LOMAIN, Ohio—The concern among voters here in this heartland city is whether Republican nominee Donald Trump will leave an insult to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton unsaid or otherwise fail to say something that disparages the country or its institutions or further debases American democracy more than he already has.
“We know he has it in him to disparage everything our country has spent more than 200 years building,” says Barbara Hastings, 68, a retired teacher here. “But will he find it within himself to do that? Or will he just lose heart at the critical moment and allow some piece of our democracy to escape unscathed?”
Alfred Johnson, 73, a former banker in this town of about 68,000 people, credits Trump with coming closer than any other candidate in sewing hatred and pitting neighbor against neighbor, but with six weeks still to go before the election, there’s still time for him to pull back and say something decent. “You’re fighting with yourself, because you want to hope he’ll smear everything and anything, but in the back of your mind you know he could falter and say the election won’t be rigged or Hillary Clinton isn’t a criminal who should be put in prison and shot,” he says.
And there might already be signs that he’s going soft, says Lenny Morrison, 59, an unemployed mechanic. “He hasn’t insulted France yet. I don’t think he’s said anything bad about Germany. And he’s had very little negative to say about Crooked Hillary’s running mate, Tim Kaine. If this was April, I wouldn’t be worried. But we’re already in mid-September and there are so many things he hasn’t put under the heel of his shoe and ground into the pavement yet. It’s getting late.”
“Politicians make promises and then they break them,” says Nancy Carter, 71. “I liked Trump because he wasn’t a politician. He had the guts to say a man who spent five years as a prisoner of war and endured repeated torture wasn’t a war hero. He was morally degenerate enough to mock a disabled reporter. But you know he’s going to lose his spine like all the others and stop calling women pigs, Mexicans rapists, and journalists hacks. He’s already had an about-face and said Obama was born in the United States! Thank god he at least blamed it on Hillary. But is that enough?”
John Nelson, a one-time mayor of the town, is preparing to be disappointed. “What we’re going to see is that Trump, at some level, has some moral decency,” he says. “He’s trying to give every indication that he doesn’t. But you know something will happen and there will be this little flicker of integrity, this little testament to a soul, and then you’ll just throw up you hands and say, ‘Sh*t! He’s not going to sink to the lowest depths of hell after all! There is something he cares about more than his own vanity! Yet again we’ve been lied to!'”
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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump acknowledged he plans to govern as a dictator but he wanted to reassure voters that he would make decisions in the interests of the country. “When I curb the press, it wont be to hurt America, it will be to make America stronger,” he said. “If I let the press criticize everything I do—and they will, because they’re totally dishonest—I can’t get anything done. I want to get things done, so I have to curb the press. But we’ll still have some free press. We’ll keep the good ones. It won’t be entirely gone.” Trump promised to take a firmer hand on how cases get settled in the courts. “Right now our courts are a disaster,” he said. “We have cases backlogged. Why do we use juries as much as we do? Especially if the person is guilty. Let’s get these guilty criminals directly into jail and save he courts for when we really need them.” More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he has decided President Barack Obama was born in the United States and therefore he is entitled to serve out his term, which ends in January 2017. “I have finished it,” Trump said of the so-called birther issue, which refers to theories on the Internet that Obama, whose father was Kenyan, was born in another country. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.” On hearing the news, many Americans across the country breathed a sigh of relief. “I was so worried that our president was illegitimate,” says Nancy Carpenter, 68, a retired office assistant in Ames, Iowa. “I wish Donald Trump would have proclaimed Obama American-born before this, but better late than never, I guess.” More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein came back from the dead today to throw some shade at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for praising the 82 percent approval rating of Russian president Vlaidmir Putin. “Eighty-two percent! I snort at that!” said Hussein, who was executed by the Federal Government of Iraq in 2006, when he was 69. “My Revolutionary Command Council would have had a good laugh if I had run my country as a strongman with only an 82 percent approval, I can tell you that, my friend!” Hussein said a strong leader should never have anything under 100 percent approval, and he pointed to his impressive 111 percent approval rating when he asked his people in a poll what they thought of his job performance in 2003, shortly before an international coalition of forces invaded his country and forced him into hiding. “I am not a sentimental person, but I shed a tear at the love of my people on that day,” said Hussein. More.
Is Republican presidential nomination front-runner Donald Trump a dictator in the making? A report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests he is, based on a body-language analysis that finds he and former Iraq strongman Saddam Hussein, along with other strongmen throughout history, share a key oratorical gesture. The gesture is called “Dictator’s Finger,” because it’s seen only in people who believe they are infallible. “The moment we saw Donald Trump raise his index finger for the first time in a debate, we saw the connection with dictators throughout history,” says Nelson Pottsmann, professor of communications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the MIT Center for Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication Studies. More.
Katrina Pierson, the spokesperson for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said this morning that she’s a better liar than new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and that there’s no truth to the rumor that Conway is doing most of the TV appearances these days because Trump is unhappy with how well Pierson is lying. “I know people like to spread the lie that somehow Kellyanne is a better liar than I am, but that is an outright lie and I can say in all honesty I am the better liar and Donald Trump has said he truthfully believes I’m a better liar,” said Pierson, who has been Trump’s chief spokesperson since early last year, when the real estate mogul announced his candidacy. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh from his dramatic trip to Mexico to discuss immigration policy, said he would allow Angélica Rivera, the wife of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, into the country if she wants to come. “We would make an exception for her, absolutely, and I told her that when I was in Mexico,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Albuquerque, N.M. “I told her I’ll have a car ready for her anytime she wants to come. She has my number. She said she’d like to see Trump Tower. I said I’d like to show it to her.” Rivera, 47, an actress and model before she became Mexico’s First Lady, was born in Mexico City. She has been married to Peña Nieto since 2010. Trump’s trip to Mexico has generated a considerable amount of analysis. In Mexico, he appeared to take a conciliatory approach to the country, but that appeared to change in a major address he gave in Phoenix that night. More.
David Hume to Donald Trump: ‘I was only kidding about preferring the destruction of the world to the scratching of my finger’
The brilliant Scottish philosopher David Hume, whose Treatise of Human Nature in 1739 turned the world of moral philosophy upside down and spurred Immanuel Kant to write his momentous critical philosophy in response, arose from the dead today to tell Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that he was only kidding when he said it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to prefer the destruction of the world to the scratching of one’s finger “Donald, when I wrote my Treatise I was only 23 years old and was a little full of myself at the time,” said Hume, who died in 1776 at the age of 65. “It was my view, as a brash young man looking to make a name for himself, that reason is the slave of emotions and our moral views are based on our passions, not on our reason. That’s why I said—I’m not sure of the exact words, but it was something like, ‘It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.’ More.
With Donald Trump nearing the presidency, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have lined up to collect the cabinet posts for which they’ve sold their souls, and there’s disagreement over how the spoils should be divided up. Christie says he should be given the Attorney General post, but Gingrich says he wouldn’t mind having that. Giuliani says he could take that post, too. Giuliani says he’d also like to have Secretary of Defense, and Gingrich says he’d be okay with that if he can have Secretary of State. “I have the stature for it,” Gingrich says. Plus, it would put him fourth in line for the presidency should Trump get food poisoning at one of his hotel restaurants and die. More.
Republican presidential nomination frontrunner Donald Trump said he was directing the executive vice president of his company, The Trump Organization, to launch a new company, Trump Security, as soon as possible to take advantage of the growing violence at his rallies and in other aspects of American life. “We’re just getting to be a very violent country and that means we need more security,” Trump said last night in an interview on CNN. “It’s terrible. It’s unfortunate. There are a lot of bad people out there. But it presents an opportunity, too, and that’s what makes me a good businessman. When I see an opportunity, I take it. And there’s an opportunity here to sell good, effective security services, and no one will provide better security than Trump Security, I can promise you.” More.
Three out of four Americans say they couldn’t have imagined Donald Trump as president of the United States, but now that he’s been the front-runner for so long, they can “kinda, sorta” see him in the Oval Office now. “Trump is on the phone with Putin and he tells him it’s a BIG mistake for Russia to still be in Crimea, and Putin goes, ‘OK, Donald, help me find a face-saving way to get out.’ Yeah, I can see that conversation happening.” That’s one of the comments from the poll, which was conducted across the United States on the eve of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. As the poll was conducted, Trump was leading all other Republican contenders in both Iowa and New Hampshire, which will hold the first primary election one week after Iowa. More.
Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, released his plan today for remaking the White House and its operations into his image should he be elected president. “I didn’t get to where I am today by thinking small,” said Trump, a real estate mogul who is estimated to be worth $1 billion. “When I’m elected, I will think big. A new White House sign. A new White House brand. The White House seal has not been updated since 1968. Think about that. Vietnam. Woodstock. The country has moved on from that period, people. So should the presidency.” Under the plan, the name “Trump” would be incorporated into both the presidential seal and the White House logo. And the same signage on the Trump Tower in New York City would be added to the White House facade. More.
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, fresh from his party’s national convention in Cleveland two weeks ago, hit the campaign trail today with the message that he’s “with the sociopath” and he hopes voters all across America will join him. “It’s time for you to be with the sociopath as well!” he exhorted voters in campaign stops across the Midwest. The “sociopath” refers to Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who tapped Pence to be his running mate three weeks ago. At a stop in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier in the day, Pence said the country could no longer afford to be guided by politicians who “read briefing papers” and “consider options” when confronted with a crisis. More.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump started fleshing out details of his administration should he win in November with release of a detailed plan for a U.S. Department of Deportations that he will create within his first 100 days in office. “We have 11 million illegal Mexicans to deport and 1.6 billion Muslims to keep out of our country, so it’s going to be a big department and it’s going to do things well,” Trump said yesterday at a press conference
in the lobby of his signature building in New York City, Trump Tower. Under the plan, the Department of Deportations will be a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security but it will have independent funding and its chief will be a presidential appointee. Trump said the department won’t require annual appropriations from Congress because it will generate its own funds through a levy on Mexican imports into the United States. More.
Republican nominee Donald Trump asked voters to elect him to the presidency because he wants to oversee a country whose institutions, traditions, and principles he holds in utter contempt. “Our legislative branch is a bunch of losers,” he said. “Our Judiciary puts Mexicans on the bench. Our public servants are incompetents who couldn’t get work in the private sector. I want to lead this country whose institutions I despise, so vote for me.” Trump said he has no respect for a free press. “No where in the Bill of Rights does it say we have a free press,” he said.”Read it. It’s not there. I can guarantee you it’s not there. If you think it’s there, you’re stupid.” More.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said today he believes the moon landing in 1969 was real but “many people” believe the whole thing was orchestrated by the federal government to impress the world and scare the Soviets. “I’m not saying I believe that, but many people have questions about it,” Trump said at a campaign appearance here. “There are people who know about these things who say they saw the interior of a warehouse in Los Angeles converted to look like the surface of the moon, complete with fine dust and craters and the whole thing. Lot of tinfoil lying around. More.
Taking a page from the 1994 congressional elections that swept Republicans into power in the House for the first time in 40 years, Donald Trump unveiled a campaign manifesto called “Contract With Myself” to detail the administrative changes he will make upon his first day in office and the legislative changes he’ll seek from Congress in his first 100 days. “As the only person who can make America great again, I propose fantastic changes to how we govern this once great country,” the preamble to the manifesto reads. “Upon my first day in office, I will sign directives to make the following five reforms: First, remame the White House the Trump White House. Second, replace the Rose Garden with a 6-hole golf course, called Trump White House Greens. More.
Republican presidential nominee says it’s just like the “PC police” to give him a hard time for calling for the assassination of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, to prevent her from picking the country’s next Supreme Court judges. “Wouldn’t you know I would be criticized for suggesting a Second Amendment solution to a Crooked hillary victory,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Lexington, Va. “You can’t say anything today without running afoul of the PC police.” Trump sparked a round of condemnation yesterday by alluding to what gun owners could do if Clinton wins. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said at a rally in Wilmington, N.C. “Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is. I don’t know.” More.
Franklin Graham III, son of the late televangelist Billy Graham, says he’s concerned for the country’s moral well-being because today almost a quarter of Americans identify as atheists or otherwise claim no religious affiliation, a sharp increase from a generation ago, when few people claimed no religious affiliation. “The United States is a country founded by Christians on the basis of Christian values, so it is very disturbing from a moral and spiritual standpoint that one out of every four Americans is not going to get into heaven,” said Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham was speaking at a rally in Charleston, S.C., for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Other religious leaders, including Jerry Falwell, Jr., and James Robison, were at the event. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump used a major foreign policy address at Georgetown University in Washington today to lay out his vision of hostile forces around the world aligning to attack the United States under President Obama and removing it from its perch atop the world order. “There’s something going on, people, and it’s happening to us right now while our president, Barack Hussein Obama, looks the other way and talks about registering our guns—disarming us,” he said to a subdued audience in the school’s ornate auditorium. “Hillary Clinton is taking it a step further and getting guns banned from the Constitution.” Trump said the United States, after decades of setting the rules for the world, finds itself embattled from all sides. He cited China building a “military-style air base” in the South China Sea, Russia “flying circles around NATO planes in Scandinavia,” and Iran “completely dominating Israel” while Obama “winks and nods and wastes resources in the fiasco that’s Libya.” More.
Worried that Donald Trump’s focus on score-settling and conspiracy mongering is dooming Republicans’ chance of winning the White House, GOP leaders have asked party heavyweights Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann to help right the listing campaign. “Trump will be a good president because he understands the needs of hurting Americans, but we first need to win the presidency and we think that requires adding some intellectual heft to his campaign team,” says Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chair. “We are pleased to announce that two of our party’s most well-respected thought leaders, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, have agreed to return to the political fray on behalf of our nominee for president.” Palin, tapped to be the running mate of Sen. John McCain of Arizona when he was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, is expected to bring considerable policy heft to the Trump effort. More.
The mouth of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was caught talking without the candidate’s brain at a rally in Altoona, Pa., today, marking the seventh time in the last day and a half that unsupervised words from the candidate’s mouth were allowed into the world. “The only way we could lose, in my opinion—I really mean this, Pennsylvania—is if cheating goes on,” Trump said at the rally. Trump, who is down in the polls in this and other battleground states, has started letting his mouth talk without restraint about cheating and rigged elections as a way to delegitimize the election outcome should he lose, setting the stage for widespread instability in the world’s oldest democracy. More.