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 28, 2015
Mr. President: You have been on vacation; you are back from vacation. What has
The news from around the world including the U.S. is much the same. A gunman at
Mississippi State University, foiled. A gunman on a French high speed train, foiled. A
fired TV journalist guns down former colleagues in Roanoke, Virginia. Refugees from
Syria found dead in an abandoned refrigerated truck outside Vienna. Refugees dead
as a ship founders.
So imagine an American president -- any American president -- on vacation the last
dozen years ...
We would still have reasonable relations with Russia, a country that can wipe out the
U.S. in a matter of minutes. Instead we have improved relations with Cuba, a country
capable of inflicting a pin prick.
Libya would still be a country with the highest Human Development Index in Africa and
African migrants would still be coming to it, mostly as temporary labor, to improve their
impoverished lives. Boko Haram would not be the destabilizing force in Nigeria
causing terrible suffering.
Iraqi and Syrian refugees would not be swarming their neighbors and Europe, seeking
escape from a U.S. manufactured hell. Ask any Iraqi if he prefers the present to
Saddam Hussein? Ask any Syrian if he prefers the present to the Assad stability?
Ukraine would not be racked in a civil war with hundreds of thousands of refugees in
Russia. Crimea would still be a part of it.
Without NAFTA, there would not have been the destruction of Mexico's small farms
and the swarms of migrants, almost all illegal, to this country desperate to make a
living. And without NAFTA, there would not have been the export of low-skill, although
reasonably paid, manufacturing jobs that is still hampering our recovery.
Without the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the crash of 2008 would have been unlikely, an
event the country still has not recovered from completely.
Without 'welfare reform,' in effect cutting payments to the most marginalized in our
society, the poor demographic would not now be destitute.
Without COLA reform, the cost of living adjustment for retirees and other social
security recipients would not be in an inflation neverland bearing little resemblance to
actual inflation. Again an attack on the vulnerable in our society.
And, of course, with an American president on vacation, we would never have had
campaign reform, so our elected representatives could not point to it and say they
were within the law. No, without it they would have to justify unconscionable behavior
under the norms of decency and ethics.
In fact, let us send all our elected representatives home, save our money and their
revolting TV election ads. A properly programmed computer could do a better job of
running the country.