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
April 21, 2017 (posted April 24, 2017)

Mr. President:  How many books have been authored by Donald Trump?  The
answer:  a steady stream totaling a whopping 17 -- more than enough to keep a
full-time writer fully occupied without all of Mr. Trump's other activities.  The word
'writer' is key, for Mr. Trump has not actually written any of them.  He hires a ghost
writer and simply pens his name to the finished product.

It's the same with all 'his' hotels around the world.  He has simply sold his name to
local owners.

This week President Trump announced an armada headed by the carrier USS Carl
Vinson was headed towards North Korea.  The intent was to demonstrate in no
uncertain terms he meant business.  There was just one problem:  The Vinson was off
the coast of Indonesia sailing in the opposite direction for joint exercises with the

'Lying is second nature to him', says Tony Schwartz who wrote 'The Art of the Deal',
the first and most famous of the Trump books.  Concerned enough about a Trump
presidency, no matter how remote (at the time) the possibility, he sat down with the
New Yorker's Jane Mayer to discuss his fears (July 2015 issue).  Schwartz's final
takeaway was of a pathological liar and sociopath.

Too bad Trump voters, don't read 'The New Yorker'.  Of course, Trump doesn't read
at all.  As in the old joke about celebrities with ghost authors, he has written more
books than he has read.  Those voters and the rest of the world are now
rediscovering this smooth-talking nutcase representing a sort of apogee of our
celebrity culture.  With him on one side and North Korea's Kim Jong-un on the other, it
is not hyperbole to express serious cause for alarm.

As far as the options for dealing with North Korea, they have not changed:  Try to cut
a deal; impose sanctions, actually ratchet them up as the country is already under
sanctions to no effect; lastly, use military force.  None of them survive closer scrutiny.

Deal?  What deal when the North Koreans have witnessed what happened to Libya
that voluntarily gave up its quest for nuclear weapons.

Sanctions?  They have withstood them comfortably.  China, their lifeline is never
going to let a North Korea be mangled, dismantled, or absorbed by the South leaving
the U.S. military on its doorstep.

Military force?  Take a look at the map.  Seoul is in range of North Korean guns.  
Even without nuclear weapons an analysis during the Clinton era estimated one
million South Korean casualties.  South Korea will be the first to object.

Other than bluff and bluster with ships traveling in the opposite direction, there is no
realistic choice.  That is a very good reason, Mr. President, why so many of your
predecessors have chosen to kick the can down the road, relying on China to be a
moderating influence -- something it appears to be less and less able to do with the
mercurial Kim Jong-un.  The only deal he will accept will keep him nuclear-armed.

If the president's behavior appears abnormal, it has been noted also by psychiatrists.  
At a conference at the Yale School of Medicine this week, a panel found him to be
"paranoid, delusional and grandiose thinking".  Meanwhile, an open letter asking for
him to be removed from office because his mental state "makes him incapable of
serving safely as president" has been signed by over 41,000 mental health

When Plutarch called the demos an ignorant rabble not to be trusted two millennia
ago, he was not far off.  What has happened also questions the current U.S. primary
system for selecting presidential candidates as opposed to the 'smoke-filled rooms' of
the past, and  party bigwigs negotiating and trading votes they could muster for their
choices.  They could have picked a crooked Hillary but never a delusional paranoid.