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
October 19, 2018
Mr. President: The maliciously mocking, malevolent, maladroit, misfit,
malappropriating the White House got his comeuppance this week ... at least for a
while. Senator Elizabeth Warren released her DNA test results conducted by noted
Stanford University expert Professor Carlos D. Bustamente. The results prove a
Native American ancestor six to ten generations ago, supporting her claim that her
great-great-great grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith was at least partly Native American.
Donald Trump who mocks her as 'Pocahontas' had this summer upped the ante by
his offer to pay $1 million to a charity of the Senator's choice if she took a DNA test.
She has, and she has named the charity, the National Indigenous Women's Resource
Center, which protects Native American women from violence, including sexual
violence. The onus is now on Mr. Trump to make good his word.
Of course he is not going to. Somewhat lacking in grace, Mr. Trump says he will pay
the $1 million only if he can test her personally. Later, he also disavowed the offer.
And so it goes on ... vintage Trump. Suppliers to his businesses also had great
difficulty getting paid.
By the way, he did say when he made the offer that he would toss the DNA kit to her
gently as it is the #MeToo generation, etc. But most people would consider that to be
theatrics, not literal. Perhaps Senator Warren ought not to have bothered ... it is
almost impossible to win a facts contest against the dissembler-in-chief.
Remember the birther movement when Mr. Trump insisted President Obama was not
born in Hawaii or anywhere in the U.S., thus ineligible for the presidency. When
proven wrong, he did a quick turnaround, blaming Hillary Clinton falsely for starting
the whole birth issue.
There should have been more serious issues occupying President Trump. Jamal
Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and journalist posting a monthly column for the
Washington Post, disappeared after he went into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to
sign some divorce papers. He expected to be about ten minutes according to his
Turkish fiancee waiting outside. He never reappeared.
Imagine a country in the 21st century, an absolute monarchy, and a de facto ruler so
thin-skinned that he has a critic silenced, not by wit or sophistication, but by turning a
consulate into an abattoir. The chief butcher, a forensics man holding a senior
position in the country's Interior Ministry slaps on earphones to listen to music and
advises the onlookers to do likewise while he dismembers the body. The hapless
Khashoggi first had his fingers cut off while alive, presumably as symbolism for his
The remains were then stuffed into diplomatic bags immune to customs inspection,
and the 15-man hit squad flew home in their private jet. The latter acquired from an
airline shut down earlier. Or, did they bury their gruesome opus in a forest outside
Istanbul? Forensic technicians are searching.
How did the Turks piece up the story. They have a tape recording, presumably
because they had the place bugged -- a 20th century practice the hit squads' master
never suspected. Perhaps it is what happens when the methods are medieval.
The world is revulsed and nauseated.