Kiss your rights goodbye?
Geoff Metcalf interviews Rep. Ron Paul on the International Criminal Court

Editors Note: A growing number of U.S. citizens are aware that their constitutional rights are under assault. Evidence of this onslaught includes legislation that exceeds constitutional boundaries, presidential executive orders and activist judicial decisions that effectively write law rather than merely interpret it.

Now, a new threat to the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens is emerging -- the International Criminal Court. A treaty signed by former-President Clinton -- that is now being reviewed by President Bush -- could easily lead to the destruction of U.S. sovereignty and constitutionally guaranteed protections, warns veteran U.S. congressman Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, -- a man who is considered by many to be the U.S. House of Representatives' leading spokesman for liberty, sound money, free market economics and constitutional government.

By Geoff Metcalf

Question: Mr. Congressman, before we get into the International Criminal Court, I like to open with an off topic question. I love it when the good guys use the procedural finesses that routinely are used to bludgeon us. Recently we reported about this seldom-employed law to block implementation of medical privacy?

Answer: Yes. Iíve introduced a House Concurrent Resolution that would stop the imposition of 1,500 pages of regulations that are said to be designed to protect our privacy. Itís sort of like the Bank Privacy Act back in the 1970s. They passed that bill and it did everything to invade our privacy. Now Iím a physician -- 1,500 pages to tell the doctors they ought to protect patient privacy? We never had any regulations or pages or laws. We had ethics and rules and it was understood you never released information.

Q: Actually if I understand the details of this deal it really opens it up where third parties can be notified without the patient even knowing about it?

A: Correct. It is actually the opposite of privacy. And a lot of the congressmen are going to be snookered into this and say, "Oh yeah, we have to protect privacy. If we donít vote for this weíre not voting for privacy." So my job is as I see it is trying to let as many people know as possible that this is doing exactly the opposite. It literally sets up a national medical data bank and allows medical records to be used by the government. You see, they [Congress] donít think if the government has the information that thatís so bad ... I think it is very, very dangerous. The resolution Iíve introduced would block that.

Q: By the way it is important to note that if you didn't do this -- if your resolution is not effected -- if nothing happens by April 14th, baddabing-baddaboom, the bad stuff happens.

A: Thatís it. Itís the law and it happens. The authority was given in 1996. Unfortunately, this is one of the things that occurred after the Republicans took control of congress and Clinton went along with it. So the authority has been set up. Each year Iíve been able to block using any funds to set up a national data bank and using the social security number as an ID. But theyíre progressing steadily. Theyíll let me block it for maybe a year, but they keep coming back and coming back. This is a bold step -- and itís being done by the regulators -- and Iím just hoping I can alert enough people to this problem so that Congress will wake up.

Q: What if any kind of support are you getting from your colleagues?

A: This was just introduced recently so I have not done a "Dear Colleague" letter. I personally have spoken with Dick Armey and Armey is pretty good on this issue. Heís helped me get the legislation passed before to block the setting up and the using of the national ID card.

Q: I recently saw a statement by Donna Shalala, former secretary of Health and Human Services, that shocked me if only because I agreed with her. She said the regulations would affect the lives of every American. Sheís right. Of course, what she didnít say is it would effect them negatively.

A: Yeah, but for her, it affects them in a way that the government knows more about you and -- since they believe in one health provider, one health service and one socialized system -- to them this is efficiency. This is what they need.

Q: This isnít the camel's nose in the tent. This is the camel backing in and soiling the rug.

A: It is really bad. But medicine has really gone downhill a good bit in the last ten years. Itís very, very expensive -- quality is down and privacy is disappearing, choices are not there -- this is just one more bold step. Iím hoping we can stop this. But if not, the only thing left for us in medicine would be to be able to get these medical savings accounts where people can opt out and just get out of the system. And if you wanted to go out and pay your own doctors and insurance at least you would get your money back off your taxes. That to me is the only thing because weíre not going to reverse this. Just look at the burden it would be to say: Why is the government involved in medicine under our Constitution?

Q: Why is the government involved in education?

A: Yeah, both these things. Yet look at the bold steps forward this year with education. I think it is over and done with. Thereís no more fight. At least Republicans -- up until this last election -- the platform and the president were always going around saying at least we say weíre against the Department of Education and that we donít believe the federal government should be involved.

Q: A few years back, a platform of the Republican Party called for the elimination of the Department of Education.

A: Up until this year. I was there on my first tour of duty in Congress when it was passed and that was with Carter. When Reagan ran in '80 that was -- remember he was going to get rid of the Department of Education and the Department of Energy and he quickly forgot about it once in office. But we've always had it in our platform up until this last year. But Bush said, no take it out. We need more money in education. Heís increasing the budget. Heís already asked for about an 11% increase. The Democrats love all the increases. There will be no cuts. Iíll bet you this budget could be 15% higher than it was last year.

Q: I found it amusing when the president acknowledged that in Washington-speak, a cut isnít really a cut -- itís just a reduction in the increase.

A: Thatís the terminology and you donít even see many episodes where they actually reduce the proposed increases. Itís all gimmicks. Like talking about this huge surplus. That is just so much deception -- even by their own standards -- with this downturn in the economy all those numbers are absolutely worthless.

Q: I donít remember who said it -- I think it was someone from the Fed -- but just recently they acknowledged that if you used general accounting procedures that are required of corporations, there is no surplus.

A: There is no surplus. In fact if we were held to the same standards as an insurance company and talked about social security system income, the managers of the fund would all be charged with fraud. We should be charged with fraud -- the people who are supposed to run this program. Insurance people would be put in jail if they ran their program like social security because there are no real assets there. Itís all in government debt. So that means some future taxpayer has to pay for every single penny that goes out -- every single penny that goes out comes from some current taxpayer.

Q: I apologize for the digression but I love it when the good guys use the same kind of procedural finesses that the masters use to control us. The primary reason I wanted to talk to you was to discuss the International Criminal Court. Please explain to our readers just how bad this would be.

A: It could be a disaster. It could mean that once this is institutionalized that someday down the line -- maybe in the next generation -- we would have one court. And they would be a world court. Already we know that the World Trade Organization preempts state law and federal law and we have to abide by it -- with environmental things and labor -- and thatís why sometimes the left comes in and joins us.

Q: There have been two or three times in my career where I have gone overboard on some issue and with NAFTA and GATT I admit to having gone totally ballistic. In both cases -- but NAFTA is even worse because you have executive committees meeting in secret; you donít even know who they are, they make a decision but you may not know what it is, but you canít litigate it and you canít go to congress and legislate against it and with the WTO at least they are out in the open with the bad stuff -- but the whole concept that someone somewhere else can do something and we donít have the constitutionally guaranteed protections is an abomination.

A: This is the whole principle. The principle is established there that the so-called free traders in Washington strongly endorse this. Now this is going over into the criminal areas. Who know what? There will be a U.N. tax, a U.N. ban on owning weapons and all kinds of things that may come up that our American citizens can be called in court -- which means that if there is a riot in some city, they say thatís genocide, so therefore they are going to have the U.N. Army come in and arrest these people -- this is what it could come to.

I just donít think itís quite that bad today or tomorrow, but I think the principles are there and the standards are there for that to happen some day. If it is established and sitting there and you have certain circumstances and conditions and a different president, who knows what could happen. At least this president is saying he doesnít want to have anything to do with the International Criminal Court. But at the same time, we donít know that heís going to express to the world that heís going to rescind the signature that Clinton put on the ICC treaty.

Q: Those of us who care about liberty and freedom and are constitutional absolutists end up fighting all these skirmishes with various congressional types over various challenges to our freedom and liberty but the growing conventional wisdom is what is really going to bite us in the butt isnít what you and colleagues talk about but rather through treaties. Isnít this International Criminal Court a classic example of how that can happen?

A: I think so. I think they are systematically undermining the concept of nations. In a way, it is very similar to the way it happened in our history from the very beginning of our country how they systematically undermined the principle of an individual state. There were the dramatic changes that occurred during the Civil War then of course with the grandiose social schemes of Roosevelt so every year...

Q: Well your colleagues may not know it but we do still have the 10th Amendment.

A: Yeah, but they know it and they donít care about it and they donít follow it. So they reinterpret that -- and they donít want to be reminded about it -- but, of course, if they did it, I donít think Iíd be voting by myself so often. I look at the 10th Amendment very seriously and my oath of office.

Q: Do you ever pause coming out of the cloak room sometimes and wonder "Gee, wouldnít it be cool if the guy sitting next to me was Louis McFadden or Charles Lindberghís dad or someone like that?"

A: I think it would really be great and Iím always looking for them, and I do get some help on occasion. Itís just that itís not consistent across the board. It will be hit and miss and they donít have a sound principled philosophy. If you get to and you explain it to them then, "Oh yeah that makes sense." Then one or two or three will vote with me. But the next day they say it will be impractical for their district or theyíll say "I donít understand it that way. This is necessary." Or something like that.

Q: Let me ask you this because itís basic and a pet peeve of mine. You and your colleagues all swear an oath "to preserve and protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." That oath means something. How can a congressman twenty seconds after he puts his hand down and removes his hand from the bible, set about to introduce, author and lobby for legislation that is specifically designed to undermine, abrogate or trash the very document they have just sworn to ďpreserve and protectĒ?

A: I guess they buy into this argument that we live in a different age and a different time.

Q: They just took the oath twenty seconds ago for crying out loud!

A: I know they take the oath and they rationalize -- another argument I hear is, "Well, yeah, I tend to agree with you but that means youíre just voting your own philosophy and youíre overly rigid and we have to vote our district." Which means, "We have to vote the money that put us here. We canít be overly rigid with our personal views -- like we believe in the Constitution."

Q: This isnít a case of being overly rigid. Frankly if you were really to start picking nits here, if one of your colleagues were to violate his oath of office wouldnít they technically be at least guilty of perjury or fraud if not treason?

A: Well they would be but itís not likely to end up in court. But youíre right! Youíre technically right. They're immoral and I think itís unconstitutional and itís illegal -- of course, sometimes itís legal because laws get passed but it certainly isnít constitutional. I believe strongly that we should do what we say when promised. We should have a moral code. But itís very important as a legislator that you believe in the rule of law because there are certainly things in the Constitution I could improve upon but ...

Q: Yeah, but the problem is the law they believe in is the "Golden Rule: The guy with the gold makes the rules."

A: Yeah thatís it. But they donít wait and say, "We should change the law" -- so, once you say, "Well we should allow the president to wage war because we live in difficult times and he needs to be able to wage war ...Ē

Q: Or, more realistically, because "We donít want to make the decision and have to take the heat for it."?

A: Or, if you do it once, you can do it anytime. Once you do it itís sort of like taking your first drink. Youíre right -- it does blow my mind to think how much the Congress gives up: how much authority to the President, to the Executive branch and to the Judicial branch -- and they just seem to go out of their way to give more authority to the Executive branch.

Q: I have never understood this. The framers gave us three branches of government specifically because we didnít want a king right? So they give us the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. And each one of you guys has a specific job function. A reasonable person, if such a fictional character existed, would expect that the legislature would be jealous of their territory.

A: Yeah but they are not. We had a bill on the Education Committee and it was obviously unconstitutional and I brought the subject up -- and the chairman said, "Well that may be true but thatís not our responsibility."

Q: Bullfeathers! Absolutely it is your responsibility!

A: He says, "Weíll wait until it goes to the court and they can decide." I just threw my hands up and said "Oh my!"

Q: A few years ago -- I think it was a congressman from Florida -- he introduced some legislation that made all the sense in the world. It said no one could introduce anything unless they could provide a citing from the Constitution that authorized it. I remember joking with him at the time saying it would be cool if you could make that retroactive and he said weíd have to get rid of 90% of the laws we have.

A: That was John Shaddock from Arizona. Interestingly, that never got passed into law but it is a rule of the House. And the rule is "followed" -- so you go and pick up a piece of legislation. I remember one that struck my interest -- it had to do with the export-import bank. China gets five billion dollars of export subsidies. So I went and asked, "Whatís the constitutional justification for this?" So they cite the coinage clause -- that they can coin money and that to them was to extend credit to communist nations. So that bill would do no good even if it were a law. The general welfare clause and the interstate commerce clause -- everything has been so messed up.

Q: We could do six hours on just the commerce clause. But the thing I have never understood is why congress would say, "Let the courts sort it out." The whole purpose of the three branches was so that shouldnít have to happen.

A: They donít understand that they're supposed to interpret the Constitution just as a judge would interpret it. I think itís their upbringing. The fact that they have not really studied constitutional law -- they have not been taught this in college and they're not interested in really paying attention. They might have some respect for what I do, but deep down inside ...

Q: They marginalize you.

A: Yeah they say, "This guy is really out of it." If I didnít go home and talk to my people and get some support and get reelected, theyíd have me doubting it too. Iím absolutely convinced that we who believe this way are on the right track. We are much more correct than anything that they do and there are a lot of people around the country who feel frustrated, who feel good about somebody trying to stand up for these views.

Q: Recently I was just re-reading a series of magnificent rants by Congressman Louis McFadden from 1933 and I was focused on the language he was using -- and how harsh he was in his criticism of specifically the Federal Reserve -- and I canít conceive of anyone who even attempts to give a speech like that now. I donít know -- maybe you, Jim Traficant if the moon is in a certain phase, or Bob Barr?

A: Yeah and for most of them it isnít so much that they love the Fed -- they donít really understand the system but they know the Fed is important.

Q: Weíll return to that but I need to drag us back on point to the International Criminal Court and explain the sleazy way that Clinton approved this mess.

A: The meeting in Rome drawing this treaty was a couple of years ago and it was unpopular here and nothing was done. But it was at that time when Clinton was working on all his pardons on December 31st, the last day of the year, he had this treaty signed. Iím sure he did this thinking it would quietly go by for a while without too much talking about it.

Q: It could have also been a way of flipping off Congress because the treaty doesnít go into effect until the Senate approves it and the Senate is not going to approve it.

A: Thatís right and yet we are still concerned about it. Because just as we donít act within the rule of law very often, the world sort of takes upon themselves to interpret our signature being much more than we think it is. We think it should be ratified before it is the law of the land. Some of us think that, even if it is ratified, if it contradicts the Constitution it shouldnít be the law of the land.

Q: Hold on there! Youíve got a couple of so-called "agreements" that have the clout of treaties in NAFTA and GATT and youíve been unable to do anything about those dogs.

A: I know thatís a big problem and they do take that and it becomes the law of the land. They literally believe now that they can amend the Constitution through this process. So, in a way, you can do that without the House even participating. Do you recall the Bricker Amendment?

Q: Sure.

A: If you just listen to the Constitution, you donít really need the Bricker Amendment. The Bricker Amendment would state very clearly you couldnít change the Constitution. I have a Sense of Congress Resolution Iíve introduced to just at least get that discussion out and say hey what are we doing and why do we give up so much? We give up our sovereignty. We give up this power that should be in the hands of the members of Congress and now we are letting the WTO write our tax laws for us. It to me is a very serious infraction of the Constitution.

Q: When Clinton signed this ICC thing on December 31st a couple of things happened. First, he signed the treaty. So the world looks at it and sees the U.S. signed the treaty. It doesnít go into effect unless the Senate approves it -- and even this Senate -- even this Senate is not going to approve this.

A: Right. But just remember how powerful the presidents are through Executive Order. If Clinton wanted to impose environmental regulations that were coming out of the Kyoto treaty -- which was not signed and was not ratified -- he could just do it through Executive Order. The Congress just sits back and doesnít say anything.

Q: Iím glad you brought that up because hereís another pet peeve. Executive Orders, although they have become the classic abuse of power under the color of authority and have been misused and misconstrued -- Congress can overturn any Executive Order -- or, for that matter, could eliminate the whole Executive Order tool. So why the hell donít you guys do that? I mean heís poaching on your turf.

A: I have another bill for that one too trying to make this point that we should not give the president -- any president -- this power. So I have a bill that would say the only Executive Order he can issue are the ones authorized by the Constitution. Like special sessions of Congress, heís the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Military and a few things like that. But all the rest -- including all the regulations of the agencies, including the regulations of the 1,500 pages for so-called protecting our medical privacy -- all that would be thrown out the window.

Q: The Executive Order tool -- the mechanism was designed as a tool for the "Executive Branch" -- as a management tool for the Executive Branch. At what point was it assumed or gifted with greater scope? I mean the classic case was with the Mexican bailout. Clinton went to Congress and asked for 60 billion bucks and you guys said, "No." And as Paul Begala said, "stroke of the pen -- law of the land ... cool." Bullfeathers!

A: Thatís right. And, of course, to me the worst Executive Order is the key to one of the reasons why we fought our revolution: To take the power to wage war away from the king. Itís very clear in the Constitution that only Congress can declare war. Yet by Executive Order or through treaty with the U.N., weíve been to war under U.N. resolutions -- even our current President already bombed Iraq. Where did he get his authority? U.N. resolution.

Q: What happened with that War Powers Act thing you were involved in recently?

A: Iíve reintroduced my legislation with the Executive Orders but Iíve separated out the War Powers Resolution because things always work differently than what they are said to do. The War Powers Resolution in the early '70s -- '72, I think -- was to stop them from fighting wars like Vietnam without declaration. Well, it turned out that actually it legitimatized fighting wars for 90 days before the president even has to talk to the Congress. It backfired. So I want to repeal the War Powers Resolution because it has not prevented war. We go to war more often than ever.

Q: Do you have any traction for it from your colleagues?

A: Not really. Thereís no interest.

Q: Excuse me, but this keeps bringing us back to a common theme. Congress seems to have surrendered the incredible power that was given to it. First off, in 1913 they gave the Fed the congressional mandate to mint and coin money. Then they gave up war powers. You let the president and now the courts make law. What do we even need you guys for?

A: What else is there if they can control the money? Theyíve legalized counterfeit by a secret bank -- the central bank, the Federal Reserve and then we allow our presidents to wage war either by himself or under U.N. resolution and then we write our tax laws according to what the WTO tells us. Itís serious. And I think people have been very complacent and theyíre fat and happy and our prosperity has lulled them to sleep but maybe thatís coming to an end and maybe the American people will wake up and say, "How did we get ourselves into this mess?" But the big danger is thereíll be even more eager to turn over more power if there is a major crisis. Look what they do in depression and war times -- they give more power to a president.

Q: Recently I spoke with Bob Schulz from "We the People" and Larry Becraft from "The Wallace Institute." Iíve had Bill Benson on to discuss the non-ratification of the 16th Amendment. At some point can you ever see Congress addressing the questions raised by these men and others about the ratification of the 16th Amendment?

A: No way! Itís not going to happen. Even if you had 110% proof that was absolutely correct and that that was never ratified it would be so devastating to the establishment -- how else can they run the government without your money? I mean they need your money. Itís like saying you expect the Congress in the next six months to systematically reduce their spending by ten percent? If we could trust them if they said theyíll reduce their spending, then maybe youíd think theyíll reduce taxes and do something. But they need your money. This is the reason why our privacy is disappearing -- whether itís our financial privacy or whatever. They want to know where your money is and what youíre doing.

Q: Hold on. For a long time there has been complicity between the mainstream media and government. They have pretty much controlled what kind of information the unwashed masses were being fed. However, now with this information revolution of the symbiotic relationship between the Internet and jokers like me on talk-radio, itís like the vacuum that had been created by the mainstream is being filled. People are finding this information they had been denied. As more and more people find out -- hey, the 16th Amendment wasn't properly ratified, the Federal Reserve isn't federal and it isnít reserve, itís a private scam, fiat money ainít gonna work, itís designed to fail -- as more and more people get exposed to this, how long can Congress stall before they are compelled to address it?

A: And you just stated why we should be optimists in the long run. I compare it to being in Washington in the '70s when it was very difficult to organize and reach people -- now, talk shows, radio, Internet -- itís just amazing what we can do. But I still argue that, even with our numbers growing tremendously, weíre not on the verge of seeing a Congress do the things you are asking because there is so much more power and influence on the side of these spending programs. They may want less taxes but they do want these programs.

But our numbers are very important. We have to keep growing our numbers and they understand this. Because soon, the tax revolt will grow -- it is growing -- it is very big. It is bigger than most people realize. There are some who do it with a lot of noise and there are a lot who are doing it very quietly. So there is a major revolt going on.

Then, when the financial collapse comes -- which I suspect we will get -- this government is going to have to admit to some of these problems. There will be a tough tug-of-war between those who say we need more government versus our numbers, which are growing, and saying, "Weíre going to chuck it. Weíre not going to participate." Weíre going to demand that we live within the Constitution. That is not going to be graceful -- itís not going to be smooth -- itís not going to be through attrition in Congress because those who get to Congress are basically the ones who are there now. And theyíre going to say, "Ah ha! We have to keep this together for the good of the people. We have to make sure nobody misses their check."

Q: What if ten or twenty years from now there is such outrage and so much information has been disseminated to the people that they finally get it and say, "Hey, you guys arenít representing the U.S. Youíre representing your special interests and feathering your own nests. Weíre going to throw your fat butts out!"

A: Hey I work on the assumption that that is possible or I wouldnít be a political activist. And I am encouraged that I can go and vote the way I do and come back to my district. I have a district that has 22 counties -- mostly farming. I donít vote for farm subsidies and I explain my position and they listen to me and they still vote for me. So there is reason to believe it can happen, but itís not going to be soon and itís not going to be easy. I would think the tax revolt and the financial collapse is going to bring it to an end a lot sooner than transition in the Congress. But we should work for education and understanding and we should work to change the Congress and then we should be prepared for the rest.

Q: Iíve been telling people for ten years: "Donít do anything stupid. Work within the system. Change the system. Fix whatís broken. Donít do anything precipitous." Are you telling me Iím wrong?

A: No Iím saying thatís what I do -- and thatís what we should do -- but we ought to be prepared for the other. I donít know what the future will bring. Maybe all of a sudden the Congress will reflect our views a lot better than I think they are going to.

Q: Yeah and maybe the sun will come up in the west in the morning?

A: They have to cut spending. When they get in these tax arguments about whether itís a legal tax or an illegal tax -- to me itís irrelevant. Should we have a sales tax or an income tax? I hate the income tax -- Iíll do anything to get rid of the IRS. Thatís not really the point.

Q: What is the point?

A: Thatís the symptom of the disease. The disease is that weíve allowed our government to get so big and weíve established a nanny-state and a warfare-state and weíve allowed our Congress to give up all their responsibilities to our courts and to the president. So thatís where the problem is. The IRS and the income tax is the symptom of the problem. We have to deal with the big picture as well.

Q: The inevitable and ubiquitous question I hear all the time is: "What can we as citizens do to fix what is broken?"

A: We all have a responsibility. I have a responsibility to introduce the proper legislation and then I have a responsibility to try to get others to understand what it is and support it. In the case of the International Criminal Court if I can get co-sponsors it would help.

That means anybody reading this should call their congressman and raise Cain with them to support my resolution...which is HconRes 23 that would be very helpful. If they call up The Liberty Committee website, they can find a resolution, they can sign and it will be sent to the president and we can let the president know where we stand and we donít want him to have this ratified. We want him to announce to the world that this treaty should not be accepted. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves to what is going on and then become politically active.