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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,309

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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.

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.
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