2018 Presidential Election

I'm surprised Senator Duke didn't try to run for his old seat this year. Also the German election isn't that complicated to understand but it can be very hard to engineer results for it.
I'm surprised Senator Duke didn't try to run for his old seat this year.
Congressman Daryl Lukins is the Republican Senate candidate in Oklahoma, whilst in the gubernatorial race it is a race between former Lt Governor Katrine Williams for the Republicans against incumbent Governor Rob Kenny.
Duke isn't popular with the state party in Oklahoma, so he didn't bother to run for his old job. He clearly has is eyes set on a bigger job.
To paraphrase President Bartlet (talking about Cricket)
"I am an educated man, but, when someone tries to explain the rules of the German electoral system to me, I want to hit them on the head with a teapot" :) :) :)
Yeah the German system is enragining. So of course it is German.

BY JOHN SCHMIDT - 07/20/20

House pays tribute to Carney; Zelowsky takes over as Energy & Commerce chair

The House of Representatives today paid a tribute to late former representative Arthur Carney (D-OR) who died last Friday night after serving for a record 51 years in the House. Speaker of the House Daniel Maddox (D-IL) led a moment of silence for a man he called "a champion of the people" and paid tribute to Carney.

"In over fifty years of service, he never once lost sight of either his principles or that he was here to represent the people of his district...The people lost a great champion this past weekend, and the Congress has lost one of its last ties to a bygone era of politics in this country."

House Minority Leader Mitchell Harris (R-IN), the last in a long line of Republican foes Carney battled in Congress, similarly paid tribute to the late congressman, who he called a "tough and determined opponent" on the floor, but a "kind and genial friend" off it. Several others also spoke in remembrance on the House floor, including former speaker Carol Gelsey (D-FL), who counted Carney as one of her closest allies during her speakership.

Democrats also announced that Representative Peter Zelowsky (D-ME) would succeed Carney as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a position Carney held from 2007 until his death. Zelowsky has represented Maine's 2nd district since 1993 and is one of only a few medical doctors in Congress.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Baumann secures second term as SPD remains largest party in Bundestag

Chancellor Alex Baumann of Germany will almost certainly be able to form his second government after the governing SPD (Social Democratic Party) retained their position as the largest party in the federal Bundestag following Sunday's election. The final results have put the centre-left SPD at 200 seats of 713 in the new Bundestag, 25 more than the centre-right CDU/CSU (Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union) coalition, Germany's other major federal party.

The results are a validation of sorts for the young, 43 year-old chancellor, whose defense of both the European Union and the German welfare state has led to him drawing the ire of opponents across the political spectrum in Germany and in Europe and speculation that he would be removed from power after only one term. Baumann came to power in 2016, after his predecessor Franz Beck's government collapsed after disagreements between Beck's CDU/CSU coalition and their governing partners, the liberal FDP (Free Democratic Party).

Despite Baumann's victory, insiders in both the SPD and CDU/CSU are worried about the increase in support among the environmentalist Greens and right-wing populist DB (German Movement) parties. The Greens, led by joint leaders Ana Bock and Mehmet Șirin, more than doubled their voteshare and total seats from the previous election, catapulting into becoming the third-largest party in the Bundestag. Exit polling shows that the Greens' support is especially high among 18-25 year old voters, and that most of their party-list votes came at the expense of the SPD. Despite both Baumann and CDU leader Christian Hölling ruling out signing any coalition agreement with DB, whose anti-immigrant and nationalist platform has attracted members of far-right and anti-Semitic organizations, the party rose to become the fourth-largest party in the Bundestag on the back of around 14 percent of the vote.

The SPD and other parties have begun negotiations to form a coalition that can command a majority in the Bundestag. Three possibilities exist with DB excluded from negotiations: the continuation of the "grand coalition" between the SPD and CDU/CSU, a "traffic light coalition" (the SPD, Greens and FDP), or a "red-red-green coalition" between the SPD, Greens and the Left, the left-wing to far-left successor to the SED (Socialist Unity Party) that ruled East Germany until the country's reunification in 1990. Observers say that the last option is the least likely, owing to concerns about extremist factions within the Left, although Baumann has not ruled out including the Left in a coalition in the same manner that he has with DB.


OOC: And the infobox:

Daniel Brühl as Alex Baumann (previously cast)
Peter Kurth as Christian Hölling
Nina Hoss as Ana Bock
Sinan Akuş as Mehmet Șirin
Jördis Triebel as Franziska Weide
Marleen Lohse as Katja Machel
Matthias Brandt as Norbert Pfeiffer

  • Leave it to the Germans to make an election system that is simple for voters, combines the best of both proportional representation and first-past-the-post, takes into account a federal system of government, but absolutely horrific in the amount of data and calculations you need in order to make an election "work" on a purely mechanical level.
  • The Green, DB and Left leaders are all new (or "new" in the context of the past week) creations.
  • The notations by Weide and Machel's names go to explain that they are the top list candidate for their respective parties, not "leaders" like Baumann, Hölling, etc.
  • Similarly, the notations in the "leader's seat" field for the leaders with party list seats are links to the constituency seats they ran (unsuccessfully) for. To bit it simply: if Baumann had lost his constituency seat (Leverkusen-Cologne IV), his seat would be the North Rhine-Westphalia list (since that is the state where his constituency is located and where he is at the top of the party list).
  • It wasn't mentioned in the article, but the CDU runs candidates in every state of Germany except Bavaria, where the CSU contests elections. You can just barely make out that "M. Bernhard" is their leader (full name is Markus Bernhard) on the map and that they went to town on Bavaria's constituency seats (won 40 out of a possible 46).
Ah the German political system something that is decidedly complex in minutia in its parts. It is decidedly German. The only thing more German is yelling at the train conductor for your commuter train being late according to German friends.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

George says "no" to Franklin, "not afraid of being called a 'bigot'"

Senator Emmit George (R-NE) is the first senator to say he'll vote against Olivia Emmett Franklin's nomination to the Supreme Court, saying he's not afraid to be called a 'bigot' for opposing her nomination.

George, who is running for his seventh term this November, was pressed on whether he would vote for Franklin, the first African-American Supreme Court nominee in decades, by conservative radio show host Chris McDermott on KLIN out of Lincoln, Nebraska. George said that he would vote to oppose Franklin's nomination, saying that he's not afraid of being called a "bigot" like he said other Republican senators are.

"I've examined [Chief] Judge Franklin's record and she's not shown the legal inclinations that I feel is proper for a judge, whose job is not to legislate from the bench," George told listeners. "I opposed her nomination to the District Court [of South Carolina] and her rulings and statements she's made since then have been inappropriate and improper, from my view, from what we should expect from a Supreme Court justice."

The senator also told McDermott that other Republican senators had been "scared" to voice their opposition to Franklin for fear of being labeled "bigoted". "I know I'm not a bigot, so I'm not afraid to be called one," George said. "I'm not afraid of President Seaborn and the liberal media's spin machine."

George's office directed attention to the senator's 1986 vote to confirm Henry Staub, another African-American, to the Supreme Court to deflect from criticisms of bigotry. But the senator's opponent, state senator Sarah Wallthorpe (D), hit back, saying that Staub's unanimous confirmation is not a strong defense.

"Senator George is hoping that voters don't remember that every senator voted to approve Chief Justice Staub's nomination in 1986, while he was writing editorials against making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday three years earlier...Senator George is not a colorblind champion of all Nebraskans, no matter what he tries to portray himself as in the media."

Thursday July 23, 2020

Addison draws rebuke from former Defense secretaries over comments


LUVERNE — Former state senator Glen Addison, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Peggy Jones, drew a bipartisan rebuke from several former Secretaries of Defense over his comments about classified portions of the Pentagon budget. At a candidate rally held with other Republican nominees for Congress and state races, Addison spoke about the need for a "leaner and more efficient" government, and said that a full reckoning on budget spending could only take place after all "off-the-books" spending were published before Congress.

"I don't understand the need for a 'black budget'," Addison said. "Why can't the total sum be public? I don't get it."

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Kilner (who served under president Walken) said that Addison's suggestion was "ignorant", while Mike Franco (Defense secretary under Matthew Santos) said the comments "show a dangerous amount of naiveté."

"Releasing any part of the budget of classified projects could provide a valuable clue to foreign actors and constitutes a threat to national security," Franco said in an interview. "We do not want to give unfriendly regimes hints as to what top-secret new technology we are working on, or risk compromising the safety of covert operatives whose funds are allocated through the classified budget."

Former secretaries Brian Cambridge and Walter Keegan responded similarly, with Cambridge saying it was "imperative to the safety of researchers and intelligence agents" that the budgets for classified projects not be publicized.

Addison has a long history of gaffes and eccentricities, and did not respond when reached for comments. His campaign later said that the former state senator was "thinking out loud." The most recent polling has Jones leading by five percentage-points (43% to 38%), with nearly one-in-six voters undecided. In the other major statewide race, Governor Jarrod Daniels (DFL), who narrowly defeated Addison in 2016, is in a tie with Republican state senate president Kurt Scheiffer at 43% in the polls while activist Timothy Peterson of the Green Party of Minnesota has the support of seven percent of respondents.
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The Kings of Saudi Arabia and recent Saudi history

King Fahd died in 1995 of a stroke and was succeeded by his half-brother Abdullah. As king, Abdullah changed the succession law by forming the Allegiance Council. He maintained the next oldest brother, Prince Sultan, a full brother of Fahd and one of the Sudairi Seven, as the crown prince, but was wary of the Seven gaining a strong grip on the crown and passing it through themselves, skipping the other brothers. As king, Abdullah pursued some reforms. His reign would be dominated by the growth of the Bahji group, which was mostly concentrated in Iran and Qumar. There were widespread rumors that the Bahji were funded by various Saudi princes, and possibly even the king himself. The king was also linked to accusations of corruption. Abdullah's reign would be ended by the 2004 student protests. Although they were small in number, the protests were actually manufactured by rival princes who were drawing him into using force to suppress them. Abdullah did indeed authorize military police to use force, and many of the students were killed. The princes who controlled various parts of the media spread this information as much as possible in order to make the king unpopular. This culminated in his abdication a few weeks later at the behest of Crown Prince Sultan and his full brothers. Abdullah was the second king to abdicate after Saud, who was also couped by his brothers.

Sultan reigned for the next 7 years. He introduced minor reforms to quell the "protests" that had brought his brother's reign to an end. In order to keep the peace between various brother groups, Sultan agreed to recognize the next oldest brother Awad, Abdullah's full brother, as heir. This was the same as Abdullah had done for him. Sultan intended to remove Awad at some point but this never materialized. During Sultan's reign he was frequently accused of supporting Bahji. Many of these accusations came from Crown Prince Awad. King Sultan died in 2011 and was succeeded by Awad.

Awad shocked the family by ending brother-to-brother succession. The number of living sons of Ibn Saud was dwindling, and the two main factions, the Sudairis and Shuraimis were both down to one eligible member. Awad was the last survivor of his group, the Shuraimi Four. After having some brothers as his heirs, Awad announced that his 40 year old nephew Bitar would be the new Crown Prince. This was highly controversial due to Bitar's youth and more importantly his westernness. Awad initially planned for his eldest son Badr to be the new heir, but he died of lung cancer shortly after Awad became king. Awad's next son Saleh was only 27 at the time. It was expected that Bitar was a placeholder for Saleh. Bitar's place in the succession became more secure when the last Sudairi prince died and other princes also died. Awad cracked down on those who were supporting Bahji and opposed them more than his predecessors. This would ultimately lead to his demise as he was assassinated in the 2015 terrorists attacks. Suddenly 43 year old Bitar became king.

Bitar bin Abbas bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: بيتر بن عباس بن عبد العزیز آل سعود‎ Betār ibn ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Su‘ūd, born 22 April 1972) is the current King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Bitar is the first king of Saudi Arabia who is not Ibn Saud or one of his many sons. Instead, Bitar is a grandson of Ibn Saud through his son of Prince Abbas (1933-1989), who had been barred from the succession in 1971 for his marriage to British noblewoman Margaret Marbury. Bitar, sometimes called "King Pete" by his familial detractors, was born in London when his father was serving the Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was named Bitar as an Arabic form of Peter, the name of his maternal grandfather (the Marquess of Needham). Bitar grew up in London until his father died of a heart attack in 1989.

Although he had the opportunity to stay in the United Kingdom, he decided to return to his father's homeland. There, he was derided by extended family as a western fool and called the "Half Blood Prince" and other monikers. At the advice of his full paternal uncle, future King Abdullah, he began a process of showing his strong devotion to Islam and the House of Saud by making the Hajj to Makkah and working hard for his half-uncle, King Faisal. He also married an Arab woman and wrote government documents. After Abdullah became king, he appointed his nephew to various minor positions to give him government experience. Bitar's western upbringing and family connections made him a useful intermediary for his uncle with the western countries. He regularly traveled to the United Kingdom and United States as a shadow ambassador and reportedly met President Josiah Bartlet while the 2004 protests were occurring.

After Abdullah was forced to abdicate, Bitar was out of favor with the new king and was unofficially banished from the country. He returned to the United Kingdom where he served as a self designated cultural ambassador, producing films and art work to represent Saudi Arabia in a more positive light. In 2011, his fortunes changed again when his full uncle Awad became the new king. Awad allowed him to return to Saudi Arabia and appointed him to the Council of Ministers. Less than a year later he was suddenly raised to the position of crown prince due to the death of his cousin Badr and changes in the succession procedure. Bitar faced strong opposition from his uncles and the mostly conservative elements of the royal family. In response, he joined forces with cousin Abdul Rahman bin Abbas to initiate purges which removed various princes from their government positions and banished others from the country. However, Bitar was still lacking in allies. He would need more time to consolidate his position, time he did not receive as his uncle was assassinated by Bahji in 2015.

Fully aware that his position was in great danger, Bitar mobilized the military as soon as possible and ordered a full state of emergency. Many of his enemy relations were placed under house arrest for the duration of the crisis. Although he initially attempted to conceal the grievous state of his uncle's health, it was very obvious that the king was on the edge of death. Bitar also delayed that announcement as he had to wrangle control of the military from potentially disloyal officers. In less than 24 hours, Bitar had completed a massive series of purges of the military and government and then ascended to the throne. He received Bay'ah (oaths of allegiance) immediately after becoming king, not 6 days later as is commonly reported. The later date was when he accepted Bay'ah from princes he had previously arrested.

Bitar maintained the state of emergency for 16 months, claiming it was necessary in order to make sure the nation was defended against further attacks. In reality, he was busy completing his purges. In 2016, he lifted the emergency and announced a return to normalcy. During this time, the Saudi military participated in retaliatory hits against the Bahji in Qumar and subsequent engagements. In the mean time he had appointed his cousin Abdul Rahman as the Crown Prince. Looking to begin a new period in reign, Bitar initiated a broad slate of reforms such as lifting restrictions on media and press and weakening the power of religious authorities. He also encouraged foreign cultural imports especially for movies and TV,, although these products were still heavily controlled by state censors. Although many western politicians have praised his seemingly reformist nature, other commentators accuse him of making surface level changes while consolidating his power behind the scenes.

There are still tensions regarding Bitar's reign in Saudi Arabia. He removed Crown Prince Abdul Rahman from the succession for alleged disloyalty, and replaced him with Saad bin Mansour, a grandson of King Faisal. Saad is the first great-grandchild of Ibn Saud to be in the succession. The favored candidate of hardliners is Bitar's cousin Saleh bin Awad, who he passed over for the succession twice. The potential of a coup to install Saleh as king has been a frequent point of concern for international observers. Bitar has also been criticized by his brother Ahmed, a resident of the United Kingdom, for his authoritarianism.
Okay, so what is going on here? I decided to go looking for Saudi Arabia content and it looks like pretty much all the concrete information was during the 2015 attacks. There was King Awad, and he was assassinated. Prince Bitar (played by Maz Jobrani the episode 5x10 The Stormy Present), his nephew, succeeded him. I decided to find a way to make this work, from Bitar's name to the succession of a young prince. Could've just wiped all the real life people but that's not a challenge.
First I found a way to get this King Awad in place. King Fahd dies of his 1995 stroke, which he survived in OTL. This allows Abdullah to become king earlier and change the succession law, which opens the way for a grandson of Ibn Saud to become king later. Awad is the full brother of Abdullah, with his mother surviving past 1930 unlike OTL. King Awad is portrayed by an image of a man found in a Jordanian travel brochure.
The only Arabic name "Bitar" I could find was Salah ad-Din al-Bitar, a founder of the Ba'athist Party. Upon further inspection, it seems like his name Al-Bitar is some kind of surname referring to a farrier. This would not be a logical first name. After some fiddling I found that Bitar is phonetically similar to Peter. There is no P in Arabic. So imagine you're saying Peetar with a B. This is the name of Bitar. And I decided to explain his western-derived name with a western heritage from his British mom. His brutal rise to power occurs because there is no other way a young half-British grandson could bypass his uncles. He is obviously partially inspired by the current heir to the throne. Anyway that's Saudi Arabia.
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Saturday July 25th 2020

Istanbul Olympics opening Ceremony hit by thunder storms

The most controversial Olympic games in forty years did not get off to the best of starts when the Opening Ceremony at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium was struck by thunder storms. The introduction walk of all the nations competing was even delayed due to the weather, taking place almost two hours after it had been planned.

Non-Turtish spectators booed the arrival of Turkish President Ahmed Faria who has defended the Ottoman Empires actions over the Armenian genocide, although Faria continues to deny it was a genocide. Over 150 athletes from various nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Poland and France have boycotted the games although Armenia is the only nation as a whole to formally boycott the games.
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OOC: Another infobox set.

Çetin Tekindor as Ahmet Faria (new casting)

  • Sam Seaborn's only electoral defeat (as of 2020) was of course, his loss of the special election in 2003 that was also a convenient way to write Rob Lowe out of the show. I largely took the totals from a similar special election that happened in that area a few years later. The note by Webb's name indicates that he was the last person to have held the seat, but that he was not in office due to his previous term having been expired (and Horton Wilde having of course died before the election).

    Webb was established in the old thread as somewhat of a big deal for House Republicans, but was never cast. I didn't want to put someone in there for a bit role, so I hit upon the idea (inspired by Tim Thomason's clever use of a similar device in 2018). For those who don't get the joke, it's a fake "image not found" icon in place of Webb's picture.

  • Patriot is the name that was coined in the old thread for the secret military space shuttle whose existence Toby leaked to a reporter (Greg Brock) and resulted in him first getting fired, then brought up on charges. Its background was retconned into being part of the Strategic Defense Initiative (aka "Star Wars") and Santos ordered it converted for civilian use and ended the military space shuttle program altogether.

    Kelwick was the NASA administrator at the time, while Hutchinson was Secretary of Defense, hence their inclusion under "people". Margaret makes a rare appearance because in the show, it was clear that she was a major person of interest (being the secretary to the Chief of Staff) because she could tie C.J. to it. The old thread had a brief plotline in around 2013ish when the FBI arrested Andy (hence her inclusion) after a renewed investigation when there were rumors that Toby wasn't the one who leaked it (as implied in the show), but the investigation quickly fell apart (that's why there's a "criticism and controversy" section) and she was released shortly after.

  • Faria is the long-time (and newly-casted) president of Turkey whose career vaguely follows the same trajectory as the current OTL president of Turkey. However, unlike Erdoğan, Faria is never prime minister and instead is elected president of Turkey in 2007 by the government as hopes of boxing him into a ceremonial office. But that doesn't work, since Faria's Justice and Development Party (AKP) get the country to vote for a change to a presidential system in a 2009 referendum, making him suddenly an executive president. This is how he's in charge of the government during the Cretan War of 2010 in the original thread.

    Like OTL, the Turkish president now has a two-term lifetime limit, but Faria and the AKP grandfathered his original seven-year initially ceremonial (2007-2014) term in so that he was able to run (and win) in both 2014 and 2019. Who knows what's going to happen in 2024, though.

  • The Hachinohe accident was based on the OTL Goiâna accident, and ITTL is the worst nuclear disaster in Japanese history. The image is taken from the cleanup of the OTL worst nuclear disaster to have occurred in Japan.
NBS 2020.png

Tuesday July 28th 2020

Guberatiorial Polls


Gardener (R) 47%
Tompkins (D) 37%
Heath (AI) 8%
Booth (R) 57%
Griffith jnr (D) 35%
Ranson (SR) 3%
Byers (D) 48%
Mackenzie (R) 43%
Cooper (G) 3%
Riddle (R) 47%
Gelsey (D) 46%
Reid (SR) 2%
Arkin (R) 62%
Woods (D) 30%
Bennett (G) 2%
Robinson (D) 45%
Hart (R) 44%
Henry (Prog) 4%
Harding (R) 63%
Watson (D) 30%
Booth (Lib) 3%
Adamson (R) 46%
Nichol (D) 45%
Hazel (G) 5%
Wells (R) 51%
Fife (D) 44%
Caton (G) 2%
Daniels (D) 43%
Sheiffer (R) 43%
Petersen (G) 7%
Moss (R) 57%
Chamberlain (D) 35%
Dillion (Lib) 2%
Lane (R) 61%
Thornhill (D) 34%
North Dakota
Middleton (R) 49%
Conroy (D) 43%
Rowlands (Lib) 3%
Kenny (D) 48%
Williams (R) 46%
Adams (R) 46%
Power (D) 46%
Daley (Prog) 1%
Rhode Island
Leonard (D) 47%
Atkinson (R) 36%
Gerald (G) 9%
de Haan (R) 50%
Gomez (D) 42%
Leeman (SR) 2%
Elderton (R) 67%
Burton (D) 23%
Dreaden (Lib) 3%
Edmonds (D) 47%
Kenyon (R) 45%
West Virginia
McDowell (R) 48%
Black (D) 43%
Brady (Prog) 3%
Watts (R) 60%
Powell (D) 21%
Tomaricho (Indep Pop) 10%

Italics indicates Incumbent seeking re-election