This Is All It Took

Eric Holder has responded to Rand Paul’s filibuster, and Paul now declares that he is “happy with the answer”. Here’s Holder’s entire response:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.

The burning question of our time has been answered. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and move on.

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167 replies
  1. 1
    srv says:

    I didn’t get my taco.

  2. 2
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m glad that’s the answer, but I’m kind of surprised it’s the answer, because I thought the prevailing view was that nothing could hinder the president’s powers in the context of a war.

  3. 3
    ericblair says:

    @srv:

    I didn’t get my taco.

    You’re better off: it’s probably got horse in it. Actually, horse is probably a lot more expensive per pound than what they’re actually using, so who knows what’s in it.

  4. 4
    Tone in DC says:

    Maybe that response will get that gransdtanding asshole to finally shut up, but I doubt it.

    Between Paul and Graham, the Senate is worse than worthless right now.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’m glad that’s the answer, but I’m kind of surprised it’s the answer, because I thought the prevailing view was that nothing could hinder the president’s powers in the context of a war.

    Prevailing view by whom? I’m confused.

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    Thank goodness. Now I can go back to being a mindless OBot.

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, Paul grandstanded for 13 hours so he could get Holder to repeat what he said during his testimony: the US would only use a drone inside US borders if there was an actual Pearl Harbor or 9/11 type of attack.

    Gosh, he’s such a hero.

    (ETA: corrected for correctness)

  8. 8
    mistermix says:

    @FlipYrWhig: The important part of the question is “not engaged in combat”, i.e., not part of a war. Holder gave up nothing in this response.

  9. 9
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Prevailing view by executive branches throughout history.

  10. 10
    boss bitch says:

    Holder, Obama and Rand are all laughing right now. Each muttering, “these stupid motherfuckers.”

  11. 11
    AxelFoley says:

    @ericblair:

    You’re better off: it’s probably got horse in it. Actually, horse is probably a lot more expensive per pound than what they’re actually using, so who knows what’s in it.

    After last night’s thread, we all now know it could have a gun in it, too.

  12. 12
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mistermix: right, but, to split hairs like I was doing on the last thread, what if there was a James Bond villain kind of deal where the henchmen were actively using violence but the mastermind was in an isolated fortress doing nothing except giving orders? I guess that guy would be “engaged in combat” indirectly rather than directly? At any rate, I feel like we already knew this.

  13. 13
    General Stuck says:

    Dumbasses question was answered before he tied up senate business for a day with his little glibertarian pep rally. He had a written speech and ever thing, the show had to go on

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    Anybody know anything about Rand Paul supposedly going back and saying that he DOES approve of drones after all, under extreme circumstances? I couldn’t find it on Twitter or on CNN, though given the way the media’s treating him as the heroic darling of the hour, it’s no surprise that they wouldn’t have that up.

  15. 15
    Waynski says:

    Too bad the media only cover the grandstanding. I’m not against the drone program in principle, but the lack of oversight and transparency is really troubling. When they talk about sources and methods, I understand the need for secrecy for agents and informants, but what if we’re actually getting target information from the Afghani, Pakistani, and Yemeni governments? That raises a lot of questions.

    Could those governments be using us to kill their political enemies rather than terrorists? Of course they condemn us in public, but yet do nothing to stop us. The Iranians shot down a drone. Why couldn’t these governments? And if Butters and McGrumpy are publicly defending it, that makes me suspicious there’s a lot more going on here.

  16. 16
    Ash Can says:

    And Rand Paul can finally go to the potty now.

  17. 17
    Shalimar says:

    Please no one tell him that militia members fighting to protect their second amendment rights probably count as “in combat”.

  18. 18
    Tone in DC says:

    I normally can spell “grandstanding”. Really.

    And it seemed more like days than just 13 hours. Admittedly, two minutes of Randian Paul is far too much. Maybe he and Yertle can golf and powwow for a few months, say, somewhere in Iceland, and circle back to the Hill in October.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    IIRC, I think that’s been the prevailing view by executive branches (see also Lincoln and habeas corpus), but I don’t think the other two branches have usually agreed.

    I know people are tired of me riding this pony, but the problem is Congress. Not just the Republicans in Congress or the conservative Democrats in Congress, but the whole fucking thing. It’s ground to a halt and they’ve completely abdicated their Constitutional responsibility to oversee the executive branch. I don’t want the executive branch to monitor itself — I want Congress to do its fucking job and monitor it.

  20. 20
    Emma says:

    @FlipYrWhig: You answered your own question: in the context of war. IF there were to be armed insurrection within the United States, i.e. engaged in combat, the government would feel if had the right to use all the weapons at its disposal. If not, not.

  21. 21
    bemused says:

    We can move on? If only we could. It is always something idiotic or sociopathic or both. It just never stops.

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:

    Alas, no. Rand Paul’s not really seeking an answer to his question, is he? Having failed to prevent Obama’s re-election, his party has settled for obstructing the Obama administration just for the hell of it.

    To justify his next filibuster, he will find something else to inflate into a burning question of our time. He won’t care that it could be answered in one word, any more than he did this time.

  23. 23
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris: regular poster “Hill Dweller” had something about that on a relatively recent thread, I think.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mistermix: to be fair, there was nothing much in Rand Paul’s question. I thought yesterday that this stunt and the incoherence that inspired it were based on Son of Ron’s (Crazy Cousin Liberty?) loose relationship with logic and reality, but I think now that Lawrence O’Donnell was right, this was a fund- and profile-raiser. I think Paul Jr is like Palin, stupid, but not without a certain canny political instinct. He could be a spoiler in ’16

  25. 25
    General Stuck says:

    And in the meantime, Balloon Juice poured a bucket of Aqua Buddha piss all over itself. nice work gang.

  26. 26
    cmorenc says:

    @mistermix:

    The burning question of our time has been answered.

    No, the burning question now is whether Paul and Holder will celebrate their new-found mutual understanding by lighting up and sharing a huge doober in a private yard somewhere in Georgetown.

  27. 27
    Culture of Truth says:

    This reminds of when the cat is the middle of the room meowing and I have to guess if he wants food or milk and it turns out he wanted the window open. He gets it and looks at me like, now was that so hard?

  28. 28
    Tone in DC says:

    @boss bitch:

    You ascribe an amount of wit to Paul in your comment. What’s that phrase… this “assumes facts not in evidence”?

    And, Congress is too busy shaking down everyone in sight for campaign/slush funds to actually do its job.

  29. 29
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Agreed. I said on Edroso’s blog that I would be interested to see what a potential Wyden-Paul bill to increase oversight over drones/assassinations/etc. would look like.

  30. 30
    Culture of Truth says:

    what if there was a James Bond villain kind of deal where the henchmen were actively using violence but the mastermind was in an isolated fortress doing nothing except giving orders?

    Ruby Ridge, Waco

  31. 31
    geg6 says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Well, you’re right but I don’t see how that contradicts what Holder wrote. If you are engaged in combat against the U.S. while on U.S. soil, you get the drones. If you’re just you walking down the street with your dog and not engaged in any kind of terrorist organization or military that’s targeting the U.S., no drones for you!

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Yeah, I know, that’s what I’m asking about.

  33. 33
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Who cares what Holder says? If I read my scifi right, the killer robots will determine who they will kill and where.

  34. 34
    max says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’m glad that’s the answer, but I’m kind of surprised it’s the answer, because I thought the prevailing view was that nothing could hinder the president’s powers in the context of a war.

    It sounds like you’re referring to John Yoo’s interpretation of presidential authority – which was that once Congress decided on war (and maybe even if they hadn’t!), then the Presnit, as Zoomie-in-Chief could *interpret* the existing law in way he so chose. And thus, the Supreme Court nor Congress nor treaty language had anything to say about his conduct.

    Obama has directly repeated such an interpretation for four years now and good on him. He has not said he cannot do things Congress has empowered him to do (which is a lot) and he has not said he could refuse to do things Congress said (in law) he must do, except in such cases as those things were unconstitutional. And good on him for that too.

    He has not taken an active pro-civil liberties stance, and harangued Congress (including pro-blowing things up) Democrats about that kind of thing on a number of issues. Not so good on him.

    max
    [‘Upshot: Congress sucks, and yes, both sides in Congress do indeed suck on that subject.’]

  35. 35
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Amir Khalid: DING DING DING! We have a winner!

  36. 36
    J.W. Hamner says:

    That’s some Jedi Mind Trick right there… Holder concedes nothing and Paul declares “Victory!11!one!”

    “Engaged in combat” and “imminent threat” seem ripe for equal amount of lawyerly abuse from WH/DOJ council.

  37. 37
    22over7 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Exactly. Americans likely to vote for Rand Paul are not worried about drones killing Arabs, they’re worried about Ruby Ridge and Waco redux. Rand gave the survivalists, zombie hunters, and schizophrenics who listen to Alex Jones a big wet kiss.

    Rand was probably pissed that Ted Cruz got a little publicity.

  38. 38
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Emma: right, I was just trying to isolate an even narrower case, to wit, would the government claim the authority to assassinate a leader who was not personally engaged in combat. There’s combat somewhere, just not where he or she happens to be.

  39. 39
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”

    Is that exactly what Paul asked? Really? Talk about a weasel question. Considering that “engaged in combat” can mean “opposing vigorously”, this doesn’t really restrict any law enforcement official in any sense more than they already were.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Stuck:

    And in the meantime, Balloon Juice poured a bucket of Aqua Buddha piss all over itself. nice work gang.

    Take a break, sheriff. The usual suspects will lock up themselves.

  41. 41
    Tractarian says:

    (1) The President, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the responsibility to defend the nation from an imminent attack by hostile forces.

    (2) The President, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the responsibility to authorize lethal force, if necessary, to defend against such an attack.

    (3) The President, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has the discretion to authorize lethal force, in such circumstances, using unmanned aircraft.

    Therefore:

    The President has the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American engaged in combat on American soil.

    (ducks)

  42. 42
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @geg6: as J.W. Hamner points out, it depends on what the meaning of “engaged” and “combat” are. Like if you’re the guru for a doomsday cult and your followers go on a rampage, and you’re nowhere near them and you just go out walking your dog while the whole thing is happening, does the president have the authority to blow you up?

  43. 43
    cmorenc says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I think Paul Jr is like Palin, stupid, but not without a certain canny political instinct. He could be a spoiler in ’16

    Rand Paul is not stupid at all; stupid people do not make it into and successfully through Duke Med school and ophthalmology residency. However, he is a perfect illustration of how it’s entirely possible for people to be academically (and within their narrow profession, very competent) and yet insensibly unhinged in their relationship with broader society and worldview. There’s no conflict between being bright and being a crackpot or even total crank.

  44. 44
    jl says:

    All the fun happens when I am out in the boondocks.

    I couldn’t follow news, and don’t know how silly Paul’s talking filibuster was, or whether Holder was BSing and dissembling instead of answering the question about drones.

    But, I think making Senators filibuster this way is better than the current system.

    I would like to see this kind of filibuster from the GOP on implementing health care reform, immigration reform, re-doing the Civil Rights act (as will probably be necessary).

    Unexpected benefit is that Paul’s stunt seems to be smoking out the real opinions of some notable hypocritical humbugs and skunks. Apparently McGrumps and his South Carolina mascot have some problems with no offing US citizens in peace time (i.e. absence civil insurrection) with drones. I will be interested in seeing what garbage they are tossing around about it today. (Edit: or maybe they have problems with talking about it public, since this kind of thing, killing people, is best left to obscure operators in quiet back rooms).

    So, I will have to read about the recent Mr. Paul Goes to Washington moment. But I think it is a good argument for filibuster reform. (and yes, I read the TPM (I think by Marshall) position on this point this morning, and agree with it).

  45. 45
    WereBear says:

    @ericblair: I’ll never forget Taco Bell’s response to a lawsuit alleging that they only had 5% meat in their “ground beef.” Their indignant answer was that they have 35% actual meat!

    So there.

  46. 46
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @cmorenc:

    Rand Paul is not stupid at all

    Maybe, but the first rule of turtlenecks is don’t wear one if you look like a turtle.

  47. 47
    geg6 says:

    @General Stuck:

    Seriously. Anyone who thought Paul was doing anything other than his usual stupid grandstanding and/or raising money and media attention for his 2016 presidential campaign and went on to praise him as a knight in shining armor for focusing on OMG, DRONZE! is too stupid to be voting, let alone driving, using a credit card, or having children.

    But then, these are almost always the same idiots that think Ron Paul is a pacifist. There are literally no more stupid people on this planet than Paultards and their “progressive” enablers. Teabaggers and Christianists have more working neurons than those idiots.

  48. 48
    some guy says:

    whew. now we can get back to cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.

  49. 49
    MikeJ says:

    @Culture of Truth: At Waco they were shooting at law enforcement. The whole thing started when agents serving a warrant were fired on. Nobody just decided to bomb the place because they didn’t like Koresh.

  50. 50
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Tractarian: that’s what I think too. He has the _authority_ to do it. Having the authority to do something doesn’t mean having the inclination to do it. And he might resist attempts to take away that authority, a resistance based on the desire to guard executive prerogatives and presidential powers, even those he doesn’t believe in or want as an individual.

  51. 51
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Also, too, Paul grandstanded for 13 hours so he could get Holder to repeat what he said during his testimony: the US would only use a drone inside US borders if there was an actual Pearl Harbor or 9/11 type of attack.

    Zandar retweeted this on Twitter earlier:
    https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/statuses/309704400023195649

    Rand Paul on CNN right now saying that he supports drone strikes against American citizens if they pose an “imminent threat”

    So why the hell was he wasting the Senate’s time for 12 hours yesterday?

  52. 52
    MomSense says:

    @Tone in DC:

    Paul may have only filibustered for 13 hours but we here at BJ will debate it for days.

  53. 53
    General Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Ah fuckhead, I thought you had pied me. I prefer President Stuck to sheriff, coming from your fuckbuddy corner stone.

  54. 54
    jibeaux says:

    42.

  55. 55
    Jon says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Then you didn’t read the answer closely.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @cmorenc:

    I think this is kind of overanalyzing. The Pauls have always struck me as grifters, even more so than the average conservative who falls for his own bullshit. Rand is different because unlike his dad he’s actually trying to exert some influence through the Tea Party Movement, but it’s my personal assessment that the guy is just grifting: it’s not that he has a bad relationship with reality, he just doesn’t give a fuck.

  57. 57
    AxelFoley says:

    @some guy:

    whew. now we can get back to cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.

    What do you mean “we”, white man?

  58. 58
    jl says:

    More fun I missed while I was in boondocks.

    GOP may have to renege on 55 as cut off for protecting people from Social Security and Medicare cuts. Let’s see how many teabagger olds take note.

    Jeb is already doing inscrutable gymnastics on his immigration flip flop. Maybe practicing for the next Olympics?

    GOP House uses laughable excuse to rush their vote on spending, as more crack up among GOP money daddies appears.

    I missed a very good couple of days in the annals of our miserable current GOP lunatics and conpeople, looks like.

  59. 59
    geg6 says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Why wouldn’t he? If you are the one fomenting the uprising, you don’t escape responsibility just because you are too much of a coward to commit the crimes yourself.

    Jefferson Davis was just as complicit in the Civil War as that old incompetent, Robert E. Lee. I’m pretty sure that Terry Nichols never stepped a foot in Oklahoma City. I don’t understand the confusion you seem to have about this.

  60. 60
    Jon says:

    @Mnemosyne: Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus was only rejected by the Court where/when the civil courts were functioning and didn’t put any restrictions on the ability of the Union Army to shoot Confederate Soldiers in war.

  61. 61
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Stuck: No need to pie ya. You just periodically get yerself worked up into an apoplectic state and I’m here to help bring you back down.

  62. 62
    Cassidy says:

    Man, a lot of wasted scotch over this topic.

  63. 63
    Tractarian says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Or maybe he doesn’t want to have his hands tied behind his back in the event of an actual catastrophic attack?

    I just read today that private guns outnumber military guns by 79 to 1 in this country.

    You think it’s impossible for a few thousand gun nuts to gang up and decide they want to exterminate a small American town? (They’ll do it in the name of liberty, of course.)

    I, for one, am glad that the President has the authority – and, presumably, the will – to blast people like that off the face of the earth at a moment’s notice.

  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I’m here to help bring you back down.

    I got the flu and somebody has to pay. I thought you were here to entertain us.

  65. 65
    different-church-lady says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    …I thought the prevailing view was that nothing could hinder the president’s powers in the context of a war.

    Who’s prevailing view? The administration’s, or the the blogshpere interpretation of the administration’s?

  66. 66
    geg6 says:

    @cmorenc:

    stupid people do not make it into and successfully through Duke Med school and ophthalmology residency.

    You don’t know many doctors, do you? Ability to make it through med school does not necessarily mean you are intelligent. It just means you can do well in a specific area and pass that specific task. It’s the same with engineers, who are generally the stupidest people I interact with on a daily basis. They know nothing about anything other than their very, very narrow band of skills.

  67. 67
    eemom says:

    Paul now declares that he is “happy with the answer”.

    I respect that.

  68. 68
    Tractarian says:

    @geg6:

    I don’t understand the confusion you seem to have about this.

    I think the confusion stems from the fact that, if the President can, theoretically, order a Hellfire missile to be directed at Terry Nichols in Kansas while his accomplice prepares a mass murder in Oklahoma, then the President can also, theoretically, order a Hellfire missile on my grandma’s house for no reason whatsoever.

    No, I don’t get it either.

  69. 69
    Trollhattan says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Yup, it is/was all about himself, and we’ve not seen the last, given all the attention he got. AquaBuddha is above all else, in LOVE wtih AquaBuddha–the putz is a self-credentialed “opthamologist.” (How that possibly works, I still do not know.)

    Antiterrorism within our borders is a law enforcement issue first, military a distant second. But loopy Ron’s loopy boy (and hey, thanks for the gift, Ron, you asshat) seems to not understand or care that there’s a rather vast difference between Yemen and Ypsilanti

  70. 70
    Jon says:

    @geg6: In the particular case of the Civil War, I think it would have made more sense to fnord-droooOOOOOOOOoooOOOone-fnord Robert E. Lee than Jeff Davis.

    But Hitler more than Rommel. So, it can vary.

    Anyway, I hope the mulishuhs get drones banned so we can just start using tactical nukes on them.

  71. 71

    @ericblair: Think smaller, and more legs…

  72. 72
    Jon says:

    @Tractarian: Yes, but if he does it in the wrong case, he’s either liable for murder, or, at best a civil rights violation. This is what the courts are for.

    Also, I’m fairly certain there wasn’t an AUMF against domestic terrorists in 1995.

  73. 73
    different-church-lady says:

    @Jay in Oregon:

    So why the hell was he wasting the Senate’s time for 12 hours yesterday?

    How many times can YOU get the whole country to focus on you for 12 hours straight?

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tractarian:

    You think it’s impossible for a few thousand gun nuts to gang up and decide they want to exterminate a small American town?

    I think it’s not just possible, but has actually happened.

  75. 75
    Chris says:

    @geg6:

    It’s been my experience that conservatives can be extremely stupid and ignorant even in their own fields. I have no idea how one of my classmates with a genuine interest in international relations and national security studies managed to make it through four years of undergrad (and currently grad school) in that field with very good grades and yet NEVER learned, until I informed her of the fact (this was around 2009), that we never found WMDs in Iraq after the invasion. But she did. The ideological prism is one powerful fucking drug.

  76. 76
    General Stuck says:

    Jeebus, I just finished reading the AL thread comments about all this ballyhoo, and except for Todd and AL returned fire, most commenters were treating AL like the fragile flower she is. I call for a press conference on the principles and lets work this shit out like standup fake people on the internet.

  77. 77
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Stuck:

    I thought you were here to entertain us.

    No, I’m pretty much here to entertain me.

  78. 78
    Jon says:

    Hey, drone foil hat people: you realize, right, that the President can, along with one other guy, order nuclear strikes right? And your worried about a drone blowing up your grow room without a warrant?

  79. 79
    Tractarian says:

    @Jon: OK, fair enough. I’ll rephrase:

    I think the confusion stems from the fact that, if the President can, theoretically, order a Hellfire missile to be directed at Tariq al-Nichols in Kansas while his accomplice prepares a mass murder in Oklahoma, then the President can also, theoretically, order a Hellfire missile on my grandma’s house for no reason whatsoever.

    No, I don’t get it either.

  80. 80
    jl says:

    @eemom:

    I take that answer as snark. While I like the idea of talking filibuster better than what is done now, Paul’s quick response to Holder’s written answer sez it was a PR stunt. Since as commenters here note, it doesn’t mean much or settle much. Unless violent civil insurrection or an imminent terrorist conspiracy comes with a public announcement. But, sure, violent types all plan a Fort Sumter moment to make everything neat and unambiguous, right? Sure they do.

    I’m going to read me up on how well Paul thought through the issue, and what he was really arguing for. My hunch is “not much” to both questions. Except for PR angle, I’m sure he thought a lot about that.

  81. 81
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Stuck:

    Jeebus, I just finished reading the AL thread comments about all this ballyhoo, and except for Todd and AL returned fire, most commenters were treating AL like the fragile flower she is. I call for a press conference on the principles and lets work this shit out like standup fake people on the internet.

    I’m going to withhold judgment until I hear Allan’s side of the email exchange.

  82. 82
    Skippy-san says:

    For Paul supporters its not about the answer. Its about the sentence that came before it. The subject does not really matter-so long as Obama is the object of the verb ( to attack, to defame, to malign, to lie, to distort, to slander-take your pick).

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @Skippy-san:

    For Paul supporters its not about the answer. Its about the sentence that came before it.

    I believe you have just distilled this entire sorry story and a good part of the conservative mindset to the key points.

  84. 84
    David Koch says:

    On Randi Rhodes today a winger called in complaining about…. wait for it… secret government helicopters flying around his town. Somehow he weaved dr0nze into it.

    so dr0nze are the new black helicopters

  85. 85
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @jl:

    Since as commenters here note, it doesn’t mean much or settle much. Unless violent civil insurrection or an imminent terrorist conspiracy comes with a public announcement. But, sure, violent types all plan a Fort Sumter moment to make everything neat and unambiguous, right? Sure they do.

    You may be glibly unaware of this but we are currently under significant risk from terrorist attacks.

  86. 86
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Culture of Truth: I’m fairly certain that when someone showed up at something called a “Fortress”, it would turn out that there were actually armed people and whatnot…I mean, what’s the point of building a fortress otherwise.

    And if you don’t want people to think you’re dangerous, don’t build a dang fortress. Or for that matter, don’t declare that you’re the spiritual descendents of the Mongolian horde either.

  87. 87
    shortstop says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yep. And related: Am I the only one who got a strong whiff of jealousy off McCain and his handmaiden, Lindsey, kvetching about Paul? Upstart Paul had the nerve to successfully challenge McCain for whiny-assiest attention-grabbing senator and never even asked the old man’s permission for this filibuster thingamajiggy.

  88. 88
    David Koch says:

    when is Obomber gonna answer Senator Paul’s question on whether he’s secretly shipping arms to Turkey?

  89. 89
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: Oh I don’t know. lot’s of Self-righteousness got splattered all over.

  90. 90
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @shortstop: I bet McCain and Graham are going to ask Paul to join the Heathers now that Lieberman has retired.

  91. 91
    Soonergrunt says:

    @shortstop: Just wait until Rand gets invited on all the Sunday gab shows this week.
    His Old-and-bitterness will not countenance an upstart, you know.

  92. 92
    chopper says:

    i would literally pay good money if Holder ended the letter with “SATSQ”.

  93. 93
    Jon says:

    @Tractarian: If people can’t distinguish between a situation where someone is in a room plotting something and a situation where someone is about to fly a plane into a building, then they have no business commenting on laws, much less making them.

    The first symptoms of glibertarian disease are outbreaks of everything needing to be “consistent” and to avoid “slippery slopes.” (*Except when the free market arbitrarily changes the price of something.)

    The whole notion of elected representatives drawing distinctions between things is the very essence of the law. Not all homicide is murder. Going 75 mph is a 65 mph zone is an infraction. Going 65 mph is not. The fact that it can’t be done perfectly is the way of the universe.

    So, their confusion is either part of glibertarian disease or some other related mental issue (often related to adolescence) or is a bad faith argument being made to advance partisan agendas. (;

  94. 94
    Jon says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I bet McCain and Graham are going to ask Paul to join the Heathers now that Lieberman has retired.

    I can’t wait for their sex tape to come out so I can get some karma on /r/spacedicks

  95. 95
    David Koch says:

    Brennan was just confirmed 63-34.

    Elizabeth Warren just sold you out and voted for him.

  96. 96
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @David Koch: Elizabeth Warren just sold you out and voted for him.

    Damn. I never did start that pool on when Warren would become the PL’s Great Disappointment.

  97. 97
    jl says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    ” You may be glibly unaware of this but we are currently under significant risk from terrorist attacks. ”

    Thanks. If the government says so, it must be true. I am sure Gramps and his mascot agree, so it’s bipartisan. Win win!

  98. 98
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @jl: Don’t be a US-Play-A Hata, yo.

  99. 99
    David Koch says:

    Sad. Warren has been a complete sell out. Voting for Citibank’s Jack Lew, for republican Chuck Hagel, and now for the angel of death, John Brennan.

    She’s worst than Bush, cuz she sold you out. She’s Bush’s 4th term.

  100. 100
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Jon:

    I can’t wait for their sex tape to come out so I can get some karma on /r/spacedicks

    Turtle on a spit?

  101. 101
    eemom says:

    @General Stuck:

    like the fragile flower she is

    Well, ya gotta, or she might ban your ass. She’s a FPer, you know.

  102. 102
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Just had an image of McCain choking on Dran-O and gasping out, “CornNuts” before crashing into a coffee table.

  103. 103
    handsmile says:

    @geg6:

    “If you’re just you walking down the street with your dog….no drones for you!”

    As long as that dog’s not an Afghan Hound, ‘cuz that could be enemy combatant behavior.

  104. 104
    chopper says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    it’d probably be ‘WALNUTS!’ but it’s still funny.

  105. 105
    lamh35 says:

    Al Giordano
    Gullible people who think that Sen. Rand Paul’s song-and-dance on the Senate floor has anything to do with “civil liberties” or “peace” or anything good and decent need to read the transcript of him on the Rush Limbaugh show today. It’s show business, that’s all, and it plays to weak and lazy minds. Listen to how Limbaugh – a man who never met a weapons system or a violation of civil liberties he didn’t like – fawn all over the Senator, not because of the merits or demerits of any issue, but only because of his demagogic obstructionism. Read it and wake up.

    http://www.facebook.com/algiordano

    Not gonna link to Rush, but you can google it if you like!

  106. 106
    Baud says:

    Redacted footnote: “Engaged in combat” =”filibustering an appointee”

  107. 107
    Eric U. says:

    @Jon: the civil war is pretty clear, you drone Davis and Lee. The question Paul asked seems to be predicated on the idea that there are no enemy lines. We don’t call in F16’s on Waco/Ruby Ridge because we can just set up a perimeter and wait it out without danger to anyone except the people holed up in the burning buildings.

    I think it’s clear that if you can go arrest someone, you have to try to go arrest them. I feel confident that Obama/Holder would do just that. Cheney, not so much.

  108. 108
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @geg6: I don’t think I’m confused — I was trying to show that we can quickly go from “guy about to pull the trigger on the doomsday device” to “guy who we we’re pretty sure gave that guy the idea to pull the trigger.” And some of the most hardcore critics of drones seem to think that that second guy ought to be off-limits.

  109. 109
    Roger Moore says:

    @jl:

    If the government says so, it must be true.

    That’s not actually a government website he pointed you to. The Obama administration scrapped the color coded terrorizing alert system in 2011.

  110. 110
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Roger Moore: Thank you for the information, Mr. Facts.

  111. 111
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Eric U.: OK, but to the degree that there’s a real debate in all this, it’s about whether the president has the _authority_ to have someone droned rather than arrested. And it seems to me that the answer is yes, he does have that authority. And it further seems to me that it might not be possible to take away that authority, which would leave us with the status quo: he has the authority and we hope his conscience and his sense of political self-preservation keep him from using it in a cavalier way.

  112. 112
    Michele C says:

    @WereBear: And one of the ingredients was *sand*. Yep, sand.

  113. 113
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @FlipYrWhig: America would never elect a President who used drones on America’s own citizens.

    Except the last coupla. And Nixon, definitely. And Johnson, Truman, Roosevelt, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, Taft and the other Roosevelt. And Jackson for sure, he’d get a real kick out of visiting flying death on the Cherokee. And Washington, of course – someone has to set a precedent.

    But none of the other ones, probably.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @FlipYrWhig: oops, forgot to mention that rescinding the AUMF would presumably curtail a shit-ton of these presidential prerogatives vis-a-vis terrorism and suspected terrorists.

  115. 115
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: yeah, I know, that’s kind of the problem. If your goal is to have a president who not only doesn’t exercise this authority but actively wants to strip himself of it, you’re going to be waiting a long-ass time, I expect.

  116. 116
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: William Henry Harrison too, prolly. That’s “Tippecanoe,” right?

  117. 117
    Jenny says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Preach it! Lincoln would have never used drones to burn down Atlanta, no matter how many Oscars and box office receipts it would have generated.

  118. 118

    @Cassidy: Scotch is never wasted unless it remains in the bottle or is spilled.

  119. 119
    Keith G says:

    @MomSense:

    Paul may have only filibustered for 13 hours but we here at BJ will debate it for days

    Good!
    That’s what citizens in a democracy should do. Debate, discuss, even get lost in the weeds for a bit. I know some folks here get really frustrated/aggressive if their ideas aren’t immediately adopted, but that’s just a silly way to go about life – even on the innerwebs.

  120. 120
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Waynski: Agree with your first sentence. Why doesn’t Congress do its job and pass legislation that would require oversight of the drone program and restrict when and how it can be used by the President? Sounds simple enough to me.

  121. 121
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Patricia Kayden: for the flipside of the reason we want them to. They don’t want to tie President Rubio’s or Jebbie’s hands ability to send squadrons of drones against _______________ by being reduced to some messy debate with hippies. Are we all still Georgians? and what of the great Cuban menace?

  122. 122
    Keith G says:

    @lamh35:

    Gullible people who think that Sen. Rand Paul’s song-and-dance on the Senate floor has anything to do with “civil liberties” or “peace” or anything good and decent need to read the transcript of him on the Rush Limbaugh show today.

    Eemom and a few other have forwarded this as well. Who the heck said they thought Paul’s motives were pure, or even good? I didn’t.

    I am glad that someone raised this issue even if he is the person who put the ‘il’ in dildo. We need more discussion on this topic, not less. Most Democrats aren’t like likely to lead on this. The media is deeply in bed with war profiteers.

    Jeeze, I’d rather it be some true blue progressive champion, but they are all lined up like the proverbial three monkeys, except for Wyden. Do they make drones in Vermont? Where is Sanders on this, btw?

    So we are left with Rand Fuckin Paul. Well if that’s what it takes….

  123. 123
    Roger Moore says:

    @sparky (formerly Dead Existentialist):

    Scotch is never wasted unless it remains in the bottle or is spilled.

    Scotch that remains in the bottle isn’t wasted! It’s saved for later.

  124. 124
    Seanly says:

    I assume that “engaged in combat” has a specific meaning. Shooting it out with police or even the FBI would not constitute combat.

    So, whether it domestic killings are done by drone strikes or by a squad from Fort Bragg, what we need to know is what is the definition of “engaged in combat”. Is it someone meeting the Article 3 Section 3 definition of treason (“shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort”). Or is it some blurring of the lines between real treason and what should be a law enforcement activity.

    To be honest though, I’m not too worried about drones zipping around launching Hellfires at people in the US. Maybe we should have a discussion about drones and torture outside of the US. Or maybe a discussion of why our government can’t be funded properly, etc. etc.

  125. 125
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @David Koch: Where do people live that they see “secret government helicopters” flying over their airspace? I live close to DC (and work in DC) and never see anything quite so exciting except Air Force copters from time to time.

  126. 126
    Tone in DC says:

    @MomSense:

    The B-J commentariat will debate it longer than that if certain troll-like substances rear their Cheetos-covered heads.

    As for the so-called legislature… this will be the most do-nothing Congress IN HISTORY at this rate.

  127. 127
    jl says:

    If this is true, I am more in favor of Rand’s talking filibuster than before. I like GOP Civil War. But I would not support dropping drones on them unless it gets violent and spills over into the general population and innocents outside of the GOP caucuses, (or caususi, or cauci?) are at risk.

    Rand Paul’s Drone Filibuster Sparks GOP Civil War
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....il-war.php

  128. 128
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Seanly:

    So, whether it domestic killings are done by drone strikes or by a squad from Fort Bragg, what we need to know is what is the definition of “engaged in combat”.

    Yup.

  129. 129
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @jl: That article confirms my belief that Rand’s filibuster was meaningless grandstanding orchestrated by Rightwingers who want to stick it to President Obama. It had nothing to do with a principled stand against an out-of-control drone program targeting innocent American citizens. Nothing praiseworthy.

  130. 130
    becca says:

    I think this whole filibuster charade was to overtake the Special Inspector’s report on all the waste, fraud and abuse during the Iraq war, now deemed an abject failure.

    But, instead, DRONEZ!

  131. 131
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    I think I get it:

    “Rand Paul should be ignored, because he is opposing lawless killings for partisan reasons, whereas Liberals opposed such things out of principle, as evidenced by their current opposition to the Democratic preside….”

    Crap, I’m struggling to get this right. HELP ME OUT CAREER DEMS!!!

  132. 132
    kc says:

    I’m for anything that shuts Rand Paul up, including weaponized drones, but the debate about the executive branch’s assassinating people sure as hell shouldn’t be over.

  133. 133
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And Reagan. “My head told me they were filthy commies bent on the destruction of America but my heart now tells me they were Girl Scouts.”

  134. 134
    Bill Arnold says:

    @mistermix:

    “not engaged in combat”

    Don’t know, surely it must have crossed Rand Paul’s mind that he might be engaged in “verbal combat operations” while filibustering. (Baud @ 106 says something similar)

  135. 135
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois: Rand Paul has declared the matter closed because he got a simple answer to his (maybe) intentionally simplistic question.

    So you agree that the matter is closed?

  136. 136
    kc says:

    @Jay in Oregon:

    Rand Paul on CNN right now saying that he supports drone strikes against American citizens if they pose an “imminent threat”

    So why the hell was he wasting the Senate’s time for 12 hours yesterday?

    Maybe it suddenly occurred to him that if he gets to be President, HE can order the drone strikes.

  137. 137
    Chyron HR says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    I think I get it: Rand Paul should be ignored…

    Oh, quite the contrary. I think you guys should absolutely Stand With Rand. It’s a perfect demonstration of how deeply held your convictions really are.

  138. 138
    Todd says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    So, whether it domestic killings are done by drone strikes or by a squad from Fort Bragg, what we need to know is what is the definition of “engaged in combat”.

    I vote drone strikes on the cheeto bunkers of the 101st Chairborne…

  139. 139
    Bruce s says:

    One of the most frustrating pieces of this Opera Bouffe was reading an article @The New Yorker by Amy Davidson – that rare stupid person writing for the mag – granting major importance to Paul’s Quest. This little bit of self-promotion ended with a whimper.

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    Rand Paul should be ignored, because he is opposing lawless killings for partisan reasons whipping up the black helicopter crowd with fears of drones coming to confiscate their guns.

    So how do you feel knowing that you fell for his NRA-friendly bullshit? Still totally convinced that he’s your new hero?

  141. 141
    Redshirt says:

    I love all liberals – anyone, really, who recognizes the danger of the Republican Party. But man, some of you are dumb shits. Or really, really naive.

  142. 142
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    Reread my other comment. You guys have nothing on the substance of the issue, so you’re all ad hom on Paul. I get it, Paul is a dirtbag, like 99 other guys in that room. I don’t care that he is scum. When a politician does something you want, you support him, when he doesn’t, you make him pay. This is basic, but we liberals haven’t figured that out yet, which is why we’re ignored.

  143. 143
    quannlace says:

    That’s some Jedi Mind Trick right there… Holder concedes nothing and Paul declares “Victory!11!one!”

    Yeah, I’ve been hearing that, in the conservative Twitter-sphere, that this was some major victory. Rand Paul, speaking to power! Standing up to the White House! Yay!

    If this silly display is there idea of a victory, they must reeeeaaalllly be demorilized.

  144. 144
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    Also, I’m confused because I don’t really pay attention to what Dems are thinking, but are you all, like, supporting Brennan now?

  145. 145
    gnomedad says:

    He bravely talked and talked and talked.
    Brave, brave, Sir Rand.

  146. 146
    Chris says:

    @quannlace:

    More like they just have really, really low standards, aided and abetted by the national media. All a Gooper has to do is sit through a session without shitting himself to be crowned an intellectual genius, a charismatic politician, etc. Democrats pretty much can’t do right even when they do.

    To be fair, it WAS an actual filibuster, which you don’t see much anymore. And that has that nice patriotic little “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” vibe, which makes Rand Paul iconically heroic and brave by association. (Though I thought Jefferson Smith’s filibuster was equally retarded, but that’s just me).

  147. 147
    Redshift says:

    To be fair, it WAS an actual filibuster, which you don’t see much anymore.

    Technically, it wasn’t, it was just a really long speech. It occurred during the time that Senate rules require waiting before filing a cloture motion. It didn’t delay the vote at all (“extend debate”), so it wasn’t a filibuster.

    But everyone thinks it was, so what the hell…

  148. 148
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    You guys have nothing on the substance of the issue, so you’re all ad hom on Paul.

    What “substance”? Holder said drones would only be used domestically in the case of a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 type of attack, Paul ranted for 13 hours, Holder repeated himself, and Paul declared himself satisfied.

    So what “substance” was there? There are already multiple barriers to the US military using their weapons against US citizens within US borders — contrary to wingnut myth, the Posse Comitatus Act is still in full effect, and Holder just reaffirmed that. So the “substance” was … Paul’s temper tantrum because Holder didn’t give him enough personal attention and deference during his original testimony?

  149. 149
    stratplayer says:

    This whole fucking drone thing is completely out of hand. Why is the Obama administration handling this so poorly? Now we have fucking Ted Cruz and Paul introducing a bill banning drone attacks on US citizens within the country, as if Obama would ever really do that. This is ridiculous.

  150. 150
    bemused says:

    McCain and Graham piled on Rand Paul. Now Freedom Works and I don’t who all are piling on McCain and Graham. We’re going to need a drone filibuster chart to keep the various Republican factions straight. Then we will need more charts for every other issue they are brawling over.

  151. 151
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I agree.

    If there’s one thing you can say about the use of drones to kill civilians/”combatants”(adult men)/americans in countries we’re not at war with, in the US, with inpenetrable secrecy regarding the existence of the hit list of US citizens, the weekly meeting in which the administration adds people to that list, total unaccountable surveillance, torture (Brennan is a proponent), the PATRIOT act we mindlessly extend now, the permanent terror war, with a permanent state of emergency….

    If there’s one thing you can say about all that, it’s that we’ve SPENT TOO MUCH TIME TALKING ABOUT IT… AMIRIGHT? God, Rand, just shut up.

    (disclaimer for the illiterate: Paul is scum. You are also scum if you attack him for speaking out about this.)

  152. 152
    David Koch says:

    @Patricia Kayden: The caller was from Houston area.

  153. 153
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    (disclaimer for the illiterate: Paul is scum. You are also scum if you attack him for speaking out about this.)

    Except, of course, Paul did not speak out on what you’re concerned about. At all. His only concern was attacks within the US. He couldn’t care less how many non-Americans we kill overseas with drones, which is what you are concerned about.

    You can try to hitch your wagon to his and turn the conversation to what you want to talk about, but he’s only talking to the right-wing nuts who are convinced that drones are the new black helicopters. They don’t give a shit about non-Americans being killed overseas any more than Paul does.

  154. 154
    Redshirt says:

    I still don’t get what all the drone brouhaha is all about.

    Is it about the technology? Because it is pretty revolutionary and should be discussed. Is it about war? War’s bad, m’kay. Is it about Presidential power? A valid subject – in normal times. We’re not anywhere near normal times, however.

  155. 155
    lojasmo says:

    @cmorenc:

    Rand Paul is not stupid at all; stupid people do not make it into and successfully through Duke Med school and ophthalmology residency

    Know how I know you don’t work in health care?

  156. 156
    MomSense says:

    @Tone in DC:

    My kids and I were talking about this last night. They are young and idealistic but I have to hand it to them I think this makes sense.

    They were saying that it is clear that the House Republican strategy is to try to thwart everything that the President would like to do on climate change and green energy, education, infrastructure, and immigration. Their feeling is that our only hope is to pour everything into keeping our progressive/liberal coalition together to try and expand our majority in the Senate and retake the house. They feel that 2 years of all Dems is the only way we will be able to make any progress.

    Interestingly, they are not optimistic about 2016 and realize that 2014 will be a challenge not because of Republicans but because Democrats “hate winning” and tend to “eat their own”.

  157. 157
    Redshirt says:

    @MomSense: The question is: Have elected (or electable) Dems realized the nihlisim of the Republican Party? Because I don’t think they did in 1996, or 2000, or 2004, or 2010, or maybe even today?

    If they have, then you’d think an all Dem government would be in a hurry to get shit done. If they haven’t, it’ll be more comity bullshit.

  158. 158
    Baud says:

    @MomSense:

    Smart kids.

    @Redshirt:

    You can either get things done quick, or you can have a long drawn out negotiation in which every faction believes they can hold out for a purer outcome. Too often with Democrats, it’s the latter.

  159. 159
    LorenzoStDuBois says:

    These aren’t normal times…. Of course… Guys, you know the war on terror will never end, right?

  160. 160
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    So what’s this I hear about Obama ordering a drone strike on a gay couple sipping lattes at a San Francisco cafe?

  161. 161
    Bill Arnold says:

    @LorenzoStDuBois:

    war on terror will never end

    That was clear from day 1, yes. We almost had the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism” (G-SAVE) but that didn’t fly, reasons probably including that GW Bush couldn’t stand the idea of being a “struggletime president”.

    Pray (*) we don’t have a really big terrorist incident, e.g. a nuclear device. Bye-bye to civil liberties, forever.
    (Or work towards preventing such incidents.)

  162. 162

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): If it will make you feel better, I’m sure we can get Obama to kill you with a drone.

  163. 163
    jonas says:

    @FlipYrWhig: depends on what your definition of ‘combat’ is.

  164. 164
    jshooper says:

    Why didn’t I hear the same level of outrage from these left wing Paultards/ Greenwaldians when Scalia took a giant shit on one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in modern US history…These douchebags claim to be “civil libertarians” but only seem interested in hypothetical demagoguery designed to make Pres. Obama look like a boogeyman…instead of ACTUAL CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES that effect real people in this country…the Alex Jones left is making a mockery of civil rights advocacy

  165. 165
    Keith G says:

    @jshooper: Just to note that there are journalists who back Obama supporting Paul in just this one behavior.

  166. 166
    jshooper says:

    @Keith G: This doesn’t even attempt to answer my question…All you did was go…”Hey look, here’s a black guy who agrees with Rand Paul”…That means NOTHING to me.

    My question was why don’t I hear “libertarians” on the left screaming with outrage as the supreme court moves toward gutting the voting rights act…While “Justice” Scalia makes outrageous racist arguments against such an important piece of legislation.

    Meanwhile we have clowns like Cenk Uygur and Glenn Greenwald calling Rand Paul an American Hero for his drone demagoguery…This is the same Rand Paul who compared Pres. Obama to Hitler.

  167. 167
    Older says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Some people are able to see sekrit helicopters pretty much wherever they live. Special eyes, I suppose.

Comments are closed.