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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,199

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Mueller has the entire Repuiblican Party in Check right now - fearing Checkmate

None of them (at least those of them who aren't so far up Trump's rear end by now that they have no option left other than to keep digging) can afford to be dismissive of Mueller's probe anymore. Not after learning that he already kept one guilty plea secret for three months. They know that they do not know what Mueller already does know. Every statement they make now that might seem dismissive of the Special Counsel and this investigation could be thrown in their face withing hours after the next shoe drops. For all they know that shoe is already in transit toward the floor.

Republicans can't say that there's no real evidence of collusion, They can't say that Mueller needs to wrap this up. They can't say that there is no "there" there, because for all they know it is already laid out in stunning detail in another sealed indictment or an already negotiated plea bargains. Republicans don't know who is frantically on the phone to Mueller's team this very second, begging to flip for the prosecution. They don't know what incriminating evidence has already been caught on wire. They are operating in the blind, fearing the very worse.

If they go out on a limb for Trump now they know that Mueller may already have the chain saw fired up that Democrats will use cut them off in next Fall's elections. Every time a Republican speaks to the press now they know. in the immortal words of the Miranda ruling, that any words they say can be used against them.

Guilty Plea Equals No "Witch Hunt". By Definition

Trump's favorite Twitter talking point has just been effectively demolished. Attempted collusion: Guilty as charged.

Now Trump is reduced to arguing that no major players in his circle are/were guilty of campaign/Russia crimes, that nothing came of now proven collusion attempts, and that he himself is totally innocent. The Rubicon has been crossed with this first admission of guilt, a line that an indictment alone would not have irrefutably crossed.

Trump can argue that Mueller's continuing probe is wasting taxpayer money, but he can no longer claim that there's absolutely no "there" there. Now it is only a matter of degree, and the crime's ultimate proximity to the current occupant of the Oval Office.

The entire Right wing counteroffensive over the last 5 days for dismissing both the probe and Mueller himself has just been popped and drained, all with one simple guilty plea.

Excuse me, wasn't Jeff Sessions also a "volunteer" advisor to Trump's campaign?

Wasn't Mike Flynn also a "volunteer" advisor to Trump's campaign? Were they just bit players too? People like Sessions, and Flynn and yes George Papadopoulos, don't get paid to advise presidential candidates - not with a salary anyway. They get paid with proximity to power, political connections, political I.O.U's and sometimes future paid positions - maybe in politics but sometimes in the private sector; after "a good word is put in for them".

The initial foot work for high stakes high level international negotiations is never conducted by the leading figures themselves. Lower level staff or intermediaries handle initial inquiries and the behind the scene preparatory logistics. That way the major principles don't get soiled if things don't play out the way they anticipated they would. That type of grunt work is left to those like George Papadopoulos. And that is exactly the role he performed for the Trump Administration in regards to Russia.

Know who closely watch off year local elections? Members of Congress.

Most of them came up the ranks though local elections. Almost all of them raise a significant amount of money inside of their districts. All of them have offices located throughout those districts. They are political animals with their ears to the ground. Congress critters notice local voting trends the way weather forecasters notice barometric pressure changes. The way many of them vote on a number of controversial issues when Congress reconvenes next January will strongly be effected by the omens they read from this November's results. Not just who wins and who loses, but more innocuous data too, like percentages of voter turnout. And whether or not younger voters are actually voting in an off year election this time.

Maybe the most consequential thing any of us can actually do to influence national political policy, prior to the Congressional mid term elections in 2018, is to help drive voter turn out in 2017.

Indictments will help Republicans pass their tax cuts.

For two simple reasons. One; indictments will dominate media coverage for at least a week - a very critical time period given the Congressional timeline. There will not be nearly as much air time and print space devoted to explaining how the Republican tax plans screw average Americans, how a few crumbs given to average Americans and mountains given to the rich will decimate all kinds of essential federal programs - not to mention explode the deficit. Rats scurry in the dark.

Two; Russiagate is a media battleground that Republicans are well prepared to fight on. The Trump presidency has been damaged by the cumulative revelations to date, but that all is pretty much now "priced in". It will take very serious criminal allegations to break substantive new ground at this point, and it is unlikely that the current sealed indictments contain those. Meanwhile the small but critical percentage of still "reachable" Trump voters will now be in siege mode, circling their wagons around their Chief against an "unfair with hunt" aimed at taking him down. They won't be paying any attention to how the 1% is about to fleece them.

I put much of my remaining hope in Mueller's probe, but I, we, have no means to meaningfully advance it. It is in the hands of the professionals now. We remain in the realm of politics, and that is where we can still have some influence on what this government is doing to America.

The story about Cambridge Analytica's attempted collusion with Russia for Trump should be enough

to bring down this presidency or at least render it impotent. The story about a 300 million dollar contract to a two year old politically well connected company with just two workers under contract, to restore electricity in Puerto Rico, should be enough to bring down this presidency or at least render it impotent. A rigged Voter Integrity Commission should be enough, or an EPA that muzzles scientists from reporting on climate change. That should be enough. Or repeated rifts with American allies, or Trump's failure to appoint a U.S. Ambassador to South Korea ten months into his administration while talk of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsular intensifies.

Stories about the next slew of radical revisions in federal agency regulations barely register a one day blip in page six coverage before fading from public consciousness entirely. Except for those personally effected, we can barely hold onto our awareness of the Las Vegas carnage, let alone track what is or isn't being done to prevent a repetition of it.

Puerto Rico might as well be a province in Iraq given the attention we can collectively muster to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe there engulfing millions of U.S.citizens. Chartered jet flights by Cabinet members, continual presidential weekends spent golfing, frequent turn over among top Administration figures, threats to the First Amendment, these all should be enough to to bring down this presidency or at least render it impotent. The list goes on and on. And on.

And that is why none of these things are bringing down Trump's presidency, or yet rendering it impotent. The deluge is utterly mind numbing, and it then has to compete with the latest presidential tweet outrage of the day for any public notice. DACA is expiring, CHIP already expired. We might as well be talking about random strings of letters for all the continued focus we can muster on any of it. The Affordable Care Act has been effectively sabotaged but there is little time left to talk about that while Republicans are unilaterally ramming though a massive transfer of wealth to the wealthiest, under the ruse of "Tax Reform". There is minimal capacity to concentrate for more than an instant on any of the critical actions or inactions of the Trump Administration in any substantive way.

All we are left with is the fog of war and the figure of Donald Trump. And that is how he wants it. He wants public attention on his administration to be reduced to a referendum on him alone. And Trump is more than willing to lose that referendum, so long as he can solidify the support of a majority of a small minority of a small minority - the lion's share of Republican primary voters. With that he blackmails whatever relatively sane Republicans remain in Congress. Trump doesn't need the approval of the American people to reign, just that of a small fanatical base. With that he continues to veto all efforts by the overwhelming majority of Americans to rein him in.

The more Trump is attacked personally, the more Trump uses those attacks to rally his hard core believers to defend him. And in the ensuing fury, his actions evade focused scrutiny. It is as intended.

Yes the grapes are sour. But we don't need the whine.

Trump is F'ing President. I've been depressed for over 11 months, and keep fighting to not let it paralyze me. It's legitimately horrifying from nearly infinite perspectives. And I want people to blame. I want people I can make grovel in their guilt. Failing that, I want people I can kick down every time they try to walk like normal human beings. Because they voted for Trump. Or didn't vote for Hillary. Or tried to somehow equate the two as dangers to the Republic. And then there are the full blown villains. Like Putin and his army of trolls. And Comey who was so wrapped up in preserving his reputation before Congress that he refused to honor established Justice Department procedures, designed to prevent what ultimately happened from ultimately happening - the FBI deciding an election. And then there's virtually the entire national Republican Party, which closed ranks around someone they knew was totally unfit to be President - as a vehicle to gain political power. And cable news which saw fit to broadcast in full almost every single Trump campaign rally.

I realize some of the people I am tempted to lash out at are not the same people that some others here want to lash out at. I know some want to lash out at folks like me, for example, who wasn't/isn't bothered in the least that Bernie Sanders is an Independent. And sure, I admit that sometimes I want to be pissed at some folks who thought Hillary's FBI probe and abysmal public unfavorability numbers weren't red lights flashing before she got the nomination. We can easily blame our lack of unity on each other's perceived failings and/or unforgivable decisions, there is plenty of ammunition lying around for an extended civil war. But we can't negate the damage being caused all of us by continuing disunity, no matter how confident any of us may feel we are in the

So that's number one; sour grapes make bitter wine/whine. And if we drink it we just get drunk and incapacitated. And we can't afford that now, we have to be on top of our game. Number two is we need allies, almost any and all allies, to hurl their bodies at Trump's crypto fascist machine. Even Republican bodies. And yeah, even some bodies harboring prejudices (but Hell No to full blown racists - they can beat the rush and go to Hell right now). So if some Trump voter realizes he got duped AFTER the chickens come home to roost inside of his own bedroom - yeah well (bite tongue) better late than never. Because it IS better late than never.

What will save the Republic, and many of our own lives, is for the left of center to close ranks against our common dire threat There shouldn't be any hatchets visible now, anywhere above ground. And then we must be joined by as many of our prior outright adversaries as we can help them to finally muster. Trump's base does not have to fully dissolve, but it has to further erode. That is what it will take for a small, but extremely important, handful of Congressional Republicans to sever their loyalty to Trump. And that is what it will take to ultimately neutralize his threat. January of 2019, after Congress reconvenes after the mid-term elections, is too long to wait. Corker is breaking ranks, but we need more Republicans to follow.

Anything we can do to help Trump lose another tenth of his current base will be critically important. But there's no more low hanging fruit, so it definitely won't be pretty. There's no acceptable excuse for why any of them has hung with Trump this long. Still we need a few more of then to break with Trump right now. And I sure as hell won't be blasting them while they do, mush as I am tempted to. It's a luxury we can't afford right now.

He reaps what he has sown

A different man, a different Commander In Chief, might not have his tone deaf, inadequate, and ultimately offensive words spoken in private thrown back in his face. He after all was finally doing the right thing, even if for the wrong reason, when he called the widow of a fallen soldier to thank her on behalf of her nation for the devastating sacrifice that her family has made. Yes Mr. Trump (I see no good reason to use a different title before his name) it's true. These are not easy phone calls to make. There are no glib or scripted words that can be said to offer even a shred of comfort during such a personal painful exchange. Only genuine empathy and complete sincerity can remotely approach the concept of offering condolences in the face of utter grief. The fact that you failed miserably then comes as no surprise. Empathy and sincerity were never among your strengths, such as they may be.

But still finally you went through the motion. I am willing to believe you thought the mere granting of some brief personal attention from the President of the United States was a gift being bestowed onto that grieving woman sufficient to the task of actually acting presidential. Non angry mocking words just do not come naturally to you. It reflects a flaw in your being you could not eradicate even under duress, and so you came up empty, making a horrible situation only worse. I genuinely believe that this was one of those scarce instances when you did not intentionally set out to hurt someone through your actions. Why then are you being mocked over a private exchange gone so seriously awry?

Because you brought this on yourself with all of the vicious accusations and mean spirited insults you have made in public against multitudes of people who you never will speak to personally. You know, all those many women whose body shape you did not approve of and therefor mocked, and all those Mexican immigrants into our country who you call "the worst" that Mexico has to offer. And all of those uppity mothers and fathers, and sisters and brothers, of countless unarmed blacks who were gunned down by the police, who you accuse of disrespect for law enforcement. And all of the many hard working reporters who you call Enemies of the People for their attempts to truthfully report on your administration. And all of those needy incompetent Puerto Rican mayors who couldn't solve all their problems on their own with no electricity, no communications, no clean water, little food, and very few passable roads outside of the capital city. Yes, people who you accused of not knowing how to do their job.

It's true Mr. Trump. There is no one willing to cut you any slack when, you who come from a family that has never served in the military in over a century, seemingly assigns the responsibility for a soldiers death onto his voluntary choice to offer service to his nation. You reap what you have sown.

Trump declared Political War. There will be civilian fatalities.

In his efforts to obliterate everything Barack Obama stood for and accomplished, Trump is assuring that people will needlessly die. It's not his problem, he doesn't care. But he knows that Democrats do, and he wants to take those lives ransom. As it is with Obamacare, so it is with DACA, so it is with Puerto Rico. So it is with anything that Democrats care about. Trump plans to turn our caring against us as a weapon, so that we can be blackmailed into complicity with both his larger agenda and his demand for deference to him.

What Trump is doing to Puerto Rico, the hell that he is putting "Dreamers" through, the suffering and death that withdrawing federal health care subsidies for many of the neediest among us, it all means lives in the balance. These will be the real casualties in the war Trump started. All war is horrific. All needless deaths are tragic. We did not declare this war nor initiate it. Yes there will be fatalities, but we can not let ourselves be blackmailed now. Because terrorists can not be appeased by capitulation, they can only be emboldened.

The fabric of our Democracy is being shredded. The very fabric that millions of lives have been lost defending over generations past. We did not seek this political war, but we can not avoid it. We owe this to our ancestors, and we owe this to our descendants. Democrats can not cut deals with a petty strongman which might save some lives in the short term, but which validate both his rule and his methodology. If we call Trump's bluff, people will die. If we don't call his bluff, people will die.

To the extent that there isn't any coherent thought behind what Trump is doing, it is the politics of brinkmanship. If we play ball with Trump, we lose and he wins. If we don't, we also lose, but he does also. That is what war looks like. I hate war, but yeah to answer the classic question, we had no choice but to oppose Hitler. Sometimes the stakes are higher than just the here and now.

The simple truth is that Trump will lose this war if it proceeds. The pawns that he dares us to let be sacrificed include many of the very voters he is dependent on to consolidate his power. If we "save" the bare threads of Obamacare for example, at a price we should not pay, it will be Trump's power that we help save. And he would then find other ways to kill us.

Trump boasted during the campaign that he would bring in the best minds to advise him

He had no trouble getting his choices confirmed by the Senate.

Trump said he would listen to his generals regarding national security.

He put three of them in key positions in his administration.

Trump argued that people who succeeded in the private sector were the real leaders in society, the ones who understood how the world really worked and who knew how to get things done.

He made the CEO of one of the world's largest corporations his Secretary of State.

Trump got his team. They advised him.

And Trump told them to go fuck themselves. He will do what he wants regardless of what they think.

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