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
August 4, 2017 (posted August 6, 2017)
Mr. President: The high level individuals leaving this administration must be a
record. Eleven since the end of January average out to almost two per month. The
latest Mr. Anthony Scaramucci now holds a record of sorts as the shortest serving
White House communications director in history. He was in office exactly ten days
when the White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly -- himself a new hire -- fired
him on Monday.
Among other problems, this chaos in the White House has also prevented a coherent
policy on Russia. The president wants to improve relations with Russia -- a view
supported by the major European powers. That this commonality of interests could
have been turned into concrete support is plain to see, and that it was not makes
White House incompetence transparent. Had he been so armed, he could have gone
to the American people and talked about the negative consequences of the
sanctions, the economic costs to Europe plus worsening relations and the upping of
tensions with the only military power capable of destroying America. Instead, a naked
president received a bill passed by veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate --
the latter in a vote of 98 - 2. Note only does the bill increase sanctions on Russia, but
it impedes any effort on his part to remove them.
In six months he has been unable to muster any kind of support on Russia in
Congress; he is unable to use the bully pulpit to speak directly to the American
people or make any effort to sway any but the most ardent of his supporters. Such
failure for a move towards peace, which most Americans correctly informed about
Ukraine would welcome. Instead we get 2 a.m. infantile rants on real and perceived
Putin's patience has run out. His response to the sanctions: an unprecedented
expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats. Crimea will never be given up. Anyone with a
rudimentary knowledge of history should know Ukraine was a Russian province for
centuries. Crimea was added to it in the 1950's to facilitate the administration of a
large bridge construction project. All part of the Soviet Union then, little did it matter
which local authority administered the peninsula. To make an issue of it now, when
the population is overwhelmingly Russian and voted to leave the Ukraine, is as
hypocritical as spending the $5 billion to destabilize and remove the democratically
elected government of Ukraine in the first place.
Iran has decided to ignore the slights against it in the sanctions bill, and it is
understandable when both Trump and Netanyahu together are spoiling for a fight.
The last object of congressional ire in the bill, North Korea, has delivered a
metaphorical middle finger raised from a closed fist in the form of a missile rising
straight up. The experts inform us that its trajectory and height demonstrate a
capacity to reach any city in the United States.
Trump's response was belligerent and telling. He assured us any war would be
fought over there. In other words, 'America first' applies also to South Korean and
Japanese lives. In the Korean war, the north wanted to bomb Japan because it was
being used as a bomber base. But its Chinese and Russian sponsors were afraid of
expanding the war. No such constraints now. As for the other U.S. staunch ally,
South Korea, a third of its population lives in Seoul and its suburbs all within heavy
artillery range. The resulting carnage could cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
It's an ill wind ... as the saying goes, and it is blowing some good. The late night talk
show comedians are having a ball. Belly-splitting skits and satire abound. Michael
Moore the activist film maker has a show 'The Terms of My Surrender' that has just
opened on Broadway. The tagline "Can a Broadway show bring down a President?"
might appear far-fetched until you realize Moore predicted early that Trump would win
and even gave the reasons why. He believes the way to bring down this absurd
presidency is by laughing at him. "His thin skin is so thin," he says "he can't take
being laughed at."