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
November 9, 2018
Mr. President: The midterm elections are over, the result ... a split-decision. The
Democrats will control the House, raising the possibility of an impeachment attempt.
The Senate remains under Republican control with their majority increased by one
seat. The president reminded us at a post-election press conference that while he
could not help in the all too numerous House elections, he did campaign in some of
the marginal Senate races with almost universal success. The prospect of a second
Trump term now looms large, especially as a Democrat star failed to emerge.
Among the winners for House seats were a record number of women, including New
York's Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez, who at 29 is the youngest woman Representative
ever elected. Also two Muslim women: Ilhan Omar, a Somali from Minnesota, who will
be the first hijab-wearing woman to sit in the House, and Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian,
who does not cover her head. It should help clarify for people that hijabs are cultural
not religious and often a personal choice. Ms. Tlaib a Detroit native has extended
family on the West Bank, who were shown celebrating in some news reports.
For those who expect any serious change in social or foreign policy, a reminder. Ten
years ago, Barack Obama was elected and handed a House and Senate also under
his party's control. Did we get a decent health care-for-all bill? Were the banks
reined in after causing a world economic crisis by peddling baskets of high-risk
mortgage-backed securities and gambling on derivatives? Did we have peace? The
answer to all the questions is in effect a negative.
The Glass-Steagall Act repealed by Bill Clinton that led to the disaster, was never
reintroduced. We got an anemic version. It had kept us safe for over six decades
from the greed of bankers by separating investment banking activities from
commercial banking, and therefore preventing banks from gambling with our money.
Instead of peace, Mr. Obama called Afghanistan the good war and sent another
100,000 troops there causing more loss of life and more Afghan refugees. That was
not all. He attacked Libya and destroyed the country including a complex water
system bringing water from the south to Tripoli.
Libya is in chaos and has recently abandoned any pretext of national government by
canceling the December election supposed to have been agreed upon by major
factions in the country. Once a magnet for migrant African labor, Libya's major export
has become refugees, its own and the Africans. Europe is inundated as refugees
stream in from all of America's wars: Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and
others. It's worth noting also that the Taliban now control most of the Afghan
What will the young and newly elected do in Congress? Not much as it takes years to
have the seniority to accumulate power. In the meantime, there is the pressure of
elections every two years for a House seat, donors and lobbyists chipping away at
any idealism, while the relative impotence of a freshman in this new university of
intricate rules and procedures becomes apparent.
There is only one way to survive ...