March 9th, 2013
Coming Back to Reality & a Letter to Congressman Capuano
It has been a long time since my last posting and the lesson I have learned is shame on you, Internet! The original intention of this blog was to post transcriptions I was working on as an incentive to transcribe more often and have the internet discipline me if I did not. Clearly that has not worked, so I am using this blog as a more general expression on thoughts as well as transcriptions.
Recently in the news, Sen. Rand Paul engaged in a traditional, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington filibuster of President Obama's nomination of CIA Director John Brennan. Rand Paul spoke...and spoke...and spoke some more. He spoke for 13 hours.
Excerpts from Rand Paul filibuster
Today Senators no longer have to engage in this type of filibuster and have the option just to turn in a piece of paper saying they are filibustering a nomination or bill without having to stand on the floor. In my opinion most filibusters that are used today are either posturing for a constituency or to serve personal, political ends. I am not a fan of the filibuster. I think it is a rule that should not be used in the Senate as it is not at all implied or mentioned in the Constitution, but has the impact of making all laws require sixty votes in a political body that is not proportionally representative.
All that being said, Rand Paul's filibuster is one of the rare examples of a politician using the tools of government to serve the public interest. If you have not heard or read already, the reason Sen. Paul took up this filibuster was not because John Brennan was being nominated, but in regards to the admission recently by the Obama administration that US citizens could be targeted on American soil by drones in a hypothetical situation without due process.
Think about that for a second.
If a president thinks you are a terrorist, they can send a robot to come kill you. That power is unchecked and at their discretion.
Benedict Arnold is happy that he does not live in this time
After hearing about the drone strikes and this recent episode, I was inspired to do the thing you are suppose to do when you have a problem with what the government is doing: write your congressman. So I wrote a email to my congressman, Frank Capuano
Frank Capuano doesn't shake with one hand, when he can shake with two.
Below is the letter I wrote to the congressman.
I am writing this message to you out of concern for the recent disclosure on the Obama administration's ability to use drone strikes to kill American citizens. I understand that the administration is saying that the use of drones is highly specific for targets against enemy combatants who happen to be American citizens. This notion, however, is incredibly troubling as there is no oversight or due process when there are institutions already set up that could easily serve this function in the Judicial branch.
What is even more troubling is the lack of outrage in congress over this issue. The fact that only a few senators have been vocal against this issue and, for most Americans, they have only heard Sen. Rand Paul's recent filibuster, highlights the trend by congress to give away power to the executive branch. I realize the polarity that exists in congress makes work difficult, but if there were one issue to unite both parties it should be the mandate that the executive branch must respect the right to due process.
I call upon you, Congressman, to be vocal against the administration's hubris. To say that, while the state has the sole authority to punish people for their crimes, every citizen of this country must receive due process. To leave that authority in the administration's hands alone, even one claiming to be benevolent, leaves the opportunity for abuse with no means for correction.
Thank You For Your Time,
Not to get on a soapbox, although one could say this entire post has been a digital soapbox, but if you think this an issue, something that is truly outrageous, I urge you to contact your congressman as well. Don't contact them thinking that your letter will change the world. In all likelihood it won't matter at all. But if enough people are contacting their congressman, they will have to give a response. And that is a huge step forward from not talking about it.