Yesterday was a pretty embarrassing day for democrats putting their hopes in democratic politicians.
First off, it is embarrassing to believers in civil and human rights that our country, founded on the bedrock principle of the rule of law, has now claimed as its policy that anyone suspected of terrorist activities can be executed on order from the president, without a trial, a chance to hear the accusations against them, a chance to face their accusers, or a chance to defend themselves. The new laws says that if someone is accused of terrorist activities, they can be killed, no more questions asked or answered. And yesterday we learned that this new policy applies explicitly to American citizens on American soil. So don't be surprised if the next time you and your friends want to have a camp-out at the local park to protest economic inequality in America, you find yourself kettled, pepper-sprayed, laser-painted, and on the receiving end of a couple of hellfire missiles – and watch for the "double-tap" (or maybe they will target your parent's house instead because of the “signature” of suspicious activities there – who knows how these things are decided?: they are decided in secret). The framers of our constitution are rolling in their graves.
It is hugely embarrassing that this unconstitutional law is given expression and support, and put into widespread practice, by a democratic administration. In doing so, this democratic administration, led by a one-time professor of constitutional law, has bested even the scorned Bush administration in the practice of ignoring the constitution. It seems entirely possible the GW Bush himself is looking on with pride and satisfaction that his fledgling “executive death sentence” policy has grown in size and scope, and perhaps a little chagrined that he himself did not have the audacity to freely drop bombs as Pres. Obama has. It turns out “Yes, we can” includes secretly finding you guilty of terrorism and ensuring your execution all without regards to your rights or other messy constitutional considerations. Now we know what to expect when a sitting president is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – a covert war against anyone, anywhere, and at anytime.
And it is wretchedly embarrassing that it falls to one of the craziest of right-wing crazies to be the loudest and most public voice protesting the extra-judicial death sentence by fiat. Rand Paul, the rootin'est, tootin'est Tea Party cutter of government spending and programs, who thinks the government has no place to ask restaurants to serve blah people if the the restaurant doesn't want to, launches an honest-to-God walking, talking filibuster, saying “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that 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.”. Now, why won't any of the democratic law-makers say that?
The occasion for the filibuster was the upcoming confirmatory vote for John Brennan, Pres. Obama's nomination to head the CIA. While republican members of the senate have frequently used meaningless filibusters to throw up roadblocks to necessary government action, in this particular case Sen. Paul actually raised an important question of government policy, one which few law-makers from any point of the political compass has heretofore been willing to address during a session of congress. A question of policy of such import that liberals around the country have been wishing a democratic law-maker would hold up the government's business so the nation could have this discussion. Yet, even with a democratic president safely re-elected to his second term, no democratic law-maker could muster the courage to address in congress the question of killing by presidential fiat. Instead, our liberal leaders have left that task up to Sen. Paul, a Tea Party waver of trans-vaginal ultrasound wands, who apparently believes neither in global climate change nor that BP caused the 2010 gulf oil spill.
And all this happened on the day Eric Holder, Attorney General for this democratic administration, publicly says that some big banks and financial institutions are simply too big to prosecute. And that even if the meager resources of the US government's Department of Justice were to be brought to bear on these big banks, an investigation or prosecution might scramble the nation's economy, - a talking point those big banks have previously used to frighten off (you guessed it) prosecutions. So, having been warned by the criminals that they may take some hostages, the Attorney General has declared that the criminal activity will continue unhindered. Indeed, the DoJ has already declined to prosecute HSBC for flagrant and years-long violation of money-laundering laws, specifically saying such a prosecution might roil the global economy. Fortunately, Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has turned to David Vitter (R-La) (who has himself admitted to breaking the law when he patronizes prostitutes) to help him write new legislation to rein in the too-big-to-prosecute banks.
So it appears that this democratic administration has the power to secretly spy on you, and secretly determine you are a terrorist, and secretly order your execution by a remotely-piloted vehicle, yet the democratic administration has insufficient resources to stop criminal bank from stealing from you. Welcome to the second term of democrat Barack Obama, faithfully carrying on the fourth term of republican GW Bush.
Yes, it has been an embarrassing day to be a democrat.