Monday, September 26, 2016

Your Daily Trump–––Debate Edition

A warning about playing drinking games during the debate...

From RawStory

Trump staffers tell the NYTimes that Trump is an idiot...

Reported by NYMagazine

Charlie Pierce says it like it is, but not the way Trump does...

Charlie Pierce on how Trump is normalizing STUPID

Republicans have a three step plan for screwing every American: defund/degrade/privatize…

From Salon

Trump’s healthcare plan would lose 20 million Americans their health coverage...

From PBS

Some logical jujitsu to flip Trump voters...

From Salon

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Your Daily Trump––Is Trump A Fascist Or Just Pretending To Be One?

To start off, here's an appetizer: A Reddit list of reasons why Trump is a fascist.

The media didn’t report on the corruption of the Trump Foundation because it was too hard. Not true, actually. It’s been right there in plain sight.

A story so simple to explain it can be done in a Twitter feed.

Trump has taken millions in campaign contributions and paid himself via his companies. This is a new kind of shell game.

Vanity Fair on how your friends' contributions have wound up in Trump's pocket.

One law professor believes if Trump is elected, he could be impeached before he’s sworn in. He cites racketeering levels of corruption.

Reported by Daily Kos.

Samantha Bee examines how the lake of hog shit called FoxNews contaminated the aquifer of truthful information. That cocktail brought us Donald Trump.

Sam Bee nails it in a few hilarious minutes.

Hillary is supposedly “secretive” (a meme trademarked by FoxNews, so you know it’s true) Well, Trump is a brick wall. Reported by SLATE.

This WW2 vet doesn’t appreciate Trump’s insult to people who served in our wars.

Watch the short video here: Via The Tablet.

Ralph Nader on the danger of Donald Trump

If you don't believe me, listen to the guy who gave us eight years of Bush.

And in an interview with Amy Goodman he explains that Trump is a "Freeloading, Pontificating Empty Suit Who Has Cheated on Everything He's Done"

Nader via Democracy Now.

Yes, the presidential campaign has gone insane. For months the news media has ignored insane and tried to cover up the bigotry and hate and corruption of Donald Trump. The result? It’s like ignoring cancer hoping it will go away or turn out to be enjoyable.

The insanity diagnosis from American Prospect.

But we don’t need to worry because the sane voters will outvote the insane ones. Especially the people of color. But wait… the GOP has a plan to prevent those people from voting because their name happens to be Brown or Garcia.

If Trump is elected it may be because Trump's GOP reached out to black voters and prevented them from voting. From Rolling Stone.

I’ve been struggling to find one decent thing that might result from Donald Trump’s campaign. This might be it. Anne Coulter has said she would die for Donald Trump. If I were less of a mensch I’d say “Good idea.” Still, the most loathsome voice in this election season is a Trump worshipper. That’s a good reason to stop the guy.

Reported by the DC political paper The Hill.

Of course Coulter's promises may be as unreliable as Trump's.




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Friday, September 23, 2016

Your Daily Trump––The Lynch Mob Mentality Is Alive And Well

A perceptive filmmaker has created a video that has gone viral. It plays Trump's hateful violent words over some ugly racist episodes in our past. It's upsetting because it's true. (Please watch this video.)

The old ugliness and hate has crawled out from under its rock.

Trump has validated it and given it a leader. He has given it a voice, his voice.

He has put these bullyboys in action, jackbooted them and encouraged them to bring their guns.

He’s encouraged these thugs to beat up the people who disagree with him. To beat up the people whose skin is a different color, whose religion is different, whose nation of birth is different.

He’s reaped enthusiastic approval from the KKK and American Nazis and he returns their love with a wink.

Hitler had Mein Kampf, in which he explained how brutal he planned to be and who he planned to exterminate.

Trump had his TV programs, which were built around ritual humiliation of people who desperately wanted to get ahead.

Trump’s TV programs brought the ugly brutality and degradation of frat rituals to a mass audience. It was sold as fun, as a joke, as make believe, but it was what he sincerely was after, ritual humiliation of those he could gain power over.

And the TV audience ate it up. They loved watching Trump humiliate people––while they were safe at home and out of his reach.

Well they’re not out of his reach now. The new targets for Trump’s organized beatings and humiliations are American voters, the non-Aryan voters, the non-Republican voters, the voters not born here. And women, especially women. Trump has been rubbishing women for decades from his comfortable position on talk show couches.

We used to call this kind of behavior monstrous and wrong, but Trump has ridden in on a wave of reaction, leading millions of people who hate political correctness because it inhibits their right as Americans to verbally abuse and insult and degrade large groups of Americans they see as different from them. Trump is the champion of those people who think abusiveness is a great cause. His loud presence on television has brought this ugly behavior back into public again, proud and defiant. They have a deep hatred and they want to parade it publicly, the way the ugliness paraded in its brown shirts in Germany in the 30s, the way similar bigots marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in their white hoods in the 20s.

Trump has made this kind of hate popular again. In the early 1960s it was popular to beat up African Americans who sat at whites-only lunch counters across the South. We chose which side we were on then. We must reassert that now.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Is FoxNews a News Organization or a Terrorist Organization?

How many hours a day is there a Special Alert graphic flashing Warning!!! in the corner of the FoxNews screen?

Multiplied by 12 months a year. For how many years now?

Times how many millions of viewers?

For what purpose is this constant High Alert status maintained?

…other than to agitate and unsettle and create fear in viewers of FoxNews?

David Weigel at Slate wrote a piece about this in 2012.

The perpetual high alert status of FoxNews is itself a kind of terrorism.

It is a constant, urgent, near-hysterical threat warning being pushed at millions watching on TV.

What is the purpose? Is there a need as urgent as the urgency of the flashing words? What does it do to people to feel compelled to be constantly alert to imminent danger? And danger of what?

Is it vital to keep the people in Portland, Oregon in an alarmed state of vigilance because of a violent act in Chattanooga?

The alarm is more to the purpose than the information, which is not delivered in a responsible fashion but in a fashion designed to elevate the audience’s worst fears, its most irrational hatreds, its most violent instincts. It is a social medium for the antisocial monster inside all of us.

There isn’t any official public safety purpose for the constant alert status flashing on FoxNews. We know this because FoxNews also promotes a constant drumbeat of condemnation for anything from our government or its officials…unless they are Republican officials.

The FoxNews constant WARNING! beacon flashes day and night for the sole purpose of creating feelings of vulnerability and unease and alarm and mutual suspicion and hate among as many people as possible. Because they are the most watched network on broadcast cable they have millions of threat-addicted viewers.

And that unease/alarm/suspicion/hate is put to a very specific and clear purpose: to make people susceptible and receptive to the messages that follow or accompany the constant alert. Namely the hard right agenda of FoxNews and Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. (Ailes originally conceived of FoxNews while working in the Nixon White House. His concept was to be called GOPTV.)

The stern, know-all visages of the FoxNews anchors play a role very similar to the hectoring face of Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984. “Stay tuned here and you will be safe. Stay tuned and do what we tell you to do and you will be safe.”

Granted, CNN has its own case of Breaking News Syndrome, but the agenda is less direct and coherent and one-sided. There’s less browbeating at CNN. The brow furrowing of the CNN anchors is more fake concern than stern condemnation and alarm, which is how I’d describe the brow furrowing and Obama-mocking that Fox engages in.

AdWeek's TV news column addressed this alert-pandering of CNN a few years ago. But the motivation is audience goosing and profit boosting, not political.

FoxNews has used the electric jolt of the alert beacon to kick people into line on a variety of issues. Most of them unrelated to the particular, often small and isolated, events being pushed by the flashing warning.

Fox has used shootings to drive the NRA agenda. They’ve also used the "fear candy" of isolated shooting incidents to drive the agenda of ExxonMobil and Koch International.

“Come to be entertained by the gun violence. Stay to be forcibly persuaded that 99% of the climate scientists are engaged in a massive climate change hoax.”

It’s like the old National Lampoon cover: “Buy this magazine or we’ll shoot this dog.”

Only FoxNews is saying it this way: “Buy this irrational mistrust of the government and scientists and experts and public education and liberals and people of color and Muslims and people you don’t know who happen to be walking past on the sidewalk in front of your home. If you don't someone will invade your home and murder your family.”

"Be Vigilant” Fox is saying “And Do As We Tell You.”

The constant alert has been a very effective way to kick people into line on a narrow set of ideas and orthodoxies. It’s also helped enlist viewers to kick their elected officials (of both parties) into line with these orthodoxies: pro fossil fuel, anti science, pro guns, anti immigrants, pro Republican, anti Democratic, pro military spending (except when it requires more tax dollars to care for veterans), anti diplomacy (even when it means cutting spending for embassy security in dangerous parts of the world), etc. It’s pro America and anti everybody else (especially our allies) but it’s mostly pro American business. (And it’s less pro American business than it is pro American business CEOs and pro CEO pay and anti taxes on CEOs.)

I think it’s time to exclude FoxNews from the honorable category of Journalism and sort them into their proper category of propaganda. But they are engaging in more than propaganda. What they are using to sell their propaganda is the non-stop terroristic threat they flash in the corner of their screen for many hours of every week.

We need to admit it. FoxNews is a terror organization. And it is larger and more influential and has a larger devoted following than ISIS or al Qaeda.

Earlier this year Forbes posted this excellent review of a film about how Fox brainwashes its viewers.

And the Daily Beast posted this story written by the filmmaker and the father she said had been deranged by FoxNews.

This article in the New Republic calls it Angry Fox Geezer Syndrome.

This article in the American Conservative agrees that FoxNews is in the business of agitation not information.

Fox is a propaganda network. A terror organization. It is the loud voice shouting FIRE in a crowded theatre. It is in the business of mass intimidation and retribution as surely as the information offices operated by Josef Goebbels––the original dispenser of the Big Lie.

FoxNews's purpose is to enforce obedience through fear and to incite violence and hate against those who disagree. It is the brownshirt of American media. The mob-whisperer. The presser of our most violent buttons. It is not a news organization.

Finally, the day I posted this story, Italian media was discussing a similar problem in that country. For decades their politics were poisonous, largely because of the right wing opportunist who became their president, Silvio Berlusconi. A vulgar, misogynistic, loudmouth with fascist tendencies who happened to be a media billionaire. Yesterday, Pope Francis condemned Berlusconi's style of news reporting, which is essentially character assassination by mass media. Which is very much like the FoxNews model of "some say" journalism and hyper partisanship. It poisons the public conversation. It destroys people's trust in journalism. It destroys their ability to sort truth from lies.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Your Daily Trump––How Did America Fall In Love With Putin's Candidate?

We used to admire people like Hillary Clinton. No woman has topped Gallup’s most admired list as many times as she has. And there are reasons for that. There is one reason her positives have gone down: She announced her candidacy. There are people in the world who hate the idea of a woman president, and hate all Democrats. Those people own networks and newspapers and have a ready audience. So the smear began. We should admire someone who could endure that, someone willing to endure that. We used to admire guts and endurance and unflappability and grace under pressure. What’s happened to us that we no longer admire admirable people but suddenly are entranced by a con man and a liar?

The National Observer examines the anti-Hillary prejudice and how we now hate what we once admired.

A lot of the negative feeling about Hillary has been manufactured by FoxNews. They would have smeared anyone they thought was likely to win the Democratic nomination. This has been the Republican approach for years: go after the opposing side's strongest candidate.

What’s weird is the Republican Party and Fox are suddenly allied with the Russians. Why? Because they prefer fascism and don't mind U.S. submission to a Russian dictator? They think that’s better than electing a Democrat. They will collude with an enemy dictator if it helps them gain power.

Why does Wiki Leaks only target Hillary Clinton? For the same reason Roger Ailes targeted her.

The Russia/GOP/Wikileaks alliance explained at VOX.

Because she’s the strongest presidential candidate we have. Assange wants to pull the whole U.S. government down. His sponsors, the Russians, also his sources on this information, want to pull the U.S. down. Hillary Clinton would oppose that. Assange and Putin would like our security agencies dissolved. Hillary opposes that. And she’s the strongest choice for president. Assange and Putin oppose that.

She’s the sane one, the experienced one, the competent one, the one who’d strengthen Russia’s age-old enemy, the U.S.

Remember Wikileaks hacked information about the DNC and the Clinton campaign. They didn’t leak anything about Trump because Trump is their guy. The Russians own Trump. He owes them millions.

He’s gotten almost as many millions from the Russians as he has leeched out of the pockets of U.S. taxpayers. This story is worth reading. American Prospect reports on Trump the Parasite Who Lives Off the Taxpayer.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

The End Of Science May Signal The End of Civilization––and Trump's In Favor Of It

Millions of trees suddenly dying. Storms of unprecedented violence. Once in a millennium floods occurring once a month. This sort of thing ought to mobilize world leaders to action.

This scary die off of forests was reported this morning in The Guardian.

There have been many articles recently about ocean levels already rising. Scientists predicted this and many Americans chose to demonize them.

Rising ocean levels reported by National Geographic.

Rising oceans is not as worrying as rising ocean acidity, which may compound the climate change dynamic and also degrade the earth’s ability to create oxygen. Think about that.

Rising acidity of the oceans reported by Scientific American.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party is in control of Congress and on the verge of winning the White House. The Republican leadership has accepted millions of dollars in exchange for denying climate change and blocking scientific research into climate change. They think that believing something isn’t happening will prevent it from happening. So they close their eyes and wish and pray and they punish and condemn anyone who is paying attention. Being rational and responsible is a punishable offense, according to the Republican Party.

The ignorant and dangerous anti-science leadership in this Republican Congress, reported in the New Yorker.

Half of our country is in thrall to a delusion. The right half of the country believes if they vote for Donald Trump all the things he denies are true will automatically be untrue. One man’s mental illness has become contagious and it may become the law of the land. Bigotry may become policy. Ugly rumor will be our guide to what is true, the uglier the truer. Superstition and corporate PR will replace science. One man’s angry impulses will replace careful and rational planning. Policies that should benefit the whole country will be retooled to suit one man, his whims (and boy has he got whims), his prejudices, his hates, his lusts, his greed, his narcissism, his frequent urges to do violent harm to people who have displeased him.

The New Yorker gives us a picture of what Trump will be able to do immediately when he reaches office.

If Trump is elected all of our nation’s decision-making institutions will pass to him. He will cancel climate change accords and devote America to full use of fossil fuels. And 99% of our scientists will be silenced if not criminalized. Let’s set aside his endorsement of more nuclear weapons in trouble spots and a looser policy about using them. Let’s forget about his expressed willingness to kill people he “has a feeling” are criminals. Let’s forget about his ugly bigotry toward all non-white people living on earth. Let’s forget about his long history of fraud and violation of contracts and reneging on promises and lies big and small. Let’s forget about his scary admiration for the worst dictators on the planet, and his many millions in debt owed to one of them.

Let’s just focus on one thing, the greatest danger to human civilization in the history of human civilization: global climate change.

It won’t stop happening just because one poorly informed individual refuses to believe it is happening. Half of America’s voters seem excited to go on this carnival ride with him, to trust his shallow beliefs, to place their lives and their loved ones’ lives in his hands. It’s like a hostage situation, where the male head of a household barricades himself and his family in his house with his arsenal, only this arsenal is nuclear. It seldom ends well. Usually it ends with the family dead and the deranged man dead by his own hand. It’s like Jonestown where many hundreds were willing to drink the poisoned kool-aid because their leader instructed them to. His beliefs were translated into orders and they obeyed.

A few years ago we laughed as a creepy and hilarious congresswoman left the political stage. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said science was evil and the End Times were here. She seemed downright pleased that the world was coming to and end. It was all falling apart according to her prayers. People like Bachmann believe that if they can screw up the world badly enough by provoking wars and poisoning the environment and making economies collapse, then Jesus will come and rescue them. Like a fire starter who believes the fire department will give them a medal. Her loopy beliefs got a lot of mileage and endorsement from FoxNews, the leading cable news channel, and from talk radio. (On talk radio 9/11 is believed to have been a plot run by the U.S. government.)

Well, folks, half of American voters, or nearly half, seem to fit this description. America’s future, and the world’s, may be in the hands of ignorant, hateful, deranged, heavily armed lunatics.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Trump's Big Lie––The Birther Myth

Trump began to work the Big Lie about the first black President of the United States in 2011 as the Republican field was assembling to run against the Democratic incumbent. Trump began the libel casually but cagily with “I wonder” and “maybe.” “I’m starting to think he wasn’t born here."

Which is the way FoxNews newsreaders and talking heads slide into their various falsehoods, with “People are saying.” It’s the way cons work. This vagueness smudges authorship but sounds authentic, like you’re not the only one saying this. It’s better than an anonymous source because it’s real people. Or so we’re meant to think. The liars aren’t owning the lie but fabricating some kind of magic consensus on the street where real people live and discuss what is true and right. For five years Trump has ridden the cred he gained with the alt right and the racists and the right wingers, cred based on this lie which he told over and over in various ways from various cagey angles.

Then yesterday he invited the networks to a Major Announcement on this topic.

Trump said he would renounce his birtherism on national TV. The networks, obedient as they’ve been to Trump whenever he whistles, were there, cameras rolling.

First they carried a rambling half hour ad lib Trump promo for his new Washington DC hotel. They stayed with him live because Trump had promised them this Big Something. Trump had never admitted error before and now he was promising to do it on national TV. The long Trump Hotel promo seemed weird though. Was this politics? Was this news?

At some point during a carnival like the Trump campaign when things get boring people get restless and distracted. They begin to notice the bad smell. Maybe it’s the circus animals’ manure or maybe it’s the sweat of the con man. I believe everyone began to smell it during Trump’s Big Broadcast. Even the journalists serving in attendance. (Trump has outfitted them with special brooms and dustpans for cleaning up the manure he spreads, and they are very helpful.)

People seemed puzzled and suspicious finally at the part where he couldn’t really drop the birther lie after all. He couldn’t apologize or admit he’d been wrong all along. Instead he smeared it on somebody new. He said somebody else had told it to him, meaning he’d been tricked too. (Trump the Victim!) He’d smeared our first black president for five years. His sniping attacks helped undermine and delegitimize Obamas presidency among his (Trump’s) white fan base, which is not small, and all across the FoxNews and talk radio universe, a crowd which was always hungry for ways to smear and undermine President Obama. Now Trump wanted to transfer that smear onto Hillary Clinton, his opponent.

So Trump said that it was Hillary who’d been the first one to question Obama’s birth in this country. He said the birther issue was invented by Hillary. (Which sounds sort of like how he said President Obama had invented ISIS.)

And, suddenly, after long months of playing along, the American news media rediscovered their integrity.

News correspondents covering Trump’s Big Tell began calling Trump's new smearing of Hillary Clinton a lie. They stated it carefully, but clearly, much the way I heard in on NPR’s All Things Considered in their news summary: “Trump falsely stated that Hillary Clinton was the first to question Obama’s birth in this country."
And there seemed to be a consensus, not magical like FoxNews’s “some people are saying” but clear and distinct reporting of fact. Someone posted this reprise of the coverage and the push back. American broadcast journalists had gotten tired of playing along with so much dishonesty.

****
CNN -- John Berman: "Hillary Clinton and her campaign never, ever pushed the birther issue.”

... Kate Bolduan: "Donald Trump, from 2011, he made this his signature issue. No one has gone as far as Donald Trump on the birther issue.”

... John King: "[Trump] did the country a great disservice by becoming the chief cheerleader for a fraud, a birther movement trying to delegitimize the sitting United States President.”

... Jake Tapper: "Those are two factually false statements.... [Hillary Clinton] and her campaign never started the birther issue. ... Donald Trump did not end the birther issue."

FOX -- Jenna Lee (to Trump surrogate Boris Epshteyn, who claimed the birther issue "was born out of the Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign"): "Ok, but it wasn't. It wasn't. No, it wasn't. It wasn't. It wasn't. This is not true. It's not true. It's not true. It's not true. It's not true."

NYT -- Headline 1: "Unwinding a Lie: Trump's Long Embrace of Birtherism" ... Headline 2: "Trump Drops Claim but Falsely Accuses Clinton of Starting It" ... Headline 3: "Donald Trump Clung to ‘Birther’ Lie for Years, and Still Isn’t Apologetic"

WaPo -- Breaking News Alert: "Trump admits Obama was born in U.S. but falsely blames Hillary Clinton for starting rumors"

CNN and MSNBC more than matched Trump's 20 minutes with hours of airtime for his critics, including CNN's live interview with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid; a live broadcast of the Congressional Black Caucus press conference; and a live broadcast of First Lady Michelle Obama's speech. All of them hammered Trump.

CNN and MSNBC spent the majority of the day revisiting Trump's history of fueling the birther conspiracy theory and drawing attention to his false claims.

****

At the New York Times the news analysis called out the birther story one more time for the lie it was. They explained in a more detailed way how carefully Trump had played it out and exploited the attention it gained him, and leveraged the harm it did to the president. But the Times analyst did not address Trump’s deliberate transfer of his libel directing at his opponent. That came in the broadcast coverage.

Here’s hoping the label of LIAR is pinned to Trump’s tail more thoroughly in the next few days, and the careful long form reporting makes it harder for him to dispute it. And maybe enough of the American public will stop laughing, will stop enjoying, the Trump carnival.

This wasn’t the first time Trump had blamed Hillary for starting the birther hoax. He did that almost exactly a year ago on Sep. 22, 2015.

Politifact quickly debunked this. Hillary never had anything to do with the birther myth. Politifact also fleshed out the life history of the rumor itself. Some accounts said that the first birther rumor may have been started by a Clinton supporter (not anyone associated with the campaign) who was angry that Obama was likely to be the nominee. This is the sort of thing no responsible campaign likes. And Hillary had quickly repudiated the notion. John McCain did his best to dissuade one of his own supporters who said Obama was a Muslim during a town meeting in 2008. Hillary didn’t begin the birther myth and immediately squashed it when she heard about it. But Trump liked it. It glittered. He didn’t think it up, even though he does concoct most of his free-form, subconscious ranting. (Who could script that stuff?) Trump does overhear stuff and repurpose it. If he found a handgun on the sidewalk he’d begin looking for someone to shoot.

Even if Trump didn’t invent the birther lie, he filed the trademark on it and made it his own property. Did he know it was a lie? Did he really believe it? Does Trump really believe anything? For more than a few minutes, probably not. His mind wanders, the way his talk wanders. An hour or a day after he says things he denies he’s said them. I suspect the dishonesty of it pleased him. The truth of what he says doesn’t matter to him; it’s the harm he can do by saying these things that matters.

And the attention it gains him. He seems unable to care when a false statement has harmed him or discredited him, all he cares about is the attention and the satisfaction that attention gives him. It’s like the immediate pleasure sought by people who commit mass shootings; they do it for the attention more than any hatred of the people they’ve killed. It’s the pleasure of doing harm, the pleasure of destroying someone else. Trump is a fast firing machine, fully automatic, with an endless supply of bullets fed to him from his subconscious. The bullets are real enough. They’re not phonies. The damage is real too. True or false doesn’t matter, it’s the destruction he likes.

It will be interesting to see whether a firmer consensus forms around Trump’s tendency to lie. And his tendency to lie Big. To promote the Big Lie, which is something we’ve not seen much of in American politics. The Big Lie being a lie that is so outrageous that it gains its own momentum. The thing about the Big Lie is the irresistible urge people feel to spread it and become part of it. A large part of Trump’s mob (I think we can call it a mob) is made up of people who have joined the Big Lie. It’s like a religion. Once you are part of it you belong to it. Hitler knew this. He coined the term The Big Lie in his book Mein Kampf.

Trump is a more prolific liar. A gymnast among liars. A mass producer of falsehoods. A shape shifter who lies one way on Tuesday and the opposite way on Wednesday, then on Thursday denies he said either lie at all. Is this the “telling it like it is” his fans admire?

TruthOut places Trump's lying in the context of other authoritarian Big Lie strategies.

New York Magazine details the lineage of the birther myth and Trump's ownership of it.

That didn’t end Trump’s tomfoolery today.

After a few days of pretending to be within the spectrum of sane people, Trump darted back to a microphone and suggested disarming Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service detail and let her be gunned down.

Reported at VOX.

This isn’t the first time he’s fantasized about the death of Hillary Clinton.

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