Category Archives: President Obama

Take Action: Ask Senator Franken & Judiciary Subcommittee to Release the Memos on Obama Administration’s Targeted Killing Program Using Drones

From my friends at the ACLU: Help the ACLU of Minnesota protect civil liberties

Ask the hard questions about the government’s secret killing program.
On Tuesday, April 23, the Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the targeted killing program in which an estimated 4,700 people across two continents have been killed, including four American citizens.  Please send Senator Franken a clear, strong message that you are watching and are expecting him to ask the hard questions about the government’s secret killing program.  And, on Tuesday at 10 am, you can tune in to the hearing here. 
Here’s the letter I sent to Senator Franken; part of it is form letter that the ACLU provided. The parallel drawn between viewing bin laden’s 9/11 airplanes as manned aerial vehicles and viewing drones as unmanned aerial vehicles is my own.
Dear Senator Franken,
I am thrilled that the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee is about to hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the killing program that has killed an estimated 4,700 people across two continents, including four American citizens. I am grateful to the many Senators who have been calling on the Obama administration to release its legal memos on when it believes any president can order the Pentagon and the CIA to kill people far from any battlefield.

Terrorists are supposed to be the ones who execute people they determine to be criminals without the charging of the accused with a crime, without affording them a jury trial, and without obtaining a guilty verdict first. Not the United States.Whether terrorists orchestrate flying manned aerial vehicles (airplanes) into buildings in order to execute people they believe to be guilty or our government orchestrates flying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) into sovereign airspace in order to execute people it believes to be guilty, the result is the same: the violation of the longstanding principles of the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, and due process via jury trials in courtrooms where evidence of premeditation and guilt are presented. When bin laden’s attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 led to the onset of the War on Terror, he was attempting to achieve the eventual financial destruction of our country. He didn’t succeed. Let his legacy not be the destruction of our 5th Amendment and due process in a court of law. Let bin laden’s legacy not be the destruction of what President Obama called in 2009 our strongest currency in the world, our moral authority.

 

 

Ordering the execution of human beings without charge or trial is what bin laden would have done — and did do. Targeted killing via the usage of drones is not only unconstitutional, immoral and unjust, it’s what terrorists would do.

While some senators have seen a handful of the eleven legal memos, it is imperative that all of the memos be available to all members of Congress and that minimally redacted copies be made public. And it is paramount that the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee charged with enforcing the rule of law, conduct robust oversight of the killing program.  I will be watching the hearing on Tuesday, and I want to hear you ask hard questions and demand clear answers about when the administration claims broad authority to kill people, including American citizens, far from any battlefield.
Sincerely,
Sarah Reynolds
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Petition to My Representative: Take A Stand Against Chained CPI Cuts to Social Security

I got an email yesterday from Move On . Org asking me if I would be willing to start a petition to my U.S. Representative on Social Security Cuts. Here is what it said:

 

Dear Minnesota MoveOn member,

We’ve recently heard from folks upset by President Obama’s proposal to cut Social Security benefits.

It sounds like MoveOn members would be interested in signing a petition urging Rep. Betty McCollum to oppose these cuts, but first someone needs to take the lead by starting a petition on SignOn.org, our online petition site. If you get the petition started, MoveOn will help you get it going. Can you take the lead?

 

 

I clicked yes and the link led me to a very user friendly page where I typed a few paragraphs and voila! Instant petition (kidding, it took me two hours of research and another hour of editing the description and petition, and then voila).

 

 

Here’s the body of the petition:

Dear Congresswoman McCollum:

We implore you to take a stand against Chained CPI which would cause a reduction in benefits for Social Security recipients, including our veterans and more than 350,000 of their surviving spouses and children, and for our senior citizens, almost half of whom would live below the poverty line if not for Social Security benefits.

Please publicly commit to voting against any cuts to Social Security.

 

 

Here’s the Petitition Background that I provided:

Chained CPI, currently being disingenuously presented as a cost of living adjustment by President Obama and others, is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors and veterans. According to Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the proposed change would also affect more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. For example, vets who started receiving V.A. disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 a year at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65. Benefits for more than 350,000 surviving spouses and children would also be cut!

And, according to the Social Security Administration, 65-year-old retirees would lose more than $650 a year by their 75th birthday, and more than $1,000 a year would be cut from their benefits once they reach 85. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security provides no less than 90% of income to more than one-third of America’s seniors. If it weren’t for Social Security, nearly half of Americans over 65 would live below the federal poverty level.

If President Obama is going to go back on his multiple campaign promises to both the elderly who rely on Social Security the most and those who love our country so much that they would risk their lives for it and their fellow Americans, then Congress is called through the system of checks and balances to stop him.

Voting against cuts to Social Security is not only the right thing to do, it is the only patriotic option. Please sign the petition to Congresswoman McCollum asking her to take a stand against cuts to Social Security.

 

 

Please sign and share if you have a moment! Remember, Chained CPI is a cut. CPI stands for consumer price index and it is how the COLA – Cost of Living Adjustment – is figured every December. Some years there isn’t even an increase in benefits the following January if inflation was low. What chained CPI does is reduce the amount of increase in COLA based on the idea that if you give people less money, they will choose to consume less expensive items. Yes, this would save a ton of money. On the backs of the poor, the elderly, and our wounded vets.

 

Just say no.

Post Election: Relief and Resolve

President Obama won re-election on Tuesday night and I was overwhelmed with relief. The next morning, I was filled with resolve.

There are humanitarian and constitutional rights issues where the President has taken actions I morally object to, the first being the use of weaponized drones; and the second being the unlawful detention of alleged criminals — that is indefinitely detaining them without charging them of a crime in the first place and then denying them a trial in a court of law (denying “due process”) in the second place.

I don’t have a problem with the collection of information that aids the government in preventing terrorist attacks, a.k.a. intelligence gathering. Maybe be it’s sneaky and shady. And maybe it IS. (Yeah, it is.) I do have a problem with killing innocent civilians by dropping bombs on them. It makes a kill list look like a grocery list you’d jot down for a going away party on a post-it note. At least the kill list doesn’t say, “A. Smith and everyone else in a 1 mile radius who happens to be there. And B. Jones and everyone else in a 2 mile radius who happens to be there.” Wow. The moral compass on meth. Using weaponized drones is immoral, unethical, unjust and absolutely unconstitutional in the absence of a declaration of war (which requires an Act of Congress) on the country whose people our government is killing.

And Gitmo. Guantanamo Bay. It’s time for this “detention facility” to get shut down. Charge everyone there with a crime in a federal court of law (the good people of Texas or New York would be happy to be on that jury, so send ’em over), get them convicted or acquitted and let’s be done with it. The system is awesome. The system is not broken. But there are people — like the President — who are either being threatened in order to keep them from allowing the system to work and achieve justice or too morally weak to uphold its innate greatness.

It’s time to demand greatness.