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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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Trump used to intentionally light up the media with a hundred incendiary stories

It kept us all playing whack a mole, with the media unable to do justice to every specific outrage. The result kept Democrats perennially off balance, pivoting from one outrageous matter to the next, unable to adequately rebut all of Trump's total lies while he just kept wracking up points for his hard core base.

Now that dynamic has been turned on its head. Every other hour it seems more news breaks to throw Trump totally off balance while he flails on the defensive. A court case here, a battlefield poll there, a title wave of Covid-19 hospitalizations engulfing states that followed his "open up" lead, continuing accounts of lethal injustice against minorities which finally are stirring the conscience of most of white America, and the list goes on. The question has been called, who still stands with the Confederacy? Increasingly it is just Donald J. Trump and his dwindling band of racist brothers. People longed for healing and Trump made headlines tear gassing peaceful protesters with calls to "dominate" the streets

Trump insisted on starting up his mass political rallies and moved the convention to Florida where he would be allowed to stuff thousands into a hall to revel in his hate speech, and then the pandemic fear meter started registering off the charts in the very places where he planned super spreader events. Each day America wakes up to another brutal anti-Trump ad released by the Lincoln Project to get tongues wagging, followed by another poll showing Trump's electoral support collapsing, followed by more insider leaks about growing Republican despair. Each day more news comes out showing that William Barr has become the presidents consigliere and that our Justice system is being weaponized on behalf of Trump. Meanwhile Bolton is ripping Trump up and down as a fool while pundits are eagerly anticipating a tell all family dirty laundry book by Trump's niece.

Because he just can't help himself, Trump just threw his Justice Department behind the official effort to have the Supreme Court throw out the entire Affordable Care Act; in the midst of a still growing deadly pandemic. He was once again rebuffed by all of America's traditional allies when they rejected his call to expand the G7 so that Russia could once again be part of the club, and then the news breaks that Russia had a bounty on American heads in Afghanistan and Trump's Administration has known abut it for months, and done absolutely nothing about it.

The news cycle has become a daily expose of Trump's continuing criminal malfeasance and utter ineptitude as President, and there hasn't been a damn thing he can do to stop it.

An observation about the Lincoln Project

File it under "Credit where credit is due."

Not only are they openly attacking a president of their own political party.

Not only are they absolutely shredding Donald Trump while doing so.

They understand that the choice Americans face in November literally is binary, something Green Party voters refuse to comprehend.

The Lincoln Project didn't recruit some more respectable Republican to run against Trump, the way that Evan McMullin was recruited in 2016. They didn't unite behind pushing recent former Republican Justin Amash to run against Trump as a Libertarian. They aren't pulling a Mitt Romney by saying Republicans can write in a Jeb Bush or John Bolten or anyone else instead of voting for Trump. They are literally and specifically boosting Joe Biden.

And they don't even do so begrudgingly. Some of their ads go out of their way to praise Joe Biden personally as the type of leader America needs now. They do so undoubtedly with full knowledge that a Biden presidency will advance a number of policy initiatives that they stand in opposition to. They also do so knowing that their praise of Biden can only help Joe Biden increase his popularity with a broad cross section of American voters, which will strengthen his hand down the road if and when America is fortunate enough to return to partisan politics as it existed before Donald Trump.

They do so because they understand that the only one standing between Donald Trump and four more years of him as president is Joe Biden, and so they welcome Joe Biden's victory. And that is putting Country above Party, and that is worthy of respect.

When Trump trys to divide the nation now, the Lion's share splits against him

Polarizing politics drives people into opposing camps, and Trump is forcing almost everyone who is increasingly upset by the raw division of our nation into a camp whose unifying feature is: Opposition to Trump's continued Presidency. He is locking those who are not already part of his base into a counter base against him. Those who are not already "inspired" by his hate filled rhetoric increasingly despise it, and no one new is being drawn toward it.

Apples to Apples: International statistic comparisons for Covid-19

Just did a little number crunching, and I was careful not to cherry pick the data. I started by focusing on those nations that so far have been most impacted by Covid-19 as per this chart at Statista:

I compared numbers among nations that rank in the top 20 worldwide for reported Covid-19 cases. However I only used those nations that are members of N.A.TO. for the purpose of this comparison. So I included the United States (#1) the UK (#3) Spain (#5) Italy (#6) Germany (#7) Canada (#11) France (#15) and Belgium (#18). These are all advanced western societies by anyone's definition. This list does not include any number of nations that have received special praise for their handling of Covid-19 and/or for their avoidance of a serious epidemic within their borders, nor other basket cases like Brazil: Only advanced western nations that have reported high numbers of Covid-19 infections, some seeming to manage their outbreaks fairly well, others not, are on this list. So this in no way compares how the U.S. is faring compared to an extremely well managed nation such as New Zealand.

Note: The United States has a total population of 331,002,651. The other seven nations I included have a total population of 373,496,554.

OK, the numbers. Since the beginning of this pandemic the U.S. has reported a total of 2,438,689 Covid-19 cases. Over the same period these other 7 N.A.T.O nations included have reported a total of 1,356,561 Covid-19 cases. During this pandemic the U.S. has processed 29,714,195 Covid-19 tests to date, while the other 7 nations have processed 28,801,395 tests. So with 88.6% of the population of the other 7 nations combined, the U.S. has conducted 3% more tests than those nations combined with 80% more confirmed Covid-19 cases.

As for Covid-19 deaths to date the figures look slightly better for the U.S. for the moment. We have 123,794 deaths total to date while the other 7 countries now have 168,684. Again, on a comparison basis, the U.S. with 88.6% of the population of those other 7 N.A.T.O. nations "only" has 73.4% as many deaths as those other nations. But, as most people know, pandemic deaths are a trailing indicator, and this is merely one snapshot in time. Look at the figures reported both by the U.S. and the seven other N.A.T.O. nations for June 23rd:

U.S. new cases: 35,383. U.S. new deaths: 874
Germany new cases: 659. Germany new deaths: 17
U.K new cases: 921. UK new deaths: 280
Belgium new cases: 200. Belgium new deaths: 17
Italy new cases: 113. Italy new deaths: 18
France new cases: 517. France new deaths: 57
Spain new cases: 248. Spain new deaths: 1
Canada new cases: 268. Canada new deaths 17.

On June 23rd the U.S. reported 35,383 new Covid-19 cases, the other 7 nations combined 2,986.
On June 23rd the U.S. reported 874 new Covid-19 deaths, the other 7 nations combined 407

Source of above data: https://virusncov.com/

Even the overall comparative testing numbers above are deceptive because the need for testing in the U.S. is still ramping up as the pandemic keeps claiming more lives here, while the need for testing in the other nations noted is declining as less and less people there are falling ill to Covid-19.

No need to read between the lines with Berman's statement

"I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate," Berman said. "Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption."

No U.S. Attorney would ever use that phrase under normal circumstances. It wouldn't even come up. Of course investigations conducted by an office continue until such time as there is no merit in continuing them. It is almost as if a School Superintendent were to say, upon hearing that there was an effort underway to remove him or her, "Until then all school classes will move forward without delay or interruption." It is the business of a school district to educate, it is the business of a U.S. Attorney's office to investigate and prosecute.

If this showdown was just over his role as leader rather than over specific investigations being conducted, Berman might have instead said "Until then I will continue to fulfill all the duties of my office". Instead he put the emphasis and focus on the status of current investigations. Which investigations? Why might they risk being delayed or interrupted? Berman's statement intentionally begs us to ask those questions.

It might seem counter intuitive, but I haven't been this hopeful about the future in many years

Yes I know the news is bleak, but the last time I felt anything even remotely like this was at the height of Occupy Wall Street. The dangers this world faces today are horrific, the challenges immense, the stakes could not be higher, but people are rising up. As someone who came of age as an activist in the Sixties, I fervently believe in the passion that youth has to offer when the future is on the line. Some years I've almost lost hope that generations after mine would ever full throttle confront "the system", as we used to call it, again.

Now I believe that whatever level of idealism and commitment to struggle that those of my generation once contributed, while fighting for justice, for the environment, and against nonsensical wars, will be far eclipsed by the actions of those below 40 today, and especially by those currently below twenty.

As I approach my 71st birthday it feels odd not to be closer to the front lines, due to a pandemic that targets those of my age. I am not on the streets daily the way I once would have been. The torch, for the most part, is carried now by arms far younger than mine. And they do so gloriously.

All I can say to my younger sisters and brothers of all races, ethnicities, genders, preferences, and positions in life is: BRAVO! Obama absolutely nailed it. This is your moment, and you have risen to meet it.

Drunk people frequently show poor judgement.

It seems to have something to do with the effect of alcohol on the brain, and this has been well known for millennium. Sometimes drunk people make really terrible choices, such as stealing a Taser from a cop during an attempted arrest. Seldom are they executed for it. If every rich white kid who made a horrible choice while drunk at a frat or house party faced lethal consequences for their alcohol abetted belligerent responses, the U.S. Supreme Court would not look the same today.

"Securing Our Lives"

A short phrase with layered meaning. It is positive in tone, one that acknowledges the importance of "security", a buzz word that the right wants to own. But we get to define it's meaning when we own the phrase. Securing our lives means ending that which threatens us. It means stopping police brutality that is taking Black Lives. It means ending insecurity which makes us all less safe, including medical insecurity, housing insecurity, psychological insecurity and economic insecurity. Security is so much broader a concept than the mere presence of police force. The police can never deliver true security to a community. Only a healthy society can do that, and more of our resources must be allocated toward that end, which means less for narrow "policing". There is a role for police in a healthy society, but it is a much smaller role than the police now occupy in ours.

Anyone here familiar with Singer/Songwriter Crys Matthews? Do you know this anthem?

"We Must Be Free". Very powerful, and very timely.

"Black Lives Matter" in Rural Upstate New York.

So yesterday my partner Janet and I drove an hour plus west of where we live in the Catskill Mountains to a "Black Lives Matter" rally held in the village of Delhi, in Delaware County NY. Usually we head a half hour east for protests, to Kingston NY; a small multi-racial city along the Hudson River. This time however we opted for the hopefully lower Covid-19 exposure risk that a smaller town might provide us with, since we are both in a high risk age group.

The part of western Ulster County where we live is overwhelmingly white. Delaware County is the same, so we expected the rally to be predominantly white, and it was. 97% Caucasian would be my guess. Even whiter than we expected but not that surprising. Because the Delhi area, although quite rural, is within three hours drive of NYC, we knew that enough assorted artists and progressives lived close enough nearby that a small crowd could be counted on to show up. We figured maybe 75 like minded protesters would be in attendance. Instead there were over 500. People of every age group were there; Youth, Families with Children, and Elders all in abundance. Lots of hand made signs enthusiastically hoisted. When the rally part of the even ended the crowd fanned out to stand on Main Street, standing six feet apart for blocks, hollering and hooting frequently when cars drove by rhythmically blasting their horns

Let me tell you a little about Delhi. Delhi is a village with a population just north of 3,000. The Township of the same name that it is located in has a population just north of 5,000. There are no nearby major population centers. In 2018 the Republican Candidate for Delhi Town Supervisor won over 98% of the vote and was unopposed by any Democrat. OK, that happens sometimes on the local level when an incumbent from one party is viewed as highly capable. Let's look a little larger then. The Village of Delhi is the County Seat for Delaware County. In 2018 the quite conservative Republican Party candidate for Governor won Delaware County by 9,934 votes to Democratic incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo's 5,796 votes. By way of reference Cuomo was reelected Governor of New York that year with 59.6% of the statewide vote.

You know the so called "Silent Majority" that Tea Party types always love to reference? You can find them in Delaware County. I would never say that the majority of White America is free of the stain of racism. Far too much prejudice, both unconscious and semi-conscious, is still embedded in White communities to ever make that claim. But it increasingly is starting to seem that the "Silent Majority" of Americans, our White citizens included, now strongly oppose overt and fully conscious racism, and are beginning to speak up against it. And that, at the very least, is a foundation we can build on as we work to eradicate America's original sin.
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