Eric Fry

Senator Rand Paul conducted a 13-hour filibuster yesterday that finally ended at a little before 1:00 a.m. this morning.

Are you still awake?

Usually, the mere mention of the word “filibuster” induces narcolepsy…and why not? A filibuster is explicitly about doing nothing for as long as possible. Webster’s defines it as, “The use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action, especially in a legislative assembly.”

One would think that the US Congress needs no extraordinary tactics to delay action. But every once in a while, parties on both sides of the aisle unify and embrace a course of action so effortlessly that they seem to have no differences whatsoever.

These rare congressional love-ins often occur under the banner of “national security interests.” Unfortunately, when the two parties unify enthusiastically under this banner, extreme civil rights abuses sometimes follow. (The Japanese Internment during World War II is one infamous example. Guantanamo Bay is another. But there are many more, as every student of US history would be well aware).

Despite the reflexive disdain Republicans and Democrats hold for one another, the two parties can unify very easily on national security, provided that the supposed threat to national security looms large and the resulting civil rights abuses pertain to a small percentage of the population, which brings us to yesterday’s filibuster. MarketWatch summarizes the “action”:

Rand Paul and a small band of Republicans (plus one Democrat) waged a nearly 13-hour filibuster over what they said was the danger of drone strikes against American citizens on US soil. “What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America?” Paul asked at one point, as recounted by The New York Times. Other senators, including conservative star Marco Rubio, joined in, meaning the Senate was filled with non-stop speaking for more than half a day.

Paul decided to filibuster after getting a letter from US Attorney General Eric Holder that would not rule out using drone strikes within the US in “extraordinary circumstances.”

Senator Paul’s filibuster made headlines, deservedly so. One particular Daily Reckoning column devoted to the same topic did not. This contrast may offer a worthwhile insight.

Nearly one year ago, The Daily Reckoning published a column by your California editor entitled, “Feral Drones and Other Invasive Species.” At the time, the use of drones to conduct domestic surveillance seemed like a meaningless curiosity to most folks. Your editor’s column presented an alternative point-of-view.

“Step-by-step,” your editor observed, “government-intrusion-by-government-intrusion, we Americans are forfeiting our civil liberties in the name of freedom. Today, the government is hunting down feral pigs. Tomorrow, the government’s drones may ‘go feral’ and start hunting down US citizens…all in the name of liberty.”

And so it has come to pass…almost. Perhaps Senator Paul can block this one particular assault on civil liberties, but we Americans appear to be losing the war.

The point is not to lament the government’s growing intrusions into the private lives of US citizens, the point is to prepare for an American lifestyle that bears little resemblance to the lifestyle of 20 or 30 years ago. The point is to examine the changes underway in our nation — really examine them — and to determine how they might affect each one of us individually.

Above all, the point is to examine the changes underway proactively — to develop the kind of imagination that leads to preparation, rather than the kind that “hopes for the best” and glosses over potentially life-altering threats to civil liberty.

Eric Fry
for The Daily Reckoning

Editor’s Note: Talk about timing… The subject of the petition we started almost a month ago finally got some much needed national attention, thanks to Sen. Paul’s filibuster yesterday. If you haven’t already done so, check it out right here. It could be your last chance to “stand with Rand.”

Eric Fry

Eric J. Fry, Agora Financial's Editorial Director, has been a specialist in international equities for nearly two decades. He was a professional portfolio manager for more than 10 years, specializing in international investment strategies and short-selling.  Following his successes in professional money management, Mr. Fry joined the Wall Street-based publishing operations of James Grant, editor of the prestigious Grant's Interest Rate Observer. Working alongside Grant, Mr. Fry produced Grant's International and Apogee Research, institutional research products dedicated to international investment opportunities and short selling. 

Mr. Fry subsequently joined Agora Inc., as Editorial Director. In this role, Mr. Fry  supervises the editorial and research processes of numerous investment letters and services. Mr. Fry also publishes investment insights and commentary under his own byline as Editor of The Daily Reckoning. Mr. Fry authored the first comprehensive guide to investing internationally with American Depository Receipts.  His views and investment insights have appeared in numerous publications including Time, Barron's, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Business Week, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Money.

  • TheSystemIsBroken

    Great job Rand, the filibuster was very inspiring to witness.

  • http://twitter.com/FightersIntel Fighters Intel

    With the advent of the knowledgeable, observant and Constitutionally based Americans – an extreme minority at this point much like the original patriots of the 1700’s were in their day – now becoming vocal, focused and openly defiant of the tyrannical, despotic corrupt governments’ actions in the united States, where does that leave you who are reading this comment??? The state of our governments in this country are the direct result of the failure of we, the people, AMERICANS, who through our apathy, and most grievous our knowledge of how our country works politically and economically, we have allowed ourselves, children and grandchildren to succumb to the ‘fatherland’ attitude on the part of politicians for over 140 years. From the usurping by the ‘color of law’ through, to, and including the ‘defacto’ versus the ‘dejure’ governments established in and by the Constitution for the united States, the Declaration of Independence, and the original 13 Articles of the Bill of Rights, originally designated and serving as public servants, politicians have ‘morphed’ the greatest experience of freedom ever know to mankind into a socialistic, communistic society ruled by unknowns behind the facade of the UNITED STATES CORPORATION. When you research and understand that last sentence to the point you can defend it, you will have chosen by your actions to obtain your newly found knowledge to no longer be a servant to the UNITED STATES CORPORATION and its ruling oligarchy and begun your efforts as an American who recognizes the need for patriotism, NOT the PATRIOT ACT, the need for the defense of the founding documents and the government form – as a republic – and NOT the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT! As a former Marine, I served you, the united States, with a belief based upon the sovereignty of all Americans as the top rung on the ladder, then the local government(s) then the state and then the national government per the Constitution for the united States. My oath had no expiration date, my heart still believes in my fellow Americans and bears up under the shame of what I, myself and many millions of others, have allowed the state of the united States to become. My prayer, hope and BELIEF, is that enough Americans are deciding daily to join the millions of other Americans who have also decided ‘enough is enough’, lawfully and peaceably we, the people, can regain the legacy fought and paid for with the blood and lives of over 1.3 million of our fellow Americans. Thank you for your time, consideration, perseverance and hopefully your decision to no longer blindly accept while ‘bowing’ to the god AKA government… Semper fi.

  • Capn_Mike

    Oh, man, as a former squid it’s hard to agree with a jarhead, but (gulp)… Semper Fi, M#$!$F@#$ER!!!

Recent Articles

Laissez Faire
The Real Reason ISIS Wants You Dead

Chris Campbell

ISIS is a radical terrorist organization wreaking havoc across Northern Iraq. But its members come from all over the world - including many from Western Countries. The question no one's asking is why... Why are foreigners flocking to the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS? And how far does Obama really want to go? Chris Campbell explores...


How to Trade October Volatility

Greg Guenthner

When it comes to the stock market, October gets a bad rap. It's true, there have been some major crashes in October (ahem... Black Monday, Black Tuesday, etc.) but on a shorter timeline this month hasn't been nearly as bad as you might think. Today, Greg Guenthner offers an optimistic look at the month investors love to hate. Read on...


What the Reboot of the US Budget Means for Your Money

Byron King

Big government doesn't come cheap. And right now the U.S. government is one of the biggest in history. So far the budget writers have been able to move money around to keep the machine moving. But as Byron King points out, that will soon become much more difficult. Read on for the full story...


Invest Like a Shark in the “New” Stock Market

Wayne Mulligan

In the late '90s, financial TV personalities like Jim Cramer became mega stars - often drawing more ratings the ESPN. But that was over 15 years ago... That couldn't happen again, could it? Today, Wayne Mulligan details the new flock of personalities that are set to cash-in on a different kind of investment boom. Read on...


The Number One Threat to the US Above Terrorism

Peter Coyne

As conflict with ISIS looms, the Pentagon appears to be in a pickle... They've got all kinds of things on their "wish list", and they're not likely to get all of them. But they may have found a loophole, and that could mean big bucks for a handful of investors who know where to look. Peter Coyne explains...


One Thing to Consider Before You Become a Whistleblower

Chris Campbell

Being a "whistleblower" is no easy task. Regardless of whom you're blowing the whistle on, there's bound to be a fair amount of risk involved... and that's especially true if you're going after the "powers that be." But there's more to it than that... And as Chris Campbell explains, none of it matters if you can't protect yourself. Read on...