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Monday, October 24, 2016

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has found a fun way to run for president.

In a party desperately in need of a “Sister Souljah moment” — wherein a party leader takes a stand against the orthodoxy of his base — Paul tends to follow in the path of his father.

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) actually opposed government spending during the George W. Bush era — though it flowed generously to his district — and seemed to give Rick Santorum an aneurysm during the 2012 GOP primary debates every time he suggested we shouldn’t immediately go to war with Iran.

Rand, too, alternates between veering to the far right — end Medicare as we know it immediately — and back to the left — legalize hemp!

But unlike his father, he’s always careful to shroud his heresy behind the one organizing principle of the Republican Party at this moment in time: opposing President Obama. The junior senator from Kentucky dramatically roused Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate to join him in a filibuster opposing the nomination of G.W. Bush’s former director of the National Counterterrorism Center on the basis of questions about President Obama’s drone policy.

He also has been in favor of negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program rather than building a case for war but has mostly been silent on that issue since taking a drubbing as an appeaser for endorsing diplomacy on Fox News in November.

Wisely, Paul has decided to focus his most public efforts on the activities of the National Security Agency, an issue that gives him license to go after the president in a way that appeals to people who actually may have voted for the president. The Tea Party hero essentially launched his 2016 presidential campaign with a class-action lawsuit against the Obama administration on the issue of “whether or not constitutionally you can have a single warrant apply to millions of people.”

Who is eligible to join the lawsuit?

The senator says, “Everybody in America who has a cellphone!”

He’s already gathered more than 250,000 names and you can sign up now at, in case there were any doubts about the motivation for this effort.

But Paul’s effort does bring light to a very important issue: the overreach of American surveillance efforts post-9/11 that began illegally under President Bush. Mass capture of data was then enshrined into law with little oversight by Congress, then exposed by former NSA contractor Edwin Snowden, who lifted the veil on what seems to be systematic abuse by the government.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) — a longtime critic of what he calls the secret laws created by the PATRIOT Act — has said, “If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we are all going to live to regret it.”

So Paul’s effort will bring attention to himself and an important cause.

And nothing makes the case for reform of these laws and practices better than the identity of the man who will be advising Paul on this lawsuit:

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Independent1

    Is the RNC deluded?? Here’s the link to an article that makes it fairly clear that only about 500,000 Americans may actually end up losing their insuance coverage (I believe docb has posted this a few times):

    And then there’s this article from USNews that says that up to 14 million people may have already gotten insurance coverage who didn’t have it in 2013.
    Is the RNC lost out in the wilderness or something? Or maybe living on another planet?

    • gmccpa

      Living on another planet? Or just outright liars. I’ll go with that one.

      • Sand_Cat

        Go with whatever you like. Doesn’t change the facts. or the fundamental dishonesty and malice of the modern GOP.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      Their alternate universe cannot stand the thought that a program designed by a Conservative Think Tank and implemented by a Democratic President could ever succeed. During the debate that led up to the vote, the Democratic Majority caved into every Republican demand, up to and including eliminating the “single-payer-option”, then none of the Republicans voted for it!

      • mikem42

        I’m a huge supporter of health insurance and/or care for everyone, regardless of station in life. I do wish the Democratic plan had been simpler, easier to implement and understand, and yeah, single payer. I don’t know if it could have passed, but possibly due to the fact that the general public would have understood it more easily. The R’s opposition to health insurance is repugnant.

        • Independent1

          I’m going to repeat a little of what I posted ByGmh that 2009 was not the time to even think about single payer. The U.S. had already lost as much as 14 million jobs and was on the verge of a depression. Enacting a “simpler” healthcare solution like single-payer which would have essetially trashed who knows how many more jobs in America’s private health insurance sector, which could easily have pushed the country over the edge into causing a world-wide depression again – not to mention that the Budget Obama was working under already had 1.9 trillion in deficit spending, so I have no clue where the monies would have come from for the government to suddenly start picking up the healthcare for another 200 plus million people. See my response above to ByGmh on his misguided comments about the Democrats ‘caving’ to the Republicans. What nonsense.

          • mikem42

            What hogwash. You are so wrong on so many levels; the same thing was said about social security, VA health care, medicare. There is no way that having health care which is affordable would be anything but good for the country, the economy and our future. It’s unpaid for wars, corporate welfare and offshoring of jobs that is the problem. Never is it wrong to supply good health to its’ citizens. You are no economist. If the congress would pass a true jobs bill, end the wars and reverse the obscene subsidies to big oil and other corporate interests, and get the tax levels back to where they were under Bill Clinton, there would be no economic crisis. Add a little regulation on equity and mortgage bankers and make the banks use only their own money for risky schemes, that would go a long way also. Having a healthy country would do wonders for our society.

          • Independent1

            I’m not at all disagreeing with your comments, I’m disagreeing with the timing. Given that Ted Kennedy had died and there was a muddle with respect to control of the Senate; and the fact that the GOP could easily use the fake filibuster to kill everything, and the country had lost 14 million jobs, and the budget was already showing almost 2 trillion in deficit spending – I really don
            ‘t think 2009 was the time to undertake more debt while killing maybe another 1 million plus in jobs. Don’t forget too that the auto industry was in the midst of collapsing which could have thrown another 1 million plus people out of work.
            Again, I’m not at all disagreeing with your above post – only the timing. I’m all for single-payer when the time is right, and I think ACA is a step in the direction that will make single-payer a foregone conclusion down the road when America’s economy has stablized. Don’t forget too, that to support single-payer will mean jacking up taxes in order to pay for it.

          • Bill

            The GOP always says the private market can produce things cheaper than the Government so by that statement insurance company’s wouldn’t have been hurt by single payer.

      • Independent1

        Your comment are off the mark on at least two points: 1) the Democrats ‘did not cave’ to the Republicans!! to suggest that grossly misinterprets the struggle that went on in Congress working to enact THE FIRST TRUE HEALTHCARE REFORM EVER!!

        And 2) as I’ve stated a number of times on this forum, if lovers of a single-payer option (such as myself) used their head for even one moment, they would realize that 2009 WAS NOT THE TIME FOR SINGLE-PAYER in the midst of the greatest recession since the Big Depression. America could simply not have trashed one more sector of its economy, the private healthcare sector, at a time when it HAD ALREADY LOST 14 MILLION JOBS!! When are folks such as yourself going to wake up to this reality???

        Here’s just an excerpt from a narrative on the struggle that went on in Congress in order to get ACA enacted (and this took place after many months of negotiations with committees from both parties spending over 30 meetings to enact ACA):

        Following the Finance Committee vote, negotiations turned to the demands of moderate Democrats to finalize their support, whose votes would be necessary to break the anticipated Republican filibuster. Majority leader Harry Reid focused on satisfying the centrist members of the Democratic caucus until the holdouts narrowed down to Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucused with Democrats, and Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat, representing Nebraska. Lieberman, despite intense negotiations in search of a compromise by Reid, refused to support a public option; a concession granted only after Lieberman agreed to commit to voting for the bill if the provision were not included,[76][93] although it had majority support in Congress.[94] There was debate among supporters of the bill about the importance of the public option,[95] although the vast majority of supporters concluded it was a minor part of the reform overall,[93] and that congressional Democrats’ fight for it won various concessions, including conditional waivers allowing states to set up state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[94][96]

        With every other Democrat now in favor and every other Republican now overtly opposed, the White House and Reid moved on to addressing Senator Nelson’s concerns in order to win filibuster-proof support for the bill;[97] they had by this point concluded “it was a waste of time dealing with [Snowe]”[98] because, after her vote for the draft bill in the Finance Committee, Snowe had come under intense pressure from the Republican Senate leadership who opposed the ACA.[99] After a final 13-hour negotiation, Nelson’s support for the bill was won after two concessions: a compromise on abortion, modifying the language of the bill “to give states the right to prohibit coverage of abortion within their own insurance exchanges”, which would require consumers to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket if the state so decided; and an amendment to offer a higher rate of Medicaid reimbursement for Nebraska.[71][100] The latter half of the compromise was derisively called the “Cornhusker Kickback”[101] and was later repealed by the subsequent reconciliation amendment bill.

        On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster by opponents. The bill then passed by a vote of 60–39 on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for, and all Republicans voting against (except for Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[102] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[103]

      • docb

        Baucus under the HC lobbyist liz fowler caved ..The repub baggers submitted 167 amendments of which 140 were accepted with the promise of repub votes…That was the first repub bagger lie!

      • Independent1

        And here’s why Republicans who had previously supported a public mandate chose not to support ACA – because Mitch McConnell probably due to some outside conservative pressure, decided that it was in the GOP’s best interests to NOT SUPPORT THE ACA. And a little on why they had initially tried to get GOP support for the bill:

        However, following the adoption of an individual mandate as a central component of the proposed reforms by Democrats, Republicans began to oppose the mandate and threatened to filibuster any bills that contained it.[50] Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who led the Republican congressional strategy in responding to the bill, calculated that Republicans should not support the bill, and worked to keep party discipline and prevent defections:[80]

        It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.[81]

        Republican Senators, including those who had supported previous bills with a similar mandate, began to describe the mandate as “unconstitutional”. Writing in The New Yorker, Ezra Klein stated that “the end result was … a policy that once enjoyed broad support within the Republican Party suddenly faced unified opposition.”[53] The New York Times opined: “It can be difficult to remember now, given the ferocity with which many Republicans assail it as an attack on freedom, but the provision in President Obama’s healthcare law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.”[52][59]

        • dana becker

          Lieberman and the Blue Dog Democrats killed the single payer option.

          • Independent1

            Lieberman single-handedly killed the ‘public option”. I see no evidence that a true “single-payer” was ever discussed – if it was, it was during the 31 preliminary meetings and canned during them. The “publlic option” had wide-spread approval except with Lieberman (probably because he didn’t want to make too many real enemies across the aisle).

            Lieberman, despite intense negotiations in search of a compromise by Reid, refused to support a public option; a concession granted only after Lieberman agreed to commit to voting for the bill if the provision were not included,[76][93] although it had majority support in Congress.[94] There was debate among supporters of the bill about the importance of the public option,[95] although the vast majority of supporters concluded it was a minor part of the reform overall,[93] and that congressional Democrats’ fight for it won various concessions, including conditional waivers allowing states to set up state-based public options such as Vermont’s Green Mountain Care.[94][96]

    • docb

      I can not get the advert off the McClatchy link…I had it bookmarked last week but lost it but now the site is a mess with this advert.

      Answer: Yes, inde…they are in self delusion and cranking out lies like crazy…PPACA is working and they are screaming like stuck HOGS!

  • Sand_Cat

    Some surprise. Is ANY substantive claim made by the GOP in the last 15 years or so true?

    • mikem42


  • Dominick Vila

    Is the GOP leadership aware that in their zest to demonize President Obama they give the impression of constantly shifting direction? I realize they are desperately trying to find ways to undermine or discredit ACA, but the way they present some of their arguments leave the impression that sometimes they seem to be lamenting the fact that some Americans may not be able to join the new program, which is a ridiculous argument. Those who cannot afford insurance premiums will get subsidies, those whose policies were cancelled because they did not meet minimum coverage requirements can get better policies regardless of financial considerations or physical/mental impairments. Their latest argument, like all the arguments they have presented thus far, are signs of desperation. I suspect that by now they know they would have been better off embracing an idea conceived by The Heritage Foundation. Instead, they opposed a far right idea and they are now paying a price for their decision, which was not influenced by ideology or logic, but by their decision to oppose anything and everything proposed by President Obama.

  • howa4x

    The republican have to attack Obamacare because they have put forward no alternative. It is not like they are saying hey look at my plan it’s so much better. Ted Cruz said it best about trying to stop the ACA before it became law. That once people get used to it and consider it a benefit they will never give it up.
    I don’t know how much more cynical you can be than to try and make insurance reform fail knowing that once these people loose insurance under the protections of the ACA, they can’t get it back. Once again they prove they are the heartless, cruel, indifferent to suffering, dangerous party that most people know them by.

    • Bryan Blake

      I wish most people knew them by the qualifiers of your last sentence. If they did the GOP would lose control of the House and not take over the Senate in 2014!

  • Bryan Blake

    They will never stop attacking Obamacare for one reason: it cuts the corporate profits of health insurance companies and actually requires them to take care of their customers when they become ill and/or injured. The sacred God of Free-Market Capitalism is always profit. In the minds of the GOP the ACA violates their Golden Rule of profits above all else. Laws that “mess with profits” are socialist in their dogma. Since the GOP only cares about the rich and ultra-rich they will keep trying to undo President Obama’s “socialist law”.

    • Jambi

      Amen!…Insurance companies need only cover their costs (customers) and their “salaries”…take the “profit” out of healthcare! ….they really don’t need “elaborate offices in shiny buildings”…they should basically “break even” and forget about “profit motve”…what do they need profit for anyway? “Research and Development?” ….it’s insurance…just hire enough actuaries to provide their services we can all get on with our lives!

      • Bryan Blake

        Agreed. I think what we all want is Medicare For All!

  • booker25

    My own senator is still lying about it, Hatch and is being called out on FB, too funny.

  • dana becker

    I don’t know why the Republicans act like the ACA only benefits the Dems. Are there no Republicans with children born with health issues? No grandchildren with health issues? No Republican ever went bankrupt from unending medical bills? Do they really think their stupid ideology to be against the ACA, will have those who now have access to a doctor and peace of mind knowing if a calamity befalls their family they won’t lose everything they worked their whole lives for will vote for them when they know doing so will imperil their family because of the zealots who want to repeal the law with nothing to replace it?

    The Republicans had years and years to do something and they chose to do NOTHING. If they are so concerned about the deficit don’t you think something that eats 18% of GDP would be something to solve? They didn’t and they still don’t. They have put party over country and over the very people they pretend to represent. For that alone they should be voted out of every office in the land.