civil liberties

Liberty All Up in Your Birth Canal

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June 21, 2011

Blah blah states’ rights blah blah Constitution blah blah same old bullshit from St. Paul I:

Colbert says Rand Paul wants to put himself in prison

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June 8, 2011

You’re late to the party, Stephen, but welcome:

Rand Paul softens but stands by his Thought Police

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June 3, 2011

As I’m sure you know by now, Rand Paul went on the radio last week to suck up to Sean Hannity, assuring him that he’s actually tough on national security despite his opposition to the Patriot Act. And how did he manage to suck up to Caveman Hannity? By saying that people who attend speeches by “radicals” advocating the violent overthrow of the government should be put in jail or deported. In its full context, there is absolutely zero doubt that is what he said and meant.

And it wasn’t just me and ThinkProgress and Krugman and Maddow and Cenk and Glenn Greenwald and Steve Benen saying that. Even the libertarian fanboys of Rand Paul at Reason Magazine agreed that this was really messed up:

Having listened to more of the interview…, I can’t say it makes the Kentucky senator, whose principled criticism of the PATRIOT Act I praised a in my column yesterday, look much better.


But Paul goes completely off the rails when he suggests that merely attending “radical political speeches” is “an offense that we should be going after,” one that justifies deporting or even imprisoning someone. (On what charge?) That does not sound like the same man who the day before insisted that we can “capture terrorists and protect our liberties at the same time” and who the day before that challenged conservatives and progressives by declaring that “if we do not protect the entire Bill of Rights, we are not going to have any of it.” It’s not surprising that Hannity did not press Paul for an explanation, but Paul had a chance to clarify his position and did not. You would think that a self-identified defender of civil liberties who goes on a nationally distributed radio show and hears himself suggesting that people should be imprisoned for attending speeches would be in a hurry to explain that is not what he really meant.

Another person at Reason wrote Paul to clarify what he meant, but he still hasn’t responded.

But what Rand did do yesterday is go on Mandy Connell’s show for some damage control, where Connell served up some huge softballs and slobbered all over him, like the no-talent hack that she is. In the “interview” Rand “clarifies” his views, of course blaming his “enemies” for taking him “out of context”. This is the first real 100% instance of “Rand’s Law” that we’ve seen in a while, as those who quote him full and in context are liars (yes, Newt has appropriated this Law).

But does Rand Paul fully back down from his views on Hannity’s show, especially his belief that Rand Paul himself should be a person of interest for federal authorities? Not so much. As you can see when he summarizes his views at the end of the interview:

Well heaven forbid that we should think about our political discourse some and have debate. But, no I don’t, I think if people hear enough of it, that’s one of the beauties I think of talk radio, is that you can have a more full discussion of things. The people on the internet who are talking that out of context, are obviously people who are my political enemies. So they are going to do anything to try to promote that.

But I think it’s a consistent position, and all I’m saying is that attending a rally where you call for the violent overthrow of the United States, one, it’s against the law to say that. But attending the rally I think would be supportive evidence to a judge to say, well maybe that person should be somebody, if he’s taking 25 calls from Pakistan, he’s been to Yemen twice, perhaps that’s enough evidence that a judge could grant a warrant to look further into his activities.

OK, looking past the hilarious praising of right-wing radio’s service of allowing people like Rand Paul to do unchallenged PR spin when they say something idiotic, let’s look at the basic argument which remains.

According to Rand, if you attend one of those radical speeches, Big Brother should be watching and listening to you, but only if you’ve been cavorting with Muslims, it appears. Now, does the fact that Rand Paul attended a speech where militiamen with assault rifles were calling for the violent overthrow of the government implicate himself and justify his spot on their Naughty List? Or does the fact that these militiamen were good white Christians mean that there is no harm here, and that Rand doesn’t have to be taken down to the station for questioning or have his phone tapped? Or is the fact that Rand Paul is a good white Christian allow him to go to radical violent speeches without impunity, while Muslim students do not have that right?

It’s still a little cloudy, as Rand’s Reason Fanboy Jacob Sullum agrees:

Paul has managed to construct a clarification that is alarming as well as reassuring. Instead of saying that he misspoke, he seems to defend the idea that people should be imprisoned for advocating violence. But in the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits the government from criminalizing “advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” That test is very hard to meet in practice, and an anti-American speech by a radical imam is unlikely to qualify unless his listeners immediately go out to plant bombs. In any case, people who merely listen to the speech have not committed any conceivable offense by doing so…. It is hard to tell exactly what he meant to say, since in both interviews he conflates several different scenarios, including airport screening, search warrants, deportation for violating student visa rules, and both listening to and giving radical, violence-promoting speeches. But at least he has made it clear that he does not favor punishing people for exercising their First Amendment rights. I think.

They truly are trying very hard to get him off the hook here, but… Rand’s making it kind of difficult.

Anyway, if this PR Bailout didn’t fully do the trick to quiet the storm, I’m sure Mandy Connell would invite him back to finish the job, true professional that she is.

Rand Paul spits on civil rights again

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September 23, 2010

There’s just something about legislating repugnant discrimination that Rand Paul can’t get enough of. We know that he’s a fierce advocate for the right of private businesses to discriminate, but this May he told us how much he personally “abhors” discrimination and favors the government not discriminating. Oh, unless you’re gay, I guess:

LOUISVILLE — Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway says gays should be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, while his Republican rival, Rand Paul, says the military should decide the issue.

Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates were asked their opinions on the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the wake of this week’s unsuccessful effort by Democrats in the U.S. Senate to repeal it. Paul and Conway are vying on the Nov. 2 ballot for the seat now held by Republican Jim Bunning, who is retiring.

When Conway was asked at a Louisville news conference this week whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, he said “yes,” without elaborating.

Paul’s campaign spokesman, Gary Howard, said Thursday in an e-mail without elaboration, “Dr. Paul believes this is a matter that should be decided by the leadership of the military, not through political posturing.”

Yes, because ending idiotic discrimination by our government that harms our country and is opposed by 75% of the public is obviously “political posturing”.

Allow me to quote someone who thinks that doing the right thing is more important that Rand Paul’s version of discriminatory “political posturing”:

“I have received several calls and visits from constituents who, in spite of the heavy investment in their training, have been forced out of the military simply because they were discovered to be homosexual. To me, this seems like an awful waste. Personal behavior that is disruptive should be subject to military discipline regardless of whether the individual is heterosexual or homosexual. But to discharge an otherwise well-trained, professional, and highly skilled member of the military for these reasons is unfortunate and makes no financial sense.”

Yes, it’s too bad that Rand Paul doesn’t care as much about our Constitution as his dad.

And for those of you looking for a reason to vote FOR Jack Conway instead of just against Rand Paul… THERE YOU GO.

Three UK journalists arrested at RNC: Who will protect us from the protectors?

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September 3, 2008

Two student photographers from the Kentucky Kernel, along with their photo advisor from the paper, were arrested on Monday night at the protests outside the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. From all accounts available, Ed Matthews, Britney McIntosh and Jim Winn were doing absolutely nothing wrong, much less something deserving of the felonies (that carry a minimum sentence of one year in jail and a $3000 fine) that two of them were charged with. regardless of the outcome of their case, this begs the question, who will protect us from our protectors? increasingly it seems like our police are doing more damage to our health and well-being than the people they say they are protecting us from.

for more on the arrests and police violence, check out my commentary at Red, Green, and Blue and the Kentucky Kernel’s article.

Chandler party

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August 25, 2008

Heh. I’d love to be a fly on the wall there, but I’m sure that a FOIA request will give me the run down on the whole event 5 years from now.

Sometimes irony rawks.

28 tons of fun!

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June 26, 2008
So, last night I went to Louisville (partially to mourn the loss of formerly great Lexington social scene) and check out this “Waterfront Wednesday” that my friends told me about… WELL, on my way there, I notice a HUGE Bush-Legacy-Bus.

My first reaction was ‘Great, more Bush/Rove/McConnell/McCain propaganda… ‘. Then, as I got closer, I saw that it was an Americans United For Change project (those were the folks that busted their tails to save Social Security entitlements from being privatized by the gops). My frown immediately turned downside-up real fast!

As soon as I walked up, I was greeted by a very knowledgeable staffer who explained to me that Louisville was only their third stop of what will be 4 1/2 months of national touring on their biodiesel-powered-museum-on-wheels (check out their schedule here). They, rightfully so, recognize Senator Mitch McConnell as the chief enabler of this disastrous President and thus wanted to make sure they stopped in Kentucky right off the Louisville Slugger. Luckily for us, they will swing through Bowling Green (and MAYBE Lexington?!?!) on September 17th… so mark your calendars!

I will post some more about the McConnell atrocities in the coming days… in the meantime, I can not get my mind off the impressive nature of this bus!

I walked onto the bus, and as soon as my eyes adjusted to the lighting, I was awe-struck! Shocked I was! I was… yes readers, it is true… I was shocked & awed… by the creativity, the ingenuity, the conceptuality, by the totality… and more than anything, I was shocked and awed by the complete failure of leadership that we have endured over the last 7+ years. How did we, the public, let our leaders abuse their power to such an extent?!?!?

They figured out a way to utilize every square inch of this bus. There were all kinds of really thought provoking exhibits on the various Bush/McConnell legacies. I am SURE that it was hard to decide what to highlight, with so much material to cover. But they honed their message to educate the citizenry on:
Iraq War: Misled into Tragedy
Economy: American dream turned nightmare
Healthcare: Premiums rise, coverage fails
Environment: Our future for sale
Workers: Working harder, falling behind
Katrina: Epic failure of leadership
(while the other exhibits filled me with rage, the Katrina exhibit brought tears… even to these very macho eyes)
Education: Promises broken
and perhaps arguably the best exhibit (only because of the premise) was Progressive Vision: Time for change
LONG, LONG story short… I was VERY impressed. Impressed with the educational outreach, impressed with the staffers, impressed with the bus itself… and once again, extremely impressed with Americans United for Change!

BTW, the concert was pretty good, but the bus was certainly the highlight of my trip to the waterfront!

There is LOTS more I could say about this museum-on-wheels, but I would rather leave you yearning for more…

Visit the Bush Legacy Homepage and Take the Virtual Bus Tour:




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