then secretary of state

Today I learned that Colonel Sanders of delicious crispy chicken fame was not a military colonel but a Kentucky Colonel

Though way back in the day Kentucky Colonels did have some manner of involvement in military, it basically just became like Kentucky knighthood where the only qualifications are “Kentucky thinks you’re cool”. Kentucky Colonels do not need to be from Kentucky. They don’t need to have lived in Kentucky. They don’t even need to have lived in America.

Other Kentucky Colonels include Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill, Hunter S. Thompson, and Jeff Foxworthy, which is a failed Bill & Ted script just waiting to happen.

Anyways, Colonel Sanders had a goddamn wild life. Here’s some choice moments from his wiki page and and some other places:

-Faked his birthday to join the army when he was 16 and was honourably discharged a year later

-Worked on trains until he became a lawyer. Stopped being a lawyer after getting into a fistfight with his own client in the courtroom.

-Got a job selling life insurance and got fired for insubordination. After selling more life insurance for a different company, decided to start a ferry company.

-While acting as a minority shareholder and secretary for the ferry company, he became secretary of commerce in the state of Indiana. He quit a few months later because he “wasn’t very good at it”

-Sold his shares in the ferry company to start a company that produced acetylene lamps, which failed due to a competitors cooler electric lamps. Got a job selling tires, and then got laid off when the plant closed. Got a job running a service station, then got laid off when the station closed, because the Great Depression happened.

-Got a job at a different gas station owned by Shell and began selling chicken (!). Became the uncontested king of local chicken after his competitor showed up, tried to shoot him, shot a Shell official instead, and got convicted of murder.

-After his wife took their kids and left him to move back in with her parents, Sanders hid in the forest outside their house planning to kidnap the kids when they came outside. Got bored of waiting for them so he just strolled over to the house and talked it out with his wife and in-laws.

-KFC happened, being a colonel happened, he sold it but continued to be the company’s public image. Proceeded to randomly show up at various KFC franchises and insult them if they made it poorly. Continued to insult KFC’s parent company Heublin forever, including saying their food was gross and suing them for misusing his image. They tried to sue him for libel and were unsuccessful.

-He literally wore nothing but that white suit for the last 20 years of his life and also bleached his facial hair

-“According to a Thought Catalog synopsis of [his autobiography], Colonel Sanders was a servant of God, with a nasty mouth and a willingness to pummel a man with a chair”

-He has a publicly viewable file with the FBI that includes a paragraph that begins with “Colonel Harland D. Sanders has not been the subject of an FBI investigation” immediately followed by a paragraph of redacted text

I’m supposed to be up at 6am tomorrow but here I am reading about the chicken man. I don’t even know if I CAN sleep now

 "Jet lag is really serious when you’re flying through time zones around the world,“ Clinton told Fallon. "And so, I would have to get off and go be ready to go to a public event to meet with the president or prime minister [or] leader of the country. And I’d be standing up there, digging my fingernails into my palms to keep myself awake.“ 

Remember. Hillary used to torture herself to stay awake. And this fucking joke of a SoS can’t manage a state visit after two months in office.
Go to hell.

3

Secretaries of state are resisting White House requests for voter data

  • Secretaries of state are pushing back at a new presidential commission’s demands for detailed personal information on American voters.
  • This week, Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state who is co-chairing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with Vice President Mike Pence, asked his counterparts for a slew of information on every state’s voters, from names to partial social security numbers.
  • The commission is charged with examining “vulnerabilities in voting systems” that could lead to fraud, but critics say they see something far more nefarious brewing behind the massive national data request.
  • Even Connie Lawson, secretary of state in Pence’s own home state of Indiana, says she won’t comply with the commission’s ask. Read more (6/30/17)

Ben Carson says poverty is a “state of mind”

  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson said that poverty is a “state of mind” in an interview on SiriusXM Radio.
  • “I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,” Carson said in an interview with Armstrong Williams, Carson’s longtime friend, according to the Washington Post
  • “You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there.”
  • He continued that impoverished people “with the wrong mindset” will fail.
  • “You take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom,” Carson said.
  • As HUD secretary, Carson is tasked with helping create affordable housing for low-income and impoverished Americans. Read more (5/24/17)

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Live Updates: At Least Six Dead And 20 In Critical Condition, After Massive Fire Engulfs London Tower Block
Police have confirmed that at least six people have died and 74 people have been taken to six hospitals after fire tore through Grenfell Tower, north Kensington, shortly before 1am on Wednesday morning.
By BuzzFeed News

What We Know So Far

  • At least six people have died after an “unprecedented” fire ripped through a residential tower block in west London.
  • Twenty people are in critical condition. Seventy-four people have been treated and admitted to at six hospitals across the capital, the London Ambulance Service said.
  • The PM is “deeply saddened” by the “tragic” events. Sajid Javid, secretary of state for communities and local government, will chair an emergency Cobra meeting today.
  • The fire brigade was first called at shortly before 1am on Wednesday to Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, north Kensington, London. Emergency responders were on the scene within six minutes.
  • Forty-five engines, 200 firefighters, and 100 medical personnel attended the scene, in addition to a number of police officers. Fire crews have reached the 20th floor, and a structural engineer, as well as urban search and rescue advisers, is monitoring the building.
  • Many residents are still missing. Witnesses said they saw people jumping from the building, and survivors have described how they managed to flee the building.
  • The cause of the fire is not clear.
  • The building, constructed in 1974, is 24 storeys tall and contains 120 homes, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
  • Residents’ groups had issued numerous warnings in the past few years about the tower block’s fire safety provisions. Read more here.
  • An emergency casualty bureau number has been set up on 0800 0961 233.
3

As lawsuits pile up, elections officials push back at “voter fraud panel” on Mike Pence’s home turf

  • The nation’s secretaries of state wrapped up their summer meeting Monday by passing a defiant resolution on Trump’s Election Integrity Commission as lawsuits continued to pile up against the panel.
  • Notably, the meeting took place in Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence’s home state. Pence serves as chairman of the controversial commission.
  • “With the unanimous vote, the National Association of Secretaries of State — both Republicans and Democrats — continue to push back on the commission as outlined in the resolution,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in an interview.
  • The panel’s request for detailed information on voters from all 50 states has raised concerns the data could be centralized and breached by hackers or identity thieves, among other worries. Read more (7/10/17)
Germany 101: German Federal Elections

On September 24th 61.5 million German voters will decide on the central decision in their democracy: who should represent them in Parliament and eventually govern the country? Elections to the German Bundestag (like our House of Representatives) are held about every four years, with the last election having been held in fall of 2013.

The Basics

In grade school, most Germans are taught about the five principles in the Basic Law which stipulate that the members of the Bundestag be elected in “general, direct, free, equal and secret elections”. “General” means that all German citizens are able to vote once they have reached the age of 18. The elections are “direct” because citizens vote for their representatives directly without the mediation of delegates to an electoral college. “Free” means that no pressure of any kind may be exerted on voters. “Equal” means that each vote cast carries the same weight with respect to the composition of the Bundestag. “Secret” means that each individual must be able to vote without others learning which party or candidate he or she has chosen to support.

Where Do You Vote?

Germans have the options of voting at polling stations for example in community centers or schools, or sending in their vote by mail.

So. Many. Parties.

Germany has a lot more political parties than the United States. This is due to the fact that the German electoral system uses a proportional system, which means that all parties get a share of the available seats that reflect their share of the popular vote. However, not to have too many political factions which would make the decision making process nearly impossible – and Parties can get pretty specific as to what they stand for – Germany implemented the “five per cent clause” which means a party needs at least five percent of the votes cast to be represented in the Bundestag.

According to the German Research Institute the following parties are likely to be represented in the next German Bundestag, as they are expected to satisfy the five per cent clause:

  • CDU/CSU (the Union parties): a political alliance of the two parties representing conservative Christian-democratic policies, political home of the current Chancellor Angela Merkel and part of the governing “grand coalition”
  • SPD: the center-left social democratic party promoting “socially just” policies, the other member of the currently governing “grand coalition”
  • Die Linke: “the left” party – a democratic socialist and left-wing populist party
  • BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN: the green party which traditionally focuses on topics such as environmental protection
  • FDP: the “free democratic” party - a (classical) liberal political party
  • AfD: a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic party newly founded in 2013

First and Second Vote

Voters actually have two decisions to make when they go to their polling booth.  This part can get tricky.

The first vote is for the representative of your district. There are 299 electoral districts in Germany and the winner of each district gets a seat in the Bundestag.

The second vote is debatably the more important vote, which is cast not for a person but for a party. The number of seats a party gets in the Bundestag is based on what proportion they get of the second votes. Since the first votes for district representatives take up 299 seats of the Bundestag, the remaining 299 seats are filled up by representatives of each party until each party is proportionally represented.

And now it’s going to get really complicated (also for Germans, believe it or not): In case a party gets more directly elected candidates by the first votes than proportional seats by the second votes, these candidates nonetheless remain part of the new Bundestag. This is called an “Überhangmandat”. The other parties then get seats added proportionally which makes the Bundestag even bigger. The last four years, because of this phenomenon there were in total 631 Members of the German Bundestag instead of the legally foreseen 598.

Coalitions

“Coalition” is not a word used in American politics. Coalitions are alliances formed by different parties in the Bundestag to end up with a group that makes up more than 50% of the seats. Traditionally the party with the most votes tries to form a coalition first. Typically coalitions have been comprised by two parties in the past, but in the future coalitions of three or more parties could be a reality. Why do this? Due to the voting system which is a proportional and not a majority one, this is in most cases the only way to create a majority in the Bundestag which is necessary to pass laws. The coalition parties tend to negotiate a coalition agreement at the start of their cooperation which lays out their policy goals for the coming legislative period. Though the majority party within the coalition typically has more sway in what stance the coalition will take on certain issues – such as who the Chancellor will be – the smaller party benefits from the coalition by typically receiving several Minister positions (think Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc.) which are filled with members of their party. They might also enforce some stances on their core political issues as long as they can get the “bigger” coalition partner to agree in the negotiations.

Wrap Up

  • German elections are general, direct, free, equal, and secret
  • Germans vote in person or via mail
  • There are a bunch of parties to choose from representing the full political spectrum from far left to far right
  • Two votes: a first vote for a specific candidate representing your district and a second vote for your party determining the number of seats per party
  • A Coalition is formed after all votes are in to create a group that holds more than 50% of the Bundestag seats

Got more questions? Shoot them to us in the comments below!

Could have had Yale Law graduate, lawyer, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, two-time New York Senator, and Secretary of State.

2016 is proof a less qualified man can still beat the most qualified woman (even if she is the most qualified person –man or woman– to ever run for the Presidency). A woman has to play the game at so many levels to even be considered a capable candidate. Trump is a 4-times bankrupt propaganda artist that inherited his wealth from his Father.

But instead Middle America stole the election from the 3 million majority through the use of an archaic system known as the electoral college. Both of the last two Republican Presidents lost the popular vote. On the contrary, Obama won both the electoral college *AND* the popular vote.

Now we are stuck with a man far more dangerous than George W. Bush. Instead of opting for the most qualified candidate in history, we got the biggest con-man of all-time. Trump is in over his head and admits it: “I thought being President would be much easier.” – what a joke!

Hillary saw how hard the job was up close and personal twice – first with her husband and then with Obama. And yet she still wanted the job.

Elections have consequences. Buckle up!

2

Diplomats are being instructed not to look Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the eye

  • It is no secret that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prefers to keep a low profile, but a new Washington Post story suggests the former Exxon Mobile CEO is doing everything he can to fly under the radar. 
  • Many career diplomats told the Post that they still haven’t met Tillerson, and some have even been told to avoid making eye contact.Being told not to look your boss in the eye is an odd directive, and it quickly inspired a Twitter meme. Read more. (3/30/17, 11:13 PM)
“Clinton sold uranium to Russian”

(A quote from a wackadoo this morning … ):

This has been running around for a while, and is part of the efforts to debunk or trivialize the Trump-Russia connection.

The allegation is that somehow Hillary Clinton, all by herself, sold or gave 20% of the US’ uranium reserves to the Russians for a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Let’s spend a brief moment deconstructing the levels of crazy here.

1. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton couldn’t sell or give away assets of the United States. She didn’t have the authority. (That belongs to Congress.) No one in charge of the U.S. uranium stockpile would go, “oh, this has Hillary’s signature, load ‘er up boys!” It’s just not how it works.

2. 20% of US uranium is a lot. It’s not something one casually moves about in a shipping trailer. The notion that any such operation could take place without vast planning and organization involving dozens of agencies ranging from national security to police departments, is just ridiculous. Had any such thing happened, it would not have been in secret. It couldn’t have been.

3. Umm, why would the Russians need to buy or acquire our uranium? They have vast amounts of it. In fact, there’s a worldwide glut of the stuff: it’s available cheaply. So even if they were running short they could get it without risking a confrontation with the United States.

But Trump alleged it about a Clinton, and since all the wackadoos know the Clintons are Satan with a smile, the wackadoos parrot the nonsense. In any case, neither facts nor logic are going to dissuade their fantasy lives from being fully lived.

Trump-Russia isn’t normal. It isn’t comparable to ordinary politics and usual. No matter what the wackadoos say.

4

Trump expected to sign an executive order calling for a voter fraud investigation

  • Trump will sign an executive order Thursday to create a commission to investigate his claims of voter fraud and voter suppression (ABC News)
  • Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will lead the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity,” which will seek to look into “vulnerabilities” in the country’s voting process.
  • The commission will include members from both sides of the aisle, and will issue a report on what it finds regarding alleged voter fraud “sometime in 2018.” Read more (5/11/17)

Trump says he may finally release his tax returns — after he leaves office

  • In an interview with the Economist on May 4, Trump, asked if he planned to appease the voters, journalists and Senate Democrats who have clamored for the tax documents to be released, responded, “I doubt it.”
  • “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters,” he said. “Oh, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job.” Read more (5/11/17)

Sean Spicer wants you to know he did not hide “in” the bushes — he was “among” them

  • In an editor’s note appended to a Wednesday Washington Post story, the paper clarified that Sean Spicer was not hiding “in” the bushes after the firing of FBI director Jim Comey, but rather hiding “among” the bushes.
  • “This story has been updated to more precisely describe White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s location late Tuesday night in the minutes before he briefed reporters,” the editor’s note reads. “Spicer huddled with his staff among bushes near television sets on the White House grounds, not ‘in the bushes,’ as the story originally stated.” Read more (5/11/17)