Ron Paul

Photo Credit: Helen Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

Former Congressman Ron Paul and journalists Radley Balko and Glenn Greenwald argued for the right of Americans to retain their personal liberites in the face of increasing government involvment.  

During the “Stop the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism” conference Saturday at the LBJ School for Public Affairs, the three speakers said American social and political freedom is being stripped away by the current police system and national security.

“You have liberty because you’re an individual, and no questions should be asked,” Paul said. “Everybody should be treated exactly the same. … This [idea] would go a long way if we had that understanding.”

Paul, a former Libertarian and Republican presidential candidate, said he believes 9/11 and the Patriot Act, which aimed to strengthen security in the U.S., contributed to Americans losing their rights and liberties, when the opposite should have been the outcome.  

“Especially when you’re under attack, you don’t want to give up your liberties,” Paul said. “It was said that [al-Qaeda] came here to attack us because we were free and prosperous. Well maybe they’ll lose their incentive because we’re losing our freedom, and we’re losing our prosperity.”

Greenwald, who spoke on national security as a response to the war on terror, said he thinks an honest government is vital to democracy. Greenwald is known for his work with The Guardian and its release of classified National Security Agency documents on American and British surveillance programs, which computer professional Edward Snowden gave to him.

“The reason that people need transparency and limitations and accountability in the exercise of their political power is not because certain human beings are bad,” Greenwald said. “It’s because what it means to be a human being … [inevitably] that power will be fundamentally abused if it is exercised without strengths and limitations and balance.”

Greenwald also cited surveillance issues linked to the war on drugs. In an investigation released earlier this week, USA Today found that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department had secretly tracked calls from the U.S. to around 116 countries in relation to drug trafficking.

“You cannot talk about dismantling the abuses of the war on terror without talking about dismantling the war on drugs,” Greenwald said.

Balko, a columnist for the Washington Post, said police have become more militarized, having SWAT team raids into homes for marijuana possession. Balko gave examples of raids that led to the homeowners’ death or imprisonment.

“This use of force and violence that we once reserved for active shooter situations and escaped fugitives and riots is now becoming routine as we come to default use of force as the police need to serve a search warrant,” Balko said.  

Nick Virden, international business senior and president of the Young Americans for Liberty UT chapter, said no one would support the war on drugs if it were personalized for everyone. Almost everybody knows someone who smokes marijuana, he said.  

“It’s stupid to pretend that the war on drugs is a good thing,” Virden said. “Would you like to see your friends go to jail because they smoked a plant?”

Although Paul said he thinks freedoms are increasingly being challenged in the U.S., he said Americans seem to be waking up and supporting the cause.

“I think there is a future for freedom, and I think we are winning the war for liberty,” Paul said.

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, talks with a Texas delegate on the floor at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Feeling slighted, supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential bid chanted and booed Tuesday after Republican convention delegates adopted new rules that could impede insurgent candidates in the future.

The brief uproar was a rare unscripted moment in a carefully-choreographed convention that organizers hoped would showcase Republican harmony over nominee Mitt Romney. After the voice vote on the rules, the next speaker was quickly called in an attempt to limiting the amount of time Paul’s supporters had to chant “Shame on you.”

The rules are designed to limit the ability of insurgent presidential candidates to amass delegates to future Republican conventions. They will bind delegates to the outcome of presidential primaries and caucuses, preventing a candidate like Paul from pushing up their delegate counts at state conventions.

Paul delegates saw them as a power play by the Republican old guard.

“If you’re trying to win a presidential campaign and put on a show, you shouldn’t poke a sharp stick in the eye of conservative activists. That’s what happened,” said Colorado delegate Dudley Brown, who leads a gun rights organization back home.

Paul didn’t win a single presidential primary but he got 190 delegate votes during the roll call of states that officially nominated Romney Tuesday. Romney got 2,061.

Paul briefly showed up on the convention floor, signing autographs and posing for photos. As he left the arena, he declined to say if he felt his delegates were being treated unfairly. “I’ll let you know when it’s over,” he said.

Paul later said in a broadcast interview that he has no plans to endorse anyone for president.

“I am endorsing, you know, peace and prosperity and individual liberty, the Constitution, and I’m more intense on that than I am on the politics of it,” Paul told Fox News.

Supporters of the new rules say voters expect the delegate count to reflect the outcome of state primaries and caucuses. The convention’s rules committee made some late revisions to the new rules to placate party activists who weren’t necessarily Paul backers.

The new rules originally allowed presidential candidates to choose which delegates would represent them at the convention — taking that power from state parties. However, in a concession to local activists, party leaders agreed to remove the language. Instead, the rules say that delegates who support candidates other than the one they are obligated to support shall have their votes deemed “null and void.”

“These rules will provide a strong governing framework for our convention and for our party,” said former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who headed the rules committee.

Mississippi Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour said delegates shouldn’t let a fight over rules distract from the goal of beating Democratic President Barack Obama.

“None of us want a campaign overreaching,” Barbour said. “We want bound delegates to live up to their commitment.”

Ron Paul gives a speech about his campaign platform to his supporters at the LBJ Library Lawn on Thursday evening. The libertarian-leaning Republican spoke to 5,000 supporters, students and area residents.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

Ron Paul is continuing to fight for the GOP nomination, and with a reputation of support from college students, the libertarian-leaning Republican still seeks to win Texas.

Paul spoke to a lively audience of 5,000 supporters, students and area residents on the LBJ Library lawn Thursday evening about his campaign platform and desire to “revolutionize” American monetary and military policy.

With 76 delegates, Paul will be the last Republican candidate competing with Mitt Romney since Newt Gingrich is planning to drop out of the race Tuesday. Paul has significantly fewer delegates than Romney, who has 832. Caitlyn Bates, president of the UT chapter of Youth for Ron Paul, said Paul has a better chance than the delegate count shows.

“Ron Paul polls extremely well, and people aren’t looking at the data that compare Ron Paul versus Obama and Mitt Romney versus Obama,” Bates said, whose organization planned and coordinated Thursday’s rally. “Ron Paul gets a significantly stronger liberal vote than Romney.”

Bates also said her organization is attempting to reach out to older voters who would be less likely to endorse the socially liberal programs Paul supports.

Stepping out of a Chevrolet Suburban while the crowd chanted, “end the fed” and “preserve the constitution”, Paul greeted the audience and then immediately began to roll out his campaign positions.

“In the last four years people woke up and realized that the old system doesn’t work anymore,” Paul said. “This monetary system doesn’t work and our entitlement system enriches the rich and drains on the poor — our military system in this country is deeply flawed and many people are thinking that it’s time for them to come home.”

Paul dedicated most of his 45 minute speech to attack what he called “a lack of transparency in the Federal Reserve”, the power of the military industrial complex and encroachments on personal freedom through the National Defense Authorization Act, the PATRIOT Act and the SOPA-like Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is scheduled to go before a vote today.

“The civil liberties have been attacked since 9/11 because of erroneous analysis of 9/11 — Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11,” Paul said. “Unfortunately, we have not taken the advice of the founders. The government is supposed to be open and protect our privacy, but it seems the government doesn’t seem to care at all about our personal privacy.”

Carrying a yellow flag with the mantra “Don’t Tread on Me”, Julie Moseley, a Cedar Park resident and registered member of the Libertarian party, said seeing Ron Paul was “like seeing a rock star”.

“As far as the greatest nationally known proponent of libertarian ideals, Ron Paul is it,” Mosely said. “I think we have every chance to win this race as Romney does.”

To cries of approval from the audience, Paul said he was against the war on drugs.

“If we can protect intellectual and religious liberties, why can’t we protect the liberty of individuals to put into their body whatever they choose?” Paul said. “We have to think about the restoration of personal responsibility. Who should do the regulation? You, the individual. That’s where the real regulation should come from.”

Chemical engineering junior Joseph Kao, who describes himself as libertarian, said he is a Ron Paul supporter but believes Paul is unlikely to win the nomination.

“If we are being completely realistic, I think he has a slim chance of winning,” Kao said.

Kao’s friend Omar Shafi, engineering junior said winning wasn’t “the point”.

“We want to establish a Republican platform that makes sense. Young people like Ron Paul because he makes sense,” Shafi said. “Romney and Obama are the same person, one’s black and one’s white, that’s the only difference. We want a candidate who stands out from the two parties.”

Printed on Friday, April 27, 2012 as: Ron Paul compaigns for campus supports

On Thursday at 7 p.m., Congressman Ron Paul will come to UT for a town hall meeting. Congressman Paul’s presidential campaign represents an unprecedented effort to promote libertarian ideas such as free markets, small government, a non-interventionist foreign policy and sound money. Tired of the traditional “business as usual” politics that dominates Washington, D.C., thousands of disgruntled youth across the nation have rallied behind the Paul campaign. This movement will finally be coming to the LBJ Library Lawn, as Congressman Paul will address the grievances of the UT students and the greater Austin community.

Jose Nino
President, Libertarian Longhorns
Government and history senior

Candidates prepare for months, sometimes years, to get ready. They give interviews in front of huge crowds of people to gain support. Intense focus is allocated for raising money through sponsors to pay for supplies for the long journey ahead. Entire staffs of people dedicate themselves to image control and maintenance: all outfits are picked out, every hair is in place and more time is spent on grooming than ever before. The competitors go against each other until, one by one, they’re forced out. Eventually, only one winner will survive.

No, I’m not talking about the movie with the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel, The Hunger Games. The seemingly post-apocalyptic future described above is actually a depiction of what’s going on in this year’s Republican presidential primary race. The original field of nine — Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney — has narrowed itself down to three contenders. Really it’s more like two because who still thinks Gingrich has a chance?

As soon as things got bloody at the Cornucopia, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump were some of the first to go. They spent too much time slinging barbs at everyone else and not enough enough time gaining supporters. Pawlenty is another one that was ousted early, much like the girl in the woods minding her own business that was killed by the Careers.

And then, there was one candidate that somehow seemed less clownish than the others, Huntsman. He came in with experience. He didn’t spend time going negative with attack ads. He seemed rational and was the great hope of the entire race. His loss in New Hampshire felt like watching the beloved Rue get stabbed in the chest with a spear all over again.

Bachmann is a good representation of the crazy girl with the knives in The Hunger Games that no one was sad to see leave. Cain was taken out by some tracker jackers — women he allegedly sexually harassed that swarmed and fought back from his past. Perry seemed like he had a good shot for awhile, but was eventually his own worst enemy and poisoned himself, like the berries that killed Foxface, with his constant missteps and blunders.

Paul is an iconoclast and distances himself from the rest, like Thresh’s technique to hide in the wheat field. Also, like Thresh, Paul has strength in his group of ardent supporters; however, it’s not enough to win the election. Gingrich then becomes Cato in this story. Just like Cato, he attacks all opponents and tries to bully his way to the top. Fortunately for all of us, we know the demons from his past, or muttations, will make sure he doesn’t make it much further.

And then we’re left with Romney and Santorum, or Peeta and Katniss. Romney, like Katniss, is the clear stronger candidate left. And just like Peeta and Katniss, can we really trust anything either one says? Or do they only say what they think will keep them alive longer in this Hunger Games style primary race? It’s for this reason that Santorum has made anti-college statements, even though when he was a Senator in 2006 he called for all Pennsylvania citizens to have access to higher education. It’s why Romney derides “Obamacare,” but instituted universal healthcare in Massachusetts, or Romneycare first. Both candidates say whatever they think will get them the most support at the time, and it’s unclear what either one actually believes.

So no matter who’s left at the end, does anyone really win? Or will the candidate be forever haunted by the transformation he underwent to survive this process? And what about the rest of us? Will we elect a hero or someone who can’t keep it together when things get tough like Katniss?

And if this is what the race for President has come down to, are we any better than the people of Panem that tune in to watch the Hunger Games every year rather than doing something to demand change?

Taylor is a Plan II and rhetoric and writing senior. 

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Backed by a crushing television ad advantage, Mitt Romney sought a strong Illinois primary victory Tuesday to solidify his lead over Rick Santorum in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. It was the latest-in a string of must-win industrial state contests for the front-runner.

Romney held a second advantage as well, this one in the competition for Illinois delegates to the party convention next summer. Santorum was ineligible for 10 of the 54 at stake after failing to field a full slate.

Neither Newt Gingrich nor Ron Paul campaigned extensively in the state.

Romney and Santorum did, though, and not always in respectful tones.

“Senator Santorum has the same economic lightweight background the president has,” Romney said at one point. “We’re not going to replace an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight.”

Santorum had a tart reply. “If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble.”

Including Romney’s victory last weekend in Puerto Rico, the former Massachusetts governor had 522 delegates going into the Illinois voting, according to The Associated Press count. Santorum had 252, Gingrich 136 and Paul 50. If Romney continues on the same pace, he will lock up the nomination before the convention opens in Tampa, Fla., next August.

However, the Santorum campaign argued Tuesday that the race for delegates is closer than that.

Santorum contends the Republican National Committee at the convention will force Florida and Arizona to allocate their delegates on a proportional basis instead of winner-take-all as the state GOP decided. Romney won both states.

As Illinois Republicans voted on Tuesday, Romney raised more than $1.3 million at a luncheon in Chicago. He planned an election-night event in nearby Schaumburg, Ill., while Santorum was in Gettysburg, Pa., site of Illinois favorite son Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, has been seeking to make up in broadcast interviews what he has lacked in advertising money.

On Monday, his campaign began before sun-up and ended well after dark, including four appearances at rallies around the state as well as an extraordinary 19 radio and television interviews. He accused Romney anew of putting his signature on a Massachusetts health insurance law that is similar to the one Obama pushed through Congress.

Romney cut short his planned time in Puerto Rico, site of a primary last weekend, to maximize his time in Illinois. He has eked out victories in other big industrial states over the past few weeks, beginning in Michigan on Feb. 28 and Ohio on March 6. Defeat in any would be likely to trigger fresh anxiety within the party about his ability to wrap up the nomination.

In Illinois, as in Michigan and Ohio, Romney enjoyed an enormous advantage in television advertising. His campaign and Restore Our Future, a super PAC that supports him, outspent Santorum and his super PAC by $3.5 million to $500,000, an advantage of 7-1.

Illinois was the 28th state to hold a primary or caucus in the selection of delegates to the nominating convention, about halfway through the calendar of a Republican campaign that has remained competitive longer than most.

A change in party rules to reduce the number of winner-take-all primaries has accounted for the duration of the race. But so has Romney’s difficulty in securing the support of the most conservative of the GOP political base. Santorum and Gingrich have struggled to emerge as the front-runner’s sole challenger from the right.

Whatever the reasons, the race appeared unlikely to end soon, with Santorum and even Gingrich vowing to campaign into the convention.

Next up is a primary Saturday in Louisiana where Santorum projects confidence following twin triumphs a week ago in Alabama and Mississippi. There are 25 delegates at stake.

Behind Louisiana is a three-primary night in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Wisconsin on April 3, with 95 delegates combined at stake.

Santorum is not on the ballot in Washington, D.C., but is ahead in opinion polls in Maryland. Wisconsin — adjacent to Illinois — shapes up as the most competitive primary of the night.

CANTON, Ohio — Mitt Romney’s allies are hoping Super Tuesday’s powerful imprint on the Republican presidential nomination will bring clarity, at long last, to the fractious contest and rouse Republicans behind their front-runner. But that’s strictly up to voters across the nation, weighing in on the most consequential day of the campaign to date.
Romney and his chief rival, Rick Santorum, scrambled for any advantage they could find Monday in Ohio, the most-watched contest in the 10-state extravaganza stretching from Alaska to the southeast.

Speaking to supporters at a guardrail factory in Canton, Ohio, Romney tried to snap the subject back to the economy and away from social conservative issues — this, after a furor erupted from radio host Rush Limbaugh’s caustic comments about a college student who testified to Congress about contraception.

“I look at this campaign right now and I see a lot of folks all talking about lots of things, but what we need to talk about to defeat Barack Obama is getting good jobs and scaling back the size of government, and that’s what I do,” Romney said. “Other people in this race have debated about the economy, they’ve read about the economy, they’ve talked about it in subcommittee meetings. But I’ve actually been in it.”

Santorum told Ohioans the election must be earned, not “bought,” in another swipe at Romney’s wealth and superior campaign machine. “Look into what the candidates have overcome and what they offer to this country — not just what money they have,” he told hundreds of students and supporters at Dayton Christian School, “but where’s the soul, where’s the conviction, where’s the fight?

“Money’s not going to buy this election.”

The latest polls found Santorum slipping in Ohio, putting him in a near dead heat with Romney, and Gingrich looking strong but not invincible in his home state of Georgia, which he needs to win to have any hope of resurrecting his candidacy. Ron Paul, trailing the delegate count and the expectations game, hoped one or more of the three caucus states, Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota, would finally give him a victory.

Fully one-third of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination are at stake Tuesday, altogether a larger prize than all the previous primaries and caucuses combined. President Barack Obama picked Tuesday for his first news conference of the year, a chance to steal a bit of thunder from the Republicans on their big day and defend a record of economic stewardship that is under daily assault in the GOP campaign.

On the eve of Super Tuesday, the message coming from Republican establishment figures was clear: It’s time, if not past time, to crystallize the competition and unite the party behind the effort to defeat Obama in the fall.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, were among the latest GOP luminaries to swing behind Romney. Conservative John Ashcroft, attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and a former Missouri senator, threw his support behind Romney on Monday.

Cantor told CNN “we’re coalescing around Mitt Romney’s plan to actually address the economic challenges,” and “trying to find ways to work together and bring people together and set aside differences.”

Whether Super Tuesday marks that sort of turning point remains to be seen. Romney has been the presumed long-haul favorite from the start but Santorum’s surge unfolded as the latest in a line of surprises from a field now down to four candidates.

Gingrich, whose only victory was in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary, has staked his campaign’s future on winning Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for 20 years, and on building a stronghold in the conservative South.

Toward that end, Gingrich scheduled stops Monday in Tennessee, where he appears to be in a close race with Santorum and Romney. Gingrich also planned to visit Alabama on Tuesday for the state’s March 13 primary before returning to Atlanta in the evening.

Santorum drew more on his personal biography than he has in recent days. He cast himself as a scrappy blue-collar fighter going up against Romney — a “country club Republican” in the words of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Santorum supporter.

“I come to the people of Ohio as a candidate who shouldn’t be here,” Santorum said. “Growing up in a steelworker town, growing up having to fight for everything you got, is exactly the kind of person that we need to have.” The former Pennsylvania senator is acknowledging that to be successful over the long haul, he will need Gingrich to get out of the race.

While Romney has a significant advantage in northeastern states such as Vermont and Massachusetts — where he was governor — and Santorum is strong in conservative states such as Oklahoma, Ohio tops the list of hotly competitive and delegate-rich contests Tuesday. Both candidates focused on the state Monday after a weekend swing through the South.

Romney has been working to make the race about the economy and to avoid intensifying the debate over conservative social values, a strong suit for Santorum. That effort was not helped when Limbaugh called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his nationally syndicated radio program, later apologizing.

The woman had testified at a congressional hearing in favor of an Obama administration mandate that employee health plans include free contraceptive coverage.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, denounced Limbaugh’s comments Monday, saying his remarks “should be condemned” by people across the political spectrum. The 2012 GOP candidates have dissociated themselves from Limbaugh’s comments, though not as forcefully as McCain did on CBS’ “This Morning.”

Romney has won four consecutive contests, including Saturday’s Washington caucuses. His broad, well-disciplined organization all but assures he’ll collect more delegates than his opponents on Tuesday, in contrast with Santorum’s looser group of supporters. Santorum and Gingrich did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the Virginia ballot, for example, and Santorum cannot win 18 of Ohio’s 66 delegates for similar reasons.

All told, 419 delegates are at stake Tuesday. Romney leads with 203 delegates from previous contests, Santorum has 92, Gingrich has 33 and Paul, 25. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.

Ron Paul supporters within the Libertarian Longhorns are endorsing and supporting local candidates, but they do not identify themselves as traditional conservatives and their issues focus more on ending military growth and the Federal Reserve, said Libertarian Longhorns vice president Taylor Metting. Metting said Ron Paul is the “13th floor of politics,” in other terms, a topic that no one wants to talk about, and libertarians are concerned about his lack of coverage by the media.

Libertarian Longhorns has currently endorsed David Simpson for state representative, district seven, and Dr. Laura Pressley for Austin City Council. The libertarians will also be participating in a peace rally on April 13, two days before tax day, to raise awareness about the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation enacted in December that set the budget for the Department of Defense. The NDAA “infringes on the liberties of Americans, continuing a trend of decreasing freedom that has been ongoing since 2001,” Metting said.

“Austin was rated the most libertarian city in the United States,” said Caitlyn Bates, president of the UT chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. “I think that the last time Ron Paul came here, around 2000 people showed up to hear him speak. I think that while the city is traditionally very vocal in being liberal, there are some definite libertarian undertones.”
 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two House members introduced a bill Thursday that would remove marijuana from the list of federal controlled substances and cede to the states enforcement of laws governing the drug.

The legislation would eliminate marijuana-specific penalties under federal law, but would maintain a ban on transporting marijuana across state lines. It would allow individuals to grow and sell marijuana in states that make it legal.

The bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House.

The bill was introduced by Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul, a Texas Republican running for his party's presidential nomination.

Four Democrats are co-sponsors: John Conyers of Michigan, Barbara Lee of California, Jared Polis of Colorado and Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

"Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom," Frank said.

"I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco. But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."

The bill would have to go through the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said his panel would not consider it.

"Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S.," Smith said. "The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease.

"Decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Allowing states to determine their own marijuana policy flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent."