Posse Comitatus

Rand Paul wants answers on Obama’s drones program

Rand Paul speaks at Heritage

During the Tea Party response to the State of the Union address, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) mentioned the drones issue that has recently been the subject of deserved controversy. In a list of grievances against the Obama Administration, Sen. Paul said, “We will not tolerate secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial.”

The reference was a response to a recent memo from the Department Justice outlining the legal case for drone strikes against American citizens. There hasn’t been any attempt from the Obama Administration to sell the program to Americans, though it has certainly made neo-conservatives quite happy.

Sen. Paul, who is a strict constitutionalist, is doing more than talking about the issue, even though his concern over the drones program is being dismissed by some in the media. He wants answers from the Obama Administration. In a recent letter to John Brennan, who is President Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, Sen. Paul asked a series of questions about the drones program — ranging from the use of drones against both American and non-American targets to the CIA and Posse Comitatus to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old, American-born son to the issue of privacy.

You can read the letter in full here, but here are some of the questions that Sen. Paul asked Brennan:

Would the #NDAA Lock up the #MSM?

Journalists are terrorists.

That line of thought was brought up in my college class on international reporting back in 2009, when we were discussing the Swine Flu and SARS and how the media was covering those things. One student asked that, if journalists were hyping these stories, getting people alarmed over things that probably not going to harm them, and especially if said journalists were not doing proper fact-checking and were spreading around myths, then aren’t journalists terrorists?

That was in my mind as I read about the National Defense Authorization Act and its idiotic langauge that would require the US military to lock up anyone who is merely “suspected” of being a terrorist without any trial or due process. The same line of thought, apparently, hit Jason Kuznicki:

If I were president, I would start with a round of mass imprisonments.

As Machiavelli advises, I’d do it quickly, perhaps all in one night. A few tens of thousands should be enough.

No, no, you’ve got me all wrong — these aren’t political prisoners. Yes, they just happen to include the members of the Democratic and Republican National Committees. There are a lot of big-time political donors. (Which ones? Don’t ask!) Industrialists, financiers, labor leaders, community organizers. Academics. Journalists. Judges. A few members of Congress. (I wouldn’t need too many of those. It only needs a few pour encourager les autres.)

Can we just call them the Gendarmerie already?

I’m certainly not the first to notice this, but can we just give up on the fiction that our police officers are actually civilians? If you needed further evidence to see that they are becoming another wing of the armed forces, take a look at this monster:

Big SWAT Tank

What you are looking at is the new “PitBull VX” from Alpine Armoring, a vehicle specially designed for SWAT teams.

Now, I know what you’re saying: “Cool!” Or maybe, “Actually, they could probably use one of those.” And, true, Detroit and Philly might need one of these. But anywhere else?

I thought one of the commenters thoughts best expressed my own:

Also, the whole argument, “We should do so-and-so to save lives” is the most ridiculous government argument I’ve ever heard.

The purpose of (local, state, federal) government’s is to serve their populace. “Saving lives” is surely a good application of serving your populace. No one seems to understand that money and budgetary constraints exist even when it comes to “saving lives.”

You simply cannot get 100% coverage in anything like this. First, it is probably impossible to and secondly, it would be far too expensive even if you could. It is all boils down to math and statistics. You do certain things/make certain purchases in the hope that it will “save more lives.” If this 200k purchase of a police vehicle or 750k purchase of another ladder truck will save more lives, that’s great - it’s all touchy feely.

Cheney Advocated Use Of Military On U.S. Soil

Today’s New York Times reports on one plan that, if implemented, could have led to a serious Constitutional crisis:

WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.

Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force.

CNN Reports On Martial Law In US

See Video

The domestic deployment of the Army’s 1st Brigade 3rd Infantry Division is discussed on the Lou Dobbs show. This deployment of federal military forces for “crowd control” and “homeland security” is a direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, with prohibits using the military for domestic law enforcement purposes.

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