While the Republican National Convention will not start until Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Isaac, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul held their own convention of sorts over the weekend. The two-day "Paul Fest" was described by some as a farewell rally for Paul, who was not invited to speak at the Republican National Convention. Over the years, key parts of Paul’s platform have included shutting down the Federal Reserve, ending U.S. wars, and slashing federal spending by eliminating agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. Paul has also been a vocal critic of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We hear excerpts of speeches from Paul and his son, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. [includes rush transcript]
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is "Breaking With Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency." I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from Tampa, Florida.
While the Republican National Convention was canceled for the day—won’t start until Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Isaac—oh, there were other issues, as well, which had to do with whether Ann Romney, who was planning to be speaking tonight, would be broadcast by the networks, since they only wanted to do three days of coverage, but it was the storm that was cited as the reason for the cancellation tonight.
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul held their own convention of sorts over the weekend. A two-day "Paul Fest" was held at the Florida State Fairgrounds. And on Sunday, about 7,000 people heard Ron Paul speak at the Sun Dome at University of South Florida. The event was described by some as a farewell rally for Paul, who was not invited to speak at the Republican National Convention. Questions remain if supporters of Paul will attempt to disrupt Romney’s nomination. At times, Sunday’s rally felt like a rock concert, with the crowd breaking into chants of "President Paul!"
Over the years, key parts of Congressmember Paul’s platform have included shutting down the Federal Reserve, ending U.S. wars, and slashing federal spending by eliminating agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. Congressmember Paul has been a vocal critic of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His ties to groups like the John Birch Society have long drawn scrutiny. Over the weekend, the John Birch Society was among the vendors at Paul Fest.
In a moment, we’ll speak—we’ll play part of Ron Paul’s speech, but first we turn to his son, Senator Rand Paul. Many expect him to run for president in 2016 or 2020. He began his speech with a joke about the TSA. That’s the Transportation Security Administration.
SEN. RAND PAUL: Anybody here in favor of abolishing the TSA? You know, when I say that in Washington, they say, "What are you complaining about? You can go to the airport, and if you don’t have health insurance, you can get a free breast exam, you can get a free mammogram, and if you mention the Ron Paul revolution, you can get a free colonoscopy." The only problem is, some of us would prefer that our physician not be selected by advertising that’s on the Pizza Hut box.
I had the director of TSA come before my committee, and he said, "Well, we’ve got to pat down these children." And I showed him a picture of a six-year-old girl from Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the agent had her hands inside this little girl’s pants. And he said to me, in all seriousness, and he followed up with a letter, and he said, "Well, a girl in Kandahar set off a bomb, an eight-year-old girl." And I said, "This girl is not from Kandahar. She’s from Bowling Green, Kentucky."
There’s a professor at Harvard, and he wrote recently—his name is Noah Feldman—he wrote, "The next time the TSA asks you to put your hands above your head — 'No, hon, just a little bit higher. Nno, hon, a little bit higher' — and when you stand there for a vulnerable seven seconds, the next time you do this, you ask yourself, is this the pose of a free man?"
We have had the beginnings of some great victories, but we have yet to have the great victories. We did have a great victory in the House when we passed "Audit the Fed." This is a credit to a certain congressman from Texas who got every Republican to vote for it—and a hundred Democrats to vote for it. A lot of news reports are saying it’s dead now and it’s going nowhere, and I can tell you that’s not true. One of the great things that’s come out of "Audit the Fed" is that people have heard you. They’ve heard you saying, "End the Fed," too, but they’ve also heard "Audit the Fed." But here’s the thing: because we’ve talked about "Audit the Fed" so much, we’re now talking about "Audit the Pentagon."
Now, because of Hurricane Isaac, it’s not sure whether my message will get to the Republican National Convention, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to speak. But one of the messages that I will give to them is that Republicans need to acknowledge that not every dollar is well spent or sacred in the military, and we have to look for waste in every department of government.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, speaking Sunday in Tampa at the Ron Paul celebration. Moments later, his father and Republican presidential candidate, Congressmember Ron Paul of Texas, addressed the crowd.
SEN. RAND PAUL: I give to you the guy that is my hero, the guy that is the greatest representative of the liberty movement in our time, my father, Ron Paul.
REP. RON PAUL: To me, the three problems that we have to face, number one that I see as the problem—and if we solve it, it probably would solve most of the other ones—and that is the attack on personal liberty. If people truly understood what personal liberty means, that you have self-ownership, that you have a natural, God-given right to your life, therefore you have a right to your liberty, and we defend all life and all liberty regardless of our judgment about how people are using that liberty, then we would have the natural sequence of saying, if that is the case, you have a natural right to keep the fruits of your labor—and all of it.
Personal liberty, when it returns, once again you’ll be able to drink raw milk. You’ll be able to make rope out of hemp. You will be able to feel secure in your houses, that the federal government will not be able to spy on you or bust into your house without a search warrant. You will be allowed, without a government permit, to buy nutritional products, when you please and what you please. No longer will government assume they have the responsibility of protecting you against yourself. Nobody can do that. The emphasis will no longer be on economic and personal security, the government will take care of us, but it will be emphasizing the government is there to protect our liberty. You know, they can give us security, you know, whether it’s economic, which always fails, or whether it’s personal security, but you will become—if they—if the government said, "We can provide you perfect security," isn’t that what we do with animals that we breed to raise up and eat? I mean, this is what happens. They’re secure. You put them in cages, and you put them in fields. You fatten them up. You take care of them. They have all the food they want and the best nutrition—until it’s time to butcher. And this is safe. So what you want is liberty. You don’t want this false sense of security that governments cannot give you.
We’re spread too far around the world. We’re in 140 countries. We have 900 bases. They’re preparing right now to go into Syria, and it probably won’t be too long that we may well be in Iran. We don’t need another war. We need less wars, and we need to quit. In talking about foreign policy like this and emphasizing blowback, somebody, rather nationally, said the other day on the internet, they said, "Oh, yeah, if those Paul peoples had been in charge, Osama bin Laden would still be alive." But you know what I think the answer is? So would the 3,000 people from 9/11 be alive. And so—so would the 8,500 Americans who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they would be alive, as well. And also—also those 44,000 military personnel who have come back severely injured, they would not be suffering those consequences, and we wouldn’t have—and we wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome as well as brain injuries. So I would say, if you take that and add in $4 trillion, our side wins that argument by a long shot. Of course, if we had our way and we remove these dangers, of course, a president would not be able to assassinate anybody, especially never an American citizen.
So, what—what is our—what is our big challenge? The big challenge is, is can we restore our natural rights, God-given rights to our people, so that we emphasize the fact that return of liberty can solve so many of our problems? Economic policies means private property, contract rights, gold standard, and get the government out of this business of regulating the market. And property rights regulates quite well. Under those conditions, guess what happens in a free market? They say there will be no regulations. No, the regulation is, if you go bankrupt, you go bankrupt, and you don’t get bailed out by the government.
So the really big question, I think, that we have to decide upon is which way are we going to go. We see the end of an era. Where is it going to go? And I think the choice is one of two. I do not think that there’s going to be another Marxist come along and restore enthusiasm for Marxism. I don’t think that tomorrow we’re going to have the same thing as a Hitler or Mussolini. But I do think we have to worry about fascism, an expansion of what we already have, which is corporatism, the buddy system between big corporations, big banks, with the government. And that is the reason that we have to be on the side of saying, yes, if you’re big and you made your money because you had special benefits and bailouts and protectionism from the government, that is wrong, but if you’re big because you sold a good product to us and we bought it and you got rich, you have a right to be rich for doing that.
AMY GOODMAN: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speaking Sunday here in Tampa.