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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,209

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This is what I really didn't expect from the National Republican Party

Warm overtures to traditional American adversaries, Russia, China, and North Korea. Insults; provocations and disruptive acts towards traditional American allies, Canada, Mexico, Japan, N.A.T.O., the EU, France, Germany, the UK, etc.

Nothing Trump does really surprises me. Nothing the Republican Party does regarding wealth distribution or racial relations inside the U.S. really surprises me. But I never expected them to just roll over and accept the complete inversion of America's foreign policy that they stood fast behind for over 70 years. I admit, I actually over estimated the Republican Party in that regard. Yes, I know Putin demands it of Trump. I just hadn't realized how far Russia had gotten in compromising one of America's two major political parties, the virulently anti-communist one at that.

Civil or uncivil isn't the point. It's what will help us win in November

Taking back the House, and even possibly the Senate, is "Plan A" for resistance right now. That plus "Plan M" for Mueller, but we have no role for now in "Plan M", so "Plan A" is it for the rest of us. "Plan A" remains in effect for just a short 4 and a half month window. Then we take stock of where we stand, and the door will swing wide open for Plans B through Z if necessary.

I'm not concerned with the moral tone of our resistance right now. As long as it is non violent, all resistance to Trumpism is justified in the face of what Trump is doing. But i do weigh how the other actions we can take might impact the chances of "Plan A" succeeding, until the mid terms are behind us.

I don't judge the call to confront those complicit with Trump in public, that leaders like Congresswoman Waters are making, on its stand alone merit alone. I have no doubt those types of confrontations are fully warranted. The only question is whether they are tactically wise. Will they add to voter turn out for the anti-Trump forces more than they will do so for the Trumpsers? Will they effect voter turnout for us in positive or negative ways inside the districts we must win in November?

I honestly don't know the answer to those questions, but I have no doubt it is what various Democratic leaders are weighing now when they speak out on the issue of so-called "civil discourse". I will say this though. Were it not for the rapidly approaching mid term elections that will be so consequential to our nation in so many critical ways, I would be clearer on the simple principle that evil must be confronted where and when we find it (as long as we don't embrace aspects of evil in order to supposedly fight it).

We can't quietly stand by and allow America to slide ever closer to malevolent authoritarian rule. It just might be though that confronting it now, in Washington malls and restaurants, could in places undermine our effectiveness at confronting it at the ballot box in November. That is the only question, not whether "good Americans" are supposed to always stay "civil".

We literally can't allow the people we know who don't agree with Trump to not vote in November

We all have to become pains in the ass about this. Ask direct questions. Find out who is and is not already registered. Make sure people check to see if they have been purged from the roles in time to reverse it if they have been. We should all carry around registration applications.

In every election there are people who "intended to vote" but for one reason or another fail to do so. We have to hold each other accountable on this, and we should all carry around applications for absentee voting to give out as needed.

We must make this very personal. It is up to each and every one of us to not allow anyone we know of voting age, who disagrees with what Trump is doing, to not vote this November. We have to directly ask and we can't just take "Yes" for an answer until we are sure that means "Hell yes!"

I propose we launch something like "The American Election Challenge"

I'm still mulling over how to do it best. Right now 40% of voting age Americans don't vote in presidential elections. Percentages are worse for other elections. The premise would be this: "Let's find out what kind of Government we can have if everyone actually voted".

The Challenge would cover all elections between November 2018 and November 2022. Call it a Grand Experiment in Democracy and widely use social media to get as many people as possible to take the pledge. It would revolve around personal pledges to collectively put to rest any uncertainty over how much of a difference the act of voting can make, by individuals signing up for a 5 year voting trial involving all elections between November 2018 and November 2022. There should be a designated web site for people to participate through. It should be ideologically neutral to make it easier to advocate for (studies indicate that non voters seem far more aligned with Democrats). The goal is to get everyone to vote and let the chips fall where they may after the vast majority of Americans make their feelings known by showing up and voting at all elections.

I envision all pledge takers updating their progress during a designated week every January. How well did they do? Updates should be in a form that can be statistically tabulated and reported on for pledge takers as a whole. To earn an "A+" rating one would need to vote in every school board, local, state and national election for the entire 5 year cycle. An "A" rating would be earned by all who minimally voted in every local state and national election during that time frame. A "B" rating would be all who voted in at least every state and national election between 11/18 and 11/22. A passing grade of "C" could be earned by missing only one state or national election during that time frame. The pledge would include a place to report when voter suppression efforts prevented someone from voting, and that specific "failure to vote" would not be counted against the pledge maker.

I envision using a campaign like this in particular to target and motivate young voters. We can dramatically change the world by 2022 IF WE ALL VOTE. Obviously we will never get everyone to vote, but we can increase voter participation rates enough to bring about radical changes in who gets elected to office AND WE HAVE TO!

For over 100 years (at least)

American Presidents have (overtly) governed by appealing to a united United States of America. They talked about the strength of the American people, of the resourcefulness of the American people, even of the goodness of the American people. They talked about common beliefs, about there being much more that united us than divided us. I have personal memories of 11 of them (I was a toddler during Truman). They all at least tried to project at least a veneer of bipartisanship and inclusiveness while they claimed to represent all Americans

Often they only invoked the myth of America, the one in which all people are treated equally. But very very rarely did they openly work to divide us even further than we already were. Nixon came closest to openly playing "us" against "them". But then the divisions among us were already exploding all around us anyway - with racial disturbances and anti-war protests engulfing large swathes of our nation. And even Nixon did not stake out the divisive extreme; George Wallace was the national figure doing that.

We do not need to invoke comparisons to a certain German leader of a former century, he was not alone in his play book, just in how far he took it. There are many rulers who consolidate power by pitting the majority of their citizens against delegated scapegoat minorities, while deriding all open opposition to their policies as anti-patriotic - even to the point of calling critics "enemies of the people". They just, until now, have not been American leaders.

This is what defines the Trump presidency; broad brush smear campaigns against any group not his own, against any organized entity that chooses to oppose him. He intentionally uses his "bully pulpit" to inflame divisions, not to heal them. He openly mocks his "fellow Americans" for daring to differ from him. History has shown that, hideous though it is, that path can lead the consolidation of state power in the hands of those who are willing to promulgate the most hideous of lies.

This is why Donald Trump is an American fascist, though his stated ideology and actions to date may still seem, to many, to fall short of that creed.

Angela Merkel & Justin Trudeau would not wantonly rip kids away from parents, but Kim Jong-un would

As would Vladimir Putin if it served his personal interests. America has a President who not only won't uphold human rights, he doesn't believe in them. He scorns leaders committed to basic democratic principles like Theresa May, however Conservative she otherwise may be, and plays footsie with the autocrats of Europe's xenophobic Far Right, like Marine Le Pen.

His entire life Trump has been a predator; molesting women at will, exploiting labor he subsequently refuses to pay for, running scams on people desperate for higher education to improve their economic prospects, milking the cause of veterans to siphon money into his fake charity for personal use, etc.

Donald Trump not only aligns himself with America's traditional enemies: He is America's traditional enemy .

Just a note that should not get lost in all of this

Yes children are being ripped from their parents, supposedly to comply with a law that does not require that to happen. That is the primal outrage against humanity of course. But it seems families are then being further desecrated. Maybe I am missing something but it appears that siblings are being ripped apart from each other as well, sent to different cages and/or different states based on age and gender. These children all have lost their parents, only then to also lose each other, the last real solace available to them?

I haven't seen this commented on. Are those segregated by age and gender holding cages used only for children without siblings of a different gender, or are brothers and sisters being ripped apart also?

When Anita Hill testified before a Congressional hearing, when John Dean did so also...

Even when Hillary Clinton faced down the Republicans for longer than some of them typically spent awake, huge numbers of Americans were transfixed by every moment. What will start to happen come January if Democrats take the House will far surpass all that. Bill Clinton's impeachment trial might have been scintillating to some but ultimately it was banal. O. J. Simpson's trial riveted a nation as murders involving a celebrity are wont to do, but it essentially mimicked a sick spectator sport - it shook few of us to our core. When the gavel finally falls on public RussiaGate hearings, with Democrats in charge wielding full subpoena power, we will enter another realm entirely.

FOX news can't shout over what people will be tuned into themselves. David Numes will no longer be able to fill in the silence that comes from the office of a professional Special Council with his own false narrative. We, the whole nation, will all watch the witnesses testify ourselves, under oath, under subpoenas issued by a Committee that actually wants it's questions answered. And those answers will create a reckoning unparalleled in American history

If Robert Mueller has not already broken this wide open with a full report by then, the hot white glare of the spotlights will shift to the House of Representatives. In seven months. The dots will all be connected, the coverup will be revealed. The treason will be naked. And the whole world will be watching...


He cozies up to dictators and disses our democratic allies

So what is it exactly that Republicans believe in? And what was it again our fallen died for?

It's time to smell the coffee America.

Way before Wypipo, I remember when "Straight" meant, essentially, "Not Cool"

It had largely replaced the earlier term "Square". This would be back in the late 60's and early 70's, before Gay Liberation changed forever how the word "straight" is commonly defined. Back in the day "straights" seldom if ever "turned on", they seemingly never "tuned in", and they sure as hell didn't "drop out". Of course back then I self identified with the label "Freak". Folks like me (with the help of Jimi Hendrix) preempted that term, I suppose, to inoculate ourselves from any discomfort should it be hurled our way by "Straights". So imagine my surprise when, several years hence, "straight" became a definition for someone like me, straight white male that I am today.

Before that became the new norm for 'straight" the people I used to call "straight" rarely referred to themselves that way. I think they thought of themselves as simply being "people. If anything we were the ones who fit their definition of needing a definition, not them. To be perfectly honest, "straight" carried a faint whiff of derision back when folks like me called other people "straight". Usually nothing overly harsh, mostly it was meant as a simple distinction to distinguish "us" from "them". But implicitly there was at least a touch of bemused entertainment involved in contemplating those who were decidedly not cool.

Somewhere along the way I learned of another word that to some defined me, that being "Gentile". Who knew there was need for a word to describe me as not being Jewish? Not me anyway, before I finally learned it that is, and that took a little getting used to. It got a little confusing. Was it meant to simply delineate the faith/blood lines that I did not share, or was there also a whiff of at least unconscious condescension involved in my being in some way "lesser"?

Now when I first heard folks like H. Rap Brown refer to some folks with my complexion as "Honkeys" and
"Crackers" I admit I sensed a hint of potential menace in those words. But you know what I never did associate with those monikers? The terror of burning crosses or the real threat of being lynched, that's what. Those words were not imbued with a century of oppression, hatred, and physical violence being perpetrated on those who only asked that their basic human rights be respected. Tens of thousands of murders were never committed concurrent with a scream of "Honkey!".

So I look at the stir going on here over use of the term Wypipo and I have to chuckle to myself, though I mean no offense to those offended by that word while I do so. It ain't nothin', that couldn't be more obvious to me. It's pretty damn gentle actually. People in minorities always find shorthand terms to describe the majority that surrounds them, who have from time to time been known to oppress members of that minority.

Back when I was a "Freak" I was myself in a minority, and yes, from time to time "Straights" menaced us "dirty hippies". Nixon unleashed his hardhats, some restaurants made it clear that we weren't welcome etc. A had a casual friend/acquaintance at College who organized concerts for the Student Union. Big joyous guy, gentle as they came. Come summer he went off to visit family in Wyoming and he came back very changed. Seems some locals ambushed him, cut off all his hair, and I do not know what else. If I know him better probably I would have probed for details, but as it was I respected him seemingly not wanting to talk about it. He retreated after that, and fell out of my sight. So yeah, people like me took an interest in how "Straights" related to us, and yes we had a name for them.

Whypipo is benign, and it will remain benign unless and until it becomes highly charged with bitter hatred and coupled with repeated acts of brutal violence. In a best case scenario it can be as benign as a homosexual calling me "straight" or a Jew calling me "gentile". Personally, given that human nature always results in nicknames being associated with dominant groups, during times of social transition especially, I like the term. It has the potential to retain a somewhat playful tone to it, much like my use of "straight" to describe the majority culture back in the days of my youth. It's cool. Chill.
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