HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Tom Rinaldo » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 68 Next »

Tom Rinaldo

Profile Information

Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 21,596

Journal Archives

There's a scene in the film Dr. Zhivargo

It's during the first World War, the Bolsheviks have not yet seized power in Russia, and Russian troops are still fighting the Germans, but in retreat. A charismatic Russian officer leaps on top of a sealed keg of water to rally his troops who have begun to drop their weapons and flee. His words have power and conviction, and soldiers turn to face him as he implores them to regroup and fight on. Some begin to respond. Then the top caves in on the water keg and the officer plunges in and flails in the water as he tries to regain his footing. Soldiers laugh at him and one shoots the officer dead before they all turn around and resume their flight from the Germans.

Trump never had either the conviction or charisma of that fictitious officer, but he still held millions of Americans under his bombastic macho sway. Then his coup failed, and his twitter account was taken away from him. Already groups like the Proud Boys are ridiculing Trump as "weak." No doubt there will be millions of Americans who will continue to look up to Trump as a leader for some time to come, but something fundamental has changed. Trump no longer has the trappings of power, and he can no longer command the attention that came with it. The top collapsed on his water keg platform.

Meanwhile white nationalists in America have not given up, but they are in retreat. They have not been routed, but neither can they mount full scale military offensives any longer. They can't lay siege to our capitals now because, like the insurgents once fighting Castro at the Bay of Pigs, they were counting on receiving air cover from a sitting American President while they advanced. That cover has been stripped away, making it much more difficult and far more dangerous to them to mass in public again. I suspect they will turn more to guerilla terrorist tactics now, while hopefully awaiting another right wing political tide in a future national election, one as soon as 2022 or 2024, and we must be prepared for that. But Donald Trump got his moment on the water keg, and it caved in on him.

This kind of says it for me...

I love that Trump's second impeachment threw a wrench into his pardon planning

Since Trump only actually cares for himself, now he is weighing whether this or that pardon would lose him a critical vote from this or that Republican Senator at his Senate trial. All those insurrectionists who invaded the Capital on Trump's behalf ran out of luck, when it comes to get out of jail cards, when the House held Trump accountable..

My greatest sorrow and shame, after 5+ decades lived as an adult American citizen

Or, to be more specific, as a white American citizen in his 70's, is the enduring persistence of of institutional racism in our country. I was 18 when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Prior to that horrific day I never fully faced the scourge of racism, or understood it beyond a surface revulsion to white supremacists. I opposed racism, sure, from a white informally segregated middle class distance. A lot changed for me that day, and I became involved in the Civil Rights movement as a direct consequence of it. I've actively opposed racism, off and on ever since, but I have to acknowledge far more frequently off than on. I underestimated racism, because of the color of my skin.

When I was 18 there were many things I expected to see happen during my lifetime. I thought we would have a colony on Mars well before now, and I fully expected cars to fly. I thought we would have a female President decades ago, and I felt pretty confident it would be my generation, the ones who coined the phrase "don't trust anyone over thirty" who would drive a stake through the heart of institutionalized racism in America. I expected us tp be radical agents of change. Maybe at times we were, those young whites like me back then who openly embraced multi-culturism, but we sorely underestimated what we were up against, and the degree to which most of our eyes remained closed. I suppose I have done more than most whites have to combat racism, but far far less than some, and ultimately no where near enough.

And now I hear the eerily familiar refrain, rising up from some many decades younger than I, who hold out hope that with the passing of my generation, the path toward a post racist America might finally be cleared. I don't take it personally, I hope that they are right. There is less racism, overall, in whites under thirty today than there was when I was young. I don't feel unappreciated for the efforts I have made in my life to combat racism, I simply acknowledge that we fell woefully short of my youthful expectations, that I didn't do enough. I am deeply chastened, and can only pass on this warning. Racism is a foe far more tenacious than I once believed that it could be. If we manage to beat back the current resurgence of white nationalism that was emboldened by Donald Trump, it will not mean the end of it. I watch anti-racist white teens of a new generation take up banners like "Black Lives Matter"and I simply say, more power to them. I will help wherever I can, but I pray that half a century hence they won't have to look back on their lives with the same remorse that I feel now. It can not continue this way. Ultimately only whites can uproot the institutional racism that oppresses so many millions of our fellow Americans tody.

Classic question arises again: "What did the President know, and when did he know it?"

Seems the media for the most part is not quite ready to openly speculate about this yet. Talk has been constrained to Trump's role in "inciting an insurrection", not any potential role he might have had in actually planning it.

I appreciate that caution is required before accusing an American President of literally conspiring in the orchestration of a coup that potentially involved planning for the assassination of key government leaders. Any charges along those lines would be the most explosive in American history. Without extremely hard evidence backing such charges, it is extremely hard to responsibly advance that case. Just the accusation itself has the potential to totally destabilize our democracy. But if that is where the evidence leads, not pursuing it would ultimately be far more "destabilizing."

So for now it seems within bounds to speculate about potential coup conspirators embedded within the Capital Police, within congressional staffs, and potentially among elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives, but it remains off limits to discuss possible premeditated sedition by senior members of Trump's Administration and/or his inner circle, up to and including the President himself. All of the recent changes in leadership at the Department of Defense, at the Justice Department, at the Department of Homeland Security etc. for now are deemed unrelated to the actual formulation of a coup. At most, for the moment, they are said to have contributed to a "lack of preparation" rather than the willful withholding of resources that could have quashed a coup attempt before it had any chance of succeeding.

"Reputable journalists", and our congressional leaders, may not be at a point yet when they can publicly ask the question, but I sure can. What did the President know, and when did he know it?

The far right will not win this showdown. They count on overwhelming apathy and indifference

In other words, they depend on "good men doing nothing in order for evil to succeed." As long as fascism just kept creeping forward, rather than full frontal rearing it's ugly head, it was well on its way toward victory. But beating cops to death with American flags doesn't play so well on national TV, and in order for the right to seize power and/or at the very least totally destabilize our government, they are going to have to do a lot more than murder a few cops. If and when they do, those acts will be met with wide scale revulsion.

The Oklahoma City bombing, which happened inside one of the reddest of states in America, didn't usher in the start of a right wing revolution, instead it set those "efforts" back. Until Trump took office there was a much greater federal emphasis on combating right wing extremism in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. The rise of Islamic extremist jihadists blurred that focus somewhat, and then Trump buried it, but the more violent the right becomes now the more it will turn average Americans against it. The far right has been flushed out of hiding now, the shadows that they gathered in are being hit by spotlights. They increasingly are pushed toward violence because the political cover that allowed them to organize openly is being stripped away with the return of Democratic control of the Federal Government. Their plans are being revealed so they must rush to execute whichever ones they still can, but those are premature by at least a couple of years. The far right ate the Republican Party but didn't get time to fully digest it. They were counting on a second Trump term as President to consolidate their hold over national security, over the Justice Department, over the FBI, over law enforcement at local levels.

Even corporate America is peddling furiously away from any possible linkage to the far right now. Corporate America has thrived in America as we have come to know it, so it does not welcome dramatic wide scale social unrest that severely rocks the boat they are cruising on. The far right can't afford to go dormant now while a Biden appointed Attorney General goes full steam against them, they have to play their cards now before more of their members are rounded up. That means increased violence of the sort that will sicken most Americans, which will serve to isolate the extreme far right, spurring their neighbors and co-workers to turn them in. FBI Tip lines are already burning up, but it's just the beginning. Extremists can terrorize Americans for a time, but they will be buried under the backlash to any carnage that they cause.

I think our democracy will ultimately emerge from Trump's one term stronger than it's been in years

Trump accelerated the rot, greatly, but it was already present and growing, like a cancer that many saw signs of but which had not yet been officially diagnosed. January 6th was the biopsy that confirmed it, the rot can no longer be ignored. Recognizing it is the essential first step toward effective treatment.

But it's now clear to me the our democracy would not have survived a second Trump term intact. That's how fucking close we came to the brink

Security failures, or Sedition Successes?

Much public outage over the January 6 insurrection is focused on why our Capital wasn't better protected in anticipation of potential violence, when Trump extremists from across the nation converged on Washington DC with intentions that were barely (if even that) concealed. It has been widely called a "security failure", which implies that "mistakes were made", and no doubt some were. The alternate explanation though is that plans were instead well executed, plans that may have ensured that the defenses for Capital Hill were functionally crippled through the deliberate withholding of adequate security resources.

For now most attention seems focused on why our security forces were not better prepared, a question that obviously must be answered. For me what stands out even sharper though is why was the ransacking of Congress, and the targeting our national leaders for possible assassination, allowed to go on for three hours after it was evident that the security of Congress was severely compromised, before either National Guard or standard military troops arrived to restore order?

The Mayor of Washington DC lacked the authority to deploy the National Guard on her own orders, because the District of Columbia is not an independent state. DC is the Capital of our nation, not the county seat of some sparsely inhabited not all of that strategic region thousands of miles away from the American seat of government. Thousands of reinforcements could have arrived at Congress within twenty minutes of any crisis erupting there. They didn't.

One can argue at length, with plenty of hard evidence, that our security officials should have seen what was coming on January 6th weeks in advance and prepared accordingly. No doubt some will try to make excuses for such a massive, and consequential, "security failure". Some always do, but it didn't require any foresight, to perceive what actually occurred once an insurrectionist mob reached the steps of the Capital. You didn't need to personally receive frantic phone calls from Congressmen and Congresswomen barricaded inside their offices to know what was going on. You just had to turn on a TV.

Where was Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller while all this was going down, he who was very recently appointed personally by Donald J Trump, leapfrogged into that position over several officials better prepared and higher up in the Defense Department chain of command? He was "out of contact" for two hours while repeated appeals were made to him to authorize the use of the National Guard to quell an insurrection. No one should kid themselves. The United States Secretary of Defense in NEVER "out of contact." He is ALWAYS available to respond to any real threat to National Security literally within seconds. There are secure means for communication available inside of every "undisclosed secure bunker." The American Secretary of Defense does never gets to "turn off his cell phone. So what was he doing when he should have been deploying the National Guard?

I hear a lot of talk about "Security Failures." I need to hear a lot more talk about the "Coup successes."

Refraining from Impeachment won't promote "Healing" any more than Appeasement promotes Peace

Every sign of weakness emboldens those who WANT additional unrest. Sure they will be "angered" if Trump is impeached, but is there anyone who seriously believes that they will be "mollified" if he is not? When militias stormed the Michigan State Capital and occupied that legislature without encountering significant opposition and serious negative repercussions, they were emboldened. They were emboldened enough that the most violent among them went forward with plans to kidnap and execute the Governor of Michigan. When the thwarting of that plot to execute Michigan's Governor was not immediately followed up on by a prolonged national "Red Alert" to crush far right domestic terrorism, pursued at the highest levels of the U.S. Government with the same sense of focus, purpose, and wide scale appeals for help from the public that went into the coordinated fight against al-Qaeda, domestic terrorists again felt emboldened. Some of them followed up by attacking the U.S. Capital with the intent to assassinate our leaders.

If Donald J. Trump is not impeached, what happens then? If we are lucky enough to escape wide scale violence before Joe Biden becomes President, what happens when Ex-President Trump is indicted for one or more of any number of crimes? What happens when he is put on trial? What happens when he is convicted? Or do those who advocate refraining from impeaching Trump now, in order "to promote healing", similarly argue that Trump should not be legally held accountable for any of the crimes that he has committed, "in order to promote healing?"

We can not run away from pending conflict with far right extremists. We can't let them get away with crimes because we fear the consequences of actually holding them accountable for their actions. When we do they only get stronger.

A sentence that blows my mind, in a very negative way

Mere hours after an insurrectionist mob invaded the halls of Congress chanting (among other seditious things) to hang Vice President Pence, the Minority Leader of the Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reinstall the Coup's leader as President of the United States for an additional years, with a strong majority of his caucus voting with him.

We mostly focus on a seditious relative handful of Senators like Hawley and Cruz, but Kevin McCarthy fell just a few votes short of being Speaker of the House, and he is part of the Gang of Eight, and thus privy to all of the top governmental secrets in America, even after Joe Biden is inaugurated as President.
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 68 Next »