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
October 12, 2018
Mr. President: Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc as it traversed the Florida
panhandle. The first Category 5 hurricane to hit the area since 1881 when records
began, its 155 mph winds (only 5 mph short of Category 6) felled massive trees, blew
away houses, collapsed buildings and left devastation in its wake. Relatively fast
moving at 14 mph, it was soon gone continuing as a Category 3 into neighboring
Georgia and then further up its northeasterly path. It seemed to signify a stamp of
approval for the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on
holding earth to a 1.5 degree Celsius warming issued a couple of days earlier. We
are at one degree now so storms can only be expected to get worse.
In northeastern Turkey, a 300-year old stone bridge disappeared overnight. Villagers
convinced it had been stolen called in the police. Further investigation concluded it
had been washed away by a flash flood caused by a sudden summer thunderstorm
further upstream -- clearly far more intense than in the previous three centuries.
Ever more powerful hurricanes, monsoons and forest fires point to a proliferation of
extreme weather events that experts relate to global warming. Yet President Donald
Trump and his administration remain obdurate in climate change denial.
Thins are certainly warming up in the White House. Nikki Haley announced her
resignation in an amicable meeting with the president. A staunch defender of many of
Mr. Trump's most egregious foreign policy changes, the UN Representative will be
leaving at the end of the year to pursue opportunities in the private sector. So said
the announcement. An astute and ambitious politician she has probably reassessed
the costs versus benefits of remaining in a Trump administration. Some tout her as a
future presidential candidate. Should she be successful she will be the first woman
president, who also happens to be of Indian and Sikh ancestry.
The rap singer Kanye West visited the president in the Oval office. A ten-minute
rant/rap praising him was followed by a hug for which Mr. West ran round the wide
desk that had been seemingly cleared of all paraphernalia for the performance. He is
one of the eight percent of blacks voting Republican. Sporting the Trump trademark,
Make-America-Great-Again red hat, he claimed it made him Superman, his favorite
superhero. And some suggested it was all further proof the place had gone insane.
A little over three weeks remain to the U.S. midterm elections on November 6th. Their
proximity is evidenced not by rallies or debates rather by the barrage of negative TV
ads blasting opponents with accusations of shenanigans almost unworthy of a felon.
A couple of months of this and you lose any enthusiasm for voting. Perhaps it is one
reason why nearly half the electorate stays home. Given such a backdrop, the furor
over 'Russian meddling' in elections appears to be a trifle misplaced. Others call the
whole business a 'witch hunt' and state flatly the U.S. does the same.
The old idiom, 'put your own house in order' is particularly apt when we realize the
beginning of this affair was a Democratic National Committee email leak showing 'the
party's leadership had worked to sabotage Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign'. It
resulted in the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Always fair, aboveboard elections? Not bloody likely, as the British would say. Given
the rewards, it's against human nature.