Digital Journal: Why Rand Paul was not being 'ridiculous' about drones, Mr. McCain.Submitted by Sue4theBillofrights on Fri, 03/08/2013 - 17:42
at Digital Journal HERE: http://digitaljournal.com/article/345147
Americans responded overwhelmingly to the first major push-back by a US senator against the gradual overturn of the Bill of Rights since 9/11. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was joined by Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, in an historic filibuster.
Senator Paul began a filibuster of Obama's nomination of John Brennan for CIA director, when Brennan refused to unequivocally answer the question of whether the Executive Branch could order drone attacks on US citizens on American soil. The filibuster lasted 13 hours and ended only when Paul could no longer postpone a bodily function.
The rules of a US Senate filibuster are that the senator can speak as long as he remains standing at his desk. Other senators can ask prolonged questions in order to give the speaker a break, often reading from articles, books, and even the Bible. The speaker can bolt snacks like candy bars, but no provisions are made for relief otherwise. Americans know the filibuster best from the Jimmy Stewart movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
The administration openly claims the power to assassinate US citizens anywhere abroad, an extension of the rules of traditional war in which combatants behind enemy lines are legitimate targets. Like George Bush before him, Obama considers the entire world the "battlefield."
An internal administration memorandum recently leaked to the press, known as the "White Paper," caused a furor as critics questioned the positions the memo staked out, and the legality of some of its claims. The memo held that anyone suspected of being "an associated force" of Al Qaeda abroad may be killed immediately, anywhere, whether he is an imminent threat or not.
Last month White House Press Secretary Jay Carney outraged civil libertarians when he said, in response to questions about the White Paper, that drone strikes on Americans abroad who have been accused of terrorism-related activities were not in violation of US law. “These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise" Carney declared.
The claims now being made by the Obama administration, of authority to assassinate Americans even in their own country, surpass claims of executive power made by any administration before it, including Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
At the end of the filibuster, Sen. John McCain took to the Senate floor to angrily denounce Paul's parliamentary action as "ridiculous."
“To allege that the United States, our government, would drop a drone Hellfire missile on Jane Fonda, that brings the conversation from a serious discussion about U.S. policy into the realm of the ridiculous,” McCain said.
McCain had just returned from a dinner out with Obama with other Republican Senate leaders, traversing Washington in a 40-limousine caravan.
But was it ridiculous? Just last month, as a manhunt commenced for fugitive Christopher Dorner, LAPD Police Chief Charles Beck blurred the line between common-law multiple murder and "domestic terrorism," even though "terrorism" is defined as having a broader political goal. Beck invoked the laws of war into a domestic context....MORE: http://digitaljournal.com/article/345147