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Rand Paul

Rand Paul’s Filibuster, the Constitution, and National Security

From Big Government:

Congrats to Sen. Rand Paul for highlighting an important issue by using his prerogative as a U.S. senator to launch a good, old-fashioned filibuster on John Brennan’s nomination for CIA director.

As I’ve written previously, it seemed earlier that he might be off on a couple of points of constitutional law. In the rarest of circumstances, a President has power, under Article II of the Constitution, to launch a military strike on American soil—but only if that American citizen has taken up arms against his country and poses an imminent threat to American lives. He must be, legally, a military target. And it must be a situation so urgent—a Jack Bauer-type scene from 24—that there isn’t even time for federal agents to get into place to capture the terrorist.

But his overall point is correct: We are witnessing repeated power grabs by an Imperial President. And he is correct that, when non-combatants are involved (American citizens who may sympathize with terrorists but are not involved in actual or imminent attacks on our fellow citizens or homeland) the Bill of Rights applies with full force, and no President can step outside the court system under those circumstances.

But it’s different where combatants are concerned. A man who takes up arms against this country—not as a criminal but as a warrior—becomes a military target if, and only if, he is actually engaged in operations against America.

Last night, Paul made follow-up comments suggesting that, if the U.S. citizen in question actually posed an imminent threat to American lives, a President could take whatever actions were necessary to stop him. If so, we’re all on the same side of this debate.

It also must be noted that it’s hard to conceive of how such an imminent threat could happen on American soil. It happens in James Bond movies, but unless the traitor has a remote-controlled guided missile, he must approach some populated area before he can cause harm. If he’s close enough to set off a bomb, he’s probably close enough for police and federal agents to intercept him.

But enough people are supporting Rand Paul that it’s important to pick out a couple points on the margins. Most of what Paul is saying is right, but it’s worth noting where he’s saying something that many of his supporters are not, or saying something that’s wrong.

First, Paul acknowledged that the military can act in a war zone, and that we’re in war zones overseas. Some of Paul’s supporters are holding onto the idea that there has not been a legal war since World War II, and that both wars in the past quarter-century (in Iraq and Afghanistan) are unconstitutional.

Evidently, Paul disagrees (and rightly so), since a war zone only exists in a war. Not only that, but Paul sponsored legislation to de-authorize the war overseas. To end a war means that there is one currently underway, and to attempt to rescind Congress’ authorization for war means that Congress had previously authorized war, pursuant to the Declare War Clause of the Constitution.

Second, Paul said today, “I personally don’t think it would be very hard to try someone for treason.” Actually, it is extremely hard to convict someone of treason. The Constitution requires two eyewitness to the treasonous act. If you have an American-born terrorist in a foreign land, like Anwar Al-Awlaki who was hiding in Yemen and launching terrorist attacks, we could go for many years and never have eyewitnesses.

Sometimes traitors cannot be successfully convicted of treason and, ironically, it’s for a reason Rand Paul supports. It’s so no President could even try to get his political opponents convicted of treason as a trumped up charge. You must have people who actually saw the traitor take up arms against this country or directly aid those who did.

Third, Paul also referenced people who “denounced their citizenship” still deserving all the constitutional protections. Although many rights extend to all persons, whether citizens or foreigners, the United States can deal with enemies who are not citizens in a much deadlier fashion than citizens.

If someone has denounced their citizenship, then they are no longer American. It’s unclear from his comments whether Paul realizes that, or perhaps merely mispoke. It’s likewise unclear whether he recognizes the distinction between military operations and law enforcement, and between domestic and foreign operations. We’ll probably learn those things in the coming days.

But one of his points is so true it bears repeating: How do we end this war? Is this perpetual war, covering the entire globe? The Constitution gives Presidents broad powers to win a war. The idea of Presidents permanently claiming this power against an undefined enemy and then exerting those powers on our home soil is a profoundly disturbing thought — one that can endanger liberty itself for all Americans.

I’m not sure any of us know the perfect way out of that situation, though I’m sure we’re going to debate our options.

And that’s because Rand Paul was willing to actually follow through with a filibuster, and because many other senators committed to the Constitution—including other young and recent additions to the Senate, like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz—are backing that play as well.

So the Senate might have moved a step back in the direction of deserving the title of the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Listen to Rand Paul’s Passionate Speech Against the Patriot Act

From The Blaze:

Rand Paul has been vocal opponent of the Patriot Act. In fact, he held up voting on the measure in the Senate in order to make a point and introduce amendments. And on the floor of the Senate yesterday, he laid out his position in a passionate speech.

Paul eventually agreed to let the bill go forward after he was given a vote on two amendments to rein in government surveillance powers. Both were soundly defeated. The more controversial, an amendment that would have restricted powers to obtain gun records in terrorist investigations, was defeated 85-10 after lawmakers received a letter from the National Rifle Association stating that it was not taking a position on the measure.

“Well I think there are victories and then there are symbolic victories, and I think we had a symbolic victory here in the Senate in the sense that we did get to talk about some of the constitutional principles,” Paul said, according to TPM.

“23 votes against the extension of the Patriot Act are much better than zero or one,” he added. “I don’t think it came easy, I’m kind of worn out. But I consider it to be a great success that we got to debate it.”

The “constitutional principles” and “debate” came during a speech from Paul on the floor of the Senate explaining his concern for the act. He invoked everything from Thomas Jefferson to even gold and guns, and made the case that the bill is “emotional” and nearly impossible to stand up to. Listen to a montage of his remarks below:

Why Rand Paul’s Right to Compare Universal Healthcare to “Slavery”

From RedState:

Whenever someone uses the term “slavery,” you can almost hear Lefties’ heads exploding–they get so apopaleptic. Immediately, they go into a frenzy, break open their Alinsky manuals, and attempt to ridicule the person making the point.

An example of this occurred just yesterday, when Sen. Rand Paul [R-KY] stated that those who believe that health care is a “right” believe in slavery. Yep. He used the dreaded ‘S’ word and, predictably, the whacky Left went bonkers.

Of course, his comments come on the heels of Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders [I-VT] introducing a bill in the Senate for socialized medicine.

The fact of the matter is, and regardless how the Left wants to insipidly spin it, Rand Paul’s right. It is not an abstraction. It is the full realization of the principle the Left espouses when they claim there is a “right” to someone else’s labor.

Here is what Paul stated:

“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to healthcare, you have to realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me,” Paul said recently in a Senate subcommittee hearing.

“It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses,” Paul said, adding that there is “an implied use of force.”

“If I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to healthcare, you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free healthcare would be,” Paul said.

In hearing Paul’s argument, it is pretty clear that his definition of rights is that of individual rights, not collective rights, as defined here:

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.

When Rand Paul speaks of the Left’s use of the term “right” to healthcare, he is speaking about a concept where one man (or society) has the “right” to demand the labor of another. It is a collectivist argument and Paul is right to frame it as such, regardless of whether people cringe over his usage of the “S” word.

Paul is not alone in his beliefs either, as illustrated here:

The true nature of rights — the type of rights the Founding Fathers believed in — involved the right of people to pursue such things as health care, education, clothing, and food and that government cannot legitimately interfere with their ability to do so.

Thus, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as described in the Declaration of Independence, doesn’t mean that someone else is forced to provide you with the means to sustain or improve your life. It means that government cannot enact laws, rules, or regulations that interfere with or infringe upon your right to pursue such things.

There is no difference whether the collectivist is demanding his “right” to health care, a job, a house, or high speed internet–all of these are “rights,” according to today’s Left.

Ironically, for all the Left’s recent clamoring over the “right” of government workers to collectively bargain, they apparently do not see the hypocrisy in their demanding an entire profession to be under the yoke of governmental control.

Unfortunately, today, we have a society where it has become acceptable for the Left to demand as its “right” the labors of an individual* without well-deserved repudiation. However, that does not make it right.

Rand Paul is right. Health care is not a “right.”

Rand Paul Defends Tea Party on Sen. Floor: I Dare You to Come to a Rally

From The Blaze:

“It’s amazing to me to be lectured to and hear about how awful the Tea Party is.”

So began Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) defense of the Tea Party on the Senate floor yesterday. And he took off from there, inviting detractors to visit an actual rally and chastising Democrats for trying to blame the Tea Party for the delay in approving a budget bill.

“They want to blame it on the Tea Party because in their secret caucus meetings they’ve done a poll that says the Tea Party could be the villain. Call them extreme, call them all Tea Partiers, say the Tea Party has taken over the Republican Party,” he said. “Well you know what the Tea Party believes in? Good government. We Believe in balancing the budget. We believe in reducing spending.”

Earlier, he talked about the false sense of compromise. “They say that compromise is the ideal,” Paul said. “They tell the Tea Party you need to compromise. But you know what the comprise is? They want to raise your taxes. … That‘s what they’re talking about.”

He then asked a simple question about the budget wrangling: “Will the deficit be more this year than last year?”* In short, he said, yes, and the trend will continue.*

Watch the eight minute speech below:

God Bless America

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But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years. — Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

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