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
June 8, 2012
Mr. President: In this election year, the voters among us -- most likely a minority --
are thinking about the choice of candidates. The exercise is not as straightforward as
it might appear for one of the candidates is a conundrum. The question for your
supporters, Sir, is which Obama to vote for.
For example, should we vote for the Obama who brings hope to the struggling
majority in his speeches, or, should we vote for the Obama who acted to continue the
Bush tax cuts which inordinately help the wealthy. It was within the President's power
to simply let the cuts lapse because the Republicans could not muster a veto-proof
majority on any bill to continue them. The benefits to most of us were so meager, we
would hardly miss them, while the taxes realized from the rich would make a tangible
difference to the deficit and benefit the economy. Instead, we were treated to a
kabuki dance of cutting the tax cuts for the rich only (brownie points for the
administration) contested by Republicans, and ending in a so-called compromise that
extended the cuts -- the wealthy open their checkbooks for the coming election.
Meanwhile, the mandatory budget cuts to reduce the deficit are likely to impact the
majority of us most as the axe is applied to social programs.
Should we vote for the Obama, who rails against banks, seemingly supporting
regulations to control their excesses, or for the Obama who is a friend of J P Morgan
Chase CEO Jamie Dimon; the same Jamie Dimon whose chief Washington lobbyist Bill
Daley becomes White House chief of staff shepherding the legislation intended to
curb derivative trading, but leaves a loophole a truck could drive through in the final
Dodd-Frank bill -- no doubt he had help from Congress -- and then, job done, returns
to the private sector; the same Jamie Dimon who belittled Paul Volcker and the
Volcker rule, intended to halt speculative derivative trading by commercial banks; the
Jamie Dimon who now has a $2 billion derivative trading loss on his hands, egg on his
face, and demonstrations protesting his seat on the New York Federal Reserve -- just
as well the loss was not humongous or the taxpayers would be footing the bill yet
Should we vote for the constitutional lawyer Obama, or for the tough-guy Obama so
proud of extra-judicial killings, where U.S. citizenship does not gain exemption, that
self-serving leaks confirm a personal involvement in authorization. Forget the right of
due process for American citizens, guaranteed irrespective of how offensive or
extreme or unpopular their views and advocacy might be; the shredding of our over
200-year old constitution renders the President a Mikado-like Lord High Executioner
with a preternatural ability to judge guilt without trial.
The list is not complete, but it is enough. Some could well sit this election out; others
might even vote for a post-mortem redemptionist.