Holder Tells Senator That Obama Does Have Authority To Kill Citizens With Drones On U.S. Soil Without Criminal Charge or Conviction

300px-MQ-9_Reaper_-_090609-F-0000M-777President_Barack_ObamaAttorney General Eric Holder this week held out the possibility that the President could kill an American citizens with a drone attack on U.S. soil without any criminal charge or trial. After Holder announced President Obama’s kill list policy, many apologists for the Administration insisted that the policy was limited to targets outside of the United States and was subject to a form of due process of the President’s own making. At the time, I wrote that these arguments were nothing but spin by the Administration and its supporters since the underlying claim of authority would have no such limitations. Holder now appears to have confirmed that even they do not believe in such limitations. This follows the release of a memo showing that Holder’s description of the policy at Northwestern University Law School was narrower than the actual policy described within the Administration.

Holder was responding to a letter from Sen. Rand Paul concerning the nomination of CIA director John Brennan on the use of lethal force. Holder said “It is possible I suppose to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

It will be difficult for people to find someway, as in the past, to blame this policy on Republicans. The kill list policy of Obama belongs to him. As I discussed in earlier columns (here and here and here), it is astonishing how citizens, including so many liberals and civil libertarians, have remained relatively silent in the face of a classic claim of authoritarian power. The relative silence over this latest development shows just how passive the country, and particularly liberals, have become in challenging Obama on his aggregation of executive power. It also is the latest evidence showing Obama’s evisceration of the civil liberties movement in this country. There is little observable movement left after it was divided over loyalty to Obama in the first term. A president has previously said that he can kill U.S. citizens on his own authority. It was then revealed that the citizen does not actually have to be involved in an imminent terrorism attack. Now he claims the right to use that authority in the U.S. The response at every stage has been a collective and prolonged yawn from a people growing comfortable with a burgeoning security state and an imperial president.

Source: CNN

183 thoughts on “Holder Tells Senator That Obama Does Have Authority To Kill Citizens With Drones On U.S. Soil Without Criminal Charge or Conviction

  1. This issue is without doubt the number one reason Obama should be impeached and a primary basis for questioning the legitimacy of government at this point.

  2. I agree this is a bridge too far in the war on terrorists and a direct threat to civil liberties. No one signed up in this republic to feel the government’s wrath from above without due process of law. If it happens, I’d have no trouble with a Bill of Impeachment.

  3. This is it. We can no longer tolerate the fascist dictatorship that has been forming the past few decades. It has reached a threshold that prevents most any chance of using the election process to remove the cancerous roots that are taking hold into the American political system.

    No longer as Americans can we tolerate this bipartisan effort to remove and destroy the Bill of Rights. It is time to unite across aisles and remove the govt that is violating our Constitution in appalling manner.

    It is time for a Revolution.

    “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. ” James Madison, June 29th. 1787, Debates in Federal Convention

    “Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it’s evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” – Jefferson to James Madison, January 30, 1787

  4. Gene,
    From a purely practical standpoint, Obama is not going to be impeached. Not gonna happen. He will serve out his full term. It is a waste of time and energy even trying to promote that route; therefore, any real solution has to be found by looking in different places.

    Any effort to derail a policy such as this needs to start somewhere else. That will only happen at the legislative level. There’s rot at the top, and much of it is to protect very wealthy special interests. With Congress in full blown gridlock, I doubt anything will be done unless there is a true liberal/progressive takeover of Congress in 2014, and I do not see that happening. We are stuck with what we have for the foreseeable future.

    Most Democrats in Congress are better on social legislation than the Republicans. The Blue Dog Democrats, who are Republicans claiming to be Democrats, are not helping and some are obstructing. Republicans in Congress have only one plank in their strategy platform, and that is to make sure the Obama presidency is a failed one. You could not get that crew to vote that today is Wednesday if they found out Obama supported it. At the same time, Obama has been appointing department heads that support the economic status quo. When Wall Street insiders and supporters of more and faster exploitation of fossil fuels have the inside track for Sectary level appointments, we know we are in trouble. Where is Teddy Roosevelt when you need him?

    This is OT, but I saw some poll results a few weeks ago which found the Republican controlled House is less popular than both kudzu and herpes.

  5. Sam Adams:

    I wouldn’t man the ramparts just yet. You must recall saying:

    The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv’d them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas’d them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath’d to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. — Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.

    ~Samuel Adams, written as “Candidus.”

  6. I hoped Holder would go away the second term. However, it’s apparent he’s the “bad cop” for Obama. So, he’s valuable to the administration. He was a gopher for Bubba and now Obama.

  7. The bizarre part of his reply, for me, is that he cites “exraordinary circumstances such as Pearl Harbor or 9/11,” both of which were attacks from outside and neither of which involved American citizenry making the attacks. The part about the president being able to kill Americans came as no surprise, we’ve known for years that Obama believes his powers are unlimited.

  8. I agree with Mespo that if due process is not provided to any citizen while on US soil, then all bets are off.

  9. The elected government of the US is losing its legitimacy one step at a time. I am all for impeachment as Gene suggests, but I realize that at least at this time Otteray Scribe is correct in that from a practical standpoint it isn’t going to happen.

    If this president starts ordering assasinations against US citizens or drone strikes he should be removed from office immediately by congress but they won’t likely do it.

  10. What Gene said. This dooms all future Presidents to commit war crimes. Impeachment — and the arrest and trial of George W Bush — is the proper remedy.

  11. I sort of doubt the president is going to be targeting Uncle John with a hellfire missile while he is sitting on his front porch with his old dog Blu. Anyway they dont have that many of them.

    But I will say this sure makes a compelling case for the 2nd Amendment as a limitation on the power of our government.

    Benjamin Franklin certainly had it right when he said: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    What we need is a bunch of broom wielding citizens marching into DC with signs that read something to the effect of cleaning up and time to make a clean sweep of all the houses (of government).

    I suggest we all vote libertarian in 2014.

  12. I’m not concerned much about being a target but drones make mistakes and they create lots of “collateral damage”.

    http://longisland.news12.com/news/alitalia-pilot-reports-drone-sighting-near-jfk-international-airport-1.4756005?firstfree=yes

    “ATLANTIC BEACH – The FBI has launched an investigation after a pilot reported seeing a small drone aircraft while making a final approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

    “The pilot of Alitalia Flight 608 says he spotted an unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft hovering at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. The flight was roughly 3 miles away from runway 31R at the time of the sighting. The unmanned aircraft came within 200 feet of the plane.

    “No other pilots have reported seeing a drone.

    “The FBI is asking anyone with information to call them at 212-384-1000. Those who call can remain anonymous.”

    Right. Anonymous. The NSC collects all calls.

  13. This is the entire essay from which Mespo posted:

    “Ambition saw that stooping Rome could bear A MASTER, nor had Virtue to be free.”

    I Believe that no people ever yet groaned under the heavy yoke of slavery, but when they deserv’d it. This may be called a severe censure upon by far the greatest part of the nations in the world who are involv’d in the misery of servitude: But however they may be thought by some to deserve commiseration, the censure is just.

    Zuinglius, one of the first reformers, in his friendly admonition to the republic of the Switzers, discourses much of his countrymens throwing off the yoke: He says, that they who lie under oppression deserve what they suffer, and a great more; and he bids them perish with their oppressors.

    The truth is, All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought. Is it possible that millions could be enslaved by a few, which is a notorious fact, if all possessed the independent spirit of Brutus, who to his immortal honor, expelled the proud Tyrant of Rome, and his “royal and rebellious race?”

    If therefore a people will not be free; if they have not virtue enough to maintain their liberty against a presumptuous invader, they deserve no pity, and are to be treated with contempt and ignominy.

    Had not Caesar seen that Rome was ready to stoop, he would not have dared to make himself the master of that once brave people. He was indeed, as a great writer observes, a smooth and subtle tyrant, who led them gently into slavery; “and on his brow, ‘ore daring vice deluding virtue smil’d”.

    By pretending to be the peoples greatest friend, he gain’d the ascendency over them: By beguiling arts, hypocrisy and flattery, which are even more fatal than the sword, he obtain’d that supreme power which his ambitious soul had long thirsted for: The people were finally prevail’d upon to consent to their own ruin: By the force of perswasion, or rather by cajoling arts and tricks always made use of by men who have ambitious views, they enacted their Lex Regia: whereby Quod placuit principi legis habuit vigorem; that is, the Will and pleasure of the Prince had the force of law.

    His minions had taken infinite pains to paint to their imaginations the god-like virtues of Caesar: They first persuaded them to believe that he was a deity, and then to sacrifice to him those Rights and Liberties which their ancestors had so long maintained, with unexampled bravery, and with blood & treasure.

    By this act they fixed a precedent fatal to all posterity: The Roman people afterwards, influenced no doubt by this pernicious example, renew’d it to his successors, not at the end of every ten years, but for life. They transfer’d all their right and power to Charles the Great: In eum transtulit omne suum jus et poteslatem. Thus, they voluntarily and ignominiously surrendered their own liberty, and exchanged a free constitution for a TYRANNY!

    It is not my design at present to form the comparison between the state of this country now, and that of the Roman Empire in those dregs of time; or between the disposition of Caesar, and that of —-; The comparison, I confess, would not in all parts hold good: The Tyrant of Rome, to do him justice, had learning, courage, and great abilities. It behoves us however to awake and advert to the danger we are in.

    The Tragedy of American Freedom, it is to be feared is nearly compleated: A Tyranny seems to be at the very door. It is to little purpose then to go about cooly to rehearse the gradual steps that have been taken, the means that have been used, and the instruments employed, to encompass the ruin of the public liberty: We know them and we detest them. But what will this avail, if we have not courage and resolution to prevent the completion of their system?

    Our enemies would fain have us lie down on the bed of sloth and security, and persuade ourselves that there is no danger They are daily administering the opiate with multiplied arts and delusions, and I am sorry to observe, that the gilded pill is so alluring to some who call themselves the friends of Liberty. But is there no danger when the very foundations of our civil constitution tremble?

    – When an attempt was first made to disturb the corner-stone of the fabrick, we were universally and justly alarmed: And can we be cool spectators, when we see it already removed from its place? With what resentment and indignation did we first receive the intelligence of a design to make us tributary, not to natural enemies, but infinitely more humiliating, to fellow subjects?

    And yet with unparallelled insolence we are told to be quiet, when we see that very money which is torn from us by lawless force, made use of still further to oppress us – to feed and pamper a set of infamous wretches, who swarm like the locusts of Egypt; and some of them expect to revel in wealth and riot on the spoils of our country. – Is it a time for us to sleep when our free government is essentially changed, and a new one is forming upon a quite different system?

    A government without the least dependance upon the people: A government under the absolute controul of a minister of state; upon whose sovereign dictates is to depend not only the time when, and the place where, the legislative assembly shall sit, but whether it shall sit at all: And if it is allowed to meet, it shall be liable immediately to be thrown out of existence, if in any one point it fails in obedience to his arbitrary mandates.

    Have we not already seen specimens of what we are to expect under such a government, in the instructions which Mr. HUTCHINSON has received, and which he has publickly avow’d, and declared he is bound to obey? – By one, he is to refuse his assent to a tax-bill, unless the Commissioners of the Customs and other favorites are exempted: And if these may be freed from taxes by the order of a minister, may not all his tools and drudges, or any others who are subservient to his designs, expect the same indulgence?

    By another he is to forbid to pass a grant of the assembly to any agent, but one to whose election he has given his consent; which is in effect to put it out of our power to take the necessary and legal steps for the redress of those grievances which we suffer by the arts and machinations of ministers, and their minions here. What difference is there between the present state of this province, which in course will be the deplorable state of all America, and that of Rome, under the law before mention’d?

    The difference is only this, that they gave their formal consent to the change, which we have not yet done. But let us be upon our guard against even a negative submission; for agreeable to the sentiments of a celebrated writer, who thoroughly understood his subject, if we are voluntarily silent, as the conspirators would have us to be, it will be consider’d as an approbation of the change.

    “By the fundamental laws of England, the two houses of parliament in concert with the King, exercise the legislative power: But if the two houses should be so infatuated, as to resolve to suppress their powers, and invest the King with the full and absolute government, certainly the nation would not suffer it.”

    And if a minister shall usurp the supreme and absolute government of America, and set up his instructions as laws in the colonies, and their Governors shall be so weak or so wicked, as for the sake of keeping their places, to be made the instruments in putting them in execution, who will presume to say that the people have not a right, or that it is not their indispensible duty to God and their Country, by all rational means in their power to RESIST THEM.

    “Be firm, my friends, nor let UNMANLY SLOTH
    Twine round your hearts indissoluble chains.
    Ne’er yet by force was freedom overcome.
    Unless CORRUPTION first dejects the pride,
    And guardian vigour of the free-born soul,
    All crude attempts of violence are vain.
    Determined, hold
    Your INDEPENDENCE; for, that once destroy’d,
    Unfounded Freedom is a morning dream.”

    The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv’d them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas’d them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence.

    It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightned as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath’d to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.

    – Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance. Let us remember, that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event.

    CANDIDUS.

  14. Bron,
    Some of the 2nd Amendment extremists have beliefs that cannot be supported by either facts or logic.

    Example: A few years ago, some Army search helicopters were looking for somebody. Fugitive, drug smugglers of something. This was somewhere near the border in one of the southwest states. They saw two hunters walking and started to land their helicopter right behind the men so they could talk to the locals about the search. While they were landing, one of the men turned and opened fire on the pilot of the Blackhawk at close range with his shotgun. In a situation like that training takes over when there is no time to think. They hosed the guys down with their chain gun.

    All the Blackhawk crew wanted to do was ask the guys what they might have seen.

  15. Mespo, from Sam Adams quote

    “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.”

    The assault on Liberty would not be coming from the masses in a Revolution. It would be in response to the assault on the Bill of RIghts from our GOVERNMENT.

    if the Founding Fathers were loaded into a time machine and brought to today, we would have an organized Revolution within a day.

  16. The most dangerous president ever. And don’t forget his earlier National Defence Authorization Act of 30 Dec 2012 or thereabouts, whereby anyone, citizen or not can be held indefinitely without trial (ergo tortured or killed too) provided only that martial law be declared.

  17. Sam Adams:

    “if the Founding Fathers were loaded into a time machine and brought to today, we would have an organized Revolution within a day.”

    No we wouldnt, people would think them lunatics. People have no idea what liberty is anymore.

  18. @Otteray Scribe ” They hosed the guys down with their chain gun. ”

    Any chance you can direct us to a news report or article describing this event?

  19. And what about ‘collateral damage’? “The White House regrets the death & dismemberment of 249 people in Waimart. We were trying to get Bin Laden’s successor in the Ace hardware across the street.” I apologise for using that ignorant term ‘collateral damage’. Terrorism is not ‘collateral damage’ just because our government sponsors it. The terrorism of 9/11 is in the same category. Pearl Harbor is more ambiguous.

  20. I see… It is impossible for Mr. Turley and evidently many of his followers to imagine ‘an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate’ to use force without due process. That would of course be different from a S.W.A.T. team executing a sniper because the team is human (I guess) or Cheney claiming he would have shot down the 9/11 planes and possibly claiming he did shoot down Flight 93. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vV3fjfeb9Q
    I guess you are right to imagine such a scenario. Stuff like that never happens

  21. LIncoln authorized the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of US citizens. I think he was right under those circumstances. I think that Holder was right in that if there were a civil war, the President most certainly DOES have the right to order military actions against those who are shooting at Federal troops or officers.

  22. bigfatmike,
    That was years ago. As I get older, the years seem to slip by faster so it is hard to pin down a decade, much less a year. It seems as if that was in the early 1990s but don’t hold me to that. I did not have internet then. I either read it in the paper, heard it on the radio, or saw it on TV. I don’t know whether it would show up on a detailed search or not. I did a brief search on Google for a news item about it, but came up empty. I do, however, recall the story quite well, because I remember thinking at the time just how stupid it was to open fire on a military helicopter. Especially if you are at close enough range to be a viable threat. When a helicopter is in a low altitude hover on landing, it is at its most vulnerable.

  23. Bron,
    I have seen those events covered on TV. That is interesting, and it might be fun to shoot a full automatic weapon at a junk car or refrigerator. However, ammunition is expensive. The part that would NOT be fun is blowing through three hundred dollars or more in about fifteen seconds. And that is just the cheapest ammo.

    Off the top of my head, I cannot think of anything so much fun it’s worth between one and three thousand dollars (or more) a minute.

  24. Oh professor…. You to shall be burned at the stake for dissing this president….. The defenders of Obamas wrong doing will insist that this is justified…. Since bush started it…….

    Now back to the Bill of Impeachment….. How many repres do you need….

  25. It will be difficult for people to find someway, as in the past, to blame this policy on Republicans. The kill list policy of Obama belongs to him. As I discussed in earlier columns (here and here and here), it is astonishing how citizens, including so many liberals and civil libertarians, have remained relatively silent in the face of a classic claim of authoritarian power.” – JT

    Reminds me of the recent discoveries of some 42,000 camps within Germany which blew away German historical statements that their “Republicans … liberals and civil libertarians” did not know that the holocaust was happening.

  26. It is surprising how many people, even on this blog, are being apologists for Obama & others. They must think you can always trust your leaders if you give them enough power. The founding fathers would strongly disagree!

  27. Shocking, not….One more brick in the wall, I bet most commentators on this site voted for this Dick-tator too. When most of us were shouting Ron Paul, sanity! We got labelled radical, extreme, etc. Now who’s extreme?

  28. The apologists for Obama are nothing more than Hypocrites. Complete and absolute Hypocrites.

    Most are too ignorant to even acknowledge the only reason they support Bush….err Obama policy is because he has ‘Democrat’ next to his name.
    Just goes to show the level of dishonesty that American politics has reached. Zero integrity.

    If you disagree with me and have the guts to say Obama is a good man or good president, then by all means, speak up because I would love to hear exactly how you can justify these endless assaults upon the Bill of Rights, one after another after another.

    I am sorry but no amount of social policy can make up for this Presidents appalling lack of respect for the Bill of Rights. He should be removed from office.

  29. Why is it surprising, travelinglimey? Most people here only know what corporate media tells them – and corporate media is little more than right-wing propaganda. Try to get these folks to THINK and understand that the government is behind most of the events which are blamed on OSAMA or “lone nuts” etc., and they’ll respond with nothing but juvenile, ignorant insults, slander, and other signs of Tea Party cancer.

  30. This is a natural evolution of the Protect the Torturers Program. If military or para-military individuals are going to be ordered to kill fellow citizens within the homeland, one must be able to assure them that criminal charges will not be brought at any future date.

    Now I could remind everyone of the Bonus Marches of ’33-’34 and the Army’s charge on them with fixed bayonets that resulted in death for several men, women, and children. Hoover ordered the charge which was led by MacArthur with help from Eisenhower using the United States Calvary and tanks and all taking place in Washington D C. The Bonus marches were made up of veterans from WW I and their families demanding the payment of bonuses that had been promised them for their service in that war.

    It’s not as if our government doesn’t have a history of killing us.

  31. Yes! Where do all these Obama lovers come from? He’s clever, but its been decades since Tricky Dick. Don’t you guys know that mainstream presidents can’t be trusted? Interesting how they get worse every time, no matter which party. I think it was Nixon who started the presidential edict thing; certainly ramped it up. Yes, hooray for Ron Paul. He looks radical to some because they get so used to Socialism & have this very unhealthy trust of big government, whether they are Dems or Reps.

  32. And at this very moment, Senator Rand Paul is engaged in a floor filibuster of the Brennan nomination over this very issue. It’s not a “hold” its a full-on traditional fiilbuster — one may like or dislike him and his father generally, but in this case, talking the talk is also walking the walk. So go Rand — probably won’t get much out of it, though.

  33. This is a natural evolution of the Protect the Torturers Program. If military or para-military individuals are going to be ordered to kill fellow citizens within the homeland, one must be able to assure them that criminal charges will not be brought at any future date. -Blouise

    Agreed. And it goes hand in hand with the militarization of the police.

    The Militarization of Policing in America

    http://www.aclu.org/militarization

    (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/aclu-police-militarization-swat_n_2813334.html posted by Dredd to another thread) )

  34. And … come on Sam Adams. You joined forces with the Loyal Nine Gang (later to be known as the Sons of Liberty) back in the day and had a grand old time tarring/feathering your fellow citizens, tearing down their houses, tying them up and placing them in coffins, then into a hole in the ground so that they could hear the shovelfuls of dirt falling as they were buried alive … all because they were agents for collecting fees authorized by the Stamp Act or duties authorized by the Sugar Act.

    And here you are leaving footprints … at least back then you burned all your papers so that if the war was lost, no one would be able to get additional names for hanging … or droning.

  35. Blouise,
    “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  36. ap,

    Exactly. Americans have always had a thing about a “standing” army so how best to get around that … militarize the police.

  37. Sam,

    Let me remind you … back in the day you considered young Thomas to be part of the elite plantation set … vestry Anglican if you will. In today’s vernacular … a wimp.

  38. No one signed up in this republic to feel the government’s wrath from above without due process of law. -mespo727272

    And “no one signed up in this republic to feel the government’s wrath” on the ground, either, without due process of law.

  39. “Bron
    1, March 6, 2013 at 11:24 am
    Sam Adams:

    “if the Founding Fathers were loaded into a time machine and brought to today, we would have an organized Revolution within a day.”

    No we wouldnt, people would think them lunatics. People have no idea what liberty is anymore.”
    *******

    WoW! And here I thought there was probably nothing we would ever agree upon. (Well, a few little things here and there maybe :-) )

    It doesn’t take long, just a generation will do and what was becomes history to the people living the new freedom and democracy. What many of us old codgers see as fascism is just the way things work to a new generation. We can start calling it fascism now, finally, can’t we? And if not, please tell me what more it takes.

    We have secret laws, secret legal justifications, a secret court, secret warrants, secret searches, a two tier justice system, a two tier economic system, as mentioned above the militarism of the civilian police, 100 mile wide constitution-free zones where 90% of the populace lives, ubiquitous surveillance including all electronic communication, over-prosecution of petty crimes and the highest incarceration rate in the world which serves to disenfranchise minorities at a grossly burdensome rate, stop and frisk, police enforcing school rules, persistent assaults on women’s rights and voter disenfranchisement by law… it just doesn’t look much like freedom and democracy to me.

  40. Blouise, fighting the good fight I see. I couldn’t do it, I started a reply to Sam and Porkchop and said to myself, like, ‘ arguing over the Pauls?’ OMG, just stop typing and move on for your own mental health.’ I wasn’t up to it, my stern stuff just went all squishy. :-)

    All I can muster are links to the ol’ standby Wikipedia pages which are a veritable cornucopia of positions by the elder and lesser Paul if anyone’s interested:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rand_Paul

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul

    Seriously guys, is this how you think a railroad (or a country) should be run? Just take the lack of boots-on-their-necks regulation of the banking industry and apply it to everything, have we not seen where it quickly leads?

  41. lotta, I think the lesser Paul is far far worse but he was the only person filibustering today. Have to give him that.

  42. I’m telling….. Some of your negative comments about Obama can be turned into ” You folks are racist”……tsk, tsk…..

    Like I care…..

  43. OS,

    Note the use of “should” versus “would”. For example, if Congress had been operating as it should and as our Founders envisioned absent the corrupting influence of both money and ouroboros of the two-party gridlock monster, Dick Cheney would have have been arrested within a week of ordering the torture of prisoners and Obama impeached for even suggesting he as Prez unilaterally has the right to kill citizens.

    If he didn’t make a mess on an intern’s dress and wasn’t reigned in at the first blush of this jackbooted dictatorial edict, I’m perfectly aware he’s not going to be impeached, but he sure as Hell should be.

    And to all of you who poo pooed on my stance that I wasn’t going to vote for a man who claimed this ultra vires power (regardless of lack of viable options) and that said claimed power would get out of hand quickly?

    I told you so.

  44. Rand Paul is sympatico w/ most of the folks posting here. He’s doing a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington fillibuster on the Brennan nomination because of this kill citizens edict. Strange bedfellows indeed!

  45. Q: Would President Obama allow another nation to drone within the US boarders?

    Q: Would Obama insist that his Administration be in charge of that strike?

    Q: How many Americans is President Obama willing to accept as “collateral damage”?

    Q: Will military aged males killed by a drone strikes in the USA be automatically categorized as a enemy combatant as is regularly done in this war on terror, abroad?

  46. I agree with at least one other, Impeach this bozo. To those that were vocal opponents of GWB policy of detaining people and now sit silent, you are the lowest of the low. The BO policy of killing anyone he deams a threat will become the policy of the next president. How about President Sarah Palin having this power? President Hillary Clinton? President David Duke?

    Impeach this bozo now.

  47. Swarthmore Mom: Wow, the depth of your prejudice is allays shocking to me, but today really takes the cake. How is it possible that you feel it is justified to judge an entire group of people simply because of the geographic region of the United States they live in.

    Your prejudice is so deep, that you fail to even absorb the content of what you post. You obviously only see what you want to see.

    I live in Texas and I find it impossible to believe that “a majority of Texans want to impeach Obama” as you state so I clicked through the link you posted above. The article clearly states “39 percent of all of those polled believe the president should be impeached.”. Clearly, you read about the “65% of Republicans” who want Obama impeached. Your prejudice is so deep, that you see only what you want to see.

    There is no difference between the people in Texas and New York. There are wonderful people in both places, and there are people consumed with judgement and hate who have extreme views, much like yourself, in both places.

    They way you judge people based on where they live is no different than those who judge people based on the color of their skin, their gender, or anything else.

  48. Obama isnt going to whack American citizens on American soil. I cant even believe that. And I havent liked his policies since Joe the Plumber.

    But I would be all for impeaching his facist b*tt. Excpet we would just have a fascist a$$ to replace him.

  49. Eric, A majority of Texas republicans want to impeach Obama. I live in Texas, too, but hopefully, not for long. It is a big state, and I have met some wonderful people but at the same time I am excited to leave. I have lived in the land of Rick Perry long enough. The state is dominated by christian fundamentalists. It is so backwards here they even have a ban on gay marriage. I am not a native Texan and have no loyalties to the place.

  50. Actually I think Texas is much like most of the rest of the country – so good luck finding a more congenial place.

    At least Texas does have Taco Cabana – that almost makes it all worth while.

    PS I am pretty sure they also have more gun racks per pick up truck than any other state in the nation – well what the heck, its America

    And at least they do warn you with big signs in big red letters at the entrance of every bar that it is a felony to bring a fire arms into a place that serves alcohol. Talk about gun control! If you want to shoot some one please step outside.

  51. Swarthmore mom 1, March 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    … A Texas right wing congressman threatens to impeach over gun control. I would certainly be wary of joining up with the gun nuts in an impeachment effort. Agree with OS. I don’t think Boehner is interested. A better use of time might be to examine why the civil liberties is dwindling and what can be done about it apart from Obama. He won’t be around in a few years.
    ===================================================
    The Epigovernment cannot be impeached.

    “They” are reading this one way wrong … bubbleosis … the “they” are becoming “the Germans who let Hitler in.”

    “They”: good, decent, law abiding, loving, intelligent “Germans” who for whatever reason failed themselves.

  52. Bron,

    It wasn’t that long ago the blindly devoted Obama defenders were saying he’d never claim the extrajudicial killing power within our borders. That’s how fascism works. It creeps in by incremental degrees. Germany under the Weimar Republic was a federal republican parliamentary representative democracy until suddenly it wasn’t and instead was a fascist police state.

    History doesn’t repeat, the specifics are always a little different, but patterns sure do.

  53. SWM, the elder Paul is less offensive to me than the lesser Paul but context is everything. :-) I was struck that during the debate wherein Ron Paul was asked about letting sick, poor people die he never got to answer. That was the debate wherein one of the crazed electorate called out “Yes” or the like and got applause. That stepped on RP’s answer and it looked like RP was forming “No” with his mouth. I actually would have liked to hear his answer. I think he may have more humanity in him than his positions allow.

  54. Gene,
    Sometimes it is a Hobson’s choice. Look on the brighter side. How would we be doing right now under President Romney?

    Sometimes things suck. Other times they suck worse.

  55. As for some banks being too big to prosecute.

    Although the Supremes declared corporations to be persons, I will not believe that until we get to see Texas execute one. However, corporations are run by people. Real meatworld people can and do go to jail. I am waiting to see some of the banksters that got us into this mess perp-walked through a press gaggle. I will not hold my breath.

  56. OS,

    I never said this dinner wasn’t being served with Morton’s Fork. However, when your options are fascism and fascism? Given what history teaches about the the ultimate costs of fascism for a society, the option to respond to “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” is a valid response.

    Peacefully or not is the crux.

    I’ve been listening to the filibuster. I’ll have to say I am pleased that so much of the talk as centered on Congress retaking their proper power and role as a check on Executive authority. The Unitary Executive is the greatest threat to liberty and freedom we face today. Not terrorists or terrorism or some maladaptive state like North Korea. Our very own pols are destroying our country and undermining the very foundations of our government better than any outsider could do and all in the name of fear, greed and the lust for absolute power.

  57. Gene:
    I have been out most of the afternoon, and am about to leave again. I got an email about Rand Paul filibustering. My correspondent is like me, in that there is almost nothing I agree with Paul the Lesser about, but my email said he had been talking about tying the Second and Fourth Amendments together. My friend was telling me he was asking how the Second could be protected if the Fourth was shredded.

  58. Some liberals (sic) seem to believe that evil Bronco Bama is preferable to another evil replacement. Impeachment isn’t limited to only one philanderig
    right-winger (Clintoon) per generation.

  59. I have a suggestion for Congress, including Mr. Paul. Terminate the AUMF for one and then scale back the so-called Patriot Act and much of this nonsense about Presidents being able to ignore due process and the 4th amendment will go away. Does Congress have the stones to do that? I would love to see it, but I am not holding my breath.

  60. Copy that, raff. A lot of Paul’s talk has been about the overreach by the Executive under the AUMF. As you say, the fix is simple: revoke the AUMF. But alas, I’m with you on the breathing issue too.

  61. Gene, If you did not anticipate today’s headline some good long time ago then you have been behind the curve and I don’t think that’s the case. I doubt that many regular posters to this blawg were shocked. I certainly am not. The problem with secret laws and secret legal opinions is that anything could be there and as they dribble out into the light one is more egregious that the last. We know that from the torture memos and opinions. We know that from the scope of NSA surveillance which was a big deal for awhile when that was moved from a secret to public knowledge.

    I don’t even put the path to a president assuming dictatorial powers on flimsy grounds to this one. The President never captured a power that Congress didn’t abdicate. Congress abdicated it’s most powerful duty and responsibility to the Executive with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in the early 60’s. When “war” was brought home and codified under the banner of homeland security by Congress (which broke the back of the Bill of Rights) really, what did people expect?

    This administration has been ruthless in prosecuting whistle-blowers, that causes me to wonder what else is back there (and just how awful is it) that this administration guards their secrets so jealously? I would not be shocked to have a data dump by Anonymous that shows Americans have been snatched off American streets and renditioned, to black sites within the country if not overseas.

    At some point the assessment becomes ‘just how crazy/evil is candidate A verses candidate B; which is the more immanent threat and in what relevant arena’?

    LOL, the predictability of this president, or any current president exercising powers heretofore reserved to despots and monarchs is not a stretch. “I told you so” is laying it on kinda thick for the regular audience. Some of us are well aware that this and the last president should have been impeached, if Bush had been impeached maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation. In fact IMO the coup took place in 2001, if the SCOTUS had been impeached and their decision revisited (is such a thing possible?) we wouldn’t be having this conversation either. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the alternate-reality Sci-Fi book to be written, paging Harry Turtledove…..

  62. Thanks Gene. That is why I don’t get excited when a Senator or Congressperson takes exception to the executive powers that they helped enlarge. Show me some action and rescind the AUMF.

  63. LK,

    I don’t disagree with what you’ve said in the most part, but please re-read the conditional on the “I told you so”. It was narrowly tailored to those who were critical of my decision not to support Obama again based on the kill list issue, not to the general audience. This blog’s audience on the whole tends to be paying more attention than most of the public. Their prescience on the specifics of unitary Executive abuses is pretty much a given. As for your 2001 comment? There is a lot of truth in that and this most politicized and impartial of all SCOTUS shoulders a lot of the blame. However, I think the taproot is in the decision not to prosecute Nixon. Once one man was allowed to be expressly and obviously above the law, it has been pretty much down hill in re malfeasance of office and criminal actions by government officials.

  64. Raf, Congress is the problem, I don’t look for them to even do their collective job let alone put the country back on the right track. The majority in the House has and is actively working to destroy the economy. 2014 is going to be interesting in the states as well as Washington.

  65. Gene, When the resignation was announce I said, first thing out of my mouth, “The fix is in” to the horror of the couple of people I was with. They just could not grasp that Nixon would not go to jail or be impeached post-facto. I have always been kind of sad and puzzled about that- not that they were so ‘faith-full’ but that I was so (correctly) cynical so young. Did growing up in the 60’s mark us in some way, change our world view in a way that over time dampened our sense of outrage with cynicism. I think there’s a lot more play for the bad guys in a population that has low expectations.

  66. lotta,

    It’s all propaganda … miscasting the Foundings without real knowledge of their actions, inactions etc. The whole Tea Party thing for instance.

    Two rival gangs in Boston got together and instead of fighting each other in criminal enterprises (much like gang activity today) were convinced by the Loyal Nine to form an alliance and go after the Tories. Lots of booty to be had, lots of drinking to be done, lots of violence to indulge. Sam Adams, recognizing the use to which these ruffians could be put, advised the Loyal Nine on directions to be take and the alliance morphed into the Sons of Liberty. So yeah, a lot of tea was dumped into the harbor but an undisclosed amount was also liberated and sold on the black market.

    Sam was one of those “any means justifies the ends” guys which is why his contributions, which were many and hugely important, were pretty much swept under the rug after the war was won whereas Jefferson, the elite plantation snob who never dirtied his hands with actual violence (unless it was whipping or raping a slave), who could recognize a good french wine and quote quite a few Classics, got the nod for lionization. Jefferson deserves lionization in his own right but let’s be honest about it … he was the guy who retreated to the wings until all the dirty work had been done. Sam did the dirty work.

    Some poster trying to propagandize a blog with the screen name Sam Adams quoting Jefferson is just funny.

  67. This is just a logical extension of Holder’s speech at NorthWestern University from last year which Turley was prescient enough to withhold his vote for Obama’s 2nd term.

  68. Many sophisticated right-wingers hated Hugo Chavez and other progressive leaders in South America, because they know that in Venezuela, the people there will not go backwards. They will vote to continue the progress that has been made over the past 14 years — and that IF, BIG if, a progressive president gets elected here and isn’t removed from office before actual liberal policies are enacted, it will be very, very hard to to get away with removing him/her legally, and equally hard to do so without being found out, if they attempt to do so via a Coup de’Tat or violence a la JFK.

    As in Venezuela, the public will be loath to reject progress.

  69. I wouldnt say Sam Adams was a thug who thought any means justifies the ends. But then if you believe in the end, doesnt that justify the means?

    “I. Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men.

    Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.
    All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.

    When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

    Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains.

    All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.

    As neither reason requires nor religion permits the contrary, every man living in or out of a state of civil society has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.”

    Samuel Adams,
    The Rights of the Colonists
    The Report of the Committee of Correspondence
    to the Boston Town Meeting, Nov. 20, 1772

    http://history.hanover.edu/texts/adamss.html

    Seems to me Mr. Jefferson may have borrowed some concepts from ole Sam. Who, apparently, has read the classics himself.

    Which is a lot more than we can say for many citizens in today’s world and more is the pity. If they [classics] had been taught in public schools we would not have been subjected to Bush or Obama or many other presidents for that matter.

  70. VERY nice selection Dredd, very nice.
    _______________________________

    If Rand Paul is in fact saying he will stop filibustering when the President rules out the possibility of killing with drones on American soil, why aren’t more Democrats joining him? Where are all of the ‘honorable’ gentlemen and gentlewomen that should be standing with him? He’s got what, 6 Republicans and a single Democrat (Wyden)? There are only 7 of our Senators that would seize this opportunity and that is a pitiful number indeed. I would stand with Satan if it was an honorable question and a righteous fight.
    ****

    ““I think Senator Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counterterror strategy,” Mr. Wyden said.

    He added that he felt that “the executive branch should not be allowed to conduct such a serious and far-reaching program by themselves without any scrutiny, because that’s not how American democracy works.”

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/rand-paul-filibusters-brennan-nomination/
    ****

  71. The reason Democrats are not joining him is because the entire party has become filled with hypocrites and cowards. Keep in mind that I am a Democrat. I am ashamed of what my party has become.

  72. Sam was indeed very well educated. He also thoroughly understood thuggery and was a master manipulator. Not only did he play a heavy hand in setting up the scene that led to the Boston Massacre, he encouraged his cousin, John, to take on the defense of the British soldiers charged. Revere and his “Mechanics” were also a group Sam used to great advantage.

    I am one of his biggest fans and have been studying the man’s life for decades.

  73. Where are the Democrats?? This filibuster will end. It will be dust covered soon enough. Is Ron Wyden the only Dem with the cojones to stand beside Paul on this correct stance.
    Congress is full of overwetted, overcooked, overmoist, macaroni spined sycophants, .

  74. Is Ron Wyden the only Dem with the cojones to stand beside Paul on this correct stance. -David Blauw

    Apparently and it’s disgusting. It should come back to haunt those who don’t…

  75. “You can be totally disgusted with many aspects of Rand Paul’s views & still think he is doing the right thing here.” Jeremy Scahill tweet

  76. Sen. Paul has said he doesn’t actually believe the Administration will use a drone to strike Americans on U.S. soil as he postulated. His point seems to be that it shouldn’t be so hard for the Administration to acknowledge it is both illegal and unconstitutional. In that we all can agree. I’m no Paul fan but he is doing a service tonight.

  77. Every week on this blog there are articles about police trampling human rights and detaining, shooting, arresting, killing innocent people with little or no probable cause. How is this any different?

  78. Ezra Van –

    Good point, and though it’s rare, I’m impressed that at least some of the customers here seem to have become hip to the fact that George Wallace was correct.. about the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

  79. I don’t understand why there are people that believe the president would never go after American citizens on American soil with drones. What makes you think he wouldn’t? Because he says so?

    WHY do you think all this is being put in place? Just in case years from now it seems to be a good idea? Just LOOK at all the things that have been put in place in the last few years. It’s unbelievable to me that it has escalated so fast.

    All of these things have been put in place for a reason; otherwise nobody would have done them. Plain and simple. Get ready.

    Also, I can’t believe the way people talk about Ron Paul. This man is the ONLY one who actually CARES about we the people. Can’t you see that?

    The Democrats and Republicans have only shown me that they care about agendas. RP is the ONLY one I have seen that I think gives on FIG about us as actual people. Do you think that anyone who voted in the NDAA gives a fig about the American populace? Do you think anyone that has voted to strip us of our rights cares about the American people? Do you think anyone who says, yeah, it’s okay to sic drones on people and kill them without trial (or other collateral thems, who cares) actually CARES about people whatsoever? DUH!!!! Res ipsa loquitor

    There is no longer a slippery slope. We’re just about at the bottom now!

  80. ap,
    Thanks for the link. I have forwarded it to several people.

    It is interesting to me that this filibuster speech has brought so many people of wildly different views into agreement. On most social and economic issues, I am opposed to almost everything the man stands for. However, the question of getting the Administration to address basic Constitutional rights, and the violation thereof by the government, in a straightforward and unambiguous manner is spot on. Mr. President, just answer the damn question.

    It was a stroke of rhetorical and political ingenuity for RP to point out that the 2nd Amendment is in danger if the 4th continues to be shredded. That attracted the attention of every gun owner in the country, whether NRA member or not. Those are a lot of votes, and those votes cover every corner of the political spectrum.

    Somebody on one of the news programs a few days ago said this Administration is the least transparent in memory. Opacity is enforced, using the DoJ as muscle. The DoJ pursues whistleblowers and leakers aggressively, and to hell with whistleblower protection laws. If we hear of a news tidbit “leaked” by this White House, you can take to the bank that it’s a trial balloon done deliberately, not some aide talking out of school.

  81. I agree with what everyone here has posted and even the one sole detractor has it right…..LK…. Excellent recall about Nixon…… Mespo, even a stopped clock is right twice during a 24 hour period…. Gene, the Weimar Republic still shakes in its boots in what it became…. Raff, OS, Dredd, Blouise, Bron and everyone else…. Excellent…. I see Elaine has not commented…. Maybe… Too busy trying to keep up with the education thread…. That will keep 100s busy…..

  82. ” How is this any different?”

    In the case of the police, many acknowledge the LE action is illegal or questionable, or excusable only because LE had to act with little or no time for thoughtful analysis.

    Here the administration seems to claim that the president has a legal right to even without due process and even when there is no immediate need to act. The administration’s concept of ‘immediate need to act’ seems bizarre to many and only distantly related to the concept of immediate.

    Pretty big difference it seems to me.

  83. “This filibuster has been 33% important questions, 10% eating chocolate, 17% batshit crazy, 24% wild speculation, 16% Danger Room articles.” Jeremy Scahill

  84. I note that Erin Burnet, America’s cutest news reporter, actually did a reasonable job of covering the Paul filibuster

    She made it clear that Paul was demanding an answer to questions regarding drones and assassination. She then presented pro and con views from opposing spokes people.

    In contrast msnbc with the pathetic administration toady Chris Mathews mentioned the filibuster and then did every thing possible to obscure the serious questions raised by Paul. He made it seem that Paul only wanted to obstruct the Brennan nomination. Mathews made no mention of the questions that Paul wanted the administration to answer.

    Mathews played an extended clip of Paul discussing Hitler’s election in a German democracy. Paul made the point that he was not accusing anyone of being a Hitler or NAZI in this administration. Then Mathews with pseudo incisiveness asked ‘then why did he (ie Paul) bring it up.

    Clearly Paul was making the point that the American public needs to be vigilant and prevent the executive from assuming rights that belong to the people or powers that belong to other branches of government.

    You don’t have to agree with Paul to think he was asking some important questions.

    And you don’t have to be a political scientist to know that the administration toady Chris Mathews was doing a hatchet job before our eyes.

    Shame of Chris Mathews and msnbc.

    It is now clear that Republicans are not the only ones who place party loyalty above the good of the country. This is serious business and Democrats are failing in their obligation to ask serious questions.

  85. Where I was going with that last comment about RP conflating the 2nd and 4th Amendments. The Administration and many members of Congress are pushing for registration and/or background checks of all firearms transactions, whether private sales or by licensed dealers. The point is, that registration requirement will never pass as long as gun owners know the 4th Amendment is being disregarded and disrespected by both local law enforcement and the Feds.

    I see that Senator Schumer’s GOP buddy bailed on him today. You get only one guess as to why.

    I know the ACLU focuses on the First Amendment, but it appears they need to shift their sights over a couple of notches to the 4th.

    Anybody here familiar with the Overton Window? We are seeing it in action. Joe Overton postulated that a political idea may be unthinkable when it is first proposed. As time goes by, political, economic and propaganda pressures slowly shift the idea along a scale, until they reach a point where it is acceptable. Thereby, it is possible to morph the formerly unthinkable into policy. The points on the scale are:

    – Unthinkable
    – Radical
    – Acceptable
    – Sensible
    – Popular
    – Policy

    Gene, are you paying attention? This is right down your alley.

  86. “The executive branch should not be allowed to conduct such a serious and far-reaching program by themselves without any scrutiny, because that’s not how American democracy works.” -Ron Wyden, D-Texas

    If other Democrats had been smart, they would have joined Wyden. I’ll say it again: This will come back to haunt Democrats.

    Rand Paul Does Not Go Quietly Into the Night

    By ASHLEY PARKER

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/rand-paul-does-not-go-quietly-into-the-night/?hp

    Ostensibly, Mr. Paul is objecting to the Mr. Brennan’s nomination. But in fact, Mr. Paul’s main concerns are those of civil liberties and Constitutional rights he says are under attack by the administration’s potential use of unmanned drone strikes on American citizens on United States soil. (Mr. Brennan, who as the White House counterterrorism adviser was the chief architect of the largely clandestine drone program, served as a good proxy.)

    Apparently it did. Mr. Paul soldiered ahead, before again receiving some help, from an unlikely source — Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon.

    Mr. Wyden said that while he had voted in favor of Mr. Brennan’s nomination on Tuesday at a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting and planned to vote for him again on the Senate floor, he believed that Mr. Paul “has made a number of important points” about the administration’s lethal drone program.

    “I think Senator Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counterterror strategy,” Mr. Wyden said.

    He added, “The executive branch should not be allowed to conduct such a serious and far-reaching program by themselves without any scrutiny, because that’s not how American democracy works.”

    Mr. Paul again said his true goal was simply to get a response from the administration saying it would not use drone strikes to take out American citizens on United States soil — and, perhaps with Twitter still in the forefront of his mind, offered Mr. Holder a variety of ways to respond.

    “We’ll take a telegram,” Mr. Paul said. “We’ll take a Tweet.”

  87. 007bama, with a “licence to kill.” Could that extend to political enemies, on the basis of fabricated evidence. Oh no, our government would NEVER do anything like make up evidence that didn’t exist, like WMDs…

  88. “Going to need to adjust my percentages. Ted Cruz is dramatically increasing the batshit crazy % in the #filibuster”. Jeremy Scahill.

  89. The president doesn’t have the power to kill someone if necessary to save a life, but the lowest folks-police officers–on the bureaucratic pole do? What about a terrorist situation? What would the president have done on 9/11 when they scrambled jet fighters (albeit late) to try and intercept the planes flying into the WTC?

    Nope, Mr. Turley, I think you are partly wrong here. It’s like saying that we don’t have a right to self defense in our home. Well, given the presidents duty to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic, I would think he has the power for which we all do in matters of grave danger.

  90. John,

    And when the SS shot and killed you because they though you were consorting with the Emmy combadnts….. Does it really make any difference that that was Germany…. In the 20, 30 and 40s….. And this is today….. Sme reason, same basic everything…. Thy still had local police in Germany….. Right up and until the time thy needed them to fight on the fronts….

  91. Obama,

    Has the power to do what hitler did…. If you think different…. Read some history…..

  92. Just to lighten to mood and stress the importance and seriousness of this overreach of unitary executive power . . .

  93. Q: Is the base argument the Admin makes one which the logic is rooted in the concept that the president can’t get a Court order on a short order request or is it that he simply won’t and can’t be bothered by the Courts?

    Mr. Holder?

  94. Harry Reid where are you? I am disgusted with the Dem leadership. ..
    Or the absolute lack of leadership.

    All of Congress gets led around by their lobbyists and donors. If Harry gave a hoot about the constitution and the liberties of the American people He would be demanding a full exposure and explanation of Holders statement.

    This filibuster now (at 1215 EST) is turning into a Republican fashion show.
    Yes the crazies are forming a parade. …. Sadly I envision Harry standing on a balcony throwing beads to these Repubs as they show off their philosophy.

  95. As several commenters have noted, the Executive branch has usurped power for the last several decades.

    Congress declares war, and should never have been allowed to abdicate its responsibilities. Pure cowardice. But we kept electing them, didn’t we?

    You are wasting your time pointing fingers at who the Executive is now, or speculating whether some other person would not continue to usurp power.
    The Executive will usurp power if invited to by Congress.

    You’re also wasting your energy with fantasies about overthrowing an elected government, using violence. You can’t do it physically, and treason is forbidden by the Constitution. Don’t make sly little references to changing things through violence. I’m not impressed. If shots are fired, you’ll just soil yourself. Talk about things you’re actually willing to do. Like vote.

    The Constitution stipulates that peaceful, orderly transitions, only, are allowed. If you don’t like the democratically-elected politicians, there are remedies, called voting, for that. Until another election, you need to put pressure on existing officials, to change their behavior. There’s simply no other way. Do it.

    Senator Rand Paul, lunatic that he is, is performing a service today, in bringing extra-legal assassinations to the public consciousness.

    MSNBC isn’t talking about this? Watch Rachel Maddow talk about it. Her guest is Ron Wyden.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#51075704

    Liberals objecting to Obama’s abuse of Executive power.

  96. Never thought I would agree with Rand Paul, but his filibuster was the right thing to do. I just wish it would get some good results. It ended at 12:39 am.

  97. Wonder if it will make a difference that so many people from differing points of view see the filibuster as a positive thing?

  98. John, apples and oranges. The only reasonable and appropriate rationale for drone use is that we can not get to a bad guy. There is no place domestically that the government can’t get to if they make a concerted effort. It was too late for the towers but if the President hadn’t been paralyzed with fear he would have shot down flight 93, I’m not persuaded that that isn’t exactly what happened.

    —————

    David re: crazies on parade. I’m not watching it so if that’s the case that’s a shame, as a mater for inquiry and condemnation the subject deserves better.

  99. Here is something I find to be odd.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_12333

    Executive Order 12333 of the Reagan administration that extended similar orders from the previous two administratins. It reads in part:

    “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination”

    Previously, the Ford administration banned political assasinations. There was some lessening of the order dealing with those engaged in terrorism.

    So in essence, a head of state of another country is immune from political assasination but our own citizens on American soil are not.

    What’s up with that?

  100. Democrats Absent During Rand Paul Filibuster Of John Brennan Nomination
    By Ryan Grim & Mollie Reilly
    Posted: 03/07/2013 12:30 am
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/democrats-rand-paul-filibuster_n_2825847.html

    Excerpt:
    WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans took the floor on Wednesday, launching an historic filibuster in an attempt to extract an answer from the White House to a simple question: Does the administration believe it has the legal authority to kill an American citizen on American soil with a drone strike?

    It’s a question that seems fairly nonpartisan on its face, but a second one occurred to those watching the C-SPAN broadcast late into the morning: Where are all the Democrats?

    Republicans, from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to filibuster-leader Rand Paul (Ky.), spoke for more than 12 hours. But only one Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, spoke in support of Paul during that time. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) tweeted support, but otherwise progressives who might have assumed to have been supportive were absent, leaving members of the GOP as the sole defenders of civil liberties. The White House was equally silent.

  101. I know I will get blasted for saying this but I can actually understand why the democrats would not want to stand with the the most far right members of the tea party caucus in this filibuster. These guys might be right on one issue but they are wrong 90%. This is the same group that opposed the VAWA, and they are against abortion even in in the case of death of the mother. They support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, also. They want to kill Social Security and Medicare NO republican woman stood with this group, either. Earlier Wyden crossed the aisle to try to make a deal with Ryan on raising the Medicare age. Maybe these GUYS are the future leaders of the republican party. Matt Drudge seems to thinks so.

  102. Swarthmore,

    Our elected leaders should stand up for what is right. Where are the liberals…those who have been defenders of our civil rights? Rand Paul is right to question the Obama Administration on this issue. I wonder what the Democrats would do if it had been the Bush Administration and not the Obama Administration who claimed it had authority to kill US citizens on US soil.

  103. In politics there are no good guys only good issues.

    The important question is not have they been wrong. We have all been wrong. The question is they right on this issue.

    When someone is right we stand with them on that issue.

    If they are asking the right questions, if there position is the way forward, we stand with them whether they are Democrat, Republican, Tea Party or the devil himself.

    There will plenty of time and plenty of issues on which to challenge them – when they are wrong!

  104. Our elected leaders should stand up for what is right. Where are the liberals…those who have been defenders of our civil rights? -Elaine M.

    Shame on the Dems. Kudos to Wyden.

  105. I am glad Paul chose to do this but when Ted Cruz started talking I had to shut it off. I understood why no republican or democratic woman cared to participate.

  106. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.” Ron Wyden

    Ron Wyden seems to understand the stakes. We’re living in a proto-fascistic state.

  107. Elaine,

    As soon as partisan politics takes a back seat to what’s right and what’s wrong….. Then we may be able to see real change….. Obama…. Change you can (dis) agree with…..

  108. on the whole, neither the left nor the right are very friendly to individual rights.

    The right on abortion, etc. and the left on everything but abortion and women’s rights.

    The problem is no one wants to give up their pet platforms. The right wants to control reproduction and the left wants to control production. If we ever want to be free again, both the left and the right are going to have to abdicate control and we as citizens are going to have to learn to be independent.

  109. Brennan faces far more problems than those of a fillibuster:

    C.I.A.’s History Poses Hurdles …

    ” … By the account of people briefed on the report, it concludes that the program was ill-conceived, sloppily managed and far less useful in obtaining intelligence than its supporters have claimed.

    ‘It’s a potential minefield for John Brennan,’ said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former assistant C.I.A. director and former House Intelligence Committee staff director.

    The still-classified report by the Senate Intelligence Committee will place Mr. Brennan squarely in the cross-fire between Democratic critics of what they call a morally and practically disastrous experiment in torture, and some Republican defenders who say the report is biased and fault President Obama for banning coercive interrogations. And it could place Mr. Brennan in a difficult position inside the agency’s headquarters in suburban Virginia. …”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/us/politics/cias-harsh-interrogations-pose-hurdles-for-john-brennan.html?hp&_r=0

  110. This is not about Obama, or the Congress or the judiciary. Not one branch of govt. is left that cares about life, justice or the rule of law. This is about who we are as citizens.

    To accept and defend the destruction of one’s own society, to countenance the murder of other people says something very disturbing about much of the US population. It says, right or left, many are an authoritarian bunch who are willing to give up everything for the sake of belief in a leader, or for “safety”. That authoritarianism and lack of concern for other human beings was clear during the run up to the election and of course, in the voting itself.

    Now it really is time to stop accepting “belief” in a “leader”. The president is not our father as some claim. That claim is unworthy of a citizen. He is not above criticism. He most certainly should be impeached and brought for trial at the Hague for war crimes. If it makes you feel better these are the same actions I advocated with regards to Bush. I am completely bi-partisan in my thinking about what to do with out of control, lawless presidents.

    It is way past time to believe that destroying the rule of law is a way to achieve “safety”. Yet I still see people defending the indefensible. That is crazy. We don’t need to worry about bat shit crazy in the Republican party when many people of either major party will accept the unacceptable. That is a bat shit crazy action as a citizen.

    It is only courageous, strong, ethical citizens who have any chance of getting the US out of this mess. Be that person.

  111. Obama’s Transparency Test
    3/5/12
    Posted by Jane Mayer
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/03/obamas-transparency-test.html

    Excerpt:
    In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama vowed that when it came to counterterrorism in his second term, he would be “even more transparent to the American people and to the world.” That commitment is about to be tested. With Obama’s pick for C.I.A. Director, John Brennan, now all but assured of confirmation, his Administration needs to decide whether to push for the public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s still-classified blockbuster report on C.I.A. wrongdoing during the Bush years. It’s hard to see how the Obama Administration can square its talk of transparency with any further cover-up of this ostensibly mammoth, comprehensive, and devastating report on the brutal interrogation and detention practices during those years.

    Obama’s Justice Department has now agreed to share with the Intelligence Committee the remaining legal memos it had been keeping from the Senate, laying out its justifications for targeted drone strikes. While this is a step in the right direction, the release of the report—which is currently bottled up at the C.I.A. under review—remains a more serious challenge.

    During his Senate confirmation hearings last month, Brennan acknowledged that the report’s three-hundred-page summary had shattered his earlier belief that the Bush Administration’s resort to what were euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques” had worked. Brennan had claimed publicly in 2007 that the C.I.A.’s treatment of terror suspects had produced valuable intelligence, and perhaps even saved lives. But after reading the report, Brennan acknowledged under oath that he now doubts this.

    In response to a question from Saxby Chambliss, the Republican vice-chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Brennan said, “I must tell you, Senator, that reading this report from the committee raises questions about the information that I was given at the time, the impression I had at the time.”

  112. if Obama was subject to impeachment it would cause great national upheaval. So I think that is off the table and 2014 is when we should vote as many in as we can who believe in the rule of law [which is limited government].

  113. Turley – please explain why this statement is wrong, rather than simply assuming it is: ‘Holder was responding to a letter from Sen. Rand Paul concerning the nomination of CIA director John Brennan on the use of lethal force. Holder said “It is possible I suppose to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

  114. “The current discussion about drones, I think, is very frightening, because I’m having a hard time distinguishing between what they did with Operation Condor, low-tech, and what a drone does, because a drone is basically going into somebody else’s country, even with the permission of that country—of course, that’s what Operation Condor did, in most cases: You track somebody down, and you kill them. Now, the justification is: “Well, they were a criminal. They were a combatant.” Well, that may or may not be true, but nobody is determining that except the person that’s pulling the trigger.

    I just think that this has to be something that we discuss. And maybe trials like this, going back to the ’70s, people say, “Well, that was the dictatorships of the 1970s.” But the tendency of a state to feel that they can move against their enemies in the most effective way possible is still there, and it is certainly not limited to dictatorships.”

    -John Dinges is author of The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents

    Operation Condor Trial Tackles Coordinated Campaign by Latin American Dictatorships to Kill Leftists

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/7/operation_condor_trial_tackles_coordinated_campaign

    AMY GOODMAN: Finally, a State Department cable, 1978, begins—the jacket of your book, says, “Kissinger explained his opinion [that] the Government of Argentina had done an outstanding job in wiping out terrorist forces.” The significance of the judge calling for Kissinger’s testimony and the Obama administration not responding?

    JOHN DINGES: They have asked for Kissinger to give testimony many times. And in my book, I quote the one time where he actually responded to a petition from France, I believe it was. And he basically denied everything. This is very frustrating. I was able to—it was clear to me that, there’s no other word for it, these were lies. I mean, the documents say one thing; Kissinger said another thing. And he knew what those documents said. It’s not—the United States has never allowed any of its officials to face trial in other countries. We are not a member of the ICC. There’s never—

    AMY GOODMAN: The International Criminal Court.

    JOHN DINGES: The International Criminal Court. There’s never been any participate—there’s never been any trials that have brought Americans in the dock. There was an attempt in Italy; of course, all of those people were gone. The United States, for one reason or another, Democrats and Republicans, protect our own human rights criminals when it’s involving human rights crimes outside of the United States. It’s just the way it is.

    AMY GOODMAN: Would you describe Henry Kissinger in that way, as a human rights criminal?

    JOHN DINGES: Yes, absolutely.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the relevance of this history of farming out the battle against terrorism, and so you could have no finger marks—no fingerprints of your own involvement to the current war against terrorism in the United States?

    JOHN DINGES: Well, I wrote—I was writing chapter one, when 9/11 happened, in my house in Washington. And as I finished the book—and I actually end with a reference to 9/11—I said this is not something that we’re condemned to repeat. And I was making the comparison between the war on terror in the 1970s and the current war on terror that was launched by President Bush. I thought we were going to—we had learned the lesson, that you don’t imitate the methods of your enemies and—or those who had been shown to be human rights criminals. Unfortunately, we crossed that line, I think, many times.

    The current discussion about drones, I think, is very frightening, because I’m having a hard time distinguishing between what they did with Operation Condor, low-tech, and what a drone does, because a drone is basically going into somebody else’s country, even with the permission of that country—of course, that’s what Operation Condor did, in most cases: You track somebody down, and you kill them. Now, the justification is: “Well, they were a criminal. They were a combatant.” Well, that may or may not be true, but nobody is determining that except the person that’s pulling the trigger.

    I just think that this has to be something that we discuss. And maybe trials like this, going back to the ’70s, people say, “Well, that was the dictatorships of the 1970s.” But the tendency of a state to feel that they can move against their enemies in the most effective way possible is still there, and it is certainly not limited to dictatorships.

    AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you, John Dinges, for being with us. John Dinges is author of The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents. Before that, he was with National Public Radio, NPR, worked as a freelance reporter in Latin America, is currently a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism.

  115. Here is a link to an unsolicited Ron Paul blog about DOJ’s illegal detention of me:

    http://www.dailypaul.com/234740/kay-sieverding-and-the-true-victims-of-indefinite-detention

    DOJ attorney David C. Rybicki filed in Federal Court in my case in DDC 11-01032 “JABS is not limited to inclusion of records that are created incident to arrest for a ‘criminal charge’ (see document 16-1 p.10). I filed an objection with the FR citation, yet Rybicki came back and asserted “Nothing in that Federal Register Notice states, as Plaintiffs erroneously claim, that the JABS must be used only to process individuals arrested for criminal offenses.” (see document 31, p 3).

    Judge Bates ruled that the Joint Automated Booking System doesn’t require a criminal charge so now anyone can be forced to provide their fingerprints and let any and all parts of their body be photographed and put into a national database and shared with local law enforcement.

  116. “In a letter to Paul Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the president does not have the authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.

    “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no,” the three-sentence letter stated.

    In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Paul said he was satisfied with the response.”

    *********************

    Were you lying then or are you lying now?

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/07/obama-administration-responds-to-paul-on-drones/?hpt=hp_c1

  117. I view Eric Holder as a waste of time. However, his interpretation of the President’s “kill” authority is accurate. It is also my view that the phrase “engaged in combat” provides absolutely no clarification in a society in which law enforcement has become militarized. The absurdly named “War on Terror” scrambled reason in this country.

  118. My problem is similar to that of Mike A.

    Terms such as “engaged in combat” have become so fluid, no one knows what they mean. There are no black-line rules. The ACLU is beginning to look closely at the increasing militarization of police forces. It is about time; I hope it is not too late.

    We are just now learning about the FBI infiltrating the OWS movement, and even acting as agents provocateurs to bait protesters into violating laws so they could be arrested. Nothing like making an example of a few key players. Nothing like giving them ten to twenty as a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to make other protesters think twice about exercising their First Amendment rights. J. Edgar Hoover, that old closet queen, created the model of using his agency to go after those he disapproved of. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it must have grated on him to have to enforce it. However, that did not stop him from trying to infiltrate civil rights groups and creating dossiers on activists from MLK, Jr. on down.

  119. The absurdly named “War on Terror” scrambled reason in this country.
    -Mike Appleton

    And most Americans don’t know the worst of it, yet.

  120. They have answered the question of whether they have (and this was TOTALLY specific in the answer as given in the article I read) the right to kill an American citizen on US soil by drone, and they said no.

    HOWEVER! ”by drone” being the operative word here. They STILL have the right to kill an American citizen on American soil, say by gunshot or knife or hammer or death ray or whatever, as long as it is NOT a drone. Their NDAA gives them the right to do that. If the president thinks someone may be related to terrorism he has the right to off them plain and simple, as per the NDAA. But now with the caveat it may not happen by drone, as per Eric Holder.

    Don’t get me wrong. I totally hate this drone BS. But the fact they still have the right to murder us as they see fit without due process is just as disturbing.

    My feeling is with all the billions of hollow point ammo and the 2700 light armored military vehicles that have been ordered, they are definitely up to something that does not bode well for the American people. Do they just have these things laying around for safety’s sake? Seriously? Especially when they are ordering all this stuff when the economy is so horrible and they’re furloughing federal employees?

    This all stinks to high heaven. They’re probably thrilled to have all the attention on the drones, and off the NDAA.

  121. Well when Obomba or his successor decides to kill some American on US soil, I hope he isn’t at the same BarBQue I am at or the same cafe I am at or on the same highway I am driving upon when it goes down as seems to be the modus operandi of government drone missions.

  122. If blaming the Republicans for everythint doesn’t get them voted out of office, Obummer can just call them a threat to the nation and drone them

  123. Fascist Nation, you obviously are not very well read at all! You forgot weddings and funerals, now didn’t you!

  124. Additionally, will they be targeting first responders with a second strike, like they do other places? If so, make sure that if innocent babies are collateral damage in one of the drone strikes at a particular area, that you do NOT go soft, and run over and try to staunch anyone’s bleeding to save the person’s life, or you are definitely in the line of fire from the next round!

  125. Yes, thanks, LJC. I hadn’t seen that. It’s disgusting and I’m ashamed of him! I’ll bet his daddy is too!

  126. […] We previously discussed how Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter confirming that the President would have authority to kill citizens on U.S. soil without a charge or conviction. His answer triggered a principled filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul and another embarrassment to Democratic Senators who, again, chose personality over principle in staying silent. Now, Holder has issued a new statement. No, President Obama still claims the right to kill U.S. citizens on his sole authority. However, Holder now says that, if the citizen is “not engaged in combat on American soil,” the President cannot vaporize him.The answer leaves the constitutional claim of Obama even more confused and conflicted. Does this mean we have a third category now under the policy: citizen, citizen terrorist, and citizen non-combatant terrorist? […]

  127. Malala is a victim of violence in Pakistan, having been attacked by religious fanatics opposed to her work. But Obama may not have expected her to speak up against other forms of violence in her country.

    Malala recounted: “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education, it will make a big impact.”

    President Obama may also have not expected most people to notice or care. The corporate media have virtually ignored this part of a widely-reported meeting.[1] It’s up to us to surprise everyone with the depth of our interest and concern.

    (Got this in an email but deleted it before saving the click)

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