The Enablers

 

In the age old tradition of dinner before dalliance, John McCain and Lindsay Graham were treated to a quiet date night with Barack Obama last Wednesday, which is more foreplay than the rest of us get from the President as he proceeds to consummate his intentions on America in more ways than even Dr. Ruth can count. “I’m assuming the president wants to talk seriously about the issues of the day,” cooed Senator Graham, innocently batting his rhetorical eyelashes with the preposterous addendum that, “I’m encouraged by the president’s outreach [and] I hope it bears fruit.” Yes yes, and if only King Leonidas had announced his encouragement at the outreach of Xerxes toward Sparta, all that unpleasantness at Thermopylae might have been avoided too.

It bears reminding the contrast between the deference Senators McCain and Graham afford a President who is arguably the most hostile toward individual rights in recent history, and the scorn they heap on the heads of those who dare to question the persistent amassing of executive power. Graham’s hopeful encouragement for fruit-bearing outreach from the President quickly gave way to scorn and the ridicule of Republicans who mounted an effective opposition to the President:

To my Republican colleagues, I don’t remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone, do you? They had a drone program back then, all of a sudden this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up. What are we up to here?

Answer: President Bush wasn’t on record as hostile toward the Constitution and lamenting that it didn’t go far enough in enabling redistributive remedies. President Bush didn’t unilaterally declare the Senate in recess in order to make unconstitutional recess appointments, and then proceed to ignore a Court of Appeals ruling that found his actions unconstitutional. President Bush didn’t negate federal immigration law via executive fiat, nor announce his intention of going around the people’s representatives when they declined to enact pet provisions of his political agenda. What we have, Senator, in case you haven’t noticed, is an executive who is at war with the Constitution and the individual. What we are up to here, is the drawing of lines beyond which the President is not allowed to go. I know, I know, Jeb Bush said he doesn’t want to draw lines in the sand, but a few of us recognize and celebrate the indispensable courage of those who drew such lines in 1776, and recognize that without similar fortitude today, what is left of our freedom will be compromised out of existence by those whose idea of success is to merely hop when the opposition says to jump.

Not to be outdone, John McCain (Maverick-AZ), said:

We’ve done, I think, a disservice to a lot of Americans by making them believe that somehow they’re in danger from their government.

Well, Senator, what conclusions would you prefer Americans to draw from a government whose Department of Homeland Security releases illegal aliens into the general population in advance of budgetary sequestration, but somehow finds the money to purchase over 2,700 Mine Resistant Armored Protection vehicles for domestic use in addition to some 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition? Speaking of which, what are we to make of United States Senators who negotiate comprehensive immigration reform with a President who opens prison cells and releases criminal illegals into our midst? I submit that it’s the federal government that has gone “maverick,” and the senator who has gone native.

To turn the Senator’s statement around for a moment, does the government believe it is somehow in danger from its citizens? Why all the ammo and armor for domestic agencies? Who among us is comfortable with Department of Education SWAT teams? Who among us, on the left or the right, is comfortable with the Federal Aviation Administration’s forecast of as many as 30,000 aerial drones spying down on Americans by the year 2020? Why, according to the Washington Times, is Homeland Security, “…dolling out millions in cash grants to encourage small-town cops to buy drones, whether they serve a purpose or not?” Do we have a government or does the government have us? Human nature, after all, remains unchanged and the propensity of some to expand their sphere of control over others is as alive today as it was when the Bill of Rights was penned.

All the same, having failed to attain the appropriate level of sneer, Senator McCain went on the following day to lament that, “…it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.” The hypocrisy is breathtaking given the danger that awaits anyone who dares stand between between Senators McCain or Graham and the nearest microphone. But notice please the yawning chasm between “wacko birds” on one hand, and being, “encouraged by the president’s outreach” on the other. It’s a repeating phenomena wherein the nominal opposition employs its harshest language not against the statist, but rather against their own side, and the routine is getting old.

On the specifics, Senator Paul’s question was simple and straightforward, and could have been easily answered by the Attorney General had he chosen to do so. Asked if the Constitution permitted the President to kill Americans, on American soil, who do not pose an imminent threat, Eric Holder chose instead to be coy. “As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so,” wrote the Attorney General, thereby addressing the plausibility of such action, rather than the legality. That answer, coming from an administration that continues to usurp power and authority from the other branches of government, as well as states and individuals, generated more fog than light.

It was this fog that Senator Paul sought to pierce, in the process galvanizing conservatives and libertarians behind such core principles as the freedom of the individual against the assertions of the state. With previous administrations, the issue might never have arisen. From this administration, however, the issue struck a chord that resonated across party lines. Suddenly, the much vaunted “big tent,” seemed indeed to become bigger as one man, standing in defiance of the state, was soon joined by others in the Senate and across the country. There are limits to state power, the Senator said, as he began illuminating those limits and reminding those in power that in America it is the people who remain sovereign, not the government.

That it was this inspiring demonstration of Constitutional fidelity that prompted two dyspeptic men, who appear joined at the microphone, to register unseemly and ugly assaults against Rand Paul and those who assisted him speaks to another problem, — namely, the tendency of weak-kneed Republicans to enable the worst instincts and behavior of the left. With his approval polls drooping, the President needed to make a bi-partisan gesture of some sort toward Republicans to serve as cover when, inevitably, he refuses to suppress his redistributive appetites. Senators McCain and Graham enabled him in that endeavor, and even went so far as to relieve him of the burden of attacking other Republicans who make disquieting noises about liberty and the Constitution. That must have been one hell of a dinner.

John McCain’s military service is appropriately lauded. His honor under the duress of captivity was exemplary and heroic, and will serve as a text book example of valor and service. But from the McCain Feingold Act’s encroachments on the 1st Amendment, to his steadfast refusal to take the fight to a collectivist community organizer from Chicago which gave us the continuing disaster that is the Obama Presidency, to his consistent habit of chopping the legs off of those on his side of the aisle, one is left with the inevitable conclusion that the time has come to hand the banner of freedom over to those who are actually willing and able to advance it. It’s time for the Senator to go home. Hopefully, he will be kind enough to take his sorority sister from South Carolina with him.

There are 52 comments.

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  1. Crow's Nest Inactive
    Karen: People are getting so upset that they dare point out the inconsistencies of conservatives that champion Paul’s publicity stunt based on an improbable scenario, but were silent when Bush expanded the reach of intelligence gathering on American citizens. 

    Ricochet wasn’t around at the time that Bush took some of the actions that he did, but had it been I would have been critical (and was) of some of the provisions of the PATRIOT act (an act which, even where I support some of its provisions, ought to be have named something less Orwellian. Ditto for War on Terror) and of some of what DHS has done (though I think that aligning a number of its agencies under one roof to have been a sensible development).

    What I think is frustrating about the way this whole situation has transpired is that if you listen to Rand Paul’s speech at Heritage, where he lays out more broadly his view of foreign policy, I think that there is significant room to criticize his overall framework or view of America’s place in the world today while still granting that on the drone issue domestically he has a legitimate concern.

    • #1
    • March 10, 2013, at 1:03 AM PDT
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  2. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    A stupid party is one that continually belittles its base and undermines the core principles upon which it purports to stand. Grown-ups? John McCain and Lindsey Graham are little more than petulant teenagers who play the role of contrarian for no discernible purpose other than self-aggrandizement.

    What Rand Paul did last week was no stunt, but an act of courage rarely seen in the present day. To me, it evoked the courageous deed of William Barret Travis, James Bowie, and David Crockett, who one hundred seventy-seven years ago made the ultimate sacrifice for that same principle of liberty which so many today regard with indifference or hostility.

    • #2
    • March 10, 2013, at 1:04 AM PDT
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  3. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    I recall the words that the Texan revolutionary Juan Seguin spoke during his eulogy for William Barret Travis, James Bowie, and David Crockett in 1837:

    Yes, my friends, they preferred to die a thousand times rather than submit themselves to the tyrant’s yoke. What a brilliant example! Deserving of being noted in the pages of history. The spirit of liberty appears to be looking out from its elevated throne with its pleasing mien and pointing to us, saying: “There are your brothers, Travis, Bowie, and Crockett, and others whose valor places them in the rank of my heroes.”

    Rand Paul embodies that fine American tradition, and I am proud to stand with him. The likes of McCain, Graham, and their ilk aren’t fit to lick his boots. I wear their scorn with pride.

    • #3
    • March 10, 2013, at 1:05 AM PDT
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  4. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    If you consider Graham and McCain to be the responsible leadership, then your final sentence might actually be true. Lauding the “adults” who go along to get along has gotten us to the point where the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in 4 years (McCain’s Senate, by the way), deficits that are 2x-3x the historic and “unpatriotic” deficits under Bush, and a President who seems to quite easily walk away from the messes he’s made at home (Fast and Furious) and abroad (Benghazi).

    Why haven’t the adults done anything to stop the madness? Why does complaining about those noisy kids on the lawn make the two tired, old, store-bought Republicans the voice of mature reason?

    Karen: Graham and McCain are very nearly the only grownups that remain in the GOP. I’m much more concerned about the power granted to NSA and Homeland Security than drones. Well, it’s par for the course, frankly. If people believe that this stunt is progress for the conservative movement, the GOP deserves to be a permanent minority. It truly is the stupid party. · 3 hours ago
    • #4
    • March 10, 2013, at 5:01 AM PDT
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  5. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    If you’re concerned over the NSA and Homeland Security (and you should be), why aren’t there loud, angry calls for McCain and Graham, our resident adults, to put a stop to it?

    Karen: Graham and McCain are very nearly the only grownups that remain in the GOP. People are getting so upset that they dare point out the inconsistencies of conservatives that champion Paul’s publicity stunt based on an improbable scenario, but were silent when Bush expanded the reach of intelligence gathering on American citizens. No one thought the Doom Boom would come back to bite us? I’m much more concerned about the power granted to NSA and Homeland Security than drones. So Paul stood up to the Obama White House. That’s what we’re cheering about? Big deal. We talk a lot on Ricochet about principles and core beliefs, but the first glimpse of something shiny in the form of political theater, we’re willing to contradict ourselves. Well, it’s par for the course, frankly. If people believe that this stunt is progress for the conservative movement, the GOP deserves to be a permanent minority. It truly is the stupid party. ·
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    • March 10, 2013, at 5:02 AM PDT
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  6. Steven Jones Inactive

    Count me with the Wacky Bird Caucus.

    • #6
    • March 10, 2013, at 6:05 AM PDT
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  7. Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Karen: Graham and McCain are very nearly the only grownups that remain in the GOP. 

    They’re grownups in the same sense the Bob Michaels and various other old guard Republicans were grownups. They recognized their place as a permanent minority and acted accordingly, maneuvering carefully within the space liberals allowed them, not rocking the boat, and not advancing liberty lest they excite the editorial writers at the NYT and Washington Post. Inspiring example!

    Karen: … So Paul stood up to the Obama White House. That’s what we’re cheering about? Big deal. …

    Well, yes, and one guy stood up to the tanks at Tiananmen Square, one labor union guy stood up to the Polish communists, and only 56 guys stood up to George III and signed the Declaration of Independence. Personally, I prefer people who stand up to authoritarians to those who have with them and then do their bidding.

    • #7
    • March 10, 2013, at 6:07 AM PDT
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  8. The Mugwump Inactive

    There was a time when our political parties referred to one another as the opposition. It should be deeply troubling to every thinking person that under Obama we are now “enemies” in need of “punishment.” We have entered new and dangerous territory wherein conservatives have become the equivalent of kulaks. It’s no coincidence that DHS now considers patriots a greater threat than Islamic terrorists. And we are labeled crazy for our concern? No one who understands history is under any illusions about the nature of collectivism. Left to his own devices Mr. McCain will become our very own Alexander Kerensky. The old fool needs to be retired before it’s too late.

    • #8
    • March 10, 2013, at 6:17 AM PDT
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  9. Ladyhawk Inactive
    Dave Carter: David Frum: “…The Republican party used to be the party more serious about defending America. Now it provides a home to those more doubtful that America is worth defending.”

    Frum’s statement would be better directed at those within the Republican party who continue to enable the collectivists in their tireless efforts to weaken America’s defenses, traditions, mores, and Constitution. An America without constitutional rule becomes defenseless against its own implosion. · 10 hours ago

    Frum abuses his position with this statement. The change that is going on in the GOP is precisely about reclaiming the America that is worth defending, an America that remembers and lives by its own first principles. Once he starts questioning the patriotism of “the other”, he has lost the argument and his credibility.

    • #9
    • March 10, 2013, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  10. SunnyOptimism Inactive

    Arizonans (my adoptive home state) did a great thing on Nov. 6th, 2012 when they elected Jeff Flake to the Senate. He’s a true conservative warrior. 

    We can do an equally great thing in 2016 when we primary and get rid of Sen. McCain….

    • #10
    • March 10, 2013, at 6:58 AM PDT
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  11. Commodore BTC Inactive

    GOP incumbents don’t take well to primary challenges. If Graham is defeated he will go scorched earth and either mount an independent run like Murkowski/Crist, or actively undermine the nominee like Lugar. 

    Trey Gowdy would be fantastic, but these guys all know each other and I doubt he will challenge Graham. 

    Iowahawk posted this funny Lindsey Graham montage.

    • #11
    • March 10, 2013, at 7:07 AM PDT
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  12. Stan Hjerleid Inactive

    Thanks Dave. I’m so tired of these primping primadonnas.

    • #12
    • March 10, 2013, at 7:11 AM PDT
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  13. Aaron Miller Member

    Well said, Dave, as usual.

    • #13
    • March 10, 2013, at 7:23 AM PDT
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  14. Peter Robinson Founder
    Dave CarterJohn McCain (Maverick-AZ), said:

    We’ve done, I think, a disservice to a lot of Americans by making them believe that somehow they’re in danger from their government.

    Well, Senator, what conclusions would you prefer Americans to draw from a government whose Department of Homeland Security releases illegal aliens into the general population in advance of budgetary sequestration, but somehow finds the money to purchase over 2,700 Mine Resistant Armored Protection vehicles for domestic use in addition to some 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition? Speaking of which, what are we to make of United States Senators who negotiate comprehensive immigration reform with a President who opens prison cells and releases criminal illegals into our midst? I submit that it’s the federal government that has gone “maverick,” and the senator who has gone native. · 24 minutes ago

    Brilliant.

    • #14
    • March 10, 2013, at 7:25 AM PDT
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  15. Fricosis Guy Listener

    Rand Paul’s concerns sound looney tunes if you’re only semi-worried about the debt or are going to die before the storm breaks. But what if you expect to live long enough to have to deal with it?

    The real threat of the debt is the lengths the government will have to go to collect the taxes to service it… or to suppress the chaos caused by debasing the dollar to inflate its way out of it.

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    • March 10, 2013, at 7:36 AM PDT
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  16. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    McCain and Graham should just be done with it and join the Democratic Party.

    • #16
    • March 10, 2013, at 7:50 AM PDT
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  17. Mothership_Greg Inactive

    The sneering coming out of the venerable punditocracy at the moment is something to behold. Bill Kristol:

     Is patting Rand Paul on the back for his fearmongering a plausible path to the presidency for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz? Is embracing kookiness a winning strategy for the Republican party? We doubt it.

    David Frum:

    Executive assassinations, hyperinflation leading to populist dictatorships, ordinary Americans protecting themselves by launching insurgencies against the state – these are themes of Rand Paul’s politics, now endorsed by his Republican Senate colleagues. Out of what doom-haunted imagination are such dark fantasies born? The Republican party used to be the party more serious about defending America. Now it provides a home to those more doubtful that America is worth defending.

    Maybe Graham and McCain can change parties to No Labels™?

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    • March 10, 2013, at 7:56 AM PDT
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  18. Ladyhawk Inactive

    “But from the McCain Feingold Act’s encroachments on the 1st Amendment, to his steadfast refusal to take the fight to a collectivist community organizer from Chicago which gave us the continuing disaster that is the Obama Presidency, to his consistent habit of chopping the legs off of those on his side of the aisle, one is left with the inevitable conclusion that the time has come to hand the banner of freedom over to those who are actually willing and able to advance it. It’s time for the Senator to go home. Hopefully, he will be kind enough to take his sorority sister from South Carolina with him. ”

    Tally-ho, Carter! Well put.

    • #18
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:03 AM PDT
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  19. Robert E. Lee Member

    A problem with McCain and his ilk is they don’t live in the same world we do. They aren’t troubled by the price of food and medicine, the restrictions of our rights as defined by the constitution, or our responsibilities under the laws they’ve made themselves exempt from. On their planet everything is ginger peachy. But here on Earth things are a bit different. And about to get worse, thanks to those self-serving, self-described Olympians who know so much more than we do.

    • #19
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:05 AM PDT
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  20. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Thanks, Mr. Carter. Great post.

    • #20
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:09 AM PDT
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  21. KC Mulville Inactive

    The part that most annoys me about this McCain-Graham tag team response is the overt desire to control speech. The coauthor of McCain-Feingold ought to take his own advice and control his own speech. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    If the only thing that mattered was how politicians played their little game inside the Beltway, and life was just a constant media campaign, then I might have a little sympathy for the urge to control the message. Then maybe I’d be willing to hear what John McCain thinks is helpful or unhelpful. 

    But my friends, the day that life is nothing more than a message controlled by John McCain, just shoot me and put me out of my misery.

    • #21
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:10 AM PDT
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  22. Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author

    David Frum:  “…The Republican party used to be the party more serious about defending America. Now it provides a home to those more doubtful that America is worth defending.”

    Frum’s statement would be better directed at those within the Republican party who continue to enable the collectivists in their tireless efforts to weaken America’s defenses, traditions, mores, and Constitution. An America without constitutional rule becomes defenseless against its own implosion.

    • #22
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:12 AM PDT
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  23. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    Robert E. Lee: A problem with McCain and his ilk is they don’t live in the same world we do. They aren’t troubled by the price of food and medicine, the restrictions of our rights as defined by the constitution, or our responsibilities under the laws they’ve made themselves exempt from. On their planet everything is ginger peachy. But here on Earth things are a bit different. And about to get worse, thanks to those self-serving, self-described Olympians who know so much more than we do. · 4 minutes ago

    You make an excellent argument for ‘term limits’.

    The longer they are in office, the less they identify with the voters who sent them there. There are, no doubt, some exceptions, but very few!

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    • March 10, 2013, at 8:15 AM PDT
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  24. Dave Carter Contributor
    Dave Carter Post author
    Barbara Kidder
    Robert E. Lee: A problem with McCain and his ilk is they don’t live in the same world we do. They aren’t troubled by the price of food and medicine, the restrictions of our rights as defined by the constitution, or our responsibilities under the laws they’ve made themselves exempt from. On their planet everything is ginger peachy. But here on Earth things are a bit different. And about to get worse, thanks to those self-serving, self-described Olympians who know so much more than we do. · 4 minutes ago

    You make an excellent argument for ‘term limits’.

    The longer they are in office, the less they identify with the voters who sent them there. There are, no doubt, some exceptions, but very few! · 1 minute ago

    Superb points all around.

    • #24
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:17 AM PDT
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  25. KC Mulville Inactive
    Dave Carter: An America without constitutional rule becomes defenseless against its own implosion.

    Agreed. We put the Constitution in writing for a reason.

    If we simply trusted politicians to wisely use the power we give them, we’d never have felt the need to specify what they’re allowed to do … and more importantly, that they’re not allowed to do anything else unless we specifically tell them.

    That’s what Madison says in every clause of the Constitution, and these politicians pretend not to hear it.

    • #25
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:19 AM PDT
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  26. Jager Member
    Karen: So Paul stood up to the Obama White House. That’s what we’re cheering about? Big deal. We talk a lot on Ricochet about principles and core beliefs, but the first glimpse of something shiny in the form of political theater, we’re willing to contradict ourselves. 

    Yes that in and of itself is worth cheering about. You can argue with Paul’s central theme or argue that there are more important issues, that is a fine discussion. But Paul took an issue that came up that day (Holder’s testimony) that he had a strong opinion on and he decided to fight. To Paul this was a matter of “principles and core beliefs”.

    He stood up for the idea of the Constitution limiting the powers of Government and that the Government should give clear answers to the citizens. If you want to role back the over reaches of the Government, a fine starting place is to say the Constitution matters. Merge that with the Government must give clear answers to the Citizens on direct questions. This provides the basis for a lot of future fights. 

    What exactly have your “Grown ups” accomplished? 

    • #26
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:20 AM PDT
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  27. Barbara Kidder Inactive
    Dave Carter: David Frum: “…The Republican party used to be the party more serious about defending America. Now it provides a home to those more doubtful that America is worth defending.”

    Frum’s statement would be better directed at those within the Republican party who continue to enable the collectivists in their tireless efforts to weaken America’s defenses, traditions, mores, and Constitution. An America without constitutional rule becomes defenseless against its own implosion. · 2 minutes ago

    …and against political retaliation.

    • #27
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:21 AM PDT
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  28. philo Member

    Interesting that…the “maverick” calling the “wacko bird” black. I suspect it was just that rebel drive for His Maverickness (and the little guy behind him clapping two halves of a coconut shell together) to get some long lost praise and attention from the “popular” kids that compelled these two… now safely tenured into the Ruling Class…to, as they say, miss a good opportunity to shut up.

    As for me, having been a bit exercised a few years ago to learn that some federal agency was already engaged in what once may have been challenged as domestic spying by using drones over Nebraska farms, this is all much need attention on the largely unregulated (unnoticed) implementation of technology and uninhibited intrusion of our Beltway Overlords into our lives.

    On another note, your title brought to mind an old favorite…The Comprachicos (by Ayn Rand). Upon retrieving my printed copy I see the first passage I highlighted states: “The practice of degrading man leads one to the practice of deforming him. Deformity completes the task of political suppression…”. Aside from the focus on education, I suspect other applicable themes with regard to reason and intellectual integrity will be found throughout.

    • #28
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:26 AM PDT
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  29. Liz Wirth Inactive
    Mike LaRoche: McCain and Graham should just be done with it and join the Democratic Party. · 33 minutes ago

    Edited 31 minutes ago

    Especially since they’ve been Demopublicans all along.

    • #29
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:27 AM PDT
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  30. Mothership_Greg Inactive

    Thank God Mark Steyn gets it:

    I see my old friend David Frum thinks concerns over drones are “far-fetched.” If it’s not “far-fetched” for the education secretary to have his own SWAT team, why would it be “far-fetched” for the education secretary to have his own drone fleet?

    • #30
    • March 10, 2013, at 8:31 AM PDT
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