Bill of Rights

Drone Strikes: Questionably Legal, Certainly Not Ethical, and Most Unwise

Above, watch Obama Administration Press Secretary Jay Carney explain that the drone strikes are “legal”, “ethical”, and “wise.” This has got to be one the biggest loads of crap I have heard since Obama was elected in 2008.

The legality of these drone strikes is highly questionable, as Doug Mataconis notes over at OTB. I fully expect court challenges to these strikes. Whether or not they succeed is a matter of speculation for people far more trained in the arcane arts of the law than I.

They are certainly not ethical. There have always been deep ethical qualms about killing human beings. In the modern era, we have notions such as due process, trials, courts of appeal, and judicial oversight, as well as punishment for those who kill wrongly. In combat situations, we accept homicide as par for the course, with both sides shooting at each other to kill. But this is not the same situation. This is picking an individual and raining missiles on him via robot death kites. This is not war. This is assassination. There are no restraints nor oversight. If you have a code of ethics that allows you to just kill people, on a whim, without any restraint whatsoever, you are a deeply troubled person and should be committed to a mental hospital. When will Obama go?

They are most definitely not wise. If anything, the drone strikes have only hardened al-Qaeda against us, and have turned us into enemies to the locals there, killing and maiming at will. Is it wise to “double-tap” targets and blow up emergency responders? Is it wise when only one in fifty of our victims are actually bad guys? No, this is not wise. This is most certainly unwise.

Rand Paul on Obama: “I’m against having a king”

Rand Paul

With President Obama set to issue a series of executive orders today dealing with guns, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is speaking out against what is a clear overreach of power. During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Paul explained that President Obama is behaving like a king, which is exactly what the Founding Fathers fought against.

“I’m against having a king,” said Sen. Paul. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”

While President Obama thinks he’s getting around Congress with these executive orders, Sen. Paul warned, “[W]e will fight tooth and nail; and I promise you that there will be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress, and you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this.”

Piers Morgan taken down by Ben Shapiro

Piers Morgan

Since the mid-December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Piers Morgan has been using his show to endlessly complain about guns. Since he couldn’t argue the issue intelligently with people like Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, Morgan brought on Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist talk show host, to help him frame gun owners as crazy people.

On Thursday evening, Morgan hosted Ben Shapiro, editor at large of Breitbart.com, to discuss guns and the Second Amendment. It. Was. Epic. While he was calm and collected, Shapiro was sharp in his criticism of Morgan from the start.

Kicking off the segment, Shapiro told Morgan, “Honest, Piers, you’ve kind of been a bully on this issue because what you do…is tend to demonize people who differ from you politically by standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook, saying they don’t seem to care enough about the dead kids; if they more cared about the dead kids, they would agree with you on policy.”

Shapiro explained that this sort of Morgan’s tactics don’t serve the debate well, noting instead that “we can have a rational political conversation about balancing rights and risks and rewards of these different policies.” Shapiro added, “I don’t think what we need to do is demonize people on the other side as being unfeeling about what happened in Sandy Hook.”

Watch the segment:

Conservatives need to get back to limited government roots

There is no doubt that the Republican Party is at a crossroad with many questioning the direction that should be taken to bring them back to electoral success. The biggest obstacle to moving the GOP back to its limited government roots is the political establishment — the dealers and the consultant class — who want to the party to take the road to victory by selling out limited government principles.

This creats a problem for conservatives, many of whom are still trying to make sense of the 2012 election. Many realize the dangers that lie ahead by kowtowing to the party’s political establishment, but they’re weary of trying to stand in their way. They’ve actually bought into the line that the freedom movement is to blame for the problems that have plagued the GOP. Yes, there were some bad candidates that ran in 2012, but the Republican Party’s brand was damaged long before voters ever headed to the polls.

In a recent piece at Commentary, Matt Welch, editor of Reason, explained that conservatives need to start actually practicing what they preach when it comes to limiting the size and scope of government:

New York Times column on the Constitution: Just get rid of it!

Louis Michael Seidman is a constitutional law professor who doesn’t think we need to listen to the Constitution.  At least, that’s the case he laid out late last week in the New York Times when he said:

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

First, I have to assume that Seidman knows exactly why revenue bills have to originate in the House.  Now, that serves less of a purpose now that voters choose senators directly, rather than the state legislatures, but it did serve a purpose.

Now, Seidman makes reference to “archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions” of the Constitution, yet makes little effort to actually identify these provisions with one exception.  That’s right, boys and girls, he does as all who oppose ideas like constitutionality do, and that’s point to slavery.

Mike Lee: “We can’t abandon constitutional rights for temporary security”

See Video

During the debate over re-authorization of FISA warrantless wiretapping practices, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) articulately defended the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.

No, Piers Morgan shouldn’t be deported

Piers Morgan

Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — during which a crazed gunman killed 27 innocent people, including 20 children — Piers Morgan has used his CNN talk show, which generally doesn’t fair well against nightly competition, to advocate for tighter gun regulations.

Morgan, who is a British citizen, hasn’t exactly been dipolmatic about his views. During a recent interview, Morgan classlessly hurled insults at Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, in a debate over gun control.

Morgan’s contempt for the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans with the right to keep and bear arms, hasn’t sat well with many. In fact, there is a movement via a petition on the White House website to have him deported.

The petition, which has over 78,000 signatures, states:

British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.

These petitions have grown popular. After President Barack Obama was re-elected last month, a number of petitions popped up on the site asking the White House to let states peacefully secede. To receive a response from the White House, a petition must receive at least 25,000 signatures.

Saxby Chambliss: Shut up and pass FISA

Taxby

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who has come under fire recently for his support of increased tax revenues, is now sounding off on the upcoming reauthorization vote for FISA. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to allow at least some amendments, some of which would protect the privacy of Americans, to be voted on by the chamber before the bill is pushed forward for a final vote.

Unfortunately, Chambliss believes that no votes on these amendments are necessary and that Reid should just pass the bill, apparently with no questions asked:

Senator Saxby Chambliss, apparently with no regard to the Constitution or the privacy of the public he’s supposed to represent, has apparently complained that any debate is a waste of time after Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to bring up the issue.

Remember when executive power and civil liberties were a big deal?

You mad, bro?

Consistency matters, folks. When George W. Bush was in office, there were near endless complaints from the Left as civil liberties were being diminished and executive power was being strengthened, far beyond what our Founding Fathers had ever intended. The complaints make against Bush were well-founded at the time. However, since Barack Obama has been running the show, we’ve heard nary a peep out of those same people. Apparently, civil liberties are only abused when the president has an “R” next to his name. Or something.

Interestingly, The New York Times recently noted that President Obama was worried that the expansion of executive power undertaken during his first term — including the targeted killing of American citizens — would fall into Republican hands:

Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
[…]
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.

Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.

Conor Friedersdorf explains why he’s not voting for Obama

If you don’t read anything else today, you need to check out Conor Friedersdorf’s explanation of why he refuses to vote for Barack Obama in November:

I find Obama likable when I see him on TV. He is a caring husband and father, a thoughtful speaker, and possessed of an inspirational biography. On stage, as he smiles into the camera, using words to evoke some of the best sentiments within us, it’s hard to believe certain facts about him:


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