Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Marky Bunny, Jul 1, 2018.
Hard to believe, the midterms are just over 14 months away!
August 24, 2019
The Super Bowl Viewer in the White House, Revisited
Editor's Note: The original article appeared in January. With the start of a new season under the first president born in the Super Bowl era, we felt it deserved a second pass.
WASHINGTON D.C. -- When Super Bowl I kicked off on January 15, 1967, the man with the nuclear codes was Lyndon B. Johnson. A man who grew up poor in rural Texas, Johnson should, according to our stereotypes, be a die-hard football fan. Famously crude (check out his not safe for work pants order), Johnson was, perhaps ironically to the stereotypes about football fans, perhaps the least sports-curious president of the modern era. He watched the game on television, but spent more time talking to his guests, probing them about reaction to his State of the Union speech he had given days earlier, and discussing what the 1966 midterm swing against his Democratic Party would mean for work on desegregation and the war in Vietnam.
Fifty-two years later, Super Bowl LIII's February 3, 2019 kickoff was under the new administration of Sam Seaborn. Seaborn, while a Democrat like Johnson, was in many ways his opposite; he had grown up comfortably in Orange County, California and attended the best schools. Contrary to the bullying approach Johnson had taken with his colleagues while Senate Majority Leader, Seaborn had maintained friendly relations with almost all of the other 99 members of that august body, and had preferred to out-debate and convince his opponents, rather than steamroller them or use legislative skullduggery to outflank them like Johnson had. He also watched the game intently, surrounded by friends and advisers, throwing up his hands in exasperation and frustration when Jared Goff threw an interception on the Patriot's 4-yard line.
The first president born in the Super Bowl era, Seaborn had grown up with football as America's dominant sport, whereas Johnson had been ascending the political ladder while the "national past-time" of baseball slowly lost popularity as a result of the NFL's innovation and Major League Baseball's own reluctance to change to fit the the post-war nation's shifts in population and consumption. While he's the first president to have been born with football as king, he certainly won't be the last, at least from a 2019 vantage point.
With this new milestone in football's relationship with the nation now reached, we thought it would be worth it to jog down memory lane, and see how each president watched, and who they rooted for, in the Big Game:
I. Lyndon Johnson
Term in office: 1963 to 1969
Super Bowls: I and II
Super Bowl champions: Green Bay Packers (2)
Favorite team: None*
LBJ, as mentioned, wasn't a football fan during his time in the White House, so the Green Bay Packers' trouncing of the Chiefs and Raiders in the first two Super Bowls didn't much affect him. The native Texan reportedly became a Cowboys fan after leaving office, and lived long enough to see Dallas win their first Super Bowl in 1972.
II. Richard Nixon
Term in office: 1969 to 1974
Super Bowls: III to VIII
Super Bowl champions: New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins (2)
Favorite Team: Washington Redskins
Nixon was perhaps the biggest football fan to ever sit behind the Resolute Desk, and that's saying something given who succeeded him. He reportedly told Redskins coach George Allen on the eve of the 'Skins' first playoff appearance in 13 years during the 1971 playoffs and suggested a play. When Allen ran it during the game, it ended up as a 13 yard loss. Oops.
Nixon's presidency also marks the AFL-NFL merger and the start of what many say is the "modern" NFL. He is also the first president whose favorite team (the aforementioned Redskins) managed to make it to the Super Bowl, although they had the misfortune of playing the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, who promptly rolled over them 14-7 in Super Bowl VII.
III. Gerald Ford
Term in office: 1974 to 1977
Super Bowls: IX to XI
Super Bowl champions: Pittsburgh Steelers (2), Oakland Raiders
Favorite team: None
Given his status in pop culture as a notorious klutz, it might shock readers to know that Gerald Ford was a standout college football star at the University of Michigan, who turned down offers from the Lions and Packers to turn pro (he graduated a year before the first NFL draft). While it's likely that the Michigander pulled for the Lions, he never had reason to celebrate during his presidency, as their best showing were two 7-7 seasons.
IV. Jimmy Carter
Term in office: 1977 to 1981
Super Bowls: XII to XIV
Super Bowl champions: Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers (2)
Favorite team: Atlanta Falcons
Our nation's only Georgian president got to see the Falcons reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in the 1978 season, but he would sadly not live long enough to see them make it to their first Super Bowl in 1999. Also in 1978, the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule, at least giving Carter two more Sundays to take his mind off the national malaise before he left Washington.
A peculiarity of timing between the first dozen Super Bowls held in early January and the beginning of presidential terms meant that Carter also only was president during three Super Bowls, despite serving a full four-year term.
V. Ronald Reagan
Term in office: 1981 to 1987
Super Bowls: XV to XX
Super Bowl champions: Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (2), San Francisco 49ers (2), Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears
Favorite team: New York Giants
It sure was a good time to be a Californian football fan during the early-to-mid 1980s. Between Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Jim Plunkett, the Golden State put up four Super Bowl winners during the former football announcer's term. It was also Reagan who started the tradition of the president hosting the Super Bowl champions at the White House, although Carter was the first to do so, having had the Super Bowl XIV champion Steelers over alongside the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sadly, Reagan was incapacitated by the time the Chicago Bears won the franchise's only Super Bowl, which might have been something the Illinois native would have wanted to see.
Special Mention: George P. Bush
Acting President: 1985 to 1987
Super Bowls: XX
Super Bowl champions: Chicago Bears
Favorite team: New York Giants
Reagan's vice president became the acting president shortly after the 1985 season kicked off. He would be the one to greet the 1986 Bears at the White House after they crushed the Patriots, and got the satisfaction of watching his (and Reagan's) favorite team, the Giants, roll over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI just days after leaving office.
VI. D. Wire Newman
Term in office: 1987 to 1991
Super Bowls: XXI to XXIV
Super Bowl champions: New York Giants, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers
Favorite team: Atlanta Falcons
The Newman administration is perhaps the apogee of the era of Super Bowl blowouts, having only one close game during the four years he was in office (Super Bowl XXIII where Joe Montana led a game-winning 92 yard drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to put the 49ers on top, 20-16).
For his part, Newman was (and is) still more of a college football fan, but codified the tradition of inviting the Super Bowl champions over to the White House. He even endured a Gatorade shower from the 1986 Giants, but that tradition (sadly) was not passed along.
VII. Owen Lassiter
Term in office: 1991 to 1999
Super Bowls: XXV to XXXII
Super Bowl champions: New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys (3), San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos
Favorite team: Los Angeles Rams*
Owen Lassiter became president just as the NFL and federal government realized that they needed to implement some tougher security measures at the most-watched annual event in the United States (the Persian Gulf War going on during Super Bowl XXV might have also had something to do with it). He also was president for the Dallas Cowboys' return to being "America's Team" and watched as the Buffalo Bills lost in all of the first four Super Bowls while he was president.
The California conservative also became the first president whose favorite team was affected by relocation. He'd become a fan of the Los Angeles Rams after attending college in California, and when the Rams moved to St. Louis after the 1994 season, even after he tried to personally intervene with Rams owner Georgia Frontiere, he famously said it "broke my heart". He didn't follow any other team afterwords, although he reportedly would still watch games every Sunday during the season. Who knows how he would have felt if he had lived to see the Rams return to Los Angeles in 2016.
VIII. Josiah Bartlet
Term in office: 1999 to 2007
Super Bowls: XXXIII to XL
Super Bowl champions: Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots (3), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite team: New England Patriots
As far as presidential football fans go, it's hard to beat Josiah Bartlet in terms of his team's success. Not just the first president to welcome his favorite team to the White House as champions, he did it three times thanks to Tom Brady's arm and Bill Belichick's brains. While the intellectual from the Granite State preferred to watch college football (and especially his alma mater of Notre Dame), he made an exception for the Patriots and was rewarded with watching the Pats take home the AFC East title five times while in the White House.
It was also during his presidency that the NFL expanded to 32 teams, for an even four teams per division.
IX. Matthew Santos
Term in office: 2007 to 2011
Super Bowls: XLI to XLIV
Super Bowl champions: Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints
Favorite team: Tennessee Titans/Houston Texans
Despite having two favorite teams, Matt Santos didn't get to greet either of them during his time as president. A native of Houston, Santos remained loyal to the former Oilers after their 1997 move to Tennessee, and had gradually begun to warm up to the Texans by the time he became president (their recovery from an atrocious 2-14 season in 2005 to a 6-10 record might have helped). He still rooted for the Titans from the Oval Office, though, but now, it's clear that he's a full Texans booster now, with the Oilers having been gone for over two decades.
In his post-presidency, he also tossed the coin before Super Bowl LI. As fitting someone who was elected in a squeaker, that also was the first (and only) Super Bowl that went in to overtime.
X. Glen Allen Walken
Term in office: 2011 to 2019
Super Bowls: XLV to LII
Super Bowl champions: Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots (2), Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite team: Kansas City Chiefs
Despite reports to the contrary, Glen Allen Walken bleeds Chiefs red, having been to their training camps as a boy back when they were still in the AFL. He also got to see a remarkable turnaround in his team while he was busy running the country; from a 2-14 record in 2012 to losing the 2018 AFC championship in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champions. If Patrick Mahomes can bring the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl, I'm sure the former president will find a way to get seats in Miami.
Walken got to watch some remarkable Super Bowls from the White House: the "Blackout Bowl" of Super Bowl XLVII, the first Super Bowl overtime--with a trademark Tom Brady comeback victory--in Super Bowl LI. He also welcomed many new faces to the White House--seven teams won Super Bowls in the eight years he was in office.
XI. Sam Seaborn
Term in office: Began 2019
Super Bowls: LIII
Super Bowl champions: New England Patriots
Favorite team: Los Angeles Rams*
President Seaborn was a Rams fan, until, like President Lassiter, the team moved to St. Louis. But unlike Lassiter, Seaborn switched allegiances to a new team, the then-San Diego Chargers. When the Rams returned in 2016, he returned, as if to an old lover. Then the Chargers to Los Angeles, a city they left after a single season 56 years prior. Awkward.
As president, Seaborn got to see his favorite team in the Super Bowl in his first year in office, which should be encouraging. After a public miscommunication, the Patriots came back to the White House, and Brady and Belichick got to greet their third president as Super Bowl champions. But with the Rams projected to repeat their strong season last year, maybe the new president will get to be the second one to greet his favorites as champions? Only time will tell.
OOC: I'm contradicting a few previous posts in the old thread that had Santos as a Titans fan, Walken as a Rams fan, and Seaborn as a Chargers fan.
For Santos, I figured he'd still have some traces of loyalty to the memory of the Oilers during his presidency (after all, the Texans only started playing in 2002 and were godawful in their early years like most expansion teams), but by TTL's 2019, the Oilers would have been gone for over two decades, and there would be no reason he still would support the Titans when the Texans are there and very prominently part of Houston's professional sports scene.
Walken's one was even pointed out in the old thread as not making sense: Walken grew up in a suburb of Kansas City and was a teenager (13-14) when the Chiefs moved there from Dallas. The Rams moved to St. Louis (three hours away on the opposite side of Missouri) in 1994, when Walken was in his mid-40s and a member of Congress for a district that included Kansas City suburbs. Of course, now, the Rams are back in Los Angeles, so Walken probably would have defaulted to the Chiefs as a proud Missourian.
Seaborn's one is more of a retcon because of changed OTL circumstances. When the article listing him as a Chargers fan was written, there weren't any teams in Los Angeles, so it made sense to make him a Chargers fan. Realistically, growing up in Orange County, he would have been a Rams fan (or, even, a Raiders fan, since they were in Los Angeles when he was a teenager, but I don't think Sam is extreme or insane enough of a person to be a non-Oakland resident Raiders fan) until they moved. Since the Rams beat the Chargers back to Los Angeles, I figured Sam would have jumped back on the Rams bandwagon since that was his favorite team growing up.
Wouldn't Nixon be the first President of the Super Bowl Era, not Reagan?
Er, right. Fixed.
OOC: While Chris Traeger, Malcolm Reynolds and Wesley Crusher wait for Congress to return in order to get back to legislating, here's enough infoboxes to tide everyone over for a bit.
Yes, Saddam is still alive and in power *here* with no Iraq War. His photo was altered using FaceApp to age him to where he would be if he were still alive (in his early 80s). Since he was going gray IOTL when he was overthrown and used hair dye to cover it up, I figured he would still be dying it even if it were kind of apparent that it wouldn't be his normal hair color any longer.
Unlike OTL, Israel has managed to cobble together a government and avoided having two elections this year. It helps that Doron is both relatively new and not under indictment for corruption.
I had to edit the flag slightly to correct (I guess) the French to "Centafrique" from "D'Afrique Central". The coat of arms was inspired by those of neighboring countries (the CAF is made up of the northern DRC).
The Sahelese peseta is essentially the Sahrawi peseta but belonging to an internationally-recognized country instead of the situation OTL Western Sahara finds itself in.
Although they might have adopted a less-confusing name, the Jerusalem Swiss Guard is essentially the security and police of Jerusalem. The banner was based on both the Swiss Guards' traditional color scheme (in the top right and bottom left) and elements from the Holy City's flag that incorporates both Jewish and Muslim elements, with the white cross being for the small Christian population and serving to make the banner more aesthetically pleasing.
The Latin motto is probably not correct, but I already spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out Latin conjugation, so that's the best translation I was able to come up with.
The logo for the Progressive Alliance is my own creation, but most of the rest is cobbled together from different posts about it. I put the Democrats as the organization it merged into since most of the PA politicians returned to or joined the Democratic Party afterwords. The Third Party Alliance was another aborted plot line from the early days of the old thread that was essentially the same thing as the PA, but I figured it outlived the Progressive Alliance, so that's why it's listed as its successor.
The only only thing I had to add to Bartlet's funeral is that the official period of mourning ended in January 2014. Otherwise, the rest is taken from what was shown in the thread, or what occured IOTL with presidential funerals (i.e.- members of Congress attending, alongside members-elect if it's in the lame-duck period of a session of Congress).
Considering the Bahji were used as a proxy for Islamist terrorists in the show after 9/11, I figured they would have a much more dedicated Wikipedia entry ITTL than Al-Qaeda has IOTL.
The Bahji flag isn't my creation, but is clearly based off of the flag of Qumar, which makes sense given that the Bahji's backstory as originating in Qumar.
Almost all of the Bahji affiliates (AKA Bahji organizations outside Qumar) are OTL splinters from Al Qaeda. The ones that aren't are the retcons I've had to put in to iron-out the Bahji's backstory because of two nonsensical ideas: "Imad Eddin" (supposedly "The Pillar") was the supposed name used by the original Bahji that was used in a few articles about bin Talal, while it was mentioned that there was a Shi'ite version of the Bahji in another article. So the retcon is that the Imad Eddin are a splinter group of the Bahji, not the main organization itself, while the True Islamic Bahji are a group of Shi'a extremists who adopted the Bahji name for branding reasons and essentially made their version of Bahji fundamentalist ideology the "Shi'a" version, despite the OG Bahji hating them and furiously denying any links between the two.
It didn't make it into the infobox, but my headcanon is that the name "Bahji" comes from the Arabic word for "delight", and ultimately came from the delight awarded to true believers of Allah after death. The founders of the Bahji, being religious extremists, of course, took this to mean "the delights of Heaven for martyrs" and used it as a recruiting tool. This gradually became the code name for the group after it was created from the by foreign mujahideen who had ventured to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.
The pic for the Kundunese Genocide is taken from the OTL Rwandan genocide. "Arkutu Power" is an obvious reference to the "Hutu Power" that led to the Rwandan genocide.
The note in the Lib Dem leadership infobox is that the turnout is based off the 2011 leadership election that elected Emma Dean, not the 2013 contest that Richardson won unopposed.
The Hollis Foundation is obviously based off the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is where its endowment and employee numbers came from. Howard-Porter is a new character, who took over as CEO following Hollis' vice presidential bid.
Libertard Interna (LI) was the anti-Castro side of the Cuban Civil War that won a Pyrrhic victory of sorts; they removed both Castros from power, but the hardliners that supported the brothers in the initial stages still won the war and implemented very few of LI's proposals.
The allies and opponents section was compiled by looking at articles written back in the 2014 period about the war. The US is a "sometimes" ally since it was established that the Walken administration had an inconsistent position on whether to give money and support to LI or to remain neutral.
LI's flag is my creation, being an obvious homage by LI to the flag of the 26th of July Movement that brought the communists to power in Cuba, in an effort to co-opt the Revolution's ideas and prevent the regime from labeling them as Western puppets (which Havana obviously did anyways).
Saddam Hussein as himself
Oded Fehr as Gilad Doron (new casting)
Cirrac Lofton as Jean-Luc Mugaba
Ewan McGregor as Logan Ross
Richard Madden as James McQueen
"We found him doing dinner theater in Tulsa"-Morris Fletcher, X Files
Wednesday, August 28th 2019
Long-time Arizona Representative Fellows to retire at end of September
The dean of Arizona's congressional delegation, Congressman Sam Fellows (R) announced that he will resign his seat in Congress effective September 30th. His office released a statement today that Fellows, age 81, had been suffering from severe chest pains for most of the past month, when his doctors found that a pacemaker installed in 2017 had malfunctioned, necessitating another open-heart surgery to remove the malfunctioning device and replace with with a working pacemaker. With his advanced age and the risky nature of the procedure, Fellows had informed both Speaker Daniel Maddox (D-IL) and Governor Scott Phillips (R) of his intent to resign before making the announcement publicly.
Fellows has served in the House of Representatives since 1981, first taking office as the representative of Arizona's 1st district, which then covered most of Phoenix's suburbs, before population growth and redistricting moved him to the 6th district after the 2000 census. He served as the former chair of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee from 2003 to 2007 and then was ranking member from 2007 until 2017. Although he was a devout Mormon conservative, Fellows struck up a close friendship with Alan Trent (D-MA), his liberal, openly gay opposite on the Intelligence Committee (and its current chair), and was able to work well with Democratic members. His personal popularity allowed him to achieve a stunning 98% victory over a right-wing primary challenger in the 2004 midterm election; consequently, Fellows has been unchallenged for the Republican nomination for the previous seven elections.
Under Arizona state law, Governor Phillips must call for a special election to replace Fellows ahead of the 2020 midterms.
Friday, August 30th 2019
Seaborn announces Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
The Presidential Medal of Freedom
The White House released a list of the first recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom issued by President Sam Seaborn earlier today. Among the list of recipients are former president Matthew Santos, two former secretaries of state (Lewis Berryhill and the late Arnold Vinick) and former First Lady Abigail Bartlet. The nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to those who have performed "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Thirteen people will receive the award at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, with the four posthumous awards (including to the recently-deceased Vinick and former Central Intelligence Director Robert Bennett) being given to a designated family member. Three current Democratic lawmakers are being honored: Senators William Wiley (WA) and Sarah O'Brien (VT), the longest serving African-American and female senators respectively, and Congressman Raymond Purcell (MS), who began his public career as a civil rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and is widely recognized as one of Congress' leading voices on civil rights and voting rights issues.
The full list of recipients:
Abigail Bartlet - former First Lady of the United States (1999-2007)
Robert Bennett - Director of Central Intelligence (2011-2019); senator from Alabama (1979-2005) (posthumous)
Lewis Berryhill - former Secretary of State (1999-2007)
Teddy Bridges - former Governor of California (1986-1999)
Douglas Dreifort - retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1991-2017)
Nancy McNally - former ambassador to the United Nations (2007-2011); National Security Advisor (1999-2007)
Harvey Milk - member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (1978); first openly LGBT elected official in California (posthumous)
Sarah O'Brien - Senate Minority Whip (2017-present); senator from Vermont (1989-present)
Raymond Purcell - congressman from Mississippi's 2nd district (1991-present); civil rights activist
Babe Ruth - baseball player (posthumous)
Matthew Santos - 43rd President of the United States (2007-2011)
Arnold Vinick - Secretary of State (2007-2013); senator from California (1983-2007) (posthumous)
William Wiley - senator from Oregon (1983-present)
Why not Albie Duncan?
I'd imagine he would have already been given the award. He did serve at least 50 years in the State Department by the middle of the Bartlet administration, after all.
Atlantis Cable News
Fisk begins Labor Day Weekend Tour of Mississippi Delta Region
Vicksburg, Mississippi- Located at the extreme southern tip of the Delta Region, Governor Fisk arrived in historic Vicksburg early this morning as he prepares to embark on a 3-day bus tour of Mississippi Delta Region. Considered to be the most impoverished area in the United States, Governor Fisk made it his mission to improve conditions here when he was elected four years ago. In those four years, despite a GOP majority in the state legislature, the Governor has been able to make relatively sizeable investments in the area. With this weekend's tour, the Governor hopes to shore up the same support from the region that he enjoyed 4 years ago.
Kate Sansellfort wins Liberal leadership election
Promises a "new form of politics" for Canadians
September 1, 2019
Kate Sansellfort giving her victory speech promoting a "new form of politics" (photo credit: Mia Kirshner)
Kate Sansellfort won the race to be Liberal leader in a rout Sunday night, and will take the official opposition into the next federal election.
Sansellfort, the daughter of former prime minister Oliver Sansellfort and MP from Quebec, was elected via preferential ballot in a points system where each of the country's 338 federal ridings was given 100 points for a total of 33,800 points. She received 23,839 points, over 70 percent of the total, compared to her only remaining challenger, former cabinet minister and Ontario MP Joe Calley's 9,961.
Over 110,000 members and supporters cast a ballot in the election, the second-largest number of participants in any leadership election behind the 2017 Conservative race to replace outgoing leader and prime minister Tim Gardner.
Speaking after the election win, Sansellfort said the party owed a debt of gratitude to interim leader Gordon Robertson, who has led the party for two years following the resignation of Jacques Gamelin after the party's loss in the 2017 federal election.
"Without Gordon's steady presence, the party might have wavered," Sansellfort said. "But we have emerged now, stronger than ever, readier than ever to fight for every Canadian."
The new leader also praised her opponent, and declared an end to the infighting that has plagued the party since her father's leadership.
A 'new form of politics'
The new leader of the opposition laid out her vision for a unifying vision of Canada, and an end to the personal and divisive politics associated with Ottawa.
"We are tired of the negative and polarizing tactics used by the Conservatives under Mr. Van Merhalls, and the attitude of the New Democrats under Mr. Addison that anyone who doesn't march in lockstep with them is not worth treating with respect.
We are tired of leaders who pit Canadian against Canadian; who pit the East against the West, the urban against the rural; who want Quebeckers to fear and loath the rest of Canada and vice versa. We want a new, inclusive vision of Canada that does not rely on scapegoating or division. We want a new form of politics in this country, and with your help, we will get it."
Sansellfort takes over a Liberal party that has lost three consecutive elections, and fell close to coming in third behind the New Democrats in the last federal election in 2017. Her high name recognition and personal popularity, alongside poor by-election showings for the NDP in the party's Quebec stronghold have led to a slow rise in Liberal poll numbers following her announcement that she was running for the party's leadership. Polling shows that if the election were held today, the Liberals would defeat the Conservatives, although likely fall short of forming a majority government.
But Sansellfort herself doesn't put stock in those numbers, reminding reporters who ask her about them that there will almost certainly not be a federal election until 2021, and that much can change in two years' time.
"When I was nine years old, the polls said my father would never lead the Liberal Party to victory. Two years later, we moved to Sussex Drive after an election where the previous government was reduced to two seats."
So her final words in her remarks, after promising a bold, new agenda for the party after consultation with elected officials and volunteers, were cautionary:
"We have worked long and hard in a great and spirited campaign. We have emerged united in purpose, resolute in our vision, and hopeful of a brighter future. But our victory tonight means that we will have an even longer, and harder, road ahead," Sansellfort promised to the gathered Liberal supporters. Then she smiled. "Let's get to work!"
OOC: Sansellfort and Calley were established by Kenst earlier, but I've tweaked them (and their names- he had a thing for picking very odd surnames for characters) a bit. The original Kate (or "Katie") Sansellfort was supposed to be Oliver Sansellfort's wife. Given that he had established her as being born in 1972 and I put Oliver as being born in 1948, I figured that it might be a little less eyebrow-raising to make her his daughter instead.
When is the next federal election in Canada?
To expand on this, the current parliament was elected in March 2017. Fixed-term parliament legislation passed IOTL under Harper was passed under Gardner ITTL, meaning that the election is due in October 2021. However, since the legislation can't constrain the constitutional ability of the governor-general to dissolve parliament early, Van Merhalls could theoretically advise the G-G dissolve parliament for a snap election. But with the Conservatives' large majority and current polling, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to do that. So, probably (unless we decide to have a crazed herd of moose attack Parliament or something) pencil in fall 2021 for the next Canuckistani election.
So she's the West Wings Justin Trudeau?
OOC: Yes, but with different implications.
Pierre Trudeau (ITTL and IOTL) is a pretty transformative and divisive figure in Canadian political and constitutional history. So when Justin Trudeau IOTL became Liberal leader, it was kind of like if Carol Thatcher became Tory leader in the UK after her mother's death and somehow Carol had been fifteen years younger, so that she had the "youth factor" to excite the party grassroots that a new Thatcher era was on the horizon.
Sansellfort ITTL is nowhere near as divisive despite being a lot more recent than Trudeau, and is probably the most popular ATL Canadian PM (Gardner will probably pass him in a few years after more time has passed since he was in office and anti-Conservative voters' animosities begin to fade) since he was PM for the 1990s boom and helped keep the country together when Quebec nearly seceded in 1995. So outside of the hardcore Tory (and Bloc Québécois) base, her surname elicits vaguely positive nostalgia for the 1990s and early 2000s.
Thursday, September 5th 2019
Former governor Molloy cleared in campaign finance investigation
Dover — Prosecutors for the Department of Justice have cleared former governor Declan Molloy (D-DE) of wrongdoing in their investigation of campaign finance violations stemming from his time in office. W. Lionel Barton, the federal prosecutor for the District of Delaware, said that there was "no evidence" that Molloy, who resigned as governor in December 2018 after the investigation was announced, had known about or facilitated any payments from a shell company set up by his former deputy campaign manager and press secretary Adam Voytko that prosecutors say was used to send hush payments to Molloy's former commanding officer Captain Christopher Graves (now deceased) and his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth McShane to prevent them from commenting on allegations that Molloy participated in torture during his time as an Army Ranger.
"The Department of Justice will not be bringing any charges against former governor Molloy," Barton said in a statement. "We have compelling evidence that suggests that he was unaware of the transactions being undertaken by Mr. Voytko to prevent what Mr. Voytko seems to have viewed as a political disaster for the governor." Barton said that allegations of whether Molloy participated in the torture of Syrian prisoners of war during a mission to find and eliminate former Syrian president Jamil al-Hassan during the Syrian War were outside the scope of the investigation. "Due to the classified nature of the [mission] on national security grounds, we did not investigate the validity of these accusations."
Molloy said that the news was "vindicating", thanking supporters for their "resilience and dedication." "We are glad justice is being done, and that these false allegations can now be put behind us," Molloy said, with his wife Helena and their two children by his side. The 41 year-old former governor declined to say whether he will challenge incumbent governor Annalise Byers (D-DE), his former lieutenant, for the Democratic nomination next year, or even if he will return to politics. He similarly declined to comment on the allegations of torture or the mission to find al-Hassan.
Prosecutors have indicted Voytko on twenty-five campaign finance violations (one for each illegal payment to Graves or McShane), and two additional counts (money laundering, and wire fraud). Another former staffer, Greg Joosten, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and obstruction of justice. He received a suspended sentence in exchange for cooperation with authorities. Voytko has pleaded not guilty.
Sunday, September 8th 2019
China completes withdrawal from Qumar
Jabal Nafusah — The final three battalions of Chinese soldiers in Qumar have begun their return journey to China, completing that country's military withdrawal after three years of involvement in the Middle Eastern nation. The withdrawal, which began after the country's July elections, concluded with the final 1,600 Chinese soldiers formally handing over responsibility for security operations in rural sectors of the Sardash province to the Qumari military on Friday.
General Wu Zoucheng, the final commander of Chinese forces in Qumar, was on hand as the flag of the People's Republic of China was lowered for the final time in a ceremony in Jasken. Qumari prime minister Zuben Ahmed, in address to the nation's parliament, offered farewell to "our brothers and sisters from the People's Republic...who have fought valiantly against the Bahji alongside the brave soldiers of Qumar."
Roughly 4,000 Chinese soldiers are believed to have died in Qumar during the war, with a large portion of those deaths coming during the invasion of the country in 2016 and its immediate aftermath.
Neither American or British officials have released any plans for similar draw-downs in their respective forces in Qumar. The deescalation of tensions between Qumar and Iran has reportedly allowed military officials to move troops from near the Iran-Qumar border and near the "Stop Line" across northern Qumar towards "high-value or contested areas", preventing the need for an increase in troop numbers. Nevertheless, Secretary of Defense Jack Shannon cautioned that the situation in Qumar was still fragile.
"Proposals for an American draw-down at this time are premature," Shannon told reporters. "We are cautiously optimistic that Qumari forces will continue to assume a larger and larger control over security operations, but right now, the security situation in the country is too precarious to consider the removal of even more international soldiers, sailors or airmen from Qumar."
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