Issue Bob Barr Ron Paul
Iraq, Iraq and Foreign Policy For far too long and at the cost of American blood and treasure, our great military has been too willingly and quickly used for purposes other than national defense. Our fighting men and women deserve better and the integrity of our nation must be restored.

Our National Defense policy must renew a commitment to non-intervention. We are not the world's police force and our long, yet recently tarnished, tradition of respecting the sovereignty of other nations is necessary, not from only a moral standpoint, but to regain the respect of the world as a principled and peaceful nation.

The proper use of force is clear. If attacked, the aggressor will experience firsthand the skillful wrath of the American fighting man. However, invading or initiating force against another nation based upon perceived threats and speculative intelligence is simply un-American. We are better than the policy of pre-emptive warfare.
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"He (McCain) clearly believes that it is in the US' best interest and an appropriate expenditure of $3 billion a week of taxpayer money to stay in Iraq. I disagree very strongly with that," Barr said.
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The American people, as do I, do not believe in precipitous action. I believe in responsible action. First of all, you don't signal to your adversary, regardless of the circumstances that brought you into that adversarial relationship, what your future plans and future timetables are. That is foolhardy. Only a fool would signal to whatever our adversaries are, whoever our adversaries are, exactly how and when we would be drawing down our troops. But I do believe that it is extremely important, and in the best interests of America's defenses and our security, and our relationship with our allies, that we do begin immediately setting in place a plan to draw down, dramatically decrease the military, the economic and the political footprint that we maintain in Iraq. Currently there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for the Iraqi regime, the Iraqi government to assume responsibility for its own economic affairs, for it's own political affairs, for its own security affairs. So long as they have the American people and the taxpayer dollars --
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…his out-of-Iraq message, tied to the indisputable observation that our relationship with the putative Iraqi regime has reached an almost intractable level of codependency, seems like a natural fit for the isolationist strain of conservative, as well as your typical Ron Paul voter, who continue to turn out in significant percentages against McCain.
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I believe the occupation of Iraq -- where we have a presence in a foreign country that effectively manages that country and provides the fundamental basis on which that country and government exists and operates -- is not something that is sound policy and is not consistent with the historical norms of a national defense policy. So I think that we need to -- and I would as president -- begin immediately and significantly drawing down our military and economic presence in Iraq for two reasons: One, because it is not in our interest to nation-build or to occupy foreign lands and, secondly, if we would ever wish to have the Iraqi government take responsibility for its own affairs, we necessarily have to remove the security blanket that right now makes it very easy for them not to do so. In other words, they are never going to assume responsibility for their own affairs as long as we are there propping them up.
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The beat of war drums along the Potomac — from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., to Capitol Hill, and from Neo-Con Central at the headquarters of the Weekly Standard to the halls of the Pentagon — is growing in intensity just as it did five years ago in the months leading to the invasion of Iraq. This time, however, the target over which the war hawks are sharpening their spears is not a relatively small and ill-prepared country in the Middle East, but a country larger in land mass than the state of Alaska and with a population nearly four times as large as Iraq's.
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“What reason is there to defend Europe, which has a larger population and economy than America,” he asked. “There is no need for an American military garrison in Japan, which enjoys the world’s second biggest economy, six decades after the end of World War II.” And certainly it is “not the American purpose to occupy failed states, take sides in conflicts among rival religious factions, and attempt to impose liberal democracy on other societies,” he added. The American people deserve a far-reaching debate over foreign policy, said Barr. “For too long the U.S. has been coddling what amount to international welfare queens while playing global nanny to the Third World. We must develop a defense policy that defends America instead of everyone else.”
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I believe our founding fathers had it right when they argued for peace and commerce between nations, and against entangling political and military alliances. In other words, noninterventionism.

Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Nonintervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not we that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

Thomas Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations- entangling alliances with none." Washington similarly urged that we must, "Act for ourselves and not for others," by forming an "American character wholly free of foreign attachments."
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The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information. The area is more dangerous now than when we entered it. We destroyed a regime hated by our direct enemies, the jihadists, and created thousands of new recruits for them. This war has cost more than 3,000 American lives, thousands of seriously wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars. We must have new leadership in the White House to ensure this never happens again.

We can continue to fund and fight no-win police actions around the globe, or we can refocus on securing America and bring the troops home.
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The sooner we withdraw the better. The invasion and continued US occupation has strengthened both Iran and Al-Qaeda in the region. Continuing down the road of a failed policy will only cost more money we do not have and more lives that should not be sacrificed. Interventionism has produced one disaster after another. It is time we return to a non-interventionist foreign policy that emphasizes peaceful trade and travel and no entangling alliances. We can begin by withdrawing from Iraq immediately.
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This resolution, unfortunately, does not address the disaster in Iraq. Instead, it seeks to appear opposed to the war while at the same time offering no change of the status quo in Iraq. As such, it is not actually a vote against a troop surge. A real vote against a troop surge is a vote against the coming supplemental appropriation that finances it. I hope all of my colleagues who vote against the surge today will vote against the budgetary surge when it really counts: when we vote on the supplemental.

The biggest red herring in this debate is the constant innuendo that those who don’t support expanding the war are somehow opposing the troops. It’s nothing more than a canard to claim that those of us who struggled to prevent the bloodshed and now want it stopped are somehow less patriotic and less concerned about the welfare of our military personnel.

Osama bin Laden has expressed sadistic pleasure with our invasion of Iraq and was surprised that we served his interests above and beyond his dreams on how we responded after the 9/11 attacks. His pleasure comes from our policy of folly getting ourselves bogged down in the middle of a religious civil war, 7,000 miles from home that is financially bleeding us to death. Total costs now are reasonably estimated to exceed $2 trillion. His recruitment of Islamic extremists has been greatly enhanced by our occupation of Iraq.

Unfortunately, we continue to concentrate on the obvious mismanagement of a war promoted by false information and ignore debating the real issue which is: Why are we determined to follow a foreign policy of empire building and pre-emption which is unbecoming of a constitutional republic?

Those on the right should recall that the traditional conservative position of non-intervention was their position for most of the 20th Century-and they benefited politically from the wars carelessly entered into by the political left. Seven years ago the Right benefited politically by condemning the illegal intervention in Kosovo and Somalia. At the time conservatives were outraged over the failed policy of nation building.
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Currently, the United States maintains hundreds of thousands of troops in more than 100 foreign countries. In many cases, they are there to defend foreign borders. Maintaining such a global empire drains nearly one trillion dollars from the U.S. economy each year, while offering very little real security for the American people. What’s worse, our U.S. Border Guards are sent overseas to places like Iraq while our own borders remain porous and vulnerable.
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Issue Bob Barr Ron Paul
Second Amendment From Bob Barr written Libertarian Party amicus brief in the DC v. Heller case: We would suggest that a ban on all handguns, applicable to all persons, no matter how law-abiding, is by definition a significant impairment of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
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In terms of the Second Amendment, Barr believes that one must pay strict attention to the wording.

"I am of the group of people who have a presumption that the men who wrote these words had a purpose," he said.

The Second Amendment, according to Barr, is essentially about the right of the people.

Being on the board of the National Rife Association, Barr explained the importance of the Second Amendment around the country, particularly in New Jersey, which is very "pro-Second Amendment," he joked, eliciting laughter from the audience.

Barr referenced the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, where the term "assault weapons" was used by pro-gun control politicians regardless of the fact that assault weapons were already unlawful and "by and large, assault weapons are not in the hands of citizens."

As an advocate of the Bill of Rights, it is important to get people to think of the Second Amendment as a reflection of fundamental freedom, according to Barr.

"If we allow ourselves to be drawn into arguing just about guns and ammunition, it's very easy to lose that argument," he said.

Following his discussion, there was a Q-and-A session, where issues of campus safety and modifications to the Second Amendment were brought up. Barr also discussed his reasoning for why there should not be licensing for guns.

Barr argued that while one needs a license to drive a car, there is no inherent right to own a car. Anything is potentially dangerous, he said.

"If they misuse it, it's their responsibility," Barr said, referring to legal gun owners who do not properly and safely handle their guns. "Don't make it harder for the rest of us."

When questioned if it would be wise to allow professors to elect to arm themselves on college campuses, Barr replied that "it is nonsense to go on a campus and give up the right to bear arms."

People have been saved by having firearms, Barr said, and since the Second Amendment is no more and no less important than the others, it should not get more stringent controls added to it.
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I share our Founders' belief that in a free society each citizen must have the right to keep and bear arms. They ratified the Second Amendment knowing that this right is the guardian of every other right, and they all would be horrified by the proliferation of unconstitutional legislation that prevents law-abiding Americans from exercising this right.
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Jefferson, and all of the Founders, would be horrified by the proliferation of unconstitutional legislation that prevents law-abiding Americans from exercising their right and duty to keep and bear arms.
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A gun in the hand of a law-abiding citizen serves as a very real, very important deterrent to an arrogant and aggressive government. Guns in the hands of the bureaucrats do the opposite. The founders of this country fully understood this fact, it's a shame our generation has ignored it
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The gun control debate generally ignores the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the Second amendment. The Second amendment is not about hunting deer or keeping a pistol in your nightstand. It is not about protecting oneself against common criminals. It is about preventing tyranny. The Founders knew that unarmed citizens would never be able to overthrow a tyrannical government as they did. They envisioned government as a servant, not a master, of the American people. The muskets they used against the British Army were the assault rifles of that time. It is practical, rather than alarmist, to understand that unarmed citizens cannot be secure in their freedoms.

It's convenient for gun banners to dismiss this argument by saying, "That could never happen here, this is America." But history shows that only vigilant people can keep government under control. By banning certain weapons today, we may plant the seeds for tyranny to flourish decades from now.

Tortured interpretations of the Second amendment cannot change the fact that both the letter of the amendment itself and the legislative history conclusively show that the Founders intended ordinary citizens to be armed. The notion that the Second amendment confers rights only upon organized state-run militias is preposterous; the amendment is meaningless unless it protects the gun rights of individuals. Gun control may have faded as a political issue, but the mentality that Washington knows best -- and that certain constitutional rights are anachronisms-- is alive and well. Look for gun control advocates to bide their time and look for new ways to resurrect the issue in 2008 and beyond.
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Issue Bob Barr Ron Paul
Government Spending, Taxation and the Federal Reserve What we need to be doing is tackling government spending. That is the root of all evil, so to speak. We need to get a handle on federal spending, we need to start reducing the economic footprint and, you know, all the other footprints of the federal government if we want to talk about them, and get the federal government out of running our economy. It was never intended to be the job of the federal government to run the economy.
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Government spending at all levels is out of control. Most Americans understand the problem of "earmarks," commonly used by pork-minded congressmen to buy votes. But while earmarks are an outrageous abuse of the taxpayer's money, they account for a very small percentage of federal spending. Over the past decade, total government spending (state, local and federal) has increased from $2.9 trillion to an astonishing $5.1 trillion in 2008. The $3.1 trillion federal budget submitted by President Bush for next year was greater than the combined 1998 spending of the federal government, all 50 states and over 87,000 local governments.

The federal government must take the lead in making significant cuts in spending. Focusing on earmarks risks distracting attention from the broader problem of a government wildly wasting the money of hard-working Americans. Tens of billions of dollars in corporate welfare - essentially aid to dependent corporations - should be eliminated. Largesse for middle- and upper-income Americans, particularly so-called "entitlement" programs, must be cut. Billions in so-called defense spending, which protects America's populous, prosperous allies rather than Americans, must be eliminated.
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Cutting spending would allow America to implement real tax reform. Our goal should be to reduce both the tax burden on Americans and the intrusion in their lives resulting from IRS enforcement of the income tax. One of the best approaches would be to adopt some form of a consumption tax, like a national sales tax, replacing the Internal Revenue Service and all federal income taxes as well as payroll taxes.

It is not enough to eliminate the income tax. We also must repeal the 16th amendment, which authorizes Congress to levy an income tax. Without doing so, there would be an ever-present danger that a future Congress would attempt to bring back the income tax on top of the Fair Tax or any other alternative to the income tax.
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If I could wave a magic wand and the Federal Reserve Bank would disappear tomorrow, I would do so. It's a group of unelected governors that are not answerable to or accountable to the people of this country and yet they wield considerable influence over the economy by basically setting rates at which banks and other financial institutions can loan money. And they have built up, you know, huge reserves themselves that they can then dole out as they're doing - as they did recently with Bear Stearns to prop up as failing, what they see as failing investment houses, for example.
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Like many of my Republican colleagues who curiously vote for enormous budget bills, I campaign on a simple promise that I will work to make government smaller. This means I cannot vote for any budget that increases spending over previous years. In fact, I would have a hard time voting for any budget that did not slash federal spending by at least 25%, especially when we consider that the federal budget in 1990 was far less than half what it is today. Did anyone really think the federal government was not big enough just 16 years ago?

Neither political party wants to address the fundamental yet unspoken issues inherent in any budget proposal: What is the proper role for government in our society? Are these ever-growing entitlement and military expenditures really consistent with a free country? Do the proposed expenditures, and the resulting taxes, make us more free or less free? Should the government or the marketplace provide medical care? Should the U.S. military be used to remake whole nations? Are the programs, agencies, and departments funded in the budget proposal constitutional? Are they effective? Could they operate with a smaller budget? Would the public even notice if certain items were eliminated altogether? These are the kinds of questions the American people should ask, even if Congress lacks the courage to apply any principles whatsoever to the budget process.
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Lower taxes allow more spending, saving, and investing which helps the economy - that means all of us.

Real conservatives have always supported low taxes and low spending.
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Lower taxes benefit all Americans by increasing economic growth and encouraging wealth creation. I'm in favor of cutting everybody's taxes - rich, poor, and otherwise. Whether a tax cut reduces a single mother's payroll taxes by forty dollars a month, or allows a business owner to save thousands in capital gains and hire more employees, the net effect is beneficial.
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A pure consumption tax like the Fair Tax would be better than the current system only if we truly did away with the income tax by repealing the 16th amendment. Otherwise, we could end up with both the income tax and a national sales tax. A consumption tax also provides more transparency and less complexity. But the real issue is total spending by government, not tax reform.
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The greatest threat facing America today is not terrorism, or foreign economic competition, or illegal immigration. The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. It is this one-two punch-- Congress spending more than it can tax or borrow, and the Fed printing money to make up the difference-- that threatens to impoverish us by further destroying the value of our dollars.
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Issue Bob Barr Ron Paul
Civil Liberties, Real ID, the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act Bob Barr blasted the Bush administration on Wednesday for eroding the privacy of U.S. citizens, which he called the most fundamental of American rights.

"Obviously, under this administration, the right to privacy not only isn't important, it doesn't exist," Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, told the Clayton County Rotary Club.
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The United States was created for the purpose of securing the liberties of its people. The colonists fled oppressive old world governments. The nation's founders drafted the Constitution to sharply limit the federal government's powers. The horrors perpetrated by the many collectivist tyrannies of the 20th Century demonstrate that the danger of government, any government, violating individual liberty is greater today than when America was founded.

Unfortunately, in recent years government at all levels has shown growing disrespect for the Constitution, particularly the Fourth Amendment that protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. The sustained government attack on the sanctity of the rights of the individual, including their right to be secure in their privacy and property, has created a moral and Constitutional crisis. America's elected officials at all levels must renew their respect for the law and work to protect the rights of individuals.

The place to start is restoring the writ of Habeas Corpus, which protects against unlawful detention, and thus stands at the core of individual liberty. Article 1 of the Constitution provides that this right shall not be suspended without clear and necessary cause, such as during an invasion. In passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Congress, pushed by President George W. Bush, effectively ended this protection within America. The Constitutional protections of Habeas Corpus should not be sacrificed so easily.

Finally, an increasingly intrusive Nanny State is watching over our nation, meddling in the lives of its citizens. New measures, often rushed through legislatures and regulatory agencies with little consideration or thought, seek to control ever more aspects of people's lives. Government limits individual actions and choices, from the way in which we educate our children to the food that we eat, from the type of light bulbs that illuminate our living rooms to the benefits that we receive for working. It is time to again trust individuals to make their own decisions. At the core of libertarianism is a trust in and respect for the personal choices of every individual. All Americans should be free to decide what is best for themselves and their families. At the same time, they must bear personal responsibility for the consequences of the decisions that they make, whether those decisions prove to be good or bad.
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Barr's regrets over voting for the Patriot Act are well-storied, and led to a collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union and the formation of his own foundation, Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances.
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Big Government advocates are personified by the current Bush administration, favoring central control of virtually every facet of activity in our society, from education to transportation and from the plumbing in our bathrooms to the bulbs in our lamps. While the Real ID debate shares some elements with its sister debate concerning voter ID, mixing the two as if two sides of the same coin dilutes the host of fundamental constitutional concerns and responsibilities affected by the Real ID Act program now being forced down the throats of the states.

A person not possessing a Real ID Act-compliant identification card could not enter any federal building, or an office of his or her congressman or senator or the U.S. Capitol. This effectively denies that person their fundamental rights to assembly and to petition the government as guaranteed in the First Amendment.

A person seeking to exercise their right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment could henceforth be denied that ability if they do not possess a precious Real ID card, because the federal bureaucracy known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives probably will decree that such a form of identification is necessary to meet federal requirements for purchasing a firearm.

Very possibly the Real ID card will be required in order to vote in any election for federal office.

A veteran may be denied access to a VA hospital because he or she lacks the requisite Real ID card, perhaps because they did not have the money required to purchase it or because they could not locate the background forms the Department of Homeland Security required to obtain one.

A business traveler, unable to afford to travel by private jet, is denied the ability to make a living because their job requires air travel and they do not have a Real ID card - even though they demonstrably pose no danger whatsoever to their fellow travelers.

Even though individual states, such as Georgia, may provide greater legal protection for private information of its residents than other states or the federal government, this will mean nothing in the Real ID Act world, because all the data under that law will be subject to the lower federal standards, thereby subjecting residents to a higher likelihood of identity theft than they would risk under the laws of their state.

And, they would have no recourse to correct erroneous data, or prevent identity theft pursuant to the Real ID regulations.

On the other side of the ledger, arguing in favor of this intrusive and expensive federal mandate, are hollow promises of "security" - not freedom or liberty - but "safety," the promise of which trumps all else in this post-9/11 world, at least for this Congress and this administration. I, for one, commend the state of Georgia and those other states that are standing against this assault on states' rights and the Bill of Rights.
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"As president, I would completely reorient federal law enforcement priorities, that currently are skewed far too much against marijuana possession, and would consider all — and I do mean all — options."
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"I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people's lives," Barr said.

Barr brings a "great deal of credibility, particularly among people on the Republican side of the aisle," MPP government relations director Aaron Houston told The Politico. "He certainly would not have been the first person I would have expected to sign off to us, but I'm very pleased that he has," Houston said. "I'm very pleased that he has come around, and I hope he serves as an example to his former colleagues."

As a newly christened MPP lobbyist, Barr is already talking the talk. There might be "legitimate medical uses of marijuana and we ought not have this knee-jerk reaction against it, and people ought to be allowed to explore," he said.
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"Bob Barr lobbied for us on medical marijuana on the Hill last year, particularly on repealing his own amendment and Hinchey-Rohrabacher," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Prior to losing his seat in Georgia, he was a civil libertarian with some notable exceptions, the drug war being the major one, but that has changed. When people come over from the dark side, they should be welcomed," he added.
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Regarding the drug war, I've been there, done that, and know firsthand our current strategy is not working. Continuing to have the federal government run roughshod over the states, even if the citizens of a state decide they wish to legalize medicinal marijuana, for example, is wrong.
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It's very rare to find someone who's willing to change their position and then be so public about it. [Barr has] definitely increased the credibility of the Marijuana Policy Project. People have to take us seriously when we walk through the door with Bob Barr. -Rob Kampia, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project, May 2008
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I do not think that the American people are ready to embrace the notion that there ought to be across-the board legalization of drugs. But I do think we need to begin rolling back the massive government power structure that has been built up pursuant to the war on drugs, which has not proved to be a success, certainly. Therefore, I think we need to certainly respect states rights and decisions by the people in an area such as medicinal marijuana. If the people of California, for example, decide that there is an appropriate place for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and they pass a law to that affect, that ought to be respected by the federal government. In other words, I think we can start this process of vesting the power to decide what people want to do with their own lives as long as they don't endanger anyone else by at least beginning to devolve power from the federal government to the states. That would be an important first step.
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States, not the federal government, were charged with protecting individuals against criminal force and fraud. For the first time, a government was created solely to protect the rights, liberties, and property of its citizens. Any government coercion beyond that necessary to secure those rights was forbidden, both through the Bill of Rights and the doctrine of strictly enumerated powers.
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"I'm very concerned that the Patriot Act could be used to justify surveillance or intimidation of individuals solely because of their lawful political activities," Paul stated. "The Act defines terrorism so broadly that legitimate protest or other political action could be chilled. For example, a scuffle at an otherwise peaceful pro-life demonstration might allow the federal government to label the sponsoring organization and its members as terrorists. Similarly, you could be placed under federal surveillance if you belong to a gun rights group that a future administration doesn't like."

"These concerns are very real, as evidenced by the abuse of Internal Revenue Service power by both Democratic and Republican administrations," Paul continued. "Congress must ensure that no future administration uses the Patriot Act to silence or punish political opponents. I'm grateful that my congressional colleagues unanimously agree, and appreciate their support in sending a strong message that the Patriot Act does not give the federal government a green light to suppress political dissent."
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Bureaucrats have used the tragedy of 9-11 as an excuse to seize police powers sought for decades, such as warrantless searches, internet monitoring, and access to bank records.
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The misnamed Patriot Act, presented to the public as an anti-terrorism measure, actually focuses on American citizens rather than foreign terrorists. For example, the definition of "terrorism" for federal criminal purposes has been greatly expanded; future administrations may consider you a terrorist if you belong to a pro-gun group, a citizen militia, or a pro-life organization. Legitimate protest against the government could place you (and tens of thousands of other Americans) under federal surveillance. Similarly, your internet use can be monitored without your knowledge, and your internet provider can be forced to hand over user information to law enforcement without a warrant or subpoena.

The biggest problem with these new law enforcement powers is that they bear little relationship to fighting terrorism. Surveillance powers are greatly expanded, while checks and balances on government are greatly reduced. Most of the provisions have been sought after by domestic law enforcement agencies for years, not to fight terrorism, but rather to increase their police power over the American people. The federal government has made no showing that it failed to detect or prevent the September 11th attacks because of the civil liberties that will be compromised by this new legislation.
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We must stop the move toward a national ID card system. All states are preparing to issue new driver's licenses embedded with "standard identifier" data - a national ID. A national ID with new tracking technologies means we're heading into an Orwellian world of no privacy. I voted against the Real ID Act in March of 2005.
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Congressman Ron Paul today denounced the national ID card provisions contained in the intelligence bill being voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives, while urging his colleagues to reject the bill and its new layers of needless bureaucracy.

"National ID cards are not proper in a free society," Paul stated. "This is America, not Soviet Russia. The federal government should never be allowed to demand papers from American citizens, and it certainly has no constitutional authority to do so."

"A national identification card, in whatever form it may take, will allow the federal government to inappropriately monitor the movements and transactions of every American," Paul continued. "History shows that governments inevitably use such power in harmful ways. The 9-11 commission, whose recommendations underlie this bill, has called for internal screening points where identification will be demanded. Domestic travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free nations. It is just a matter of time until those who refuse to carry the new licenses will be denied the ability to drive or board an airplane."

"Nationalizing standards for drivers licenses and birth certificates, and linking them together via a national database, creates a national ID system pure and simple. Proponents of the national ID understand that the public remains wary of the scheme, so they attempt to claim they're merely creating new standards for existing state IDs. Nonsense! This legislation imposes federal standards in a federal bill, and it creates a federalized ID regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your state."

"Those who are willing to allow the government to establish a Soviet-style internal passport system because they think it will make us safer are terribly mistaken," Paul concluded. "Subjecting every citizen to surveillance and screening points actually will make us less safe, not in the least because it will divert resources away from tracking and apprehending terrorists and deploy them against innocent Americans! Every conservative who believes in constitutional restraints on government should reject the authoritarian national ID card and the nonsensical intelligence bill itself."
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The Federal government should recognize that states have the authority to decide these issues. This affords all states the opportunity to see which policies are most beneficial. As a Congressman and a physician, I strongly advocate that healthcare decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not politicians or federal agents, which is why I am an original co-sponsor of the recently introduced "Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act" which would bar the Federal government from intervening in such doctor/patient relationships that violate no state law.
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Those who support the war on drugs may well change their views if one day they find themselves experiencing serious pain because of an accident or old age. By creating an atmosphere that regards all powerful pain medication as suspect, the drug warriors have forced countless Americans to live degraded, bedridden lives. Even elderly deathbed patients sometimes are denied adequate pain relief from reluctant doctors and nurses. It's one thing to support a faraway drug campaign in Colombia or Afghanistan, but it's quite another to watch a loved one suffering acute pain that could be treated. A sane, compassionate society views advances in medical science- particularly advances that relieve great suffering- as heroic. Instead, our barbaric drug war treats pain patients the same way it treats street junkies.
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Consider the medical marijuana debate. Federal law currently prohibits the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from using its huge advertising budget for partisan or political purposes. In fact, a broader law prohibits federal agencies in general from using taxpayer dollars to influence the outcome of local elections. The need for these laws is obvious if we hope to maintain any slight degree of federalism. However, if Congress passes a bill pending before a House committee, ONDCP will soon be exempt from the rules against politicking. It already blatantly ignored existing rules in recent months by sending representatives to Missouri and Nevada to openly oppose local medical marijuana initiatives. The message to local voters was very clear: do not dare pass a law that displeases your superiors in Washington. To do so was to risk an outright raid by federal agents to make sure the new law was not implemented, as we saw two years ago in California.

The issue is not whether one supports medical marijuana or not. The issue is whether Washington decides or local voters decide. For most issues, the Constitution leaves decision-making to the states. For most of the 20th century, however, the federal government has ignored the Constitution and run roughshod over state sovereignty. As a result, the centralizers of both parties in Washington cannot imagine a society not dominated by the federal government.

Those who favor strict drug laws should understand that federal preemption is a double-edged sword. For example, if a socially conservative state like Utah wanted to enact harsh drug policies to reflect its community standards, federal law could actually prevent the enactment of such policies. When the American people give up state and local authority over any issue, whether its marijuana, abortion, or gun control, they give up most of their power to affect policy. It's far easier to influence, and hold accountable, state and local officials. Once the federal government takes the opposite side of an issue, however, good luck changing things.
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I would like people who are dying with cancer and AIDS to have access to whatever they want and make their own choices, especially under a state law.
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Q: But you would decriminalize [drugs/medicinal marijuana]?

A: I would, at the federal level. I don't have control over the states. And that's why the Constitution's there.
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Issue Bob Barr Ron Paul
Tag-teaming on the Patriot Act As Dr. Paul's banking staffer, I used to have ask Barr to scoot his chair in so I could pass him on the dais to get to my boss, and we always worked closely together. For one committee markup, Barr and Paul both showed up with amendments to withdraw the United States from the International Monetary Fund. His staffer and I hastily cut and pasted ours together for our "ransom note" amendment with different margins, font styles, and sizes. See how fun politics can be? [...]

[...] He joined my fight against the Know Your Customer bank spying proposal and managed Dr. Paul's floor amendment on it. He was a leader in reforming civil asset forfeiture abuses.

True to his libertarian instincts, Barr was initially skeptical of President George W. Bush's anti-terrorism proposal and earned the ire of Karl Rove for speaking up against it. He worked with a broad coalition of groups -- including conservatives, libertarians, leftists, privacy activists, and even drug policy reform groups -- to protect our civil liberties in the debate.

And here's the important part: He voted for the bill in the Judiciary committee because we needed him to. Only members who voted for it could be on the conference committee that "reconciled" the House and Senate versions.

THOSE MORE FAMILIAR with how bills become laws than the classic Schoolhouse Rock version understand that the devil is in the details. The conference committee is where the real evil takes place.

The USA PATRIOT Act conference committee suffered the stubbornness of Bob Barr fighting the worst of it and enacted some provisions to sunset some compromises in exchange for his support.

Sure, fellow Republicans Ron Paul and Bob Ney joined "Butch" Otter who spoke eloquently against its passage on the House floor and voted against the final passage, but none of them were on the Judiciary committee. None of them had the opportunity and responsibility to fight over the devilish details.

Thankfully, we had a former CIA agent and prosecutor on our side who knew the ins and outs and the ramifications of the proposals to fight for our privacy and civil liberties. He was our "man on the inside" for us to share our proposals. Some of those proposals were adopted and became law.

This shouldn't surprise anyone. Barr has been a defender of privacy in the war on terror. He worked with the American Civil Liberties Union on the 1996 anti-terrorism bill and literally worked for them after leaving Congress to continue his privacy activism.

-- former Ron Paul legislative staffer J. Bradley Jansen

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