Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Huh. A Talking filibuster. That's Nice.

Okay. Let me get this out in the open: I think having a talking filibuster was awfully neat. It showed that a concerned senator could raise substantive issues and discuss tem at length, instead of just putting on a "hold" and, you know, kind of passive-aggressively stop all conversation. Civil liberties got discussed, and after all this time, that was kind of satisfying. It is reasonable to question how this country carries out the business of counter-terrorism with respect to human rights and our own Constitution.

That being said: the 13 hour feat accomplished last night was performed by one freshman senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, and if I am at best, skeptical regarding the care and responsibility afforded to any chief executive with respects to targeting America's enemies (in fact or alleged), I am also skeptical regarding the intent of one Rand Paul, because 1) He's already got presidential designs 2) This is very showy, and 3) Isn't it special for a Republican to attack a Democratic Administration effectively from the Left?

Meh. This is Rand Paul, who can go off on a rant about how government restricts the rights of consumers regarding toilets and lightbulbs, but doesn't care what restrictions are put in the way of a female-bodied person seeking a specific form of medical care. If he's talking a good game about civil liberties today, let's not forget that he hasn't been a fan of civil rights, and that during his long peroration, he mentioned with approval a very bad court case that allowed employers to exploit their workers. His notions regarding abuse of power are definitely aligned with his sense of how that power effects his own interests. *




And I think this filibuster ultimately served Sen. Paul's interests, and the interests of some of those (Rubio, Cruz) who jumped on this particular bandwagon.

The denoument:

A response from Eric Holder:


Dear Senator Paul: 
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. 
Sincerely,
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
And a response from Sen. Paul:

 (Shorter) We're good.

And now John Brennan, whose nomination for CIA director was being filibustered, has been confirmed.

But it was all very entertaining!



* I want to put the following "below the fold", as it were, because once again, this is Rand Paul. The guy who used his time quizzing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding Benghazi to refer to a possible CIA arms smuggling scheme, and who once Tweeted with possible seriousness regarding the disconcerting problem of heavily armed climatologists.  Insofar as Rand Paul's imaginings sometimes take him to where the black helicopters don't even fly, who knows but that his own deep concerns regarding government over-reach have more to do with fears of persecution of our homegrown militia folks.  After all, if he learned anything at daddy's knee, it's that you have to hold on to your newletter subscribers, somehow.

10 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Sure, Rand Paul is a tool.

But Brennan, Holder, and their boss suck.

It pains me to see liberals contorting themselves trying
defend their authoritarian crap.
~

upyernoz said...

i dunno, ifthethunderdontgetya, i keep reading people accusing liberals of "contorting themselves trying to defend" the administration's "authoritarian crap" but i have yet to see a clear example of that. even among serious obama fans, i haven't seen anyone defend his drone policies. most of the posts i have seen about rand paul's filibuster have been along the lines of rand paul is a douche, but he's right to criticize the administration's drone policy.

do you have an example of liberals contorting themselves? or is this just a straw man?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Tbogg

Oliver Willis is another, although the link I'm looking for is a few years old and I can't find it.

More to the point: look at your Balloon Juice link:

WE HATE RAND PAUL - WHAT A DOUCHE (ok rand paul kind of got a point) SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP RAND PAUL!

That's contorting yourself. How about, "Obama and Holder, We Voted For Change, and Not This Bullshit?"

P.S. John Yoo joins TBogg in supporting Obama.
~

upyernoz said...

neither of them are defenses of obama or his policies. yes, the balloon juice link attacks rand paul. but it also notes that he is right once in a while. notably absent is any actual defense of the obama administration's drone policies.

likewise, the tbogg link mocks conservatives who are suddenly now criticizing the drone program, but it doesn't have anything that could be interpreted as a defense of the program. in one comment to the post, tbogg does note that surveillance by drones doesn't bother him. but again that hardly constitutes a full-throated defense of the administration's policies.

i just have not seen liberals going to the mat for obama on drone attacks. i have seen a lot of liberals talk about how much they hate rand paul, or how much his objection to drones is hypocritical or disingenuous for some reason. but that's not the same as saying that having killer flying robots slaughter people from the skies is a-okay.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

but that's not the same as saying that having killer flying robots slaughter people from the skies is a-okay.

Making attacks on the Senator who takes a stand against the policy the focus of your post IS supporting it, if you have to read between the lines to find an objection.

(And you can read more about TBogg's stance here.)

Want to see how you object to the drone strike policy and don't make it all about how much you hate Paul, who should just sit down and shut up?

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?

Amy Goodman, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 March 2013 09.52 EST
~

upyernoz said...


Making attacks on the Senator who takes a stand against the policy the focus of your post IS supporting it


not it isn't. there's no logical reason why you can't point out problems with paul as a messenger without attacking the message. (besides, if you were right, how could you say "Rand Paul is a tool" without being deemed to support the administration's policies?)

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

sure, that's a good point. it is disturbing that no democratic politician is publickly attacking the president over this issue. but i didn't think that is what we were arguing about. you were talking about "liberals contorting themselves trying to defend [the administration's] authoritarian crap." really what i'm seeing is virtually no defense of obama's drone policy among liberals. there is some criticism, but it's not coming from politicians, but mostly there's a lot of silence. that's not contortions or justifications, that's just opting out of the discussion for the sake of political expediency.

which i do think is a problem. i just don't think it's the same problem as prominent liberals turning into john yoo and publicly advocating for obama's right to order the death of anyone with a drone. that just doesn't seem to be happening.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

there's no logical reason why you can't point out problems with paul as a messenger without attacking the message.

There's a logical reason to say that if most (if not all, as in the case of TBogg) of the post is attacking Rand Paul, then the bit about agreeing with the message is buried.

i just don't think it's the same problem as prominent liberals turning into john yoo and publicly advocating for obama's right to order the death of anyone with a drone. that just doesn't seem to be happening.

Obama's already asserted the right. And it has happened.
~

Vixen Strangely said...

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki is, in some ways, the touchstone for me trying to understand the differences in the way I feel about the drone program compared to how I feel about the detention without charges scheme under Bush--consider the age of Abdulrahman compared to Omar Khadr, born a Canadian, also 16 at the time of his capture. If I seethed at the injustice of Omar Khadr's imprisonment, shouldn't I feel the same, or worse, at the deprivation of Abdulrahman's life?

I don't have a tear in me for the father, but I don't think Abdulrahman was deserving of death anymore than Omar Khadr should have lost 8 yrs of his life. What I worry about is in such cases--are we trying to answer for any crime--or is US policy about "sending a message"? You know, making examples to discourage others. The Kissinger "madman" philosophy.

That part doesn't sit well with me. I want to credit the Obama Administration with having a better idea how things should be handled, but that isn't okay. And I don't think we know about the impact of other drone strikes, and how they (let me not even pretend I'm thinking about moral considerations) effect perception and can lead to blow-back.

It's balanced out by my native Obot-ry, in some ways. I can't concede that he's fucking up worse than the Bushies did. I just worry, is all. It would be great if I thought my government were moral. It would be at least reassuring if I counted on its basic competence. I am, for the moment, only somewhat reassured. This is, alas, a step up.

Vixen Strangely said...

But as a further thought--I don't come to bury Rand Paul because of any problem I have with his message, I come to bury Rand Paul because he's Rand Paul. I don't trust his sincerity or his motives on the basis of a lot of his other policies. It probably is true that we're concentrating on the messenger over the message, but I also don't think his message has a much to do with "We shouldn't do this harm to human beings" as "Watch me attack the Obama Administration where they live." If TBogg, or I, for that matter, go after the messenger, it might have a lot to do with our perception of his fitness to carry the banner of human rights when women, LGBT's, minorities, employees, etc, are all subject to his whimsical notions of what freedom means, but he wants to get high and mighty over a nation's conduct at war. He fundraises on it and, I fear, demeans the message. I wish the debate had a better champion.

upyernoz said...

I want to credit the Obama Administration with having a better idea how things should be handled, but that isn't okay. And I don't think we know about the impact of other drone strikes, and how they (let me not even pretend I'm thinking about moral considerations) effect perception and can lead to blow-back.

another big problem is that even if we assume that obama himself is perfectly virtuous, only using his claimed powers to kill people wherever he feels like it to kill people who we would all call "really bad", he still is claiming a power for the presidency. that power, once claimed and not immediately declared out of bounds, will then be available for all future presidents. so who is going to bet that every future president is as virtuous as obama?

just to be clear: i don't actually think that obama is all that virtuous on these issues. i also would not say that he is "worse than bush" but he is not that much better in a lot of ways.

i'm one of those dirty hippies who even thinks that al-awlaki's killing was beyond the pale, and not just because he's a citizen. the whole death-from-above drone program used anywhere that doesn't have an active shooting war, defined as narrowly as possible, is criminal, IMHO.

i understand why killer drones would be popular with an american politician so long as no one else has our killer drone technology. but it won't be very long before that changes. we shall see how long the love affair lasts when the first non-"bad guy" american (or israeli) gets killed by a drone launched by someone else. suddenly the line between "good drone attacks" and "bad drone attacks" won't be quite as clear.