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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 17,850

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Hate breed Hate. I don't care if a shooter comes from the Left or from the Right

All of them threaten my way of life, and my life itself. I don't care if I can in any way relate to the source of their anger or not. No society is immune to the growth of organized death squads, from multiple viewpoints, if political violence ever spirals out of control.

I hope for the full rapid recovery of all who were shot, and the immediate apprehension and full prosecution of anyone who was party to this act of violence. I know the latest shooter is in custody. I hope he was alone in this.

Pledge Time. If Robert Mueller gets fired drop everything. IMMEDIATELY hit the streets

Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 from George Soros, do not hesitate.

Pass the word. This can be the General Strike that will actually shut down the country - all of it.. We owe this to multiple past generations of Americans who preserved a working Democracy for us to have and pass on to future generations of Americans.

Into the streets. Everywhere. Instantaneously. Simultaneously: MASS RESISTANCE. Spread the word.

This comment by Comey slipped by with little notice, but it is important

Senator Collins had just questioned him:

"But I remain puzzled by your response. Your response was, “I agree that Michael Flynn is a good guy.” You could have said, “Mr. President, this meeting is inappropriate. This response could compromise the investigation. You should not be making such a request...

But my question to you is, later on, upon reflection, did you go to anyone at the Department of Justice and ask them to call the White House counsel’s office and explain that the president had to have a far better understanding and appreciation of his role vis-a-vis the FBI?"

In his reply Comey included this statement:

It was of investigative interest to us to try and figure out so what just happened with the president’s request [about Flynn], so I would not have wanted to alert the White House that it had happened until we figured out what are we going to do with this,

That indicates to me that Trump was then already moving into the position of being at the very least a "person of interest" in a potential FBI investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice. Comey flat out said that he could not risk alerting the White House, Sessions included, to the possibility that such an investigation was being considered. Once information of that type becomes known subjects of such an investigation change their behavior and cover their tracks, complicating a possible investigation.

Under the circumstance it makes all the sense in the world that Comey did not immediately fully report to his superiors at the Department of Justice.

The National Republicans virtually have no Party left without Trump's hardcore base

They've spent two decades purging moderates from their ranks by marching relentlessly to the right, courting social conservatives. With U.S. changing demographics they realized that, outside of the South, they could not remain competitive nationally with a coalition hobbled together from gun nuts, the Christian Right, and Establishment Wall Street corporate Republicans. Hispanics were not breaking toward them in the numbers they were hoping for after George W. Bush left office. Gay baiting was breaking against them. And they were falling further behind with younger voters. Increasingly the Republican path to power relied on consolidating their Southern stronghold, ever increased voter suppression, and gerrymandering, Future prospects looked grim, and so they rolled the dice.

After eight years of a Democratic presidency the American political pendulum has a natural tendency to swing back somewhat toward the Right, but the Republicans doubled down on extremism and way overshot the centrist mark.They boxed themselves in. The right wing media empire that propelled Republicans for 20 years depends on conspiracy, sensationalism and division for high ratings and book sales. The Drudge Report has a least ten times the overall influence of the National Review among the voters that matter most to Republicans now. Establishment Republicans thought they could tame the crazed beast that they fed fresh red meat to, but it has hunted them toward extinction instead. They've created a constituency of the unhinged; weaned from facts and fed on feral fables.

I used to think that the Paul Ryan/ Mike Pence types in Washington were just using Trump to get their agenda through Congress and into law - and that they would gladly cut Trump loose once his overall approval numbers sank low enough. Now I realize that they are literally nowhere without him. Their type would sink faster without Trump than with him, no matter how distasteful Trump becomes to most Americans. They are joined at the hip. However incongruent a team they may make it is way too late for a divorce.

Responsible Republicans now must choose between Country or their personal careers. With just a small handful of exceptions (Republicans like John Kasich who refused to attend the Republican Convention that nominated Trump even though it was held in the State that he was Governor of) they are all too thoroughly soiled by Trump to come clean of him now. They can either cling to the rapidly shrinking chance that Trump's core base can provide them with the votes they will need to win reelection if they remain loyal to Trump now, or they can toss in the towel and do what is right for their nation. In the current political climate they are politically damned if they do or don't support Trump, but damned more deeply if they don't. We will soon know whether there are any profiles in courage left among them. I'm not counting on there being many.

Regarding Russian Voting system hacking

Our systems are so vulnerable that one disgruntled, corrupt or otherwise bought off staffer can compromise an election in any key county. Consider:

"Election supervisors in Hillsborough, Pasco, Citrus and Clay counties separately told the Times/Herald their offices got the emails, which contained attachments that could have taken over their computers. But all four said their staffers did not open them. Volusia County said it opened one of the infected emails, but not the attachment that could have compromised its systems."

The implicit assumption is that all staffers at all election offices are attempting to avoid opening infected emails that can compromise their systems. What if any choose to do so intentionally? What if one or more know in advance when such an email will arrive with the intent to immediately open it? The email can then be deleted. If caught they can easily plead innocence: a simple careless thoughtless moment when they got caught off guard.

No one needs an FBI clearance to be a staffer at one of those offices. And if one of our political parties wants to collude with a foreign power to swing an election, this would be a good way to do it.

Donald Trump has some interesting theories

By lecturing, ridiculing, betraying and offending virtually all of our closest geopolitical allies, while simultaneously throwing endless red meat to the propagandists of our most viscous mortal enemies - he claims to be making America safer in this world. By destabilizing our most critical historic alliances, such as NATO, while emboldening our strongest geopolitical rivals, such as Russia and China (via assorted acts of acquiescence, and unprecedented retreats from world leadership in areas like climate change), he claims he is making America first. By fanning the flames of divisiveness here at home, he claims he is making America great.

And by spouting gibberish on Twitter that exposes all of his hired lackeys as liars for stating what he told them to say in the first place, he claims to be making sense.

Russia can bring Trump down - later. Economics can destroy him now.

Mueller will not rush the FBI investigation. It will be meticulous, it will be thorough, and it will be damning. It will not be quick though, and until the evidence condemning Trump's Administration is finally presented in full, Congressional Republicans will continue to argue that there isn't any.

The Russian connection may have brought Trump down to his knees, but he can still sign bills into law from that somewhat lowered position. Legally, Trump's peril grows as the FBI investigation continues. But politically it has reached a point of diminishing returns (for now) for those in opposition to continued Republican rule. While a clear majority of Americans regard the FBI investigation as serious, a significant minority (the FOX News demographic) see it as a witch hunt and a coup in the making by a sinister establishment. That is the counter narrative to the truth, the spin that the Right is fanning, and until Mueller is ready to reveal what he has on Team Trump, that counter narrative will continue to prosper - cementing the status quo in place. And that status quo leaves enough of the Republican Trumpian base intact for the G.O.P. corporate agenda for America to proceed forward toward implementation.

As long as the political discussion remains focused primarily on Donald Trump and former and current individuals on his team, instead of on the economic agenda that the Republican Party is now pushing through Washington, enough of Trump's base will rally to his side to keep that Republican agenda on track. The prevailing right wing populist myth is that Donald Trump is fighting for "forgotten" Americans, and that the so called case against Trump is being manufactured by those who seek to thwart him from helping those "forgotten" Americans. His core supporters are already doubling down around it.

The least gullible of Trump's non hard core racist voters have already had their belief in Trump somewhat shaken. That's already reflected in his lowered approval numbers, and in increased Democratic competitiveness in special elections in formerly safe Republican districts. The Republican Congressional agenda is now hanging by a thread. but it remains for now in play. They still have the votes needed to fill the coffers of the few and the coffins of the many. The next 3 to 5 point drop in Trump's approval ratings is critical to breaking their hold. That's approximately 10% of Trump's remaining support. Their defection can shatter the Republican coalition, in a matter of weeks - while the FBI investigation continues to drone on for months if not years.

It won't be another "unproven" revelation about collusion with Russia that will peel those voters away from Trump - they will believe it was all a witch hunt until impeachment is well underway. It will be primal fear that does it. Fear both for their lives and those of their children. And the well spring for that rising fear has just been published. It's called the President's budget plan.

It is so draconian that there's something in it to terrify virtually everyone, once a few dots at most are connected. Most Americans don't yet understand that Medicaid pays for nursing home care, or that the CDC is what stands in the way of a potential Ebola like pandemic ravaging the country. They don't yet understand that when rural hospitals can't keep their doors open regional economies go down the drain with them. They don't know that the next ground wells to become contaminated without the funds needed to mitigate the consequences may be their own. They don't know that, under Trump's budget, the college grants needed for their kids to become employable will be eliminated, and that life saving cancer research will be curtailed. And they don't know that so called "High Risk" insurance pools will make health care for those with preexisting conditions about as affordable as a Rolls Royce after a $100 off storeroom coupon is provided to help "soften" the sticker shock.

I am one of the tens of millions of Americans totally transfixed by the ever widening Russia scandal that someday will take down this White House. That will not come soon enough. Right now we have to reach a few more of those Americans who aren't.

We are living through "The Producers"; except it's not a play, it's a nation

When Trump first ran for President he didn't want, nor expect to win, the job. His campaign was simply the next step up for his Reality TV career. He milked the media and gleefully pursued polarizing politics, expecting to end up with the short end of the stick. Which was fine. In media terms, securing the devotion of just a third of the electorate would still be a huge "share of the market." The perfect set up for launching "The Trump TV Network", which was well in the works for going on air this year prior to election day 2016.

And then came opening day for "Springtime for Hitler" - November 8, 2016. Amazingly, the play wasn't shut down, its run was extended. There was no back up plan for dealing with actual victory. A successful Trump presidency was never more plausible than promising each of ten investors half of "Springtime for Hitler" profits could have been in the film "The Producers." Trump has been winging it ever since. Like a back up to the back up to the actor playing Hitler in that fictional play, Trump never bothered to learn the script, and now he's tripping on stage each night under the bright lights. And all those loans that were made to finance a show that was deigned to fail from the start, they're all coming due.

It can be dangerous when life imitates fiction.

I cut some slack for Gen. McMaster. Some one has to be National Security Advisor and keep that job

McMaster is not a political figure nor should his job be political. But Trump is capable of firing anyone instantly, and not everyone Trump is willing to hire is even remotely capable. Trump could easily appoint someone like John Bolton as his next National Security Advisor, and there's not a damn thing that anyone could do about it as long as Trump remains President.

When he obfuscates for Trump McMaster needs to be called on it. But I get it. As long as McMaster leaves it to others to do the bald faced lying, I understand the tight rope that he is walking on. I'm not saying McMaster is the National Security Advisor I would want a Democratic President to hire (personally I would opt for Wes Clark) but at least he is knowledgeable and sane. We are on nuclear war watch as long as Trump is in the White House. We need sanity to prevail until we can be rid of Trump.

Comey getting fired was a Big F'ing Deal. But next week we have to get back to Health Care also

Not to the exclusion of Russia related stories, or continuing reports on the Comey firing of course. But we have to return what Republicans are trying to do to health care and taxes back to the front pages. One, it is critically important. Two, it is why the generic spread for Democrats over Republicans for control of Congress has ballooned in recent weeks. We can't let this issue slide into the shadows just because no Congressional votes are scheduled on it.
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