2018 Presidential Election

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Seaborn sits down with congressional GOP for first time since shutdown began

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

President Sam Seaborn met with congressional Republican leadership today for the first time since the federal government shutdown began on November 1st.

After today's Veterans' Day ceremonies, including the president laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Seaborn and congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Mitchell Harris (R-IN) and Senate Majority Leader Cody Riley (R-AL) met at the White House to discuss passing a budget that would end the ten-day shutdown, by far the longest in the nation's history.

The meeting lasted roughly two hours before congressional leaders returned to Capitol Hill. Seaborn said that a compromise had not been reached, but was encouraged by Republicans agreeing to negotiate on several issues and that Republicans had agreed to remove contentious portions from the budget that would strip federal funding from schools that teach "critical race theory."

"I hope that this means that a budget will appear on my desk in the next few days that is something both parties can agree on," the president told the White House Press Corps afterwards. "There's no doubt in my mind that Congress does not want this shutdown to continue any more than the rest of us do."

The economic fallout from the shutdown has been tremendous, with Moody's Analytics estimating the shutdown has cost the American economy $25 billion, with over $1 billion worth of wages from federal employees being lost. Areas heavily dependent on federal support and dollars, including Washington D.C., have been hit hard by the shutdown, with crowdfunding platforms filled with small businesses near national parks suddenly finding themselves in extremely precarious financial situations.
 
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Senate leadership nears compromise on budget agreement to end shutdown

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

The leaders of both parties in the Senate say they are close to reaching a final agreement that would provide a new federal budget and re-open the federal government.

Senate Majority Leader Cody Riley (R-AL) and Senate Minority Leader Jimmy Fitzsimmons (D-MA) praised each other after both men left different meetings, Riley with members of his Senate leadership team and Fitzsimmons with President Sam Seaborn at the White House.

"We've made substantial progress," Riley said. "I want to thank the minority leader and the minority leadership for the constructive discussions we have had these past few days."

Fitzsimmons likewise praised Riley's "diligence and temperance" in the negotiations between the two parties.

Sources familiar with the negotiations say that the deal's framework is largely based off of the bipartisan "Gang of Ten" agreement that was later endorsed by Seaborn and most congressional Democrats. The agreement would retain current levels for Medicaid and Medicare, leave federal education standards intact. Reported modifications to the plan, structured to get House Republicans onboard, would freeze pay at current rates for all non-military government employees and lower both the corporate and capital gains tax rates for two years.

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Saturday, November 13 2021

Laurion advisors named in oil spill indictments

Grand Rapids, MI
— Three current and former aides of Governor Ben Laurion (R) have been indicted alongside the head of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (GLE) and two other top officials there. A grand jury of the federal District Court of Western Michigan returned six indictments yesterday as a result of an FBI investigation into practices at GLE that officials suspect helped lead to last month's spill near St. Clair, which spilled over one million gallons of crude oil and briefly threatened the water supply for nearly a third of Michigan residents.

Almost all of the grand jury's charges were for counts of obstruction of justice and perjury, with Laurion former aide Tom Widen also charged with fraud and misuse of government resources for allegedly using state resources and funds to promote his planned post-government consulting business before his departure from Laurion's employ in 2019. Two current Laurion aides, Rick Hoek and Sandy Miller, are also charged with obstruction of justice (both) and witness tampering (Hoek).

GLE Director Lane Parrish-Smith has been charged with five counts of obstruction of justice, three counts of witness tampering, and one count each of perjury and conspiracy. Two others, including Ken Wynant, head of the Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division, have also been charged for allegedly attempting to influence federal and state regulators to falsify reports to present reports that "aligned with the [Laurion] administration's political agenda" as stated in the charging document.

A spokesman for Laurion's office said that all three GLE employees have been placed an "indefinite leave of absence", while Hoek and Miller were fired following the indictments. He also denied that Laurion had any role or knowledge of the alleged criminal misconduct at GLE before the FBI and Department of Justice began its investigation.

"The governor wishes to express his outrage and shock at the violation of trust that both career public servants and some of his own advisors allegedly perpetrated." the spokesman said.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andy Becker said that the investigation was still "ongoing", but that it had exposed a "culture of corruption and incompetence" at GLE that "nearly led to an international environmental disaster." Prior to the St. Clair oil spill, Laurion had been close political allies with the energy sector, including Enbridge (the owner of the Line 5 pipeline that cracked) and promoted economic deregulation as a solution to state and national energy needs.

"The interference by political officials and prioritizing of political objectives over scientific integrity and the law [at GLE] is deeply concerning." Becker said. He also added that officials from the Department of Justice and FBI were coordinating with the Michigan Attorney General to investigate other state agencies with "mandates affecting politically-sensitive areas."
 
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Seaborn, GOP leaders agree to deal to end shutdown

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

President Sam Seaborn and Republican leaders in Congress have agreed to a deal that will re-open the federal government two weeks after it was shut down.

The longest government shutdown in US history will end tomorrow morning at 12:00 AM Eastern after legislation restoring all facets of the federal government was swiftly passed by both chambers and signed by Seaborn early this morning.

The new federal budget will keep funding for Medicaid and Medicare at current levels, freeze pay at current levels for all non-military government employees for one year and lower the corporate and capital gains taxes for two years. Income tax rates will be reduced by two percent for every bracket, with the tax reductions for those making $200,000 or more sunsetting in 2023. The estate tax rate will also be lowered from 40% to 35% until 2026, and the size of estates exempted will rise from all estates of a deceased person worth $5 million or less to worth $7 million.

"Nobody got everything they wanted, but we do have a budget," Seaborn said in a press conference after the bill was signed. "While I am grateful to the leadership in Congress, we must make amends to those who have suffered as a result of this shutdown, and take action to prevent another [shutdown]."

Economists estimate that the shutdown has cost the American economy $3.5 billion and has given foreign investors pause.

Public opinion polling show that the shutdown was incredibly unpopular, with 83% of respondents viewing the shutdown negatively. The blame for the shutdown, despite its roots in the division between a Democratic administration and a Republican congress, has largely fallen on the latter: an NBS/YouGov poll found that 75% of respondents don't think Republican members of Congress deserved to be re-elected compared to only 52% for Democrats. Republicans suffered greatly, dropping nearly eight points below Democrats in the generic congressional ballot, the lowest level in a decade.

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Sunday, November 14 2021

Romanova wins landslide re-election in Russian election

Moscow
— Russian president Natalya Romanova won a second six-year term in a landslide victory today, extending her rule over the world's largest country until 2027.

With nearly 70% of results in, Russian election agencies declared Romanova, who has led the country since her predecessor Valery Davydov's resignation in 2015, the winner with 65% of the vote. Backed by state media, the ruling Russian Union Party and with an approval rating around 70%, her victory was never in doubt. Her closest opponents, Viktor Bulganin of the Communist Party and Leonid Zadornov of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia have around 20 and 8 percent, according to current totals.

None of the seven opponents to Romanova were likely to pose a serious threat, and opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Milov was barred from running after his conviction on embezzlement, which international observers say was politically-motivated and violated Milov's right to a fair trial. Critics of the government say that officials compelled people to vote in order to ensure that boredom at the one-sided contest did not lead to low turnout.

After widespread reports of irregularities and outright fraud were reported on social media, Russia's Central Election Commission admitted that some irregularities had occurred. But observers say that the agency is likely to report that the election was "free and fair" anyways, similar to previous adjudications despite international observers and watchdog groups finding widespread evidence of voting fraud, intimidation, and other irregularities.
 
OOC: And the infobox:

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Cast (all previously established)
Cate Blanchett as Natalya Romanova
Vladimir Mashkov as Viktor Bulganin
Aleksei Guskov as Leonid Zadornov
 
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Monday November 15th, 2021

Fortunes change for Laurion in fourth Republican debate
It was former UK Prime-Minister Harold Wilson who once famously stated "that a week was a long time in politics" well Michigan Governor Ben Laurion found out last night in the fourth Republican President debate that three weeks was almost a different life-time.

At the previous debate held three weeks before, Laurion gave a barnstorming performance, lauded by voters and political commentators as the clear winner and it cemented his position as the front-runner for the republican presidential nomination. Last night at the debate hosted by CNBC from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, his presidential ambitions took a serious hammering from all his fellow six contenders on the stage with him. Last month's oil spill in Michigan, just days after his debate win has changed the whole landscape of this race.

Laurion had initially drawn praise for his calm handling of the disaster and his swift cooperation with the federal government, but all that changed on Saturday when it was announced that three current and former aides of Laurion have been indicted alongside the head of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (GLE) and two other top officials there.

It was Ohio Senator Ruth Norton-Stewart who gave Laurion the toughest time on the Oil Spill affair, as Laurion attempted to stonewall during the debate when asked about the investigation ""I didn't know, I am shocked about what has happened but I can't comment on an ongoing federal investigation", Norton-Stewart's response was devastating "even if you did not know about Tom Widen , Rick Hoek and Sandy Miller actions, that means you are still not fit to be commander-in-chief of these United States, personally I don't think you are fit to run for dog catcher, let alone the presidency". Former Michigan Congressman Gus Edwards said that the Governor "had let his state down, personally I don't think you are personally involved in the corruption which has clearly been identified by the FBI, but that just means your where just totally incompetent". Former Georgia Governor Charlie Forrester also attacked Laurion's handling of the affair "I speak from experience as I am a former governor, I would never have allowed what you failed to notice take place, as Governor you need to hire the best team to serve around you, it's the same for President's as well, this may not be the best place to mention President Bartlet but he picked two great Chief's of Staff [Leo McGarry & CJ Craig], look at President Walken with Henry Shallick. Just think for a moment that if this oil spill had not taken place, the likes of Hoek and Miller could have been working in the West Wing in fourteen months time". Jasper Irving let Laurion off the lightest "I still think the Governor is a good man, but clearly he made some very bad judgement calls, calls that are bad enough for a Governor, they could have untold consequences as President of the United States".

The other major part of the debate focused on the end of the government shutdown and the signing of the budget by President Seaborn. Many Republican voters in the audience showed their displeasure at Senators Norton-Stewart and Forrester who backed the leadership's tactics on the budget. Indeed both where booed by some when both attempted to leap to the Republican leadership's defense ""the fundamentals of the plan were sound" said Forrester before being interrupted by boos, and the same happened for Norton-Stewart " I am pleased we have a deal now, indeed it can be said we have won a victory" which drew laughs from some in the audience, to which Jasper Irving replied "Senator, you have a funny understanding of the word "victory", maybe you should look it up in the dictionary after this debate". Although Irving didn't get off with boos when he repeated his stance from the last debate "I said three weeks ago, that the strategy our leadership was using was flawed, and that we should not have gone down such a dangerous path, and that has now backfired and done untold damage to all of us on this stage, and to our party as a whole".

Alan Duke seemed that he wanted for most of the debate that he wanted to stay above the fray, (he was even slightly less critical of Laurion than the others), but on the issue of the budget negotiations he let rip ""Our party was undermined by the same go-along-to-get-along Republicans that let the Democrats win the White House in 2006 and again in 2018. When I'm president, those limp-wristed RINOs won't have a place in our party." adding "I will refuse to sign any budget that does not rein in our out-of-control entitlement spending. Period, end of story."

The only other exchange of note came between Jasper Irving and Alan Duke on taxes with Duke once again calling for massive corporate tax cuts "America's businesses need help, they need massive tax cuts across the board" with Irving interrupting " Senator, we all agree here tonight for the need of tax cuts, but we need them to focused on the poorest in our society, the lowest paid, we need to lift them paying out tax at all. I am a businessman, I know how important law cuts are for the middle-class and those running a small business, these are the people we need to be helping, but the massive corporations that are funding your campaign, it just gives the Democrats another drum to bang on about us "the republicans only care about tax cuts for the super-rich and corporations, they don't care about working families or the middle class".

Overall it was a terrible night for Ben Laurion, and a good night overall for Jasper Irving and Ruth Norton-Stewart. With now less than two months to Iowa, the race is now wide open once again.
 
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Duke takes lead in GOP polls after Laurion tumbles amid scandal

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Controversial former senator Alan Duke (OK) has taken the lead in nationwide polling for the Republican presidential nomination as Michigan governor Ben Laurion's poll numbers fall as a result of a scandal regarding members of his administration's political interference in state environmental regulation. An NBS/YouGov poll taken between November 17th and 19th shows Duke leading with 26% of Republicans saying he is their pick for the party's nominee, five points ahead of Ohio senator Ruth Norton-Stewart.

Laurion, who had emerged as the frontrunner after the last Republican debate, has fallen to fourth place behind Duke, Norton-Stewart and Illinois senator Jasper Irving, with 13% of Republicans saying he is their preferred candidate for the party's nomination. This is a dramatic fall from reaching nearly 30% in flash polls taken in the first days of the St. Clair, Michigan oil spill, when Laurion's poised handling of the crisis further lifted his numbers, already rising after a stellar performance at the third Republican primary debate.

Duke, speaking at an event in Ames, Iowa, said that this polling lead was the result of Republicans "coming around" and being "fed up".

"Conservative voters are sick and tired of slick politicians who are all talk, and no action. They're tired of a party establishment is fine with abortion on demand, a job-killing tax code, and our kids being taught anti-American propaganda in our schools. My campaign has been about restoring America, and restoring the Republican Party, since the day I announced my candidacy last December. It's just now that people are coming around to what I've been saying for the past year."

With Laurion's numbers tumbling, Duke is now the clear frontrunner for victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus, while Irving has taken a shaky lead in New Hampshire, the second contest and first primary of the 2022 nomination cycle. Both Duke and Norton-Stewart remain in a statistical dead heat for the remaining two contests, Nevada and South Carolina, before Super Tuesday in February 2022.

Nationwide Opinion Polling (NBS/YouGov)
All +/- figures are based on September 20th poll. MoE ±3%
Alan Duke: 26% (+4)
Ruth Norton-Stewart: 21% (+1)
Jasper Irving: 16% (+3)
Ben Laurion: 13% (-11)
Robert Royce: 9% (+1)
Gus Edwards: 5% (n/c)
Charlie Forrester: 4% (+1)
Andrew Wu: 2% (n/c)
Alton Moore: 0% (n/c)
undecided/don't know: 4% (+1)

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Tyler commutes life sentences of final death row inmates in Virginia

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Outgoing governor Bobby Tyler (D) of Virginia has commuted the sentences of the final two inmates on death row in the state to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, ending the death penalty in Virginia. Tyler signed the commutations today, eight months after signing legislation that abolished capital punishment in Virginia but did not retroactively commute the sentences of the final two occupants of death row, Tony Root and William A. Morva.

Tyler, whose successor Hugh Harrison (D) will take office in January, said that the commutation would close Virginia's "long and sordid history" with capital punishment.

"In our 400 year history with the death penalty, Virginia has executed more people than any other state," Tyler said. "Our system of capital punishment, like those across the nation, was inhumane, ineffective and grossly inequitable to black and brown defendants, who were sentenced to death at much higher rates than their white counterparts who were convicted of the same crime...With these commutations, Virginia can close another shameful chapter in our past and continue towards a more equitable future for all Virginians."

With Tyler's order, Virginia becomes the 22nd state to fully abolish the death penalty (New Hampshire abolished capital punishment for those sentenced after 2019, with one inmate remaining on death row), and the first southern state to do so. The first state-sanctioned execution in the United States took place in the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1608, and between that date and the final execution (Ronald McCoy, for the murder of two sheriffs deputies, in 2017), an estimated 1,300 people were legally executed in Virginia.

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Saturday, November 20 2021

Adeola Muzenda, former vice president of Equatorial Kundu wanted for war crimes, dies in botched kidnapping

Tripoli
— ACN has confirmed reports that Adeola Muzenda, the former vice president of Equatorial Kundu and ex-wife of the country's leader Uzochi Nzele, was killed in exile in Libya yesterday as the result of a botched kidnapping attempt by unknown assailants.

Muzenda, who had been in exile after an attempted coup against Nzele in 2019 when he was still serving as the country's president, was hit by stray gunfire when an unknown group attempted to enter the compound she lived in and engaged in a firefight with her guards. Five others, including two assailants, have been confirmed to have been killed by the government in Tripoli. The Associated Press has confirmed that both of the intruders were carrying several meters of rope and maps that indicated Muzenda's private rooms in the compound.

Sheltered by the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Muzenda had been under indictment by the International Criminal Court since 2005 for crimes against humanity for her role as leader of the government-backed AFRC militia that helped commit the Kundunese genocide that saw the murder of over 120,000 of the minority Induye population in the small West African nation. She was also rumored to have personally executed former president Nwabudike Edwin Nimbala on the tarmac of Bitanga International Airport when the ousted president attempted to return to the country.

While no group has taken responsibility for the botched kidnapping attempt, circumstantial evidence points to either the Tobruk-based government or non-affiliated militia group who hoped to trade Muzenda for aid from the international community.
 
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Sunday, November 21st 2021

Protests continue after Belarusian election

Minsk
— Protests have continued in the Belarusian capital of Minsk after incumbent president Sergei Eliches was declared to have been re-elected in what both opponents and international observers say was an election that was neither free nor fair and was marked with widespread fraud.

According to results released by the Central Election Commission of Belarus, Eliches won an overwhelming victory with 80.8% of all votes cast. However, instances of fraud were reported across the nation yesterday, and several opposition leaders, including Svetlana Lebedka, who was seen as Eliches' strongest competitor, were arrested in the months beforehand and removed from the ballot. The victory certifies that Eliches will hold onto power until 2026, when he will be 71 years old.

Crowds estimated at 50,000, alongside several presidential candidates, attended a post-election rally today calling for Eliches to resign and new free elections to be held. The demonstration, which is ongoing as this article goes to press, has reportedly already seen clashes between protestors and the riot police, with some protestors smashing windows and vandalizing government buildings, while reports from social media and livestreams from protestors appear to show riot police beating and arresting protestors at random.
 
Assuming that Sam is at this point probably thinking about his running mate for the next election, is there any chance we can break the West Wings vice presidential curse of infighting, bitter resentment, death, sneakiness and/or having a VP from a different party.

It would be nice if Sam could have a VP for four years he actually likes and isn't working to undermine him behind his back.
 
It would be nice if Sam could have a VP for four years he actually likes and isn't working to undermine him behind his back.
Ha, ha, that is the plan. In "universe" , discreet veting has already started. Story wise the writing team already have a 10 person shortlist, which will be narrowed down (I speak from a personal POV, I have in my mind who it should be, but it will be joint decision in the end between the three of us).
 
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REPORT: Lavrenty Konanov, Brother of Ukrainian President, Escapes from Russian Custody
22 November 2021

Sources in the Russian Federation say Lavrenty Konanov, brother of Ukrainian President Nastia Konanova, has escaped from the detention facility where he was being held by Russian authorities. Konanov has been in Russian custody for six years under the pretense of crimes against the Russian state. International observers say Konanov has been detained by Russia in order to prevent Ukraine from making pro-European and U.S. moves, such as joining NATO or the EU. Relations between the two nations have worsened in recent years, as unpopular former President Valentin Sobolevsky was widely viewed as a Russian puppet, a major factor leading to his failed re-election bid against current president Konanova.

Lavrenty Konanov was forced to flee his home country in 2015 after opponents of his father, then-president Vasily Konanov, attempted to assassinate him. He fled the country to neighboring Belarus and lived there under the protection of President Sergei Eliches. However, the death of his father and rise of Russian President Natalya Romanova led to Ukraine and Belarus both taking on a pro-Russian stance, and Eliches surrendered Konanov to Russia. Konanov was first held in a Moscow hotel, giving two interviews to Russian state news from that location, before being moved to an undisclosed location.

Now, Russian authorities are frantically searching for Konanov, who has reportedly been missing since the night of 14 November, the date of the Russian election. This is the likely cause of recent Russian border restrictions and a troop increase on the Ukrainian border that was noticed by the Pentagon earlier this week. The Russian government declined to comment on whether or not Konanov was missing or not. It is unknown at this time how Konanov escaped and where he escaped from.
 
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Vice President Hunter suspiciously invested in turkey that looks like Ben Laurion being given pardon
November 25, 2021

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(photo credit: Chris O'Donnell)
 
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Atlantis Cable News

Long to GOP Candidates "Stop Being Afraid of Duke"

Dallas, Texas-
With rumors continuing to grow in strength that Businessman Andrew Long is considering an Independent candidacy for the White House to challenge Alan Duke should he become the GOP Nominee, Long called on his fellow Republicans to join his anti-Duke Crusade. "I watched the debate the other night, and I was shocked to see all of them spend all of their time on Ben Laurion. Laurion is finished. At best, he's an incompetent idiot, at worst, he's complicit in one of the worst oil spills in our nation's history. Either way, he's finished. Who isn't finished, and who certainly isn't going away, Alan Duke. Everyone seems to be tip-toeing around him, not wanting to offend his supporters so they can scoop them up when he drops out. I have a news flash for all of you, he isn't dropping out. He's winning and he knows it. You have to take him on now before it's too late."

Long, who joined the GOP only 2 years ago after spending much of his adult life as an independent, has made several unsuccessful attempts at elected office in his native Texas. However, should he attempt an Independent run for the White House next year, he would certainly have the financial resources to pull it off.
 
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Top Stories This Week

Texas billionaire Andrew Long urges GOP to unite against Duke
Saturday, November 27th, 2021

Texas billionaire Andrew Long urged Republican presidential contenders to unite against frontrunner Alan Duke in an interview on Fox Business. Long, who has publicly threatened to run as an independent presidential candidate if Duke were to win the Republican nomination, urged the party to "take him on now, before it's too late."

Long has made criticisms of Duke in private, but refrained from publicly attacking the former senator from neighboring Oklahoma until today. During the interview, Long said that Duke was "dangerous" and "abrasive" and that his nomination could "taint the party forever in the eyes of younger voters" who are less religious, more diverse and more tolerant of LGBT people than previous generations according to opinion polling.

Bail announces MS diagnosis
Sunday, November 21st, 2021

Congresswoman Josie Bail (D-OH), the third highest-ranking House Democrat and the leading Democratic candidate to take on Governor Art Scheider (R) announced on Sunday that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). In a message shared on both her congressional and campaign accounts, Bail said that she had been diagnosed several weeks prior, but waited until her physicians had determined the extent of her condition to disclose it.

"I remain committed to working hard on behalf of all Ohioans," Bail said in a video released Sunday. Released alongside an open letter from her physician, Bail said that she would "remain in the fight...to secure a better future for working families." Her physician, Dr. Simon Kruwe, described Bail's condition as "mild" and that it was unlikely the 58 year-old would experience "debilitating effects" within the near-future. Before entering Congress, Bail served one term as governor from 1995 to 1999, the first woman and youngest person at age 31 to hold that office.

EPA estimates St. Clair spill clean-up to last until 2024
Friday, November 26th, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a preliminary assessment on the October oil spill near St. Clair, Michigan and estimated that it will take until 2024 before the estimated 1.2 million gallons spilled will be cleaned up. The report, compiled nearly one month after the spill occurred, says that it will likely take several months for the hundreds of clean-up workers and volunteers to remove oil from water and several more to remove it from floodplains, with the imminent arrival of winter extending the time crews will need to work on this facet of the project. The report says that the marshy area where the Line 5 pipe burst requires "extensive clean-up" and that it will take "between 18 to 24 months" following the completion of the rest of the clean-up to remove the oil from the area.

EPA Administrator Mary-Beth Shotten said the report was based on projections of manpower, resources and local weather up to December 2024, and that areas closed off could be opened to the public earlier than the assessment's prediction. Shotten declined to answer questions about the involvement of Michigan state agencies in the cleanup. The state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has been rocked by the arrests of several leaders and high-profile aides of Governor Ben Laurion (R) and is currently under investigation by both state and federal law enforcement.

Kentucky governor's son under investigation for fraud, embezzlement
Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Several individuals, including Ed Barrie Jr., son of Governor Ed Barrie (R-KY), were named Wednesday as "persons of interest" in a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into a veterans' charity accused of defrauding veterans and donors. Barrie Jr. and three other people associated with the Louisville-based Operation Healing Honor (OHH) LLC non-profit were identified by a DOJ spokesman after news of the investigation leaked. Sources familiar to the investigation say that at issue are reports that veterans who had been identified and signed up as recipients of the non-profit received "very little, if any" of the promised aid or assistance. At least one former OHH employee, who spoke to NBS on condition of anonymity, said that the company "regularly" underreported the amount of donations and that the company had several "slush funds" during their tenure there.

The elder Barrie, who retired from the military as the Army Chief of Staff, had been a co-founder of OHH when it was created in 2007 and served on its board of directors until he was elected governor in 2015. His office declined to comment when asked.

Brother of Ukrainian president escapes Russian custody amid diplomatic crisis
Monday, November 22nd, 2021

Lavrenty Konanov, the brother of President of Ukraine Nastia Konanova, was reported missing by Western media outlets on Monday after reportedly having escaped from Russian custody on November 14th. Konanov had been in captivity since 2015 on charges of conspiring against the Russian state, although geopolitical analysts and human rights observers say that Konanov's charges are legalistic excuses to prevent his extradition from Russian custody and to influence Ukraine's domestic politics away from anti-Russia or pro-European directions.

Konanov had fled to Belarus in 2015 after political opponents of his father, the late president Vasily Konanov, attempted to assassinate him. He was handed over to Russia in 2016 as a result of an improvement in relations between Belarus and Russia after the election of Russian President Natalya Romanova, and gave only two interviews in the five years he was in Russia. As of Sunday, Konanov has not yet resurfaced, although scattered reports indicate Russian troops are concentrating their search along a stretch of border that Russia shares with Belarus and Ukraine.

Indian PM faces political crisis over health issues
Tuesday, November 23rd 2021

Junior members of India's ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have begun to publicly voice disapproval with Prime Minister Bijan Advani's leadership over what they say are the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s "misleading" and "deceitful" attempts to disguise Advani's recent health problems. The first members of the NDA began to speak out on Tuesday, producing copies of emails that allegedly showed government officials lying about Advani's health issues, claiming that the 71 year-old prime minister had "fully and completely recovered" from an emergency visit to the hospital in October—one email sent, reporters found, just hours after Advani had abruptly left a meeting with business leaders after nearly collapsing.

Advani has been prime minister since 2011 and won a third straight general election in May. Unlike his first two governments, his current government relies support of other parties in the NDA to maintain a majority in the country's lower house (the Lok Sabha).

Seaborn pardons, drafts turkeys
Thursday, November 25th, 2021

President Sam Seaborn put a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving pardoning of a turkey by drafting the other bird into military service. At the ceremony on Thursday, Seaborn, alongside Indiana senators Rudi Robinson (D) and Gibson Carluke (R) as well as congressman Gary Tutt (R), who represent the Jasper, Indiana farm where the birds were raised, Seaborn "pardoned" the tom turkey Pepper and "drafted" the gobbler Salt into military service.

"I hereby order Salt to report to Purdue University for induction into the United States Army," Seaborn said as part of the tongue-in-cheek ceremony, naming the place where both 40 pound toms will hereafter reside. The idea, the president explained, came from an incident when he was a staffer during the administration of Josiah Bartlet, when the former president "drafted" a second turkey into military service as a way around a communication mishap that resulted in Bartlet pardoning the "wrong" turkey. Bartlet's successor, Matt Santos, ended the tradition of the turkey that is not pardoned from being sold for consumption. The White House confirmed on Thursday that Pvt. Salt would receive an honorable discharge after arriving at Purdue, but would not receive any veterans benefits "because he's a turkey."
 
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Former acting president George P. Bush dead at 93

Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Former vice president George P. Bush, who served as acting president during Ronald Reagan's incapacitation and led the nation through the constitutional crisis it entailed, has died at the age of 93.

Bush's death early this morning, at his home in Martha's Vineyard, was confirmed by a statement from his daughter Janice, who said that her father was "reunited at last with his beloved wife and eldest son."

Born into wealth and privilege as the son of an oil baron, Bush showed his dedication to public service early by forgoing a college education immediately after graduating high school to enlist in the Army, serving in the occupation of Germany following World War II. After his military service, Bush graduated from Princeton and Yale, and married Alice Roosevelt, a distant relative of former presidents Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The couple relocated to Kentucky to oversee Bush family interests there, and despite his patrician background and pedigree, Bush was elected as a Republican congressman, then governor before being selected by Ronald Reagan as his running mate in 1980 and serving two term as Reagan's vice president.

Thrust into the center of a constitutional crisis by Reagan's stroke and coma, Bush became the nation's first acting president under the terms of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. Politically compromised by his role in concealing Reagan's poor health and role in the Iran-Contra affair, Bush joined Congress in the realignment of the presidential election cycle to truncate Reagan's term and declined to run for a term of his own.

Following D. Wire Newman's inauguration in 1987, Bush wrote several books and served as a goodwill ambassador for presidents of both parties before retiring from public life. In his later years, after age and mounting health problems sapped his vitality and strength, Bush served as a quiet advisor to subsequent presidents, shunning the spotlight and becoming a respected elder statesman.

Bush is survived by two of his children, Janice and Mark, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His wife of 61 years, Alison, predeceased him in 2019, and the couple's eldest son, George Jr., died of a drug overdose in 1975 at the age 19. The tragic loss of his son affected Bush for the remainder of his life, making him an enthusiastic supporter of the War on Drugs as an elected official, although by his twilight years, the former acting president reportedly came to endorse a more nuanced approach to drug policy. He will be buried alongside Alison and George Jr. at his presidential library in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

President Sam Seaborn will declare December 1st to be a national day of mourning, a White House statement said. Both he and First Lady Lauren Parker-Seaborn will attend the funeral and memorial in Bowling Green. The president has also ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff for a period of 30 days, the same period dictated by federal law for the death of a current or former president or president-elect.

Per Bush's wishes, his body will not lie in state in the U.S. Capitol, despite the offer having been extended by both Seaborn and his predecessor Glen Allen Walken. The specific dates and times for the funeral will be announced at a later date.

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Photo credit: E.G. Marshall
 
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