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
August 26, 2016
Mr. President: Louisiana has suffered another severe flood, and anyone looking at
the plight of the survivors cannot but feel for their loss. In California, dry weather is
the culprit as forest fires have destroyed a large number of homes bringing more
Climate change may not be directly responsible for individual weather patterns but
rising temperature will result in more severe weather. There is hope, however, in
some new carbon dioxide research. Scientists have found that in the oceans the gas
under the pressures at 2.7 km and lower descends to the ocean floor which is mostly
basalt. There it is eventually absorbed removing it forever from the atmosphere.
The process has been replicated artificially in Iceland. Carbon Dioxide is mixed with
water and injected underground into the basalt layer where it is absorbed and reacts
to precipitate into calcium carbonate. In all of this there might be hope that climate
change can be brought under some control.
While the Kashmir demonstrations and the live-fire response from the security forces
continues the killing and maiming of angry youth, there is reason for hope, albeit
elsewhere, and from it lessons to be learned. The Colombian government and FARC
have signed a peace accord. The war lasted half a century -- FARC took up arms in
There are lessons to be learned from war and lessons from negotiated peace
accords. Sadly, the Obama administration learned neither. The US is now a ragged
ship without a master sailing aimlessly in a sea of troubles, trying to restore a lost
hegemony while its own timbers rot with neglect. And President Obama will soon be
the first US president to keep the US at war for every day of his eight years in office.
Hell! Joe the plumber could have done better.
The supreme irony in all this is the Nobel Peace Prize. A lesson too for Norwegians to
reward performance, not just the expectation of it.
What then are the lessons to be learned about war and peace? First and foremost:
Avoid war at all costs. Some historians believe Neville Chamberlain was right. So
what of Hitler overran Poland or even Russia. The ensuing guerilla war by partisans
would eventually cripple the Germans. It would have been its Vietnam -- the
casualties, of course, a small percentage of World War Two.
For peace, Colombia will serve as a model for future peace negotiations elsewhere in
the world. Starting with the Ireland and South African models, they have expanded
the process. They are the first to include a role for the victims of the conflict within
and during the talks. The individuals who suffered from the actions of the parties met
directly with the negotiators. It would be as if the survivors of drone attacks would
confront US peace negotiators in Afghan peace talks. The process allowed
perpetrators to confess their role in the suffering they caused.
On another note, new revelations about Mrs. Clinton continue to appall. Half of the
people who visited Secretary of State Hillary contributed to the Clinton Foundation!
The Clintons have amassed a personal fortune in excess of $120 million through
means like $6000 per minute secret speeches to bankers not released for our ears.
What was being promised that we are not supposed to know? Add all the other
violations of rules and still nothing for prosecution.
Such elite impunity exists south of the border also. The president, Enrique Pena
Nieto, plagiarized almost a third of his law degree thesis -- no attribution for the direct
quotes and apparently a relatively minor infraction in a world of lies and liars.