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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 18,211

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Nancy Pelosi has been an extremely effective leader

The House of Representatives is, by design, a pretty unruly place - the "People's House" with hundreds of raging egos who face a constant need to grandstand for the folks back home due to having to run for reelection every two years. The Republicans have made a total mess of running their own caucus for a long time, whether in the majority or minority. Not so with our Nancy.

Anyone who doesn't think that there are fracture cracks inside our Democratic coalition clearly hasn't been reading DU. Yet Nancy Pelosi has almost always held her caucus tightly together whenever it was essential. That's how Obamacare got passed, and Obama's stimulus package before that. In the minority if anything she has been more effective - as House Democrats have continually held firm without breaking ranks forcing the Republicans to find elusive majorities for noxious measures entirely on their own - often failing in the process which greatly strengthes the Democratic message.

Pelosi is not a barn burner orator - so what, she speaks clearly to our Democratic values, never flusters, and always stands up to whatever bully the Republicans throw at her - including the current President of the United States, and she does so with wit, grit and grace.

In today's political climate Democrats can not have an effective Speaker or Minority Leader in the House who Republicans will not demonize, and attempt to turn into a two dimensional cardboard cutout of everything they deem evil in America. It's standard politics, and Democrats are not so different in how we relate to Paul Ryan (in his case however we all agree that Ryan does indeed represent all that is evil in America). The only reason why Democrats do not consistently prop up our version of Ryan as the negative face of the Republican Party is because there is a more obvious orange one that fits that bill better.

There no longer is a black Democratic President, nor a female Democratic candidate for President for Republicans to use as a punching bag, so instead they concentrate their fire on Nancy Pelosi. But she, unlike the current occupant of the White House, never makes the story about her. She doesn't go off message to constantly defend her honor - instead she organizes her caucus to make life for the Republican agenda Hell.

Yes the day is coming when Democrats will need a new generation of leadership. One could even say it is overdue. It will happen soon enough, and hopefully BEHIND THE SCENES Democrats are preparing for that day. But that time is not today, it is not NOW. As Democrats wage figurative hand to hand combat in the House of Representatives with Republicans who want to reverse generations of progress in America - we fortunately have strong experienced leadership in the House - we have Nancy Pelosi. Thank Goddess for that.

Those Crazy Dutch

How paranoid can you get? The Dutch had national elections in March, and they really wigged out

"Dutch will count all election ballots by hand to thwart hacking"

"Ministers want no repeat of US-Russia controversy in the March poll that could see Geert Wilders’ far-right party win power"

"Dutch authorities will count by hand all the votes cast in next month’s general elections, ditching “vulnerable” computer software to thwart any cyber hacking bid, a senior minister has said...

...Plasterk told parliament that fears over “the vulnerabilities of the software” used by the country’s election committee “had raised questions about whether the upcoming elections could be manipulated”.

He insisted in a letter to MPs that “no shadow of a doubt should hang over the results” of the parliamentary polls, which some analysts predict could result in a five-party coalition."

As it turns out Dutch voters rejected Geert Wilders’ far-right party. Another false alarm. Those Dutch are just so nervous about elections.

It infuriates me that Americans are forced to vote using easily corruptible systems (like tonight)

I spent mega hours ten to twelve years ago agitating on this issue, and very little has improved. The counter argument is always "there is no proof that elections have been hacked" (with no interest in pursuing any possible proof that they have been.) BUT THAT IS BLATANTLY THE WRONG STANDARD!

There is plenty of proof that elections can rather easily be hacked. This is just the latest in a long string of revelations about just how easily it can be done:
“Much of what happens at the Center for Election Systems is shrouded in mystery”

NOWHERE ELSE in our society do the appropriate authorities respond to documentation of critical flaws in essential systems that can lead to catastrophic failures with a shrug, and statements that boil down to "oh well, there's no proof that anything has gone wrong yet so there's no need to act."

People who care greatly about this are routinely dismissed as "conspiracy nuts" by the mainstream media AND BY political leaders in both major parties. Republicans never even acknowledge this as a possible issue of any importance. Democrats usually respond that they don't want to undermine public faith in our electoral system, which could suppress voter turnout, by spreading unproven allegations that our votes are being hacked.

WELL EXCUSE US. If you "don't want to undermine public faith in our electoral system, which could suppress voter turnout" then move to solidify public confidence in our voting systems by removing the egregious known vulnerabilities in them. You know, the way you do with tainted food or unreliable air bags.

Or even the way Microsoft does with their Widows operating system. Sloppy as they often are they at least are looking for back door vulnerabilities in their software and distributing patches to deal with them. Compare that to our political leaders. They remain content to just go whistling past the computerized graveyard of our democracy.

Yes it was yet another "mass shooting" but it was also an attack on Democratic government

It's pretty damn serious and we should react to it with just as much outrage as anyone on the Right can muster. Fundamentally it is the same as when Gabby was shot. Of course we need open eyes to see what enables this type of violence:The NRA, all of it. But we shouldn't skip past expressing solidarity as Americans for our Democratic institutions and for all of the people who are elected to represent us in them - to only express anger at the NRA etc.

Today I stand with the Republicans who were on that baseball field this morning, no matter what I think of their personal political views. And I am thinking too of the two Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives who withdrew from the race due to death threats against their families

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.

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