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Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 77,376

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The conversation today on Morning Joe is an important one

...it's not trivial, and it's not a distraction.

Their conversation about the way Donald Trump has projected his dislike of women from the highest office in the land is a frustrating one, but necessary. We talk all the time about the 'bully pulpit,' which is basically an acknowledgement of the widespread influence of that office, here in the U.S. and around the world. Trump is setting back the image and reputation of Americans decades and there needs to be a broad and forceful response.

It's unfortunate that, as Trump drags down the prestige of the WH, so many issues and events are begging for his office's attention and care, neglected, unfortunately while he plays golf, plays on twitter, and watches television.

Our own lives are busy, as well. Most of us are working harder for less, struggling to balance obligations and needs with shrinking resources, many of our safety nets under deliberate and relentless attack by the president and his party. Under attack from an administration of millionaires and billionaires whose primary pursuit is feathering their own golden nest, and removing accountability for the way in which the vast majority of us are compensated for our labor.

If we are going to succeed as Americans, we'll need all hands on deck. Trump looks bent on alienating and denigrating most of the folks who we need to move our economy forward. More importantly, the President is giving aid and comfort to those who refuse to value and compensate the work and contributions of women, minorities, and others still struggling to keep pace with their white male counterparts.

What's distressing is that republican government in power is poised and ready to dismantle opportunities, protections, and aid for women and minorities, even as America is poised to move forward with economic and social expansion. Even with all of the shortcomings of democracy and justice, we haven't just emerged from some '50s era suppression of rights and opportunities. Yet, we're threatened by a forced return to Jim Crow and evisceration of protections for women, by a regressive republican majority operating in a frenzy of self-interest like rats in a cheese store.

Trump's relentless attacks on Americans who may disagree with him are a far cry from what we've grown accustomed to over the decades. Most modern politicians take pains to reach out and draw as many folks to their cause as they're able. Trump seems to be waging full-on war against the nation with his lashing out and posturing.

Far cry from other men who asked the nation for a chance to lead the country... like Martin O'Malley, for instance, during the campaign:


"On this stage ó on this stage, you didnít hear anyone denigrate women, you didnít hear anyone make racist comments about new American immigrants, you didnít hear anyone speak ill of another American because of their religious belief. What you heard instead on this stage tonight was an honest search for the answers that will move our country forward, to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050, to take the actions that we have always taken as Americans so that we can actually attack injustice in our country, employ more of our people, rebuild our cities and towns, educate our children at higher and better levels, and include more of our people in the economic, social, and political life of our country. I truly believe that we are standing on the threshold of a new era of American progress. Unless youíve become discouraged about our gridlock in Congress, talk to our young people under 30, because youíll never find among them people that want to bash immigrants or people that want to deny rights to gay couples."

Apparently, 'bashing' is the exclusive providence of the republican party - their go-to political statement which makes clear they're here to get theirs, be damned about the rest of us - a deliberate strategy to elevate their sweet selves by walking over the rest of America.

Tim Ryan believes we should gloss over issues of race, gender, ethnicity with an economic argument

Ryan on MTP, November 2016 :

I think, in part, we try to slice the electorate up. And we try to say, "You're black, you're brown, you're gay, you're straight, you're a woman, you're a man." The reality of it is there's no juice in that kind of campaign. There's no energy in that because it's divided.

The key to, and-- magic of, good campaigns, is when you pull people together. You unite them around a common theme. And look, if you're black, white, gay, straight, brown, you want a good job. You know, we focus sometimes too much on the minimum wage and we should be talking about living wages and middle class wages and pensions and benefits and the kind of thing that people in the industrial Midwest talk about all the time.


This is a centrist's attempt to sideline concerns particular to gays, blacks, women in favor of what he believes is an all-encompassing economic argument.

What Ryan is angling for is a muffling of the voices of the vast majority of Democratic voters who actually show up at the polls, in order to draw in conservative voters, like him, who can't bear to hear about the needs and concerns endemic to individuals and groups of individuals who choose to organize under our Democratic banner.

Essentially, Tim Ryan wants our party to posture to appeal to republicans. He's envious of the way Trump was able to rally white moderates, reasoning that it was an economic appeal which assuaged their anti-Democratic fever. But Trump did more than sell them on some economic plan. He reached out to stroke the deep resentment those voters were expressing against anyone who didn't look like them or think like them.

Trump ran a lurid and prevaricating campaign which would have been an anathema to his republican predecessors. I'm not talking about the types of campaign rhetoric that came from Sanders during the primary that Hillary's 'Wall Street connections' meant that she couldn't or wouldn't represent the working class. Whatever the truth is about Hillary and that nebulous campaign meme, 'Wall Street connections' couldn't be all that important to anyone who voted for this ruthless capitalist who's demonstrated nothing but antipathy to the people who've worked for him over the entirety of his privileged life.

Trump appealed to the insecurity of some white Americans who have been convinced their share of the nation's economic benefits are being unfairly threatened by blacks, immigrants, and anyone else who dare assert their rightful role in our country's economy. The oft-bigoted demagogue left no dog-whistle behind as he promised to restore these psychologically-displaced souls to their assumed place of prominence in society.

Take the issue of race in the election, for example. If there was one message the white working-class got from Hillary in that campaign, it almost certainly was that black lives were going to matter in her presidency. Hillary challenged white Americans to acknowledge their economic successes and take heed of those who have been left behind in the recovering economy. More importantly, Hillary insisted that white Americans should recognize and appreciate the role race plays in the failure of the black community to fully benefit from the economic recovery.

"For many white Americans," Hillary said, "itís tempting to believe that bigotry is largely behind us. That would leave us with a lot less work, wouldnít it? But more than half a century after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled, race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind."

That seemingly obvious reasoning should be commonplace in our political debate, but these truths have been overlooked throughout our nation's history. Black economic gains have always lagged behind those of white Americans, certainly not just during the Obama administration. In the present economy, blacks have experienced the slowest economic recovery of any group of Americans.

Why would anyone who claims to have the interests of our diverse party at heart want to homogenize concerns like these into phony economic populism which treats everyone on the economic and societal ladder as if we were starting on level ground?

Ryan's argument for condensing our diverse party's myriad concerns and needs into an appeal directed at one group of Americans is not only wrong, it's foolhardy. It's also the 'identity politics' he's denouncing, he's just advocating identifying our party's agenda, primarily, with one group of Americans. White males.

That's basically Trumpism, dressed up in a self-opportunistic appeal designed to unseat a Democratic leader who has endeavored throughout the entirety of her career to represent ALL of our needs and concerns, not just those of a privileged few.

Still downplaying Comey's committee appearance Thursday?

...he's opened the door to all sorts of questioning with the early release of his opening statement.

Comey's done all but release the actual memos. Doesn't look like he's holding back one bit. Hell of an opportunity for Senators looking to drop this scandal in Trump's lap.

I'd say we're already some distance past concerns expressed here like, "don't expect much from this hearing." I'd think we can expect a great deal more to be revealed about his contacts with the president.

Statement for the Record
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
James B. Comey
June 8, 2017

Bottom line: All of this stonewalling confirms questions of obstruction of justice

...otherwise, what would be the harm (or downside for Trump) for intel officials relating conversations with the president, especially if they were completely innocent as claimed?

Even if there isn't a clear legal case to be made, there are still political consequences if Trump is seen by the public as working to block or halt investigations into his WH, or probes into his own conduct.

That's what makes it imperative for the public to know just what Trump discussed. We should be provided with the Comey memos and allowed to make our own judgments, especially since any initial accountability from the president would be in a political arena, not a court.

Comey has this ONE chance to redeem his reputation against Trump's charges

...everything about Comey indicates that he's highly protective of his image and reputation (and by extension, that of the FBI), more than he is with making political gestures.

That said, he has absolutely no guarantee that Mueller will redeem him completely of Trump's charges in some future report. Comey doesn't have the luxury in his relatively young life (career-wise) to sit in the shadows while his name is used as fodder by the Trump team.

He needs to put his version of events on the public table now, and try and maintain control of the narrative. Otherwise, he could be framed without a chance to fully rebuke Trump's smears.

Trump has already taken any claim of Executive privilege out of the mix by putting forward his version of events and characterization of the fired AG. Comey, as a private citizen, doesn't have a conflict discussing his own actions, so, if he comes in looking to clear his name I'd expect him to forthcoming about the conversations he's said he had with Trump and detailed about what alarmed him about Trump's attempts get him to sideline the investigations.

All it's going to take is a legislator asking one important question he's willing to respond to candidly, and the entire focus of the hearing (and the investigation) can shift dramatically. This isn't a static appearance, it's a dynamic event which hold a lot of promise for further ensnaring Trump, so I think the hype over the appearance is justified.

After all, why would Comey INSIST on a PUBLIC hearing just to provide nothing more than what he's already shared with the public?

Too much handwringing and worrying over how republicans feel

...have we forgotten how completely bankrupt and dishonest their argument is? When did they earn the right to respectful discourse?

Have we forgotten how little they care about how WE feel? Have we forgotten their anti-American agenda not only offends; that it actually injures, maims, and kills?

What is the appropriate response to someone who has so much disregard for your humanity that they would strip away yours and your family's healthcare; strip parent from child, willfully and maliciously poison our water and air?

How much of a response is too much? A goddamed photoshopped photo? Not nearly enough, imo. Much too little a response directed at those who intend to END us.

We're not politicians. We're flesh and blood, and our lives, and our children's lives, are in grave danger. The planet is in danger. We're not going to react like this is some sort of university debate. It's war.

Don't get lulled into a gentleman's game, mollycoddling people who are completely devoid of care for our lives, our safety, our health, and our well-being. This is not the time for moderation.
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