Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Constitutuionalism of Rand Paul

How desperate are civil libertarians for support with a Democratic administration that is busily shredding the Fourth Amendment as enthusiastically as the preceding Republican presidency?  Well, some on the left are taking to show their support for a filibuster of a man whose views on civil liberties are as bad, if not worse, than President Obama's.  

First, the filibuster.  Yes, Rand Paul is opposed to Obama's neo-con nominee to the Director of the CIA John Brennan, a man every bit as odious and horrendous as his predecessors to lead one of our chief criminal government agencies.

Senator Paul has every right to use the filibuster (since it is still a Senate rule), and opposing the likes of John Brennan is a good start.  Here is Brennan's views on murdering American citizens abroad.

Note, murdering Americans is now called war and the Americans killed "terrorist combatants."  Never mind that they are not in any army, have not been accused or formally charged with a crime (and one can be charged criminally under the US federal code for terrorism).  And Brennan's idea of a 'combatant' includes the 16 year old child of an accused American terrorist (who in the case of Al-awlaki's son was murdered alongside his father by an American drone [even though it was never contended that the kid was involved in with his father's activities]).  Remember, this youngster the next time one of our bombardiers tell us we are only going after terrorists with our drone attacks.

No, to folks like John Brennan, that is killing combatants on a "hot" battlefield.

Senator Paul's opposition to this nomination is probably about the nicest thing I can concede to Rand Paul, along with his principled opposition to the NDAA of 2012, which I raged against during its passage phase last year, but the niceties end there.  Contrary to the view of those progressives calling Rand a "hero" on civil liberties, his filibuster only contests the hypothetical practice of killing an American civilian on American soil.  Here is Rand Paul himself in his speech.

Notice, none of this contrived debate has to do with what our government is really doing, which is murdering American citizens abroad.  That is because Rand Paul does not care if our government murders Americans outside our country.

Sounds like a harsh judgment?  This is Rand Paul on why the US should be allowed to round people up and imprison them for their speech.

Yes, a real believer in freedom there.  And not unlike most Republicans in this country, Senator Paul is not a fan of immigration.  Indeed, just a few months ago, Senator Paul called for ending all legal immigration into the US for at least the next decade, if not longer.

And even though he initially claimed to oppose racial profiling, here is Rand Paul (just last year) supporting the government's use of racial profiling on Arab students in the US.  Here is Senator Paul in his own words.

Paul : And I don't think the random pat-downs are making us any safer. I want to know where the Middle Eastern students are that are here visiting our country. Are they in class, are they going to class, if they get on a plane. If you've been to Yemen twice in the last six months, I want to know who you are and know more about your travel. But most American citizens need to go through a relatively easy security process that's not too invasive and doesn't take away our dignity.

And what about Paul's other views on civil liberties and civil rights?  Senator Paul wants to eliminate civil rights and voting rights laws, as he believes them to be onerous on states' rights, even if that means allowing states (like his own) attempt to further restrict access to the ballot for people who do not like Rand Paul.

You might think that this is being overly critical of him.  After all, he is a libertarian, not a far-right racist who wants to expressly target black people.  Well, just ask Rand Paul how best to battle against racial segregation, because according to the Senator from Kentucky the late Martin Luther King, Jr. had it all wrong.  You see, laws are socialist in nature (except when racially profiling non-whites at airports, banning speech that you do not like, and using the power of the state to outlaw abortion and gay marriage [all positions that Paul has taken over the years]), when what we need to do is battle racism with the sweet invisible hand of the market.

Again, I will allow the Senator to speak for himself.

This is in spite of the fact the political and cultural market of the white South back then (and probably still would) overwhelmingly supported racial segregation, no matter how economically irrational it was.  But hey, at least he did not say black people should have their cafes blown up with drones.  To reiterate, Senator Paul thinks that businesses who want to discriminate against you because of your race or gender should be legally allowed to do so.  And if states want to restrict your access to the ballot, well, you should form a corporation, pay for a lobbyist, and use the market-based concept of private pressure to get white people to stop discriminating against you.  Because we all know that if there is one thing white racist people in the US lack, it is an appreciation for capitalism!!

So, if you had any doubts as to what type of hero Rand Paul is to the Constitution, now you know.  Outside of drones on American soil (which has not happened yet) and the NDAA of 2012, he is not much of a hero at all.  The only difference between a Rand Paul and Barack Obama or the average Republican member of Congress today is the degree to which he thinks the Constitution should be violated, not whether it should be violated at all.

All of the aforementioned notwithstanding, it is truly a sad sign on the spinelessness of those liberals in the Democratic Party (save for Ron Wyden) that it takes someone like Rand Paul to be doing what they should have done when President Obama nominated this homicidal sociopath to be Director of the CIA.  For that, progressives only have themselves to blame.  By not holding Obama and people in his own party morally and ideologically accountable, this is why someone like a President Obama can jettison you and treat you like electoral suckers with nowhere else to go.  That is not the fault of Rand Paul.  That is the fault of the cowardice of the Democratic Party.  To that ends, bravo to Rand Paul for being right at least once.  That is more than I can say for those progressives who ignored or vacillated in continuing to support the worst offenses of this administration.

In fact, when Obama nominated John Brennan last month, the liberals' response was to be upset and promise to make his day uncomfortable.  Not to filibuster, not to block.  No, that would be impolite.  Just to express their disapproval by crossing their arms for two minutes and holding their breaths.  

And you wonder why liberals cannot get the leadership of the Democratic Party to listen to us?  You wonder why the corporate wing of the party sells out on the public option on healthcare, continues to support a regime in Israel every bit as racist as South Africa under apartheid?  Because the leadership of the Democratic Party does not care about you.  And until progressives get that through our thick skulls and begin practicing some of the methods of the tea partiers in holding our preferred party accountable, we will continue to be so desperate and pathetic as to wait for a Rand Paul to come along and do what we should have done four weeks ago.

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