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
December 20, 2019
Mr. President: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The latter is a foregone
conclusion for you given the woebegone state of the Democratic candidates ...
unless the eventual challenger can resurrect him-or-herself.
In the meantime, it is the season not for goodwill as much as demonstrations and ...
impeachment. If the debate was soporific, the reason was abundantly clear: the
raison d'etre was so insignificant that many among the public did not think any wrong
had occurred, and polls show the for and against are locked in a dead heat. House
and senate are divided along party lines, the whole presenting the appearance of a
political hatchet job.
The public egged on are into demonstrations on both sides without changing any
one's mind. Moreover, the senate trial requires a two-thirds vote for conviction -- an
outcome equivalent in likelihood to hell freezing over as Republicans are in the
majority. What a way to spend the holiday season? Fortunately for the Democrats,
voters do not have a long memory.
Demonstrations also in India against Mr. Modi's new asylum law specifically excluding
Muslims. Taking his cue from Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, he and his party are
dreaming of a Hindu nationalist state and sowing the seeds of strife and unhappiness
in a country that is already near the bottom at # 140 in the world happiness index.
Why is it that culturally and economically similar Pakistan is a much happier country at
#67 even if blighted by religious extremism not infrequently.
Demonstrations also at COP25, the climate conference in Madrid. It was to be in
Santiago, Chile but the unceasing anti-government demonstrations there forced a
move and Spain generously offered to host it at short notice. It was a shameful
That despite a world suffering fires and floods on an unprecedented scale: The
Australian bush fires started two months earlier than normal, and the authorities are
concerned they might run short of professional firefighters who share their expertise
and services across the continents. Now with fires overlapping in California and
Australia the old arrangement is threatened.
All of this made no difference to the rich countries at COP25. They refused to aim for
the recommended (by scientists and COP25) temperature rise goal of 1.5C above the
preindustrial mean global temperature. Of course, the US (read Trump
administration) was busy twisting arms, carrot and stick style, of small countries aided
as usual by rich fossil fuel producers, notably Saudi Arabia. That despite its declared
intention to leave.
And Santa Claus was seen on his sleigh flying through the clouds coughing and
sputtering on the exhausts of the rich. They, too, were flying ... but to private
paradises, far away from the northern cold, on islands in the Pacific, Mediterranean,
Caribbean, or elsewhere comfortably warm and absent the hoi polloi.
The Democrats had another debate between the surviving aspirants. Quintillion the
First Century AD expert on rhetoric must be turning over in his grave. If he
emphasized delivery and a minimum of hand gestures, they did not. Words may fly
over their heads he advised, it is delivery that leaves a lasting impression. The
Democrats did not. Does it all portend another four Trump years after 2020?
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.