Weekly Letter to the President
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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
November 15, 2019 (posted November 17)
Mr. President: Venice is flooded. The water is hip high in St. Mark's Square
threatening the church and the expensive shops and restaurants on its perimeter.
The mayor blames climate change.
In Australia, the bush fire season is underway. One in New South Wales is
scorchingly close to nearby homes having already destroyed two buildings on a
country property owned by the actor Russell Crowe.
Floods, too, in the north of England, while Boris the chameleon has a comfortable
10-point lead in the polls over his labor opposite number, Corbyn the plonker. No
matter how outrageous or inept, Boris might be, the plonker makes nary a dent on
that voluminous target. So much for the left in Britain as it awaits another drubbing at
Then in Bolivia, Evo Morales has fled to Mexico claiming his life was at risk. If he
clearly looks Bolivian Indian, his successor, the leader of the senate, Jeanine Anez is
just as clearly white. As in South America elsewhere, the white Spanish elite are at
the top of the food chain, followed by the mixed mestizos and at the bottom the
indigenous people. The exceptions are Argentina where the original inhabitants were
massacred out of existence, and Chile which is German immigrants from long ago.
Trump welcomed the coup in Bolivia -- was there covert support? If Morales won
plaudits for fighting poverty and as the country's first indigenous leader, he also
overstayed his welcome, at least internationally. He defied constitutional limits by
running for a fourth term in a close election which the Organization of American
States faulted for "clear manipulation". Mr. Morales promised fresh elections. But the
elite-run military and police clearly saw an opportunity. Morales supporters are
The US does not have coups; it has impeachment. Bill Clinton notable for his
expression, "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" ... and for a new low in
disgusting personal behavior, was impeached. The procedure requires the House to
determine articles of impeachment and then send a team to prosecute in the senate.
The individual being impeached has the right to his own lawyers to mount a defense.
The senate eventually retires to consider and deliver a verdict. A two-thirds majority
is required for conviction. Bill Clinton survived despite his impeachment being based
on facts unearthed by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Can anyone then imagine a
Republican senate convicting Donald Trump over a sentence in a phone call?
So what is the purpose of this futile exercise in the House of Representatives?
Perhaps Democrats hope to sling enough mud to sway the independent note in the
forthcoming election. Perhaps they want a few moments in the limelight, and TV
interviews before, during and after.
A fraught world with real climate issues the legislators prefer to ignore -- after all they
are well-funded by fossil fuel interests. Forget the actual storms, our elected
representatives prefer storms in a tea cup. The House Intelligence Committee, which
is holding the hearings, will probably forward the matter to the full house as the
political games continue.
Meanwhile, record numbers of homeless sleep under bridges as temperatures plunge
to -15C (5 F) in the midwest and the east of this wealthy country. Do the politicians