July 5, 2024

It's not what the GOP platform says about abortion that could lose Trump the election, it's what he says when asked to state his position in the final debate. By Hal Brown, MSW

 

I don't think Evangelicals will vote for whoever the Democratic Party candidate is. The danger for Trump is that they simply decide not to vote.

The title of the RawStory article is 'Coming split within Trump’s coalition': Leaders warn key issue threatens MAGA unity" and anyone following politics can guess what the issue is even without reading further. 

Here's an exerpt from the article summarizing the Washington Post story "Tempers flare as Trump reviews revised abortion plank for Republican platform" (subsciption):

The rift Trump's advisers want to hide from view stems from Evangelical's mounting calls to add antiabortion language to the U. S. Constitution in the lead-up to the Republican National Convention, which begins on July 15, the Post reports. 

"The escalating behind-the-scenes disagreement over the abortion language has become so tense and acrimonious in recent weeks that some social conservative leaders have issued public warnings of a coming split within Trump’s coalition," the Post reports.

The only way a party platform is significant is when the fight to include one thing or another spills over into the national news. In 2020 the GOP didn't even have a platform. They merely voted to adopt the same platform they had in 2016 (read why here).

This election is going to be so close the winner can be determined by just one special interest group or a single issue. The ages of the candidates are the one topic being covered extensively since the debate. There is a growing chorus of voices saying that Biden is too old to run. This comes not only from Democrats who have gone on the record but from independents who are being interviewed by reporters. One of them just reported that he went to a town where no independents he interviewed thought Biden should stay in the race because of his age. What they saw was his cognitive decline.

Abortion is an issue that won't disappear because Trump wishes it so. If Trump actually believed in God and the power of prayer he'd be praying for the issue to go away:

There's no way that the Evangelicals will accept Trump answering direct questions about where he stands on abortion as he has so far, that is, that he wants to leave it to the states. They are very familiar with this map :

When they see this map or others like it they see babies being killed in a large portion of the country. When they look at maps like this one they zero in on the parts of the country where the legality of abortion has been left up to the states. You can bet that they follow articles like this which describe the specific laws in each state.

These evangelicals want a straight-forward promise from Donald Trump that he will assure that there is a nation-wide ban on all abortion at any stage of fetal development. They don't want any quibling on whether life starts at four or six weeks. They want abortion banned at conception. 

The Evangelicals no doubt want Trump to come out against the Supreme Court ruling allowing the use of mifepristone. 

Whether it's Biden or another Democrat in the second debate (assuming there is one) if the moderators don't pin Trump down on his stance on abortion, the Democratic Party candidate should. If he persists in saying this should be left to the states it could cost him the election.

Update:

This was covered in Salon today:

Recommended reading:

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

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July 4, 2024

Unfiltered fat old man caught ranting on video. At least he doesn't have the nuclear "football" with him..... for the time being. By Hal Brown, MSW

 

The Daily Beast (in a no subscription required article here) published a video of Trump with his blank-face son Barron sitting next to him in a golf cart. In the screen grab above he happens to have his hand in his pants. He's putting a wad of bills he tipped somebody from off camera.

Here's a YouTube of the video.

A shorter clip of it was just played on MSNBC.

This is from The Daily Beast:

“He just quit, you know—he’s quitting the race,” Trump says, sitting in a golf cart. “I got him out of the—and that means we have Kamala.”

Later in the clip, he fawns over Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him “a fierce man, very tough guy” whom Biden may be unable to handle.

It was not immediately clear where or when exactly the footage was covertly filmed.

In the video, the former president asks the person holding the camera what they thought of his own debate performance. As he’s told he did “fantastic” and “amazing,” Trump blusters on flatly, “Look at that old, broken down pile of crap.

“It’s a bad guy,” he says, seemingly referring to Biden. After announcing that the president is quitting and handing the baton to Kamala Harris, Trump continues, “I think she’s gonna be better” as an opponent.

“She’s so bad. She’s so pathetic,” he adds, plucking at his gloves, then appears to say, “She’s so fucking bad.”

Trump then switches back to Biden, asking, “Can you imagine that guy dealing with Putin? And the president of China—who’s a fierce person. He’s a fierce man, very tough guy. And they see him.”

Before driving off, the former president reiterates, “But they just announced he’s probably quitting. Just keep knocking him out, huh?”

Trump has two basic modes of expressing what's going through his mind when he's not reading a teleprompter, unfiltered and more unfiltered. You see the former in his rallies and whenever he knows there's a camera, and we just had a chance to see the later when, presumably, he didn't know there was a camera. 

Consider that there's something missing from the video that would be there if he was president. It's the "football" carried by a miliary aide which would enable him to launch a nuclear attack. If rerelected Trump will have the unfettered ability to wage nuclear war,” said Joseph Cirincione at The Ploughshares Fund, an anti-nuclear organization. “He can launch one weapon or a thousand weapons, and no one can stop him, outside of mutiny by the armed forces.”

Above: Trump with a military aide carrying the nuclear football

This was published on CNN before Trump began his term as president:

Beginning on January 20, President-elect Donald Trump will be accompanied at all times by a military aide carrying the nuclear “football,” enabling him to order a nuclear strike at a moment’s notice.

Just like his predecessors, whether he is at the White House, in a motorcade, aboard Air Force One or on a trip overseas, he will never be more than an arm’s reach away from the aide and his satchel.

“You have to be ready anytime, for any moment,” said Pete Metzger, who often carried the nuclear launch suitcase during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “The time is so short between alert and execution.”

The article went on to say:

“How can you trust him with the nuclear codes?” Obama said at a rally in Durham, North Carolina, earlier this month. “You can’t do it.”

And Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer who supported Hillary Clinton, says his concerns about Trump persist. 

“He has proved himself over and over again to be quick-tempered, defensive, prone to lash out,” he wrote in Politico. If a nuclear crisis arises, “Trump’s erratic and volatile personality makes for low confidence in his ability to reach the right decision.”

A president’s order could only be stopped by mutiny, according to Kingston Reif at the Arms Control Association, and only if more than one person were to disobey the president’s orders.

“The president has supreme authority to decide whether to use America’s nuclear weapons, period,” he said. “Full stop.”

With all the legitimate consternation about how the Supreme Court ruling gives a president the powers of a king let's not forget that a president already has the ability to launch nuclear missiles.

Now let's consider the scenario that those sounding alarm bells are making about the president being able to order SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent in light of this paragraph:

A president’s order could only be stopped by mutiny, according to Kingston Reif at the Arms Control Association, and only if more than one person were to disobey the president’s orders.

What would happen if Trump issued such an order as Commander-in-Chief? It would clearly be both unconstituional and against the Military Code of Justice.

Consider the following from FindLaw:

The question arose recently when U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer resigned from his post after saying that he felt an obligation to disobey an order from his commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump.

The issue involved a Navy SEAL, Eddie Gallagher, whose demotion for posing for a photo with a combatant's corpse was reversed by Trump on Nov. 15.

That action prompted Spencer to send Trump a resignation letter on Nov. 24 in which he stated, "I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."

So, can a person in the military simply refuse to follow an order if they don't like it?

The answer is yes — if they consider the order itself to be illegal or unconstitutional.

It's generally called a "duty to disobey," and is empowered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ is more concerned about the need to obey orders, but specifies the conditions when military personnel may feel justified in not following them:

  • If the order is "contrary to the constitution" or "the laws of the United States."
  • If the order is "patently illegal, ... such as one that directs the commission of a crime."

Back to the SEAL Team 6 question: it is not only possible the order to commit an illegal act would be disobeyed but that once the fact that Trump issued this order made it's way up to the top of the command structure the generals and admirals could decide they had a renegade and dangerous president and commander-in-chief and decide to mount a coup and install a temporary military officer to run the country who would order Trump's arrest and a new election.

What about Biden and the briefcase?

It is only fair to consider how President Biden would handle the power to launch a nuclear attack. For one thing, we know Biden isn't an impulsive malignant narcissist. He may, however, be congitively diminished during certain parts of the day or night. If there was a crisis where a nuclear response was an option when he wasn't at his best he'd be either among top civilian and military aides either in the White House Situation Room, on Air Force One, or have them nearby. 

He could be trusted not to act precipitously. He'd listen to the advice and recommendations of the experts. He wouldn't have surrounded himself with advisors selected because of their loyalty to him rather than for their competence.

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

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July 3, 2024

If Trump wins in four years his MAGA Party could be the only political party and only members might have full citizenship. His gestapo would be the enforcers. By Hal Brown, MSW

 The RawStory article "A dark world': Ivanka Trump spills on why she dropped out of politics" got me to thinking about how Trump, if he wins, could declare himself president for life and how since his most intelligent adult kid may not want to take his place when he dies or is too old to rule we'd probably end up with Donald Jr. as the next dictator. Donald Jr. is the man who gets a thrill out of shooting exotic animals with a high powered rife and posing along with his dumber brother with their lifeless bodies. For the MAGA masses he's a perfect choice to inherit the MAGA throne.

By the time Donald Jr. took over the country would have become full-on NAZI, only it would be MAGA. Instead of the NAZI Party we'd have the MAGA Party. If one was a card carrying member they would not only be the privileged class, they would be the only citizens will full rights. 

By the end of four years of Trump rule there won't be much, if any, independent media left because, like Putin and, before him Hitler and Mao, the goverment will totally control the dissemination of information. RawStory which published this article will be gone and it's staff sent to reeducation camps, or worse. Those of us who, like me, post comments on websites like RawStory, The New York Times, and The Washinton Post would be on the MAGA gestapo hit list too. Those who like me subscribe to proessive websites will be at risk. In fact, anyone with an online presence from Facebook or having a blog like mine could easily be checked out to see if they are should be added to the MAGA gestapo hit list. Hitler did this without the internet. 

Once you were identified as being against MAGA not only would your freedom be at risk, but you could have all of your rights as a citizen taken away. If you have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or food stamps these benefits could be cut. 

MAGA Party members would have ID cards but others would be at the mercy of the overlords. If you're reading this, that's you

MAGA will control almost every aspect of the lives of those living in the United States. I have to phrase it this way because the word "citizen" won't apply anymore. Only MAGAs will have full citizenship. 

The Second Amendment, so precious to the Right, would apply only to MAGA Party members. Not only would they be the only ones to be able to purchase firearms but ownship of firearms by non-MAGAs would probably be made a capital crime. 

If you think prohibiting abortion is abhorrent consider how MAGA could veer into Handmaid's Tale territory. They could make it difficult for non-MAGAs to have children by denying prenatal care and in hosptial delivery. The children non-MAGAs did have could be taken away at birth to be raised by MAGAs. Also, there would be no child income tax deduction for non-MAGAs.

Non-MAGAs might need vouchers or special currency to buy all the necessities of living. 

Let's not forget that the education of children would be controlled starting with kindergarten which might well be renamed MAGAgarten. 

Anything which now is called woke would be illegal. Working with the Department of Justice (they would keep that name but it would be the MAGA gestapo) would be the Department of Compliance. These MAGAs would spend their time scouring the internet for anyone who goes against the regime and are identified as enemies of the state. This would include anyone identified as what comes under the rubrik of woke. Facebook and Instagram would be a treasure trove for them as millions of people share information about their personal lives there.

Millions of ordinary Americans would have a tremendious incentive to go along to get along and would join the MAGA Party. Some would turn in "deviant" neighbors to incur favor with the leaders, and perhaps be rewarded in various ways. 

Only certain non-MAGAs would be required to wear something like this that identified them as deviants or undesirables. The ordinary non-MAGA could be identified because Party members would be issued official pins like these so they could easily be identified. A non-MAGA wearing one of these pins would risk being asked to for their "papers" (today it would be a holographic photo ID like a drivers license) and if they were trying to "pass" they'd be arrested.

The horror is that there are tens of millions of Americans who are not just fine with the country I have described here, they want this to to be "their" country. There are others who think those who make NAZI comparisons are engaing in hand-wringing hyperbole. Among the later group are many politicians and possibly the Supreme Court justices who just ruled on presidential immunity.

I think it is very possible that decades from now historians in countries where they are allowed to write about it will look at the Project 2025 manifesto as the 21st century Mein Kampf.

Footnote: 

Project 2025 includes a 920-page plan devised to entirely remake the U.S. government and turn America into a Christian nationalist, authoritarian, and some say fascist nation run by an all-powerful president. Critics say it would obliterate separation of church and state, the rule of law, the social safety net, and civil rights advances including reproductive rights and rights for LGBTQ Americans secured over the past sixty years.

"The plan calls for a nationwide system of school vouchers, severe restrictions on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights, and maintains that the federal government should 'maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family,' which it refers to as 'heterosexual, intact marriage,'" Church & State magazine reports. Reference.


Update:

This is from Axios: As far as I'm concerned 1, 2, and 3 far outweigh 4, 5, and 6. 

What to watch: To hear Trump and his allies tell it, this is how early 2025 would unfold if he wins: 

1. A re-elected Trump would quickly set up vast camps and deport millions of people in the U.S. illegally. He could invoke the Insurrection Act and use troops to lock down the southern border. 

2. In Washington, Trump would move to fire potentially tens of thousands of civil servants using a controversial interpretation of law and procedure. He'd replace many of them with pre-vetted loyalists. 

3. He'd centralize power over the Justice Department, historically an independent check on presidential power. He plans to nominate a trusted loyalist for attorney general, and has threatened to target and even imprison critics. He could demand the federal cases against him cease immediately. 

4. Many of the Jan. 6 convicts could be pardoned — a promise Trump has made at campaign rallies, where he hails them as patriots, not criminals. Investigations of the Bidens would begin. 

5. Trump says he'd slap 10% tariffs on most imported goods, igniting a possible trade war and risking short-term inflation. He argues this would give him leverage to create better trade terms to benefit consumers. 

6. Conversation would intensify about when Justices Clarence Thomas, 76, and Sam Alito, 74, would retire.

Reommended reading:

Republican glee over "immunity" decision shows they don't fear Donald Trump — they desire a dictator

Trump has threatened to have people killed and GOP politicians aren't bothered in the slightest By AMANDA MARCOTTE

You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

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July 2, 2024

Supreme Court immunity ruling means the next election will coronate a benevolent king or ruthless dictator. Is there a Marvel Universe type Democrat who can replace Biden and beat Trump like Thor beat his villians? By Hal Brown, MSW

 



As I do every morning I look first at HUFFPOST to see which stories are on the top of their main page. Above is what I saw at 5:30 AM.

This is the main page at 9:30 here in Oregon:

It is impossible for a thinking person with any knowledge of history not to think about how Hitler rose to power and how he used the German court system to help him achieve this end. Consider:

Hitler determined to increase the political reliability of the courts. In 1933 he established special courts throughout Germany to try politically sensitive cases. Dissatisfied with the 'not guilty' verdicts rendered by the Supreme Court (Reichsgericht) in the Reichstag Fire Trial, Hitler ordered the creation of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin in 1934 to try treason and other important "political cases." Under Roland Freisler, the People's Court became part of the Nazi system of terror, condemning tens of thousands of people as "Volk Vermin" and thousands more to death for "Volk Treason." The trial and sentencing of those accused of complicity in the July Plot, the attempt to kill Hitler in July 1944, was especially unjust. From: Law and Justice in the Third Reich, in The Holocaust Encylopedia.

It is possible that if Trump wins American courts will look like this:

Could it happen here? It may have just started to happen in France. As far fetched as it may seem to think that a few years from now under Herr Trump America could have its own Gestapo and SS, have pulled out of NATO and have aligned itself with Putin, have taken over the media, and developed a Hitlerian civilian corp of people who would be turning in their neighbors for the crime of questioning the administration.

Just take a look last night's Truth Social post:

It would hardly matter which party controlled Congress. If Congress passed laws undermining his polcies he'd just ignore the laws or when his power was solidified he might just disolve Congress. Why stop there? He could declare himself president for life and make sure that one of his children was his successor.

This horror makes it all the more important that a Democrat wins the election. The polls don't look good for Biden. The the future of Democracy rests on the answer to the following question:

Is Biden the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump?

Even if we didn't have questions about his mental acuity and whether his debate performance was related to early dementia he is 81 and when he says loudly "I know I'm not a young man but I know how to do this job" his voice sounds to this listener as weak. It doesn't resonate with power and confidence. This is made much worse when you look at him and his face looks pale and, I hate to say this, as old as my 80 year old face does.

This election won't be decided by reasonable and well-informed voters. It will be decided by people casting their votes based on optics. 

It occurred to me that America is a Marvel superhero country. Swing voters could embrace a Democrat whose superpowers were unexpectedly revealed. Since I don't follow the Marvel universe I decided to look online to see if any particular character could be used as an illustration in this blog. 

I found a half hour video, Who is the Most Powerful Hero in the MCU? (Ranking All 30 Heroes In The MCU here).Whether it was an algorythm or the Internet gods (perhaps they are the same) this ad for Biden/Harris that first came up before you could skip to watch the video:

The video went on to profile the 30 top superheroes. 

I fast forwarded to the end to see who was considered the most powerful. Dr. Strange was number two:

Number one was Thor. He evolved as a weaker character in the first movies but in the more recent films his power increased (and his hammer changed to be even more deadly) to the point he justified the rank of most powerful:

The question I ask in my title is whether there is a Democrat who can emerge and in the time prior to the election convince enough undecided voters that he or she is a Thor who can and should lead America. 

I believe this is possible because there are enough Americans who are infuenced by optics. Aside from the sadists who admire the villians, they love thier superheroes. They are thrilled when a superhero like Thor vanquishes his enemies:

Consider how Trump's electronic cards depict him as a muscle bound costumed superhero. His cult actually sees him that way.

With the right advertising and promotion a Democratic Party Thor can be sold to enough voters so they win the election. But before that happens Biden needs to step down and leave it to the wisdom of the power brokers leading up to and during the convention to decide that is best suited to wield Thor's hammer whether it's the new one or the original one (below).

Whether it's Kamala Harris as Superwoman (I've had the 14 x 19 poster below for years) or someone else, I think there's time for a Demorcat with the capabilities to be president to don a superhero outfit and kick Trump into the garbage bin of history.


Addendum:

I urge everyone to read "‘We’ve all enabled the situation’: Dems turn on Biden’s inner sanctum post debate" in Politico.Note the following, especially the last sentence:

Over the course of his presidency, Joe Biden’s small clutch of advisers have built an increasingly protective circle around him, limiting his exposure to the media and outside advice — an effort to manage public perceptions of the oldest person to ever hold the office and tightly control his political operation.

But inside the White House, Biden’s growing limitations were becoming apparent long before his meltdown in last week’s debate, with the senior team’s management of the president growing more strictly controlled as his term has gone on. During meetings with aides who are putting together formal briefings they’ll deliver to Biden, some senior officials have at times gone to great lengths to curate the information being presented in an effort to avoid provoking a negative reaction.

“It’s like, ‘You can’t include that, that will set him off,’ or ‘Put that in, he likes that,’” said one senior administration official. “It’s a Rorschach test, not a briefing. Because he is not a pleasant person to be around when he’s being briefed. It’s very difficult, and people are scared shitless of him.”

It must be understood that some people whose dementia is getting worse either keep thier previous personality, become more subdued than they were before, or become more hostile.


  • You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

    Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

    or….

    Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

    July 1, 2024

    On Biden's cognitive fitnesss, either we trust Jill or we don't. She sees him at his best, his worst, and everything in between. By Hal Brown, MSW

     

    For me the crucial story on HUFFPOST (above) is Family Urges Biden in, debate be damned. As important as the article about the poll is and the all the other news about editorial boards, opinion writers, fellow Democrats, and others about his dropping out the president won't drop out unless he sees how this is the best course of action and the most persuasive person to help him decide this is Jill. She knows him better than anybody else. In some ways she may know him better than he knows himself.

    Jill sees Joe at his best, his worst, and every way in between. More than anyone else, even more than her husband, she is in a position to evaluate his behavior for indications he is in the earliest stage of dementia. People in that stage are often in denial about what they blow off as irelevant memory lapses. This is why any full assessment for dementia includes both an interview, possibly with some testing, of the patient and also with one or more family members. 

    While there is the major issue of public perception of Biden's cognitive ability when it comes to the election if he decides not to drop out I doubt this issue will change a significant number of votes. My position is that if he does have dementia I have faith in him to recognize that he may be slipping and will discuss it with Jill and others he trusts to see if they see the same thing. One doesn't need an expert assessment to recognize and accept that they are succumbing to dementia. If they have self-awareness, as I am sure Joe Biden does, they will see it in themselves and ask those who they trust the most if they observe the same things. 

    I have no doubt that the Bidens are well aware of what happened with Ronald Reagan who revealed his Alzheimer's diagnosis five years after he left office (read article in Snopes).

    If Biden is reelected and symptoms are interfering with his ability to govern I believe he will step down. This obviously would make Kamala Harris president. I have the utmost confidence in her. She could prove herself to the country and run successfully on her own in 2028.

    If Biden doesn't have dementia

    There is a good chance Biden doesn't have dementia. In fact the statistics suggest it is unlikely:

    RISK

    Women, People Ages 85 and Older, and Racial and Ethnic Minorities Face Greater Dementia Risk

    Dementia is more prevalent at older ages. About 3% of adults ages 70 to 74 had dementia in 2019, compared with 22% of adults ages 85 to 89 and 33% of adults ages 90 and older.6

    Women are slightly more likely to have dementia than men. Among adults ages 70 and older, 11% of women and 8% of men had dementia in 2019.7

    Non-Hispanic white adults are less likely to develop dementia than most other racial and ethnic groups. Among those ages 70 and older, an estimated 8.5% of non-Hispanic white adults were living with dementia in 2019, compared with 16.1% of non-Hispanic Black adults and 16.4% of Hispanic adults.8

    As they age, married older people may have a lower risk of dementia than their unmarried counterparts.9  Read more here.

    I write this as an 80 year old former psychotherapist whose partner is 79, and who lives in a continuing care retirement community where I know dozens of elders. Neither of us shows signs of dementia. I have close friends in their early nineties who may need a walker to get around but who are almost as mentally sharp as they were 10 years ago when I first met them. 

    About me: For going on 10 years I have seen people in all the stages of dementia. I wouldn't call myself an expert on dementia. I never had a course on it or went to a workshop on the subject. My knowledge comes from reading and observation.

    These are my previous blogs related to this issue. Yesterday I wrote:

    The Democrats saying (and they are saying it now as I write this on MSNBC) that Biden "merely" had a bad night and lauding his accomplishment as presdient are not addressing the possiblity that his "bad night" might have been a result of, in the worst case, actual dementia the symptoms of which are only evident in the evening, or in the best case the "aging brain" which is sharper during the day than at night. 

    Democrats and people who care about democracy are voting for a brain. They deserve to know whether that the brain, like a car, is firing on all cylinders, or if running on batteries was fully chargred all day and after a good night's recharging, was ready to handle the duties of the presdiency the next morning. 

    Update, an excerpt from The Wall Street journal article summarized in RawStory here:

    The signs of Biden’s decline have been obvious long before his stumbling performance against Trump Thursday, the Journal's editorial board wrote.

    “The Democratic press barely questioned Mr. Biden’s limited workday, his reliance on a teleprompter, and his rare unscripted media interviews,"

    What they don't mention is Trump's typical workday as president and how often he spent time at his various homes frequently playing golf and Trump also using a teleprompter and how when he speaks extemporaneously it is often unhinged lunacy.

    You can read this and previous blogs on two websites. One may look better than the other because of how the platforms present the page.

    Read on the WordPress Stressline.org

    or….

    Read on the Google Blogger platform HalBrown.org This version has a Disquis comment section which makes it easy to post links and images.

    Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

      I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...