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
June 5, 2020

Dear Mr. President:  When a person talks, no matter the subject intended or not -- he
or she draws a
personal portrait.  Even if some aspects remain concealed to a longer acquaintance,
we learn quickly whether the particular person is nice or nasty, smart or stupid,
ignorant or informed, boastful or modest, sympathetic or callous and so on. So it is
with Donald Trump.

If Trump in suggesting we ingest cleaning fluids betrays a woeful ignorance, and in his
lack of empathy for pandemic victims surprises, even shocks the rest of us, then
surely his contrast is Barack Obama.  This erudite and empathetic president in his
sympathy for Lbyans and others devastated Libya, expanded the war in Afghanistan
and watched ISIS gain a foothold in Iraq.

The wanton destruction in Libya was particularly galling:  not only was the intricate
water system bringing water to the capital of Tripoli severely damaged but in
exploiting tribal differences to bring about regime change it let loose a monster that is
as yet untamed.  Refugees have poured into Europe, not just Libyans but also
Africans who would come to Libya, work a while then return home.  But it is difficult to
enter Europe as illegals, so once there they tend to stay.

The result is unhappiness for the divided families and a refugee crisis fueling far right
regimes (as in Hungary) and strained EU ties.  The refugees from U.S. wars also
include Iraqis, Afghans, even Pakistanis from the Afghan border areas.

While Trump's thinly-disguised racism in his immigration policies might be odious,
there is also a raw economic fact.  Poorly educated migrants take a generation or two
to become net-positive contributors to a sophisticated economy.  And of course he
has toned down the wars.

His single-minded focus is the economy.  Pursuing advantage for it, he has alienated
China, now the other major power, in a battle of giants not boding well for the future
world economy.

Trump has sought out India as a countervailing power, emboldening its leader
Narendra Modi into a confrontation with China over a disputed border in the thin air of
the Tibetan plateau.  It has also encouraged Mr. Modi to pursue Hindu nationalist
policies at the expense of religious minorities, striking at the roots of India's secular

Despite the astronomical unemployment from the U.S. lockdown and an economic
slow down, future prospects are bright -- the country regained 2.5 million jobs in May.  
The stock market tends to be a reliable leading indicator, and it is charging back up,
looking to the previous new highs.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average flirting with
30,000 in mid-February sank to 18,000 mid-March but is now above 27,000 and
going strong.

If the economy picks up and people vote their pocket-book as they are wont to do,
there is little hope for Joe (Botox) Biden, the weakest Democratic candidate in recent
memory.  Tarred by the Burisma scandal during his vice-presidency where his son
collected substantial payments without doing much, he also displays occasional
symptoms of senility.  And then, he was always beside and
behind Obama while they ravaged the Middle East.  A decade later, the latter
continues to call for change.

What voters really think of the two establishment candidates will show up in the
numbers who vote in November.  It is a key issue in Trump's world, particularly the
suppression of minority voting.