U.S. Senator Rand Paul talks tech, civil liberties, and keeping the government out of your email

“Rand Paul is having some problems with the jerks back at the office. So today he’s bypassing them on a road trip through Silicon Valley,” Spencer Ackerman reports for Wired’s “Danger Room.”

“It’s not that people don’t like the junior senator from Kentucky. Many want him to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016. It’s that Paul’s politics lean libertarian, especially when it comes to privacy and national security, and the Senate is where civil liberties go to die,” Ackerman reports. “When Paul called for rolling back the Patriot Act, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slimed him. When Paul loudly worried about President Obama killing Americans without due process of law, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slimed him.”

“Funny thing, though. In March, when Paul held a dramatic 13-hour protest on the Senate floor excoriating what he saw as the excesses of an endless war, newly elected Republican senators (and even some Democrats) rallied to his side,” Ackerman reports. “Like good politicians, they saw that Paul was inspiring a tsunami of popular support: He got 3,500 new Twitter followers in just one hour, all for holding a clinic on C-SPAN in what Washington considers a political albatross. #StandWithRand became a thing.”

Ackerman reports, “So he’s taking his show on the road. Today, the Kentuckian is in Silicon Valley, meeting with Facebook, Google and eBay to talk about privacy, tech and civil liberties — as well as to hold swank fundraisers. Paul is hardly an easy sell in liberal California: Some of his positions and comments on civil rights have been, at the least, tone-deaf. Paul’s ongoing challenge is to form a winning political coalition that unites right-wing and left-wing libertarians, and his trip to the center of America’s tech sector is an early test of that coalition’s tensile strength. As he kicked off his tour through the Valley, Paul talked with Danger Room about what comes next.”

Full interview here.

Related article:
Senator Rand Paul: Senate committee ‘should apologize to Apple for bullying one of America’s greatest success stories’ (with video) – May 21, 2013


    1. Don’t forget the beer. The usual suspects have been fomenting all over themselves — it’s great entertainment (as long as I can keep from responding to the idiocies).


  1. #1 Rule of Survival: Keep the government out of everything in your life – out of your hair and out of your hard earned money.

    Government is like a big fat leech; once they fasten their fangs into you, they will suck you dry and leave you like a husk.

    I would welcome an alien attack of the Invaders of the Body Snatchers than submit to the predations of government.

    1. Nothing you say makes any sense to the real issues at hand.

      In short, we have allowed OUR representatives to be bought out and voters are too lazy to advocate getting the corruption permanently removed from OUR government. You go so far as to claim that your representatives are the problem. So you don’t like democracy? What would you prefer, the feudalism that corporations represent? Monarchy? Anarchy?

      Government is not some other entity; it is us. The problem, which most people of your political leanings seem unable to comprehend, is that by drinking the corporate propaganda that advocates constantly trying to underfund/mismanage/kill OUR government, you will have allowed the moneyed special interests to win ALL control over society — with no real accountability.

      The people must have a voice, and that is the big bad government you so despise. Letting corporations dominate it, and the two corrupt parties that mismanage it, is why YOUR government underwhelms you. Why don’t you propose solutions instead of throwing stones at the wrong source of the problem.

      1. Government is not some other entity; it is us.

        That’s what they told you in school, but it’s bullshit. This country is ruled by usurpers who haven’t given a damn about the constitution since the 1860s.

      2. Mike, you’re wrong. We are not a democracy (where everyone votes on everything), we’re a representative government (where elected officials make almost all decisions. This has evolved into elected officials passing more general laws and assigning the task of creating regulations to specialized agencies.

        The government (whether federal, state, local) IS “some other entity.” It is not some ethereal, nebulous thing. It is a corporation with special powers like law enforcement and taxation than a group of people who get together to decide things. Elected officials only make broad decisions, it is the everyday employees in various agencies and departments who keep government working and do the heavy lifting.

        There is a balance which must be struck between personal liberties and government operations. And just like in other aspects of society, there are abuses of power and there are stories of great contribution above and beyond the call of duty.

        However, our Founding Fathers recognized that the allure of power is much more likely to corrupt than it is to lead one to be magnanimous. Even good intentions lead to over-reaching and imposition on freedoms, which lead to abuses.

        The people do have a voice, but it is NOT the government itself.

      3. @Mike
        Hey Mike,
        I have to agree with Nut, here. Government is a huge leech. If only we could completely remove their influence and leave things to the noble and selfless ultra-rich who care so much about us all.
        We only need to look back to the old days of the Samaritan Barons of industry, or look to other countries where the divide between rich and poor is way worse – I mean better – than it is in the US. If only we could get rid of those regulations that stop industry doing the right thing. Exxon, Dow Chemicals, the tobacco industry — and many, many more — they would all do so much more good in world if only free to do whatever they liked.

        1. Are you smoking crack? Remove all regulation and suddenly corporations become benevolent, utopian organizations?

          BULLSHIT! We have regulations precisely because business has proven time and time again to cheat, pollute and endanger the public and environment in the name of a buck.

          Hell corporations only exist to limit liability and already obstruct accountability. I suppose enron would be rubbing my feet right now if all those pesky regulations hadn’t gotten in the way right?

          You had some really poor history teachers or selective hearing to spout this nonsense.

          And just to be sure my post is on topic, Rand Paul the great libertarian jerk is Pro-Life, he is al about no regulations for business, but he want to FORCE your raped daughter to carry the bastard baby to term. He is also opposed to gay marriage. Some libertarian he is.

          1. Truth,
            What makes you think a government is less prone to corruption than a corporation? If you disagree with a corrupt company you don’t buy their product. If you disagree with a corrupt government, it will penalize you and may throw you in jail.

            You were able to list monopolistic/corrupt companies in history because they came and went. But corrupt governments just keep becoming more corrupt until the country fails and/or the people overthrow it.

    2. Hey, BLN, just a thought. Save this comment for later, because you can substitute the words “Microsoft” or “Google” for “governmen”t and it works equally as well.

    3. Of course, unless there’s a white man in the white house.

      Look no further then when Bush was in office turning surpluses into deficits and record deficits at that and the wrecked US economy as proof of this. While nothing was heard from republicans, but silence.

      In leu of waiting for aliens, just leave and find another country that will give you as much as the US. if the aliens do show up, we’ll give them your forwarding address.

  2. While I know that the pendulum is swinging back towards conservatism in the U.S. for the upcoming cycles, I’m not sure if it will swing far enough for Rand.

    I can dream, though!

    1. You really think he can re-unite the economically illiterate, the socially medieval, the religious fanatics, and the militaristic blowhards back into one united front again?

      There is no party in the USA that represents fiscal sanity nor long-term prosperity for ALL the people of the nation, all have long ago sold out and are sucking on the corporate teat. Don’t pretend that your party is any different. Great Americans like Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, and Eisenhower, were they alive today, would be aghast at the BS obstructionist hypocritical scientifically illiterate self-absorbed whiners into which their party has devolved.

      1. Not sure if Rand is the guy, but it only takes one special person to unite the majority of the country and effect significant, meaningful, lasting change.

        We haven’t had one since Reagan (carried a record 49 of the 50 states and a record 525 electoral votes out of 538).

        For the U.S.’s sake, I hope Rand or someone like him is that special person.

        1. You had a mainstream candidate in 2012 – his name was Huntsman. But he made the grievous error of working as an ambassador under a non-republican administration, so the RNC did everything possible to marginalize the smartest guy in the room. The fringe single-issue loudmouth factions (including Rand and his father) are now dominating party rhetoric.

          Elect an independent instead if you want to see change.

          Both political camps are entirely corrupt & dysfunctional, and should be gutted, draw, and quartered in a public square. Replace your representative with someone whose ONLY speaking engagements are 2-way conversations with his constituents in his district. Any schmuck who does nationwide tours while Congress is in session should be identified for what he is: a corrupt political whore. Sorry to tell you, but that includes most administrations from both parties for the last 50+ years.

          1. Huntsman’s problem wasn’t that he was an ambassador, it was that he was completely uninspiring and bland. Anyone who wants to be elected President MUST be engaging, charismatic and be personable. Reagan, Clinton, and Obama have proven this to be true. Even George W. Bush was personable and somewhat goofy compared to Al Gore’s hardness and angry man demeanor.

        2. You wing nuts sure like to re-write history with fairy tales. Ronnie Rayguns legacy isn’t so grand.. He cut taxes then spent like a drunken Kardasian, by his second term he had to RAISE taxes 11 times. His failed star wars initiative, his lack of leadership on the aids/hiv epidemic. HIs failed war on drugs (well except for the prison industry. 50,000 in jail in 1980, more than half a million today) The rich got richer during his term, the gap between the rich and poor exploded. Wages stagnated even though productivity boomed.Homelessness exploded in his era. He led the charge on deregulating the savings and loan industry leading to a crop of scandals and setting the stage for what would later happen when the bubble burst.

          Yeah Ronnie was great, enjoy a jelly bean…

  3. Rand Paul wants to keep the government out of your e-mail so they can have more time to monitor your bedroom. This is the same guy who supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in every state across the country. This is the same guy who wants women thrown in jail for choosing to have an abortion no matter how early the trimester. This is the same guy who if elected president would nominate rightwing justices to the Supreme Court who would carry out the conservative agenda I partially spelled out by enshrining it as the law of the land for perhaps decades to come.

    You don’t fool us with your platitudes about freedom, Senator Paul.

      1. If that’s the biggest issue you have, then I feel sorry for you. Freedom means accepting that others will make bad decisions. One would have thought you liked freedom. Now you want your big bad government to have more influence over people’s lives. Can’t have it both ways, buddy.

        1. So, when a wife kills her husband, it’s murder, but when she has her baby vacuumed out of her and tossed in the trash, it’s just a “bad decision?”

          I only want murder laws to protect the unborn, too. At least the murdered husband had a chance to defend himself.

          Can’t have it both ways, buddy.

          P.S. I never classified my “biggest issue.”

            1. You didn’t have to say it — your whole-hearted endorsement of the GOP, as demonstrated by flashing the RNC symbol on a supposedly non-political forum — shows you endorse the planks of your party’s platform. Even the many hypocritical ones.

              Intelligent humans will also continue to question your party’s insistence that all goods should be “free”ly traded worldwide without any national controls or tariffs that, in the past, used to support safety inspection, port infrastructure, and port security, etc. But now the GOP insists that all goods, no matter how toxic or slave-supported, should get a free pass; all human migration must be stopped instead, according to the party faithful.

            2. And, by the way, I’m anti-death penalty, too.

              No human has the power to determine death and those who do commit murder, deserve to spend the rest of their days caged like the animals they are.

          1. If every sperm and egg are sacred, and none allowed to die (even post-fertilization), the world would not be big enough to house all the unwanted children. There aren’t even enough foster parents to take the orphans today.

            Accept reality: biology is messy. The fact that so many humans make stupid reproductive mistakes (or crimes, in the case of rape) is tragic, but the problem has ALWAYS been, and the planet isn’t able to properly feed and clothe the population it already has. One fundamental source of all the world’s problems lies in its overpopulation.

            Any objective analysis will show that it is better for everyone — murdered fetus included — if an unwanted fetus is aborted. Depending on your religious beliefs, instead of becoming a suffering unwanted, uncared-for, and undereducated brat, he’d get an express ticket to heaven, and would not burden the taxpayers that are already whining about their civil duty to fund the society in which we live.

            If you think its the humane thing to stop all potential abortions and hope the would-be parent suddenly has both the resources and responsibility to support the child (which is demonstrably NOT the case today), you are deluding yourself. Reality is, saving all fetuses would swamp all the world’s social services and welfare systems which are already stretched thin today.

            But surely you would be first in line to fund the orphanages, wouldn’t you?

            No amount of moralizing is going to stop abortions from happening, even if outlawed. Likewise, no amount of moralizing has ever stopped warfare, political assassinations, drone strikes, and other killing. If you are pro-life, then adopt a kid and join a war protest. If you’re just brainlessly attacking who you think are your chosen political foes, then don’t bother. Republicans have just as many abortions as any other faction.

            1. Why stop at murdering fetuses, then?

              Using your “logic,” we should kill the homeless first, then the severely mentally retarded, and also those damn quadriplegics – tremendous burdens on the “system,” all of them. Imagine how much better everything will be just by getting rid of them!

              Okay, who’s next? How about the obese and the smokers? They fsck up healthcare for the rest of us and the smokers pollute the air and fat asses eat most of the food and, hence, create most of the sewage. Let’s get rid of them, too!

              Ooh, paradise is right around the corner! Overpopulation no more!

              Now, about those ugly people – and, of course, how could we forget, the Jeeewwwsss, and…

              Great argument you’ve got there.

            2. You’re going off into la-la land here. IF the parents of the unfortunate are willing to support them, then why would society choose to cull the weak? Regardless of your pretended benevolence, WE ALL are allowing children to starve and die of easily preventable diseases. The only realistic answer to reducing human suffering is to allow a reduction in the human population. Some of us believe in allowing others to live with blood on their hands if that’s the morality they choose to live by. Others, notably the libertarian fringe, prefer to let other people first suffer and then die, all the while not lifting a finger to help in any way.

              The hypocrisy of the extreme right is painfully obvious. Allowing others to “murder” the unborn is far more humane than forcing a child to be born to a mother who can’t care for it, and thus child and/or mother is frequently dependent on social safety nets (at least for a short time) that the libertarian fringe wants to dismantle. Likewise, “death with dignity” laws in some states are finally allowing the elderly to expire naturally instead of undergoing all expensive life-prolonging (and frequently suffering-prolonging) techniques that have been developed. That’s great — allow people the freedom to choose.

              If the extremist libertarians had their way, the least capable people of society would live no different than they did in the medieval times: leading short miserable diseased and malnourished lives. After all, a large percentage of the richest country on the planet complains bitterly that we can’t possibly offer preventative healthcare to our children. Those downtrodden should just find a job that offers healthcare benefits while also caring for their dependents, right?

              Do you even know or care about the unemployment rate amongst the blind, or amputees, or other such groups? No, you don’t. Because the libertarian cares only about his pocket book or, perhaps, beating other people over the head with an antiquated bible.

      2. Planned Parenthood does not engage in genocide. If you’re ignorantly referring to the legal procedure of abortion, then you need to stop your FUD campaign and read about what Planned Parenthood actually does.

    1. agree agree agree.

      Rand Paul is mostly seen a grandstanding moron who has no clue what he is talking about. He is more like Sara Palin with a testicle. May Rand Paul be the face of the Republican party (or split it votes) for as long as it takes.

      1. Rand Paul graduated from Duke Medical school, and he’s probably the most intelligent member of the senate in the last century. You’re the moron.

        1. Thank you. We don’t have to agree with every last policy position to grant the esteemed senator from Kentucky his intellectual dues. Just because our opinions do not sync with someone else’s is a very uneducated reason to impugn the intelligence of another.

    2. Would you please link to where Senator Paul supports a constitutional amendment to banning gay marriage? Libertarianism doesn’t want Uncle Sam in our pocketbooks, nor in our bedrooms.

          1. R2 has a valid point. The GOP has been cow-towing to the religious right for so long, it is what most people associate with your party pal.

            I would argue it is the single biggest obstacle to your party in the future. The GOP positions on Abortion & Homosexuals turn MOST sane persons off. Not to mention no-religous folks do not care to be ruled by an American version of the Taliban, which is EXACTLY what the religious right acts like.

            Mind your own bed rooms and leave the rest of us to live in peace.

  4. I will read the interview later. If interested in the topic, everyone should read Senator Paul’s original remarks rather than rely on the propaganda mill to restate what Paul said.

    For goodness sake … he was the only voice rallying to Apple’s defense at the most recent tax lynching meeting.

  5. It is frankly good when a politician is making sense, regardless of what party. One of the problems is when a politician or a party is in it to seek power or domination. I’ve said before that the best American times was when government and industry where better balanced and government ran social programs including schools and health and industry ran industry and jobs.

    Rand Paul, like most republicans, don’t like government interference which is generally ok until industry starts becoming abusive. Then the government comes in and corrects things. Industry isn’t here to make things “okay” for citizens. They are mainly in it for the money. That;s why you see some much lobbying in Washington. Industry like Google and Samsung lobby so that they can manipulate the laws and make it harder for government to get involved in slimy operations.

    1. And that’s the tough balance to strike — how much government regulation/oversight is too much? And what is appropriate oversight v. what is wasted/useless?

      We know that too much government regulation burdens business and makes business unprofitable, or at least so hard to comply that business owners will simply move to something else.

      We also know that a lack of regulation/oversight will be taken advantage of by some scoundrel who cares only about making money. We also know that these scoundrels will cut corners, build unsafe structures, and sell dangerous products if left unchecked.

      We know some politicians can use government to abuse their power and force businesses to do things they would not otherwise choose to do, done to advance the politician’s power cravings or career. Things like Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, and what may be Obama’s big scandal in the IRS (I find it hard to believe low-level IRS agents took it upon themselves to make more work for themselves to gather information to stick in a file no one would read) are particular abuses done to hold power.

      I lean libertarian to the extent that government should be restricted as much as possible, but I also recognize that government often is in the best position to police the actions of those who would lie, cheat and steal in the name of profit.

      Is Rand the guy who could get elected, and if so, make a difference in the gridlock of Washington? I don’t know, but I at least admire that he is willing to speak his mind and not just toe the party line.

      1. Wait until the Obamacare fiasco gets fully implemented. Just wait. It’s the largest gift to fiscal conservatism in U.S. history!

  6. Much as Rand Paul likes to pump up the drama when he speaks, we could use quite a few more people in government who have his perspective on exactly what government is for.

    Government certainly is NOT for abusing, surveilling, overtaxing, overburdening and ignoring We The People. Government is also not for or about bending over for our brain dead Corporate Oligarchy.

    1. Yes and, as R2 pointed out above, then there are his entirely NOT libertarian, in fact ANTI-libertarian issues that are incoherent contradictions:

      This is the same guy who supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in every state across the country. This is the same guy who wants women thrown in jail for choosing to have an abortion no matter how early the trimester. This is the same guy who if elected president would nominate rightwing justices to the Supreme Court who would carry out the conservative agenda I partially spelled out by enshrining it as the law of the land for perhaps decades to come.

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