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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,056

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Republicans don't gain votes over economic issues. They LOSE votes over economic issues

Today's Republicans win votes over fear, hate, resentment, and (often manufactured) grievances. Now that Trump dominates the Republican Party pretty much the only Republican voters who support Republican economic policies are some very rich ones, and demographically, that is a very small (though powerful) sliver of the electorate. Hell, millions of well off Americans fully support paying their fair share of taxes under a progressive taxation scheme, because they understand that they are blessed and they don't want others to needlessly suffer from to the effects of poverty.

The fattest of fat cat Republicans may care about "pro-business" economic policies (to further enrich themselves) but average Republicans don't, unless they see how a change in economic policy will directly benefit them. During times of very high unemployment Republicans can sometimes pull off pushing tax cuts for the rich under the guise of helping "job creators" "create jobs", but even that usually fails to sway average voters. The last two givaways to the super rich, under Trump and George W. Bush, polled poorly with actual voters. Most voters strongly support Democratic economic policies, when they aren't being scared away by boogie man fear labels like "socialism." But the thing to remember is this: Republicans smear any and all Democratic economic policies as "socialist" regardless of how modest and/or mainstream by historic measures they may be. Appeasing the Republican Party with lukewarm half way measures hasn't worked for decades.They tie us to Hugo Chavez anyway.

Every element of President Biden's Build Back Better program is popular with American voters And for good reason, the policies that program introduce is of economic benefit to the vast majority of Americans. Beyond that, it strengthens America economically in the long run for all Americans. The average American voter is not a deficit hawk. Perhaps more to the point, even THE AVERAGE REPUBLICAN VOTER IS NOT A DEFICIT HAWK. Does anyone think they cared about red ink under Trump? The Republicans who sincerely do care about deficit spending are by and large a sober lot, and a small one at that. But you know what most of those "sober" Republicans care about more than the growing national debt? The preservation of American democracy. The core anti-Trumpers aren't quibbling about the detail's of Biden's policies now, they just want to see the insurrectionists defeated.

So why are the so called moderate Democrats so worried over the price tag for Biden's Build Back Better agenda? First let's be clear here, I am calling them the so called moderate Democrats because they don't represent the views of most moderate Democrats on this, either in Congress or the public at large. The so called "moderate block" of Democrats in the House of Representatives, who insisted on holding a vote on the "bipartisan infrastructure bill" in September, thereby derailing House leadership's plan to move that legislation simultaneous with the reconciliation act, consist of about a dozen members. They are a small minority of elected moderate Democrats in Congress. They are a tiny minority of the Democrats in Congress period, and they are opposing the President's agenda.

Why? The programs funded in the current Build Back Better reconciliation act are fully paid for, predominantly through a very popular mechanism, higher taxes on currently super rich tax cheats and loophole queens. Even if increased revenues end up coming up a few dollars short of the total tab that has never stopped Washington politicians before, it sure as hell didn't stop the Republicans under Bush and Trump. Money isn't the issue. Money is just a smokescreen. There are only two plausible explanations. One is deplorable and the other simply pathetic. Either they are firmly in the pocket of powerful special interests, like the entrenched big energy and pharmaceutical lobbies, or they have been cowed into total submission by the specter of Republicans beating up on them with scary words. They sure as hell aren't representing the interests of their voters. And they sure as hell don't believe in their ability to defend their votes enacting programs which their constituents already strongly support.

We can't defeat campaigns waged against us with fear by ducking our heads against incoming.

Lesssen learned: Democracy highly vulnerable if widely recognized authority figures spout total lies

At first glance it seems self evident, but evidently some aspect of our culture previously tamped down the degree to which leading authority figures brazenly and repeatedly asserted wild lies that are easily debunked by actual facts. It is not new that people in positions in authority sometimes lie, and do so boldly and knowingly. What is relatively new is that they now do so repeately, doubling and tripling down on those lies even when the truth that exposes their deceit is readily available.

No President of the United States, dating back well over a hundred years, practiced what became standard practice for Hitler's Nazi regime under Goebbels, that being the constant repetition of a totally fabricated reality until is was indistinguishable from the truth to vasts swaths of the population. Not until Trump. Previously leading authority figures tried like hell to bury stories that contradicted the message they sought to convey, but when that failed they shifted to damage control "clean up" mode, often looking for a scapegoat on whom the blame could be pinned who would then summarily lose their job. That playbook was abandoned by Trump, and the new "triple down" repeated (and sometimes further amplified) lie playbook has now been embraced by virtually the entire Republican Party.


The effects of this shift in political tactics is greatly heightened by the rise of major media partisan prime time "news commentators" who supplanted traditional "news anchors" in public influence. When such commentators retain a shred of integrity, the effect of their influence may not be toxic. But with media conglomerates chasing viewers for ratings driven profits, integrity is often the first thing to go. Suffice it to say that there is no one left now with a tenth of the capacity of a Walter Cronkite of former years, who can effectively counter Big Lie propaganda when it raises its ugly head.

America has always had racists, xenophobes and wild conspiracy consumers. They rarely though were given the oxygen of so called "legitimacy" needed for their views to literally go viral. That of course is where the explosion of social media comes into the picture, with platforms that are self contained and willfully detached from reality. But in my mind, it is the shameless brazen lies, all truth be damned, repeated by socially and politically established leaders at the highest levels, that is making the current pandemic of disinformation so difficult to contain, let alone eradicate.

A recent Amazon Prime TV series offers insight into today's Republican Party

If you viewed the sci-fi alternate history Amazon Prime series "The Man In The High Castle", adapted from the Philip K Dick Novel, the American Nationalist leaders who head the American Reich (subservient to the Fuhrer) after the American surrender to Germany, pretty much encapsulate the mind set of the Republican Party today. Many are not true Nazi believers, but it doesn't matter. They lean authoritarian, and that is close enough for them to fall in line with whoever is calling the shots, no matter how crazy he might be. They are the technicians who implement Nazi blueprints in return for a small dose of power. That is our modern Republican Party.

Texas won't tolerate Rapists anymore. Nope, rape is against the law. That gig is up now in Texas

Finally Texas has a Governor man enough to admit that rape is illegal, and strong enough to state unequivocally that rapists aren't welcome in Texas. Furthermore, Governor Abbot actually came out and said that he would end rape in Texas. Damn, George W. Bush never said that when he was governor of Texas. It's a new Republican Party alright. Some might quibble and note that Abbott has been Governor of Texas since 2018, and that he should have stopped rape years ago. Hrumph, you just can't please some people. Abbott had other important priorities to attend to first, like stopping people from voting in cars, and ensuring that the Texas power grid remained cut off from the rest of the nation. The important thing is that his words now are clear and decisive. Texas leads the nation in stating that rape is wrong.

Why does the right more than the left flock to city council, school board, and town halll meetings?

Of course there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, when liberals and progressives instead turn out in force to public forums and meetings, but more often than not it is right wing outrage junkies screaming at public officials in small cities throughout the land, making civil discourse and productive discussions impossible as an intended byproduct.

As a general rule it is not all that easy to get folks out at night, in large numbers, to make their sentiments known in local settings, but rightist nuts manage to turn out to jam small assemblies and meeting rooms.

Back in a former life I was trained and employed as a community organizer in the Saul Alinsky model. Few things were deemed more effective than having irate crowds pressure local officials in person at public meetings. The right does this routinely now.

The left, on the other hand, can turn out hundreds of thousands for high profile rallies and marches, whereas the right has been unable to. They, however, (I fear) may overall be getting more bang for their political buck

A Blue State needs to pass legislation regarding any gun sales without completed background checks

It should follow the exact same template as the Texas anti-abortion bill. It should ban all gun sales made without the buyer first passing a background check with the same vigilante enforcement mechanism used by Texas: private citizens collect $10,000 through civil suits by informing on anyone who sells guns without background checks, buy guns without background checks, or aids and assists anyone involved in the sale of a gun without a completed background check. If that State already requires full background checks for every gun sale, it can target something else like, say, requiring background checks for the purchase of ammunition.

I saw this type of law rhetorically invoked, by former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal during a TV appearance on MSNBC, as something that those on the Right would immediately condemn as anti-constitutional. But why stop at just rhetorically making that point? Make it an actual law, and then see what the Supreme Court and Republican State Legislatures have to say about that.

Unlike abolishing reproductive rights, requiring background checks for all gun purchases is extremely popular with the public. In Texas today abortion providers must legally prove that there was no fetal heartbeat prior to performing that procedure. In California tomorrow (or in any other blue state) matter) gun show vendors, and private individuals engaged in gun sales (and those who assisted those transactions in any way), should be subject to $10,000 bounties placed on their heads. If the Supreme Court refuses to strike down an unconstitutional assault on a constitutionally guaranteed right, due to certain "complexities" in the law, they can't interfere with legislation that furthers clearly constitutional constraints on the exercise of a different constitutionally guarantee, because of those very same legal "complexities.

It's going to come down to the Youth Vote. And overall youth activism...

It's not because young voters are the Democrats most dependable backers. Clearly they aren't, but THAT is why so much is riding on them. We need Democratic landslides now, a lot of them, at the local and state levels as well as at the national level with virtually everything hanging in the balance. And those landslides must fly in the face of ongoing Republican voter suppression and vote nullification efforts ,and still manifest despite them.

Clearly we need to mobilize all elements of the Democratic coalition. That of course starts with our core base, with African Americans and other minorities leading the way. It also includes Union voters, self avowed progressive voters, highly educated white voters, and women overall. But it is young voters who can put us over the top in the wide range of races that we must now win because collectively they represent our greatest untapped potential for new votes, precisely because they historically have not participated in elections at as high a rate as other Democratic leaning constituencies.

Events of the last week especially should be a siren screaming in the ears of those still under forty. It is they who will inhabit this world, looking forward, for sixty years or more as climate change continues to intensify. It is they who will live out their biological child bearing years as the reproductive rights of women get stripped away. It is they who will suffer most and longest if the right wing assault on democracy and our constitutional rights fails to be repelled.

It has oft been noted that the overall youth led mobilization against the Vietnam War in the 60's and early 70's was fueled by the draft, and the dire and immediate consequences that failing to end that war could bring to potentially millions of young Americans. The Republican war on reproductive rights, and a failure to confront global climate change now with the urgency that is required, falls heaviest on our youth. They (or more accurately an overwhelming majority of them) have every incentive to decisively oust Republicans from wielding political control in this nation.

Voting registration education and enrollment efforts need to go into full gear, in every manner legally possible, at every high school and college campus in America starting NOW. It can't wait for election seasons to kick into high gear. Republicans intend to disenfranchise the youth vote. That can't be allowed to succeed.

The Taliban won because of their unblinking fervor...

...with embedded beliefs hermetically sealed off from reality.

That is why our own Democracy (and all of the rights we enjoy under it) is so at risk. There is no doubt we have the numbers here, but our enemies are fanatical and unyielding. How, when, and where do we counter that?

Those close to the Afghan people over the last twenty years have a unique perspective on "betrayal"

Everything that is happening inside of Afghanistan is much more personal for them than it is to the rest of us. People they know there include the best that Afghanistan has to offer; the bravest and the most determined. Afghans they know sacrificed greatly to build a better life for themselves and the citizens of their nation: they are people who fully committed to a future very different from the society that the Taliban once ruled over. In many cases American journalists, aid workers, business contractors, and members of our military who either worked or fought inside of Afghanistan, developed deep and significant friendships with people in that nation: people who not only hoped for, but believed in, a better future for themselves and their children, people who were actively building that future.

Now those dreams are reduced to ashes, those hopes replaced by fear, those hard fought for freedoms suddenly lost, seemingly forever. And thousands of lives are now literally at risk. No wonder there is so much anger now in many Americans who knew these Afghans best, who remain their personal friends. "They have been betrayed."

That's what I think about when I see someone like Andrea Mitchell, or Richard Engle reporting about Afghanistan now For them it's about betrayal, the abandonment of good people to the force of evil. Someone must be to blame, and Americans are the ones leaving Afghanistan without taking all those good Afghans with them. They are right to be angry.They are right that there was a betrayal. They are wrong about the betrayers.

Americans are the ones leaving now because Afghanistan isn't our home, and we never promised to stay there forever. We did stay there twenty years, which in the context of America's wars is the closest thing to forever. Once we finally headed toward the exit Afghanistan's government folded in the blinking of an eye. If betrayers must be found, there is a good place to start finding them. The good people of Afghanistan were betrayed by self serving so called leaders, and thoroughly corrupted hacks, who pocketed American aid money while their troops out in the field went unpaid for months.

But Andra Mitchell and the likes of her are used to having influence. Ultimately they had about as much influence over the recently former leaders of Afghanistan as they do with the Taliban today. To her type, America should have saved their friends, all of them, and if we didn't then we are to blame What the hell are we going to do about it they cry, as if Afghanistan were our 51st State. It isn't, it never was. After twenty years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of American lives, we tried, thy lost. The independent women of Afghanistan, educated Afghans, all those who believed in civil society and civil rights, all of them stood with the losing side in a protracted Civil war. There are millions of them, and the United States can not save them all from the consequences of defeat. We tried. They lost. It is genuinely tragic. Even those who rushed desperately to Kabul's airport seeking evacuation never thought the end could come so suddenly, closing all their doors. Yes, they were betrayed. But not by us.

Our NATO allies all knew the planned date for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

They knew that Trump planned to pull out American forces in May, had he won reelection. They knew that Biden extended the date for final U.S. withdrawal until September. Just like the the United States, our NATO allies depended on support from Afghan nationals to help run their embassies and to interpret for their troops out in the field.

And just like the U.S. they are all still scrambling to get their citizens out of Afghanistan by August 31, along with thousands of Afghan nationals who worked alongside them in their efforts during the war. Nothing forced those nations to wait for America to begin mass evacuations before they started pulling their own nationals and friendly Afghans home. It was not just the United States that did not foresee Kabul falling to the Taliban before the scheduled U.S. exit from Afghanistan in September. If President Biden was "caught flat footed" by the sudden total collapse of Afghanistan's central government, so was the entire world.

The United States faced a unique hurdle in that the former Administration worked effectively for four years, until last January, to sabotage the ability of the United States to accept refugees from Afghanistan. But no cliche is more true than the one that says "hindsight is 20/20. I am damn impressed by the ongoing effort the Biden Administration is now orchestrating to pull what will almost certainly be upwards of 100,000 people out of an airport in Kabul while the entire nation surrounding it lies under the control of the forces we had been battling for over twenty years. It is a breathtaking military and diplomatic mission.
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