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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,218

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Christmas Day, 1776, 2400 patriots crossed the Delaware at night under Washington's command.

Their surprise attack on the Hessiens that resulted brought about a sudden favorable reversal of fortunes for the Americans. Had they not succeeded on that cold fraught Christmas Day and Night, the American Revolution could well have been lost, and with it the infant Democracy that they were all sworn to defend. It was not easy. It was not undertaken at a convenient time. It was not how any of them wanted to spend Christmas Day. It was what needed to be done and they responded, at great risk under severe circumstances. And they prevailed.

Over 240 years have passed, and as Christmas again approaches our Democracy is again under attack. I have plans for the holidays. I'm sure that most of us do. They don't involve mass rallies in the cold and dark. They don't involve marching through the streets. If the weather turns foul my current plan call for staying inside, nice and safe and warm. But if Donald Trump thinks that holiday plans and winter weather will distract me and millions of others from taking immediate action to defend our Democracy should he move to undermine it, by impeding the investigation Robert Mueller is in the midst of - well he is in for a bigger and even more unpleasant surprise than the Hessians faced when the Continental Army showed up at their doorstep.

We owe this to the patriots who preceded us.

Most people would have "more money in their pocker" also if they sold their car and rode the bus

You get what you pay for. You also get what you don't pay for. The more things we stop paying for the more money we all get to "keep in our pocket". Eat less food, more money in your pocket. Stop repairing bridges, build fewer schools, more money in your pocket - until you no longer have the skills to land a job or a way to get to one even if you did.

Most of the reporting on the Republican tax cut bill is brain dead. The online calculators they provide to see who "wins" and who "loses" don't scratch the surface of the story which can be boiled down to this. Republicans are offering the average family thirty pieces of silver (if they are among the luckier ones) in return for Republican donors getting the keys to Fort Knox.

Our kids and grandkids get massive credit card bills to pay later in return, with skimpier resources for them to draw on then than we still have now to pay for it. This nation, and their future, is being run into the ground and allowed to rot in order to indulge the greedy. But that's supposed to be A OK just so long as an average family of four gets to keep a little more money in their pockets: Until their tax cuts expire, or until they need a type of assistance that their government used to provide but no longer can afford - whichever comes first.

Why Republicans like Kasich. Corker, and hell even McCain and Shelby, matter

It's not because they don't have blood on their hands for allowing the Right Wing Hate Machine to grow and metastasize unopposed for the last ten years or more. It's not became they can ever be counted on to back an agenda for America that benefits the mast majority of Americans. It's not because they are doing all that they can to counter the toxic lack of human decency and authoritarian cravings of the current occupant of the Oval Office. And it's not because they won't betray us all at the drop of a hat, regardless of the words they use from time to time critical of the Trumps and Moores in their party.

It's because they are a flickering part of a very thin red line that stands between preserving our nation's democratic heritage and the complete normalization of having a want to be crypto fascist dictator as America's leader and Commander in Chief. Those men, and a few more elected Republicans like them, are among a tiny handful of elected members of the governing party of America who on rare occasions find it in themselves to mouth words to the effect that "this is going too far", "this is not what America is about".

Whether or not they have the guts or moral clarity to do more than murmur some disapproving words on rare occasions, isn't the point. For now it is clear that they don't. But even those hollow words have meaning now, because the criticism of all that men like Trump and Moore represent can not emanate exclusively from Democrats. There must be at least a thin veneer of bipartisan alarm, muted as those rare elected Republican voices may be, when Trump and men like Moore advocate and/or take steps that are a danger to our democracy. Without that what Trump is doing to America, and the organic opposition that rises against it, will be passed off as the modern version of mere partisan politics. And it isn't.

Our last President earned himself the label "no drama Obama" while in office. Now he is warning us all, in public, about the need to resist the rise of fascism in America. Resisting fascism was never a partisan issue for Americans - it was part of our national calling. We can not allow what is happening in America now to be reduced to a seeming debate over the Republican vs Democratic agendas. As deadly as the differences in those agendas in fact actually are to many millions of American, what is happening now goes deeper than that. Whatever our individual ages may be, we all were handed an at least minimally functioning democracy by the generations that preceded us, and that legacy - forging a more perfect Union, stretches back to the Revolutionary War.

We can not allow that dream to die on our watch. And it will take all of us, even the meekest of Republican opponents to Trump's vision of America, to speak up; even when actions that make up real resistance remain sorely lacking. The silence must be shattered. This is not just partisan politics.This is about keeping America great, or at least preserving the vision of a better society that generations of Americans have sacrificed their lives defending.

That is why I refrain from sarcastic comments when someone like Shelby admits that he can not bring himself to vote for someone like Moore. It needed to be said, even if I can not find a single other thing that Shelby says or does that I can agree with.

I am willing to believe that Franken might be guilty of highly inappropriate behavior with women

I am willing to accept that if he is guilty of highly inappropriate behavior with women that he should leave the Senate. I am even wiling to accept that, in the realm of politics, the standard for asking for someone to resign, either from their office or their candidacy for office, is not as strict as the criminal standard for a conviction; guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. A preponderance of the evidence could suffice.

What I am not willing to accept though is ending someone's political career based on a small handful of anonymous allegations of sexual impropriety that have not been either thoroughly vetted or formally investigated. From what I can tell the women who have publicly and openly made allegations against Frankel have not brought forward charges serious enough to warrant his immediate removal from elected office. An investigation, yes. Summary removal, no. But now it seems to have become a mere numbers count, with automatic removal from office triggered once some tipping point of allegations is reached.

In many cases women have good reason to be hesitant to allow their identify to become known to the public when they lodge complaints against powerful men. I understand that, but I feel that the Washington Post and NY Times have shown us all how that can and should be handled. Those media outfits did not print stories of that sort without first engaging in extensive background research to corroborate the statements of the women making allegations - from contemporary sources who were told about the alleged serious incidents at the times. In fact, it was by doing exactly that that the Washington Post just busted a woman who tried to entrap the newspaper into false reporting that would have discredited their overall efforts in this area. That is why the charges against Judge Moore are so damning - not just the nature of the allegations themselves (which as he claims could have been a political hit job) but the thorough sourcing for them and the corroborating evidence that establishes the likelihood that Moore was guilty as charged.

There may be more about the Franken story that some Democrats in Congress know about that we in the mere public do not. If so, they were obligated to reveal the extent of their concerns, and the basis for it, to the voters who elected Franken to office before calling on him to resign. To call this means for ending a political career a slippery slope is a huge understatement. It is a trap door that can be triggered at any time against any elected official in order to get an adversary out of the political way.

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