Weekly Letter to President Obama
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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
April 29, 2011

Mr. President:  The TV screens today are full of the royal wedding in
England.  It was not a State occasion, and they followed diplomatic protocol
in the invitations to foreign representatives.  Foreign heads of state were
not invited, and our circus media's claims that the U.S. President was
snubbed are patently false.  Why is it our politics have become a circus?  
Serious issues take second place to nonsense like the birthers issue.  This
week your long-form birth certificate was released.  It might have quelled it
some, but the hard-core are going to next claim a conspiracy!

I see a President who extended his hand to the right, only to have it slapped
... hard.  On all major issues -- the financial crisis, the wars, health care -- this
administration has chosen Republican solutions.  Treasury Secretary
Paulson's policies were continued -- if anything, the bank bailout was even
larger than he had indicated.  The wars, Guantanamo, continue and even the
military trials are back.  Healthcare reform turned out to be an adaptation of
Mitt Romney's plan in Massachusetts.  In a delicious irony, he is rapidly
backtracking and avoiding the issue of "Obamacare".

There was a moment early on in the administration, a Roosevelt or even a
Nestor Kirchner moment, when this country could have been turned around
from the disastrous policies since the eighties.  It was not to be: the legs of
change turned to jelly, and the bankers' economists prevailed.  We did not
take "the road less traveled by ... and it has not "made all the difference"
unlike in Frost's famous poem.

Gas prices have now shot up to over $4 per gallon.  Who would have
thought?  Just two months ago, no one would have given 'a snowball's
chance in hell' to the Republicans in 2012, but all of a sudden things look
different.  Seems the birther balloon could have been allowed to fill more, to
keep the oxygen away longer from serious Republican candidates before
pricking it.

Mr. Panetta is to leave the CIA for the Pentagon.  Perhaps with his sharp
budget-cutting pen, he can do something about the bloated Pentagon
budget geared to wars we are not likely to fight any more.  And General
Petraeus will head the CIA.  Perhaps not the best way to challenge for the
Presidency, but then he always did say he never had any such plans.  If he is
going to bolster an Afghan policy that contrary to claims is not succeeding,
we are going to be there for a very long time.

Middle East turmoil continues.  A stalemate in Libya, as further destruction of
the country proceeds inevitably; Syria getting worse; and the rulers in
Bahrain having brutally crushed the Shia majority protesters using Saudi
military are now busy exacting their revenge.  Not a word from us on that last

We have our own natural disaster with the terrible tornadoes in the South
this week.  One's heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and homes.  
FEMA which had been such an efficient emergency management agency
under Jimmy Carter, was gutted by your predecessor.  One can get away with
denuding Federal services ... until we need them.