Weekly Letter to President Obama
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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
July 8, 2011
Mr. President: In the spirit of your highly publicized first "Twitter" Q&A, this week's
letter consists of a dozen questions:
1. The jobs report out today is abysmal. Your response is that two million people
have been put to work but ten million jobs were lost. The issue is how quickly they
are being put back to work; at your rate, it will take you through your second term and
more. Is that how you define a successful economic policy?
2. Why do you think the recovery is petering out?
3. This letter and others warned you that without purging the toxic assets owned by
the banks, instead of hiding them on the books -- the forced accounting rule change
permitting the assets to be marked up to purchase cost -- the recovery would be
anemic. Why did you choose to ignore what was obvious?
4. Brooksley Born and others who presaged the economic consequences of
unregulated derivatives and the dismantling of Glass-Steagall were shunted aside
while Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers the architects of the deregulation
became your advisors. Why?
5. In terms of wealth distribution, our Gini Index confirms we are the most unequal
amongst industrialized countries. Yet the rich continue to get richer, the middle class
is disappearing, and the poor getting poorer. Why then did you not fight to
discontinue the Bush tax cut for the wealthy or veto the bill?
6. Why is Guantanamo still open?
7. After the Second World War we tried and punished the Japanese as torturers for
using water-boarding. Why was no action taken against the Bush Administration
officials who promoted it?
8. When a drone attacks an extended family compound targeting a Taliban leader,
most of those killed (over 90%) are women, children, infants, pregnant women, the
elderly, visiting relations and friends, as can be expected when bombing a home.
How did our policy become so callous towards civilians and how does this win hearts
and minds when each attack affects literally hundreds of other relatives and friends?
9. How can an Afghan army composed almost entirely (97%) of Northern Alliance
minority groups bring peace to Afghanistan when the largest ethnic group, the
Pashtuns (who we are fighting) are excluded?
10. In June alone, 270 people were killed in weekly and sometimes daily bombings in
Iraq. In the system we imposed on Iraq, the people vote along religious or ethnic
divides, and the minority groups express their frustration and anger in violence. How
is that a stable democracy?
11. Why are so many Illinois politicians and their facilitators, including your friend Mr.
Rizko (who bought part of the large lot of your house as you could not afford to at the
time) in jail?
12. Would you vote for yourself in 2012?