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Sunday, January 8, 2012

An Open Letter to President Obama

Mr. President-

First, allow me to congratulate you on a relatively successful first term. Frankly, sir, I was not certain that you could pull it off. Your credentials going into office had me convinced that you were too inexperienced to deal with the very highest levels of the halls of power in this nation. Your signing of the Nuclear Arms reduction treaty, your ending the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy of the military and taking up the cause of the Lesbian/ Gay/ Bisexual/ Transsexual community as an initiative of global human rights, Seal Team Six's successful mission to end Osama Bin Laden... All  are very laudable credits you deserve!
However, your administration is haunted by a poorly performing economy. This is unfortunate, as it is not your fault. Nor was it the fault of your predecessor, or of any previous American President. That: "At least I kept it from being worse!" catchphrase your administration is so fond of? Pure bunkum, IMO... The fault, I believe, is the exacerbation of having economic advisers who consistently reduce economic theory to Keynes vs. The Austrian School, or Keynes vs. the Chicago School, often by Monetarists who declare themselves "Keynesian", without a proper grasp of ALL of Keynse's works... More importantly, all sides of those arguments totally ignore the works of Thorstein Veblem, David Ricardo and Robert Malthus. This denial of economic realities is what currently "bites them in the ass"..
Even more crucial to understanding our economic woes are the theories of Joseph Schumpeter on creative destruction and employment. He foretold of a point where our efficiency in manufacture would outstrip our ability to create new jobs. Of course, many would blame China for it's cheap labor (while overlooking the fact that China subsidized it's shipping for decades, while we pretty much scrapped our Merchant Marine fleets..) or India for outsourced technologic expertise (while forgetting that we supplied the equipment and training that made it possible..). But, those who do blame global competition often overlook the devastating effects of software and automation in replacing human labor. One receptionist to take the place of an entire office pool. One accountant with spread sheet software now able to serve ten times the number of clients than 20 years ago... Retailers put out of business, not competing with national chains, but with online, non-taxed sales. Car companies losing yearly sales simply because the cars last so much longer...
But, Mr. President, I ask that we put these matters to one side. I am compelled by the greatest sense of urgency to address what I believe to be the most important issues of this time. And to warn you of the greatest danger our country now faces..
Benjamin Franklin once said; "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Do you, Mr. President, believe that Americans deserve neither liberty nor safety?
I speak of two bills: The National Defense Authorization Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. Either act is an affront to the rights of American citizens. Taken together, they represent the gravest threat to essential freedom we have ever known. In fact, and you can seek the opinion of legal scholars to verify this claim, the very act of writing this letter to you can be punished under the provisions of these acts...
A hyperbolic claim? I don't know... This blog has included material supporting the acts of file sharing, and encouraged transparency of government. This blog has also shown support for the Occupy movement, and reported the case for Anonymous, Lulzsec and other social hackers. These items, by themselves, could be considered violations of SOPA. And, by signing the NDAA, you are now authorized to detain and question me for an undetermined amount of time, without warrant and without Habeas Corpus to ensure I have a trial...
I understand that you inherited the PATRIOT Act, just as you inherited the Alien and Sedition Act written by John Adams. But, Mr. President, it was you that signed the NDAA.. Your claims that you will not be tempted to exercise such powers not withstanding, I fear that America faces a crossing of the Rubicon. Your latitude in exercising powers without producing justification is now equal to any known tyranny upon the globe. And soon, you will have authority over the Internet as a means of exchanging information, in exchange for protecting the wealth of those who do not deserve it. This, sir, must stop now.
Considering the riots in England, and the ramifications of the Arab Spring, I suppose I can be empathetic to your cause. It must be truly frightening to see the Occupiers marching, knowing how well democratized the means to co-ordinate mass activities have become. Knowing that the insecure masses have become uneasy with those controlling the reins of power. Perhaps you could show good faith and justification in your judgement by marching down to K street with the National Guard and the officers of the Attorney General, and indefinitely detain the Lobbyists? But, sir, I believe your lack of faith in the integrity and loyalty of the common American is unjustified and beneath the nobility of your office. Are we to enter again into the era of J. Edgar and Nixon? Of Cointelpro? Your parents, their friends, people who you grew up knowing, all were persecuted by such forces...
Mr. President, I beg of you... Please, stop this. Immigrants look to us as the home of champions for liberty. That we care more for the rights of our animals than their native lands consider the rights of themselves, their parents and their children. That we can freely speak our minds and share information. Have we not tarnished that image enough? Mr. President, do not sell us out....

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