Due Process

McCain Should Take His Own Advice

John McCain

“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. He needs to know what he’s talking about.” - Sen. John McCain

John McCain thinks that Rand Paul needs to know what he’s talking about.  Well, since he was asking a legitimate question in an effort to get an answer that the White House had danced around for weeks, we think he actually did know what he was talking about.  Of course, Sen. McCain might want to take his own advice to heart.

For example:

“My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.”

That was in reference to the Obama campaign during the 2008 campaign.  How did that election turn out again?  Maybe he should have known what he was talking about and realized that it was far from a done deal.

That’s the same campaign he “suspended” to deal with the financial crisis.  He just “knew” what he was talking about when that backfired.

How about this gem, also from 2008:

“The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were president today, I would fire him.”

Of course, the president actually can’t fire the head of the SEC.  You see, the SEC is an independent regulatory body.  The President doesn’t get to make that call.  Of course, maybe he shouldn’t have known what he was talking about.

Then, there is McCain’s answer to being asked about inviting Jose Rodriguez Louis Zapatero to the White House:

Ron Wyden: Wednesday’s Other Hero

Ron Wyden

Without a doubt, Wednesday belonged to Rand Paul. The Republican senator stood his ground on the floor of the Senate for almost 13 hours, and he was supported by several of his colleagues.

While I don’t want to take anything away from Senator Paul - his stand for civil liberties was both courageous and heroic - there’s another senator due some recognition. Ron Wyden was the only Democrat willing to join Paul in support of liberty.

I’ve been in Republican politics long enough to know that when one guy abandons the team - even if in a move to do what’s right, he’s treated as an outcast. He loses the good committee appointments. People rally to find a candidate to challenge the traitor in a primary election. He gets tagged as being not a “real” Republican - a “RINO,” if you will - and it takes a lot of time before people in the party forget or forgive his betrayal.

Rand’s filibuster on Wednesday was as a member of the minority party. Yes, he was doing the right thing, but he didn’t have to go against his own party and his own leadership in the Senate or against his own president to make his stand. (To be fair, I’m convinced that Paul would have made his stand no matter the circumstances.)

Every senator who came to Paul’s side on Wednesday was a Republican who could vocally oppose a president and his appointments without fear of punishment from his leadership. Every senator, that is, except Ron Wyden.

Stepping forward to stand with Rand Paul was no easy decision for Wyden. Party politics can be a tough game to play, but when the pressure was on and the decision had to be made, Wyden took a stand with a small minority and against his own party for what is right.

Sen. Paul’s Filibuster a Win for the Americans who Believe in the Constitution

Tea Party Movement

The Washington Examiner reached out to Amy Kremer, a friend and chair of the Tea Party Express, and myself yesterday to ask if the Obama Administration finally responding to Sen. Rand Paul on the issue of drone strikes against American citizens on American soil after his 13-hour filibuster was a win for the Tea Party movement:

Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor has rallied the fledgling Tea Party movement from a months-long slump and highlighted the schism between those brassy conservative newcomers and their Republican Party elders.

“What a night,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said after Paul’s filibuster, which began Wednesday about noon and ended about 1 a.m. Thursday. “He has definitely energized the base in a way that it hasn’t been energized in a long time.”
[…]
Until Paul’s appearance, the Tea Party’s popularity appeared to be waning. Republican leaders pushed Tea Party lawmakers to the sidelines during budget negotiations with President Obama. After a very successful 2010 election, the Tea Party took a beating in the 2012 contests. And pollsters found that fewer and fewer people were affiliating themselves with the movement.

But Paul’s filibuster attracted huge support on social media sites, from conservatives and liberals, and some believe it could mark a comeback for the movement.

“This is a big deal,” said Jason Pye, editor-in-chief of UnitedLiberty.org, a libertarian blog that follows the Tea Party.

VIDEO: Mike Lee, Ted Cruz Defend Civil Liberties

There has been a lot of attention paid to Sen. Rand Paul’s brilliant, 13-hour defense of the Constitution, which is now available online at CSPAN. But I wanted to share videos of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), both of whom, like Sen. Paul, became champions of civil liberties in the United States Senate.

Below are some clips from yesterday of Sens. Lee and Cruz discussing the issues with President Obama’s drones program, the DOJ white paper that made the case for drone strikes on American citizens on American soil, and the constitutional ramifications of the policy.

“We have a standard [of an imminent threat] that is so broad, that is so malleable, that is so easily subject to so many varying interpretations, no one can reasonably look into this and decide who the government may kill with a drone and who the government may not kill with a drone.” — Sen. Mike Lee

“I would note that your standing here today like a modern Mr. Smith goes to Washington because surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile. And my only regret is that there are not 99 of your colleagues here today standing with you in defense of the most fundamental principles in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, namely that each of us is endowed with certain unalienable rights by our creator and that first among them is life, the rife to life and the right not to have life arbitrarily extinguished by our government without due process of law.” — Sen. Ted Cruz

Graham and McCain Missed the Point. Completely.

John McCain

Rand Paul’s epic filibuster was bound to draw some criticism.  I’m sure he didn’t expect it from his own side of the aisle though.  John McCain and Lindsey Graham took aim at the Kentucky Senator earlier today in what looks like a couple of peons scurrying for scraps from President Obama’s table.

Graham put up a poster that showed a body-count comparison of people killed on US soil — al-Qaeda: 2,958, as opposed to none killed by drones.  Of course, no one is arguing anything else.  In fact, I challenge Graham to provide a single instance of Rand Paul saying anyone in this country has been killed by a drone.

Rand Paul’s mission?  To keep it that way.

Former presidential candidate John McCain had the following to say against Sen. Paul:

“Calm down, Senator,” [John] McCain said, in an apostrophe to Paul. “The U.S. government cannot randomly target U.S. citizens.”
[…]
McCain, a staunch foreign policy hawk, said Thursday that Paul’s warnings that the U.S. could target “Jane Fonda” or “people in cafes” bring the debate into the “realm of the ridiculous.”

“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids,” McCain said, adding: “I don’t think what happened yesterday is helpful to the American people.”

Well, allow me to tell you to “Calm down, Senator”!

You see, the problem isn’t that he believes President Obama will do such things.  It’s that President Obama doesn’t believe that he can’t do things like this.  Sens. Graham and McCain are clearly missing the point of what Sen. Paul did last night.

Eric Holder to Rand Paul: No, the President can’t Kill Americans on American Soil

Hours after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ended his 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, Attorney General Eric Holder finally responded with a definitive statement. Here is a screenshot of the letter, which was released by Politico.

Holder's letter to Rand Paul

Sen. Paul — and more importantly, the Constitution and Bill of Rights — just won a big battle in a much larger fight.

Ted Cruz Reads Tweets in Support of Rand Paul’s Historic Filibuster

Ted Cruz

Because Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had been speaking on the floor since late this morning filibustering the nomination of John Brennan, President Obama’s pick to lead the CIA, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came to the floor to read tweets of support from #StandWithRand on Twitter, which is currentluy trending nationally.

Sen. Cruz joined several members of the chamber, including Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), in highlighting the lack of transparency of the Obama Administration’s drones program.

This happened in the eighth hour of Sen. Paul’s filibuster, which is now into its 10 hour — 10 hours, folks, without a real break:

Eric Holder: The President Can Conduct Drone Strikes Inside the U.S.

drones

The Justice Department has already laid out a questionable legal case asserting that a president can use drone strikes to take out anyone merely accused of being a terrorist. For the last several weeks, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been seeking answers from the White House about the program, including whether or not the a president can use drones inside the United States’ borders to kill an American citizen.

When asked about the drones program during a Google+ Hangout, Obama deflected, merely stating that “[t]here has never been a drone used on an American citizen, on American soil.” He also explained that the rules for the program abroad would be different than inside the United States. Of course, he never explained that those rules were. He simply said he’d work with Congress to provide “mechanisms to make sure the public understands.”

After wrangling with the White House and threatening to hold up John Brennan confirmation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Sen. Paul finally got an answer, and it confirms the worst.

“As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so,” wrote Attorney General Eric Holder in a letter to Sen. Paul. “As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat.”

Oliver Stone says Americans are living in an “Orwellian state”

Oliver Stone

While he isn’t exactly friendly to the free market point of view, you have to hand it to Oliver Stone, at least he’s consistent in his criticism of presidents who overstep their constitutional boundaries.

During a recent interview, Stone, who directed JFK and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, told the Russia Today that the United States “has become an Orwellian state” and called President Barack Obama a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

While many on the Left have given silent consent to the policies of the current administration, including reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act and robbing Americans of due process through indefinite detention and drone strikes, Stone expressed shock and outrage at Obama, who was supposed to be “a great hope for change.”

“I think under the disguise of sheep’s clothing [Obama] has been a wolf,” Stone told the Russia Today. “That because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot.”

He added, “He has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them.”

Stone, who has recently co-authored a new book with Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States, showed concern for what contempt President Obama has shown during his first term and what his second term may have in store. He explained, “[W]e are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer.”

“Without the law, it is the law of the jungle,” Stone noted. “Nuremburg existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process – ‘habeas corpus’ as they call it in the United States.”

Rand Paul asks important questions about Obama’s drones on “Fox News Sunday”

Rand Paul on

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been spending a lot of time recently working to bring transparency to President Barack Obama’s drones program.

A recently released memo from the Department of Justice laid out a tenuous legal justification for drone strikes on American citizens. While the Obama Administration has promised to explain the “mechanisms” by which they choose their targets, there are still many questions to be answered, including the constitutional issues that come with ignoring the right to due process.

Sen. Paul has said that the nomination of John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is more important than Chuck Hagel’s nomination, which Republicans successfully — though only temporarily — stalled last week. He has asked some hard, pointed questions of John Brennan about President Obama’s drones program, including whether or not the White House would carry out drone strikes on American citizens on American soil. But no real answers have been given, and the lack of transparency with this program and the role the CIA will play has prompted Sen. Paul to call Brennan’s nomination the “preeminent libertarian concern.”

Sen. Paul responded to criticism that he has faced from neoconservatives about this issue during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.


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