2018 Presidential Election

OOC: Just for kicks, I found the list of people the Secret Service is authorized to protect and decided to see how many people it covers ITTL, assuming there's no foreign head of state or other VIP in the country:
  1. Sam Seaborn (President)
  2. Jack Hunter (Vice President)
  3. Lauren Parker-Seaborn (First Lady)
  4. Steve Seaborn (father of President)
  5. Amy Hunter (Second Lady)
  6. Cindy Hunter (mother of Vice President)
  7. Carl Hunter (brother of Vice President)
  8. Brett Hunter (son of Vice President)
  9. Jett Hunter (son of Vice President)
  10. Lily Hunter (daughter of Vice President)
  11. George P. Bush (former Acting President)
  12. D. Wire Newman (former President)
  13. Cissy Newman (wife of former President)
  14. Abigail Bartlet (widow of former President)
  15. Matthew Santos (former President)
  16. Helen Santos (wife of former President)
  17. Glen Allen Walken (former President)
  18. Mary Walken (wife of former President)
  19. Andrew Santos (son of former President under 16 years of age)
Everyone except the President and Vice President (or next in line, if there's no VP) can decline Secret Service protection. A weird quirk means that the Santoses & their youngest child (Andrew, born in 2011 just after the family left the White House) are eligible for Secret Service protection but their first two children aren't. IOTL acting presidents aren't entitled to lifetime Secret Service protection, but ITTL they are after all the then-living presidents urged Congress to amend the law to give them protection.

Regarding the First and Second Families:
 
OOC: As a follow-up post, here's who protects the other top members of the federal government:
  • The Secretary of State & UN Ambassador are protected by the Diplomatic Security Service, the same group that usually protects foreign government ministers and other non-heads of state/government when they visit the US. (Visiting heads of state and/or government are protected by the Secret Service)
  • The Attorney General is protected by the FBI, which is part of the Department of Justice. Another protective branch within the DOJ, the U.S. Marshals, are the ones who are authorized to protect federal judges, including the Supreme Court, and US attorneys.
  • The CIA director & Director of National Intelligence are protected by federal law enforcement agents given positions within the CIA, given the need for those protecting the directors to be able to arrest or detain people who threaten/attack their charges.
  • The Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff (including the chair & vice chair) and other top officials in the Department of Defense are protected by the U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion.
  • A bunch of the "lesser" Cabinet secretaries will also have protective details as part of enforcement agencies from within their department (the Secretary of the Interior, for example, is protected by the U.S. Park Police).
  • The Speaker, majority leaders & whips in both houses and president pro tempore of the Senate are protected by the U.S. Capitol Police. In the TWWverse, there have been plenty of times in the last 17 years where either the speaker or the president pro tempore had Secret Service protection due to being first-in-line to the presidency:
    • Glen Allen Walken: May 2-8, 2003 (as Speaker due to VP vacancy)
    • Joseph Furman: May 8-9, 2003 (as President pro tempore due to both VP & Speaker vacancies)
    • Jeff Haffley: May 9-July 14, 2003 (as Speaker due to VP vacancy)
    • Mark Sellner: January 20-30, 2007 (as Speaker due to VP vacancy)
    • Mark Sellner: September 3-10, 2009 (as Speaker due to VP vacancy)
  • The Secret Service can be directed to protect Cabinet-level officers and other White House staff that are deemed vital to national security. So the White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Treasury (since there is no Department of Homeland Security in TWWverse, the Secret Service remains in the Treasury Department) probably have Secret Service protection, but they don't automatically get it ex officio unlike the others on this list.
 
Any major events/crisis forthcoming in the new year? (I assume WW3 doesn't nearly start under Sam's watch). PS dig the new look!👍
 
OOC: Why yes, we're Star Trek fans here on TWW staff. How can you tell?
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Leonard “Doc” Jackson (January 20, 1920 – June 11, 1999) was an American politician. A Democrat, Jackson served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Georgia’s 3rd congressional district from 1967 to 1991.

Born in the town of Americus to a preacher and his wife, Jackson was a dedicated student who decided early to become a medical doctor. After graduating from Emory University in 1942 with a degree in biology, Jackson was commissioned an officer in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). He spent World War II stateside making training films for USAAF pilots and resigned his commission in 1946 at the rank of first lieutenant. He returned to Emory and received his medical degree in 1951.

After eight years of practicing medicine in rural southwest Georgia, Jackson was approached to run for an open seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1960. He won the primary and easily defeated the Republican candidate to win election. He spent six years in the Georgia House, serving as a delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. He was a “moderate” on racial issues, accepting the end of segregation, but criticizing what he viewed as sometimes overreaching federal intervention to achieve it.

In 1966, he won the Democratic primary to succeed Howard K. Callaway in the state’s 3rd congressional district and then won election to the United States House of Representatives. Jackson served twelve terms in Congress, with healthcare as his primary priority. He retired in 1990 owing to ill health and died in 1999 after a long battle with cancer.

Jackson was known for his friendship with former President Jimmy Carter, who he had known from boyhood. While Carter was president, Jackson served as the congressman for Carter’s hometown of Plains. During the Carter presidency, Jackson served as an informal member of the “Georgia Mafia” that followed Carter to the White House, and was one of the few people close enough to Carter to refer to him as “Jim” or “Jimmy” instead of “Mr. President”.

Today, Jackson is most well-known for his response to Carter when the president asked for his advise on how the United States should respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: “Damn it Jim, I’m a doctor, not a statesman.”



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Elena Gonatas (née Rallis) (born March 29, 1956) is a Greek politician who has served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs since October 17, 2019. She is a member of the conservative New Democracy (ND) party.

Gonatas was born into the Rallis family of politicians, with both her great-grandfather Dimitrios and great-uncle Ioannis serving as prime ministers of Greece. Her father Giannis served as a cabinet minister in the final Greek cabinet prior to the 1967 coup d’état that established the “Regime of the Colonels” and was internally exiled to the island of Kasos until the fall of the dictatorship in 1974. He served in Konstantinos Karamanlis’ cabinet following the reestablishment of democracy.

Gonatas initially attended the University of Munich before transferring to the University of Athens, where she eventually attained a master’s degree in psychology. Prior to her election to the Hellenic Parliament in 2000, she was a practicing therapist. In 2002, she was elected as the mayor of Athens, becoming the first female mayor in the city’s history. She served as mayor from 2003 to 2010, winning reelection in 2006 handily. She was mayor during the 2009 Athenian riots and the brief Cretan War between Turkey and an alliance of Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

After the end of her second term as mayor, she was appointed as the Minister of Tourism, resuming her seat in the Hellenic Parliament in 2011. Her term ended after the 2013 legislative elections that gave the opposition PASOK (Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima “Panhellenic Socialist Movement”) a plurality in the Hellenic Parliament. After New Democracy returned to power in the 2017 elections, she was appointed to the position of Minister of Education and Religious Affairs in Prime Minister Ioannas Koufos’ cabinet. Her outspoken promotion of the 2018 constitutional reform that changed the country from a presidential to a parliamentary system played a large role in her being selected to become Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 2019 cabinet reshuffle. Upon taking office, she stated that her goal was to deescalate regional tensions still lingering from the 2019 North Nicosia explosion.

Gonatas married her husband Dimitrios in 1980 and has two children. Her son Kostas has been serving as Mayor of Athens since 2019.



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Otto Lewis Edel (June 1, 1943 – December 8, 2019), better known as O. Lewis Edel, was an American law enforcement officer who served as the 20th Director of the United States Secret Service.

Born in Las Vegas, Edel graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in criminal justice and became a police officer in his home town. After five years on the force, in 1973, Edel was accepted into the Secret Service and became an agent in the Dallas field office. He rose quickly and was soon appointed head of first the Cleveland, then Washington D.C. field offices. From 1993 to 1999, he was head of the Vice Presidential Protection Division, protecting vice presidents Lewis David Eisenhower and John Hoynes. That year, he was appointed Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC, which provides training to all federal United States law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service) by President Josiah Bartlet.

After Director Ralph Stafford resigned following the Zoey Bartlet kidnapping crisis, Edel was appointed as his successor. During his directorship, Edel implemented changes in how the Secret Service protected adult members of the president’s immediate family to prevent another kidnapping attempt.

In 2009, Edel retired and was replaced as director by Ron Butterfield. Following the Jerusalem attacks in 2011, Edel served on a blue-ribbon commission to investigate further security reforms, although his extremely restrictive suggestions were by and large not adopted by the commission. He died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer in 2019 at the age of 76.



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Cast (all new)
DeForest Kelley as Doc Jackson
Marina Sirtis as Elena Gonatas
René Auberjonois as O. Lewis Edel

  • Several details of Jackson's biography, including his name and history as a doctor, are taken from mspence's first pass at the character.
  • Yes, I did in fact change Jackson's background around to southwest Georgia just to set up a "I'm a doctor, not an X" joke and him calling someone "Jim".
  • With Kelley getting a character, all of the original Star Trek main cast have had a role in TWWverse.
  • Gonatas is based off of a combination of Dora Bakoyannis and Fofi Gennimata. Obviously, her background as a therapist is a nod to Sirtis' character on Star Trek. I was inspired to create this character when I realized that Sirtis, as the child of two Greek immigrants, can actually speak Greek.
  • For those who don't remember, the Cretan War was a conflict between Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria on one side and Turkey on the other for a few months in 2009 after the aforementioned civil unrest in Greece caused a cycle of military escalation that soon led to Greece and Turkey making territorial claims on the other's territories. Then-Secretary of State Arnold Vinick was responsible for bringing a ceasefire and end to the conflict.
  • Edel's name is a deep cut. The character Odo's original name was established in flashbacks in Deep Space Nine as Odo'ital which meant "unknown substance" since he was discovered in his liquid state and took a while to learn to change into a solid form.
  • The character also answers the question of who was actually running the Secret Service during Bartlet's presidency. In the show, Ron Butterfield is typically the head Secret Service character, but he's just in charge of the presidential protection detail. Stafford (Edel's predecessor) probably took over towards the very end of the Lassiter administration.

    I figured that the Zoey Bartlet kidnapping and constitutional crisis that it threw the country into would result in whomever was in charge of the Secret Service at the time to be made an example of, hence Edel taking over. It also sets up Butterfield's own brief (2009-2010) tenure as head of the Secret Service.
  • With Auberjonois having a character here, only four actors from Deep Space Nine's main cast (Visitor, Shimerman, Farrell, de Boer) haven't appeared "here". For those who don't remember:
    • Avery Brooks is the late Benjamin Boma, former president of the Central African Republic. His successor, Jean-Luc Mugaba, is played by Cirroc Lofton.
    • Alexander Siddig is the deposed Sultan Manab bin Hessani of Qumar, currently in exile in the United Arab Emirates.
    • Michael Dorn is the current dictatorial president of Equatorial Kundu, Uzochi Nzele.
    • Colm Meaney is the former Taoiseach and current President of Ireland Liam Pullen.
 
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Does Edwards' Japanese vacation have a hidden agenda?

Washington D.C.- While the White House staff has returned from their Christmas holidays, one key official still remains absent: Deputy Communications Director John Edwards. Edwards, who was last seen publicly in the United States on December 23rd, has reportedly been in Japan for the past two weeks, though the purpose of this visit remains unclear. White House sources are telling Fox News that President Seaborn was unaware of Edwards trip to Japan, only that Edwards had asked for some time off. While Edwards' trip is officially a "vacation", this trip may have an ulterior motive, according to one high-ranking administration official. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, this official stated that there is concern among the White House senior staff that Edwards may be using his trip to Japan as cover for "back-door diplomacy" on behalf of Vice President Jack Hunter, with whom Edwards has been come close with over the past year.

This is not the first time that Edwards seems to have ruffled the feathers of his co-workers, as the heated arguments held between Edwards and other staff members during the Abby Bartlet confirmation hearings were widely reported on. Only time will tell if John Edwards' vacation was really something else.
 
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Edwards returns to work as White House refuses to discuss Fox News Article

Washington, D.C.-
John Edwards returned to work at the White House this morning following a two week vacation abroad. His return follows a Fox News.com article that was posted late last night that quoted a "high-ranking administration official" in saying that the White House Senior Staff believes Edwards' trip to Japan was merely cover for shadow diplomacy on behalf of Republican Vice President Jack Hunter. When asked about it this morning during the morning press brief, White House Press Secretary Cassie Tatum flatly denied the rumor, and raised questions about the validity of Fox News' "wild speculation" as she termed it. Ms. Tatum has refused to discuss it further, stating that the press briefings were for "facts not fairytales".

John Edwards could not be reached for comment.
 
Is it possible for Sam to use the Fairness Doctrine in this timeline?
OOC: No. The Fairness Doctrine was clearly on the way out in the 1980s as it became clear that the stranglehold the "Big Three" (ABC, NBC, CBS) broadcasters had on electronic news media was slipping away due to cable and satellite television. Assuming that Newman taking office in 1987 kept the doctrine around past its OTL end, Lassiter almost certainly would have allowed his FCC appointees to vote to cancel it, and it's likely that TTL's Supreme Court would greatly curtailed, if not abolished, it by the time Bartlet entered office.
 
OOC: No. The Fairness Doctrine was clearly on the way out in the 1980s as it became clear that the stranglehold the "Big Three" (ABC, NBC, CBS) broadcasters had on electronic news media was slipping away due to cable and satellite television. Assuming that Newman taking office in 1987 kept the doctrine around past its OTL end, Lassiter almost certainly would have allowed his FCC appointees to vote to cancel it, and it's likely that TTL's Supreme Court would greatly curtailed, if not abolished, it by the time Bartlet entered office.
OOC: So whom from the media is running the FCC as they see fit? I don't see Sam stopping media mergers.
 


Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Qumari draft constitution would establish a republic

The draft constitution currently being worked on by the Parliament of Qumar reportedly will recommend that a republic be established as the permanent form of government in the Persian Gulf state. According to a preliminary report obtained by the BBC, the working group on the "structure and obligations of the levels of government" will recommend a non-partisan head of state elected by a "qualified majority" of the parliament for a five-year term, who would "safeguard the rights and protections of the constitution" and "represent the nation and its ideals".

The preliminary report recommends the establishment of a parliamentary system of government with increased provincial autonomy and a strengthened judiciary. Although formally having been a parliamentary democracy since it was granted independence by the United Kingdom in 1935, in practice, Qumar was ruled as a dictatorship until the overthrow of Sultan Ali Usef ibn Shareef in 2007. Since then, it has struggled with multiple coup attempts, an ongoing insurgency campaign by the Bahji terrorist network and invasion and partial occupation by Iran.

Executive power under the plan will be vested in the prime minister, who the report recommends be "elected from, and by, the parliament", ending the country's aborted attempt with direct prime ministerial elections prior to the country's collapse in 2016. Similar requirements such as a ban on serving military officers holding elected office and cabinet appointees from outside parliament are attempts to prevent anti-democratic or military elements from doing end-runs around the proposed constitution's stated goal of "a free and democratic Qumar."

The Chair of the Ruling Council, Farouk al-Jabali, is currently serving as the country's head of state. He has stated that he will not seek to become the permanent head of state and will retire from his duties in August after one year on the job if a new constitution is not in place by that time.
 

Sunday January 12, 2020

Minnesota senators clash with White House over Vice President's influence on judges

BY KAREN HOLDER, ASSOCIATED PRESS


MINNEAPOLIS — Behind-the-scenes tensions between both of Minnesota's United States Senators and the White House spilled into the public today as Senators Lara Mansfield and Peggy Jones (both Democrats) went on Sunday talk shows to criticize Vice President Jack Hunter's influence over the appointment of federal judges from the state. Mansfield appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, while Jones went on CBS' Face the Nation, telling the hosts of what they said was "the frustrating situation" that they had dealt with since October when a vacancy occurred for the federal district court in Minnesota.

"The first time a nominee that both of us had returned blue slips for wasn't put forward, we accepted the explanation that [the administration] had changed their mind and felt that that particular nominee would not get confirmed," Mansfield told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, "but after the third and fourth time, it became clear that someone was interceding within the administration to pull nominees who both myself and Senator Jones had returned blue slips for."

Jones told Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan that it took several meetings with the White House before the administration disclosed that President Sam Seaborn had given Vice President Hunter a "third blue slip" (a method where home-state senators can state their opinions on a federal judicial nominee based in, or a resident of, the state that the senator represents) over appointments from Hunter's home state, which he had represented in the Senate before becoming vice president. Jones said that White House Director of Legislative Affairs Connie Tate explained Hunter's unofficial blue slip as a "necessary evil" owing to the unusual situation of having a vice president belonging to a different party than the president.

"I sympathize with the Administration, but if the vice president had wanted to keep his blue slip, he should have stayed in the Senate," Mansfield said. "I don't ever remember Vice President [Elizabeth] Clark being allowed a veto over the nominees signed off on by her home state's senators."

The White House issued a statement shortly after the senators' appearances aired, saying that the administration "regrets not informing Senators Mansfield and Jones" about the informal arrangement and promising to work more closely with their offices when considering judicial nominees from the state. The vacancy, which was caused by the retirement of Judge Lorna Schmidt, a Bartlet appointee, has yet to be filled. It is the first opportunity since he took office for President Seaborn to appoint a federal judge from the state.
 
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