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Real Wisdom In Rand Paul’s Filibuster Freestyling

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Unread 03.11.13, 06:14 AM
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Real Wisdom In Rand Paul’s Filibuster Freestyling

03.10.13 09:01 PM

Since coming into use in the mid-1800s, Senate filibusters can, and have, been filled with crazy ephemera to draw out their length. Huey Long read Cajun recipies; Al D’Amato sang and read the phone book; Strom Thurmond read other States’ election laws.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said a lot of things Wednesday when he took the Senate floor to get his drone question answered. Over the course of 13 hours, he had to repeat himself a lot, and he filled plenty of time by tediously expounding on his vision of the importance of civil liberties in the United States.

But he didn’t read from the phone book, and he didn’t offer 100 ways to make gumbo. In fact, the more he delved into the “whys” and “hows” of his argument — one that sought a guarantee from the Administration of President Barack Obama that Americans would never, without due process, become drone targets at home — the more opportunities he gave himself to offer true, definitive articles of faith for a Libertarian reading of the U.S. Constitution.

Like these:

An Individual Has The Right…
This is not something that is good for the country. And by relinquishing the power of Congress, we relinquish something very fundamental to our republic, which is the checks and balances that we should have; checks and balances to help and try to prevent one body – or one part of the three parts of government – from obtaining too much power…the bipartisanship that we have now, which many in the media fail to understand, they see us not getting along on taxes and on spending, but they fail to understand that on something very important – on whether or not an individual has a right to a trial by jury, whether an individual has the right to not be detained indefinitely, that there is quite a bit of bipartisanship.

Alarm Bells Should Go Off…
Alarm bells should go off when people tell you that the battlefield’s in America. Why? Because when the battlefield’s in America, we don’t have due process. What they’re talking about is they want the laws of war. They call it the laws of war. Another way to put it is to call it martial law. That’s what they want in the United States when they say the battlefield is here… When people tell you that America is a battlefield, when they tell you that the battlefield is here, realize what they are telling you. They are telling you your Bill of Rights don’t apply…

We Shouldn’t Give Up [on due process] easily…
Certain things rise above partisanship. And I think your right to be secure in your person, the right to be secure in your liberty, the right to be tried by a jury of your peers — these are things that are so important and rise to such a level that we shouldn’t give up on them easily.

We Can’t Have War That Has No Temporal Limits…
War is war. War is hell. But we can’t have perpetual war. We can’t have war that has no temporal limits, and we can’t then have war that is a part of our daily life in our country, that we’re going to say from now on in our country you really don’t have the protections of the Bill of Rights.

Power Itself Is Intoxicating…
They [new Presidents] see the power that the presidency has. It’s enormous. They see themselves as good people, and they say I can’t give up any power because I’m going to do good with that power. The problem they don’t see is that the power itself is intoxicating, and the power someday may be in the hands of someone else who is less inclined to use it in a good way. I think that’s why the power grows, and grows, and grows: because everybody believes themselves to be doing the right thing.

Has The Presidency So Transformed Him That He Has Forgotten What He Stood For?
I’m a Republican. I didn’t vote or support the President either time, but I admired him, particularly in 2007 when he ran. I admired his ability to stand up and say we won’t torture people – that’s not what America does. How does the President’s mind work, though? The President that seemed so honorable; seemed so concerned with our rights; seemed so concerned with the right not to have your phone be tapped, now says he’s not concerned with whether you can be killed without a trial. The leap of logic is so fantastic as to boggle the mind. Where is the Barack Obama of 2007? Has the Presidency so transformed him that he has forgotten his moorings, forgotten what he stood for? Civil libertarians once expected more from the president.

Barack Obama of 2007 would be right down here with me arguing against this drone strike program if he were in the Senate. It amazes and disappoints me how much he has actually changed from what he once stood for.

Due Process – It’s Not Always Easy To Sort Out The Details Of Who Is A Threat…
The Fifth Amendment protects you – it protects from you a king placing you in the tower, but it also should protect from you a President that might kill you with a drone. We were granted due process – it’s not always easy to sort out the details of who is a threat.

The Majority Doesn’t Get To Decide Whom We Execute…
He [the President] was elected by a majority, but the majority doesn’t get to decide whom we execute.

Our Rights Are Gradually…Slipping Away…
Our rights are gradually eroding. I think they are gradually slipping away from us. I think the understanding of the Constitution as a document that restrains your government, that restrains the size and scope of your government has been lost on a lot of people, and I think it’s something we shouldn’t give up on …

…When we’re talking about changing the way that we adjudicate guilt, changing the way we decide someone’s life or death, it’s too important just to say, “Oh, Mr. President, go ahead and do it and as long as you tell me you have no intent of breaking the law or no intent of killing Americans…”

It just simply isn’t enough.

The Bill Of Rights…I think We Give Up Too Easily…
Can you imagine with all the checks and balances of our court system, which I think is the best in the entire world…sometimes you can still get it wrong. If we can get it wrong in the best system in the world, do you think one politician might get it wrong? But you will a never know, because nobody is told who is going to be killed. It is a secret list.

So how do you protest? How do you say, “I’m innocent?” How do you say, “Yes, I email with my cousin who lives in the Middle East, and I didn’t know he was involved in that?” Do you not get a chance to explain yourself in a court of law before you get a hellfire missile dropped on your head? So I think that really, it just amazes me that people are so willing and eager to throw out the Bill of Rights and just say, “Oh, that’s fine. You know, terrorists are a big threat to us. And, you know, I am so fearful that they will attack me that I’m willing to give up my rights; I’m willing to give up on the Bill Of Rights? I think we give up too easily.

You’re Not Allowed To Smoke…
If we believe [President Obama] to be a good man who would never kill noncombatants in a cafe in Houston, sitting out in a sidewalk cafe, smoking — oh, that’s right; you’re not allowed to smoke cigarettes anymore.

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