Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mr Paul Goes To Washington- Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) Launches 12 Hour Filibuster to Hold Up Nomination of Brennan to CIA

Aided by colleagues in the US Senate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul ended a nearly 13 hour filibuster in an attempt to hold up the nomination of John Brennan to the CIA Director's post in the early morning hours of Thursday. At issue was limits to the President's authority to use drone strikes to kill Americans. Earlier in the day, Attorney General Eric Holder did not rule out using aerial drone strikes to kill American citizens on US soil during questioning before the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday.

After Holder's testimony, Sen Paul vowed that he would do what we could to hold up Brennan's nomination until the Committee recieved clarity from the White House on their policy on using drone strikes against American nationals.
Business in the Senate ground to a halt Wednesday as Paul -- aided by colleagues from both parties -- launched into the filibuster as he tried to hold up the nomination over concerns about the president’s authority to kill Americans with drones.

Paul's filibuster was at least two hours longer than most in U.S. history, as most flame out around 10 hours. Paul finished speaking around 12:40 a.m. local time, and his filibuster lasted 12 hours and 52 minutes.

"My legs hurt. My feet hurt. Everything hurts right now," Paul told Fox News shortly after stepping off the Senate floor, saying he believes "we did the best that we could."

"I would be surprised if we didn’t hear back from the White House," Paul said.

In a show of support, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to the Senate floor and congratulated Paul for his "tenacity and for his conviction." McConnell also called Obama's choice of Brennan a "controversial nominee."

Paul is one of several lawmakers -- on both sides of the aisle -- who has raised concerns about the legal justification for launching drone strikes against Americans overseas. But Paul took to the floor after receiving a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder that creaked open the door to the possibility of using a drone to kill an American inside the United States.

“To allow one man to accuse you in secret -- you never get notified you've been accused,” Paul said on the floor. “Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?”

Paul said he’d be raising the same complaints under a Republican president.

“No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country,” he said.
Neither Holder or Brennan would explicitly rule out drone strikes against American nationals on US soil in earlier questioning on the matter. Paul was eventually aided by other Senate colleagues including Ted Cruz, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen Tim Scott (R-SC), Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR). At one point, Cruz was reading aloud tweets in support of the Kentucky Senator. Paul offered to end the filibuster in exchange for a nonbinding resolution regarding drone strikes on US citizens on American soil, but Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) objected to allowing a vote, so Paul continued. He eventually finished speaking at 12:40 ET on Thursday morning, with the filibuster lasting 12 hours and 52 minutes.

Rand Paul's filibuster was the first significant challenge to Obama by Senate Republicans since the president was being sworn in back in January 2009

The concerns over using drones against American civilians comes as the Department of Homeland Security announced the purchase of more than 21 million hollowpoint rounds on top of 2 billion rounds purchased in the last year. The government explained the purchase by saying that- like many other commodities- they got a better deal when they purchased ammunition in bulk [however, keep in mind that one doesn't merely target shoot with hollowpoints- NANESB!]. However, in addition to the bulk ammunition purchases the DHS also announced the acquisition of more than 2700 armored MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles over the weekend.

Also on Wednesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report cautioning that membership in 'extremist' anti-government groups is approaching an all time high. However, like the Department of Homeland Security, the SPLC has a fairly broad definition of 'extremists', lumping pro-life groups, veterans, Tea Party chapters or pro-gun organizations in the same category as neo-nazis and Ku Klux Klan while omitting militant organizations like the New Black Panther Party from their dire warnings about domestic terrorism.

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