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.
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 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.
Great job Rand, the filibuster was very inspiring to witness.
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.
Oh, man, as a former squid it’s hard to agree with a jarhead, but (gulp)… Semper Fi, M#$!$F@#$ER!!!
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