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Rand Paul’s Stand (Video)

7 Mar

Mr. Smith, 2013Kentucky’s junior senator, Rand Paul, (with Ron Wyden‘s help) is not my first choice for any elected office, but he’s earned both my admiration for his quixotic quest to rescue Congress’ abysmal ratings with a filibuster. I’m not a libertarian. I like Americans that stand for what’s right.

Paul’s speech began on the Senate floor at just after 11.45am ET on Wednesday. After about an hour, he admitted his throat was getting dry and said: “I can’t talk forever.” But after more than two hours he was still going strong, striking the themes of citizens’ constitutional rights over government power that have made him a Tea Party favourite and hero of libertarian-leaning followers of his father. “The constitution limits power given to Congress. But it does not limit rights,” he said.

And more than four hours after beginning Paul was joined by the Democrat Wyden. Though Wyden said he was still supporting Brennan’s appointment, he raised many of the same questions as Paul. “Every American has the right to know when their government can kill them,” he said. He added: “More needs to be done … What are the limitations with respect to this lethal authorities, in particular whether they can be used inside the United States?”

Spencer Ackerman explains that Paul’s filibuster is ultimately a challenge to the executive branch asking the question, “Is perpetual war OK with everybody?

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Who Was Hugo Chávez?

7 Mar

Hugo/ BolivarI guess this is the responsible conservative dismissal of Hugo Chávez.

“The ultimate populist,” Richard Haass deemed Chávez, who led a “massive redistribution of wealth” domestically and also had an active foreign policy. “His vision for latin america that was extraordinarily radical. He was not democratic, to say the least,” Haass added, noting that the region now faces much uncertainty, particularly because Chavez didn’t quite put the country on a long-term track.

In a subsequent conversation, Haass lampoons Chávez as “complete theater”, a “larger than life” “leftwing caudillo”, and “Castro with oil” who contributed nothing of lasting value to Venezuela. Greg Grandin takes issue with this sort of “two lefts” dodge the United States has used in South America.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And one point I made in my column in the Daily News today on Chávez is that, to the degree that he was seen by the United States and Europe as the most radical of Latin American leaders, he created space for an enormous diversity of other left-oriented leaders that seemed almost more acceptable to the West up against the figure, the lightning-rod figure, of Chávez.

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Petraeus Linked To Torture In Iraq (Video)

7 Mar

James SteeleIt’s unfortunate that self-correction comes ten years late for Iraq.

I was wrong for a lot of reasons — strategic, political, humanitarian — but the most important is that the Iraq War did not meet the basic test of a just war, which allows for pre-emptive military action against an imminent threat, but not preventive war designed to stop such imminent threats from even emerging. The Iraq War, to my mind, was clearly a preventive war and thus constituted a crime of aggression.

Andrew Sullivan to his credit is conducting his own public confession, that he was wrong about the Iraq War, raising the standard for any blogger who has ever made an error in code.

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