Dear America,

The stress induced by the administration of Donald Trump has been ubiquitous and virtually constant for almost a year and three months.  Between seemingly always imminent impeachment of a man from whom anyone from New York over the age of fifty would expect nothing better to the prospect of nuclear war that seems to loom overhead like clouds in Britain, hand wringing has become the national preoccupation.  Now, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been raided by the FBI, which is no surprise to any lawyer since Cohen's explanations for his conduct purportedly unsolicited by someone with whom he had no attorney client relationship in the Stormy Daniels case lack even a patina of credibility or prudence.  Cohen claims that he wasn't acting at Trump's behest when he paid the porn star off, which means that as to that matter, he had no privileged relationship with our president.  So, by making that claim, he has opened his records on the transaction to scrutiny by law enforcement investigating, among other things, the professional conduct of Michael Cohen.

Then there is Trump's conduct of our foreign affairs, as if his domestic affairs weren't disturbing enough.  First he threatens to bomb North Korea because its dictator is shorter than he is, and then Trump wants to sit down with him to talk about what was nuclear saber rattling just weeks ago.  Now, he is threatening retribution for Syria's apparent resurrection of its chemical warfare tactics and exchanging mutual threats with the Russians, effectively daring them to take action against us.  And then, of course, there is the "Russia Investigation."

The Republican Party has become a collective apologist for Trump since the passage of the tax plan he signed in December, but there are still a few Republicans who see beyond the November mid-term elections.  More than one of them has warned that firing Robert Mueller III from his position as special counsel would be tantamount to obstruction of justice and would likely result in impeachment, yet Trump continues to allow speculation that he might resort to such action.  To be sure, not all Republicans are adamant about the peril to our political stability that Trump represents, but as was said in the period preceding the Nixon resignation, we may well be facing a constitutional crisis like that devolving from the "Saturday Night Massacre."  No doubt the result would eventually be a helicopter ride from the White House south lawn for our suede-shod president.  Still, it's not all bad.

Paul Ryan announced to his caucus today that he is not running for reelection.  That suggests that even among the party faithful--even among the blindly loyal leadership-- there is apprehension if not dread over facing their constituents at home again as they had to do when they tried...and failed...to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something that only the upper middle class could love, but even they only if they didn't give a damn about anyone else.   Ryan, who's lived for congress since he first went to The House at the age of 22 in 1992, is retiring young rather than confront the failure of the party he is so obliging to that he was willing to turn apostate when the candidate he deprecated only months and days earlier became our Republican president.  His entire career has been the Republican agenda and manifesting Ayn Rand's thinking in government action...or perhaps more accurately, inaction.  He isn't giving up his life's preoccupation because he thinks that his dogma and his party are working out.  It is unlikely that a staunch advocate turned presidential toady will be missed, but it is clear that he is just one more sheep following the bellwethers who preceded him into political oblivion voluntarily.  Ryan will no doubt run for something some time, but for the moment, he is tainted by his craven capitulation to Donald Trump's peremptory vilifications and threats, and he likely will gather a few more gray hairs before doing so in order to claim that he has learned some lessons and now is capable of independent thought.

No one who was awake the night that Donald Trump won the presidency is taking this November for granted.  However, the Republicans as a party have once again grabbed their foot-shooting pistol, drawn it out of its holster and fired a few times, so the only real question is, did the party's constituents, Trump loyalists in particular, hear the gunshots. 

Your friend,

Mike

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