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
December 26, 2014
Mr. President: Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Christmas is a time when our consumer driven economy can offer the fantasy of a
happier tomorrow in a progressively greater unequal society. Yes, the holidays are
almost over, but the inequality trend continues and reversing it is going to require an
assault on the current tax code (particularly with regard to taxes paid by the wealthy)
and a concern once again for the welfare, education and health care of the bottom
eighty percent. It is clearly not on the horizon.
Instead we indulge in wars of choice promoted through a peculiar ideological prism
where al-Qaeda is the bogeyman used to discomfit or destroy secular regimes clearly
opposed to al-Qaeda. As a result, we have spawned al-Qaeda type offshoots all
across the Middle East extending now to Africa, and consequentially created millions
of destitute refugees fleeing unbearable circumstances including the very real
possibility of losing their lives. A sobering legacy for any President ... which one can
forget for a few days each year as we deluge ourselves in an orgy of food and knick
knacks, the latter the courtesy of China which now holds over $3 trillion of our
The Chinese thus have the wherewithal to assist 'big brother', namely Russia, should
it become necessary. They do not forget the aid they received from him in
developing their peasant economy and in the Korean War. It will be a long time, if
ever, before Russia will be brought to its knees through sanctions or a calamitous oil
price drop. And why?
Why this quest for supremacy on the global stage? There was a time in Europe when
certain countries sought the same. It took the devastation of world wars to set them
on a cooperative course. Will we wait for a nuclear encounter before a similar path of
We have abused the gift of peace the thaw in the cold war offered, flagrantly violating
understandings against NATO expansion. Russia was weak and we took advantage.
No more. So, Mr. Putin is demonized.
But Mr. Putin's poll ratings show over 80% support; the US president's are about half
that number leaving little doubt as to which leader best represents his constituents.
The Russian people are not unaware of the dangers NATO at their doorstep poses,
just as US citizens would if Russia had initiated a coup in Mexico and planned to set
up a military outpost. It brings to mind the Cuban missile crisis.
Setting up another nuclear confrontation and a new cold war that is clearly warmer
than the last one is an unexpected, unwelcome, unfortunate, ironic and even risible
legacy for a Noble peace laureate. One can only pray for a miracle in the new year
where additional threats loom from the wars initiated in 2014, and, lest we forget, the
financial exposure of the public to the tune of $3 trillion from the December budget
bill. It sneaked in a provision chipping away at Dodd-Frank and permitting banks to
bet on default swaps using FDIC insured deposits again.