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Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby rabble » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:31 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
rabble wrote:Yeah, I got to wonder about the relevancy of that statement. Does he mean we should have voted for Romney because Romney would never have done that, and Romney would have been gay friendly and much more concerned about poor people's health care?
Obama wasn't actively gay-friendly until his hand was forced by popular opinion and a slip of the tongue by VP Biden. One might think that his interest in gay rights is almost purely political.

Yeah, but I have a feeling he won't shift again if it appears that public opinion is swaying back towards homophobic, unlike certain Mormons I could mention.
And of course, there's still that health care thing.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:35 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:One might think that his interest in gay rights is almost purely political.


Or he might have realized that this was indeed an important issue and began to pursue it more aggressively.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby pjbogart » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:01 pm

minicat wrote:
pjbogart wrote:...I suspect the President's resistance to Rand Paul's wind-baggery is a bit more complicated.


Remove the horror of Rand Paul from this equation for a moment. What's complicated about this topic? Drone strikes in the US, and overseas, should be illegal along with being immoral. A lot of people voted for Obama to end this sort of noxious military behavior; he's responded by continuing and expanding on Bush-era power grabs, and by bringing in right wingers like Chuck Hagel and torture supporter John Brennan for his cabinet. Defending the concept of "freedom" by reducing freedoms with this explosion of Homeland Security black ops programs is our government turning traitor.


I don't have any particular problem with the drone program. I work with two guys who did tours overseas, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and both of them seem to think that drones are a godsend. Are they perfect? No. Do they lead to civilian casualties? Occasionally. Are they better than boots on the ground? Absolutely.

Now, if you're panicking about squadrons of drones chasing white Broncos down a Los Angeles freeway and killing 42 innocent bystanders, I think such dystopian scenarios are pretty unlikely, at least in the near future.

Rand Paul's filibuster was a clever ruse to drive a wedge between the President and some of his supporters. He wouldn't have expressed any concern whatsoever if Romney were President, nor would any of our resident dittoheads.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby Crockett » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:25 pm

Its funny that people here think that Rand did this 'stunt' for the GOP. Today the 'people-who-love-to-bomb-people' part of the GOP (Graham & McCain) came out and tried to destroy Rand.

Not exactly a 'coordinated' GOP attack on Obama...

I'm honestly disappointed that more 'progressive, peace-loving' dems did not come out to support him. I expect bombs and destruction of civil liberties from the GOP by now. I had hoped the Democrats would fight, but alas, I was wrong.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:09 pm

pjbogart wrote:He wouldn't have expressed any concern whatsoever if Romney were President, nor would any of our resident dittoheads.
Are you sure about both of those claims? Based on what evidence? Of GOP senators, Paul is probably the most likely to go against party leadership on issues like this. He still gets in line pretty frequently, though.

Regarding your earlier comments on drones - they are technology, and neither inherently good nor evil. The issues with drones are legal and ethical, and the issues were the same when considered in the context of boots-on-the-ground operations. Drones merely make it convenient to execute ethical/unethical decisions. And most of the debate yesterday wasn't particular to drones, anyway. Given popular opinion, drones just have more emotional impact, I think, and are therefore more potent political weapons too.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:13 pm

pjbogart wrote:I don't have any particular problem with the drone program. I work with two guys who did tours overseas, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and both of them seem to think that drones are a godsend. Are they perfect? No. Do they lead to civilian casualties? Occasionally. Are they better than boots on the ground? Absolutely.
Well, of course, from the perspective of the guys wielding these powerful and convenient weapons, drones are a big improvement. But that's not the point of the drone debate. Those soldiers (and the drones) are the instruments of US government policy. Making their jobs easier or more efficient is a secondary concern to determining whether they or anyone should be doing those jobs in the first place.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby snoqueen » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:48 pm

Let's start with the easy ones. First, can anyone tell me why we are (still) in Afghanistan?

More seriously, I think in the very long run there will be an international consensus (not led by the US in any way) that to conduct war, you have to be willing to put your personnel up against against "their" personnel, placing both at a similar risk. If not that, you have to put your technology (computers, drones, something yet unknown) at risk against their technology. In other words, lawful warfare will involve proportional risk. Countries will push the boundaries in these future conflicts, but putting tanks up against people armed with sticks, or drones against people with conventional battlefield arms, will be sanctioned by some international body.

We're nowhere near even considering that today. Today whoever has the most money and most sophisticated technology gets to use it against whomever they please. I think in the future that will be considered contrary to morality, to international law, to human rights, or whatever convention of authority is appealed to when that day arrives.

Right now, while I can understand the argument an effective drone saves several hundred American lives, I can't as a member of humanity (which supersedes my status as a citizen of a particular country) accept warfare conducted on such unequal terms.

Does the willingness of the supposed enemy to use suicide bombers change the equation? On the terms I've described, suicide bombers are to be met by other suicide bombers. As an alternative the target country uses defensive methods, which are probably more effective anyhow.

I realize this is not accepted reasoning today. That's OK with me, but someone has to start somewhere and I'm throwing it out for discussion. For the moment, that's my thoroughly idealistic, non-political opinion on drone warfare.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:02 pm

snoqueen wrote:... lawful warfare...
What is that?
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:16 pm

Holder has responded. Thanks, Mr. Holder.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby Stella_Guru » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:57 pm

Meade wrote:
minicat wrote:What's complicated about this topic? Drone strikes in the US, and overseas, should be illegal along with being immoral. A lot of people voted for Obama to end this sort of noxious military behavior; he's responded by continuing and expanding on Bush-era power grabs, and by bringing in right wingers like Chuck Hagel and torture supporter John Brennan for his cabinet. Defending the concept of "freedom" by reducing freedoms with this explosion of Homeland Security black ops programs is our government turning traitor.

“Every American has the right to know when their government believes [it has constitutional authority] to kill them.”
-- Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.)


Turns out your votes for Obama were votes for the expansion of what many of you claimed were war crimes by Bush.

Seems like today actions such as torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, bombings of civilians, trashing the constitution are held to be good or bad according to who does them. Republicans hate Obama for what he isn't and Democrats make excuses for what he is and demonstrate a remarkable capacity for not even questioning. Jesus, even so-called Liberals are war-mongering bastards.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby snoqueen » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:10 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
snoqueen wrote:... lawful warfare...
What is that?


Perfectly fair question.

Today we have the Geneva Convention which sets up some rules for what's legal in warfare. In the future we'll probably have something else, or several competing things-else.

I'm not handing the moral high ground to any of this, just saying it represents international laws governing the conduct of war.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby pjbogart » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:12 pm

snoqueen wrote:More seriously, I think in the very long run there will be an international consensus (not led by the US in any way) that to conduct war, you have to be willing to put your personnel up against against "their" personnel, placing both at a similar risk. If not that, you have to put your technology (computers, drones, something yet unknown) at risk against their technology. In other words, lawful warfare will involve proportional risk. Countries will push the boundaries in these future conflicts, but putting tanks up against people armed with sticks, or drones against people with conventional battlefield arms, will be sanctioned by some international body.


They aren't playing checkers, Sno. Lives are on the line. I had a roommate in undergrad who was a marine and went to the first Desert Storm. He complained that the entire time he was there he never got close enough to shoot anyone (marines are crazy fucks, if you didn't know that). Basically, our technology, particularly tanks and aircraft, could reduce enemy positions to rubble while we were still well out of their range. Basically, Chris' experience in Iraq was a slow march to Baghdad clearing burned out convoys from the roads as they went.

So how is that any different from drone technology? You have the same added risk of civilian casualties and the same "unfairness" in that the enemy cannot actually harm you because he can't shoot as far as you. That's why they resort to makeshift landmines and suicide bombers. There's really no other way to fight back. Would you rather that we line up in fancy French costumes and take turns shooting at each other?

I think people are bothered by drone technology because there's something eerily Orwellian about it, but it's not really any different than any of the other massive technology gaps between armies. We jam transmissions with AWACs, conduct extensive surveillance with drones and launch missiles off ships floating 100 miles away from their target. You're right, there's nothing fair about it. Perhaps flying jumbo jets into our skyscrapers was a bad idea.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby snoqueen » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:05 pm

I can't disagree with anything you say. I don't think a principle of proportional force in warfare is going to come any time soon. But I do think as the world gets smaller and people come to encounter one another more as individuals -- via the internet, immigration, and many other means -- we'll eventually begin rethinking the concept of anything-goes war altogether.

As the last half of the 20th century shows, it really doesn't accomplish much as far as the hearts-and-minds aspect is concerned. (And the Marines already know that, as some of their Afghanistan and Iraq projects demonstrate. General Petraeus fought a completely different war than General Westmoreland ever did.) The more atrocities, mistakes, and tragedies are documented before the eyes of just about everybody, the closer we come to that time of rethinking. What exactly are we accomplishing? If we look back three or ten years after a conflict, can we say we effected desirable changes?

If our forces are "not playing checkers" (which we can agree on), is their primary intent then to defend themselves effectively and get home safely? If so, why were they sent into danger in the first place?

I'm not taking a pacifist position here, just a pragmatic one. Does a disproportionate use of force make more long-term enemies than it does allies?

I think it can be argued, for instance, that by invading Iraq one of the many things we did was disturb a hornets' nest that is buzzing more, far more, globally, than it might have had we simply focused on securing our borders, cities, and ports.

Perhaps these are not questions for today, but they are questions historians will ask when they examine this period someday in the future.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby pjbogart » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:26 pm

Sorry if my post smacked of jingoism, I fully support bringing the troops home... in 2003. I guess I can rationalize the Afghan war based upon 9-11, but the prolonged occupation is a senseless endeavor. If you think back to 2002-2003, you'll probably remember that we blazed in there, blew everything to shit and could have just waved goodbye and let them pick up the pieces. Cruel as that sounds, I wouldn't have had much problem with it.

But we didn't occupy Iraq or Afghanistan to be nice people. We did it to funnel billions of dollars to defense contractors, who pay politicians handsomely to keep them knee deep in warfare. There's a lot of money to be made in war, and you're paying for it. Sure, Ned loves to gripe about government cheese and overpaid teachers, but when it comes to paying Halliburton, Ned's all for deficit spending.

But the reality is that we're there, and ordinary folks that you have nothing against are putting their ass on the line to fight a war that can never actually be won. Those people deserve your sympathy and if a drone can clear out an insurgent camp without any US soldiers getting maimed or killed, I'm all for it. I'm sure it sucks to be an insurgent, staring at the sky wondering when some remote control toy will come and blow your ass to tiny bits, but Private John Doe wants to get home and kiss his wife and the baby he's never even met. I think he deserves that much.
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Re: Rand Paul filibuster at 8.5 hours and still going

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:19 pm

Good stuff here.
pjbogart wrote:Sorry if my post smacked of jingoism, I fully support bringing the troops home... in 2003. I guess I can rationalize the Afghan war based upon 9-11, but the prolonged occupation is a senseless endeavor. If you think back to 2002-2003, you'll probably remember that we blazed in there, blew everything to shit and could have just waved goodbye and let them pick up the pieces. Cruel as that sounds, I wouldn't have had much problem with it.
There's probably something to this. Had we burned and salted Afghanistan in 2003 and then left, many of the pieces would already have been picked up.
pjbogart wrote:But we didn't occupy Iraq or Afghanistan to be nice people. We did it to funnel billions of dollars to defense contractors, who pay politicians handsomely to keep them knee deep in warfare. There's a lot of money to be made in war, and you're paying for it. Sure, Ned loves to gripe about government cheese and overpaid teachers, but when it comes to paying Halliburton, Ned's all for deficit spending.
Sad, but true. If we weren't destroying people's lives in other countries, what would happen to those thousands of jobs in OshKosh?
pjbogart wrote:But the reality is that we're there, and ordinary folks that you have nothing against are putting their ass on the line to fight a war that can never actually be won. Those people deserve your sympathy and if a drone can clear out an insurgent camp without any US soldiers getting maimed or killed, I'm all for it. I'm sure it sucks to be an insurgent, staring at the sky wondering when some remote control toy will come and blow your ass to tiny bits, but Private John Doe wants to get home and kiss his wife and the baby he's never even met. I think he deserves that much.
I waver between sympathy for individual troops and ambivalence. It's a volunteer army, and like you said earlier, some of these guys actually want to kill people, and that's the reason they are there. I have some classmates from high school that did well in the Army and are better people now. Others are now bigger psychos than when they went in. Thankfully I don't personally know any of the many soldiers who have taken their own lives. Anyway, (and this is orthogonal to what you're trying to say) the army should not be a jobs program, nor a welfare program, nor a path-to-citizenship program; it's primary and singular purpose should be defense, and it should be no larger than necessary to accomplish that goal.
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