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
Nov 25, 2011
Mr. President: Happy Thanksgiving!
Our Special Committee in Congress remains special. It cannot agree on
anything. The markets are roiled and in a precipitous decline all this week.
The latest shortfall in the sale of German government bonds did not help --
only four of the eight billion offered was taken up.
A new poll on Congress shows its favorable rating now down to single digits
at 9 percent. Like Wall Street, politicians seem to run on fear and greed.
Despite the poll, incumbents have little to fear because their opponents
carry the same baggage, and their campaign war chests are usually much
smaller. They also have nothing to fear from this President since his
popularity is far from the peak when he was elected.
Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan
Administration, calls the present crop of Republican hopefuls, "the eight
idiots". Sad to say, a few of them are running neck and neck with the
present incumbent in the White House in various polls. They are all (with
one exception) into brown nosing the Israeli lobby and bombing Iran.
Anti-Muslim bigotry abounds -- recruiters for extremist groups need just to
play back the Republican debates tapes. Oh yes, they all still want to cut
spending and cut taxes, despite the fiscal disaster that policy has spawned,
and despite our crumbling infrastructure and high unemployment. They are
your best hope in 2012.
A new study from Stanford's Department of Education by Sean F. Reardon
and K. Bischoff shows once again the awful consequences of the increase in
income inequality since 1970. Because neighborhoods have become much
more segregated by income and support systems have crumbled, it is now
almost impossible for the poor to move up to the middle class. Street are
not safe, schools are poorly funded and poorly staffed, family support is
lacking -- all the ingredients for a young man to become angry. And once
they commit a crime, they are funneled into the criminal system. The fact is
our policies in the last forty years have immobilized upward social mobility.
So here is a suggestion for a taste of life at the bottom:
Our legislators and executive branch leaders should have to live like the
poorest in this country from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Lafayette Park
would be a good venue and there are plenty of soup kitchens around.
Actually feeling the poor's pain is a far cry from Bill Clinton's rhetorical "I feel
your pain"; he then proceeded to accept millions in speaking fees while
leaving us at the mercy of unregulated banks running rampant.
Perhaps a few weeks out in the cold will clear everyone's head, and return
sanity to the people governing us.