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 29, 2016
Mr. President: Shame! What an expressive word. Shame! Society's way of
enforcing its norms. Unless ... unless there is so much shameless behavior without
recourse that the word, its meaning and its purpose lose all effectiveness; in other
words, a culture without shame where the most deplorable, the most depraved, the
most corrupt, is given a free pass becoming titillating entertainment.
Meanwhile, according to a Gallup poll, three in four Americans "perceived corruption
as widespread" in our government, a figure that is up from two out of three in 2007.
Ironic that we have State Department Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and
Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin accusing President Vladimir Putin of corruption.
And we thought Mr. Putin was helping fight terrorists.
The real question is how Adam Szubin got his job. Mondoweiss, a Jewish edited
website claims one requirement for that job is being Jewish -- all holders of the job
have been so, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency pointed out. The original purpose
of the job, of course, was to hold Iran's feet to the fire through banking restrictions.
As that need has expired, Mr. Szubin has turned his attention to the next neocon bete
noire. So far the allegations against Mr. Putin smack of a smear campaign as no
concrete evidence is supplied.
To return to the subject of shamelessness -- the first pair of names springing instantly
to mind are Bill and Hillary Clinton. There is a grease-ball like Bill Clinton defending
his sexual encounters with a young intern -- forget in loco parentis or any such
obligations for the concepts of honor and decency appear alien. Then there are the
lurid stories of his unusual manipulation of a cigar, a stained blue dress and what the
intern was made to do to acquire the stain.
There was the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the dropping of the safety barrier barring
the mixing of commercial and investment banking; a law that had withstood the test of
time, a law the notorious Sandy Weill had been lobbying to have removed. "We'll be
rich. We'll be rich", said Mr. Weill to his co-chair at Citigroup.
Those steering through the law have been well-rewarded. Bill Clinton, broke when
leaving office, made $105 million for more than 540 speeches while Hillary was
Senator and Secretary of State. Plus in 2014, the two hit the jackpot, earning a
combined total of $25 million plus. For example, Goldman-Sachs paid Hillary $
675,000 for those speeches. Question: What can Hillary possibly teach
Goldman-Sachs that would be worth almost three-quarters of a million? Or is it, as
they say, money in the bank for Goldman.
So when we heard about "hope and change" from a new, earnest looking candidate,
many believed him trusting in a fresh breeze to blow the stench out of Washington.
Imagine our surprise when after the election our "hope and change" candidate trots
out the old guard including the infamous Robert Rubin, former Treasury Secretary
and purveyor of schlock, who trashed Glass-Steagall, refused to listen to Brooksley
Born to control off-exchange derivatives, and almost certainly caused the crash of
2008 ruining thousands of lives.
A former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and economist writes in a January 27,
2016 post on paulcraigroberts.org, "The most corrupt government on earth, a
government so utterly corrupt that it allows former executives of a handful of corrupt
mega-banks to run the economic policy of the US solely in the interest of their banks,
denying tens of millions of American retirees any interest income on their savings for
7 years and denying hard-pressed Social Security recipients any cost-of-living
adjustments by falsifying inflation measures ... ". For the latter we must again thank
Just as well we do not have shame and the Japanese practice of Hara-kiri for
Washington would be running rivers of blood.