The Daily Dog: Until the Ink Runs Red

After a six-month battle with an orange-jaundiced cancer, Democracy took her last breath yesterday. She was 241-years-old. She leaves behind a battered Constitution and its Bill of Rights, a tattered Declaration of Independence, 50 somewhat united states, 300 million lives, trampled liberties, and dying dreams of the pursuit of happiness. Lady Liberty cried at the announcement of Democracy’s death while 40,000 Boy Scouts cheered for her killer.

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Trump to Boy Scout gathering: “Be Prepared to be Dictatored!”

Every time sane and patriotic Americans think the nation’s situation cannot become any worse, Donald Trump proves that there is always a baser attack, tweet, or policy waiting in his dark and corrupted skull. He began a new week demonstrating to the public how refreshed his vile nature was after yet another weekend of golf.

Trump began tweeting yesterday at 3:40 a.m. and railed throughout the day on his favorite social media platform, spewing ideas and statements as fake as his plastic yellow hair and spray tan. His first tweet of the day attacked the press.

Take a step back — like a parent walking in on a surreptitious party — and say, “What the fuck is going on here?”

A simple twittertack was not enough for Trump’s ego on Monday; and by midday, he was verbally scolding reporters and misleading interns about the value of the free press. When a reporter interrupted Trump’s repulsive canoodling with a 20-something female intern, Trump unleashed the original Bad Grandpa and ordered the reporter to be quiet. He then went on to tell a class of young political interns about some imaginary rule that had been violated.

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Trump’s Monica Lewinsky moment.

As disgusting as Trump’s pea-cockery surrounded by young women was, it paled in comparison to his prancing before a crowd of children in West Virginia. In Hitler-like fashion, Trump used his speech to an innocent group of youngsters to betray his oath of office, the nation, and every fundamental and democratic American value.

By whipping the Boy Scout crowd into an Obama hating frenzy that chanted, “We love Trump,” Trump inflicted a generation worth of damage today. He ruined a group of impressionable young boys — who likely have taken an oath to their country and learned about the Constitution while earning a citizenship badge — by turning them unwittingly into pawns of his ego. Trump continued his theme of the day by telling the scouts how terrible the free press is.

If your blood is not boiling yet, let that simmer for a moment. The self-appointed leader of America — once a land fertile with democratic rights and ideals — told a group of children that a basic premise of the First Amendment is their enemy…And then he asked them for loyalty.

We have tried and constrained ourselves to be correct, to be analytical, and to not sink to Trump’s level of ignorance and misguided lack of education. However, there comes a point when any person with a modicum of knowledge about history and democracy has to take a step back — like a parent walking in on a surreptitious party — and say, “What the fuck is going on here?”

In 1729, one of nation’s most venerable founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, purchased the Pennsylvania Gazette. He did not only own the paper, he published numerous articles under a variety of aliases and encouraged thought by penning some of the country’s first political cartoons. Franklin knew and understood the value of the press.

Beyond news of the day and commentary, Franklin used the Gazette as an educational vehicle, too. From time to time, the Gazette published important documents from our nation’s founding: the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and others. He printed them in their entirety for average citizens to read, contemplate, and appreciate.

It was a good idea then, and a better idea today.

Every paper in America should begin taking away column inches from Trump’s ranting and raving and dedicate a front-page section each day to a portion of some rational and legitimate revival of the democracy we are losing. As a nation, we have entered dangerous territory with Trump. It is one thing to rile the adults, but it is an entirely different crime when Trump uses our children to destroy.

If our elected representatives in Congress cannot, or will not, curb the tailspin, then the Fourth Estate, and its growing sibling, the Fifth, are America’s only parachute and safety net. We must revive Democracy. We must resist, denounce, educate, and print the truth…until the ink runs red.

Paris Rising

With yet another grandstanding announcement like some reality TV cliffhanger promotion, Donald Trump axed the Paris Climate Accord yesterday. In withdrawing from the global treaty, the United States joins the esteemed company of Syria and Nicaragua as the three countries on the planet that refuse to give a damn about the future of all humanity.

With no consideration for America’s status as a world leader, Trump moved forward with his personal agenda while burying another hatchet in the back of his on-going vendetta against past presidents. Additionally, he hammered vehemently at another nail in the coffin of the United States’ international reputation and ensured a more dismal future for the children of every nation on the planet.

Whether it is attacking terrorism and ISIS, or working jointly to preserve the planet, global efforts command multinational cooperation. As Trump continues to remove or distance the United States from worldwide efforts — Paris, NATO, G7, Trans-Pacific — the piecemeal dismantling of diplomacy and partnership will increasingly isolate America. Beyond consequences for the United States, there will be long-term global effects as well.

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The New Trump Towers…

The decisive problem with Trump is his inability to comprehend the president’s role, the duties of the office, and the scope of government as opposed to his privately owned conglomerate. During the last four decades, Trump the businessman basked in the glory of placing his name on big buildings, big clubs, big casinos, and big failures. While amassing an empire of his own liking, Trump answered to no one. He did not have to justify his actions to voters, congress, or the leader of the free world and others.

Trump is a needy man bent on legacy and driven to create a permanent lasting impression before his mortal demise. While the presidency is an opportunity to build a legacy, it requires patience, contemplation, and cooperation among many other traits that Trump seems to lack. Instead of exercising the reason necessary to the office and building a memorable and positive record of his own, Trump continues to tear down and erode what he did not build. He is a petty jealous man whose big buildings do not represent his littleness.

Each of Trump’s unspoken goals in Washington, D.C. appears to be geared toward buying another great big building and slapping his name on it — the White House, the Supreme Court, the Capitol. It is Trump’s self-gratification of his ego to acquire, name, and then sit back and hope against bankruptcy. What Trump fails to understand, is that to leave a legacy, you must build it. Destroying what others accomplished does not earn posthumous accolades.

Furthermore, for a man like Donald Trump, every undertaking is a challenge; a competition to show up his peers and rivals alike. He has to win, even when he does not win. His is a stereotype that every person has experienced at some point — most likely with the spoiled bully on the elementary school playground. Trump’s selfish governance is not even a “my way or the highway” drill sergeant, because at least the drill sergeant has a common goal with his troops. Since January, Trump has shown no common goal with Americans. He pursues Trump’s goals only.

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…and the new Red White & Blue?

Trump competed with Manhattan real estate moguls through the 1980s. He chased the likes of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. He thought he was more popular than Hillary Clinton was. Now, he is in a semi-delirious race with Vladimir Putin. What Trump is trying to win with his presidency no one knows, but as Trump plays dangerously with the nation’s people, economy, and reputation, it certainly is not the betterment of America. Trump had an opportunity, but has already lost the title of leader of the free world. Emmanuel Macron now holds the title as the rational voice of France and the world, concerned with the people of his country and inhabitants of earth alike.

Trump is losing little by little, and with each loss, America slips deeper into the black hole of his egotistical game. When he is gone, the individual mothers, fathers, workers, and true leaders will remain to claw a way out of one man’s failed legacy and lift the country again. By then, Make America Great Again will be a job for everyone, instead of a slogan for one.

Vetting a Meltdown

Almost four months into the new administration, the Trump White House is spinning stories like an old washing machine jitterbugging across the basement floor. Leaping from one crisis to another leaves little room for actual policy-making between golf outings. Is this truly what the great institution of the American Presidency has become…just another episode of a weekly reality show?

As President Trump and his advisors showboat replacements for fired F.B.I. director James Comey, the same short-listed sixth-grade vocabulary crawls beneath morning shows around the nation. From the beginning of Trump’s campaign, everyone invited to his inner circle or nominated to a government post has been described with less creativity and assurance than a typical 16-year-old can muster for their favorite teacher.

During a recent interview, Trump fumbled to reassure America that all of the possible Comey replacements are clear choices because each has “been vetted over their lifetime.” The renewed focus on “well-known” nominees and “really talented” appointees has highlighted a singular flaw in the “great” office of president: Who vetted Donald J. Trump?

Presidential nominees are required to file FEC Form 2 — Statement of Candidacy — with the Federal Election Commission. In addition, a clause in the constitution mandates that a candidate for president must “…have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” Filing Form 2 allows those like Donald J. Trump (Rep.-N.Y.), Dan Vacek (Legal Marijuana Now Party-Minn.), and “Joe Exotic” Maldonado (Ind.-Okla.) to officially become candidates for president.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5

There are other financial forms required by the FEC, but none of them inquires if Mr. Trump is mentally capable of occupying the office of president; if Mr. Vacek will be the executive under the influence; or whether “Joe Exotic” graduated high school. In other words, there simply is no vetting besides public opinion for the highest office in the land.

When it boils down to it, the American presidency is a reality show. It is a once every four years popularity contest that has obvious flaws vis-à-vis popularity, but even more serious weakness concerning vetting. However, in tribute to the wisdom of the founding fathers, the flaws are also the reason for the system of checks and balances. Without the educated and responsible oversight of the legislative and judicial branches, a poorly vetted candidate — regardless of greatness and talent — could turn the country to chaos.

This is the lesson in politics that eludes the new administration on a daily basis. When “Morning Joe” and other news outlets begin running North Korea nukes back-to-back with mentions of Trump meltdowns, it highlights the mounting frustration in the White House. Threats to withdraw press briefings, attacks on the media, and civil and human rights policy rollbacks are serious dangers to the American way of life.

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Will Trump go boom?

Even the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, accused Trump this week of assaulting America’s democratic institutions. The more Trump realizes his ego cannot rule a nation, the more he dismissively threatens the rules of democracy. As tensions mount, the country and its responsible leaders must ask where the eventual threat will come from— a rogue nation’s missile or a nuclear scale meltdown closer to home.

Trump: The Constitution’s Greatest Flaw

First, it was Hillary and the Democrats. Then it was the leakers, the hackers, the Ninth Circuit (and other courts), the media, and the “fake news” that earned the esteemed titles of scapegoats for President Trump’s political shortcomings. Now, the president has turned his sights on the most inconceivable scapegoat of all — the very document that provided a vehicle for his election.

That Trump has attacked the United States Constitution is beyond any irony and about as bizarre as his first 100 days in office.

During an interview with Fox News, yesterday, Trump blamed the checks and balances that are an inherent and fundamental proviso of the constitution. He implied that the most important document in America’s history is a “…really bad thing for the country.”

What exactly is really bad?

Is it that Americans can choose to practice the religion of their choice without fear of persecution? Or, that they can express themselves — politically, socially, artistically, and personally. Maybe it’s bad that it gives the accused a right to legal counsel and a trial by jury; or that it abolishes slavery and cherishes equality.

I doubt that Trump told members of the NRA this weekend that the constitution was “really bad” because it included the right to bear arms.

More than 225 years ago, the founding fathers drafted the documents that became the United States Constitution. Their concerns for a fair and just government of the people are clearly expressed in the constitution. They also framed the national system of a federal republic that relied on checks and balances in order to protect the people from the oppression they had fought to repel.

A little over 100 days ago, Donald J. Trump stood before a nation born from the constitution and swore an oath of office on a worldwide stage. Like the presidents before him, Trump recited the 35 words required by Article 2, Section 1 of the constitution:

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I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Unlike those before him, he has not quite embraced them.

If he does not appreciate the United States Constitution, Mr. Trump should not have sworn an oath that unequivocally mandates that he preserve, protect, and defend it. He should not have assumed the great responsibility that is being president of an “archaic” system in a diverse nation.

Time and history occasionally have exposed flaws in the constitution. In response, the government has made legitimate amendments over the past two centuries. However, changes that have been enacted benefit the entire nation and its population. They have never advanced the glorification and ego of the chief executive. As they did in the 1700s, the founding fathers would likely lobby vigorously against the one great leader concept today.

If anything, Trump has validated that our “archaic” system is in fact, imperfect. That the constitution allows anyone to run for the highest political office in the land — without regard to experience, education, or intelligence — demonstrates a tremendous flaw. As detrimental as that single defect may be, it emphasizes the fundamental driving philosophy that the founding fathers sought to attain: the equality of all.

If Trump was referring to the constitution as a “really bad thing” because it allowed him to be elected president, he may be correct. Otherwise, Mr. Trump, for the rest of America, the constitution is what made America great and what protects its people from tyranny.