An Open Letter to President Obama
Dear President Obama;
After watching your ‘100 days’ speech and reading the NYTimes interview
with David Leonhardt and observing your actions since taking office, I am
compelled to write you.
While recognizing the incredible mess you inherited, I am of the opinion
you are committing mistakes which not only doom your Presidency but
also are putting the nation on a path that puts it’s essence at risk.
You are quoted by David Leonhardt as saying "That doesn’t mean that
every choice is going to be right, is going to work exactly the way we
want it to. But I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night feeling that the direction
we are trying to move the economy toward is the right one and that the decisions we make are sound."
The biggest and most egregious mistake (decision which is not ‘sound’) is
NOT recognizing -or at the least, speaking out loudly about- the ongoing
diminution that this country is a nation of laws, not men.
Yes, It is the decision of AG Holder whether to prosecute those who
instigated and carried out torture BUT it also disingenuous for you to
speak and act like you have no input into that decision.
It is NOT a matter of ‘retribution’ (an example of allowing others to frame the ‘argument’) but a matter of whether the continuing practice of laws applying to ‘regular’ citizens’ being excepted for those of privilege.
(‘Retribution’ WILL occur from others who have been harmed by U.S.
policy and actions if those responsible for torture being implemented and
carried out are NOT prosecuted ! )
If it is NOT confirmed by your Administration that the U.S. is -in fact- a nation of laws, not men,
the very essence of this nation is lost and ANY moral imperative the U.S. might seek in the future is doomed to sarcasm.
And the rational that to do such would interfere with your legislative
agenda is not only fallacious, but indicates that the rule of law is
secondary to your intentions for this nation.
The same criterion -and another example of NOT being a ‘sound’
decision- exists for those who have plunged this nation and the world into the ‘Great Recession’
(and for those in the un- and under-developed world, another ‘great depression’).
Yet you continue to support Treasury Secretary Geithner’s taxpayer
giveaway via the PPIP. When Mr. Thomas Hoenig, who’s the president of
the Kansas City Fed proposes following the model used for Continental
Illinois in the 1980’s, (which is called negotiated conservatorship using
our existing legal frameworks), when multiple others who have financial
expertise and are respected figures concur with Mr. Hoenig, when the law
-Prompt Corrective Action Law (1831o (a) (1))- exists to take such action
is NOT acted on by Mr. Geithner, even though MANDATED, such only
lends credence to the idea that, in your perspective, the U.S. is a nation of men, not laws.
Add to the diminution that this country is a nation of laws, not men, the
Simon Johnson estimate that in 5 years the debt to service will be 80 per
cent of GDP -given "all the things that we see on the table and you talk to the administration
officials about what they’re going to do in various contingencies"-
and it’s hard to understand your sleeping as well as you indicate.
As David Simon said, "our economy simply doesn’t need as many people
as we have"; therefore a NEW paradigm is NEEDED, NOT simply efforts
to try and restore a system that has failed in social purpose.
That idea may seem anathematic BUT is accurate without government
work programs; even with the jobs being created that you envision with
your programs, those jobs will be far less than what is needed just from
population growth (and not counting those who have currently lost their
In closing, I strongly suggest you listen less to Mr. Summers and Mr.
Geithner, et al and much more so to Elizabeth Warren, Simon Johnson,
William Black, and David Simon. I also suggest you view the dvd of ‘The
Wire’ when you are tired of reading briefing reports.
And implore you to think less of ‘what is possible’ and much more about
what is ‘right’.