Monday, November 26, 2012

What's Rand Paul Really Up To?

Rand Paul's posturing against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is just that posturing. It should be labeled a neocon fraud.  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D. explains:
Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare blog reports that a source sent him a copy of an e-mail “apparently from Senator Rand Paul’s office” meant for Republican Senate legislative directors regarding an amendment Paul may propose to this year’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). According to the text of the e-mail, the Paul amendment would curtail the president’s power to indefinitely detain American citizens granted under provisions of last year’s law.
Below is the content of the e-mail as published on Lawfare:
From: Henderson, William (Paul)
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 4:54 PM
Subject: Paul amendment to DOD Authorization
It is my understanding that some or all of your offices are being whipped on whether your boss would support a Paul amendment to DOD Authorization concerning the detention of US citizens apprehended on US soil and held by the US military. The proposed text of the amendment is below for your convenience. As your boss is considering the amendment, I wanted to point out that the language of the amendment is derived from the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution (, and we would ask that your boss support the 6th Amendment rights of American citizens.
Text of proposed Paul amendment:
A citizen of the United States captured or arrested in the United States and detained by the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Since Witte’s story was published, Senator Paul’s amendment has been offered and the language of the measure is identical to the version leaked to Witte, including the British spelling of defense, as was used in the Constitution.
According to Senator Paul’s office, the amendment would “affirm the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution and limit the indefinite detention of Americans.”
Before breaking for Thanksgiving, Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle had hoped to push through the annual renewal of the NDAA. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reported to The Hill that he had worked out an agreement with his Republican counterparts to do just that. 
Reportedly, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) committed to Reid that they would block any “non-germane amendments” from reaching the floor.
Apparently, Senator Paul didn’t get the memo.
As reported in The Hill's article, Paul is filibustering the vote on the Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA until his vote is brought up for consideration.
This prompted Reid to chime in with the predictable partisan tone.
"[Republicans] say they want to move to the defense authorization bill, so I said yesterday, fine, let’s move to it,” Reid said on the floor Thursday. “But my friends can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.
“[Democrats are] not the cause for why the defense authorization bill is not being brought to the floor.”
When it comes to the fact that a majority of representatives and senators passed a law permitting the president of the United States to deploy federal troops to apprehend and American citizens within the United States and detain them in military prisons until the end of the war on terror, there is plenty of blame to go around.
Understanding that stark, stupefying, and arguably treasonous reality does not explain, however, why a self-avowed constitutionalist such as Rand Paul would offer an amendment that doesn’t absolutely strike all such offensive language from the rest of the defense authorization act.
Senator Paul’s amendment — for all the good that it does — doesn’t go far enough. Read the text of the proposal again. There is not one word of repeal or abolition or revocation of the indefinite detention of Americans from the NDAA.

Read the rest here. 

(ht Felix Bronstein)


  1. Another reason the system is fundamentally flawed; old or terrible legislation is never repealed. It is just a system of never ending patches.

  2. Presumably, the safeguard against indefinite detention is provided by the right to a "speedy and public trial." That is the language right now in the sixth amendment that protects us against indefinite detention.

    Thus, the amendment requires a "speedy" trial, and after such a trial, the accused is either convicted (and sentenced) or aquitted (and released). Although, to be fair, that right hasn't done much to help out Bradley Manning.

  3. Presumably, the right to a "speedy and public trial" protects against the indefinite detention of an accused. That is the same language in the sixth amendment that currently protects us against indefinite detention. Although, to be fair, the sixth amendment has done little to help Bradley Manning whose trial is not scheduled to begin until February 2013.

    1. "speedy and public trial"

      The meaning of words such as 'speedy' and 'public' are defined by the goberment, everyone knows that. It's called, a variable.

      This post made me wonder:

      If the Amendments to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were simply reworded while the meaning remained and introduced as a bill in the house,... that sucker wouldn't stand a chance at being passed today in any form or even bit by bit.

  4. I think Rand is controlled by the Neocons, no doubt the Repubs think that Rand can pull the libertarians back into the fold. I think he will pull some over, but not most.

  5. Hey to add on to the Rand Paul bash-fest, it turns out that Rand Paul never opposed the Senate resolution calling for the UN war on Libya either:

  6. "Read the text of the proposal again. There is not one word of repeal or abolition or revocation of the indefinite detention of Americans from the NDAA."

    I disagree. If the law would, according to Paul's revision, require a speedy trial then indefinite detention is, therefore, out of the question. The defendant would be detained until trial and face either charges or acquittal. Hence, no indefinite detention.

    The wording of the 6th amendment is so masterful that, if respected, it would be hard to break. Although I believe Rand is less peace oriented than his father, calling Senator Paul a neo-con is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

  7. “Nothing in [the NDAA] shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”