Dear Mr. President,
This letter is a courtesy notice to you. No response is expected; probably none is possible in the limited time each day your military-corporate complex lets you speak for yourself.
I will no longer support you for re-election. I’m aware, of course, that the Republicans will field a complete idiot against you, someone less intelligent, less cogent, less decent, and less honorable. On the other hand, you’ve managed to redefine yourself to the degree that decent and honorable are not terms a sane person would apply to your policies.
You had a landslide victory, a congressional majority, and a great opportunity to pull your country back from the ugly abyss into which Bush and friends had taken us. Unaccountably, you discarded your own promises, wasted your majority, abandoned those who worked so hard to elect you, and expanded the dangerous and discredited initiatives already in motion.
Your Justice Department is fighting in court to defend Bush’s extralegal wiretapping; it ignores the crimes of the nation’s bankers and instead searches for the means to prosecute Julian Assange and stop WikiLeaks.
Your Agriculture Department has sided with Monsanto and against small growers and family farms over the matter of genetically-contaminated seeds.
Your State Department is in bed with the usual dictators. And while your Secretary of State gives a speech about ‘freedom’ in other lands, a silent protester, 71-year-old Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA veteran analyst, is dragged from the room and beaten by security police.
You have expanded Bush’s foreign wars, sending assassination teams into other countries with ‘death lists’. You have geometrically-increased the use of predator drones over Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing civilians and calling them ‘insurgents’.
Now, with the release of your new budget, you propose to increase the war apparatus and starve everything else. Your message included this:
“I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending –– domestic discretionary spending –– to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.”
Mr. President, you should be ashamed.
Your budget runs to $553 billion for the Pentagon, a $22 billion increase, plus $55 billion for the ‘National Intelligence Program’ –– which is in real life far higher; the true number is actually a secret –– and $118 billion more for ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’, double-talk for the wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
But your budget has no room for the poor. You have slashed half of the funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP offers block grants to enable states to extend help to the poor in paying heating bills. Most of its recipients are elderly and disabled. LIHEAP actually prevents some people from freezing to death. It costs about one-tenth of one percent of the total $3.7 trillion budget.
People will die, but don’t worry about that, Mr. President. They’re poor and mostly old; you’ve got all their money and you don’t need their votes.
Eisenhower famously warned us about what was already happening in America, the unparalleled growth and influence of a permanent military, coupled with corporate monopolies connected to the war industry. He didn’t do much to stop it. Kennedy tried, and we all know what happened to him.
Eisenhower also said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”
One in every eight Americans is on food stamps, the highest percentage in our history. Most have no health care. Millions are homeless, many of them veterans, many of them desperate. People can’t find work, thanks in large part to your corporate friends, NAFTA, and the bankers who wrecked the economy and who are not going to jail.
That’s the reality of American life today, Mr. President, as you speak proudly of crushing “discretionary spending” while handing ever more money to a war machine already larger than the combined armaments of the rest of the world.