Weekly Letter to the President
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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

January 15, 2021

Mr. President:  If Donald J. Trump wanted a historic presidency, he certainly seems to
have achieved it -- he is now the only president to have been impeached twice.

According to the rules, the House impeaches followed by a trial in the Senate.  There
is precedent for the trial to continue even when the office holder has left office.  
Should that trial result in conviction, it prevents him from seeking any future elected
office.  Conviction is unlikely, however, as it requires a vote of two-thirds of the
members present.

It has been reported that Trump wanted to lead the crowd in the march to the Capitol,
but was dissuaded from doing so by the Secret Service who considered it much too
dangerous and could not guarantee his safety.

Various sources attest that Trump's mind is focused on pardons including himself and
his family members.  Whether it is legal for him to pardon himself appears to be an
unresolved question.  But then Trump enjoys pushing the boundaries of tolerated
behavior while his businesses skirt legal limits.

He appears to have been greatly upset with his longtime faithful vice-president after a
conversation early on the day of the riot.  As reported by The New York Times, he
wanted Mike Pence to overturn the vote instead of simply certifying it as is usual.  The
certification is of course a formality after the state votes already certified by the
governors have been reported.  Pence is reputed to have said he did not have the
power to do so.  Since then Trump has called Vice President Pence a "pussy" and
expressed great disappointment in him although there are reports now that fences
have been mended.

Trump's response to the mob attacking the Capitol has also infuriated many, including
lawmakers who cowered in the House chamber fearful for their lives.  Instead of
holding an immediate press conference calling on the attackers to stop, Trump
responded through a recorded message eight hours later.  He called on his
supporters to go home but again repeated his claims of a fraudulent election.

Aside from headlining the US as the laughingstock among democracies across the
world, the fall-out includes a greater security risk for politicians.  Thus the rehearsal
for Biden's inauguration scheduled for Sunday has been postponed raising questions
about the inauguration itself on January 20th.

Worse, the Trump White House appears to be disintegrating as coordination
diminishes and people go their own way.  Secretary of State Pompeo has unilaterally
removed the curbs on meeting Taiwanese officials put in place originally to mollify
China.  If it angers China further, it only exacerbates Biden's difficulties in restoring
fractured relationships.

Trump is causing havoc as he prepares to leave the White House.  He seems unable
to face losing an election and departing with grace.  At the same time, we have to be
grateful to him for one major policy shift.  He has tried to pull the country out of its
wars and has not started a new one.  He has even attempted the complicated
undertaking of peace in Afghanistan, given the numerous actors involved.  We can
only hope Biden learned enough from the Obama-Biden administration's disastrous
"surge" in Afghanistan to be able to follow the same path.