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
March 6, 2015
Mr. President: What is the world coming to? Benjamin Netanyahu has now tied
Winston Churchill's record for most addresses to a joint session of the U.S. Congress
– three: on Tuesday March 3, 2015, in 2011, and in 1996. What was his topic? Fear.
Fear of Iran's nuclear bomb. It would take Iran a gazillion years to match the Soviet
Union's arsenal and we survived that. Iran, if it developed a bomb, would have a puny
arsenal, which, and the country itself, would be wiped out in 20 minutes if it used it
against us or even Israel.
But then for Mr. Netanyahu and the neocons, who want us to go to war with Iran, the
Iranian bomb is always 3 to 5 years away -- sometimes becoming a year away when
needs demand it. It was, when he first became a member of the Knesset in 1992; it
was, when he addressed the UN with his cartoon bomb chart; and it is now. Like our
'forever' stamps because the rates keep going up, he has the 'forever three-to-five
year bomb' because elections keep coming up.
In his own country, he is despised by the peace community, by most of the well-
educated electorate of European ancestry, but he is loved by the Sephardic Jews
from Morocco and other Arab and North African countries. Fear motivates them to go
to the polls and fear is his trademark. And his mentor and moneybags? None other
than our casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who according to the well-informed Israeli
commentator Uri Avnery, was the prime mover for this escapade. The same Sheldon
Adelson, by the way, to whose mountain Republican presidential
candidates go, to pay obeisance and be certified kosher. Such are the politics of
money, Mr. Avnery reported, that Sheldon Adelson threatened and vowed to unseat
any Republican member who did not attend Netanyahu's speech. One cannot be sure
if he also specified the number of standing ovations.
It is frankly embarrassing and shameful and high time this politics of legalized
corruption came to an end. It is not the democracy envisioned by the founding
fathers, even if theirs was elitist. Better that than being run by a gambling den chief.
Oh I forgot, we call them casinos and call it gaming and make it cool and supposedly
luxurious. Everything in moderation we are told. Keep it under control. But then we
have a Republican moral icon (Bill Bennett) caught holed up in his Las Vegas hotel
room with a high-stakes slot machine, indulging an addiction reportedly costing him
millions that he wanted to keep secret. And this after publishing The Book of Virtues.
The political system is addicted to money and money corrupts. Why would they pay
Bill Clinton $50 million for speech making. Did they really want a discourse on the
meaning of 'is' that badly? No! The removal of Glass-Steagall that Sandy Weill
wanted (and got) made him billions although it left us and Citibank shareholders
holding the bag. Any chance of getting back Glass-Steagall that served the public so
well for 70 plus years? Not bloody likely.