It hasn’t been a good few weeks for me if I wanted to be proud of my senators. First, we had Saxby Chambliss use a ridiculous argument against same-sex marriage, and now we have Johnny Isakson’s opposition to a filibuster on gun control legislation.
Isakson’s office is reportedly saying he opposes the legislation, and that may be true, but he sees no problem with it passing.
You see, the United States Senate is in the hands of the Democrats. They want this to become law. That means it’s likely to pass the Senate. Isakson isn’t a complete moron. He knows this. He knows that in a vote, the bill passes.
He should also know that he swore and oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”, and on that he’s falling down on the job.
The problem stems from the misguided idea that universal background checks would do anything to curb violence in this country.
Folks, gang bangers, drug cartels, and other violent groups aren’t exactly deterred by laws. They’re criminals. By definiton, they skirt the law. A universal background check will put more of a burden on the law abiding citizen who would like to purchase a gun from a buddy.
Isakson should know this. I suspect he does know this. However, instead of supporting an effort that is both legal and ethical as a way to block this, he’s arguing that members of his own party should sit down, shut up, and do nothing as they watch this nation go further down the tubes.
“I think the impressionable libertarian kids are going to save our nation.” — Igor Birman
Late last year, I ran across video of Igor Birman, who immigrated to the United States with his family as the Soviet Union was collapsing, warning against a more centralized government healthcare system. Birman, who now serves as Chief of Staff to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), was explaining that the Soviet system relied on rationing of healthcare, which would be the end result of ObamaCare.
Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down with Birman to discuss his story, the transformation of the United States into a police state, ObamaCare, the budget, and other destructive economic policies that are being pushed by the White House.
When asked about the recent filibuster in the Senate, Birman applauded Sen. Rand Paul and noted that it was refreshing to hear a politician be so passionate. He also compared the policies implemented as part of the “war on terror” to life in the Soviet Union, where the government frequently searched homes of ordinary citizens without cause, which he called a “fact of life,” noting that “you just accepted it as much as you did the cold weather and the long lines for the basic staples of food and water.”
Birman experienced this first-hand. “A week before we left for the United States, we went to say goodbye to my uncle in St. Petersburg and when we came back, we found our apartment just absolutely ravaged,” recalled Birman. “The authorities must have been looking for whatever lame excuse they could find to either delay or disrupt our departure.”
“Epic,” “inspirational,” and “historic” are three words that best describe what I watched transpire on the floor of the United States Senate yesterday. At 11:47am, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) began his filibuster of John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, largely due to the lack of transparency from the Obama Administration on its drone program — specifically the targeted killing of Americans inside the borders of the United States.
The reasons that this gained so much interest was because it was an actual filibuster. This wasn’t a situation where Brennan couldn’t get 60 votes for cloture. Sen. Paul performed an old school filibuster, something that has become all too rare.
There was also another point that made this filibuster unique — Sen. Paul, along with several of his colleagues, spent nearly 13 hours talking substantive policy. There was no reading from a phone book or any other manner of time-buying tricks. Sen. Paul and others spent their time relaying a very pointed message about the Constitution, limits on executive power, and civil liberties.
For nearly 13 hours, Sen. Paul gave one of the most eloquent defenses of the Constitution that I’ve ever witnessed. He was joined at various times by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), both of whom spoke at length on the constitutional concerns over the policy.
This post has been updated. Scroll down to view the latest.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has become the fiercest of President Obama’s drone program, is currently in the middle of a traditional filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan. He been at it for a just over two hours, having started at 11:47am.
You can watch it live here.
Brennan, who was nominated by President Obama to serve as director of the CIA, was asked some very direct questions by Sen. Paul over the drones program. Sen. Paul wanted to know whether or not the White House could perhaps target American citizens who are merely suspected terrorist activities inside the borders of the United States.
Attorney General Eric Holder responded to the questions raised by Sen. Paul about the drone program. “The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront,” Holder wrote. “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.”
Sen. Paul recognizes that he won’t be able to keep going for a prolonged period of time, but he is using the time to highlight the various issues problems with the use of drones against American citizens, thus denying them due process.
During Rand Paul’s campaign to become Senator from Kentucky, he held a few positions that gave some of his father’s supporters pause. Specifically, his disagreement with Ron over the issue of criminal trials versus military tribunals was a point of contention making it difficult for some to back his candidacy without trepidation. Rand thought we should keep the tribunals while Ron was vehemently opposed to any trial that didn’t give the accused the best protection of his rights.
After this past week, It probably isn’t far fetched to say that any trepidation one may have had about Rand Paul’s commitment to the principles of freedom has vanished.
Paul managed to single-handedly take control of the Senate chambers in a heroic attempt to move the Senate to consider and debate the Patriot Act - something shockingly absent since it’s first passage. In fact, in 2001, when the Patriot Act was first introduced, a single Senator read the bill before casting a vote. The vote cast was a resounding “NO” by Russ Feingold, coincidentally, the only vote recorded in opposition to the bill.
Rand’s efforts were unsuccessful if you deem passage of the Act’s extension the sole measure of success. However, Rand did far more than capture the imagination and attention of the country for a suspenseful 36 hours, 7 of which were spent on the Senate floor.
Podcast: Jim Bunning, 2nd Amendment, Health Care Reform, Reconciliation, Extremism, Puppycide,Guests: Doug Deal & Mike Hassinger
Podcast: Scott Brown, SCOTUS, Citizens United, Air America, “Birther” Bill, Guests: Eric von Haessler & Mike Hassinger
Jason and Brett jump into 2010 with a podcast, joined by two guests, Jason Cecil, current Southeast Director for Young Democrats of America and immediate past president of Young Democrats of Georgia, and Jimmie Bise, political and pop culture commentator at The Sundries Shack blog and The Delivery podcast.
The discussion went so well (and long), they split the podcast into two installments, with the second part publishing tomorrow available here.
In the first part, they discuss:
Yesterday, Arlen Specter (?-PA) made big news by announcing that he will run as a Democrat in his bid for re-election to the Senate in 2010. I consider this to be pretty big news - we don’t see politicians switching parties that frequently. This is likely to give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (assuming Al Franken is seated as Senator of Minnesota). I would not be terribly surprised to see Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and/or Susan Collins (R-ME) switch affiliations at some point either.
Think about it! Four years ago, the Republican Party held the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, the Democrats have won the Presidency by a sizable margin, gained additional seats in the majority Democratic House, and could possibly hold a sixty-vote majority in the Senate—large enough to end any Republican initiated filibuster.
First of all, consider the magnitude of the Republican loss. What support shifted from four years ago?