17 thoughts on “News/Politics 1-3-20

  1. Real quick before I leave.

    The difference in foreign policy is clear.


    This is how you respond to an embassy attack.


    “Trump orders attack that kills Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, other military officials in Baghdad, Pentagon says”

    “President Trump ordered a game-changing U.S. military attack that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, among other military officials at Baghdad International Airport early Friday, the Pentagon confirmed.

    Soleimani is the military mastermind whom Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had deemed equally as dangerous as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In October, Baghdadi killed himself during a U.S. raid on a compound in northwest Syria, seven months after the so-called ISIS “caliphate” crumbled as the terrorist group lost its final swath of Syrian territory in March.”


    “In April 2019, the State Department announced Iran was responsible for killing 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War. Soleimani was the head of the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces carrying out those operations killing American troops. According to the State Department, 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.

    As recently as 2015, a travel ban and United Nations Security Council resolutions had barred Soleimani from leaving Iran.

    Friday’s Baghdad strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, a source told Fox News.

    In all, at least seven people were killed and at least three rockets were fired, officials told The Associated Press. An official with the Popular Mobilization Forces said its airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda, also died.”


  2. I’m sure it’ll be fine…..


    “BREAKING: Man Charged With Second Degree Manslaughter RELEASED From Prison Under Democrats’ ‘Bail Reform’”

    “On Thursday, a man charged with second degree manslaughter in connection to the murder of a 29-year-old Albany woman was released from jail after the judge overseeing the case reportedly claimed Democrats’ new “bail reform” legislation no longer allows her to keep the charged party in custody.

    “Happening now: Paul Barbaritano is being released on his own recognizance,” reported Spectrum News Albany reporter Jaclyn Cangro. “He is charged with 2nd degree manslaughter in connection to the death of Nicole Jennings.”

    “Barbaritano was being held at the Albany County Jail. The DA’s Office argued he made admissions that he ’caused’ Jennings’ death,” Cangro noted.

    According to the reporter, the judge “repeatedly said that’s no longer the burden for bail.”

    The Times-Union reported of Barbaritano, “A city man charged with second-degree manslaughter in the strangulation-and-stabbing death of a woman was released from jail Thursday under the new bail reforms that eliminated bail for that charge and most other felonies.””


  3. This explains so much, about Bernie’s supporters, and those educating America’s children.


  4. Nery interesting, especially this late in the game.

    So what dirt did they have on the judge becomes the question….


    “Judge Recuses Himself from Hunter Biden Paternity Case Without Explanation”

    “Arkansas Judge Don McSpadden recused himself without explanation Tuesday from Hunter Biden’s paternity case after ordering the son of former Vice President Joe Biden to hand over all income records over the past five years.

    McSpadden, of Independence County’s circuit court, had said that the handing over of financial information was in the well-being of 1-year-old “Baby Doe,” the child of Biden and Lunden Alexis Roberts, the plaintiff in the case. McSpadden also ordered that the financial information be under seal and only available to the attorneys in the case.

    Other individuals have attempted to use the case to get access to Biden’s financials.

    Private investigator Dominic Casey filed a motion to intervene on December 27, claiming that access to Biden’s financials show a “counterfeiting scheme” in Ukraine that accumulated a $150 million fortune. Another man, “defrauded investor” Joel Caplan, filed a different motion to intervene on behalf of other investors who were allegedly swindled by Biden in a “systemic, formulaic and Biblically-sized multi-billion dollar stock scheme” called “The China Hustle.” Caplan filed 64 pages of “exhibits” on Tuesday.

    McSpadden recused himself before ruling on either motion.”


  5. This may have been posted here and so I may be repeating a link (but I think I saw it shared elsewhere?). Who can remember anymore.

    Anyway, interesting ideas toward the end of this piece about how it may be time for the country to move toward a multiple-party system. The two parties are at extreme standoffs and this simply doesn’t bode well for a nation that needs, again, to find a way to govern itself through collaboration, not through the iron fist of power wielded by one side or the other.

    The days when both parties offered a range of liberal-moderate-conservative perspectives within them, at least as minority perspectives, is gone.



    America Is Now the Divided Republic the Framers Feared
    John Adams worried that “a division of the republic into two great parties … is to be dreaded as the great political evil.” And that’s exactly what has come to pass.

    JANUARY 2, 2020
    Lee Drutman
    Senior fellow at New America

    … Though America’s two-party system goes back centuries, the threat today is new and different because the two parties are now truly distinct, a development that I date to the 2010 midterms. Until then, the two parties contained enough overlapping multitudes within them that the sort of bargaining and coalition-building natural to multiparty democracy could work inside the two-party system. No more. America now has just two parties, and that’s it.

    The theory that guided Washington and Adams was simple, and widespread at the time. If a consistent partisan majority ever united to take control of the government, it would use its power to oppress the minority. The fragile consent of the governed would break down, and violence and authoritarianism would follow. This was how previous republics had fallen into civil wars, and the Framers were intent on learning from history, not repeating its mistakes. …

    … From the mid-1960s through the mid-’90s, American politics had something more like a four-party system, with liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alongside liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Conservative Mississippi Democrats and liberal New York Democrats might have disagreed more than they agreed in Congress, but they could still get elected on local brands. You could have once said the same thing about liberal Vermont Republicans and conservative Kansas Republicans. Depending on the issue, different coalitions were possible, which allowed for the kind of fluid bargaining the constitutional system requires.

    But that was before American politics became fully nationalized, a phenomenon that happened over several decades, powered in large part by a slow-moving post-civil-rights realignment of the two parties. National politics transformed from a compromise-oriented squabble over government spending into a zero-sum moral conflict over national culture and identity. As the conflict sharpened, the parties changed what they stood for. And as the parties changed, the conflict sharpened further. Liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats went extinct. The four-party system collapsed into just two parties. …

    … These triple developments—the nationalization of politics, the geographical-cultural partisan split, and consistently close elections—have reinforced one another, pushing both parties into top-down leadership, enforcing party discipline, and destroying cross-partisan deal making. Voters now vote the party, not the candidate. Candidates depend on the party brand. Everything is team loyalty. The stakes are too high for it to be otherwise.

    The consequence is that today, America has a genuine two-party system with no overlap, the development the Framers feared most. And it shows no signs of resolving. …

    … This is not a system of bargaining and compromise, but one of capitulation and stonewalling. …

    … Meanwhile, as hyper-partisanship has intensified legislative gridlock, more and more important decisions are left to the judiciary to resolve. This makes the stakes of Supreme Court appointments even higher (especially with lifetime tenure), leading to nastier confirmation battles, and thus higher-stakes elections. See how this all reinforces itself? That’s what makes it so tricky to resolve, at least in a two-party system with winner-take-all elections. …

    … Political science has come a long way since 1787. Had the Framers been able to draw on the accumulated wisdom of today, they would have accepted that it is impossible to have a modern mass democracy without political parties, much as they might have wanted it. Parties make democracy work by structuring politics, limiting policy and voting choices to a manageable number. They represent and engage diffuse citizens, bringing them together for a common purpose. Without political parties, politics turns chaotic and despotic. …

    … Had the Framers accepted the inevitability of political parties, and understood the relationship between electoral rules and the number of parties, I believe they would have attempted to institutionalize multiparty democracy. Certainly, Madison would have. “Federalist No. 10,” with its praise of fluid and flexible coalitions, is a vision of multiparty democracy.

    Read: America is not a democracy

    The good news is that nothing in the Constitution requires a two-party system, and nothing requires the country to hold simple plurality elections. The elections clause of the Constitution leaves states to decide their own rules, and reserves to Congress the power to intervene, a power that Congress has used over the years to enforce the very plurality-winner single-member districts that keep the two-party system in place and ensure that most elections are uncompetitive.

    If the country wanted to, it could move to a system of proportional representation for the very next congressional election. All it would take is an act of Congress. States could also act on their own.

    Multiparty democracy is not perfect. But it is far superior in supporting the diversity, bargaining, and compromise that the Framers, and especially Madison, designed America’s institutions around, and which they saw as essential to the fragile experiment of self-government.

    America has gone through several waves of political reform throughout its history. Today’s high levels of discontent and frustration suggest it may be on the verge of another. But the course of reform is always uncertain, and the key is understanding the problem that needs to be solved. In this case, the future of American democracy depends on heeding the warning of the past. The country must break the binary hyper-partisanship so at odds with its governing institutions, and so dangerous for self-governance. It must become a multiparty democracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. DJ – (I only read the excerpts you provided here, so maybe the article says this, too.) One problem is that the systems in most states make it very hard for other parties to gain inclusion on the ballot. They have to jump through hoops to get what the two main parties get as a matter of course. Those regulations need to be done away with.


  7. There needs to be a general consensus that we’re “stuck” and a stand-off between two completely partisan parties won’t be a very workable future (unless something else in the meantime shakes that up).

    I think the “3rd parties” we’ve seen in recent decades are even more extremist than the 2 major parties are now so they’ve had little magnetism for the general voter, I think. What he’s envisioning in this piece, I think, is more centrist/moderate parties taking voters from both the GOP and Dems who feel they no longer have much of a voice. Thus you’d have more of a range of views covering the spectrum; one party on one far end or the other no longer would have the hope of controlling everything, at least for a short time, but it would provide a better way forward if the country wants to survive and continue to have some sanity left. Right now, moderates on either side are pushed out, essentially. And the tenor of the election seasons debates (and in between) as a result has become distressing as no way forward seems acceptable to the majority.

    In the past, we essentially had ‘4’ parties (the writer argues) because the major parties each had a range of political views on various issues that were acceptable within the ranks. Thus collaboration happened across party lines not uncommonly.

    Now? No way.

    The expansion of additional/reasonable party choices would have to almost organically take place (and states would have to look to that kind of a future by consensus), so it’s not an easy fix. But if the current atmosphere continues much longer, we’ll all be ready for the asylum!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It could be that both parties step back and reform from within, of course, becoming less strident. I think it remains unclear what the GOP will even look like post-Trump. And the Democrats seem to be remaking themselves as a reaction to Trump.

    So maybe the dust will settle in another decade or so, who knows.


  9. In my state, we now have what’s called a “jungle primary” which is completely unfair to the minority party, whichever one it may be in a particular jurisdiction. My choices are often liberal Democrat No. 1 vs. liberal Democrat No. 2. I leave a lot of my ballot blank anymore.


  10. In most states all parties are required to garner the necessary number of signatures to get on the ballot. This applies to all parties. If your ( insert 3rd party name here) cant then I weren’t winning anyway. The rules are the same. But 3rd parties lack the numbers. That’s the rules and they won’t change, so prepare better and get on the ballot. Whining about the law does nothing. Get the form and start knocking on doors.


  11. The author, however, is saying we may be on the brink of a political change that would open the way for additional mainstream parties — not the wacky 3rd parties living on the edge that we’ve known for several decades — to spring up out of necessity in the wake of what’s happening to our two “main” parties.

    Wouldn’t happen overnight — and perhaps the 2 parties will recalibrate in the next 10 years and things will even out a bit more. But the political and governing situation we find ourselves in now feels pretty hopeless to many of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m thinking valid breakaway movements from both parties, led by folks who already are in political leadership roles.


  13. Ross Perot’s Reform Party of the 90’s wasn’t extremist. Why did it not get more traction? Did it lack clear distinctives? Might it do better now?


  14. DJ, does the “jungle primary” apply to all offices within California? What about your Congressmen, and your local city races? I only heard about it for electing the governor.


  15. Ross Perot was an odd duck, but perhaps that kind of a movement would do better in a different environment. The 1990s seem semi-normal to me (politically) now in retrospect.

    This climate we’re in now is disconcerting, to say the least.

    Yes, the ‘jungle’ primary here includes congressional and state Assembly/Senate races — most city/county races are nonpartisan. It calls for the “top 2 vote getters” in the primary to go against each other in the general election. Because I live in an overwhelming Democratic area, it’s always a Democrat against another Democrat. I shrug and move on the the next line, feeling more than a bit disenfranchised.

    Oddly, it was adopted as a way (purportedly) to attract more moderates, independents and centrists into the races but it hasn’t exactly worked that way from what I can tell. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the main supporters of the change.


  16. Speaking of Ross Perot, many people think he is the reason Clinton won. But polls actually showed that he drew a greater percentage of Democrats than Republicans.


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