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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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Americans will refuse to live in the next Lebanon.

Ultimately that is the bottom line, and that is why Trump's desperate attempts to hold onto power will fail, pulling down those with him who might try to prop him up. Americans do not want a race war, nor another civil war, no matter what the Proud Boys and their ilk might be dreaming. Americans do not want armed militia's gathering on our streets and storming State Capitals. They don't want mobs menacing Town Halls, Main Streets and Court Houses in small towns and cities all across the nation. They don't want their country's government convulsed in chaos like a fledgling banana republic. And they don't want to live and breathe breaking politics each day of the year.

Americans want peace, they want prosperity, but on top of all that they want the stability that they have become accustomed to for virtually all their lives. Trump not only can't provide that for Americans, he promises the exact opposite, and for that he will neither be tolerated nor forgiven should his bluster not prove empty. Instead he will be opposed, and deposed by lawful means, if ultimately that proves necessary.

This transcends ideology, it is deeper than partisan politics. It is a big part of what makes most Americans proud to be Americans. Extremists of whatever stripe may disagree, but that is what makes them extremists. Extremists are out there of course, but they will not prevail if they delude themselves into thinking that they can. They will be crushed, at what price may yet be uncertain, but it is certain that they will be. America will not allow itself to be torn apart to keep Joe Biden out of office, if it is obvious to most that he won a fair election.

The Supreme Court, even if Trump fills another seat on it, will not save Trump anymore than it did Nixon. On Trump's best day he might find three Justices willing to knowingly plunge America into the extreme and long lasting instability that any attempt to overthrow the clear will of the voters would unleash upon us all. That would not serve the interests of those who in America benefit by a status quo that rewards them daily with the wealth and privileges they now enjoy.


Running significantly behind Biden in virtually every poll, last night was a debate Trump HAD to win

His campaign already burned through 800 million dollars attempting to negatively define Biden in advance. They failed trying to smear him as a sex abuser (remember that?) They failed trying to smear him with Hunter and Ukraine. They failed at insinuating Biden is senile (the scope of that failure is illustrated by their pathetic attempts now claiming that Biden must be using performance enhancing drugs.)

There are no more game changer moments left for Trump. Running on the economy has not worked out for Trump. Running against Anarchy in the suburbs has not worked out for Trump. Running against Black Lives Matter has not worked out for Trump. The Republican National Convention has come and gone and it did nothing to halt Trump's slide. The next wave of Covid-19 hospitalizations has already begun, it only gets worse from here. The eyes of the world were on Trump last night and they saw him at his worst. His cult may stay locked in, but nothing anyone saw will draw new supporters toward Trump.

The clock has run out on any Trump come back. Next week voters get to see Kamala Harris debate Mike Pence. Does anyone seriously think that event will help Trump's floundering campaign? Far fewer viewers will tune into a second Trump/Biden debate in two weeks after having suffered though watching the first one. Right now Trump is essentially basing his hopes to remain in office on a right wing insurrection. As unpopular as Trump already is with most Americans, all that can win Donald Trump is hard time in prison. Americans won't feel secure with Right Wing militias attempting to storm state capitals. There will be no more fig leafs for Trump to hide his fascist beliefs behind. The public will demand that order is restored. One way or another, the American people will not tolerate allowing Trump to remain in power four more years. He increasingly is seen as loathsome.

Ask every incumbent Republican if the only way they can lose reelection is if the vote is rigged.

In the blizzard of lies and outrageous statements that Trump makes daily, is easy to lose sight of how fundamentally destructive Trump's repeated claim is to our democracy that the only way he can lose reelection is if the vote is rigged against him. This can't be noted too often nor stressed enough. Trump's toxic assertion might be written off as mere hyperbole if he made it just once in some unscripted moment. Instead it is a central theme to his reelection campaign, and it would be comical if it wasn't so dangerous. Every politician knows you can lose any election, no matter how strong your support may seem to be, or how far you might be ahead in the polls, if events break against them. Three incumbent Presidents, from both political parties, were turned out of office by the voters over the last 45 years,

I want every Republican office holder running for reelection this year to answer these simple questions: Is it impossible for you to lose your reelection bid in an election that isn't rigged against you? Would you ever, under any circumstances, make that claim? What does it do to public trust in our democracy to have the President of the United States repeatedly claim that it is impossible for him to lose a fair election?

A favorite chant from decades of street protests: "The People, United, Will Never Be Defeated"

It's a favorite of mine because, quite simply, it is true. By "The People", of course, I mean the clear majority of the public.There will always be a small minority of people who will sell out the legitimate interests of their neighbors, their community, their nation, their children or their mother for their own selfish benefit. There will always be others, many more others, who start off deluded about where their true self interests lie. But whenever an enlightened majority begins to take shape, and when what is truly at stake becomes daily more apparent, a momentum starts to grow that sweeps away both apathy, and ultimately resistance, to the will of "The People." The decisive variable is always whether that enlightened majority will reach the point of "jelling", but when it does: "The People, United, Will Never Be Defeated!"

John Lewis understood that. So did Ruth Beta Ginsberg. I say this now with as much confidence as I have ever had about anything. One way or another, Donald Trump will be stopped from stealing this election. Too many Americans, "The People" that I refer to, understand what is happening, and what is at stake. When "The People" are "United" pressure builds in often unpredictable ways, and routes to victory previously unrecognizable suddenly appear in bold relief, and seemingly impenetrable barriers opposing the "Will of the People" crumble under the onslaught. The Berlin Wall was formidable until the day when it wasn't.

Joe Biden will be our next President.

"One way or another, this darkness has got to give,"
Robert Hunter

Every ploy Trump has tried over the last two months has succeeded in doing one thing

It has heightened the sense of extreme urgency most Americans feel about the upcoming November election, and that is not at all a good thing for Donald Trump. Everything, from manipulating CDC Covid-19 guidelines, to overtly pushing for approval of a vaccine against it before election day, to sabotaging the United States Postal Service, to declaring municipalities with Democratic Mayors to be "Anarchist Jurisdictions", to his coddling of armed "protestors" with a white nationalist agenda, to his casting doubt on the legitimacy of our electoral system, to attempting to ram through a last second Supreme Court appointment, to his implied threats not to leave office peacefully if he loses the election, all of this has left the American public lodged in a psychological war time footing. Make no mistake about it, that is disastrous for Donald Trump.

Trump is a politician who politically lives or dies by relying on his hard core base to disproportionately engage in November's election. Trump counted on red hot fervor for him from the Right to counter relatively tepid enthusiasm for Joe Biden from the left and center. He long ago convinced himself that he and he alone could benefit by the proliferation of apocalyptic visions of America descending into Hell. He counted on having that playing field all to himself, believing that his unhinged rants about Antifa invading the suburbs would motivate his hard core base to move heaven and Earth to prevent Joe Biden from winning.

To say that Trump has overplayed that hand doesn't begin to describe the depth of his miscalculation. Increasingly Americans are coming to understand that only Joe Biden stands between America and the void. Trump's play book has been turned on its head, it is Trump himself who personifies an existential threat to our Republic. And a growing belief that our very democratic system itself is now gravely imperiled is dissolving the ranks of the previously apathetic, replacing indifferent possible non voters with legions who now understand that November's election is the most important of their lifetimes.

It can not be overstated how extraordinary it is that the United States Senate just felt it necessary to formally proclaim, in a unanimous vote, that the peaceful transfer of power is intrinsic to the fabric of our democracy. It is every bit as unnerving that the Senate felt it necessary to weigh in on that core precept as it would be for the Senate to see reason to bring forth a resolution proclaiming that the U.S. military is subject to civilian command. It is a barely tacit acknowledgement that our Republic is facing an existential threat embodied by the current President. So was the joint letter just released by hundreds of top officials who have devoted their lifetimes to protecting and upholding our Constitution.

Apathy outside the ranks of the Right was always what Trump counted on to win. He thought he could selectively turn up the heat beneath his own supporters while the rest of the nation sleepwalked through politics as usual. But every action has a equal and opposite reaction. Trumps ploys have energized the entire electorate. In trying to squeeze out a few more votes from rural white males with high school degrees, Trump has opened the floodgates of participation by all Americans, and the potential pool of voters now being activated doesn't fit well with Trump's preferred demographics. Trump's autocratic "antics" have already cost him dearly among many white highly educated suburban voters who voted for him in 2016, but now he is driving increased turnout by younger voters, a demographic that cuts deeply against Trump but which has traditionally under performed during previous elections.

Every day with a lead story in the media about how critical November's election will be, is a news cycle Donald J. Trump has lost.

Trump can steal headlines away from the pandemic on this day or that

But the second wave is building as the weather cools and our guard relaxes. Any effort Trump makes to divert attention away from what is coming, with inflammatory tweets, threats, and pronouncements, will ultimately prove as futile as piling up sandbags to stop a hurricane storm surge. Covid-19 is rising.

A political tactic once used by NY Governor Cuomo could save our Democracy in a worst case scenario

I found myself thinking about this today as I pondered the nightmare scenario being advanced by Trump. Specifically, having Republican State Legislatures in critical swing states halt the count of mail in votes in those States and/or declare the November election invalid for one or more "reasons", followed by their naming of Trump supporters as presidential electors while disregarding the actual popular vote. I remembered an event from the not so distant history of New York State.

The year was 2011 and much of the nation was grappling with the issue of legalizing same sex marriages. The passage of the Marriage Equality Act of 2011 made New York State "the sixth state in the United States to legalize and retain the in-state certification and legalization of same-sex marriage (excluding California, which legalized and performed some 18,000 same-sex marriages before a ban on further marriages was promulgated through referendum), and also made the state the most populous in the union to do so" - Wikipedia. But in order to win passage, this act had to win approval in the New York State Senate which at that time was under Republican Control.

Same sex marriages was still very much a hot button social issue for most Republicans in New York State in 2011. In May 2011, the Conservative Party of New York State stated that it would withdraw support for any candidate who supported same-sex marriage. Any Republican state senator who defied the Republican conservative base on that issue faced the likelihood of severe electoral retribution from conservative voters, should they vote for Marriage Equality and then seek reelection to their seats. Fear of that type of retribution contributed to the defeat of a similar effort to legalize same sex marriage in 2009, when Republicans in the NY State Senate opposed it unanimously. However the Marriage Equality Act of 2011 did pass the Republican State Senate by a vote of 33-29 with only one Democrat opposing it and four Republicans supporting it.

What went on behind the scenes before that historic vote could well be called back room politics with a full measure of wheeling and dealing and certain "understandings reached". I'm no political reporter with extensive insider sources so I can only relate what I remember from that time, and subsequent news coverage of the aftermath. The four Republican state senators who voted for same sex marriage in 2011 were Sens. James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, Roy McDonald, and Stephen Saland. On October 19, 2012 Andrew Cuomo endorsed Stephen Salad for reelection:

Cuomo Backs Republican Who Voted For Marriage Equality
"Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York endorsed Senator Stephen Saland for reelection Thursday, marking the first time the popular Democrat has backed a member of the Republican Party.

Saland provided one of four Republican votes for the marriage equality legislation that passed the GOP-controlled state senate last year. His vote became an issue in his primary campaign, which he narrowly won last month. The twelve-term incumbent now faces a three-way general election contest.

"The governor believes that one of the problems in our political system is the influence of extremists on both sides of the aisle," said Cuomo spokesman Matthew Wing, according to the Associated Press. "He is endorsing Senator Saland because he has consistently had the courage to do what was right despite political challenges, especially when it came to voting for marriage equality."
https://www.advocate.com/politics/election/2012/10/19/cuomo-backs-republican-who-voted-marriage-equality

Saland had a Republican primary challenge from Neil Di Carlo, which Saland won by a margin of 107 votes. Di Carlo continued his campaign as the candidate of the Conservative Party, and Saland lost the general election to Democrat Terry Gipson by a margin of 2,096 votes. Di Carlo acted as a spoiler, receiving 17,300 votes on the Conservative line. Democratic Governor Cuomo also offered his enforcement to Roy McDonald for an Independent run after McDonald lost his Republican Party primary battle by a narrow margin:

NY Republican Won't Run Despite Cuomo Endorsement

"Governor Andrew Cuomo even offered to back Sen. Roy McDonald if he chose to continue as a third-party candidate, and a poll released by marriage equality advocates indicated the effort could be successful."

"New York State Senator Roy McDonald will not try making a third-party run after losing his Republican primary, at least in part because of his vote for marriage equality in the state. The two-term incumbent announced the decision today after losing his primary by about 100 votes, or less than 1% of the vote, in the low turnout contest on September 13."
https://www.advocate.com/politics/election/2012/09/27/cuomo-offers-endorsement-new-york-republican-defeated-primary?pg=full

Republican State Senator Grisanti won his Republican primary in 2012, defeating attorney Kevin Stocker by 59% to 40%. He then went on to secure victory in the General Election, defeating both his Democratic and Conservative Party opponents seemingly without need of a Cuomo endorsement. On May 9, 2012, Senator Alesi announced that he would not run for re-election. He stated that many factors, including the welfare of the Republican Party, led to his decision. But the story does not end there. Subsequent developments in the careers of these four Republican politicians bear noting.

"In 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Alesi to a $90,000-per-year post[78] on the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.[79]

In 2015, Gov. Cuomo appointed Grisanti to the New York State Court of Claims. Grisanti's appointment was confirmed by the New York State Senate in May 2015.[80] The reported salary for the judgeship was $174,000.[81]

In 2016, Gov. Cuomo appointed Saland to the board of the state Thruway Authority.[82]

In June 2017, Gov. Cuomo nominated Alesi to a $109,800-per-year[83] position on the state's Public Service Commission; the Senate confirmed his appointment"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Equality_Act_(New_York).

The only one of the four Republican state senators who voted for the Marriage Equality Act of 2011 who did not receive a subsequent appointment from Governor Cuomo was Roy McDonald, who not only declined Governor Cuomo's offer of an endorsement, but endorsed the conservative who defeated him in the Republican primary instead. There are some who may consider this political backstory to the passage of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act to be sordid, and I may well be among those. I know that the aspect of a Democratic Governor supporting incumbent Republican candidates over more progressive Democratic challengers was controversial in many progressive circles at the time. Cuomo's subsequent political appointments to Republicans who backed the passage of marriage equality legislation flew a little bit more under the radar.

I am so called "saying right out loud" here something that normally should not be so openly discussed mostly because I know I can. I am an obscure blogger with no formal ties to either elected Democrats or Democratic candidates for office. But maybe, just maybe, this will catch the eye of some people with insider credentials greater than mine. If it does, I hope someone is, behind closed doors, feeling out what type of support it would take from key Democrats to get the needed handful of Republican members of Republican majority State Legislatures to break with their political party to support honoring the will of the people of their states. There is nothing radical about counting all the ballots and letting the people choose who become that State's presidential electors, not unless Democracy itself is deemed too radical.

Yes, Trump's SC pick imperils Roe V Wade and Obamacare. But don't forget The Dreamers

They have not been deported to Mexico only because of Obama's Executive order temporarily allowing them to remain in the nation they grew up in. This summer, in a narrow 5 to 4 ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration's effort to terminate DACA. But it did so on a narrow basis:

"While the Supreme Court ruled against Trumps first attempt, it did so on relatively narrow grounds, arguing it was unlawful only because the administration did not consider all the options to rein in the program and failed to account for the interests of those who relied on it. The ruling thus theoretically left the door open to other legal rationales for ending DACA that take into account those factors."
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/18/trump-daca-2020-329087

Dreamers are not safe if Conservatives consolidate their hold on the Supreme court. If Democrats regain control of the White House and Senate, a legislative fix becomes available (assuming enough Republican Senators join with Democrats in preventing immigration reform from being blocked via a filibuster.) But if Republicans remain in control of the Senate a President Biden alone can not secure the Dreamers future in America.

Allowing the Dreamers to remain in the only home they have over known has broad public support, but it is, not surprisingly, especially important to the Latino community. Given the importance of Latino support for Biden in November's election, and in light of concerns expressed by some that not enough has been done to strengthen Biden's edge with this critical segment of the electorate, Democrats should elevate concerns about the future of DACA in our commentary regarding Supreme Court vacancies.

When will a reporter ask Trump if the United States is Melania's own country?

When Trump says of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar...

"Shes telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? Hows your country doing? "

... it practically begs those same questions of Melania, who gave plenty of advice to Americans about how the U.S. should be run during her prime time keynote TV address to the nation. By Trump's logic, shouldn't she be confined to only giving Americans advice about Slovenia? Both Melania Trump and Ilhan Omar arrived in the United States in 1995, but Omar has been a citizen of the United States for six years longer than has Melania Trump. Furthermore, Omar has been a U.S. citizen for her entire adult life, officially becoming an American at age 17 whereas Melania was already 36 when she was nationalized.

But it seems Donald Trump believes that it is only African Americans who can not call the United States their country after they become citizens of it. Surprise, surprise

Do NOT use the term "Pack the Court." Our stated goal should be to "Restore" it.

Words matter. "Packing the Court" communicates a blatant partisan political tactic. That's fine with those of us who believe that Democrats need to fight fire with fire and use hardball political tactics to counter Republican hardball tactics, but we don't have to worry about holding onto our support, do we?

I gather we already have a sprinkling of Democratic voices who express concern over doing something extreme like expanding membership on the Supreme Court. I always expect some overly cautious sentiments from at least a few Democrats, but the problem is we will need (depending on the result of Senate races this year) either all or almost all Democratic Senators to abolish the filibuster and then add seats to the Supreme Court. So we have to be mindful of "moderate" concerns.

This may be a case where proper framing makes the difference between a victory and a loss. Assuming Democrats control the majority in the next Senate session, I propose we enact The Supreme Court Restoration Act of 2021. Explicit in its name is the message that Democrats are only seeking to restore the rightful balance to the Supreme Court, approximately what would have been in place had Republicans not acted to "Pack the Court" themselves through inappropriately using their control of the Senate in two raw power plays.

We can rightfully argue that the Supreme Court today would have four left of center Justices and four right of center Justices had Republicans not stood in the way of Obama's appointment of Garland even receiving a confirmation hearing. While we also hold that a vacancy opening up six weeks before a Presidential Election should be filled by the candidate who wins that Election, Republicans seem set on filling that seat with one of their own. Should that happen Right of Center Justices will then outnumber left of Center Justices by Six to Three. When the Supreme Court Restoration Act of 2021 is enacted, Democrats will be able to add two new Justices to the Court, presumably thus shifting the political balance back to a one seat differential, with 6 Right of Center Justices to 5 Left of Center Justices.

There would be nothing radical about such a move. It would restore the rightful political balance to the Court, the one that would have existed had Garland been rightfully seated, even if Republicans now jam through one of their own to replace RBG mere weeks before the Presidential Election. The proposal I am making here is meant to win over wavering Democratic Senators, because without their support there can be no expansion of the Supreme Court to eleven, let alone thirteen or fifteen seats. For that reason, and that reason alone, I further propose that President Biden include Merrick Garland as one of his two picks to add to the Court.

I get that it would be best to add two or more young and unambiguously progressive Justices to the Supreme Court. Under any other circumstances Merrick Garland would not be anywhere near the top of my list of perspective appointments to the Supreme Court. But we don't get to chose our circumstances, they are what they are, and there is a good chance that one or more Democratic Senators defecting will kill whatever chance we have to add any seats to the Supreme Court. That would qualify as an unambiguous loss with major negative consequences for another decade or more. The Supreme Court Restoration Act, with Joe Biden's agreement, will restore the proper handling of Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court. Merrick Garland will finally get his Senate Floor vote, as it should have been.

Democrats can and should argue that, with a new Senate majority and a Democratic President, they could well have "Packed the Court" with four or six new liberal Justices but instead showed restraint, and instead did only what was minimally necessary to Restore the Supreme Court and undo the damage done to it by Republicans. It is not Republican Senators who we need to persuade with this argument, it is a handful of "moderate" Democratic Senators who have to find a way forward to supporting this essential move in the next Congress.
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