Weekly Letter to the President
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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 28, 2020
Mr. President: The most unconventional conventions for the two major parties are
over and the tickets formally approved: Trump/Pence versus Biden/Harris.
What is patently obvious in this election is sheer hypocrisy. Delivering his acceptance
speech most unusually on the South Lawn of the White House, Donald Trump
portrayed himself as a candidate for God, and the Democrats less so! Securing his
base with the promise of manufacturing jobs, he then proceeded to a recitation of his
accomplishments that unsurprisingly included exaggerated claims about the moribund
economy with which not many analysts would agree.
For example, Trump said he saved 51 million jobs through the $660 billion taxpayer
funded paycheck protection program (PPP). Economists have serious doubts.
Reuters reported the 51 million refers to the total number of workers reported by
businesses approved for a PPP loan.
Expert views hold the number at between 5 to 7 million jobs saved according to work
done by researchers at MIT and elsewhere. Some like Adam Michel of the far from
liberal Heritage Foundation, who is a senior fiscal policy analyst, put more faith in a
study authored by economists from the Federal Reserve, MIT and ADP Research
Institute. Their findings estimate 2 to 3 million jobs saved through June -- a far cry
from 51 million.
Where did the 51 million figure originate? It turns out firms filling the PPP loan
application are required to report their number of workers. The 51 million then
represents the total number of employees at the firms receiving PPP loans. For the
figure to be true, one would have to be certain the firms would have been bankrupt
without their loans -- hardly plausible. More than likely, they would have laid-off some
workers and continued to meet the reduced demand. Thus the 2 to 3 million figure
from the academics who examined the question.
And so the acceptance speech droned on. Has anyone ever seen so many flags?
As if the Stars and Stripes were a camouflage for the incompetence of this
The worst has been its reaction to Covid-19, But the story begins in 2017. During
the transition, the incoming administration was warned of the shortage of personal
protective equipment for workers during a pandemic to no avail. Much worse was to
come for Trump proceeded to dismantle the National Security Council's (NSC) global
health security and biodefense section. When asked about it at one of his
coronavirus briefings, he retorted the question was nasty? Not nearly as nasty as the
unnecessary lives lost through a lack of structure to respond quickly and effectively.
As of August 30, the US death rate per million population is 564. It is comparable to
Brazil (566) and more than double that of our neighbor Canada (241). Even Mexico
at 489 does better.
Ivanka Trump says Trump ran for office to 'make America great again'. But it was the
most powerful country on earth -- by far --- when he took office and it still is. Yes,
China is a rising power right on its heels but it will take it a while to catch up. On a
purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China's per capita income is still only $16,482
versus the US's $59,928.
Acta non verba (deeds not words) is the Latin phrase that comes to mind for this