Rand Paul Takes Stand Against Obama’s Kill List Policy . . . Virtually Alone

220px-Rand_Paul,_official_portrait,_112th_Congress_alternateSen. Rand Paul has ended his day-long filibuster against President Obama’s claim to be able to kill any U.S. citizen on his own authority without criminal charge or conviction. What was most striking about this principled stand is the virtual total absence of Democrats in speaking out against Obama. Just this week, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that this policy could include killing citizens on U.S. soil with drones. Yet, the Democrats worked to stop not the kill list policy but Paul’s filibuster. Obama apologists have attacked Rand for some of his other positions to avoid dealing with the fact that Obama is claiming the powers of an Imperial President. I do not agree with Paul on many things, but I commend him for this stand and condemn those who remained silent, again, in the face of this authoritarian policy of Obama.

The filibuster was to block the nomination of John Brennan who has been opposed by most civil libertarians due to his connection to the torture program and other abuses. His more senior colleagues, like John McCain, told him to “calm down” — telling advice from our political leaders that authoritarian power is nothing to get upset about if it does not affect you. Lindsey Graham stated that against up against the unilateral killing of citizens “ridiculous” and just not how things are done in Washington.

Rand fell short of the record of former Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

He shared some time with other Republican senators. However, after five hours, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to limit the remaining time.

The lack of opposition to Obama’s kill list policy is a national disgrace. It shows the triumph of a cult of personality within the Democratic ranks where both members and voters have chosen Obama over long-standing values of civil liberties that once defined their party.

Source: CNN

167 thoughts on “Rand Paul Takes Stand Against Obama’s Kill List Policy . . . Virtually Alone

  1. Regardless of the merits of the policy Senator Paul was railing against, it seems to me that it is dysfunctional to play out in the context of a confirmation hearing. Why doesn’t Senator Paul introduce legislation to prohibit that which offends him and raise the issue in a proper context rather than gumming up the works on something that is a distinct issue — whether Brennan should be confirmed. It is like so much of the dysfunction in Washington — by both parties — to seize on unrelated but necessary legislative action that they can delay or kill because they are peeved by something else or, more likely, they just want to grandstand for their base.

  2. Let me know when the President kills somebody arbitraritly under this policy, THEN I will be outraged, but NOT before. As I pointed out before Lincoln did far worse during the Civil War and killed hundreds of thousants of US citizens. I applaud Lincoln for his actions and if we have such a situation come about again, then I will be supporting this policy too. Holder stated that he could not foresee all the situations and that there MIGHT be some situation that would justify such actions. THAT is why Rand was out on his own. Most people have a good grasp of common sense.

  3. “The lack of opposition to Obama’s kill list policy is a national disgrace. It shows the triumph of a cult of personality within the Democratic ranks where both members and voters have chosen Obama over long-standing values of civil liberties that once defined their party.”

    Amen

  4. “Let me know when the President kills somebody arbitraritly under this policy, THEN I will be outraged, but NOT before.”

    Actually, the law is based on the categorical imperative; not incidental empirical consequences.

    It’s what we call getting your principles in order.

  5. Rand Paul Launches Talking Filibuster: Demands Assurance Obama Won’t Use Drones Against Americans In U.S.
    By Zack Beauchamp and Hayes Brownon
    Mar 6, 2013
    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/03/06/1683851/rand-paul-launches-talking-filibuster-demands-assurance-obama-wont-use-drones-against-americans-in-us/

    Excerpt:
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has long demanded a national conversation about President Obama’s claimed power to kill American citizens. On Wednesday, he took a big step towards starting one, using a rare “talking filibuster” to hold up the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA and deliver an extended critique of the targeted killing of Americans on American soil.

    Brennan played a critical role in the development and codification of the Obama Administration’s targeted killing program, so his nomination has become a flashpoint for Paul and others worried about the scope of the powers claimed in it. Publicly released documents, particularly the infamous CIA white paper outlining the legal thinking behind the strike on American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, have not provided specific guidance on the territorial limits of the Presidential power to kill citizens. A more recent document, submitted to Congress by Attorney General Eric Holder, suggested that under “extraordinary” circumstances, such as Pearl Harbor or 9/11, the president could kill an American citizen on American soil. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Holder specifically admitted that killing an American in the United States would be inappropriate and unconstitutional if the individual did not pose an imminent threat.

    Throughout his filibuster, Paul repeatedly said that he would be willing to move to a vote on Brennan’s nomination if the Obama administration translated Holder’s reply into a written response and stated that it did not believe that the executive branch could target and kill Americans on American soil in most instances.

    Paul acknowledged that it was unlikely that Obama would launch a drone strike against someone sleeping in their bed, but demanded clarification of what criteria the administration had for conducting targeted killing. While he initially questioned the principles behind so-called “signature strikes” against suspected terrorists not currently fighting,” Paul later shifted his focus to whether tactics used overseas could be transferred to American citizens within the U.S.

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who referred to himself and Paul (both whom have strong records on civil liberties issues) as the “checks and balances caucus,” also joined the questioning. He emphasized the need for public disclosure of classified documents about the legal authorization of targeted killings, arguing that “every American has the right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them.” “I’ve had four sessions now with the classified documents and I still have questions,” Wyden said, concluding that “there’s a very strong case for being able to declassify” said documents.

  6. Our president is already a mass murderer & child murderer by his support for the terror killings since 1987 so he can remove the 2nd amendment along with everything else to put your rights back to before the Magna Carta. Have we already forgotten the NDA Act he signed 1.1.2012?

  7. Good for Rand Paul; we need more legislators who support both the Bill of Rights and the American way (or what used to be the American way).

  8. Maybe the real scandal here is the title, drones are only one of an unlimited number of assassination techniques – and drones are a very loud and public method – unlike quiet methods. The question is will the non-drone methods be public and subject to oversight? If not then how can a democracy determine how to vote?

  9. “The lack of opposition to Obama’s kill list policy is a national disgrace.”
    -Jonathan Turley

    The Dems will ultimately pay a steep price for their cowardice.

    =====

    “RT America: Assange Says WikiLeaks Still Sitting on US Secrets (VIDEO)
    March 5, 2013

    Summary: The US government continues to prosecute military whistleblower Bradley Manning after he pled guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange says he will not provide any evidence against the whistleblower.

    Key Quote: [GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack said] “Although Manning is often criticized for not going up his chain of command, he did go up his chain of command with this and he was told to drop it…”” -GAP (Government Accountability Project)

  10. ” Rand is villain on civil rights (against MLK using feds 2 desegregate biz), but hero on civil liberties” Jeremy Scahill tweet

  11. Ross,

    Our country has it’s “quiet methods”, as you rightly assert. The full truth about what’s taking place in communities all across this country needs to be exposed.

  12. Blouse, Bob, Elaine….

    You guys can always be counted on to stand on principle….. Whether you like the guy or not…. He speaks his truth…..

    ARE,

    Isn’t that what the Germans said…. Famous last word bucko….

  13. Let’s all be honest here, if there is ever a truly legitimate target backed up with evidence – there is no law that will stop any national security agency or President – so it doesn’t need to be legalized. Also the federal judges have virtually rubber-stamped everything the Executive Branch does so there is little chance of criminal prosecution and the DOJ is part of the Executive Branch. This is really a debate of the “exception vs. the rule”. The United States has a long history of mission-creep and deeming people like Martin Luther King, Jr as an enemy of the state. It should be illegal to assassinate anyone on a non-battlefield period, laws really don’t stop legitimate operations as the Church Committee Reports revealed in the 1970’s.

  14. Thanks, JT. Unfortunately the cult of personality won out over principle a long time ago.

    Paul’s filibuster will be portrayed by the media as paranoid, obstructionist posturing on a footnote issue by a closet racist. No doubt we will be told that it was done for free campaign publicity and ego, not principle. Paul even cited Greenwald, well known for his partisan attacks on the President.

  15. Well this is a healthy team up.
    Jonathan Turley and Rand Paul, two of my most favorite public figures in synch with the issues.

    I believe this list has been fairly much hijacked by a liberal audience, so it may pain you all of that ilk to know that, IMO, JT is a left leaning libertarian.
    IMO, Rand Paul is a right leaning libertarian. Even though their guts tell them they should hate each other, they will eventually see they have a lot in common, and can’t but help agree with each other.

  16. Oh, please Turley, are you truly saying that there is no imaginable situation where this would be legal? Even if a war was happening on US soil and the US citizen was part of the opposition forces and could not be captured and was threatening US civilians? Give me a break. Paul isn’t principled or correct on the law.

  17. President Obama is a sacred cow to too many people who judge him as being infallable. “Apologist” is exactly what many of his supporters can be labeled as. What is really sickening is how many people who claim to champion the plight of the ordinary or downtroden remain so ardently silent or worse who attack anyone who dare question the president’s unsavory traits.

    Outside of this blog, I had a couple of friends who supported him during his initial election campaign. I told both of them I understood why they were voting for him but there was something about Barrack Obama I did not trust and back then admittedly I didn’t know why but it was strongly such a feeling. Now, there is clear evidence that he cannot be trusted, especially in light of our civil liberties, and yet they still support him.

    I don’t know of whether to view President Obama as a tyrrant or just simply arrogant and a self perception that he is above the law. Either way it is an unsuitable trait in a president.

    Kudos to Senator Paul for literally taking the stand to do what is honourable.

  18. With the exceptions of Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the supporters of Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster are just opportunists using his filibuster to score political points against Obama.

  19. “Just this week, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that this policy could include killing citizens on U.S. soil with drones”.

    The argument on its own merit is silly and ridiculous started by the Gopers. We all know that we do not need any drones to kill anyone in the US. We have many many other ways to catch the hypothetical culprits.

    On a serious side, the Goper Senate filibustered Caitlin Halligan’s appointment to the court, This was the second time it happened and there is no hue or cry for that which shows the pathetic state of our state. Rand Paul and his cronies had a good Kabuki dance for 13 hours on our expense. Nothing more. A total waste of time and money.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/caitlin-halligan-appeals-court_n_2819449.html

  20. It seems to me the real problem isn’t the killing of American citizens, but our general approach to killing. Any nation that truly believes that drones are “better than boots on the ground,” is a nation of cowards that wants to rape the world while suffering as little as possible itself. Until we learn to respect our fellow human beings and abandon dishonorable tactics in war, it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves the targets of our country’s viciousness. You can only hold the wolf by the ears for so long.

  21. gary, Rand Paul is a libertarian until it comes to women’s and gay rights. Then, he is as restrictive as they come. He even want polluters to have free rein. Why not “live and let live” for women and gay people?

  22. Darren, Dredd and Elaine…..

    Do you think other people actually think when it comes to party lines…. The partisianshit is destroying this county….. I suppose I can now be labeled as racist as I strongly disagree with Obama and Bush on these issues…. I’ve already been labeled a hater of women…. Because I did not nor do I support Obama…..

    Darren,

    That’s why I’ve voted libeterian these last two elections…. At least it’d be a shake up if one actually won….

  23. Tony,

    If we have a war on American soil it will be the next revolution….. Something about July 14th seems all to familiar….. Let them eat cake…

  24. Paul supports both civil liberties and civil rights.
    About the only thing I disagree with him about is abortion rights.

    Even his supposed opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1963 is mischaracterized, and is actually based in a demand for individual private property freedoms.

    Paul supports 90% of the CRA, where it demands that government actors and policies not discriminating against race, gender, or color.
    What he opposed is the Act’s telling private persons who and who they cannot serve in their private business establishments.
    And yes that would mean that a racist person could exclude blacks from his racist bar.

  25. Curtain Call
    By Charles P. Pierce
    3/7/13
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Thanks_To_The_Senator

    There is one thing I can tell you for sure. Getting name-checked by Senator Aqua Buddha on the floor of the Senate in the middle of an honest-to-Capra talking filibuster can lead to some interesting e-mails, to say nothing of some fascinating commentary on what you call your social media. And, while flattering, and hoping I don’t sound like too much of an ingrate, there remain a few observations to be made regarding last night’s festivities.

    Observation The First: the blog’s Five Minute Rule regarding the Pauls remains largely intact. (This rule states that, for five minutes, both the son and the father, Crazy Uncle Liberty (!), make perfect sense on many issues. At the 5:00:01 mark, however, the trolley inevitably departs the tracks.) There was enough stuff packed in there about thousands of Iraqis who should go back home, and the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision — which, whatever you may think of it, was democratically arrived at — to hold the rule still valid.

    Observation The Second: while I take Aqua Buddha — and probably Mike Lee — seriously as to the fundamental constitutional basis of their objections to what was under discussion, please to be giving me a break, Mitch McConnell, and Pat Toomey, and newly minted Senator Tailgunner Ted from Texas. None of these guys ever had a real objection that I ever heard to the drone program until it became the latest cudgel to use on That Person in the White House. (By comparison, Debbie Stabenow and Bernie Sanders have been dubious about it for months now, but they’re Democrats and, therefore, do not count.) As Adam Serwer pointed out, four of Paul’s newest fans voted in favor of indefinite detention. I hope Aqua Buddha’s ready for what’s going to happen the next time there’s a Republican president. It’s going to be awfully lonely being him.

  26. Swathmore Mom:

    I am aware that Paul is against abortion choice, and I think that is not libertarian in practical terms, and I disagree with him on that.
    But other than that, how is he against women’s rights or gay rights?

  27. I agree totally with Professor Turley’s statement that “The lack of opposition to Obama’s kill list policy is a national disgrace. It shows the triumph of a cult of personality within the Democratic ranks where both members and voters have chosen Obama over long-standing values of civil liberties that once defined their party.”

    DOJ under the Obama administration filed in Federal court that the Prisoner Tracking System doesn’t require a criminal charge even though they had published in the Federal Register Vol. 69 p 23213. DOJ under the Obama administration filed in Federal court “JABS is not limited to inclusion of records that are created incident to arrest for a ‘criminal charge’ (see DDC 11-01032 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). That is a total lie since DOJ published in the Federal Register Vol 71 p 52821 that the categories of persons whose records should be in JABS are alleged criminal offenders and no one else. I complained to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility and they emailed to me that “it is the longstanding policy of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to decline to investigate litigation claims that have been raised, could have been raised, or still may be raised in litigation.” That directly conflicts with the Code of Federal Regulations about OPR function, the annual report they published claiming to have investigated complaints of violations of the duty of candor towards the tribunal, and a speech by Eric Holder.

  28. Gary, Rand Paul is in the pocket of the anti-abortion lobby and has his name of much of the extremist legislation. Doesn’t that make him anti- women’s rights? He is also against gay marriage.

  29. I agree with Nal’s assessment of the opportunists but Paul called national attention to an extremely important matter. If he follows up his 13 hours of filibustering with legislation then we can all climb on board by lobbying our own Senators.

    If he doesn’t introduce legislation then I’m just going to dismiss him as a guy filling time because he either wasn’t invited to dinner with the big boys or decided not to accept the invitation and wanted to show his constituents he wasn’t breaking bread with the President.

    Follow through will demonstrate the actual motivation and commitment. If there is no follow through then the whole da*n thing was a ruse.

  30. I love the angst here today. Many people seeing the emporer is indeed naked. When you not a member of the duopoly this stuff is fascinating, better than sex! Well..better than sex @ my age anyway.

  31. nick, Not really much angst……. Talking to Blouise about a replay of 2012 in 2016. Paul can play his dad. Jeb can be Romney and Hillary can win. That is if they all run. Don’t know if Hillary or Jeb will run but I bet Paul will, and he some some major baggage on the social issues. He is certainly no libertarian when it comes to those issues. He appeared at an anti-abortion rally with Santorum recently.

  32. ” I do not agree with Paul on many things, but I commend him for this stand and condemn those who remained silent, again, in the face of this authoritarian policy of Obama.” – JT

    “Follow through will demonstrate the actual motivation and commitment. If there is no follow through then the whole da*n thing was a ruse.” Blouise

    Oh, yes, and the kill policy and the surveillance drones and the NDAA and the PATRIOT act are all a disgrace.

  33. Heard a great metaphor once about what so-called civil libertarians or constitutionalists really are: We try to maintain the internal combustion engine regardless if the brand is Ford or Chevy. Most of us aren’t really partisan at all, we are concerned with how the “constitutional democratic republic” machine works – basically the out-of-bounds that both parties must operate within. If the Constitution is fundamentally flawed there is a process to amend it but you don’t disregard the Rule of Law. Contrary to popular belief the U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) is a wartime charter designed to be followed during wartime!

  34. There is a Constitutional Right to a Grand Jury Indictment before being charged with a felony but the USMS sent a fax to the Dane County Wisconsin sheriff saying I was charged with a felony, which I wasn’t charged with.

  35. Re: kaysieverding

    That is the whole point, “terrorism” laws have primarily been used on “non-terrorism” and “non-criminal” cases essentially corrupting the entire justice system. There is no Bill of Rights at all under this exploitation of the justice system – that is what most Americans don’t get.

  36. What Nal said earlier. While I commend Sen. Paul for his stance against drone strikes here in the US and the Executive power grab to allow any President to kill US citizens without due process, Sen. Paul is on the weak side of many important issues. It is also interesting that he didn’t take his usual approach to filibuster. Normally he would just state he has an objection, like the rest of the over 300 filibusters lodged by the Republicans. Sen. Reid, I want you to take notice that the old fashioned filibuster can be useful and a Republican actually used it. Why not require that for any and all filibusters?

  37. We’re on a very slippery slope.

    “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

    “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

    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.”

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

  38. “Yet, the Democrats worked to stop not the kill list policy but Paul’s filibuster.”

    What a position to be put into, the dems are now the party of death.

    2014 RNC mid-term campaign-Vote for us, we wont kill you.

    This is the beginning of the end of the Obama Administration as a viable political force and of republicans like McCain and Graham.

  39. Ross

    Actually the caselaw that was used to justify imprisoning me without criminal procedure, a bail hearing etc. comes from the Federal Prisoner Litigation Reform Act. That law allows Courts to deny prisoners the right to a reduction of their filing fee or permission to pay over time if they filed three complaints that were dismissed. The case law from that was repeated and changed every time and is now used to deny a right to have a paid proceeding conforming with written procedures to people who are not prisoners and never had a lawsuit dismissed. The idea is that if you don’t have a lawyer your claims must be worthless. Of course it costs 100K starting out to have a lawyer filed federal court case. It’s a problem for the lawyers because they have to keep going even if they fall on financial hard times. Professor Turley said he didn’t want to rep me because he has so much work he has to pay for an assistant. Very few lawyers take cases on contingency. In Chicago there is a lawfirm that takes cases for unlawful imprisonment on contingency but only if the imprisonment lasted longer than 15 years.

    The Federal Prisoner LItigation Reform Act hasn’t really worked out for the government. All the prisoners file for habeas corpus and many use up their three cases pretty fast. Then the guards can rape and beat them with impunity. The Fifth Branch magazine reported on a study in California finding that a lot of prisoner litigation states valid claims but was blown off. A lot of prisoners complain of denial of medical care. If they are long term prisoners then sooner or later they get worse and then their medical care costs more. This mistreatment of prisoners has created more distrust of government and does nothing to turn them into law abiding citizens.

  40. #StandWithRand baby! Well done, another Paul is virtually the only voice for liberty and anti Authoritarian govt. Not surprising, vote despot, vote Obama! Maybe we’ll get the equally despotic Clinton for 2016, who seems even more hawkish than the current Crown Prince Obama. I do appreciate Turley showing some respect for Paul, it’s long overdue when clearly most Dem’s & Rep’s have zero respect for the Constitution and only care about govt power over us.

  41. I thought that the Democrats would be more “liberal” than Republicans but they weren’t when it comes to respecting the rights of pro se litigants and access to courts.

  42. Rand Paul got his day and night on the Floor of the Senate but he also received unbridled media coverage last night. The irony is that no Senator was sitting there in the Chamber listening to him yet millions of citizens saw him on tv. Little sound bites kept getting shown. One interesting twist to the media coverage on CNN with the chickie announcer, is that she kept saying that they were waiting for an interview. Heck, ya dont need an interview if he has the floor in front of your camera for 13 hours or so and all ya gotta do is show the interesting parts. But they were gonna break into the other stories once he came off the floor and they got their interview.

    He got his day in the sun. He will be a candidate for the Presidency the next go round. He has some things going in his favor. 1) represents a southern border state– RepubliCons need a Southerner to gather up the base; 2) speaks southern but intelligent southern; 3) He is an eye doctor and many people will see eye to eye with him; 4) He has none of the draw backs of a foreigner, like Rubio, or a New Yorker (close to a foreigner for the rest of us), or a DC insider. 5) Dad.

    Ayn Rand is sitting up in Heaven watching and enjoying the show. He did good last night. Held his pee too.

  43. Arthur said:

    “Let me know when the President kills somebody arbitraritly under this policy, THEN I will be outraged, but NOT before. As I pointed out before Lincoln did far worse during the Civil War and killed hundreds of thousants of US citizens. I applaud Lincoln for his actions and if we have such a situation come about again, then I will be supporting this policy too.”

    http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/07/rand-paul-takes-stand-against-obamas-kill-list-policy-virtually-alone/#comment-515961

    Exactly why do you applaud Lincoln for murder? Do you realize he violated the Constitution by waging war on his own country?

    Section 3 article 3 of the Constitution states:

    “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

    Lincoln levied war against the states—hence TREASON. Arthur supports treason and murder—-no wonder he supports Obama.

  44. Barkindog, It DEPENDS, on what you mean about holding his pee. Bob Dole did Viagra ads, Rand Paul Depends ads?

  45. Many of us grew up during the Cold War and were taught that our enemies at the time were “evil doers” and that we were the “good guys” because we had the Rule of Law, an Independent Judiciary, checks & balances between branches and a population that was predominantly Judeo-Christian. Today the United Nations, Amnesty International, International Red Cross (a Christian organization) have condemned the actions of the United States and for the first time ever in American history torture has been codified into federal law. And it gets worse – today a child only knows his great nation as torturers, assasins without charge, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, etc. – so if our generation does not fix this during the Obama Administration will our kids have the knowledge to fix it even if they wanted to? If Obama doesn’t fix it how can the Democrats say anything when the next GOP president does it?

  46. Tony Smith said:

    “Oh, please Turley, are you truly saying that there is no imaginable situation where this would be legal? Even if a war was happening on US soil and the US citizen was part of the opposition forces and could not be captured and was threatening US civilians? Give me a break. Paul isn’t principled or correct on the law.”

    The answer is, NO, there is NO imaginable situation where this would be legal. In the United States, we dont have ONE man acting as judge, jury and executioner. This is the very reason we have the bill of rights and we separated from tyrant King George, AND why we have 3 brances of government—so ONE MAN doesnt make all the calls. If a war broke out (which has never happened, with the exception of the Civil war…which Lincoln started by invading the South and committing treason according to the Constitution) the military would deal with it and we would capture them and try them in court. Period.

  47. There are tube and bag rumors floating around the Senate today– that he had a tube in place that fed into a long bag straped to his leg. The last time I had to stand that long I was waiting to vote.

  48. Tony, please feel free to list ONE part of the Constitution that gives the President the right to murder US citizens. I want just ONE. Hint: you won’t be able to find one. But I am curious to see what part you ATTEMPT to use as your justification.

  49. “#StandWithRand baby! Well done, another Paul is virtually the only voice for liberty and anti Authoritarian govt. Not surprising, vote despot, vote Obama! Maybe we’ll get the equally despotic Clinton for 2016, who seems even more hawkish than the current Crown Prince Obama. I do appreciate Turley showing some respect for Paul, it’s long overdue when clearly most Dem’s & Rep’s have zero respect for the Constitution and only care about govt power over us.”

    Dave, where were the Gopers when the drone program started under Bush?

    Your ” fair & balanced” view is like the one we see on FAUX NEWS daily.:-)

  50. The Privacy Act requires that all agencies publish descriptions of all computer systems in the Federal Register and that in that description the purpose of the system is listed. So that should apply to the computer systems that control drones. See 5 USC 552a

  51. Holder to Paul: No drone strikes on non-combatants
    David Jackson, USA TODAY2:07p.m. EST March 7, 2013
    Attorney General Eric Holder has written Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., about drone policy, saying strikes will not be made against American citizens on U.S. soil who are non-combatants.
    rand-paul

    (Photo: Charles Dharapak, AP)
    Story Highlights

    Attorney General Eric Holder sends a letter to Sen. Rand Paul
    The letter says President Obama does not have the authority to use drones against citizens on U.S. soil

    Attorney General Eric Holder says President Obama does not have the authority to use an armed drone against a non-combatant American on U.S. soil,

    Holder cited that conclusion in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who engaged in a 13-hour filibuster to challenge Obama’s drone program.

    Paul had sought to hold up the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director; Brennan, a White House counter-terrorism adviser, has been involved in directing the drone program.

    “No president has the right to say he is judge, jury and executioner,” Paul said.

    In his letter to Paul, Holder wrote:

    “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.”

    Both Holder and Carney have said that, as commander-in-chief, Obama reserves the right to do what is necessary to protect the country.

    Said Carney: “In an event like an attack like Pearl Harbor or an attack like 9/11, obviously the president has the constitutional authority to take action to prevent those kinds of attacks.”

  52. Arthur Randolph Erb made the Lincoln reference in one of the first comments above. Here is another scenario. Suppose that the government learns that a citizen is intending to kill the President and the entire cabinet. Citizen X has a gun and possibly a bomb in his car. X is on the cell phone talking to his tribe of terrorists (all of them citizens as well) and is overheard by the feds as he is driving up to the podium where the President and the Cabinet are all seated. A fed swoops up on a motorcycle and shoots Citizen X in the head as he is driving.
    Suppose someone shot John Wilkes Booth in the head as he was going up the steps in Fords Theatre just before he killed Lincoln.
    Suppose al qaeda has an Iranian born but now US Citizen who is about to launch an attack on a grade school in Newtown and there is no way to stop him othe than to blast him.
    Suppose the al qaeda U.S. Citizens group is on a boat with torpedos and they are in New York harbor headed for the Titanic. Can we blast them?

    Who is entitled to due process and a trial when they are a threat. How imminent does the threat have to be?

    Lincoln was dealing with treason. But not after the fact treason actors who were locked up.

    In War if we find combatants on the field out of uniform we get to shoot them without trial.

    The rules of engagement change over time. I do not thnk that the TSA has the right or ability legally to shoot an American passport holder who is foreign born Saudi, simply because he boarded a plane or tried to, with a box cutter. But can we shoot the guy if he is behind the wheel of his own plane and we think he is about to crash into the Twin Towers?

    There is a lot going on here and Rand Paul is making people think. It is a good blog topic today.

  53. Either the Justice system is broken and the President can’t get access to a Court on a short notice or the president is broken and simply will not seek a Court.

    The former has a fix…
    … The latter requires Impeachment.

  54. Swarthmore mom,
    I have a problem with this one. Shouldn’t justifying a why basis be rooted in relevancy?

    Said Carney: “In an event like an attack like Pearl Harbor or an attack like 9/11, obviously the president has the constitutional authority to take action to prevent those kinds of attacks.”

    I mean, how many Americans plotted Pearl Harbor? Were Japanese planes launched from US soil? How many Americans were actual hijackers on 9/11? The passengers, were they hostages or terrorists?

    Important questions to sort out discovering relevancy, I’d say.

    Why didn’t Holder point to McVeigh? Too many other questions need to be answered w/ that one, like FBI and fertilizer swaps missed, and such, I guess… ?

  55. “The lack of opposition to Obama’s kill list policy is a national disgrace.”

    Yes indeed, well said. I sure wish all our high school teachers would read this allowed in their class instead of looking for paper cutouts of guns.

  56. Eric Holder to Rand Paul:

    “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil?” the letter reads. “The answer to that is no.”

    Here’s the letter: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/files/2013/03/Senator-Rand-Paul-Letter.pdf

    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/07/white-house-obama-would-not-use-drones-against-u-s-citizens-on-american-soil/)

  57. I don’t like Rand Paul and I certainly don’t like his father. That said his filibuster was courageous and correct. Give his beliefs, I strongly doubt that he will do much good in his future career, but for us and for him, this is a shining moment of courage that I applaud.

  58. Has anyone noticed that much of this hinges upon redefining the word “imminent” into a nonsense definition of the word? From a synonym for “impending” into something that requires no evidence, just a supposition of ill-will in a party?

  59. BarkinDog,
    Re. Civil War.

    Wasn’t that about States organizing against other States in an armed conflict over State’s Rights and control of the Government? How is that anything resembling a Federalized Government usurping Due Process Rights to done one enemy combatant on US soil?

  60. Max-1,

    As long as the President continues to engage in expanding the unitary Executive? I would have to agree with them.

  61. Gene H.

    WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday tried to put to rest a simmering debate over President Barack Obama’s drone policy, stating in clear terms that the president doesn’t have the legal authority to, hypothetically, order drone strikes on Americans on U.S. soil.

    During his daily briefing, Carney read aloud a short letter that went out Thursday afternoon from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who waged a 13-hour filibuster on Wednesday over Obama’s secret use of drones to carry out targeted killings. Throughout the effort, Paul, along with a dozen other Republican senators, demanded to know whether Obama believed he had the right to order drone strikes on U.S. citizens on U.S soil.

    Carney said the answer is no.

    “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?,'” Carney read aloud. “The answer to that question is no.”

  62. Re: Gary T

    I’ll take your word for it that Rand Paul supports 90% of the Civil Rights Act except he believes the private business part is unconstitutional but in my view it is constitutional. Any law is interpreted by both the “letter” of the law but also the “spirit” of the law – the spirit of the law is sometimes more important as to what the letter really means (since written law always has loopholes that can be exploited). The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land under the Supremacy Clause [Article Six] that also has both the “letter” and “spirit”. When the “letter” of the Constitution is interpreted using the Preamble or as a whole there is an honest argument about that section of the voting rights act. African-Americans that traveled by car across country could ‘t stop at a restaurant, hotel or restroom, etc. If they used the restroom or slept in their cars there were also laws to arrest them for doing that. I there were facilities many times the plumbing didn’t work, etc. Not saying your totally wrong but I see it as constitutional and a necessary protection. Today there are heterosexual (straight) kids that are kicked out of some private schools (receiving federal dollars) because their parents are gay – essentially punishing the kids because of their parents. Seems constitutional to me.

  63. It’s time to look at the whole rotten mess. We need Congressional hearings.

    January 21, 2013

    Time to Target the Real Terrorists
    The Return of COINTELPRO?

    by TOM MCNAMARA

    “Democracies die behind closed doors” – Judge Damon J. Keith

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/21/the-return-of-cointelpro/

    Excerpts:

    For 15 years (1956-1971) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a broad and highly coordinated domestic intelligence / counterintelligence program known as COINTELPRO (COunter INTELligence PROgrams). What was originally deemed as a justifiable effort to protect the US during the Cold War from Soviet and Communist threats and infiltration, soon devolved into a program for suppressing domestic dissent and spying on American citizens. Approximately 20,000 people were investigated by the FBI based only on their political views and beliefs. Most were never suspected of having committed any crime.

    The reasoning behind the program, as detailed in a 1976 Senate report, was that the FBI had “the duty to do whatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the existing social and political order.” The fact that the “perceived threats” were usually American citizens engaging in constitutionally protected behaviour was apparently overlooked. The stated goal of COINTELPRO was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” any individual or group deemed to be subversive or a threat to the established power structure.

    The FBI’s techniques were often extreme, with the agency being complicit in the murder and assassination of political dissidents, or having people sent away to prison for life. Some of the more “moderate” actions that were used were blackmail, spreading false rumors, intimidation and harassment. It has been argued that the US is unique in that it is the only Western industrialized democracy to have engaged in such a wide spread and well organized domestic surveillance program. It finally came to an end in 1971 when it was threatened with public exposure.

    Or did it?

    In a stunning revelation from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), it appears that COINTELPRO is alive and well. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, PCJF was able to obtain documents showing how the FBI was treating the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, from its inception, as a potential criminal and domestic terrorist threat. This despite the FBI’s own acknowledgement that the OWS organizers themselves planned on engaging in peaceful and popular protest and did not “condone the use of violence.”

    The documents, while heavily redacted, give a clear picture of how the FBI was using its offices and agents across the country as early as August 2011 to engage in a massive surveillance scheme against OWS. This was almost a month before any actual protests took place or encampments were set up (the most famous being the one in New York City’s Zuccotti Park).

    The FBI’s documents show a government agency at its most paranoid. It considered all planned protests, and the individuals involved, as potential threats. Most disturbing of all, there is talk (p. 61) of the government being ready to “engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary” and perhaps needing to formulate a plan “to kill the leadership [of the protest groups] via suppressed sniper rifles.”

    Furthermore, the documents reveal a close and intricate partnership between the federal government on one side and banks and private businesses on the other.

    The FBI’s stated mission regarding America’s security is to “develop a comprehensive understanding of the threats and penetrate national and transnational networks that have a desire and capability to harm us.”

    The American people would be far better served by their government if, instead of wasting millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours harassing peaceful protesters, it spent a fraction of that time and money investigating, and bringing to justice, the people responsible for the engineered destruction of the American economy, and by extension, American society.

    You know. The real terrorists.

  64. Teji,

    The entire contents of the short letter you reference is:

    ““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.”

    This does not rule out using other methods for executing citizens without charge or trial and that is the heart of the (illegally) claimed Executive power. Dead by drone, dead by SWAT Team or SpecOps is still dead. The tools to accomplish that are secondary to that fundamental usurpation of both habeas corpus and our other rights under the Bill of Rights as well as the usurpation of the powers of the judiciary in violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine. The entire rationale of the Separation of Powers is so that no one man can be judge, jury and executioner by keeping the powers of government diluted by having the three branches serve as checks and balances on the powers of each other.

    In short, Holder’s answer is still insufficient guarantee that the rights of citizens to due process won’t be violated based on Imperial Presidential fiat, only a weak assurance that drones won’t be used.

  65. SWM, I said the same about Holder a day or two ago. However, he serves his purpose w/ this administration as he did w/ the Clinton Administration..”How high should I jump Mr. President?” Or, I should say, “How low can I go?”

  66. As I mentioned on the prior thread, I am no fan of Rand Paul but I do believe his was a principled stand. What is most insidious about this opinion letter from Holder is the almost cavalier approach to constitutional law. It goes like this: “You ask if killing Americans on American soil without benefit of due process is possible? I say it’s not our policy but I can’t rule it out. Surely there must be some scenario where it would be possible. I’ll let the President know when I see it if I’m asked. Maybe 9/11 or Pearl Harbor might qualify” Really?

    Rather than taking the approach that no situation short of civil war could justify such an attack, Holder is looking for loopholes. That may be good lawyering to keep your options open but when those options come at the expense of the lives of the American people you’d think his politics meter would go off blaring red alerts all over the place. Holder is a public official charged with doing everything he can to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” not Barack Obama.

    It seems a refresher course in civics might be in order.

  67. Teji,

    And? Just because the GOP pointed to the problem as framed by the use of drones that does not change the underlying and legitimate Constitutional issue: can the President/Executive Branch unilaterally kill citizens without due process? According to the Constitution, the answer is plainly no regardless of the method used. I’m not a partisan. I loathe both major parties equally. However, as a legal matter, this issue has meat on the bone irrespective of how it is brought up and by whom. Just because the GOP is as responsible for the expanding unitary Executive as the DNC is does not invalidate their criticism or the very real Constitutional underpinnings of the issue.

  68. Gene,
    Give yourself one more chance to read my first post again. I never said anything that you have implied.:-)

  69. Teji,

    Re-read my responses. I never claimed you said anything. I’m simply addressing the topic directly: namely that the issue is more critical than partisanship as it is Constitutionally substantive and that Holder’s letter is woefully insufficient and sidesteps the actual issue in favor of addressing tool choice.

  70. America is shamed that only Rand Paul is talking about drone executions

    Where are the civil libertarians in the president’s party that we must rely on a Tea Party Republican to champion this issue?

    by Amy Goodman
    Thursday 7 March 2013 09.52 EST

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/07/america-shamed-rand-paul-drone-executions

    Excerpt:

    As Senator Paul filibustered, Will Fitzgibbon wrote from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London:

    “Last month, we launched a new drones project: Naming the Dead. The aim of this project is to identify as many of the more than 2,500 victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan as possible. Given we currently do not know the identities of 80% of those killed, we believe this is a crucial and missing step to having a more transparent drones debate …

    “With all the attention being recently paid to American citizens killed by drones and with the drone debate growing, we thought it would be a good time to remind ourselves of the individual human stories of drone victims. Those we know about and those we don’t.”

    Barack Obama and John Brennan direct the drone strikes that are killing thousands of civilians. It doesn’t make us safer. It makes whole populations, from Yemen to Pakistan, hate us. Senator Paul’s outrage with the president’s claimed right to kill US citizens is entirely appropriate. That there is not more outrage at the thousands killed around the globe is shameful … and dangerous.

    • Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column

  71. “This does not rule out using other methods for executing citizens without charge or trial and that is the heart of the (illegally) claimed Executive power. Dead by drone, dead by SWAT Team or SpecOps is still dead. The tools to accomplish that are secondary to that fundamental usurpation of both habeas corpus and our other rights under the Bill of Rights as well as the usurpation of the powers of the judiciary in violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine. The entire rationale of the Separation of Powers is so that no one man can be judge, jury and executioner by keeping the powers of government diluted by having the three branches serve as checks and balances on the powers of each other.

    In short, Holder’s answer is still insufficient guarantee that the rights of citizens to due process won’t be violated based on Imperial Presidential fiat, only a weak assurance that drones won’t be used.”

    Gene,

    Of course I agree, it’s just that your comment bears repeating again and again and…………………………………………..!

  72. “Rather than taking the approach that no situation short of civil war could justify such an attack, Holder is looking for loopholes.”

    Mark,

    Didn’t John Choon Yoo play that role for GW Bush?

  73. Words of wisdom from the movie “Airplane!”

    Jack Kirkpatrick: “Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em crash.”

    Tough to care these days.

  74. The President is still the one who has the authority to declare who is and who isn’t a combatant, under AUMF or the Patriot Act, so Holder hasn’t changed anything.

  75. Mike Spindell 1, March 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm wrote:

    “This does not rule out using other methods for executing citizens without charge or trial and that is the heart of the (illegally) claimed Executive power. Dead by drone, dead by SWAT Team or SpecOps is still dead. The tools to accomplish that are secondary to that fundamental usurpation of both habeas corpus and our other rights under the Bill of Rights as well as the usurpation of the powers of the judiciary in violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine. The entire rationale of the Separation of Powers is so that no one man can be judge, jury and executioner by keeping the powers of government diluted by having the three branches serve as checks and balances on the powers of each other. (-Gene H.)

    In short, Holder’s answer is still insufficient guarantee that the rights of citizens to due process won’t be violated based on Imperial Presidential fiat, only a weak assurance that drones won’t be used.” (-Gene H.)

    Gene,

    Of course I agree, it’s just that your comment bears repeating again and again and…………………………………………..!

    ——-

    I’m in agreement, as well, and will repeat it, per your excellent suggestion, Mike S.

  76. “Rand Paul Filibuster Leaves Senate Democrats Struggling To Explain Absence ”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/rand-paul-filibuster-democrats_n_2830850.html

    Excerpt:

    “Wyden, the lone joiner, said that he could only speak for himself when asked why more Democrats didn’t join. “I thought it was an opportunity to demonstrate that on some of these key issues with respect to balance between liberty and security, there are progressives and conservatives that can find some common ground,” he told reporters.

    “I think you’re going to start seeing the emergence of what I sometimes call around here a checks-and-balances caucus, and there’ll be a lot of Democrats in it,” Wyden added.”

  77. ** Bron 1, March 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    “Yet, the Democrats worked to stop not the kill list policy but Paul’s filibuster.”

    What a position to be put into, the dems are now the party of death.

    2014 RNC mid-term campaign-Vote for us, we wont kill you.

    This is the beginning of the end of the Obama Administration as a viable political force and of republicans like McCain and Graham.

    **

    Bron,

    I’m not sure why much of the Dem/Rep leadership have decided to destroy their political careers & reputations with the gun grabbing/murder of peaceful citizens by drones & other American Hating type crap, but they have.

    They’re done now, almost anyway.

    I’ve now a pretty large list of those I’ve lost all/most respect/support for.

    Obama, McCain, Graham, Leahy, Liven, Feinsteinium, etc..

    And I’m disappointed with the other Idiots like Micheal Moore, Jon Stewart, etc. & even great actors like Justin Hoffman.

    I find it easiest to always side with the Founding Dudes 1st in any debate, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin, etc….

    Yes, we are still attempting to correct their few amount of errors like Slavery, it’s went from actual slavery to now a Debt Slavery/ Usury type slavery.

    As an over all body of work 220+ years ago & we still have no one that comes close to besting it.

    Nothing more then some monkeys like Reagan, Clinton, the Bush family, Obama, Wallst Bank/Insur trash etc.,, throwing poo at it every day is the best they can muster.

    And NY gov Como can kiss a run for Prez goodbye!

  78. Just to make a point of how Phk’d up this country’s leaders are glance at the headlines from the story below.

    60000, US citizens,murdered, god knows how many injured, by big pharma & no one has went to prison!

    As I understand this case the company know it was a deadly drug from their own research & withheld that info from everyone!

    Many in our govt/Wallst treat us, not as the rightful Stakeholder Owners of this country as we are, but instead as cattle for slaughter.

    ** by Joseph Mercola – in 497 Google+ circles – More by Joseph Mercola
    May 14, 2012 – Yet that’s the plea agreement Merck recently made with a federal court in Boston on … It’s tragic that Vioxx was removed only AFTER 60,000 people died. … Particularly galling is the fact that these deaths could have been so easily … No, rather than curing actual disease, these drugs tend to be focused on … **

  79. Holder’s letter is a load of crap. Anyone who wants to find the specific crap can read some of Gene’s columns on propaganda which are excellent guides to uncovering the crap couched in patriotic nonsense words.

    Paul is a young man with no seniority in the Senate but any republican, democrat, or independent who wants to help him carry this banner has my support. I have written my Senator suggesting same.

    As to McCain, I have one word … retire. Okay, two words ,,, retire now.

    Lord help me, I’m getting my hopes up again.

  80. As expected:

    John Brennan Confirmed By Senate To Lead CIA After Questions On Drones, Torture

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/john-brennan-confirmed-by_n_2831473.html?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl1|sec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D280679

    WASHINGTON — The Senate voted to confirm John Brennan as head of the Central Intelligence Agency Thursday, looking past contentious issues of American drone killings and the blind eye Brennan once turned to torture.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) dramatically elevated the profile of the nomination Wednesday, blocking it until he got an answer to the question of whether or not the White House would authorize a drone strike against an American citizen within the United States.

    Still, Brennan passed relatively easily on a bipartisan vote of 63 to 34.

  81. http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/03/07/mccain-graham-say-pauls-filibuster-unnecessarily-created-fear/
    Graham Now Supports Brennan Nomination After Previously Planning To Vote Against Him – says cause of the filibuster and, really surprised to hear him say (admit to) this:
    To my Republican colleagues, I don’t remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone,” Graham said in remarks on the Senate floor.

  82. Holder’s answer is BS. Does the President have the express right to kill non-combatants on foreign soil just cause he wants to or in conjunction with targeted drone strikes? There have been hundreds of non-combatants killed with drone strikes and they’re called ‘regrettable’ or ‘collateral damage’ or ‘poor intel’ or ‘oops’. Has anyone gone to jail or been impeached because of it? Or even fired since contractors do some of the targeting work? Does anyone actually think that Holder’s letter would prevent or punish such an occurrence if this authority is invoked domestically? If so, I’ve got a bridge for sale….

  83. “Why didn’t Holder point to McVeigh? Too many other questions need to be answered w/ that one, like FBI and fertilizer swaps missed, and such …” — Max-1

    Regarding the White Christian Terrorist, Timothy McVeigh and fertilizer bombs:

    I once had the good fortune to take some graduate classes in Buddhism and Sanskrit from a professor who formerly served Sri Lanka as its Minister of Education and, later, as its Ambassador to France and the United States. In one of our many out-of-class conversations, he told me of the time when the lady U. S. Trade Representative called him up to complain about his country’s embargo of fertilizer from the United States. The Ambassador reminded her that Sri Lanka had an ongoing Tamil insurgency to deal with and that, according to Sri Lankan scientists, petroleum-based fertilizer could form the basis for making terrorist explosives. Hence the embargo on importing such dangerous materials. The lady Trade Rep indignantly replied: “Well, if you had real scientists like we do in the United States, you wouldn’t believe such nonsense.” Sure enough, a few weeks later, Timothy McVeigh brought down the Federal Building in Oklahoma City by detonating a truck bomb made from petroleum-based fertilizer. The Ambassador subsequently called the lady Trade Rep and said to her — not without a healthy dose of well-deserved schadenfreude — “What do you think of our scientists now?”

    Just a few thoughts relative to your comment, Max-1

    America the exceptionally arrogant. I think that about covers it.

  84. Dear Attorney General Holder:

    I am planning a civilian target party outside your building on April 3rd, I am asking citizens who think you and El Presidente have overstepped your power to come dressed as bullseyes. Red and white preferably since it will be spring and black just wont do. One must keep up appearences even when one is targeted.

    Remember to keep it in the 10 ring.

  85. Elaine,

    That’s an excellent question…. People defending this action should think about all of the peripheral and collateral consequences….. Are we the teacher or are we the student….. There is a very strong military presence in attitude and belief in what’s good for us….

  86. OK, it’s ridiculous. Of course it’s not “constitutional” to kill people without “due process” and of course the government lies about whatever it wants to do and then does it and covers up the lies and makes it OK retroactively and of course it destroys people who carry on too much about all this and of course we all know about all of that and some of us care and blah blah blah. Whom do we think we elect — make that — whom do we think we “elect” — anyway? Do we “elect” people who will not do what is not permitted, even when they get the power and have a good incentive in their own self-interest? Really? When is the last time one of that sort of person was able to be nominated onto a ticket to BE voted for? [Grammar police can go to Hell; what do I care about rules?]

    And if the American people really need notice of when they can be targeted, well here’s notice: NOW. That’s when. WHY? Because. Any other questions?

    Get real. We do to others and we get done to. If you do more to others faster and worse you can sometimes manage to get done to less. That’s all there is and that’s all there’s ever gonna be. Let the blah blah mouths tell you otherwise and if you like to bow down and kiss earth, go ahead and believe any crap they peddle to you, you deserve it.

  87. Bron,

    I’ve said in the past that some of your ideas are absolutely horrible.

    That “bullseye protest” idea isn’t one of them.

    I only hope you weren’t joking about organizing it.

    That’d be, in the words of that famous backwoods philosopher J.D. “Jed” Clampett, both “a real show stopper” and a “real crowd pleaser”.

  88. “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

  89. Mespo, Now there is that boilerplate cross question! Wasn’t he under oath the first response?

  90. Holder was giving his legal theory on what other Federal agencies can do but what DOJ does and doesn’t do doesn’t comply with the law. For instance, DOJ publicly states on its website

    “OPR’s jurisdiction is limited to reviewing allegations of misconduct made against Department of Justice attorneys and law enforcement personnel that relate to the attorneys’ exercise of authority to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice. The OIG is required to notify OPR of the existence and results of any OIG investigation that reflects upon the professional ethics, competence or integrity of a Department attorney. In such cases, OPR will take appropriate action.”
    http://www.justice.gov/opr/

    However, I complained to OPR that DOJ attorney David C. Rybicki violated his duty of candor towards the tribunal by misrepresenting DOJ’s Federal Register publications when defending my Privacy Act lawsuit and they emailed to me “it is the longstanding policy of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to decline to investigate litigation claims that have been raised, could have been raised, or still may be raised in litigation.” That’s not in the Code of Federal Regulations defining what OPR is supposed to do see 28 CFR 00.39a. I filed a FOIA request for records of such a policy but DOJ emailed to me in January that the Christmas break made it too busy to find records of such a policy.

    Are you familiar with the law of Fraudodynamics by Barry Minkow? basically the longer a fraud goes on the harder it is to maintain. That’s the position that DOJ and Holder are in now because DOJ has not been transparent and engaged in illegal acts. One of those illegal acts was detaining me without a criminal charge and sending a fax that I was wanted for a federal felony. That was 18 USC section 242, a felony, but DOJ chose to allow its employees to commit these felonies. It’s not like they didn’t know.

  91. Gene H:

    it would be kind of fun. how do you do something like that? Maybe Blouise would offer advice?

    Is there a website?

    A non-partisan event, no Jesus, no economics just targets. No signs, a bullseye on your front, back or head would speak loudely enough. Can you fly drones in DC? We could make cut-outs of hellfire missiles and attach them to the drones and chase people around. Maybe even send one into Holders office with one of the paper cut-outs?

    What do you think?

    April 3rd would be a good day, its hump day.

  92. Bron,

    Blouise would indeed be the one to ask on that topic. She’s got experience with the short time frame political organization. I think it’s a great idea, especially making it a “non-ideological” event in support of basic Constitutional rights. You might even be able to tap into dissatisfied partisans in the GOP, DNC, Green, Libertarian and Constitution parties to participate across party lines and use some of their organization to pull participants together. I probably won’t be able to make it to DC due to OTG considerations here (that you are well aware of) but I’d be willing to help in other ways if you seriously want to take a run at it.

  93. This link is 12 minutes of Sen. McCain talking this am.on the Senate floor.
    John McCain has become the “kindly and calcitrant” grandpappy of Big Brother. I honestly think John wants to be the pope of the senate. He is infallible and so are those that agree with him. (especially Lindsay)
    John McCain only wants what is best for America,…and he wants America to trust him,…. don’t question him just trust him. What could go wrong?

  94. I get a lot of gas for barkin too much- especially from FartinDog. But there is nothing wrong with holding the floor when ya got something to say. Rand Paul is a good floor holder. I listened to some of it on tv. I am not a RepubliCon but I would hazard that he beats Rubio, Cruz, Gov Perry, fatguy from Jersey and the rest of the Presidential wannabees.

  95. The Bush/Cheney administration regarded the rule of law as an anachronistic notion unsuited to modern realities. So they insisted in their fear-driven mania that barbarism in the defense of liberty is a civic duty and that the morality of a nation’s actions can only be judged in comparison to the perceived morality of its enemies. Domestic and treaty law governing conduct toward prisoners and civilians alike became, with the corrupt assistance of cynical government lawyers, matters of no consequence to the executive branch, to whom Congress had gratefully ceded its war making authority to avoid having to make decisions for which its members might some day be held accountable. Then torture and rendition and indefinite detention quickly came to be seen as justifiable and even honorable practices, cloaked in the protective myth of American exceptionalism.

    The election of Pres. Obama did not bring about the promised restoration of the rule of law, however. Instead, he grasped all of the authority surrendered by a pliant legislative branch and approved by an authoritarian Supreme Court and assured us that those powers are not dangerous in the hands of a responsible person like himself. And liberals, possessed of the same tendency toward self-delusion as their conservative political foes, breathed more easily.

    In the space of a mere decade a single act of terrorism has led the most powerful nation in the world to dismantle the only bulwark against tyranny in a democracy, the constitutional separation of powers. We have told the President that he may do anything he deems necessary, as long as he protects us from the Muslim hordes and sharia law, and the President has said, “Trust me.”

    Now, against this background, a grandstanding senator has taken the floor in a toothless rant against drones, followed immediately by a vote confirming the appointment of a torture enabler to run the most dangerous agency of government. I trust that you’ll forgive me for not being impressed.

  96. Mike A.,

    While I think someone needed to step up and challenge the unitary Executive, as your last paragraph points to the proof is in the eating of the pudding.

    Well said.

  97. Hi, Gene. I guess I would be a bit more moved if filibusters gave way to legislative proposals designed to restore some semblance of balance.

  98. Mike A.,

    Yep. I rather liked raff’s straight forward suggestion of revoking and/or modifying the AUMF (and repealing the Patriot Act). Baby steps, but I’d really be thrilled if Congress stepped up to the plate and reigned in the Executive starting with the AUMF.

  99. Mike Appleton,
    Thank you. You are correct.
    And Holder’s latest reply has zero legal standing.
    Nothing has changed.

  100. Ecce homo!!!

    Where are Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, and the gentleman from Vermont???

    Vanity of all vanity!

  101. I definitely agree with you and rafflaw on that. But I fear that Congress is quite comfortable leaving it all in the President’s hands.

  102. Rand Paul got his answer, eh? What does the “not engaged in combat” mean” What is and is not “combat?” What is and is not “engaged in?” And even if drones won’t be used in such manner, is this a universal ban on murdering citizens within the US, or only an exception to the general rule authorizing such killings?

  103. Elaine M.
    1, March 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm
    If citizens can be “indefinitely detained,” how will we know what has happened to them?

    = = = =

    As long as we can keep erasing the video tapes, who’ll know anything happened to them?

  104. Tony Smith,

    Not to burst your bubble but you are completely wrong, the only reason a U.S. Citizen would fight on their own grounds is out of protection for themselves and their people. I’m sure you would feel pretty bad if you knew what most of us know. I will not make this long because I fear for my own safety. He supposedly has authority to take out anyone he wants and I know for a fact that he will. He does not care about us at all, actually it is the quite opposite for Barry Soetoro(Barrack Hussein Obama). He is not a U.S. citizen , and should not be president to begin with. By the way he is a Muslim and Hates America/Americans. So research a little before you type.

    By the way, Obama has already killed a 16 year old U.S. Citizen. This is despicable, and I don’t even feel like posting this because for you idiots I’m putting my own life on the line.

  105. We need a new prez, It certainly appears that Rand Paul’s filibuster has all the birthers, preppers, freepers, creepers, etc. all riled up. I would hope that this is an unintentional result of the filibuster.

  106. Mile A.,

    You have spoken many good things…. Again, sir, you have out done yourself…. I am in total agreement…..

  107. Bron, lol, I was addressing the birther. We just elected one with 51% The people that didn’t vote for him would like to overturn the election. Why do you guys want Biden? It will be 4 years before you can vote for Rand Paul.

  108. Prof Turley, you are correct. There is a “cult of personality” around Pres. Obama, particularly in the news media, within which he can do no wrong. It is a shame that so many Democrat lawmakers have joined this “cult” in not questioning the President’s decisions. I get terribly frustrated with the so-called “Progressives” and their selective enforcement of the nation’s laws as well as an odd view of what constitutes civil rights. It seems many are blinded by ideology in the same way as old-line Communists were. For an inside look at the latter, I recommend an old (1950) book by Wolfgang Leonhardt, “Child of the Revolution.” Leonhardt never renounced Marxism, but quit East Germany for Tito’s Yugoslavia when the scales finally fell from his eyes.

  109. Thank you Prof. Turley. I quote you often in my own blog. I feel that I’m in good company when you print honest and courageous articles such as this.

  110. Rand Paul is about Rand Paul. This is more about garnering attention for himself, and less about raising questions that need answering.

    Anyone following Paul’s actions the last few years is not going to take anything he does seriously. After all, he was one of the people behind the “EPA is using drones against farmers!” hysteria. And he’s not particularly good at correcting what he says when errors are pointed out, either.

    Consider the question he’s asking: will the government initiate a droned attack against a citizen on US soil. Why not ask if SWAT members will shoot a citizen on US soil? Or if a FBI sniper won’t shoot a citizen on US soil?

    These are nothing more than means of delivering a fatal attack against an individual or group of individuals. The use of drones is little different than using a long-distance shooter: it’s a way of removing a threat without harm to the police/FBI/government agent. Yet I don’t see anyone up in arms about SWAT or FBI sharpshooters.

    The targeted drone strikes are used in other countries because we don’t easily have access to the individuals, or having direct access could endanger military members. Agree or not, this is the reasoning behind targeted drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere.

    The same issues and challenges do not apply in this country. In this country, police and other government agents are able to act without worrying about whether the citizens will rise up against them, or if they have permission from the ruling class. The police are typically a mile or two away—not thousands.

    Still, if we are invaded by a foreign power (ala Pearl Harbor) or terrorists are attacking buildings (ala 9/11), I would hope the government uses any and all means to fight the attack—the same as they do now, with SWAT and snipers. If they do so, I would hope there is no harm to innocents, but that can’t always be guaranteed. After all, citizens have been accidentally shot by regular police using regular guns, as happened last year in front of the Empire State Building.

    And bluntly, where’s our common sense? Does it make sense to you that the government would use a drone to target a person calmly drinking coffee at a cafe?

    This makes as much sense as the FBI sending a sniper out to shoot the person, or SWAT coming in and blasting away.

  111. Thanks for restoring sanity to this topic. While I can see some problems with drones overseas, and Prof Turley is right in worrying about an overuse of this policy, in the main, we have to go on the good sense of the POTUS and the military on this one. That is not a happy situation for many lawyers, but it is the best we can do.

  112. “Trust us! Never mind that it’s prime facie unconstitutional!”

    I didn’t buy it when Bush or Obama said it either.

  113. The cover-up of the Bush-era lawbreaking has to stop. -NY Times

    Editorial

    Mr. Brennan’s Excuse

    Published: March 7, 2013

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/opinion/john-brennans-excuse-on-torture-report.html?hp

    John Brennan, the newly confirmed chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been at the agency for most of 25 years. He had two counterterrorism jobs during the administration of George W. Bush. In one, he compiled intelligence reports from 20 agencies (including the C.I.A.) for Mr. Bush’s morning briefing. He was President Obama’s national security adviser in his first term and an architect of the Obama administration’s targeted killings policy.

    Yet, at his Senate confirmation hearing in February, he appeared to be one of the few people (apart from maybe Dick Cheney and some other die-hard right-wingers) who thinks there is some doubt still about whether the Bush administration tortured prisoners, hid its actions from Congress and misled everyone about whether coerced testimony provided valuable intelligence.

    Mr. Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he was surprised by the findings of a 6,000-page Senate report on detention and interrogation. Scott Shane reported in The Times on Thursday that the report concludes that the interrogation of Al Qaeda detainees involving torture and abuse “was ill-conceived, sloppily managed and far less useful in obtaining intelligence than its supporters have claimed.”

    Mr. Brennan’s response, after having one of the top C.I.A. jobs during the period when the torture agenda was at its apex (when Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding 183 times), was: “I don’t know what the facts are or what the truth is. So I really need to look at that carefully and see what C.I.A.’s response is.”

    In the past, Mr. Brennan said he had no role in running the torture program and expressed disapproval — in private to people he has not named. As for what went wrong, if “there were systemic failures, where there was mismanagement or inaccurate information,” he said, “I would need to get my arms around that, and that would be one of my highest priorities if I were to go to the agency.”

    It’s a little hard to be reassured because getting to the bottom of the Bush-era lawbreaking, mismanagement and incompetence in the interrogation and detention programs has not been a high priority for President Obama. In fact, it’s been no priority at all. From the day he took office in 2009, the president refused to spend any time looking at the gigantic blunders and abuses of power under his predecessor because he didn’t want a small thing like that to interfere with his other political priorities.

    As a result, many, many of the details of the creation and execution of the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in C.I.A. black sites remain unknown to most members of Congress and to the public. Not only did Mr. Obama refuse to open any investigation, but his administration even gave a pass to the C.I.A. officials who destroyed videotapes of sanctioned torture.

    The Senate’s report may be the last hope for Americans to know the truth about what Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney authorized in the name of protecting our country — decisions that caused enormous damage to its reputation worldwide. But it remains classified, and Mr. Brennan has not said whether he would support releasing a redacted version to the public. That is the only acceptable course. The cover-up of the Bush-era lawbreaking has to stop.

  114. We have only the forms of Democracy. St. Brennan is one of the people actually running the show in USGinc. Obama and minions are functionaries, nothing more. That said, the cult of personality is a disaster. We have no hope of stopping the deep state with Democrats so delusional about Obama.

    If you want to get to the deep state actors you have to be able to be honest with yourself and others about what is happening. That is, elected officials are breaking the law and engaged in massive wrongdoing. A united citizenry, calling for justice might get somewhere in stopping this.

    To keep ignoring or excusing “your” side is both dishonorable and cowardly. The lives of so many depend on citizens who are able to speak truthfully on behalf of justice. The following is by Amy Goodman:

    “America is shamed that only Rand Paul is talking about drone executions
    Where are the civil libertarians in the president’s party that we must rely on a Tea Party Republican to champion this issue?”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/on-us-democracy

  115. Oh the gnashing of teeth over waterboarding by the Democrats. Now they defend the destruction of the Bill of Rights. When did this happen?

  116. Frances,

    So long as its there guy some are ok with it and turn a blind eye to the arrogance within…. It appears that in reality Obama is just furthering and extensively enhancing the illegal procedures commenced by Bush….

  117. Yep. I rather liked raff’s straight forward suggestion of revoking and/or modifying the AUMF (and repealing the Patriot Act). Baby steps, but I’d really be thrilled if Congress stepped up to the plate and reigned in the Executive starting with the AUMF. -Gene H.

    Law-abiding Americans are being targeted for harassment, and much worse, on U.S. soil without due process of law. I agree with rafflaw and others who point to the need to look at the AUMF and Patriot Act, in an attempt to try to get to the bottom of what’s taking place in communities all across this county.

    http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/aclu-launches-nationwide-investigation-police-use-military-technology-tactics

    http://www.aclu.org/militarization

    “American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war. Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters – and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend. It’s time to understand the true scope of the militarization of policing in America and the impact it is having in our neighborhoods. On March 6th, ACLU affiliates in 23 states filed over 255 public records requests with law enforcement agencies and National Guard offices to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments. Stay tuned as this project develops.

    Consider …. ten chilling stories. If the anecdotal evidence is any indication, use of military machinery such as tanks and grenades, as well as counter-terrorism tactics, encourage overly aggressive policing – too often with devastating consequences:” refer to above link

  118. I agree totally that the Obama administration has gutted our rights. One question is why? Doesn’t the U.S. has more enemies now than it did in 2007 and has lost its image as leader of the free world. Even if more Americans had lost their lives to terrorist attacks it would have been better than losing our rights. The number of people who died in the World Trade Center attacks were a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people who died to secure the rights that we have now lost because of Obama’s policies. I say this as a long standing Democrat.

  119. @Houston Tax Lawyer:

    “Why doesn’t Senator Paul introduce legislation to prohibit that which offends him and raise the issue in a proper context rather than gumming up the works on something that is a distinct issue — ”

    Because Harry Reid is the Senate Leader who chooses which legislation gets to be debated. He has shut out nearly all opportunities for Senators to offer amendments through unprecedented abuse of a process called “filling the tree” and then he goes on TV and tells everyone how obstructionist the Republicans are. That maybe so, but he’s lying to voters faces and treating the public we are all are stupid.

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

    Another issue is that Paul isn’t in one of the committees responsible for oversight, so he’s also putting pressure on the senators or house members who have abdicated their responsibilities or have become door-keeping sycophants like DiFi.

  120. Barkingdog said:

    “Lincoln was dealing with treason. But not after the fact treason actors who were locked up.”

    Lincoln COMMITTED Treason!

    Section 3 article 3 of the Constitution states:

    “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

  121. Paul asked whether “the President has the power to use lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”

    Holder responded first that the U.S. has not conducted drone strikes in the U.S. and has no intention of doing so and, further, the President rejects the use of military force where law enforcement authorities in the country provide the best means of incapacitating a terrorist threat. He next noted that Paul’s question thus is “entirely hypothetical [and] unlikely to occur” and responded: “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 [U.S] for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the [U.S.]”

    Duh! The Civil War is a case in point.

    Yet Paul grandstands, during which he concedes Holder’s point and suggests that is not the question he had in mind: “Nobody questions if planes are flying towards the Twin Towers whether they can be repulsed by the military. Nobody questions whether a terrorist with a rocket launcher or a grenade launcher is attacking us, whether they can be repelled.”

    Holder then responded: “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.”

    Again, duh! And, so it seems, Paul and Holder agree–on both his general and specific questions.

    Yet Paul grandstands–to what end, other than grandstanding for his own political sake, is not clear. In that, given the tenor of this post and some of the comments, he appears to have been quite successful. Bully show!

  122. Report: Club For Growth Eyes Rand Paul For 20

    Sahil Kapur 9:39 AM EDT, Monday March 11, 2013

    Conservative writer John Fund reports in National Review that the well funded right-wing group Club For Growth is eying Rand Paul for a presidential run in 2016.

    But at the annual Club for Growth meeting here in Palm Beach, it wasn’t kids in the audience who greeted Paul as a hero, giving him a standing ovation both before and after his talk last Friday. …

    Some Club members are already in Paul’s corner for 2016. “He has broadened his appeal to include three issues that 75 percent of the American people agree with,” says George Yeager, an investment counselor from New York. “He wants a balanced-budget amendment, term limits, and a questioning of mindless nation-building overseas.”

    Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator who is now president of the Heritage Foundation, told Club members that he “couldn’t think of a more dramatic contrast between some senators having dinner with President Obama on the same night last week that Rand Paul and his allies were making their courageous stand.”

  123. Last Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul launched an epic 13-hour filibuster to hold up the confirmation of Obama’s CIA director nominee, John Brennan. The reason for the filibuster was to protest the administration’s apparent belief that the President can authorize lethal force against U.S citizens on U.S. soil without due process. Rand attacked this notion on Constitutional grounds.
    According to Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, “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.”
    Rand did not stop with the single issue of the drone strikes. He underpinned his filibuster with a pro-freedom worldview. At one point, he even called for a re-evaluation of the modern statist consensus against the 1905 Lochner vs. New York Supreme Court case. In that case, the Court overthrew state laws which abrogate private contracts by regulating conditions of employment, such as hours worked or minimum wage. Rand supports the Lochner judgment.
    As his filibuster went on, some of his colleagues were inspired (or felt it politically necessary) to support him. Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, and even Ron Wyden (a Democrat) followed. Senators Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell eventually joined as well.
    The surface result of the filibuster was a flat if terse admission by the Obama administration that the President does not indeed have such authority. The more meaningful result of the filibuster was that it probably served as the concrete historic event around which the realignment of the Republican Party away from the neocons and toward its pro-liberty elements has begun.
    It would be an understatement to say that the filibuster galvanized members of the right and drew qualified but sincere praise and respect from the left. The Twittersphere exploded with a #StandWithRand hashtag. The spontaneous outpouring of support for Rand across virtually the entire range of the right-wing blogosphere and editorial sites was enormous. All the major conservative talk radio hosts, magazines, and pundits gushed with enthusiasm over Rand’s principled stand. Conservatives were thrilled that for the first time since the election, the GOP delivered a serious blow to the credibility of the President.
    “Paul offered those [young] voters something with his filibuster this week, and made the president look like the grumpy old man. The look on Sen. Dick Durbin’s face at the end of Paul’s oration said it all. Democrats, who pride themselves on being the party of civil liberties, had been embarrassed on the subject by the GOP,” remarks Fox News contributor Chris Stirewalt.
    Everyone from Obama loyalists to the Tea Party Patriots rallied around Rand for what he did. It was almost unanimous. Almost.
    Normally, neocons do not bother to acknowledge or address the small victories by the pro-freedom factions. After the filibuster, they were unhinged. The public spectacles started with attacks on Rand by neocon-aligned politicians Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Under the pretext that the basic circumstances described by Rand were unrealistic and distracted attention away from serious concrete policy issues, they made a series of blundering denunciations. HotAir.com had the best rundown of these spectacles.

    In what blogger Allahpundit called “one of the more memorably tone-deaf performances in modern political history,” McCain started the attacks by quoting from a disapproving, neocon-influenced Wall Street Journal: “If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”
    Graham piggybacked him by saying that Rand’s concern was “ridiculous” and that it was “paranoia between libertarians and the hard left that is unjustified.”
    McCain continued the insults by telling the Huffington Post around that time that “it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.”
    To buttress their case, the duo also leveled accusations of hypocrisy. On the floor after the filibuster, Graham balked, “I don’t remember you [Republicans] coming down here saying President Bush was going to kill anyone with a drone.” “I do not believe that [Paul’s question] is a question that deserves an answer.”
    McCain groused to leftist TV commentator Piers Morgan that he used to be called a maverick, but now he is suddenly “an angry old man.” (McCain was called a maverick by the left-leaning press, not the right).
    What makes these events even more dramatic is that while Rand was foregoing bathroom breaks and meals to propound the cause of liberty for 13 hours, McCain, Graham, and their establishment colleagues were at a cordial dinner with President Obama. This was widely noticed. This editorial comment by the NY Post was typical of the response: “Paul and his ilk have their finger on the pulse of the party’s future, while McCain & Co. have a precipitous grip on its pacemaker.”
    Stirewalt ended his column by saying, “It was stunningly bad politics. McCain and Graham may pride themselves on being tough-minded realists when it comes to the war on militant Islamists, but to sneer at “libertarian kids” and mock Paul after his principled stand won’t get them anywhere in their goals of keeping the U.S. on a war footing…A Republican captivated the country by doing something other than losing a fight with Obama, and McCain and Graham tried to undo it.”
    McCain and Graham are not ideological innovators. Neocon intellectuals produce the ideas that they then accept second-hand. As predicted, the leader of the neocons was not pleased.
    He called Rand’s filibuster “pseudo-constitutionalist paranoia,” attributed the motive to evasion of more “complicated” issues involved in drone policy, and dismissed the Senator as a flash in the pan. In an interview, he called Rand’s position “kind of crazy,” while also showing superficial respect for his political “entrepreneurial” skills.
    This is typical of neocons. They do not like hard principles acting as limits on what the state can do. Rather, they want politicians to delve pragmatically (“prudently”) into minutiae in a friendly but competitive back-and-forth within the context of a Heraclitean reality. They believe that history unfolds (and should unfold) in incremental developments. The role of wise leaders and their intellectuals is to guide that process.
    If you ask where the rights of the individual fit into this process, the answer is that it doesn’t. There are no individual rights, only the “forms and limits” of the Constitution, but these things are up for interpretation by the wise.
    Rand’s diverting some attention away from the complications of drone policy is hardly a reason to come undone. The real hostility to Rand’s filibuster is philosophical in nature. The neocons loathe absolutist methodology. Rand just made that methodology more popular while making the neocon method look small and petty. Neocons have worked hard to de-principle Republican thinking and fragment their vision into an endless stream of case-by-case positions. Rand just drew a connection between drone strikes on citizens, Constitutional due process, and Lochner.
    On a concrete level, what has the neocons so upset is the very real possibility that their traditional stronghold supporters on the right – mainstream conservatives, Jews, and defense hawks – are irreversibly abandoning them in favor of that opposite worldview. If that happens, neocons will lose their influence and become permanently politically impotent. No longer will they guide the Republican Party and its long-term direction. They will watch all their life’s work rolled back by the pro-freedom hordes who don’t know their place in the natural order—and don’t care to hear it.
    Interestingly, Rush Limbaugh made a rare mention of the neocons in his Friday show. He initially talked about the momentous consequences of the filibuster on the dynamic in Washington: “There is — I can’t tell you because I would be betraying confidences — but I’m telling you the power structure there has been totally turned upside down, in the Senate and in Washington. Even members of the Drive-By Media are talking about how they sense something major has changed here.” He then said that the neocons are “paranoid” that Rand secretly has his father’s foreign policy views and that he is winning over the nation. Neocon Watch believes that that is just a cover argument aimed at the literati. Neocons oppose Rand because they know that they cannot co-opt him. They have already tried.
    Regardless, while the conventional wisdom is that the Rand-neocon struggle will determine the future of Republican foreign policy, the results of the struggle will likely be more fundamental. The open and ecstatic embrace of Rand Paul as a mainstream Republican means that Republicans consider a pro-freedom worldview to be mainstream. The entire Republican platform will be affected, not just the foreign policy. In fact, the effects on foreign policy from this shift will probably not be as pronounced, and here is why.
    The post-modern libertarian position, which is anti-military and America-blaming in nature, is not intellectually or morally tenable. Rand seems to have distanced himself from it substantially (he prioritizes ending foreign aid to Islamist nations over ending aid to Israel, stated that an attack on Israel should be treated as an attack on America, and voted for sanctions on Iran). It now has no influential proponent on the national stage.
    Secondly, the choice of neoconservatism vs. libertarian anti-Americanism is a false dilemma, and conservatives have increasingly rejected the neocon position in recent years as well. There is more and more talk about defending “America’s interests” while repudiating the folly of nation-building. The ultimate winners of this debate are likely to be Objectivists, who reject the altruist-collectivist self-sacrificing demanded by the neocons and the nihilistic self-sacrificing demanded by the libertarians to argue for a robust military capability which strictly serves the defense of American rights.
    While Republicans are sorting out their foreign policy, the dramatic results of this shift will be seen at first in domestic policy as Republicans gravitate toward a more pro-economic freedom agenda. With 2014 off-year elections just around the corner, it only makes sense for them to play to that electoral strength.
    There are already indications that this has occurred. Notably, Paul Ryan was pulled to the right on his new budget proposal by the Tea Party, which has always insisted on balancing the budget in 10 years. (Paul Ryan’s last proposal did not balance the budget until the year 2038).
    Importantly, there is new chatter about alignment within the House GOP, i.e., the leadership is now working with its no-longer-marginal Tea Party elements to produce and vote on legislation. House Speaker John Boehner has also indicated that going forward, he will start respecting the Hastert Rule, which says that a leader will only bring forth a vote on legislation if he has the majority of his own party’s support. This means that if enough Republicans refuse to support a bill, Boehner will no longer circumvent them and align with Democrats to get it passed.
    Keep watching for a continuance of these trends and a shift away from the neocons.

    Neocon Watch

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