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 30, 2015
Mr. President: The budget has been passed by the House, but in a deal again
betraying the nature of an oligarchy pretending to be a democracy. The essence of a
civilized society is the manner in which it treats its weakest. Yet the budget doesn't
raise money by taxing the rich, who are paying the lowest tax rates since before the
Second World War; it doesn't hit the bankers who were not prosecuted despite clear
evidence of unlawful conduct in processing dubious home loans and then laundering
them into highly rated mortgages, and, being a major cause of the crash of 2008
causing untold suffering; it doesn't go after hedge fund managers paying lower capital
gains tax instead of income tax on their income; no! it goes after the unfortunates on
Social Security disability tightening up enforcement and rules for the pittance paid to
them. They are among the least able to defend themselves.
In contrast, at a children's cancer charity event in St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin put on a
great show, first playing the piano and singing Blueberry Hill and then taking up the
song with the whole band. A creditable job, he sang beautifully on key. Numerous
western movie celebrities were at the gala applauding him vigorously and flashing "V"
signs. He looked and sounded warm and human, quite unlike the picture painted by
our media, which, owned now by large corporations, is beholden to the government
and turns on a dime on every significant issue.
The Chinese have signed a huge 40 billion pound deal to build nuclear plants in the
UK. The Chinese company CGN will work jointly with France's EDF who will maintain a
majority share. Hinkley Point C is the first station, scheduled for completion in 2025.
Two others Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell, Essex will follow. Bradwell will be Chinese
While Britain under the right-wing Conservative party and Mr. Cameron are willing to
entrust a nuclear future to the Chinese, we here are making a point about freedom of
the seas and running a warship off of China's coast, trailed at a discreet distance by a
Chinese ship. Now here is the ridiculous part of the whole exercise: we are not
signatories, not having ratified the treaty, namely the UN Convention on the Law of
the Sea, although President Reagan said we would follow it. The Chinese have, but
their interpretation allows only civilian shipping in coastal regions, not warships.
The Chinese could have done a lot more but they were restrained, anxious not to
damage economic ties. What is our objective? If it is to maintain open sea lanes for
shipping, the Chinese are not hindering them. If it is to announce to the world we are
the big guy on the block, we are delusional. What has happened to diplomacy?
Some of our diplomats appearing on news shows don't seem to know the meaning of
the word. They seem to have it confused with jingoism.
In war torn Iraq and Syria a new development: an Israeli colonel fighting with ISIL has
been taken prisoner by Iraqi forces. His serial number and regiment are posted on
websites. Meanwhile Russian air strikes have hit US contractor mercenaries or
regulars assisting non-moderate rebels -- we only retained four or five for the $50
million spent on training moderate rebels! So who is fighting whom? Did Hillary
Clinton turn the State Department into La La Land?
As the refugees are bursting Europe's seams, it is worth noting the Syrian refugees
are from rebel controlled areas. Why? We hear daily that President Assad is
"brutalizing his own people," yet the people in government held areas are not
leaving. Not surprising then that from North Africa to Indonesia and across the Pacific
to Latin America, our comments and actions have reduced our credibility to zero.