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Friday, October 21, 2016

In a recent senatorial dustup, Sen. John McCain called Republican colleague Rand Paul one of “the wacko birds” of Congress.

McCain (who sometimes appears not too tightly wrapped himself) was giving Sen. Paul a tongue-lashing for having mounted a 13-hour, old-fashioned, standalone filibuster over the possibility that murderous drones could be used for targeted assassinations of Americans right here at home.

McCain said that the Kentucky senator’s talkathon had veered into the “realm of the ridiculous,” adding, “I don’t think (it) is helpful to the American people.”

I hate to interrupt when one Republican Solon is hammering another, but I’m siding with Paul. While I do think that plenty of the Tea Party senator’s extreme right-wing stands are wacko, this isn’t one of them. Unfortunately for America, powerful corporate interests are eager to reap billions in profit from the spread of drones across our land, and police agencies at all levels are drooling at the prospect of adding fleets of surveillance drones — including ones that will be weaponized to their arsenals. Indeed, what’s really ridiculous is that so many other congresscritters have not been paying attention, speaking out and taking action.

Call it grandstanding if you want, but at least Paul took an actual stand. And, contrary to McCain’s opinion, his stand was quite helpful to the American people. Thanks to Paul’s attention-getting combination of principle, ego and chutzpah, the great majority of Americans heard for the first time that these inherently invasive, liberty-busting and potentially deadly drones are on the verge of being deployed domestically.

That’s why the Congressional Progressive Caucus and such alert Democrats as Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon have joined in sounding the alarm and demanding a full public debate. As Paul says, “At least we need to know what are the rules.” Before we let profiteers unleash this technology on Americans, bring the discussion into the open so the people can grasp the danger that these “Orwellian gnats” pose to our democracy.

Sen. Rand Paul is not the only speed bump slowing down the push by government contractors, police authorities and politicians of both parties to litter our nation’s airspace with up to 30,000 of these surreptitious unmanned aircraft by year 2020. Inevitably, many of these will be used to spy on, invade the Constitutional rights of and even fire on American citizens.

  • Drones can be used for both, surveillance and as a missile/bomb launcher. I think it is fair to say that we all support our freedoms and our right to privacy, but what the Tea Party is insinuating has little to do with freedom and a lot to do with demonization of the Obama administration. The idea that the Obama administration is planning to kill “patriots” is spreading like wildfire through the blogosphere. Posts linking gun control to alleged planned to attacks patriots are joined by people determined to distort President Obama’s record, damage his place in history, and prevent him from governing.
    For me, this has a lot more to do with paranoia and, perhaps, fear that intelligence agencies may be able to use new tools to monitor the activities of heavy armed and well trained hate groups in the USA. The latter may not be enough to overthrow the government, but it is enough to terrorize communities and cause havoc nationwide. Domestic terrorism is a “freedom” we don’t need.

    • nobsartist

      It is looking like the only “terrorists” around here work for the “government”.

      If Obama cannot defend his own policies to America, perhaps they are simply not defensible.

    • John Pigg

      Does it really matter if opposition to drones comes from right wing conservatives or not. Most people generally agree that drones and the loss of civil liberties are a bad thing. One should not let political differences divide from common goals. We shouldn’t get distracted by the partisan battle lines, instead we should support the issues we know as right.

      In this case restricting and eliminating domestic surveillance.

  • nobsartist

    Drones can be taken down using a spark gap discharge device similar to a morse code spark transmitter. They have been using drones over detroit for quite some time to watch the border and prevent all of those canadians from sneaking over to use our health care.

    Sure, we should trust Obama to use drones for the benifiet of all Americans, just like his popular health care plan which is just a forced continuation of rayguns failed health care plan of 1982.

    We should trust Obama to “look forward, not backward” and now down but only to “protect us”.