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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,146

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The Devil offers good payment for a soul, every preacher knows that

Here in the earthly realm you can drive a hard bargain with Satan. Name your price and the Devil will gladly pay, if you are wiling to sign your soul away in return. All fundamentalist and evangelical preachers know that, and Alabama is full of them.

That's how the Devil buys souls on the open market. He offers something the seller holds dear in return. Sometimes it is the lure of sex, sometimes it is wealth or fame. And sometimes it is a majority of seats in the United States Senate. Whatever it is it, it can be taken for granted that it's something the seller feels is very very important to them.

No doubt keeping a Democrat from winning a Senate seat from Alabama is very very important to "moral majority" preachers and "family values voters" in Alabama. And to Kellyanne Conway too. They say so themselves when they admit they believe all the women who were molested by Roy Moore while in their teens. As the preachers are quick to remind us all, when the price is right weak men gladly sell their souls to Satan. It's all written in the good book they are so eager to pound on.

So Franken was probably set up. Same could be true for Moore

In Moore's case the accusers had nothing to do with any set up. In Franken's case, she probably did. Yes the Washington Post reporters themselves tracked down the women molested by Moore, and through solid reporting, were able to empower them to share their stories. But who alerted the press to the fact that the story could be out there, decades after the events and shortly before a critical election? Yes that aspect could have political roots, but the charges still stand on their own. That is the relevant reality, not why the story saw the light of day when and how it did.

In Franken's case I strongly suspect that the accuser was encouraged to share her story when she did, to some extent because of all the attention being given to sexual harassment in general, but also for timely political reasons. But if her story is true the event she revealed still stands on it's own for consideration. Franken, in his public apology, did not vouch for the 100% accuracy of every detail she recalled about what happened. But he did apologize for his behavior with deep, and I believe sincere, regret. So I accept that Tweeden did experience genuine sexual harassment at the time, and that she did in some way feel violated by her experience with Franken.

Things sometimes come to light when they do for strictly political reasons. And that makes politically convenient revelations suspect. But that in itself doesn't prove them false. Political take downs can be based on either fact or fiction. In the case of Moore I think the facts justify the repercussions Moore is facing regardless of why the story came out now. In Franken's case I accept his public apology in which he expresses heart felt regret, which is something Moore will never do regardless of the number of lives he has damaged. But accepting Franken's apology also means accepting that he had something that he needed to apologize for.

The discretions both men committed are not even remotely comparable. Moore should have spent years in prison for what he did. Franken may well be formally rebuked by the Senate. If so he is not the only member of Congress who deserves at least public censure for instances of sexual harassment. THAT is the true double standard at play now. That and all attempts to equate what Moore and Franken did.

It remains to be seen, on the eve of so called tax reform votes...

Are there a big enough handful of Republicans with enough of a sense of history and strategic vision willing to separate themselves from the GOP's stampede over the cliff on behalf of "big donors"? Can the looting of our future be stopped by them

In many cases Republicans who stand in the way of a so called GOP "win" likely would lose a primary against them in 2018 for doing so, but they will lose in the General anyway if they don't. A giant blue wave is forming and it is rushing forward gathering speed. One way or another,Trump is going down. It is going to get ugly, very very ugly, and any Republican who doesn't earn his spot soon on Trump's enemy list will become stained by their association with him for life.

No, except in very red districts and states, they can not save themselves from the approaching midterm moment of reckoning, not if saving oneself is defined as winning reelection in 2018. But Americans want at least a two (if not more) party system. Americans want choices, both on the grocery shelf and on the ballot. The Republican Party, or something similar that takes it's place, will rise again. It will need to spend years in the political wilderness while a new and sounder foundation is laid for it to build upon before it can aspire to be a viable national electoral force again though, rather than merely a regional one. Republicans own the federal government now, they will own the wreckage that their administration, aided and abetted by Republicans in Congress, leaves in its wake. Who among today's elected Republicans have enough foresight to see past that horizon?

New leaders for what will soon become the opposition party to Democrats will emerge over time, and they will, initially at least, come from the ranks of the few among them who resisted the perversion of the current Republican Party. They will identify themselves over the coming weeks.

Remember when Republicans would say "There's no such thing as a free lunch"?

That's how they are trying to sell their1% enrichment tax cut plan however. They pretend they are giving away free money to the middle class, and that everyone magically gets money in their pockets without anything of value being sold to get it. Of course the big lie is that this plan has anything to do with the middle class, many of us will have our taxes raised as a result of this "reform" of tax codes. But even if it were true, even if millions of "average Americans" got an extra hundred dollars a month to spend as a result of them, there is nothing painless about these tax cuts.

This is no free lunch. Yes the cuts would add over 1.5 trillion dollars to the deficit. Democrats are already all over that, and the increase in taxes that some will face - but it's not just that. It's not just the fact that those in power today are burdening America's young with a much bigger obligation to repay America's creditors with interest over the course of their full lifetimes. Actually it is far more basic, far more profound than even those outrages. It is about drowning a shrunken government in a bathtub after using it to redistribute wealth to those who already have almost all of it.

Even the rich need some government services. They need a military to keep their oversees investments safe for example. They need legislators they can legally bribe using election laws that they've paid for to be written.They even need tax collectors who collect higher percentages of income from those who labor for wages rather than from those who earn money off of money already accumulated to accomplish the afore mentioned redistribution. They need enough government paid for domestic security to prevent pitchfork mobs from advancing on them unimpended. They meed first responders to protect their properties from fires and from terrorists. They need their government subsidies, and their huge government contracts, and courts to fill their private prisons.

But the rest of us need government much more. We need government to survive. Most Republicans WANT to increase the deficit, although of course they don't admit it. They want every pretense possible to shrink the size of government. And after they've looted the Federal Treasury there's no excuse that they will be happier to give than to say we can't afford the spending. They already say it now, but they will soon be saying it louder. We can't afford to pay for Pell grants. We can't afford to pay for mass transit. We can't afford to pay for nursing homes. We can't afford to be so "generous" with what they like to call "entitlements". If schools in most of America rot that won't effect the private schools of the wealthy, who will pay the bills to educate their own young with just part of the tax giveaways they are now pushing through this Congress. If there is lead leeching from their own water pipes, they can write a check to pay for immediately replacing them. If their children develop special needs they can hire the staff needed to attend to them.

Even if some middle class family in Ohio gets an extra hundred dollars a month to hold onto - how far will that stretch when grandma needs a nursing home that today is paid for by Medicaid? When push comes to shove the government paid for economic safety net is the only meaningful insurance policy that most Americans can turn to when things significantly go wrong. How much is keeping that intact worth to most Americans, let alone Pell grants, decent schools, and roads that don't break axles? Is that worth a hundred dollars a month to a family of four? How much is blood money ever worth?

Challenge for DUers

Design a major National Ad Campaign on the theme of Global Warming, using both 30 and 60 second TV ads. What scenes, what graphs, what visuals in general would you use? What narration if any would you include? Any interviews, if so of who? What text scrolls, what music, if any? What voice overs,:celebrities, scientists, or average citizens?

This issue virtually disappeared during the 2016 election campaign. Not a single question was asked about it during the Presidential debates. Since then the U.S.has become the only member of the United Nations not backing the Paris Accord. Since then the world has again set new heat records. Since then we've had runaway forest fires, ice sheet collapses, record rainfalls, multiple massive hurricanes, and even a (downplayed) admission by an agency of the Trump administration that the vast bulk of climate change is almost certainly human caused.

Everyone knows that weather is changing, but it remains out of broad public discussion as a political issue. Meanwhile wind and solar energy prices continue to plummet but the Trump Administration wants to spend tax dollars to prop up the coal, oil, and nuclear industries while relaxing regulations that will lead to the release of more greenhouse gases.

There should be killer ads on the media driving home all of the above, but there aren't. The scripts should almost write themselves, but of course they can't. But we can. We have creative people in our midst. We have media professionals. If the money could be found to mount a massive ad campaign, what should it be? Because I think the money can be found if we all insist on an open public debate on this profoundly life altering issue. And I'm sure of one other thing - it will not play to Republicans advantage.

What's your ad, what's your unifying theme? What do you want to see being aired on every network?

An example of the type of unity we need

This jumped out at me in a column written by Charles P. Pierce (thanks to babylonsister for posing most of the column elsewhere on DU). The entire column, about the Virginia elections, is excellent. You can read it here: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a13450070/virginia-democratic-victories/

Here is the part that grabbed me, in the context of things that have gone on here at DU.

"If you’re looking for an unsung hero in Virginia, and if you’re looking for a role model who should embarrass all the squabbling Democrats who are still relitigating the dismal 2016 primary process, look to Tom Perriello, the former Democratic congressman who lost to Northam in the Democratic primary this year. Perriello suited up and worked tirelessly for the Democratic ticket up and down the ballot, including for the man who’d beaten him. Perriello’s performance not only piled him up serious cred within his party, it also should shame a lot of people in that party’s upper echelon."

Perriello got more than his share of abuse on DU when he was competing against Northam for the Democratic nomination. Aside from the more extreme statements made against him then, that is more or less par for the course among us Democratic activists during primaries. The nomination gets settled, we close ranks, we move on.

Pausing for a brief moment to reflect on how Perriello acted when it became time for him to move on from losing an intense primary fight is, I think, good for the political soul.

I thought maybe I could get most everyone here upset with me

I've laid the groundwork for that result carefully over the last year or so - maybe longer than that. I harbor strong partisan opinions but I just don't do polarization that well - which means I'm rarely a good loyalist for any side during conflicts. I too often stray off the reservation when it comes time to recite talking points

Case in point. I genuinely like both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I think both of them have devoted their lives sincerely in service to their nation. I think they both have good ideals. I think they both have sound political instincts - that are not always right in every instance. They appeal to similar constituencies but not identical constituencies. But then again, that is always true. No two politicians, even those with similar views, ever appeal to the exact same groups of people. Still, in the big picture, it is clear as glass (at least to me) whose overall interests among Americans each of them is internally sworn to protect.

I had strained relations with some Sanders supporters last year (who ended up becoming Bernie or Busters) because I held positive feelings toward Hillary Clinton. I had strained relations with many Clinton supporters because (among other things) I thought Sanders was correct to make an issue over how some leading Democrats raise money, and how cozy they appeared to be with Wall Street type interests.

I never thought Hillary was corrupted by money, not twenty years ago, not ten years ago, not now. It takes millions upon millions upon millions to play politics in the big leagues. She found a way to harness some of that. And short of having a massive energized active grass roots movement constantly at your back, it takes having a lot of well placed connections to get the gears in motion to grind out scraps of social progress.

Hillary took one road to becoming influential, Bernie took another. But if one thing in life remains constant, it's that times keep changing. So I'm just starting to take note of this thing called the Paradise Papers. Seems to be a massive behind the scenes leak of thousands of documents that reveal how many of the most well connected people in the world accumulate and move money around the globe, often (but not always) in pursuit of narrow self interests at the expense of most everyone else. And I'm looking at the current social and political climate here in America, and I'm thinking - this is going to be big.

So let me be clear about one thing to start with. My world would be infinitely brighter if Hillary Clinton were President today. I have no need for, and there's no point to, bashing Hillary Clinton over matters of wealth and its accumulation. When I do look at the world by dividing it into sides, I know she is a strong defender of mine.

But I still have to say, Bernie was on to something. I strongly suspect that the Paradise Papers will reveal in gory details how the world is rigged against most people. - and the toxic role that capital concentrated in a tiny percentage of hands plays in depriving most of us of even a modicum of economic security in this world. And those revelations are going to make waves. Big ones.

I predict that if the Democratic Party fails to find a way of weaning itself from the teets of well heeled donors for political sustenance - it will continue to be viewed with suspicion, if not actual hostility, by an increasing plurality of Americans. And that will be very bad for all of us, not just for democrats

I know by now that Americans are suffering from irony fatique. But still Kelly raises the bar again

And I don't mean his comments about the Civil War. To this day I, and probably the General also, don't understand why the obvious compromise wasn't made to avoid our Civil War. Slave holders insisted that the U.S. Constitution consider Blacks 3/5ths human. Abolitionists insisted that Blacks were 100% human.. Well Duh.. it doesn't tale a rocket scientist to figure out that the ready made compromise between 5/5ths and 3/5ths is 4/5ths. But I digress...

On another thread I was reading about a story in Vanity Fair, and stumbled upon this quote:

"Last night, Kelly declared on Fox News that an investigation was needed to probe funding from Clinton’s campaign and the DNC for the research behind the Trump/Russia dossier, and Clinton’s involvement in the Uranium One deal, adding that he thought Mueller’s investigation should “wrap up soon."

Investigations into everything Hillary have been been conducted by Republicans, on and off, since 1992. Remember Whitewater?

"Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary were ever prosecuted, after three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal. The matter was handled by the Whitewater Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr."

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, as in occupant of the special office that once existed but which now has been updated to become the Office of Special Counsel.

More from Wiki: "In August 1994, Kenneth Starr[30] was appointed by a three-judge panel to continue the Whitewater investigation, replacing Robert B. Fiske, who had been specially appointed by the attorney general, prior to the re-enactment of the Independent Counsel law. Fiske was replaced because he had been chosen and appointed by Janet Reno, Clinton's attorney general, creating a conflict of interest...

...In February 1997, Starr announced he would leave the investigation to pursue a position at the Pepperdine University School of Law. However, he "flip flopped" in the face of "intense criticism", and new evidence of sexual misconduct.[30]

By April 1998, diverted to some degree by the burgeoning Lewinsky scandal, Starr's investigations in Arkansas were winding down, with his Little Rock grand jury about to expire"

We all know what happened next. As a result of a three year probe of a financial transaction which lost the Clinton's "between $37,000 and $69,000 on their Whitewater investment" Bill Clinton got impeached for a sexual indiscretion.

Then of course there was that matter regarding Benghazi, where Hillary Clinton's role was subject to multiple Congressional inquiries over the course of several years, which then spun off into a full FBI Investigation into her emails etc. Aside from lying about a blow job, no criminal charge has yet to be brought against either Bill or Hillary Clinton, for anything.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been on the job now for less than six months. He has already produced criminal indictments against two individuals and obtained a guilty plea from another.

I leave you again with this, from the General who manages the White House for the current incumbent.:

"Last night, Kelly declared on Fox News that an investigation was needed to probe funding from Clinton’s campaign and the DNC for the research behind the Trump/Russia dossier, and Clinton’s involvement in the Uranium One deal, adding that he thought Mueller’s investigation should “wrap up soon."

Irony, I hardly knew ya.
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