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Ron Paul on Eliot Spitzer

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Ron Paul on Eliot Spitzer: He acted badly but didn't deserve this: By John Bresnahan

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), he of the quixotic GOP presidential campaign and unique policy positions, is never one to be shy about his opinions. Take the case of fallen New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), whose political career fell apart this week after his liaisons with high-priced call girls became public. Spitzer resigned his office effective Monday.

Most politicians from both sides of the aisle publicly (at least) offered condolences for Spitzer and his poor family, including his three daughters, but didn't — of course — defend Spitzer's atrocious behavior.

But for Paul, Spitzer's downfall at the hands of a Justice Dept. investigation shows government at its worst. Yes, Spitzer climbed to power on the backs of political enemies he destroyed, making him not a swell guy, but he didn't deserve what happened to him. The FBI should have never been allowed to listen in to his phone call in the first place, according to the Texas Republican.

Here's the statement Paul made on the House floor last night. It's worth reading, at least for the enlightenment it gives into Paul's view of the world, which basically comes down to who controls the money:

"Madam Speaker, it has been said that 'he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.'  And in the case of Eliot Spitzer, this couldn't be more true. In his case it's the political sword, as his enemies rejoice in his downfall. Most people, it seems, believe he got exactly what he deserved.

"The illegal tools of the state brought Spitzer down, but think of all the harm done by Spitzer in using the same tools against so many other innocent people. He practiced what could be termed 'economic McCarthyism,' using illegitimate government power to build his political career on the ruined lives of others.

"No matter how morally justified his comeuppance may be, his downfall demonstrates the worst of our society. The possibility of uncovering personal moral wrongdoing is never a justification for the government to spy on our every move and to participate in sting operations.

"For government to entice a citizen to break a law with a sting operation — that is, engaging in activities that a private citizen is prohibited by law from doing — is unconscionable and should clearly be illegal.

"Though Spitzer used the same tools to destroy individuals charged with economic crimes that ended up being used against him, gloating over his downfall should not divert our attention from the fact that the government spying on American citizens is unworthy of a country claiming respect for liberty and the Fourth Amendment.

"Two wrongs do not make a right. Two wrongs make it doubly wrong.

"Sacrifice of our personal privacy has been ongoing for decades but has rapidly accelerated since 9/11. Before 9/11, the unstated goal of collecting revenue was the real reason for the erosion of our financial privacy. When 19 suicidal maniacs attacked us on 9/11, our country became convinced that further sacrifice of personal and financial privacy was required for our security.

"The driving force behind this ongoing sacrifice of our privacy has been fear and the emotional effect of war rhetoric — war on drugs, war against terrorism and the war against Third World nations in the Middle East who are claimed to be the equivalent to Hitler and Nazi Germany.

"But the real reason for all this surveillance is to build the power of the state. It arises from a virulent dislike of free people running their own lives and spending their own money. Statists always demand control of the people and their money.

"Recently we've been told that this increase in the already intolerable invasion of our privacy was justified because the purpose was to apprehend terrorists. We were told that the massive amounts of information being collected on Americans would only be used to root out terrorists. But as we can see today, this monitoring of private activities can also be used for political reasons. We should always be concerned when the government accumulates information on innocent citizens.

"Spitzer was brought down because he legally withdrew cash from a bank — not because he committed a crime. This should prompt us to reassess and hopefully reverse this trend of pervasive government intrusion in our private lives.

"We need no more Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act! No more Violent Radicalization & Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Acts! No more torture! No more Military Commissions Act! No more secret prisons and extraordinary rendition! No more abuse of habeas corpus! No more Patriot Acts!

"What we need is more government transparency and more privacy for the individual!"


Entry #83

Comments

1.
justxploringComment by justxploring - March 17, 2008, 6:31 pm
Interesting viewpoint. I agree in part as I commented in another blog when I first learned of this story. The government shouldn't be watching our bank account activity. However, an elected official needs to be held to a higher standard because of his power. Spitzer participated in the very act he prosecuted others for, so he is the ultimate hypocrite. However, I do agree that if we don't fight for our right to privacy, we'll all be wearing microchips soon and depositing DNA at a local cell bank for identification purposes.
2.
time*treatComment by time*treat - March 17, 2008, 7:00 pm
There's an episode of the Andy Griffith Show, where Opie records the accused admitting his crime to his lawyer. Andy tries to explain why it's important to not use evidence collected that way. When we're dealing with clearly unlikeable people or groups, it can be hard to keep to that standard. For me, I always ask two questions: 1) How could an outsider tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys" if they all use the same tactics? & 2) Even if our current leaders(sic) are most honorable, occasionally we "mess up" and elect the wrong person, so what happens when an evil or incompetent person has access to these powers?
3.
justxploringComment by justxploring - March 17, 2008, 7:08 pm
"so what happens when an evil or incompetent person has access to these powers?"

I think we've already learned the answer to this question. :-)
4.
ToddComment by Todd - March 18, 2008, 12:43 pm
This article is great because it shows what a loon Ron Paul is, and how he twists reality to suit his own moral-less view of society.

I quote: "For government to entice a citizen to break a law with a sting operation ... (blah blah blah)"

So, in order to support his wacky views, Ron Paul basically just lies and makes up things that never happened. Here he claims that the government *enticed* Spitzer to cheat on his wife with a hooker. Everything I read indicates that he arranged everything on his own .... and has been screwing around with hookers for the past *ten years*.

And there was nothing illegal about anything they did, even thought Ron Paul claims that there was. Only a fringe nutcase like Ron Paul would think that making sure politicians aren't stashing money (i.e., bribes) in overseas bank accounts is wrong and illegal.

Ron Paul is nothing more than a silly cartoon. I feel bad for the people who have him as a representative in Texas, because they are basically being represented by Daffy Duck.
5.
time*treatComment by time*treat - March 18, 2008, 7:11 pm
Surprisingly, the 14th congressional district of Texas (like congressional districts in the rest of Texas and in 49 other states) directly elects its representative to the House. Since they just *re*-elected Ron Paul, 70.2% to 29.8%, it doesn't look like they feel sorry for themselves. No hanging-chads, there. People who love Big Brother can rejoice that the top 3 people most likely to be the next POTUS will see to it that you have no privacy (or say) about anything.
6.
ToddComment by Todd - March 19, 2008, 3:05 pm
So you see John McCain as someone who advocates removing individual rights to privacy? The guy was against most of President Bush's policies, so maybe you just don't know enough about him. And Obama is a peacenik who cow-tows to fringe liberals, so I'm not sure how you can say it about him either. Hillary, on the other hand, revels in hiring teams of private investigators to dig up dirt on people, and I have no doubt she would do the same on a much larger scale as POTUS. (Those who aren't aware of this, or refuse to believe it, it is a fact that she has a team of private investigators on her payroll, and not just during campaigns. How do you think they dug up crap on and slandered all the people who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and rape?)

Don't be misled by the cheerleading media or the angry blogs (or the America-hating pastors) about the candidates.
7.
time*treatComment by time*treat - March 19, 2008, 8:12 pm
Oh, I find them all odius, but for different reasons. That's based on their voting records and their campaign materials. Now for Obama, you dig into his career as IL state senator ~ wants to take your gun, give you nine-one-one. McCain ~ two words: Kennedy, Feingold. Clinton ~ You WILL pay for her healthcare at whatever price SHE decides you can afford. Three liberals in my view. This election will be between Lenin, Stalin, & Kruschev.

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