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
Sept 23, 2011
Mr. President: The long-awaited application for Palestinian statehood was
duly submitted to the UN Secretary General by President Mahmoud Abbas.
The earth did not shake, the sun did not stand still, even the school
bus-sized satellite due to drop down out of orbit disappeared without a
ripple. A testament to world opinion, Mr. Abbas received a thunderous
standing ovation at the General Assembly; you, Sir, managed only quiet
polite applause. Even Ahmadinejad did better despite the walkout by U.S.
and some Western countries. His comments combined a mixture of the
outrageous and the thoughtful -- the latter centered on war crimes asking
questions about destruction and civilian deaths in our wars familiar to
anyone who has read Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" or the late
historian Howard Zinn.
Nothing changes. The latest being the bombing of Tripoli's water supply and
electricity grid. How that protects civilian lives is for NATO to answer. And
doubtless, those succumbing to diarrhea will remain the uncounted
Uri Avnery, the prominent Israeli commentator and former politician, has
written that politics there are controlled by a very small group of right wing
religious parties because their support is vital to maintain Mr. Netanyahu's
razor thin majority in the Knesset. As Mr. Avnery puts it, this little tail wags
the Israeli dog, serving in turn as the tail wagging the American dog. The
Middle East desk at the State Department might as well close up shop and go
home. Interesting that a vast majority of Israelis would give up land for
peace. But the settlers and their religious parties rule.
Housing starts reported this week are now running at an unusual rate of
571,000; a regular figure would be close to 1.5 million. The Fed can only do
so much. Fiddling around with the cost of money long term is marginal in
influence at best. Markets are finally coming to the realization that central
banks are running out of options and we had the worst day for stocks on
Wall Street since 2008 after the Fed meeting.
The policies of this Administration are difficult to fathom. Last month they
could not let the Bush era tax cuts lapse -- simply by doing nothing as
Congress could never have mustered sufficient votes to override a possible
Presidential veto; this month, they want to increase taxes -- for the rich of
course -- knowing full well it is likely to be a non-starter in Congress.
The rest of us can only look on in wonder as the economy slumbers, lives
are ruined, and the election game is on.