American factions are coming together over drones

It has been said that America is polarized politically, but now an issue has emerged that is uniting conservatives and liberals, rightists and leftists, tea party activists and occupy Wall Street types:  Concern about drones.

Virtually all of these factions are praising Rand Paul’s filibuster protesting the Attorney General’s ruling that American citizens on American soil are subject to being zapped from above by drone technology.  All are opposing establishment-types from both parties who hail the new military technology.

Might this herald a new political consensus around civil liberties?  How about a Bill of Rights agenda, which would uphold the conservative causes of religious freedom and gun rights AND the liberal causes of freedom of speech and expression?

Are there other issues that might serve as a similar rallying point? [Read more…]

The drone filibuster

Attorney General Eric Holder said that drones could be used against American citizens on American soil.  So libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) staged a 13-hour filibuster–a real one, in which the Senator actually occupies for the floor rather than just threatening to–in protest.  Eventually, Holder said that drones would not be used against unarmed Americans, just terrorists in an emergency.

Some Republicans were annoyed with Paul’s “stunt,” as Sen. John McCain called it, and defend an aggressive use of drones.  Some of them were lunching with President Obama when Paul was filibustering, sparking some observers to see a changing of the Republican guard (to borrow an Iranian phrase), with a new generation of Republicans challenging the traditional GOP practice of giving a blank check to anything military and championing instead civil liberties.

What do you think? [Read more…]

North Korea says it will nuke America

North Korea said it “will exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country.”  Meanwhile, the UN unanimously passed new sanctions against the eccentric but nuclear-armed communist nation, with even China–which usually protects its client state by exercising vetoes–going along.  The White House says not to worry, that we could shoot down a North Korean missile, if they have one that would reach us, which they supposedly don’t.

I know that North Korea is always blustering and threatening.  But history has shown that it is unwise to dismiss what dictators and terrorists promise that they will do.  Hitler laid out his plans quite early, but hardly anyone took him seriously, until he started carrying them out.  It may take North Korea awhile to develop long-range missiles, but isn’t this evidence of what they intend to do with them?  Can we afford to just laugh at the North Koreans?  But can we do anything other than wait to see if they are serious? [Read more…]

America’s enemy list update

Hugo Chavez, the Marxist anti-American president of Venezuela, has died of cancer.   Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has said it will cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War, due to American sanctions and joint military exercises with South Korea.  And Secretary of State John Kerry rattled his  sabre at Iran, threatening military action if Iran acquires nuclear weapons and announcing that the U.S. will give non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels. [Read more…]

How to dodge a drone

Al-Qaeda is circulating a list of 22 techniques to thwart drone attacks–ones experts say are effective–showing how terrorists keep adapting to efforts to counter them.  I give the list after the jump. [Read more…]

There’s a new sheriff in town

Remember when the United States used to be “the world’s policeman”?  We don’t do that anymore, for some arguably good reasons.  But the USA used to be the go-to world power, the defender of freedom, a force to counter tyranny and social disorder.  But we’ve declined from that role.  The world’s policeman is now France.  And the European Union in general.  And not just in Mali.  Europe is doing what the United States used to do. [Read more…]