ofthisandthat

Weekly Letter to President Obama
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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 15, 2013

Mr. President:  This week marked the installation of two new leaders, each to lead
over a billion, one ecclesiastical, the other temporal, yet both exhibiting a humility and
grace often notably absent in the current crop of western politicians.  It was certainly
striking to any outsider not in thrall of either institutional system.  Perhaps, there is
hope for the future.  One thing for certain:  neither would have approved of paying off
the gambling debts of a bunch of banksters, with the hard-earned money of their rank
and file.

How this bailout could cure their gambling addiction beggars belief, and J.P. Morgan
Chase's $2 billion plus losses last year merely confirmed the obvious.  The individual
bonuses from speculative trading are far too attractive, particularly when serious
losses are left to taxpayers.

A socialism of capitalism's losses is supported enthusiastically by a
campaign-fund-inebriated political class, but socialism of medical care to help the
poor and uninsured in the most unequal society among developed nations is
anathema.  Even the Canadian medical care system, which works efficiently and well
-- despite false-rumored tales of impossibly long surgery waits for cancer patients --
cannot be adapted and adopted in this broken down democracy.  But subgroups with
armies of lobbyists promoting self-interest -- generally against the common good and
national interest -- continue to thrive.

So the full prosecutory powers of state machinery are brought to bear on a hapless
soldier with a conscience, who dared to bring to light the brutal gunning down of
civilians from a helicopter while the crew whooped it up.  There is absolutely no
evidence of any serious damage to U.S. interests from his leaks -- just
embarrassment.  The out-of-control military is old hat.  Anyone can read Nick Turse's
"Kill Everything That Moves" which recounts countless massacres of civilians in the
Vietnam war documented in the Defense Department's own records.

If there were no jobs available, illegal immigrants would not hazard their lives walking
through parched desert to cross into this country.  Their work benefits them, their
employers and society as a whole.  Yet this administration expended $18 billion
dollars on immigration enforcement chasing victimless crimes, while its Justice
Department spent nearly 50 percent less ($12.4 billion) on all law enforcement.

When can we expect our government to right the wrongs of misguided priorities?  
Today?  Tomorrow?  In the near future?  Never?

As an added incentive, consider the following:  China is now the world's second
largest economy having sailed past Japan last year.  Prognosticators believe it will
surpass the U.S. within this decade with a good chance of it happening as early as
2017.  Perhaps even earlier.  That's on your watch.  It doesn't have to be.  Not if we
buckle down, repair our infrastructure, work on our skills, clean up our politics, get out
of debilitating wars promoted by self-interest lobbies ... .  It really is time to put
America and its common man first.