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Ron Paul on Technology

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


Exploring the Moon and Mars are great, if done privately

Q: [to Paul]: Speaker Gingrich said that by the end of his second term, there would be a permanent base on the moon. Good idea?

PAUL: I don't think we should go to the moon. I think we maybe should send some politicians up there. In 1962 and studied aerospace medicine: actually had a daydream about maybe becoming the first physician to go into space. That didn't occur, but the amount of money we spend on space, the only part that I would vote for is for national defense purposes. Not to explore the moon and go to Mars. I love those ideas. But I also don't like the idea of building government business partnerships. It should be privatized, and the people who work in the industry, if you had that, there would be jobs in aerospace. And I just think that we don't need a new big program. Health care or something else deserves a lot more priority than going to the moon. Space technology should be followed up to some degree for national defense purposes, but not just for the fun of it or for science.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary , Jan 26, 2012

WikiLeaks only released true but embarrassing information

Consider the case of Julian Assange, the founder of Wiki-Leaks. After he spread diplomatic documents, the long knives came out. Bill O'Reilly said that Assange was a traitor and "should be executed." Sarah Palin said that he ought to be targeted "like the Taliban." Ralph Peters of Fox News said, "I would execute leakers." Mike Huckabee said, "I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty." Glenn Beck said Assange should be executed. G. Gordon Liddy said he should be put on a kill list. In the end, Assange is just one man with a laptop and he was merely releasing what is true, information that embarrassed many but harmed no one. And this is the man that so many think ought to be subject to the death penalty? Government always uses it power to punish its own enemies, but its enemies are not necessarily our enemies. It's best we change our system rather than think people such as Assange, or others digging for the truth, are treasonous and should be executed.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 35-36 , Apr 19, 2011

Surveillance cameras are out of control; safety is no excuse

The government's use of surveillance cameras is out of control. Cameras at traffic lights are pervasive throughout the country. Challenging the charges in court is frequently not even permitted. The excuse is always the same: They are providing safety for us. But unlike in the private sector, this is not really believable. Government much too often violates our privacy and at the same time is fanatical in protecting its own secrecy. Not only are the government's cameras proliferating the government itself is turning even the private camera into a threat it otherwise would not be. Under the Patriot Act, private cameras, as well as cell phones and the Internet, are vulnerable to an aggressive federal government. Nothing good can come out of permitting government to film our every move. It strikes me like a scene out of Orwell's 1984. What I would like to see is the opposite: citizens who film ever more government activity, a live camera in every government bureaucracy that can be seen by all citizens.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.278-279 , Apr 19, 2011

We need more WikiLeaks so we know the truth

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was for a moment our biggest bogeyman since Osama. He's been labeled an old-fashioned anarchist, mastermind of a criminal enterprise and, at best, a control freak and a megalomaniac. This smacks of worse than McCarthyism--we're in a lynch-mob moment, folks.

Ron Paul is one of the folks to have spoken up on Assange's behalf. Paul made quite a statement on the floor of the House, when he asked his colleagues what had caused more deaths--"lying us into war or the release of the Wikileaks papers. In a free society, we're supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we're in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it."

Paul's point is important. Nobody has died as a result of the Wikileaks disclosures, but maybe we've forgotten that the whole Iraq War was based on fake evidence manufactured by the Bush-Cheney White House and the Brits.

Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p. 6 , Apr 4, 2011

No Fairness Doctrine: no equal time if morally objectionable

Q: As a Christian radio talk-show host, I donít want to be forced to broadcast morally objectionable material or give equal time to opponents of our faith. Would you veto any legislation that contains language of the so called ďFairness Doctrine?Ē HUNTER: The liberals want to be able to cut into every conservative talk show [because they canít get people to] turn on the dial.
Source: [Xref Hunter] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Donít apply broadcast indecency rules to cable networks

Q: Currently the broadcast indecency rules only apply to local broadcast stations. Do you support and believe that broadcast indecency rules should be expanded to cable networks as well?
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Privatize infrastructure maintenance; government fails at it

Billions of tax dollars at all levels of government are devoted to infrastructure, but one problem is that politicians love to cut ribbons. Political capital is gained not from maintaining or repairing our systems, but from building new bridges, new stadiums, and new roads, often of questionable real utility. Seldom is there a ceremony or photo opportunity for repairing or maintaining something already in place.

Infrastructure, in a capitalist model, is an asset worthy of maintaining to ensure continuity of revenue. In a government-controlled model infrastructure is nothing but a cumbersome liability. Privatization should be used to encourage maintenance and safety, and where private companies truly invest and bear the upfront costs in return for ability to collect tolls or usage fees in some form. But public/private partnerships that look more like corporate welfare must be avoided.

Source: "Aging Infrastructure" by Ron Paul on lewrockwell.com , Aug 25, 2007

Privatize infrastructure maintenance; government fails at it

Billions of tax dollars at all levels of government are devoted to infrastructure, but one problem is that politicians love to cut ribbons. Political capital is gained not from maintaining or repairing our systems, but from building new bridges, new stadiums, and new roads, often of questionable real utility. Seldom is there a ceremony or photo opportunity for repairing or maintaining something already in place.

Infrastructure, in a capitalist model, is an asset worthy of maintaining to ensure continuity of revenue. In a government-controlled model infrastructure is nothing but a cumbersome liability. Privatization should be used to encourage maintenance and safety, and where private companies truly invest and bear the upfront costs in return for ability to collect tolls or usage fees in some form. But public/private partnerships that look more like corporate welfare must be avoided.

Source: Op-Ed "Aging Infrastructure" by Ron Paul on lewrockwell.com , Aug 25, 2007

Militarizing outer space impoverishes America

President Bush let it be known that we will assert our jurisdiction not only worldwide, but in space as well. The president declared that the US will determine which countries will have access to space. He has announced that outer space will be militarized and controlled by the US.

Wealth is transferred from the poor to the politically connected rich through the inflationary process. The pseudo-strength of the dollar allows endless money creation to pay the bills to police the world. In the US, the process manifests in the decline of living for the poor, the middle class, and the elderly.

The limits of our policies will be exposed by military failures, the loss of political support, and a rejection of the over-inflated US dollars used to pay our bills. The cost of runaway military spending essentially brought down the Soviet Union and soon will bring down N. Korea. We are doing the same thing.

Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.367 , Jun 15, 2007

Trusts the Internet a lot more than the mainstream media

Q: Do you trust the mainstream media?

A: Some of them. But I trust the Internet a lot more, and I trust the freedom of expression. And thatís why we should never interfere with the Internet. Thatís why Iíve never voted to regulate the Internet. Even when thereís the temptation to put bad things on the Internet, regulation of bad and good on the Internet should be done differently.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

Govít computer snooping makes National ID Card inevitable

We allow the FBI and CIA to snoop on everything and everybody, and rarely is the snooping challenged on principle.

The computer age is now upon us, and this technology could easily eliminate completely the privacy that should be cherished by all freedom-loving individuals. Like nuclear power, computer technology can enhance or standard of living or destroy our freedom completely. It is just a matter of time until we have a mandatory national ID card.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 16-17 , Dec 31, 1987

Voted YES on terminating funding for National Public Radio.

    Congressional Summary: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content, including:
  1. broadcasting, transmitting, and programming over noncommercial educational radio broadcast Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967. Today, we have multiple listening choices; NPR [has become an] absurd anachronism. It is time to move forward and to let National Public Radio spread its wings and support itself.

    Opponent's Argument for voting No:
    [Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill will cripple National Public Radio, public radio stations, and programming that is vital to over 27 million Americans. We are now voting to deny the public access to one of our Nation's most credible sources of news coverage. This bill does not save a penny. This legislation does not serve any fiscal purpose, but it does serve an ugly ideological one. This legislation is not about reforming NPR. It is about punishing NPR. It is vindictive, it is mean-spirited, it is going to hit the smallest stations in rural areas particularly hard. Public radio is indispensable for access to news that's hard to get, especially where broadband service is limited.

    Reference: Prohibit Federal Funds for NPR; Bill H.1076 ; vote number 11-HV192 on Mar 17, 2011

    Voted NO on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

    Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

    Veto message from President Bush:

    This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

    Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-1040 on Nov 6, 2007

    Voted NO on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet).

    An amendment, sponsored by Rep Markey (D, MA) which establishes "network neutrality" by requiring that broadband network service providers have the following duties:
    1. not to block or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the Internet;
    2. to operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content and services over the broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation;
    3. if the provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
    Proponents say that network neutrality ensures that everybody is treated alike with regard to use of the Internet, which has been a principle applied to Internet use since it was first originated. Proponents say that without network neutrality, large corporations will pay for exclusive preferential service and hence small websites will be relegated to a second tier of inferior service. Opponents say that the Markey amendment forsakes the free market in favor of government price controls, and would chill investment in broadband network and deployment of new broadband services, and would reduce choice for internet users. Voting YES favors the network neutrality viewpoint over the price control viewpoint.
    Reference: Communications, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act; Bill HR 5252 Amendment 987 ; vote number 2006-239 on Jun 8, 2006

    Voted NO on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.

    Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005: Expresses the sense of Congress that broadcast television station licensees should reinstitute a family viewing policy for broadcasters. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that for violators of any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, if a violator is determined by the FCC to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material, the amount of forfeiture penalty shall not exceed $500,000 for each violation. Sets forth:
    1. additional factors for determining indecency penalties;
    2. indecency penalties for non-licensees;
    3. deadlines for actions on complaints;
    4. additional remedies for indecent broadcasts; and
    5. provisions for license disqualification, revocation, or renewal consideration for violations of indecency prohibitions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6]; Bill H.R.310 ; vote number 2005-035 on Feb 16, 2005

    Voted YES on promoting commercial human space flight industry.

    Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004: States that Congress finds that:
    1. the goal of safely opening space to the American people and to their private commercial enterprises should guide Federal space investments, policies, and regulations;
    2. private industry has begun to develop commercial launch vehicles capable of carrying human beings into space;
    3. greater private investment in these efforts will stimulate the commercial space transportation industry;
    4. space transportation is inherently risky, and the future of the commercial human space flight industry will depend on its ability to continually improve its safety performance; and
    5. the regulatory standards governing human space flight must evolve as the industry matures so that regulations neither stifle technology development nor expose crew or space flight participants to avoidable risks as the public comes to expect greater safety for crew and space flight participants from the industry.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46]; Bill H.R.5382 ; vote number 2004-541 on Nov 20, 2004

    Voted NO on banning Internet gambling by credit card.

    Internet Gambling Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions. Exempt from the ban would be state regulated or licensed transactions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Spencer, R-AL; Bill HR 2143 ; vote number 2003-255 on Jun 10, 2003

    Voted NO on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.

    Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would allow the four regional Bell telephone companies to enter the high-speed Internet access market via their long-distance connections whether or not they have allowed competitors into their local markets as required under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The bill would allow the Bells to increase the fees they charge competitors for lines upgraded for broadband services from "wholesale rates" to "just and reasonable rates." It also would also allow the Bells to charge for giving competitors access to certain rights-of-way for broadband access. Certain FCC regulatory oversight would be maintained although the phone companies' high speed services would be exempted from regulation by the states.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA; Bill HR 1542 ; vote number 2002-45 on Feb 27, 2002

    Permanent ban on state & local taxation of Internet access.

    Paul co-sponsored permanently banning state & local taxation of Internet access

    Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2007 - Amends the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.

    Related bills: H.R.743, H.R.1077, H.R.3678, S.156.

    Source: Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (S.2128) 07-S2128 on Oct 2, 2007

    Dedicated funds for harbor maintenance.

    Paul co-sponsored RAMP Act

    A BILL To ensure that amounts credited to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used for harbor maintenance. This Act may be cited as the 'Realize America's Maritime Promise Act' or the 'RAMP Act'.

    IN GENERAL- The total budget resources made available from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund each fiscal year shall be equal to the level of receipts plus interest credited to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for that fiscal year. Such amounts may be used only for harbor maintenance programs. GUARANTEE- No funds may be appropriated for harbor maintenance programs described in such section unless the amount described in paragraph (1) has been provided.

    Source: H.R.104 11-HR104 on Jan 5, 2011

    Prohibit the return of the Fairness Doctrine.

    Paul signed Broadcaster Freedom Act

    A bill to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repromulgating the fairness doctrine. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), notwithstanding any other provision of any Act, from having the authority to require broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the Fairness Doctrine.

    Source: S.34&H.R.226 2009-S34 on Jan 6, 2009

    No performance royalties for radio music.

    Paul signed Local Radio Freedom Act

    Source: SCR.14&HCR.49 2009-SCR14 on Mar 30, 2009

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    Page last updated: May 31, 2012