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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Filibusters: They're Not Just For Democrats Opposing Civil Rights Anymore, Or, I Bet Japanese-Americans Are Happy FDR Didn't Have Drones After the Attack On Pearl Harbor

At Least One Senator Has The Cajones To Say Something On Our Behalf

Rand Paul (R-KY) filibustered against the president and CIA
not being completely open about their plans for drone strikes
against US citizens on US soil.
Rand Paul (R-KY) took to the Senate floor yesterday for twelve hours to bring attention to CIA-nominee John Brennan's inability to articulate the Obama Administration's refusal to use drones against American citizens on American soil.

Some people who don't want the government being omnipotent and omniscient (like me) think the President of the United States and the people who work directly for him should be able to unequivocally state that drones will not be used against American citizens on American soil at the behest of the Commander-In-Chief. If you think this is no big deal, please go educate yourself, because you are a dummy.

Here's what US Attorney General Eric Holder had to say about drone strikes in a letter to Paul:
"As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat."
That sounds reasonable.

This doesn't.
"It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001."

You know why it isn't reasonable? The words "the president could conceivably have no choice" is a purely subjective statement. The President of the United States is limited by the Constitution of the United States from having the power of life or death over anyone without the consent of the Congress.
I bet Japanese-Americans living in California in 1941 sure are glad FDR (D-America) didn't have drones right after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
For you Democrats and Millenials out there who really don't know much about the government, Holder is the top Federal police officer in the United States. I bet Japanese-Americans living in California in 1941 sure are glad FDR (D-America) didn't have drones right after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Anyway, enough about the government being able to flip a switch and kill people it deems as threats. Let's talk about other famous Senate filibusters.

What Exactly Is A Filibuster, Where Did They Come From And Why Are They Here?

Robert Byrd (D-WV) filibustered
against racial equality in 1964.
 The word filibuster comes from the Dutch word "vrijbuiter" which means pirate or literally "freebooter." The term came in to use in the late 16th Century in the West Indies. The Spanish variation is "filibustero" and the French is "flibustier."

In parliamentary terms, filibusters are used to delay votes the person doing the filibuster knows he will lose. They have been said to be "more infuriating than inspirational."

Famous Senate Filibusters Specifically Included Here To Make Democrats and Progressives Angry
  • 1841: The Whig majority in the Senate wanted to replace the official Senate printers. The week-long Democrat-led filibuster lasted for a week and became so filled with enmity that Democrat William King of Alabama challenged Whig leader Henry Clay to a duel. A judge told them both to knock it off.
  • 1846: Southern senators filibustered against a bill to approving purchase of land from Mexico because of an amendment that prohibited slavery in the purchased territory. After a month-long filibuster, Democrats prevailed and the appropriation passed without the antislavery provision.
  • 1922: Southern Democrat senators filibustered to defeat anti-lynching bills
  • 1935: See 1922.
  • 1938: See 1935.
  • 1948: See 1938.
  • 1949: See 1948.
  • 1957: Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC*) staged the longest ever filibuster against a limp Civil Rights Bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (D-TX). Johnson, who had presidential aspirations crafted a showpiece bill without much in the way of change for oppressed blacks under the agreement that Senate Democrats would go along with him. Thurmond broke the agreement and held the Senate floor for 25 hours and 18 minutes.
    Strom Thurmond (D-SC) filibustered against
    racial equality in 1975.
  • 1964: Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) took the Senate floor for 14 hours to filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Senate took a record 57 days of filibusters and debate to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which in spite of their opposition, Democrats have used against Republicans for almost 50 years.

Other Famous Senate Filibusters
  • 1986: Alphonse D'Amato (R-NY) filibustered for 23 hours 30 minutes against a bill to cut off funding for a jet trainer built in his homestate. 
  • 1953: Wayne Morse (R-OR) filibustered for 22 hours and 26 minutes against the Tidelands Oil Act.
  • 1908: Robert La Follette (R-WI) filibustered 18 hours and 23 minutes against a bill that would allow the Federal government to lend money to faltering private banks.
  • 1981: William Proxmire (D-WI) filibustered for 16 hours and 12 minutes against a bill to raise the debt ceiling.
It's all politics kids, but it does matter. Especially once you understand what is actually going on.

* - Thurmond served as a Democrat from 1954 to 1964 and then became a Republican in 1964. He remained with the Republican party until 2003.

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