The Daily Dog: Say it Ain’t So Joe!

Yesterday, the moon’s shadow raced across Middle America, aweing millions who gazed skyward at the eclipse. Today, a less-inspiring darkness will descend upon Phoenix, Ariz. as Donald Trump and a few thousand paid actors cum supporters occupy the Phoenix Convention Center. As his approval ratings plummet, and every week is his “worst week ever,” Trump continues to rely on ‘ego rallies’ as the best medicine for his own incompetence.

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A frustrated Trump couldn’t figure out how to grab Mother Nature by the pussy.

Though the 2016 presidential campaign ended nearly ten months ago, Trump is apparently still dazed and confused about losing the popular vote to Hilary Clinton. He typically visits poor, uneducated, and mono-racial strongholds for his post-campaign distraction rallies — places like Huntington, W.V. (median household income of $29,000, 29% with college degrees, and 86% white), Youngstown, Ohio ($24,000, 11%, 47%), and Cedar Rapids, Iowa ($53,000, 30%, 88%). Phoenix shares some of the characteristics of a Trump base, but there is speculation that Trump is going to Arizona for other reasons.

Maricopa County is home to the notorious hardline law enforcement of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio — a vocal Trump supporter who shares Trump’s bigoted policies on immigration and has a plethora of controversial ideas of his own. On July 31, a United States District Judge found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt for violating another federal court’s order to terminate immigration arrests on suspicion alone. For years, Arpaio’s office pursued racially motivated policies targeting the Phoenix Latino population and often arresting law-abiding U.S. citizens merely for racially motivated immigration profiling.

In her ruling, Judge Susan Bolton said that Arpaio abdicated his responsibility as a law enforcement officer and “announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise.” Bolton’s statement confirms for many that Arpaio’s national recognition and self-styled fame stemmed from his abuse of power and a belief that he was above the laws that he enforced.

In the narrow overlap of local and federal interaction, Trump and Arpaio share a similar mission: promote their own popularity by exploiting immigrants to instill public fear and fulfill a personal agenda. They are both sick men. Therefore, it’s no surprise that speculation this week is that Trump may pardon Arpaio before the former sheriff is sentenced in October.

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Joe Arpaio may soon be on the other side of the fence.

Joe Arpaio is the poster-child for what is wrong with America’s criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Abuse of authority grievances against law enforcement and corrections agencies constitute a wide variety of complaints ranging from simple misconduct to brutality. Arpaio has been convicted of criminal contempt, but many of his policies while sheriff carried abusive implications — from his tent city jail to humiliating prisoners by making them wear pink undergarments. Arpaio is a relic of Arizona’s Wild West who had no business in modern corrections because, like many power hungry officers, he did not respect or honor the duty of his badge.

For Trump even to consider pardoning Arpaio sends a significantly negative message to every American in much the same way his wavering on the Charlottesville tragedy became an endorsement of white supremacists and hate groups. If Trump pardons Arpaio, he will be sanctioning the trampling of civil and constitutional rights of every person accused or convicted of a crime. Because of Arpaio’s history of questionable policies, every officer and jailer in the nation will laugh in the face of prisoner complaints.

Unfortunately, Trump is both too obtuse and too bigoted to grasp the impact of his decisions. The only thing that Trump will appreciate in a potential pardon is the spotlight and applause from his paid fans in Phoenix. He will not understand the disheartening message that a pardon will send to the more than 2.5 million people in jails and prisons in the United States; the more than 10 million children who have a parent behind bars; or the countless other family members and friends who worry that their loved ones will be treated humanely.

For Trump, decisions and messages do not create consequences, but only popularity with the hired help in the audience. Joe Arpaio is guilty of a minor misdemeanor for major crimes against the people of Maricopa County and he does not deserve a pardon simply so Donald Trump can listen to a crowd cheer. As Trump stirs hate again in the Arizona desert, he is campaigning in his mind, but the only opponent he is facing is himself. It’s a no-win situation for him and America.

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: An Addict in Denial

On Tuesday, while conducting a “working vacation” from his Bedminster, N.J. club, Donald Trump took five minutes from his busy golf schedule to address the nation’s opioid crisis. Six months into the new administration, the commission on opioid addiction concluded that Trump should declare a national emergency to combat the growing crisis. As with most instances when experts offer advice, Trump ignored his own blue-ribbon panel.

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The opioid and substance abuse crisis claims a valuable person’s life every 10 minutes.

Instead of following his commission’s recommendation, Trump responded by suggesting a policy that mimicked former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Trump outlined his rudimentary plan to combat the addiction crisis that kills almost 150 Americans every day by saying we should talk to children and tell them that drugs are, “No good, really bad for you in every way.”

Trump’s single statement encompasses the entire scope of thought given to his plan to save the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and other family and friends who struggle daily with addiction.  His proposed drug policy is as equally despicable as every other policy he has suggested since taking office in that it is not a policy. Trump’s failures at every juncture to educate himself and rely on expert opinion demonstrate how little he cares for the needs and well-being of the people of America.

Last week in West Virginia, during yet another rally to his insatiable ego, Trump whipped a raucous crowd of adoring fans into a stale chant of, “Lock her up!” West Virginia is a state consumed by the opioid crisis and the consequences of addiction. The state’s problem is so bad and results in so many deaths, that the Department of Human Services provides funeral money to needy families who have lost loved ones to addiction.

Adoring fans cheered for Trump and welcomed him last Thursday in Huntington, W.V. However, in a state with the highest overdose death rate in the country, will they still be cheering after Trump announced the only help coming was to tell their kids that drugs are bad? His plan seems a bit simple even by West Virginia standards.

Trump’s cavalier attitude about a problem that affects so many people is another reminder that he is not fit for the Oval Office. With over 20 million Americans besieged by substance abuse — nearly one in ten over the age of 12 — practically everyone knows someone affected by the scourge of drugs. Trump, in his family’s ivory tower, has no care or ability to understand or relate to the epidemic. By not caring, he will deny millions the help they need.

West Virginia is not an isolated instance of tragedy, but a representative sliver of the substance abuse issues consuming every state in the nation. Regardless of what town, city, or state, health officials cannot combat addiction by reviving Nancy Reagan’s Pollyanna “Just say no!” campaign. It is an outdated and ineffective model and Trump deserves to be derided for his basic lack of creativity in stealing Mrs. Reagan’s notion.

Trump made the same mistake that millions of critics make each day. They assume that a future addict wakes up in the morning and makes a conscious decision to use drugs. Trump relies on an erroneous notion that characterizes his worldview as elementary as the children he wants to warn about “really bad” drugs. Blaming the addict is not the answer to effective treatment or remission.

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Trump appears ready to combat the nation’s golf ball problem.

Equally destructive to combating America’s addiction crisis was Trump’s suggestion of tough law enforcement actions and severe criminal penalties. Drug addicts need medical and mental health assistance — the kind of services provided by comprehensive health insurance plans and Obamacare — not handcuffs and jails.

Addiction is more than a personal struggle. It is a crisis that affects friends, family, and society. An addict’s daily choices, habits, and use are more than a personal tragedy. Substance abuse often has far-reaching effects that touch the most unlikely victims. It is a problem that eludes the good intentions of many, and destroys the lives of those not strong enough to understand or confront it.

In his hastily conceived national drug policy, Trump will do more damage than good for the sole reason that he neither understands, nor wishes to confront the opioid epidemic. Of course, Trump is an addict himself, and the first step to facing addiction is to admit to being an addict — whether the addiction is to substances or substanceless pop celebrity. Until Trump faces his own hungry demons, America cannot rely on him to help anyone.

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.