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A worthy filibuster

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From page A4 | March 08, 2013 | 7 Comments

As of Wednesday Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, was holding up the vote to confirm a new CIA director because of some sketchy legal mumbling from Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder is the man who claimed no knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious, in which one of his chiefs authorized the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to let thousands of guns cross the border into Mexico to be used by drug cartels. The theory was to trace them, but they lost track of them.

Now, in response to queries from a senator Holder hasn’t ruled out using a killer drone on U.S. soil.

In one letter, Holder said the U.S. has never carried out a drone strike against one of its citizens on American soil, and called a situation where such a strike may occur “entirely hypothetical” and “unlikely to occur.”

But he added, “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.” As examples he cited ”catastrophic” attacks such as the Sept. 11 attacks or the attack on Pearl Harbor.

And this is why Paul was filibustering the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director. Paul and the bipartisan group of senators aiding him, will end the filibuster, Paul said, if Holder will guarantee in writing that the president — any president — will not and cannot summarily execute noncombatant Americans by a drone strike. Paul ended his filibuster after nearly 13 hours.

Paul is doing this country a service. Holder’s dodgy legal statement is too loose. Drone strikes on U.S. soil should never happen. During 9/11 military jets were scrambled to force down any airplanes still flying that might be piloted by terrorists. It is different being contacted by radio by a pilot in a military jet. Drones can’t make those kind of contacts and assessments.

Pearl Harbor, of course, was an enemy attack. There were some sailors and soldiers who were able to man anti-aircraft guns. Most U.S. military aircraft were destroyed on the ground in the neat rows in which they had been parked. A handful of U.S. planes counterattacked. The Constitution didn’t stop President Franklin Roosevelt from issuing Executive Order 9066 sending California’s Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

In times of national crisis there is a tendency to overreact. That overreaction was on display recently during the manhunt for the murderous rogue L.A. cop when police protecting a policeman’s home fired multiple times at a pickup truck in which two women were delivering newspapers and then another innocent pickup truck driver was shot at as being the possible suspect.

Overreaction is always a possibility in a crisis. We won’t need the nation’s top law enforcement officer putting it down in writing and claiming some vague constitutional authority for the president to authorize assassination of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

We thank Sen. Paul for keeping this country honest.

Mountain Democrat

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 7 comments

  • Jack MartinMarch 08, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    Rand Paul's filibuster changed the entire narrative of Presidential authority in just under 13 hours. He dared to confront not only the AG and the President, but also the "old guard" Republican Senators McCain and Graham, who've clearly not gotten the memo on the political sea change.

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  • DeeMarch 08, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    How comfortable does this make you feel? from Yahoo News------“There's one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at their daily briefing. “Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington's personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787.” Earnest said Brennan had asked for a document from the National Archives that would demonstrate the U.S. is a nation of laws. "Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” Earnest said. The Constitution itself went into effect in 1789. But troublemaking blogger Marcy Wheeler points out that what was missing from the Constitution in 1787 is also quite symbolic: The Bill of Rights, which did not officially go into effect until December 1791 after ratification by states. (Caution: Marcy's post has some strong language.) That means: No freedom of speech and of the press, no right to bear arms, no Fourth Amendment ban on “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and no right to a jury trial. How ... symbolic?

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 08, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    Dee, nothing to see there - - - move along . . .

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  • GuyMarch 09, 2013 - 12:25 pm

    The man is an idiot. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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  • DeeMarch 09, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    Guy-Elucidate please!

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  • DeeMarch 09, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    Phil-You are correct. The Bill of Rights doesn't mean anything.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 10, 2013 - 6:16 pm

    A stand for the Constitution, just like those of us standing for the 2ND Amendment are worthy of a nation's respect. It is going to take more stands to turn this floundering ship back to an even keel. The John Mcshame's and their ilk should retire and let a few more Rand Paul's take the reins and lead.

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