Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
January 21, 2011
Mr. President: The Chinese President has concluded his visit. Since they
hold much of our sovereign debt, wags are suggesting the visit was akin to a
landlord visiting his property. A visit to China results in the stark realization
they have already passed us by: the clean and sleek new trains including a
fast growing high-speed network, new roads, airports, new schools and
universities, clean modern cities that are a hive of activity, and the energy
that youth exudes for New China has not even reached middle age. Yes, we
want to sell to China. But what can we sell other than airplanes? Whenever
they buy durables, they want the companies to set up plants there and
employ locals. It is lucrative job-growth on a massive scale. And yes, last
year more cars were bought in China than any other country in the world, but
when we try to sell, we are in competition with the rest of the world. If GM
and Ford have had problems competing against the Japanese, the South
Koreans and the Europeans in their home market, how will they compete in
China? The Chinese are also buying up foreign car brands. They have
bought MG from Britain and Swedish Volvo from Ford.
Medicare co-payments and deductibles are up and health care costs keep
rising exponentially because large corporate entities have monopolized the
industry. Almost all community hospitals are owned by them, and
independent doctors have become history. Rising costs mean rising
premiums for Medigap insurance -- up more than 20% as are food and fuel
prices. Yet, the fiendishly devised "core rate of inflation" by Bill Clinton's
team has not moved in two years and the elderly relying on social security
are squeezed tighter. So much for the "I feel your pain" President, and now
the "hope and change" era.
That we await with trepidation for it is rumored that Social Security is the
next target -- juicy slabs of money the finance industry wants to get its hands
on. We are constantly being told Social Security is going bankrupt although
the latest trustees' report states clearly it is solvent for the next 27 years
even if we do nothing.
In the meantime, the killing goes on unabated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Israel. In Iraq over a hundred have been killed in suicide bombings just
last week consequent to our legacy of religious strife. In Afghanistan, more
NATO soldiers have died and civilians. In Pakistan more bombings as
militants take revenge on a government supporting drone strikes, and
another supply convoy was ambushed this week. In Israel yet another
innocent Palestinian shot dead. A short while ago, Israeli security forces
stormed into a man's home at dead of night and shot him dead in bed ... only
to discover it was the wrong address and he was not the Hamas militant. But
even if he was, whatever happened to arrest and trial and the rule of law?
The common thread is how human life has been devalued, and our
contribution to this debasement.