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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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Regarding immigration, I just want to remind folks of the ultimate timeline

The 2018 and 2020 elections. The dreamers can not wait until then, just like CHIP families could not wait until then for the relief they just got. We have to remove the immediate threat to over a million people who grew up in America as Americans, but who lack the documentation needed to protect them from deportation by the Trump regime. Their lives can be torn apart well before the mid term elections, and before Democrats retake the White House. Any other immigration concessions that Congressional Democrats make to Trump, and may they be minimal at most, can potentially be reversed with Democrats in power.

That may require Democrats holding close to 60 seats in the Senate to accomplish, but we got there in 2008, we can do it again. 2020 could well be the blue wave year that gets us to that magic number again with the presidency on the ballot. Of course I want Democrats in congress to fight as hard as possible to protect legal immigration into this country as well as establishing a fair path to citizenship for dreamers. But I will not condemn them if they can't protect as much while sitting in the minority as they can once we regain full control of the federal government.

Leaks from inside the Secret FBI Revolution

The evidence is clear of FBI agents conspiring in secret to influence presidential politics along partisan lines. Those efforts left traces leading to agents associated with its New York Office. We have Rudi Giuliani to thank for uncovering and publicizing this conspiracy.

11.03.16 1:03 AM ET The Daily Beast
"Meet Donald Trump’s Top FBI Fanboy
Trump supporters with strong ties to the agency kept talking about surprises and leaks to come—and come they did."

"The man who now leads “lock-her-up” chants at Trump rallies spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it. It was agents of that office, probing Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting of a minor, who pressed Comey to authorize the review of possible Hillary Clinton-related emails on a Weiner device that led to the explosive letter the director wrote Congress.

Hours after Comey’s letter about the renewed probe was leaked on Friday, Giuliani went on a radio show and attributed the director’s surprise action to “the pressure of a group of FBI agents who don’t look at it politically.”

The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity,” said Giuliani. “I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”

Along with Giuliani’s other connections to New York FBI agents, his former law firm, then called Bracewell Giuliani, has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. The group, born in the New York FBI office in the early ’80s, was headed until Monday by Rey Tariche, an agent who just retired from the New York FBI office. In Tariche’s letter to the Association stepping down as president because he's retiring from the Bureau to take a job "within the Banking Industry," he wrote that “we find our work—our integrity questioned” because of it, adding “we will not be used for political gains.”


Rudy Giuliani Confirms FBI Insiders Leaked Information To The Trump Campaign
“Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it.”

11/04/2016 11:49 am ET Updated Nov 04, 2016
"Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he knew the FBI planned to review more emails tied to Hillary Clinton before a public announcement about the investigation last week, confirming that the agency leaked information to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign...

...Giuliani has bragged about his close ties to the FBI for months, mentioning in interviews that “outraged FBI agents” have told him they’re frustrated by how the Clinton investigation was handled. And two days before FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency was reviewing the newly uncovered emails, Giuliani teased that Trump’s campaign had “a couple of surprises left.”

“You’ll see, and I think it will be enormously effective,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

All of this has led to suspicion that someone in the FBI is leaking information to Giuliani and the Trump campaign. The Daily Beast’s Wayne Barrett explored those suspicions on Thursday, detailing how Giuliani’s ties to the agency date back to his days as a U.S. attorney in the 1980s.

Giuliani confirmed that notion Friday during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“I did nothing to get it out, I had no role in it,” he said. “Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it, and I can’t even repeat the language that I heard from the former FBI agents.”

But of course Guiliano was not only in contact with former FBI Agents. He is quoted admitting current contacts inside the FBI above, but there is also this:

From CNN Transcript Interview with Rudy Giuliani. Aired August 11, 2016 - 08:00 ET

"CUOMO: That doesn't mean that his judgment was impaired. I'm saying, do you think Comey made a call that was influenced by somebody else? Yes or no?...

GIULIANI: I think his decision was an embarrassment to the FBI...

GIULIANI: I'll clarify it. I believe the decision was so wrong, I can't understand how he came to that conclusion. I don't believe he did it for bad reasons, because I think he is a good man.

[08:25:01] But the decision perplexes me. It perplexes Jim Kallstrom (ph), who worked for him. It perplexes numerous FBI agents who talk to me all the time. And it embarrasses some FBI agents.

So, I can tell you all that."

Of course all of the above evidence pales in comparison to the FBI conspiracy revealed a text joke exchanged between two lovers reacting to the election on Donald Trump on election night 2016

Republicans did not win the shutdown and Democrats made gains.

While there was no clear final winner yet, it is still a moving picture, Democrats strengthened their tactical position in a number of ways and gave up almost nothing to do so. The Republican talking point that Democrats gained nothing that wasn't already on the table on Friday by shutting down the government for three days is false, but worse than that it is lame. Objectively virtually no one cares about the truth of that assertion other than dueling spin doctors, and well before November that argument will be ancient history to the electorate.

Republicans gained three more weeks of the government running with a despicable threat still targeting Dreamers. But that same threat would be true today even if the government remained shuttered. The Republicans were not going to fold quickly because of a government shutdown. There was no action Democrats could have taken to immediately remove the deportation threat that Dreamers face. We do not control the votes needed to do so. Good faith negotiations with the Trump Regime were tried and failed. Now the one and only question to consider is what course of action available to Democrats increases rather than decreases their leverage against Republicans over the next three weeks.

It is of utmost importance to remember that Democrats have not surrendered their nuclear option - no long term budget has been agreed to. Another shutdown will be triggered when this continuing resolution expires unless a dozen or so Democratic Senators agree to give Republicans yet another extension. Meanwhile the drama of the last 72 or so hours has significantly altered the political battle field in ways that do not favor Republicans. In political war like this the side that advances not only exploits their adversaries weaknesses, it prevents adversaries from exploiting their own. Each aspect is critical.

Republicans wanted to drive a wedge between Red State Democratic Senators and the rest of the Democratic Caucus, and failing that they gladly would have settled for cultivating some good attack lines against Red State Senators running for Reelection. Instead this is what happened. Democrats had sufficient solidarity on Friday to both vote down the first continuing resolution AND grant several get out of jail free cards to a handful of Senators facing tough reelection efforts in Red States this November. Even with that the first vote was not even close. So Republican Plan B was to attack all Democrats for shutting down our Government, thereby "bringing hardship" to many of our citizens. With a shutdown that barely made it past the weekend that line of attack lost all potency. Yes, but how did any of this play to the advantage of Democrats, say many in the media?

Let us count the ways. First, in order to drive a wedge between Democrats Republicans chose to play one of their highest cards; a full six year extension for CHIP funding. Senators like Doug Jones, who made that matter central to his campaign, were going to be hard pressed to vote against it. If enough Democrats feared "opposing" a CHIPS extension, the Republicans would have shattered the Democratic Caucus by passing the continuing resolution with significant Democratic support. And if Democrats shut down the government regardless, Republicans planned to pin the anxieties of families who depend on CHIPS onto us. Republicans played that card and now it's no longer in their deck, and the next shutdown deadline is already looming with Republicans no longer having that leverage. What would have been different if Democrats had supported the continuing resolution when it first came to a vote on Friday night? Plenty.

For one thing, however much grief Democrats in Congress now face from elements of the activist base, that anger would have burned far hotter had Democrats simply taken what Republicans offered them on Friday. Now there are discussions over whether Democrats got anything of value by refunding government for 17 days after allowing it to shut for three. Had the initial resolution passed on Friday all of us would be calling Senate Democrats sell outs. Republicans would have dearly loved seeing that level of dissension within Democratic ranks. Timing is a tactical asset when used strategically. The fact that the Senate Democratic leadership firmly opposed the Republican's fourth continuing resolution on Friday made that vote into the major news story in the nation. It wasn't preordained to be that way. Democrats could have taken the deal, securing six years of CHIP funding in return for keeping government open another month.

Between Friday and Monday the media essentially ran wall to wall coverage about the DACA issue, highlighting it as the main point of contention between Democrats and Republicans. That played solidly to our advantage, and more importantly, to the advantage of the Dreamers. Because when all is said and done public sentiment on their behalf is the most potent weapon Democrats have to wield against Republican majorities in both the House and Senate AND a Republican President threatening to deport them. The more the public hears about Dreamers the stronger public sentiment becomes in favor of providing them with a clear and compassionate path to citizenship. The three day government shutdown became virtually an infomercial about DACA, but news coverage was just starting to shift more onto the negative effects of a government shutdown with the start of a work week on Monday. That was the media climate, Democratic obstruction, that Republicans were geared up to wage war in, but it got nipped in the bud when the Senate passed a continuing resolution on Monday.

Now that this temporary continuing resolution runs out one week sooner than the initial one, it helps guarantee that coverage of efforts made to prevent another shut down will stay central to the public eye. The three day government shutdown that Democrats helped trigger on Friday added to the ongoing element of drama about this issue moving forward. It is out of the weeds and onto the middle of the fairway. That is exactly where we need it to be. I would argue that DACA will receive far more public attention under these circumstances than it would have had the government not reopened, because the closure itself then would have been the predominant topic of discussion, not what caused it, beyond talking heads apportioning blame between Democrats and Republicans regarding it

But that is not all. Democrats in my opinion successfully positioned themselves as being the adults in the room while putting the infant Trump in the full glare of the spotlight. Our efforts to reach a negotiated resolution were clear and obvious, Trump's inability to take yes for an answer or even to be clear about what he actually wants was fully exposed throughout this drama, with even leading Republicans conceding that point. This is exactly the framing that we need to have take hold should we be forced again to deny stop gap funding to the government when this resolution expires.

Personally I think it is of secondary importance at best whether Mitch McConnell can be trusted to keep his word about anything. More significant is the fact that he was forced to give his work both in public, and to many Republican Senators whose personal honor is now on the line also with the Democrats with whom they worked closely with over the weekend. In the long run our long national nightmare will best be contained if splits develop among Republicans over loyalty to Trump.

So, in summary, I think there was nothing Democrats could have done other than what they did to provide protection to Dreamers during this particular round of fights over government funding. We were not dealt a strong enough hand to dictate our own terms, prior to the midterms anyway, without the strong support of the public. Tactically I think our position has been strengthened to some extent by recent events. I do not consider that to be a loss, or a surrender.

I'm gonna trust Schumer on this one.

I am not willing to make that statement in regards to all things political, but I will make it now in regards to the shutdown. He's there (in Congress), I'm not. I'm one of those people who consistently believes that experience matters, that we need political leaders who understand how to get things done, who have the relationships needed to get things done, even (in some cases) compromises with the dark side. Schumer is one of those people. He also understands where the Democratic base is at. He isn't stupid.

It angers me to no end that Republicans have put Dreamers in particular through hell for over a decade, and through triple hell during the last six months. But all the tea leaves (including those from within the Tea Party) tell me that they will not get deported en masse, that some type of legal protection will ultimately go into law for them. What is happening now is hard core political gamesmanship; with equal parts spin and extortion at play. It's like a wrestling match with each wrestler circling his opponent trying to seize the best hold so as to score the most points possible. That's Schumer's area of expertise, not mine.

What is important to me is that Democrats not accept a permanent budget deal until the Dreamers are finally safe. A rule of thumb I might suggest is that any and all subsequent suggested continuing resolutions to buy time while a final deal is worked out (should it come to that) each be much shorter than the last. So come February 8th, if Schumer thinks a final deal is close but not quite there, maybe a three day continuing resolution could be passed, and then maybe a 24 hour one after that if signs were hopeful. After that we could shut it down tight if Republicans don't come through, and we will have virtually the full public behind us. That point in time would be reached before the initial resolution that was voted down on Friday night would have expired. We are entering the end game now - no turning back.

So when I say that I trust Schumer on this, what I'm saying is I will let him scope out what type of guarantees and commitments it is worth considering in return for reopening government now tor three weeks. I am actually heartened by the fact that he did not commit tonight to supporting what McConnell offered. Let Schumer do due diligence between now and Noon Monday. Based on that I will trust him to respond appropriately.

Whatever happens tonight, I will be on the streets tomorrow

Catching an 8:00 AM train to NYC for the Women's March there. I hope I'm just one among a million. I'm turning in for the night now because Janet and I are leaving the house at 6:15 AM to make connections from our home in the Catskills. We thought of going to the March in Woodstock, which would be more convenient, but NYC is the largest March that we can make it to, and so that is where we will be.

Good luck and thank you to all DUers who plan to participate in one of the Marches tomorrow. We will be seen AND heard!

Here's a Good Omen. 2018 is the Chinese New Year of the Dog. Let's make that Yellow

Seriously. If I was an artist I would draw a cartoon of a yellow dog surfing a blue tsunami. Why yellow? Because the only thing that really matters this year is that Democrats win big and that Republicans lose big, not who the Democrats actually are. The 2018 elections have become a critical referendum on the future of our nation. It now is totally binary: Blue or Red. For one day, election day 2018, every Democrat is good and every Republican is bad with virtually no exceptions. The only hedge is if someone like David Duke manages to land the Democratic line in some election, a very unlikely occurrence.

What it means for me personally is I that am suspending all disbelief in Democrats and those running with at least the tacit blessing of the Democrats (in the case of some Independents). Let me put that in terms of extreme cases. If Joe Lieberman came back and ran as the Democrat against a Republican I would want Joe Lieberman to win. If Dennis Kucinich somehow wins a primary and runs against the Republican, I would want Dennis Kucinich to win. I don't care is someone was a founding member of the DLC or of the Democratic Socialists of America. If they are representing the Democratic side against a Republican I will celebrate each and every victory we rack up on election day.

I am even thinking of making regular contributions to the DNC, and to the Senate and House Democratic Funds. Seriously, this is very abnormal behavior I am contemplating. I washed my hand of blind contributions to the Democratics years ago and have instead targeted my donations. But this year is different. This year we need a sea of blue on election day. Shades don't matter. We can sort all that out later, after we save the nation from the Trump Regime and his enablers in Congress. The Republicans have to go down so hard this year that every bone is their political body must be shattered. To sweep Trumpism into the ash bin of history, historic numbers of Republicans must be swept out of office.

That is our assignment. That is what each of us can commit to making happen, in 2018: The Year of the Yellow Dog.

Bannon believes the Trump regime is going down hard.

All this happy talk among Republicans about finally ridding themselves of Bannon, which the media seems to fully echo, only holds true if Mueller doesn't bring the hammer down on Trump and all those who conspired with him. It is a binary possible future. If Trump survives politically, then Bannon doesn't. But what if the Trump regime self destructs and gets fully swept away? Virtually the entire Republican Party is now publicly in bed with Trump. To seize their chance to marginalize Bannon they've just embraced Trump even tighter.

"Fire and Fury" is just beginning to break and the Republican Party just tied itself to the mast of the Trump ship of state, believing that Bannon will get swept away in the storm that is rising from it while they ride it out. They've thrown Bannon overboard, but "Fire and Fury" gives him a life jacket that can keep him afloat if that ship goes down.

Yes if Trump stays afloat it will be Bannon who drowns. But by openly disassociating himself from the Trump team's crimes and treason in "Fire and Fury", Bannon is gambling that all the right wing populists and racists who now gravitate to Trump will have no one left to turn to after the entire Republican Party, including the right wing insurgency, has become tangled up in a disgraced Trump presidency, except for Bannon. He has positioned himself as the one right wing nationalist smart enough to realize that Trump is a total loser. In the short run that clearly puts him in a terrible place politically. But what about in the longer run? What if Bannon is reading the handwriting on the wall and is already a few chapters ahead of his political enemies in doing so? What does that say about what Bannon believes that Mueller must already know and the rest of us will find out shortly?
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