supporting the freedom of choice - I would support the only legalistic method of permitting abortion nationwide, which is to allow three-quarters of the states to compel the remainder of the states to enact an abortion policy which such a supermajority would favor.

2. Gay Marriage
      Ron Paul supports the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which legally defines marriage as between one man and one woman at the federal level, and also permits states to choose whether to recognize gay marriages valid in other states.
      As in the abortion issue – as much as I respect Congressman Paul’s consistent support for states’ rights – I must again differ with him on the issue of gay marriage, although not to such an extreme degree as I would differ with him on abortion policy.
      I feel that the fact that the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages which are valid in states does not merely create a national problem, but an international problem.
      Being that a person can become a U.S. citizen by marrying a U.S. citizen, a partner to a same-sex marriage which is valid in the state in which he or she resides may be deported if that person is a foreign national, due to the fact that the federal government does not recognize the validity of that marriage.
      In order to remedy this problem, I would recommend that the Defense of Marriage Act be repealed, and replaced with a bill that would prohibit the federal government from adopting any legal definition of marriage, require the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages which are valid in any state, and require states to recognize same-sex marriages which are valid in other states.
      I would note that such a bill would still permit the states to choose whether to legalize same-sex marriage in the first place.

3. Immigration
      I agree with Congressman Paul that to build a fence along the entire span of the U.S.-Mexico border would be costly, impractical, and unnecessary; that we should continue to promote a path to legal citizenship for immigrants; that there should be no national identification card; and that the eVerify turns makes the potential employers into de-facto border patrol agents.
      I also believe that our mutual opposition to the war on drugs, gun control, and the federal minimum wage law would help ameliorate many of the problems associated with Mexican and Central-American immigration into the U.S.; and I support Ron Paul’s opposition to the federal Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (D.R.E.A.M.) Act.
      However, I would criticize the congressman for his stance on policy regarding English as the official national language, birthright citizenship, state “D.R.E.A.M.” acts, border patrol and enforcement, and amnesty.

English as the National Language:
      I would oppose efforts to make English the official language (for the purpose of written government documents) at the national or federal level because I fear that such legislation could be used to give the federal government the power to prohibit states from conducting any official government business in languages other than English.
      While I understand the sentiment held by many Americans that prospective U.S. citizens should learn English, I would emphasize that the wave of immigration from Spanish-speaking countries has been more persistent than most other waves of immigration throughout U.S. history, so – in truth – it only appears that Spanish-speaking immigrants to the United States are not learning English, due to the fact that many of them have only arrived relatively recently, while most of those who arrived earlier have already learned English.

Birthright Citizenship:
      While Ron Paul opposes the national birthright citizenship provision codified in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, I would argue that that provision only entitles native-born individuals to become U.S. citizens if they willingly subject themselves to the jurisdiction of some state (this is to emphasize that no government may force a person to submit to its jurisdiction and become a citizen).
      Since individuals – in the acts of becoming citizens – voluntarily subject themselves to the jurisdiction of governments, there is a mutual exchange between citizen and government – i.e., government protection in exchange for citizen allegiance and other responsibilities – so I disagree with the notion that birthright citizenship has anything to do with entitlement or irresponsibility.
      I feel that the birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment should be interpreted as meaning that no person who shall have been born in a territory under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government – whether that person’s parents are citizens or illegal immigrants – may be denied application for citizenship or prohibited from willingly subjecting himself or herself to the jurisdiction of an American government in whose jurisdictional territory he or she resides or was born.

The Federal D.R.E.A.M. Act:
      While I would join Ron Paul in an effort to repeal the federal Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (D.R.E.A.M.) Act – especially in light of the fact that the D.R.E.A.M. Act was defeated by the U.S. Congress, and only became law through an executive order signed by President Obama – I would criticize Congressman Paul for his opposition to state D.R.E.A.M.-Act-type legislation, such as the type signed into law by Texas Governor Rick Perry and California Governor Jerry Brown.
      While I do not believe that it is within the federal government’s authority to provide welfare for illegal immigrants – especially in light of the facts that the U.S. Congress defeated the federal D.R.E.A.M. Act bill, that it constitutes specific individual welfare rather than a general public good, and that illegal immigrants not having welfare does not interfere with the regulation of interstate commerce in that there is no conceivable way it could provoke the states to practice domestic protectionism – I feel that state welfare for illegal immigrants is a step in the right direction, but only if the institution and proceedings of such state governments are non-coercive and subject to traditional common contract law.
      I would also note that D.R.E.A.M.-Act-type legislation does not grant citizenship, but only permanent residency, and that that residency status and such welfare are only given to illegal immigrants who have completed either a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (G.E.D.), are in good legal standing in regards to their criminal records, and have completed either at least two years of a higher-education program or two years in military service.
      Additionally, there are many individuals who could be assisted by this legislation who did not even become illegal immigrants through any fault or awareness of their own; namely, those who were brought to this country by their illegal-immigrant parents when they were children.
      However, despite my support of state D.R.E.A.M.-Act-type legislation at the state level, I would stress that state-provided social welfare for illegal immigrants would likely be proven inefficient and unnecessary in the event that a concerted effort by county and municipal governments, religious organizations, charity organizations, labor unions, businesses, and private donors would be shown to be capable of sufficiently providing illegal immigrants with the job skills, education, housing, funding, and legal statuses which they would need in order to become faithful residents of the United States, as well as productive members of the work force and the tax base.

Amnesty and Crime:
      Ron Paul has expressed the opinion that anyone who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation – or comes into this country in any other illegal manner – should be arrested and deported to the country from whence they came. He has also said that he would not support "automatic citizenship by a vote", referring to proposed amnesty bills (he also opposes amnesty through executive order). However, he has also stated that he is not in favor of “rounding up eleven million people” who are in this country illegally.
      Even after outlining a policy on illegal immigration which I believe is as lenient as my interpretation of the Constitution would allow, I am not ashamed to say that I support amnesty for illegal immigrants. I believe that the simple action of knowingly and deliberately crossing an international border illegally should not be considered a criminal transgression.
      This is because – in the act of crossing a border which is artificially created and arbitrarily defined by governments – there is no corpus delicti (which is to say that it is a victimless crime) as there is no real person who can rightfully claim that either himself of his property was harmed.
      This is not to say, however, that an immigrant who – after crossing a border or coming into this country in any other illegal manner – physically hurts someone; steals, damages, or trespasses on someone’s property; or comes to participate in a government social welfare program through fraudulent means, and / or without contributing what he or she would be expected to contribute were that person a citizen (and by “social welfare”, I mean to include public defense; i.e., protection by the police and the military) – should not be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law for doing so.
      This is also not to say that a citizen of a foreign government should not be extradited, prosecuted, and punished by that government for breaking a law against illegal emigration, as long as that foreign government was constituted in a manner which is consistent with traditions of common contract law.
      I would add that the immigration policies which have been considered by the state of Arizona, and a town in Alabama, attempted to unilaterally enforce would only serve to turn the Hispanic populations of those areas into even more of pariahs than they already are by making race and skin color – rather than reasonable suspicion that some corpus delicti crime were being committed – sufficient grounds for police confrontation, arrest, and deportation.
      I would add that, in a situation in which there were reasonable suspicion that a corpus delicti crime had been committed by a person, and if it were discovered, following this, upon a search incident to arrest, or during the course of subsequent legal proceedings, that that person had come into this country illegally, only in this situation would I find deportation appropriate.
     Although I share Paul's concerns about the unchecked power of the executive to do anything, including to issue an order bringing about amnesty, I would support any efforts by a president to pardon non-violent immigrants who entered the U.S. unlawfully.

Amnesty and Freedom of Trade:
      I would also argue that an open-border immigration policy would promote the freedom of trade. I believe that – in the same manner as the federal minimum wage law – the international border is an artificial barrier which is arbitrarily delineated by government in order to restrain the freedom of trade, and to act as a protectionist measure to secure and entrench the wealth, prosperity, and social status of the most economically privileged, societally well-adjusted, and linguistically fluent within a nation at the expense of all others.

Amnesty and Politics:
      I feel that the right’s support of an immigration policy which includes arrest and deportation and opposes welfare and the left’s support of a policy that includes welfare and opposes arrests and deportation only serve as distractions from each side’s mutual resentment of the fact that the tendency of immigrants to tolerate lower wages contributes to a decline in the average market value of entry-level labor, which threatens the standards in wages, benefits, and conditions of jobs held by Americans of both greater political persuasions who are accustomed to their middle-to-high socioeconomic statuses and speak English as a first language.
      I believe that having a federal immigration policy which promotes either or both deportation of and welfare for illegal immigrants only serves to confuse attitudes towards immigrants on a large scale, and so – for that reason – I would favor an immigration policy which permits state, county, and municipal governments the liberty to determine labor standards and welfare for illegals; and religious organizations, charity organizations, labor unions, businesses, private donors, and the voting public the freedom to lobby the representatives in government to alter the law in order to affect the changes which they wish to see in immigration policy according to the subjective values of each organization, community, and individual which consents to subject itself to the mechanisms, proceedings, and regulations of governments.

      Although Paul does not support the construction of a border fence - and said that ideally, in a libertarian society, borders would be "open and blurred" - he has also said “you can’t just say borders don’t count”. He has also said that he wants more agents on the border, suggesting that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan should return to the U.S., in order to supply additional border enforcement.
      I believe that if we were to take Ron Paul’s suggestion that federal drug laws be repealed, and apply the Non-Aggression Principle consistently, then the amount of border agents currently deployed, or a lesser amount, would be sufficient to enforce laws against violent crime at the border, and only laws against violent crime, being that immigrants would not have to be apprehended for merely crossing the border and/or trafficking drugs.

4. Election Reform
      Although Ron Paul has said “All of [Lysander] Spooner’s writings are worthy of study” and “I don’t criticize Lysander”, in my opinion, Paul has not been sufficiently vocal about putting 19th-Century individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner’s ideas into practice.
      Spooner wrote in his 1870 essay No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority that the secret-ballot election system used in the United States is illegitimate. Spooner explained that elections of political representatives involve “contracts of surety”, which, according to English contract law dating back to the 1670s, are supposed to be written, signed, sealed, delivered, and witnessed by all parties involved in making the contract.
      Since representatives take no formal, written oath to support the Constitution, nor to represent the people who elected them, there is no formal authority for representatives to vote on the behalf of their districts’ constituents.
      I would criticize Paul for failing to point this out, and for declining to recommend legislation requiring an “open-ballot” system, which would require election results to be made public, and require representatives to swear written oaths to support the Constitution and to represent their districts’ constituents, and also possibly apportion the U.S. House of Representatives according to the number of citizens willingly voting in elections, rather than on the sheer number of people living in each district.
     I would also criticize Paul for failing to publicly advocate removing the protections from prosecution for certain classes of crime which our elected representatives currently enjoy, and for failing to advocate legalizing the questioning of public debt.

5. Taxation
      Dr. Paul has entertained the idea of eliminating taxes altogether, expressing criticism of taxation as coercive. He has also advocated drastically reducing the size and scope of the federal government, in order to fund national common defense and little else.
      Although he has entertained the idea of eliminating taxes, and the idea that all government revenues should be earned on a volunteer basis, he has also suggested that federal taxes be reduced to 10% of each person’s income.
      This 10% suggestion is at-odds with Paul’s notion that individual income taxation, and the 16th Amendment which provides for it, are illegitimate. I would criticize Paul for being inconsistent about taxes in this manner.
      As of 2011, I supported the “Pay-Gap Tax”, which I proposed. The legislation, which I termed the “Accelerated Graduated Income Ratio Tax Act”, would tax “personal income in proportion to the salary of the highest-paid employee of a company”, “divided by the annual income of the average [paid] employee of the same company”.
      However, I no longer support my own proposal, because I oppose taxation on personal income, as well as corporate income, on the grounds that income is wealth generated from production. I argue, as the Georgists argue, that production should not be taxed, but instead left alone, and government should be funded only through fines on the abuse of land. Income and sales should not be taxed, because of the potential that such taxes will have the effect of discouraging earning money and selling.
      Although I oppose income taxes, I would have appreciated if Paul, apparently a supporter of income taxation, had suggested, as Milton Friedman proposed, the Negative Income Tax, which taxes personal income over a certain amount, and gives to those earning less than that amount, an amount equal to half of the difference between that amount and the person’s earnings.

6. Tactics for Achieving Socioeconomic Justice
      Ron Paul has expressed support for churches and private charity - as well as people’s neighbors, and “the community” more generally - supplying services that are now typically provided by government; both in general, and specifically in regards to medical care.
      While I commend him for this, I believe that churches, private charities, and communities, are too narrow a set of organizations to name, in order to successfully drive the point home that a plethora of non-governmental agencies could step in to provide services where the government has failed to do so.
      In addition to private charities and religious organizations, I would advocate that services now typically provided by government, be supplied by non-profits, not-for-profits, consumer awareness and advocacy groups, mutuals and consumer cooperatives, mutual aid societies, egalitarian labor-managed firms (E.L.M.F.s, i.e., cooperatives), and labor unions.
      Being a laissez-faire free-market capitalist, Paul and other libertarians are not as inclined as the anti-authoritarians of the left are, to advocate direct-action tactics or mutual aid societies. Libertarians all too often recommend that “the private sector” supply services typically provided by “the public sector” (i.e., government), and using this nomenclature and this dichotomy, unfortunately, only serves to confuse the distinction between profit-oriented capitalist agencies and agencies founded on the principle of voluntary cooperation.

7. The Federal Reserve System
      Although Ron Paul was the only candidate in the 2008 presidential election supporting an audit of the Federal Reserve, and one of the few prominent political figures to bring this issue to the forefront of public discussion to date, I would criticize Paul for stating that he does not think it is necessary to abolish the Federal Reserve altogether.
      Although Paul wrote a book entitled End the Fed, and many of his supporters want to see the agency abolished, Paul has not been consistent about his opposition to the Federal Reserve’s existence. While I agree with Paul and other libertarians that increased congressional oversight over the agency is needed, I do not believe that Congress should control the agency, as that would leave monetary policy subject to politicization.
      I believe that there is no formal constitutional authority for the Federal Reserve to exist, and that generations have fought to end the central banks of their day. I believe that interest rates should be chosen through negotiations between borrowers and lenders, that the federal government should not insure bank deposits, and that the supervision and regulation of banks should and can be performed through negotiation between their employees and their customers.
      I also believe – contrary to Paul’s position that the country should return to a gold standard - that gold should not become the nation’s only currency, but instead that in the absence of a central bank and an official currency, ordinary people who engage in trade will produce a wide variety of commodities and contracts to perform the functions of currencies, including precious metals, gems, non-perishable foods, local currencies, crypto-currencies and e-currencies, and mutuum checks (which combine features of paper currencies, checks, and contracts).

8. U.S.-Israeli Foreign Policy
      Although Paul has sufficiently emphasized the need for the federal government to end military and domestic foreign aid to all countries, and pointed out on the floor of the U.S. House that Israel encouraged Hamas (which the U.S. regards as a terrorist group) to run in a Palestinian election, I would criticize Paul for neglecting to mention the roles which the State of Israel has played in exposing the United States to various dangers.
      Paul has not publicly mentioned the U.S.S. Liberty incident, an incident during the Six-Day War of 1967 when Israeli planes sank an American marine vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 34 onboard, and blaming the bombing on Syria, which was at that time united with Egypt as one nation, the United Arab Republic.
      Paul has not treated the State of Israel as what it is; the only sovereign Middle Eastern country that has successfully attacked an American military target, and the only Middle Eastern country (aside from Pakistan) to possess undeclared nuclear weapons, and to be a non-signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
      Although Paul was one of the politicians who was the most critical of Israel during his tenure, he has neglected to criticize the influence of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (A.I.P.A.C.) on American politics. He has also neglected to criticize the disproportionate amount of Jewish Americans, Zionists, and American-Israeli dual citizens serving in the Supreme Court, the presidential cabinet, and the U.S. Congress.
      Paul has said that he wants to “respect Israel’s sovereignty”, and that it is no business of his whether Israel chooses to relocate its foreign embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, or whether “the City of Jerusalem, whole and undivided, shall be the capital of Israel”. While I agree that such decisions should generally be the prerogative of the sovereign nation in question, I believe that the 1967 “annexation” of East Jerusalem by Israel, was actually a conquest, illegal under international law, and that, therefore, the State of Israel does not have the right to the entire city, whether as its capital or as any portion of its territory.
      Additionally, although Paul met with Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of the anti-Zionist Jewish activist group Neturei Karta, Paul does not seem to have learned anything from the meeting. If he had, he would have emerged from the meeting saying that man-made government shall not exist among the Jews, save for submission to the laws of foreign nations, and constitution of community courts under the Sanhedrin, with duly-ordinated rabbis serving in courts of 23 in small communities, and 71 in Jerusalem.

10. U.S.-Iranian Foreign Policy
      Although Paul has sufficiently emphasized that the Islamic Republic of Iran has never attacked the United States - and that the U.S. has, in fact, provoked Iran in the past, first by overthrowing their democratically-elected leader Mossadegh in 1953, and later, in the 1980s, by supporting and arming (with Israel's help) both sides in the Iraq-Iran War – Paul has not defended Iran as much as I would like him to.
      Additionally, although I would commend Paul for his openness to Obama’s 2015 “Iran deal” regarding that country’s nuclear weapons program, I do not agree with his support of the deal, being that it would require the U.S. to help Iran protect their weapons. I do not believe that supporting the Iran deal for this reason is a true “laissez-faire” stance as applied to foreign policy. I believe that any obligation on the part of the U.S. to help protect another country militarily (including our membership in N.A.T.O.), constitutes an example of the type of “entangling alliance” against which George Washington warned us.
      While Paul has stated that there is no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, I feel that he has not sufficiently emphasized that Iran has signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the State of Israel has not. I feel that the juxtaposition of Iran with Israel is important regarding this issue, being that Israel’s safety is often given as the justification for ginning up fear of a nuclear-armed Iran.
      However, I would commend Paul for attempting to push back against right-wing insistence that “Ahmadinejad said Iran wants to push Israel into the sea”, clarifying that the original quote was from the Ayatollah - not Ahmadinejad – and that the Ayatollah said “the regime which is currently occupying Jerusalem shall vanish from the pages of history,” rather than a quote directly calling for violence against the State of Israel or the Jewish people.

11. The Conflict in Libya
      Although I admire Paul for his insistence that there was no congressional authorization for the 2011 bombing of Libya by the U.S., I believe that there was congressional authorization, however, there was no explicit declaration of war by Congress. I agree with Paul that a declaration of war by Congress would have been necessary to justify that action, and I would commend his opposition to N.A.T.O. commission of U.S. troops.
      I would criticize Ron Paul for saying “we don’t know who we’re fighting” in Libya, “we could be helping al-Qaeda”. While I agree that we shouldn’t be involved in the Middle East because we don’t know who we’re fighting - and because we often train, fund, and arm one group of rebels, or a government, which uses our money and arms to fight another group of rebels or a potential government – I would argue that not only could we be helping al-Qaeda; we are al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda – meaning “the base” - was established in the 1980s under the Reagan Administration as a base of mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which we trained, funded, and armed, in order to fight the Soviets.
      Additionally, Paul apparently had no knowledge that one of the purposes of U.S. intervention in Libya was to back up French and Italian oil interests in the region, as well as Western interest in the country's gold reserves. If he knew about those things, he certainly didn’t mention it publicly.

12. Issues Pertaining to the Events of September 11th, 2001
      Although I would commend Paul for his support for a new investigation of the 9/11 attacks, I believe that he has some of his facts wrong on the attacks, and also that he has been inconsistent about whether the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the attacks, and/or was involved in its planning.
      Although one of his aides claimed that on September 11th, 2001, Paul told members of his staff that   the Bush Administration had foreknowledge of the attacks, he has refused to take a consistent position about this publicly.
      Paul has stated that he believed that Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the attacks. Although it is true that bin Laden praised the attacks, he denied responsibility for them twice on video. Paul was wrong on this, and he has also declined to bring up the business (oil) connections between the bin Laden and Bush families.
      Additionally, Paul has never publicly entertained the possibility that the State of Israel helped carry out the attacks, nor that it at least had something to do with the planning, even though Israel, along with Russia and Italy, was one of the countries that warned the U.S. of possible upcoming attacks before September 2001.

13. Issues Pertaining to Obama’s Citizenship and Eligibility for the Presidency
      I would criticize Paul for never having publicly entertained the possibility that Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States (and thus ineligible for the presidency), and for declining to recommend that Obama be investigated for covering up his past and suppressing the publication of his identification, Social Security, travel and passport, and education records.
     I would like to see a formal congressional investigation of Obama's eligibility, and in the event that a lawsuit concerning that matter were to end up in the Supreme Court, I would like to see justices Sotomayor and Kagen recuse themselves from the case. I also support Reverend James David Manning's "C.I.A. Columbia Obama trial", I believe that the case has standing under the 10th Amendment, and I would like to see Barack Obama face his accusers in a New York State court.

14. Abolition of Federal Departments
      Although I agree with Ron Paul’s support of abolishing the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I would criticize him for neglecting to support the abolition of the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as for supporting the abolition of the Department of the Interior.
      There is no specifically enumerated constitutional authority for federal involvement in labor affairs, agriculture, nor health. While Paul supports abolishing the Department of Commerce, it would seem natural that he would also oppose the Department of Labor, being that both of these agencies were created as parts of a single agency (the Department of Commerce and Labor), just over a hundred years ago, separating during a progressive period of expanding federal government.
      Additionally, I do not believe that a Department of Homeland Security is necessary to support the coordination of the activities of the F.B.I., C.I.A., and N.S.A.. Paul has advocated returning military spending to pre-2001 levels, so it would seem natural that he also support returning the scope of the security state to levels before the creation of the D.H.S.. However, although he opposes many of the N.S.A.’s activities, and opposes C.I.A. intervention in the affairs of foreign governments, he has not suggested that the Department of Homeland Security be abolished.
      I disagree with Paul’s support of abolishing the Department of the Interior, being that the agency was established in 1849, making it among the first five federal executive departments. Also, I believe that the Department of the Interior does have an arguable reason to exist, being that the federal government has the authority to regulate commerce with Native American tribes.

      To summarize, I believe that the key differences between Ron Paul and myself are as follows: (1) Paul is more pro-life than I am; (2) I am more supportive of gay marriage than Paul is; (3) Paul has been inconsistent on immigration, and I am more pro-immigration than he is; (4) I have suggested reforming the secret-ballot election system to an open-ballot one, while Paul has not; (5) I support abolishing the taxation of personal income, while Paul has been inconsistent on that issue; (6) I have been more specific than Paul has about the set of organizations which can and should provide services that are now typically provided by government; (7) I support abolishing the Federal Reserve, while Paul has been inconsistent on that issue; (8) I have been more openly critical of the State of Israel than Paul has; (9) Paul and I have disagreed on several points of U.S.-Iranian foreign policy, although there is no consistent trend in these policy differences that show us to be on different “sides” of the issue of Iran in general; (10) Paul and I have disagreed on several points concerning the 2011 intervention in Libya, although there is no consistent trend in these policy differences that show us to be on different “sides” of the issue of Libya in general; (11) I have been more outspoken than Paul has in suggesting possible Bush Administration and Israeli involvement in planning the 9/11 attacks; (12) I have been more outspoken than Paul has concerning Obama’s citizenship and eligibility for the presidency; and (13) Paul and I differ about which federal departments ought to be abolished, and which should not.

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