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
November 11, 2016, (posted November 14)
Mr. President: In America goes a proud boast, anyone can be president.
Unfortunately, anyone often is. Instead of using the peace dividend from the accord
with the Soviet Union to restore infrastructure and improve the lives of the people, a
bill for $5 trillion from all the wars awaits.
Defying the forecasts of pollsters and pundits, Donald J. Trump became the 45th
president of the United States. Yes, there have been demonstrations against him but
these will die out. As the results coming in began to lean Trump's way, the markets in
the east tumbled and Dow futures at first were down 1000 points. That is until the
super conciliatory (for Trump) victory speech and the mention again of infrastructure.
In the end, stocks rebounded strongly. Spending, of course, buoys the economy and
spending for investment boosts it for the long run. It is why this author has been an
advocate for the latter for many years (ZNet including other references March 1,
2011; "High Speed Rail, Infrastructure and Job Creation" Counterpunch July 10,
Hillary called Trump to congratulate him in the early hours of Wednesday but delayed
her concession speech until almost noon. The most emotionally affected seemed to
be her husband who stood behind her with quivering lip and nearly teared eyes.
How could all the prognosticators have been so wrong? In the close battleground
states, they predicted her vote quite accurately but underestimated Trump's support.
It turns out the undecideds tend to vote in greater numbers against incumbents and
Hillary was considered by them to be an incumbent surrogate, who would continue the
Obama era. While President Obama is personally popular, his policies have brought
endless war, a medical insurance plan that has not been an outright success, and a
sluggish economic recovery. It was time for a change.
Everybody loves a winner and the House and Senate leaders of this Republican
Congress have been queuing up to support their new president. With interest rates
at record lows, the cost of capital for infrastructure could not be lower. Big
infrastructure projects, requiring skilled and unskilled labor translating into hundreds
of thousands of jobs, will certainly get the economy moving. The degree of success
depends on the quality of those chosen to lead and the choice of projects in addition
to repair and upgrade.
The US is the only major industrialized economy without a high-speed rail system. A
lateral across the country system supplemented with north-south connectivity on the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts would transform the country, converting the seaboards into
giant suburbs and facilitating access to jobs over wide areas.
An optimist would call it the silver lining in the Trump cloud. What remains to be seen
is how quickly a President Trump can master the art and intricacy, political and
otherwise, involved in public sector decisions, coupled with the ability to see them
Today is Veterans' Day or in Britain Armistice Day -- the 11th hour of the 11th day of
the 11th month is when the guns stopped. The lessons of the Great War (later the
First World War because there was a Second) and its carnage were soon forgotten
even though the futility of war continues to stare us daily in the face.