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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,145

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I can't believe I'm saying this but: I have a job for Anonymous.

Haven't heard much from that underground misdeed revealing hacking network lately. If any of them are still active, we could use them now. There is crime syndicate level Black Market dealing going on involving essential life saving PPE materials and I suspect it is happening at an international scale. I'm not talking about "Mom and Pop" level routine "price gouging", despicable as that may be. It doesn't take high level hacking skills to figure out who is peddling hand sanitizer and toilet paper on Ebay at inflated levels. And most of that flows from petty greed, individuals trying to make a few extra bucks. They can be cracked down on. But there is always an organized black market when times are at their worst

Crime cartels and soulless so called business cartels willing to trade in human misery have always existed, it's just the changing hot commodities that come and go. There is big money being made somewhere from the hoarding of and speculation in medical items that mean the difference between life and death; masks, gowns, hand sanitizer and most likely even ventilators. People are desperate. even governments are desperate. Can they afford to balk at or threaten those who literally hold the lives of tens of thousands this week in their hands?

I haven't seen extensive coverage of this yet, just some drips and drabs about ten fold price increases on a mass level. Here is one such story:

For New York, 58-Cent Medical Masks Now Priced at $7.50 Each
By Bob Ivry and Brandon Kochkodin
March 24, 2020, 10:09 AM EDT Updated on March 24, 2020, 12:35 PM EDT

The shadowy faces of the people behind those exploiting this pandemic at the expense of tens of thousands of lives need to be exposed. They need to be outed. They need to face the fury of the people whose lives they endanger daily. As far as I'm concerned they are no better than the Nazi's who used to operate death camps. Ex-SS officers had no claim to privacy. They were hunted down in every corner of the globe.

Anonymous, have at them

We Won't Get Another Bite at a Two Trillion Dollar Apple

Whatever crisis response bill gets passed and signed into law will stick, it won't be undone by subsequent legislation if we get this one wrong. Once big money special interests get most if not all of what they want, whatever "flexibility" Republicans are capable of exercising now in regards to prioritizing the needs of average Americans will vanish. With Republicans in control of the Senate, and with Trump occupying the White House, no givaway to Wall Street lobbyists enacted now will ever be clawed back or repealed. As soon as Wall Street is sated there will come the subsequent calls that, as much as government would love to help anyone still out there struggling, the coffers are now bare, and it will henceforth be up to the States, to charitable n0n-profits, and to the kindness of strangers to ensure that the least among us do not perish.

With the Bush tax cuts, Democrats only had some leverage negotiating roll backs then because that massive givaway was subject to a sunset clause and would have fully lapsed without an extension. Now it would take veto proof majorities in Congress or a Presidential signature to undo any of the continuing damage from most of those that remain.

Better a few more days of anguished uncertainty, and of further stock market losses now, then a capitulation or so called "compromise" that sells out the survival needs of tens of millions of American families, so that "an agreement" can be quickly reached.

No one who most people can identify has died from Covid-19 yet. No Rock Hudson, no well known

political or cultural leaders or legends have fallen from it. They will. When that happens this will become real for a lot of people who are still in denial. And neighbors around them will need to be hospitalized. Denial will completely crash. What happens then?

You know those companies that used their huge corporate tax cuts to buy back stock?

Forget about safeguards against them doing it again with bailout money. Penalize them now for their actions first before they get a single dime from any so called "stimulus measure." If they bought stock back on the market, they can bloody well sell stock back to the market to raise money. The market crashed and prices are "soft"? Tough you know what. The market was below its peak when they bought back that stock anyway.

OK,I get that they may need some "incentive" in order to do the right thing with money raised by selling back their bonanza buyback stock now. Fine. If they sell that stock now and use the money they get from the sale to pay their employees whether or not they are able to come to work, then and only then let them apply for "matching" bailout funds to save themselves from going under. And none of that can be used for future "stock buybacks", period.

The airlines are a good place to start. They funneled billions into stock buybacks from their huge tax cuts. Let them raise one dollar for their employees through stock sales for every dollar that they come begging to Uncle Sam for. And if somewhere out there some corporation is in trouble now that did the right thing with their tax cuts and reinvested it into improving their companies and making life better for their workers, well they won't have to sell stock now in order to apply for bailout funds. But I doubt there are many large firms that would qualify for that.

Trump can get away with blaming the press for unfair coverage now...

Because Covid-19 has only started to a hit crisis stage so far in coastal states that "his base" looks down upon. It's in metropolitan areas around Seattle, around SF, around NYC, around DC, around Boston etc. So far it all fits into the conspiratorial mind set that Trump sells regularly: Coastal elites, and the national media controlled by them, are our to get him. Though people are worried about the pandemic everywhere it hasn't become real and personal to most yet in vast swaths of the nation. But that is going to change soon.

Trump is spinning on borrowed time.

While I still honor Bernie, my support now goes to Joe

When I shifted from Warren to Sanders in January, it was not our of any lack of respect for Liz, I just felt then that for whatever reason, she could no longer win the nomination. The same is more than obvious now for Bernie. I am glad that they both still have strong voices in American politics, but our leader going forward now is Joe Biden.

I don't have to agree with Joe !00% in order to support him 100%. I would have done so for any Democrat who won our nomination, though Bloomberg would have been a hard pill for me to swallow. Still, I would have done it. With Joe Biden though I have no such qualms or qualifications.

I am pleased to now support Joe Biden for President. .

Regarding "Bernie Being Out" All campaigns, winning or losing, want to control their own messaging.

No campaign spokesperson can get out ahead of what the candidate himself is ready to officially state under circumstances, time and place, of that candidate's choosing. I'm sure the media is burning up the phone lines into the Sanders campaign seeking confirmation of rumors that he plans to suspend his campaign. A campaign only officially suspends when a candidate officially suspends it, and any candidate deserves the right to present that decision to the public at a time and in a setting and context that seems right to them. The reply the media is getting to these inquiries should be expected.

Nothing will officially change from the last "reassessing" statement issued by Sanders this morning until the next one is ready, period. I would be shocked if any campaign "suspended" prior to at least the simple courtesy of discussions with key supporters first. No surprise here. Patience, and stay tuned...

I expect that our presumptive nominee, Joe Biden, will wisely build bridges to Sanders voters

I expect that the runner up for the nomination, Bernie Sanders, will try to validate all of the enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to a cause that his core base of supporters has evidenced for years, as not having been in vain. It is essential that he do so.

None of us who recognize how high the stakes are for our nation this November, can afford for even a fraction of the third of the Democratic electorate that stood strongly for Bernie Sanders to leave this primary process feeling crushed and disillusioned. Many of our youngest voters passionately believed in Bernie, and for a good many of those this was their first time really engaging in the electoral process.

Bernie has to find a way of acknowledging and celebrating all of that before he can begin the essential work of effectively converting as many of his supporters as possible into fervent campaigners for Joe Biden. It most likely can't be done in a single day. Joe Biden won. I expect he will exhibit the grace that is so much a part of him as he works to unify our Party. I hope those here who feel relieved to see Sanders defeated are capable of the same.

I support Sanders pushing against Biden regarding Social Security

Joe handled it just fine. It will not hurt Biden in the General Election. Neither will it help Bernie in the primaries, but I think he knows that. Biden had an excellent debate last night. I think Sanders did well too, though this debate did not help him in the primaries, and I think he knows that also.

Last night's debate, as I predicted, offered Biden the exact opportunity that he needed to execute and bury all whisper campaigns against him regarding his mental agility, whether from the left, or more importantly, from Trump's forces on the right. In the bright glow of a national spotlight Biden performed like a world class political athlete. The timing could not have been better, and the opportunity for Biden to so shine could not have been more helpful.

The challenges Bernie threw at Joe were not mere jabs, they were punches, but they weren't aimed below the belt. World champion boxers do not train against amateur sparring partners in preparation for the big event.And sparring partners do not pull their punches, that would ultimately be self defeating. Biden faced a flurry of incoming blow, and he parried them well, deflecting most. And while an occasional blow landed Biden never lost his footing. All of this is excellent. Biden emerges stronger because of it.

I agree with the pundits. The public won't care if it can be shown that some time or two during the last twenty years Joe Biden did not slam and bolt the door to any consideration of reigning in cost of living increases to Social Security benefits. Even if true, Biden still solidly owns the left side of the spectrum against Trump in all matters related to our social safety net.

But I will never forget, nor fail to adequately appreciate, the role that Bernie Sanders helped play in national politics, fighting to stem and reverse the tidal wave or so called "responsible voices", that had been building for over a decade, that argued for the necessity of "reigning in entitlement spending." Call it the Bloomberg wing of the Democratic Party if you will, but their pulsing drumbeat became the inescapable driver of all budgetary debates in America.

At a time when most liberal Democrats struggled to just rebuff arguments for cutting Social Security, Bernie Sanders was among a small handful actually calling for an expansion of Social Security benefits. In a age of disappearing pensions, of high paying manufacturing jobs being replaced by low paying service industry jobs, of workers in their 50's being ushered to the exits allowing companies to shed their seniority related costs, Sanders understood that Social Security is an indispensable lifeline for tens of millions of Americans, the need for which is growing, not shrinking.

It is about shaping the national dialog. It is about drawing a line sharper than a barbed wire fence. No, America can not continue to find justifications for tax cuts for the wealthy, of bail outs for our largest corporations and banks, of blank checks for the any and all of our military adventures, while pleading poverty and pushing belt tightening measures onto our most vulnerable. I deeply honor and respect what the Obama/Biden Administration did for America, but that doesn't mean I have forgotten the "Grand Bargain" with John Boehner for a deficit cutting budget deal that sat waiting on the table during Obama's first term. Among other things it would have lowered cost of living increases on Social Security benefits, and it would have become the law of the land had Boehner not blinked and walked away.

The forces that seek to "curb entitlements" never give in, and they never go away. They stand ready to resume their campaigns for "entitlement reforms" at any and all opportunities. The counter narrative that Bernie Sanders and others like him have forcefully provided only make the task easier, for a good man like Joe Biden, to resist those efforts moving forward.

Bernie's focus on the working poor.

He is right, he has been right for decades, and just how right he is will soon be apparent to everyone. The Covid 19 crisis drives that point home in literally sickening details: Our failure to ensure a livable national minimum wage. Our failure to secure paid sick leave for all Americans, and of course our failure to provide readily affordable health care to all Americans, now stand as stark measures of the failure of our society and of our leaders to protect our nation from severe adversity. Every person who waits until their medical condition hits a crisis stage due to financial pressure now endangers the life of even the most affluent Americans living inside of gated communities. Every person who shows up at work sick because they desperately need that money endangers the life of even the most powerful Americans among us. Every person who is now homeless, every person who gets evicted from their homes as our economic crisis worsens, is a ticking time bomb for the further spread of this pandemic.

This is ultimately all going to pile many trillions of dollars onto the national debt, but no matter how much emergency spending we now undertake it will come up woefully short. A pound of cure will not buy us what an ounce of prevention could have. America will not be made whole. We do not have the economic and public health resiliency that we need to weather what is now upon us without extreme suffering that will scar and set back generations to come. This is what happens when a social safety net is woven with grade D thread and holes large enough for babies to fall through.

I say this whether or not Americans in our collective wisdom determine whether Bernie Sanders is best equipped now to become our next President. Maybe he's not, but damn it, he was right.
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