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
September 26, 2014
Mr. President: The founder of the eponymous bank, J P Morgan believed no
corporate head should earn more than twenty times the lowest paid employees. JP
died in 1913, and his successors a century later would laugh at the naivete of this
ruthless banker -- they earn hundreds, if not thousands of times their lowest wage
In that century, we have had the roaring twenties when inequality also reached levels
shameful to a democratic society. We had the crash, then Roosevelt, the new deal,
the war, the GI bill, fairer taxes, and growth of the middle class. Israel's wars led to
the petro shock, stagflation and the excuse for a new taxation regime of cuts for the
wealthy. We were also dosed with deregulation, letting loose rampant speculation
first at Savings and Loans followed by their demise in the 1980s, and, after the repeal
of Glass-Steagall by the Clinton administration, at the banks and financial institutions
in 2008. Inequality is again a disgrace. It is also -- if we examine the course of history
The above comes to mind because this administration could have been Rooseveltian;
instead it chose to play to the elites (much to the bankers' surprise initially if
anecdotal evidence is to be believed). A major instrument of this policy has been
Attorney General Eric Holder, who resigned this week. Not a single indictment of any
major player in the colossal 2008 banking disaster. The knowingly erroneous
mortgage applications, the slicing, dicing and fraudulent rebranding as
triple-A-mortgage debt, the push and demand by the majors for more and more
mortgages; none of it was worth investigation. Yes, the banks were fined record
amounts in some cases but not a single major player was held to account. It was as if
the banks were sentient beings, not a legal instrument of human concoction and
action: Banks don't act, humans do; banks don't make decisions, the humans within
them do; and banks don't commit fraud, the humans running them do.
These facts did not escape a smart man like Eric Holder (or the President). But few
bite the hand that feeds them, and few want to take on the mighty. Fewer still walk off
the yellow brick road marching them to the golden land of Oz.