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
October 9, 2015
Mr. President: Congratulations on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. Why is it
not a treaty? Because that would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Why and
how does a treaty become an agreement? Who knows? Except ... the major
beneficiaries, our global corporations, certainly willed it. So, is the TPT agreement
good for ordinary Americans? Most likely not. It has the potential to export more jobs
plus it gives corporations the right to sue if they find environmental or health or
consumer protection laws a barrier to free trade. So who suffers? People. Who
gains? Corporations. Why does the Democratic party support such a treaty, I mean
partnership agreement? Because by now both parties are beholden to the same
deep pockets and the same special interests.
Which brings to mind what's happening in Jerusalem where some wingers have
commenced an assault on the Noble Sanctuary, the Muslim religious area near the
Wailing Wall. The response has been stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators
called terrorists by Mr. Netanyahu, even as his military is killing them -- something that
is so routine it is not news.
The Clintons have been busy this week appearing on late shows. Aside from all the
email shenanigans, Hillary has never been able to explain how she converted $1000
to $100,000 in a year of commodities trading -- a set of circumstances as legitimately
likely as being hit by lightning repeatedly. She says she read the Wall Street Journal
but, as anyone who has actually traded commodities can tell you, information from the
daily Wall Street Journal is already too old. All business publications provide only a
general picture. Moreover, over eighty percent of new amateur traders lose all their
Anyway, Hillary wants to lay down a marker for the Russians in Syria. But what if the
Russians ignore it? She doesn't say. After all, they are actually there at the invitation
of the Syrian government? Are we? Whatever happened to the territorial integrity of
member nations of the UN?
Bill Clinton, who blew a hole in the social safety net releasing the flood of poverty --
just look at the latest figures -- quite apart from his own unique definition of in loco
parentis with regard to young White House interns, was also out displaying the usual
charm on late night talk shows in support of his wife. When is Monica Lewinsky's
famous dress going up for auction? Now perhaps, or as often in chess, is the threat
more profitable than the actual move.
"We can no longer tolerate the state of affairs in the world." So said Mr. Putin at the
UN on September 28. The Russians are now in Syria, legitimately, at the invitation of
the Syrian government. We are not and consequently violate Syrian air space each
time we fly there to attack ISIS. They are bombing not only ISIS but also 'our' rebels.
In Afghanistan, we have managed to bomb a hospital belonging to "Doctors without
Borders," who are calling it a war crime. They want an independent investigation. We
say it was an unfortunate mistake. Twenty-two are dead and doubtless many more
are injured with direct hits (the bomber made several passes) smack bang through
the center of the structure exactly at the GPS coordinates given to us and the
Taleban by "Doctors without Borders" to prevent such a bombing. The Taleban
apparently honored their request during the capture of the city. The hospital had
served the city and its citizens. Now it is rubble and the Nobel Peace Laureate
"Doctors without Borders" will not be rebuilding or returning.
Aside from the worldwide press coverage of the incident, is the question of local
hearts and minds. The bombings also of wedding processions, funerals, children
gathering wood; the late night raids on homes killing families and friends of innocents;
these incidents are all part and parcel of why the lightly armed Taleban held the
world's most powerful military at bay for close to a decade, and why they are still
holding their own against a much more heavily armed military.
The issue of civilian casualties brings to mind Svetlana Alexievich, this year's winner
of the Nobel Literature Prize. She recalls the incident precipitating her into actual
action -- in her case writing. She was visiting Afghanistan and saw a little boy holding
a teddy bear just by his teeth, which she thought odd. She discovered why when the
nurses came to attend to him and pulled back the sheets. His arms and legs had
been blown off.
The connections controlling the primitive amygdala by the cortex are tenuous. From
bombings to the epidemic of US mass murder incidents, including the ones this week,
to politicians, to celebs like Serena Williams threatening a diminutive Asian
lines-woman with stuffing "the fu***ing ball down [her] throat," our world deserves a
rest into calm and decency.