Rand Paul v. NSA Spying
by Stephen Lendman
He’s Kentucky’s junior senator. He’s leading a class-action lawsuit. He’s filing it in US District Court for the District of Columbia.
It’s against the Obama administration’s mass surveillance program. He urged everyone “to stop Barack Obama’s NSA snooping on the American people.”
His lead lawyer is former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli. He’s acting as a private individual, not a US senator. More on this below.
Paul is a right-wing Republican. He’s a Tea Party favorite. He’s anti-populist and corporatist.
He prioritizes national defense. He does it at a time America’s only enemies are ones it invents. At the same time, he’s against preemptive wars.
Last summer he said:
“I believe individuals and countries can and should defend themselves, but I simply can’t imagine Jesus at the head of any army of soldiers, and I think as Christians we need to be wary of the doctrine of preemptive war.”
“We must and should stand with our fellow Christians in the Middle East and around the world, but that does not necessarily mean war and it certainly does not mean arming sides in every conflict.”
At the same time, he said:
“If we were to cut somewhere else in the budget, I would try to restore some money to the military.”
He opposes drone warfare against Americans. Last March, he filibustered for 13 hours. He did so against nominating John Brennan as CIA director.
“Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil,” he asked? “The answer to that is no,” he said.
Paul voted against the FY 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts. He did so because of provisions permitting Obama to order US citizens arrested and indefinitely detained on his say alone for any reason or none at all.
Ralph Nader says differences between him and his father “are ones of personality, policy and opportunism.”
He’s a 2016 presidential aspirant. His politics run counter to mainstream America. He “declines to challenge the (corporate managed trade) autocratic systems of transnational governance,” said Nader.
On the one hand, he stresses constitutional preamble “we the people” language. On the other, he supports bloated military budgets, corporatism, cutting vital social benefits, and other anti-populist policies.
According to Nader:
“Corporatism, Empire, militarism, the big Wall Street Banks, crony capitalism and the unlawful, repressive national security bureaucracy” define the measure of the man.
Paul supporters and others have cause for concern. Would he send his own children to fight US imperial wars? Indeed so, saying:
“If the military action is justified and there is no other recourse, I will cast my vote with a heavy heart.”
Arguably America had no just cause ever throughout its history. Its war of independence repackaged Crown rule under new management. Everything changed but stayed the same.
Wilson pledged to keep America out of WW I. Straightaway he went all-out for involvement. Roosevelt manipulated Japan to attack.
Doing so gave him the war he wanted. He had to convince Congress and a pacifist public. Pearl Harbor worked as planned.
So do false flags. They’re longstanding US practice. They began in the 19th century. They repeated through 9/11. Every post-WW II war America waged was lawless. So do current direct and proxy ones.
Nuremberg Charter and Principles call them supreme crimes against peace. Paul has much to answer for.
Supporting lawlessness means complicity with high crimes. At the same time, he believes wars require Congress declaring them.
Shamefully he ignores UN Charter provisions. The Security Council alone has final say on whether one country may attack another. It’s permitted only in self-defense.
Paul endorses wars on “radical Islam.” It’s not “go(ing) quietly into that good night,” he claims. He includes Iran as a prime target.
Doing so ignores Tehran’s longstanding peace agenda. It hasn’t attacked another country in centuries. It threatens none now.
He uses incendiary rhetoric like “our enemies.” It bears repeating. America’s only ones it invents. Not according to Paul, saying:
“Until we understand the world around us, until we understand at least a modicum of what animates our enemies, we cannot defend ourselves and we cannot contain our enemies.”
He calls “Iran developing nuclear weapons…the most pressing (issue) of the day.” No matter that its nuclear program is peaceful. No evidence whatever suggests otherwise.
“I have voted for Iranian sanctions in the hope of preventing war and allowing for diplomacy,” he said. “War should never be our only option,” he added.
He’s a pro-Israeli loyalist. America shouldn’t meddle in its settlement construction program, he says. It’s “none of our business.” He ignores Palestinian rights. Their longstanding grievances don’t matter.
Last year he visited Israel. “I came here to show that I am supportive of the relationship between Israel and America,” he said.
At the same time, he opposes foreign aid. He wants Washington’s annual multi-billion dollar Israeli package significantly reduced.
“The biggest threat to our nation right now is our debt,” he says. He wants it cut at the expense of ordinary Americans.
He’s waging war on social justice. He wants Social Security and Medicare privatized. He wants retirement eligibility age raised.
He’s for cutting Medicaid and other vital social safety net protections. He wants Washington out of the business of helping ordinary people entirely.
He supports flat over progressive taxation. He wants capital gains, dividends and other investment income taxes eliminated.
He wants US resources benefitting Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites and privileged elites. He’s against the Constitution’s General Welfare clause.
Article I, Section 8 states:
“The Congress shall have power to…provide for (the) general welfare of the United States.”
It means “We the People.” It includes everyone equitably. It means what never was, isn’t now, or won’t ever be under a system Paul supports. It favors privilege, not fairness.
Democracy in America is the world’s greatest scam. It’s government of, by and for privileged elites.
Nader once called it “government of the Exxons, by the General Motors for the Duponts.” It’s polar opposite popular interests. It’s run by rogues, scoundrels and crooks.
It mocks legitimacy. Monied interests decide who’ll serve. Ordinary people have no say. Democratic values don’t matter. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s worse than ever now.
Congress permits war on humanity. It’s waging it at home and abroad. It’s destroying America’s social fabric. Police state justice is official policy. Lawless spying reflects it.
On January 3, Paul told Fox News why he’s filing suit, saying:
“The question here is whether or not, constitutionally, you can have a single warrant apply to millions of people.”
“So we thought, what better way to illustrate the point than (by) having hundreds of thousands of Americans sign up for a class action suit.”
Six months ago, he began collecting signatures. Anyone with a cell phone or connected online can join it.
“We’re hoping…we can get a hearing in court, and ultimately get this class-action lawsuit, I think the first of its kind on a constitutional questions, all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said.
He’s targeting the Obama administration. “We want them to protect the fourth amendment. We want them to protect the right to privacy,” he said.
“We think we can have security, that we can defend against terrorism, but that doesn’t mean that every single American has to give up their privacy.”
On December 16, his web site headlined “Sen. Paul Applauds the Protection of Fourth Amendment Rights,” saying:
“I commend US District Court Judge Richard Leon for upholding and protecting our Fourth Amendment rights.”
“This decision represents an important first step in having the constitutionality of government surveillance programs decided in the regular court system rather than a secret court where only one side is presented.”
“In June, I introduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act which, if enacted, would have restored our Constitutional rights and declared that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.”
“The NSA phone surveillance program is a blatant abuse of power and an invasion of our privacy.”
“This ruling reminds the Federal government that it is not above the law. I will continue to fight against the violations of American’s Constitutional rights through illegal phone surveillance until it is stopped once and for all.”
RANDPAC is Paul’s political action committee. “Stand With Rand,” it headlines. “Join the Class Action Lawsuit.”
“Wanted: Ten Million Americans to Sue to Take Back Our Rights.”
“I’m outraged,” said Paul, “and I’m going to do everything I can to END this madness.”
“That’s why I’ve asked Internet providers and phone companies to join me in a class-action lawsuit to STOP Barack Obama’s NSA from snooping on the American people.”
According to an unnamed senior Paul staffer:
Since he floated his class-action lawsuit last June, hundreds of thousands of people volunteered online as possible plaintiffs.
The ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as conservative activist Larry Klayman and Charles Strange filed other suits earlier.
Fighting Washington and winning rarely happens. Judge Leon granted Klayman and Strange a preliminary injunction. He ordered the Obama administration to stop collecting their phone data.
At the same time, he stayed his ruling. He cited potential “significant national security interests at stake.”
He gave Obama’s Justice Department time to appeal. His decision applies only to plaintiffs. It doesn’t affect mass NSA surveillance. Odds favor reversing him on appeal.
Expect America’s Supremes to have final say whether on this case or another. It’s too important an issue for them not to address.
It’s highly unlikely they’ll side with justice. Right-wing judges deplore it. They control federal courts.
Supremes are pro-business, pro-war, pro-privilege and anti-populist. Right over wrong faces long odds.
NSA spying is longstanding. It’s been ongoing for decades. It takes a giant leap of faith to think individual, group or class-action lawsuits will stop it.
Justice isn’t Washington’s long suit. Nor fairness. Nor doing the right thing. Rogue states don’t embrace these values.
America is by far the worst. For sure it’s the most dangerous. It threatens world peace, equity and justice. Mass surveillance is one of many ways.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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