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
March 6, 2020 (posted March 10, 2020)
Mr. President: Like a cat with nine lives, Joe Biden keeps returning to the presidential
race with a consistency akin to his votes for war -- hard to find a war Joe did not like.
He voted for the Iraq war, still running in one form or another with American troops on
the ground -- despite a vote in the Iraqi parliament for their withdrawal. As Obama's
vice-president, his hands are soiled with the bombings and killings in Yemen;
extending the Afghan war by increasing US force levels there; the air strikes in Syria;
and the death and destruction in Libya that included the wanton bombing of the
hugely expensive system to transport water from the south to the capital, Tripoli.
It has been calamitous for these countries. They have suffered millions of dead and
wounded, many, many more millions displaced, and a refugee problem that is
straining EU ties and its policy of open borders. Economic migrants from Africa used
to come to a previously prosperous Libya, work a while, then return home. With
Libyan opportunities gone, they continue on to Europe from where it is difficult to
return home, so they stay becoming permanent immigrants.
In fact, if we examine Europe's refugee problem, a good portion of the blame rests
with US wars. The migrants are from Afghanistan and its spillover in Pakistan; they
come from Iraq, from Somalia, from Syria, from Libya, and from adjoining countries.
How much of all this included Joe Biden? Over 30 years practically everything,
particularly for someone who proudly proclaims himself a 'patriot' ... read support for
every war. Yet during the Vietnam war he received student draft deferments, then
asked to be reclassified because of asthma when he was a teen.
Accused of plagiarism in law school, he claimed he was confused about the rules for
citation. He was given an F, and had to retake the course -- the F later expunged
from his transcript. He was also caught lifting phrases from others in his speeches
causing him to drop out of the 1988 presidential nomination race. Trouble is Biden's
plagiarism was carefully contrived to build an early personal history of struggle ("The
Write Stuff", Slate, August 25, 2008). It is worth a re-read for it indicates a habit of
mind that is lacking in ethics, perhaps just the kind corporate elites would prefer in the
Poor Bernie. What chance does he have against the choice of corporate bulldozers
and their associated media, the latter now painting him a Russian agent? As
propagandists maintain, the more ridiculous the story, the more believable it is in the
Before the current crop of Buttigiegs and the if-he-can-run-so-can-I types and, of
course, Bernie and Warren splitting the progressive vote, Joe Biden had never won a
presidential primary despite many, many attempts. South Carolina was the first, and
now he has topped that with nine more on Super Tuesday. With Warren dropping
out, the question is, will she do the right thing and throw her support behind Bernie, a
fellow progressive, or is she too fearful of the wrath of party elites, and will fall in line
endorsing Biden. Her delay indicates the issue is troubling her. Biden does have an
overlooked factor in his favor. He was born in Pennsylvania, a key state Trump won
by a razor thin margin.
One cause of unease is likely to be Biden's cognitive faculty. He often seems unable
to complete sentences and quotes, or to remember the obvious, even changing
Super Tuesday into a 'Super Thursday' for example. Sadly, the consequences of
dementia now and again intrude. Of course, not many actually hear him speak or
So what lies ahead? Looks like we have to hunker down ... prepare ourselves for four
more years of Trump. But then, miracles can happen ...