Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rand Paul Fillibusters Brennan Nomination Due To Drone Strikes Against Americans

This is cool to see.  It's live now here.  Can our President kill us with no due process?  Do we believe in the Constitution at all?  What precedent do we set for other nations that will follow suit?  He's making them face the questions.  Awesome.  Do we want a king or a President?


Examinator said...

Jon two comments
1. what do you expect from someone with Rand as part of their name? ;-)

Examinator said...

What are your comment on this one ?
any questions about the basis for American exceptionalism ?

Jon said...

Ex, what do you think about the first link? I've heard this kind of reply to Paul and actually I saw him address this kind of thing during his filibuster (if I remember right). He said that he doesn't understand how that situation applies to the kind of strikes Obama does. Obama deliberates, decides who dies, and then has them killed while they have breakfast at a cafe (in the case of Awlaki, I think it was right after his breakfast). If you have a hijacked plane you don't know who has hijacked it, so that's not what we're talking about here. Obama wouldn't have deliberated and decided any of the hijackers would die from a drone strike because he doesn't know who they are prior to their crime.

Everyone agrees that if you need to repel an imminent attack you can use lethal force. Like if the police surround the house of a suspected murderer and he rushes out firing at them they can use lethal force. But can they simply bust down the door and shoot him? No. They have to make an effort to apprehend him peacefully in order to secure a day in court for him and give him a chance to prove his own innocence. He may be innocent after all.

I did enjoy the Chomsky commentary. It is nice to be reminded that this is not something that is unique in American history. It's easy I think to kind of get depressed, thinking things have never been so bad in the past. They have been and they have been successfully resisted, so I guess that gives me some hope that we can turn this back. Yeah, we are exceptional, aren't we. Overturning almost a thousand years of basic rights. Pretty sad.

Examinator said...

Regarding the posts.
A few things come to mind.
Firstly the notion that there can ever be an absolute as I said elsewhere that would require at least a PERFECT knowledge of the future. Never say Never
What holder was reasonably saying was the dilemma that faced Churchill (part American what ever that means) in WW2. During UK's darkest days (before US entered the War and while Grand Daddy Bush was setting up the Dynasty's wealth as a banker for the 3rd Reich ) Bletchly Park ( their big Code breaking centre. Thanks to a genius Homosexual Englishman and inventor of computers) had broken the German Enigma machine ( partially thanks to the Canadians not the US as in the movie) he knew that a major Coventry was about to be bombed. Did he show the Allies hand and mount an obvious defence and lose the larger advantage advantage of winning the war? i.e. saving the greater number. He opted for the latter.

(Note the brackets to also show the US mythology etc the basis for US exceptionalism. US neutrality was problematic. It was US money/ resources that won the war not necessarily US generosity/ skill et al. BTW Bush moved to Texas from the Yankee foundation states to avoid losing him money. His political connections helped too its a tale of political intrigue. Worthy of the TV series 'Dallas' and 'the White House' combined (no angels) ... standard Republican reasoning).

Secondly the notion of the enemy of my enemy is my friend is also problematic too i.e. Starlin and Roosevelt's health were contributing factors to the later cold war.
See also CIA armed and trained Ho Chi Mihn (Vietnam) promising them their support for independence from France. Lets not forget Iran , Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (all of which worked out fine for the Average American , 40% of the national budget in Killing and enforcing our short term interests. And the inevitable economic problems and nationalising paranoia ) and assorted other right wing Coupes that have now crashed and the the replacements are anti US gee I wonder why. The policy is a bit like the ecology of Brazil nut or oak trees … no mater how hard the dependent animals (We) try to store the nuts (arms) etc some inevitably go feral. i.e. we are planting enemies/ problems for the future. 'The Blitz' on London where the Nazi threw everything but the kitchen sink at it but couldn't win …. sooner or later the BFA(Brute Force and Arrogance) fails. Look at Japan and Germany, Kampuchea, The Balkans, the French, Brits, Portugal, Spain all empires fail then look at what follows.

Examinator said...

Thirdly 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating' or 'one swallow doesn't make spring'. Here I agree with Twib radio. In that I think that we need to have a rational national debate about “the whole Bloody Drone campaign” but stand with PAUL? not so …. never The man's record shows that he not plugged into reality. The whole Tea Bag Libertarian thing fundamentally/ fatally flawed, based on a logical impossibility . Again absolutes (political philosophies) don't/can't exist . Mussolini got the trains to run efficiently , Hitler turned a Basket case economy around but at what cost? “THE new deal” did that for the USA but true to form the Capitalists got GREEDY and look at what has happened again Chomsky is better than I at holding up America's “ portrait of Dorian Grey”.

Australia's not perfect but there is still room for real people and families … PS theres a great property up the road that'd suit you and yours perfectly.
No where near the dramas as in the USA. It has been said that Australia's flag if it were to reflect the nation should be a beach towel with crossed fishing poles to signify that they have better things to do that talk seriously in terms of taking up arms against the government.
their negotiating stance normally starts with don' blow a pooper valve and av'abeer or a wyne'.

Jon said...

I guess I'm not sure why you think the Churchill situation applies. What he did was understandable.

But yeah, stand with Paul if what he says is right. Claims don't become false just because Rand Paul said them, right? Like Chomsky says, this is a huge deal. We're overturning almost a millennium of legal rights. We're back to pre-13th century legal ethics. This is pretty big. At times like this you should consider taking a stand even with liberterians. The enemy of my enemy may not be my friend, but he may not be my enemy either. He could be anything.

Examinator said...

We the Americans should have serious conversation under the circumstances by which we allow the Prez to order a strike on home soil.
I'd suggest that it should be that the commander in chief can order a strike if the war cabinet agrees but if he does he needs the later concurrence of the Congress otherwise he's charged with under murder etc.
If I remember correctly the Prez can declare war but must go back to the Congress for confirmation.

Again I don't think Paul was precise enough and wanted an answer he could spin for personal posture. Paul knew in advance that Holder as a lawyer would answer literally to give himself/ administration the room to move.... avoiding being painted into a corner where Paul could say HE pressured the Administration into a embarrassing 'back down'. Paul made his question so outrageously broad as to have a PR perceived couldn't lose.
He knew that the public would make the emotional link that the criteria for strikes abroad would automatically apply on home turf ( see ABLC about the fighter pilots who were prepared to ram the 3rd and 4th liners in 911( Bush had okayed that) because they weren't armed. ) . The truth is how long would Obama stay in office if he hit say The white Supremacist armed camp on “a maybe” ? My guess hours. The congress would revolt etc....
Clearly the criteria would be different (period) . The public/ congress are OK so long at it's over there.... not here. Chomsky rightly raised the point that if it's illegal here why over there it is the nature of the decision making that has set back the law principal of 'assumed innocent until proven.'
The argument with the wackos at Waco.
The public and you are confusing the two separate issues.

No Lawyer worth more than cup full of yesterdays vomit would agree to an absolute without pages of caveats. It's what they do. When you are talking legislative language they are deliberately written with current law interpretations/definitions/precedences in mind.
Had Holder agreed to NEVER ( a legal non existent) Paul's next step would be legislation, when it failed he'd say see Obama (non seq argument) is planning a dictatorship a'la Tea Baggery nonsense.
The truth is common speak is not the language of legislation. Paul's was playing on the public's emotion not the hard reality.

If you believe Paul is on the money vote for him . Me... I think his competence as a prez or commander in chief is marginally better than Romney and that boat sunk without appreciable trace. To me Paul is full of what racetracks put on their roses ….horse Shit.
In short I've seen bags of shit house rats that are more trust worthy and or believable.

Jon said...

You can say Paul was too broad, and I would probably agree, but that doesn't diminish the importance of what he did, which was initiate a discussion about this topic. There was virtually no discussion of it. People need to know that Obama has killed at least one child. Targeted him and killed him. Probably a lot more. We know he had other teenagers on his list as targets, but we don't know (at least I don't know) if he successfully killed them.

This has nothing to do with repelling an imminent attack, like the 9-11 hijackers. This is about identifying people that we could otherwise capture peacefully and at least test the government's claim that they are guilty of crimes. This certainly is not about me saying Awlaki was innocent. He may have been. Actually I suspect that's part of the reason charges weren't brought against him. He wasn't guilty of anything criminal. It's not actually against the law to openly advocate violence against the US government. In fact right wing extremists due such things routinely, such as Westboro Baptist Church. If you pick up a gun and start firing or if you plan an actual attack, OK, that's a crime, and I'm fine with prosecuting a person for that, but you have to prove it before killing them. It may not be true. We of course shouldn't trust our government.

Unfortunately as Glenn Greenwald recently pointed out, Obama says he wouldn't kill an American without due process if he's "not engaged in combat." But what does that mean? Chomsky discusses it well. It used to be that "material support" for terrorism meant you know a guy that wants to be violent and you hand him a gun. Now it's become if you even talk to him, even if you advise him to be peaceful, this is now "material support". So sure, Obama won't drone you if you're not engaged in combat. But is discussion now being "engaged in combat". Unfortunately it seems that it is. So I guess if you are a passive person, or maybe you support US violence, you're pretty safe for now. But if you think it's wrong and you speak up, well now you're getting closer to "material support".

The law is that the President can't declare war. Only Congress can. But this hasn't stopped Presidents from going to war unfortunately. I don't think Congress has actually declared war since WWII.

I actually don't agree that Congress would revolt if Obama droned some white supremecists. He'd just say they were planning terrorist activities, and whether that was true or not people would just go along. Take your statement about Waco. They are "wackos". Do you really know that? That's of course the claim that is propagated. And heck, when you get down to it most religious beliefs are wacko. They only become non-wacko when you get lots of people that believe it. I don't at all trust our government's assertions about their guilt, and you shouldn't either.

Also I don't have the option of voting for Paul because I live in a different state. Just FYI, I know you are in Australia and I wouldn't expect you to know all about our laws (I certainly now little about the Australian election process).

But I would vote for Assange if he runs. I heard a rumor that he was thinking of running. While holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy maybe?

Examinator said...

My point was a nuanced one. One must be wary of trying to over simplify what happened.
Paul's actions weren't on human rights principals but cynical political games man ship.

Notwithstanding, we agree that that it's important to discuss the Method by which *The administration * and Obama choose Drone targets. And we agree that it shouldn't be done that way.
Yes IMHO it was wrong. Keep in mind that Obama is only as good as the information fed to him.

Erratum : On reflection I misspoke (got it wrong) The Commander in chief can initiate a strike but needs the congress to ratify a declaration of war.

I was suggesting that Paul is posturing for a presidential run in 2016 if he does and you think he's on the money THEN Vote for him as is your right. By that time I, expect not to be a US citizen rather an Aussie.

As for the Koresh and his lot being a sect of wackos. 20 Years ago I was a working exec and true to my nature I researched the sect's practices/beliefs etc at the time. As such My comment perhaps should have read the naïve gullible led by a charismatic psychopath with delusions of Divinity... he claimed to be of the Davinic line (A direct descendant of Jesus) even though he seized the power of the sect by an armed coup. Many of his practices were 101 1960's brain washing. He ruled by armed guards and intimidation. i.e. his preaching sessions lasted from 4-16 hours and went over and over his unique interpretation of the books of Daniel and dooms day. His sexual practices were 'predatory' and at the time he had at least 3 children by three different devotees and a 4th pregnant. Some that escaped have testified to the abuse and intimidation .

There is a fine line between a bona fide religion and a lunatic lead sect ( as in doesn't recognize and/or is not recognized by other churches, as was the case.).
See Stockholm syndrome. He was like Jones of Jonestown (koolaid infamy). Keep in mind that the Oklahoma Bomber spend extended time there. I think Branch Davidians stretched the notion of a bona fide Religion and or Christian a bit far for mine... My condemnation or Koresh and his fiefdom stands.

Examinator said...


Chomsky's concern as I saw it was as I stated . The notion that a nation has one set of rules for their own and another is abhorrent. Read back on Chomsky over the years particularly on East Timor and his view of seeming uncritical support for Israel .

BTW I have been in Australia for under 2 year this time. I am well aware of most of the US laws , customs etc. Because for the reasons I stated b4 and that includes the Being partially educated in the South and in its mindset including the anti govt What I call ( civil war induced governmental paranoid hysteria). 15 years of 1st hand experience doesn't make me an expert but certainly at least as competent as 70% of other American citizens. I'm disappointed that you chose to play the “your not an American so you don't know” card. As if you had read previous posts you'd know that isn't valid or true. Ok No surprise But I'm older than most on the site and less inclined to wrap myself in chauvinistic flags of any hue.
I love a good debate but when it gets to this level of emotional base response, I guess it's time to simply say we agree to disagree and “thanks for all the fish”

Jon said...

No, Ex, you've taken what I said very wrong. I didn't mean to sound rude when I explained that I couldn't vote for Paul. I was explaining it but at the same time saying don't take this as a negative because I wouldn't expect you to know this and you already know much more about US politics than I do about Australian. It was actually intended as a compliment. But now that you've explained that you meant if he runs for President I can see that in fact you understood after all. I suppose living in the US explains why you know so much about it. I've always been a bit surprised at how much you know about our system given that you don't live here.

By the way, I think Paul understands your point about how it's not just the lives of Americans that matter. I think he's bringing it out in that way only because he knows that this is the angle he needs to take to actually get Americans interested. I think I saw him say that during his filibuster, but it's possible I'm mistaken.