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
August 21, 2015

Mr. President:  Rod Blagojevich, a former governor of our home state of Illinois and a
Democrat, is languishing in jail on charges of political corruption.  Yet, what did he
do?  He was trading favors for campaign contributions.  Unfortunately for him, he was
also saying so.

Since his conviction, his attorneys have been chipping away at the counts with some
success.  They have now filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  This is where
the egregious decision this week to allow Shell to drill in the Arctic has been cited.  
The appeal claims your decision in light of Shell being one of your very large
contributors is no different from what Blagojevich was doing.

At present, Wall Street and the banks are untouchable.  Israel, with AIPAC behind it,
is trying to run U.S. foreign policy quite openly with the full cooperation of compliant
senators.  That a majority of Jews support the Iran deal is irrelevant to these ardent
backers of an extremist Israeli Prime Minister, whose own party can only muster a
parliamentary majority with the help of even more radical religious and ultra-extremist

Such is the state of the world.  Bombs go off every week killing civilians.  This week
Thailand, in the heart of Bangkok's tourist district to deter tourism, and in Egypt
among others.  Bombs dropped from the air to fight ISIS -- how can that work?  It has
had no success in deterring ISIS but is certainly driving away civilians, many heading
to Europe via a cash-strapped Greece.  Quite remarkable how we never fail to
continue with means with an indisputable record of failure.

We have used force, directly or indirectly, from Latin America through Africa, the
Middle East, Afghanistan and East Asia leaving a trail of human suffering (still
continuing today) and abysmal failure, never sustained success, all the while
mouthing hypocritically the twin mantras of "freedom" and "democracy."  Try to
imagine a world where reason and restraint had been the basis of policy.  It would
also have meant not getting our way always, not getting the copper or the oil for our
corporations.  Does it really matter who extracts as long as the commodity arrives in
the world market, which it must, to profit the owner.  But then there are always those
darn campaign contributions ...

Former President Carter announced he had liver cancer this week.  I am greatly
saddened.  His foundation has at least one remarkable achievement:  the eradication
of guinea worm, an almost impossible task, is nearly complete.  There are only 126
cases left and Mr. Carter's one hope was the death of the last guinea worm before he

Mr. Carter refused to sign bills riddled with boondoggles and paybacks causing,
persistent difficulties for his administration.  And he did not make millions in the
speaking fee business.

With the landmark Egyptian peace treaty, Mr. Carter removed the only viable military
threat to Israel.  So for him to be shunned for stating facts on the ground in plain
language is beyond ingratitude.  According to South African leaders, conditions for
Palestinians are worse than Africans suffered under apartheid.