"I'm a Barnum and Bailey guy

Just as phony as I can be.

But I'll make all your troubles fly

If you'll just vote for me."

Although he still has an absolutely terrific, can't miss plan for defeating ISIS, Donald Trump isn't going to divulge any details just yet. President Obama might steal it. Better that hundreds more die than to risk his not getting sole credit for accomplishing something that all those dumb generals in the United States military couldn't do.

What could the idea be? His good friend Vladimir Putin acknowledged that he was "brilliant," but to formulate a plan to defeat such a wily and merciless enemy must have been a formidable challenge, even considering the vast experience Mr. Trump soaked up while he was in a military high school.

Maybe a covert beauty pageant to lure members of ISIS into a place that could then be surrounded and secured? Do I hear sniggering? Remember, a lot of folks laughed at the notion of a wall, too.

There has been an awful lot of whining from his supporters that the liberal media has been really tough on poor Mr. Trump, especially when you consider the virtual free ride that Hillary Clinton has been given on those damming, but mostly boring, emails, the pay-for-play specters haunting the halls of the Clinton Foundation, and the fact that she occasionally coughs when she is giving a speech.

Mrs. Clinton has admitted her mistake with the unsecured server and owned up to it as being a serious lapse in judgment. The FBI found no criminal or indictable intent.


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The gripe with the foundation revolves around the fact that decisions favorable to the interests of contributors were made during her tenure as secretary of state. So far, however (and I'm certain it isn't from a want of trying), no one has been able to truthfully assert that any of the decisions were detrimental to the best interests of the country. I don't mean to suggest that truth is a vital component in anything emanating from the Trump camp where it has been reduced to a kind of convenient frivolity.

As for the coughing, I don't know a vow to never leave home without a couple of Ludens in her pocket?

Mrs. Clinton has not been coddled by a liberal media. She has been held to a standard that is appropriate for a person running for president. It is difficult to hold the mercurial Trump to any standard at all. He has behaved as if the presidency was the next logical step up from a cheesy television reality show where there was no problem that couldn't be solved by a summary "You're fired!" from an pseudo-authoritarian whose sneering superiority derives from inheriting upwards of $200 million from his old man.

Matt Lauer, who really should stick to incisive reports on the pros and cons of flossing, demonstrated the media's unwillingness to call Trump out when the he reiterated one of his longstanding lies about his opposition to the Iraqi invasion from its inception. There is absolutely no demonstrable evidence that Trump expressed any opposition before an article in Esquire magazine that appeared 16 months after the war began, when even Trump recognized the scope of Bush's epic debacle. A year earlier, Trump told Howard Stern in a radio broadcast that he supported the war.

But Lauer let it pass and if enough Lauers let enough lies pass, they insinuate their way into the realm of truth, exactly the way Karl Rove said they would.

Trump has reaped billions of dollars in free promotion from a media that seems to be mesmerized by the sheer scope of his ineptness. For a man who possesses no moral compass or sense of responsibility that extends beyond promoting his own name, there really is no such thing as bad publicity.

He once crowed that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York and not lose a single vote. Besides being the perfect boast for such a big law and order guy, the ugly statement also demonstrates his awareness that in-depth examinations of the candidate they are supporting for the highest office in the nation doesn't seem to be a priority with his constituents.

In the years to come, the Trump aberration should be regarded as the perfect example of an old caution, with just a little tweak added: There are none so blind as those who absolutely refuse to see.

— Alden Graves is a regular Banner columnist