We don’t want to go overboard here today, but the past week has brought to light some evidence of improving fortunes for the nation.

It well may be that Diogenes can put down his lamp and rest for a while.  Senator-elect Doug Jones from Alabama showed us how the bill could be filled.   His “victory” speech last Tuesday produced not only evidence of a sound, reasonable, accomplished and modest man, but of the goodness that can flow to him if he stays the course: a great-looking family, the affection of his peers, a sense of his own place in the greater US scheme of things, a man who has earned the trust of citizens black and white.

Almost better than all these blessings is his sense of fearlessness based on his sense of righteousness.  We do not mean in a fundamentally religious fashion.  We mean he has learned life’s lessons, stuck by them, been unafraid to use them, and has brought down giants with them.   After months of despair and insecurity, those who stayed up to watch the election returns – in spite of the truly rotten behavior of his opponent – were able to turn out their bedside lamps with smiles on their faces and hopes in their hearts.

It well may be that the election in Alabama produced a prototype of the kind of forces we need to get out  from under the proto-fascism of Mr. Trump and his cronies.   This new force is comprised of differing and different components, some not all that comfortable yet with each other.   A combination of determined, stubborn believers – the state’s Afro-Americans – tied to the old-fashioned beliefs about relationships between men and women – the returns showed nearly a third of Jones’ supporters were women – mixed in with again nearly a third of southern white liberals of both parties held ”it” together to achieve a goal so many doubted.

Is it possible that this cauldron of righteous spirits could be reassembled to fight for a fairer tax bill?  After all, Alabama was not their first proving ground.  Hardly daring to hope, they fought to save the nation from healthcare changes that threatened to not only impoverish citizens but also threatened the very kinds of help people need to stay alive.

Continue reading “A MOUNTAIN OF MAYBES”



This past week was analogous to the great Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 which killed off three to five percent of the world’s population, spreading from the arctic to the South Pacific, all of Europe, a huge swathe in the US.

Our own Dear One began spreading germs almost as early as he arose on Monday.  By the end of the week, he had managed to alienate “our special friend, Great Britain,” by forwarding to social media false or real videos of Islamic terrorism, death and destruction.  His purpose: to keep the US on tenterhooks about its enemies, HIS enemies, which – in today’s parlance – means OUR enemies.    This is an age old gimmick: how to keep your own population living in terror for no other reason than to solidify your own political power.  Incidentally, this is something of which Dear One accuses the leader of North Korea with his most recent missile test.   Different tools, same object.

Another spate of illness attacked the US Congress, unable all year to reach any conclusions about healthy actions of any kind: economic, scientific, belligerent.  Between the two major parties there was no progress on matters that will affect millions in the future, most particularly the least among us.  This was termed tax reform.  The people who were crying out for relief were not the least, but the most blessed, i.e., those with enough loot to throw it away by backing candidates for offices of all kinds in mainland America.  The purpose: power, period, and continued imbalance and cruelty.

Continue reading “EPIDEMIC”





(first published 3/20/12)

This year, from Maine to Washington State to Nebraska, congressional leaders are retiring either from disgust or simple exhaustion with the political process.  Most commentators are beguiled by the prospect of a particular house seat or senate chair changing hands and parties.

We think that’s the wrong focus.

Now is the time, we believe, for Americans who care about their country’s future to apply flattery, soft-soap, perhaps even little fibs in order to persuade the imminent retirees that this is their chance to do something wonderful for America.


Taking pages from political campaigns of all stripes, we have developed a letter, or email, to be sent to these folks who just want to spend a little more time with their families, reminding them that WE are their family as well.

We’ve composed a message to these tired men and women, hoping that they have enough energy left to do what they said they were going to do in the first place.

We are not suggesting that each and every letter or email to Congress be identical.  We believe in the literary ability of voters all across the country to make their feelings known in their own language and with their own emphases on the projects they hold most dear.

Here’s an example of what we’re talking about.


“Dear Senator Smith, or Dear Representative Jones:

“I was saddened to learn that you plan to leave the halls of Congress at the end of this term.   And although I am sympathetic to your personal needs to return to private life, I am also hopeful that before you do you will remember your promises about (insert here your major concern – for example, restructuring the tax code, boosting manufacturing, fixing the super-structure of our great land.)

“Even though I am not a voter in our district, I have long felt the effect of your ideas and good work, and want it only to increase in the final months when you no longer have so many outside interests to please.

“This is your final opportunity to become the man (or woman) for whom we all had such high hopes.  And while we understand that often your votes have had to be cast for political reasons, now they need not to be.  Now they may be cast because you actually know what’s right and what’s beneficial in the years to come for us all.

“I hope you’ll understand the responsibility you still have to help “make us whole,” as the saying goes.

“Please do so, and go out with trumpets blaring and crowds shouting their thanks to you.

“Most sincerely,

“John or Jane (or both) Doe.”


You may email this directly to your Representative or to your Senator.  You may also print, copy, and mail to the same at Washington, D.C., 02515.







We’re grateful we can even maintain this American tradition.  Depending on your point of view, we have a lot to be thankful for:

The nation stands as a whole.  It is still possible to vote.  (For some.)

We are not “at war.”  (Ignoring the confusion in North Korea, Yemen, Afghanistan.)

We can still watch television.  (Do it now, because if the FCC passes what it threatens, few will be able to afford the fees to watch.)

The Stock Market is irrationally high.  (For those who can afford to invest.)

The Seventh Fleet in the Pacific is still riding the waves, rather than under them.

Congress cannot pass a bill.

We do not know if Mike Pence is smarter than our Dear One.  We do not know what Mike Pence knows.

American consumers will spend billions on Black Friday.  (Credit card companies have never been so flush.    N.B.: their customers are another matter entirely.)

Puerto Rico survived.   (?)

To our knowledge, Mike Pence has not exposed himself to anyone other than his wife.


Internationally, Russia has never been so happy.   The rest of Europe is simply morose – Spain, Germany, Greece.

The US is out of the regime change business.   There may be exceptions to this: Spain, Germany, Greece.

The US is also out of the foreign aid business, if we exclude Israel.

Once again coffee has been judged a health drink.

The NFL has a half-life of a dozen years.

“Alexa” can do many wonderful things, but she cannot keep you alive.

Continue reading “GIVING THANKS, 2017”


Reading the week’s newspapers is perhaps the most depressing and futile occupation any of us can have.   Despite the absence of Dear One for nearly two weeks, things did not improve.  Of course, we had a few items on which to concentrate in his absence that made or broke careers, businesses, families.

Foremost in our minds it would seem is the likelihood that every woman in America was at some time or another assaulted, insulted, or battered.  This is not funny.   What is especially not amusing is that with every scientific tool and laboratory available to do so,  no one is trying to understand what makes men behave as they do.

What we haven’t yet heard is that “It’s a guy thing.”

If women feel vulnerable and targeted each and every day, they must also feel hopeless, helpless, and specifically chosen to “entertain” their bosses, friends, cousins, and uncles.   They are wary of defending their honor.  A job or higher position could be at stake for lack of cooperation.   It’s one thing to excoriate Harvey Weinstein, it’s something else again to nail George H.W. Bush.

And what are we to think of women who actually use their wit, talents and bodies as trip-wires to success?

If men feel entitled, woman must feel sacrificial.

Best of all our own Dear Leader has admitted belonging to this group of “boys” being boys.  This may mean that solving the social problem of our time has a chance at real progress.  Ideally there should be no tweets.

Roy Moore is our second most pressing HR problem.  The Donald got away with infantile behavior, threats, a nearly total lack of a sense of history not just of our country, but of the entire world’s.  What a leader!  If Trump can run and be elected without brain power and experience, why shouldn’t Roy Moore be able to do the same?   Twice defrocked judicially, from up close it would appear Roy is a bigot.  Certainly no worse or no less than Mr. Trump vis a vis Puerto Ricans.   Also, he’s one of the  “good ol’ boys” who claims droit de seigneur.  What we wonder does his blonde wife, standing patiently by his side for weeks now, think of her husband’s psychological bent?

She certainly feels less supportive than Mrs. Brett Talley, wife of the 36 year old tyro selected by someone in the White House to become a federal judge for life with no experience, no brains, no agenda or personal bottom lines but what have been laid on him by the Trump team.  Mrs. Talley has a job in the White House.  There are supposed to be rules about nepotism.

Continue reading “NOTHING GOOD”


Where are we?

A question that should never need to be asked of intelligent, enthusiastic, muscular, determined, hard-working millions of proud people.   People who for nearly a hundred and fifty years have known exactly where they were and why.

Since the Civil War and its immediate twenty years of aftermath, the United States of America has occupied a blessedly safe sanctuary from competition, threat, warfare.

We could, and did, take comfort knowing that two great oceans separated us from ideologues, dictators, political movements that – in other circumstances – did actually threaten other nations’ expansions and well-being.


Under the secret agendae of Donald J. Trump – which of us knows what his aims really are? – Americans now doubt themselves.

After regaling us with his own takes on the status of commerce, warfare, health, science, economics and communications – not to mention “his” generals, Congress, Mexico, Russia – each and every category existing as tragedies, bad deals, horrific rape (figurative and literal) – in short, the “worst of everything”, he has managed to convince a huge portion of this country that his vision is the only true and accurate one.  People now doubt their eyes, ears, minds.  Their years of believing and being brave enough to act on those beliefs have simply been erased.  In their place, Mr. Trump suggests, “LOYALTY.”

Not to ideas or civilization’s guideposts, but to him, personally.  Though his oath of office does happen to mention the sanctity of the US Constitution, after all, it’s only a phrase, easily forgotten having once tripped off the tongue and certainly never taken really seriously as a goal – to protect and preserve..

The lines from Trump’s pleading with James Comey to pledge HIS loyalty to his political liege lord and Trump’s assurance that the state of Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate lost because he didn’t follow Dear One’s ideas and beliefs religiously enough are too clear to be ignored.   In time, the Donald will expect everyone in the country to make the same pledge.  Failing that – especially for wayward members of the press – it’s exile, lawsuits, prison.

Trump somehow – certainly not by reading – has understood the blueprint for Stalin’s success.   His purge is without trials or accusations.  Let’s call it the soft approach to total power.




Last week we wrote a fairly unhappy piece about the future of the USA under Trump.  Many of our readers and followers scolded us severely, insofar as the tone of the piece was more pessimistic and dour than other postings, in which we had always (heretofore) been able to end by cheering on the Home Team.

But we feel we need to expand the piece and its reasoning.   Put aside the Corker/Flake/McCain troika that for four seconds lit the gloom.   We know that the Republicans are not lining up to offer their support to return to a time of facts, figures, realism, and good will.    There were fewer than a dozen senators on hand to hear Mr. Flake, which would indicate a fairly complete lack of guts, interest, and planning.  Nothing – certainly not bravery or concern for our nation – is going to come from Congress.

What we try to do with this blog is collate the signs, sounds, and sights of what’s happening around the countryside so that, if (A) happens, our readers won’t be blind-sided.  We do not want to give false hope and encouragement to men and women of good will as they imagine the future.

To do this we try to read and listen to all sides of this personality debate: from The New York Times to “Mornin Joe” to CNN to the WSJ to MSNBC to the Washington Post, Fox News, Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, etc.   What this gives us is a general sense of movement, or lack thereof, of the political animal, which we pass on to you.  The “we” in our postings tries hard to keep a certain distance from events and personalities, and focus instead on probability and probity.

Of course, sometimes we lose our patience and let fly.

So, rather than giving up or letting you down as Dear One seems to be getting away with murder, we try to present the reality of Trump himself.  It’s ugly, selfish, uninformed, mean-spirited, and racist.  That said, what can we do about it?   That, folks, is what SIDE EFFECTS is all about.

Continue reading “LAST TIME”