Wednesday, April 24

It's Worse Than I Thought, Just Like I Always Thought

Joan Walsh, "Rand Paul’s missing spine: I thought he was a joke, but after he filibustered over drones, wondered if I'd been wrong. Nope." April 24

YE Gods and pygmy goats:
I was on vacation when Rand Paul staged his filibuster to get more answers about drones from the Obama administration, or else I probably would have embarrassed myself by praising him.

Were you on vacation, or taking leave of your senses? If the latter, did the airlines lose your luggage?
I’m concerned about drones and targeted assassinations and I think it’s a perfect place for a left-right alliance.

Stop it.
So I was glad to see Paul’s filibuster.

Which had nothing to do with targeted killings, and everything to do with making the Obama administration initial a piece of paper about targeting killing of Americans on American soil. Which some wiseasses on the Right thought was a big PR deal. And which has about as much to do with the US drone program as Sadam Hussein had to do with 9/11.

Bonus points one: the filibuster was actually about Benghazi!! Benghazi!!!! BENGHAZI!!!!1! and the urban legend behind Paul 2.0's concern about drones--there's an urban legend behind everything the man believes, Joan; look it up--was the idea that the Interior Department or Homeland Security or the US Department of Sharia Law is flying drones over federal waterways to snoop on Western ranchers and oil and mineral interests, aka, Sen. Rand Paul (Kook-Kentucky)'s natural constituency.

Bonus points two: assuming there's any earthly reason for any sentient voter to desire a left-right alliance on anything, "targeted killing of Americans on American soil" ain't it, and a signed policy statement is utterly worthless even if it was. There's plenty enough wiggle room under standard federal law enforcement powers to fly a fleet of drones through, on either side of the truck you are driving. Either the current President of the United States has no plan for the wholesale killing of Americans on American soil via Death Drone (just as the previous President of the United States did not mastermind the 9/11 attacks), or else the world is so fucking irredeemably insane there's nothing a piece of paper, forty days and nights of filibustering, and Protective Sponge Helmets for every citizen ("They're Just Like The One Rand Paul Wears!™") can do to protect us.

Bonus points three: somebody smarter than Rand Paul--yes, it is a large sample--came up with the "make Holder sign this" routine. Paul's "opposition" to drones, such as it was, was just one anti-fluoridationalist fantasy hitched to another-Benghazi!! Benghazi!!!! BENGHAZI!!!!1!--and I'm not quite sure how anybody managed to miss that, or think well of him for an instant. Even while on vacation.
Even though I disagree with Paul on virtually every other issue and generally consider him to be kind of a joke, I’d have been happy to be proven wrong. Maybe he had a conscience. Maybe he would become a much needed civil liberties leader on the right.

Just for the record, how can you consider someone a joke without actually realizing just what sort of joke he is?
Alas, I haven’t been proven wrong.

Except for that narrowly-avoided "Rand Paul, Much Needed Civil Libertarian on the Right!" column.
Mr. Filibuster, the tribune of civil liberties, now says that drones should have been used against the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston – not only that, he told Fox’s Neal Cavuto, they should even be used against someone robbing a liquor store. 
Strangely enough, Cavuto himself seemed a little spooked by the technology that was deployed in the hunt for 19-year-old Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, including the thermal imaging that was able to find him in a boat and even to get some sense of the extent of his wounds.
Okay, so now would be a good time not to imagine you saw signs of incipient humanity in Neil Cavuto just because he was standing next to Rand Paul.
“I have never argued against any technology being used against having an imminent threat, [or] an act of crime going on,” Paul replied. “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash I don’t care if a Drone kills him or a policeman kills him.” 
Wow. So Paul has gone from “your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court” to “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”
Hey, I don't know if he's telling the truth, or if he even recognizes "truth" as a category, but so far as I know Paul avoided speaking of imminent threats. That was part of the charade. Professional wordsmithers are supposed to catch that sort of thing.
Back during his filibuster, I briefly thought Paul might prove a formidable 2016 GOP presidential candidate, if he channeled American discontent with the Obama administration’s drone policy and other national security excesses. I shouldn’t have worried.

Nor admitted it in public, Joan.


Grung_e_Gene said...

Did Neil miss the entire Iraq War porn footage or even the footage from the Stone Age of smart bombs in the Gulf War because that tech isn't brand new.

R. Porrofatto said...

If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash I don’t care if a Drone kills him or a policeman kills him.

BZZZT! I'm sorry. The guy you and your Big Government killed was a Rand Paul fan who just bought that weapon from the liquor store owner in a private transaction -- the $50 was change from the sale. Oh well, at least he wasn't subjected to the tyranny of a background check.

BruceJ said...

The hell with Iraq War Porn footage; FLIR-enabled helicopters have been a staple of the LAPD (and thus COPS and the similar shows) for well over a decade.

This ain't new technology, folks!

Hell even our podunk little town has a police chopper with FLIR.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Not one bit of which changes the fact that our right-wing asshole President Obama has sold us down the river.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

P.S. For you, Doghouse.

Cliff said...

Joan made my "do not read" list after I saw her piece on how to talk to white people.
(Sadly, No gave it a good, brutal deconstruction here:

(Joan, as a fellow white person, listen: no one gives a good god damn about our precious white fee-fees, nor should they.)

Anyway, I move to classify punditry as a degenerative neurological disease, countered only by heavy doses of snark.