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
June 24, 2016
Mr. President: June 23rd might be remembered as the day the EU started to fall
apart. In a stunning reversal of projections, Britain voted 52 to 48 percent to leave
the EU. It is being seen as a vote by the British worker against globalization and
against unfettered immigration. Wave upon wave of Eastern European migrants, free
to travel under EU rules, have been a visible threat to job security.
Defined in Britain as the 'Polish plumber problem', the sentiment has been seized
upon by Donald Trump and magnified to include 'Mexican rapists' and 'Islamic
terrorists' in a bold xenophobic appeal to voters. Add to it the NAFTA job losses, the
proposed TPP and cross-Atlantic treaties, and Mr. Trump has out-maneuvered his
opponents. It is a warning Democrats should not fail to recognize, particularly given
the weaknesses, dubious ethics and high negatives of their presumptive nominee.
That Mr. Trump's assertions are half-truths or prevarications does not lessen their
impact. The 'Leave UK' leaders were guilty of the same. Targeting older voters, they
placed bold banner ads on buses claiming 350 million pounds per week will be
released weekly to improve the National Health Service; in fact, the total UK
contribution to the EU is only 163 million pounds per week -- a pittance in comparison
with the size of the UK economy. Moreover, migrants to the UK are young, seeking
work, who are less likely to have health issues than UK retirees moving to the sunnier
climes of southern Europe.
The migration issue was also used to introduce the fear of Turkey's possible EU
membership leading to a wave of Turkish migrants adding to the ongoing refugee
crisis over which Britain has no control. The truth is exactly the opposite as EU
members can block a new member, and under the EU rules, asylum seekers must
register in the first EU country they enter, to which they can be sent back. When
Britain leaves the EU, it will no longer have access to the EU refugee data bases or
the right to return these asylum seekers.
Despite the facts, the 'Leave EU' group's claims found traction among older voters
(who also are most likely to go to the polls,) and in the lower-income, poorly educated
demographic where jobs are more likely to be affected by new migrants. The bad
weather, severe rains and flooding in certain areas also helped the 'Leave' campaign
for 'Remain' voters were less motivated, and their more complacent side less well
organized in terms of grassroots efforts of checking upon voters and getting them to
It is no exaggeration to suggest that the unexpected turn of events has stunned the
markets. Globally, $2.1 trillion has been shaved off stocks in one day. The British
Pound has dropped to levels not seen since the 1980s. As money has poured in
seeking safety in US Treasuries, prices of ten-year bonds have soared with yields
posting their largest single day drop since November 2011. Moody's has downgraded
the outlook for the British economy from stable to negative.
The Brits can expect little mercy from France and Germany when they begin the
painful exercise of EU withdrawal. As we sow, etc., ... and a lesson for prospective