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
April 15, 2011
Mr. President: Today used to be tax day but this year the agony has been
prolonged to include the weekend. It used to be also the IRS sent us a basic
book of instruction, but this year they have chosen to make us all
squinty-eyed in front of our computers trying to figure out what we have to
pay. Still, it's all to the good if it reduces waste.
Now that your re-election bid has been announced, the Republicans
apparently have taken it as a cue to commit mass suicide. The Ryan plan just
about ensures everyone over 65 will be voting for Democrats. Not only does
it gut Medicare, but it seems to have no rational economic basis. Tax cuts
and more tax cuts without any clear means of making up the short fall; and a
two trillion transfer of wealth to the richest in a country already the most
unequal of all developed countries on the income inequality index. The
rationale, dubious at best, of job creation never worked under Bush or
Reagan. Why is it we do not hear a hard-hitting response not raveled by
numbers and statistics that grabs peoples' attention? This whole episode
reminds one of what Will Rogers once said: "With Congress ... every time
they make a joke, it's a law ... and every time they make a law, it's a joke."
It was the overweening attention to Wall Street bankers and banks that got
us the present Republican crew; whether the tipping point, when the voters
finally throw in their lot with a third party, has been reached or not remains
to be seen. But it surely must be close. The social networking sites might
well moderate the Presidential debate disadvantage of a third-party
candidate, particularly if a charismatic leader were to emerge. For all we
know, they might even prove as deadly to entrenched power as they have
A few months ago the leaders of Italy, France and Britain were fawning over
Mr. Gaddafi; today, he is suddenly a demon. He must be feeling very sorry
he trusted the West and relinquished his efforts towards acquiring a nuclear
capability, while the events unfolding are no doubt strengthening Iran's
There is no end game in sight in Libya. The western part of the country
mostly supports the government. Hardened supporters are likely to start a
guerrilla campaign if they lose; a divided Libya at best and a long haul
otherwise. Poor Libyans -- their life is going to get worse day by day as
civilian infrastructure is targeted under the pretext of saving lives.
Mazar - i - Sharif, a "peaceful" city far from Taliban strongholds was plunged
in riots resulting in the tragic killing of U.N. personnel. Large scale protests
were organized in Kabul. All of this attributed to the Koran burning by a
pastor in Florida. Of course, if that was the sole reason, there would have
been protests elsewhere in Afghanistan plus where the Taliban are in virtual
control, and also in other countries. In fact, the Taliban used the incident
adroitly to channel the rage everyone feels at drone killings, casual brutality
by various militaries and the occupation in general. They chose places that
could well be defined as our strongholds to make a point. Not quite the Tet
offensive but the gist of the conversation was the same.