Compromised Political Leaders – Fall Of 55 Wed, 23 Nov 2022 03:51:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Compromised Political Leaders – Fall Of 55 32 32 ‘Reckless and irresponsible’: Government rushes through 24 bills after Queen’s death causes waste of time Wed, 23 Nov 2022 03:18:33 +0000 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admits there is “confusion” over the Three Waters Bill and has asked for the scope to be clarified. Video / Mark Mitchell

The government is rushing through 24 bills, some without public submission, after an emergency motion passed in the House.

The motion, introduced by House Leader Chris Hipkins, dramatically extended the time the House sat to allow the 24 bills – all in varying stages of progress – to be debated.

Hipkins said the urgency was needed after a week of House sitting time was lost when Queen Elizabeth II died on September 9.

However, this meant that four bills would advance without going through the select committee process, allowing the public to have a say in the proposed legislation.

The House moving with urgency had drawn fierce criticism from all other parties in Parliament, all of whom opposed the motion in the House yesterday, but it passed with Labor holding the majority needed for the vote. Bedroom.

Bills progressing through all stages – which included first, second and third readings, select committee and committee of the whole – included the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (Healthy Homes Standards ), which offered a 12-month extension to the state owner. Kāinga Ora and private landlords must comply with health house standards.

The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill was also included, which delayed the implementation of the Clean Car Standard, an emissions standard for imported vehicles, to give importers more time.

The other two bills, Social Security (Accommodation Supplement) Amendment Bill and Covid-19 Public Health Response (Extension of Act and Reduction of Powers) Amendment Bill, related to accommodation supplements for spouses of people receiving residential care from long-lasting and reducing the Covid-19 powers of government such as lockdowns, respectively.

House Leader Chris Hipkins raised the emergency motion.  Photo/Mark Mitchell
House Leader Chris Hipkins raised the emergency motion. Photo/Mark Mitchell

“It’s a necessary step because we want some bills to go to select committee this year,” Hipkins said of the urgency.

“Some of the bills are administrative and four bills will pass directly without going to select committee, including a minor technical bill which ensures that the housing supplement for certain people is not interrupted.

Daily sitting hours could run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., including a two-hour break, starting Wednesday and could last until Saturday.

Among the bills was the Water Services Entities Bill, which contained the controversial proposal to transfer the governance and management of New Zealand’s drinking water, waste water and storm water from the local councils to four regional entities.

The bill, often called Three Waters, had received more than 88,000 public submissions through the select committee process.

It was currently going through the House Committee of the Whole, when MPs considered the bill in detail and voted on the proposed changes. It would go to third reading in December.

Two of the bills that went through emergency first reading this week had implications for the country’s cost of living crisis.

Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods.  Photo/NZME
Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. Photo/NZME

The Fuels Sector Amendment Bill introduced several changes to the sector, including empowering the Commerce Commission to improve the safety and accessibility of the sector, strengthening the resilience of the fuel supply of the countries and delaying emissions reduction plans to ensure the costs are not passed on to consumers. higher fuel prices.

The Grocery Industry Competition Bill created a Grocery Commissioner to compel supermarkets to offer fairer prices, in addition to facilitating market competition for smaller retailers.

The Weapons License Holders Weapons License Applications Amendment Bill, introduced to maintain the validity of current firearms licenses after expiration due to a backlog in the licensing system, had been considered by a select committee, but was due to go through second reading, committee stage and third reading this week.

Te Pāti Māori (the Māori party) had criticized the move towards emergency with co-leader Rawiri Waititi calling it “dangerous and reckless legislation”.

He feared this would have a detrimental impact on Maori, as the ability to debate bills and find evidence was compromised in the rush, he said.

“As tangata whenua, we are at the mercy of these big parties,” said co-leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer.

“It’s being pushed because the government hasn’t done what it was supposed to do – legislate.”

National Party leader Christopher Luxon.  Photo/Mike Scott
National Party leader Christopher Luxon. Photo/Mike Scott

National leader Christopher Luxon said passing the emergency legislation was “irresponsible” and “completely crazy”, especially with Three Waters.

“The government hasn’t listened, the Prime Minister can no longer explain the components that are being added, at the last minute they should stop and they should sit down with the advice and find an appropriate and lasting solution.”

Chief Law Officer David Seymour said it showed the government was disorganized and would lead to legislation that lacked scrutiny.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson thought the 24 bills would have taken more than a week of House time and was saddened to see the government resort to urgent debate.

“We want a solid debate and I don’t know how 120 MPs have locked themselves into [Parliament] for such long hours is going to provide the level of debate that is also required.

Hipkins, responding to criticism, said the bills going through all stages this week were “largely technical in nature” and “relatively uncontroversial.”

“I would be surprised if anyone was surprised,” Hipkins said, when asked if the public would be surprised by what was included in the bills moving through all stages.

Why do Poland and the Baltic countries want a victory for Ukraine? Sat, 19 Nov 2022 19:46:47 +0000

The midterm elections in the United States have seen very thin races as the control of the Senate and the House are at stake. But that did not deter President Biden from holding a press conference on Wednesday to claim that the “giant red wave” did not occur.

Biden said, “Democrats had a great night. And we lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than in the first midterm election for a Democratic president in 40 years. And we’ve had the best midterms for governors since 1986.”

Biden, however, avoided triumphant rhetoric and pledged “to keep working across the aisle… (although) it’s not always easy.”

For world capitals, Biden’s remarks regarding Ukraine were the most anticipated segment. In short, Biden was far from adamant that the Republicans who now control the House would be cooperative.

He said, “I am ready to work with my fellow Republicans. The American people have made it clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me as well. In the area of ​​foreign policy, I hope we will continue this bipartisan approach to dealing with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

When asked if US military aid to Ukraine would continue uninterrupted, Biden simply replied, “That’s my expectation.” He claimed the United States did not give Ukraine “a black check” and only equipped kyiv to have “the rational ability to defend itself”.

Biden had an impressive record as a senator in building coalitions in Congress. But today, his candidacy for a second term as president stands in the way. If he chooses to run in 2024, that would leave Republicans no choice but to viscerally oppose him — personally and politically.

Biden made some interesting comments about the announcement in Moscow earlier Wednesday regarding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson. Biden said Russia’s move was in line with expectations and the interesting part is that Moscow waited until the midterms were over.

Biden avoided giving a straight answer when asked if the Russian evacuation would give kyiv the clout to begin peace talks with Moscow. But neither did he refute such a line of thought. Instead, Biden added that “at a minimum, this (the evacuation) will allow everyone time to recalibrate their positions during the winter period. And it remains to be seen whether or not there will be a judgment on whether or not Ukraine is ready to compromise with Russia. (Emphasis added.)

Biden said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali (November 15-16) there could be consultations with world leaders, although Putin himself would not be there. Indeed, a sort of diplomatic message is underway. In fact, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Tass on Thursday that “it has been decided that Russia will be represented by (Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov at the G20 summit.”

Biden responded to a second question about the Kherson developments to further say that the Russian evacuation will not only help the parties ‘heal their wounds’, but ‘decide if – what they are going to do during the winter, and decide whether or not they’ concerning go to compromise.” (Emphasis added.)

Notably, Biden twice spoke of kyiv’s “compromise” (read territorial concessions), which is a major departure from the US position that Russian forces should exit Ukraine. Biden concluded, “That’s — that’s what’s going to happen, whether it is or not. I don’t know what they will do. And–but I know one thing: we’re not going to tell them what to do.

Taken together, Biden’s remarks are consistent with NBC News Wednesday’s “scoop,” citing knowledgeable sources, that during National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s unannounced visit to Kyiv last week, he investigated the preparing Ukraine for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

NBC reported that Sullivan was exploring options for ending the conflict and the possibility of entering into negotiations and raised the need for a diplomatic settlement in meetings with Ukrainian officials. He said some US and Western officials increasingly believe that neither Kyiv nor Moscow can achieve all of their goals, and that the winter slowdown in hostilities could provide a window of opportunity to begin negotiations.

Interestingly, Kremlin-funded RT quickly picked up NBC’s report and highlighted it. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also commented: “We are always open to negotiations, we have never refused them, we are ready to conduct them – taking into account, of course, the realities that are being established at this time”.

The Russian authorities continue to assert that the evacuation of their forces to Kherson is purely for security reasons. The responsibility was placed on the recommendation of Army General Sergey Surovikin, the commander of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. The general claimed in a televised speech that the evacuation of Kherson creates stronger defensive lines for the troops and will save the lives of soldiers and civilians.

Suffice to say, Lavrov’s presence in Bali will be of paramount importance. Presumably, he will have contacts with Western counterparts. Indeed, Biden’s remarks on the territorial compromise signal a sea change in the calculus.

In addition, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while opening a discussion with the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday about the possibility of peace between Ukraine and Russia, confirmed that there is indeed “a window of opportunity for trading”. ” to advance.

The general urged: “When there is an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it. Seize the moment.” True, he spoke with an eye on the Russian military command.

The backdrop is that Democrats’ loss of control of the House of Representatives prevents them from freely advancing the Biden administration’s foreign policy line, including aid to Ukraine. Now, Biden will have to negotiate decisions on Ukraine with Republicans. It’s a thing.

Second, the cascading economic crisis in Europe harbors explosive potential for political unrest, especially if there is another flow of refugees from Ukraine in the harsh winter conditions, which is a real possibility.

The backlash from sanctions on Russia has mortally wounded Europe, and bluster aside, there really is no replacement for cheap, reliable, and plentiful Russian energy supplies via pipelines.

All this becomes extremely important for Western unity. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s recent visit to China shows that dissent is simmering.

Above all, the massive Russian mobilization threatens to give a knockout blow to the Ukrainian army, but the Europeans have no appetite for a confrontation with Russia.

The UK, Washington’s staunch ally in Ukraine, is also under immense pressure to disengage and focus on the domestic crisis as the new government tackles a £50bn funding hole. in the budget.

Going forward, the notions of regime change in Moscow that Biden once publicly espoused and the neocon project to “cancel” Russia have hit the wall and crumbled. That said, the United States can take comfort in the fact that the Russian withdrawal from west of the Dnieper implies that Moscow has no intention of doing anything about Nikolaev, let alone Odessa, at least short term.

On the other hand, if Ukrainian forces surge and occupy Kherson and threaten Crimea, that will pose a big challenge to the Biden administration. From Biden’s remarks, Le is confident he has enough clout in Kyiv to ensure there is no escalation.

For the moment, it is premature to estimate that Moscow took the bitter decision to abandon the city of Kherson, founded by a decree of Catherine the Great and deeply engraved in the Russian collective consciousness, only with a reasonable certainty that Washington will hold kyiv back from the “hard pursuit” of the retreating Russian army to the eastern banks of the Dnieper.

Indian fist bump

McConnell reelected GOP leader to the Senate; Scott’s offer rejected | Policy Wed, 16 Nov 2022 18:06:00 +0000

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Mitch McConnell won re-election as Republican leader on Wednesday, overruling a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the GOP Senate campaign leader criticized for his party’s midterm election failures. .

Retreating to the Capitol’s former Senate Chamber for the private vote, Republicans had faced infighting after a disappointing performance in last week’s election that maintained control of the Senate with Democrats.

McConnell, of Kentucky, easily brushed off Scott’s challenge in the first-ever attempt to oust him after many years as GOP leader. Senators initially rejected an attempt by McConnell’s critics to delay a leadership pick until after Georgia’s second-round senatorial election next month.

The unrest is similar to the uproar among House Republicans in the aftermath of the midterm elections that left the party divided over former President Donald Trump’s hold on the party. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy has won his colleagues’ nomination to run for House Speaker as Republicans are poised to grab a majority in the House, but he faces a backlash. strong opposition from a core of right-wing Republicans unconvinced of his leadership.

On Wednesday, senators first considered a motion by Scott’s ally, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, to delay leadership votes until after Georgia’s Dec. 6 election runoff between Republican Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. determine the final composition of the Senate. Walker was eligible to vote in the leadership election, but was not required to be present.

There were 49 GOP senators scheduled to vote, including senators newly elected to town this week but not yet sworn in and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was eligible even though her run against Republican Kelly Tshibaka did not not yet been called. No more than 10 Republican senators, among some of the most conservative figures and those aligned with Trump, were expected to join the revolt.

Senators also elected other members of the Republican leadership. The Democrats have postponed their internal elections after Thanksgiving.

McConnell’s top ranks are expected to remain stable, with Sen. John Thune, RS.D., as GOP whip, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., in third place as chairman of the GOP conference. GOP. Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines was to take over Scott’s campaign operation.

Scott’s challenge, who has been urged by Trump to take on McConnell, has deepened a long-running feud between Scott, who led the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm this year, and McConnell over the party’s approach to trying to recover the majority in the Senate.

“If you just want to stick with the status quo, don’t vote for me,” Scott said in a letter to Senate Republicans posing as a protest vote against McConnell.

Wayward conservatives in the chamber have denounced McConnell’s handling of the election, as well as his iron grip on the Senate Republican caucus.

Trump has been pushing for the party to drop McConnell ever since the Senate leader delivered a scathing speech blaming President Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Yet it represented an unusual direct challenge to McConnell’s authority. He would become the longest-serving Senate leader in history when the new Congress convenes next year.

Scott and McConnell exchanged what their colleagues described as “candid” and “animated” barbs during a lengthy private lunch of GOP senators on Tuesday that lasted several hours. They argued mid-term, the quality of the GOP candidates who ran and their differences on fundraising.

Over lunch, about 20 senators presented their individual cases for the two men. Some members have directly challenged Scott in McConnell’s defense, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who questioned the Florida senator’s handling of the campaign arm, according to a person familiar with the meeting and on condition of anonymity. to talk about it.

Among the many reasons Scott listed for mounting a challenge is that Republicans compromised too much with Democrats in the last Congress – producing bills that President Joe Biden considered successes and that Democrats ran in the 2022 elections.

The feud between Scott and McConnell has been going on for months and came to a head as election results showed there would be no Republican wave in the Senate as Scott predicted, according to top Republican strategists who were not authorized to discuss internal issues by name and insisted on anonymity.

The feud began shortly after Scott took over the party committee following the 2020 election. Many in the party viewed his rise as an effort to build his national political profile and donor network ahead of a potential presidential bid in 2024. Some were angered by the committee’s promotional material that was heavy on Scott’s own biography, while focusing less on the candidates running for office.

Then came Scott’s release of an 11-point plan earlier this year, which called for modest tax increases for many of the lowest-paid Americans, while opening the door to cuts in Social Security and of Medicare, which McConnell quickly repudiated even as he refused to offer his own agenda.

The feud was prompted in part by frayed confidence in Scott’s leadership, as well as the poor finances of the committee, which was $20 million in debt, according to a senior Republican consultant.

Follow AP coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at And check out to learn more about the midterm issues and factors at play.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

What Sunak’s personality could mean for British politics Mon, 14 Nov 2022 06:06:04 +0000

Where Sunak differs from Truss, Johnson and the average of other prime ministers (including Thatcher and Blair) is in his high level of distrust. This means that Sunak is less likely to trust and work closely with his advisers, political opponents, parliament and other world leaders than his predecessors. Sunak’s level of mistrust is not as high as that of some other leaders, such as Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte, but his score is above average when compared to 284 leaders around the world.

Distrustful leaders are also prone to perceive external threats and engage in aggressive foreign policies. They are also particularly susceptible to pursuing external aggression when their country experiences economic downturns. This is especially true for leaders whose thinking is less nuanced, like Sunak. An aggressive foreign policy in times of economic downturn is a form of diversionary foreign policy. Foster and Keller’s research has shown that this combination of distrustful leaders and bad economies produces diversionary foreign policies in both countries. WE. and the UK. Diversionary foreign policy does not necessarily mean the use of military means, but it does mean that Sunak can be confrontational abroad to deflect attention from economic woes at home.

There is no doubt that the UK will continue to face extraordinary challenges. Changes in leadership during difficult times are often accompanied by a hopeful sigh of relief, and we anticipate potential positive and negative results from Sunak’s personality profile. Sunak’s simplistic thinking, focus on relationships, propensity to defy constraints, and distrustful character could push him toward much-needed decisive action without being distracted by critics, doubting advisers, and deceptive adversaries. But they could also be catastrophic if he doggedly pursues ill-advised policies that exacerbate rather than ameliorate the difficult times ahead. Either way, understanding Sunak’s leadership profile and his similarities and differences with other UK prime ministers can provide valuable insights to help us make sense of future UK policies and responses to the challenges he faces. is confronted.


about the authors

Consuelo Thiers is a Fellow in International Security at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI). Visit their website.

Juliette KaarboJuliet Kaarbo is Professor of International Relations with a Chair in Foreign Policy at the University of Edinburgh and founding co-director of the Scottish Council on Global Affairs. Visit their website.

Ryan BeasleyRyan Beasley is a senior lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Visit their website.

Pictured: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives at Downing Street. Photo by Lauren Hurley/No 10 Downing Street. Taken from Flickr and licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Fox and Biden guilty of hyped up midterm election results Tue, 08 Nov 2022 11:32:00 +0000


Editorials and other opinion content offer viewpoints on issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters.

Leave it to Fox News to find a way to take the 2022 Election Day hype to a whole new level.

“This one night could change the course of history,” says a presenter in an advertisement for coverage of Tuesday’s vote count.

Fox is not alone, of course. Talk show hosts, candidates and activists want you to think that the fate of the universe depends on which party holds 51 or 49 Senate seats and who wins the race for governor of Oregon.

President Joe Biden, who never misses an opportunity to exaggerate, trotted out the classic line over the weekend: “Two days until the most important election of our lifetimes.”

This one is as old and tired as it looks. As the president likes to say: Come on, man.

President Joe Biden, speaking at a November 6 campaign event for New York Governor Kathy Hochul at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY, called Tuesday “the most important election of our lifetimes.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky PA

It is only natural that those who invest so much time, energy and money in campaigns present them like this. But it’s bad for our body politic and our sanity that every election is portrayed as the last train stop before Armageddon.

No matter what happens Tuesday night, daily life will continue much the same on Wednesday and Thursday. We will have more elections in two years, despite the president’s alarmism about “democracy”. (It’s a weird definition of democracy that says it only matters if one party wins, but both of our parties have backed off in that corner.)

And whether it’s Democrat Chuck Schumer or Republican Mitch McConnell running the Senate, your life won’t be much affected either way. A divided government means a little less is done on some things, a little compromise happens on others. And anyway, everyone immediately starts looking towards the next election, even if they tried to scare you that it might be canceled.

I was guilty of that hype, too. Somewhere in a box in my garage is probably more than one election news coverage shot in which I’ve written all sorts of big words about the majesty of democracy and the fate of the Republic. But I can’t remember how the 2006 midterms changed the course of history.

I don’t want to diminish the importance of the vote or the seriousness of our problems. We desperately need progress to contain inflation, create a healthy immigration system, reduce crime and improve schools. It is important to know who makes the policy at all levels.

But progress in our system is intentionally slow. An election is not supposed to change the trajectory of humanity. When leaders and pundits constantly declare that one outcome will be glory and the other doomsday, and nothing happens, you get even more cynicism.

And that we have extra.

The structural crises of our politics are real. Congress is not functioning well, every party is overly influenced by extremists, and the growing risk of political violence is frightening. But the answers are not in this election or any other.

No, it is increasingly clear, our fractured politics is only a reflection of something that is cracking in our society. We are divided and afraid of each other.

Consider these data points. In 2021, the bipartisan Battleground poll asked respondents if they thought “compromise and common ground should be the goal of political leaders,” and 66% said yes.

Next, pollsters asked whether voters were “tired of leaders compromising my values ​​and ideals” and whether they “want leaders who will stand up to the other side.” Again, 66% agreed.

If you were a member of Congress, what would you do with it?

The good news is that more recent polls have found that more voters, forced to choose, favor compromise, around 2:1. But then four in five members of either party told NBC News pollsters last month that the other party’s agenda threatened to destroy the country.

It’s more than politics. Although good leaders can help us out, with these kinds of numbers we will continue to elect those who fuel anger and mistrust.

So go ahead. Vote as if it were the final or most important election, or both.

But take a second and ask yourself: is this true? And if it isn’t, why are so many politicians trying so hard to convince you that it is?

Ryan J. Rusak is opinion writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He grew up in Benbrook and graduated from TCU. He spent more than 15 years as a political reporter, overseeing coverage of four presidential elections and several sessions of the Texas Legislative Assembly. He lives in East Fort Worth.

]]> Home Energy Yields Pendulum Model to Particle Accelerator Model Tue, 01 Nov 2022 23:20:14 +0000

While preparing for a talk on the relationship between House Speakers and the Rules Committee (subtitled “The Chairpersons Committee?”), I took the opportunity to re-read two stories from the Congressional Research Service – one from the House and the other from the Rules Committee, published in 1965 and 1983 respectively.

What jumped out at me was the underlying theme of the pendulum swinging in power, alternating between committee-centric and party-centric system dominance. It was an action-reaction tale of how when one form of power became obsolete, unpopular or authoritarian, there was a revolt that shifted power to another place – from committees to chiefs of gone, and vice versa.

When asked during the question-and-answer period at the end of my speech if there was any hope of reversing what I had described as the highly polarized, hyper-partisan and even vicious political environment today, I hesitated before answering. I finally replied that I saw no chance of the pendulum returning to the collegial and deliberative mode of the previous laws.

Digging deeper into the matter later, I concluded that the pendulum metaphor needs to be retired and a new metaphor is needed to describe the current dangerous escalation of partisan vitriol, demonization and confrontation, which usually ends in deadlock. It is more like the particle accelerator (aka “atom smasher”) – a device in which beams of protons and antiprotons are set in motion in a vacuum chamber at very high speeds, moving in opposite directions , until a magnetically induced collision is triggered.

This is how I see the two parties in Congress today – moving at an accelerating pace in opposite directions and clashing every two years at the polls. The main difference, however, is that particle accelerators are beneficial in basic scientific and medical research and in the treatment of cancer. The political version seems to have no redeeming value socially or politically.

Yes, collisions produce shifts in party control over Congress. Unlike the pendulum phenomenon, however, there is no noticeable change in the functioning of the institution: the parties simply exchange the textbooks of the majority and the minority, then proceed as before, preparing for the next collision two years later.

While preparing for this same speech, I came across a plausible answer in a 2020 CRS report titled “The ‘Regular Order’: A Perspective,” by Senior Specialist Walter Oleszek. In addressing the question of why a return to the old regular order of deliberative legislation does not seem likely, Oleszek cites a number of factors or variables that have been added to the mix over the past few decades that significantly complicate the things. These range from the growth of partisan media and the proliferation of lobbyists and special interest groups, to the breakdown of social interactions among members, to the growing polarization and electoral volatility of the general public.

This last factor, electoral volatility, tells us a lot about what has changed over the past four decades. Oleszek notes that in the last 20 Congresses (1981-2020), each party has held the House 10 different times, and Republicans have held the Senate 11 times and Democrats have held nine.

Oleszek quotes a political analyst as saying: “Once a political party has decided on the path to government, it wins back the majority [and] not working with the existing majority, the incentives change. Instead of cultivating good relations with your colleagues opposite, you must destroy them [politically] because you have to convince voters to destroy them too.

According to this theory, when one political party or the other controls Congress for long periods of time, both parties have an incentive to work together for bipartisan compromises that will be more acceptable to the general populace than would be partisan solutions. This is how the House operated for much of the 20th century, when a conservative coalition of southern Democrats and Republicans compromised and forged bipartisan consensus solutions.

But this model was understandably challenged by a large cohort of newly elected Liberal Democrats in 1974 (“Watergate babies”) who had been educated in the need for a “more accountable two-party system”. John Lawrence’s book, “The Class of 1974”, is subtitled “Congress After Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship”. Gone is the seniority system to elevate senior committee members (usually Southerners) to committee chairs, and committee appointments and political decision-making through secret Democratic caucuses (“King Caucus”) . Another feature was more transparency in the commissions and in the field.

By 1979, however, the new openness had critics, even among liberals, who thought far too much time was taken up in protracted debates and amendments. A group of about 40 members wrote to the president and asked for less open amendment rules from the Rules Committee and more restrictive or structured rules in which only specific amendments were allowed.

The move sparked a backlash from minority Republicans who saw it as a suppression of the democratic process and members’ rights. It was a trend that would only accelerate, even when Republicans finally took majority control of the House in 1995. The House partisan accelerator was activated, setting the two parties on an inexorable collision course. .

While the physical metaphors of pendulums and particle accelerators have been helpful for the purposes of this column, our political system is not a machine operating independently of those who control the real levers of power. It is the people who ultimately pull the strings that determine the direction our country and its government will take.

Don Wolfensberger is a Congressional Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former staff director of the House Rules Committee, and author of “Changing Cultures in Congress: From Fair Play to Power Plays.” The opinions expressed are solely his own.

Democrats want drastic sanctions for Saudis, but breaking with the kingdom is not so easy | national news Tue, 18 Oct 2022 14:56:00 +0000

President Franklin Roosevelt first met the King of Saudi Arabia in the closing months of World War II, ostensibly to have the ambitious American leader secure a place in British-held Palestine for 10,000 displaced Jews.

But what emerged from the fateful meeting of February 1945 – apart from a deep personal relationship between leaders who saw each other as like-minded – became one of the most important and enduring global arrangements of the last century. , well beyond the “weapons and oil security” the two countries negotiated aboard the USS Quincy.

“More important, in a sense, for the long term was the American belief that an oil shortage was still on the horizon,” historian Scott Montgomery of the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies told Reuters. History in 2018, based on stories. of the time, “and could only really be mediated by the gigantic, cheaply mined reserves beneath the Saudi desert”.

Rarely have these fears materialized as abruptly as they did over the past month, following the deadly decision by the OPEC+ oil-producing cartel orchestrated by Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut production and effectively raising US gas prices – a not-so-subtle scheme weeks before the US midterm elections – at a time when the West seeks to punish Moscow for its devastating invasion of Ukraine.

The move angered a wide range of U.S. political leaders, particularly Democrats, fearing back-to-back losses in November. They now seem more ready than ever to dismantle an 80-year relationship that is one of America’s most transactional – and, most would say, morally compromised – centered around more than $100 billion in sales deals. active weapons.

Several current and former officials and analysts believe the move is long overdue.

“Too often, American security cooperation is seen as a right and not the instrument of American foreign policy that it really is,” says Elias Yousif, research analyst at the think tank’s Conventional Defense Program. Stimson Center. “The serious misalignment of interests between Washington and Riyadh, exemplified by the OPEC+ energy production cuts, suggests that the status quo arms relationship is not fit for purpose and needs to be seriously reconsidered. “

Across a wide range of congressional leaders, calls have grown in volume and seriousness for the United States to suspend military relations with Saudi Arabia during the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, or May -be even sever them completely as punishment for his last acts of disloyalty.

“This idea that they’re going to raise our gas prices and we’re supposed to look the other way and call them good old boys – to hell with that,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democrat n Room 2, told CNN last week. “I mean it’s a terrible diet. It’s a 21st century kingdom that should be bankrupt.

Usually moderate Senator Richard Blumenthal, in an interview with CNN on Thursday, called the OPEC+ decision “a big Saudi blunder that goes against their own interests, as well as a threat to the global economy. “.

“That should be a catalyst to rethink this whole relationship with Saudi Arabia,” the Connecticut Democrat said. “We transferred technology to the Saudis in massive quantities, very sensitive weapons that we would never want to see fall into the hands of the Russians, who now apparently are good friends of the Saudis, if not allies.”

The ruling government in Riyadh, made up of ties and branches of the ruling family, expressed surprise at the chorus of outrage.

“We are astonished by the accusations that the kingdom is standing with Russia in its war against Ukraine,” Saudi defense chief Khalid bin Salman said. wrote in a post on Twitter. “It is telling that these false accusations do not come from the Ukrainian government.”

The Saudi minister linked to what has become a common message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which he thanked the kingdom for its financial and diplomatic support, in this case $400 million in humanitarian aid. This type of engagement represents the latest example of how the kingdom often tries to support multiple aspects of the same issue externally and sometimes follows through on its promises.

However, the damage seems irreversible. Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, threatened last week not to approve further arms sales to the kingdom “beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend American personnel and interests” until to ‘reassess his stance on the war in Ukraine.’

“Enough is enough,” said the New Jersey Democrat.

But, as Menendez discusses, the move is not without complications, aside from the mutually lucrative economic benefits of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, commonly known among US military leaders as one of the ” Anchor States” of the region.

More than 3,000 US troops are also based there at a handful of bases, representing a strategic boon to operations in the region. They also serve as perhaps the most tangible symbol of an endorsement of US foreign policy in a predominantly Muslim region by the royal house which declares itself the protector of Islam’s holiest sites.

“I fear indeed that we are overreacting to the Saudis at this point,” says Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “I don’t really see any way to meet the current challenge of world affairs without their help or at least their benign role.”

“MBS killed one person – or maybe a few. Putin has killed tens of thousands and threatens millions,” O’Hanlon adds. “We may need to choose the lesser of the two evils in order to more effectively address the larger problem or threat.”

Tensions escalated after a US administration under Donald Trump that enjoyed its business with Gulf hegemony gave way to President Joe Biden, who sought to distance himself from reliance on fossil fuels. The current White House has instead called out Riyadh for its dismal human rights record, including the crown prince’s complicity in the gruesome 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident.

On Thursday, Biden said his administration was “about to talk” to Saudi Arabia about recalibrating its current relationship following the OPEC+ decision, without providing further details. However, administration spokespersons have since confirmed that it is in fact considering following up on such drastic threats.

“Arms sales will definitely be one of the options that we will look at to see if that needs to be recalibrated,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told Fox News.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, however, told CNN on Sunday that Biden has no plans to meet his Saudi counterpart at the G20 economic bloc summit in Indonesia next month.

“The president is not going to rush it,” Sullivan said. “He’s going to move methodically, strategically, and he’s going to take his time to consult with members of both parties and also to have the opportunity for Congress to come back so he can sit down with them in person and work out the options. .”

Meanwhile, other political leaders have warned of the dangers of a complete abandonment of US-Saudi relations.

Representative Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview with CNN last week that he agreed the United States needed to put pressure on the Saudi government.

“But what that would mean in the short term is that Saudi Arabia would be in a position where they would be closer to Russia and closer to China and further away from us,” the Washington Democrat said.

“I guess you could say the leverage we have over Saudi Arabia is that we could stop selling them weapons, but we’re not the only ones in the world selling weapons,” Smith added. “There would definitely be a tricky transition for Saudi Arabia. The weapon systems are not interchangeable. But they would go in that direction.

Analysts generally agree with Smith’s point on interoperability. The nearly century-long reliance on American-made military equipment would make it difficult for the Saudis to suddenly start trying to integrate Russian or Chinese-made weapons – a quagmire currently facing India. and Ukraine as they try to break away from their Soviet Union. the era of stocks towards more Western military technology.

And, many add, the Saudis remain pragmatic.

“They know the United States is still at the forefront of producing high-quality, sophisticated weapons,” says Colin Clarke, senior researcher at private intelligence firm The Soufan Group.

“I also don’t think Russia’s military performance gives Saudi Arabia much comfort, because the way Russia fought in Ukraine, I don’t think we can consider Moscow as a so-called ‘great power’ anymore. “,” adds Clarke. “There is a slim possibility that China will usurp the United States in the Gulf, but I think that is still many years away. Also, for Beijing, be careful what you wish for, you might get it. Becoming the guarantor of security for countries like Saudi Arabia can be thankless and comes with serious strings attached.

Ash Carter, who served as President Barack Obama’s last Secretary of Defense, lamented the United States’ current reliance on Saudi Arabia in a book he published in 2019 and called for the “rebalance”.

“I am not advocating a complete break with the Saudis,” he wrote at the time. “We remain essential to their security, and they remain important players in the Middle East due to their size, strategic location, wealth and the fact that they are home to the two holiest places in Islam. “

“But we have to be realistic about the extent of their importance to us, and not be swayed by their skills as propagandists and lobbyists,” Carter added, noting how Saudi leaders “offer politicians, journalists and American think tanks abundant liquidity”. “As for the US arms sale to Saudi Arabia, which seems to be so big in President Trump’s thinking, I support them. But US arms sales are not a gift we give to the Saudis. , nor an act of generosity on the part of the Saudis. These are simple mutually beneficial and balanced transactions, and they should be considered as such, no more and no less.

He noted the controversy surrounding the crown prince, particularly in relation to Khashoggi’s murder.

“Whatever happens to MBS, our relationship with Saudi Arabia is likely to remain troubled,” Carter concluded, “two partners who share certain values ​​while being deeply at odds with others, hitched uncomfortably by the mutual need for friends in a part of the world where friends are hard to come by.

Live Updates: China Launches 20th Communist Party Congress Sun, 16 Oct 2022 03:34:00 +0000

China’s online censorship has accelerated after a rare protest took place on a busy overpass in Beijing, which openly criticized Xi Jinping’s uncompromising policies and authoritarian rule, stoking pent-up tensions among the Chinese audience.

Photos circulated on Twitter on Thursday showing two protest banners strewn across Sitong Bridge in Beijing’s Haidian district in broad daylight, with plumes of smoke billowing from the bridge.

“Say no to the Covid test, yes to the food. No to confinement, yes to freedom. No to lies, yes to dignity. No to cultural revolution, yes to reform. No to the great leader, yes to the vote. Don’t be a slave, be a citizen,” one banner read.

“Go on strike, depose dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping,” reads the other.

When CNN arrived at the Sitong Bridge around 3.30pm on Thursday, no protesters or banners could be seen – as if nothing had happened.

A bit of context: Public protests against top leaders are extremely rare in China, with dissenters facing imprisonment or worse.

Thursday’s display of discontent was even starker ahead of important political meetings, when authorities turn Beijing into a fortress to maintain security and stability.

Censorship: Chinese social media users have spoken out to express their support and admiration for the brazen challenge. Some shared Chinese pop hit ‘Lonely Warrior’ in a veiled reference to the protester, whom some called a ‘hero’, while others vowed never to forget him, posting under the hashtag: ‘I have seen”.

Many posts have been deleted and accounts suspended indefinitely after commenting on – or alluding to – the protest on Chinese social media such as Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, and WeChat, the super app.

The keywords were immediately excluded from search results on apps, such as “Sitong Bridge” and “Haidian” – the site of the protest. Terms like “Beijing”, “warrior”, “brave man” and even “courage” have also been restricted.

Lock, test, repeat: China’s zero Covid strategy means even a single infection can trigger a citywide lockdown, ordering people to stay at home or be transported to a quarantine center for isolation.

The Chinese government’s draconian zero Covid policy has fueled growing public frustration as unpredictable rounds of lockdowns and mass testing have upended daily life and wreaked havoc on the economy.

To monitor : Hopes that China could ease pandemic restrictions after the Party Congress were all but dashed as the Communist Party maintained its hardline approach.

In the week leading up to the important meeting, the state’s mouthpiece People’s Daily published three comments reiterating that China will not let its guard down.

Bus fire in Pakistan kills at least 18 flood survivors Thu, 13 Oct 2022 07:01:00 +0000

NOORIABAD, Pakistan (AP) — At least 18 Pakistani flood survivors, including eight children and nine women, were killed when the bus they were traveling in caught fire, police said Thursday.

Police officer Hashim Brohi said the bus was taking the extended family from the southern port city of Karachi to their hometown of Khairpur Nathan Shah after hearing floodwaters had receded there. They were among thousands of people who moved to Karachi due to the country’s deadly floods.

Brohi said the incident happened on Wednesday night near the Nooriabad hills trek not far from the local police station and fire station.

“The proximity saved the lives of many bus passengers as police and firefighters arrived on the scene within minutes,” Brohi said.

The bus caught fire after the air conditioner shorted out.

Political cartoons about world leaders

political cartoons

He said the emergency services moved the injured passengers to major hospitals in Jamshoro and Nooriabad. The bodies, charred to the point of being unrecognizable, will be handed over to relatives after the legal formalities.

Bus fires are common in Pakistan, where safety standards are compromised and traffic rules are not followed.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mulayam Singh Yadav’s demise widely welcomed, tributes pour in for SP founder Mon, 10 Oct 2022 10:38:50 +0000

President Drupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various senior political leaders have expressed their grief over the passing of Samajwadi Party (SP) Patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday.

President Draupadi Murmu: “Dharti Putra” Mulayam ji was a veteran leader and was bound to the land. He was respected by people of all parties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Mulayam Singh Yadav Ji served people diligently and dedicated his life to popularizing the ideals of Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia. He was a key soldier for democracy during the state of emergency.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah: During the state of emergency, he raised his voice for the restoration of democracy. His death marks the end of an era in Indian politics.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: He was a great parliamentarian and a distinguished administrator who dedicated his whole life to the service of the poor and other backward communities.

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) HD leader Deve Gowda: He was deeply attached to secular and socialist political traditions.

BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani: The disappearance of Mulayam Singh ji has left a huge void in the political arena. His dynamic character will continue to inspire many generations of Indians.

Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress: The voice of socialist ideas has fallen silent with the death of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi: He was a true warrior of grassroots politics.

BSP Leader and Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati: The news of the death of top SP leader and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav ji is saddening. I express my condolences to his family and supporters.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) Leader Nitish Kumar: He was a towering socialist leader who never compromised with the interests of the poor and farmers.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan: He has always upheld secular ideals and fought for social justice.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao: Mulayam Singh Yadav worked for the welfare of the poor and weaker sections throughout his life.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Chairman of DMK, MK Stalin: One of the greatest figures in Indian politics who championed the reserve for the OBC, Mulayam Singh was deeply committed to secular ideals.

PDP leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti: He has always stood with minorities and disadvantaged communities. We should learn from his life… He worked for Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and opposed the communal forces that grew strong in the country.

CPI(M) Secretary General Sitaram Yechury: The champion of the interests of the marginalized and the backward, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav ji steadfastly fought against religious fanaticism at a crucial time for India, championing unity and integrity of India.

CPI Secretary General Dr. Raja: He was a capable social justice advocate and minority rights advocate. The country has lost a great leader of the marginalized at a crucial time.

(With PTI inputs)