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 24, 2015
Mr. President: Last weekend almost 900 asylum seekers perished when their boat
capsized. The Bishop of Gozo in Malta held a memorial service for them. Why are all
these people leaving Libya? Whatever might be said of Col. Gaddafi, people were
not leaving Libya; they were trooping in, including thousands of Africans supplying
labor and making a new life for themselves. Now in the present climate of civil war
and scarcity, they are the least wanted and desperate to escape.. There is nothing
for them in their home countries so they seek economic opportunity in Europe, paying
thousands of dollars for a place in rickety, ill-manned boats.
From Greece this week come dramatic pictures of individual rescues from a small
boat of refugees. It hit the shoals off the island of Rhodes within sight of beachfront
cafes. The people responded as humans do saving over 90 lives out of 122. Syrians
constitute the majority on this side of the Mediterranean with numbers in excess of
Do all of these people who have lost sons, daughters, parents, brothers, sisters, one
way or another directly or indirectly through U.S. policy or action ... do they love us, or
could they be fertile ground for recruitment against us?
If we could live with Hafez al-Asad for decades, the son is a mild variant in
comparison, so why the need to topple him? And who will deal with ISIS?
Why did Gaddafi have to go after he had agreed not to seek nuclear weapons and
abandon his nascent program? Why did Libya's infrastructure have to be destroyed
if the enemy was not the Libyan people?
Commonsense leads to an elementary insight for anyone but our policy boffins -- the
best way to deal with enemies is not make them in the first place.
Then we would not have drone strikes killing innocents as admitted this week in the
deaths of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, both men involved in aid efforts
to improve lives and least deserving of their fate. The al-Qaeda operatives who were
killed, Adam Gadahn a Californian and Ahmed Farouq were American citizens. What
induced them to join such an organization? It also raises questions anew about blithe
assurances these drone strikes kill only the carefully selected targets.
As we continue mayhem, the Chinese are assiduously replacing us economically.
This week, they announced a colossal $75 billion aid package to revamp Pakistan's
infrastructure, the first $46 billion in projects to proceed immediately. It dwarfs our
puny, grudgingly loaned $7 billion making it seem like pocket change. The Chinese
get an Indian Ocean port and fast overland delivery of oil for their growing economy.
The Chinese are also in Afghanistan signing up mineral rights and trading with Iran
(which has also been promised delivery of Russia's sophisticated S-300 missile
defense system putting paid to Netanyahu's hopes of bombing Iran's nuclear sites --
(not that it was ever a serious option given the possibility Iran could block the Strait of
Hormuz causing chaos in the world economy). The Chinese are also the biggest
investors in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, having pushed out the exclusion rule from the Dodd-Frank Act, Citi is
busy loading up on collateral loan obligations -- the new CDOs (collateralized debt
obligations of old) -- consisting of high risk junk bonds instead of mortgage loans but
packaged and sliced as before. With the exclusion removed, the taxpayer is again
going to be in hock through the FDIC.