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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 17,933

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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.

Trump is obviously sick. Other Republicans can't even use that excuse

They are mostly sane enough to know irrational behavior when they see it. Many of them are malicious enough to find rational reasons to pursue policies they know will harm millions in order to advance their own agenda, but that is different. That is simply evil. Trump is disconnected from reality, and most congressional Republicans know it. They also know that if there is one person in the country who no one can afford having be disconnected from reality, it is the President of the United States. Malicious people might steal from their neighbors but they don't blow up the whole neighborhood they themselves are living in. That would be irrational, and Trump is fully capable of just that.

I am willing to believe that many elected Republicans (not all but probably most) never really grasped just how sick Trump is. Yes, they knew he was sick of course, but they previously didn't appreciate how utterly toxic a strain of illness he had. They thought if Trump just got his vanity stroked in the spot light, that would suffice, and they would set the political agenda for his presidency since Trump is too lazy to do it himself - in any depth beyond that which fits in a Tweet.

They were wrong. Trump actually believes he is President, and that he is never wrong about whatever his gut tells him at any instant in time. His instinct is to show them all who's boss, and that is truly terrifying under the circumstances. Trump is seriously dangerous and, as politically inconvenient it may be for them to acknowledge that, elected Republicans therefor have a fundamental responsibility to say so and act accordingly.

Trump is of course unfit for office and he must be removed. And Trump can only be removed if Republicans cooperate in doing so. Each day that any one of them refuses to do so just makes them that much more liable for all damage to our Republic, and deaths that occur in this world, as a result of Donald Trump's illness. They don't have the cover of mental illness to fall back on, just short term political expediency to justify their complicity in this escalating tragedy. That makes them more reprehensible than Trump..

It takes "a good guy with field artillary" to stop a shooter w/ automatic weapons on the 30th floor

That or a SWAT team. The armed security forces at the concert were as much sitting ducks as the fans in attendance, let alone private citizens with permits to carry a concealed weapons.

It's another extraordinarily bleak day in America. Watch gun sales surge again.

So, you racist POTUS SOB, worried about Spanish speaking brown folk coming to the USA?

Demanding that Congress appropriate 10 Billion or more for a wall on our southern border to stop them, eh? Afraid all those Hispanics will figure out how to vote in our elections so they can put Democrats back in power? Is that it, or at least a PART of it?

Well you are right to worry. A major new surge will be heading here shortly, but your great big beautiful wall won't stop them, even if you somehow manage to get it built. They won't be crossing the Rio Grande to get in. They'll be crossing big water instead, you know, big ocean water, so they won't need coyotes to help them cross. No, they'll use valid U.S. ID's, like birth certificates, passports and drivers licenses to enter your sacred fatherland. And they won't be seeking a path way to citizenship either. Because Puerto Ricans are already American citizens. They already can legally vote.

If you had any sense (we already know you don't have a shred of common decency) even just a tiny pinch of it, you would ditch the wall pronto and send that ten billion to Puerto Rico immediately, to be delivered by the U.S. Army Core of Engineers. Let them use it restore some infra structure with it, help get an electric grid up and running while they are at it. Oh, and you can throw in that 33 million you made out like a bandit with too, when you stiffed Puerto Rico by declaring bankruptcy there. You know, that handy legal mumbo jumbo that makes debt disappear in a cloud of smoke that a billionaire like you is entitled to exploit but a U.S. Territory like Puerto Rico is forbidden by law to use.

Because, you racist piece of sh*t, if you leave Puerto Rico sitting in utter devastation for very much longer, Puerto Ricans won't just quietly sit there and die. Poverty stricken Mexicans spend thousands paying coyotes to smuggle them into the U.S. but a plane ticket from San Juan to Miami, Philadelphia, Cleveland or New York costs a whole lot less than that. Maybe not this week, when stranded tourists are at the front of the line, but within a month or so, well before all the lights come back on across Puerto Rico.

By now you no doubt figured out that residents of Puerto Rico are in fact American Citizens. Most likely you didn't know though that Puerto Ricans living here on the mainland traditionally have a relatively poor record of registering and voting in U.S. elections. Let me quote from Wikipedia for you:

"Compared to the United States, voter participation by Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico is very large. However, many see a paradox in that this high level of voting is not echoed stateside. There, Puerto Ricans have had persistently low voter registration and turnout rates, despite the relative success they have had in electing their own to significant public offices throughout the United States."


Lucky for Republicans, huh? How much longer do you figure that trend is going to hold, the way that things are looking now? According to the 2010 U.S. Census (which doesn't reflect more recent increases in Puerto Rican U.S. residents), a list of the top 10 large cities (over 200,000 in population) with the highest percentages of Puerto Rican residents include
Orlando, FL (13.1 percent), Philadelphia, PA (8.0 percent), Cleveland, OH (7.4 percent) and Tampa, FL (7.2 percent). You don't expect Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to figure much into your reelection prospects, do you?

Oh there's a lot more information available for you to chew over, but I know by now we are far over the total word count that you can absorb in a single sitting. So I will summarize for you:

The worst things get in Puerto Rico the more Puerto Ricans will move to the mainland. Puerto Ricans can legally vote. The worse you treat Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans, the more they will hate you, and the more motivated they will be to register to vote against you. Puerto Ricans are already an important voting bloc in Florida, but they concentrate in some other states of some interest to Republicans also. There currently are a lot of Puerto Ricans in Allentown, and Reading PA for example, and in Milwaukee, WI as well.

And soon there will be a whole lot more of them - unless things start improving in Puerto Rico immediately. And there's no telling what they will say, in Spanish no less, to Mexican Americans.

"The President lied again today about his..."

That is the type of straight news coverage needed with this President. When Trump says millions of farmers and small businesses will benefit from the elimination of the estate tax, but the true number is 80 annually, that's not inaccurate, that's not misleading, that's not misinformed, that's a lie. When Trump says that his new tax plan won't help him personally, that's a lie. When he said he couldn't release his taxes because of IRS audits, Trump was lying. The President is a liar.

The American public knows Trump can't tell the truth, polls show that. But media coverage of Trump usually defaults to the traditional norms used when covering the Commander in Chief. Because the President of the United States historically is such an important figure, and so much ultimately rests on his (or hopefully soon her) word, the media is usually deferential toward the office, if not the person holding it. Politicians may lie but Presidents are said to tell untruths. That generosity is shown towards Presidents in order to protect the institution of the presidency.

But Donald Trump is the gravest threat the institution of the presidency has ever faced. Trump is normalizing blatant serial presidential lies, and there is little ultimately more toxic to our democracy than that. Nothing the President of the United States says can be trusted. Trump has made the American President the ethical equivalent of Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein in the realm of veracity.

Until Donald Trump leaves office, one way or another, he remains the President. That won't change until it happens, but that doesn't mean that sane people must pretend that Trump hasn't demeaned the office he holds, by being among other things a compulsive obsessive liar. Someone has to be honest, or honesty as a concept is fatally corrupted. Our President lies, let the media tell the truth.

If Cuba had attacked Puerto Rico with 1000 soldiers

The damage they could have inflicted on that island would not be 1/1,00oth of what Hurricane Maria caused there instead. Yet Trump would have responded immediately with tens of thousands of troops to counter the Cubans. They would have begun arriving last week and our forces would all be in place now. Our Navy would have a flotilla stationed off shore Puerto Rico as we speak. Marines would be landing in amphibious vehicles

Our military knows what to do when you can't drive a truck loaded with supplies across an open land border. An ocean don't stop our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, no matter how large it might be. They wouldn't wait for some bankruptcy court to determine who would foot the bill. Congress would have dropped everything and met in emergency session to clear any and all obstacles to military action.

Three and a half million American citizens are marooned in utter devastation. From this point on their deaths mount geometrically. What the fuck do we have a military for if it isn't to protect American lives? It's so called Commander in Chief is more concerned about an alleged desecration of the American flag by kneeling professional athletes than he is over the destruction of the land over which it flies, and the desperation of our citizens who struggle to cling to life there.

I am a Democrat

I am even on the executive committee of our county's Democratic party (trust me, anyone willing to do some good work for the party on a local level can pretty easily "rise" to such "lofty" heights.) So my comments are not those of an "outside agitator" or havens to bid, that of an "Independent".

For me the Democratic Party is a means to an end and not an end in itself. I am puzzled by how so many posters here, IMO, seem to confuse loyalty to the Democratic Party with loyalty to the fight for social change that the Democratic Party is often identified with (usually legitimately, not sometimes not). I work through the Democratic Party for pragmatic, not ideological or sentimental reasons. The Democratic Party (hell all political parties for that matter) is at root a way to advance an agenda. Which isn't the same as being the agenda. And no political party, no matter how noble or well organized it may be, is ever the sole means to advance a social agenda. It isn't even the sole political means to advance a social agenda. At the most fundamental level, only the agenda itself ultimately matters.

Which is why I need to say this clearly at least once on DU. Focusing on the fact that Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat can be a good starting point for a meaningful discussion about the best ways for us all to collectively achieve ends that we believe in, but it sucks as a conclusive statement. If a person or persons working outside the framework of a specific political party can achieve progress in bringing about important and desirable social changes, that's pretty much the ball game when you look at the bigger picture. Probably Martin Luther King Jr was a Democrat, but I actually don't know that for a fact and it's illustrative that I don't. Ultimately it didn't matter.

We can have great tactical discussions about how to best advance politically inside of the American essentially two party system, and we should do so. Ultimately, however, my loyalty is to a set of goals, not fundamentally to the Democratic Party. The fact that "Bernie isn't a Democrat" is meaningless to me without a corresponding analysis about how that fact changes our collective ability to advance a positive social agenda. It is also a fact that Democrats are a minority in America, with roughly a third of voters identifying as such. More voters identify as Independents than as Democrats. We do not win elections on our own.

When I finish writing and posting this I am going back to finishing up a press release for a fund raiser for our local Democrats for the fall election. I choose my Democratic affiliation as the way I believe I can best advance causes that I believe in. But I also acknowledge that in some cases NOT being widely and openly affiliated and associated with a specific political party can open up some doors to change more effectively than can the brandishing of a partisan identity.

Debate whether Bernie does or does not serve our cause if you wish, but simple restating the obvious e.g. "But he's not a Democrat!" offers nothing useful to an important debate that too often ends rather than begins with that comment.



Memo to queasy Congressional Republicans. Subject: Opposing Trump

Learn and apply the central lesson from the 2016 Republican Presidential primaries. Do not wait for Trump to either self destruct or to be taken down by others before taking him on yourself. If you are not firmly in Trump's camp and personally loyal to him, he will come after you. Even if you are in Trump's camp and personally loyal to him, he may well come after you anyway, at any time, if he thinks it serves his interests to do so. And he will. Who do you think Trump would rather blame for his lack of significant accomplishments in office, himself or you?

If Donald Trump is a President you want to be closely associated with come the 2018 mid term elections, by all means stand by your man - and bet your seat on it. When 2018 rolls around any Republican not having previously firmly rejected Trump's presidency will be seen as a defender of it. Or at the very least as his enabler. There will be no middle ground left.There is barely any now.

If you wait for Trump to become unpopular enough with "his base" for it to be safe enough for you to come out strongly against him, you will have sealed your fate, just like Trump's 2016 Republican Presidential primary challengers did. Trump must be confronted early, and that means NOW, so that criticism of him has time to sink in before the 2018 races begin in earnest. He (or in a few cases she) who hesitates will be lost. If you wait for Trump to simply collapse you will only be pulled down with him when it inevitably happens. If you cast a spotlight on Trump's deformities yourself now, maybe your own constituents too will come to see them in time, and credit you for your leadership when they next go to the polls.

If you don't want to stand for Trump in 2018, stand out against him now. Do so openly, do so clearly. Yes you will take hits from hard core Trump loyalists for doing so, but you can not split this baby in half. They will hate you as much for trying to hedge your bets as they would if you flat out denounce him. And there is an added bonus if you tell the public openly what you now dare only say in private to friends about this President's unfitness for office. You will be serving your nation honorably in a time of crisis. And in the long run that will look a whole lot better on your resume than will jettisoning your integrity in a desperate attempt to hold onto your seat, regardless of the final election results.

I offer this advice to Republicans with some degree of reluctance. When viewed through a partisan prism I, as a committed Democrat, believe the Republican Party will suffer essentially irreparable damage if it continues on it's current course by temporarily propping up Donald Trump. If those of you in Congress who know better than to let Trump's rule go unchecked act with that certainty now, the Republican Party will retain the capacity to rise again. Remember that after enough principled Republicans in Congress made certain that Nixon resigned in disgrace, Carter became a one term President and Republicans then took control of the White House for three consecutive terms.

Democrats will do best in 2018 if Republicans stand by Trump now. But America will suffer if the damage Trump is doing isn't forcefully countered well before the a new Congress is seated in January of 2019. Country ahead of Party. We should all be able to agree on that.
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