March 7, 2013

Senators who find it hard to explain why they didn't stand with Rand.

HuffPo inquires:
"I don't know, there's a lot of debates I don't join that I agree -- I've got stuff to do and was doing a lot of other things," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told HuffPost when asked about his whereabouts the day before. "I think the question should be answered. I think [Sen.] Paul was generally right on it."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) [said] "I'm working right now on many, many, other issues... Presumably you go down on the floor because you believe in something"... though he argued that the method Paul used to raise his questions and his timing weren't "particularly constructive."
Weak.

148 comments:

rhhardin said...

Rand is wrong would be an acceptable reason.

rehajm said...

Lefties love dissent only if it originates from other lefties.

Brew Master said...

Get along to go along would be my bet. They must 'protect their phoney baloney jobs'.

"Give the governor a harumph!"

Calypso Facto said...

"Senators who find it hard to explain why they didn't stand with Rand."

Looking at you, Tammy Baldwin.

Kelly said...

With all the waffling I can't help but think there has been a lot of blow back. Even Jay Carney didn't use his usual sarcasm and ridicule he normally deploys on questions he doesn't like. He answered in a straight forward, mature manner which is a nice change of pace.

Brew Master said...

Link not working for me btw...

edutcher said...

Brown is a weasel. No way he would buck the party line.

rhhardin said...

Obama as usual sees a short term advantage in caving instead of defending the Constitution.

Revenant said...

Those two responses were weak, but there were a couple of Dems who basically said "I agree with his concerns but not with blocking the nominee".

One of the refreshing things about this has been the bipartisan nature of both the support and the opposition. It isn't just the usual red v. blue bullshit.

Big Mike said...

McCain, Graham, and Sanders are worthless attention whores, and cannot stand that the spotlight was on someone else for a whole day.

Except that whores give value for their money* and the three I've listed haven't earned their salaries for years.

(*Or so I'm told.)

Sim said...

I guess those senators that "find it hard to explain" have hard time disagreeing with the truth in Rand Paul's speech.

EMD said...

I was fortunate enough to be on Sherrod Brown's email list for awhile. Kind of douchey correspondence.

dreams said...

I like what Jennifer Rubin had to say about it.

Writ Small said...

This was a great opportunity for left-wingers to show a little independence from the president. Lots did, like Andrew Sullivan and Robert Cook the commenter here. Kudos to them for putting principle ahead of politics.

What I want to know is why so many terrorism security hawks went along with Paul. Yes, we all hate Obama, but preemtively restricting the executive branch's ability to respond to terrorist attacks on the basis of implausible hypotheticals is short-sighted.

Methadras said...

Political cowards inhabit the Senate from both sides. This is what we get from the kind of shit sandwich we are asked to eat from them.

dreams said...

I'm glad Mitch McConnell joined the filibuster, he has better political skills than most Republicans because like the Dems he is a life long politician and its what he has always wanted to do even as early as high school.

EMD said...

Yes, we all hate Obama, but preemtively restricting the executive branch's ability to respond to terrorist attacks on the basis of implausible hypotheticals is short-sighted.

I'm not convinced drone strikes on your own citizenry on your own soil is the way to fight terrorism.

AprilApple said...

"I don't know - the thug who runs this place won't let me think for myself..."

EMD said...

That said, I also hate the Patriot Act and the TSA.

AprilApple said...

"I wuz scared. Joe Biden always calls if we don't behave...lockstep and stuff"

-- fill in the blank dumbocrat

pm317 said...

Shame!

Cowards!

Ron Fournier has a good article chastising Democrats (he is the same guy who said he was also threatened by the WH about his writing).

Writ Small said...

I'm not convinced drone strikes on your own citizenry on your own soil is the way to fight terrorism.

Good point. That was a very real risk we narrowly avoided.

EMD said...

That was a very real risk we narrowly avoided.

Narrowly avoided what? As far as I know, it hasn't happened yet. But could it?




Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

That's not "weak," that's pitiful.

Maguro said...

"I heard my mom calling me for dinner".

EMD said...

"I heard my mom calling me for dinner".

It was Wednesday.

Prince Spaghetti day!

EIA said...

Note: This is the proper HuffPo link.

Synova said...

"Rand is wrong would be an acceptable reason."

It's certainly a better reason than "I agree but don't care to bother."

Writ Small said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Beth said...

It depends on what your definition of "in combat" is.

Writ Small said...

As far as I know, it hasn't happened yet. But could it?

In any conceivable future scenario in which Rand's filibuster would have made any difference, no.

Hagar said...

So, who killed Vince Foster?

MadisonMan said...

They didn't yet have polling numbers to see where they should stand.

And yes. Total disappointment that Baldwin, T was on the wrong side here.

Writ Small said...

Let me put it this way:

There are two dangers we're balancing here.

On the one hand, there is the risk that over time we will so tie the hands of our president through incremental restrictions that he or she will be unable to respond effectively to terrorist attacks.

On the other hand, there is the risk that the president will start targeting citizens for drone strike assassination without due process.

Rand's stunt made the first scenario more likely and the second scenario less likely. Each of us has to decide which of those two low probability scenarios is the more likely. To my way of thinking, the first is something to be concerned about and the second is a paranoid fantasy.

Revenant said...

What I want to know is why so many terrorism security hawks went along with Paul.

If you follow what Paul was actually concerned about, the idea that the President needs that power for security purposes doesn't really hold water. If a person is on American soil, we know where they are, and they aren't currently on board a hijacked airliner or something similar... there's no reason they can't be arrested instead of killed.

Yes, we all hate Obama, but preemtively restricting the executive branch's ability to respond to terrorist attacks on the basis of implausible hypotheticals is short-sighted.

If it is "an implausible hypothetical" that the President would order American noncombatants killed then we lose nothing by formally denying the President the right to do so.

You cannot simultaneously argue that (a) the power is vital but (b) it will won't come up.

Saint Croix said...

Rand is wrong would be an acceptable reason.

None of them say that. It's all, "the dog ate my homework."

Saint Croix said...

This fight over our Constitution illustrates with pristine clarity who are the good guys:

Rand Paul
Ted Cruz
Marco Rubio
Mike Lee
John Cornyn
Tim Scott
Ron Johnson
Pat Toomey
Ron Wyden
Saxby Chambliss
John Thune
John Barrasso
Jerry Moran
Jeff Flake
and, yes, Mitch McConnell

And we also now know, with crystal clarity, who are the shits...

for much of official Washington the bigger event was on the other side of town, where President Obama held an old-style closed-door dinner with Republican lawmakers, including Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Notice another dividend from Rand Paul's supposedly "pointless" and juvenile "stunt"--he embarrassed a bunch of people on the other side, and he did so in an honorable way--on an issue.

Ann Althouse said...

Link fixed.

Sorry.

Revenant said...

Rand's stunt made the first scenario more likely and the second scenario less likely.

The first scenario has never come up in over two centuries of American history.

Government abuse of powers granted to it, on the other hand, happens with approximately 100% of powers granted to government.

"The President absolutely must be allowed to kill Americans here at home based solely on his own say-so or else... bad stuff could happen, maybe" is not a very sensible attitude to take, in light of those two facts. There isn't a "chance" innocent Americans will end up murdered at Presidential order; the only questions are "how many" and "for what reasons".

Yes, you can pose hypotheticals where such a power might be necessary, but what isn't that true for? Hypothetically a terrorist might threaten to detonate a nuke unless the President molests a child on national TV, but pardon me while I refrain from endorsing a Presidential power to molest children. :)

bgates said...

there is the risk that over time we will so tie the hands of our president through incremental restrictions that he or she will be unable to respond effectively to terrorist attacks

If it is not universally acknowledged that the President has the legal authority to kill anyone anywhere at any time for any reason, the terrorists will have won.

Shana said...

Kudos to Mr. Paul. Next on the to-do list should be no-knock raids and police militarization.

bgates said...

If a person is on American soil, we know where they are, and they aren't currently on board a hijacked airliner or something similar... there's no reason they can't be arrested instead of killed.

First you pseudo-hawks try to hamstring the President's Constitutional authority to rub out an unarmed woman sleeping in a ranch house in Dubuque, next you'll be trying to restrict the Vice President's God-given right to unload his shotgun into anybody who comes to his front door.

Synova said...

"What I want to know is why so many terrorism security hawks went along with Paul."

A lot of "terrorism security hawks" with military experience were adamant about the wrongness of putting an American citizen on a list and assassinating him with a drone. Note, that many of those "terrorism security hawks" are uncomfortable with using drones in any case, even if they agree with the necessity, and love that we assassinated Bin Laden.

But one thing that "hawks" tend to do is THINK ABOUT IT. What does it mean? How should war be undertaken? And if you've served, there's a better than average chance that you've thought about the particular limits to the use of the military. In fact, a moral person is reassured by those very strict limits because you're putting your eternal soul on the line and giving over a certain amount of moral decision making to the State.

So you care EXTRA that there are strict limits on what actions can be taken. You care EXTRA that the President isn't going to order some poor 20 year old E3 to kill human beings that can't rightly be thought of as legitimate targets of war.

You care EXTRA that the military can not legally be used on domestic soil. You care EXTRA that the military can not be used against our own citizens... even the traitorous sort that deserve to die.

Writ Small said...

If it is not universally acknowledged that the President has the legal authority to kill anyone anywhere at any time for any reason, the terrorists will have won.

That's my argument. You got me.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I love the argument being made by Obama, his apologists, and McCain: the question was silly and the answer was obvious.

Uh huh.

So why did it take a 13-hour filibuster to get it?

Synova said...

I think bgates is being sarcastic... or something.

Writ Small said...

A lot of "terrorism security hawks" with military experience were adamant about the wrongness of putting an American citizen on a list and assassinating him with a drone.

Who disagrees with that?

Chuck said...

Bernie Sanders: "You say there's a protest going on, on the floor of the Senate? Sounds good."

Staffer: "Well, it is about the use of drones for targeted killing."

Bernie Sanders: "We've been fighting about that for years. Damned CIA; who do they think they are? Where's my speech? I'll tell 'em a thing or two."

Staffer: "Well, sir, we don't exactly have a speech ready for you."

Bernie Sanders: "Why not? A really good speech will get me the first slot on Rachel Maddow tonight. What's wrong with you people?"

Staffer: "Sir, you don't understand; this is a protest about the Attorney General giving lousy answers to a Congressional inquiry."

Bernie Sanders: "Isn't that always the case? Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzalez, Goddamned Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld. Get me a speech, now, and hurry up! If Schumer gets on Maddow ahead of me, one of you is going to get fired. You'll be lucky to get a job with Charlie Rangel."

Staffer: "Sorry sir, you really don't understand. The Attorney General is Eric Holder."

Bernie Sanders: "I've heard of him. I remember him from the Clinton White House. But I thought he was on our side."

Staffer: "Sir, Eric Holder was appointed as Attorney General by Barack Obama. He's working for us. He's always been working for us."

Bernie Sanders: "And so the drone-guys; that's us now?"

Staffer: "Yes sir. We have to defend the country now. Dick Cheney is fishing and giving speeches, and Don Rumsfeld is writing another book. They said we have to do it."

Bernie Sanders: "So; we can't do the 'war criminal' thing? I liked that. Syemour Hersh gave me some great stuff on that. 'Executive Assasination Teams,' he said. It was great. I remember Keith Olbermann said it was gold. He was even going to do his googly-eyed thing. He saves that for only the best stuff."

Staffer: "No sir. We cannot do the 'war criminal' thing until the Republicans are back in office. I'm sorry. We got a call from the White House this afternoon. They said you were not to be let out of our sight until the filibuster was over. And even then, we have to call them back before we let you near a telephone."

Bernie Sanders: "Huh. Can't say that I like that. One of our guys, now? You're sure of that?"

Staffer: "Positive."

Bernie Sanders: "And so these drone strikes aren't 'war crimes' anymore?"

Staffer: "Exactly."

Bernie Sanders: "So who's on Rachel Maddow tonight?"

Staffer: "Lady Gaga, Jennifer Granholm and Janet Napolitano."

Bernie Sanders: "Get me the remote."

Synova said...

"Who disagrees with that?"

I can never remember the guy's name, but you know who I'm talking about, right?

Phil 3:14 said...

I would admire any Democrat who answered the question with:

"He's a Republican."

Revenant said...

So why did it take a 13-hour filibuster to get it?

I'm sort of hoping for a follow-up -- if it is obvious that the President isn't allowed to target non-combatant Americans for killing at home, why is he allowed to do it in Pakistan?

Revenant said...

Who disagrees with that?

You. Something about a slippery slope leading to the President not being able to save us from terrorists in the future.

Erik said...

I would have preferred Rand (or any senator, for that matter) filibuster the government's reckless spending. That is a real, dire threat, not some far out hypothetical. Seriously, if the President wants to snuff someone here in America, why would he use a drone of all things? Wouldn't he use a hit man? That would at least be deniable. But a drone? Who else but the Prez can whack someone with a drone?

Writ Small said...

Look, in the end, I suppose I should count this a win.

Many Democrats were shown to be far more loyal to Obama than to their principls - always a useful thing to know.

Holder and Obama gave away no presidential powers that mattered or were ever in any serious risk of being used. No real harm done in the end.

I would have preferred strategic ambiguity rather than spelling things out quite so clearly to those who would do us harm, but such is life in our messy democracy.

Elliott A said...

Of all crimes, conviction of treason is specifically singled out as having a higher bar for conviction: two witnesses. To assassinate a citizen without due process for a crime the Constitution requires a higher level of proof for conviction is a logical contradiction. So an American terrorist cannot be murdered. However, the situation is different with an escaped murderer who is a danger. So, absolute prohibition makes no sense, yet any wider usage of a drone strike goes against the very fabric of what makes us different as a nation than all others past and present. How would this be different than using a sniper to take out an individual NOT in the act of endangering anyone?

Synova said...

"How would this be different than using a sniper to take out an individual NOT in the act of endangering anyone?"

It's not.

Synova said...

BTW, Chuck, that was really funny. :)

Real American said...

If Rand was questioning whether the government could use a drone strike to take out a illegal alien lesbian having a late term abortion, they'd have stood with him without question.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I said:

"So why did it take a 13-hour filibuster to get it?"

Revenant said:

I'm sort of hoping for a follow-up -- if it is obvious that the President isn't allowed to target non-combatant Americans for killing at home, why is he allowed to do it in Pakistan?

I think that's part of what Sen. Rand is doing. And it also explains why Obama didn't want to give an answer, because it leads to the next question he doesn't want to answer.

And it's yet another reason I'm happy about what he did.

Jim Howard said...

Am I the only one in America who understands that in the unlikely event that there was a sizable group of military equipped invaders that an Apache helicopter or an A-10 would be the weapon of choice in the highly unlikely event that some sort of air support was needed?

You need to use drones in places where your friendly airplanes can't operate, or at least can't linger for any length of time.

You don't need to shot from the air in a country where your own law enforcement can set up road blocks.

This whole country is bat-shit crazy these days. The intellectual rot started at the top with Obama and is spreading downward rapidly.

dreams said...

Should Rand Paul ever run for president, he will have an asset in his very pretty wife Kelly.

Provided below is a link of Kelly speaking to the Owensboro Republican women in 2010, part 1 and part 2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqxu7XYBsZY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G3MHsKIrT8

Fr Martin Fox said...

Erik said...

Seriously, if the President wants to snuff someone here in America, why would he use a drone of all things? Wouldn't he use a hit man? That would at least be deniable. But a drone? Who else but the Prez can whack someone with a drone?

You're missing what's going on. Drones aren't the key issue--it's about limiting the President's powers.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Erik:

I noticed, in the coverage today, the reporters were all playing up the drone issue as well. That just proves they didn't listen to the debate, and it shows the value of what Rand did. He understood that using drones as the example would get the media slavering.

Revenant said...

I would have preferred Rand (or any senator, for that matter) filibuster the government's reckless spending.

Senate rules don't allow it.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Jim:

Am I the only one in America who understands that in the unlikely event that there was a sizable group of military equipped invaders that an Apache helicopter or an A-10 would be the weapon of choice in the highly unlikely event that some sort of air support was needed?

You need to use drones in places where your friendly airplanes can't operate, or at least can't linger for any length of time.


If you paid any attention to the filibuster, you'd know that Sen. Paul's argument was just as much about the President using helicopters to kill Americans who aren't engaged in combat as with drones.

And the answer--which the Administration fought so hard to avoid giving--applies exactly as much to that scenario as to drones.

It's not about drones, per se--but whether the President gets to kill Americans on his say-so.

bgates said...

That's my argument.

Yes, it is. Paul wanted to know whether the administration believed it had the legal authority to kill Americans in America with no due process in the absence of any imminent threat - in other words, whether the President could kill anyone at any time for any reason. And you said it might begin a chain of events that would leave the federal government unable to respond to terrorism at all if it was conceded that the Constitution doesn't say we all live or die at the whim of Barack Obama.

EMD said...

"pointless" and juvenile "stunt"

When Jimmy Stewart does it, they make movies about it ...

Erik said...

Assassination of Americans without due process in the absence of imminent threat: bad. Got it.

I still wish they would focus on the very real, currently-occurring, out-of-control spending that will one day destroy the country as we know it. I did not know senators can not filibuster spending bills. Too bad.

Writ Small said...

bgates said. . . You will accept my characterization of your argument and you will like it.

:)

In fairness, Rev told me the same thing, didn't he?

cubanbob said...

Writ Small said...
I'm not convinced drone strikes on your own citizenry on your own soil is the way to fight terrorism.

Good point. That was a very real risk we narrowly avoided.

3/7/13, 7:37 PM

The only correct response from the executive branch would have been "what? are you kidding? hell no!" That they didn't speaks volumes of their disrespect for the constitution.

Lydia said...

Wonder if that poor old dear Jane Fonda will make a statement about drone use?

Seeing she was mentioned not just by Paul, but now McCain.

Wasn't she a Cindy Sheehan supporter during the Bush years?

Erik said...

Lydia's comment just reminded me: it's Bush's fault. And if it isn't, then what difference, at this point, does it make?

Eric said...

Yes, we all hate Obama, but preemtively restricting the executive branch's ability to respond to terrorist attacks on the basis of implausible hypotheticals is short-sighted.

I find it difficult to envision a situation on US soil where an armed drone would be both the correct tool for the job and *available*. If you have time to get an armed drone up there you have time to get police or National Guard involved on the ground.

Eric said...

Also, Democrats and leftists, eventually we'll have another Republican president. And he'll inherit the powers Obama manages to accumulate.

Henry said...

Writ Small wrote: On the one hand, there is the risk that over time we will so tie the hands of our president through incremental restrictions that he or she will be unable to respond effectively to terrorist attacks.

In the "Pearl Harbor" like military crisis described by the nominee, the president could constitutionally do whatever he or she damn pleased. See Lincoln, A.

The importance of Rand's filibuster wasn't about getting the administration to respond to a hypothetical. It was about drawing attention to the administration's entire anti-terrorism program. Maybe it's good. Maybe it's bad. But lets have some freakin' oversight. Rand exposed the Barney Franks and the media in one go.

Revenant said: I'm sort of hoping for a follow-up -- if it is obvious that the President isn't allowed to target non-combatant Americans for killing at home, why is he allowed to do it in Pakistan?

Exactly.

rcommal said...

Hat's off.

dreams said...

If Rand Paul ever runs for president, his pretty wife Kelly will be a great asset. Below are part 1 and part 2 links of his wife Kelly speaking to the Owensboro Republican women in 2010


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqxu7XYBsZY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G3MHsKIrT8

Paul Ciotti said...

Write Small: Good point. That was a very real risk we narrowly avoided.

Just because the risk that Obama will soon start droning Americans in cafes is small does not mean we should forget about it. Presidents always start small when they want to seize new powers but pretty soon they're doing whatever they want. The income tax started small and look what happened to that.

If the likelihood that the president will never need to kill an American citizen in cafe is so small why doesn't the president just renounce it right now and set our minds to rest about presidential power grams and affronts to the Constitution. He doesn't because he wants that power.

It's the same thing with the Department of Homeland Security buying 2500 armored trucks. You might say, "Big deal! They'll never use them."

Well if they'll never use them why buy them at all?

They want them because they are afraid the Tea Party will fight back when they send the troops to arrest them. And if you don't think that's a possibility you don't listen to Nancy Pelosi when she's talking off the cuff.

Writ Small said...

I'll try my argument one last time, although I realize this will not make it immune to caricature.

Let's review.

Holder's original letter said the Administration's policy was to not go to the military option where law enforcement could be used, but he fell short of saying the President was Constitutionally limited and instead talked about reserving the right for the President to act in emergency situations such as Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

That is a perfectly reasonable response. In a list of dumb things Holder has written or said, it doesn't crack the top 100.

After getting Holder's response, Rand implied falsely that the administration said it could target Americans for assassination based on mere suspicion. What the hell?

The risk of Americans being targeted for assassination by drones on American soil without due process in a non-emergency situation was never a realistic concern. Spending a lot of time focusing on this nil-probability event does a few harmful things:

1) Distracts from the real, fiscal problems the country faces.

2) Forces the administration to remove strategic ambiguity related to potential responses to security threats.

What the Administration ultimately agreed to was perfectly fine. I submit they agreed to something that it never once even remotely occurred to them to ever oppose. In Holder's final statement, he stated the gob-smacking obvious to anyone not harboring black helicopter, New World Order delusions.

Therefore, the actual good, as opposed to the political good, was very, very, very small - unless you honestly believed drone strikes on shopping malls were around the corner.

Given that the actual good from Rand's extracted concession was infinitesimally small, it must be compared to the potential risks. Some risks were that the Administration would overreact to the pressure applied by Rand and concede too much. Now, I don't put the probability of this having happened as very high. It's rather close to zero. But however close to zero the chances that Rand's pressure would someday lead to an ineffectual presidential response to a terror attack, it is far greater than the chance that Obama was going to use armed drones to patrol American cities. Even if I grant that there is some, non-zero probability that Obama was indeed planning to launch a drone reign of terror, Holder's statement would not be what stopped Obama.

In the end, no harm was done. Some political points were scored by the side I root for. But was this some great victory for our rights? Beyond political positioning, is the country somehow safer or better having gone through this? Answer honestly.

Kirk Parker said...

Writ Small,

You should write smaller, because nobody's trying to restrict the President's ability to respond to attacks.

Writ Small said...

. . . nobody's trying to restrict the President's ability to respond to attacks.

Nobody's trying to wreck the economy or health care, either. People mean well.

Gary Rosen said...

"Forces the administration to remove strategic ambiguity"

Strategic ambiguity? We are talking American soil here. The only situations where people have plausibly defended strikes here on American citizens is open rebellion a la Shays or the Civil War.

Or maybe even non-citizens. Here's a little quiz for the group. Suppose someone (CIA, FBI, Miami Vice Squad) had been able to identify, track down and apprehend the 9/11 hijackers *before* they did the deed and had proof of what they were about to do. What would have been the appropriate action?

a) Summary execution (by drone, shooting, lethal injection, does the method really matter?)

b) Indefinite detention in a military prison like Gitmo, possibly for life

c) Trial by a military tribunal followed by sentencing to imprisonment or death

d) Criminal trial

e) Deportation

Now ask the same question of a hypothetical conspirator who also happened to be an American citizen.

Michael The Magnificent said...

If we rationalize killing with a hellfire missile fired from a predator drone without due process of law, we have then also rationalized shipping via boxcar to be tossed into an oven without due process of law.

MayBee said...

I'm still stuck at being appalled they can read our emails without due process.
I'm not over the whole David Petraeus email reading.

Drones are that times a billion, but there's a lot of no due process going on within our borders.

Alex said...

For almost all Democrats(except for some in red states) their default mode is "I hate Republicans 24/7". They can't ever break out of that mode.

Alex said...

I don't mind having a debate on drones and our foreign policy in general. But Rand Paul is not the guy to do it. I'd say the #1 issue facing America is how to stop the government looters from destroying private industry.

MayBee said...


Nobody's trying to wreck the economy or health care, either. People mean well.

It seems you are arguing against yourself, here. Not so long ago, it was inconceivable the President would want to make it mandatory for all adults to have to buy a commercial product, one the federal government could mandate covers expenses like birth control and breast pumps.

As for strategic ambiguity, that also works both ways. If the enemy thinks the president (or someone he deems able) can order him killed on US soil, then a US citizen would rightly think the same about himself.

Of course, a president can always choose to ignore the laws, as Obama did by waging war in Libya. But it's nice to hear him give lip service to the fact that he should be constrained by the law of the land.

MayBee said...

The government is like bamboo, sending out shoots in every direction until it finds space, then growing up to take over the area. Given time, it will continue expanding into places you never imagined there would be bamboo, because it isn't anywhere near the place the bamboo was originally planted.
If you don't actively work to stop its roots from reaching out you will find yourself lamenting that your yard is ruined, even though nobody meant to ruin it.

You can't simultaneously say, people mean well and didn't mean to ruin the economy or healthcare AND say the president wouldn't consider killing American citizens on American soil with no due process and no imminent threat. You have to be diligent at the root level.

(Ps. Wouldn't we all feel a little bit better if Robert Gibbs hadn't said The 16-year old should have had a better father? Does that feel like a government we should just trust?)

AllenS said...

Eric said...
Also, Democrats and leftists, eventually we'll have another Republican president. And he'll inherit the powers Obama manages to accumulate.

Doesn't matter, Eric. Look at how the deficit was described when Bush was president. "Bush, and his wasteful deficit spending." Contrast that with the amount of yearly deficits that Obama is racking up, which is 2 or 3 times of what Bush reputedly spent, and it's called "stimulus."

There is, and always has been a double standard in place with the media. The Democrats would have a shit-fit if a Republican suggested that we could whack American citizens.

Jay said...

I've got stuff to do and was doing a lot of other things," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told HuffPost

Yes!

Old Sherrod is so "busy" he can find time to talk to a left wing Web site.

Robert Cook said...

"Rand is wrong would be an acceptable reason."

It might be if he were wrong. But Rand is not wrong, he's right.

Every last miserable Democrat (and Republican) who didn't stand with Rand against Obama and his claim to tyrannical powers of life and death has revealed himself as an enemy of the American people, as Obama is.

Robert Cook said...

"I find it difficult to envision a situation on US soil where an armed drone would be both the correct tool for the job and *available*. If you have time to get an armed drone up there you have time to get police or National Guard involved on the ground."

What are you talking about? Local law enforcement agencies around the country are already looking into acquiring drones to patrol the skies of their communities, and the makers of drones, smelling money, are certainly pushing for that. If drones are acquired for surveillance use--itself a frightening prospect--you can be sure they will be armed...if not immediately, certainly eventually. (But possibly immediately.)

Robert Cook said...

"I don't mind having a debate on drones and our foreign policy in general. But Rand Paul is not the guy to do it. I'd say the #1 issue facing America is how to stop the government looters from destroying private industry."

You've got it totally backwards, Alex. It is the looters from private "industry" (i.e., the financial institutions and mega-corporations) who are destroying the public treasure, at least, that portion of it that would normally be allocated for our use, (not just "entitlements" such as Social Security and Medicare, but funding for public infrastructure, schools, police and fire departments, waterworks, etc., etc.).

AprilApple said...

Check out the various forms of our Joke media.

AprilApple said...

What President Obama is doing now, ladies and gentlemen, is what selling government looks like.

AprilApple said...

News from MA:

"Democrats Suck: Seriously — you’ve got a state where three Democrat House speakers in a row have been convicted of felonies; where Massachusetts taxpayers pay the third-highest taxes per capita — and the highest per capita health care costs — in the country; where Boston is on the “Top 10 highest taxed cities” list; and where the governor is pushing a $2 billion tax hike on top of that.

The Democrats’ record on the economy and jobs is awful. We blow trillions on stimulus and “green jobs” and government programs ... just so joblessness can remain the same?

No wonder John Walsh at the state Democratic Party is so desperate to talk about God, guns and gays.

Actually, he doesn’t want to talk about “guns” so much."

Matthew Sablan said...

I wonder if the people who think we should be able to use drones freely based on suspicion without due process or posing a clear, imminent threat would have issues with policemen gunning people down based on suspicion without due process or posing a clear, imminent threat.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It is the looters from private "industry" (i.e., the financial institutions and mega-corporations) who are destroying the public treasure, at least, that portion of it that would normally be allocated for our use."

-- The ones who come asking for favors are not the ones in power; it is the ones granting favors who have the power. That's basic feudalism, economics and politics. If you think the problem is with cronyism, then you need to cut out the people who keep handing money out, not the ones who keep asking for it. Get people in who will say no and will reduce the amount of money flowing out and people will stop asking once they know the answer will forever be no.

AprilApple said...

"Did you notice that Paul never got angry, even as he discussed the administration’s outrageous position that they had the right to kill Americans, on American soil, without due process?"


Stand with Rand.

bgates said...

Writ Small said: Maybe if I type more, people won't realize how stupid my argument is.

We lost vital strategic ambiguity by having the administration admit what everyone already knew to be true. By pressuring this administration, Paul risked tying the hands of all future presidents who would be constrained by what Holder said, and all he got out of it was a statement by Holder which this administration could ignore if it wanted to. But this administration would never actually ignore Holder's (final) statement, because it always believed in Holder's (final) statement. It never occurred to this administration to take a position other than Holder's (final) statement, and if Holder's previous statements were carefully constructed dodges of the Constitutional question about the extent of the administration's authority, it was only to preserve strategic ambiguity about whether they would use a power it had never occurred to them to use and which everybody already knew they would never claim to have.

Robert Cook said...

"Get people in who will say no and will reduce the amount of money flowing out and people will stop asking once they know the answer will forever be no."

That will never happen as long as corporate and Wall Street money is the primary source of campaign funding.

Washington serves the military/industrial/financial complex. That's what they're hired for.

Patrick said...

destroying the public treasure, at least, that portion of it that would normally be allocated for our use, (not just "entitlements" such as Social Security and Medicare, but funding for public infrastructure, schools, police and fire departments, waterworks, etc., etc.).

Is it your belief that spending on those things has been reduced? Has spending on anything been reduced?

Matthew Sablan said...

"That will never happen as long as corporate and Wall Street money is the primary source of campaign funding."

-- Wall Street and coroprations will stop funding once the government stops handing out favors. I buy things from people because they give me servicse; if they stopped giving me servicse, I'd stop buying from them.

You recognize the problem (the government is misallocating funds), but you are misdiagnosing the cure. A weaker, more streamlined government wouldn't be able to throw money at cronies.

Matthew Sablan said...

"We lost vital strategic ambiguity by having the administration admit what everyone already knew to be true."

-- There is no strategic ambiguity in admitting what everyone knew: We can't bomb people willy-nilly. It's sort of like in a sitcom when someone is carrying on a lie, and all the other characters -know they are lying- but let them keep digging a deeper hole. We all knew what the end game would be, we just had some fun at the expense of those who didn't want to admit what it would be.

No strategic ambiguity has been lost.

Robert Cook said...

"Is it your belief that spending on those things has been reduced? Has spending on anything been reduced?"

What do you think the upcoming "austerity" measures are about?

Matthew Sablan said...

Even with the sequester, government spending is up.

Matthew Sablan said...

Also: Europe would need less "austerity" if it could prioritize, much like any other entity with a budget. If everything is a need or all wants must be had with equal ardor, the bottom line is in trouble.

Robert Cook said...

"-- Wall Street and coroprations will stop funding once the government stops handing out favors."

This is exactly why Wall Street and the corporations will keep funding and why those who rely on big donor campaign contributions will keep handing out favors. They've developed a symbiotic relationship and the American people is out of the loop.

Matthew Sablan said...

Right. So, the easiest way to stop this problem is to cut huge chunks of wasteful money, scale back the government so it can handle its needs, and stop encouraging the cronyism you hate so much. If the government is forced to live within its means, vital programs will be spared while non-essentials get scaled back.

The American people get a lot of benefit from their government; like any organization, there is room for improvement.

Civilis said...

What are you talking about? Local law enforcement agencies around the country are already looking into acquiring drones to patrol the skies of their communities, and the makers of drones, smelling money, are certainly pushing for that. If drones are acquired for surveillance use--itself a frightening prospect--you can be sure they will be armed...if not immediately, certainly eventually. (But possibly immediately.)

Why does your rant not apply equally to helicopters in police use? I don't see the local police using or even seeking armed attack helicopters...

X said...

Robert Cook said...
"-- Wall Street and coroprations will stop funding once the government stops handing out favors."


the bulk of the favors are in the form of regulations that cripple small competitors. it works that way almost every time. if you don't own or run a small business you have no clue how pervasive this is even if you are aware of regulatory capture and Obama has taken it to a new level.

Robert Cook said...

Drones are relatively silent, fast and covert, helicopters noisy, slow and overt; drones don't require manned pilots, helicopters do. Drones can stay in the air much longer than helicopters.

For broad brush law enforcement purposes, helicopters are adequate and useful. Drones are more effective for omnipresent surveillance and for covert kill jobs.

In short, drones are the wave of the future.

TosaGuy said...

I see that Tammy's back is firmly planted against the bench and Wisconsin's liberals will let her get away with it.

Seeing Red said...

--What are you talking about? Local law enforcement agencies around the country are already looking into acquiring drones to patrol the skies of their communities,--


And U want to give the state more power?


Up is down, down is up.

Patrick said...

Spending has increased every year since at least 2007, Robert. I've no doubt that the increases extend well beyond that. I note that the Reich article to which you link provides no data about the "austerity," or any actual decrease in spending except to allege without citation that spending has decreased in 9 out of ten quarters. He cites only defense spending.

At any rate autsterity is well overdue. The US debt to gdp ratio is wildly out of control

Stilton Cheeseright said...

The word drone is now getting all the play in reportage by the president's apologists. It's getting too much play in these comments. It's not about the drones. It's about due process. It's about secret government. It's about presidential assassination lists.

A couple of people here have made excellent points. The next question that needed to be asked in the Senate: What gives the president the authority to pick names off a list for assassination anywhere?

And the question after that might be: What about this business where you never end up killing anyone but "militants" by the simple means of designating anything that moves within the target area as a "militant"?

Another pertinent point made here is that the concession made was tiny but that it had to be pried out of the white house because they want every tiniest conceivable bit of power.

Of course they do. Duh. No one should imagine that anything at all has been conceded. The powers that be are so far off the leash that the only restraint they know is expedience.

This so called concession is just a variant on the apology game, where you make your opponent say he's sorry he said this or that. The president will still do as he likes. He just thinks that the rest of us should shut up and like it too.

Rand Paul seems to be a man of principle. We'll see. He's as conspicuous in that crowd as an albino buffalo. He's highlighted the arrogant condescension of BO and Holder and McCain and Graham and the like and that's good.

The real discussion hasn't been taken up yet. The American ruling class should erect a secret monument with a statue of Bin Laden baring his ass so that they could line up and never stop kissing it. He has surely done more than anyone to make their wildest wet dreams come true.

Robert Cook said...

"And U want to give the state more power?"

Who says I want to give the state more power? I want the state to serve the people and to answerable to us and to the law.

EMD said...

Who says I want to give the state more power? I want the state to serve the people and to answerable to us and to the law.


Which starts by giving them less power.

jr565 said...

I'll quite from bogeyman John Yoo on why both Eric Holder (and Rand Pau are wrong:
"Holder’s first mistake is that he thinks that the use of force by drones, no matter where or against whom, is governed by due process. Recall the Justice Department white paper on drones, which asserted that lethal force could not be used against al-Qaeda members unless they could not be captured, harm to the United States was imminent, and due process allows the attack — concepts that govern law-enforcement officers who might need to shoot an attacking criminal, but have never governed the use of force by the military in wartime. Drones don’t change this equation — the same rules should govern snipers, artillery, aerial, and missile attack, which all also attack the enemy from a distance and often by surprise. But since Holder has made the claim that the drone attacks abroad somehow meet law-enforcement standards, it is an easy step for him to say that those same diluted, weakened standards don’t pose much barrier to the use of drones at home.

Instead, what Holder should have said is that the U.S. would only be able to use drones on U.S. soil under the same conditions it might use military force domestically — to stop an invasion by a foreign country or an attack. And it is not because due process somehow allows it, but because the nation is entitled to use military force against foreign attack. So it is not just December 7 or September 11 that uniquely call for military force because the U.S. is responding to an attack on the nation. What about an invasion, as in the War of 1812, or the Civil War, or, on a smaller scale, a situation like the Mumbai terrorist attacks where groups of heavily armed terrorists attacked high-profile, civilian targets not with airliners, but with light arms. If the federal government can use military force, such as troops or helicopters to stop those kinds of attacks, surely it can use drones. But where Holder and this administration are causing fear is because, if they believe the use of drones now, abroad, meet law-enforcement standards, then they believe they could use drones in similar situations domestically to enforce the laws, not to respond to attack. And that is manifestly wrong as a legal matter as well as mistaken as a matter of policy.


So, Rand Paul and all the yokels on this site was wrong to cite due process, since he too is falling into the idea that the use of drones is a law enforcement issue. However, he also made the distinction that he would be ok with their usage if there was in fact an invasion or extraordinary circumstances involved. So he in fact is right there.
The whole problem is the administration suggesting that terrorism is a law enforcement issue and not a issue involving rules of war.

jr565 said...

Robert Cooke:
Drones are relatively silent, fast and covert, helicopters noisy, slow and overt; drones don't require manned pilots, helicopters do. Drones can stay in the air much longer than helicopters.

For broad brush law enforcement purposes, helicopters are adequate and useful. Drones are more effective for omnipresent surveillance and for covert kill jobs.

In short, drones are the wave of the future.


I have a problem with the problem with drones used for surveillance, since we already have copters doing much of this. Ad not only for the govt. news rooms use choppers for traffic reports. If their use is so ubiquitous that we use them for everyday things, why would govt not use the same tools for law enforcement purposes. And drones seem to be more efficient in most ways than helicopters.
So why wouldn't law enforcement or govt use the more efficient tool rather than the lesser?

Nomennovum said...

Who says I want to give the state more power? I want the state to serve the people and to answerable to us and to the law.

Right. By passing more laws to allow the state to take money from one group and give it to another, to allow the state to tell you what kind of health care you must buy, and to allow the state to limit further your contitutional rights. Etc.

Robert Cook said...

"So why wouldn't law enforcement or govt use the more efficient tool rather than the lesser?"

They will. That's why I said drones are the wave of the future.

They allow for cheaper, more secret surveillance of all of us, and for swifter, more lethal armed response to any activity in the country the authorities (local or federal) deem "dangerous."

They already listen to or read or track or record all our electronic communications, and next they'll be able to track our every public movement. Big Brother is already watching us but no one wants to know it.

One of the problems with the word "terrorism" is that it's meaning isn't clear or fixed but vague and malleable; we have been inculcated to have a Pavlovian response to it, a response of fear and excited aggression, ("See the terrorists! We're doomed if we don't KILL THEM NOW!"). It won't be long before citizens exercising their rights of free speech in public, (i.e., protesting), will be deemed domestic terrorists. (They're already often penned into "free speech zones," {sic}).

Drones are the advance guard of tyranny.

jr565 said...

It was political theater arguing a point that was essentially a straw man.
That being said, as much as it brought out democratic hypocrisy I'm for it.

Robert Cook said...

"Right. By passing more laws to allow the state to take money from one group and give it to another, to allow the state to tell you what kind of health care you must buy...."

The state already takes our money and funnels it to the financial elites...I want our money spent on our behalf. I don't support Obamneycare or the government telling us we must buy insurance from private insurers, (another way the big-money leeches are aided by the government in stealing our money). I want universal healthcare, paid for through our taxes...one example of our money being spent for us.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

And in fact, though rand Paul was wrong, he was right in one sense. The administration keeps suggesting that this is a law enforcement issue and not a war power issue. So long as they keep conflating the war on terror with law enforcement the tools used to fight war will be conflated with the tools used for law enforcement.
This, is the administrations fault then.

Only, I think that rand Paul actually agrees with the premise - that the war on terror is a police issue and not a war issue. As such, though he highlighted the problem with the administrations endorsement of drones domestically in those rare cases, he would preclude the use of drones domestically in the war on terror (in the rare times that it might be needed) because he believes its a law enforcement problem, ultimately. And we shouldn't use drone strikes for law enforcement problems.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:

I'm sort of hoping for a follow-up -- if it is obvious that the President isn't allowed to target non-combatant Americans for killing at home, why is he allowed to do it in Pakistan?


Define a non combatant. If they are with al Qaeda and we are at war with al Qaeda are you suggesting that the only time we could even target them is if they have a gun drawn and are about to shoot people?

Nomennovum said...

The state already takes our money and funnels it to the financial elites.

So you want taxes decreased to give the govt less power?

Robert Cook said...

The "war on terror" is a "government is lying to the people to justify their restriction of our civil rights and the expansion of a lawless government regime" issue.

jr565 said...

Revenant, what's your stance on Israel and Hamas. They use targeted strikes. Are you suggesting that what's happening there is not war, but rather a law enforcement problem?

Robert Cook said...

"So you want taxes decreased to give the govt less power?"

I want taxes increased on the wealthy, the banks and big corporations and I want the tax revenues spent on behalf of the American people.

Nomennovum said...

I want taxes increased on the wealthy, the banks and big corporations and I want the tax revenues spent on behalf of the American people.

So you want to increase government power. Thanks for the reply. That's what we thought.

jr565 said...

Robert cook wrote:
They already listen to or read or track or record all our electronic communications, and next they'll be able to track our every public movement. Big Brother is already watching us but no one wants to know it.

the problem with this is that, if you leave the govt out of it, all that info is still out there, and companies like Google have it. Or the Aaron Swatzs of the world are hacking into websites and taking it.
So, the cat is already out of the bag.

Since its the govts job to protect the country, why should it not have the tools that Google has? Or the Powers of the Internet?
And if you watch James Bond, he's always given the latest and greatest gadgets that the bad guys do not yet possess. Isn't that how its supposed to be?

How are we still fighting about big brother when we've already given all the info away in the interest of having an open Internet?
Big brother is in fact redundant.

Nomennovum said...

The left confuses a strong military and robust foreign policy with a dangerous increase in governemnt power. Those with a conservative or libertarian bent are more concerned about government power that can be used against the American people. The power to abridge our God-given freedoms, the power to tax, the power to interfere with the quiet enjoyement of our lives -- that's what liberty loving Americans fear. Some of us don't like getting involved in expensive foreign conflicts, while others of us have a broader definition of national interest ... but --- what the fuck -- let's first consider us Americans.

The Left, in the end, only cares about power, envy, and settling scores.

Robert Cook said...

"So you want to increase government power."

I want to increase the government's responsiveness, answerability, and service to the people...as I previously stated. I want to increase the people's power, as we are the government, if you haven't had 9th grade civics.

Nomennovum said...

I want to increase the people's power.

So sayeth every collectivist ever. This is done by decreasing the power of others ... the "others" being an ever-increasing number of the erstwhile "people." Further, it always means "increase the state's power" (to act on behalf of the people, of course). And it always leads to a vale of tears.

Patrick said...

I want universal healthcare, paid for through our taxes...one example of our money being spent for us.

Right. Because as soon as we have "universal health care" there won't be any business interests trying to get a slice of that pie. It will all be good hearted doctors and nurses doing what is best for the patient and not considering the cost, and taking whatever pittance the government decides they should get for their trouble.

You're nothing if not an optimist, Mr. Cook.

Birches said...

For awhile there, I actually thought Cooke might be turning a corner.

Sad, really.

If the government takes all the money from the rich to give it to the "people," who gets to define what rich is?

And you do realize that most of the crony capitalist corporations out there are Democrat controlled right? Because the State gets to decide who wins and who loses and sets up regulatory gobblety gook that no start up can compete with the Titans.

The only way to eliminate the Titans power is to remove the incentive.

Hugo Chavez tried to redistribute wealth, how's that working out for Venenzuela?

Robert Cook said...

"Hugo Chavez tried to redistribute wealth, how's that working out for Venenzuela?"

From what I understand, it was a great help to the previously unserved poor people of the country.

Birches said...

Try talking to someone that actually lives there.

Robert Cook said...

"Because as soon as we have 'universal health care' there won't be any business interests trying to get a slice of that pie. It will all be good hearted doctors and nurses doing what is best for the patient and not considering the cost, and taking whatever pittance the government decides they should get for their trouble."

"You're nothing if not an optimist, Mr. Cook."


Actually, I'm not. I don't believe it will ever happen, and I believe we are going down hard in a complete collapse, hollowed out by predatory capitalism. I'm just talking about what I would like to see.

And yes, there are many good-hearted doctors and nurses who practice medicine to help people and not just to milk as much money as they can out of their profession, who support universal health care, aka Medicare for all.

Methadras said...

Robert Cook said...

"Hugo Chavez tried to redistribute wealth, how's that working out for Venenzuela?"

From what I understand, it was a great help to the previously unserved poor people of the country


You stupid, dumb motherfucker. You ever stop to think why the poor are the poor to begin with? Then ask yourself why those who are not poor or have lifted themselves out from under such a weight would have to have their hard earned wealth taken from them to give to those that are poor? Frankly, fuck the poor and fuck people like you who use it as an excuse to further the poisonous and dangerous ideology that you cling to that serving the poor is somehow noble and just when in reality it isn't. It's a drain. It's a sink. I brings down economies in name of compassion and for what? So wet-sop noodle spine dickbags like you can sit in their little enclaves and nod your heads in acquiescence that 'helping' the poor through theft of labor and wealth will somehow solve the problem of being poor while you never lift a finger and watch government take from producers to give to those who've never produced and don't even know how.

The poor in Venezuala are how much better of now because of it? You believe a lie, you believe it so much you defend it. You have no semblence of reality in this regard. You are so entrenched in this rapacious stupidity of leftism in the form of redistributionist tripe that it blinds you to the realities that you think are actually helping. Chavez has doomed his country with his Marxist policies and you clap like a moronic seal at how wonderful it was he helped the poor. He has left that country a economically frozen disaster in his populist attempt at looking like a socialist hero to the very people he's fucked for votes.

It's your kind of thinking that is wrong and dangerous to this world. It's poison. It's deadly and I have zero qualms trying to assure that it should be squelched.

Birches said...

The masses loved Chavez because he frenzied them up with Nationalist pride and gave them small token short term payments (while kicking back a lot for himself and his cronies). But he destroyed the country's economy to do it and now the money's running out.

How the heck a country as oil rich as Venezuela could be in such a precarious situation right now is beyond me. But Chavez managed to do it.

Lovernios said...

Chavez redistributed billions into his own personal coffers. He was poor, you see.

Who mentioned that leftism produces a "vale of tears"? More like a mountain of corpses.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Robert Cook,

From what I understand, [Hugo Chavez's wealth redistribution] was a great help to the previously unserved poor people of the country.

It certainly was a great help to Hugo Chavez, if the reports of his dying with $2B in assets are correct. Pretty amazing business skills for a humble civil servant and friend of the poor, nyet?

Where do you imagine all that money came from, by the way? Other Venezuelan billionaires?

Robert Cook said...

I don't say Chavez or his government was perfect--as, who is? which government is?--but I don't accept as necessarily true the many boogie man stories promulgated in the West about him. His decisive wins in each election says much about what the people of Venezuela thought of him.

Chuck said...

It is hilarious; the one serious adult left in the room is the liberal media's favorite hate-object, John Yoo.

Rand Paul's rant, while interesting and politically clever, was profoundly flawed.

Eric Holder's responses have laid bare the hypocrisy of his party and their friends in the Obama-worshipping media.

John Yoo, meanwhile, continues to make sense and remains intellectually consistent. It is a military matter.