Showing posts with label Rand Paul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rand Paul. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Droning of America

“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

This was a quote from a Department of Justice (DOJ) memo landed by NBC’s Michael Isikoff last month. In this white paper memo it’s clear the backdrop has been set; completely trampling over the 4th, 5th & 14th amendments in one fell swoop. The Executive branch will wage its war on your freedoms under the guise of “terror” not just in your backyard in the Middle East but your front yard and everywhere in between.

Per the FAA’s website, they have granted over 1,400 licenses or better known as Certificates of Authorization (COA) to some corporations but mostly government agencies to allow unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to occupy US airspace. Congress, despite its miserable record of futility and utter failure managed to pass a bill that set a September 2015 deadline for “full integration” of UAS into the national airspace.

When the powers that be want to torture and cannot do so because it’s the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, they get “creative”. They just rename it. So "torture" becomes "enhanced interrogation techniques". That’s what these politicians think of your intellect. They just rename an act like your mom used to do when you were four; calling cabbage apple pie.  

When they want to take away your 1st amendment right of free speech and assembly they deem you a terrorist or an enemy combatant. 

The 2011 drone strike in Yemen that killed two alleged al-Qaida operatives Samir Khan and Anwar al-Awlaki were both U.S. citizens. Lest not forget al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son also an American who was also killed in the attack. Neither men (and of course neither was a minor) were indicted nor charged by the US Government for any crimes. Instead they were put onto a list without due process and executed by a remote control airplane in a desert thousands of miles away; the same remote control airplanes we will have patrolling our skies here in the states.  

Some of you might say, but both men were al-Qaida, but how do we know? How do we know what they did if there was no charges or trial? If they are American citizens they are guaranteed their rights by our constitution. The same constitution that each elected representative is sworn to uphold and protect. So how can these elected representatives by the people for the people have the audacity to kill American citizens without a trial or even charge? 

The answer is simple. Americans are too quick to trade freedom for security.

Isikoff also notes a speech from Attorney General Eric Holder in March of 2012 where he endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans. Just like seen in the recently discovered DOJ white paper, the narrative is consistent, as Holder states they (those on the kill list) could be legal and justified kills if government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.”

There is that pesky phrase again: “an imminent threat of violent attack”. How do you go about deciding how imminent a threat is? This falls into the hands of a judge or a jury of ones peers, right? Normally, yes, but in today’s brave new world, it’s just not the case.

No, the President and his appointed Attorney General play both jury and judge. While they give the thumbs up or down on who is to be killed; the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and an army of drones play executioner. This wording is very vague and ambiguous (i sense a trend here) thus the interpretation of these words and how they apply to citizens must be dealt with accordingly. Allowing this power to rest in one mans hands and his attorney general is the way of a monarch or dictatorship not a republic.

If this sounds like something out of communist Russia or Nazi German; it's only because it is.

This JSOC falls under the command of the President making in nothing more than a Gestapo. A force that's militarily superiority is only matched by its geo-political carte blanche. Bound not by borders, sovereignty, neither international nor domestic laws but simply the decision then subsequent command of one man. This is not democracy. This is why we have a constitution. Is it any wonder those in power go at lengths to undermine it?

So, when Rand Paul in epic fashion brings about a filibuster last week to protest the nomination of war monger & drone whore John Brennan, to head the CIA, you can bet he was met with considerable disdain. And this was not just from the usual suspects (namely the President and his minions) but from the likes of none other than neo-con hawks John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Two career politicians dressed up as republican senators who sold their soul long ago to K-Street and two mouth breathers who will do anything to defend their corporate masters in the military industrial complex.

Your rights via the constitution get in the way of those in power. War’s and chasing bogeymen in the sands of Arabia funnel obscene profits to those in power both at the elected and private level. Anyone and I mean ANYONE who defends drones strikes on American soil while promoting endless wars against an “enemy” that’s about as dangerous as street gang in Omaha… is the enemy. They are an enemy to our republic and they are an THE “imminent threat” to our natural born rights as American citizens. Know thy enemy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How policies perception and reality are often ambiguous

Part 2 of a 3 part story on the Department of Defense and its coming to the realization of its own shortcomings and the realities it faces; and the motivation for those that will not go down swinging.

As we continue our buildup to combat the dangers of the War on Terror, somewhere along the way; somebody failed to tell our elected leaders that the defense budget was becoming super sized. Wasn’t the Homeland security created to organize our communications and protect us here at home from terrorism? That budget this year was 57 Billion.

But the beat goes on and the defense budget keeps increasing. It was President Bush who was once labeled a war monger by many of us (and rightfully so) yet President Obama has not only kept up the same strategies, he has expanded upon them and increased spending along the way. So what exactly is the defense budget and how does it relate to other nations spending?

First, here is a little perspective:
In 2001 (in 2010 inflation adjusted dollars) the base budget (excludes Nuclear and War funding) for Defense was 390 Billion
In 2011 (in 2010 inflation adjusted dollars) the base budget (excludes Nuclear and War funding) for Defense was 540 Billion

That is a 38% increase in 10 years. Again, this isn’t including the Nuclear Weapons programs or the wars we are fighting throughout the Middle East. If it seems like a lot; it’s because it is. Now the cuts that will take place starting in 2013 are not actually from existing defense… it’s from proposed increases. According to Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky:
"This may surprise some people, but there will be no cuts in military spending because we’re only cutting proposed increases. If we do nothing, military spending goes up 23% over 10 years. If we [make these cuts], it will still go up 16%."
So, in reality this is just slightly blunting the momentum of the leviathan that is the DOD. The Department and its cozy relationship with Congress and Industry (queue the black and white Eisenhower farewell address) remain warm and fuzzy and most importantly to those three love birds: intact and thriving.

And that I believe is the point. It has to be. How can anyone, given the information and the trends not see defense as a bloated bureaucracy, one that should be first in-line on the chopping block? Our ever expanding Department of Defense is not in an arms race yet their budget and approach clearly says otherwise. Shouldn’t we be shaping our military to fight the battles of the 21st Century; instead of preparing for an enemy of the twentieth that doesn’t exist?

In 2010 we spent almost six times the amount on defense than China does and eleven times more than Russia; yet many if not a majority of our elected leaders refuse to accept the notion of making cuts in defense. To me, it’s pretty clear… if we take the 18 nations that spend the most on defense; the US outspends all of her counterparts… ALL 17 of them COMBINED. So cuts are not only logical in our economic situation but they are a necessity; even if we were not drowning in debt.

Isn't it a bit silly for us to be even worried about a war with another super power in the first place? The idea of us engaging in war with a China or Russia is almost laughable because of how implausible it is. For one, it would be certain nuclear mutual devastation and then you have the reality of China and the US being so economically intertwined; it would be disruptive to both countries at so many levels.

In fact so much so that even the funding of a sustainable war would be impossible. Most people in this country see China as an economic threat and rightfully so, but it’s a threat only because we depend on them so much; as they do us. Our 1/4+ Trillion dollar trade deficit with a nation has a tendency to create a little codependency.

We are building a military prepared to wage a war not seen since the days of Hitler and we are outspending every nation at astronomical rates. Who is the war on terror about anyway? Stateless organizations whom hide in caves and target random civilians around the globe. Isnt that a threat to all nations? Why do they not allocate the resources that we do?

It just doesn’t seem to make sense. To fight such an enemy that is no more dangerous or powerful than a drug cartel using conventional warfare with cold war spending and tactics. How we cannot connect these dots is astounding if it wasn’t so downright intellectually offensive.