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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 18,481

Journal Archives

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.

About those Tass photos in the Oval office

That was the ultimate horse head on the pillow in my opinion. It's odd that so little is said about that. Instead it was covered as if it were some kind of fraternity prank, like: "Wow, those Russian PR people sure got the jump on the Americans in getting their news spin out there first. They had their photos online before we even confirmed who was at the meeting ". Yeah, sure they did, but it wasn't about them making sure that the story got framed the way that they wanted to the larger world. It was a warning to Donald Trump.

The day after Trump fired Comey, Putin called in that promise he got from Trump to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Oval Office. That by itself can be called subtle, even normal in a way. That Ambassador Kislyak was also present again by itself was not that odd. But in the context of a meeting between a Foreign Minister and a Head of State, the local Ambassador in essence functions as an aid, a high level staffer more senior than the translator in the room, but still not central to the theatrics of the event.

But in this case that Ambassador is a central figure to the FBI Russia investigation, the investigation that had been led by the man our President fired the day before. Ambassador Kislyak was central to the National Security Advisor of the United States getting compromised and fired. He was central to the U.S. Attorney General being forced to recuse himself (supposedly) from any FBI Investigation of the Trump campaign. Why on Earth did Donald Trump pose for a solo closeup photo with Kislyak shaking hands and grinning from ear to ear, while the American press pool was locked outside the door? Stupidity? Naivety? Genuine affection? Blackmail?

Whatever. What's far more interesting to me though is why the Russians made sure the whole world saw that photo on a day when the Trump team was still trying to argue that Comey's dismissal had absolutely nothing to do with Russia. A coincidence perhaps, or a failure on the Russian's part to grasp the U.S. news cycles? Uh huh. About as likely as ten years worth of Trump tax returns still remaining under IRS audit.

Putin sent Trump a message; "You know that photo we had of you that you really didn't want or expect the world to see? How do you like seeing it on every newspaper front page? There are other things we could share you know, but we hate to embarrass a friend. Have a nice day Comrade Trump."

"Faso wont attend health care town hall meeting in Kingston." U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will!

TONIGHT in Kingston. 19th Congressional District Town Hall Meeting regarding Health Care. Although our current Congressman refuses to attend to meet with his constituents (he was invited) Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring NY 18th CD, will be present to answer questions about the potential ramifications of "repealing and replacing Obamacare". Many of you saw him on the Rachel Maddow show expressing his willingess to do this. He does so as a public service to residents of the 19th CD because he believes we deserve to have a Congressman wiling to meet with us to address our concerns. Here is newspaper coverage of tonight's pending event:


To RSVP for this event: https://actionnetwork.org/events/aca-repeal-town-hall?clear_id=true&source=email-healthcare-town-hall-this-monday-in-kingston

This is a general observation. It dees not fit every instance

We all know what wedge issues are, generically. They are issues that are intentionally exploited (that is the key word here) in order to create disunity within a larger voting block so as to enable opponents of that block to prevail during elections.

Effective wedge issues have roots in reality(s). The exploitation comes about when some intentionally drive up the temperature during discussions about those issues within groups of people who usually support candidates of the same political party during elections. Their use as a wedge becomes most apparent when erstwhile allies end up at each other's throats fighting, and maligning, each other - shifting focus away from their previously common political adversaries.

We all can identify strands of the overall Democratic Coalition voting block. One doesn't need an advanced political science degree to do so. Wedge practitioners would seek to divide us along fault lines specific to them. Lately I've noticed a pronounced uptick in more blatantly negative references to Democratic figures or activists based on gender, race, education and economic status, and geographic residency. Since we are not a Republican site, attempts to use wedge issues to undermine Democratic unity by attacking, for example, women and minority rights is more likely to unify us than divide us.

What can work better here for anyone with an intent to exploit wedge issues against Democratic unity, are attacks on members of the Democratic Coalition voting block over the failure to defend women and minority rights etc - since Democrats rightly agree in principle on the importance of that.

We are Democrats, we argue about issues, always have and always will. We don't check in our view points at the door. I am proud of Democrats for that. What is starting to disturb me though is an increased number of posts and threads written by DU members with relatively low post counts (below a few thousand) that work in specific digs at others over gender, race, locality, and class etc.

One thing I have long known to be true is that one of the most effective ways of promoting divisiveness is to accuse others of it. Recognizing that, I am commenting here only in general terms, fully acknowledging that we all have valid differences to explore over issues, and sometimes even over personalities, within our Democratic coalition. I am not specifically accusing anyone of anything - I know full well that some of the people here with whom I sometimes have some sharp to the point of adversarial exchanges happen to be some of the most committed and effective Democratic activists on the planet.

For the record; There is no Head of Outreach for the Democratic Party

Yes, there has been some sloppy reporting about this in some press (when has that ever happened before?) but that is no reason for us to continually get it wrong on DU.

The Democratic Party has no head of Outreach, period. The DNC does sometimes have people heading up outreach efforts to designated target communities, and those positions are subject to change. After a quick search I found references to the DNC appointing people to lead religious outreach, and to head up outreach to the Jewish community specifically. Also heads of outreach to the LGBT community, and the Latino community and no doubt many other demographic slices also - I only spent a few minutes looking. I strongly suspect that the National Democratic Party would define the DC Chair as their overall "Head of Outreach". If that position were to exist separately I would think it should be a full time one, with a fully staffed office to back it up. Maybe we do need that. Maybe Tom Perez will set that up.

Some here have repeatedly been saying that Bernie Sanders is the Head of Outreach for the Democratic Party. Nope he is not. Not even remotely close

This year Chuck Schumer decided to expand the number of Senators who have positions on the Democratic Senate Caucus leadership team. It is traditional for members of Congressional leadership teams for either party in either chamber to all be given "Titles". Sander got one too. Below is coverage of Nancy Pelosi expanding the House Democratic caucus. Her reasons for doing so the way she did were specific to her situation. Schumer added Sanders on the Senate side at the same time as he added Joe Manchin and several others.

Dems expand leadership team
By Mike Lillis - 12/06/16 12:30 AM EST

"House Democrats on Monday expanded their leadership team, promoting a handful of junior lawmakers to newly created positions in an effort to boost the influence of greener members..."

So this is how Schumer did so on the Senate side:
Schumer Expands Leadership Team

"...Whether there would be a contest for the role of whip (which has officially been assistant Democratic leader) remained a bit of a mystery. And Schumer has figured out how to split the baby.

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois will see that informal title become official, while Washington’s Patty Murray will slide into a No. 3 role of assistant leader. That avoids what could have been a fractious fight between Durbin and Murray.

Schumer is creating an expanded leadership team with 10 members, including senators from a variety of different states and representing ideological diversity within the caucus. A senior Democratic aide said they would all be invited to leadership meetings...

There are a variety of new or elevated roles, all elected by acclimation. Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance, will be outreach chairman."

If you read the full piece you can find the other new leadership positions Schumer "created" to expand his leadership team - if you are curious Manchin is now Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Vice Chairman.

Actually when Schumer created a title for Sanders, again he did so by finding a way to "split the baby" as referenced above with Dubin and Murray, as reported on by USA Today at the time:

"Sanders position is a new one, representing half of the "Steering and Outreach Committee" now chaired by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Klobuchar will chair the steering committee next Congress."

So it appears that before Sanders was falsely called the "Head of Outreach for the Democratic Party" this year, Klobuchar could have been (but wasn't) falsely called the Head of Outreach for the Democratic Party last year. Who knew?

Beyond the first few leadership posts in the Senate Democratic Caucus- the ones that actually get "ranked" and identified as the number two and number three leadership posts, the actual titles are not particularly meaningful, everyone needs one so everyone gets one. There is no such thing as being a mere "member" of the Caucus leadership team.

So, to summarize, Bernie Sanders is not a Democratic Party member so yes, it would be odd for him to be the Head of Outreach for the Democratic Party - but he isn't. However Sanders is a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus and his new role pertains to the activities of that 48 person body only - to the extent that his title is meant to carry any specific responsibilities beyond attending Senate Caucus leadership meetings and providing input to that team. Like everyone else on Schumer's leadership team, Bernie Sanders has a day job. He is not tasked with individually taking on the rebuilding of the Democratic Party.

On false equivalencies, you know like when CNN gives a climate change denier equal footing...

with 1,000 scientists on the other "side" of the debate. I am willing to accept that there may be a handful of scientists who are climate change skeptics who are not bought and paid for by the energy industry. But there is no raging debate going on between two roughly equal sides. The scientific community has overwhelmingly moved on to dealing with solutions for climate change

We have a political case of false equivalencies on DU right now. Most of us are sincerely disgusted by the devisiveness on display here daily sapping our energy to unite to resist the Trump Administration. People are quick to call it a continuation of the bitterness that was on display here between Clinton and Sanders supporters during the primaries. It's true there was a lot of vitriol being spewed against Hillary and Bernie by supporters of the other during the primaries, and it was divisive.

No doubt there are still some anti-Hillary threads being posted on DU today. Just like there are a few genuine climate change deniers in the scientific community today. But there is no even remote equivalency. There are some simply pro Hillary threads. There are a few more simply pro Bernie threads. That volume discrepancy is not surprising since Hilary has, for the moment anyway, stepped back from daily pursuit of politics while Bernie still serves in the U.S. Senate and remains directly involved.

Neither of those types of OPs are stridently divisive in their presentation. For example on one day a thread may appear that reports on polling data demonstrating how popular Sanders is (nothing anti Hillary about that). On another day a thread may appear about Clinton being featured at a presentation by NY's Governor regarding the implementation of tuition free education for middle and working class families at NY public colleges and universities (nothing anti Bernie about that)

But there are precious few Anti-Hilary threads on DU since the 2016 election forum closed. Even a "news" event like the release of the book "Shattered" which could have easily been turned into a platform for anti-Hillary tirades has triggered relatively tepid participation on DU. Contrast that with the number of OPs posted daily on DU that are overtly critical of Bernie Sanders. Do a test for yourself, go back and count them for a few day period during any period over the last month. There is no comparison in numbers, there is no equivalency. This is not a case of "both sides are doing it ".

At a point it becomes as predictable as sun rise that supporters of Bernie Sanders will begin to more frequently post threads defending him from constant attack. That is happening now. And the discussion back and forth does gravitate toward bitter exchanges eventually, they are on full display. Just like those arguments we keep seeing broadcast on cable television between defenders of climate change vs climate change deniers. Both sides do it.

How will Bernie try to defend his record on this I wonder?

Look it up, it's pretty hard to sweep under the rug:


Should we be concerned about selective outrage and the damage that it can cause to Party Unity?

Hypocrisy in any form is demoralizing to everyone who believes in maintaining an even handed approach toward an evaluation of all of our allies in the greater political fight we are now engaged in with this Republican Administration.

Lately there has been great outrage directed toward the newly elected head of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez. The same is true of the State Democratic Party of Nebraska. They all have, along with the Nebraska Sierra Club, AFSCME’s Nebraska Public Employees Local 251, and the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters, come under sharp fire because they endorsed a candidate for Mayor of Omaha, Heath Mello, who holds "pro-life" views which, in the past, have led him to propose and support legislation strongly (and rightfully) opposed by Pro-Choice organizations and activists. Here is an article from the Washington Post with more about it:

"The Democratic candidate for mayor of Omaha, who’s set to appear at a rally Thursday night with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said earlier in the day that his personal views against abortion would not lead to antiabortion policies at City Hall.

“While my faith guides my personal views, as mayor I would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care,” Heath Mello said in a statement Thursday morning."

That's what he says now but his past actions have notably differed. And yet the DNC still supports him. Contrast that with how leaders of the Democratic Party, including at least one former DNC Chair and a recent Democratic Party presidential nominee, have dealt with a prominent current U.S. Senator with pro-life credentials; Bob Casey.

Wikipedia writes of him:

"Casey, like his father, is pro-life. He has publicly stated his support for overturning Roe v. Wade.[29] [that was in 2000 and I don't know his current position on that] From Casey's election until Specter's party switch in April 2009, Pennsylvania had the distinction of being represented in the Senate by a pro-life Democrat and a pro-choice Republican (Arlen Specter). He supports the Pregnant Women Support Act,[30] legislation that grew out of Democrats for Life of America's 95 -10 Initiative. The Initiative and the Pregnant Women Support Act seek to reduce the abortion rate by providing support to women in unplanned pregnancies. He expressed support for the confirmation of both John Roberts[31] and Samuel Alito[32] for seats on the Supreme Court of the United States; these judges are believed to be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. Casey also opposes the funding of embryonic stem-cell research.[33]

In January 2010 during the Healthcare debates, Senator Bob Casey was heckled for his handling of the abortion provisions in the healthcare bill and for not taking a hard-line, uncompromising pro-life stance. Casey was the primary sponsor of an amendment to prevent government funds from being used for abortion services, but when he tried to organize a compromise that appealed to both Democrats and the party's lone holdout, Sen. Ben Nelson, he angered some religious groups.[38][39]

In 2011, Casey was rated by NARAL Pro-Choice America as "anti-choice" and was not endorsed in their election guide. That year, he voted against defunding Planned Parenthood, against H.R.1 and for cloture for the nomination of Goodwin Liu, earning him a 100% rating for those three votes.[40]"

Ed Reendell, former DNC Chair, Pennsylvania Governor and long time close associate of Hillary Clinton praised Casey's Democratic credentials in light of his "pro-life" position just a few weeks ago in this interview (see the embedded video of the MSNBC interview at this ink):

"Ed Rendell Exposes Casey’s Recent Leftward Shift"

Probably for those reasons Casey was relegated to only acting in the relatively minor role of a surrogate for our 2016 presidential nominee, introducing her to crowds at campaign events in Pennsylvania:

"Soft-spoken Bob Casey grows into role as surrogate"

...But the Scranton native known for his mild manner has taken on a sharper tone as he stumps for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who also has ties to northeastern Pennsylvania. Casey is a top Democrat in a battleground state, making his advocacy even more crucial to her campaign...

Casey already has backed Clinton during her appearances here, with introductions at events in the primary and by promoting her remarks on terrorism following her event in Pittsburgh last month..."

Should we still support the DNC in light of all of the above?

What do Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore and Bill Clinton have in common?

Yes, they were the last four Democratic Party candidates for President who won the popular vote. And none of them helped Jon Ossoff before the Georgia special election either. Neither did any living former Democratic President or Vice President - that adds Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden to the list. Nor did any living former Democratic Party candidate for President or Vice President - that adds Mike Dukakis, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, John Edwards and Tim Kaine to the list. But why stop there? Far as I can tell neither did any living former Democratic Party runner up for the Presidential nomination - that adds Bill Bradly and Bernie Sanders to the...

Whoa! Did I just add Bernie Sanders to that list? Surely that must merit its own DU thread attacking him for not helping Jon Ossoff, and Lo, there indeed is one, and it got 122 DU Recs. I could also have added to the above list leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic Party Presidential nomination, and mentioned Democrats like Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sherrod Brown, and Al Franken, and Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Cuomo, and Martin O'Malley, and Cory Booker etc, none of whom to my knowledge helped Jon Ossoff either - but I don't have a definitive list of leading Democratic contenders for the 2020 nomination. Besides I had enough to make my point.

I think DU has experienced a significant outbreak of Sanders Derangement Syndrome. And I don't say that simply because there have been multiple posts that express criticism of him. I certainly don't say that because some people have criticisms to make against Bernie Sanders. There are numerous points that can be made with varying degrees of justification that are not wholly flattering either to Bernie, or his political endeavors. He's fair game like every other Democrat or politician who caucuses with Democrats (maybe if I looked hard enough I could find a thread critical of Angus King here).

DURING THE 2016 PRIMARY SEASON there were lots and lots of DU threads critical of both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. There were really nasty ones about each. There was some reasonable criticism of each also. And then the primaries ended, and then we had a nominee and primary season officially ended at DU. I just counted 8 threads on the first two pages of this forum that at root are critical of Bernie Sanders - and I left off a couple that take more glancing swipes at him. Conversely there are none there that are directly critical of Hillary Clinton, and only one that perhaps could be considered "veiled" criticism of her politics. My point again isn't that there is nothing of any merit that can be said negative about Bernie Sanders. There are positive things said of him here also but he is after all, according to our DNC Chair and our Congressional leadership, generally on our side. My point is that there is more said negative about Bernie Sanders on DU than is being said about any other figure in American politics with the exception of Donald Trump.

There are more negative comments on DU toward Bernie Sanders than there are here toward Mike Pence, or Paul Ryan, or Steve Bannon, or Mitch McConnell, or Rush Limbaugh, or Ted Cruz etc. There is even more said negative toward Bernie here than there is toward Joe Manchin - and that's sayng something. Bernie Sanders is more than just a controversial figure who some have reason to be displeased with for some of the things he says or does, or doesn't say or do. He won 45% of the votes in our last presidential primary. He has millions upon millions of supporters who like him for what he is, and who wanted him to represent our Party as our candidate for President. Yes I am one of those people, but I don't find Bernie Sanders infallible. He makes mistakes. He can be criticized. His way forward may not be the best way forward. There is room to disagree.

But DU is looking more and more like it used to last Spring, except only one side remains on the attack.
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