The Daily Dog: Congress Moves to Cut the Umbilical Cord

Congressional leaders are finally sending an overdue message of resistance to Donald Trump by agreeing on legislation to limit his powers on future sanctions against Russia. The bill, scheduled for an early week vote, is expected to pass before landing on Trump’s desk in what will likely be another contentious moment between legislators and a delirious apprentice dictator.

A key piece of the legislation surrounds Congressional oversight and control over any future revisions to the proposed sanctions. Trump, accustomed to never being held accountable or reporting to superiors, is likely to balk at the included provisions that limit his power.

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Will Congress be able to break the power of the secret handshake?

In what may have been a cryptic response to news of the proposed legislation, Trump posted a tweet Sunday afternoon accusing Republicans of abandoning him. “It’s very sad that Republicans do very little to protect their President,” Trump wrote late Sunday following his 42nd round of golf since taking office. The tweet followed odd statements made by Trump a day earlier calling on U.S. military personnel to support his healthcare bill revisions so that they would have health care coverage.

The more time that elapses since Trump seized power in Washington, D.C., the more evident it becomes that the 71-year-old executive has little to no knowledge of government policies, functions, or procedures. It does not occur to him that congress does not represent or protect him or his interests, or that military forces should not be politicized. These are harbingers of a totalitarian despot.

Republicans in congress have a duty to the people who elected them — not to Donald Trump. It is more than disturbing that Trump believes that representatives and senators have failed to protect him or any of his equally disturbing proposed policies.

As the Trump regime ages — and not so gracefully at that — it is clear that Trump has a much different perception of his office than is historically expected. He inches closer and closer each day to a power shift that will alter the fundamental structure of the American political system…and not in a good way for the people.

Trump has filled his administration and surrounded himself with friends and family with few relevant qualifications. He has demonstrated a lack of judgement that detrimentally affects his ability to fulfill the oath of office. He has alienated allies and embraced anti-democratic regimes around the globe. He has demanded loyalty from supporters and employees. He has attacked the constitutional rights of the press and the people. Now, he has condemned his own party members for failing to protect him and not the people of the United States.

In every instance, Trump has digressed from traditional and constitutionally defined expectations — veering just a little bit farther from the democratic path established by our nation’s founders. Without corrective action, Trump’s megalomaniacal ideations of power, fame, and fortune have the potential to cripple America.

The pending legislation on Russia sanctions is a baby-step for what has been until-now, an impotent body of 535 elected representatives. It is a pushback against a power-grab that may have arrived too late to right the nation’s course. A truer test of America’s checks and balances will come if Trump vetoes the bill — requiring a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to override.

Until now, Trump has acted with impunity for the rules of law and constitutionality. America’s position as a global leader and a beacon of democracy demands that Congress not falter at this critical juncture. The time has come to sever the toxic umbilical cord between Trump and Putin and the sanctions bill is the decisive initial step in unmaking America’s first — and last — failed dictatorship.

#Covfefe Solved!

On Monday, the White House claimed that it was “utterly ridiculous” for anyone to infer that President Trump attacked London’s mayor because the mayor is Muslim. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders was too quick to respond when asked about Trump’s tweets criticizing Mayor Sadiq Kahn. The knee-jerk denial was strong enough to kick her credibility out the door where it almost hit a cowering Sean Spicer.

Trump and Kahn have been sparring in the media since the beginning of both their political campaigns almost two years ago. Kahn took early exception to Trump’s “ignorant” view of Muslims; and Trump took an exception to…well, Kahn’s religion. Then candidate Trump intimated that Kahn was an “exception” to the rule among Muslims and how the Travel Ban would affect him if the mayor visited the United States.

Yet, the White House continues to treat the American public like a mindless herd that will eagerly consume and digest any statement, opinion, or denial coming from on high. Trump has not only insulted Mayor Kahn and other European leaders, but he humiliates every person in the United States daily in assuming they are not intelligent enough to connect the dots in the administration’s path to ruin.

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Tiny hands and a big mouth make Trump a double threat in the Twitter dominated media world.

It was only a few weeks ago that the president wished the “many losers” in the country a happy Memorial Day on Twitter. On the heels of his criticism and “pathetic” tweet regarding Kahn, it is neither ridiculous nor a stretch to see the president for what he is: an inflammatory blowhard — the original agent provocateur.

Trump ramped up to his hasty presidential campaign crushing dreamers on national television by yelling, “You’re fired!” Millions of Americans tuned in each week filled with glee and anticipation to see which apprentice’s failings merited Trump’s ire. How happy they must be now that Trump is calling them losers and heaping his scorn on the public. America created this monster, and America must work together to contain him.

Once in office, Trump continued his role as the inciting agent by encouraging his appointees to do his bidding and then disowning the consequences. For Trump, failure is familiar and embarrassing, and he is fearfully incapable of owning it. He is never at fault and has an answer for every moronic debacle — or he sends one of his minions to their doom in having to lie and make excuses for him. (Try saying, “Cover for Me,” after a shot of tequila or when you are exhausted.)

#Covfefe launched the Twitterverse into a bigly Conundrizzy…

Contrary to the White House propaganda, what is utterly ridiculous at this early point in the Trump presidency is that it is not ridiculous to assume or infer anything. In almost every instance of Trump’s incoherent tweets, unscripted speeches, and blustery promises, the not-so-hidden meanings eventually turn out to be quite transparent and true. A ban that is unequivocally not a ban is later proclaimed loudly and openly…as a ban.

Trump is raw, unfiltered, frustrated, and spoiled. He has difficulty containing his intentions and emotions. He is driven to express what Trump wants to say because he believes that he is right, everyone else is wrong, and he is thus superior.

A majority of his tweets contain emotional language, capital letters, and exclamation points. It is not at all unreasonable for the public to interpret the meaning of his excited utterances as what is most obvious the truth at the moment. However, what is unreasonable in this new era of political chaos is for the president and the White House staff to assume that Americans are somehow less intelligent today than yesterday. Simply because an idiot leads a nation (or pretends to), does not make it a country of idiots — the same way not every American is a bigot, racist, or even a small-time orange billionaire.

The Daily Dog: Did Trump Just Drop Some Grey Jello on America?

In the midst of this weekend’s attack in London, Donald Trump made what equates to a rational person’s impassioned plea for “the courts to give us back our rights.” Though the president’s tweet was book-ended by his normal gauche ranting, it was the first thought of substance coming from the White House since Barack Obama’s departure in January.

The press and public have grown accustomed to Trump’s gelatinous ramblings that waver like dessert on a tray. Therefore, it is both surprising and difficult to ascertain when anything of legitimate or coherent consequence oozes from the tiny lump of grey matter in the president’s thick orange skull.

It is painfully difficult to admit, but Trump’s Saturday night tweet was the first thing he has ever expressed that America should agree with and support. We do need the courts to give us back our rights, fairly, equally, and constitutionally across the board.

Trumps tweet went viral Saturday night for other reasons. Primarily because he referenced the travel ban (full disclosure: the Dogs fell for it like everyone else) and of the callous timing of the tweet (ditto). If not for the outrage over the president’s ill timed and poorly conceived tweet, his private — and perhaps Freudian (worried much Donald?) — perception of the courts and rights may have fallen by the wayside.

While the tweet was likely an expression of Trump’s hyper-egotistical need for added power, it makes a very important and subtle admission. Americans have lost too many rights in the past several decades. The government machine has been eroding fundamental rights at a pace that is generational, and thus nearly imperceptible. Trump may someday lament his tweet because it exposes the stark reality of the condition of the country. It essentially validates 90% of what is wrong with America and Trump’s presidency.

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Was Trump merely referring to his right to take a dip in the private SCOTUS swimming pool?

If asked to enumerate the rights in need of restoration, Trump would likely not do so eloquently. However, the following suggestions present as essential benchmarks in the current political atmosphere — in case the president cannot recall what the Constitution guarantees and what every American expects, deserves, and is entitled to:

  • We need an absolute guarantee that our First Amendment rights will never be infringed upon; and that regardless of what we express about the president, it will be allowed and respected as hallowed speech; and that a free press shall forever be an inherent part of political transparency as America’s greatest protection against fraud, injustice, and the destruction of democracy.
  • We need to know that when we vote, it will count for the candidate who wins an election, and not the one who loses. We need to restore corporate money and super-PAC limits to resurrect the inviolability of free and fair elections.
  • We need to know that, no matter what color our skin, or what religious emblem we display, or what clothing we don, we will be treated equally and without prejudice — and that we will not be banned from our own country because of these.
  • We need to accept that there are two — or three or four — sexes, but that each will be recognized and encouraged to make choices about their bodies; and that they will share in equal opportunities for their entire lives, from making a decision about an abortion to seeing the same wages on a paycheck to choosing a restroom.
  • We need protection from unlawful police conduct, searches, and seizures; from black-ops FISA courts; and from secret or sealed indictments. We need to know that our homes will not be seized for profit in the name of public domain.
  • We need renewed assurances and direction that the Fifth Amendment invocations against self-incrimination will be protected in all criminal prosecutions; and that the accused shall be afforded reasonable bails, balanced juries, and the competent assistance of counsel; and that race, sex, or status will not decide a criminal prosecution.
  • We need to know that civil rights will be enforced equally by all government agencies; and that police brutality, corruption, lying, and prosecutorial misconduct to gain convictions will not be tolerated at any level.

The challenge for Trump will be to stand by his statement when presented with an issue he does not like or agree with. He does not easily accept the premise of equality over entitlement. For the rest of us, it is to forget for a moment that it is Trump, the president, a billionaire who is asking for rights. As abhorrent as he is, for his request to be fulfilled, the same rights must apply equally to him as all others. That is the fundamental basis of America. We do need the courts to give us back our rights, but only equally for all, regardless of money, power, influence, or title.

Hint to the White House Press Corps: The Dogs would love for Sean Spicer to list the president’s specific thoughts on which rights to restore and to whom.

The Sunday Dog: Trump Thinks Like a Terrorist

Another disgusting and horrendous act of indifference and disregard for human rights and life followed Saturday night’s terror attack in London. Great Britain, one of America’s closest long-standing allies, and its citizens again suffered loss of life, safety, and security — and President Trump’s immediate thought was to leverage a foreign partner’s fear and chaos to advance his xenophobic agenda at home.

Passersby placed “999” calls for police and ambulances at just after 10:00 B.S.T. as a white van began striking pedestrians on London Bridge. A second slash-and-stab incident occurred only blocks away at Borough Market. Londoners went on high alert and Prime Minster Theresa May called for a meeting of Britain’s special security services.

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While Britain prayed for her loss, Trump preyed on America’s fears.

Two hours after the attack, while Great Britain was still reeling to restore peace and treat her injured, Trump tweeted, “We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” That the president’s immediate thought was not to offer condolences for the dead and wounded, but to scare Americans into supporting his isolationist agenda is the epitome of terror.

Google, “what is terrorism,” and the resulting definition is: the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

Donald Trump thinks like a terrorist. He uses intimidation against United States citizens to accomplish his political aims. Though it may be lawful, it is still disgusting. His Saturday evening tweet, as grating and incomprehensible as it is to the left, is a strong indication of Trump’s deviousness and self-gratifying tendencies. It should not matter left or right, republican or democrat, to raise the question of why the once leader of the free world does not think first to extend a sincere and sympathetic tweet before launching on his personal crusade.

Merits of the travel ban aside, at what point will the president stop pursuing an agenda of hatred against Muslims? Will his next step be an executive order banning drivers’ licenses for Muslim-Americans? Alternatively, will it be to prohibit car dealers from selling cars to them? Will Trump propel the nation towards policed kitchenware departments and silverware purchases requiring three forms of identification and vetting, while guns are still freely available to any homegrown lone wolf?

In 1930s Germany, Hitler used fear and intimidation to drive the country into a frenzy of hatred that resulted in the unchecked murder of millions of Jews. He blamed the Jewish population for every problem that Germany faced and made the public afraid…afraid that Jews would steal their money and land, commit crimes, or dishonor the nation’s daughters. Hitler parlayed anti-Semitism into a mental, emotional, and physical tool to intimidate civilian support to pursue his political goals. What history does not always teach us is that it was all legal.

None-the-less, Hitler was a terrorist.

Donald Trump began his presidency with an instant aim to intimidate the American public into fulfilling his personal agenda. As one item, the travel ban is strikingly similar to early anti-Semitic laws in Germany that intended to isolate Jews from their fellow citizens and slowly strip them of their citizenship. If Trump gets his way, many Muslim-Americans will find themselves in similar circumstances while travelling abroad — lost in a state of statelessness — if the ban is enacted.

Trump’s continued efforts to scare Americans, combined with his demands for power — his Saturday evening tweet also demanded “the courts give us back our rights” — and disregard for the American political process, border on Hitleresque beginnings. It is not likely that Trump was thinking of a Muslim-American when he tweeted for rights restoration.

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Americans remain vigilant against Trump’s intimidation.

Like Hitler, Donald Trump ultimately would enjoy convincing America that all problems are attributable to one group that he can identify as the enemy. He has blamed Muslims. He has blamed the press. Fortunately, for America, he has not been able to convince the country of any of his premises yet.

America must continue standing up for what is right and not give in to Trump’s selfish terrorist methodologies and motivations. We must say loudly and in unity, “We will not be intimidated.” The instant this country falters in that resolve, is the moment America’s future becomes Germany’s past.

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.

Mythical Gryphon Slays Trump

On Wednesday morning, it was evident that America’s Tweeter in Chief was off his meds again. Following a convoluted drunk-text shortly after midnight that resulted in the “#covfefe” intrigue, Trump went on an early morning rant against comedian Kathy Griffin. Earlier, Griffin had posted a tweet in which she held an effigy of a wigged and bloody orange head. It bordered on tasteless, but was in all honesty obviously fake. With the Trump family’s keen ability to sniff out fakeness, the photo should have been quickly identified as not the real Donald Trump.

An effigy of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is burnt as part of  bonfire night celebrations in Edenbridge
This is a FAKE Trump. No Trumps were harmed in the making of this photograph.

Instead, during one of his first tweets of the morning, Trump said, “My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!” First off, most of Trump’s children are gown adults who, recently appointed to security-clearance level White House positions, are surely able to distinguish an effigy from the real thing. Secondly, those same adult children must, in the wake of the administration’s circus-like criminal conduct, understand politics is ugly. If they are unable to accept the harshness of politics, then they have no place in Washington, D.C.

For Trump’s offspring born to privilege, pampering, protection, and private schools, it is likely Griffin’s comedic attempt did push the envelope of their delicate sensibilities. To Griffin’s credit, she apologized shortly thereafter, admitting that perhaps her parody had gone too far. Her apology is more than the American public can expect from Trump for his indiscretions and the damage that he is doing daily to children across the nation.

In the context of leader of the country, Trump has an assumed moral duty to act in the best interests of the nation’s children. They are the weakest, often without voices, and in greatest need. However, as he has with almost every issue of importance, the president instead demonstrated that the only concern in Trumpington is Trump.

Trump rebuked Griffin for her lack of taste because it may have marred his youngest son. The reprimand comes from the same leader who has refused to protect the interests of America’s poorest children. By not demanding a balanced budget that includes fully funded public welfare programs to families, Trump committed 15 million times more harm as Griffin. In demanding the repeal of Obamacare and coverage for low-income families, the president turned his back on those who need him most: the ailing children of America who live in poverty.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, a joint organization of Columbia University and the Mailman School of Public Heath, almost 25% of all American children live below the federal poverty line. When the government’s outmoded poverty standard is adjusted to account for the necessities that a family of four requires to subsist, the percentage of at-risk children rises to 43%.

In America, living in poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s welfare. Children represent one-third of all people in poverty — the largest group of any age category. For them, a “hard time” does not include seeing a violent effigy of a parent, but it may mean being witness to a parent’s violent death. Those children do not worry about their parent’s safety in the most secure mansion in the world, but wonder if the gunfire outside will reach them while they sleep.

For children in poverty, bloodied effigies of loved ones are not fake news: they are the reality of life. Living in poverty stunts a child’s ability to learn, thrive, and succeed. Insufficient income contributes to children having to confront a broader range of physical and psychosocial stressors — violence, in and out of the home, drugs, residential instability, and a lack of food and nutrition.

The president’s agenda and programs offer no support, solutions, or even diffident concern for millions of children who will suffer a hundred times what Barron can only imagine because of a fake photo. They will suffer more than Chelsea Clinton did when Donald Trump called for fans to exercise their second amendment rights against her mother. They will suffer more than the Obama daughters did when the Trump assailed their father and cheered rallies for admirers who burned Barack Obama in effigy.

Griffin: fierce, but apologetic.

It is difficult to feel sorry for any of the president’s children because of a cartoonish image of Trump in a photo. Moreover, it is even more difficult to generate sympathy when Trump is shamefully using his son as a shield to deflect his detractors instead of bearing the burden of criticism like a man. It is a sign that Trump will sell out anyone.

Kathy Griffin may have crossed a line, but it was a very fine line. The country is staring down its worst crisis in nearly a century. Griffin at least had the conviction to express herself without hurting anyone, which is more than can be said for the unprincipled damage Trump’s policies portend for America’s forgotten children.

15 Minutes…

Following an abysmal performance at the NATO and G7 summits last week, President Trump is struggling to find a foothold to boost his slipping support and approval ratings. In the wake of Trump’s self-proclaimed and self-gratifying “great success” during his inaugural European vacation, other western leaders offered sharper assessments of Trump’s so-called accomplishments.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earned a special place in Trump’s daily Twitter tirade on Monday after she expressed her negative impressions left by Trump. Germany is in the middle of an election cycle and newspapers quickly jumped on Merkel’s words. Sueddeutsche Zeitung, one of the country’s largest daily newspapers said her comments on Sunday revealed, “Merkel no longer regards the USA as reliable.”

Trump’s own body language during his visit and the eerie lack of enthusiasm by European leaders after his departure seem to reinforce Merkel’s resolute and honest statements. In a matter of days, Trump managed to erode nearly a century of foreign relations leaving as big a mess in Europe as the one he returned to at home. Yet he still does not understand why he is the subject of intense criticism.

Is he daft? His performance at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day would seem to indicate some degree of cerebral dysfunction. However, looking back at Trump’s on-again off-again presence in the media presents a far-different picture than merely a medical condition.

From soup to nuts…it’s in the can!

Donald Trump is, and always has been, a flash-in-the-pan personality. In the past few decades, he has faded in and out of the public eye, hopping from one 15-minute spotlight to another. He is the original Kim Kardashian of New York City mogul reality.

Unfortunately for the United States, media whore Trump is stalled somewhere among the Reagan-era excesses of the 1980s, the Howard Stern heydays of the 1990s, and “The Apprentice” highlights of the 2000s. The dark spaces in between the highs in Trump’s public jaunts are riddled with lawsuits, bankruptcies, tax audits, and failed relationships — with women and Trump University students. None-the-less, Trump’s eternal goal seems to be a desperate attempt to sustain an eternal “American Idol” image. He wants only to be sought after and worshiped, but eschews any semblance of responsibility for how he earns a starring role.

Clearly, his body and mind can no longer support his own egotistical urge for hollow publicity and adoration. Trump is like “Sunset Boulevard’s” Norma Desmond grasping for the light of just one more blockbuster performance. He has not learned that light cannot be held or captured. Trump’s futile pursuit will eventually land him in the same fame-starved delirium suffered by Desmond in the final scene — beyond the realm of any reality.

Every day, Trump promotes his own tragic demise. To use one of the president’s favorite standbys, it is a “SAD” reality that a man with what he has is so terribly unhappy, dissatisfied, lost, and needy. It is a tragedy for America that to fulfill the emptiness of his existential crises, he is dragging the nation down with him in a last ditch effort to be relevant.

Trump will be remembered, but not likely in the way that he was hoping. When the credits finally roll on his presidency and career, he will end up in a dusty library, nestled somewhere next to Nixon. The caption beneath his presidential portrait will read simply, “The 15-Minute President.”

Lack of Moral Fiber Leads to Trump Blockage

Twitter users Monday reported some unusual activity. While not verified by any official sources at this point, it appeared that President Trump — or someone else in an administrative capacity sympathetic to him — had begun blocking Twitter accounts critical of the president. Among those reportedly blocked was comedy writer Bess Kalb of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Kalb tweeted a screen shot accompanied by a short, but stinging rebuttal. “OH. MY. EFFING. GOD. The President of the United States just blocked me on Twitter because I hurt his feelings. #MAGA” Other users, critical of Trump, his policies, and his administration soon verified Kalb’s report when they, too, were blocked.

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A sign grows in Melbourne, Fla.

Meanwhile, in Florida, one woman’s old-school protest has met resistance similar to Kalb’s digital shutdown. A plywood anti-Trump sign in her Melbourne yard keeps disappearing and last Friday night, she reported it burned. She has said the local sheriff suggested to her that she keep her opinions to herself rather than address the vandals who violated her First Amendment rights.

In Kalb’s case, the digital blocking has only fueled the fires of those committed to resisting Trump’s fascist tendencies. The retribution on Monday arrived swiftly and in numbers, coming to Kalb’s defense and heaping additional criticisms on the failing president. On the coast of Florida, a new anti-Trump sign appeared on a fresh piece of plywood. As much of an environmental impact it has, the time has come for a forest of signs to plant themselves on the front lawn of every one of Trump’s properties.

If the President of the United States has nothing better to do that sift through the Twitterverse to block meanies then he is not devoting enough time to reading the bills bullied through congress. He’s not going the extra mile to reform taxes like he promised. And he’s certainly not upholding the Constitution (as he is sworn to) in trampling on the individual right of expression and free speech and allowing his supporters to do so unchecked.

The United States is $19.8 trillion in debt, yet somehow the White House can justify paying a public official to monitor Twitter and advise the president on who to block. If Trump is so delicate that he cannot sustain critical tweets and a plywood sign, Americans have to start asking what happens when his term expires.

Every president enters the White House knowing — with absolute assurance — that eight years is the maximum limit of his leadership. It is a set-in-stone fact of American democracy that every politician, pundit, and voter must accept. Until now…

The rule-ignoring and rights-trampling Trump administration and his constituency have set an early precedent for a troubling end of term scenario in Trumpington. The president’s own arrogance and inability to face his detractors has the potential to lead to the most daunting of political showdowns in American history: supposing he can stay the course, would Trump and his supporters relinquish power after a four- or eight-year term?

The scenario is something of conspiracy theory and Hollywood drama, but in reality is both possible and probable. Trump has surrounded himself with family members, who have been instantly elevated to high offices. He has limited the flow of information and transparency. He has built foreign alliances with dictators and oligarchs. With just the slightest bit of imagination, the facts are frightening. It would not be the first time that, in a time of crisis, a secretary of state attempted to exercise a power grab. If Trump stacks his deck right, any one of his minions could step in with no questions asked, to continue the regime in 2025.

While some would say that it’s only a comedy writer who was blocked, or it’s just a plywood sign, the consequences of minimizing the act carry deeper long-term concerns. Every tweet and every sign is a reminder to the president that his power is limited — regardless of how omnipotent he believes himself to be. So, pay attention to Jimmy Kimmel tonight because a hero wrote it; and plant a tree in Oregon, because there’s another hero in Florida who is going to need a lot of signs over the next few years.


The Good Flag

Memorial Day. The flags go up — many for the summer — and the red, white, and blue bunting adorns small towns across America. For many, the patriotic displays and Old Glory fluttering in the summer breezes are nostalgic reminders of an era before Trumpism. They are reminders, for those who respect what America stands for, of the values of leadership, integrity, and fundamental equality and tolerance that the country stands for.

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Is America crying for help?

There is a fine line between enthusiasm and extremism. One the one hand, patriotism, unity, and confidence bolster a country’s morale and prominence; and on the other, radicalism, intolerance, and fear spread discord. Donald Trump’s rapid ascension to power in the United States has been an unfortunate lesson in extremism. Trump has contributed to the rise of a new homegrown American Taliban-like radicalism.

For almost two decades, the American military has been fighting ceaselessly against an army of extremists in jacked-up, flag-flying pickups that threatens to destabilize the Middle East. Women and men alike have sacrificed their lives as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, and sons to battle intolerant and oppressive guerrillas. In addition to depriving individuals of rights and freedoms, the austere and radical interpretation of Islam promoted by the Taliban stokes regional and national rivalries that contribute to a divide-and-conquer mentality.

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Innocent fun or more sinister intentions?

Trump’s Taliban-mimicking army of warriors do not wear turbans or speak Arabic, and only some wear beards, but like their counterparts, many of them can be spotted in jacked-up Fords and Chevys with American flags flying. Trump’s personal militia terrorizes towns and neighborhoods across the country — using brash intimidation in the name of patriotism to sow intolerance and fear. They holler and shout, just like their leader, but say little. They demean women and ridicule opponents. They promote xenophobia and bigotry. They resort to base violence and thuggery. They have forgotten and deserted every decent and fundamental value that their ragged fluttering flags stand for.

No one has a right to America because they pay taxes, were born in the United States, or fly a flag. Men, women, and children of any race, color, creed, or nationality have a right to America because of the foresight and wisdom of three dozen men who had a vision when they signed and enacted the Constitution. They have a right to America because of what America is — a symbolic and historical refuge of equality and acceptance.

As enthusiasm and extremism engage in an epic battle for America, individual actions, and not Trump himself, will ultimately dictate the nation’s future. There is nothing wrong with flying a flag proudly for Memorial Day or for every day.

However, the extremist flies the flag as a warning to immigrants; to scare and shame his neighbor into abandoning her political views. An enthusiast flies the flag to welcome the weary as an open door; to invite debate as a symbol of American political, ethnic, and religious diversity that accompanies its freedoms. An extremist flies the flag to silence the press, and an enthusiast flies it in hopes that more opinions will be heard. The extremist uses the flag as a weapon to beat his opponents while the enthusiast uses the flag to raise people up.

As Trump marches through his first term as the anti-president, the nation grows more divided under his regime. It is a nation, where for the first time in its history, the majority is in fear of the minority — afraid to speak out, to express opinions, to disagree. America is a violent place where journalists are beaten for questions and old women are accosted for their faded Hillary stickers. It is a place fostered by Trumpism where pick-up driving, flag-flying extremists threaten the stability of every basic right of each man, woman, and child.

Despite the dark days clouding America, there is hope. The United States is a resilient nation where individual perseverance and optimism prevail. It is a nation that derives its communal strength from personal struggles, and relies on the experiences of hundreds of millions of immigrants, refugees, and travelers. It is a place where two strangers stand up and give their lives to defend a Muslim on a train.

While Trump continues to spew and encourage hate and isolationist policies, Americans should question his words, his promises, his values. They must ask, “Does he stand for the America that we know?” as he belittles rights and builds walls. Besides, what good will all the flags be when there is no press to cover them and walls to prevent the rest of the world from seeing them?