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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,338

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The Midterms were a Referendum

Trump, as he himself admitted, was "on the ballot". Every single day he railed about "Caravan Invaders" and the need for his wall. Then Republicans suffered historic losses. Not only in the House, but in State and local elections also.

In 2010 Republicans proudly boasted that the Midterms that year, which gave the G.O.P control of the House, not only repudiated the Democratic President, but also invalidated any mandate Obama and the Democrats won two years earlier.

Well, hello. Wear that shoe on the other foot often?

America doesn't want your stinking wall Trump. And a majority of American voters didn't want it in 2016 either, even when you kept promising that Mexico was going to pay for it.

There's no one even out there to look for prayer rungs in the woods on the Canadian Border

And Al Quada terrorists have entered the U.S. over the Canadian border. If terrorists infiltrating America is the crisis, well what about our Northern border? I hear that Canada admits a lot of refugees from Syria and, you know, some of them are even Muslims. Our Southern border is much better defended than our Northern border, and no doubt terrorists have had time to figure that out by now. So Mr. President, what about that great northern wall? Concrete or steel slats?

Meanwhile, in a nation in which "errant" law enforcement officials have been known, from time to time, to plant drugs or guns on people they arrested, what would stop a right wing rancher from "producing" prayer rugs supposedly left on his or her land? Would they even recognize a prayer rug if they saw one, or might they mistake any small blanket for one?

Thank God we took the House.

The ultimate antidote to cover-ups: Chairs of Congressional Committees willing to allow the truth to take Trump down, because they are not shackled to him at the waist. Public hearings. Subpoenas that follow where the evidence leads them. And that is a very dark place about to be illuminated by spotlights.

The 2018 Mid terms will go down as among the most consequential elections in American history.

If you revisited the accusations made by the Obama and Clinton camps against each other in 2008

during the heat of the primaries, a simple truth is clear. At the highest levels especially, politics is very much hardball. That is the basic norm, though sometimes it goes even further over the top from there. And that should surprise no one. Ultimate success and ultimate power is involved. The presidency in particular is the pinnacle achievement of any political career, and it is also the pinnacle achievement for a political operative to win that prize for their candidate. It brings out every competitive instinct that exists, in the heat of that moment. Whenever possible the candidate is shielded, to an extent, from doing the dirtiest of work themselves, so as not to sully their personal image. Surrogates and "unnamed sources" wield the hatchets for them if possible. Vice Presidential candidates have frequently been chosen, for example, based on their ability to be the "attack dog" for their team.

As to power, everything is riding on the results of presidential elections. Anyone with any agenda has a big stake riding on who wins the presidency. Especially given our two party system, powerful interests often make multiple bets on potential winners, actual ideology often sinking to a lower level criteria for their support, behind viability. Having a claim on the attention of the eventual winner becomes a primary goal. Given how election campaigns are financed in America, especially ones of national consequence, the viability of a candidate often matters more than their platform.

Every day is a "money primary" for a candidate seeking to win a major party nomination in a contested primary field. Who wins that battle daily advances, who loses it sinks. This feeds into the need for a candidate to rather ruthlessly exploit any potential weakness they can find in an election adversary, including those in the same political party as their own. When a candidate has a perceived weakness, it is exploited by an adversary even if that adversary knows there's at most a whiff of smoke present, but no real fire. Almost every primary has a dark underbelly. Sometimes the contenders all float high above the muck, while anonymous sources (aligned with a political campaign) forward dirt and salacious rumors to political reporters about an opponent via envelopes with no return addresses.

Primaries are frequently ugly. We have to brace ourselves so as not to get caught in the undertow. The candidates all know how it works. They know how the game is played. it is played that way because it is not a game. The stakes are very real and they are very high. And the loser(s) usually are quick to pull in their horns once the contest is over. Again, the Obama vs Clinton contest in 2008 shows what is possible.

We are entering the 2020 primary season. I'm not backing anyone yet but I'm going to do my best not to burn any bridges with anyone here who end up backing a candidate other than the one I ultimately choose to support.

People who lack the money they need for living expences have always adjusted

Trump is right on that point. Some of them adjust to living in a homeless shelter after their home is foreclosed on. Some adjust to "getting their affairs in order" once they realize they can't pay for life extending medical treatments. Some even adjust their voting habits in recognition of which politicians and which political parties stand for, and which stand against, their continued well being.

Put me down as Yes for Impeachment AFTER Mueller complete's his investigatiom.

That assumes of course that impeachable offenses are found, and I make that assumption. Before then we will have House investigation hearings, held in open session to the extent possible, which all helps lay the groundwork for subsequent impeachment. Were there not an appointed Special Counsel already on the job I might think differently about this. But there is. It seems both proper and strategically sound to me, for multiple reasons, that we allow his exhaustive investigation, with all of the information it uncovers, to wrap up before we move on impeachment. For one thing that information will strengthen our case and make it that much more likely that Trump will actually be removed from office. Without Muelller's Report it seems extremely unlikely that two thirds of the Senate would ever move to remove Trump.

It may still be unlikely that there will be 67 votes in the Senate to remove Trump in either case. But whereas it would no doubt be argued by some (notably Republicans) that the House jumped the gun inappropriately if it impeached without waiting for Mueller's Report, it can and should be argued that the House has an institutional responsibility to our democracy TO impeach the President if a through investigation of his conduct uncovers "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." Mueller has resources to pursue his investigation that the House can never duplicate. I believe our strongest tactical hand is to investigate Trump with open hearings in the House now, and then impeach him based on the findings of those hearings AND of Meuller's inquiry after it is resolved. But aside from that I also believe that is the most ethical and responsible course of action for Democrats to pursue. Gather ALL of the facts and then do their constitutional duty for America. Further, I sincerely believe this all transcends partisan politics. It he Special Counsel issues a report damning of the Trump Administration, I believe the House at that point has no choice but to impeach, no matter where we are in the election cycle, regardless of whether such action were likely to hurt or help us in the 2020 election. That is called upholding the Constitution


If, however, Mueller's investigation is thwarted or throttled in anyway such that the public is prevented from knowing the truth about Trump, I would likely support impeachment at that time.

Sensibilities can change radically as generations change

And once they do, they no longer are perceived as radical. I was reminded of that (and of my own youth) while watching a clip of AOC being interviewed on 60 minutes. Her generation, by and large, does not hold the political reigns in America. I suppose mine now does, but we sure as hell didn't when I was her age. I was a part of "the counter culture", and though we couldn't stop the Vietnam war on a dime we managed to change the world in ways that were lasting to the point that it's hard to remember how it used to be. The Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, the Environmental Movement, the Sexual Revolution and more, all left lasting marks. The average American literally sees the world differently today largely because of the effect of generational changes.

Sometimes change happen faster than at other times, but in its early stages it very seldom is taken seriously by those in charge. But fast forward a decade or so and the world can be dramatically different none the less. I remember in the early 80's crossing over from West Berlin into East Berlin. It was a pretty damn dramatic transit. Now it is all just Germany, and it has been for decades. China once was called Nationalist China, then it was Red China, now it more or less is simply China.

AOC thinks the rich should pay their fair share. She extols the virtue of progressive taxation, and explains how the higher tax rates only cut in on dollars earned once a person is already pretty damn wealthy. The money raised could then help save our planet from severe climate change for many generations yet unborn. Divorce that view for just a second from pragmatic calculations as to what it now politically feasible. On the face of it I would say that is a pretty sane way to collectively deal with a grave pending crisis that will require a mass mobilization to even somewhat effectively counter.

It's not as if Americans have no experience in that type of thing. Study what we achieved after we entered World War II some time. Comb through the history of victory gardens and war bonds, food and gas rationing, women entering the work place in overwhelming numbers to replace men gone off to war, the virtually instant creation of a massive merchant marine fleet, the shifting of production lines from assembling private autos to assembling tanks etc. But generations now in power have grown set in their ways again, and used to reality the way reality seems to them today. Dramatic change is radical, radical is impracticable, and impracticable means it ain't gonna happen. That's without even factoring that those who most benefit from any status quo tend not to let go of that without a fight, of some kind anyway. Same as it ever was.

So AOC sounds radical, she seems impracticable, and she's not going to get her way any time soon, that's for sure. To which I say One: what she believes in makes a whole lot of sense and Two: if by any time soon you mean this session of Congress, correct, it's not going to happen. But generations of Americans below 40 have a different world view than the currently prevailing one. And if you drop that down below thirty the differences become even more stark. AOC has few if any peers in Congress. But she has tens of millions of them across America. Her voice does not represent all her peers precisely, no one voice ever does. But change is coming, and what may seem radical today can become conventional wisdom in time for a tomorrow that is rapidly approaching.

It's time for Democrats to shift focus off Trump and onto his Republican Senate enablers

Regardless of the outrage, the response toward them should be automatic and always the same. "Why are you standing by the President on this, do you personally condone it?"

When the President blatantly lies repeatedly, when he scapegoats any group of Americans, when he gives aid and comfort to racists, when he fights with our greatest allies, when he coddles dictators, when he claims to know more than scientists and generals about their areas of expertise, when he wants to waste taxpayer money on a concrete wall that is outrageously expensive and virtually useless compared to far more effective measures, when he insults military veterans who have served our nation honorably, when he forces relatively reputable figures out of his Administration and replaces them with total hacks, if he replaces them at all etc. etc. etc.

Our reply should always be, "Donald Trump is once again acting unhinged, which is no surprise, that is who he is. But why do you, Senator X , continue to condone it and/or make excuses for it? Do you approve, if not why do you allow it?

Trump has proven that he is a narcissistic lying man child with the reading skills of a gnat. Though the damage he can do is grave, he can not be taken any more seriously than a spoiled brat seven year old. Where are his parents during all of this? Who are his guardians if not the adult Republicans in the Senate? They are the ones who must be held responsible for the damage Donald Trump continues to wreak on America and the world. They need to be reminded of that every day.

Oh, and by the way, it will hit Trump where it hurts him most, in his ego, if everyone starts talking around him to the Republican Senate each time he commits another outrage. And it might hep us ultimately spring loose the Senate votes we need to remove him from office.

Consider the Arsonist.

Sets one fire, and the resources needed to control it are quickly summoned. Sets several fires, and a special call goes out for the back up resources needed to cope, which are swiftly mobilized and deployed. Sets a hundred fires, and they burn. They burn, and burn, and burn...

That is politics in the age of Trump.

The tipping point has been reached. Now it is time for Mattis to resign

I have been among those who felt that General Mattis needed to remain Secretary of Defense in the Trump regime, as a voice of relative sanity on potential matters of life and death, war and peace. I balanced the pros and cons of having someone like him acting as a partial safeguard from within, vs the normalizing spin having someone with the stature of General Mattis serving a president like Trump gave to this "Commander in Chief. I weighed what good Mattis could accomplish from within, countering some of the more extreme impulses Trump had, vs how much good Mattis could do by using his honor against Trump by resigning and going public with what he knows about the dangers Trump poses to our nation and the world.

It was a tough call. It isn't any longer. Trump has broken through all restraints. He no longer even consults with the military before issuing edicts that effect them, that strike at the core of why they serve and how. It is time for General Mattis to resign. And to tell the public why.
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