The Daily Dog: Unmasked – Trump has no Leadership

This week, business executives from across America joined voices to send a resounding message to Donald Trump: “We do not approve.” Their collective response to Trump’s racist revelations and his refusal to unequivocally condemn hate groups following the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riots demonstrated concern for their own constituents — consumers driven by socio-political advocacy — and individual morality. They set an example for Trump that he has been unable to grasp.

Within a few days of Trump’s racist-confirming rants on camera and Twitter, members of two White House advisory councils began quitting. Their audacity enraged Trump and he attacked and bullied them on Twitter. It did not take long before the most powerful women and men in American business abandoned their roles as advisors and dissolved Trump’s panels for his support of racism and his infantile tantrums. It is the first time in U.S. history that business leaders have refused to participate in esteemed roles as White House counsellors. With two of his councils already disbanded, Trump announced late yesterday that he would discontinue organizing his infrastructure policy group.

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Trump is still searching for his leadership face.

On Thursday morning, the Senior Associate Dean of Executive Programs at Yale School of Management, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld appeared on MSNBC and offered a scathing assessment of Trump’s alleged business talent. Until now, most of Trump’s critics have focused on his new role as a political leader, but Sonnenfeld delved into Trump’s self-proclaimed deal-making expertise, saying, “Trump is not a Fortune 500 business leader.” He went on to suggest that Trump merely masquerades as a prodigious business leader while riding the accomplishments, accolades, and ideas of more skilled peers.

There is no doubt that leadership in both the modern business arena and big government require similar skill sets. Additionally, neither business nor government can be led singularly because of the amount of information, data, and wide-ranging policies that must be considered and exercised. The most successful CEOs, innovators, and business moguls rely on cadres of analysts, advisors, and assistants to gather, wrangle, and interpret data and information. From chief executives and presidents, to governors and Oval Office leaders, modern leaders trust highly condensed and only the most relevant information to guide them.

No leader attempts to lead alone. It is a position of weakness, which is why Trump’s failures in Washington are mounting. He is like an unskilled circus clown trying to stand on a tent pole instead of a scaffold.

Regardless of Trump’s Washington leadership model, Sonnenfeld’s academic assessment of his business acumen is not necessarily problematic. Riding the coattails of others is not the most honorable ascension to greatness in America, but it is a common enough practice that it has become an accepted method of climbing the corporate ladder. Additionally, it is a model that would translate adequately to politics — if Trump had peers to follow and surround himself with in the White House.

However, Trump has neither appointed, nor relied on, an especially gifted circle of competent or knowledgeable advisors. Not only is he failing in his own achievements in government, but Trump has also created a void where there are no concomitant successes for him to draw on for a boost. He has clipped the coattails that may have afforded him opportunities.

With the republican dominated government nearly stalled, Trump’s approval ratings continue to plummet, and it appears that he will accomplish little in his first year…because he only pretends to aspire to leadership. As he does in business, Trump is masquerading around Washington as a political VIP, and it is no ball for the American people. When the mask finally comes off, the results are going to be ugly.

The Daily Dog: Trump Declares Moral Bankruptcy

Donald Trump is a morally bankrupt dysfunctional ignorant narcissistic racist.

We have been saying this for months in one way or another. We hear it on the streets, in restaurants, and among family and friends. The media has been building toward the “Full Monty” on Trump, but there is still a bit of a delicate dance between the press and the White House. However, we are not the ones — the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers — who need to say what is wrong with Trump.

 

08162017 ClashFollowing the Charlottesville white nationalist riots, Trump’s critics demanded he condemn — by name — the neo-Nazis, supremacists, KKK, and other hate groups responsible for the weekend’s violence. Now, the time has come for Washington politicians of every race, religion, sex, affiliation, persuasion, and slant to do what they demanded of Trump: Name the evil.

 

An overwhelming majority of America knows that racism is immoral, and that white nationalism does not represent the accepted principles and mores of our country. We do not need to be told that hate groups’ anti-American sentiments are “condemned” or “not tolerated.” We denounce them with our protests; by not joining gangs who don hoods and carry torches; and by how we treat our neighbors — without a thought of skin color or ignorant prejudices.

With the exception of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and a few other soulless GOPers who cannot be salvaged from the wreckage of the S.S. Trump, America wants and demands that its representative leaders denounce by name, Donald Trump. Stop condemning the generalities and condemn the general. Trump is not going to change his ignorant and racists views and beliefs because of your patience.

Trump did not goosestep down Main Street this weekend, but his comments Tuesday demonstrate that, in mind and spirit, he marched proudly in Charlottesville on Saturday. While Trump has maintained he is not taking sides in the nationalist question and scandal, his self-professed inaction is a corrupt and sickening confirmation of hate. A leader who cannot take a side, is a leader who lacks the personal conviction and courage necessary to the position. Trump has demonstrated himself ineffective and impotent, not only because of his lack of morality, but because he walks the fence like a terrified cat avoiding the dogs.

 

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Trump cannot wash his hands of his racist tendencies. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

 

In addition to his wavering and weakness, in each instance of error, Trump defends himself by attacking our nation’s core principles and founders. Tuesday afternoon was no exception as he derided the press and equated the Founding Fathers to Confederate traitors and Civil War criminals. There can no longer be a moment of hesitation from either democrats or republicans that Trump is unfit for office. The rest of the world is watching, and speaking what America’s leaders should be saying.

Trump accused “alt-left” activists and protesters of trying to rewrite history for supporting the removal of Confederate era artifacts from public places. As the alleged leader of a free democracy, Trump should know that Americans are not trying to rewrite history. They are attempting to right the wrongs done in the past, and if he had a moral compass, he would recognize the importance of that task. To see history rewritten, and wrongs likewise righted, Trump need only wait for the day he is impeached.

We will say it again for the leaders who are still uncertain: Donald Trump is a dysfunctional ignorant narcissistic racist. He is not fit to lead America and 535 more voices must join the 260 million already saying so.

The Daily Dog: The Art of Rejection

In the wake of Saturday’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Donald Trump offered watered-down criticisms of his neo-Nazi supporters. Facing a violent hate-inspired crisis and a vile act of domestic terrorism, Americans expected at least a modicum of compassion and strength from Trump in response. Trump’s reluctance to speak out against his racist brethren prompted a forceful national reaction from the public, press, and lawmakers on Sunday and Monday.

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Charlottesville begins the healing process.

In addition, another group close to Trump began taking direct action Monday to send the Trump regime a much-needed message that his example is not acceptable.

In January, Trump announced the formation of a jobs initiative program. He invited innovative and successful leaders from the manufacturing sector to the American Manufacturing Council. Members who signed on to the White House advisory panel included presidents and CEOs of Dell, Ford, General Electric, and 3M among several others.

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Kenneth Frazier: The best medicine for Donald Trump.

On Monday, Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of Merck — the nation’s third largest pharmaceutical company, resigned from the American Manufacturing Council. Frazier, a powerful and respected business leader had obviously suffered enough of Trump’s extremist sympathies, and tweeted, “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Frazier did not mention Trump directly, but judging by Trump’s reaction, Frazier’s rejection must have stung.

While it took Trump two days to criticize the white nationalist groups responsible for the Charlottesville tragedies, in less than an hour he launched personal Twitter attacks on Frazier: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Trump’s irrational and tantrum-fueled tweet demonstrates that while Trump may have mastered the “Art of the Deal,” it is clear he could never be an authority on the art of rejection.

Following Frazier’s resignation and Trump’s spoiled and infantile response, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Under Armour chief Kevin Plank also quit the council. Their departures may be the beginning of a much needed mass exodus from one of Trump’s widely boasted pet projects.

As Trump’s poll numbers sink lower and he is questioned about white nationalism, he points a finger at the media and yells at reporters that they are, “Fake news,” while refusing to answer questions. One fact that is not fake that Trump may be unable to ignore is rejection from his own peers.

The more people close to Trump who stand up to his bullying, the more likely it will be that the nation rights its course. America is desperate for a Ken Frazier, Elon Musk, or Meg Whitman to fill the leadership void that is swirling the giant “swamp drain” in the White House. The nation’s moral compass is directionless and requires strong public voices to recalibrate it. If every business leader on the Manufacturing Council resigned tomorrow (and Trump continued to berate them individually), their service to the country would be worth more than the collective value of the council’s corporations.

Until now, Trump has dismissed or rebuffed intermittent and individual opposition. He has not faced, however, a unified onslaught of “No!” from the business sector. Trump is a spoiled child who reacts to any rejection with uncontrollable tantrums and he needs to be told “No!” often. He needs to hear it from people whose opinion might matter to him.

With Trump’s ascension to the Oval Office, America is experiencing an unfortunate and disastrous merger of business and politics. A CEO who aspires to be a president apprentice cannot govern a nation like a personal business. When he does, more intelligent business leaders — like those invited to the American Manufacturing Council — have a responsibility to the country. Ken Frazier filled the role of advisor, business leader, and patriot today by taking a stand against Trump’s policies, or lack thereof.

As business leaders close to Trump apply pressure, so can every American ensure in turn, that their voices are heard. Three members of Trump’s council have resigned, but several more remain — their names and companies are listed on the White House website. Send them a strong message that, like Ken Frazier, you do not approve of Donald Trump’s messages on racism. Boycott their products and services until Trump hears American voices rising in one unified, “No!”

“No,” to racism. “No,” to white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. “No,” to discrimination and hate. And, “No,” to Donald Trump’s destruction of American values of equality, compassion, and tolerance. It is time to stand up to the bully in the White House and let him know, we are here to “Make America Ours Again.”

The Sunday Dog: When Silence Isn’t Golden

On Saturday, the United States and the world witnessed the latest consequence of Donald Trump inspired hatred in America. Self-proclaimed “alt-right” white supremacists descended on the small college town of Charlottesville, Va. to protest the removal of a statue of Civil War general Robert E. Lee. Following a morning of clashes and violence at the Unite the Right event, a vicious automobile attack sent 19 people to local hospitals and left 32-year-old Heather Hayer dead.

 

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Heather Hayer was a victim of neo-Nazi hate prospering under Donald Trump.

Police arrested a 20-year-old man on Saturday evening and charged him with murder and other crimes stemming from allegedly ramming a crowd of counter-protesters with his car. The latest incident of domestic terrorism demonstrates once again that Trump’s bans, anti-immigrant policies, and minority fear mongering are simply products of his own demented “fake news” feed. The man arrested for mowing down unarmed men and women did not come from a banned nation or enter America illegally, and he does not have a gun or brown skin. He is from Ohio.

 

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, who is white and a democrat, condemned the violence and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices. As national leaders of every color and political affiliation raised their voices to denounce racism and the white nationalist rally, one American remained ambivalent to Saturday’s activities — Donald Trump.

Speaking from his private club in New Jersey, Trump refused to — as he has since he announced a campaign widely supported by white nationalists — condemn the racist and fascist-leaning groups responsible for Saturday’s violence. Even as noted Ku Klux Klansman David Duke insisted that Unite the Right protesters were “going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” Trump shamefully attempted to mitigate the impact of hate groups and his own culpability.

In a brief statement, Trump suggested that the hatred promoted by white supremacy groups is spread equally across the socio-political and ethnic spectrums. Contrary to Trump’s intimation, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and fascists directly organized the rally in Charlottesville and fanned the flames of racism and bigotry. By declining to speak against the antagonists and distance his office from those who adore and hold him in high regard, Trump essentially condoned their activity and acquiesced to his role of figurehead.

His silence emboldens the alt-right and Trump’s many racist factions, and their numbers are growing. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016 was a banner year for hate groups in America. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign bombarded Americans with messages of fear and energized racist neo-Nazi offshoots and others. In addition to tracking the organizations responsible for spreading hate, the SPLC also documents hate crimes and noted a spike in the first ten days after Nov. 8, 2016 as well as an increased atmosphere of intimidation in the nation’s schools.


 

 

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Hate groups in America. Courtesy Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

 


David Duke’s contention that hate groups are fulfilling the will of Donald Trump resonates throughout the white nationalist community. Late Saturday, the popular white supremacist website Daily Stormer — publishing statements that echoed Trump’s personally unique syntax and style — called Trump’s comments, “Really, really good.” They also noted how Trump refused to condemn them. “No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.”

Both sides heard Trump’s message to America with acute clarity, and today across the nation, the divide widens. Under Trump’s regime, white nationalists are pursuing an agenda that mimics what they see in Washington, D.C. and the White House: a return to pre-civil rights era values and segregated America.

In the wake of domestic terrorism incidents over the past few months, Trump’s silence has earned him a troubling reputation. In cases of white on non-white hate crimes — like the recent Minnesota mosque bombing and February’s shooting of two Indians in a Kansas bar — Trump refused to make a statement, offer condolences on Twitter, or even acknowledge that they occurred.

As tensions rise internationally and domestically, America has entered a modern dark age under Trump’s bigoted views and policies. While white nationalists plan more rallies and spread Trump’s messages of hate, intolerance, and xenophobic views, America’s majority must speak up. Almost a century ago, the world remained silent while another fascist minded lunatic unleashed chaos on Germany. By the time anyone spoke out, he had murdered millions and nearly destroyed Europe.

Donald Trump, who once admitted to keeping Hitler’s speeches by his bedside, may like silence more than just when he is reading. He relies on it, and will shout down those who oppose him — the same way neo-Nazi thugs do in the streets. Yesterday an American’s voice was silenced, but millions more can send a message to Trump and his racist supporters. Today, everyone say something extra for Heather Hayer…because our nation’s leader forgot to.

The Daily Dog: The Insulter In Chief

It is becoming exhausting every night to listen to the evening punditry about Donald Trump attacking the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and his own staff. The mental and emotional drain comes from more than just the constant barrage of his idiocy, but that Trump’s war is not with the 535 members of Congress. He is waging a daily conflict against common Americans.

There are 325 million of us. Even with the minority who voted for him, the rest of America should be able to beat him by sending a clear message. Trump, however, seems as deaf as he is dumb.

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Trump knows so much, he told the neurologist where to begin the lobotomy.

Though Trump may not send out tweets directly to Melissa in accounting, or Steve at the corner deli, his constant trolling of the nation’s leadership is a form of personal attack on every voter. By implying that legislators do his bidding, and not act on the will of the nation’s people, Trump is sending each of us a very clear message: You don’t count and I don’t care.

On Thursday, Trump demonstrated his theme du jour with a Twitter bombardment of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-S.C.). By mid-morning, Trump was goading and ordering McConnell to, “get back to work and put Repeal & Replace…Bill [sic] on my desk.”

By asking for a bill that has already failed several times, Trump does not seem to comprehend that the House and Senate are not his personal legislating puppets — like he is to Vladimir Putin. Congress is not a body that bends to the will of the president, but to the will of the people. Trump’s ongoing focus and demand for a new health care bill is one example of how his personal wants insult the nation’s collective needs.

Over the past two months, millions of Americans — those dependent on Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, or other health care subsidies and plans — telephoned, wrote, emailed, and appeared in person to demand that Congress not repeal or replace the present system. Amazingly, representatives and senators listened and the bills failed.

Despite the calls, protests, and personal testimonies, Trump continues to bolster his front line against the American public by pushing the health care issue, repeatedly. Whether he is impeached this year or next, or survives another 40 months, Trump will leave office like a broken record repeating the same useless demands, complaints, and false statistics.

Trump’s battering of common Americans is only partly accomplished through his daily Twitter rants. The additional insult arrives whenever he opens his mouth, as he did Thursday afternoon. During a rambling press conference, Trump fielded questions on everything from his transgender military ban, to escalating tensions in North Korea.

Listening to Trump is enough to raise any intelligent person’s blood pressure a dozen points. It is not what he says, but that he does not say anything — and how he does it — that is infuriating. Trump speaks to America in circles and in childish statements that sometimes sound like an elementary school verb conjugation lesson.

In one exchange Thursday, Trump used the verb “to look” four times in less than a minute in one long run-on thought. He looked, was looking, will be looking, and looks at the North Korea situation. That is all he does. He looks at it. A majority of Trump’s other responses follow a similar pattern where he draws attention with one repeated verb, but describes no real action.

When the country is on the brink of a nuclear war, the American people deserve a little more substantive answers than a lesson in the use of “to look.”

The level of insult to anyone with at least a high-school education listening to a Trump speech is painfully appalling. Trump has been speaking his low English to Americans since day one of his campaign. Everyday family members and friends are merely the “little people” that Trump looks down on and imagines are so stupid that he must make decisions for them.

It does not work like that Donald. Americans are not stupid, and we do not want someone forcing their choices on us like we are ignorant children. We want leadership that demonstrates education, tact, and grace under pressure. If you want to control someone to make yourself feel better, or pretend you are some kind of modern deity, go “look” in the mirror. There, you will find an audience in desperate need of control and eager to worship you.

The Daily Dog: Nuts with Nukes

Donald Trump neither is fit to be president, nor qualified to issue an order for a nuclear first strike. His inability to seek counsel, weigh consequences, or consider the well-being of 325 million Americans not only handicap Trump’s capacities for office, but also dynamically endanger the health and safety of every American — civilian and military alike.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump spontaneously converted his Bedminster, N.J. golf club into an instantaneous war room for the growing conflict with North Korea. Seated next to Melania, instead of his generals, Trump responded to a reporter’s question with his usual hyperbolic rhetoric and an added dose of unrestrained bravado. One could surmise that Trump was showing off for Mrs. Trump, but his intimation of a first strike against North Korea none-the-less demonstrates why threats of war should not be made in the presence of spouses — or in Trump’s case, any supermodel, young bride, or female White House intern.

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Trump is full of “fire and fury” to impress.

Just days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed a move toward positive groundwork for diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, Trump once again blindsided his staff and advisors. Additionally, by threatening Kim Jong-Un — Trump’s equal among the planet’s madmen — Trump has severely limited his own options in responding to the North Korean regime. He is drawing lines in the sand that he cannot legitimately enforce and placing the country and America’s Pacific allies at risk.

As the crisis escalated Tuesday night, pundits across the nation unleashed a barrage of criticism on Trump and his impulsive approach nuclear war and global diplomacy. If what Trump has sought in his political aspirations is fame, then he has achieved the rare status of being twin to the most despised, irrational, and falsely adored dictator on the planet. As the two adolescent minded tyrants square off, the rest of the world is watching closely without an iota of admiration or respect for either leader.

Earlier on Tuesday, in the hours after The Washington Post broke the news of North Korea’s miniaturization of nuclear warheads for a ballistic missile, Trump was too busy tweeting about…the illegitimacy of The Post. It seems obvious that Trump either had not been briefed on the North Korea situation, or if he did, had ignored any expert counselling. His irrational tweets also suggest Trump is suffering a severe disconnect with reality. He condemns The Post in one instance and then reacts to its reporting in another as justification for initiating nuclear war.

As discussions intensified on Tuesday night, some political commentators introduced a legal theory not widely explored since the Reagan-era trials of Oliver North and John Poindexter: the affirmative duty of military personnel to disobey unlawful orders. Their Tuesday night arguments started the debate on whether Trump attempted a first strike to satiate his own ego, if U.S. military leaders — the generals who are supposed to be advising him — would have the sense and courage to prevent a global catastrophe by questioning any cause for illegality.

Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice governs, generally, issues of following direct orders. As emphasized by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) in the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings, “Members of the military have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders.” Whether an order is unlawful becomes a question of law and fact in a military court. In the abrupt turmoil that Trump caused on Tuesday, analysts talking about unlawful orders covertly urged today’s military leaders to “read up on” Article 92.

Across cable news outlets Tuesday night, the opinions of both hosts and analysts waxed strongly against Trump and his mental capacity and temperament for handling the immediate crisis. Additionally, poll numbers released Tuesday suggest that less than a quarter of Americans trust the information coming from the Trump White House and a similar number believe he is qualified to address the North Korean conflict.

Plowshares Fund President Joe Cirincione had perhaps the strongest words for Trump on Tuesday night. The head of a public grantmaking foundation dedicated to preventing nuclear proliferation, Cirincione placed Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un on the same hotheaded level of diminished capacity. Others — including a wide-range of Republicans — cited Trump’s “incoherent world view” and called his remarks “amateurish.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) summed up Trump’s comments and mental state by saying, “I don’t know what he’s saying and I’ve long ago given up trying to interpret what he says.”

Someone had better start interpreting Trump’s language, because Kim Jong-Un understands Trump with sobering clarity.

Whether it is Trump’s temper, his ignorance, or his refusal to seek advice from those in the know, he does not understand that the presidency is not the one-man show he is accustomed to running. The American presidency is a collaborative effort. In a country of millions, with 50 states, and global reach, it is an impossibility that one person can be responsible for each and every decision. The Oval Office is not a Trump Tower boardroom where Trump can dictate policy without consequence.

The Daily Dog: Party Crashers

According to the European Election Database, there are ten major political parties vying for seats during Italy’s next election. In other European democracies, the number of major political parties varies from six and eight in Germany and Switzerland to seven in France. Each of these countries has an abundance of minor parties registered with national election councils.

In Canada, Elections Canada identifies five major parties sharing the table with eleven other minorities. An interesting note about the democracy north of the U.S. border, is that very often the federal party branch may have little or no semblance to the local party objectives. Most democratic nations have developed a broad scope of major and minor political parties that represent the diversity of their populations.

Then there is the United States, the so-called world leader on all topics democratic. Since 1852, we have been saddled with a two-party system that forces us to choose between the constantly warring democrats and republicans. For the past century and a half, the two parties that govern the United States have been pigeonholing America’s voters into uncomfortable and cramped categories. For a nation built on diversity, it is insulting to make voting decisions like a test-lab monkey flicking a red switch or a blue one.

The present crises facing our nation and congress did not begin recently with the inexperience and unpredictability of Donald Trump. They originated as early as 1796 when men in Washington, D.C. — and other seats of government and power — pursued what evolved to our consolidated two-party system by associating their campaigns with either Federalists or, ironically, Democratic-Republicans. There is little suggestion or evidence that the founding fathers intended our democracy to grow into a polarized partisan system with only two choices.

The two-party system dominated by republicans and democrats for the past 200 years not only limits voter choices, but it also narrows the political principles and agendas represented in government. Unfortunately, it is also self-perpetuating. Once the red-blue vortex of conservativism and liberalism caught America, it was like a sinkhole sucking down the creative juices of our budding young democracy.

For years, a third choice — the bland and equally non-creative amorphous Independent party — has tempted some American voters. The press and public have ridiculed recent independent candidates as the scourge of elections because they draw away pivotal votes from one of the main contenders. In reality, however, a third, fourth, or fifth party addition would strengthen our democracy and ensure that mistakes like Trump never happen again.

Our nation’s founding fathers imagined a system of government where the people voted and distributed power across the various branches of government. Beyond the basics of checks and balances, multiple parties further the fundamental goal of eliminating what frightened the framers the most — consolidated power. Even as Congress pushes back against the Trump regime, the collapse of the republicans and the threat of our two parties joining forces in opposition presents a new hazard in the prospect of emerging from the Trump era as a one-party nation.

Trump is destroying democracy — directly and through the long-term collateral consequences of his rule.

If America exits the dark tunnel of the Trump regime, but does so with only one major political party, the nation will have lost. A one-party system represents the very consolidated power that terrified our founders. The fewer the parties, the more danger there is in tyranny, abuse, control, and a collapse to some unitary form of rule that will fail democracy’s most basic test.

When democrats and republicans in Washington begin speaking of joining efforts to defeat Trump, it is very unsettling, because it is but a step in a short-term solution to a long-term problem. For the past two centuries, one decision after another has increased the consolidation of power that threatens democratic values. From dueling two-party elections to elimination of Super PAC regulations, each minor change has caused a significant ripple effect on our nation’s democratic functions.

In Stephen Hawking terms, our government began collapsing to a black hole a few years after the Declaration of Independence. When our present two-party system reaches singularity proportions, democracy will fail, and Donald Trump is ushering us across the event-horizon too quickly.

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There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

In a system that functions with limited definition and an often-arbitrary application of rules — because of its very nature of protection from abuse of authority and power — it is a tragic irony that we have such constraining chokeholds on the expansion of political parties. The United States is the land of opportunity and choice.

We have 25 brands of coffee to choose from at the grocery store; 50 kinds of yogurt; hundreds of pastas; and entire aisles of cereal, bread, chips, and soda. As a nation, and a democracy, we should be able to do better than having to pick either red or blue in the voting booth. There is a rainbow of colors we are not using to represent the people of America, and like all rainbows…ours is fading.

The Sunday Dog: A General Discomfort

The only thing missing from Friday’s Department of Justice press conference were armed and uniformed members of Donald Trump’s new authoritarian regime. As Trump begins to tighten the noose on American freedoms, he advocates the use of force (urging police to ‘rough up’ suspects) and relies on military generals as advisors in ways that are unprecedented in our nation’s history.

For over 240 years, America has been a civil democracy where elected leaders and civilian appointees make government decisions and set policies commensurate with constitutional mandates. In the early stages of the Trump era, however, the nation is experiencing an increasing shift to military style totalitarianism. The people with the tanks and guns — instead of the brains — have an emergent role in advising Trump on how to control, rather than lead, the nation.

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Trump reminisces with his generals about his days as a draft dodger.

The Trump regime’s crackdown on leakers, whistle blowers, the press, and long-standing First Amendment traditions is leading America down a dangerous path into a dark forest. Restraining the free flow of information has long been a key weapon in subduing and controlling populations. Today in China, the government is blocking almost all social media, Google, WordPress, and media outlets like the New York Times and Reuters to check public enlightenment.

Governments that limit freedom of information are often the same ones that abuse human rights, engage in illicit and illegal activity, and suppress individual expression. They are spoken about in the United States of America as “communist regimes” and “police states” among many other less flattering names. When America’s leaders discuss nations like North Korea, Cuba, and Russia, it is usually in the context of places where the seeds of democracy need be sown.

Our own garden, however, is choking on Trump’s toxic manure.

Trump opponents likely remember former press secretary Sean Spicer whining in January that Twitter users should stop mocking Trump on social media. With this week’s added threats of prosecution of leakers, and harsh warnings for the media, it seems more and more like Trump is moving towards an authoritarian lock down on First Amendment freedoms. How long will it be before Trump’s generals attempt to shutdown Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to limit online criticism of “Beloved Leader?”

Both the Fourth and Fifth Estates have distinct and necessary objectives in maintaining the future of America’s democracy. If the nation is to emerge from the Trump era with its rights and freedoms intact, the press and social media communities must focus their efforts and resolve. They must strive not to cave under the regime’s threats of punishment for mere acts of patriotism. It is essential that the media, with its access to leaked information, the country’s leadership, and trusted sources continues to expose and inform each American of Trump’s every step and misstep.

No less important are the millions of mothers and fathers, professionals and students, and late-night-bloggers, who, unpaid and oft not rewarded, lay their opinions and observations bare for the global digital community. Collectively, anti-Trump sentiment runs as deep and wide as the oceans, and includes individuals from all walks of life associating with each other via hashtags like #TheResistance, #ImpeachTrump, and #25for45. It is an empowering and driving force for change that unites a nation whose people value their rights and freedoms.

Any daily Twitter user could likely offer expert opinion on why a nation like China banned the world’s most popular communication platform; and why Donald Trump is so scared of it — despite relying on Twitter to reach fan club members with his self-styled “truths” each day between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m.

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Amy Siskind’s list is growing exponentially.

For those who are skeptical about the direction in which Trump and his generals are taking the nation, follow the lead of Amy Siskind. A former Wall Street executive who is the co-founder and president of The New Agenda, Siskind began documenting the minor changes in America following Trump’s rise to power. For 37 consecutive weeks, she has been posting weekly additions to her long and detailed list of authoritarian style changes that she has noticed. Each post has the ominous caption that advises to keep the list “so you remember.”

Siskind’s list has grown to a book-length read as she scrutinizes the Trump regime at every move. Hers is a valuable lesson for Americans who may be too busy, too distracted, and too careless to understand that coups do not always happen overnight. The subtle changes that Siskind documents are worthwhile concerns and warnings for each person who wants to not only remember, but also not have to rely on memories of freedoms we take for granted.

Trump has been in office for six months and the most notable change is the atmosphere of hostility, anxiety, and fear on every corner in America. There is a sense of uncertainty that cannot be qualified or quantified for many, but it lingers ominously. While it is difficult to identify a gut feeling, an air of danger is often the best indication that something is not right — and when the wolf if prowling at night, just because you do not see it, does not mean it is safe to close your eyes. If you are tired, America, sometimes making lists is a good way to stay awake…

The Daily Dog: The Oaf of Office

Once again, the Trump regime propaganda office dismissed Donald Trump’s offhand comments as “jokes,” alleging that his remarks encouraging police brutality were not intended to be serious. It was not the first time that Trump representatives have covered for their boss’s ignorance by claiming the comedian in chief is just a joker at heart. Whether it happens on the campaign trail, or during an early morning Twitter rant, Trump’s joker defense demonstrates his true lack of experience, respect, or dedication to the office he occupies.

 

08042017 Trump Hair
Trump sports a natural jester look with a wavy cap’ n’bells hairstyle that all clowns love.

For a man who refused to attend the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, Trump has certainly found his funny bone in the past few months. Each time he lashes out and shows the true colors (or lack thereof) of his ignorance, and the critics begin to weigh in, Trump raises his tiny jester-like hands and shouts, “I was joking!”

 

Another famous Donald, whose first name is Ronald would like to remind Trump that the world is not laughing with him and that he should leave his comedic aspirations to the real clowns instead of being a fake one. Global politics and the national interests of 325 million Americans are not the appropriate inspiration for Trump’s amateur-hour stand-up routine.

“I believe he was making a joke at the time.”

31 July 2017, Sarah Suckabee Sanders replying to a reporter who asked what was funny about Trump’s remarks encouraging police brutality.

In addition to the joking defense, Sarah Huckabee Sanders — whose own career in the Trump regime is truly laughable — continues to present an array of awkwardly thin justifications for Trump’s bad behavior. From jokes to imagined congratulatory phone calls that really happened, but were not phone calls, and thusly, not lies, the White House spin has become an insult to what remains of America’s collective intelligence.

It is not only our intelligence that Trump insults, but also the nation itself. Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Trump had boasted to members at his private club that he does not like spending time at the White House because it is a “dump.” At every juncture, Trump predictably maligns the institutions and symbols of liberty and freedom of the country that he pretends to lead. His jokes aside, he is the most un-American person ever to occupy political office or the White House and if it is so detestable to him, perhaps he should leave.

08042017 WH Rainbow
The Russian dacha known as “Trump’s Dump.”

 

Already, Trump is denying that he made the comments. He tweeted that they are “fake,” but it will only be a matter of days before Trump admits that he was merely making clubhouse “jokes” about the most storied residence in the country — a mansion so rich with history, that most Americans cringe at the thought of Trump’s gaucheness and bigotry poisoning it. The only dumpy characteristic of the White House is the trash accumulating in the West Wing and the Oval Office.

For all of Trump’s ambitions of royalty, he is proving to be no more than a bright orange court jester with an abundance of ill-conceived jokes. As a grand jury convenes in the Russia investigation, it is likely the one person not finding humor in any of Trump’s so-called witticisms is special counsel Robert Mueller. Though Trump may have been giggling in January with his hand on the Bible, America is no longer laughing at the Oaf of Office.