Tag Archives: Russia

USS Trumptanic

In April , 1912, an iceberg collided with the RMS Titanic . In a few hours the “unsinkable” gigantic ship sank. While most of the first class passengers managed to escape, most of the third class passengers perished. The captain went down with the ship.

Yesterday, Robert Mueller released the first indictment in a series. Thirteen Russians, working for Putin and his oligarchs, have been charged with helping destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The evidence is clear. The grand jury indicted. It is no hoax.

The captain of the RMS Titanic was informed that an iceberg was sighted. He tried to steer the ship away. But the iceberg was moving too fast and ship could not be saved. So, about 2 and a half hours later, the Titanic sunk. Some of the wealthiest people in the world were on board. Most made it to safety, some perished. For the third class passengers…well, not so good.

The captain of USS Trumptanic has known about the iceberg for sometime. We now have early warning systems for icebergs. Now the iceberg has been sighted. And it’s name is Mueller.

The thing about icebergs. For some, over 90% of the ice is below the surface. When you spot the 50 foot high tower of ice in the distance, you can be fearful that there is a massive block of ice you can’t see. Moving toward you. Slowly. Inexorably. On the way to tearing your ship apart.

The captain of the USS Trumptanic has seen the tip of the iceberg. He has watched as more and more of his crew have already fled to the lifeboats. Flynn. Manafort. Gates. Bannon. Already thrown overboard.  He sees the small block of ice and is convinced that there is nothing under the water.

What has happened? First, Mueller indicts Flynn, Manafort, Gates, Papadapolous. The crew. Now, the tip of the iceberg is moving along the horizon. The 13 Russian agents who worked with some Americans to distrupt the 2016 election. To get their man elected.

What’s next? What is below the surface? It’s not difficult to figure out.

Drill into the iceberg core. What do you find? Money laundering. The Russian money laundering business which has used Trump properties for years to hide the money from their illegal activities. Trump properties are rented and bought by Russian oligarchs for well above real value. Classic moneylaundering.

Drill deeper. Coordination with Russian agents. Jared Kushner was in charge of the internet activities of the Trump campaign. Jared Kushner has a massive debt on 666 Fifth Avenue, which he cannot pay. Jared Kushner has tried time and again to get loans from Russian government bankers, because long ago US banks refused to deal with him or Trump. Indictments coming.

Drill deeper. Donnie Junior and his “adoption” meetings with Russian agents. At Trump Tower. A secret meeting, in Trump Tower,  that the captain claimed was all about adoptions. Later found not to be true. The captain himself had lied about the reasons for the meeting. Indictments coming.

Drill deeper. The Mueller Iceberg has indictments and evidence that we can only guess at. But be certain. The iceberg is slowly and methodically heading for the USS Trumptanic. Collision course.

Edward Smith, the captain of the Titanic, saw the iceberg. He knew it was going to hit. He knew he was responsible. He did not run for the lifeboats. He went down with the ship.

The captain of the Trumptanic is NOT the captain of the Titanic. The captain of the Trumptanic will not go down with his ship. He is standing on deck blaming his crew for the iceberg. He is blaming the ice for the iceberg.

The captain of the Trumptanic is not going to jump into one of the lifeboats. He is waiting patiently for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. They hold his fate in their hands. And they are on the way. Not with a lifeboat. Mitch and Paul are sailing to save the captain with a luxury yacht.

And together they will sail back home while the Trumptanic and the crew sink. The iceberg cometh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/17/586698361/the-russia-investigations-mueller-indicts-the-internet-research-agency

 

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Filed under government, Politics, POTUS, Trump

Words, Part 2

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” George W Bush

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. ” (attributed to A Lincoln)

You can fool some of the people all of the time. And you can get fooled again.

Words.

Small miscommunications or lies set the table for bigger ones. A small lie about the size of your inaugural crowd.  A strange lie. Photos and records of subway usage in Washington DC clearly demonstrate that the crowd at the Obama inauguration was much larger than the one at the Trump inauguration. So why lie? Why send out your press secretary on his first day and force him to lose all credibility immediately?

Miscommunication or lies. While campaigning for president, the public record now shows that Mr Trump was trying to sign a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow. A real estate deal that does not get done without the approval of Mr Putin. We know know that members of the Trump campaign met with a number of Russians (18 that we know of) during the campaign. And more meetings were held during the transition. Yet Mr Trump has and continues to maintain that there was no contact between any Russians and his campaign. Miscommunication or lie?

Miscommunication. President Obama warned Mr Trump not to hire Mike Flynn. Obama had fired Flynn. Flynn was known to be involved in some shady dealings with Russia and Turkey. Flynn’s lawyer told the Trump transition team that Flynn had worked for a foreign nation, Turkey. Flynn was hired by Trump as NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER and had access to every piece of secret information available. The acting attorney general, Sally Yates, warned the Trump administration that Flynn might be open to blackmail. So, Sally Yates was fired and Flynn was kept on. Until the Washigton Post ran a story about Flynn’s activities. Only then was Flynn let go. Supposedly because he “lied” to Mike Pence. But the adminstration knew of Flynn’s problems long before he was fired. Why lie? Miscommunication.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson criticized the president. In response, John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, told the story of how the Congresswoman lied and took credit for a new FBI Building. How he was “shocked” that all she did was talk about herself and failed to honor the fallen agents for whom the building was named. He saw it with his own eyes. He was there. She was a liar. Except, nothing he said was true. And when a video of the event surfaced it proved he blatantly lied about this black Democratic member of Congress. What was the White House response?  To stand by his story even when the visual evidence clearly contradicted him. Showed him to be a liar. Miscommunication. Lies.

And the list goes on and on and on. In a meeting to discuss the compromise on the DACA problem and border security, a compromise that Mr Trump said he would sign, something else happened. It was reported that Mr Trump went off the rails and called some countries, inhabited by black folks, “shithole countries”. Senator Durbin , when asked , said it was so. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham concurred. But no one else at the meeting could remember. Republicans Tom Cotton and Perdue, both senators who were NOT part of the compromise, said they could not recall. Then, later, they did recall he said “shithouse”, not “shithole”. So, Durbin is a liar. He said “shithouse”, not “shithole” And the Secretary of Homeland Security could not recall either. But she did hear some “tough language”, whatever that means. She could not recall exact words. Of the president. She also was not aware that Norway is a country with a majority white population. The woman whose job is to keep us safe. Did not know that Norway was white. Really? Does anyone believe that? Miscommunication. Lies.

What is the overall effect of this daily and consistent miscommunication from the White House? Why lie about small matters? Why not say , “Yes. The president said that. He misspoke. He did not mean it”. Or. “We don’t care about crowd size, we just want to govern”. Why lie about small things?

What is the plan behind this barrage of lies we see every day? The effect is to destroy the very idea that evidence or facts have a place in politics. To make everything suspect. to make all words meaningless.

What if Mr Trump tells us that we need to go to war ? Who would believe him? Who would believe any statements or evidence? Who would believe anything the Secretary of Homeland Security says when she pretends not to know that Norway is full of white people? Who would believe Mr Kelly when he has lied so blatantly about a Congresswoman?

The abuse of words by this adminstration is beyond anyhting we have ever seen outside of the old Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany. The Orwellian prediction is coming true before our eyes. The well planned constant, daily miscommuniction is taking its toll on the truth.

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
― George Orwell1984

Or, as Abe Lincoln said: You can fool some of the people all of the time.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/6436-there-s-an-old-saying-in-tennessee-i-know-it-s

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/27074.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/22/trump-inauguration-crowd-sean-spicers-claims-versus-the-evidence

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-business-sought-deal-on-a-trump-tower-in-moscow-while-he-ran-for-president/2017/08/27/d6e95114-8b65-11e7-91d5-ab4e4bb76a3a_story.html?utm_term=.c878d69b4afd

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sally-yates-warning-set-flynn-resignation-motion-article-1.2971933

https://www.npr.org/2018/01/16/578415397/homeland-security-secretary-says-she-did-not-hear-trump-use-that-vulgar-word

 

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Filed under economics, government, Politics, Society, Trump, United States

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

Many times when I was in 2nd grade there were often various verbal conflicts among the students. Some examples might be : You’re a big dummy. Another good one: You stink. And the classic: You’re ugly and stupid.

It may seem that these rhetorical barbs are impossible to contradict. How can one defend oneself against such succinct and astute accusations? How does one fend off these clever verbal retorts?

Well, other 2nd graders were up to the task. When confronted with verbal abuse (by other students; verbal abuse by Sister Clamidia dare not be challenged) we were armed with the nuclear weapon of rhetorical excellence: I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. 

OUCH. The attacker slinks off defeated. There is no response to this statement. Anything the attacker says now just ends up applying to the aggressor. The nuclear option.

Which brings me to modern politics.   Politicians sometimes make a claim about an opponent. The opponent is a crook. A sexual abuser. A criminal. You know the drill. And sometimes politicians just make statements which attribute certain other behaviors to their political foes.

Sometimes these accusations and statements end up being true or partially true. Other times the accusations end up being the 2nd grade equivalent of  “I’m rubber and you’re glue…” 

Some examples: Michael Flynn leading the chant at the GOP national convention: Lock Her Up. Lock Her Up. All the while Flynn himself had been secretly breaking the law and taking money from the Turkish dictator, possibly money funneled to him and his son from Putin. Now, Flynn has pleaded guilty and his heading for “Lock Up”.

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

Donald Trump:  “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” March 4, 2017. Now the Mueller investigation closes in, Watergate -style, on Mr Trump. More and more evidence of the conspiracy between at least 9 members of the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russians. The firing of Comey to try to cover up the crimes.  Sounds an awful lot like Nixon/Watergate.

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

“Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia[?]” he ( Trump) asked in a message posted to Twitter. Well, the Congress and special prosecutor are looking into deals with Russia. Trump deals. Even though Trump has denied ANY deals with Russia.

I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away,” Trump said in early January 2017 as President-elect. “We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.”  

Except:  “Around the time presidential candidate Donald Trump was touting his real estate dealings at a Republican primary debate, a proposal was in the works to build a Trump Tower in Russia that would have given his company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales, and control over marketing and design. And that’s not all: the deal included the opportunity to name the hotel spa after his daughter Ivanka….”

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

There’s more. A Trump tweet about Al Franken: “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …”

Of course, Trump himself has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And at least 13, (the number seems to keep growing) different women over the years have charged that Donald has assaulted them. As far back as 1980. And he seems to really like the Moore-age girls. ” Tasha Dixon, who competed as Miss USA Arizona—not in the teen competition—in 2001 said: “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.” Some of the contestants in Miss Teen USA were as young as 15. “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before,” Trump allegedly said.”

I’m Rubber, You’re Glue

So , next time you hear a member of Congress say that Bob Mueller is a “crook” or we should “lock her up” or that “everybody does it”, remember the second graders at St. Mary School.

I’m rubber and you’re glue. Perhaps that should be engraved on the Capitol Building and White House.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/08/politics/document-trump-tower-moscow/index.html

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/03/27/trump-calls-for-investigation-into-hillary-clinton-russia-connection/22014433/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/all-of-donald-trumps-accusers-a-timeline-of-every-alleged-grope-and-assault

 

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Filed under Clinton, Congress, government, Politics, president, Republicans, Trump

The Trump Doctrine

We have now seen Mr Trump in action  (or inaction) for almost 3 months. Since he came into office with no real life experience it would be unfair to expect him to know what he was doing. Few of us made that mistake.  So we must look to his actions to discover  what his philosophy of governance is.

Now, we could pause and wait for him to clearly articulate the “Trump  Doctrine”.  But I  fear  that waiting for a well-reasoned, organized and concise explanation of that particular set of priorities and actions may be well  beyond the time frame allotted us in the current age of this universe. After all, there is a Black Hole at the center of the galaxy which will eventually devour us all. (Stupid scientists)

So, I will help.

The Trump Doctrine seems to be based on a few fundamental principles.

  1. DRAMA. Mr Trump must always be at the center of attention, whether positive or negative. This is consistent with the old adage that there is no such thing as “bad publicity”. PR is PR. Mr Trump must always be the focal point of any discussion of domestic, foreign, athletic, entertainment, government,  or any other human , vegetable or animal related policies.  As opposed to “No Drama Obama”, Mr Trump demands drama as the key element of his doctrine. Whenever the discussion veers from him personally he does a midnight tweet to bring himself back into the center of the public discussion. The more outrageous, the better the drama.
  2. CARPE DIEM. (For those of you deprived of a parochial  school education, this means “Seize the Day”). No matter the original meaning of Horace, the term today refers to enjoying the present. Doing what feels good now. Latin scholars may disagree, but Horace is dead! The Trump Doctrine involves saying or doing anything in the short term without regard, or perhaps understanding, of long term consequences. Example: Tweet that Obama tapped my phone. It felt good to tweet that. No evidence.  Who cares. I just accused the former president of a felony? Without evidence? Who cares. See principle #1. Drama. Another example: Bomb Assad. Feels good. I look presidential. Looks good on TV (See principle # 1). Tomorrow? Who cares.
  3. CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT. No matter what the Trump Doctrine is today, the good news is that it will definitely change tomorrow. No matter what the firm position on any topic is today, we can be sure that the alternate or in some cases opposite position will be held tomorrow. Example #1: Obamacare will be repealed and replaced on day one. Easy. OK. Now on day 35. Congress will act.  I demand it. It will happen. OK, maybe we will do it later. Who knew healthcare could be hard?  Example # 2: The wall will be built by Mexico. OK. Not Mexico. OK. Maybe not a “wall”. Maybe just better border security (Like Hillary said?). I never said a “wall”. Who said a wall? Not me. Example # 3: Do not get involved in Syria. Never. OK. Maybe bomb an airfield. Why? I saw a picture on TV (See principle # 1). The Syrian people can have Assad. He is their problem. We must take Assad out of power. Example #4: Flynn is fantastic. Great American. Flynn who ? Who hired this stranger? Never met him. … We can be certain of one thing. No matter what Trump says or does today we can rest assured that tomorrow will bring a reversal. Or denial.
  4. FAMILY BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE, ON WEEKDAYS. The Trump Doctrine puts the family business interests at the dead center of any decision making. He has never divested himself of his multiple business interests. Nor has his family. He funnels tax dollars his Mar Lago Resort and Trump Towers as he now has 3 residences.  (Can you even IMAGINE the outcry had No Drama Obama done anything close to this?)  His daughter and son-in-law, while running the Trump empire, are also now involved in public policy decisions. To those who claim they are not qualified by intellect or experience to be at the locus of political power I answer thus: They have the same qualifications as Mr Trump himself. They have no formal education in government, the hard sciences or the social sciences. They are deeply involved in selling stuff to unwitting buyers. They have never exhibited normal human curiosity about life outside the realm of accumulating wealth. (I use the term “accumulating wealth” so as not to insult the millions of honest Americans who actually work  to “make money”). And they have achieved their great wealth the old-fashioned way… by inheritance. All three, Donald and his two offspring or offspring-in-law,  are cut from the same Chinese imported silk. The fact that Donald golfs every weekend does not bother me.  But he did say he would not golf if elected president (See Principle #2).

So, there we have my suggestion as to  the principles of the Trump Doctrine.

Drama. Carpe Diem. Consistently Inconsistent. Family Business Before Pleasure,  On Weekdays.

The warhawks, especially the chickenhawks, got all tingly in their nether regions this week when Trump bombed Assad. Oh Boy. Let’s go to war. Refer to the Trump  Doctrine.

The Obama haters got all tingly with the idea that they could take away health care from 24,000,000 working class Americans. Refer to the Trump Doctrine.

The Mexican haters were flushed with joy at the idea of the “Big Wall” and massive deportations. Refer to the Trump  Doctrine.

The Muslim haters were ecstatic that Mr Trump was going to ban those potential terrorists and their children from entering the US. Refer to the Trump  Doctrine.

So, don’t look for any well articulated formal policy from this man or his family. Look  to the Trump  Doctrine for answers.

 

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Filed under ACA, Economy, Foreign policy, Hillary, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, Trump, Trump University, twitter, United States, workers

Something Deeper

Let me start by clarifying. I am not a conspiracy nut.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Bigfoot does not exist. The “government” did not take down the Twin Towers on 9/11 as an “inside job”. Millions of illegals do not vote in US elections. There is no  secret cabal of Jewish bankers running the world. The UN is not trying to destroy freedom in America. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I am a fact guy. A pragmatist. Show me the evidence and I will consider your case. But evidence is a must.

Which brings me to the latest, ongoing attacks by Mr Trump on the free press. Over and over he has been slamming any news organization that does not pay him proper homage as “the enemy of the people”. All news that is not completely positive is FAKE news.

Why keep harping on FAKE news? Why continue to try to undermine faith in such news organizations as the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, The LA Times and others? News organizations that once in awhile make mistakes  but have spent years cultivating processes that lead to accurate reporting. News organizations that vet sources and double check  facts before putting ink to paper.

Mr. Trump is a stupid man. Yes. He is. He knows virtually nothing except how to put together real estate deals. How to manipulate  (or rather HIRE accountants to  manipulate) the tax code. He is singularly UNCURIOUS about the world. He has demonstrated no understanding of basic science, literature, history, sociology or any other field. Since he was given $13,000,000 by his father as a young man his existence has been one of self-promotion. Period.

But, Mr Trump is also a clever man. A con man. A manipulator of his supporters. A cult figure. He sees himself as larger than life. And so do the Trumpsters and Trumpettes who follow him. He knows how to use the media for free publicity, as he showed us in his  campaign for president. He hates any media that does not adore him. And he encourages his followers to do  the same.

But he WON the election in the electoral college. He is the president of the United States. So, why continue to attack the press? He won. He beat them, at least in his way of thinking.

As I said, I am not a conspiracy nut. But there is something deeper going on here.

The “leaks”, which every president hates, have gotten to Trump. He even had Sean Spicer take away the phones of his (Spicer’s) staff and had them checked for possible news leaks. Trump calls the leaks FAKE news, yet he seems to be giving credence to the validity of the information. Otherwise, why try to find the source?  If these negative reports are really “made up”, as he says, then why suspect his own inner circle?

I suspect something deeper is going on.  There are skeletons, probably Russian ones, in Mr Trump’s closet. There are connections, financial  and political, with Russian oligarchs. Perhaps with Putin himself. Connections that may be illegal or at least very damaging .

By trying to destroy the public confidence in the press, Mr Trump is staging a Pearl Harbor attack. Destroy the credibility of the press. then, when the stories come out about his corruption people may say it is simply the press out to “get him”. Mr Trump likes to control the agenda and he seeks to marginalize legitimate investigative journalism by preemptive strike. The press LIES. All the time. Don’t believe them.

Something is deeper here. Not just the rantings of our first  (and god help us, our LAST) twitter president. He is the master of distraction. He has called the New York  Times and Washington Post losers and his enemy.They did not  crumble.  When distraction  does not work he goes for destruction. Exactly the same way he did business in his real estate shenanigans.

There is something deeper here. And the press will discover it. Sooner or later. After all, Pearl Harbor was not a total defeat, it was a setback. Eventually the US won the war. The free press will not  be governed or destroyed by Mr Trump, no matter how hard he tries. But he is trying to set the stage for the inevitable investigations into his financial and political  chicanery. He hope to destroy the confidence of the citizenry in the free press. In the end, they will find him out. And publish.

The is something deeper here. Wait for it.  It will happen.

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Filed under Constitution, GOP, government, Neoconservative, news, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Trump, twitter, United Nations, United States

The Trump Scream

Edvard Munch created  a painting in 1893. A strange painting. A powerful painting. Titled “The Scream”.

 

http://www.nasjonalmuseet.no/en/collections_and_research/our_collections/edvard_munch_in_the_national_museum/The+Scream,+1893.b7C_wljU1a.ips

This painting depicts how I feel whenever I think of the possibility. The remote possibility that Donald Trump could actually be President of the United States.

I would not suggest that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is perfect. Far from it.She is flawed. Anyone who has been in public life for over 30 years is going to make a lot of mistakes. Unless the person sits on their butt, does nothing, and gets re-elected. But those who want to change things will create enemies. And make mistakes.

But no matter how flawed Clinton might be, she has actually done the work. As First Lady.  As Senator. As Secretary of State. To paraphrase from the musical “Hamilton”…”She has been in the room where it happens. Where decisions are taken. Where the sausage is made.”

Then I look at the “career” of Donald Trump. Given a few million. Blew it. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy. Loans from Russian oligarchs.Tax dodger. TV personality. Blatant liar. Racist. Nativist. Anti-Muslim. Misogynistic. Crude. Vulgar. Shallow. As Bloomberg, the former millionaire mayor of NY said at the convention: “I  am from New York and I know a conman when I see one”. So am I and so do I.

I feel like the non-gender specific person in the painting. Horror and wonder. Disbelief. Astonishment.

Horror at Trump, to be sure. But also horror at the 39-42% of the American people who plan to vote for him. The wonder that so many of my fellow citizens are either racist, or nativist, easily conned or just not paying attention.

Over 14,000,000 Republicans voted for a man who regularly and gleefully insulted other Republican candidates. “Little Marco”Rubio, . “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz,  Jeb Bush “the loser”, Kasich’s eating habits  are “disgusting”, Carly Fiorina “look at that face”, Carson cannot be “cured”, Rand Paul as a genetically defective son of Ron, Lindsey Graham is “one of the dumbest human beings” and so on and so on.

And that was just his fellow Republicans. The list is too long to for this essay.

14,000,000 Republicans said, with their votes, that this crude, vulgar conman should be President of the United States.

And in November, millions more will go into voting booths from Maine to Iowa to California to Hawaii and cast a ballot for Donald Trump. Millions. They would put the nuclear capacity of the US in his hands. They would put diplomacy in his hands.  They would put the power of the executive branch is the hands of a pathological liar and practiced conman.

When I look at the Munch painting I feel as though I am in it. Win or lose. It is not Donald Trump that causes me to scream. Win or lose.  It is not really the idea of a Trump president that causes me to scream. After all, we have seen his type of conman before.

It is the millions of Americans who will vote for this guy.Millions of Americans who will consciously choose to select this man as their leader. Someone  for their kids to “look up to”. The millionaire conman  who they think will help them.

Millions will vote for him.Let that sink in.

Now that is a reason to scream. AAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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Filed under Politics, Trump