Weekly Letter to the President
Copyright © 2017
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
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
January 27, 2017 (posted January 31, 2017)
Mr. President: Such a flurry of activity in the first week as executive orders poured
out of the Oval Office at a fast and furious pace. To what end ...
Yes, a wall is going to be built ... except it might be a fence and might not cover the
whole stretch. The chief of the border patrol has resigned/fired over disagreement.
Yes, the Mexicans are going to pay for it ... except they are not. The Mexican
President cancelled his visit to the U.S. over the threats and squabble.
Mexican goods may be taxed at 20 percent to pay for it ... except that would cost the
American taxpayer in higher prices, and would hurt exports -- not just by Mexico's
response but also unexpectedly because many American manufacturers import parts
from their Mexican plants (and Canadian and many others) to produce products that
are consumed domestically and exported.
Obamacare is a target but what is to replace it? The American Hospital Association
reports it will cost the hospitals $160 billion a year. Physicians claim new successful
treatment of chronic ailments will be jeopardized resulting in a return to lack of
consistent care and emergency hospitalization. Why? Because uninsured patients
cannot afford and tend to postpone regular doctor visits.
Mayors of many cities feel good relations between police and immigrant communities
help control crime. They have, consequently, refused to allow police to hound these
communities by enforcing immigration rules, constituting a civil infraction, on
peaceable residents, who do a job, pay taxes, and contribute to the community but
may not be documented.
Through executive order, President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds
due these sanctuary cities, as he calls them. The mayors are fighting back. They
contend an executive order does not carry legal authority to withhold funds and it
would require an act of Congress.
On the immigration order, lawsuits filed in several major cities have resulted in judges
ordering a stay in its execution. The suits involved individuals with legitimate visas or
green cards. What a contrast is Trump's order and the little Greek island of Lesvos
(population about 86,000)? It has processed tens of thousands of refugees, and has
been commended by the UNHCR for its selfless help to the displaced escaping wars
for which the U.S. was largely responsible.
The strategy against government departments is more insidious. Similar to the
George W. Bush era, it consists very simply of installing heads who are hostile to the
department's mission. Thus Betsy de Vos, viscerally opposed to public education, at
the Department of Education, Rick Perry at the Department of Energy to name a few.
And oil men and climate change deniers, in the face of overwhelming scientific
evidence, taking the country backwards into the future.
Overloading the media is the tactic, as quite brazenly the Trump Organization
announced plans to triple its hotels in America. Why not when the owner is
ensconced in the White House? Little seems to stand in the way of four years of
plunder when the media too is delegitimized. The latest in the continuing assault is
White House strategist and former alt-right honcho Stephen Bannon saying "media
should keep its mouth shut".
So the ethnic and economic assault begins. Batten down the hatches, the storm is on
the horizon. Still there is pushback.
President Duterte has slammed Trump's executive order setting up arms depots in
three Philippines provinces. He threatens to tear up the Visiting Forces agreement
which, he says, does not permit permanent facilities.
In England, Malala Yusufzai has condemned the immigration order, saying she is
heartbroken. Herself a Muslim and a victim of Islamic extremists (Muslims are almost
all of their victims) for voicing the need to educate girls, she is the youngest ever
recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has pushed the doomsday clock thirty seconds
closer ... to two and a half minutes to midnight.
Lastly, The Economist Intelligence Unit, a British think tank and sister company to The
Economist magazine, has downgraded the U.S.: It joins a group of 57 countries rated
'flawed democracies'. Tell me you're surprised ...