Quick links, pre-Christmas Eve edition

Victorian posy of pansiesI have a legal memo to write, so of course I had to check out all sorts of stuff on the internet first.  Here’s a quick run-down.

The Left loves to talk about McCarthyism.  The Left also loves to practice McCarthyism.  John O’Sullivan reminds us that GLAAD’s approach to the Robertson clan is a perfect example of the old-fashioned blacklist:  destroying the livelihood of those who hold that wrong belief system.  Whether you’re a baker, or a photographer, or a TV figure, if you don’t support gay marriage, plan to be driven to the poor house.  It was a bad idea in the 1950s, and it’s a bad idea now.

Not only did Glenn Reynolds write his usual great USA Today column (this one about Obama’s bad 2013 and the probability that 2014 will be worse), but he opened with a Soviet-era joke.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most Soviet-era jokes need few or no changes to work in Obama’s America.

I’ve spoken before at this blog about the execrable Peter Singer, who holds an endowed chair at Princeton, who is the intellectual father of PETA, and who believes parents should have a 30 day window within which to euthanize handicapped newborns.  (Never mind that those handicaps may hide brilliant minds and powerful souls.)  I thought of Singer when I read Matt Walsh’s powerful post about the chasm between those who understand that we must support life and those who embrace death (the deaths of others, of course; never of themselves).

Rand Paul gets an A+++ for his wonderful embrace of Festivus.  If you haven’t read the stream of tweets he sent out, you must.  They’re clever, charming, and very on point.  As a political move, Paul couldn’t have done better.

Yes, Obamacare drives up the cost of health insurance for the middle class.  But if you’re a member of the middle class who’s upset about the costly lies Obama told you (less money! same doctors!), apparently you should quit your whining.  You are merely a sacrifice to the greater good.

Beware that, if the Muslim nations have their way, it will henceforth be illegal to mention Muslims’ propensity for violence or any of the other less savory aspects of their faith. Of course, such a law will simply put a legal gloss on what’s already happening.  After all, hasn’t the administration told us repeatedly that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence,” while the Benghazi massacre was a film review run amok?  No Muslims here.  Just move along.

The headlines proclaim that Obama signed up for Obamacare.  Except that he didn’t — as with everything else about Obamacare, Obama and his team are lying to us again.

Your opinions about Rand Paul, please

I was listening to a few seconds of Rand Paul on Sean Hannity’s radio show today.  I haven’t been following his recent drone kerfuffle very closely, but his explanation of his drone statement the other day sounded reasonable.  According to Rand, he’s never said that drones cannot be used to stop a violent crime or dangerous situation as it’s happening.  To him, the drones  can appropriately be used as just another weapon in the policeman’s arsenal when dealing with an imminent crisis — as, for example, the shoot-out with the Tsarnaevs.  He still believes that drones should not be used to spy on American soil, nor should they be used for exterminating people who are not imminent threats.

Often (not always,  but often), I find that Paul makes sense.  When I mentioned this to a very politically knowledgeable friend of mine, he said “Don’t be fooled.  He’s still is father’s son.”

In other word, rather than Rand being the reasonable evolution of his father, eschewing the anti-Israel/antisemitism/Trutherism/etc. that characterizes Ron and having a better understanding generally of the real world, Rand is a Trojan Horse.  His beliefs are identical to his father’s, says my friend, only they’re being carefully hidden as he lays the groundwork for the White House.  Certainly, Rand has shown that he has a real flair for the theatrics necessary to make a noise in modern politics. He’s also articulate, which is a refreshing change after the verbal stumbles that seemed to characterize both McCain and Romney, neither of whom was a good speaker, whether on TelePrompter or off.

If Rand Paul can allay the concerns of mainstream Republicans, the Tea Party, and his father’s fans, he will be a formidable political presence in a few years. That’s why it’s very important to know what he stands for:  is a more moderate version of his Dad, or is he just hiding his true colors because it suits his purposes to do so?

Do you have any knowledge about Rand Paul or any opinions about his politics?  I’d be very interested in hearing what you have to say.

Burning the candle at both ends, but let’s talk about Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

Does anyone study Edna St. Vincent Millay anymore?  I don’t recall reading her at school myself, but I’ve always liked this little rhyme:

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.

Split personality

I’m hoping my candle lasts the night, but I have to admit to being tired. Lord alone knows how, but my candle ended up with more than just two ends. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working full time, interrupted by taking my Mom to the doctor, playing host to my sister for several days (she was a lovely guest), taking care of my family, and having surgery. Pretty soon I’m going to develop some sort of dissociative disorder, because I’m functioning only by convincing myself that I’m having out-of-body experiences, and that it’s not really me trying to juggle all this stuff.

I know this will all get easier.  My surgery is a thing of the past, my sister’s delightful visit is over, and the Mr. Conservative work is pacing itself better, but I still have this kind of vibrating anxiety following me around, since the clock is definitely not my friend.  I keep waiting for some deux ex machina to emerge abruptly from backstage and save me from myself.

One of the things I haven’t had time for is leisurely blog and online newspaper reading.  I’ve been so busy chasing specific headlines, I haven’t pursued my own interests.  In a way, it’s rather nice, because the objects of my interest depress me.  I do believe that the Obama administration has reached its tipping point.  The bloom is off the rose, the media is no longer protecting him for the next election, and his sins (and his administration’s) are starting to find him out.  Still, considering how powerful he is, I worry that his downfall will also be our downfall.

So let’s talk about something more cheerful (perhaps) than Obama.

What do you think of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz?

I have to admit that I am finding Rand Paul very intriguing.  The same goes for Ted Cruz.  I’ve promised myself that I won’t fall in love with a potential candidate this early in the game, but I’m certainly keeping an eye on these two.  Ted Cruz is the intellectual side of the new conservativism, one that is somewhat libertarian in nature, while Rand Paul is the theatrical side.  I tend to lean libertarian, but I disliked Ron Paul’s patent Israel hatred.  Rand Paul has gone out of his way to try to show that he’s a friend to Israel.  I don’t know if this is what he truly feels or a clever theatrical posture, but it’s a smart tactic.

So I ask again what you think of these two men who are big on the constitution, big on individual freedom, big on cost-cutting, unafraid of the Progressive establishment (especially the media), and, in Paul’s case, savvy enough to outflank the media?

 

 

The media’s approach to Rand Paul’s filibuster: pretend it never happened *UPDATED*

Yesterday, Rand Paul embarked upon a nearly 12-hour-long standing filibuster.  The filibuster’s ostensible purpose and practical effect was to delay a vote on John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA.  It’s real purpose, though, was to force Attorney General Eric Holder to answer a straightforward question:  “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”

Paul posed this question because, on Monday, in a letter responding to questions Paul had about the drone program on American soil, Eric Holder had written that the President could order a drone strike on American citizens in America, if there was a 9/11 situation.  Thus, Holder confined his answer to the President’s power in the event of actual combat on American soil.  Eric refused to respond to Paul’s follow-up question about a non-combat scenario.

So Paul filibustered, and filibustered, and filibustered.

During his epic speech, in the course of which he even quoted Alice in Wonderland, Paul came up with some liberty-oriented bon mots that will forever enter the conservative playbook:

“They shouldn’t just drop a Hellfire missile on your cafe experience.”

“If you give up your rights now, don’t expect to get them back.”

[A hypothetical question to President Obama:]  “So you can murder anyone you want, anywhere, any time?”

Paul not only managed to derail the scheduled vote for John Brennan, he forced Eric Holder to answer his question.  Today, Eric Holder issued what is probably the world’s shortest letter ever written by a lawyer:

Rand Paul won -- Holder gave him his answer

During his filibuster odyssey, Paul demonstrated that he is a lucid speaker, who still managed to make sense after almost twelve hours on his feet.  No wonder the Young Gun Republicans in the Senate soon rallied to his cause.  (And no wonder the Old Gun Republicans went off to enjoy an expensive dinner with Barack Obama.)

In one staggering feat, Rand Paul demonstrated he is contender material for the 2016 presidential election.  Those who have been paying attention know that he has been angling in that direction for some months now, both by speaking up for Tea Party interests and by trying to convince both conservative and Progressive Jews alike that he does not share the disdain his father, Ron Paul, seems to feel for Israel.

These plays, however, were inside baseball stuff, with only political junkies paying attention to Paul’s Tea Party and Jewish outreach.  The general public, including the conservative-leaning general public, was not paying much attention.

That all changed yesterday, with Paul’s filibuster.  He really did channel Jimmy Stewart, in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington:  He was boyish look, deeply committed to the cause of truth and liberty, and still making sense after hours of talking.  Moreover, unlike Stewart, who was merely acting, Paul was really doing this.  The conservative side of the internet went wild.  This was Paul’s moment.  This was when he catapulted himself into being a national player.  Now the world — or, if not the world, America — will know that there is someone with political substance aiming to challenge Hillary’s almost inevitable 2016 run.

Except that’s not what happened.

Instead, of reporting honestly about one man’s impressive performance in the United States Senate, the mainstream, drive-by media did what it does best:  it pretended Paul’s epic filibuster never happened.  In some of the nation’s main newspapers, his dramatic stand for individual liberty didn’t even make the front page or, if it did, it was buried within another story about Senate business or was the subject of an attack about his being a dangerous loose cannon.

I hereby give you exhibits A, B, C, and D.  The print is small in all of these front page captures, but it’s still large enough for you to see what’s missing — any mention, especially approving mention, of Paul’s epic stand:

New York Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
Washington Post buries Rand Paul filibuster
Los Angeles Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
San Francisco Chronicle buries Rand Paul filibuster

The above front pages from some of the dominant newspapers in America provide a textbook example of mainstream media control over political dialogue in America. The media’s playbook is simple: For Democrats, elevate good stories and bury bad ones. For Republicans, elevate bad stories and bury good ones.

Because the drive-by media is no longer interested in reporting news, but only cares about obtaining outcomes, it is up to us — the Citizen Information Army, a CIA we hope John Brennan will never control — to offset the media hegemony.  We do this by elevating good stories about the Republicans and reporting on bad stories about the Democrats. We have our orders now. Let’s march!

UPDATE:  Don Quixote, who’s more aware of television than I am, told me that the Today Show this morning did do a fairly superficial segment on the filibuster.  Let’s hope it was better than CNN’s coverage.  Ed Driscoll caught the fact that, while CNN did provide some reporting the filibuster, including commentary from Reason’s Mike Rig, it still let its bias shine through.  Check out the chyron CNN applied to the tape of Paul talking:

Media Bias

Although subtle, Ed notes that these things matter: “[T]he Chyron is likely the only thing the now-proverbial low-information voter will take from Paul’s historic filibuster.”

Rand Paul Defends Constitution – Mounts Filibuster Against Drone Use *UPDATED*

RandFilibuster

It’s an iconic moment in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: a young, earnest Jimmy Stewart filibusters for hours, to the point of physical collapse, in order to prevent the Senate from passing an utterly corrupt piece of legislation.  Rand Paul took a page from this classic piece of Hollywood Americana and made it real.  As the Washington Times reported:

After years in the shadows, the administration’s secret drone program burst into very public view Wednesday with lawmakers grilling the attorney general over legal justification for targeted killings and Sen. Rand Paul launching an old-style one-man filibuster to demand answers from President Obama.

The Kentucky Republican held the floor for hours, effectively blocking a vote on the nomination of John O. Brennan, whom Mr. Obama has tapped to be CIA director. He said he would relent only if the administration publicly vowed not to target Americans on U.S. soil.

As Paul’s filibuster picked up speed, private emails, tweets, and Facebook posts flooded Mr. Conservative’s airways.  By the end of Paul’s epic 12 hour and 50 minute filibuster, which included reading from Alice in Wonderland, the verdict was in:

“History is being made.  Are you watching?” — private email

“I stand with Rand. What a country!” — Facebook post

“Rand Paul is starting to look like an important figure in history.” — Facebook post

“Thank you, SenRandPaul for literally standing up for liberty!” — tweet from John Maniscalco ‏@JohnRManiscalco

“Rand Paul. Stud. #StandWithRand” — tweet from Kurt Schlichter ‏@KurtSchlichter

“Rand Paul schooled the Senate and the country tonight.” Laura Ingraham ‏@IngrahamAngle

That sampling of just six highly approving statements comes from a pool of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of tweets and Facebook posts generated by delighted conservatives.

When Paul began his marathon run on the Senate floor, jaded politicians were unimpressed by what even Republicans viewed as a bit of political showboating.  After three hours, though, Republicans realized that they’d better get on the train or get out of the way.  One after another, they pledged their support to Paul as they made their way to the Senate floor.

Rand Paul

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was the first to get on board.  “Americans have every reason to be concerned any time the government wants to intrude on life, liberty or prosperity.  We’re talking here about the sanctity of human life.”

Lee was soon joined by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).  to his credit, Democrat Ron Wyden (Ore.) added his stamp of approval to Paul’s efforts, saying he “appreciated” that Paul was attempting to draw attention to the issue.

The issue in question is the fact that the Obama administration has given itself permission to use drones on American soil, in situations both real and hypothetical.  In response to a letter Paul sent him asking about drone use on American soil, Attorney General Eric Holder had conceded that there were hypothetical situations in which the executive office would have the right and the power to use a drone attack against an American citizen on American soil:

As members of this Administration have previously indicated, the U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. As a policy matter, moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. . . .

The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront. it is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstances in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.

Were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the President on his scope and authority.

Paul was not appeased by Holder’s statement that the president would use drones to executive people on American soil only in the event of a 9/11 type attack — that is, if the war was brought to America, rather than America heading overseas to a war.  Instead, Paul insisted that said he would only stop his filibuster when the president or Attorney General Eric Holder “put that in words” that they “will not kill non-enemy combatants” inside the United States.

Cliff notes version of drone debate

Although Paul did not get such a statement from either the president or Holder, he did manage to derail Sen. Leader Harry Reid’s plan to go forward with the vote on John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA. After five hours, Reid gave up and terminated proceedings for the day. He expressed the hope that a vote on Brennan could go forward on Thursday.

Conservatives are very dubious about Brennan’s nomination. During hearings, he showed himself to be both more intelligent and more capable than either John Kerry, who is now Secretary of State, or Chuck Hagel, who is now Secretary of Defense.

Brennan’s loyalties, however, are suspect. He spent many years in Saudi Arabia and seems to be almost too comfortable with that country, to the point that a rumors circulated claiming that he is a convert to Islam. To the extent that conservatives side with Israel, which is a free, and democratic society that strongly supports America, while Brennan’s allegiance seems to be to a series of Middle Eastern tyrannies that are extremely hostile to America, as well as to women, gays, Bahais, Christians, Jews, atheists, etc., having Brennan serve as head of the CIA is suboptimal.

Rand Paul filibusters Nobel Prize winners drone policy

The last time the Senate saw this type of “speaking” filibuster was in 2010 when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Ver.) held the floor for eight hours protesting legislation aimed at extending the Bush-era tax cuts. In defense of the fact that he lasted almost five hours less than Paul, Sanders is (and was then) a much older man.

It remains to be seen whether Paul’s heroics will have any effect on Brennan’s ultimate nomination (which most Republicans concede will happen whether they like it or not) or on the administration’s putative right to use drones on American soil. What is certain is that he has greatly raised his profile with American conservatives, libertarians and, possibly, undecideds.

Although he hasn’t said so explicitly, Paul has made no secret of the fact that he is eying a presidential run in 2016. He’s tried to position himself as the main Washington D.C. spokesman for Tea Party interests (small government conservativism) and has worked hard to allay conservative Jews’ fears that he shares his father’s (Ron Paul’s) apparent dislike for Israel — a dislike that attracted an unnerving number of neo-Nazi types to Ron Paul’s failed presidential bid.  If Paul is looking to bolster himself in conservative eyes, today’s performance, which challenged an administration that is greedy for executive power and generally expanded government, was a very good start.

It's right for the government to kill American citizens

(Written by Bookworm; originally posted at Mr. Conservative.)

UPDATE: Power Line suggests that there may be more than a little (extreme) libertarian opportunism in Paul’s filibuster. Having read what they have to say. Paul made wonderful points about liberty and small government, but he made those points in the service of the wrong cause.