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 7, 2014
Mr. President: There has been much said about the corrupt regime of ousted Ukraine
President Yanukovych, little about the previous one also corrupt, or about the
oligarchs with private armies. What concerns us more over here is the legalized
corruption in the U.S. bleeding the middle class. A few incidents from just one week ...
A prescription drug Albenza is being sold here for $127 per pill. It is one hundred
times the cost in Canada where a bottle of 40 pills costs less than $60. Why? Should
this happen in a functioning democracy? Why should taxpayers be forced to
subsidize big pharma on such an astronomic scale? Medicare's problems have little
to do with the program but everything with the laws that prevent negotiation for drugs,
allow hospital monopolies and outrageous fees. Skyrocketing health care costs have
been transferred to the public in insurance costs and co-pays. When will Medicare be
allowed to negotiate drug prices?
Interest rates on money market funds are less than 0.1% -- almost nonexistent -- as
are T-bills, so why are credit card companies charging double-digit rates -- sometimes
as high as 28% for payers who let the payment deadline slip by.
Yes, the big banks were bailed out, but the ripple effects of their busted 'blue-chip'
mortgage-backed securities continue. States continue to have problems with pension
funds and budgets. One result is a cutting of school programs, particularly in the arts
which are not evaluated in our current test-crazed system. (A footnote: the best
school system in Europe i.e. Finland does no testing until the age of 15). Many
schools are therefore cutting music programs particularly for younger children. It is a
sadly mistaken policy given the concrete evidence from brain research relating to
increased development in the creative part of the brain from early music training --
Einstein and his violin is sometimes cited.
Yes, the banks were bailed out. But no one is concerned enough to do anything to
bail out the little children denied brain development in the President's home state.
If there is a common thread through this mismanagement of the country's resources
to benefit the few, it is the campaign contribution system -- a scandal of legalized
bribery of a size and complexity dwarfing Teapot Dome, Tammany Hall and others of
that era; yet it continues.
Oh, and foreign interventions costing trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of
lives to further the cause of persistent lobbying groups whose primary interests are
disguised to supposedly benefit this country.
So now there is Ukraine where an intercepted telephone conversation now has
Catherine Ashton the EU Foreign Affairs Representative being informed by Estonian
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet that opposition provocateurs were responsible for the
snipers who killed 80 from both sides in one day, and led to a "putsch" style takeover
and ouster of a democratically elected government.
Each country plays it like its favorite game. Mr. Putin is playing chess (carefully)
taking what he wants, while we over here continue with brute force (football) and bluff