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
March 24, 2017 (posted March 26, 2017)
Mr. President: What is 'politics' a Senator's quip went ... 'Poli' he said means many in
Greek, and 'tics' are bloodsucking parasites. It drew a large laugh not just from the
audience and the Supreme Court nominee being questioned by the Senate Judiciary
Committee, but the senators themselves. Judge Neil Gorsuch, a Federal Appeals
Court judge, talked very modestly about following the orders of his "bosses" i.e. past
Supreme Court decisions, precedent and following the law irrespective of his own
beliefs, which he refused to discuss, begging off questions with the stock answer that
it might dissuade or encourage future litigants. And that it really did not matter
because he followed the law through precedent and statutes even if his personal
Judge Gorsuch is most certainly going to be confirmed; he has the votes and
unknown parties have gathered $10 million to assist his nomination. Yet the hearings
droned on for three days with often the same answers and the same half-dozen cases
being cited although he has ruled on over 2000. He is a brilliant man, attended
Columbia University and Harvard Law School -- the latter when Obama was there and
knew him but not well. 'It's a big place' he explained when asked. He then went to
Oxford under a Marshall scholarship and earned a doctorate. His conservative
pedigree includes his mother, Ann Gorsuch Burford, the notorious Environmental
Protection Agency Director appointed by Ronald Reagan.
Our elected politicians are earning their keep perhaps as another hearing is seeking
to ferret out the truth about any connections or understandings between the Trump
campaign and the Russians i.e. their government, intelligence, friends of Putin, the
man himself, etc. This is being held in the other body, the House of Representatives,
before the House Intelligence Committee. Given the line of questioning from the two
parties, a casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that this in fact is two
hearings: one on the leak of intelligence documents to the press -- a crime with a
maximum ten-year prison sentence -- and the other a closer examination of the
content of the resulting newspaper articles revealing the alleged connections and the
parties from the Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, Trump's allegations about being wiretapped are in a way confirmed
because some of his team have been surveilled incidental to primary targets, it was
learned this week.
The two being questioned were FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Michael
Rogers the Director of National Intelligence as the hearing was ostensibly on Russian
Cyber hacking and interference in the U.S. election. The oft-repeated answer to
nearly every question: "I can't answer that because of the ongoing investigation."
Another question: Since when did it become a crime to have business dealings with
No mention of the fact that Russian interference consisted mainly of exposing the
corruption within the Democratic Party leadership conspiring to deny Bernie Sanders
the nomination instead of remaining neutral as they are supposed to. That kind of
interference is like a necessary dose of castor oil.
In the blinkered view presented to the public by politicians and media, Russia is not to
be trusted. It has seized Crimea, started a civil war in the Ukraine and is supporting
the 'murderous' Assad in Syria -- in general thwarting U.S. initiatives, which is always
an unforgivable crime. Who cares about facts.
The facts of course are unpleasant truths. The U.S. started the Syrian war importing
fundamentalist fighters from Libya after its destruction and Gaddafi's overthrow. The
U.S. spent $5 billion in Ukraine to bring down a democratically elected government
friendly to Russia, causing a response and a continuing civil war. Crimea which has a
hugely majority Russian population wanted to be annexed to Russia, while the latter
could not afford to lose its Black Sea naval base. What's more Crimea was added to
Ukraine as recently as the Khrushchev era for reasons including convenience in
administering the dam being constructed on the Dnieper river.
It is in the interests of a powerful few to have Russia as an enemy although it is the
only country in the world able to vaporize the U.S. in a half-hour. Rational thinking
might welcome it as a friend particularly in the fight against ISIS. So Assad may not
be an angel but his government is secular and his people actually do support him.
The real trouble is the U.S. political scene and the bought-and-paid-for politicians
elected. Nothing will change unless private financing of elections is ended. Without
legislation to that effect, nothing can change, certainly not through the courts when
Judge Gorsuch occupies the ninth chair and the deciding vote on the Supreme
Court. The crowning achievement of the elite was the Citizens United decision where
a corporation became a person for campaign financing, opening huge coffers. Judge
Gorsuch confirmed the view of corporate personification. So nothing will change; that
much is clear.