Tag: Rand Paul

Oct 03

The Five Minute Rule

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Over at Esquire’s Politics Blog, resident curmudgeon, Charles Pierce reminds us of his “five minute rule” with this little snippet:

If you listen to Crazy Uncle Liberty (!), Senator Aqua Buddha, or their disciples for five minutes, you find yourself nodding in agreement with almost everything they say. At precisely the 5:01 mark, however, the person to whom you’re listening will say something that detaches the entire conversation from the plane of physical reality and sends it sailing off into the ether.

As an example of the stupid that abounds, he presented a link to this video at a Rand Paul supporter’s web site.

I suppose those who signed the petition didn’t see the tee shirt. Sheesh.

The Affordable Care Act is a very flawed bill that lines the pockets of insurance companies by forcing people to purchase junk insurance that even if the premiums are low, the high out of pocket deductibles and co-pays make care unaffordable. Nor are the insured guaranteed access the treatment and medications they may need, since the bean counters can deny permission and referrals. These are facts that the government and media aren’t telling you

The only reason the right wing is trying to defund/repeal this law, which they can’t, is because they have nothing left to draw attention to themselves and try to scare people into believing that President Barack Obama is a socialist, even though has given the right wing and corporations nearly everything they’ve wanted, including the ACA. The war on the 99% continues from both sides of the aisle.

Mar 15

Congressional Game of Chicken: Filibuster Ain’t Reformed

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Here we are again, talking about filibuster reform. Despite the insistence of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), it ain’t fixed by any stretch of your imagination. It wasn’t Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and his 13 hour filibuster of CIA Director John Brennan’s nomination that set this off but the blocking of a qualified appointments by using the same cloture tactic that has been applied to stop nearly everything productive out of the Senate. The Democratic leadership has no one to blame but themselves and now they are scrambling to fix this disaster.

Top Democrats Badly Blew It on the Filibuster

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Huffington Post

Supposedly, the saving grace in all this is that in 2014 and beyond, Democrats might lose their majority in the Senate to the GOP and then they’ll need the filibuster as their weapon to hold the GOP in check from riding roughshod over the Obama administration in getting its legislative initiatives through. But this is all guesswork and sophistry in trying to predict the future. The reality is that in the two years that the Democrats hold their Senate majority until January 2015 there will be countless numbers of presidential nominations that need to be approved, and crucial legislation from budget bills to immigration reform proposals that the Obama administration and Democrats will be pushing. And even if the GOP does take majority control of the Senate in January 2015, there’s absolutely no guarantee that it won’t simply rewrite the rules to do what Reid didn’t do, and that’s sharply limit how and when the filibuster can be used. The loser would still be the Democrats, because that’s who the GOP would target. [..]

In the meantime, the filibuster with all of its terrifying potential to delay or style effective legislation and the confirmation of Obama nominees that have been trapped in limbo for months, even years, remains in full play. Here’s a final stat to drive home just how terrifying and damaging it has been. Since 2007, according to the Senate Historical Office, Democrats have had to end Republican filibusters more than 360 times. That is a record. With Obama in the White House for three more years, the GOP, thanks to the failure of top Democrat’s to do something about it, may even break that record.

Senate Dems Weigh Consequences For GOP Filibusters Of Key Nominees

by Brain Beutler, Talking Points Memo

Senate Democratic leaders have engaged in preliminary discussions about how to address Republican procedural obstruction, according to a senior Democratic aide, reflecting an awareness that key administration and judicial vacancies might never be filled, and that a watered-down rules reform deal the parties struck early this Congress has failed. [..]

The source said conversations are still too preliminary for Democrats to lay out publicly potential avenues of recourse just yet. And the last thing leaders want is to create the expectation that they will change the filibuster rules in the middle of the current Senate session. But they are occurring in the wake of a series of GOP filibusters of top nominees, including a cabinet secretary (Chuck Hagel), the CIA director (John Brennan), and a federal judicial nominee (Caitlin Halligan) whom Republicans have effectively blocked from confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for years.

Elizabeth Warren Slams Republicans For Filibustering Consumer Protection Agency Chief

by Sahil Kapur, Talking Points Memo

“From the way I see how other agencies are treated, I see nothing here but a filibuster threat against Director Cordray as an attempt to weaken the consumer agency,” she said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the CFPB nomination. “I think the delay in getting him confirmed is bad for consumers, it’s bad for small banks, it’s bad for credit unions, it’s bad for anyone trying to offer an honest product in an honest market.

“The American people,” Warren said, “deserve a Congress that worries less about helping big banks and more about helping regular people who have been cheated on mortgages, on credit cards, on student loans, on credit records.” [..]

“What I want to know is why, since the 1800s, have there been agencies all over Washington with a single director, including the OCC, but unlike the consumer agency, no one in the U.S. Senate has held up confirmation of their directors demanding that the agency be redesigned,” Warren said.

“What I want to know is why every banking regulator since the Civil War has been funded outside the appropriations process but unlike the consumer agency no one in the United States Senate has held up confirmation of their directors demanding that that agency or those agencies be redesigned.”

Now the president decides to get involved.

Obama To Senate Dems: We Need Solution To GOP’s Confirmation Filibusters

by Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo

n a closed door lunch meeting with Senate Democrats on Tuesday, President Obama expressed his frustration with Republican slow-walking and filibustering of key nominees, and urged them to address the issue, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide. [.]

The White House official said Obama “made it clear that it was a priority – particularly with judges and asked for more help identifying nominees and getting them passed.”

Though some of his supporters complain the administration has been slow to name people to fill judicial vacancies, Republicans have blocked or slow-walked the confirmation many of the people he has nominated.

Pres. Obama may may have another motivation to push for filibuster reform with the threats from Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to filibuster any cuts to entitlements.

Mar 12

The Shame of the Democrats and Progressives

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The shame of the Democrats and the so-called progressives is that it was a Tea Party Republican, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who stood up for civil liberties and the ever expanding executive power with his thirteen hour filibuster. In his article at The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald shreds the progressive Democratic myths and distortions about Sen. Paul’s filibuster and its importance.

In Glenn’s first point, he notes the lack of any empathy for the those whose rights are most abused and dismissed with an “it’s not me; it’s them” attitude.

(1) Progressives and their “empathy gap”

The US government’s continuous killing, due-process-free imprisonment, and other rights abuses under the War on Terror banner has affected one group far more than any other: Muslims and, increasingly, American Muslims. Politically, this has been the key fact enabling this to endure. Put simply, if you’re not Muslim, it’s very easy to dismiss, minimize or mock these issues because you can easily tell yourself that they don’t affect you or your family and therefore there is no reason to care. And since the vast, vast majority of Democratic politicians and progressive media commentators are not Muslim, one continuously sees this mentality shaping reaction to these issues. [..]

For a political faction that loves to depict itself as the champions of “empathy”, and which reflexively accuses others of having their political beliefs shaped by self-interest, this is an ironic fact indeed. It’s also the central dynamic driving the politics of these issues: the US government and media collaborate to keep the victims of these abuses largely invisible, so we rarely have to confront them, and on those rare occasions when we do, we can easily tell ourselves (false though the assurance is) that these abuses do not affect us and our families and it’s therefore only “paranoia” that can explain why someone might care so much about them.

Second, what Sen. Paul’s critics missed, or just blithely ignored, was that this was about the president’s claim to have the authority to assassinate an American citizen on American soil, or for that matter, anywhere else.

(2) Whether domestic assassinations are imminent is irrelevant to the debate

To focus on that attack is an absurd strawman, a deliberate distraction from the real issues, a total irrelevancy. That’s true for two primary reasons.

First, the reason this question matters so much – can the President target US citizens for assassination without due process on US soil? – is because it demonstrates just how radical the Obama administration’s theories of executive power are. Once you embrace the premises of everything they do in this area – we are a Nation at War; the entire globe is the battlefield; the president is vested with the unchecked power to use force against anyone he accuses of involvement with Terrorism – then there is no cogent, coherent way to say that the president lacks the power to assassinate even US citizens on US soil. That conclusion is the necessary, logical outcome of the premises that have been embraced. That’s why it is so vital to ask that. [..]

Second, presidents change, and so do circumstances. The belief that Barack Obama – despite his record – is too kind, too good, too magnanimous, too responsible to target US citizens for assassination on US soil is entirely irrelevant. At some point, there will be another president, even a Republican one, who will inherit the theories he embraces. Moreover, circumstances can change rapidly, so that – just as happened with 9/11 – what seems unthinkable quickly becomes not only possible but normalized.

In his third and final point, debunks the argument that this was over Holder’s first letter to Sen Paul, not that his second was any more satisfactory.

(3) Holder did not disclaim the power to assassinate on US soil

Indeed, the whole point of the Paul filibuster was to ask whether the Obama administration believes that it has the power to target a US citizen for assassination on US soil the way it did to Anwar Awlaki in Yemen. The Awlaki assassination was justified on the ground that Awlaki was a “combatant”, that he was “engaged in combat”, even though he was killed not while making bombs or shooting at anyone but after he had left a cafe where he had breakfast. If the Obama administration believes that Awlaki was “engaged in combat” at the time he was killed – and it clearly does – then Holder’s letter is meaningless at best, and menacing at worst, because that standard is so broad as to vest the president with exactly the power his supporters now insist he disclaimed.

The phrase “engaged in combat” has come to mean little more than: anyone the President accuses, in secrecy and with no due process, of supporting a Terrorist group. Indeed, radically broad definitions of “enemy combatant” have been at the heart of every War on Terror policy, from Guantanamo to CIA black sites to torture. [..]

At best, Holder’s letter begs the question: what do you mean when you accuse someone of being “engaged in combat”? And what are the exact limits of your power to target US citizens for execution without due process? That these questions even need to be asked underscores how urgently needed Paul’s filibuster was, and how much more serious pushback is still merited. But the primary obstacle to this effort has been, and remains, that the Democrats who spent all that time parading around as champions of these political values are now at the head of the line leading the war against them.

This is not a country of secret laws and courts. It is incumbent on the Congress to do its Constitutional duty to question the Executive Branch and hold it in check when it over steps its Constitutional authority.

That this president has expressed the belief that he has the authority to assassinate Americans without due process, and in fact has, should be abhorrent to every American no matter which side of the aisle you favor.  

Mar 09

Eric Holder’s Bad Week

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Between having to admit that it was too big to prosecute (TBTP) the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks, his testimony on the legality of targeted assassinations and having to clarify lethal drone attacks on Americans in America after Rand Paul’s thirteen hour filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder has not has a good week.

In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, AG Holder responded to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s concern that the “mentality of too-big-to-jail in the financial sector” was leading to the spread of terrorism (re:HSBC) with this:

HOLDER: The concern that you have raised is one that I, frankly, share. And I’m not talking about HSBC now. That (inaudible) be appropriate.

But I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.

Never mind laundering money for terrorist activity and giving it a pass, it’s all about protecting the world’s 1%. The Federal Reserve just keeps handing them $83 billion in handouts every year while Obama negotiates away Social Security and Medicare benefits at fancy dinners in Washington posh hotels with Republicans.

If they’re TBTP, then it time to break them up

Then came Kentucky’s Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s pique over Mr. Holder’s failure to answer three inquiries regarding armed drone attacks on Americans on American soil. Sen Paul’s 13 hour filibuster which at times bizarre (you try talking for that long and not sound a little weird) causing Mr. Holder to back off on his assertion that the president can do just that. In his second letter, Mr. Holder told Sen. Paul that the president would not have the authority to order a drone to kill an American citizen on U.S. soil who was “not engaged in combat.”. How nice, he can’t use drones. But AG holder can take solace, the author of the Bush administration legal memos justifying the use of torture, John Yoo, thinks thinks “President Obama is really getting too much grief over targeted killing“:

“I admire libertarians but I think Rand Paul’s filibuster in many ways is very much what libertarians do, they make these very symbolic gestures, standing for some extreme position,” said Yoo, now a UC Berkeley law professor, who once suggested it was okay for the president to order a child’s testicles be crushed. Referring to Paul’s marathon filibuster, an attempt to force the Obama administration to clarify its views on the use of military force against terror suspects in the United States, Yoo said “It sort of reminds me of young kids when they first read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged and they suddenly think that federal taxation equals slavery and they’re not going to pay any federal taxes anymore.” Yoo’s statements were made on a conference call Thursday held by the Federalist Society, an influential conservative legal organization.

Now that’s an endorsement you can take to a war crimes trial.

It is unconstitutional to target a group or an individual without due process under Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 of the Constitution which bans bills of attainder, and the Fifth Amendment.

So long as this president has a list of people he thinks can be targeted for assassination without due process, by armed drone or any other means, there are should to be questions and not just from a handful of Tea Party Libertarians. As for AG Holder, if he can’t prosecute banks or uphold the Constitution, then he should be fired, resign or impeached.

 

Nov 30

A Step in the Right Direction: Ending Indefinite Detention for US Citizens

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Shortly after President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act on December 21, 2011 a group of journalists and activist joined Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges in a lawsuit against the Obama administration asserting that the law violated free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In September U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest had blocked the disputed statute from the National Defense Authorization Act, essentially declaring it unconstitutional. That ruling was overturned in October by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It is worth noting that all of those judges were appointed by Barack Obama.

But who would have thought that Hedges and company would have an ally  in Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who along with several other senators from both sides of the aisle, filed an amendment to the current military spending bill that would bar detentions of citizens and green card-holders:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who helped write that amendment, declared Wednesday that it is not good enough, and recalled seeing Japanese Americans jailed in horse stalls at a racetrack when she was a girl.

“I believe that the time has come now to end this legal ambiguity, and state clearly, once and for all, that the AUMF or other authorities do not authorize such indefinite detention of Americans apprehended in the U.S.,” Feinstein said.

“The federal government experimented with indefinite detention of U.S. citizens during World War II, a mistake we now recognize as a betrayal of our core values,” she said. “Let’s not repeat it.” [..]

Paul, who adheres to many libertarian positions, noted that the federal government’s “fusion centers” — which are supposed to facilitate the flow of anti-terrorism information — already make recommendations that many people would find objectionable, and if carried to their logical conclusions, could provide basis for jailing just about anyone.

Paul pointed to a report from a center in Missouri: “From this fusion center comes a document that says beware of people who have bumper stickers supporting third party candidates,” Paul said. “Beware of people who believe in stricter immigration laws. Beware of people who support the right to life. They might be terrorists.

“This is an official document,” paul added. “Do we want to give up the right to trial by jury when we’re being told that somebody who keeps food in their basement might be a terrorist?”

The problem that many opponents of the indefinite detention provisions see with it is that it is especially vague, saying only that the military can grab anyone who provides “substantial support” to Al Qaeda or “associated forces.” Those terms are not defined by the law, which is being challenged in the federal courts.

Although President Obama signed the bill he had promised that he would never use it who is to say that he won’t change his mind or another president will use it to silence dissent. Considering the number of promises this president has already broken and his close friendship with Cass Sunstein, who would love nothing more that to criminalize decent, the senate needs to approve this amendment to protect the our constitutional rights.

Mar 03

DESTROY EVERYTHING: Nihilism on the “Right”

So, like many of you, I’m a politics dork . . . like a really, really big politics dork. I can hear your jaw hitting the keyboard is stricken disbelief.

A whuh?!? Can it possibly be true?

Yes, I hear you asking that, and I can see your drop-jawed, dumbfounded look of woozy shock right through this monitor. Pick your jaw off your keyboard, and brace yourself, because it really is true.

I’m a politics dork, and I’m okay with that.

Anyway, one of the functions of a politics dork is that I moderate an old-fashioned Motet forum or “world wide web chat room” (remember those?) – called the New Cafe Politics Forum.  The forum is old and only has around 20 or so participants who “chat” with any regularity, but I still go back to it because it’s one of the few places I get to interact on-line with real, honest-to-God right wing nutjobs. And no one can ban me . . . because I’m the moderator.

At any rate, during a discussion not long ago in our “Is the Reagan Reich on the Verge of Collapse?” thread, we got off-topic, as we often do, and came to a discussion about public education. We were discussing the advisability of private school vouchers paid for by taxpayers . . . an idea so stupid that even the Wrong Wingers in Indiana seem to have understood that it can’t work. But don’t get me started, this diary isn’t about vouchers.

“We know daveinchi,” you’re saying, “so far it doesn’t seem to be about much of anything.”

Follow me over the jump for the meat and/or gluten free quinoa and potatoes of this diary.  

Feb 08

Rand Paul: Smarter Than You Think..

I’ve always liked Mavericks.

No, not the kind of phony, self-appointed, faux “mavericks” like:   John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, etc, who are really nothing more than pro-War, pro-Corporatist, pro-Bankster, pro-NAFTA…..status-quo shills in disguise.

But the original thinkers, the creative minds….be it:   Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, etc. Those rare voices that aren’t afraid to tear down the Sacred Cows of U.S. Corruption and speak truth to power.  My how they stick out a mile away when they get the rare chance to debate on TV.  The truth is sometimes, well … shocking.

Well along comes freshman Senator Rand Paul, and he has already broken all the rules and published this thoughtful, and very substantive policy proposal in the Wall Street Journal.  Key Excerpts:

A Modest $500 Billion Proposal

By Rand Paul

My spending cuts would keep 85% of government funding and not touch Social Security or Medicare.

The first thing to note here is the seriousness of the proposal.  This is:

Not a $35 Billion dollar cut…Not a $50 Billion dollar cut…Not a $75 Billion dollar cut … but a $500 Billion dollar cut.  

The second and most remarkable point here is that Rand Paul has the compassion, unlike Barack Obama and his catfood for Seniors Alan Simpson run “Deficit Commission”, to leave untouched Social Security and Medicare — while focusing on the big ticket Sacred Cows that all Republicans and most all Democrats dare not speak ill of.

A $500 Billion dollar cut with Social Security and Medicare untouched!  

I’m listening…

This alone puts Barack Obama’s own “deficit cutting” efforts as both 1) pathetic in significance, and 2) on the wrong moral side of the equation by comparision.

So where does Rand Paul want to cut?  

Let us continue…..Rand?

One of Commerce Department’s main functions is delivering corporate welfare to American firms that can compete without it. My proposal would scale back the Commerce Department’s spending by 54%, and eliminate corporate welfare.

My proposal would also cut wasteful spending in the Defense Department. Since 2001, our annual defense budget has increased nearly 120%. Even subtracting the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending is up 67%. These levels of spending are unjustifiable and unsustainable.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates understands this and has called for spending cuts, saying “We must come to realize that not every defense program is necessary, not every defense dollar is sacred or well-spent, and more of everything is simply not sustainable.”

Sadly, the “Democrat” in power, Barack Obama, would never agree to cutting these Sacred Cows of government waste enumerated by Rand Paul to this degree, and instead place the focus on putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. So who’s really on the side of the American public here?

Sep 28

Ed and Bernie take on the ‘Chamber of Outsourcing’

Ed and Bernie take on the Chamber of Commerce Outsourcing …

They urge Congress to pass this Act designed to slow the pace of Outsourcing:

Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30…

WHO in the World — Does the CHAMBER work for, anyways?

Cuz it aint you and me.

Jun 09

On Balanced Budgets, Or, Hey, Rand, Why Not Show Your Cards Now?

Those who are regular visitors to this space know that I post stories across the country, and to do that I have to follow stories from a number of states.

Because I post at Kentucky’s Hillbilly Report, I’ve been paying particular attention to the Rand Paul campaign, and the news from the Bluegrass State (via “The Rush Limbaugh Show”) is that Paul’s planning to write his own balanced budget proposal for the Federal Government.

But there’s a catch.

He doesn’t plan on doing it until after the election.

Well, now, why in the world would a guy who’s running for office based on his really good ideas want to hold back the best one?

That’s not a bad question, and if we make the effort we can probably figure out the most likely answers.

May 28

Rand Paul to abolish Section 1 of 14th Amendment, ending birthright citizenship

Recently I have detailed the relationship that Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky and State Senator Russel Pearce of Arizona have with their Neo Nazi, white supremacist supporters.

That is why it was no surprise to me to learn today that Rand Paul told a Russian journalist that he opposes birth citizenship as protected under the 14th Amendment, or, as Russel Pearce calls it “anchor babies”.


   We’re the only country I know of that allows people to come in illegally have a baby and then that baby becomes a citizen. And I think that should stop also.

thinkprogress.org

Yeah, that’s called the Section 1 of the 14th Amendment

More below the fold.

May 27

Rand Paul hires Ron’s Nazi donation defender as new Campaign Manager & gets David Duke endorsement

Memo to Rand Paul, the jig is up.

A few days ago I posted about how Nazis and White Supremacists are campaigning for and donating to Rand Paul’s Senatorial campaign


   Paul named a former campaign consultant Jesse Benton as campaign manager for the November election. Benton worked for Paul’s father, Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, when he ran for president in 2008.

usatoday.com

   Now here is the juicy part. It turns out that Jesse Benton was the guy who was the lead point man in issuing the non rejection of Ron Paul’s Nazi donation that he received from Don Black, who is notorious as an ex KKK grand wizard and founder of the white supremacist website Stormfront.org

More below the fold

May 24

SCANDAL! Rand Paul MUST return Neo-Nazi funds NOW and DENOUNCE Stormfront.org

This must be seen across America.

    Stormfront.org, which was founded to support David Duke for senate by another KKK Grand Dragon, Don Black, has been promoting and contributing to Rand Paul’s moneybombs. Palling around with WhiteSupremacists much?

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

That’s a tweet from Don Black, head of the white supremacist group Stormfront.  Wow.

~snip~

So, Trey Grayson should reject donations from Republicans who voted for the bailout……..but it’s okay for Rand Paul to accept donations from Stormfront?

genuineGOPmom.blogspot.com

   I will state this loudly and clearly. Over and over at the top of my Jewish lungs.

   Rand Paul MUST return Neo-Nazi funds NOW and DENOUNCE Stormfront.org

   But he can’t.

More below the fold

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