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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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Consider the Arsonist.

Sets one fire, and the resources needed to control it are quickly summoned. Sets several fires, and a special call goes out for the back up resources needed to cope, which are swiftly mobilized and deployed. Sets a hundred fires, and they burn. They burn, and burn, and burn...

That is politics in the age of Trump.

The tipping point has been reached. Now it is time for Mattis to resign

I have been among those who felt that General Mattis needed to remain Secretary of Defense in the Trump regime, as a voice of relative sanity on potential matters of life and death, war and peace. I balanced the pros and cons of having someone like him acting as a partial safeguard from within, vs the normalizing spin having someone with the stature of General Mattis serving a president like Trump gave to this "Commander in Chief. I weighed what good Mattis could accomplish from within, countering some of the more extreme impulses Trump had, vs how much good Mattis could do by using his honor against Trump by resigning and going public with what he knows about the dangers Trump poses to our nation and the world.

It was a tough call. It isn't any longer. Trump has broken through all restraints. He no longer even consults with the military before issuing edicts that effect them, that strike at the core of why they serve and how. It is time for General Mattis to resign. And to tell the public why.

The Judge didn't have to warn Flynn that he faced jail if they proceeded

Clearly though he did just that. The judge was well within his rights to simply hear Flynn's plea and then proceed directly to sentencing. Most defendants are not warned "Are you sure you want to go through with this now? Are you sure you don't want to put this off for awhile?" No one else seems to be saying this, certainly not on the media coverage I have heard so far, but the Judge just gave Flynn a break that he did not have to give him.

Everyone seems focused only on the fact that the Judge seemed unwilling to just accept the prosecution's recommendations for sentencing. But at the end of the day Flynn is still not in jail, and he could have been. There was no reason for the judge in this case to signal that he would impose jail time on Flynn now, if sentencing were today, if that sentence was inevitable either now or later. He is giving Flynn one more chance to improve his standing. Flynn damn well better get his defense team on board with ditching the "poor me I was entrapped" strategy they tried playing over the last week.

Even potentially six months IS a very light sentence

I am not second guessing Mueller's team for suggesting Flynn face no jail time. They have their eye on the big picture, and in this case the picture could not be bigger. If Flynn's cooperation helps blow open the case that the President of the United States was secretly in bed with an American geo-political adversary, who am I to second guess why Mueller was willing to recommend no jail time for Flynn.

But it is the responsibility of the Judge in this case to second guess both the prosecution and the defense. That is his job. Strip away abstract sentencing guidelines which could not have been written in anticipation of a case like this one. Mike Flynn DID sell out his country for rewards from another nation, whether or not he was indicted for that crime yet. When was the last time this high a government official tried to literally sell out America? Benedict Arnold?

Even a full six months in jail is a relative slap on the wrist for the totality of the crimes that Mike Flynn committed. A few minutes ago I heard a commentator warn that jailing Flynn would have a chilling effect on whether future witnesses cooperate with Mueller's team. That is hogwash. How many criminal defendants in courtrooms all across America accept plea deals that shorten the potential jail time they face; from decades to years, from years to months, or from months to days every single day? There is nothing about white collar crime in general, or selling out our nation specifically, that makes it different from any other crime in regards to defining what "a light sentence" entails. Their so called high standing in society does not protect them from spending even a single night in jail. They could have thrown the book at Flynn. They haven't. I think anyone at risk from Mueller's prosecution can understand that regardless of how this ultimately plays out, there is a big difference between whatever sentence that Flynn will ultimately face, and the one that a man like Manafort, who did not cooperate, will receive.

If Trump pardons any of those found guilty in the Mueller probe he seals his own fate

Watching the investigations all unfold I no longer have a shred of doubt that extensive evidence exists to convict Trump of numerous serious crimes. His best and really only hope of avoiding significant jail time would be be a presidential pardon like the one Ford gave Nixon. The rationale would be the same, to save the nation from an unprecedented divisive prolonged political ordeal. That is Trump's only hope to avoid multiple trials.

The one thing Trump can do to totally close that escape hatch off from him would be to pardon those found guilty of abetting his crimes against America while he remains President. America will not stand for a cover up to a cover up to a cover up of high crimes and misdemeanors, once the shit really starts hitting the fan.

Nixon got his pardon after he "voluntarily" resigned, after the verdict of history against him was rendered and widely accepted. Then the case could be made by Ford for "turning the page" to focus on America's future rather than stay mired in fighting the recent past. Without at least that element of closure Trump can never be pardoned. The last card he will get to play on behalf of his freedom is ceasing to obstruct America moving forward without him. Maybe, just maybe, the parental instinct shared by so many millions will allow Trump to manage to pardon his own children before he leaves office, and still be pardoned himself later. That is far from certain. But if Trump pays off his broad cast of co-conspirators with pardons in reward for loyalty to him in refusing to cooperate with federal prosecutors, he will leave our political system no choice but to nail him to the wall. Where he rightfully belongs

Sen. Richard Burr: A loyal Republican foot soldier in almost every way, backing Trump's agenda...

Clearly he must be defeated when he runs again, in 2022. But I want to go on record just once saying this; it was almost night and day how Burr ran the Senate Intelligence Committee compared to how David Nunes ran the House Committee. Obviously Burr did not run as aggressive an investigation of Trump and Russia etc, as a good Democrat would have. But he did not turn it into a full fledged Trump support charade either. No doubt Burr was under significant pressure to do so. Even a shred of institutional integrity shown by a Republican in Congress nowadays is noteworthy. I hereby have duly noted it.

A few thoughts about the 2020 Democratic nomination for President

No doubt a good number of folks here remember that I supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. Probably a lesser number remember that I supported Hillary Clinton (once the field narrowed) in 2016. I kept Sanders as my avatar until this last election day. I did so because it was my opinion that he received an unfair degree of criticism on DU during a time when we needed to stay focused on the midterms and unity within the Democratic coalition. That was my low key way of objecting, though I know some others saw things differently. I haven't written a specifically pro Sanders OP in well over a year, and this isn't going to be one either.

I am wide open in regards to who I will support in 2020. I fully expect to fully support whoever our nominee ends up being. I haven't ruled out supporting any of the often mentioned potential candidates for the Democratic nomination with the likely exception of Michael Bloomberg, though I would work hard for him over Trump or any other Republican who could end up running as their candidate for President. So yes, given my choices once they narrow I could even return to supporting Hillary, even against Bernie, though that is at this point is an unlikely scenario.

Here are the four factors that are important to me, in the following order of importance.

1) Defeating the Republicans in the Presidential election.

2) Advancing a progressive vision for America (I realize that's a vague term but I'll no doubt flesh out what that means to me more as the 2020 primaries draw nearer.

3) Unifying the Democratic coalition to the extent possible given the above priorities.

4) Ushering in younger leadership for the Democratic Party and our nation as a whole.

The fact that I supported Sanders in 2016 will give some clues about what I feel a progressive vision for America entails, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I will support Sanders again in 2020. We have many fine potential candidates for President and my number one priority above is by far my highest priority. I want to watch how the contest for the Democratic Party nomination for President shapes up for awhile. I want to see who catches the attention of the electorate, who inspires enthusiasm, within which elements of it and why. I want to weigh who has the best chops to compete in the current political environment. A lot of us already have pretty well defined opinions about who will bottle the lightning this time around, and why, along with who will fail. But I don't want to get trapped in my own preconceived expectations about any of that.

For example, any regular reader of DU knows damn well that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton (for mostly different reasons) are seen as risky and or controversial nominees by many here. That is relevant information but only to an extent. DU is not the world, nor even the Democratic activist world. I remember years past when I was part of a core group of Wes Clark supporters (Clarkies) on DU. We were a pretty powerful force both here and on other left leaning websites and online forums. We were passionate enough that mainstream media took note of both our enthusiasm and of our commitment to Wes Clark, and factored that in as a plus for Clark as a potential presidential candidate - which was true. Something similar can be said of Howard Dean's supporters (Deanies). Still other factors led other candidates to prevail over both Wes Clark and Howard Dean in 2004 (and in the jockeying during the run up for 2008.)

So if Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden etc. proves to be more or less popular with the electorate than they appear to me now through the prism of DU discussion, I will take that into account. We have to win in 2020, and to do so we have to remain, to at least a meaningful extent, open minded now.

So it's official. Trump is a doubly illegitimate President (at least)

Government agencies have determined that the Russians interceded in our election to help throw the victory to Trump. Government agencies have determined that Trump ordered hush payments to women in violation of the law to prevent his personal misdeeds becoming known prior to the 2018 election, so as not to cost him votes.

Just a swing of less than 100,00o votes total in three states, and he would have been toast.

And you can throw in that Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes on top of all of it.

Illegitimate Presidency.

Why did the Moscow Trump Tower negotiations stop in June?

I think in large part it's because the calculus shifted for Putin. They had Trump fully hooked by then, with or without the hookers. The pending Tower deal was more valuable to them as a secret than it would be as public knowledge. What did Putin need with a tower in Moscow? He is reportedly one of the richest men in the world in control of a vast nation. Trump was the one hungry for more fame and more money. Putin gathered the evidence showing that Trump was beholden to Russia for personal gain. Trump weaponized that evidence for Russia by denying to the American public that he had any dealings with Russia.

A lucrative real estate deal was bait for Trump and he took it hook line and sinker. Once Trump became a potentially serious bet to become President it was against Russia's interests to finalize the Tower deal. It was never cancelled, it was put on the shelf. If Trump lost the election as most predicted, it seemed at the time that he would launch his own media network to capitalize on his new national standing, even in defeat. The Tower deal could have been re-dangled before Trump then as an incentive for him turning his new media network into an improved propaganda outlet for Putin, an upgraded RT for right wing American viewers.

But if Trump "won" as he actually "did", with Russia's "help", Putin had the goods on him.

You know how Republicans who didn't support Trump got treated by the "Republican base"?

A backlash is building against Democrats in the House who refuse to stand by Pelosi. It won't burn all of them, but if the activist base turns against you, mere seniority and incumbency won't save you in a primary.

Whether you feel a backlash is fair or not, wise or not, doesn't change this fact. It is growing.
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