2018 Presidential Election

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Atlantis Cable News

POTUS in Poland for Holocaust Commemoration

Warsaw, Poland- Accompanied by several members of his staff and members of Congress, President Seaborn arrived in Poland late Saturday night in advance of today's commemoration ceremonies of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. The President's entourage also includes longtime friends Josh Lyman and Toby Zeigler, both of whom are Jewish. Lyman's grandfather was a Holocaust Survivor, having survived more than five years at Auschwitz. President Seaborn is expected to deliver some brief remarks during today's Commemoration ceremony at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
 
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Atlantis Cable News

Seaborn calls for renewal of "Never Again" Oath in Commemoration remarks

Oświęcim, Poland- During the President's brief remarks during this afternoon's Commemoration ceremony, President Seaborn called for a renewal of the "Never Again" Oath to prevent and combat genocide across the globe. The impassioned Seaborn called for the nations of the world to be the "Vanguard of Freedom against the forces of evil and hatred".

The full transcript is below:


Title: President Seaborn Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Date: Monday, January 27th, 2019

Time: 5:00pm local time (11:00am EST)

Location: Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim, Poland

Speaker: President Samuel Norman “Sam” Seaborn

______________________________________________________________________________



It has been said over and over again throughout history, that all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Where we stand today, at a pair of gates that represent the evil in its purest and most vial form, shows us the truth of that statement. It is here, that we see what unchecked hatred can lead to. It is here that humanity failed humanity. It is here, that over one million people were systematically, bureaucratically and intentionally murdered. Yet, despite that staggering number, it only represents but a fraction of the victims of an evil regime.

In the aftermath of this horror, the nations of the world took an oath of “never again”; never again would we led such horror and evil be perpetrated onto the citizens of the earth. And yet, time and time again, we have failed. But that is why we, the leaders of the world are here today. We all gather here on this day, not only to remember both the lost and those that survived, but to remind the world that we must remain forever vigilant. In the face of a new rise of anti-semitism across the globe we must be ready, to act as the vanguard of freedom against the forces of evil and hatred. We must be ready to do our part, to do our duty, and to uphold our sacred honor. Let us all this day, renew our oath of “never again”. Let us never again fail to uphold that oath. Let us never again, fail humanity.

God bless you all.
 


Special Feature: Congressional Retirements (updated)

With the first year of the Seaborn administration in the bag, most members of Congress are preparing for the midterms in November. But not all of them have decided that their current position is where they want to be for the next two (or six) years. Many are retiring, while some are leaving to seek other offices.

Courtesy of the NBS politics team, here are the 39 members of Congress who have decided not to run for their current offices as of January 28th:

Senate
KS: James Taglio (R) (in office since 1991) — The chair of the Budget Committee, Taglio is the senior-most junior senator. Aside from that bit of trivia and being able to cruise to victory every six years since 1990, he hasn't compiled an impressive legislative resume. It's understood that he wants term-limited governor Peter Gault to succeed him, but Gault has not stated if he will run for the seat.

KY: Calvin Bowles (D) (in office since 1997) — If there were a dagger through the heart of Democratic strategists looking to retake the Senate next year, it was the news that Calvin Bowles would retire. Bowles is the only Democrat in Kentucky's delegation and has stubbornly held on as his state has drifted more and more into the Republican column. But age and the special election for the state's other Senate seat this year finally seems to have convinced him to hang up his spurs. The seat has instantly flipped from "toss-up" to "likely Republican" with the news.

MT: Robert Starkey (D) (in office since 1999) — Another aging red state Democrat opting to retire, Starkey managed to stay in office for two decades by being true to himself: a gun-toting rancher and veteran who also was an outspoken liberal on most issues. Unlike his colleague from Kentucky, Starkey's departure isn't necessarily a hit to Democratic ambitions. Popular former governor Kurt Carner (D) has announced his intention to run for the seat, keeping Big Sky Country in the "toss-up" column.

SD: Jim Simon (R) (in office since 2009) — Jim Simon had the pleasure of turfing out then-Senate minority leader Wendell Tripplehorn in 2008, and retaking leadership of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee from Nichole Kershaw in 2016. That will have to content the 83-year old as he retires, avoiding what was sure to be a bruising primary from any one of the South Dakota Republicans who feel that Simon's time as passed.

House of Representatives
AR-04: Tucker Johnson (R) (since 2015) — Hubert "Arkansas" Smith (D) is yet another endangered red-state Republican, and Johnson is looking to take him out. He's the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination and stands a good chance of getting promoted to the Senate next year. His district, taking up the southwestern portion of the state, is safely Republican.

CA-29: Guillermo Augusto (D) (since 1981) — Floated as a possibility to replace President Seaborn in the Senate late last year, Augusto didn't get the job and is calling it quits on his current one. The dean of California's congressional delegation has been in office for 39 years, serving for eight as chair of the DCCC that is now looking for his replacement. His Los Angeles-based district will almost certainly elect another Hispanic Democrat to represent it in Washington.

CA-47: Brendan Harper (D) (since 2011) — Harper didn't even wait until Governor Abbie Heilemann (D) declared that she was not running in the Senate special election next year to announce his own candidacy. Harper, a member of the Blue Dog caucus, is hoping that he can take out the incumbent senator Gabriel Tillman (D), an outspoken progressive, in the Democratic primary by appealing to the many Californians who have switched from Republican to Democratic since Arnold Vinick's presidential run fourteen years ago. His congressional district has shifted leftward since Harper's term began, and his successor will almost certainly be to the departing congressman's left.

CA-50: Joe Reese (R) (since 2001) — Joe Reese is ending his two decades on Capitol Hill with very little in the way of legislative accomplishments, but awash in ethics investigations and accusations of sexual harassment. He's been stripped of several committee assignments and apparently plans to quietly ride out the remainder of his term as the Office of Congressional Ethics continues its investigation of him. His district is solidly Republican.

CA-53: Ellen Bloomberg (D) (since 2009) — The San Diego Democrat is retiring after 12 undistinguished years in Congress as the capstone of a long public career. The real battle to succeed her will be in the Democratic primary.

CO-04: Matthew Garner (R) (since 2015) — Garner is hoping to unseat Ben Newell (D) in what's likely to be a Republican year. He's almost certainly going to be the Republican nominee, and the best shot at taking out someone who has been talked about as a possible running mate for President Seaborn in 2022.

FL-12: Tom Riddle (R) (since 2003) — With Governor James Ritchie (R) term-limited, Riddle is finally taking the plunge for higher office and running to succeed him. He's already unveiled an impressive warchest and is likely going to outspend Ritchie's lieutenant governor George Phillips by a substantial margin in the Republican primary.

GA-07: David Horton (R) (in office since 1995) — Horton has been a bog-standard Republican in his 25 years in Congress and has a scant legislative record. His successor is almost certain to be a Republican, although hopefully more colorful.

GA-14: Norm Burke (R) (in office since 2013) — Georgia Republicans were shocked when Burke announced his retirement. His northwest Georgia seat is extremely Republican, and the 49 year-old could have represented the area for decades without worrying about a challenger. But he's decided to return to his law practice and leave Washington behind. The Republican nominee will succeed him in January.

IL-01: Todd Evers (D) (in office since 1983) — Dean of Illinois' congressional delegation, Evers finally opted to retire after 37 years in Congress after yet another round of ethics investigations, this time into allegations of featherbedding his offices to provide cushy jobs to relatives. The First is a majority-minority (and heavily Democratic) district, although Evers' successor will likely not have ties to the original Black Panthers like Evers did.

IL-02: Barry Robinson (D) (in office since 2005) — Robinson's decision to challenge Governor Teddy Hart (R) instead of senator Jasper Irving (R) in 2022 seems motivated by the fact that the Democrats are looking increasingly unlikely to win control of the Senate, while the state's legislature is firmly in Democratic control. Robinson's entrance has turned the race around completely, with the charismatic African-American representative causing wavering Democrats that voted for Hart four years ago to return to the fold.

IN-01: Tom Peterson (D) (in office since 1985) — Voters in Indiana's first district have less than a year left of the federal gravy train that comes with their congressman heading the House Appropriations Committee. Peterson will finally leave the Appropriations chair after 14 years, and the fight to replace him as Democratic leader on that committee will be fierce. The voters of northwestern Indiana will almost certainly return another Democrat to replace him.

IA-02: Dennis Sanders (D) (in office since 1997) — An Iowa Democratic institution is retiring. Sanders has kept the flame of Iowa liberalism alive for over two decades, and his absence will be deeply felt in the state party. His departure is poorly-timed for the Democrats, who will suddenly have to expend many more resources than expected if they hope to keep the Second blue in the next Congress.

KS-03: Jardine Mantell (R) (in office since 1981) — At 83 and having been in Congress since Jimmy Carter's lame-duck presidency, Mantell is finally heading out the door after decades of exasperating and confounding Republicans and Democrats alike. The House will not be the same without his eclectic (and sometimes horrific) ties. His district has been trending more Democratic than would be expected, given Kansas' rock-ribbed conservatism, but in a Republican year, there is little the GOP will have to worry about other than picking a more conventional person to represent the district.

MA-07: Alan Trent (D) (in office since 1981) — Chair of the Intelligence Committee and dean of the Bay State delegation, Trent is ending a long public career that saw him briefly become the nation's most visible gay elected official. He's retiring, according to those in the know, in part because of the retirement of long-time colleague and friend, former representative Sam Fellows (R) and the likelihood that his party will be in the minority for the first time since 2007 come January 2021. The seventh district has become increasingly diverse, and it is very likely that whomever succeeds Trent will not be a white man.

MD-05: Albert Fife (D) (in office since 2013) — Fife is retiring to challenge Owen Wells, the popular "Vinick Republican" governor of Maryland. Time will tell how serious Fife's bid is, but given Maryland's deep blue tint and resume, Wells would be wise not to write off this challenger yet.

MD-07: Elijah Mays (D) (in office since 1991) — "The Conscience of Congress" and chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been struggling with a series of health issues this past session and last week made it official that he will not seek a 15th term. A majority-black district, Mays' successor will likely share his race, but not his background as a street preacher to the downtrodden or uncompromising attitude on speaking out on moral issues regardless of the political cost to his or her party.

MI-04: Gus Edwards (R) (in office since 2011) — The congressman from central Michigan told his constituents that he's leaving because of the "rancorous atmosphere in Washington", but insiders say it is an open secret that he has come to loathe Republican leadership in the chamber and the direction they are taking the party. While Edwards' successor is almost certain to be a Republican, they are much more likely to be supportive of Minority Leader Mitchell Harris (R) than Edwards ever was.

MN-01: Bill Vanderleen (D) (in office since 2007) — Vanderleen was able to ride out several tough reelection fights (2008, 2010, 2014) but his undistinguished record has come back to bite him this time around with the possibility of a Republican wave. He has taken the easy way out, and moved southern Minnesota's House seat to "likely Republican" unless Democrats can find someone with a personality and some ideas to run here.

MO-01: Clay Richmond (D) (in office since 1971) — Richmond is finally leaving Congress after almost a half-century of representing his constituents. He's the longest-serving African-American representative in history, and is tied for ninth longest-serving all-time. Other than longevity, he has a surprisingly sparse record, having been largely content to funnel money back to his St. Louis district. His campaign apparatus has been grooming his son Clay Jr. to take over the seat, but progressive activists in St. Louis have already promised a tough fight to prevent a dynasty from being established.

NH-01: Franz Duke (R) (in office since 2007*) — Duke is ending a House career that began when he first was elected to represent the district in 1986 to succeed an up-and-comer named Josiah Bartlet who decided to run for governor. After first retiring in 2001, Duke came back in 2006 after his successor Ken Campbell (R) retired owing to medical issues, defeating then-President Bartlet's son-in-law Doug Westin. He flirted with retiring in several different cycles, each time being convinced by the NRCC to run in order to keep the district red. This year, however, he finally had enough and announced he's retiring for good. This is one of the few seats the Democrats have a chance to flip next year with Duke gone.

NY-05: James Gatsby (D) (in office since 1985) — James Gatsby will sorely be missed on Capitol Hill, not just by the progressive Democrats who count him as an icon. He's an old-school gentleman (who still wears three-piece suits with matching hats) whose leadership of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has been praised for his even-handedness and mentoring of younger committee members. Gatsby's district is minority-majority and he's expressed his wish for his successor—"whomever he or she is"—to "look more like the median resident" of the district than he does.

NY-15: Gabriel Martinez (D) (in office since 1987) — Unlike most retirements announced so far, Martinez doesn't seem to have considered leaving Congress before this summer. Last autumn, he announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's and would not run for a 17th term. This is the most Democratic district in the nation (with a Partisan Voting Index of D+44), so it is likely whoever wins the Democratic nomination will likely also serve 33 years with little opposition.

NY-17: Steve McKenna (D) (in office since 1989) — McKenna has been an able representative in getting his district's interests heard in Washington, but is an otherwise unremarkable rep. The seat is likely to be Democratic, but a Republican wave could theoretically turn the 17th red for the first time in decades.

NC-06: Phil Eeling (R) (in office since 1995) — Court-mandated redistricting has done what 12 Democratic challengers couldn't: get Phil Eeling to retire. The sixth was made from a safe Republican district to a strongly blue one, and Eeling has (perhaps wisely) thrown in the towel rather than try and run in this new sixth. This is seat will almost certainly be a Democratic pickup, in spite of their party holding the White House going in to the midterms.

OH-12: Mary Ann Summers (R) (in office since 1979) — Summers is one of two House Republicans left who began their congressional career in the 1970s and is unofficially the longest-serving LGBT representative in history, even if she publicly refuses to come out as a lesbian despite it being an open secret in Washington and in Ohio political circles. Her successor is going to be another Republican, although it is unthinkable that it will be one who could survive a sex scandal with prostitutes of the same gender like Summers did back in the early 1980s.

OK-05: Daryl Lukins (R) (in office since 2007) — Lukins has been unhappy with the Republican leadership in the House since Jim Arkin stepped down in 2012 and it seems like he's decided seven years under Mitchell Harris' leadership is enough. He hasn't ruled out the possibility of challenging either Bradley Denning for senate or Rob Kenny for governor, and Republicans are eager to keep one of the most prominent African-American Republicans in office. His Oklahoma City-based seat will almost certainly elect a Republican, but almost certainly not one who likes the Thunder as much as Lukins.

PA-15: Matt Addams (R) (in office since 2011) — With Morgan Mitchell term-limited as governor, Addams is hoping to continue the GOP's hold on the Keystone State's gubernatorial mansion. His western Pennsylvania district is strongly Republican, and a fierce primary battle is sure to follow now that Addams is leaving.

TX-06: Patrick Quinton (R) (in office since 1975) — Quinton is the longest-serving Republican in Congress (although he was a Democrat for the first five years of his tenure), and the last member to have first entered office while Gerald Ford was president. The Republican primary field to replace him is already incredibly crowded, with nine candidates having announced their candidacies.

TX-23: Luis Lamberto (R) (in office since 2011) — Running along Texas' southwestern border, the 23rd has elected Lamberto to represent it by narrow margins five times, but the young Latino congressman has decided to retire instead of seeking a sixth term. The announcement that the Libertarian Party of Texas would field a candidate in the race played a major part in the decision, as did reported frustration with parts of his party's opposition to immigration reform. The Democrats have a strong candidate to retake the seat in the person of state representative and Kazakh War veteran Gina Ramírez.

TX-32: Margot Knight (D) (in office since 2011) — Knight only held on in 2018 thanks to a third-party challenger taking votes away from the Republican, and with the Republicans poised to do even better next year, she announced that she will return to practicing law in 2021 instead of being in Congress. While Democrats could theoretically hold this seat, the odds are slim without Knight around.

UT-01: Ford Brimgardner (R) (in office since 1987) — Known as "The Walrus" on Capitol Hill for his size and mustache, Brimgardner is planning on leaving office after 33 years of service, the longest-serving House member in Utah history. His northern Utah district is overwhelmingly Republican, and a crowded primary fight is sure to follow.

WV-01: Mac Walters (R) (in office since 2011) — Rachel Mears is one of the most vulnerable of the red-state Senate Democrats and after briefly planning a challenge to popular Governor Chuck Black (D), Walters is deciding to take the less arduous road and challenge her instead. He's likely to be the strongest candidate the Republicans will find for getting Mears out of office and strengthening their Senate majority. His district, which stretches across northern West Virginia, will almost certainly elect another Republican in 2020.

WV-02: Pat Smigel (D) (in office since 2011) — Smigel barely won re-election in 2018 with a Republican opponent whose recent move to the district from Maryland rankled district residents, so it's no surprise he's opting to pack it in when the national environment looks like it will be GOP-friendly and the state party has recruited actual West Virginians to run against him. It will take a miracle for this seat to avoid going Republican.
 
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Friday January 31st 2019

Byers and Malloy clash in heated Delaware Primary debate
Incumbent Democratic Governor Annalise Byers of Delaware and the man she replaced in "Woodburn", the Governor's Mansion in Dover former Governor Declan Molloy went head to head in what will be their only debate ahead of the primary election on Tuesday.

Malloy who had said back in October that he had "nothing against Governor Byers personally" certainly changed his approach last night with a furious attack calling her " untrustworthy" saying that she had promised to support him and that she would "never replace me as Governor" and turning directly to her adding " it was a treachery with a smile on it's face". Byers who did seemed shocked by the scale of the attacks on her hit back saying "I never wanted you to resign, but when you did what was I meant to do" adding that "The state had moved on from the "soap opera" of December 2018, and people wanted to hear about the future, not drag up the past".

With all the polls ahead of the primary showing Byers holding a narrow lead but within the margin of error, it remains to be seen with former Governor Molloy's aggressive performance will be enough to win on Tuesday.
 
OOC: I realized that with writing Cor out, I had a golden opportunity to do the infoboxes for TTL's remaining speakers. And one more important(ish) white guy for good measure:


  • Yes, Cor opens yet another celebrity paradox up, since Armstrong was mentioned in the series and thread. Cor's military service is essentially Armstrong's, but cut short so that he goes into first business, then politics.

  • Hoehner was one of Walken's mentors and had just declared his intention to enter into the 2010 race when he died suddenly. This spurred Walken to jump in after a disappointing 2006 primary loss to Arnold Vinick.

    Hoehner's son Jim was Walken's final Chief of Staff, hence the "Sr." to distinguish the elder Hoehner. His alma mater is the same as Bob Michel and Ray LaHood, two notable OTL Republicans from around Hoehner's district. Him being a triple divorcee was mentioned in his obituary back at the early part of the old thread.

  • Two things should be pointed out about Hoehner's infobox. First is that his term as governor was when Illinois was on the OTL midterm cycle, which TTL diverged with the presidential election in 1986. Since he was Joseph Furman's running mate in that election, he did not run for another term as governor, so that allowed me to put in that his successor (Patie), was first elected for a special two year term (86-88) that allowed subsequent IL governors to be elected in OTL presidential/TTL midterm years.

    The second is that he was established as representing the same Illinois state house district as Abraham Lincoln before first being elected to the House in 1978. But, there's a slight problem with that. From 1870 to 1980, Illinois had a unique cumulative voting system that meant that each district elected three members. So I've gone for the next best thing and put Hoehner in the district that covered the area Lincoln represented while the 16th President was a state legislator.

  • Oh Mark Sellner, probably TTL's award winner for "most ineffectual speaker". You can tell he was pretty bad by losing his seat shortly after being deposed as speaker (IOTL, the Democratic incumbent won it by 21 points during that GOP wave year). He was brought back in the 2014 election, but is essentially just a backbencher like the other former Speaker in the House, Carol Gelsey.

    I just looked it up and if all three (Maddox, Gelsey and Sellner) are reelected and a new Speaker takes over in 2021, it will only be the second time ITTL that four current and former speakers sit in the House; IOTL, it only occurred once, in the 51st Congress, with Galusha Grow, Samuel J. Randall, John G. Carlisle and Thomas Brackett Reed serving together for little more than a year.

  • I decided to use pictures of Skarsgård from his role in Chernobyl because the man doesn't really have eyebrows and he looks more "politician-y" this way. Essentially, I added together the OTL careers of Thorbjørn Jagland and Jens Stoltenberg into one person to accommodate Skarsgård's age.

    Most of the people in this entry are new, since Norway's kind of off the beaten path for TTL, but it was established that his predecessor as NATO Secretary General was former Canadian PM Stefan Dallaire.

Cast
Neil Armstrong as Jim Cor
Ed McMahon as Jim Hoehner Sr.
John Getz as Mark Sellner
Stellan Skarsgård as Jonas Bakke (new casting)
 


Sunday, 2 February 2020

Fianna Fáil headed for historic defeat in Irish election

The longtime governing party of Fianna Fáil is headed for the worst defeat of a sitting government in Irish history as polls for Saturday's general election continue to show a decline in the government's fortunes. Embattled Taoiseach (prime minister) Brian Martin has struggled in the face of voter fatigue with the party that has governed the country since 1997, and complaints over rising rents, homelessness and dysfunctional healthcare continue to plague the government. Martin has so far failed to strike a chord with voters, behind both Fine Gael leader Jim Flanagan and Labour leader Brendan McMahon in polls of the major party leaders.

"They keep saying 'we'll fix this, or 'we're going to do that'," Cork engineer Liam O'Dowd said, voicing a common complaint "but they've been in government for twenty years and they haven't done it yet, so why should we believe them now?"

Fianna Fáil is currently in a coalition government with the Greens and supported in the Dáil (lower house) by several independents. Both it and the opposition Fine Gael are centre-to-centre-right parties that have alternated in governing the Republic of Ireland for almost 90 years. Current polling has Fine Gael well ahead of Fianna Fáil, which has bled support to Labour, the Greens and Sinn Féin. Both Martin and Flanagan have declared that they will not seek to include Sinn Féin in a coalition government in the likely event that no party wins a majority of seats.

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Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Sterns' comments on Kobe Bryant's death spark criticism

White House Communications Director Mark Sterns' appearance on the New York-based radio show The Breakfast Club yesterday has resulted in criticism for his remarks about the death of former NBA player Kobe Bryant. Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, shocking the sports world. Sterns expressed his condolences to Bryant's family and those of the other victims, saying it was "a horrible tragedy", and that "not just every Lakers fan, but every basketball fan is still in shock." Bryant spent his entire 20 year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, leading them to five championships and winning numerous awards, including 18 All-Star appearances. Both Sterns and President Sam Seaborn are Lakers fans, having appeared together at several games during their long working relationship.

When the subject of Bryant's 2003 arrest and trial for sexual assault was broached, a discussion between Sterns and the hosts over the appropriateness of discussing this aspect of Bryant's legacy within a week of his death began (the case against Bryant was ultimately dismissed in 2004 after his accuser refused to testify). Sterns, coming down on the side of "holding off on [discussing] the negative parts" of a person's death in the event of an untimely tragedy. He said that he "didn't have any opinion" on the validity of the accusation against Bryant, and said that we should "just let the nigga's [sic] family mourn him a bit longer before we start talking about [the sexual assault allegation and case]."

Sterns' use of the "N-word" to describe Bryant instantly drew criticism, with some saying it was "inappropriate" language to be used by a White House official. Some also criticized what they felt was Sterns dismissing the sexual assault allegations against Bryant.

Sterns, who is African-American, apologized this afternoon for his language and "any misunderstandings". "I was too animated and fell back on the more vulgar language that I learned growing up in the heat of the moment," he said in a statement alongside White House Press Secretary Cassie Tatum. "Similarly, I apologize for any offense I caused to those who felt I downplayed allegations of sexual abuse. It was not my intention to do so."

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Saturday, February 1st 2019

Saddam Hussein appears in media after three month absence

Baghdad
— Longtime Iraqi President Saddam Hussein briefly appeared on Iraqi television today after nearly three months' absence. A broadcast out of Baghdad featured the 82 year-old president sitting at his desk, surrounded by his son and heir apparent Qusay Hussein, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, his deputy and closest advisor and other top military leaders as his subordinates discuss Hussein's "guiding wisdom" and "steady leadership in the face of American imperialism".

While the dictator's appearance quashes rumors that Hussein had died or been rendered comatose, observers were quick to point out that Hussein did not speak during the televised portion of the meeting and kept his hands out of view of the camera.

"There have been rumors that Hussein has suffered from a stroke and nothing we've seen in the footage disproves this," Dr. Ahmed Naqib, medical correspondent for ACN. "Some of the symptoms of a stroke include paralysis on one side of the body, mental confusion and speech difficulties or slurred speech, among others. It is possible that [Hussein] is suffering some, or all, of these symptoms....It can't be ruled out from this footage."

Hussein is the Middle East's longest-serving ruler, having been Iraq's president since 1979 (he had also been the country's de facto leader for several years before that point). Even before his long public absence, he had been rumored to have been suffering from several health impediments.
 
NBS News
Image result for what would saddam hussein look like today

Saddam Hussein, official Iraq government file photo (date unknown)
Baghdad-The Iraqi government sought to dispel claims of ill health regarding Saddam Hussein, the reclusive Iraqi leader who made a rare public appearance after rumors of suffering a stroke. Hussein, who appeared frail and was reportedly unsteady during his appearance, spoke briefly on state television where he sought to "reassure the people" that he was still their leader as the government made plans to mark the fortieth anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War which began in 1980 and lasted until 1988.
The Seaborn administration was guarded in its response to rumors about Hussein's health, although privately they may be concerned about the fact that his oldest son, Uday Hussein, has increasingly been seen as taking power behind the scenes as Saddam's presumptive heir.
The United States has had strained relations with Iraq since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Tensions increased after the shooting of President Bartlet in 2000 and the conflict with Syria during the Walken administration. There has been no response from the Iraqi Revolutionary Council regarding any plans for Saddam's succession.
Important Story Announcement
From @Marky Bunny @MountainDew17 @lord caedus

From tomorrow Wednesday May 15th until FURTHER NOTICE, we are asking all stories outside of the United States to be run by us for story concerns and that any article/story on any non-US topic not pre-approved by us will be disregarded.

We have a major "story arch/s" starting and we just wish to make sure that these are not interrupted or contradicted by other posts.

Kind regards

The writing team
May 14th 2019
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you ignored the threadmark again.

Everyone else: the quoted article is not canon.
 

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release—February 4, 2020


State of the Union Address
President Sam Seaborn


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Our Constitution requires that, from time to time, the president shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 230 years, in times of prosperity and deprivation, in times of peace and times of war, that duty has been fulfilled.

It is a testament to the enduring power of our Constitution, and of the resilience of the American people. Our Constitution is not perfect, but no document written by humans is. But every generation has improved upon it; either by new amendments, or in how we interpret its words to guide us in an ever-changing world.

One of the reasons our Constitution has endured is that our presidents and leaders in Congress have understood that, no matter our political differences, at the end of the day, we are all Americans who love this country.

It is this spirit of service, of country over party, that has helped us survive as a nation. After the last election, we faced a situation unprecedented in modern times: a president and vice president belonging to different parties. After a very close election, this had the potential for a constitutional crisis. But the principle of public service over political gamesmanship held fast. It is in this tradition that Vice President Hunter agreed to join my administration, working together to improve our nation despite our political disagreements.

My fellow Americans, I am pleased to report, in the twentieth year of the new millennium, that the state of our union is strong.

Unemployment is at the lowest level since 1969. Next year, renewable energy sources are expected to produce more power than coal. Veteran homelessness has continued its decade-long decline. The Census Bureau is set to begin the monumental task of accounting for every person in this great land. And the bravery and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, combined with the efforts of State Department under Secretary Adair, have borne fruit in the deserts of Qumar.

But we still have much work to do, in order to make this a "more perfect union."

This past year was one of progress on the issues of LGBT rights. The Civil Rights Act of 2019 stands as a landmark accomplishment in our struggle towards true equality, and the bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans who voted to affirm the rights and dignity of all Americans, regardless of who they love, should be commended.

But it is not enough. Transgender Americans are still not fully protected from discrimination in 34 states and territories and are denied their right to serve our nation due to their identity. My administration is doing its part to end these injustices. The Department of Defense has changed its regulations to prevent the discharge of current military members solely based on their gender identity and is investigating the effects removing the ban entirely. I urge Congress, in this new year, to finish the job they started last year and pass legislation to ensure that all Americans cannot be discriminated against based on gender identity.

Under President Walken, we finally begun to address education reform in this country. We invested in charter schools, made school funding more equitable, and opened trade schools to federal student loans so that those who wish to learn a trade would not be stopped by financial concerns. It is in that spirit that I wish to continue our national efforts to reform education.

An entire generation of college students have become encumbered with student debt, in amounts that were unthinkable to those who attended college 40 or 50 years ago. It is an albatross around the necks of people who want to buy a home or start a family. It is a penalty on those who have wanted to better themselves and make them more competitive in the job market by seeking a higher education.

It is wrong, and that is why I have directed the Department of Education to begin researching the most effective methods of student debt alleviation or cancellation. Once they have finalized their report, I will direct its release and recommendations. In the meantime, I urge Congress to follow the lead of a dozen states and create a program that will make the first two years at community college free for every student.

Sadly, another issue that must be addressed when we talk about education in this country is guns. We are the only developed nation that suffers from almost daily incidents of mass shootings, often taking place in the schools and universities where we send our young people. We have our children do "active shooter" drills because it is far too easy for a disturbed, angry individual to get a gun. Too many communities have had to deal with the aftermath of the wrong person getting hold of a gun.

Tonight, I am calling on Congress to begin work on a reform of our nation’s gun laws. We need to do what 90 percent of all Americans, including 80 percent of gun owners, want and make it so that every person who buys a gun in this country goes through a background check. That’s the first step. We should listen to what overwhelming majorities of the American people say they want: a federal "red flag" law that would allow law enforcement or concerned family members or friends to petition a judge to temporarily take away the firearms of a person who they feel is a danger to themselves or others until that person gets the help they need; a ban on high-capacity magazines, and banning powerful assault-style weapons like those that were outlawed between 1993 and 2003.

While we undergo what is sure to be a calm and dispassionate national debate about guns and the Second Amendment, we should also begin serious debate on our nation's healthcare system. We spend more on our healthcare per person than any other nation, yet 45 million Americans are without any type of health insurance. Clearly, something isn’t working.

What I propose to Congress is the same solution that was offered 75 years ago by President Harry Truman: a universal healthcare system where every American will be given healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. What American seniors currently enjoy with Medicare, we should extend to Americans of all ages.

This expansion of our healthcare system will be partially paid for by my final recommendation to Congress tonight. For the past 40 years, our tax system has been distorted so that the middle class has been asked to shoulder more and more of the tax burden, while those of us with wealth have been asked to pay less and less. It’s time that stops. The next budget I submit to Congress will increase the tax rates on every dollar made over $400,000 in every individual tax filing. It will also raise the estate tax that only effects estates worth over $11 million and eliminate the special tax rates on corporate dividends and capital gains that allow the corporate shareholders and financial traders to pay less on taxes. These changes will affect only the top four percent of all wage earners in this country but is projected to bring in $5.7 trillion in additional revenue in the next decade if enacted.

These are not radical ideas. Much of what I’m asking the Congress to do is to re-implement laws that should never have been repealed or allowed to expire. Almost all the changes I’ve listed are favored by a large majority of the American people.

One of the reasons our Constitution has endured is that it has changed to become more democratic. When first ratified, only white, property-owning men could vote, and only directly for their member of the House. Senators were elected by their state legislature, again made up of only white, property-owning men, while presidents were chosen by an elite group of those same men with no accountability.

But things changed. Now, almost every American adult can vote for who their senator, governor or president will be. In order to keep strengthening our union, we must keep trying to make sure every person in this country have the same opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
 
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Atlantis Cable News

Senator Lobell III delivers Republican Response

Washington D.C.-


2020 State of the Union- Republican Response

February 4th, 2020

Capital Rotunda- United States Capital Building, Washington D.C.

Speaker: Senator Max Lobell III



______________________________________________________________________________



Good evening, my fellow Americans. Tonight, is an important one for our nation. Tonight serves as a shinning example that even 233 years after it was written, the United States Constitution remains the governing document of our Republic. Tonight, President Seaborn told all of us that the state of our union is strong, and he could not be more correct in that regard. Unemployment is at its lowest in recent memory, Wall Street has reached new heights and consumer confidence is as strong as ever. All of this is due to the hard work of President Walken that President Seaborn inherited Unfortunately, what was further proposed by the President tonight, places that strength and hard work in jeopardy.

What we heard tonight was the continuation of Democratic policies that have failed our nation time and time again. For many years we have worked towards a balanced budget, but tonight’s reckless spending proposals will only serve to skyrocket the deficient once again; something that the President conveniently forgot to mention in his speech tonight. He also failed to mention our national debt, which has now soared past 23 trillion dollars. More tax & spend policies will not solve our problems. It will only serve to strange the growth and innovation that has flourished over the past decade.

The President also spoke tonight about guns, and he made some very good points. No matter where you stand on the issue, over 15,000 gun violence deaths a year is unacceptable. But the President’s plan to solve the issue, simply won’t work. Banning guns will only serve to ensure that the everyday law-abiding citizen will not be able to defend themselves from criminals, who most assuredly will still have them. The idea of a universal background check is promising, but it will only work if we first work to crackdown on illegal gun dealers and arms traffickers operating in this country. Once all of the illegal guns in our country have been dealt with, then we can talk about other areas of this issue. Because until we do that, we will only be placing our citizens in further danger.

The President spoke tonight about “universal healthcare”, but that’s just the left’s way of covering up what it really is… socialism. Oh sure, they tell you about how in other countries with similar systems, no one has to pay anything for healthcare. And that simply isn’t true. Their taxes are much higher and their care is far inferior in quality. Socialized medicine will not only see massive tax increases across the board, but it will also lead to a rationing of healthcare across our country.

The President also spoke about our military. He spoke about those who wish to serve but are at present prevented from doing so. While I applaud the patriotism of these individuals for wanting to wear their nation’s uniform, much like I once did, the military is not a vessel for social engineering. What someone does in their own private life is one thing, but that simply not a luxury that can be afforded in the military. Our brave men and women stand ready to face any threat that America faces, and playing social planner will only serve to disrupt good order and discipline in that regard. Some may call me a bigot, some may call me transphobic. But at the end of the day, the military is not a laboratory experiment for the President to play around with. Our men and women in uniform are serious professionals doing a serious job. It is the job of civilian leadership to make that job easier, not harder.

Our nation faces many tough challenges ahead of us and facing them will require strong leadership from our President. We all pray that he is up to the task. But perhaps only time will tell.

God bless you all and God bless America.

Goodnight.
 
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Thursday February 6th 2019

Democratic Delaware gubernatorial primary goes to third recount


The hard fought Delaware gubernatorial primary between incumbent Governor Annalise Byers and former Governor Declan Molloy has gone to a third re-count. It is understood the margin between the two candidates is "only in double digits" according to a party source late on Wednesday evening.

Earlier on Wednesday both candidates claimed victory in speeches to their supporters, but no official result has been declared by the Democratic state party. The party has yet to announce when we are likely to get the final result.

On the GOP side Sam Mackenzie, the Minority Leader of the State Senate won the primary unchallenged.
 


Friday, February 7th 2019

Exclusive: Walken gives first post-presidential interview

Liberty, MO
— Former president Glen Allen Walken gave his first interview since leaving office today to ACN's Elliot Hirsch. Relaxing in his Liberty, Missouri home, Walken offered a retrospective on his time in office, as well as what he has been up to since leaving office last year.

The former president said he was proud of the "steady economic growth and recovery" that marked his presidency as well as "the foreign policy successes" that his administration had achieved in the Middle East. "I'm very proud to be the president that finalized the Ankara Agreement that has resulted in peace in the Holy Land," Walken said, "It's very humbling to realize that your actions have helped millions enjoy peace and democracy in a way that was just a dream [to them] 20-30 years ago."

When asked about his lowest point in office, Walken was quick to respond. "My worst day [as president] was July 17, 2015 [when Islamic Bahji terrorists killed 165 people in New York City and almost 600 in attacks in Saudi Arabia and Iran]. No doubt about it." He did express other regrets about his presidency, saying one of his biggest failures was being unable to "bring Americans together" as a unifying president, pointing to the close elections in both his 2014 re-election and the 2018 election of his successor, adding "I don't know if that's possible any more like it was for Eisenhower or Kennedy."

Asked about his successor, Walken declined to express his opinions on President Sam Seaborn's policies, even ones that reversed or challenged those his administration implemented. Instead, Walken said he and Seaborn have a "friendly relationship" and that he prayed for Seaborn's success. "I'm going to start praying extra hard once he has newborn twins to take care of." Walken said, reminiscing about his twin daughters Claire and Laura when they were infants. Walken says he also plans on campaigning for Republican candidates during this year's midterm elections, but that should not be taken as a criticism of the president.

"I'm a life-long Republican, and I've either run as a Republican or campaigned for Republican candidates in every election since 1972," Walken said. "I obviously disagree with the president on a number of issues, and I want my party to win a majority in both houses of Congress, but I don't think [President Seaborn] is doing a bad job."

In his post-presidential life, the 45th president and former First Lady Mary Walken have remained until now somewhat aloof from politics, instead travelling around the country and starting work on his memoirs. The Walkens made a rare public appearance at Super Bowl LIV in Miami as guests of the Hunt family, who own the Kansas City Chiefs, and were on hand to see the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. "It's a good thing [the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory] didn't occur on my watch, because I would have been really tempted to give [Chiefs quarterback and the game's Most Valuable Player Patrick] Mahomes the Presidential Medal of Freedom," Walken said, somewhat jokingly.

The former president, who will turn 72 this year, also revealed that he had begun taking anticoagulants after being diagnosed with coronary artery disease shortly after leaving the White House. He said his health prognosis is "pretty good for a guy who used to eat three course lunches and top them off with a cigar", and credited his relatively good health on his changed diet and exercise regimen (as well as finally quitting smoking cigars late in his presidency).


Walken at Super Bowl LIV (photo by John Goodman)
 
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Monday February 10th 2020

Byers declared victor in Demcoratic Gub Delaware primary
Incumbent Governor Annalise Byers as been declared the winner of the primary against Former Governor Declan Malloy. Six days after the election, Byers has been declared the winner by 198 votes.
Byers relased a statement "saying she was honoured to win the nomination" and she "I will work hard for all Democratic votes to defeat the Republicans ultra Conservative candidate". Declan Malloy as yet to formally concede amid rumours that he could run as an "independent Democrat" in the General Election in November.
 


Thursday, 13 February 2020

Coalition negotiations begin in Ireland as Martin resigns

The results from Ireland's general election have been counted, and cabinet negotiations have begun to form a new government after Irish voters issued a strong rejection of the longtime Fianna Fáil government on Saturday. Outgoing taoiseach (prime minister) Brian Martin, who announced his resignation Sunday morning, is serving as a caretaker until a new government receives a vote of confidence from the new parliament.

Fine Gael, Ireland's other major party, elected 67 of its members to the new Dáil, only 14 shy of a majority. Its leader, Jim Flanagan, declared that Ireland seen a "democratic revolution" with the vote to end over two decades of Fianna Fáil rule, and for ending nearly eight decades of Fianna Fáil having the most seats in the Dáil. Voters cited issues such as rents, homelessness and healthcare as their primary concerns, all issues that polls showed benefited Fine Gael.

Fianna Fáil, which has led the Republic since 1997, lost over half of its seats, falling to only 36 TDs (Teachta Dála) out of 160. Its coalition partner, the Green Party, similarly lost all but one of its seats on Saturday. Two parties on the left, the centre-left Labour and Sinn Féin, both improved the number of seats they won and their share of first preference votes compared to their performance in the last election in 2016.

Despite Sinn Féin leader Katherine O'Neill's openness to joining a new government, both Flanagan and Martin had publicly pledged not to seek a coalition with the party, which had extensive ties to republican paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Separate negotiations between Fine Gael and both Labour and Fianna Fáil have reportedly been ongoing since Sunday.

Dáil Éireann (elected 8 February 2020)
Fine Gael: 67 seats
Fianna Fáil: 36 seats
Sinn Féin: 23 seats
Labour: 18 seats
Social Democrats: 2 seats
Green: 1 seat
independents: 13 seats
 
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