Thursday News: Primary season

TWO MORE MONTHS UNTIL NC CHOOSES PARTY CANDIDATES: Feb. 3: The Democratic nominating process begins in earnest with the Iowa caucuses (though early voting will have already begun in a handful of other states). In the last four open Democratic presidential contests, the Iowa winner has gone on to become the party’s nominee. Feb. 11: New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary will take place. With two neighboring state senators (Sanders and Warren) vying for a top finish there, New Hampshire could determine which of the two progressive rivals departs the race first. March 3: Fourteen states are scheduled to hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, representing nearly half of all the Democratic delegates in the contest. The biggest prize will be California. Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee are some of the other delegate-rich states voting that day.

NC IS PREDICTED TO GAIN A 14TH CONGRESSIONAL SEAT AFTER CENSUS: North Carolina's population growth should give it another seat in Congress after the 2020 Census count, a national data group said this week. The move, from 13 seats in the U.S. House to 14, has been widely expected for some time. It was reconfirmed by the latest population projections the U.S. Census Bureau released Monday, Election Data Services said in its report. The prediction holds under several methodologies used to push population numbers forward to next year, when the Census begins, and Monday's release is very similar to last year's projections, Election Data Services President Kimball Brace said in his report. Nationwide, the gains and losses seem likely to boost Republican numbers in Congress, though much depends on how state legislatures around the country redraw congressional maps after the 2020 count. The numbers show a general population move toward southern states.

CHARLOTTE POLICE WANT AIRBNB OWNERS TO REGISTER PROPERTIES DUE TO PARTYING: Police in North Carolina are urging owners of short-term rentals to register their properties so police can more quickly shut down parties that get out of hand. The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday that registrations will help police know who owns a property when they respond to a 911 call. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said at a recent news conference that there have been “a number” of incidents where an AirBnB looks like “a nightclub in a condo or an apartment or even a residence.” For instance, a graduation party turned fatal in June when a 24-year-old was shot and three others were wounded. The department has compiled a list of 50 short-term rental properties where officers have responded to 911 calls. But police say there are likely more.

GIULIANI SAYS HE WOULD LOVE TO TESTIFY OR EVEN "TRY THE CASE": Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, said he would be willing to testify in a Senate impeachment trial if asked and would “love to try the case” if given the opportunity. “I would testify. I would do demonstrations. I’d give lectures. I’d give summations,” Giuliani said Tuesday night when asked about the possibility during a New Year’s Eve celebration at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “Or, I’d do what I do best: I’d try the case. I’d love to try the case,” he continued. “I don’t know if anybody would have the courage to give me the case but if you give me the case, I will prosecute it as a racketeering case, which I kind of invented anyway.” The former prosecutor said it had been 30 years since he tried such a case, “but let’s see if I can still do it.” Perhaps the largest question hanging over the Senate trial is if witnesses will be called to testify. Democrats have said they would like to call several current and former Trump administration officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify.

A SERIES OF MISTAKES LED TO BAGHDAD EMBASSY SIEGE: Miscalculations by both the United States and Iran led to the standoff. It began with a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base on Friday that killed an American contractor and wounded several Iraqi and American service members. The United States blamed Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia with close ties to Iran. The militia denied involvement in the rocket attack. American forces retaliated with airstrikes on five sites controlled by the militia, in Syria and Iraq, on Sunday. The airstrikes killed at least two dozen people and wounded twice as many; Iran has put the death toll at 31. Iran’s proxy militias seemed to think they could conduct hit-and-run attacks on military bases without fear of retaliation, and the United States thought it could punish them with sweeping airstrikes without consequence. Both assumptions turned out to be wrong. The American airstrikes, set off a broad outcry in Iraq that the United States seemed not to have anticipated and that now looks likely to precipitate an effort to expel all American forces. The Iraqi authorities, who had prevented previous demonstrators from even entering the Green Zone that encompasses the embassy, allowed the protesters to approach the diplomatic compound unimpeded. The militias, although closely tied to Iran, are made up of Iraqis and fall under the umbrella of the Iraqi security forces, though they have a great deal of independence.



Netanyahu's immunity gambit

Corruption begets more corruption:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that he would ask the Israeli parliament to grant him immunity in three criminal cases, tying up further the already lengthy legal proceedings against him in a political system that has been gripped by deadlock for the past year.

In the address, Netanyahu said that the criminal cases were an attempt to frame him and that it was up to the public and not the courts to decide whether he should continue leading the country.

“The immunity law is meant to protect public representatives from being framed,” he said. “The law is meant to ensure that public representatives can serve the people according to the will of the people, and not the will of some clerks.”

Israel’s law on immunity is designed to allow officials to pursue matters of public interest without fear of prosecution — as long as they are within the confines of the law. Immunity can also be invoked if it is believed the indictment was issued in bad faith or if the alleged wrongdoing was committed in the Knesset building and was dealt with by that body. It can also be bestowed if the prosecution would cause serious damage to the functioning of the parliament.

No doubt he's kinda jealous that Trump is immune from criminal prosecution as long as he remains President, but this also closely parallels Trump's narrative. It's all a big plot by his enemies to bring him down, because he's "too popular" to be beaten in a political race. Fucking megalomaniacs, both of them.