HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Tom Rinaldo » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 82 Next »

Tom Rinaldo

Profile Information

Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,717

Journal Archives

The significance of recent shootings by people "defending" their homes, cars, yards etc.

Of course anyone shooting someone ringing their door bell, turning around in their driveway, being momentarily confused about which car they own, or retrieving a ball that rolls into a neighbor's yard, is unhinged or racist or both. In a nation of 325 million people there are always at least a couple of million unhinged people (and many more racists) around at any given time. It has been that way for a very long time. In the past that mostly led to some angry confrontations, not shootings without warning. Outrageous as their actions may be, what really matters now are the proclaimed motives behind this spate of shootings, various manifestations of alleged "self defense", "protecting property", "standing your ground", etc.

The NRA always proclaims, "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." If someone attempts a house burglary, a car hijacking, or a "home invasion", that person by definition is an "outlaw." The NRA celebrate the capacity of a "good guy with a gun" to stop them. An armed citizenry is needed, they claim, to protect against violence. The overwhelming majority of gun owners, they like to say, are law abiding Americans simply exercising their Second Amendment rights.

More recently gun advocates like to stress that mental illness is the root cause for mass shootings. And it is hard to argue that someone who decides to slaughter as many children in a school, or strangers at a mall as they possibly can, is not in fact mentally ill. No school shooter uses self defense to justify their act. No one firing at cars on a freeway claims to be defending their personal property. The unspoken assertion is that society has the means to identify, and hopefully offer treatment to, most if not all of these seriously disturbed mass shooters before they finally pull their semi-automatic triggers. All that is needed are "Red Flag" laws allowing authorities to intervene, and more mental health funding to make effective treatment more readily available.

Shootings like the recent spate of "self and property defense" shootings give the lie to both of these NRA arguments, and point to an inflection point having been reached, and passed. Common criminal behavior was not behind these shootings. They weren't committed by "outlaws" in furtherance of their illegal schemes. Nor were they committed by individuals who clearly had fallen off the commonly recognized deep end, people whose primary intent was to wreak as much pain and death as possible. These shootings were done by people posing under the umbrella of "good guys with guns", who supposedly needed their guns to protect their own lives and property. Even more "good guys with guns" will not protect us from increasing numbers of "good guys with guns" run amuck. It will only cause rising instances of "good guys with guns" going trigger happy.

Regarding the "Rule of Law"

Laws void of ethics are just instruments of power. It is far more efficient to make laws than it is to break laws, in order to exact control. He (gender choice intentional) who defines what is legal, rules. Legality has no relationship to morality. Slavery was not only legal, it was embedded in the Constitution. Constitutional protections are only as good as those chosen to interpret them. An embrace of the above defines the Republican Party.

First there was AOC. Then Maxwell Frost joined her in the House of Representatives

Now Justin Pearson and Justin Jones have been thrust into the national spotlight, from out of all but local obscurity in Tennessee. A true nightmare for Republicans is about to unfold. They have lit a match to the potential powder keg that is the youth vote.

AOC was the first widely recognized national elected leader from her generation. Her courage, her clarity, her convictions and her style was an electrifying breath of fresh air for national politics. What was insufficiently recognized at the time was the fact that AOC's emergence was a precursor. Now Republicans, through their heavy fisted anti-democratic and racist power play in the Tennessee House, have turbo charged the embrace of electoral politics by potential voters under 30. All four of the young Democrats named here are charismatic. All four are extraordinarily impassioned and articulate. They are natural leaders. Now, in just 24 hours, the ranks of nationally recognized political voices from their generation has doubled.

Pundits like to call the Tennessee Three new "Rock Stars." That term is apt. So, by the way, is the inclusion of a 60 year old ex-school teacher Gloria Johnson under that designation. Bernie Sanders long ago proved that there is room for some revered elders in the ranks of the leaders of a new generation of voters. But "Rock Star" has always been a term associated with youth. The fact that young elected leaders can be called "Rock Stars" signals a pivotal shift in attitudes toward electoral politics among American youth. It's no longer just nerds who take part in electoral politics. It is a principled calling that increasingly resonates among the young, and that is terrible news for Republicans, because Republicans do not.

Republicans wanted nothing more than for youth to remain apolitical. And if they insisted on becoming political, Republicans wanted them confined to the streets doing protests, the wilder the better, not inside voting booths, and certainly not seated within the Halls of Power. By elevating Justin Pearson and Justin Jones to national prominence, they did more than just elevate two remarkable young men, they elevated the importance of local politics itself with one searing stroke of political malfeasance. In high schools and colleges across the land, these two men are indeed poised now to become "Rock Stars", and where they lead millions will follow.

When it comes down to it, how many people want to go to war against the U.S. Government?

Trump's big bluff is finally being called. The most potent force extremists wield is intimidation. Most people abhor violence, and go to great lengths to avoid it. Faced with a potential serious threat, appeasement is not uncommon as a response. The bigger the threat brandished, the bigger the capitulation demanded to in order to withdraw it. "The Rule of Law?" Sounds nice in the abstract, but is pressing a charge of business fraud, really worth triggering off deadly riots in our streets? Intimidation worked for Trump, until last week.

America has seen deadly riots before. Lynch mobs were common deadly riots. Cell blocks have gone up in flames in deadly prison riots. Inner cities have been convulsed by deadly riots due to racial injustice. Riots are serious. Deaths from them are serious. But even America's deadliest riots fail to equal the carnage from one days fighting in Ukraine last week. What can bring down America is not militant extremists engaging in violence. What can bring down America is our democratic institutions failing to hold.

Seriously. Literally. How many Americans are willing to engage in full scale armed combat against the U.S. Army and the National Guard? Hundreds maybe. Possibly thousands. Sure, many more than that say they are willing to fight the government. They run around in the woods in camouflage with guns, but how many of them are actually willing to go hand to hand with the infantry?

I'm not saying all right wing extremists are cowards, but the ones who literally are suicidal pursue death by cops individually. The strategy of the extreme right has always been to light the match that somehow sparks the coming "great conflict"that will finally purify America for the Christian Nationalist Right At most they engage in sneak attacks and isolated acts of terror. But there are never plans for a coordinated armed assault on State Capitals. There are never plans to physically occupy Washington and install a new government.

They had the then President of the United States on their side, and security forces that failed to take them seriously, on January 6, 2021. The far right was counting on inside help that day, on a declaration of martial law, on the National Guard protecting them and on presidential pardons for any and all of their transgressions. They weren't up for war with the U.S. Army. They know they would be crushed if it ever came to that, and most of their supporters would dissolve back into "normal" civilian life, hoping not to come to "the attention of authorities."

If blood starts to flow the Right has already lost. When the threats they make lead to their own loss of liberty, the Right is routed. Trump is facing the consequences now of his bluff finally being called. Yes we may still face some civil unrest, but a functioning democracy can deal with that if our institutions continue to function the way they were designed.

How long before Red State economies will significantly suffer from"brain drain" etc.?

The escalating extremist anti-reproductive health laws being enacted in Red States in some cases directly threatens the lives of women of child bearing age, in many more cases it restricts their freedom to make fundamental life altering decisions. It is not just abortions, increasingly the use of birth control is threatened.

Meanwhile a reign of censorship terror is descending on educational institutions, from kindergarten through college. Libraries are removing books from their shelves, history is being whitewashed, art is being censored in the name of "morality." Members of the LGBTQ+communities, and their allies, are increasingly being targeted with repression and made to feel unwelcome. Automatic weapons are being openly fetishised. Businesses are being told how they can and can not train their own employees to make workplaces open and inclusive .

At what point will the difficulty of attracting and retaining employees under 40, make corporations wary of basing their operations inside of Red States? When will Red State universities no longer be able to attract the best and the brightest to either their faculty or student bodies? University graduates often settle in the states where they attended college. They are a primary souse of renewal and innovation. Red States are playing with long term fire if they continue on their path of cultural warfare.

No I won't totally boycott Twitter posts on DU, but they now start out with two strikes against them

If Twitter use went down by another 50%, Twitter itself would go down. And if Twitter goes down, it won't be that long before some other way to share info online rises to replace it: nature abhors a vacuum and all of that.

From now on I'm going to cut back significantly clicking on threads that link to Twitter posts here. Yes, I will still do so when the content is of exceptional importance, or when it contains significant content unavailable anywhere else. But I can do without reading most Twitter posts, no matter how insightful or funny they may be, And if important breaking news is coming across Twitter it will soon be talked about everywhere.

Yeah, sometimes I won't know what I'm getting into before I open an OP, but I can always cut my losses and move on without commenting and bumping a Twitter thread.

I just can't stand Elon Musk and want as little to do with supporting his personal platform now as I possibly can.

Right about now I'm glad the DOJ filed charges against 1,000+ in that insurrection mob

Much credit where much credit is due. Sure, I am unhappy that almost no one who was pulling strings for the insurrection has been charged yet, but a lot of people whose strings were pulled have been. THEY, and the crowd they all hang with, know the legal system stands ready to ensnare those who riot against the government.

Good old fashioned deterrence at work. No doubt Trump can still sit up some trouble, but hundreds of his shock troops are already sitting in jails, and many times that number now know exactly where they will end up if they take part in violent protests.

Jack Smith was a War Crimes Prosecutor. He worked for the International Criminal Court

From 2008 to 2010, Mr Smith served as Investigation Coordinator in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In that capacity, he supervised sensitive investigations of foreign government officials and militia for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Prior to being appointed Special Council by Attorney General Garland to investigate former POTUS Donald Trump, he was working at The Hague, investigating Kosovo war crimes committed by government leaders. Jack Smith is wired into the global institutions that bring criminal heads of state to justice. No doubt Smith knows ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan personally. Smith knows full well what a bold step it was for Khan to issue an arrest warrant for the Russian President Vladimir Putin. No head of state of one of the 5 permanent members of the United Nation's Security Council has ever individually been charged with a war crime before. No American ex-President has ever been indicted for any crime before either.

The timing of the charges filed against Putin may well have been dictated solely by the pace of the workings of the ICC, but whether adventent or not, the message it also sent Jack Smith can not be louder or clearer: The high and mighty MUST and SHALL be held accountable for their crimes. Everything we know about Jack Smith indicates that this is a truth he long ago internalized, but the warrant just issued against Vladimir Putin can't help but stiffen his resolve.

When I was a late teen the phrase "Question Authority" was widely considered radical and unpatriotic

Leaders, and authority figures in general, were defacto regarded as the embodiment of America. My father, an essentially good and kind working class man, internalized that world view. He thought stability depended on a respect for authority, and that questioning authority would lead to chaos. Granted, that was back in the 60's, but a conservative mindset doesn't change much. What has changed, for those with that inclination, is their working definition of being an American.

Newt Gingrich may be credited by many for the lurch toward extreme partisan polarization in Congress, but on a broad cultural level it was the emergence of voices like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter who glorified division, on a mass level, within the American people. As the saying goes, "There's nothing new under the sun." so of course they weren't the first to do so. But the potency of their appeal, and the popularity of their poison, represented a modern inflection point for the creation of the current partisan chasm that replaced our traditional partisan divides.

I remember (naively in hindsight) being taken aback when Ann Coulter's 2003 book "How To Talk To A Liberal (If You Must)" became a runaway best seller. It was the part of the title in parenthesis, if you must that was jarring to me. The implicit call for separatism, the clear assertion that it is best to not talk to "liberals" at all, felt like a dangerous shift in emphasis. The preferred option was no longer to win a debate, it was to avoid debating to begin with. "Real Americans" shouldn't waste their time with"liberals." We were no longer "One nation, under God, indivisible..." in the eyes of right wing activists, we were in a cold civil war, with Us Vs Them clearly delineated, and "Them" morphing into "the enemy."

Which brings me back, in a roundabout way, to how I started this piece. Cultural conservatives still bristle at the notion of "questioning authority", it's just that more and more of them each day no longer consider elected Democrats as "American" leaders. To many of them, Democrats are now something "other" than "American." So the authority of a "President" Joe Biden, or a "Governor" Gretchen Whitmer should be questioned, if not out right rejected. If Democrats are "the enemy", they have to be opposed, and increasingly the rules of war apply.

Donald J. Trump, by historical consensus, is the acknowledged 45th President of the United States. When the highest authority figure in America declared the 2020 presidential election to be a total sham, and claimed that those who refute that "fact" are enemies undermining our democracy, for those who regard him as America's real leader, what is there left to "talk" about with "liberals"?

Trump knows he'll never be "most loved". He wants to be the "most consequential" U.S. President

since George Washington. That is the only status, which fits his ego, that he was the potential to attain. That makes Trump even more of a nihilist than he is a fascist, because it is only by destroying the United States (as we currently know it) that history will record Trump as a truly consequential figure, one whose name will be remembered for millennia as a pivotal figure of the 21st century.

So Trump is inexorably drawn toward destruction like a moth is to flame. In his fevered mind there is no meaningful difference between being remembered as a "Great Leader" or as a "Great Villain." Both terms begin with "Great."
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 82 Next »