Thursday, May 26, 2016

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I’m a creature of habit. I follow a consistent day to day routine from when and where I walk the dogs to having a “regular” order at the local café for both lunch and dinner. I even run into the same people at the same time on elevators! There’s something reassuring about having consistency and following the same patterns. Sometime doing things over and over doesn’t necessarily make them the right thing to do. A doctor told me recently that the way I compensated for an injury by repeatedly walking in a different way had caused a range of other issues. When it comes to more cerebral things I try hard not to share, retweet or pass along information that may not be accurate. There’s a tendency in today’s social media timed world to share first and think later. In politics the more you say something the more people believe it.

Donald J. Trump’s biggest political claim is that for years he repeatedly said that he didn’t think that Barack Obama was born in the U.S. There was no evidence to support it and even after the original birth certificate was publicly shown he shrugged his shoulders and said he still wasn’t sure.

Obama himself uses the mantra method to make his points. Some call it being on message. How many times did the President promise that “if you like your doctor you can keep him” when describing his Healthcare plan?

There is a difference between repeating information that’s untrue and repeating an expectation about policy. It still doesn’t mean that what the President says is always true. In matters of life and death, President Obama stands alone in his repeated actions and statements on where his authority lies.

President Obama has a kill list. Well, he did. It’s been neatly renamed the Disposition Matrix. It’s now no longer a list of 10 names on a piece of paper. It’s now a database that is maintained. What hasn’t changed is that the President alone determines who lives and who dies without any proof or any publicly known criteria guiding the decision and certainly no oversight.

May 1, 2011 President Obama touted the killing of Osama bin Laden. Just over five years has passed and the NBC News asked What’s Changed?  If you don’t follow the link and read the full story – here’s the answer: not much. Terrorists have been freshly branded under ISL or ISIS. Wars continue with U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting.

Just last week (5/23/16) President Obama confirmed the death (killing) of another Taliban leader. Clearly the impact of the death of bin Laden has had no impact or effect give years later. Leaders will be replaced.

There is no oversight of this list – judicial or congressional. CIA director John O. Brennan generally makes the recommendations of who gets to die. He said: “I tend to do what I think is right. But I find much more comfort, I guess, in the views and values of this president.” Values and opinions are determining life and death.

The United States of America is supposed to stand for the Rule of Law. Even the guilty are presumed innocent until there is a trial. The country is not at war – Congress hasn’t authorized one in nearly a century. Even if the ‘authorizations to use force’ counted as a back-door – it doesn’t justify random killing. Military courts go through the pretext of determining guilt and innocence before punishment is meted out…especially the death penalty (killing somebody). It’s what the country’s supposed to stand for.

The U.S. is about to mark Memorial Day – a time to appreciate and celebrate those who lost their lives in battle to preserve the principals of American Democracy. No matter how many times President Obama or others repeat it – there is no justice, no rightness and no honor in having a secret list of people who get killed without a public trial. To those who disagree or think this is partisan: what do you think of a President Trump deciding who lives and who dies without any oversight or reporting whatsoever?

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