Talking Points Update -12/04/2016 - The Raptor Reports You Decide
The Raptor frequently sends "Notes To Self" to keep ideas that pop into view on the radar. Submitted here for your approval are recent talking points with little or no talk. The idea is to publish some threads just to give the reader a window into the mind...of The Raptor.
11/7/2016 - After speaking with some Whispering Woods Golf Club members, "Rough Too Thick Around Greens and Holes Are Too Hard In Relation To Handicap Values
11/7/2016 - More Whispering Woods Talking Points...
The Five Some Rule - Again!
Eliminated The Rough (AKA The Taint) On Hole Number 8
Eliminated The Sand Bunker To The Right of The Putting Surface At Hole Number 10
Cars Were Speeding Through The Parking Lot So The Maintenance Gate Has Been Locked
At Least 15 New Members Will Be Playing At WWGC In 2017 That Formerly Played At Erie Golf Club
Maybe 2017 Will Be The year That A Clubhouse Is Built
11/14/2016 - Spoke with and individual who wrote in Joe Biden For President and Spoke With Another Individual Who Wrote In Jeb Bush For President - Dumb!
11/14/2016 - Encountered Two Trump Supporters Who Frequently Use The Term "Maybe" To Describe Their Aspirations For President Elect Trump's Future Administration
11/14/2016 - Florida High School Had Drinking Fountains Segregated With Signs That Said "Colored" and "Whites Only"
11/16/2016 - Dodd-Frank - Why Do Republican's want To Repeal It?
11/19/2016 - Donald Trumps Organization Settled Trump University Fraud Case With $25,000,000.00 payout with no admission of guilt
11/19/2016 - Whenever There Is A Tragedy, Republicans (Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Newt Girgrich etc) Always Tweet Out A Message That "Sends Out Thoughts and Prayers"
11/19/2016 - Played golf with a WWGC member who was Giddy/Happy that The Clintons were defeated, That the Affordable Care Act Would be Repealed, and That Regulations would be repealed in order to give Corporations more profitability. He also was happy that "tariffs" would be levied on other nations who want to sell goods in the US
11/19/2016 - Every year the Sports Reporters spend hours hypothesizing on the merits of the four team playoff and which team is worthy of a bid. There is too much time spent worrying about a bad game which turns out to be a ratings dud.
11/19 /2016 - Vice President Elect Mike Pense apparently is trying to seal up his email records from public scrutiny
11/19/2016 - While playing golf with a WWGC member, The Raptor mentioned that President Elect Trump was making plans to spend his weekends in Florida and New Jersey rather than stay at the White House and this would become costly due to Secret Service Protection. His response was to criticize President Obama for playing basketball with Secret Service Agents.
11/20/2016 - Twitter is addicting. Easy to take time frequently to check feed. Many Tweets are dumb and The Raptor tends to ignore them
11/27/2016 - Joy Reid wrote an interesting article in The Daily Beast...it is a good read
Already Happening: Media Normalization of Trumpism - The Daily Beast
11/27/2016 - Donald Trump reminds The Raptor of The Blazing Saddles Character, Governor William Lepetomaine (played by Mel Brooks). During a staff meeting the Governor says some funny classic lines such as "I didn't get a hrrrummmph outta that guy!" and "hello boys I missed you" (while staring at his secretary's boobs)
11/27/2016 - The Raptor frequently tries to use "The Force" to grab items from a table or dresser but it never works
11/26/2016 - The Raptor feels that the lack of "door to door" campaigning by Presidential Candidates or their surrogates hurts their visibility
11/26/2016 - Most of The Raptor's friends and acquaintances are Republican (or so it seems) - The Raptor beginning to get a feeling of loneliness due to my political leanings.
12/1/2016 - Electorate should prepare for a control swing in Congress in 2018 due to over reach by The Administration and a Republican House and Senate. Same thing happened in 2010.
12/2/2016 - Republicans are asking the Democrats to give President Elect Trump a chance to use his agenda to make a successful transition but then President Elect Trump conducts a rally in Cincinnati where the crowd starts chanting "Lock Her Up" This is a dick move. Probably will lead to more division and gridlock...maybe...L2ms
Politics Update -11/14/2016 - Irony
The Raptor was over at our family business yesterday cleaning up discarded trash that had been tossed into the parking lot and came across this interesting piece of junk. It seems that one the proliferation of yard signs supporting President-Elect Donald Trump finally found a home on our property...
What irony and quite an allegory for what is about to go down as in "down the sewer". The Raptor will sign an affidavit that this was not staged in any way, shape or form by myself. However, whomever did the deed is to be commended...kind of like how President-Elect Trump commended Candidate Hillary Clinton.
There is a new campaign afoot. Now it is the turn of those sophisticated in The Electorate to become Trump Apologists. This new generation of supporter will list President-Elect Trump's faults stating the facts: racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobe and a xenophobe but, forgetting to mention that President-Elect Trump ruined people's lives with his fraudulent Trump University. The Trump Apologists fail to mention that Donald Trump provided Campaign Contributions to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to drop an investigation into his business practices. Trump Apologists also fail to mention that Trump is alleged to have raped a 13 year old girl and is scheduled to be in court in December to launch a defense. Want more? Of course you do Donald Trump called for the execution of a group of kids known as "The Central Park 5" ever thought they were eventually proved innocent. How about news stories that allege that Trump Properties engaged in racial discrimination.
In earlier entanglement with Trump Apologists, The Raptor was able to shove in a few counterpoints to their calls to give this "good man" a chance That "maybe" he will do the right thing. This will be debateable for a long time to come
Politics Update -11/12/2016 - Epic Fail
The Raptor has been gasping for a breather since the stunning events of Election Day. Candidate Donald Trump is now President-Elect Donald Trump after a amazing capture of the key Rust-Belt, Battle-Ground States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. As of this writing, Michigan and New Hampshire have not been resolved but should it turn over to Candidate Trump's corner, the Electoral tally would settle at 306 votes for Donald Trump and 228 votes for Hillary Clinton. This would be pretty much a landslide.
As far as the Nationwide Popular vote is concerned, Candidate Clinton has a slight vote lead of about 500,000 votes out of over 120 Million votes cast. Keep that in mind...Clinton won the popular vote! Several anecdotal stories have surfaced. Up in Wisconsin, a strict voter ID Law may have managed to turn back almost 300,00 eligible votes from the pols on Tuesday. Many of those disenfranchised were thought to be POC's. A similar voter purge occurred in North Carolina and some disparaging stories have come out regarding Voting Machine Hacks and meddling by Russian Intelligence in the election.
The Raptor has made several observations on Face Book and as a result there may be a few less Christmas Cards coming to our home in December.
One post by a friend on Facebook stated: "I have read a lot of bad things that have been written about our President -elect, post election. I cannot honestly remember seeing such a negative reaction to any other successful candidate in my lifetime, and we certainly have had some contested elections.
Maybe he is a racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic and, in general, an amoral human being. But maybe, just maybe, he is not.
As President -elect, doesn't he at least deserve the same chance to succeed, without all the prejudging, that was extended to the 44 Presidents who preceded him? I think so"
So The Raptor came back swinging... "As many if not all know my affiliation to the Democratic Party is strong and I will not let the results of this election change that. Here is my initial observation on the Election of Donald Trump as President. Candidate Trump was the absolute worst human being as a candidate I have ever noted and he had zero.zero capability of acting Presidential. He harassed President Obama for years about his birth certificate. He called for Candidate Hillary Clinton to be jailed and also he "inferred" that maybe...she could be termed in a much more horrendous fashion than through the voting process. Once the Election was contested and he received a concession from Candidate Clinton he referred to her in glowing terms and talked about her "service" to this country. After meeting with President Obama and getting to spend 90 minutes with The President alone, he was able to let us know what a great guy President Obama is. Now that he has hurdled over the competition, President- Elect Trump made sure to crap on them while passing overhead"
In addition, this by The Raptor..."We as a nation will undoubtedly move on and we may look back at this event as a defining event in our history. As I continue to live my life and get up each day to get to work so that my employer can extract taxes from my paycheck, I am reminded that Candidate Trump failed to present his financials to the American people. He has been lauded as a genius by surrogates for not paying taxes. There is an irony here. If I elect to work hard and then decide to pay no taxes using President-Elect Trump as my inspiration, I will be penalized. That is what makes America Great"
Another Face Book poster took The Raptor to task and stated..."You would not be penalized, as Mr. Trump utilized the existing tax code to protect his assets. You would likely benefit from his inspiration if you created the jobs and opportunities that he has afforded thousands throughout this nation via his properties and businesses. Capitalism is what has made America Great!"
So The Raptor came back with..."Candidate Trump failed to provide adequate Financial Information (at minimum Tax Returns) so that The American Electorate could ascertain his business dealings. K-1's, Depreciation Schedules, and the two Schedule M's on the 1120 are what we would like to see. How is President-Elect Trump connected to other businesses? Are there any unusual loans to shareholders? And now there are news stories surfacing that his three children will be managing a Blind Trust while he serves as President. Normally this may be a non-issue unless those same three children were not also serving on President-Elect Trump's Transition Team. This is a conflict of interest. President_Elect Trump has also walked back his signature campaign promises since Tuesday's Election. Gone is the Repeal and Replace of The ACA, Gone is the wall with Mexico, Gone is the bringing back of coal jobs initiative and gone is the Mass Deportation of The Immigrants. Just as Candidate Trump was successfully able to call out Lyin' Ted and Crooked Hillary, it won't be too long before his surrogates and supporters will be running him out of Washington on a rail."
Another Face Book poster added a post from scripture stating..."The Prophet Jeremiah said "Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear"
So, The raptor tried to get in a word..."my grasp of scripture is feeble. I cracked open my Bible to Revelation 13; 11-18... "Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all; and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast, it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. A certain wisdom is needed here; with a little ingenuity anyone can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a certain man. That man's number is six hundred sixty six" Yes...Trump is a false prophet and The Anti-Christ"
To which the previous gentleman wrote a post stating..."He could be.... or he could be another Saul, headed for a great transformation, in line to be used by God in great and wonderful ways to help people ... or maybe he is just another guy who has good ideas for solving the country's problems ... or maybe he's part of the problem.
Myself, rather than judge for myself, especially at this point, I would rather rely on God's wisdom, which says ...
"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended." Romans 13:1-4"
The Raptor can think of a few observations here. These gentle Facebook souls can't seem to recall that when Barack Obama won the Election in 2008, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell stated he was going to obstruct the new President with extra zeal to insure he was a one term President. The Congress harassed President Obama on every aspect of his handling one of the most severe recessions in US History even though the failed economic policies of the George W Bush Administration seemed to trigger the Recession.
The Trump-GOP Platform is summation: Deport Millions, Ban A Religion, Turn Back The Clock On Women's Rights, End Gay Marriage, Take Health Care From Millions, Cut Medicare and Social Security, Give Tax Breaks To The Rich, Eliminate Corporate Regulations, Oppose Action On Climate Change, Block Commonsense Gun Regulations does the Make America Great Again?
If the 60 Million individuals that voted Trump think the 60 million, 500 Thousand individuals who voted Clinton are going to stand down and conform they have another thing coming.
Politics Update -11/8/2016 - Election Day!
The Raptor is getting ready to head out the door for what promises to be a busy day. Couple of projects at work, possible lunch at The Falcons with Brian McGrath to hobnob with other wizards, doctor appointment at 2:00 and since it is Election Day...must get to the poling station at Church of The Cross which is just up the road from my shanty.
Preparing to vote this year has been pretty sad for The Raptor. This is the third election cycle in a row that The Republican Party has nominated a clown to carry their standard.
First, it was McCain who exacerbated his plight by adding supra ditz, Sara Palin to the ticket. Then talked of a fundamentally sound economy.
Then came Mitt Romney, a capable candidate who promised to shut down Public Television...really Mitt? For you to actually state in a freakin debate that you liked Big Bird but not enough to fund Sesame Street was all The Raptor had to hear to kick you into the dust heap of failed Presidential Candidates.
Now it's Candidate Donald Trump's turn to attempt to amaze and amaze he did. Running the most polarizing campaign ever, Trump managed to insult a YUGE percentage of the electorate while locking up the GOP Nomination with relative ease.
The Raptor is taking several key events from The Trump Campaign as proof that he is a dumas. First, this concept of building a wall with Mexico is just plain silly. Second, The Trump Campaign trotted out Candidate Trump's wife, Melania at the Republican Convention and handed her a speech to deliver which had been copied almost word for word from a similar speech given by Michele Obama eight years before. What? did Trump and his cracker jack team of surrogates figure that the shelf life of the first speech had expired? This key moment demonstrated a cavalier attitude towards the electorate that the Trump Supporters can't fathom mostly because they have no other choice. The third moment occurred when The Trump Campaign was forced to relieve Paul Manafort of his duties as Campaign Chair for no apparent reason, but for possible entanglements with nefarious foreign governments.
A final word...a news story surfaced out of San Diego last week that one of the parishes in the Catholic Diocese of San Diego had released a church bulletin which stated that voting Democrat in the upcoming election was a sure ticket on the Train To Hell. This would normally be laughable until a similar story surfaced here in Erie, PA just yesterday that over the weekend an associate of The Raptor who has a teen child enrolled in Sunday School got a similar rant from a mentor.
The Raptor is saddened by this kind of crap.
It's time to go to the poll and vote For Hillary Clinton...take care
Politics Update -11/6/2016 - Final Observations On A Memorable Election
It is now just one day of campaigning left until Election Day and it is perhaps time to take stock of the key races of which there are four for this area.
The big tamale is The Presidential Election, however don't forget about a race for Pennsylvania Senate and two Pennsylvania State Races... Dan Laughlin versus Sean Wiley for PA Senate and Greg Lucas versus Ryan Bizzarro for a Pennsylvania Representative Seat.
The Raptor figures that the Lucas - Bizzarro race is tilting towards Bizzarro. Neither Candidate has been conducting a TV Ad Campaign, but there are some yard signs strewn about.
Speaking of yard signs...The Donald Trump Campaign has mounted a serious Yard Sign Campaign. The Raptor is all too familiar with Yard Sign Management as two elections were spent as part of The Filippi For Mayor Yard Sign Committee. Yard Signs are serious business in Erie, PA. Here are some examples of some signs seen in the neighborhood...
This small Trump Yard Sign is in my neighbor's front yard down the street. There are hundreds like it all around Millcreek - very impressive! In contrast, there a very few Clinton For President Yard Signs but interestingly enough, my next door neighbor is sporting a Clinton Sign. The Trump Campaign also has hundreds of Large Yard Signs strategically placed on busy streets in and around Erie...
If the Election were conducted on Yard Signs alone, Trump would win in a landslide. However, the Yard Sign is only one aspect of a successful campaign. TV ads make up a big chunk but The Door To Door is also critical.
Consider, the Laughlin versus Wiley Campaign. This is another Yard Sign Barn Burner. Laughlin got a head start by challenging local custom which restricted yard sign placement to 30 days prior to the election. His campaign started putting signs out close to Labor Day as opposed to October 1st, when Wiley started putting his signs out. The Raptor also is wondering if The Laughlin Campaign attached a Union Bug to each of their signs which is common practice for Campaigns. The Raptor sought out The Wiley Campaign and had a large yard sign placed outside our back yard on Sterretania Road which has tremendous visibility
The Raptor is not a fan of Laughlin's Campaign. Laughlin is against the perks. Car with gas miles...not. Office remodel...not. Club dues...not. Laughlin states he won't accept any perks. However, his campaign wasn't against nearly $500.000.00 in funds contributed to his campaign by other State Of Pennsylvania Elected Officials who happen to be Republicans. Laughlin is presenting himself as an outsider with a rugged personality. Pick up truck and a Carhart Coat, Laughlin has a successful Construction Business. Does he plan to shut down operations while he serves as a Senator? Probably not. Laughlin has been seen on busy Intersections waving to passers by whilst wearing The Carhart. Very Authentic. The Raptor predicts that Laughlin has a leg up on Wiley and could win his race. With hope, someone will be able to monitor his perk account...
The Raptor has no skin in the United States Senate race. It is Katie McGinty versus Incumbent Pat Toomey. Based on TV Ads,Candidate McGinty is a "Millionaire" and is advocating a Middle Class Tax Increase. she also has been a lobbyist and has sold out her constituents. Toomey used to own and operate a bank and seems to have profited on the backs of unfortunate homeowners. The Raptor has heard on several occasions that Candidate Toomey is involved in a PAC called The Club For Growth. Rather than research this race, The Raptor is just going to Vote Democratic and Vote McGinty...stuff it Pat
The Presidential Campaign is going down to the wire. As this is written, Clinton has a 3 or 4 point lead in the "tracking poll" The Clinton e-mail scandal has taken on a new twist. FBI Director James Comey has decreed just this evening that there is no new e-mail stuff in the Anthony Weiner Computer, but, hasn't the damage been done? All this week while the electorate waited for closure, voting was going on all over the country. There could have been votes cast for and against Clinton based solely on the first Comey letter. There could also have been votes cast for and against Trump for the same reason.
One thing...Candidate Clinton has the support of Katy Perry, Beyonce, Jay Z, Bruce Springsteen and Le Bron James plus numerous other A-List Celebs...Donald Trump has the support of...Ted Nugent...
Once this election is complete, a Clinton win is going to result in Impeachment and a Trump win is going to result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth as The Candidate Trump is scheduled to go to trial for fraud in November and allegations of child rape in December. Most pundits are watching some key states. New Hampshire, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It's possible the whole thing will be over at 9:00 Tuesday evening with a Clinton Landslide. The Raptor sees The Landslide as the best outcome and it will leave the country with much less trauma.
Politics Update -11/4/2016 - Be Afraid? What Me Worry? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
With The National Presidential Election coming up in less than a week, The time has come to sum up the almost two year process that is about to come to term. Let's face it...The Raptor is exhausted. The Raptor is feeling almost beaten to a pulp by the non-stop TV Ad's which primarily focus on "how Bad" the other candidate is. While scrolling Twitter this morning The Raptor read this excellent piece by Andrew Sullivan of The New York Magazine...check it out...
11/4/16 – New York Magazine Story
America and the Abyss
By Andrew Sullivan
"The most frustrating aspect of the last 12 months has been the notion that we have been in a normal, if truly ugly, election cycle, with one extremely colorful and unpredictable figure leading the Republican Party in an otherwise conventional political struggle over policy. It has been clear for months now, it seems to me, that this is a delusion. A far more accurate account of the past year is that an openly proto-fascist cult leader has emerged to forge a popular movement that has taken over one of the major political parties, eroded central norms of democratic life, undermined American democratic institutions, and now stands on the brink of seizing power in Washington. I made this argument at length in April, when Donald Trump was on the brink of securing the nomination. Everything that has happened since has only made my fears more pressing.
I find myself wondering if I have lost my marbles. It seems far too melodramatic. I am an emotional character — I feared that Obama might have thrown the election away in the first debate in 2012 — and there are times in discussions with friends when the catastrophic scenarios we’ve been airing seem like something out of a dystopian mini-series designed for paranoids. Please, therefore, discount the following as the product of an excitable outlier if you see fit. I sure hope you’re right. But as it seems more evident by the day that Donald Trump could very well become the next president of the United States, it is worth simply reiterating the evidence in front of our nose that this republic is in serious danger.
This is what we now know. Donald Trump is the first candidate for president who seems to have little understanding of or reverence for constitutional democracy and presents himself as a future strongman. This begins with his character — if that word could possibly be ascribed to his disturbed, unstable, and uncontrollable psyche. He has revealed himself incapable of treating other people as anything but instruments to his will. He seems to have no close friends, because he can tolerate no equals. He never appears to laugh, because that would cede a recognition to another’s fleeting power over him. He treats his wives and his children as mere extensions of his power, and those who have resisted the patriarch have been exiled, humiliated, or bought off.
His relationship to men — from his school days to the primary campaign — is rooted entirely in dominance and mastery, through bullying, intimidation, and, if necessary,humiliation. His relationship to women is entirely a function of his relationship to men: Women are solely a means to demonstrate his superiority in the alpha-male struggle. Women are to be pursued, captured, used, assaulted, or merely displayed to other men as an indication of his superiority. His response to any difficult relationship is to end it, usually by firing or humiliating or ruining someone. His core, motivating idea is the punishment or mockery of the weak and reverence for the strong. He cannot apologize or accept responsibility for failure. He has long treated the truth as entirely instrumental to his momentary personal interests. Setbacks of any kind can only be assuaged by vindictive, manic revenge.
He has no concept of a non-zero-sum engagement, in which a deal can be beneficial for both sides. A win-win scenario is intolerable to him, because mastery of others is the only moment when he is psychically at peace. (This is one reason why he cannot understand the entire idea of free trade or, indeed, NATO, or the separation of powers.) In any conflict, he cannot ever back down; he must continue to up the ante until the danger to everyone around him is so great as to demand their surrender. From his feckless business deals and billion-dollar debts to his utter indifference to the damage he has done to those institutions unfortunate enough to engage him, he has shown no concern for the interests of other human beings. Just ask the countless people he has casually fired, or the political party he has effectively destroyed. He has violated and eroded the core norms that make liberal democracy possible — because such norms were designed precisely to guard against the kind of tyrannical impulses and pathological narcissism he personifies.
Anyone paying attention knew this before he conquered the Republican Party. Look at what has happened since then. He sees the judicial system as entirely subordinate to his political and personal interests, and impugned a federal judge for his ethnicity. He has accused the Justice Department and FBI of a criminal conspiracy to protect Hillary Clinton. He has refused to accept in advance the results of any election in which he loses. He has openly argued for government persecution of newspapers that oppose him — pledging to open up antitrust prosecution against the Washington Post, for example. He is the first candidate in American history to subject the press pool to mob hatred — “disgusting, disgusting people” — and anti-Semitic poison from his foulest supporters. He is the first candidate in American history to pledge to imprison his election opponent if he wins power. He has mused about using nuclear weapons in regional wars. He has celebrated police powers that openly deploy racial profiling. His favorite foreign leader is a man who murders journalists, commits war crimes, uses xenophobia and warfare to cement his political standing, and believes in the dismemberment of both NATO and the European Union. Nor has he rejected any of his most odious promises during the primary — from torturing prisoners “even if it doesn’t work” to murdering the innocent family members of terror suspects to rounding up several million noncitizens to declaring war on an entire religion, proposing to create a database to monitor its adherents and bar most from entering the country.
We are told we cannot use the term fascist to describe this. I’m at a loss to find a more accurate alternative.
The Establishments of both right and left have had many opportunities to stop him and have failed by spectacular displays of cowardice, narrow self-interest, and bewilderment. The right has been spectacularly craven. Trump has no loyalty to the party apparatus that has elevated him to a possible victory next Tuesday — declaring war on the Speaker of the House, attacking the RNC whenever it fails to toady to him, denigrating every single rival Republican candidate, even treating his own vice-presidential nominee as someone he can openly and contemptuously contradict with impunity. And yet that party, like the conservative parties in Weimar Germany, has never seen fit to anathematize him, only seeking to exploit his followers in the vain and foolish delusion that they can control him in the future in ways they have not been able to in the past.
The Republican media complex have enabled and promoted his lies and conspiracy theories and, above all, his hysteria. From the poisonous propaganda of most of Fox News to the internet madness of the alt-right, they have all made a fortune this past decade by describing the world as a hellhole of chaos and disorder and crime for which the only possible solution is a third-world strongman. The Republicans in Washington complemented this picture of crisis by a policy of calculated obstruction to every single measure a Democratic president has attempted, rendering the Congress so gridlocked that it has been incapable of even passing a budget without constitutional crisis, filling a vacant Supreme Court seat, or reforming a health-care policy in pragmatic fashion. They have risked the nation’s very credit rating to vent their rage. They have helped reduce the public support of the central democratic institution in American government, the Congress, to a consistently basement level never seen before — another disturbing analogy to the discredited democratic parliaments of the 1930s. The Republicans have thereby become a force bent less on governing than on destroying the very institutions that make democracy and the rule of law possible. They have not been conservative in any sane meaning of that term for many, many years. They are nihilist revolutionaries of the far right in search of a galvanizing revolutionary leader. And they have now found their man.
For their part, the feckless Democrats decided to nominate one of the most mediocre, compromised, and Establishment figures one can imagine in a deeply restless moment of anxiety and discontent. They knew full well that Hillary Clinton is incapable of inspiring, of providing reassurance, or of persuading anyone who isn’t already in her corner, and that her self-regard and privilege and money-grubbing have led her into the petty scandals that have been exploited by the tyrant’s massive lies. The staggering decision by FBI director James Comey to violate established protocol and throw the election into chaos to preserve his credibility with the far right has ripped open her greatest vulnerability — her caginess and deviousness — while also epitomizing the endgame of the chaos that the GOP has sought to exploit. Comey made the final days of the election about her. And if this election is a referendum on Clinton, she loses.
Yes, she has shrewdly deployed fear against fear — but she is running against the master of fear. The Democrats, with the exception of Obama, have long been unable to marshal emotion as a political weapon, advancing a bloodless rationalism that has never been a match for the tribal national passions of the right. Clinton’s rallies have been pale copies of the bloodthirsty mobs Trump has marshaled and whipped into ever-higher states of frenzy. In every debate, she won on points, but I fear she failed to offer a compelling, simple, and positive reason for her candidacy. Only a party utterly divorced from half the country it seeks to represent could have made such a drastic error of hubris and complacency.
Some — including many who will be voting for Trump — will argue that even if the unstable, sleepless, vindictive tyrant wins on Tuesday, he will be restrained by the system when he seizes power. Let’s game this out for a moment. Over the last year, which forces in the GOP have been able to stand up to him? Even his closest aides have been unable to get him to concentrate before a debate. He set up a policy advisory apparatus and then completely ignored it until it was disbanded. His foreign-policy advisers can scarcely be found. He says he knows more than any general, any diplomat, and anyone with actual experience in government. He has declared his chief adviser to be himself. Even the criminal Richard Nixon was eventually restrained and dispatched by a Republican Establishment that still knew how to run the country and had a loyalty to broader American institutions. Such an Establishment no longer exists.
More to the point, if Trump wins, he will almost certainly bring with him the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. A President Clinton will be checked and balanced. A President Trump will be pushing through wide-open doors. Who can temper or stop him then? A Speaker who reveals the slightest inclination to resist him will be swiftly dispatched — or subjected to a very credible threat of being primaried. If the military top brass resist his belief in unpredictable or unethical or unlawful warfare, they will surely be fired. As for the administration of justice, he has openly declared his intent to use the power of the government to put his political opponent in jail. As for a free society, he has threatened to do what he can to put his media opponents into receivership.
What is so striking is that this requires no interpretation, no reading of the tea leaves. Trump has told Americans all of this — again and again — in plain English. His own temperamental instability has been displayed daily and in gory detail. From time to time, you can see his poll ratings plummet as revelations that would permanently sink any other candidate have dented his appeal. And then he resiliently and unstoppably moves back up. His bond with his supporters is absolute, total, and personal. It was months ago that he boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters would still be with him. And he was right. This is not a mark of a democratic leader; it is a mark of an authoritarian cult.
It is also, critically, a function of his platform. Fascism has never been on the ballot in America before. No candidate this close to power has signaled more clearly than Trump that he is a white-nationalist candidate determined to fight back against the browning of America. As mass immigration has changed the demographic identity of the soon-to-be majority-minority country with remarkable speed, and as those made uncomfortable by such drastic change have been dismissed as mere bigots and racists, Trump offers an electrifying hope of revenge and revanchism. The fire he has lit will not be easily doused. If his policies lead to an economic downswing, he will find others to blame and conspiracies to flush out. If there is Republican resistance to his pledges to roll back free trade, he will call on his base to pressure the leadership to surrender. And if one of his first moves is to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, we will be hurtling rather quickly to a military confrontation, as Iran rushes to build a nuke before Trump can launch military attacks to thwart them. That rush to war would empower him still further.
Yes, he is an incompetent, a dilettante, a man who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Many of his moves will probably lead to a nose-dive in support. But Trump cannot admit error and will need to deny it or scapegoat others or divert public attention. Those diversions could well be deeply destabilizing — and galvanized by events. There will doubtless be another incident between police and an unarmed black man under a Trump presidency. Rather than calm the nation, Trump will inflame it. There will be an Islamist terror attack of some kind — and possibly a wave of such attacks in response to his very election. Trump will exploit it with the subtlety of a Giuliani and the brutality of a Putin.
I have long had faith that some version of fascism cannot come to power in America. The events of the past year suggest deep reflection on that conviction. A political hurricane has arrived, as globalization has eroded the economic power of the white working classes, as the cultural left has overplayed its hand on social and racial issues, and as a catastrophic war and a financial crisis has robbed the elites of their credibility. As always in history, you still needed the spark, the unique actor who could deploy demagogic talent to drag an advanced country into violence and barbarism. In Trump, America found one for the ages.
Maybe the worst won’t happen on Tuesday. Maybe this catastrophist possible reading of our times is massively overblown. Maybe this short essay will be ridiculed in the future, as either Clinton wins and prevails in power, or if Trump turns out to be a far different president than he has been as a candidate. I sure hope so. But the fact that we may barely avoid a very deep crisis does not mitigate my anxiety. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we live in a republic, if we can keep it. And yet, more than two centuries later, we are openly contemplating throwing it up in the air and seeing where it might land.
Do what you can."
Politics Update -10/30/2016 - Donald Trump's Long Hot Summer
Since our last meeting in May, it has turned out to be a Long...Hot...Summer...especially for Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Candidate Trump was able to fend off a handful of Primary Election Challengers, including John Kasich and Ted Cruz and lock up the Nomination with relative ease. Along the way he energized a base of a mostly white, middle income electorate who have become his loudest supporters.. here is an example of one...shouting down some liberal protestors...
Candidate Trump's Summer included a trip to Europe to address the media at The Newly Renovated Trump Golf Course at Turnberry. The highlight of this fiasco was some protestors who tossed red golf balls at the candidate that were emblazoned with Nazi Hate Symbols...Trump looks like he just crapped his pants!
Candidate Trump became involved in a number of tiffs with several parts of the electorate.
First, Trump mocked a journalist with a disability
Then Candidate Trump had to excuse his second Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort due to some problematic stories that had surfaced placing Manafort in the company of Russian Investors and some possible connections to Vlad Putin
At The 2016 Republican National Convention, Candidate Trump's wife Melania made a stirring, passionate speech before an adoring assembly only to become embroiled in a controversial accusation that the speech had been "plagiarized" from a prior speech that had been given by Michelle Obama.
Since the Convention controversy, Melania Trump has been MIA from this campaign. It was stated by the Trump Campaign that a writer named Meredith McIver wrote the whole speech and "no one" knew Ms. McIver had borrowed these themes that seemed to be direct knockoffs of Ms. Obama's speech...it should be noted that Ms. Trump has many of the best qualities that have her supporters stating that she will be a great First Lady and a true role model...
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, a family who lost a son to the War In Iraq was mocked by Candidate Trump. Trump also mocked Senator John McCain for getting captured and tortured. And Candidate Trump has made a number of disparaging comments about a judge who is presiding over a case involving Trump University and fraud.
Candidate Trump was lampooned during the summer for his controversial battle with Candidate Marco Rubio over his small hands. During the dust up, Trump went on National Television and made a case that not only did he have huge hands but other parts of his body were really YUGE
Candidate Trump has refused to release any Income Tax Returns. He claims that since recent returns are under audit by the IRS, he can not release them until they are resolved. Here are a few items that The Raptor would like to discuss. What specifically could be gathered from a review of his Tax Returns? The Raptor would like to examine any K-1 attachments that Candidate Trump has received from Corporations, Partnerships and LLC's that he is a Member of. In addition, if Candidate Trump's Tax Returns have any attached Depreciation Schedules, a careful review is warranted to see if income is being improperly hidden by bogus deductions. Trump has been called a genius by dorks such as Rudy Guliani for his ability to avoid paying taxes...Really?
Candidate Trump's campaign took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago when a audio tape surfaced that had Trump on a bus with some dork named Billy Bush. We all know what happened next as "PussyGate" ensued.
One of Candidate Trump's supporters showed up after the release of The PussyGate Tapes at a rally in typical "Deplorable" attire...
In a recent Letter To The Editor in The Erie Times News dated 10/19/16, Betsy Williams writes...
"As the only female on the Ft. Polk weight lifting team in the US Army, I spent many hours traveling around the South on a bus with the team. My teammates were active duty Army enlisted men and officers, some from the finest families in America, with generous sprinkling of West Point Grads. Caught up in the excitement of the moment, they often forgot about the (rare) lady in their midst. Believe me on my word as an officer, a lady and a dedicated Christian, that 11 year old audio clip of Donald Trump is nothing compared to what I have heard. And any man who tries to tell you he hasn't participated is similar "conversations" needs to check his memory and his veracity."
Allow The Raptor to respond...Ms. Williams, your team mates were not running to become the President Of The United States Of America. In this day and age, our nation needs a Candidate that can demonstrate some common sense...Candidate Trump has demonstrated time and again that he is a jackass.
Once the controversy from the "PussyGate" died down, a new controversy known as "Gropergate" surfaced. This involved a series of almost 15 women of varying age coming forward at news conferences to identify Candidate Trump as an individual who had groped, fondled, kissed or harassed them in a sexual way. Here is one such woman who just happens to be a porn star being assisted in her news conference by Gloria Alred...Really Donald?
Candidate Trump sunk to a new low at the recent Al Smith Charity Dinner. Making disparaging comments about Hillary Clinton hating Catholics while Secretary Clinton was sitting next to a Cardinal of The New York Diocese and inferring that Candidate Clinton was crooked and should be going to jail. This is like a pot calling a kettle black
This Presidential Election has been just plain bad. The Candidate representing the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, didn't know the meaning of the word Aleppo during a television interview with Mike Barnicle on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Many Democrats refer to the show as "Morning Joke"
In a recent newspaper viewpoint dated 10/29/16, Cokie and Steve Roberts write...
"If current trends continue, and Clinton becomes the next President, she will find that governing this fractured country is much harder job than winning the election. Polls consistently show sharp splits along critical fault lines: race and gender, education and geography, ideology and party. But those fissures did not open this year. They've been widening for decades, fueled by tectonic shifts in the American Political Landscape."
In another viewpoint dated 10/19/16, Michael Gerson writes...
"In recent days, Donald Trump has sneered at the looks of a woman who accuses him of sexual assault, denigrated the appearance of Hillary Clinton, proposed to drug test his opponent, used his campaign to promote what appears to be a Russian covert operation, asserted that Clinton has held secret meetings with international bankers "to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty" attacked "Saturday Night Live," promised to jail his opponent and contended that "the whole election is rigged". Which means that Trump is sickeningly cruel, boorish, bonkers, subversive, obsessive, authoritarian and reckless with the reputation of American Democracy."
You couldn't make this stuff off if you tried and yet it is the most widely watched reality show ever broadcast. The Raptor is exhausted and there are still days to go before the vote occurs and weeks to go after that as this election goes thought the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will no doubt occur once the winner is announced. Stay tuned
Politics Update -05/06/2016 - Hello To My Little Friends
Just when we all were thinking we could take a collective breath with the decisions by Candidates Cruz and Kasich to suspend their Presidential Campaign Ambitions, Donal Trump has decided to initiate his long awaited Pivot 2.0 in order to demonstrate to the Electorate that he can be Presidential.
Candidate Trump has been habitually seen in public as a Go Get Em, Confident Egotist and has been unapologetic on his rants against Muslims, Hispanics, Blacks and Women. He recently was spotted in his New York 5th Avenue Home known as Trump Tower having lunch and sent out one of his classic Tweets in order to reach his followers.
In the Tweet he stated that "I Love Hispanics" and to demonstrate his sincerity he was photographed munching on a Taco Bowl and he stated that Trump Tower had the best Taco Bowls in town...and apparently, according to researchers, the circled photo is of Trump's ex-wife Marla Maples soon to be named potential Director Of Homeland Security
This makes perfect sense. Candidate Trump must have a focus group living with him that may include his spouse, Melania, his sons Donald and Eric, his daughter Ivanka and perhaps his principal advisors, Governors Chris Christie and Sarah Palin
They surely got together Wednesday Morning fresh off a big victory in the Indiana Republican Primary and said hmmmmmmmm...what can we do now to begin the healing process?
"I know" said Governor Palin, "lets have the boss insult Hispanics at lunch with a gratuitous slap in the face and then double down later in the day and reiterate that any Illegal Aliens will be deported come January 2017."
The Raptor would like to send out a short message to my Republican Friends. Get ready to bend over. Now that Candidate Trump has been named the Presumptive Candidate ahead of the Republican Convention, his team will begin courting GOP standard bearers such as Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to initiate intense fund raising efforts which will be necessary to engineer an effective, horrific spiteful campaign of venom designed to discredit the Presumptive Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton...
This happens every four years. Well Off Men of Means who like to gamble place upwards of a Billion Dollars of pocket change in the hands of dorks like Karl Rove to Campaign for Candidates such as Senator John McCain, Governor Mitt Romney and now Candidate Donald Trump in The General Election. Trump won't spend a dime of his own money now. And when the smoke clears there is a real possibility that the discourse that existed in years past will be finally and permanently eliminated. Old Pols such as Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil must be spinning in their graves.
Trump may win. It's not impossible and many Talking Heads are bringing up the big early leads enjoyed by Jimmy Carter, and Michael Dukakis as evidence. Anything could happen between now and the General Election. Terror Attack, Economic Crisis, Indictment, or an Act of God. The Electorate is so unstable that they could turn in a heartbeat.
For The Raptor, it makes no difference who The President is. There is no tears being shed over the Nomination of Supreme Court Justices and Taxes are a fact of life. If taxes go down I spend more money and if taxes go up I charge other people more money. The Raptor will however support The Democratic Nominee/
Note: See Additional Politics Updates At "The Politics Page" Link