Remember, ‘way back in 2016, after Dear One actually “won” an election, the Republicans in Congress decided this might not be the disaster they had imagined.  After all, Trump knew nothing, was nothing, learned nothing, and was generally out of control.

This was a Republican ideal.  Someone too dumb to argue.  All Congress has to do was slip him a piece of paper and he would sign it.  God, they could forge the nation into whatever shape they wanted!  Their goals could actually be realized.  They could stay in power forever with a “leader” who was a pushover, who was likely to rubber stamp anything he didn’t understand for fear of exposing his ignorance.

Two problems soon swam into view. (1) The Republicans themselves couldn’t decide on what they wanted to do, and when they did, they couldn’t unify around whatever the idea was – not to mention the personalities behind the proposals.  (2) Trump wasn’t THAT dumb!

In fact, within weeks, the Republicans came to fear the new president.  He had an attitude, he had made promises he was going to keep – an idea so far removed from the history of the recent Republican party it was as though he was speaking in another language.    True, his cabinet was fashioned from computerland; he knew very few of his appointees personally, and he seemed to assume that whomever was recommended would do whatever he, Trump, wanted.   After all, he had put them where they were.  They owed him.  He was King.

If it took him a little while to understand that he really was president, it took Congress a little while to understand that if it didn’t do whatever was demanded, its members could be primaried (a), scolded on Twitter (b), or have their lives made so miserable they wanted out nearly as much as they wanted in (c).  In record time, many House members decided to “retire.”  Senators had already begun to jump ship.  Various departments of the country’s understucture were denuded of once dedicated men, women, ideas, and action.

Of course this didn’t trouble Mr. Trump for a moment.  He believed that he could do whatever needed doing, department by department.  He needed no assistance, just flunkies.  He got them.

Continue reading “STAMP ACT”






On Wednesday this past week, the New York Time (above the fold) began an article this way: “On Tuesday it was a high school in small-town Kentucky. On Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas and a charter school parking lot in New Orleans.  And before that, a school bus in Iowa, a college campus in Southern California , a high school in Seattle….The scene in Benton, Ky.,was the worst so far in 2018…”

For all of these past 7 seven years we’ve waited and waited to be able to use this headline:

“Today’s school shooting is brought to you by…”

The “sponsoring organization” would probably not be the NRA.   It might be a new state-of-the-art hospital, Johnson & Johnson, a clothing manufacturers shilling bullet-proof vests, Smith, Wesson, or Colt, a local ambulance service.

The point being that these incidents are now as meaningless to most us as who faces off in the Super Bowl. Oh sure, another one.  Well, our thought and prayers…

“Our” thoughts and prayers arise with those of our deeply involved president, members of Congress from particularly hard hit states, parents, teachers, church members, parents from earlier episodes in which they were robbed and raped of their children’s lives and welfare.  You’d think with this volume of pleading something good would happen.

We watch this kind of “Breaking News’ with the same attention we grant to forty-car pile-ups on an interstate.  And then we wait patiently for the next item of “Breaking News.”

Not for us the redundant blaming, or shaming, or the enumeration of obvious fixes to the problem of too many guns in too many unstable hands.

The shock and sorrow of these successive and near daily events has become, over time, just part of the background noise of living in the United States, just part of the daily cacophony that comprises the landscape of the Trump administration.  We are not saying the Donald is on a rampage to remove the least deserving from the earth.  We ARE saying that under his “guidance,” the incidents described above are increasing and increasingly meaningless, if not approved then condoned, and berated for taking funding from our Armed Forces and veterans.

Continue reading “NO CONFUSION”


Sooner or later a hectoring tone, the constant shots at Mr. Trump et al – become background noise.  One feels one doesn’t have to write (or read) SIDE EFFECTS any longer to know where its author stands on matters of the day.

It’s too cold in the Northeast to get much pleasure , or any warmth, reading of old crimes and misdemeanors.  Or, for that matter, new ones.  The tenor of the administration has been set.  Its fuel is money, its purpose is raising it for professional or personal purposes, and its international relationships seem more and more dependent on withholding it or wasting it.

The new tax bill has given Americans the idea that soon even their bosses will endow them with wage raises or one-time bonuses.  As long as the money (or its promise) holds out, Mr. Trump can hold out.

Today we are not going to harass the administration and its players.  Instead, we once more want to draw attention to the depth of American mule-headedness.  This has to do with the American propensity to believing that they suffer from whatever disease – and its cure – they learn about on nightly news television via increasingly nonsensical commercials.

I.B.S., irritable bowel syndrome, is THE non-fatal disease of our post-war era.  Chances are tension, ambition, disappointment, divorce, poverty as well as great wealth spawned this run of symptoms that seems annually to increase and to earn new code-names.  Drug companies are eager to give each and every common ailment acronyms to make them sound not only terrifying but also truly medical.  This, as advertisements for the non-existent Daily Diet Deficiencies, or DDD, suddenly seems to tv viewers something they not only have, but have suffered from for years. Of course, that’s what we have!  This is perfect.  We’ll order it.  Or at least drive our doctors buggy by pleading for it.

What brings on this snit?

Continue reading “MID-WINTER RELIEF”



It’s appropriate to use medical terminology (as little as we know) about the state of the country on the very day when its leader is (in theory) to have a physical examination.

There’s not too much we really want to know about Trump’s state of being.   He’s mobile, talkative, and overweight.   Mentally, anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s.

But the nation is running, and has been running, a low-grade fever.   We’re not sure of its cause, but we imagine it has to do with conditions in the White House and thereby conditions tangential to every other country with which we deal.   It seems to be contagious but not yet fatal.   Experts have not pin-pointed the source of this fever, but many are expecting it to rise incrementally as time progresses. To what, no one knows.

Whatever its cause, it’s far more serious than Mr. Carter’s malaise.   It is affecting our population in various ways.  Some are taking it to indicate that heat means life, and the market on Wall Street seems to know no bounds.   Some – or  “many people” – Mr. Trump’s favorite phrase for unknown approval or criticism –  are cagier, hedging bets as well as placing them on personnel survival statistics.   “Doctors” enter the sickroom endlessly, some dropping by for safety’s sake, others to actually try to find out what’s troubling us.  Ms. Nightingale has yet to appear but neither has the Grim Reaper.

Specialists are on tap if needed.  Many of us patients would be thrilled to hear some advice and solid science from them.   Others seem content to rely upon country cures, witch doctors, shamans.  The record of shamanistic success is dismal.

Accompanying this fever is a bad case of the shakes.   Without a recognized source for this incipient illness, Americans are just plain nervous.   Every statement from our Dear Leader seems to indicate he’s delirious.   As in days of old (polio), people are timorous about being discovered in crowds.   We’re boiling our drinking water.  Keeping kids out of school has not yet become everyday experience.

“Many people” are calling for a new vaccine.   Experimental treatments have not been successful.  Studies of earlier epidemics in Europe yield no insight.   The more hysterical are citing ebola.   Those whose doctors have advised a “wait and see” approach seem to agree, but are frantically searching for solutions both radical and untested.

“Many people” believe the fever is self-induced, that the disease could never be as dramatic and deadly as other people say.   These “others’ seem content to let nature follow its course on the theory that the disease could never be as fatal as its victims fear.

No evacuations have been called for, yet.   Washington is still chock full of sniffles and shivers.  People are hesitant to leave town lest town not be there on their return.   They put their valuables in hand-held satchels.

In case of what?

Continue reading “FEVER”

SOMEONE is Thinking!

Short and sweet.

After a week in which Trump’s basic sanity has been challenged on nearly every network and in print,  some stunningly intelligent Trumper came up with the perfect refutation.  SHOW THE PRESIDENT AT WORK.

That’s the message of today’s “joint meeting” between him and members of Congress as well as occasional cabinet members.

The nearly hour-long meeting went public, on national television, to demonstrate that Trump has his marbles and that they’re shining and ready to roll.

Whoever the staffer was who came up with this idea deserves not only an enormous gesture of thanks from Trump himself, but also from Trump’s “base,” which more than ever is now going to cry FAKE NEWS as weird stories leak into the D.C. atmosphere denigrating him.

It’s only fair to acknowledge a good job done.


Today is December 36, 2017.

What’s become clear in this past week is that we are not going to get an hiatus from the awful months of 2017.  2017 is going to go right on in D.C., in the Republican and Democratic parties, in the press.

The President is not changing.  His sycophantic cabinet members are going to continue sitting around a table and praising him to the skies, to thank him for – in effect – helping them to more income, more influence, more destruction of what was once a proud, thoughtful, protective presence in the world.

And what was earlier forecast as a piece-by-piece explosion of programs and concerns of the Obama administration is coming true. As 2017 continues, Trump – for his own reasons of displeasure, dislike, and perhaps even fear (based on the exposure of his flaws) – is still determined to erase the very presence of a black president in nearly every field: the environment, voting rights, international agreements and trade – basic diplomacy.  With not a thought for what could be called the good of the nation.

Trump’s crowd has been, until this moment, incredibly lucky. Missteps have turned into ballroom dancing.  Decisions and plans that should have horrified most of us, including his “base” – ideas, actions, statements that should have put “paid” to his reign – continue to issue forth without, miraculously, causing world-wide recessions, internecine conflicts within defense and trading partners, and war.

The revelations in Michael Woolf’s tome (not yet read by us) are, in fact, nothing new.  They’ve just been collected between two book covers.  Combined with Robert Mueller’s besieged investigation of collusion between Trump et Cie and the Russians , they mix in the atmosphere like poisonous and fatal  mustard gas in World War I.    They’re going to o’erspread the nation and the world for the next few weeks, until we remember that we knew all this stuff before and chose to ignore it.  “Let Trump be Trump“ was NOT a good idea.  Nor is it now.

And the odor coming from the Oval Office continues to be that of decay and dispossession.  What was earlier speculation has turned true: Trump lowers every man and woman with whom he comes in contact to his own levels of ignorance, anger, prejudice.

We think we should address a major misconception, that Trump has a “base.”  And that that base should, and will eventually, realize it is nothing more than a sizable block of disappointed, angry, disadvantaged and betrayed people (whether they are poor or rich) whose expectations cannot be met in any real sense and who, while they wait for the Good News, are being ground down further into a slurry of conflicting emotions.

It is not possible to love a leader while doubting he can lead.

Continue reading “THE LONGEST YEAR”