Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
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
May 20, 2016
Mr. President: As no one has claimed an attack on the Egyptian plane that went
down into the Mediterranean yesterday, one should hesitate to call it a terrorist act.
Not so Donald Trump. Shooting from the hip as usual, and not mincing his words, he
is not waiting for the black boxes to be found, he claims it was blown out of the sky by
radical Islamists. We will just have to wait and see.
On the Democratic side Bernie Sanders had another convincing win, this time in
Oregon; he also split the delegates (27 each) in Kentucky, a state Hillary Clinton won
by 35 points over Barack Obama in 2008 -- her margin this time a mere half percent.
If Hillary and Trump become the two nominees, it will be the first time in my memory
that the two major party candidates have disapproval ratings greater than 50 percent,
an unprecedented 56 percent for Hillary and 65 percent for Trump in the April 17,
NBC/WSJ poll. It means there will either be a very low turnout at the election or there
is hope for the Green Party yet.
A couple of books were published recently on the extraordinary Czech long-distance
runner, Emil Zatopek. The only man to have won gold medals in 5000 meters, 10,000
meters and the marathon (at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics), his triple crown unlikely to
be ever repeated in this age of specialization. Yet he almost did not go to Helsinki:
he had refused to go because a team member had been excluded for political
In the present world of boycott and exclusion, the U.S. is considering prosecution in
the doping scandal besetting the Russian team, and there is an effort to ban them
from the Rio Olympics. A double whammy for those who dare to stand up to U.S.
might. Dilma Rousseff is already sidelined in Brazil after extensive manipulation, and
the new unelected leader is busy reversing policy. One of his ministerial picks does
not believe in evolution.
Venezuela is on its knees and little Ecuador, which had the temerity to offer sanctuary
at its London embassy to Julian Assange, has had devastating earthquakes
compounding economic pressure.
At the G-7 meeting in Japan the big issue is going to be Japan's intention to devalue
the yen. The U.S. with a fragile recovery is staunchly opposed; Shinzo Abe, the
Japanese PM sees it as the only way to move his own flagging economy.
Of course, the other subject is the much-talked about visit of a sitting U.S. president
to Hiroshima. It is a bang (pun not intended) most likely to end in a whimper as
nothing will change on the real issue of disarmament -- at least not while the U.S. is
planning to spend a trillion dollars to update its own arsenal, and not while there is no
acceptable peaceful alternative to resolving conflicts. The lead for both needs to
come from the world's most powerful military power.