Standing Up to a Theoretical Threat


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Posted Online: March 15, 2013, 12:28 pm
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By Donald Kaul
Strange things are happening in Washington.

In the Senate, Rand Paul, the son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, recently proved himself a chip off the old blockhead by conducting a one-man filibuster.

I'm not talking about the namby-pamby sign-a-piece-of-paper-and-forget-about-it filibuster in the modern style.

I mean a real, old-fashioned, "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" Jimmy Stewart filibuster -- the kind where a senator takes the floor and talks for hour upon hour to block a bill until he or she collapses or has to go to the bathroom, whichever comes first.The gentleman from Kentucky gave up after nearly 13 hours. He didn't collapse so I guess...well, I don't want to overload you with information.

The issue in question was whether the president of the United States has the right to order a drone-bombing of a U.S. citizen on American soil.

It seems that a few days earlier Attorney General Eric Holder, when asked about the legality of such bombing, said it was potentially feasible, given "an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate" such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Following Paul's filibuster, Holder responded again, simplifying his answer to "no." It's good to know the Senate isn't squandering its time on banal issues like health care and immigration. It's busy keeping us safe from the domestic use of drone strikes.

By the way, in the three months since the Newtown massacre, approximately 2,600 U.S. citizens have been killed on American soil by gun violence.
None by drones. And neither the full Senate or House has taken any action on guns.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, President Barack Obama is waging a blistering charm offensive to win over Republicans.

(There's been a good deal of criticism of Obama over the years regarding his failure to buddy up to Republicans and get them to stop filibustering everything.)

Well, he's out there at last, courting Congress, inviting GOP members over for dinner, playing golf with them (or trying to).

And how do the conservative commentators who were so critical of his prior aloofness react? By criticizing him for faking fellowship.
All the while, the only organization less liberal than Congress' Republican caucus, the Vatican, ws choosing a new leader.

Its task was similar to that of the Republican Party -- choose someone who will look like the face of change but won't actually change anything.

Like the Republican Party, the College of Cardinals contains virtually no liberals.

All the Popes since John XXIII have resolutely chosen conservatives as Cardinals and the few leftover liberals that the Pope chose are older than 80 and can't vote.

(I thought the Church had run out of groups to discriminate against, and now I find it practices age discrimination too.)

A two-thirds majority of cardinals is required to elect a Pope, not unlike our Senate where you need a 60-percent majority to break a filibuster.

It's a race to see which institution has become more out-of-date, out-of-touch, and out-to-lunch.
Donald K Donald Kaul of Ann Arbor, Mich., retired Des Moines Register columnist, wrote this OtherWords.aul, a columnist for OtherWords, lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.


















 




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  Today is Tuesday, Sept. 16, the 259th day of 2014. There are 106 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A fine lumber mill is on the course of erection at Andalusia. A flouring mill at that location is doing a fine business.
1889 — 125 years ago: J.B. Lidders, past captain of Beardsley Camp, Sons of Veterans, returned from Paterson, N.Y., where he attended the National Sons of Veterans encampments.
1914 — 100 years ago: President Wilson announced that he had received from the imperial chancellor of Germany a noncommittal reply to his inquiry into a report that the emperor was willing to discuss terms of peace.
1939 — 75 years ago: Delegates at the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church in Springfield voted to raise the minimum pay of ministers so that every pastor would get at least $1,000 annually.
1964 — 50 years ago: An audience of more than 2,600 persons jammed into the Davenport RKO Orpheum theater with a shoe horn feasted on a Miller-Diller evening that was a killer night. Phyllis Diller sent the audience with her offbeat humor. And send them she did! It was Miss Diller's third appearance in the Quad-Cities area.
1989 — 25 years ago: A few years ago, a vacant lot on 7th Avenue and 14th Street in Rock Island was a community nuisance. Weeds grew as high 18 inches. Today, the lot has a new face, thanks to Michael and Sheila Rind and other neighbors who helped them turn it into a park three weeks ago.





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