(Ames, IA) Friday evening U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke at a Students for Rand rally at Iowa State University. Approximately 500 students and guests attended the event and heard the junior senator from Kentucky and presidential candidate discuss issues such as government surveillance, minority outreach, sentencing reform for drug laws, and Donald Trump’s use of imminent domain as a real estate developer.
“I am different than all of them (candidates) Republican and Democrat because I believe in your right to be left alone. This is your right to privacy. I stood for ten-and-a-half hours on the Senate floor for your right to be left alone,” Paul said.
Paul explained that a right to privacy, even though it is not seen in the Constitution, is protected by the 9th Amendment. “It says those rights not listed are not to be disparaged,” Paul stated.
He also explained to the students that right to privacy was also enshrined in the 4th Amendment that requires a warrant for searches and seizures of personal property.
Paul explained what information could be learned about a person from just a credit card bill obtained without a warrant.
“If I have your VISA bill I know if you drink (I know that’s not true). I can tell whether you smoke. I can tell whether you gamble. I can tell what books you read, what doctors you go to, I can tell what your medicines are. That’s none of the government’s business,” Paul stated.
“Some people will say, but terrorists will get us. Terrorists hate us they will kill us. Yes there are bad people around the world, some of them are in our country, and we should stop them. But you can stop them, and I had this altercation with the Governor from New Jersey I am still trying to explain to him what goes on with the Bill of Rights, you can stop terrorists, you can stop murderers, you can stop people who are here to harm us with the 4th Amendment. All you have to do is call a judge,” Paul shared.
“The Bill of Rights is about protecting minority rights,” Paul shared later. “You may say, ‘well I’m not a minority.’ You can be a minority because of the color of your skin or the shade of your ideology.”
Pivoting to sentencing reform for drug offenses Paul said, “Big government has so screwed up the war on drugs that we now put people in jail for decades because of drugs. I don’t want to have anyone put in jail who is not a violent criminal for smoking pot or for other drug crimes. Let’s look at rehabilitation, I think incarceration is a mistake.”
Paul discussed mandatory sentencing that ties the hands of judges so they can’t use discretion and added many of the sentencing laws require no parole so first time drug offenders are being given 15 year (or more) prison sentences.
He also highlighted the disproportionate incarceration rates with minorities with 15 black or brown offenders being arrested over marijuana for every white person who is arrested. Paul said marijuana use is a benign crime.
He also advocated for the legalization of medical marijuana, but stopped short of supporting full legalization of drugs instead Paul focused on sentencing reform.
Paul also pointed out the unintended consequences of overthrowing largely secular dictators in the Middle East and how that has given rise to groups like ISIS. He said the problem with arming “moderate” Muslims is that the United States doesn’t often know who is moderate or not. “They may just hate Assad and want our weapons, but the problem is they hate us too,” Paul noted.
Paul said that at the very least America should stop arming and giving money to groups who hate the United States. He also said that before any military action is taken there should be a vote of Congress.
He turned his aim to Donald Trump and his involvement in the misuse of imminent domain. “Here is a guy who loves the government. Why would any conservative vote for this guy? He loves the government to go into a town and take and condemn property so he can build a casino. He loves the government to use eminent domain, in fact, he went into a town, in Atlantic City, to build a casino and one woman wouldn’t sell so he sent the thugs of government after her to take her house. She took him to court, and she fought him for years and finally beat him. That doesn’t always happen. Typically the thugs win, people with money win,” Paul stated. “So Trump says ‘I’ve given to both sides. I’ve given to Democrats and Republicans. That’s because if I give them money they’ll do whatever the hell I tell them.’ Really that’s what is really wrong with government. Special interests are buying and selling government.”
Paul went further during a press avail after his remarks.
“It is sort of a strange phenomenon that a long-term governor from a large Republican state is out and someone whose only qualification is celebrity is leading the pack,” Paul said comparing Donald Trump with Rick Perry who announced on Friday he was suspending his presidential campaign.
“I think there is a certain amount of irony there that people are going to wake up and I kind of predict that this is going to be the beginning of significant scrutiny for the celebrity in the race because people are going to start to say to themselves, ‘oh my goodness maybe this kind of bizarre fandom, even in the media, could lead to a selection process that isn’t the best for the country,'” Paul stated.
Paul said he doesn’t just have a problem with the way Donald Trump builds casinos using eminent domain. “He is on the record saying he thinks the Kelo case – he’s a 100% for it, and you won’t find one conservative in America, that knows what the Kelo case is, that is for it. The Kelo case allowed private property to be taken from smaller owners and be given to big corporate owners. It is an anathema to those in the Tea Party. It is anathema to those who are property rights advocates, and he says he is 100% for it,” Paul said.
“Things like that will add up. People will say ‘oh yeah he can call people fat and stupid, but he also doesn’t believe in property rights.’ People are going to get over this sophomoric craze that well he calls people names and they think it is funny, well at least somebody must, and they are going to get over that and say, ‘my goodness is he really a conservative?’ That’s why I’ve been saying for weeks now that he is a fake conservative, and I’m going to say it at every venue because he gives us ample information to indicate that he really is not a conservative,” Paul added.
Watch Paul’s full remarks:
Paul took questions from students:
Video of Paul’s media avail: