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John Brennan Won. Did the Meaning of America Survive?

March 19, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Our continually hurtling media in all its forms makes it hard for memories to sustain past news shocks. How many Americans are bothered that the new head of the CIA, John Brennan — after many years of deep involvement there in the agency’s torture policy, all documented by many reporters, including this one — is now tracking Americans for “association” with terrorists while continuing secret CIA “renditions”?

Old news.

And despite the tremendous national impact of Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster speech, how much of its startling details even registered for long? Meanwhile, the Republican from Kentucky was teaching many of us what we never realized — on just how subservient we are becoming to the state.

As I wrote last week, Paul said he was concerned that Americans targeted for suspected terrorist ties would be destroyed in America itself. He revealed in an editorial in The Washington Times: “The president said, ‘I haven’t killed anyone yet, and I have no intention of killing Americans. But I might’ ” (“Rising in defense of the Constitution,” Rand Paul, Washington Times, March 8).

I have a complete transcript of Paul’s 13-hour speech, including his follow-up to this presidential contempt for the separation of powers: “What if the president were to say, ‘I haven’t broken the First Amendment yet; I intend to follow it, but I might break it.’”

Later, Paul said: “Presidents, Republican and Democrats, believing in some sort of inherent power that’s not listed anywhere … For a hundred years or so, power’s been gravitating to the president — and the executive branch.”

And dig this from Rand Paul: “One of the complaints that you hear a lot of times in the media is about there is no bipartisanship in Congress. (But) if you look at people who don’t really believe in much restraint of government as far as civil liberties, it really is on both sides.”

So, “Republicans and Democrats (also) vote overwhelmingly against the Constitution giving Congress the power to declare war.

“The Constitution gave it to us (the people),” Paul emphasized, “but we are giving it back.”

Also, on the question of bipartisanship, he adds: “The bipartisanship that we have now, which many in the media fail to understand, they see us not getting along on taxes and on spending, but they fail to understand that on something very important, on whether an individual has a right not to be restrained indefinitely, there is quite a …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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